Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hat Distraction!

 I needed a hat for my Seattle son-winter temperatures have hit hard there 
and since he works outside, he needed some insulation!  
 It is knit from an old ball of Universal Yarn Inc, Classic Shades which is a single ply worsted weight yarn.   I knit over 100 stitches in K2, P2 on #8 needles.  It worked right along.
I decreased out the purl stitches first and then reduced the knit for a nice smooth and round crown.
I will send it out in their Christmas box today!  

Now I am ready to work on my sweater again -I am so close to a finish on that!
And I found what I was doing wrong on the mitts-I am in the knitting groove again!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Roping

 Might I mention that this is an incredibly wonderfully organic creative process!!!!!
The slightest angle on the row you are sewing and you can get a whole different look!
It is far less messy then the coiling we did in pottery class!
I love the subtle shading of the thread color.
And I tried to make different shapes for the 'holes' this time.
When there is only one, it shapes the rim asymmetrically which is interesting.
When you try to center a swirl on each end, it is a bit interesting to line them up
 but it makes both ends lift up and look like handles.
I am working on a graceful ending for the baskets, too. 
I am going to be making these for quite a while-
they satisfy the a lot of creative aspects with a relatively fast turnaround.
I love containers-and so do a lot of knitters-it must be that left/right brain balancing act!!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Feet on Floor!

I haven't felt like I was up to sewing the shoulders and pick up the button band stitches.
But I felt like I could last night.  
And then I promptly sewed both fronts on backwards.
I didn't discover it until I had started picking up stitches on the second front and I had this armhole on the front neckline.....
Ripping out stitches for the shoulders was a LOT of fun!
But I  did it and seamed it again and picked up the stitches on the front bands again 
and now I can get going on this sweater finish!!!! 
 I did give myself a bit of a reward...
I cast on this new pair of fingerless mitts because I was intrigued with the construction!
It is brilliant.
I had planned on dyeing the yarn first as it is a skein of the Bare Hare by KnitPicks;
it is so delicious in my hands while knitting!
But I didn't want to wait to cast on so they will get a kettle dye when I am finished!
I decided to go with an easier border arrangement for the leftover scraps from the Quilt of Valor.
I just might be able to sew this together in a few days now!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fernandina Festivities!

 Visiting youngest son and his family for an early Christmas.  It was so quiet and peaceful with just one family at a time!  
 The kitty posed for typical Christmas tree use as far as they are concerned!  
Here is the new sweater (or vest, I haven't decided yet!) I am working on.  I am using the pattern I made the green sweater from so I have the skeleton and can flesh it out any way I want!
I am a knitter after all!

Now back to my role as Grandma and playing with the kids!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Southdown

I now have 200 yards of two ply sport yarn
from the breed of sheep called Southdown.
This yarn is from the class of sheep called down breeds 
so it is springy and plump!
There will be little to no felting when washed.
It is next to the skin soft.
Other than the nepps in this particular fleece, 
this was a great spin and will be a pleasurable knit!
And Lena jumped into the warm ~clean~ clothes when I set the basket down for just a minute
on the way to take them to fold!
Of course, I left her there and she took a 2 hour nap all nestled snugly!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Parts of a Whole

I have finished knitting all of the parts for the Drift cardigan!
Usually I sew all the parts together and then block it 
but I decided I would try it this way so that I could block each piece according to the schematic.
  It was also easier to make sure all the parts were matched this way. 
 Once dry, I have to sew it at the shoulder seams and then pick up and knit the front button bands.  

I was slammed with a migraine first thing on Tuesday and still dysfunctional yesterday.
Migraines are such thieves of time.
Now today I have to go for an MRI to check the progress of the MS.
Too bad I can't knit while in that tube for hours!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Threads that Bind Quilters

 I enjoyed quilting time with my local group-
my throat is still pretty sore but the medicine is starting to kick in gear! 
 I finished the other 6 blocks while there so I can squeak a table topper out of these.
 I have only a few blue pieces and a few more of the beige
 so I am playing around with the idea of  angled blocks for a border
 to really use up every last piece from this collection.
 While at our stitching time, a woman came in and asked if we would be interested
 if she dropped off a few unfinished quilt tops from her m-i-l who passed away.
  We naturally said we would be glad to look them over and donate what we couldn't use-
you never know what you are going to get!
She said no one in her family did any sewing let alone quilting 
and she wanted them to go to people who would appreciate the work that went into them.
Well, we hit pay dirt!
  These are very old tops (flimsies my Aussie friend calls them!)
  We each picked out one and said what we thought we would do with  it.
 Most had condition problems-they have been stored a long time and smelled of moth balls.
 When this quilter ran out of fabric for a strip-she just pieced a similar color and continued on her work.  
You can see this red square had several pieces to bring it up to size. 
 All of the quilts were pieced by hand with a few blocks sewn by machine, too.
The pieced block on the right was done by machine.
There are 81 pieced blocks and two different fabrics used for the red blocks. 
 There are fabrics from the 30's, 40's and 50's in this quilt; 
 some of the other tops were from the 50's and 60's. 
 We sure had a wonderful time examining these donations!
  I think I will layer this with batting and backing and quilt it.
  Of course, many quilts made in FL of that time period were just backed and quilted without a filler so it was a light covering for the bed not a quilt for warmth. 
 But since this was made by a woman in Jacksonville,
 she would have experienced cooler temperatures for winter
 and would have appreciated a quilt with a cotton batting. 
 I will think it through a bit-how do you weigh in?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Patience

 I'm  patiently knitting on the cardigan, Drift,
 and managed to do about half of the sleeve while in the doctor's office yesterday! 
 How do people survive waiting so long without their knitting!!!!?
When I finally saw the nurse, my blood pressure was its usual 118/62  because I knit! lol 
 (I am on meds now to knock that sore throat bacteria out of my ballpark!)
 I am patiently plying  the Southdown singles into yarn.
There is just no hurrying some things that we do and the slow down is good for us!
What are you doing that is requiring patience?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hard Labor!

 I have been working for days on this chimney.  
(and my sore throat is back with a vengeance!)
The front is finished and so am I!  
It was so labor intensive-I needed a spa;  if only....
 I put out my tall front door trees....the wreath is also hung there now. 
My Christmas cacti are all in bloom-a wonderful addition to my decor!
 I am really paring back on the decorations this year! 
 Not for reasons of being a Grinch but because of the work!
 Now these are my latest creations with rope-real cotton rope this time!  
(They are both about 10" across and 6' and 8" tall)
   
 After being inspired by Pintrest, I tried a few fancy 'holes' in my side walls.   
     I also experimented with securing the end of the rope when finishing. 
     This basket has grey in the top and bobbin thread for a shadowy grey tint to the basket.
I used only white in this one but played around with the holes. 
 I used only 50' for each basket.
I was thinking they would work for yarn bowls also-and big enough for a few yarn cakes, 
needles and pattern!  I much prefer this kind of 'work' any day!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Soft and Hard

 I had the idea of using up the remaining blue and beige strips from the log cabin triangles 
so I made some rail fence and log cabin squares.
  I will combine these and see how many I can get from this little pile for a lap quilt.
I have been spinning up the batts of Southdown I carded last week
 and it has bugged me that there are so many nepps in the wool
 so I dug out the combs (lethal weapons!) and combed strips off the batts to make some lovely top.
There was a Lot of waste-the short miserable bits that I didn't like spinning-
so I carded them up again to finish the bobbin I started. 
 And this will be spun on a new bobbin to compare how this will spin. 
It was a good lesson in combing!  
I enjoyed pulling the fiber off the combs into roving-very relaxing!
 Then after lunch I headed out to take the grout residue off the tiles. 
 Not an easy job of it.  
After two hours, I only had half of the job done. 
 The new grout has plastic in it because it just doesn't rub off like the old stuff.  
What a work out! 
 I will definitely try a new technique on the other sides-
so much for following directions on the grout bucket!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rows...

 A nice package came in the mail-the yarn of the month club from Darn Good Yarn, Co.
It's a skein of single spun silk, pattern and some pretty needles.
I finished the last 5 blocks for this quilt and sewed them into rows.  
Tomorrow I will sew the rows together;  
I am not sure that I like it this wide so when it is complete tomorrow I might cut it narrower. 
 I can't tell until I get there, what I need to do. 
 I do like the subtle secondary designs. 
 I ran out of the red strips on the last triangle or I would have made another vertical row. 
 If I make it narrower, I can use up the blue and beige strips for the border!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Numbered!

 I re-purposed some boards lying around to make this plaque for over my door.
Ever since I saw the quilt block painting on WyomingBreezes'  blog
I knew I needed to give one a try.
  I painted the quilt block called Clam Shells since I felt it would be appropriate 
and because I have made a quilt with them. 
 I enjoyed painting the sign and thanks for the inspiration, Nancy!
I had a bit of a challenge hanging it on our stucco house but succeeded in the end! 
  I like it over my front door!  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Whipping up Finishes

 Transformed from a sleeveless tank to a three season sweater! 
 I picked up stitches from the yoke and underarm and knit to the hem 
where I did a picot edge like the bottom of the sweater. 
 When I finished, I thought it needed to have the same hem done at the neck. 
  I picked up all the stitches and knit up and over a picot edge for there, too.
  The sweater is delicious to wear in a cotton/angora blend!
 I finished all the orange blocks for the LeMoyne blocks.
On to the grey and then I will have enough to start laying them out for the top.
 I stitched the quilted top to a backing and inserted a foam poster board
 so I can use this as a wall hanging. 
 I have the hand stitching to do now....if I work a bit at a time, it will get done!
And I have started to bring in plants for the winter! 
 I haven't had houseplants in years and it's about time I enjoyed them here, too!  

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Woolies

 Yes, the spinning was so soothing;  I almost forgot how relaxing it is!

 Sitting and letting the fibers flow through my fingers, just watching the hairs draft out and twist just so was delightful again! 
 I have a skein of 265 yards of DK weight yarn that is destined to be a hat.
 The colors will change from the lightest to darkest chocolate and back again...
 I'm glad the skein came out pretty balanced after such a long hiatus. 
 This was a sale bag from Paradise Fibers in the Mars colorway, 4 oz of medium grade wool.
  Just what the doctor ordered!
 As long as I was in a 'wool' mood, I dug out some Southdown wool I had bought way back in the beginning of the year;  I try to buy some wool that is new to me a few times each year.
(I save this sample for documentation for my own wool notebook, 
along with a spun sample and a knit sample.)
   I have been working through the Down breeds of sheep 
which are some of my favorites because they yield springy, bouncy yarns that are not too delicate to work with and yet are next-to-the-skin soft.
  Even if you do not process wool or spin it, it is now much easier to buy specific breeds of yarn 
so you can familiarize yourself with more than Merino and/or superwash yarns!  
 This 4 oz package of wool I bought on Etsy ha been washed but nothing else.
 First I grab a handful,
 and tease it-which just means I fluff out each bit as best as I can.
 This serves two purposes-it removes a LOT of bits of debris from the fiber and it allows for the chance to remove short pieces or nepps from the wool. 
 (Since the boys are not here to provide me with the exercise I have enjoyed with their care, 
I am making up creative ways to keep active-I squatted as long as I could to do this step-
working on my balance and stretching muscles!)
 Once teased , I then stand up to load it onto the carder and turn the crank.
 When the handfuls have covered the carder,
 I use this long sharpened tool called a doffer to separate the wool at this specific point on the drum so I can remove the 'batt' and then run it through again! 
 I sometimes do this several times to remove vegetable matter and to card the fiber into fluffier piles but because I tease it so well before carding only two runs are needed.
I now have another pile of wool ready for a good spin!  
This preparation  step is also very relaxing and a good way to mentally rest-
so many steps to spinning are slow which makes this a good way to practice patience. 
This used to be a benefit of many tasks a woman's day provided her but now it is a 'movement' called Slow;  slow cooking (means from scratch)  slow sewing (means handwork) or slow eating (means family meals!).  
Who knew ?

Hat Distraction!

 I needed a hat for my Seattle son-winter temperatures have hit hard there  and since he works outside, he needed some insulation!   ...