Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Tribute to Grandma

When in NY in August, I was looking at a copy of PieceWork magazine and saw an article about saving crochet samples in a cloth book.  Mom got right up and dug around a bit and found some of my Grandma's samples.
 She rarely used a pattern; just looked over these samples and then made her edging after a quick study.    (We all still have pillowcases and doilies from Gram!)
  Mom gave me the samples and I have put them in my own memory book.  
I cut out my fabric pages from muslin and used iron on interfacing for heft. 
After sewing the layers together at the spine of the book, I then hand sewed the samples to each page and placed some of her pictures cut from newspaper articles in the back pocket.
  I even tucked the crochet hooks she used into this back pocket. 
I think Gram would have liked to have this little book!  I am very glad to have this tangible reminder of my Grandmother, I use the skills she passed down most every day!  I think you are going to want to make one for yourself, Mom!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Loom Lesson

When there are too many decisions and not enough experience to make a choice about weaving, it tends to get ignored.  I read the recent article in HandWoven magazine about using handpainted thread in the warp.  I have some of that.........I wanted to try the technique.  I didn't have the exact results of the article but I was happy with it.  I thought I would up the degree of design and make it an overshot pattern.  I worked for hours to come up the the right pattern on the narrow (189 threads) warp.  I got it all threaded on the loom and began weaving.  It looked awful.  I began to wonder about experience and me in the realm of weaving. 

Experience =  the wisdom and abilities gained by doing

I have this definition of experience in lots of arenas-sewing and quilting, even knitting.  So I began to think about my choices in relation to knitting and I knew where my mistake was.  I would never combine a busy yarn with a busy textured pattern.  They would cancel each other out!  So I cut away the overshot weft-4" of ability gained by doing- and began to weave with plain weave-the piece just glows!  I am happily weaving away on this cloth that I am making myself.  I have gained some great experience with this weaving!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Delighted Spinner!

The fleece came out very clean-it only took a couple of rinses to make the water run clear.  Using the old clothes basket for a strainer is a trick I learned from a blog friend (Benita)!  It worked very well!  I then spun out the wool to remove as much water as I could before I took it outside.
I laid it out on the pool decking to dry-that happens pretty quickly around here!
After carding a few handfulls of wool, I gave it a good spin.
 This wool is a dream to spin; so smooth and with a slight luster in the finished yarn.  I am going to knit up a bit to make a swatch and give it a good wash to see how it responds for more clues to what it might be.
 I would love to find some more of this fiber if I can identify it!  I have recorded the pertinent facts up to now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Recap

I spent a great day in the sewing room on Saturday!  I finished the quilting on the jelly roll quilt. 
It is just what I envisioned!  Curvy, graphic lines of the quilting contrast nicely with the strips.
I sewed the binding right on it and it is ready for use on the couch by my long husband!
When I was in NY in August, Mom showed me a quilt-covered journal gifted to her.  I wanted to make one!  Using some leftovers on the jelly roll quilt, I did just that.  Then I made another!  This was a very nice project on several levels! 
 One of these I will keep, the other is for a friend that hits a big birthday today !

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Got Fleece?!

I was gifted a little fleece .  A friend was at a rummage sale and saw this and called to see if I was interested.  Of course!  There was no info on the fleece, no one remembered what kind of sheep it was from.  That doesn't deter me!  I spread it out, removed the hinderparts, shook out the sand and put it out for Bill to see-talk about a cat magnet! The fibers are 3" long, slightly greasy but not very much.  I can't wait to see how it spins!
PuffDaddy was very put out when I put it in the tub for soaking.  He did make the mistake of trying to lay on it in the tub but that happened so quickly I missed it for a picture!
Time to go and play with JD if he can't have his wool!
The tub has to be emptied and refilled several times before the fleece will be clean enough to card for spinning.  Bill is a good sport about the unusual aroma of this bathroom while it is soaking! 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Colors of September

Penta continues to attract the most common butterflies, yellow sulphurs.
The Mums have bloomed earlier in the summer and are doing it again for their Fall show.
The mexican daisies have hunkered down for the summer heat but are happy with the cooler temps and will bloom now for months.
The bromiliads love the watering Bill has showered them with every few days.  They have been slow to recover from the freezes of last winter.
This is a double bloom on one of our hibiscus bushes.  No fragrance but very large and showy.
The trumpeter vines continue to attract the hummingbirds and brighten the green of the hedge next to the house.
At least twice a day, we are visited by this beautiful sandhill couple.
The bouganvillea has grown up the trellis and has to be tucked into the top to prevent it from climbing onto the roof.  There are no blooms at this time but it will again soon. The rugosa rose bush is also blooming.
The dahlias are near the end of their bloom, the hot dry temps have been hard on them this summer.
The philedendron we planted last year is flourishing-it is about four feet high and will just continue to spread.
The beauty bushes are this beautiful color now all around the yard.  The leaves will fall off and then the stalks with the berries will provide the birds with a treat all winter.
The orange trees are readying their fruit.
The banana trees have all sent up new shoots and they will just begin to look wonderfully tropical in time for January's frosty kiss of death again.........
The camillias are all getting ready for their blooms in December.
The live oaks are in full leaf, all done with their shedding for a while and are deep green with their wisps of spanish moss gently blowing in the breeze.
The only tree in our yard that has leaves changing is our camphor tree.  It stays green all year but the older leaves do turn red and fall off.  Autumn is still very alive here.  Pretty.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Slow Day at Home

As I power cleaned around here, Bill came and asked for some help.  He had been playing on the tractor digging out the ditches that are dry well, mostly dry,from our lack of rainy season precipitation.
Husband, you have outdone yourself! 
The truck pulled it right out like nothing was attached.  Nice to know.
The pond's water level  is very low, too.  We desperately need some rain.
I finished spinning the ivory corriedale cross and ended up with 1100 yards of fingering weight yarn.  No immediate plans but it will visit the dyepot as soon as I know what it will be used for.
I also finished spinning the alpaca fiber I bought in NY.  It worked up to 700 yards of fingering weight yarn.  I made the little skein for JD who fell in love with this fiber!  This will be going into the dyepot, too, but I haven't decided on its use yet either so will wait until I decide.  Yarn has a L O N G shelf life so there is no hurry! 
 I am moving along on the Anika Shrug for Marsel; the sleeve is finished and I am into the back portion.
Today, I noticed that the kittens were awfully quiet and began hunting for them. 
They weren't in their usual nap spots but then I looked in the guest room.  PuffDaddy decided to share a secret napping place with JD!  Awww, so cute!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vacation Mail

We always put our mail on hold while we are away and so it is fun to go through a big pile when we get home.  I had this to get excited about-
a full size potholder kit with cotton, not polyester, loopers! 
I had to give it a try right away.  Yippee!  I picked out colors to match my new dishtowels...
Some skills you never forget...!  Perfect!  And, big enough to be of real use on the table. 
Little JD is learning there are perks to indoor living-left over cereal milk!
This is what is on my knitting needles now that I am finished with Abigail's cardigan, a sweater for Marsel using the NY vacation mohair from my Aunt.  There is enough yarn to make one for me when I am done!  This is working up quickly because it uses large needles (10) and the yarn itself is fluffy and feels delightful to work with!  I am using a pattern in the Dec 2009 Knit 'n Style magazine, the Anika Shrug.


The bird bath fountain sprung a leak so Bill fixed the leak and put a new sealant on it and I gave it a new paint job!  I had to let the pai...