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 ?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Starts and Finishes!


I haven't done any spinning for almost a year! 
 With a quiet few hours, I was able to spin 2.2 oz of this medium grade wool from Paradise Fibers in the Mars colorway.  
I hope to get some more spinning done soon and then on to plying! 
 I have a hat pattern in mind for this but more on that later.
The boot socks for my Dad are done;  while they were a quick knit, I didn't enjoy making them.
I'm not sure why-larger needles?  ...larger yarn?  ....boring color? ....my mood?
Whatever, on to the next project!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Roped into it!

 When I was in my teens, I played with clothesline rope for a basket (see last pics) but I covered it in wool yarn to echo Navajo basketry.  
This one is quite large (16" x 8") with clean lines.
It's a revival sparked by a recent Sewing with Nancy broadcast on my PBS station.
  I bought some rope (100') and took two hours to build this large table basket.
 It has easy construction-I used size 12 cotton machine embroidery thread and a 90 needle.  
I used a white bobbin so this has two sides-one in the green and the other completely white.  
I used my edge joining foot to keep the two rounds of rope laying next to each other. 
Truthfully, it is rather mindless sewing round and round and round!!!
 I just love how it turned out!  
I love baskets, boxes and bowls and this hits on all three!
 Even Lena gave her approval!  
She was determined to give this a good sniff. 
 Thank you!
I put some cotton yarn covered balls in the basket;  it makes me smile in satisfaction to have a new look in this room.
 This is the little basket I made when I was 17.  
It is practically an antique! 
 I used yarn threaded on a needle to covered the rope
 and attach it to the row below at the same time. 
 It was slow going but I loved the results;  then and now!
The lid was made the same way with a plastic curtain ring for the top handle, I just filled in the center with yarn stitches.

What is old is new again-when you live long enough, you know this personally!
Now, I like the clean lines of the new white one.
I like that it is made on the machine because this kind of handwork is out of the question now.

I'm already planning another basket!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Just in Time!

 The chairs are all finished being reupholstered and the table runner is in place. 
It is not quilted but rather sewn to a canvas backing so it is more table linen than table runner, I guess.
I like the clean, tailored look!
 No matter where I come into this room (it is a thoroughfare room),
I'm liking the new color and rather Scandinavian-clean lines that are invoked!
This was a rather healthy undertaking for me.  
 Now the room will be all ready for Bill and I for tomorrow's feast!

Sweatering Still!

 I am now on the right front!  I did have some corrections to make as I sat down to this today-always a bit of a bummer.  
 I managed to fix the two rows on each side that were in purl rib back into stockinette
 (which I knew to do but didn't do it!)
 by using a crochet hook and dropping the stitch down to the right spot . 
 Maybe a bit of time but I have that now......
 The left front is off the needles-it has to be blocked 
and the 1 1/2' button band will be added to the center front
 but if you use your imagination, you can see what it is!
 Lena is enjoying my uninterrupted lap time....we had a good stupor after dinner.
Yes, she is shedding and my black pants showed that off to all it's fuzziness!
Oh, yeah.  She gave in to good nap.  I appreciated the bonding.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Clear the Decks!

 The boys' room was emptied, cleaned and rearranged. 
 Bill did come in to offer assistance (muscle!) for getting the bed turned around.  
 Lena was quite interested in the work we were doing. 
  She dislikes the vacuum and the broom is not appreciated either. 
  As soon as they were put away, she came in for a visit!
When the furniture was settled and the walls ornamented, 
I covered the seat of this yard sale chair Bill had in the shed. 
 It is nice and soft and just right for a bedroom.  
The nightstands are out of storage, too,
 but one was in need of repair so I will see them by the end of the week.

I find hard work to be very therapeutic.  How about you?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Give Me a Minute, Please...

 Sweet socks for youngest grand child are finished, this is from the leftover Pairfect sock yarn.
I knit this on 48 stitches, 2.5mm needles. 
 We've had a few chilly mornings that he could've used these,
 though he is such a warm body, he wouldn't have left them on long!
Now this one is also knit over 48 stitches but it is a man's size 10 sock in worsted weight yarn, not fingering!  I also used a #4 needle;  these are for my Dad who is experiencing cold and snow in CNY!
I am going to make him some socks from fingering weight also but I had to weight for the yarn order to come and so I will make these ASAP .  
Saturday was our first morning for a fire-it wasn't completely necessary 
but desired for a celebration of our last morning with our grandsons.
 Their 'extended vacation' has drawn to a close;  
we savored the slow with snuggles and all too soon we headed out for their parents.  
I  finished E's socks once there-I only had a 1/4" and the bind off!
We were able to stay and help unpack and settle all their belongings in their room, etc.
It was a great transition for all of us.

I worked on Dad's sock on the way home. 
 Life will be different for us again. 
Bill says it's an empty nest adjustment all over again!
 Life's always about adjustments.  
 What a simple sentence for a very complex set of emotions...

A Good Little Yarn To Be

 Next on the spinner is some superwash bare roving which I dyed when we had the swap.  I split the roving down the middle the whole l...