Thursday, February 16, 2017

Yarn Along - February 16, 2017

Hello 2017! I’m jumping back on the blogging bandwagon – finally. I read somewhere that blogs are dead. I don’t agree. I still enjoy reading them. I can't handle twitter with all the hashtags. It’s disruptive in so many ways. And Instagram – haven’t looked at that much, but I’d rather have the words please. Love the words!!
I was really hoping to finish my Dovetail Shawl over the Christmas holiday, but I fell short. I had been making estimates, seeing if I could get another pattern repeat out of the Liberty yarn, and I kept doing the math wrong, and ending up with more yarn than I’d expected. The shawl is still getting wider, and ends with a border, so I want to be sure I don’t run out, but I also want to make it as big as possible. With a long weekend coming up I’m hoping to pick it up again and maybe finish it for good this time.

In addition to that I have several other routine projects on the needles, plus a new one – a prototype for a bag – a potential gift for a friend. I wanted to try a smaller version of the bag first to check the yarn and needle size and how well it will full, etc. One night of knitting done, and this project is making me so happy! More on that another time.

As far as reading goes, I’ve just started Hazel Holt’s final book – Mrs. Malory and Death is a Word. Hazel passed away in 2015, and I have read all 21 of her Sheila Malory mysteries. They are so peacefully intriguing. More than solving any of the mysteries, I just wanted to live vicariously through Sheila, with her Aga cooker and cozy house; her trips into Taunton, and to Oxford and the Bodleian. The walks along the sea on gray days….I think I went vicariously to England better with Hazel Holt than almost any other writer, except Miss Read. I’m trying to savor this last book. And yes, I will read them all over again!

See what Ginny and the other Yarn Along friends are up to!

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Holiday Promotion - Christie Cottage

Hello! Joining in with Christie Cottage to help promote holiday items you can buy via Etsy. Please take a look at all the wonderful gift and decoration items available. I'm linking this set of Nativity figures skillfully made by my cousin Tim.

And here's a handknit Christmas Stocking that I made as part of a mystery bag challenge. We were all given a lunch size paper sack with surprise fibers in it. The challenge was to create something from the contents. This is just one of the things that flew off my needles!

I hope you find some treasures for your decorating and gift giving this year. I love creating and adding joy with these handmade pieces. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yarn Along - June 29

With a long weekend coming up, I could easily get an attack of startitis. I intend to spend some of my time working on stash organization and purging, both in yarn and patterns. The problem is, I only get so far before I start browsing and then get the urge to sit down and cast on, especially if I suddenly find the perfect pattern for some particular yarn that’s been calling to me.

Actually though, I’ve been picking up older projects and trying to get them sorted out and finished up. This is one of them – a little baby cardigan from a vintage Workbasket magazine. I started it because I wanted to add the pattern and photos to Ravelry’s database and also to have a gift sweater on hand. The magazine had one tiny black and white photo. I lost some of my enthusiasm when I realized that instead of a stripe pattern on the body as I had assumed, it’s actually going to be an elongated stitch instead. I’ll give it a try, but if it looks weird, I’m going to do something else and just get the sweater finished, and not worry about adding it to Ravelry. The yarn is just some vintage acrylic but it’s nice and soft and I’m glad to be using it up.
As far as summer reading goes, I’m tackling AlexanderHamilton, in all his forms, starting with the Chernow biography. I have the Broadway book and CD on request from the library as well. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to add more politics to an already highly political year, but maybe it’s best to get them all done at once.

Joining in with Ginny!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Yarn Along - June 8

Joining Ginny this week with a newer project! This is meant to be a summer scarf. You know how it is - you love to knit, but what can you wear in the summertime to show off your knitting skills? I have splurged a little on some new clothes, and actually put together some outfits instead of just buying odds and ends and hoping they work out. This scarf is meant to be an accent to one of the new outfits, although if it turns out as pretty as I think it will, I'll probably wear it often.

The yarn is Malabrigo Lace, a gift from my friend Donna. The pattern is Leaf Lace Scarf by Cayli Malone. I did fewer stitch repeats because I wanted a narrower scarf, and I know it will end up even bigger after blocking. Not really too concerned with the length - will most likely just knit until I run out. I'm using the yarn doubled, because it looked too open and sloppy with just one strand.

My book right now is Dawn O'Hara, which is Edna Ferber's first novel, from 1911. In case you aren't aware, Edna wrote many novels, some of which were later made into famous plays and films, including Show Boat, So Big, and Cimmaron. Although born in Michigan, and later a member of the Algonquin Round Table, she grew up and got her start in Wisconsin, so I've always been interested in her writing as a "local" author. One of her more well known quotes that comes from this novel: "Being an old maid is like death by drowning, a really delightful sensation after you cease to struggle." I'm enjoying this book so - so far it's a good summer read.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Catching Up

Yes, I’ve been neglecting the blog. Same old excuses. Either there’s not much new to write about, or else there’s too much going on to find time to write. I need to get in a better groove though, because at least it helps me keep track of projects and events.

Here’s a finished project I can finally share. Remember the christening gown a neighbor asked me to finish for her? Way back in 2014? Sad, I know! I got started on it right away, figuring out where her daughter had left off, carefully picking up dropped stitches, and setting forth with some amazingly matching vintage yarn from my stash.

And then I got to a complicated bit that needed some planning. The pattern, if you remember, was written incorrectly. I tried charting out their instructions, and came up with a misshapen trapezoidal piece of knitting. Instead, I was creating an entirely new bodice, but still trying to come close to the pattern measurements. I set the piece aside until I had time to concentrate.

And it sat. And sat. And became a bit of an albatross. And every time I saw Margaret I started to worry, because she’s in her late 80’s and what if I didn’t finish in time for her to see it? I finally set aside a weekend in March, and tackled the rough spot. It took a few more days of knitting after that, then washing and blocking, and another day of seaming and hemming (picot hem)! I happily called Margaret one evening and told her she could stop after church the next day and pick it up.

She was very pleased with the finished gown. I must admit, it turned out rather well. Light steaming, as always, helped soften the acrylic yarn and gave a much better drape, without ruining the stitch definition. I tested this on a small section of lace on the back side before I did the whole gown. I didn’t do a severe blocking, just opened up the lace enough so that it laid flat and looked good.

This kind of repair and restore project falls right into my wheelhouse. I love the challenge almost as much as creating a bespoke piece for myself or someone else. And of course having the weight of the obligation of my shoulders felt great too!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Promotion - Christie Cottage

Wow! Summer sped by again and here we are at the first hard frost already. It's a time of harvest and creativity for me. I seem to pick up the pace in the Fall, getting ready for the long winter months ahead. 

Today I'm linking to Christie Cottage Blog. This blog primarily features promotions of handmade items. Another great way to find unique items for yourself or for gifts. Whenever I look at sites like this I get inspired to keep creating - so many ideas! I may see a color combination I'd like to try, or a texture pattern, or a theme. Take a look!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Garden Visitor

The summer flowers are in full bloom. Most of the flowers in my garden are the same as in this post from 2013. I'm enjoying their scent as well as the color. There are a few new additions, and I will try to get some photos of those as well. Until then, enjoy this photo of a recent visitor to my phlox.
I'm sure you know that butterflies, for the most part, do not sit still. And I just have a little point and shoot camera that I barely know how to use. So I was very pleased to see how well this photo turned out. I was really trying to get a shot with the wings fully open, because this female Tiger Swallowtail had amazing iridescent blue on her hindwings. It was dazzling. And I was excited to see that she still had both of her little tails intact. Very beautiful.