Saturday, November 9, 2019

For my own amusement

Warning: Knitting talk follows. For you non-knitters, just skip the numbers but come back for the story.

I saw this adorable bonnet on Ravelry and thought I could figure it out myself, and then was stumped. I got as far as imagining that one might begin with the ties (I-cord, simple enough) and then cast on for the that isn't right. OK make the mitered parts first then pick up stitches for the ribbing and then do I-cord all around, ending with the ties. Yes. So, figuring it out, I forgot about it.
We had several doctor's appointments this week which I prepare for by gathering up some yarn and needles to pass the time. Yesterday I decided to use up all the little leftover balls of yarn that I was saving for scarves, where I like a bunch of different yarns to perk up a simple knit. I began this scarf thus:
Cast on 5 stitches.
Kfb, kfb,k, kfb, kfb. 9 stitches
K4, p1,k4.
Sl 1, kfb, k1, kfb,k1,kfb,k1,kfb, p1. 13 stitches
Sl 1, k5 p1,k5, p1
Continue thus: slipping first stitch, kfb, k to 1 stitch before center stitch, kfb, then knit center stitch, kfb, continue to one stitch before the end of row, kfb, p.
This pattern results in a lovely triangle which grows as tall and wide as you like.
 The back of the hat which was to be the beginning of the scarf, but then I remembered that bonnet. What if I started decreasing from this point on, would I make a nice pointy enclosed thingy? OK, so I decreased one stitch on each edge (after the initial slipped stitch) and two stitches before and after the center k stitch, which worked just as expected. 
By this point we had left the doctor's office and I was at home in front of the TV, obsessed with finishing this thing. It was a pointy hat which I figured needed to be longer in back, but not so much longer all around ( I have since changed my mind), so I just picked up stitches for the ribbing along the back which as you might recall is where I began. Then the ties. Hmm. OK so first I made some I-cord, long enough to work for one side and proceeded to attach-knit it to the hat itself, from the front, which was icky looking. Plan B. Starting on the other side, working with the wrong side and picking up and knitting the I-cord, looked much better, so I continued. I used up 7 little balls of yarn completely for this hat. I tried it on and it fit beautifully and then I looked in the mirror and laughed out loud. I looked like a crazy old woman, which I guess I am. Because I will wear this helmet to keep my head warm when I walk the dogs.
 This lovely young lady looks adorable wearing hers, altho she may have just been humoring the knitter.  Anyway, this hat falls into the category of Beat-up hats which I first blogged about here.


I got my lovely squirt bottle to model for me. I need one of those wig heads...anyway, I will give this one another try, since I think it would look cute on a young person, and definitely keep them warm. Hopefully they won't get beat up at recess just for wearing it.
I've been knitting hats for our church charity and brought ten of them to church already, but forgot to take pictures, but they weren't all that original and exciting, just warm and suitable for actually wearing. Here's more from this week, modeled on a roll of bathroom tissue:

  I love the decreases on this one. Hopefully one of these will be chosen by a boy. It's hard to think 'boy' when knitting these hats. I want to make them all pretty.
 This looks pointy-headed, but it settles down nicely when worn. Trust me.

This last one, I think I must keep for my own head. It is silk and a fuzzy merino and needs a bit of special care. Or that's my excuse for keeping it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

15 years at Blogging

Altho I have been a bit sporadic of late in posting, it is still the blog's anniversary and I feel like it has been such a part of my life's journey that I have to say something today.
I started blogging because...why was it? Needing to show what I made, or get 'out there' to promote my teaching, or finally, just to have someone to talk to. That ended up being the more important thing.
I got the idea from hearing David Sedaris talk about being a diarist. It seemed like a good idea to keep track of life this way. Years and dates are elusive, but pictures tell so much, so blogging about the garden, the quilts, the paintings, and knitting really helped me nail down my progress and/or struggles. And to have some reference for people to find the trick, the easy way, or the pattern made it easier for me to help or teach.
As I look back over the zillions of pictures I took for the blog, would you believe most are from gardening! Not this year, which being a drought from June on made the garden hopeless. O well. There's always next year, I hope.
I was looking at my Ravelry page the other day and saw someone had devised a better (raglan) sleeve for my often made Mitered Diamond Patchwork Jacket. I wrote the knitter, Lorna, and she sent directions. I am sharing her version here on the blog, if anyone is interested I will pass on her method.
Today I am returning to my knee doctor, where I had planned to report how wonderful my knees are doing, until yesterday when I carried a heavy flat screen tv downstairs and it was just too much for the right knee, the one that is bone on bone. So I suppose we will talk about surgery today. I am looking forward to not having to deal with this issue someday in the future.
And in other news, I must tell you a wonderful thing...walking the dogs last night at dusk, I was getting them out of my neighbor's yard two houses away, when I noticed in the window, which must be the dining room, a sewing machine and a yarn swift set up. !!! Right here just steps away from home, one of us! So I took the dogs in after their walk and went right over to find out the scoop. The lady, Bethany, was not home but her dad who she lives with said she was at handbell practice! I told him I have a sewing studio set up in our living room and a room upstairs is a yarn room. He said, O we have a yarn room too. Amazing. And she drives a Red car...a Camaro. Red cars in common too. I am weird or what?
I hope to find out more later today. Wouldn't it be nice to have a fellow fiber-ist right nearby?
Stay tuned for updates.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Making Parts

Recently I have been teaching my Tuesday quilters about improvising a design. I didn't specifically announce my intentions, but just had them make some patchwork from black, white and red as a warm up. They were familiar with half square triangles and nine patch blocks so this wasn't a giant leap to make pinwheels and checkerboard panels. As they made the parts we added those to the design wall. Excitement ensued.

 I assembled the fabrics we would be using in coordinating solids, dots and stripes and had some smaller pieces that had been leftovers and those were also placed on the design wall.  When you are working with a limited palette, everything almost automatically goes together. Such was the case with these bits. Designing is easy when the patchwork parts are made first and the next bits just have to be cut to size to be added. If it is too small, add another fabric, or if it is too big, trim it to fit. The design began to take shape almost instantly. 
It was decided (by me) that we would make panels that could be quilted in the famous quilt-as-you-go technique, so we didn't sew the larger composed parts to each other, yet. Plus we have more to make, and decide on placement and what goes and what stays. It's a very forgiving process. I like that.

 Along those lines, I had a small collection of trial blocks and sample patches that have just been waiting in the wings, and now have been added to, as a way of making 'sourdough patches'. These are ingredients that grow as needed and could some day become jumping off blocks for new quilt tops. It's a way of using up more from the scraps that have accumulated in our mad sewing sessions. Just looking at them daily is an encouragement that nothing (hardly) is going to waste. Those long panels of twisty patches were donated to my collection. Thankfully, I didn't have to figure out how to make them myself.
In the evening, I have been trying to design a new hat. Here's my latest attempt. I managed to finish it, but it required SEWING, which is against my knitting religion. So while I do like the finished product, I didn't like the process, which means it is a one of a kind item. You win a few, you lose a few. The best part is using the leftover yarn. Hey, there's a theme here...


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Keep Out the Chill

 #1 SOLD
Sometimes I get cold, and sometimes I get hot, so it pays to have something to toss on or off depending on my temperature. Here's my solution. A lovely silk and merino handknit cowl, which can be worn several ways, is light as a feather, yet cuddly warm. One of a kind, available for $60, email me.

 #2 This is a favorite scarf which doubles as a headcovering on those really cold and snowy days, handknit in variegated merino wools, $50. SOLD

 #3 And one with a few more colors, also handknit in merino wools. $50.

 #4 For a bit of luxury, this is merino, cashmere and silk, in solid lavender and a multicolored contrast. $50

 #5 SOLD Really fun, long and funky, this cowl is knit from cottons, silks, wools and viscose and comes in any color you like, all at the same time. $50. Pick one for yourself and one for that hard to shop for person on your list. Paypal and personal check accepted. Shipping included.

Monday, October 21, 2019

New Charity Work: Solids

If you look at Pinterest like I do (a daily coffee time perusal) then you will have seen Marla Varner's prize winning cross quilt, At the Junction. I love love love that quilt and had to try my hand at making a bunch of cross blocks. First I bought fat quarters of every color Waverly cotton from my local Walmart and began cutting them into equal size squares. Stacking three pieces and cutting through and reassembling, was the process. I HATED THE PROCESS. I made a bunch and lost interest and put the whole collection in a bin. 
Recently it dawned on me to square up a few blocks and then they wouldn't be so difficult to use. But I soon lost interest again. Back into the bin. Then the Thursday quilters found my bin and immediately began to put the trimmed blocks and leftover strips up on the design wall. INSTANTLY it was thrilling and whamo! We had our next project. With coordinating rectangles and scrap strips sewn together, it was ready to assemble. The session ended with most of the design ready to sew, and the following day I made a dozen more crosses to fill in the bare spots and voila!

None of this could have happened without the enthusiastic response of my fellow quilters, and the new design wall. When I began to make these crosses, I had only a tiny 48" square wall and was stuck on the idea of just using cross blocks for the finished work. Spacing them out with strips and rectangles made it all work beautifully. The unquilted top is 61x83". Good news: I have lots of squares leftover, plus some skinny edge strips which I began assembling today. Stay tuned for more work in solids. 

A note on the scrap situation: It is still unresolved. We got distracted again by fun sewing, with fun shapes and fun colors. Most of our scraps are blah leftovers, so it is no wonder they sit in multiple bins. I did spend several hours cutting them into various size squares, and eventually those will be used, yawn.
But you know, one comment was so right on point. 
 ...we hang onto far more things than we need and as a consequence instead of motivating us, they become talismans of guilt and shame... you hold onto things based on hope. But when you don't use the stuff, the items begin to control your freedom and you get stuck in the past instead of moving forward.
If nothing else, I think this really needs to be part of the internal work we are doing.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Bye Bye Bins of Bits

 We are winding down our scrappy projects as we had previously decided to end in November, which (gasp!) is only two weeks away. 
This simple top is made from our leftover four patches paired with white with red dots, aka Dotted Swiss. 
Despite the aim of using up our Original Instigator's stash, we have actually used more of our Downtown member's and my stash, for which we are GRATEFUL. Unfortunately, we still have mega bins of leftovers and one must have intestinal fortitude to decide what to do with them. I am voting for tossing them, but I only have one vote. We meet today and I'll see who I can sway. 
There comes a point where we must face that it is far nicer and easier and more expeditious to start and end with fresh cut fabrics, rather than try to make scraps work into something worthwhile. Those of you who sew clothes are not so distraught over tossing out those scraps which wouldn't work into anything else wearable. So since we are not pioneers out on the vast prairie, and still have mountains of uncut yardage on our shelves, would it be so terrible to say Bye Bye to bins of bits?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Today's Cardivest Ensemble

One of my all time most fave knitting designs, the Cardivest in Noro Silk Garden and Malabrigo Rios, a yummy combo of silk and merino wool, soft, drapey and not itchy, with flattering vertical ribbing. Mother of Pearl buttons. This size is 48" by 26.5" long. 

 I am including in this offer a coordinating scarf in Noro Taiyo, in cotton, silk and a bit of wool. It measures 50" at the wingspan by 18" at its deepest point.  $100 plus $10 shipping. Email me.