Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Place Stitches on a Holder

I am working on another Joan Fuller, this time with no curves at the hems. I will add the modifications directly to the pattern as soon as I complete the sweater and take pictures (or make pictures as my Dad used to say).

Freshly joined sleeves and body
There are many tips for knitters out there that make me say to myself, "Why didn't I think of that?"

One of my most favorite tips ever comes from Bristol Ivy. When the directions say, "Place the next X stitches on a holder", bind off those stitches with a piece of cotton yarn or a scrap of yarn from the project.

Why? The piece of knitting remains flexible. It is tidy, not clumsy or cumbersome. But most importantly, the stitches that are temporarily bound off maintain their integrity: They are protected from stretching and distortion as the stitches around them are worked.


When the time comes to use the held stitches I can unravel the bind-off chain and slip the released stitches onto a needle. In this particular case I will probably first graft the stitches together and then unravel the bind-offs.

Neat, huh?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Three Smocks

I found myself reaching for the same smock over and over. I found myself waiting at the dryer, popping it on warm and the right amount of wrinkly. It is my Goldilocks smock, just right.

And so I made three more. The oil lamp fabric hails from my Mom's stash, tucked in a trunk in the barn.

The hem is slightly curved in the front and the back.

The yoke provides an opportunity for a feature fabric. This one was clipped from a vintage apron.


This yoke is cut from a fat quarter I picked up on vacation in Maine. Sleeves rolled because that's the way I roll.

I try hard to not overthink when pairing fabrics. Some questions I ask myself: If someone else paired these fabrics would the combination make me smile? Is there an element of the unexpected? I love a surprise. Is there a story to the fabric or uncomplicated charm? I believe these are the design elements that help me to look like me: A little bit Becky Home Ec-ky, not ironically, but instead in reverence to her.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Shearing at Riverbank Farm, part 2

Riverbank Farm has animals that one might expect to find on a small New England farm: Handsome cattle, large geese, a lovely flock of Cheviot and Clun Forest sheep, llamas of many colors, ducks, pygmy goats, and guinea hens. Helping to make the machine run smoothly are a team of prize winning herd dogs, obedient and charming hard workers. Good dogs.







What makes this farm unusual is the cast of characters added to the regulars, the ill-behaved, overly curious, warm welcoming staff. My Brother-in-Law is a veterinarian and seems to have found a steady stream of misfits. Dogs that are returned to the shelter. Dogs that are passed off as payment for money owed. Cats that pee "inappropriately". Stowaway cats that are discovered in the car three miles down the road (how did you get in here? -- turn around, return to barn). Roosters. Geese that are protective of their human. Geese that knock on the door. 

Dennis the Menace is busy, fearless and outgoing



the Supervisors

the Critics
Wishing you a grand weekend and the strength to power through the time change.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shearing at Riverbank Farm, part 1

Shearing and lambing are in season at Riverbank Farm, my Brother-in-Law's Homestead. 

find the rooster
The sheep are corralled in the main area of the barn.

find the llama

The dark faced gals are Clun Forest, and the white faced gals are Cheviot. There are about a dozen of each, as well as several black sheep and rams.

Levi selects a group to move into a holding pen in the shearing area.

The sheep hoped Clara might have a better option than going into the holding pen.


Here they wait. 


Sam selects a sheep and flips it onto its rump for shearing.

Pauline coos and supports them as she gently shears them, never moving suddenly and seeming to know who needs extra hoof holding. I want to be Pauline when I grow up, minus the shearing.


This gal is due to lamb any day now.


If you have ever purchased my yarn or if you were curious about my source, this is where it begins!

Part 2 will be about a few of the other animals on the farm, like the supervisory roosters, Waldorf and Statler.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Stitcher's Wardrobe

Several completed objects did not make it into this collage -- a pair of mitts, a pair of mittens, three more hats, more blue jeans, and some underthings. And one sock. Oh, and a pair of leggings that looked hilarious on my dress form. I'll try to share them randomly in the next week.

My acheivements: I hand knit and wrote patterns, machine knit, sewed with my Bernina, serged with my Husqvarna, serged and chain stitched on my Siruba, acid dyed, fiber reactive dyed, spun, felted, trimmed, thrifted, refashioned, embroidered, pattern-drafted, crocheted, pompommed, appliqued, patchworked, mended and embellished.

I fell short in a few goals, but hope the next year sees me screen printing, weaving, painting, and designing my own fabric at Spoonflower,

I have donated some lesser used clothing to the Salvation Army to give my new things breathing space in my closet. And I hung everything on wooden hangers to look uniform and tidy. It is a happy place.


Monday I will be in my Brother-in-Law's barn helping with shearing. It feels like the custom that marks a new year for me.

Thanks a million for visiting here and cheering me on, it has been a fun year! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Stitcher's Wardrobe: A Strawberry Outfit

My dress form has been wearing the same skirt for three days in a row. Do you ever do that? I can sympathize, I have some favorite bottoms that go into heavy rotation, so to speak. And I guess that was the point of this project, to create a wardrobe of basics that mix and match.
This sleeveless tee is cut from some thrifted strawberry fabric. The armholes are cut for a gal of a certain age looking for a little more coverage than she used to require. These are the times when I am grateful to have the persistence to gain the skills to make what I need.

The knitted collar was worked on my knitting machine, a marled sock yarn from Knit Picks. The pin is from my Grandmother Fay's things. My Grandmother was a gal on top of her fashion game until the day she died. She was raised by her Dad from the time she was seven years old -- I am curious how that played a role in her fashion sense.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Stitcher's Wardrobe: Sixth Smock Outfit


Sixth smock in a series -- say that three times fast. This one looks fun with navy cabled tights, too. 

All that pattern hides some of the construction details.

I found a rhinestone pin at the Concord Antique Gallery (pins are dirt cheap and sparkly happy-makers).

 My skirt is the same as yesterday's, drafted with the help of Cal Patch. I'm taking a class from Cal in May -- eep! My hat is another from Bev Galeskas' Felted Knits. I can knit a hat in a day, and felt it the next day. This one is made from Fancy Tiger Heirloom, color Blue Maize.
The pin is teeny tiny, from my Grandfather's days at Ma Bell.

I hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday!