Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Craft Friday

A :  Conversation at the table this week, my son's buddy, "I want to go Black Friday shopping just so I can say I have done it."
My son replied, "I want to not go Black Friday shopping just so I can say I have never done it."

Me too.

Beverly Army Williams of  PoMo Golightly has been collecting ideas, good reasons, and encouragement to adopt Craft Friday. Take a look.

B :  Christmas tree erection in this household is, I think, seen as a chore by all. We have begun to pride ourselves on waiting until December 23 and dragging home a ramshackle tree of questionable pedigree. Then we ridicule each other for our decorating approach or lack thereof or poor participation score. Last year my youngest drove alone into the woods, cut an impaired tree, mounted it on the porch, and decorated it with only his handmade ornaments and some photos of himself. It was kind of fantastic.

C :  Someday I hope to devise a tree like structure, you know, an artful collection of sticks, or a clever pile of wire or a cardboard cutout, whatever, that we can hang ornaments on. I have been pinning images on my 'There's no place like home' Pinterest board

Put it all together, and:

On Thanksgiving night, after all the people are tucked in their beds, the monsters under the beds will sneak about and drop ornament making supplies on the table. We will likely have plenty of folks passing through, sitting down at the table in transition, possibly eating a snack. Surely they will not be able to resist the urge to make a little something. And then they can hang it on our tree, whatever form it takes.

Wishing you and yours a Warm and Peaceful Thanksgiving. Thanks for dropping by here, too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Stitcher's Wardrobe: Circular Scarf

This cowl is worked in a hand-painted multi-color bulky yarn on a circular needle. The green berries create scattered clusters, and encourage the swirl effect of the remaining pink and orange yarn.

Let's admit it: Multi-color variegated yarn is tricky to knit. Sometimes it is easiest to abandon ship and leave it as yarn. But don't do that. Come join me at Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on Saturday, January 17 for "A Dozen Ways to use Variegated Yarn".  We will learn this and many other tricks, tips, and techniques.

I am thrilled to be a part of Knitting Weekend, January 16-18, along with Adrienne Martini, Amy Christoffers, Thea Colman, Bristol Ivy, and Gudrun Johnston.  (I know!) Check out the classes and weekend events here. Slater Mill and the Trad Arts Learning Center go above and beyond to make an intimate and memorable experience for the student, and it all happens in a restored mill. Be still my heart.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Stitcher's Wardrobe: Leggings

These leggings are cut from thick cotton knit with tons of stretch. I dyed them with Pro Chem MX Fiber Reactive dye.

I serged the leggings first with white thread, then garment dyed them in an intense bath of golden yellow plus a little purple in our old toploader. The fabric did not take the dye as well as I hoped. I performed the waistband stitching with matching thread last -- the thread I use does not take the dye at all.

On super cold days I will stay toasty in these with thermal tights underneath.  Everyone needs stretchy pants. And I will be able to pretend I am a bird in my stretchy pants.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Stitcher's Wardrobe: Triangle Scarf

One little skein of Nash Island Fog (lamb's wool and angora), purchased this summer at Clementine, and a few yards of Graceland Farm Alpaca, a generous gift from my friend Elizabeth, hooked up in a flurry.  I am indeed enjoying making accessories, and this thing called crochet.

A note about this old shirt: The fabric is an inexpensive cotton sold as "quilter's cotton". It has faded, softened, crinkled, and broken-in to a state that I adore.  I encourage budding garment sewers to work with yardage from the "quilting" section for your first stab at a pattern -- you might be pleasantly surprised at the results. And if your results are not to your liking, you have at least addressed the pattern's fit at a reasonable cost. A small price for huge learning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A New Knitting Pattern, Joan Fuller

Steadfast friends are jewels indeed.  Approachable, kind and witty,  Joan Fuller Brock was my Mom’s dear pal.  She was in the saddle for any manner of fun, or any not-fun.

Like Joan the person, Joan Fuller the sweater is a compatriot at the ready for a concert in the park or a cup of coffee and pajamas.  It is knit from the bottom up on circular needles, with short row shaping at the hem and the cuffs to create curved hemlines.

The front is cropped to feature a bit of one’s shirt, dress, or a spectacular belt buckle.

The sleeves and body are joined on a circular needle, and worked into a raglan yoke. There are no seams to sew.

The bust and sleeves are graded proportionally to each other, therefore ease can be determined by your own personal preference. Wear it loose or fitted, you know what works best.

Finished Bust
31½-34-36½-39---41½-44-46½-49---51½-54-56½-59 inches
Suggested Yarn
Green Mountain Spinnery’s Weekend Wool
2-ply worsted weight, 140 yards
6-6-6-7---8-8-8-9---10-10-11-11 skeins
or another robust and toothy yarn
1270-1360-1410-1490 yards required
16 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette stitch on larger needles
18 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches
in cable pattern on larger needles
Skills Used
Cabling, short rows, working a small
circumference in the round.
• Needle sizes: US 8 (4.5mm) & US 9 (5mm) suggested to obtain gauge. Needle styles: 32” (80cm) or longer circulars for the body, and your preferred needle style for working sleeves in the round (double points, two circulars, or one long circular).
• Stitch markers: 4 to indicate cable panel boundaries, plus 4 of a different color or style to indicate shaping, and 2 locking markers for row counting
• Cable needle
• Stitch holders: Spare circular needles or waste yarn
• Tapestry needle
• 5 excellent buttons, and 5 small flat buttons for inside the button band (optional)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Stitcher's Wardrobe: Wingfeathers Shawl

Back in September I fell head over heels in love with Amy Lou Stein's freshly minted Wingfeathers Shawl, written by Cal Patch. Amy's was worked in a fat and buttery yarn, and I couldn't keep my hands off it.

Crochet is not my skill.  I set out to address that this year.

Imperial Wings

Heritage Anemones
At Rhinebeck I purchased two skeins of Esopus from Jill Draper Makes Stuff, one for me and one as a Christmas gift for my Mom. At Show 'n Tell my Mom lit up at the sight of my Wingfeathers in progress. I cracked and delivered her Esopus to her two months early. I think she "looped on" that night.

I will be taking this shawl on a shopping trip to the fabric store. Surely it deserves a companion smock of its own.

I ran out of yarn three quarters of the way through my last row, so I pulled the row out and devised a picot stitch that consumed a touch less yarn. In the end I had about five yards left.

I am thrilled with the end result of this project. It is made from the delicious yarn of a friend, the pattern is designed by another friend, it was set in motion by a third friend, and my Mom is working another one. I am learning a new skill that I adore, one that I set out to learn in February. I am calling this one of my biggest successes of the year.