Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Day's Work

This fabric is just absolutely gorgeous! My good friend (and maybe a little crazy) gave me a huge bag of scraps and said "take what you want." The floral and batik were definitely something I wanted. At the time I did not know what to do with it, but it was enough for exactly 2 bags. One I sold.

A close up of the boxed corner that I finally got the hang of.

A little peek inside...

The bag above and the sachet below are party favors for my birthday dinner tonight (for the ladies). I thought maybe others would like to give a little bag or lavender and cedar filled sachet as a party favor. Maybe at a little birthday gathering or baby or wedding shower, or maybe someone just wants to treat themselves to something pretty and useful. 

New for the 'To Do' List:
Zipper Bags and Sachets for the Esty shop.


This is the smaller bag that will also be available. No boxed corner .

Friday, January 18, 2013

Another Milestone

As you know milestone birthdays occur every ten years. I don't know about you, but the milestone birthday does not seem to initiate change or stress. I am usually excited about a big birthday--which as I get older may not continue--but for now it is a big deal, probably because my mom still makes a fuss of my birthday.  Thanks mom for everything you do all year long!

When I turned 41 I made a lot of life changes. Now as I approach the end of my 50th year I seem to be making some changes as well. Nothing as major as when I was 41, but hopefully changes that will last.

I have accepted that I will not be a full-time craftsperson. This small feat makes my workday much more pleasant. I realize that I am very lucky; I have a good job, work with nice people, and am in a creative environment where I am not the "artsy weirdo." Until I came to PAFA I had many abusive bosses. Some of them did not mean to be that way, but they were. At PAFA I have reported to three different people during my time in this position and each of them has been kind, fair, and most important have had a good sense of humor. (Actually a lot of the people at work make me laugh throughout the day, which is so great!) I think that accepting that this is my life has brought me to where I am today.

Maybe it is just another "phase of productivity," but since I have been home from Italy I have been on a steady pace. It really revved up during the holiday break and I have been able to keep it going. I accept my different moods and the creative endeavors they inspire. Right now I am not into drawing, but instead of being upset by that, I just go with it and do what I feel like doing.

When I was not knitting it was very upsetting,  probably because I have identified myself over the last 28 or more years as a passionate knitter, so not knitting or even feeling like knitting seemed like some sort of betrayal to my creative self. Sort of like I was turning my back on a friend. At some point I even thought of giving away my vast supply of knitting tools, books and yarn, but knew that would be a big mistake because one day I would feel like knitting again, and it has a new excitement like someone who is just learning, but because it comes back like riding a bike I get to do all the fun stuff without the trials and tribulations of having to constantly frog and tink. (Well except for last weekend when everything went wrong including my sewing. That black cloud drifted off on Monday and I once again am a little knitting machine.)

Year 51 starts this weekend and I hope that it brings lots of inspiration, creativity, and the ability to ride out the not so good times with patience and humor. I also hope to maintain my current health, both mentally and physically because so many people I know have lost their good health. This again makes me aware of how lucky I am and that I should never take anything for granted.

I am content--what more can one ask for?

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Matching Scarf Finished

The scarf was knit by casting on the number of stitches that equaled the length.

I knit back and forth (garter stitch) using each color for two rows.

After I bound off I knit two rows across each end of the scarf to give it a more finish look. (I picked up a loop from every stripe, or every two rows, knit two rows and bound off.)

The scarf, like the hat was knit out of Plymouth Galway on size 8 needles. I cast on 250 stitches.

My new project is the Elizabeth Zimmermann Heart Hat--yes, for me. I hate the way I look in a hat, but am cold. The heart hat is a bonnet style and would allow my bangs to frame my face. I also found the hat I knit was not warm enough and thought a hat out of garter stitch would be warmer. I am not a fan of Zimmermann's patterns. I love most of the designs, but do not possess the type of thinking required for her patterns. So needless to say I cast on and ripped out 6 or 7 times. 

Last night, in the ER with Mr. Ar (aka TOMA) I thought I had it, but realized I was working the odd rows only. My eye just skipped over the even rows that were severely indented on the directions. UGH!!! Will begin again today.

Mr. Ar is fine--he is private so I will not go into detail. It was a surprisingly quick visit. We have been there with injuries before and waited forever.

I was also persuaded to make a blanket for the Linus Project. Of course, it has to be acrylic and the acrylic I like is just too expensive for a blanket. So, Red Heart it is... I say persuaded, not because I do not like to make things for charity, but I do not like to make blankets. They get tedious and boring because it seems that they never end. I made a Rambling Rows blanket and even though I loved it, I got to the point where I could not wait until it was finished. So I decided to make a--you guessed it--Elizabeth Zimmermann blanket! Her Square Baby Blanket. I already lost count and noticed an error. Frogging again. Another ER project. (I expected to be there for hours and brought two projects.) Both projects are in her Knitting Workshop book. So today casting on again for both projects and sewing some zipper pouches.

Yesterday my friend and I had a fabulous day at the bead store (for more charms), the yarn store (for patterns), and the fabric store (for what else?) fabric.

Notice the cat charm matches the fabric exactly--Laurel Burch! I know, 1970, but it is still pretty and aren't the 1970's in style right now????

The patterns that I spotted at the yarn store were actually purchased on Ravelry:

"Hitchhiker" by Martina Behm, and "Piper's Journey" by Quince & Co., designed by Paula Emons-Fuessel.

I am considering casting on Hitchhiker today, but find I may not have enough of any one particular sock yarn in my stash. This is disappointing as the idea was to use up some of my sock yarn without making socks.

Baci e abbracci...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

On a Knitting Binge

I've turned into a knitting machine! I am starting and finishing projects in record time. Although I am a slow knitter--really--watch this video of Eunny Jang knitting starting at about 3:50 minutes to witness speed knitting at its finest--I am completing lots of things. My knitting has infringed on my sewing time, but I am trying to go with the flow and right now I am being pulled in the knitting direction.

I needed a new hat. The headband I made did not keep me warm enough and although I do not like the way I look in a hat, I have been cold in the morning and at 50 (almost 51) years-old I have learned to be more concerned with comfort rather than fashion--in certain weather related situations.

Another Thank-You Hat from This time the women's version with less ribbing and more stockinette. I put in stripes to try to get more mileage out of the violet yarn because I have already cast-on a matching scarf. I started and finished knitting the hat yesterday--NEVER DID THAT BEFORE!

The crown--a beautiful thing.

And I finished the birthday socks for TOMA.

Heels and Toes--two more beautiful things.

Another scarf that I cast on earlier this week. I have made a couple of scarves in this fashion, casting on the length--240 stitches--and working garter stitch. This is the first time I am mixing cotton and wool yarns together in the same project. I had only one skein of many of the yarns in this scarf and thought this would be a good way to use these leftovers. There is a good balance of novelties, variegated, and basic yarns of different weights. I had to double two different colors of Crystal Palace Waikiki, and I liked the result. 

I prefer variegated yarns knitted with a higher number of stitches per row. The color change is more subtle and less patchy. I have so many hand-painted and variegated yarns that I could not resist purchasing, but then don't like the way they knit up in traditional scarves, etc. Koigu is an exception; I always love the way it knits up.

Bacci e abbracci...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cladonia is Done!

Sorry, I could not get a better photo. The camera was at the ceiling but I could not get the whole shawl in the frame.

Knitted lace is a beautiful thing. It also amazes me that I produced this with my own two hands, two sticks and some yarn. Truly, no talent necessary, just the ability to follow directions.

The looped picot edge took just about all day. I found it quite tedious as it was not mindless knitting so the t.v. and the audio book could sometimes be a distraction. The striped section went quickly and easily. I have already complained about the lace and for the first time in a while followed the written directions rather than the charted directions because the written directions were less confusing. The Madelintosh is just an exquisite yarn. I am looking forward to the next project that I will be using it in and am glad I broke down and purchased it at $20 per skein (needed a little more than one for the Holden Shawlette). I still have a lot of the denim color left and am hoping I might get a pair of socks out of it.

Today, I decided to wear the socks that I made in Italy. They were made with left over Koigu--three different colors. I think I told you that I messed up with the row counter and one leg is longer than the other. This was the first knitting project after a 2 year hiatus, so lesson learned--I use the row counter and count rows when making socks.

I started a shawl in left over Koigu in blues a few years ago and pick it up every once in a while, but don't really like it as I altered a pattern to make it smaller. I might rip it out and wind the yarn for a pair of socks. The Koigu I have is 100% merino and feels very good on the foot.

I washed both the shawl and the socks in Soak last night. I received a sample from Wool Play yarn store on Friday for doing the right thing--which one should not be rewarded for, but the owner insisted. I went back after realizing I was not charged for some stitch markers--which I found I did not need to purchase after all when I got home, as I had at least 50 in those three sizes. But they were Clover and pretty green and lavender colored. The Soak is very nice. I used it in a small wash tub, washing the shawl first, then the socks in the same bath. I was not sure that the socks would not run, so I did not want to chance them in the tub at the same time. The best part of Soak is that you do not have to rinse. It smells great too. I will have to purchase a bottle next time I see it.

Wool Play is located at 22 N. Haddon Avenue in Haddonfield, NJ. It is a lovely little shop that was taken over by Danique Martin about a year ago. My friend and I happened upon it by just Googling "yarn stores in Haddonfield" because we were visiting The Little Shop quilting store literally around the corner. I have been shopping at The Little Shop for at least a year and never came across this yarn store--but I wasn't knitting for the last two years so I wasn't looking. Anyway, she has Madelintosh, Rowan, Noro, etc. plus a line of knitting needles and tools called Dreamz that I learned are made by the company who made/makes the interchangeable set of needles for Knit Picks. I use my Knit Picks interchangeable needles all of the time--more often than my Addi circular needles. I have them in wood and metal. I also have the metal double points which I use a lot, but I prefer a shorter double point if possible, so I use my Clover bamboo DPNs more often.

In fact, I am waiting for the Pendleton Needle Case from Knit Picks to be delivered so that I can pack one of my interchangeable sets for travel to Italy next summer.

Wow! it is 2:00 p.m. on my last day off... :-(

Gotta go...

Baci e abbracci...