Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Gray Weekend

 This weekend was gray and rainy.  It rained from Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, and the water pooled everywhere in my yard.  So, I stayed inside and sewed and knitted, and always had lots of help and attention.  Huck may be gray, but she always cheers me up.

I've almost finished the gray flannel dress, just needs buttons, buttonholes and a hem.  I chose the heart buttons because the dress needs a little cheeriness, too.
  And the supposed-to-be-black sweater is done now, but this weekend, it still needed to be sewn together.  It occurred to me as I looked at this photo that there was a theme here, and went out to photograph the sky.  But it was just more gray, and it was raining, and it didn't look as good as all the gray inside.
  The sun is out now, and I need to go take advantage of it.  Have a more colorful week, wherever you are!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Mindful Weaving

Or, It's Not Always the Loom's Fault
I've been in the studio a lot these early mornings, because I am still getting up as early as a pastry chef, but not actually going to work until 9:30.  I've been weaving along on the dish towel warp on Tootsie, after several detours, and I was enjoying it, took this picture, and then proceeded.  Below is what happened next.  I didn't notice that the lace squares weren't alternating until the next set was done.  That was disheartening, but not enough to unweave 29 rows to make it right.  That's all right, I told myself.  The first towel will be mine!  And then, I noticed all the skipped threads on the second to farthest left square.  Well, this towel will definitely be mine, I told myself.  And after I put in the tape measure to keep track of the length--these towels are 25" x 36"-- I saw that the wefts had been busy wrapping themselves around the clips on the tape measure.
 This is when weaving makes me curse.  I scare the cats and the dog thinks I'm yelling at her and I feel bad.  It's a hobby.  It's supposed to be relaxing.
  But really, it's my fault, of course.  I don't pay attention. I get so excited, especially in this case when I hadn't woven in so long, and just can't be bothered with noticing all that can go wrong.  
  So I slowed down and started to pay attention.  I still notice my mind drifting other places, to work or relationships or money or other things, and that is inevitably when things go wrong and I have to rein my brain back to the present.  
  I wonder why spell-check doesn't think unweave is a word.  We all know it is just as important as unknit.


  After weaving the natural dish towels, and knitting a gray sweater for the last three weeks, I needed a little color.  I went through the dyed warps I have waiting, and picked the indigo multi-fiber warp from our dyeing afternoon two Octobers ago.  I decided it would look perfect in a scarf, using Bertha Gray Hayes' Bomber Flight pattern, finally using it in a scarf for my sister.  But now that I work in aviation, too, I'm going to make one for each of us.  
  I'm not thrilled with the extra long floats, but the alpaca-tencel-wool weft is pretty sticky, and I'm hoping it will full enough to prevent any big snags when worn.  I'm beading the hem-stitching with opaque crystal beads, and have about 9" woven so far.  They have to be shorties, because there's only about 4 yards of warp, but I don't think my sister likes long scarves like I do.

Yesterday, I sat down with my knitting to watch the latest episode of Fruity Knitting--if you don't watch it on YouTube, you need to!--and got immediately covered in cats.  It wasn't very comfortable, but oddly comforting.
  Back to the studio.  Have a fine, fibery week.



Saturday, February 2, 2019

Working

Have I mentioned that I no longer bake for a living?  Nor do I cook! And what a pleasure it is!  I schedule airplane charters for people who can afford that sort of thing, and I get to knit in between busy spells. I've already shown you the socks and the two purple sweaters I knitted while working at the front desk, but this current sweater has been knit while I've worked in Charter.  I just measured the fronts, that are being knitted simultaneously, and they only lack 3 inches before I bind off for the armholes.  First, Huck wanted to be in the picture, but Purl couldn't let her have the sweater to herself.  Anyway, quick sweater, fun to knit, perfect t.v. watching knitting.  I like it.  The Boyfriend Sweater by Shirley Paden, from Interweave Knits Spring 2014. 
 The other thing I have been thinking a lot about is landscaping.  This is the front of my sister's house, that I rent from her.  She has told me to plant what I want, as long as I sketch it out first.  It is what they call a Blank Canvas, wouldn't you agree?  There used to be large trees in the front yard but they, like all trees in the south, wanted to fall down, so she beat them to the punch and had them all cut down.  Now, I am planning and sketching and dreaming and trying to decide where to start.  I'd really like those boxwoods to go away...


And last night, I started cutting out 
dresses from fabric I bought in the fall.  This is a flannel twill cotton that is dreamy-soft.  I'm making another version of Grain Line Design's Alder dress.  This one will have long sleeves.
The other is cherry-red fine wale corduroy.  It'll be Merchant & Mills Hattie dress, or sort of a combo of Hattie and Ellis, two patterns that come together in the envelope.  One has a lower waistline that I like, and the other has sleeves and pockets, though the pockets are too big.  I made a smaller pocket pattern.   Both will be warm and cozy, so I need to get going before it's spring.  Then, there's lots of linen!


One more thing to work on: try to figure out why my dog needs to bring a new stuffed animal to each meal.  I hadn't noticed until this morning that they were beginning to become a crowd!
Okay, time to get back to work!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

My Beautiful Studio


 After being in Virginia for ten months, I have finally put my studio in order. And I have to say, it is the most beautiful studio I have ever had, and probably, the most beautiful studio ever.  You can think yours is better all you like.  You're wrong.  Sorry, but the truth is, this is it.
  I took a panoramic shot, but it didn't come out quite right, so I just took shots of each space.  On the left, poor Jennifer was left in pieces all this time, even had a long try on Craig's List, with only one potential buyer who kept trying to beat me down on price, only to say Jennifer was too big and not counterbalance.  Whatever!  I put her back together yesterday, and she will go back to weaving rugs, her happy place.

 Tootsie has been rethreaded with the Swedish Lace dishtowels that didn't go well the first try.  Her plain weave is so far, so good, and the pattern will be checked this afternoon.
  Jenny has her next warp draped over her, the indigo warp I dyed with Pam and Lillian last fall, with two prospective wefts, one Angora, and the other Alpaca-Tencel blend.  Which kind of lusciousness will I choose?  And the pattern is the Ancient Rose from Davison, something I used for the weaving-with-embroidery-floss from Tuesday Weavers many years ago.  I just put the pattern into Weave Design, but need to center it better before I get started.  
  I thought it would be nice to have lace on one loom and overshot on the other so I can simply turn around on the bench and weave something new every so often.





As you can see, I have plenty of yarn to do whatever weaving I want right now!  Mom has given me all her stash, but it's not as though I didn't already have a lot.  It's really something to see it all out at once.  Kind of makes mortality loom large, no pun intended!  I sure don't want to leave a ton of yarn to my heirs who won't want it!  Weave fast, Maggie!  Because if I ever do run short, well, they make more yarn everyday!

 I am so excited to have the Navajo loom set up for the first time since 2008!  Right now, it's only holding warps, but how pretty they are!  I will get a warp on it eventually, and have it up high enough that the cats can't sharpen their claws on it.  That's what happened to the one and only warp it's had, and I need to beware.
  Not that cat's are allowed in the studio!  But somehow, they sneak in.  Right now, Weft is sleeping in a bag of yarn by my right foot.
 

 One of the bookcases is holding knitting yarn, and I have been busy knitting, for sure.
I finished the Birkin by Caitlin Hunter in time for Mom's birthday in November, finished my Thea Colman sweater in October, and then made my sister one just like it, just done the day before Christmas!  That is definitely the most sweaters I have ever made in one year!  
  And now, I'm working on a black cardigan in mistake rib for myself, and have joined the Lace/Cable KAL from Fruity Knitting, with the Ocracoke Cardigan by Shirley Paden.  It's all lace, and takes all my concentration.  When I need to knit, but can't concentrate, the mistake rib cardigan jumps into my hands, but early mornings are for the lace cardi.  It's going to look lovely with a pair of jeans and a white shirt.
   Know what else looks amazing? This girl!  She was born under my neighbor's shed, and was abandoned when she was only 4 weeks old.  She was starving to death when I finally trapped her and brought her inside.  She had to eat kitten formula for three weeks, which by the way costs a fortune!  And now, dear Huck Lace is 4 months old, cute as a button, smart as a whip, and plays and plays all day.  She gets along pretty well with Purl, who just turned one in November herself.  She avoids Weft, but he's replaced Leo as the curmudgeon of the house.  
  That's all the fibery news from here.  I'm looking forward to my first full year here, gardening and weaving and meeting new fibery friends.  Though it's a bit late, Happy New Year to all!




Friday, August 31, 2018

Cheating on Projects

Do you ever cheat on your projects?  Or are you a strictly monogamous crafter?  I confess that I have been cheating on Mom's Birkin sweater with a gorgeous sweater for myself.  Last fall, I took a day trip to Chattanooga and found a lovely yarn store there:  Genuine Purl.  Lovely owner, helpful salesperson, and best of all, gorgeous yarn.  I bought some purple heathery Plymouth Donegal to make myself a sweater.  I was in need of a little pick me up, and it did the trick.  So did the other 3 yarns I bought, but let's not go there right now...
  I waited a while before finding the perfect pattern, and found it in the Summer issue of Laine magazine.  Have you seen it?  So beautiful!  It's kind of expensive, but really yummy patterns, photographed beautifully, with stories and recipes, too.  Here's the pattern I chose, worsted weight, on needles sized 7 and 8, chunky enough to go quickly, with LACE!  You know I love lace!  







I plopped it down on the dining room table to take a picture, and before I could focus, along came Purl.  She likes it.  The lace is easy to remember, and the edging along the sides is interesting.  The color is perfect for me, but I have to say, it's a little hot to knit right now.  Yesterday was over 100, with a lot of humidity!  
 It's v-neck, with a shawl collar added on later, and something I've never knitted before:  pockets!  Yay!  I'll make more sweaters with pockets in the future, now that I know how easy they are!  I will go back to Mom's sweater soon, but I've made another mistake in the 3-color part, and need to reverse knit.  Later...

I mentioned the airport socks last post, and have 6 pairs to show you now.  The first pair went to LouAnn, so there have been 7 pairs in all knitted at work.











And now, there are 8.  This yarn is Merino-Tencel, and I made up the ribbing.  It's knit 1 twisted, purl 3 in the first row, then knit 1 twisted, knit 1, purl 1, knit 1.  It's kind of reversible, and I don't think if I didn't twist the 1 stitch, it would make much of a difference, but off I go!  
 But before I can do anything more fiber-y, I need to clean this house.  Happy Labor Day!  I hope your labors are few and well-appreciated!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Where am I Now?

Dear friends,
I know it's been a very long time since I posted.  Things haven't been all rosy and happy, and it's taken a while for me to want to share my news again.  When things turned sour in Brasstown, my dear sister asked me to come to Richmond to help her with things here.  And so, I packed up my dear furry friends, and a lot of yarn, and here we are!  I work at an airport, checking in planes, selling the pilots fuel and talking to them while they're in the air.  It's quite different from anything I've ever done, and it took me a while to feel even competent at it.  But I'm settling in, and I like it quite a lot.

 The cats and Bella are doing well, too.  They have fallen in love with their aunt Liz, and they always love their grandma!  We live 2 blocks away, so we all see each other a lot.
 Definitely the biggest perk of my new job, besides no chopping onions or managing anyone, is that I get to knit when it's slow at the airport.  What a luxury!  Pictured are the last two pairs of socks I've made at the airport.  The ones on the right are still in progress, but I turned the heels yesterday.  I also found a great new Knit Night, at Dances with Wool, my favorite new LYS.  If you're ever in Richmond, you must stop by! 


I've been plugging along on Mom's Birkin sweater, but it's slow going.  I had no idea how much harder it is to knit three colors at once, as opposed to two.  It's a pain in the butt, quite honestly, and I can't wait until this yolk is done!  It is lovely, though.  I'm also knitting a large purple cardigan, but it's too big to knit at work, and the Birkin is too complicated.  They're strictly for home knitting.

This morning, I finally went into my new studio.  What was once my sister's den is now full of looms and yarn.  And I do mean full.  I need to sell my 8-shaft LeClerc Colonial to make room.  Partly because I never use it, and partly because it's too big for the room I have, I've posted it on Craigslist.  If you know anyone who would want it, please let me know!  She's a beauty, made in 1978 and lovingly cared for since I've owned her.  She's made lots of rugs with me, but I really love fine threads and lace, and that's what I want to do now.
  Well, what's kept me in the new studio this morning is weaving rose path on Jenny, and I want to get back to it.  I'll try to keep up with my blog more, and let you know about my adventures in Virginia!



Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oh, Baby!








It's been a rough month at the folk school, what with two people quitting way back in November and not being replaced yet.  I've worked a lot of 12 hour days, and not too many days off, but I have managed to work on the upcoming baby's things.  My sous chef is 7 1/2 months pregnant now, and I need to get these things done!  The sweater just needs to be sewn down on the button bands, and buttons must be found.  The baby wrap is going slower, because most days, I just don't feel like weaving!  This morning, I wove 5 bobbins' worth of thread before one of the tie ups slipped off (does that ever happen to anyone else?) and I gave up for the morning.  I still need to work tonight, and I'm hoping that the person I hired on Wednesday and who called off on Thursday--her first day!-- doesn't call off again.
  But progress is being made, and I feel optimistic about finishing in time!  

The only other thing I've felt like working on is the Fair Isle design, which you will notice has the exact same colors as the baby wrap.  I am consistent, if nothing else!  I do love this sweater, but it definitely not a t.v. watching project.  I have also finished a pair of fingerless mitts, but they aren't very photogenic yet.  Bear with me.  They will be done just in time for Spring!  I drove to Franklin last day off to get knitting needles, and ended up buying $70 of yarn, even though I have resolved that this year will be nothing but finishing.  Oh, but it's a lovely ball of alpaca!  And it will make a beautiful shawl!  As soon as I finish ten other projects... And train Purl to stop sharpening her claws on looms...