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...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lazy Sunday--Sort of...

It's a gray, rainy day, again, and no one feels much like doing much around here.  It looks like nap time, pretty much all around the house, at least if one has a fur coat on.

 But I've been busy! Yesterday, Pam and I wound the warp for the baby wrap.  It sure is easier to wind a big warp when someone else is doing half the work!  And I love this warp.  It's going to be bird's eye twill with a black weft, in case I didn't already say that.  I'll start threading before I have to go to work this afternoon, and finish it up early this week. I have Wednesday and Thursday off this week, so I think can get some good weaving time in.

The dish towel warp has some issues, but I just figured out this morning that one of the issues is a treadling error, because when Lillian and I put the pattern into her computer program, it didn't show the tabby throws coming out askew.  When I put it into WeaveDesign, there they were.  There are some mis-threading issues, which I will fix later, but it's a relief to know it's not everywhere, which is what it looked like at first.  There are some throw errors, too, where I wasn't paying attention and threw the tabby twice in the same shed, but this is a big warp, and I can cut some off after I fix the mistakes.

And I just had to share this.  I was so excited to get such a good score, a little tear collected in my eye.  I have a great team, and am so proud of them for helping make this happen!
  Back to the loom!  Happy Sunday!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Back Sliding

pound cake
chicken & dumplings
 I have been very, very busy at work, limping along without two employees since November, so I haven't had a lot of time to work on my resolution of finishing things, but I do spend any free time I have working on fiber.  The school is not as busy right now, because people are afraid to travel with the recent violence of wintry storms.  But, many still do make it out here, and all need to be fed!

 I finished threading Tootsie and the kitchen towel warp, but right away, she was up to her old tricks, popping shafts above the top and sticking.  I have been waiting almost two years for a friend to create an elegant solution, making a tool tray for her top, but I can see he isn't going to come through.  So, I went for the un-elegant solution, a run-of-the-mill clamp.  So far, so good.  I haven't actually woven with it in place, but I did try all the shafts and they seem to stay where they should.  I'm afraid of starting it right now, because I have a feeling there might be threading issues that I am not in the mood to discover just yet.
weft's feet photo-bombing
I finished winding the dinner napkin warp to go on Jenny for the Brasstown weaving challenge, but then, this week, I realized my sous chef, Rachel, is having a baby in 2 1/2 months, and I have nothing for her!
 I asked her what she wanted, and she said, "Girly colors!"  Well, you know, those are my favorite colors!  So I started a new sweater, even though I wasn't supposed to be starting anything new.  Those are Weft's paws in the photo. He couldn't resist.
  Then, she said she also wanted a baby wrap, but she doesn't wear girly colors, mostly black.  I pondered that for a while, googled baby wraps and played with Weave Design.  The wrap I found on the web that I liked best was in hand-dyed carpet warp, but I don't have time to dye anything.  I do, however, have a big selection of carpet warp.  I think it'll be pretty with these colors in the warp, and black as the weft, in a bird's eye pattern.  I'll try to get that warp wound this week, and start threading on the weekend.  

Another resolution was to make time for yoga every day, which has not always been possible.  Sometimes there's traffic on the yoga mat that refuses to yield.  Most of the time, it's just needing to be at work at 6 am, but sometimes, there's a cat on the mat.
  I have found time to work on the fair isle I'm making for myself.  See my steek?  Oh, yeah!  I'm stranding, steeking, designing, working on ufo's!  I've almost finished the first motif, and I love it!

Purl finishes my muffin and reads Yarn Harlot's blog
Purl continues to grow and thrive, though I had a scare this week when she got her first set of baby shots.  I dropped her off at home after the shots, and went to knit night.  When I came home, she was asleep on the bed, and hardly able to lift her head.  She slept right up against me all night, and had trouble getting off the bed in the morning.  By the time the vet opened, she started eating, so I figured she was out of the woods.  I called them, anyway, and they said not to worry, but that next set of shots would be broken up, so she doesn't have to have them all at once.  When I got home that night, she was wrestling with Weft and dodging Bella and eating well.  Whew!  

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Status of the Finishing Resolution

 The finishing has begun!  I have finished this sweater!  I believe I actually finished knitting it several years ago, but had to re-knit the sleeve caps a few times, because the pattern as written makes the sleeve caps way too small for the armholes specified.  I have found this to be true a lot lately, and I have to say that it's annoying.  Consumers should assume that a pattern is tested before it's sold, and be able to knit an item according to instructions without fear!  But it isn't always so, and I need to pay more attention as I knit garments.  
  I don't like the color of this sweater very much.  I had a dye-day several years ago, and a friend wanted me to dye some wool for him in exchange for some dyed cellulose yarn.  I gave him this cotton-silk yarn, as well as a bamboo warp, and he chose lemon and lime.  I ended up liking the warp, weaving it with contrasting colors, but this sweater... It doesn't look good on me!  I need to try it with a navy shirt to get the lemon-lime away from my skin, I think.  But it's soft and warm, and best of all, finished!

 This morning, I finished the fuchsia-black warp, hemstitched and all!  I love this warp, one warp I'm sad to see end.  It's been fun weaving each scarf with a different weft.  I started winding the challenge napkin warp this morning, and hope to have it ready to thread by Saturday, my next day off. 

 And my next project to finish is this shell that I started knitting probably 5 years ago, a KAL from Interweave Knits Magazine.  I started out gangbusters, then something happened and it languished.  Then, the sleeves came out too small in the cap and a little too short for my chubby upper arms.  I re-knitted the sleeves, and they are ready to be sewn in.  
Purl "helped" assemble the green sweater last week.  She looks just like a teenager now, all legs and torso.  She learns new things everyday, like Treat Time and there's yummy things in the fridge.  She's beginning to be curious about the front door, which scares the daylights out of me.  If she gets out the door, she's gone!  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Year of UFO's

No, this is not an UFO.  This is the newest member of my family, Purl.  This is her official baby picture, the one that will be framed and on the dresser, alongside Leo, Wally and Weft.  I finally had a print made for Bella's framed photo, and she'll soon be on the dresser, too.  
  Purl, true to her name, loves yarn.  Several times in the past few weeks, I've come home to, um, interesting rearrangements of balls of yarn in the living room.  It's been eight years since I've had a kitten, and I need to kitten-proof some things still.
  And, yes.  She is the most adorable kitten you've ever seen. At least since Weft, that is.

I did finally finish the lace pillowcases, though nothing else got done the last few months of 2017, fiber-wise.  They got into the mail in time for Christmas, and were seen with oohs and ahs.  I thought I was glad to see the backside of them, and then, a week later, I saw an intriguing lace pattern that I had to change and start knitting.  
  And I started a sweater for Mom, the Birkin by Caitlin Hunter.
 It's a gorgeous Scandinavian color work pattern, and I think my tension is too tight so far for it to fit.  There might be some ripping out, but not just now.
  And I decided to try to knit some Brioche stitches, because I never had, and there's a great podcast called Fruity Knitting that I love, and they just kept going on and on about it, so I had to try it.  If you haven't seen their podcast yet, and you love knitting, you must watch it.  So, yeah, I'm also knitting their brioche hat.
  And then there's the overshot scarf, one of which I did finish before Christmas but didn't give away, because, honestly, I think my friends and family are getting a little tired of my scarves!  But it's lovely, and I really liked the second weft, some leftover Noro lace yarn that swerves in and out of matching the warp in a way I liked. Unfortunately, I made some bad bead choices for the second hem stitching, and it will need to undergo surgery to remove and replace them.
 The third and final weft for that warp is black 6/2 bamboo, and I didn't think I'd like it, but I really do!  I didn't bead the hem stitching this time, because I couldn't find the proper needle.  I will probably go back when it's done and bead the ends, because I like the way it makes scarves hang on the wearer.  I'm about 1/3 of the way done, and then, I MUST start something else. 
  Because the whole point of the blog entry is to say that I am determined that 2018 will be the year I finish all these started projects!  I have two sweaters that are completely knitted, but not sewn together.  Both sweaters, by following the directions, came out with sleeve caps that are too small, and have to be re-knitted.  l WILL do that this month, and get those two done.  I WILL finish Mom's sweater, and that pair of socks over there, and that brioche hat, and that dress that's been lying unfinished on the sewing machine since the lace took over my life last summer, and I'd even like to finish that last quilt I started 12 years ago before I got my first loom.
  Because, don't you sometimes look around your studio and think, oh my gosh!  What's going to happen to all this stuff when I die?  Who's going to care about it?  Wouldn't it be nice to have this "begun" stuff finished?
  For example, this warp has been, I'm ashamed to say, sitting in a garbage can, ends threaded through the reed, for almost a year.  I only just put the ends in a garbage can a few months ago when I noticed Weft sleeping on it!  Well, it was a mess.  See how in this photo it's in a box?  That's because when I started to thread the heddles, Purl couldn't leave it alone.  And as soon as I put it in the box, Weft jumped in and got ready for a nap!  
  It's now threaded and wound on, and getting ready for its first weaving.  It's kitchen towels, in Swedish Lace from that book, Lace and Lacey Weaves by Mary E. Snyder.  
  After the black and fuschia scarf is done, I do need to start one more thing:  A group of weavers in Brasstown is having a napkin challenge, 8/2 cotton, 16" square, and due on Mother's Day.  I've chosen hand-manipulated lace, because you know I love it!  And there's a lot of plain weave involved to make them go fast.
Another thing I've started but decided I didn't like and won't finish is the KAL by Mason-Dixon Knitting, Log Cabins.  I made one square, and my heart is just not in it. Purl likes it very well, or just enjoys being in my lap, tearing up whatever I'm knitting.
  And you know, the year is young, and I must just even finish the tapestry that's been on the loom in the living room for the last 2 years.  You never know!  Happy new year!