Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Seams group tonight. This was the first time we'd gotten together since early December, and we were not about to let hazardous weather advisories, long drives, and snowdrifted country roads to get in the way of our evening sewing together. Of course, there were quilts to look at and quilty conversation to enjoy. Very fun, as always, to be with people who speak the language.
You know what I mean. My mother, bless her heart, loved my quilts and was very proud of me, but she didn't sew. At all. She would look at my quilts and say, "I just don't understand how you can do that".
That is not really a productive thing to say to a quilter.
But these folks understand. Which is to say that sometimes family is assembled on the way. This is something that only children like me understand all too well.
This is one of two Dragonfly quilt tops, this one by Sue W. These are based on the book Slice 'Em and Dice 'Em Quilts by Nancy Brenan Daniel. This group has gotten a lot of mileage out of that book.
Diane had a Dragonfly (didn't get a good photo of it) and this Bullseye Flower top completed. This also probably has a more official name but that escapes me. Very happy quilt for a dark and blustery winter night.
Betsy is working on this top using a profusion of Kaffe Fassett stripes. Great depth and dimension.
Yikes! Here I am with the wonky top. To border or not to border? Opinions tonight leaned toward using the black border. Still undecided... Note yet another Mumbo Gumbo in the background. Lots of mileage from that pattern in this group too.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
This was another weekend made for cocooning. I like that. I'm a homebody. The weather forecasters on TV predicted a big storm on the way--the supermarkets were wiped out. Everyone stocked up on food, and movies, and prepared to take to their couches.
We did get our foot of heavy, sloppy snow. Not the blizzard predicted by all the insane weather people on TV, who seem to feel they have to justify their jobs by predicting doom at every turn. It was a foot of snow, but c'mon people: It's February! This is Wisconsin! This is normal! The snow was pretty but made for heavy and tough shoveling. Good cardio workout though.
Then it was time to adjourn to indoors for fiber pursuits.
The wonky quilt is together at last. (I need a better name than that. I'm thinking...)
I debated leaving it unbordered but I'm thinking to ground it with a black border. This necessitates a fabric store trip, which unfortunately may not happen this week.
I may also add some hand-stitching in black. All you hand quilters are rubbing off on me! I pretty much left hand-quilting behind a dozen years ago but of course, still love the look. Maybe it's time to integrate a bit of hand stitching with the machine work.
I put in my share of couch time, but it was productive couch time. Several knit projects are in play.
Last year I made a Wonderful Wallaby in heathery Black Water Abbey worsted. It was a lot of plain knitting and I'll admit I got to a point where I just wanted to be done with it. So I omitted the hood and ended up with an open front placket and small ribbed stand up collar.
Only it didn't really stand up. It was neither fish nor fowl--sometimes it would stand up and sometimes it would flop. I discovered I really did like the sweater though--the heathery color and the casual sweatshirt-like style. The hood started looking like a better idea. So with my heart in my mouth, I chopped off the neckline bind-off.
It was a not-so-complicated matter of ripping back to find an entire row of live stitches and picking them up. Then I started up knitting where I left off. Worked out pretty well...
A hood is emerging--a few more inches to go on this. Better late than never. And the moral of the story is that it's never too late. By the way, I love the Black Water Abbey yarn. It's a hard yarn but the heathery colors are beautiful. I bet it will wear like iron.
I'd been scouting ideas for new lace projects and decided to give the Ene Shawl in Scarf Style a try. I had some of the exact yarn used in the book: Blackberry Ridge lace weight in 75% wool and 25% silk. I spent a couple days contemplating it. This one has a fearsome beginning--cast on 375 stitches and dive in! Long story short--I cast on, I dove in, and I fell flat on my face. So I swallowed hard and ripped back 375 stitches to the cast-on row. I left the stitches cast on but decided to table this project for the time being.
If anyone has advice on lessening the harrowing nature of beginning a piece like this, I'm all ears. Lace is nothing if not character-building, truly like walking the tightwire without a net. I truly want to return to Ene, but I'm too chicken at this point. Any advice is most welcome.
Anyway, I opted to cloak myself in the familiar. Last fall, I had bought more of the Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift. I've decided to use it to make another Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls, only this one will be for me.
Border is done--time to start the pattern. The Kimono Shawl is like an old friend.
Patti has asked if I'd share the recipe for Monkey Bread. I was afraid someone would ask this. True confession: I have never actually made the stuff. But I don't have to! The president of our Friends group at the library makes it nearly every week for Coffee Hour and she has graciously shared the recipe. That cinnamon baking scent cannot be beat!
350 degree oven
2 rolls Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
2 Tbl. cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix cinnamon and sugar together.
Cut 1 roll of biscuits into bite-sized pieces. Dredge in cinnamon-sugar mixture and place in greased bundt pan. Pour half of the melted butter over the biscuit pieces in the pan. Repeat with the other can of biscuits.
Pour the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top of the biscuits.
Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes.
After baking, let sit for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Mix icing ingredients thoroughly, adding a bit of milk to thin, if necessary. Spread on warm Monkey Bread.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I saw some exciting Artist Trading Cards on Flickr and contacted the artist about a trade. Yesterday my card arrived, after a 2000 mile+ journey from British Columbia.
The artist is Elaine Kerr from Abstractions Art. I love anything with hand imagery. To me, it's a symbol of giving and of creativity--very meaningful to me. This three-dimensional card is just wonderful and has its own little tagged envelope. Thanks to Elaine.
Here's the one I sent to Elaine--the card in the lower right, the woman with the rose bouquet. This was taken from a photo in an album of my mother's. She knew the woman in the photo. Her name was Rose Flannery. So Rose is winging her way to British Columbia, a much longer trip than she ever had in her lifetime, I'm sure.
When I was antiquing last weekend with my friend Kay, we got to talking about old family photos. I was telling her about buying photos in antique shops and loving the images, even if the people in the photos are unknown.
Kay said she had piles of old ancestor photos with no clue who the people are. And look-- she sent a big pile of them to me.
About half of these photos are from Switzerland and half are from Russia. The Russian photos are most poignant. They seem to be from Smolensk, which along with the rest of Russia, weathered so much battle and hardship in the years after these photos were taken. I wonder about the couples and the families in these pictures. I wonder how the wars and other hardships in Russia affected them...
Treasures to me, all of them. Getting to be a fairly good collection for scanning and using in art.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Brown transferware platter, pattern is called Chelsea. New glass candlesticks! The tallest candlestick is really lovely, with an etched floral design and an overall icy texture.
My happy find of the day: a small Purinton Apple pitcher to go with all the other Purinton Apple wonderfulness.
Friday, February 16, 2007
We started hosting a Friday coffee hour at the library four or five years ago, figuring we'd attract the senior citizen set. But it ended up, for the most part, being a mom-and-kids event. Which is fine, even if the decibel level rises and rises.... We haul a TV over to the kids' area, pop in a movie, and that entertains the kids. Not that I'm advocating using a TV as babysitter, you understand...
Hey! See my sleeve in the picture above? Well, here's the rest of the garment, at long last:
Ta Da! The Rosedale United is finito! I'm very pleased with it. Hallelujah--it fits! I like the very subtle shaping in the pattern, I like the colorway--this mix of colors seem to look good next to my my Irish phosphorescent coloring, and I especially like the sense of working that self-striping Noro Kureyon for maximum effect.
I'm very glad I omitted the back intarsia rectangle. I've seen mention on other knit blogs of people who either omitted it or wished they had. Also, I'm not a huge fan of bottom ribbing on sweaters. I have just enough hips that the ribbing always rides up. So I substituted a band of garter stitch for the ribbing on both sleeves and bottom. This worked well.
I also like the way the rolled neckline worked out. I knit ten rows on it as opposed to the six rows specified in the pattern.
This is Noro Kureyon in colorway 126. And I have three full skeins left! That's enough for a Booga Bag.
Happy weekend, everyone.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The knitting part of the Rosedale United is completed. I've been working exclusively on this since last weekend. I'm pretty pleased with the neckline, after ripping it back and re-doing once. What remains is sewing together the intarsia block with the rest of the front, and weaving in the ends. I'm pretty pleased with this garment, with a caveat. I have a sneaky feeling that the Noro Kureyon may be a yarn that tends to pill. So this sweater may not be destined for heavy wear. But all in all, the Rosedale United presents a great way to showcase self-striping yarn. So thanks to Amy Swenson, the intrepid designer.
Now, I'm itching to start another lace piece.
The Oriental rugs; the artwork, the vintage glassware.
The above photograph isn't really color-true. This is a soft and lovely lavender room belonging to a little girl. I would've killed for a lavender bedroom when I was a kid, but it was vetoed.
I'm on my own for the next week. Mr. Kathie and a couple buddies of his are heading up to the Yoop to stay at a hunting camp out in the middle of nowhere and to attend the annual Pine Mountain Ski Jumping Tournament. As former ski jumpers, they feel duty-bound to supervise and be on hand to provide plenty of stories about The Old Days. Lots of the glories of youth to be relived, pasties to be eaten, etc., etc. Manly stuff.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Once the library re-opened on Wednesday, we slogged through the enormous backlog of inter-library transit resulting in this scene:
While the library was closed, I was able to work on the quilt a bit, and on the sweater, and even on the socks. What seemed most appealing, though, was sitting in front of the fireplace knitting.
The Rosedale United sweater has run into another issue. As the yoke decreases progress, they are intersecting with the intarsia block too soon. This no doubt results from an incorrect stitch count, in turn resulting from the mild shaping done as the body of the sweater progressed. Do I care enough to rip the body back to the bottom and do it over? Or shall I take the slacker's way out and just end the intarsia block a bit early?
Having ripped back once already, the slacker's approach is sounding appealing right now.
Later edit: There was a question about the entrelac shawl pictured in my last post. It's entirely knit, just made to look woven. Entrelac is knit in tiers of squares, and each tier alternates direction, giving the interwoven look.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Saturday, February 03, 2007
A week ago, I joined the sleeves and body of the Rosedale United, planning to zip right through the yoke and finish up in nothing flat. (I should know better than to ever get cocky like this...)
The pattern specified another intarsia rectangle at center back, to be started as the yoke decreases are knit. I had never done intarsia with the extra yarn carried along in back, as this one was to be made, and as the yoke progressed, I started to have a not-so-good feeling about it all. With the extra layer of yarn, the intarsia part was heavier than the rest of the sweater and I just wasn't real happy with my tension. Like I said, intarsia and I are not that well acquainted.
And it wasn't too bad--the stitches picked up easily, and before long the whole sweater was back to where it was one week ago.
A whole week's work lost. But I know I'll be happier with it in the end. Sometimes you just have to put on the big girl panties and suck it up.
But here's some good news: My daughter and her knitting skills! She's a natural. When she was home at Christmas, she was stopped in her tracks by the Lady Eleanor, in my copy of Scarf Style. She ordered herself enough Noro Kureyon while she was here and began knitting when she got back to D. C.
Presenting her completed Lady Eleanor shawl:
I nearly hyperventilated when she sent me these pictures.