Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blue Lagoon

Have had a lovely, relaxed day here on the cul-de-sac. A bit of knitting and a bit of embroidery.

The knitting was giving me fits yesterday. I've knit this very same pattern in this very same yarn before, and without troubles. I somehow wandered off the pattern while trying to chat with a friend and help her with a bit of her knitting.

Back at home, trying to tink back, I dropped a few stitches. Most annoying. I caught the two runaways with a stitch marker and last night tinked back (about 4 rows I think) until I got the train back on the track.

That is just the kind of thing that can get me thinking of a new project. New projects always seem so much more cooperative, don't they?!

It's been far too long around here since there has been a Evelyn A. Clark pattern on the needles.

Since I had the afternoon free to play, I decided to dye some yarn.

I used a 440/yd hank of KnitPicks Bare fingering weight ordered long, long ago and 3 packages of Kool-Aid Berry Blast. I'm calling it Blue Lagoon

I'm not yet sure what pattern I'll use. I do have to wait for the yarn to DRY after all. (taps foot impatiently)

There are a few light spots in the hank but I'm pretending that they will just add to the character of the yarn - and at this point in the planning, I also think I might look for some irregular beads to add to the final row.

The final row! There I go getting ahead of myself again.

Friday, February 26, 2010

D is for


What a year to pick to showcase the Square!

It is a mess at least through April. The detours change daily making it a bit challenging to get around.

What price progress?

D is also for Dance; Ruth Mitchell's Dance Theater and Georgia Dance Conservatory founded in 1956 and one of Georgia's oldest non-profit arts organizations.

Just two doors down is the dk Gallery for contemporary art. It has only been here since November 2008.

At the end of that block and right is Dupre's Antique Market. I know I mentioned antiques in the 'A' post, but this one is the largest and the one I generally wander through if I get the chance.

What delights did I find interesting in there today?

A whole line of lovely dresses and dainty baby gowns

and a little doll tea party.

It was a nice day on the square.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Red-Letter Day

or in this instance -Green Numerals!

Yeah! The numerals band is finally complete.

I was beginning to despair.

This band was worked in all eyelets with all the numerals in Algerian eyelets over one and there were times when I would work only part of a number! Perhaps I was inspired by the embroidery books that just arrived here, but I pulled it back out determined to power through and get this band finished.

After a dividing band (line), there is another larger floral band. I haven't read ahead to see what stitches it uses, so right now I'm still really looking forward to it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blast from the past

A visitor arrived today. Sort of.

Mary told me in an e-mail that she was sending me a few things from the boxes of her Aunt Ellie's needlework supplies.

They arrived today and what FUN to look through them all! I saved the packages until I had my afternoon coffee made and it was a treat to see what was inside.

Remember iron-on embroidery transfers?

There was a whole package of them. I had the best time looking through those and already have an idea of something I'd like to do.

I never met Mary's aunt. (Heck, I've never even actually met Mary!) We would have gotten along great I think and would have had much to talk about since it is apparent we share some interests.

A quote from the book there in the back, "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing" 1946

"It's the inalienable right of every baby to look adorable. And it's the privilege of every mother, aunt, grandmother and friend-of-the-family to make sure of this. Whether it is for your own special bundle of bliss or somebody else's blessed event, making things for a baby with your own hands comes under the department of pure pleasure."

I could hardly believe it when I saw this as the first paragraph of chapter 10 - Stork Set. I have that quote in my index card file, copied from a magazine years ago and I use it every time I give a handmade baby gift. I immediately pulled out my index card and sure enough it was credited to this book.

What treasures. Thank you Mary.

ix-nay the iddly-fay

After this, I'm going to swear off fiddly for awhile.

Back before Christmas I bought the Interweave Knits 2009 Holiday Gifts issue. I had seen the preview and fallen hard for Susan Lawrence's Little Entrelac Bags.

You know me and bags. Doesn't take much.

I had almost a full ball of Noro Kureyon left over from another bag.

Christmas came and went. [At least I think it did. It all seemed to happen so fast.] I never seemed to get the time to try the little bags. Every once in awhile I'd pull out the magazine, glance over the instructions, get scared, and move along to something else. For some reason this weekend I decided to give it a go.

I think I'm about halfway through. I emphasized 'think' because I get so turned around flipping this thing back and forth and wrapping and turning. I've never done entrelac so it is all pretty much guesswork, but I figure it is a really SMALL bag and it is going to be felted. I'm hoping any stringplay irregularities will fade to the background in the felting process.

Speaking of fiddly, I got the Twined Hat finished. It really wasn't fiddly, but it did require a LOT of untangling. I didn't mind. It was loads of FUN to knit. I know I'll make more in the future.

Finished it just in time, too. Temps this weekend were in the 60s! Aw, well. I don't play with string around here to be useful anyway.

Friday, February 19, 2010

C is for

Cobb County Courthouse.

Marietta is the county seat of Cobb County, and the Courthouse and other government buildings built in the mid-1960s occupy the east side of the square.

The old Cobb County Courthouse was a two-story brick structure with clock tower, finally completed in 1873 to replace the one burned by Sherman's army in November 1864. The county was so impoverished by the war that it took that long before a replacement could be erected.

[I remember this older building and one of my earliest cross-stitch pieces was of the clock tower, but years ago I think I finally tossed it out.]

C is also for construction. Construction has things in a bit of a mess around our square until late April. Ugh.

You see the temporary traffic blocks above. We're getting new cobblestone crosswalks. They will look nice but they are sure causing lots of traffic congestion.

C is for Church Street, the road leading in to the square from the north. Three churches (Baptist, Episcopal, and Presbyterian) are just before you enter the square from the north.

And even though not on the square itself, yet within walking distance, C is for cemeteries.

The Marietta National Military Cemetery

Here rest the remains of 10,312 Officers and Soldiers who died in defense of the Union 1861-1865.

Yes, Union.

Established in 1866 to provide a suitable resting place for the nearly 10,000 Union dead from Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. "Henry Cole, a local merchant who remained loyal to the Union throughout the war, offered land for a burial ground for both Union and Confederate dead. His hope was that by honoring those who had fallen together, others might learn to live in peace. Unfortunately, both sides clung to their bitterness and neither North nor South would accept Cole’s offer toward reconciliation."

South of the square is the Marietta Confederate Cemetery, established in 1863 by the Ladies Memorial Association.

Marietta became a major hospital town for the Confederacy as wounded were transported by train from Dalton to Marietta.

Read more here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cutting off the end of the ham

Are you familiar with that story about the cook who always cuts off the end of the ham or roast before cooking? She gives as her reason that her mother always cooked it that way and what is good enough for her mother is good enough reason for her. In the end it turns out her mother only cut it off because it wouldn't fit in her roasting pan otherwise.

Why am I bringing that up here? Perhaps it is because of my lack of resource material at hand, but I haven't found any compelling reason why the technique of twined knitting uses both ends of the same ball rather than ends from separate balls. The warmth, sturdiness and denseness of fabric could still be obtained. Could it be more a matter of simplicity? Economy? Tradition alone?

Interesting to ponder. I'm anxious to pick up the library book later this week when I'm next that way.

In the meantime, the basic cap is coming right along. Here it is with about 4-1/4" inches.

I'll need to get 6" before I start rapidly decreasing for the top. Dropping one strand and picking up the other doesn't bother me at all. Stopping after every needle (and sometimes more!) to detangle does interrupt the knitting flow but that's just part of it.

Wooly West carries the Anne-Maj Ling book "Two-End Knitting" as well as the fine Z-ply Mora yarn recommended.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Binary Knitting

Well most knitting is binary I suppose, composed of 2 elements; knit and purl. But in the case of my latest obsession project, I'm referring to knitting with both ends of the string at the same time, Tvåändsstickning or Swedish two-end knitting.

There is one book on the subject in our public library system, "Twined Knitting" by Birgitta Dandanell; published by Interweave Press (of course!). I've checked it out and skimmed it numerous times. Like most Scandinavian knitting it looked lovely and wonderful and seemed fairly complicated.

So how did I wind up trying it? Two words.........SHOP SAMPLE.

You know what I'm talking about, right? You go off to visit your LYS (or in my case, my not-so-local LYS). You don't need anything. You are just going to browse. Before you know it, you've found something you cannot resist.

That's exactly what happened to me.

For someone who professes not to want a stash, I have rather too much yarn already in the house. And I'm talking good yarn. I have plenty of books and patterns as well. In fact, in the whole string+pattern+time=FO equation, string and pattern are not the problem. Which is why, as you might expect, I left the shop with new string and new pattern and, because I dithered so long and tried to talk myself out of it, less time!

In all fairness if you had seen the SHOP SAMPLE, you would have done the same. It was amazing.

It was a very simple looking hat. It was just tossed casually on a table. I picked it up and it felt so soft and I was immediately intrigued. It looked as though it had a garter stitch hemmed edge, but when I looked inside I could find no hemming. The wrong side looked different as well so I asked, "uh, is this twined knitting?" And it was.
I put it down and walked away.

A few minutes later I asked if there was a pattern. Oddly enough there was. I studied the pattern. I looked at yarn. Once I found that lovely blue-green wool there was no going back.

I'll be rereading that "Piecework" article shown in the top picture. It is from the Jan/Feb 2007 issue, a knitting special issue that is no longer available. The 2010 knitting special issue is still out so RUN out and get it if you haven't already or a couple of years down the road you'll be kicking yourself.

To see some great pictures of this hat and close-ups of the inside, see's Pat's here. And to see some terrific examples of twined knitting, see Asplund's Flickr set here (links to his blog as well.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow 1.0

First Snow

by Mary Louise Allen

Snow makes whiteness where it falls
The bushes look like popcorn balls
And places where I always play
Look like somewhere else today

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Royal Society

If you could see my stitching room, you'd know it is not fit for Royal Society.

I am trying to decide on my next knitting project. I seem to be having a hard time doing so. I think I know what I want to start and then I change my mind. In the meantime there are knitting pattern books scattered all around me.

While my mind ponders, it is easy enough to work up another little tatted heart. This one is a variation of the one made last Monday, but in a finer thread - size 70 vs. size 30 for the other.

I love the color. I'm not sure how this little ball of Royal Society tatting thread came to me, but I'm feel certain it was through some friend in the lace group.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh what a tangled web

Just so my carefully arranged photos don't mislead you, things aren't always sweetness and light over here in Stringplay land.

Look at that MESS of tangled thread!

I need some small ziplock bags perhaps. That, a few extra hours, and way more patience than I've ever possessed.

Why, oh why, aren't I neat and tidy?

awhile later..........back at the ranch........

in lieu of patience, I employed the scissors and sacrificed a few yards of string.

Ah, much better.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Valdani Valentine

Still on the heart kick over here. I decided to go ahead and try the Valdani pearl cotton - color M43 size 12. Such beautiful colors over there. Every time I link, I have to linger and look them all over again.

I came out very lucky on this one. I had just barely enough thread still on the shuttle to complete the last ring. Whew!

This pattern is from a free tear sheet at the Lizbeth thread display at a local store, also available online here.

The online pattern does not give the following information found on the tear sheet: Tatted heart was adapted by Barbara Foster from a design by Mrs. J. M. Blackman, appearing in Modern Pricilla magazine in 1917.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Socks FX

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks FX
75% washable wool/ 25% nylon
166 yds/50 gr. - 2 balls almost all used
Clay Colors

Needles: dpns; size 3 for cuff and size 2 for foot
60 stitches

I bought these two balls intending to mail to Kay while she was in South GA but then decided she probably wouldn't want to worry with sock knitting, so I quickly went to plan B and started a pair of socks for a nephew.

This yarn is a bit heavier than usual sock yarn, but I think the socks will be warm and hard-wearing. I really enjoyed how the colors striped. The yarn is marled so the transitions are gradual. Should work well with a mostly blue jean wardrobe, I think.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Heartbreak Hotel

Bellhop, grab my bag, I think I'm going to have to check in.

I was zipping along on this, sock #2, plain old stockinette in the round...round and round....all the way to the toe decrease when I realize....hummm.....I have one less stitch on one of the needles.

Sure enough WAY back at the gusset decrease I dropped a stitch.

I've tried taking a small crochet hook and bringing it up but my knitting is fairly tight and the yarn is not cooperating.

Nothing to do but RIP out an entire long foot and reknit.

Rip? or R.I.P. ?

I cannot face it tonight.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Queen of Hearts

The second heart I tried was one named Queen of Hearts from Mary Konoir's book "Tatting With Visual Patterns". [It appears from Amazon that this book is no longer in print, but it may still be available from Lacy Susan.]

This one took me a bit longer than the other one, but was lots of fun to do. I am so enjoying this vintage Clark's cotton and have received considerably more than $1.50 worth of pleasure from it. I must remember to look out for this vendor the next time the quilt show comes around.

In case tatting is new to you, I ran across a YouTube video tatting demonstration. The speed varies as it slows down when she is showing the movements but then is greatly speeded up when she wants to finish a ring to show how it closes or how it looks finished.

The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a summer's day;
The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away.
The King of Hearts called for the tarts and beat the Knave full sore
The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts and
vowed he'd steal no more.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Let me call you Sweetheart

January sure seemed to FLY by in a hurry! Did it seem that way to you?

My work in accounting is so tied to the calendar - what with payrolls, month-end financial statements, quarterly tax returns, and all the rest. I spend the whole of January with one foot in the previous year and one in the new and by the time I come up for air the month is generally almost over.

I'm glad there are no big family milestones in January.

With most deadlines met and cleared away, I look up, realize it is February, and start thinking of Valentines (or maybe I'm just thinking of Valentine M&Ms!).

Last September at the quilt show, I bought a ball of vintage crochet cotton - the Clark's shown above on the left. I've been carrying it around for over a month intending to try it out and finally I have. I intended to make another button-tatted heart but in digging through the pattern drawer (and finally finding the button pattern - yeah!), I came across quite a few more heart patterns and this one named SweetHeart called to me instead.

I loved how the variegated thread colors worked up with this pattern. A quick internet search didn't yield me much information on O.N.T. so I asked my all-things-vintage expert, Kay, who tells me it stood for Our New Thread.

The thread, above right, is a Valdani overdyed pearl cotton [color M43]. I love the deep reds in it, too, but don't always enjoy tatting with pearl cotton. Perhaps I'll save it to use in embroidery as I intended when I bought it.

Who am I kidding? I bought it just because it was beautiful.

Speaking of quilts, Jan at Bemused is back from the Tokyo International Quilt Festival where she saw some amazingly gorgeous quilts. Her Flickr set is here.