Monday, December 31, 2012
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
How will you your Christmas keep?
Feasting, fasting, or asleep?
Will you laugh or will you pray,
Or will you forget the day?
Be it kept with joy or prayer,
Keep of either some to spare;
Whatsoever brings the day,
Do not keep but give away.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Found back in the summer. Not the prettiest card I've ever found but I don't see that many for Thanksgiving.
Hoping it will be a JOYFUL one at your house (and with plenty of pie).
Friday, August 10, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
I've reached the halfway point of the tatted antique wristbag [pdf pattern here]. I'm going to have to deal with all those loose ends soon as they are driving me nuts.
Halfway means (obviously) that one side is complete. I'll keep adding sections in the same manner and it will remain one flat piece until that last section connects to the first. Not so sure when that will be. But, hey! It isn't like there is any real hurry for this. : )
In the meantime I have received my May/June issue of "Piecework".
Let me remind you, it is the LACE issue and it is another outstanding one.
It should be on the newsstands May 1. RUN out and get one.
There is knitted lace, bobbin lace, tatted lace (a bedspread! GASP!), reticella needle lace, Clones crochet lace, a little known, nearly forgotten German hand-knotted lace technique, and several patterns including one by Galina Khmeleva [that's it pictured on the cover].
I've hardly had a chance to look through it but I look forward to spending some quality time with this one.
$6.99 is the single-issue price. An incredible bargain. What a treasure of information!
Thursday, April 19, 2012
This post is going to be less about the finished shawlette and more about the inspiration behind it.
Back in January I saw a cousin. I was wearing my Summer Mystery Shawlette at the time and she commented favorably upon it. I decided right then to make one for her. I had been hearing about the Quince & Co. yarns and wanted to try them so I began browsing and as soon as I saw the color Lupine I knew what I wanted to do.
( Barbara Cooney : August 6, 1917 – March 10, 2000)
My #1 ALL-TIME favorite children's book author and illustrator is Barbara Cooney. Her artwork is lovely. What a treasure! I absolutely canNOT choose a favorite book. Each time I consider them and pick one, I immediately think of another that I love equally well. ALL are wonderful. She has authored and/or illustrated more than 200 books and twice was awarded the Caldecott Medal.
A synopsis of Miss Rumphius:
About this book Ms. Cooney said “Miss Rumphius has been, perhaps, the closest to my heart. There are, of course, many dissimilarities between me and Alice Rumphius, but, as I worked, she gradually seemed to become my alter ego. Perhaps she had been that right from the start.”
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Mary was thoughtful and sent me this link to the obituary in the NY Times. I liked it best of all the ones I read as I thought it expressed her writing most clearly and summed up succinctly:
"There is ample humor, little real menace, no sex and not a jot of intemperate language."
I cannot now recall how I first happened upon Miss Read in the stacks of my library, but I am ever so thankful that I did. For many years I repeatedly checked out, read, and reread the books until Houghton Mifflin began reprinting some titles in paperback.
In particular, it became an absolute custom that I would read "Christmas at Fairacre" at some point during the holiday. The library's edition contained only the two stories "Village Christmas" and "The Christmas Mouse", but when it was republished I bought the hardback edition that also included the additional story "No Holly for Miss Quinn". I always waited for just the perfect, quiet moment during the rush of Christmas to reread it and it was, and continues to be, a balm and a treat every year. For that reason, it probably remains my favorite of all the books.
Weather and changes in the seasons play a large part in all her books as this sample, included in a different obituary clearly shows:
Although nearly blind for the last years of her life, Dora was always fully alert to the weather. The pace of life might have changed in her fictional villages as the years passed, but the joy of a hint of warmth early in the year, as in Winter in Thrush Green (1961), never alters: "It was one of those clear, mild days which come occasionally in mid-winter and lift the spirits with their hint of coming springtime. Catkins were already fluttering on the nut hedge behind Albert's house and the sky was a pale translucent blue, as tender as a thrush's egg-shell."
Saint believed that "happiness is the result of an attitude of mind."
Rest in peace, Miss Read.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
So the next time you need to add in more yarn, depending on your project and inclination, why not knot?
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Pattern: Elijah by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport
100% superwash merino wool
136 yds/50 gr - color 1946 Silver Gray
1 full skein
Needles: size 3 Clover bamboo dpns
What a clever pattern! The entire elephant is knit seamlessly with arm, legs, and ears picked up and stitched outwardly. The legs were a breeze. The arms required a bit more patience because they were closer to the head and trunk. The ears were a challenge. Knitting them was fine, but I had to pick up stitches along an imaginary diagonal.
I ended up cutting a triangular slip of paper to size from the center back of the head to the first ear and using that to determine where to pick up for the second ear. Later I read a project on Ravelry where the knitter stuck a slender dpn straight through the elephant's head in order to determine where to place hers. This seemed brilliant but at least my fellow didn't get a headache!
I find I can never name a stuffed animal until the face is complete and the character emerges. While knitting this one I thought of other famous elephants:
A person's a person, no matter how small!
We're a crackerjack brigade, on a pachyderm parade
But we'd rather stroll to a waterhole, for a furlough in the shade!
Echo the Elephant
Every great family is headed by a commanding leader, and Echo's clan was no exception.....a wise and experienced mother who guided and protected her family for many years.
I love tins of all sizes. [Perhaps you've noticed!] Years ago I would run across the mention of Oxo tins in my Miss Read books but never knew what exactly they originally contained. This was in the Dark Ages before the internet. My English friend enlightened me and gave me a couple of tins.
Miss Read used them to contain her household budgeted funds.
"I am going to put an elastic band round each of those Oxo tins and remove them only when the exigencies of rightful duty make it necessary." In fact that's probably what Oxo is doing up there with his tin, putting a bit by for a rainy day. He looks a foresighted chap, doesn't he?
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
Naturally I thought of the joke/saying: How do you eat a elephant?
One bite at a time.
Often used as a time management metaphor, too, it seems.
What a fun, fun pattern Ysolda has designed! Very well written with all directions in nice, tidy tables with stitch counts. The little stuffed animal begins with 6 stitches at the top of his head and proceeds into the trunk. Stitches are then picked up (following a photo diagram in the pattern!) and the body is knitted down. Then stitches are picked up to knit the appendages. Clever girl.
Instead of using Emily Ocker's circular cast on, I found and used Laura Nelkin's Circular Cast On video tutorial. It uses the same principle but you don't have to get UP to find a crochet hook!
Thursday, March 8, 2012
The cover is so beautiful and features part of the painting "The Queue at the Fish Shop" by Evelyn Dunbar, the only salaried woman artist employed during WWII by the War Artists Advisory Committee. [How's that for a tie in during Women's History Month?!]
So England was in my mind when I stopped by the library this afternoon to pick up a book for JP. I wound up detouring through the non-fiction stacks and my eyes just happened to catch the book, "London 1945, Life in the Debris of War". I can pick right up where I left off. When you see the cover what is the first thing you notice? The red coat? It does stand out, but did you also happen to spot the string bags?
My knitting mentor is no longer with us, but she was born in England in 1923 and I heard some wartime stories from her. I can definitely picture her in a queue at the fish shop. If she were just down the road I know I'd be talking to her about the things I've been reading. I'd be showing her my latest knitting, too, I'm sure.
It was such a warm spring day here today. I didn't have to go into the office and instead made my way to a yarn shop where I purchased some yarn and Ysolda Teague's Elijah pattern for a sweet little elephant knit seamlessly (thankfully!).
"When she had hung up the receiver the clock was striking six. She went over to the radio, turned the knob, and sat down with all the other anxious women to knit and listen."
War Among Strangers" 17 January 1942
from "Good Evening, Mrs. Craven"
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
I love seeing how much fun people are having with this.
Downton stringplay. This gets the ideas going.
Just a reminder: online viewing only through March 6.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
This post brought to you by the Letter F.
.........and a few Ms : )
The shawl is Finished. Finally. [Well, it hasn't been blocked. It is soaking right now.]
Fun? Not always, but fortunately the pattern was pleasing.
Fast? Faster than I expected.
Facile? Pattern, yes, yarn no, a bit fuzzy because it is alpaca. And, even though it was a cobweb weight, it was a two-ply and easy to split causing me to fume more than I like.
This was the little ball of yarn just before I started the long bind off. For the ediging I only did 22 rounds instead of 24. I feared at the start of the bind off that I might not have enough, but I did. I might have even had enough to do the final two rounds but I just couldn't face the anxiety. I think the edging will be generous as is.
At any rate, I'm free to move on to the next fibery project. Should be fun. I'll be using a fabulous fingering weight yarn called Finch.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
I finally got a Play Day and I knew just what I wanted to do. Make a bag!
Because I need a bag? No. Because they are FUN to make and it was high time to have a bit of fun.
I used all things I already had to hand. It would have been nice to have had a longer zipper, but foolish to waste time going shopping for one. Must try to remember to pick up some more next time.
I went with a Valentine theme as you see, but tried to pick fabrics that wouldn't look too Valentine-y to use afterwards. Sure that lining is super Valentine-y, but no one but me will be seeing that. [and aren't the sheep cute!]
I cut 2" strips and stitched them down on batting to self-quilt as I went along. The wooden beads and elastic cording for the zipper pull came from a $1 child's necklace kit bought a year or so back.
What you can't tell from this photo is that the first slice is a bit wonky and my side seams don't really match up. Ordinarily this might bother me, but I have to tell you I was so thrilled to have the time and to get to finish it, that I was delighted that it worked out as well as it did.
Oh, my is this a JOY to knit! Would love to work only on this, but it is to be my travel/conversation knitting and the pattern has to be something simple. Right now I'm just a few rows in on a top-down stockinette triangle with the idea of it perhaps becoming the Gingko Shawlette.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
In most cases, Haapsalu shawls and scarves are knitted of white yarn. If you are craving color and pattern, and not lace, then you might like to see some of the images from another fabulous new book of Estonian knitting, "Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island". Wow! [PS: it's only $130] There is also a wonderful post in Kate Davies' blog and more glimpses inside.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
A week or so ago I pulled out some lace yarn that I have had for a couple of years or so. I bought it with a gift certificate, specifically for the color.
The color is really a dark, warm coral; an orangey-red and not the fairly hot pink that it appears in this photo. It looks a bit more true in the photo of it in the hank before it was wound and when it wasn't basking in the bright sunlight.
Since this year's Pantone color is Tangerine Tango, I thought it was high time this became something other than stash!
I've tried at least two other patterns with this yarn and haven't been happy with them. Turns out the yarn is really cobweb instead of lace weight. I turned to the beautiful book, The Haapsalu Shawl, and picked this stitch pattern which has no nupps. I thought the larger areas of stockinette stitch would work well for this.
I am not enjoying the yarn, but the pattern is quite pleasing. I find most of these Estonian patterns to be nice to knit, intuitive and straightforward.
I'm a bit further along now and think I'm about halfway through the body section. This book, as I mentioned before, has only the stitch patterns. There is, however, a section at the front of the book that discusses width:length ratios and how to calculate sizes and edgings.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
They all have specific names
Tig oya: motifs made with crochet hook
Mekik oya: a form of tatted lace
Firkete oya: hairpin lace
Boncuk oya: made with beads
Igne oya: intricate and delicate floral motifs
I received the most wonderful book at Christmas, The Beaded Edge. The Japanese author, Midori Nishida, has three books of edgings published and Interweave Press has translated one into English.
True string PLAY and I have been having SO MUCH FUN playing around with some of the designs. As that link to Interweave said, these designs combine BASIC crochet stitches and beads.
Now I've never crocheted much. I have a Harmony Guide which has diagrams and truly diagrams are my only hope with this technique and still once I get past double crochet it gets rather hopeless.
If you've seen any of the Japanese craft books, then you know that they usually have wonderful diagrams and step-by-step instructions. This one is like that. The directions are very clear and the stitches are basic.
String + Beads = Fun.
If you click on the Interweave link above and then on the Preview tab, you can see some of the pages inside the book and at the bottom there is a link to a YouTube video of one of the designs from start to finish. All in Japanese, but with very soothing music.
So, what do I plan to do with these edgings? I haven't a clue. I only know I need to make more of them.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Sadly not a bit of it involves string.
But like a deep sea diver who is gradually surfacing, I can see light up there and I am getting closer.
I have been playing with string and I hope to show you some things soon. I have even managed to make a few pictures and get them up on Ravelry but only by lugging my camera, cord, and projects to work and getting photos during nice light at lunchtime.
Somehow though I'm already feeling behind! Retail is way ahead as usual and the stores are already filled with Valentines. Since I was finishing off my last bag of Christmas M&Ms, I went ahead and brought home the bag of red, pink, and white ones. Regardless of all else swirling around me, I do somehow manage to stay current in the M&M world!
One of the last little things I finished up before Christmas was this small drawstring bag sized to hold just a few teabags. Once again I used the beaded picot cast on from Katharine's Bag [Ravelry link] and again I joined in the round, made an eyelet casing row and straight down to a three-needle bind off at the bottom. Very quick.
I'm still using from a ball of two-color crochet cotton. I couldn't find a link so perhaps it is no longer sold. Pity as I really like the effect it gives.
Today's e-newsletter from Nordic Needle encouraged me to Learn Something New in 2012 and had links to publications on many different techniques.
Really the things one can do with string is endless. Watch the amazing pieces these women in Turkey create using only a needle and thread.