Saturday, February 18, 2012

Craft Winds are shifting

I can feel it in the air - there's a new season coming. I don't mean spring, I mean quilting. The signs are there. I've seen them many times before. It's happened with stain glass work, cross stitch, quilting, so many other crafts.

First sign is starting to look at my old projects from a different craft (this time quilting). I start looking at the projects and think about "what if". I've been looking at the wall hanging in the living room thinking about what if I made a new hanging for each season. What if I made a new table runner for the coffee table. What if I made a new quilt for myself cause my current one is pretty worn out.

Next sign is checking out a few new craft books from the library. Ooh, pretty. I want to make that!

Then I start looking through my fabric stash and putting different pieces together thinking about how they'd look together in a quilt.

I hit the Quilt websites looking at new fabric, new projects, I've paged through my quilting books. I've planned trips to the quilt shops in the area. Thought about going to the International Quilt festival this fall in Houston since its been over 10 years since I've been there. Yep - all the signs are there for a new craft season.

I realized I had no picture of Bert sticking his head through the sewing machine while I tried to sew (plenty of pics of Chief and the sewing machine but he was still pretty small) and realized it's been a LONG time since I quilted.

The final sign was when I used all the money I got for working a ton of overtime the past few months and got a new sewing machine - a really cool fancy sewing machine. I think my old machine was unconsciously holding me back from quilting. It's a good machine but old and just not as fine tuned as I want for doing quilting.

I will always continue to knit but I'm guessing over the next few months some quilting will be making its way into the blog posts cause the craft winds are shifting.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

Oh yeah, this is what winter is like - minus the snow but, today reminded us it's winter in Minnesota and that usually means it's stinkin' cold out there!

Not being one to want to suffer needlessly, I stayed inside. I knit, exercised (really - can you believe it!), eat minimally, and played with the boys. We haven't had a good rousing game of Fishy-Fishy for a while so Bert and I got busy with the fish.

After a while Chief got a little jealous and decided he had to join in the game. While they don't play with the same vigor they did as kittens (they're 7 & 10 years now), they did claim victory against the fishy many times.

While you're looking at the fishy pics - take a gander at the afghan on the floor. That, my friends, is a vintage piece of crochet from my hands. It's all acrylic - or maybe Orlon. Back in the day acrylic was called orlon quite frequently. Anyway - I made that afghan my first year of college so it is from 1973-1974. You will notice there are NO holes in it. I think it will survive another century or 2 the way its holding up. It gets thrown around, abused and keeps on ticking. The only thing that has really aged on it is the coloring. The denim blue color used to be royal blue. The sun kind of did a number on it but - all in all this has been a very faithful afghan!

Earlier this week I went to put on an outfit and decided I needed an accent scarf to complete the look. Unfortunately, I didn't have a scarf to match what I was wearing. Right then and there I decided to fix the situation. I have a couple colors I need to get a scarf made in and this blue/purple is first up. I had some Happy Hands Hand Dyed Yarn - fingering weight in Bell Bottom Blues for a while. It's a Merino Bamboo blend and so soft. I know I'll love it. The pattern is Precious Metals by Jackie Palmer, but I won't be adding beads.

I while back I started another scarf but this one is more one for winter. I'm hoping winter will be gone before I finish it and it will be a nice start to next winter. It's Alpaca using a pattern from the Luxury Yarns One-skein Wonders book - Nancy Pygora Merino Lace Scarf.

One more pic. I finished these socks a while back but they were stuffed into the bottom of my knitting bag and just reappeared when I was looking for the 2nd ball of yarn for the Merino Lace scarf
The socks are the toe up Monkey sock pattern and the yarn is Paca-Peds from the Alpaca Yarn Co. The yarn comes with a mini hank of a solid color to match the multi color hank. So - the cuff and toes have their own look.

Well, that's it - knitting, playing, eating (and sleeping). Hope your weekend is as relaxing.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Let there be Pictures

I've been knitting - really I have. I'm just not good at getting pictures taken. Here's a boat load of pics that I took tonight - lousy lighting but I figure better lousy lighting than nothing.

Even though this winter has been pretty warm in Minnesota you can always use another pair of slippers. So, I took the leftover yarn (Woolease) from one of my sweaters, doubled it up and started knitting a toe. Not wanting it to be a very boring heavy sock I added a moss stitch diamond at the toe and for the cuff I did moss stitch instead of rib. This has a plain short row heel and I'm very happy with it. I'm thinking I'll be even more happy when I actually finished the 2nd slipper.

I love to have some washcloths hanging around the finished box because they make great hostess presents. I started making soap last summer so one of the washcloths with a couple bars of my soap works out well for a present. The left cloth is the diagonal cloth that everyone seems to have a pattern for. The right one is called Petal dishcloth by Hazel Schrock. I love this pattern. It's easy to knit but has something to keep you interested as you watch the petals grow.

December I decided this year I would be sure to make a fancy hat every month for charity. I'll still make plenty of "plain" hats to give away but I wanted to push the bar and be sure to make a special one that I hope will end up making someone who has little feel a bit more special. This pattern is Regina by Carina Spencer. The band starts with an i-cord that is joined to create a loop and ends by creating a fan. Fun knit!

Back in 2009 I started a mitered sock yarn project. It ended up being named "It's not an Afghan". This week I (mostly) finished it. That is - if it is going to be a shawl. If this is the case I want to make some half squares for the edge to smooth out the points. But - I've been thinking. I still have a ton of sock yarn and this may end up being an afghan after all. I'm thinking I could make 3 more of these and seam them all together so the 4 points meet in the middle. Only question now is - how crazy am I?

In December I showed you pictures of the yarn I dyed with my friend Sarah. 2 of the 50 gm hanks have become a shawl. The grape hank and the grape/blue raspberry hank. This pic is terrible because it still needs to be blocked. I wanted a simple design because of the blotching of the colors but didn't want something too plain. Once I get this blocked I'll get around to writing up the pattern.

Last but not least is a vest. It's a slightly shorter vest than I usually make - obviously still needs blocking but I wanted to get a picture up just to let you see I've been knitting more than my previous blog posts would indicate. I loved this pattern. It's Iris from the Berroco team. Still needs buttons.

The bottom has cables in the lace and once it's blocked - it will be awesome.

OK. That's it for now. Time to get back to knitting. Maybe even some blocking.

Oh- I've signed up for a couple classes at Yarnover this April. One of them is Making the next Monkey with Amy Singer. It's a class on how to present your designs for magazines, etc. I know she's not going to take one look at my designs and grab them all saying she can't imagine how she survived all these years without my creations but - I do believe I will get some really good tips and learn what it takes to present my designs to their best.

With the idea of some day sending my designs into magazines I have several item I've knit that very few have ever seen.Some of them have been written up and tested but I know magazines don't want your designs shown until they publish it. Makes it tough when you want to show off your stuff!