Friday, August 29, 2008

Stashbuster In Progress

Remember when I wove that chenille last fall? I had to wait until the guild loom was ready before I could begin weaving the second stage.

stash buster 2

It was quite a wait, but it's my turn now!

second stash buster

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Road Knitting

I don't consider myself an avid sock knitter even though I almost always have a pair of socks in the works. While some knitters can't get enough of the sock knitting, I save my sock knitting for the otherwise mind bogglingly boring moments of life. I get a pair of socks going and then tuck the project away to be used as emergency knitting.

I take this type of mindless knitting on any car trip where I will be a passenger. I take it along when there is a chance that I will be stuck in a waiting room, or in a long boring meeting. I also use the ongoing sock project to keep my hands busy when I'm visiting.....more productive than fidgeting!


2.5 mm
: Marks & Kattens Clown
2 skeins = 379.9 yards (347.4m)
Colourway 1688

I cast on this pair of socks on World Wide Knit In Public Day and then barely touched them again until our road trip to Prince George. I finished the Peasant Heel of the second sock last night, the final step in finishing up the pair. As relieved as I was to have them finally completed......


....I immediately cast on for the next pair.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Masters Monday - 2.30

Two steps forward, one step back.

I had hoped to finish the argyle part of this sock some time tonight but I've had a set back. I could probably still reach that goal but I think I've had my fill of this thing for a while.

See the purple cord in the photos? That's the cord of my circular needle. I've run the needle through the stitches of a single row (at least I hope it's all in the same row), below the mistake I found.

I'm hoping that when I rip back the cable will catch the stitches and also help each section end on the same row. Trouble with ripping without a safety line in place cost me the entire argyle section the last time.

Anyway, this is the instep section. Even losing the portion I have to rip, I am nearing the end of the argyle knitting. Next step will be to sew in all the numerous ends and to duplicate stitch the lines. Then there is still the knitting of the sole and the toe.....but thankfully that will only be with the one colour.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Noro Silk Garden Scarf

On my trip to Alberta by car, last week, I started this scarf. It's knit using Noro Silk Garden in colour ways 211 and 8.

I finished it on the return trip, casting off in Kamloops and sewing in the ends on the Coquihalla highway.
A perfectly chosen project for a long (about 12 hours each way) road trip. It was easy enough to allow me to watch passing scenery, yet colourful enough to make it worth looking down and admiring/petting it once in awhile. And how nice to have a project last the whole trip and yet be completed just before I arrived home.

At 5 and a half inches wide and 5 feet, 6 inches long , I used most of the 4 balls of Noro Silk Garden (2 balls of each colour way).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Masters Monday - 2.29

All I ask of myself, in regard to the TKGA Master Knitter program, is that each week I do at least some small thing. Progress, even if it is small, is still better than allowing stagnation.

The only progress I can report this week is reaching the half way point in the second row of diamonds. This is the dividing point where I put the side/heel stitches on holders and continue on, in pattern, down the arch of the foot. (Please ignore the messy bits at the joining points of the two tiers of diamonds. That will be cleaned up as I darn in the ends. No, really......I already checked that it works.)

This bit of argyle knitting was all completed today because we spent last week out of town.....out of the province completely, actually. We were a 12 hour drive away in Lethbridge, Alberta visiting my mom and her husband. I took knitting with me, of course, but I wasn't sure I would have the needed focus to work on the argyle sock in the car so I took along something else. Completed the whole project too! More on that in the coming week.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Rose Grows

Progress continues on the "Roses" cross-stitch.

I've really been enjoying working on it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scarf Initiated

The beginnings of a scarf. Mindless knitting for long car trips.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Masters Monday - 2.28

Bobbin Management

Oooooo, this argyle sock has been a struggle! I've knit this far on the sock twice now....I lost the first attempt, all the way back to the ribbing, after trying to rip back a mistake. Never, NEVER try to rip "a few rows" of argyle. Pick it back one stitch at a time if you have to, but never pull out your needle and attempt to rip the whole row. None of the colours go all the way across the row. Yes, I wish I had remembered that.

The work is going much faster now that I have worked out this nifty system for handling the multiple bobbins and keeping them in order and untangled while I work. I have secured each bobbin to a peg in the raddle for my table loom. Once in place the top of the raddle snaps back on and the bobbins are able to move enough to unwind, but they are held in place and can't get out of order.

This technique might only work with this particular type of argyle where each purl side row is identical to the knit row that proceeded it. I always pick up the new colour from under the old one, and on the knit row they become entwined, but on the purl side they untangle on their own. At the end of each row I lay the knitting on top of the loaded raddle, facing the same direction it was when I was knitting, then I pick up the whole shebang and turn it around. Now the other side of the knitting faces me and the bobbins are all in the correct order for the return trip.

Much better!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Receiving Blanket

When my children were babies I made my own receiving blankets. They weren't any cheaper to make, but they were thicker, larger, and I liked them perfectly square....better for swaddling a newborn. Now I make them as gifts for new babies in the family.

I start by cutting a 40 - 42" square of heavy flannel.

Then I round the corners with whatever is handy...... a small dish usually has the right curve. Taking the time to curve the corners really helps later when doing the machine tight corners to navigate!

I fold the blanket into quarters and cut all 4 corners at once with a rotary cutter so that they match. Then I stitch all the way around using a simple scallop stitch standard on many basic sewing machines.

Then I trim away the excess for a neat, no fray edge. On this particular receiving blanket I added a small heart of handwoven fabric so that it would match the heavier blanket it was meant to coordinate with.

Sorry, no finished photo of this. I gave the blanket away before getting a picture.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Comfortable If Not Stylin'

Although I have knit myself nice sweaters and hoodies and I own a perfectly good robe, around the house when I'm chilly, I find myself most often reaching for my comfy, over sized, plaid flannel shirt.

This isn't my first. I've repurposed my husband's cast off work shirts before. It all started with one that he wore the elbows out of. I intended to use it as a "painting shirt" and cut the sleeves off above those worn out elbows. It wasn't long before I realized I had a really good thing going there. These flannel shirts aren't just comfortable, they are also comfortING, like a baby's blankie, they feel like a warm snuggly hug.

This time I have acquired a perfectly good shirt to make over. It's not even worn out yet! My husband weeded this one out of his closet saying that it was too small. With the additon of a bit of fleece bias binding (sleeves still needed to be cropped to a functional-on-me length), I've claimed it as my own......and the old tattered one with the cut off frayed sleeves can now retire with honor.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hot Seat

When I spin I'm careful to sit in a chair that allows me to maintain a comfortable posture. If I don't, I pay for it later with back pain and migraines. When I first started spinning I bought a wooden chair and refinished it. It's still a good chair for spinning, but I have found it heavy and awkward to take along to the guild's weekly spin-ins. I've been searching for a lightweight, comfortable folding chair.

I found a plain, upholstered folding chair, the kind you can buy at most department stores. It was boring, but it was comfortable.

It required personalization.

And personality!

Now this grandma spins in style.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

KaPow Colour

A jolt of colour in the form of hand dyed silk hankies. These are not the kind of hankie carried by grandmothers and used to wipe noses and dab at tears. These hankies are a form of silk preparation where silk cocoons are stretched over frames, layer upon layer.

I bought them at a local fibre festival over a year ago. Spinning silk hankies is a new experience for me.

I think I like it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New Cross-Stitch Project

I used to do a fair bit of cross-stitch. One of my pieces even won a first place at the Chilliwack Exhibition in 1993. I don't believe I've done any cross-stitch at all in the past decade though. My passion for other fiber arts has left little time for this less creative, yet enjoyable and relaxing, hobby.

I say "less creative" because I find it very much like paint by number except with thread and needle. I don't have to draw the picture or choose the colours. I just place all those little stitches exactly where the charts tell me to using exactly the colours specified. Still, it is not without some measure of skill. Those thousands of tiny stitches do still have to be correctly formed and done with care and neatness.

Although I may find cross-stitch less of a creative challenge than some of the other things I do, it is still very relaxing and somewhat addicting in nature, and results in a spectacularly beautiful end product.

I've been admiring this particular kit for years now. I have seen it often in the Mary Maxim catalogue. When I saw it recently in a local department store, and for a reasonable price, I just couldn't resist its lure any longer. I thought I would put it away for "some day", but despite all the other things I have on the go right now, this little bit of pleasure snuck to the top of my least for a while. I put no time limit on these kinds of things. It could be years before I actually complete it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Masters Monday - 2.27

The beginning of the dreaded argyle sock, 2 inches of 2x2 ribbing.

So far it's going pretty well. Hopefully success will stick with me through the colour work section.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Although they may look something like tribbles, let me assure you they are not. They're just nice neat balls of combed wool, ready for sorting and spinning. If they were tribbles they would be multiplying at a much faster rate! I get, on average, only 6 of these small balls per hour.

Over the past year, combing only in the summer months, I have been slowly making my way through an entire fleece. It has a lot of VM in it so combing is the only way to go. As I was washing the fleece I dyed batches of it in an old crock pot in any colour that struck my fancy at the time. When I am all finished the combing I will sort it out into pleasing colour schemes before spinning.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Combing Apron

I've been combing wool nearly every day, and every day my clothes have been covered with VM (vegetable matter....the grit, grass and occasional bug that falls out of the wool while its being combed). I've been using a lap cloth, but that only gets what falls into my lap. The remainder finds its way onto my shirt where it clings like burrs to a dog's hind end.

I found some inexpensive denim and a bit of "grunge gingham" for contrast, (the gingham that has a beige background instead of the traditional white), and set to work making myself a long, wide apron with a tall bib. Problem solved!

I actually had enough fabric to make TWO of these aprons, so rather than have it go to waste or have it sitting around for years waiting for another project, I went ahead and made the second apron. I wonder if anyone else could use a full coverage, heavy apron? Maybe a trade of some sort?