Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yee Haw!

Look what arrived yesterday:
The replicated fabrics I designed through Spoonflower, in order to repair the Horsie quilt that I bought at Lorah's auction!

I altered several of the files before ordering full yard pieces- all of the above were reduced (some drastically) from the sample swatch size. I did try to *dirty* up the horse pattern but that didn't work so well. I'll have to stain the fabric manually.

The new print is just a tad bigger than the original, but still a good enough match.

This one is closer to the proper size, though still a bit large.

In case you're adding up a mental total- that's $7.50 for the quilt, $5 @ for 5 sample swatches, and $16.50 @ for 1 yard each of the 5 fabrics...I'm thinking of it in the nature of an experiment, not a cost effective way to deal with an auction bargain...
I won't get to any of the repair work until we get back from SoCal, but I'm looking forward to tackling this project.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Who you gonna call? Stashbusters!

I ain't afraid of no yarn...

Sorry, I'm a little punchy- much to do today (including writing chapter of the YA I'm working on), and much to do tomorrow, before we take off Wednesday for a week in SoCal. I'll blog the trip, of course.

But in the meantime, I'm maintaining my vow to buy no yarn or fiber until I make a dent in what I already own. To wit:
This yarn became

These socks, which are

heavy boot socks for winter, which is coming, today's high temps and sticky air  and *enhanced* tornado watch notwithstanding. I had to try a couple of times to get the right stitch count and gauge- I ended up using size 6 needles and 40 sts. The socks didn't eat up all of the yarn, however. I still had enough left to knit

most of this hat. The lighter stripes on the crown came from a pair of thinner handspun yarns that I held together.

So now I have 2 more partial balls of yarn to use up. But I'm gaining on it, I tell you. Gaining.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wodehouse, for Alan

My friend Alan  blogged a bit about his new workspace and his bookshelf, which is crammed with nearly everything that P.G. Wodehouse ever wrote. My Wodehouse collection isn't nearly as large, but I thought I'd show it off anyway. These books have a place of honor among my office bookshelves.
I came to Wodehouse in a round-about way. I'd heard of Jeeves of course (in fact Jeeves was generic for Butler in my family- as in, "Jeeves, kindly replace the toilet paper roll in the bathroom", or "Jeeves, peel me a grape."), but my first exposure to the literary version was through a Wodehouse-inspired short story in one of the science fiction magazines that I used to get (Isaac Asimov's? Analog?) that featured Lord Emsworth  (or an Emsworth type) switching brains with his beloved pig Empress (the result? not a lot of difference either way). I don't remember the title or the author, but I definitely remember that it was incredibly funny. And that it led me to my library

Where I discovered Uncle Fred in the Springtime, which I think is the funniest book I've ever read. Period.

Jacket blurbs never do books justice, and that's the case with this one as well. The story is wonderfully funny, so funny that you might not notice how incredibly well it was plotted and written. And of course, Uncle Fred led me to the rest of the oeuvre, which I devoured.
Unfortunately, I was the only one who ever checked these books out from our library, so when they finally got to be too shabby for the shelves, the librarian offered them to me (as opposed to tossing them the garbage bin). I jumped at the chance to own the set. I was even more excited when I saw this:

The book is in tough shape- ragged binding, torn cover, no dust jacket- just the glued flaps, retired library written all over inside (and as Alan pointed out- it's an American first edition, no British spelling), but still...

But regardless of the edition, it's the words that count. And this, word for word, is the funniest passage in the English language:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion

I don't crochet often, but I jumped at the chance to contribute a shawl to Taunton's new The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion, edited by Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Gallo, the founders of the Prayer Shawl Ministry. I got my contributor copies a week ago or so, and though it's not slated for release for another week, I see that Amazon has it in stock.

As with The Prayer Shawl Companion, this new book is full of beautiful shawls, each with an uplifting story, and an accompanying blessing or prayer.

My design is dedicated to my daughter-in-law Genevieve.
I am honored to be included in this lovely book.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday Tab on Friday- Tammy and Pepper Playbook, Part 2

Part 2 of the Tammy and Pepper Playbook (apologies for forgetting it yesterday)

I have my doubts that poking a tab through the neck will actually hold the outfits on the doll.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Any Old Port in a storm

Note: Oops, I forgot it was Thursday. I'll post the Thursday Tab paper doll tomorrow. Sorry.

Remember the huge section of patchwork quilt top that I got at my friend Lorah's auction (the same one where I got the horse quilt)? Well, I decided to see how it would perform, cut up and sewn like regular fabric.

I'd say it performs just fine.

Inspired by my friend Mary, I bought a couple of old sheets at the Salvation Army store, and used one for the lining (though I didn't find any nice flowered sheets, just white and off-white- $1.50 for enough fabric to line 10 bags... not a bad bargain). This Old Port Carryall bag isn't quite as self-supporting as the first one I made from the Spoonflower What Knitting Needles? fabric, but that's because the outer shell isn't canvas. That said, it's sturdy, and pretty, and certainly practical. I especially like the bias pockets.

Speaking of Spoonflower (as I often do, these days)

My sample swatch of the primary colorway of the What Knitting Needles? camo fabric arrived. Once again, my reds turned into oranges.This looks fine, but it's not what I had in mind. I'm going to have to ask the Spoonflower folks for a formula for a red that prints true so I can use that in my designs. This fabric is available for ordering now, but be aware that the reds that show on the file won't print out red.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spinning right round

I'm still in spinning mode, and lately I've been reminded of a few things that I already knew but forgot.
#1. No matter how pretty this kind of roving looks before spinning

It always looks like this afterwards- muddy. Now, it's a pretty mud, but it's still mud.

#2. Ebay bargains, in this case 17,000 yds (I'm not kidding) of very fine brushed mohair yarn for $9, may sit in the Wool Room for years, but eventually I'll think of something to do with it, like

using it to ply with muddy yarn. On the right, we have 1 ply of the mud roving and 1 ply of brushed mohair (it'll make a lovely halo after it's knit up), 2.6 ozs and 133 yds. On the left, we have a boucle experiment- 1.3 ozs, 94 yds, 1 ply brushed mohair, 1 ply sewing thread, 1 ply metallic glitter strand.

#3. Old Spin-Off magazines are wonderful. I was thumbing through back issues for a pattern that I vaguely remembered, when I came across the instructions for making boucle yarn. Since the Monster Mohair Cone was already out, I gave it a shot. I think this turned out beautifully, and I plan to try again with handspun.

#4. Ugly roving sometimes makes pretty yarn. The yarn on the left was a Merino blend that I'm hoping I got in a trade, because if I actually bought this green/yellow/pink stuff, I need my eyes examined. It was totally ugly in the bag, but I have to say that the 4.5ozs and 183 yds spun up rather prettily. The yarn on the right was gorgeous in the bag, and it turned out just as pretty spun up. It's naturally dyed with Goldenrod and I think it came from Connie at Colors by Nature's Studio- it's soft and sproingy, and will probably be used with the formerly ugly green/yellow/pink.

#5. It takes a long time and a lot of concerted effort to use up every bit of 1lb of handspun yarn in small projects. I knit another waffle hat with the Decadent Fibers Jelly Roll yarn, this one smaller than the first. I still have a small ball left, which I will use with the novelty yarn to the right, to knit one more hat. With that, the yarn should be gone. I hope.

#6. I'm still not tired of spinning. Go figure.

#7. The stash in the Wool Room doesn't look any smaller yet. sigh.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What knitting needles bag?

In anticipation of the delivery of the What Knitting Needles? fabric from Spoonflower, I ordered the Aunties Two Old Port Carryall bag pattern, along with some other patterns, from  Keepsake Quilting (who delivered my order in pretty much record time).

I had to take the Fearless Fair Isle galley proofs to the FedEx office in Aberdeen yesterday, so I ran a few errands while I was up there, including picking out a lining fabric for the knitting camo (I could easily have designed and ordered coordinating quilting weight cotton fabric from Spoonflower, but that would have taken another 2 weeks for delivery, and though I am batty about Spoonflower, I am not so batty that I want to use $18 @ yard fabric as lining). I found this fantastic stripe which is part of the Sedona collection, by Laura Berringer, for Marcus Brothers, at the quilting/fabric/sewing machine store. It doesn't have all of the camo colors in it, but it matches well enough.
It's a little brighter in tone than the camo, but overall, is an excellent match.

I didn't take pictures of the bag construction, because those processes belong to the pattern instructions, but it was an interesting project- fiddly, and certainly not a quick-sew (it took me all afternoon and most of the evening and one broken needle, to assemble the bag, ). And since I used fabrics and batting (instructions for that method included), rather than pre-quilted fabric, it took even longer- not to mention that the canvas twill camo is heavy, making assembly an even slower process. But...
It's beautiful, no?

The bag is quite sturdy- it stands up without support, and is about 15" x 13", with 4 nice deep outer pockets (it was supposed to have inside pockets as well, but I didn't want to have to sew through all that extra bulk).

The handle construction is interesting (cotton cord inside a cloth tube, though I used several pieces of clothesline because I couldn't find the right size of cotton cord), and I'm not entirely sure that I attached them to the bag correctly (there was handsewing involved). Another photo or two of that step would have been helpful in the pattern. But overall, the bag went together very well, and I am extremely happy with it.

It's fully lined, with no raw edges showing inside or out. BTW- the matchy matchy striping there was purely accidental. The other side didn't line up at all.

And it's about 5" wide, which means there is plenty of room for whatever knitting project I want to carry.

And I made it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Didja miss me?

I had a bit of a modem blowout, which resulted in no internet access for awhile (I get the shakes just thinking about it). But we're up and running again, so before I leave to ferry the Fearless Fair Isle Knitting galley proof pages up to the FedEx office (another book stage done! woohoo!), this is what happened  here over the weekend:

Spoonflower has really speeded up their turnaround times. I'm not complaining- I'm glad that the company is becoming more popular, I want it to stay in business. But it's nice to get my orders in less than 3 weeks now. This is the What Knitting Needles? camo fabric. I had it printed on their canvas twill fabric, which will be perfect for aprons and tote bags and other heavier projects. The colors came out beautifully (and the design glitch where the peach/purple section changes colors abruptly has been fixed). This photo was taken before washing and machine drying the fabric (which is 60" wide, which helps make up for the cost... $32 @ yard).

This is the fabric after washing. The difference is subtle, but I like it. The colors are a bit more muted (not a lot, but enough to notice) and the texture of the fabric shows more. I am pleased.

I had these printed on a sample (8" x 8")swatch. $5 for 12 labels- not bad. I can add a date with a fine point sharpie before sewing them to, well, whatever. I designed the border in Adobe Illustrator.

I designed and ordered this swatch just to see how Spoonflower would handle photos on fabric. I'd say they handle them just fine. I called this My Grandchildren's Grandmothers. I have no idea if I'll order a full yard, or what I would do with it if I did, but it's cool. That's all of us, by the way (me, my mother, my two grandmas, my husband's mom- in the towel in the snow, and his grandma). BTW- the labels on the fabric are printed too. I made the Spoonflower file by printing out scans and taping them and the labels to a piece of paper and then scanning that. I love the shadows and depth of the entire image.

And in the non-fabric arena, these fibers all came from Kelly Knispel and the South Dakota Colored Wool Studio, from her Spinner's Web line. The Peach is wool/mohair/silk noil and is 100 yds and 3.7 ozs. The variegated in the middle is wool/mohair/thrums and was dyed naturally. It's 64 yds and 2.3 ozs. The red is Rick's Red II (named after Rick Mondragon, editor of Knitter's, which is based in Sioux Falls dontchaknow). It's Lincoln-Icelandic cross/mohair/silk noil. It's 2.2 ozs and 75 yards.

I do believe these 3 yarns belong together. As socks.

Note: some days the Blogspot image upload window looks different. On those days, the text does not center under the photos. Most days, it's the old window, and on those days (like today), nothing I do will justify the text to the left (and I've tried everything, believe me). sigh.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ride 'em Cowboy!

My sample replicated fabric swatches for the damaged Horsie quilt arrived from Spoonflower! Most of the files need some tweaking, which is why it's a good idea to order the $5 swatch before you get an $18 yard...

The Horse fabric looks great, but it's too large. I'll shrink the file before ordering more (though actually, I don't really need more of this fabric- the original horsies are in pretty good shape). I knew I'd have to age the fabric. It would have been hard to design age spots printed directly on the fabric.
This print is the right scale but the wrong brown, though it looks okay with most of the quilt (there's lots of that shade in the other fabrics).
The black and red flower print is just about perfect. I will need at least a yard of it because the quilt's creator used this fabric all over on the border, and all of those triangles are deteriorating.

The colors are fine on this print, but YIKES! How did I get it so big? I'll have to shrink it 75% to get it to the proper scale.
For some reason, this print is scaled much better, but it's still too big, by about half.
All of the fabrics (except the black and red) need "stains" and "ageing". I tried tea-dyeing but the not enough of the color absorbed (of course, I want it to stain, so it won't). So I'm going to try coffee next, and maybe a little judicious spillage, just to get that antique look going.

It'll still be awhile before I start repair work in earnest, but Spoonflower has speeded up their turn-around, so I don't think it'll be all that long before I can dig in.