Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Tab- Barcelona Dolls

I have absolutely no information on this paper doll, except that she's from Barcelona. And the clothes are gorgeous.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Novacaine Wednesday...

Yep, more dental procedures. More needles. More drooling. I'm hoping that this is the last one for awhile.

While I wait for the numbness to fade, here's my progress on the rug-hooked seat cushion:
I'm not going to have enough of the olive green to finish the last portion of that hill, so it'll have other greens in there (it's Folk Art, it doesn't have to match). I think I'll do the tree trunk next, so that the halves meet up.

The back looks cool too, though you can see a couple of spots where I crossed-over, which is a no-no. However, Blog Commenter Fran pointed out that there are *those who find exuberant mis-matches to be Art as well. I love those people.

And for Joanna- I am very much looking forward to parking my read end on this thing- it'll be so much more comfy than a plain folding chair.

*Deanne Fitzpatrick

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday Misc

(note: I was off on another page entirely, when I realized that today is Tuesday. It's going to be that kind of day, I fear)

There isn't a whole lot going on here. Actually, there is tons going on (nearly all of it prep for SAFF workshops), but nothing upon which I can wax snarky (I'm fresh out of ink jokes). And very little of it is photogenic. However
I am making progress on the Horseshoe Lace sock. The lace pattern works perfectly with my generic sock pattern (60 sts on 2.75mm needles) and this yarn is yummy (wool/bamboo), but it won't photograph at all. I tried about six times to get a good shot (in all lights and several settings) to no avail. The colors wash out completely. Even scanning (which is what I did for the above) mutes the colors. The actual yarn is a nice springy green and purple, not that sort of blah brownish/greenish that shows in the scan. This project has been relegated to car knitting for the interim, however, because

I'm sort of obsessed with the hooked chair cushion cover. I was happy find out that I could move the hoop without pulling the loops out of place (which is a good thing, since the piece is larger all around than my biggest hoop). I've already had to adapt the design- the little stems and leaves, and the petal detail on the flowers just won't work. So instead, I'm aiming for that staple of Primitive Art: the amorphous blob. I think I have that one down pat.

On the TV front- I was really disappointed with the first episode of The Event, and nearly turned it off in boredom. But last night's installment ramped up the action, and interest. Let's hope they can maintain the momentum. And it's always wonderful to have Chuck Bartowski back on my screen.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hookin' Happily

I thought I was going to make small wall-hangings for The Grands with the Monk's Cloth that I bought at NCFF, but after remembering what my backside felt like from sitting on terrible chairs for three days running, I decided to make a chair cushion cover instead.

I waffled between a sort of sampler design, with spindles and yarn and wheels and such, and a pastoral design.

I went with the pastoral/colonial/traditional. I drew a very rough sketch of the notion on some graph paper (the finished cushion will be about 18" x 18"), and then I cut some templates from tablet paper. I traced them with a Sharpie on the cloth, and then drew in the other elements. Even-weave cloth makes drawing straight lines fairly easy (as long as you actually follow the straight line, as I did not on the first pass for the cushion bottom edge. Luckily, none of the lines will show through the hooking). I may make little leaves on the willow fronds, but I figured that I didn't need to draw them in.
It took me most of the evening to hook one sheep (this isn't going to be a quick-finish project), but I'm really pleased with the handspun yarn loops. Of course, since it's handspun (and my handspun at that), the yarn width isn't uniform- some of the yarns are heavier (in places) and some are thinner. And some of the more uniform yarns are too thin, so they had to be doubled or tripled. Though I'm not having too hard a time with it, all of my handspun yarns are 2-ply, which is a bit trickier when it comes to hooking (getting both plies in the hook).
My loop height isn't completely uniform, but it's not too bad. This is a perfect use for handspun yarns. I can never bring myself to throw any out, so I have tons of little balls, and bits and pieces of leftovers in lots of colors, so I shouldn't have a hard time coming up with different greens for the hills, bright colors for the flowers, and several blues for the sky. And should the worst happen, I can always make more...

Since the loops are formed with non-uniform yarn, the fact that they aren't lined up regimentally isn't as obvious, or critical. I don't know if I will need/want to coat the back with some sort of glue for reinforcement or not, since this piece will get a lot of wear- this project is intended to be functional, not just decorative.

I am also not sure how it'll go when it comes time to change the hoop position. The hoop itself has a very long screw (it's a quilting hoop), so it can accommodate thick fabric, but the rings may pull the loops out of place. The Hub may have to build me a larger frame for the piece but I'll cross that bridge when I hook to it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How do I know that fall is officially here?

Because of this
and this

and this

and this

and this

and this

 But mostly I know it's fall because of this:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Close enough for Horseshoes

Outside of my generic socks (with and without waffle texture), I rarely make the same pattern twice. But I've knit the Horseshoe Handspun Hat from the Summer '10 Interweave 4 times now. It's such a fun pattern, and it knits up very quickly to lovely effect. Plus, it uses up scads of that worsted weight yarn that I've been spinning lately.
I knit this one with the leftover Ugly Pink/Green/Yellow yarn (which isn't so ugly knit up). Since it's my 4th Horseshoe Handspun, I varied the lace pattern a bit by flipping the second repeat. It's okay, but I won't be doing that again- there's not enough room for that sort of variation in the hat.

There's plenty of room for variation in the socks (you knew there would eventually be socks, right?), but I'm going with the straight 10 st/10 row repeat for these. I don't remember who dyed the yarn, but I got it in Snohomish in the summer of '09. It's a wool/bamboo blend and it's knitting up beautifully. Outside of adding the lace repeat to the mix, this is my usual fingering weight sock pattern (2.75 needles, 60 sts, 6" cuff, 30 st short row heel, 6" foot, star toe). 

I finished my flower kit from the rug hooking class that I took at NCFF. Tracy let me know that her etsy store is back up and running, and that she'll be adding more to it soon. I'm getting better at not crowding the loops, though my loop height is still iffy.

The back looks pretty good though. I haven't decided what to do with this (wall hanging? small pillow? little bag?), so I haven't finished it yet. I bought a good 12" hoop (boy, they don't give those suckers away), so I can start thinking about an original hooked design now (I might use handspun yarn- I have plenty of that on hand).

If you're thinking about trying rug hooking and can't take a class locally, I recommend Gene Shepherd's YouTube videos. This starter class gives a great grounding in the craft, and he has several others detailing specific techniques.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Tab- Carrie's Country Fair

This set is cute, as are all of The Ginghams sets, but I truly don't understand the strapless undies. None of her outfits need bare shoulders, so the clothes don't demand that style. If anything, she's even more covered up than usual. It's out of character for these sets.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Hookin'

Before I get to the terrible pun, I want to take a moment to praise modern dentistry. I know that we all hate to go (I do my share of complaining, and needles make my tummy feel funny), but for a month, I've been dealing with a toothache that just wouldn't go away. I wasn't avoiding seeing the dentist, I was just waiting for my regular appt next week to deal with it. Unfortunately, the tooth refused to wait that long (think migraine in the jaw) and yesterday my wonderful dentist made room in his very busy schedule to pull the tooth. I can't begin to tell you all how much better I feel- I was in and out in an hour, and this lack of pain thing is amazing. I didn't realize how much it hurt until it stopped. I suppose I won't be as thrilled next week for my regular cleaning and a small filling, but right now? It's Woohoo for Dentists in this house.

Okay, back to lame jokes. I finished the little Snowman rug hooking kit that I won at last year's NCFF from Tracy Kellen, of On The Prairie Rugs (her etsy shop seems to have disappeared, but I know she was planning to list more stuff, so I think I'm just looking in the wrong place. I'll post a link as soon as I find one). My hooking is nowhere near as neat and uniform as it should be, but this little guy looks good just the same. I love his bemused expression.

The instructions say to glue the wool backing in place, but I sewed it instead (tucking the raw edges in on the way around). I think the only real difference between sewing and gluing (besides poking my finger several times) is that the outer edge might not be quite as stable without glue to stiffen it. Even so, I am more than happy with how this came out, even though it took me an entire year to finish it.

It's not taking me as long to finish the kit from Tracy's rug hooking class. My loops are getting better- more even and more uniform, though the loop height is variable (something you can't see as well in this picture). I just have two corners to finish, but my hoop wasn't big or sturdy enough. I'll have to finish those edges without a hoop. I'll get the hooking done tonight, and probably the backing sewn on as well (unless I decide to glue the backing). Have I mentioned that Tracy hand-dyes all of her wools?

I was enthusiastic enough about the process to buy some materials from Tracy for my own designs- a half yard of Monk's Cloth for backing, and a bundle of red wools (for a ladybug motif, of course). I do wish I had asked Tracy to cut the wool into 1/4" strips for me. I can do it with my rotary cutter, but they won't be nearly as crisp and neat as the ones she cuts.

Speaking of NCFF purchases (I kept to my vow, btw- no new fiber or yarn... well, except for the teeny little batt from Dragon Craft to go with the one I won... but that hardly counts), I forgot to show you these nifty fridge magnets that I got from JL Yarnworks. She also sells my favorite stitch markers, makes great little crocheted earrings, crafts necklaces from scrabble tiles, and dyes absolutely gorgeous sock yarns. Check her store out.
Edited to add: And Jackie uses good, strong magnets- these are not just decorative, they're functional!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Big Book of Socks Errata- Worsted Weight and Fingering Weight Afterthought Heel Socks

An alert knitter let me know of omissions in the Worsted Weight and FingeringWeight Afterthought Heel Socks, and that the toe decreases are misplaced in The Big Book of Socks.

The instructions for each should read:

Round Worsted Weight Afterthought Heel Sock
-page 31

Add to Toe Instructions: Decrease as for the heel.

Next Rnd Heel Division should read:

K 12(18, 22, 24, 26, 30), sts, place marker, K to end of rnd.

Round Fingering Weight Afterthought Heel Sock
-page 32, 33

Page 32 Next Rnd Heel Division should read:
K 18 (22, 26, 30, 32, 36), place marker, K to end of rnd.

Page 33, Add to Toe Instructions: Decrease as for heel.
My abject apologies for the errors and omissions.

Monday, September 20, 2010

NCFF- Day 3, Part 2

And to wrap up the weekend, lots of pictures.

But first, I want to give a shout-out to the organizers of NCFF. I look forward to this weekend every year, and the festival gets better each time. It feels like it runs seamlessly, and that does not happen without a lot of hard (invisible) work. And I have a fantastic time each and every year, and that surely is not an accident. Thank you all, for all your time and effort.

So to the pics:
A few of the Fiber Sandwich entries. The Fiber Sandwich consisted of many different donated fibers, mixed and spread out, and then divided into lumps and given to individual spinners, who could spin them any way they wanted to.

The many variations were totally amazing.

Mine didn't come out exactly as I'd hoped (I wanted more *boucle*), but it was still okay. The skeins were silent-auctioned off, and the proceeds went to charity.

The Dragon Craft booth- spindle heaven.

Rug Hooking inspiration from On The Prairie Rugs.

And more...

Here's what I did with that inspiration. Nowhere near perfect, but not bad for a newbie.

The backs look cool too.

In addition to the Fiber Sandwich skein, I also spun a hank of Rambo/Cottswold, self-striping roving (which I washed and dyed, and had processed a couple of years ago). It's 3.2 ozs, and 91 yards. Not quite enough for a sock, but I have some sort of matching yarn for toes and heels (and enough R/C to spin another skein). The other yarn is the spindle-spun prize wool from Dragon Crafts (half prize, the other half purchased). It's 1.2 ozs and 46 yards, which is not enough for an entire project, but I have enough yarn in a similar weight/coordinating color to fill out a pair of fingerless mittens, I think.

This lady showed me a pair of socks that she was knitting from The Big Book of Socks. I'm sorry the shot is a little fuzzy- I love seeing my designs in the wild.

I bought these headbands from the Inca Crafts booth. I think The Grands will be delighted.

This was another prize- I think The Grands will also love it. I didn't see who donated it though, so I don't know who to thank. It's beautifully made.

But this is the prize that touched my heart. I was surprised and thrilled to learn that the Hitchcock sweater had been given such an honor.

So, one wonderful Fiber Festival down (where I was recognized as much by my Rav pin/name as I was by the sweater I was wearing, the Dakota Dreams prototype), and SAFF is on the horizon. No rest for the Fiber Fanatics, which is just the way I like it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

NCFF Day 3-Part 1

I'm back home, tired but absolutely thrilled with this year's NCFF. I'll write more tomorrow about the wonderful weekend, but in the meantime, here are a couple of photos and a few links...

I won this adorable little hand-made resin spindle and these lovely fibers from Dragon Craft Spindles (who will make custom spindles!).

I used the kitty spindle to spin one of the prize batts, and then I used one of my own spindles and spun another batt (this one purchased).

And then I cheated and plyed the singles on the wheel. I'm don't spin as consistently with a spindle as with a wheel, so the yarn is pretty, but it isn't as uniform as it should be. This little skein (about 1.5 ozs) is drying now. It'll probably be enough yarn for a pair of fingerless mittens.

Unfortunately, my Fair Isle Design Class was cancelled (I think maybe Sunday is the wrong day to schedule an all-day class). Fortunately, that freed  me to take a class. I signed up for a rug hooking class with Tracy Kellen, of On the Prairie Rugs (and I was going to post a link, but her etsy store seems to be empty at the moment- take my word for it, her kits are great). Anyway, I won one of her small kits last year as a prize, and bobbled it totally.

But Tracy is a great teacher (it's not her fault that my hooking is nowhere near as precise or uniform as her work-see the sample in the other pic), and I learned a lot about what I did wrong with the snowman- enough that I actually finished him when I got home tonight. Afterwards, I finished filling in the flower on today's class project. I think I'll be doing more hooking... in my spare time, of course. 

I met up with Marianne Billings, who confirmed my invitation to teach workshops at the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival, held in Lake Elmo, MN, every May! Woohoo!