Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Cap for Dad

It's kind of hard to think of gifts for my mom and dad; however, when I hit upon the right thing, they are the BEST ever at being appreciative. I have already written about Mom's Summit Stole that I gave to her for Mother's Day. She calls me periodically to tell me about all the compliments she gets when she wears it. I like that. I snapped this photo of them when they took us out to dinner for our anniversary around Memorial Day. For Mom's birthday I bought her 2 shawl pins but I forgot to get photos of those. Maybe next time.

Mom has been hinting that Dad would like another hat so I knit one for Father's Day, and presented it along with a batch of oatmeal-raisin cookies. From their reactions in this photo you might think they had just won the lottery, but no, it's just their joy is seeing a hat. (He had already eaten some of the cookies.) See what I mean? Pure rapture for a knitter.

Dad tried it on right away, although he drew the line at wearing it in 90 degree heat.

Yep, it covers his ears, too!

The pattern is Vegamot, a free pattern from the blog Hespetre. "Vegamot" is an old Norse word meaning "crossroads". I like the way the 3 and 1 ribbing flows into the main part of the hat. I used a provisional crochet cast on because I could check my gauge right away. That really was unnecessary and caused a little frustration when I went back down to pick up and knit the ribbing. The reason is that I didn't knit a plain row before starting in on the pattern. I learned that little tip from the Knitmore Girls podcast in their review of a Lucy Neatby DVD. Thank you Jasmin and Gigi. Now I know why that provisional cast on was not so provisional. Lesson learned! Needle and yarn notes are on my Ravelry page.
This pattern was fun to knit and I like the end result. In fact, I believe I'll be making more of these.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm Back with Shawls

Just before vacation I started on Kjaellingesjal by Mette Rorbech. Mette researched and reproduced a shawl in the Vensyssel Museum in Denmark. Thanks to her generosity, it is written down as a pattern and translated from the Danish. The name means "old hag shawl" but I have more pleasant images of Old Denmark.

Although the patterns calls for DK weight I am using the lovely fingering weight yarn from The Woolen Rabbit, in the color Scottish Heather. I bought two skeins of this yarn several months ago and was waiting for the perfect project. I probably don't have enough yardage and hope I can order more from Kim. This colorway is so beautiful! There are bits of a muted green, lavendar, periwinkle, and loads of interesting undertones. When the bright periwinkle bits show up I am unreasonably and ridiculously thrilled. During our time at the cabin I knit the bottom lace border and picked up along the edge for the body of the shawl. My shawl will not be authentic because instead of a half-double crochet pick up, I just picked up with knit stitches. I didn't have a crochet hook with me at the cabin. But hey, people were resourceful back in 1897, weren't they? At first I did an inch or so of Bird's Eye Lace, but it didn't look right. So plain garter stitch it is! There are some bands of stockinette in the body of the shawl also and Mette says these bands help keep the shawl stay around the shoulders. Knitting this shawl makes me feel connected to a country I love so much. I am in no hurry to finish it.

I visited my friend Gresha a few weeks ago and she gave me some samples from her collection of Tazo teas. Although the color isn't as true in the photos, I thought the packages were inspiration for a knitting project. We shall see.

The Fernwood Farm Shawl started with a pattern but I deviated so quickly and so much that it bears little resemblance to the original. I have written the instructions down, which is more of a recipe than anything else. Send me an email if you are interested.
The yarn is wool/acrylic blend: Plymouth Encore (worsted weight) in the denim color.
The meadow is calling me right now. I wish I could walk through it! I'm sure there are butterflies and a cool breeze.
I intend to give Fernwood Farm Shawl away when the Holy Spirit leads me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vacation Glimpses

Bob took this photo of the band tuning before the competition at the Milwaukee Highland Games. We got 3rd place in our division.

I had to take my pipes apart to dry them out after the showers at the Games. It took a while to get them nice and dry.

We chase sunsets in Door County, usually to Gills Rock.

On our first day we hiked for an hour along the beach at White Fish Dunes State Park.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Back from Vacation

We just returned from our annual R & R in Door County WI. The weather was perfect for biking and hiking and we did plenty of both. Of course there was also time for knitting (me), reading, running (him), and general lolling about. Since I never posted photos of the second Aestlight Shawl (designed by Gudrun Johnston) I asked Bob to take some on our last day. The blue is Dream in Color Smooshy and the variegated in the Bird's Eye Lace is a left over from another shawl. I believe it is Mountain Fiber in the Pheasant colorway. With temperatures in the 60's during the day and 40's at night, we were wearing our woolens a good deal of the time during our vacation. We came home to 90 degree heat, so although expected, it is a bit of a shock to the system.
We always keep a bird and butterfly list while we are in Door County. We didn't break any records this year in our 5 days but we had some good sightings. I've starred our favorites, either because they are unusual, numerous, or firsts in Door Co.
Birds Seen 6/6/10 through 6/10/10
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Red Tail Hawk
Sandhill Crane*
Barn Swallow
American Robin
Black-Capped Chickadee
Redwing Blackbird
Red-eyed Vireo*
Eastern Bluebird
Common Yellowthroat*
Downy Woodpecker
Indigo Bunting
Mourning Dove
Turkey Vulture
Song Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
House Sparrow
Gulls and Terns
Painted Lady
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Spring Azure
Sooty Wing
Skipper (not sure which kind)
White Admiral* (First time we have seen in Door Co)
Mourning Cloak
Birds we heard but did not see:
Wood Thrush
Oven Bird
Rose Breasted Grosbeak
House Wren
Black Throated Green Warbler
Pileated Woodpecker
Field Sparrow

As we drove down the lane, past the old apple tree and along the green and white fence, toward our home in Illinois, I thought of the old Scottish saying, "Haste ye back". Indeed, we will.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More Spherical Craziness

I made a larger version of Sharon Dreifuss' Dumpling Bag by casting on 8 stitches between the handle sections. It turned out a little too big. My ideal size is somewhere between the small size and this size. With the same needle and wool, I think I can do it if I want to. But I'm not sure I would actually carry this bag. I mainly wanted to make it for the sake of making it. I really enjoyed the embroidery on which I spent at least as much time as I did the knitting. At least one reader of this blog (I'm talking to you, Joy) should know that that the wool used for the embroidery was a handspun, hand-dyed wool purchased at Knitting Camp sometime in the late 80's. It has been hermetically sealed for a few decades. Note: overspun wool makes fantastic French knots.

The Squishy Balls are from Susan B. Anderson's Itty-Bitty Toys. I used remnants of Cotton-Ease, which worked quite well.

There are about two more spheres I want to knit, although the Learn-Along is officially over, but they may have to wait as I have started a lace project that will probably consume me.

These will probably be left somewhere for The Toy Society.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More on the Learn Along

For the KnitCents Learn Along I've been learning more about my two cameras and the Adobe Bridge software (and knitting spherical shapes). With Adobe I used this photo of our youngest son playing blugrass/jazz on his mandolin. He is wearing the Elizabeth Zimmermann Saddle Shoulder that I made for him for Christmas 2008. Wow. That almost seems like a long time ago.

I cut out the background. In retrospect, I believe there might be an easier way to do this but that is part of the learning process.

In the 3rd photo I used the Charcoal Sketch Rendering.

The end result was transferred to a business card for Pete.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crow and Star Felted Bag

The basic pattern for the bag is Pink Lady Bag by Designs by Shelly. The bag turned out rather small and also seemed to be crying out for embellishment. Maybe it is the piper in me that sees the need for adornment; we pipers embellish notes with movements called taorluaths, birls, doublings, and grace notes. These are part of what make pipe music sound like pipe music...but I digress.

Remember those wool pincushions I made back in February? I used one of those patterns to make the crow and star patch. My kind sister had given me a bag of wool scraps (she makes traditional hooked rugs) and there are several times that I have been so glad to have this fabric reserve.

To close the bag with a magnetic snap presented a problem. A vintage button from one of my button jars looked perfect but how was I going to attach it to the felted tab? The snap definitely had to be covered. This was a good example of necessity being the mother of invention. I cut a piece of wool just a bit larger than the button and sewed the button shank to the wool. Then I used blanket stitch to sew to the wool piece/button to the tab.

I used wool from the motherlode in my stash of Paton's Classic in the color "Denim". As these felted projects are mostly done with the wool doubled I am watching this pile of blue denim wool shrink at a relatively fast rate.

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