November 2008


And it is falling here.  A perfect day to snuggle up with a latte and a good read, like this:

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Stitch is a UK-based bimonthly magazine, and it is currently my favourite source of creative ideas in needlework.  The purse on the cover is made of clear PVC sheets, sandwiched around scraps of filmy fabrics and sewn by machine.  I’m thinking that one could do the flower shapes with pale organza instead of plastic, which is a sticky thing to be trying to machine-stitch.  A plastic purse would be a good thing to carry around in today’s snow, though.

Knitting is another good friend to keep nearby on a stormy day.  I have decided to try the Patons Stretch Socks yarn again, and I am much happier with the latest colour scheme.

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This colour is called Mineral.  Denim blue, black and red-brown.  I knit a no-brainer stockinette sock, toe-up and with a simple short row heel.  This time, I also experimented with knitting two socks at a time on two circular needles.  While I am converted to circular needles for socks now, I gave up on two-at-a-time.  It was very annoying to be sliding the socks around, and keeping each ball of yarn from tangling with its neighbour–arrggh.  I’m slow enough without extra hurdles!

Denis and I are taking a jewelry class together.  I am easily amused, so have been making endless numbers of jump rings and making various chains.  Denis is quite the experienced metal worker, so his project is more complicated.  Lucky me, since he doesn’t wear a lot of bling himself, this will be MINE:

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It’s made from sterling silver.  The long links are square wire that Denis cut into lengths and twisted.  The pendant frame was soldered together from the same square wire.

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I love it.  The notes on the photos are his, by the way.  No way would I be complaining about weld quality when I’m getting free jewelry 🙂  Thanks, Denis!

Indeed, I still make quilts from time to time.  My machine quilting skills are not the greatest, so once a top has been pieced/appliqued it sometimes languishes before (and during) the quilting phase.  The Japanese Wedding quilt is from a pattern published in Quilter’s Newsletter magazine (one of the 2007 issues, I think).  I changed it marginally, cutting the floral fabrics in squares.  In the pattern, each floral square was made up of two rectangles.  I wanted to use squares instead, because some of these fabrics are larger scale and I wanted to see more of the design without chopping it up.  I’m about a third of the way through quilting it.

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Most of the indigo fabrics are from Japan, but some are asian-inspired American fabrics.  The florals are all American quilting cottons.  I’m quilting it with King Tut cotton quilting thread in the “Lobelia” colourway, which is variegated but looks almost solid on the cone.

I’m thrilled to have been able to use those indigo fabrics together.  I collected little bits and pieces for years to have enough to make a scrappy-looking quilt.  Perhaps I will finish it before the end of the year!

The last time I knit a sweater for myself was before Denis and I were married.  That’s more than 16 years!  It was knit with a cotton and silk blend yarn that I had to mail order.  The pattern was from Vogue Knitting, an off-white pullover with flower and vine shapes knit separately and sewn on the front.  There was a textured design knit into the sweater front that looked like a vase.  I loved it.

Clearly, large knitting projects don’t thrill me.  I like socks, scarves, shawls, not only because they’re small, but because they don’t require careful fitting.  Recently, however, I fell in love with some aran alpaca by Fleece Artist and it needs to be a sweater.

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The colourway is cedar, and it is darker and greener than my flash-happy camera is letting you see.  This will be a cardigan, from a Berroco freebie called Solaris.  I’m already nervous about having enough yarn, but that happens every time I cast on 🙂

I am also knitting from two different skeins.  If all the skeins looked the same to me, I wouldn’t have bothered, but some are noticeably lighter than others.  I had visions of a goofy-looking cardigan with one pale sleeve (hey, look, she ran out of yarn and had to substitute something that didn’t match).  I knit two rows from one skein and then two rows from the other, and so on.  I was concerned that it was going to look too stripey, but I like the effect.

This is a fun knit, with a funny name.  Sounds a little Star-Trekish to me:  “We are the Clapotis people, from the planet Clapeau” or “I am Clapotis, of Borg”.  At any rate, it is an interesting pattern and I love the yarn I’m knitting it with.

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Yes, that’s my foot in the lower right, wearing the lemongrass socks.  I am quite the skilled photographer.

I’m knitting the shawl with Jojoland’s Melody, a fingering weight wool, in colour 29.  The actual colours are a bit darker than the photo suggests.  The wool is soft and not overspun, so it’s a joy to knit with.  However, it is a bit sticky, so the dropping of stitches requires some extra work.  I am skeptical of the superwash claim for this fiber, as the tip of the shawl is felting a tiny bit just from being handled.

I followed the pattern pretty much as written, except for doing a few extra pattern repeats to account for the finer yarn.  I’m working on 143 stitches rather than 107.  It’s still coming along surprisingly quickly, even though I’m going through a bit of startitis and have 3 projects on the needles right now.  More WIP photos tomorrow.

It’s a good thing I was all fired up to take some photos of recent knitting projects…I had to do it twice.  My camera’s memory card and my computer don’t get along, and somewhere between the card and my picture folder, photos magically disappeared forever.  Here’s a retake:

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My latest toe-up socks, in STR lightweight’s lemongrass colourway.  The stitch pattern is Roman Rib, from the “Little Box of Socks”.  These were a “do over” project, too.  I was in the middle of congratulating myself for being able to knit a sock without a pattern in front of me.  The rib is easily memorized, and I was knitting a toe and heel that are also easy to do and remember.

Then, after I just finished turning the heel of sock 2, I realized that I had done the pattern stitches over the sole.  D’oh!  Sock 1 had a stockinette sole.  After much tearful ripping back to the toe, I eventually had two matching socks.

Socks that Rock is a really tightly twisted yarn, and I have sensitive feet.  The combination makes these socks a little uncomfortable to wear.  This yarn felt more like cording than yarn, although it is quite soft.  After a 15-minute brisk walk in these socks, the soles of my feet hurt!  They are now officially “bed socks”.  Admit it, you have some (if you live anywhere where it gets cold).  A shame, really, because STR has the most gorgeous colours.  I guess I’ll make mittens out of my other skeins.

Tomorrow, a shot of the clapotis-in-progress.  Assuming the camera and computer kiss and make up.