August 2010

I really wanted to have the third row of clams done for this post…but it was not to be. Fig Tree Inc. is partially to blame…they released a new fabric collection that coordinates perfectly with the fabrics I’ve already chosen, so instead of lots of sewing, I’ve been prepping a bunch more clams from the new fabric!

It is already oppressively hot here at 10:30 a.m., so I wanted to take some photos indoors. They’re never as successful as natural sunshine pictures. Here’s part of the clamshell quilt, pinned to a double wedding ring quilt that hangs in the dining room:

It’s a bit blurry, but true to colour at least! That last clam in row 3 is just pinned in place, ready to be sewn. Here are the new Fig Tree fabrics:

The picture is a bit dark (that tablecloth is lime green!), but it gives an idea. I keep wanting to call this fabric collection “Victoria’s Secret”! I have to pause every time I think about it to remember the name correctly. Why? Who knows.

For awhile there were not so many little creatures in the back yard. I had run out of peanuts in the shell, which seem to be the preferred snack for most of the local wildlife! Now that I’ve restocked, I’m getting visits every morning from these guys:

We call the chipmunks “the Chiclets” because we believe they are the offspring of a chipmunk we named “Chica” last year.  The Chiclets will eat dried corn from the critter mix we put out, but they prefer peanuts. So do these beauties:

I still can’t believe I scored a picture of the blue jay. They swoop in to get a peanut, and fly away very quickly. I was trying to photograph a rabbit when this bird flew into the frame. Pure luck!


I don’t really plan it that way, but Thursday seems to be the day when I get a good amount of knitting done. The pattern that came with my new yarn yesterday is a knitted hat, and the merino/silk blend is so soft and lovely I had to cast on. I’ve done a few rows for the hat band and I like the way the colours are blending.

I’m not sure you can tell from the photo, but there are areas of the yarn that have the slightest hint of plum in the grey. I’m using magic loop, with my Addi interchangeable needles. I regret using the original blue cords with this project. They just aren’t as flexible as the gold cords. A few months ago I was able to order a set of the gold ones on Ebay.  Addi is selling only blue cords for this set in North America. I had to buy from Hong Kong to get the gold ones. I hope Addi will change their policy on this. I’d rather support my local dealer.

Part 2 of the Pi shawl has been released on Wendy’s blog, but I’m still working away on the first part. Notice how the colours are swirling around the centre? Neat!

I’m knitting this with 2 circulars–Knit Picks Harmony. I found that the 3.25 mm size worked best, so I can’t use the interchangeables for this one (the smallest size in those is 3.5 mm). I like the Knit Picks cords a lot, but sometimes the join is a bit rough and snags the yarn. I had to put a little blob of nail polish on one of the joins to smooth it out a bit. The price of these needles cannot be beaten, though, so the extra maintenance is worth it. And the Harmony birch needles keep all my YOs in place!

In the mailbox today, my August Smart-Ass Knitters/World Domination club package:

The colour of the yarn is so complex! It looks grey, but there are slight hints of something plummy in it. It is a 50/50 merino/silk yarn in a DK weight, and it is super soft.

The needlebook was instantly pressed into service. It is holding my curved needle and basting needle for the Paper Bag Roses quilt. And isn’t Darby Bayly’s business card gorgeous? The pattern (not in the photo) is for a lovely knit hat that can be made slouchy or cloche-style. I want to cast on right now!

I have finally gathered together enough bits and pieces of floral fabrics to make a good start on the new version of Paper Bag Roses. I’m using 1.5 inch hexagons. As you can see, I have gone back to English Paper Piecing! It is more time consuming than hand piecing with marked seam lines, but I tried that and didn’t like the way the seams pressed out.

Joining Karen’s One Flower Wednesday group is very motivating! I sewed like the wind on Monday so that I would have a flower to show. Notice the thread burps on the front of the block from the basting thread? I decided to use some el cheapo thread from years ago, since I didn’t want to “waste” good thread on basting. Big mistake. The cheap stuff tangled if I just looked at it the wrong way. So I set my frugal impulses aside and started basting with the good thread (Masterpiece by Superior Thread, there is nothing better). Lesson learned.

And aren’t the brown-eyed Susans looking nice this year? Flowers everywhere. I hope there are flowers blooming where you are today.

I put these on yesterday after I finished binding off the second sock. It amazes me how soft Wollmeise is once it is knit up–completely different from how it feels in the skein.

The yardage is unbelievable! I have 70 grams left over from a 150 g skein. Maybe I can get a pair of simple ankle socks out of what remains.

It’s windy and a bit cloudy outdoors today, but perfectly warm. I had a bit of a surprise this afternoon–a robin flew right into the patio door that leads out to the back garden. I was standing in the kitchen on the other side of the door when it happened. The poor bird fell to the deck, stunned. After a moment, though, it flew off. I hope it will be okay. I grabbed a colourful advertising flyer out of the newspaper and taped it to the door…hopefully that will save some bird brains from getting scrambled. Perhaps I should put up some curtains?

I should have been casting off yesterday, but events conspired against me. I like spending Sunday afternoon with a few magazines and a little knitting project completion. However, the second lattice sock did not get finished yesterday. I still have 11 rounds of K2P2 and a Russian bind-off to finish before I can wear these.

Oh, well. Part of the reason I didn’t finish is that I couldn’t resist casting on something new! Wendy Johnson is hosting a knit-along (KAL) on her blog, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s birth. Wendy released the first part of the pattern yesterday, and I’ve decided to join in and knit her design, based on EZ’s Pi shawl. I knit a swatch to see if the yarn I wanted to use would produce a nice lacy fabric. It did.

The yarn is Fleece Artist merino 2/6, in the Seashore colourway. I knit the swatch pattern that Wendy provided last week, using 3.25 mm needles. I’m a loose knitter, and usually have to use a smaller than average needle to do lace knitting. I’ve also switched to wood needles for knitting lace, and I notice that I am not misplacing my YOs like I used to!

I cast on for the Pi shawl yesterday, but just barely.

That’s a whole 7 rounds of knitting. I really enjoy knitting with Fleece Artist merino, so this will be a fun knit, but I need to get that sock done first.

I may have a new favourite sock yarn. Yesterday I bound off the first sock of a pair I am knitting with Wollmeise 100% merino superwash.

lattice sock

The original pattern, from the book Sock Club, was written for cuff-down knitting. I altered it to be able to knit it toe-up, omitted the beads used in the pattern, and finished the cuff with a Russian bind off. The yarn is from a We’re Different grab bag, and is not a regular colour from the Wollmeise line. It looks a lot like fuchsia, but is a bit darker. I’m a bit worried about liking this yarn so much. It is in such demand, and short supply, that successfully ordering from her site is a nail-biting experience!

I haven’t been neglecting my clamshells, either.

I’m more than halfway through the 3rd tier of clams. It is really a joy to stitch these. The fabrics make me happy just to look at them, and hand applique is one of the most relaxing activities. Once this row is done, I will be cutting out more clamshells, to add even more variety to the mix. It won’t be a true charm quilt, because there won’t be a different fabric for every clam. I’ll be repeating quite a few of them, but it will still have a vintage, scrappy look.

It’s a beautiful sunny, warm day today. Great for taking pictures, and eating fresh Ontario peaches on the deck!