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Birthdays

5 Feb

My mom turned 60 this fall, though no one would believe it. I knit her a scarf from the silky wool fingering weight I’ve been dyeing with assorted natural dyes. 3 mm needles work just as fine as 2.5 mm, and it goes a lot faster! More than 25 different colors in this one.

mom's scarf

My nephew celebrated his first birthday in January. He received a car play mat, fashioned after instructions from Fiskars. I also included two wooden toy cars: a red race car and a blue tractor, his favorite. There’s an apple orchard, a car wash, a gas station and a pond in the four scenes. Most fabrics are some type of wool felts.  The printed fabric on side pockets is from Liberty of London scrap bin.

car mat

Here’s big sis helping him fill the tank for another round!

car mat

Welcome home, babies!

24 Jan

Happy year 2010! I’m glad to announce the arrival of my nephew. In addition to a grateful  and excited family, he was greeted with the following:

Quilt made from my treasured fabrics of the Aviary line of Joel Dewberry. I’m still holding onto a full quilt’s worth of the pink/green colorway.  The pattern used on this tiny quilt is Nest by Tula Pink (for her Nest line). I modified the original block size down to 11.5 inches. The binding is My folklore by Lecien.

joel dewberry aviary quilt

Here’s the back of the quilt, together with Wave blanket from Loop, knit with three colors of fingering weight merino, two strands held together.

joel dewberry aviary back and knitted blanket

Now, I wanted the baby boy to have some toys for comfort and play to come. First I made the Scotty dog from a mix pack of Anna Maria Horner scraps in home dec weight. While it looked delightful it seemed a bit large for a newborn’s cot. So I made its companion bunny.

scotty the dog and bunny friend

I hope the wee one and his family enjoys these humble offerings. For future notice,  all may be machine washed at 40 degrees.

On the homefront, I upgraded my sewing machine. While my partner hoped I’d choose one “with a bigger tv” (an embroidery machine with large screen) I got a Quilt Expression 4.0. In the plans: stippling and larger quilts. As soon as I learn how to maneuver it! See below for practice runs: appliques for t-shirts for the bigger kiddos in my life.

mothership

dax

matryoshka

In the dark

27 Nov

I haven’t knitted in ages. These socks were finished sometime this fall. The yarn is The Unique Sheep’s  Tinsel Toes in the colorway Spiced Apple. Very fitting for this time of the year, no?

The pattern came from a blog but I’ve misplaced my printed pattern, can’t seem to locate the pdf and my googlefu is failing me miserably. I’d like to give credit where it’s due so help me out. What pattern is this? It’s a cleancut two by two zig zag rib and I think the eye of partridge heel was my addition. Maybe it’ll come to me…

mystery socks

Here are some of my souvenirs from Vancouver. Fleece Artist Nova socks and Hand Maiden Casbah (colorway Hemlock). Not even intended for knitting yet, just admiring. I think all pretty yarns should be put on layaway for a while so you can decide on a pattern and cause worthy of it.

Nova Scotia goodness

Not a lot of light around. I can feel the hibernation mode coming on. I’m ready to be snowed in!

snowed in

Coming along

17 Sep

They are, I promise. Aunt Stina will be ready.

zoo

aviary

Summer or not?

26 May

It has been a sunny day. As my foxy friend already pointed out, it’s way too warm to be wearing these:

Noro Kureyon socks

But I had to show them after working on them for a long time. Who knew that Noro Kureyon sock with 72 stitches on 2.25 mm needles would take a while? That knitting heels twice takes another while? If I’d only learn to take notes of my heels…

Noro Kureyon socks

The one knot in the yarn made me unhappy but I’ve decided not to let it bother me. The flow gets interrupted by the heel anyways. I do like almost all the shades the colorway includes. True to my ways, I’ve misplaced the wrapper so I haven’t got a clue which colorway this was.

I think it’s time to let the wool rest and work with cotton. Not of the yarny variety though. I’ve had these beauties out on my floor for a week, as I’m trying to decide on a sashing color.

Lush, eh?

Paint-by-number deers and sunshine filtered through the blinds. What could be better?

Paging spring

4 Apr

Alas, no reply yet. It’s been cold and dark and slushy ever since I got back from the definitely springtime New York City with my partner in crime, err, craft. (She has already posted some photos, and I will, too)

My apologies for the lousy pictures but I have to show you something. The long awaited (at least by me) nature shawl. To make this thing last a while longer I’m gonna lay out the whole transformation.

First, I dyed some yarn. Actually, lots of yarn. You saw all the shades a while back. I ended up using 22 different ones for this project.

when we grow up we want to be a shawl

Then I settled on a pattern. I picked Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl by Sarah Bradberry because I had already seen quite a few on Ravelry knit with naturally dyed yarn and they looked promising. Here’s the pattern starting to emerge.

shawl taking form

By the end up March I had it all knit up. As all shawls with any lace pattern it looked pretty sad at this point. Add to that the 44 yarn ends I had to work in. It’s actually quite fun when you get into the flow.

done by not quite ready yet

Then it was time to block. I’m a skittish blocker, never dare to block anything to an inch of its life as lace should be, plus I keep changing the needle positions constantly. My craftdom for some blocking wires. Here’s a relatively clean shot of an edge.

blocking shawl

And then she was all dry and ready to go out on the town! I’ve worn the shawl both on my shoulders and wrapped about my neck. Granted, not everyone was as excited as me but it does feel nice to wear something you’ve created from nearly scratch. The homefront suggestion was to start raising sheep so I could shear and spin and really have a homemade shawl. I’m sure he didn’t realize those words could come back to haunt him in a few years. ;)

shawl done!

The shawl took 132g of fingering-weight silk-wool yarn, meaning I could squeeze about 6 more out of the amount I’ve got dyed right now if I use the same 2,5 mm needles. The next time I knit this I need to pay more attention to contrast. I pretty much just picked the next shade at random. This meant that I had used up my darkest yarns by the middle of the shawl.

shawl b&w

But I still love watching the colors change and remembering what plant or mushroom I got those from. I can even remember what the day was like when I gathered the dyestuff and dyed the yarn. Yellows from heather picked in the woods at my grandfathers on a crisp autum afternoon. Light greens from stinging nettles found by the railroad tracks and snipped carefully with gloved hands on the backyard as the dog wondered what I was up to. Browns from walnuts soaked for days by my dad so I could get the most color out of them. Special thanks for my aunt who picked all the cortinarius sanguineus mushrooms that gave those lovely dark reds.

shawl closeup

Shades of summer

1 Mar

I long for summer. But not for the weather. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like warmth and sunshine as much as the next girl. My motives are just a bit more complex. See, when the sun shines plants and mushrooms grow. When it’s warm, I can play with pots and pans outside. When it’s summer, I can add to my collection of shades. This is fingering weight silk-wool yarn, in two dozen different shades.

Naturally dyed silk/wool yarn

I took up natural dyeing two summers back and got hooked pretty badly straight away. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. I have only dyed with things I can find where I live (kitchen cupboards included). My favorites are the mushroom dyes and the surprising results, for example a pale blue from the deep red dye bath extracted from the creeping woodrsorrel growing on our yard. See the next photo for labels of dye stuff and mordant (alum and or iron sulfite).

Naturally dyed silk/wool yarn

This week, I started turning this palette into a rainbow-like construction. I love watching the color changes and stop every few moments to admire them which means it’ll take a while to finish this! My sis said it’s autumny but my pots and I know better. :)

feather and fan detail