First Friday Fiber of 2016

The first Friday of the month is when my fiber group meets.  We were eager to get together because we didn’t meet in January and some of us had not seen each other in a couple months.  Even before it was time for show and tale, we jumped in sharing what lovelies we had created since the last time we were together.  Well, actually, it was more like we started pawing through each other’s baskets in curiosity …. that is how it goes when you love fiber.

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Karen shared her beautiful DOODLER by Steven West made with her very own Spruce Dragon Yarn.  She had enhanced the shawl with beads which I thought made it even prettier.  I really must add DOODLER to my list of things to knit in 2016.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist walking around the house of our hostess to take some photos of her beautiful weaving.
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Someday I hope to be able to weave beautiful towels like Nancy does.  She is a real pro though and has been doing it for a long time.
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Someone always brings gorgeous roving that we all drool over…..

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And someone always has some spun up that we all marvel at….

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We can count on Emma wearing one of her very unique scarves.  This one was a gift from her sister and we had to examine it for a bit and figure out how it was done.
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It was called ‘Nuno’ felting.  Silk was laid between strips of roving and then felted in a hot soapy bath by vigorous rubbing.  Karen said it was a great anger management technique. We held it up to the light for more scrutinizing…
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Cherie told us that one of her goals was to weave with her handspun fiber and this wrap was her first big project doing that……..

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She then told us about her trip to Iceland last month and showed us some unspun Icelandic wool, something Iceland is notorious for to fiber lovers.  Apparently, there are great tourism deals if you go to Iceland in December!  And then, she talked about us forming a weaving group on this side of the mountain so we wouldn’t have to trek so far. I’m in! She has already picked out a project we can each weave.

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A couple of us are just learning how to weave. Last month Cherie taught some how to weave these cool washcloths with “scrubby’ loops. Carol brought the strip she had woven and got advice on how to cut them apart, fold them under and finish each washcloth off.

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Shari usually has something unique to share and this time she showed her ‘foot’ spindle she had used Christmas money to get.

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Her foot was pretty busy kicking the wheel to keep her spindle spinning. It may be a little bit too much work for my taste but she is having a blast with it.

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Marilyn had designated the month of January as ‘for the dogs’ and I somehow neglected to take pictures of the dog coats and food placemats she had crocheted.

I always leave this group inspired and with some new tidbit of knowledge. Today I learned that instead of using yarn for a header when weaving, you can use plastic bag strips like Nancy did in this picture. Karen uses the last bits of toilet paper when you come to the end of a roll. Imagine that!

Our hostess showed us what she does in her basement…….

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See the plastic bag header?

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What a fabulous day!  I’m already anticipating next month’s gathering.  I believe we will be crossing the mountain and heading north.

Posted in Friday Fiber, Life in the Mountains | 2 Comments

Ambiguous Cowl – Clue Three

Part 3 brings me to the inside of the cowl that will be folded to the wrong side of the Front.  The pattern on the front of the cowl had a decidedly traditional look whereas the inside has a modern flare.  The inside chart has much less stranding with four rounds of single color knitting per repeat and no long floats to catch on the backside.

All the knitting for Ambiguous is finished and after a good long soak in a warm bath it has been measured and pinned out to block.  All that is left to do is to fold it in half and graft the top and bottom ends together.

Ambiguous Clue Three

Happy Knitting!

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Yarn Along and Magical Tidying

Joining Ginny today and her peeps on trail of book reviews and fiber projects we are working on.

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The basic supposition of the book is —

Does it Bring You Joy?

If not, get rid of it.

I know there is a trend amongst the younger generation towards ‘simple living’ and I can see why this book would be a New York Times best seller for that group of people.  However, I have lived through more seasons of life than the author and took issue with several things in this book.  The bottom line is — what brings you JOY in your twenties and thirties is not necessarily what brings you JOY in your forties and fifties, sixties etc.

If you throw away the cards you have received years because they ‘served their purpose when you opened it that first time’ then you will be missing out on something that might bring JOY, encouragement and even healing when you are in your fifties.  I’ve saved every Mother’s Day card that my children have sent me.  Some have very tender and affectionate notes in them that actually helped me get through some rough times when a newly married daughter went ‘silent’ on me.  The tender notes she wrote throughout childhood and the teenage years reminded me that the love between us was deep and I just needed to ride the storm for a while.  I’m so thankful I did not throw those cards out!

The author said the same thing about books and maintained that once you have read it the book it has served its purpose and should be discarded.  I am an avid reader and have painstakingly collected the classics and other ‘great books.’  The author is a reader, too but limits her books to 30 which she still thinks is too many.  I don’t think she realizes that books can be a tool to forge a way to make an immediate connection to a stranger in your home when he/she stands perusing your library and a conversation begins and a bond is formed.  Nor does she realize that some people collect books to decorate a home.  Now I will admit that I have been convicted to take a second look at some of my college textbooks and other instructional books and I probably will discard them.  And, I have also realized that I really must let go of my vast collection of cookbooks because I mostly only use a few of them consistently.  But the rest…no-can-do.

Another area I contend with were photographs.  I guess that is because I am a photographer.  She wanted us to ‘touch’ each picture and see if it brings us JOY and if it doesn’t throw it away.  She does not yet know that something happens to you when you are in the ’empty nest’ stage of life.  You want to reconnect to your roots and get back in touch with friends you had in your younger years.  Social media has made this a possibility and the picture in your album that might not mean much to you may bring incredible JOY to someone in your past.

Nor does she realize that the sharing of these photos through social media may bring about an opportunity to seek forgiveness of someone you once hurt or who once hurt you and that through that process a regret of thirty years is released.  I am so thankful I have not thrown the pictures away that did not give me JOY.  And I am even more thankful my mother has kept pictures (no matter how horrible they are) because I have had wonderful moments reminiscing.  MEMORIES ARE IMPORTANT and will become even more important with each decade of your life.

Leaving on a positive note – I was able to successfully throw all my clothes into the middle of the room as she suggested and get rid of the ones that don’t give me JOY.  I’m not attached to clothes so that was an easy task.  I also thought the way she took shirts and rolled them up in the drawer was a good idea – that really decluttered my closet.

Lastly, the book was helpful in some ways however, I will still caution anyone who reads this to be very careful in using the mantra, “If it doesn’t bring you JOY then throw it out.”  Instead, I would as you to consider the fact that you will go through ‘seasons of life’ and your JOY will mature in different ways.  If you follow completely the advise of this author  you just might find yourself sitting in a stark room in your senior years with no JOY and only regret.

On the knitting front –

I am trying very hard to knit down my stash this year.  There is a group on Ravelry that I am participating in called SOCKS FROM STASH and February’s challenge is to knit socks from the oldest yarn in your stash.  I believe the yarn I found was from my second pair of socks that I immediately ripped out because they didn’t fit and I really didn’t know at the time how to make them fit.  I don’t even know what brand it is but I do know it is a faux fair isle that will be lovely knit in a plain stockinette….. I will call them my OLD JANES.
Old Jane
Happy Knitting!

 

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January Mosaic 2016

Where did January go?  Here we are in February already and I feel like I completely lost the month of January.  I forgot to post my January Mosaic on Monday so I will go ahead and do it now before I forget again.  This was a fellow blogger’s idea who lives on the other side of the world and I thought it was a good one, a good way to commemorate a month.  A century or two ago, it was common to keep journals and it was perfectly fine to enter only a sentence or two about what you did that day.  This monthly mosaic goes along those lines allowing me to remember a snippet of my year.  I like that idea.
January 2016 Mosaic

I was in severe pain when January started out and it took nine days before I learned my gallbladder was in bad shape.  It took another week to get in to see the surgeon and the next day I had it removed.  Although I briefly agonized over the decision to remove it I am more than happy I did because the pathology report revealed it had been giving me issues for quite some time.  So……….most of January was lost to recovery naps but I managed to start a pair of socks and join a stranded cowl knit along.  I did a bit of weaving but only because my loom was already warped.

The highlight of the month was going to Denver to stay with my daughter three days.  Since I couldn’t drive yet, hubby had to take me half-way where she picked me up and took me on to her home.  I was introduced to ‘bath bombs’ on this trip and now want some more of them, bright flowers from the hubby, alpaca stitch markers from a favorite shop and going to the theatre.

Snippets of life…..

Posted in Life in the Mountains, Month Mosaics | 1 Comment

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten On Tuesday prompt for Tuesday, February 2, 2016, in honor of Groundhog Day (both the movie and the, errrr, holiday) is 10 Moments/Events/Days In Your Life You’d Like To Repeat.

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This is to be alone; this, this is solitude. ~ Lord Byron

It has been a while since I have posted a Ten on Tuesday but I enjoyed thinking about this one so much that I decided to participate in this round.

Ten Moments/Events/Days in My Life

I Would Like to Repeat

 

  1. The day I picked up my bright pink Stingray bicycle with a pink and silver banana seat and rode it around my neighborhood for hours ….. so pleased to be seen on such a hot item. :)
  2. The day we pulled up to our new home in Virginia after moving across country from California and there was a bright orange MGB sports car waiting out front for me (a bribe from my Dad to get me to move and go to college in VA).  Dad handed me the keys and my little brother and I took off in it.  I had very almost no experience driving a stick shift.  My brother had to change gears for me every time I pushed the clutch in because I was terrified.  We thought that when the tachometer needle reached the ‘red’ zone, it was time to change gears.
  3. The moment my husband, after many days of telling me he would probably never fall in love (the stinker and obviously denying it) looked at me with a dimpled smile and said, “I think I’ve fallen in love with you, yes, I think this is love.”
  4. That moment I walked out of the church on my husband’s arm as a Mrs., walking in was way too stressful.
  5. The first time I jogged six miles.  An avid short distance jogger, I was at my grandmother’s house in muggy Louisiana and she had picked a route longer than she thought it was.  Since it was a circle I had no other option but to run the full course because I didn’t want the menfolk out looking for me – that would have been far too humiliating.  I sure wish I could jog now and would love to go back to those days when it was so effortless.
  6. The day I brought my firstborn home from the hospital one month early and got her all settled into her new nursery.  Nothing beats preparing for a baby’s arrival for months by lovingly creating a nursery just for that special homecoming event.  There was a yellow haired Cabbage Patch doll waiting for her that she eventually went to college. ;0
  7. Strolling through the hospital corridor with my second born , a little daughter that looked like a ‘papoose’ baby with rosy cheeks and having everyone want to pinch her little cheeks in admiration.  People continued to do that throughout her toddlerhood.
  8. The afternoon I passed my dad in his neighborhood and we stopped, rolled down our windows and he slipped me a wad of hundreds.  It was a financially rough patch in my life and he wanted me to have some money I could call ‘my very own’ and spend it on myself.  (thanks Dad, I’ll never forget that moment)
  9. The eight times I have sailed off into the sunset leaving land far behind.  We love cruising and I can’t wait to do it again.
  10. The first time I finished a public speaking commitment before a large group of women and realized, YES – a can do this!  I had been terrified of public speaking my whole life until that moment.  I even took a ‘D’ once on an oral report because I wouldn’t get up in front of the class.  I have had no problems standing in front of people since that moment and I think the key is that I learned the fine art of laughing at myself.
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Fibonacci on a Snowy Monday

After listening to The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up on Audible I looked at the huge mason jars on a bookcase in my girl-cave filled with yarn leftover from who-knows-how-many socks and decided it was time to declutter. Perfect timing! The February challenge in the Socknitters Anonymous Group on Ravelry is to design your own socks.  (edited:was told they don’t qualify because they are striped…oh well….still doing it….just won’t qualify).

I have a plan.  I’ll use the **fibonacci** formula to knit the stripes and use a jogless join so the stripes don’t ‘stagger’ in the back. I’ll have fun remembering past creations with each stripe and enjoy the process!
Fibonacci Plan

Each fibonacci segment will be a 2+4+8+16+8+4+2 color sequence.  The wide middle segment (16 rows) will be a variegated yarn and the other stripes in the sequence will use colors within that varigation.
Stash for Cortata

I choose a thigh high because, well …..I have A LOT of tiny yarn balls in jars and even more stashed in drawers and closets. The name ‘Cortata’  was chosen because it the Italian (fibonacci is Italian) word for colorful.   As you know, I live in the beautiful Colorado Rockies and ‘Colorado’ also means colorful. See the connection?

That is the plan! Let’s see where this takes me……..

                          over the knee cuff in a neutral color
4 " Cuff - Over the Knee

first Fibonacci sequence ….

First  Fibonacci Sequence

second Fibonacci sequence…….
Second Fibonacci

These sequences are pretty addicting.  I started Saturday morning and couldn’t put this sock down.

P.S.  I’ll post the pattern when I am done just in case any of you want to bust your fingering yarn stash.

 

Posted in Conceptual Knitting, Designing, Just for Fun, SockKNITTERS Anonymous, Socks | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A Few Days in Denver

I went to visit my daughter in Denver this week for some much needed mother-daughter time.  The whole month of January was lost to my gallbladder ‘event’ and, although I was enjoying the restful time of recuperation at home, I was more than ready to get out and have a bit of girl fun.  We packed our three days together with great food, hair cuts, pedicures, shopping and seeing Dirty Dancing at the Buell Theatre.

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My visits to Denver are never complete unless I get to spend some time in a fantastic store called Fancy Tiger Crafts.  I seriously love this store!

First off, it is a quilting nirvana for modern quilters…Amy Butler…Liberty of London, etc.  It is a revolutionary shop with a modern twist on many different clothing and accessories.  The women in the shop are young and eager to help you, the clientele is young, too.  It does my heart good to see young women knitting and sewing because I feel these arts need to be kept alive. Each generation needs to add its own ‘brand’ to a fluent art.

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For the knitter, it has all the latest and greatest yarns.  The first time I visited the shop I kept holding my breath in astonishment to see many of the yarns I had only read about in magazines hanging from hooks in the store.

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And for the geek in me, the shop abounds in  fun knitting and sewing gadgets.  I bought the sharpest and strongest quilting needles I’ve ever used, a Japanese brand, on one visit.  On another visit I bought an antler button that I use for a spinning ditz.  This time I bought these fun alpaca stitch markers.

IMG_2099 The shop calendar is full of famous designers visiting throughout the year to teach. I just missed by three days three of my favorite designers -Romi Hill, Laura Nelkin and Miriam Felton.  Pooh!  I wish I lived close enough to attend each and every event.  I guess I can plan a few ‘sleepovers’ at my daughter’s house and make some of the events/classes. Daughter eyed a couple cute items and I took ‘tag’ pictures to remember them.   IMG_8083

IMG_8084 When we saw that the Clementine Cowl (below) was made with some handspun yarn I told her to pick out a complement to the yarn I just finished spinning and I would make it for her.     IMG_8090

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I showed Allison some yarn in shades similar to what I spun and she picked Malabrigo Finito in ‘Bronce’.  Here it is pictured with my handspun on the bottom.  I can’t wait to see how the cowl turns out.

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Off to buy the pattern on Ravelry and to start playing with colors!  Happy knitting!

Posted in Just for Fun, Knitting Accessories, Life in the Mountains, Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Ambiguous Cowl – Clue 2

Ambiguous Cowl - Clue 2

Ambiguous Cowl is measuring 11″ across for a 22″ circumference so I believe my gauge is spot on despite all my worries in the Clue 1 post.

The pattern is reminiscent of traditional Scandinavian designs and put my chart reading and stranding skills to work.  I don’t shy away from charts, I guess because of my many decades of counted cross stitch but I can respect the fact that some knitters steer clear of them.

Each repeat in this pattern is made of 16 stitches and 16 rows.  The designer gave us a couple tips that I also have found helpful through the years.  She recommend placing a marker every 16 sts to help you stay on track with the chart.  She also recommended using a sticky note (I use the extra sticky ones) on the chart to keep your eyes from wandering to the wrong row.  It is best to put the note above the row you are working and have it covering the rows not yet worked thus allowing you to see the charted design as it appears on your needles.

There were some special considerations that were addressed in the stranded design and this was where I learned I needed to have a ‘teachable’ spirit.  There were some long stretches between color changes in a few places and that can make the strand (or float) on the back long and untidy.  The floats can snag easily and pucker the fabric. Do you remember as I do, ever putting on a sweater in your childhood and your finger getting caught in a float?  As you knit the design there is a way to ‘catch’ the floats in those long stretches and trap them.  The designer said the general rule was to catch the float if the yarn is unused for more than 5 stitches or one inch.  Well….I like things ‘tidy’ on the backside of my stranded knitting so for years I have caught the floats on every fourth stitch, regardless.

Halfway through the cowl I realized I was gobbling up yardage, far more than what the designer had used, and I had to take a deep breath and let go of my ‘regardless rule’.  When I did I discovered that the pattern lay flatter and actually looked nicer.  Never, before this project, did I consider that my method for catching floats used more yarn than necessary but with us watching yardage in this project as we were doing…… I learned something new, YAY!

 

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Yarn Along as I Heal From Surgery

Joining Ginny this morning on a YARN ALONG to talk about a book I read over Christmas ….

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The Lake House
A Novel
By Kate Morton

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, (both I have not read yet) an intricately plotted, THE LAKE HOUSE was a spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets and was the perfect page-turner for me in chilly December whilst knitting Christmas presents.

I initially was drawn to this book simply because of its setting.  Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure… Did I mention how much I love Cornwall?

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.  I usually do not like novels that involve the tragedies of children but this one kept sucking me in.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a mystery author. Her little borther’s case has never been solved, although Alice still has a suspect. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall haunted by her own nemesis. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her together with Alice and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

This is a lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies and Kate Morton is a master weaving lives together. This novel from is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read and now I must read The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours!
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One week ago I was on day 15 of excruciating pain waiting to see a surgeon the next day.  A day later my gallbladder was removed and I am, relatively speaking, much better.  I will take respite to allow for recovery and both books and fiber will be my constant companion. Now I’m off to check out other books I can add to my ever growing list from participating in Ginny’s Yarn Along.

Posted in Just for Fun, Socks, Yarn Along | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Wandering Moon – Part 1

I’ve been working on the border for Wandering Moon for the last couple weeks.  This crescent-shaped shawl is a design by Michelle Hunter and was a featured knit along last October.  When I saw this one I thought it would work nicely with some of my oldest stash yarn, Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool.  I bought three skeins of this 45% wool/ 35% silk/ 20% nylon yarn many years ago when it was deeply discounted at a yarn store in Texas.  I believe this particular yarn will enhance the beautiful stitches and techniques in this shawl.
Wandering Moon Border
This shawl incorporates interesting techniques and stitches so I hope to increase my skills while creating a wearable work of art in the lovely shade of ‘medium’ blue.
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Wandering Moon is knit from the bottom up beginning with a unique cabled border.  The border is knit as one long strip.  The next step for me will be to pick up stitches along the edge for the body of the shawl.   I cast on using the Cable Cast On method which produces a nice edge with the right side facing all ready to knit the first row.  Since the border was worked over a small number of stitches I used my beautiful shorter length Signature Needles with the stiletto tips – the perfect length needle for this strip of cables.
Signature Needles

According to the designer, the MOST IMPORTANT task in this border was to to hang a marker from the last stitch of every 20 row repeat.  I worked the cabled border pattern 26 times.  Apparently, the markers will help me correctly pick up stitches in the next step and also help me incorporate a new stitch into the pattern.  It was kind of nice to do round up all my markers!

 

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