About socksformum

An empty-nester who loves to knit and lives in a the Rocky Mountains with her Westie, the love of her life and several pairs of knitting needles.

Grunge Line Up

The colors in daughter’s quilt are playing nicely together.  Being me, I have worked in fifteen minute chunks of time here and there and in no time at all the blocks have been pieced together.  Being her, the extrovert, the pattern I have chosen is called Party Mix by Elizabeth Hartman.

Grunge Cut Out

Now my daughter is not a ‘party girl’ in the sense that most think of when they hear someone likes to ‘party.’  She is instead, someone who is energized by being around other people and likes to have her calendar busy going from one fun event to the next.  Her mom, the introvert, is quite the opposite and does not like ‘mixing it up’ as much as she does.  I’m not one to go see a movie at 10:00 pm or run out for yogurt.  Party Mix is an appropriate quilt for daughter.

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BLOCK A

My little extrovert grew up in a family of introverts.  We used to farm her out to friends for overnighters when we had the need to pull back in and recharge our own batteries.  She was the child that, when tucked into bed at night, wanted to know what ‘fun’ things were on the next day’s agenda.   It was a very good thing for out introverted family when she became a bookworm because she got caught up in the characters and plot of her book and would read for hours on end — it was the next best thing to having a real life adventure.

Block B
BLOCK B

The last two years daughter has said, ‘Mom, do you know what I really, really, want for Christmas?’  I really want you to make me a quilt.”  A decade earlier she had taken a quilt to college to remind her of home and it was now too worn.  I don’t know how you are but when someone tells me they ‘really’ want me to make them something I can hardly resist.  You know that item will be appreciated and cherished, right?

Block C

BLOCK C

So here I am in warm Texas and there she is in cool Colorado and the time is ripe to make her that quilt she wants.  With summer quickly approaching cotton sitting on my lap as I quilt will feel a whole lot better than wool sitting in my lap.  There is a season for everything…….. summer is for knitting socks, silk shawls and quilting.

Block D
BLOCK D

Block E

BLOCK E

All blocks are pieced and the fabric for the sashing has been ordered and will arrive in a few days.  I should have the whole quilt pieced before my introvert arrives in a few weeks for a visit.

Block Line Up
Party Mix BLOCK LINE UP

It has been nice working with my sewing machine and fabric  for a change of pace, not that I’m neglecting the knitting.  In fact, I’ve had a bad case of start-itis as of late and have cast an inordinate amount of knitting projects but more about that in my next post.

Happy Quilting (or Knitting)!

Supercharge Your Procrastination

Weaving for Christmas forward not Christmas behind – this was the decision that I consciously made last week when I decided it was time to supercharge a weaving project that I started last October.

I’m learning that the most time consuming part of any weaving project is simply getting the warp on the loom.  A fellow weaver told me that 75% of the project is everything you do before the weaving begins.  I believe it.

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My favorite two in one weaving tool is this combo threading/sley hook by Harrisburg Designs.

It’s pretty handy and I use it for both threading the heddles and sleying the reed.  The tiny hook on one end makes scooping threads into the heddle easy and the fatter end fits easily into the reed slots for the next step, sleying that reed.

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So far everything looks good but I think it prudent to double check the reed slots before I get my boat shuttles would with weft yarn.  I’ll wait until the light of day.

First Woven Pillows

I can’t wait to see how these threads play with one another.  Weaving is just around the corner.

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Did you start something for Christmas last year that didn’t quite make it in time?  I hope I am not the only one who gets sidetracked with too many projects!

Mom’s Best Dress

When asked to describe my mother’s best dress in a journal prompt I was hard pressed to remember the last time I had even seen my mother wearing a dress.  How could I describe her ‘best’ dress when I could not even picture her wearing one?  The best I could come up with was at my wedding thirty five years ago.  Thinking all the way back through my childhood I could only picture her in pedal pushers, the Jackie-O stretch pants and later on, blue jeans.  I recalled that we had worn dresses to church on Sundays but I think she might have given those up long ago.

I headed on over to her house yesterday on a dress quest.  I first asked dad if he could remember the last time he saw mom in a dress and he couldn’t.  Then I asked mom and she said, “Hmmmmmm….” so we looked through her photo albums to see if we could find  a photo of her wearing a dress because she insisted she once wore them a lot.  Not only did we hit the jackpot in that regard but mom enjoyed describing the dresses we found to me- both the colors and fabric – in great detail just as if it were yesterday.  Because the photographs were in black and white, I found myself surprised when she told me what color the dress was.  Being an excellent seamstress, my grandmother had made all her dresses for her.

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Here is a cute shot of mom taken from behind as she is getting in the car.  She said this dress was a light BLUE.  We both liked the way the sleeves were not set into a bodice but was all one piece with the bodice.

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Mom is sporting a PURPLE sundress in this photo.  She said, “I really liked how I felt when I wore this dress, I felt pretty.”

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I was most surprised by the description of this ensemble mom wore posed on the steps.  She said the pleated skirt was a sparkly silver graphite that reflected light.  I imagined it to be like some of the Kaffe Fasset fabric I’m using in a quilt, awesome fabric because depending on how the light hits the color is different.  Mom said she thought the sweater was probably fuchsia.

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But Mom’s best dress, the one that was her favorite of all time was the one in the above photo.  The under skirt was a pink pencil skirt.  The overlaying skirt was a gauzy brown sheer fabric and the bodice and bowtie were also brown, probably satin.  By the way, that is yours truly that she is holding and I forgot to ask her what color I am in.

I enjoyed the time spent with mom reminiscing and splashing these black and white photos with color.  Had I not gone on a mission to find a photo of mom in a dress these photographs would have been forever etched in my mind as just black, white and gray.  Mom says she thinks she stopped wearing dresses because my dad told her she looked better in pants but I’m not so sure about that.  I think she stopped wearing them because she loves the comfort that pants provide.  She is just a casual kind of gal, my blue jean mama.

Saturday Spins

It is a bit of a dreary morning.  The thunder started around 1:00 in the morning and I knew it did because Brownie, the farm dog, does not like thunder.  Nordoes she like me to sleep when it thunders so I just went ahead and got up to brave the storm with her.  She calms down if I turn the television on so we watched Midwife until 3:30 am at which point I quietly lay my head on the couch pillow so as not to clue her in and fell asleep.  This is a good day to spend in my fiber room.

Gaillardia Fibre

I took my spinning wheel on my recent trip and finished half of the Gaillardia fibre sitting in my cousin’s art room.  I have a fibre room.  She has an art room. The Cheviot is a little rougher than I am used to and it is not spinning smooth to my preference but I think it will be fine.  This first half of the fibre was split into narrow strips so the color repeats are faster and more blended whereas ………

Gaillardia Fibre

The second bobbin is being spun in long color stretches as fractal spinning dictates.  The first part of my morning was spent spinning the aforementioned bobbin.  The second half of my time I worked on winding my recently plied silk blend onto the niddy noddy. There was quite a bit.

Spruce Dragon Fibre I haven’t measured it yet but I’m guessing it will be close to 400 yards fingering weight. Spruce Dragon Fibre

With the other matching skein I have a lot of yardage. I originally bought this beautiful blue fibre to go with it and it will be the next spinning project on my wheel when the Gaillardia fibre is finished.

Spruce Dragon Fibre

Maybe a Color Affection? Maybe a Cladonia? Maybe a Wurm Hat? Have any two-color pattern suggestions for a fingering weight yarn?

The Teal Mission Gate

I drove my mother down to visit our cousins in the Texas hill country a few days ago. The highways were lined with bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush and Indian Blanket.  People were about everywhere plopping their friends and family down in fields of flowers for portraits.   The land was as so green that it reminded me of the first time I saw Ireland.

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My cousin is an artist and her home reflects her artistic flair.  Her home is not the only thing that reflects her ability to touch something and make it beautiful, her back yard is a haven.  There are things to look at tucked here and there throughout her yard but the one thing I really noticed on this visit is that TEAL seems to be her signature color.  She splashes TEAL everywhere.

Kim's Teal Chair

A TEAL chair is tucked in a corner by the fireplace.

Kim's Teal Garden Signs

TEAL garden signs painted and just about ready to go outside in the garden.

Kim's Teal Garden House

A few boards painted TEAL in the greenhouse.

Kim's TEAL Hens

A TEAL chicken tucked under some monkey grass.

Kim's Teal St. Francis

A TEAL St. Francis of Assisi tucked amongst clay pots from Mexico.

But my absolute favorite is a TEAL mission gate  surrounded by Austin stone that my cousin had made alongside her hubby.  What talent!

Kim's Teal Gate

They used wooden floor boards and salvaged the iron grate from another fence.  The bell once belonged to her husband’s grandmother.  The ability to create something like this amazes me.

Kim's Teal Gate

Kim's Teal Gate

Kim's Teal Gate

When I left to go home, as always, I felt inspired and creative. The first thing I did when I got back home was to pull out some yarn and start on a cowl using this lovely Malabrigo Arroyo that is pretty tealish.  

Allison's TEAL cowl

And, it was no wonder that today, when I went to my local quilt shop, The Needle Niche, to pick fabric for a quilt that a certain someone has been begging me to make that
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I just happened to be drawn to TEALs so I splashed neutrals throughout.

Allison's TEAL Party Mix

My creative juices are definitely flowing again and I’m ready to get going on a Lisa Hartman modern quilt.

Allison's TEAL Party Mix

What can I say? TEAL.

Missed

Rarely does a Saturday sneak by without time spent up in my fiber room.  After a decade of spending Saturday mornings with vivacious fiber friends I find myself lonely when I wake up on that day.  I’ve been away from Colorado seven months and I still miss these ladies.  One of them died suddenly a couple weeks ago so today was especially solemn for me as I remembered her sagacious nature.  The feel of fiber running through the fingers was a soothing way to work out some nostalgic memories.

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One of my Colorado friends gave me a parting gift of some Cheviot she had solar dyed.  She is a clever friend always experimenting with fiber and has a superb set-up for dying yarn out in the brilliant Colorado sun.  Months before, when she brought this solar dyed roving to a fiber show-and-tell, I was smitten with the exquisite colors.  I don’t know if she remembered how I loved it when she gifted this to me but I was pretty jubilant to be its recipient.

Cheviot Sheep

Cheviot is a fiber I had not spun with until today.  Cheviot sheep find their origins in the border areas between England and Scotland.  My Field Guide to Fleece says they are very active sheep and need herding dogs to keep them in order.  My resource also said that people who raise Border Collies will use Cheviot sheep for training them.

But before I could dive into the Cheviot I had some unfinished business to tackle.

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I had to finish up plying the last bit of fiber I had on my wheel.  I am glad to have accomplished this feat because this has been a long, lengthy project.  The next step for this baby will be to put it on the niddy noddy, then soak it and put it into a braid.  That will have to wait until next Saturday though but since I’m anxious to spin the Cheviot.

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I fluffed out the roving in an effort to align the fibers and make it easier to split into more manageable sections to spin.

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Fractal spinning is my go-to for most hand dyed fiber.  After dividing the fiber in half, I then took each half and split it again.  One I left alone  and will spin it as is onto the first bobbin.  The other half I split into six narrower strips.  They will be spun one after the other onto the second bobbin. The two bobbins will lastly be plied together.

As I prepped the fiber the colors made me think about the gaillardia wildflowers that have been blooming on the property.

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Wondering if the colors were the same, I took a little break and with pruners and a flower basket in hand walked down to a big patch of them to compare the colors.  They were dazzling in the noonday sun and the colors were indeed very similar.  I gathered some and headed back to start spinning.

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What say you?  Shall I name my project Indian Blanket (gaillardia)?

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How to Use Bobbles to Stand Out

How to use bobbles to stand out in a crowd? Put them on the back of a baby sweater! Yesterday Michelle Hunter revealed an absolutely adorable ewe on the back of the mystery baby sweater I have been knitting.

Finished are the two sleeves, such tiny little arms … only 6-1/2 inches.

Adorable Ewe Sleeves

And out come the bobbles with the second mystery clue, lots and lots of bobbles to round out a great big ewe on the back of the sweater.  I’m about half way through the back and thought it time to take a bobble break to encourage you to jump right in to this fun mystery knit-a-long.  We are not only learning how to knit bobbles but we are also tackling.

Adorable Ewe Back

My tip for knitting bobbles:  The nature of a bobble produces a hole right under the bobble.  It will usually be diminished by blocking but I like to put a little bit of insurance in my knitting in case it doesn’t.  Whilst knitting the backside, tighten up the stitch on either side of the bobble.

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The April KAL Adorable Ewe Baby Sweater is free and Michelle, as always, does an excellent job teaching.