Saturday, August 1, 2015

Of stockings and things

Many years ago, my mother-in-law was an avid needlepointer.  She made beautiful things. Within a year of their birth, she made stockings for each of the girls.

This picture is from Christmas 2004.

Unfortunately in 2006, our house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.  We lost everything, including those stockings.

Shortly after the fire, as in a few weeks, we also lost my mother-in-law.

While once-upon-a-time, I was also into needlepoint, I had not taken on a project as serious as a stocking.  But, following the death of my mother-in-law and the loss of the stockings, I thought I would make each of the girls a new one. This was in early 2007.

As of early July 2015, neither was complete.

The younger daughter returns from a summer college program at Truman State University this evening.  Before she left, I asked her if she wanted me to work on her personal cross-stitch piece.

Her response?

"No, Ma'am. What I would really like you to do is finish that Christmas stocking you started when I was five."

She will be fifteen in December.

Well, but for a bit of sparkly snow under the little girl's feet (I ran out of thread and it is currently on backorder), I would be completely finished with this stocking.

Let me say this was no less than a Herculean task with nearly every spare moment slaving away on this project the whole month of July.

Ordinarily, I would be elated and completely over the moon right now, but I have another one to work on for the older daughter:

The needlepoint shop in Austin advises that the last day they will accept completed work for guaranteed Christmas finish is September 15.  

While I will give it my very best effort, I am not sure I will have the second one done by then.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Something like a weaver...

The loom has been standing bare and idle for over a week.

I had an idea of what I wanted to do, and it did not involve another simple weave.

While I had some time today, I prepared my warp and dressed the loom.  I used a blue gray fingering weight I had in the stash, and I wanted to use a lovely deep tonally dyed red (Stricken Smitten in Favorite Things) for the weft.

I sleyed the reed, warped the heedles, and used some green MadelineTosh Vintage (Mineral) to test the pattern and began weaving with deep red yarn.

(The pictures are horrible, I know, but short of dragging the loom outside for lovely natural light, I am not sure how to make them better.)

While I loved the gray and red, the pattern did not show up that well, and the waste yarn (MadTosh) revealed the pattern so much better.  Unfortunately, that was all the MadTosh in Mineral I had or I would have just woven the whole thing in it.

There was only one thing to do...cut out the red and look for something else in my stash...

Yes, I literally cut it out, albeit, carefully!

Part of the problem appeared to be using fingering weight weft on fingering weight warp, so I searched my worsted and Aran weight stash. A good contender was Malabrigo Merino in Tuareg. The Malabrigo is single ply and not as shiny as the MadTosh, but because this will hopefully become an infinity cowl (if I have enough yarn!), I thought the single ply would be infinitely more comfortable around the neck.

Despite the poor photos, the Malabrigo appears to show off the pattern as well as the MadTosh.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Feeling Special

In early March, my lovely friend Theresa came for a visit. We took her to two of our favorite yarns shops:  Tinsmith's Wife and Lucky Ewe Yarn. At Lucky Ewe, Theresa found some lovely Vice Yarns roving, as well as some of Vice's Blurred Lines.

It was a quick trip for Theresa, and all too soon, she was off to Austin for a work conference.

A few days ago, I received an extraordinary surprise, as Theresa had taken the roving, spun it into yarn, and knitted me a breathtaking shawl:

I fear my photos do it a grave injustice!

Remember, this was roving first:

Which she then spun into yarn before knitting it into a shawl:

She is amazing, no?

The last three photos were stolen from her Ravelry page.

The design is Gwendolyn.

It would appear I am pretty special to have such a wonderful friend!!

Thank you, Theresa!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Okay, that was fun!

Well, that novelty yarn from the previous post turned into a very quick weave!  Ben from Lucky Ewe Yarns cautioned me against beating the weft too tightly, so I took it easy.  He said his scarf used three skeins of the bulky and thick/thin novelty yarn (Universal Yarns Bamboo Bloom Handpaints), but mine only took one.

The finished project measures 10" wide and 62" long, not including any fringe; however, instead of making it a scarf with twisted ends, I think I am just going to seam the ends into an infinity scarf and wear it doubled as a cowl.  The fabric is soft and somewhat airy.

All said, I could not be more pleased!

Now that the loom is completely barren, I think I shall dig up something more complicated to dress it...

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Hello from a very wet South Texas!

I know it has been a while since I last posted, but I hope to remedy that in the weeks to come.

First off, my loom has suddenly become available (more on why later).

While visiting my local yarn shop (Lucky Ewe Yarns) a few weeks ago, one of the owners (designer extraordinare Benjamin Matthews) had a very simple woven scarf on display using this crazy novelty yarn from Universal Yarns called Bamboo Bloom Handpaints. To be honest, novelty yarns typically are not my thing, but the thick and thin bulky weight with the explosion of colors in a simple plain woven scarf really got my attention.

So, armed with a stash skein of Civlity Sport (70% merino and 30% mulberry silk) from Elemental Affects in Hibiscus (this yarn was in my swag bag from the Hill Country Retreat I attended in late February), and drove over to Lucky Ewe and asked Ben to tell me how he did the scarf and help me pick out a color to work with the Hibiscus.

This is what we came up with:  Color 313 Kanji (love the name!).  The solid Hibiscus will be the warp and the Kanji will become the weft.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Not a hat


I finally finished something other than a Mutant hat!!

The Gloucester Road Cowl and Cardigan combo are next up.  I have had this Madelinetosh Vintage in Celadon for a good while.

I think it looks lovely when paired with the MadTosh Vintage in Nightbloom!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

This really must stop...

Apparently, I am in a serious rut.

There are half a dozen projects on the needles, but even when I begin a new one, there is only one thing I really want to knit...these Mutant hats.  They only take a couple of hours, but the fifth one just fell off my needles last night...

I did not intend to knit another.  In fact, I started the cowl, which goes along with this lovely cardigan:

You can even see it above, in the first picture.  I am six rows from having it done, but instead of completing it, I cast on for another Mutant hat...

In my defense, I just loved the Koigu Kersti I used in this sweater.  I only had two partial skeins left, and I didn't want to waste it.  The only thing I could think of to use it all up was that hat.  So, I did...

As for the cardigan above, instead of using the same colorway for both the cowl and the sweater, I decided to use the same yarn (MadTosh Vintage) in Celadon for the cowl and Nightbloom for the body.

With some stuff coming up in the next few weeks, I really did not want to launch into a big project. That means, essentially, all I feel I can work on are mindless little projects here and there. 

I wonder how many Mutants I can crank out before Monday?

Right after I finish that cowl.

Happy Knitting!