Monday, February 17, 2014

Freedon Wright's wife and her spinning wheel, part deux

Last year was too busy- among other endeavors, I moved to Virginia.  I had to weed out the homestead, as it would not all fit in the new one.
I still had the spinning wheel that was part of the Freedom Wright household.  I did not think that it belonged in Virginia, and I (fortunately) had not got around to 'restoring' it to a working state.  It now resides at the Lewis County Historical Society.
I felt an obligation because most spinning wheels do not have this kind of provenance.  We usually cannot know who made them, or who used them.  It was a privilege to own the wheel for a time, and a privilege to put it where its provenance can be appreciated and expanded.
Remind yourself what this wheel looked like by going to the old post in 2011.

Okay, it's been a while.... Really.

Okay- it's been a while.   And if not for those pesky New Year Resolutions, I would not be back here yet.
Here is a quilt top I've worked out, along with some pics to illustrate a few of the 'tricks' I used to make it.

Seeing Stars

This looks more structurally complicated than it is.  The single block that makes up this top is a 10 1/2"x 5 1/2" rectangle with it's lower left corner quarter in a contrast.  You make the light rectangles with a dark corner, and the dark rectangles with a light corner.  Then join a dark and a light (mostly) along their un-cornered sides, and you have 10 1/2" squares.  Pinwheel four squares around a common color center, and you have a  20 1/2" star block.  When you line up the star blocks, other stars will form between them, along with diagonal rows of 4 color squares.
I worked this variation out in two sets of colors:  Dark and light green, and Purple and very light tan.  You can see that my variation does not 'line up' like the one that inspired it.  (  All of my Dark green rectangles have the light green corner, all my light green rectangles have the dark green corner.  Same with the other two colors- so there are four 'bricks' here-
This was constructed by cutting 5 1/2 inch wof strips.  For each set of 4 20 1/2" star blocks, you will need 4 each of 16 inch strips and 6 inch strips of all 4 colors.
Mark the center line of the 5 1/2 inch square that is 1/4 inch inside the 6 inch side of the small patches.
This is how I did them.
Then I pinned all the patches and chain sewed the 1/2 squares.
Here's how I kept the patches centered while pinning.
Make sure that all your diagonal center lines travel in the same direction!!!
You need all you blocks to have the same corner-  no mirror twins!!!

Then it's cut the diagonals, and press.  I took care pressing those bias seams.
Then I worked from my cartoon to assemble my blocks.

Now I have the quilt top's 12 blocks to serve as my cartoon.  Well, that was fun.  Except for the number of times that I twisted one of the 10 1/2 inch sub-blocks the wrong way somehow, and had to rip and resew.  It was a testament to making the same mistake over and over again.  Apparently, I practice what I know.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Have you ever seen a maidenhair fern in bloom?

They look like little white crowns!

Table is 29 inches tall- Around 40 inches from top of pot to floor.
Have you EVER seen a maidenhair fern BLOOM? 
Until today, me neither!
I'm making note of all factors in this post- I have no idea what prompted Miss Fern to bloom, but my assumption is that she is very, very happy.
She is 4 years old.  At 2 years, I divided her and repotted. (People who "divide" maidenhair ferns are laughing as they read this.  The rest of you need to know that you need an axe to divide the rootball.)   She lives between two north windows, and next to a hot air duct. She's probably rootbound.  We are a week after the summer solstice. 
The blooms are clusters on spikes off mature stems.  Each bloom is about 1/8 inch across.  It has 6 curled-back petals, one each behind 6 gold-pollen tipped anthers.  The blooms on this one are all near the top of the pot, so if you hang your fern, you will miss the blooms, probably.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

KoolAid to the Rescue

Bargains.  I love 'em.  They engender a feeling of contentment in me.  Like I deserved them.  There are some iconic fiber-related bargains that have really made me warm and fuzzy for years.  The $10 Lendrum wheel.  The $5 Singer 155.  
A more recent bargain was a box full of wonderful cone yarn (fingering weight) that is 50-50 wool and cashmere.  Yup.  I scored cashmere.  For around $10 a pound.  Warm and Fuzzy.  
A plus B = ??
I have several colors that are very nice.  I have a couple colors that will come back around in 5 years, and I'll still have this yarn, so it's safe to wait.  I have two full cones of pink.  Hot pink.  Saturated hot pink.  Even if hot pink comes back around, I won't be wearing it.  
I wanted to work out some socks and take down some tension numbers so that I can whip up  a right sized pair of cashmere socks at any time downstream from now, with no need for future swatching.  Naturally, I reach for the hot pink.  I can spare it.  I would off a couple of 50g skeins.  
Then I spied the bag of koolaid packages in the drawer.  Well, why not.
This is what you get with 6 cups of water, 4 packs of electric blue lemonade, and 100 g. of hot pink.

Cooking yarn and Kool-Aid

Not the evenest dye job, but a color I can live with.

  I am feeling warm and fuzzy.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Quilt Camp with the Tug Hill Quilters

DC K and I spent the week at Quilt Camp.  We had a wonderful time.  We met, over the week, around 90 quilters, and we are lucky to remember our own names, nevermind their names.
Monday through Thursday, we talked, quilted, ate and laughed.  DCK came with several projects ready to sew, and I did not get a picture of any of them!  That probably works for her, as surely one of them is a Christmas present for someone, and she won't want them to see it here!
DCK gave me a darling pattern, with a kit of 5 fat quarters, to make a christmas tree hanging, and I have the fancy part done.  I'll post the picture when it's done.  Meanwhile, here are pictures to inspire you.

Thanks, everyone, for the best time!
Headed for the Church craft bazaar
The quilters work and wander

Quilt-as-you-go strip quilt

At the cutting table

Quilter GD's dye project with her daughter

destined for the VA hospital

Hot colors and cut and sew triangle blocks

Beautiful hand applique

These are some of the material from the Ninja Yardsale adventure.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Boomerang Scarf at Blue Mountain Lake Fiber Festival

Sharon's preferred, asymetrical  style wrap

Note: the scarf in the pic is an early version.  When you follow
the directions below, you will wind up with a longer,  narrower, and
easier to wrap, scarf.  You'll see, and you'll like it.
I had a great time today at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.  It was Fiber Festival day, and the yarn bombers had visited the museum!  There were knitting and crocheting (and felting, quilting, rug hooking, and on and on...) explosions all over the place.

I brought the boomerang to share with the other knitters, and I just enjoyed the knitting and sharing and meeting people.

The Boomerang scarf is an easy, warm and stylish scarf.  It is all garter stitch, so it wraps like a dream, and wants to hold onto your coat!  Knit it in wool, or a wool-silk blend.  Wool-alpaca would also work, and the alpaca will lend its drapiness as well.  Handspun yarn works well with this pattern.  Gauge is not critical.  Make it as small, or as big as you want (or as your ball of yarn dictates.)   You can knit this at bigger gauges for a softer, less structured knit.  It will 'collapse' on your neck better at bigger gauge, and it will 'stand up' better at the tighter gauges.

Let me know how yours turns out.


Boomerang Scarf

Yarn-  About 200 yards
Needles to knit at about 5 stitches to the inch ( for knitting worsted weight yarn) or 6 stitches to the inch ( for sport weight yarn). 

Cast on 2 stitches.

Row 1 (and all odd rows)       Yarn Over, then knit to the end of the row.  (increase of
                                         one stitch)
Row 2                               YO, knit to end of row. (one stitch increased)
Row 4                               Same as row 2
Row 6                               Bind off 4 stitches, knit to end of row.

Repeat these 6 rows until you have used about half of your yarn.


Row 1 (and all odd rows)       YO, K1, YO, knit to end of row (2 stitches increased)
Row 2, 4, and 6 as before.

When 15 or 20 yards of yarn remain, end row 5.


Row 1      Bind off 4, knit 5, turn.
Row 2      K 5, turn
Row 3      K 6, turn
Row 4      K 6, turn
Row 5      K 7, turn
Row 6      K 7, turn

Repeat these 6 rows to make sawteeth and bind off the open stitches.  If you run short of yarn before sawteeth are done, bind off the rest of the open stitches without making sawteeth.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Knitting in Denver! AND another shrug pattern!

I gave the LK 140 to myy DDIL, who is not yet a machine knitter, a couple years ago.  (Give her time.) I was visiting her (and the new, 4th, baby) to help out for a bit, and I dug out the machine to entertain myself.

DDIL plans to use a Moby wrap with the new baby, Jack.  Her problem is that a sweater will not filt OVER a Moby and a baby.  Our solution started with Sensations Kashmiri from Joann's. 
I started with  the free Lion Brand pattern ( for the simple shrug- I ran a gauge sample and got 4.5 s x 6 r/ inch,and translated the pattern for the machine, using the pattern dimensions given in the pattern. The 34 inch wide panel was too wide for the machine, so made it up in two half-width panels, which I joined by raveling the edge stitch on each piece and drawing 2 loops through two loops. (I set this up by leaving one needle out of work before the last needle, on the left side of piece one, and on the right side of piece 2.  This makes the loops you will get by ravelling down the edge stitch a bit bigger. ) This put the mock braid detail up the back of the shrug. I knit the panels with open caston, and later, I picked up the open stitches and hand knit 2x2 rib on top and bottom of the joined panels. I used the Joann’s sensations Kashmiri, and i must say this lively 10-ply wool worked up great, and the machine loved it. (fYI, takes less than 4 full skeins, and kashmiri is 284 yards/100 gm)

My back panel joins make a nice openwork 'braid'.  Who would not want one of these?

The new Mom likes her shrug!

Okay, let's review.
You will make two panels, each one 17 inches wide by 34 inches long. Do a gauge sample to get your stitches for 17 inches and your rows for 34 inches.   On panel #1, leave a needle out of work inside of the left edge stitch- and on panel #2, leave that needle out of work inside of the right edge stitch.  (You could also just move the edge stitch over, but the extra width caused by the ravelled edge stitch more than made up for the loss of one stitch in the width. )    Cast on with waste yarn, and when you start the first garment yarn row, do not use a closed cast on with your main yarn- just knit.  When it is the right length, take it off on waste yarn.  I collect the open top stitches and the open bottom stitches on a couple of circular needles, leaving off the edge stitch that you are going to ravel, so that you can run it down, a couple rows at a time, while you join up the panels.  When the panels are joined you have this great looking 34" x 34" square.  Now knit 2 inches of 2x2 rib on the top edge, and on the botttom edge.  I used a size 4 needle, shooting for a rib to take full advantage of this yarn's springiness.  When you cast off these ribs, you have a square that is 34 " wide, and 38" long.  Fold it in half lengthwise- sew up the sides starting from the ribbing, stopping about 8 inches from the top fold.  
To wear, put your arms through the armholes, and arrange the ribbing a a shawl collar on your neck, down the front and around the bottom/back of the shrug.  

There WAS other knitting in Denver, but it's still on needles.  Airplane knitting.