Sunday, January 30, 2011


Focusing on the good things created during the week...
Ties on the quilt that was meant to be K's Christmas gift -- it should be bound by Valentine's day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spin to spin

When I first got my spindle, and then spinning wheel (and I know that some people name their wheels, but I think that's a little bit silly, so mine will just be "spinning wheel," at least until I acquire another, which I'm assured I will) I felt certain that I had to produce knit-worthy yarn right away, even if it was lumpy-bumpy "art" yarn (which it was.)   I was spinning for quantity, as well -- if I were going to knit with the yarn I made, I wanted to make enough yarn to make something useful, which for me is nothing smaller than a sweater -- so you can imagine the fluffy puffs of fiber knocking around our house.  But I have taken some time off from spinning to wash my two raw fleeces and do some sewing and knitting, and now I have some new spinning goals:

The Intentional Spinner: A Holistic Approach to Making Yarn

Monday, January 24, 2011


Welcome to Created, a new feature of this blog inspired by Dialectic Dichotomy's Sanguine Saturday and designed to focus on the good things created during the week by me, by my family and by my friends.  I would like to eventually include submissions from readers, too.  The post will normally appear on Sundays but is a little late this week because I have just developed it as the response to a challenge from a friend.  I will try to keep the narrative to a minimum -- I plan to simply use photographs with captions, and I hope that the format will become clear with time.

Plenty of progress on my 'Tea Leaves' Cardigan.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My fiber closet!

It was almost too easy to do this, after The Yarn Project -- just a matter of emptying the craft closet of unrelated items, inventorying the fiber and tools and packaging it all up neatly in the enormous space I had created.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Little boxes

Hooray!  Every last ball of yarn is assigned to a project, collected into a labeled box and tucked away until I am ready to knit it, and the books I need are filed in my bookshelf.  No more random bags of projects hanging on doorknobs with books hiding inside like bottom-feeders, never seeing the light of day.  My needles are organized into sixteen manageable bags (plus one for the crochet hooks), and I am left with a double handful of straight needles to donate along with the big bag of odd yarn hanks.  Looks pretty good to me.

Now I need to sort through my fiber collection (oh how I am dying to spin again!) and set up my new (to me) sewing table in the studio so I will have access to both sewing machines at once (yes, I really do need that.)  I made a decision early in the year to purge my fabric collection of all but my very favorite quilting cottons, so I donated many bags of remnants bought from JoAnn Fabrics (when I first started quilting and didn't really know what I wanted to work with) and yards and yards of baby flannel (I seem to have had some idea of making receiving blankets, but I'm not sure for whom.)  The remains are some really interesting vintage fabrics, a lot of wool felt and linen, and a vast collection of vintage pillowcases and bedsheets, with which I am well pleased.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stash sorting snafu

Someone please tell me how this happens!  I began this project with the best of intentions for organizing my stash, and now high holy heck has broken loose. Now I'm playing a sort of game of Yarn Tetris, fitting hanks and skeins into projects of sweaters and vests and ponchos (because I can never plan a small project, though I do long for them from time to time.)  This is what I'm looking at right now -- I'll talk to you when I've dug my way out a bit more:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sweaters on deck

My one fiber resolution for 2011 is to work primarily from my stash.  I have come to an understanding that this will involve a deep and honest evaluation of my yarn and UFO collection, and that some difficult decisions will need to be made.

This first decision was not at all difficult:  Frog City.  I hate it so much I may not even bother to unravel the yarn, I may just pass it on to the Goodwill in vest form.  It was meant to be a Berkshire Sweater from Weekend Knitting like the Violet Beauregarde sweater I made a year or so back, but the gauge was all funky and the yarn was not delicious and the whole thing was just sad.  I will need to think of something to do with the yarn -- it's Debbie Bliss Chunky Donegal Tweed -- or else it goes to someone else's stash, so ideas are welcome.
This sweater is another no-brainer.  It's the Millie Cardigan from Vintage Crochet and it's so close to done!  I just need some concentrated quiet time to get the counting right.  I can't wait to wear this!

Okay.  This is just what it looks like:  a pile of Lopi yarn in a bunch of colors I thought looked pretty together.  It was way on sale.  I'm thinking of something in garter stitch, maybe vertical stripes?  Input is, as usual, appreciated.

And this is where I broke my no-new-fiber rule.  Because I found the Blizzard yarn that I made my original Violet Beauregarde out of in a warehouse sale for, once again, way cheap.  And I have a bunch of modifications that I want to try with the sweater to make it more attractive and comfy to wear.  Nuff said.
Another pile of Lopi yarn, this time destined to become's awesome Sonnet sweater.  I'm going to have fun looking for buttons to go with this one.  Have I mentioned that I love working with bulky yarn?

And, at last, my current fave, Madelintosh's tea leaves cardigan, done in Cascade Eco Duo that had been meant for an EZ seamless yoke sweater which I was simply not ready to tackle.

I would love to stay and chat but K's birthday party is this afternoon and I am using up precious knitting moments.  Until next time!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One mitten

Remember my handspun angora?  From away back?  My beautiful, bulky, teal, thick-and-thin, fuzzy, wonderful handspun angora?  Here is what I made from it:


Yes, that is correct.  One K-sized mitten.  I know I should have made a scarf, I knew when I began the mitten that I would not have enough yarn for two.  I was banking on my provider having -- or being able to dye -- some fiber to match the fiber I had already spun.  Lesson learned:  do not bank.  So I am left with one bunny-fluff mitten to hang on the Christmas tree next year.  I think it will look natural there.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Necessary neatening, with audience participation

This is what my knitting needle drawer used to look like:

Mayhem had ruled my drawer for far too long.  This weekend, I took action.  Now I have a bag dedicated to crochet hooks and one dedicated to notions.

I have my circular and double-pointed needles in individual plastic bags, corralled in large zipper bags, one for each needle size.

And left over? My ridiculous collection of straight needles.  I do not knit on straight needles.  Ever.  One might reasonably ask why I have any at all.  I would, at this point, donate the ones I have, but I am saddled with the notion that I may soon be running a church knitting group where there will be ladies who will refuse to knit with circular needles, even if they're just knitting flat.  So for the moment I'm holding on to them.  I'm trying to think of something artistic or at least decorative to do with them, so they don't wind up just cluttering up a drawer. 

My questions to you are:  1) how do you organize your knitting needles, and 2) what have you done with your straight needles, if you are no longer using them?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reduce, reuse, regift, recycle

This Christmas I was inspired by Soulemama to save some trees and make reusable fabric gift bags.

It was such fun making them! At least the first few...  I did them with the suggested French seams until I realized that Santa would never get his gifts delivered on time at that rate, then switched to regular seams and pinking shears (next year, I'll start earlier...)  And I improvised a method of attaching the ribbon by folding it and stitching it down in a box that seemed a bit more natural to me for tying the gifts.  By 2am, after Midnight Mass, I had given in and was using last year's leftover paper gift bags -- cause that's still recycling, right?  And since K woke up at 3, I was glad I did. 

 Aside from the ecological benefits of wrapping packages this way, I now have the bonus of being able to give any gift in attractive packaging, without hunting for the Scotch tape.  What could be better?  Plus, I had the opportunity to make use of some of the gorgeous vintage fabrics that have been languishing in my stash waiting for a worthy project.  

Want to try one?  My favorite is the bag near the middle, the one with the orange, green and navy flowers.  It started out as an extremely worn, extremely dated vintage blouse that I had been holding on to with no idea what I was going to do with it.  Of course I could turn it into a bag!  If you don't have one of these in your closet (and I bet you do), it's easy to find them on half price day at the Goodwill. 

The easiest way is to turn the shirt inside out, cut the collar and sleeves off just below the underarms, and sew closed, but if you need to you could narrow the sides and sew them closed as well.  Either way, for my friends who are afraid of their sewing machines, it is just straight seams.  Leave the bottom hem intact (it is now the top of the bag) and sew a ribbon to the center.  Done.  You've spent less than 10 minutes sewing, which is 3 minutes more than you would have spent wrapping, but your friend will think you slaved all day.  And you saved a tree.  Go you.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Second Sock Syndrome

I started a pair of Cozy Toes Socks on our New Year's trip to visit family in Wisconsin, and knitted the first sock happily by the fire with Aunt Mary.  What a joy, to work up a sock in no time with creamy soft alpaca yarn.  And when I tried it on, it fit perfectly and was cozy indeed!  As we packed for home, I began the second sock with all good intentions -- but since then, have I knitted a stitch on it?  And they're predicting snow for the weekend!  Clearly I have my work cut out for me.  Time to push past Second Sock Syndrome and finish the pair so I can enjoy them (and start a new pair, of course...)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


My, it's been a long time!  I've missed sharing my work and ideas with you and have made a resolution to do those things more regularly in 2011.  (Actually, I was intending to start back in on Monday, but you know how those things go...)