Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Avira is published.

Here she is in all her glory:  Avira.  A lovely shawl knit from the bottom up, so that your rows get shorter and shorter.

Avira was the first shawl for the Light and Dark Lace Club, and now she's making her public appearance.

Would you like a copy?

Here's where you can buy one: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/avira

Avira is knit in PennyRose Yarns Benji, 3 ply fingering weight with approx 450 yards.

Henya and Scrabblequeen - Pshaw, it was nothing.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An exercise in humility.

I can knit almost anything I want with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back.  It's that easy for me.  Yep, I frog plenty, but almost always because I'm designing and don't like what I'm doing.  And I'm getting better at crochet.  OK, I'm pretty good at flat pieces; haven't ventured forth into sweaters and such, and I suspect that may be a challenge for me because I don't think in crochet terms, I think in knitting.  But I can crochet lots of patterns.

And many years ago I was an ace embroiderer.  Hardanger, cut work, canvas work, I could do it all.

And I say this in all modesty:  you have to know what you are good at.  And I'm good at all of those nice yarny/thready hand-worked crafts.

And then there is sewing.  Gah!  What can I say?  I haven't sewn a garment in over 20 years, maybe even 25 years.  The last time I used a sewing machine was maybe 15-20 years ago when I went through my Fair Isle phase and steeked everything.

So last Saturday we went into Stroudsburg, PA to the Pocono Sewing and Vac Shop and I bought a little, portable Janome.  Fine.  Good.  I can do this, right?

At first my goal was to try piecing.  I have no desire to do actual quilting, at least not at this time, or probably forever.  But I adore patchwork quilts and I want to try something out there.  And hey, it's mostly sewing a straight line, unless you are doing curves, and that's beyond me at the moment.

And then, in a moment of total lunacy, I bought some AG doll patterns online, and the rest is history.  So far I've made one outfit:  a reversible wrap skirt and a top from a Liberty Jane pattern.  It's taken me at least 4 hours per pattern to make each garment.  You have to see me in action to watch me try to figure out the pattern.  I can't read instructions.  Well, I can, but have no patience for it.  Yes.  Well.  Uh huh.  Go figure this out without reading the instructions, ruth.

The humility part?  I now totally understand how a beginning knitter feels.  What I can do without a thought, is not so simple for the beginner or for someone who is learning a new technique.  I feel so clumsy and so dopey, and I'm so grateful that I actually made 2 pieces of clothing and didn't sew my fingers together or jam up the machine more than twice.  I have learned how to thread the needle many times; how to put in the bobbin also a few times.  When and how not to do a little zigzag.  1/4 inch seam is not a 1/2 inch seam.  Yup, I've learned that.  Sewing velcro on is not all that hard, but getting the 2 pieces to meet is another story.  Cutting out with a scissors is not too painful, but learning the rotary cutter is another story.  Oh, I am such a novice at this.  I have laughed so much at myself today.  It's a riot to watch me in action.

But I did it.  Not terribly well.  Those velcro pieces are not lined up, but Miss P can figure it out.

Look, Ma, I did it.  Notice that the top goes with the skirt.  Did you see that little ribbon that goes around the neck?

Reversible skirt.  Whoo hoo.  Notice that the velcro part is hidden in the back.  What, I'm going to show you the mismatched stuff?  No way.

OK, the top stitching on the bottom of the top has a bit of a wave to it.  But it could be much worse.

Doesn't Josefina look cute?  I'm exhausted.  I could have run a marathon for how tired I am.  Clearly this is a major lesson in humility, but it is such fun.  No, not the humility part, the sewing part, goofs, velcro and all.

So now I'm thinking that I ought to dye some yarn to match the many fat quarters I bought and make little cardigans or hats or a bolero.

If I were a drinking woman, I have a large swig right about now. 

So what should I do next?

Linda W - Can't you just see that?  And we'd all walk down the street together in our finery.

Friday, May 6, 2011

New projects

While I'm dyeing up for the Light and Dark Lace Club, I'm also working on some projects for fun.  By the way, there are lots of opening left.  I have tons of yarn, so go and join.  We'll have fun.  Easy pattern for summer knitting, pretty colors, good price.  You can purchase in my Etsy shop.

Here's a neat, optical illusion blankie in progress.  This one is based on Lily Chin's Mosaic Afghans, and is such fun to do.  And thick!  I'm working on Encore DK, and let me tell you, this blankie is going to be toasty warm.  I'm thinking it would be nice in worsted wt, even though I much prefer the look of DK.  Well, when I finish it, and am still in the mood to make another one, maybe I'll do one in Encore.  Yep, I know.  Acrylic, but these acrylics are lovely, and I want a blankie to just toss into the washer and dryer.  Easy care.

Looks like it's out of focus, but that's the pattern.  The red portion has a different pattern.  I'm aiming for 3 strips, with the middle one starting with white as opposed to this strip where the charcoal started.  It's not narrower on the top; my camera decided to foreshorten it.  Bet you didn't know that I had an artistic camera, did you?

Here's the wrong side of it, also very interesting.

And this one shows the wrong side with the right side folded on top of it.  Talk about making you dizzy!  This will do it.  Funnily enough, it doesn't look weird while you are working on it.

And here's a lace scarf that I'm working on.  The body of the scarf is being done in this basic ground pattern. Almost mindless.  I'll add on a nice long border to each end when done.  I can't stretch it out to show you how much it opens up, but it really really opens.

There.  You get sort of the idea. 

Tomorrow we're off to possibly buy the little Janome sewing machine.  It gets great reviews, weighs only 12 lbs, so I can take it to a class.  I'm hoping to take a beginner piecing class.  And now I'm looking at American Girl Doll patterns.  Exactly when all this sewing is to take place is beyond me, but hey, it should be fun, and what do I have to lose anyway?  We could use a sewing machine.  The Hubs wants to learn.  Such fun.  Isn't it amazing what new things there are to learn?  I love to learn new crafts.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Light & Dark Lace Club!

 It's my turn again to do the dyeing for the Light & Dark Lace Club, and I've chosen 5 summery colors for you.  They are, in order, Tiger Lily, Mint, Sky, Violet, and Rosa.

Tiger Lily is an orange softened with a secret color to make it a bit gentler of an orange.  Bright, but not overpowering.

Mint is a green that leans towards the blue family rather than the yellow family.

Sky is the color of a summer sky.  You might think it's turquoise, but it is not.  It is a pure lovely blue.

Violet is just that - violet.

Rosa is the color of that light part of watermelon, the part near the rind.

The colors are all so pretty and sweet.  Not baby pastels, but adult pastels.  Light and perfect for a bit of summer knitting.

If you click on the yarn pic, you'll be able to see that wonderful little twist.

The yarn is Rachel yarn, 100% SW merino with a lovely twist.  It's so soft that it feels like cotton in your hand, but it's wool so you know it's going to knit so easily.  100 grams, 400 yards.  Such a simple yarn that you will love.  You know that I love all my yarns, but a few months ago I knitted myself a pair of socks in this yarn, and totally fell wildly in love with it.  Great stitch definition, and just about the nicest twisted yarn I know of.  This is a treat of a yarn!

The pattern, which, of course is a secret, is also easy and great for summer knitting.  Enough pattern interest to keep you from getting bored, but not hard on your brain or fingers.  The shape is my favorite shawl shape:  triangular with the outer edges increased so that the shawl has a swoopy shape.  I love wearing this shape.  It stays on the shoulders, swoops beautifully around your neck should you wish to drape it (that's how I wear it), and very feminine and pretty.  I like to use shawl pins with this shape and even use double pronged hair pins.

Where can you sign up for this edition of the Light & Dark Lace Club?

Right in my Etsy shop:   http://fritzl.etsy.com

The yarn will be dyed in May and we'll start knitting in early June, probably around June 5.  Roxanne and I have a forum on Ravelry, http://www.ravelry.com/groups/light--dark-lace-club where you can discuss the pattern and yarn and get help and chat about it all.  We have lots of lovely members, and we'd be most pleased if you would join our group.

Questions?  Ask me here, and I'll answer.  Or join the Ravelry Group, and I'll happily tell you all right there.


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