Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And simmer for 20 minutes

We have scraped 100 years of wallpaper from the bedroom walls and found the plaster beneath pink and a little vulnerable. I've been feeling very Jude the Obscure about the walls. Remember when he gets to Oxford and wanders around pressing himself against the stone walls? I took a break from scrubbing the paste and filth off to remove the door hardware and simmer it in a baking soda solution - instant transformation! They only needed a little salt and vinnegar, not too much, I don't want them to look new!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Library books

I highly recommend both Print Workshop by Christine Schmidt and The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes by Sasha Duerr. They are both great inspiration for Summer craft projects.

Friday, May 13, 2011

More Any Way You Slice It

For those interested, Denyse Schmidt's pattern is in her book Denyse Schmidt Quilts. I used her suggested fabric color palette and chose worsted weight yarn from Harrisville Designs. I blew up her template to 10" and used it for my blocks. They are knit point to point just like the ones from the Community Afghan in Handknit Holidays. I threw in short rows where needed. The Harrisville yarn blocks beautifully which is wonderful since my blocks are all wonky and different sizes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Any Way You Slice It

This is my next blanket project - a knitted version of Denyse Schmidt's Any Way You Slice It quilt. I am obsessed with this pattern. I am putting together a cafe curtain in this design using muslin and linen in creams and whites. I am thinking of doing one out of paper to cover the transom in the kitchen now that the morning sun is so bright at breakfast.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Counting Pane

The Counting Pane by Wooly Thoughts just needs two borders and it's done but it has already gotten a lot of use. We've had a lot of discussions about the patterns that are visible when integers are represented by color. We used the colors of the Montessori bead chains so red, the color of ones is dominant and contrasts with green, the color of twos.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Camera Obscura Window Shades

Have you seen National Geographic's article on the camera obscura photography of Abelardo Morell? They posted directions on their site and so I taped some black plastic bags over my window and punched a small hole through them - what do you know? - my neighbor's home is reflected onto the opposite wall! This is very addictive. I've been contemplating making some quilted shades for our south-facing windows to keep the Summer heat out. Imagine if I make one for the bathroom window, and I include a 1cm wide grommet in the center. The trees outside will be reflected onto the shower wall! And the back bedroom! Our garden will be reflected against the closet doors!

Are you curious? Go see Morell's photos!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You too can have Yumph

Desperate for some evening entertainment, I've been watching 1930s movies - for the clothes, the banter, the cars, the nightclubs, the crowd scenes of hundreds of hats and heels and suits and gowns driving big steel cars and ordering drinks for the table. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Counting Pane

Old picnic tins are great for organizing large blanket projects like our current "Counting Pane" from Wooly Thoughts. Inside we have yarn and three sets of needles. On the lid we keep scissors and darning needles and a picture of the blanket. We are using the same colors as the Montessori bead chains.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blanket-inspired clothing

The Financial Times featured some of the blanket-inspired clothing at London's Fashion Week.  I like the quote by Christopher Kane, "I've seen girls wearing crochet who look pretty hot."

Monday, February 28, 2011

Birch mitten

I made this second Birch mitten more like the original in the picture. I love the woven single strand of white all up the cuff to mimick the trunks of birch trees. Next time I'm going to continue the weaving to the end of the cuff. I am eager to block these and embroider the bark with black yarn.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sandwich ideas

I picked up 'Wichcraft at the library this week. It is full of beautiful and delicious sandwich ideas. I think we need a soup and sandwich night during the week. If I make large batches of soup we can freeze half and have a meal in the freezer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beeswax candles

I took that medium-sized metal pitcher for frothing milk that used to sit on the espresso machine and I filled it with chunks of beeswax and set it in a simmering pan of water. While the wax melted I cut some wicks and stuck them in the bottom of some votives, a small pot and a cookie cutter on a piece of foil. I poured the wax in and steadied the wicks with toothpicks. Fifteen minutes, 6 candles! I need to read about candle-making. Any suggestions?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

I'm mixing up some Valentines gifts here in the kitchen today - brewing some hair rinse and sewing some herbal sachets from leftover muslin. I may even serve hot chocolate this afternoon with heart-shaped marshmallows. I just saw the recipe on Martha's site requiring only a marshmallow and a cookie cutter!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Devon socks

I have finished one Devon sock from Cookie A's Sock Innovation. I'm using Socrates which is an alpaca sock yarn. I'm looking for a great sock yarn - sproingy, wool with a little nylon, nice solids or semi-solids, a lot of yardage. I am thinking again of dyeing some of my own using those fancy food coloring gels.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dragon mittens

Here's my first dragon mitten - a request. It's a pattern by Barbara Gregory here on Ravelry. My sock/mitten stragegy is to knit one and then switch to another project and knit one of those and then switch back. So far it's working.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

True Brit Knits

Belinda over at True Brit Knits recently put her pattern for these Charleston cushions up for sale. The green and pink version in the back there has me hooked. The originals are knit in sock yarn, but I am thinking of using a heavier weight and using some chenille for the pink bits.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Totoro mittens

I made the Totoro mittens in good old Cascade 220 for a quick worsted weight mitten needed for a snow trip. After reading Anna Zilboorg's introduction to Magnificent Mittens I became addicted to the idea of lining mittens in angora.
"Since you're putting so much labor and love into them anyway, and they'll be so beautiful, you might as well use the best lining material. This is either angora or alpaca or even kid mohair...All these are worked up loosely, so the lining doesn't take forever to do...With time the lining felts into the mitten a bit making them virtually waterproof and windproof."
Something happens inside your head when you puick up a wool mitten and then slip your hand inside and feel angora on the inside. I do not know the scientific term but it feels like ahhhhh.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mitten binge

Here is the latest in my mitten binge. I read about the hand dyed Riihivilla yarns and mitten kits a few weeks ago on Knitters Review. These remind me of pressed wild flowers. I think I'm ready to create a Berkeley mitten. I'm going to throw all these very different mitten traditions into the runcible bin with some Berkeley history books and postcards and see what bubbles to the surface!

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's been so long I forgot how to log on

I am beginning a new year today and am resolved to get back on the blog horse and ride again. For my mid-morning snack I prepared my new favorite treat from Mad Hungry. I keep bagels in the freezer and I bake a batch of bacon and keep it in the frig, so when I need a bagel breakfast sandwich I just warm up the pieces in the oven and scramble an egg! It is magnificence!

I've been knitting these Valentine wash cloth/dish cloths. I use Natalja's pattern over at Sonnentaler. For a nice dish cloth size I double her numbers - casting on 10 (instead of 5), increasing to 18 (instead of 9). Her instructions are so nice you could adjust them to knit any size heart!

I'm also making some Kiki Mariko socks with my leftovers...

And mittens - I've been thinking of these Birch Mittens in last year's Piecework (Jan/Feb 2010) by Jette Uzane and adapted by Barbara Plakans. I changed the leaf a little to resemble the originals. I am going to embroider the black lines of the Birch bark after I steam them. I enjoyed this quote in the article:
"I soon lost interest in following the strict geometrical patterns of traditional Latvian etnographic designs and wanted to make something more complicated and original. When knitting those traditional designs I was only moving my fingers. I couldn't knit myself into them."
They are wonderful to make, as are all the traditional Latvian mitten patterns that can be found in Lizbeth Upitis' Latvian Mittens. Why not go on a mitten binge, or like Jette Uzane, create a mitten cycle?