Have Ewe Any Wool?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

VERY Easy Knitting

This project was "super-fast" and extremely easy! It was a nice mindless project that I could do while relaxing indoors in the air conditioning - far from the oppressive heat and humidity that was the norm this summer.

The yarn is a personal favorite - 100% Merino from Stone Hedge Fiber Mill in Michigan. Yes...it's made in the USA!!! It's incredibly soft and comes in a fantastic variety of colors. The yardage is great - 250 yds. per skein.

The pattern I used was "The Drop-Stitch Shawl" from Vogue's "Knitting on the Go - Shawls". I didnt' use the recommended yarn as I wanted something snuggly and soft - that can double as a shawl or a nice warm scarf for the winter. The yardage required for the project was incorrect in the pattern. I found that I used somewhere between 350 and 400 yards for the project.

The weather has finally "let up" a bit and we've had some gorgeous days to get outside and enjoy nature. I managed to capture some gorgeous colors around my neighborhood. My favorites remain the purple thistles, but I did find some other "glories of nature" as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bobbin Lace - Beginning Classe Complete!

Wow! That seemed like one of the fastest months in my life! The weeks literally sped by - full of interesting new skills. I completed all 4 of the beginning bobbin lace classes. In the first class, I created a rainbow (shown in a previous post).

In the second class, we learned the cloth stitch (also called the linen stitch) as well as the half stitch. The cloth stitch is supposed to look like woven cloth. Of course, I didn't quite get the point that we always work the bobbins in the same direction. I naturally reversed them when I went the other way. This created a somewhat different pattern/weave than the expected.

You can see my "alternate" pattern at the top of the piece. Once I "corrected" my technique, it resulted in a very nice cloth/linen stitch - as shown after the first 3 rows of the piece. The lower half illustrates the half-stitch - rather open and lacy.

In the third class, we made a triangle. For that project, I learned how to do "a sewing" - it's basically how you connect one side of a project to another. How cool is that?

Elaine also showed me how to add a new thread - in case one breaks or in case the bobbin runs out of thread - a very real possibility on projects larger than the starter projects I was doing in class.

The final class was a flower that used all the skills we'd learned so far. It too was a lot of fun to make. I definitely need to do some practicing though - to get the tension correct and perhaps try out other types of thread.

In the final class, we did a flower. I love how it turned out. In addition to the skills I already learned, there were a few more added. I learned how to make a "sewing edge" - a smooth edge. I also found that you don't always have to traverse through all the threads...this allows "ease" for going around curves. Of course, the final step is the sewing - to connect the two sides to complete the flower. For some reason, I don't have a photo of this one...I'll have to double check the camera card.

The projects I did were all VERY basic beginner projects...using perl cotton and look a bit rustic. The instructor, Elaine, was fabulous. Very knowledgeable and very supportive. She brought in samples of the spangled bobbins (common in the UK) so we'd see other types of bobbins. The project she has on the pillow is absolutely amazing! The project uses 71 bobbins total - 65 with thread and 6 with gimp - absolutely amazing! I can't believe how many pins are in there...and how long it takes to do only an inch of fabric. It's clearly a work of art!

Now, I need to decide if I want to register for the subsequent classes. It's soooo tempting! I'd love to make bookmarks as gifts...and there are tons of bobbin lace patterns for very elegant bookmarks! Elaine's continuing students have made dozens of gorgeous lace bookmarks and other projects.

Of course, if I continue, I have a whole new set of "goodies" that I must get:
  • Bobbin winder - do I get the German hand crank version or the battery operated version...or perhaps both?
  • Handcrafted bobbins - another item to collect. I'd love to amass a nice quantity of interesting/handmade bobbins.
  • An adjustable wooden stand (for now, I'm using TV trays...they're the right size and readily available.
Looks like I have a pretty good list for Christmas, eh?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wedding Bells!

My beautiful daughter...

I've been just a bit distracted the past few weeks...I think the title of the post provides a HUGE hint as to what's been distracting me...LOL! I was a bit busy, so I really don't have many shots of the bride/wedding, but I did manage to capture a few.

Nearly all my spare time was spent in preparation for my daughter's wedding. It was beautiful...Nicki was gorgeous, and I now have a wonderful Son-in-Law, Troy. (Troy, my mom, and Nicki)

And a quick "pre-wedding" view...

My friend, Lisa, created a special hand sewn silk bag for Nicki to carry her stuff to the church - it's gorgeous! She used wedding silk from an antique Japanese wedding Obi for the main part of the bag. Nicki was very touched by this special gift - it's definitely something to be treasured.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy International Left-Hander's Day!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy International Left-Hander's Day!