Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nordic Mittens

How does so much time manage to slip away between blog posts? Lately, every day feels crammed full of Things that Must be Done, and none of them seem to include blogging. (And I even have a second yoga blog, and that one really needs to be updated.)

Anyway, knitting and weaving and teaching yoga and chant and getting some cardio-strength exercise and starting a book club and keeping up with Netflix streaming of Breaking Bad and Damages and staying in touch with people and family, are all happening. My weaving guild study group presents this Tuesday, and our theme is Cornucopia of Excuses. (Each year we decide what COE, or the intials of the Certificate of Excellence, which is the topic for our group, stands for.) This year, none of the four of us has made much progress; we've all been weaving what we want to make. Lots of excuses, not much weaving progress toward completing the certificate.

Next year, my goal is to focus more -maybe pick one one type of weaving, such as summer-and-winter, and stick with exploring that. Also, turned twill, and investigation into how to weave a Randall Darwall-inspired shawl. (Okay, now that's already more than one focus.)

But I did knit mittens! I love mittens: practical, warm, colorful. These are stranded colorwork based on a free DROPs pattern (will post the link tomorrow), adapted for worsted-weight yarn. The red yarn is Zealana Heron - thick, a little fuzzy, extremely soft, warm (though not as warm as the PR on the possum-fur content suggests; still, we're helping to save the kiwi when we purchase this brand.) The white is Cascade 220. Knit Magic Loop style on size 4 Addi Natura needles.

And one other project: working up a pair of fngerless mitts for little girls to wear in springtime as the project for a class that I teach on circular knitting Magic Loop-style. The color is a beautiful sage-minty green in Cascade 220 sport, and one version has a handdyed silk ribbon threaded through the wrist section. Pictures soon of some of the versions so far, with surface design of embroidered flowers and leaves still in the stage of thinking-about.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Finnish Twill Napkins

 I'm working on a long warp of 8/2 unmercerized cotton (still plowing through the 10 cones purchased last year from Webs during the cone sale). The pattern is Finnish Twill from Davison's Handweaver's Pattern Book. I like the idea of weaving linens with names from Scandanavian countries; the last pattern I used was a Swedish Twill.
These will be napkins. Possibly a wedding present, or perhaps saved for us. The sett is 24 ends per inch, 21" wide, and each napkin is woven for a length of 25", including a 1 1/2" edging of plain weave at beginning and end of the napkin, for hemming.

They go fast, but are a bit boring to weave. On the other hand, our guild study group presentation is in one month, and I have almost nothing to show that has much to do with working on the Handweavers Guild of America Certificate of Excellence, so it might make sense to whizz through these and get something on the loom that relates to the COE! (I haven't mentioned it in months because I, like my colleagues, have been slacking on the project). Looks like our theme for our presentation may be: What I Learned from the COE that I'm Applying to non-COE Weaving.

And the truth is that the process is informing my weaving and making me a better weaver. And I'm finding the things that call to me - like hand-dyed warps, twill blocks with color-and-weave effect, and the temptation of so much more variety possible when you have 8 harnesses to weave on. My hope is to someday acquire an 8-harness floor loom...maybe a Wolf Pup? ... as I love my thirty-year-old, 4-harness Schacht floor loom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Catnip Mice Update

 Over the holidays, I knit up a bevy of catnip mice. And cats all over love them. 




The pattern is a modification of a free Felted Catnip Mouse on Ravelry (the link is in a post a bit ago).
These little guys have been a hit. We gave one to a friend's cat on New Year's Eve. She never deigns to even sniff at catnip, and for the entire night, she ignored it, until we had to move it off of her favorite blanket so that she had her bed back. But after all of the guests left, apparently she went wild and did some crazy playing with her mouse. Another friend wrote to tell me that her cat brings the mouse to her every morning, and presents it for approval that she is doing the expected work of a cat in defending the home against micies.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Madison and more

 First, some knitting: this is the third time I've knit up Kristin Nicholas' Sunny Fez Hat, and each time, I marvel at what a great fit and design it is. This one, not quite done - still needing the embroidered flowers around the pink circles - is for my teacher. She loved her hat, and then it ended up in the wash, felted, and about the size of a toddler hat. This one may be delivered with a small bottle of Eucalan and washing instructions.

Last week we went to Madison, Wisconsin for the day to visit my younger daughter and her boyfriend. After lunch at the Old-Fashioned (deep-fried cheese curds! homemade (deep-fried potato chips! deep-fried fish! and a tiny piece of lettuce on the plate to represent the Salad Course), we wandered around the downtown area and ended up at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. An old-fashioned museum: lots and lots of stuff, and no clear message, except that any stuff about Wisconsin might belong in this museum. Actually, it was interesting, particularly the exhibit about inventions that originated in Wisconsin.

H, I took the next two pictures for you. Hopefully, your rat charges are living a better life...

 And the Capitol. One of those amazingly beautiful, majestic old buildings. I love buildings that have depressions on the floor or stairs that reveal how many feet have passed over these surfaces. Here's the dome:
 And one of the mosaics on the wall:

But now that the holidays are over, I am ready to nest. If someone gave me the job of staying home, knitting, and watching old movies, I would be right there. Until that job comes along, I'm teaching, working at the knitting shop, and puttering. It's a good time of year for working a puzzle. You focus on something that has a start and end,  and doesn't require too much brain power. I started small with a large-piece 350 size puzzle. Now we;ve escalated to 750 pieces.
 Please bear in mind that there are seven million tiny people on this puzzle, and each is wearing a different outfit and a different expression. When it's not tiny people (a Where's Waldo kind of puzzle), there are tiny pets and lots of paving, and the occasional awning with letters to give me a bit of hope.
More reasons to hope: I'm listening to Bram Stoker's Dracula (now on disc 13, and wondering if Mina will make it) on audiobook; reading Prince Caspian and hoping to work my way through the whole Narnia series (I'd never read any but The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) alongside Laura Miller's The Magician's Book: A Sceptic's Adventures In Narnia; and getting ready to watch the new season of Downton Abbey.