Monday, September 17, 2007
We also went to the Gustav Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. There were some great textiles there, too, although most of them weren't original to the house, they were from the Arts & Crafts period and were handmade. Not allowed to take pics inside the museum, tho.
Took a harbor cruise around Manhattan. Never did that before, either. Didn't make it to Ground Zero, but saw the void from the boat. Very sad.
On a happier note, my very good and enabling friend Dana took me yarn shopping in NJ! We had 5 shops on our list, but we couldn't find one of them. Here is a list of places we visited:
Knit A Bit in Westfield -- http://www.knit-a-bit.com/
Nonna's Yarn Cafe in Denville -- http://www.nonnasyarncafe.com/
Accents on Knits in Morristown -- http://www.accentsonknits.net/
Down Cellar in Basking Ridge -- http://www.downcellar.net/
I bought something at each place, but not a lot of stuff -- had to pace myself! Knit A Bit and Nonna's Yarn Cafe were like the shops in Debbie McComber's books -- the big table where people come in on their lunch breaks and people know each other. Very homey and comfortable. I actually met a woman from my old stomping ground -- she had lived in Watertown, MA, and I used to live in Lexington. Down Cellar was also a very cool shop -- huge variety of yarns and other things -- it's a two-story house and just packed full of things to see and touch! Really liked that place, too! Accents on Knits was a little different. The people were friendly enough and they have a very friendly bulldog named Daisy who is the official greeter and she is very good at it! Loved her! The yarn is arranged by color rather than fiber, weight or designer or company, and there were no prices anywhere that we could find. Dana and I are seasoned enough to be able to tell a $6 skein from a $30 skein, but a newbie might not be.
It was a WONDERFUL trip! Hey, Tony & Dana -- THANK YOU!!! We had a great time!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
I was charged with making the bags for them. These are made of nubuck -- it looks and feels like leather, but no animals were injured in the making of this product. Basically, I just cut 3"x18" strips of nubuck, folded down 1" at each end and stitched it down, and then sewed up the sides, right sides together and leaving about 1/2" open at the top. I just ran two lengths of cording through the casing, one in each direction, and then knotted the ends. I didn't bother to finish the edges of the casing. The nubuck won't fray and folding it over would make too much bulk.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
my closet -- they were probably from the 80s -- they had tapered legs with zippers on the bottom! I know, right? EWWW! Anyway, I fixed them.
I cut them off below the zipper. I probably should have cut closer to the zipper but I can always go back and fix that. The fabric I used for the bottom was sort of a mesh with the pattern flocked on it -- (see the out-of-focus close-up) -- so I lined it with burgundy cotton broadcloth. I wish I had made the skirt fuller, too, but I didn't have enough fabric. I used the standard gathering technique -- baste and pull -- I pinned the skirt to the yoke, right sides together -- and pulled the stitches until it fit, and then I stitched it. Then I sewed up the back seam and hemmed it and voila!
Sunday, July 1, 2007
This hat is a really simple, no-pattern thing I made up years ago. It's so easy to make and easily becomes as much a wardrobe staple as your favorite jeans. I've had strangers come up to me and ask where I got mine. It's an opp to hand out a business card!
Anyway, to make the hat, I CO 68 st on 10.5 circs and knit until I find a length I like by trying it on my own head. Then I k2tog once around, switch to dpns, and k2tog 2x until there are about 9 st left. Cut the yarn, leaving about a 6" tail and use a yarn needle to weave the end through the working stitches that are still on the needle. Tie off and weave in ends, and you have a rolled-brim slouchy hat that's nice and warm. There's no shaping on the crown and the fast decrease leaves an interesting star-shape on the top.
As with my yarns, you can find them at The Pen & Thread, local arts and craft shows, or directly from me.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Basically, I wrapped the fabric around myself one and a half times and cut. Since it was a plaid, I just marked it and cut along the line in the pattern. I laid it out flat and folded the top over for a casing that was slightly wider than the elastic. I used 3/4" elastic, so the casing was probably about an inch. Again, I used the lines in the fabric instead of measuring. Then I folded it over again. Yes, I know that's not the proper way to make a casing, but i was in a hurry! :) I just sewed it closely to the edge.
Next, I held it up and marked it for length. Again, I just used the lines in the plaid to cut. I folded it over twice, roughly a half-inch each time and sewed it again for the hem.
I pinned the two raw edges together -- the only pinning I did for the entire skirt -- wrong sides facing -- and sewed them together with a standard 5/8" seam. Be sure to stop just short of the casing -- it's important to leave that open so you can put in the elastic!
I attached a safety pin to the elastic and work it through the casing, making sure not to twist it. When it came out the other side, I put the skirt on and adjusted the waistband to suit myself and sewed the elastic accordingly. To ensure that it wouldn't twist later, I sewed vertically through the fabric and the elastic in the waistband in a few random spots. The last step is to close the openings in the casing. You have to sew this by hand.
And today, I have a new skirt to wear to work. Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
These are spindles and lucets made by my husband. Not only does he do nice knotwork, but he also does nice woodwork!
I think we've seen these yarns somewhere before!
These look familiar, too!
Oh, yeah, and I make bags, too! Also available at the P&T and local craft fairs.
Mary Anna carries a nice collection of Cornish tin jewelry, too!
She made the sweater, the scarf and all of the jewelry in this pic!
Below is the view into the back hallway. The curtain is made from walnut shells that were sliced down and strung. Cool, huh?
The bags are called tagaris -- traditional Greek bags in which workers carry their lunches and other things. These are all handwoven by Mary Anna, who is of Greek descent.
These are two of the first shawls that our team made during sheep to shawl demos.
Two view of Mary Anna's loom. From the front, you can see some of the hangings and table runners she's made, and from the back, you can see piles of carded wool waiting to be spun for a custom job she's working on.
Mary Anna & I both do custom spinning. My last job was spinning a large trash bag full of combings from a Great Pyrenees dog. His mommy loved him so much that she wanted a scarf made from his hair. I would love to make something from Jet's hair, but it's just too darned short!
Mary Anna is an all-around artist. She spins, dyes, weaves, knits, paints, does calligraphy and makes jewelry. I hope I haven't forgotten anything!
She did all of the paintings on slate, including the Welcome sign with the hexes on it. We are in the heart of PA Dutch Country, so tourists expect to see stuff like that. Amish don't actually use them, though -- you're more likely to see it on an the barn of an Englisher.
Below is the view from the front door. Mary Anna has arranged the line of sight to lead directly to the handspun yarns. Misty Dell is her yarn and Fiber Space is mine. The picture to the left is a display of Misty Dell yarn.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
So I thought you might like to see some of my finished products. These hats are all handspun and handknitted.
This hat above is made from mystery wool.
The gray part of this hat is Jacob wool and the white part is Karakul. They are both primitive breeds and the textures are very different. The combination made for an interesting end product.
This hat is 100% Jacob.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Why I Knit
By Fiber Maeven
When I was given this assignment, I jokely responded that I knit because it keeps me from inflicting bodily harm. Although that’s not entirely untrue, it’s not the only, or even the biggest reason.
It all started because I needed a hobby that would keep me from snacking in front of the TV in the evenings. It had to be something that would keep my hands in perpetual motion but that allowed the rest of my body to relax. It had to be repetitive enough that I could still pay attention to CSI, yet interesting enough to keep me . . . well . . . interested. What were my options? Hmmm . . . solitaire . . . jigsaw puzzles . . . juggling chainsaws . . . and all fun things to do, but not one of them quite fit my criteria. Oh, yeah, I forgot . . . my holy grail of hobbies had to be creative and constructive.
I seemed to remember that my mom had attempted to teach me to knit when I was a child. I hadn’t been very good at it. But I’d been seven. Twenty-five years had passed. Surely I had acquired some dexterity since then.
Let’s explore a knitter’s psyche, shall we? I, like so many of my sisters, learned to knit as a child. My mother used to knit sweaters and doll clothes for me. I’m not sure who taught her, but she tried to teach me. Of course, she tried to teach me lots of things, but I was a typical kid who would have none of what the adults were selling. Later, much later, actually, when I was in my 30s, I got the urge, for no reason that I can readily identify, to learn the craft. My mom hadn’t knitted for at least 20 years, so I decided to take formal lessons.
My first project was a 2 x 2 rib scarf, but it quickly grew tiresome. I moved on to a baby afghan, which was actually good enough to give as a gift, and that is exactly what became of it. I made several more of those, and then decided that I was bored with making squares and rectangles, so I learned to knit hats in the round on circulars. Next came socks on dpns. Eventually I tried sweaters. Interesting but boring. And the finishing . . . my word . . . the finishing!!!
Apparently I have an issue with finishing anything, actually. My house is strewn with project bags containing UFOs. A sweater in the round for my dh that begs me to finish the neck; a poncho desperately in need of fringe; a plethora of other projects that only need to have the ends woven in. But it’s not knitting!
Knitting has a rhythm all its own. It has a feel and a mood. It puts me in a trancelike state of solitude. It’s Zen.
And did I mention that it keeps me from inflicting bodily harm?
Even though you can just click the pics to get a better look, I enjoy posting. Humor me! The first three pics are close-ups of different batches of my Chaos yarn. That's what I call my random Kool-Aid colorway. The other pic is my yarn label. Oops! I see a mistake -- I should have deleted the bottom sentence for a label on a natural skein! Think anyone else will notice?