Friday, June 27, 2008

Audio books, and multi tasking!

I've discovered that I can multitask by listening to audio books. I'm probably very much behind the times with this discovery, but nevertheless very much pleased to finally be able to combine my love of reading, with my love of fiber arts, be it knitting, spinning, or folding laundry! :o)

The first audio book I've been listening to is called " No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting" by Anne L. Macdonald, read by Kymberly Dakin. It's about knitting, duh!

Before I started up knitting again, this was back in 2006, I've been reading between 3-5 books a week, thanks to our Libraries, where you can check out books for free. I've never been much for watching TV, and spent every minute waiting in the car, picking up kids from school or afternoon activities, or waiting anywhere else, reading, reading, reading. Once I started using my hands for holding needles and yarn, my reading time became less, mostly at night, in bed. I've missed it!

Now, look what had opened up for me again! Now I can do both comfortable. I thought I'd choose "No Idle Hands" because it IS about knitting, and we'll see where it will lead me from there.

It's amazing to listen to, what women before us had endured, and how knitting was with them every step of the way. They knit not only for their families, but used knit items for trade, to warm their men on the battlefields, to be social, but never, ever idle. Even soldiers, having come out of the war, being shell shocked knit for their sanity. I did not know that at all. I was always intrigued by History, and listening to pits and pieces about these times, with the focus on knitting, is at the moment interesting to me.

Of course now I'd like to know the history of knitting in good old Europe as well. I wonder if there's a book about that out there somewhere.

I'm sure this will not be my last audio book I listen too. It just wet my appetite for more. Thank goodness there are already more books to listen to out there. One thing is for sure, which came apparent to me as soon as I started listening: you've got to like the voice of the narrator!

I've got my copy from Kathy Goldner, Knitting out loud publisher, an audio book publishing company, which has more knitting books to offer. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to listen to this book, I'm hooked, but why stop there?

You'd like more information? Look here, and here, and here.

Since we are all about publishing today: I forgot to tell you about:

my little Morning Surf Scarf made it into the Summer 2008 Spin Off magazine after all. They used my picture, but it turned out a little darker than in reality. I'm surprised that it would make it in there at all, since they had so many other wonderful scarves collected already.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Patchwork is out of my system for good!

So, this morning I went through our tiny spare room, and found the following, dragged everything downstairs, and took some pictures. These are two tops for pillow cases. They survived the move from Austria to Canada, therefore they were made before 1996. Back then Patchwork and Quilting just got known around where we lived. There were no pretty prints to buy like you can find today. I used mostly old clothes, but also bought some prints, I don't know what they were meant for. Aprons, dresses? Who knows. I only know I cut up A LOT of clothes. I don't think these two will ever be finished by me.
I also found this wall hanging, made out of silk fabric. My first and only silk Quilt, if I remember right. It was also made before the move. I remember having a lot of fun with this one. It's hand quilted, but silk is not easy to work with.

The colores are really rich, not as light as in the picture below.

A close up.

And here's my single bed finished top. It might never get finished by me as well. After I saw it all, I thought, oh pretty, but it all will be put away again. I just can't.

This seems to me, was a part of my life that definitely is over now. I may sew some bags, pillow cases, and maybe toys in the future, but doubt, that patchwork and quilting will be a hobby of mine again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In the meantime ....

Thank you all, for your 'Sleepy Sam' love! It makes me happy to be able to look at him every day. He's still sleeping, not very active this guy, but that's O.K.

With all the sewing going on around the knitting blog world, as seen here, here, here, and here for instance, made me dust off my sewing machine, get out some fabric, and sew. Well, I WAS motivated, really, but more than two pillow cases, was not in me. I don't even want to show them here. I bought this fabric some time ago, to make a tote bag, but now I didn't like it for that anymore. It was just enough for two pillow cases. Yeah, it's dogs all over. Thought a tote bag would have been to kitschy.

I'm leaving the machine out for a while, lets see if I can muster the will to sew a few bags, or one. All that quilting made me think of a finished top I've stuffed in a corner somewhere, must be almost 13 years old now. It's old enough to be a real Quilt by now. So hopefully, when I'll find it, I still have the urge to finish it. I did finish the socks, I was test knitting for Bea, more about them as soon as I they are dry, and I get some better pictures. I loved knitting them, that's for sure, although I didn't like the yarn I used, as I said, more about it later.

Now I'm working on my crochet star blanket, which grows slowly, and another Baby blanket, for which I'm using the same Butterfly Super 10 cotton, but in another colorway. It's VERY colorful, and I couldn't think of anything better to do, then to knit entrelac with it. It hurts to look at it for too long, but I still like it.

In the picture you can see the base triangles, and a couple of rectangles. I'm on the third tier right now, and having fun!

I have some finished singles to ply, and some merino/bamboo to finish spinning, as you can see, lots to do. I've also done a lot of weeding, and tomorrow I'll plant my loveage, and spearmint plants, all except two. I found two bunny nests in my neglected beds, but both were empty, thank god! If there would have been some wiggling action in it, I would have had a heart attack. I usually don't wear gloves for gardening, but the last time my fingers bled, so I decided to look for a pair, and actually use them. Took no time at all, and my finger tips where out through holes in the gloves. Must have worked them too hard. But, if I had not worn them I would have touched two North American toads, which I have done once before, and I don't care for the feeling. I like to have them in our garden, I like the "music" they make during the night, but touching them?- Na-ah.

Monday, June 23, 2008


How about snuggling up next to Sleepy Sam? I kid you not, that's his name, not given by me, but by Sandra Polley from this book.

I was looking through several knitted toys books, to find a toy which I could make with my 170yds of handspun, when I stumbled upon this little guy. How could I NOT knit him?

This April, I dyed 16oz of Norwegian fiber. 4oz of it was this orange roving. I was burning to know how it would look spun up, so I did, and then I wanted to see how it would look as knit fabric.

My creation

I tried to spin thicker as usual. I thought I would navajo ply it, but since it was already thicker singles, I would have been left with not a lot of yardage, so I did a 2-ply instead. It turned out to be 170 yds, 13 WPI - mostly. Next step was to find a pattern. I knew I wanted to knit a toy, and can you imagine my joy, when I found "Sleepy Sam", and that in fact I could knit him with my yarn?

I've knit all pieces as described in the book, but something WAS horrible wrong with the body parts. It looked like the head was on the wrong way. Head and body were knit in one piece. I thought I screwed up, but I don't think so. So this bear has his belly on the back side. Good thing he's so comfortable sleeping in this position, because he would have a hard time being upright. I was really put out, when I realized this, walked away, but in the end still continued to sew up the pieces, stuff them, and once I had the face on him, I was in LOVE!
Sandra Polley suggests that you iron the pieces, but in the past, I didn't have much success with ironing, the edges still rolled in quite madly. So I soaked all pieces, pinned them out, and let them dry. It was so much better, and so much easier to sew them together.
One other thing I didn't agree with the author. She said to put pellets into the belly, like a beany baby. She just pours them inside, without putting them into a little bag or something. (I didn't read the book cover to cover, so she might have mentioned something about a bag somewhere, but I didn't find anything.) Of course, lazy that I am, cutting corners where ever I can, I did as told, and the pellets tend to come out easily. Lesson learned. Don't be lazy. Take sewing needle, and a scrap of fabric and sew a little bag!
I did his face twice. I wanted him to smile in his sleep. I think I've got it. The soles, and the inside of his paws where supposed to be knit with a different colored yarn, but I liked it just fine, the way the handspun turned out. I even had some left over yarn. I'm definitely going to knit toys with my handspun again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

About Lovage, Spearmint, and Surprises!

I picked up my mail late last night. It was on our way back from walking the dogs. I just said to my son, that I didn't expect anything in the mail, everything I ordered or knew was on the way to me, was already here. To my surprise there was a key to the bigger mail boxes in our slot.

What could it be?

Well, a few days ago, Sabine and I were talking about something, and she promised to send me some material to read. She mailed it off on the 16th, and it was in my hands on the 19th! That was fast.

To my total surprise, when I opened the flat cardboard envelope, the scent of lavender escaped, and filled my greedy inhaling nostrils. I love lavender! As you can see, there was not just some written material, but out came some wonderful grassy green Uru lace weight yarn! How did Sabine know that green is one of my favorite colores? I might not knit a lot of green things, but I have hoarded lots of different green yarns so far. I pet it, I like looking at it, and keep thinking soon, soon I'll find the right pattern for all of my lovely greens!

See the lavender? It's from her very own garden. I planted Lavender once, it didn't make it. So sad. There was also some delicious tea. I might have had a cup already. It's "Shipibo Treasure Tea", sooo good! Thank you, Sabine, for this unexpected, but very welcome gift! :o)

After the Queen Anne's Lace shawl was done, I kind of couldn't find a project which would satisfy me. I didn't know what I wanted myself. Well I made one other thing, I have yet to show you, but it's so precious, it needs a post all by itself. Soon.

I've been casting on, and ripping out for days now. I finally decided on this 8-point crochet star blanket, as my outside project. I was about 30 rounds into it, when I noticed a mistake where the rounds are joined. So I had to rip all of it, asked Mariella for advice. She made my all time favorite star blanket, in the best colors possible (my opinion). Anyway, mine is not going to be very big, since I only have 5 balls of Butterfly Super 10 mercerized cotton to play with, but whatever the size will be, it will be enough.

In the meantime, since I've received so much lovely yarn, I've cast on for a pair of socks with yarn from Hannah's package, and the pattern comes from my new sock book. It's the "Hypnosis" pattern. I'm also test knitting socks for Bea, or I should say, I'm going to cast on today. Now, that I have something on my needles again, I have no problem to decide what to do next. I see Uru lace yarn, and mohair/silk blend yarn in my near future.
Anyway, there's something else, I need advice from the "green thumbs" among my readers. I've got three plants of each Lovage, and Spearmint. I've planted Lovage in previous years, but it didn't make it. This time I've got three plants in the hope that one will survive. Now my question is: Is it possible to keep them in pots inside until next spring, so they will grow, and will be bigger for planting outside, and have a better chance of surviving? Or can I still plant them outside now, and hope for the best?
My dad has Lovage in his garden for decades now. It grows big as a bush, and I would love to have at least ONE in my garden. What would you do?


I don't have a real veggie garden, what you see below is it: 2 tomato plants!

It's been cool the last few days, sock wearing cool. I'm NOT complaining!
Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A successful privat swap!

This turns out to be a good week for receiving mail! I've got my much anticipated swap package from Hannah. I just feel sorry for you, because you can't have any of it! ;o) We read each others blogs, and some time ago, Hannah blogged about her son, who was working in the garden. He's had some Klompen on his feet, and I told her, that since I was a child, and had first seen those Dutch wooden shoes, I wondered what it felt like wearing them. So, she offered so send me a pair, and this swap was born. It was great fun putting together a package for Hannah. I can only hope she liked hers as much as I liked mine!
It was pretty overwhelming, when I opened the package, and saw all this stuff emerge under a layer of bubble wrap. I confess, when it comes to wrapped gifts, I'll never grow up, and open it with care. This is not the place to show how patient I can be.

There were the Klompen, of course. Each one of them held a skein of Dutch sock yarn. As it's pretty cool today, I could need a finished pair of socks already. I'm looking forward to knit with it. There was this wonderful bag, Hannah especially sew for me! I call myself "Bag Lady", because I love bags in all shapes, and sizes. She used some traditional Dutch fabric. Wow! Another thing I love are tins, and there was this precious little tin with waffles in it. We actually had waffles like that before, but they are so delicious, you can never have enough. The whole package smelled of roses, which came from a soap, Hannah included also. There were magnets, and a kerchief, and a lovely letter,card, AND a drawing from her daughter Vera!
It was overwhelming, and lovely, and it made my day!Love the tin, and look at those tiny wooden Klompen - so cute!

The Klompen fit perfectly, but should be worn with socks, or maybe, once they are worn in, they loose their edges a little? I overlooked a tea bag in one shoe, I drink tea, so yet another lovely surprise. I LOVE my very own Klompen! Biko seemed pretty interested in them as well...

The only thing left to say, is THANK YOU, HANNAH!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thank you!

I have to thank all of you, who took the time to stop by and leave a comment for my Queen Anne's lace shawl. I'm so very happy with it! :o)
I've got a "Thank you!" from Frieda aka Elfie, because I donated in her name for a good cause.
She had two very personal reasons for supporting the Cancer Society. I don't really think I deserve this wonderful gift, but I'm going to enjoy it nevertheless. The Baby Mohair/Silk blend yarn is enough for a shawl (don't' know yet which one). It was accompanied with a lovely card, and some much needed stitch markers. Thank you very much, Elfie!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace Shawl - finished!

Oh, what the heck, I thought I'll wait till Monday, but I'm so excited, I want to show the shawl now. :o) (in this picture the colores are the most true to the yarn)

(mid day sun is not the best to take pictures)

(the spiralling is what I especially like about this shawl)

(blocking on the floor on the backside of an old Quilt I made)

pattern: Queen Anne's Lace shawl by MMario Leo a Pola de Finale Emelia

yarn: Evilla Artyarn 8/2 color # A8 from Maud's Garn, used 327g = 1430yds

needle: 4mm, I started with 5 DP, than 16", 24", 32" and 40" circulars. At the end it was very crowded on the needle.

size after blocking: 61inches in diameter

start-finish: May 18 - June 12: In the beginning I wished this project would never end. About 20 rows to the finish I feared my wish would come true.

I used blocking wires, and I wanted it to be round, with no points sticking out. As MMario on the yahoo group said, he's seen it blocked four different ways:

1. round

2. pointy diamond

3. pointy fan

4. pointy diamond and fan

You know how it is, you see something, and it speaks to you, or it doesn't. I saw this shawl of Chawne, and all her other pictures of the shawl, and knew I wanted to make one myself.

I like the yarn I used, but I think this shawl would benefit from a solid colored yarn. Everytime I picked up the shawl to knit on it, I got a nose full of sheep smell, and I liked that too. The yarn is made in Estonia, there was a lot of vegetable matter, but I did not care about that. The color made up for it. I LOVE it.

The pattern is written out, and in chart form. There are no errors in it. I loved knitting it from the very first moment. Oh, BTW, the beginning was tricky, fiddling with the DP needles, when you have only 2 sts on each. I made the crochet beginning instead, which was a little easier.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Quelle joie!

The announcement of the fact that I finished knitting the Queen Anne's Lace shawl needed something special. Hence - the French title.

As of 8:47PM tonight I've bound off all 737 stitches. Now I have to find a place to block it. People - this shawl is huge!

Pictures coming soon!

Pictureless post ? Never! What about my wonderful blooming chive? There's an ant on the plant. ;o)


(found a new online toy, make your own signature)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A new sock book - The Eclectic Sole!

Monica made me aware of this new sock book coming out. I think it was back in March. I pre-ordered it and got it in the mail today! Monica, did you get yours today as well?
I've bought this book unseen, but I liked the title page, and everybody knows "Rivendell" knit by the Yarn Harlot. I wanted to support Janel Laidman as well, since she self published this book.
I think this is a wonderful book, with 14 gorgeous patterns in it. I don't know yet how well it is written, or if there is errata, but which book hasn't errata? In any case, from looking at the charts, and the wonderful layout, and design of all pages, I must say I haven't had many knitting books, which were so well outlined. It reminds me of Cat Bordhi's "New Pathway" book.

Here are a few of the socks from the book, but you can't see the best parts. Well done, Janel, and thanks for signing the book. It's my first signed book! The hard part now is to decide which one I'll knit first. And I didn't even want to knit socks right now!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It was Mariella's idea!

Mariella left a comment with the idea to re-do the top of the bag. I thought it's a good one too, and got the bag, and went right to it. Why didn't I think of it myself? I'm a person for which there is YES or NO, HOT or COLD, RIGHT-WRONG etc. you get the idea. If there's a grey area, I have a real problem. So it was either hate the bag, and the strap, and put it away in the closet, or rip it all out and start again. It never crossed my mind, to just rip out the strap and make a button hole handle for this bag. It took me one and a half hour to fix it, and now I'm pleased, still not loving it, but I can use it. Thanks, Mariella!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Tapestry Crochet Bag

You know, a while ago I made this little kitty bag. After that I wanted to make a real bag, large, maybe something to use for every day. I made this one. It's my own design, except for the shape. The shape comes from Carol Ventura's book "Tapestry Crochet" by Carol Norton (same woman, different name, it happens). Anyway. I'm not very happy with it though. It was A LOT of work finishing this bag, and I almost didn't, but no way was I going to rip out even one row of this. I was disappointed with the colors, and how they played out together. I would make it different, would I have to make it again, which I'll never will. The strap is too small, but making it wider, I would have to add height at the same time to the bag, which I didn't want to. As you can see the strap is curling, it's no good! I put my sewing basket in the bag, and it fits tightly but it shows the round base so nicely. The bag would never be filled like that, it looks weird on top. I think I'll take a break from tapestry crochet for a while. I still would like to make a nice bag, which I can use for every day, someday.

pattern: Carol Ventura for the shape of the bag;

yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease, 50% cotton, 50% acrylic, 3 colors: charcoal - 152, lime - 194, grey (lost the ball band) 1 ball each. 100g/207yds

hook: 4.5mm

size: 14" tall - 15" wide

start-finish: May 1-14
Yesterday evening, my DH called from the balcony to bring the camera. It was 9PM when I took this picture. I like the clouds, they remind me of mountains.

A little while later, at about 9:45PM I was watching the night sky for lightening. It's what we called "Wetter leuchten", only lightening without thunder or rain. It was beautiful to watch. It was almost dark, but you could still see things moving against the sky, that's when I saw it! A bat was circling above the pool. It was there when I started to watch the sky, and continued to circle when I left my watch post about 20 minutes later. I hope she's got a belly full of mosquitoes! I'm telling you, there are more, and bigger ones, this year! They never bugged my husband before, but even he complained about them being a pest this year. Anyway, I saw bats before, but I did not know that they know a good spot to feed, when they see one.

We had a thunderstorm during the night, and again this morning, but it finally cooled down a little bit. On the bright side, everything is growing like in the jungle.