Saturday, February 28, 2009
I've been rather laid up with a cold for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday I finally felt up to getting out for a walk, and what should I see, but the first nettles springing up!I'm excited about this, for one thing, because of the prolonged snow and freezing temps. in December, pretty much all of the winter garden bit it, except for the leeks. It's been hard for me, this winter, having to go to the store and buy kale trucked up from California. It'll still be months before we're eating our own produce from the garden, but spring nettles will be ready to eat in a few weeks! Darn good eatin', too. Nettles are high in protein and many vitamins and minerals. They are delicious used in any dish the way you'd use spinach or kale. Once they are cooked, they can't sting. Another nice thing about nettles is that, unlike some other "wild foods", nettles are often abundant and easily harvested, and need very little cleaning. And look at this...garlic coming up!L.B. is a good companion in the garden. Hiding under the wheelbarrow was great fun. How's this for a sweet "get well" gift from Rick? I felt well enough today to pot them up into this planter. Nothing like a little dirt under the fingernails to make a woozy body feel better. In an effort to keep this blog focused (on crafts and creating), Rick and I are thinking to start up a separate blog for gardening/permaculture topics. What do you think, Dear Blog Reader? Would you prefer to look at a blog focused on one topic, or do you like to see blogs that mix it all up? I'd love to hear your opinion. Green blessings to you!
Friday, February 27, 2009
Oh, I'm so happy! Yesterday I got a bug telling me that I absolutely needed a new hat. Now, I've made 100's or more hats over the years, perpetually in search of getting just the RIGHT hat for my head. Gosh darn it, but I'm still searching! (at least they look cute on other folks!). This time, I wanted a hat that would keep my head and ears warm in the house on nippy days or when I'm feeling under the weather, and that I could wear to the store (in my conservative town) and NOT stand out (i.e., "blend", which I can never seem to do, no matter what).So anyways, I decided that my new hat had to be knit. I dug through the ever-lovin' stash to find some nice, soft, odds-n-ends of luxury alpaca/silk yarns. (those yarns, by the way, were left over from a very special hat I knit for Rick a couple of years ago. He wore it daily, and eventually it disappeared. Months went by, the hat still missing, Rick wondering where it could have gotten to. One day, he was digging in a flower bed, and discovered what appeared to be an ancient artifact. It was, in fact, the special hat! Apparently what hat happened, is that it had fallen to the ground one evening when he got out of the truck. Sissy, the wonder dog, did as she is wont to do with very special items; fetched and buried it in a safe spot. Good ol' Sis! In the meantime, I'd made Rick another special hat, and now I get to use up the leftovers for a special hat of my own.) But I digress. Back to knitting: Luxury yarn, simple pattern. It took what seemed forever to find the correct needles for the gauge. (grumble grumble...I could have sewn 3 recycled sweater-hats by now!)But once I finally got knitting, it went fast and I was done by evening. I used two strands of yarn held together, which gives a nice, tweedy effect. The hat was knit flat and seamed up the back. The bottom edge is st. stitch, for the rolled effect. The body of the hat is in moss stitch, with a few stripes in st. stitch for texture variation. I love the way the moss stitch looks, and how it adds a nice shape to the hat. Which fits perfect, doesn't itch, and I won't feel like a stand-out when I'm in a blend-in mood. I've been wearing it constantly since I cast-off! Yay!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Well, the knitting photos didn't turn out as spectacular as I'd hoped. So rather than blathering on about my recent knitting feats, today I'll introduce you to a most wonderful feline companion. (but stay tuned for exciting knitting news soon!) Please meet Li'l Baby.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I finally got around to visiting S.C.R.A.P.'s new store. I was excited about it, not only to see the new space, but also because they'd been closed for a month, and I figured there would be lots of new goodies on display. I wasn't disappointed! In addition to scoring some incredible fabric samples and dyed wool fleece (for spinning), there was this bin of wool strips (fill a bag for $4.00). I couldn't resist.
You see, I grew up in a house carpeted with rag rugs crocheted by my mom. Mom was pretty amazing in that way. My parents had a large family and small budget, but it was important to my mom to have beautiful things in the house. So she made do with what she had, re-using and do-it-herselfing. She re-upholstered much of the furniture, made quilts, clothes, curtains, and, of course, the rag rugs. I had a kind of love/hate relationship with those rugs. On one hand, they cozied up the rough wood floors of our house something nice, and all the re-used fabrics in them held the stories of our family; certain special dresses worn by my sisters, my dad's old work shirts, mom's slacks I remember petting when I was a toddler; security.On the other hand, so many times I remember playing on the rug with precious buttons, marbles, or tiny treasures, only to have them slip through the spaces in the crochet fabric, to disappear (sometimes forever!) into the vast, unretrievable dustiness of under the carpet. So now I'm knitting my own rag rug. I'm using these goofy, huge (size 15) slippery blue aluminum needles. I'm cutting down the strips into thirds; when I near the end of the strip, rather than cut all the way, I leave a little bit fastened together at the end, and start cutting back the other way. This way, I have longer continuous strips and don't have to sew together so many ends.I'll show you a picture when it's all finished.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I've been seeing felted stones floating about the blogosphere for quite some time. I finally tried making some. I wrapped wool fleece around the stone, and holding it over the sink, gently patted it with hot water and soap. Soon the fibers started grabbing together, and continuing to pat and soap produced an awesomely felt-covered stone. So fun I made several more! I keep them in this nifty felted basket I made of Kool-aide-dyed yarn. I like finding uses for things I make and these stones are perfect to use as weights for when I'm cutting out fabric.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I'm feeling rather sickly today; kinda just moping-n-moaning on the couch. This has raised my spirits plenty! I was hoping someone would do an etsy treasury with "buds", cause I got lots of 'em in the shop. I think this is the link to the treasury I'm in today. Sorry, no photos today...now I'm gonna crawl back to my cave and get on that healing toboggan. http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=40507
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Scraps. Bags and bins and boxes and baskets and piles of them, threatening to edge me out of my studio. Yikes! O, but each and every fragment of them is so lovely, too precious to chuck. Thank the muses, I've had some scrap-inspiration of late. First, I got this crazy idea to sew all the tiniest scraps of wool onto a large piece of backing fabric.
I randomly grabbed bits from the scrap bin and attached them where they seemed to fit. This became a rug.
The size of it (39"x26") made it quite awkward to sew, and it seemed to take a long time before I was able to completely cover the backing fabric. There was something strangely compelling, though, about sewing all those stitches, fastening down all those tiny scraps, creating something larger, useful, and (to me, anyway) very lovely. This rug is one of my favorite things I've made recently. Amazingly, after all of that, I was still excited about sewing tiny little scraps to a piece of cloth backing. I thought that if I wanted to make another rug, I'd sew up smaller pieces, say, 15"x20" or so, and then sew them together to make a larger piece. These smaller experiments sew up fairly quickly. In fact, they are rather the size of placemats. Hmmm. So now I'm being more intentional with my use of color. These blue ones remind me of water. The backs are interesting, too. I'm still excited about it! I've been cutting them up and making hats and clothing. Funny thing is, there are still so many bins of scraps piled about...I thought I was using them up, but... it seems instead that they are multiplying behind my back.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
First of all, I have to say that I've had a hard time with the "cuteness" fad in the world of crafting. It's so easy to make something cute, that it hardly seems like an original thing to do. Well.
Last week I happened to pick up a copy of Daniel's "Stray Sock Sewing; Making one-of-a-Kind Creatures from socks" at the library. Cute, very. His little sock friends have a lot of personality. And they looked like they'd be fun to make. He has some good tips on stuffing them, and I like some of his embellishing ideas. I'm inspired.So now here I am, making CUTE! Since I don't have any groovy socks hanging about, I've been cutting out fabric scraps to make my creatures.
The first one I made is Little Pinkie. She's pretty close to Daniel's style, with the embroidered face and all. I love how cuddly she is, being made of sweater fabric.
Right away I could see that she needed a friend, so I whipped up dotted. Tried some goofy ears.
The more the merrier! I dug around in the scrap bin and found one of my all-time favorite scraps, this stretchy, metallic knit. And Li'l Spaceter arrived. Obviously I'm being inspired by the sweet kitty companion I have hanging out in the studio.Yes, there will be more.