Thursday, December 31, 2009

A good winter project arose, though I hadn’t been planning on it. But I was asked by a neighbor to come up with a possible backdrop for a program he directs, and the nature of the event made me think of afghans. This neighbor directs the Homelessness Marathon, ( a nationally televised and broadcast (on radio) 14-hour effort to bring the cause of homelessness to everyone’s attention. He wanted color in the background (his tv technies told him “anything but white”); I was thinking warmth. (unfortunately, a white stripe found its way in before I heard the technie announcement. Thus another project was born. Or maybe several! (Depending on time, help from others, etc.)

The idea is to have a bunch of homemade afghans hung behind the broadcast area (this is “talk” radio, so no one’s moving much). They generally broadcast outside, so the people involved in putting the program together are as cold as everyone else on the street – and this year we’re talking Detroit in February! Jeremy will drive the afghans out to Detroit when he leaves in mid-February; then he’ll leave them with a homeless shelter to be used by people who need them. I’m thinking perhaps some fleece blankets would also be good, as a backdrop for the afghans as well as more to give away.

So the top photo is the start of a one-piece afghan; the photo to the right shows the first pieces of a “Warm Up America” style afghan – this one will need to be assembled. This project is gratefully accepting donations of 7 inch by 9 inch rectangles for afghan assembly – I’ll need these no later than January 20. Any color but white! Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of white yarn – but that can be used for putting the pieces together.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

One of this year’s major accomplishments was finishing “Tatting By The Book,” my second collection of bookmarks. While I was designing and tatting the bookmarks, at the back of my mind was this worry about the book’s cover. I couldn’t come up with an image of how it might look and this bothered me – all my ideas took me back to the same cover as the bookmark collection I did in 1997. Then I found this copyright-free illustration and altered it – after that, everything simply came together. Everything I wanted to get in managed to fit - all 17 of them! The printer did a great job – and I was able to get the first orders out in time for Christmas.

Secret Santa was terrific this year! Carol A. sent me some incredible presents – including this lovely fellow – he’s young, lively, and his round tummy says he likes chocolate almost as much as I do! He does seem to be a leprecaun, so I looked up Irish names and settled on Flannan - which means, if I recall correctly, "little red one." He accompanied a lot of lovely things including a pair of my favorite shuttles, chocolate (I got to them first!) a sparkly bag, beads, Lizbeth threads, including one color I haven't tried yet; a neat tin (with more candy) and a lot more good things.

Actually got my Christmas presents all done with a little time to spare – which I used to begin another project, of course. This was legitimate, according to my lights, anyway - because it fit my goal of using up “stash” yarns, in this case two yarns I’d been stockpiling that suddenly acquired a magnetic attraction to each other. This will be a shawl… literally wrapping up last year’s New Year’s resolution to make a significant dent in my stash of yarns. This year’s resolution has the same general nature but has to do with fabrics. I’m not much of a quilter, but somehow I’ve established a stash which has gotten seriously out-of-control. I’ve signed up to do a quilt show next November, so I expect I’ll be busy at the machine for much of the next few months.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Does anyone really have free time at this point in the year? My winter job has begun, but in addition to the holiday preparations, my attention is otherwise pleasurably distracted. I’m working on a long-promised bookmark pattern collection, having fun trying out some new patterns. These are two for the book, the gull-feather (in green) and the tiara bookmark (mauve). The book’s patterns are just about finished, thanks in part to a workshop last spring that tried out some new patterns, and thanks also to people in the Finger Lakes Tatting group who tried out a few more. Now it’s just re-checking and tatting time… and at this point in the year, what could be better?