Thursday, February 25, 2010

I’m ready for the big blizzard allegedly coming our way tonight. We’ve got plenty of food, wood in the house and… umm… How did I suddenly find myself knitting seven sweaters simultaneously? We could blame this on one of the sweet ladies of the spinning group who suggested a knit-along on the topic of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s baby surprise jacket. So I began one out of handspun, another out of some yarn in the shop, thinking it might go to a friend, and on second thought, not knowing the size of the friend’s baby, decided to begin a third one with some very neat green yarn from my stash, with the second one staying in the shop as an example of what may be done with that yarn Here’s the pink sweater I began at least a year ago, with some shop yarn I wanted to show off, because I thought it would make a neat sweater, and the sweater I started for another baby (who has probably by now long outgrown said sweater) and the one I’ve begun for myself using last fall’s indigo dyed handspun, spun with intentional irregularities. Oh no – there’s another that got put aside so long I forgot to count it! There’s two pairs of socks in progress too (can’t find one of them, so could we call that inactive?) And two scarves I’ve been knitting as shop examples. Oh, and also a pair of cashmere/wool mittens-in progress, around somewhere. And the plan of using up some of my extra stash as Seneca Santa hats – I found inexpensive magic gloves yesterday and got 10 pairs for this project. I thought I’d try making one hat a day for a while. It’s embarrassing, it’s crazy, it’s much too much – it’s winter.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here’s Kyle and Shannon on their wedding day, after opening their quilt. Outside it was snowy – in fact, snow had stopped several expected guests from attending. We made it to the wedding only in our 4WD truck – everything in the truck-bad wrapped in layers of plastic. It took an extra hour to drive there, though the roads were clear and we made it home in better time.
As weddings go, this one was high on my list of the ones I’ve most enjoyed. The young couple was joyful, as were all the spectators, all of us happy to see them together; the reception was elegant and homey – it was the sort of beautiful event that happily becomes a lovely memory to remember ever after with a smile.

Today I drove off in yet another snow squall to collect two more afghans for the homelessness marathon. (It starts February 23, 7 pm eastern time on many public radio stations across the county and in Canada; then continues through the night until 9 am the following morning.) The two I got aren’t pictured, but they’re gorgeous bright colors; these were mostly made from squares kind people sent. In all, 11 people will be warmer this winter.
Last of my errands today was a trip to the post office where I collected this mysterious package. One foot was coyly peeking out from the wrapping. It took quite a while to unpack…

Many minutes later, I was one layer down.

Then a lot of cleaning, oiling, tinkering. This was a rash e-Bay purchase; Nagy wheels are highly-thought-of and it was calling me. It was built in 1971, and the wood is beautifully finished. But it’s missing a few pieces, like the footman, replaced with a broken and splintery piece of wood; the peg for the orifice hook (and the orifice hook itself); and the crankshaft was bent. It’s been partly straightened now, but the wheel still has a wobble. It needs more love and attention than I’ve got time or skill to give it today; it also has this strange, large cup-hook screwed into the front. I think that might be to weight it down so it wobbles less? Still, it’s a nice, lightweight wheel, pretty for the living room and useful – or might be eventually.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Photo-gallery time – for a sampling of some of the things I’ve been working on and occasionally talking about. I took a quick inventory of works-in-progress today and it was staggering. For everything I finish, there are five more projects in various stages of not-quite-done.
But spinning is like a poem, you sit down at the wheel and when you get up, something is generally accomplished. These are some of the handspun yarns posted on my etsy site (see previous entry). Can you tell I love color?
Last September, at the Palmetto Tatting Gathering, Georgia Seitz distributed crazy quilt squares, already sewn, ready for tatting ornamentation. I took two, began one immediately and lost track of the second. Time to find them both and finish them, I thought – which I’ve now done as part of my unrelenting (and probably fruitless) quest for better order. Now they’re done and mailed off to Georgia. Hand-sewing is something I have to push myself to do, and I'm always surprised to re-discover how much I actually enjoy it. Maybe if I weren't a tatter I'd be more of an embroiderer? I mostly used pieces from my endless stash of fragments and motifs, only tatted one piece particularly for this purpose. Can you tell which one?
I’ve hesitated about putting this quilt up because it’s one intended for Bill’s grandson Kyle, getting married this weekend. Then I’ve reasoned the happy couple are probably too busy at the moment (they’re both chefs) to be concerned about checking my blog… as if they ever do? So here’s a peek. What you’re seeing in the photo is the sunshine-and-shadow center of the quilt, the orange/cream/green pansy sashing/inner border, and a glimpse of the back (navy blue cotton) and the yellow border. It’s a double size quilt; I machine quilted it, then hand-finished the border. Started it Christmas day, finished a few weeks ago…

Saturday, February 6, 2010

One more finished, three more still in progress. Time is ticking away and – is it ADHD or simply a fiber-related personality disorder? – there are other things I want to be working on and can convince myself are in fact, equally pressing.

Exhibit A, for why I love hand-spinning. People I know have recently adopted a baby from Ethiopia; I haven’t met this child yet so I don’t know her size. Something stretchy was in order, also something wooly because we’ve still got a bit of winter. And I also wanted it to be soft, which can be somewhat controlled with the spinning. Originally thought all white, or at least that natural, creamy off-white; then as I was spinning, I began pulling out other colors until I had a whole batch of interesting things to work with. Knitted the little socks, adding eyelets for ribbons to keep them on as booties; then began the hat. Uh-oh – ran out of yarn. Solution – go to the wheel and spin more. Works every time.
Last week I opened an etsy shop - I registered three years ago and didn’t do anything until now. So far, only handspun there, hand-dyed threads and sock yarns coming soon. What I’ve got up so far is at