Saturday, December 24, 2011

The current project is huge – a quilt our tatting group began as a fund-raiser. 28 quilt squares were given out for embroidery at last April’s Tatting Conference – these are either strawberries or flowers, pre-printed on pink fabric, which seemed to be perfect for our upcoming heart-themed conference in April of 2012. Seemed straightforward – the embroidered squares were to be returned by late August. Which was when most of them did come back. The plan was to take the finished quilt top to the machine quilter before the end of September.

Fast forward to December when we had a total of 18 – count’em, and we did, many times, and couldn’t come up with more than 18 finished squares, plus a few around still in progress, including several not yet returned.

So Sally, one of our members, took two squares to work on, I took three more, and last week, two more partially finished squares were returned. I’ve been spending quite a lot of time listening to books on tape and embroidering. I just read on-line that the most skilled “factory’ embroiderers can only work 5 hours a day because of the intense concentration and the potential for hand injuries. I can understand why. After about 16 hours, I’ve got the two partially-completed squares finished now, three more still to go. Then all the squares need to be washed, ironed and trimmed to size before being laid out and assembled into a quilt. (Stay tuned – it will be absolutely gorgeous when it’s complete!)

In the meantime, still have one more end-of-the-year article to complete; and of course the final Christmas present, which I put the finishing stitches into today. These are Bill’s annual Christmas socks. They’re red, because as anyone who’s been in my knitting class can recite, tongue-in-cheek, RED IS WARMER. Or so Bill is convinced. These are particularly nice, made of washable merino and sock yarn, two strands held together. This was an intensive sock year, in the holiday season alone I made five pairs – luckily three of those pairs were for kids.

I’m taking off Christmas Day to do some different needlework.

Monday, December 19, 2011


It’s not the new year yet, but this seems like a perfect time to make resolutions anyway… Maybe because I’ve finished almost all of my holiday projects, including a few extras that got added in “just because.”
And having resolved, I’ve started… sort of, anyway. Resolution 1 – to use my stashes of stuff, [particularly the stuff I’ve been holding onto forever for no particular reason]. Okay, some of the things I held onto were because they seemed good and useful; some were given to me, some followed me home. I particularly like cotton, and I wouldn’t mind having more of it… No! No! Down girl! For now I’m going to work on having just a little less of it. So I began Saturday by crocheting dishcloths… I made a few. I also finished a few projects that can’t be shown yet – or ever, come to think of it, since they’re already wrapped up and put in the boxes of those who will open them on Christmas. But here’s a hat (sort of seen at the top of the photo) made from three interesting strands comprising mohair, nylon, metallic, wool, acrylic and, of all things, linen.

Here’s the plan – by this time next year, I will have used up, sold or given away at least four of those large Rubbermaid tubs filled with stuff. This does not include Seneca Santa yarn (I’ve got seven tubs of that) which is given away free for the asking, to those who will knit and crochet mitten and hat sets for Seneca Santa. (We’re starting to work towards 2012 now).

Looking for other things, I came across this yarn, which is available to (an) other home(s) – temporarily. It’s mostly Lion Brand “Jiffy” – a bulky acrylic yarn great for quick projects and kids’ stuff. There are 12 balls of “Midnight blues” – enough for a good-sized throw, I’d think; 6 of “taupe” (I see teddy bears, amigurumi and otherwise) 4 “Springfield” (green and purples), 2 of Duluth (that’s the pink/red/magenta blend) and 5 skeins of a much lighter weight lavender acrylic + 2 more of the same where the skeins were partly started.. anyone interested may have any of these for $1 a ball plus shipping – whole groups only. Anyone who wants the light lavender gets all 7 balls for the cost of 5. Want all of it? Then shipping is free… I will be advertising elsewhere, too. After December 30, I’ll be turning the yarn into that throw, those teddy bears, and other good stuff – unless someone stops me. I'll update as I go, with more stash-busting/ and as things disappear.

UPDATE: The 12 skeins of Midnight blues have a new home and a new purpose - the other yarn remains available. If anyone wants all of what's left, the shipping is still free for the remainder.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Santa’s workshop continues busy with all kinds of knitting and “stuff” I can’t show here. Our tatting group met here on Saturday and tatted snowflakes – mine was tatted in size 60, but I gave it away before photographing it. Possibly I’ll do a few more and next time I’ll take photos.

Then our spinning group met Sunday, and our sweet mother-to-be (Jen, are you reading this? You really ARE sweet!) who’s also a tatter was able to unwrap her gift. The hearts on the quilt were tatted, knitted and crocheted (including one butterfly) by Neil, Ruth, Dani, Karey, Ginny, Sally, and Nancy. I made the quilt and sewed the hearts on. Everyone please take note of the middle heart in the second row up from the bottom. It’s the most complicated one and was tatted by Sally who always says she can’t tat – and also had to adapt the pattern because the joins as written were difficult for a left-handed tatter.

We think even the baby was pleased – there even seemed to be a little applause (or at any rate, movement) from the as-yet unborn “T.” Then the spinning group went on to explore llama fiber, removing guard hairs as we spun some amazingly soft stuff. The llama fleece came from Jen, whose father-in-law raises them. I bought a llama blanket (whole fleece) I’ll start processing after the holidays, if I can wait that long.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The garden is done, but here’s the tribble harvest (so far). They were perfect Thanksgiving knitting. No one actually asked “what are you doing?” because I was obviously knitting something with a great sense of purpose, even if it was little. Each time I finished one, I started right in on another. I need them for giving to members of my exercise class (at least a dozen there) and to various other people for presents (at least a dozen more.) I brought them to work with me, I took them with me to a crafts fair, where I knit them standing up. They’re wonderfully addictive – like potato chips, you simply can’t stop with one!

And what are they good for? These double-sided, knitted powder-puff-sized objects can be used for washing faces or dishes (choose one or make several tribbles). the pattern is someone else’s brainchild and can be found here. There are still tribbles going on…and um...other things. (Don't ask me what, I've been wrapping all morning.)

Of COURSE I’ve been involved in other creative endeavors, most of which I can’t show yet - a monster amount of hats and mittens, some for craft shows, some for Seneca Santa- these all left home before I could photograph them. Also work, but that's another matter. Suffice it to say the tatting shuttles have been laid aside for the moment – but the knitting needles are smokin’!

Here’s a closeup - the yarn used was Bernat Handicrafter cotton in a color called "Psychedelic" and a link to the pattern
And now, to wrap these beauties ...