I'm a writer (under the by-line Karen Gadiel) and fibers designer, mostly tatting, also knitting. Full disclosure - I own a yarn/thread/spinning shop in Burdett, NY, Graceful Arts Fiber Studio. Living the dream...
More than two weeks went by? Really? Where did they go?
In that time I did shop inventory, set aside – with many sighs – some of my favorite stuff for de-stashing (email me if you’d like the current list with photos) and worked on projects.
One was to make a shawl out of a buttery acrylic chenille yarn. I crocheted it, with increases in the middle at every pass, increasing on the end on alternate rows. The result looks odd when it’s flat but fits wonderfully over the shoulders and across the body… And it is really pretty!
I made 14 more Seneca Santa hats, and I’m not going to bore anyone with more photos. But I WAS pleased with the results – I’ve got about half the promised Seneca Santa contribution for the year on its way. With luck I’ll exceed my goal. But I’ve had to put that aside for the moment.
One major project was shop related and took more than 24 hours (thankfully NOT in one single endless day). You see, several years ago I bought five industrial-sized skeins of cable cotton yarn from a mill in Canada. I’ve always loved this sort of yarn for its resistance to bearding and pilling and the gloss of its many plies. But the more than 3 and a half pounds to each skein was daunting, and I let myself be daunted for several years until I dived in and skeined it. The skeining took about an hour per pound. A John Grisham book on tape helped pass the time – skeining is about the most tedious work in the universe. Then, research into dyeing in quantity. Then I dyed it and I LOVE the results. They look pretty sharp in the shop, too. Some of it was even sold before I labeled it! Each new skein is 110 yards. I have some sample skeins I’ve got to knit really soon. Partly because it’s always a little disappointing to have only one photo to show for such a very long project! But don't those skeins look tempting, and springlike and summery? We have to start thinking about warmer weather, easier days...
Two skeins got very tangled; a friend offered to untangle, so I counter-offered to make her something of her choice in exchange. She wanted some of these potholders, so I went to work using up some of my crochet thread stash. I love crocheting these, they’re delightful to make as well as useful. She chose the blue and green ones – even though as I ran out of blue and green yarn, I added a grey stripe to one of them. I started with a chain of 26, which made these smaller than some, but useful for taking things out of the oven or grabbing a frying-pan handle that’s gotten hot on the stove. The pattern for this is here http://www.mielkesfarm.com/diagonal_hotpad.htm
I had to do shop inventory so I could complete my pre-tax work to pass on to the accountant… and I noticed I had a bunch of single skeins of bulky yarn. Which became fingerless gloves. They stretch over your hands and your thumbs stick out the gap you create as you knit. The pair at the far left are already sold. More are in progress, but this is the harvest so far…
More weather. Of course. And this prevented my delivery of the doc’s socks, which I’d been diligently working on for several weeks. And had not yet posted because they weren’t finished. The back-story is that every time I take Bill to any doctor, they’ll always check his ankles because of his congestive heart failure. Which tend to be decked out in socks I’ve knitted for him – after 15 years, he’s got a sizeable wardrobe of them. His primary always remarks on this, sighs wistfully and wishes aloud that someone would knit a pair for him. He’s a great doctor, so when I found this sock yarn, it seemed to have his name on it. Over time, it became the socks I’ll give him next week – because a flash blizzard, which fortunately stopped at about 2 inches – which, come on, we didn’t need – sent me home early. They're seen here photographed next to my sleeping and oblivious cat, who is also warm and cosy.
I’ve been spring-cleaning my studio, and of course one way to do it is to use things up. I’d been saving tea-pot and tea-cup and general tea-themed fabric for a long, long time, and its time arrived. Voila – a tea quilt.
Once upon a time, there was a bag of silky wool roving, that hadn’t been around ALL that long, but was preying on my mind. I spun some of it and made it into an awfully heavy hat, which was the first thing to sell at last fall's crafts sales. I spun the rest of it one evening a month or so again, then thought about it for a while. Eventually decided to knit it into a shawlette, a shoulder-warming larger-than-a-collar enterprise that went moderately quickly and has a definitely homespun, cosy touch. I can see this as a great place to showcase a shawl pin.
This was finished mid-February but not given away until just a little later. It’s a scarf I knitted and turned into a cowl for a handsome grandson of Bill’s. (All Bill’s grands are gorgeous).
The socklets were started last summer – but I finished them on the plane to Florida and wore them there on a day that turned out to be too warm to need them. But I’m looking forward to warmer spring weather, snow-melt and all that good stuff – so they’ll be timely for the season.
Lastly, in the studio cleaning, I finally re-discovered the blanket I’d begun and not-yet finished for a spring baby. A friend just had a girl, so it’s going to my about-to-be-great-friend, the Princess Jillian. Jillian, if you’re reading this – and I wouldn’t be surprised if you are! - it’s a pity you were born in such cold weather, but at some time, you might appreciate a lighter blanket than the ones you need now when you’re not cuddled next to your beautiful mother… and it will come to you next week.
Weather permitting, of course. It’s supposed to be better weather this coming week – I’m waiting to see what happens with the huge, heavy ice-dams at our gutters. But I did see a sign of hopefulness this morning outside a church I passed, “This, too, shall melt.”