Happy New Year!

Rug before felting

I rang out 2017 with a glass of prosecco and the last rows of my Kiko Mariko project.  My boys stayed awake until midnight for first time on a New Year’s Eve – they were a lot more energetic than my husband and I.  At 12:06 we were all in bed.

7626B8F9-4F8C-48C7-A0E4-F8B4ACD85E10

My sister made all the non-knit stockings hanging here. Even the dog got one.

I spent some time on the last day and the first day of 2017/18 cutting up scraps from various vacation projects.  My sister had come over to make a lot of new stockings for us all, I finished one of the charity quilts we’ve been slowly working on, and I pieced the backing for the new living room quilt.  So a lot of pieces were piled up, waiting to be sized.  I cut my scraps into 5″ squares when they are big enough, then 4 1/2″ as a second option.  If they are too small for that, they become strips or 2 1/2″ squares.  The littlest pieces go into a small bin for future tiny scrap projects like the still unfinished blob quilt.

The new year is the time to revisit my 2017 crafting goals.  Last year on New Year’s day I’d pulled out all my yarn.  We’ve moved since then, and both my yarn and fiber stash feel more organized now, so I’m not doing that again!

I went back and reviewed my crafting goal list for 2017.  To be honest, I didn’t do that well.  New shiny things distracted me from many of the older WIPs.  I can knock off maybe four of the things on that list, and a few more that I did away with because I knew they’d never get down (J’s crochet monster for example – he’s in middle school now and would be horrified at the damage to his dignity if I gave that to him.)

My spinning really suffered in 2017.  The urge just wasn’t there unless I was with my fiber friends.  I started and finished a few quilts, but the older ones are still languishing.  I didn’t get the king size bed quilt done, I didn’t knit a whole sweater, I didn’t weave a single length of fabric.  Honestly, it was the worst craft goal achievement ever!

And yet I did do a lot.  Many cowlsPatchwork furnishings.  Some quilts, though many of them were small or smaller.

And we moved!  So a lot of my crafting energy went into creating a new home for us.  House hunting, and getting the old house in sellable condition.  Packing and unpacking.  New floors, new windows, new fireplaces, new furniture, and the list goes on and on.  So many weekends and so much energy were taken up with that, so I’m giving myself a break on the less successful goal finishing.

And, wiser now, I’m not making a long specific list of goals for 2018.  Instead, my goals are to use my stash as much as possible, be judicious with the spending for new additions to the stash, and to try to finish more projects than I start, at least until the WIP pile goes down.  I still need to document that list, just as a memory jogger, but not something to beat myself up about if I don’t accomplish it all.  It is supposed to be a fun hobby, after all.  Not a chore!

I hope you got through 2017 healthy and happy – a difficult year by many measurements – and I wish you all a terrific 2018, with as much fiber, fabric, or yarn as you can handle, happy families, and good health.

20171203_130727

 

 

 

Advertisements

Yak and silk and potatoes

Before I start on the fiber talk, Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate it!  Bring on the latkes!

7004916F-7868-4A17-B0C1-6B41A8ED29E5

Our dog Theo turned out to be a big fan of both latkes and suvganiyot (jelly filled donuts).  This is his first Hanukkah.

My finish this week was my Eureka cowl, made from aran weight handspun yarn.

The gray single is a 60/20/20 merino/yak/silk, and the cream is an ultra soft 50/50 yak/silk.  It was such a joy to spin!

The cowl has a unusual shape, more of a bandana than a cylinder, narrow in the back and triangular in the front.  The triangle dipping down means it will block more drafts when worn with a v-neck or a slightly unzipped coat.

I modified the pattern’s ridge rows somewhat, but the shape is just as the pattern dictated.  It still needs blocking, but I’ve tried it out and it is warm and soft.

Thanksgiving knitting

87ED8284-F12B-4326-B375-A3306233F407

While making the Thanksgiving meal and enjoying visiting relatives, I tried to sneak in some simple knitting.  It did not go well.

I had two colors of Noro silk garden yarn and planned to make a simple striped scarf.

Step 1 – Cast on 45 stitches.  In between stuffing a turkey and ricing potatoes for lefse, knit about six inches of the two row stripe pattern.

0DE42957-95B1-4BB9-8E7B-11FEFCCB1467

Step 2 – Decide the edges are too ragged.  Rip it all out and start over, slipping the edge stitches at the start of each row.

Step 3 – Start worrying that the yarn is a little rough.  Will it be too inchy?  And since I added some stitches to the cast on, will I run out of yarn?

Step 4 – Rip back half the rows, then have second thoughts and decide that it will soften over time as other Noro projects have, and that I can always order more yarn if it is too short.  Pick up the stitches and start reknitting the rows I just ripped back.

Step 5 – During a board game of Would You Rather with the extended family, ask self if I would rather have a cowl.  Decide yes and rip all rows back to zero.

5BE3CC5B-4510-471D-A7FA-F0EE8457DDC0

Step 6 – Eat way too much really good food.  Wash way too many dishes.  Tear apart the craft closet looking for another size 7 needle so I can cast on a spiral knit cowl.

Step 7 – Knit seven or eight rows of a long cowl, but dislike the single row look. Rip it all out.

50918BCD-6530-4A5D-B030-C002D3A070FE

Step 8 – Look up directions for jogless two row stripes and start again, on one needle.  Decide that I won’t like the thin strips in a multi-wrapped cowl.  Rip it all out.

Step 9 – Cast on 45 Stitches and restart the simple two row scarf.

Step 10 – Eat pie to forget.

Andy’s boards & hooded scarf

My brother lives on the east coast, and the winters can be bitter.  He’s a fan of my knitting, although I still haven’t recovered from the time he machine washed the handspun cabled blanket I knit him and turned it into a small bullet proof rectangle.  I try to make him something warm periodically, and I definitely owed him because he just made me the most beautiful cutting boards:

IMG_9686

They are walnut, made from a tree on his land that came down.  He bought a little mill saw and now he can make his own boards!  I love them both, but especially the one on the right which he left with the live edge.

IMG_9689

And the grain is gorgeous.  I’m not sure I’m going to let a knife near them.

He also made a stack of small cheese boards for my friend who wanted them for gifts for her office mates.

IMG_9690

And for my mom he made one using dark end grain cuts.

 

The most creative one I somehow missed taking a picture of – one in the shape of a flying pig for my sister.  I can’t believe I can’t show it to you.  I’ll have to add it if I can get her to take one.

Anyway, as you can see, the man deserved more hand knits!  He’d asked me a while back for a scarf that he could pull up over his head and around his ears when he’s out walking in the cold.  I took some chocolate colored baby alpaca yarn my friend brought me home from Peru and made him a hooded scarf.  It is about the simplest possible pattern – a biased garter stitch scarf with a seam added to create the hood.  I threw in some noro kureyon stripes to add a little more color to it, and made it quite long so he can wrap it around multiple times when he needs extra wind protection.  He can also push down the hood and it just looks like a normal bulky scarf.

IMG_9694

It was a hit!

 

 

East of the mountains

IMG_8948

The Italian cousins are visiting so we got to leave all the moving boxes behind and escape east of the mountains to Black Butte Ranch. My boys hadn’t seen their slightly younger cousins in three years – they all immediately picked up where they left off and have been inseparable.  Older and wiser cousin Amelia watchs over them all to keep things sane.

Lots of laughing, walking, games, swimming – and wine for the worn out adults.

IMG_8949

Patti – another cousin – and I have squeezed in crafting time as well.  I have my spinning wheel:

IMG_8952

And I dug out some bins of fabric so we could work on fused fabric wall hangings:

IMG_8943

The annual Sisters quilt festival is this weekend so we walked around the shops of Sisters where a lot of the quilts are hanging, then spent some time on Pinterest and got further inspired.  The fish and the trees are my two finishes – the fish was sparked by all the fish quilts hanging on the shop walls, and the trees and birds are a not-as-good copy of a paper card I saw on Pinterest.  Stitching later will add in the details.

Patti’s is a lot more complicated – she is still working to cut out more trees and figure out how to make fabric camp chairs:

IMG_8950

Isn’t it great?  I am so making a camping quilt of my own some day.  Though mine will have to have tents as that is how we camp.

it has been so wonderful to relax and not think about boxes needing to be filled or emptied, or walls painted, or IKEA furniture assembled.  Just the sun through the trees, scissors finally back in my hands, and the occasional visiting wildlife.

IMG_8945

Tomorrow Patti and I go back for the quilt festival.  I’m sure there will be a lot more pictures!

Clue 2 finished

The Surrounded by Scraps mystery quilt-a-long came out yesterday, and today I finished up sewing the rectangular blocks.  A few 1 1/2″ squares sewn to 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles and a colorful pile is ready for clue 3 to come in March.

img_7921

img_7922

Lots of chain piecing, which goes quickly, especially as I just finger pressed until the blocks were done.

img_7924

Now they join the 4 and 9 patch blocks and wait in the closet for their next addition.  I’ve a big pile of bigger squares that will be involved somehow.

This is all the sewing that I’ve gotten done since before the weekend, because we’ve been very occupied with this new little addition to the family:

img_0478

Meet Theo, our new five month old beagle/dachshund/mystery mix puppy.  Who maybe should have been named Puddles.

My youngest son has been asking for a dog for years, and we decided that he was old enough, and responsible enough.  Now we are all taking turns spending a lot of time outside, usually in the pouring rain, waiting for him to decide to pee.  It takes up a lot of sewing time!

But he’s sort of adorable, so it is hard to mind.  Actually, last night at nearly 10:00 as I stood in the cold, dark, dripping backyard, it wasn’t that hard.  I bought a huge golf umbrella on the way home today.

 

A small finish

img_7673

Despite the surprise extra days of leisure due to weather, there hasn’t been a lot of sewing lately – I’ve been on a knitting and spinning kick – but I do have one small sewing project I can check off the WIP list.

img_7634

These four placemats have joined their kin in a kitchen drawer, replacing some woven ones that were irretrievably stained.  A fun, quick project that used up a bunch of scrap strips and batting pieces.  I stitched each strip to the batting as I went along, so minimal topstitching was needed to keep the backing in place.  Of course, the tops lingered on the work table for a month before I actually got those backs sewn on . . .

Meanwhile, I’m still dunking fiber into dye pots.

img_7695

And I’m completely obsessed with how the colors of handspun are coming together in my cardigan knitting project.

img_7654

And then there is watching the snow fall – 8″ since it started last night.  A tremendous amount for where we live in Oregon!

img_7716