Friday, May 24, 2013

Creature Comforts Knit Up

It has given me fits!

But IT is finished.  IT being the Creature Comforts Cardigan that over 600 Ravelry knitters have also completed.

This is the picture of the cardigan as shown by the creator of Madelintosh yarns, because I can't do as good a job of capturing the sweater as did their professional photographers.

Now here are a few of my pictures as the sweater progressed:
See how the oak leaf and acorns are being knit?  Pretty cool!  This pattern goes down the back of the cardigan.

The Sweater minus the sleeve cuff finished, but Too Big!

 Now it has been wet again and blocked to the appropriate size and Momma is Happy Again :o)

and my notes as it was being knit:
Love this hand dyed yarn; it s t r e t c h e s when blocked; it originally came out as 47” wide x 36.5” high, although it was knitted to 30.5 inches high as indicated in pattern.
Since it was too large, I machine dried the “blanket” for five minutes in the dryer, pressed the seams and came out with dimensions of 42” x 29.5 ” (see picture). 
After the machine drying for five minutes it turned out too small! So NOW I am re-blocking it with a 32” length. 
The leaf and acorn close up is NOT the color of the yarn! My computer did that.
I pulled from two separate balls of yarn because of the hand dye effect and was afraid of pooling colors. Even doing so, I still have one complete skein of yarn untouched and two small sized balls of wound yarn left over. 
After reading others’ notes about the size of the arms, I made the armhole 11 inches around. It happened to work out that I picked up 60 stitches, which the pattern called for. I did use size 6 DPNs for the cuffs instead of the called for 7’s. The snugness is just right below the elbow. 
Other than trying to get the right length and width for my body, it was an enjoyable knit. I might do this pattern again, having learned the ins and outs of the wool and how much to stretch it when wet.
Linking up with Finished Objects Friday and Tami.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

July In Scotland

Last September I started looking into fiber related tours to the UK.  Fiber as in wool for knitting, not fiber as in lentils or grains for digestive purposes.

Three years ago I went on a CraftLit tour to London, Bath and Wales with Heather Ordover and 24 other fiber/literature enthusiasts and had a wonderful time.  See my video of that tour here.   Being a fiber, yarn and wool hog, I wanted another tour to explore even more of the UK and learn about the origins of some of the fibers I so love.

Doing some internet research last year, I found Joyce James and her tour into Scotland and the Shetland islands (the outer islands north of the mainland).  The Tour I decided on was James' 16th annual one into these fascinating ancient places and is called "Scottish Skeins and Skerries"; you can read all about it here.  The group is small (20 people) and was booked up by last December, so I am very happy my reservation was booked last Thanksgiving.

A few facts about the tour:
  • Daylight hours will be close to 19 hours a day
  • The outermost northern island visited is only about 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle
  • Glasgow is the origination point in the tour, 8 hr. ahead of MST
  • the time frame of the tour is from July 3-22, 2013
  • average temperature for July will be from 50-62 degrees F with lots of rain!
In addition to visiting Glasgow and Kilbarchan with its historical Weaver's Cottage restored by the National Trust and nearby Paisley (a textile historical area with shawls, of course), a few places we will visit to the north of the mainland of Scotland will be:
  • Lerwick (a featured town in Ann Cleeves' mystery crime series of books) and Jamieson & Smith
  • Scalloway with a museum dedicated to the participants of the Shetland Bus operation during WWII.  That operation and a quick history of those fishing boats can be found here.
  • visiting a working croft (The Burland Croft)
  • the Shetland Guild, including meeting with curator Dr. Carol Christiansen, and the Shetland Museum
  • tours of the islands of Unst and Yell, the most northerly islands in the U.K. (we will see the Muckle Flugga Lighthouse
  • Orkney Island, where I especially want to see the St. Magnus Cathedral founded in 1137
  • the Outer Hebrides, including Lewis and Harris islands.  The Hebridean Celtic music Festival will be playing.  Look here for more information about that Celtic music festival.
  • weaving sheds, crofts, textile dyers, historical experts, (lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! with apologies to the Wizard)
Joyce James has sent an extensive reading list in order for the tour group to be somewhat versed in the Scottish culture.  So far I have read or will read prior to July 3:
  • The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee (excellent!)
  • The Shetland Bus (David Howarth) (good history)
  • perused A Traveller's History of Scotland (Andrew Fisher)
  • Sea Room, An Island Life in the Hebrides (Adam Nicolson) (not finished yet)
  • Between Weathers (an excellent suggestion by Annie of the Knitsofacto blog) by McMillen (excellent, also)
  • all of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street Series of books (very Edinburgh)
  • The House with Green Shutters (George D. Brown) (did not like so much)
  • Ann Cleeves series, of which I have read two: Black Raven and White Nights (am now a fan girl of Cleeves)
So that is it in a nutshell.  Woot!

Oh, and we get to see puffins up close and personal on the tour.  Here is a cute picture of a puffin, courtesy of Bing.

I am finishing up a wool sweater I want to take to Scotland and it should be finished today.  Pictures of the knitted cardigan tomorrow (if that last cuff gets knit) on Finished Objects Friday.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Paint Party Friday

This photograph has been passed among my brothers and me after our parents died.  Strange how it resurfaced from the family archives only after they had passed.

It is a favorite because our parents looked so happy in the back of that (probably snazzy) old coupe.  Mom looked like a star with her dotted scarf and round dark sunglasses. It was likely taken in 1941 or '42.   Dad's naval hat in upper right sets the tone and time of the photograph while Mom's dress and smile sets the carefree attitude of a day away from problems.

Over the past two summers I have tried to paint a portion of this. It is still on the work desk. Maybe this summer it will be completed.  Or not.

She does not need too much detail; perhaps defining the lips and making the glasses smaller.  Of course the hands need work.  We shall see.

As usual, linking to Paint Party Friday.  Last week there were 123 links!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Guy Rescues Hummingbird


This is a baby hummingbird I rescued after it was attacked. The song is "Better Together" by Jack Johnson.
UPDATE!!! when she thought she was ready to leave (and she was) she flew off to her favorite patch of the back yard, and her instincts instantly kicked in, and now she's just like all the other hummingbirds. for those that are concerned that she has imprinted on humans and wouldn't survive in the wild, don't worry, she is thriving. she has even successfully migrated and returned back to my yard. and for those who think i didn't know what i was doing, i did NOT feed her plain sugar water. i went outside 3 times a day and caught flies from my compost bin (be green people) in big bags, crushed them, and mixed them in as well. I also helped her learn to catch flies while flying (not in the video because the flies were too small). It was a pretty hectic but very rewarding experience and, in the end, i don't think it could have worked out any better :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Poppies for MK


All good things vanish less than in a day,
Peace, plenty, pleasure, suddenly decay.
Go not yet away, bright soul of the sad year,
The earth is hell when thou leav'st to appear.
Thomas Nash (1567–1601)

Linking to Paint Party Friday

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Silk Painting for June 2013 Hospice Silent Auction

Frog A Jumpin'

acid dye on silk fabric with gutta resists in colors
original size:10.5" x13.5"
matted and framed under glass; 19" x 23.5" framed


Silk painting originated in China going back to 2600 BC.  Long before paper was invented/made, silk was a medium on which to paint. Silk was durable, portable, and readily rolled for travel.  Silk was chosen as an artistic surface not only because of its soft, luxurious feel, but also for its practicality. Silk is light, easy to cut into any desired shape and size and is convenient to carry. Chinese artisans prepared the silk for painting by beating it on a stone slab until the surface became very smooth. After the silk was prepared, the color pigments or ink tones were applied slowly and carefully. 

The Frog A Jumpin' Picture Process

A resist product similar to glue was applied, dried, and then Jacquard silk paints were used to created this picture. Both paintbrushes and rags were used to blend colors. Paints were allowed to air dry thoroughly. The silk painting was then rolled in newsprint, coiled into a snake, set in a pressure cooker over hot water and steamed for three hours. After steaming, the painting was air dried, carefully ironed and stretched over canvas. A matt was applied and then the silk picture was framed under glass.

Here's hoping this brings in a buck or two for our local Hospice of Western Colorado!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tote Bags - Easy!

Thanks to Abbi, I came across her tutorial on how to make a simple double sided tote bag.  How serendipitous that just yesterday I purchased two fat quarters of fabric to make such a tote!

Here are the fabric pieces.
This is Mrs. Pfaff.  She came home yesterday after cleaning and repairs at her spa: Adams Vacuum & Sewing Machine Sales and Repair.
Mrs. Pfaff says to hurry up and get her settled into her cabinet home so she can get back to work.
And also for Works in Progress Wednesday, I am starting my second repeat on the Creature Comforts Cardigan

Visit others' blogs at Tami's for WIP Wednesday.