Monday, August 31, 2009

The Snuggle Project for Sheltered Animals

If you have a desire to help animals that have been abandoned, you might be interested in reading about The Snuggles Project.
The Snuggles Project was founded by our president and founder, Rae French, in 1996 because of her heartfelt need to do something for the innocent victims who find themselves in animal shelters without a bit of comfort to call their own. Picturing them in their hard cold cells made her heart ache to do something to help. So she got the idea of security blankets for shelter animals. The security blankets are called "Snuggles." Each animal would get a Snuggle to cuddle up with to feel warmth and comfort. Most shelter animals are kept in areas with stainless steel braces and hard plastic flooring or even bare concrete floors. The Snuggles would allow them to have a little reprieve from the coldness of the pen they are kept in.

If you are interested in helping out in this compassionate endeavor, go here for a free blanket pattern, courtesy of The Snuggle Project.

The pattern looks like this:

This is a volunteer project, and the website lists dozens of patterns for snuggle beds to knit, crochet, or sew. Thanks to Dances With Wool for her mentioning this worthwhile project.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Knitting the Clapotis Scarf

"Clapotis" is a French term. From Wikipedia the definition is:
clapotis (from French: "lapping of water") is a non-breaking standing wave pattern, caused for example, by the reflection of a traveling surface wave train from a near vertical shoreline like a breakwater, seawall or steep cliff. The resulting clapotic wave does not travel horizontally, but has a fixed pattern of nodes and antinodes.
The pattern for knitting the clapotis scarf is a free download available from Knitty. Author of the design, Kate Gilbert, writes:
French women are known for wearing scarves. Starting in September and until summer arrives, this is a most important accessory. The scarf may be striped or patterned, colorful, wrinkled and is much bigger than the scarves you probably have. Women just wrap the scarf around their neck in a "Je suis belle et ├ža ne demande aucun effort*" sort of way and off they go.

Since I have lived in Paris, I have realized that these ladies are on to something. I find I am much warmer wearing a scarf, even if I’m not wearing a jacket, so here is my knit version of the French scarf. It’s knit on the bias so the variegated yarn makes diagonal stripes and stitches are carefully dropped to make a pattern in the opposite direction. This creates a scarf which tends to be a little more of a parallelogram than a rectangle, but I promise, it’s nice that way.
This description of the scarf intrigued me, and since I was looking for a new scarf project, the free download pattern found here was the unique design which would capture me into another knitting web.

Here is a picture of the Clapotis Scarf which I started last week. The fiber is 50% silk and 50% soft, buttery wool from the website of eatsleepknit in the colorway named "Tuscany." More information about the yarn can be found here at Lornas Laces Lion and Lamb. It has a cozy, delicate hand to the fiber and is a joy to hold while knitting up the intriguing stitch pattern.

Initially, it was problematic for me in deciphering the instructions, but with a little help from my friends at Ravelry, it was sorted out in short order.

And here is the website address for designer Gilbert's finished clapotis shawl being modeled at Library Picture.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Faroese Shawl

After two months of hard knitting (yes, difficult), the Faroese Shawl from "A Gathering of Lace" book by Meg Swanson is completed.

Daughter Heidy is showcasing the needlework. Its finished size is 80" x 36". Phew.

The Faroese Shawl takes its title from the Faroe Islands that are northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway.

Artisans from that area ... "here in quiet homes, often far from the nearest neighbor, gossimer fine wool is transformed into cobweb-like beauty..." (from Rae Compton, The Complete Book of Traditional Knitting).

This was a fairly difficult endeavor, but worth the effort for future chilly evenings.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vegetable Love Poem by Barbara Crooker

by Barbara Crooker

Feel a tomato, heft its weight in your palm,
think of buttocks, breasts, this plump pulp.
And carrots, mud clinging to the root,
gold mined from the earth's tight purse.
And asparagus, that push their heads up,
rise to meet the returning sun,
and zucchini, green torpedoes
lurking in the Sargasso depths
of their raspy stalks and scratchy leaves.
And peppers, thick walls of cool jade, a green hush.
Secret caves. Sanctuary.
And beets, the dark blood of the earth.
And all the lettuces: bibb, flame, oak leaf, butter-
crunch, black-seeded Simpson, chicory, cos.
Elizabethan ruffs, crisp verbiage.
And spinach, the dark green
of northern forests, savoyed, ruffled,
hidden folds and clefts.
And basil, sweet basil, nuzzled
by fumbling bees drunk on the sun.

And cucumbers, crisp, cool white ice
in the heart of August, month of fire.
And peas in their delicate slippers,
little green boats, a string of beads,
repeating, repeating.
And sunflowers, nodding at night,
then rising to shout hallelujah! at noon.

All over the garden, the whisper of leaves
passing secrets and gossip, making assignations.
All of the vegetables bask in the sun,
languorous as lizards.
Quick, before the frost puts out
its green light, praise these vegetables,
earth's voluptuaries,
praise what comes from the dirt.

"Vegetable Love" by Barbara Crooker, from Radiance. © Word Press, 2005.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fall Colors for 2009

While perusing blogs this morning, I came across an interesting prognostication for 2009 Fall Color Preview from Pantone. This is the website's picture...

And here is their report (16 pages) if you care to download it: Pantone Previews.

Remember when that chartreuse green color was so hot for spring a couple of years ago? Maybe I'll just stick to the colors I have always liked and not go for the Wickedly Popular colors. How about you?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another Baby Surprise Jacket

Remember the yarn talked about in a prior posting about Brenda's hand painted yarn ? No?

To recap: the yarn was hand painted by Brenda and was the foundation yarn for the sweater. save your pennies and splurge on a glorious yarn, taking your time to knit an equally glorious gift from it. You try to find a yarn that, even in its natural state, whispers sweet nothings into the ears of its wearer.
It was a pleasure to work with this lovely fiber; the foundation designer yarn was combined with another mulberry colored washable wool (larger stripes) to knit up this larger version of the Baby Surprise Jacket (courtesy of Elizabeth Zimmerman's 1968 pattern):

A third pinkish-burgundy colored sock yarn was used in the edging of the jacket, finished off with an attached I cord binding and coordinating pink heart shaped buttons. Size 9 circular needles were used, and this sweater turned out to be about an 18 month size.

This is my second Ravelry sweater completed with the help of a forum on this group. Baby Ella Anne, whose mama said she likes to dress Ella in pinks and purples, should be toasty warm this winter in this little jacket made especially for her by her Auntie Nancy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Using Vintage Crochet Today

Wonderful friend Dorothay sent me a HUGE box of vintage embroidery, crocheted collars, laces, hankies and table runners she had garnered from her late sister's priceless hand made needlework. Some pieces go back over 100 years to grandmothers and great-grandmothers on both sides of the family.

Talk about a pig in heaven ... I was thrilled!

Now what to do with this beautiful box of goodies. An internet search came up with over two million websites relating to vintage crochet. Here are a few I found especially interesting:



Anything with an edge is a candidate for adding some crochet to it. A nightdress with crochet edging at the Purl Bee showed this idea of using an I cord to attach a piece of crochet to fabric to create a shoulder strap. The original owner of the idea could not be tracked down (her name is Leah). So there is no website to visit for her idea, but what a cool way to create a feminine touch to any sleeveless blouse.

I am using this idea to add a unique touch to an existing ivory colored camisole. (pictures tomorrow if this works out!)

Thank you so much, Dorothy, for passing this needlework on to me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Using Paper Doilies for Sachet Flowers

This time of year, lavender is in bloom. Gorgeous! I was fortunate enough to see fields of lavender in bloom in both the state of Hawaii and in Provence (France) while on vacations. The sight of those flowers was breathtaking with surreal colors of purple waving across cultivated fields.

One way to preserve the scent of lavender is to capture the petals between paper.
The picture of a doily sachet and information about making easy paper sachet packets was first published by All Freecrafts. Here is what you need to make the sachet from paper:

2 Round paper doilies [5 to 6 inches]
Rose pattern rubber stamp
Heart pattern rubber stamp
Gold stamping ink
Gold paint pen
Clear drying craft glue
Cotton balls
Red and green pencils

Making the sachet:

Rubber stamp images on each of the two round paper doily with gold ink. Allow the ink to dry. Using colouring pencils, colour the rose and leaf areas of the stamped images.

With wrong sides of the paper doily together, glue together around the outer edge, leaving an opening of approximately two inches. Allow the glue to dry completely. A glue stick will work for this as well as any clear drying craft glue.

Spray a few cotton balls with cologne or add a few drops of essential oil. Place the cotton balls inside the doily sachet and glue the opening closed.

Because I am now a pig in heaven with wonderfully scented Colorado lavender, courtesy of my friend Ronn, I added lavender to the sachets. They are tucked away ready to be used for little presents for friends, while currently bringing back memories of prior vistas of lavender fields.

This was a quick, easy project completed in less than an hour.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Knitting: The Magic Loop Method

Finishing up the week related to Scrabble: 1)National Scrabble Tournament 2009 First Place Winner in Division One: Congratulations to David Wiegand, 35 year old winner of a $10,000 cash prize. 2) Where did I place? Dead center, quite mediocre; but I had a ball in Dayton, Ohio and played 31 games in tournament play, many which were awful. Overall, the games I played were more fun than torture, and I did increase my Scrabble ranking by 25 points.

Now, back to crafts: what I learned from a knitting buddy there: investigate the Magic Loop method of constructing socks. This "Magic Loop" technique is a way to knit socks or small circumferences using one circular needle instead of five wooden needles. It is more portable, and the ends of the article in process will not slip off the needles. Go here for more detailed information.

This is a video on YouTube that explains the "magicality" of knitting in the round on a circular needle.

And this is a picture of the beginning of the Ty Dy sock started in Dayton a few days ago on a size 1, 32" circular needle, using hand painted, washable wool in the Evil Stepmother colorway yarn from Knit Picks:

The pattern for the sock is from Becca at A Hard Days Knit. She says:

No more socks that don’t fit! It took me years to perfect the best fitting socks. I love just plain stockinette socks in fun stripey yarn ( I think they fit the best and they are great for knitting while watching television and you can take them anywhere).

This is a very basic pattern and is intended as a guide for knitters who already have some sock knitting experience.

Can't wait to see how they turn out. Thank you for the Ty Dy Sock pattern, Becca.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Watch National Scrabble Play Live

Typing to you from Ohio, here is the website for live coverage for the 2009 National Scrabble Association. Tournament: 2009 NSC Live Coverage

Another link: National SCRABBLE Championship

See you on August 8!