Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Golden Delicious

Dear Mom,
It's the most wonderful time of the year. Crisp. Crunchy. Quiet and a little rusty. My favorite season officially arrives on Friday, but Autumn has been here for a couple of weeks.
We picked some Golden Delicious apples off the tree on Saturday. 100% organic- we don't do a thing to these trees. Peel away the spotted flesh and cut out the spots the bees have nibbled and what is left is perfect, sweet, crunchy, delicious apple. The Winesaps are not ready for picking yet, but there are plenty of those, too. PIES!!

We've been snacking on the apples, but last night I made "Mimi's German Apple Cake" from this book. This is one of those books that inspires you to cook. And I don't say that because it is a dessert cookbook. The photos are beautiful and it is hard to feel bad about eating dessert when it is full of fresh fruit. This cake recipe only had 1/2 cup of sugar in it-you taste the apples and fresh lemon zest. A bit of Turbinado sugar sprinkled over the top before baking gives the cake a crunchy sweet crust. YUM. MEE.

Saturday night I finished Sunderland #3, this one with some yarn I hand spun. Special thrill. My design, my hand spun yarn. (I'd say the next step should be my design, my yarn, my sheep, but the neighborhood covenants won't allow the sheep part.)
This one was off the blocking wires yesterday, but the weather prohibited getting any good photos.
Elle may be cooperative, but she cannot hold an umbrella.

The roving used to spin this yarn is from River's Edge, colorway On Golden Pond, a gift from CarolWhoseHouseGotStruckbyLightning.
And speaking of gifts- scroll back up to that first photo of the apples and acorn. See that wonderful copper tray they are sitting on? That copper was once part of a roof that hung over our living room window. After years of struggling with a leak, the roof had to be removed. MelissaWhoSpinsButDoesNotKnit took the copper off my hands. Besides spinning, Melissa hooks beautiful rugs and does some metal sculpting. She is a good cook too..... I don't know why I like her.....Anyway, she surprised me with the copper tray you see up there and I love every beautiful millimeter of it.

I've got to get back to some knits that are in progress but were abandoned while I cranked out the design and pattern for Sunderland. And not only have I not even started September's socks, I haven't even wound the skein of yarn into a ball. And if I start thinking about the laundry and housework that lurk behind me as a write this I may start to panic. Logging off now, and getting back to the real work.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Dear Mom,
With the final test knit of my scarf off the needles and currently blocking, I've named my scarf design Sunderland, after all the classy creative Ladies with that name that I've been blessed know and love.
The pattern is available here and more details can be found here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Queens, Vikings and Pirates! Oh My!

Dear Mom,
We spent an entire 15 hours in 100 degree heat at the Ohio Renaissance Festival and we are begging for more and more and even more!!
Our entrance into the festival!!  Our greeting sounded like this, "Good day to you!  I've missed you so much!"

Adoring all of the fancy finery!

Music to entice us!

Vikings in all sizes!

A bit of romance!

Handcrafted pretties!

The amazing craftsmen!



Mud wrestling!

Can we do it again?!?! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A new low

Dear Mom,

I was just asked if I qualify for the senior discount.

"Does 50 qualify?", I asked.

"55", the cashier answered.

That didn't make me feel any better. And yet I smiled and acted like it didn't really bother me that she asked so I wouldn't HURT HER FEELINGS.

Everybody better be nice to me for the rest of the day.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Weaving as a Personality Profile

Dear Mom,
The weaving class I took on Friday and Saturday taught me about more than just weaving. The project I was assigned was a scarf with lace panels. Great! I'd not done any lace and definitely had an interest. Once my wool colors were chosen, I wound my warp threads, dressed the shop loom (Donna Reed stayed home) tied up the treadles and studied the treadling sequence. I made a little cheat sheet for the treadling sequence and taped it to the beater on the loom so I could keep track. Thankfully, the treadling sequence turned out to be one that was easily memorized and I could read the progression of that sequence in my weaving making it possible for me to figure out where I was in that sequence in the event of a sudden day dream, lunch break, or just plain forgetfulness.
There is always a planned-for amount of warp on the loom that allows for "sampling". For me sampling is not so much about evaluation as it is about PRACTICE. I sat down and began "sampling"- watching my edges and studying the treadling sequence in an effort to make sense of it all. Linda, the shop owner and mostpatientweavingteacherever, gently suggested that I not beat the life out of my scarf, but rather to gently place the weft threads next to each other. In other words, loosen up. Until that point I didn't realize how desperately I was compacting those threads! Lining them up in nice, neat, tight, well-behaved rows. Hmmmm. Psych assessment, perhaps? Good heavens, I had to concentrate to relax!
A little more kinder, gentler sampling and I was ready to begin my scarf for real. That lighter touch gave me the lacy look the scarf was meant to have. Old habits are hard to break, or whatever, but I caught myself weaving a bit more heavy handed right after the lunch break and I had to remind myself, again, to lighten up. If I look close enough at my scarf, I can see where I picked up again after lunch.
The scarf is finished and hemmed. It is soft and feather light. And pretty if I do say so myself.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In the last four days...

Dear Mom,
In the last 4 days I've taken a two day weaving class, met up for the monthly spin-in and taught a knitting class.
I also finished the fingering weight version of my new scarf design.
It blocked out so nicely and I was surprised to find it is almost as big as the worsted weight version. The pattern should be ready for purchase after one more test knit with some of my handspun.
Four days absence means lots of catching up to do here. I'll share the results of my weaving class tomorrow.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I love it when a plan comes together

Dear Mom,
Often a knitting idea is content to just float around in my head and wait patiently for its turn on the needles. But every once in a while an idea so urgently needs to be realized that everything else comes to a screeching halt until that idea is born. That is what happened this weekend.
I think that perhaps these explosions occur when the thought of something has been floating around while the 'how' of it works itself out. Once the figuring out has happened, watch out!
I'd been pondering a small wrap or scarf, with no right side or wrong side, and with an edge that adapts to the wearer's neck. A scarf that is slightly but not obnoxiously assymetrical for easier wrapping, and of course one that is knit in one piece.
I spent countless odd moments mentally knitting my idea before I grabbed a ball of scrap yarn and some needles and played around a little- enough to know I was on the right track and to work out a few kinks. I worked up a few charts and made notes. And more notes.
Faced with the promise of a long weekend, I searched my stash and on Friday evening I cast on.
I knit Friday night. I knit on Saturday between grocery shopping, feeding people and doing their laundry. I knit in the car on the way to Lowe's. (I was not driving.) Late Sunday afternoon, I bound off my last stitch and let it block overnight.
The body of the shawl is worked in garter stitch, on the bias, and the lace edge is knitted right along with the body of the shawl.
The top edge of the wrap is a straight edge, but because it is knit on the bias, it will fold and drape easily.

The lace edge comes to a rounded point in the back and is shaped like a check mark rather than a v. This give the wrap one long arm for wrapping.

I see countless options for this pattern. This one is knit in with about 360 yards of Tahki Donegal Tweed, a heavy worsted weight yarn. I've already cast on a second in a light fingering weight yarn  (Ella Rae Lace merino) and have plans for a third in a dk weight. And handspun yarn? Oh. YEAH. Bigger shawl size? No problem.
The biggest challenge so far is coming up with a good name for this design. Once I've done that, and double/triple checked my charts and pattern notes, I'll publish.