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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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It was a hit!

 

 

East of the mountains

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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.

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

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Cocooning

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Another stuck at home day, worsened by a very slight temp increase that has turned the powdery snow from yesterday to slush and icy rain. Tonight it is all supposed to freeze over again and kill anyone who dares roll wheels out of their driveway,

A lazy day for me is a new handspun cardigan knitting project started, plus tea and popcorn.

A lazy day for the boys is electronics, sword fights, HGTV and Wii.

I’m not actually sure what my husband’s been up to. He holed up in the office doing accounting type things for work. He did come out at one point to play Pokémon Monopoly with Son #2.

My cardigan is mostly the pattern Less is More, from Knitty.  I’ve made a few mods – worsted yarn instead of DK, I dropped the extra rows for the rolled neckline because I’m planning I-cord, and I abandoned the stripe pattern because I have about eight skeins I plan to pull yarn from rather than the pattern’s four.  But the basics and the shape remain the same.

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I’ve changed the yarn line up since taking this photo, taking out the red and adding in a medium purple.

img_7644Lots of winding yarn into cakes.  I’m a bit dubious about my gauge,  but I’m really liking the colors together.  Wrangling all those yarn cakes and balls takes some effort.  I’m carrying the extra yarn up the sides, occasionally breaking yarn when the distance gets too wide.  The plan is to hide all the ends and carries in the I-cord edging.  Fingers are crossed that works.

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