Sunday, August 26, 2012

Way back in the mists of time, on this blog, I had posted about a cushion cover I had knit from my handspun.  The handspun was from balls of roving purchased from someone at WI Sheep & Wool Festival, perhaps 4-5 years ago.  It turned out to be possibly the worst roving I've ever purchased, full of second cuts, knots, very poorly carded.  Needless to say, I will never purchase from that individual again.

It was difficult to spin, but I had a financial investment in it so I was determined to spin it up, even though it turned out to be less than wonderful yarn.  Then the question was, what will I do with it?

Completed handspun/handknit cushion.

I decided to knit a cushion cover, no pattern, just cast on, try to get the overall size I wanted (16") and make it up as I went along.  Keeping it very simple, I simply varying size "blocks" of garter and stockinette stitch for the front.  The back was garter stitch only, to the top of the cushion, then stockinette for the foldover flap, buttonholes knit in, guestinating their placement.  The front and back were single crocheted together.

Someone back then, on Facebook, had written about buttons on Etsy, made by Tracy Willans (  I took a look, and ordered one set; five were the size I needed, and one larger for embellisment on the front of the cushion.  I contacted Tracy recently, she is no longer making buttons, but referred me to Jillipop with whom Tracy had shared studio space.  Jilli also makes buttons and might have something similar.  (

Pottery buttons by Tracy Willans.

I had the knitting done, but it languished, kept in a basket on a shelf.  Why?  I had no pillow form, and sadly, did nothing about looking for one.  A few weeks back, I stopped into the local quilt shop, and walking further back in the shop, there were shelves of pillow forms!  One 16" form and one yard of gray cotton went home with me, and still, it sat.

Last week, the day of our guild meeting, I decided to get the cushion finished and take that night.  A quick wash/dry/ironing of the fabric, determine sizes to cut pieces to make an envelope pillow cover for the form, and "sew" the buttons on, and it was done.  (The wrinkles are from being inside the completed cushion cover.  Photo quality is poor as the sun was setting when I realized I needed a photo.)

Envelope cushion cover.

Is it perfect?  No, far from it!  I want the flap to lay flat, it curls up.  I need to relocate the large button, moving it up as where it is now positioned makes it difficult to see.  I will be sampling ways of knitting a flap that will lay flat.    

Yes, I have more of that yarn, below, natural grays light to dark.
This may be the project I take with me to work on during flights to and from another weaving class as VavStuga.

More of the same yarn for another cushion.

Last year, I took knitting on the flight, a circular needle with bamboo ends.  I'm wondering how the airlines will feel about straight bamboo needles?  Or I could work out knitting it all in one piece on a circular needle.  The problem?  I am forever losing my beaded markers!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Catching Up, Part 3 (CSM Socks)

Ready to crank socks with plenty of good light.

I had been procrastinating, but with Art in the Yard approaching, it was time to get to work and get some socks made.  I worked many afternoons in good light from the west window until sun made it too bright.  On cloudy days or night, I have the two hallogen spotlights pointing right down inside the cylinder so I can clearly see what is happening with the yarn and needles.

These are a few of the socks I made for Art in the Yard (June 23rd).

Sock half done, completed heel showing in bottom half of cylinder.


Ginger, Mango, and Papaya make a fun sock!

Each socks takes 25 minutes, start to finish, on the sock machine, when all goes well.

Detail of the Ginger, Mango, Papaya color combination when knit together.

Four pairs of socks waiting to have toes closed by hand, which takes me about 25 minutes per socks due to knitting with 3 fine strands of 2 ply yarns, and old eyes!

Detail of closing toes with Kitchner Stitch.

"Got the Blue" in progress.  Yes, I name each pair of socks!

Toes need closing, then they are washed, rinsed, water spun out in washing machine (socks are in a lingerie bag), then hung to dry on a wood drying rack, near the woodstove in winter, in front of a box fan on humid summer days, or outside when it is nice.  Then comes a final bit of steam, let them dry again, and ready for new owners.

"Spring Greens" in progress, ordered by an area jewelry artist.

"Spring Greens" completed.

Luna Moth on the neighbor's shed, this summer, and inspiration for a new color combination for socks.

Milo, ready to help make socks.

Now it's early August, and time to make socks again for our guild sale during CranberryFest, Saturday, October 6th, at the UCC church in Eagle River, WI.  Never a dull moment!

Catching Up, Part 2 (Weaving)

All-over twill towel, cottolin warp, linen/cotton flaky blend weft.

Yes, it's true, I haven't done much weaving of late.  And yes, that is that same stripe half-bleached/natural cottolin warp.  I've woven a few more towels on it, some shown here.  There were a few I forgot to photograph before they were sold in June, darn!  A friend asked for a plaid towel so I'll be working on that later today and tomorrow, and hopefully there will be enough warp for one more plaid towel, I would like one for myself, it was my favorite.  Several of these towels were sold at Art in the Yard in June. 

I enjoyed coming up with variations on borders, and/or using different cotton or cotton/linen blend wefts.  I have three very large cones of a cotton/linen flaky blend from WEBS, so sometime in the future, I'll need to weave a raft of these for myself, and likely a couple small tablecloths, too.

These are pics of a few towels from this 10 shaft twill warp.

Completed towel (from pic above).

These were Christmas gifts, towel on the left for my SIL Trina, towel on right for my sister Julie.

This time, a teal weft for the border pattern.

Two more border towels, cottolin warp and weft.

I've been weaving the same types of things for a long time, and really need a change in my weaving.  Because of needing to move back to southern WI, and total uncertainty when it will take place given the work I have to do on my home, and the economy, I am no longer participating in a nearby gallery.  Outside of the upcoming CranberryFest guild sale, I have no local/area places to sell my work. 

I am hungry to learn new things, learn some new skills, then put them together in my weaving.  This would seem to be the ideal time to move in a new direction, and so I finally am, both in my weaving, and my life.

Catching Up, Part 1

I left off posting back in mid-February.  I don't why I stopped posting, but feel it was a combination of needing time to think and consider what direction I wanted to go with weaving, needing a break from just about everything in my life, and needing time to process events in my life over the past years and what is yet to come.

We had the "new" usual WI Northwoods winter, fewer subzero temp days/weeks, and less snow than we used to get years ago.

After a snowstorm,...

A welcoming wreath,...

Then came mid-March, and like many other parts of the country experiencing unusual weather, we enjoyed several days of 70-75 F. temps.

A few days after this photo was taken, the ice went out on our little lake, in March!

What else could I do with such warm weather except set up to do some long-neglected drumcarding of wool, outside on the lakeside porch.  I had left a "banquet" table out there for spring and summer wool-washing, so I only needed to move my bag of wool and Louet drumcarder out there and get to work. 

Louet drumcarder and one of three bags of wool.

Nicely carded wool.

In the photo above the wool looks gray, but in reality was more of a cream color.  This particular fleece has white, cream, and gray, and I was sorting them out as I carded.

Spinning wheel placed to work in winter sunlight.

When winter returned a few days later, I took my bin of newly carded wool and moved to the spinning wheel.  I had rearranged my second floor living room, aka "studio annex," so I could spin or crank socks and enjoy afternoon sunlight. 

2-ply handspun.

From bobbin to skein,...

After a wash & rinse to set the twist, drying outdoors in those warm mid-March temps.

One of several finished skeins, ready to knit.

About this same time, I had ordered a bit of roving from Riin Gill, Happy Fuzzy Yarn, in Ann Arbor, MI.  She had only 4 oz. left, at that time, of "Art Nouveau," so I ordered it along with some Merino (still needing to be spun) to see how it would spin up.  I want more Art Nouveau!

Art Nouveau is center and right, above.

Art Nouveau singles (later plied).

Art Nouveau, plied.  I want more of this colorway!

It occurred to me again this winter, I am not getting any younger, and the clock and calendar seem to move faster all the time.  This, of course, means I am slowing down!  Stashed away in this house, in various closets and bins, are a bazillion unfinished projects.  So this winter I decided it was time to start finishing some of these projects.  First was a piece of needlepoint, for which there is no photo, yet.  It needs to be blocked and become a cushion.  I have not been near a proper fabric store in months, and yes, I know, I should weave a piece for the back and cording.  We'll see.

Next up was a stitchery piece I'd started, also to become decorative cushion for a bed.  It is not an original design, I took the design from one of the Kindred Spirits books, stitched on a pale teal cotton using DMC floss.  The stitching is now finished, see above for the backing issue.  (So really, they are not quite finished, but on my radar.)

Stitchery piece, in progress early this spring.

I still eventually post photos when they are properly "finished."

The last project, a Granny Square afghan, was started about 35 years ago and is still not finished, put away all the years I was raising my family.  I brought it out and it sits now in a clear plastic bag (to keep the cats away) where I can see it.  I need to dig deep into a long closet for the bin holding more of the needed yarn.  How much yarn is left will determine how many more squares I can make as I also need yarn left to crochet the squares and rows together, and perhaps three rows around the outside of the entire afghan.  Please, do NOT ask me how many bins there are.  Let's just leave it as "too many!"

Granny Square afghan, to keep me warm in my old age!
 So you can see, I did keep busy this winter, spring, and early summer, along with weaving (Catching Up, Part 2), and cranking some socks (Catching Up, Part 3).  Time for a break, then come back and do the next two updates!