Home Full of Love – Curls

– The best thing about having a creative family is the love you see in every creation they have made. Q and my homes are filled with this love that we feel every time we look at them.

In my guest bathroom, I have a few small wall hangings that grandma made and a plaster of paris art work that I made in high school.

        

My breakfast nook has a floral cross stitch that I did. This is my favorite one. It took about two years to stitch. The teapot is done by my mother. She gave me the tea pot to go with the picture. The doily is done by my great aunt Mable, grandma’s sister. The two Crabby Patties are made out of play dough by my two older grandchildren, Baylie and Gavin.

This cross stitch is hung over my kitchen sink. It is one of my first cross stitch projects. I sign all of my projects, usually, in the lower right hand corner.

  

In my living room are so many had crafted items, it was hard to choose which ones to spotlight. The pillow on the left was done by dad. He made one for Q too. He was very crafty. He could fix just about anything. He enjoyed working with his hands. He got into beading and made some wonderful necklaces. One of his tips was published in Beading. The hand stitched lace, on the end table, was done by great-aunt Mable. I have tried to crochet lace like this but the hand work was too small for me to do. The cross stitch flower, on the wall,  was done by my husband’s step-grandmother Katie (close up below). The wall hanging on the right was done by grandma. Grandma did not do the “conventional” type of needlework, her items were pieces of art. Oh, the settee belonged to my great-grandparents. It also has a place of honor in my home!

           

                   

The TV room is where I work. My husband’s chair is on the left and is draped with the blanket that I made for him. It has old time RV and travel trailers on it. Q gave me the material for my yellow ducky blanket, it was the first one I made. I love yellow, rubber duckies. I have since  made one for all of the grand-children. See the basket next to my chair, my knitting projects are in the basket. The green felted bag, I made, has my Wreck This Journal plus pens and supplies in it.  The spinning wheel corner has another cross stitch I made for my husband and another hanging done by grandma. Grandma LOVE to make this type of wall hanging.  All of us grandchildren have some. The spinning wheel was hand crafted in Norway. It was made for the new home in America. Great-grandma Slette brought it over.

           

This is the toy cross stitch I made for my husband. He loves toys. The four duck picture was drawn by youngest son, in high school. All the duck’s beaks are colored yellow except one, so I told him that was me. The only female in the family. The ceramics were made by oldest boy, in high school and the colored eggs  by my youngest. There use to be five. 😦

The master bedroom has my only quilt that I have ever finished, so far. It is the pattern “Turning Twenty”, by Tricia Cribbs. The crochet afghan was crochet by grandma. The wall hanging was quilted by sister Terri.

          

The end table is an old sewing table with the singer sewing machine still inside. On the table is another lace cover done by great-aunt Mable. She did such fab work. Closeup picture below.

         

The Peter Rabbit wall hanging was done by sister Terri.  It hangs in the grand-children’s room. The quest bedroom’s bathroom has a wall hanging done by grandma. Sitting on the toilet is a small creation done by her, also.

Hope you all have enjoyed looking at a small example of the wonderful creations that surround me everyday. Q and I have started early with our grand-children teaching them how to be creative.

My Knitting Speaks Norwegian!

Very interesting article in the March 2012 Creative Knitting magazine.  The article is titled: “Alterknitting” by Robyn Schrager.  In the article she discussed the pros and cons of the different knitting methods; English/American, Continental and Norwegian.  Excellent pictures accompanied the written text explanations for each method.  I always knew that I knitted Continental, it’s the purl that is different from everyone but my mom.   I’m not a thrower!  Mom said grandma did not know how to knit but insisted mom learn how.  That way mom could knit sweaters for grandma!  Grandma was so creative, she just didn’t knit.  Anyway, mom is of Norwegian heritage and the woman who taught her to knit was Norwegian.  As I’m looking at the different pictures in the article I’m making a mental checklist: 1. Under Continental knitting – Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 yep, I knit just that way. 2. Under Continental purling – nope not at all!  Article continues on page 82, we’ll see.  I’m there!  The paragraph starts: “Norwegian purls are sneaky!”  Yep, that’s right!  We leave the yarn BEHIND the needles for both knitting AND purling! So mom, there we are!  I’ve done a series of quick photos to demonstrate what I’m talking about.

Step 1: I’m getting ready to purl.  Notice the yarn is behind the left-hand needle.

Step 2:  The right needle sweeps in behind the yarn and into the back of the stitch on the left needle, see the yarn is still BEHIND the left needle.  I’m serious, it stays there!

Step 3: Twist the right needle back to pick-up the yarn behind the left needle.  Notice, right needle is still in the back of the stitch, it’s just starting to twist backwards to pick-up the yarn.

Step 4: I’ve picked up the yarn in the back and am pulling it forward to “scoop” it through the stitch.

Step 5:  I’ve pulled the yarn through the loop.

Step 6:  Pull the stitch off of the left needle and voila! A purl stitch is now on the right needle.

The article did say that this method puts extra stain on the right wrist,  I guess that since I’ve always purled this way I don’t notice!  A few months ago I tried to purl with the yarn in front of the left needle.  All of my purls were backwards!! 😎 So, what method do you use?

A special thanks to my patient husband who took the pictures of my knitting hands.

From the Grays to the Blues

 After seeing the sweater Anne Field had in her Spinning Wool: Beyond the Basics book and reading that the gray wool had been dyed I made a blog comment.  Sweaty Knitter told me that she has died gray wool and it comes out quite nicely.  As mentioned, when I was on the Northwest Trip, I purchased all gray spinning fiber.  Sigh…..  Now that I am home in sunny San Diego I don’t want all of that gray! 😎 I did an experiment.  I took a two piece of gray wool, one from each gray fiber type purchased.  To insure that all of the parameters were equal I followed these steps:  1. soaked both together in vinegar-water for 30 minutes, 2. added a previously prepared blue dye to a black, plastic container (one that frozen food comes in), 3. put both gray wool samples side-by-side in the container.  Waited about 10 minutes and then turned both over, 4. put the container in an aluminum-lined, plastic shoe box, 5.  put the top on the shoe box and placed in the sun (behind the retaining wall so Hans could not reach).  I left the samples out in the sun for a few days; partly because the weather was drizzly or spitting, I wanted to make sure it heated up well enough.  When I took the samples out, the dye was almost all exhausted.  These are the results.

One sample was Gray Norwegian Top.  This fiber has some long, coarse black hairs in it.  You can see that the black hairs did not absorb any of the dye.  This has left this sample looking as worn denim.  A very pleasing color.

There isn’t a tag on the other gray fiber.  I don’t know what it is.  I asked my spinning teacher and she wasn’t sure either.  It is more of a brownish-gray color.  It has some white hairs sticking out from it.  It dyed a darker blue color, which looks like new denim jeans. Another pleasing color.

I’m only going to dye one of the grays.  I decided to spin both samples.  I found that the brownish-gray was by far the easiest for me to spin.  Remember, I just started spinning about 2 months ago.  Here is both of the spun samples.  Top: Brownish-gray sample, Bottom: Gray Norwegian Top.  So what do you think?

Ok, I’m a retired high school teacher and taught Computer-aided Graphic Design.  I just had to “play” with Lightroom since I went to the seminar last Thursday in Los Angeles.  I LOVE the clarify slider in Lightroom.  Had to combine what I learned in Lightroom and then use my old friend Photoshop to layout.

3KCBWDAY6 Knitting’s in Our Genes

q8 ~Neither Barb nor I would pass up a knitting pattern we liked that was listed as “Advanced”.  As a pack to ourselves this year, each joint project that we do is specifically to learn a new technique – that is new to both of us.  Doing the Norwegian Star slippers, we learned twined knitting.  Looking inside of the slipper you can see how twined knitting looks.  See that there are not any “carry along” strings.  Each stitch gets twined or twisted before it is knit.

Our next project that we hope to start this week, is two color brioche knitting.  We already have our two balls of variegated yarn.

We’ve chosen different color ways.  Curls loves the harvest palette and I love the winter palette.  If you are interested in learning how to knit brioche, join us!  We’re still deciding between a couple of patterns.  Barbara has knitted a type of brioche, the Fisherman’s Rib.  You can see that in her scarf from the other day.  She has not knitted the regular brioche, nor the two color; so this makes it a new technique for her.  Let us know if you’d like to join in and we’ll let you know which pattern.

Two future projects are a linen stitch scarf and socks.  We’ve knit our share of booties, but not socks.  I did start one, but it was a BORING pattern so off the needles it came.  As we see new techniques, they’ll be added to the projects we must do.

So, beyond beginner knitting, a few skill sets we already have, are: lace, cable, enterlac, twined, dropped stitch, cross-over stitches, beaded, Fair Isle, and whatever I can’t think of. Lol!  Our mom is/was a wonderful knitter and so it’s in the genes!  At 90, she says she just isn’t interested in knitting anymore.  I keep offering to send needles and yarn. lol!

It’s All About the Office! AKA Starbucks.

~What a fabulous day at The Office! Barb and I arrived around 9 am and left around 12pm!  When on our Northwest Journey we planned each day while at Starbucks; thus we began calling Starbucks – “The Office”.   You can see our “briefcases” and how we’re ready for the day.   It’s Barb’s birthday this week so we did some celebrating.  Pop Cake and drink of choice!  Yum!  Looked at Spin-Off and Creative Knitting Magazines.  Knitted. Talked.  Took pictures. A wonderful day!  Ended it by going to a thrift store to look for sweaters to unravel.  Barb found a 100% silk, light, sage green one which she want to try dyeing and I found a mohair- acrylic blend in a heavenly shade of peach.

One present I gave to Barbara was Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.  I purchased one for my self knowing we’d have a blast filling these out.  I told Barb that since it’s her present she gets to pick out the page we’d do every week.  The first page she picked is the name page,  saying we have to have our names in the journal!  We’ll share next Monday.  She’s told me she’s going to rename hers but wouldn’t tell me the title, said I have to wait until she picked the cover!!  So mean!

Cooler morning, although bright and sunny.  Barb showed up wearing her knitted: sweater, hat, and scarf.  Can’t get better than that.  I’ve mentioned these items in previous posts.   I had on my Maja shawl.

This is the Herdis by Elsebeth Lavold sweater that I mentioned a few days ago.  It is stunning!  What a knitter!  The buttons she used are antiques from our grandmother at the beginning of last century.  Tried to get a good close-up, but this was the closest we could get.  They are metallic and there is a bit of a shine that’s hard to capture.  The color is washed out even though there wasn’t a flash.  Sigh…  Guess it was a bad picture day!

And, she had completed the bottom and top of the slipper, after assuring me she wouldn’t get that far.  Instead of working on the slipper, I made a special, small, knitted gift for her.  I’ll write up the pattern and share on this blog.  So, I need to go catch up on the slipper.  Here I am madly working on it!

Fingering the Fabulous Fibers and Fabrics

q8~Raise you hand if your hands start itching and fingers start twitching when you even think of entering a fiber or fabric store!  Our hands are up, in fact, both hands are up.  Now, raise your hand if you’ve seen someone wearing a particularly wonderful looking textured fiber or fabric and you’ve actually asked them if you can feel the item.  Oh yeah, embarrassing.  Fiber junky, I admit it.  In our recent fiber/fabric run from Paulsbo, Wa to Missoula, Mt we got our fix.  This fabulous Angora came from my favorite yarn store in Paulsbo, Amanda’s Art Yarn:

The pattern is Peasant Ruffle Pidge knitted on Skacel Angora Fashion Color Twist.  It takes one skein.  This yarn is like holding a bit of heaven.  My only modification is that I’m not going to add buttons.  I found a beautiful pin to use instead.  The picture doesn’t due justice to the beautiful color.

As a newbie spinner, I was hot to see some roving, batts, tops, etc. At fabulously, wonderful, need-days-to-touch-feel-see, Paradise Fibers I purchased Grey Norwegian Top High Quality 56ct Top.  Yes, there’s that darn Scandinavian “thing” again.  It is my very first spin-a-lot-of-fiber try.  I’m pleased at how it came out.  This is 2 oz, I still have 2 oz to spin and ply.

I just purchased a Lendrum spinning wheel.  I’ve named her Mariah because she spins as the wind!  Tomorrow I’m going to my first spinning retreat with a visiting teacher, Cecelia from Alaska.  I’m enrolled in a spinning class through Grossmont Adult Ed and the teacher, Margaret Tyler help put this together.  I’ll tell you all about it.  So excited.

Twined Over Ewe

q8 – As mentioned yesterday, we decided that we have to finish some of our WIPs before we can begin new ones.  The exception is our joint challenge.  We try to get together every Monday and follow our creative hearts. Since I’ve finally retired, Barb and I have had a blast following creativity.  We’ve decided to do joint projects, in addition to our many individual WIPs. There are two rules for each joint project:  1. It has to be considered ‘”major” (hats and small projects we don’t consider major) and 2. It has to teach us a new technique. On our mom’s side, we are of Norwegian heritage.  Our passion for genealogy has made us feel more in contact with our Norwegian side.  Mom’s side of the family played a big part of our lives and being Norwegian was huge.  Seeing the Norwegian Star slippers in the book Knitting Scandinavian Slippers and Socks by Laura Farson screamed at us – “knit me”!  The project was started Monday.   This one has a new twinned cast-on technique and twinned knitting.  So we’re Twined Over Ewe.  This is the heel:

One tip: I had 2 #4 bamboo needles and Barb had 2 #4 green needles.  We traded one needle and made the green one our number 1 needle.  Has worked wonderfully well!  Both needles are a knitting joy.  Two different colored circulars make the knitting so much easier.

This is the WIP I just finished.  Hurray!  It is on the blocking wires:

The shawl is called Maja by Anniken Allis.  It’s a free pattern in Knitty, Winter 2008. I’d been wanting to try that “yarn-strands-over” technique.  I’ve had this Noro Inspirations yarn Color 5 for a few years and thought this would be the perfect project.  Its a heavier yarn and perfect as a shawlette – I made it smaller than Anniken’s Maja.  Please, don’t look too hard for the mistakes! lol!  When looking up the info for the blog today I recognized Anniken as a Scandinavian name, checked it out and sure enough she’s from Norway.  You’ll see, we just can’t get away from our Norwegian roots! lol!

Barb is a fabulous knitter, the better of us two.  She inherited mom’s knitting gene.  She just finished an extraordinarily wonderful sweater called Herdis by Elsebeth Lavold.  The pattern is in Designer’s Choice Book One.  Hum, another Scandinavian pattern.  I promise, most of what we knit is not Scandinavian!  Although my favorite cast-on is the Old Norwegian Method and I purl the Norwegian way.

We do have our next project lined up – dang I’m the type of person who wants instant gratification but we made a promise to wait so I’ll be good!  Barb did make noises on Monday that she thought she’d try the new technique.  I played the older sister card and told her she had to wait! lol! HINT – think Brioche.  The yarn has been purchased and is silently screaming at me “use me now”.