Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Feeling Stabby?

Some time ago, before heading off to a sheep & wool festival, I promised my sister that I would not take up a new hobby. The new hobby she had in mind was spinning. I think she was envisioning a living room already spilling yarn and fabric off of shelves would then be stuffed to the ceiling with fleeces and batts, a spinning wheel in front of the couch. And I have not taken up spinning despite the huge temptation.

While at Rhinebeck several years ago Purlewe and I happened into the Woolen Whimsies booth. The owner was sitting in a chair and vigorously stabbing an implement into a piece of fabric stretched on a frame. I have a huge affection for all tiny tedious needlework. I was fascinated. She asked if I would like to try it and I bit. They had great starter kits for sale, but I was feeling a little strapped for cash. I took their info, thinking that this would be a great Christmas present and passed it on to my mother. Christmas came and there was no kit, disappointed.

Fast forward to the next fall, I bought the kit for my mother to give to me. I even feigned surprise when I unwrapped it.

Wrong side

So, this is obviously not spinning; I have honored my promise. This is Russian punch needle embroidery.  The supplies are embroidery threads of which I already own an obscene amount, a smallish frame and the needle tool...all taking up very little space. Punch needle embroidery looks like miniature rug hooking.

Right side
Turns out stabbing the needle repeatedly into the fabric is completely therapeutic and LEGAL! The tool is dangerous looking and fortunately there has not yet been a craft related injury intentional or unintentional.

I love how this turned out. Bet this technique would make for some really cute Christmas ornaments. Anyone have a source for primitive Christmas designs? I think all my job rejection rage and angst should be channeled into craft. I could end up with a heap of cute!

Finished embroidery

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Towering Inferno

After a patch of knitting where all of my projects were on US 3s or smaller I really needed something that would be at a bigger gauge. All my needs were met with this sweater. I was unnaturally attracted to this yarn, in fact a little obsessed. My typical color choices are blues and greens, not OMG red/orange. This is my friend Sherry's color and part of me expects her to leap out from behind a tree, tackle me to the ground and run off with my sweater (oranges and vivid reds have that effect on her.)

This yummy yarn is Maxima from Manos de Uruguay in you guessed it, Fire. What a pleasure this is to knit with. Soft and warm, without being heavy, it has great drape knit at a slightly larger gauge. I knit the body on US 9s and the cowl on 10s. The pattern is Idlewood by Cecily Glowick McDonald. This is a breeze to knit and it was really nice to have a good basic sweater that let this yarn shine. I love the huge, over-the-top cowl...something I have not sported in a few decades.

This sweater is just the mood elevater I needed for the end of winter. It makes me ridiculously happy, in fact.

I am planning on knitting this again, maybe in another unusual yarn for me. Did I hear someone mention tweed?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I Learned from Neiman

Neiman by Ann Weaver
Reynolds Whiskey in Light Grey (031) and Raspberry (131)

1. I kind of like crunchy yarn.

2. Grey is a much more complicated color than one might think.

3. I swatched, but did not wash and block the swatch. Next time I swatch for a sweater, I will. My sweater grew a bit in length. Fortunately tunics are coming back. And if I had washed and blocked my swatch, I would have been knitting on US 1s...cray cray. The sweater would have been scrapped before it began.

4. Short rows are not just for heels. Short rows at the neck line saved this from being Flashdance Fair Isle. Love this design, but really wish that designers would keep in mind that just because a girl is big doesn't mean that she has linebacker shoulders or a melon head. My boobs may be bodacious, but my neckline doesn't need to be bigger than anyone else's.
5. Ceiling fans and Shamwows really speed up drying time when blocking. And when the cat wads up your sweater to make a nest, the sweater is dry enough to wear.

6. Finally, I really wish that I had purchased lots of Whiskey while it was more widely available. Think I will be haunting the destashes on Ravelry. It is really too bad that Reynolds is no longer in business.