Saturday, March 29, 2014

a week chock full of stuff...

I can always tell how much I've accomplished during the week by the mess in my craft's room. It is piled high right now with things I've pulled out and used during the week. Need to do some decluttering today before I do anything else.

click on the images for close-ups.

I was gifted some beautiful lace from my knitting teacher. One piece is more gorgeous than the next and that round doily up front has some turtle lace worked into the piece. You might remember that I bought some turtle lace on ebay awhile back. 

crocheted, tatted, hand and machine made...all so beautiful

I have already used one piece of lace on this piece I'm putting together with scraps from here and there and some pattern paper backed with interfacing.

it started out this way

grew into this with more scraps and hand stitching added

and now with a piece of lace. there is a compass penciled in but not yet stitched.

I led my quilting friends through Katie Davies' button tutorial on Thursday at quilt bee. I think they all enjoyed it as they immediately started making a second one after the first was finished. It really is fun and easy and there's always use for a fancy button.

some of the buttons made at quilt bee

I've started another knitting project that is a real challenge since the needles are a size 0000. The needles are so small that I'm able to use tiny beads as stitch holders on the ends. I do like the way it's turning out. It will be a pin ball when finished. They were made for friends way back when....

knitting a pin ball on size 0000 needles

and some more Line Drawing taught by Lisa Congdon over on I started out with an old picture of Lena and Esther. Lena was my grandmother's best friend and Esther was Lena's daughter. This picture is probably from the 1930s. I printed off a copy of the picture and worked on the background with a black micron pen. I love the way it turned out. I'll definitely be doing more of these.

Lena and Esther

line drawing on the background

Well, there's also some crochet work and some pillow making in Karen Ruane's class Pillows and Pages, but I'll save that for next time.

The trees have all been trimmed and the gardening has started. We've moved into days of 70 - 90F degree temperatures with very little rain. It seems like Spring is passing us by and we're going right into Summer.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

managed to fit it all in this week....

I did do a bit of everything this week. I even got my car washed and arranged for the tree trimmers to prepare the yard for Spring. The trees grow so fast and some are so huge. Need to get some branches cut that are too close to the house.

I pulled out my little weave-it loom to help out one of the residents at the Assisted Living Facility where my bobbin lace and knitting classes are held. The residents sometimes come in to visit and to see what we are up to. One of the newest residents brought in a blanket her aunt had made for her with an old pin loom. She was trying to make some new woven patches but the was using a yarn that was too fine. I brought her some tapestry wool that has been sitting on my shelf for years and now it will get used. I enjoyed making the sample woven patch. I wanted to make sure that the tapestry yarn would work...and it did. She was thrilled to receive the wool and I can't wait to see what she does with it.

click on the images for close-ups.

had to re-read the article in Piecework magazine (2010) to remember how to set up the loom.

the finished patch

I did get some more knitting done on the Downton Abbey coat. The right front is almost finished and there are 2 buttonholes and I've made the 2 buttons to fit perfectly.

The scarf with the leaf edge was causing problems because the graph had an error and the stitch count was not turning out right. It took me a long time to figure out that it was the graph that was wrong and not my knitting....should be easier going now.

2 leaves done...lots more to go

I've been trying to organize all my knitting needles. There are straight ones, circular ones, double points and lots of little accessories. I took some of those clear sheet protectors and divided them by stitching sections on the machine. I think this will work. They will fit perfectly in a 3 ring binder.

stitched sheet protectors  will hold all my knitting needles

Karen Ruane talked about ink transfers in class this week so I sketched a design and played a bit with that.  I transferred my design to fabric and did some stitching but will show you more of this project in a couple of weeks.

...and I did do some more line drawings that I told you about last week. The class has been very inspiring. Check it out here.

That's it for this week. Hope your weekend will be grand and the coming week productive.
See you next time.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

a fast week...

The days just seemed to go by so quickly this week and I don't have much to show you. I shared this tutorial from Kate Davies blog with the ladies in my knitting and crochet class and we all made buttons in class on Tuesday. They really were surprised with the wonderful results and can't wait to make some more. All the knitted and crocheted hats and pouches may wind up being decorated with buttons.

I'm taking a Line Drawing class over at and am enjoying it. Don't have much to show you yet, but here's a little peek at something I did today. Haven't spent the time to go further, but I will...

Don't think I mentioned that I've been growing pea sprouts indoors and I've been enjoying them in my salad. I saw this article and video and couldn't resist trying it. I'm just about ready to start planting outside....maybe this week. Hopefully, we are finished with freezing temperatures here for this season.

can you see the pea sprouts right on top?

We're experimenting with transfer inks and pencils over in Simply Stitch 4. Hope to have something to show you next time. Karen has also announced a new class, Pillows and Pages. It starts on March 24th. Check it out. It will be fun.

Hope you are all about finished with shoveling snow. I know some of you are going into the Fall season. We are headed for Spring and I'm anxious for everything to be green again.

Have a great week.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

silk hankies and spinning....

I did do quite a bit of stitching this week but cannot show it to you until next month. So I'm going to show you another experiment I did this week after reading about it online. I have a stack of white silk hankies. Silk hankies are piles of silk cocoons spread out on a square form and they are as light as a feather. I have used some in art pieces layered with other types of cloth but this week I tried spinning with them. Here is what I did:

click on the images for close-ups.

I peeled one very fine layer away from the stack...

I made a hole in the center with my fingers and started to spread it out:

I kept spreading it out from the center and then in sections when my arms could no longer reach....

I split it at some point and rolled it up loosely getting it ready to spin....

I used my tahkli spindle, which is used for cotton and fine threads, to spin it into a ball....

I repeated this whole process so that i had 2 balls of spun silk and then plyed them together. Plying means to join together by twisting in the opposite direction of the original spin....

I then tried knitting with it and made a small swatch....

I wish you could feel how soft it is.  My spinning is not that great so some stitches are fatter than others but I kind of like the irregularity.

This was just an experiment and I don't know where it will lead. I learned about it here. It's a short video demonstrating a silk hanky shawl being knitted with the silk roving. If you are interested in trying this, you can purchase silk hankies on etsy or ebay. I purchased mine on ebay several years ago. You can knit or crochet with the silk roving....that is, without the need to spin it. Spinning it gives it a finer look with less irregularity.

I have worked some on the Downton Abbey coat and managed to do one button hole after pulling the stitches out several times until I got it right. The next one will be easier.

Wishing you all a great weekend.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

stitching and knitting...

I've been working on lots of knitting projects lately but I'm still trying to fit in the stitching projects as well. I wanted this piece of free motion embroidery lace to look like it was the insert in a window frame so I stitched bullion knots around it in a steel gray color. The rest of this piece will be revealed sometime in the future.

click on the images for close-ups.

bullion knots forming a frame around the fme lace

I've unearthed an old UFO....maybe 20 years old....after hearing someone mention 'crinoline dolls' in Karen Ruane's class Simply Stitch 4. Mine is a pillowcase doll that was never finished but now it will be incorporated in my daily stitching project. I will somehow incorporate it into the duvet cover I'm working on with vintage linens. I had already done quite a bit of embroidery on the skirt section.

pillowcase dolls

I'm still working on the front section of the Downton Abbey coat and am getting close to making the button holes. I wanted to make buttons from the same yarn so I made one to get the proper size for the button hole.The tutorial for this button is here, if you'd like to try it. There is an actual button within the one made with the wool.

a button for the coat

I unearthed this little outfit that my grandmother knitted for me when I was just under 3 years old to show to my fellow students in a knitting class I'm taking locally. It is still in very good condition as nobody has worn it since then. I also found some pictures of me wearing the outfit. My dad's hobby was photography so there are pictures of everything preserved in albums. The color of the outfit is close in color to the coat I'm now knitting.

sweater, gored skirt with suspenders and a little hat

me, wearing the outfit with my mom who is pregnant with my sister here

my dad had to capture every pose

My grandma was the knitter....and crocheter....and embroiderer of so many of the things we wore. expert in handwork

I am so grateful to my parents and my grandma, the only grand parent I ever really got to know, for all the things they taught me. I was real lucky to have them in my life.

Hope you all have a great weekend and another productive week to come. Stay safe wherever you are.
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