The first weekend in November is always reserved for Pioneer Days in Barberville, a two day celebration of everything that is old time Florida. The Florida that was once home to sprawling cattle ranches, pineapple fields, and orange groves. We always go on a Saturday morning and get there right at 9:00 AM, just in time for the first batch of biscuits to come off the wood fire. My husband slathers his with home made apple butter and I always go for the country smoked ham. Then we make our way to the old homesteads to admire the weavers, caners, lace makers, and listen to the sounds of the cracker cowboys snapping their whips. This year I found a group of spinners on one of the front porches. In the background was a large rack of home spun wool of many breeds. What caught my eye was a small skein of teal blue. It turn out to be finely spun silk. I introduced myself to the spinner and told her that I really admired her work. At first she was cordial and then I showed her my knitting. Cordiality turned to mutual admiration and that we shared Ravelry. That was the magic that it took for her to sell me the precious hand-spun. I know that I didn't pay enough. It took a few months to find just the right project for this special lace weight. After plenty of Ravelry browsing, I chose Evelyn Clark'sSwallowtail Shawl. It is the currently the number one lace weight shawl according to Ravelry's pattern browser with 1856 shawl on and off the needles and ready to knit in 2052 queues. After I blocked my shawl and gave it a test twirl around the garden, I can understand why.
As lace goes, this is an easy and a rapid knit. I used a US 3 Knit Picks nickel circular, 32" in length. The yarn was fairly easy to knit with. As it is a hand made yarn it was filled with lots uneven thickness. This was a something that made knitting the silk special. I imagined how the yarn must have been difficult to spin and how difficult it must be to maintain and even thickness. I love the way the colours stripe and close up the ply is also subtly different. This time I was successful in blocking points. Casting off as loosely as possible is the secret. I learned my lesson the hard way when I knit the Icarus Shawl and the points along the apex didn't point .
I am keeping this shawl for myself and plan to wear it at Pioneer Days this year. I just hope that Elayne will be spinning at her spot on the front porch.
I haven't knit cotton socks using anything other than Cascade Fixation. So, when Bonnie added some Panda Cotton to her stash and started to knit her daughter a pair of sock with it and raved about the experience, I was intrigued. My Christmas gift from her were a couple of skeins to become acquainted with. I chose to knit a summer anklet. Something I could wear to the gym.
Forget Me Not Socks are simple to knit and can offer a new sock knitter a new technique to add to the knitting arsenal.The cuff has a subtle folded picot edge and is turned in and neatly finished. I didn't follow Laura' s instructions to the letter. I knit my cuff by casting on using the long tail method and once the cuff was knit, folded when asked to and picked up a stitch and knitted the two together to result in a finished edge. The Panda gets a bit splitty and I had to be careful to pick up the right stitches. Once I completed the round, the rest was easy. The lacy pattern was easy to memorize and the flowers stagger and stack in a predictable fashion. This was great because I didn't want to consult a chart, perfect travel knitting.
How do you like my new shoes? I tried on a pair of the clear Chuck Taylor's but I couldn't get past the $60.00 price tag for a pair of novelty sneakers. Then, I read about these on Ravelry. They are Skechers Cali Surfer Girl and are available on the web site, free shipping, no tax and I paid $15.00. While they are cute, they can be hot. I wore them to work yesterday and had to shed the socks at lunch. Condensation was beading up in the toe. Not cute. They will be come in handy this summer when we're on the boat. When they get filled with ocean water, that's condensation I can live with.
If Ravelry gives me anything, it's accountability. In the not so distant past, some of the projects I started were never completed. In the heady moments after finding that perfect pattern, the perfect yarn and after casting on, there were times when the romance ended quickly and the project was cast aside. This is a bad habit that I share with many knitters. When I found Ravelry I never thought that I would actually take the time capture each skein, hank, or ball of yarn digitally and then catalogue it with minute details. That went for my projects as well. Soon I found myself hauling out the yarn, projects completed and in flux. I remember spending several weekends taking pictures and raking my brain as to when I cast on, where I found the pattern, looking for old ball bands. Thank goodness that I had a blog to fall back on. It's been almost a year since my Raverly marathon. I'm pleased with my progress and I feel that I finally have some oversight over what I knit and the supplies that I own. I don't think that I've ever stuck with a program for this amount of time. In the spirit of celebrating my accomplishment, I've completed three very small items in the past weeks. Two of these items lingered in the snooze pile far longer than they should have.
My aim was for Valentine's Day with this one. I was looking for a project that would eat up some of the many of the sock yarn remnants that I've managed to collect. My aim was off. I finished this last week. The yarn is STR's Fairgrounds, the pattern is a freebie found on the Interweave site. It took months to finish this up. Although I would not knit this again, I'm pleased with the results and filled it with sweet smelling balsam. It hangs off a knob in my kitchen.
My friend, Kathryn, agreed to model the scarf. She said it makes her feel like Samantha Jones.
I have a dear friend, Terri, who has a shop that sells all manner of vintage things. She clapped eyes on my Lantern Moon knitting bags and had to open an account. She offered to order items of my choice at cost. I decided to treat myself to Leigh Radford's Silk Gelato. I received the Honeycomb Scarf pattern with it. Knitting on giant hot pink US 35 needles was cumbersome and not portable. The stitches kept slipping off the needles. After revisiting other Gelato projects on Ravelry, I pulled this chestnut out of the recesses and completed it in a few hours.I finally finished this and am really pleased with the results. While looking for links, I noticed that Lantern Moon now offers a box of Gelato in small "scoops" for embellishing. Maybe I need to consider another order.
This was a guilty splurge and I didn't drag my heels quite as much as with the aforementioned projects. This was a quick and simple knit using tiny balls of pure cashmere. I plan on knitting another using some of my leftover sock yarn scraps.
Another Wee Sock
There is a great Ravelry Group whose members are committed to swapping more tiny socks.The original swap took place a few months ago. It seems that it was so much fun knit a tiny sock, pop it in an envelope, send it, and in return receive a small sock in the mail.
I still have several WIP's in that stare me in the face when I click on my projects page. Old habits are hard to break, but I can say that I've made peace with my habits and can control the chaos a little bit thanks to a little site called Ravelry.
* Sewing Machine * Iron * Scissors * Pins * 2 pieces of coordinating cotton fabric, fat quarters work well * 1 yard light weight fusible interfacing * 1 nylon zipper, 12" long * 1/2" wide ribbon or seam binding to hide seams and for tabs * coordinating thread
Cut the following pieces
* outer fabric to a 12" x 16" rectangle * lining to a 12 " x 16 ½” rectangle * handle 3” x 12”
1. Make a handle by interfacing the wrong side. Fold lengthwise and stitch up the side. Turn inside out. Press and top stitch each long side a scant distance from the edge.
2. Iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the lining fabric
3. Cut the lining in half across the middle to get 2 pieces, 12” x 8 1/4"
4. Place outer fabric face up, center zipper toggle side down along the 12” edge and place 12” edge of liner face down. Pin in place and sew 1/4” front the edge. Repeat for other side.
5. Fold fabric over so that wrong sides touch and the zipper is exposed. Press and top stitch about 1/4” from the edge.
6. Close zipper and seam the liner so that the bag does not pucker.
7. Turn bag so that the liner is on the outside and the zipper is centered down the center of the bag. Add pull tabs by cutting 3” pieces of ribbon folded in half and centered on the zipper with the loops facing in on the inside. Pin both outer edges and stitch 1/4” from the edge. Cut a 4” piece of binding and center to cover zipper and part of the raw edge. Stitch in the ditch and fold over and stitch again.
8. Refold ends origami fashion so that you achieve a square as in the illustration.
9. Slip the handle in to each of the triangles. Center and pin to secure. They will catch in the seams.
10. Measure 2 – 2 1/2” from each point and stitch on both sides. Repeat this on the bags opposite side.
11. Cut the tips off the triangles and bind the raw edges with ribbon or seam binding.