Finished Object: Knit Oaklet Shawl

28 Jan

A few years ago, if you would have told me it was fun to knit shawls I would have laughed. “What is the point, little old ladies wear shawls why would I want one of those?”

Because they are AWESOME. That is why. Well so far I would call these more like shawlettes, or even kerchiefs. I love having them to just throw around my neck when it is chilly, and they knit up quick. For this project I chose the Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre. It is a free pattern on Ravelry (find me on Ravelry). I chose to use the skein of fingering weight indie dyed yarn I purchased at the Shenandoah Fiber Festival by Puff the Magic Rabbit called “Oz’s Ballroom”. It is a lovely mix of blues, greens, and purples with a little purple Angelina for some sparkle. Without further ado, my latest FO:

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As far as what else I am working on, oh my gosh. I have been so moody, I think it is the blahs of winter setting in. I want to do all the things but realistically I cannot. I am also taking classes for school which are sucking up all my free time. But I do have a few projects on the needles, and the spindles, and a really cool new toy my husband is making me (a homemade e-spinner! working out the kinks, there WILL be a post on this later!). Really, I think I just need to do something more challenging-but I don’t know if I have the time for it!

What are you working on? How do you lift yourself up out of a crafting funk?

 

 

Simple Adventures: Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts

11 Jan

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I took my husband and kids back to my hometown of Cedarburg, Wisconsin for Christmas this year. I love Wisconsin, and even more so love Cedarburg, with it’s quaint old-world charm. In some recent years, a little museum sprang up quite close to my parents house- and I have driven past it wishing I could go in but knowing the name “Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts” would cause my husband to go running and my kids to poke their eyeballs out. But somehow, magically, their attitudes toward fiber arts have changed- my kids love to crochet, knit, sew, even cross stitch. My husband is in the process of building a spinning wheel from a design he came up with himself. So I asked them to come with me one morning of our Christmas vacation, and nobody put up a fight. Even my youngest teenage brother came along to check it out.

The museum just happened to be hosting a kids beach themed crafting session, so we headed for that first. It was awfully cute to help the kids make their sand-art, t-shirt braided belts, fabric flower lei’s, and origami hawaiian shirts. All surrounded by beautiful quilts, an ancient floor loom, and woven tapestries.

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Origami shirt homemade flower lei

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next we headed to the exhibit, “Japanese Influences in Fiber Arts” upstairs in the huge renovated barn. It was fantastic. I believe the quilts and displays came from the 11th Nihon Quilt Exhibition, and featured some incredible works of art. There was so much detail in some of the pieces, I could have stared at them for hours. There were lots of twists on familiar patterns and techniques, stunning applique, and lots of shine.

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6E5A1645In addition to all the amazing quilts, there were a few other fiber arts featured, most striking were these incredible Temari balls. I didn’t even know this art existed and I would love to learn to make one myself!

6E5A1641 6E5A1642More on Tamari Balls: 

Overall this was an awesome way to spend the cold winter morning! If you would like to check out the museum yourself I highly recommend it. For more information you can visit their website here.

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Finished Object: Handspun Hat

9 Jan

Do you remember the handspun yarn I made a while back?
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It is now a hat! I used the Stratford pattern by Zandt Kennett. I absolutely love it and wear it everywhere.

I am now more pumped than ever to spin, I am not sure I have a knitted piece I am more proud of than this hat right now. My husband is totally on board too- he is currently in the design and prototype stages of building me an electric wheel. How awesome is he?

Since I’ve been gone……

5 Jan

September! I haven’t posted since September! This has been a very busy couple of months, and the time just flew by. I figured I would catch up by posting a bunch of things this week, before I forget everything.

First order of old business:

I went to two Fiber Festivals, Shenandoah Valley and Rhinebeck. The first, Shenandoah, was a small festival held in Virginia, just a short drive out of D.C. It was my first time going to one of these things, and it was kind of like your first time visiting a good yarn shop- totally overwhelmingly awesome. I took the kids and they did great. I took my camera and it did terribly- the battery was D.O.A. Oh well, life happens.

My first order of business was to find Kate and her Gourmet Stash Punis. So I got some, in the “Van Gogh’s Paintbox” Colorway.  Next we wandered a bit, and found all kinds of fibery awesomeness. First there were the ladies spinning angora, directly from the bunnies. I didn’t know you could do that, and I found myself wanting one of these bunnies- so soft. There was also a sheepdog demonstration, and a barn full of animals to visit. Before leaving, I scooped up a cool trindle, and a skein of sock yarn from Dragonfly Fibers, a small art batt and sparkle sock yarn from Puff the Magic Rabbit, and some wool from a small farm in VA which I do not know the name (no tags!).

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Up next was Rhinebeck, a huge fiber festival in Rhinebeck, NY. This time I did not take the kids, and I am glad I did not. They would not have fared well. The drive was long, parking was horrendous, and the grounds were overflowing with people. That all being said, I had a lot of fun. I met up with my girl Vanessa from Vintage Rose Knittique and I made some great new friends. There was a lot of yarn to look at, and I scooped up a fun mostly purple sparkle Loop Batt, along with some Jill Draper Makes Stuff worsted yarn for my awesome babysitter. But overall, I did not find the same small shops/farm sellers. Most everything was stuff you can get online, but it was still nice to be able to squish all the things. I think if I do bother to go back to Rhinebeck, it will be to meet up with friends and podcasters again, and I need to have some sort of shopping plan. The beautiful fall colors and the food was incredible though, I could have sat on the Ravelry hill all day and just people watched and knit and ate!

Art Yarn at Loop

Art Yarn at Loop!

My socks!

My Socks have a photo op on the hill! Totally appropriate here.

Please if you don’t already know these awesome podcasters and shops, go check them out! I can’t wait for the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival coming up- it is going to be awesome! This time I’m taking my husband and the kids- wish me luck- haha.

Finished Objects: Baby Cardigans

9 Sep

This week I finished not one, but two baby cardigans! I am actually still working on a third and am formulating yarn/pattern combinations for a fourth, but I couldn’t wait to show these two off.

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First up, on the left, is the Province Baby Cardigan, a free pattern you can find on Ravelry, designed by Cecily MacDonald. This cardigan was constructed in pieces, and I learned quite a bit about seaming and patience on this one. So many ends to weave in! But I absolutely love how it turned out, especially with the little cabled detail on the front.

The sweater to the right is the Puerperium Cardigan, also on Ravelry, by Kelly Booker. This pattern was much simpler, as it is seamless, and made for a quick knit. It did take me a while to finally sew on all 7 little buttons. This one has no home yet, as it was intended for a little guy who I thought wasn’t due until fall but was actually a summer baby. Being a newborn sweater, he has certainly outgrown it already so I will be casting on a larger size.

Both of these garments were knit with Caron Spa bamboo/acrylic blend yarn. I wanted to use something the new moms could wash easily. It was a splitty yarn, but I got over it because the fabric really is quite soft, and just a bit shiny. They discontinued this yarn so it is on mega sale at the craft store right now….might have to go pick up some more before its gone.

The best part about knitting all these different baby sized sweaters is that each one has been constructed differently. I got to practice a set-in sleeve and raglan sleeves, top done and bottom up, button bands and seaming, all without the huge commitment of a adult size sweater. I currently have two possible Rhinebeck sweaters on the needles, and I feel so much better going forward with those after all this practice.

Drop Spindling: Why not?

31 Aug

A while back I ordered a drop spindle and spun the little sample of fiber that came with it. Ugh what a mess. But I was hooked, and ordered some wool roving from knitpicks. When it came in the mail, initially I was all “it’s so FLUFFY!” But then, the realization……it took several hours to spin the little sample of wool, how long is this going to take! So I set it aside to work on some baby cardigans. (Another post)
Well it was staring at me all week so I picked it up, petted it, and started pre-drafting some of it. Then it fell onto my spindle, and oh how many times did that spindle hit the floor? I lost count. For some reason I found it easier to spin a fairly consistent thin yarn than a thicker yarn, I’d say for the most part my singles were about fingering weight, although it is not really all that consistent.

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And yes, it took for.ev.er, but I can’t tell you how calming it is. It’s mesmerizing really I have no idea how to describe spinning. Even the kids would come in and stare, lulled by the fluid motion or something, idk. In the end, it went quicker than I expected and I was soon plying my thinner yarns together into a thicker yarn. That itself took hours, and I think would be more fun if I had a multicolored yarn….this was just purple, and more purple….no fun color mixing. Next time. Late last night, I soaked the yarn, which scared the crap outta me. I hand wash all my knits, but this was a nail biter, I kept thinking please don’t felt up! I told my yarn, please don’t turn into a big tangled, felted mess! (I told you, it was late)
This morning I ran downstairs like a kid at Christmas. I couldn’t wait to squish it!

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I wish I could show you pictures using a real camera. I need a new memory card reader so we are stuck with iPad pictures but hey, I couldn’t wait.
The final skein is just over 104 yards of handspun 2-ply yarn. I don’t know what to classify the weight as, overall it’s like a worsted in most places. I planned to make a cowl or something but really, all I want to do is frame it and put it up on the wall for everyone to see….I made my own yarn with a stick and sheep fur! HELLO GORGEOUS!

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My back is sore, my fingers are calloused, and I can barely lift my right arm today, but it is so worth it. I don’t think I’ve quite had this much of a sense of accomplishment with my fiberey art in a while. But I have concluded that in order to produce any useful quantity I will need a wheel.

Pinterest Win! Teacup Candles

18 Aug

This little project was done during a “Pinterest Party” I held a while back. That was a fun party, hoping to do a fall themed one soon. (I will start a Fall pinterest party board…check me out there as Bekhiann) If you have been on Pinterest looking for cute crafty things, you have probably come across some teacups repurposed into candles. This is not a new idea, I know, but I am sharing with you because they are just so darn cute, and simple to make- which is part of my crafting mantra if you haven’t noticed by the title of this blog.

The first thing is to collect your teacups. I find them randomly at thrift stores, sometimes they are lonely single little teacups, sometimes I can score a whole set. This was my first attempt at making candles, and I was glad to have a friend around at the party who is a pro, and had some tips:

1. Use a thermometer- never exceed the temperature recommended by the wax manufacturer, and melt the wax very, very slowly (I used a double boiler) Apparently, wax will actually start on fire if it gets too hot, too quickly. I chose wax that was already dyed and scented, but there is no end to color/scent choices out there.
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2. Use a pencil, skewer, anything that you can lay across the top of your teacup and wrap the tip of your wick around the skewer so it stays sticking straight up. (Brilliant, I would have never thought of that)
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3. When filling your teacup, leave some room at the top and allow to set/cool just a little bit. You will notice a little ditch in the center, around the wick. When it is cooled enough, pour just one more splotch of melted wax into this ditch for a nice, flat topped candle.
3. Everything that touches the wax must never be used to make food again. So choose your tools wisely, maybe from a thrift store or garage sale.
4. Light your candle and enjoy your handiwork!
candles

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