Sunday, February 28, 2010

We're in the purple... and a great knitting resource.

Yes! I'm finally weaving the eggplant. Also, lots of tan background.

You probably can't see it in this photo, but I'm blending three shades of tan in the background in various combinations. I'm also weaving random "shapes" with the colors so that, hopefully, the background won't read as one flat color, but will have more visual "texture".

Due to the wretched state of my sinuses, I only had one afternoon out in the studio this weekend. Most of that time I was doing some prep work for an introduction to tapestry class I'll be teaching at Reynolds Homestead at the end of March.

I've started on a sampler for the class, using leftover yarn from the bean tapestry. Now that I'm looking at it though, I think the colors are dull as dishwater. Perhaps I'll start again. I'm working on my Schacht Tapestry Loom for the first time. It wasn't dreadful to warp, and I've skipped the part about making heddles entirely. It's a 4 inch warp, so picking up my shed by hand isn't the least bit bothersome. I'm doing it on the bean tapestry so plenty of practice there.

In other news, I've been working on a little knitting project. Kirtland's Yarn Barn in Dillwyn, VA is participating in a project to knit helmet liners for our troops in Afghanistan. My friend Lawre already has hers done, and I'm plugging away on mine. There was a tricky bit (for me, anyway) after doing the neck ribbing where you cast on extra stitches for the hat part. No matter how I did it, it looked really bad. So off to Google I went and found this wonderful explanation of casting on additional stitches at TECHknitting. What a great resource this blog is! Especially for knitting-challenged people like me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Signs of Spring!

Spotted just this weekend in my front garden -- the first sprouts of the year. Go daffodils!! Makes you want to shout and do the happy Spring dance, doesn't it?

We had balmy temps here all weekend, in the 40's. Just enough to get a good melt (and the daffodils!) going. 
In other news, work continues on the tapestry. The beans are done, and I've moved on to the background. I'm not entirely happy with the last bean - looks sort of lumpy to me - and I may re-weave it next week. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Here chicky, chicky, chicky....

Those of you who know me personally know that I harbor a not-so-secret love of chickens.  I think they're just swell. They make funny little noises. They're pretty to look at. They eat bugs. And oh, those eggs!

Today I found the coolest thing EVER for keeping backyard chickens. The Eglu by Omlet USA. So, incredibly cute, clever, and cool! Great for just a few hens, I think it would be fantabulous in my garden.

Also, check out the Eglu Cube - for those with grander hen-keeping aspirations. Both models come in different colors too! Red, pink, blue, orange, and green.

Urban chicken keeping - the wave of the future. Cluck on, baby!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

So, here we are. Just those two tips of beans on the right there to go, and then we're into the eggplant and background. My friend Kristy suggested that some people snap the tips off the beans. But as anxious as I am to get to the eggplant, I think I'll keep those bean tips right where they are. Besides, if I don't have to unweave too much they shouldn't take too long. Right?

We had a whopper of a snow this weekend. OK, for us 12" of snow is quite the thing. I'm still enjoying the staying home, the sleeping in, the baking and eating of treats. The shoveling, not so much, even though my husband did most of it. Today we spent an hour chopping and digging out the pile that the town's snowplows thought fully dumped in our driveway.

Just a few more photos : the Teashanty, as it looked this morning just before the rest of the snow slid off the roof; and Pyper, the old dog was soaking up the sun while sister Freya ran circles in the snow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yarns with potential

I spent part of my snow day today at the frog pond, ripping out some knitting. I turned two scarves, one ill-fitting hat, and a vest that was too heavy and too big back into yarns with potential. (That's Gracie behind the pile.)

It was a pretty satisfying activity. I uncovered the knitwear (or unwearables) in my recent studio cleanup. Instead of washing them and finishing them properly when I was done, I just bound off and put them in a bag, inside a box. They just weren't good!

As soon as I can dig a path through the snow to the studio to get a skein-winding device I'll skein them up, steam out the kinks and...start again.

The blue yarn was knitted into a vest. I liked the pattern, but my handspun wasn't anything like the commercial yarn it called for. The rib pattern and the weight of the yarn made it very heavy. And of course the whole thing came out too big.

The multi-colored yarn is so crazily spun that the scarf changed width halfway along and just looked poorly knitted. Of course, I'm not really the world's best knitter. But I know I can do better than that!

The purple stuff I quite liked, but the scarf was too heavy and fat, and the hat was too loose and not quite long enough to cover my ears. So, rip-it, rip-it, rip-it.

In other news, I baked some carrot-apple bar cookies and added the spiffy little penguins to the blog page. (Be sure to have them follow your mouse around. You can even click on them and move them individually! And yes, I know that I'm easily amused.)

One last picture for your amusement: A sleepy Buhund. I guess she had too much fun out in the snow today!