Monday, January 28, 2008


That crafty gal o' mine, she's at the tippy top of a slippery slope and, boy, she's looking forward to the ride to come! I'm talking about fun with fabric -- quilting -- which has risen to a feverish pitch for Leah. She comes by it rightfully, given that Scott's mom is an exceptionally talented and skilled quilter, and I guess it's been coming on for a long time, with hemming, hand-sewn patchwork, machine stitching, applique, sewing clothes without a pattern and with, and making fabric wallets as gifts.

Most recently, I showed her an old packet of paper piecing patterns that was mixed in with my needlework patterns. She immediately dove (again) into the box of beautiful fabrics given by her Grammy for xmas 2006 and the next thing I knew, she had a bunch of little paper pieced projects to play with. (Nope, no plan for them yet, just enjoying the process itself.)

She couldn't get enough of this and I knew it was time. I took her to the local quilt shop, where we made a new friend, browsed the goods, bought the pattern for a bag project, and decided the block-a-month club sounded like good fun. We returned on Friday afternoon and Leah joined about 50 other folks for the first of a series of monthly meetings where she'll learn new techniques, be inspired by others, have a darn good time, and end up with a dozen quilt blocks, ready to be made into a quilt. Ooh, the excitement!

While her fabric was drying, we headed off to Old Sturbridge Village. There were multiple reasons for making the trek on Saturday, not the least of which was the opening of the newly renovated Fenno House, with exhibits focusing on textile production and fiber arts of the 1840s. There were spinning wheels, opportunities to hand card wool, weaving, and needlework exhibits. You can imagine the squeal when a certain someone caught her first glimpse of the room with a new focus on another textile art...
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

round the world and back again

When we were at a yarn store in Nova Scotia a couple of summers ago, I snapped a pic of this hat that I liked.

Then recently I was browsing Ravelry and saw the collection of mittens based on Creative Whimsy's Newfoundland mitts. I liked them, especially Villapeikko's version, which eliminates the purl blips on color change rows. I dug around in the stash and happened to find some yarn that was just waiting for a project -- the purple/blue from Spa Knit and Spin in Maine last winter and the gray alpaca from VT. So I picked a number and picked some needles and cast on, with the Newfoundland mitts as my guide and Villapeikko's modification from Finland in mind. Next thing you know...

It's a honeycomb hat!

As I was composing this post, I clicked to the main page of Villapeikko's blog and laughed to see that she had the same idea! I toyed with the idea of continuing the pattern all the way to the top, but I took the easy way out and knit a solid gray crown with spiral decreases, whereas she fiddled with it to carry the pattern all the way through.

Chances are pretty good that this hat will join our charity hat stash, waiting for the next donation opportunity. I wonder what part of the world will be added to its story next...
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

stash makeover

It's been a while since I last posted and I can't decide which cool crafty event to tell you about, so I'll tell a little bit about each. I'm blogging from a client's office, so no pics today, but there are plenty of things to show, so pics to come soon!

First there was a knit night which was comfortable and fun, with chat going in all directions. It ends up that I was a doofus and followed entirely the wrong chart while there, so the evening's progress on my glove needed to be torn out after all, but it was a good time anyway.

Then there was the time when Leah and I walked into the local quilting to browse for a new sewing project for her. It was their open sewing day, when all are welcome to use their classroom sewing space for the day. We stepped into that room to see what the quilters were working on and one of them looked up and exclaimed, "I know you!" She's a homeschooling mom who recognized Leah from some past events and the adults recognized each other's names immediately. While Leah floated around the classroom and store, making pals with every quilter in the place and being shown all sorts of cool things, this quilter and I proceeded to have one of those conversations that rolls so easily that it felt like we had known each other for years.

There was also a knitting bee at a historic-house-turned-museum. We were cozy in the warmth of a sunbeam on a very cold day, surrounded by knitters, spinners, and needleworkers.

Possibly my favorite of the events was a stash swap held at a local yarn store. Leah and I have been working from stash for quite a while and have thoroughly enjoyed putting to use all those yarns that we loved enough to buy in the first place. We took the remaining full skeins that didn't have a purpose (mostly leftover skeins from other projects) and decided to see what we could find at the swap. Upon arrival, yarns were sorted into three quality categories. For every skein donated in one category, we could choose a skein to take out of that same category or lower. We were thrilled to walk out with new-to-us yarns that are better suited to the projects in the works now, including some beautiful vintage laceweight, Araucania, alpaca, Lorna's Laces, and handpainted yarns. Stash makeover = fun!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

glasglas does etsy

Glastonbury Glassworks
has joined Etsy, the place to buy and sell all things handmade!
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Monday, January 14, 2008

eating my words

Does anybody out there remember when I knit Scott's convertible gloves for ice fishing? I said then that knitting gloves was too fiddly and I wouldn't be excited about making another pair.
I think what I really meant to say was that they weren't fiddly enough. What I needed was two yarns, lots of color, and stranded patterns throughout! Yeah, that's the ticket. They weren't fiddly enough.

Luckily, Karendipity's glove pattern is exactly the level of fiddliness to be a super fun and satisfying project. Can't wait to cast on for the 2nd glove.
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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

squee !

I had the most wonderful knitterly weekend, full of friends and fun and interesting places and meeting great folks (hi Priss, Katie, and Mary Beth!). I worked on a lacy scarf of silk and tencel, charity hats for premature babies, and some socks. Come Sunday afternoon, I cast on a glove.

This will be the gloves from Karendipity, which you can see in a variety of color schemes here. Mine are in Koigu (see what you've done to me, Other Deb?!) and navy blue Dalegarn. The colors are more muted than I see on my monitor, but I fiddled with the pic and couldn't get it quite right. I think this is possibly the most beautiful knitting I have ever done. My family agrees.

Guess who I caught popping up on Ravelry's front page?

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Sunday, January 06, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, Leah asked me to show her how to do hardanger. She reminded me of this request a couple of days ago and was thrilled when I pulled out my needlework pattern and linen stash to get her started.

Scott walked into my office at one point when we had it all scattered about. His eyes got big and he exclaimed, "We still have our patterns?!" You see, I taught Scott how to do cross stitch when we were first married and he got into it pretty seriously. We worked on some projects together and then headed off on his own, stitching a detailed Christmas stocking for baby Jesse and eventually sweeping the Best of Cross Stitch, Best of Needlework, and Best of Show awards for his Angel of Spring and Angel of Summer in the Big E's needlework competition one year. We both stitched a lot back then, but we set the needlework aside when the kids were toddlers and projects requiring concentration and attention to detail weren't as easy to fit into our days. Anyway, Scott only asked that one question, but I could tell from his expression that he'd be stitching again soon and I knew what he'd choose to make too.

Leah and I pulled out supplies, I gave her some directions, and later that evening, her first hardanger heart was complete.

As is her way, she then gathered some more supplies and headed off to her room to do more on her own while listening to a book on CD. She came out the next morning to show me half a dozen hearts that she had stitched in assorted handpainted perle cottons with floss filling stitches. She decided she was ready to visit the local needlework shop to spend a gift certificate she received for Christmas. By the time we were ready to head out, Scott had prepared a little shopping list of the few more floss colors he'd need for his chosen project. ;-)

He took the first stitches while we were at the store, but soon discovered that the intervening years made it much more difficult for him to see the linen clearly. (I noticed this same little challenge when finishing up a needlework project a year ago.) We borrowed a magnifying lamp from my mom and his project is now solidly underway. He chose Celtic Christmas, a project he made about 10 years ago and gave to someone he worked with. Somehow we ended up with enough green linen background fabric for two of these projects and of course we had most of the floss in our stash, so it was easy to dive in again, as he always intended. Leah is into some new stitching projects too, so the father-daughter creative team is on the loose again!
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

serious times call for silly measures

I've had a couple of months of "just" working my regular work and have enjoyed it immensely, but there's a vacation coming up and one of my clients was in need, so I'm doing an extra work gig for a while. Might last a few weeks, might be a long-term (but morphed) thing. Either way is fine with me, but for now it's an extra 20+ hours of work per week, in an office. It's enjoyable, for sure, but it also makes my days a little more hectic. I've since noticed that my "off" time is much more....hmm, playful? lighthearted?, those aren't the right words because it makes it sound like that's not the case normally, when it is indeed. I don't know how to describe it except maybe to say that the fun-ness level is maintained, but it's intensified to fit into less time.

Anyway, the result over the past week includes so very many fun outings and great times with family and friends, along with some very playful projects. Scott worked up some watercolor floral lampwork beads and I strung them into this cheerful necklace. Sorry for the cruddy pic. It really deserves a better shot, but I'm having a hard time getting one. Lots of color and sparkle to this one.
New Year's Eve silliness included drumming, a carousel ride, manning the dragon in a parade of many large puppets and goofy people making noise and having fun (that's Jesse in the lead, Leah in blue pants behind him, a bunch of other kids behind her, and Scott way back at the tail of the dragon), fireworks, warming up around a campfire, tour of a historic home, and seeing a play that's a take-off on Dickens' Christmas Carol. Gotta love First Night, where we've frolicked on most New Year's Eves since having kids. Edited to add: Oh, and Shakespearean break dancing. I kid you not. Serious silliness! And hi to the knitter we met at Ebeneeza!)
Leah is also working on funstuff, including this Golden Compass hat, a stashbuster that knits up fast with big needles and multiple strands of yarn held together. Thick and warm too.
Silliest of all would have to be this froggie hat that has been giving me a giggle for a few days. It's modeled here on 2 stacked yarn cakes, approximately 1-3 year-old size. The yarn is some discontinued stuff that we got on sale at Webs this summer. It knit up into a super soft and squishy fabric, downsized to 71 stitches around. Can't help but smile with this one.
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