Sunday, November 25, 2012

A quick project for me

I usually start holiday gifts in August and focus solely on those until I finish - or not; last year Himself got one hand-knit sock for his birthday in early January because the mate was still on the needles when his big day arrived.

This year, because I have suffered from cold hands at work the last two years, I decided to take a quick time-out to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves:

The pattern is Woven Fingerless Gloves by Laura Eckel, from the book One Skein Sock Yarn Wonders, edited by Judith Durant, that I borrowed from the library.  (I like to see if a pattern book has multiple patterns I would make before I invest money in it.  This was the first project I attempted from the book, and it came out great.)

I found this beautiful blue-green yarn at my favorite local yarn shop - it's from Birch Hill Studios, a little-known yarn-dyeing studio in Mason, NH whose owner works part-time at the yarn shop I frequent.  (And who attempted to - unsuccessfully - teach me crochet.) So you can imagine my delight when I found out that I could show my finished product to the very person who selected the color scheme.  We had a discussion about how she needed to dye more yarn and get it into the shop, to which I agreed wholeheartedly.  The yarn is sock yarn, and I love how they came out.  They're soft with beautifully blended colors.

Even though my office building has the furnace running, I've been wearing them regularly at work because I like them so much.  I especially like that I was able to squeeze them into an otherwise crowded knitting season focused solely on other people.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Yet another hobby

So really, what I didn't need was another crafting hobby.  In the past year I've picked up card making, tried crochet (epic failure) and set a goal for myself of making decorations for upcoming holidays.  (Sometimes this is successful, usually it's a giant miss.)  I also sew, garden, write two blogs (kind of) volunteer 15+ hours a week, cook and work 60+ hours a week (including commuting time.)  So, you know, I don't really need new hobbies.

But I have one:

That, my friends, is a knitter's loom.  I took a class at the end of October that ran two weeks and included the "loan" of the loom, which meant at the end of class I bought one, and the stand, so I could keep on weaving. 

My first project was a scarf with scrap yarn (which came out pretty good, if I do say so myself) and the second project was a baby blanket for a friend who's just had her first child and is now living in Canada in an area where it starts snowing in October.  That came out really good:

Unlike crochet, which I have no talent for nor any urge to practice, weaving is much faster, easier and produces a beautiful project.  A knit blanket like the one above would have taken me 2-3 months, with weaving it was just 2 weeks (of half-attentive effort; I was out a lot at meetings during those 2 weeks.)  I could probably weave a whole blanket in a weekend.  The possibilities are endless.

I am practicing my weaving using some of my stash yarn - up next are placemats for Valentine's Day using some fuschia, white & red yarn from my stash so I can practice hem stitching and Spanish lace weaving.  Sounds very fancy, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


So now that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I finally get around to posting photos of how I decorate my house for Halloween,

Dining room

Nana's chandelier - so happy she pitched the crystals that needed dusting!

Mmm, wine

Who's reaching through the shower curtain?

Kitchen looking onto porch

Front of house on Halloween night - the skeleton is new

Dining room into kitchen

Bathroom bats - made from a Martha Stewart pattern

Mice - also from Martha Stewart w/ construction paper

I have only made a few of my Halloween decorations in the past - I have a mummy hand from a few years ago, some runners I quickly hem stitched and threw out over tables, and this year's paper bats and mice.  The mice were a huge hit with the friends & family who passed through the house during my favorite holiday. Best of all, everything is reusable.  Even if it does take more than an entire day to set up.