Web Rings & a new craft website

As you know, I am a proud member of Etsy FAST (Fiber Artist Street Team). We now have a web ring, thanks to the hard work of Lissa of Fiber Diversions. The web ring is a list of the blogs maintained by Etsy FAST members. You’ll find me on the ring along with many other talented artists. Please come and check it out.

As I was trolling through Etsy’s forum earlier this week, I found a link mentioning that the Etsy Sellers Who Blog web ring was back in action. The V2 version is being steered by Lis Kidder. For more information about joining, please read the accompanying blog or the web ring info.

Lastly, I am excited to tell you about a new website, The Art of Craft. It is a website dedicated to bringing you quality arts and crafts on the internet. They pride themselves with prescreening all the shops and sites listed on their website. You’ll find me on the “Shops I” page. In addition to the new website, they have an accompanying blog that features an artist each week.

Enjoy browsing these sites!

A Gift from My Mother-in-law

I have the best Mother-in-law in the world!

She came down to visit this week and brought me a gift: a whole tote of yarn from her stash.

Here it is all spread out.

Pink wool from Briggs and Little:
Lucky her, she is only one hour away from the Canada border. So, she slips across at least once a year to restock her wool supply.

6 balls of brown wool and one ball of white wool – vendor unknown


5 balls of brown wool:
This was a gift to my MIL from her MIL. It is very soft wool. It is also hand spun.

Several skeins of bright pink wool from Knit Picks. I will have to make this into a sweater … or a skirt … for my neice. She just LOVES this color.


Lastly, my MIL’s favorite find. She purchased this from a local fiber fair in Maine. The wool is hand dyed and hand spun. It is super soft. She was hesitant to give it up, but didn’t want it to sit in her stash unused for another year. I wound it up into balls as soon as I got home. It isn’t enough to make a sweater out, but it will be perfect for a shrug or a hat/scarf combo or a lampshade cozy.

Then, after gathering up all this yarn for me, she trolled through my blog and noticed that my balls of yarn were still done in the old fashioned style. In other words, I still wind them by hand. Insisting that she isn’t going to buy any more wool for quite some time (I give her 3 months before she caves) and that she has wound her entire stash into yarn cakes, she gave me her ball winder. Boy, oh boy, I can never go back to winding yarn by hand. I am converted! It took me 3 minutes to wind a ball of yarn. 3 minutes! Before it would take me at least 15 minutes even with my trusty umbrella.

My MIL made me swear that I would keep this yarn free from dirt and far away from those pesky _oths. Just to put her mind at ease, I took a picture of the yarn back in the tote, safe and sound in my cedar closet.

Thanks, Mom!

Happy (belated) Memorial Day!

I baked a cherry pie for Memorial Day. It made up for the fact that I cheated on the rest of the meal. I tossed frozen meatballs and canned spaghetti sauce into the crock pot. Voila, meatball subs. Ah shucks, they were tasty. Despite rain being forecasted for Monday, it turned out to be a lovely day. We spent the day underneath the Old Lady (Pin Oak tree) playing board games with friends (Trivia Pursuit and Cranium) and watching Jake protect our yard from those horrible squirrels.

My thanks go out to past and present Armed Forces for protecting our nation and our freedom. I’m grateful.

Bright Hope Block, 3rd in Ode to Quilting series

The Bright Hope block is the 3rd block in my Ode to Quilting afghan.


Pattern for Bright Hope Block:

Recommended Knitting skill level: Easy

Yarn: Lion’s Wool by Lion Brand (see my links to the right for Lion Brand’s website) or substitute any wool yarn from your stash that meets the below gauge specifications.
1. Color A = Ebony
2. Color B = Pumpkin
3. Color C = Goldenrod
4. Color D = Scarlet
5. Color E = Purple

Needles: Lion’s Wool recommends size 8 (I used size 5)

Gauge: 4 stitches and 6 rows is 1 inch in Stocking Stitch

Stocking Stitch Pattern:
Knit all stitches on the RS; Purl all stitches on the WS

Arrow Pattern:
Row 1 (RS): K6, P2, K6.
Row 2: K1, P4, K4, P4, K1.
Row 3: K4, P6, K4.
Row 4: K1, P2, K8, P2, K1.
Row 5: K2, P4, K2, P4, K2.
Row 6: K5, P4, K5.
Row 7: K1, P3, K6, P3, K1.
Row 8: K3, P8, K3.
Row 9: K1, P1, K10, P1, K1.
Row 10: K1, P5, K2, P5, K1.
Row 11: K5, P4, K5.
Row 12: K1, P3, K6, P3, K1.
Row 13: K3, P8, K3.
Row 14: K1, P1, K4, P2, K4, P1, K1.
Row 15: K1, P4, K4, P4, K1.
Row 16: K4, P6, K4.
Row 17: K1, P2, K8, P2, K1.
Row 18: K2, P10, K2.

Knitting Instructions:
In Color A, cast on 26 stitches. Work in Stocking Stitch for 36 rows. Bind off.

In Color B, cast on 14 stitches. Work rows 1 thru 18 of the Arrow Pattern three times for a total of 54 rows. Bind off.
In Color C, cast on 14 stitches. Work rows 1 thru 18 of the Arrow Pattern three times. Bind off.
In Color D, cast on 14 stitches. Work rows 1 thru 18 of the Arrow Pattern three times. Bind off.
In Color E, cast on 14 stitches. Work rows 1 thru 18 of the Arrow Pattern three times. Bind off.

Finishing Instructions:
Lay all the knitted pieces out on a flat surface. Shift them around until you like the way it looks. Your block will look like the one below, minus a dog. (Jake wanted to be in all the pictures yesterday. How could I say no? He looked so cute!)

Pick up only the black square and the color strip to the right of the block. In this case, it is the pumpkin (orange) strip.

Line the top of the pumpkin strip up with the top of the black square. The strip should be 3 inches longer than the black square.

Using a mattress stitch and orange yarn, weave the two pieces together. Do not break the yarn. It will be used later.

Next, pick up the color strip that lay directly below the black square. In this case, it will be the purple strip. Lay the purple strip down so that the top of the strip butts up with the left side of the orange strip. The arrows of the purple strip should point toward the orange strip.

Measure the purple strip. It should measure 9 inches. Using a straight pin with a colorful head, mark the placement of 6 inches down from the top. Line the straight pin up with the bottom left corner of the black square. Using safety pins, pin the purple square in place.

Using a mattress seam and purple yarn, seam the purple strip to the black square. Do not break the yarn.

Next, pin the top of the purple strip to the remaining left side of the orange strip. Pick up the leftover yarn used when seaming the orange strip to the black square. Use it to seam the two strips together.

Next, pick up the color strip that lay to the right of the black square. In this case, it is the red strip. Line the bottom of the red strip up with the bottom right hand corner of the black square. The top of the red strip should extend 3 inches beyond the top of the black square. It should butt into the section of the purple strip extending beyond the black square. Additionally, the arrows in the red strip should point toward the purple strip.

Using the mattress stitch and red yarn, weave the red strip and the black square together.

Next, pin the top of the red strip to the remaining 3 inches of the purple strip. Using the leftover purple yarn, weave the two pieces together.

Next, pick up the final color strip. In this case, the yellow strip is the lone straggler. Pin the yellow strip in place.

The top of the yellow strip should butt into the side of the red strip. The bottom of the yellow strip should be even with the right outside edge of the orange strip. Additionally, the arrows on the yellow strip should point toward the red strip. Likewise, the arrows on the orange strip should point towards the yellow strip.

Measure the yellow strip to locate where it is 6 inches from the top. Mark it with a pin. Line the pin up with the orange and black seam (where the orange strip was weaved together with the black square).

Using the mattress stitch and yellow yarn, weave the yellow strip to the black square and to the top of the orange strip.

Finally, pin the top of the yellow strip to the remaining loose side of the red strip. Using the leftover red yarn, weave the final two pieces together.

Weave in any loose strands of yarn.

Ta Da. You have a Bright Hope Square.

Internet trouble equals longer sleeves

Finally, I can get on the Internet today. Comcast has a monopoly on the area (unless you’re willing to sacrifice speed, which I’m not) and I have been suffering for it these past few days. Today is the first day, I am able to get on the Internet, check my e-mail, and update my blog. Even earlier today, Comcast was having problems, i.e. Internet outage. **mutter**

There is a silver lining in everything. Thanks to Comcast, my right sleeve is 75% done. I have started on the cap.

Plus, I finished both of the gauges on the project I can’t show you. It should be ready for submission by Friday.

Then, when my hands hurt from knitting so much, I went outside to my garden. I pruned the Easter Redbud tree (well, it looks more like an overgrown bush), the Forsythia, and some of the Fire Thorn. (I can only take so much of the Fire Thorn bush at one time. It’s painful!).

My thanks to J3W3 for his/her advice on the mint seeds. S/he stated that mint can be very invasive. After spending all of last summer combatting against the Lily of the Valley, I have no desire to battle it out with another invasive plant. I should mention, that I only managed to thin out the Lily of the Valley, despite pulling out the roots. It came back this year in the same spot. I am worried because it has started to encroach upon the grass, which Jake loves to nibble on. Sometimes, I think he missed his calling; he should have been a goat.

I can’t show you

Well, today has been Gauge Day. I made gauges for two upcoming sweater designs (one men’s and one woman’s). Except, I can’t show you a thing. It has to stay top secret. They will be submitted to magazines next month (fingers are crossed; toes are crossed). The rules of the house state that they must not be published anywhere beforehand. A pity for I so want to show them off. Jake just doesn’t jump up and down for me unless I have a tennis ball or stick or food in my hand.

I have worked on my shawl pattern. It is half-way done. Yet, if I stare at the spreadsheet and accompanying document much longer, I think my eyes are going to cross. So, I am taking a break. Talking to you is my break. *Smile*.

Since I can’t show you what I have been doing, let me show you what other people have been doing.

Enthral has made a lovely brooch (pin).

If you didn’t know already, I almost never leave the house without a pin of some sort on me. And every Black Friday (the big shopping day after Thanksgiving Day), I buy myself a new pin as a reward for accomplishing all the shopping that I do. I have two jewelry boxes filled with pins. I even have a trained husband who brings me home pins. =) Alas, not too many people handcraft pins these days. So, I was thrilled to see Enthral’s handmade pin in my color (blue!) to boot. I just might have to buy it off her. Feel free to beat me to it.

In the knitting world, Ivanova and Carter have started a Celtic Knot Project.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivanovaknits/496323237/in/pool-82573356@N00/

They are on a quest to provide you with free Celtic knot cable patterns. See their blog for their growing list of patterns – now at five. I always try to sneak in a little cabling to each of my sweaters so this project is near to my heart.

Well, that’s all for now. Have a great weekend!

Inspiration

Sometimes inspiration comes in the oddest forms.

Today, I found mine in my own backyard. Here it is.


I think it will look quite handsome in a new sweater design, minus the rust.

I sincerely hope that you too find inspiration in the simple things surrounding your life.

I have very little else to report. My sleeve is creeping along at a snail’s pace. Sometimes it is hard to knit during a baseball game. Sometimes the game is too exciting.

Speaking of baseball, I learned of an upcoming Stitch n Pitch night at the Phillies park. The Stinging Sheep had all the details on her blog. I booked my tickets straight away. My husband will be coming with me. He still refuses to learn how to knit and thus plans to spend his time scoring the game.

9-Patch Block Finished

The 9-patch block in all its finished glory:

As promised, following are the finishing instructions for the 9-patch block.

First, lay the squares out as you would like them to be in the final block. Then, pick up the 3 squares that make up the first row. Pin the sides together (I recommend using safety pins as they allow the items to lay flat while keeping them securely in place). Once pinned, your row will look like the pic below.

Then, seam up the sides using a mattress stitch, taking the pins out as you come to them. (For a reminder on how to execute the mattress seam, go to http://www.learn2knit.co.uk/knitting/joining.php). Do not be concerned about which color of yarn you use to seam up the sides with. As Elizabeth Zimmerman would say, “Flip a coin. It’s the only way.” Once you have both sides seamed, set Row 1 aside.

Repeat these instructions for both rows 2 and 3.

Next, pick up Row 1 and 2. Pin the long sides together being careful to align the seams. Once pinned, your block will look similar to the pic below.

Then, seam the rows together, taking the pins out as you come to them. In this case, you may want to use Color A as your seaming yarn, since the majority of the blocks are in this color.

Once completed, pick up Row 3 and pin it to the bottom of the half-completed block. Do take the extra time to match up the seams. Then, seam the rows together.

Weave in any loose strands of yarn.

Block lightly to measurements. The block should measure slightly larger than a 12 inch square (due to the added selvage stitches and bind off rows).

Set block aside with the St. Louis block.

The next block in the “Ode to Quilting” afghan will be posted Monday, May 21st.

Thank you for keeping up with the series. I truly have enjoyed creating each block!

9-patch block unfinished

Here is the 2nd block in my “Ode to Quilting” afghan.

It is a traditional 9-patch block, consisting of 4 dark squares and 5 light squares.

Pattern for 9-patch Block:

Recommended Knitting skill level: Easy

Yarn: Lion’s Wool by Lion Brand (see my links to the right for Lion Brand’s website) or substitute any wool yarn from your stash
1. Color A = Winter White
2. Color B = Cadet Blue
3. Color C = Midnight Blue
4. Color D = Purple
5. Color E = Black

Needles: Lion’s Wool recommends size 8 (I used size 5, but I am a habitually loose knitter)

Gauge: 4 stitches and 6 rows is 1 inch in Stocking Stitch
3.5 stitches and 7 rows is 1 inch in Garter Stitch

Stocking Stitch: Knit all stitches on RS (Right Side); Purl all stitches on WS (Wrong Side)

Garter Stitch: Knit all rows

Pattern: In Color B, cast on 18 stitches. Row 1: Knit all stitches. Row 2: K1, Purl 16, K1.
Repeat these two rows until 24 rows have been knit or until piece measures 4 inches.
Bind off.

Repeat the instructions above for Colors C, D and E.

When finished, you will have four dark colored blocks knit in stocking stitch.

Block lightly to measurements of 4 inches by 4 inches. Set aside.

Now for the fun part …. the knitting of the white blocks.

Block #1 (Garter square): In Color A, cast on 16 stitches. Work in Garter stitch for 28 rows or until piece measures 4 inches. Bind off.

Block #2 (Diamond square): In Color A, cast on 16 stitches. Row 1 and all future odd-numbered rows: Knit to end. Row 2: K1, P6, K2, P6, K1. Row 4: K1, P5, K4, P5, K1. Row 6: K1, P4, K6, P4, K1. Row 8: K1, P3, K8, P3, K1. Row 10: K1, P2, K10, P2, K1. Row 12: K1, P1, K12, P1, K1. Row 14: Knit to end. Row 16: Repeat Row 12. Row 18: Repeat Row 10. Row 20: Repeat Row 8. Row 22: Repeat Row 6. Row 24: Repeat Row 4. Row 26: Repeat Row 2. Bind off.

Block #3 (Fools Welt square): In Color A, cast on 16 stitches. Rows 1-3: Work in Stocking Stitch. Rows 4-8: Work in Garter stitch. Work rows 1-8 twice more for a total of 24 rows. Then, work rows 1-3 again. Bind off.

Block #4 (Ridged square): In Color A, cast on 18 stitches. Rows 1-2: Work in stocking stitch. Row 3: K1, P16, K1. Row 4: Knit to end. Rows 5-8: Work in stocking stitch. Row 9: K1, P16, K1. Rows 10-13: Work in stocking stitch. Row 14: Knit. Row 15: K1, P16, K1. Rows 16-19: Work in stocking stitch. Row 20: Knit. Rows 21-24: Work in stocking stitch. Row 25: K1, P16, K1. Row 26: Knit. Rows 27-28: Work in stocking stitch. Bind off.

Block #5 (Step pyramid square): In Color A, cast on 16 stitches. Rows 1-4: Knit to end. Row 5 and all future odd-numbered rows: Knit. Rows 6 & 8: K1, P1, K12, P1, K1. Rows 10 & 12: K1, P2, K10, P2, K1. Rows 14 & 16: K1, P3, K8, P3, K1. Rows 18 & 20: K1, P4, K6, P4, K1. Rows 22 & 24: K1, P5, K4, P5, K1. Rows 26 & 28: K1, P6, K2, P6, K1. Bind off.

Finishing instructions will be provided tomorrow, Tuesday, May 15th.

Forgive me, but I am off to prune more of my “Carrot Top” bush. I recently realized this bush is actually a Fire Thorn bush. I never knew that. Guess how I found out. You betcha. I stuck my hand into the middle of the bush, trying to prune out all the dead twigs and I had the dickens of a time getting my hand back out unmarred. This time I am wearing long sleeves in the hopes it will keep me unscathed. No wonder the birds don’t bother it. =)

Other knitting news: The brown yarn from Shelridge Farms arrived on Saturday! I can Finally finish my sleeve. I’ve already wound it into a ball. It’s ready for tonight’s baseball game.

Happy Knitting, All!