Monday, December 31, 2012

Projects Completed in 2012

In order of completion. Click on the text for related blog posts.

Linen Stitch Pillow w/ Fuzzy Navel

Troy's Lined Hat

Zig Zag Skirt

Malabrigo March Socks

Big Collar Bias T

Baby Boy Blue Bibs

Bias Asymmetric Scarf

Bibs & Blankets

Crossed Canoes Quilt

Zig Zag Socks (Jaywalkers)

Hourglass Socks

County Fair Raffle Quilt Block

Cowl with a Point

Whatevs Socks (Ravellenic Games Project)

Harris Tweed Socks

Hat for a Cowl with a Point

Knit Pie Crust

Snowflake Sweater

Foot Stool

Upcycled Gift Boxes
Felt Phone Covers

Double Knit Skull Cap

Brioche Scarf (Ravelry page)


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bigger is Better (At Times)

Troy and I have had this dining table since we were married. I found it in a local antique mall and liked its general design, size, and the fact that the rounded ends fold down.

It came with three leaves (not shown in picture at left) and would seat six, but barely.

We lived with it for six years in South Bend, and not until we moved to the current house did something make me wonder just how far this table would expand.

Here's the table at its smallest--small enough to push against
a wall as a side table (which is how it might end up in the
final room layout when we have a permanent table in the
kitchen). I can't get over how versatile it is.
As I recall, I asked Isaac to grab the other side, and we pulled...and pulled...and pulled. The table stretched from one side of our dining room to the other (literally wall to wall). It was 10 feet long!! Well, that got me thinking...

Since we got it, we have known it has needed to be refinished. Whatever they put on the top isn't really hard and reacts badly to hot and/or wet things being put on it. So I had the idea that I could hire someone to refinish the top and build some new leaves so I could have a really big table when I needed (and replace the one really annoying warped leaf).

Time passes...

I still haven't looked into getting someone to do this for me and it occurs to me that I'm not looking for a restoration of the table, I just want a big table. And I figure anytime I'm using it full length, I will have it covered with a table cloth anyway. So I ask Troy if we could make some wide plywood leaves to use instead of trying to get a matching wood. He says, "Of course." So that is what we did.

Troy made two wide leaves with the holes and dowel pins needed to lock them in place. Here we are testing one of them:
We weren't going to be really fussy about the project and thought we could have just used them like that, but decided with just a little more work we could do better.

So, taking over Troy's workbench in the shop, I put on a couple of coats of stain:
and then added two coats of polyurethane. Can I say again for anyone that is listening that stain and varnish do not agree with me? What a chore. Not my thing. But anyway, it's done. (Troy reassured me that wood workers probably have a similar creed as quilters with their "it's not bad if you can't see it from a galloping horse" criteria. Let's hope so.)

Here are the finished leaves in place:
You can see they're a little different than the original wood, but they blend pretty well I think.

Here's the table at its full length:
And here it is fully dressed:
We had 11 for dinner last night and it worked wonderfully.

I had to get new tablecloths for the new length, of course! A few weeks ago, I happened to be at Joann's when the decorator fabric was 1/2 off, and I took advantage. The 54" width is perfect for the width of the table, and I purchased 4 yards of a blue brocade and a shimmery gold cotton. I looked for fabric that had a nice enough looking selvage that I didn't have to hem up the long edges. (Galloping horse criteria, remember?) Then all I had to do was straighten the end and hem it with my favourite blind hem stitch. In the set up above, I just folded the gold tablecloth twice lengthwise and laid it on top of the blue. It makes a lovely runner.

Now I need to make one (or two) for the next size down...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Good Day

A couple weeks ago I read somewhere that a knit designer I admire (I admire her designs, anyway; I don't really know her) was going to be appearing at a yarn shop nearby close enough. She would be hanging out to sign books, discuss her designs and show off the actual prototypes and samples from the books.

I realized (with some glee) that this was all happening on a day I had scheduled off to use up some of my accumulated comp time. I had no other plans, so I decided to go. Why not?

The day dawned with some snow, but it was supposed to taper off throughout the day, so off I went to Country Needleworks. I drove the hour and a half to get there, and got to meet Ann Weaver, designer extraordinaire, and she kindly signed my new book.
I had to admit that I hadn't actually knit any of her designs, but I had started to notice that I could pick out her patterns when I saw new stuff I liked. She is the designer of the Oranje sweater that I went on and on about here. (Still plan to make it, by the way. Maybe this year--I need a pullover to enter in the fair!)

Another one I have my eye on is this large circle shawl:
I am fascinated by circle shawls and don't know why I haven't made one yet. This one's in the book I bought, so maybe this will be the first.

While I was at the store, I took a look around. They not only have quite a large yarn selection, they also have supplies for beading, embroidery, scrap booking, etc. I, however, stuck mostly with yarn and picked up a few new skeins...

They stock Mini Mochi, and I grabbed this colourway, "Blueberry Pancakes":
My Circle socks that I made from Mini Mochi are the best feeling socks I have, and so of course I want some more.

I finally broke down and decided I may need to knit Troy a pair of socks. This Ultra Alpaca
was a suitable colour, suitably soft, and hopefully suitably hard-wearing since it contains a lot of nylon content. And also, suitably priced since I had to buy two skeins to make sure I could make them big enough and long enough.

And the best find of the day was these buttons:
They are quite large (about 2") and very lovely, and I bought all they had. Thank you, people who gave me cash for Christmas! (Splurge time!) No, I don't know what they will be used for, but I love them very much.

Then I sat down for a while and knit, listening to the conversation of the group. What was I working on?
I started an easy take-along project--a new bias triangle shawl like this one I had to give away. I found a very similar colourway in a wool-silk blend and knew right away that I would use it to make a shawl for myself. I made pretty good progress while I was there. Like the first one I made, I am holding the yarn double, working from both ends of the same ball. I have a little more yardage than I used in the first one, so it should end up about the same size. (This is a pattern you can work until you run out of yarn.)

Then while I was sitting there, I noticed that they had some old cross stitch samples for sale in a back corner. Not only on sale, but on clearance.
I really liked this subtly Christmas-themed sampler on red linen. For $15, I thought it was a steal.

Here's a detail of a darling little bunny:
and the deer and snowflakes that run across the bottom:
It was fun sitting in a shop in the Grand Rapids area. For one thing being blond is normal instead of the exception. They were talking about seeing Cokie Roberts at the January series at Calvin College (my alma mater). And in the clearance bins of cross stitched samplers, I found one with the words of Lord's Day One of the Heidelberg Catechism. Only in Grand Rapids. (Well, I'm sure people in Pella say, "Only in Pella.") It's fun sometimes to be among "your people."

And then the fun did not end. I met up with a friend who moved out of the area a few years ago, and we had a great time talking over an early dinner and then seeing a movie. And since you can never have enough of this hunka-hunka-burning-awesome, I will even include a picture:
Yup, we saw Skyfall and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Out of Season Gift

Project Stats
: 11 Dec '12
Finished: 18 Dec '12
Pattern: The SkullKerchief by Knitty Or Nice (free)
Materials: 40 g each of Caron Simply Soft in white and black ($6.58)
I didn't make many gifts this year, but I have one I can show you today. The person it's for isn't really a blog reader, so I think I'm pretty safe in revealing it even through it hasn't been given yet.

I saw this pattern for a SkullKerchief and couldn't resist! What's a SkullKerchief, you ask? Well, when worn down, it looks like a generic black and while scarf:
 But when you pull it up over your nose, look what you get:
Isn't that great!! One person on Ravelery went so far as to make a matching hat with the top of the skull on it, and I was really tempted (like really, really tempted), but I have resisted (so far).

I double knit the project so (like the Skull hat) it would be warmer and have no long floats on the back.

I knit it from the bottom (point) up, and finished with a Kitchener cast off (above). Since the pattern changes colour, I had to switch colours a couple times in the bind off to match. I pulled harder than usual on the tension to make sure the top wasn't too loose, but I think it still may benefit from an elastic through the top. We'll see how it fits the recipient.

The pattern calls for you to knit in some button holes and then to sew buttons on the other side to fasten it. But I think doing up buttons behind your head is a pain in the butt, so I sewed the seam shut at the back.
And since I can't resist, I have to show you the same thing on the other side too:
I made it out of acrylic, in part because it's a gift and many people can't wear wool (especially around their neck and face) and also because it's hard to get a true white and true black in wool. I wanted a lot of contrast on this one. I have plenty left over, so maybe the hat will come next year...

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...