Tag Archives: yarns

Happy Mother’s Day

First, hello, Lovely Readers!  How’s your week gone? Hope everyone is holding up under whatever rules & regs are in place in your space.

Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S., so Happy Mother’s Day to you all, but let’s extend that to all Mothers in any country.

And let’s extend it to all those Dads who’ve had to be both Mum & Dad.

We’ve been having wonderfully cool weather, and I’m sending a giant THANK YOU to Canada for shipping it down to us.   ❤️   🇨🇦   ❤️

It’s been heavenly — mostly breezy with low humidity and 60’s for highs. As we’ve really had no winter to speak of, the prolongation of moderate temps is MOST appreciated.

[Could we talk about repetitions in June, July, August, September…]

Having recently met folks who had no idea there was such a thing as raw peanut butter, which separates quite naturally if not stirred, I looked it up, and discovered our Northern Neighbours created it! Another reason to be grateful to Canada! 🇨🇦

🐸 Crochet 🐸
Crocheting continued until Thursday, when I thought I had finished the ski hat and could go on to the pompom. Then I tried it on. Oops.

The bulky superwash wool yarn I was using was bulkier and less stretchy than I’d bargained for.

Currently the cap would fit a very short and extra-wide head. Am preparing to rip it, and maybe do a scarf instead. . . .

Friday’s #VirtualTeaParty2020
Still unable to purchase whole wheat flour for my weekly loaf, I started reading about substitutions. Taking my own advice, I did a quick check on the Library of Congress’ website, wondering about flour substitutes. Found a few things that might be doable, if I can get corn meal. Both are circa 1918. You can see them in situ here and here.

Photo by SDP ~ thank you!

If anybody’s missed my Wacky Cake or Boiled Raisin Cake recipes, they’re here and here. And here’s a variation, kindly sent down to me from SDP’s collection.

Friday’s #VirtualTeaParty2020
Please do stop by either Su’s place, on the 14th New Zealand/Southern Hemisphere reckoning, or right here on Friday, the 15th if you’re Northern Hemisphere/East Coast North America, or both.

Come as you are, or in your best bib & tucker. No need to bring anything, but you can if you want. There’s always an interesting assortment of peoples and conversations about food, recipes, coping, whatever. But we keep it civilised. It is a Tea Party. 😉

 

P.S./ Here’s a closer look at that page with recipes . . .

boxing it up

[I see Comments have disappeared. Again. And there is no earthly reason for it. Have spent an hour double-checking everything. My apologies, Dear Ones! Click to this post and use the Comments.]

Left: Camel cut from old tablecloth, backed & stuffed for hanging. Below, Right, is the back.

Hope everyone has had time to rejoice and celebrate❣️

I’m taking this week between holidays to exhale slowly and let Life settle. “Digestion” takes time, and this year may take more than most. 🥴

But hands don’t have to idle, and to that end I have several yarny projects on the go.

They started out as it: a single ski hat in my TNT pattern. Details are here. However…..

This scrummy yarn has two threads of colour in a single strand. As I had doubled the strands, that frequently meant four different colours.

Ever notice how combined colour yarns make distinguishing the stitch pattern more difficult? I did.

After too much frustration searching for back loops, I frogged it, and started over, this time as two projects.

The very solid piece on the right, is single crochet. I needed a rest after the hat tussle. It will be a rug for a pair of pirates of a feline nature.

The narrow one below will be a tasseled scarf. And there’s always the “forgotten project at the bottom of the pile. 🤣

Tuesday I did my traditional Christmas listen to A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College (Cambridge). Thank you BBC Four, for carrying it live. Incidentally, if you’d like to have a listen, it’s available here for a month.

Hoping everything in your world is fresh and new and creating beauty for you to enjoy. ❤️ 🎄 ❤️ 🎄 ❤️ 🎄 ❤️ 🎄 ❤️ 🎄 ❤️

on creativity

Was “wasting” away this Monday morning, after breakfast, reading through articles from Lizzie’s current Vintage Traveler Miscellany, and decided to read about the women weavers of the Bauhaus. Women?? Hmmm…..might be interesting . . .

Nice, I thought after reading the article, then noticed the photo of a living fibre artist from the group, surrounded by oodles of huge wonderful colour. Just the thing to brighten a dreary Monday morning!

Billed as “defiant art,” it was a fascinating journey from history into current art. What was very revealing came at the end… and spoiler alert… I’m going to leave you hanging.

The artist asks the interviewer:

“Do you cook?” she asked me.

“No,” I said.

“Do you garden?”

“No.”

“Do you sew?”

“No.” I blushed, unsure how to justify myself and suddenly reconsidering my life choices.

“Well, you see,” Hicks said, . . . . .”

Leaving it there to point out she included sewing.

SEWING!

Speaking of which, ahem, about those buttons in the top photo. They’ve just been reclaimed from a never-worn blouse which I found whilst going through packed away wardrobe. Now that winter weather is definitely here… at least this week and last… I’ve just about completed that phase of my dream wardrobe makeover.

And since it’s also Macro Monday, here’s one more piccie. Enjoy!

happy, hot july

white loops on red medium weight cotton

Hello, Lovely Readers — how are you? Life’s been happening since my last post, so this is a mite lengthy.

Hope you’ve time to settle in with something cool (or hot, as appropriate to your weather) and stay for a catch-up, including some sewing. Yeah!

Have cogitated and cogitated over what to do with this medium weight cotton, of which I bought maybe 1½ or 2 yards. Finally decided on shorts with pockets, as my blue pair gets worn constantly at this time of year. How long has it been in stash? Ummm . . .  absolutely no idea.

But I couldn’t resist it as it’s that wonderful tomato red that I love but can never find when I have a specific project in mind. Now that I consider it, I was probably thinking “summer dress” but after laundering realised it would be too hot, and stashed it.

At one point I thought “tote bag” and have a piece cut off for that, as well as what I assume were the handles, except there’s a strange “V” cut on one end. Wonder what I was thinking…

Anyway, this is finally out of stash, ironed, and might be cut out by the time you read this. (Not yet, but the pattern’s out!)

this is what I frogged back to – 😳 – but next time maybe I’ll count better

Remember that green & mustard ski cap I was working on last time?  I got it out and looked at it, then counted my stitches and realised I’d got off about 8 rows from the start.

Yes, I was good and frogged it back, but that put a damper on my crochet ardour. That, plus the early onset of extreme heat & humidity. Managed late last week to pull out of the doldrums a bit, and am almost back to where I was.

See what the triple digit temps have done to the lovely hydrangea bushes dotted around the apartment complex? The roses are too scraggly for piccies and grass that isn’t on a sprinkler system is dead brown because our rain has been sporadic.

Looking on the brighter side… Heat means time to tackle the small unread stack of books on my shelf… and was delighted to have found one I’d forgotten I had!

piccie courtesy British Library Crime Classic site

Back story: Several years ago I discovered the British Library Crime Classic series and ordered Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay. I quite enjoyed it, and learned what a humpty is (a.k.a., hassock), as well as absorbing more bits about British women’s university years.

BTW, if anyone has a humpty pattern they wouldn’t mind sharing, please let me know (sewing, not knitting or crochet).

British Library Crime Classics
originally published in 1934
Click to go to book on British Library Crime Classic site

My forgotten mystery was another Hay book, Murder Underground, which also mentions a humpty.

(I’m blaming my humpty fixation on triple digit heat. That and a desire to stuff one with stashed fabric. Add a zipped top & it might be great storage as well as hassock.)

Hay has a third book, The Santa Klaus Murder,  that I haven’t acquired yet just ordered, but I’m also looking for a nice used copy of Bats in the Belfry, by new-to-me author E.C.R. Lorac (Edith Caroline Rivett).

click to go to the book on British Library’s site

If anyone’s read any of Lorac’s books I’d love to know what you thought. Somewhere I read she was a witty author, and if there’s one thing I like to read in summer heat, it’s something humorous.

(Speaking of witty, just found & ordered Doonan’s Wacky Chicks & another Gerald Durrell. And that third Hay book, too.)

I’ve been puzzling over what to do with some of this cotton batik (below) ordered last summer from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, but now out of stock.  It’s heavier than I’d thought and has a funny sort of texture (possibly from all the dyes used to get the particular splotchiness of the pattern). I love the colours, but the texture put me off for a season.

Chatting over t’internet with fellow sewer Jen (Let the Sewing Begin) with fabric in hand, she thought it would make a good duster, and we talked a bit about what colours to wear with it. Afterwards I remembered a green linen camp shirt I’d found at a thrift shop in Arlington and got it out to check. What do you think—a definite maybe?

Lastly, a “goodness, I’d forgotten” moment earlier this past week when WordPress sent a Sixth Anniversary note. It’s been a tough time down here for most everyone, and I’m trying to buck up and stay more focused on goodness.

To that end I really really am valuing all you sewing bloggers around the globe. Reading your posts and seeing how you all are coping with a very turbulent world makes me feel not so alone over here, and sometimes even hopeful for a decent future. To that end, am sharing one last thing, which I hope will make you smile as much as it does me. . . . . . .

I finally read the last bits of Doonan’s book, Eccentric Glamour, and want to share a quote from the “Wallflowers and Big Stinky Peonies” section (p. 217). This might sound a little strange, but hang on as I’ve the perfect example below it.

“As you begin to stick your toes into the luscious lagoon of eccentric glamour, you will experience a jarring increase in the amount of amorous attention you receive… It is simply a result of how gorgeous and fabulous you think you are…” (Doonan’s emphasis)

If you begin to feel overwhelmed at such prospects, Doonan chides us not to “stay at home and watch “Dynasty” reruns…” Instead, he flatly says that is “…a waste of time—yours and mine (meaning Doonan’s)—unless you share it with someone… It’s a “What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play” Liza in Cabaret kind of a thing.”

As promised, here’s one of my favourite bloggers’ recent posts that perfectly illustrates Doonan’s concept. If you don’t already know NYC’s utterly & outrageously adorable Marcy Harriell, also known as Ooonabaloona, click and say howdy.

HEARTIEST THANK YOU’S & CONGRATS TO ALL WHO’VE MADE IT THROUGH!

Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate, or GnT for All!

❤   ❤   ❤    Happy Sewing!    ❤   ❤   ❤

 

 

meltdown

After a slight meltdown last weekend  over wrong style hair colouring (it’s growing out), the whole area is now into a real meltdown. Unfortunately, my old air conditioner’s compressor protested Thursday, packed up, and left town.

In other words, no cold air speweth forth-eth.

With ‘feels like’ temps in the 90’s this is not something to mess around with. Thankfully, Maintenance was ready: They moved in a room unit so I could have a cool bedroom – yeah!

Then after closing time the supervisor came by to try his luck on resurrecting the old compressor one more time. Yep. He raised that puppy from the dead, and had the new one installed by noon Friday. Phew!

For which I am very grateful as this weekend begins some seriously hot weather… probably ‘feels like’ temps in triple digits.  Seriously. Not. Nice.

What am I sewing? Welllll . . . I did get the thread changed twice last weekend, and sewed a seam. Does that count? LOL! 😇

But I have been industriously crocheting and even picked up knitting needles.

You’ve seen what I call the peacock colours currently and slowly being crocheted into a throw for the bedroom. Six 200 gram balls should do it, I hope.

I succumbed to a sale yarn, which is crocheting up nicely into a ski cap (pattern here). Am having to concentrate a bit more with this yarn as the two colours (green & gold) are twisted together to form the strand. When I single crochet into the back post (to create the stretch) often those two strands will appear to separate. But the acrylic is softly agreeable to work with so I’ll persevere.

The other has autumnal colours that are so enticing I couldn’t keep my hands off it. As soon as it arrived I knew I wanted to knit a long scarf and maybe crochet another cap. I love how the colours are shading into each other. It’s like working with soft acrylic angel’s hair.

Other than that I’ve been reading Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour, just finished listening to Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing magic of tidying up, and re-read a couple of M.C. Beaton mysteries.

The Kondo book is quite a different sort of organising book, stressing quite different things than other books I’ve read about organising. And I’m not certain I should have listened to it. Might take a look at the actual book to see if there are pictorial examples illustrating her methodology. I would enjoy hearing from any Lovely Readers who’ve read her book.

What did you think of her way of characterizing “things?” Am not certain about her concept that “things” all have energies of their own, and we should thank them for being in our lives and  bringing us joy. Maybe it’s just a word thing, because I am frequently grateful for the joy of having the right tool for a job, or a yummy yarn or fabric.

A good contrast has been Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour (2008). I’d never heard of Mr. Doonan until Hila (Saturday Night Stitch) mentioned him, and piqued my curiosity. (Thanks, Hila!)

I found the book humorous, enlightening, occasionally upsetting, yet affirmative. I particularly appreciated his concepts and explanations of Gypsies, Existentialists, and Socialites.

A section with much food for thought was “Growing Old Ungraciously.” Considering he wrote this 10 years ago and Things Have Changed, I’m not going to quote anything. . . but here are a couple of brief ones just ‘cause I couldn’t resist–

“Confidence, not physical perfection or power, is the ultimate aphrodisiac… Children and dogs and God do not discriminate against people based on their looks.” (both p. 217, Eccentric Glamour, American edition)

Like to read a bit more by Simon? See here, here, and here.

And now for a Grand Finale — a brief (16 min.) TED Talk by someone all Great British Sewing Bee enthusiasts will recognise, Patrick Grant. Saw this on Lizzie’s Vintage Traveler blog – thanks, Lizzie!

❤   ❤   ❤    Enjoy!    ❤   ❤   ❤

oh, dear, summer’s here

And I’m feeling so behind with writing – not to mention sewing! So will just make a start …

Yes, the high humidity 90℉ days have begun to appear with more regularity, and I have but one comment: UGH!

Work progresses slowly on fitting a couple of new patterns, preparatory to using two of the above three fabrics.

The one that’s cut was a small sample of Dutch wax cloth that I bought from Britex. (Treasure those few companies that send free swatches!) I was not impressed and won’t order. I found the photo colours to be quite different, from what I could tell from the relatively tiny swatch versus the HUGE patterns involved.

I’ve started crocheting a throw using James C. Brett yarn, as recommended by my dear  Midlands friend, Samantha. Two huge balls (200g each) arrived very quickly, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Will be ordering more of this from Wool Warehouse!

Whoops – time’s up so better hit that “Publish” button!

Happy Sewing, Lovelies!

life’s been happening . . .

just keeping a hand in . . . uh, i mean hook!

Hi there, Lovely Readers!   There’s been a bit of sewing and crocheting going on despite distractions, and have managed to mostly keep up with reading everyone’s posts. There’s been little or no commenting and for that I apologise.

Sometimes life just gets in the way, drat it! So here’s an attempt to catch you up. Hope you’ll grab a favourite cuppa and have a read. . .

really low yarn stash & nothing in sight to fill it with, but oh, wool warehouse is tempting if it wasn’t so far awa-a-a-y

Decided to go through what’s left of my mostly-Chicago-acquired yarn stash and discovered bits & pieces.

Although I tried, twice, to find something tempting at a local chain store it was futile. I wound up getting 2 more soft cotton yarns for yet more mug mats (see the pile above). Plus a third cotton that might become a hat.

renfrew on top of hemlock

Here are a couple more tees – a renfrew and my first hemlock. I took a photo of the renfrew in front of the hemlock just to see what the differences were.

The hemlock’s much too long but the sleeve is short. It will work for layering underneath my solid green. I like the higher neck on the hemlock.

The renfrew is a better fit and I have room to hem sleeves & body as I didn’t want to add the bands. (Although now I see how much the fabric is curling just might change my mind.)

Also, I did something different with this v-neck and rather like the effect. I got tired of the problems I have trying to follow the pattern for a perfect centred v. (It’s me, not the pattern.) This was so much easier! If I could only remember where I read it or saw it I’d direct you, but I don’t.  My apologies . . . 😟

I simply cut my own width & length for the neck band, allowing an extra 4″ in length. I wanted at least 2″ extra of length to play with. Also wanted it wider.  I pin-eased the bodice onto the neck band, working from several inches above the v on one side, then the other, leaving the v pieces dangling. Then I sewed up  one side, then the other, meeting at centre back. (I’d read somewhere that helps to combat extra stretching of the bias-cut neckline – again, don’t remember where.)

 

Then I pinned the left dangly bit, then the right into place, with the pieces crossing somewhere in the vicinity of the centre and sewed. Honestly, the pattern of the fabric is so wonky, I didn’t much care if I got it spot on. Hope it doesn’t show! If the sewing polis come and get me you’ll know I did wrong. Otherwise, it’s our secret.  he-he-he!

Thanks for hanging out with me!  Hope to be back again soonish. Meanwhile, Happy SEWING!!!

not quite friday’s crochet & natter

Hodge, the bookstore cat, is ba-a-ack

We’ve been having another spell of coolness and I’ve been luxuriating in it and not getting much done besides crochet.

But my scarf got finished last night whilst watching some of the Oscars, mostly with the sound off so I could just look at the gowns.

Here’s a quick batch of piccies … click any one to read everything (looong captions), as hovering won’t work. Sorry!

And lastly, my former bookstore owner & friend, Keith Peterson, sent me a copy of Hodge’s latest book last week, which I instantly devoured.

In case you’ve not heard about Chicago’s most famous bookstore cat, you can read more about his vibrant secret life here and here.

friday’s knit & natter

What’s been happening since last Friday? Lots, as it turns out, including enjoying the quietude of a foggy Wednesday.

Unfortunately, it turned quite hot after the fog, so not much progress since. But enough to entertain, I hope. 😉

With several good suggestions last Friday (thank you all!) I spent last weekend trying them all out, as well as having a go with Wild Daffodil’s squirrel pattern.

trying out that squirrel pattern ~ click to go to Sandra’s far better example!

She’s put up lots more photos which I need to go back to as I got stuck about the 4th row. Am delighted that she has several other crocheters also working on squirrels, as I’m a real beginner with this sort of pattern.

scarf progress
First I checked my crochet book (amazon listing in US & UK) for treble and double treble stitches in case I needed to translate. Below are Righetti’s Crocheting in Plain English directions along with my samples.

Had to try out Attic 24’s Woodland blanket pattern as well, so went to several other colours & yarns to give that a go. And decided it wouldn’t work for my scarf as I have those gorgeous autumnal colours too firmly in mind to settle for just mustard.

I also discovered that the dye lots are very different. This current huge ball seems to have only the faintest hint of purple, whereas the small leftover I was using last week is quite purpley. I think I’ll just use up the large ball. Good thing I discovered that now!

Working the treble stitch was not too cumbersome, and I did several rows to try to get used to the stitch, but a different thought kept coming to mind. More on that below.

Also did several rounds with a double treble and that really threw me “for a loop.” Too many loops – they kept falling off in the middle of every part of a stitch. Way too frustrating! Have put that aside for future, more limited use.

Then tried my idea: A large hook (K/10.5) and plain US double crochet (UK treble). The bigger hook was the thought that kept coming to me whilst I was doing the other trials.

So I’m taking the easy way – considering the heat – and haven’t looked back. As you can see, I should have. But I was good, froggied back and started counting consistently.

This weekend will continue almost to 80, so have little planned but staying cool. Reprieve comes nest next week – yeah!