Saturday, November 10, 2018

Garden Review

It has been a few months, I am well aware, since I have updated you on new projects. Summer is a busy time here, especially with the new house. It was my first year with a new garden, an exciting new adventure, but with a whole new set of challenges. So I think I'll just do a quick summer wrap-up.

The Gate
Our new house is very popular with the deer. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can look outside at any moment and spot anywhere from 1-20. In fact, I just looked up from my computer, and spotted 3. So obviously this doesn't bode well when you love growing vegetables. I knew as soon as we bought the house, I would need a garden fence. And the the idea just kind of spiraled out of control from there, and next thing you know, all of the neighbors were asking "What the hell is she building back there?" I love my new garden. The fence worked like a charm. But my favorite project of all this year is definitely the garden gate.

Isn't it just lovely? Here are a couple of in progress photos.

And of course, the usual yarn trellises were back in action.

We had a good harvest.

The Rest.

Our yard here is very pretty. It's not big, but we have a creek that runs along the side of the property, with a fresh spring in the corner. It babbles over rocks and through thickets. A line of old apple trees line the top of the property. And the house came with a some really pretty old scrubs and plants. We have tons of dallies and azaleas.

I built a bench near the spring facing the sunset.

I think we're all caught up now. There is more to share soon. I'm remodeling my daughter's room, then the focus will probably return to knitting for the winter.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

It's a Learning Process

Now that I have a snazzy new studio in my attic, and an area for woodworking in the garage, I suddenly find myself with a whole new world of project possibilities. No longer does project mode mean taking over the dining room table for weeks at a time, or assembly pieces on the living room floor. It really is life changing for me, and in some ways, the prospect is paralyzing. I have lots of ideas, but where to start?

For a while I've been wanting to experiment with hollow 3D lace, but this involves some problem solving. What to use as a stiffener, and how to get the knitting to hold it's shape? Ideally, I'd like to find a way to make objects that could be used outdoors, so they need to stand up to the elements. The shaping brings up a whole different set of questions, but for now, I decided to do a little experimenting, and start with the first problem, making my knitting rigid.

Leaning back on my love of paper mache', I decided to start with an obvious project, hot air balloons!
The shaping was pretty straight forward with a latex balloon, which left me free to concentrate on pattern and structure. I decided to modify and old circular lace tablecloth pattern, by reducing the repeats from 8 to 6. The remainder was basically spontaneous lace knitting, but I'm happy with the design. One the knitting was complete, I decided to start with a diluted white glue concoction. I soaked the knitting in the glue, then blew up a vaseline-covered balloon inside. This turned out to be a challenge. The vaseline made the balloon very difficult to tie, and of course, I wound up with glue all over my face! But in the end, it worked! I let the glue dry for 3 days, then when I was satisfied, I popped the balloon. It held it's shape, and looked beautiful, but the balloon was a little too easy to dent. I wanted something fairly rigid. After doing some reading, I opted to spray down the entire thing with polycrylic. Unfortunately, wetting the knitting seemed to sort of melt down the shape again, so I had to quickly reinflate another balloon inside. After a few hours, the balloon had dried, but unfortunately, it was less rigid than ever. After throwing a 2 year old tantrum in a 42 year old sized body, it was back to the drawing board. By now I had a glue and polycrylic soaked lace apparatus that looked like a half squished over-ripe cantaloupe. Not awesome! Reaching for the tried and true can of polyurethane, I reinflated yet another balloon, positioned the project carefully, and coated the entire project with a sponge. I let the poly cure for a few days, and at some point the balloon inside popped on it's on, but it had worked. The project was hard as a rock. There was one major drawback however, the poly had a severe yellowing effect. So one problem solved, but another created. But I will try again. I think I'm going to experiment with some different mediums. We will see what happens!

In the meantime though, I am enjoying the balloons hanging in my studio, even if they look a little antiqued.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Pattern: Baby Braided Ankle Bootie

I'm very excited about how these turned out! I think they are a relatively quick and fun knit. You can find the pattern here.

Also, because I know others find knitting to be the only cure for these dark and cold January days, all of my knitting patterns in the Revelry Store are 50% off for one week! 
Promotion expires on January 19.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

5 Day Bootie Challenge (baby booties that is)

After the holidays, I'm always excited to knit. I usually devote most of November and December to knitting gifts. All that knitting inspires new project ideas, and I can't wait to tackle them. But sometimes having so many ideas can be debilitating. Where to start? Design a new pattern? Work on one of the many art projects I have sketched out? Do a little stash-busting? (Y'all my yarn hoarding problem is serious) Knit something for myself?...something I rarely get to do. 

In the end I decided to jump start the 2018 by challenging myself. I wanted to see if I could complete something small every day for 5 days, with the advantage of doing some stash-busting (to make room for more hoarding of course). So I settled on 5 days of baby booties. Babby booties are so satisfying! They're cute, quick, and there are endless variations. Plus I love shoes. I dug out a pack of mini skeins I purchased from Loopy Ewe a year ago. Beautiful colors, and a gradient of booties really appealed to me. So here's how the week went. 

Day 1:  Baby Moc-a-Soc from Bekah Knits
What a great pattern! This is definitely one of the most creative baby bootie patterns I've seen. Very stylish, and practical with the sock cuff. Pattern called for the booties to be knitted flat, but after the sole, I joined to knit in the round instead. 

 Day 2: Baby Merry-Janes from Bekah Knits
Another great patterns, and possibly the sweetest baby girl booties I've seen. Pattern is similar in style to the Moc-a-Soc. Again, very cleverly written. 

Day 3: Little Eyes from Inma Gijon
This was the only free pattern I knitted. It was also the quickest, even with the cabling. I love the cable pattern on the top of the slipper.

Day 4: Lovebug Booties from Carrie Bostick Hoge
By day 4 I was ready for something a little different, and these were great! They are knit in the round from the top down. I found I preferred this method. It gave the sole a little bit of a curve.

Day 5: Braided Ankle Booties from Me!
By day 5 I had several ideas for my own design. So I took what I had learned and came up with these little ankle boots. There were a few stops and starts so I'm kind of amazed I managed to finish them in a day frankly. They begin with a simple cable braided band. Then stitches are picked up from a slipped stitch edge, and the rest is knitted in the round. I'll be releasing the pattern in a couple of days, as soon as I edit the charts.

What sorts of projects are you starting out your year with? What are your handmade goals for 2018?

Friday, November 10, 2017

New Studio Space

When Dave and I went under contract on our house, we didn't know about this room in the attic. It was boarded over. So imagine my surprise when I discovered this large room. These pictures pictures show the room before the remodel. 

As you can see, it was a little scary. It featured peeling paint, dangling and flickering single light bulb, a rotten window, and mysteriously, a weight bench in the middle of the room.  But there was also a lot of potential. The room has hardwood floors and decent natural light. Plus it was already wired. So I got to work.
First step, replace the flickering light bulb with a proper light fixture, and replace the old 2 prong outlet with a grounded one. I did this successfully, despite my healthy fear of electricity. Next up, the old window. I had a neighbor's help for this, but it was a great learning experience. 

Then I decided to add some storage. I found and old stack of hardwood flooring in the attic, and used it to finish the outside. Then I built the door you see to the right, and hung it using barn door hardware. 

I refinished the desk, then decided to build some honeycomb shelves to display finished projects.
Needle Storage

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Last 4 Months

Have you ever been so busy, that you forgot you had a blog? That's essentially what happened to me. So let's back up, and we'll get all caught up on what's new.

A neighbor contacted me to let me know that a house in our neighborhood had a brand new "for sale" sign in the yard. Dave and I were not in the market for a house, and weren't at all sure a bank would let us buy one, but we had always loved this little stone house. So 2 days later we went for a look, 2 days after that we went to the bank, and within a week we were under contract. Craziness! Isn't it a dream?

We closed on the house, and moving madness begins. We were sad to leave our beautiful river heaven, and my garden at the old house was in full swing! (see previous post) But we were on to new and better things (1/2 mile down the road). My first project, build a new coop for the chickens. I'm pretty proud of the outcome. Special thanks to my dad and friend Crystal for helping me install the roof.

We live here now. Next step...making it a home. My first big interior project was to build shelves for our large collection of books and vinyl. We had grown tired of walking around what we had begun to call "Box Island". We have a nice double window in the living room, and I thought it looked like a lovely spot for a window seat.

Are you wondering if I'll ever have time to knit again? I was beginning to wonder that too. But I did find time. My daughter requested a knitted cactus for her birthday.

So what's next? Stay tuned to see my new fiber studio!....

Monday, May 15, 2017

Can't Stop, Won't Stop Yarn Bombing the Garden

Every year when I put up trellises in the garden, I always think that with all the yarn in my house, there has to be something more creative I could come up with. So this year, I'm tackling just that.

It started with a knitted pea trellis. I used a drop stitch lace pattern. It's working very well! Then I decided to take things to another dimension. I loved string art as a kid, so I incorporated it into this bean trellis.

Continuing with the string art, this weekend, I completed new tomato cages.

Stay tuned to see how they work out as things grow!