Almost Done!

The Mitered Non-Cross Blanket is almost done! I finished off all the blocks and spent better part of 2 days seaming the blocks together.

My little helper
My little helper

When I knitted my blocks, I slipped the first stitch of each row. This allowed the sides to look just like the casted off edge. It also made picking up stitches a lot easier.

When joining the blocks, I single crocheted the blocks together through the back loop of the chained edges. This allowed the edges of the blocks to butt up against each other with a small little gutter in between the blocks.

JoinedBlocks
Joined edge

I don’t know where I read this but I think it was in the notes for a granny square blanket. It was probably the same place that I read about joining them in a zig zag pattern. Hard to describe, but start with a corner and attach the 2 adjacent blocks consecutively, without breaking yarn. Just continue to crochet around the corner and pick up the new block. You will now have 3 blocks connected, with 2 of them aligned diagonally. Continue and work the next diagonal on your blanket, zigging and zagging as you go. I found that doing a slip stitch as you round an outside corner will provide the extra give. And when you come to an inside corner, slip stitch into the corner stitch of the block diagonally away to close the gap.

My idea was that this would create fewer ends to weave in because I will already have enough ends to weave in!

Don’t believe me? A picture is worth a thousand words. Or in this case, a thousand ends.

MiteredBack

Silk!

GreySilk

It only took me two years, but I finally finished spinning the singles from this half silk brick from Northeast Fiber Arts Center. I bought the half silk brick at SOAR in 2011. At that SOAR, I also purchased a Golding Micro Spindle. I immediately started to spin it.

As happens to all travel projects, they get very little love when you aren’t traveling. I brought it along to SOAR this year. I didn’t bring a spinning wheel this time so the spindle is what I had. I finally finished spinning the singles at the Spin-In on the last evening.

Over the weekend, I finished plying the singles on my Matchless. After a long soak in hot tap water, per John’s instructions, I hung it up to dry. I squeezed out excess water with my hands and snapped the skein a bit to straighten it out. I then let the weight of the wet silk keep the silk “weighted” until it dried.

And, yes! After plying, what you see on the paper quill is all that remains of the singles. There’s probably a couple of yards left. I couldn’t be happier!

The color is really subtle. The overall color is a dark grey but there are bits of white and green in there. It looks a bit like a black beetle that shimmers in the sun.

I’ve since started the other half brick I purchased to go with this. This one is sort of bronze with greens and reds. I hope it doesn’t take 2 more years before the singles are spun. I have plans for these two silks!

Specs:

  • Half Bombyx Silk Brick from Northeast Fiber Arts Center
  • Spindle spun; ┬áplied on Matchless with 22:1 flyer
  • 2-ply
  • 55 grams
  • 1,004 yards
  • 8,280 ypp

Creativity Happens

Felted Beads Bracelet
Felted Beads Bracelet

So much of SOAR happens outside of the official activities. So much is shared over a cup of coffee, tea, glass of wine or meal.

Above bracelet is an example. As we were enjoying our cup of tea after lunch, I noticed the bracelet on Loyce’s wrist. Next thing I knew, we had an impromptu mini session scheduled for that evening. Someone ran out to buy some paper clips. (Yes! Paper clips!) We reconvened with little bits of fluff we had around, some soap and warm water. That’s it. With some instruction from Loyce, we were chatting, chaining paper clips, and rubbing wool in soapy water.

More ideas came out of this bracelet tutorial — fat round beads, smaller/bigger paper clips, use of findings for closures, necklaces, earrings. Quick and easy stocking stuffers! Finally, a use for all those scrappy fits of fiber waste from spinning.

House Slippers

Fall is approaching. I can feel the nip in the air. In my area, that means there can be as much as a 40F swing between day time high and night time lows. I normally go barefoot around the house, or wear flip flops. Unfortunately, that gets a bit cold during the fall and winter. While I do love my Haflinger Slipper Clogs, they are sometimes just a bit too warm and too clunky. Also, the last time I had the felt insole replace, it just wasn’t as sturdy and soft as the original. They wore through in a single season.

Also, I can’t wear those slipper clogs at the loom. I like to feel my treadles. But bare feet get really cold. I wear socks in the winter. But I glide on my treadles so I worry about wearing through my socks too much.

Last winter, I tried out a pair of Dr. Scholl’s Foldable Flats. I loved them…except… the bottom was so thin that it didn’t really protect me when the floor is really cold. And the top of the foot is too exposed. I ended up wearing socks with them. That worked well but it was a hassle because slipping them off meant slipping both sock and flats off. Putting them back on meant that they had to be close to each other. Yes, I considered sewing them onto a pair of socks.

This winter, I want to try something different.

I am going to make a few pairs of Turkish Bed Socks to wear around the house. Then I’m going to cover the bottom with scrap suede from the leather shop of one pair and Plasti Dip another pair. I’ll see which I like better.

Stay tuned!

Critters

MulberryThere I was, sitting out under the Mulberry tree in my courtyard, having a nice pot of tea with a book. What do I see? Someone has been nibbling on my Mulberry tree.

Am I out of line to wish/hope that there is an army of Bombyx mori chomping away overhead?