LOL Friday: Weaving In Ends

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The Week September 18-24

Last week:

  • Weave in the ends of Aranami/Imanara (there are lots even though I’ve been weaving in as I go), and wash & block, then sniff & squish.
    All done!
  • Choose and start a new knitting project. Will it be a blanket to give away or will it be a shawl to keep? I have ideas and yarn for both.
    Done. I’m knitting a blanket of my own design (nothing fancy, really) for the Welcome Blanket Project (HT to Shirley for making me aware of this project!).
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Welcome Blanket Project blanket. Guess how many rows are purled! 😉
  • Carry on embroidering The View From Mt. Peg. It’s ready for all the background mountains and the sky. It occurred to me that I could use the gray background color for clouds, so there’s that.
    I think it’s done without the sky, maybe. I queried the always helpful and funny Mildly Offensive Fiber Arts group on FB for advice about pricing because I have an old friend inquiring about it or a similar commission piece. I gathered my thoughts, made my calculations and came up with a reasonable-to-me-for-the-situation price and am just waiting to hear back from the old friend.
  • Decide on fiber to prep for Spinzilla, if any, and get started while trying not to spin all the braids I’ve got. I have clean, undyed locks I can dye & card or just card, but I also have some alpaca fleeces that need to be washed that would be a joy to spin if I ever actually get around to doing that.
    Instead, I started spinning a braid of fiber from Pigeon Roof Studios. I should do a test spin of those locks and wash that alpaca fleece, but this seemed much more fun.
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The braid of Pigeon Roof Studios fiber I started spinning – these aren’t my usual colors.
  • Plan the weekend: Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival is this weekend, so is parents weekend at both my sons’ schools. We’re going to skip it and take Ethan (who’s at JMU in Harrisonburg, VA) hiking on Sunday in the Shenandoah National Park instead. That leaves Saturday for SVFF, except some of my roller derby friends are getting together and I haven’t seen a lot of them for a few years. I have conflicts.
    We visited Ethan this past Sunday, which opens up my Sunday. All other plans are settled.
  • Try to sleep Wednesday night after seeing IT at the Alamo with Becky. Avoid clowns.
    No problemo! It was startling in a few spots, but I realized it’s most like Stand By Me but with a scary clown demon instead of a dead body. Also, there’s a kick-ass girl, but the groups of kids is as close as the group of boys in Stand By Me. Can’t wait for Chapter 2, may need to re-read the book or start reading King again in general.

This week:

  • Take fancy final project photos of Inamara, which involves getting Mr. Q & his photog skills. Use his camera this time, not my phone.
  • Continue working on the new blanket.
  • Continue spinning the braid of Pigeon Roof Studios fiber.
  • Start a new embroidery project.
  • Hopefully hear back from my friend and decide what to do with The View From Mt. Peg.

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    The View From Mt. Peg, probably in its near-final form. 
  • Saturday: meet Becky & her daughter Mia at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. From there, go to friend gathering in Martinsburg, WV. Sunday is free, so maybe I can get Ky to go to the Leesburg Fine Arts Festival (day 2) to poke around and maybe make some connections in this local artist world I’m trying to be more active in.
  • Some sad news: Moose, our 12 year old big black dog, hasn’t been doing well and so we have an appointment on Thursday to ease his pain and help him across the Rainbow Bridge. He will be dearly missed by us all, but it’s time – he’s having problems just getting up from lying down, along with having problems with the stairs to the back yard and some so far minor potty problems. We’re treating him like a king this week.
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Moosie posing nicely for the camera. He’s a beautiful, smart dog
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Moose asking if it’s time for dinner yet

The Week September 11-17

Last week:

  • Order from Campus Cookies for Ethan for his birthday Thursday. Eat more of Ky’s cake to celebrate in Ethan’s absence. Our first birthday apart and his 18th.
    The cookies & balloons were a grand success – Ethan, his roommate and the guys on his hall feasted. I think it was a pretty good birthday for him.
  • Carry on with Aranami/Imanara. I’m almost halfway through the final row.
    Finished, except for weaving in ends, washing & blocking.
  • Carry on with the embroidery.
    I’m about halfway done with the canvas, but only 1/3 of the way through the colors, so the funnest part is still to come.
  • Choose and start the next spinning project.
    I chose and spun a braid of Dragonfly Fibers polwarth & silk roving and did a 3 ply, with 2 ply and a single left over. I think it’s the squishiest yarn I’ve spun; I seem to only be able to do a short forward draw, alternated occasionally with a long back draw, which makes for a pretty tight twist. This time around the polwarth was sticky enough that I didn’t feel like it needed a lot of twist to stay together, so I adjusted accordingly and I love the yarn I got. The color, Salt Marsh, is really awesome too and I’m glad I got to spend so much time in it.
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My latest spinning project. I hope I have braids left for October!

I also registered with Team Spin Off for Spinzilla, which is happening October 2-8. This was the thing I forgot to mention last week. I’ve never done Spinzilla – it started the same year I got caught up in roller derby, which is kind of all-consuming, and I just haven’t gotten around to trying it until now. Let’s see how much I can spin in 7 days!

This week:

  • Weave in the ends of Aranami/Imanara (there are lots even though I’ve been weaving in as I go), and wash & block, then sniff & squish.
  • Choose and start a new knitting project. Will it be a blanket to give away or will it be a shawl to keep? I have ideas and yarn for both.
  • Carry on embroidering The View From Mt. Peg. It’s ready for all the background mountains and the sky. It occurred to me that I could use the gray background color for clouds, so there’s that.

    Untitled
    The View From Mt. Peg
  • Decide on fiber to prep for Spinzilla, if any, and get started while trying not to spin all the braids I’ve got. I have clean, undyed locks I can dye & card or just card, but I also have some alpaca fleeces that need to be washed that would be a joy to spin if I ever actually get around to doing that.
  • Plan the weekend: Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival is this weekend, so is parents weekend at both my sons’ schools. We’re going to skip it and take Ethan (who’s at JMU in Harrisonburg, VA) hiking on Sunday in the Shenandoah National Park instead. That leaves Saturday for SVFF, except some of my roller derby friends are getting together and I haven’t seen a lot of them for a few years. I have conflicts.
  • Try to sleep Wednesday night after seeing IT at the Alamo with Becky. Avoid clowns.

Did I say clowns? Here’s a palate cleanser: the Dragonfly Fibers Salt Marsh single on my hardware store niddy noddy. Those colors!!! Have a great (clown-free!) week!

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TBT: My Mother’s Darning Eggs

Darning Eggs

My mother is a retired seamstress (in that she no longer takes customers, but will still help me with projects) and was often offered sewing-related items by her customers. She’s also the only daughter of a seamstress, who is the daughter of a seamstress, who is … well, you get the idea, and all the old tools and fabric stash end up with her. She also loves to sift through a good antique shop now and then. This is her collection of darning eggs, which she passed on to me a few years ago. Two of the eggs, the lighter ones, are of a more recent vintage; I think a customer gave them to her. The two painted ones are my favorites.

Darning Egg 1

This one is my second favorite darning egg. The worn painted design lends itself to the imagination in trying to reconstruct what it once looked like. The design somehow looks Dutch to me, or perhaps like something from the Arts & Crafts period. I also love that this one is shaped differently, a little more like a foot than a traditional darning egg.
Darning Egg 1
The back of it certainly shows some wear and use – yes, those look like darning needle marks to me, where the needle slipped along and scraped up the paint.

Darning Egg 2
This one is my favorite; it’s the one I remember my Mom having when I was a kid. Perhaps it was my great grandmother’s? In any case, I love it because it shows the most wear and is obviously a well-used and (if one believes such an object can be imbued with love) the most loved object. The paint is worn away in layers down to the wood both on the egg and on the handle, and the wood itself is even worn down to only the strongest fibers in place. I can’t help but think of all the socks this one darning egg saved, the nights someone spent at their last chore of the day, darning socks. It harkens back to a time when even socks were valued, saved, and worn as much as possible instead of discarded at the first sign of a hole – it’s such a contrast with our current consumer culture and sped up fashion cycle, it’s the original slow fashion.

I have these darning eggs, but I have to admit that I’m terrible at darning socks. I asked my mother for one of her darning eggs when my first pair of hand knit socks developed a hole in the heel end of the sole. It’s something I expected to be good at right away because I’ve imagined myself in the place of that person darning socks at night (while listening to a program on the radio?) after all the other chores were done. I mean, how hard could it be? I really just need more practice at it; what I would really love is an afternoon with my great grandmother Ada to have a patient and steady presence help me learn.

This Is My Heart

Once upon I time, I swore I would never, ever offer a knitting pattern for free anymore ever again.

Things change: Charlottesville happened.

In the aftermath in my travels on social media, I came across a page on Facebook called Hearts for Cville that was soliciting knit and crocheted hearts to hang all over Charlottesville for anyone to take in order to promote healing and unity after what happened. A Charlottesville yarn store, Laughing Sheep Yarns, is the force behind Hearts for Cville, making, accepting, and hanging hearts from all over the country. Because I also live in Virginia, I wanted to show the people of Charlottesville that we’re thinking of them all the way up here in NOVA also.
Hearts for Cville

Hearts for CVille recommends some patterns to get started on heart making, and I diligently followed one for my first heart. But it involved seaming, something I avoid if possible, and it involved knitting the tops of the heart separately, making for 4 more ends to weave in for each heart, another knitting task I avoid when I can. The second heart I tried making in the round from the bottom up, which gives the knitter flexibility on size and gauge, but still separating the knitting to finish the tops of the hearts. But there had to be a better way, another way to get around weaving in all those ends: enter short rows at the top.

And that’s how my free pattern, This Is My Heart, came about. I can’t charge money for something that I created for a charity project, even though the pattern is infinitely flexible – you can use it to make any size heart on any size needles with any yarn. A warning though: it’s for advanced knitters; in it, I assume you know how to knit in the round, knit short rows, and graft stitches for a neat edge at the top of the heart.

Hearts for Cville

The pattern title is from the opening line in a Stars song. If you haven’t listened to them, they’re great – they’re a Canadian band that’s also a part of Broken Social Scene (a collective with members from a handful of Canadian bands, including Arcade Fire and Metric) and they’ve been around for 20 or so years. They have a new album coming out in October, but the song I took the title from is off of their 2003 album Heart – What the Snowman Learned About Love.

So: I am Mandy, and this is my heart.
Hearts for Cville