Thursday, December 14, 2017

Memories in a Box

needle-felted lion and lamb
made by Nancy Jones
approximately 2013

The Christmas decoration box holds items that can evoke vivid memories.

This circular, needle-felted decoration was given to me by Nancy a little over four years ago and is a treasured memento of our long friendship. Not only did Nancy and I go to elementary, junior high, and high school together, but our classrooms were literally across the hall from each other for 25 years. She was a talented fiber artist and taught community knitting and needle-felting classes. Nancy is the one who taught me how to knit socks on two circular needles.

You may remember Nancy's blog, High Plains Footprints. She died in 2016 (tribute here), and only a handful of people knew she was ill, so her death was complete shock.

Pulling this item from the box of Christmas decorations was a bittersweet reminder that life is so very short. Please take time this holiday season to connect with friends (old and new) and tell them how much they mean to you because you may not get another chance.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Gingerbread Socks

close up of Gingerbread socks
December 2017

The Gingerbread socks will be the last pair to go into my 2017 sock box. The yarn in the skein was deceptive, as I had no indication that they would stripe or that they had this much color.

I made no attempt to knit a matching pair.

finished Gingerbread socks
women's size 10
December 2017
 Yarn:   Match 100 (#55129)
            75% superwash wool, 25% polyamid

Needles:  US, size 2

gusset detail
I've knit a LOT of socks, but I still marvel at the construction of the heel turn and the gusset with every single pair.

If you knit socks, what is your favorite or least favorite part of the construction?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Winter Activity

puzzle in progress
December 2017
My love for jigsaw puzzles started at an early age. Every winter, my Mom pulled out the card table and placed it in front of the drafty door in the living room. Covering the table were puzzles with colorful images from around the world. Sometimes, the puzzles had been assembled one, two, or three years earlier: some had pieces missing, but we still enjoyed working on them.

Winter and puzzles go well together.

I enjoy the challenge of puzzles, especially ones that purposefully provide a twist. Impossibles are puzzles that have no edge pieces, and they also include five extra puzzle pieces. Usually, I begin a puzzle by turning all the pieces face up and separate the straight-edged pieces to build the frame.

With Impossibles by Bepuzzled, my strategy has to change, and I begin with color and build from there. Luckily the photo on the box of Roses Are Red . . . matched the puzzle (often times with Impossibles it doesn't) Roses are Red . . is the third Impossible that I've tackled. A 2010 post, Is It Possible?, shows the varying level of difficulties these puzzles provide.

completed puzzle
December 2017
Have you ever worked on a Bepuzzled Impossibles puzzle?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Scrap Bonanza

scrap sock yarn
December 2017
Last week at the Riverton Senior Center, I stumbled upon a bonanza of sock yarn scraps as well as two full skeins that someone had donated. The yarn was available for adoption for a free will donation.

I seriously didn't need more yarn, but  I plan to knit baby hats with these gorgeous-colored scraps.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Helpful Tools - Bread Tabs

bread tab used aa a yarn bobbin
I often use bread tabs for yarn bobbins, especially when I need to have yarn to sew knit pieces together or when simply changing yarn.

Most of the bread I buy has twist ties, so my sister saves them for me: thanks, Marilyn.

Bread tabs are free and helpful tools. Have you utilized bread tabs in your crafting?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

On the Tree

necklace made by Stephanie
approximately 20+ years ago
December 2017
On my tree, you will find many non-traditional decorations: a turkey wishbone from 1977, a broken plastic horn from my childhood, and items from my travels. Every decoration has a story to tell.

My great-niece (Stephanie who is now 26) made this necklace for me as a Christmas gift many years ago. The beads are strung on wire, so I simply bent it into a shape that could be hung on the tree.

Do your "ornaments" have stories/history attached to them?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Gloria Cowls

Gloria cowls knit with sock yarn
December 2017
The Gloria Cowl is a good pattern for sock yarn that is not particularly suited for socks.

I have a lot of sock yarn, and some of it makes me shake my head and question my judgement, either because of the color, the fiber content, or the way it feels. For example, I began knitting socks with the black and purple, and it actually striped vertically which looked really odd. The socks were frogged, and the yarn became a cowl.

The Gloria Cowl pattern uses sock yarn and knit double-stranded which creates a nice fabric. Even though it has a seed stitch border (top and bottom) it tends to roll, but light blocking stops the roll.

Pattern: Gloria Cowl by Orinda5 - free pattern on Ravelry

Needles: US 8

  •  Purple and black cowl - Match 100 (Midnight #55254)
          75% superwash wool and 25% polyamide
          one skein (420 meters)

  •  Purple, pink and teal cowl  & neckwarmer
          Match 100 (Jeweltones #55188)
          75% superwash wool and 25% polyamide
          one and a half skeins of yarn (approx. 620 meters)

  •  Earthtone cowls - Noro Taiyo Sock yarn (S2)
          50% cotton, 17% wool, 17% nylon, 16% silk
          two skeins (420 meters)

Noro Taiyo Scock yarn cowls

This pattern is definitely a "potato chip" knit - so difficult to stop at one.

Have you done any "potato chip" knitting or sewing lately?

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