Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Endgame - It's A Wrap!

In the bustle of rigid heddle loom assembly and warping for tea towels I was able to finish hubby's belated Christmas present, the Endgame Scarf. Endgame End Sections

Endgame was a delightful project and a proper gift for someone who thought he didn't need to replace his dandy Noro striped scarf.

 Resplendent with reversible cables, this scarf can be thrown around the neck and not a thought given to which side is the 'right' side and which the 'wrong' side.  Case in point - did you perchance notice in the picture that sides are not identical?  The one on the 'right' is actually the right side and the one on the 'left' is the wrong side but the scarf looks fetching all the same.  I didn't notice when I was wrapping the scarf around my model's neck.  I just love that no matter how Don wraps the scarf, it will show off some stunning cables.
Endgame Middle Section

The middle section made a nice transition before I reversed the directions of the cable for the second side. The cables were successfully inverted and I completed this reversible scarf with a tubular cast off.  Typically, it is rather easy to distinguish the cast on edge from the bind off edge but in Endgame, you will need a magnifying glass to tell the difference between the two.  It is truly a bit of wonder!  The tubular cast on and bind off were the tangible lessons I took away from this project.

  Don's Endgame

Hubby likes his new scarf and being the man of few words that he is, commented, 'It's long.'

Thirty two years of marriage have taught me to interpret this comment as, "This is the perfect length for my 6'3" frame. It's so frustrating to wear short scarves when you are a tall man.  Why doesn't someone come up with an extra-tall scarf like they do extra-tall shirts.  I really like this scarf!  Thanks, Babe!"

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Harp Forte

A weaving friend introduced me to rigid heddle weaving a couple months ago and I was smitten instantly.  Another craft?  Yeah, I know....and my hubby really knows!  I guess I have come a long way from that woman who learned to knit just so she could knit socks and have a take-along craft she could stuff in her purse.  I held steady with socks for about three years and then I spread my wings and explored other things I could knit with needles.  The rest, they say, is history.

The Schacht Flip that my friend insisted I borrow was a nice loom.  Being a Colorado girl I am a big supporter of the Schacht company based in Boulder.  My Matchless spinning wheel is like a cadillac - I love her I do.  And so I really thought I would end up with a Schacht loom but after doing a bit of research learned I would get more bang for my buck with the Kromski Harp Forte.  Having a Kromski Sonata spinning wheel,  I like how Kromski adds little extras in with their products.  My Sonata has a built in lazy Kate for plying.  The Kromski Harp has a warping board on the back of the loom, something I would have to buy separate if I went with another loom.  And Kromski had just added metal pawls and gears with an earth magnet giving the ability to have a tighter warp - sold!

And so Mr. Claus and Elf #2 went in together and gave me a Kromski Harp Forte for Christmas.

Elf #2 and Mr. Claus were busy relaxing Christmas morning so I decided I would tackle the assembly myself.  I must admit that using an electric screwdriver freaked me out a few times but all-in-all I took things step by step and in a few hours I had a Harp.

Isn't she beautiful?

I hope you had a lovely Christmas filled with all kinds of fiber goodies holding the promise of something wooly in 2016.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Endgame Before 2016?

In January 2015 I began a 4-part installment of the Progressive Needles Knit Along sponsored by Skacel Collection but set it aside after the first installment!  My resolution last year was to grow my knitting skills and KnitPurlHunter’s educational knit alongs often fit the bill.  I love that she has videos demonstrating new techniques.  Endgame is a lovely unisex scarf knit with Kenzie, a tweedy favorite of mine.  I envisioned it being a Valentine scarf for the hubby but alas, other projects stole my heart away from it.  I don’t want 2015 to end without finishing this lovely so out of hibernation it has come.
The scarf began with the invisible beauty of the Tubular Cast On worked in K2, P2.  Have you ever noticed that a long-tail cast on edge leaves a defined line which I feel detracts from the ribbing itself.  I learned this a few years ago when I knit an Aran sweater by designer Carol Fellar.

For an invisible edge in the ribbing, Endgame employs the Tubular Cast On Method.  You can see in my photo that the knit and purl stitches of the ribbing seem to flow to the bottom of the scarf giving it a nice rounded edge…..love it!  The next time I knit a hat I will definitely be using a Tubular Cast On.
Another technique that is really cool in this pattern is that every end in Endgame will be gorgeous.  The edges of the scarf will lie flat with a two stitch I-cord running up the vertical edges. No wonky sides in this scarf!  I am very pleased with the results thus far.

Now the cable fun begins!  You know how much I love cables!  What I especially like about Endgame is that ifeatures magically reversible cables made possible with ribbed stitches.   These cables are knit just like ordinary cables with the exception that they include both knit an purl stitches.  Reversible cables are great because the scarf looks fabulous on both sides.  I’ll show you the backside in my next progress post.
Lastly, I have been stung in a recent lace project not once but twice by not using a lifeline so I will make certain Endgame will be in the ‘safe zone’ by placing a lifeline after every cable repeat.  I find lifelines tedious but I have a feeling I will not regret it — I don’t want one of those ‘extra-long’ cables in my scarf — know what I mean?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

UFO Thursday

Winding down the year 2015, I find myself with no less than twelve unfinished projects tucked into baskets awaiting attention.  With some of these knits I've questioned why they were set aside in the first place but with others I've wondered if it might be time to unravel the project.  Those are the ones that have been around for a few years that I don't have the nerve to unravel.  A list has been publicly displayed for my Ravelry friends and I've sought accountability --- these UFOs will be finished in the upcoming months or frogged!

Last week I finished the Sheep Carousel, a "jolly tea cosy featuring a carousel of Shetland sheep" - another Kate Davies design.  Some of the techniques used in this cosy were stranded color work, steeks, vikkel braids and corrugated ribbing.  It was a great little project and is displayed on my Brown Betty Teapot.

Have you ever heard of a Brown Betty? 

per Wikipedia
    Brown Betty is a type of teapot, round and with a manganese brown glaze known as Rockingham glaze. The original teapots came from a red clay that was discovered in the Stoke-on-Trent area of Britain, in 1695.

    My observation in watching any movie depicted in the United Kingdom is that the common folk used Brown Betty teapots and the higher classes used china teapots.  I don't know if there is any truth to that and would love to hear you weigh in on the matter if you have any insight on this matter.

    I also finished my granddaughter's sweater last week.  I had set it aside when my daughter told me the size outfit she had just bought Z.  This sweater is a size smaller than that and I stopped it mid-course but then pulled it out of the UFO basket and finished it up.

    This is a Sirdar pattern my daughter had picked out when Z was a baby.  It is knit with Sirdar Supersoft Aran so is machine washable.  Z's daddy has a decided prejudice against wool so I selected an acrylic yarn in hopes that this sweater may actually get worn.  Of course, it may be too small.........

    So my plan is to set aside much of the day on Thursdays to work on my pile of knitting projects that have gone by the wayside.  That's the plan!

    UPDATE:  It was a hit!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sewing School - A Simple Pillowcase

The Teach a Friend to Sew series continues this week with the first sewing project, a pillowcase.  A timely project as some of mine seem to have disappeared.  I gathered my notions and made sure they are in my sewing basket and now it's time to make an easy, speedy pillowcase to earn my first sewing merit badge.
I feel like I'm in 4-H Club!

I'm a little picky about sheets and pillowcases as I prefer them to be very soft.  Wanting to use fabric that was already in my stash I picked some lovely Imperial Broadcloth that I had bought a while back to smock a nightgown.  It's soft and I know it will wash nicely.  I also wanted to use some Henderson fabric scraps I had from a leftover project to give the pillowcase a fresh modern look.

I added a little gold flange.

The pillowcase seems a little large for my pillow so the next time I sew one I'm going to measure a standard pillowcase for a better fit.  

Sewing School - The Sewing Basket

Sew Mama Sew is conducting a Teach a Friend to Sew Series right now.  I have decided to participate in it because each week there will be a different topic representing a stepping stone to becoming a better seamstress. Each time you achieve one the goals, you earn a virtual sewing merit badge and gain an entry into a drawing for a fabulous sewing machine or a gift certificate to a fabric shop of your choice! 

The first part of the series involved building an efficient sewing tool kit.  There was an excellent post on what one needed in the kit and it gave me a few new ideas of notions that I must add to my existing sewing basket.  Having sewn for years my sewing basket was already nicely equipped but notions had become scattered throughout my storage area so I found this was a great opportunity to conduct a 'notion round up.'  There is nothing more frustrating than needing to mend something and having no idea where your darning needles are!

Two special items in my sewing basket are some Italian embroidery scissors and a little French mint tin.  The Italian embroidery scissors I almost had confiscated many years ago in an airport.  This was long before 9-11.  I was allowed to run back to the check in counter and the ticket agent walked the scissors down to my checked suitcase and put them inside. The French mint tin I bought at a bus stop in France when we were heading back to the ship from Paris.  It houses the sewing feet for my Viking sewing machine.

Another favorite sewing notion are my golden pair of Gingher Dressmaking Shears.  I love them and these babies cut nothing but fabric.  I want to keep them sharp as long as possible since I live a long way from the closes scissor sharpening man!