Friday, February 11, 2011

Special orders don't upset us :)

The shop has been busy with special requests for weeks now. Just before Christmas, I received a request for a queen sized green gradation quilt with a due date in early Spring. I love it when I really have some time to work on quilts like this. It gives me time to peruse my favorite fabric stores close by and also my on-line resources for really nice additions to the project.

I'm also working on a custom oven mitt, and a cover for a KitchenAid stand mixer. So cool! I haven't made a mixer cover before, so this is a new project for ought to be pretty fun. It's been fun so far working with the customer.

And now I'd like to share a whole bunch of photos of the quilt. These are mostly detail shots.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mitten Saga

"To be a good knitter, you must be a good ripper." These are the words of my Grandmother and I can hear her saying them still, and she's been gone a long time. She didn't teach me how to knit, but did teach me how to crochet when I was six. I taught myself how to knit with a little book called "Learn How" published in something like 1950 or so. I was so enthralled and enamored of knitting that I quickly became pretty industrious, and really good at it. I rarely had to rip out my knitting and got pretty good at translating complicated patterns so I wouldn't have to.I've been knitting a three color mitten, from the book "Folk Mittens: Techniques and Patterns for Handknitted Mittens" by Marcia Lewandowski. It's a fantastic book, loaded with technical expertise, history, stories, and amazing patterns. If you are into two and three color knitting, it's a great source for wonderful patterns. Here are some photos of said mitten in progress.
It's been a challenge, I've got to say, and mostly because I'm too distracted to follow the pattern strictly enough to avoid serious "ripping". I made the right hand mitten. My tension was way too tight, mitten was small. Ripped out whole thing. Start again.

It helps that the yarn I've chosen is a softer-than-you-can-imagine baby alpaca and bamboo called Qina by Mirasol in Peru. Their project is worth looking at. Anyway, when you are knitting more than six mittens for yourself, you need some soft yarn. I started the right hand mitten again, this time relaxing my tension and the mitten is perfect. Just need to add the peasant thumb and right hand will be done.
Pictured below is the right hand mitten, nearly completed, and the left hand mitten on the three needles in the process of being completed. You can see it in the first photo too. I was NEARLY done with the left hand mitten when I realized that I had placed the thumb opening in the right hand mitten position. After realizing my mistake I examined the thumb placement trying to figure out how to NOT rip out the 40 rows I'd knitted above it. I said to myself, "I am NOT ripping out all this work!!" And after careful consideration, and lots of bitching, I realized it would be a waste to have two right handed mittens. It just wouldn't work. I heard the words again, "To be a good knitter, you must be a good ripper" in my Grandmother's voice, and I ripped out the rows.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I Knew It!!!

snow anyone? My list of remedies

It's all snow all the time. I really don't like snow that much, but have devised ways to try to come to terms with it and not get too depressed about how freaking cold it is in the winter around here. Seriously, it bugs me. I'm the one who likes it to be 80 degrees or more, so when it gets down into the teens and below zero, I kind of get pissy. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else though..born and raised here in Massachusetts and not planning on leaving it. Here are some of the ways, as a snow hater, I've tried to come to terms with my climate.
  • Four Wheel Drive - I've owned 4WD vehicles in the past, and don't really know why I ever bought a two wheel drive vehicle to begin with. I JUST traded in my little car for a 4WD, and what a difference. OK, so now I don't mind driving in it so much.
  • Snow shoeing - THIS is an amazing way to get out and enjoy the cold. You get warmed up hiking around in the woods (I've found if you put on like 26 layers, including ski pants and long underwear, you can actually sweat your ass off) and you get to see lots and lots of animal tracks and evidence of wildlife. This winter I've seen bobcat, fox, squirrel, mice, rabbits and mink trails. The mink trails are the best, they have these little slidey marks where they've scooted down hills on their bellies. So much fun!
  • Cross country skiing - Another fantastic way to heat up a bitter cold day and actually learn to enjoy the snow. There are many many groomed trails you can visit and pay to use, but you can also find lots of free places to ski...just look for snowmobile trails (but watch out for them...they are easy to hear coming so you won't be surprised).
  • Sleeping - here's another way to enjoy the cold. Stay Inside! It's fun to look out at the wintery landscape, and if you can afford it, crank your heat up or put on your electric blanket and get back into bed with that cup of coffee. There's always something to be done, but I'm learning how to relax and enjoy the winter landscape from the warmth of the great indoors.

  • Baking - One of my favorite things to do in the winter. Bake lots of cookies and some pies and you'll be happy happy happy. I just saw a recipe on Smitten Kitchen for Buckeyes...Wow, that's next.
  • Sewing - of course, I LOVE being tucked inside all day with nothing to do but work in the sweatshop. Surrounded by cats, a steaming cup of tea, and a great scene of snow falling outside my window, I can sew all day when it's like this.