Sunday, September 29, 2013

Works in Progress

I've been busy crafting in between all the travel, cooking, working and enjoying the season. First, a success. I got this awesome slow striping yarn as a graduation gift from my grandmother, it has a tight twist and a nice drape. (It had better, it was $24 a ball!)

I wanted to make the most of each ball so I found a free Ravelry Pattern with a simple lace motif. Of course, the pattern had been charted with some bizarre symbol system, so first I had to use a free web app to make a legible chart.

The finished piece is long enough to wrap twice, and has a nice subtle pattern for interest. I expect I'll use the other ball (which is a blue and purple colorway) in a similar way.
 Next, a little less success. I tried to knit an elf hat based on an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern. It came out quite a bit too small. And odd-looking, and might just get felted down to baby size, or made into a bowl.
 Then I tried to make a baby hat. It's a bit bigger then intended. It's to match this baby sweater that the kid has grown in to. I think mama-baby matchy matchy time might be the solution!
Remember kids, do your gauge swatch! Don't knit blind! And don't assume that measuring on the needles will get you anywhere...

Which leads to the next "Now-I-Know" moment, guidelines. I worked on this embroidery piece for an entire year. And with each new flower I had to redraw the borderlines that had been rubbed off. So naturally, when it came time to add the flower names along the edge, the circle was a bit off center.

I saw this suggested somewhere and decided that late is better than never, before starting the words I ran single thread basting stitch around the piece to make clear circles. No matter the stretching of the hoop, I know where the letters should be to make them straight! I'll be framing this soon and mounting on the wall.

All said, some good crafting has happened in the last month. Someday I may even learn my lesson on the gauge swatch issue...

What have you been making? What have you been screwing up?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Finds - Equinox Color

I always feel like this time of year marks an odd shift. For just a moment, before the earth returns to rich tones and muted colors, everything gets a little brighter. The yellow of early changing leaves shine in that warm light of September afternoons. 
Autumn landscape photography art print -  Yellow fall foliage rustic harvest large print free shipping
Photo by JennDiGuglielmo.
The sun falls directly down the streets as it sets, the equinox lining it up with our neatly planned east-west streets. Is it any wonder that our ancestors loved to arrange things on a celestial grid? 
The bright green of summer fields makes the yellows pop even more, and the last waves of wildflowers dance in the cooler air.
Yellow Fall Flower Brooch Set
Brightly colored Brooch from NormaJeansCloset.
 As it gets colder I get to pull out all the warm fuzzies that have been neglected for most of the summer. And I get started on new pieces for the winter. It's great tea weather, which makes great crafting weather. And the colors outside inspire more warm fuzzies. 
Hand Crocheted Fingerless Gloves Mittens - Fingerless Gloves in Marigold Mustard Yellow Fall Fashion
Mitts by PixieBell.
yellow fall : BFL fingering weight
Yarn dyed by 19 Projects.
And of course with the harvest time, there is plenty to do in the kitchen. The bounty of the season makes for wonderful meals, shared in the last golden light of the day.
Joel Dewberry yellow fall trees/raspberry flowers reversible half apron - women's  - yellow, cream, brown
Fantastic tree apron from WalkervilleTextiles.

As the wheel of the year turns each season has it's own delights. I, for one, relish the bright colors and soft light of September. What is your favorite feature of the Equinox time?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Irish Goodies

 Here's some more highlights from my trip to West Ireland, I'll return to regular blogging soon!

We visited Coole Park, the estate of a wealthy Englishman that was planted with extensive forest and gardens.
 A lovely old Abbey has become cow pasture. These are by far the happiest cows I have ever seen! No wonder Irish beef and dairy are so good.
 After the Abbeys were dissolved or abandoned people began to be buried in the Skyclad (roof-less) churches.
 And ancient tomb uncovered. These were built in a range from 4,000-3,000 BCE, and were originally piled over with dirt and stones. They dot the Irish landscape, but are found across the entire range of Indo-European culture.
 Nestled in the rough rocky coastline was this lovely white sand beach, that on a sunny day had pleasantly warm water. Ireland actually has a considerable amount of surfing spots!
 Horses, ponies, cows, and sheep all pastured together right up against the Flaggy Shores.
 A view of a 3,000 year-old ring fort built on a promontory. I was on the largest of the Aran Isles, and saw two of this neat ancient forts. I also bought an Aran sweater, straight from the woman who knit it!
 Riding bikes along the Burren Coast Road into Galway Bay.
 Small hidden path that led to a ruined church, lined with blackberry bushes, yum!
 The fleece I brought home from Ireland. The breed wasn't specified, but in the area I saw Blackface and Suffolks. Look at that lovely crimp! I washed the fleece, and I'm looking forward to spinning with it for Spinzilla.
I also found some wonderful hand-dyed yarns at the Sheep and Wool Centre. From right to left they are dyed with tormentil root, sorrell root, heather, young gorse and mature gorse.

I'm somewhat inspired to pursue natural dying again, my previous attempts were underwhelming. But if those gorgeous yellows can happen, it's worth the effort!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Green Lands

 I've been in Ireland the last few days, I'll be here for two weeks exploring the Burren country and learning about local plants. Here's some photos of the lovely landscape.

A Burren, or large limestone bluff. The stones are paving the valley, and they've been used to build long low walls and old buildings.

We went to visit an old church with a sacred well. The natural spring site has had a stone well built next to it, people have left tokens for luck and healing tied to a hazel tree. The site is attributed to St. Coleman, an important figure in Irish history. The area also has a wee fairy cave and lots of lovely hazel woods!
 A sacred well near the town of Kinvarra, notice the cloth bits tied to the tree.
 Here's the well at Kinvarra, it hasn't been used for water in some time so it's full of algae and watercress.
 An old house minus the roof. The blocks were neatly quarried and carefully fitted.
 Dunguaire Castle in the bay, it's very small inside, so it was likely used as a lookout for the coast.
Creating bike culture in the Galway region! Lots of the signs dot the roads, but they are narrow and winding. We will be touring on bicycle next week.

It's an enchanting countryside with lush greens and beautiful seascapes! I'll be posting about Ireland for the next few weeks.