Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brioche fun ...

The solid color brioche scarf est fini! I'm really keen on the alteration I made to turn it into a fisherman's scarf, looks dapper to me! :)

Now running a few samples in 2-color brioche to see what's next.

Brioche is fun; a tad more to keep track of than ordinary knitting but not so much to make it unpleasant. Remembering the selvedge stitches is something I need to remind myself of, and counting rows is a little different because 1 row is really a back & forth: what we would normally think of as 2 rows. The selvedge stitches are something I'll have to learn by rote for the 2-color brioche, don't see any other way around it right now. Maybe after I've knit up several inches it will make more sense and I won't have to fret over them.

The finished scarf.

The scarf laid out to dry in all it's mustachio glory.

The 2 2-color samples.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow! ...

Yes, indeed. It snowed all day yesterday starting before dawn sometime, and continuing non-stop till about mid afternoon today. Another squall arrived late afternoon, but this evening the moon is out and the earth is so very beautiful covered by the fleece-white winter blanket.

The car is dressed up in it's coat of winter, the drive impassable; squirrels have dared venture to the stoop in search of nourishment (which I most happily provide) as have the blue jays. The evergreen trees are donning their best winter fashions and they look splendid: Droopy, but in a most flattering way. Picture card perfect. Strike a pose. The stove is well stoked these past few days and the cold/warm contrast is really very cosy.

None of this bother me much this year. I'm not anxious for it to disappear, because I know it will. It always has, and this year will be no different. Come June, this glory of cool temperatures and precipitation will be a memory, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts. After all, spring is only a few months away.

I snapped this pic of the drive last evening just as the sun was pulling the covers for it's nightly slumber--about half way through the storm. Today, the car is barely visible at all!

Super! ...

Wow! Just lovely! A wonderful video on this BBC page: Weaving modern cloth with Victorian Looms

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The puff sampler ...

Hee hee. I was just remembering when we were children, my siblings and I, we didn't call them "quilts" nor "comforters". During all our growing up years these bed clothes were known as "puffs". The memory brings a smile.

I like the word "puff" and think I'll start using it instead of "quilt."

So here now presenting my sampler puff. I finished the handstitching during this evening's Olympics coverage. I like handstitching, and first discovered this when hemming cloth on the loom. It's quiet, slow--yet steady work. I hand stitched the binding on the back side using ladder stitch. What a clever little stitch! Totally invisible. Shown in second picture.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter ...

It's been snowing beautiful all day: Big, white, magical flakes. Viewed from my office window on the second floor, the forest regales with a fairy tale bliss.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Brioche, The Quilts, and The Weather ...

It felt exceedingly raw outside today. In fact the temps were not terribly low, but a penetrating chill kept threatening to get through my jacket. Thank heavens for wool sweaters. I love wool. I love where it comes from, how it's processed, it's properties, it's hand. Most of all, it keeps me warm.

Temps rose out of the single digits these past fews days but it appears we have more snow on the way. Frankly, I'm looking forward to it! Always so beautiful when it snows, and after.

I can't believe we're already through 3 months of winter. Seems like I was just lighting the stove for the first time (in 35 years!) just a short while ago. I've rather gotten into the swing of it now; getting it lit and maintaining the fire. The two cords of wood I purchased has held up well. I believe there's enough left to last me well into March. I might just squeak by without having to buy any more for this winter. Savings are due to the fact that I don't light the stove in the morning if I know I'm going to be going out before mid-afternoon. It's hard to justify getting the house all warmed up just to leave it, so on those days I may push the oil thermostat up to 58 (or if I'm feeling the need for a little extra coddling, 60ish), but then I'll turn it back down. I've gone through a little more than half a tank of oil since June. It would really be lovely if the tank would last until this June, but I suspect not. Though I'm loathe to count my chickens before they hatch, I'd say not bad for my first NE winter stoking my own fires, etc., etc. (Knock on wood, so to speak.)

The Brioche scarf is going to do it's part in keeping me warm once it's finished. Progressing at a good pace: The stitch knits up quickly. I made a design decision last week to modify the pattern and style it into a fisherman's scarf. I very much like how comfortable fisherman scarves drape around the neck. If I do say so myself, I think the alteration works pretty well:

At long last, I pulled out the sampler quilt and finished it's borders. (The white edge in the picture is not part of the borders, it's excess padding sticking out.) It now has it's backing and padding quilted into place. This is my first real quilting and I used the pedal sewing machine to execute it. Worked a charm. The quilting is plain and simple--the quilt will either hang on the wall or be used as a table topper. Quilting this piece has boosted my confidence that I may be able to handle something larger and perhaps a bit more intricate. We'll see.

The bird quilt top is--was--done. It is done as far as the specs are concerned, but I've decided to add another column so as to make it a really functional quilt, so it's not really done. But close. The old Singer is getting a good work out!