What I'm knitting, sewing, cooking, baking...maybe other stuff too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back to the Pincushion Swap

Earlier this month, in a post titled "I've Done It Again" I talked about how I'd joined a pincushion swap, then I went on to talk about my pincushion "plan".
Of course everything changed once I started working--right down to going from papermache to fabric--and the finished pincushion looks nothing like my initial idea, but that's ok because I like it, but most important, my swap partner likes it. In fact, I liked the first pincushion so much that I made a second one for myself. Both pincushions started life as pockets from a chambray shirt, and just sort of grew from there.

I sent the boy pincushion off to live with my swap partner, and I kept the girl here with me. I copied the photos from an old class picture that belonged to my husband's father, probably in the early 1930s. I wish I knew the students' names and what their lives are/were like; I'll just have to imagine I guess.

I had a great time making these pincushions--especially the free-form embroidery--so I think I'll make a few more, maybe put them in my empty little etsy shop, and find out if anyone else likes them too.

Birds Hearts Swap
Birds Hearts Swap2
Birds Hearts Swap3

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dentist and Goodwill

I had an appointment with my dentist this morning; nothing serious, just a friendly little checkup kind of visit.
After I see my dentist I always visit the little Goodwill thrift store down the street from his office, and I always find goodies. Here's what I brought home today for a little more than $10.00.

I plan to make little needlework bags from the embroidered dresser scarves to put on my etsy shop, LolliePatchouli, which has zero items at the moment so there's no point looking just yet, but I'll post a link when I'm open for business, hopefully soon.

I'll add the vintage knitting needles to my growing collection. I want to make bracelets from my colorful plastic needles without mates, but so far I haven't been able to bring myself to melt and bend them. Silly me.
I love the swirly blue fabric I found hiding at the bottom of a pile of hideous mauvey flowered polyester 80's "decorator" fabrics. I think it's from the 60's or 70's, and it's got the feel and drape of a fine wool crepe, but I think it's cotton. I'll burn a few threads to figure out which fiber it is. Either way, it's gorgeous, and I've got two nice wide yards of it to play with.
I cannot resist vintage natural colored crochet cotton, so when I found 15 balls today, I bought all of them. I'm almost--but not quite--embarrassed to admit I've got dozens of similar balls of old crochet cotton. Even if I never knit lace from them, they look beautiful heaped in a big basket or wooden bowl, a great temptation for our cats, Bunky and Sookie. Bunky seems to have a special interest in today's score.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pies and Memories

My husband's grandfather planted an orchard sometime around 1910, that's still suppling apples to our community. When my husband was born, his grandfather planted a McIntosh tree in the backyard of his daughter and son-in-law, and their new baby son. That beautiful tree is still producing McIntosh apples, but sadly, we couldn't move it with us when the family home was sold several years ago.A few days ago, my husband visited the orchard his grandfather planted 100 years ago, gave the present owner a sepia photo of his grandfather standing proudly in front of rows and rows of little apple trees in his newly planted orchard all those years ago. Of all those trees, today, only two remain, the others were replaced as they aged and died. As a thank you for the photo, the orchard man offered my husband a basket of McIntosh apples. Yesterday I peeled and sliced apples, added sugar--both white and brown--cinnamon, nutmeg, a little flour and dabs of butter, heaped the mixture into a pastry crust, and baked a pie for my husband. The apples aren't from his own tree, but they're from the orchard his grandfather started, so I like to think there's still a family connection.

Last week my mother sent me two small wooden fruit crates--neatly lined with fresh newspaper--filled with golden pears from a tree on the farm where she and I grew up.Pears ripen quickly and rot even more quickly, so I had to use them while they were good. Half the pears, I sliced thin and dried in my dehydrator. No saving them for winter like our ancestors would have done, we gobbled up those precious little bits in a couple of days; drying fruit does some kind of magic that concentrates the sweetness of fruit, turning it into leathery candy, impossible to resist.
The other half I peeled and cut into small chunks, added them to a mixture of sour cream, egg, sugar and vanilla, then baked it all in a pie shell, to make my favorite pie. There's something about the smooth, cheesecake-y texture and flavor of the sour cream combined with the grainy sweetness of ripe, juicy pear--oh!, and I almost forgot to mention the crunchy, buttery, crumbly topping--all baked together in a flaky crust, that just has it all as far as I'm concerned. Lucky for me, I'm the only one in the house who feels this way, so once a year, when I've got ripe pears from home, I feast on Pear Pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner, until it's gone...till next year.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I've done it again.

I'm not sure why, but every now and then I find a swap of some sort that I just can't resist joining. I think it's a "feel good" thing, a need to "share", that makes swaps so attractive to me. And then there's the sweet suspense of opening my mailbox to see if my swap partner's package for me has arrived. I mean, who doesn't like getting a surprise package?
In spite of all the "feel-good" stuff, I've sworn off doing swaps after every swap I've swapped in. Swaps wear me out...well, with one exception; a lace scarf I just finished for someone in Ireland. Maybe I should stick to knitting swaps.
For some people, doing the swap thing is quick, easy...fun even. For me, it starts out that way and I tell myself, 'THIS time, I'll keep it light, I'll have fun', but it doesn't take long for me to take a "fun" thing and turn it into a major deal, the meaning of life; it's just the way I am. I get an idea. I spend way too much time finding just the right materials. I start. I stop. I change my mind. I get another idea, trash the old idea and start a new one with different materials...all the while, the mess involved grows and my other projects get neglected, and instead of being the "fun", "easy" project I'd hoped for, I've created a "problem" to be solved...then the "deadline" kicks in, and what was supposed to be a joy has become a chore, and I've got no one to blame but myself, and that's when I swear off swapping 'forever'. But I forget.
So I've done it again. After more than a year swap-free, I've done it again, I've joined a swap. This time it's a pincushion...but it can't be just any pincushion, oh no, it's got to be something 'different', something 'special', something that will make it 'memorable' for the recipient...at least I hope it's memorable, and in a good way.
So that's it, I've joined a pincushion swap and my pincushion is going to look a little like the papermache figure in the photo, but with a pincushion for its body instead of paper and glue. At least that's the plan...so far.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

So far, so good...well, sort of.

I got a late start last night, but I cast on for my "Cardi Wrap", even swatched like I was supposed to. Since the Cascade 220 is so soft and squishy, I feared it might have a tendency to split, but it's lovely to work with.
The ribbing rows went fine, then I moved on to the "Partial bind off row", and discovered I'm not as smart as I thought. When I came to "BO next 2 sts", I knit 2 sts, then passed the rt st over the left. When I got to the end of the row and my st count was off, I knew I had a problem. I'm probably the only person in the world who didn't know this, but "BO next 2 sts", meant knit one, not two, sts, then pass the second st already on the rt needle over the newly knit st, then knit the next st and bind it off. Hope that makes sense.
If it hadn't been so late when I got to the ribbing part, and I'd had a cable needle handy, I would have added a few more rows, but at least I got started...and added something new to my knitting info.

Friday, September 5, 2008

New Beginnings

I've decided my new blog deserves a new knitting project--any excuse to buy yarn and knit--and since I'm seeing hints of Fall here in W Pa, I thought I'd knit something to keep me warm on the chilly evenings that will be here sooner than I'd like.
I thought about knitting a big, loose sweater that I could wrap around myself, then I thought about a shawl, then I remembered I'd seen a shawl with sleeves somewhere and like the idea of blending a shawl and a sweater, so I went looking and found a pattern called "Cardi Wraps", from Stitch Diva Studios. The pattern has two versions: a hairpin lace version, and the knitted version I'll use.
I picked this particular pattern because it's got dropped stitch rows, like a Clapotis, which gives it a little openness and should make it drape well, and great sleeves that bell at the bottom.
I even bought autumn leaf colored yarn for my fall knitting project; Cascade 220 "The Heathers", in a color called Provence (#2425). It's somewhere between tomato soup and brick, with fine strands of mustard running through it. Really rich and pretty I think.

I just peeled some apples and put them on to cook for applesauce. Maybe after we've had dinner, I'll get started on my Cardi Wrap.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First post.

I've gone back and forth for a long time about starting a blog, and I've decided to give it a try. I'm not sure how this little adventure will go, but I know how much I enjoy other people's blogs. I hope a few people out there will visit and enjoy my blog too.