Monday, September 15, 2014

a mini vacation

I was lucky enough to go to Cape Cod for the long Labor Day weekend to celebrate my birthday. As always, it was very relaxing. It was especially nice because my son cooked the birthday dinner - a wonderful barbecue.

Here is a picture of the dunes at Sandwich, one of my favorite places:
Global warming is changing this beach. Much of the dunes have eroded away. It used to be that the marsh would only flood at exceptionally high tides. Now it is a regular occurrence. When we hiked in Brewster, we came across beach plums:
Aren't they beautiful? They taste just like big plums, but they are the size of cherries. They range in color from light pink to dark purple, all on the same plant.

And, just so you don't think I am ignoring my crafts, I bought a niddy-noddy in an antique store. Here it is with some alpaca/silk blend that I spun while we were there:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Some knitting projects

In between everything else this spring and summer, I have been knitting. I started with a simple shawl. It's just an over-sized rib pattern with a couple of stripes to add interest.

It kept me very warm on cold nights at War of the Roses and Pennsic this year.

Then I did a bit of sock knitting. I started with a pair for my husband. I liked the slip stitch pattern so much, I made another pair for me, then adapted the pattern for a hat, to use up the leftover yarn.
I can't wait for it to be cold enough to wear them.

I also knit a small shawl - more like a scarf. I'm waiting for fall weather to try it out.

Finally, I knit a swing coat. The row after row of stockinette was boring, so I am glad to be done (that was part of the reason for the rest of these projects - to give me something interesting to knit). I haven't blocked it yet, but I'm happy with how it turned out. The pattern called for a striped yarn, but I preferred a solid color, with just a bit of accent.

So, there you are. I have another pair of socks, and a summer sweater on the needles now. My plan is to finish the socks by Christmas and the sweater by spring. I've finally learned to knit my sweaters out of season so I can actually be finished when it is time top wear them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

the nalbound hat

I promised in my last post to show you the hat I made. It was made for Kenric when he joined the Order of the Laurel. Here is a picture of the hat:

It is done in the York stitch. I wanted to make "leaves," so I attempted making spots, as can be found in some mitten artifacts. It's rather abstract, but I like it.

Here is Kenric with the hat:

Yea! It fit!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recent Nalbinding Projects

I've been doing a lot of nalbinding lately. I love how easy it is to carry around during these busy summer months. I made a hat for a friend. You will have to wait until after Pennsic to see a picture of it, but I am pleased with how it turned out. My other favorite project is a pair of gloves. Nalbound gloves are very late period - 13th and 14th century to the best of my knowledge. Here is my pair:

They are made using the Danish stitch. I chose it because it is very fine - not at all bulky. Best of all, they fit my hands better than any commercial pair I own. I am definitely going to make another pair - using a silk and merino blend I spun.

I am also making a pair of mittens - with bulky commercial yarn, because I fell in love with the color:

These are made using the Alsike stitch. I like that this stitch looks different on the two sides. I have turned the finished mitten "inside-out." On that side the ribs are more pronounced, and the space between the ribs looks almost woven. It is not a difficult stitch to do, and I love the texture of it.

I've also been working on a few knitting projects, but I'll leave that for another post.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where do the days go?

I've been very busy since my last post. I'm happy to say, my nalbinding salon at War of the Roses was a success. Nine people came. Most had never stitched before, so I spent most of the afternoon teaching the Oslo stitch. The experienced nalbinders lent a hand, and everyone had an enjoyable time.

I entered the striped socks in the Concordia A&S competition, which required you to write a story about your piece. I wrote a letter from the spinner/knitter to her lover across the ocean to whom she was sending the socks. There were many good entries in the competition. Writing a story is much harder for me than spinning or knitting, so I was surprised to find that I was chosen as Baronial A&S Champion. Now I'll have to figure out a challenge for next year!

I'm still working on perfecting my spinning research paper to ready it for possible publication. The editors are so helpful. I'll be happy when everyone agrees that it is the best it can be. I've been enjoying the process, but I don't think I would want to be a professional writer. It's hard work!

When I am not writing or teaching, I've been prepping for my nalbinding class. I will teach the same thing at Northern Region War Camp, and at Pennsic - Options for Heels and Thumbs. I'm hoping to have enough starting rings so that students can jump right into the options, without having to start with the boring stuff.

I'll be teaching drop spinning at NRWC, too. I hope you'll consider stopping by if you are at either event this summer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

War of the Roses

Memorial Day weekend will soon be upon us. With MUCH better weather predicted than last year! This is the biggest event that Concordia puts on each year. No matter what you like to do, you will find it there, including many Arts and Sciences classes, for both adults and families. Saturday morning will start with an artisans' breakfast where we can all get together and chat (thank you, Deonna). That's a new thing this year and I think it sounds like a lot of fun. Keeping in the informal vein, I will be holding a nalbinding salon that afternoon. Please stop by if you are at the event. It's meant to allow people to come and go as they please; you could come for 10 minutes or 2 hours, depending on your interests. You don't even need to bring anything.  I'm hoping it will allow a more on-to-one approach to teaching stitches than the typical class setting does. I'm bringing my sample book and I'll teach any stitch I know. I'll also offer what ever help I can to people who have questions about projects they are working on. I've made lots of mistakes as I've experimented with this, my favorite technique, and I'm willing to pass on anything I've learned from them. So whether you have never held a needle before, or are looking to expand your stitch repertoire, stop by the barn. We'll have fun.

Monday, May 5, 2014

a happy accident

I'm preparing samples for a nalbinding class I will be teaching this summer on options for making heels and thumbs. I was not paying enough attention while I was making a sample of the heel style where you make a "tongue" along the bottom of the heel and then keep nalbinding around in a circle. My samples are not complete socks - I'm just making short tubes to represent the foot of the sock. So, since I wasn't paying attention, I forgot to decrease when I came around the tongue, in order to keep it flat with the bottom of the foot. Instead, it made a sharp angle with the tube. Instead of ripping out the stitches, I turned it over and continued with the tongue on the top of the foot.

When I got to the bottom of the foot, I decreased severely to make it lay flat, and spiraled around until the space was filled in. I have never seen a nalbinding sock made this way. It reminds me of Native American shoes. This one would make a good baby bootie. I think I may try making a full size pair of socks this way.