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Minnesota, United States

19.4.17

Weaving Wednesday project

I started this top back in November and finished the pieces, but didn't take the time to finish.  I think I had an aversion to cutting until I made the vest recently.  The top came together nicely and I took my time measuring and pinning before cutting and sewing the pieces together.  I used the sewing machine because I wanted neat stitching.  To cut the long piece in two, I measured, hand-sewed a piece of yarn evenly through the middle and then went to the machine to straight stitch and then zigzag stitch the ends, after which I cut through the middle of the yarn separating the piece for the sides.  The fronts were easy to separate because I'd woven waste yarn between the pieces.  The hem tape covered the edges of the top at the neckline.  The piece turned out nicely and looks great.  

Secure and cut!

It's beginning to look like a top.

I like the subtle vertical stripes in the center front and back pieces.  

Adventures in Scotland, the wool and whiskey tour, day 2

Day two I was feeling much better and after a nice breakfast and visit with the proprietors of the  B&B, we set off toward Inverness.  It was a beautiful drive into the Highlands and there were sheep and coos along the way.

Small spring flowers were blooming and during the trip we saw lots of daffodils in bloom.

Watching over the garden at Laurel Villa.


Laurel Villa was a nice place to stay.  The breakfast room is on the right.  

Before the sheep encounter, we met some Highland coos.

There is snow in the Highlands ahead!

This was a good place to stop and observe a large flock of sheep.


The sheep posed nicely for the camera.



What can I say?  That's a good-looking sheep.

On the winding roads, this sign was a good heads up.

Sheep crossing!
The fun of driving ourselves is to make unexpected stops along the journey.  One stop was to see the Falls of Bruar, which is part of the Cairngorms National Park in Highland Perthshire.

Between the raindrops the reflections were interesting, reminding me of Gollum, Frodo, and Sam in the Dead Marshes...don't look!

This place had a magical look.
There's something to be said for planting trees!

It was fun to wander around the rocks, bridge and falls.

I liked the tunnel, also.
The water is the same root beer color as the falls we saw on a hike last summer up north.
The last two photos are what I like to use as color inspiration for future projects. Some of the students I've had over the years find choosing colors difficult.  All one has to do is look around for inspiration.



On the way toward Inverness, we took a break and I visited the Hairy Coo Shop.  The sculpture caught my eye and inside were lots of locally made goods.  I purchased sheep and coo brooches.


We happened upon our first distillery that was open. Dalwhinnie distillery is in a lovely setting and it was a good place to stretch our legs, tour, and taste some whiskey with chocolate truffles.








11.4.17

Sheep in the woods vest

Yesterday was a good day to sew.  I finally decided to cut into the twill fabric and make a vest.  I'd found a pattern on eBay that I'd used in the early '90s.  I still have the bolero I made and thought the pattern was still filed away.  It was a good find and one that will be used over and over.  Rather than cutting out the pieces, I bought some pattern yardage (lightweight interfacing) and drafted the two pieces from view 2 in the S/M size.  Plan A was to add a seam allowance on the back pieces, but I didn't like the thought of seaming the fabric.  I visited my closet of good intentions (thank you, putzycrafter, for that saying) and shopped my small linen stash.  I had lightweight brown (intended for a summer dress) and neutral (intended for another summer dress), but figured I could do better.  Off to Joann, ETC.  Sigh, I found the linen and didn't like the linen/rayon blends.  After a bit more searching, I thought denim or corduroy would be good options.  Most denim now has spandex and the corduroy was too light or too stiff.  Back to the linen section, and since it was on sale, a yard of natural color was the choice.

There be sheep in the woods!
 Home again, I washed the linen and hung it to dry in the basement.  In the meantime, itching to get to work, I went back to the closet of good intentions and pulled out a yard of printed linen purchased some years ago at Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul.  Treadle is a small shop that carries lovely fabrics, patterns, buttons (oh, the buttons!), so much more, and a knowledgeable staff.  Suffice it to say, it's worth the drive from here!  Anyway, when the twill met the printed linen it was a match made in heaven.  Taking the time to think about it and then consulting Mary I knew I had to go ahead and begin the project.

Cutting into the fabric was not easy.  Handweaving gives one a particular appreciation for fabric and because the twill has a diagonal design, I took my time placing lining up the second piece after cutting the first piece since I cut them out one at a time.  Speaking of cutting out the first piece...after pinning the pattern to the fabric I took a deep breath and made the first cut on the side, put down the scissors, took a deep breath, snapped a photo, and then proceeded to finish cutting.  Before sewing, the machine needed a new needle and threading was a bit of a challenge with dark thread and a bit more farsightedness.  Stay-stitching around the handwoven pieces with straight stitches stabilizes the fabric.  Dampening and ironing the prewashed linen smooths out any large wrinkles.  
Cut, breathe, cut, breathe...
The construction of the vest is quite simple--sew shoulder seams on right side pieces and lining, sew lining to the outside pieces leaving the side seams open, clip curves, turn inside out and press.  (Between each step I steam press, keeping the seams tidy.)  The reveal was exciting with only two more seams to sew.  The right sides of the back and front pieces got machine-stitched and then the lining seam allowances are whip-stitched by hand after pressing.  Whoa, I was so excited after giving the finished vest a good pressing and trying it on.  Now I'm excited to plan my next yardage using Harrisville Shetland for the warp and weft in a broken twill for an allover surface design.  

Finished!

I love the curve detail at the center back.

It's worth mentioning that the vest fits better on me than on the dress form.  I am so happy and cannot wait to weave more yardage for sewing projects!


10.4.17

Adventures in Scotland, the wool and whiskey tour, day 1

Jim blogged about our adventures the week we spent in Scotland.  Now that we're home, I have the time and energy to look through the photos and think back on the wonderful time we had through the week.

The first day was a whirlwind, having arrived in Edinburgh early in the morning.  After getting the car, Jim called a friend we met through Scouts and we headed to Dundee.  We met up with Chris and Ben, two Scouts that stayed with us twelve years ago.  It was good to see them and catch up.  They are doing well, and maybe someday the trio (including our Ben) will meet up again.

A lovely red mail box in Glamis.

Walking in the direction of the castle, I found the colors of the stone and moss inspiring for knitting or weaving.
Ben, Clem, and Chris (Chris had a basketball injury).

Oh, I would love to hear the stories this tree could tell...

Even on a rainy day Glamis Castle was a spectacular sight and the surrounding grounds were impressive.
The castle is quite large.  
We drove around and enjoyed the scenery, had a bite to eat, and were able to get out and about between the bouts of rain.  Unfortunately, as the day went on I began to feel ill.  We picked up Clem's Shetland sheepdogs to take them for a walk and I could get some puppy kisses.

Unfortunately I was really feeling poorly by the time we picked up Clem's wife, Diane, I was so dizzy and sick we had to find a doctor.  Fast forward...it turned out to be vertigo brought on by an inner ear rock slide.  The up and down of the three flights (the flight between Chicago and Dublin was very turbulent), driving, and fatigue caught up with me.  Once we got to the first B&B in Perthshire, I was able to lay on the bed and rest.  Between the prescription and Brandt & Daroff exercises, I felt much better by the next morning.  

Despite feeling ill, I loved Clem's little darlings and they were fun to watch darting about the park chasing their ball and each other.  

I call this dog pills.  I think they know just what they need to do to make one feel better.  



7.3.17

Winter Whispers

Winter is not whispering today.  Last night it was 57 degrees F and today with the high winds it feels like 16 degrees F.  One good thing is that I can wear my  new sweater.  I saw a photo of it pop up on Ravelry and it was instantly in love with the cardigan.  Designed by Paulina Popiolek for Loop London, Winter Whispers is the perfect pattern for the light blue (Classic Elite) Skye Tweed yarn I've had in the stash for years.  Even better, it was easy to knit and fits exactly the way I like my sweaters to fit.  Sadly, the yarn was discontinued long ago, but I have three+ skeins left for another project.

Skye Tweed yarn and the perfect pattern

Joining the body and sleeves

Blocking makes everything better
Note how the project looks before blocking.  the fabric appears dense and the stockinette stitch edges are curling.  I didn't get a photo of the cable detail appearing condensed.  I filled the washer's tub with cold water and a bit wool wash, immersed the sweater (after weaving in the ends) and let it soak for about 20 minutes.  The lid of the washer was up so the agitation would not work.  Using the wool wash is great, because you don't have to rinse out any soap.  I set the washer to spin, which removed most of the water, gave the sweater a shake, and then smoothed and pinned the sweater while using the schematic as a guide for the measurements.  It dried overnight and all I needed to add were the buttons.

Cable detail on the yoke

Natural shell buttons are a lovely touch









2.2.17

WIPs and even the kitchen sink

 This was spindle spun with my Icelandic birch spindle I bought on a visit to Thingborg in Iceland. The wool was a birthday gift from Mikey.  I ended up with 5 skeins of white, 4 skeins each of the grays, and 1 skein of the black for a total of 876 yards.
Deb Peterson's "Kitchen Sink" fiber that came off the drum turned into beautiful yarn.  I spun this with the bottom whorl spindle that Rob made.  Deb owns Ewespun Fiber Mill at Old Man Wool Farm.

Progress on Ben's Moose Sweater, sleeves.

The back and one front.  The other front is about one-third finished.

Sample swatch for an upcoming class at Anoka Fiber Works,
Around the World in Knitting--Cables

On the Cricket, the Pontunic front panels.  One of the threads broke and I had to add another piece.  This one is going slowly because I haven't been taking this loom to AFW for Weaving Wednesday.

On Hank are the scarves for Jim and Ben.  The warp is Harrisville Shetland in foliage and the weft is some tweed I picked up in Cashel, Ireland.  I like the broken twill pattern.  Things clicked into place with learning how to read the pattern and understand the tie-up for the treadles.  I have to decide whether to change the weft yarn for the second scarf.