Thursday, April 13, 2017


Before I start writing a new post, I like to look at the pictures and try and find a common thread. This time around, what I see is COLORS!

I really liked an advertisement for a very similar bracelet to this, in the colors of the rainbow! But after several recent, frustrating, online buying experiences with other companies, I decided not to chance it and made my own instead.

This year, I heard quite a bit about the "color of the year". This is not it. I chose two colors from my stash that were as close as I could find to the colors on the Pantone webpage, and I dressed Julia in a rayon-chenille, scarf warp. This checked design was what I'd planned on, but the color and weave design is almost lost. 

So, I unwove it and went for a simple, vertical stripe. It's achieved by changing weft picks (pink, beat, green, beat, repeat...).

I haven't been playing with my Suzie, spinning wheel lately. I finished this BFL(blue faced leicester) and silk blend, but can't decide if I want to leave it as is or ply it. So, she and the yarn sit...

...while I go back to knitting socks, again. We say that "socks are knit in the round". What that really means is that they're knit in a spiral. Once around and you find yourself just above your starting point. (Picture a spiral staircase.) That means that striped socks have a "jog" in them. In this picture, it only shows on the right toe and left ankle.  

But I made these socks to practice "jogless stripes"...
...and so I could make silly jokes about "pussyfooting around".

Sometimes (read "often"), I can't figure out what to do with my handspun. This project feels like an "undo"-ing. I had some bits of fiber that were too rough for much other than rugs and not enough for that even. I spun it up, made the yarn into balls, put the balls into an old pair of tights and ran them through the washer and dryer to felt the fiber so that they'd keep their shape.  
Now, I can use them to bounce around in the dryer instead of using fabric softener sheets!

I showed this blanket as finished in my last post, but I don't think it was complete until it was gifted with love to this little doll!

My LYS asked me to knit up the Brahmin Moth Scarf kit by Annie Modesitt before our yarn crawl.

I wasn't a fan of the colors until I saw them in the flowers and poppies in my backyard!

Look who my friend found hiding in the lilacs back there!

The front yard's got color, too. Check out the artichokes and wisteria!

And the Roses!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Getting Lots Done!

Does it ever feel like you're so busy that you can't get anything done? Between work, home, garden and life, that's the way it feels to me. Then, I sit down to compile my pictures to blog. That's when I realize I'm getting lots done!
These napkins were made as practice samples for using my Julia loom and playing with pattern and color.

A certain young lady has been asking, "Mama Karen, when are you going to make me some socks?" for more years than I care to mention. Knitted toe up, from either end of the ball of yarn, makes the colors seem different.

Here's another pair of warm tootsies.

My daughter's been fascinated by dinosaurs since she was little. Now, she has some Dragon Scale Mitts to keep her warm while playing "let's pretend".
On a short visit to Phoenix, we went to see an exhibit at the Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery in Chandler. The Museum displays Contemporary Western American and American Indian art.

I like the way the baskets are displayed...and wish someone would teach me how to weave like this!

So instead, thanks to the video I mentioned back in November, I decided to give weaving my handspun another try. I used it to warp Julia for this scarf. The weft is tencel. I'm happy with the way it turned out.
This shawl, knit with my handspun, Redfish silk and camel, just needs to be blocked before I call it done. The pattern's from Sock-Yarn Shawls by Lucas.
I'm pleased with the way these summer and winter, paper doll blankets came out. The pattern's one I've done before from Handwoven Magazine. At least one of them will be going to another someone who calls me Mama Karen.
I don't know about walking and chewing gum, but I took a walk while I was talking on the phone and knitting. Doesn't everyone?


The kitty, hood pattern I followed has ties that are a cat's paw and a tail.
Thanks, Mama Karen.
Thanks, Mama!

 No, Thank You, Ladies!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I had nothing to do, so...

I had nothing to do, so...
I bought some yarn I didn't need from Anzula's trunk show. The pattern's called a shrug, and hat (from Knitter's magazine, Summer 2009). To me, it seems like a tea cozy for people!

Then, I had nothing to do so I bought some yarn for a shawl. I didn't realize that I'd made this pattern before, from Victorian Lace Today. It's beautiful, but the corners make me crazy.
My classic "nothing to do" project is always socks (cotton this time). And I learned to do a new kind of heel shaping. With this easy heel, I can start knitting at the toe and work my way up (instead of top down). That way, I can keep knitting until there's no yarn left!
The last time I posted, I had just finished spinning up the BFL on the left of this picture. I plied it with the fiber I got from Redfish for that purpose.

And here, it's finished up. Now, what to do with it?
A sweater's always better than a swatch (a small sample) for selling yarn. My LYS needed a sweater to show off some Debbie Bliss, Falkland Aran (that's this yarn), so they gave it to me! And since I still had nothing to do, I gave them my time (one month) and labor and made this sweater. It'll be mine at the end of the season. But now that it's finished, I have nothing to do.! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Since Last We Spoke

I don't think you can quite call it a spinning frenzy, but since last we spoke
I made up a two ply of superwash BFL (blue faced leicester) in blood orange.

And, I spun up this bright, superwash merino/nylon from Wooly Lizard.
It is also two ply.
I've finished spinning up this BFL fiber, again by Sweet Georgia, called Smitten. I tried to make it two ply, as well. Sadly, all the pretty colors disappeared. The not so technical term for that is "muddy".  So, I'm waiting for a pretty something from Elff and Sandy at Redfish to spin up and complement these bright colors.
At the same time, I've been struggling with this summer purchase. I'd never tried spinning flax. Part of what's different is that I have to sit with a bowl of water to keep my fingers damp. It's starting to get easier, but I've given myself permission to give up if it stops being fun. To be announced.

Usually, I'm fairly successful with the basic, technical aspects of weaving and spinning. With untold masses of handspun piling up, I've decided to challenge myself and try to do something with it and at the same time, to learn something more complex. I thought that twill would show off the pretty handspun yarn I'd made. In this picture, at the bottom of the sample, the cloth was too dense. At the top, I tried spreading it out, but it still wasn't right. So, I did some unweaving (I hate wasting yarn) and just made some plain weave (also called, tabby). 
Not bad for a first attempt. The colors are so pretty., but the cloth doesn't hang (it's called the hand) the way I'd like. Hmmm. What to do next time? Maybe my new DVD by Sara Lamb on Spinning to Weave will help. Stay tuned.
On the knitting front, I decided to make up a black something for work that I could throw on instead of a smock. It looks dowdy to me, but it's the black background I needed.

Please forgive the over-bright exposure it was the only way to show the cloth. This pattern (from Vogue Knitting, fall 2015, p.63) is actually knitted up in three rectangles! Fun!
On Sophie, I used a pastel, variegated and a natural colored cotton for the warp and an aqua for the weft of this baby blanket (pattern from Book of 8 Shaft Patterns, p.107. Stashbuster!

Mama's happy!

Ummmm. What?! Really? Really! It's Very Soft and on its way to becoming
my current project, another baby blanket on Sophie. This pattern is from Handwoven, May/June '96. I changed the treadling, so that I wouldn't have to press two or more treadles at the same time. Note to self: next time, stop at the hand (on the girl/boy), instead of going part way up the arm of the next pattern repeat.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Time for a Road Trip

My husband said it was time for a road trip.
So Suzie, my Majacraft, and I finished spinning and plying the wool/silk I'd been playing with.

And I finally blocked the cowl I'd knitted of my handspun (yellow to green) and store bought (charcoal).
Then, I headed to my LYS (local yarn store) for an afghan in the making. I found the pattern on Ravelry. Instead of knitting it in strips, I planned to drop a few edge stitches from the pattern and make it all in one piece.
Gingie (as I've said) is a Pocket Wheel. She was made on a nice, humid island in Washington state. The dry air during that trip we made in the spring to Death Valley was a bit too much of a shock for her and, not a common occurrence, it split her wood. Jon McCoy (Mr. PW) said he'd fix her up and send her back to me. We put her in the car and off we went!
This time around, we pretty much visited all of the volcanoes in the Cascades range from Lassen in California, all the way up to Mt. Baker, just below Canada. This photo was taken at MacArthur-Burney State Park.

At Maryhill Museum in Washington, right on the Columbia River, there was an exhibit of Trade Blankets.

Are you drooling, yet?!

As we drove, Gingie and I finished spinning and then Navajo plying this silk from Anzula. Then, we dropped her off with her personal Geppetto on
Whidbey Island.
This was taken at Picture Lake. We'll have to work on our selfie skills. This looks more like photo bombing.
In Oregon, we followed a sign to an alpaca farm and store.

I'm going to have to quit my day job in order to have enough time to play with all of the wonderful fibers I just couldn't do without!
A road trip plus a month, and I completed the afghan and

gifted it to my daughter and son-in-law.

And I finally finished the sample towels I've been making on my drawloom!

Cotton/linen warp with cotton weft. The patterns are from books, pinterest and my doodles. If you can draw them on a grid, they can be woven. It's been a good summer!