Monday, May 24, 2010

Last Day of School

Not for the girls, but for my knitting class students. They were really fabulous and I hope they will all sign up again in the fall. I had soooo much fun! One student has been knitting with me for a couple of years and she's in my class purely out of pity, it just wouldn't make without her support. The other two I actually got to help and that was seriously fun!

Another parent at the girls' school and really great friend took the class this session. She learned to knit before this class, but it had been a while since she'd done it so she didn't remember everything. I think she remembered more than she thought she did but either way, she did great work!!! She started out knitting little purses for her three daughters and ended up rewriting and revamping patterns so that she could get just what she wanted. The gray is part of the candle tree pattern on a purse - see the rope handles on the side? The owl is the beginning of another purse for another daughter. She's got more planned, so expect to see more!

Another lady in the class came in knowing the knit stitch and the purl stitch but not how to cast on or bind off. She went from that to making these lovely dog sweaters with CABLES!! She learned how to increase, decrease and most importantly read patterns. She's absolutey brilliant and these are much more lovely than the iphone photos show! She left working on the cutest shrug for herself with lots of lace patterns in it - I really hope she'll come back in the fall. I gave her my contact info in case she needs help over the summer. I can't teach over the summer because I have to keep running with the girls.

This is the shawl that my friend the experienced knitter is making. She's using my handspun alpaca and she bought me more alpaca to spin because what I gave her isn't going to be enough. Can you imagine anything better? I gift some yarn and get free fiber to replace it and a guarantee that it will be used to make something seriously cool. Can't ask for more than that!
I have to say that this teaching thing is so cool - doesn't pay much but what a blast!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Projects

First and most exciting (maybe) - I finally taught myself how to do split rings. I think this one piece is probably enough rings for me to remember how to do it for a while. This is the first part of a project, but we'll just have to see if it turns out well enough to be picture worthy!

Next, younger child went to three days worth of outdoor education and learned how to make a blueberry bed. Well, actually it's supposed to be a food bed with more than just blueberry plants in it, but we're just planting those. The concept requires a 4' x 4' wooden frame so we repurposed the old sandbox (which hasn't had sand in it for at least 5 or 6 years). She (and her dad and I) cleaned all the plants (weeds) and pine straw off the plot of land. Then we dug out some dirt below the level of the frame. Then she laid newspapers down on the bottom and we put a small amount of dirt down. Then she added a layer of pine straw and the rest of the dirt. She topped it off with a thick layer of pine straw and lots of water. The blueberry plants will be here in a week or so.

Oldest child taught needle felting to some of the kids in art class as part of her senior project. One young lady really took to it in an amazing way. She produced this beautiful fairy - named Estonia - and gifted it to her friend and teacher. I think she has a real talent and so we are going to gift her with enough supplies to get her started on her own.

So, when I went to the hairdresser the other day, we started talking about knitting. She took a knitting class from me last year and brushed up on her skills (she already knew how to knit). She's getting quite good and is making some really pretty lacey shawls now. Anyway, she asked what I ever did with the wool she brought me back from Ireland 5 years ago. I had to admit that I hadn't done a thing with it. She didn't say it, but it really is pretty rude to just let a gift sit for that long without doing a thing with it. So out came the yarn and I measured it to see how much I have - I think it's about 640 yards all told both in the creamy off white and a lovely marled brown. So I decided that it was probably enough for a Shalom Cardigan which has been on my list for a while because it's such a simple thing. If there isn't enough yarn then I'll rip it out and turn it into Elizabeth Zimmermann's Butterfly Vest cuz that's another thing I've always wanted to make.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finally some Tatting!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, there is tatting in the title and there is still tatting happening - wish it happened more often. I also wish I knew someone here in Atlanta that tatted so that I could get them to show me a few of the things I'm not sure how to do, but I don't. D, do you have a camera so we could do a video chat and you could show me? I mean things like split rings, and self closing mock rings and split chains. I really want to make this Tardis Bookmark by Anne Bruvold. Only I don't know how to do split ring, split chain, floating ring, or what the continuous thread method is and I can't read the pattern because of that. I will figure it out somehow, someday but in the meantime, I just keep plugging along trying to get better. Here is today's offering:
These are both from Big Book of Tatting by Darlene Polachic. The first (white & dark green) is the Seed Bead Earing and second, (white with gold beads) is the Jingle Bell Ornament made with beads.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Knitting, Sniffing and Dancing

First the knitting. I was so tired of knitting spiders and didn't want to finish the blue Mr. Greenjeans (still don't) and this book came in the mail . . . and well, I just jumped off of everything else and knit this hat. It only took a couple of days - 3 I think. It would have taken even less if I'd spend less time driving and more time out of the car, but that's my life these days. It was incredibly fun to knit too. It's from Anna Zilboorg's book 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats which is, unfortunately, out of print. There are so many cool hats in there that I'm going to start another one for Miss S and then make her some mittens from Magnificent Mittens and Socks, also by Anna Zilboorg (and a mother's day present to me).

Now, on to sniffing - well, ok not really. This is the first passion flower bloom of the year - and I have to admit that the buds were set in the SubT before the plants came out for the summer. The second is like one of those voodoo bulbs. It's in the same family as those plants that botanical gardens grow that only rarely bloom and the bloom smells like a dead body. This stinks too - really bad. That's why the plant is by the pond and not on the patio. If you click on the pic, you can see flies on the flower. It's yucky to smell, but kinda cool to look at.

And last, but not least, the Dancing. Both girls had fancy dress up dances this week - one had a formal on Thursday (no school on Friday) and the other had her Prom on Friday night. Then she went to an all night party afterward. So here you have them in the finest, looking stunning if I do say so myself! I think they both had fun.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Celebrating Mother's Day

And still studying for Dena . . . hope it helps! Every Mother find your own way to celebrate!

Happy Mother's Day to ALL Mothers!!

First off, Happy Mother's Day to my Mother who has raised 6 children which is an unbelievable feat in and of itself. Hope today is really great for you and sorry your daughter wasn't able to get home in time! Second, Happy Mother's Day to my sister, the daughter who wasn't able to get home in time - I know that you are cured and that this delay was worth it. Lastly, Happy Mother's Day to all the other mothers out there who happen to read this - I hope everyone has as nice a Mother's Day as I've had so far!!

These are my gifts - the planter is from my Dear Husband and he promises that it can be left out overwinter and won't disintigrate. I planted a Lavendar plant in it - hope springs eternal. The sheep is from my youngest and it's soft and cuddly and wonderful but she says I cannot shear it and spin the fleece. The Magnificent Mittens book is from my oldest and as an added gift, she even wants me to knit her mittens out of it. We had a terrific time looking at each and ever page to decide which ones she wanted me to make but we haven't decided, so we'll probably have to look at each and every page again. She wants the mittens in the same colors of yarn that she wants a hat from the 45 Fun & Fanciful Hats book - fun knitting!

This is a bit of a Mother's day present for Mom. See these bushes? They are the lilacs I got from you - the ones that got chopped to the ground and I rescued the root ball and stuck it in a pot. They are very short, mostly because they've been in that pot for a couple of years now. Steve finally planted them in the ground and we split the two halves of the rootball so there are two plants - tho one half could have easily been split again. The little pot is the small plant that had run off to the side of the pot. It's the present. I put it in a pot so I can mail it to you when I send some other plants I have for you.

Then, to make Mother's Day even better - and how could it be better after darling daughter spent an hour looking at a knitting book with me? - same daughter played in the dirt with me! First she and I took a trip to the garden center and bought some soil, a huge pot, and a few plants. Then we repotted the mint plants, her little garden, potted the lavender, got a moon flower and potted it for Steve, etc. This is a picture of the mint (on the stand), the moonflower in the green pot and the lavendar - with her potato garden behind it. If you look in the back, that red rose is what needed the huge pot and an entire bag of potting soil.

This is her planter with an ornamental pepper and some portulaca in it - it's going to be gorgeous.

This is the shepherd's hook I got to hold her upside down tomato planter - we had to put it thru the fence because the planter was SOOOOO heavy. The fence cross bars are holding it up - it's actually just one tall pole that goes into the ground with the hook on top, not a hook attached to the fence.

And this crazy little gooney bird is something she found in the garden center and fell in love with. I liked it too so I bought it for her. Her dad liked it too and wanted her to put it somewhere where he could see it too. We had to glue it's poor little broken leg, but it'll be good as new when the glue dries!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spring and Things

So, the official last day of school for seniors was Friday. Not sure the girl is quite ready for it to be over yet. She's got her senior project to do, but that's not the same as going to school and hanging out with friends every day. And hanging out is mostly what she's been doing the last couple of weeks - she did have some finals and tests but not many. Anyway, the other day she brought this home for me - it's her hanging upside down (should be a string holding her knees) like from a swing. She did the original casting last year but I discovered that the pewter tends to bend and I was afraid my necklace would lose arms or legs so asked the girl to cast another and she said yes, the teacher keeps the casts. Turned out the cast was lost, but she'd given the teacher one casting and since the teacher is retiring, she let girl give it to me.

This is our upside down tomato planter. It's made from a bucket like cat litter comes in. It was one of the Earth day projects the upper learning kids did this year and since I donated a bunch of the buckets, I got one of the empty containers. We planted it today but it's too heavy for my shepherd's crook, so for now it's on a plant stand.

And the tiny tomato plant coming out the bottom. The girl also planted some herbs (chives, apple mint and thyme) and some potato plants.

This is my darling girl - all clean and brushed after her bath. Well, the beard needs some work, but who knew dogs liked Werther's Originals?

Three pics of alpaca from Maple of Northstar Alpacas. The first is some raw fleece she sent the girls for needle felting. Miss S decided that it felts better when washed so she washed it all. It's sitting out on the patio table to dry. It's really soft and lovely. The second pic is a bit of a sample sent with my last order. The picture doesn't do it justice - it's got purple bits and glitter in it and it's just as soft as can be. The last is 12 ounces of a swirled roving. I spun 10 ounces of a similar roving last year (or before) and then gave the resulting yarn to a dear friend. Well, she's knitting with it now and it's just not going to be enough so I told her that I'd love to spin some more. She insisted on paying for the roving and I thought that was lovely - I get to spin it and it doesn't cost me a penny!! She thinks she needs to pay me to spin it, but I really am looking forward to it.

I saw on Ravelry that Knit Picks has self striping sock yarn called "Time Traveler" and it's just about the right colors for the Doctor Who Scarf. So I bought enough to make each girl a pair of socks and then bought some pretty multi colored yarn for his highness (or me).

I also bought this from Knit picks - had to hit that $50 mark so I could get free shipping, didn't I? I got some replacement size 7 harmony needle tips and some stitch markers too. I love this book almost (but not quite) as much as Eclectic Sole. I think it's time to cast on some socks - haven't made any in quite a long time.

And I know I said I was done with spiders but I ended up making six more. These are for gifts - for people completely not associated with the show. Now I REALLY, REALLY am done knitting spiders. Done. Done. Done. Totally Done.

I have to be done because now I'm enchanted with stranded mittens and hats. I've already cast on a test toque from Anna Zilboorg's 45 Fine & Fanciful Hats. When I'm done testing, I'm going to make Miss S some hats to keep her warm at college next year. And she'll need more mittens too, so those will have to come next . . .

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bits . . .

Knit two more little piggies. One is for Miss S and the other for the young lady who played Fern in the musical. I discovered that her Dad bought an awful lot of raffle tickets for the spiders and won nothing. I know he wanted a spider for her, but I thought a pig would be nice too - and I was tired of making nothing but spiders. She got the upper pig and S got the lower pig. They're really cute - might make another one for me.

This is the statue that was unveiled at the school on Saturday. It's the founder sitting on a log with room around him for kids - logs form a circle around the outdoor classroom. The seniors unveiled the statue and the outdoor classroom. It was a very nice day with lots of celebration and lots of showing of talents of the kids from the school - from the first graders on up to the seniors.