Uncategorized

Forth to the Fourth on the Fourth

Perched high on the Bebbanburg ridge, we are and were the unwitting witnesses of several sources of fireworks, starting on Saturday.  We can only imagine what tonight will bring.  One of the Saturday displays went on for at least 45 minutes!  Hopefully this means that we will never again be compelled to fight crowds of people in order to take in the light shows of Independence Day.

Once I knew that Twisp of Fate Katie was also knitting the Windfeather, I was inspired and encouraged to rip out the undersized stripe and begin it anew.  All has gone well since then and I am now onto my fourth big stripe. I am knitting the largest size and expect I may live in it come winter.

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If you think the piece seems slanted, that’s good– because it is supposed to be on the bias.  I really like knitting this; I’ve memorized the lace pattern now and I can knit fairly mindlessly except for watching the change of needle sizes.  Lesson Learned!

I’m looking forward to the arrival of a great friend and knitting pal tomorrow,  and another one joining us on Friday.  Hopefully I will remember to take photos of the places we go and the yarn we resist– or not.

Meanwhile, I’m gearing up to add a cross-stitch project to the works in progress.  I hadn’t realized cross-stitch has “come back”, but when I started searching for projects thinking it would be fun to return to it (I was an avid cross-stitcher in the 80’s), it became obvious.

I’ve selected my project, ordered some fabric and after my guests have said goodbye I will embark upon it.  You’ll see.

Uncategorized

Non impedimente ratione cogitationis

You may have noticed my fancy Latin motto in the header of this blog.  Today it is quite relevant.  (It was used by Car Talk and I thought I would borrow it for myself):  Non impedimenti ratione cogitationis:  Not impeded by rational thought.

It’s pretty funny to me that the famous Meyers-Briggs temperament analysis always has me as a Rational (INTJ).  And for the most part, I am.  But too often I get caught up in other thoughts and forget to think about what I’m actually doing.

Take this for example.

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It’s my start on the lovely Carol Sunday design, Windfeather, in the Taos colorway.  I love the frequent color changes and the way they all flow together like facets of the ripples on a pond, reflecting something different in each wave.

This is achieved, this lace alternating with garter, by changing needles each time the color changes– size 4 for the garter, size 6 for the lace.  I finished the fourth color last night with an immense sense of self-satisfaction and eagerness to start knitting with the next color.  It has occurred to me that anticipating knitting with a color named Moth might have been frowned upon by the wool god Lanae Tuus, who determined to impress upon me his great displeasure, for I went to pick up my smaller needle and realized I had knit the entire Delft section with the wrong needle. It’s pretty obvious in the photo.  Non impediment ratione cogitationis.

Luckily, the Bebbanburg gansey has progressed a bit further, and if there are no known kerfluffles with it right now, it is because it began its life because of a kerfluffle.

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A couple of years ago I decided I simply must knit the At Sea Gansey with this Claret Frangipani.  I knit both front and back welts, overlapped and joined them and was knitting the plain portion.  About 4 rounds into it I realized I had twisted the welts and I was now knitting an unofficial moebius.  Non impedimente ratione cogitationis.

I calmly put the beginnings, such as they were, into a plastic bag and stowed it where the sun doesn’t shine. (In my knitting armoire of course).  This time around, though I’ve made up my own pattern, I was extremely careful not to twist the welts.

It remains to be seen whether I stow the Windfeather stole until the pain of remembrance has gone away or whether the feather in disgrace will be ripped out and reknit immediately.  We shall see.

Bebbanburg Gansey · Knitting

The Bebbanburg Gansey

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Every time I see a new post from Gansey Nation appear in my email I know that it is Monday. This is important since I no longer work at a job, as otherwise I might continue to think every day is Tuesday.  It is very nice to know that I can count on a bit of kibble to feed my fascination with fine fisherman sweaters every Monday morning.

Besides that, it is always inspiring to see how Gordon steadfastly produces one glorious gansey after another, as though he is lounging on a very long, comfortable conveyor belt, taking photos of his surroundings as he passes them by; every few weeks returning to his point of origin and trading a finished gansey for empty needles and a new color of yarn for the next production. He has done this for many years.

I finally took it upon myself to emulate the master and begin a gansey of my own, using traditional motifs but not any published pattern or photo. Instead, I perused Gansey Nation, Beth Brown-Reinsel’s Knitting Ganseys, Michael Pearson’s Traditional HandKnitting, and various other books containing information about traditional ganseys.

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I decided to use the Claret color of Frangipani 5-ply gansey yarn that I have had in my stash for a while, because I have at least 13 balls of it and wanted to be sure I didn’t run out of yarn.

I did swatch, but my swatch was among those of the untrustworthy kind, telling me 8.5 stitches per inch (on a 2.25 mm needle) was what I should use for planning. Instead I am getting 9 stitches per inch, but I think it will be ok.

I started with a Channel Island cast-on and a garter stitch welt of about an inch. I then increased by about 5% of my stitches (since garter spreads out more than ribbing), knit a plain area with my initials and then a ridge. After that I started the lower body pattern. It consists of two motifs, one a chain of moss-stitch diamonds (Bebbanburg is a diamond in the rough) and wide V-shaps with dots that remind me of two things: the jets that brought us here the first time we visited the area, and all the mosquitoes that hurl themselves toward me in relentless attempts to desanguinate me while I twitch with the itch in a fair imitation of the Saint Vitus Dance.

(The welt wants to flip up all the time, making it particularly difficult to get photos.  Hopefully this will be resolved in the future with a good blocking and steam pressing.)

These two motifs are separated all around by a 1/1 cable crossing every other row, flanked by two purl stitches. These cables also constitute the side seam and will eventually divide and continue around the outside of the gusset.

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As does Gordon, I will wait to reveal the plan for the rest of the gansey closer to the time of its beginning.  He will remind me by publishing a post of his own!

Quilting

What I did with the Forgotten Project

Maybe when I started the double wedding ring quilt that I subsequently forgot about I was a fresh new bride of 48 and eager to commemorate my union.  Eight years later, that is still an admirable goal, for I am quite happy with said union.

However, I am currently celebrating our retirement and move to Bebbanburg, and that calls for a different commemoration (said I to myself).  So I put the perplexing double wedding ring project aside for the moment or for another eight years, and began to design a different quilt, also English paper-pieced.  I call it the Bebbanburg Homecoming quilt.

It made sense to me that this should be done in the colors of Bebbanburg which have been slowly thought out over the last year.  Here is my palette of Sherwin-Williams colors used in the house that I used as inspiration for the quilt.

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From left to right, these are Colonnade Gray, Watery, Garret Gray, Constant Coral, Blue Nile, North Star and Alabaster.

I have to say it is a lot more fun to design something when you don’t have the specter of having to go to work the next day hovering around you.  I designed and redesigned to my heart’s content.

The Homecoming quilt is a hexagon quilt, all hexagons are one inch.  Here is the first section that I have now sewn together.

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Although I tried hard to pull fabrics from stash, I also took the opportunity to discover the local quilting shop in Hendersonville called Beginnings. I was somewhat disappointed that they like to focus more on pre-cut packs like layer cakes, jelly rolls and charm packs and and so their stock of bolt fabrics was smaller than what I had been accustomed to in Seattle, though still reasonably robust.

After I had been in the shop for about 5 minutes and had one bolt in my hands, the clerk asked if he could ring me up. “No way!” I told him. I was just beginning.

An hour and a half later I had finally settled on most of the fabrics, though I still need some more subtle corals.  I hear there is a quilt shop near Asheville that has 9000 fabrics in stock.  Be still my heart.   Since this photo was taken I decided to eliminate the green.

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Here is a rough idea of my plan, but ignore the diamonds that are not consistent with the rest of them– I was playing around with ideas but decided that simpler was better.  Also, ignore the borders and pretend that the fabrics match the ones I bought.  Got it?!

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Next post I will show you my start on the gansey I have designed for myself!

Forgotten Projects · Quilting

Forgotten Projects

Let’s say I was in my sewing room a couple of days ago, shaking my head forlornly at all the boxes to be unpacked but having nowhere to put things yet due to there being 30% fewer finished walls than there should be and no flooring yet.

Suppose that I chose a box that contained the label “sewing and needlepoint stuff” and, thinking that I might sort it out, opened it up to find this:

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This, dear reader, is what you call a Forgotten Project.  It wasn’t abandoned– I really like it!  It’s just one of those things that had to be put away about 5 years ago and slowly settled into the mists of forgottenness.

This is the makings of a double wedding-ring quilt, using the English paper piecing method.  I had very carefully chosen coordinating fabrics and bagged each color set up individually.  I quite conscientiously kept everything together, even the paper pieces and the instructions that came with them.

The problem is, I have no idea what my plan was!

For there was a plan.  I love to plan things like quilts, to play around with colors and values until I am satisfied.  Now I look at these pieces that are put together and the following observations come to mind:

  1. Well, this is not right!  First of all, this fabric combination doesn’t have a bag, and furthermore one does not attach ring sections in this manner if one is doing each ring differently (or a set of rings differently) which, obviously, I am.  I am going to assume this was for a different idea and does not belong with this quilt.IMG_1066
  2. Whoa, this section was pieced upside down.  All sections should curve counter-clockwise, ending with the connector diamond.IMG_1065
  3. This pattern I scribbled numbers on– it looks like I had identified each color set with a number (there are six sets) but I only filled in 1-3 and not even all of those.  Yet I did not label each bag with its number.  That was foolish.IMG_1055
  4. I wonder what size it is supposed to be.
  5. I wonder if I got the fabric to applique the rings onto.
  6. I wonder if I got backing fabric.
  7. I wonder if I designed a border.
  8. I probably created a plan on my PC, which is not hooked up yet, and even if it was, I have no idea where to find the file, and whether it is an Electric Quilt file or not, but I haven’t upgraded my EQ for ages and the last time I tried to use it it wanted me to give it the serial number that was ON THE PACKAGE!  In other words, I bought it in the Stone Age when dinosaurs packed up things called CDs and you stuck them into an opening in your computer to install software.  I am not making this up!

After worrying about this for a day and a half, I decided to try to solve the puzzle by thinking about how I might have thought about it lo these many years ago.

I always create some kind of formula, so what was that formula for this quilt?  I asked Loki to help me brainstorm, but he was already exhausted from all my questioning.

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Were the connecting diamonds supposed to be all dark, or all light, or alternately all dark and all light?  No, wouldn’t work.  The shades aren’t distinct enough in the right numbers.

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Was I attempting to go through a sequence of colors?  Maybe.  I could lay this out, but couldn’t get it to make sense in an assembly plan.

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Was I trying to alternate rings with lighter and darker colors?  Probably.  The best thing I can come up with right now is this, which is sort of like a portrait artist sketching a freckle and asking you to recognize the person.

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Hopefully I have figured out enough to continue.  One thing seems to be obvious– the colors in each section mostly progress from one hue to another and then back.  At least that makes sense!

Do you have forgotten projects in your house?  Tell me about them!

General · Pets

The Great Wool Migration

nb:  It’s difficult sometimes to know what to talk about here and what to talk about on the Chronicles of Bebbanburg, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the chronicles should talk about the house renovations and other stuff, except for weaving, goes here.   That way folks who have no interest in fiber arts won’t be bored to tears.

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It’s raining cats and dogs today,  after gloriously dramatic thunderstorms during the night.  We slept in and enjoyed a lazy morning.

Brian, ever the responsible homeowner, went out in the pouring rain to check and clean gutters, taking Beowulf with him.  Beo had a great time, but got a bit wet.  Here he is after he was toweled off!

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But last night he was tired from all the excitement of exploring his new home, and Katie let him use her as his pillow.

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Meanwhile, Stonewall has settled in and seems very happy with the new digs. Before we left Seattle, we had taken all the pets to the vet. She was concerned that Stonewall was too thin. But here in NC, he is eating more, drinking more and being nicer to everyone. So even though I was in the middle of winding a skein of yarn on a nostepinne (my ball winders have not yet made their ways here), I was happy to let him settle in my lap and take a nap.

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Loki, who needs to lose weight, settled in to a cat bed with the end of a curtain and sleeps to the lullaby of the falling rain.

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Meanwhile, I put on my tennis shoes and had an aerobic workout. I’m glad we sold the Stairmaster– who needs it when you have two long staircases to go up and down?

When we were here in March, we took delivery of the first pod that we had packed. We had used lots of bags of fiber as filler around items. We had friends visiting us, who helped to unload the pod, and so rather than figuring out where it all went, we put it all into the master bedroom walk-in closet. I then put in a couple of moth repellant capsules, shut the door and wedged towels underneath it to block the odor and prevent moths from having a party. But now I need to put them in their proper places.

These photos were taken after I had already removed quite a few bags.

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My workout consisted of taking these bags and boxes (not all of them– I probably have another 3 workouts in that closet!) up or down stairs. Upstairs in one guest bedroom I’m putting spinning fibers, and in the other guest room, knitting and needlepoint yarns. Downstairs goes sewing, quilting and weaving yarns and fabrics.

I kept track of my heart rate on my new Apple Watch (got it for Mothers Day) and kept my heart rate up for about an hour, with a couple of rest breaks. Beo insisted on running up and down with me, so I had to stop, right? I didn’t want to give him a heart attack!

There is still much to reposition, but as we unload our second pod, it becomes necessary to have the master closet back for such fripperies as “clothes” and “shoes”.

Uncategorized

Retired!

I know you thought this blog was long abandoned. Indeed it has been on my mind a lot, but time is an endangered resource and I was forced to spend it on other things.

Yesterday I officially finished the rat race. It was of course bittersweet to leave my friends. It felt more like I was graduating, and they were not. I still plan to devote time to writing software applications, but now they will be what I want to write and not what my employer wants me to write.

What’s next? We are moving! Yes, we are moving 2700 miles away to the Blue Ridge mountains in western North Carolina. Why there? Lots of reasons. We adopted a home between Hendersonville and Brevard last July and we call it Bebbanburg. Here is a little taste of the reason why:

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I plan to update this blog more frequently but the story of our move and new home has its own place: The Chronicles of Bebbanburg. Please follow our story there!

What else is new? I took the Olds College Master Weaver Level One class in Yadkinville, NC the last week in April. (Sadly, Yadkinville is 2.5 hours from Bebbanburg, but still much closer to it than Seattle). Once I get moved and have an appropriate loom set up and ready to go, my progress in the course, along with my weaving adventures, will be documented on another blog, Thrumbelina.

Everything else– knitting, life in general, spinning, pets, etc. will remain here.

Let the future begin!