Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Blue Variant: On the Needles Now

In color theory, value is the term for the lightness or darkness of a color.  Consider a black and white photo of a Dr. Who scarf.  From that photo you could make a chart giving numbers from 1 to 7, lightest to darkest, then make a monochromatic scarf in any hue.

Check out Tara Wheeler's Blue Variant.  These are the instructions I'm following, based on the Season 13 scarf.

One challenge I found was really determining the lightness or darkness of a color.  Is charcoal grey darker or lighter than navy?  Too cheap to buy a value filter in the quilting department of a craft store, I tried the following scientific method of determining value:

Me: April, when I pull these two skeins from behind my back I want you to quickly tell me which one is darker.  Don't think or look at color, just darkness, OK? Go! (shows daughter yarn)

April: (Pauses to think, despite being told not to, because that's the way everyone in our family is) This is really hard.  They both look equally dark.

Me: (sigh) That's exactly what I thought.

I finally just decided navy was darker and committed to that decision by casting on with navy as my #7 (darkest) yarn.

I will post progress later.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Season 12 Scarf Finished!

Yes, it is done and placed for sale on etsy.  This scarf was knit in breaks between teaching classes, while waiting in the car at carpool, and at the end of a long day as I watched a movie at home.  I honestly don't know what non-knitters do with their hands all day!

These scarves are always fun--trying to find the right colors, keeping track of all the color changes--even weaving in all the loose ends.

Now I have a Blue Variant on the needles as well as a Season 18 adaptation (worsted acrylic instead of chenille--cheaper and easier to knit, but just as colorful.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Authentically Handmade: Kickstart a Professional Creative Community

Can you really be sure an item you see online is made by hand? Soon it will be easier to know! is a project to champion indie crafts online.  This site will be a curated showcase of talented artists from around the world--not an e-commerce site, but a virtual place where artisans and artists meet those in search of authentic handmade goods.

Think of the difference between an anything-goes flea market and a juried craft show or curated art museum collection. Natalia Laczko, an Australian living in Brazil, has studied art history and textile design, making her just the person to champion the efforts of creative people in the global marketplace.  Everything I have seen so far indicates this will be a highly professional website and should attract some outstanding talent.

For more information on this project, check out the following:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weasley Twin Christmas Scarves

In the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Molly Weasley gives the twins, Fred and George, scarves instead of her usual sweaters.  I decided to try my hand at copying those scarves.  You can buy one on Etsy now!

I knit a pair of these scarves in tubular fashion (lazy way to avoid weaving in all those pesky yarn ends) before watching the Christmas scene from the movie again and realizing the scarves were knit flat and very wide, so when they curled at the edges (as stockinette stitch will do) they were still wide enough to be decent scarves.  Now I have cast on a flat scarf to be more screen accurate. Will post scarf #3 when it is finished.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Knitting and Praying

Lisa Bogart understands the power of prayer.  She also knows the way knitting brings people together, calms the nerves, and focuses the mind.  Each short devotional includes Scripture, a story or observation, and a prayer.  Creative souls will enjoy a writer who "gets" them.  Readers will be amazed, perhaps, at how knitting and prayer work so well together!

Lisa also includes patterns at the end of the book with good illustrations so you can make a hat or a coffee cup cozy after your quiet time is done.

I received a free advance review copy of Knit, Purl, Pray .  You can now get your own copy in Kindle or hardcover format.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Season12 Scarf Done Except Fringe

I have cut the fringe--just need a good movie to watch while I attach it.  All ends are darned in, too.  I'll post a picture when the fringe is done.

Monday, October 12, 2015

FiberFrau Finally Joins Etsy

Yes, I have opened an Etsy shop.  It is aptly named FiberFrau and currently offers a variety of scarves knit to order.  Get yours early--I may be booked up by the week before Christmas.

Feel free to share your own Etsy shops in the comments section.  I'd love to see what readers are working on.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bookmark this New Site is a new site for facilitating global trade of craft items and other goods.  The shop is still a work in progress, but I encourage crafters to check it periodically to see what is new.  I will be writing some content for the site, so I hope you will look for it.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another Twilight Scarf

Here is another interpretation of Alice's field trip scarf (in Twilight the movie, not the novel, which has no field trip.)  I was excited to learn that the photos from the movie show some purples in with the blues, making a much prettier scarf (in my opinion.)

The color scheme is from a pattern by Maggie Fangman available on Ravelry at no charge.  While Maggie used a slip stitch pattern, I used K1P1 ribbing on size 9 needles with Caron Simply Soft worsted.  The resulting scarf is thick, yet light and soft.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Scarf Season Approaches!

Here is the Scarf-O-Matic bar for my current Dr. Who Season 12 scarf.  This one is in mostly Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn with a bit of Vanna's Choice and Red Heart where I needed the colors.  After this one, I will spring for some 100% wool or some chenille for a more authentic scarf.

I also have all the Caron Simply Soft to make another version of the Alice field trip scarf from the first Twilight movie.  My first was mostly blue, but this one will include some purples, too.  I got a closer look at some movie stills and think the purple is more accurate--and prettier.

If you are on Ravelry, check out my projects.  Send me a friend request while you're on there, OK?

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Favorite Craft Sources

Take 50% Off Books and eBooks at Interweave Store

Follow the banner link above to a world of crafts, both familiar and obscure.  Interweave press caters to knitters, weavers, alpaca farmers, art teachers.....anyone who likes to make things with their own hands.

If you are a quilter, I can highly recommend Keepsake Quilting.  I have ordered from them since the days of paper catalogs that came in the mail.


For the lover of small shops who has no nearby shop, consider placing an order at Gohn Bros.  This Middlebury, Indiana store caters to Amish and Mennonite customers as well as "Englischers."  I have ordered fabric from them in the past as well--and they now have their paper catalog available online.

If you have a favorite resource we should all check out, please let me know in the comments.  I love to find new stuff!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shakers: Masters of Practical Crafts

While our modern hobby stores abound with kits for making purely ornamental objects, the Shakers created beauty in the useful objects of everyday life.  While I am not a weaver (yet!) I really enjoyed previewing this book from Schiffer Publishers. It will be available August 28.

Shaker history is included along with information on hand dyeing the fabric scraps and weaving small rugs.  Even if you never plan to make a rug, get this book for the pictures and the stories!

I received an electronic Advanced Review Copy through NetGalley and recommend it highly for your textile reference library.

Reviews PublishedFrequently Auto-ApprovedProfessional Reader

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Social History of Knitting

Women's History I Can Enjoy
No Idle Hands takes a unique approach to telling history. While we remember famous battles or pivotal presidential elections, most of history has been populated by regular people, doing what they could and should do. For American women, much of that history consisted of maintaining a decent home for a family under difficult conditions: an untamed wilderness, a wagon train, a war-ravaged South, or a home with the men gone to fight in Europe. Knitting was one of the ways they achieved their objectives. From baby caps to socks for soldiers, women have found comfort in and given comfort with knitting.
Anne MacDonald spent fifteen years as chair of the history department at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. She has spent many more years than that as a knitter, making her eminently qualified to write this excellent and engaging history book.
My Own History with Needles
I have used needle and thread since I was a preschooler. I learned to crochet around age ten. Then I found my passion--knitting--as a teenager. Having knit for most of my life now, I can understand the comfort our ancestors found in knitting. It was one necessary chore they could do while sitting down in dim evening light. I can imagine the relief of finally sitting and stitching after a long day of hauling water, doing laundry, watching children, tending fires.....
That knitting is more pleasure than work is evident in that even today, when socks can be purchased in packages at convenience stores, women (and men) still knit, even when it is not the only way to keep our families' feet warm. I hope this book will inspire readers to knit something for someone in need--family, friend or stranger.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hawaiian Quilts

I started my first quilt around 1976, when everyone wanted to get in touch with our founding mothers in celebration of the bicentennial of American independence.  It was a basic trip-around-the-world design made of little squares.    As I read about the craft of quilting, I learned that Hawaiian women took the quilting of the missionaries to their islands and created a new way of quilting--one consistent with the gorgeous vegetation surrounding them.

Judith Sandstrom has authored a beautiful book with plenty of photographs.  Even if you don't want to make one of these exquisite designs, you may enjoy the photographs and use this as a coffee table book.  The book debuts June 28.  I was blessed to see an advance e-copy via NetGalley.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Baby Blanket Blitz!

I can't knit fast enough to keep up!  With triplet granddaughters recently adopted, their cousin due any week now, and my next grandnephew coming this summer, there are lots of baby things I want to knit!!  I'll be posting some of my projects as I can.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On Another Blog: Small Business Marketing Resource

Hog on Ice Recommends a Small Business Marketing Resource: Small Business Acceleration: Get Noticed using Facebook, LinkedIn, Email Marketing, Public Relations and Video Marketing   is a long ti...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Awesome Book Alert! The Only Wardrobe Book You Need

As a woman past the half-century mark, I wondered what a young costume designer could teach me about clothing.  I grew up in 4-H, learning to sew, press, purchase, and judge clothing, after all.  I have also worked on stage costumes, historical costumes, and even bridal alterations.  I must apologize for my doubts--this young designer has tricks I still needed to learn!

The fact is, clothing is a business in which there is always more to learn--always a technique yet to be discovered.  Fortunately, those who enjoy clothing are not stingy with their "secrets." Alison Freer offers valuable advice about fit to a generation that may have never had anything altered before. She shares important tips for proper storage and wardrobe maintenance.  Some of her fast fixes and emergency stain removal tips might save you far more than the price of the book!

There is so much information in this one book, but I must point out my favorite feature: the information about underwear.  Freer dares to point out that shapewear just does not work.  As those of us in the bridal industry have always known, fat squished in one place must poke out somewhere else.  Instead of radical restructuring of the body, Freer suggests sensible coverage, correct fit, and--are you ready young ladies?--slips!!  Yes, girls, your clothes would look much cuter and just as contemporary if you got yourselves some good old-fashioned underwear.  There was a reason proper ladies used to wear slips and full-coverage panties (and many of us still do.)  They were more beautiful with a good foundation.

I cannot possibly convey the enormity of my enthusiasm for this book.  In a crowded field of "how to dress" books, this one book can replace them all. Common sense meets fashion.  It's about time!

I received a free review copy of How to Get Dressed through Blogging for Books.  I plan to buy copies for some young ladies in my life and suggest you do the same.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

For Your Reading Pleasure: Fiction with a Knitting Heroine!

 Irish Legend Comes to Life: The Black Swans  is available in paperback or Kindle format. What if the old Irish stories were history, not merely legend?  And what if a humble knitter in a small town in Maine could break an ancient curse?  Put down your knitting for a couple of hours and read The Black Swans.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tardis Hat

You can make this quick and fun Tardis Hat using the instructions generously provided by Acquanetta Ferguson via Ravelry.  I made several of these very quickly for my daughter and a couple of friends.  Make it with or without earflaps.

Fun Group for Quilters

If you would like to network with quilters from all over the world, join The Patchwork Posse.  I have seen how much work the founder, Becky, puts into this growing group and think you would find it worth your while to join.

There are no annoying daily e-mails with advertisements.  You may lurk or participate, share your project pictures, and ask questions in the forums.  There are also fun events like mini-quilt swaps.

It costs nothing to join and you just might enjoy yourself!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Make Money from Knitting? It's Possible

Here is a new resource I've found that looks both comprehensive and practical: Knitting for Profit.
It's available on ClickBank as a pdf, so you can read it on your computer or e-reader or print it out.  The author covers designing, publishing, and selling completed products at a profit.  Learn to get paid what you are worth for fine hand knitting and related services.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

District 12 Sweater Finished!

I used my favorite pastels instead of the gray in the free pattern from Patons or the brown from the movie Catching Fire.  The finished sweater is soft (Caron Simply Soft lives up to its name) although I could have made it at a tighter gauge and been even happier with the results.  The sleeves I made extra long to cover my hands if I get cold.  I did the finishing during a cold snap and will probably wear it tomorrow as our morning low will be around 10 degrees (ridiculous for North Carolina!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Unique Jewelry Books

This is an amazingly creative book.  While there are many titles that tell one how to use pricey beads and ready-made ornaments, this book elevates often humble ingredients to designer jewelry status.  Bobby pins--really!  The bobby pin collar necklace alone would be worth the price of the book.  Even if you have many jewelry books already, I'll guarantee you want this one.

I received an advance digital review copy of this book through NetGalley.  The book was published April 15, 2015.  You can order it now.

While waiting for The Jewelry Recipe Book to arrive, check out Priscilla Bead Work Book as well.  This is book is available for immediate download on ClickBank.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jane Austen Knits!

I finally broke down and bought a copy of  The Best of Jane Austen Knits: 27 Regency-Inspired Designs.

There are so many lovely Spencers, shawls, and even men's items that I am hard-pressed to decide what to do first.  I may begin with a baby hat, since I have a new nephew on the way and hopefully an adopted grandchild soon.  Perhaps one of the shawls could be re-engineered as a baby blanket, too.  When I decide, I will let y'all know, O.K.?

Historical information about Jane Austen and the Regency period is interspersed with excellent photographs, charts,and patterns for period-inspired garments that a modern knitter would wear. 

Interweave Store

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Latest Articles on Knitting

I have a few new articles that might interest blog readers:

Really Hideous Knitting is a reminder that just because something can be knit, doesn't mean it should.

In Resources for Serious Technical Knitters I offer some books and sites I have found helpful in taking my knitting to the next level, and the next...

Finally, I read and reviewed Winter Knitting, an excellent book for lovers of Norwegian or Fair Isle knits.