Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brattleboro Hat

In between two snowstorms, I finished my Brattleboro hat.

The construction is interesting--first you knit the lower band, then you block it to relax the ribbing. Then you pick up and knit around the top of the band (which I dreaded, but it turned out fine), knit fewer rows than you think you need, decrease at four points around the crown, and then pick up and knit the short button band. I was worried the decreases would look funny, but I think they look fine:

Brattleboro Hat from New England Knits
One skein of hand-dyed, handspun yarn from Woolly Beers Yarn, purchased on last fall's Wool Arts Tour
Size 8 US needles
No modifications

I mostly enjoy winter (yes, even at this point in February), but I'm looking forward to spring, too. Especially getting my garden started again. I miss the smell of dirt.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February's Sewing Project

Since I procrastinated last month I wanted to get started on February's sewing project a little earlier, in keeping with my New Year's Resolution to complete one sewing project a month. I was lucky enough to have a snow day a couple of weeks ago, so I went up to my sewing room, dug through the stash, and whipped up this magazine holder. Not because I'm such an awesome seamstress but because the pattern was so easy.

The pattern is from Lotta Jansdotter's book Simple Sewing, which I highly recommend. She explains everything clearly and has excellent diagrams, which I need. It's also nice to make something useful for my home and use up some stash fabric. My next sewing project will probably be from this book also.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

For the Lovebirds

One of my best and oldest friends got married this past December. She is also a crafty person, and I love her dearly, so of course she was getting something handmade. I love to stitch projects for special dates like these--whenever I see examples of historical needlework, it's often a sampler or a piece that commemorates a special date. I like to think that the pieces I make will survive that long. Even if it doesn't, it's a nice memento for people to have in their homes. I ordered a kit from Herrschner's that doesn't seem to be available anymore. (I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I love kits.)

This piece was an adventure because I also learned to frame needlework. A great friend has been framing her own work for years and agreed to show me how. It wasn't as difficult as I had feared. The wedding was in Florida, and I packed it up very carefully in my carry-on luggage. If the security guard thought it was strange he didn't say anything!

I'm very glad I was able to share in this special day, and I wish Jenn and Joey many, many happy years together! Now back to planning my own big day...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Bit of Mending

I love my thrummed mittens (first shown in this post from nearly four years ago). I live in New Hampshire, and our winters are cold and snowy. I occasionally get annoyed, but for the most part I love it. Or I love the part where I curl up on the couch in front of the pellet stove with a pile of wool on my lap and knit.

These mittens are great, because when I do have to brave the elements they keep my hands toasty. After several years of use they are perfectly fitted to my hands. The only issue was that the wool in the tips of the mitts and thumbs was thin, partly because of how the pattern was written (no more thrums are added after the decreases begin) and partly because the wool felted to other areas.

What's a thrifty New Englander to do? Add more wool, of course.

I turned the mittens inside out, and using both a darning needle and a crochet hook, I added extra thrums. I used some scraps of wool from my spinning stash.

I just wove the pieces in and out of the bare spots of fabric, being careful to keep everything on the inside so the odd colored scraps wouldn't show through on the right side.

I'm very happy I took 20 minutes to sit down and do this--my mittens are much warmer, and I found a great use for my scrap wool.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wee and Wonderful

One of my New Year's resolutions is to complete one sewing project a month. I have lots of fabric, and I would like to sew better. It's not always something I can do in front of the television or with other people around, since my sewing machine and materials are upstairs. If I don't make an effort to try new projects, though, I won't get any better (and I won't use up that fabric stash, either). I'd like to do more than one project a month, but I'll start with one for now.

January's project was Evelyn Inchworm. My future brother- and sister-in-law gave me Hillary Lang's Wee Wonderfuls book for Christmas, and Evelyn is the first project in the book. I have been reading Hillary's wonderful blog for years, and I've always wanted to make her projects, but my lack of sewing skills and not making the time for it held me back. I was excited to see her book and also pleasantly surprised. This is not just a book of stuffed animals (although with Hillary's clear instructions and fantastic designs, it would still be worth every penny)--there is an adorable dog necklace, an upside-down doll, and a paper-doll pillow, among many others.

I'm proud of myself for using materials I had on hand. I found the light blue and dark blue felt in a bag at a giant church yard sale with a great vintage pattern for felt flower pins, and the kerchief is made from one piece of fabric from a Moda Charm Squares pack. I love the pack and the kerchief was the perfect use for the square. I'm also proud of myself for using the square and not just hoarding the whole pack. Evelyn is now living on my desk at work and I smile every time I see her.

This is a hand sewing project, so it was a good, easy way for me to start. I have some experience with sewing machines, but I need to try new projects to keep learning more. I'm already ahead for February, since I had a snow day today and made another project, which I'll share soon.