Kumi-what-oh?

I somehow managed not to tell you about my exploration into Kumihimo braiding! In February I decided to try something new, and that something was Kumihimo. I looked it up and watched some videos and then I bought some beads and a Kumihimo disc and tried it out.

I wanted to start with black beads, fade into peach, and then fade back into black, so I did some math and wrote down the order I needed to string my beads on. The round Kumihimo I was making had 8 strands, so lines 5-8 were a copy of lines 1-4. In order to keep the very long strings under control you wind each strand around a bobbin. I didn’t want to make a huge investment in this craft since I didn’t even know if I would like it, so I cut out a few pieces of cardboard and used them as bobbins. They tangled a little, but worked very well for the most part.

In the end I had a very lovely necklace. I had bought some clasps, but didn’t want to bother gluing them on, so I tied the ends into a square knot and wrapped the knot with wire. Easy and effective.

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I would definitely recommend trying Kumihimo braiding. It takes a good bit of time to make something like this necklace, but it’s easy to learn, the materials can be as costly as you want them to be, and the finished products are striking!

Slowly

Do you remember when you were a kid and life seemed to go by so slowly? A single day lasted forever, let alone the length of time until it was until Christmas or your birthday. Lately life seems to be going so, so fast and just speeding up every minute. I’ve been in desperate need of something to slow me down. Crafting does just that.

I started spinning some superwash BFL quite a while ago – long enough that I forgot about it. I never thought I would be the kind of person who would forget about a project. I finished spinning the singles, and decided this yarn needed some beads.

It turns out that if you add scads of beads to a yarn, it takes a lot of effort to slide them all down the yarn as you ply. The tension and abrasion from this broke my single, so I took most of the beads off, and I’m periodically adding more to the yarn in more manageable amounts. Won’t the finished yarn be gorgeous, though? I’m thinking of using it for a shawl.

I have shawls on the brain right now, and beads, it would seem. I’m reading through the Knitter’s Almanac again, and have come to the conclusion that I desperately need a Pi Shawl. A little search through the stash, and I came up with my Rumpelstiltskin yarn that I finished last year. I love this yarn so much. It’s recycled sari silk with beads every few inches. The drape of this yarn is incredible! Every time I see it I can’t help but think of a pile of treasure!

So that’s me, slowing down. I have a kitchen to clean and laundry to do, but yarn is just so much more interesting!

Pattern Testers Needed!

Hey friends! One pattern has just been published, so that means it’s time to get the next into testing. My next pattern is quite different from normal for me, in that it is a crochet pattern. It all started on my vacation last October, when my husband’s grandma taught me how to crochet broomstick lace. I got an idea at that time, and now I’ve made it a reality: I made a Broomstick Lace Shawl!

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The beauty of this shawl is that it can be made any size, and with any weight yarn, so the possibilities really are endless. Mine is a shawlette, made with a skein of Miss Babs Yowza (Worsted, 560 yds/ 512 m).

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I’m looking for 6 pattern testers – 2 each to make a shawl in fingering, Sport or DK, and Worsted weight yarns. If you’re interested, all the details are here.

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Also, I need a name for this beauty. “Broomstick Lace Shawl” is descriptive, but not very evocative. What would you name this shawl? Leave a comment and include your Ravelry name. The person who comments with the best name will receive a free copy of my Ribless Hat as thanks.

Would You Like to Win a Gnome?

christmas ornamentsOver the past few months I’ve shared lots and lots of gnome pictures with you. I can make a needle-felted gnome in an hour or less, and that means I have a lot of them. I don’t think there’s a limit to how many gnomes a person can have, but they are starting to build up into a bit of an army, and I’m a little worried about an insurrection. In the interest of keeping the peace and the Christmas Spirit, I want to share my bounty with you. If you would like to have this adorable gnome ornament, leave a comment below telling me about your favourite Christmas ornament.

I will announce the winner on Christmas Day.

*Small Print: Due to postage costs, I will only be able to ship to US addresses.

Good luck!

Picturesque

old wooden house

To Autumn – John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

petting a cat

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

old wooden barn with rusted car

Advent Knitting

‘Tis the season for Christmas knitting! As I was reading through my blog subscriptions I was inspired by Glenna of Glenna knits to knit an Advent bunting. I had a quick rummage through Ravelry, and came up with this lovely (and free) pattern collection (the author simply asks that you donate to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation in lieu of buying the pattern). Since I am me, I am making a few tweaks to the designs by switching out some of the ornaments that are not really my style, and I plan to join them all together with a simple crochet chain.

Here are my plans by day (photos courtesy of Frankie Brown):

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8

Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12

Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16

Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20

Day 21, Day 22, Day 23, Day 24

The last day is Christmas day, when I will assemble all my tiny ornaments into a grand holiday bunting!

The patterns use fingering weight yarn and very small needles. Since they are tiny they only use a little bit of yarn – great for stashbusting and sock yarn scraps.

Would you like to join me on this adventure?

Twice a Bridesmaid, Already a Bride

I have the most wonderful story to share with you! A few weeks ago my best friend called me to say that her boyfriend had finally asked her to marry him. I squealed and congratulated her and she told me all about the proposal. They are just such a sweet couple. She didn’t say anything at the time about her wedding party. I desperately wanted to be a bridesmaid, but I live 2,000 miles away, so I thought maybe she had decided to ask someone closer to her.

About a week later she sent me this text:

This is the reason we are best friends. Who else would think to propose to a bridesmaid this way? I should add that she is also a knitter, and she is the one who taught me how to tat. Of course, I said yes.

So in May I will be putting on a blue dress to help her with her white dress. I can’t wait!