Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gift giving

This gift started over 5 years ago.  In September of 2008 I finished the quilt top (you can follow the posts backwards here).  I am not sure why I ultimately folded it up and put in on the shelf.  Maybe it felt too big to quilt myself?  I had the batting, the backing and top done, but never got around to finishing it.

This past fall I have had to prioritize my time in a way that is different from the years and months past.  No longer am I crafting to take a break from writing my dissertation.  Likewise I am not crafting to fill my days with something other than baby food and diapers.

Life has shifted in our household: we have four growing daughters now - no babies anymore - and no plans for more children.  I have gone back to work teaching and am spending the remainder of my time this year volunteering at their school.  I know that life balance is ever shifting and precarious.  This past fall tilted more towards the computer/classroom/meeting end-of-things and less towards the sewing machine/knitting needles/making end-of-things. 

This fall, however, I re-discovered this work from many years ago and called upon a neighborhood friend for help.  She is an incredibly accomplished quilter and after seeing my work agreed to complete the project for me.  I left her with the top, batting and backing.  Two weeks later I went back to her house and picked up this beauty.

There is history behind this quilt.  Briefly, the backing fabric was a cover for a blanket that was kept at our family cabin for many years.  It used to be bright fuschia, but faded in the sunlight.  I salvaged the fabric for later use when the cover developed a big rip down the middle.  More than this, however, is the additional story layer added by my friend that helped finish it.  She added a heart patch to the back - covering a small hole - that gives it the extra touches that will be discovered, and re-discovered in years to come.

I intended the quilt go back to the cabin, but my Mom wants to keep it around the house instead.  I don't blame her - it did turn out quite nicely.  This, along with a pair of upcycled wool mittens, were the only hand-made presents I gifted this season.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

WIP's: cowl, shawl and socks

There are three projects on the needles as of today...

First is a pair of socks for DH.  I made him a pair a year ago this past September.  He wears that pair quite a bit, but they are loose fitting socks owing to the seed stitch ribbing.  This current pair has a more traditional k1, p1 ribbing with some decorative cables.  Yes, the socks are still brown (his favorite color), but it means I know he will wear them.  And the cables make me happy to knit them.  The colors in photos aren't quite right - they are a lovely shade of light fawn brown.

The next is a cowl that was started in a fit of boredom, the yarn has fantastic colors, but I am not sure that I am going to love the final product.  I think this will be a gift for the girls' piano tutor who is learning to knit herself.  I know she'll appreciate it and the colors will suit her quite well.

And last are the lingering honeycomb socks.  I have one done and one to go but I can't seem to get motivated to start that second sock.  Not sure why.  They look pretty cool, no?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

FO: Daybreak

It has been too long since I was here in this space last.  

I have been knitting however.  I finished Daybreak a while back with two skeins that I picked up at the WI Sheep and Wool Festival. 

It is a wonderful knit - lightweight but substantial, hip but understated, eye-catching but not too busy. 

Based on the way this shawl is knit you can either block it with points, or go for a more rounded edge.  I tried the latter.  I had some points saved up at my LYS and put them towards the purchase of a set of blocking wires.  What a wonder they were to work with - and they gave me the promised rounded edge I was hoping for.

I have gotten many compliments on this shawl and am now tempted to try one of the other asymmetrical pattens - maybe Chadwick