Monday, September 28, 2015

Off the loom: 2 Blankets for 2 Babies

It's good to have deadlines.  Wedding and Baby due dates, tend to inspire me to get the job done.  I chose a pattern from "The Big Book of Weaving", by Laila Lundell.  I wanted something that washed well and was soft and warm.  This project is woven in double weave and although it is a tedious weave, it came just in time to welcome my new nephew, Nathaniel, into this world.  The other blanket went to my good friend's baby Milo, who I got to meet last weekend.  I experimented with the last blanket, by stuffing the pockets with fiber fill.  The effect is very interesting and in hind sight I wish I have stuffed all of it for a quilt like effect.  I am not quite done with double weave and am warping a new project right now.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A pile of thread

The beginnings of a new warp.  I promise it will turn into something good, even if I did max out my heddles and had to order some more in a weaving emergency haste.  I've never made a project this big before, only 1,500 threads to thread...  So far 900 down, 600 to go.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Nothing makes a girl like me happier then finding her first morels.  These mushrooms are finicky, I tell ya, and I spent a lot of time wandering about the woods saying. "This is a perfect morel spot, if I were a morel I would definitely grow here!" and "Honey look I found one...wait never mind just a walnut." Stupid walnuts.  I am proud to say I spotted my first morels this year, not just once but 3 times and they were all the more tasty for it.  Now a little break until the Chantarelles start popping.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Off My Needles: Ombre Chevron Hat in Doubleknit

Just off the needles in time for some lovely warm weather here in Minnesota. This hat is thick and warm and sparkly (I wouldn't have it any other way).  And I got to test out a lot of new to me techniques, such as decreasing in double-knit and a birdseye back with 3 colors.  I thought I would put my knitting needles away for the season, but who am I kidding?  Doubleknit Mitts are next.  Ombre Chevron Hat pattern is available here on my Ravelry site. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Swatching in Double-Knit

Two years ago I knit this hat for Birkie 2013 and I loved it, except for one thing. The fit.  I wanted dramatic gradating chevrons, however in order to achieve this affect, I had to ignore two important rules of fair isle knitting- the float length and using 3 strands of yarn in place of two where the contrast colors overlapped.  Despite tying down long floats and knitting loosely,  my hat didn't have enough stretch for my taste and I found myself not wearing it.  I always wanted to revisit the pattern, and it occurred to me, after weaving these double weave towels, that a double knit would allow larger scale patterns, while maintaining the stretch factor.  I would also be able to hide all my floats between the two layers, leaving a finished  technical back.  And as an added bonus, my new hat would be especially warm.  Known and teased in my knitting group as the "Swatch Queen", I got started.  
 The biggest hurdle was finding a fingering weight yarn in multiple shades of purple and at a decent price.  As bad as I wanted this hat to come to fruition, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on contrast yarns.  I found just that in Quince and Co.  And then I got swatting.
The main color is Smoochie from Great Adirondack Yarn Co.
 The technical back is simply the reverse of the front. Swatching is complete, and now to tackle the hat. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cambodia: Kampot

Our trip rounded out in the sleepy village of Kampot, famous for peppercorns, durian, Bokor Hill and a slight respite in weather. 
 We took an evening boat ride up the river at sunset.  As we scooted along, we say hundreds of fisherman navigating their long boats and out to sea for a night of work. 
 On our last day, we rented a moto and joined the throng of "crazy drivers"  We wound our way up Bokor Hill  On the way we saw...
 Lok Yeah Mao, a protector spirit of travelers, fisherman and hunters.
 Stunning ocean views and a glimpse into Vietnama's Phu Quoc Island.
And Buddhist shrines. 
 Feeling hungry we scooted our way to Kep.  Our first stop was the crab market where we could see the famous blue crabs that we would soon be enjoying. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cambodia: Koh Rong

On our last day in Siem Reap, we hopped an overnight sleeper bus to Sihanoukville.  The bunk bed sleeping compartments, made me imagine the "Night Bus" from Harry Potter, but in a non magical 3rd world country sort of way.  Josh and I struggled to share close quarters, but it was fun for the first 15 minutes. 
Once in Sihanoukville we jumped the first ferry to Koh Rong Island.  
We found a cozy, rickety and rustic bungalow just feet from the water. 

Koh Rong is roughly the size of Hong Kong and hosts 4 fishing villages  and seven beaches.  There are no roads and even the fanciest bungalow is just as nice or worse as the cheapest. 
Long Beach is 7 KM of shallow warm water and white sand.  

We hired a boat to take us fishing and caught our dinner.  

Meals were eaten on the beach.  I'm pretty sure Josh didn't wear a shirt for our entire 5 day stay. 
The most spectacular view was the sunset. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cambodia:Silk Weaving

The Artisans of Ankor tour of their silk farm was fantastic, even if you aren't a geek about fiber arts.   We got to see the process from start to finish which quickly dissolved my concern about the price of the scarf I was coveting. 

 Our first visit was to the silk worm nurseries.  Like the butterflies I raise, they are ravenous eaters  and a fresh pile of leaves are added daily.
 Once ready they are placed on a large basket with spiraling channels, where they will form their cocoons. 

 The cocoons are then collected.  About 20 percent of cocoons are saved to start the next generation of silk worms. 
 The other 80 percent are thrown into boiling water where first the outer layer of raw silk and then the inner layer of "fine" silk is extracted.  There is approximately 400 yards of silk per cocoon.  100 is raw and 300 fine.   I felt bad for the little buggers, but after seeing the resulting moths any lingering guilt was fleeting. 

 The silk is naturally a lustrous yellow.  The yarn is then spun and a warp prepared. 
 This team of girls are threading the warp onto the reed. 
 And then the loom is set up.

 The most fascinating process is the ikat.  The weft is wound tightly on a board and certain sections are tied off with plastic.  It is then dyed.  Where the plastic was, the original color remains.  This process is repeated many times and takes days to complete.
 Each ikat section is then wound onto a bobbin and woven in pattern.  It emerges beautifully.