kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Elf

The Elf rug was just posted on the Rug Hooking Daily site and now I can show it here also.
All those weeks when I didn't have any pictures of my work in progress, this is what I was doing.  I bet you thought I was just sitting around eating chocolates!  Well, I did that too!

The purpose of the S-M-I-L-E challenge was to do something different, to stretch our limits a bit.  The lady who initiated the challenge is a hooker with a quirky sense of humor named Sunny Andress.  She stated that we were to pick a 'season' and think of the colors associated with that season.  Then she sent us a small drawing that we were supposed to use in our hooked piece.  We could change the picture somewhat, but it still had to look like an elf with the words smile in it's hands.

I AM NOT AN ELF person!!!  But the challenge was fun and I like the results.  Yellow is not a color I commonly use in my work, nor is aqua blue.  We could also emblellish with 'bling' but since mine would be a rug, I opted not to do that.

Closeup of the elf face.

I had some problems getting the binding right.  Was going to whip it with yarn, but after two attempts at dying, and both colors coming out too bright, I gave that up.
Then decided to whip with fabric strips.  Didn't look right either.
Finally ended up binding with a bias strip of wool.  I had done so much modifying and starting over that in the end I only had a 1/4 inch edge of burlap left!!!  Yikes!  I put glue on it and let it dry, then applied the bias wool strip.  Seems to be holding together OK.

That's the story of the Elf rug.

To see what other hookers have done with the design, check Rug Hooking Daily in a few days.  There should be an Album set up so that all our designs will be in the same place and ready for viewing.
Also check Sunny Andress's page for the wonderful, humorous designs that she has created.  They are so much fun!

Happy Hooking!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Road Trip!!!

Early Friday morning Zip and I headed up the east side of the Susquehanna River to the Millersburg area.  The day started out being cloudy, but the sun came out shortly before lunch time.  It was still COLD and WINDY!

I just love the drive up the river on route 147!  It's a small quiet two-lane highway, with these beautiful old sycamore trees on each side of the road for miles.  They were planted after the Great War (WW1) to commemorate the men who were lost in battle.

The views of the river at this time of the year are rather dreary, because the hills on the opposite banks are still brown.  Once everything turns green, it's lovely.  The Susquehanna is a large flat river.  Many places it seems like you could almost wade across.  Yesterday the water was high and rapidly flowing.
We stopped in Halifax to have breakfast at Denny's Lennie's.  Corny name!!!  And from the outside it looks like a dive!  But the food is great and the portions are very generous.  And each time we have stopped there the waitresses are super nice.  I had a french toast panini which was stuffed with thin sliced ham, cream cheese and pineapple.  Delish!!!  Zip had the standard eggs over easy, bacon and really good homefries.  Then there are the desserts!  The have a list of the most scrumptious stuff ever.  We got those to go!  If you are in Halifax, check it out.

Then on to Millersburg.  This is the gazebo on the town square.

Oh, I forgot to mention WHY we are taking this road trip!  We're going to visit blogging friends!
All of whom live slightly north east of Millersburg in the Lykens Valley.  This is an area of lovely rolling hills and well-maintained farms, many are owned by Amish people.  And numerous churches.  It is sooo peaceful!

Our first stop was at the Brickhouse antique and craft shop, owned by PATTI from the 'Porch Sitting' blog.  What a delightful shop she has!  It is in their restored summer kitchen.
She has the nicest primitive handcrafted items.

Look at the stack of cute little boxes (Patti makes these).  There is now a stack of boxes living in my house!

She has a whole wall full of the neatest samplers.

Zip had a great time talking about the restoration of the building.  It has a nice old fireplace that I unfortunately did not get a picture of. 
And here is the porch of porch sitting fame.  We will be going back on a warmer day to enjoy that activity!  Thank you sooo much, Patti, for sharing your wonderful shop with us! 

Next we visited with BARB from the 'Fun With Fiber' blog.  She has a spinning, weaving, knitting shop in the lower level of her home.  What a nice cheerful studio it is!  So well-lit and everything neatly arranged!

Look at the rack of hand-dyed yarn.  Most of it is also hand-spun which makes it extra impressive!  Aren't those colors tempting?  And to the left are her handwoven shawls.  Plus she has both hand-knit and hand-woven scarves.

And these are just two of the looms she has set up.  And look how nicely her books and yarn are organized!

Here is Barb!  She is such an interesting person!  I could have spent hours talking about weaving and life in general.  I wish we lived nearer to each other.

Barb then followed us to TARRAH's house.  She has the "Pottery Shed' blog.  She lives in this lovely log home that I am sorry to say I did not get a picture of the outside.  Her husband creates this fantastic pottery.  She was having an open house Friday and over the weekend.  There's still time to visit!!!

And I love that rug under the table.  The colors are soft and muted and just right for the room!

Tarrah, as I said earlier, makes the painted boxes and lots of other prim creations.  I particularly liked these jars inside the holder made of wire fencing.

And here is Tarrah (to the right) and some of her friends who were attending the open house.

Thank you Tarrah for sharing your beautiful home with us!

If you have made it through this far, be warned that the day is not yet over!  I didn't plan to write an epic novel here, it just seemed to happen!

On the way back we decided to shop at Aschomb Greenhouses in Mechanicsburg.  We got to Harrisburg shortly after 3 p.m.  We were eying the bridges, saying to each other that traffic didn't seem too bad.  So decided to cross on the bridge and take Route 15.  As soon as we crossed to the other side OH DRAT!!, traffic backed up for MILES!  A string of cars, both lanes, as far as we could see!

We had stopped at Sheetz earlier and gotten coffee.  Zip reached in the back seat and got the dessert.  That sweet waitress from Denny/Lenny had provided plastic ware with the cake.  We had a picnic!

Zip chose the raspberry cake and it was the best!
We sat in traffic, inching along for about 45 minutes.  Finally we hit the open road and made it to Ashcombe. 

It's still too early for a lot of flower and vegetable plants, so it wasn't that exciting.  They do have pretty displays!

I loved these orchids!

They didn't have the haricot vert beans that I was looking for, so we came home with only kitty grass.

Ok!  That was our day out.  Thank you again, Patti, Barb, and Tarrah for allowing us to visit and enjoy your company!!!
I am so grateful to all the wonderful friends I have met through blogging!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aaaaaah, Finally Time to Hook

This past weekend I had a big sewing order to finish for Brad and Kami.  I had been procrastinating, as usual!  But when they said that it had to be shipped on Wednesday, it was crunch time!

I did not go to the hook-in in Lancaster.  I stayed home and sewed.  A tailored jacket, blouse and skirt to be exact!  But the work is done, we delivered it.  So as of yesterday afternoon, I am free to hook again for a while.

And that's what I did!  I finished my sunflower pillow top that I started in the Jane Halliwell Green class that I took about a month ago.  Well, not 'finished' by Kathy's standards.  The HOOKING is done.  It may be a looooong time before it actually becomes a pillow!  With a label.

There were small morning glories in the corners, but I opted to leave them out.  I didn't like them done in the shades of blue that were included in the kit.  I also tried white with some yellow and orange, but no matter what I did, they looked like blobs!    It just looks better without them.  So it's done!

Sunday was Brad's birthday.  The BIG FOUR O!
I think he was pretty traumatized by it!  We had a small lunchtime party at my Mom's.  Then yesterday we took him and Kami out to eat at the new Indian restaurant in Chambersburg.  He didn't want any pictures taken to commemorate the occasion.  In fact, he wanted to NOT make it an occasion!

It gave me a lot to think about too.  My baby is 40?  How time flies!!!  Was it that long ago that I was forty?  I certainly don't feel old mentally, though some of the physical stuff I could do without!

I tried to tell Brad that the best of his life is yet to come.  That being older and more mature has it's rewards.  He said, OH!  Like the 10% senior discounts.  hahaha!!!   Maybe...  But more like having a better appreciation of the joys that living can bring.  I have truly enjoyed the years since 40, much more than the ones before.

I've been playing with the new and improved method of adding pictures.  Look!  I can put them anywhere and don't have to load them in backwards order!  Whoo-hoo!!!  The Old Dog can learn a new trick after  all!
Now that I'm done bragging, maybe I better sign off before something happens to make the whole post fly off into cyberspace and never be seen again!

Enjoy the Spring weather!!!
Happy Hooking! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm Disgusted!

The spinning yarn for the sweater vest continues and it's still not good.  I have wasted so much time lately trying to get the yarn right for the pattern and nothing I'm doing looks the way I want it too.  So far I have worked for three days on this project and I'm not making any progress.  I just hate the results!!!
It's time to lay this to rest!
It's the end of the sweater season anyway.  If I want to make this sweater it's time to go to Hobby Lobby and BUY yarn.  Or look for bargain yarn over the summer and make the darned thing next fall.

Now that I got that off my ample chest, I'm happy to say that the sun's shining and the weather is BEAUTIFUL!  And I've been sitting inside fiddling with....OK!  I'm really over it!!!

Tomorrow is the hook-in at Grant Street and I'm planning to go and take my sunflower pillow and resume work on it.  Maybe I can get myself back to happy by filling in the dark green background.  Or I could start on my little cat mat.

I really didn't want to start something bigger before the Norma Batastini class the second week in April, so I'm kinda at loose ends until then. 

Also there's the Woolwrights hook-in on Saturday in Lancaster.  A whole car load of us (Kathy, Doris, Sherry and I)  are going with Linda doing the driving.   Should be a fun time!

Zip just returned from an afternoon of fly fishing.  I guess it's time to get dinner ready.  

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's NOT working...!!!

In my last post I had written about finding a cool pattern to make a sweater vest.
Since I have all this wool roving lying around, I decided to spin my own yarn to make the vest.

I decided to dye the roving a dark blue since I wear jeans most of the time. Yesterday morning I got up early and started on the project. Zip and I had a lunch date with our friends Willa and Chuck so I wanted this done before we had to leave for Chambersburg. I wanted to start spinning as soon as we returned. I am very impatient!!!

Here the roving is in the dyepot.
I used cheesecloth so I could lift it out easily without disturbing the fibers.
Rinsing in the kitchen sink. The color looks OK.

The cheesecloth also made it easy to wring and squeeze a lot of the excess water out of the roving.

Hangingn by the woodstove to dry.

There were enough areas that had dried for me to pull off a small portion to begin spinning. I had this idea to include little blips of color into the yarn. I planned on using some silk fiber. First I tried pulling off small pieces from the silk caps, but silk fibers are so long that it was difficult to just get little pieces. I then cut off little pieces about 3/4 inch long and tried spinning them in with the blue roving. That didn't work well either. The ends stuck out like eyelash yarn. Didn't like that!!!

So I got out this pink wool that I had used for needle felting. I tried spinning it in a little at a time. Seemed to be working better.

Still was unable to make it look like little blips though!
I spun about 1/4of a bobbin full and then decided to see what the yarn would look like knitted up.
Here i'm plying the yarn. I use the hand wrap method when I only have a small amount of yarn to do. You may (or not!) be curious as to why I would put two strands together. When you spin yarn it gets twisted together to make it stronger and keep the fibers from coming apart. It will curl back on itself when you take it off and try to wind it into a skein or ball. When you try to knit with this single strand of yarn, the knitting is distorted on the diagonal due to the twist. When you ply the two strands of yarn together, you twist them together in the opposite direction. Voila! Your yarn comes out straight and ready to knit.

The samples. And I don't like the look of the finished knitting! Too blotchy looking or something!!!

I was trying to get a chunky yarn since that is what my pattern called for. I'm not good at chunky yarn. Every spinner has their comfort zone. Their own individual 'ME YARN' that you spin without thinking. Mine is thin! I have to work at getting a heavier yarn. So I'm going to start over today and just make my 'me year' and ply three strands together and that should give me the right thickness. And there will be no pink blips. Since this is a pattern that is all done in ribbing, I think the blips distract from the pattern.

When I was digging out the pink wool, I came across my ONLY needle felting effort. I took an hour-long mini workshop a few years ago. We made a needle felted egg. You all know that I'm usually not a person to make cute things that will sit around and get dusty...and dustier! But Easter was coming soon so I made a few more eggs and a bunny. Just for practice.

He did turn out kinda cute!

OK! Been there and done that!
It was fun for the moment, but I don't want to do it again. OH, did I mention that I bought a load of felting needles and foam to do it on, before I decided that it wasn't my favorite thing???
Maybe I should just stick to rughooking....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Hooking Continues...

Monday was a beautiful day! Warm and sunny...just delightful! Almost too nice to be inside, but I drove down through orchard country to the Blue and Gray hook-in near Biglerville.

Since we hadn't had a meeting for several months, the group was quite large. Everyone seemed very eager to chat and see what new projects were being done. There were so many rugs laying on the floor for display that I couldn't get all the names of the creators. I'll mention the ones I can remember.

This is only one small part of the group in general.

Here is Marion working on a huge, very detailed rug. The green scrolls are just amazingly lovely!
Marian M. was more involved in choosing her chicken order than hooking (she's hiding behind the catalog). She is trying to talk Zip and I into getting a few. I think they are more work than we really would like, but Marian keeps reminding me how good those fresh eggs taste!

The squarrel mat. Don't know who hooked it, but it's cute.

Marion who is hooking on that other huge rug, did this one also. I don't know how long it took her, but it is an amazing work of art!

Nice primitive pumpkins!

Joyce is working on this lovely little house.

Another beautifully shaded flower rug.

Becky is doing this delightful primitive.

And more wonderful rugs. And a kitty bag!

Doris did this rug with the very interesting and effective background.

Just a few more of the many rugs on display.

I only had a small amount of whipping to finish on my album quilt rug which I finished while I was there. It was a great time to catch up on all the latest news. There was also a selection of patterns, books, wool and hooking supplies being offered for sale. I had forgotten to take my checkbook so had to restrain myself from getting too involved in the buying.
So the album quilt rug is finished, my SMILE challenge rug is finished. All I have on the go now is the sunflower pillow top.
Lately I've been so seriously involved in hooking that I'm feeling the need for a change of pace. Since I bought that sock yarn a while back at Hobby Lobby, I thought that may be my next project. I want to learn how to knit two socks at the same time on one long circular needle using the Magic Loop technique. My friend Dottie gives free knitting lessons every Thursday evening at the Shippensburg Public Library. She had agreed to help me get started.
So I went to the Yarn Basket in Chambersburg to purchase the proper circular needle and came out with this funky, fairly easy pattern for a vest!

I dug through my yarn stash and of course I don't have the proper weight of yarn for this project. So....I decided that maybe since I have a huge supply of fiber just waiting for the moths, maybe I should spin some of it into yarn for the vest. Do you all see where this is going??? Is there insanity at work here???

Do you think natural wool with little flecks of purple, blue and pink silk would look good, or should I dye the roving? Maybe black???
More craziness!