Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Easter!

Peep! :-)

I made a whole bunch of these adorable chicks for my family Easter Sunday using Berroco's free pattern. Instead of using their Plush yarn I used Yarn Bee's Luscious, and I used a J hook instead of the K hook they call for in the pattern, mostly because I don't have a K hook in my collection yet. I also turned the chicks inside out after sewing them almost all the way and put just a bit of poly stuffing inside them to make them more puffy before closing them up and making the beak.

They were a hit - my nephews fought over theirs to where Dad hid them all in his jacket, LOL. Even my father in law loved his.

I sent my daughter an Easter care package that included a hairpin lace loom so she'll be ready for her lessons when I see her next week. I also gave her a sweatshirt on which I painted some butterflies:


Finally, I ordered the Little Joe drop spindle from Heavenly Handspinning.



I couldn't resist - I love the spoke wheel design, and besides... if my nephew's fascination over seeing Gratia means anything I may have another young'un to teach how to spin, meaning I may be giving him my octagonal drop spindle.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Gratia is Here!

UPS showed up with my Gratia wheel just as I was pulling into work on Thursday. Darn!

But I did get a chance to play with her over the weekend. Here's a couple pictures of her after I put her together:


... and here is a video demo I made this morning so you can see Gratia in action. I apologize for how dark it is (doggone camera, grrr), but hopefully it'll be enough for you to see how it works:

video

She was pretty easy to put together, and I also found that she's rather lightweight, roughly 9 pounds. As I guessed she's relatively small, so it's really easy to move and store her where she's not in anyone else's way when I'm not using her. If you live in a small place like I do, Gratia is a perfect fit.

Gratia is also pretty quiet. It doesn't sound like it in the video demo but she is - my husband and son are able to play/watch TV while I'm using her without much fuss at all, and I've also used the wheel after they've gone to bed without them hearing it... given sound normally travels down our hallway big time that says a lot.

The wheel comes unfinished. I used Howard's wood treatment on it, which contains beeswax and orange oil. You can get it at Home Depot. The finish was just gorgeous when I was done. For the lubricant I used Tri Flow; it contains banana oil with teflon, so it doesn't damage the wood finish and the teflon ensures I probably won't have to worry about squeaks or friction for quite a while.

All in all I am very happy with Gratia. Let's just say that if it's wrong to be in love with an inanimate object, I don't wanna be right.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Celia, So Far...

Just a quick snapshot of my progress with Celia - I've finished the cups for the front and now am working in the pattern for the bottom front part:

It's working up rather nice and quickly and I like how the two colors go together. It'll be a lot of fun to wear during the summer.

In the meantime I'm still eagerly awaiting my Gratia wheel. According to UPS she's in Kansas right now, about halfway across the state, so she'll probably be on my doorstep sometime tomorrow just as they've predicted.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Corset Top is Fini!

I was able to finish my corset top (pattern courtesy of Annie Modesitt) on Saturday night after all:



I'm really pleased with how it turned out. After I put on the buttons it turns out it's not too tight, it's actually a perfect fit with just a little room to spare, which is how I like it. Hubby says he thinks it looks great :-)

I haven't quite jumped back on with my Giselle project yet. I wanted to find a quick and easy tank top to put together and after poking around some online, I settled upon Celia, a free crochet pattern from Berroco - I'm just doing the top as I don't have a need for the shawl.

I am using the Aunt Lydia's "Denim" quick crochet thread in Linen that I have left over from my corset project, and also in Chambray, which is a really nice medium-dark blue. I was thinking about adding a third color because I was worried I'd run out of the Linen color but in digging through my yarn bins I found another ball of it, so I'm good to go!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gratia

I was finally able to order one of the newest spinning wheels from Jan Ford and her company, Heavenly Handspinning. It's called Gratia, which means charity or grace in Latin, and it is a little smaller and less expensive than the first wheel, Fidelis (faithful). I'll probably receive it sometime next week and once I get myself up and running on it I will let you all know what I think. Jan's husband created a 6:1 bobbin for it as well as a hybrid that will do either 6:1 or 9:1.

Jan is also offering another wheel that will come with some assembly required. However it will be an easy assembly, just using three screws. That wheel's name is Adomo, which means to fall in love with. Again this one will be available for a bit less than Fidelis, and I think it's right in between Fidelis and Gratis in respect to size.

I am still coming along with the corset top. I have one sleeve done and managed to get about a third to halfway done with the other this morning. I'm having a little tummy trouble this afternoon so I'm not sure I'll be able to finish it yet, we'll have to see.

My husband also gave our nephew his hat and mittens for his birthday this afternoon. I wasn't able to be there, but my nephew liked them.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Coming Along...

I've finished the body of the Annie Modesitt corset top and am now working on the sleeves:


I also tried it on... and it's a little tight. Fits, but a bit tight, and I will probably need to stretch it a bit when I wet block it. I probably should have gone with the next size up. I'm a little surprised given I went with larger needles to try and accommodate the gauge.

Still I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out and again I can probably shape it so it's a better fit when I block it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Threads of Compassion is Coming to Boulder!

I'm really excited about this... I have been in touch with Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA) in Boulder about possibly starting a Threads of Compassion chapter out here in my area. The staff member with whom I've been corresponding brought the idea to the rest of the staff there and they are totally on board with it! I think this is go great - I've been wanting to find a way to use my knitting and crochet skills to help others.

So cross your fingers and wish me and the folks at MESA luck. They will be spreading the word through their staff and connections and I will be doing the same with those around me. I'm really hoping we can make a difference and help those who come forward for support feel they are not alone and that our efforts will help give them comfort and strength in the hard times.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Corset

I've put Giselle on hold while I'm working on a corset top pattern from Annie Modesitt. I wanted to have something nice to wear for Easter and this is proving to work up faster - it's also so very pretty and I think it'll be perfect for spring:


The pattern calls for silk yarn but I've opted for a more budget-friendly Sugar n' Cream cotton yarn in Summer Twists for the main color, and then Aunt Lydia's cotton and acrylic yarn in Linen for the secondary color.

It's further along now than when I took this picture. I've added the second color at the bottom with just a few rows left before I do the finishing and the sleeves. I'm also thinking about adding some beadwork to accent parts of the garment and I found some buttons made from shell at Wal-Mart that I think will look very nice. I'll update with more pictures when the project is done.