Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 5 of Knitting Blog Week

Day 5 Something A Bit Different
This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog.

I am not sure if this qualifies as something different. But this is my first venture into making videos. And trying to find a place to post it.

New knitters find this is one of the most terrifying and frustrating of problems. Once they get the hang of it though, it is a piece of cake!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 4 of Knitting Blog Week

Day 4: A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?
As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

Well, living in the northern climes and always being on the cold side, I can't say that I let the seasons effect my knitting. I love sweaters and wear them all year long, with variation in sleeve length. Of course, there are more things to do outside in the summer, more travel, which equals more knitting time! I do love to knit warm woollies; socks, hats, cowls, mittens. In a way just knitting them makes me cosy, thinking how toasty they are going to be in the winter!
 Snowbird Mittens from Vogue Knitting Fall 2008

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 3 of Knitting Blog Week

Day 3: Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off.
Ohhh! There are so many inspiring designers, hard to decide. My current favorite designer would have to be Gudrun Johnston. Her designs have inspired my so much in the past year! I love how they feel classic yet at the same time modern. In the fall I posted about her book The Shetland Trader.
So far I have knit a hat and am working on a shawl from this book. I have also knit her Audrey Sweater, which is not in the book. It was a lovely sweater to make. I love how the sleeves are shaped with short rows. No more sewing in!

To see what Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is all about, click on the banner below.

3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

Are you up for something new this week? I am going to participate in a blog-a-long! I think that is a word I just made up. And even though the week is already started, I am going to try! Here is how it works. There are a list of subjects, one for each day of the week. A special tag is added to each post, so when googled you will be able to see all blogs participating. For more information click on the banner below.

So here goes!

Day 1: Colour Lovers
Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour.
This one made me laugh. Everyone knows I love Pink! Light pink, dark pink, medium pink, bright pink, rose, even raspberry. My yarn stash is defiantly mono-color. I do try and mix it up a bit with brown, purple, blue and the occasionally black. I makes a great accent to pink. My wardrobe looks pretty much the same way. If you wanted to describe my color scheme with one word- Romantic.

Time is Wasting
Day 2: Photography Challenge Day!
Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative.
I had no clues about this one. I even thought of skipping it. But then inspiration hit! What knitter has not felt the crunch of time? That last minute project, Christmas knitting or a present gone wrong.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blue and Red Apron........and Shirt Dresses

I had forgotten I hadn't shared this apron yet. I love the inset red stripes. A simple but very striking affect. About 1940s. The construction is so interesting; binding the stripes and piecing the pocket. Has a patriot feel, don't you think?
Sorry the pictures are not so good. I think I was having a crooked day!

My inspiration for the pink shirt dress I just made. One of the comfiest dresses I have ever worn. I picked it up at an estate sale, 1960. I love the matching belt.
I didn't realize until I was digging through my vintage pattern stash, how much I am in love with shirt dresses. I have thirteen shirt dress patterns! That is right, 13!! Mind you, I only counted bonafid shirt dresses; with collars, waist seams and buttons.  I think I am obsessed....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chery Pink and Apple Blossom White

This song keep running through my head when I looked at my cherry tree. (Except my blossoms aren't pink!)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Easter Cookies

I know, Easter has been and gone. But you can't keep these cookies just for Easter, they are so scrumptious!!  They are very similar to the soft thick sugar cookies you buy in the store. My Mom describes them as "tea cakes". Not an overly sweet cookie, it would be very easy to customize the level of sugary-ness by the amount of frosting. They would also be good with just sparkling sugar baked on top.
 The second batch I made the other night. They were so good at Easter, I was still dreaming about them!

King Arthur Flour's Special Sugar Cookies.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
 1 teaspoon vanilla + 1 teaspoon almond extract, OR the flavoring of your choice
3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the extract. Stir in the dry ingredients. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into your favorite shapes with a cookie cutter. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or till they're a very light brown. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Since I was out of vanilla extract I used lemon extract instead. It gave the cookies a nice light summery taste. Frosting was from King Arthur Flour also, Easy Buttercream. I did try it like the recipe(half shortening-half butter) but our favorite is all butter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Flowers

Prim Rose
The first bloom of spring is certainly over in a flash. I took these pictures a week and a half ago. Now the tulips are almost done blooming, the lily of the valley has leaves, the cherry blossoms are gone and the Solomon's seal looks like a plant instead of an alien.
Lily of the Valley

Cherry Blossoms

Solomon's Seal


Monday, April 16, 2012

Sewing Day!

 I've had a shirt dress on my to-do list for a long time. A few months ago I finally found the perfect fabric; a lightweight cotton/spandex blend in dusty rose. I used a vintage 1964 pattern- Simplicity 3039, from my collection.
I studiously ignored everything on Saturday, except the lunch bell, and sewed away! I don't remember if I've ever sat down and completed a dress in one sitting. If I have, it has been a very long time. By that night, the only thing left was to sew four snaps on!
 It is very handy to have an hourglass figure when sewing with vintage patterns. The only alterations I needed was additional seam allowance on the bodice side seams, because I didn't have the right size. I also shortened the sleeve length and changed the button placket on the skirt to snaps hidden in the pleats.

Hopefully, I can get some better photos. I just wanted a few quick snaps to share with you all!

Friday, April 13, 2012

When the Red Red Robin comes bob bob bobn' along

 Life has been all sixes and sevens this week! What with Easter and family visiting and then having to work extra hours. Next week I will have a bunch of things to share with you and hopefully a sewing project or two. I have been longing to sew and have projects all ready to go!

There have been so many robins around lately. I mean flocks! Twenty or thirty at a time. In case you are wondering why I would be excited about robins, in Wisconsin it means Spring is Sprung!! They are back from their winter in the south. My sister and I have been stalking them, trying to get a good picture! But they are wary little birds.

I have had this song stuck in my head for weeks....

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Art Institute of Chicago

A few weeks ago I made a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. If you have never been, it is well worth the visit! Not only is there famous pictures, portraits, paintings and sketches by Degas, Renoir, van Gogh, Grant Wood and Edward Hooper; there is furniture, jewelry, pottery, glass and textiles. Of course, my favorite exhibits were the textiles and the Thorne Miniature rooms! We no where near made it through all the exhibits, there is so much to see. Today I have pictures of the textiles to share with you.
 This quilt was made between 1795-1820 by Mary Jones. This is one of my favorite patterns called "Bow-Tie". I love the fabric used in this quilt. Unfortunately my close up pictures didn't turn out very clear, as I was using my cousin's camera, which I had never used before.

A coverlet, made from three lengths of fabric woven on a hand loom. Beautiful! Cira 1800.

This one is called "Pincushion and Burrs" or "Square and Swallows", made about 1830. Don't you love the names?  I didn't know patchwork quilts have been around this long. Yes, I knew it was old and I knew it was American invented, but as old as these United States?! I just think that is really neat!

Trapunto quilting technique was used to quilt the flowers. This involves cutting small holes in the backing to add extra stuffing, making part of the design raised.
The colors are so vibrant! It is amazing it is from 1830!! This one is called Star of Bethlehem.
I love how it is filled with stars of all sizes.

From 1840s, this is "Cockscomb", "Rose Tree" or "Pineapple". This one is my favorite! Lots of Pink! I am not sure I would enjoy doing all that applique though......
 I am not sure if the security guard was just bored or if I was acting too excited and crazy. He followed me from room to room while I exclaimed and oohhed and ahhhed. I was in raptures!!
Part of the exhibit and other people enjoying the quilts.