Saturday, October 29, 2011
Fall is upon us here in the Pacific NW. With Halloween just around the corner, I had to decide what kind of costume I was going to make this year. I settled on something both practical and silly. The "deer with little antlers" hat by Tiny Owl Knits will keep me warm while trick-or-treating and is enough to pass for a costume in this climate where we could be bundled up in raincoats as we make the rounds.
The hat was fun to make. It's the first of Stephanie Dosen's patterns I've tried, and the pattern was well written and showed its author's quirky sense of humor. I was a little worried about getting the antlers to turn out but I needn't have--they came together just as she said they would, and there were even pictures to show how they would look at each stage. I used handspun yarn for the antlers, which made the felting much easier because it's not so processed.
Otherwise on the knitting front, the Felted Tweed sweater is still in the works. It's been a long project, and I admit I'm tired of it. I am on sleeve no. 2, and once I finish the stockinette portion I have to knit the cuffs. I think I'll just knit them on to the bottoms instead of making separate cuffs and sewing them on. Then all I need is some cool buttons (an excuse to go to Churchmouse) and I'm done. Then I can get on with a project I'm really excited about!
I've gotten into quilting some. This is a little project from a pattern by McKenna Ryan, who has a studio/gallery on Bainbridge Island. Her stuff isn't exactly my thing, but I had the pattern and it's good practice for other things I might want to do. This piece is wall hanging size and will be about 13" x 26" or so when it's done.
One thing I didn't quite think through is that all the pieces need to be quilted or anchored in some way, and as you can see some of them are miniscule. Doh. I did get some invisible monofilament thread so I don't have to match colors of thread, and I'm trying my hand at free motion quilting, which is hard! It's something that takes a LOT of practice. I think I will be practicing quite a bit more before attempting a combination of straight stitching and free motion on this little piece.
Has anybody started thinking about Christmas crafting? I've committed myself to knit two small projects so far, although I have lots of ideas of things that would be great to make for family and friends. . .
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Over the weekend we went to the Vashon Sheepdog Classic, a three-day event at Misty Isle Farms on Vashon Island. We were just there for the day, but we got to see some super smart dogs at work herding the sheep over the course.
The course was laid out over rolling hills. The dogs had to run about 300-400 yards to find their sheep, which they couldn't see at the start. Then they herded a group of five sheep through some gates and back to the shepherd, and then dog and handler worked together to separate two from the group of five and then finished by getting them all into a pen. The sheep presented their own challenge. They came from the mountains of Eastern Washington and were used to roaming in flocks of thousands and had not been exposed to herding dogs except in large groups. But most of the dogs rose to the challenge and performed amazingly.
The venue was very pretty and spectators had good views of all the action. There was also a sheep-to-shawl exhibition going on during the competition. Carders would take freshly shorn fleece and card it for the spinners, who spun and plied the yarn and handed it off to some weavers, who were weaving a shawl to auction off at the end of it.
At home, I've been doing some lessons from my art books. This book features cats and dogs in a variety of styles and media: watercolor, acrylic, oil and ink.
I love doing step-by-steps, especially in a new medium, because I learn so much in the doing. This particular exercise is by Claudia Nice, who works in mixed media, mostly pen and watercolor. She provides lots of tips and tricks for anyone interested in following along.