Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Travels and Summer Knitting

I went to Austin this month for the CantoMundo workshop for Latino/a poets, which I went to last year in Albuquerque.  Like last year, it was an inspiring and informative experience, and most of last year's fellows returned, so that says a lot about how much everyone values the experience and the community of participants. 

I had a free day before the workshop, so Debra and Sophie came to visit, and we spent all day together, chatting, walking in the million degree Texas heat, and visiting the UT campus.  I only have two pictures to mark the visit: the one above, taken by a waiter, the the one below,  which Sophie took as we serendipitously passed by a mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  Debra says we have so few photos because we had such a good time visiting and I tend to agree.  There's nothing like talking quilts to a fellow quilter.  No one else understands exactly the feelings we have for the process and the products of our work, and this sharing forges profound friendships between kindred spirits.   

I needed some airplane knitting for the trip, so I cast on the Wraparoud Eyelet Shawlette by Tess Young, a pattern I bought on Ravelry.  This is a pattern I will make again: it combines mindless and mindful knitting in a balanced way, and the the finished shawl is very drapey and wearable.

I made mine out of some thrifted light blue wool, and some leftover Knit Picks Palette.  The designer includes specifications on the amount of yarn each plain stripe requires so that you can also make this shawl alternating scraps with a background color.

I cut my head out of this picture because I make funny faces when I try to model and take my own picture at the same time.  It's kind of like the face lots of people make while putting on mascara. 

Before I left for Texas I finished my Linen Stitch Shawl.  This was made out of scraps of different mostly red yarns and the pattern is from Sally Melville's book The Knitting Experience Book 3: Color.

I love the effect, but this shawl was slow to grow and I was really glad to bind it off.  It will be a warm shawl for winter.

I've got a few more weeks of vacation and I'll spend part of it continuing my shawl-knitting jag.  I also have a quilt in the works.  Pictures will be forthcoming.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Fabric Basket

Some time ago, I cut a lot of my smaller fabric pieces into strips of varying widths.  I've been incorporating them into quilts, but recently, I found this excellent tutorial on making fabric baskets, and I had fun making a scrappy basket of my own.

I used 1.5" strips that I folded over on the exposed edge as I wrapped the cotton clothesline rope. This eliminated the raw edges that could produce a lot of loose threads.  You could also cut strips on the bias.

I used up lots of narrow strips, and a lot of neutral thread. The finished basket used 96 feet of rope.  I also went through several needles before I realized that using the needle down setting was bending them.

I love the swirling colors and it was very meditative winding the fabric around the rope and sewing around and around.

While I was making this basket I bought 100 feet of cotton cording from JoAnn Fabric (with a coupon) for a second basket.  I think I'll coordinate the colors on the next one.

This made a nice sturdy basket and I used up a staggering amount of fabric strips. 

I'm using this one as a knitting basket, though I can see making cat beds and tote bags using this technique. 

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...