Thursday, August 29, 2013

Red Red

The "Dunes" Lavish shawl is nearly done. In fact, it would be done except I've decided to add a bit more to it.
I was fearful about running out of yarn before I got to the ending row and cast off. I didn't, but it got me contemplating the shawl and thinking. In the end, I decided not to cast off. Instead, I contacted Mia Bella Yarn & Accessories in Highland Park, IL and talked to the designer of the project. I sent her a photo of the project thus far and a request for more yarn in the final blue color (the ball in the photo). She replied that she liked the order I used for the colors (Yay!) and that she would dye a skein I could use to extend the piece. Isn't that awesome?  I don't want to go too much further, a wider shawl won't be a problem for me, I'm wide myself, but I don't want it to get too long. Maybe one more repeat of the lace pattern. It's on hold for the next couple of weeks until my new yarn arrives. I can't wait!
So, in the meantime, I've cast on with the Wool & Company's Fagot-stitch scarf.  After taking this photo, I switched from circulars to straight needles and it's going much better--the yarn over stitches didn't want to slide over the joints in the circular needles. No problems with the straight. This is going to be a really lush feeling scarf I think.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer Heat

It's been hot in Chicago recently. We've escaped into movie theaters to see Red 2 and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. (I liked Red2 but felt uncomfortable about liking it--there's lots of gratuitous violence; I really enjoyed Percy Jackson, no second thoughts.) We also went to the nearby Indiana Welcome Center to see this photography exhibit.
Some of it was really wonderful, some interesting, some thought provoking. There were a couple of times when I thought that some people shouldn't be allowed to use Photoshop. It's not our taste. It was obvious that most of the exhibit photos were photoshopped...some to "enhance" with only some being successful. Some used manipulation to create an interesting and new image and they were pretty cool. Some used it deftly--some of the final images were printed on canvas paper and with the adjustments looked more like paintings than photos--but it suited the image and was very nice. 

All in all it was a very interesting show and worth a visit if you're in the area (just south of 80-94 at the Kennedy Ave. exit). It's free and the center has some interesting brochures for activities, sites and events all over Indiana.
I haven't been talking about embroidery, mostly because I'm working on two guild challenges that I really can't show until next month. I'm nearly done with one and am pleased with how it's coming along so decided to show some snippets of the project.

We were given a piece of lugana and a selection of threads. The challenge was to design something with the fabric and threads, using at least a little of each provided fiber. I've really enjoyed this challenge.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stitches Midwest Stash

First, some progress to show on the Lavish shawl--I'm well into the final ball of yarn. (and a bit worried I'll have enough to bind off where I want to!)
Now on to the Stitches Midwest show and pile of new stash!
I bought this pattern and ordered the kit to be mailed to me from Miss Babs Hand-Dyed Yarns and Fibers. (Check out their beautiful colors!) I haven't gotten my wool yet, but have been assured it's on it's way.
I've ordered a very different color way from the one shown here. This shawl was all over the festival, in many color choices, and I still like the one I picked the best. It's a black background with the leaves and stems in different saturated colors. I can't figure out the pattern from reading it--I'll need to do it.
I found this periwinkle-opalescent color in the Verdant Griffon's sale box (the beads came from another vendor I forgot to note).  I'm thinking shawl with the drop beads at the edge.  (I'm thinking this with my first shawl still on the needles! sheesh!)
This yarn is from Windy Knitty. (Isn't that a great name for a Chicago yarn shop?)  I'm planning another Verdant shawl. This one will begin with the pink, go to the greens and then pick up the second skein starting with the green and ending with pink.  A rainbow to wear. And it feels doable.
This was an impulse purchase, plain and simple. Wool & Co. is a shop near my sister's, so I get there on occasion (well worth a visit--it's a lovely shop). But I fell in love with this gossamer scarf and the red yarn (it's shades of red from magenta to orange).  The yarn has little sparkles (sequins) in it. It should be quick to do. I've got the needles out--this is the one I'm itching to begin.
This was another impulse purchase. I don't regret it at all.  Inspired by an Arts & Crafts era California home, I really like a lot of the designs included. 
Here are thumbnails from the table of contents. Some have color work, some have texture stitches, some both. There are larger and smaller projects, simple and more complex. I also like that the two sweaters included have larger sizes--no figuring if I want to make one for me (as if! socks and mitts are more my speed...but I still love feeling included).  The periwinkle yarn is of the same type used in the aqua socks center bottom, so that's another possibility.

So far this week I've been busy and haven't done much of anything. I have been browsing my patterns and Ravelry--I've learned a friend's daughter is expecting...Baby Patterns!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More Weekend Fun

On Saturday we ventured into the city, to Old Town and the Midwest Buddhist Temple for their Ginza Festival. We've been visiting this annual event off and on since the 70s.
This is the view from the entry gate as we walked in. The first Taiko performance is going on. You can hear the drums from several blocks away, leading you to the festival. The weather was perfect. Sunny and warm but not too hot. 
We met good friends and their children there and had a great time together. The festival is known for their teriyaki chicken, but we had sushi, udon and edamame instead (along with popcorn and snow cones for the kids).
This is the second taiko performance of the day, when the Midwest Buddhist temple's group performed a number with the Minneapolis/St. Paul group. I'm a huge fan of taiko drumming and take every opportunity I can to attend a performance.

In between taiko there are demonstrations from local martial arts associations (we saw Kendo and Aikido), traditional dancing and music, and other performances. We wandered about looking at the wares for sale (the Ginza is a shopping area in Tokyo), watched the traditional artisans brought over from Japan work at their crafts, and admired the arts on display inside the temple.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stitches Midwest

Last Friday, World Embroideries and I visited the Stitches Midwest Market. It was a great day!
I bought some yarn here.  A new-to-me Chicago shop, Windy Knitty.
Half of the fun is looking at all the hand-made garments (and crowns) people were wearing.This lovely crown is a free pattern from Red Heart.
World Embroideries bought some yarn here. The whole place was awash with gorgeous color (even subdued colors like these are gorgeous--and this yarn felt absolutely wonderful--it's a bamboo blend). Many hand dyers and custom yarn makers, many many cool shops to visit. And Color! I fell in love with the yarns that slowly moved from one color to another over the length. 
I bought yarn here, too, and a book. This was a really cool booth with some great design ideas. I love the contrast of the 18th Century dress with the iPhone.
World Embroideries took a rest while I dithered. You can see she has a modest sized bag. I think we really did good in not buying a lot more. 
Still more color.  I had to leave some of the color behind.  Once I get my act together and take photos, I'll post my new stash!  I've been very disciplined and continue to knit on my Lavish Shawl. I want to finish that before casting on for something new. (I'm not sure I can be that disciplined!)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Still not much going on here.  I'm knitting the shawl off and on in the evenings.  I had all the pieces and finally got motivated and put the Three Happiness piece into the frame.  I'm pleased with the way it came out.  It's now hanging on my office wall.

I have some projects hanging fire--challenges for each of my guilds. One is begun and I need to get back to it--I know more or less what I'm going to do. I just have to settle down and do it.
 The other is baby bibs. I didn't want to use the cross stitch fabric bibs on offer for the project, so I got some thick washcloths and twill tape binding to make my own. I've collected some baby animal designs to stitch on them in outlines. Mom used to make baby bibs out of hand towels with a hole cut in them for the head toward one end--the hole was finished with t-shirt type ribbing. They were great, popped on and off and were very absorbant and easy to clean. And with that neckline, really kept the little one clean. But they're for babies over a year and the bibs we're making are for infants. Hence my trials with washcloths.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes.