April 2011 Archives

For the Birds

A simple project inspired by Shepherd Susie at Juniper Moon Farm. Bright yarn bits as esting materials for spring birds. (I searched for the link to her project, but couldn't find it quickly, but trust me, she is the inspiration!).

We started with a simple, natural colored wool yarn, which Z and I cut into various lengths that we thought birds could fly away with and set up little dyeing tubs of Easter egg dye.

20110331_PreparingToDye.jpgI tied the bundles with longer lengths of yarn to make it easier to dip and remove the pieces in the dye.

After letting the yarn sit in the dye bath for a while, we pulled it out, rinsed it in cold water and let it dry, after rolling it in paper towel to remove some of the water.

20110331_Dyed.jpgFun, bright colors for the birds.  We picked the brightest dyes we could find so that when we were traveling around my parents land, it would be easy to spot the colored yarn if the birds used it in their nests.

After the yarn was dry, we stuffed it into a suet feeder and set it out in my dad's bird cafe.  Hopefully when we go back we can take a walk and see where some of it has gotten to!

Note to My Daughter

I love that you love and want to wear your "twirly" dresses.  Isn't it fun to be a girl sometimes?  I still want to wear twirly dresses, too! 

Mondo Cable Shell

Pattern: ChicKnits Mondo Cable Shell/Vest
Yarn: Goddess Yarns Phoebe -- 100% Alpaca
Needles: US Size 8 Inox/US Size 7 AddiTurbos
Size: 36"

Just in time for spring, I finished my Mondo Cable Shell.  Pretty sharp, eh?  It took me a lot longer to make my way through this pattern than it should have, mostly because I kept thinking that the Phoebe, which has no elasticity and seemed to work itself towards uneven stitches no matter what I tried, was really going to make it look like a hot mess.  And then, of course, I blocked it, the alpaca became one with the warm water and everything evened out, leaving a lovely garment behind. 

20110411_MondoCableShellSid.jpgBonne Marie's construction of this garment is an interesting (and I mean that in a good way) examination of top down construction.  I particularly liked how she started the cable process at the V neck.  Even with the clever construction, this is still a nice project for a new-to-cables knitter, or for something to work on while you relax in front of the TV with a cup of tea.  Not too hard, but enough details to keep you interested. 

Even though I like the vest (and can see making another out of a nice cotton yarn for the summer), the jury is still out for me on the yarn.  It is wonderful, warm and squishy and feels very rich. The color is delish. That said, aran weight alpaca is heavy and I worry that over time this garment will lose its shape.  I guess I'll just have to get some wear out of it and see.

Queen Anne's Lace Scarf

Project: Queen Anne's Lace Scarf
Yarn: Premier Yarns' Serenity Garden Yarn, Colorway 4
Fiber Content: 100% Microfiber
Hook: F (3.75mm)

Time to kick off the spring projects with something fun, lacy and easy to make. Ms. Z has been getting into all things girly lately: twirly skirts and dresses, delicate little shoes, almost anything pink, butterflies and jewelry, particularly necklaces.   After finding the Serenity Garden Yarn on sale at JoAnn's I set about looking for a scarf pattern that would appeal to a little girl and be entertaining for me as well.  I'd been itchy to break out my crochet hooks again, so Khebin Gibbons' Queen Anne's Lace Scarf seemed like a perfect match.

I love the colors in this yarn.  They really say spring to me and remind me of the spring bulbs that my mom and I used to plan in the front yard when I was a kid.  Red and orange and yellow tulips, purple hyacinths and crocus.  I wish we got more sun in our yard so that I could continue the tradition with Ms. Z now that growing things are of much more interest to her.

20110411_QALScarfUnroll.jpgThe mottled quality of the yarn gives it almost a hand painted quality.  The fact that it is all microfiber means that it is soft and child-friendly and can go in the wash after it goes out to play.

The crochet pattern is one of those that looks complicated, and does take a little attention when you are first starting, but is easily memorized and easily done.  It requires no more complicated stitch element than a double crochet.  One skein of this yarn made a scarf that was more than sufficient length for a small girl -- and would probably be suitable length for a big girl as well.  This is also one of those patterns that would probably look lovely in almost any yarn you had and with a wide combination of needle sizes.  For Z, I wanted this to be relatively compact and a bit more dense than lacy to minimize the chance it would get caught on things. 

20110411_QALScarfZ2.jpgIt wasn't hard to get her to smile for the camera and pose in her new scarf.  She let me know many times how much she liked the yarn and the colors and insisted on heading off to t he park wearing it.  Such a treat to make things for her right now.  I have a second skein of the yarn and have been thinking of making one for myself so we can have a shared Mama/Daughter accessory...


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