Tag Archives: colorful

Tin, tin, tins…

I love old tins.

I love finding them and I love storing things in them and I especially love finding them with things already in them.

Old tings-zippers

This one is from my childhood home – it looks old timey, but was from the 1970s or ’80s… which sadly, might in fact be old timey to some.

I don’t remember the marshmallows, but I like marshmallows.

It is perfect for the storage of zippers and various purse/bag hardware.

Old things-needles

This was a lucky thrift store find of a tin with something in it – mostly needles and a lovely bent-to-fit sterling thimble.  I use the needles from time to time but get pissed when I don’t realize I have a rusty one until it leaves a mark in my fabric.

Old things-needles close

Also inside are some nice bone tapestry needles – I think?  And a “Tyton” tool at the bottom.  Anybody know what that is?  All I get is a Polish football (soccer) player.

Old things-spools

This tin came from a thrift store and was probably $ .50 or less.  I think I bought it when I only had $ .50 in my pocket.  It previously held fruitcake from New Orleans.  I thought you got sh*tfaced in New Orleans, not hang around and eat hard cake.  But I guess you have to “feed” fruitcake with brandy or rum or something…. that could explain it.

Old things-spools-close

But the loveliness inside is my collection of vintage thread.  I got the thread way back when at my old favorite thrift store in a dusty old bag (perhaps once actually belonging to a dusty old bag of another sort).  One day I may frame some of these in a shadow box of some sort, but I do use a teensy bit of them from time to time since the colors are wonderful and often match my clothing in need of repair.  And good god, I love wooden spools.  I know it’s a waste of a tree but they serve so many purposes after their intended one and just look finely aged and patinated on their own.

Old things-floss

This is an estate sale find of a tin with something in it.  I was excited to find this small stash of embroidery floss until its horrid camphor odor assaulted my sniffer.  I got it anyway, cleaned and aired the tin, aired the floss, and thought it was good to go.  I added a few odds and ends of my own floss too.

Sadly, it still smells.

Tins - bon bons whole

And finally, the loveliest tin of them all, and the one I uncharacteristically paid the most for – I believe it was a whopping $12.

But $12 is no longer an insignificant amount of money to me, and I feel pressure to put something priceless and special inside of it instead of the tiny yarn balls and clippings currently in there.

Tins - bon bons

Maybe I should have a candy while I think about it.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under home decor, recycling, sewing, thrifting

[Jet] lagging…

I made it to 5:12 a.m. this morning and feel triumphant!  Then I realized it was daylight savings,* so the jet lag beast has been tossed a scrap and is still pacing a bit around the room.  No more middle of the night pancake dinners/breakfasts though, but the last one was quite tasty with the last of our White Mountain edible souvenirs.

pancakes

My brain is still buzzy and unfocused and my body mildly flu-like.  I came home with mountain legs as firm as two well-aged prosciutti, but now they’re returning to their younger non-dead jiggly piglet state.  My body and mind are out of synch with my reality and just want to put one foot in front of the other until a pleasing distance and vista and lunch spot have been reached.

murder on the mountain **

I know it is incredibly pretentious, but I feel more culture shock returning to the U. S. rather than being outside of it (at least in the European bits).  Americans weigh too much, they are sick, they are loud, they drive enormous machines, they wheel enormous luggage, they can be demanding of bedraggled clerks and service workers, their children are wild, and worst of all, they build and live in suburbs – vast expanses of land without sidewalks or farms – utterly purposeless and ugly.

But this is where I was born and legally reside and thanks to N we can leave it once in awhile.

But I’m also just another American wishing she could eat, pray, love (mostly the eating part) under the Tuscan (I’d prefer Abruzzo) sun.  But there are a few things in Italy (and probably Europe in general) that are downright magical that even more increase my desire to stay.

  Dairy.  I have dairy issues in the states – I don’t know if it is lactose or casein or something else, but even when I get the organic grass-fed hoity-toity localish stuff here, I can have problems.  I can tolerate milk, ice cream, cream, etc., about 15% of the time here, so I usually just forgo anything not aged or fermented – cheese and yogurt are ok-ish.  In Italy, I have about a 99% tolerance rate – the only bad dairy experience I’ve had there was from a mediocre cream-based pasta sauce at an even more mediocre tourist trap restaurant in Rome a few years ago.  So I load up on the stuff while I’m there – cappuccino, gelato, cream sauces, oh yeah!  And of course cheese – I especially love the sheep and goat stuff – pecorino dolce, ricotta di capra, caciocavallo etc., etc., etc….

 Allergies.  I barely have them there, and leave behind my constant ropey mucous companion dangling down my throat here.  That probably has a straightforward reason about the different climate and fewer useless expanses of lawns and less proliferation of non-native species with their companion herbicides and pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

So now that I’ve established that my brain is broken, my body atrophying, my nose dripping, and I’m suffering from a vague yogurt induced gut cramp, I must mention fiber – specifically my travel knitting.

I started the first pair of socks since my sock knitting debacle months ago.  Again, my sock mojo is off – I used a bit bigger yarn on my preferred shorty wood needles with my 64 stitch vanilla pattern, thinking it would firm things up and be ok, but they’re big – baggy ankle big.  But I don’t give a damn and still have to finish the leg parts, so I can firm up the upper ribbed section.  I’m constructing them in a strange fashion, but it makes sense in my head and should allow me to use up all the yarn.  I’ve dubbed them my “Nostalgia Socks” as the color reminds me of old quilts, 1970s sweaters, and now my trip.

sock in progress

The colors in this pic are wrong, but accurately portray the weak blue light that just barely stretched down to our nearly subterranean Italian apartment.

nostalgia socksThis is how the color should look – and if you look closely you can see one of the two knots I’ve found so far.

And remember my giddiness over Pigeonroof Studios Mimsy BFL roving?  And even more over the Hitchhiker pattern? I can call it a finished project now since I shoved it in my bag at the last minute.  It was one of those that ended sooner than I was ready to finish, and previously I only let myself knit a few rows here and there as a reward for meeting some goals on my portfolio pieces.  Ok, I may have over-rewarded myself, but this is my favorite handspun yarn to date – the softness and drape are wonderful (if I do say so myself) but most of that is due to the inherent qualities of the fiber itself.

Mimsyhiker on wall

My yardage was less than the suggested amount and I used bigger needles, so I didn’t quite make it to the original 42 points.  Mine is 41 1/2 – instead of a half a point, I just made the last one wider.  I watched 42 on the plane over and hoped I could have that numerical reference as well, but I didn’t quite make the team.

Mimsyhiker & acquedotto

Mimsyhiker & biscotto

I finished it in the first few days we were there, so I was able to wear it again and again and again – it’s finally taking a rest drying from a light blocking to stretch it out a little.

As for acquisitions, I bought some cheap (but ugly) sock yarn, and some cheap (but lovely) mohair in the market.

But of course I bought more of the real thing.

yarn-laquilana

It deserves a post of its own next time.

* Daylight savings happened in Italy last weekend.  We spent a day wondering why none of the cafes were opened when they should have been, rushed to return the rental car when we didn’t have to hurry, and even left for the airport an hour before we needed to – but none of it was the problem it would have been in the spring.

** I love this picture that N took – in the camera it appeared that I had been steamrolled, but now it looks more like a Nancy Drew book jacket for “Murder on the Mountain.”  I love sleeping on mountains – some bedroom designer should get on that – forget beds – rig up a soft inclined meadow and mimic warm sun and chilly breezes in a room instead.

2 Comments

Filed under hiking, home decor, knitting, spinning, travel

Biggest-assed yarn bomb

It’s all over and too late to see now, but Knit the Bridge was pretty cool (and record-breaking).

We went to Pittsburgh for a little jaunt over Labor Day weekend and caught the bridge on a bright summer morning.

Knit the Bridge 1

(Got the ass-end of one of those obnoxious duck tour thingamawhats too!)

It was quite a bit more Crochet the Bridge, rather than knit, but they certainly couldn’t call it [yarn] Bomb the Bridge, which would have been more accurate, inclusive, and alliterative, but sadly we can’t say such things these days.

Knit the Bridge 2

The cheery hanging flower baskets were a nice touch too and complimented the bright acrylic yarns.

The whole thing had a campy, homey feel which was nice, but also played a bit into the knitting/crochet stereotype.

Knit the Bridge 3

But I won’t criticize that too harshly – overall it was a good thing and acrylic had to be used as the blankets will be massively laundered and donated to people and places that don’t have the knowledge, time, space, or frankly have much bigger issues rather than proper care of woolen hand-knits.

(There were actually many people out too, I just chose the pics without them.)

See also Cosy’s blog for more pics.

Knit the Bridge 4

I sadly wasn’t able to cram in a visit to Natural Stitches which is among my favorite LYSs – it carries loads of good quality stuff in good colors plus some fancy things for the occasional splurge (but not fancy-pants things that are just plain fugly).

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t acquire yarn of some sort.  We also hit a couple of thrift stores and I found a few sweaters ripe for harvesting.  Many of the thrift stores around Pittsburgh don’t take away the sweaters in summertime like they do on the East Coast.  I hate when they do that.

Pgh thrift 9-2013 4

As usual, I don’t have immediate plans for these, but they have the same sized/weight nicely heathered Shetland-like yarn, so something stripey with the two sweaters combined might be in order.  Maybe even a traditional Shetland hap shawl… Purple usually isn’t among my top favored colors though…

Pgh thrift 9-2013 3

And I pretty much swore I wouldn’t buy thin merino to unravel again, but I liked the colors of these and they’re the exact same sweater, so color work is a possibility, though I’ve fallen down the orange-green hole many times already.

Pgh thrift 9-2013 1

And one to keep as-is to wear (as if I need another).

I love the pale green – thank you late ’70s, early ’80s (and yes, I’m sure it’s probably a man’s sweater, but it fits).

Pgh thrift 9-2013 2

And I love the slogan on the label: “Wool. It’s got life.”

Amen.

Pgh thrift 9-2013 5

And I got a few to full/felt.  Only some of them didn’t.  But that’s okay, I’ll unravel them instead.

The ones that did have already become phone cozys/socks/sleeves for some smart phone wielding friends.

I’ve got leftovers for sale too.

(My Etsy shop still isn’t stocked yet though.)

Leave a comment

Filed under knitting, recycling, thrifting, travel

Gradually getting kooler…

I’ve been wanting to start dying yarn for quite some time, but we currently lack the space, ventilation, and decommissioned cookware.  So I finally got around to dying with the stuff you can’t technically die from, but I certainly wouldn’t want to ingest, though millions do.

Kooldye

Yep, good old Kool-Aid – and I stand by my opinion that the stuff really is truly horrid, but I’ve been wanting to try gradient dying with this tutorial and it’s cheap and I thought readily available.*  A [not so] brief aside about my relationship to the beverage – the only positive thing I can associate with it is its endearing camp name of “bug juice.”  We always had bug juice at summer camp, though I don’t remember drinking it.  Why?  Because I barfed fruit punch flavored Hi-C** as a small child and have always carried the world’s worst aversion to the scent/smell/taste/whiff/hint of fruit punch (and bright red beverages to a lesser degree) into present day.  In fact, that is partly the reason that my only fear in life is anything to do with vomit – both my own and others’, and the pile on the sidewalk, or the remnants in the bowl in a public restroom, or boats, or amusement rides, or pregnant women, or drunks, or babies, or children, or hospitals and doctors offices, or even the offhand comment by someone that her/his stomach feels a little funny, can send me into a tailspin of fear and trembling.  The other reason is my second grade teacher had me clean another student’s puke off some wooden puzzles.  I was above average for my redneck school, so I was off quietly reading to myself – an Encyclopedia Brown book in fact – when the teacher was conducting a reading lesson to the rest of the class.  I was absorbed in my book, and didn’t notice what happened in the back and the subsequent sudden shuffle of students and a teary girl running out of the room.  Then my teacher sweetly asked if I could help her, and being a generally obedient child, I did.  Usually the teachers wanted to rub their excess hand lotion onto you (which seems mildly horrifying now), or help watering the plants, or straightening the [outdated] books.  No, I was presented with a stack of puzzles covered in chunky upchuck and told to take them to the restroom (or maybe she called it washroom) and clean them off.  I did.  I think I cried.  I think my mom raised holy hell at the school afterwards.  But all I remember is the spilled stomach contents and it haunts me to this day.

But back to the dye job.

kool-sweater

I started unraveling this thrift store sweater around the time we moved a year ago so I never finished it and have only recently found the box in which it was shoved.  I hate to unravel something hand-knit even from a big company that most likely exploited the labor (though I have no proof of that so don’t sue me) but this was a late 1980s, early 1990s monstrosity with gaping drop shoulders that reached the naval.  Maybe I killed something really important to fashion history – I killed it for its pelt.

kool-yarn

The wool is good – very sheepy.  It was knit with two strands held together to make for a bulky weight – unplied you’ve got twice the yardage at a still generous worsted weight.  I wanted at least 150 yards, so I wound off 100 thinking I’d go the worsted option and then have 200.

kool-dye

I bought several packets of the evil drink mix, though I was disappointed that there was no green or blue – what about lime or blue raspberry (even though there isn’t such a thing as a blue raspberry on this good green earth)?

What follows are notes to myself that I’m sharing so use the tutorial or check out the What a Kool Way to Dye group on Ravelry for technical details.

kool-little ball

First bath was two packets of lemonade, and one of watermelon.  The lemonade was basically useless as yellow, but it helped turn the pink slightly more coral.  My ball was pretty dense and I was sure the dye didn’t get very far so I wound off all of the first color.

kool-balls&pot

Then I left it out of the pot and stuck the bigger remaining ball in.  Second bath was a packet of tropical punch and one of orange.  This is where I nearly lost it, and unfortunately only later found out that cherry is basically the same color and I never had to endure the fruit punch in the first place.  I can’t even begin to describe the odor – artificial flavor and scent, wet wool, the sh*t that was stuck to the burner and burning, and the remnants of eau de thrift store. (The sweater had already been washed once but the yarn hadn’t had its second bath yet).  I couldn’t take it for very long, so before the liquid had gone clear, I rinsed and wound this around the little pink ball so the last undyed layer was on the top.

kool-mold

Then added one grape packet to the pot and sprinkled on another directly to the ball.  It looks like mold.  It smelled like hell.  But the grape covered up the worst of the fruit punch stink.

kool-soak

Then I soaked it a couple of times in cold water and vinegar.  I hoped that the vinegar would help with the stink, and it did to a degree, but I’m still picking up a whiff I’d rather not.

KOOL-SKEINED

I don’t know the color fastness of the final product, and it’s faded a bit after drying, but I don’t mind if it fades a bit more.  I suspected that the plies would felt and they did, so I’ll probably end up using this as 100 yards of bulky weight yarn.

And yeah, wear gloves.  I did except for the one time I really should have been (see top pic).

*The fancy grocery stores that we as food snobs frequent do not stock the stuff, so I had to visit a grocery on the other side of the tracks to find it.  But it is one that I will return to as I found lower prices on a few things I buy, and smaller sized things – though that is a crime – the smallest portion is always the most expensive in terms of the price per serving and the poor gets screwed with that, but for some things, I only want a little bit since I end up having to throw larger portions out.

**Never give a child with a stomach ache anything that contains food coloring.

4 Comments

Filed under dyeing, recycling, thrifting

Falling off the wagon and joining the crowd…

I’ve never been one for KALs, SALs,* or anything-else-alongs, preferring to shut up in my hidey hole and go about my business at my own pace.  But my last experience with Pigeonroof Studios roving was something I was craving to repeat so I decided to have another little taste.

Pigeon zucchini

I’m torn between actually making this into socks which I first set out to do with my original order of PRS superwash merino roving, or having it nearer to my head or hands… I’m quite the sucker for greens and oranges and this takes the cake!  I’m leaning towards socks, so I will make this a three ply just in case.  I know I won’t get very good yardage with a three ply, but this is so summery that it begs to be short socks.

PRS zucchini

And then over the winter it was announced that there would be a special color for a limited two-month window to act as a spin-along and um, I caved when I saw it was a green blend for May/June called “Mimsy.”  I’ve never done anything at the same time with a group with the exception of occasionally knitting the same thing along with (or after) a knitter friend (who I knew in life, not virtually).  I feel like it is what… too conformist?  Too creepy and whiffs of citizens of a bad government all marching as one?  Too… what?  I’ve secretly longed to be in a few quilt block contribution projects that I learned about after the fact, but I don’t want to waste the time trolling the various interwebsocialnetworkingblatheringblogtimewasting sites to find one currently open.  At the moment the greatest benefit I can see in a -along is the motivation to work with a material in a timely manner and/or other people might be able to offer suggestions, tips, etc., if something comes up or a decision needs to be made.  I’ve been lurking on the PRS group on ravelry and they seemed like a nice bunch, so I jumped into the common soup (you can’t make me drink the cool-aid though).

Mimsy

I also justified the purchase by requiring myself to learn a new technique with this spin, so I got the colorway in BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) so I could make felted/fulled singles or try Navajo/chain plying for the first time.  However, I jumped the gun and already experimented with Navajo plying and suck at it, so it is back to a question of the singles.  I was thinking that I would make mitts or mittens with the finished yarn since it matches one of my tealy-blue wool jackets, but if I make singles, I will have more yardage than hand wear would need and I fear the yarn might not be quite as hard-wearing as it would be if plied, so neck wear it will probably be instead.

PRS with turq

(I hesitate to mention that I also have some solid turquoise-ish** roving that could be blended or plied with it to stretch it further, but I could potentially screw it up.)  But that does get me thinking…  Spinning beautifully dyed wool always results in beautiful yarn, and in a way I feel a little bit like I’m cheating since I didn’t dye it myself.  Sure everyone spins differently and the colors can really change depending on the technique, but it all ends up being uniform in its gorgeousness.  So if I blend it with another color, my potentially f*cked-up skeins would at least be unique and more of a I’ll-do-it-by-myself-thankyouverymuch along… hmm…

And then what was that, there was a sale?

Pigeon two

Yeah, I have a problem…

And the even bigger problem with this last acquisition is that I’m contemplating getting a third braid to go with this project – a striped shawl/scarf – and a third would make it larger, and I mostly like a big-ass neck thing these days.  I’m thinking either a yellow or a brighter deeper green might work… and keep it in a monochromatic-ish palette, but what attracted me to PRS in the first place is its often joyful disregard of monochromaticity, but whatever, I love these colors.

PRS eye

This is your face on PRS.

*Knit Along, Spin Along.

**None of the pictures with the color blue are remotely accurate in terms of color – anything with blue should be more greenish.  The last one is almost right in terms of the wool, however I am not pink (and I do have an index finger on that hand).

The rovings are, from top picture to bottom:

Zucchini blossom in Merino Superwash

Mimsy in BFL

Jadeite in Merino Superwash

Lettuce in Merino Superwash

2 Comments

Filed under knitting, spinning

Quilts in my past, part IV [and an update to part I]

Henry’s baby quilt (toes not included).

Hank's babyquilt1

No, this is not another picture of Yasmina’s quilt, but many of the fabrics are the same, though with hers, the “blocks” were smaller.  This one came a few years before that one, and was my first “crib quilt.”  I remember getting the roll of pre-cut cotton batting and upon opening it, had a WTF moment when I saw how big it was… I was thinking cribs were small and babies were small, and the whole thing would be small and quick, but it was about four times the size I thought it would be.  And aren’t babies not supposed to sleep with blankets anyway?  But regardless, it was still smaller than a twin, so I got some more fabric and soldiered on.  Much of this is from my original stash of reproduction feedsack, and my personal favorites are the blue border with the geese and the yellow pinwheely things.

And an update of Henry’s twin-size quilt with current pictures after a few years of use.

Hank's twin2

Hank's twin1

See, I thought that binding sucked – it was too wide and folded over… ah well, as I mentioned before I hate that part of the quiltmaking process.  Actually, I sorta like hand-sewing the back part on when done in a different way [insert proper term here] but this was an act of speed and I sewed both sides through like a sandwich [insert another appropriate term here].  If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a self-taught quilter, and I am a bad teacher who hasn’t assigned much book learnin’ except for looking at pictures.  Lots and lots of pretty pictures of quilts from way back when…  I hesitate to delve deeper into the actual mechanics of the thing because I tend to either loose interest or become completely obsessed when faced with loads of new knowledge.  Knitting took over my life after I forcibly removed myself from only the garter stitch, and hence a monster was born.  I want to keep quilting a bit more in check I suppose, but I do need some more skills in the binding department – mitered corners perhaps?  But I also do have limitations on what my vintage sewing machines can do – none of that long-arm freestylin,’ freewheeling, happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care quilting for me, though I’d like to….

Thanks to my sister-in-law for sending the pics and Charlie for modeling!

2 Comments

Filed under quilts, sewing

Who’s my momma?

thrift stitchery

In the sometimes sad cruel world of thrift shop discards, I occasionally come across some artistic foundlings.  Who wouldn’t dream of finding a lost masterpiece/rare historic document/load of cash hidden behind a paint-by-number rendition of a horse in the desert?  But sadly, the only hidden score I’ve ever made was five bucks stuck to some used gum in a jacket pocket.  But once in awhile I’ll come across some decent handmade items – amateur paintings that are crude but appealing, wonky but charming efforts from a ceramics class, or stitchery – much in the way of beautifully embroidered home items.  With vintage stitched tablecloths, napkins, dresser scarves and the like, I assume they were made by a long ago grandmother.  They were lovingly kept, passed on, and possibly used for decades until the family ended, someone had to make a significant move or downsizing and was sad to let them go but had to, or the maker was a mean old bag and no one wanted her crap.  But these two wool canvas work pictures caught my eye since they didn’t seem to fit the mold of someone making them long ago or an assignment for a community arts class or freshman art 101.  One was framed professionally, and the other somewhat sloppily.  I’m dating them to the 1980s since the whale pattern reminds me of the cotton lining of a kelly green rubber raincoat I wore with navy duck shoes* that I had then.  The primary colors in the other also make it a good fit for the decade, or perhaps as early as the late 1970s.  I haven’t dismantled them enough to see if the canvas was printed and thus a kit, and thus I wouldn’t really be interested in them anymore, so I don’t want to know quite yet.  So I am seeking opinions, identifications, possible makers, reference leads – help?  I found them in a Goodwill in Mahopac, Putnam County, New York last fall on the way up to Rhinebeck 2012.

*Links for visual references only, I’m not pushing this Etsy shop, nor is it mine.

Leave a comment

Filed under sewing