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About a month ago, I started thinking about getting a DSLR. I wanted to improve my photography for my patterns, but I also just enjoy taking pictures. I emailed my brother, Rocky, asking him what I absolutely needed, because I was thinking about just buying a used camera. I didn't eed anything super fancy, and figured something a few years older would suit me just fine. Imagine how floored I was when he sent me his old camera, a Rebel xTi! I am still just so humbled by how kind and sweet that was, and truly a blessing for me!
So I have been taking pictures constantly! It's been a real learning curve even from the superzoom I used to use. I always seemed to be taking pictures of the same things; goats, Reagan, and knitting. Then I remembered something I had seen on one of my favorite blogs (got sucked in by the knitting, stayed for the hilarious American Idol reviews!) about a photo challenge.
So,I am starting the photo a day challenge, from the blog Fat Mum Slim. I thought I would post my pictures here in addition to posting them on twitter. Is that overkill? Anyway, everyday has a different theme, and you take a picture of that theme, and then share it with the world. Here are my first three photos for this month.
Aug 1: Outside.Still a goat picture, but who can resist that face! This is two of the three baby girls JarJar gave me this year. After the disaster of no baby at all the year before, I'd say she more than redeemed herself. I am keeping these two, Shorty, looking at the camera, and Rosie, focused on food! The third is Sweetie, and she is going to live at Heaven Sent Food and Fiber Farms.
Aug 3: Coin. Again, one coin was hard. We have these coins that my FIL brought back from China, and while I don't think they are old, they are beautiful.
So that is the first three days! Looking forward to the rest of August!
I thought I would write a short post about the way I am using old t-shirts in my weaving. With five people in this family, we have a fair amount of t- shirts. We usually have quite a few that are getting to the point that they can no longer be worn out of the house, but are still too good to be called rags. I like the t-shirts I am using for weaving to not have too many holes or bleach spots on them, but a few holes or bleach spots do not show up in the finished rug, and I use those.
First, I fold the t-shirt in half and cut off the hem. I don’t use the hem, because it is thicker than the rest of the t-shirt material, and makes a bulkier “stripe” if used with the other strips of material. In previous rugs, I have cut the material into 1.2 to 2 inch strips. Now, though, I am using strips about 3/4 of an inch wide.
The smaller stripes are just more appealing to me. I just cut clear across the bottom of the t-shirt, which gives me a loop, or circle, of material. I do this with all the t-shirts I plan to use for a rug. I cut strips like this all the way up to the arm pits,.Then I remove the hems from the sleeves, or start at the elbows on long sleeve t-shirts, and cut smaller loops. Once I get to the arm pits again, I stop. I don’t want to have to sew material together, so that is all of the shirt that I use at this point. It seems wasteful, but this is the most time efficient way for me to get the most done, for right now anyway.
After I have all my t-shirts done, I throw all the loops in a basket, and toss them together like a big salad. If you wanted a specific pattern, you could leave all the colors in individual piles and just pick them up in order of your pattern, but I like the mish-mashed look I get when I just pick up pieces at random. I pick up the first two, and loop them together like this:
I keep that up, picking up the pieces at random, until the ball of “Tarn” as t-shirt yarn is called, is about the size of a softball. I make balls of the strips until they are all gone. My only rule is that if I pick up a loop that is the same color as the one I just used, I have to pick another one. I don’t want two of the same color next to each other. This isn’t an original idea, lots of places sale sock loopers, which are material from the sock manufacturing process, for rugs. I’d rather not have to buy material though, and I like having control over how thick my loopers, and therefore, my rugs, are.
I’ve found that having a good mix of darks and lights, as well as having some black in the mix, makes for an attractive rag rug. It kind of reminds me of those scrappy quilts that I love so much. Lots of different colors, and not too planned out. Not to mention, inexpensive! The best thing, though in my opinion , is that once I have woven a holey t-shirt into a rug, it’s fairly certain said t- shirt won’t accidentally by pass my inspection process and end up out in public where it will make people question my parenting choices!!
Everything continues here as usual. We are back in our homeschooling schedule after the Christmas holiday, and I am knitting and weaving. We are also waiting for baby goats to be born. Looks like JarJar is the only one pregnant. We know how that went last year, though, so I am definitely keeping my expectations low. She is being a bit of a bully to Sally, but I guess that is how pregnant goats act. I really hope if she is pregnant she has a girl, I just don’t have room to keep a boy.
The weaving is going well. I am getting the hang of keeping my edges straight. After considering many options for cutting fabric into strips, I bought a rotary cutter, a mat and a ruler. The mat and ruler are small, but I didn’t want to make a huge investment if I didn’t know for sure that it was going to work. It does make a huge difference after using scissors for so long. Simplicity makes a little machine that cuts strips, and I seriously considered asking for that for my birthday, but the reviews seemed to be 9 to 1 in the negative, so I just couldn’t risk the money. There is a little rotary cutter with the brand name of Gemsy that I am considering for about the same money, but it is a serious tool, and I wanted to try the rotary cutter first. I’ve only used it for a day or two, but it does seem to make things a lot neater and straighter. Also faster if I am cutting regular fabric and not these old dishcloths.
I do have pictures of the finished baby sweater to show. I actually knit two sweaters for Caleb and Heather’s baby, who will be named Adelyn. But the other one didn’t turn out beautiful, and I needed to make them a beautfiul sweater.
And here is the back of the yoke:
And the detail on the hem:
All these pictures were taken on a rug I wove for Jody for our birthday. I sure hope she likes it! I sent her Christmas present too, so she has a big box of things to open. It sure tickles me to be able to send her something, for once, cause she sure is good to me! God couldn’t have given me a better twin sister.
I am working on a little sweater for my soon to be born great niece. In actuallity, I have knit this baby three sweaters, but she will only be getting two. I had to rip out the first sweater attempt using this yarn because I ran out of yarn. It was knit mostly in garter stitch, so I am hoping that knitting in St. Stitch will give me more wiggle room.
This is of my own design, but I don’t think I will be publishing a pattern, although I may put the chart(s) up here if any one shows any interest after I put up pictures. I knit a circular yoke, using short rows, and a delightful little cable. Then I picked up stitches along the edges for the main body, and eventually I’ll do the arms the same way. Haven’t decided on edge treatments yet, I have got a few ideas in mind, but until I try them out, I don’t think I’ll know for sure what I am going to do. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I hope to have it done at least by the end of next week. That baby will be here before you know it, and I’m running out of time!!
I feel the need to knit a new shawl coming on. Hmm…wonder which one? I have some malabrigio lace, but only one ball. I also have one ball of some Arucania Cashmere. I have two skeins each of Knit Picks Shadow. Decisions, Decisions…..
The Ephemeral Wrap, the latest Janice Garrett Design, was published December 5. It really took a while to get this one just right. I knit the prototype, and then after playing with it a little, I tweaked it. That meant I had to completely reknit it, but I am so glad I did! Using detachable buttons and strategically placed button holes made it so much more versatile, and it really opens up the possibilities for using this wrap.
Completely reversible, this is not just a shawl. You can configure this wrap several different ways, and you can get so many more uses out of it. This makes using a luxury yarn more of a bargain. Instead of investing $100 worth of yarn in just a shawl, just a cowl, just a hood or shrug, you can invest $100 in yarn and have all these things and more!!
Wear it as a shrug-
A cowl, either snugged close to your neck or loose enough to even wear around your upper torso-
Wear it as a warm and snuggly hood, with the ends wrapped as a scarf around your neck, or tucked under your jacket…
Wear it as a caplet to dress up an outfit, or just to snuggle into..
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Instructions for how to form each of these configurations are included in the 9 page pattern. I’m really happy with how it turned out! I hope you find it interesting!
This week has been a whirlwind. It was a long, wet trip back from WV, which made the fact that I was sad to leave my mom and sister to come back to Oklahoma that much more miserable. I already miss them. We pulled in at dusk. Unloading the suitcases and things is pretty routine, but by the time we were ready to unload the loom, it was pitch black. We were making due with flashlights when FIL pulled up and used his car headlights to illuminate things a bit more. With all that light, it was no problem getting the loom off the truck and onto the porch.
Getting the loom from the porch into the living room was another story altogether! You’d think with all the weavers on the internet, someone would have a step by step illustrated blog post about how to do that, but if they do, I couldn’t find it. I emailed my friend Coleen a few times, and had a general idea of how we might make it work. My plan was to take off the three boards that brace the back of the loom, take off the sectional beam, (with the warp on it!) flip it up over the top of the loom and then ease it around the door jamb like you might a sofa. It was a great plan. However, we couldn’t get the screws on the bottom board that braces the back to budge at all. I mean, they weren’t moving anywhere!
So we turned our attentions to the front of the loom. We took off the breast board, loosened the treadles and tried that, but it didn’t give us enough wiggle room. We were going to have to take off the take up roll. The first time we tried, I didn’t think that was going to happen either, but we loosened the bolts that held the cross beams, and the next time we tried, we could spread the two sides apart far enough to get the take up roll off. It still took some maneuvering, but we did it. The we slid the loom around the jam like we had planned, no problem! Once it was in the house, it all went together lickety split. Then I just had to readjust some things, like the connections to the treadles and unsnag some of the warp, and it was good to go.
That doesn’t mean I know how to use it, however. Learning to weave is going to take some time that I don’t have right now. Maybe next week I will have time to play with it a little bit.
Isn’t it pretty? This is a Leesburg 102 loom. I love it. My Uncle Pete made the bench, and I love it too! That rug on there, I didn’t start, it is a rug my cousin Charlie started. I am probably just going to pick up there, and see how I do. I need to get a feel for it before I start a project.
So this weekend is the Arkansas Fiber Extravaganza! I will be there with Sue from Heaven Sent Food and Fiber, so if you’re there, come say hi!
There is so much going on around here, it’s a whirlwind. We are getting ready to head to WV to see my family over Thanksgiving. I haven’t been to WV in two years. Actually, we haven’t been anywhere in two years. To say I am anxious to get on the road, to get there and wrap my arms around my mom, my sisters, my nieces, well, it’s an understatement. I know the week there is just going to fly,
but all that matters is that we will be together, and we are going to have a wonderful time.
Then, a few nights ago, my friend Coleen called. There was an opportunity for us to go as vendors for the Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza. Did I want to go? Well, to tell you the truth, I had to think about it for a while, and discuss it with Sean. It is the first Friday and Saturday after our trip to WV, with the previous two weekends spent on the road traveling. It is after the first week of Christmas activities with the homeschool co-op, the church Christmas dinner is that Sunday, so I can’t miss that. That Monday is a field trip. Did I really want to go? In the end I decided it would be a good way to get my name out there. Maybe I’ll sale some patterns, I’ll pass out some business cards, and I can always sleep later, after the field trip!
I am just now getting ready to release my newest pattern, it is still in the test knitting phase, although I think that I only have one knitter left who hasn’t finished or said she is close to finishing. I’ll have to do that after we get back from WV, because I refuse to think about it while I am at Mom’s. I plan on taking knitting projects with me that I don’t have to think about!
Another picture, though!
This is the wrap in it’s hood configuration! So, so cute under a jacket!