Friday, December 25, 2009

Socks and Mitts!

So here are the most wonderful socks (still have them on!!) and mittens from Margaret (Mugginsquilts on Ravelry) that she made for me. Aren't they just beautiful!!! The socks fit perfectly - not too tight anywhere! And the mittens are nice and warm. I already went out into the 18 degree morning and through the Frisbie for the Border Collie (you can see here tail-end at the bottom of the photo) and my hands never did get cold! Hooray for mittens and roving! My winter coat is black, so they are a perfect match.  Thanks Mugsy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are you a Runner or Naughty Knotter?

...or perhaps you are a Weaver?

The hardest thing for me to learn was to weave in my ends.  I remember my nephew's afghan that looked like ribbons weaving in and out with a black background...I had ends every five rows and the strips were ten stitches I had a million. I went around tying things down, weaving in one inch, etc., and it was a mess.  A real mess.  You know, I could not drag that out of my nephew's hands....I offered to make him another one when I realized just how goofy the weaving really was and he told me no, that it was made with love by the hands of his Auntie, and there was no way he would give it up or want another one. Made me cry.

Doesn't negate the fact that the ends were STILL a mess....although made for a softer landing for Auntie, believe me.

So, what do you do?  I have learned to weave, and weave well.  I harkened back to my embroidery days, the one needlework that my mother taught me.  I weave back into the yarn, using about 1" going one way, 1 1/2" coming back, and then going back 1" where it ends in the middle of the weave. That way it is tight. I tug it on each pass so that it is tight - but hold the fabric so it doesn't bunch or pull.  All the books have something on weaving in the ends. In garments they generally say to weave if you do a lot of garments, please leave a long tail so you can work it in correctly.  Contrary to popular thought, it is better to have more than you need and cut it off than to think you have just the right amount and find out you cut it too short.

When making afghan squares I make sure that I start and stop by a corner. Nothing better than a corner where you have a nice little area to hide your yarn! If you read the pattern in advance (each row) you can tell what the pattern calls for repeat wise. That way you can start in the corner area (and if you use my Air Crochet the joins won't show a ch3!) and no one will be the wiser.  Some patterns call for you to slip stitch over to a corner after finishing your row...but if you start in the corner you also don't have to add those extra bunchy stitches. One particular designer has nearly all of her patterns slip stitching to a corner & then starting the next row.  After reviewing her patterns there seems to be no good reason for it, so I would start the rows in the corner each time and they came out just fine.

If you are a Naughty Knotter, QUIT!!!!  It isn't professional looking and it is distracting to your work.  It can also look like you have added a stitch as it makes a gaping area in the work.  No need to tie off your work - just do an invisible join, and weave in the ends as above.

If you are a Runner, QUIT!!!!!  It comes out 90% of the time. Has to be woven back in by you or the recipient. What if the recipient isn't handy in needlework?  It just hangs out.

Weaving is so much better! More secure and therefore protects your handiwork.  Don't you put a lot of love and effort on what you make? Why would you do that and then use an inferior finishing technique? Finish it with the same love you put into all those stitches. Practice finishing it so that no one can tell where you did finish it off -  you will feel so proud of your work and proud to give it away or sell it.

A job worth doing is worth doing well.......

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Other Passion

I love jigsaw puzzles!  I LOVE THEM!  I have only had one I could not put together, but I think that had a lot to do with the fact it was one someone gave me and I didn't like it all that well anyway.  A Thomas Kincaid which seemed to be all the same color!

This one was a gift from my baby DSIL.  They visited a couple of months ago and she helped start it. Unfortunately, they left before it was finished.  It only took me a couple of weeks to get it done, but I kept it up for a couple of weeks after that.

I sent it to another DSIL as she loves them as much as I do.  She sent me a doozy one time, and it took me ages to finish!  She, however, was able to finish the one that I couldn't in just a couple of weeks or less.  BAH.

I am in the process of making her an afghan in blues and greens in Vanna's Choice.  I forgot to ask her if she wanted light color or dark colors, but at least clarified she doesn't like wool. I decided to buy yarn that looks a lot like the Caribbean Ocean....beautiful lighter blues and greens with a touch of teal.  Hopefully she will like it.

I did finish my Hexagon afghan and posted it on my other site.  It didn't sell at the bazaar so am touching it up a tad with another border - in Eggplant, to match some of the colors in the afghan.  Might give it to my DSD as she seemed to like it a lot.  I'll post a photo of it when I am finished with the whole border.

Happy yarning!