Friday, 25 July 2008

Play Silks

This afternoon, the youngest one had an impromptu nap. Taking advantage of the relative calm, knowing that my entire evening would be ruined as a result, the other two and I dyed the play silks I bought after the Waldorf camp last week. I think it was worth it!

We used Kool-Aid to dye the pink (Cherry) and green (Lemon-Lime) and used my Ashford dyes to dye the yellow-orange one. The blue one is from day-camp. They are truly lovely. We used hot water and vinegar to set the dye, with the exception that the orange one was also wrapped loosely in plastic wrap and microwaved for a bit and the green one was brought to almost a boil on the stove. The Ashford dyes bound very strongly to the silk and there was no residual dye in the rinse water at all.

A Gift For Your Feet

Well, really my friend's feet. She is coming up to visit this weekend and it happened to be her birthday the other day, which I purposefully neglected. I suppose I should have at least called her . . . Oh well, too late now and she'll be here tomorrow - yay!!! It is really a wonderful time when close friends come to stay. Even when it is only for a few minutes it brightens up hours and days either side of the visit! This time I am lucky and she's here for a whole day and a night with her fantastic family in tow. The kids can play and we can just visit. Lovely.

The blue reminds me of her somehow. Or maybe it's the swirling pattern in the fabric. I think it's because there are always traces of the ocean and blue sky in my head when I think of her. She is an island girl by birth and we met on an island nation. Surrounded by blue sea and canopied by blue sky, our families became fast friends. I'm not sure, all I know is that these have been hers since they began. I stitched the quilting in a swirling pattern that reminded me of New Zealand koru, my favourite Maori symbol. Koru is the Maori name for a new unfurling fern frond, which we call a fiddlehead. It symbolizes new life, growth, strength and peace. I think that it's perfect for the twice-transplanted Scottish girl that I met in New Zealand 10 years ago.

And Gawdess, I did not "just whip these ones up". Grin. You will be relieved to know that these have been languishing in my UFO pile for at least a year, along with another terribly cute pair in pink which are destined for my own feet. As usual I could not bring myself to follow the pattern properly, making a few tweaks here and there, but they are quite simple to make and they would be fast if you could make up your mind as to how you are going to pad the sole and make them not be too slippy. I didn't even screw up the binding as I usually do, thanks to lots and lots of steam ironing.

After lots of test stomping, I decided to use up some yucky polar fleece and some totally synthetic batting I had laying around for the sole padding - one layer of fleece and two of batting. To make the sole grippy, I used fabric with little rubber dots all over, the kind you find on the bottom of infant sleepers, rather than the vinyl called for in the pattern. I found it much easier to make it slide along the sewing machine platform if it had tissue paper under it. When I sewed it as the layer facing up, I used a teflon foot.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A New Banner

A few weeks ago we were painting rocks. Again. We seem to do this a lot in the summer out at the farm. I think it has to do with the millions of perfect rocks on the driveway. This time, though, I had a project in mind. I collected 26 lovely little stones and, voila!

Simple Moccasins

My son has been asking for moccasins for a while now and since I had a stash of leather in the basement, I whipped these up. In total it took about 1 hour, maybe two. They are nothing so beautiful as the ones at our historical site, but they are sturdy moosehide and should last a while. Beaded beauties they are not though!

Craft day with Mom

Mom has wanted to do some dyeing for a while so I headed over armed with yarn for me and Kool-Aid for both of us. Well, the Kool-Aid was for all of us actually, we drank the leftovers! Here are the results. A mother-daughter collaboration. Mine is the candy bright skein and mom's is the sweet paler one. A bunch of photos of dyeing in the works as well. I had to use yellow food colouring and vinegar to get the yellow. I added a touch of orange Kool-Aid to make the yellow a bit richer. I also used red food colouring (standard little bottles from the grocery store) to get the gorgeous fruity pink since the Kool-Aid was not cooperating with my FruitPunch colour scheme.

Ready to be wrapped and steamed.

The mixing counter.

Mom's skein in progress.

Mom's skein ready to be steamed.


Kool-Aid is versatile. My son recently attended a cool camp where they dyed silk with Kool-Aid.

A beautiful sky blue play silk that he loves. The purple tinges in the photo are due to the light from the setting sun I think. It's really a beautiful light blue, with water-colour variations in the dye intensity. I bought a few other play silks to dye with the girls, but I am having trouble finding yellow Kool-Aid. We are going to do green, yellow, and pinky-red. Maybe we'll have to settle for orange since I can't find yellow. I'm not sure food colouring and vinegar will work on the silk.

Things I have started lately . . .

Scribble Lace
by Debbie New or Mason-Dixon Knitting depending on who you like to credit.
I think Debbie New did it first.
Subsequently frogged for, although it was beautiful, it was also somehow unwearable.
It will be recreated into a scarf, rather than a stole.

My Future Favourite Socks
created from a variety of patterns, but mostly from:
the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook
and Working Socks from the Toe-Up by Ann Budd
in Interweave Knits Summer 2007

Things I have finished lately . . .

In no particular order:

Knit Picks Lace Headband
from the Victorian Yarn Sampler

Itty Bitty Bear
from Interweave Knits Summer 2005
made from bits of handspun dyed with coffee

Something I finished a couple of years ago, but love so much I made two pairs:
Simple T-Bar Shoes
from 50 Baby Booties to Knit
in Katia Cotton Comfort

Saturday, 5 July 2008


Last summer, I made this top in a lovely blue cotton. Isis by Katia. It only took one tiny ball, I think it cost maybe $6! Fantastic, and it is so cute. But now it is getting a bit short and the back sagged in a not so cute way. I stitched some elastic to the bodice and now its back to fabulous again. Still a little short, but hey it's summer.

I like this pattern so much that this summer I decided to knit another, this time totally improvised. I had some yarn that was a gift from the LYS, but I had no idea what I was going to do with it, until - bing! - I realized it would probably be great for this pattern. The yarn is a ribbonny kind of laddery yarn (well-described, I know) in white with yellow, pink, purple, and green. I knit the smallest size of the Katja pattern adjusting for gauge changes. Originally, I just attached the I-cord neck from one cup to the other in a big loop to pull over her head, but it stretched out waaaaayyyyy too much, so I am redoing the I-cord ties. That way she can wear it until she's at least 6.

Padded Footlets

I started the Padded Footlets from Interweave Knits last summer. I finished one sock. In the photo it looks okay, but actually the heel is atrociously large and sags unbecomingly. Well, I knit the other sock this spring and it was great. Wonderful in its neat-and-tidiness. Nice small stitches. Lovely. But a completely different size than the first one due to, you guessed it, the ridiculously large heel. Well, scissors met my knitting again and this is the result.

Yes, I cut out the offending heel flap and the attached cuff. Picked up all the stitches and grafted them all. Knits, purls, pick-ups. Yup. And it looks great, if I do say so myself.