Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Rainy days and projects

It's been raining steadily for three days now. That's typical for this time of the year. Fortunately I have the outside mowing done, and the spring garden weeded, so for once I have been able to sit back and enjoy several relaxing days off. I have been knitting alot and so have finished one sock and have the heel turned on it's mate. I should be able to finish the pair by this weekend.

Here's a photo.

This pattern is from the yahoo group six-sox-knitalong. Members of the groups graciously supply a pattern on a quarterly basis. I joined this group earlier this spring and this is the first pair I have knitted from the group.

The flaired top of the sock is due to a knitted hemmed cuff. I don't really like the way it looks off of my foot, but it is a very comfortable design when being worn. Usually my knitted socks are too tight at the very top, but this turned hem is very loose and giving. There is a knitted pattern over the top of the foot that is very lovely but which does not show up unless closely inspected. It would be a good sock to do in a solid color, and not the variegated yarn I chose. The pattern would then show up better. The socks do knit up quickly, especially if you only make the top of the sock ankle 5-6 inches tall.

Another rainy day project that I love to do, is to go through old craft magazines. So often a knitting magazine gets looked at when it arrives in my mailbox and then filed away. I do make a list on my PDA of projects in that magazine that I feel would be interesting to do. But a lovely afternoon of just going through magazines with patterns always perks up my creative juices.

This rainy day magazine sorting was a bit different. Over the years I have been buying any old Workbasket magazines that I found. These little treasures of magazines had been published monthly for many many years. I have some from the late 1940's all the way through to the 1980's. Unfortunately these were inexpensive magazines, hardly made for archiving. They have browned with age, and are loose at the staples, or torn. Many have the original address labels still on them, and even notes made by the previous owner, her wishlist of things to make in that issue. I find all of this very charming.

I had searched for awhile for a way to store these gems in a more secure fashion and finally found photo sheets of archive safe plastic that were the exact size. Two issues slide nicely into one plastic sheet so only six are needed for a years worth of issues. I soon discovered that trying to put more than one year into an album constructed for those size pages was impossible, and that I really didn't want albums anyway. Instead I used quilters rust proof safety pins to secure the holes in the plastic pages, making a collection of each year. These then fit very nicely into a secure box, and all of them will be stored together that way.

But I am a long way from sticking them back into the closet. I have had so much enjoyment going through each one, and listing on a sheet of paper anything I found I may want reference to later. They are a wealth of tatting patterns, something I do not do well at all. They are a wealth of crochet doily patterns, something I can do but is not my favorite craft. However now and then there are wonderful knitted doilys, or edging patterns. These along with the more out of the ordinary (a poodle pin made from a piece of chenille bedspread!) were noted in my listings.

The earliest ones are the most fun, of course. As I got into the later 70's I could only laugh and my list definately got shorter. Ah but are not the fashions of the 70's and 80's being copied today for all of these new knitters? It's still wonderful inspiration to look at each design and see maybe a detail or a stitch pattern that can be used in a new way.

And one of the true pleasures was finding the patterns for things I have owned for years. Doilys that have those wonderful flowers in them, or the baby blanket pattern that someone made for my daughter. These were things that I had and admired for the workmanship, and here were the patterns for them! Here's a photo of my biggest find:

I had the hot pad for many years, rescued from some flea market. I knew it had bottle caps and crochet, but had never wanted to dissect the actual making of it. I had seen others like it, in the form of a cluster of grapes, I bought this one for the fact it was different from the ones I had seen the most. Some creative soul had just made one of their own design. Whether they used the idea from the Workbasket, or in later years was just messing around trying out the technique will never be known. But how much fun is it, to be thumbing through the old Workbasket and see the directions for something that I have loved and admired for so many years.

I am still working on rewriting my notes from the natural dye workshop. There are many pages and in no order at all. I am trying to get them into a good flowing description of the three day workshop. I find I am not getting it done, because I really do not want to sit down and do it. I find this surprising about myself. I had always thought I would enjoy being a writer, because I do love to tell a good tale. But this is the nuts and bolts of writing, taking notes and putting them into good copy. And to my surprise, I don't like to do it. Ah well, I have plenty of things to keep me occupied well into my ancient years. I guess I can let the idea of being a writer go the way of all good dreams. Meanwhile, I will put myself back into my school years, and get this 'report' done as soon as I can.