Thursday, April 24, 2014

New! I've done a crochet hat pattern!

Just because they're so pretty and DS#2 gave them to me, here's my bouquet of Easter lilies. I'm thinking of creating a yarn to honor that pearlescent pink, it's so lovely.
I haven't done much crochet in the past years. Grandma started me out at the ripe old age of 6 with a teeny tiny steel hook and crochet thread. She taught me to make doilies and she ripped them out if the stitches weren't absolutely perfect. Rather discouraging for a little girl. I took it up again in high school as a way to kill time in the winter evenings while watching Red Skeleton (yeah, I'm THAT old). Did did a few of those ever-so-fashionable mesh hats in the 60s, made more doilies when I first married, made some crochet plant pot covers, played with it off and on. But I never did much with handspun yarn and crochet. I also have been enamored of the Dubbelmossa hats, the ones that are doubled with Fair Isle patterns on 2/3 of the hat and keep your ears so warm with 4 layers. I've always wanted to combine lace and that hat pattern. Designing it in crochet presented lots of problems; I've been working on this since Thanksgiving! The mesh is incredibly stretchy, the double crochet solid portion not so stretchy, so I had to write two patterns and get them to match perfectly. And it's finally done, test crocheted and loaded on Ravelry. There are kits with my handspun available at Darn Yarn Needles and Threads in Harmony, PA and more will appear in my Etsy shop next week (I'm traveling starting tomorrow so can't do it today).

There's also a knitted version finished, but the pattern isn't written and I haven't spun any of the yarn for kits. Stay tuned.....

Friday, April 11, 2014

Is it spring yet? Must be!!

It seems that spring has finally sprung in Western Pennsylvania. Or at least, it's trying to spring into being by tossing me a bunch of snow crocuses (no photos--the wind blew them over within hours). And that means I've got outdoor work to get done. First on the agenda was planting the roses that Husbeast gave me for Christmas. I'd been trying for years to find the heavily scented pink rose that we had at our previous house. Having tried numerous times unsuccessfully to start one from a cutting of that old bush, I resorted to finding one to purchase. Edmunds Roses had the perfect plant and another rose that I fell in love with. Into the ground they went yesterday morning, along with their surrounding protective fencing (have I mentioned that the deer around here eat everything, and have a particular fondness for roses and spring bulbs?)

Tough to see in the shadow, but that's a young rose there.

If you have a garden, you know that one thing leads to another. In order to get posts for the rose fences I had to dig out the dead apple tree. But those posts were too tall, so had to swap them out with the peach tree which needed taller posts and a good pruning anyway. So out to the garage to get the ladder, up the ladder to pound in posts and prune branches, then hook the fencing to the posts.

Ta-da! Refenced peach tree!

During that journey I realized that the elderberries (you can see some of them against the blue shed, upper left of the photo) will need their fencing redone because the deer have been pushing at it, trying to bend it inwards so they can get some tasty young elderberry shoots. sigh.....

Then there's the garden to be uncovered. I cover the boxes with black plastic every fall to prevent the many pine needles from falling on the soil and turning into an acidic mix that won't support life. It also helps to warm the soil and the birds just love the water puddles that form all winter--they need fresh water all year and can't get it from snow.

Today it's raining all day so I'm spinning. But tomorrow morning I have plenty to do out in the yard. Oh, and I probably should start those seeds inside if I want tomatoes and green peppers.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hot off the presses! Galvanizing Line Sweater pattern

I've been waiting for publication to announce......
My sweater pattern knit from handspun and commercial yarn, and an article on how I spun my blue fiber to the commercial specifications, has been published in Yarnmaker Magazine No. 18.

Since I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Pittsburgher (yes, I meant that pun) and Husbeast is in steel-making, it seemed right to commemorate our heritage by naming the sweater after a steel process. Photos were taken on the south side (pronounced 'souside') of Pittsburgh on the site of the old US Steel mill which is now an upscale shopping/entertainment/sports center. (All photos are copyrighted by K. Krenn)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Just released today, Elizabeth Lovick's patterns developed for a WWI movie being filmed in the UK. I'm in love with Violet's Jacket and have already downloaded a copy from Ravelry. I have some lovely wool/linen blend yarn in a great deep cranberry shade that would be wonderful in this jacket. I just have to dig it out of the stash, make sure it's the right size yarn and that there's enough to complete the jacket. It's not as though I have too few projects on the needles at the moment.....

Because I'm just about ready to release a new hat pattern, done in both crochet and knitting. I'm having the pattern tested this week, but it will take about 200 yards of colorful worsted handspun and another 200 yards of soli-color commercial worsted yarn. I will be making up kits with my handspun so that you can choose the matching solid yarn in the color that works for you. Kits will be available on my website and a local yarn shop as soon as the test hat is finished, the photos redone (sadly, the weather and lighting have been crappy lately), and kits assembled. It looks like there will only be one or two duplicates of each handspun color available so these will be very special hats!

Garden News:
I have defeated the raccoons by bringing in the feeders every night! And the deer seem to have moved on, as they only show up here every two weeks or so. They seem to have a grazing circuit at this time of year. The doe is heavily pregnant and her twins are still hanging around.
I need to get my pepper seeds in their little starters and do a garden plan so I'm sure everything gets enough sunlight and is in a different spot than last year, uncover the boxes so they're ready for compost addition in a week or so, prune the blueberry bushes and remove the straw from the raspberry plants. Not too sure what to do about the elderberry canes, tho. That will require some research as most folks don't grow them--or even know that they CAN grow them in the back yard.
Coming up for sale:
I have an original 8H 48" weaving width Gallinger Loom that I purchased about 10 years ago. It was living in a chicken coop but has been completely cleaned up and oiled. It has metal heddles but I've purchased Texsolv heddles and tie-ups for it. Unfortunately I recently realized that I'm too short or the breast beam is too tall for me to use the loom, so I've decided to pass it on to someone else to enjoy. If you're interested and local, please get in touch. I'd love to see it find another happy home.
And with that, I'm off to the studio to spin!