Friday, February 25, 2011


hi there,

Back with another weaverly post.  I'll be back to knitterly posting soon, but in the meantime...I've been doing some experimenting, and I want to introduce you to my new love...
Okay, I know it's a bit funky. It may even the kind of thing that only a weaver could love.  But I do—I love it.  It's felted merino wool and recycled sari silk {the thrums (loom waste) from weaving sari fabric in a textile mill in Nepal are collected and spun together to make this yarn}.  The yarn I used here has been around a while.  I bought over a decade ago and loved it, but it was really overspun, almost elastic, and was utterly unusable as a knitting yarn.  So when I decided to use it for this project I gave it  a backward trip through my spinning wheel and "unspun" it a little {maybe a little too much—hence the wooly texture of it here}.

It really is a work in progress, but I kind of love it.  I've been wearing for two days straight to see how it holds up.  The fabric is soft and warm and makes me smile every time I catch a glimpse of it in a window or mirror.  You can't tell here, but it's actually a little lacey.  And the colors...they just sing and shimmer.  These pictures do not do that sari silk justice.  It really does just glow.  And can I say how much I love the symmetry of weaving with a yarn that was once on a loom halfway across the world?
The night it came off the loom I was convinced it was a disaster.  I was sitting at our coffee table with a fork in hand trying {with no success} to will the thing into submission—never a good sign when you take cutlery to your weaving at midnight.  I really was ready to bundle the whole thing up and pitch it.  But in the morning I decided to forge ahead and felt it...just to see what it would become, and voila!
 ...pure unadulterated, unapologetic adoration.

Note to self...two things...
nothing looks good when it's midnight, you have a fork in your hand and no cake before you,
and two... that it's not done until it's done. 
Sorry for all of the pictures.  I went a little crazy trying to capture all of those colors.

Hope you have a great weekend, full of fun projects and happy surprises!


ps~ If you want a pdf of the pattern for the Libernating Mitts {that I blogged last week}you can download it here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Having it all...

I grew up with the firm belief that I could have it all...everything my heart desired was mine if I wanted it badly enough and if I worked hard enough to get it.  At the time I thought of having it all in terms of family and career, but as I've gotten older, I've realized that I have so internalized that belief that it extends to all facets of my life.  This is a good thing~mostly~but it can also lead to some frustration and to some hard bumps with reality.  I mean it seems like, I should be able to design knitting patterns, homeschool, maintain my weaving business, cook all of our food from scratch, make our clothes, teach, read, be socially active, play with family and friends, exercise daily, take classes, repair and keep a picture-perfect house, and~here's the kicker~be spontaneous at all times.  I should be able to keep all of those plates spinning at the same time, right?...apparently not.  Now, I'm not saying it can't be done.  I  firmly believe that there are some high-energy souls out there who manage all of this and more~my visits in blogland reinforce this believe and constantly inspire me~but I'm just not that girl. 
My dear mother has a can't have a clean house and a productive sewing table at the same time.  I'm so grateful for that {on recollection though, I think she did, in fact, manage both}.  But what a gift she gives me when she tells me that, and how often do I need to hear it.  It reminds me that I can have it all, but maybe not all of it at the same time.
Weaving is part of my "all" and it has been a missing part.  When I was working on my book a few things had to take a back seat.  My loom was pushed off to the side in the push to get the designs knitted and the book written.  After the book was done it seemed like there were lots of loose ends to take care still no weaving.  I was waiting for the ideal time...a time when everything would be perfect and nothing would have to slide for me to incorporate weaving back into my life.  I knew that once that loom was open, it would call to me.  And so it has.  Over the last week or so, I've decided to make peace with my dust bunnies and incomplete home repairs, to take some time to get reacquainted with an old friend.
first this...
then this...
then a bit more...

It feels so good to be reunited with my loom.  And even if I am a little rusty and my house is...well, a little more than messy...I am happy, the ideas are flowing, and my fingers are itchy for more.  What could be better?  Here's to having it piece at a time.

Happy Monday! 


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Absent?...yes. On my mind?...always...
Back again, after what seems like a very long time. I guess that's what happens when a day turns into a week, and then into months.   I wish I had some really fantastic reason for the lapse in posting, but I don't.  I can't even precisely pin down what happened except that somehow life just got the better of me.  I've missed this space so much and have missed my time visiting other spaces.  I've written dozens of posts in my head, while stirring pots, knitting, driving, etc. and have spent many moments wondering what all of you creative souls out there in the ether have been up to and how you were doing.
 So why haven't I been here?  As the days collected I think I had a bit of a hump to get over and I began to feel self-conscious on top of it—you know, like you do when you haven't sent a note or haven't called someone—not because you didn't want to or were trying to avoid it but because you wanted the perfect moment to devote to it—one without distractions—and then the days get filled and it just doesn't happen {at least that's how it goes in my world}.  Once that happens I feel bad and convince myself that I can't ring the doorbell without a gift or peace offering of sorts, which means, of course, that I have to come up with an idea and make the gift—the perfect gift—insert delay here.  So there it is.  That's how hours turn to days, days to weeks, weeks to months, and months to seasons, until I find yourself in a whole new year. And because I can't bring you a plate of cookies or brownies as a peace offering and because I've decided that some little far-from-perfect-something is much better than absence and nothing, I've brought some knitting instead—a little bit of instant gratification knitting from me to you—just my way of saying that I've missed you.

Libernating Mitts
{library + hibernate = libernate}
Quick, easy and totally reversible, they sport...
cables on one side...

ribbing on the other...

I originally made these mitts for my daughter as part of a college care package.  I thought it might be nice for her to have something cozy and mama-made to wear during those long nights of paper writing and studying for finals.  The name came from a tweet she made about going to the library to "libernate".  I fell in love with the word, and made these mitts with images of her libernating in my head and heart. 
Of course once hers were off the needles, the boys needed some too, and then making some for me and sharing the pattern with you seemed only right.  So four pairs later, here they are, Libernating Mitts in three sizes...

Size/Hand Circumference:
Small—5 to 6 1/2", Medium—6 1/2 to 8", Large—8 to 9 1/2" 
Finished Circumference Before Stretching: 
Small—5", Medium—5 1/2", Large—6"
Length:  As desired
Note:  These mitts are very stretchy and can accommodate a range of sizes.  Make yours as you like them, snug or roomy.

Gauge:  23 stitches = 4" in stockinette stitch using US 5/3.75mm double point needles
Yarn:  Cascade 220 Superwash or similar worsted weight yarn
Needles:  US 5/3.75 double point needles or size needed to attain gauge

The Pattern
Cast on 36 (44, 48) stitches.  Divide as evenly as possible on 3 or 4 double point needles and join in the round being careful not twist stitches.  Place a marker after the first stitch of the round so that you will know where the round begins and ends.
Rounds 1-3:  *K2, p2; repeat from * around.
Round 4:  *Knit into the first two stitches as if you were going to knit 2 together but do not slide the stitches off of the left needle, instead insert the tip of the right hand needle between the 2 stitches just knitted together, and knit into the first stitch on the left needle again, slide both stitches off of the left needle together (you now have 2 stitches on the right needle). Purl 2.  Repeat from * around.
Repeat Rounds 1-4 until you have reached the desired length to the thumbhole ending with Round 4.  Make your mitts as long or as short as you like.
Make Thumbhole
Knit the first two stitches of the round.  Bring the yarn forward as if to purl, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left to the right needle, move the yarn to the back of the work.  *Slip the next stitch purlwise from the left to the right needle, pass the second stitch on the right needle over the first stitch as if to bind off.  Repeat from * 5 (6, 7) times for a total of 6 (7, 8) bound off stitches.  Slip the last bound off stitch from the right needle back to the left needle.  Turn the work.  Using the cable cast on, cast on 7 (8, 9) stitches.  Turn work.  Slip the first stitch on the left needle over to the right needle and pass the extra cast-on stitch on the right needle over it to close the buttonhole.  Resume knitting the rest of the round in Round 1 of the pattern.
Continue in pattern until your mitt is the length desired ending with Round 4 of pattern.  The sample mitts have 4 (4, 6) pattern repeats from the beginning of the buttonhole.  Bind off in pattern.
Reinforce thumbhole if desired by working buttonhole stitch or crochet edge around the thumbhole opening. 
Buttonhole Stitch:  Thread a 20” length of yarn on a tapestry needle. Begin at the lower right hand side of the thumbhole, with the cable side of the mitt facing you.  Leaving a tail long enough to weave in later, anchor the yarn by inserting the tapestry needle through a stitch on the rib side of the work.  Bring the tapestry needle up through the piece from the rib side of the work to the cable side.  Insert the needle down into the knitting, coming out through the thumbhole opening. As you pull the stitch through, a loop will be formed on the top of your work.  Bring the tapestry needle up through the loop as you tighten the stitch.  Continue in this manner across the lower thumb opening.  When you reach the end of the lower thumbhole, turn the work, and continue across the top of the thumbhole (cable side of work still facing you).  Once you have worked your way across the top of the thumb opening, turn and join the first and last stitch.  Weave in and trim all ends.

Hope you enjoy making and wearing these easy peasy mitts! As you can see, I've been wearing a pair pretty much nonstop this snowy winter. 
I love how snug they are and that they don't get in the way but still keep the chill off.
...and you know what they say, warm hands~warm heart...btw, why do they say that anyway?...anyway...Happy knitting!