Monday, August 31, 2009

A Sign of Fall

I'm knitting slippers.

My usual faves from LL Bean have worn out. I don't want my feet to be chilly this winter.

I've heard of the famous Fuzzyfeet - where you knit giant sized booties and felt them for a custom fit for your feet.

According to ravelry, people have used Noro Kureyon for this pattern. I bought two balls of Kureyon that seem like they'll be similar. The yarn has a long repeat - and the balls do not all start in the same point in the repeat.

Swatched it up.....way off gauge. I'm knitting too tight for the pattern - kind of weird because often I knit too loose.

And, of course, I don't have smaller sized double-pointed needles or circular needles.

Good thing I have that red scarf for when I really need to knit!

Not to worry - there's plenty of time to finish slippers before I need them!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fuller Craft Museum

Last weekend, we were south of Boston for a family birthday celebration.

We headed down early so we could visit the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA.

I've been interested in the museum for a few years, but it jumped up in my priority list when I heard they had two current exhibits that highlight fiber.

The museum is set in a natural area with many trees.

There are outdoor sculptures leading to the entrance.

I love this rock garden....which is all rocks and flowers!

My favorite rock photo!

The museum is mostly on one level (down a flight of stairs from the entrance), with one exhibit space and the giftshop on the level that you enter.

The Perfect Fit - Shoes Tell Stories was the first exhibit as we entered. I didn't realize that Brockton had once been a hotbed of shoe manufacturing. The first room of items was on loan from the Brockton Shoe Museum.

The shoe exhibit turned out to be my favorite. There were shoes crafted from all different materials, and sculptures and hangings made from shoes or parts of shoes. Very fun and very creative.

I included this picture for any weavers reading, because it is thousands of woven shoe laces hanging from two warp beams.

Detail of shoe laces

The museum is set next to a large pond filled with waterlillies. The courtyard is beautiful.

Structured Space – An installation by Machiko Agano

fills a room with knitting out of wire and fishline. I, of course, thought of Charlotte's fishline curtains when I realized what material was used for this piece.

You could see this installation from below and from above at the end of the polymer clay gallery.

The polymer clay exhibit included furniture and jewelry in addition to wall art and sculpture.

A well-stocked giftshop

We spent a very pleasant hour at the museum. They also offer workshops....too bad they're so far away from me!! I'll definitely visit again though, next time I'm in the area.

The only IKEA in Massachusetts is within 10 minutes of Fuller Craft Museum. That combination would definitely be worth the drive!!!

Sorry the pictures in this post are all over the place. I tried to use the updated blogger editor....and didn't do very well with it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nice day for soup

We had a cool, rainy day today. Definitely a good day to be occupied with indoor pursuits.

We eat a lot of soup during the winter. I jumped the gun a little and made soup today.

What's a girl to do when she has farm fresh leeks in the fridge?

I followed Jane Brody's recipe for Potato Leek Soup

She includes parsley and cheddar cheese. I don't.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Thing I Promised

Last week I promised that I'd do the Digital Photography School assignment for this week, even though it was about technical aspects of photography (which I don't love).

Good thing I made that promise, because otherwise I'd be tempted to just skip this one. But if I keep skipping all the technical assignments, I won't learn and be able to do more things with my camera.

This week the assignment was to take one photographic parameter and take two identical pictures varying only that parameter. Seems like a great way to learn about what some of those settings actually do.


Aperture is basically the size of the opening when you're taking a picture. By varying the aperture, I can take pictures where the background is blurred.

Rose with aperture set to 4

Rose with aperture 16

It's hard to tell the difference in the background in these photos without the full-sized image, but the background is blurred in the first photo.

I also notice that the smaller rose is slightly blurry in the first photo.

Out of this set, the first photo is my favorite.

These next two pictures show the same effect more clearly.

Rose with aperture 5

Look at that nice blurry background! (There really is nothing back there that I want you to see - it's our long, unmowed lawn and a weedy part of the garden!)

Rose with aperture 13

The long grass, background trees and even some weeds are visible - detracting from the beauty of the roses.

Boring technical note meant for my eyes only:
To get camera into aperature mode, turn dial to Av. Now dial by viewfinder goes from 4.5 or so up toward 20. Change that to change aperture.
Can change ISO in this mode if you need to by pressing ISO button - then dial will change that.
Told you it was boring - but I want to remember how to put the camera in aperture mode - so I will know I have it written down in this post!


I don't have a short description of ISO - although the technically inclined among us will be happy to hear that it does refer to the same standards body that we hear about all the time.

For cameras, ISO used to refer to technical aspects of film, but now it refers to what's going on in your camera. This discussion seems pretty good.

To demonstrate the tradeoffs at different ISO settings in a low light situation, I decided to photograph a very large fungus that has taken up residence in our side yard. (Part of why I wanted a blurry background in that rose photo......This large beast was in the middle of our uncut lawn!)

Big glorious fungus

There's just something cool about a giant fungus!

Fungus with an oak leaf for scale

At low ISO, you can see that the photo is blurry, and at high ISO the photo is sharper, but there is graininess introduced.

I still count on my camera to choose the correct ISO most of the time - because it is smarter than I am in many photographic situations.

Boring camera note for my eyes only:
To get camera in ISO, turn dial to AV. Set aperature to 5.6 (or did I do 5.0?). Vary the ISO using the dial.

Phew!! I started working on this post on Tuesday, and found it so daunting that I even skipped a blogging day because of it. For an engineer, I am surprisingly uninterested in the technical pieces of photography.

Fortunately, next week's assignment is about a subject instead of a technique. The subject is "Weather". When I first learned that, earlier this week, I thought I'd have trouble because the week was forecast to be sunny and nice. That has been true so far this week - however, tropical storm Danny is aiming for us this weekend.

I guess I will have some weather to photograph after all. I hope that the current forecast holds true....that it stays out to sea and we just get a bad rain storm. New England isn't used to this much hurricane activity.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Running Buddies are a Bunch of Turkeys!

I have been trying to get these pictures since March!

Most weekends, I see a flock of wild turkeys when I run.

I don't run with my camera. Whenever I drove to the same place in hopes of photographing the turkeys, they wouldn't appear.

I finally caught up with them!

Wild turkeys were practically extinct in NH until the 1970's when Fish and Game re-introduced them. They're numerous now.

Oddly enough, these turkeys are usually in a big parking lot. (Seems a little weird to me since there are so many more rural parts of my small town!)

Maybe they're related to the turkeys in Boston!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Project: Red Scarves

You've heard of the famous red scarf project no doubt.

I just started a red scarf project of my own.

I really want to knit a scarf for my niece K, who's about to start her senior year in high school.

I collected supplies and patterns - from my files at home and from ravelry.

With a scarf for K in mind, I brought home 3 skeins of Misti Alpaca Hand-dyed Baby Alpaca in worsted weight from WEBS. This is color 03 according to the skein, which looks like it's called "Inca Red".

I picked out 5 patterns that I thought would work well for this yarn and look good on K.

Here are my five swatches all in a row. It's interesting to see how they look in a photo instead of in person. The strong diagonal in the swatch between the yellow and white dividers isn't nearly as noticeable in person.

I knitted all swatches (except one that I'll note later) on size 9 needles because that's a size I had. You can find all but one of these patterns on Ravelry.

Sunday, at a family gathering, K chose her favorite scarf. She felt like it was a hard decision, so all of the scarves are winners....but in order from least favorite to most here are the swatches.

Fifth place: Midwest Moonlight by Ivy Bigelow in Scarf Style

The original pattern called for DK or sport weight yarn, plus was not done in a variegated yarn. I felt like the variegated color and the pattern the stitches created fought with each other in this swatch.

Fourth Place: Heart's Content Scarf from Beyond Basic Knitting (Not on ravelry)

This scarf is knit on the bias. Fun to knit and probably fun to wear, it was a little too thin and light for K's idea of a winter scarf.

Third place: Scrunchable Scarf

I had tons of trouble figuring this scarf out because the pattern doesn't quite say what to do with the two extra stitches at the edges. Once I figured it out, I liked it - it's ribbed, but not just plain old boring ribbing.

For the record, I did cast on a multiple of 3, then cast on 2 more stitches. In each row, I slipped the first stitch, and knit the last stitch. For all the stitches in between, I just did the stitches the pattern says.

Very close second: Misti Chunky Ribs & Ruffles Scarf

This scarf surprised me by being my second favorite, and K's also. It's very simple, but it looks really cool in this yarn. (My picture does not do it justice.)

Since the pattern called for Chunky yarn, I followed the advice of several other knitters and used 2 strands of my worsted weight yarn. I lined up the colors so the two strands are going through their color changes at the same time.

I knitted on size 15 needles (even though when I do a scarf following this pattern I will drop back to size 13 as recommended.)

This pattern knits up super fast (size 15 needles will do that!).

Luckily, there should be enough yarn left from K's scarf to make a scarf out of this pattern. It would look great on my sister-in-law J!!!

And the winner is.....

Misty Garden
by Jo Sharp in Scarf Style

This was my favorite as soon as I started knitting it. It's fun to knit, plus looks beautiful.

Even before K decided on her favorite, I'd decided I had to knit this scarf in Misti Alpaca just because I loved the swatch so much. (And no, I did not twist her arm in the selection process!!)

So that's what I'll be knitting as summer transitions into fall (and hopefully not too far beyond!!)

Don't worry - my niece and SIL both know that these scarves are for them. I am not a stealthy knitter!!

Related posts:
Buying this yarn during NEWS

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hurricane Bill

Fortunately for us, Hurricane Bill stayed well east of New England.

We were near the beach both weekend days, so we drove by to see what was happening.

Hampton Beach, NH on Saturday morning:

Surfers coming and going


Lots of surfers

To me, the most noticeable thing on Saturday was that the ocean was packed with surfers. There were few parking spaces and lots of people waiting for good waves.

Predictions of high surf combined with a late summer weekend attracted everyone with a surfboard to the beach.

Nov. 2008

Compare that to a weekend day in November of 2008. On that day, this was the biggest group of surfers.

Notice how nice the light was in November and that it wasn't hazy or humid! (More like icy and freezing!)

Saturday afternoon, out our back window:

Pouring Rain

We were trying to take pictures of a little hail that fell.....but we just got rain.

Sunday in Hull, MA:

Sunday we drove to Hull, MA for a family birthday party.

We stopped by the beach to check out the waves at around noon. They were big, but people were swimming.

It was a warm, mostly sunny day in Hull on Sunday.

Hurricane Bill was a hot topic for the news over the weekend, but fortunately it stayed far from the coast of NH and MA.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beach Scarf Finished

You may recall in July I set up my rigid heddle loom for beachfront weaving.

Of course, the morning we left for the beach, I hadn't finished sampling.

I woke up super early, and wove a bit with chenille and a bit with Lion Homespun.

Cut it off the loom and quickly wet finished.

Even though I liked the look of both yarns, because I'd designed the warp with the chenille in mind, the hand of the sample was much better with chenille as weft.

The sett of this warp is 20 epi, so with a bulkier yarn the fabric was stiff and thick - more suitable for bags or pillows than for a scarf.

I packed up the loom and the chenille for weft and headed to the beach.

We had a great time weaving. The plan was for all of my nieces and nephews at the beach to weave at least a little bit.

And I think everyone did.

Here my niece E is helping her cousin L weave a bit. We're out on the deck, surrounded by dune grass and the sound of surf. Definitely a nice way to spend part of the afternoon!

My niece R discovered that the rigid heddle on my loom can stay in the down position by locking it under the little heddle stand. I never knew that....but it made weaving much easier.

We had great weather for the week, but we found time to weave 2 afternoons - enough to finish the scarf!!

When I got home, I had the rest of the finishing to do.

I checked out Susan's fringe tutorial and set up my fringe for twisting.

I don't have a fringe twister - but the next day my wrist wanted me to get one!

I just taped graph paper to styrofoam and drew lines where I needed them.

I did most of the twisting with my knitting I might have been chatting instead of counting turns of my fringe.

There were also a few spots in the weaving where the warp or weft didn't behave.

(And believe me, the way I warped the loom left some things to be desired. Advancing the warp was a little trickier than I'd imagined.)

But everything cleaned up nicely. A mixed warp of cottons and wools - with smooth, bumpy and boucle yarns with a chenille weft definitely hides a lot of flaws.

I washed by hand and dried flat.

Here's the finished scarf on our front walk....

This is the shot that Bailey was so ably supervising the other day.

Texture and drape


Yay!! A finished scarf woven by a gaggle of grandchildren for their grandmother.

Gifted at a family birthday party today!

Related posts:
Setting up this warp
Beach vacation
Bailey supervising the photo shoot
Susan's twisted fringe tutorial