Monday, December 12, 2011

Striped Hat

You know how projects spawn other projects, right?

With leftover yarn from the animal tracks sweater, I plan to make an animal tracks hat or two.

But first, I want to make sure I have a hat pattern that fits.

In consultation with Mr. LifeLoomsLarge, the recipient of this future hat, I picked a plain hat pattern, and then made a striped version for a wee bit of interest.

The good news is that this hat fits perfectly. It's so nice to knit a project and have it come out as hoped for on the first try!!!!

The details:
Pattern: Ellen's Knit Hat (SHIPS Project)
Yarn: Harrisville Highland in Midnight Blue & Cypress (Less than half a skein of each)
Needles: Size 7 double pointed needles

Here it is on ravelry!

Note: My computer died last week, while this blog entry was almost done, so please don't feel neglected that I haven't caught up with comments!!! Hopefully I'll be back to full steam ahead computer-wise very soon!

Related posts:
A hint of the animal tracks sweater (which is finished, but barely blogged)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Ornament Making


In late November, the Col. Paul Wentworth House hosts a holiday decoration workshop.

Victorian Garland on Cardboard Deer

I made all of these Christmas decorations in 2 hours at the workshop, using materials and instructions set up at the house.

Clementine Clove Pomander

It was a great way to kick off the holiday season!

Front of Col. Wentworth House (Photographed in July)

Wentworth House has a great story. My super short version is that it was built in 1710, then moved to Massachusetts where it stayed for years, falling into disrepair. In 2002, it was numbered, disassembled and moved back to NH on a flatbed truck. It remained in the trailer of the truck on this property for years, while a team of motivated people raised money to put the house back together. Finally they were able to reconstruct it. Very cool!

Back corner of Wentworth House (also in July)

This saltbox shape is traditional in New England.

Foil Ruching

This foil ruching would have been made during Victorian times, when candlelight reflecting off silvery surfaces was all the rage.

Cranberry wreath

Cranberries strung on a wire make a small wreath.

Popcorn Cranberry Garland

Wentworth House (Rollinsford, NH, USA) is having a free holiday open house with music and snacks Saturday, Dec. 10 from 4-6 pm. If you haven't had a chance to visit the house yet, you could stop by to see it decorated for the holidays!

Related posts:
Making the cardboard deer head

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

From my household to yours, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I wish you all of the best that this season has to offer.

I'm grateful for all of you bloggers, readers, weavers and friends!!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Going Stag

Mr. LifeLoomsLarge might be a bit hard to shop for.

This year, I made the perfect gift.....completely out of recycled materials!!

Behold the cardboard deerhead, perfect for any man cave!

I printed and cut out templates (modifying the end of the antlers to make it easier for me to cut). Since I had lots of cardboard boxes around, I traced the templates on box pieces, then cut them out using scissors and an Exacto knife.

Putting the deer together was a snap. (I did cut thinner slots to fit the whole thing together, since the templates were created for foam core.)

For hanging, I just threaded a needle and put a piece of cottolin yarn (or string would be fine) through the two vertical pieces of cardboard on the back of the deer neck.

I can't help but think of other animals I could make!!

I'm so bad at keeping gifts secret, that as soon as I finished it, I gave it to Mr. LLL in a box so he could open it and laugh.

For more inspiration, templates, and how-to tips:

By the book

Plain cardboard version

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photo Challenge

Our local photography group had "Brown Bag Bingo" challenge for the winter.

We each put an item into a bag, and items were randomly exchanged at each meeting. Our challenge was to take a creative photo of the item in our bag each month.

This month, we had the big reveal!

Flamingo pen, surrounded by memorabilia from our Florida trip

I meant to take the pen with us and photograph myself writing a "Wish you were here" postcard to the photo group....but I forgot the pen in my packing frenzy!!

My brown bag item (a LeClerc stick shuttle)

The stick shuttle in action

Zebra heart on upholstery fabric

Grapevine wreath nestled in bowl of hand-dyed yarn

The challenge was fun for me, but I'm glad to have more photographic freedom again!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Florida in 12 Pictures

Mansion at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota

Who knew that 5 sons of German immigrants could build their fortune by creating a circus empire from the 1870 - 1929?

Myakka Canopy Walkway at Myakka River State Park

I was a little scared of this walkway. Once I saw it was so sturdy, I gave it a try. It was great!

We climbed a solidly constructed stairway to the suspension bridge through the tree canopy. Walking along the bridge there was a bit of swaying, but it felt very secure and safe. It was really interesting to see plants growing on the trees, plus to see the tree tops up close.

At the end of the bridge, you can descend a stairway, or climb up more stairs to a tower above the canopy where you can see for miles.

Good practice for canopy tours in the rain of my dream trips!!

Alligator in Myakka River State Park

The water level was low in March, since it's the end of the dry season in Florida. We didn't canoe with the alligators. But we saw plenty of alligators!!

Manatee at Manatee Park in Fort Myers

Manatees congregate in warm water during the cooler winter months in Florida. The park in Fort Myers is near the outflow from a power plant, where the water is warm.

We met people who saw 20 or more manatees at one visit to this park. We visited twice and saw this single manatee.

The manatee would stay under water for about 4 minutes, then surface and breathe twice, then head back under water. I liked seeing it in the wild because it was more sluggish and docile than I imagined.....I don't think there's a good way to get that across without actually seeing one in person.

My favorite beach on Sanibel Island

I fell in love with Sanibel on this trip!!

I like how low key the development is there, how the island has 25 miles of bike paths, that various conservation agencies have preserved large parcels of land on the island.

For me, the beaches are great because they're spacious, not very crowded, dog friendly, great for walking, shelling and wildlife watching. Plus, there are tons of amazing birds on the island.

Osprey clutching a flounder over my favorite beach

Osprey were everywhere on Sanibel. At one point, I was finding great shells, spotting dolphins in the waves, and watching 4 osprey overhead. So much fun stuff to see!

One osprey caught a large mackerel. Two other osprey gave chase, dive-bombing the bird with the fish.

When they were about 10 feet over my head, the osprey dropped the fish. We moved away from the fish thinking the birds would be back to pick it up. But they continued their skirmish and vanished into the woods.

Jim went over to check out the fish, which was flopping around in the dry sand. He picked up the fish by the tail and released it in the ocean. The fish swam away. Imagine the "fish story" that mackerel has for his school!!

Mixed flock of wading birds in Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge

Another great things about Sanibel is all the bird life in the wildlife refuge. We spent hours a day there watching and photographing birds. This is my kind of birding!!!

Roseate Spoonbill Landing in Ding Darling NWR

Naples City Pier

TripAdvisor ranks the municipal pier in Naples as one of the city's top attractions. That seemed weird to me, but one afternoon we were in Naples with a bit of time to spare, so we checked it out.

Within 45 minutes we'd been buzzed by a bald eagle, had several close osprey encounters, all while watching dolphins, pelicans and fishermen.

We returned after dinner for more sea life, plus a beautiful sunset.

The next morning, as we left town, we stopped by again. Mid-morning wasn't such a good time for wildlife sightings.


Hard to photograph, but always fun to watch!

Pelican Swallowing a Large Fish

Pelicans at Sunset

Sometimes, after a long winter, a trip to a warm, sunny place is a balm for the soul!!!

I totally apologize for not being caught up on your blogs or your comments before posting about Florida. Please know that I appreciate the huge swirl of creativity that all of our blogs foster, and I read and think about every comment that you leave for me!!! I hereby promise to catch up!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pottering Around

Thanks for the warm welcome back to blogging!

Over the weekend, I blogged about an outstanding 4 hour pottery class.

I was surprised that a few of you thought I should explore pottery further. Even though I loved the class, pottery doesn't call to me the way weaving does.

Maybe it's because I really, really dislike getting my hands wet or messy.....I'd rather bake than cook. I hate cleaning. Pottery is full of messy it's fun, but I'm sticking with weaving and maybe exploring other visual arts for now.

My vase

I did like Deanna's idea to use the pottery to inspire things to weave to go with it!!! Maybe by the time the pots are glazed and returned to me, I'll have one of my looms freed up for a new project and I'll be inspired by something from pottery class!!

Or maybe I'll just enjoy the four hour experience and let it enrich my life without having to do anything further with it at all....well, except for eating ice cream out of each of the three bowls at some point. How's that for a goal?!

Inspiring Work from Fire Pond Pottery

In answer to Deanna's question, we did get to choose from 3 glaze colors: brown, blue and emerald green. I think I chose 2 blues, 1 green and 1 half blue/half green glaze for my 4 pieces. At the top of the picture above, you can see our glaze possibilities on plain blue, plain emerald and plain brown samples.

Now we have to be patient, since the Fire Pond Potters said it might take up to 3 months to get the pots back!!

I promise to post pictures, and if you come by the house, I'll even serve you ice cream in one of the bowls!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Potter for a Day

I had so much fun today!!

Jim, our friend D, and I took a "Learn to Throw in One Day" pottery class at Exeter Fine Crafts in Exeter, NH, USA, with Larry and Jessica of Fire Pond Pottery.

Even though Jim, D and I all learn in different ways, all of us loved the class and were really pleased with the whole day.

Our class had 6 students, 3 of whom had taken the class once before. I was so amazed at how much we were able to make and at HOW FUN the whole day was.

You can see my progression of 3 bowls in the center of this picture, and then my vase. The work right near mine is Jim's.

I also had a bowl attempt that collapsed, and at the end I tried to make two tiny bowls....both of which also didn't work. (One did that spectacular failure where all of a sudden it flies off the potter's wheel. Kind of fun really!)

The Fire Pond Potters will take our pieces and finish them up, including glazing and firing them. I'll show you pictures as soon as I get the pieces back. (It might not be until summer....but for once it won't be due to my blog will be waiting for their kiln to fill up.)

I cannot say enough good things about this class.

I loved how the teachers explained and demonstrated things just enough, and then turned us loose. They were right there to help if we were having trouble, or if we asked for help, but they also weren't jumping in telling people what they were doing wrong or anything like that.

They were totally great about asking if you wanted help and never touching your work or giving you advice unless you asked for it. (I love that.....I've been known to get quite annoyed in classes where a teacher is on top of my work too much!)

Also, they were very generous with information, and with setting up the day so that we all got to work on the wheels for hours.

If you're in the area and you've ever thought about trying pottery, this is a great way to give it a whirl. Low commitment, low cost, fun.

They've got another class scheduled for next Saturday, April 9. There may still be spaces left, so look for info at Exeter Fine Crafts. (I'd phone them ASAP about next Saturday.) I you want to be on Larry and Jessica's email list so they can notify you when they set up a class, you can contact them through their website.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Dreaming

Hatching lots of knitting plans, mostly for hats....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Doubleweave Pick Up
Finished, but not blogged yet!

Wishing you and yours a happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Knitting a Cowl

During a moment of panic while I was weaving my First Time at WEBS Scarves, I believed more yarn was the answer. I stopped at Hub Mills Store in Lowell to pick up a few balls of yarn that went with that warp.
Later, I realized I didn't need that extra yarn for that project after all.
So I wanted to find something beautiful on ravelry to make with this ball of yarn.

I put my started knitting projects in one place recently when I was cleaning up for houseguests. I realized I should finish something! This cowl project seemed like it would be quick and easy, plus the yarn is soft and gorgeous.

Goals for this project:
  • Use this extra ball of yarn
  • Make a cowl that's pretty and warm

Pattern: Lush-ious Swirl Cowl by Linda Frydl
Yarn: Princess by Classic Elite, Color 3432 (Majesty's Magenta)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Merrimack River Eagle Festival, Feb. 12, 2011 in Newburyport, MA

Each winter, bald eagles congregate in areas of New England where there's reliably open water on rivers.

The Merrimack River in Amesbury and Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA is a great place to watch bald eagles in February.

To make it even simpler, the Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge sponsor a free eagle festival. (If you google, you may find an eagle festival near you as well.)

Last year, we printed their eagle viewing map, and headed down for the day. We saw eagles perched in trees, doing aerial acrobatics together, and successfully fishing then eating the fish on an ice flow.

It's so helpful to have a group of people to help you spot the eagles, even though many eagles can be seen with the naked eye. Plus, you can ask other eagle watchers where they've seen eagles to know which viewing spots are best that day.

Definitely take binoculars and a spotting scope if you have them. Many people stop by without even binoculars, and people let them borrow a pair. Plus, the sponsoring groups usually have a few spotting scopes at each viewing stop.

There's plenty of space for photographers (although with this year's deep snow it might be a little tougher.)

The photos in this post were taken by Jim (Mr. LifeLoomsLarge) in February 2010 at the Merrimack River Eagle Festival.

For more info, visit the Audubon Society's webpage about the event.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cool Upholstery

Perhaps I was a little too interested in the upholstery at Blue Moon Evolution in Exeter, NH when I had lunch there on Monday.

The Blue Moon Cafe has evolved into a restaurant open for lunch and dinner. The market is no more.

You can check it out yourself if you go to the Winter Fuzz Fest in Exeter on Saturday, January 29. (Unfortunately, I can't make it to the Fuzz Fest this time.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Concord, Massachusetts

We visited Concord, MA on a cold but sunny day this week.

Snowbanks and icicles were among the wintry delights of Concord.

The excuse for our visit was the Quilts from the Concord Museum exhibit at the Concord Museum. The exhibit consisted of two rooms with quilts hanging on the walls. The quilts all tied into Concord history in one way or another.

For me, the two most memorable things were:
  • The first crazy quilt I've ever seen that looked beautiful instead of like a mishmash.
  • How modern some of the fabrics looked, even though they were part of quilts that were over 100 years old.
Unfortunately, photos were not permitted inside the museum, so I can't show you any of the quilts, or the fearsome icicles along the courtyard roof.

We had a great lunch afterward at the Colonial Inn.

A gazebo!!!

I definitely want to return to Concord in the summer. There are lots of historic houses, including Louisa May Alcott's, Nathaniel Hawthorne's, Ralph Waldo Emerson' the Minute Man National Historic Park.