Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Pembroke Welsh Corgis’ Category

Some may be substituting knitting needles for their wintered garden tools, but I never quit knitting over the summer—although it was a challenge in the 90 plus degree heat we had.  From grubbing in the garden, to picking up my needles, the summer was wonderful.  Now the garden has retired, and the needles are clicking overtime.

Along with a precious Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Dylan, the above photo features a fresh-off-the-needles shrug which incorporates a pattern I created with easy lace stitches and beautiful yarn which I spun from a blend of three gorgeous rovings. The fibers are shetland and mohair, dyed and combed with a touch of glitz by Laura Matthews at Psalm 23 Farm, near Kiel, Wisconsin. 

The embryo stage of the shrug and a closeup of the yarn are pictured below:

It appears (and actually is true!) that my very favorite fashion statements begin with an “S”—Shrugs, Scarves, and Shawls.  I’m currently doing a potato chip scarf for a friend who loves a combination of blues and greens.  (I also love those analogous colors—actually, most any combination of colors—analogous or complementary.) 

Awhile back, I posted the next photo to illustrate how I now put a button hole and funky button in all scarves and shawls—so they don’t slide off shoulders and onto the floor (which I’ve always found to be very annoying):

Since anything to do with knitting produces a lot of hits on this blog, I have the audacity to post fiber photos again!  I think there are three re-runs on this entry!

Finally, here’s a sample of a button hole/plus button in a shawl.  The button hole discovery (so easy to do!) is turning shawls and scarves into comfortable, practical, and wearable delights—at least one for every color chord in my closet!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

NOTE:  Here is the potato chip pattern, courtesy of Ravelry’s free downloads:

Any size needles and any size yarn.  Any number of cast on stitches.  I’ll give the minimun, although I tend to include extra stitches at the ends, and decrease around the neck as the flare is becoming to most of us.  I like #7 or #8 (US) needles. My handspun tends to be quite fine, between sock and DK.  (Worsted is way too bulky for my taste, and I only use it for children’s outdoor wraps.)

I knit the Potato Chip in garter stitch, but that can be varied.  Some prefer the look of stockinette in this case.  Patterns would not show up very well, but they could fly if so desired.

Cast on 20.  Knit across row before beginning the curls, to stabilize the work.

Row 1:  Knit 8, Turn; Knit Back to Beginning;  Knit 6/Turn/Knit Back; Knit 4/Turn/Knit Back; Knit across entire row.

Row 2:  Same as Row 1, only from other side.

Knit the two rows (each one containing 3 short rows and 1 full row) back and forth, for as long as you like. 

End with 1 row of straight knitting to stabilize the other end.

For a button-hole and button scarf, I position the button hole a few inches from the bottom edge on what will be the right side of the scarf.  It’s fun and funky to make the left side longer than the right. 

Decrease however many stitches needed for the size button you have selected, and increase those stitches back on the needle on your return trip.  To employ a couple of silly clichés, a button hole is easier than falling off a log and the greatest thing since sliced bread!!!  🙂

Things to remember: 

1)  The curl doesn’t appear immediately; it takes from 15 to 20-ish rows to begin to discern a potato chip, as that many increases on the edges are needed for the waves to set in. 

2)  There will be tiny holes in your work, due to your turns and knitbacks.  At first this nearly drove me nuts, until I realized that the holes are uniform in their repeating sequences of 8/6/4—consequently a pattern is created by them.  So I got over it!

Enjoy your potato chips.  I guarantee you won’t be able to stop at only one scarf!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’ve always celebrated vintage, old, torn, tattered, rusted, and falling apart in home furnishings.  To me, the timeworn look represents high end elegance due to that priceless mystique of memories and stories.  In the case of inherited treasures, we sentimentalists frequently think of the people who formerly enjoyed the object in hand.  And when we decorate with stuff culled from a rummage sale, antique shop, or curbside, we fondly remember the occasion of the outing:  whom we were with that day, what the weather was like, and where we had lunch. 

The timeworn look involves putting stuff in a manner that no one else ever will be able to achieve.  Those of use who love to rummage and decorate our homes will always have different and unique material with which to work.  Many found and inherited treasures go into our definition of home elegance. 

I cannot resist a derelict screen.  Two are pictured above on our patio.  I find these for a few cents at garage sales, or waiting for the garbage truck by the side of the road.  They provide slow-lane ambience in an era of sterile aluminum or plastic window treatment with oppressively shiny surfaces. 

Another passion is derelict chairs, like the above patio rocker, decked out in a garage sale basket loaded with pine cones gleaned from beneath a nearby, generous tree.  Of chipped and scruffy chairs we have many—and they are frequently a curbside blessing, as well. 

I also love rust.  At the end of our patio lounge (where I read and watch clouds all summer) sits a cast iron stove—another rummage sale treasure.  The stove stays out in all seasons, getting rustier and more beautiful with each passing year.  A deer skull with antlers, found in our northern acres, tops the stove.  Visiting friends unearthed the skull while we were hiking on our land.  I thought they should take it home with them, but alas (happiness, for us!) a polished white deer skull and antlers simply “wouldn’t go” with their suburban home decor.

Also, in the above photo, you will see yet another screen, plus some of my vintage coffee pots and favorite rocks.

Indoors our favorite table decor includes fresh flowers, rocks, pinecones, nuts, and shells.  A mirror tray, originally intended for perfume bottles on a dressing table, accents this shell collection along with glassware reminiscent of the sea.  Glass bottles—old and new, clear or clouded by age and stress—are way up on our list of decorative favorites.

If you study the above picture closely, you will see a tear in the upholstery on one of our sofa cushions.  This tear is very precious to us.  Every day, our Dylan gets a doggie cookie after his morning walk.  If we forget to give him the cookie, you can be sure we are quickly and efficiently reminded of our error.  Immediately on receiving his cookie, Dylan goes from place to place—burying his treasure, then digging it up and moving it to another spot. 

The cookie may go to our bed, then to my knitting basket, then to beneath the drapes on the floor, or to our living room sofa—where Dylan sticks it behind a pillow or underneath a cushion, before removing the cookie to still another hiding place.  The scratchie mark denotes Dylan’s great effort, exerted in his primal instinct to bury and preserve his food.  Many days later, the cookie might be unburied and eaten.  Obviously we have doggie cookies hidden all over the place here, continually. 

Although cleanliness and the aesthetics of order are tremendously important to us, Joe and I do not care a hoot about “mint condition” furniture.  Since we love the marks of happy and robust living, we find the look of new furniture perfection to be sterile and sadly bereft of soul.*  The “Dylan scratch” is one of my very favorite decorative features.  If we ever feel a need to replace the sofa for comfort’s sake, that treasured cushion will still have a place of honor somewhere in our home—as Baby Dylan will always have prime time in our hearts!

A well-appointed home is one where family members relax, rejoice, and do those things they love best.  Fiber art is one of those things I love best.  Some condo owners would have used this counter and the space beneath it for a food bar with stools.  I’m fairly sure the designer had that in mind, but what did he (or she) know about living to the hilt?  Not much, in my book!

Our “snack bar” is home to knitting needles, photos, teapots, curing homemade soap, and plants.  The area beneath is part of my fiber arts studio, with my largest spinning wheel tucked in amongst baskets of fluffy unspun wool plus my handspun yarn—overhung by funky garments and more handspun yarn, just a few of the many products from over three decades of a fiber arts’ cottage industry.  Beyond the “snack bar” fiber studio is our kitchen.  But that’s another photo trip, for another day!  🙂

In closing, you will see my bedside stand pictured below.  Every evening, this aging stool holds a soy milk chai on ice which Joe mixes for me at bedtime.  (We get bulk mailings of chai powder—in spice, vanilla, and chocolate flavors—ordered online for just a smidge over 1/2 the price of the BIG TRAIN® brand in stores, with FREE DELIVERY!  Try to beat that!)

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

*I frequently find kindred spirited homes in English decorating magazines.  How refreshing to linger over pages of centuries-old dwellings, tastefully furnished with handsome, tattered upholstered sofas and chairs—replete with sleeping dogs!  The Brits featured in these magazine have their priorities straight!  Dogs should always take precedence over the condition of one’s living room sofa, or even one’s bed!

If you look carefully, you’ll see the cookie in Dylan’s mouth!  In this picture, taken two years ago, he hadn’t yet decided where to bury his treasure.  MLB

Read Full Post »

Assuming there is some wisdom in the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, today I’m offering extra pictures.  Some of you have seen the above shots of our Sunday afternoon visitor a few years back, at our home up North.  I’m posting them again because:  1) they are fun, and 2) a new online friend, a retired gentlemen and photographer who lives in Finland, had expressed an interest in another photo of a black bear which I posted awhile ago.

For a wonderful tour of Finland, try http://sartenada.wordpress.com/  .  You’ll be glad you did!  I’m amazed at how Finland and Northern Wisconsin are so similar.  (We have the immense Lake Superior for our Big Water.)  The entire earth fascinates me, but I love the far Northern reaches of the world most of all!  They are “home” to me.

Here ↑ is a glimpse of one of our winter gardens.  Indoor plants help to keep us Northerners contented during the long, cold months—and they satisfy our craving for earth and greenery.  The structure which houses some of my African violets is a Wardian Case (a replica of course) named after a 19th century English physician.  Information on Dr. Ward is available online:

“Dr. Ward was a physician with a passion for botany.  His personally collected herbarium amounted to 25,000 specimens.  The ferns in his London garden in Wellclose Square, however, were being poisoned by London’s air pollution which consisted heavily of coal smoke and sulphuric acid.

“Dr. Ward also kept cocoons of moths and the like in sealed glass bottles, and in one, he found that a fern spore and a species of grass had germinated and were growing in a bit of soil.  Interested but not yet seeing the opportunities, he left the seal intact for about four years, noting that the grass actually bloomed once.  After that time however, the seal had rusted, and the plants soon died from the bad air.  Understanding the possibilities, he had a carpenter build him a closely fitted glazed wooden case and found that ferns grown in it thrived.  Dr. Ward published his experiment and followed it up with a book in 1842, On the Growth of Plants in Closely Glazed Cases.”  Wikipedia

I have at present six African violet plants.  I rotate them, three at a time, in and out of the Wardian case as the closed container helps to keep them hydrated without over-watering.  Fortunately we don’t have any coal or sulphur pollution here—just a gas furnace which tends to dry out our indoor air.

In Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Horticultural Domes, African violets grow close to the ground in the shade of huge plants in the tropical dome which is kept moist at a constant temperature in the low 70s, Farenheit.  This is where I got the idea of a little extra hydration for my beauties.  They don’t like to be over-watered (and must be watered from the bottom) but they love moist air.

Our East facing living room and patio door make a perfect environment for the above plants which don’t need (or can’t tolerate) huge blasts of winter sunlight.  But our Christmas cactus, blooming instead for Lent, and a few other succulents (some jades, orchid cacti, candleabra, and an aloe plant) happily thrive in the Eastern exposure—with the morning sun.

Our other winter garden sits in our bedroom, facing South ↑.  This is a glorious spot for succulents—including large and small leaf jades, and a crown of thorns.  The succulents remind me of another beloved place on earth—New Mexico, especially Taos and Santa Fe.  The curly creature in the above foreground is a Hoya, commonly called Turkish Rope.  I have a couple of these, and delight in them.  Maybe that’s why I love my Potato Chip scarves.  They look like the Hoya.  🙂

The toothbrush in the Hoya plant belonged to a precious Pembroke Welsh corgi, Meeghan.  On the sad day that she died, I put her toothbrush in a plant pot and it has been in one pot or another ever since.  Meeghan hated to have her teeth brushed. That’s why the brush is in such good condition.  I could almost use it, but I probably won’t!  Meeghan also refused to floss.

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

 

Read Full Post »