Pumpkins are hanging

I’m glad I slept on how I wanted to finish off my pumpkins. In the end, I decided they needed a frame and the neutral-colored fabric – a sort of goldenrod color – looked good with them. I went for a rustic-looking frame sewn on. I think they look pretty rustic. At first I was disappointed in myself for not centering my pumpkins better on the Aida cloth, but now that they’re up I think some of the off-center ones add to the rustic appeal. It’s as if I turned a china cabinet into an old porch or something.

I decided not to iron the “frames” to keep them looking casual. If I change my mind later it’s as easy as getting out the iron and pressing them. My least favorite of the group is the black pumpkin. I don’t know why I liked the photo in the pattern so much. I recently looked at it again and didn’t understand why I wanted to make that one. The checkerboard one and the one with the elongated hexagons are not centered well on the Aida cloth so I had to work with what I had. Oh well, you can’t win them all. Claire’s beautiful bag adds a good amount of color to the group, that’s for sure!

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Sunday pumpkin goal not met

The bad news is that I didn’t finish entirely all the pumpkins as a decorative ensemble. I’ve just now, however, finished the fourth and final pumpkin. I think it might be my favorite, but I still like the plaid pumpkin a lot. The two will have to fight for my affection. Here’s the last one I’ve just finished.

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I should say I finished it about 30 minutes ago. Before writing here I actually tried the pumpkins with the neutral-colored fabric I had planned to use with them. I don’t like how they look with it as a background. The display suggestion in the magazine I got these patterns from shows them tacked against some sort of 3D cardboard backing. That means they don’t have any additional colored fabric bordering them. So, I think I’ll hang them up naked as-is. I’ll sew around the edges of the Aida cloth, of course, to stop any fraying. I think this is a good idea because next year they will probably wind up being incorporated into a throw pillow and by then I’ll have made more Halloween and autumn-themed decorations for the china cabinet. Or, who knows, maybe they’ll be fall tradition for a few years.

Anyway, I’m happy to have finally finished this last pumpkin. I had abandoned it for quite some time before resuming stitching on it again.

A very lucky unbirthday for me!

It was my unbirthday recently. Out of nowhere this beautiful, quilted and cross stitched bag arrived at my home by post.

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Claire93, author of Claire93’s Blog, remembered my plan to make Halloween-themed things for my living room and very thoughtfully put this together for me, wishing me a very happy unbirthday. It is absolutely beautiful and truly shows off her skills. I’m always very much in awe of quilters. I suppose if I actually attempted quilting I might learn how. But, it’s one of those things that still looks like magic to me. A little bit of magic isn’t bad, though, is it? This piece is so detailed, right down to the little brass Jack O’Lantern sewn on. The choice of colors is truly festive and the quilting detail is really appropriate for the piece. If you check out her blog you will find all kinds of inspiration. Claire makes beautiful quilts, cross stitches really amazing pictures and adornments, and crochets very cute amigurumis. She even knits sweaters! A true crafter with so much awesomeness to share on her blog. I also love her hen house updates and the wonderful names she’s given to them.

Claire also must have read my mind, because I am feverishly stitching away at my last pumpkin for my decoration goals. I’ve been working on it all week. The four pumpkins will hang on the china cabinet doors, surrounding Claire’s beautiful bag. Here’s my progress on this fourth vegetable:

Photo Oct 20, 23 33 11

I’m determined to have it done tomorrow and then get all four sewn to fabric and hanging by Sunday. Let’s see if I can do this! The cool thing about these is that they’re good for all of Autumn, not just Halloween, so I’ll be able to enjoy them for a while after October 31.

 

I’m a copycat!

Maybe I’m now on team, “me too!” You see, I’ve been procrastinating on casting on another sock for about two months now due to indecision. Then, one day, the nothingbutknit2 blog, hosted by a very prolific writer and knitter, showed her progress on a sock I just had to start knitting right away. The best part? It turns out the pattern is a freebie, authored by a very generous person who shared her work on Ravelry. The pattern is called “Widsith,” and it features a very easy to knit slip-stitch cable and garter stitch pattern.

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So, you know, the usual: I took the cable pattern from the original and I’m slapping it onto my own vanilla sock formula. I chose this nice green color with a German sock yarn from my stash called “On line” from what they call the “trend collection.” Anyway, I don’t really care about the brand. I bought it because it was a cheap 75% wool sock yarn.

Another notable thing about this sock pattern and its ability to speak to me through nothingbutknit2’s blog is that I suggested using twisted 1×1 rib instead of regular 1×1 rib, because she was unhappy with how the 1×1 rib was coming out. I generally despise 1×1 ribbing as she does.

So, thanks, nothingbutknit2, for inspiring me to begin a sock. I’m having lots of fun with the pattern. Also, notice how I followed my advice: I’m also sporting a twisted 1×1 rib pattern on the cuff. 🙂

OT Monday: Autumn, where are you?

A lot of people I follow and that follow me here in this blogging world have been discussing unusually high temperatures. For this Monday and totally off-topic post, I think it would be nice to chime in. If you feel unusually hot in October, and it’s not just that “Indian summer” thing, you are not alone!

The place where I live, Valladolid, Spain, is typically cold most of the year, with a very hot summer in June, July, and August. Usually by mid-September, the temperatures drop. This year, the temperatures in September remained boiling hot and so far October has mostly stayed at 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Of course, the mornings are slightly cooler – it’s 10:45 AM now and my desktop weather indicator is telling me it’s 62 F right now. But, the degrees rapidly climb up to 80.  So, central Spain and my home region of the northeastern United States are in tune with each other. My family and other people who live in Maine have been reporting hot temperatures.

The negative consequences of all this for me are: 1) I’m not getting in the mood for Halloween. I was cross stitching pumpkins to decorate the house with and now my heart isn’t there so the project has been stopped in its tracks; 2) I want to finish afghans but it’s too warm to lie or sit under them and work on them; 3) it’s impossible to dress appropriately for work and feel comfortable in my clothes; 4) the leaves aren’t changing color, they just fall to the ground and dry up, leaving very little fall foliage scenery, which is my favorite thing about autumn; 5) we’re still in the mood for summery foods but they aren’t in season: the markets are stocking up on apples, squash, pumpkins, etc but it’s too hot to even think about roasting root veggies, baking apple crisp, or making a stew; 6) as we all know, Christmas hits retail outlets earlier every year, so I’m seeing things that seem way out of whack, like turrón next to plastic Jack-o-Lanterns. It puts me in a grumpy mood!

I’m not even sure what we should call this phenomenon. Permanent Indian summer? Summer-fall? Or just plain summer?

Review: Celtic Cable Crochet by Bonnie Barker

Celtic Cable Crochet by Bonnie Barker, Interweave, 2016. 128 pages. Paperback and digital formats available. Grade: A

There are 18 patterns in this collection. All of them are intended for women to wear. I bought this book looking for inspiration because I think in the future I’d like to make up my own accessories and garments with crochet cables. The cover says that the designs are all “modern,” which I suppose means that the usual kinds of cabled items won’t be found in here. I definitely got what I wanted and was not disappointed by the “modern” descriptor. The designs all play with shaping just as much as they work with cable panels.

The two sweaters featured in this set are truly fine examples of creative design with cables. The “Binne Cardigan” has an interesting shape, ending at the bottom with subtle ruffles that aren’t too strong to annoy, but with just enough ripple to add more pizazz to it. The “Orlaith Robe Sweater” may have an unfortunate name, making it sound like a bathrobe, but it is a very tasteful coat with lots of texture and eye candy.

The two ponchos, one of them a wrap “hybrid,” could be turned into afghans, and the hats and cowls are also very exciting, both to wear and crochet. There’s even a sweater-wrap hybrid, an innovative shape that seems to be becoming very popular lately in several crochet magazines. As with most books, it’s helpful to check out its Ravelry page to see how everything looks before considering purchasing the title.

The instructions look clear enough to understand and the sizing is also varied enough for people to work out something that will give them a good fit.

I think people that want to add cables to their crochet pattern collection would like to have this book as well as anyone like me that is looking for inspiration in their own creative efforts.

Sweater #10 = Done

I cannot believe I’m posting about the tenth sweater I have finished in 2017. First of all, I cannot believe I had so much yarn in my stash. Second of all, in the past I’ve always made one or two sweaters a year. Since I’ve moved to Spain I’ve added 14 sweaters to my wardrobe and 3 to José’s. It may seem like I’m a totally selfish knitter, but José actually has in total eight sweaters I’ve made for him. When I lived in the US I didn’t knit any sweaters for myself and they were all his. Once, I tried to knit a sweater for myself when I was living in the US and José talked me into giving it to him when it was finished. Another good rationalization is that I am the person doing the knitting and buying the yarn, so my hard work and investment makes me deserving of having more sweaters. Zero guilt.

The other exciting thing is that this sweater-wearing season I am going to debut a lot of sweaters. I finished most of my stuff in the “off-season.” I’m totally going to slum the knitting club this year.

Anyway, about the purple cardigan.

I decided I wanted a ton of buttons so I made 18 button holes that would fit around medium-sized buttons. The reason for having so many buttons on this cardigan is so I can change its look depending on how big or small I get this winter. At the moment for some weird reason I’m actually getting smaller. For example, remember the “Up and Down Crunch Sweater” I crocheted and designed? It fit me with zero ease about a month ago. Now it would fit me with 2″ of ease. Anyway, I’ve digressed. The buttons were a totally lucky find at the Chinese bazaar (that’s like a dollar store). In total they cost me about €1.75. They’re just the right color and they’re plastic so they’ll survive the washing machine nicely. The yarn I used was the discontinued Cascade 220 Superwash Quatro I bought four years ago or so. The “pattern” I “followed” was for the top-down raglan sweater in The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters by Ann Budd. I actually didn’t follow the directions exactly. I included the button bands in with the body of the sweater and I increased at the neckline gradually rather than casting on stitches all at once. I put moss stitch on the yoke and did the rest of the body in stockinette, which was extremely boring. I don’t think I’ll knit stockinette stitch flat ever again unless I somehow make a bad decision a second time!

I still have yarn left over from this project. Two skeins to be exact. I’ll have to figure out what to do with them. I’m pondering the One-Skein Wonders books.

I’m still not wearing my handmade sweaters, unfortunately. It’s October and unusually hot. Every day this week and next it will be 80 degrees F.