It has been some time since I have written about sewing and since I have been sewing most of my spare time this week, you, my readers, are going to have the pleasure of seeing what I made. Why, because I made it and I think it is beautiful!
Last week I received an invitation to my neice's baby shower. She lives in Tampa, Florida so I won't be able to go to her shower--very, very disappointing. Even so, there is always much pleasure to be derived from a new baby. This one is due in early March and I had been racking my brain trying to figure out what to make or get for her baby. Tampa is pretty warm and I couldn't help noticing that the crowds in Tampa were wearing short sleeves last week when they appeared on the news. A sweater and a knit blanket just didn't seem right.
My neice has decided to decorate the nursery in green and purple and wants the excitement and surprise of finding out the sex of her baby when it is born. This put some limitations on us and kept me from running for the pink or blue. So we had the green and purple color and a Florida setting. It turns out the invitation was my inspiration. The theme of her shower is under the sea.
I remembered that we had a Blank quilt pattern for an under sea type of quilt called Mosaic by Heidi Pridemore. So, I jumped into action. I worked all weekend and some every day this week. Mack finished the last of the stippling with our quilter this afternoon, I put on the binding and "Voila" the quilt is done. I think a baby of either sex will love it, especially when it is a little older and can appreciate the colors. It was a lot of work, but I think every bit of it was worth it. My favrorite animals are the little orange seahorses. Hopefully, my neice, her husband, and the baby will like it. We hope to mail it tomorrow so it will have time to get to Tampa by February 4.
Having just finished my mittens using the third week's directions from Michelle Hunter for the February "Winter Buzz" mittens, I am fresh with instructions on how to do the Kitchener stitch. I have always disliked the Kitchener Stitch and as usual boggled it on one of the mittens. It was all finished and lying there on the table not looking quite right. Sure enough, I dropped a stitch about 3 into the seam of the mitten. Not feeling like pulling it out, I grabbed the tail which fortunately wasn't cut off yet, threaded the needle and picked up the stitch. Unfortunately, by the time it was secured, the seam at the top of the mitten looked worse. I decided to get a book out and to do the second mitten right. It turned out beautifully, and made me realize the Kitchener stitch really isn't that hard. SOOOO, why do I dislike it so much.
Is it because I associate it with Khartoum, in the Sudan? Perhaps, but what on earth would Lord Kitchener have to do with the Kitchener stitch, other than share the name? I decided to look it up and discovered that Lord Kitchener was a rather remarkable fellow and quite gifted in many departments.
Lord Herbert Kitchener, the 1st Earl Kitchener, began his career as a surveyor and became famous for winning the Battle of Omdurman which secured Sudan for the British in 1898. He was given the title "Lord Kitchener of Khartoum" for his efforts and thus we have the tie between Kitchener and Khartoum. During his rule of Khartoum he guaranteed the freedom of religion to all citizens, reformed the debt laws, and instituted a program for good governance of the Sudan. HIs resume is quite illustrious and he has many accomplishments to his credit after his efforts in the Sudan. He was the Secretary of State for War (England) at the outbreak of WW1 in 1914. In that capacity he organised the largest volunteer army that Britain (or the Empire) had seen to that date. He also foresaw that the war would be long and that Britain's victory was by no means sure. He apparently was a man who rose in ability as he was promoted and was especially gifted. He was the man responsible for laying groundwork for the expansion of munitions production at the beginning of WW1. Since this is a knitting blog and most of you aren't as fascinated with military history as I am, I won't go into a long and arduous recitation of all of his military work, but will note that he was ruthless when necessary.
This fact is especially puzzling, because he must have had a tender and loving side. He was bothered by the fact that sock patterns of the day had a seam on the toe that rubbed his soldiers' toes. Or perhaps his own feet bothered him. Whatever! He must have known how to knit, or been a brilliant engineer, because he developed the Kitchener's Stitch (or seam). During World War 1, he encouraged women in Britain and the USA to use his seam on socks they knit so soldiers' feet could be more comfortable. Thinking about the heat of Khartoum and the long marches, this invention must have made quite a difference in soldiers' lives. We knitters should give Lord Kitchener three cheers and think about the improvement a soldier made for socks--our hobby. I for one will never complain about the Kitchener stitch again. I have been put in my place and am quite impressed. I may be able to knit, but I don't think I could be a very good soldier, or for that matter come up with anything that would be particularly usefu to them.
An interesting postscript for those of you watching Downton Abbey by Julian Fellows is that his wife Emma Kitchner Fellows is a great-great niece of General (Lord) Kitchner.
Pantone, part of the X-Rite company, has released its color of the year for 2012. It is Pantone 17-1463! Yikes, you say, what is that! That color number means absolutely nothing to me! Well, no, but the color description-- tangerine tango--surely should. All of you people who love orange should be happy with the choice and standing up and shouting, Yea! According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive diretor of the Pantone Color Institute, tangerine tango is a color with a lot of depth to it. Ms. Eiseman said of tangerine tango, "Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive. Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy." Whew, just copying that quote was enough to wear me out. According to Pantone, last year's color--Honeysuckle pink--encouraged us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor, while this year's color provides the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward. Well, I hope they are right and that we move forward in 2012 and leave some of 2011's issues and problems behind us. We did have a very warm summer last year, so I hope the heat and energy Pantone is referring to is not related to the weather.
Several yarns in the store seemed to represent Tangerine Tango very well. There were also some Noro yarns that included tangarine tango in the color suite. Check out the picture below. There did not appear to be any fabric that matched.
Well, you orange people, this is the year for you. Stand up and wear the color of the year!
Wow! I always get excited with anything new and we have a brand new year--fresh and unspoiled spooling out in front of us. I have a whole new list of projects I want to make and yarns I want to use. Forget the fact that I didn't get everything I planned done last year and some of the projects I did start are still lingering around--I didn't sew any of the 3 summer tops together (maybe they will look and seem new next summer) and there are a few others put aside for one reason or another. Ah well, too bad! I think I finished enough to make me happy and there is still hope for the old projects--not just now though!
Some new yarn should be arriving soon--just in time for spring knitting. Included in the list is some gorgeous recycled silk from Frabjous, some new Magic Ball colors from Be Sweet. We also have some roving and new weights and colors coming from Pagewood Farms and Great Adirondack. The Great Adirondack is special because they now have an association of some sort with Kreinik threads. When we were looking at the yarn sample and were trying to figure out which yarns had metallic threads from Kreinik. We were not successful, but will ask next time we see Doug. There is a new coffee table style book from Noro which has some lovely and different projects. It is sitting on the counter driving me crazy--I am restraining myself and trying not to start one of everything in the book. Maybe one project? What do you think.
Hopefully, everyone had a wonderful Holiday season! We sure did enjoy ourselves--visiting with family from out of town was especially nice! I got presents made for everyone on my list and, I believe, everyone was pleased. The only trouble is, when you make presents for everyone you barely get done and it is time to get started again. The pictures below show some of the completed projects and new yarns. The first is a beret and the Triplicity shawlette made of Ella Rae's Latte. I gave my first Triplicity shawlette away as a Christmas gift, but liked it so much I made another. The first one was red and as you can see the second is blue. I really don't care much for the color blue, so I may have to make a third shawlette.The second picture is a picture of the sock yarn for the February Skacel KAL. We are using two colors of Austermann Royal for the socks. It is one of the nicest sock yarns I have used. I love it. The third picture is the cuff of the January Winter Buzz mittens we are making for the Januay KAL project. We got the first set of instructions yesterday. It only took a few hours to cast them on and get this week's work done. The last two pictures are of Georgianna a shawlette out of the Jane Austen Knits magazine. I can't imagine ever wearing this shawlette, but I thoroughly enjoyed making it and now I enjoy looking at it. It is one of those things that just makes me happy! I don't know why!
Speaking of happy! We had a great break through in our alpaca husbandry this morning. Picchu, finally, ate some alpaca food for us. He and Machu have been totally disdainful (and Machu still is) and wouldn't touch a bite of alpaca food or any treat we took them. They would stick their little noses in the bowls, pull them out, and then look away with scorn as if to say--what do you think I am, I am no fool, If I touch that food, you will have a form of control of me! Forget it, and get over it! But, this morning little Picchu stuck his head in the bowl and started eating. He ate and ate until every morsel, every crumb was gobbled up. I don't think we could have forced his little head out of that bowl. It made us feel so pleased!