Monday, January 26, 2009


I completed another portion of my sampler last night. It is composed of bands and motifs in backstitch. I am continuing to use Crescent Colors cottons and to experiment with different ways of using each stitch. I enjoyed including blackwork flowers and frogs in addition to the traditional backstitched dividing bands. This sampler is inspired by Sharon B's Stitch Along Group. There are a lot of things to do with a simple back stitch. The next block will include whipped and laced variations, including Pekinese stitch variations. There are also a lot of pulled thread variations on back stitch. I might use them in a different block.

I also completed my first UFO for the year. One of the Lizzie Kate Christmas Flip Its. It represents a small amount of progress in the UFO stitching challenge on the Legacy Board. It is also my first finish of 2009. I hope to finish the whole set this year and be able to hang them on my feather tree at Christmas time.

I have been knitting, watching movies, and reading much more than I have been stitching. I really enjoyed Red Doors about a dysfunctional Chinese American family and I also had fun watching Around the World in 80 Days. The costumes and dance scenes were a lot of fun to watch and it was fun to try and pick out all of the cameo appearances by famous actors and actresses. It is really an extravaganza and was nominated for and won a number of Academy Awards.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Toe up and other cold weather pleasures

It has been very cold here in northern Illinois -- the thermometer in my car registered -7 F on my way home. I tried to buy gas and the card readers at the pumps were frozen. The dogs have been hesitating before they go outside and my children have been complaining about having to go to school.

All this cold weather has me thinking about knitting warm things. I bought Janet Rehfeldt's book Toe Up Techniques for Hand-Knit Socks at Christmas time and made my first toe-up sock. I found her directions easy to follow, even for a self taught left handed knitter like myself. I used Regia 4-Fach Haltbar yarn in one of Kaffe Fassett's Exotic Colors. Clay contains a number of my favorite colors and created an interesting pattern on my socks. Now I need to knit the second one.

The weather has also been great for sitting at home and reading -- especially when I have unexpected free time because all of the basketball games are cancelled. I am re-reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, I love how she captures domestic details. In the book Mrs. Ramsey knits socks for the light house keeper's son. In The Voyage Out, one of the main characters works on a large needlepoint tapestry.