Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Who's Got The Button?

Finished the pair of sweaters for a classmate's twins, but I wasn't really happy with the button selection I had here, so I decided to have a hunt through my mother's button boxes when I went down.

Of course, there was other stuff going on - Christmas baking, and homework, and laundry, and I had to meet Pumpkin, the new cat. Doesn't he look rather like Puss In Boots in Shrek2? He's a smart one - the only one of the cats that has found and used the dog-door in the mudroom - and has a taste for bread. He goes out with Dad in the morning and shares the chickens' bread cubes they get as a treat.

But by Sunday morning I got down to the hunt. And a hunt it is. You see, half the fun (and half the problem) is that Mom has a number of button-boxes.

And very few of them are in any way organized.

You can find buttons of all sizes, shapes, and colours, and you will frequently find a match for a button from box A in box C.

I have volunteered to organize the boxes over Christmas, so that at least all the buttons of a given type will be in one box. It makes life so much easier. The way it is now, after sorting through 6 or 8 boxes for possibilities, you have a result that looks like this:

At that point, you can start the elimination process by removing anything you didn't find enough of, and then proceed from there. Which is what I did - cut the field down to a handful of candidates, and then discussed options, with the happy result that the sweaters are now buttoned and cute and ready to present to the recipient.

Sunday, 10 November 2013


The current project on the spinning wheel is a multicoloured, long-repeat yarn. I was weighing the required bits of a dozen colours out, when I realized that I had no recollection of how I kept the darn things in order the last time I did this sort of thing. I thought it might have involved stacking them in a plastic bag, but didn't find anything that looked to be dimensionally appropriate.

Then I had one of my occasional brilliant notions. Possibly suggested by my new needle-case, I thought of straight knitting needles. And it is working a treat. I just threaded each neat little bit of carded wool onto a needle, in the correct order. Kind of like a rainbow-colored shish-kabob, so I've taken to thinking about it as a spin-kabob.

And since I want 2 skeins of two ply, I have 4 needles, neatly and identically adorned, one for each bobbin of single-ply. Dead easy to keep track of where I am, and what colour comes next, and they're not likely to get messed up the way a bag of roving bits would. Definitely an idea I want to keep in mind for the next time.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Ex and Sale, Sheets, and a Pumpkin

Weaving and Spinning Guild Ex and Sale done for another year, and it was a great one. My only regret is that I completely missed getting photos for a few of my things before they were sold, so now I will have permanent blank spaces on those project pages on Ravelry :(

But I did bring home a really neat something, completely unexpectedly. On Saturday I was chatting with an older lady, also of Dutch extraction, about knitting, and the patterns from various countries, and dyeing, and we had a nice time. Sunday she showed up again at my booth and gave me a huge wooden knitting needle holder. Painted and carved, and likely Dutch; she said she'd enjoyed it for years, but was trying to cut down on the things she had, and she wanted it to go to someone who would appreciate it! I was just about bowled over.

The painting reminds me a bit of the folk art my Dutch grandmother used to paint. So special, and yet kind of sad that this lady had no one in her family who would want it, and it came to me, who she'd just met. It's a common issue, though; my mother has a lot of things - vintage clothes, quilts-in-progress - that came to her from someone she knew whose family would have tossed the things out if they inherited them.

The night before the show, I was ironing my tablecloth, aka a navy-blue bed sheet, and it occurred to me that, like vinegar, bedsheets must be one of those household items that have 101 uses. My coloured bedsheets have served as chair slipcovers, frost blankets for my plants, tablecloths for shows, a costume sari for Halloween, floor covering when I'm picking or carding wool...we used sheets for tents or to mimic a canopy bed as kids, Mom uses old ones for weaving rag rugs, and my living-room curtains are patterned sheeting we bought as a remnant. Very useful things.

It seems the next time I go to the parents', there will be another cat to get acquainted with. Mom said she wasn't looking for another cat, certainly not a male, and not an orange one, since her Abby is orange. And Halloween night, an orange male cat decided to adopt them. He apparently has a big round head too, so he has been given the obvious name, Pumpkin. The other cats have done the feline equivalent of shrug and go about their business, but the dog is getting a lot of exercise, constantly needing to look for That Cat and discourage it from staying. Pumpkin just sits and watches from a higher vantage point, but doesn't seem scared, (and the dog gets tired easily), so that should resolve itself pretty soon...