Friday, October 28, 2011

Felted slippers



The weather is cooling down.




It seems each autumn my thoughts go to knitting.







Since moving to North Carolina, our need for mittens has reduced to pretty much nothing. Once in a while we wear mittens, but mostly I wear hand warmers when it's chilly. What a difference from when I'd wear gloves inside mittens and still have cold stiff fingers just from coming in from the parking lot at work.

The floors are chilly here though and I love my felted slippers. See the ones on the right? I'm not much for the sheep on the side of that slipper, but it's the only example of what I have that I could find on line. Mine don't have sheep on them. (can you imagine 'me' wearing 'sheep' on my slippers???? .... NOT!) It's a crochet pattern and when you crochet the slipper in 100% wool, it is HUGE. Then you put it in hot water in the washer and as it agitates, the wool felts. You have to watch it for size and shape it , then air dry it. I stuffed papers in them to shape them. Those slippers are cozy and comfy and don't feel like ridges are on the bottom as some knitted, crocheted slippers do. I made them when we lived in Michigan so they are at least 5 years old.

So, on the left is a knitted felted clog. I have one almost knitted. It just seemed like something neat to make although my slippers are still good so they may be a gift. The pattern has been in with other patterns I have purchased and looked like fun to try. It's an unusual pattern, and according to the web site for fiber trends, very popular. If you can read a pattern, they aren't real difficult, although I wouldn't suggest it as your first knitting project.
One slipper is almost knitted, and the next will be started this Sunday at a friend's house. She sets up a little knitting group and feeds us snacks and wine. :-) It's a nice time to visit with friends !

If you click on the pictures, they link to the sites with the patterns. Just in case you want a pair of toasty slippers that are comfy and last for ages. Just think of all the gifts you could knit or crochet up for the holidays!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bead Crochet






Isn't this pretty? It's bead crochet. It's a pile of bead crochet ropes by Judith Bertoglio-Giffin. Her work is so admirable, plus she writes instructions and patterns for bead crochet.
This particular pattern is called Urban Stripes and you can purchase the pattern here.

I have tried and tried and tried to bead crochet ever since I saw a fellow lampworker wearing a fabulous focal bead on a bead crocheted rope made of matte gray/silver beads. Just beautiful. So, being quite an avid fiber arts person, having knit and crocheted since childhood, this should have been a snap. But everytime I tried it, the threads covered the beads. Cruising the internet the other night, I saw Judith's new tutorial and was inspired again to try the technique. Ok. I read. I looked at my books. I watched YouTube tutorials. OHhhhhhh......
I was basically working inside out. Makes sense! The threads are hidden in the tube.
You can see my paltry little sample. But it's correct! Woo Hoo!
Now I'm wondering if I can tackle the Urban Stripes. If you click on Judith's name above, you can go to her blog and see some wonderful samples!

gotta dig out the seed beads. next step matte gray/silver!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Honeycrisps


October. That means cider and apples. Caramel apples rolled in chopped up peanuts. Apple pie, apple crisp, and just a good crisp apple for lunch. We had several apple trees on our property when I was a kid and my mother always had a good warm homemade applesauce cooking. We used to sprinkle cinnamon candies into our bowls and stir them in, watching that red dye become a part of that warm, cinnamon-ish treat.

Living in Michigan, the fall harvest of apples is wondrous. My favorite eating apple was/is the Macintosh. Then a few years ago, my daughter introduced me to the honeycrisp.
"Mom.. meet the best apple you've ever had"

"Honeycrisp... prepare to be bought year after year, and sliced, diced, and shared"

For a while, I couldn't find these apples after we moved to NC. I ordered them from Michigan each fall. Having them shipped is no small expense but worth every penny. I'd share. Then the person who received the apple would come back to me and say 'where did you find that apple? It's the best one I've ever had"
juicy and sweet and just the right amount of 'crisp', whoever came up with this apple is a genius. So I looked it up.

Honeycrisp apple trees were derived from a 1960 cross of Macoun and Honeygold, at the University of Minnesota apple breeding program. The University was looking to develop winter hardy cultivars with high fruit quality. The original Honeycrisp apple seedling was planted in 1962 at the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center. In 1974 it was excepted as a possible new and exciting variety. Honeycrisp then know and evaluated as MN 1711 was tested at locations Minnesota, Michigan and here in New York at the Cornell Research Station in Geneva. In 1982, research scientist Dave Bedford rediscovered the tree and really loved the apples. As the story is told "He and Researcher James Luby went back to the records that had been kept on "1711." According to Luby, its data sheet had "DISCARD" scrawled across it." In 1988 a plant patented was applied for and in 1991 the apple we know as Honeycrisp was released for commercial propagation by the nurseries around the Country.

I now have a bunch of these apples in my refrigerator courtesy of my friend Ruth. I gave her a Michigan honeycrisp last fall and she said the usual 'wow where did you get that apple?" And then she has been on the prowl for them. Ruth can find anything! She heard they had them at a local discount store, made the trip over, called me and asked if I wanted some. They're all packed in a bubble plastic holder and yes indeed, they are close to that deep flavor from the Michigan apples. Ruth just saved me a whole bunch of money. :-)

Now to find good crisp cider. I did find some the other day, but it was a gallon size. Too much cider for this girl. But it's out there somewhere! Maybe the farmer's market? They have good mountain apples there.
and the best caramel apples? I found them at the mall at a chocolate shop. I mentioned to the girl at the counter the apples tasted like some we bought in Michigan at Uncle John's cider mill. (home of the absolute best apples, cider, doughnuts and caramel apples yum!) And this young lady was from Michigan. LOL She also would go to Uncle John's for cider etc.

In the long run. Michigan must have the perfect climate for apple growing.The abundance of fall apples made me into someone who depends on them for lunches and when it gets a bit cooler, the apple hunting commences. Then the apple cooking. :-) and enjoying!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wedding


This past weekend was the joyous occasion of a wedding. I am now the lucky Mom/Mom in Law of a lady we've loved and are so happy to have as part of our family.

No beads this week, but some will be posted within a few days. In the meantime, I'm basking in 'happy' .

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Signature Tablecloth


Isn't this neat? My Mom has a tablecloth like this, but this isn't hers. It's just a picture I lifted . off the internet. Years ago, my Mom bought a white tablecloth and whenever we had a family gathering, she would also 'gather' signatures. I thought, ... eh..... it was cute, but whatever.

Well. She brought that tablecloth to the 50th anniversary party we had for she and my father. Wow. what a treasure. Each signature embroidered. My kids when they could barely write, relatives who we loved and now have passed away. It's bright , it's beautiful, and full of memories. I'm thinking about picking up a white tablecloth of my own. We have a family gathering coming up, and it will be fun to do some 'gathering' of my own.