Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shawl of Many Colors

Shawl of Many Colors, originally uploaded by confections.

This mitered triangle shawl is one my favorite wraps, created by me from the yarn on up! It tells a story of my life over the last twelve years or so since I've been collecting fleece and prepared fiber and spinning it. Some of this handspun yarn was spun on a drop spindle, some on my Lendrum spinning wheel. Some of it was hand-dyed with Kool-Aid. Lots of the raw material was gathered at weaving conferences around California, local and far-flung yarn shops, and a special place in Pennsylvania called Autumn House Farm, where I bought my most favorite drop spindle in the fall of 1994. Most of the mini-skeins used here are my early attempts at spinning, and they are very textural and bulky, slubby, thick and thin--all characteristic of a beginning spinner's yarn. I have progressed a bit as a spinner in the last four or five years, but this shawl is a romantic testament to the beauty of first attempts.

Have fun! Here is the pattern for your knitting pleasure!

Shawl of Many Colors 3

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Vintage Effanbee Doll 3/4 View

My 5-year-old niece and I found this forlorn-looking vintage Effanbee doll last month at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. We had been to tea earlier in the day, and Grace had brought her American Girl doll, Elizabeth, along to the festivities. When we entered the thrift shop, she made a beeline to a group of dolls which included this well-loved charmer.

I did a little research about the doll and it seems she was made circa 1913 to 1917. She's a nonogenarian! I love the little strand of beads around her neck. Someone loved her and decked her out in her time. I'm going to make her a little calico dress soon and take her along to the next tea party. I'm sure she's been the guest of honor at many such gatherings in the past.

Collage of Vintage Effanbee Doll
Forlorn Face of Vintage Effanbee Doll
Vintage Effanbee Doll

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pistachio Gelato Colorway Handpainted Worsted Wool Yarn

It's spring and a young girl's fancy turns to luscious greens in her yarn stash. I photographed this particular skein for my Etsy shop, but I have plenty more emerald skeins to choose from, some of them handspun. The hand-thrown celadon bowl in this photo was thrifted in Ocean Beach, California, at one of my favorite vintage haunts.

I definitely have the urge to knit and spin during the spring. Yes, I know it's fall and coming onto winter in the *Southern Hemisphere*, but I appreciate wool yarns year-round, even here in Southern California, where, despite rumors to the contrary, it can get very cold at times. Not that I'm complaining. My sister just returned to Pennsylvania after an extended visit here, and they had a snowy Easter weekend!

I've got lots of crafty projects in store for the spring, including participation in a circle scrapbooking journal with my sisters and sister-in-law. We're selecting our themes now and gathering supplies and ideas. My theme will run along the lines of "My Ideal Sanctuary" and I know it includes a spinning wheel and lots of fluff to inspire me. Cheers to your springtime projects!

Carnival Handspun Hand-blended Merino/Corriedale Wool
Handspun Corriedale Turquoise/Cream Blend

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Wisteria, originally uploaded by confections.

Happy Easter!

I've been in search of wisteria in bloom in my neighborhood. Yesterday was my sister's birthday and we took an excursion to North County in San Diego. Among other stops, we ended up in Carlsbad, and went by some of our favorite haunts: a quilt shop, a British grocer, a vegan restaurant, and a little vintage doll shop which has the most exquisite arbor of wisteria in full bloom. Heady fragrance and ineffable beauty. Enjoy these spring days!

Fragrant Wisteria

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Blue Quartz Beads

Blue Quartz Beads, originally uploaded by confections.

The spring cleaning continues and the treasures resurface. My sister Lisa is a beader extraordinaire and she was just here for a visit. Usually we hit every bead shop within a 50-mile radius of home, but we didn't this time. She did sneak off to one of our local shops one afternoon on the way to the beach, though, and came back with lots of green beads. I unearthed a few strands from one of my previous bead forays this week. I was in a green and blue phase on this particular excursion, but then I am often in a blue and green phase (note the handwoven fabric created with yarns from my knitting stash!).

This brings up the issue which my sisters and I call "cross-crafting", like cross-training: you go from one craft to the other for inspiration and to develop your craft muscles. Thus, the beads inspire the handwoven cloth, which informs the choice of dyes for handpainted yarns, or the blending of colored roving on the handcards for spinning, and on and on.

Please watch my Etsy shop for a sterling silver beaded wirewrapped bracelet made by my sister Lisa. It should be listed by Easter Sunday. Enjoy your Spring Break!

Olive Jade Beads

Collage of Blue Quartz , Aventurine, and Olive Jade Bead Strands

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Handknit, Handpainted Scarf in Progress

Spring cleaning yields lots of surprises. Among them, some UFO's in my studio. I started this variation on a scribble lace theme quite a while back, but it resurfaced the other day, and I think it will make a welcome little scarf for these luscious spring days. Both yarns used here are handpainted: the furry novelty yarn stands out like a caterpillar next to the smooth laceweight wool contrast yarn.

This was my first attempt at a Debbie New type scribble lace scarf before I understood the concept well enough. I have another one in the works, too, that utilizes circular needles and the "three rows of laceweight, one row of novelty yarn" recipe. I like this variation, too, and it can be done on straight needles. To make it long enough, I may have to dip into another colorway of this handpainted yarn, but that will simply give it added interest and oomph!

Handknit Scarf in Progress
Close-up of handknit scarf