Broomstick Lace memories

Dig out that old family album, the one from at least several decades ago (preferably pre-70s). See those family photos? Do you notice a common thread running through many of them?

Need a clue?

Cars! I was reminded a couple weeks ago that for some reason lots of people pictures shot outdoors were taken in front of the family car. I suspect it has to do with waiting until the last moment before rushing to find the cameras and snapping family pictures as the visiting relatives head for their car. It was brought to my attention that one doesn’t see many pictures with a family member posing in front of the car so, tongue in cheek I posed my daughter by my Ford Focus.

The real focus of the picture should be the vest.

I was too aggressive when wet blocking it. It shouldn’t hang quite that low on her. When I’d tried it on for size it seemed so short. I’ll have to reblock it for Aurora.

It was to be the Hourglass Jacket by Jennifer Hansen of Stitch Diva Studios. Broomstick Lace and crochet. I’d already missed the birthday deadline and I really wanted to wear it to the hook signing at Stitch Diva’s booth but the sleeves hadn’t been begun and I was looking at less than a skein of yarn left. The Debbie Bliss silk didn’t appreciate frogging. How do I know? Well now. The back was completed down to the bottom of the armholes and I was about to start on the two front sections. Though the pattern indicated that the material will generously grow lengthwise when blocking it just didn’t seem long enough. For the third time I studied and puzzled the instruction trying to figure out where I may have gone wrong. Ask me if I can read the difference between sc and dc. Apparently not. I don’t know how many times my eyes saw the dc but my brain read sc. For non-crocheters sc is single crochet which basically adds one loop of height, dc is double-crochet which would add two loops of height, tp is triple-crochet, three loops, which is what comprises the fitted waist section of the vest. (To add to the confusion of the above, this is the American way of deciphering stitches though in my opinion the British have it laid out correctly in terms of counting the loops.) Oh yes, my story. Carefully I gingerly tinked it all and started over. I won’t use DB silk again. If I’d paid attention to the skein of yarn when I bought it  – it took all my mental efforts to figure out how many skeins I needed but eventually that figure proved wrong – I’d have seen the yarn is only singles, no plying to give it strength.

So, between having only one night in which to get it blocked and dried before the signing and possible lack of enough yarn to complete two sleeves I took the easy way out. Besides, vests are very handy to have when working in an office.

I really shouldn’t have worn it. It was made for my daughter. She’s 5’9″ and slender as a rail. I’m shy of 5’3 and more like a stout post. It hung really bad on me. Jennifer was gracious enough not to notice.

Jennifer! Yes! We finally met. She seemed like a dear young sister. It was wonderful to meet her. So full of zest and energy, all sparkle, intelligence, and creativity. I went up to the Portland Convention Center to The Knit and Crochet Guild Show three days in a row, first to deliver the hooks to Jennifer’s booth, then I took Jennifer’s hairpin lace workshop – if you ever get the chance to take a workshop from her, do so, and back there on Saturday with Ed to do the hook signing event. We ended up staying all afternoon and had a grand time.

I was delighted that Willow stopped by and said Hi.

Willow, who lives in California, was being recognized at the show for obtaining her “Master Knitter” certification. I wish we’d taken the opportunity to spend some time together. It was only later that I realized I should have left the booth for a long cup of coffee or tea and a good chat with Willow. We would have had lots to share.

After the show closed for the evening Jennifer, Ed and I headed for a Vietnamese restaurant. We feasted and talked the evening away. It was so good to spend real time together.

We’ve finally resolved our internet service provider woes by going with a satellite dish. After more than three weeks very very sporadic connection I made that call. In this age a quick, reliable internet is important to efficiently run the office end of Jenkins Woodworking without relying on a whimpy dial-up that cut off phone calls and takes ages to accomplish everything. Even four years ago operating on dial-up wasn’t as onerous. Think about how most websites now have lots of pictures, bells and whistles, the flasher the better. Motions, sounds and videos all take a heavy toll on loading time.

It took several days to iron out a few bugs and then a few more days before our techie friend came over to get the modem that talks to the satellite to also communicate through the router so I could use the laptop during my personal computer time. Yesterday morning we were slightly thrown for a loop shortly after booting up the computers when the internet connection slowed to a crawl before a last gasp. It wasn’t until I dashed through the raining dogs and cats downpour to get some produce to put up. While there I mentioned our nonworking connection and was informed that a copious amount of drenching, drown a cat in a moment – seriously I got soaked running the few steps from my car over to the tarp covered truck with corn ears covering the flatbed – rain will overwhelm the reception of any signals brave enough to make it through. And we live in western Oregon. sigh

There’s so much else to catch up on after a silence of almost a month. Now that I have access to the internet during personal time maybe I’ll make up for some lost time. After all, we did go to OFFF, I finished knitting another project, there’s spinning, and trying to put a bit of food by for the winter. One great thing about not being online in the early morning or evening is that it’s a wonderful time for productive fiberworking while listening to books on tape. After reading of Jo‘s visit to PEI I had to borrow the Anne of Green Gables set from the library to “read” again.


Potential Projects

It’s sobering to realize that 20 days have passed since the last posting. Too many project deadlines invading my regular evening computer time.

The tencel/merino spun up beautifully.

50/50 Merino/Tencel from Crown Mountain Farms, Chasing Rainbow dye, colorway Madrona (I think. The tag is long missing)
2 ounces = 160 yards
16 WPI

This has been measured out and sleyed, meaning that I’ve threaded it through the reed which is a device on a loom resembling a comb and used to space warp yarns evenly. (Someday a post will be devoted to weaving and the various terms.)

I had planned to weave the entire vest with the corriedale/camel yarn with random streaks of merino/tencel in the warp to give it a bit of spark. Did you hear my groan around the 11th? I discovered that I’d forgotten to tally in the amount needed for weft which meant there was only enough yarn for the warp.(huge groan of dismay) Back to the spinning wheel with another 4 ounces of the dark brown corriedale wool. Several days later and another 250+ yards of yarn, still not nearly enough. Ransacking through the stash I found the perfect treasure!

Do you see that gorgeous smushy grey in the upper left of the picture? Authentic organic Irish wool straight from the Emerald Isle and Jo. It had been languishing, waiting for a very special use. I’m so tickled that it will be part of Ed’s vest! The four different yarns that will make up the vest are pictured above. The dark corriedale is a bit hard to spot under the tencel yarn.

Since the vest was still being assembled on the loom come the 24th I scrambled to make something for Ed’s birthday the next day. At night he empties his pockets and puts keys and the odd coin into a plastic container. Potential for a great present for change.

Saturday, the 23rd, we’d gone to The City of Books (aka Powell’s Bookstore) in Portland for a book fix then stopped by a yarn shop where Ed snagged a ball of Nettle Yarn. Yep, yarn made from nettles. At first I tried crocheting a basket (sans pattern) from the nettles but the yarn is stiff, bumpy and very uneven. Digging out various bits of my handspuns I devised this just in time to gift Ed on his day.

The nettle yarn was used on the turning rows.

What else have I been up to…My first attempt at Broomstick Lace! Destined for someone special.

Last week Ed and I were activity engaged during our local church’s Friend’s Kids’ Days (VBS). Ed helped with crafts and made paddle wheels for the kids to paint which they then raced during activity time on the last day. I got to oversee, organize, and teach. We’d been put in charge of directing the VBS this year. It was great fun, totally exhausting and at times very chaotic when the rain poured down on the third day and everything was taking place inside our little church.

But oh so worth the time to make a difference in some of these kid’s lives. To hear a boy declare that he can hear Jesus whispering in his heart during a dark night, “Be Brave, it is I, don’t be afraid” fills our hearts with joy and gratitude.