Friday, July 29, 2011

It's In the Bag This Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday

Once again a confluence of events has made me late to the Friday Fiber Arts party - but here I am, with freshly developed photos of my latest FO - as I promised last Friday, my Building Blocks Tote.

It's a roomy one, coming in at 19" x 12" x 5", and I lined it with some cotton fabric I had in the house. The buttons were also a stash dive, and I love how they look.

Additionally, check out the sassy knit leaves and cables!

The bag is composed of three blocks per side from Nicky Epstein's Block By Block book (which I'm certain most of you have read about in previous posts of mine). The leaves at the bottom are actually two pieces of one block that I decided to keep apart and use them in this manner. The gusset is yet another block that I customized in length and width, and used one complete skein of Cascade 220 Quatro to make. Bag design and finishing are all from my head.

The back view of the tote. The leaves look good no matter the side.

I hope all of you are enjoying the hazy days of summer in your respective neck of the woods. Check back with Andrea's blog to get all the summery scoop!

A sneak of a project in process. Don't expect to
see anything like a finished FO for at least a month.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Home Stretch this Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday

Happy Friday everyone! This is the final weekend of the Tour de France and the last weekend for all of us fiber TdFers to get our projects all done and spiffied up.

I am on schedule to complete my Building Blocks Tote. Based on blocks found in Nicky Epstein's Knitting Block by Block (which I reviewed last Fall), my 20 x 20 tote is starting to take shape. To the left you'll see a quick photo of the gusset, which is adapted from one of the book's blocks.
I'm using Cascade 220 Superwash Quattro (blue/green/violet) for the gusset and Cascade 220 Superwash (in light blue) for the tote's main blocks. I will definitely be able to show you the completed tote next Friday.

Additionally, I'm slooooowwwwly getting through my Dianna shawl (or, as I'm calling it, Entre Quoi?). Pattern block banished, here's the first lovely leafy block:

People, you have no idea how happy and proud I am of this block. When I completed it, I really did do a happy dance in my living room. I might not get this shawl completed by the end of the Tour, but I am nevertheless thrilled that I'm now on the better side of it.

So, as the riders make their way to the Champs Elysees this Sunday, check back with Andrea's blog and share in everyone's fiber victories, no matter the form.

Can't one always find parking near the local chateau?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Notes from the (sometimes) French and Food and Weird Happenings Front

I recently attended the 3rd annual Urban Craft Uprising. Held at least twice per year (always summer and during the holiday season, but the uprising is expanding), this is an artist's and DIY-er's dream. All kinds of handcrafted items are curated at each show, and since one can usually speak directly with the artist, there's usually an up-close-and-personal kind of feeling to each show.

This year was no different. Along with my usual stop at the Yarnia booth (where I picked up this cone of salmon-colored yarny goodness), I discovered a new treat - preserves from Deluxe Foods. Using a traditional French method (basically, no pectin), Deluxe produces preserves and fruit butters that let the fruit flavor shine through. Given that it's berry season, they had two different types of strawberry preserves to taste. I instantly swooned at the slightly sweet-tart taste of the strawberry balsamic preserves, so I scooped it, along with some apple butter, up for a treat on my morning toast.

However, there was more French goodness going on outside right near the UCU, as the weekend Bastille Day celebration was taking place. Any excuse to get food, wine and music together is just fine by me. I did attempt the ring toss for a bottle of wine. My ring tossing skills need improvement.

Additionally, I have been enjoying the initial bounty of the summer harvest at my local farmers' markets. I have a bunch of fresh rhubarb from which I'm going to attempt to make chutney. If it's successful (aw heck, even if it's not), you'll hear more about it. In the meantime, if any of you have fresh rhubarb and are looking for recipes, I'd suggest checking out The Rhubarb Compendium. Who would have thought that rhubarb would inspire such a website?

Finally, I leave you with a note from the "You've Got To Be Kidding Me!!!!" file. A Ms. Bass in Michigan, after receiving a warning and a ticket, was charged with a misdemeanor for growing vegetables in her front yard. It seems growing vegetables in one's front yard is a potential violation of a local municipal law indicating that one must cover the yard with "grass ground cover, shrubbery, or other suitable live plant material". Hmmm - I wonder how the municipality might miss the fact that veggies seem to fall within the "suitable live plant material" part of the law.

Anyway, an actual trial date was set for next week, but when a gale force of negative press blew through the local prosecutor's office, the charges were dropped. Mr. Bass described it as something akin to finding "some judge in his pajamas" to dismiss the charges in the middle of the night.

It would seem the summer heat is getting to some folks. Do enjoy the summer food bounty - but, hey, let's be careful out there!

Dipping toes in this small wading walk might help alleviate some
of the summertime weirdness gripping certain Midwest law enforcement

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Felt It This Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday

I have a few fibery things to tell you this Friday.

So, let's start with this:

Remember that awesome orange yarn I posted last Friday? Well, it's going into the same project as the lovely cone above, which is actually three yarn stands - one white (really!), one red and one that salmon-y color. What, exactly, am I making with this shockingly awesome color combo? Hmmm ... tune in later. 

Next, I received this fabulous hank of linen yarn (on the right)from a wonderful swap partner in Berlin. Get a load of that amazing color, achieved (again!) with three strands of laceweight linen. There is a little over 1300 yards of linen goodness in that skein. I know exactly what I want to make with it. But oh, I need more time! Too many great projects; not enough darn time, people - really!

And finally, the pièce de résistance for this week's fibery update - look what the talented Heather Woollove made just for moi -

Yes, it's my very own felt messenger bag of awesomeness! A few months back she had blogged that she was swapping projects with someone, and if anyone was interested in swapping with her ... . well, you know I was, so along with at least one other Friday Fiber Arts regular, I emailed Heather. After we exchanged a little information, I sent her this photo of my dining room table, taken on the fly,

from which she crafted my awesome messenger bag. It's got everything I love in a bag: it's messenger, utilizes some of my favorite colors, has just a little bit of bling, and on the inside (which no one but me can see!), there are three pockets lined with kitteh fabric. I'll get to smile each time I open it up. I'm smiling right now. Thanks, Heather! I do hope you love your swap projects (to come at the end of the month) as much as I love my messenger bag.

Please don't forget to check back with Andrea's blog - you never know how much fun you might have! Smile, smile, smile ...

Can you see the bling on the upper
right of the back of the bag?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Confluence of Yellow

I don't paint with yellow all that often ...
Don't ask me why, but I am not a big fan of yellow - you know, the bright neon yellow, the yellow with the silver undertone that rounds the corner five minutes before you do. The orange side of yellow is fine, wonderful even.

The Tour de France annual bicycle race extravaganza is happening now. It started on the second of the month, and runs through the 24th when the cyclicts make their grand entrance along the Champs-Elysees. Many of them either in yellow, or looking to win le maillot jaune (yes, the yellow jersey). 

I like bicycles. I like bicyclists. I love the Tour de France. But I don't really like yellow.

I'm attempting to get through two shawls in progress, a tote, and my Dianna shawl. So while the cyclists race it out for the yellow on the course, I'll be crafting for my own yellow (and polka dot) jerseys, of sorts. Go figure. 

But I still don't really like yellow. Really.

Check back with Andrea's blog on this Fiber Arts Friday. Maybe others are working with yellow. Then again, maybe not.

Now this orange ... ah, love the power of orange!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday for the Books

Days like today are the reason so many of us transplant to the Pacific Northwest and don't ever want to move away: sunny, blue sky, low 70s with a beautiful breeze, no humidity. The greenery is more verdant, the flowers are just that much more fragrant, and the swallows are chirping about. People are out everywhere - doing yard work, walking their pets, strolling with their children or loved ones, riding their bikes, taking photographs (!), getting errands done while soaking up all that vitamin D. Glorious, absolutely glorious.

It is amid that background that I photographed my most recent finished project - my Lettuce Leaf shawl. I cannot tell you how much I absolutely love this shawl. The pattern is the Critron, which is the crocheted version of the popular Citron knitted half-circle shawl. Worked up in laceweight alpaca and mohair, this blocked out so amazingly well. Can you tell how excited I am?!!!!

This is my first half-circle shawl, and I love how it lays so nicely on my shoulders. It needs just a little shawl pin on the side, but I can see this becoming my new favorite go-to shawl. 

And even though I'm once again a little late to the Fiber Arts Friday dance, I think Andrea might not mind that I exercised my freedom to move about my neighborhood on this awesomely lovely day. Definitely check back with her blog to see how everyone else kicked off their respective July 4th weekend.

Happy independence! Get out there and enjoy ... just don't forget your fiber.