Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I was considering a dreary, mumbly post on the unseasonably cold weather, but then I learned about Cumberbombing, photobombing with Benedict Cumberbatch. How is it I did not know about this meme? Apparently I've been living under a rock, but no longer. Thanks, Jimmy Fallon!

I suppose it says something about the erudition (or aspiration) of the fans that so many favorite Cumberbatch recordings are literature, a favorite craft item is a bookmark. Needless to add, I made my own – and so can you thanks to Ginger Nifty.

Benedict Cumberbatch bookmarks

The bouquet of Benedicts cheered me up so much – the power of craft! – I frogged my climate march sock and started an Ixslein instead.

Ixslein wip

I'm loving how the slip stich Xs pull on the fabric, giving a quilted look that I hope will survive washing. The little swags that form the Xs alter the skinny stripe repeat just enough that the sock in progress looks quite different from its predecessor, which makes me happy. It's a good day after all.

And for an even brighter tomorrow, come out in the cold and see this green movie, The Human Scale, tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m.

More information here.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Over the weekend DH and I visited Winterthur, a former du Pont estate turned museum. DH likes visiting Winterthur; I can take it or leave it. It's a beautiful place to be sure, but I've frequently felt a disdainful chill from the often unhelpful staff, as if they resent the visitors whose admission fees pay the upkeep. It was no surprise that although we came to gawp at were attracted by the exhibit of costumes from Downton Abbey, I ended up liking other exhibits of historical items more. Although it was fun to ring a pull bell and to see Sybil's harem frock in person.

Harem frock from Downton Abbey

The vast permanent collection of the museum is focused on Americana, including quilts and samplers. Inspired by the humbler items, I crocheted up some Cream Circles to use as hotpads. My version, in Lily Sugar 'n Cream, is smaller and lacks the scalloped edge of the pattern.

Cream Circle hotpads

It's always well to have a stack of new hotpads ready for the feasting season.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Today is Veterans Day in the U.S., a day to pause and reflect on those who served in their country's military, and to thank them for their sacrifice and service.


This wreath was placed at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC, which I visited in late October.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cobbler's Child

After the raid on the charity bin I've been busy refilling it.

Mitten Tree hats

As it was obscured by the others, the Hufflepuff hat gets a pic all to itself.

Hufflepuff hat

I also made a snow shoveling hat, with an extra-thick brim, just for me.

Snow shoveling hat

The busyness did not escape notice: DH remarked on how fancy and nice the new hats look.... Not to mention he left the house without a scarf this chilly morning because he "couldn't find any clean ones." What?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Newbie Luck

As it turns out, quite a lot can go wrong, but sometimes newbie luck is almost as good as skill.

It was easy to weave with Homespun – my selvedges were good! But, somehow the warp wound around the warp beam a lot more tightly at each selvedge than in the middle. So of course the resulting fabric was shorter at the selvedges, longer in the middle – an unintended, undesired ruche effect. I also wove much more tightly at the beginning than at the end, with unfortunate (or comic) results for the drape of the shawl. Both effects, obvious to the hand, were subtle to the eye and difficult to document with my poor digicam, so there's no pix of the sorry fabric. Perhaps that's for the best.

Fortunately, because I still don't have a good sense of how much warp translates into a given length of fabric, I wove 'way more cloth than needed for a prayer shawl. That gave me leeway to cut off most of the tight end and to gently spread out the remaining weft across the remaining warp. The process probably would have been impossible in wool yarn, but is do-able in slippery acrylic yarn like Homespun. After several days of patient spreading whenever I watched TV (a process that may include posteriors as well as wefts), I ended up with a shawl that still was denser at one end and airier at the other, but not quite so inordinately so. I made some twisted fringe and called it a Finished Object. I am really loving twisted fringe.

Homespun prayer shawl

DH thinks the FO is kinda bright, but I like it. Ordinarily, I like a wider prayer shawl, and I do find myself wishing for wider weaving width... a dangerous wish that I'm keeping firmly suppressed. If I stick with rigid heddle weaving, I could see wanting a simpler, smaller loom for quick samples and experiments, and a bigger, more capable loom for bigger projects. The rabbit hole beckons....

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Have You Voted?

Today is General Election Day in the U.S. There are Internet resources and apps to help voters to find their polling place, and learn about their candidates and ballot initiatives – everything an informed voter needs. In the fair state of New Jersey the polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There are two state questions and one municipal question on my ballot.

Lately I've been struck by how negative and discouraging some get-out-the-vote campaigns have been, almost as if they were stealth versions of voter suppression efforts calculated to make citizens tamely give up their rights. I say don't buy that noise. On this day there's only one thing that matters if you pay taxes and are eligible to vote, and that's Have you voted?

George Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

George Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. With permission.

After all, these guys were willing to invade New Jersey for the privilege.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Weaving Improv

Halloween night was a three-bagger at Casa Jersey Knitter, well within the middle of years past. This year I didn't recognize most of the trick-or-treaters, who were evenly split between small, precociously verbal preschoolers who readily offered lengthy, precise explanations of their costumes and largish, already rebellious pre-teens who were attentive to their friends and scarcely deigned to notice the person giving them candy. None of the costumes were nearly as scary as Gnarly Tine, Destroyer of Gardens, who showed up to snack on my yew hedge.

Gnarly Tine, Destroyer of Gardens

Emboldened by the semi-success of my first weaving project, over the weekend I started a second using Lion Brand Homespun. Like many prayer shawl knitters, I have an overly-large stash of the stuff. Coincidentally, I've gotten a little tired of knitting prayer shawls, so I had ulterior motives in seeing how this weaves up. As I only have an 8-dent (worsted weight) heddle at the moment, I improvised and threaded every other slot-and-hole to get a draft spread out sufficiently for the bulky bouclé yarn. This time I'm using the full weaving width of the loom.

Cricket loom warped with Homespun

What could possibly go wrong?