Tuesday, September 11, 2012

misc. notes

Not so very long ago, I wrote about making some cement pots.  In the spring, I planted some succulents in my pots.  I have kept them on the patio table where I could watch the progress.  The chipmunks and/or squirrels were watching, too.  Seems they like to snack on those fleshy leaves a bit.  But they have all survived, and I was especially happy with this one...

I wasn't aware that this would bloom!  I saw that tall stalk sprouting up, but just thought it was a quirky kind of plant.  It made kind of an interesting architectural element.  Then, voila!  Out popped some pretty little orange blossoms!  I will have to see if I can get this one to grow indoors over the winter.

Some progress on finishing up a few things around here lately:
This is a pillow called Jaw Breaker from Jaybird Quilts.  It is made from a great group of Christmas prints from Bear Patch.  It fits a 20" pillowform.  I used the Creative Grids Double Strip 60 degree triangle ruler for it.

Here's a little bit of a project that I put together to display at the store.  I made use of one of our fall-colored homespun towels and a strip of fabric cut from a border print.  Add a little bit of rick rack and it really comes up with a nice finish.  And so easy!

 Now for some knitting...
I made this Mini Mania scarf once earlier this year and liked it so much that I started up another one.  This one is already promised to Debbie for her July birthday.  I finally got it to the point where I thought it was wide enough to be suitable.  So that means it is time to bind off, which generally is an easy task.  But I recalled that when I made the first one and started the bind off, I was not happy with the appearance of the edge that formed.  I think it was because every other stitch is a slip stitch and made some kind of loose loops on that edge.  At that point, I consulted with my knitting guru (Thora Lee) and she steered me to an alternative type of bind off that really worked out well for this.  When it came time for the bind off this time, I was searching high and low for any notes that I might have kept about what I did, but alas, found none.  So back to the guru, and this time, I am documenting it here for not only myself, but you, too!

Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Bind Off

Working the Sewn Bind-Off
You may work it on either the right or wrong sides.  There is a slight difference between the side so it’s your preference depending upon the pattern.  You’ll need a blunt-tipped tapestry needle.  Follow the two steps below.
1.      Insert the tapestry needle into the first 2 sts p-wise (as though to purl 2 tog), draw the yarn through and leaving both sts on the knitting needle.
2.      Insert the tapestry needle into the first st k-wise, draw yarn through and drop the st off the knitting needle.  Repeat these two steps.

If you are not real proficient with the knitter terms, it can be simplified like this:
With the knitting needle and all the stitches held in the left hand, insert the threaded needle into the first 2 stitches from right towards left.

Pull the needle and thread through, then come back through the first stitch from left to right.

Pull the needle and yarn all the way through, then slide the stitches close enough to the tip of the knitting needle to ease the first one off.

Pull a bit to get the stitch tension to even out with the knitted fabric, and repeat all over again.  This scarf has 300+ stitches to bind off, so it is not a quickie.  But slow and steady wins the race, right?  This is sort of how the edge is supposed to look, although it is a little bit bumpier and more uneven (not keeping even tension) than I would like.

But I am pretty sure that when it is finished and I wash and block it, everything will come out just fine.  I have learned that a little bit of water does wonders for shaping and molding knits.

So just in case you ever need to try an alternative bind off that results in a stretchier edge, this is the one to try!  I do have to admit something, though.  I took all these pictures earlier this morning, loaded them up on the computer with the intent of getting this post done.  But I was horrified to see the close-ups of my fingers, they looked like old hag hands!  Would be good for scaring some poor little children on Halloween!  So I had to lotion up and scrap the first set of pictures, and take the time to do it over again.  Amazing how the dry, cracked, flaky, peeling skin and cuticles become so everyday.  I'm not much for maintaining a professional manicure, but I could easily hit the lotion bottle more often.  That will be my goal!

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