I just finished a fun project this morning. Even though I'd made these tiny trees before, when Martin Storey came to my town and my local yarn store, I couldn't resist taking a class from this amazing teacher, knitter, designer and gentleman. I'm a fan! The little trees are addictive to make and are in his book, Easy Fairisle Knits. This book is not available in North America, but Martin said he has expanded the book to double it's size, and this new version will be available everywhere in late 2015 or early 2016. I'll be on top of it and let you know when it's out; he says there are some great new designs he's really happy with. He said, "I know you're going to love it!"
In the class Martin shared his tips for holding and carrying the yarn when doing fairisle. Also, he is a big fan of beading and showed his very easy beading technique. I am now a big fan of beading too, and can't wait to get to beading this fall when Rowan and Swarovski debut their collaboration of knitting with crystals just in time for the holidays. What Rowan and Swarovski have come up with is completely gorgeous in every way. As soon as I can share more, I will, believe me.
Back to the trees: I'd made the tiny trees garland from the book; there's also an adorable pillow and afghan that use the trees, but I thought this time I'd make Christmas ornaments. Whenever I have a fiddly project like this, I like to gather my supplies on a lipped tray and set it next to me. The little bits are easier to find than if I'd used a basket, and the lip keeps things from getting lost in between the sofa cushions.
The yarn used was Rowan Felted Tweed DK. A few people in the class hadn't used it before and it was a big hit! If you haven't knit with it yet, it's one of those yarns that is very easy to handle and makes a beautiful fabric, even if your tension is less than perfect. For the backing, I used 100% wool felt from Purl Soho that I treated myself to when I was in NYC last year. I whipped stitched knitted trees and felt together and stuffed with a tiny bit of batting. I left the cast off end for hanging and took a picture of them dangling on some branches I have in a large vase in my kitchen. These bare branches are great for showcasing different holiday themes: at Easter I glue-gun tiny baby chicks on them and on July 4th they get tiny flags. As much as I don't really care for Halloween, in October I do like to glue-gun black spiders on the branches and it's been know to house a scary web too.
Just for the class, Martin had directions for a beaded (my favorite) and striped tree.
The book has several fairisle patterns to choose from.
I was in my sewing room all morning; glorious, as it had been a long while since I'd had a chance to spend quality time in my favorite room in the house. My husband poked his head in and said, "Playing in your room this morning, hon?" Why, yes. I was in the middle of an extremely important project. On Sunday I'd taken an old, unused gray organizer from the attic and spray painted it white. This morning I reached for my impossibly-difficult-to-keep-tidy button box and COMPLETELY organized all my buttons by color and style and put them into separate drawers. It made me so happy--I was all smiles and singing when he popped in again. I explained what I was doing, and I must have had a crazy-mad smile on my face, because he came over and kissed my cheek and said, "You're weird." No matter what he says, I know I'm not.
We see a movie most Monday afternoons. We have popcorn, candy and coke for lunch. It's quite nice. This afternoon we saw the movie, Max. My husband and I love dogs and have had several fantastic German Shepherds bless our lives over the years. We don't have a dog now, but we are going crazy deciding if we should or should not get a dog at this time in our lives. We know what it means, the time, the commitment, but the reward is very great. We'll see--we've been debating this for years, but it seems to come up more frequently now. Back to the movie: Max is a Belgium Malinois, which looks similar to a GSD. Just out of curiosity we looked up the breed because neither of us were familiar with it. What a fantastic breed! I also came across this interesting article. It made me sad. I had no idea people were so capricious that they would commit to having a dog, a 15 year commitment, on a whim.