Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scarf finished!

I ran completely out of purple yarn, so the reverse knitted scarf was a little shorter than it was supposed to be. I compensated by single-crocheting an inch on each end with the rest of the green yarn and a strand of something called "Squiggle" by Crystal Palace Yarns in the same lime green. DH thinks I ruined it, but sight unseen DD pronounced the idea "awesome" so I think I have a winner. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reverse Knitting

I think I told you before that DD and I were learning to reverse knit. Now that she's gone back to school, I sit up evenings and diligently work to finish this scarf we started (the pattern is in Debbie Stoller's book "Son of Stitch 'n B****"). The directions in the book are very clear and I love the way the two colors alternate on each side of the knitting. The two layers of knitting also make a very warm scarf; DH has admired it several times, so if I ever finish this one I might have to make another one in more subdued colors for him. The pattern calls for 23 repeats of a 14-row design; I have finished seven so far, so we'll see if DD gets to wear it this winter or not. In the meantime my bulky sweater project sits in the corner mocking me, so I have my hands full of knitting.

I've also become quite a fan of a blog called "Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing" ( Gertie is working her way through the Vogue Sewing Book and the results are gorgeous, plus she refers to other sewing blogs she likes, which led me this morning to "The Two Windmills" (, which made me really want to sew a new skirt! Perhaps by now you are thinking that I should stop blog reading and start actually making a skirt, or finishing my sweater, or doing something concrete and practical, and you are right, except for one thing.

Our museum ( On Friday we learned how to carefully clean and wrap antique textiles to preserve them for posterity. We have a huge collection of clothing and other textiles, many of them donated years ago (the first box was wrapped in newspaper dated September 1957, just as an example) that we are trying to get identified, documented, and properly stored in anticipation of a really stunning exhibit this spring. Unwrapping those newspaper parcels is like Christmas. Such wonderful things. Two 1850's dresses, so tiny that we'll have to make special mannequins to display them on. A brown velvet capelet, trimmed in lace and tied with ribbons, right out of an illustration for "Little Women". An old fox fur with the head still on (this one made us a little queasy). I go to sleep dreaming about these clothes. And it's not just clothing--I unwrapped a parcel labeled "quilt blocks" and found this sampler embroidered by a 13-year-old girl named Zilpha Colby in 1834. Small wonder I can't concentrate on my needlework, not to mention sweep my kitchen floor.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

An overnight in Indy

DD and I are just back from Indianapolis--we went up last night and stayed at my friend Renata's B&B ( Renata is so much fun--this was my fourth stay, since I get to Indianapolis on various kinds of business fairly frequently and I never stay anywhere else. Here she is with DD. Her house is a real Sears Roebuck house that she and her husband have renovated top to bottom. It's just gorgeous. We were lucky that she still had her Christmas decorations up (another believer in waiting until Three Kings Day!). DD tried to take a good picture but my iPhone isn't that good in low light. There's probably an app for that. Anyway, here's a picture of Renata's living room and her pretty tree.

This afternoon we went over to the Indianapolis Museum of Art ( to see "Fashion in Bloom", a wonderful exhibition of clothing from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. All of the fashions used flower motifs in some form or other. We two fashionistas couldn't resist all those beautiful clothes! Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any pictures of the exhibit, so you will have to just go see for yourselves. Don't be surprised if the person on duty at the exhibit is a real sourpuss; evidently the IMA doesn't train its employees to be friendly. We still had fun and to prove it, here's DD cutting up outside the museum.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Decade

DH insisted on a live tree again this year (it's so cute that he hates to cut down a tree just for Christmas). This one looked kind of silly even in the field, but we were a couple of weeks late going out to choose a tree and it was the last one. It is a Norway spruce, fat around the bottom and sparse higher up. I wired a crocheted Christmas angel that my mom made to the top; it stood up straight for a while and then started to sag to one side, as if the angel had just given up all hope (fortunately, real angels don't do that!). Almost immediately after we got the tree set up in the house, the needles started to fall off in clumps. We watered it religiously, but it was determined not to be pretty. As the branches sagged, the ornaments slid off, stripping every needle and crashing to the floor.

I normally keep the tree up until after Three Kings' Day, but if we wait that long it will be nothing but sticks, so I'm contemplating a break with tradition this year. I really hate to take it down so soon, because the house looks bare without it.

It was a fun holiday. DD was home from college, without the love of her life who went back to Lithuania to visit his own family, so we had lots of mother-daughter quality time. We learned together how to double-knit and are making an argyle scarf together. I've helped her design a special gift for her sweetheart (I can't tell you what it is, just in case he sees this, but when it's done I'll put up a picture). Two of my sisters were with us for a few days before Christmas and we took in the Barbie exhibit at the Indianapolis Children's Museum--what a great time!

I am pretty pleased with the festive touch we gave to the dining room chandelier--a roll of ribbon and a box of ornaments from Lowe's can work wonders! And I still love the hand-carved wood nativity scene from Georgia that DH and the kids gave me some years ago--I think it looks great in front of this photograph by my friend Gia Chkhartarashvili (for more see of the village of Ushguli in the high Caucasus mountains.

Here's wishing you and yours the happiest of new decades, filled with love and creativity!