Tag Archives | rug

Embellishment Troubles or Joys?

The title of this post was originally going to be “Embellishment Woes.” This project is causing me trouble. I’m not quite satisfied with any arrangement of flowers and buttons so far. But after thoughtful consideration, I remembered that this is my favorite part of the process. So no woes.

Titled 360 Degrees, this piece is for one of the member challenges at Visions Art Museum next year. It is a small quilt, made from a rug I knitted many, many years ago.

Once again I say, “Thank goodness for digital photography!” It’s so quick and easy to photograph different options and look at them all together. Here are photos of the arrangements I have tried so far.

Embellishment options for 360 Degrees wall hanging

Embellishment options for 360 Degrees wall hanging

Embellishment options for 360 Degrees wall hanging

Embellishment options for 360 Degrees wall hanging

Seems pretty likely there will be more photos before I make the final decision about embellishment. Really, I’m waiting for the thrill. The thrill will tell me when I’ve got the combination right.

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Churro Rug: The Final Episode

The dotty knit churro rug is done!

I’m posting on the advice of the famed Knit Doctor, Karen Frisa, who is available for consultation at all Stitches events. For me this means two blog posts in three days. I hope she has a remedy for a pulled blog muscle!

At the end of the last post, the knitted churro rug was in the washer. Its fate was unknown. Would it turn out well? Or would all that knitting have been in vain?

And now…read on for the exciting conclusion to our story.

After the first washing, the rug looked good, but it wasn’t felted enough. Back into the washer it went, this time with a bunch of dark towels. I set the water temperature on hot wash/cold rinse instead of hot/hot, because the hot-cold contrast is supposed to shock wool fibers into felting better. I forgot about that the first time around.

corner close up of felted churro rug

The washer finally spun to a stop. The lid took ages to unlock. I pulled out all the towels, trying to avoid looking at the rug. Only when the towels were hung out in the heat of the day, did I go back for the rug.

The wool felted even better during the second washing. Just about perfect! And I discovered a new rule about felting things in the washing machine:

Never wash your felt project with a new, pink beach towel.

close up of felted churro rug

I laid the rug on top of a big towel, on the floor. I straightened the edges and the stripes, and then spent about an hour picking pink lint off of it. The pink pills are still surfacing. Maybe they’ll all be gone by the time October rolls around.

It looks great. I’m very, very happy with it.

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Anxiously Awaiting Laundry

dotty knit churro rug all done but the felting

Borders are just amazing! With its mitered border and lovely corded trim, my churro rug looks very, very handsome. Yes, that’s the best word for it. Handsome.

Ella wrapped the finished rug around her waist, struck a pose, and said, “Mom, you need to knit me a dress with that same pattern.” In softer yarn, it would be a perfect lap blanket.

glorious corner

But now we enter the great unknown. It’s time to felt the rug. As I write, hot water is filling the washing machine, where my rug is sandwiched between a brown towel and some dark sheets. I learned my lesson when felting the swatch:

Never felt dark colors with white laundry!

the fateful load of laundry

There were white pills all over the surface of the felt, which took ages to pick off. Luckily, with the addition of a little vinegar to the wash, color bleeding wasn’t a problem.

So in a half-hour or so, we’ll know the truth. Did the rug felt well? Stay tuned.

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Great Rug Progress

middle of the knitted churro rug done

The cabin we stayed in at Estes Park was just out of reach of any cell phone networks. There was no wireless internet service. Day and night, we heard the roar of the freezing cold river, which sounded oddly like an air conditioner.

What’s a person to do with no phone and no internet?


Between knitting at the cabin and knitting during the long hours of driving, I finished the center section of my rug! It’s fairly loose and large, but that’s okay. The plan is to felt it once it is completely done.

before and after felting

Back at home, I threw the gauge swatch in the washer with my hot-water laundry. It felted beautifully! I was so thrilled I had to admire it several times that day and the next and the next. It lost about 10% of its length and width.

Look, here’s the knitting before and after felting. Once it the whole rug is felted, it will be the perfect size and weight.

The mitered border is about halfway done and I’ll finish it off with a knitted-on cord trim.

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Churro Rug Schedule Already Off

Navajo Churro knitted rug, in progress

The plan was to knit two ridges (four garter rows) of the rug per day. This was definitely doable.

I started just fine. Just to see what the next color would look like, I knitted a couple of extra ridges. The next color was only going to be one ridge in all, so I knitted that ridge, too.

The trouble with changing the color every couple of rows is that the color changes draw you in and you want to see how the pattern will look. So I kept knitting.

Then the mosaic pattern began to take shape, and I wanted to get to the next perceived milestone in the pattern, then to the middle of the pattern. I kept knitting and knitting.

Here I am, more than half way through the center section of the rug, having knitted 54 ridges. That’s 27 days’ worth of my schedule, which officially started on June 1st. My hands are sore, but I’m a happy knitter. I can hardly wait to knit the second half!

See, being off schedule doesn’t have to be bad news!

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Good Weather Winding and Swatching

winding yarn outside

Late cold fronts have brought rain and cool weather to our part of Texas. We spent several lovely afternoons outside, under the two big junipers next to the house.

Yarn winding operations were moved to Ella’s small tree house. The ball winder and the umbrella swift fit perfectly on the step just below the platform. Here’s my able assistant, Ella, winding a skein of Brooks Farm Yarns’s Duet. It’s a lovely merino and mohair blend, destined to be a crochet project.

Brooks Farm Yarns's Duet

I also swatched a sample of the rug I plan to knit from Earth Arts’s natural-dyed churro wool. This is a mosaic or dotty knitting pattern that I’ve used in the past for color swatching.

dotty knit rug swatch, up close

The various colors have slightly different weights and yardages, so I started by weighing each color. After knitting half of the motif, I weighed each ball of yarn again. Using the before and after weights, I could figure out how much of each color it took to knit half a motif. Double that for a whole motif. Then divide the original weight by the amount needed for one motif to find out how many motifs I could actually knit with the yarn at hand.

Now I have a plan! The goal: finish the rug in time to enter it into the Taos Wool Festival Home Accessories Contest. Wish me luck!

dotty knit rug, with i-cord border

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Snowman Latched!

snowman latch hook kit latched!

Thanks to Bob Dollar, Nero Wolfe, the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns, the latch hook snowman rug/wall hanging is completely latched. I listened to tapes of Annie Proulx’s That Old Ace in the Hole (Bob Dollar is the main character), and a couple of Rex Stout novels, featuring the fat and sedentary detective, Nero Wolfe. I took the rug to my parents’ house the last few weekends. We watched Longhorn and Cowboy football, while I latched. What a great way to escape from real life!

Now I need to get back to work. I have my articles to write for INKnitters, and I want to finish a book proposal I started about a year ago. And there are teaching proposals to prepare! Also, I need to do quite a bit of administrative work: filing, bookkeeping (Sallee, I can imagine you smirking), cleaning up the debris from several months of projects.

Quick, I need some sand to bury my head in! Or better yet–don’t I have a couple of felt Christmas ornament kits, which I must, must, MUST finish this year?

snowman chart vs printed canvasNow, a few comments about this rug kit. I enjoyed it, as you know. However, I am disappointed (not surprised) at the quality of the yarn. It is acrylic and sheds a lot. For all the work involved, I would have preferred wool yarn. That would more-than-double the price of the kit, though. It will be okay as a once-a-year display.

And another thing: In this close up, you can see how the printed canvas doesn’t line up with the colors as latched according to the chart. The colors on the canvas were very helpful for about five rows, and then, because the print was slightly skewed, I couldn’t quite figure out the correct colors for latching the right side of the canvas.

the most important sentence in the instructions

I followed the chart, and quickly saw that the print on the canvas was compressed. By the time I reached the halfway point, the white dots in the background were two rows higher (according to the chart) than shown on the print. Well, it was a good thing I read this one sentence in the four-page instructional brochure. (If you can’t read it, it says ‘For best results follow chart.’)

All that considered, the snowman wall hanging is a hit with my girls. They love the colors and the shading. My two-year-old asked me to put in on the floor so she could sleep on it. It’s snuggly.

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New Book Tape, therefore Snowman Rug Progressing

snowman latchhook in progress

The busy-ness of this week left me pretty tired in the evenings, so I relaxed by listening to my new book tape from the library, Miss Julia Meets Her Match, by Ann B. Ross, read by Claudia Hughes. It’s good, and while listening, I have made lots of progress on the snowman rug. If you missed my original post about this rug, it is a JPCoats kit from Herrschner’s. I bought it a couple of years ago, so I don’t know if it is still available.

We had a belated birthday party for my 10-year-old daughter yesterday. Our party project was to decorate a frame with polymer clay. The only tools they had were small cookie cutters and the pasta machine, which is always popular among kids. The girls had a wonderful time. We took a photo of the party-goers and put one in each frame for the girls to take home. The frames were absolutely charming!

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A New Project

snowman latchhook rug

The Herrschner’s needlecraft catalog is full of kits and supplies. My favorite kits are felt Christmas ornaments with lots of sequins. They are so cute! I love to cut along the pre-printed lines and sew the sequins on the dots, with the pre-measured thread. Oh, the wonder of having all the necessary supplies (other than stuffing) included in the kit! It’s relaxing.

I loved this snowman latchhook rug from the first time I saw it. The shading is nice. I bought the kit, when it went on sale a couple of years ago. The box has been sitting on my shelf ever since. Until now, that is. I decided to get started on the rug, which incidentally made room on my shelf for more books.

Since this photo was taken, I have done several more rows. It turns out to be a good project to do while listening to book tapes. My current tape is Miss Julia Hits the Road, by Ann B. Ross. The reader, Claudia Hughes, is worlds better than the reader for the first Miss Julia book I listened to (MJ Throws a Wedding, can’t remember the name of the reader). Hughes makes Miss Julia sound irritable and opinionated, rather than whiny–a great improvement. Miss Julia is a well-off southern widow woman who organizes solutions for other people, like weddings and new homes.

At first glance, Miss Julia is pretty conservative. But if you stick with the book, Ann Ross slips in a few wry and fairly blunt criticisms of church, politics, society. Here’s one, paraphrased: “Pastor Ledbetter got the whole congregation worked up about the evils of gamblin’, but I can’t understand for the life of me, why he forgot to mention the stock market in that sermon.”

No plans yet as to when the rug shall be finished. Christmas 2005 is a little too soon. Maybe 2006.

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Just Joined ReKAL

The ‘random’ choice on web rings is the most fun. That’s the way I found Knit Nana’s blog, which led me to ReKAL, for knitters who recycle, reuse, renew. That’s me!

close-up of my grocery bag rug

Here’s a close-up of my grocery bag rug. It is about 24 x 36 inches, and used around 200 bags. I cut the bags into strips five to six inches wide and knitted on 1/2″ diameter needles. It feels great underfoot!

The cupboard under my sink was beautifully empty for a day or two, before the new bag accumulation began.

I also recycle sweaters and other knitting into new garments or artwork using TextileFusion techniques (sewing, quilting, embellishing). See them on my web site.

Recycle projects planned for 2005:

  • figure out something to knit with a former favorite pink t-shirt, which is already cut into knittable strips
  • experiment knitting and crocheting with baling twine (red and white plastic string used to tie big round bales of hay)
  • cut up and sew several more thrift shop sweaters.
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