Posted by: Mare F | April 17, 2017

Deconstucting a fairy circle

I missed posting last week because I was awakening my yard muscles by raking and moving bricks. The bricks were laid out around a row of shrubs we have at the side of the house mainly to make a straighter mowing path for the summer months. The year before that was done we set up the stone circle around the wisteria in the front yard. Bad idea.

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I mistakenly thought that it would help contain the runners from the wisteria, but no, they are very tenacious and not only did they snarl up the area inside of the ring, but they also charged farther out into the yard introducing themselves to the hostas. This did not please me and made walking, and mowing, more interesting. I swear that the runners sneak up and wrap themselves around my ankles….

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So, my Spring Break focus this year is to move the rocks from the fairy ring to the row of shrubs along the yard. I really am looking forward to tomorrow’s forecasted rain. There are a lot of rocks in that circle!

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It didn’t really rain much so I got more done than I expected to do. There are still a few more rocks to move, but since I don’t know just yet where I want to put them, and I certainly don’t want to move them twice, they will remain in place for just a little while longer….don’t need to mow just yet.

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And I still have the beds to tidy up. I shall be much more vigilant this fall…and I shall certainly start earlier in the season. When do you start to put your gardens to bed for the winter?

Posted by: Mare F | April 6, 2017

Thursday chat

I love Workbasket magazine. It is a sad thing that we don’t have anything like it now. If you haven’t seen any of these magazines you are in for a nostalgic treat. They cover plants, recipes, bazaar items, queries for missing patterns, and of course, patterns. I can spend hours looking at them and I never pass up the chance to grab them when I find them at thrift shops or estate sales. I’ve revived many of the old patterns with a good deal of success and a few of the recipes as well. My oldest date back to the 1930s.



So, if you happen to stumble across one or two and have a bit of time on your hands, I highly recommend that you brew some tea and enjoy traveling back in time for an hour or so.

Posted by: Mare F | April 3, 2017

Shawls, lost in shawls

At Rhinebeck last fall, one of my fibery friends mentioned that she would like to knit lace and planned to start with worsted yarn to make it less stressful. I hopped on board with the idea and got myself a lovely DK weight yarn that I cannot find now. That is a story for another day to  which I hope that there is a happy ending. I don’t recall her first piece, the simple transition piece, but her second was absolutely lovely. It inspired me to make the Sausalito shawl with Cascade 220 Superwash in Mossy Glade that I purchased at Marji’s Yarncraft in Granby, CT. This trip was to get the 60″ cable to make the shawl, but you know how it is when you get inside a yarn shop….

mossy glade

The Sausalito shawlette, Designed by Gail Tanquary for Crystal Palace Yarns, was quite comfortable to work up even for someone who has the attention span of a fruit fly. The body of the shawl was just enough to keep me interested, but not fussy enough to annoy me. The edging was quite fun, but not intensive. All in all it was a lovely transition into lace for me.

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Now to find the original hank of yarn and the next lacy pattern to work. I might just try a rectangular shawl this time. If you have any suggestions for a novice lace knitter they would be greatly appreciated.


Posted by: Mare F | March 20, 2017

Softly wrapped

I’ve spent a bit of time this year making up warm wraps and ponchos. I found a number of wonderful bulky yarns on sale on Black Friday – online,  I’m too much of a coward to brave the stores on that day – and then started to play with patterns. It was made easier by having a series of bitterly cold weekends and I enjoyed the foray into bulky yarns more than I thought that I would do.

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The above shawl is 3 large granny squares in a variegated yarn. It worked up quickly with an “N” hook and I enjoyed it so much that I made a second just like it. Now I have to sew one button onto the front of it as a closure and I’ll be all set to post it on my studio. I think the closure will square it up and make it balance out a bit better.

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Then I went back to my old triangle standby once I thought about button closures on shawls and made up the following shawl. Now to find the buttons to work with the blue. It’s very soft and very warm. I’ve always enjoyed Red Heart Symphony yarn. Such interesting colors.

studio pics 012So, what has the cold weather inspired you to create, other than comfort foods, that is?

Posted by: Mare F | March 16, 2017

Thursday chat

Things have been so busy lately, much involving snow removal and shovels, that I’ve lost track of my days and rhythm. This book arrived about 3 weeks ago and I’ve only had the briefest of moments to look through it, but I can already tell that it will afford me hours of amusement.

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It will be fun to learn about the different ways in which needlework was done and I will have a new set of eyes at tag sales, flea markets, and the thrift shops. Just what I need…more fiber toys. Do you have any unusual or antique tools for your crafting?

Posted by: Mare F | February 13, 2017

Winter in a weekend

We’d had a fairly mild winter here in northwest Connecticut until last Thursday. Winter Storm Chris (my son’s name, by the way, but no connection…that I know of) dumped 15″ of snow here in one day. Friday night we got another couple of inches, and then yesterday we got somewhere between 5″ – 8″. I don’t know exactly how much because I didn’t care enough to go outside and measure it. Today the wind is howling about the house and the temp has dropped from 30F to 23F since I got up 4 1/2 hours ago. This is brilliant crafting weather!

I had started these big knee socks a week ago and have been going back to them between the other projects. I have to take advantage of the colder weather to work with my bulky yarns because it will be warm before we know it.


This shawlette was inspired by one I saw probably on Pinterest. It wasn’t the same type of triangle shawl and what caught my attention was the buttons on the front. Love idea. Can’t imagine why it has never occurred to me except that button sewing on problem I have occasionally.


This last project is going to be a collared ponchette…of sorts. I just love the colors and the yarn is nice to knit. It should be nice and warm for those cold, wintery days. Hopefully, I will have a finish or two to show you next week. Until then, what’s the latest project you’ve started?



Posted by: Mare F | February 9, 2017

Thursday chat

First an update on the Red Heart Mixology yarn. I emailed Red Heart about the situation on Friday. I heard back from them yesterday and they are sending me a check for the amount of the skeins involved. The representative explained that 1 knot in a skein was acceptable, but that occasionally skeins with more would slip through inspection. I can’t imagine how the inspection works. Normally they would replace the skeins, but this yarn has been discontinued – not sure if it is the yarn or the color. In any event, I’m quite pleased with the quick response and actions from Red Heart.

Now, the other bulky yarn that I’ve used and really enjoyed is Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky yarns in Chocolate and Cream.


This is a delightfully soft yarn that worked up nicely as a 2 stranded afghan. I had no trouble with splitting and I don’t believe that I found a single knot in any of the skeins that I used. I didn’t think that  $3.99 regular price for 109 yds was unreasonable either. I’m looking forward to working up some ponchos with it next. Have to do it while the weather is cool! Do you have a favorite bulky yarn?

Posted by: Mare F | February 6, 2017

Big socks

Last year a couple of people posted pictures of big soft colorful knee socks knitted with color work and intricate stitches. Everyone oohhhed and aaahhhhed over them except me. I could conceivably make them, but because of the work involved I would have to charge a very large sum for them and I don’t want to do that. So, I over the past year I’ve been working on an alternative with interesting results. This one is a crocheted attempt based on a slipper pattern. I decided against this because I couldn’t adjust the sole pattern for different sizes (they all would have been progressively larger than a women’s size 10.) I fear it’s my shortcoming, not the pattern’s. This is now one of my fair entries for this year which is lovely because I don’t normally make slippers.


Yesterday I began working on a knitted pair using Paton’s Big Cakes because I like the way that the colors work up. I’m not sure if it will work with the socks. I’ll have to go to the end of the knitted pair to see if the colors will at least show up in each sock. The two cakes were far enough apart in their stripes that I couldn’t pull off matching the colors working from the outside of the second cake.


Then, just to make things interesting, I decided to try a crocheted pair as well. I think I have to shorten the cuff on this one because it’s very long on my leg and I’m not a short person.


So, next week I will update on my progress and hopefully have some fun, soft, book-on-the-couch-with-tea-and-afghan type socks. What is the last pattern that you modified?

Posted by: Mare F | February 2, 2017

Thursday chat

This is a post of slightly mixed emotions. I recently bought a number of different bulky yarns to make some 2 stranded afghans. These were to be a much less expensive alternative to the big roving afghans so I was trying different brands of yarn to see what worked up well and was affordable. Of the 3 companies I tried the least exciting was Red Heart’s Mixology.


The color was nice, it felt a bit stiff to work, but softened up upon washing and drying. The problem I had was that there seemed to be a surplus of knots in several of the 70 yard balls. I don’t know what the industry deems acceptable, but out of 10 skeins I would say that at least 4 of them had 3 or more knots in them. It’s 70 yards. I haven’t contacted Red Heart about this yet and I don’t know that it will make a difference if I do, but it is a shame as the rest of the product was good. Next week I’ll share the other two yarns. 😉

Posted by: Mare F | January 26, 2017

Thursday chat

Just a short one today. I also ordered a set of ChiaoGoo straight 7″ size 8 needles for a couple of scarves I’ve planned to make and they are just as lovely as the circular needles. They are made of wood and a dream to use. I love the 7″ length.



And they are very reasonably priced. I can foresee more of these needles joining my crafting tools.

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