Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Student of My Very Own

In keeping with my usual habit of learning several new crafts every year, I've taken up needle felting. It's a great way to use up the scraps of wool that are left over from spinning. I had seen a tutorial on needle felted hats, and, being a lover of get the idea. I made a miniature top hat for a doll that I'm working on. Most fun ever. I also felted up a couple of balls for the cat...she's always munching on my wool.

I also decided to teach myself to knit. When my mom moved, she left me her knitting needles. The collection amounted to just about everything a knitter could ask duplicate! I borrowed half a dozen books from the library on the subject, and several days later, I can cast on three different ways, knit, purl, bind off and even manage the stockinette stitch. Admittedly, I thought it would be harder than it has been so far. Not to imply that my stitches are very uniform...

My sister-in-law's family is hosting a Chinese foreign exchange student for the school year who has, in the past, been a guest and then, a hostess of theirs in China. She just turned 16, and is a fascinating young lady with a sharp mind and easy manner. Not having much to do before the school year starts, she had been somewhat bored. I'm never bored, so I offered to teach her one of the crafts that I know in an attempt to occupy those empty minutes in a stimulating way. I showed her samples of everything, and she chose crochet...she wanted to be able to make something that would keep her warm in the coming months. Michigan winters can be extremely cold, with wind chills dropping into the negative 10s and 20s for weeks at a time. I would be intimidated at my first Midwest winter, that is, if I hadn't experienced them for my entire life. I digress. She is a fast learner and a delight to talk to. I'm looking forward to teaching her more, and seeing her progress. And, I'm quite happy to say that she is a fiber 'snob,' just like me! =)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer is Here!

Finally, it really feels like summer here in West Michigan. It's been so chilly lately when you consider we've only had a few days where the temperature climbed above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, while the weather hasn't been conducive to a dip in the pool, it has been wonderful for my sweet peas and green beans! Every week for the past three weeks, I have harvested pounds of fresh greens...and there is still so much left on the plants in all stages of ripeness. Amazing. And the corn is developing faster that I knew it could. Most of the plants, even the ones that are less than four feet tall, have ears on them. Yay! for organic gardening!

Aside from the garden, I've been quilting clandestinely. My 5-year wedding anniversary is not too far down the road, and I decided to spoil my hubby with a quilt. I've been amassing fabric since last Fall...slowly, but surely gathering up fabulous batiks and quilting cottons. If my mother-in-law has electricity, I'm going over to her house to borrow the use of her banquet tables to get my quilt pinned today. Eh, even if she doesn't, I'm going to find a sunny room in her house to do it in. I'm quilting by hand, so, the sooner I get to it, the more likely it will be done by my deadline! (The quilt top is pictured.)