Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Killed the Microwave, Again

I have killed 3 microwaves in 5 years, all since our Great Move.  My first microwave made it 25 years, plus some, so it has to be my cooking methods in the new environment.

This house has an enclosed space for the microwave we call The Cave.  According to 2 of the manuals for 3 of the microwaves, the air space clearance was sufficient.  One would conclude the same for the other model that came with the house as it was of the same brand and appearance.

So, what would kill a microwave?  Too much heat and no overload switch for the turn table motor or the magetron (the heating element of sorts for a microwave).  Regrettably, no more giant bowls of granola, microwave dried almost fat-free potato chips, popcorn, or significantly for a fiber artist, no steaming wool yarn to set the dye.  I'll be sticking with a crockpot for Kool-Aid dyeing.
Kool-Aid dyed Sea Urchin Pincushion from March 30, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It's Got to be Easy!

Knitting dishcloths has never been my favorite project.  Everyone has a pattern they either like to knit or use.  My hands are small and most dishcloths are too big.  Also I like them tightly knit and I like a pattern that doesn't end up with lace holes in the wrong place or not at all.  I have never gotten along with the bias knit dishcloth pattern that has lace holes on the border.  With function, speed, and size in mind, a new version started falling off my needles.  Here is the pattern for all of you who like freebies.

  • Cast on 3 stitches with worsted weight cotton yarn, size US 6, 7, or 8 needles (I use size 7 mostly) 
  • Knit one row
  • Increase in the first stitch of each row by knitting in the front and back of the stitch
  • Repeat increases until you have the desired size, I like 44 stitches but DiL likes her dishcloths small so hers are 33 stitches
  • Now decrease at the beginning of each row by knitting one stitch, slipping the second stitch knitwise, and then knitting the third stitch
  • Pass the second stitch slipped stitch over the third and knit until the end of the row
  • Continue decreasing until there are 8 stitches on the needle
  • Repeat first decrease sequence above, then knit two stitches together twice, knit the last stitch (5 stitches remain)
  • Repeat first decrease sequence (4 stitches remain)
  • Knit two stitches together twice (2 stitches remain)
  • Bind off by knitting the two stitches together, cutting a 6 inch yarn tail and pulling it through
  • Weave in ends
This is not a glamorous dishcloth but fully functional and fast, guaranteed to fall off the knitting needles at lightening speed.  

Knitting, More or Less

Knitting becomes my fiber diversion in the summer.  With small projects in hand, I can knit in the car while travelling or comfortable in my favorite easy chair in front of a fan.

In April, I panicked.  I realized that making 20 pincushions for the quilt camp volunteers would not be the idea for appreciation gifts.  Some of the volunteers really don't sew or quilt much and would have little use for a pincushion.  I went back to my standard gift, 2 hand knit dishcloths, despite an allergy to cotton fibers contributing to itchy eyes, sinus issues, and a chronic cough.  

Since April, more than 100 dishcloths have fallen off the needles.  I have a good start on dishcloths for 2018 quilt camp.

On Again, Off Again

Sitka by the Sea in I Spy with a Twist
This quilt top has been like my blogging efforts of recent years; on again, off again.  It finally made it from cut blocks, to completed blocks, and finally to a completed top in six plus years of contemplation and sewing.

The pattern, I Spy with a Twist, is not difficult.  It just takes some thought and planning.  With labels and folders for organizing, the piecing will be easy and straight forward.  The finished Celtic circles look more complicated than they really are.

With some simple quilting, this top will become a wall quilt that will hang over the Murphy style bed in our guest room.

The guest room is the sight of sewing efforts from earlier this year.  Tab curtains from my mom's house needed longer tabs to fit the handmade wood rods.