Agujas

The Art of Knitting

Recycled Jars

No one in my immediate household drinks coffee, except for me. So rather than making a whole pot, I make a cup at a time using instant coffee. Over time, I have accumulated a few empty glass coffee jars. The shape of these jars fit perfectly in my hand and I hated to simply throw them away. It seemed like such a waste. So, I found ways to reuse the jars.

Recycled Jars - Spices

They turned out to be perfect for spices like cinnamon sticks and leftover sesame seeds. I reduced the clutter in my pantry by saving smaller items in these jars rather than keeping bulky cardboard boxes or using plastic baggies. They also look very nice lined up in my pantry.

Recycled Jars - Kitchen

When I spin my own fiber, I use an old ball of acrylic yarn to tie up my skeins for storage or before dyeing. This little strawberry jam jar was just the right size. My son punched a hole in the lid and presto, I had a yarn pull jar.

Recycled Jars - String

Leftover candle jars are also great for storing items in plain sight. When the candle burned out in this thick glass, it became a repository for my double-pointed needles and other knitting doodads.

Recycled Jars - Needles

These empty candle jars collect my leftover yarns. From time to time, these leftovers become useful – like for wrapping packages, adding a hint of color to another knit piece, or for anything where a piece of string is needed. The lids keep the dirt and moths out and they display nicely.

Recycled Jars - Yarn 1

Recycled Jars - Yarn 2

My yarn jars make me happy and I feel like I am contributing just a little bit to making the earth greener.

To Spain or Bust

Another knit hat is off the needles. Simple pattern with reliable results. This hat is intended for a gentleman my husband met on his trip to Spain last year.

Another Beanie

On his walk along the Way of St. James, he stopped for the night in León in northern Spain. There, he befriended the owner of the Taller de Grabado y Estampa. He spent a few hours talking with the owner and artisan, José Holguera, in his engraving and stamping studio. My husband came home with these beautiful limited edition lithographs of the Catedral de León and a pilgrim’s staff imprinted by Holguera on his lithographic press.

Holguera Lithograph Catedral de León

Holguera Lithograph Staff

Over the holidays, an envelope stamped with Correos España arrived. It contained a beautiful lithograph of a modernist starry night.

Holguera Lithograph Star

As a token of appreciation, my husband wanted to send his friend a gift – so he asked me if I would hand knit a hat. The hat needed to be special, even in its simplicity. I went through my stash and selected the yarn I brought back from my trip to Colombia. It is 100% hand-spun wool in natural, undyed hues.

Natural undyed wool 1

I used the darker brown. The photo of the finished hat was taken under different outdoor lighting conditions so the richness of the brown does not come through as in this photograph.

Natural undyed wool 2

I was concerned it would be a bit scratchy but it is soft and warm. I doubled the yarn as I knitted to make it especially cushiony. It seems fitting somehow – 100% undyed, hand-spun wool from Bogotá, Colombia, hand-knit in Texas, for a friend in León, Spain.

January 2015 FO: Cabled Brioche Scarf

During a trip to Germany, we had almost a two-hour visit with the owner of Atelier Zitrón who after talking about the quality fibers they used, walked us into a showroom full of yarn spun especially for hand-knitting. Three skeins of Opus 1 yarn have been in my stash since. The skeins come infused with aloe vera and jojoba.

Opus 1 Center Pull Balls

When I came across the Cabled Brioche Stitch Scarf pattern, I knew it would showcase the vibrant colors of the yarn.

Opus 1 Brioche Scarf 1

Opus 1 Brioche Scarf 2

The brioche pattern creates a nice loft and the cabling adds layers and depth.

Opus 1 Brioche Scarf 3

The rich colors add yet another element of interest.

Opus 1 Brioche Scarf 4

This one might be a knit gift to me.

Yarn in Navasota

On our Mother-Son college road trip, I teasingly told my son that I only planned to stop at five yarn stores en route to Texas A&M. My 17-year old was not amused. I wish there were that many yarn stores along the way! He was actually quite patient with me when I took the business exit through Navasota so that I could visit WC Mercantile.

WC Mercantile 2

Navasota is a small town with just over 7,000 residents. It’s downtown is lined with quaint historic buildings that house antique and other local shops. It was a cold and rainy day so I headed straight to WC Mercantile located on East Washington Avenue. And what a delight it was!

WC Mercantile 3

WC Mercantile has a wonderful selection of yarns for the knitter or crocheter and a large space devoted to luscious fibers and spinning wheels. I went straight for their local yarns spun from Texas Alpacas.

WC Mercantile 4

WC Mercantile 5

Love these project bags!

WC Mercantile 1

The owner was very nice and helpful. She was at a table teaching a customer to knit. This is why I love local yarn stores.

WC Mercantile 6

In the back of the store, they had a cute little Christmas tree on which hung sheep ornaments and these. Too cute!

WC Mercantile Ornament

In addition to yarn and fibery stuff, I couldn’t resist these cards. They look like original watercolors. I particularly like the one on the left. No grannies here!

WC Mercantile Cards

Navasota is about 45 minutes north of Houston. I am looking into one of their day-long wheel spinning classes. It would be a nice getaway from the city. If you are ever in the area, stop by and enjoy a few hours of all things fiber!

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College, a President and Needlepoint

During the Winter break, my son and I went to visit colleges. It was sort of a Mother-Son trip. We hung out, talked, tried new restaurants, and toured the campus. It was nice having that one-on-one time with my 17-year old. Soon enough he will be gone from home and I cherish these moments together.

While visiting the campus of Texas A&M University, we stopped at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. A long time ago, when I worked on the Hill, I came within a few yards of then President Bush (the elder, not “W”). Visiting the museum gave me a deeper appreciation of him. The museum chronicles his time in the service, how he was married with a baby during college, and his rise in politics. Coincidentally, while we were visiting the museum, he was hospitalized in Houston; and more recently, he and Barbara Bush celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary! Regardless of your politics, that is impressive. He even tweeted about this milestone – so sweet!

As interesting as all the artifacts and exhibits of his life were, my attention was diverted by several yarn-related installations. Much to my son’s chagrin, I spent a considerable amount of time admiring and photographing these adorable yarn houses and an amazing Noah’s Ark and Nativity Scene done in needlepoint. They were stitched by the Saintly Stitchers from Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. The Nativity Scene was presented to the President and Mrs. Bush in 1989, and the Noah’s Ark was presented to them in 1991 along with needlepoint ornaments for the White House Christmas tree.

I highly recommend clicking on any photo below to view larger images. That way you can see the detail of the needlepoint. So much care went into each figure. All in all, it was a wonderful trip with my boy.