The Art of Knitting

Tag: Texas

Among the Azaleas

Believe it or not, Spring is almost here. Every March, the Azalea Trail takes Houstonians on a tour of homes whose gardens overflow with pink and white azaleas. Luckily, the former owners of our home planted a few azalea bushes in the backyard.

Hot Pink Azaleas

White Azaleas

The sunny weather prompted the husband and I to make a quick trip to Austin, just the two of us. You know it’s love because our first stop was Hill Country Weavers, my favorite Austin yarn shop. The place had expanded since I was last there with an additional two rooms overflowing with yarn. I picked up these lovelies – 300 meters each of 67% silk, 23% kid mohair, 10% nylon yarn by Hand Maiden. It is hand dyed in Canada.


Here’s a glimpse of it catching some rays among the azaleas.


I honed in on this pattern from Malabrigo Book 3. The pattern calls for Malabrigo sock yarn with a gauge of 24 stitches over 4 inches. The gauge for the Hand Maiden yarn is 20 stitches over 4 inches. This should result in a larger shawl which is what I would like. I’ll definitely knit a gauge swatch before casting on.



Here is one more view of those colorful azaleas. And there are still buds waiting to bloom.

Azalea Buds

Dew Drops Cowl in Orange

Ever since the new year, like many of my fellow knitters, I’ve wanted to reduce the size of my stash. I purchased this lovely orange skein at a fiber festival a couple of years ago because I was intrigued by the color. It’s from Brooks Farm Yarn in Lancaster, Texas. “Ellie” was marked down in the widows and orphans bin – the place where leftover skeins go to retire. It’s 4 ounces, 400 yards of a lustrous 50% Fine Wool, 50% Silk Slub.

Ellie Yarn

I used the Dew Drop Cowl pattern which is available as a free Ravelry download. Here it is blocking.

Ellie Cowl Blocking

Down here in Texas, it gets cold and occasionally freezes but not for long. I wanted a cowl that would keep me warm without burning me up. This airy pattern was just right. Bear is back to model the cowl for us.

Dew Drops Cowl in Orange

Here is a close-up. I like that the yarn was spun to have thick and thin sections. It gives the cowl an interesting texture.

Dew Drops Cowl in Orange Close-up

Bear is keeping watch over my work in progress, a large knit blanket. I keep it tucked away in this large tote from 31 Gifts. The tote bag was only $5 with my other purchases! I love those big grommets. I pull my needles through them to keep my stitches from falling off.

Dew Drops Cowl in Orange and Knitting Bag

It’s been a bit chilly here in Texas. Perfect weather for my orange cowl. Now, back to that blanket.

Of Handmade Quilts

These are the last two quilts from the International Quilt Festival last weekend. Undoubtedly, they both represent superior craftsmanship but what appealed to me most was the theme. If you read My First Post, you will understand why I love these quilts showing a woman’s hands at work.

This first quilt, “The Mending,” captures a woman’s hands mending fractured lives. In the quilter’s words:

Women find themselves continually mending the fabric of their lives, trying to restore beauty and function in the aftermath of war, greed and lust. This quilt began as a collage of photos collected over a decade of living, working and traveling overseas. The quilt top was then torn, cut, burned and shot – literally, tearing families apart. Finally, the woman’s hands are shown working to stop the destruction, mend the damage, and repair the vision.

The Mending by Lea McComas, Colorado.”

Upon seeing this quilt, I couldn’t help but think about atrocities committed against women. Just the other day, there was an article on CNN about how women and girls in Haiti continue to be raped in the makeshift tent cities that serve as their not so temporary homes. A BBC report recounts details of sexual violence against prisoners in Syria. There are many more stories every day.

I did not mean to lead you down an unhappy path. But my heart goes out to these women and I am ever more grateful for so many blessings in my own life.

On the other end of the spectrum, this next quilt represents the power of friendship and community-building. The artist made this quilt to commemorate her ten years as a quilter. Her design inspiration was “the people who gather at a quilting bee.”

Viva Quilt by Noriko Nozawa, Japan.

It is heartwarming to see so many hands at work. Each person contributes busily cutting, sewing and ironing and each leaves his or her mark on the quilt. This quilt fills me with joy and leaves me feeling hopeful about what people can do when they come together, each contributing their own unique gifts.

More Fabulous Quilts

More quilted beauties from the International Quilt Festival Houston 2012.

Flora …

Pink Snow by Vivian A. Kapusta, Canada.

Papaver Somniferum by Grace Meijer, United Kingdom.
Award of Merit.

The Button Box by Rebecca Navarro, Texas.

Detail of tree branch covered in button flowers.

Leaf Like Life by Dalia Eliraz, Israel.
Workmanship Trophy.

… and Fauna

Rainbow Lorikeet by Helen Godden, Australia.
Honorable Mention – Art Painted Surface.

Show Your Colors; Stand Out From the Crowd by Kristin Vierra, Nebraska.

Home Sweet Home

Berne House Quilt. Made by members of the Bernese Quilters in Switzerland. 150 different blocks were made separately and then put together.

Colores by Michelle Jackson, New Mexico. The quilter was inspired by a photo of an old adobe house in New Mexico.

Lazy Afternoon by Michelle Jackson, New Mexico. “I love the character of older homes. This one was inspired by a photo of a house taken in Madrid, New Mexico, as it basks in the afternoon sun.”

The Jennings Homestead by Suzanne Mouton Riggio and 26 members of the Milwaukee Art Quilters, Wisconsin. “… a group of 40 artists, have been meeting for over ten years in the business space [of the homeowners]. In gratitude … the group made a slice quilt of their Victorian home.”

Tutti Frutti Village by Susan Bleiweiss, Massachusetts.
Honorable Mention – Art Whimsical.
The quilter used hand-dyed sandwashed cotton.

What’s black and white and red all over?

Lady Dova by Deborah Stanley, California. Inspired by the horse race scene from My Fair Lady.

Searching for Coco Chanel by Teresa Shippy, California.

The Red Shoes by Linda Stone, California.

Flamenco by Jin Gook Yang, Korea.

Wrath by Dianne Firth, Australia.
“…wrath can be used to describe the uncontrollable forces of nature that wreak havoc on humankind through fire, flood, cyclones and other disasters.”

Convergence by Latifah Saafir, California. “‘Convergence’ is about coming together and meeting at a common point; but, it is also about approaching limits.”

Peace Quilts

The Rainbow Staircase by Nairn Stewart, Canada. “The individual steps, which are high relative to the size of the figures, represent the obstacles which threaten women’s security.”

Let the Sunshine In by Anna Hergert, Canada. “The collective spirit empowers women around the world, whether rich or poor, covered or uncovered, old or young, oppressed or free, no matter what our skin color or spiritual convictions.”

Of Festivals, Knitting and Migraines

Here is a pictorial view of an otherwise wonderful weekend. It started off with yarn purchases. Now how can that not put a smile on anyone’s face? There are a couple of hand warmer requests in my knitting queue – one pair is for the husband. I tried the yarn stash first but didn’t have any masculine colors. I wanted a nice dark gray/charcoal color. Then I found this black-gray-white multi-ply in the gauge I needed. It’s Heritage Quatro by Cascade Yarns and I should be able to make two pairs of hand warmers from this hank. As I was searching in bin after bin of yarn, I found this luscious Squishy by Anzula in Teal and knew it was meant for me. The explosion of miniature roses came from the husband. Of course, I will knit him a pair of hand warmers.

On Sunday, we all took off to the annual Fall Fiesta put on by our church and school. My son attended this wonderful school up through 8th grade. It’s amazing to see all those little boys and girls my son went to elementary school with becoming young men and women. My son and his friend each devoured a humongous turkey leg, while my husband and I stood in line for the funnel cakes. There were fajitas with pico de gallo, empanadas, and meatball subs. There was live music, pony rides for the little ones, and all sorts of carnival rides and games. The smaller kids love buying cartons of cascarones and popping them on each other’s heads. There was confetti everywhere!

My favorite festival booth is Vintage Values. It’s basically a huge garage sale. You never know what treasures one will find. I found this cute little silver sugar bowl. Engraved on the bottom is a crown with the numbers 18 and 83 on each side. I looked it up and learned it was produced by the F.B. Rogers Silver Co. which was established in Massachusetts in 1883. I also picked up a $1 bag of wooden nutcracker Christmas ornaments and this little tea towel with a sheep decked out for the holidays.

I gave the sugar bowl a quick polish at home. It still needs a little more elbow grease but I like it.

Despite a lovely weekend, I had a migraine on Saturday that kept me up half the night. I’ve had migraines since I was a teenager. I can be in a room without windows and can tell you if the day is overcast and whether it’s going to rain with startling accuracy. I usually work my way through the migraine but sometimes they do get the best of me. Last night, after tossing in bed from the pain, I made my way to the living room and started knitting. I had gone through all my tried-and-true home remedies and had even succumbed to medication, but still it persisted. Something about the soothing rhythm of the needles made me forget about the pain. I knit several rows of a blanket I am making in garter stitch, which those who knit know is a somewhat boring endeavor. But it’s just what I needed at 1:33 in the morning. After a while, I looked up and realized the headache was gone. I slipped into bed and fell asleep.

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone.