General Ginger Knits

random thoughts on knitting and the universe

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

brush with celebrity

Still not much knitting to report. Oh, wait, I have nearly completed a couple of Chenille Thick and Quick scarves to stick in the gift stash. Do these even count? It only took about an hour and a half to knit both. This knitting was just to keep my hands familiar with the whole knitting process because frankly, I've been way too busy in the garden to knit anything complicated!

Last weekend we slipped off to a lovely outdoor craft festival. I really enjoy walking around at these events because you find the neatest things you had no idea existed or that you really needed them. LOL I also love seeing how very creative people can be. I stopped at one particular artist's booth who had created a series of dog and cat portraits. Since I love animals, I had to stop.

goofey dog

Her work was fantastic and felt sort of familiar. I was milling around her booth when I noticed a print out from HGTV. That's when I realized who she was. Cathy Dailey was on an episode of Crafters Coast to Coast that I had just seen the other day. It turns out that she is from Athens, Georgia which is just up the road. I felt like I'd met a celebrity! I am completely addicted to HGTV and there I was talking to someone who had been on the show. It was completely groovy!

Cathy's art is completely fantastic and hilarious (see kitty butt)! She also does portraits of your family pets from photos. There is a fantastic one in her brochure of a Matisse inspired lounging kitty that is maddeningly adorable.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

knitting in history

"Green and brown knitted wool girl's bonnet, off-white and black patterns, 1848-1852" from The Children's Clothing Collection at the Wisconsin Historical Museum Online Collections.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


What have I been doing lately? Certainly not much knitting! I've got the fever bad ya'll! There is lots more to plant and have fun with out in the garden. Promise I'll report more on knitting next week!

front garden

back garden

Baronne Prevost

angel and azalea

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

knitting in history

Ladies’ Home Journal cover illustration for December 1945 from the National Museum of American History.

Monday, March 21, 2005

knitting in history

Halifax School for the Blind: Girls' Manual Training Class Engaged in Machine Sewing, Chair Caning, Weaving, Basketry, Needlepoint and Knitting, 1921

Friday, March 18, 2005

more socks

Not much knitting this week. Its been a pretty long week. I did get fairly far on this sock during an eight hour stint of helping out at an orienteering event recently.

I'd wanted to knit the cascading leaves socks but I didn't understand one of the acronyms in the instructions so I decided to just knit a regular ol' basic socks. Item number 452 to carry in my knitting bag: knitting acronyms key.

Thank you all for your lovely comments about my sockapalooza sock. Looks like the recipient, Lori (who is blogless), loved them. I'm so glad!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

FO - sockapalooza socks

They are complete! I had a fun time knitting up these socks. I used the Elann sock it to me yarn. This yarn was easy to work with which is good since I might have a couple more in my stash ;)

Here is the package currently winging its way to the recipient. I've included the requisite state postcard and a little cotton ball still clinging to its plant that I picked up at Jarrell Plantation last weekend. I also stuck in the ball band and a bit of extra yarn incase of the need for fixing down the road. Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

snakes & spiders

I finally got a picture of an FO from some time ago that I wanted to share with you all. This snake actually started out life as a worm from Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival. This little book has several wonderful patterns in it suitable for all levels of knitters. I encourage you to check it out. This worm is a very easy project and is suitable for beginners. The stockinette stitch has a naturally rolling edge that gives it its shape.

I knitted it for the same little boy for whom I knitted the spider. I thought I was doing the right thing by knitting a nice, sweet, docile looking and non intimidating worm. Boy was I ever wrong! Immediately my gift was turned into a vicious, striking snake sent to destroy all little boys. He has been nearly constantly played with for which my knitting heart is truly grateful.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Jarrell Plantation part 3

I'm glad to hear that ya'll are enjoying this yarn I'm spinning. (Get it? Yarn. I'm spinning. hahaha) Thanks Lisa for telling me about rolag.

Continuing my Sheep to Shawl saga at Jarrell Plantation I went to check out what was happening inside the 1895 house.

Hard at work at a wood stove was a woman dyeing the wool. She took out a great hunk of it and carried it in a pan outside to the clothes line. She laid it out on the line allowing it to drip dry.

Apparently you can use just about anything to dye wool. There was a really groovy handmade sample book on display that had various types of wool with a notation about what it had been dyed with. The pages are actually made out of envelopes with holes punched around the edges. I was amazed at the many different types of plant materials that could be used to dye wool.

Dyeing wool is, again, a labor intensive process that, back in the old days, took quite a significant amount of time. I loved the sample card that showed wool that had been dyed with black walnut hulls. There is a sample of wool from each stage of the dyeing process so that its easy to see how the wool is affected. Amazing!

One of the funniest things that happened on this adventure was Toby, the plantation mule. He was carrying on up a storm the whole time I was there. I wasn't sure if he was in distress or if he was just greeting all the visitors. I don't think a visit to a historic farm is complete until you see a cantankerous ol' mule peeing a river in the restroom portion of his padock.

I sure admire these Jarrell folks. Their family worked that farm for over a hundred years. When farming got to be too much they donated their land to the state of Georgia who promtly turned it into a historic site thus preserving the Jarrell's family history. One of the decents still owns the big house on the property, the 1920 house, and today it is a bed and breakfast. The tenactiy of these folks and their ability to reinvent themselves throughout the last hundred years and even into these modern times is amazing.

Thanks for joining me on the saga ya'll. I'm off to see if I can get this drop spindle thingy to work. We now return to our regularly scheduled southern accent without as much twang!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Jarrell Plantation part 2

I trouped down to the next fun station at the Sheep to Shawl day at Jarrell Plantation with stinky sheep wool in hand. I stopped by a table where a woman was giving a drop spindle demonstration to a youngster. The kid was spinning his recently sheered wool like an expert!

I was given a demonstration of how to card the wool that I'd sheered. Basically it was like using two huge doggie hairbrushes. The brushes were curved and had stiff wire bristles. After placing the wool on the tines you brush the wool so that it all evens out and some of the farm trash comes out of it. Once it's nicely carded then you can roll it off the brush resulting in what is called a roll lag. This is new vocabulary to me and I tried to look this term up but couldn't find any reference to it. Anyone out there know if I'm spelling it right or know of another term to describe it?

It was pretty groovy carding that wool. I had no idea that it was so complicated. My instructor said that the wool could be washed either before or after the carding although she prefers to wash it before so that she can keep her carding brushes clean. I can believe it ya'll because there is still a bunch of farmyard trash in my wool. She also said that if left unwashed that eventually the natural lanoline in the sheep wool would go rancid. Now there's a pretty thought.

Next she showed me how to use a drop spindle to turn wool into yarn. You would think that she was showing me water to wine for how excited I got! I've heard all you nice folks online over the years talk about using a drop spindle and frankly I had no earthly idea how it was done. I'd never actually seen it used live and in living color. So I was ever so excited when I slipped that wool onto the drop spindle and gave it a shot myself. Wow, what fun. It sure takes practice though.

After experiencing the carding and spinning I was nearly exhausted and had yet to see any of the actual plantation. I really got have quite an appreciation now for those of you out there who actually process wool. It is very time consuming although, I imagine, very rewarding.

wool and spindle

Jumping ahead of my story abit I will tell you that I stopped by the gift shop on my way out and picked up some wool and a drop spindle. I grabbed several extra balls of wool as well cause I figured, what the heck, who knows when I'll be get another opportunity to get wool to spin?

Next time I'll show you the old fashioned dying process.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Jarrell Plantation part 1

What an exciting weekend I had ya'll! Both days were filled with knitting related activities. I've got so much to say about it that I'm spreading it over a couple of posts.

Saturday I spent the morning at Jarrell Plantation. This is a state of Georgia historic site of a once working farm. Sheep to Shawl was a special event held once a year to highlight how wool is processed. Billed as a "hands on" event, I went expecting all sorts of interesting things. Well I certainly got them! I had the chance to sheer a sheep in the old way with a huge pair of sheering scissors. I didn't get the actual name of this piece of equipment but they looked just like a giant pair of scissors. Weighed a ton too.

I guess I should have figured out that the "hands on" part was meant for kids when several eight to twelve year olds thrust their hands into the air yelling "me, me!" Didn't matter though. I was determined to get my own hands on with the sheep.

sheep sheering

Apparently back in the olden days they used to lay the poor sheep on a table and tie up his legs on a pole with some rope in order to keep him from getting away. I felt a bit sorry for the creature actually. But the handler insisted that he was fine.

After the motley crew of children finished their cutting I sidled up to the sheep, whose name was Harris by the way, and took my turn. Boy was I nervous. I'd never been that close to a live sheep before, well, except maybe at a petting zoo once about a thousand years ago. Now here I was about to take a sharp instrument to one I'd only just been introduced to. I made my first cut and the handler pointed out that I could still get off more wool then I had. He showed me that I'd left at least a quarter of an inch behind. So I held those giant scissors even closer to the poor sheep's skin and sheered away not once, not twice but three more times. The handler pulled off a piece that I'd sheered and gave it to me. What an excellent memento.

I have to say that I had a blast sheering that sheep. Now a days of course we all know that sheep sheering is done with electricity and takes all of thirty seconds. Back in the old days it took a little longer and I like to imagine that the farmer knew his sheep well and would know the name of the sheep next in line to be sheered. Thanks for the souvenir, Harris.

sheep close up

By the way ya'll, freshly sheered sheep is some of the stinkiest stuff in the world!

Next time I'll go over what I learned about processing that wool.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

file organization

I read somewhere that storage has become a million dollar business with self storage units being built at the rate of...well, lots. One such unit was just built on a strip of land that used to hold several lovely trees that I drive by on my way to work. Another one is being built about a mile down the road from that one. I ask myself how much stuff do I really need? Not much, really.

I do, however, need a place to store my knitting patterns. Surprisingly, I don't have many considering the fact that I've been knitting for 15, uh, I mean 20 years. I bought this really neat portable storage filing system at a local discount store the other day.

It has these groovy multicolored file folders that pull out. Don't you just love office supplies? I was really struck by the colors of this little file and I loved the little button closure which is almost like a little purse.

My second sockapalooza sock is nearly complete. I've just got the kitchnering to do. Wow, I actually finished on time. Now, what do I want to do next?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

wip - sockapalooza

They are coming along just fine. I love knitting these socks. The sock it to me yarn from elann is nice to work with. The fact that these are ankle socks makes them a very quick knit. Thoughts of new projects are looming in my head...