Saturday, July 2, 2011

Anne of Green Gables Crochet

by Kelly

Apple Leaf Lace from KnitWiki

I've always been an avid reader. When I was a kid, I was the same, and many of my own memories are tangled up with what I was reading at the time. So every so often I get nostalgic for a book I read a long time ago, because that also lets me go back to revisit happy memories.

I recently bought the Anne of Green Gables series and reread them all. There is an astonishing number of references to crochet and knitting in these books, and I didn't remember that at all. I probably glossed over these parts when I was younger, since I wasn't crafty then.

Here are a couple of the funnier references from the book -

DIANA: Myra Gillis had 37 doilies when she got married and I'm determined to have at least as many as she had.

ANNE: I suppose it would be impossible to keep house with only 36 doilies.

 and my favorite

Mrs. Cyrpus piped up, feeling it her wifely duty to back up Esme's unexpected defense of her father.

"And he can crochet so beautifully...he made the loveliest centerpiece for the parlor table last winter when he was laid up with lumbago."

Every one has some limit of endurance and Cyrus Taylor had reach his. He gave his chair such a furious backward push that it shot instnatly across the polished floor and struck the table on which the vase stood. The table went over and the vase broke in the traditional thousand pieces. Cyrus, his bushy white eyebrows fairly bristling with wrath, stood up and exploded at last.

"I don't crochet, woman! Is one contemptible doily going to blast a man's reputation forever? I was so bad with that blamed lumbago, I didn't know what I was doing."

I was intrigued by some of the patterns described in the book. Especially the 'apple leaf quilt' and the 'famous tobacco stripe bedspread'. So I thought I would search for these patterns online, just for the sake of curiosity. 

Along the way I found a few interesting sites - Lullabies and Lace ,   whose writer posed herself a 37 doily challenge and  CJ Stitching and Blooms, where you can find a link to rent Green Gables Cottage and pictures of quilts inspired by the books.

37 Doily Challenge

I also found Lady 'n Thread , whose author has done considerable research on the subject and says that the patterns I was searching for are not known.

Too bad! I'm kind of surprised that no one has recreated those patterns by now. I guess they'll just have to live in my imagination, as the rest of the books have for so long.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Picnik - Free Online Photo Repair

by Kelly

I've mentioned that I need photography lessons. Well, in the meantime, I've found an easy way to make my photos look better.

I had heard of Picnik before, but I am lazy and also generally wary of anything 'free' that suddenly appears online, so I put off looking into it. But I checked it out the other day, and it really is free. They do have a premium package, which costs $25 a year, but quite a bit is possible with the free version.

First, upload your lucky photo from your computer or any online hosting service like flickr, photobucket, etc.  Once your photo is uploaded, you will automatically be sent to an editing page.

Now, you can crop, resize, remove red eye, and do all the other things you can normally do with a photo. Or, you can take a chance and click the 'Auto-fix' feature to the far left. That's what I did with the photo below.

It's a subtle change, but the second photo is brighter, sharper, and has interesting light effects and shadows that didn't show up in the first picture. All with one click! That's the kind of photo editing I can handle.

When you're done with the editing process, you can then save your photo, send it to someone's email,  or print it out. Easy peasy. I'm a convert.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Cookies

by Kelly

For some reason, the only cookies I have ever made in the summer are chocolate chip. Fall and winter just seem more like 'cookie season'. But others don't feel the same, and I think I'm starting to come around...

Recipe and decorating tips from Glorious Treats

Fireworks cookies at Red Couch Recipes

Chai Tea Shortbread from Bakingdom

Lemonade Cookies from Taste of Home

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mary Maxim Lacy Shawl/ Poncho

by Kelly

I finished this shawl-like poncho for Donna. She asked me to make it because the pattern is knitted.

 The pattern is Mary Maxims Lacy Poncho, available free on their site here.
You have to register and log in to see the pattern, but registering is free.

It's not a hard pattern, as far as knitted lace goes - the hardest stitch is a 'slip 1, k2tog, psso'. I had to frog the first panel at least four times, though, because I kept making mistakes with all the increases and decreases. Eventually, I just decided to recount the row every time I had to work the lace pattern, before I went on to the next. It slowed me down quite a bit, but it wasn't nearly as aggravating as trying to unravel the lace down to a mistake.

One thing about the pattern did bug me, though - the fifth row wasn't explained very well. The pattern repeats 2 or 3 times, depending on the size, and then you work a partial repeat, ending with a K2tog, K1, but this was only shown by listing the last five stitches, with the change added. It made my eyes cross trying to figure out what they were getting at, the first time through.

Next time I  make lace I'm going to try using a lifeline, a tip that I found on the Knitting Help site. Guess what else I found while I was there? A video on how to wind a center pull ball of yarn. So now I have something else to learn.

And there are still two and a half big skeins of lovely lavender yarn that also go back to Donna. I'm sure she can find something to make with them.
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