Sunday, 30 March 2014

River Shannon pattern - live on Ravelry

Ta dah:

I'd like to share  River Shannon  with everyone.  This one skein side to side shawl is an easy knit with Fingering or Sport weight yarn.  The shape and size is easily customizable making it almost impossibe to stop knitting after the first shawl.

The pattern is free until April 30th, and we have started a knit along for it here:  River Shannon at Crescent Moon Collective Group Knit-along

River Shannon Shawl - by Susan Elizabeth
River Shannon Shawl

River Shannon Shawl - by Susan Elizabeth
River Shannon Shawl - fingering

River Shannon Shawl - by Susan Elizabeth
River Shannon Shawl - sport


Friday, 28 March 2014

Yarn ends for the birds! and, they are back!

I feed the birds in several feeders in my frond yard and back yard.   The usual visitors include  house finches, sparrows, black capped chickadees, a pair of northern flickers  and a downy woodpecker or two. There are also magpies, a couple of pigeons and a raven that stop by now and then.   Sometimes there is a squirrel, and always there are rabbits.

Yesterday,  emac noticed something bigger, so I quickly looked out, thinking maybe it was a robin  ( I have been waiting for them) but now,  it was something else.   Something kinda  fat with a short tail and speckles, definately not a robin. We took some quick as possible and not really very good pictures and  I looked at  ( my first choice for bird info).There he was  a European Starling.   I saw two yesterday and again today.

European Starlings - Crescent Moon Collective
European Starlings

This afternoon another visitor, and this time it is a robin. I saw him first and have to admit jumping about singing  A Robin, A Robin, I see a Robin.   Well, it is quite special, the first robin of spring.  Even though it has been snowing all week, the robin is back in my tree.

Robin and Sparrow - Crescent Moon Collective
Robin and Sparrow
The migratory birds are back,  the birds are back ...   you can sing it if you want...    (think of  The Boys are Back in town,  the boys are back in town  ... by Thin Lizzy )

All winter, I have been saving the  cut off ends of yarn for the birds, and now and then hanging them out side on the little tree by the front door.   Its a bit of colour in the winter,  not quite an actual decoration, but something to catch your eye.   I tell myself  the birds will use these bits of yarn in their nests, and think to myself that maybe I will see some colourful birds nests in the spring and summer.

Last week, I saw this very cool blog post about something similar, only much better than just hanging the yarn on the tree.  This post includes pictures of  an Alpaca Nesting Ball and this DIY Guide shows hot to make a Grape Vine Ball for nesting birds.

I want to make something myself for the birds here,  and  today, crocheted a little  net ball with some scrap sock yarn and stuffed it with yarn ends, wool roving, and a bit of alpaca roving  ....

Crocheted net ball - Crescent Moon Collective
Crocheted Netball 

Crocheted net ball - Crescent Moon Collective
Close up of the crocheted net, yarn and wool for stuffing

And here it is,  stuffed, and hanging on the tree where I can see if the birds are interested in it at all. If I was a bird, I think I would love to line my nest with pretty colours and soft warm woolly fluff!

I am sure my neighbors will be wondering whats hanging on that tree now!

Crocheted net stuffed with yarn, wool and alpaca roving for the birds
Crocheted net stuffed with yarn, wool and alpaca roving for the birds

I will have to get a picture of the little house finches.  They are so pretty now, the males have their pretty red feathers.    In the meantime I am listening to them sing and chirp, making me sure  spring must be on the way.

Birdy blessings to all,
~ Feather ~

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Finally it blooms!

Blooming for Feather at Crescent Moon Collective
Cactus Bloom

So, let me tell you a little bit about this plant.  It has a history.  Not really a sordid history, but a long one anyway.
I am not sure where to begin, since I don't really know how the beginning actually starts....  

Sometime, about 1940,  in the Dinsmore Saskatchewan Hotel .. see here  the anscestor (if plants have anscestors) of this plant sat minding her own business in the lobby. Probably, even in the window.   My great Grandma Shaw was waiting in the lobby while her husband was in the beer parlour.  Women were not allowed in the pub in those days! 
I can imagine Great Grandpa Shaw was just getting caught up on the news,  and Great Grandma and her friends were knitting and getting caught up on the news as well - in the lobby!   They homesteaded a farm about  20 miles south west of Dinsmore and to know the  news at that time, you had to go out and  find it, or talk to someone  who had heard the news.  

Anyway, back to the lobby. Great Grandma Shaw snitched a piece of the the cactus (maybe it was given to her,I don't know,  but snitched sounds like more fun) and took it home and planted it.   She must have been wonderful with plants because it lived, and lived well!   I never met her,  however,  I do have a little slip of her plant, and today, for the first time ever,  it bloomed. (on my birthday!)
Several years ago,  maybe  10 years ...  my Dad gave me this slip, in a little pot.  He got three of them from his Aunt Rose, who has a HUGE,  HUGE cactus in her living room.  I think it is about 3 feet across!  Rose's cactus is either the original or a slip off the original plant that my great grandmother had.    My mom and sister have the other two of the three, and theirs have been blooming like crazy for years.  
I wonder how many people have slips from that Dinsmore Hotel Cactus?  In our family alone there will be an incredible amount!  Something to think about.
In the meantime,  I am going to just be pleased that its beautiful pink bloom finally arrived.

An invitation to my family to add to or correct my account of the Cactus Story.  :)


Edited to add:  A huge thank you to my dad for providing the pictures and info that follows.  

Eleanor Roslind Coxon Shaw 
Birth 23 Jun 1875 in Elma, Ontario, Canada

Death 23 Sep 1953 in Wiseton, Saskatchewan, Canada

Eleanor Shaw, David Shaw(my grandfather), and Jay Gould Shaw(my great grandfather)  circa  1928 Saskatchewan

Jay Shaw, Mabel Shaw (my grandmother) Ken Shaw on her knee (my uncle) Arnold Shaw (my father) David Shaw, Eleanor Shaw  1943 Saskatchewan

Jay and Eleanor Shaw   circa 1948

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Fairest of Them All

Hello kitties

As you may know tomorrow is Feathers birthday, March 25th, and in honor of her natural spirit, I made her this drawing for her birthday. Feather is always feeding the birds and singing happy tunes, just like Snow White. I've always compared the two. So here's the drawing 
And a close up of her face (taken during the drawing process). 

Hope all is well with everyone. Enjoy spring and don't forget to wish Feather here on Crescent Moon Collective a happy birthday :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Grand Opening Prize Winners

Hola Googlers

Feather and I have drawn for the Grand Opening Giveaway.

The winner of the soap is Kelly and the winner of the druid bag is Dawn.  We will contact each winner via email.

Thanks to everyone that entered the draw.

Blessed Be


International Day of Forests 2014

Thursday, 20 March 2014

How to Upcycle old Wool Sweaters. A tutorial; Part Two - Assembly - Cutting and Sewing

 By now, you should have experienced the wonder of transformation.   If not,  see Part One here.   Your wool sweater has gone through heat and agitation, soap and water and transformed into a soft, thick and very strong fabric.  Now, the fun begins.  This is the time of thinking.  What do you want to make?   Last night I made a list a mile long of things that I could make with the felted sweaters.
Felted Wool Tarot Card Case

Cozies (for coffee mugs, beer mugs and the list continues)  Pouches and bags,  Journal covers, Coasters and hot mats, were the ones at the top of the list.

Step 1.  Planning:   Lay out your felted sweater and let your imagination kick in.  This is a where the real creativity happens.  I wanted to make a case for my Tarot cards, some coffee mug cozies, and take out paper coffee cup cozie, a case for my wand, and some coasters,  to start with.
Place your objects on the sweater so you can visualize the sizes and shapes. Move things around, try different orientations and places. I found the sleeve was just the right size for the Tarot cards, and started with that.
Planning arrangements ona felted sweater
Try different layouts and arrangements

Step 2.  Cutting:  Once I decided  what part of the sweater would work for the Tarot card pouch, I focused on that part. The deck of cards fit easily inside the top part of the sleeve, but the bottom portion was too tight. It was an easy move to cut off the sleeve along the shoulder seam and cut the bottom off for later.
Cutting the sleeve off

That bottom part,  the cuff fits perfectly around my Tim Horton's coffee cup.  All it will need is some  trimming and maybe some decoration...
The cuff will be a coffee cup cozy
For the Tarot Card Pouch, I needed to trim up the top flap.  To make it somewhat symmetrical, I folded it in half, pinned it together and free hand cut it in a smooth curve.   By the way,   save all the bits and trimmings.
Trim the top into a smooth curve
Step 3.  Sewing:  The bottom of the pouch needed to be sewn closed.  I put the cards inside, and folded the end shut, in the same way you fold the ends of wrapping paper when you are wrapping up a box.  I hand sewed it with embroidery floss ( all six strands)  This was the trickiest step and I admit to poking my fingers many times!

Fold and stitch up the bottom of the pouch
Be sure to go slow, take your time, and check the inside as you work.  You do not want to accidentally sew the sides together on the inside.
Stitched and secure, and maybe a bit crooked!
Once the bottom was finished, I got a bit carried away and decided to try a blanket stitch or  button hole stitch around the top edge.  My hand sewing and embroidery will improve with practice (have to find a positive way to describe it!)

Blanket stitch around the top
And then,  add a button and button hole!
Complete with button and button hole

Now, back to the sweater.  You see the  pouch and coffee cup cozy on the left. The bottom cuff of the sweater will be coffee mug cozies and the next bit up from the bottom is the wand case.  You see it here cut, and pinned, ready to be machine sewn. I went faster this way and turned out well.   I cut straight across the  bottom of the sweater.

Wand case  cut out and pinned and ready for sewing

The little rectangle bit you see pinned near the top is a little strap that will hold the case closed.

My sewing machine did a great job on the felt, although it didn't seem to want to sew very straight.  No matter, this is a very forgiving material.

Slowly sewing with the machine

Machine sewn felted case - inside out
Next I trimmed the seams a little bit, and turned the case  right side out.  It took a bit of pulling and pinching but was not hard to do.  Once it was right side out, I finger pressed it a bit, (ironing might be a good idea...) and decided the flap needed a slight trim.

Felted wand case - before trimming the flap

All tucked in!

I haven't decided just how much decoration these projects need,  but of course that comes in Part Three.
In another post, I will make a journal cover, and a sewing needle booklet.   Oh, and put some buttons on the coffee mug cozies.     For mug rugs and hot mats, the felt just needs to be cut out square, or round, or if you are so inclined in a daisy shape.  Just always remember,  MEASURE TWICE and CUT ONCE.  
That is worth saying again:    MEASURE TWICE and CUT ONCE.  

Have fun with your projects,  what ever they may be.  You are only limited by your imagination.

Blessings with a needle and thread,

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mary Mitts

Want to keep your hands warm and still have your fingers free to knit? text? draw? type? Wiggle? There are so many reasons to wear fingerless mitts.
Oak Leaf and Fingerless Mitts hand knit by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
Oak Leaf and Mary Mitts

I like to wear them in the house (or office if you are an office person)  on a chilly day. Fingerless mitts also are just right for chilly summer evenings outside.  Actually, last summer, at the Calgary Folk Festival with my friend, Mary,  we wore fingerless mitts in the rain.

These mitts are named after that very Mary,  but not because of the rainy day at the festival. The blue and white yarn that makes up the raised stripes on these mitts, remind me of the sky, (blue sky white clouds) and THAT reminds me of Mary.  On any day, I can ask Mary what the sky looks like, and she can tell me...   so, these are Mary Mitts.

The pattern is  Iridis Fingerless Mitts by Penelope Privett of Australia.  She talks about the design in her blog.

Oak Leaf and Fingerless Mitts hand knit by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
Fresh snow in March and stripey fingerless mitts

By the way,  these mitts are for sale in our shop!  (A girl cannot keep everything she knits)  These would make wonderful gifts, (even especially for yourself)


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

so many faces

Hello all,

Here are some drawings from my most recent sketch book. Strange, yes... So do not be surprised! 

Thank you for looking at my drawings :) prints soon to come (of paintings too) 


Monday, 17 March 2014

How to Upcycle old Wool Sweaters. A tutorial; Part One - Felting - Acquisition and Transformation

I am going to show you how I upcycle wool sweaters.   Transforming  the knit wool fabric into thick durable felt is almost a magical process, (an easy one to do with a washing machine and dryer).  Cutting and sewing that felt into useful items takes some creativity and a very tiny amount of skill.  All in all, it is an easy and inexpensive creative process to ReUse someone else's unwanted sweaters.

Step One:  Acquire unloved wool sweaters. Look in the men's clothing section in a thrift store, and you will see racks and racks of men's sweaters.  (Or, at least here in Canada you do.)   I suspect some seasons are better than others for finding sweaters, but all you have to do is look and there they are!   This is the headquarters for unloved and/or  over-loved knitwear!  I choose the men's section for a couple of reasons.  First,  the sizes are larger,  - more bang for your buck! And, secondly, there  is less fashion variety, making it easier to find what I want.
What I want is  100% wool.  Virgin Wool,  Lambswool, Wool, Alpaca,  - all good.   I check the labels and if there isn't a label,  I move on to the next one.  I want plain pull over sweaters.   Nothing extra.. no zippers, buttons, pockets etc...  Those things are interesting, and can be perfect for a particular project,  but for today,  I just want plain wool pullovers.     Stripes and colours are optional.   You can see below the black cabled pullover isn't wool,   I bought it anyway because of the cables, and, it was $3.  It is made of some kind of acrylic and won't felt.
Thrift Store Wool Sweaters - Crescent Moon Collective
Thrift Store Wool Sweaters
I always check the labels,  but  as a tip,  you can quickly spot the wool sweaters because they look like new.  They haven't been washed in a machine,  they are usually in mint condition.  (The ones that got accidentally washed in a machine already shrunk, accidentally were felted and probably were tossed out... possibly with some amount of domestic squabbling and accusations...)  So look for the sweaters that were neatly folded in some guys dresser drawer for years, until finally, ended up donated to the thrift store.

Wool Sweaters - Checking the tags - Crescent Moon Collective
Checking  the tags for 100% wool

Step Two: Felt the wool.  These are very nice sweaters,   probably quite costly when new, and obviously cared for.  Sometimes I bring home sweaters that have probably never been worn... or ,  maybe only worn for Christmas Photos, or something equally brief.     For a split second,  I feel very naughty and extremely guilty for what I am about to do.  ...   but,  I get over it,  and shove an armload of  fine lambswool knitwear into my front load washing machine,  with soap and sometimes  other laundry, set the machine to  HOT wash, full agitation and as long a cycle as possible.  Usually, I do it again when the machine stops,    twice for good measure.   And,  yes, I am ruining those wool sweaters.   Sort of.   It is definitely a transformation.   
After two hot washes,  I take the sweaters out and shove them into the dryer.    Already they have begun to shrink.Extra Large men's pullovers look like they would only fit ten year old children now. The fabric has shrunk.  It is more dense and noticeably thicker.
Into the dryer they go,  set on Hi Heat. Heat and agitation,  soap and water  transform fine woolen thrift store sweaters into felted wool, just like magic. You could do the same thing by hand,  in the sink if you like, it just takes a little longer. I choose to do felting in big batches, to fill the machine to capacity and let it go.   
By the way, you will have to remove some stray wool fibre from your machines. My washer has a trap in front that collects 'stray items' (usually socks) and the dryer has the lint screen. Both will have collected lots of wool fibres in the process. Sometimes, people put the items to be felted inside pillow cases, just to catch the loose fibres.

Once the sweaters are dry,  you are going to have some fun just looking at your handiwork... Never again will these be wearable by adult human beings, the neck holes are much to small for a head to pop through!
,Felted Wool Sweaters - tiny neck openings - Crescent Moon Collective
Felted Wool Sweaters - tiny neck openings!

The next step will be even more fun (and destructive and constructive)  We will need scissors, sewing needles and thread (or a sewing machine), and will make some interesting things. I don't want to give it all away yet, but we can start out with mug rugs and coffee cozies, move up to Tarot Card cases, or cell phone or tablet cases,  cat toys, wine bottle covers,  sachets, hot pads, and a few other magical things that for now remain secret.
The final step will be decorative. We can use needle felting, embroidery and even paint to jazz up and personalize our projects.

Creative Blessings
~ Feather ~

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sock Crime Drama

Background:  Around Christmas, I made my hubby a pair of socks.

The crime

The suspect (aka Mojo, filled with youthful bounce, enjoys sitting on my head, gnawing on antlers and chewing squishy soft hand knitted items)

The fix... I just started picking up loops and stitches on 3 dpn's, tucking and tieing.  I moved on to add another dpn, a darning needle and teenie tiny crochet hook to pick up stitches.  My eyes! awk.  Anyway, here are the results

Now if I could just find the other one!!

Blessed Be


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Testing and being tested!

While checking  the test knitting thread  of the River Shannon Shawl test at Ravelry, yesterday, I found a request for test knitters for the cutest little mitts ever.   And,  as you might guess,  volunteered to knit them.  They are called Iridis Mitts ,  and the test thread is here,  if you are interested.  One of the nicest things about fingerless mitts is they are perfect for using up left over sock yarn.

Fingerless Mitts - WIP
Fingerless Mitts WIP

As for reading, its been the  2014 Herbal Almanac again.  Besides planning some spring planting (in containers in the back yard) I've been researching  herbs for a lace scarf I've been working on.   The design is on paper, swatches have been knit,  and now I just have to knit a full size sample.    Until then, however, it will have to remain a secret.

We have had  3 days of melting weather!  Its so  beautiful to see the bright sun shining down and, since I replaced the wiper blades on the car,  I don't even mind all the splishes and splashes on the streets!  Even though I know that winter isn't over yet,  I am encouraged by smell of spring in the wind, and the hint of green that will come.  In fact,  I am just  itching to get out on Nose Hill to look for signs of spring growth and the first crocus.   * Must remember to bring the camera!!

Have a look at what other knitters have been up to at Ginny's Yarn along and whats going on over at Tilly's nest  and  Frontier Dreams   and Tami's Amis blog hops!


Monday, 10 March 2014

Éirinn go Brách

Crocheted Shamrock Garland - by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
Crocheted Shamrocks
My Mother and Grandmother have been known to wear  'Kiss Me - I'm Irish' pins.  I am taking a slightly different path to show of the Shamrocks...     I crocheted these up quickly with scarps of sock yarn... good thing I like green socks!    The details are here and the  pattern is by Sarah Anderson here.

Crocheted Shamrock - by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
Crocheted Shamrock
I hope this inspires you to make something  GREEN for St. Patrick's Day.  There is time!

Thinking Green,

Friday, 7 March 2014

Goddess Dolls and another River Shannon

I just finished needle felting the spiral on this Goddess Doll.  She is knit, stuffed and decorated with wool - 100% natural and hand made by me.   The only thing that would make it more personal was if I knew the sheep,  but I don't.  :)   I also don't know her name, yet.     Maybe that will come.

Green Spiral Goddess Doll made by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
Green Spiral Goddess Doll
This Goddess doll has an amethyst crystal tucked safely inside and will be for sale in our shop.

Amethyst Crystal for the inside of the Goddess Doll  made by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
Amethyst Crystal for the inside of the Goddess Doll 
 Once the knitting and stuffing was done,  she had a hot bath and massage until she was felted, and then dried in front of the fireplace.   I worked on this doll over  3 days, filling her with good intentions, love and happiness.
Knitting the Goddess Doll by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
Knitting the Goddess Doll
I made a significant improvement this time, over the first doll,  and that is she is  self standing!  I believe she appreciates that!
Hand knit and felted  wool Goddess Dolls  by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
Hand knit and felted  wool Goddess Dolls 

Besides the doll,  I have been knitting away on the Shannon River shawls.    In fact,   I have started my  4th one!
Vis~a~vis  a River Shannon Shawl by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective

This is made with Sport weight yarn and is 66" x 16".    Details are at Ravelry here:   Vis~a~vis  I will most likely put this shawl up for sale in the shop.   (As soon as I weave in the ends!)

Skeezix -  a River Shannon Shawl by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
This colour blocked version of the River Shannon shawl is the one I am keeping.  It has a retro or vintage look to me,  and as a remembrance of my friend Shannon,  seems fitting,  as we first met in  1983.     All of the names of the  River Shannon shawls that I make are in some way connected to my friend.  It is a small way to spark the good memories.

By the way,  this shawl is  shown wrapped around the wrought iron  dress frame I ordered online.   It came, its  badly bent up (the poor thing has spina bifida) and must be returned for replacement.     Hopefully the  replacement is in good shape!

Statice - River Shannon shawl by Feather of Crescent Moon Collective
This version is made with the most beautiful yarn from Australia.  I received it in an online swap last year and didn't know what to make with it until now.   I think it is going to be very pretty.
This shawl is going to be longer and narrower than the triangle shape of Skeezix.   Half the fun of knitting is altering the pattern,  even when it is a pattern you design yourself!

I think that is all for now,  except a little reminder about the  Grand Opening Giveway.     We are getting the shop prepared, adding items and improving (at least we think improving) the process.   Its easy to enter, and you can keep entering once a day until the Spring Equinox, when we make the draw for the prizes.    Good Luck to you!

Blessings,  on an almost springlike maybe the snow will melt kinda day,
~ Feather ~