Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Moe as in Moby Dick

Before leaving Nantucket someone bet me $10 that I wouldn't finish and hang the whale before I left. That was all the push I needed. I've been working on the whale the last year and a half. Here he is hanging in our cottage. He's pretty hefty and 44" in length. He has real ivory teeth carved by Nancy Chase. The timber, used to carve the whale, is several centuries old and came from the Nantucket United Methodist Church. It's an original timber from when the church was built in 1823. In the mid-1980's the church basement was renovated and to accommodate an exterior door the timber was cut out. It had been kicking around Nancy's house until I discovered it. Nancy started the whale many years ago so with her help I finished it.

We had a party to celebrate. The night before the party I had someone help me hang him and I covered him up with a sheet. The night of the party we had a whale naming contest. Everyone submitted their choice of a name. The names were then read aloud. Next everyone voted for a name but they couldn't vote for their own name. In the end Moe won by 2 votes and then we had an unveiling. I love him and I can see him from just about any room in the house.

I also made this basket. It has a rosewood bottom and ebony top. It can be used as a ladies sewing box, jewelry box, or just as an art piece. The bird on top was carved from an antique whale tooth.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed

The eagle is finally finished. Yahooey! After restoring the wings and stand the eagle took 26 books of 23.5 gold leaf. It just sparkles in the sunlight. It is believed to have been carved by John Haley Bellamy (1836-1914) c. 1860-1870 a famous New England nautical wood carver.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spring Mystery Shawl

I've been knitting the Spring Mystery Shawl Along 2008 hosted by Renee Leverington of Goddess Knits.

The first clue was posted on April 19th. New clues are issued every other Saturday. There are currently 3 clues. Clue 1 and 2 are finished. I'm knitting with JaggerSpun 2/18 Zephyr in Vanilla using US 5 needles. This has been a fun knit.

I've been teaching Scott, who is a talented ivory carver, how to make Nantucket Lightship Baskets. Here is Scott with his finished 4" round basket. It really turned out beautifully and Scott's a real natural.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nadine, Ed, Nantucket, and Clapotis!

I'm back on Nantucket. When we first got here it was cold, windy, and rainy and I wondered why I came up so early in the season. The weather turned this past week and we have been having beautiful weather.

My good friends (more like family) Nadine and her daughter Ed came for a few days. We had a very nice visit. Ed is a fabulous cook and they came with a rather large care package that included bottles of wine, homemade bread, a precooked dinner, and desserts (yes that is plural). It was all yummy! Ed even helped pull together some of our other meals. I always learn so much from her. Nadine is a good cook too.

When we get together like this we usually get a lot of knitting accomplished but not so much this visit. We did manage to stop by our favorite yarn store (Sheep to Shore).

I helped Nadine take a picture of Clapotis, her latest knit, to upload to Flickr and Ravelry. Afterwards Nadine presented me with this beautiful scarf.I was so surprised and delighted at the same time. Clapotis is a free pattern that can be downloaded from knitty here. Nadine knit it to be worn with jeans so she added some repeats and made it a little narrower.

I'm looking forward to their visit again next year.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Beadwork Progress Has Slowed Down

I was zipping along on Beadwork until we went off to another Windsor chair class in West Virginia. I brought Beadwork along but I was too tired in the evenings to knit a stitch. Since I last posted I picked up the sleeves and completed the decreases. Now I just need to continue knitting down to the cuff then put the body stitches back on the needles and continue knitting.

I took a Windsor chair class last year with Vanessa. This year we went back to West Virginia and Charles Boland's workshop, Storybook Joinery, where we each made a Nantucket Windsor Fanback rocker. The class was a full six days. We loved every minute of it! (Except for the part where I got a ticket for speeding and having expired tags.) Besides the class we enjoyed seeing Sherry (Charles' wife) and their golden retriever Maggie. One night Charles cooked a delicious seafood stew for us. As you can see the Boland house is filled with his beautiful creations including the dining room table.

Here are our finished chairs. My chair is on the left and Vanessa's is on the right. Charles is in the center without rockers.

Some highlights from the class.

The crest is steam bent red oak with the crest ears hand carved with volutes.

The oval shaped seat was created from a solid piece of 2-inch thick clear white pine. The seat was saddled by hewing with a hollowing adze, and then finished with a scorp, compass plane, travisher, spokeshave and a scraper. This picture also shows the tail piece that was installed via a mortise and tenon. The back spindles are installed into the tail piece to provide extra strength for the backrest.

Here the legs and stretchers are installed. The legs penetrate the seat and are wedged securely in place through a tenon joint. The holes are drilled using sightlines to bore compound-angle leg mortises.

Everything else is maple with the exception of the arms that are poplar. The arms have hand carved knuckles and volutes. I affectionately renamed the knuckles to Maggie Paws as a tribute to Maggie the Boland's golden retriever.

See Vanessa's blog for a more complete description of the workshop.

The next project for me will be a Windsor Sackback Settee like this one.

If you ever have an opportunity to take a class from Charles DO IT you won't regret it. He is very patient and willing to share his vast knowledge of his craft with you.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Beadwork - Making Progress

I'm making nice progress on Beadwork. This sweater is being knitted top-down FLAK-style. Since my last post I have knit the back down to my armhole depth, picked up stitches for the left and right front increasing as I went along, and knit both right and left fronts down to my armhole depth. Next I will pick up stitches along each edge for the sleeves.I'm also getting ready for another Windsor chair class. Ahead of time we were sent maple stock for the legs along with a sample leg to turn on the lathe in our own workshop. Here is one of the finished legs. It's not identical to the sample but it's close enough for me.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I joined the Beadwork KAL way back in December 2006. I finally starting swatching and cast on in February. I am knitting Beadwork with Guernsey 5-ply wool called Frangpipani in Crushed Raspberry. I ordered the wool from Jan and if you have never dealt with her she is a delight. She gives the best service.

This is a Jade Starmore design that originally appeared in the Interweave Knits Winter 99/00 in adult sizes. Beadwork also appears in the book A Collectors Item in a child's version.

I am knitting Beadwork FLAK-style from the top-down. I started off knitting the saddles then picked up the stitches on one saddle, cast on the neck stitches, then picked up the stitches on the other saddle. I am now knitting the back stitches down to my armhole depth.

Yesterday I had a meet-up at with Pru. Pru came to MD to go to a Yarns International sale and she wore her lovely Beadwork. Afterwards we went to Starbuck's and had a nice chat with show 'n tell.