Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I really wanted to know...

... how my fiber sample yarn would look like knit up. Now I know. I put everything aside, and cast on for socks. Normally 291yds would not be enough for socks for my size feet, but this is worsted weight yarn, so I guess I will be alright. I'm using 4mm needles, and it's not too loose. I measured the WPI again, and it gave me clearly 11 WPI.

I'm going to put this sock on stitch holders, knit the second one up to the same length, and see how much yarn is left for both legs. If they are just ankle socks, that will be fine too. They are thick and warm, and I love them. :o)

I would love to have them longer up the leg though.

Have you ever seen that rare breed of dogs, which have a horn on their forehead? Biko likes to be scratched around it, it seems to be itchy all the time. :o)

Oh yeah, I had a woolen accident. I was washing all our winter woolies the other day, in my machine with the hand wash option. All went fine, nothing felted or anything. I took it out, and put some white laundry in. When I got that out, I found this Chevalier mitten, felted to the size of a mitten for a seven year old child. What am I going to do? If I can find the same yarn in my stash, I might knit the left mitten again. But I don't want to! It's so fiddly, even though I love how they look, you need to look at the pattern all the time. Maybe I just knit DH a pair of new ones. I don't know yet.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fiber sample yarn!

So, what did I do with my 2oz of blue fiber, left from my last disaster? I didn't want to stick it in a bag, to be forgotten. So I made a dive into my fiber stash, and found a little bag with colored 1oz fiber samples from Spunky Eclectic, which I bought about a year ago. Can you believe it's been almost a year since I started spinning? This yarn should look interesting, once knit up. The colores came together in so many different ways, it never gets boring to look at it. Although, as usual, the colores are toned down by plying, but there's still lots of it to see. This yarn is a funny blend. I've used 5 different fibers, Corriedale, merino, superwash merino, BFL, and I don't know the other one, but it's the roughest one. The finished yarn is soft to the touch, not overly so, but not scratchy either.
Spinning the singles was fun, and went fast. Unfortunately, while plying this 3-ply, the bottom of one of my Jumbo bobbin got loose, and it would not take in the yarn anymore. Didn't figure it out right away. Just got annoyed, why it wouldn't take up the yarn. So I had to break off the singles, and switch to another bobbin. Out of three Jumbo bobbins, one's lost the bottom, one other is loose already. Aren't they built to last?

I had some singles left over, which I navajo plied. Just a couple of yards, but I can't throw away fiber!
yarn: one skein (with knot) 291yds, 3-ply
weight: 6oz
fiber: the blue, dyed by me, is Corriedale; the rest dyed by Spunky Eclectic; different 1oz fiber samples
spun on my Ashford Traditional

WPI: 11-12, worsted weight

My creation

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Friday, it's a dogs day ...

... since there's nothing I want to show you on the fibery front today, lets talk about the birds and the bees, well the birds than. I know that Spring has sprung, when the ducks have come back to claim our unopened pool. I'm talking about one of the best known ducks in the world, the Mallard family.
Twice I've let the dogs out, and they didn't even notice the ducks waddling into the shade, and out of sight. There's always one pair. I saw the male swimming in the pool, while the female was sleeping in the shade (see right red arrow). I wanted to take a picture of HIM, when I opened the balcony door, all hell broke loose, and all of a sudden there where three ducks flying away in panic. I didn't see the other two at first at all. So there were two pairs. The female on the ground kept on sleeping. Her partner....

click for bigger picture

... came back immediately, after the first panic subsided. He resumed to paddle in the pool. Later in the afternoon, there where three males, and two females.

The SHE-dog gave me almost a heart attack. We were out playing fetch, YES, (she's doing great, no complains in the evening), when she thought the pool looked very nice, and got ready to jump in. There's only melted snow, and rain water in it, with lots of leaves and stuff. She was already at the edge, swaying back and forth, giving me a last look, and she must have seen in my face, that it would NOT be a good idea to follow through (the yelling might have helped her decicion too), so she grudgingly left, and went inside, to cool down. Now she's sulking. Of course she did that very same thing, in past years, even as early in Spring, when there was still a fine layer of ice on the water, when she jumped and broke in. Of course at those moments I'm always home alone. Silly dog.

Sam on the other hand, is shadow jumping already. The only time he likes the sun is here in this bed. I think it's cute, he looks so comfortable. It just looks like the same picture, without the Kitty bag, but it's not.
I let you go into the weekend now, with a picture of the Sacher Torte, which I made back in March, remember when I was talking about it? It was very delicious, if I say so myself. :o)

Now that it's nice outside, and there's lots to do in the front, and back yard, I spent less time on the computer. I'm sure you all feel the same this time of year. When it will get really hot though, I'll be spending more time inside again. Did I mention I hate the heat?

I haven't touched the double knitting scarf in days. It's about 15 inches long. Since I didn't knit, I've spun, actually, I'm going back and finish plying it right now. Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This is not a success story!

I love a bowlful of fiber, no matter what kind. Last year in June, I dyed 16oz of Corriedale, in four different colors. This blue was one of them. There's 2oz pre-drafted fiber in this bowl. Which turned into this...

... 2 oz of spun fiber salad. I think my drive band was too long. I've shortened it, because my wheel didn't want to take in the fiber I fed it. I made two bobbins, each with 1oz of this fiber, thinking I could turn these over twisted singles into cabled yarn. Somehow it didn't turn out that way. I think I have to read the instructions again, which can be found in the last Spin.Off magazine. It was not my intention to make cables yarn in the beginning, and it didn't work out anyway. I'm really sad that I lost this fiber, now I'm left with another couple of ounces. What will I do with that? I liked the different shades of blue a lot. So sad.

This has nothing to do with the above. A few weeks ago I saw those cute little project cubes on Amy's blog (scroll down a bit),

and treated myself to this little cute cube, bought at Amy's shop. As soon as I saw them on her blog, I knew the green/orange one was going to be mine. I've stuffed sock yarn for three pairs of socks in it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Double Knitting and Tiit's socks

I was always intrigued by double knit items. Lately I've seen a few scarves, and a wonderful Baby blanket, as well as an afghan on ravelry, which inspired me to give it a try. Instructions for double knitting can be found online, but it was not enough to get me going. I bought Lucy Neatby's scarves pattern first, and the instructions made my head spin. So I bought her DVD as well. Two hours of how to double knit, with all the trouble shooting, and what else you can do with it (stuffing the pockets for instance). I like listening to her instructions, I think she's doing a great job. This is my first How -To knitting DVD, and I liked using it. It's easier for me to SEE what I'm doing.

I'm knitting a scarf, but not one from Lucy's designs, I wanted to do my own. As soon as I got Knit Picks Comfy in the mail, I cast on. Well almost.

First I had to learn how to do a tubular cast on. My scarf is 21 stitches wide, and belief me, I'm ever so glad, that I didn't make it wider.

So I had 21 stitches on my needle, and wanted to start knitting, when I remembered reading, that you need to cast on double the stitches, because you are double knitting here, duh! See the little blip in the middle of the cast on row. I twisted the yarns somehow, and couldn't get them back in order. Instead of starting over, I kept going, lazy me. Now every time I look at the thing, my eyes zoom in on this blip.

The above photo shows my efforts of one day. Impressive, huh?

I had the slight suspicion, that double knitting and I were not going to be friends easily.

Next morning, I grabbed the needles again, and somehow it went a little faster, and easier I thought. But hey, what's that (see arrow pointing)? Yeah, what is it? Again, somehow I twisted the yarns incorrectly (I think whenever I work with more than one yarn, it plays tricks on me, and twists like crazy, to see how long I can stand working with it). The other side was fine, nothing to see there. Yes, it took me a few rows to see it, but imagine me, all concentrated, with tongue in cheek, trying to get the design right. Anyway, at first I wanted to ignore it, but it bugged me too much, so I ripped it back. By that time, I ne for sure, that this would be the one and only double knit scarf I'll ever make, and not just because of that tiny color spec on the wrong side, but because I messed up something in every row. A crochet hook is my best friend right now. With my first mistakes I tinked back, but soon took Lucy's advise and let down the offending stitches.

All the frogging seemed to have no effect on the yarn, but I felt sorry for it all the same. It's really soft and comfy, appropriate named.

I thought I was going to have a non scratchy scarf at last, but guess who thought that those are awesome colors together? Yeah, DH is going to get a new scarf for next winter.

I'm a little further along now, but boy, that's slow going. I can truly say, that double knitting will never be a passion of mine.

And now, I present to you: Tiit's socks - finally. They've been done for a while now, but there was always something else I wanted to show you first.

My creation

pattern: Tiit's socks by Nancy Bush from "Folk Knitting in Estonia"

yarn: Knit Picks Essential - green

Jojoland Melody (not superwash) color # y23 (that's the yarn I used for my first Mohana shawl)

needles: cuff 2.5mm, leg 2.25mm

start: first sock Dec. 21 2007

finished: first and second socks, March 11-16

The instructions are perfect. I was so surprised how the gusset area turned out, I just followed the instructions blindly. This was an easy stitch pattern to remember, and I don't know why I didn't finish them right away. They certainly are thick and warm and fit quite well. They are not perfect though, I could have done better. Sam thinks so too:

My creation

If there weren't so many sock patterns out there, these would be a pair I would make again, just to see how a different set of colors would look like.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tapestry Crochet!

I know that most of you have the same dilemma right now. It's gardening time, so the time available for crafting has shrunk a little bit. But what can you do. I have to show you some socks, mainly the Tiit's socks, which I started between last Christmas, and New Year, but ...

I've come across this website , which shows a crochet technique, called "tapestry crochet". Carol Ventura explains where she first found this technique, and how she developed it. She wrote a couple of books, but on this website you can find free patterns to give this a try. I did, and I'm loving it. I love how this looks like woven fabric. It's so easy to do, inexpensive (you only need a hook, and two different colored yarns), but it's slow going.

I was so thrilled with it, that I made this bag within four days. At first I thought I would run out of the orange/yellow yarn, but as it turned out, I ran out of the white cotton first, and had some left over from the other. Go figure.
The pattern calls for Velcro to close the bag, sewn in with invisible thread, which I found both in my sewing boxes, from my days, when I liked to sew. I'm hoping at least a little want to sew will return some day. I have plans.

This little bag is very firm, only the bottom, cast on row is the weak link here. I'm thinking of putting a fabric lining in, but it would need it only at the bottom. Maybe not. It depends on what I'll do with this bag.

I had two balls of the orange yarn (cotton) left over from knitting the Baby Surprise Jacket. I like how it turned out, with the color changes. I have a lot of cotton yarn in my stash, from my days of knitting dishcloth, and also from the Mason Dixon time, ballband dishcloths, remember?

Carol Ventura felts some of her projects, but many are not felted, I like that better. I'm planning on making a bigger bag, bought some more yarn for that. Dishcloth cotton yarn was not right for it. I'm waiting for the books to arrive, to start on the bag. I DO like the free pattern of the horses bag, I might do that as well.

specifics about this Kitty bag: I like this Kitty design.
pattern: Kitty bag free by Carol Ventura
yarn: Bernat cotton ultrasoft 2 balls each 50g, in white
Lang Tissa, cotton, 2 balls, each 50g color # 0204, I used double the amount of yarn specified in the pattern
hook: G 4mm (4.5mm would have been better, it's very tight)
size: 7.5" wide, 11.25" high
handle: I cast on only 60 sts instead of 100, it would have been too long
start-finish: April 13-16

Dog included for scale. Sam's a 96lbs dog, very sleepy because resting under direct sunlight, makes you drowsy with sleepiness, even if you want to or not.
My creation

I was so excited about this project, that I felt a little lost after it was finished. Sure, I have a mile long to-do list, but nothing feels right at the moment. I have yarn and the pattern for "Hedgerow socks" by Jane Cochran all ready. Cast on, but don't feel the love. The yarn label says to use 2.5mm-3mm needles. I'm using 2.25mm and it still feels too loose. The stitch pattern is easy, and I like the ribbing, but the yarn, although almost solid, doesn't give me a nice stitch definition. I might rip it out again. I don't want to use 2mm needles for that. I'd rather try another yarn.

So, I picked up my Elses shawl from my desk, and knit a few rows. I'm liking it again. Even though it's garter stitch, the colores are so wonderful. Can't wait to get to the next color change. I'm waiting for some yarn to arrive, because I'd like to do some double knitting with it. I guess, that's the reason why I don't want to start something big right now.

yarn cake I use for Elses shawl, love the colores (Evilla yarn)

Angelika is already test knitting my Mohana shawl. She already gave me some tips to improve the written pattern, as I was hoping she would do.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's time ...

... to show you some spinning again!

Back in February (has it really been this long?), I've spun up this 4.8oz of some unknown wool. My record keeping has improved since then. At least I know I bought it from Copperpot Woolies (link on the side bar). I just LOVED the colores in this one, and the name was "Happy Feet". I realized looking at the finished yarn, that it would have been better to spin this as singles, but I didn't think the colores would be playing hide and seek after being plied. This skein is funny, because you can grab it, and look at it from all angles, it always looks a little different, because of the colores.

I don't like to knit with Singles yarn, so I don't spin it, but sometimes it would be better. I DO like this 2-ply a lot though. I wanted some lace weight yarn, and I've got it. Unfortunately I got interrupted, before I could write down how many yards I've wound around the Niddy Noddy, so it's between 600-800 something yards. It's so fine, I didn't want to start counting again, but I thought about it, but that would have been crazy.

My creation

I had some singles left over on one bobbin, so I navajo plied that, and out came this little skein, where the colors are even more mottled then the 2-ply. It has its own character, and looks kind of tweedy. Didn't bother to measure it, I was so miffed that I forgot the yds on the big skein.

I'm working on some crochet right now. I think I'll finish it up today. More about that soon. I don't have anything else on my needles at the moment, if you don't count the "Elses shawl", which I started before Maggie asked me to knit her a shawl. It's garter stitch, and I don't feel like knitting it right now. It sits on my desk, as a reminder, not put away, so I might just grab it, and knit a few rows, until I decide what to do next.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blog Tour: Best of Interweave Knits Readers' Choice Awards

Usually Monday is not my favorite day of the week, but today is a special day for me. For the first time I have a guest on my blog. Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily, Interweave's online place for knitters.

Today she announced The Top 5: The Best Of Interweave Knits Readers' Choice Awards, and presents us with an e-Book of the top 5 winning patterns.

To kick off the blog tour she agreed to answer some questions.

Q 1: As I’ve read on one of your blog posts on KD, people were quite passionate about selection their Top designs. Did you have your own Top Design in mind, and did it make the Top 5 Best of Knits’ Readers’ Choice Awards?

A: Oh, my. You may regret asking me this J My problem is that part of my job is knowing the entire “back catalog” of Knits (the list of all the patterns from all the issues since 1996) inside and out, so I have my head full of all kinds of amazing designs which did not make it! I don’t think I’m supposed to have favorites…but if I did, here they’d be:
Best Baby Item: dead tie between Ann Budd’s Better Than Baby Booties and Kate Gilbert’s Peapod Baby Set.
Best Hat: Veronik Avery’s Short Row Hat.
Best Men’s Garment, no contest there: Jared Flood’s Cobblestone (which wasn’t eligible because it was too new at the time).
Best Blanket/Afghan: tie between the Sharon O’Brien’s Double Wedding Ring Quilt and the Anna Rachap’s Star Light, Star Bright baby blanket.
Best Gift: Sandy Cushman’s Best Friend Dolls (kids) or Vicki Sever’s Heart Sachet (grownups).
Best Mittens/Gloves: Tie between Laura Rintala’s White Witch Mitts and Beth Brown-Reinsel’s Nordic Mittens. (Jolene Treace’s Wine and Roses Mitts a close second.)
Best Cardigan/Jacket: I agree, the Nantucket and the Sunrise Circle. But I think Annie Modesitt’s Sideways Spencer is tied with those, for me, anyway.
Best Pullover: I’m a lace fiend, so the Shirley Paden’s Gibson Girl or her Oriel Lace Blouse would have my vote. But the Cable-Down is AWESOME.
Best Little Top: Therese Chynoweth’s Eyelet Camisole.
Best Socks: Mona Schmidt’s Embossed Leaves Socks tied with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ Caspian Sea Socks.
Best Bag: Nicky Epstein’s Felted Floral Bag tied with Marty McCall’s Weekend Getaway Satchel.
Best Lace Shawl or Stole: Evelyn Clark’s Flower Basket Shawl and Miriam Felton’s Icarus.

You can see why no one asked me. J I spend so much time looking at back issues for ideas for what to put in the store that the designs become my children, in a way. I love them all. In five minutes, I’m going to remember ten more “best” ones.

Q 2: Have you knit any/all of the Top 5 winning designs?

A: Oh goodness, no. I actually had a shoulder injury this past fall (breaking down a door, you know—or was it battling that grizzly bear? I can’t remember, really) and I couldn't knit for a few months, so I am really behind in my personal Knitting Queue. I would absolutely love to knit all of them—wouldn’t it be fun to have the entire Top Five Set? Someday, maybe when I get to take a vacation, that Swallowtail Shawl will be my very own shut-up-don’t-bother-me-I’m-on-vacation treat. I’m fantasizing about a beach, with a light breeze, a cabana boy bringing me dorky-looking cold drinks, no phone and no email for miles, and lovely laceweight singing through my fingers as I knit. Sigh. Fantasies are healthy, I hear.

Q 3: All the winning designers are well known and loved for their excellent work. After we all recover from the joy of knitting their winning designs, will there be new patterns of the winning designers in the KD library/store in the near future?

A: We would LOVE to have anything Norah, Kate, Stefanie, and Evelyn do in our store! I know we have plans to feature more of Norah’s designs in the near future, so be on the lookout for that. We sadly won’t be able to feature Evelyn’s designs, however, as we no longer own the rights to her work—I hope she makes them available on her own website very soon! As for the rest, it just depends upon what kind of contract that designer has signed. I’m willing to beg, in person, on my knees, if that’s what it takes. (I am also considering bringing flowers and chocolate to the begging session, but perhaps that is taking it too far.)

Q 4: Has writing blog posts for KD, and reading all the comments, influenced your own knitting?

Ab-so-lute-ly. In the year and a half that I’ve been KD Girl, my knitting skills have improved ten-fold. Even my husband has noticed how much better my knitting is now, which is quite a compliment. I feel as though I am re-learning every aspect of knitting, on a much deeper level, as I write about it for the KD’ers—I have to, in order to figure out how to explain things, or to challenge my own assumptions about how things need to be done. And then, in the comments, I see things through other knitter’s eyes…and I learn it again, a different way. My readers have made me a more thoughtful, questioning knitter: why should I do that decrease that way? Is there a better way to knit this to make it look the way I want it to? When the commenters ask a question, I go off and try to find out the answer…The readers are my best teachers. Their comments and emails and contributions to KD are the best knitting gift I have ever had. Reading them is like taking a master class in knitting!

Q 5: You are the one who decides which patterns will be put up in the library and the store. How can people get you to consider a certain pattern from sold-out books and magazines to be selected?

A: Well, you can never go wrong with dark chocolate, really.
Everyone is most welcome to send an email to with specific patterns they would like me to consider. That email is handled by our KD customer service person, Nicole (who is awesome; you might want to send the chocolate to HER, actually). She forwards the particularly witty or pathetic requests to me, so creativity counts, folks. J She and I also keep a running tally of all the patterns folks have requested. I look at that list each week when it is time to add more patterns to the store—so see, your requests really do get considered! There are cases where we no longer own the rights to a particular pattern (such as the Flower Basket Shawl, unfortunately), and so in those cases, the Pattern Fairy cannot grant your request. (That’s what they call me on Ravelry, the Pattern Fairy!) But if we have the rights, and if the stars are in alignment, and if the chocolate is good, then poof! your dream pattern just might show up in the store or the library! The Pattern Fairy loves that part of her job, making people’s pattern dreams come true. And frankly, I would rather have you folks ask for what you want, and give it to you, than spend a lot of time guessing. So ask away!!

Q 6: Do you see a trend in the knitting community?

A: Knitters are starting to really come into their own—as knitters. They don’t want to just know how to do the knits and purls; they want to know the best way to do the knits and purls, why they should do a purl and not a knit, and how to adjust the knits and purls to their personal tastes! It’s as though for years, many folks knitted straight off the pattern, and never gave it a thought…but got a little discouraged, sometimes, when their knitting didn’t really come out as they hoped it would. With the explosion of shared knitting information online—bloggers showing work-in-progress, knitalongs, Ravelry, and things like the Galleries on Knitting Daily—knitters are starting to want to make their knitting THEIRS. They want to know how to make things fit, they want to know how to move that cable over there, they want to know how to substitute yarn, they want to know how to design their own patterns. They’re not satisfied with cookie-cutter knitting or just knitting the simple stuff all the time. They are feeling their POWAH. “Knittah Powah!!” (You have to say that in a Queen Latifah voice for it to work: “KNITTAH POWAH, people!”) I love that this is happening. I love that knitters are taking their craft into their own hands and learning more about it and making it their own. I think this means that the next few years are going to bring us a blossoming of energetic, out-of-the-box, amazing knitting designs.

Q 7: You are a knitter, crocheter, spinner, weaver, and you work with beads. What’s your favorite craft, and do you have time to do it all? How do you decide which project gets your attention?

A: Hoo boy. You have asked the Double Word Score Bonus Question here.
Well. I have a few knitting projects which are actually Work, with actual deadlines and stuff, so those get priority. The shoulder injury set me back quite a bit, and so now that I am mostly healed, I am playing catch-up. I have knitting goals for each week, sometimes each day, which I try to meet to keep on schedule.
I have a couple of personal knitting projects, like the cabled hoodie for my husband. If I don’t finish this soon, the Spousal Evil Eye will be directed at me, along with big spousal sighs, tapping of feet, and maybe even whimpering. I mean, really: Whimpering. So I try to fit in some time to knit on that every week.
After that…well. I have to do some spinning a couple of times a week or I become a not-nice person. Really. The spinning centers me, calms me, and helps me to do something which is Just For Me. That’s a bit rare right now, so I make a point of spinning as much as I can. That has become part of my own personal spiritual practice, so it’s important, even if I can only do it for five or ten minutes.
The beading…now, that is my personal passion. I was a beadwork designer long before I started designing knitwear. I find myself designing jewelry in my head when I’m stopped in traffic, or when I lay awake…and my bead table is the first thing you see when you walk in my front door. There’s simply not enough time in my life to do it as much as I want to, so, when most knitters would knit gifts for friends, I bead gifts for friends. That’s my way of squeezing it into my life, beading as gift-making. Also, I just cannot fit gift-knitting in very often!
The weaving is on hold right now, unfortunately. I drool over Handwoven, but cannot allow myself to peek between its pages. And crochet, well. I crochet on commission now, for special things, or for a special magazine project.
Which one is my favorite? That’s like asking me which child is my favorite. They are all special. Having said that: I spin for prayer and peace and joy. I bead for loving gifts from the depths of my passion. I knit because a knitter is who I am.

Q 8: You are a designer, too. Do you have something you are working on right now? Knowing what people want, do you design with that in mind?

A: I’m working primarily on two things right now, a garment-thingie and a lace-thingie. (Shhh….secrets!) Both I started on after seeing lots of requests for those types of things on KD and the blogs and so forth. My readers are my greatest inspiration, really. I am constantly doing a lot of research online to see what kinds of projects people are really knitting, which ones they love and which ones they thought were cool for a while but never ended up making. I research people’s preferred colors, yarns, fiber types, what shapes work and which don’t. I approach designing the same way I approach buying someone a gift: I find out all about what they like, what they already have, what they long for, and then I let my creativity loose! I am a very good gift-giver.
That said: I usually start off with a little nagging voice in my head that keeps saying: I want to do Something Lace. I do my research, with the little voice in the background nudging me this way and that, until the nagging voice has a little a-ha moment. I’m very methodical in my designs, doing research, doing a million charts, knitting a gadzillion swatches until the nagging voice is happy and starts humming. Then: I start knitting. Designing is something I just have to do. It’s not a choice, I just do it. I designed my first sweater in high-school, actually. It’s a joy.

Thank you, Sandi!
Sandi with her dog Buddy. "He lost his left front leg due to injuries sustained in Hurricane Katrina, of which he is a survivor," Sandi said.

BTW, I like Sandi's Comfort shawl design, and have it on my to -do list. Sandi can also be found on ravelry.
Blog Tour:

Tues. April 15: Norah Gaughan interview on Lolly Knitting Around,
Wed. April 16: Kate Gilbert interview on Moth Heaven,
Thurs., April 17: Stefanie Japel interview on Chez Aristote,
Fri., April 18: Evelyn Clark interview on The Panopticon,

Sunday, April 13, 2008

For Judy from Alaska!

Hi Judy!
I've bought the Butterfly Super 10 from this website, but it was about two years ago.
Hope that helped.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sunshine Square

It's crochet, Baby! Now that the sun is getting warmer, and shows up more often, and longer, I don't have to rely on little things like this Funky Doily any more, to cheer me up.

My creation
The square in the picture with the dog and the cup is not blocked yet. It was puckering in the middle, but blocking took care of that.

pattern: Funky Doily by Annette Petavy
yarn: Butterfly Super 10, mercerized cotton, color # 0494, used 176g (almost two balls, that was all I had left).
hook: 4mm (G6)
size after blocking: 17" square
start-finish: March 6-8

I added a picot edge. I would have made it a little larger, but I ran out of yarn. I made this Pinwheel blanket in 2006 and those two balls were all I had left.

Some time ago I made my first cup cakes ever! I was inspired first by Maggie's cup cakes, and there was this magazine with lemon cup cakes on the cover. I have never before eaten a cup cake, and these lemon ones, looked so delicious and light (but they are anything but light), I had to give it a try. Of course mine looked nothing like the picture above. First I forgot to buy those paper cups, I used a muffin tin instead. Nevertheless, they where gone before I could say "Boo!" Everybody enjoyed them. Did I mention I like lemon?
Yesterday, I finally got my Spin.Off magazine! I've been waiting for it so badly! I almost went out and bought one, because I thought it was lost in the mail. I think this one's my favorite so far. Maybe because there's so much in it, from people I know because of their blogs, or because I have bought stuff from them. There's this cute hat pattern in it, the information on how to make cabled yarn, and I learned, that Lendrum is a Canadian company! I did not know that! I knew Dorothea Fischer's website, and her Traditional Danish Tie-shawls, it was a surprise to read about it in this magazine.

I've got two new pairs of socks, and they were not made by me. The grey one was made by my Aunt Gisela, and the beige/brown/grey ones were made by my Granny. My DH brought both back form his visit to Austria.

As well as this knitting wooden needle holder my mom found at a flea market, with needles inside! There was one set of metal DP's. I rarely use straight needles anymore, but it's fun to have them. Some are metal/metal, plastic/metal, plastic/plastic.

And since this is a hodgepodge post today, I want to tell you something weird, happening to me the other day. Maybe you can tell me if this is normal? The doorbell rang. A lady from the neighborhood, which I knew from sight, was asking for a donation for the "Kidney Foundation". I said no (we donate to charitable causes, but I refuse to do so at the door). Now she asked me, what house number we are, she had to write down who said NO to her request. Hm. Should that have made me run and get my wallet or check book? Because now I'm on a list, and might not get a kidney if I need one? I thought that was strange. What could the purpose be for such a list - if there really is one?

Biko refused to be photographed today as well. She's doing fine as long as she's not running around like the devil is after her. So we go for long boring walks, and when we are outside, she just wanders around the back yard, and is looking for trouble (that's her middle name by the way). I was hoping that she would be back to her normal self by now, but whenever she does too much, she's still in pain at the end of the day. Last night we saw a further sign of improvement though, when she climbed up the couch to sleep next to my DH, which she has not done since way before her surgery. Recovery is definitely taking longer than the Vet from the clinic told us (she said 4 weeks). But that we never believed anyway.

What's on my needles? I'm working on two things. The Ripple Linen Basket Liner by Amy King, and the Crosswalker Socks by Emily B. Miller.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

February Baby Sweater!

I saw this gorgeous baby sweater made with handspun yarn, and suddenly I knew what to do with some of my handspun yarn as well. Baby knits!

" Some Babie's Things" from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac - February

yarn: my own handspun: merino/sea cell, 2-ply, 4oz, 1 skein/ 364yds, color "Sea Leaf" from Dyed in the Wool Handmade, with left overs for booties

needles: 3.75mm circular needles, 5 DP's for the sleeves

start-finish: after the two shawls I wanted to knit something fast, but cute, and this was it, April 3-4

This sweater is soft and cuddly, exactly what you want your baby to wear, when you hold it in your arms. And before you even think of asking, no , there's no baby on the horizon in our family. I just think it's a great way to knit some of the handspun, because it gets boring to knit hats, mittens, or scarves all the time. Ooooh - it just hit me! I made a garment! I made a top down sweater! I made something to wear!
Never mind that it is April already, this sweater is called "Baby sweater on two needles; practically seamless" anyway. Mine is totally seamless, which is really a good thing. I knit the sleeves in the round, and picked up stitches to connect them to the main body. This sweater is so much fun, and EZ to make, I'm definitely going to make this one again. This little cutie has been knit countless times, in all kinds of variations, mine is without the gull pattern. With this yarn, there's no need for lace patterns.

Using my handspun was fun, but I'm not impressed with my spinning skills.The yarn was thick and thin throughout, and as you can see not even washing and blocking evened it totally out. Doesn't matter, still love it.

There's no actual baby I knit this for, rather a big Teddy Bear, who welcomed the expansion to his wardrobe. Sitting there in his orange Baby Surprise Jacket, he thought was too girly anyways, made him quite happy with this green new sweater. I don't know what size this sweater would be in actual baby size. I made the body longer, because I had enough yarn (there's still some left over, maybe for some booties?), and because I like how it looked better.

It was not off to a good start however, since I didn't follow my own advise, to read a pattern through before starting to knit, so I was way too far, when EZ told me to put in some button holes. Of course there should be button holes! At first I thought, oh well, I'll start with the buttons after the garter stitch yoke, and fake a button without a hole on top. Yes, that was my first thought. >shame<>
If I had used this yarn for socks (way to soft for that), they would have made nice stripey socks, you can see that on the sleeves. I seriously think the brown stripe on the front is ugly, but that's how it is. Everything else blends together nicely.
I didn't want to get out and buy some cute baby buttons, for a sweater which will maybe never warm a baby, so I rummaged through my button boxes, which are in desperate need of refilling. I think the ones I found will do.

What's on my needles now? "Have a Heart" socks by Marianne Archer (almost done though).

Any spinning done lately? Yep - after a break for two weeks (while knitting the shawls I did nothing else), I've started spinning my Cotswold again. Remember, I had 1kg of it, have half of it done. Nope, doesn't get boring, even with the natural grayish color. Love it! A bobbin a day, keeps dust bunnies at bay.... or something like that.