Sunday, March 25, 2007

Barbara Walker Rocks

Where have I been? I knew about these books. I have heard about them. La dee da, la dee da, I just thought they had nothing to do with me or my interests. Wrong! Next to EZ, this woman has had THE major influence on my knitting!

I love that I can take a pattern in my head, plug in a Barbara Walker pattern and TADA! FO!

Here is a little something I whipped up.

A glasses case. I had to replace my lost reading glasses and while I was at it replaced my lost sunglasses. Because they dilated my eyes at the eye doctor and I could not see outside because of the brightness.
But you see, they are not just ANY glasses case...
Voila! Two pairs of glasses in one case!

The pattern I used said it yielded a nice, firm fabric, which it does. The yarn? Kool Wool by Lion Brand. The stitch? Barbara Walker. The design? Knitalife Laura. Yahoo!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Adventures in FOs and UFOs

I had a very fun evening last night. I got together with my friend Victoria. She recently went to this really cool knitting retreat up in Inverness and came back with all kinds of neat ideas and projects. One of them was knitting two toe-up socks at one time on circular needles. I know how to knit socks on circulars. I know how to knit toe-ups. And though I've never done it before, I just knew I could figure out how to do two socks at once on circs. Am I the only one this happens to?Have you ever had a knitter put a bug in your ear? You know, when they are all enthusiastic and excited about something and suddenly it sounds like such an irresistable idea and you just have to dive in and try it? Well, that's what happened to me. Victoria, in her very earnest, quiet, yet cheerful manner got me all worked up over trying this. Somehow, we decided that we just HAD to learn how to do this before the cruise. That way I could impress them all. You know, wow them with my rare talents and abilities. So we got together at her really beautiful house and set out. It was hard going at the beginning. We did a figure 8 cast on, which in my opinion is no fun, even when you're working up one sock. But I prefer it because I'm too lazy to dig out waste yarn and a crochet hook. Somehow we managed to get past the cast-on and each got to about 36 stitches per sock.

Here we are at her dining room table casting on. Believe me when I tell you her house looks like it belongs in Architectural Digest. Both she and her home are very beautiful in a classic, classy way and she has all kinds of really neat things in there.
Victoria and I met when I was working at the yarn store. She came in one day and I felt like I had known her forever. Do you ever have that happen?

Here's the beginning of my socks in Koigu. Look at the cool basket of eggs she has. Those eggs are made out of ceramic! But you would swear they are real eggs. They are the weight and feel of real, dyed Easter eggs. I love that chicken basket they are in. Her house is full of cool things like that.

I'm pretty sure that my hat phase is all petered out. Here is the elusive Kai modeling another hat that I made for my friend Beth. You can see I still have to tuck in the ends. It is made from Regia sock yarn, 2x2 rib until I began the decreases. I made this hat twice because it came out too wide and shallow the first time.

Here is Emi modeling a hat that I made for her. I actually made two of these, one for her and one for her friend Manon, who could be her twin. They like to dress alike. Since I was getting tired of hats, I took a pattern from Barbara Walker and plugged it in. It's called a "purl twist knot." It made a nice texture on the hat, I thought.

In my quest to use up more of my lifetime supply of kitchen cotton, I got on to this towel-topper idea.
Here they are, side by side. One crocheted and one knit. The knit one took about three hours, the crochet one less than an hour.

I prefer the knit one. It has more substance to it. This is the crochet version.
I bought more towels at K-mart, thinking they'd make cute gifts. Seriously, what is wrong with me? My craft stash has a life of it's own.

Last of all, you may or may not remember this. It just wasn't coming out the way I wanted it to, so I frogged it. I knew I wanted it to be a shawl. I knew that I wanted to mix the yarns (mohair and wool, dyed the same color, it's Plymouth Outback.)
With my Barbara Walker Treasury firmly in hand, I perused and imagined and finally settled on the "berried in a basket" pattern. It will be a stole with a wide mohair border (about 6") on each end. There are four rows of "berry" repeats in wool with every fifth row in mohair. I am really liking it on so many levels. Fun to knit. I like the way it drapes. And then there is the anxiety factor. Will I have enough yarn to complete it? Livin' dangerously. That's me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Shameless Copy Cat

My big sister(whom I now outweigh by, well, let's just say a lot) used to call me a copy cat when we were kids. Well, I mean, I guess I was. I didn't mean to be, she just wore (drew, bought, picked, liked, you get the idea) really nice things and I just couldn't see how it would be worth having something less good just in the interest of not being a copy cat. So I just sort of bore the title.

And here I am, many years later, and I guess I'm still a copy cat. Blogs are the best for us copy cats. We peruse and lurk and check it out, then we pounce and copy and post. I saw this on Rose Red's blog and just had to try to make one. But, of course, being stuck with having to knit from the stash, I took a dive and found some regular ol' cotton and started trying my best to crank one out. OK, I know, it isn't even half as cute. I L*O*V*E her bag. And the purple one she made for her mom too. But I just settled for my cheapo smaller version and got all excited about the lining. And now I have me a nice lil spring bag to kick around town with.

Here it is showing the lining.
Here's the plain vanilla shot. And remember this all you originals out there: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. (At least that's what I tell my kids.)

By the way, here's a shout out to my buddy Kamila. Hi Kamila! Miss you!

Sea Sock Not Seasick

I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Last week, while perusing my weekly edition of the Knitter's Review, I came across this article. Intrigued, I clicked on the article about the Sea Socks Cruise. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I tried to find someone to go with. No one could (or would). Kevin offered to watch the kids. My parents encouraged me to go. I prayed. And guess what? I'M GOING!!! I can hardly believe it!

I talked to the nicest lady, Patricia, who set this whole thing up. OK, I love her already. She is very funny and enthusiastic and she got me so worked up about this and now, here I am, going on a cruise to Vancouver with no one I know and I am so dang excited! There were two generous souls (much more accommodating than I'd ever be) who offered to let me bunk with them.

I am seeing myself laid out on a deck chair in the sun with a tall fruity cool drink, sunglasses, a straw hat and a sock on the needles. Sigh. What could be better?

I feel like I'm in a dream. If you know me, you know I am not a very adventurous sort. I am so thrilled at the idea of going on this adventure. And I feel so secure knowing that I will be with fellow knitters. I just know it is going to be a blast! I just can't even believe I am doing this. But I am!

So if that wasn't enough, I arrived home from work to find this on my porch swing. It's Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Somewhere I had heard this one was the best and I had this Amazon certificate that had been hanging around since Christmas. Wow.

In my little universe, it just doesn't get much better than that. I am ecstatic.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Bear With Me (Continued)

Abby, thank you so much for filling me in on how to fix this mess. Now, if I could only sign on the Internet at my house! Yes, folks, I am dropping in to post to you from work because the ding-dang connection at my house is kaput again. It is a simple matter, I just can't seem to figure it out. Should be back on tomorrow, at which time I will tinker and click-and-drag until things are back to normal.

I have a new FO to post too. Pics to follow when I'm back up and running.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Please Bear With Me

I had the bright idea last night of updating the template on my blog. Of course, it was late, I got the impulse, I clicked that little button...blammo. Blog looks pretty much the same only I lost a bunch of stuff and don't know where it went or how to get it back. Dang.

So if you notice that my link to you is missing, don't fret, (not that you'd notice..) I'll find a way to get you back there.

I have no idea how to get back on the blog rings. They are just gone. And when I lost all the information on my computer a few months back I lost the emails that had my passwords to the blogrings. Great.

I'll just limp along. If you have any suggestions, I'm game.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Introducing Hurley


Meet Hurley. He is a Pisces redhead who loves sunsets, long walks on the beach and lots of cuddles. He's a good ol' boy who loves livin' dangerously. He's agreed to be the "guinea pig" (sshh! don't say it around him, he's mighty "prickly" about that moniker)for an untested new invention in Mrs. Kahn's 6th grade Invention Fair at Washington School. As the winning volunteer for an invention known as the "Hedgehog Hurler," we can only imagine the heights to which this little guy is going to soar. He apparently beat out his arch nemesis, Fernando Llama in a heated competition as to who would be chosen for this aerodynamic feat of the century.
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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hedgehog: Before and After

Here's a shot of the hedgehog before felting. Are those hedgehog hooters?

Whatever they were, thank God they felted out. Here is the little fella after felting, pre-stuffing. Gotta go dig around for some polyfill.

A quick, fun knit. Man, but there are A LOT of short rows in that thing. Too many, in my opinion. If I was smarter I'd make another one without such a "full" back. It may be too big for Kai's invention, the "hedgehog hurler." We may just have to go with the "llama launcher" after all. At least now he has options. Options are usually good.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Shrunken Llama

The only reason why you are seeing this is because I told you I would post it. It is not one of my prouder moments. I overshrunk it on accident. Most felting projects take at least two full cycles in my machine. This one looked like this after one cycle. It is so shrunken, I can't even get stuffing in the neck. It looks like it is made of poo. So sad.

Back to the ol' drawing board. I am presently shrinking a swatch for the hedgehog. This time I am test-felting. See? You live and learn. And like every other felting project I have done, this one is in its third cycle.

It is all made a little teeny tiny bit better by Netflix. I spent an hour or so one day rating movies that I liked. Based on my picks they suggested a BBC series called "Middlemarch." At first I found it very frustrating and could not figure out why Netflix would have recommended it to me. Turns out I had a two-sided DVD and had watched the B side first! There I was so angry at the filmmakers for "assuming" that I knew the characters and wondered why it seemed like I was coming in on the middle of it all. DUH!

After I started watching it from the beginning I really started enjoying it. It kind of cracks me up though when you watch "period" pieces that you can totally tell by the hair and make up that they were filmed in the 1980s or the 90s. One time I watched a version of "Sense and Sensibility" that must have been filmed in the 70s. The men's pants looked like they were made out of some kind of polyester that would stand up by itself. Jane Austen meets the Leisure suit. And the ladies had huge, stiff ringlets like those old time country western singers and huge fake eyelashes. Hilarious. Once you get over that stuff though it is quite watchable. If you like that sort of thing. Which I do.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Progress Photo: Llama Butt

You start from the rear and work forward. The Yarn: One strand of alpaca sportweight yarn from Village Spinning and Weaving in "Nutmeg." One strand of Classic Elite Inca Marl, "Tobacco Road." Size 10 needles (that's 11 for your normal tension knitter).

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Knitting...

All other knitting is temporarily on hold. My son's science project is due next Wednesday. His "invention" is the previously mentioned "Llama Launcher." By my best estimates, I think it is basically going to be a catapult. And who is in charge of providing said llama? Why moi, of course! When originally assigned this very essential component of the experiment, my first question of course was, when is it due? I was informed that it wouldn't be needed until mid-March. Well, I don't know about you but to me, mid-March is around March 15. Yesterday at our teacher-parent conference I found out it was due March 7. March 7?!!! I better get busy!

Fiber Trends llama pattern? Check. Size 10 or thereabouts needles? Check. Felting yarn? Check. I'm loaded for bear. Or should I say llama? I started the rear end last night.

For back-up because I couldn't resist the cuteness, I bought the Fiber Trends felted hedgehog pattern. I ran it by my son and he quickly came up with a "new" backup science invention: the Hedgehog Hurler.

Pictures to come.