Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Technicolor Dragon Skin Scarf

On my way to Michigan for Christmas, I started knitting a scarf for my favorite cousin. She's a big fan of "jewel-tone" colors, and I'd made two abortive attempts at knitting her a scarf of Bernat Boa in brilliant, mottled, orange and red. I won't make any editorial comments about the Boa yarn as this blog is rated PG.

So there I was, on the airplane, knitting as fast as I could with five skeins of Queensland Collection Big Wave in Rainbow Bright Multi colorway in my bag.

The Big Wave is a lovely yarn, which, sadly, is no longer being made. It's 90% merino and 10% cashmere (soft, soft, soft), thick and thin with a nubbly texture due to a thin binder cord.

I didn't manage to finish the scarf before I arrived at my cousin's house, but I did finish it before I left.
Most of my projects (the ones I like, anyway), get named. This one was a no brainer, I called it what it looks like, Technicolor Dragon Skin.

Hope my cousin enjoys her scarf as much as I enjoyed knitting it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best Wishes to all of you
for a lovely holiday season.




.. .

I'm leaving Friday morning and will be back on the 27th; e- you then.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Puttin' On the Dog

My friend KC has two dogs she's pretty much crazy about, so I decided that the best thing to give her for her birthday and Christmas were puppy presents. Puppy Protectors to be precise. I saw an extra very cute pattern for a "Doggie Mac" in Jil Eaton's Simple Chic and decided to go for it.

Since the dogs' names are Ruby and Rusty, there was no problem picking out colors for the coats. I hunted around until I found a red I liked for Ruby that went with a rust I liked for Rusty, bought the yarn and knitted up a swatch. Even tried running a couple of lines of contrasting color through to see how they really looked.
I was not enamored of the color combo I'd thought would be a winner once I'd finished the swatch. When I felted it, I decided to deep six making a plaid Doggie Mac and went for a contrasting color bordered Puppy Protector instead. In the end, the main thing I used from the pattern was the general shaping; I changed the yarn from bulky to worsted and changed the fastenings as well.

As senior dog, Ruby is getting the first Puppy Protector. It looked kinda shabby at the knit stage, kinda okay once I'd crocheted on the border, and pretty darn good once it was felted.

What really makes it look good, though, is Ruby herself. Cute little bitch, ain't she?

Thanks to KC for the puppy portrait.

Rusty won't get his Puppy Protector until after Christmas, it may even be as late as Ruby's was after KC's birthday - 10 weeks (yes, I'm blushing, but I had to do a custom fitting and find the buttons, knit the belly band, needle felt the button holes and...) Rusty will get his jacket before the weather warms in spring. Then those puppies will be, to quote Kate, "stylin'".

Color coordinated dogs. What a hoot.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Knit, Knit, Knit, Knit, Knit...

I've been working my needles to the bone lately, trying to get the Christmas knitting done. Trying will probably be the operative word. I've already fessed up to GuiGirl that she's not going to get her Christmas handcraft until well after the season to be jolly. I'm allergic to one of the yarns I'm using in it and my fall cold was too recent. Every time I pick it up to knit, I start coughing.

But that's okay, it means I can finish up (or start on) other projects.

I finished the dish cloths for my favorite Mother-in-law-in-law. I think she'll like them.
I'm half way through elf hat number last. It must be finished by this Friday because that's when I go to the Christmas party for the company were Mom and Gramma of the two toddlers and one fetus work. That's a gimme, though, it should only take about another hour of knitting and maybe a half-hour, forty-five minutes to sew up and trim.

I still need to fringe scarves for Cousin-in-law and her daughter, that won't take long. And block a few scarves. And finish this hat by tomorrow evening since my friend's coming to dinner and it's probably the last time I'll see him this year.

Yeah, I scanned the hat and the pompoms below instead of photographing them. I'm in the basement, it's after dark and the scanner's sitting right next to the computer. So they look a little squished. Live with it.

I haven't even started on the planned felted bunny slippers, or the scarf for FavoriteCousin. Actually, I take that back, I did start a scarf for FavoriteCousin, but I frogged it and consigned the yarn to Perdition. Must start anew with new yarn and new design.

No missed deadlines for me, no sir.
But I've had fun too. I needed to make some pompoms for Kate's hat. She wanted a clone of the Remorse Hat, but she's not as conservative as the renewed friend the Remorse Hat and Scarf went to.

Kate just isn't a spherical pompom sort of person, she's more of a free spirit, more adventurous, so I made Official Free Spirit Pompoms for her hat. And just to add my own little touch of nerdishness, I used my solar Casio graphing calculator as a base to wrap them on.

How's that for classy?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Like Mother Like Daughter...

regardless of species.
She has a thing for yarn.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Traveling and Knitting

Home again from my travels. Actually got back late Friday, but the Engineer has kept very busy keeping me busy. Sometimes I wonder whether he sees keeping me busy as a hobby or an avocation...

I knit quite a bit while I was traveling, working on two Christmas gifts (can't blog those yet) and making dishcloths.

At the home of each friend I stayed with, I knit a dishcloth as I talked with my friend. When I completed it, I gave it to her. Three dishcloths knit and given away -- I guess it was the hat-trick of my trip. It seemed to go over well. I did not knit one for Mom, though I stayed there the longest. She knits her own. She's been knitting her own since before I knew which end of the needle to stick into the yarn.

I've knit one and a half more on the plane and since being home because I plan to send a set of three to my beloved Mother-in-law-in-law. It takes longer now that I'm home and the cats are trying to "help." I've not been as insistent about "Not yours, mine!" because I have a case of the guilts for abandoning my fuzzy darlings for two weeks. They're still in VelcroKitty mode. Both of them crowd onto my lap whenever I sit in my knitting chair. Right now Kitsu is curled up on top of my forearms as I type. I am not psychologically capable of evicting a purring cat.

Maybe I need to go on the road again to finish up my Christmas knitting.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen For Now

Goodbye for two weeks. I'm off before dawn on my annual trip east to visit parents and friends.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Knitting For Mom

I'm headed east at the end of the week to visit friends and family and spend Thanksgiving with my parents. I want to take Mom a knit present, but that would kinda be like taking gold to Fort Knox.

Mom learned to knit from her Grandmother when she was about three. She's good, darn good. I figure she can knit anything. She knits fast too; the clicking of her needles sounds like a train coming down the tracks. I tried to learn to knit from her when I was in grade school, but she was so intimidating I ran screaming from the room every time I heard the word purl until I gathered my courage and borrowed "Knitting For Dummies" from the library last February.

In short, there's nothing I could knit for my Mom that she couldn't knit better, and faster, herself.

But... but... All she ever knits with is Red Heart; a mundane, but perfectly serviceable, acrylic yarn. I'll bet she's never felted anything in her life.

So I bought some 100% merino roving wool and I'm knitting a tote bag to felt. Chose the color especially for Mom. I know she'll like the color. I just hope the bag comes out well and that she likes the whole package.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


If I'm honest, I have to admit that I (mostly) like the end results of my knitting. Oh, some of the things don't seem quite so shiny after a while, but I think that's partially because I'm a new knitter and still learning the tricks o' the craft.

This evening, I finished the best project ever. I am so tickled with it that it's practically unbearable. Unfortunately, there was no head of an appropriate size around to model it.

Then I remembered Bear, the teddy bear my paternal Grandmother gave me the Christmas I was a year old.

Is this not the coolest BugEyed Monster hat? I almost wish it was big enough that I could wear it (and what does that say about me?)

True, the eyes are a bit like Marty Feldman's, but that's part of the BEM mystique.

Another First

Iron Needles likes my blog.

Thank you so much Iron. I am very honored.

This is my first YouDoneGood blogging award.

Ain't it shiny?

Here are the rules for the award recipients (not required):
1. Please mention winning of the award on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
Iron Needles, fellow knitter, a spinner, hiker, mom and grandmom extraordinaire.
3. You must nominate at least 4 fellow bloggers for this award.

Now I have to figure out which blogs to pass the happy along to. Let's see, in alphabetical order:

Bioephemera - the intersection of science & art, good brain food

High Altitude Gardening - plant caretaker and killer

Needles of Iron (back at yah) - multidimensional knitter

Sendy Illustration - she doesn't post often, but she's trying to make it in a foreign country (the USA, she's from Indonesia) as an illustrator, gotta admire her.

SpinDyeKnit - she knits lace shawls from the heart

I hope receiving this makes y'all as happy as it made me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Very First Eyeball

And only a couple of days late for Halloween.

Now I know how to crochet a sphere.

I plan to make a couple of amigurumi Christmas ornaments for a friend who said she wanted something soft and textured to appeal to her 4-year-old grandaughter as her own Christmas present. (She doesn't know about the red elf hat which I've already knit for her grandkid.)

I do have plans for the eyeball, though.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Elf Hats

This is the first in the coming parade of Elf Hats for kidlettes.

I knit this with plain old "Bulky" instead of "Super Bulky" since it's supposed to be for a newborn. I think it looks more in proportion, but now I understand why the pattern calls for the really thick stuff.

The long pointed end on this hat is just a wee bit... flaccid.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dancing Grannies Hat

I knit in color like TV,
No black and white nor monochrome,
And all that's best of brown and green
Meet on the white of granny hat.

For some reason, when I want to be pretentious and overblown, Byron comes to mind. So apologies, Lord George, but your copyright's long since expired.

She walks in beauty like the night,
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;

Actually, I think that stanza is one of the most beautiful in poetry.

The first full size color project has been knit.

And knit just a wee bit too big.

When I plopped it onto my head, it hung down to my chin. Oops. The pattern, Dancing Grannies Hat, from The Knitting Man(ual), should have told us innocent followers to knit the ear flaps and bottom, textured, part of the hat on a size smaller needles than used on the color work areas. The bottom belled out like a blueberry flower.
I wasn't a Girl Scout for nothing. I'm resourceful. I can come up with workarounds. So I decided to felt Granny to make it fit a normal human head.

Took it down to the washer, set up a low water load, hot wash, cold rinse. When the washer was filled I added a trickle of Woolite and Granny Hat.

Checked it every couple of minutes.

Nothing happening.

Kept checking.

Nothing happening.

Got distracted...

You have to know what comes next...

Granny felted. Oh yeah, she felted like a yurt.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bad, Bad, Bad Yarn Junky

Went to JoAnn's today to get inexpensive machine wash and dry yarn for baby hats. This is really kindof bizarre for me, baby hats...

Anyway I've already knit one elf hat (see last post) for a four-year-old. It was quick and easy, so I decided to do one for a friend's baby who's due to make her initial appearance on the 10th of November. Then I thought I should make one for S's one year old boy. Oh, I has a one year old girl. Crum, I can't make a hat for I's baby if I don't make hats for L's two granddaughters (one still in utero), their desks are right next to each other. Geeze o' pete, that makes a total of six baby hats.

That's why inexpensive yarn from JoAnn's. The machine wash and dry requirement is due to the nature of babies. (I don't have to have a baby to know about that.)

So I blithely waltzed in to JoAnn's Moonlight Madness sale this afternoon. Okay, rock me back on my heals, fifty bazillion women with small children running amuck with green grocery carts. But I'm brave, so I grabbed a cart and plowed into the milling masses.

Onward to the yarn department!

Of course, it's not possible to go to the yarn department and not push my cart up and down all of the aisles. Nope, not possible.

Wowzer! Cosetta on sale 75% off. So I went through the whole bin and got the seven that had the same dye lot.

One skein of Moda Dea in a loverly color, looking so lonely rattling around in its big bin.

Pacaboo, what the heck's Pacaboo? Feltable... wool, alpaca and bamboo... cool. Just one skein to experiment with, that's not much.

I hadn't even gotten to the baby yarns yet.

Ah well, I guess $45 for 15 skeins of yarn ain't bad. And I smuggled it down to the basement before the Engineer got home to make editorial comments on my excess too.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Baby Hats

There are four little kids in town who I think are in need of Christmas hats. Warm and cozy Christmas hats. I've found the pattern. It knits up fast, it's cute and out of the ordinary.

Elf Hat #1

Now to decide on the colors for Elf Hats numbers 2 to 4.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Two Colors, Two Hands?

When I saw that Blazing Needles was offering a "Basic Two Color Knitting" class, I decided that the time had come (as the Walrus said) to learn how. I called up, signed up and showed up Wednesday night.

Now, I've got to say that I am right handed. Been right handed all my life. Though I'm neither hopelessly unidextrous like my Mom nor ambidextrous like Dad and my brother (Dad can wiggle his ears too), I definitely favor my right hand. Which, to me, makes it rather surprising that I cannot knit English style. I am simply unable to purl if I'm holding the yarn in my right hand; it makes no sense to me.

Left handed -- easy-peasy.

So I got to the class, pulled out my number 7 circular and dpns and selected two shades of practice yarn. Then the teacher, Terri, gave us the bad news...

We had to learn to knit using both hands.


Main color in dominant hand, second color in other hand. Alternating. Not dropping the whole assemblage.


First Terri set us to knitting several rounds of the main color with our "other" hand for practice. Thank goodness there was no purling involved. The other students were somehow able to toss the yarn over the needle without swinging their whole arm. Not me. I had to pinch the yarn between thumb and forefinger and move the hand in a circle around the needle. I tried to do it like the rest of them, but that was a sure recipe for dropping at least the yarn if not yarn, needles and all.

After I'd managed to knit about three rounds, the teacher announced that it was time to take main color in dominant hand, other color in other hand and knit two, knit two.

Evil Language!

How could it be so hard when I'm right handed?

But I persevered. It wasn't easy, but I did manage to knit with two colors, one in each hand.

Then I went on and committed cute. (I'm so ashamed.)

Ah well, at least I know a four year old who probably needs a dolly hat.

Monday, October 6, 2008

SEX In the Rain

A very strange thing happened here over the weekend. It rained. All weekend long. Weird.

But I am an addict, I went out into the cold and damp to visit the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair. I slogged through the mud and breathed the aroma of wet sheep, goats and alpacas. I met some Ravelrousers and was given my very own Ravelry button, ooh, ahh!

It was a small arts fair, maybe a dozen or so tents and no food vendors other than a honey guy. Amazing the fragrance three sheep, two goats and three alpacas can generate. Of course, I've always liked barnyard smell. I went to an agricultural college my first time around and always enjoyed it when the breeze was coming off the cow barns.

And as for the SEX...

My stash was enhanced with my very first local handspuns.

Two skeins of
grey undyed llama.

Four assorted skeins of undyed alpaca neck and leg fiber.
And three skeins of hand dyed alpaca.

Yarn lust once again made me sucumb to the temptation I led myself into.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Newest, and Cutest, LYC In Town

The Grand Opening was September 6. The hardwood floors were brightly finished, the stock and furniture were in place, and a faint smell of fresh paint lingered in the air. Blazing Needles had officially arrived in Salt Lake. Cascade yarns form the basic backbone of the stock -- from Cascade 220, the yarns go high end. Manos del Uruguay, a personal favorite, was well represented. There were ultra feminine yarns with beads and sequins scattered throughout the skeins, yarns with textures from ultra smooth silk, to warm and fuzzy wool, to rough raffia. Needles, books, samples, notions and accessories were placed conveniently about the store. Cynthia, the owner, understands the need to touch. (I would guess she also understands the direct connection between touching and wanting...) My fingers wandered over fine wool. alpaca, silk. Yarn lust seized me.

Then I walked into the room that leads into the lovely outdoor courtyard and saw the Shi Bui trunk show. The coolest knit pillow ever immediately drew my eye. I've visited Shi Bui's web site, but images on a screen simply cannot compare with the reality of the knitted samples. As I was examining the spherical pillow, the Shi Bui lady herself came over and spoke with me. Nice lady, nice yarns, next time I have some discretionary funds burning a hole in my pocket I know where they'll go.

Last Thursday evening I attended Blazing Needle's Knit Night. It was held in the room where the Shi Bui trunk show was still displayed. Chairs were drawn up around a dark wood table for a wide demographic range of knitters and crocheters from a cute male college freshman to women of (how to put this delicately) wisdom and experience. There were light refreshments provided, even a couple of bottles of wine (in Land o' Mormon!) and a congenial atmosphere.

Yes, I will be going back to Blazing Needles.

And, Cynthia, love the name, Blazing Needles, it brings to my mind a dynamic theme music.
(Click on the note and mentally make the obvious substitution of words.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trust In the Math?

I bought some very appealing Patons Bohemian yarn thinking it would make a nice chemo cap to give away. The cats thought it looked appealing too, just like a mousie, so they shredded the bag and were starting in on the first skein when I saved it.

I knit a swatch. Okay, I admit it, I'm weird, I like knitting swatches. I like seeing how the yarn feels and works and getting the hang of it without worrying about making mistakes. Then I usually frog my swatch and use it in my project.

Anyhoo, I knit a swatch on the suggested size 11 needles (ooh soft) and got the gauge - 2 stitches per inch.

To make the hat more one-size-fits-all, I decided to knit it in a 2x2 rib, so I cast on 44 stitches and knit a few rows. When I tried it on my head, it didn't seem nearly big enough. No way would it encompass my noggin -- and my head ain't that big.

So I frogged it and cast on 52 stitches.

Tried it on after a dozen rows or so and it seemed to fit fine.

Knittidy, knit, knit, knit. Try it on. Hmm... seems long enough, let's do the decreases and finish this puppy off. Once it was off the needles, I tried it on again.

Ever seen the old Cosby Kids cartoon? Remember Dumb Donald? Yep, that's how my hat fit. Less the eye holes, of course.

Crud. Shoulda believed the math.

So I decided to make it into a beret. I cast on 44 stitches. Since I'd found the yarn wasn't the least bit stretchy, I used the backwards loop cast on and knit several rounds in 1x1 rib. My yarn was running way low, so rather than casting off and sewing the band onto the hat body, I sewed it straight from the needle onto the hat.

Looked good...

Tried it on. The yarn relaxed, the ribs turned into ripples and it was still - too - big. Dang.

Guess I just learned to consider the yarn as well as the math.

Know anybody with a really big head who'd like a brown teddy bear