Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wrap Up

I'm glad you all liked my clogs. Holly, dude, it's just the Fiber Trends pattern. I felted them to the utter limits and I think that's why they look nice. And the rug backing idea came from my friend Holly, whom I've written about before on this blog. She's one smart cookie and I miss her since we don't hang out anymore.

I whipped up a quick little project, Calorimetry from Knitty:

I used a skien of handspun that I received from Jenny in exchange for a Fiber Fish Pattern. The yarn is very artistic, lots of thick and thin spots, some slubs and variations in color so it works very well for such a simple pattern.

I modified the pattern because I don't like how fat the original is. Also, since my yarn is different, I used a different needle too. I cast on more stitches than what the pattern called for and did less short rows. So I have a longer, narrower band. It's even a little too long, but this is easily fixed by the fact that each short row makes a hole which can be used as a button hole.

Anyway, I've got good ear coverage, which is what I really needed:
I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cute Clogs

The clogs came out cute don't you think?

After they were dry I painted them with some rug backing. It seals the fibers and gives me a non-skid sole. I paint on two coats:

Jim, myself, and the kids are heading out to a house party for New Year's Eve, so I hope they are dry by then so I can wear them.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Working Hard on Vacation

I thought I'd try to see if I could get a sweater knit for myself while I was on vacation. I got this far:That's one sleeve done and the other only six rows away from the finish. But the Québécoise wool was starting to annoy me, just the feel of it sliding through my fingers. It's a little rough, but I expect it to wear well and to soften in a Euculann bath. Also, the yardage is great, each sleeve is taking about one skein of yarn.

Here's a close up of the stitches:

I'm working at a pretty loose gauge for me. It's going to need a good blocking, but I like the fabric, it is light and airy. I'm using Addi Turbos to knit on, and the pattern is interesting, so this is an enjoyable knit. Still, I needed a break from it.

Inspired by Anne at Knitspot, I decided it was time to upgrade my felted clogs. The ones I'm wearing now are too big because I didn't felt them enough, but I don't want to try re-felting them, because I've painted the soles with non-skid rug backing. A different sized needle, some softer wool and I'm back in business! I decided to do a wild experiment:

For one thing, I'm using a Bernat wool for the soles and the Lion Brand for the uppers. I hope there's not too much difference between the two. Second, get a load of those colors. I was thinking of trying to match up the color repeat in the two strands held together, but then decided to just let it go where it may. I wonder what it will look like felted?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

'Tis Better to Give than to Recieve

I had some great fun with giving away my knitting yesterday. Luke enjoyed his scarf and wore it wrapped around his neck for part of the morning. It's a little warm for around the house though.

Then, before all the guests arrived, I finished up Jim's socks so the Yule Cat wouldn't get him.

The only tricky bit in this pair was the bind off. I like to use a sewn tubular bind off for toe up socks which works great for K1P1 or K2P2 edges, but I wanted to continue the chevron all the way to the top. The answer was to use Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off for that stretch. It curls a bit, but since this is a one off, I consider them a success.

Doesn't Jim have weird feet? High arches and skinny shanks as Beadlizard would say. I won't be knitting too many short row heels for this guy, let me tell you!

Then my parents came over and I gave my Dad his vest.

I never expected the reaction I got. He actually shed a tear or two. He said, "I never expected it to be so nice." I'm very happy he liked it so much and it seems like all my hard work is very much appreciated. He liked the colors, he was impressed with the fine detail of the work, and his fancy was tickled by the moose buttons. The fit is pretty good too.

Oh yes! I had a lot of fun gift giving yesterday.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Meet my Christmas angels:

Aren't they sweet?

In the top picture, my mother-in-law is wearing the Rose-leaf Lace vest I knit for her. And the bottom picture is of a needle point angel I made about 14 years ago. My in-laws had bought the kit and decided they would like this angel for their tree. So they asked me if I would sew it up for them. Of course I agreed and I put every effort to do my neatest and best work into it. This angel has been on their tree ever since and it always warms my heart to see it.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Knitter's Error

After all the Christmas work yesterday I managed to figure out the problem I was having with my sleeve. Hooray!

I read the pattern wrong. I hate it when that happens. But I'm also very happy because I was enjoying this knit and I was looking forward to creating a sweater for myself. One of my goals is to make more sweaters for me. I did have to rip back to the cuff and start again, but this gave me an opportunity to make a change to the lace, so all's well.

I bought a couple of commercial sweaters to help me with my sizing. I didn't have any sweaters that fit me. So I bought two simple designs with flattering necklines that I can also wear for the holidays. Is it just me, or do many of the store bought sweaters seem to incorporate current trends in hand-knitting? Or is this a chicken and the egg thing?

I've noticed that many people are posting about how they will be away from their blogs as they travel to their families. I wish them a safe journey and an enjoyable visit. For myself, I will be home and likely poking around on this here blog and the internet. Does anyone have any interesting links, or blogs to share? Leave a comment!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Watch out!

Here it comes! The Christmas avalanche of activity!

I've booked the day off work but I'm not on vacation. Christmas preparations have me in their grip. I was awake at three in the morning, thinking about work of all things. I got up and made a good start at cleaning up my yarn room. I sorted the stash closet, ripped some experiments, and ripped some projects started but not loved well enough to continue. I also cast off this:

It was a mad experiment that out grew my ambition, but the intention was to knit Luke a blanket. I was hoping to put a deep reversible border all the way around, but I got mixed up in my pattern. I ripped what border there was and decided to cut my losses. So there I was, casting it off in the middle of the night. I was thinking that I could then either knit on a border, or make another square and sew them together, but Luke has declared that he likes it as is.

This is my own freaky design. I started with a circular cast on, and increased with two yarn overs, at all four corners, every other row. To make the blanket reversible, I used a Fibonacci series to determine how many rows of stockinette to knit, before switching it up. I guess I learned something.....

But back to Christmas. I've cleaned the oven, inside and out, and tidied up a bunch of little things. There are more errands and cleaning to be done today, so I'd better get to it.

Oh! And I felted my brother-in-law's clogs:
I wish I'd thought to do it sooner, because they need to dry and I still want to paint some non-skid soles onto them. I may have to do it while the slippers are damp. I'm going to place them in front of the furnace vent in hopes of getting some dry air on them.

Do you know, it's raining cats and dogs in London today? No snow for us this Christmas. I feel for the folks who are experiencing bad weather, with wind, snow and power outages. But I do wish we had a little snow here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Modern Spirit of Christmas

In the spirit of the season, I present to you a whole whack of stuff that you don't really have time for. I don't really have time for it either, but what the hey! tis the season to drive ourselves nuts with an overblown sense of obligation.

Look, I finished my sweet spring socks. I'm going to save them to wear around the house Christmas morning. You could say they are a present to myself.

This next shot shows my last Rockin' Sock Club STR shipment. I'm glad I signed up for the club, but won't do it again. I don't like STR for socks. It doesn't wear well and the colors are too busy for the most part.

I love the red, called Mustang Sally, and I think it deserves to be knit into something finer than socks. The rainbow colored skien is my bonus one. It's called Rare Gems and while I think the colors are lovely in the skein, I'm a little concerned about how they'll look mashed together when knit up. I'm thinking that it may make a lovely pair of Fiber Fish mittens though.

Speaking of which, I've received some shots of finished Fiber Fish mittens. Get a load of these.



Aren't they awesome? I'm blown away with the creativity people show and the many different permutations of fish. They almost come alive!

The sleeve/swatch is on hiatus while I puzzle out gauge and size and schtuff like that. Instead, I'm thinking that my husband should also have new socks for Christmas morning. I started putting the ankle on his socks and added this little detail.

I really like it. It's your basic herringbone, but without the yarn overs so it won't be lacy. Instead I'm doing a make one in the stitch below. Also, I've added 2 purl stitches on either side to give back some of the stretch that is lost with a biased stitch. Best of all, Jim approved.

As if all that wasn't enough, Carrie at The Barefoot Cobbler tagged me for the weird meme. I've been embracing my weirdness since I was fourteen. How could I refuse? So here you go, six weird things about me:

1. I'm a techwriter, but I make up silly words and phrases all the time. I give my boys "smoochies" and when I'm happy I get "wiggly puppy butt."

2. I'm not religious, but I always put the nativity up every Christmas. I bought some of the pieces for myself when I was 14, and my mother and brother suprised me with the rest as a Christmas present. My dad built me the stable.

3. I learned to read in kindergarten.

4. I've never been hung over, or drank so much that I got sick. I do drink, but I always stop just when the world starts to seem slurry.

5. I believe in magic. I believe that people, places, objects and rituals can evoke power within ourselves that can effect change. Therefore I treat such things with respect and try to create some magic now and then.

6. I like playing with toys and it doesn't really seem like Christmas without getting one for a present.

Finally, I will leave you with a picture of my sheep ornament. Just to give this blog post that one last shot of Christmas excess.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Preparations

I'm very tired and very pleased since I've had a very productive day. I finished shopping for my kids today, I baked four batches of cookies, and I finished a scarf.

The scarf is a Christmas present for my eldest son Luke. Do you remember my cabled-bordered Fleece Artist jacket? Well, the other day I caught him wrapping it around his neck, while gushing "soft!" So I had the idea to make him this scarf.

I'm not being entirely altruistic, since I'd rather he not mistreat my sweater like that. But I do hope he likes it.

So how are you're Christmas preparations coming along?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Rebel Yell

Anemoi mittens? I don't see any mittens around here. Just a swatch and some yarn off in the corner pouting. It made a trip to the frog pond and is about sent for a time out to the depths of the stash closet. It misbehaved and didn't play well. It was unpleasant to knit, the size was too big and to add insult to injury, the red started to turn the white pinkish.

I suppose the swatch looks suspiciously like a sleeve. My sheepy-tape measure will let me know soon enough. Then I'll have to crunch some numbers. But maybe later, since I've been seduced by something fun to knit.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I've been plugging along on my Anemoi mittens (dear Eunny, please tell me how to pronounce that) and I'm not happy. I should be happy. I really like the pattern. But the needles are too small for this yarn so it's hard to knit. And now that I'm almost done the thumb gusset, I'm wondering if the mitten will be too big.

Alternately, I found this in my stash.

It's Fleece Artist on the left and Koigu on the right. I think they'd make lovely Anemoi mittens, even better than the red and white. Softer, prettier and just the right colors for the feel of the pattern. But it just might break my heart to make them up and not have them fit. What to do?

My tentative plan is to work up the white and red first and see what fit I get. If it's too big, I can always try again with the blue and white. I'm sure what ever I make will fit someone. It's just too disappointing when I want a pair for myself.

Excuse me, I'm going to go knit a sock and pout.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Those letters stand for Read The Freakin' Manual, and it's something I say fairly often. I should practice what I preach.

I've finally taken the plunge and started work on Eunny's Anemoi mittens. I've got a few issues with this pattern that are all my own and no reflection on Eunny's excellent skills.

I had problems getting started in the first place because I was intimidated by this pattern! Oh yeah, I'm just that silly. See, Eunny writes a lot of directions, which is good, but I'm so impatient, I don't want to be bothered reading them. So then I skip around a lot getting myself confused. When I first started working this pattern, I screwed up the ribbing because I didn't follow the directions as written. This second try is better. There are some designers I don't trust and there are others whose pattern teach me new techniques as I go. Eunny falls into the latter category.

The other problem is that the largest finished size is 8.5 inches which is exactly the measurement of my hand, leaving me no ease. My first thought was to knit this pattern using some cream and dark gray Shetland weight that I have in the stash. I knew this wouldn't give me a good fit, so I thought to add 4 stitches to the sides and create a dice pattern between the borders. I cast on and started knitting, but it just seemed too small. Plus, I was worried about screwing up Eunny's well-planned design. So instead I decided to try using Quebecois on a 3mm needle. It's really tight but it will make a bullet proof mitten if I can muscle through it.

Now, on to some sweet nothings. I've got to replenish my sock drawer, as there are some sickly specimens in there. Here's a Trekking sock done and the second is on the needles:

The cuff is a k2 p2 rib that is rotated one stitch every fourth round. It makes a nice swirl and gives the ribbing some texture.

I also started socks for Jim using the STR lagoon that I bought for him back in November.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Keeping Warm

I spent the better part of my snow day making this hat for my husband Jim. I know the colors aren't great, but it's for work, and these shades won't show the dirt so much. The yarn is Dale of Norway, Falk and it feels nice and soft for a hat. I did find the yarn a bit splitty, but sometimes that's the way it goes. I got the yarn on sale for half price, and it's super wash, so no complaining! The pattern is the Patterned Watch Cap from Hat's On! by Charlene Schurch.

I don't know why I hadn't knit Jim a work hat before. When I offered to knit him a hat for work out of real wool, he said don't bother, because hand-knit hats are never warm enough. I had a laugh at that one and told him not to worry, this hat will be warm.

I think all the snow has prompted me to update my family's woolly accessories. I've purchased Eunny's Anemoi Mittens and I want to knit them in blue or gray and white to go with my new hat. I have enough Falk in blue and white to make Jim another of Charlene's hats to wear for good. I'd also like to make Jim a set of blue and white patterned gloves too. I've also got two different socks on the needles, one for myself and one for Jim. I'm wearing through three different pairs of socks right now and I need replacements before those give out.

See why I'm not gift knitting? I have to outfit me and my loved ones first!

BTW - the kids don't count. They won't wear hand-knit hats or gloves. I'll be lucky to see them wear the socks I made them last month.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Snow Day

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while we get so much snow in such a short time that even we Canadians have to call a snow day. London schools are closed and people have been advised to stay off the roads so that the snow plows can clear the streets. I've put some more pictures up on Flickr.

It couldn't have happened on a nicer Friday.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's a Keeper!

Inspired by Peg, I decided to try the Tweedy Beret from this winter's issue of IK using my Lavold Angora blend yarn.

I'm very happy with this hat! I love the yarn's soft halo, the hat fits well on my head with out crushing my hair, and it doesn't feel like it would blow off. And its warm!

Hats are hard. Even in the stores, I'll see a hat, think it's cute, try it on and bleh. So knitting one is a magic trick. Even if you get gauge, and knit the pattern perfectly, you never know if the style itself will look good on. But I figured, I'm having fun with my yarn, and if this hat doesn't fit me, it will be a Christmas present for someone.

I'm happy I'm the lucky recipient.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Thank you everyone for your supportive responses to my last post. My family and I appreciate it.

What a busy weekend we had. On Saturday there was shopping, and cleaning, and knitting of course. The dishwasher broke and my husband repaired it. I offered moral support, some troubleshooting, and a selection of tools to assist in clearing the blockage.

We're very happy to have dodged a call to the repair man. And our dishes are cleaner too!

I finished my Floral Fair Isle Gloves.

The fit is great, but I'm not in love. They seem rather bright. I think I'll tuck them away for now. I'm probably just to close to them still.

On Sunday, there was more cleaning and this afternoon we went to the children's holiday party held by the company I work for. It was a lot of fun, very well organized, and it is always a delight to see the children of my co-workers. It was also pretty loud, as you can imagine. I'm looking forward to a quiet evening's knit.