Sunday, December 17, 2006

Easy Is Not Only Good, It's Necessary

I began the North Sea Shawl two days ago. It's a good project for this hectic time of year because this part of the shawl is easily memorized. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Look outside the window - no snow! It's December 17 and we in Wisconsin have no snow. It's a balmy 40 degrees.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Yeah ... No

Last night the beagle was snoozing in a low chair. I crouched down by it to pet her when all of a sudden Daughter #2 is tickling my ribs from behind. Back in the day, I would have whirled around and tickled back.

I couldn't move from the crouch.

Then I fell over sideways.

Translation: life is short; knitting socks is not my thing; knitting lace is my thing. I will, therefore, no longer waste my time in idle daydreams about Cookie A.'s socks at It's not meant to be. I did actually knit one entire sock a couple of days ago just to see if I could turn the heel. Yep, did it. I don't get the allure.

I'm a lace knitter but not a lace sock knitter.

I knew just the project for right now: the North Sea Shawl from Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle. Intricate, kinda, but mindless, too. So after a day of editing the manuscript of a book my husband and I have written together (anthropology written for a wide audience), I looked at my husband/co-author and said, "I want new wool".

"Okay," Tom said. "I'll come with."

He has an impeccable sense of color. I explained to Tom that the North Sea Shawl mimics the movement of waves.

We went to the dreaded Herrschner's because it's that, WalMart, or Michael's here. A good yarn store deserves a nice, long visit. Not Herrschner's. How those people are still in business, I have no idea. Your Source for Day-Glo and Pastel Acrylic. A few good yarns like Noro, 90% time warp from the Bad Old Days before the yarn renaissance.

Because the selection of nice yarns is limited, Tom found a terrific one for my North Sea Shawl in three minutes flat. It's Reynolds Whisky 100% wool, Color 053. It's an oceany blue with a little purple and a little brown in it - not variegated but a DK-weight tweed to knit up on #5s.

I cast on this evening.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Call Them Spa Slippers, 'K?

File this under Never Say Never: knitting socks. I swore I never would. The reason? I never wear socks. And if I did, a wide choice of inexpensive, pretty socks is out there.

I've said to my kids and husband, "If I ever knit socks, shoot me dead, put me in nothing but a gold thong and leave me tailfeathers-up in the garden for the paparazzi to find".

A chilling mental picture, no? All erased by Cookie A.'s lacy socks at They make me wanna
a lot.

But like I'm going to start with those? Nope, I have an old Coats & Clark booklet called Learn How or something very similar to that. How old? Well, the socks pattern is called "Teen Socks" and the b/w photo shows the feet of a 1950's bobbysoxer in penny loafers. They're simple, basic socks with simple, basic instructions, including a reinforced heel.

So what if I didn't have #2 dpns? I have #3s! And so what if I'm using more of that hot pink tie-dye German sport-weight superwash yarn from my stash? Cookie A., honey, it's all your fault.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Felted Project #2 - Complete!

This is unhip me in my new Emma from Hip Knit Hats Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting It's a bucket hat with three rows of purling at the crown to define the shape a bit. The yarn is Nashua Creative Focus Kid Mohair (75% kid mohair, 20% wool, 5% polyamide) knit up on size 10.5 needles.

It's got a nice brim to it. See?Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And the color! Teal + Cinnamon + hot water = something close to Pheasant. The hat needed a little something more. Rather than make a felted flower, I pinned on this carved wooden leaf brooch from the Philippines. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Excuse me while I state the obvious but this felted-hat thing is empowering!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Adventures in Felting

Having recently bought a chocolate brown suede coat, I've been casting about for the right hat in the right color. Then I thought about my daughter's dress: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting It's a very red pink underlayer with an overlay of chocolate brown lace.

So, if you knit together Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Cherry Red + Espresso kid mohair from Nashua Knits, felted them, you'd come up with Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting this! Beautiful, perfect color and don't you adore the flower?

This is Lydia from Hip Knit Hats by Cathy Carron. The directions for the felted flower are also given. Even though any book title with the word hip pretty much guarantees the opposite, this is a terrific and yes, hip, book. There are 40 patterns, some for women, some for men, some unisex, some felted but mostly not. Well worth the $24.95.

What I learned from my first felting project: 1) I hate plastic needles (Susan Bates plastic size 10.5 dpns were the only option at the store), 2) I adore addi turbos (they did have those in 24" circs), 3) felting hats is going to be like eating jelly bellies - addictive!