Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Jack the bee

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Molly the ladybug

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The costumes didn't stay on long!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Black Yarn = Spiders

In our neighborhood, kids trick-or-treat on the Sunday afternoon closest to Halloween. Our house is ready!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
A few yards of black wool, a pair of scissors, and some masking tape and you've got yourself a poison spider farm.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Make a few black pompoms (I wind the yarn around the palm of my hand about 20 times), tie off the pompom with about a 2-ft. piece of yarn. Masking tape holds the "spider" by the front door and allows them to float in the breeze.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm Down with Yak Down


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I've been eyeing brooklyntweed's Koolhaas hat and narrowing my eyes in thought. Who doesn't love that hat? But the reality of the fiddly cables isn't for me right now.

What I've been studying, what wrapes me in a shimmering cocoon of happiness is the fiber used for the Interweave Knits version: Shokay Pure Yak Down. My fingers have been itching for yak yarn.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The yarn is Shokay, 100% yak down in Cranberry, heavy worsted/Aran weight, 164 yards. Apparently, shokay is Tibetan for "yak down". The company aims to "source fiber directly from Tibetan herders to enable them to earn a sustainable income".

Yarnzilla has Shokay at $32/ball. One ball is plenty for a hat. This was my first order from Yarnzilla and, with their selection, nice customer service and speedy mailing, I'm certain I'll be buying from them again.

I swear: this is an unsolicited testimonial gushing. I didn't get free yarn or a discount. No quid-pro-quo here.

The hat is Bobbi from Hip Knit Hats by Cathy Carron. It's a pillbox covered on the rise with bobbles, bobbles, and more bobbles. The yak yarn, so soft and warm, is absolutely made to showcase textured design.

I thought I had made the hat for myself. My mistake. I asked my oldest daughter to model it for you. She ended up asking if she could maybe have the hat?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meet The Yarn-Head People

A friend's job recently sent him to Japan for a couple of months, where he spent some of his free time in Sega arcades.

Now he's back stateside and we got a biiiiig box from UPS. Inside, some of the Japanese Sega arcade booty: six Snoopy plushes of various sizes, two Japanese dolls, a Cheshire Cat mug, candy, cookies, and

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Yarn-Head People! Both Nala the cat and I find them strangely ... compelling. There's a family of glittery aliens in capes, a couple of pirates, a tiny witch on a broomstick, and a tiny vampire - every last one of 'em a keychain.

I told you: compelling, right? And in a strange way. Even from afar. This is why there is no closeup. The mojo is just too powerful for a closeup.

Let's refresh our palate with a FO. These came off the needles last night. They're husband socks, as modelled by a daughter (because they're part of a Christmas present).
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket.
Regia superwash sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% polyamide. They're Part I of a multi-sock project, "The Well-Traveled Sock". Each pair will take its inspiration from last summer's vacation, a drive from Wisconsin to Prince Edward Island to New England to back home. This particular pair?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Vive le Québec!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scandihoovian Mittens

One birthday mitten down. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

One week and one mitten to go. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Sources:
knitter's graph paper,
Squirrelly Swedish Mittens for the lion's share of the project,
and Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket for the dog design.

The snowflakes will continue all the way to the top and there won't be that giant "T" anywhere!

My version is just a basic mitten in worsted-weight wool, 52 stitches around on #3 dpn. We live in a village where pine trees and squirrels outnumber people. In the winter, snowflakes outnumber the trees and squirrels. As for the dog design, why that's obvious.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, October 22, 2007

Empty Bowls

I'll have some knitting to show you tomorrow. For today, here's "Crocodile" Jack and Molly, the 8-week old beagles with a puppy toy:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


On Saturday, we went to an Empty Bowls lunch to raise money and awareness for local hunger. The event was held in a high school gym. Ten dollars got you a handmade ceramic bowl to take home (some made by artists, some by kids, etc.), a bowl of soup and a breadstick from one of about ten different restaurants, and live entertainment. It was a big success.

There was also a raffle. I think next year the cause might like to raffle a handknit lace wrap in, say, Sea Silk, don't you agree?

Friday, October 19, 2007

One FO and the Secret Life of Crayons

Subject A: Holiday Scarf

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


This is one skein of Tilli Thomas Rock Star in an easy drop-stitch lace. This beaded yarn is very beautiful, very heavy. If the scarf were any longer it would actually be uncomfortable to wear around your neck, that's how heavy it is. The yarn is an exotic delicacy, though, and there is another skein remaining - a little beaded bag, maybe?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Subject B: Crayons

And we thought crayons were just colored wax. Clench your jaw to kill the sob in your throat as you learn how very, very wrong we all were!

You Are a Yellow Crayon

Your world is colored with happy, warm, fun colors.
You have a thoughtful and wise way about you. Some people might even consider you a genius.
Charming and eloquent, you are able to get people to do things your way.
While you seem spontaneous and free wheeling, you are calculating to the extreme.

Your color wheel opposite is purple. You both are charismatic leaders, but purple people act like you have no depth.


Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Puppy Love Thursday

Here's life on the Molly side. Shhh, somebody's sleeping!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

From Squirrel to Beryl

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
It's good of Nala to make sure cat hair gets on a sweater even before it's knit.

Actively on the needles right at this moment: the right-hand mitten and the drop-stitch lace scarf, and the very start of
Beryl. It should be a fast knit, size S for one of my daughters, #8s.

Everything is right about Beryl's design, right down to the Aran-weight wool, which I happen to have on hand in the form of Black Water Abbey.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I did have to buy the circular #5s, #6s, and #8s. This necessitated a trip to the local yarn store, gosh darn it.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Those dawgs slipped an ad for an upcoming yarn sale into the bag. If you're in the vicinity of Herrschner's in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the warehouse yarn sale is October 21-27. It being Herrschner's, you'll have to paw through a lot of sad acrylic to find the good stuff.

Let's join hands and sing "The Circle of Life" from "The Lion King". You see, everything is inter-related. The completed Beryl sweater should use up all my Black Water Abbey, thereby freeing up this sassy tote from Target.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What to Knit While Puppies Sleep

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Molly and Jack, après romp.

Here's Exhibit A, my take on Elliphantom's
Squirrelly Swedish Mittens.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
One left mitten - tall pines at the bottom, two squirrels, lots of snowflakes, one big snowflake.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Even taller pines and even more snowflakes.

Besides fiddeling with the motifs, I knit the mitten on #3 needles in worsted weight (Galway Highland Heath for the main color and plain ol' Galway for the pattern color). I cast on 52 stitches and made the cuff 2.5" long.

Squirrels, tall pines, and snowflakes - could be my neighborhood here in Wisconsin. What's missing? Deer and birds. If I can find the appropriate designs, one or the other will go on the right mitten.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What to Knit When Babysitting Beagle Puppies

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Molly and Jack, the 7 week-old beagles, are settling in nicely. All day long, they play hard, conk out, play hard, conk out.

Just as it should be.

It being the holiday season, I have several projects on the needles. This is the one I do when the puppies are awake. It's a simple scarf in drop-stitch lace.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

How often is it that your potpourri matches what's on the needles?

Rows 1 to 4: Knit
Row 5: K 00 (wind yarn twice around the needle)
Row 6: K, letting extra loop drop

Simple is the key word here. If I have to drop it on the table, knitting needles clattering, to chase after a couple of puppies, there's no problem. I can easily pick it up and knit with one eye cocked on the puppy horizon.

The yarn is Tilli Thomas Rock Star. What a stunner it is. I played around with different patterns, even trying plain old stockinette (too heavy, plus I only have 200 yards). The simplicity of the drop-stitch lace suits the variegated silk and it's not heavy, don't you think?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Farm-Fresh Baby Beagles!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
On our way to the farm, we got stuck behind Jed Clampett. The 20-minute drive took more like 40. It seemed like forever! We were finally picking up our two new beagles, Molly and Jack.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
On the way home, it was Jethro. Molly and Jack were together in a cat carrier in the back of our Jeep. They slept most of the way.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Molly doing what beagles do.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
After a romp in the backyard and a visit with some neighbors, it was time for Molly and Jack to wind down.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Naptime with the Alpha Male.

Beagle babies, Suzy left some big shoes to fill but from what I've seen so far, you'll do very, very nicely. Welcome to the family.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Beagles and Knitting, Beagles and Knitting, Beagles and ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
She is lovely, non? Tilli Tomas Rockstar, 100% spun silk with glass beads, Ginger colorway (multi red/orange). Two skeins, baby. 100 yards each.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Beagle Day Minus Three

We pick up our two new beagle babies, Molly and Jack, on Saturday! We have their crate in the big upstairs closet. The closet is a small room, very cozy and cave-y but right by the girls' bedrooms.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Yes, that is a Ph.D. hood hanging above the crate. With that and about $3, you can get a tall non-fat decaf latte at Starbucks.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
A beagle's-eye view of the crate. Lots of soft rags to lie on.

It's not a minute too soon for our spicy orange Nala, cat con fuego. At first after her buddy Suzy the beagle died, Nala was looking around for her.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Waiting changed to a kind of mourning or maybe simply an uncharacteristic boredom with life in general.

Two beagle puppies ought to liven things up right nice.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Blue, Take 2

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The Almost-Famous Luggy Bonnet 2.0. No ear flaps, no crocheted edging (I like the rolled brim), more blue, sized down to fit a 6 month-old.

I still think it would be cuter felted.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I Want to Felt You

"What color would you like whatever knitted thing I make?" I asked an expectant mom last week. She knows it's a boy.

Her eyes went down. She was a little embarrassed. "Blue. I guess that's a bit of a stereotype."

Not a problem! I'll give ya blue but with a twist.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I used Dalegarn Falk because it's machine-washable. Machine-washable and babies go together. Now I regret that machine-washable choice. I'd love to felt this hat! It would be even cuter felted. Maybe more importantly, it'd be even smaller. The thing is going to fit a pre-schooler and still be big. I admit that I tried to felt the hat, even though I knew it wouldn't work.

And it didn't.

The pattern is Luggy Bonnet by Lucy MacKenzie and Kirsteen Mitcalfe in Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. For Harry Potter fans, a similar hat was made for the first movie, the scene where baby Harry is left at the doorstep of the Durnsleys. The day of filming was warm and so the baby did not wear the hat.

I'm iffy about this hat. Geez, I wish I could felt it.

Or did I already mention that?

Friday, October 05, 2007

My Garden, Early October

The apples are ready for picking. Whatever falls to the ground automatically belongs to a guy who bikes around with his bucket. He gives the fallen apples to his horse.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Even though the big maple out front is still green, there's still plenty of raking to be done. We typically have 70 or so bags of leaves, all of which go to a farmer who uses them for bedding for cows.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I wonder who lives here. Did you know that chipmunks are carnivores?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A squirrel is on the other side of this tree, waiting for me to leave. When I do, I notice the empty acorn caps crunching under my footfall.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tangerine Flora

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Flora, she is done. The pattern calls for three thinner yarns stranded together to give the scarf and flower body. I used only one strand of Fleece Artist's Peter Rabbit, knowing there was a really good chance the flower would nod over and bring the rest of the scarf with it.

That is not the case, I am happy to say.

In the whole shebang, there's maybe three hours of knitting and 100 yards of yarn. Add a 1" button for the center of the flower and three small, hidden buttons and you're done. The scarf is going to make a great birthday gift for my sister. She has a thing for Peter Rabbit yarn. Actually, probably anyone who's ever touched a strand has a thing for Peter Rabbit yarn.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
That's not just tangerine; that's tangerine concentrate. Nothing shy about it. You gotta love a color that isn't afraid to speak up.

The scarf was actually complete yesterday but I was busy giving a party for the high school girls' swim team. Every Wednesday in the season, the team has a pasta party. Now that my daughter is a senior, it was finally our turn to host. The menu is set by tradition: pasta, marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, lasagna, lots of garlic bread, lots of desserts. Our desserts were fruit pizza, chocolate bundt cake, 7-layer bars, fresh pineapple and grapes, and pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.

Don't you wish you could still eat like that?