Saturday, December 30, 2006

Clean Sweep

Wow, it's amazing how much you can get accomplished when you neglect the blog for a week.

I'm not much for New Years' resolutions but I had several projects I wanted to finish up by the end of 2006.

First, I had a stack of packages I've been meaning to mail for weeks now. But the post office near my work recently closed and the one near my house is inconveniently open only during the hours I'm at work; Saturday, it's a nightmare. So, I've been putting the painful trip off for too long. Spurred by the realization that the post office will be closed on Tuesday because the current POTUS has declared this a Ford four day weekend, I got my arse in gear and braved the crowds.

Packages mailed. Check.

Next, I recently received some amazing unspun wool yarn from Tine and I've been anxious to spin it up into a two-ply.

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Spinning accomplished. Check.

Finally, I had several projects on the needles that needed finishing. One is a simple, roll-brim hat knit from my handspun. The other is a mistake rib scarf (worked over 15 stitches on size 13 needles), knit from two skeins of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn:

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And, last but not least, I finished a vest I've been working on sporadically for a few weeks now. There's no pattern yet; I made it up as I went along.

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It took less than 3 skeins of Paton's Classic Wool and it's very soft and warm. But the best part is that the only real finishing was the two side seams! Both the armholes and the neckline are self-finished.

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Simple knit vest. Check.

Don't get me wrong, I've still got plenty of things on the needles (like a pair of mittens, a new shawl design, and more than one pair of socks) but now I feel ready for the new year. *phew*


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me

Lark, who knows full well that I don't follow through with such things, tagged me with this meme which made the rounds last week. But, heck, it's the holidays so here goes.

1. If someone offers me unwrapped food on a plate or from a bowl, I won't eat it unless I'm the first to take a piece or I've actually seen everyone else choose before me.

2. I hate to drive; I'm anxious the entire time I'm in the car behind the wheel.

3. Although I live in Utah, I've never skied.

4. Dogs scare the hell out of me.

5. Nearly all perfume gives me migraines. So when I walk through the fragrance section at Nordstrom or any department store, I have to put my hand over my nose and mouth and walk as fast as I can.

6. I never completely finish a drink, no matter how little is in the glass to begin with. For example, if I pour myself 2 oz of soda, I'll leave just a bit on the bottom of the glass and pour more if I'm still thirsty. Same for coffee; I never finish the last little bit but frequently add more to the mug. I'm not sure why I do this or even how it started. Very weird.

And just to show what a follower I am, I even fooled around with that little fortune cookie thingy:

My Fortune Cookie told me:
On Friday you will be the victim of a bizarre joke, involving a leopard and some mittens.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

OK, now that's weird. And I don't even have any mittens on the needles.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Let's Eat

We're dashing off to a holiday dinner.

My contribution:

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Challah. Yum!


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Pecan turtles, made using the recipe Teri posted last week. Except I used Riesen candies instead of Rolos.

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So easy, even I couldn't screw them up.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Knitter

I thoroughly enjoyed all the wonderful comments you left in the post about my new knitting student. He arrived right on time and 30 minutes later he was knitting the first round of a hat. Seriously. I think he's some kind of knitting prodigy or something. He thanked me profusely for teaching him and told me after he finishes this first hat he'd like to learn how to knit Norwegian mittens. Yikes! Can you say "overachiever." Just my kind of knitter.

My son, however, was a bit miffed because he and his friend went to the HS basketball game that night and the needles and yarn accompanied them. Apparently, the knitting attracted the attention of several HS girls (in a good way) so I told my son to just relax and take advantage of the situation.

My holiday knitting is done, over, finis. I finish nearly everything months in advance, but I always seem to eek out one last hat or scarf at the last minute.

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Pattern: a variation of pattern in a Sabrina Special booklet sent to me by Tine
Yarn: Knit Picks Suri Dream in the Blueberry colorway
Needle: 7mm Addi Turbo
Finished Size: 8" wide x 62" long (not bad for just one ball of yarn)

I'm hoping it's dry by morning:

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Oh, and I have one last fun project I forgot to blog about when I finished it:

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How cute is that! The pattern was in a German lace-knitting booklet that Kadri sent me.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and stay safe if you're travelling!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Music To My Ears

Last week, one of DS-16's friends came to the house to hang out. He saw me knitting a pair of socks and asked the rhetorical question, "Do you knit?" Um, that would be a "yes."

To make a long story short, I was so enamoured with his seemingly genuine interest in the knitting that I offered to make him a hat in his high school colors. He's a member of the football team and immediately accepted the offer.


Pattern: Live Dangerously, Don't Swatch (96 sts)
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted
Needles: U.S. #8 (5mm)

I worked a tubular cast-off on this hat. Basically I knit the sides until they were just about long enough. Then I worked 4 rnds of 1x1 ribbing but on the last 2 rnds, I knit the knit stitches and just slipped the purl stitches with the yarn held in front. Next, I transferred the knit stitches to one circular needle and the purl stitches to a second circular needle. Then I Kitchenered them together using a very long tail. It makes a stretchy yet firm edge.

Last night, a second of DS's friend (also a football player) came over for latkes and brisket. The hat was perched on the styrofoam head awaiting photographic documentation.


I caught Friend #2 glancing repeatedly at the hat and he finally said, "Is that the hat you made for M? He told me about it."
"Yes," I said, "do you want me to make one for you, too?"
He paused for a minute and then said, "Well, if you teach me how to knit, I can make one for myself."

He's coming over tonight for lesson #1.

Teenage boys! You gotta love 'em!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Down To The Wire

Tomorrow night is the first night of Hanukkah and I'm scrambling to finish up a couple of projects.

The first is a Bejeweled Scarf I'm knitting from the yarn left over from the Sienna Cardigan I made for my daughter.

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Next, I've been busily making batch after batch of Peppermint Bark to bring to a party on Saturday night.

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This is my favorite holiday treat to make because (1) it's easy, (2) everyone loves it, and (3) I hate both white chocolate and mint in candy so I'm not tempted to eat any myself.

Finally, a sure-fire sign the holidays are closing in . . . I opened my first present--a pair of hand-knit socks sent to me by Tine:


Are they fabulous or what! She dyed the merino yarn herself.
I wore them to work today and they're perfect for the ice box they call my office. Thanks again, Tine! My feet were toasty warm all day.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blame Marcia

The clever among you correctly guessed that my new wheel is a Kromski Sonata. Because I already own a perfectly nice wheel, I had no intention of purchasing a second until Marcia put the idea of a folding, travel wheel in my head. Then she had the nerve to entice me with the at-that-time-still-unavailable Sonata. So, I did what any fiber-lovin' soul would do, I ordered one sight unseen. It arrived last week.

I love it.

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OK, so it's not quite a nice as my Schacht, but then again it was only half the price.

The best feature, besides the incredibly easy way it folds up, is that it treadles great. You can start the wheel rotating from a complete stop without a bit of effort.

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And it seems to spin and ply great. I've managed to spin both a DK weight and, just for grins, a 2-ply that's more like thread than yarn.

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No problems at all.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Aaaah, Silk

What's a new wheel without some new fiber to go along with it.

Click on the photo for a really big close-up.

Mmmmmmm . . . hand-dyed, 100% Tussah silk roving.

But you can stop coveting mine and go buy some for yourself. Spinderella (a/k/a Lynn Snell), fiber artist extraordinare, just updated her online store. And she's selling this gorgeous silk roving at an unbelievably cheap introductory price.

But hurry, because like all one-of-a-kind treasures, when it's gone, it's gone.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


The arrival of this:

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Derailed my plans to make more of these:

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But, if you live in Germany, watch your mailbox. It might soon contain a package with some new stitch markers.
I'm just sayin'.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Live Dangerously

Last year, I posted a series of instructions on how to knit a top-down hat and avoid the "dreaded" gauge swatch. I receive several emails a month asking for the pattern, which can be found in the November 2005 archives of my blog. The instructions begin on Nov. 21st and end on Nov. 25th.

For those of you who prefer a more polished, 2-page pattern that you can easily print out, I've created a PDF file with photos and complete instructions. The hat is knit from the top-down, so you can closely control the finished size and tailor it to the size of the recipient's head. The "Directions" section of the pattern describes how to determine the number of stitches for each hat based on the circumference of the recipient's head.

Because you can use any yarn (approx. 140-200 yds) together with the appropriate needles, it's a great pattern for handspun yarn or most single, 100g skeins.

You can purchase the PDF version for $3.00 by clicking on the photo below and using your PayPal account to pay.

The pattern is 2 pages long. Once you have completed the payment process, you will automatically receive an email containing instructions on how to download the pattern. These instructions will be sent to the primary email address tied to your PayPal account so please check that email account. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the file. If you do not have the reader, you can download it here


Monday, December 04, 2006

Moving Right Along

You may have noticed the dearth of FOs on this blog recently. Trust me, I've been knitting. It's just not anything I can show right now. But Friday was a watershed for me. I finished the two new sock designs for Knit Picks and mailed them off. Bye bye.

Between those and the two sock designs I did for Vogue and mailed off in November, I'm a little sick of knitting socks. Especially ones I can't keep.

So, this weekend I turned my attention to some of my Lonesome Skeins.

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This hat is a Christmas gift for one of DD's friends. The colors are not something I'd wear, but she's convinced her friend will love it. The yarn, BTW, is Cotton Kureyon (70% cotton, 30% wool); long discontinued. I have 8 more skeins in my stash but this was the only one in this colorway. I can't even remember now what possessed me to purchase such a bright, crazy color. I must have intended to use it for some toddler stuff when my kids were little.

The pattern is a slight variation of this Noro hat pattern. I cast on 88 stitches instead of the 99 called for in the pattern and altered the decreases at the top. I made several of these hats last year and it's one of my favorite patterns. With the change I've made to the number of stitches, I can easily make the hat from just one skein of Kureyon or Silk Garden.

I've got two more weekend FOs to show, but I think I'll save them up for the rest of this weeks' posts.


Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.