Happy Halloween (Felted Pumpkin FO)

Pattern: Miniature Felted Pumpkin by Tracy Batchelder
Source: Ravelry
Yarn: Remnant Orange/Green/Brown Worsted
Needles: 6mm Bamboo dpn's
Start:October 20 Finish October 30, 2011
Modifications: Held Yarn Double Throughout

After puttting some of the remnant orange from my Fair Isle styled cardigan to work in my Head Band there was still a bit of the stuff left over. So when I spotted this pattern on Ravelry in the midst of my current "Use Up My Yarn" obsession I started working them up.

When I ran out of orange I decided to try a "Gourd Style" version to squeeze one more out.

I played around with the stems a bit, with what I judge, are less than satisfactory results. Mind you, I stuffed and finished them between midnight and 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning waiting for Number One Son to come home from his second Halloween function - in his second costume! - of the weekend, so perhaps my hand and eye were a bit less than optimal at the time.

Ditto the results of the felting. I would have felted them more but I was racing to finish before heading out for our fifth evening function in the last week. Things have been a bit crazed.

Nonetheless I think they still do a good job here in knitblogland illustrating my wish, to you, my knitting friends for a ...

  Happy Halloween Everybody!


Post Op Recovery

No knitting post today - 'too busy playing nursemaid.
Neutering was a condition of sale when we bought him. 18 months of age was the recommended time.  Last week he hit the year and a half mark. So today was the day. I'm so relieved its over and he's okay.

One thing's for sure - he isn't in any pain! I put him on his bed and that's the position he just slumped into. I think I'll move him into a less twisted position so he doesn't wake up to find his front leg asleep!


Getting Around

My portable project has been getting lots of mileage. Except for every tenth row where a cable needle is called into use its just around and around in stockinette with a couple of purls thrown in after each marker.

Last week and weekend were busy but I just grabbed the bag up with me wherever we went. Of course it was perfect subway knitting and when My Beloved was at the wheel I was able to knit my way all over the city.

What television I did catch, of course also leant itself well to the cause ('Saw the first episode of the BBC series Case Histories on PBS - 2 solid hours of excellent, commercial-free drama - bliss!)

Then there is the knitting into the early morning hours Friday and Saturday as I wait up for Number One Son to arrive home. I'm generally too dopey to accomplish anything that requires concentration at that hour but stockinette in a circle? Perfect!

So with a dozen inches done, just one more set of 10 rows before decreasing in toward the waist. (One of the great things about knitting bottom up, I think, is that as you get ready to be done with something the rows generally get shorter the closer you get to the top and the end of the knit.)

The substantial piece of fabric all this is yielding also allows me to better appreciate the colours in the Diamond Galway Heather yarn. From a distance its just rich chocolate but then up close, wow!

Of course the word "wow" does not jump into everyone's mind when they get up close to this piece...
I think what he's thinking is more like "hurry up and take the stupid picture, its time for a walk!"

Thanks for dropping by today!


Getting Sorted

First things first...the Mohair Wrap was blocked and worn on Saturday but photo issues have delayed that FO post a day or two. (Good photography help is hard to come by during midterms!)

Over a busy weekend I did manage to dedicate a couple of quiet daylight hours to sort out all the projects I have on the needles as well as work out the next few as well. 'Seems everything was at one of those points that requires a bit of concentration.

"Beatnik" received a tubular cast on - with smaller needles (3.5 rather than 4.5mm), as is recommended to prevent gaping at the edge of ribbing that will be expected to repeatedly expand and recover. Why was that so tricky that I'd put it off? I had to go downstairs to retrieve the smaller needles and the book with my tubular "how to" in it. Yup. Laaaaazy!

The Twisted Mittens, with thumb stitches off the holder and onto needles required additional thumb stitches to be picked up. With that done, how far behind can a finished mitten be?

Anticipating the completion of those mitts I did a bit of math and sorting of pattern for a pair of mitts for Number One Son. I'd picked up a bit of yarn at Passionknit on Friday to enhance a little collection of red and grey sport weight remnants I had on hand. Together it should yield the stranded mitts he's requested once Twisted Mittens hit the FO pile.

I'm thinking mitten work will take the place of socks in terms of "small projects" for me this autumn so I've put together a little collection of Mitten "Kits" ready to go with yarn and pattern combinations assembled .

Getting sorted (when eventually I get around to it) always make me feel good! I hope you had a weekend where your knitting made you feel that way too!

Thanks for dropping by!


Do I Look 57 Pounds Lighter?

'Just got in from dropping the dog off for an overnight visit at the Breeder's.

I feel like I've got a limb missing - a big, bouncy, fluffy, cream coloured, 57 pound limb!

'No purpose for the visit other than for him to romp with other poodles - with no Standards around here we've yet to find a local dog that can maintain the fast and prolonged pace of poodle play with him. I also want him to be familiar with staying in their facility so if and when we do have to board him there for a longer period of time he won't be too freaked out about it. He's going to be groomed while there as well - same reasoning - so he's familiar with someone grooming him other than me.

Anywaaaay, have you been following the saga of the Harlot's Gwendolyn? Heartbreak and hilarity all wrapped up in the story of one rushed knitting project as only Ms. Pearl McPhee can? It got me thinking about adding the pattern to my queue and so I spent a few minutes flipping through the various projects for it on Ravelry yesterday and came across this amazing variation on it.

In a million years I would never have thought to turn that women's hooded pullover into a child's turtleneck! But isn't it fabulous? Never mind the other knits that kid is wearing! He's even a great model to boot!

Other knitters and the work they produce can be so inspired and inspiring can't it?

To that point, what a great bunch of thoughtful opinion yesterday in the comments about blocking my Mohair shawl! I'm still mulling over all the great input but putting off my final decision until I do the deed later this afternoon.

I loved Raelene's comment...
I remember a time when I didn't even know what blocking was... Then I knew but thought who would do that???!!! Now I block everything...
I remember just months ago thinking I would NEVER knit lace.  Then I noticed I was mesmerized by the work that Rae was producing like Jared Flood's Juneberry Triangle shawl and I started considering it....now I'm trying to figure out how best to block the lace I've knit. Knitting can be such a slippery slope can't it?

Well I'm off now to do a big long string of errands to take advantage of not having the dog around this afternoon or evening. (Oh who am I kidding? I don't want to hang around here, it too creepy without him!)

Have a great weekend! Thanks for dropping by!


To Block or Not To Block

I have been see sawing back and forth all week as to whether or not to block the Smocked Lace Mohair Shawl. So I took it with me to the DKC last night  - a hundred and fifty or so informed opinions on the subject might provide an answer right?
The first vote I got was a thoughtful "No" - agreeing with me that the stitches, floating as they do in their mohair haze don't really need to be locked together through a wet blocking and agreeing that the edges are already quite neat and tidy.
Whatever You Want
The next two votes came from knitters who genuinely thought I should just do whatever I wanted with it - it was my knitting, my shawl, my preference, case. closed.
The fourth opinion I sought was a very strong "of course you need to block it...its lace!" It doesn't have to be severe but even a light blocking will flatten out the smocked section so that you will be very, very happy with it!" Now this last woman also added she has worked with Sublime for lace herself, several times in the past.

She suggested blocking wires down the sides to evenly, if only slightly open up the piece width-wise and pins to softly enhance the naturally scalloped edge at each end. Besides, the Three Needle Bind Off, she said, really needed to be flattened right out...

So with no one really agreeing that "Nooooo it shouldn't be blocked!", I'll give it a go today. I just realized yesterday we have a dressy business function this Saturday - a perfect opportunity for the shawl's debut outing so I better have it ready!

Thanks for dropping by!



Yesterday while my sisters took my mom for tests I housecleaned her apartment.
Before I left with her laundry to do here at home, I grabbed an old Mohair blanket from the closet that used to be my Grandmother's and shoved it into the laundry bag thinking I'd freshen it up for mom's use in the coming chilly weeks of autumn.

This morning as I'm packing everything up to return to her I couldn't help snapping a few shots of this gorgeous piece after its bath.

All I did was hand wash it a couple of times in the laundry sink. This was a job that required full on cleaning as opposed to a freshrning up so I used the detergent I keep on hand for delicates. Honestly I think the loft probably quadrupled. Both the following shots were taken from the same distance away, both after laundering but the second after being brushed out...

Not only does this little curry comb, that is meant for maintaining wool blankets, allow the piece to once again trap the air that makes it so warm, as you can see it also removes little bits of lint and dirt, all without damaging the fabric.  That little bunch of fluff is all the material that was removed from both sides of this 5x7' blanket.


Here's a shot the job it did on the fringe - see it before and then after brushing...


Thanks for dropping by and if you're in Toronto, don't forget tonight Shirl the Purl is speaking at the DKC. See you there?


Ready to Hit the Road (Finally!)

I queued this skirt last autumn only picking up yarn from my LYS before the long Thanksgiving weekend this year. I thought the miles of driving that weekend well suited to the miles of circular stockinette in the pattern.

As we headed towards cottage country that Saturday some kind of brain block seized me. I thought I must be misreading the pattern. Three times I knit up two or three inches, decided it was wrong and ripped it back. So much for in-car progress! Things didn't improve with time and attention at the cottage that afternoon or in either of the two lengthy car trips we had the next day. I remained convinced I was in error and arrived back in the city with nothing more than the ribbing done around the bottom.

So last Saturday, I headed for Passionknit, where I purchased the yarn and where skirts are a specialty among the staff. I knew former store manager Tamara would be working in the shop that day and that she has successfully knit up not one but two of these particular skirts.

Within minutes of working with Tamara, using one of her skirts for reference, the lights came on in my brain and I knew how to proceed. (Truth be told, she confirmed for me that I was doing it right in the first place...arghhh...sometimes the truth hurts!)

The completion of my Smoked Lace Mohair Wrap yesterday I was finally free to work, with new confidence, on the skirt again last night.  With the set up round complete I've added stitch markers, attached counters to track row and pattern repeat counts and I feel ready to take the whole show on the road at the drop of a hat.

Even "someone" without thumbs can carry it around! Its going to be a great, portable project!

Thanks for dropping by!


Sublime Binding Off

Up and very busy very early this morning after a huge one-day closing up ordeal yesterday at the cottage so I decided to treat myself to a little time mid morning to bind off my Smocked Lace Mohair Wrap. (Over the course of two very late nights Friday and Saturday waiting up for my socializing son I added about7" to each half of the wrap splitting one more ball of yarn between the two sides.)

This Bind Off is really bitter sweet; I've enjoyed knitting every single stitch with this spectacular yarn.

I hope you can see on your monitor it's almost miraculous nylon-enforced braided structure floating in a halo of mohair while simultaneously somehow also managing to shine! "Sublime" really is the perfect name for this stuff!

As for the Bind Off itself, its a 3-Needle Bind Off but worked with wrong sides together to yield a decorative feature to the right side of the wrap. I took care to ensure I maintained the correct tension so as not to pull at the very stretchy lace edges.

And then it was suddenly done.

There are a few ends to weave in where new balls were joined. I want to take care with this so as not to have them visible in the very transparent fabric. I'll want to do that in daylight so maybe I'll sneak another little knitting break in this afternoon!

The Sublime ball band recommends blocking under a damp towel so I'm not planning a bath of this baby - it should be an FO by mid week. I'll be happy to see it there but truth be told I'll miss it in my knitting basket!

Thanks for dropping by today!



Flying Along

After taking an all day class in Tvaandstickning Mitten  (aka twisted knitting) last spring I resolved to make a pair of mittens using the technique right away before I forgot everything I learned.  Ahem...I didn't do that. So now, months later when I did take a run at it I was anticipating a lot of heartache and the beginning of the project didn't disappoint on that. I got off to a slowish start, working the cuff twice after ripping out my first attempt.

In fairly short order though my twisting technique began working well and now I'm moving along faster than I thought would be possible. (I guess 'bottom line, they are mittens in worsted yarn - how long can that really take anyway?)

'End of last week...

Yesterday afternoon...

This morning...(after knitting the mitten tip twice - first time decreasing every other row instead of both ends of every one ooops!)
The technique requires a constant twisting of the two yarns around each other in the same direction, so excess twist must be released.  The prescribed technique is to unspin the yarn but I'm finding unspinning the mitt works just as well.

I'm off to a Dental appointment downtown via the subway this afternoon so I'll take the mate for this little guy along for the ride!

I hoping these will be done before I know it!


Not Quite There Yet

 After pinning the two ends of the Mohair Scarf together with long stitch holders and wrapping up in the whole works I've decided this thing needs more length.
Draped across my back and over each arm its quite acceptable but in wrap mode it doesn't quite make it around far enough for both ends to stay put at the back. You can see just taking this picture, the left side dropped to the front.

I'm going to knit half a ball of yarn in onto each end. That should give me 6" more per side or 12" overall. Once that's done I'll try it again then and see how that works.

I must admit I'm kind of pleased to be able to stitch on this a bit more. It's lovely to work with something so soft and delicate. Its easy on the hands and wrists and this section of the pattern is self-correcting - you know as soon as you've done something wrong so only a modicum of attention is required.

This yarn, "Sublime", really lives up to its name. It has knit up into pure soft, pretty warmth and the absence of colour even adds to the impact of the other attributes. How nice to be able to justify working on it a bit more!


Fallberry Handwarmers by Anne Hansen FO

Pattern: Fallberry Handwarmers by Anne Hansen
Source: Knitty
Yarn: Sheldridge Farm Soft Touch Sport Remnant
Colour: Navy Blue
Needles: 2.75mm dpns
Start: September 9 Finish: September 18, 2011
Modifications: None

Knit up in sport weight yarn these were a quick and easy knit using up a remnant ball.

As in the vest I made for My Beloved, the end result with this yarn has a distinctly "demin" look about it.
I grabbed the pre-assembled project bag for these on the way out the door when taking my mom to hospital just after Labour Day.  She ended up being admitted and this little knit came in super handy filling time awaiting tests with her, sitting at her bedside and as I sat in the lounge when she was sleeping.
She wasn't shy about sharing her thought that they really would be perfect for her to wear this fall so after I took the FO shots with Darling Daughter I dropped them off to her. (She's now back at home!)

Making the Small/Medium size in the hopes of having a finished product with a snug rather than sloppy fit for me I used less than half the skein. Still without a pair of my own I may just try the larger size with the rest of the yarn. That speaks to the quality of this pattern...not only is the end product good enough to warrant having a second pair, they are fun enough to knit to make me want to knit another pair!

Hey thanks for dropping by today!


Cotton Trivets FO

This summer I took only select yarn, needles and planned/in progress projects to focus on at the cottage with the exception of a couple of wee balls of remnant cotton and a Mon Tricot stitch dictionary. My general thought was to turn the cotton into something for the cottage.

That cotton "doodling" yielded three little trivets for the table...
"Trinity" Stitch

Slip Stich Colourwork

"Bat" Stitch
Patterns: Trinity, Slip & Bat Stitch Trivets
Source: Vintage Mon Tricot Stitch Dictionary
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton Remnants
Colour: Red
Needles: 4mm straights
Start: Finish:
They turned out nice and thick to protect the table but it took some experimenting to get them that way.
I started out with big 5 stitch bobbles. I had seen these on Ravelry but that inspiration was in thick wool yarn while I had softer/lighter cotton.
After trying a few bobbles I found them too squishy to stay "bobbly" once any kind of weight was on them so I abandoned the idea. turning to the Stitch Dictionary for something "bobble-esque". I quickly landed on "Trinity" stitch.(on the right in photo below)
Once a square of that was done I switched to a thick garter rib until I'd doubled the length of the piece. Then I picked up and garter stitched matching sides to join the whole thing back into a square.
"Bat" stitch, has long floats across the right side of the work...

...naturally pulling the wrong side into thick ridges that yield a fabric well suited to my purpose.

These two designs, however, used almost all the red cotton so I mixed it with some white, doubling the colours and so, also, the thickness...

I love how the three finished pieces blend in with the vintage trivets that came from my MIL's place years ago...

I also love how Number One Son's Art homework blended in with the whole autumn vibe up north this weekend...

Obviously his assignment was to copy the Van Gogh "Self Portrait with Cut Ear". The colours of the pastels he used are awesome but I think the likeness is more of ex Toronto Maple Leaf Borje Salming than of Vincent!
The colours were at peak up north - maybe even just a wee bit past that point. This shot out a back bedroom window of the cottage is taken from Darling Daughter's lower bunk. (The window on the right is partially blocked by the ladder and upper bunk) The temperatures were truly summer-like although the water temperature was quite a normal-for-October 16 C (62F). Of course that didn't stop the kids from swimming all afternoon, Number One Son from Wake Skating every chance he got...

Or certain large creamy poodles from leaping in off the side of the boat!

So we had a great weekend - I hope you did too!