Monday, October 31, 2005

Our Butler

Last year (when she was an irresponsible adolescent) we had to lock her in a back room during the Halloween trick or treater hours. This year she has taken on a whole new attitude.

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This year Shelby is waiting patiently by the door. She informs me of approaching gremlins with a soft "woof" and then when I open the door she goes outside to greet the visitors.....gently and quietly.

So far she has received numerous pats, lots of smiles, several proclamations of "Goggie" and two big hugs. And she has taken it all in good humor and seems to be anticipating the next little one's arrival.

Happy Halloween

It's pouring rain and the wind is blowing. At 3 pm it is already looking dark and dismal outside. Not a happy night for all the little trick-or-treaters. I have 150 mini-treats (those teeny little things cannot be called candy bars!) and I am likely to get only 15 goblins at my door. Good thing I have several big gobblings (not a typo) living here.

My first trick-or-treater came via the internet. Monkey is all dressed up in his first Halloween costume. Go tell him how good he looks.

Last Peek

This will probably be the last time I can pin the Feather and Fan Shawl out far enough that you can see current progress in its entirety.

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From here on out the needles will be too short to stretch the work out completely and it will start to gather and bunch up. I'm not likely to thread it all onto a holding cord and take it off the needles just to photograph it.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Strawberry Cupcake

Yet another cupcake. I'll probably still make two more. They are easy, in-the-car projects. I have another "strawberry" one on the needles with plans for a second "chocolate" one. But I'll cease to bore you with a picture of each.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Training Needles Off

Look at me. I'm a big girl now! See? No training needles.

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I managed to get far enough using the bamboo skewers that I was able to change over to two Addi Turbos. It turns out that I just happen to have TWO Addis in that one particular size. (I think it was a purchasing mistake, and not an extravagant overindulgence on my part.)

Round 32 is complete, and I've sewn a single bead to the very center of the shawl. I will also put a bead at the end of each of the large petals, and one in every loop of the outside edge. I love the way the beads look in my Peacock Feathers Shawl and thought I would do it again. Not a LOT of beads (too heavy), just a few as an accent.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Crossing My Fingers

Finally! I've gotten over the row 15 hurdle. I've started the Feather and Fan Shawl from "A Gathering of Lace" many, many times. It wouldn't surprise me if it was in excess of 25 times. Each and every time I lost it before the fifteenth row was complete. I'm sure this was due in part to my choice of yarns. I'm using an ultra slippery, laceweight, handpainted tencel.

I was given several good hints for starting a circular shawl, from the helpful knitters at "Lace For All Seasons", and I am now finished the first 20 rows.

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One person suggested that I start the work with the needles laid out on a pillow, only picking them up just enough to knit the stitches. The pillow can be rotated to the next needle when necessary. Another person said they used a folded towel. The pillows I had available were too fat and rounded so I went with a folded tea towel.

I still wasn't having any (lasting) success though, until someone wrote to say I should try knitting the center portion on bamboo skewers (the yarn slides less) and then once I got it going I could transfer the knitting to the regular needles. Even with this final hint it took me another couple tries before I got it right.

When I first looked at the picture close up I thought perhaps I had made a mistake as it looks a bit wonky, but I dragged out the book and as far as I can tell the shawl in the book looks the same.

Hopefully my luck will hold and I'll be able to get far enough to justify a lifeline. Once I get the center petaled flower done it gets much, much easier (and quite boring I hear).

Whose Chair?

Back in July of 2004 I told you about our resident chair thief.

At the time the perfect solution seemed to be to drag a wicker deck chair into the living room (trying to ignore how out of place and shabby it looks) place the dog's blanket in it, (well, no, that blanket isn't hers, its actually stolen from her boy) and to let her know she had her own chair to sit in. Sounds reasonable right? (If a dog having their own chair in the living room is reasonable.) But no. Look what has happened.

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She claims MY chair is just the right size, covered with comfy, hardwearing (if garish) fabric, and has a nice gentle gliding motion perfect for afternoon naps. She only decides to move if I seem to be about to sit on her.

Chocolate Cupcake Hat

With readjusted proportions (and flavors), I present the second in what might become a series, The Chocolate Cupcake Hat.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Vanilla Cupcake

Yesterday I whined to my daughter about my difficulties in doing a circular cast-on for a lace shawl with slippery tencel yarn. Things were not going well to say the least. She wisely told me to put the tencel down, take a break, and go knit one of these:

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In case you can't tell, it's a Cupcake Hat. Mine is a little wonky because I purposely knit at a tighter gauge so it would fit a smaller child, but then neglected to adjust the length. My icing portion is a little tall.

You can see the original proportions and find the free pattern here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Shape Shifter Cushion

Sometimes it's best to just give up on a project-gone-horribly-wrong and take the scissors to it!

And I mean that in a nice way. This was to be a lovely, lace accented cardigan for me.

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As you can see, it is no such thing. It is now a cushion for my knitting chair. It is hard to tell from the photograph, but this is made from Shape-Shifter wool. This yarn has an ability to grow and change shape all by itself and in ways that all the swatching in the world (and washing of said swatches) can not prepare one for.

I did the swatching. Lots of swatching in fact...four different needle sizes worth. I washed the swatches, gasping in amazement at how the "super" (and I use that word loosely) wash wool expanded, never to shrink back to its post wetting loveliness.

"That's fine,", I said, "I'll just alter the pattern and incorporate the post washing changes." Much, much math was done. I had it all figured out. I knew how many stitches less to cast on, how many pattern repeats would fit into that newly calculated stitch count, and how many rows extra I had to knit to get the same length as stated in the pattern. In theory it sounded theory. In actuality things were not going to develop quite as I had planned.

As I knit I had my vague suspicions, niggling little doubts in the back of my mind, but I chose to ignore them. I had done all the MATH after all, things were going to be fine. Unfortunately I had neglected to calculate one thing. I was knitting with the most elastic, springy yarn I had ever had on my needles.....a distant cousin to Cascade Fixation perhaps? Certainly it was spun from the backs of Shape-Shifter Sheep.

This (ex) sweater is knit in one piece to the underarms where it is then divided for fronts and back. A lot of time and a lot of knitting takes place before you reach the underarms of a seamless sweater for a gal my size. I spent all that time. I knit all those stitches. And then I divided for the underarms and Whoa! What happened here? Time for a reality check. With the knitted piece no longer scrunched up on a circular needle there was no more denying it, this was going to be far too large. Gynormous in fact. *sigh* *whimper*

Did I crumble? Did I lay down and die? No, no not I. I will survive. Oh, as long as I know how to (steek, cut, and graft) I know I will stay alive. (My apologies to Gloria Gaynor.)

Those readers who have been with me since the beginning of this blog know the story of the birthing of the "Cushion Foot Socks". I used the same technique again. This time though, instead of a failed cushion becoming a pair of socks, I am working in reverse and a failed cardigan is becoming a cushion. Sorry, I did not document this project as well as I did the socks.

As I stared dejectedly at the Never-To-Become-A-Cardigan pile of knitting I remembered the socks and wondered if this too could become a resurrected wonder. "Why yes, YES!" I thought, "It matches my chair perfectly. Could it not recover my old, tattered cushion? Of course it could!". I neatly put everything away and went to bed for it was late. I then tossed and turned all night as visions of cushion possibilities danced in my head.

The next morning, bright and early, I wrapped, I measured, I sewed and I hacked. I wrapped the cushion with the preknit fabric, marked the overlap and took it to the sewing machine. After sewing a vertical line to stay the fabric I boldly set at it with the scissors. Tossing aside the extra width I covered the newly cut edge in a row of crochet, sewed buttons under the button band (which I had wisely chosen to incorporate in the cushion design), mattress stitched a seam at the bottom and grafted the stockinette portion at the top. Walla! No longer a failed cardigan, we now have a successful, Shape Shifter Cushion.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Poinsettia Shawl

The Poinsettia Shawl makes its debut.

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It's 48 inches square. I think I would have liked it to be a little bit bigger.

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It's not quite large enough to wrap around and have a casual tie at the front.

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It is made of my own handspun, a 2 ply, laceweight, wool/mohair.

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Here it catches a few rays of fall sun. These two pictures of it draped over my spinning wheel are the most accurate colourwise.

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Wanna see it close up?

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nearly Done

It's all over but the drying. The Poinsettia Shawl is blocking as I write. Tomorrow night it makes its debut during the Chilliwack Spinners and Weavers Guild "Show and Tell". Finally I have a major project done with my own handspun!

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Marlene Needs

Here's a fun little thing for you to try. Even if you don't have a blog, it is a fun word search.

You type your name + needs (the + sign is a necessary part) into Google and then post the first ten results.

Here's mine:

1.Marlene needs to come back Now !

2.Marlene needs someone to teach her German.

3.Marlene needs to have them all removed by Sunday October 12.

4.Marlene needs a mother

5.Marlene needs a little extra special care, but she is a little extra special mule

6.Marlene needs our help to finish production.

7.Marlene needs to know for next year’s schedule.

8.Marlene needs to borrow a page from the salesperson's guide to happiness ... focus on the customer .

9.Marlene needs someone to be dependent on.

10.Marlene needs to contact you.

I found it quite funny. If you have a bit of an imagination it even tells a little story.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Poinsettia Progress

I've been working away on various knitting projects but I have not been updating my blog as diligently. It's about time for a progress report.

I'm knitting up some of my handspun, wool/mohair blend, 2 ply laceweight. I haven't decided yet whether or not I will dye this project when it is finished.

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This is one blocked square and one unblocked square of the Poinsettia Shawl. All four squares are done, with the last two now blocking, and I am working on the outside border. It moves along quite quickly so I should have photos of the finished shawl in a few days.

Monkey Is Back!

Wow! It seems Monkey has finally recovered enough from the honeymoon to post a few pictures on his Mom's blog.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

470 gm

Done! I've made it to the bottom of a huge bag of grey wool rovings from Seabird Island reserve.

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That's 470gm (just over a pound) of 3 ply, 13WPI (a little thicker than sportsweight, not quite as thick as DK) wool. When I originally purchased the grey rovings I also bought a bag of natural and a bag of dark brown planning to do a fairisle sweater or two. Now I am finding the three types of roving all spin up quite differently and I think I will find it difficult to get the other two to match in weight. Sooooo, I shall set this aside for now and see what it decides it wants to be later.

In the meantime I am knitting a lace shawl with wool-mohair 2ply I spun from some lovely roving I was given in May.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Blue Scarf

I finished this scarf about a week ago but we had a run of rainy weather and I had to wait for good photography weather.

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It's made from some of my earlier handspun yarn.

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I found the pattern on someone's blog and printed it out. Now, as I go to link back to it, I realize that the printed pattern does not contain the bloggers site address nor even a title. If you know from whence it came, speak up and I will provide proper links and credit.

Thanks Leisel. It's the "So-Called-Scarf" from Stacie's blog.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Two feet twice. My entry in a contest being held over at Mim's.

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Yes, we do still have long, lush, green grass in October.

EDIT: October 12
I didn't win the contest, but Mim has a lovely bit to say about feet in her October 11, 2005 blog post.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

23 Post

Maggie Ann has tagged me with this meme.

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

My 23rd post was written on Thursday, July 15, 2004. The fifth sentence read:
"See a photo of the back 3/4 of the way done in the "WIP" post of June 30, 2004."

Of all the memes floating around out there, this is one of the easier ones to do...except for #5, tagging five other people to do it, especially when it has been around for awhile and many people have already done it. I'd tag my daughter but I don't think she has 23 posts yet. Kris, if you've got 23 posts, "Tag, you're it!" Mmwahahaha! The other four? Well, if you haven't already done it and you're reading this, then "Tag, you're it too". Chime in through the comments if you are actually going to do it okay?

On the knitting front: I've a FO, a new WIP using handspun, and progress on the Latvian mitten. Posting on that coming up in the next couple of days.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Blue Heron Reserve

The Great Blue Heron Reserve, the perfect place to go when you need some exercise, a little fresh air, and some hand holding time with your husband (not necessarily in that order).

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While we did not actually see any herons, we did have an enjoyable time.

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The weather was perfect, the scenery beautiful....

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...and there were dragonflies everywhere!

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Look, this fellow even brought along his girlfriend to say hello.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Progress Report

The first Latvian mitten is looking better now that it is completely finished and blocked. The blocking helped even out the stitches and smooth the surface. I've got a start on the second one. Sorry, no further pictures until they become a pair.

In the meantime, I've spent a couple of days working on small items for the Christmas Craft Fair held in Chilliwack every November. These crocheted items will be going in the Chilliwack Spinners and Weavers Guild booth. For entry into the guild's booth, all items must be either handwoven or handspun, so I have used up assorted bits of my earlier handspinning efforts making a dozen *not to be revealed until November* items.