Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dragonfly Sockblockers

I've been wanting a set of these ever since I started wearing handknit socks on a regular basis.

Although most of my handknit socks are "superwash" and can go through the washer and dryer without a problem, they all look and fit better if they air dry. I've been laying my socks flat to dry, which works, but isn't nearly as pretty or convenient as having actual sock blockers. They seem to dry faster on the blockers too.

My daughter bought these for me for Christmas. Aren't they great? I just love dragonflies. Thanks Kris!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Little Tent Stitch Socks

Likely to be my last FO of 2007, the Little Tent Stitch Socks.

These were done toe-up and using my own modification of the little tent stitch from the Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries, and Sock Wizard's "Ultimate Heel".

Although they fit perfectly once I get them on, I really have to tug at them to get them over my heel. Annoying for sure.

Although my Christmas was marred by a nasty, nasty flu that I am only just now beginning to recover from, I did receive some lovely gifts. I'll be showing the fibre related ones over the next day or two.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Masters Monday 2.3

Did you think I'd miss Masters Monday just because it was Christmas Eve? Nope. Actually I had all the work for this done last Monday but "saved" it for today's report because I knew it would be a busy week.

So.....I've found another UNsuccessful way to seam ribbing. *sigh* I suppose that could still be considered progress though.

I did this one by setting it up so I could seam down the centre of the selvedge stitches. One thing about this method, it can be used for tubular cast on which always ends in an uneven number of stitches. BUT....unfortunately I can't get it to look right. The seamed row of "stitches" has a sunken look that is way too obvious.

Back to the needles. I'll get this one yet!

I'm not likely to have time to post tomorrow, so to everyone who celebrates this holiday.....Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Portrait Ornament

Many, many years ago (has it been 23 already!) I made a few ornaments similar to this one.

Featuring pictures of my 3 little ones they immediately became my favorite ornaments of all time. Year after year I put them in prominent locations on the Christmas tree. As the children grew older (they are all adults now) I loved to reminisce of Christmas from so long ago.

Last year I sorted the ornaments and carefully stored the portrait ornaments away where they would be "safe". I had put them in a sealed container with an aluminum bottom. I guess some kind of a chemical reaction, (or perhaps the lack of circulating air?) caused them considerable damage. The pictures are fine, but the crocheted part turned all brown and ugly. I'll have to redo them some time.

The ones I made this year are for pictures of our first grandchild on her very first Christmas. Very special indeed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Done -- Again.

So the beanie that I originally knit with a smocked ribbing has now had it's substantial ribbed section ripped and reknit as boring ol' 2x2 rib. The smocked ribbing had to go, it wasn't stretchy enough.

The ribbing is not as fancy now, but it has more elasticity and "give" so it will fit better and be more comfortable. The hat also looks SO much neater now that it has been blocked.

I knit the hat from my own 2ply, sportsweight handspun wool that had been steeping in my stash waiting for the perfect project.

The pattern found through Ravelry and available free, is Charisa Martin Cairn 's Lifestyle Top Down Hats, No Swatch Needed.

I continued the increases until the crown was slightly larger than the recipient's head and then decreased 8 stitches per round 2 times (or was it three?) just before I started the ribbing. I knit the ribbing long enough to fold over twice when being worn.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In The Twinkling Of An Eye

Okay, so it's not cherry pie and it wasn't accomplished in "a twinkling of an eye" either.

It's 2 dozen cherry tarts, 1 dozen mincemeat tarts, 2 pumpkin pies, 1 banana cream pie, and nearly 5 dozen shortbread snowballs (shortbread wrapped around a maraschino cherry).....and it took all of a very long day.

The banana cream pie will be for tonight's dessert, the pumpkin pies are now frozen for Christmas day, and the remainder of the day's baking will be doled out over the next week as the cook feels appropriate.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Masters Monday 2.2

Only one completed swatch this week. Much of my spare time has been swallowed up by Christmas preparations.

Edited to add: It has been pointed out that the seam is about half a stitch off, with the tops not matching. Yup. Back to the needles.

This is Swatch 4 - Single Rib (K1P1), a seaming exercise. I'm not all that pleased with it. I seamed it in the manner described in the Seaming article in "Cast On" magazine, and it is not my usual method. The article suggests using an even number of stitches and starting each piece of ribbing with a knit stitch so that you end up seaming a knit stitch and a purl stitch together (leaving the ribbing pattern intact), supposedly hiding the seam "in the ditch" of the two stitches. Because the magazine article so strongly recommended this method I went with it, but I'm having second thoughts.

I normally seam ribbing by starting with an uneven number of stitches, starting and ending both pieces with a knit stitch and seaming up the centre of these edge stitches (leaving the ribbing pattern unbroken). I find it makes a finer seam (less seam bulk, especially at cuff edges) and it still turns out neat and tidy. The "Cast On" magazine article says that the seam turns out messier, but I'm not sure that it does. I think this might be worth a bit of additional experimentation.

For readers' further consideration (are you still with me?), Maggie Righetti suggests a third method in her book "Sweater Design in Plain English". She says to add an additional knit stitch so that your single rib ends in K2 at one end. This lets you seam with a full stitch, but gives you that knit/purl "ditch" seam.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rip It, Rip It

It's annoying and disheartening to have to frog a finished object, especially when said finished object looks kind of pretty, is intended as a gift, and must be done by Christmas.

Unfortunately for me the smocked ribbing I chose for the fold up brim of this hat not only has to look pretty, but it must stretch far enough to fit the gift recipient's head too. Not happening. It's a tight fit even on this wig stand's little pin head which is nowhere near the 23.5" required.

Rip, rip, rippity rip!

Luckily the rest of the hat is okay. I only need to rip out the pretty smocked ribbing and replace it with a boring ol' 2x2 rib.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lambie's New Clothes

Introducing "Lambie".

She's for the gift exchange held today during the Chilliwack Spinning and Weaving Guild's annual Christmas luncheon. Dressed only in the bib and diaper cover she came in she looked a little plain.....and I got busy and knitted her a nice warm sweater and hat set. Wool of course.

Lambie has a little gift card holder around her neck (not shown here) and my daughter, also a spinner, had the brilliant idea to put a reference card in the holder that outlines how many wraps per inch will equal each of the commonly used yarn weights. This is a useful little item that even non-spinners can use to identify yarn weights that no longer have identifying ball bands.

I watched as the gifts were chosen (randomly, nobody knowing who each gift was from) and the lady who picked mine just happens to be a new grandma! I betcha Lambie will end up in Japan, where the new grandchild lives.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Masters Monday 2.1

Apparently the threat of public disgrace is a sufficient motivator for me. I announced last week that I would be starting Level 2 of the Master Knitters' certification and posting about some sort of progress each Monday. The need to come up with SOMEthing to report each week was the kick I needed to get through Level 1 and it looks like it will work again for Level 2.

Not only have I finished knitting the first 3 swatches (6 seperate pieces) .....

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....but I have blocked them, seamed them,........

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......labeled them, written the description of the process.....

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.....answered the related questions, and added all the resource materials to my bibliography.

First Visit With Santa

It looks like Santa enjoys visiting with Kaylen almost as much as we do.

But she seems to have that effect on people wherever she goes.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Little Smaller

I went out and bought a new (fake) tree last night. The old one was very realistic but it was SO huge, with SO many branches to bend into shape and "fluff" that getting the tree up each year was an all day affair. The fluffing and decorating was most often something I ended up doing alone.

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The thought of facing it again this year was putting me in very much of a Bah Humbug kind of a mood. The need to move our living room furniture to make room for it wasn't thrilling me either. Our furniture is heavy enough that it leaves great dents in our carpet for at least a month after the arrangement has been altered.

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This new tree, advertised as 6.5 feet tall, is about two feet shorter, smaller in diameter, has less branches to fiddle with and fill with ornaments, and ................ comes PRELIT. I love prelit. I can totally forgive this tree it's less realistic look because I am so in love with its' 400 mulit-coloured mini lights already in place and ready to plug in.

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For some reason my camera is insisting that there is a lot of PINK on this tree. In reality the bows and garland are silver and the mini lights that show up as pink....they are actually red.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Despite an ever growing queue of things I really want to knit (thanks Ravelry!), including a few warm vests I could really use right now, I out-of-the-blue looked through my very limited stash, found a yarn that didn't work for it's original intent, and cast on for a racer-back tank that I won't be able to use until the really warm weather arrives next summer.

A few days later I have a FO. This is "Coachella" which I have knit in Lang Viva, an 86% cotton, 14% polyester blend. I think what attracted me to the pattern was the interesting drape at the front neckline and this lightweight, woven yarn does the job beautifully. I know it looks like crap just hanging there unmodeled, but trust me, it fits nicely. It just requires a specialized bra and I likely won't be acquiring that until closer to summer.....when I can actually wear the top. For now it is getting tucked away in the closet while I start working on......
*drum roll please* ........
...... Level 2 of the
Yes, it is now time to resume my regular posting of "Masters Mondays" as a means of keeping myself motivated and plugging away at this certification. My goal is to do at least something each week. It may not be a big something, but one little step at a time I shall climb this mountain. Drop by to encourage me hey?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And Baby's Makes Three

With the end of November fast approaching the crunch was on and I had to concentrate on getting our granddaughter's stocking completed in time for her family's December 1 st decorating spree.

Kaylen's stocking will join those that I made for her Mommy and Daddy last year.

I still have a liner to do for Kaylen's stocking, but that won't be needed until Christmas Eve. The liners are something I make up myself to protect the more labour intensive and easily damaged appliqued stocking. They are not part of the Mary Maxim kits.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wee Vest

This project went so quickly from speculation to finished project that I never even took WIP pictures, or mentioned it here on the blog.

Kristy wanted a few warm vests for Kaylen to wear in the winter months. Using the measurements from Kaylen's store bought vest I quickly whipped up a pattern on Sweater Wizard and Kristy went home and knit one up in just a couple of days. It looked so cute that I couldn't resist adding to Kaylen's wardrobe myself.

I dug through my stash and found some pretty chenille given to me by a friend. A day and a half later the custom fit vest was off the needles and taking a test trip through the washer and dryer. Chenille can be a little finicky and if the vest was going to fall apart when subjected to the normal care a baby's clothing must go through then I wanted to find out about before it was given as a gift.

It survived. It fits. And I think it looks darn cute --- even when delivered late at night and tried on over pajamas.

3 Days Drying

This big, fat skein of 2 ply, Superwash Merino/Viscose blend took a full three days to dry. It's amazingly soft, super springy, and has a beautiful sheen.

285 g / 10.25 oz

472.5 m / 525 yds

17 WPI / fingeringweight (superfine / #1)

More being spun up!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Now THAT Is Full

One huge Majacraft bobbin full to the brim.

2 ply, superwash, merino/viscose blend spun from mill ends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chenille Done

Another two and a half yard run of chenille came off the guild's loom today.

Here's one end:

And the other:

Now to cut it up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

While Opportunity Knocks

There aren't a lot of guild members chomping at the bit to do one of these Stash Buster rugs, otherwise known as "twice woven rugs", right now (too busy with pre-Christmas preparations I suppose), so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity.

Even though I can't weave the second step of either rug for quite some time yet, (the loom has to be rewarped first) I figured I might as well get another run of chenille done while I wait. In contrast to the last one, which is being done in bright blues and hot pinks, this one will be a more subdued "naturals" with an earthy organic feel to it. That's the plan anyway.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cut a Rug

I got a bit of the cutting done last night, and finished the remainder today. Boy is that hard on the hands. And probably on the scissors too!

All of the balls of handwoven chenille bagged up and ready for the next step --- weaving it into a pile rug. Don't hold your breath though, the guild loom won't be ready for the next stage for quite some time. First all interested weavers must do this step, then the loom needs to be rewarped for the next step, and that will not likely be until after Christmas.

Not too many guild members are interested in weaving one of these at this busy time of the year. I've offered to help use up the existing warp by weaving another run of chenille as I still have a fair bit of "stash" left. Tricky hey? I'll tackle that some time next week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Step One

I've got the first step of the Stash Buster Rug done. Two days (about 7 - 8 hours total) at the loom and I have two and a half yards of heavy, woven fabric ready to cut into strips of chenille.

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In the beginning I had definite ideas of how I was going to do this, but ended up doing something totally different. I thought I would weave it off in a rather bland blend of darks/dulls, whites/creams, with small shots of bright colour to jazz it up a bit.

I started off that way --- the light coloured portion at the beginning (right hand side of the next picture) --- but when I got going on what was meant to be a short "dash" of blue, I LOVED the colour and realized I had quite a bit of it in my stash, so I just kept right on weaving with it until the various blues were getting in short supply.

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I had a nice variegated yarn that had both blues and a wine colour. That led to gradually transitioning into the vibrant pinks that I also had in an abundant supply.

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When the pinks showed signs of depleting I reached for the pinky reds, then the deep plumy reds, and on into the black.

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I wanted to pull the colours full circle, back to the cream again so I gradually changed out the blacks, into greys, and then creams and whites.

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I'm glad I abandoned my original plan. I think this will look quite pretty in the finished rug. My only regret is that it leaves the sharp colour change between the cream colour and the bright blue. I'm not worried though. The second stage of the weaving throws the colours all about and there won't be just one abrupt change of colour. The blue/cream break will happen frequently throughout the rug.

Here is a peek back at the last Stash Buster Rug yardage before it was cut up and rewoven:

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And what it looked like with the second stage being woven.

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So you see, there is hope yet!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Black Allsorts

472.5 metres of halfbred wool handspun from "Black Allsorts" slivers purchased from Aurelia Wool and Weaving. Navajo plyed to approximately a fingering weight (superfine/1).

I have half baked plans to (eventually) use this for stranded colour work, possibly as an accent on a white cardigan or vest.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mail from Designs by Romi

With all the Canadian cross border shopping going on (and the resulting parcel back up at the border) my parcel from Designs by Romi took a while to arrive, but it was well worth the wait.

This is the shawl stick I won in Rosemary's blog contest. It's smaller and more delicate and jewelry like than I expected. I love it! It's the perfect closure for my handspun wool/mohair Poinsettia Shawl.

The second item in the parcel was the sterling silver shawl pin I bought, also from Romi Designs.

It's shown here on my hand painted tencel Feather and Fan Shawl, but it looks fantastic on a number of my shawls. Having a shawl pin to hold the shawl securely gives me more options in how I can wear them.

Christmas Slippers

With a wee visitor as inspiration I got the needles a clackin' yesterday,

and by late evening had a spur of the moment gift ready for Christmas.

When my own children were small this was my favourite slipper pattern. They stayed on toddlers' feet better than most. It's a pattern by "Bouquet", #388 "Children's Slippers".

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stash Busting

As if I didn't have enough projects on the go! I'm next in line to use the guild loom for a Stash Busting Rug (aka "Twice Woven Rug"). I'm not a big stash hoarder so it's difficult for me to gather enough yarn up to do any sort of colour scheme.

This represents about half of my total stash. For the most part it's bits and pieces of leftovers from old projects, although there is a fair bit of handspun in there (wool that is too scratchy or in too short of supply to do much with). I think I'll go with a "lights, dull/darks, brights" division of the yarn. Hopefully it won't come off as too hideous in the final rug. With this type of rug it is really hard to guess what the end result will be.
Curious? Take a peek at my last one. ---> 1 2 3 4 5
The remainder of my stash is a bit of laceweight, enough handspun in large enough amounts for a few warm vests, and a basket of complete balls of sock yarn.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Last Photo Opportunity

I made this stocking many months ago, but the middle of the summer did not seem an appropriate time for a blog post about a Christmas stocking. Today is the last chance I have to photograph it though. I've donated it to the Chilliwack Spinners and Weavers guild for the annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Fair which will be held on November 15 and 16.

So....what do you think something like this should sell for? I just know they are going to ask what I want to price it at, and I have no idea what to say. You have until Wednesday, November 14th to chime in with your thoughts.

It's hand knit from some of my earlier handspun, which was originally natural in colour. After the stocking was knit I dyed it forest green.

I made up the pattern as I went. Believe me, it is an original, never to be repeated exactly the same ever again. At one point, when I realized the toe section (the stocking was knit toe-up) was way too long and out of proportion with the rest of the stocking.....I CUT it off, picked up the stitches, and knit the toe shaping downward. Tricker than you might think considering that the lace pattern is one of those undulating ones that make wavy edges.

The stocking has also been lined in a shimmery red fabric. My children have informed me that the only way a knit stocking is acceptable is if it is lined. No fuzz on the candy please! Of course the lining also peeks out nicely from the holes in the lace --- and prevents the candy from falling out those same holes.

I found shimmery, wire edged ribbon and little berry-like beads to finish off the look.

Please comment with your pricing thoughts. Thanks!