Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thinking about dragons

Life is absolutely crazy here. This is the morning of my sister's wedding, but we have about 10 minutes of down time before the hair and makeup people arrive. So you all get a pre-written post that I hadn't had time to finish before. These socks are further along now, but I haven't had a chance to take new photos.

I have this great souvenir yarn from Lubeck, Germany. This yarn is much more variegated than any other Regia I have ever bought before, and I wanted something that would highlight its best properties without losing anything in the pattern.

Then the heavens opened up when I remembered that Laura had given me a copy of the Heartland Knits Diamond Patch Socks, a pattern for mitered socks. Are you intrigued yet? What does it make you think of first?

For me it was immediately dragons. I love dragons about as much as I love mermaids. And the mitered squares of the diamond patch socks is stronly reminiscent of scales. Combined with the project spectrum colors (red, black, and grey/silver), my first thought was the Hungarian Horntail.

Going by movie images, this interpretation makes sense, but in reading more about dragons in the Potter-verse I am actually not sure that the Hungarian Horntail is acturate, as the canon description appears to involve no red. On the other hand the Chinese Fireball has no black. Perhaps the Ukrainian Ironbelly (metallic grey with red eyes)? Hmmm... Am I think about this too much? Maybe, but it is fun.

The pattern calls for Koigu or Shepard Sport on US Size 1s, but I am knitting it with Regia 4-ply instead. A quick try on reveals that it is not at too small which I had feared given the recommended yarns.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Danke Socks

Hey look, an excuse to use my new sock blockers from the Loopy Ewe! These socks are a thank you for one of Salvbard's German aunts who so incredibly generously gifted me with some of her hand-knit sweaters.
Yarn: Regia Cotton Surf - color 5413
Needles: US Size 0s
Marathon Yardage: 260 yards
Total Mileage: 2.1 miles
Pattern: 72 sts, cuff-down, heel flap, wedge toe, 2X2 rib on leg and top of foot

Hmm with the cuff down these almost seem like cheating as my second pair for the Summer of Socks. I only ever saw her wear commercial cotton anklets, so I wanted to make it as user friendly as possible.
There, much better! Secretly knitting for someone is always interesting, since you don't get exact measurements. I was told that she was probably about a European size 36 (US Size 6) which was about what I was estimating. The ribbing was added in the hope that it would help with fit despite my lack of measurements. Now these just need a label printed so that I can package them to go out next week.

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At Water's Edge

I have been making my way through some of a slight backlog of episodes of the Creative Mom Podcast. In show 52 Amy mentioned that she wished that she had a book of reference models. At that I suddenly realized that I had exactly that!

So prompted to take down the book from my shelf, I worked with the "Illustrator's Reference Manual Nudes", which I picked up at a used book store year ago. One of the nice things is that it shows each position from many different angles so that you can pick the one that appeals to you most.

Picking one that appealed for what I was thinking of, I got to work on my June ATC. Like Jessica and Amy, I knew that I wanted to work with mermaids. I have a special thing for mermaids and nayads of all kinds.

Originally I was planning for this to be un-colored, because I liked it so much as a line drawing that I finally opted to leave it as it was. But then on a whim I took out my watercolors and went to work. I am not perfectly happy with the result (the cardstock doesn't take watercolor well as I had already found out), but I love the colors.

And this was the first time I had ever used white, which I know is verbotten by some purists. With the colored cardstock though I really wanted to get the white for the light house and a more natural skin tone (ie not tinted blue).

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

House Earrings

Knowing that I was going to need to get an owl for my Hogwarts pal soon, I have been working on a few little extras. One that I finished today was a pair of Ravenclaw earrings.The bronze beads are anodized pearls, while the center blue one are the same ones that I used for the Ravenclaw stitch markers.
Of course once I had all the bits out, I had to make a Slytherin pair as well. (It is hard to see here, but the stars are hematite.)

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

7 of Hearts & Ravenclaw Socks

See I did finish some stuff. Now I am working on some cotton blend socks.

This first pair decided that it would rather be a wedding gift for my sister than a Christmas gift for my mother. Who am I to stand in its way. The significance of the name comes from the fact that she is getting married on 7-7-07.
Yarn: Art Yarns Supermerino
Needles: US Size 3s
Pattern: Seven of Hearts
Marathon Yardage: 210 yards
Total Mileage: 1.78

I am currently looking for test knitters for Seven of Hearts. I have the pattern written out for these already. They are fast and relatively simple.

Next up the Ravenclaw socks:
Yarn: Gems Merino Fingering Weight in sandalwood and french blue
Supplier: kpixie
Needles: US Size 1s
Marathon Yardage: 305
Total Mileage:1.96

These are relatively simple, but I think they would make excellent quiddich socks or just socks to wear under your robes in drafty hallways and classrooms. Now to finish up the last touches on my package.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm Back

So much has happened in the few days! I hope no one minds if it takes me a couple days to catch up. First order of business is the copy of Knitting Nature. This time I was aided by Salvbard who chose the number of the winning comment. Congratulations Dame Wendy!

My birthday weekend was fun, if a little hectic. We spent more time than I would have liked driving in circles and getting a flat tire repaired, but over all it was good.

Chiquita got a bunch of water time in at our campground in Myles Standish State Park.
Salvbard got in some hammock time at my grandmother's house.We celebrated my birthday with family with the traditional cake and ice cream. I never have maple walnut ice cream anywhere by my grandmother's house. I got a few things I am really excited about, such as a copy of The Happy Hooker and a set of sock blockers from the Loopy Ewe (which my mom found herself!). [It is late, but I promise this SPS was taken on Sunday.]
There was also much sock knitting. I finished weaving the ends in on my Hogwarts socks. I designed and knit a sock pattern that I will be offering up soon. And I got a good start on a pair of "thank you" socks for Salvbard's aunt. Photos of all these are awaiting a combination of daylight and camera access.

Then to make it even better, I returned from my mini-vacation to find my Ravelry invite!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

A Birthday Gift in Reverse

I mentioned a little while back that I had gotten an extra copy of Knitting Nature recently. Well in honor of my birthday I am now giving it away!

I love this book so much, and even if nothing strikes your fancy pattern-wise I think it is worth having around just for eye-candy and inspiration. I particular though, I am thinking of making this adaption of the Basalt Tank sometime soon.

Although my birthday is nominally today, I plan on going camping this weekend to celebrate so I will give you until midnight EST Sunday, June 25th to post a comment. Wish yourself a very merry un-birthday from me. (Or if you like Crazy Aunt Purl share my birthday, happy birthday!)

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Start of Summer

Finally! The start of the Summer of Socks has begun. While I was waiting, I finished up my Ravenclaw socks, which need many ends woven in (pictures coming soon).
I finished the ribbing on my second Dulaan hat from the Dulaan-a-thon and dropped it off at the Knitting Room. This hat is big and almost beret-like on me, but fits Salvbard pretty well.
I did one of the Lesson 5 squares (Nooks n' Crannies with an H hook), in which I learned all about crocheted ribbing and felt guilty about using knitted ribbing on the above hat. Can anyone tell me how a crocheted ribbing compares to a knitted one in relation to relative stretchiness and "grip"?
Desperate for some easy playground knitting, I started the Fairly Easy Fair Isle Sweater from Stitch n' Bitch Nation. I have had the bulky yarn in my stash for almost a year now, and somehow it bothers me that so few yards take up so much valuable volume in my stash bins. Plus the yarn was even in a Project Spectrum color! Still this just wasn't the same as having a nicely portable pair of socks.

So this morning I cast on a pair of toe-up socks with the oh-so-soft Supermerino that Jill had given me as part of the Lime n' Violet Swap. The tentative plan right now is that these will become a pair of Christmas socks for my mother. More details on pattern to come soon. For now I will leave it at the fact that dk weight socks work up incredibly fast.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More Squares

Yay Lesson 5 is out!

Meanwhile I had been finishing up the old squares.
Hook: H hook
Pattern (from left to right): Puff X Square, Spring Breeze, Heart Sampler Square from Craft Daisies Lesson 3 and Lesson 4
Modifications: I skipped the sc round on the Puff X Square and added an extra row of dc row to make the Heart Sampler actually square.

Sorry you only get a quick post. This week is crazy for work. But the good news is that we are getting away this weekend.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Spindle and Wheel

I know several of you probably have already seen this, but there is this great new online spinning magazine called Spindle and Wheel. Very cool! The articles are definitely worth a read.


Sunday, June 17, 2007


Last night/this morning was the Dulaan-a-thon event at the Knitting Room. Similar to Ryan's Dulaan-a-thon, this ran for 12 hours, in this case from 5 pm to 5 am. We only stayed until 2 since Salvbard wanted to get home to bed (and no I didn't make him stay the whole time beforehand).
The turn out was good, and these ladies were so much fun to be with. I didn't know anyone else previously other than Laura (not shown), whom I had taken a class with once. Some people even teamed up to make coordinating hat and scarf sets.
Many adorable hats were knit.
Almost everyone was knitting, but I broke out a K hook since it was so much faster. I got two adult hats done.
Here I am wearing my "blue cheese hat". This poor yarn was evidently not created with crochet in mind. It had a distinct blue warts/lumps thing going on due to how the crochet truncated the thicker blue lengths. Yet somehow it gives me great joy.

Both the blue cheese hat and a "rasta" hat (which I will show you tomorrow once I get the photo off Salvbard's camera) were done with single crochet in a simple free-form top-down form, though I later added a ribbed edge to the rasta hat.

If you would like to donate items, Jackie has kindly agreed to collect items until closing at 4pm on friday (June 22). Just drop off your Dulaan items to the Knitting Room before then, and you won't have to worry about shipping them out yourself by this year's deadline.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dayglow Yarn

When we were first talking about getting me a spinning wheel we talked about a lot of pros and cons. It turns out though that it's major advantage was one we never considered. It is that I do a lot of thinking while I spin. Stuck on a research problem? I spin. Considering what I need to do for someone? I spin. Just for all the help it has done my research alone I think it has proven it's worth.This yarn was one such, where I spun it just to think. I didn't worry about color order and just let it spin up to the gauge it wanted to (mostly worsted after making into a 2-ply but with some sport weight and bulky spots). The important thing was just to keep my hands busy so that my mind was free.
You may remember this roving as the one that I dyed with leftover easter egg dye this year. At the time it was done in Project Spectrum colors, but I didn't get it spun up before the color set changed. The shades are a little dayglow for me, and I was thinking of just creating a Dulaan item with it, but Chiquita is already inquiring about items for her.
74.2 g/54 m correidale from Three Elms Farm

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm not dead yet

Blarg. I have been totally overwhelmed with work and the house recently. Too bad we don't live in the sort of house that tends to have house-elves. I have been still working on stuff in odd moments though.

This past weekend I finished up that baby hat I had been working on.

FO: Baby/Child Ribbed Hat
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cloud 9
Fiber: 50% merino 50% angora
Needles: US size 7/4.5 mm DPNs
Pattern: my own basic ribbed hat with a 64 st cast-on

Oh the wonder that is ribbing. Pre-washed it was small enough for an infant (though a little on the big side) but large enough when stretched for a child. Post-bloom (and Lucy you are right, the bloom of this stuff is amazing!) we definitely grew a bit.

Ha, serves me right for not swatching I guess. I am now thinking it is more like a 6-9 month size on the low end, and I can now wear it, though it is snug, fully stretched. In my defense I do have a small head. Oh well! Better a little big than a little small.

Patterns:Puffs and Posts (left) and Bullion Beauty (right)
Hook: H hook for both
Modifications: hdc instead of sc on both

I have been plugging away at the crocheted squares. I finished these 2 before the new lesson went up, but I am still working on the Puff_X pattern (warning this is another geocity page). Fortunately there are only 2 optional patterns for this week, since I have been doing 2 of each square and still need to do the seconds for all three patterns mentioned here.

I also worked a bunch on my Hogwarts Sock Swap socks. Feeling guilty for what a simple pattern I chose, though I do like the simple look, I opted to be generous in the leg ribbing. At first I was feeling a bit numbed by all the 2X2 ribbing, but then I reached that happy place that I didn't notice it passing while I would do other things. (I have the same thing happen when I read, when I am really into a book I have no recollection of turning any pages.) A few more rows and I will be done with the leg and then I can go back to the heel to finish these babies off.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Saturday Recap

I had big plans for this weekend. They didn't all work out, but it was a good weekend none-the-less.

Saturday Chiquita and I did not make it to the Pride Parade (for the first time in several years), but we did make it to the Copley WWKIP Gathering. There was pizza, knitting and fun conversation. It was so much fun that I didn't even notice almost 3 inches of 2X2 sock ribbing go by, and that is saying something!
After we ran off we went down to visit my family for the weekend. We did indeed see Shrek 3, as Chiquita had been hoping. It wasn't bad. In fact for a third movie it was positively decent. Also I finished a bunch of a baby hat made from Cloud 9, which is absolutely delicious stuff.Sorry for the delay in getting the photo up, Guido. Although I did have internet when visiting family, there was not a USB A to mini B cable to be found anywhere!

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Fall Flower Squares

The problem with posting a pattern on a geocities site is that a little extra traffic and the whole thing goes poof! The first day Lesson 3 was up, this poor page crashed, but I managed to get it the next day and resolved to crochet it right away.

Fall Flower from Craft Daisies' Learn to Crochet Lesson 3 (left and right)
Shell Stitch Square from Craft Daisies' Learn to Crochet Lesson 3 (center)

I am beginning to think of myself as a slightly tight crocheter, which is no surprise given the way that I knit I guess. Most of my squares have needed an extra row of hdc or sc to get them up to the 7" size. But the author of this pattern totally puts me to shame. The square to the left is the first one I did. I started with the recommended I hook, but by Row 8 it was clear that we were going to be too big. I changed Row 9 from dc to sc, and skipped Row 10 completely.

Then for the square to the right I went down to an H hook. Still my square would be big according to the directions. I actually got Row 9 in as written, but replaced row 10 with a round of sc. Am I up to another version of this square? I'll decide after I do the rest of the squares from this lesson.

I have to say though that the popcorn stitch, which makes up the "petals" of the fall flower is really fun. Ugly as all get out and apparently crochet's answer to bobbles, but still quite fun to do. The shells on the otherhand (center) are quite simple and elegant. This is something that crochet does really well that you wouldn't try to do with knitting.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Good Day to Ply

Summer weather has been here, which makes it a great time to hang out newly plied yarn out to dry after it's bath. We just found out from our landlord that they will be replacing our little deck at the end of June, so I have to get in my use of it before it becomes a construction area. (But yay for a new deck!)
112 g/92 m merino/tussah silk from Mind's Eye Yarns

First up, I needed to finish spinning and plying this beautiful merino/tussah silk roving that I had bought from Mind's Eye Yarns. I had originally started this for Project Spectrum when blue, white and grey were still the colors. It sat unloved on my spinning wheel for too long as we dealt with replacing the brake knob.

This yarn is absolutely delicious, and I am contemplating keeping it for myself. I have no idea what I would knit with it but is is so shiny and soft. I may have to pick up more during the Mind's Eye Yarns anniversary sale.

37 g/ 34 m merino wool

I also had a little roving left from the purple merino I dyed, spun and made into a hat and mitten set, so I played around with getting a finer yarn. It plied up at a fingering weight, but after soaking it bloomed to more of a dk weight yarn. This little skein was so small and cute. What could it possibly become? I welcome suggestions.
70 g/ 64 m correidale yarn from Three Elms Farm

I also spun the bleeding heart roving that I had dyed a while back. While I was at the wheel working with the previous skeins, it suddenly occurred to me that this would make the perfect gift for someone if I could just get it spun up and labeled in time. Hopefully they will like it.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Books, a Rant and Another Square

Yay! Today was a good mail day. Several books arrived from Amazon's crazy knitting book sale (less than $6 a book). I actually already have a copy of Knitting Nature, but the price for it with Last Minute Knitted Gifts was so crazy that it was worth getting the duplicate. Keep tuned as I will giving the extra away in the near future for my upcoming birthday.I also picked up Charmed Knits, although it was not part of the sale, because really how could I resist? I had heard good things, and flipping through it I am really pleased. I know that I won't have time to knit for the movie release, but I could definitely think about it for Arisia.

Okay so now for the mini-rant. I don't knit with a lot of "craft store acrylic", but I do have quite a bit in the stash that I have been crocheting. Today when I was working with the Lions Brand Pound of Love I pulled at the center end only to get the dreaded "muppet guts" phenomena. When I looked carefully at the yarn connecting it to the center though, I saw that there were 2 strands. Two. That means an end was going in and out, so how was this connected to the end I was pulling?
Well it turns out that it wasn't. What is the only thing worse than knits in your yarn? Randomly cut lengths of yarn! Above is the photo of the how much yarn was in the cut "end."

I also got started on Learn to Crochet Lesson 3. This week's topics are shell stitch, popcorn stitch, V stitch, puff stitch and bullion stitch.
Pattern: Circle of Hope from Craft Daisies' Crochet Lesson 3
Hook: H Boye Aluminum Hook
Modifications: This square was a little small, so I ended up doing a hdc border rather than a sc border. This is beginning to be a trend. Perhaps if I was a more knit-picky crocheter I would start going back to try another size hook. Oh well.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Letting Go

Do other people find it hard to let random neat pieces of paper go? I took our 2006 (!) calendar out of the kitchen this week. I had had this idea of using the images in some sort of paper art, but I need to face the fact that I just won't. They are just larger than the size I like to work with. Would any one like a free dragon calendar. I'll even pay postage. Email me at om1y at nmatrix dot mine dot nu.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

FO: Baby Surpise Sweater

Since I was on a roll being good and finishing things, I thought I would also finish this baby sweater that I had put aside until I was done with the wedding shawl. Seriously this sweater is so much fun to knit that I definitely can see myself knitting another stripy version out of left over stash.

Yarn: Cascade Cherub DK
Yarn Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns
Needles: US Size 6 32" circular Addis
Button Supplier: Fabric Corner
Pattern: EZ's Baby Surprise Sweater

Modifications: I only did 4 button holes, and only did them on one side. Also since it did not say how to seam the sleeves, I chose to do a slip stitch seam which was a first for me.

When I was in
Mind's Eye Yarns on Saturday I noticed that there is an excellent selection of this yarn still (though not this color I believe), and I highly recommend it. It is so incredibly soft and squishy. It can not even be compared with most acrylics I have ever felt. Plus I had enough left over from 2 skeins that I am going to try to make an accessory for the sweater (hat or booties, decisions decisions). Plus there is no need to worry about garment care which is a must for baby items. Now that is good value!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

SPS & FO: Now with Wedding Shawl

To review: I knit this wedding shawl for my sister who is getting married in July.

Ok so as of Saturday morning this is where we were. I finished the final bit of edging, went to visit Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns, (BTW if you are planning on stocking up on Noro during her fabulous anniversary sale you should get in there soon), and then went home to block.Blocking took place on my favorite yoga mat, which actually worked surprisingly well. I go the idea from all the people I have heard of using those interlocking exercise mats for the same purpose. This certainly wouldn't have worked for all shapes or sizes, but was perfect in this case.
Now for a gratuitous glamor shot. I used a long length of nylon thread along the edge to keep the points looking smooth. This looked fabulous while blocking, but I think I lost a little definition when I started removing the thread.
And now for the moment I, at least, was waiting for. It's done! (My sister is my height so the length should be fine.)
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr in white
Fiber: 50% merino 50% silk
Supplier: Lakeside Fiber
Needles: 12" and 40" US Size 4 circulars
Pattern: Eunny Jang's Print o' the Wave Stole
I absolutely love the how this shawl looks from the back! My sister's birthday is this week, so I will probably surprise her then.

edit: A quick back of the envelope calculation reveals that there is just over a mile of laceweight in this shawl.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm Getting There...

Okay, so some of you may be thinking "gee those crochet squares you keep posting are nice and all but what about that shawl?" Ahem. Let us leave it at the fact that I am working on it. Less than 12" of edging left to go! Of course due to the hour I can't get a decent picture, so you will have to wait until tomorrow to see it.

Oh, and if you don't listen to the CraftBorg go hear the latest episode. I got to do a "Crafter's Log" entry (about this shawl no less), and it was a total blast to do. No need to restrain yourself to knitting, though knitting is often discussed. The CraftBorg's tagline, after all, is that "when it comes to crafting, resistant is futile". If you have any interest in contributing just drop them an Odeo message.

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