Friday, February 29, 2008


In Deathly Hallows, I have to admit that the whole dragon plot point struck me as a little too convenient. (No I do not planning on spoiling.) With the prompt of "wings" for the February CMP ATC swap, though, I knew I wanted to do something with dragons. So after playing around with a couple different ideas, I ended up with this one as the dragon flew off. Something about the image of the dragon flying off into freedom just captures my imagination, despite not caring for the way it fell into the story as a whole.

gesso, acrylic paint & pigma micron pen on cardstock

Somehow this was my first experience working with gesso. I had picked some up a while back, because I had been hearing about it so much on the Creative Mom Podcast and on various art blogs. It was really interesting. I like the texture it gives and am looking forward to experimenting with it my moleskine now too.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Miters

I finished another row of miters on the memory blanket. I am finding that each square takes just about 22 yards, which has been useful in gauging how much I need when starting a square.

The new squares are the top row, other than the first red one, and the triangle in the second row is new too.

From left to right, top to bottom:

Regia Jacquard Color 6-ply from the Mexican Jacket

Regia Ringel Color from the Rainbow Socks

Lang Yarns Jawoll from the Thom's Squares

Schoeller + Stahl Fortissima Socka from the Thom's Squares and SPLJ13 Socks

Regia Crazy Color 6-ply from the Caribbean Clown Socks

Trekking XXL from the Bellatrix Socks

ONline Supersocke 100 Cotton from the Danke II Socks

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bellatrix Lestrange

How could I not knit these namesakes of the the most infamous of the Black sisters? I am terribly excited to have found such a good yarn match in my stash already too. I finished these a little while ago, but I the lack of good lighting has made it hard to get good pictures.
Pattern: Bellatrix by Gigi Silva
Yarn: Zitron Trekking XXL color 36
Needle: US 1 / 2.25 mm & US 0 / 2.0 mm
Modification: 1 extra leg repeat

Verdict? I love these. I am so glad that I knit them.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Love you (K)not

Urg. What is going on here? I spent years before I ever had the problem of knots in my skeins. At first I am sure this is because I was buying acrylic whatever yarns, but since then I have bought and knit a heck of a lot of yarn without much issue. In fact I couldn't really understand the hubbub everyone made about the knots in skeins.

Recently however I seem to have been seeing an unusally large number of knots. Let's keep track here of the "problem children" of just this year:

Caribbean Clown Socks - 2 knots in a total of 3 balls
China Doll Sweater - 1 knot in 2 balls
Quidditch Sweater - 3 knots in 6 balls
Bellatrix Socks - 1 knot in 1 ball

And I have started a bulky sweater with some more N.Y. Yarns Action only to find 1 knot and 1 horribly mangled area in the 2 skeins that I have used so far. Aaaaaaaah!

I have no idea why this is. It can't be a recent increase in the rate of knottiness in yarn production. I haven't bought yarn recently. This is all stash. And these are not yarns that particularly infamous for the number of knots. They aren't from the same yarn manufacturer or distributer. These aren't from wildly different from other yarns that I have used in the past. So what gives?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bellatrix goes Skiing

Apparently we learned nothing from our last trip cross-country skiing, because I went back today with Salvbard and Chiquita. On the way back I got significantly more progress on my Bellatrix socks done. With any luck I will get these done before the end of the month. I am loving the combination of this yarn (Trekking XXL) and this pattern.

And speaking of Slytherins, we have to post the clues for HSKS4 word search. So here they are.

Clues for Slytherin Word Search
Founder = Salazaar Slytherin
A Slytherin Head Boy = Tom Riddle
Last Known Descendents = Gaunts
Most Unpopular Headmaster = Phineas Nigellus Black
Club Owner Head of House = Horace Slughorn

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sampler Update

I am still down visiting with family tonight. Last night, though, we took advantage of the combination of school vacation and the astrological event to go outside and see the lunar eclipse. If you missed it, head over to Salvard's post, for an image of the moon in all of its splendor. (Next occurance is two years from now on the winter solstice.)

Stash Down Yardage for border strips: 107 yards
Total Stash Down Mileage: 1.64 miles

In the meantime I have crocheted the squares into strips. (Bex do you recognize that grey yarn?) I will be putting the strips together and adding an edging soon.

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A Follow Up.

Thanks to everyone who has contacted me here and privately with their concern. My sister was home yestday, and we went out to lunch with the kids. (Note to everyone. Friendly's during February vacation is insane.) She looks well, and the doctors have a working theory. We won't know if they are right until/unless the problem comes back, so here is hoping. The fixes they have right now are pretty easy ones, and she is feeling good for the most part.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Call for Happy Thoughts

Saturday night my sister was taken to the hospital for some sort of spell that the doctors are not completely understanding. I am not sure if they are partly cardiac in nature (she also has a heart problem) or just brain related. She is still in the hospital, although we thought she would be released today. Tomorrow she's getting brain stuff done: MRI, MRA, some kind of brain-seizure test, and a meeting with a neurologist.

If you can, please take a little time to think some happy thoughts for her. My mom is taking off a few days to take care of my sister's 6 month old baby since this seems like it might not be resolved quickly. I hope to get down there later this week too.

Sock Madness and Quidditch Round 2

For those of you interested, Sock Madness has opened up their signups for this year. I competed last year and it was lots of fun.

Quidditch ~ Round Two

1. With whom does Ginny go to the Yule Ball?
a. Neville

2. When Harry arrives at the Burrow and Mrs. Weasley makes them all dinner the night before they leave for the Quidditch World Cup, what does her wand turn into?
b. rubber chicken

3. Since some of the sixth-year girls didn't have any quills on them, what did they think Krum might sign their hats in?
c. lipstick

4. How old does the Quick Quotes Quill say that Rita Skeeter is?
a. 43

5. What color cloak is Wormtail wearing in the Riddle house?
b. Black

6. What color is "Mad Eye" Moody's magical eye?
d. Blue

7. What color are the robes that Rita Skeeter was wearing when Harry meets her at the Weighing of the Wands ceremony?
b. Magenta

8. What does Sirius Black tell Harry, Ron and Hermione to call him when speaking around anyone else?
b. Snuffles

9. Which team beat Wales, disqualifying them from competing for the Quidditch World Cup?
c. Uganda

10. What does Madame Maxime say is the only thing her steeds will drink?
c. single-malt whiskey

Picture Hunt
Goblet of Fire
Madam Maxime
Dragon from first challenge
Viktor Krum
Madam Pomfrey

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

On Reptiles and Socks

Today Salvbard, Chiquita and I went to the Museum of Science. Usually I avoid it during February vacation, but today was the Members showing of Lizards and Snakes: Alive!. If such things bother you please do not scroll past the photos of my socks in progress. If you like such things, definitely go see this exhibit (which is free with exhibit hall ticket andopens tomorrow). It was great, and I wish we had had more time to really get as much as we could out of it. We will probably go back and do so at our leisure. (Not this week though!)

Meanwhile I have been doing some knitting, although you wouldn't know it from my blog. Sorry for the radio silence. Things are really heating up in my research, so I will probably be posting less. In any case, it turns out that both of my socks in progress are inspired by the Harry Potter series, which only occurred to me today. How funny! The red and gold stripe ones are obviously for a Gryffindor, and the dark ones that are hard to see are my Bellatrix socks that I am making in honor of MommaMonkey.

I am going to avoid posting all of my reptile photos, though there are a few more in my flickr album. There were 2 that were too good from a Harry Potter perspective, though, not to mention in this post.

This bright green beauty was a basilisk.

And does this snake ring any bells? Chiquita saw this Burmese python, and cried out, "Look, it is the same as the snake that Harry freed in Sorcerer's Stone!" See I knew that she was mine.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Caribbean Clown Socks

For some the question is "half full or half empty?" For me the question is are these socks Caribbean colored as I thought initially? Or are they clown socks, as was suggested recently? I will let each person make their own choice, but I hope that my sister can look at the warm colors are happy and full of sunshine during the winter.

Yarn: Regia Crazy Color 6-ply in color 5260
Pattern: 56 stitch 56 row sock by Nancy T. McGlynn
Needles: US 3 / 3.25 mm & US 2 / 2.75 mm (for toes and heels)
Stash Down Yardage: 280 yards
Total Stash Down Mileage: 1.57 miles

By weight these took just over 2 skeins, but don't let that fool you. I had to use a fair bit of a third to make the colors match. Here is how far 2 balls took me: only about halfway through the foot.

As I was digging through the strata of the socks yarn stash for the yarn to make these socks, I recently realized that the colors that draw me go through seasonal cycles. I bought these during another cold winter during the period of short, dark days where nothing but the brightest of yarns please me most.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

TAB stamp

Do you guys remember TAB soda? It is a bit of a joke between us, so I made this stamp this morning for Chiquita to take letterboxing. It is also my first hand-carved stamp, totally inspired by Eliza aka Miss Violet's stamp carving this month.

TAB stamp

We headed over to the National Heritage Museum to go try it out and found a hitchhiker! She is so excited about the idea of this now. But even better was the hitchhiker's name, "ART: Time to Paint".


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Crochet Squares

I finally got the last 9 squares done for my crochet sampler blanket. Now I just need to crochet all the connecting bits and the border.

top (left to right): double crochet, spring time square (X2), nooks and crannies
top (left to right): dreamcatcher, shell stitch, spring breeze, double crochet, maze granny square

Pattern: Shell Stitch
Hook: I/5.50 mm

Pattern: Dreamcatcher
Hook: G/4.25 mm
Modifications: skipped rows 6-10, 14

Pattern: Spring Breeze
Hook: G/4.25 mm
Lesson 4
Modifications: last row hdc replaced all sc

Pattern: Nooks & Crannies
Hook: G/4.25 mm
lesson 5
Modifications: umm, done wrong, but consistently so whatever

Pattern: Maze Granny Square
Hook: G/4.25 mm
Lesson 8

Pattern: Springtime Square
Lesson 8
*these two not included in yarn totals since it was done before the Stash Down*

Stash Down Yardage : ~370 yards by weight
Stash Down Mileage: 1.42 miles

Also I want to start a pair of Bellatrix socks in honor of the passing of Gigi Silva, their designer. I have narrowed it down the the three above. I was initially partial to the bottom skein of Trekking XXL. Chiquita really though the middle skein of Cherry Tree Hill was best. But then I was thinking the top skein of Bear Mountain might be even better with the green for the killing curse. Help me pick a colorway!

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Arithmancy Challenge

1. How many unforgivable curses does Lord Voldemort use on Harry in the Goblet of Fire? Name them. All three: Cruciatus, Imperius, and Avada Kedavra.

2. How long does it take to brew Polyjuice Potion? 21-28 days (lacewing flies stewed 21 days, but fluxweed must be picked at full moon)

3. In the Chamber of Secrets Professor Sprout welcomes her Herbology students to which greenhouse? greenhouse 3

4. What is Harry's number on the Quidditch team? 7 in films

5. Who is the oldest actor to play a Hogwarts student in The Chamber of Secrets? Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle, age 37 at the time)

6. On what day do Harry Potter and the Dursleys arrive at the hut on the rock, on the island in the sea (SS)? July 30th, 1991

7. How many times has Gilderoy Lockhart won Witch Weekly's Most-Charming-Smile Award? 5

8. How many years does Sirius black spend in Azkaban? 12

9. How many Famous Wizard cards does Ron tell Harry he has in his collection on the Hogwart's Express? about five hundred

10. What number is Dumbledore's vault at Gringott's? 713

11. How long has Scabbers been in the Weasley family when he becomes Ron's? 10 years (12 years in July 1994, but Ron receives Scabbers in Sept. 1992)

12. What number is Harry Potter's vault at Gringott's? 687

13. What is written where the number 12 should be on Molly Weasley's clock (COS film)? mortal peril

14. How many presents does Dudley receive on his birthday (SS book)? 37 (but is promised 2 more

15. What is the license plate registration number on Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglia car (COS film)? 7990TD (HOW777 in book)

16. How many points are scored for a goal in Quidditch? 10

17. What is the exact time the Hogwart's Express leaves King's Cross station? 11 o'clock sharp

18. How many players are there on a Quidditch team? 7

19. How far back in time does Tom Riddle's diary take Harry? 1943, during Riddle's 6th year

20. How many flavors of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans did Harry eat on the Hogwart's Express (SS book)? 8, though he also nibbled a pepper one for 9

21. According to the Chocolate Frog Card how old are Nicolas Flamel and his wife Perenelle Flamel? Nicolas Flamel 665 years, Perenelle Flamel 658 years

22. What is the number on the front of the Hogwart's Express train? 5972

23. How many eyes does Fluffy have? 6

24. What was Harry's room number at the Leaky Cauldron? 11

25. How many points did Slytherin have when Dumbledore announced the scores for the House Cup in the Sorcerer's Stone? 472

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy Lunar New Year

I absolutely love Lunar New Year, and today we are now entering the year of the rat. (One of my Chinese co-workers tells me that snow on the first day of the new year is a good sign for the harvest to come. I will have to tell my CSA farmer, since we did get some snow today.) In honor of her first Lunar New Year, I had planned on a special gift for my niece (born in the year of the pig).

Pattern: Minnowknits China Doll by Jil Eaton
Size: 1 year
Yarn: 1.8 skeins Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in 935 Salmon Berry Red
Supplier: The Knitting Room (now closed)
Needles: US 5 / 3.75 mm
Stash Down Yardage: 387 yards
Total Stash Down Mileage: 1.2 miles

  • I knit this in seed stitch instead of double seed stitch, because apparently that is what my fingers wanted to do. I kept finding that I had gone back to it, so ultimately I just went with it.
  • I did knit the front and back separately, but I adapted the sleeves to be knit in the round.
  • I also decreased the number of buttons from 4 to 3, since the instructions for spacing did not make a lot of sense for this, the smallest size.
I am so happy with how this little sweater turned out. My favorite detail is probably the mandarin collar, which is hemmed similar to the Quidditch Sweater, but the slip stitch edge with button loops is pretty adorable too.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Thom's Squares

Over on Ravelry there is a group project (Ravelry link) going on to make a blanket for "Grandpa Rav", who broke both ankles, his elbow and a wrist 2 months ago due to fall from a 20 ft ladder. (And actually it is his birthday today.) To avoid making a house cozy, the squares are only 4" large and knit from machine washable blue and grey yarns.

Shell Square Yardage: 40 yards
Mitered Square Yardage: 48 yards
Total Stash Down Mileage: 0.98 miles

These are my two squares. I made the mitered square one yesterday, and the shell stitch crocheted square today. They were both made from doubled sock yarn. The charcoal grey is Jawoll, and the blue is Fortissima Socka, recognizable from my SPLJ13 socks.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Recycled Hat

Today I finished weaving in the ends and over-dyeing this hat to be donated to a Warmer Winters, a local charity that provides warm clothing to some of the area's homeless that I have mentioned previously. I had finished the knitting of this hat a little bit ago, but hadn't gotten around to finishing it.

The yarns here are all from the same recycled 100% wool sweater that I first used to experiment with dyeing. The purple was my first adventure with kool-aid dyeing. The blue was my first attempt with Wilton's icing dyes. And the orange was from my only try with beets. I figured j-random guy might not be thrilled with the colors so I over dyed it black with Wilton's icing dye.

Stash Down Yardage: ~135 yards going by weight
Total Stash Down Mileage: 0.93 miles

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

A Slow Sunday for Crafting

I am afraid that I don't have much to show you today. I did do my thing-a-day project, but I probably won't talk about each one here unless I think it interesting. More fun was that we hit my favorite independent art store, Artist Supply in Cambridge. We picked up gesso (which I somehow had never used before) and stuff for stamp carving: carving tools, some mastercarve block, and a blending marker for transfers. I am planning on taking Chiquita letterboxing, and thought it might be more fun with her own stamp. Mostly though we cleaned and reorganized the house. I know it doesn't sound thrilling, but it really makes a difference in how I feel when I am at home.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

FO: Baby Sandals

This pair of booties has sat almost finished on my WIP pile for almost a year. Time to finish them before the baby out grows them!

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Fiber Content: 55% Merino wool, 33% Microfibre, 12% Cashmere
Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns
Pattern: Sandals from Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Yardage: 72 yards (0.52 skeins)
Stash Down Yardage: negligible

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Yardage: 22 yards
Total Stash Down Yardage: 0.86 miles

I absolutely love these. The garter stitch makes them so squishy, and the yarn is deliciously soft to begin with. I immediately cast on a mitered square for the memory blanket that I am working on.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Gryffindor Stitch Markers

It is day 1 of thing-a-day, and I decided to work on a swap gift for a certain Gryffindor. As an added bonus, it is even in Project Spectrum colors.

I usually make stitch markers for other people, but rarely myself. Maybe I will have to fix that this month.

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