Friday, May 30, 2008

It's Sam's Birthday!

My boy Sam is six years old today. The above picture is one of my favorite pictures of him. He was 11 weeks old then. We've visited with him, throughout his first weeks at the breeders. He only had two sisters, and one brother. His ears were up like that only, when he was looking up like that. He reminds me of a white mouse.
This was taken, when we went to our first and only dog show, with Biko participating. It was incredible hot that day, and a long drive. So my daughter, and Sam stayed home. He's not been a good boy that day, whining a lot and throwing his bed around. But so cute...

Biko and Sam liked each other at once. Still to this day, when Sam yelps in pain for whatever reason, she sprints to his aid from where ever she just was. Witnessed just a few days ago. Don't know what had bugged him, but she sure took notice.
That's another favorite of mine. He climbed back there, without disturbing the books much. With him being six years now, I hope he's not having a midlife crisis. :o)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wasabi pot holder!

Now I have two pot holders. Didn't know until recently that I needed some. Plain old dishcloth did the trick so far. People! Crochet takes forever! In the foreground you see the Bosnian crochet pot holder, which was my first one. In the background is the one I just did single crochet, which was only slightly faster.
At some time during crocheting along, there was this chant formed in my head: wasabi-wasabi-wasabi-am I done yet?
Both pot holders were crochet as pouches, and crochet shut on top, and in the end a loop was formed.
Specifics about the smaller pot holder:
pattern: decorative hot pad by Nancy Nehring from the book Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of crochet (Leisure Arts publication)
yarn: Patons Bumble Bee Baby Cotton, 100% cotton, 50g/123yds, used 1 ball exactly, with a couple of inches left over.
hook: 3mm
size: 6"x6"
I made a lot of mistakes, it doesn't look like the one in the book, bares just a fleeting resemblance with it. The instructions, though for beginners, where totally confusing to me. I was about to give up, when I found ONE other entry about it, when I googled for it. The person, though not finished, and complaining about how slow it was going, did make one thing clear to me with her picture. The pattern was visible in the inside of the pouch. So I started over and as soon as I had about an inch, I turned it inside out, so I could see the pattern on the outside. I mentioned in an earlier post, that you only have to be able to count to ten. Let me tell you, it's not that easy. I could not pick it up and continue working on it, unless I stopped at ten, and knew it. If I was interrupted counting, and crocheting, I had to rip back where I changed the crocheting from back loop/front loop. Anyway, it sounds confusing, even though the actual crocheting is easy. The math in the instructions didn't make any sense to me. I was looking for errata, but couldn't find any.
The finished fabric is tight, and thick, great for hot pads/pot holders though. It will be the only one I ever made.

My creation

The second pot holder (since you need two, I had to make another one), I wanted to go faster. I chained the same amount in the beginning, but it came out 2 inches larger, because single crochet is not as tight as just slip stitches. Here I could put it down whenever, and pick it up and continue. It still took longer than I thought. I used 1 1/2 balls for this one. I made it as pouch as well, it's about the same thickness, a bit handier, because of it's size: 8"x8". I'm glad it's done.

Of course, being that color, which reminded me of wasabi, led to the chop sticks, and fortune cookies. :o)

Now I have only the Queen Anne's lace shawl on my needles, but I found something to make today, which I did NOT know I needed either. It's Tracy's fruit sock. But it will be a fast in-between knit. Getting right on it.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Last month or so, I've decided to spin the fiber I've dyed myself, before I dig into my other fiber stash. Last year, around this time, I've dyed fiber for the first time. It was 16 ounces of Corriedale, in four different colorways. The first one was my nature socks as I called them, a green colorway, but different. The socks are still going strong. The color did not wash out, and there's only a little felting on the sole.

The next colorway was the blue one, where I had only 2 ounces left, after the over twist disaster. Made these socks with it.

So here's another green, which I call "Loden". When I saw the finished yarn, it reminded me of an old coat I had, a long time ago.
My creation

I was surprised that the fiber was easy to spin. I kind of expected it to be sticky in parts, but it was easy to draft and spin. I LOVE the different greens in this skein.
It's 307yds navajo plied. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've started to do navajo plying a little different, and it turned out so much softer. It's hard to explain how I do it, you'd have to see it. I'm glad I experimented with it.

Here you can see a bowl full of drafted fiber. Sam's hard at work guarding it. It was a nice sunny day, when I took this picture. Late afternoon, since the sun was coming in as it is. I was knitting something (can't remember what), and the dogs were snoozing peacefully, very nice scenario, and relaxing too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace shawl ...

I know you all are dying to see more of it, so here are a couple of links to pictures of finished ones.
I first saw the Queen Anne's Lace shawl in the making at Chawne's flickr photostream. (She's a very prolific knitter, and spinner, and I love to look at her daily pictures). She provided the link to a yahoo group, where you can get the pattern. It's here. A very relaxed and friendly yahoo group so far, the first I feel totally comfortable being in. I'm planning on knitting more of MMario's designs, but don't want to rush things. I haven't knit on the QAL shawl in a couple of days, for various reasons, but will resume doing so soon.
So, back to work now, and I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


My creation
I've always liked chevron stitch patterns. When I first saw Emily's Crosswalkers, I liked both her yarn choice, and the pattern. The ones she made are more like anklets, but I like mine a bit longer on the leg.

It turned out to be a tiny bit boring to knit, and the toe part looks funny. I don't think I made any modifications, except making them longer. Normally I don't suffer SSS, but this time I had to hurry to cast on for the second sock, otherwise it might have stayed a single sock, and I really do need two!

pattern: Crosswalker by Emily B. Miller
yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit "Stile" # 8001, 75% wool 25% polyamid
needles: 5 DP - 2.25mm
size: 10.25 inches
destination: my feet
start-finish: April 9-13
I'm working on Queen Anne's Lace shawl, and am enjoying it very much. This shawl is easy, and relaxing, just like knitting socks. Now that the rounds get bigger, I have slowed down. Also I'm spinning a little bit every day.

This is how far I've come with my Bosnian crochet pot holder. Since it's only slip stitches it grows very slowly. I might have half of it done. The only thing you need to do here is, be able to count to ten. :o)

Too cold!

Thank you all for leaving comments. Gillian, and Helga, it's nice to know that you are still visiting! :o)
I never thought I would say that, but it's too cold! I've never felt so cold throughout all of winter. This year, we have a wonderful Spring, exactly as it should be, but it's too cold. I've been turning the heat on and off, and finally off for good, sometime last week, but I should have waited. Now I'm too stubborn to turn it on again, but really, what's the matter? We have 15 C in the house. This morning they say, it was 2C outside, now we are up to 15 C I guess. At least the sun is shining, for now.
My creation No wonder the flowers wont grow. I feel lucky they didn't freeze to death over the weekend. So, not much to see here so far. But I'm happy I've planted them anyway, it's a little color, which makes me happy. Look at the beautiful orange one! Don't ask me what they are called. I'm so bad with names. I always stick the card with the name on it right next to the flower, so that I can refresh my memory, until the next time.

Here's my boy, enjoying being outside. We had a rough few days. Yesterday we celebrated Victoria Day, and the fireworks started around Thursday night. He's so frightened, and I feel helpless, because I can't make him understand, that it's nothing, and it will be over, eventually. The first two nights we were out, walking the dogs, and he was fine. I guess all those interesting smells distracted him. But once we got home, he went straight down to the basement to hide.
My creation Last night though, our neighbours joined in with the fireworks "fun", and for an hour and a half, Sam was running around the house, panting, not even his basement was safe, he thought.
So, next up is Canada Day, were we will go through the same thing.
Biko doesn't care at all about the noise.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm free!

I just have to show you my latest finished project, because I'm soooo glad it's done, done, done. I'm patting my own shoulder, as I type this, and yes, I can do that, but it's slow typing. :o) I was so disciplined to finish this, despite me wanting to cast on for a million other things, but I didn't. My first, and only double knit scarf is done! O.K. so you almost can't call it scarf, more like a scarfett, because yesterday afternoon, I've decided to cut it short for my own sanity, to the delight of the rest of the household, because I was so grumpy, I drove everybody crazy.
I'm very excited to have this done. After I took pity on myself and called it quits, not surprisingly double knitting didn't seem all too bad. It isn't, but I don't like it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE what you can do with it, I love the color I've used here, and I liked the yarn, Knit Picks Comfy, and I even liked my design. So, why was this such a big deal?
I don't know, except I had to force myself to pick up this project and work on it. Everybody has likes and dislikes, and double knitting is one of MY dislikes.
It's really HARD to get tidy edges, not even Lucy Neatby has a better solution, I've learned DK from her DVD, which was the best source I could find for learning this method. When you run out of yarn and have to attach a new ball, the only way you can hide the ends is to make a knot as close to the edge as possible, and later pull it inside the two layers, because you have two right sides, nowhere to weave in the ends. But that's not what was bugging me, because I did that gladly, once I was done. Thinking about it, I guess, the tangling of the two strands was one thing, which drove me nuts, and the fiddly beginning of each row. You never get into a flow with this method. For the scarf to stay closed on the edge, you have to twist the strands, after knitting the first three stitches, you have to tug hard each one of them, which means you have to stop knitting, and take first the one color strand, then the next, and the first again. And all this even with my advantage of being a Continental style knitter, which is a plus here. Anyway, I don't like it, I will not make another scarf or, god in heavens a baby blanket (saw some beautiful blankets on ravelry, but now I know it will never be).
I'm glad I stuck to it and finished it. Now I can cross it off my (non existing) list of things to learn, and to do just once.
In the foreground you see the bind off edge. Isn't it pretty? I love it. It's called condensed bind off, and you can learn all about it on Lucy's DVD "Double Knitting Delight". In the background you can see a bit of the tubular cast on. So they don't match, big deal. I'm done, that's the important thing!

pattern: none, my own design (if there are enough (brave/insane) asking for the pattern I'll write it down, but not how to do double knitting)
yarn: Knit Picks Comfy, 75% Pima Cotton, 25% Acrylic, 109 yds/50g, used one ball of each, and a few yds of a second ball. This yarn is as its name would suggest, very soft. There will be no scratchy feeling around the throat. colors: Fedora (brown) # B118, and Sea Foam # B981
needle: 2 double point 4mm (US 6)
size: 4" x 37" just long enough to cross it in front and tuck it under your jacket.
destination: it was meant for DH, but now that it's so short, I don't know. Might keep it, because it was a pain to knit, only I will understand.
So, now that I'm free, what was it I wanted to do? I've only my pot holder on the hook, which is my outside crochet thing to do, which grows slowly, since outside I have other things to do as well.
I'm waiting for yarn to arrive, just two balls, but special ones, for a birthday present. While I'm waiting I might cast on Queen Ann's circular shawl, with the yarn I frogged from the Elses shawl. And there's the yarn I already have ready for a sweater for myself. This still frightens me a little, have to swatch, but I need some time to take heart to tackle this one. That's what I want to do right now, I guess QA shawl here I come. Oh yeah, and I've been spinning, wonderful thing that one. So relaxing. Everyone should try it. ;o)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

That's what 1 kg Cotswold looks like!

No, not them, for the Cotswold you'll have to scroll down.
Yesterday it was rainy and - not warm (I would not say cold, it was perfect for me). Today we have a wonderful sunny day (it's not over yet). We drove to a garden center, which is a bit out of the way, but I don't want to buy my flowers at the grocery store, or Home Depot, or Canadian Tire or some such. We've been to this garden center several times over the past years. They have a nice place there, adding each year to make it more wonderful. It's like a park, and today I spyed these blue sheep! Who would NOT see them? Aren't they gorgeous out in the green? While there, it's always hard to pick plants for my flower beds, because they have so many, and even when the cart is full, it looks measly compared to what they have. When we sort it into the van, I'm astonished that it's full, and not a single plant more would fit. Then, after arriving home, it hits me, because now I have to plant them all, as soon as possible. And so I did. Now I'm deliciously tired, and feel good about it. It's not worth taking pictures yet, but once they have grown some, I might. I don't use garden gloves, and my hands are rough, and in need of some hand cream, or I might not be able to spin, or knit tonight. But I have to feel the dirt, it's grounding, it's calming.

I started spinning 1kg (or 35 ounces) of Cotswold back in March. I spun it in it's natural state, and dyed the finished skeins, as they came available, except for the last one, which I left naturally. I've got the fiber from Wild Geese Enterprise (link on the side bar, too tired to link-a-tink). It was well prepared, not a lot of vegetable matter in it at all. It was a pleasure to spin, from start to finish. What took me so long to finish it all was, that I had to wait for a Lazy Kate for my Kromski bobbins, which are larger than the Ashford ones, and did not fit the Lazy Kate I have for those.
The natural color is creme/grey, and I like the lighter, and darker parts in the same skeins. It made dyeing them interesting too. I like all of them except the purple one. I dyed this one with Easter egg color, but the people who put this together had a different idea of purple than I do. It was more red than anything. I kept it for a while, not happy at all. Then I decided to overdye it with blue, and it is purple now, but it did not take the color evenly, so the red shows through in some places.
But I love the dark blue, and the cornflower blue, and both greens, which are different, and even the rich red, I love them all.
Since I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with it, I left the last skein natural just in case I'll need to dye it in a color I already have, but not enough off.
The finished yarn is a little overtwisted, which is not my fault, but the Lazy Kate was too tight, and I think the way I did navajo ply it, got too much twist in it too. I've since spun, and plied another fiber, and have changed my way of navajo plying a little, and it turned out perfect.
The skeins are all different yardage. But altogether they are about 1730 yds. The yarn feels a little like kitchen string, not soft at all, but it has a nice sheen to it. It feels heavy in the hand, and I don't have any idea what to do with it yet. I don't have to use them all together. This project was more to experience spinning with natural fiber, than anything else. I've included the picture of all the skeins, made with flash, because it shows the sheen really well.
After I've filled all 11 bobbins I have, there was already one finished skein. It was fun seeing them all get filled up. Plying was not so much fun, rather boring.
My creation
I adore cornflower blue! And I love the picture with the green and the blue skein on the natural fiber. :o) To see them bigger, click on the mosaic, and click on the individual pictures.
This morning, everything was still wet from last nights rain, but the sun was out, and we had fun just being outside. We brushed the dogs every day for the last three days, and we've got three shopping bags full of white hair, and they still have some left on them! :o)

Biko's up to no good, and Sam's just happy to be reunited with his Jolly ball, simple pleasure!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Have a Heart socks!

I have to start showing you my finished socks, before I forget what I thought about them. I've got this pattern from Marianne, thank you very much, and I LOVED knitting them. I usually don't knit my socks that short, but I'm O.K. with these, because of the lovely finishing in the back. They originally have a little bow, and a button in the back, but a bow was too girly for me. I'm not that kind of girl. I was so happy to find the perfect buttons in my button box, though. They have the same color as the yarn.
pattern: Have a Heart socks by Marianne Archer

yarn: Opal uni, 100gr/425m, 75% wool, 25% Polyamid, color # 1260

needle: 2.5mm, 5 DP

size: 10.25 inches

start-finish: April 5 - 8

My creation

They are toe-up socks, with a heel flap heel (which I used on my handspun socks). The dot-stitch is so cute, I liked it a lot. Best of all, the I-cord bind off turned out NOT to be too tight, as I was afraid it would be, but it's not. They are lovely socks, and I'm very happy with them.

This is our first wet dog picture of the year. The pool has been opened last Saturday. It was way too cold, and nasty weather, for even thinking of jumping in. She did the first time on Sunday, but today I took a picture of her hanging out on the balcony to dry off a little. This also means that from now until October she'll never get quite dry, and will increase to smell of wet dog, until she'll get her first of many, shampoo bath.

When she jumped in Sam was hiding as far away as possible. We had to hose him down last week, when he as more black than white, from all the mud, and I think he has not forgiven us for that. Also he gets really upset, when Biko jumps in. He runs back and forth, and comes to me, stands behind me, looking out to see how she's doing. He'll never understand how she can enjoy it.

I've been spring cleaning, not so much the house, as my computer. The favorite bar was getting too long, and I cleaned out a lot of links. I had links to websites, which were interesting, and to which I wanted to get back to read some more, but never did. Now I have only blogs left, which I read frequently. I've also taken stock of my projects. You know, I'm getting very uncomfortable, when there are more then one. I've decided to rip the Else's shawl. I really don't need a garter stitch shawl, even though I think the original is stunning because of the colores. I'm going to use the yarn for some other shawl.

I'm working on my tapestry crochet bag, and the double knitting scarf, AND I've started a crochet pot holder. I don't know why I'm drawn to slow going projects, the pot holder is Bosnian crochet, where you do only slip stitches, which takes forever! But I can take this easily outside, when I'm in the garden. I really DO need a pot holder, or better two, which makes more sense, but the other one, will NOT be the same, or it will never get done.

I have not spun at all the last week. I finished up my Cotswold project, which is finally all done. Now I have to decide what to spin next. Too many choices.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Small Knits - Basket Liner!

Thank you for all your comments on my Mohana shawl. Special thanks to those who were so generous and donated. I wish you all a lot of fun knitting the shawl! :o) Before we move on, I'd like to share some stats with you. I have four of my free patterns up for download. As of this morning this is how many times they were downloaded:

Kyla fingerless mittens - 2989 x
Grasshopper scarf - 1192 x
Have a Heart scarf - 281 x
Mohana shawl - 199 x
Isn't that awesome? I just found this feature today, and I couldn't believe my eyes! :o)
Now lets move on: Mother's Day is approaching. Since I have to mail my gifts I have to think about what carefully, since postage is so very high. I've decided my mom NEEDS a new basket liner for her bread basket. I don't have one, so I can't show it as it was intended to be used.
I found this pattern in the book : The Knitters Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes. The pattern is actually by Amy King. It's called Ripple Linen Basket Liner. Don't go looking for it though, because I made modifications. Mine does not look like the one in the book.
You knit this in the round from the inside out. I found the start very awkward, ripped it out, and started over with another technique, I've used before. I used DP's to a point where there were too many stitches, so I switched to magic loop method, since I only had a long circular needle in the right size. It worked really well. By the time I should have started the ripple stitch pattern I didn't like it at all. I decided to make one YO row, knit a few and end it with a picot edge. Easy, and I like it better. I did not like to knit with this linen yarn. I lost the ballband so I can't give you any more information about it. It's from Louet though, you might figure it out.

I was inspired to knit this basket liner, when I saw Claudia's lovely green basket liner. I actually like hers the way it is.
I followed her lead and made it a little bigger, so it turned out 15.5 inches square.

You'd like to know more about the lovely coffee pot, and cup, and saucer? Well, when we came to Canada, we drove around in the country side, to get a feeling of where we are. One day, there was a barn with an "Antique" sign on it. I wanted to know what goes for Antiques around here, so we went in. I was not looking for anything specific, just browsing, when I saw a lovely set of dessert plates, cups, and saucers, a sugar bowl, and the coffee pot. When I turned it over it said "Made in Austria"! Can you believe it? I had to have it. Imagine coming from Austria, and finding this in a barn in the middle of nowhere. :o)
My creation
Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.--James Joyce
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.--Elizabeth Stone
Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mohana shawl is available now!

I can't quite believe it myself, but we are finally done with the pattern. We, Angelika and I, tried to make it as easy to understand as possible. It's my first shawl pattern I've written down, and it's not easy. I could knit from my note, but that does not mean others could too. Angelika was a big help, pointing out, what should be made clearer, what better left out, or added. She finished this beautiful shawl, which you can see at the bottom of this post. I love how the yarn turned out. This shawl was written for talented Maggie, who was first time vendor at Knitter's Frolic 2008, to show what else you can do with her lovely sock yarn. I like knitting lace with sock yarn, and her sense of color is a great one. This was the second shawl I made from her yarn. specifics:
yarn: 2.5 skeins fingering sock yarn, mediumweight, Dyed in the Wool Handmade
needles: 4mm ciruclar
size after blocking: 45 inches by 80 inches (blogger is being funny and doesn't let me use the other keys)

close up of Chart C and border

My first Mohana shawl was made with Jojoland Melody.

This is Angelika's beautiful Mohana shawl.

Thank you, Angelika for being such a wonderful test knitter!
I offer this pattern for free, but if you feel inclined to do so, you are welcome to make a donation, which is very much appreciated! Thank you!
Chart C, written row 1 should read:
K2, PM, YO, K1, [YO, Sl1-K2tog-PSSO, YO, K3], repeat [to] 25 times, YO, Sl1-K2tog-PSSO, YO, K1, YO, PM, center stitches, then repeat whole section as mirror image from marker to marker on the other side of the shawl and end with k2 border stitches.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Scarves from the Heart

This is my 400th post, coinciding with the finishing of a new scarf I especially designed for Scarves from the Heart. Shelly asked me, if I would like to design a scarf for this cause, and of course I said yes. Things do not come easy to me, so I swatched for three days, when on the forth, I finally was satisfied with the result. Well, you might think, that's what she came up with in four days? Yep, can't say why this stuck, and not something else, that's just the way it is.
I hope people will like it, and knit it, and donate it to this charity. There is also a blog Scarves from the Heart blog for those who commit to at least knit one scarf (any scarf as I understand)for this charity. Go check it out!

You'll find the free pattern here. Hope you'll enjoy it, and are moved to knit one for "Scarves from the Heart"?! Shelly also told me that there's a group on Ravelry as well.

After I took pictures for the pattern, I had planned to paint this scarf. I'm not sure I like it better painted, but it sure was a lot of fun.
My creation

Friday, May 02, 2008

Last time, I promise!

Before everybody rolls their eyes, let me tell you that this will be the last time, I mention these socks, I promise! These three bobbins full of singles, turned into these ...

close up of toe

It still puzzles me, how the finished yarn looks like all knit up. I don't think I'll ever be able to imagine the yarn right, when I choose the fiber and how I'll put it together. And there's always another surprise from finished yarn, to knit fabric. It was raining today, I didn't get good light for the pictures, and the pictures with flash didn't show the colores right. The toe picture is quite good, colorwise.
yarn: my handspun fiber sample yarn
needles: 5 DP, 4mm
method: toe-up, cast on with Judy's magic cast on, worked with 44 stitches, reverse heel with heel flap, ribbed leg, and rolled edge
size and destination: 10 1/4", my feet
start-finish: April 29-30

These socks are thick, warm, and feel great on my feet! And boy, knitting socks with 4mm needles goes fast! I needn't have worried about the yardage, I had plenty left over.

Thanks for your comments on my last post! I'll take the advise and felt the second mitten on purpose, and will have the pleasure of knitting another pair of mittens for DH. And, Unibiko (hehe) likes to chew on the antler piece, and she throws it into the air, and generally plays with it. Sam's always hiding his, and gets very annoyed, when Biko finds it. I wish the pieces were a little larger though.

What's on my needles these days?

1. tapestry crochet bag (just begun yesterday afternoon)
2. Sockamania Club May 2008 "Celebration socks" (cast on last night)
3. Double Knit scarf (a few rows each day)
4. Elses shawl (a few rows now and again)

Woa, that's almost overwhelming to me. I better get to it and finish some WIP's.

I finished designing, and knitting a scarf for a charity. I'll let you know more, once it's dry and I have some pictures. The pattern is finished. Angelika has only a few more rows to knit on the Mohana shawl. Once she'll be done, it will take me a day to revise the pattern , and I'll post it soon after! :o)
A rainy day is soooo boring, not only to us! It's rare to find them both on the plateau at the same time.

Have a nice weekend!