Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Last night was a close call. We almost got skunked again. I can't believe there's another Skunk in the neighborhood, and choose our back yard to look for food, or shelter. I was sitting and knitting, watching TV, when Happy and Denny exploded into a frenzied barking madness. I almost broke a DP needle, that's how startled I was. But I was not the only one. The Skunk was just outside the sliding door, and "pooped his pants", because it smelled skunky right away. Even with all the windows closed it was intense. I shuddered, because just five minutes earlier, I let the dogs out to pee one last time. Needless to say, it took them awhile to settle down. They wanted nothing more than to go back out into the darkness, and catch that Skunk.

Earlier that evening, I was mucking around in the kitchen,


making "Strauben". Once in a while we remember food we've eaten a long time ago, in another life, and then I get out my old cook book, and give it a try. These are made with yeast dough, but you can make them with a different dough as well. These should not be eaten more than once in ten years or so. Please don't ask for the recipe. I don't feel comfortable helping to clog your arteries. No nutritious value whatsoever, but delicious nevertheless.
So, while I was in the kitchen, Happy was out on the deck, enjoying the evening sun, his sun bed, and a bone.
Happy in the evening sun

Good times! It was only just above freezing, way to cold to sit outside, but he seemed to like it.

Happy in the evening sun

Earlier the same day, I was working on my Taygete
Taygete in progress

I finally finished the garter stitch section, and picked up stitches for the lace part, just to put it away again, because I've got a pattern to test knit. Kanagawa mittens by Kirsten Kapur. I had to cast on right away. No pictures yet, it was late, and I had to start over again. Plus after the Skunk episode, I went to bed to read.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Fornicating Reindeer Hat

It had to be at some point, that's for sure. My son requested this hat for himself. He almost never wants something knit from me, so I agreed happily, and went for yarn hunt in my stash.

Fornicating Reindeer Hat

chart: it's a free chart by Anne Rutten and you can find it here

pattern: no pattern, I just made it up as I went
yarn: discontinued Elann Peruvian Highland Sport (sad about the discontinue), it's great yarn, I used black (of course what else?) and light grey.
needles: 3.5mm
start-finish: March 17 - 21
mods: no mods regarding to the hat structure, but I did modify the chart, that is, the bottom pattern comes from "1000 Great Knitting Motifs" by Luise Roberts on page 103. Both my son and I didn't like the original base of the chart.

For this hat I did a SWATCH! I'm not a swatching girl, but this time, to get a good fit, it had to be a swatch first. Well, first I had to measure a head. I didn't like the plain ribbing I've seen others use for their hats, and I thought a folded hem would be nice. I'm pleased that by now as a knitter I'm good enough to make things without consulting books or patterns for everything. I've seen hems like that, but never knit one before.
The part which took the longest was picking up all those stitches from the provisional cast on. Black is not my favorite to knit with, but I like the finished product. I knit the stitches together, almost like a 3-needle bind off, but it left me with live stitches to go on.

Fornicating Reindeer Hat

The hat has been worn, and found warm and well fitting! Yippee! I was supposed to make another one in red and white, but I don't have those colors at hand, and I need a break from fair isle knitting. It's one thing to knit repeatable patterns like the bottom one, that's easy, but with the chart above, you have to look at every row, it's different every time, and there was A LOT of twisting, and untwisting, after each row. Anyway, I'm glad it turned out as well as it did.

I've seen the chart on mittens, and socks too. Just saying.... :o)


Friday, March 25, 2011

Handspun Friday - Core spinning?

I've seen some really lovely core spun yarn. Not the bumpy, loopy ones, but evenly spun. I wanted to try this too. For this, fiber batts are great, or so I've heard. I've got fiber batts in my stash. They all look pretty, but I don't especially like spinning them. There are always exceptions.

Well, I grabbed one, which has been in my fiber stash for years.
Boysenberry, alpaca, corriedale, and glitz, 3oz
It's pretty, isn't it! I've only used one though. It's called Boysenberry, a blend of Alpaca, Corriedale, and Glitz (3oz). I don't remember where I bought it.

One Sunday afternoon, I selected the core for my core spun yarn, read about how it's done online, and in my spinning books, and sat down to give it a whirl.

First try:

first corespinning try

Second try:
core spinning second try

Third and last try:

core spinningh third try

All failures. With the second try you can actually see sections of core spun yarn. With the third try, you can see the blue core yarn. Argh. I gave up after that.

Since the fiber batt was out, and some of it lost, I decided to just spin the rest as singles, and ply it with my core yarn, which is a Mohair/Nylon blend. I've used this yarn to knit a capelette for my grandmother, and I would not have used this yarn again, any time soon.

I was prepared to get the ugliest yarn of the year, but after taking pictures of it, I must say, it's not so bad.

Boysenberry, mohair, nylon, alpaca, corriedale, and glitz, 149yds-2ply-1

The mohair makes it very hairy, but also very soft. It's only 149yds, but if I want to, I've still got the second batt, and some of that yarn left to make more.

Boysenberry, mohair, nylon, alpaca, corriedale, and glitz, 149yds-2ply-1

So, yeah. Core spinning is not for me, not at the moment anyway. I'll try again later, much later.

And as always some puppy love:
Frik & Frak to compare sizes:

March 11

And Happy & Denny under my desk. Happy was there first, but Denny does not like to sleep alone. He always finds a way to wiggle up to somebody.

March 14

March 14


Monday, March 21, 2011

How could I not?

Buy this pattern, that is. It's the Mitered Cross Blanket for Japan by Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting Blog.

As Kay says,"The designer will donate all proceeds from the sale of downloads of this pattern to Mercy Corps ( In 2011, these donations will be designated for Japan earthquake/tsunami relief, and thereafter to support Mercy Corps’ relief work."


I love blankets, and this one's going to be wonderful, once Kay's done with knitting it. I'm looking forward to it. I'm not going to be able to cast on any time soon, but it's going to happen at some point. :o)

I might knit a sample square though, just to get the feeling of it....

And so that this is not a total picture less post here's the pups:


photos taken about a month ago



and the Maggster: we still have a little snow, or I shouldn't call it that any more, it's more like a plate of ice in shady areas. We are in the backyard in the mornings, when the ground is still frozen, so they can run around. The rest of the day it's a mud fest, so walks on the leash is what they get, until the mud situation gets better.


PS I've made it easier to comment now, by eliminating word verification. Comments will still be moderated before posting. We'll see how it goes. If there will be too much Spam, I'll enable word verification again.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Handspun Friday - Sweet Denny

Yesterda was such a mild day, that the last of the snow on our deck melted away, and I was able to sweep the dirt away. I've also done something I've never done before. I've used the vacuum cleaner to get it really clean. There was a bag full of dog hair stuck to the boards. After that I placed the chairs, and ate my lunch outside. There was a little cool breeze, but I didn't care. I also found out, well I knew it already, but not to what extend, that Denny hates birds. He barked at every single one, which flew by. He also watches airplanes as long as he can see them.

Which brings me to todays handspun yarn. There is a spin-along going on amongst FatCatKnits members on Ginny's Ravelry group. For the month of March the colorway was "Sweet Tortie". Just when I was plying my yarn, I realized, that it's got the colors of Denny's coat.


There are all colors of brown, to black, and grey, except my yarn has no white in it, and Denny has that too. I should have gotten superwash Merino wool, then I would have had white as well.

Feb.15-the boys-4

Anyway, I've chosen BFL fiber. This spin-along is great, the colorway was voted on, and you can get it on any fiber you want. It's very interesting to see how different the yarns turn out, depending on the fiber, and the way it's spun.

So, this is BFL, 3.9oz, 380yds, navajo plied. I tried to spin the singles as thin as possible, to get maximum yarn out of it. I don't think I could have comfortable spun it any thinner. It turned out Sport weight yarn. I'm thinking socks.

Sweet Denny

I'm not sure I'm going to participate in next month spin-along. It will depend on the colorway. Maybe it's one I already have. I really want to spin down my fiber stash. Anyway it was a lot of fun. Some people are still working on their Sweet Tortie, and I can't wait to see their yarn.


PS Maggie caught her first fly yesterday, and promptly, after swallowing it, vomited it up again. Must have buzzed around in her stomach. ;o)


Monday, March 14, 2011


Celaeno is one of the sisters of the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology–nymph companions of Artemis–turned into stars to save them from Orion’s pursuit. This is one of Seven Small Shawls by Romi Hill.

Celaeno shawl

The original pattern has a ton of beads worked in, but I didn't have any. If I were to knit t his again, I would use beads. The garter section is quite boring, but I LOVE the lace edge.

Celaeno shawl

This star stitch in particular. So neat! I also love the color. I'm not a blue person, but this colorway I liked.
Celaeno shawl

I've used once again one skein of Wandering Cat Yarns Slinky Cat, colorway Midnight Rendevous.

Celaeno shawl

It was just ready in time to be sent over the ocean to my mom, for her birthday back in mid February. She's told me, that she liked it, and has worn the shawl several times.

Celaeno shawl

It's 20" x 50", and I've knit it on 3.75mm needles. Quite a small shawl, but that was to be expected.
I'm currently working on the second shawl from Seven Small Shawls, even though it's # 5 of the so far 5 published shawls. I'm waiting for the last two shawls to be released. We've seen them on Romi's Forum, and I like them a lot.

I have to admit that I was totally surprised by the change to Daylight Saving time yesterday. I knew it was coming in March but not this weekend. I don't like it, but can't do anything about it. The pups have to get used to different feeding times as well. They and their built-in clocks!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blooming Garden

It's finally done! Taking a month to knit a shawlette is not something I want to do often. I did enjoy this knit - along, no matter how long it took. It was a very friendly group.
Unfortunately this green is very hard to photograph. Usually it's the color red, but try as I might, I didn't get it quite right.
Blooming Garden

Blooming Garden

The shawlette turned out to be 50 inches x 25 inches after blocking. I used 3.75mm needles, and used 1.34 skeins ~582.9yds. I used Wandering Cat Yarns Twinkle Cat in the colorway Emerald City. The color of the yarn photo is pretty accurate. The pattern is called Blooming Garden by Tiziana Sammuri. It's available for purchase now.

WCY-Twinkle Cat-Emerald City-2 times

There are many beautiful versions of this shawl, but I like Diem's best, because of the crispness of her knitting, the sharp contours, which I'm missing from mine. I know I made several mistakes, but I'm not a perfectionist. But seeing her's I wish I was.

Blooming Garden

Especially the flower part was real lace, with charted stitches on the wrong sides as well. You really needed to pay attention, but it was not hard to knit. The use of stitch markers is very helpful in this case.

Blooming Garden

I love those little star stitches. The bind off around the neck was very interesting as well. It preserved the garter stitch border. I thought it was very clever of Tiziana to figure this one out.

Blooming Garden

So this one's over and done with. I dont' think I'll join another KAL this year though. There's so much other projects I want to do, plus I've joined a spin-along as well, and there are always all the fiber cub fibers to spin.

Since rain and snow have been chasing each other for days now, I felt like baking some cookies, and sipping some tea, while watching the miserable weather outside. Our backyard is flooded, it's a sea out there, and we have water in the basement, not good.
I made oatmeal/chocolate chunks cookies. I didn't have chocolate chips at home, so I used some chunks from some Belgium hot chocolate mixture. I seldom make hot chocolate anymore. There should have been some walnuts in there too, but I didn't have any at home. Almonds did the trick. Those cookies are VERY filling, and smell so good, and are even more delicious.

March 11-oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies with new tea pot

Have a lovely weekend, from all of us.

Feb. 9


Friday, March 11, 2011

Handspun Friday - SAG

SAG means Spinning Awesome Good. Today is all about SAG fiber, and handspun yarn. Since there was no Handspun Friday last week, I'm showing you three finished yarns at once. They were in my shop for a while, but I've never shown them here.

I wanted to spin some thicker yarns for a change, since most of my yarns tend to be lace weight, fingering weight, or DK weight. These are definitely worsted weight yarns, or heavier.

Awesome Boyfriend 2

First there's Awesome Boyfriend on BFL. I've spun this colorway before, but finer. This is navajo plied, 161yds.

Purple Haze
Next there's Purple Haze on Merino, navajo plied, 147.5yds.

Lilac Dream

And finally there's Lilac Dreams on Merino, navajo plied, 160yds.

There you have it. Wishing you all a lovely weekend! Ooops, almost forgot that tomorrow will be the last post about Blooming Garden shawl, which is finished.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Thing

All of our dogs have their own "thing", which none of the other dogs do. Happy for instance drinks water from the water bowl by pressing his nose against the edge, slurping the water up the side of the bowl. I don't know how he can stay hydrated that way, but he does. When the water level is low, his nose gets all wrinkled up, because of the pressure. He's so weird.


Denny's "thing" is his beautiful play bow, often followed by a jump like a buck or a goat, before they crash their heads together. Unfortunately it's so random, that I have not yet captured it.


Maggie's "thing" is leaning.
March 9-Maggie leaning-2

She loves desk chairs, and when they turn, she just walks with it.
When she was smaller she jumped up on desk chairs in the house, but she's getting too big for that now.
Feb. 18-Maggie sitting in my chair-3
This was very early in the morning, I haven't even turned on all the lights yet, when she jumped up on the chair. At the time this was something I just realized she liked to do, and got a not so great shot of it. I didn't know she would do that again, and again.

Feb. 28-122

This is my basement desk. I have one in my studio, equally cluttered as well.

Feb. 28-125

Feb. 28-129

Do your dogs have their own "things" as well?


Monday, March 07, 2011

Last serious snow this Winter?

March 6-early morning-2

After three days of rain, with flooding around the house, we've got a lot of snow over night. We woke up to this lovely white fluff on Sunday morning. We've spent as much time outside as possible to enjoy it to the fullest. While the neighbors where clearing off their decks, I was "knee" deep in snow, chasing the dogs, or rather watch them chase each other. Maggie is really good for Denny, he runs more with her, because they take away each others twigs, and other stuff, and have to get it back = a lot of running.
But before we went outside to play in the backyard, the pups had some fun out on the deck.
March 6-early morning-3

Here they are in action:

I've also finished my February socks quite quickly. I've liked this sock pattern from the moment I saw it on the cover of this book, Knit Socks! by Betsy Lee McCarthy. They are called Winter Garden. They were surprisingly quick to knit. I like the lace cuff, and it had just enough color work for my taste, and of course stripes! I love stripes. They change as you get down to the foot, and to the toes. These socks never got boring.

Winter Garden socks-6
There was a smudge on the lens, now gone. Only saw it, when processing the photos.

Winter Garden socks-2

I especially like the cuffs, with the little lace border on top.

Winter Garden socks-5

I liked the color combination from the book, so I was trying to find something similar in my stash. I found three different brands of commercial sock yarn, which worked well together.

March 2011 socks

March socks have already been cast on.
PS I also saw a group of seven Canadian Geese fly over our backyard in a beautiful V-shaped formation. This is definitely a sign of Spring coming.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Blooming Mystery KAL - clue 4

One more clue, and this shawl will be done. This is 60% knit, and I'm looking forward to finishing it.

Blooming Mystery KAL-clue 4 done

I've just started on the second skein, but I doubt that I will use it all.