Sunday, February 26, 2012

Paying it Forward

Jodi has sent me these potholders for my new kitchen as a Pay it Forward.

4 potholders, gift from Jodi

Aren't they cute? I haven't had potholders since the renovations, and I really needed some. These have been used right away, and now are a fixture in my kitchen. Thanks, Jodi!
I also wanted to show you these: Reisenthel baskets. I've had the red one for years now, using it for grocery shopping. Now I've got another one, with lovely floral design, and the tiny one, I'll use as project basket. I need it during the warm times of the year, when I go outside to knit, and often have to get all my stuff inside asap. This basket will be perfect. I love all of them!
Reisenthel baskets

I've cast on a new shawl. Romi Hill released two new shawls last Friday morning. It's two new Muses of the 7smallshawls Year Two ebook. I like them both very much, but I've cast on Polyhymnia's Triangle, with some Wandering Cat Yarn first: It's Twinkle Cat in Marcasite (grey), and Twinkle Cat Gold in Rumpelstilzchen ( I especially like how this one looks knit up).

Wandering Cat Yarns Twinkle Cat

This triangular shawl is nothing like a usual triangular shawl. It's a very interesting knit. I'll knit Calliope's Odyssey probably next. Right now, I've only got two WIP's, which is O.K. (Old Forge blanket, and Polly shawl).

And on a totally different note. I'm hoping that somebody can help me out here in trying to identify this tea for me. I've got it as a gift directly from China. I was under the impression I was drinking Green Tea, but since this loose leaf tea was used up, I've tried different brands of Green Tea and none of them tasted like the tea from this tin.

loose leaf tea from China

loose leaf tea from China

What the heck was I drinking? I really liked it too.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Handspun Friday - FCK Magnolia on Falkland

♥ long post - lots of pictures ♥

Last year, can't remember which month it was, FatCatKnits Magnolia was the colorway of the month. I've got 6oz of it, and I was spinning it with a shawl in mind. I separated the colors, and spun them from the green end to the dark purple end. This was going to be a beautiful shawl! I had the yarn in two skeins, because my bobbin only takes 4oz at a time.
Magnolis on Falkland
The finished yarn was sitting around for a while, but in the back of my mind I was always trying to figure out what pattern I would use with it. Then, one day I picked it up, wound the two skeins into cakes, and cast on a shawl.
I didn't like it. Well, I didn't like how the lace part looked, and since it's Falkland, it was not the softest either. It certainly is fine for socks, and mittens, but I knew I would not want to wear it around my neck. The colors were too bright to give a shawl as a gift, I thought, so I had a sleepless night over what to do with it then. It was almost 600yds! Several things came to mind, but when I woke up the next morning (of course I got some sleep), I knew that I would knit Burning Stripes socks!

I could not cast on fast enough to see how it would turn out.
Magnolia socks-9

I love the contrasting stripes down the back. I didn't do the short row heel as in the pattern, but let the stripe run along the heel until I started the toe decreases.
Magnolia socks-10

All the while I was knitting these, I was thinking "That's what it is all about!" Over and over agaian, while I was looking at the colors, the stripes, and how they played together. From fiber to socks.
Magnolia socks-1

The toes ended in this redish color and ...

Magnolia socks-4

it continued at the cuff of the second sock.
Magnolia socks-2

Only to turn purple in the end. The yarn weight was fingering weight, and was perfect for needle size 2.25mm. I don't like lose kit fabric for socks. I could not believe how perfect they were. Made me really happy!

Magnolia socks-3

Well, and then, there was left over yarn. I knew if I put it away, I would probably never get back to knitting with it, and I didn't want that. So I was thinking it might be enough for a pair of fingerless mittens.
Magnolia socks-6

I cast on, and since I was worried of running out of yarn, I knit the cuff shorter than I normally like.

Magnolia mittens-Falkland-3

Turns out, I had more than enough for full mittens!

Magnolia mittens-Falkland-6

By the way, I knew both socks, and the mittens would not match, but I did not care one bit!

Magnolia mittens-Falkland-5
After the mittens were done, I still had some left over yarn, so I did a quick crochet border on the cuffs, and I really like how it turned out. Look at those little picots, sweet!

Magnolia mittens-Falkland-4

A little heart formed by thumbs up!

Magnolia mittens-Falkland-2

O.K. now there was still some left over yarn, but screw it! I think I've used up my Magnolia yarn quite effectively.

Magnolia mittens-Falkland-7

I haven't spun at all this last week. Had to knit a quick pair of socks, and I was working on my Old Forge blanket, but I'm going to get back to the wheel asap! I'm already missing spinning too much.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Denny!

Denny turned two years old today! Unbelievable, it felt like 10 years with him already! Although his behavior has improved 100%, he's still a handful and then some.

Jan. 13-21
Don't let him fool you with his innocent looks.


He's throwing his things around, mostly the little devil squeaky toys.

Jan. 20

He found a new way to use the sofa for his pleasure.

 Denny and his big bone

A big bone like that is no challenge for him.


After many tries he finally found a position on this chair, which seemed comfortable enough for a few minutes.


Since he's eating a lot of ice when we are outside, he snuggles for warmth on my chewed on, sheepy smelling shawl. (he was the one who chewed on it, of course). Sometimes we have to cover him, so he can warm up again. Yes, you, I'm talking about you!


The Bagel Tree

Of course, what's a Denny post without a Denny story. I've been dying to tell this one.
Some time ago, it was already getting dark, we went outside with the dogs for a last run for the day. This is always hectic, and loud in the beginning. They all run like they have rockets tied to their asses, until they got rid of some overflowing energy.

That particular evening, we tried to keep track of what they were doing. I didn't see Denny right away, but I heard him. He was whining, the way he does, when he's impatient, and frustrated at the same time, and the lower branches of the old Spruce tree out back were rustling.
I called him, since I didn't know what he was doing, and I didn't want him to get into trouble, that's when I saw him jumping up into the branches. Clearly he saw something there.

So, when I called him, he came running, with something in his mouth, his tail curled almost double with triumph. Boy, do I hate it when they find stuff, and I don't know what it is.
Luckily when I told him to drop it, he did so right away. That's when I saw, that he's found a bagel in the tree! Damn squirrels! (don't know why they don't get the message, that there are three dogs on the grounds, and keep coming)

The bagel was almost whole, and I threw it away. That was certainly exciting enough, but what told us once again how smart Denny is, was the following days.

Every time we went into the backyard, he raced as fast as his short legs could take him to the Bagel Tree, checking if there's something else since last time he checked. This continued for about a week, until he stopped checking.
We all forgot about it after a while.
Then, one day, Happy found some piece of toast in one of the small Spruce trees, picked it out of the branches, and dropped it, when I yelled at him. It was a fine piece of toast, only butter, and honey were missing. The three of them checked it out, before I threw it away.

Then, next day, and a few days after that, Denny ran up to that tree, first thing, and checked if by some good luck, there's something else growing there. Alas, no more. Apparently it takes him a week to forget about it.

I found anther piece of bread on a third occasion. Maggie smelled something on the ground, but didn't find it (before I did), but I looked and removed it.

The thing is, Denny remembered, and checked, but the other two were la-di-da about it, rather playing, and not thinking about bagels growing on trees at all.

Happy Birthday, my little Brownie, we love you!


Monday, February 20, 2012

October Sky Cowl

I've named this cowl after the name of the yarn I used.

WCY-Alley Cat-October Sky-sw Merino-nylon-460yds

This is the most worn knit item in this winter, next to my second handspun Rikke hat. As soon as I've unpinned this cowl, and it was dry, photographed, I wound it around my neck and have only taken it off, when I went to bed, and into the shower. I think it's time to give it a bubble bath again, just to get it back into shape.

Well, here it is:

October Sky cowl

October Sky cowl

October Sky cowl

yarn: Wandering Cat Yarns, Alley Cat, colorway October Sky.
needles: 4mm
size after blocking: 6" x 64"

pattern: made it up: if you want to give it a try, it's really easy:
CO 220 stitches; close to knit in the round;
* k10, p10* repeat to end of round.
knit these rounds for 40 rounds.
Knit 3 garter ridges. (Starting with a purl round after the first 40 rounds.)
*Purl 10, Knit 10* for another 40 rounds.
Bind off loosely.

This cowl is reversible.

I was afraid I would not be able to wind it twice around my neck, but it stretched quite a bit. If I would knit this again, and I might, I would use either 200 or 210 sts. - totally enough, if you don't want to let it hang too far down.

At first I wanted to knit some socks with this yarn, but hated how it pooled. But I still wanted to knit the with this yarn, so I thought it would be interesting to see how it looked knit in a really big loop.

infinity cowl

It was a surprise that it made some kind of stripes. I think this cowl would be great for any of those hand painted skeins, that are totally wild in color, and nobody knows what to do with it.

Wandering Cat Yarns have one of those skeins in their shop right now, which I covet very much, but I'm on a yarn buying diet. This skein would totally be made into a cowl, if it were mine. :o)


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lovely Snow!

And what is my sweet boy doing in all this snow?


He's throwing toys in front of me, waiting patiently for me to toss them, so he can retrieve them.


Denny of course, has always something to say too.


Isn't that a lovely sight, early in the morning?



It wont stick around though, it's too warm, already started melting. But we'll get all the fun out of it, for sure.
I've got to go, play with the pups some more.


Maggie the Weirdo, I mean the Snow Queen!

It's become normal for her to jump up on the table, when there is fresh snow.


She also likes to eat snow, but not in a straight forward way:


She's defending her table top position, and wins.


Snow tastes so good!

We've got snow today! Sticky, yummy snow!

Denny thinks it's all his.

First a sniff:

And then, gobble, gobble:

He didn't know where to get a mouthfull first. It's just so good!



Friday, February 17, 2012

Handspun Friday - second batch of Falkland semi solids

This is so much fun! Although I did ply all of them in one day, which did not agree with my neck and shoulders. I had to take off a few days from spinning, but now I've started in on the next batch of seven colors.
I'm loving this so much!

FCK semi solids-second batch
The colors from left to right:
Specter, Magenta, Pale Aqua, Old Brick, Cobalt, Carnation & Clover.
Except for Old Brick I can't say which one is my favorite of these colors. I love them all, well Carnation is a little too pink for me too. I do, however, love how Old Brick looks next to Pale Aqua. I'm planning on spinning some Falkland for another blanket, and dyeing it Pale Aqua for thte main color. I have finished handspun yarn as the second color in my stash. Can't wait to get started on that one.

FatCatKnits semi solids-second batch of seven

They are all chain plied, and average 127yds per skein (2oz).

FatCatKnits semi solids-second batch of seven

The next seven colors are already missing in this photo.

FatCatKnits semi solids-second batch of seven

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

♥ Hope you have a sweetheart to celebrate this day! ♥

Kirsten Kapur released her latest design today. It's the Lispenard cowl, and I was lucky to get to test knit this beauty!

Lispenard cowl by Kirsten Kapur

It was hard to get good pictures on my manikin this time. The cowl is HUGE, and the buttons, as much as I love them, are heavy, and weigh the light fabric down a little.

Lispenard cowl by Kirsten Kapur

Lispenard cowl by Kirsten Kapur

I've had these buttons for years, and I think they are perfect for this cowl.

Lispenard cowl by Kirsten Kapur

Here are some more specifics:

pattern: Lispenard by Kirsten Kapur

yarn: Wandering Cat Yarns Sophisticat, colorway Steel, 2 skeins (I must say the WCY's Ladies are the best! I didn't have the right yarn in my stash, so I asked them if they could dye me some yarn very quickly. I ordered it on Friday and had the yarn to test knit the next Tuesday! Best customer service ever! I love all kinds of shades of grey and this one's just perfect!)

needles: 3.75mm
size after blocking: 13" x 65"

Lispenard cowl by Kirsten Kapur

The yarn is Alpaca/Silk blend, and the best of it's kind I've encountered so far. I love the stitch definition. The pattern is 47 (or was it 48?) repeats long. After I've knit it the 10th time, I knew it by heart, and from then on it was just a matter of knitting it. I made it my goal to knit 10 repeats a day to get it done asap. More then ten repeats would have been torture.

Lispenard cowl by Kirsten Kapur

The cowl is knit like a scarf, and buttoned together into a loop. If I were to knit this again, I would only knit the garter ridges at one end, and sew/graft it together, and put some nice buttons on for show only. I did knit the cowl as in the pattern, but I still sewed it shut. One reason was that I only had 4 buttons, but there were 6 button holes.

I love the final cowl though, the yarn is so soft, and shiny, and has nice drape. I LOVE the color, and the buttons, it's just perfect.

One puzzling thing about it though, is how very different Kirsten and I knit. We both used an Alpaca/Silk etc. blend for it.

size: 13" x 61"
needles: 5.5mm
yarn used: 725yds (as in the first version of the pattern)

size: 13" x 65"
needle: 3.75mm
yarn used: 504.5yds

I used way smaller needles, and less yarn, and it's still bigger than Kirsten's. Oh, and there are over 25,000 stitches in this cowl! (did the math on some scrap paper, and can't remember the exact number)