Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tilting Blocks Scarf

This scarf was so much fun to knit. And since so many asked about the pattern I hurried up even more. The only thing I did NOT like was, knitting with my Rosewood needles, I much prefer addi turbo's. This is a stitch pattern, I'm definitely going to use again. But - Noro yarns make it easy to look good. ;o)

So here it is:

pattern: titling blocks pattern from the book "A second treasury of knitting patterns" by Barbara Walker (red book), page 263; I saw a wonderful version on Jane's blog; also on this Scarf Style KAL blog you'll find several beautiful ones to look at, it's called Midwest Moonlight Scarf, if you google it, you'll get plenty of hits.

I found this stitch pattern in another very old Burda magazine as well. I'm sure it's easy to get one version or the other.

yarn: Noro Silk Garden, color # 239, 3 balls

needles: 4.5mm

size after blocking: 8" x 72"

start-finish: July 22-28

I'm already working on my next scarf. This one is called "Geometric Scarf" and can be found in the little booklet "Vogue Knitting Scarves". The original used only 3 skeins of Koigu, and it's only 36" long. I have 4 balls of the softest merino wool, with more yards each ball than Koigu has, but I doubt that it will get much longer. Still it's a wide scarf, and I don't like them floppy anyways.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

About Rainbows And Hail ...

So far, I'm really happy with the summer weather. Except for a few days, where it was too hot for me, it's been great. We've had it all, sunshine, humidity, rain, storm, hail, and rainbows! In the picture above, there are two rainbows to see, below a closer look at the stronger one.
The other day we had hail. My son had to grab one of the icy missiles. He showed it to Sam who promptly took it from his hand, and crunched it with a wagging tail. I think he thinks, everything offered to him is eatable.

There will be no more bunny tales to tell. At first I thought I'd let you be in blissful ignorance, but I'm sure some of you wanted to have an update. The morning after I posted about them, we discovered, that the nest was empty - except for a little bloody piece of bunny. It must have been wild cats. I heard them fighting during that night, so they were near. What other animal could have done this? We had raccoons in our neighborhood, but I haven't seen nor heard any in a long time. Same goes for coyotes, too much development going on, which pushes them further north. Our backyard is fenced in with a 6 foot fence. There are only a few holes, where the bunnies can slip through. We DO have skunks around here as well. I was shocked at first of course, but that's nature. The wild cats don't have it easy themselves.

You can laugh if you want, but I've decided to start on my Christmas knitting. Even though I'm thinking of keeping this scarf for myself, and give my Noro striped scarf to my husband, since he liked it last winter. I'm using up some Noro Silk Garden for this one. I've been wanting to knit this stitch pattern for over two years now! Yeah, and finally I've decided, it's now or never. I like this tilting block pattern a lot. It's easy to memorize, and I think it looks good with this yarn.
Now, I'll go and enjoy this lovely summer day some more. Dogs will be happy too, because we're heading outside! ;o)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Hint of Knitting Content, also ....

I promised you a dramatic story, which happened in my garden. So here it is. I was out the other day, in the backyard, when I saw, that one of my flower beds needed weeding. The stars, sun, and the moon were aligned right, so I grabbed the yard waste container, and rolled it up to my high bed, and started weeding. (just kidding, I just felt like it). The dogs were out with me, of course, but since they had just had their breakfast, I just let them do whatever they wanted.
Sam wanted to play with me, that's why he was standing right next to me, yapping, and yabbing until his spittle flew (foaming mouth etc.). I ignored him, which is not easy. I wanted to be done with the weeding before the sun came out behind the clouds. Biko was grazing along the fence line. I could see her out of the corner of my eyes.

A little while later, I was making good progress, I noticed, that the yapping had stopped beside me. You know how it is: NO sound, and NO sign of the two meant trouble! (like little kids). I turned around and yelled for them. I couldn't see all places of our backyard, they could be anywhere, and my all time favorite fear, one of the gates could be open, and they could be GONE!
I started to the most likely escape route, when Sam came towards me, ears back, the guiltiest face I've ever seen on him. Something was tangling in his mouth, and it was squealing! Of course I knew right away, what he's got there. I told him he was a bad boy as he came up to me, and put down ever so gently what was in his mouth. It was a baby bunny, naked, helpless, blind - screaming murder!
Meanwhile I could see Biko still digging at the nest they found in one of my other flower beds. I yelled at her to stop at once, and she too, looked very guilty, jumped aside, and looked at me, as if I had ruined her day.
I took a towel, picked up the still screaming baby bunny, looked it over, didn't see any wounds, to my relieve, and went to the nest. Biko had done a good job in digging it out. There was dried grass everywhere, and the hole in the ground was bare. I pushed back the bedding, put the baby bunny on it, it was still protesting loudly, and put some bedding over it.

For the next couple of days, I looked at the nest, but did not disturb it, to see if there was movement of any sign of life. I saw big fat flies, and thought the worst, but then there was a faint movement under the grass. So, now I took some pictures (over several days), and when I saw them on my computer, I was baffled! There was obviously more than one bunny in there! But how? I did not see another baby bunny, when I put the nest back together, but there must have been a second one somewhere. They are the same to see big

Anyhow, now I'm not sure, if there are two or even three bunnies in there. They must be the toughest bunnies on the block to live through this. They grow so much every day, they huddle together. At first their heads wobbled, but now they are stronger, they have fur, the ears are grown. I'm guarding them, looking after them every day. The dogs watch me, because as soon as I let my guard down, and turn around, they start to creep up in the nest's direction. It's a magnetic point for them.
I can only shake my head in mother bunny's choice of where to place her nest. It's in one of my flower beds, right beside the house , right beside the wooden steps, which lead down from where we go outside, several times a day, WITH TWO DOGS! What was she thinking?

This story as a happy ending too, for now. We use another door to get outside right now, but it's not as convenient as the other.

click to see big
Since this IS a knitting blog, here's the knitting content:
Hetty from the Netherlands sent me this picture. These Ladies are learning how to knit toe-up socks using my Smoking Hot Socks pattern! :o) I hope it went well, ladies! And many greetings to you! :o)

Monday, July 21, 2008

All oranged out ...

355yds Norwegian, navajo plied, 4oz

538yds Norwegian/South African Fine, ~ 6oz, 3-ply2 strands Norwegian, and 1 strand orange South African Fine. Look how the extra orange tones down the other colors.

190yds South African Fine, 3.5oz, navajo plied, once again I was going for a little thicker yarn.

My creation

I'm almost done with spinning all the fiber I've dyed back in April. I needed to take a break from the color orange, so I'm spinning "Mist" lilac/purple merino/bamboo for the moment, before I go back to finish off the last of South African Fine.

This merino/bamboo needs to be spun fine, and fast (whorl). It's very slippery, and feels like butter in your/my hands. It's the best time to dye fiber or yarn right now. I'm really tempted, but I think I'll keep my natural fiber just that for the moment. I think I have enough dyed fiber in my stash to last me until next summer. I'll work on that, which is quite sensible of me, don't you think? :o)

There's some drama developing in our garden, of which I will report about soon. I'm hoping to get at least ONE picture to tell the tale. :o)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

About Robins, and Cheekadee's knitting whatsoever!

The other day, Biko was outside, on the balcony, by herself. She's got access to the house, whenever she feels too hot, or thirsty, but rarely comes in by herself.
I was doing something or other inside, when I heard a thump. Of course I had to investigate at once.
When I stepped out on the balcony, Biko was standing over a bird, sniffing it. As soon as the bird moved, she took off, and ran to the other side of the balcony, where I joined her. We both are scared of birds, it seems. The bird must have flown against the window, and fallen on her, because it was on a matt, where Biko's sleeping on most of the time.

We watched it for a minute, and I saw that it was wobbly, but alive. I took Biko inside, to not stress out the bird, which was a Robin, any more.

I looked out through the window, from time to time, to see how Robin was doing. At first, the wings where spread out, and it was lying on the side. As time past, it was shaking it's head, but stood on its feet, later it sat there, wings tucked in, and not shaking anything anymore. But it was still sitting there, doing nothing much. Must have had a bummer headache. O.K. I know nothing about birds.

Next time I was looking outside, I couldn't see it anymore. That's when I opened the door again, to check if it was really gone. Yep, nothing left, but a splash of bird poop. I was very glad it got away.

Yesterday late afternoon, it was hot and humid, like all get out, I was feeling cold, from the A/C and went out on the balcony to warm up; dogs followed me out. That's when I saw the sunshine, illuminating a spot in the yews, which happened to be a bird's nest. I knew the bush housed several birds, because I saw them coming and going, and sometimes fighting. It was always a lot going on in there.
I got my camera, poor thing, that was just a job, it was not meant for, but I'm glad I got the pictures I did. (I wish I had a better camera.)

I imagine the Robin on the balcony was one of the parents, this little fellow almost lost. Can you see the big, orange opening, waiting to be stuffed? There's only one baby Robin in the nest, as far as I could make out.

After feeding the little one, Robin just sat there, on the edge of the nest, bill open, taking a break. There was also this little fella, taking a sun bath on the sun screen: I think it's a Cheekadee. It ruffled it's feathers, and spread them out. Not only we humans are bothered by the heat, or did this bird enjoy it?

We did give the dogs a bubble bath. We all got wet to the skin. Sam was not amused, but in the end I think he liked it. Now, today will be a major "brush the dogs" day. Sam seemed like he's doubled in size over night. He really got "poofed", and now I need more than two hands to hold him still, and brush him. He must be itching like crazy, but he's so white, and good smelling now.

Biko didn't poof as much, her coat is different, but she too, smells good now, but for how long?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rambling ...

Even when your children are grown up, as a mother you will always worry. Sometimes you worry, that something might happen, than you worry, when something happens, and you will worry what will happen in the future. Sometimes that's exhausting.

Worry paralyzes me. I can't do anything, or if I do something, I'm so restless doing it, that it's no fun at all. The last few weeks were like that for me, but now it's looking up. So I've been spinning a little. Some of my own dyed fiber, and I can tell you that I'm sick of orange right now.

During my restlessness, I've been casting on and ripping out. Yarn cakes were the result. Nothing was speaking to me. I DO have wonderful yarn, but it's not what I want right now. The top yarn cake is from Sockpixie, a sock yarn, merino/bamboo blend in lovely colores. I only wound it, did not even try to knit it. The middle yarn is Uru lace yarn, which I've got from Sabine. I LOVE the color, but knitting with real lace yarn is something I have to get used to. I started a lace scarf, ripped it out, and started another one. I've got about 7" of it. The bottom yarn is Wollmeise for the "Frattello" socks from Yarnissima. I started that one too, it was so very big, I had to rip it out, and have to think about it some more.

The truth is, I'm bored with what I've got on my needles. There's the crochet star blanket, made with mercerized cotton. There's the "Bliss" blanket, made with the same mercerized cotton, knit entrelac, and the colores are so intensive, I have to take a break after every few rectangles, or I would go nuts. I still like it all, but will be glad when I'm done with knitting with mercerized cotton.
Kirsten made me aware of my feelings towards my current projects. Did you see what lovely shawl she knit, when she got bored with hers? Sometimes projects just feel right, and sometimes they don't.

I want to knit a pair of socks. I saw them in the new Knitter's magazine, they are designed by Cat Bordhi. I think she's my favorite sock designer. I didn't get the magazine yet. Don't know why I can't find it anywhere. I sure hope it's not sold out yet. The socks are called "Spring Thaw" and I just love them!

So, the last two evenings, I've been looking through all my knitting magazines. There's at least one project in every issue of "Interweaeve Kits" and "Knitter's magazine" I have,which I would like to do, but I do have other knitting magazines as well, and there was nothing in THOSE I wanted to knit. I'll be more careful in the future in buying knitting magazines. And also, why do I keep buying more knitting books? I have so many, and there are so many projects in all of them, added to the ones in my magazines. It would keep me busy for years, and years, and still, there's always a new book, a new design, which I WANT, absolutely MUST HAVE! That's crazy. This madness has got to stop, but how? :o)
I didn't take as many pictures of the pups this summer. It's always the same. They enjoy their days. Biko's doing pretty well, chasing the tennis ball, and swimming in the pool. She's now reached the point, where it's time for a bubble bath. She stinks! Getting soaking wet every day, and not drying totally, makes for the famous wet dog/old rag stink. I've been waiting for a really hot, hot day, so she would dry faster.

Sam's goofy as always. He bumped his head against a wall, not once, but twice. He was so excited to go outside, that he's twirling, well that's the same every time we go outside. But now he's got a wound over his right eye. Nothing too bad. He's staying away from every water source, except where he goes to drink some. He's almost destroyed his red ball, we introduced a new ball, but so far, he's rather playing with the red, of course. He might get a bath today too, which will leave all of us wet, wet, wet. Well, I'll get to it then, to get it over with.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Test knit socks

I've been waiting for Bea to give me a link to the finished pattern, which is now available in English. She's still working on the German version. Since this was all finished some time ago, there's no reason not to show it to you now.

I've been lucky to be able to test knit "Cross and Meet" socks by Beate Zaech. This pattern comes in two versions. I've knit the lace version. Dave did the cabled version.
So far there's only a ravelry link for the pattern.

Of course red socks are hard to photograph. I've used Regia stretch, because that's what Bea used for her pair, and I happened to have this yarn in my stash. I didn't like the yarn much. It was very splitty, sometimes the stretch material looked through. The color isn't my favorite either, I bought it online, because it was on sale. I do however like this pattern very much. They fit comfortable, and I'll be happy to wear them a lot. I think I'll knit the cabled version some day too.


pattern: "Cross and meet" by Beate Zaech

yarn: Regia stretch, color# 32,

needles: 2.25mm, 5 DP

size: 10.25" for myself

start-finish: June 20 - 25

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Little brown bear ....

My little brown bear block found a new home. Shirley from PEI liked it so much, that she asked me, if I would trade it. I was really happy that she liked it so much, and was glad to send it to her, because the block would have disappeared in my closet for who knows many more years?

... today I found this package in my mail box! I didn't really want anything for the block, but Shirley send me fiber samples! Cashmere! Mohair! Silk hankies! and Kid Mohair locks!!! Wow!
I've spun mohair/wool blend before, but all the others I haven't even touched so far, only read about it, seen it on other blogs. Cashmere is sooooo very soft, but right now, my fingers are too rough, because of the gardening. I have to look at these treasures for a while, enjoy them in their lovely little bags. Thank you, Shirley! You made me very happy!

You all know how much I love my little bloggy here. But sometimes life has a way to bring things into perspective. If you don't hear as much from me as in the past, forgive me. I hope I'll be back in full force soon. I haven't done much fibering through the last weeks, I also hope this will turn around soon.

Stay cool!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Dutch socks for Dutch Klompen!

This is sock yarn from my super swap. I had to hand - wind it, because it was so tangled, and I didn't have the patience to work it on the swift. Didn't matter, although I like to work with a center pull ball the best.

yarn: Storm in Wolhalla, color Hollandse Luchten or "flour mill", 75% wool, 25% nylon, 100g, 460 yds.
pattern: Hypnosis by Janel Laidman from her book "The Eclectic Sole"
needles: 2.25mm, 5DP
size: for my 10 1/4" feet
start-finish: June 18 - 20

I liked the pattern in the book, and when the socks are on the sock blocker, but not so much when they are on my feet. They are too short for my liking. I wanted to follow the pattern first, before I could think of making changes to it, to fit me better, but now I'm thinking, I don't want to knit this pattern a second time. As they are, you have to follow the chart 4 times, and that's enough for me. I found a tiny printing error in the chart 1, page 50, round 23, stitch 20. This stitch should be a purl instead of knit, but everybody can figure that one out. I love how the chart is printed big enough to read comfortable. I also like the Chart Key and Techniques in the back of the book. Great pictures to show how to do the techniques used in the book.
One thing was irritating to me, and that is that from the 14 sock pattern in the book there are
1 pattern with 58 stitches
6 with 60 stitches
1 with 62 stitches
1 with 63 stitches and
2 with 64 stitches, there are also the cool looking patterns knit sideways, I haven't figured out yet. They are all made for one size, you can play with yarn weight, and needle sizes to get them bigger or smaller.

I usually need 64 stitches for the leg for my socks, on 2.25mm needles. That means I have to do something to fit my feet with almost all the patterns. They seem to be also on the short side on the leg, again, with time, and a little thinking you can make them longer.

With this Hypnosis socks, from the nature of the pattern, there is a ridge forming on top of the foot, where the leg ends and the foot starts. I've read on ravelry, that others have that as well, so there's not much one can do about it.
I must say, that I'm a tiny bit disappointed in these socks. I love the yarn and the colorway, the socks look good on the blockers, but not on my feet. Maybe one day, when I'm really, really bored, I'll frog them and knit something else. I do have yarn left over, but realistically, I don't think I ever will.