Friday, February 27, 2009

Handspun Friday and Venus of Willendorf

Tell me, how could I NOT knit this girl ( Venus of Willendorf Images ), after I found this pattern? The original Venus of Willendorf was found 1908 in Austria, and was made of limestone. You can read more about her here.

Venus 1 - front

I really wanted for my Venus to look like stone, and I wanted to use rustic looking handspun for her, to make her extra special. I had some light grey Coopworth in my fiber stash, it must have been one of the first fiber packages I ever bought in 2007. Nasty stuff, as it turned out. Not well prepared at all, but I got enough yarn out of it, to knit my giant Big Momma Venus! I modified her head a little, to look more like the real one.

Venus of Willendorf - Big

pattern: Venus de Merino by Lara Breese of Dark Twist. or as Ravelry instant download

yarn: Coopworth handspun, ~ 80yds (including what you need for sewing)

needle: 3.25mm DP (I used smaller needles, than the yarn would call for, to get a tight knit fabric)

size : of Big Momma Venus: 9.25" high 8" wide - yes she's bigger than the real one

start-finish: Feb. 17-18


Venus of Willendorf -small

yarn: handspun "Silver Dollar", 3-ply, (spun this about a year ago, and had it left over from my dad's birthday scarf;

needles: 2.75mm DP

size: of the little ones: 6" high, 4.5" wide

start-finish: Feb. 19-20 (was kind of obsessed and made 3 in two days)

Venus of Willendorf x 3, 6inches hight, 4 inches wide

The little ones are meant as "Good Luck" charms for my family. :o) I'm keeping the big one for myself.


Fiber: Gemini Fibers, bought in 2007, my first fiber bought for spinning, I was looking for the cheapest fiber so I could practice spinning on my spindle; thankfully I didn't bother with it too much and moved on to better fiber, because I would not have continued spinning, and given up on it, because it was so frustrating to spin. A lot of veggetable matter and nibs. I think this fiber, prepared better would not be so bad at all.

Content: light grey Coopworth

Weight: 200g

yardage: I wanted to spin it thicker as normal for me, and filled one bobbin; it was a disaster, kept it as singles; tried again and made 2 skeins 71yds each

WPI: 11

Ply: navajo plied


Monday, February 23, 2009

Surprise - for moi?

Originally I wanted to show you my WIP's today, but a FO is much better, even if it's not made by me.
After shoveling the driveway the umptiest time this winter, I just had enough strength left to get the mail. Usually it's not worth the bother, but today I found a package which was addressed to me. Angelika did it again! She made these felted ballerina slippers for me, and included this cute notebook, stitch markers and this very delicate crochet book mark! Thank you so much, Angelika! It's marvelous to receive a gift, such as yours, for no reason at all! I appreciate the time and effort you put into it.

felted slippers from Angelika-2

I think it's funny how small my size 11 feet look in this picture. I called Sam so he could be the "background" for this picture. I love his expression - my little stoner puppy! The socks I'm wearing here, were made by my Aunt Gisela (for my dad), but landed somehow on MY feet. :o)

Feb.23, felted slippers from Angelika with Sam as background

Sam was really quite bored, and yawned, while I tried to get some good shots.

Sam and felted slippers-1

And because he's so cute, one more picture. Here he's looking pretty for the camera, and as Thank you, he got some treats.

Sam and felted slippers-3

It's a wonderful feeling to get a knit gift. Sure we could make it ourself any time, or not. As a knitter one values gifts like that even more.
Aren't you glad you didn't get to see boring lace WIP's?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Handspun Friday - Real Fresh

Handspun - Real Fresh

This was the first fiber I spun after a longer spinning break. The singles were seriously overspun, and I didn't touch them for a while, afraid what they would do while plying. I absolutely adore this color! It's so many shades of green, just beautiful.

fiber: superwash Merino

colorway: Real Fresh by Dyed in the Wool Handmade (Hi Maggie!) :o)

weight: 2 x 4oz.

finished yarn: navajo plied (boy that was a struggle)

yardage: 1. skein ~ 252yds, 2. skein ~ 183yds

WPI: ~ 20 (I finally looked for and found my WPI measuring device)

close up-navajo plied

The fiber was a pleasure to spin. I should have waited until I got better into it again, practice makes perfect, oh well, can't do anything about that now.

Biko Jan. 13

And just because I think she's cute: Biko very uncomfortable on the living room sofa. She's only up there, because I told her to, contrary to Sam who think's the sofa is his.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hannah's Owl Pullover

I know in the past, owls were thought of as bad omen, but I'm choosing a more positive symbolism for the sweater I made for my daughter Hannah:
The animal symbolism of owl deals with:

That being said, I find it funny, that Hannah took the pictures in a cemetery.

Hannah's Owl Sweater

pattern: free Owl Pullover at Needled by Kate Davies
yarn: Bernat Alpaca, 70% acrylic, 30% alpaca, color Ebony, 4 balls, 5th ball for about 1 inch at the collar, ~ 500yds total
size: S 34" bust
needles: 6mm
start-finish: Jan. 26-28

How is it possible to knit a sweater in 3 days? If you are slightly obsessed with it, and use 6mm needles, that's how.

From the first moment I saw this sweater, I wanted to knit it. Thank goodness, Hannah wanted it too! I wish I could have used better yarn, but it had to be easy care for her, and this way it was cheaper too. What I forgot to think about before I started, was, that I needed 34 buttons for owly eyes. Where do you get so many buttons of the same kind?

At first I thought I'll use 3 different kinds, but in the end (after sewing on about 4 buttons) I asked Hannah, if she would be O.K. with only the front 6 owls having eyes, and she was. Good girl!

This sweater was knit in the round from the bottom edge up. It's got decreases and increases in the back for better (close) fit. For some reason the sleeves took me the longest. Did I ever mention I don't like knitting sleeves? Argh!

I wished to God, that it would fit Hannah, and as you can see in the pictures, it does! I LOVE the one where you can see the back, not just because of the sweater, but the whole picture does it for me. :o) Thanks Honey, for the gorgeous photos!

owlsweater7[1] src="" width=500>

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Knitting for Good, ready to be passed along!

For those interested, go here to leave a comment on Yvonne's blog, and get another chance.

I'll be back tomorrow with some knitting news. :o)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentin's Day!

Valentine's Day flowers

Beautiful flowers from DH.

Happy Valentin's Day!

Painted heart in snow.

Valentin's Day Pasta

Dinner by myself, thinking of DH. That's my Valentine's Day, how was yours?

"Amor Fati - Love Your Fate", which is in fact your life."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy Valentin's Day to all of you!


Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 13, 2009

500th post!!!

Can you believe it? This is my 500th post. But it's still Handspun Friday here!

Back in December I ordered Santa Claus to come in form of fiber, and bring some Candy Cane's too! :o)

Santa and Candy Cane

It's not a secret that I can't spin thick yarn. (I just tried it again yesterday, and it was a disaster.) What else can you do, so you don't end up with lace-or sock yarn all the time? I think 4-ply is fun! Too bad, that I spun one bobbin slightly thicker than all the others, so I ran out early on that one, which left me with singles on 3 bobbins. After some head scratching, I decided to navajo ply the rest. It makes a huge difference, don't you think?

fiber: Finn, colorway Santa and Candy Cane, 4oz each by SockPixie (I really don't like giving you this link, because if I could I would buy ALL her colorways myself) She's got not only fiber, but yarn as well. You should visit her blog to read up on all the wonderful colorways you've missed. I like her inspired way of dyeing yarn and now fiber too.

yarn: big skein - 4-ply, 163yds, little skein - 87yds navajo plied; I like how both of them look.

I haven't done the WPI thing, don't want to undo the skeins, but the 4-ply is either heavy worsted, or chunky weight, and the navajo plied skein is worsted weight yarn.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Knit One Below - or Inside-Outside Scarf

Once again I feel overwhelmed with the amount of available knitting patterns. It's starting to get on my nerves. I see one thing I really like, and before I can even think of casting on for that, there's already something else catching my eyes. I blame ravelry, or should I blame all those prolific knitters out there? My head is spinning, and it needs to STOP! Should I bury my head in the sand? I don't know why I even bother buying more knitting magazines or books, because there's plenty free stuff out there. Anyway, one example of free stuff it this Inside-Outside scarf.

Last time at my LYS this book caught my eyes. This is a new (to me) technique and I find it very interesting and fun to knit. With this technique even I can make color work projects, without the infuriating muddle of strands, and without tears.

Inside-Outside Scarf

Free pattern: Inside-Outside scarf by Elise Duvekot

yarn: Katia Mexico, color # 5853
Gedifra Fashion Trend color # 4533 (the same as my first Thorpe hat)

needle: 6mm DP, important to use DP needles with this technique (or circs)

size after blocking: 7" x 90", the edges curled terrible, but blocking took care of that

start-finish: Jan. 22-24 (I was so obsessed, that it almost flew off my needles)

I even find the wrong side attractive. The fun here is, that you can choose different weight yarns, and it still looks good, but you don't have to. Katia Mexico is slightly thinner as Gedifra Fashion Trend, but not very much noticeable. I'd like to try totally different yarns together some time. The edges are not very pretty, don't know if it's just me. I'd love to knit another scarf, but I think I'll try some socks first, or something else from the book, but a small project for sure. (I just finished a second sweater for Hannah, pictures comming soon).

pups and oranges

PS: My dogs like oranges. Whenever I want to eat ONE orange, I have to peel TWO oranges. Just saying.

pups and oranges

Monday, February 09, 2009

Knitting the Threads of Time by Nora Murphy - A Book Review

Knitting the Threads of Time by Nora Murphy-2

“Knitting the Threads of Time: Casting Back to the Heart of Our Craft” by Nora Murphy

A Book Review:

Life works in mysterious ways. I know this sounds cliche, but it’s also true. At a moment, where I was struggling with a sweater, for my daughter Hannah, a book was given to me, in which the author describes her struggle knitting a sweater for her son. Why should we care about that?

Because to my surprise it turned out to be much more than that. It’s not just about the sweater, but the author reminded me, that what we as knitters, or crafters in general are doing, is nothing but continuing, what women before us, have done throughout time. Nora Murphy, as a mother, and beginning knitter grabbed my attention with her personal stories, while guiding me through history, and traditions from all over the world. We are not the first knitters, and hopefully will not be the last ones, which she makes clear with a tangible link to our past.

Knitting the Threads of Time by Nora Murphy 1

Although it might not be important to many, as a visual person, I find the cover (design by Tracy Pitts) speaks strongly to me. Before I started reading it, I had the book lying around, waiting to be read, and as I walked by I would brush my fingers over it.

Knitting the Threads of Time
by Nora Murphy

A woman sits in her comfy chair. Two needles and a ball of yarn keep her company. She’s knitting away at something. Maybe a scarf? Socks? She enjoys the sound of her needles beating like a soft drum. She inhales the smell of the waxy yarn. She exhales the satisfaction of watching a single strand transform into an object of beauty. She is perfectly present, in perfect bliss.

This is not a revolutionary act. It is not a moment to record in the history books. All the same, this woman is a revolutionary. She, and millions of women around the globe like her, are making history in their homes. They are creating clothing for loved ones. They are the grandmother who knits a Christmas stocking for her grandchild, the young mother who stitches a star quilt to honor an elder, the two seventh graders who crochet a baby blanket for a teacher’s newborn.

Their craft often has to be wedged into the harried schedules and nonstop demands of modern life. The grandmother knits in the hospital waiting room while she awaits the results of her husband’s surgery, his third. The young mother penny-pinches time and money to piece together the dozens of diamonds that will become a star. The preteens’ work competes with homework, pimples, and text messages from boys they haven’t yet kissed.

What these modern artists often don’t see are the remnants of an ancient lineage to which they belong. The grandmother, the young mother, and the girls are all descendants of the women around the globe who have transformed fibers into clothing to protect their families for tens of thousands of years. They are the heirs to goddesses who understood that human survival depends on the cloth. These ancients — from China to Egypt, from Peru to the Pacific Northwest — understood that clothing contains the power of creation. The modern knitter is no different. She too, replicates the act of creation; she too keeps the child, the clan, the community alive.

In North America, most of today’s needle artists don’t have to worry that our children will go cold if we don’t finish the sock, the quilt, or the blanket. We have the luxury of buying most of our clothes at big chain stores at the local mall. - continued -
We choose freely to make garments. Yet by this choice, contemporary crafters keep the ancient tradition going — a tradition that reminds us of our primal existence on this precious earth, that reminds us where we’ve come from and who we are.

Inside a stitch, just a single knitted stitch, lies the paradox of the ordinary, everyday textile hero. Her simple stitch helps keep the story of humanity alive; her work casts on stitches for the next generation.

I am a modern-day knitter, though I admit this hesitantly. The domestic sciences have never been my strong suit. I nearly flunked home economics in high school. We started with cooking, but my assignments resulted in burned objects destined more often for the trash can than the table. I didn’t fare much better when we started sewing. I loved the idea of making my own clothes, but I couldn’t figure out how to thread the bobbin without swearing or slicing my finger. I couldn’t cut fabric on the bias. Lacking domestic skills didn’t much matter until I had children of my own — children who need three meals a day, every day, who need clothes to keep them warm in the long winter months.
Despite my domestic demerits, I’m the one in charge of my household, which includes middle schooler Andrew, first grader Evan, and my partner and the boys’ good friend, Diego. Everyone pitches in: Evan takes out the recycling, Andrew cleans the downstairs bathroom, Diego folds the laundry. Still, under my management, the house is often cluttered, and dinner rarely gets four stars. There’s just one domestic art that doesn’t stump me — knitting. It’s not that I’m very good at it. It just doesn’t scare me the way cooking and cleaning do.

Last winter I managed to make wool socks for Evan and Andrew. It had been years since I had knit. I was surprised that none of the basic dance steps with the yarn and two knitting needles had left me. I remembered how to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off without having to think — a bicycle kind of thing. Plus knitting, unlike sewing, has no bias. Knitting welcomes everyone, and the yarn goes any direction you tell it to.

Nora Murphy is a freelance writer who specializes in writing for nonprofit organizations in the urban communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Her stories and essays have appeared in such places as the anthology Twelve Branches (Coffee House Press, 2003). She holds an MFA degree in writing from Hamline University. She lives in St. Paul.

From the book, Knitting the Threads of Time © Copyright 2009 by Nora Murphy. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. or 800-972-6657 ext. 52

Contact: Monique Muhlenkamp
New World Library
800-972-6657 ext. 15

Friday, February 06, 2009

Handspun Friday - Black Purl

I think I'm going to adopt Shannon's hand spun Friday posts. Otherwise I'll be all over the place. Structure is good.

fiber: super wash 60% wool, 25%mohair, 15%nylon, 15%

colorway: Black Pearl by Vines come get entangled

weight: 2.75oz

yardage: 280yds

plying: Navajo plied

This fiber blend is my favorite for sock yarn. It's such a pity, that there was not more fiber. When I was finished spinning, I had my doubts about this colorway, but after I plied it, and wound the skein, I loved it! Phew! (swipe sweat off forehead). I think I'll spin some solid color to go with it, so I can still use this yarn for socks.

When you click for a close up look, you can see the fuzziness of the mohair. I just love that.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"Knitting For Good" is moving on!

Here's another chance of getting the book "Knitting for Good". Ann blogged about it, and you can leave a comment if you would like your name in the game.

I've finished Li's scarf from the book, and besides the pooling of the yarn, I like it!

Li's scarf close up
It definitely needs blocking, since the stitch pattern draws it together. It grew a lot with blocking, especially lengthwise. I wanted to use both hanks of this yarn, but it would have been too long in the end.
Li's scarf 7x90 inches
The colors made funny things on this scarf. I don't like pooling, but what can you do? There's glitter in the yarn, can you see it sparkling (besides the ubiquitous dog hairs)?

Li's scarf close up

pattern: Herringbone Rib Scarf by Li (either from the book "Knitting for Good" by Betsy Greer, or if you ask for it in a comment on her blog)
yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Super Glitz, superwash merino plied with a strand of glitter, DK weight, colorway: Gypsy Rose, 4oz hand , 325yds (I used 1.5 hanks)
needles: 4mm
size after blocking: 7" x 90"
start-finish: Jan. 09-16

This was a fun knit! Thank you Li!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

What's your favorite flavour?

Regular, Ketchup, BBQ, or Jalapeno?

Mine is Thorpe, because, lets face it, you can't knit just one!


free pattern: Thorpe by Kirsten

yarn: red and green hats: Gedifra Fashion Trend color # 4533 and # 4567 size: large for red hat, M for green hat

black hat: Patons Shetland Tweeds Chunky, charcoal, size: M

needles: 5 DP - 5.00mm

start-finish: Jan. 24 -26

This is an absolute fun hat to knit. I could easily knit one every day for the rest of my life!

The black hat is on its way to Hannah, with other goodies. I love to put together care packages.

We had a wonderful weather today. The pictures were taken around 10AM. The dogs had a blast in the snow. Biko lost her tennis ball in the ditch, to be found after the big snow melt. Sam didn't help her this time, he was too busy chewing his dilapidated red ball. Because we had +4C the snow was heavy and perfect for snow balls. The icicles are all gone now, at least on the sunny side of the house. Out front, they are still growing.

February 1

PS Ann left a note, that she's got the "Knitting for Good" book, and finished reading it. She'll blog about it tomorrow, and whoever would like to have a chance to get it, please go to her blog and leave her a comment. I'm excited to see where it will go next!!! :o)