Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Yarny goodness

Yes! Today! The Yarn Swap Box is on its way to Germany! Many New England yarns, unique and handpainted, will find a new home with Nad and the colourful chickens.... here is just a little hint of the 7 lbs of yarny goodness now on an airplane across the seas:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I hope I get to see the wonderful things my swap friend will make with them!

Exciting news - I've mastered the "magic toe-up sock" method! I'm working on John's socks!

I've been spending a long time looking at still photos from Narnia so I can examine the knits in the movie. Lucy's little green/brown knitted cloche hat is what I really want to make - the one she wore on the train! Her coat was darling too. I read that the costumer researched the 40's to find typical patterns and also had vintage-looking materials woven in Australia especially for the costumes. The kid's clothes were made a little small or made to look altered from a larger or smaller size because in the war years new things weren't bought - but new things were made from old things. I remember (well, I wasn't there, but I remember hearing the story - you know what I mean) my Grandmother made a little baby dress for my mother out of her honeymoon suit, which was heavy brown velvet with handmade ecru lace, made in France. My mother had me wear this when I was a baby, too, and carefully laid it away for me. But it disappeared by the time I was old enough to look for it. Somewhere there's a photo....

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ah...the Ocean...

Life has been pretty good these last few days, especially this weekend. I saw The Pirates of the Caribbean last night and the ocean views just washed right into my heart! I LOVE the ocean! I want to marry the ocean!

I have Nadine's yarn swap box full to the brim but am waiting for one more thing to come in at the yarn store before I send it off.... its very intriguing and enticing-looking! I'll post a photo when I have everything wrapped up so it doesn't give the whole surprise away! Nad lives in Germany, so I don't know how long the actual posting will take, especially since its not going by owl, but by USPS....

in other knitting news, my office has been asked to knit hats and mittens for the poorer elementary schools in town and have them ready for fall. so I have organized a knitting group at work and we'll start next week. because of this, I've been sorting out my stash of yarns to find ones that would be good colours for kids and I've also put together a book of patterns for folks to use... people are work are excited and those who aren't knitting are contributing a skein of yarn! two months isn't very long, but we'll do our best! unfortunately...making something requires more effort than setting the yarn in a pile, pointing a needle at it and saying an incantation. I want to be the Hermione Grainger of knitting so I can do that!

must go make pancakes now....

Friday, July 21, 2006

Catnip Sushi

I promised photos of my latest knitting finished object but I’ll bet you weren't expecting knitted California Roll! *Nobody* expects the Knitted california Roll!

This is actually a catnip toy for Leroy the Buttertheif, a member of my little sister Jule's household... He's a frisky young man and will to try new and exotic catnip playthings (when he's not knocking family heirlooms off the mantelpiece)!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

If you want to make one for your buttertheif, I used size 5 needles and DK and sport weight yarn scraps, both wool and cotton. The entire thing is done in garter stitch. The white rice is cotton because I thought that would have a more rice-like texture.


Cast on 10 stitches in shrimp pink yarn and knit a few rows (maybe 5 - 7) then join a green yarn that is the distinctive green colour of wasabi - this green takes some thought because its a unique shade, but not too hard to find. If you can't find wasabi green, go for celery or cucumber green. Knit this for only four rows. Then switch to the white yarn and knit for approx 25 rows or enough to wind around the pink/green 3 times LOOSELY (roll your sushi up from the pink end toward the needle to try it out). Now change to a very deep green - the Nori seaweed sheet. If you don't have dark green, you can use black. This is the tricky part because you only want the green to wrap around the roll once so you have to keep checking it out by rolling it up from the pink end until its long enough. Its length will depend on how long you've made the inside parts and how tightly or loosely you're rolling your sushi. Change to white yarn again and do the same thing - just one roll of white.

Bind off, and now its time to put the secret catnip roll inside. Cut a narrow length of cheesecloth or cotton woven fabric and lay it flat. sprinkle about a teaspoon of dried catnip herb along the length of the fabric. Fold the ends over and roll up the sides so the catnip is inside. Lay the fabric roll along the inside of the knitted roll. Now start rolling up your sushi starting from the pink end and sew the bound off end to the roll.

This is Important - to make your sushi play-safe for your cat, you need to take your tapestry needle and yarn and make several stitches around the bottom of the roll and through the top but do this so it doesn't show and doesn't distort the shape of the sushi roll. This prevents the yarn ends or the fabric from coming out and being swallowed while your cat plays.

Using a light brown yarn, embroider several sesame seeds on the outside of your California Roll. Serve to Kitty!

Life has been stressful lately, but my housemates make me laugh. Here they are for a laugh to start your weekend.... Catherine slyly invaded Sausage's space in front of the air conditioner cool air flow last night... He's a gentleman and would never chase her off, but look at the expression on his face and how he moved waaaayyyyyyy over to the edge!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Like a deer in the glade...

my best (and only) little sister J made this beautiful little deer for me in my favorite colour!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Isn't it beautiful???! She made this pattern herself - she's so talented! I've seen two others she made too, (but I love mine the best because she made it just for me!) I don't know if she's going to put some of these up on our Silver-Apples site...

I like the thought of fading in to the fern-y forest for a while...being shy and wild and quiet. Its so hard being 'out there' all the time. I don't think anyone who works with me has any idea how much psychic energy it takes for me to just go out and be with people every day, to say nothing of providing guidance to groups, teaching, or contributing to meetings. Okay, I admit that once I get into the swing of the class I love teaching, and I also enjoy any work that involves one-on-one, but there's so much else 'out there' that demands extroversion...

Yesterday I was required to go to a conference, to meet lots of new people, to eat lunch with folks, to speak up in front of the group (I was applauded for getting a grant that funded the conference) and smile and be outgoing to all and sundry (yes, this is expected)... I was so exhausted by noon I had to force myself to stay for the rest... I stopped on the way home and picked up some farm-fresh strawberries and had them with maple syrup, yogurt and some buttered toast. Oh - it was soooo comforting!!

Then I had an ice cold Corona Extra and finished the novel At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances... next: Knitting and the new Project Runway Season 3!

and Daniel, even though you're a really *really* bad journaler, (<3)I am going to rip out the socks I started for you and re-make them in a really, really big size 12! I have the lace yarn for the Professor's shawl and will start that soon.... and... I have the patterns and yarns for two more black blouses - one of them is the cover pattern from the last Interweave Knits and is in Bamboo yarn (yes, its really yarn from 100% bamboo fibers), and the other is the Dalegarden pattern called "Stockholm" in a soft cotton/silk blend called Svale.... its does so cheer me up to plan knitting... "I do love knitting patterns"!

must go knit now....

Monday, July 10, 2006

Gotta love the black!

yesterday I finished the second black shrug - this one from Berroco Zen - a cotton tape yarn... I really love it! I made picot edging along the sleeves and hem instead of ribbing, so its different from the first one. The collar isn't exactly how I wanted it though - I just couldn't figure out how to do picot edging and short rows at the same time! The sleeves on this one are a little longer too.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The label is from some printed tape I got at a scrapbooking store. I'm not into scrapbooking at all, but I went with a friend who is and looked for things I could use with my knitting!

I think I'm done with this pattern for awhile... I have a new Dalegarden pattern for a mock-turtleneck with a little lace edging that I'm dying to try. I found a few balls of Svale yarn (black, of course) for it...

BTW - I also finished Marky's Koigu gloves but I won't post a picture until after he receives them in the mail... slow boat to Australia!

Saturday, July 1, 2006

morning tea and reading

This morning I began reading Socrates in Love by Kyoichi Katayama, the all-time best-selling novel in Japan. It is about a young man, Sakutaro - Socrates - who is remembering his few years with someone he loved...


"Four months. Everything had happened in the time for one season to change to the next. In that time, one girl had disappeared from this world. If you thought of it as one person out of six billion, it didn't mean a thing. But I wasn't there with the six billion. I was in a place where one death had wiped every emotion. That was where I was. I didn't see anything, hear anything, or feel anything. But was that where I really was? If not, then where was I?

...I glanced at the small urn in Aki's mother's hands. That urn, nestled in its beutiful brocade bag...was Aki truly in there?

After the plane took off, I fell asleep and had a dream. It was about Aki when she was still healthy, and in the dream she was smiling, with that slightly embarrassed smile of hers. She called out to me - "Saku-chan." Her voice lingered in my ears. I wished the dream were real, and this reality a dream. But that wasn't the case. And that was why,whenever I woke up, I'd be crying. It wasn't because I was sad. When you return from a happy dream to sad reality, there's a chasm you have to step across, and you can't cross it without shedding tears. It doesn't matter how many times you do it."


I’m eager to get on with my knit designs because yesterday, i finally found the yarn i want to use for Marky's fingerless gloves! yes, it's Koigu, in a nice colourway similar to those he pointed out as his favorites: deep reds, burgundys, blues, and yellows. there was only one skein and nothing else even came close in colour, so I’m seriously hoping this will be enough. I think I should do a 3x3 rib all the way to make sure its stretchy enough for his hand.

and all of this reading of Japanese novels makes me more inspired to design new knitted and crocheted pieces! i went to Borders and poured through two books on Japanese fashion: Fruits and Fresh Fruits. these are basically thick paperbacks filled with full-page photos of street fashion from Japan. The handmade pieces are so imaginative! someday, when my college loans are paid off, I’m going to work part-time and devote myself to design...

Holly sent me a present!! The History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt!

needless to say, I am now obsessed with historical knitting patterns, and especially historical SOCK patterns! I have in my mind a design for an adaptation of an ancient pattern that goes over the knee and has embroidery on the ankle. I had thought that the first knitted hose was from Queen Elizabeth's time, when she was given a pair of hand knitted black silk stockings made by her maid and based on Spanish knitting (24 stitches and 36 rows per inch!!!), but I’ve found out that remnants of knitted socks have been found in Egyptian tombs and one of the first examples is housed in the library collection at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. I must visit! of course, some people would think it was crazy to want with all your heart to take a train trip across several states to gaze at three indeterminate shreds of soiled and deteriorated knitted cloth that may or may not have once been a sock...but I know that many of you will completely understand.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This image is from the German Hosiery Museum...lucky Nad, who lives in Germany!