Saturday, December 30, 2006

Winter in Boston

Today, after McCann's Oatmeal and Wheat Toast (just bragging about my healthy eating habits this morning...) I am finally going to Boston - where I have wanted to go all holiday season! - for shopping and visiting. We're going to drive down to a suburb and take the T into Cambridge's Harvard Square to visit the Bead Shop in Church St, the Yarn Shop on JFK, Burdick's Chocolate Cafe, and Cardullo's delicatessen, and any other shop that captures our curiosity. So many restaurants to choose from, too! Today is cold, but I don't care. The excitement of going to the city will keep me warm! I would like to take my camera to share the trip with you, but it's an old one that work discarded a few years ago and is very big and heavy.

I do have photos, though, for you today. These are the Christmas knitting things that I didn't want to post until their recipients opened them...

First, the scarf knit with Carina's grandmother's needles, which she sent me in the fall: (it's being modeled by my kind friend Chris) The bubbly-spun wool did all the work on this one!

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And these are her gloves, which I started before the scarf, but they took for-ev-er! The base yarn is the Opal superwash, but I added in a purple silk thread and a wrist stripe of KidSilk Haze. The back of the hand has a small beaded motif of flowers and leaves.

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This next picture is of the very complicated lace design scarf that I designed myself, for Julie. It has Louisa Harding Kimono Angora on each end and LH Impressions with a thread of silk for the lace part in between. The rose colour is really pretty - I noticed she was wearing this colour in a photo she posted, so that's why I chose it. I don't know what possessed me to photograph it against a red pillow, but remember I had the flu before Christmas and no doubt it addled my brain cells....

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This last one is the same design in different colours, for my sister J, to remind her of our 20-year-old cat - Shadey - a nice midnight black old man who seemed to glow with copper in the sunlight and disappear into the shadows in the shade. He had three white hairs on his chest - nowhere else. He died last year - a few months before Sausage. He was really her cat, much loved, and slept on her bed until she went to college.

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That's it for the knitting right now... I've been much absorbed in enjoying the wonderful gifts you all sent me. J gave me a Nintendo DS and the game "Cooking Mama" which I am already seriously addicted to.

Off to Boston - see you later!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sheep Cookie!

Last week was a wild one at work, trying to get so much finished so I could take next week off. People wandered the offices everyday with their little gifts for people. One of the secretaries is a master baker - seriously, she could open a shop - and she always makes fancy cookies as gifts for Christmas. This year she gave me two, and one was:

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A Sheep!!

I love his woolly polkadots in yellow and blue! I don't want to eat him, but I'm afraid that he won't last past Christmas afternoon, teatime...I just don't have the willpower, as her cookies are always not only lovely, but tasty!

Now today, I am going to bring in some of my antique knitting booklets (1920's) to the Yarn Store to show them. The store owner is trying to put some tie patterns together and asked me if I would bring mine in. I have the "Glossiler Booklet of Men's Ties" which is great and the styles are back again now after almost 100 years! My dream is to have a website where I sell vintage style knitted things... I love these old patterns, they have such an elegance and the cut is so flattering. like this one:

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

puttin' up reindeer

well, last-minute Christmas knitting continues, with me racking my brains trying to think of fast but effective patterns...the book, Last Minute Knitted Gifts might come in handy, you'd think, but many of the patterns are not that speedy... the 4-hour leg warmers took me 4 weeks! LOL! But, the little lacy scarf is a winner and can be knit on a variety of gauges, not just with KidSilk Haze. Here it is from one skein of Baby Alpaca Brush (110 yards, chunky-weight) from Plymouth Yarns (note - I used size 11 US needles). The colour didn't come out right in the photo; its a more leaf green than spring green. But then, my carpet is more light peach than dark pink! Anyway, this is for my physical therapist, who has been working on me for 3 years:

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Also "on the needles" is a thin red mohair scarf with a multi-coloured thread running through it. Marky sent me this partial skein that he found in an Australian Op Shop (thrift shop to us Yanks) and its lovely - very soft! The person I'm making it for is very tall though, so I need to add a second skein of something to each end to make it long enough. My plan is to add the yarn in K1M1 so that the ends will be bell-shaped ruffles. I think that would really suit the giftee.

And finally, a triangle angora scarf from Louisa Harding Kimono Angora in a leopard print (thanks for the idea, Nadine!). I'm using small needles (size 5) so its taking quite a while. This is actually a very basic time-honored pattern that's been around since the 1800's. You just start out with a small number of stitches and add one stitch every row by doing a YO on one end. It gets gradually bigger and bigger while retaining its nice triangle shape.

Both of the patterns above could be done in crochet with nice effect too! For the one in the picture, you would chain 16 (if using a normal weight yarn - more if using a thin yarn) and double crochet every stitch for five rows. Then on the next row DC in first 2 stitches and then chain one and skip a stitch, DC, chain one and skip a stitch, until you get to the end, then do a DC. Then go back to DC every stitch, remembering to DC in the Chain stitches too. Then after another 10 rows of DC, do the fancy stitch row again. Keep going this way, with a fancy row after every 10 rows of DC. End the scarf with five rows of DC like the start.

For the triangle scarf, start with a chain of 4 (meaning 3 plus one on the hook). Single crochet (SC) in the second ch from hook (meaning the one directly after the one on the hook) and on the next one. Then chain one, and then SC in the chain on the end. You now have five stitches (if you count the loop around the hook). Chain one (your turning chain), Turn and Repeat this pattern: SC in each stitch (including the chain stitch you made, which will be the second stitch you crochet into) until you get to the last stitch at which point you chain one, then SC into the last stitch. Remember that you have to chain one at the end of every row to make a turning stitch, but this turning stitch doesn't get used. Your crocheting should make the same gradual triangle as in the knit pattern. The beauty of this pattern is that you can continue until you get to the size of scarf you want, from neckerchief to shawl, and you can use this when you don't know how much yarn you have on a skein because going from the point up means there is no left-over yarn.

Well, now I've told you more than you ever cared to know so I will stop. I need to box up some cookies and a little knitted hat ornament…

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Today is not such a good day and its only 7:30....

I just received an email that my design couldn't be fit into the knitting book that's currently being put together... Its my own fault. I spent 30 hours on the prototype, but when I sent the photos, I knew it wasn't exactly the way I wanted it to be. I should have continued working on it, and sent more photos. Would that have made a difference? I don't know. "Couldn't be fit in" means couldn't be fit in. It could have had nothing to do with the merit of the design itself and everything to do with the theme direction the editors finally chose. Perhaps they received so many designs that they didn't need or want anything as basic as a shawl.

sad. sad.....

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oh, I know that these are the chances you take when you send something out - whether writing or design, and I hope I'll bounce back and try again, but right now I feel emotionally exhausted by it all. I guess I hoped more than was realistic to do. The first acceptance was so postive, that I allowed myself to feel 3/4 confident and I shouldn't have - I should have realised that its not done till its done.

well...the colours are nice.

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I will complete this design, and it will either be sent elsewhere, or given to someone who will like it, I don't know.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

All done, then?

Here it is... what I've been working on today:

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J, I'll send it out in the mail tomorrow. Hope it keeps you nice and warm.

I'm knitting a hat

This is it, the hat from Rebecca magazine #32:

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Ignore the beads, please. They do look cute in the picture, but I won't be adding beads or embroidery or anything like that. It is a cute hat, with ribbing to the top and a pompom. I'm doing it in black Debbie Bliss alpaca-silk (80% alpalca and 20% silk, very soft).

It should be finished today, but will need to be blocked to get it into the right shape for head-wearing. Right now, the ribbing is pulling it in so that it looks like a lampshade!