Saturday, February 23, 2008


Domestic I a

I've gone off the stocking reservation for a bit to create something totally useful and domestic...dishtowels!

Domestic I full

These towels were made each from one skein of Manos Cotton Stria - so beautfully soft and crinkly and hand-dyed. The cast-on was 46 and the needles, #6. As you can see, after a few rows of garter stitch, I used an eyelet edging - K2tog, YO across - and there was a reason for this madness... I used the resulting holes for some handy ribbon and button hangers (removable when washing the cloths)!

Domestic I parts

I love to re-use the satin ribbons that come on boxes of chocolates. Something homey and domestic is a perfect foil for informal printed ribbon...and the buttons are from my sister's old plaid wool suit jacket; I found them in the sewing basket...

Domestic I hanging

I've also gotten my box from and discovered the Best crochet cotton in the whole world! I thought I loved Perle Cotton #5, but that was mere flirtation compared to how giddy with inspiration this silky thread makes me. It's smooth, shiney, has lots of yardage, and is just the right thickness for my favorite hook size: C.

Olympus green

I have all these colours for a secret surprise little project that I hope will come to fruition in March. Did you know that March was National Crochet Month? or, NACROMO as we fondly like to call it...

Olympus cotton

Our winter storms have made me more domestic lately, keeping me confined to the indoors and imbibing frequent quantities of either hot chocolate with butterscotch schnaps or mulled cider with whiskey liqueur. I'm sure this improves my fiber arts because random is creative, yes?

The boyfriend and I, in a quest to watch at least one movie that had gotten some Oscar nominations, chose La Vie En Rose last night. This biography of Edith Piaf was quite good and of course the music was stellar, but viewing the raw horror of a life as unlucky as it was desititute was like walking into the hot kiss of a swift fist just for fun. I was kind of drained and upset afterwards and had to retreat to the comfort of my books and art. That doesn't sound like a recommendation does it? But it is. I do recommend it. For one thing, it shows that if you have a gift, that gift will rise to the surface like a bulb planted underground, no matter what. For another, the vintage fashion is fabulous. And for a third, Edith Piaf was a knitter - so obsessed a knitter that when her hands became arthritic, she became addicted to morphine so she could keep knitting! That's hardcore knitting. At the end, a reporter asks her, "Who are you knitting for?" She answers, "Whoever will wear it." Oh, yes. I understand.

Domestic Dishtowels
by UnravelingSophia

straight needles size 6
i skein per towel Manos Cotton Stria (worsted weight)
bit of ribbon

CO 46 stitches
work 4 rows in garter stitch
K2tog, YO, across; ending with K1
work 4 rows garter stitch

Row 1: K5, P across to last 5 st, K5
Row 2: K across

Repeat these two rows until yarn is almost used up (you can calculate the amount of yarn you'll need to finish the the remaining 10 rows of the towel by measuring out 3 times the length of the row 10 times).

work 4 rows in garter stitch
K2tog, YO, across; ending with K1
work 4 rows garter stitch

Cut and tack ends of 5" length of wide ribbon, attaching a small button to the bottom edge. Slip an eyelet of the towel over the button like a buttonhole, and hang the towel by its ribbon. Enjoy drying your dishes by hand!

C 2008 UnravelingSophia all rights reserved

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thom's afghan

Have you made a square for Grandpa Rav? Thom fell from a ladder (to avoid falling on someone else) and was very badly hurt. If you search for the Thom's Afghan group on Ravelry, you'll find the group blanket that's being made for him, to cheer him during this long recovery period and several surgeries. The organizers need 100 more squares to complete the blanket, so if you care to knit or crochet one, sign in and sign on!

Thoms afghan square

My square is crocheted, with a heart made from Garnstudio Fabel sock yarn appliqued to a simple square made from Sublime Superwash Extra Fine Merino. It was quick and easy. The colours of this blanket are blues and greys, with just a touch of other colours.... It's looking good already! You can see all the other squares made so far by clicking on the 'projects' tab in the Thom's Afghan forum.

I have a holiday today, and that means knitting on the Plimoth Plantation stockings. I bought some new Addi Turbo needles for this project, because the Shetland worsted is very 'sticky' and needs some slick needles for fast knitting. Background to the knitting? I have a choice of marathons on TV: ANTM, Project Runway, and Firefly! Tea, turbos, and TV. That's a real holiday!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

crochet hearts

This little crocheted heart, made from Perle Cotton size 5 and a C hook, is from a Drops pattern at the very end of their Fall 2007 collection! It is a very quick creation, although it does take some concentration to make sure the stitches stay even and neat.

I made these hearts for the Valentine Card Swap on Ravelry and sent 10 out into the world....well, 11, because one extra one went in a card to a special friend on the west coast.

A huge Valentine gift came from my friend Nad in Germany!!


The chocolate lasted about 10 minutes - honestly - I devoured it!! (YUM) That Mozart makes good candy! hee hee... But you see that card? That pretty spring-like card? It's embedded with flower seeds! You plant them and they grow! How cool is that? I can't wait to see what they're like when they come up. I'm ready for flowers - we're still buried in several feet of snow here... (we had another storm yesterday).

The very best present of socks!! Nad made me a pair of beautiful socks called Sophia's Rose Garden, and they do look like roses don't they?

sophias Rose Garden2

I was very impressed by their style and the perfect knitting. See how she matched up the stripes of the yarn on the cuffs? Do you know how hard that is to do???? She's a miracle!

Nad is a great designer. She designed a pair of snake venom socks that you can find in her projects on Ravelry (find her via her blog, to the left) that are a marvel of the design matching the yarn. And I think she's repeated that perfect match with these rosey socks for me! As you can see, I love them. And they have been on my feet every minute since I opened the box.

Sophias Rose Garden Socks

And the yarn!! See the pretty yarn in spring colours!!
NadValentine gift yarn
These skeins make me think of spring violets and delicate snowdrops. I'm going to use them for a lily-of-the-valley sock pattern I think, to empahsize thier blossom-like feeling. And she so thoughfully included some pretty - and incredibly soft - slipper yarn (a little thicker than sock yarn) in Valentine colours for my sister. I can't wait to make those. I have another Drops pattern pcked out already for that! It's wonderful to have a friend in another country who shares the local yarns with you - things I would never even know about without her generosity. Thank you Nad!

So, this day is starting out lovely, as Valentine's Day should! I hope you all have a happy day and get a chance to do something loving for a friend or your family or a loved one...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Argyley, or, What long winters are good for...

Argylley done

There is one reason I can think of to be glad that this winter is still pummelling us with cold and still gives us reasons to wear woolly goods! I've finally finished Argyley - in the middle of February.

This was meant to be a Christmas gift and now it will be a Valentine's gift... I'm not a slow knitter, not at all; it's just that the yards of K2P2 in fingering weight is rather..... arduous. And yet, its worth it for the fine, soft, perfectly drapey fabric that resulted. And seeing this argylle-like pattern slip off the needles was so gratifying.

Seacoast Handpainted yarns are a favorite and this skein just made them more so! Its huge yardage made just the right length for a scarf on size 4 needles. If I had made it a bit thinner, a larger needle would have been possible, but I wanted as fine a tension as I could manage. I found that to get the argyle diamonds I had to be very careful of my tension. One night I was quite tense and ill, and the very slightly tighter pattern that resulted created a flash of orange in the black like a lightening strike! As soon as I loosened back up to what had already been a relatively tight tension, the pseudo-argylle came back...

Argylley done ends

This scarf will wend its way to its recipient tomorrow, and while I don't wish anyone more winter than what we've already had, I do hope he has a chance to wear it before Spring!

I've also had a wonderful fibery gift arrive in the post! A friend from Ravelry sent me a box from England! Everything that was in it was the best possible choice for me - its like she read my mind. The yarn is space dyed Silk & Wool made in Wales - Its Fiberspates and the colourway is Spring Greens. I wish I had the power to describe how beautifully soft and smooth it is. I will just have to show a picture...

cupoftea gift

Along with the yarn were two packages of tea: Keemun and Jasmine Tea Balls. The Jasmine tea opens up in the teapot and blossoms with a spray of white flowers. This makes the tea-drinking as visually beautiful and it is soothing and tasty. Another friend had sent me a tea ball that will have a purple flower, so when I do try these, I'll post pictures of their pretty blooms!

But one thing in the box made me laugh out loud...the 40's postcard! You can see it on the right - the lady in the satin bathing suit... it says "Bile Beans for Inner Health and a Lovely Figure" lulz!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! I hope that the Year of the Rat brings you great happiness and prosperity. After all, those born in "rat years" are forthright, generous, easy going, and quick-witted, so we can all expect the next year to embody those traits too.

I'm celebrating the Chinese New Year in my own quiet way with Hatsune...


Hatsune is a tea blend from Japan blended by Lupicia Teas especially for the New Year celebrations, as you can tell by the pretty label with its iconic cherry blossoms. Here is a close-up, so you can see how spectacular this blend is:

hatsume closeup

It is comprised of Japanese green tea, toasted brown rice, black tea, Japanese red basil leaf, soybeans, and azuki beans! The flavour is mild, earthy, and rich like a broth. I'm finding it very restorative...

I'm almost finished with Argyley, my winter scarf for Brodie - this afternoon should do it! It's very long now; much longer than this photo shows, which was taken at Christmas...

argyley two

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

golden oldies

I got my package from Plimoth Plantation for the re-enactment knitting! A beautiful mellow cornsilk colour shetland wool from Harrisville yarns. Because this is the closest, according to their research, to the type of yarn used then, and the colours made from natural dyes...

Plimoth Plantation knitting1

When I imagine the stockings all finished and on some unknown person, I picture Tom Bombadill:

Old Tom Bombadill
was a merry fellow
Bright blue his jacket was
and his boots were yellow

The pattern is for long - perhaps over the knee - stockings with a clock on the ankle. They are the most awesome stockings ever! And I plan to do then perfect justice so that all the re-enacters say "I want to wear Sophia's stockings!!" hee hee

I promise to keep you updated with periodic photographs.

In fact, this has been quite an eventful week for the needle and hook! I'm making an afghan square for Thom, Ravelry's grandpa and Casey's dad. Thom fell from a ladder and was quite badly injured. We all wanted to do something to show him that we care, so we're each making a square and several folks are putting them together into a big warm full-of-Ravelry-love blanket! The squares have to be 4" by 4" and be in the blue/grey range... My square is crocheted and is looking good....I think its a surprise, so I won't show it just yet.

I got my contract/agreement and information form from Knit on the Net today! I'm going to be a knitter/crocheter for thier book, A Stitch in Time, which is being updated and re-knit! I'm so excited. Being a sample maker is the perfect outlet for my obsession with vintage patterns! I literally cannot wait to get my assignments! No pictures allowed, folks, but I'll keep you posted about the book progress as we go along. It should be brilliant!

And last but not least, Ravelry sent me the best of gifts for winning in the Bobby's! I got two shot glasses - one says "frogged" and one says "ripped", A big project bag with the Ravery logo and green straps, pins with snappy sayings, a big Bob decal, and the bestest enameled Ravelry pins of Bob, and of the Ravelry ball-of-yarn logo...And...a frame-able award certificate! {{{sigh}}} Colour me happy. Is that too 80's an expression? Somehow it makes me think of Three's Company on the oldie's channel... anyway, it made my day...(erm, that's even worse! wasn't that saying from some Western movie?)...uh. It's fierce. really really fierce. And that's the truth!