Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sophia learns something new...

There is something I have always wanted to know but was afraid to ask. Yesterday, I finally found out! I went to my LYS and had a private lesson on my lunch hour. For a very nominal fee, I learned how to cable!!

cable lesson

At first, it was very confusing, with C6F and T2B and crazy chart symbols. Kelly, the manager at the Elegant Ewe, was quite patient with me and explained things in a step by step manner. It reminded me of when I learned to tie my shoes. I was in tears one morning because everyone else seemed to know how to tie their shoes and I just didn't. My mother sat beside on the bed and said, "this is how." She demonstrated once: "This is the bird's wing, straight and tall. This is the bird's beak, grooming around the base of his wing in a circle. Then he tucks his other wing up beside the first, just as tall. When he flies, he pulls them out like this and they stand out straight!" Then I did it myself, her words recited in my head... I never needed another lesson, from then on. I was suddenly a shoe-lace tie-er, just like everybody else! I just needed to be shown, and to try it out in the presence of someone who knew how. I guess that makes me a kinesthetic learner. It's convenient, because it means I learn by doing. I just have to have the courage to try, and almost anything is possible...

Here is my first cable, a little tight, but my own!

cable lesson close

The yarn is Sublime Extra Fine Merino, which I love. This is the yarn I bought, in a dusky green, for the IK Tilted Duster, which is still barely begun. So many projects, so little time!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I mean Bob!

I won a "Bobby" on Ravelry!! Hooray!

This is so exciting. The last time I won a contest was back in 8th grade when I won the State Latin Exam. I got a book called All Roads Lead to Rome, which I'm sorry to say I never read and is now probably on the shelves of some remote second-hand bookshop...

This award is just so much more cool. I'm not one of the prominent or popular people in the Ravelry community, just a semi-quiet participant who likes a laugh here and there... I responded to Yarnvista's, another Raveler's, funny post with my own take on the resident Ravelry dog, Bob. She nominated me for the award. At least 230 people thought it was funny...(at least thats the number who had voted when I checked yesterday afternoon) I confess, I laughed too when I wrote it. Is that bad?

Bob is so cute. He's definitely a Good Dog, deserving of bones...
Here's Bob ---> Photobucket

Friday, January 25, 2008

How I feel about Ravelry


Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Make My Day Award!

I've been given a Make My Day Blog Award by the wonderful Briley, a fellow Raveler!


This is how it works:
Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!

I definitely have blogs that I read every day and that never fail to bring a smile to my face when I'm having a tough time. I'm only going to mention a couple here, because the ones that everyone knows about have already received this award.

Blogs that Make My Day:

Nadine's Knitting Basket - I've known Nad for some time because we met on a group about another mutual obession - Tea! It was only in the last couple of years that we realized we were both avid knitters. Her adventures with her beautiful goats and chickens has been a joy to watch. And her yarn! and her socks! amazing....

Canary Knits - A most creative designer and knitter whose gentle artistic life and words never fails to inspire me. I love the photos of her canaries! I just wish she would post more often because I get inspired by her knitting style!

Carrieoki - I've read Carrieoke's blog every day for a couple years now and its like getting to know a friend, except that I rarely post so she doesn't know me in return. Since her recent wedding, she hasn't posted much, but I'm hoping she'll be back in full swing soon! (me and a million other readers). What? Having a job, a new house, a graduate school prgram, and a new marriage takes up all your time from blogging???

There are certainly others that I love and read and some new to me (listed in my blog sidebar) that I'm just getting to know... This is one of the wonderful parts of the internets - the opportunity to get to know and make friends with similar interests who are far from you in geography.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

the next knit

It's not been easy to find time to post to my journal, with getting my classes ready for the Spring semester and fending off the evil Catherine, who pounces on my fingers every time I try to type on the laptop!

I have just a small offering for you, to help you survive this long and cold winter... FERRYHALIM games! These are cute and gentle games (though some involved boats that crash and burn on iceburgs!) and I like the ones with the jumping hedgehogs and the little mouse that bumps butterflies into flight! I hear that there is one with ladybugs, but I haven't found it yet...

Right now I'm watching the rerun of Masterpiece Theater's new production of Persuasion by Jane Austen (a really terrible adaptation). They have cut large parts of it, to make the 1.5 hour show fit into tonight's time slot, and that has made it even worse! Though its dreadful, I did notice one exciting screen shot: as Anne is playing a sad air on the pianoforte, the camera moves to her hands and show a pair of very long fingerless gloves in knit (or crochet) lace!

I'm starting a new knitted project: this "Zelda" slip from the book Naughty Needles. It's a little lacy slip with garters to hold up your stockings. Very fun!

Zelda slip

At first, I was going to use some Fiesta 100% silk yarn that I have in the colours shown in the picture. But I don't think that silk will wear well for this pattern, as silk has no "memory" or elasticity, and I've heard it pills terribly. So now I have a seagreen silk, linen and nylon yarn for it.

This yarn, in this very colour:
new berocco yarn

Don't you think that will be lovely? And the yarn's name is perfect!

Now Catherine has pounced and bloodied my hand again, so I must go and put some Bacitracin on it. Evil kitty!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Peace Dale Yarn Books


Among the treasures in my vintage needlework book collection, are my Peace Dale Yarn books. I have 5, spanning 1920 through 1924, plus two yarn sample books with dozens Peace Dale yarn samples in each one. These sample books are helpful when gauging the weight of vintage yarns and when you want to reproduce the patern in the original colours and fiber content!

The earliest that I have is 1920. This book has the layout appearance of earler books - say, 1910 - rather than the usual flapper look that I'm used to from companies like Fleisher. But the styles are adorable! Most are crochet, again more like early 1900's Fleisher Company yarn books.


My next edition is the 1922 Spring, and here we see the expected "marceled" hairstyle, the crocheted resort hat and flapper fashion, as well as the very cute pen & ink illustrations:



As we move to 1922 winter, we finally see a cloche hat, in crochet (leaf brown and apricot):

a crocheted slip-on in Sicilian Floss (a rayon blend) in Camel, Periwinkle, Jade:

and a knitted U-neck sweater with an interesting stitch pattern again in Sicilian Floss "in the new Mirabelle shade", which is plum colour...

In the 1923 winter edition, coat sweaters dominate. The frontispiece shows the
Coat and Cap combination (pattern on pg 30) using 9 skeins of Sicilian Worsted in Tan & White Mixture with 2 skeins of solid golden brown. It is knitted, with edging in crochet.


The Coat Sweater trimmed in cross stitch is a particular favorite of mine because of its flared sleeves and embroidered pockets. It uses 10 skeins of Sicilian Worsted in grey & white mixture and 2 skeins of solid golden brown as well as cross stitch embroidery done in Sicilian floss of black, orange, and jade. Embroidery embellished knits of this type were common styles of the 1920's.


My last Peace Dale book is 1924 spring, with its beautiful line drawing: "New Sweaters for Spring":


One of my favorite designs from this booklet is the knitted and crocheted Slip-on with Novelty Sash made from Aolian floss in tan, tangerine and delft blue. This shows another fine example of the sweater with embroidered, rather than worked, design.

So there you have it - all the reasons I need to keep knitting and crocheting for years and years!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Spoiled (but not a brat)

Well, I have been spoiled! Canarysanctuary sent me a big package that arrived yesterday! I came home from work in the freezing rain, tired and (frankly) miserable from a tough day at this educational edifice and as I drove into the driveway I spied a package waiting demurely on the doorstep... How exciting!

The labels on it revealed that it was actually from another country. More excitement! Then I saw Canarysanctuary's name - how intriguing! What could she be sending me????


See how many things? There were beautiful cards and vintage patterns and teas and yarns and a new knitting journal!! Now for the specifics..... These two skeins are Lorna's Laces in a bright Coral and soft Coral stripe - how cute is that?? These will be perfect for a summery seashell sock design I have in mind! And this seagreen yarn - Oh how I love that colour!!! - is a big skein of wool and ANGORA blend!! I have wanted a yarn like this all winter for a neck cowl - it's perfect.

Now the teas are sitting beside me on my desk right now! There are Twinings Darjeeling (which is in my tummy), Twinings Celebration (celebrating 300 years of expereince with an Assan and Kenyan blend!), Twinings Indian Spiced Chai, Stash Pumpkin Spice, Bigelow Apple Cider Tea, Madura Peppermint Cooler, and Teekanne Heibe Liebe Fruchtee mit Himbeer-Vanille (this has a picture of raspberries and Vanilla flowers on it)!!! Now, I must tell you that the Twinings that is exported to Canada and the European countries from England is not the same tea that is exported from Twinings of London to the US!! Twinings openly states that they don't send their high-quality teas and tea bags to the Americans because they don't believe we appreciate the finer teas (ahem). I am a member of a big online Tea newsgroup and when we once wrote to Twinings about this, they actually said this! So you can imagine how happy I am to get some samples of this elusive actual high quality Twinings tea to test out for myself. I can tell you that the Darjeeling was excellent - not astringent at all.

So there you have it, gentle readers. I am so very blessed by such generous and kind friends who gift me with treasures. It has made me very enthused to get deep into the knitting and designing in this new year!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


This is what happens when somebody asks me to make them washcloths! Meet...
Washy a happy bright little softy, abrasive only in the best way....

washcloth 1 08

Washy is made from Tahki Stacy Charles' new yarn called "Party" - a loopy baby yarn in cotton blend. I used size 9 needles, as recommended on the ball band, and a simple garter stitch. The embroidery is done with cotton yarns.

Party comes in 91 yard balls and I used about two-thirds of the one ball I bought. I got mine at Patternworks. They have a website: if you want to invite some Washys into your own house.

Other face cloths completed over the post-Christmas break:

face cloths folded

1. a gold sunburst

2. a lavender garter stitch ribbing

3. a vareigated magenta feather and fan stitch

4. a bright orange garter stich with eyelet edge

face cloths 07

All of these cloths were made from Filata diCrosi Millefili Fine mercerized cotton - my favorite cotton yarn (I've even knit socks from this!). Patterns 1 and 3 can be found by searching Ravelry patterns. Patterns 2 and 4 were my own spur-of-the-moment invention.

I'm now happily busy making dish towels for this same person (my little sister), at her request:

dishcloths yarn swift 1 08
I hope these match her kitchen!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Seattle's Bracken

I had a request for the pattern to my Bracken Seattle Bus Mittens and as I was searching for them, I realized I had never posted them to my journal! I made these in mid-winter early 2007 as gifts for my sister and her boyfriend.

His pair was made from a hand-dyed yarn created by my local yarn store in a colour called "Bracken". It is a green-brown so dark it looks black.

Her pair is a varigated Malabrigio - I love the deep greens and light greens, like light through the forest branches. Both pairs have a foliage theme....

Seattle Bus Mitts Malabrigio

As you can see, they have a little opening for searching for change, bus tokens, and cards in your pockets. I also made the thumbs open (a modification I made to the original pattern) because its hard to fish for change without that opposable thumb! Another modification - I didn't knit a ribbed cuff on these, but just knit straight from the wrist up.

Seattle Bus Mitts palm

I'm happy that I was asked to look for this pattern again, because I'd forgotten how great these were! I need to make a pair for myself and my boyfriend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Knit Year in Review

Christmas mantle

Every year's end, I like to review what I've done and make plans for what I'll do in the coming months. As I looked over the things in my portfolio, I was disappointed that I had completed so few knits (and no crochet!!)- only 37 items! Many of these were original designs, and yet I haven't written up the patterns. I resolve to do better in 2008. I am also starting this year with a new knitting notebook - my red one is completely full!

The 2007 knits:

1. Angora Gloves w Lace Cuff – Louisa Harding book

2. Wise Woman Raglan Cardigan - original design

3. Argyley Scarf – original design

4. Black Cashmerino Raglan T-neck – free web pattern Magknits

5. Bracken Seattle Bus Mitts – free web pattern

6. Broccoli Driving Mitts – original design

7. Butterfly Slippers – original vintage design

8. Cotton Angora Night Cap – original design

9. Daniel’s O-Wool Chapel Socks – Thuja

10. DNA-ish socks – original design

11. Duckies Angora Socks – Knitting Vintage Socks book

12. Erin Lace Socks – original design

13. Exsanguinate Chevron Scarf – Last Minute Knitted Gifts book

14. Feather & Fan Face cloth – free web pattern

15. Garter Rib Silk Merino Crepe Scarf – Jo Sharp Knit Vol 1

16. Garter Stitch Eyelet Edge Face cloth – original design

17. Garter Stitch Mitts – free web pattern Ysolda's blog

18. Gold Sun Round Face cloth – free web pattern

19. Grackle Grackle ZeeBee Hat – free web pattern Schmeebot's blog

20. Malabrigo Seattle Bus Mitts – free web pattern

21. Jule’s Birthday Feather & Fan Socks – free web pattern Antique Rose

22. Lavender Garter Rib Face cloth – Jo Sharp Knit Vol 1

23. Ribbed Lace Bolero Deep Teal – free web pattern

24. Noro Charity Hat – original design

25. Noro Pointy Charity Hat – original design

26. One-Skein Noro Picot Edge Hat – original design

27. One-Skein Noro Top-Down Hat – original design

28. Orange Top-Down Charity Hat – original design

29. Orange ZeeBee Charity Hat – free web pattern

30. Peaceful Feeling Fixation Socks – original design

31. Road to Lothlorien Socks – original design

32. Rose Leaf Cotton Socks – original design

33. Spring Forward Fall Back Noro Sweater – free web pattern Thrifty Knitter

34. STR Silk Orchid Socks – free web pattern

35. Van Helsing Candle-flame Socks – original design

36. Wandering Leaves socks – Favorite Socks book

37. Watery Cotton Lace Socks – original design

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Yarniest of Christmases

I have holiday knitting and yarn pron to show and tell! A wonderful fest of knitting spoilage...

First up, my artist sister created pattern booklets out of 3 of my original patterns! These will be up on my Etsy store, Unraveling before too long. I'm also going to create a knitting & crochet zine with patterns and comix, and some knitted items for the shop....
pattern booklets 12 07

Then, this gorgeous Mountain Colours Mountain Goat (wool & mohair). This was a gift from the marvelous Jule, sister extrodinaire! She has an artist's eye for colour!
It is the softest yarn! The colour is Juniper, the most beautiful handpainted dark and deep shades of green. Green is actually my favorite colour - the colour I use most often when I'm shopping or knitting for myself. I'm thinking I'll make something from Fitted Knits or Romantic Knits out of this - I have 460 yards total!

my friend Nadine sent me some fabulous yarns, hand-dyed by two different German yarn artists. Sock yarns! Yay socks!
The first, on the bottom, is "Wollmeise" - that yarn that everyone on Ravelry is taking about! - in Siberian Iris - a huge 574 yards! Don't these colours look just like spring?! I can't wait to see how this knits up!
The next one, going clock-wise, is "Tausendschon" in possibly 'der dunkle Siede'???
The 3rd one is also "Tausendschon", in Fala Thorgana. I don't know what that means, but the colours are gorgeous flower colours - about 430 yards!
My German is atrotious and Babel Fish translator doesn't recognize these words, so if you know what these mean, please let me know!
Nadine knows I am seriously addicted to sock knitting and I will love every minute with these exotic sock yarns.

next up: my bf gave me yarn money (very smart boy!) with a note that said it could only be used for yarn! Then, on Boxing day, he took me to a yarn store several towns away and I got to choose yarns for several projects...

sock yarns for Jule socks:
a. Regia colour b) Koigu c) Seacoast Handpainted Fire and Coals

Sock yarns for friend socks:
a. Panda cotton, ivory b)Fiesta BabyBoom in Rhubarb c) Fiesta BabyBoom in Burnished Red
a) Kaffe Fassett colour b) Regia silk sock in chestnut and crimson

Should keep me kntting for a while, don't you think?

sad swap experience...

I had an experience with Ravelry last week that really threw me; upset my knitting equilibrium. I joined my second swap on the Tea group, and was assigned my partner. And someone was assigned to send a box to me. I had lots of fun shopping for my designated box recipient. This is the most fun part of a swap - spoiling your partner with special gifts that they wouldn't get for themselves. We're supposed to spend about $40...

I assumed that the person sending to me was going through a similar process.
This is what I received:
sadswap ravelry dec 07

I was so hurt and started crying when I opened the box! For some reason, it seemed like I was unworthy of a "spoilage" swap box - that my swap sender had read my questionaire and decided "eh,". I couldn't get it out of my mind for days and even left the group that started the swap because I couldn't stand to see the wonderful swap boxes that other folks were getting - things like 2 skeins of silk lace weight yarn and Presentation Blossom teas!!

Several days have passed and I got a couple very nice messages from other people in the group. One person told me she had a similar experience a while ago and hadn't done any swaps since. I love to give gifts, (I'm going to be a swap angel for someone who didn't get their box in the last swap) so this will be hard for me, but I think I should not join any swaps again. I don't think I could go through this again...

meh, I shouldn't complain because I was thoroughly tea-and-knitting spoiled by my sister, my bf, and friends at Christmas time. Why do the assumptions of strangers affect us so much, when its those who are close to us who should matter most...