Thursday, February 26, 2009

I turn to the right...

Blue Moon Fiber Arts has done it again = captured my pure mood in colour:


It is the latest ...and first... offering from the Sock Club for 2009

My Blue Heaven <-- Listen to the Smashing Pumpkins sing this...

Day is ending
Birds are wending
Back to their shelter of
Each little nest they love

Nightshade's falling
Lovebirds calling
What makes the world go round
Nothing but love

When Whippoorwills call
And evening is nigh
I hurry to my blue heaven
I turn to the right
A little white light
Will lead you to my blue heaven

You'll see a smiling face
A fireplace, a cozy room
A little nest
That's nestled where the roses bloom

Just Molly and me
And baby makes three
We're happy in my blue heaven

You'll see a smiling face
A fireplace, a cozy room
A little nest
That's nestled where the roses bloom

Just Molly and me
And baby makes three
We're happy in my blue heaven

We're happy in my blue heaven

What will I knit with this? At the moment, it's a mystery...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Flash

When I was a kid, I used to lie out on the sloping back lawn of my best friend Susie's yard and read through her vast collection of comics. One of them, a low-budget take-off on Superman, featured "Flash Kelly, Ace reporter". Flash was a particular kind of super-hero... smart, humble, helpful, and idealistic, able to leap small building with a single bound the help of a jet-pack hidden in his portable type-writer case...

Now I know my own Flash Kelly, and I've made him a pair of socks, size 10.5.


These socks are knit from a single skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock mediumweight on size 2 needles. They are toe-up and I made up the pattern as I went along. It went something like this...


Cast on 12 stitches and proceed with your favorite toe-up method until you have 17 stitches on each of 4 DPNs. Moss stich on instep only for 4 rows. Continue in St st for 6 inches, then decrease one stitch on each side of instep. Continue in St st until approx. 2 inch from end of foot (for the 10.5 size, this would 8 and 3/4 inches). Then, increase one st every other row on back two (heel) needles only until each of the heel needles has 27 stitches. Form gusset by knitting across 31 stitches, k2tog, K1, turn, Slip first st, Purl 10 st, p2tog, p1, turn. Knit across to one st before gap, k2tog, k1, turn. Sl first st, purl to one st before gap, p2tog, p1, turn. Repeat these two rows until all heel stitches have been used up. Knit two rows, closing up any gaps in the ankle stitches. Continue up leg with an interesting modified rib as follows:


Row 1 - K3, P1, K1, P1, repeat around
Row 2 - K3, K3, repeat around

Repeat these two rows for the desired length of the sock, or until you run out of yarn. I like this modified rib, because it's stretchy and has a nice ribby appearance, but it doesn't pull in the way the usual K3 P3 rib does. And I think it has a nice sort of masculine look, too.

Finnish with Sewn Bind off.

...and there you have it - socks just like Flash Kelly!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

mochi mochi

O. M. G.


I have Never had chocolate as good as this! From my swap box, "Mochi Chocolate". It is a rice sweet ball filled with molten dark chocolate and dusted all over with bittersweet chocolate. Each little ball is soft, like a black olive...

Wonderful Mochi
I am Over The Moon
Let's eat...just one more!

and here is some information from my swap partner on the flavours of the other things... (amazing!)


Ki-kat flavors change every couple months here, and I tend to stockpile them for gifts when I go home. The flavors I included are: Soy Sauce (the small ones.. bet you wouldn’t have guessed! ^_~), Apple, Oshiruko (traditional sweet red bean soup), and not mocha, but actually Daigakuimo (lit. “college potatoes”) – which is a kind of a sticky-sweet, gooey, caramelized sweet potato snack. They released it this year timed to coincide w/ college entrance exams as a good luck charm for the kiddies (kit-kat sounds like the words for certain victory in japanese, so they /really/ use that as a marketing ploy for college-bought students). ^_^

Konnichi wa!

Today I had the most wonderful surprise! My tea group on Ravelry held a Valentine's swap and today my box arrived from my swap partner. My box had traveled a long, long, loooong distance - it was from Japan!!!


It was packed to the brim with wonderful things! Here you can see two skeins of soft 100% wool lace weight yarn, a tin of tea, a box of "mochi" chocolates, and 3 exotic Kit Kat bars.

The tea is so lovely (well, Everything is so lovely!!). It is from a tea company I've never heard of before: Tea Pi O. Their website says that they want to present the "Soul of Japan" through their authentic teas. They also have an Haiku contest on their front webpage. I was tempted, but haven't tried it out yet. My swap partner also sent me a package of green tea "sticks". I haven't opened the package, so I am just imagining that these are pencils of tea with tiny steeping holes in one end for brewing in a tea mug. These will be fun for work!


It's wondrous really how everyday things are so unique and unusual in other countries. I would love to go to Japan, and not just for the Kit Kats, either!


Oh, these aren't the ordinary Kit Kat bars! One is an Apple Kit Kat, one is an orange fruit Kit Kat that looks like it has black sesame seeds in it, but they are probably the fruit's seeds - maybe passion fruit? ...and the 3rd is dark chocolate with something in it - it looks from the picture on the wrapping like it's either coffee with a dumpling in it or bean soup. Haha! I can't wait to figure these out! But I must wait because there were 3 miniature ones in mocha flavour and I ate them right up - One! Two! Three!

There are many other wonderful things in this box, including a beautifully wrapped box of "Mochi Chocolate" - silver rice paper, green paper ribbon, Japanese seals.... all so elegant... and on top of everything else: four (4!!) little charms for my cell phone: the Sanrio purple doggie, the Katamari Damacy prince, a chocolate covered donut, and (my favorite) the Little Burnt Bun!


There was a mystery in the box, too. Does anyone have an idea what this is:


Do I eat it as is, or does it need to be cooked or soaked or grated or dipped??? Well, even if I don't get an answer, I'm going to try it out very soon!

What a wonderful box! And on top of that, it's "Top Chef" night! and... it's snowing.....

Arigatou, Swap Friend!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My doll, Primrose...and her Penguin friend...

This last Christmas, my boyfriend's niece gave me a gift card to a big book store near their home (probably at the urging of her grandmother). I finally got around to using it online and found that I was able to search for and purchase vintage knitting books through this store! Based on the photoless description, I purchased this:


"I Learn To Knit....To Dress My Doll, Primrose"

This little cardboard cover children's knitting book from the 1940's starts out with a hilarious story about the doll Primrose's adventure in the garden, being transported with her aviator penguin friend to the doll fairy's land and then back to the garden. Here you see her with her happy little girl...but note the ...interesting...penguin and anthropomorphic airplane in the background - her magic transportation (yes, there are many times when I wish my magic penguin would arrive and transport me far away!)...


Many of the pictures for this goofy story are a combination of photograph and Disney-like animation drawings. But the second half of the book is full of standard knitting instructions and patterns for a very extensive doll's wardrobe (Primrose was a quite indulged fancy doll):


These doll wardrobe photos have a decidedly vintage air to them, looking very like the photos of doll clothes in my 1920's books.

I'm making some little socks with the left-overs of my Petroglyphs Leyburns. I so love working with Blue Moon yarns I could happily make an entire wardrobe out it! (Really? Wouldn't that be a little...odd?) Erm... well, probably not a 'complete' wardrobe, but at least a lot of stockings!


Working on little thin needles isn't that hard, but I discovered that the only size 0 DPNs I had were from my KnitPicks set and with the very first row one needle splintered right down its length and drove a very long jagged splinter into my thumb! Ouchie. I do wish I had gotten some Grafton Fibers little DPNs in size zero because they use really good wood that doesn't splinter. But when I made my order last month, I got 6 DPN sets all in size 1.5!! This comes under the 'what was I thinking????' category.

But my work is enhanced by this beautiful stitch-counter that my friend Nadine sent me from Germany:


I do love it so much! And just like Matroska dolls, it came with a big, little, and tiny size. So cute.

Life is quite stressful these late winter days, including at work, where I'm being bullied by a jealous co-worker with no degree. She sends out missives suggesting changes to my job description, even though she has absolutely no authority over what I do. I really need my knitting these days, to sooth my ruffled feathers...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Been there, Done that!

I totally Stole this from Ziarah! Even the title!

To do: Mark with bold the things you have knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.

Knitting concepts:
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Hats: Top-down
Hats: Cuff-up
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn - Not yet, But I got some as a gift, so any day now!
Domino knitting
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn
Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Combination knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (just beginning)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book Does published in a knitting book count?
Participate in an exchange
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dyeing with plant colors
Dyeing spinning fiber
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living - partially
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener stitch
Knitted flowers
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn

Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Intarsia - beginning
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Free-form knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

My next challenges are cables and intarsia - I've only done these in a very beginning way. Both went well, but I think practice makes perfect for both of these techniques so if I keep avoiding them, I'll never be really facile. I love lace though, and keep doing more and more of that.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

...and his boots were yellow

Old Tom Bombadil
is a merry fellow
Bright blue his jacket is
and his boots are yellow.... (Tolkien)

I've finally Kitchenered the toes of the Plimoth Plantation stockings that I knit for the Living History re-enactor with the size 12 feet and will mail them off tomorrow.


They are very long over-the-knee stockings, with a mock seam up the back and a welt to grip the garters. The heels are square, and there is a diamond patterned clock on both sides if the ankle... The yarn is quite harsh and thick. The head of the wardrobe department said that no one ever complains about it - they are just grateful to have nice warm socks!


I quite like them, and wish that I had a pair myself (but in a more muted colour)!


I tried to buy some Sundara sock yarn tonight during her February offering. There was a tea related colour that I wanted and some beautiful greens, and I've never seen this yarn in person...... but, though I checked every 5 minutes starting at 2:30 pm, and I did manage to get the yarn into my shopping cart... before my invoice even refreshed on the screen for my billing details, all the sock yarn had sold out.

Sundara said that this month's yarns were meant to dispel the gloom of winter, but I'm afraid it has only made me feel more gloomy. Only few were able to snatch up the fresh yarn and lighten their winter doldrums. I wasn't one of them, and will have to suffer the effects of cold, dark days a while longer, un-yarned.