Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snowed In

What? only five days left in 2008? Yikes--I'd better get busy. I feel like I've been taken hostage by the holidays here.

One project on the needles is a Cable Tam from Vogue Holiday using this soft Cleckheaton Country Silk 8 ply. I've been alerted that there are chart errors in the pattern, so I wanted to check it out for myself, not to mention wanting one of these for me! Yup, I already found an error in addition to the one on the magazine's errata page. I'll wait til I'm done to tell you everything I find. I love the tam when it gets to this point--just before putting it on a 16" circular. It makes a little flower. Cute.
We've been using the holidays as an excuse to make way too many scrumptious things, like these Swedish Rye Cookies, Rosemary Pine Nut Shortbread, and this Coconut Walnut Fudge. The fudge has coconut milk in it! How yum is that?
I grabbed these recipes off of 101 Cookbooks when they came up on my yahoo page. I've gotten lots of great recipes that way!
Another thing that has had us held hostage is this snow that dumped on us for six days straight. We were trapped, cuz, ya know, we have no snow plows here! If anybody wants to give the Puget Sound a big ol' present, send some snow plows over. We'd really appreciate it!

I start and end with yarn, because it's always the most important. Here's what I get to play with for the Great Wall of Yarn at TNNA show in San Diego next month. I can't wait to sink some hooks and needles into this Be Sweet Bambino and Swizzle from The Alpaca Yarn Company. I'll let you know what I come up with!
Sorry no links in this post. Gotta hurry. Google it if you want it. Works great! Especially with the multiple tab thingy.
That's all for now! Bundle up!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Back to Basics

We're almost done decorating for Christmas--all we have left is the "exterior illumination" (quick--which movie did I quote? easy one). Let's do a run-through of the elements in this picture. Stockings hung by the fire (or NOT fire, since all our chimney can do these days is NOT draw smoke--cough, cough); elves (that Randall says are creepy) from my childhood, perched on the (NOT) fire screen; part of our D56 Dickens Village given so generously years ago by my mom (set up for the first time in about three years); and what appears to be a full-sized tree decorated with old-fashioned glass ball ornaments that I artfully purloined from said generous mom years ago. I say "appears to be" because the tree is actually a little table-top one. I finally gave in to Fred's request this year to go smaller. To make the story short--he wants a big tree next year. Looks like the bottom half got whacked off the poor thing. It'll be easy clean-up though!

Now to the knitting! Early last summer, after some suggestions that Figheadh put out some easy patterns, I decided to start our Fundamentals line. I have a really hard time keeping things simple, though, so I also decided that all these easy patterns should include gauges for four yarn weights and sizes from baby to daddy. Whew! That kept me, Meredith, and Tracey, the editors who work with me, very busy this past summer and fall. First, we did two sock patterns--top-down and toe-up. Then we launched into some crew-neck pullover patterns. Since these were basic patterns with Stockinette stitch fabric, it meant that we could use some artful yarns. One of my first thoughts was Schaefer, because they have some very beautiful artfully hand-dyed yarns, lemme tell ya! I also had great fun with some Cascade, like I always do.

Here are just the ones that I knit up myself. Starting at the top, you see Schaefer Elaine bulky in the Dian Fossey colorway, then Miss Priss in the Georgia O'Keefe, Cascade Bulky Leisure (soft!), Eco Wool, and finally Schaefer Lola in Snooks. I loved every stitch of every one of these pullovers. The knitting doesn't need to be complicated when you have such gorgeous yarn.

Next to come out will be a basic vest, and as you can see, I have made six of these already. Again from the top, Cascade Rustic (soft again!), Cascade Cotton Rich (yum!), Schaefer Sandra in Florence Nightingale (so pretty!), Eco Wool (always a fave), Hazel Knits Artisan Lively DK in high ocTANG (yep--very bright, and I love it!), and the little tip of a baby one in spring green Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky. That last one took about two minutes to knit.

So, you see that with the Figheadh Fundamentals patterns you can knit basic wardrobe pieces with just about any yarn you want and in just about any size. I think they're the best thing since Tootsie Rolls. I've obviously been having tons of fun with them.

Okay, along with all this show-and-tell I need to confess to having a Huggy Neck obsession. (See sidebar to download and start your own obsession.) I think I more than alluded to it a couple of posts ago, but I don't think you truly get the picture. Maybe this'll help.

Yep, that's three finished Huggy Necks, three in-progress ones and one still in the hank but destined to be (The yellow-purplish one will probably become a hat--just had to show you my two most recent acquisitions). I apparently also cannot get enough guttersnipe. Seriously, you gotta try some. It's more than yarn. It's like jewelry, like wardrobe embellishment, and that's why I want to make neck thingys with it so it's very close to my face so maybe it will enhance my looks by close association. The pink in the foreground is of course a guttersnipe HIP (Huggy in progress, of course), the one top right is a Noro Iro HIP, and the green one at the top is a Cascade Dolce HIP. Too much fun. Yes, almost all of these will be given to folks. Let them wonder which to whom.

Okay, quite enough for now. Stay warm, folks! Knit some stuff!