Monday, January 30, 2012

Whiskers on Kittens

If it's Monday, it must be time for favorite things!

The little wooden box Fred gave me to house our first wedding rings after we got our bigger ones.


Hand knitted blankets

What are a few of your favorite things?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Raindrops on Roses

My Monday installment of favorite things...
...sand dollars collected by my husband and me at Ocean Shores, OR... antique sliver forget-me-not friendship bracelet given to me by a friend long ago...

...and my freshly-sharpened color pencils.
Time for some doodling!

Monday, January 16, 2012

When I'm Feeling Sad

It's Monday again, so you know what's coming...
...Lindt dark chocolate truffles... goat milk soap...
...sweet cards from my husband...

Just some of my favorite things. What are yours?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday FO #7: Chocolate Wanda!

 Exactly two weeks ago I left you with my goal of finishing my most recent Wanda Nell Cardigan in time to wear it for New Year's Day. I didn't make it, but I did finish it this past Tuesday. I had the knitting done by last Friday when it looked like this.
Then I blocked it Saturday and on Monday I made some little crocheted flowers with the Schaefer Nichole in Julia Child to grace the bodice and to balance out my decision to work the button bands, buttonhole bands, and collar in the darker Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Chocolatier, these being the two sock yarns I alternated every two rounds to make her. As predicted, these two yarns made best friends!
Here she is, all blocked out and finished and ready for wearing...

...first by Hilda and then by me. I wore Wanda all day yesterday and seriously wanted to wear her to bed. I wish I could wear her every day, but I don't want her to wear out too soon. I want her to stick around a long, long time.

Can you tell I love this sweater? If sock yarn is made exactly to make your feet comfortable, what do you think it does for your body? So comfortable and it fits me even better than it fits Hilda--it's a little roomy on her. She has scant hips, as you can see.

Here are my modifications on this Wanda:

1/1 rib on all edges instead of 2/2 as directed in the pattern
(I wanted to work the 1/1 rib invisible BO.)

Long sleeves instead of elbow-length as directed in the pattern
(I simply measured my wrist circumference and added one inch and then multiplied that number by the stitch gauge, then subtracted the result of that from the number on the needles at the beginning of the sleeve and then divided that number by 2. Then I multiplied 18 by the row gauge so that my sleeve would measure 18" from underarm to cuff. Then I subtracted seven inches from that, because I wanted to make the cuff deeply ribbed and did not want to work decreases after the rib started. This gave me the number of rounds I had to work the decreases. I multiplied that number by my number of necessary paired decreases and that gave me my decrease frequency.)

I made the hem rib deeper also--approximately two inches total.

That's it!

I worked buttonholes only on the left band and then whip-stitched some satin ribbon to the back of the button band to give it some support for attaching all 14 buttons. Because I made this one a little longer, it ended up needing a couple more buttons. I also like putting lots of buttons on this sweater so the bands won't gap open.

I look forward to wearing this all year--right now with warm dress pants under my winter coat, come spring over a cami and with a pair of jeans or khakis, in summer over a little airy dress, and in fall with a cami and skirt, tights and boots. Of course, I'll alternate with the other Wanda Nell I have on the needles in brighter colors. I'll show you the progress on that one soon!

Enjoy your weekend. Knit something!

Monday, January 09, 2012

When the Bee Stings

Last year I started a little series and let it slip by the wayside. Let's get back to it.

This week's favorite things...
... black sesame seeds...
... my spearmint plant that came back from last year...

...and some lace trim that my mom and I found a few years ago foraging in antique shops...
Dig out some of your favorite things and put them where you can see them--it makes Monday easier.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Sweater and a movie

 One day last year I parked it on the couch to try to finish up the third sweater in as many weeks, two balls of hand dyed yarn dueling it up on the last of the second sleeve. Boy, was I glad to find The Legend of Lucy Keyes on the Lifetime Movie Network. It's not because it's particularly engaging, but because it's one of my fave sweater movies. Nothing better than knitting while watching a movie with great sweaters and other assorted knits worn by Julie Delpy. This one's full of it, my favorite being this creamy lacy angora number.

Another good one is a cashmere wrap with ruffled edges. I'm sure that one is a machine knit, but it's still luscious. I also love the deep pink fine-knit mohair ballet wrap she wears when her husband rolls her around in the hay in the barn (one of the few scenes with them being nice to each other). Can't find a pic of that one, though.
Speaking of knits and crochets in movies, there used to be a great list somewhere online and I seem to have lost it. There are a couple of blogs that focus on this subject, but I fear I've lost them as well. Anybody able to help me?

Until then, here's a list I've been accumulating:

Everlasting Moments (2008)
Nanny McPhee
Nanny MacPhee Returns
The Golden Compass
The Holiday
The Cider House Rules
Howard's End
The Secret Garden
Secret of Roan Inish
Meet the Parents
Dancing at Lugnasa
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Legend of Lucy Keyes
Like Water for Chocolate
Sweeney Todd
Benjamin Button
The Changeling
The Time Traveler's Wife
Sweet November
Lars and the Real Girl
Anne of Green Gables
I Capture the Castle
Big Fish
The Ballet Shoes
Hillary and Jackie
The Good Witch
Bright Star
Music Within
all the Harry Potter movies
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Return to Cranford
Land Girls

Pardon the lack of links--just put any of these into IMDB and you're on your way!

Now that we've dropped our cable TV, I am perusing Netflix streaming for more. I'd love some suggestions of what to add to this list.

Happy Knitting, Crocheting, and movie watching!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Crochet a Cowl

Last year my good friend Kelli gave me a wonderful skein of yarn that she hand spun for me, a unique creation of four different shades of purple, each in long sections. I looked and looked at this skein of yarn for months trying to decide on a worthy project. I wish I had gotten a picture of the little cake with its bulls-eye appearance before I greedily worked it up, but one day last month it just came over me the exact thing that this skein wanted to be and I had it on my hook before you can say "snap a picture!"

In a couple of hours I had not only a beautiful version of my Learn To Crochet Cowl, but a little headband and a flower for embellishment. You can see in the picture the three spare yarn bits left from using the entire skein. I love it when that happens.
The flower motif is from Edie Eckman's Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs (page 39), and the headband was made by working just the first 10 rows of the cowl pattern. I wish you could feel how soft this is. The yarn is a single-ply merino and has sort of a thick-and-thin thing going on. It was smooth and fun to crochet with it. Now that I've gotten decent pictures and have shared them with you I can't wait to wear it. Thanks so much, Kelli!

The next part of the story is that after doing those hat and headband liners in the earflap hats (seen here), I wanted to try the same thing on this little headband. I will tell you my foibles so that it may save you from the same fate.

I went to the local craft store and got me some Dylon purple dye because it's a little less expensive than Rit dye and it's been a long time since I tried to dye fabric (think tie-dye in the 60's and its resurgence in the 80's). Also, I knew I only wanted to dye these two little pieces of what were white polyester fleece (left) and natural color wool felt (right). The package tells you that the dye works best on cotton, linen, and viscose, and that it will yield lighter shades on polyester, wool, silk, etc. Home test complete--the package does not lie! The polyester was only slightly changed, while the wool felt soaked it up in a somewhat mottled manner. I think I will line the little headband with the fleece. The wool felt still seems to be letting go of some of its purpleness and I do not want a purple forehead, thank you very much.

As an aside, I have just recently discovered (while balancing up the 2011 books and generating all those telling sales reports) that the Learn to Crochet Cowl is getting about 70 downloads a month. I love that! If you haven't downloaded your free copy of my cowl pattern, well go and grab it. Whether you already know how to crochet or have been wanting to learn, this is a fun project.

Oh, yeah, and Happy 2012 already!!