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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Finished Objects: The Oakland Shawl

Before I finished my medical leave I finished my gorgeous Oakland Shawl.  I love this shawl so much!!

Something I do on the weekends

The Oakland Shawl lounges on my antique rocking chair when I am not wearing it, and it is keeping yet another pair of Turkish Bed Socks company.

The Kauni yarn really is perfect for this pattern.  It’s made from one ball of the EQ or rainbow colorway, and one ball of the EC or gradations of grey yarn and is just garter stitch with a yarnover and added stitch at each end to make the triangle shape, easy enough to do while healing mind and body.  I was quite pleased that the color combinations of the last rows were orange and black (almost black), the colors of our San Francisco Giants!!  They won the World Series this year too, perhaps good yarn juju had a part?

I cozy up in it on cool days, drape it over a coat or wear it like a scarf.  On cool weekend days you might find me propped up in bed with tons of pillows and a flask of hot Earl Grey tea and this shawl draped over my feet while I read magazines or knit something delicious.

I have encouraged my friend A___ to try her hand at this one because I think this shawl in a combination of browns and other mushroomy shaded yarn would look divine on her.

It’s tempting to knit another one, perhaps in a blue? What colors do you think?  Here’s a link to where I buy this gorgeous yarn, and all the colors they have available.

More Mini Sweaters and Learning Lessons on Adaptations

I spent a few days with my dearest friend from childhood and her darling parents. It was much needed during a time of travail and stress.

For this little break I brought with me the möbius cowl I was living in Malabrigo merino, Arroyo in the colorway Glitter. To me the colors remind me of the falling mulberry leaves that litter the city right now.

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The original pattern from Cat Bordhi for “Your First Möbius Cowl” uses a heavier weight yarn so my first attempt I tripled the stitches but it was yards too long. My second attempt, photographed above, I doubled the stitches, but when I got near the end of the yarn I realized it too would also be entirely way too long. So next to a cozy fire, listening to the rain pounding on the roof, I unwound the entire thing and I’m ready to start again. Lessons learned when adapting yarn to a pattern: do better math.

Meantime, to distract myself from stress, I knitted my hostess several mini sweaters just for the whimsy factor. She was so delighted, the whole family just giggled as we perched my mini sweaters on our evening’s bottle of wine.

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This little mini was knit using remnants of Kauni yarn for Laura’s “Rainbow Bridge” Wingspan shawl. She wears it like a hug that I intended for her, and collects many compliments from people who see it on her. It’s quite lovely and suits her to a T.

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(my pal, her Kauni Wingspan and a guide dog puppy!)

I spent some time with my friend’s mom, going over the joys of Ravelry and looking over a knitting projects she started years ago that had a bit of a problem. She’s excited to be knitting again and I was encouraging her by describing the mental and well-being benefits of knitting.

Last night, while the rain continued to bucket down, I finished yet another mini sweater – this time using a bit of leftover Freia yarn – for her white wines.

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Over dinner of picked cracked crab, Caesar salad and sourdough bread we laughed over the lavender mini sweater and how perfectly it fit the slender neck of the Navarro Pinot Grigio.

I also started a sock for me in the Crazy Zauberball, just a plain two-by-two rib, that I stashed in my beautiful knitting bag from Nathan of Knit1Eat1.

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Nathan also made a perfectly designed messenger bag for me in the same fabric with accents of cream and dove grey. I haven’t stopped wearing it since it arrived, and I’m sad that the rainy season has started and I’ll have to put it away for just a little while.

I’m also working on a sample pattern for a wonderfully talented designer, but I won’t be posting pictures until I’m given the okay from her. But I can say that the design is beautiful and I am thrilled to death every time I pick up this project. The yarn for the project is from A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland in a beautiful silk butter hued lightweight yarn.

As I’ve mentioned before, knitting has provided me with comfort and solace when I’m stressed or upset, provided amusement in the whimsical little gifts that I give my friends, and it gives me great pleasure in being able to make something beautiful for myself such as this möbius cowl and cute, crazy socks.

What also helps me feel better are puppies, lots and lots of darling Labrador puppies! Don’t you think they’re enough to make anyone smile?

Enjoy!

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(If you think these puppies are cute, you should make a donation to Guide Dogs for the Blind or make a visit to their lovely visitor center. It’s a wonderful project and they really could use your help. I was so impressed that they provide over 800 guide dogs each year for visually impaired people at no charge!)

Turkish Bed Socks

I am now completely obsessed with Turkish Bed Socks, a pattern by Churchmouse Yarns.

Turkish bed socks

I knit these for D___ for her birthday, and they looked so cute knitted in Dream in Color Smooshy. I must admit, however, that I made them when I had just returned to work from medical leave and was doing tons of physical therapy and in a lot of pain, meaning that I was taking pain medication and who knows what was going on with my gauge! One fit D___ perfectly, the other was so tight in the foot opening that she couldn’t fit it on her foot. Such a rookie mistake!

So I started another pair for her in a really silky, dark forest green yarn that I found at Stitches West last year, and of course I can’t remember what it was or from which stall I bought it. And, I forgot to take a picture of them! I made them with size 1 needles instead of size 0 and that really helped a lot. Plus I stayed off the pain medication while I made them. It is really difficult to concentrate when in pain though and I didn’t do a very good job of the seaming. This kind of thing would have really bothered me but now I just think to myself that the items are handmade and therefore are inherently imperfect. Voila! I am proud for being so evolved!

I was working on them at her place and set them down for a minute to go to the ladies and came back to this, the horror!

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What naughty kitties! They are so adorable though, one can never stay mad at them for more than a second, and with a bit of dedicated effort I was able to repair the damage and start over.

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Of course I forgot to take a photo of them completed, maybe I’ll have to get D___ to model them sometime.

I hope to make a pair of these for myself soon, they would be perfect to wear around the house, provided I can fit The Cankle in them. Time will tell.

Finished Objects: Byzantine Twisted Socks

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It has been quite a while since I finished these socks and I have been wearing them a lot. The yarn from Freia Handpaint Fibers is so soft and lovely I just never want to take them off.

Interestingly enough I chatted with Tina Whitmore about this yarn and she told me a horrific tale about how the dyeing of this particular yarn and how it produced such toxic fumes that she became very ill. Obviously the health of the yarn producer or any worker is critically important and she will not be using these dyes ever again.

Freia Flux socks

Meantime I will wear them with joy and apologize mentally to Tina for her suffering each time.

When Inspiration Strikes – Weekend Knitting

I have been having a lovely afternoon, knitting my First Möbius Shawl in a pretty Malabrigo yarn called Arroyo in the color “Glitter”, which reminds me of the fall colors of leaves and, coincidentally enough, the arroyo behind my friend’s house in Santa Fe.

I brewed some floral and delicate white tea and started watching Agatha Christie movies, and have been trying to stay warm during our sudden cold snap.

While knitting and dreaming of a vacation in Barbados like Miss Marple in a Caribbean Mystery, I realized the fluffy pink knitting project that Miss Marple was working on while talking to the soon to be murdered Major Palgrave, the film actually flashed the pattern on the screen!

I started doing a little research and found lots of knitters had noticed this same thing and that they had industriously researched and located the pattern. Isn’t that quite marvelous?

I plan to send away for the booklet called Bairnswear, Booklet #107, “Babies’ Cardigans” 1 to 2 years. A bairn, for those of you who don’t have Scottish heritage, is a charming name for a child. The booklet has four patterns in it, including the famed Dumpling Diddle. Now I need to research what a dumpling diddle means!

I do love how a pleasant (and dull-seeming to some) weekend activity can result in such a fun discovery.

Funnily enough, yesterday I was having a trying day, a tiring and painful walk to run an errand that proved mostly fruitless, and I returned home chilled and grumpy. I found I had a note from a dear family friend in the mail, and opened it to find an article she sent about how knitting and other crafts actually do more than make us happy, the activity calms the mind and the body and reduces stress and anxiety. It was such fortuitous timing to receive this little missive. I started knitting with this Malabrigo and started to feel better in a few minutes. It changed the tone of my entire day and made me feel happy that I had a weekend all to myself to just do as I please: knit, nap, watch movies and make simple meals.

I still wish I could go on a long vacation to somewhere pretty like the plantation in Barbados, but curled up on my Victorian settee “Vicky” by the radiator, wrapped in down and faux mink will just have to do.

Knitting Flowers

A few Christmases ago my mOm gave a cute knitting kit of knitted flowers for embellishment, decorations or pins and jewelry.

The yarn is in every color of the rainbow and the patterns make the cutest things!

I tried my first one and really like it, despite the trickiness of knitting an inch of i-cord and having to turn it inside out! Really, inside out, it was really a pain.

Knitted cala lily

This little flower sits on my monitor stand at work and makes me smile every day. I really should knit more of them, they would make perfect whimsical gifts.

Finished Objects: Santa Fe Eyelet Shawl

This shawl went off the needles and around my neck almost instantly, it is so gorgeous.

Eyelet Shawl, Stimulus Package yarn

The Eyelet Shawl using Dyelot Yarn’s Stimulus Package yarn in the colorway Santa Fe is a superbly simple knit. The yarn comes in a big fat skein but is really six smaller skeins of yarn, all dyed the same but with gorgeously different textures.

Tres Santa Fe by dyelot yarnTres Santa Fe by dyelot yarn

The pattern came free with the yarn but it makes a hugely long shawl. I am almost 6′ tall and I have to triple wind it around me for a loose cowl effect. I might like to make another one that is about 2 feet shorter! But regardless, I love this shawl and am so grateful for the gift of the yarn from E___. I am going to be cozy and very stylish all winter long.

Thank you!

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