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Category Archives: Gifts

Fun Baby Projects – Wave Jumpers

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Fun Baby Projects – Wave Jumpers

I was ever so delighted to hear that one of my coworkers is having a first baby. I was even happier to hear that he’s having a baby girl! Baby girls mean that I get to make cute little dresses, like my favorite baby pattern, the wave Jumper.

I went through my yarn supply to see if I had any cute sock yarn in girly colors, and all I could find was this really cool sock yarn called FlatFeet. You unravel it as you knit, it’s rather cool. I wish more of my sock yarn came knitted up like this.

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My coworker lives in San Diego and is a big-time surfer, so I thought that these cute hippie like colors would be super darling on his little baby beachy girl.

The pattern is really easy it is a modified feather and fan lace, knit in the round with a little stockinette tank top from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders that was a gift from my dear mUm.

Despite having some shoulder issues from doing too much at work, I have been managing to knit a little bit of it each day and I think it looks completely adorable.

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The baby is due in June so I have plenty of time to get this blocked and finished up for them. I can’t wait to see a picture of her in it!

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Puttering Along On Things

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Suddenly the pace of my life has picked up a great deal, perhaps it’s because I’m able to walk on my healing ankle so much better now.   Last month I had a period where I had not been home at night until quite late for 12 days in a row!   It has been such fun, dinners and cocktails out, baseball games and opera, entertaining at home, cleaning up after entertaining at home, having house guests,  but no much time for knitting.

I am tired.  I need to putter for a while and have some down time, some knitting time would be nice too.

Today I found at the Ferry Building in the Heath Pottery stall a mug that matches my Camino Bubbles shawl.  I love it!  I came back from my walk in the cool misting fog and put the mug to immediate use with some green and lemongrass tea.

My new mug matches my new shawl
(Heath Pottery coupe mug in mushroom/green)

Camino Bubbles update
(see, the same green as my mug!)

My shawl is too large to fit into my handbag now, which means I am about three-quarters of the way done.   The length is about four feet and I still have the bulk of the second skein of yarn to use.

 

A___ came over for the Sharknado pizza party (check my other blog soon for details on that night) and saw the shawl on my bed.  She did her usual trick of picking up the work, draping it around her and twirling and posing in the mirror, exclaiming, “Is this for meeee???”.    So darling, however, it is *not* for her, not this time!   All of the ladies at the party want one now in various colors.   I hope that I don’t get sick of this pattern so that I can fulfill their wishes and gift them one someday.  This is the very best kind of peer pressure!

My latest “handbag worthy” project is the ongoing mobius cowl from last Fall.

A handbag worthy project has to have several important and necessary criteria:

  • It needs to fit in my handbag, first and foremost!
  • The pattern needs to be simple enough that I can knit without having to refer to a complicated chart, or a chart that I have not yet taken the time to copy out of a knitting book or magazine (see first bullet – must fit in my handbag)
  • The project cannot have too many stitch markers because when you are knitting on a bus or a bench or at a friend’s house stitch markers have a strange tendency to fly off your needles and mysteriously vanish before your eyes.  It’s almost as if they have their own Bermuda Triangle thing going on.

The mobius is perfect on this count, it’s a one ball of yarn project, fits in my pretty knitting bag which is almost too large to fit in my capacious handbag, and is straight stockinette, despite the unusual cast on arrangement on a coiled cable in order to achieve the magical mobius.

The Mobius cowl is getting close to bring done!

 

(Please note my SF Giants stitch marker, a gift from the team a few years ago!)

 

It doesn’t really look like a cowl at this point but once I remove the twice coiled cable it will loop into a mobius that should reach just mid bust on me.  The colors are really unusual for my wardrobe which is inspiring me to expand my color palate a bit more.

I hope to finish it next week or soon enough to wear during our perpetually fogged in summers.  The Camino Bubbles shawl will take a bit more time, since I will working on it solely at home, either that or I should get a larger handbag.  Hmmm, now isn’t that an interesting thought?

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!)

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!

Mini Sweaters

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At Christmas we love decorating our tree with ornaments that were purchased from our local church craft fair and throughout the years one dear lady has been gifting my family with miniature sweaters as ornaments.

I found a little book about how to make miniature sweaters in a yarn shop in Pt. Reyes Station and was so tickled to be able to knit them myself. They are adorable little things to give away any time of the year.

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My miniature socks, hats, and sweaters have become quite the collectible items in my circle of friends. Sometimes it’s really funny when they open up the tiny package and find the miniature whatever, the puzzled looks on their faces crack me up. They say politely, “Oh it’s a tiny sweater, what do I do with it?” I just laugh and recommend they put it on a bottle of whiskey, to keep it warm naturally. They also make great drip catchers for wine, no more dirty tablecloths!

With the yarn left over from my Oakland Shawl I made a few sweaters. First I knitted the sweater body.

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I divided the stitches to make the sweater back.

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On the other needle I knitted the sweater front and the soldiers.

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I sewed together the shoulders using the three needle bindoff.

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Making the neckline is next, knitting the stitches left on the two needles plus picking up four on each shoulder.

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It’s kind of messy looking at this point with all of the loose threads hanging about, but I just ignore this and begin to sew up the sides of the sweater. Everything at this point is done with the miniature sweater inside out.

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When I divided the sweater for the front and back in natural armhole is created. In order to match the armhole on the other side I use my finger as a guide.

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With the sweater body done I weave in the loose threads to tidy up the sweater,

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The tiny sleeves are fun to make, just twelve stitches!

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To sew the sleeves on the sweater body again I use my finger to hold the sleeve in place while I seam up the edges.

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Ta da! A darling miniature sweater is done, perfect for any occasion. If only knitting a person-sized sweater was this easy.

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The Kauni yarn gradually shifts colors going from orange to red, and I like the color variations in the miniature sweaters. I used a little bit of leftover sock yarn to make the third sweater.

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Making these tiny things really cheers me up and so do the colors. I will probably be making more over the next few weeks.

Iced Citron Shawl

Many years ago my mOm treated me to some gorgeous ice blue kid mohair yarn by Sublime.

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I had been working on a very pretty ruffled sweater in a soft mushroom color in Sublime mohair and mOm fell in love with a lacey shawl in the pattern book. I promised to make it for her for Christmas.

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It was a pretty simple pattern, only a four row repeat but I tried over and over and over and kept making mistakes.  I was beginning to think it was evil.  How could I not make this work?

You know when you see a flaw in something and it keeps bothering you? I guess I am a perfectionist in some ways, particularly when it comes to artistic endeavors. I put so much pressure on myself to do things well, so well in fact sometimes I am afraid of even starting a project in the fear that it won’t be, you know, perfect.

This shawl became one of my nemeses. I won’t even get started with the Rainbow Kauni cardigan, that is a tale for another day. It’s quite difficult to frog mohair, especially this Sublime yarn, but I had to do it. I unknitted this shawl about five times and this last Fall I gave the pattern another try.   It was still evil.

Knitting after my shoulder surgery was really challenging and I had so many lovely projects started for Christmas and birthday gifts and no more money to buy alternatives so I just had to get going with the requisite stuff upper lip.

About 5 rows in I realized I messed up again and began the arduous task of tinking this sticky fuzzy mohair again. (Evil, evil, evil!)   Did I mention that I started this in 2007?

Then I had a completely liberated thought, I could just make something else.

Thunderclap

Sometimes it’s okay to stop banging my head against a boulder, it’s okay to just try something else. I knew mOm would love whatever I created for her (I hoped) because every gift I make is knitted with love, care and more love, right?

I hopped on Ravelry and found a very pretty shawl by Knitty, the Citron Shawl, and it was perfect!

I had to do a bit of adapting for this yarn but it literally flew off my needles, it was so easy to make, it was soft and fluffy and girly and just perfect for my pretty mommy.

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It took me a while to finish, well past Christmas, but I wrapped it up in heavy silver tissue and a satin ribbon along with a few other treats, dropped it in the mail and held my breath.

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Simply gorgeous.

When mOm got the package in the mail she sounded so happy!  Fortunately it’s still wintery enough around here for her to enjoy it for a few more months.  I am quite pleased with myself actually.

Now, what to do for this Christmas?  As soon as my current shoulder sprain heals I shall get started early so that Christmas gifts will actually be under the tree instead of around Valentines Day!

Love you mOm!

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