Friday, November 30, 2007

Glass and Hats

First things first, since I titled this post Glass and Hats, I have to show you the glass first.

It was a coupla posts ago I told you about the glass class Bart took. I now a have a pic of the pieces Bart actually made himself during the class.

I'm floored. These are his first attempts in class! I thinking the kid caught on and learned something don't you? Each piece is approximately 20 inches tall and the bulbous parts about 3-4 inches in diameter. I can't wait until I see some of his work using color, obviously they focused on technique and not colorwork in the classes. It's a real busy time of year for him making ornaments, tree toppers, goblets, vessels and bottle stoppers, not to mention the various pendants and such that he makes, plus he doesn't want to spoil my x-mas present. Dang I feel like a kid again counting the days until Santa comes. :o)

On the fiber front.....
I've been making hats. Remember how Gillian had called and asked for "several" scarves for she and her friends? Bart called and asked for a "bunch" of hats. It was a welcomed request, cuz I gotta be honest, scarves and I don't go well together. Believe me when I say I enjoy mindless projects, but scarves are a little too mindless for me, I get bored rather quickly. Go figure ADD me gets bored quickly! LOL So, like I said, hats sounded like a good think to do, but imagine this if you will......I've only made one hat in my life. Yes, believe it, it's the truth, I've only ever made one hat and it was a disaster.

Bart was somewhat specific in what style of hat he wanted so that was a good thing. And I had him go through the Ravelry database of all the hats there, so I got a good idea what he liked and didn't like. The problem arose when there weren't any patterns there that were exactly right....sigh thus began the process of trying this and that, "stealing" from this one, modifying that one and hoping it would all work out. It took a few tries.....

None of these hats in the pic are quite right. (please forgive their unblocked state.) Sure, they are OK as far as hats go, but they are just working models or steps taken to finally achieve the "Ultimate Bart Hat". I think I have it. It's on the needles now. I'm making it in a really nice cashmere/merino better be right. :o)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stacked Diamonds

Just to use up the remaining yarn from the Snake Trumpets I did the Edgar, from Kitty that also screams for a yarn that has a long color sequence.

Pros and Cons:
The pattern is written ok I guess, technically I didn't really read it through, it's a pretty intuitive pattern so I didn't bother. A quick glance at the pattern may be intimidating to some, but if you really like this scarf I urge you to give it a go. Get over the scary look of the rows upon rows of written instruction it's just a lot words to explaining how to do something you'll be able to see on your own after you have completed the first square.

I only did one thing differently than the pattern (I assume, remember I didn't really read it through).....the center decrease in the pattern calls for a sl 1, k2tog, psso...........I did a k3tog.

I'm really not a scarf person, but I gotta admit the nearly instant gratification in making scarves is pretty cool. I'm wondering how many "a bunch" of scarves is...that's how many Gillian requested last week for she and her friends. So far I've got 3 done, and materials pulled for a few more, the next few will be crocheted.

In other knitting, I picked up the 2nd Cabled Cardi again today. I had cruised along up to the armholes, and then just stopped working on it. (I blame the addictive quality of instant gratification scarves and the thrill of dyeing a 54 ft skein) I finished the entire bodice today, and now I have to go hunt for some more of the cotton I'm using before I begin the sleeves. Wonder how long it will take to get knitting on this again. At least another two days will pass, because I know where the cotton I need is. It's laying in the to-be-frogged box. So I'll have some frogging to do and then some soaking and hanging and drying....sigh.

So now what.

I could pickup the other cardigan I started about a month ago, the one I began out of desperation using LB Homespun. Still like the colors, still can't get pass what I know it will look like after being worn....sigh. I've got a few felted slippers patterns to try, but not thrilled with the yarns I have on hand. I mean really, it's kind of silly to make slippers out of natural colored wool, and I'm completely out of dyestuffs.....ok that's a a lie I do have 1 pkg. of orange kool aid, and I do have a half bottle of neon green food coloring. OTOH I could go ahead and work them up and just dye them later, hmmmmm.


I could drag out Levi (my spinning wheel) and do some plying I've been wanting to do, or perhaps, (gasp) spin some fiber?!?


I could sew up some of the fab wools I've got, but not sure I want to drag out all the sewing patterns right now.


I could always work up a few more woven squares for some rugs I planned and began this summer.


Hell's fire there are a 1000 things I could do and zero of them are calling to me.....sigh
Dang it I hate it when I feel this way.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Felt Boxes

Recently during a Ravelry discussion regarding things to make with felted sweaters I mentioned making boxes out of the really hard felted sweaters. Here's a few pix of some of the boxes I've made.

In the first picture is a 4 inch box and a 6 inch box. On the smaller one you can see that I did a little bit of embroidery (such as it is). The little box has a thin row of plastic canvas around the upper edge, to help keep the shape of the larger box I pushed a wire through the top hem. Notice the seams on both of these are on the outside. I like it this way, it give a very angular edge to the box.

The last two pix are of the the same 6 inch box pictured above just turned inside out with the seams inside. I kinda like it this way too, it lends a softer more sculptural element to the angular cube.

The only support in either of these is the plastic canvas/wire along the top edge, there is no support in the sides nor in the bottom. Obviously the factor that determines the need for additional support is the firmness of the felt itself. I prefer to use wire, I have plenty of copper wire around here, a wire coat hanger could be used just as easily. Supports could be hand sewn into the seams as they are made here, but it's not necessary. When the construction is one piece, as opposed to the 5 pieces these were made of, the faux seams at the edges actually lend a bit of support themselves, but if need be, a wire can be pushed through those edges too.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Kureopatora's Snake and the Skeining Frame

Kureopatora's Snake is the real name of this pattern, but considering, I didn't use that yarn, nor can I spell it, or pronounce it, I call my rendition Snake Trumpets.

Project Specs:

Pattern: that K-word Snake can be found here.
It calls for that K-word kind of yarn that is a) discontinued, and b) has loooong color grades
I didn't have either of those in my stash so I dyed my own.
Finished measurements: 5.5 inches wide 98 inches long. I followed Kim's suggestions and worked the scarf in the style of a seaman's scarf. The center ribbing is 14 inches and each end is 42 inches long (7 pattern repeats). I used approx 360 yards.

The yarn I used is reclaimed lambswool. I used McCormick food colorings both regular and neon. To get the long color grades I began with a 54 foot long skein. Making a 54 foot long skein can be a challenge sometimes when you have too much help the likes of which I have around here. IdaMae and Ben are of the four legged variety and running around a few chairs, in circles, with yarn trailing behind me looks too much like play time, so I don't wind my long skeins that way. I do my long skeins with this:

No tools required. It's the slate frame from a needlework floor stand. Sorry I don't have link for you, but I have found they have since changed the design of these. Not surprising really cuz this was an estate sale find, but I have seen this style regularly in thrift stores and such. There really is no reason why the newer style couldn't be used and it would be a snap to make these pieces on your own.

The drilled sides measure 30.75 inches, the shorter sides with the slides measure 24.5 inches. The rest of the stuff laying there are the 4 blots with wing nuts and washers, a handful of ten-penny nails, and a roll of masking tape.

Assemble the frame as if you were going to use it for a piece of needlework. (technically speak that would be turned so the holes are on the side but you get the drift)

Here I made it as big as the pieces allow. Turn it over, wing nuts up, then just start dropping your nails through the holes. I chose to use all the holes this time because I wanted a really long skein (54 ft. remember) When all the nails the are placed run a strip of masking tape over the nailheads.

Note that there is a nail also in the top right corner, bottom right, and bottom left slides. Now just skein your yarn.

Here I began at the bottom left by tying a knot around the nail in the first hole, went up around the first nail on the top and then zig zagged my way across. When I reached the nail in the furthermost upper right I took the yarn around the nail that it in the upper slide, down around the nail in the lower slide, across the bottom to the nail in the lower left slide. (one round completed) The next step would be to continue up to the first nail on the top.

After winding the skein, I tied it off at the center and at both nail heads. Then I dyed it.
pale green is approx 2 yds 6 inches
grass green approx 3 yds
sky blue approx 2 yds 20 inches
red 1 yd 14 inches
yellow green 3 yds
turquoise 2 yds 20 inches
yellow 1 yd 13 inches
purple 2 yds 25 inches

I dyed a total of about 800 yards so I've got some left....maybe some fingerless gloves or a hat.

I'm not totally thrilled with the colors this time, but they are OK. It's too "United Colors of Benetton" for me. The red really bothers me, I wanted pink, but I grabbed the wrong bottle of food coloring...those caps looks so much alike to these old eyes.

I'm clean out of dyestuff right now, dang it. I want to dye another with fewer colors, even longer repeats and much more in my comfort color palette.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Petal Cardi done

Ahhh the Petal Cardi, a vintage pattern (60's) from Coat's and Clark's.

First off I just gotta say, calling a pattern from the 60's "vintage" is tad bit disturbing but some times we just have to accept everything is what it is.......sigh

I invoked Knitter's Denial to an extreme measure on this one. Oh hell's fire, I just about denied everything and completely threw common sense out the window.........since when is it ever true that one size fits sizes 10 - 18? Nonetheless, I knitted on. I didn't even bother with measurements, other than the ones that told me I was on gauge, and I never once took advantage of what is prob'ly the most endearing quality of a top down sweater...I never tried it on as I knitted merrily along. Thus the result of all that fool heartiness:

Vital Stats:
Coat's and Clark's #185 booklet Quick Fashions pattern called "Two-Skein Petal Cardigan"
Patterns calls for 8 oz of Red Heart Sayelle
I used Bear Brand De Luxe knitting Worsted used double throughout (this is the yarn I kool aid dyed a while ago)
Size 10 and 13 needles gauge 11 st/14/rows = 4 inches
Finished bust measurement: 44" ( just little bit more than 10 inches of ease lololol)

Pros and Cons:
Well aside from the obvious that it doesn't fit worth a hoot, I actually like this sweater. I was sure it was destined for the pond, but the more I wore it today the more I liked it. It's warm a cuddle-ly despite the lacy yoke, and even though the yoke comes down nearly to my elbows it's comfy, so I might just keep it.

I suppose I could rip it back and just do three tiers of the yoke, but then again I like the width of the sleeves, so I'd prob'ly have to do some figuring there. I'm not sure it's worth all that. Maybe if there is a "next' sweater from this pattern I'll do that figuring then.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Steve Sizelove

I know it was just the other day when I post a link to Steve Sizelove's webpage, but here it is again.
I feel I owe it to the guy...he taught my son some amazing things this past weekend. And now that I have my camera back I can post some pix.

No fiber pix today, just pix from Bart's class with Steve Sizelove. I'll only post a few here, but you can see all (most) of them here. These are pix strictly from the class, neither Bart nor any of his pieces are shown here.....sigh. (X-mas presents methinks :o)) Please note the orientation of some vessels is upside down. They were photographed during a cooling stage.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


What a nice thing to say:

Monika at Smoking Hot Needles just honored me. Honestly, is there anything better than making someone smile?

I'm going to have pass this on, but to who or whom is going to be difficult without an incredibly long list of blog links. Let's see, Monika is at the top of my list, but I'll have to leave her off, lest it sound like a mutual admiration society, so, not counting Monika here's my list:

Ingrid at Ingrids funderingar
Lisa at String Theory
Erin at A Dress a Day
TECHknitter and she also makes me go "Ah ha" and "Oh duh how could I be so stupid"
Trisha at Bits and Bobbins
Karen at K style dang does this woman find kewl stuff or what.

Yes, I know the rules of engagement and I'm only suppose to list 5, but considering not all of these are strictly knitting and they are on my list of "must reads" and you can never send too many smiles...


Sunday, November 11, 2007

FO's, Glass, and Dyeing

I reeeeally hate doing this......a post with no pix........ :-( ....but let me explain.

Bart (number 2 son) is a glass artist in his own right, but furthered his glass journey this weekend in classes taught by Steve Sizelove. (I can't urge you enough to follow that link for some breathtaking glass.) So before classes began on Friday, Bart borrowed my camera, thus no pix today. I can't wait to see Bart's pieces and the pix he took. His classes included many of the goblets and vessels you'll see in the link as well as the human figures. I promise pix from the class as well as pix of Bart's work as soon as I get my camera back! :-)

As for FO's...I finished the Petal Cardi as well as the Zippered Vest, Drops 0-399, I'll explain all pros and cons regarding the petal cardi and the zippered vest when I can take pix.

I have now found myself with an intense need to begin something else. Um, let's just forget all the other things on the needles right now OK? And since Sillian called the other day requesting a multitude of scarves for herself and friends I began searching for scarf patterns. I started a totally mindless garter scarf in a tweedy purple with a fuzzy carry a-long, while I was at my guild meeting on Saturday, but, I also need something that has a little bit more to it, but still somewhat mindless. So I decided that this was going to be the next, somewhat mindless, project on the needles. Problem is, I don't have a decent yarn with the proper color spacing, so I dyed some today.

Dang, I really wish I had my camera, but..... oh well. I made a skein about 17.5 yards long, and I dyed it with various blues, and greens, a sections of purple, red, and yellow. I used both the "regular" as well as the neon food colorings. I just took the yarn out of the microwave, and I'm not that thrilled with it. I wanted to do it on the stove top with a bunch of dye baths in my big pot, but I didn't have enough glass jars......sigh. I'll see how it looks when it's dry and maybe I'll overdyed it a bit.

I made the skein (reclaimed lambswool) in the same manner I used when I made the 9 yard skein for the spaced bleach experiment with a couple of improvements. Using one of those adjustable free standing needlepoint frames, I stuck 10-penny nails up through the holes, ran a strip of masking tape along the heads and wound up the skein zigzagging around the nails. It's a quick easy set up , that is totally adjustable for whatever length of skein you want to make, although I imagine 19 - 20 yards is about the max length, unless you add another frame or two, but I can't imagine wanting a skein longer than 60 feet, but who knows. :o) Another nice thing about this "skeining board" is that it breaks down into a few strips of wood and a handful of nails. I won't break it down and I'll take some pix as soon as I can.

As for the scarf, of course I'm not going to follow the pattern exactly. I'm going to widened the scarf as well as do the center portion in a plain ribbing in the manner of a seaman's scarf as the designer (Kim Salazar) muses in her notes/post about the scarf.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Round and Round...

The rack on the swift goes round and round,
round and round,
round and round....

I've been busy. This what I skeined, washed, and balled, on Monday and Tuesday and finished it up today.

I'll tell you what I did yesterday after I talk to my bro. Hopefully he'll have a "better" pic than I......go figure mine didn't turn out.....sigh.

I have definite plans for 5 of these lots. Of course that could change at any moment, but I have already made my reinterpretation of the patterns for three of them, so I'm pretty sure I'll do them. And yes, they are Drops patterns from :o)

I also worked on the Petal Cardi a tiny bit.

I'm doing both sleeves at once cuz I have this horrendous tendency to take lousy notes while I'm working on something, and I'm making these up as I go. In the real pattern they are only short sleeves. I don't know how long I'll make the body, but I've stopped at this point to make sure I have enough yarn for the sleeves and I'm considering an afterthought pocket. According to the pattern I only have a couple inches to go for the body length, I just stopped here cuz that's where the balls ran out.

I still don't know how it's going fit wise, I'm invoking Knitter Denial and just plowing on. Again, according to the pattern, it is suppose to fit size 10 - 18......LOL

Yesterday was a good day, and worthy of something new on the needles, cuz the Petal is nearly done, so I swatched, more about that when and if I get the pix I'm hoping for.

Monday, November 05, 2007


As promised, but of course a day late, the Coriolis sock from Cat Bordhi's New Path Ways for Sock Knitters.

Tech Stuff:
Yarn: Moda Dea Sassy Stripes
#4 needles

Numero uno comment is obviously, I love this pattern and adore the book. I tried a reinforced heel on these, not thrilled with it. Personally I don't see the purpose of it. I don't ever have a problem with the heel wearing out on my socks and I don't like the way it feels. I won't be doing this heel again.

I did swirl the other sock in the opposite direction, but I think more pix would be kind of silly.

I've got tons of yarn left over. I used two balls and have nearly an entire ball worth left. I've used this yarn before and I don't remember having this much yarn left over. Maybe I only used one ball for the other pairs, but that doesn't sound right. Oh well, Sillian likes those little anklet/no cuff socks, guess I'll use the leftovers for a pair of those.

These are the second pair of this pattern I've made so far, not counting the baby sock size. I've never wanted to take pix of them cuz,
1) they looks sooooo goofy just laying there and I was afraid people would shy away from the pattern.
2) It's not easy taking pix of sock when you're wearing them.

See how weird they look just laying there?

I've toyed with the thought of getting or making some sock blockers for quite some time, but that idea was waaaay down towards the bottom of my list of things to do. I'm mean really, I'm not a dedicated sock knitter, I usually only churn out plain no frills socks. Socks to me are just a convenient small knit on the go type thing. So what would be the point of showing off something so ordinary and spending the time and/or $$ on sock blockers. On the other hand since I got my copy of Cat's book, and I've been making my way through all the different "sockitectures" the wantoned desire of a sock blocker has been piqued. The patterns in the book are fabulous but when photographed just lying there, well let's be frank, some of them look as if they were made for a feet not of the human size, shape and proportions. Then, a couple of weeks ago, at the SpinIn I found this:

Oh yeah!!!! There was whole box of them for $3.00 each! I considered of course buying two, but alas this was the only knee high leg in the tangle of limbs. Plus it matches my foot and leg measurements perfectly. Oh how could I possibly pass this baby up?? The new "sockitectures" will photograph well, plus it adds an air of completion to my workroom space. I have several body pieces and parts. I've spoke of my girls before, Vivian, Selma, and Chloe, my dressforms, I also have four heads, 6 hanging half torsos, a hand and now a leg. I'm feeling almost Frankensteinish complete, but as creepy as it all is, I'm thrilled.

And now just for giggles. Remember the socks I knitted for Joe for the Oktoberfest? I said I thought they'd be thigh highs on me...what do you think? :o)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Chunky Cabled Cardi

I keep telling myself that I will be a good blogger and post on a regular basis. Yeah, well, I guess I listen to myself as well as my kids did. :-/ I could also go on and on and tell you all about how totally yucky I've been lately, and give you some kind of reason for my lack of posting, but ya know what? I don't feel like it. Life is too short to waste mine (and yours) on stuff that doesn't matter, the only thing that does matter are the good days and how we choose to live. Nuff said. Time to catch up.

On the fiber front, not a tremendous amount of things done, but a few. I finally finished the first lace shawl of my life. Nothing to scream about, just a random lace pattern from some stitch dictionary. I still haven't blocked it so not much sense in taking a pic. I'm basically done with the 2nd pair of Coriolis socks, "basically" cuz I made them separately (not together on two circs) so I have to give them the once over to make sure they are the same length. Dang, if there's one thing I hate almost as much as seaming and that's counting rows....sigh Oh but just wait till you see the pic of the socks...I've got a surprise for you! :-)

The latest and greatest thing I finished is the title of this post. The Chunky Cabled Cardi, aka Drops pattern 83-7 Yep, lovin' this cardi.

Hmmm don't you just love it when you take a photo of something and it looks like there is a big frickin mistake in it!?! Don't know what's going on with those wonky cables, I can't find anything wrong with them when I inspected them post photo shoot.....sigh Is this the nature of big cables?? I've never done cables before, let alone cables in such a huge gauge, so I'm not sure.

Tech Stuff:
Brunswick Pomfret
100% wool Sport / 5 ply (12 wpi) 175 yards/1.75 oz
10 skeins

No-Name Mohair cobweb/carry along weight.

I used two strands each of the Pomfret and the Mohair throughout.

Pattern Gauge is 10st 14 rows = 10x10cm
My gauge was 11st 15 rows = 10x10cm (but it usually lies)

#11 and 13 needles.

Used the stitch count for medium size.

Pattern Mods: I worked the bodice in one pc bottom up, without the buttonbands. Picked up stitches along front edge and worked k1 p2 ribbing buttonbands. Picked up stitches around neck and top of button bands and worked same ribbing. Made the sleeves longer, cuz I like them that way. :o)

Pros and Cons:
Love the fit and the easy execution of this pattern. Not loving the yarn so much. Yes it is warm and comfortable, but it's too light weight. I think this pattern deserves a smooth heavier yarn, perhaps a cotton blend. I don't like the collar in the pattern at all, I'm OK with the collar I did, next one will prob'ly be a little different though. BTW this sweater is a VERY quick knit. I think it took about 3 days. yippee skippee!

Next up is a vintage sweater pattern. It's from a early 60's(?) Coats and Clarks booklet.

It's worked top down (my first top down can you believe it!?!) I really have no clue how it's coming along, I haven't bothered to try it on. Ha, isn't that one of the advantages of working something top down? I just started last night and I'm to the underarms. Might get it done tonight, tomorrow for sure. The yarn I'm using is this yarn. It's Botany (?) Bear Brand (?) twin pak stuff (I think. I'd have to go to the link myself to know for sure) It's the result of that koolaid dyeing mega quantity in the microwave day. I really do like the yarn, it came out all mottled and tweedy-like. The color has a lot of depth to it, if you know what I mean. BTW it's not really this orange, it more rusty red, with some orange flecks. Maybe tomorrow I'll do a sunlight photo and see if I can get the color right.

Those of you who know your stuff can prob'ly see the glaring mistake.....I was dumb. It didn't dawn on me until today, that I should have changed either the k2tog or the skp to the appropriate right/left leaning decrease cuz ...duh...they are the same thing when you knit like I do.....sigh. Oh well, this is just a prototype/try the pattern kind of thing anyway. If it doesn't fit I'm thinking of hand felting/fulling/whatever it anyway. Or maybe I'll frog it cuz I do like the yarn. :-) Oh yeah, I'm going to make it long sleeve.....did you really think I'd follow the pattern that faithfully???

Other stuff that's been going on.

A couple of days ago was the "Household Shuffle". For the enlightenment of those who don't understand the implications of those words, I'll fill you in. The Household Shuffle happens at the Hermitage, oh about 4 to 6 times a years. (What is the proper way to explain something that happens 4 to 6 times a year? Quadhexual??) It's a day when nothing in the house is safe in its placement. All manner of furniture, decor, knick knack, etc is fair game for movement, refashioning, and repurposing, (including rooms ie living room morphed into dining room, dining room into office etc) This latest shuffle was relatively minor. All rooms were spared the ego altering repurposing, although in the interest of full disclosure, in the week previous to the official Household Shuffle, Gillian's bedroom did fall to the oft done college student bedroom/sewing-room conversion. Sorry Silly but you had to see that coming.

Taking a quick inventory of all that has been moved or morphed, there are only two pieces of furniture in the living room that survived the shuffle (a large cabinet and IdaMae's fav chair). In the sitting room only the small table and lamp at the foot of the stairs survived. The sitting room has new curtains (made from fabric I got during my last Mouse excursion) and there is more "artwork" on the walls. A chair formerly in the sitting room has been reupholstered (again new Mouse fabric) and is in the living room. The china cabinet from the living room is now minus a door and is in the kitchen. Nothing got painted that day, but there are two pieces that have appointments with the paint brush very soon.

I've been enjoying myself going to fiber events of sorts. Of course the Bishop Hill Fiber Guild's Spin In is an event and I had a great time. Picked up a drop spindle and I've been itching to get my wheel out, but I need to get a few things either done or totally abandoned before I start spinning.

I've also attended a few knit nights. Funny how just a month or so ago I knew of no place to go, and now I've got 4 knit night/days that are easy enough for me to attend as well as a couple others that will be fun special occasion get-togethers, plus a couple more new groups in the making! WOW! Gotta be honest...Ravelry is the BEST!!!

I also scored some fabulous vintage dress patterns. Vintage as in 50's/40' the Lucy Ricardo/Rear Window Grace Kelly look. I splurged the other day and bought some fabric (at a real store not the Mouse!!) for 4 dresses. Not a big hurry to make them, other than desire, cuz both patterns are for summery dresses, but I couldn't resist the fabric that was perfect and on sale.

When I was digging around in the fabric stash I pulled out some marvelous wools I;e had for a while plus some new ones from...where else...the Mouse. Wondering if they'll become jackets/coats or skirts/dresses.

Enough already, you ought to get some kind of award for mucking your way through all this drivel. I'm off to go do something, even if it isn't right.