Thursday, September 29, 2011

the flake factory

high tech flake production

a medieval torture device
Blocking the first flake, spraying the stiffening solution and drying it turned out to be a messy process; much better to have a jig so I don't have to handle the soggy flake or the sticky solution. Gavin made me two jigs to block the snowflakes to a uniform and entirely symmetrical shape. The long nails suspend the snowflake above the wooden base allowing me to spray the stiffening solution on both sides, and, blow dry from both sides. From start to finish the blocking process now takes less than ten minutes. Now we're cooking.

On Wednesday I picked up a packet of larger eyes; last week's teeny tiny 7 mm eyes looked ridiculous. These are much better! I'll have to experiment to see what works best for noses and mouths. A paint pen that sounds like it might be easiest and afford me the greatest control, but if that doesn't work, plan B is to glue black yarn scraps in position.

Now for the real question: what kind of expressions should the flakes have? Of course there'll have to be some smiling flakes, but wouldn't some grumpy and goofy faces also be fun? After all, it takes all kinds, doesn't it?

And then there's the bonus question: spray glitter or not?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday

24 squares and counting

For the last week or more I've been working away at these mitred blanket squares for Knit-A-Square - a charity that prefers wool and wool blends for warmth and for their fire retardant properties. All this wool was purchased years ago with the intention of knitting it up for a Canadian charity, but last year that charity changed to request only machine washable and dryable fibers. So I was pleased to see an opportunity with KAS to put this wool to good use.

FO Friday, here we come!
My stack of finished* squares is growing. And by finished* I mean the knitting is finished ... there are still a bunch of ends to be woven in as is clear from the photo. 24 squares and counting. As the stack of squares grows, the pile of unknit yarn is shrinks. I'm guessing I can get five, maybe six more squares out of what's left. With any luck I can get the whole thing done and ready to ship in time for Finished Object Friday. Boy, will it be a relief to knit anything but a mitred square for the next while!

It's been a busy morning already. We've been out to the municipal office to pick up our license for the big event in November. I thought that it would take a lot longer, but as it turned out, everyone in line ahead of us failed to complete the proper forms or bring the proper documentation, so we skipped ahead to the front of the line. We were in and out in 15 minutes. We stopped in to grocery shop on our way home, which I mention because it's rare for Gavin to come along for that. And no wonder; we came home with a completely different list of things - tuna, mackerel, peanut butter, crusty white bread, coke - I don't remember half of that being on my grocery list! We even came back with some paintbrushes. Who knew there was a hardware section in the grocery store? Perhaps it's best I shop on my own; we seem to buy more fruit and vegetables that way.

Check out Tami's Amis to see what everyone else has been up to!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

the new moon in Libra

lots of scrap yarn

Today's Libra New Moon is "mighty powerful", the astrologers say:
It's no time to be passive or checked out. The Libra New Moon on September 27th is a call to be actively engaged in visioning, re-imagining what's possible. With your full engagement, you can move mountains, make epic changes or shift your attitude.

It's also a "super moon", the astronomers say:
"A supermoon occurs when the moon is at perigee and it's in either a full or new phase," said Raminder Singh Samra, an astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, Canada. "The upcoming moon on September 27, 2011, is set to be at perigee and at the new phase," Samra said, "so we won't be able to witness the event, as the moon and sun will be in the same region of the sky" and the lunar disk will be entirely dark.

My TUSAL jar hasn't seen much action lately. I've been furiously knitted mitred squares, but in most cases I haven't woven in the ends or trimmed the extra. Not many new scraps in; actually, I've been pulling waste yarn out to tie the little yarn bundles requested by the charity for seaming their blankets.  Looks like I can finish up these squares this week, so the next couple evenings may be dedicated to finishing instead of knitting. Yuck.

As for "re-imagining" what's possible I've been looking at my stash trying to envision how best to put the yarn to use. There's a bunch of Noro Kureyon oddballs leftover from a sweater I knit last year. I think I'm going to knit them up into felted mittens. I've never felted before; wish me luck!

Monday, September 26, 2011

going postal

a couple extra yards for sewing

Saturday morning I wrapped the squares for Janel and brought them to the Post Office to send them on their way. I stacked the four squares, one on top of the other, to create a small light parcel 6-1/2" x 6-1/2" x 0.75". Wrapped like this, as a small "parcel", the cost to post to North Carolina was over $20. That's crazy!

So I took them back home and rewrapped them in 2 piles of 2 squares. The new parcel, now 6.5" x 12.5" x 0.4", was classed as an "oversize letter" and the amended cost to post was $2.06. Away it went! And that's also crazy, in my opinion!

When I've had time to knit this weekend, I've spent it on these mitred squares. Those are the next things I want to get into the mail. Can't wait to see the cost for shipping these to South Africa! I had a couple of hours of knitting time last night when Gavin and I sat down to watch Bridesmaids. It started a bit slow but pretty soon it was completely hilarious. Melissa McCarthy was particularly funny. We were still laughing over it hours later. In fact, we're kind of sorry we rented it instead of buying it outright. It's one of those movies we could watch over and over and over again. There's a day or two left on the rental; we'll probably watch it again tonight. And I'll be knitting still another mitred square.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

for Kate's blanket

Flowers in the Snow

Dear Janel,

These four squares are in the mail. I wish I could do more.

quoted from her Ravelry post:

I am writing this post to ask you all for your help. My very dear friend, Kate, is dying of stage IV breast cancer. Kate is only 31 years old and the mother of two young boys. Five years ago, she became a widow while pregnant with her second child - her husband was killed by a drunk driver. Then two and a half years ago she was diagnosed with stage IV cancer & has been giving it a tough fight. Recently, Kate was informed that the cancer has now spread to her ribs, liver and brain. She has accepted that she will not be with us much longer but is struggling with leaving her two beautiful boys behind. Thankfully, just before she was diagnosed she met her wonderfully, supportive boyfriend. He has stayed by her side through her diagnosis, her treatments and her difficult days. He not only fell in love with Kate but he fell in love with her boys as well. He is currently in the process of adopting both boys and will continue raising them as his own once Kate has passed. All of us who know and love Kate are devastated and heartbroken at the thought of losing her.

What I am asking of all of you is to help me make a blanket for her while she receives her dialysis & chemo treatments and then to use while she rests at home. She gets incredibly chilly & I thought it would be nice to give her something handmade to snuggle up with. The problem is, she needs something quickly and I don’t think I can create something fast enough for her. I tend to be a bit slow as I am still fairly new to crochet. I wanted to keep it simple so I choose Flowers in the Snow. I love how bright & cheery the colors are in Solveig’s blanket with the white border – perfect for Kate. (I should say that it’s a crochet blanket.) I thought maybe if a few of you - or many of you - could each make just a few squares each then we can get it done fairly quickly. Of course, I will be making as many I can, too. I think it would be best to use Red Heart Super Saver solid colors because there are no dye lots & they’re widely available. Yes, I know acrylic isn’t ideal but it’s machine-washable, durable and I can make it as soft as a baby’s butt. As I receive the squares, I will sew them together. I know she would be so surprised & ever so grateful to receive a blanket made by so many people who are praying for her & wishing her well.

I understand this may seem like a lot to ask to do for a complete stranger but she’s my friend & I would do anything for her. I’m hoping to have this done in the next week or so. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll PM you my info on where to send it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time and for your prayers.


Friday, September 23, 2011

blocking and stiffening

blocking: before and after

I was at the fabric store shopping for table runner material when I spotted this: a spray bottle of "Stiffening Stuff" Reading the label more closely I see "Perfect for bows, lace doilies, silk flowers & crochet work". Isn't that exactly what these little snowflakes need?

Some suggested a sugar/water solution to stiffen it but I'm hesitant about that because I've heard that it can yellow within months and may need to be washed out and reapplied regularly. Many warned that laundry starch won't give enough stiffness to the work. I also considered thinning some white craft glue or modge podge but I've read that the spray stuff gives a better, less rigid and shiny result. So I thought I'd give this a try.

It's definitely stiffer. It also blocked out bigger with more defined points. That's the good news. But the side that I sprayed is left with a slightly crusty texture and there's stiffening stuff attached to the fuzzy fibres within the lacy holes. That's the bad news.

Gavin has agreed to make me a blocking jig for the snowflakes with wood and finishing nails - think nail and thread art. Today I have to make up a template for him so that he knows exactly where to position the nails. Once he's made the jig I'll fit a crocheted snowflake onto the nails, hopefully leaving it suspended above the base - allowing me to spray Stiffening Stuff on both sides. Then while the flake is still on the blocking jig I can use a blow dryer to dry it. With luck the blow dryer will clean out the solution from the lacy holes and leave it a bit fuzzier. I hope it works!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

slow and steady

isn't the middle of a yarn ball cool?
  • Slow and steady wins the race - Aesop
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - Confucious
  • Constant dripping hollows out a stone - Lucretius
  • Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did - Newt Gingrich
  • He conquers who endures - Persius
  • Stubbornly persist and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits - Robert Brault
  • But the moment you turn a corner you see another straight stretch ahead and there comes some further challenge to your ambition - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
  • I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday - anonymous

Motivational quotes? I got plenty of them as I continue to plug away at these mitred squares. I think I may adopt that last one as my mantra. Because I really am closer to finishing these than I was yesterday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Only 94 days to Christmas!
Time to get going on Christmas knitting and crocheting!

Okay, it's only September so I suppose there's really no reason to panic. These little snowflakes have been in my queue for a while - I've got a thing about snowflakes and these could be really cute with the addition of interesting little faces. These are crocheted from white baby yarn held double - stash busting, yay! - using a 5.00mm/US H8 hook and finish at 4.25" across. Just as the designer suggests, I think these'll be really cute to decorate packages or to feature on handmade Christmas cards.

teeny, tiny eyes
Have a look, these 7mm googley eyes are too small, aren't they? Poor snowflake looks shocked and overwhelmed with its teeny, tiny eyes. Maybe I can use the ends to close up the centre hole - no need for all the flakes to sport horrified expressions!

Has anyone used spray starch? I'm wondering whether I can spray starch the finished flakes to block the points out nicely and to stiffen up the finished flakes a bit. The yarn is acrylic; can I starch it? And what about spray glitter? Is that a good idea or is it altogether too much? Oh the possibilities!

So now you know the slightly crazy stuff going on around here. Have a look at the list over at Tami's Amis - it's almost certain that there are people putting their time to more practical use!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

by my estimation

the pile is shrinking

At times this marathon square knitting project has felt unending. I knit and knit, the pile of squares grows and grows, but the amount of yarn remaining never shrinks. Until now. All the grey yarn has been knit up, only about 1000 meters of evergreen, rust and gold remain. There's a tiny ray of light at the end of this tunnel!

At this point I'm prone to rashly say something along the lines of ... "Should be all knit up by tomorrow"... but for the record, my timing estimates are terrible. Things always take days, even weeks, longer than I think they will. When I worked as an estimator I calculated times using multipliers for each person. I'd look at a job and say "hmmm, this looks like a two hour job so Doug (multiplier: 0.8) will finish this in about an hour and forty minutes, whereas Tom (multiplier:1.1) would need about two hours and ten minutes." Apparently my own multiplier should be about 2.5!

I suppose it's probably in my own self-interest that I'm so unrealistic about how long things will take. After all, would anyone really knit socks or shawls if they really thought that through?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Come Blog Along Pattern 03 Post 02

a mismatched pair
Knitting on the Road: Canada Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

It's not second sock syndrome, really it's not! It's just that the yarn that I'm using for Conwy was driving me around the bend. There was too much twist in the yarn; so much that I was fighting to keep it untangled long enough to knit it. Ravelry to the rescue! After posting my problem to the yarn forum the answer came back: reskein it, wash it and weight it down before hanging it to dry. And that seems to have worked. It looks like the remaining yarn will be much better behaved for the second sock.

While the green yarn blocked I cast on for the next pair of socks in the book: Dalarna. For this sock and the decorative chain stitch detail on the cuff I had to rewind the hank for a centre pull ball. That's not something with which I've had much experience but as usual there were some helpful YouTube tutorials. My ball works but it's not as tidy as yarn cakes I've seen on other blogs ... that's why it's outside the crop of the photo. If I start knitting socks two-at-a-time I'll need a ball winder and swift pronto.

The decorative chain stitch is a cute detail, but working it once above the ribbing and once below leaves me with four additional ends to weave in - I'm not wholly convinced it's worth the effort. Besides the cuff and the small clock pattern down the legs and edging the foot, the sock is mainly stockinette. Ho hum. I'd like to get both these pairs of socks off the needles as soon as possible and move onto to something more fun!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

when I get a minute

a growing pile of mitred squares

Things have been crazy busy of late. At work we've had several large projects for financial conferences and promoting the fall TV season. And at home, I've had my hands full organizing for our big event in November. Seems like there hasn't been much time for blogging or for knitting. But when I get a minute here or there, I've been knitting squares - these mitred squares for Knit-A-Square.

We're up early this morning and will be on the road shortly for a beach clean up at the Palmwood Hotel at Lake Erie - one of many events taking place over the next ten days for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The Crystal Beach area near the hotel is popular with tourists and surfers alike, so there'll be no shortage of food wrappers and drink containers to tidy up.

Crystal Beach is a couple of hours of driving away for us. Translation: a couple of hours of knitting for me. About time! Maybe I can get the last of this yarn knit up and the squares posted away by the end of the weekend. They're fun, they're easy, but they are getting a bit tedious now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

still another sock

with decorative chain stitch cuff

My Conwy socks are in time out. The yarn had soooo much twist that I was fighting it the entire time I was knitting. As soon as I finished the first sock I posted to a Ravelry forum to see if there was anything I could do. On the advice of a fellow Raveler, I reskeined the remaining yarn, washed it and as I type it's hanging in the bathroom with a towel weighing it down to relax the twist. Yarn Blocking, it's called, and fingers crossed that it works.

Overall I've been extremely disappointed with that skein from Rocky Mountain Dyeworks. It's not just the excessive twist. The yarn is very thin - much thinner than any of the other sock yarns in my stash even light fingering yarns - which makes for a very unsatisfactory knitted fabric for socks. I wouldn't recommend anything bigger than 2mm needles, in fact, it's probably better suited to lace projects rather than socks. It's also kind of unyielding and ropey feeling making it unpleasant to knit. The first finished sock feels prickly; could this be a side effect of the excess twist? I hope so, because I'm hoping the socks soften up with washing. Too bad really because the colour is absolutely stunning. Thank goodness I resisted the temptation of the other colourway I was looking at.

While that yarn dries I made a start on the next pair of socks for my Year of Projects - Dalarna. For this project I'm using hand-dyed yarn from Revelations of a Delusional Knitter in a colourway called Violas. Pretty, isn't it? Changing to this yarn from the last yarn has been very refreshing - this yarn is just so much plumper and softer, a real pleasure to knit. That's a good thing as the pattern is mostly plain old stockinette so it needs a lovely yarn to keep my interest.

Monday, September 12, 2011

the knitter's fair

more + more Alice Starmore

The good news is that I was able to stick to my shopping list at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair. The bad news is that it wasn't my willpower or self control that won the day, it was the absence of temptation. There were very few deals to be had and not much that interested me - just lots and lots of linen stitch or ruffled scarf kits.

I did buy a button - the square wooden one pictured on the left hand book. There were a couple of vendors showing buttons but most were too big and too thick to work for a cardigan. Besides $6 per button is too rich for my blood.

I also bought two books by Alice Starmore at a slight discount. The Celtic Collection contains the pattern for the Kells Sweater which is one of my someday patterns, and Aran Knitting has St Brigid for which I've already knit a swatch. I'll put these two books to good use I'm sure.

And then I bought a skein of sock yarn, Malabrigo Sock in the colourway Aguas. After spending more almost half an hour to find a parking spot I figured I deserved at least one skein of yarn. Overall the day was a bit disappointing; it won't be on my calendar of things to do next year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Come Blog Along Pattern 03 Post 01

Comfy socks, these!

Knitting on the Road: Canada Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

One good thing about cooler evenings? Comfy socks! And they don't get any comfier than these finished Canal du Midi socks in an alpaca blend - sooooo soft and well fitting. I've learned a few things through this project. First I learned a new cast on: the Double Start Cast On. The double strand makes a ribbed cuff with more substantial edge which I like. And second, I learned that a bit of variegation might be worrying on a small swatch but on the larger canvas of an entire sock the stitch pattern might not be overwhelmed. That's an important lesson for me because I often hesitate to buy yarn with a lot of variegation - afraid that stitch patterns will be lost in the patterning of the yarn colours.
flying off the needles

On Thursday evening I cast on for the next pattern in Knitting on the Road: Conwy, named says Nancy Bush, for a town in Northern Wales with a long history of sock knitting. Compared to Canal du Midi, this pattern is simpler and easier to memorize. As well, it's knit on slightly larger needles so maybe it's not surprising that this first sock is flying off the needles. Just a few hours to knit the leg, the heel flap and turn the heel of the first sock. Looks like this pair is going to catch me up a bit on my year of projects schedule!

Friday, September 9, 2011

knitting down the stash

mitre madness!

It's been pretty much all mitres all the time when it comes to my knitting time these days. The simple narrowing rows of garter stitch have been a real pleasure to knit and I'm inspired to knit up all the Patons Classic Merino wool in my stash. And why not.

That's not the only stash-busting going on around here. Turns out those 10 balls of novelty yarn fun fur I've had for a couple of years is suddenly in demand. I bought an entire bag because it's just so deliciously soft that I could not put it down. The yarn has been discontinued and I guess I'm one of the few who has so much of the most popular shade in the same dyelot. When I bought it I had no particular plan for it and I still don't, so I'm pretty excited that a fellow Raveler pm'd to ask if I'd be willing to sell! Absolutely!

If it sounds like I'm harping on the destash theme, it's because I'm trying to build up my willpower and self-control in advance of the KW Knitter's Fair tomorrow. If I stay on track I could potentially have my stash knit down to 2 shoeboxes by Christmas, but did you see that vendor list? It's crazy! The mind boggles!  I've set myself a cash limit and prepared a list of purchases that I'll consider:
  • buttons for CeCe
  • superwash wool for a blanket but only if it's a fabulous deal
  • sock yarn because it's small and I will use it
  • patterns, particularly if they're suitable for Christmas knitting
  • any book by Alice Starmore that I don't already have

Thursday, September 8, 2011

hints of the changing season

Bow Falls Fingering - Dandelion

I'm not quite ready to admit summer is over but there are definitely some signs that the fall season is imminent:

  • the days are getting shorter;  it's dark by 8pm
  • the leaves are starting to change colour
  • people are dressed in long pants and sweaters
  • there are shows on TV that aren't reruns
  • the kids are back in school
  • hockey season starts soon
  • it's time to cast on a new pair of socks

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday

one fan - it's a start!

Turns out ripping out a finished sweater is a lot more work than I thought. Sewn in ends, stitched seams and added button bands make the ripping out very time consuming and tedious! So far I've ripped out one side of the front and one sleeve - enough yarn to get started on squares.

The pattern, Swirling Fans Throw, is made up of crocheted blocks assembled with a border. What I hadn't realized was that for each block you crochet the fan shape, then finish off and restart to add a border to square up the block. FOUR ENDS per SQUARE - no fair! The first square is pretty wobbly but I'm confident that assembly and the final border will firm the whole thing up. It will, won't it?

The baby girl is due at the beginning of October, so I'd better get a move on with this! Mom and Dad are in South Africa so a lacy cotton pink blanket seems just the thing. But it does mean I have to factor in a couple weeks for shipping. Yikes, I'd really better get a move on!

This post is part of Tami's Amis WIP Wednesday meme. Have a look here to see lots more fun and interesting projects. After all, you can always find room in your queue for more patterns, right?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

knitting squares

After several days of tiny hats on tiny needles, I had an urge to knit worsted weight. Looking through my stash I came across several balls of Patons Classic Wool Merino originally purchased with the Warm Hands Network in mind. But recently the Warm Hands Network changed their specifications - now that the band councils have purchased washers and dryers for most households, they prefer superwash wool instead - so what to do with all this handwash-only wool?

Within the discussions of Ravelry's "The Greater Good" group there is a thread with links to various charities requesting knitted goods. There I came across a request for 8" squares from wool for Knit-A-Square - just the perfect project for this yarn!

The trick, I'm told, to keeping your squares square is to knit them as mitred squares. I've followed this pattern with 74 stitches to start on 4mm needles and the result is a perfect 8" square. If I'd known how easy mitred squares are to knit, I'd have been knitting them and contributing them long before now! Another great thing about mitred squares? The rows get shorter as you go along. Love that!

My plan is to knit up all this wool into squares and then send it off. It'll take a couple weeks I think, but I figure I should be able to get about 20 squares out of the wool I have on hand. The only decision left: thick stripes, thin stripes, or uneven stripes?

Monday, September 5, 2011

my big knit

25  wee hats !!

How cute are they? For the last couple of days I've been finishing up my hats for Innocent's Big Knit. My coworker Andrea spent a few days mass producing pompoms; I've finally made up the corresponding hats. Look closely - lots of different "peerie" patterns there. It was kind of fun to experiment with all these little Fair Isle patterns this way. Now they're all boxed up and ready to go. None too soon either; the deadline for hats is October 14th and these have a long way to travel.

It's a great way to use up scrap yarn from my stash. Last year's hats were all from leftover DK, this year, I've made inroads on my stash of baby yarn. With these hats complete I've used up the last of the green, yellow and purple, and used half of the orange.

It's a holiday Monday in honour of Labour Day but thanks unsettled weather - threatening skies and cold, gusty winds - we've had to change our plans. Looks like a day of quilting and knitting before heading out to my sister's for supper ;)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Come Blog Along Pattern 02 Post 06

Knitting on the Road: Canada Canal du Midi • Conwy • Dalarna • Denmark • Friday Harbor • Hiiumaa • Huron Mountain • New England • The Road to Oslo • Santa Fe • Spey Valley • Christmas in Tallinn • Traveler's Stockings • Uinta Cabin • Unst • Whitby

There's an old Chinese proverb that I'm sure you're familar with: better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. For the last few weeks I've been cursing the darkness. I've struggled to make any progress with this second sock because the light in my living room was insufficient to see the intricate stitches of this pattern clearly with this dark yarn.

Suddenly it occurred to me to sit on the other side of the living room in the Barca Lounger usually reserved for company. Doh! The recliner is directly below a bank of pot lights providing light from above and behind the person sitting there. Perfect!

With a handful of productive hours of knitting this week, I've turned the heel of the second sock and made good progress on the foot. And I'm confident that I can finish the sock before the end of the holiday Monday and get started on pattern #3. Much better than cursing the darkness, isn't it!?!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finished Object Friday

CeCe is done! It's a beautiful pattern and the resulting cardigan is also beautiful - I'd highly recommend it. When you're doing raglan decreases and neck decreases at the same time, you do need to keep track of where you are, but otherwise the pattern's not nearly as difficult as it looks. In fact the lace pattern is just eight rows (four pattern rows + four rest rows) across nine stitches so it's pretty easy to memorize. It still needs a button - I hope to find the perfect one at the KW Knitters Fair in just over a week.

Andrea is modeling here, but she's about a foot shorter and considerably smaller than the person for whom this cardigan is intended. Which explains why she's swimming in it. I've knit the medium size and added length to the sleeves and the body for a very tall person. Personally I like the red cardi paired with the yellow sundress but Andrea thinks the combination is altogether too much "ketchup and mustard".

The yarn is okay; it's a mohair blend and a bit scratchy. I gave it a Eucalan soak, and then I gave it a Pantene hair conditioner soak, so it's better than it was. Andrea found it a bit scratchy for bare skin but said it'd be fine over a thin turtleneck or something like that. I'd love to do the cardigan again in the recommended silk or cotton blend yarn.

As always check out the list at Tami's Amis for lots more inspiration!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

the big knit update

A reminder postcard arrived in the mail recently, and that's just the kick in the pants I needed to get these little hats for the Innocent Drink company's Big Knit done and sent off. After all, September starts today and the deadline for hats in the UK is mid-October. There's really no time to waste.

This morning I cast on a little red hat. With Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting beside me, I'm decorating this hat with a four row "peerie" - this one looks like a row of staggered arrows. The word "peerie" is Scottish, Alice says, meaning "small" and is used to describe the smallest Fair Isle patterns of one to seven rows. Who knew I'd find this book and all its charted Fair Isles such a useful and interesting reference?!

As of this morning I have twelve little hats done, a thirteenth on the needles and pompoms pre-made for a dozen more, so a grand total of 25 hats is the goal. That should keep me busy for the next couple of days!