Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sisters are the Best.

This came in the mail yesterday... My sister is lucky enough to live in Winnipeg (I know, this sounds weird, what with the long cold winters and the short mosquito summers) but she lives in the land of Ram Wools! She was able to pop in to their local pre-internet sale days in early January and scoffed up some Colinette treasures for herself and for me! This is Chrysalis, a cotton ribbony confection, hand dyed in the sunrise colourway... roses, grays, hint of yellow and mint. Mmmm. She also got herself the yarn in plums, and wants me to design a pattern for us both.
The newest pullover has begun, in the Color Baby yarn (still available as of this posting day, and SUCH a nice yarn...recommended!) from Elann. I have started this one with a big wandering cable ribbing pattern... not difficult, but designed to add elasticity to the lower body, creating a more fitted silhouette. The Cabled Cardigan is now finished and blocked and I will be finding buttons today. It should be photo-ready by tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Post Yarn Packages.... woo hoo.

Yarn from Elann! I found the deal for Color Baby by Stampato, 100% merino from Australia, spun and dyed in italy, too irresistable! The 10 bag set was less than $30, so I ordered the green multi and the custard colours. (so greedy, I know, but it's MERINO. You understand.)

And the yarn from Ram Wool came too. The Fleece Artist Somoko (sock yarn) in cedar....


Almost done the cable cardigan (finally) and will reveal photo after the blocking. The Color Baby has been swatched and plans started, and the Somoko has been wound into a ball and the socks begun, so lots on the needles right now. Meanwhile, I have added Yoga to my weekly workout routine (2 step classes and 1 or 2 general cardio/weight sessions.)... I find some of it easy, woohoo downward dog and warrior, but some very difficult, side plank and dancers pose. Will keep at it though, it is different from the same old same old....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A new book on Blurb! I finally finished the design of my little book of some of my paintings! The site, Blurb, allows you to download software that you can use to design your book, and then when it is ready, upload the book back to them and they will publish and mail the results to you. This one is 24 pages of 21 paintings and descriptions of the inspirations for each. I will show you here, when the book arrives. Meanwhile, check it out here!

Detour, Change of Direction

As often happens with the best mind-plans, when it comes down to execution of said design, the patterns don't always work the way you think they will... this is well known to me, and usually does not deter me from plunging ahead and trying something new. The cable cardigan in the "round" has been the test of this method. I had no problems with the body and the sleeves, but come to the change of direction and the joining and continuing of the yoke, well, just suffice it to say that there was some ripping out and picking up of cable stitches across more than 350 stitches on large circular needles, then re-knitting, then a whole sideways cable piece that was knit once for 9 inches, then ripped because I thought it too plain, then re-knit for the entire length, then attached to body, then stitches picked up and knit again, then.... I didn't like it at all.
Then more ripping and more calculating and more picking up and more knitting....
and I am somewhat, cautiously optimistic that I may have, possibly, found the design that will stick with this one.... I hope!
Meanwhile, at the construction zone, we are having great success with the beautiful floors, and I now have my living room done and a temporary small rug down, waiting for the perfect rug to be found.... notice the close up of the hardwood beneath the cable cardigan.

The only room left is the kitchen, and so this is how it looks today, but hubby is hard at work and a big chunk of this will be done today. The trickiest part will be the island, and meeting up evenly on the other side.... he's good though, and I have no doubts that it will come together more smoothly than my #$!@* cable cardigan. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Knitting update...

The new cabled cardigan is coming along well, and I only have a few inches of second sleeve to go, before the dramatic yolk design, not yet quite worked out in my head, much less on paper, but we cross that cable when we reach it, eh?
The second project on the go is the new yarn Arabesque from Elann, in four colours, that I am randomly blocking about the back of a chunky pullover. I knit this one when I am too tired to concentrate on the busy cables of the cardigan. The blocks are easy and the knitting just stocking stitch. The yarn is chunky enough to go up quickly too.
This sweater is using the same shape and measurements that I used for the Noro Blossom Turtleneck and will probably look and fit the same, just the colour blocks are different. It will show how different yarn and different colour placements can make a totally different sweater with the same basic pattern!

I managed to catch a deal at the once a year clearout at Ram Wool. It was Tuesday and Wednesday only, and I scooped up a new Fleece Artist sock yarn in multi-greens, as well as some addi's for 30% off. The yarn is sold out as of today (sorry for my greed) but I will show you how it looks when it arrives, so you can covet it yourself, and find a sale in the (hopefully) near future.

and lastly, as an update, here are a couple of photos of my home, the hardwood project is well underway, and the dining room is finished, with the furniture back (shoved aside), and the boxes of hardwood in the middle. The living room is prepped and ready to start the boards. I LOVE this wood.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Glorious Sunday

Last night we had a little snowstorm, lots of wind and cold and this morning I woke up to this....
I walked across to the park and made the first footsteps in an otherwise perfect sunny-snow surface. The sun through the trees and the windless cold air was delightful.
This afternoon, as I knit and watch football, my dear one is doing this....
The hardwood has started to appear! We have been prepping the floors (ripping out carpets and unsticking vinyl floors) getting three rooms ready for almost 2 weeks, and I love it. Hubby is my hero.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Finger Puppet Kitties

So here is the final version of Kitty Puppets.

They are the mates to the Finger Puppies and the Poppets, and you can mix and match!
These are really easy and use scraps of worsted weight yarns and sock yarn for the embroidered details. Knit on 4mm needles (US 6), use Orange or white or grey for body and cream colour for face. I used black sock yarn for eyes and rose sock yarn for nose and mouth line.
Cast on 10 in body colour... Knit 4 rows (garter stitch: Knit every row). Stocking Stitch next 2rows (Knit right side, Purl wrong side). Next row: Knit 3, Knit in the front and back of the next stitch (one increase), K2, Knit in the front and back of the next stitch (another increse), K3. Work for 3 more rows in stocking stitch, then cast off the next row. WAIT to sew up until all embroidery is done.
Muzzle: with cream colour, Cast on 3. Knit row one, purl row two, cast off all stitches. Leave 8 inches of yarn to sew up. Use the tail to sew around the face in position in the middle of head (see photo). Using eye colour, make french knot eyes in the upper part of the face. Using the rose, place 2 horizonal lines for nose, and one vertical line from nose to bottom of face. Securely fasten the ends of the embroidery on the inside of the kitty. To make the ears center the back seam behind the cat and sew the top of the head in a flat seam from right to left, leaving points (corners) that will look like ears. A little tug at the tips to pull them up will also help. Now you can stitch up the back opening, and sew in all the ends of yarns.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kitty Puppet Creation.....

Challenged to create a kitty finger puppet to go with my finger puppy, I spent some time working out the design. The process is interesting to see, as it usually involves many attempts and rejections before the pattern is ready.

here are the four attempts today.

The first is rejected because, well, it just looks like a sad little rabbit (OH! Soon to follow, good rabbit pattern!)

The second is a bit more kitty like, but the face is too longish..

The third, I like a lot better. Clean lines and kitty face, this one is close.

The fourth, I tried a fuzzy calico colour yarn, a bit more bulky, and it's not too bad. She's a bit fatter, and the shape is ok, but maybe the face is a bit lost on the darker yarn...

I will attempt a few more until I really like it and then post it here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mail Yarn!

Another glorious day when my mailman brought a box from Elann! It is Arabesque superwash merino from Knit One, Crochet too. There are 5 balls of four different colours. A worsted weight yarn that will knit into a colourful warm winter sweater.

I will search my patterns for a great design, or make a new one.... for now I am just holding in my hands with a faint purr in the back of my throat... oh happy day.

I have also tinkered with my site and added a slide show to the top right corner. It shows photos of Finger Puppies, made by Karen, who found the pattern on my site and emailed pictures of her litter of pups! Please send your photos of stuff from my patterns and I will add them to the show! It delights me to no end to see these... actual proof that there are knitters out there having fun with yarn and my patterns... thank you Karen!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Drudgery of Housework

I thought this photo may bring a smile to some faces. It shows me hard at work vacuuming the carpets, sweating and straining to get it nice and clean. You can see the stress in my face as I tackle yet another household chore.... not.
This is my newest baby, yet to be named (please comment name suggestions!). You plug the base in the wall socket, and press clean, and he circles around and around, going under anything he can and around what he can't and after he senses all ground has been covered, he returns to home base and parks himself to charge up again, with a little musical ditty! Cool. He is the iRobot Roomba.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Creative Process

I have got a good start on a new cardigan. It is Merino Wool, and the design is with cables, knit in the round until the underarm, then round knit sleeves, then join the lot together and continue for a bit up the yoke. I will stop there, and make a directional change and knit the yoke sideways around the shoulders, stitch it to the body, then pick up the top edge and finish the ribbed neckline... can you picture it?
Now can you?
The bottom round is about 9 inches as you can see here...

the cable is a chain link fence, quite easy to repeat and a pleasing texture. I think I can make it go on the sleeves too.
How do you create a pattern from an idea? First you knit a swatch in the cable pattern to get an accurate gauge. Then you do the math (I know, this part hurts the brain, but it is the key to making it fit). You take the finished sweater chest measurement and multiply the number of stitches per inch by the inches of chest! This is your number of stitches around the body of the sweater. The ribbing will be a few stitches less, with an increase as you change to your pattern stitch. The sleeves are measured and mathed the same way, and I will use the gauge to calculate the sideways band (not worked out fully yet, but I will likely measure the actual piece I have knit and figure how many inches I need to get me to the neckline.... more math).
But the end result will be a posted pattern that you can just print out and knit yourself (all math done for you), so stay tuned.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I spent a lazy day puttering around, some cleaning (not too much), one movie (light comedy), some knitting (finished another Inukshuk). This one I put out in the fresh New Year's snow for the photo.... too cute :)For Christmas, my co-worker gave me an e-gift of yarn from Elann! It is so easy, just assign a gift amount to my email address and they send me a note from her announcing the gift. When I log on, the amount is sitting there waiting for me to shop, and I found this. A lovely merino in great colours. I ordered 5 balls of 4 different colours, pattern design to be determined.

The last Elann yarn that arrived in the mail a month ago, has finally found a destination. I have a design for a cabled-yoked-cardigan. The whole thing is knit in the round, so I started the bottom ribbing and launched the cable design. I am about 6 inches up the body. The yarn is Australian Merino, by Needful Yarns in a tweedy blue.