Saturday, April 30, 2011

From the sublime to the ridiculous

You may recall that I urged you a while ago to go help out Melissa on her I Hate Cancer blog. Well, it turns out that I won the yarn she was giving away! Lucky lucky me!

It is Malabrigo, in Lettuce, Rhodesian and Bobby Blue -- the colours seem a bit garish all together like this in a photo, but really, the subtle Malabrigo semi-solid magic is certainly there! I was thinking I needed to make some mittens for next winter, but with all this I might have to come up with a bigger, bolder plan! Stay tuned. And huge thanks to Melissa!

And look how nicely the yarn matches this crazy dolly dress!

The other day I was in Romni -- just looking, just for fun, you understand. I was feeling a bit faint next to the wall of sock yarn, and speaking sternly to myself about that, when I noticed a woman getting very excited about this stuff called Marina. She said you could knit a scarf in a couple of hours, and they looked all ripply and cool, and the yarn looked just like a big tape, but spread out outrageously. Well, I couldn't help myself! I picked the most garish ball I could spot.

But it wasn't thrilling me as a 10-stitch scarf...

So I knit a whole double colour repeat of it, back and forth over about 42 stitches, matching up the colour repeats. And then the question arises: what the heck do I do with this?

I knit the mesh with 9 mm needles, and when that yarn ended, I switched to dishcloth cotton on 6 mm. Buttonholes, a couple of seed stitch straps with buttons, and we're set. The doll had better stand demurely, because there is no seam up the back of the skirt, in fact!

And now everyone is happy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We're ready for Project Spectrum

My fingers are itching to get going on the next big thing. I have knit all I'm going to knit on the big black shawl for now, though I still have enough black to do a big swag of some kind across the top.

As you can see, it is huge. It's drying on three beach towels on the study floor.

Here's the bottom bit, with zigzaggy trim on the left and leaves on the right. Beads in the very bottom of the triangle. A dark grey dangly bit on the left.

The top. I love that leaf pattern! And look how it opened out so marvellously.

One of the unattached bits. I'm not sure if they will get tacked up onto the body of the shawl or left to dangle leprously. In any case, I am not obsessing about that anymore, but will let it dry and trim my ends and wrap it around my shoulders and see if I need to do more at some point. But, it's time to move on!

So, I could {mumble mumble finish mumble socks blanket mumble} or I could start my Felted Tweed Botticelli!

I have a great excuse now: Project Spectrum starts with red, and my sweater starts with red, too! 

If I ignore everything else, I could get this baby done in the red, green, blue and pink/purple months. Yeah, we know how that will work, but I will surely get started.

I figure the back will be something like 150 rows long, which means I can do two-row stripes, changing contrast colours every 16 or 20 rows, and go from red and orange, through my various greens, to blue and purple. I'll sort out the sleeves when I need to! I'm trying not to worry about matching two-row stripes through a set-in sleeve just yet...

I would like to do the whole thing in one piece to the armholes, but there is side shaping and front shaping and I think it will work better if I actually follow the pattern.

Who knows what a tweedy rainbow on a tweedy brown background will look like, but we shall soon find out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A picture show

I am back, and getting up at the local getting-up time, but I don't quite feel settled. I have to get provisions and prepare for Easter (a quick chat with the bunny, for example) and do my laundry and say hello to the kids...

But I will quickly show you some pictures!

One day we went to the "countryside" for a family get-together and had a little party here:

Actually we were on the deck of the perfectly fine house, looking down at this one. It was kinda cool, don't you think? It comes with appliances, too.

We saw this at a sculpture garden.

Some trees by the river in the early morning. I must say it was nice to be out of the city, though maybe I should have gone in early May instead of mid-April -- as you can see the leaves aren't out there yet, either!

As usual, I paid a visit to the thrift store. One has disappeared into thin air, and one was closed Monday mornings, but the last available store had some treasures. The Mary Maxim fish sweater is my fave, I think. The books for men have lots of sock patterns, which should come in handy!

As well as these patterns, I got a cream pitcher that matches a little sugar bowl I got last summer, white pyrex with gold trim. I put the lot down on the counter and the woman said, "How about $1.50?" Deal!

My mom has a little collection of old tea cups, and she offered me a couple. This one is Coalport, and likely belonged to her mother, so it might well be close to 100 years old.  

This one is Royal Albert Petit Point pattern and I've always thought it was quite lovely.

I put them in a shoe box, wrapped up in paper napkins and dirty knickers, and they made it home intact, hooray! So now I have two fancy cups for those sophisticated tea parties....Note that my usual cup holds about 3 times what you could fit in one of these!

And my usual table is set with bits of knitting, as well.

I just have to graft the toe of the second sock and then I can call them finished. I was supposed to knit a grey pair this month, but I have made no progress at all on them. So we'll call these kid's socks the March/April pair, and move the grey ones down the queue!

I also made this petal dishcloth once I'd finished the sock knitting. Stephen says it should be called a throwing star, which makes me wonder what sort of movies he was watching with the kids while I was away...

Finally, I was delighted to learn that Lolly is running Project Spectrum again this year, and going back to the one-colour-per-month model. May, which is just around the corner, is Red month, and really all the red I have is dishcloth cotton, or some very nice lace yarn. I think I have enough on my plate without starting another lace project, but I will participate by making a red dishcloth and hoping for some red in the garden!

Hey, I still have my old PS button!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring, I'm almost sure

The lilac seems to be full of flower buds this year and every day they are bigger and more open. Last year, I don't think we got a single flower. So exciting! (This lilac bush just appeared one year, about 1998, and it chose a very silly spot to grow in, squashed in the corner of a patio box. We keep thinking of transplanting it, but nowhere else is as sunny and warm. It's our little garden miracle that it doesn't freeze to death in the winter, so blooms are a real bonus!)

I'm going to fly outta here on Thursday, so I am tidying up loose ends. I had to finish up a library book, The Glassblower of Murano. I'm pretty sure I read about it on someone's blog... Liz? It was good, exciting and a bit suspenseful, with a love story and a travelogue and even Versailles!

Knitting loose ends are much more troublesome! I think I will just take my lace scarf, and some dishcloth cotton in case that gets boring. So, I leave behind the witchy shawl, with only a few feet of edging to do; the socks... oh, dear, I should take socks as well....; what about that blanket I was sewing together.... It doesn't bear thinking about all that. I will be back in less than a week and I'll {ahem} deal with all those things then.

And I'll just quickly add that today is not only the anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, and of Yuri Gagarin's space flight, but also the 31st anniversary of the start of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, which certainly had an effect on many Canadians for a long time.

Oh, and speaking of cancer... you must go to Melissa's cancer-hating blog and see that she is ready to walk and raise money to fight breast cancer, and is offering up a prize of Mmmmmalabrigo to a lucky donor! Go now!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

It's my dad's birthday

This is my dad in... the late 1960s, I suppose, or early 70s. He seems to be having some trouble with our boat, Stinky III, on an unusually rough day.

If it's Stinky III, it must be the 70s. He built her in our basement. Stinky I (if one can call the first one by number like that) was probably already a garden fixture, and Stinky II is an aluminum boat that is still extant, though sadly grounded for several years.

I have 4 large moving boxes full of family slides in the basement that I still haven't excavated very thoroughly, and this, of course, was among them. Who took it, I wonder?

Whatevah, today is his 93rd birthday! So, happy birthday, Daddy, and I'll see you in a few short days!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

April square

This month's square for the Block-a-Month KAL seems to have caused quite a stir! You have to slip some stitches, which should not be a big deal, but the square seems to look best if you slip them on the opposite side of the work to what the instructions say.

For those of you who follow instructions, that is. I just looked at the picture of someone else's square, thought it looked good in two colours instead of one, and off I went, trying to duplicate what she did, with only one eye on the instructions.

The word on the street (or, in the Ravelry group) also said that the back of the pattern looked good, too.

Not mine, it seems! Perhaps if I'd followed the directions about which side to slip the stitches on...

Oh, and for some reason, it came out huge for me. I hope it scrunches up well. Maybe it'll just be in the corner of the blanket... or the centre... or something!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Horses in a meadow

Did I tell you I'd started a new project? Ahem.

Last year Alison sent me this yarn she'd dyed in the Meadow colourway. I won it somehow on her blog... I wonder what I did, exactly... Anyways, it is a lovely goldy-greeny batch of 2-ply laceweight wool. 

Then, Mary Lou said on her blog that she would give money raised from pattern sales to Japanese earthquake relief, and I thought, what the heck, a girl can always use a knitting pattern, so I bought the Horseshoe Lace Stole

Now, instead of letting this pattern sit and collect dust like virtually every other knitting pattern I own, I somehow just cast on and started knitting! I was warned things would get boring, but I haven't really been at it constantly enough to find it boring so far! (Some might notice that I made the extra side stitches in garter stitch, and I stuck a purl row in after the end of one pattern repeat. That is because I am a nut about the possibilities of curling stocking stitch and take every opportunity to counter it.) (Others may notice that the knitting is all bunched up on a short straight needle. This is a bit of a problem, but I see no solution other than buying a new circular needle, which I don't really want to do right now.)

I was noticing how the yarn looks so golden in the skein, and so green when it knit up. Stitch by stitch it's green, but I think that overall the scarf will look gold. Who can say? I'd better just keep knitting!

And lookee! A bud on our lilac bush looks like it will actually make a flower! We are all very excited about that possibility.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Progress on the witchy shawl

We all know that I am just going to jump right in to my next teeny-needle, follow-a-pattern sweater any day now, but I somehow picked this project out of the basket a few days ago and have been amusing myself with it a great deal.

It's quite easy to knit up a ball of yarn if you say, "Just one more row" a few times, and the rows are over 200 stitches long! I finished the main body of this crazy thing, and I know it is finished because I have no more of that yarn.

I started to put an edging along the top, knitting sideways onto the live stitches. I was using some 4-ply alpaca I got at a yarn swap, but it was too thin on its own, so I went and found some green 4-ply cashmere/wool that I got long ago on sale at Lettuce Knit. Now I am making a simple eyelet zigzag border... only about 220 more stitches to pick up. Argh!

Starting at the bottom we have the beads -- I had a wee bit of this thread-with-beads-on, and I just held it with the black for as long as I could.

sunny day, take a picture
Then we have the grey sock yarn thrown in, and a stitch pattern that went a bit wonky, but who cares?

At the end I used a pattern called Apple Leaves from my old stitch dictionary. It is not the same as other Apple Leaf patterns, so I cannot give you a link right now. Nonetheless, it is a fine pattern and as I was working it, I thought I should have made the whole dang shawl in this pattern!

I'm not sure it'll be so 3-D after I block it. I love this!
And here we have the beginning of the edge. My gawd, alpaca held together with cashmere and wool makes for the softest, squooshiest fabric ever! The main shawl is made with a wool/silk blend, and it is perfectly soft, but the edge is divine, I must say!

Soft, yet garish
I mean to make big, fancy edgings down the sides, and I would like to have strips dangling here and there, but am not sure they would dangle nicely without weighing things down and pulling the edges out of shape. I shall have to see how things go. I have a few bits and bobs of yarn left, some grey and some black Patons Classic Wool, and a ton of grey Cascade 220.