Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why Are You Doing This?

Hey America friends.  It is Thanksgiving Eve.  Why are you reading blog posts?

Go focus on family & friends - - in person or via phone or video.  Enjoy the people you know and be thankful.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Attack Of The UFOs

This is getting out of hand.  I must get my obsession under control. 

 Here are three UFOs that are on my side work table.

That's one hat that might become a new pattern, the crochet blanket that never seems to make it to the top of the list and the new stocking, which I have already shared.

To be fair, the stocking has received attention and will likely become the first finished object.

 The summer vest missed its calling.  It really wanted to be a part of my late summer/early fall wardrobe.  What can I say but that this became my "slacking" project.  However, if it is going to be ready for wearing out in the desert during The Season, serious time needs to be devoted to this one.

While not making a striped summer vest, I found time to cast on for a wool shawlette.  Really, I should not have done this.  Really.  Because it is all I want to work on and that is being unfair to all the other projects that want to be happily finished. 

But I really, really, love the way the stained glass effect is knitting up. 

And it is possible that I also started a pair of crochet fingerless mitts with the left over Woolfolk. And that means that even if I finish one of the mitts, there is a second one to make because one half of a pair is not a finished object even though one thing does get finished. 

I should not even mention this one.  It really isn't a crochet project because (horror of horrors) I purchased the crochet doilies.  Plain and simple cheated.  The whole idea is to stitch them together to make a table runner or window valance.  I got this idea from my summer travels down under and it swirls around every now and again. 

Yep, it is like the attack of the UFOs around the chateau. 

Friday, November 21, 2014


This year I am thankful for my friend JJ.  She is at that stage in life where much time is spent caring for a parent and checking in on adult children and preparing for her first grandchild.

She called last week and after a lovely chat that wandered around all the current events of our lives, she dropped a bombshell.  Soul searching and an evaluation of all the activities in her life left but one conclusion that was inevitable.

Time to cull the stash.

Thank you JJ.

Thank you for the two colorways of Noro and the Ella Rae wool and the seven balls of mohair and the novelty hat yarn.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Grille For This Girl

Done.  Finished.  Ahhh.

She is named Grille.  Remember the hem that resulted from JMCO?  After much knitting in the round and the joy of a bit of lattice work set off by color block (that's a fancy term for changing the color) followed by the thrill of three-needle bind off and no ends to sew, Grille is finished.

Let's recall the magic hem and admire the beauty of the thing.

Ahhh.  Love it.  And this type of bottom skims what I have to skim over in a way that ribbing can not do.  Ahhhhhhhh.

This is Grille with the full lattice worn on the front.  Yes, it is kinda sheer looking and yes, this old gal has celebrated the big 6 0!  So what?

I figure that as long as the underpinning is appropriate, this look is OK for me. 

And just so you know, a bit of waist shaping goes a long way in the "illusion" department.

If a moment of modesty overcomes my senses, Grille can be turned and worn the other way!  This side is stockinette up to the last eight rows and then the lattice is just an accent along the shoulder.

Are you wondering what that means for back shoulder area?

Here it is.  The light is certainly playing a bit of mystery business through the holey lattice work.

The goal in making different top portions is to give options in how Grille is worn.  And to snub my nose at that Ogden Nash poem about pants.  Yeah, yeah - this is a top and not pants, but the point is kinda the same.

And yes, Mr. Nash, thanks to these photos, I have seen myself  retreating!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Preparation Under Way

Decades ago, my mother crocheted granny square Christmas stockings.  I still have those cherished acrylic wonders and they hang on the mantle every year.  As happens so often in many families, some of the stockings are now in the memorial category (the ones belonging to Jackie & Snowball who were Mama's grandpets).  And, as happens so often in many families, we find ourselves needing a new stocking for a new family member.

 Thus, I spent all weekend making little granny squares.  I even had one of Mama's stockings hanging up in the studio as inspiration.   Well, that and I needed to count the number of squares required and match the size and all that jazz.

This stocking will be quite wintery and has the potential to look like winter snow what with the blue center that looks kinda sorta like a star in a fluffy white square.

 Granny squares that have color change create lots of little ends.  After the second square, I remembered to stitch over the ends as I worked so that the ends could be snipped off without any additional weaving.

Everything - all sixteen squares and the ends are now complete and tidy and ready for the final sewing.

There is gonna be a lot of sewing to make those squares into a stocking.  And then the trim work - which will be blue.

Here is the thing about holidays that I sometimes forget.  It takes a lot of time to make a loving hands/loving hearts family celebration.

And that, my friends, is a joyous and marvelous thing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Major Difference

Those who can, do.  Those who can't, teach.  We have all heard that one.  We use it with a sarcastic tone.  Sometimes - well, often - it is true.

But - and this is A MAJOR DIFFERENCE - every time I take a knit or crochet class the teacher can both 'do' and 'teach' better than can I.  It seems to me that the idiom breaks down for all things artsy.  Perhaps this is the reason that I am drawn to the arts.  (I am laughing and chuckling over that wording)  

For several years, I have counted myself amongst the teacher of yarn arts group.  My most recent class was teaching an old favorite:  February Lady Sweater.  Over the years, I have made at least four cardigans from the pattern.  There was a shop sample, a private commission, and two for myself that have gone to the great "too many fuzz balls to shave and wear another year" heaven.

This class was great!  Each student was choosing details to customize the outcome and they each learned something new.  The student who is newest to knitting actually taught one of her classmates the SSK decrease.  I love it when students get the "teaching" bug and help out their classmates.

  Oh, and just to prove that I can both teach and do, I finished my new FLS just in time for the cool snap.

This is Juniper Moon Moonshine which is a worsted single ply of 40% Wool, 40% Alpaca and 20% Silk.  It is warm enough for California, drapes enough for a simple lace pattern and has a bit of shine.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Finish Line Is In Sight!

And you thought that the falling gingko leaf scarf would be in the UFO pile forever!  Ha. 

Determination, time and enjoyment met up to create my Energy Scarf.  Each leaf is a random series of garter short rows, but working these leaves had provided joy and calmness for me.  I swear that each time I picked up the needles, my blood pressure went down.  And that is a very good thing.

Here is a close up of the shapes.  Use a keen eye and you'll notice that often the color was manipulated so that the red and gold tones became little blips at the leaf edges.

I am here to let you know that working two and three stitch short rows makes a difference in the finished look of the thing.  I suppose that there is a bit of Swing Knitting due to the color manipulation.  I spend a fair amount of time looking ahead at the shades coming up and worked accordingly.

Honestly, I am sad to see this one come to an end.  For the first time in a very long time, the making provided such joy that I can not envision the wearing of it coming anywhere close in providing happy thrills.

 As you can see,  beads are being considered.  This last photo is the "back" side where the stems were sewn to the leaf above so as to make the artsy scarf.  This thing will twirl and twist and that is just the way it is.  So, I'm thinking that a bead at each joining tip will give interest now matter what happens as I strut down the street with a certain "yes, I did" swagger.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Caped Crusader

A knitting buddy told me about a capelet pattern and after seeing her finished project, I might have had a bit of jealousy.  Off I went to purchase the Bulky Rose capes through Ravelry.  It took the proverbial village to choose a color but eventually we "all" settled on a Cascade 128 bright green.

 Mostly, I am satisfied.  The 128 is not quite bulky enough for the pattern if you live in the cold and snow.  In Los Angeles, it is just enough to ward off the chill.

It is important to know that the pattern, as written, is not exactly current American sizing.  The S/M is more of a US XS/S.  The largest size, as written is appropriate for American medium and large. 

My friend gave me a hint about length - - add to it.  Like her cape, I wanted mine to end around the elbow bend.  So thanks to a yarn buddy, I have a cape sized for me in my right now life. 

The whole neckline is a series of leafs.  This is the striking feature of the Bulky Rose cape.  You can make what ever flower you desire, but the pattern does include a very simple crochet rose that fits nicely.  My button stash yielded the perfect lightweight buttons to finish off the embellishments.
All, in all, I am happy.

When I make this a second time, I think it will be double stranded Cascade 128 so that it is really warm and will block more wind.  That will make it a Winter Rose cape.  Who knows?  Perhaps one day, I shall visit winter and need stylish protection from the elements.