November 30, 2004

Lettering

So here’s my attempt at felted duplicate stitch:

duplicateswatch.jpg

I’m fairly happy with it. Most of the irregularities are due to my incompetence at duplicate stitching, but I’m getting the hang of it and I think I can do a better job on the stockings themselves. (If it’s not clear, the swatch is meant to say “TIG”. And the poor centering comes directly from my inability to count and do simple arithmetic). I want to put our names on mine and Mark’s, and Tigger’s, of course.

I’m not far from finishing the second stocking… this is all I’ll be doing for the next week or two, so get ready to see multiple iterations of the same pattern, in different colour combinations. How exciting!

Thanks, by the way, for the kind words about the aran. I’m happy with it, though it is definitely acres too big for a <1-year old child. Oh well, she can grow into it… over the next two years…

Posted by Aven at 02:32 PM | Comments (2)

November 29, 2004

Baby Sweater

The baby/child aran cardigan is finished except for the buttons:

babyaranbuttonless.jpg

I tried to get a better picture of the cables, but I don’t think my camera wants to capture the details. Also, the colour is lighter than the picture — more of a hunter green than an evergreen. (I think — I’m horrible with colour names).

I might try to find some cute kid-like buttons, or some celtic-looking metal ones; or I might just go with the wooden ones I have.

But now I can turn my attention to the stockings; I’m currently swatching to see what happens to duplicate-stitch lettering when it’s felted. I don’t think I can take doing intarsia letters in the round, somehow.

Posted by Aven at 04:14 PM | Comments (5)

November 25, 2004

Filler

I’ve been told there haven’t been enough pictures of Tigger on this blog in the last little while — questions were asked about where he’s been, and why he hasn’t featured here. Well, the biggest reason is that now that it’s cold, and dark early, he’s not frolicking outside looking all photogenic much of the time; he spends much of the day, and most of the night, curled up in dark warm corners — something like this:

tiggercloset.jpg

Cute, yes, but hard to photograph. But there you go, proof that he’s doing fine. (And that our ‘linen cupboard’ is in serious need of organising…)

I have nothing new to show you in terms of knitting, however. I have an inch or two done on the last sleeve of the baby cardigan, but it’s still a ways from being finished, and I’m not working on anything else. So it’ll be few more days before I have update photos.

Happy (American) Thanksgiving to those celebrating today — I hope you are fully enjoying your turkey or turkey substitute, and are surrounded by those you love.

Posted by Aven at 02:08 PM | Comments (4)

November 22, 2004

Cabling

I’ve finished the back and the left front of the baby aran:

babyarantwopieces.jpg

I should finish the other front piece today, and then there are the two sleeves, the button band, and the finishing. I’m enjoying this project, but I’m in a state of mind where what’s important is finishing, not so much the process. Partly it’s the pressure of Christmas, of course, and partly it’s the anxiety of having so many projects in waiting (that is, with yarn purchased and plans made). I really am not terribly comfortable with a big backlog.

Speaking of which, I’m still working (slowly, so slowly) on my dad’s sweater… I’m 3” away from the armholes on the back. I only work on it while I’m reading blogs, and it’s taking forever. I’d love to have it finished by Christmas so I could give it to my dad then, but I’m not sure it’ll be possible. Maybe if I finish all my other Christmas projects with a little time to spare I’ll concentrate on my dad’s sweater full-time for a while.

Posted by Aven at 04:07 PM | Comments (2)

November 20, 2004

Who needs perfection, anyway

Here’s my progress on the baby aran (a Christmas present):

babyaranback.jpg

Here’s a rather dark view of the central cables:

babyarancloseup.jpg

I must admit there are a couple of issues with this project. First, it will probably be far too big for the eight-month old recipient, since the pattern is for a one-year old and I think it’ll end up a bit bigger even than it’s supposed to be. But that’s the smallest size in the pattern I have, and I didn’t want to try to find another pattern. It will be good for her to have room to grow, right? The other problem is that there are at least two errors in my knitting… but I’m too lazy and goal-oriented (must finish! must get on to next batch of Christmas knitting!) to fix them. Hopefully I’ll do a better job on the front panels.

Jane — since the last time I tried to email you it didn’t work — the Homespun shawl used something like 300m, and the gauge is apparently 14sts/4” (I never swatched, so I’m not sure what gauge I got). I’m sure it would be very pretty in Bulky Lopi.

Thanks for the reassurance about the stocking, everyone! I’m definitely going to stick to that pattern for the rest of them. In case you’re curious, the pattern is here.

Posted by Aven at 01:44 PM | Comments (2)

November 18, 2004

Stocking the First

First, the shawl is finished:

shawldone.jpg

I quite like the crocheted loopy fringe, and it was quick to do. And I like the autumny colours. (Info: Lion Brand Homespun, colour: Adirondack, free pattern called “Grey Triangle Shawl” from Lion Brand website).

Next, I’ve finished the first of the Christmas stockings. This is what it looked like pre-felting:

stocking1unfelted.jpg

I wasn’t too sure about the shape — it looked rather deformed and heel-less. The pattern uses an afterthought heel, and I wasn’t sure about the placement or the length of it. But this was, essentially, a big swatch for the project, so I went ahead and felted it:

stocking1felted.jpg

I think that looks pretty stocking-like, don’t you? Sure it isn’t incredibly sock-like, and obviously wouldn’t work on a foot, but that’s not really the point. I think I’ll go with the pattern as written, though I might add a few stitches just to make it easier to knit on a circular needle rather than double pointed needles — I find it goes much faster for me on a circular.

But first I have to finish the baby sweater that I got wool for last night — I’ll show you the beginnings of it tomorrow, when there are more than a few rows done.

Posted by Aven at 01:22 PM | Comments (6)

November 15, 2004

Yarn!

There was a big box on my front porch this morning! And look at the lovely things inside:

elannbox1.jpg

And it just kept going and going and going and going!

I like the colours, but I must say they’re more vivid and slightly darker in person than they seemed online. We’re not quite certain about the pink and the orange for Tintin’s face and hair, so we’ve ordered a few more balls in some other colours, to see if we can get closer. But that’s ok — it’s only 5 more balls. (Well, compared to 49 balls?!)

This weekend, since I didn’t have the Elann yarn yet, I worked on a shawl from some Lion Brand Homespun that Stephanie very kindly gifted me with when I was at her place for the sew-up. I’ve never worked with Homespun before, or knit a shawl, but I’m quite happy with how it’s turned out (forgive the bad shot — it has a crocheted cast off / fringe, but I don’t have the right size hook, so it’s languishing on the needles for now):

shawl.jpg

I think I have enough to do a second shawl, in a different lace pattern; the yarn works up so quickly, it’s rather addictive. And very soft and warm.

But the main project now is Christmas stockings… look forward to seeing lots of variations on one pattern for the next little while.

Posted by Aven at 06:10 PM | Comments (8)

November 13, 2004

Fun with Felting

I have some finished objects to report — well, some are almost finished. First, the mittens to match the tam are done and delivered to Tyla:

mittensdone.jpg

Next, I did felt the bags — successfully. The washer is still working, and the bags are definitely fulled:

bagsfelted.jpg

There’s still some finishing work to be done. I want to put snap closures on the little partitioned bag (pattern here); my favourite part about this bag is the partition inside:

littlepartitioninside.jpg

I’m trying to decide whether to put a snap closure on the Chicago Blue Line bag (pattern here) or not. I do need to sew a button onto the little orange bag. And I have to put grommets in and attach the straps to the tote. So, in other words, none of the bags is actually completely finished, but I’m happy with how they’ve turned out so far.

A note about felting in a front-loading machine: as you can see, they felted fine — but I think it took longer than it would have with a top-loader. Also, my machine only allows me to open the door (even when the cycle is stopped) during the agitation phase, which I only found out after I’d let it go on to the cold rinse (I like the alternation of hot and cold for felting). So I had to let the whole cycle run, including the spinning; this did produce a few creases in the bags, but they were pretty easy to smooth out, and aren’t noticeable after blocking. But it’s definitely possible to felt in a front-loader.

Posted by Aven at 01:03 PM | Comments (4)

November 11, 2004

Oops

I’d been trying very hard to not buy any more yarn before Christmas, and concentrate on using up what I have already. I find that I don’t like having large numbers of projects waiting — it makes me anxious rather than happy, and I feel an overwhelming urge to make lists and start crossing items off them. So, since I already have the yarn for several more projects, I didn’t want to acquire any more.

But I forgot about the siren song of Elann, luring me to my destruction on the rocky shoals of Highland Wool.

So cheap. So lovely. So soft. So many colours!

I succumbed. And, having succumbed, I went all the way: I bought 49 balls of Highland wool. As someone at the SnB last night pointed out, that’s almost 2.5 kg of wool! The argument that allowed me to break down and buy some was that I wanted to make some felted Christmas stockings for our first Christmas in our own home, and this was easily the cheapest way to do it. Hving decided that, it seemed only reasonable to throw in enough yarn for a sweater for myself (after all, it’s a sweater for $35!), and then I just lost control completely and bought yarn for a sweater for Mark. Long-time readers of this blog, if you’re out there, may be glad to hear that this batch of yarn is for the long-dormant Tintin sweater. The wide range of colours in the Highland wool made it easier to find colours for the hair and face, so we went ahead and bought it all. I don’t know if I’ll start it before Christmas, since I’ve got so many projects to do, including a sweater for Mark that I already have the yarn for. But it’s now officially a Project in Waiting.

Just for interest’s sake, when I bought some Highland wool back in January for Rogue, a ball cost $2.95 CAD. Now it’s $2.70 CAD. I think the USD price has stayed the same — that fluctuation is entirely because of the rising Canadian dollar. Time to do all your catalogue shopping from US stores!

Posted by Aven at 12:21 PM | Comments (6)

November 07, 2004

Sewing Party!

Never have I had such fun sewing seams! Proof:

groupshot.jpg

Is that a happy group or is that a happy group? Left to right: Monica and Huxley, Sarah, Jane, Me, Elizabeth, Deni, Stephanie, Alison. (Spelling may be wrong — sorry! And I hope I got names right…)

On Sunday Stephanie graciously hosted a sewing-up party for the Afghans for Afghans Afghanalong being organised by Mason-Dixon Knitting. She had tonnes of food and drink, and many cheerful sew-ers (I was going to write “sewers” but it seemed too, well, drainpipey). The above picture only captures some of the people who were there, many escaped before being photographed.

After much discussion and planning we laid out two blankets, one predominantly red and one mainly pink. Sewing ensued, and more sewing, until strips were achieved:

strip.jpg

(Beautiful baby, no?) I had to leave before all of the strips were sewn together, but I’m sure Stephanie will have pictures of the final achievements. They turned out pretty snazzy, I think.

I had a great time, and met many more wonderful knitters, to go with the ones I already knew. Particular mention should go to Aara, who brought her daughter and came all the way from London (Ontario — she’s not crazy!), Sarah, who drove down from Ottawa, and Kelli Ann who came from Montreal and will be hosting a sewing party of her very own on Nov. 28 — anyone in that area, contact her to find out where to go! I heartily recommend it — lots of fun, and the glow of a good deed done. What could be better?

Thanks, Stephanie, for having us all over! The place looked great, your daughters are sweethearts, the new paint is a lovely colour, and it was too warm! All in all a roaring success.

Posted by Aven at 11:52 PM | Comments (2)

November 06, 2004

Felting hardware

Thanks for all the advice about felting the bags. I have felted one or two things before, but not with very much method or care. And that was in the old top-loading machine, not our new front-loader, which may make this a bit harder. I want these bags to work, though, so I appreciate the help.

I went out today to try to find some mesh bags to put the items in, but was completely foiled on that score — none of the 4 dollar stores I went to had what I was looking for, nor did the drug store. I found one approximation of what I wanted, but I think the mesh is too open to stop enough fibres from getting through. Instead, I bought some cheap pillowcases, and I’m going to take Lydia and Laurie’s advice and just knot the tops. Turns out Tigger wants to be felted, too:

tiggerpillowcase2.jpg

He’s so predictable — put an open bag or box in front of him and he’ll immediately walk in, lie down, and start purring. It’s his favourite thing in the world!

tiggerpillowcase.jpg

I managed to snag the pillowcases back later so that I could run them through a hot wash by themselves to make sure they don’t run. Now I just have to finish the last bag, and I can have some felting fun!

Posted by Aven at 05:41 PM | Comments (2)

November 05, 2004

Bags

As I said, I have been knitting — these:

bags.jpg

Bags in their pre-felting state. I haven’t actually made any felted bags before, but instead of trying one out to see how it all works, I’m jumping in with a whole bunch at once. Always sensible, that’s me. I’m trying to use up various leftover amounts of wool from other projects, hence the different patterns; these are all Patons Classic Wool. I plan on felting them all at the same time — any reasons I shouldn’t? I’ll test some swatches together to make sure the colours don’t run, and enclose each bag in its own zippered pillowcase (which I have to go buy), since we just got a new washing machine and I really don’t want to mess it up.

Now I’m working on another bag, this time with some leftover Lopi — I’ve finished one side, and while it’s not looking very bag-like, I have faith:

totepiece.jpg

In other knitting news my dad’s sweater is moving slowly along (at the rate of 3 or 4 rows a day) and I’ve finished one mitten to match Tyla’s tam, which I want to have her try on before I make the second (it seems impossibly tiny, but she does have small hands).

By the way, in response to Dani’s comment on the last entry, I actually find that my blanket gives me motivation to swatch for projects when I might not otherwise, since I know I’ll have to make a square to commemorate each project anyway — it might as well be a swatch.

Posted by Aven at 02:32 PM | Comments (6)

November 04, 2004

Comfort

I have been knitting, and I do have things to show — but it’s been a busy week and I haven’t had time and/or opportunity to photograph them. Maybe I’ll manage it tomorrow.

In the meantime, both the blustery weather outside and the even larger storm in the world that I don’t want to talk about make tonight seem to be a night for curling up and covering myself with comfort. So I’m going to be downstairs on the couch underneath this:

scrapblanket.jpg

This is a blanket made up of all the swatches for all the projects I’ve knitted, and squares made from scraps of leftover or inherited yarn. They’re all different sizes and materials, and my sewing job has been wonky, to say the least, in some places, so many of the squares are no longer actually square,1 but I love it. I’ve got many more squares to put on it, but as Mark says, it will just keep growing until it’s big enough to cover our whole family at once — no matter how big that family becomes.

I hope each of you can tuck yourself up with something or someone special tonight.

1 I’m sorry, Stephanie, to reveal to you the true (lack of) skills I’m bringing to the sew-up party on Sunday!

Posted by Aven at 11:45 PM | Comments (5)

November 01, 2004

Too much candy!

I don’t know why, but we seem to get fewer children trick or treating every year. Maybe the demographic of the neighbourhood is changing, or maybe parents are becoming less and less comfortable about letting their children go door-to-door at strangers’ houses. I hope it’s the former… but whatever the reason, we only had about 20 or 30 kids last night, I’d estimate — when we first moved in we usually ran out of candy, there were so many kids. This year we’re left with a huge bowl, even though I was giving out great big handfuls of candy. This is not going to be good for me…

But we did get lots of compliments on our pumpkins:

pumpkins.jpg

(We cheated by using tracings, but it was fun to have fancy jack o’lanterns).

In knitting news, in the excitement of the tam I forgot to mention that I finished the other thrummed mitten a while ago:

thrumsdone.jpg

Mark was in the middle of making his lunch when I took this picture, so we didn’t have time to find a more artistic background.

He says that they are, indeed, freakishly warm. Mission accomplished! Now we just need some cold weather to test them.

Posted by Aven at 02:37 PM | Comments (4)