Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dragonfly Sockblockers

I've been wanting a set of these ever since I started wearing handknit socks on a regular basis.

Although most of my handknit socks are "superwash" and can go through the washer and dryer without a problem, they all look and fit better if they air dry. I've been laying my socks flat to dry, which works, but isn't nearly as pretty or convenient as having actual sock blockers. They seem to dry faster on the blockers too.

My daughter bought these for me for Christmas. Aren't they great? I just love dragonflies. Thanks Kris!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Little Tent Stitch Socks

Likely to be my last FO of 2007, the Little Tent Stitch Socks.

These were done toe-up and using my own modification of the little tent stitch from the Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries, and Sock Wizard's "Ultimate Heel".

Although they fit perfectly once I get them on, I really have to tug at them to get them over my heel. Annoying for sure.

Although my Christmas was marred by a nasty, nasty flu that I am only just now beginning to recover from, I did receive some lovely gifts. I'll be showing the fibre related ones over the next day or two.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Masters Monday 2.3

Did you think I'd miss Masters Monday just because it was Christmas Eve? Nope. Actually I had all the work for this done last Monday but "saved" it for today's report because I knew it would be a busy week.

So.....I've found another UNsuccessful way to seam ribbing. *sigh* I suppose that could still be considered progress though.

I did this one by setting it up so I could seam down the centre of the selvedge stitches. One thing about this method, it can be used for tubular cast on which always ends in an uneven number of stitches. BUT....unfortunately I can't get it to look right. The seamed row of "stitches" has a sunken look that is way too obvious.

Back to the needles. I'll get this one yet!

I'm not likely to have time to post tomorrow, so to everyone who celebrates this holiday.....Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Portrait Ornament

Many, many years ago (has it been 23 already!) I made a few ornaments similar to this one.

Featuring pictures of my 3 little ones they immediately became my favorite ornaments of all time. Year after year I put them in prominent locations on the Christmas tree. As the children grew older (they are all adults now) I loved to reminisce of Christmas from so long ago.

Last year I sorted the ornaments and carefully stored the portrait ornaments away where they would be "safe". I had put them in a sealed container with an aluminum bottom. I guess some kind of a chemical reaction, (or perhaps the lack of circulating air?) caused them considerable damage. The pictures are fine, but the crocheted part turned all brown and ugly. I'll have to redo them some time.

The ones I made this year are for pictures of our first grandchild on her very first Christmas. Very special indeed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Done -- Again.

So the beanie that I originally knit with a smocked ribbing has now had it's substantial ribbed section ripped and reknit as boring ol' 2x2 rib. The smocked ribbing had to go, it wasn't stretchy enough.

The ribbing is not as fancy now, but it has more elasticity and "give" so it will fit better and be more comfortable. The hat also looks SO much neater now that it has been blocked.

I knit the hat from my own 2ply, sportsweight handspun wool that had been steeping in my stash waiting for the perfect project.

The pattern found through Ravelry and available free, is Charisa Martin Cairn 's Lifestyle Top Down Hats, No Swatch Needed.

I continued the increases until the crown was slightly larger than the recipient's head and then decreased 8 stitches per round 2 times (or was it three?) just before I started the ribbing. I knit the ribbing long enough to fold over twice when being worn.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In The Twinkling Of An Eye

Okay, so it's not cherry pie and it wasn't accomplished in "a twinkling of an eye" either.

It's 2 dozen cherry tarts, 1 dozen mincemeat tarts, 2 pumpkin pies, 1 banana cream pie, and nearly 5 dozen shortbread snowballs (shortbread wrapped around a maraschino cherry).....and it took all of a very long day.

The banana cream pie will be for tonight's dessert, the pumpkin pies are now frozen for Christmas day, and the remainder of the day's baking will be doled out over the next week as the cook feels appropriate.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Masters Monday 2.2

Only one completed swatch this week. Much of my spare time has been swallowed up by Christmas preparations.

Edited to add: It has been pointed out that the seam is about half a stitch off, with the tops not matching. Yup. Back to the needles.

This is Swatch 4 - Single Rib (K1P1), a seaming exercise. I'm not all that pleased with it. I seamed it in the manner described in the Seaming article in "Cast On" magazine, and it is not my usual method. The article suggests using an even number of stitches and starting each piece of ribbing with a knit stitch so that you end up seaming a knit stitch and a purl stitch together (leaving the ribbing pattern intact), supposedly hiding the seam "in the ditch" of the two stitches. Because the magazine article so strongly recommended this method I went with it, but I'm having second thoughts.

I normally seam ribbing by starting with an uneven number of stitches, starting and ending both pieces with a knit stitch and seaming up the centre of these edge stitches (leaving the ribbing pattern unbroken). I find it makes a finer seam (less seam bulk, especially at cuff edges) and it still turns out neat and tidy. The "Cast On" magazine article says that the seam turns out messier, but I'm not sure that it does. I think this might be worth a bit of additional experimentation.

For readers' further consideration (are you still with me?), Maggie Righetti suggests a third method in her book "Sweater Design in Plain English". She says to add an additional knit stitch so that your single rib ends in K2 at one end. This lets you seam with a full stitch, but gives you that knit/purl "ditch" seam.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rip It, Rip It

It's annoying and disheartening to have to frog a finished object, especially when said finished object looks kind of pretty, is intended as a gift, and must be done by Christmas.

Unfortunately for me the smocked ribbing I chose for the fold up brim of this hat not only has to look pretty, but it must stretch far enough to fit the gift recipient's head too. Not happening. It's a tight fit even on this wig stand's little pin head which is nowhere near the 23.5" required.

Rip, rip, rippity rip!

Luckily the rest of the hat is okay. I only need to rip out the pretty smocked ribbing and replace it with a boring ol' 2x2 rib.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lambie's New Clothes

Introducing "Lambie".

She's for the gift exchange held today during the Chilliwack Spinning and Weaving Guild's annual Christmas luncheon. Dressed only in the bib and diaper cover she came in she looked a little plain.....and I got busy and knitted her a nice warm sweater and hat set. Wool of course.

Lambie has a little gift card holder around her neck (not shown here) and my daughter, also a spinner, had the brilliant idea to put a reference card in the holder that outlines how many wraps per inch will equal each of the commonly used yarn weights. This is a useful little item that even non-spinners can use to identify yarn weights that no longer have identifying ball bands.

I watched as the gifts were chosen (randomly, nobody knowing who each gift was from) and the lady who picked mine just happens to be a new grandma! I betcha Lambie will end up in Japan, where the new grandchild lives.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Masters Monday 2.1

Apparently the threat of public disgrace is a sufficient motivator for me. I announced last week that I would be starting Level 2 of the Master Knitters' certification and posting about some sort of progress each Monday. The need to come up with SOMEthing to report each week was the kick I needed to get through Level 1 and it looks like it will work again for Level 2.

Not only have I finished knitting the first 3 swatches (6 seperate pieces) .....

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....but I have blocked them, seamed them,........

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......labeled them, written the description of the process.....

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.....answered the related questions, and added all the resource materials to my bibliography.

First Visit With Santa

It looks like Santa enjoys visiting with Kaylen almost as much as we do.

But she seems to have that effect on people wherever she goes.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Little Smaller

I went out and bought a new (fake) tree last night. The old one was very realistic but it was SO huge, with SO many branches to bend into shape and "fluff" that getting the tree up each year was an all day affair. The fluffing and decorating was most often something I ended up doing alone.

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The thought of facing it again this year was putting me in very much of a Bah Humbug kind of a mood. The need to move our living room furniture to make room for it wasn't thrilling me either. Our furniture is heavy enough that it leaves great dents in our carpet for at least a month after the arrangement has been altered.

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This new tree, advertised as 6.5 feet tall, is about two feet shorter, smaller in diameter, has less branches to fiddle with and fill with ornaments, and ................ comes PRELIT. I love prelit. I can totally forgive this tree it's less realistic look because I am so in love with its' 400 mulit-coloured mini lights already in place and ready to plug in.

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For some reason my camera is insisting that there is a lot of PINK on this tree. In reality the bows and garland are silver and the mini lights that show up as pink....they are actually red.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Despite an ever growing queue of things I really want to knit (thanks Ravelry!), including a few warm vests I could really use right now, I out-of-the-blue looked through my very limited stash, found a yarn that didn't work for it's original intent, and cast on for a racer-back tank that I won't be able to use until the really warm weather arrives next summer.

A few days later I have a FO. This is "Coachella" which I have knit in Lang Viva, an 86% cotton, 14% polyester blend. I think what attracted me to the pattern was the interesting drape at the front neckline and this lightweight, woven yarn does the job beautifully. I know it looks like crap just hanging there unmodeled, but trust me, it fits nicely. It just requires a specialized bra and I likely won't be acquiring that until closer to summer.....when I can actually wear the top. For now it is getting tucked away in the closet while I start working on......
*drum roll please* ........
...... Level 2 of the
Yes, it is now time to resume my regular posting of "Masters Mondays" as a means of keeping myself motivated and plugging away at this certification. My goal is to do at least something each week. It may not be a big something, but one little step at a time I shall climb this mountain. Drop by to encourage me hey?