Sunday, December 25, 2005

Season's Greetings! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

To one and all, of all faiths, I give you my greetings and wishes of a wonderful day!

Now, down to the needles.

First. My mother loved the shawl she got. She wrapped it about herself as soon as it was out of the box. The first pic is of a close up of the pattern, UNdressed. That means, for those uninitiated with lace work, this is what it looked like when I put in on the floor to take a picture. The second is the full thing out on my floor. I choose a quick cat-free moment. I moved so quick that the bottom edge to the left is hiked up. Anyway.

Here we have the blocked/or dressed shawl close up. What this means is that I got it all wet, spun out the excess water so it was *just* damp, like a wrung out sponge damp, and then used long thin metal wires and pins to pull and stretch and shape the shawl. Lots of wires. Lots of pins. Lots of fun getting cats OFF shawl, away from wires and pins and closing door. Pattern name is Barbara from Stahman's book Scarves and Shawls. Oohh, aaahhh. :)

Next picture is the dressed shawl. What do you do when you don't have an extra mattress to block on to, and no carpeting and no foam board? Why, you take home lots and lots of cardboard boxes from work, make sure they are at least double thickness, and pile on all the extra towels you have in the house, reserving just one for the morning shower. And then realize you still don't have enough boxes or towels for some spots. I didn't realize I had so many different colored towels. Anyway, you can sorta see the shape here of the shawl -- a Faroeses shape, greater than a half circle with lovely shoulder shaping so the thing with stay ON.

Neeexxttt. . . My father's sock -- on his foot! I know some people who saw me working on this at work couldn't believe it was for a man. Hey, dad picked this out! He loves colors. Also for those who felt them -- yes, they got a lot softer after I washed them. For the sock knitters out there -- it's Opal, Brazil (I think. I don't think it's Lollipop) (can't remember #, sorry!), knit on a 0 and something like 8-9 sts/inch I've got it noted down somewhere! I used one long 60" Addi Turbo employing the magic loop method, worked both socks at once, from the toe up. The "pattern" is from Crazy Toes and Heels by Queen Kahuna ;) Great sock book in my opinion. I've got little tabs on it so I can flip about it. Dad has a wide duck foot with a tiny (comparative) ankle. By measuring his foot using the Crazy Toes and Heels method I've got a sock that fits him.

For those who saw the "family" socks in the works, here ya go in order of Mother, Father, Son (and then son socks ontop of father's socks --just for comparison sake). They were make at 4.5sts/1in, on a size 4, 60" Addi Turbo, each pair made at the same time, top down. Because I didn't have their feet to measure. Jeeze. :) I used Plymouth's Encore, worsted weight, 75% Acrylic, 25% wool, completely machine washable, dryable and abusable.

Now -- here is a close up of ONE curtain that I finally just put up on blocking wires in my dining room window. Yes, you guessed it -- Old Shale aka Feather and Fan. In garter stitch. Dead simple. In cotton, a kind of natural ecru color. I figure with bright yellow living room walls, burgandy and pale, pale burgandy dining room walls and green kitchen I needed something . . . quiet. :)

And here it is looking from the inside out. I have to keep the shutters closed so my lovely cats don't demolish it. I have the second half on the needles and am working on it today as I watch my presents -- the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, special edition. Here's to finishing the second curtain before Christmass 2006!

And to paraphase Tiny Tim (from Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol) "Bless us, Everyone!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The BIG day is almost here. . .

And no, I'm not done with gifts. Ok. The ones that need mailing got mailed -- and arrived safe. And actually only ONE gift is not yet done. It is close. It is very close. It was much closer the week before last when I thought all I needed to do was cast off -- and then found I had forgotten the lace border for the shawl. Now, I am close. Honest. Just another 4 more repeats plus the side border stitches -- about 86 (no, I'm not counting . . . do you believe me? ) stitches to knit a border onto and cast off. I'm getting there.

So. Pics to follow shortly.

I did need to start other things. I'm only human. I started a pair of socks for me! In greens. I love them. I got the toe increases all done on Sat. so I could knit them during the Nutcracker performed by the Northern California Ballet in Paradise on Sunday. Which I did. I got about 2 inches done. I dropped a stitch once, but happily it was close to the end of the first Act and by the grace of the Knitting Muses somehow managed to ratchet up the dropped stitch the 5 rows it had slid. Without a crochet hook, frustratingly. I really MUST remember to restock my B hook for my knitting bag. I donated it to the shop. It ran away from home Sat. but I hope it will find its way back again. I think it stow-awayed in an unsuspecting knitting bag or eloped with a tape measure -- or worse! A knitting needle!

My Fenna shawl in the Lorna's Lace's Helen's Lace in Happy Valley colorway did not want to be a Fenna shawl. I think it wants to be an Elizabeth shawl. These names mean something if you have Stahman's Shawls and Scarves book. Honest. I also suspect it wants a different gauge. I forsee tinkering soon.

I also started a sock in crochet. However my late night furious stitching on the gift-to-be-completed must have caused some strain somehow in my left arm because it HURT when I crocheted a measly 5 rows. No, I am not left handed and no I do not knit or crochet with the left hand. It's a mystery.

I also have an Annoucement. Chrisanne has finished . . . a back to a sweater! Yeah!!! It's in seed stitch, the entire blessed thing. So will be the sleeves and the majority of the front. She is already threatening to dump the sleeves on me to finish (or just do). And -- hold onto your hats -- she followed the pattern!! I'm in shock still.

So, I should be asleep in bed now -- I'm transposing letters all over the place, so Good Night. And if I don't post beforehand (probable) Happy Holidays (don't get mad at me. I'm including New Years and whatever other holidays anyone reading may celebrate or imagine.)


Thursday, December 08, 2005

I *know* I'm not posting much

But I've gotten a few comments about the paucity of posts. Well, folks, I'm hitting the needles for gifts. Any free moment, I'm knitting on gifts. I should be now. However, I think the end may, just may, be in sight. I'll try not to jinx it.

Plus, we're open until 7pm until the end of holiday season. No, no one is coming in that late. I can't imagine why someone thought it was a good idea for the shops to stay open later. I can't think why I thought I'd go along with the idea. The cats are NOT happy. They ate the last pencil I had in the house last week. I bought a pack of automatic pencils Monday since I thought they just liked eating wood ones. Well, they're not that picky. I have ONE, count it, ONE pencil left again. I think it may need to come off the grocery list nailed on the kitchen wall and have to hide INSIDE a CLOSED drawer. They broke the entire lower teer on my artifical, fiber optic Christmas Tree too. It looks like there's a wreath around the bottom of a very small, long stemmed tree. I wasn't stupid enough to put breakable ornaments on it. I'm not happy, but then neither are my critters. We match.

Anyhow, I got incredibly bored of knitting for others. My selfish nature kicked in and I knew that if I knit just one more round on a certain gift I would grow to HATE the recipient AND the gift. So . . I started a sweater for myself in Plymouth's Alpaca Boucle -- its a dark gray color. Top down, raglan. I've actually started it about four times. I had, ahem, problems. First, the neck was too tight, and incidently I had put markers in the wrong places. So, second time, I started I realized I had somehow picked up the wrong needle size. Third time, with correct needles, I realized I had needed a larger neck opening -- because I had supposedly learned from the first starting. So -- I'm on start number 4. I'm almost back to where I was with start number 1. The really good part? Gauge is 2.5 sts to the inch. Yahooooo!!! AND I'm on 10.5 US needles!! Wahooo!

Second, I started a sock. For me, me, me, ME. I've made several socks lately, all for others, with larger feet than mine. It's time for me -- and smaller feet. :) These are on size 0. When I go up to 1's the gauge gets a sloppy feeling 7 sts/inch.

So, no pics. Besides Chrisanne has the camera.

Back to holiday gift knitting.
~Briony -- owned by five cats, one dog, two goldfish.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's been a while . . .

Ok, ok, I know it's been a while since I last posted. But I've been working on holiday gifts. Can't really post pics of those, now can I?

Well, I thought you might like to see other projects that are in holding pattern. So . . . This is my table cloth that may be finished someday. It is knit with size 0 needles. Each star is knit separetly as is each seed square. They are then joined up.

See, the cats are "helping"!

Here is that shawl I mentioned? The one the cats dragged out from under the door? Well, the damage isn't as bad as I feared . . . but it isn't good.

Just the two major holes that I can see. Too bad I don't have any more of that yarn. Maybe I could find more and either rip out to the first hole (shudder) or try to fix the holes in situ. Who knows. I'm not worrying about it now. Did I mention I was working on holiday gifts??

Here is the hat I'm working on with Lorna's Laces. I'm using the magic loop method and trying to knit one color by throwing -- my prefered method -- and the other color by picking.

Don't make fun. It's my first at color knitting. No, the white blobs are not ducks. Sigh. They're just blobs.

Here is my current "Theater Knitting" -- the project I drag to the movies. It's Lorna's Lace's Helen's Lace -- the color is Rainbow Valley I think. It'll be a Faroese shawl when it grows up.

These were my parent's birthday gifts. The clogs were my fathers. The clogs are felted Galway.

The amulet bag (yes, that's what that other thing is) was for my mother to keep her medicine in so she would be more likely to remember to actually take them. Plus it is a better place to stuff them than in her pocket. It is made of Opal's fingering weight and is crocheted.

And here are two of FIVE my kitties.

Wait . . . Should I scratch this instead of knitting? Nah. I could eat this carpeting too . . . But I prefer Addi Turbo needle cables!!

I'm innocent. I never touched your shawl. I was sleeping. Besides, you know my kittens did it anyway. I'm too mature. And did I mention I was sleeping at the time?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

My latest new project is...(from Chrisanne)

My left hand has decided to be testy with me after the last week of only working on fingering weight yarn (the inevitable socks of course, and the Oriental jacket I'm working on--actually there are 2 of them in the works, 1 in greens and 1 in pinks, lavendars, and blues), so yesterday I started an intarsia sweater in Pima/Tencel by Cascade. I love this yarn! Anyway, it's from an old book called Great Big Knits, and I'm doing it in pink, black, white and a touch of maroon. The ribbing at the bottom is in black, and it was one of those Gee, I Guess I Am Getting Older--or Blinder experiences.... But--I must say, it looks nice.... And then at 1:30 am this morning, with rampant non-sleepiness, I came to the end of my, of course, I worked on the Not So Warm Coat from Sally Melville's Knit Stitch, which is in some Noro Silk Garden from The Stash. For someone who really prefers pullovers, I do seem to be knitting a lot of cardis, don't I.....

Also in the pipeline are several pairs of socks for gifts. I think that socks are the perfect addiction--legal, socially acceptable, and very portable--I have a sock-in-progress in my glovebox in the car, another at my bedside table, another on the wetbar in the kitchen, another in my purse of the moment, and another beside my usual seat in the living room. (I bet you thought I was being my usual exaggerated self about that 'addiction' remark!)

Somewhere along the line, I also need to knit Pippen a sweater. Now that he's got a shorter haircut for the shop, he needs a bit of extra warm for the fall/winter. Heaven knows, he hasn't got any extra weight to keep him warm!

We're thinking about having our December class be a "Quick Gifts for the Holidays" kind of thing, so I'm working on ideas for that...projects which are fun to do, quick, and things that your Significant Recipient will actually be excited to get (and which, unlike the Nieman-Marcus suggestions, will not cause instant poverty for you).

We've had a couple of people in the Shoppe lately who have a stash of afghans which they have made, so that they have something for a gift should they need something immediate. I'm quite in awe of this forethought! Of course, with all the projects I have going at any particular moment, you'd think I'd have something for those occasions, but it never seems to work that way....

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Briony -- Finishes something! And loses something.

Yes, as amazing as it may sound -- I have finished something! The crochet shopping bag! It's out of Muench's Samoa which is cotton and acrylic. And soft. So nice to work with. It's the one on the right. It'll stretch out with weight.

It's going into my trunk tomorrow morning so the next time I go shopping it can be used. Of course, I will have to talk the bagger (if I go somewhere where they still bag for you) into actually putting more than 3 ounces into it. My other one -- made of sugar n cream (bag on the left) -- carried home a gallon of milk, a gallon of juice, a jar of yeast and a box of mushrooms today. The bagger didn't believe it wouldn't burst on the spot. HAH! Chrisanne thought of the round bottom, which I really like.

And as you can see, my father worked his magic -- by doing exactly what I did earlier and voila! The (&#$&#$ camera works. Argh!

Do you realize there are only 12 weeks until Christmas? That means just 12 measly weeks in which to start (ahem), work on, and FINISH gifts?? I tell ya, I'm beginning to feel the pressure. Does that mean I'll work hard this weekend on gifts? Um. Nope. Oh well.

I was really, really mean to Chrisanne this week. I made her limit the number of projects she has in progress at the shop to . . . 12. Yup. All the way down to 12. She sniffed and stuffed two large duffel like bags and another shopping bag FULL of stuff and put it into her car. No, I have NO idea what all went. I think I saw a few socks. I may stop by her place this weekend and help her get it all OUT of the car.

For those of you with cats -- Does it ever cease to amaze you how looonnnggg their legs can get? I'm thinking in reference to getting into closed closets. Where early-in-my-knitting-life faroese shawls made of silk tweed, costing me several months of saved cash while I was in college, used to hang. Notice the past tense. Somehow, unknown to me, the shawl fell onto the floor. I don't know how the cats knew it was on the floor, inside the closed closet. But they did. Somehow they reached, deep, deep, inside that closed off closet, under the door. I found what was left of my previously lovely shawl earlier this week on the floor. I tell you I just sat on the floor and cried.

Ah well. The shawl may be savalgeable. I don't have the heart to look yet. And the shopping bag is soon to be safe in my trunk.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What I have on needles and hooks -- but no pics :(

Why no pics? Well. . . .

. . . here I am, all ready to both publish our website I've been trying to work as well as start this blog when . . . my digital camera decides it doesn't like me anymore. It won't turn on. And yes, I've tried charging the battery. I'll have to turn it over to my father who will probably look at it worridly, turn it over a few times and flip the power button and . . . it will turn on and behave itself. Which is what usually happens when I try to mix with electronics. Anyway, so as much as I would like to post a pic or two of what I've got going -- I can't. Because I haven't TAKEN any pics of what I'm working on. Sniff. Hey, I'm glad I've touched my needles at all since I've gotten all excited about Sudoku (a logic game -- if you've been in the shop this week I've probably either hurridly stuffed it under a project or been flagrantly working on it. You can see what in blazes I'm writing about at I warn you, I'm addiciting others to it. I'm not saying that this is the best website -- it's the only one I've looked at -- or anything serious. It is just what I've been working on.

Onto yarn stuff though -- no pics but here's what I've got currently on needles -- or hook (no particular order):
  1. Snood in Katia Sevilla (crochet)
  2. Snood in Cascade Copa (crochet)
  3. Fair Isle hat in Lorna's Laces (knitting)
  4. Sock in Opal sock yarn (knitting -- no pics! A gift to someone!)
  5. Afgan in Plymouth Encore (crochet)
  6. Window curtain (knitting) -- some cotton yarn I found before-shop-opening
  7. Sweater in Cascade Pearls (knitting)
  8. Santa Suit in Sirdar Snuggly DK and Funky fur (knitting)
  9. Table Cloth in Plymouth Encore (knitting)
  10. Table Cloth in King Tut cotton (crochet)
  11. Table Cloth in that cotton yarn mentioned in #6
  12. Face cloth in hemp yarn I found somewhere -- practicing continental knitting
  13. Shawl in Alpaca yarn (knitting -- don't expect pics! It's a gift to someone!)
  14. Various socks in various stages in various yarns -- hidden in cupboard because they were all started pre-move. Haven't the energy to dig them out. All knitting
  15. A cascade 220 jacket/sweater I made before I lost weight -- it's got a huge hole from getting snagged or something that I need to mend, and I was playing with the idea of felting. Just don't want to mend. Yuck. Knitted.
  16. A shopping bag in Samoa cotton from Muench (crochet)
  17. Placemat? Future shopping bag. Dunno, so far a 6" granny square in Sugar 'n Cream. Crochet, natch.
  18. Shawl, in Fiesta Yarn's Rayon Boucle. Amazon colorway, I think. Knitted
  19. Shawl, knitted, circa pre-move. No clue what's it in anymore. It's in the cupboard with aforementioned socks.
  20. Felt clogs in Galway, knitting. Another gift.
I know there's more, but I can't bring 'em to mind. I KNOW I have more than 2 dozen UFOs(UnFinshed Objects) in the wings.

And I will probably start something like a sweater for a gift in the next month. How I will finish them all on time is unknown, but hey, that can be part of the fun. Yeah. Right. Back to needles!