Sunday, December 31, 2006

Afghan Finished!

Happy New Year everyone!

Here is the afghan I just finished. It has been washed, dried, and cuddled on and under.
I am including this one with my kids on it to show how much they enjoyed being involved in my crochet and knitting. :) They also love the afghan. We have to pull at least three cats off of it each time we want to use it.

Anyway, this is Sorcha, the dog, and I think Willow, the cat. Could be his sister Arwen, though.

I like this one because you can see our dog Sorcha. An overgrown Miniature Pinscher.

Here is the whole, 4-1/2 feet wide, 6'2" long afghan. You can almost see the the top edge, where I started, is tighter and doesn't ripple as well as the end. I'm still trying to improve my crochet.

Again, this was made entirely of Plymouth's Encore which is acrylic and wool. I doubled it to make a bulky weight, worked with a M hook and, finally, am DONE! :) That's all here!

Happy New Year's Eve Everyone! Be SAFE!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Ideal Knitting Bag?

I've been thinking about this off and on for a few months now, in a lazy fashion. What should be in a knitting bag? Or a Crochet bag. I think they'd be pretty much interchangable.

And how do you use said bag? Do you have One Master Bag that holds your immediate project(s) at hand and it is the one that moves from room to room, to the car, to the knit together with you? Or do you have one per project (this could get scary very quickly), or one per location (ie the car bag, the living room bag, the bedroom bag, the movie knitting bag etc?) or some combination?

Well, here's what I have in my sock 'bag' (Yes, I have one bag just for my sock. This is because I had a small epiphany. I always have a sock on the go. At least one. So -- a sock bag!):
  • Darning Needle (I try to bury ends as I go)
  • Yarn cutter. I don't put scissors in because I don't want to stop and wonder -- do they allow scissors here? I can grab and go and not worry. Also, if I visit a friend with little ones I don't need to be paranoid about punctures.
  • Pattern Photocopy. The original is at home. Ideally, in a page protector in a binder but I've not been too terribly careful about that for the last, uh, decade. :)
  • Stitch markers. For socks I keep 7 normal ones and one double loop marker I made from a photo in Crazy Toes and Heels by Queen Kahuna ( I learned SO much from this book! The double loop tells me if I'm on a increase row or a plain knit row. Brilliant.
  • Rubberbands. This is for the heel turn from the book mentioned above.
  • Tiny gold safety pin with something bright and dangley attached so I remember to turn the socks one way and then the other (no tangles!)
  • Yarn. WITH the yarn bands. Yeah, we all know we'll remember what we're using. Then we don't.
  • Needles.
  • Crochet hook. For my fingering weight this is a B, and for my worsted weight this is a D-G (depending on what I grabbed at the time) The hook is larger than my usual needles so I can cast off with it very, very loosely.
  • Tape Measure
  • New Addition: Notebook.

Now let me elaborate on this Notebook. It's one of the small Mead Memo spiral bound jobs. I nearly got the unspiral bound one because I visualized massive tangles, but decided to go with it anyway so I can lay the book down with the one page I'm interested in staying up and open.

I have a fair bit in here. I may type more of it up so I can print out more when I fill this one up. I have my, my fathers and my husband's foot measurements in there (socks!). I have my condensed notes for the sock pattern. I have various other tips and tricks and techniques jotted down. And I have my notes for the project at hand. The yarn I choose.-- the color name and number and brand. (I try to add ideas about the yarn itself, but this usually doesn't happen. ) My spi and rpi gauge. Needle size. The number of stitches for the sock. The toe type I used. Notes on type of heel or anything funky I tried (or noticed failed miserably).

I picked the small notebook because I needed something I could tuck in my Medium Yarntainer -- which is my sock knitting bag. I like to put it on floors when I'm out and about. I've been in too many icky movie theaters to use something with a cloth bottom. I digress.

I decided against an all powerful master notebook because I know myself. I'd end up with a 2-1/2" binder, with section dividers, color coded pages, cool pictures downloaded and printed off to decorate said dividers and the cover and back and spine. I'd have spent hours picking just the right font to do all the different things in. Then I wouldn't have touched it because it was too heavy and awkward. Then I'd feel guilt for not using it.

In my Living Room I also have cuticle nippers and a nail file. If I find the smallest ragged bit of nail or skin I'll tear it off without thinking so I need tools there to prevent blood shed. Honest. I bleed easily. And I hate getting yarn snagged on a rough nail. Doesn't do the yarn any good either. I also keep a comb in there because I generally have a sudden urge to either get my hair out of my way or find that the bun it was in is in exactly the wrong place to rest my head against the futon. A spare dpn holds my bun up if it goes up here. Sometimes the dpn makes it back home. Usually not.

One dear friend and customer here has a cool tin with her scissors and stitch markers inside a great rolling tote which holds her projects currently in working progress and patterns. I just LOVE the tin. It's too bulky for my knitting 'bag' but I love it nonetheless. I am thinking of getting a rolling tote for my livingroom. It can roll safely into a closet to hide from my cats and out again for me to work.

Do you have ideas for bags' contents or notebook?

~Briony (the afghan is still around, and not yet done. I hope for the end of the week. I like to have lots of hope in hopeless situations)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Here is what Chrisanne made for Briony for Christmas this year! A lovely Cashmere sweater! I was actually warm! Can you believe it? Briony. Warm. In the same sentence. With no negative in it. Amazing. :)

It's a very dark brown/black tweed with lots of specks of reds, yellows etc. It has a lovely cowl neck, achieved, I am told, by changing needle sizes three times. It's in garter and very, very warm and cozy. The belt is around the top of my hips, for reference. It's a lovely loose sweater, perfect for cuddling up in.

I did a clog christmas really. Just not on purpose. I started with a pair for my husband -- with some adaptations just for him. Picy tomorrow or so. Then due to a complete lack of inspiration I did a pair for my father in law. While I was getting this last completed I found that my father was literally wearing the pair I made for him last year out. So . . . I made him a pair. I should probably work at least one pair in the next few months. Because, I can tell you, I was beginning to hate clogs very much by late October. :) Which is when they were all done.

At the shop I'm working on an afghan I've been working on for literally years. Why aren't I done? Haven't worked on it much. :) Here's a piccy of what I have done so far:
I hope to get at least one more repeat done and then the bottom. I'm not sure what I will do for a border, other than I want one. I may do shell just because I have such a hard time remembering it. I'm really NOT that good at crochet. Be kind. :)
I won't post another pic of this kiddo until it's done. :)
Happy Holidays for the last week of the year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Reworked, and finished, another snood

Well, I won't be finishing anything at the shop today, but I did remember a snood I'd been working on at home and hadn't quite finished up yet. So here ya go, tail worked in but not clipped, elastic beginning to be worked in.
I crocheted this using, oh, a G?, with Cascade's Copa (the yarn formally known as Fiesta). It's 100% rayon, very shiny, very, very smooth. Can be fun to work in ends. (Sarcasm.) But, it's fantastic! I have solid singles on the bottom so my hair won't work out compleltely, with clusters and stuff in the center 4 inches. The top front is your standard sc, ch2, sc in next space kind of stuff. I'll try to post a picy of me wearing the thing too. :)


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Socks are Done!

The days are passing, the days are darker, today is all lovely and rainy and I've finished a pair of worsted weight socks for myself. YEA! :)
Aren't they cool? Well, I love 'em . They're from Schaeffer's Lola yarn. So soft -- and I mean soft. Like creamy soft. Like cuddle up with forever soft. The heels and toes are Filatura de Crossa's Zarella. Another really soft yarn -- cushy as all get out too. Love it!

I knit them, both at once, on a size 2 Addi Turbo, 60" long circular. Can you believe it? And that was just to get 6 sts/inch. If I start knitting any looser I'll have to start making my own needles out of piano wire. I'm wearing as soon as I wash 'em!

And here! Here we have something very special -- although not as unusal as you might think in the knitting world. What I am talking about is a lovely customer -- friend -- who knit two excellent bags out of these two Cascade 220 Tweeds -- and then knit up swatches for us to felt and post. On top of each is a tassel to show off the color prefelting. Knitters are the best. Thanks, and hats off to Lois!!

I'm off for now, boys and girls so a Happy Holidays again! Unless I finish something tomorrow. Highly unlikely. I'm about to start another pair of worsted weight socks (my feet are cold) and then bring in a blanket I've been crocheting for ages. I'm NOT a fast crocheter. Ah well.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Okay. I promised and here it is -- Me in my very own hat made with these two very dry hands (when will I remember to use enough moisturizer?)
So here I am, in front of the shop.

I think it looks silly.

Everyone says it looks good to my face.

I still think it looks silly on me.

And yes, I wear it all day in the shop. I get cold. And I wore to do my grocery shopping last night.

Now here it was unwashed. On my dining room table.

Anyway, it is made of Cleckheaton Merino Supreme, 100% wool and delicious to knit with and it gets even softer after you wash it!

I hand washed it, got impatient and then tossed it in the dryer for 30 by itself (and then the pic of me was taken). So, I can safely state, that with this hat, the dryer did not do immediate harm.

That stated, it should have been left flat to dry.

I also made at least 2 mistakes. If you come in I'll be happy to show you where. I have an extremely bad habit of pointing out my errors. I may learn someday not to. I do however try not to take pictures of them :)

Happy Holidays all -- five days to go! Hehehe :) Sorry. Hohoho :)


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Season's Cheer

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy and Merry anything you happen to celebrate! Happy Holidays!

The most cheerful thing about the holidays is the satisfaction of getting everything done on time. Be it gifts, decorating or whatever.

Or, failing that -- as most of us do -- giving the recipient a promise of the finished object in a not too terribly distant future. Some do this with a card -- with maybe a photo of the item in progress. Or the thing, on needles (or hook) in box which is then promptly snatched back. I also like getting cards out -- even if it is in mid February (although mine did get out on time this year). I did flail on getting lights out at home though. I have decided, after much thought, to blame my cats :) I think using them as a scapegoat is brilliant because they don't read this blog and can't defend themselves -- even if they could type. You see, they destroyed part of my fiber optic christmas tree last year. They are apparently trying to finish the job this year. So my husband and I decided against ornaments. And there is something mildly disheartening about a fiber optic tree, all the lower branches hanging limp and broken with no ornaments. So, we did not buy the hooks to attach on our front roof eaves until late and naturally, that meant lights didn't go up. They are sitting on a chair in my library. In the same tangle they were in when my father helped me take them down and dumped 'em in a pile in my shed outside.

The next most cheerful thing is food. Lots of good smelling food. Hopefully good tasting as well.

Then family. Family is great, but sometimes, for some families, they are much better long distance :-)

Having been married for just under a year, I get my first Christmas with both my parents and my new inlaws. It should be a blast. Especially since I'm not hosting and I can sit around, knit, talk and have fun while not looking at clocks and sweating in the kitchen. Afterall, I did that for Thanksgiving!

And just what have I been knitting? Socks, naturally. Off and on. I've found that worsted weight wool socks fit inside my Danskos just fine and nearly keep my frozen footsies warm. Fingering weight tries very hard, but doesn't seem to work quite so well in the colder months. I still love 'em in Fall, Spring and Summer. Well, the week and half that are Spring and Fall around here. Assuming they last that long.

The latest finished project is on my head. It's a hat. And yes, it looks better on this model than it looks on me :)

Edit from 12/21/06: Not sure if I made it clear -- this pic is from and is their picture of the Swirls Hat. It's a great picture too, isn't?

This is going to be our class for the end of January. It's a Fiber Trends pattern -- Swirls Hat. It was so much fun to knit! Anyway, I plan on going over Fair Isle tips and techniques, and the really cool looking braids -- they're created by purling and handling the yarns differently on two rows. Very, very fun.

She still looks better than I do, though.

I'll post a pic of me wearing the thing (I should really get paid more for this kind of thing -- mass humiliation and all) when the camera comes back from wherever it is at the moment.

I did use the same colors, though. I loved 'em too much. I don't generally ever use the same colors. I think the holidays are getting to me.

What else have I been working on? Well, I finished up a cute felted bag for a class later this month. And an Entralac Purse which was for another class. And a pair or two of socks. Then gifts, naturally which I will not go into here.

I think the most annoying thing about Holidays is that even if you are all set, planned, decorated whatever, something always comes up that needs to be scrambled about. A sudden gift exchange. People suddenly appearing and needing food or gifts. The ambient stress in the air that can make even the calm people tired and irritable.

So here's to everyone having Good Holiday Times. With decreased stress. With finished projects. With good fiber, food, family and friends.