Baktus new year

My lovely Baktus scarf has been completed in time for the new year!  This was a super easy project, just picked out some stash yarn (Autumn House Farm mystery blend from a long ago fiber festival) and Strikkelise’s Baktus pattern and some likely needles (US4) and started.
I knit on this off and on and still finished in a week.  I brought it to work and knit on the layovers, in airports, hotels and at home.  That schlepping probably accounts for it not being “exactly” symmetrical, but I don’t think that matters too much since it’s close enough and no one will take it off my neck to measure it.
Wishing you all a wonderful new year with much laughter and fun!
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I hate felting.

There, I’ve said it.

Why do I hate felting?  I guess it’s because the process is so half assed unpredictable and, imho, most felted objects are kind of ugly.  When I saw the French Press Knits Felted Slipper pattern I thought they’d be cute enough to try for quick gifts.  Cheap yarn and quick to knit.

Well they are quick to knit and really too fiddly to sew up for any sort of enjoyment, even with wine.  And remember folks, I like sewing.  But sew them up I did and then had to felt.  They did felt up pretty quickly, but the slippers don’t felt at the same rate, and by that I mean the right one and left one felt to different sizes.  So one goes back in, then the other and then I need to open more wine.  Eventually I got both pairs the same-ish size and now they fit me.  Unfortunately, these aren’t for me and I wear a 6 and my friends wear 8s.  So I yanked them and stretched them and now they’re too big for me, so maybe they’ll fit my friends’ feet. Maybe.

Never again.  Yes, they’re cute but it’s too much work for a maybe.  But then I’m a felting hater, so take that with a grain of salt and throw it into the washer at your own risk.

Around the block

Today’s layover is in Madrid and normally I’d rally and see a sight or two, but damn I’m pooped.  Between Christmas festivities and a bad week of sleeping, I’m done.  The most I can manage today are a few snaps from the quiet residential streets near our hotel.  It is pretty here, so I’ll make a point to come back and see the sights for real.  Until then, good night!
P.s.  The most enchanting Christmas decorations are the Three Kings climbing into the window.  They’re in every other window here.  Santa’s not so big here, the Kings rule!

Run up to Christmas

The Christmas rush at work has begun.  Even if you didn’t have a calendar you can tell by the kind of travellers that it’s a holiday – lots of kiddos, dogs, cats and questions.  My favorite question is “when do you serve the hot meal?”  Uh, 2003…
Here’s a photo essay of my week:  tree procurement and decorating a home, sunset in Florida and the only Christmas decoration at my favorite grinchy sister’s house.  Claudia and I are preparing the Christmas eve feast together, since luckily I don’t have to work until Christmas Day.  There will lots of food, drink and kitty love.  Happy preparations to all who are preparing.

Scarf = neck hat?

No, not a hat this time, a scarf!  Crazy!!
As I sit here in pleasantly temperate Florida today (instead of my original eastern seaboard snowed in destination) I am contemplating my latest stash busting project.  I started a Baktus Scarf the other day with some funky yarn that’s been sitting in my stash for a few years.
The pattern is an easy one, a long squished triangular-shaped scarf that’s an easily memorized four row progression in garter stitch.  You make the increases with half the yarn and decrease with the other half and you’ve got a perfect triangle .  Luckily I’ve got two skeins of yarn to use up and won’t even have to weigh or measure my skeins.
The yarn is Autumn House Farm angora/alpaca/rayon blend purchased at some fiber festival at some point in the past.  The yarn has randomly spaced bits of fluff along the main filament, but it’s easy enough to knit.  I need an easy take along project and this fits the bill nicely.  I also like the natural, neutral color the yarn.  I think this will be a useful, California weight scarf.  That means it’s not too warm, but keeps the chill off when the fog rolls in.  I mean it’s California afterall.

The origami continues

I’ve almost completed the knitting of the main piece of the Origami Cardigan.  As a refresher, this is actually Phildar No. 21-T9-15 Cardigan.  I renamed it Origami Cardigan because as you can kind of tell from the schematic above, this is not your momma’s cardigan.  If anything, it’s like an Issey Miyake sewing pattern (click here for a nice link to some of his amazing patterns).  I can hear the shout outs from the sewers in the crowd.
The main blob shown on the schematic at left is labelled “Back and Front Sides”.  This is the piece I have almost completed.  Next up is the sleeve, which is the schematic on the right.  Clearly.  Then one makes a collar and sews this puppy up.  We shall see.
The other things I’m knitting are gifts, namely the felted French Press Slippers everyone in the knit world is making.  As we’re making gifts this year and I don’t really have much time, I thought I’d overcome my LOATHING for felting and make the slippers.  They’re cute, I must admit.  And don’t worry, if you’re reading this blog, you’re not one of the recipients.  So one pair of those down and one to go before the dreaded felting.
FYI:  Pattern is French Press Felted Slippers and the yarn is Patons Classic Wool.  One pair is “Woodrose Heather” and one pair will be “Jade Heather”.  Doesn’t that color pink remind you of a dog’s tongue?  Ok, I guess that’s just me then.
I hope your Christmas preparations are going along swimmingly too!

Bloomin’ hats!

The hat parade keeps rolling along.  Where this hat affinity has sprung from is anyone’s guess.

This cute hat is a free pattern called Bloom by Veruschka (rav link).  The yarn called for is a bulky weight, which I didn’t have.  My hat making is partly driven by using up odd stash yarn and I have tons of cream skeins of Woolease purchased with an eye toward blanket squares.  The blanket squares stalled and now I’ve got several skeins to use up.  I thought I’d try doubling the Woolease to get a bulky-ish gauge and then kind of wing it.

The pattern has you make the bottom band first then pick up the hat stitches from the band.  I knit up the band using the middle size of the pattern to fit my head. Then picked up as many stitches as was possible by the length of band I’d knitted and then increased on the first round to get the necessary stitches for the middle size hat.

Because doubled Woolease fabric is stiffer than the yarn called for I wanted to get just a little drape in the back, but not make a watch cap.  I thought the increases made a nice rounded effect above the band and gave it the look the designer had in the original.

Since my row gauge was off from the pattern my dimensions for a human sized hat gave me a 2″ bottom band, 3″ knitting straight before starting the petal motif; the petal motif is about 5″ long so my total hat length (flat) is 9.5″ (ish) from band to crown.  The reason I knew how long my petal motif would be is because I’d knit and ripped a few times.  I kept making the hat too long, which would have been perfect should I be sporting waist length dreads, or a B52s beehive do.  Sorry no pics of those particular horrors.

Bloom hat specs:  2 skeins Woolease worsted in cream (held double), size 8 needles (circs and dps).  I rather like the hat I ended up with and say what you will about Woolease, it’s soft and washable – two very good things in my world.

The next few days are my only Christmas prep time, so tomorrow is Caramel making day!  I make Rosemary’s Caramels every year to give away (well not give all of them away).  Can I tell you how delicious they are…

Well that’s new

 

If you’ve ever met me you may or may not have noticed my hands.  I have small, square little hands with no nails.  That doesn’t bug me, I think my hands are fine.  My sister and mom both have long, lovely slender hands and long fingernails that seem to grow effortlessly.

Because I work with my hands and wash them constantly (hello swine flu/hepatitis/yellow fever/monkey pox) my little nails don’t stand a chance.  They split and break below the quick.  I worked with some women last week who talked me into trying gel nails to armor plate them.  So today I went for it.  I had tips and gel done, I must be the only one who makes the manicurist put on nails this short.

I’m hoping they look ok to others, because the look totally odd to me.  Bang, there they are.  I now have to try to figure out how to use my hands all over again.  I’ve tested out typing and eating cookies.  Both are good to go.  I have to work tomorrow, so I’ll see if it’s possible for me to work with these armor talons.  If not, they’re history next week.  I also learned that while most things in California are more expensive than most other places, manicures are super cheap compared with some places I’ve been.  Hurrah for competition!

I just hope they don’t look too stripper-y…

New camera time!

My new camera was waiting for me when I got home from my last trip!  Yay!  I starting playing with it at 1 a.m. after a transcon flight, not such a great idea btw.  I bought a Panasonic LumixDMC- ZS1 after a bit of research on dpreview.com.  I liked the super zoom ability, which is nice for all those extreme knitwear shots I’ll be taking.  There is a ZS3 model that costs more that takes HD movies, but I’ve never taken any movie in my life and certainly don’t have a HDtv, so I got  a bargain with the regular movie ability ZS1 model.  Heaven help you all if I start filming shit for YouTube.

I was playing with the zoom this morning while waiting for my coffee to brew.  I’m so loving the rain on the flowers and the depth of zoom pics!  That left pic is my current wip which is a big ol’ piece of stockinette for Phildar Origami Sweater.  Still working on it, but it’s  just not too interesting to look at right now.
I’m thinking of knitting another hat…which one will it be?  I’m leaning towards Bloom (but must find something suitable in the stash to knit it with – no purchasing for hat knitting is the rule now).
Back to tormenting the household objects with the new camera!

More hats?

 

I have made yet another hat, and yes, this one is also a gift.  I feel like a hat machine!

This is a super easy close fitting cap made from some nice Berrocco Ultra Alpaca (color 6277-peat mix).  The Ultra Alpaca is put up in 215 yard hanks and I used about a half a skein.  The pattern is a good one, it’s Ribbed Beanie by Wooly Wormhead.  Easy and adaptable to any yarn or head size, which works for me.

Also, these should be the last of the awful camera phone pics, I should be home tonight and, fingers-crossed, a replacement camera has arrived.

Hope you’re having a good Saturday!