The Cat’s Pyjamas

The problem with knitting so many things that you eventually give away, is that you wind up not blogging about things until months have gone by and you’ve finally tracked down the person you’re gifting it to. I never want to spoil the surprise.  I’m thinking I’m going to take a leaf from the Yarn Harlot’s personal manifesto and just blog about stuff as it comes up. Not say who it’s for, stick it in the Tickle Trunk until Yule (or other gift-giving time, and let the family/friends wonder who it will eventually find its way to. Play coy, so to speak.

This has been known to backfire. I lost a gorgeous pair of butter yellow socks to my Mum that way. However, I did replace the yarn with more butter yellow sock yarn, and I know the socks will be loved, so I’m not kept up all night with sock angst.

ITW The Cat's Pyjamas

My fiber club shipment from Into the Whirled this past January was a beautiful blue 75/25 BFL/Silk called “The Cat’s Pyjamas”. I gave it a pat, then stashed it away with very little further thought. As much as I love ITW fibre, there has been a lot of blue in it over the past year, so to be honest, it didn’t really “speak to me” loudly enough to jump on the wheel.

Then a shawlette almost was stolen right off my needles by a friend, so I figured she probably deserved one knit Just For Her if she was going to be that discerning.

The blue fluff turned into blue yarn. It shimmers!  Apparently that’s one of the wonderful qualities of BFL.

ITW The Cat's Pyjamas

The blue yarn turned into a shawlette.

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Why yes, my piano does have wonderful fashion sense.
The shawlette in question is the smaller version of Ishbel, designed by Ysolda Teague.

The scarf went to its ‘forever home’ this weekend.  My only condition was that we get a picture of her wearing it.  We’ll see if that happens.  She avoids cameras like I do. 😉

All in all, I was happy to see the blue Ishbel going to a place where it would be loved. That’s all I ever really want for my wee little acts of creativity…that they be loved. I suppose it’s easy when the item is a pretty scarf like this.  I think it will bring some happiness and warmth in the upcoming cold season!

Finito!

My garden sometimes surprises me. We cut back the rose bushes this past spring, and I really didn’t expect anything from them. I’ve since learned not to underestimate my roses.  Well…the roses at the back of the garden. While the rose bush at the front of the garden continues its three year trend of producing nary a bloom but long branches that rival a rastafarian’s dreads, the rosebush at the back of the garden has produced at least one bloom (and there’s a bud coming up!)

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Now, the bloom isn’t in the best of condition, but I photographed it later in its lifetime, and the garden at the back got minimal love this past spring.

Also, Max the Phrenology Head and I spent some time out on the deck this afternoon. I finally finished that HitchHiker scarf that I started back in April. One of the reasons I like the pattern is the utter simplicity of garter stitch. I’ve noticed that this has been a trend with me this year…garter stitch scarves, a baby surprise jacket or two…granted, my knitting production has been a little low this year, but I blame that on the fact that I no longer have a lot of time to knit at work (and I’ve started doing a lot more spinning).

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The yarn I’m using was a X-mas gift one year from Robin’s Mum. There were two colourways of the same brand (Sweatermaker Yarns), and the first pair of socks knit from the first colourway felted so badly that I think they wound up going to either Chelsea or Sherri.  Usually my shrunken socks go to Sherri because size 9.5 socks that have shrunk usually seem to fit a size 6 foot. I was determined that the green yarn wouldn’t wind up the same way, so I figured that the shawlette was a better option. I think I chose well!  HitchHiker seems to work really well with really “busy” colourways.

I’ve now got another shawl on the needles, but that’s a story for another time 😉

Yarn winding and deck painting

I totally forgot that today is Wednesday. Good thing I remembered in time! So…what’s in progress around here? For starters…I’ve been working away at my spinning:

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That’s Crown Mountain Farms Corriedale Pencil Roving in “Stonehenge”, for those who missed the last post on the subject. I’m enjoying spinning this stuff up, even though it’s not as soft as the last couple of skeins I worked on. It’s a change, and change is not a bad thing!

Speaking of skeins, I took myself off to Home Despot yesterday and picked up some PVC pipe, a few T-Joints, and some endcaps. Those supplies combined to form Voltron a new Niddy-Noddy for me!

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I’ve been spending a little time reskeining some of my past projects, as my old method resulted in some pretty fat and hard to manage skeins. I can see that using the Niddy Noddy will definitely save me some time and energy when trying to wind plied yarn off bobbins. Also, it winds yarn at 2 yards around, so it’s going to make calculating my yardage a lot easier.

I’m also one bind-off away from finishing the last HitchHiker scarf that I cast on back in April. This means that once I’m done with it, I can consider casting on Zoe’s Shawlette.

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I wasn’t certain whether or not I’d be able to squeak out another repetition of the pattern, so I’d put in a lifeline with the black sock yarn I keep in my bag these days for afterthought heels. It looks like I didn’t need to worry, but better safe than sorry! As with any project, it’s a matter of just knuckling down and getting it done. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve been working on it in an air-conditioned building, because as soft as the yarn is, this has definitely been “too warm for knitting” weather.

You may have also noticed something new in these pictures…my deck is blue!

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We finally managed to get a stretch of really nice weather over the weekend, and managed to get the basic staining done. The railings are pretty much done, and the surface of the deck itself requires just one more coat. After that, it’s the stairs and any other trim we want to paint. Being almost done with it is a liberating feeling, that’s for sure. This is the first deck refinishing for both of us, and it wasn’t an easy job. The experience was valuable though, so if we have to do it again, we’ll be prepared.

The main thing, though, is that it looks good. It’s an attractive colour, and fairly unique for our neighbourhood – most of the decks we can see from our house are either stained to look like redwood, or match the generically putty-coloured siding on the house. We were somewhat inspired by the fact that our deck is made of pressure-treated wood and thus has a slightly greenish cast. We figured that the blue would cover that nicely and offset nicely against the dark-blue trim around our back door. Interestingly, our patio tiles are somewhat pink in colour, so the pink and blue actually work together quite well. The next job, once we have the second coat on the deck surface, is to move the BBQ up to the deck and get the patio clear.  That way we’ll be able to put up our gazebo next summer.

Lots of things happening around here!

Don’t Panic!

Meet my buddy Max

Max is a Phrenology head. He is currently modelling Robin’s Bowler hat and 2-Row Noro Scarf (Robin accused me of dressing Max up, but I maintain it’s to keep the hat from getting crushed). Max sits in our front hallway, where he can greet people as they come through the door.  Eventually, I will have a hat for every season for him. Until then, he makes a great hat-stand for the Bowler. Max is going to help me out today by modelling my latest finished project: my Noro 2-Row HitchHiker (Pattern by Martina Behm).

It isn’t blocked, but it’s nice and big. I’ve tried it on and it actually wraps around my shoulders and can be loosely tied in front with enough of a tail hanging down to look cheerily jaunty. It’s warm, too. It’s going to make a really nice, warm, small wrap. I cast off using Jeni’s Surprisingly Stretchy Castoff (or at least, my version of it). Makes me wonder how big this scarf will be when I finally get around to blocking it.

I also really love the colours. I’ve probably mentioned that before, but the colour vs white striped look is very pretty together.  Definitely a woman’s scarf.  Can’t see the Husbeast stealing it (though if I re-knit the scarf in manly colours, all bets might be off, and it definitely IS something I’m considering).

And yes. I’ve already cast on another one.  Did I mention I like this pattern?  I like this pattern.  Best (approximately) 4 bucks spent evar (well, if I was paying the individual price. I actually bought the 4-pattern collection for about $13, which is what 11 Euros translated to at the time).

 

(I apologize for the grainy-ness of the photos. I’ve found that my iPod can sometimes take the best photos ever in the lowest light possible, but the resulting quality is unpredictable. I’d have hooked up my digital camera, but wasn’t sure the batteries were working & I didn’t have a transfer cable handy).

Moar Stripes

I have a weird feeling that this scarf/shawlette may actually fit me. I’m also impressed with the camera in my iPod (it’s been handy, and doesn’t seem to distort colour the way my cell phone recently has).

The “point” of the scarf (and thus the current “middle” of the scarf) is up on the stool. That stuff hanging down? That’s one full side of the scarf. This puppy is going to be long.

Because, you see, I’m only halfway through both balls of yarn. Sure, you can’t see them to scale with anything but each other, but trust me…I’ve got another couple of days of happy, care-free knitting before I have to make decisions about what I could/should be knitting on next **

I love shawlettes, but I have to say that the wearing of them is horribly skewed towards skinny/”Normal” sized ladies. I’m sure that blocking wires could be my best friend when it comes to this issue, but I never feel that my shawlettes are quite long enough. And if you keep knitting on them, they just seem to get deeper, rather than getting longer in the arms. I admit it…I’m fat. I have more neck and shoulder area to cover, and I’d rather not look like I’m trying to wear something made for a toddler. This particular design, with it’s elongated shape, might be one of those shawls that actually fits.

It’s also really really warm. I realized this as I was bringing it back into the house, draped over my arm. The Weather Network says that it’s 14 degrees out there (57 degrees for non-Canadians who don’t believe in Celsius), and the area the scarf was covering was starting to get a couple of heat prickles. Say what I will about Noro, they know how to make yarn to keep you cozy. This will definitely be a fall/winter scarf.

 

**The Yarn Harlot expounded on her Inner Knitter today, and pretty much got mine bang-on. Except that mine’s a couple of years older, going on a Siouxie and The Banshees/The Cure jag, and has been cranky at me for the past 7 years that she’s been unable to indulge her craving for a clove cigarette.

Don’t Panic

Remember this?

It’s been ripped back and now being knit as such:

May I just say that I’m loving the HitchHiker pattern by Martina Behm?  And that I’m particularly loving it as a Noro striped-scarf?

I’m also thinking that the pattern might be a good knit for some of my completed handspun. It’s definitely worth a try!  And will probably go faster than juggling two balls of yarn at the same time. Thinking that if I’m not tired of the pattern by the time I’m done this scarf, it may go on the list of upcoming projects 😀

Let me just say that I’m not the biggest fan of Noro…I don’t particularly like the inconsistent gauge of the yarn. However, I’m willing to overlook that for the silk content. I can already tell that once it’s washed and blocked, it will be soft and warm for spring and fall (maybe even winter!), but I’m thinking that I could have gotten a similar effect with some less-fussy yarn from the store. I just didn’t feel like spending money when I had a whole triangle of yarn that was sitting around getting absolutely no use whatsoever 😉

Clockwork (with orange! Really!)

Not exactly a WIP for Wednesday…I cast off my Clockwork Scarf yesterday!

I decided that the deck post could do the modelling for me. At some point I may get Robin to do the honours, maybe on a less-overcast day. The scarf needs to be blocked, but even so, it still looks wonderful. I think that the gauge shortened the length a little, but that can be blocked out. I may attempt this again but with a lighter gauge of fingering weight yarn.

I was right about the colours, though. The oranges, greys and blacks just kinda *pop* against the charcoal grey of the “spokes”. Seeing as how the yarn is Kroy (Patons Kroy in “Gentry Grey” and “Burnished Sierra Stripe”), it should be one heck of a warm scarf.

I’ve been letting my fingers rest since casting off. They hurt a bit, from moving stiffly crammed stitches down my straight needles. I will admit that I never used to enjoy using straight needles, but since learning how to lever-knit, it’s a lot easier. It’s still something I’m practicing, so I’m not exactly ready to knit Estonian lace on them, but for mostly garter-stitch items, it’s a win!

Trying to figure out what to work on once the fingers stop aching.  Maybe go back to my blanket? Cast on a HitchHiker or Wingspan? Maybe…I dunno….find a nice, simple pair of (gasp!) socks?  I guess we’ll see!

Like Clockwork

Not much going on, knit-wise, but that scarf I showed on the 24th?  It’s grown!

The Clockwork scarf is basically knit in two sections. I’m finished the first half and am  working my way through the second. I’m starting to run out of room on the needles, and I think that’s due to the fact that Kroy tends to be closer to a DK weight than the light/fingering weight called for in the pattern. I’m still not sure who belongs to this scarf – while I suspect Robin, I keep thinking of his maternal grandfather whenever I see the way the colours pop. It’s possible that his Granddad has a sweater with these colours that I’m vaguely remembering.  Whoever gets it will likely wind up being nice and warm!

A little distraction

I keep meaning to work on the sleeves for Robin’s sweater, but I keep getting distracted.

That’s about an inch or two of Stephen West’s Clockwork being knit in two different colourways of Kroy sock yarn on size 5 straight needles.  Colour A is “Gentry Gray” and colour B is “Burnished Sierra Stripe”. I was a bit worried that the combination would be too dark, and the colour would be lost among the grey, but it appears to be working just fine.

(And yes, two posts in one week?!  Yep. Taking advantage of a little downtime & making an effort to share a bit more) 🙂

FO Friday: Noro Shawl

I never actually posted up any kind of pictures of the Noro Two-Row Shawl as a Finished Object.  That is mainly because the one time I tried, it was with my cell phone camera, and it was less than breathtaking. Let’s just say I gave it another try:

What we have here is a failure to communicate between Mischief and I.  Obviously I think I’m supposed to be taking a picture of the shawl.  She thinks that I’m taking yet another picture of her, and have put the shawl down for her to have an appropriately luxurious setting…