Sunday, December 25, 2011

Black and White and Color

 Here's some of what I've been working on the last month. I guess I was mistaken in thinking that I wasn't getting anything done. (Mantra for 2012: the glass is half full...) First up, a modification of the clever Toast Wrap by Madeline Bourque (adapted from a cowl in the English catalog/shop Toast).
 Knit in Rowan Pure Wool DK on a size 4 needle. I cast on 126 stitches and worked 3 1/2 repeats of the pattern. And instead of grafting the two ends together, I worked a 2x2 rib on each end. One side is black, the other is white, so that I could use up the yarn that I had left.

Next, catnip mice. This is the best way to dry them after felting: on chopsticks stuck into the glass that usually holds the toothbrush and toothpaste. Festive, no? The one on the counter (in Jo Sharp DK Wool, color Owl) looks a bit too lifelike - I'm not sure whether I'll ever want to sew him up into the finished toy.
 The pattern is Felted Mouse by Jo Chandler. I knit these in Noro Kureyon on size 7 dpns, and could get 6 or 7 mice from one skein. Modifications: I worked 10 rows instead of 2 1/2 inches after completing the increases, so that I would get a nice, chubby mouse and one not so lifelike. Also, I decreased to 3 stitches for the tail and worked the I-cord until the tail was longer than the body. I made little packets of catnip on the sewing machine, stuffed them, and seamed up the opening. Oh, and I didn't bother to sew up the mice for felting, and things came out fine. Very cute.
 And Belle likes hers. I am keeping the catnip packets and finished mice in a ziplock plastic bag to deter extra partaking of the catnip.

And not a homemade, but my daughter thought to send a present to Parker for Hanukah, and he loves it. He has been sleeping with it tucked under his arm (leg?). Do you think he sees it as his baby?

 And one more: tiny socks knit out of Jamieson and Smith two-ply, then strung on a cord. The pattern is Sockology Roll-Top Sock Bookmark. (The title is longer than the sock.)
My fellow weavers in my guild study group, who saw me finishing these at our last meeting and starting what was going to be a tiny steeked Fair Isle vest, suggested that I do a different miniature piece of clothing for each night of Hanukah. I loved the idea, but instead have been knitting up mittens for a shop model. No picture; the pattern is Ann Norling's Mittens on 4 needles. I can turn out a mitten in about 3 hours - a world's record for me - and am lured instead to knit mittens. Knit, wear, appreciate the warmth and beauty. Isn't that what making things by hand should be about?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Some Holiday Cheer

A list, in no particular order, of some things that have made me happy:
  • Shaun the Sheep. Best part: his strange sideways baaaa out of the corner of his mouth, his red underpants, and his dance segment at the end of each episode, especially all the sheep doing Riverdance.
  • uncooked batter from cupcakes or cookies or cakes
  • seeing The Muppets Movie on Thanksgiving, then Being Elmo the following Sunday. It was almost an all-Muppets Thanksgiving Weekend.
  • knitting mittens
  • wearing hand-knit mittens
  • Netflix Streaming: Breaking Bad (yikes, about to start Season Three); SportsNight; some (ahem) reality television, old movies (though most of the best are not available by streaming).
  • visiting with my sister, who came through Chicago for the day
  • meeting with my weaving study group. None of us have been working on the Certificate of Excellence, but, on the other hand, we are all productively weaving, and in a better manner than we were two years ago, before starting our study of the COE. We had a great meeting, and decided that this year's theme for our presentation to the guild will be something like What I've Learned from the COE, even though I've been weaving for myself and not towards the requirements...aka It's All About Me. We are known for giving honest, informative, visually-interesting (one member does a Power Point with pictures of all the samples being discussed, so that people can see what we're talking about), and funny yearly sum-ups of our work. 
  • Soup, any soup, from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Soups cookbook. The mushroom-barley...incredible. Yesterday, leek soup with potato gnocchi...pretty darn good, too. Tonight I need to cook up a batch of lentil soup. There are two of us working at the knitting shop, and we decided to bring lunch and enjoy the day.

Happy holidays and lots of light to all.