Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 30, 2005 hat!!

As you can see from the list on the right, I have my regular blogs that I read. And lookie what I ran across on Crazy Aunt Purl! Check out that hat...look familiar? I guess my TMO/Amiyumi hat idea wasn't so wacky after all...

Knitting lots, not writing much...

Hmm...I've spent more time this week actually knitting, instead of reading or writing about it. I finished up a little shrug for TMO that I started last summer, and I'm working on finishing up my rust coloured Touch Me scarf that I'm planning on felting. My New Years' resolution is to actually finish things, instead of just starting a ton of new projects...we'll see how long this lasts. It's my resolution every year.

My husband took this week off, so we're doing stuff as a today, I had the brainy idea that we should take TMO to the Children's Museum in Everett. So did half the Seattle Metro area, because I think anyone with a child was there. I had about enough was when two girls, who looked to be around nine or ten, (and who should be old enough to possess some manners, or similar social graces), physically climbed over my child to crawl into an exhibit. No "Excuse me", or anything. TMO couldn't have cared less, but D and I were less than impressed.

I received my Safran a while back from Knitty Noddy. The colours are so rich...just beautiful. AND, Evelyn, the owner, included a little card with some samples of other yarns. Oooh...there was a swatch of Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000 that was just incredible. But, I'm trying to be strong...I have a whole large Rubbermaid container of yarn. I don't need more yarn. (Need, no....but want....whole other story). So, toning down the yarn purchases is yet another New Years' resolution. (Which is to motivate me to do Resolution #1, or at least, do up the projects that I've purchased the yarn for).

Good intentions....Yup, I'm full of them.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas, Everybody!!! (yawn)

We've been enjoying a rather quiet Christmas, just the four of us...Spencer the Cat, TMO, my husband D, and I. We're still kind of working on establishing our own little traditions.

Yesterday, I made two of the traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve dishes...kutya, which is boiled wheat mixed with poppy seeds, and sauerkraut and dried peas. The second dish is primarily for of those 'acquired tastes'. Last weekend, D made the pierogi.
Traditionally, these should be eaten on 6 January, as we did when we were younger, and my paternal grandmother would make the dinner. It consists of twelve meatless dishes...kutya, borscht, several kinds of pierogi, mushroom sauce, baked fish, cabbage rolls, sauerkraut and peas, bread, stewed dried fruit, and prune pierogi. If you want to read more, click here.

When my Grandma got older (she's 101 now), my Mom took over. And, instead of doing the meal on Ukrainian Christmas eve, we did it on 24 December.

Now, we're going to be having our big dinner today...with the kutya, sauerkraut and peas, cabbage rolls, and pierogi. We're kind of changing the day, but we're introducing a bit of both of our families' culture to our daughter.

Last night, we opened our presents. Then, it was a struggle to get TMO to bed. We had to put our cookies for Santa, and then she ran to the pantry and got a little box of raisins, just in case he needed something more. We saw Santa circle the Space Needle on the news, and finally, finally at 11:00, she drifted off to sleep.

A good time had by all...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Out of the mouths of babes...

Thanks to Sarina and Laura for the compliments on TMO's hat. After she wore it around the house for the greater part of the day, and shared it with all her favourite stuffed animals, she made me try it on. I think I may have mentioned I look dorky in hats. Well, now I look dorky in them. I used to have really long curly hair, so hats worked, but now, I have super short hair. Annie Lennox has the best hair...
About five years ago, I went into a hair salon with Julia Roberts' 'Pretty Woman' hair...about six inches past my shoulders, and in spiral curls (naturally curly, too). I pulled out a picture of Annie Lennox, and said, "I want this."

Well, okay, it's not super-short at this particular moment, because I'm in dire need of a haircut, but it's usually around an inch long (the shortest has been half an inch).

So anyways...I'm sitting there, too-small hat perched on my head, and TMO covers her mouth and giggles furiously. So I have to ask..."Um, sweetie, what are you laughing at?" (Like I can't figure that one out...)

" look like a boy."

This made me snicker... husband used to wear four...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

That rare sighting around our house...

An actual, real-life finished object! This is the finished 'Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi' knock-off hat. And, I was worried that TMO wouldn't like it, being almost three and all, and having very much a mind of her own, but, as you can see, she has no problems with it. Actually, sometimes it's a struggle to get it off her head.

I struggled with how to knit on the earflaps, but after spending two days knitting, ripping, and re-doing, I found a ton of articles on how to do just that. Oh well, sometimes you have to invent the wheel yourself, just to see how it's done.'s how I did it. This is for a 20-ish inch head.

The TMO/Amiyumi hat

Important bits: Yarn used was Cascade 220, used double throughout. Size 13 16" circular needle. The gauge was 3 st=1".

Earflaps: Cast on 10, and knit for desired length. I knit eight inches. Make sure you end after a WS row. After making both, keep on cable part of circ.

Body of hat: Cast on 10, using knitted on cast-on. With RS of flap facing you, knit across flap stitches. Cast on 20, using knitted cast on, knit across second flap, again, with RS facing. Cast on 10 (knitted cast on).

The knitting part:

Place marker, and join in the round. Work in garter for 8 rows (knit one row, purl the next), then switch to stocking stitch (knit every row). After hat is 5 1/2 inches tall, start decreasing.

Decrease section:
Row 1: (K2tog, k 4) repeat until end.
Row 2: Knit.
Row 3: (K2tog, k 3) repeat until end.
Row 4: Knit.
Row 5: (K2tog, k 2) repeat until end.
Row 6: Knit.
Row 7: (K2tog, k 1) repeat until end.
Row 8: Knit.
Row 9: (K2tog) repeat until end.

Break yarn, and using yarn needle, thread yarn through remaining stitches. Pull tightly, and weave in end.

After blocking, the hat was a little big for O, so while it was still damp, I threw it into a hot dryer for about 5-10 minutes. Check it often. Then, I rewet the flaps, and re-blocked them, so that they were longer.

As I said, my inspiration was the hat that I saw on the Cartoon Channel. It was a knitted version of a trapper hat. It was probably inspired by something like this...

or this...

or even (ack!) this.

So, why, oh why, do I keep having this flash into my head?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Oh, how I hate to be wrong....

So my husband D went on another painting rampage last night. He was doing the downstairs...the walls that were previously unpainted were to become a warm, inviting golden colour. Think candlelight...melted honey...demerara sugar. I chose a colour called 'Yellow Gold'....can't miss, right? I mean...the swatch looked great...(I know...I know...they make those tester packs for a reason....don't remind me)...

So it went up on most of the walls. Think 'Slightly Unripe Banana.' Think 'Yellow with a Whole Lot of Chartreuse'...

But since I have a Wonderful Husband, he is at Home Depot selecting an un-fugly shade of yellow. To fix my mistake. I think I'll be hearing about this one for a while. Maybe this snafu can replace the Raw Chicken Christmas story (Our first Christmas together, and I had minimal cooking skills back then)...

Friday, December 16, 2005

TMO hat, take 37....

So here was TMO's hat as of Wednesday night. The yarn is Cascade 220 in an ivory colour, number 4137, using size 7 needles. I got that far, and then realized I didn't like it. It looked too, well, wimpy. So, it got ripped back to nothing, and I started over. This time, I doubled the yarn and used size 13s.

I took a picture of the two varying sizes of earflaps. I like the bigger, chunkier knit look. Plus, I narrowed the width of the flap. It was four inches wide, but then I decided that that was too wide. The new flap is three inches wide.

So, I finished the hat last night, blocked it, and now I have to bribe convince someone that they like it as well as their other hat.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Why finish something when you can start something new?

So I only have oh...three sweaters on the needles right now. And a scarf. And a pair of felted clogs (Fiber Trends pattern). So what did I work on today? A hat. TMO loveslovesloves hats. It started in the summer, where the rule was, 'No hat, no going outside'. So now, she won't leave the house without one. She has this cute leopard print fleece jacket, with no matching hat. So, I thought I should remedy that.

A few months ago, I saw a commercial on the Cartoon Network for the show 'Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi'...and one of them (either Ami or Yumi...sorry, I don't know which) was wearing this cool knitted hat. It was a basic hat, but it had these long ear flaps. Long as in, hanging down past the shoulders. I loved it. I wanted it. And then I remembered how bad I look in hats. But, TMO can really work a hat. So today, I set forth to make the Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi hat. I thought I'd give making up my own pattern a shot. I knitted up the flaps first, because I wanted to join them on as I cast on. Then, for the last oh...four hours*, I've been casting on, ripping back, casting on, ripping back. I did the long-tail cast-on for the flaps, but I did a knitted-on cast-on for the main part of the hat. I was trying to get it so the garter side of the long-tail cast on was going to be on the right side. And then I had it all figured out, and knit for a couple of inches, and then realized it wasn't going to be big enough. Arrrghh...

If you haven't figured it forte is NOT coming up with original knitting patterns. I really hand it to designers...I can't imagine what goes into designing an actual sweater.

When I get this hat figured out, I'll write down how I did it...just in case anyone watches as much Cartoon Network as me, and needs a Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi hat.

* I did manage to squeeze in watching Law and Order SVU AND Nip/ maybe I would have done better if I was more focused...

Monday, December 12, 2005

I was happily knitting along...

So I was just making great strides on Slipper Number Two of my felted clogs, and I was pushing my stitches down onto my needle's cord (my Denise Interchangeables...oh, how I love them). My stitches were a tad tight, so I was using a bit more force than usual, and stabilizing the end against my leg, and I heard a little *snap*. Yup, cracked the cord right at the connector. So...I checked out my local Ben Franklin's, where they sell the kits, and they don't sell replacement parts. ARGGHH.

I could use another cord, but I also lost one of the connector bits. So, an order will be placed today...And I'm thinking of picking up one of the super-long cords...either the 40" or the 52"...I'm thinking of making a wrap for myself, somewhere down the road...

Friday, December 09, 2005

TMO dances...

I really don't know from where she gets her rhythm...her father and I aren't exactly graceful out on the dance floor. Me....well, let's just say, have you seen that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine is dancing? All wonky elbows and thumbs and weird lurching? Ok, so I'm not that bad, but close. D....well, when he wants to hit the dance floor, I know he's had a little too much to drink. Like the time we went out with friends to the bar (pre-child), and he dragged me out on the dance floor, where he proceeded to dance like nobody's business. Too bad the band was on a break, and there wasn't really any music playing....So what does this have to do with knitting....well, see the pink sweater O's wearing. Yup,I knit that. And it's too small. Well, kind of. Let me explain.

As I explained before, O's tricky to buy clothes for. I want to knit this sweater again, because I think it's so cute. But the sizing of children's sweaters.... who thought this up? I knit it based on a size two pattern. The chest measures something like 30 inches. She's almost three...not thirteen. And it needs about three inches added to the length. And the neckline...huge. It's almost like those Flashdance sweaters from an eon ago. And if the neckline fit properly, the sleeves would need a few more pattern repeats.

The pattern is from Zoe Mellor's Adorable Knits for Tots. And I'd definitely would not knit it with the same yarn that I used. The pattern called for Rowan somethingsomething (my books are all still packed in boxes in the garage, or I'd look it up. Sorry.), but to save money, I used Reynold's Saucy. I will never use Saucy for anything, ever again. She's worn it only several times, and it's already looking like a knit dishcloth, all pilly and such. I'd use something from Elann next time, like this. I really liked the Endless Summer Lara, so I'm sure the Connemara would be fine too.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Felting is done Part 2

Boy, is it hard to get a good shot of this scarf....I'm trying to show the texture, the pattern, the beads....ack.

I've decided that the beads are not so bad after all. Now, I just have to keep it away from TMO and her love of anything "sparky" (sparkly).

I've also made some progress on Touch Me Scarf #2....Now I probably won't make any mistakes, because I am running a lifeline through the first row of the sixteen row repeat. It's interesting to see how it looks in different yarns. I had a visitor, Handknit168, who left a comment on one of my posts. I checked out her blog, and there it was....
the scarf that I'm doing...check out her site...she is a knitting machine! (The previous post to the Dayflower scarf shows the ball of yarn. Next post....scarf.)

I ordered the yarn to make two Garnstudio sweaters... this and this cardigan. I found a new online store, Knitty Noddy. I wanted to use the Safran yarn called for in the pattern, and I emailed an inquiry to Evelyn, the owner, yesterday at 2:00. By 2:30, she emailed back, saying she had to contact the distributor, as she orders it in as needed. At 11:45, she sent an email saying that she had created a store page with the yarns. Amazing customer service!!

Felting is done!

I felted my olive green Touch Me scarf, and it is now my most favourite scarf ever. It looks like antique velvet, it is just amazing. So where's the picture, right? I'll take one during the daytime, because I'll need some good lighting to pick up all the texture that it has.

I started attaching the fringe. You know how I wrote that I wanted to string a bead with every fringe? Well, to get beads that would fit on the yarn, I had to get somewhat large ones. After doing three-quarters of one side, and totally annhilating my thumbnails, I decided it's too heavy -- both visually and literally. The beads that I got will make a nice multistrand necklace, so all is not lost.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Concentration? I don't need no stinking concentration...

I now realize why lace knitters use lifelines....One perfect mistake free sixteen row repeat made me a little too sure of myself...

Put it down for a few minutes to watch one of TMO's impromptu "Tippytoe Dances"... it all has to be ripped back. *Sob*


Here's a pic of my Art Yarns scarf that I did up for our scarf exchange. I made myself choose a colour that I don't usually work with, just for something different. I usually gravitate to anything autumnal...browns, oranges,
rusts...or green and peony pink were my favourite colours together last spring/summer. So I chose purple. I don't wear purple, but the way that the dyers at Art Yarns put colours together with it, I have a new appreciation for it.

Here's the scarf that I got in return. It's made out of Sullivan's Sensuale.

I finished one of my Touch Me scarves. I've read a lot of nasty things about chenille-type yarns -- how they catch on themselves, worm out, and generally are a pain to try and do stocking stitch. This behaved really well. The only thing is, that the finished fabric tends to bias, and that is accentuated with felting. It'll be a design feature. And, currently, the edges are curling like mad, but, that is supposed to be solved with felting. I'm going to attach the fringe afterwards, and I plan to secure a bead with each fringe piece.

I started another Touch Me scarf. This one is in a lacy pattern. I'm pretty new to lace, and I have found that I really have to concentrate when knitting. Do not try to watch TV and knit at the same time, or at least nothing that competes with my attention. I'm really excited about how this is going to turn out.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Little Ugg on the Prairies...

I grew up in a small town in the Canadian Prairies, right smack dab in the middle of the prairies...Saskatchewan. It's a land of achingly cold winters (one year we had forty days that were under -40 degrees Celsius), and dry, hot summers. The landscape is a study in simplicity; it always brings to mind Rothko paintings, with their bold use of shape and colour.Mark Rothko, Untitled,1953, National Gallery of Art, Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1983.43.135<br />
As a land that is so dictated by its climate, the way people dress is characterized by necessity. When it is -40 (-55 with the wind chill), and exposed flesh freezes in less than a minute, who really cares what you're wearing outside?

Thumbing through the new Interweave Knits, I spied the Mowat Mukluks*, and the picture took me back to grade seven. All the cool girls had mukluks. They were crafted out of leather and rabbit fur, with intricate beading on the instep. They were the Uggs of that time. Expensive, warm, and kind of bordering on ugly. I remember one pair in particular...Shannon had them, and she wore them constantly...they were black with turquoise beading. I wanted them.

So when I saw the pattern in Interweave, the thirteen-year-old inside me jumped up and down, squealing. And then I priced out the materials...Plymouth Foxy is $28 a skein. And the pattern calls for six skeins. Sigh....a little much for something I would wear as slippers around the house.

*The 'Mowat' reference is to Farley Mowat, a Canadian author of such books as 'Lost in the Barrens'. A great book if you like to read three hundred pages of two boys wandering around in the Tundra. Required reading when I was in grade seven.


So the great painting task has begun. I really hate white walls, unless it's an intentional white. While I can appreciate a room designed to look like an art gallery, with its white walls and white furniture, I can't live like that. Too sterile. Give me colour! Lots of it!

As I wrote earlier, the previous owners painted most of the walls a slightly blah shade of grey. I took a picture to illustrate: differenceThis is in our stairwell. See the sky? See the walls? SAME COLOUR. The stairwell is going to be Behr Sconce Gold. But the big change is downstairs. D did the Chianti colour. When he has time off at Christmas, he'll do the other walls in Yellow Gold.

Kitchen before.... After....

Ignore the general mess, and the appliances. Our new stainless steel ones are being delivered tomorrow.

But the big change is in the living room.

Before... After...

When we bought our first place, we had a similar colour scheme, but it was more of a true red in the living room, and a sunny yellow in the adjacent hallway. When I was excitedly telling my brother-in-law, he was apprehensive of our colour choice. I believe his comment was, "So....did you want your house to look like a McDonald's?"

We live in a part of the country where it's overcast about eight months out of the year...we need bright.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I am loving my scarf...

I am loving my new scarf from our scarf exchange last night! Thank you Katie! It is so warm and soft, and I wore it with my green leather jacket and turquoise shirt today, and it is so awesome! Actually, I haven't really taken it off since I got it last night. I was so cold last night, I wore it with my pyjamas. And it is so cold in here now, because D is painting the downstairs, and has the windows open to get rid of the smell. Goodbye crappy November-Seattle-sky coloured walls! Hello Chianti and Yellow Gold! It looks awesome. He broke down and bought dark-tinted primer for the Chianti coloured walls...what a difference it makes...when we painted our old living room red, we didn't use any primer. It went on bright, screaming fuschia...and blotchy to boot. And took five (FIVE!) coats to get it the right colour. This will take only two.

TMO went out to Ben Franklin's tonight, because they have an awesome yarn sale on now. Picked up some Muench Touch Me for scarves. Rebecca did an incredible scarf for our exchange last night...Cast on 20, knit 16 rows, then do 16 in stocking stitch, then four in knit, alternate until the end, then finish off with knit 16. Felt down, (one cycle), and attach fringe. Uses three balls. It felt like velvet.

Christmas Knitting Guild

Knitting guild was tonight. I finished steam blocking my scarf about two hours before I had to go. Every scarf was unique, and just beautiful. I got Katie's, and she drew my number. The scarf I got is a mix of green and blues -- and it matches my lime green leather jacket perfectly. My favourite shirt to wear with my jacket is light- turquoise coloured, and that colour is also in the scarf. Every time I put on that outfit, I always thought, "Gee, I should knit myself a scarf with green and blue, to really tie this together." Now I don't have to!

I will post pics...I even took some pics of the scarf that I made. I may have to go to Chris' and pick up some of that ArtYarns Supermerino to make a new scarf for myself. Oh wait...I want to make a felted Touch Me scarf like what Rebecca made...and one in Eros Glitz because it looks so cool knit up...

Ack....too many great yarns out there...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

He bought a WHAT???

Image from
I think this image says it all.

That sewing part of my description...

Picture from
I actually do sew. Have been for years. (And I even posted a picture of a skirt that I made in The Good. I just find it hard, since I have a helper. And sewing requires lots of sharp little eight inch dressmakers' shears...rotary cutters...sometimes, I get to whip out my electric scissors (which is basically two razor blades hooked up to a battery...Ack!).

I have been really loving the new pattern line Hot Patterns. I especially love the outfit that I posted above. I could make the pants, cami AND knit the sweater for over if only I could clone myself, or eliminate sleep...

I really have to make some new clothes for TMO. She is difficult to buy for...She is very long and lean. Even though she's only about a month away from being three (three??? three??? she was only a baby like...oh...last week...), she wears size two pants, and a size three or four shirt. She needs the pants small, or else she's running around looking like a rapper, pants all hanging off her butt. But then if they fit her in the waist, she's all Steve Urkel at the hemline. Plus, I hate a lot of the clothes for little girls that you see in stores. Whose idea is it to make little girls look like the toddler version of Britney Spears? In something that I read, the writer referred to the look as the 'prostitot' look....Ack...she will NEVER, EVER shop at any store like the Limited.

I now understand why my own mother would shudder when she saw me doing the 'lying-down-on-the-bed-to-zip-up-my-jeans routine'....sorry, Mom....

And as a side note...since I know that you read this, TO MY HUSBAND, D:
If you need an idea of what to get me for Christmas...I like the Floribunda top in Glamour Girl size.*

* This is how he hints for gifts, since he's so hard to buy for, he will just announce, "IF you need any ideas for me, I like Thing X on the Insert Store Name Here's website..."

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