Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I knew it!

You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

What's that? I couldn't hear you - I was fishing the cheese out of my wooden shoe as I was riding my bicycle through the Red Light District

Monday, January 22, 2007

Toes Up!

Here's my prototype toes-up sock; like I said, green like Kermit. The tutorial from Knitty was so simple - I added my normal cuff-down sock numbers and came up with this low-cut version. It's more of a boot liner than a sock but it works well as a slipper

Once is never enough so I made a second pair, this time in Briggs & Little New Brunswick sock wool. It's a lovely shade of lavender that shows off its flecks of blue and cream once it's washed. Because it's so scratchy, it nearly demolished my hands. Luckily, my Little Library Friend, Savie helped me by knitting 8 stitches! pretty good for a 6 year old using 3.5 mm needles, huh?!? Once this wool is washed (hot water, old towels and tennis balls - just like you were felting), it softens up a lot. I will need to repeat the process once more to get a nice, thick bootie. Well worth the scratched hands and tired fingers
I've got another pair on the bamboos right now and will post them later this week. I am going to start adding pattern to this sock, maybe a leaf lace or soft cable, just to spice it up. I have to admit (once again) that I have never had such well-fitting socks. The lavender ones look baggy but I purposely made them larger so that I could quasi-felt them into a nice slipper or boot liner for my too-big LL Bean boots

Here are the baby socks and booties that I whipped up for J's baby, "Gaston". I hope I get to give these before his feet are too big to fit in them

And finally, here is my animal snuggle and catnip mice for donation to Hugs For Homeless Animals. Don't they look like they're up to no good?

I've been knitting so much lately; time to get started on my tote bag for the swap

Sunday, January 21, 2007

lost friend

I came down this morning and flipped open the lap top, figgering I do a little work, read my emails etc as I watched Corrie. I was excited to see an email from a dear friend... until I read the subject. Her wonderful Border Collie, Clancy had passed away at age 15 1/2. He was a special friend to all of us and never failed to reach out when he sensed that you were sad or uncomfortable. He had a genuine heart and I considered him a good friend. We will all miss his soft furry head and gentle, knowing eyes. He was a precious dog who transcended the boundary between dog and human - he was a kind person.
For a lot of us, our dogs become our partners in life, sharing important moments and feelings. We don't own them as much as we share with them, as guardians and friends. We swim and walk and dance with them. We hug them and hold them close throughout our stress-filled lives, reminding ourselves to make plans for our next lives - 'come back as a dog in a loving home'.

I didn't have a photo of Clancy that I could share so here is one of Gentleman Jack, sleeping on his favorite landing, as evidenced by all of the dog fur on the carpet.For years, I've wanted to rip up the threadbared old red carpet, the last in the house after all this time but K the elder refuses to allow it. Where would J get comfie if we did? That's K in a nutshell - it's all about the comfort.

My friend's bad news was tempered with some wonderful news - I have "met" my One Hour Craft swap partner! I am so excited to get started and want to ask her a million and one questions. She's probably going to think 'what have I got myself into???'. Friends, say 'hi' to Melissa:) It's the first swap for both of us so I think that we're going to have fun with this project.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My ISP Eye Ess sucks

More than three days of craptacular ISP service
First, only sporadic email access for days on end then our good friend, Blogger refused me access to add posts...WTF!?!

In the meantime, I've been knitting up a storm...and finally knit my first toe-up socks using the tutorial on Knitty
I started off with simple boot liners in what else but lime green. I bought three giant skeins of the stuff and still have one left over so why not. Once I wrangled those little suckers off the needles, they slipped onto my size tens, where they are happily residing. They tell me that they resent being left at home; I'm forced to wear them everywhere. Bossy socks...

I had a lot of Briggs&Little homespun in a lavender, flecked with blue. I'm making them a bit larger than my snowshoes, I mean feet so that I can quasi-felt them. I don't know about you but B&L never felts for me but I figgered even a little feltish would work. Once I can download the photos, I'll post them and a quick pattern run-through. I was a bit sceptical at first but after wearing these socks, I am reluctant to go back to knitting from the cuff down.

I finished the body of the "Infamous White Doll", a pair of ribbed baby socks (yes, I caved a bought a small skein at Yarn Forward last Saturday. It wasn't my fault - K the elder dragged me in. He's such a yarn whore), a pair of lacy green booties with slate blue ribbons. The pattern is totally foo-cak-ta but I switched a few stitches here and there to make a smaller bootie. I never ever thought that I'd turn into a bootie knitter... Is that 'your grandma's knitting'? I keep reading "not your grandma's knitting" on magazines and books and always wonder, 'what was so bad about her knitting?'. It inspired me to knit so whatever the story for this rebellion-in-print, I am grateful for her knitting.

I also finished the H4HA snuggle-blanket for our January CraftBlitz-o-rama, and a hat and scarf for February's while I was at it. I think that I'll donate my red Amelia Earhart hat, too. The bags for my mitten donations are sitting on my dining room table, stuffed with mitteny-goodness. They sure are cute

I was also swimming in happiness with the completion (after serious modification) of my calorimetry in SWS. I think the colorway is called "natural earth". I had to wrestle this yarn a bit, with its thick and thins (as in non-existent) areas. I found that 88 stitches was more than enough and like reports on Craftster, I only did 10 short rows to keep it wearable.

To keep this de-stashing going, I'm working on a master list of yarn to knit up; that should make it easier to find suitable projects. Watch me as I virtually destroy this damn stash

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Small Town Pleasures - Small Town Concerns

I live in a special community

On Tuesday evening, we ventured out to our first ever community potluck dinner. A new acquaintance introduced me to the event by simply saying, 'you've got to come to this!'. Because it's hosted by the local youth group, I thought that it was limited to members of the group - WRONG! There was a bit of all sectors of the community, apart from the 'old school blues' (as I like to call the uber conservative - you know, 'blue'- members of a certain corner of the business community. We have a sizable population of assisted-living and community-living citizens and some of them were there, too. A few seniors, a lot of families and a lot of good food. I made a giant batch of iced brownies - there were none left by the time we cleared off our plates so they must have been good ;). K the younger seemed sad that we didn't have any more when we got home.

The organizer was telling us that there was only about a third of the normal 'eaters' because of the big town council meeting, where they were discussing a new housing development that may be going in. 200 houses in a town of 4400 is too much... I fear that it will change this little corner of the world, but not in a good way. I'd hate to see us end up in a fragmented, neighbourhood-based town, not the small town that I found 10 years ago. I look at our neighbour-towns of Arnprior and Carleton Place where this is already the reality. Their development has been virtually unchecked and they are now bedroom communities of Ottawa, not special small towns. With the Walmart and Home Depot being built in CP, the downtown core looks deserted on a weekday afternoon. No signs of life. Contrast that with Mississippi Mills and you'll find people walking down Mill street, stopping to chat or wave to friends, running to Baker Bob's for a coffee or buy a newspaper, dropping into the LYS to grope the wool, checking on the mail. I m just starting to really appreciate this town and now this news...

Like my new acquaintance said, if we wanted to live in Stittsville, we would have moved there instead of Almonte...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

FinePix Camera Cozy Pattern

front view

Like I promised, here's the pattern for a little camera cozy that you can adapt to fit your own camera. I knit it on Xmas day for my DIL, Valerie. She recently purchased a lovely little camera (in pink, of course) but was worried about scratching the finish. It came with a suede case that she found heavy in her bag and she asked (!!!! first request from her ever!!!!) if I would knit her a cozy. Well, let me think about it - Yes! She even raided my stash to find the right colors
I used Red Heart Simply Soft (leaf green) and Bernat Satin (plum) and size 3.5mm needles. You will need some form of closure, as well. I used an antique button that I had at hand but you could also opt for velcro.

back view
Basically, it's a rectangle that tapers at one end, with a cable down the center

The cable pattern is very simple - the first 3 rows in the pattern repeat are just plain stocking stitch (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side); the 4th row, you hold the first plum-colored stitch to the front using a cable needle, knit the next 2 stitches then the stitch on the cable needle. This is a nice, simple cable pattern to start learning how to cables

CO 6 st. in green, 3 in plum, 6 in green

following the above CO and the cable pattern, knit 20 repeats of the cable pattern (80 rows).To make sure that there are no holes, wrap your yarn like you do when you knit intarsia.

Begin to taper the front - at this point, you will need to make a space to slip the wrist strp through, too - to do this, I did not wrap my threads for one row. This creates a small hole.
Front taper - dec. 1 stitch each side every row until only 3 st. remain (in plum). These 3 stitches turn into the i-cord loop that holds the case closed.
knit enough i-cord to go around the button
side view

To finish off, pick up 30 stitches along the sides of the untapered/ rectangle part of the cozy. Purl 1 row then split into 2 sections of 15 stitches and knit the 2 sections together. You will need to do this on both sides of the cozy. I used a small crochet hook and plum yarn to work 1 row of single crochet around the edges, to neaten them up. Sew the i-cord into a loop and attach the button. Voila!

This is the first pattern that I have ever written up and shared with others; please email me if you have questions
(bumbershooter at hotmaildot com).

More Holiday Knitting

Before I forget, I thought it best if I added some more of my Xmas knitting
Here are some 'dorm boots' that I knit up for Valerie, with a little felt applique for good measure

and here they are in an action pose

I also whipped up a frog-topus bag with googly eyes and 'emerald' eye lids, for another dear friend

not quite a frog, not quite an octopus. Personally, I like his shifty eyes
The pink band in the background is Knitty's Shocking Pink Coif, knit in, well... shocking pink, again for DIL Val. I found a cool pin at one of the local antique stores and put it on the hat for her, which I suspect she liked more than the coif...
In an attempt to add a little to my contribution to the Craft Blitz for January, I made up a few catnip mice to send to the shelter along with the snuggles that I'm currently making up. Here you see the unstuffed mice - I did take some photos of the stuffed versions, lined up in a row but they looked like some ungodly army of the damned and I thought it best not to post them. The rainbow mouse did not survive Pablo's fun & games, mind you - he stole it off of my bed, ran around the house in pure joy... that is until Nashville Tee stole it and chewed it to bits... (my name is "Bad Dog", what's your's?)
I don't know how much more knitting I can endure - I was up most of last night in extreme pain, even with the tiger balm and drugs... just about ready to rip my right arm off
And finally, proof that I'm knitting far too much - yarn ends!!!! Lots and lots of yarn ends!!!!

Later, I'll post the FinePix Cozy that I whipped for Val on Xmas day- it's the first knitted object that she actually asked for (and kinda liked) - Yay!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Come to my house and celebrate

Mark your calendars for a knit-together chez Bumbershootska, jammies de rigeur:)
What's better than knitting? Knitting in your PJs, surrounded by buddies and snacks!
If you can come, drop me a line - all are very welcome!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I knit.... a lot

I am pretty proud of myself (wait- when you hear why, you may not be so proud. In the short bus that is my life, this felt like a major achievement but it wasn't much at all)

I made not one but two Amelia Earhart hats! One that is too big for my peanut head and another that in is, in the words of Goldilocks, 'just right!'.

Here's proof

it goes pretty well with the Cleopatra neckwarmer that I made from the worst-to-work-with Red Heart that I have ever encountered - scratchy, knotty and uneven... apart from the cool colorway, it just plain sucked!
and here is the one that I challenged myself to conquer on New Year's Day
in bright red

I am finally able to post one pf the gifts that I crafted for a dear friend - Later Gator Mitts
here ya go!
Gator Mitts in action

and in repose

When she unwrapped them, the first thing that she made them do was to bite! Just like I expected, she is a closet biter who can now walk to work, biting whomever strikes her fancy. Bite away, little Grrl, bite away.
I was extremely fortunate in return. I got this!!!!

a double-sided polar fleece blanket which has been named "Froggggeee Babeeee" (you old school Sesame Street kids will get this reference, fer sure)It (the blankie, not the quote) has become my new best friend/ love of my life all wrapped into one. I feel very blessed

I also knit this cool hat, using this wonderful graph - the creator of which used it for illusion knitting. I'm not that smart... I just made it in messy intarsia

yes, it is stuffed with plastic shopping bags - thanks for noticing
I love a blurry photo...

This is only a small fraction of what I managed to crank off my needles in the past little while; there's more to come

Friday, January 05, 2007

The path to Hell is truly paved with...

New Year's Resolutions
Normally, I try to make my resolutions for the new year when it's actually my new year, in July. This year, I'll wade in with a few resolutions for 2007 and see how far along I get

1) Shed some Stuff (forever after known as "SSS" - books, clothes, yarn, fabric, shoes, furniture - whatever I can get out of my life and (hopefully) into someone else's life, for the better. What I mean is that I will donate whatever I can to good causes (my local thrift store which helps so many people reestablish their lives, friends in need - whoever I can, really). I will use my crating supplies to make things to help others, give them joy (or a laugh), keep them warm - whatever I can. But - I will also trash whatever I need to, without guilt

2) I will use up as much of my yarn stash as humanly possible (see point #1). Thanks to a fellow Craftster- alum, I am able to do this with ease.

3) I will read through my 'to read' pile and not just pile up books in comfortable corners throughout the house. Yes, actually read them...eventually

4) In a past post, I claimed that I would not buy any new yarn until June...I now realize how foolish that claim is. I'm only human. I can't hold off forever. If I come across a good deal, if I need to make a gift, or if a yarn calls out to me - I give myself permission to buy, but only a little bit. No massive yarn purchases. No skeins and skeins of goofy pleasure-filly silly yarn that I adore but cannot fathom using; just good ole yarn

5) I will begin the journey to find the farmhouse that I dream of... I may not buy it right away but if I don't start looking, it'll never come to me. I want a kitchen garden, dog run, grape vines (I can always transplant the type I have now), some wilderness and with luck, water.

6) To re-establish my career/ business... this is the sticky wicket

Is it telling that this is last?

Thanks to Ooak_Diva's guidance, I have already started my January contribution to our crafts blitz. I got a lovely coral- red- orange (think Campbell's tomato soup red) Red Heart Comfort, bought on sale many moons ago. As it has been sitting in yarn storage for so long, I thought that it deserved to be knit into my first project for this challenge. Hugs for Homeless Animals is accepting 'snuggles' or small afghans for animals in shelters. What's really cool is that you can find a shelter close to you; I chose LAWS because they let me adopt my Jack there. This little afghan should provide a little warmth to a dog or cat, waiting to be adopted, loved and cared for.

Ooak_Diva has also very generously allowed me to add the Mitten Project to her monthly CALs. How cool is that?