Monthly Archives: November 2007

Good Mail Twice Over!

On Wednesday, after a looooong day at work, and a nice dinner our with Dru, and then straight on to a good knit-night at Lettuce Knit, I finally arrived home to find these!

2 packages
Not one, but two packages!

Of course, I dove right into them, but not before getting my camera! (Sorry for the poor photo quality, but winter and darkness are definitely happening around here.)

First up, there was a lovely prize package and cool card from Lola of Two Black Sheep — Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in a limited edition colourway (exclusive to Purl (Soho?), I believe).

lorna's laces yarn
I’m definitely thinking some “Candy Cane” socks are in my future!

Who doesn’t love a blog contest, especially when you win one! Thank You Lola!! I hope you’re happily cabling up a storm!

Speaking of blog contests, I’m having one of my own — check it out!! (How’s that for a promo?) I’ve already got about 15 comments, but I’m sure there are more of you just waiting to come out of the woodworks! The more comments I get, the more yarn I’ll send out, and you have until next Friday to do it!

Next up, my final package from Secret Pal 11… Sinfully decadent Fleece Artist 4-ply Cashmere!

cashmere yarn
No photo could do this luscious yarn justice!

She apologized for choosing quality over quantity, silly thing! I certainly have no complaints*! Now I just have to stop cuddling this beautiful, soft skein in perfect colours long enough to figure out if I’ll knit the included cloche pattern or something else from it. Thank you so much Caroline!! You were an awesome Secret Pal!

*Dru did though — “Aren’t these packages supposed to come with chocolate?”



Filed under exchanges, good mail, yarn


… but now it was understood that something quite exceptional was being planned for that autumn. Bilbo was going to be eleventy-one, 111, a rather curious number, and a very respectable age…

This is my eleventy-first blog post. In the grand tradition of hobbits everywhere, I think this curious number is quite special, and deserving of a bit of a party, don’t you?

Well then, as everyone knows, at a real hobbit party it’s the guests that get the gifts! While I can’t provide something for each and every one that visits here (and I know there are a fair number of you!), I think I can find a present or two around here somewhere…

Unless my stats page is lying to me, I have a much larger readership than commenters. Let’s say that the more comments I get, the more yarn I’ll give away… maybe increase at ten, 25, 50, and so on?

I’m betting that just as hobbits are drawn to a party with the promise of good food and ale, so are knit-bloggers drawn to a blog contest with the chance of free yarn! So come sit under the party tree, and leave me a comment with a link to your favorite blog post (best story, most amazing photos, funniest tale, deepest thoughts, whatever, from wherever!) for a chance to win some sock yarn or other such fiber-treat!

* * * * * *

In other news, I’ve been having a blast over at the Purple Purl! Jennifer and Miko are doing an amazing job establishing exactly what their tagline says: “Cafe…Yarn… Friends”

Purple Purl
The Purple Purl (photo taken last week).

While the cafe’s not fully-functional yet, their tea selection is awesome and I have heard exciting rumours of an exclusive cupcake designer! There is yarn, oh so much yarn! Yarn in all shapes, fibres, sizes, and colours… and spinning fibre too! And there are friends, both old and new. It’s such a friendly place, and even though it’s only been open a few weeks, people are coming out in droves — last night there were almost 40 knitters at one point! And Miko just bought a beautiful old Saxony-style spinning wheel that I happily played on last night, keeping me up well past my bedtime. There are a few other exciting developments regarding me and the Purl, but I’ll leave it at that for now… All in all, I am loving my new LYS (it’s just straight down the street… if I take a streetcar, that is!) and am looking forward to many more happy knitnights!


Filed under contest, out & about

FO: Chicken Cozy!!

Be careful what you wish for…

When I asked Krista what she wanted for her birthday last week, I’m not quite sure why she answered, “a tea cozy shaped like a chicken!” But that is what she got.

chicken tea cosy

I figure that if I were to write up a pattern for this it would hurtle me straight into the realm of “crazy tea cozy lady” and I’m not sure I want to go there. Still, I am fairly pleased with how this fluffy creation came out. Best of all, though, it that Krista likes it, has already put it on her teapot, and it fits!

chicken cozy - flat

Pattern: Chicken Tea Cozy, by me (improvised)
Yarn: Bernat chenille (acrylic); hand-spun orange stuff (wool); scavenged red stuff (wool)
Needles: 9mm circular and 4mm dpns


Filed under FOs, knitting, oddities

FO: Koolhaas

While I am experiencing rather severe startitis these days, and my WIPs are taking over the living room, I do occasionally manage to get things finished, too! Having a quick project full of interesting yet easy-to-intuit details and worked in a truly luscious yarn certainly helps.

I worked all the cabling without a cable needle, which truly made this a fast project (and it would have been even faster if I’d have had pointier needle). Definitely check out Eunny Jang’s instructions for this technique from her Bayerische Socks, or search out one of the many tutorials and/or videos for how do do this — you won’t regret it!

koolhaas hat

koolhaas hat

koolhaas detail

One present down, only… well, let’s not think about how many more to go yet, shall we? It’s not even December yet: I think I’m doing pretty well!

Pattern: Koolhaas, designed by Jared Flood (of Brooklyn Tweed), published in Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007.
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca (50% Alpaca, 50% wool)
Needles: 5mm Susan Bates’ Quicksilver circular & set of metal dpns
Size: mens
Modifications: none


Filed under cables, FOs, knitting

The Spinster’s Sad Story of the Spun Singles Snarl

Once upon a time, there was a spinster with two cats.

Well, actually, she was happily married and just happened to have two cats, but she was a spinster, in that she spun.

She loved to spin. Spin yarn, of course — although who doesn’t like to put their arms out and stare up at the sky and twirl and twirl? at least, until you get dizzy and need to stop, but it is fun every now and again — but this spinster was a spinner of yarns.

She would spin yarns on her drop-spindles, both bottom-whorl and high whorl. She would spin yarns on spinning wheels, both single treadle and double treadle, though sadly her own spinning wheel was away being fixed (still) so she had to borrow wheels from her other spinster friends (also happily married; cats optional).

One week, one of the spinster’s spinster friends (happily married, with a little dog) had lent to her a lovely Lendrum double-treadle spinning wheel, so that she could spin up some of the many beautiful fibres in her stash. What a happy week that was!

She spun up some 2-ply Blue-Faced Leicester…
BFL skein

She spun some thick-and-thin lambswool…
grey thick and thin skein

She spun some thick-and-thin blended lamb and llama…
lamb and llama, thick & thin

And some more lamb and llama singles, both white and grey.
white lamb & llama grey lamb & llama

By the end of the week so much fibre had been spun; but, of course, she still wanted to spin just a little more. She had some absolutely lovely silk and merino roving, hand-dyed in beautiful peppermint pinks and burgundy reds and toffee browns, that would be just delicious to spin. Even though the wheel had to go back to her friend soon, she decided to spin just this last little bit.

She started to spin, and it was glorious — soft and slippery and smooth and silky. Such beautiful singles! They flowed through her spinster’s hands and gleamed on the bobbin like a thread of jewels. She was spinning better than she felt she ever had before. In no time at all (or a few episodes of Cast-On), all the precious fibre was spun into singles.

Carefully, the spinster wound them onto her Andean plying tool, which was thoughtfully made for her by another spinster friend (happily married, with one cat, one dog, two sheep, and about 50 chickens). They looked lovely!
silk/merino singles

Carefully, the spinster took the singles, now wrapped into an Andean plying bracelet, off the wooden tool and onto a cardboard tube. She knew the wheel would have to go back very soon, but surely she could ply just a bit of it, right?

She sat, and spun the singles into the beginnings of a very pretty 2-ply (fingering weight). When her spinster friend’s husband came to take the wheel back home, she casually broke singles, set down the singles, wound the plied yarn onto her niddy-noddy, and folded up the wheel, happy with the spinning she had done. She bid farewell to the wheel and the husbands (who were going out to play games), and settled in for a quiet afternoon.

And then it all went wrong.

Who knows what really happened? Perhaps the spinster had set the singles down too carelessly. Perhaps it was the cats, entranced by the silken sparkle of the spun singles. Perhaps there were mischievous fairies in the room that day, who could not wait until night-time to tie their elf-knots.

All that can be said is that the two plying ends of the singles disappeared as if by magic, and when the spinster tried to find them, they were nowhere to be found…
And then the Andean-wrapped singles came off the cardboard tube…
And then things got a little strewn about…
singles carnage

Until all that was left of the soft and slippery and smooth and silky singles was a sad snarl…
singles snarl

And a sorrowful spinster.

Now, there is not really a happy ending to this tale. Eventually the spinster put the sad spun singles snarl away, and went out to the newly-opened yarn shop, and had supper with her friends, and did some knitting. The next day she carefully placed the snarl in a ziplock baggie, along with the mini-skien of 2-ply, and placed in at the back of a cabinet. Perhaps she’ll take it out again someday, and guided by helpful fairies she’ll untangle the whole mess. Or perhaps not: maybe the whole thing will someday turn into felted flowers, or soaps, or cat toys.

But there is probably a moral in this tale nonetheless, for the reader clever enough to find one, and you may be happy to know that the spinster is spinning again — with her drop-spindle, of course, and some cheerful merino/tencel…


Filed under fibre, rambling, spinning, spinning-wheel, storytime, yarn

Name in Pixels

Have you seen the latest issue of Spindle and Wheel?

Have you checked out the free patterns? Did you notice anything… familiar?

That’s right! My little Autumn Tea Cozy has now hit the big time as Tea Time!

There’s also my fast-and loose SuperQuick Fingerless Mitts! These were so easy to knit it barely feel right to call it a ‘pattern’, but ever since these babies have come off the needles I’ve been wearing them. I had bunch of end-bits from a pet skein of Manos Del Uruguay, and these mitts were my way of making sure every last meter got used up (I absolutely heart this yarn!).

quick fingerless mitts

I also knit me a matching Calorimetry (pattern modified for gauge), and wouldn’t you know it but there’s an article up at S&W on that too! (Great minds think alike, eh?)

It may not be as fancy as getting published in Interweave or Vogue, but I’m still pretty happy to see my name up in pixels. Thanks to Allena and Beau at Spindle and Wheel for being such nice, supportive and all-around cool indy publishers!


Filed under free patterns, how-to, knitting


Remember when I was bemoaning my fate, pining for my unattainable love, the Princess Shawl? I shall never forsake my dreams of knitting her, my darling always, but there is a coquettish new lace project that has turned my head, and may yet capture my heart.

Have you seen the soaring beauty of Anne‘s blackbird-wing shawl, (designed to harmonize with Blue Moon Fiber’s new Raven Clan colourways*)? It is stunning and graceful, challenging and clever. It has captured my imagination, and fulfils many of my lace knitting desires (and will be sold as a kit, and for a reasonable price!).

I think I have found a new love.

*I’m totally digging all of these, but most particularly “Rook-y”!


Filed under knitting, lace, yarn

FO: Cobblestone

This may be a long-overdue finished object post, but it was one of the most satisfying knitting experiences I’ve had in a long time. It was simple, but never mindless; challenging in concept and elegant in design; resulting in a handsome, practical, and now well-loved sweater.

Cobblestone sweater
Cobblestone yoked pullover.

Cobblestone edging
Detail of garter-stitch edgings.

Cobblestone cuff
Detail of garter-stitch cuff.

Cobblestone side panel
Detail of garter-stitch side panel; short-row shaping in the garter-stitch yoke.

Cobblestone yoke
Detail of the short-row shaping in the garter-stitch yoke and clever rolled hem at neck.

Pattern: Cobblestone, designed by Jared Flood (of Brooklyn Tweed), published in Interweave Knits Fall 2007.
Yarn: KnitPick’s Wool of the Andes in “Mocha Twist” (100% Peruvian Highland wool, worsted weight)
Needles: Susan Bates’ Quicksilver circulars
Size: 39″ chest circumference (small)
Modifications: none

Cobblestone pullover

Thanks to Dru for modeling his sweater by the church tower door.


Filed under FOs, knitting, sweaters

PodCast On multiples of 60min.

You guys have been holding out on me. Why hasn’t anyone told me yet how awesome podcasts are?

Or is it maybe just me — have I been living under a rock or something?

Well, if that’s so, then I have emerged out from under my rock, blinking in the light and flooded with wonderful sound.

This past week’s been pretty crappy: some personal stuff that I was hoping for fell through; I’ve been hit with a megaton cold; being sick caused me to take a day off of work which I couldn’t even enjoy, knowing that buckets of work waits for me, and also to miss out (again) on knitnight (which looked like fun); I still haven’t figured out which sweater to knit.

But none of that stuff really matters. I’ll get over it, aided by some very good things that are going on in the background, and by taking it easy. And “taking it easy” is made, well, easier with a prescription of podcasts.

I have spend the last two evenings wearing comfy pajamas, spinning of the Lendrum wheel kindly lent to me for the week by Krista, and listening to Cast On. Brenda Dayne’s soothing voice washes over my ears with the same soft warmth as the fiber between my fingers. Her guests read their essays, sometimes insightful and poignant, other times witty an irreverent; the interviewees answer openly and with good humour. The ‘podsafe’ musical interludes are carefully selected to meet the themes, and often are so catchy I’ve had to watch out lest I treadle to the rhythm. Everyone “speaks jive” — the knitting terms, the lightsaber flash of mystical Addi Turbos, the praise for the latest inspiring blog project. It’s almost as good as going to a knitnight: you know you’re in good knitterly company.

And this is just my first taste! I know there are many more popular knitting podcasts available; I just need to track them down and lad them up.

I feel like I have just discovered that I can hear as well as see and touch. Every day there seems to be a new dimension to the knitting community, and I am so happy that I am making it a part of my life, becoming a part of it myself. I have more projects to blog about, new handspun to add to Ravelry, more pattens to dream up and share.

But for now, you’ll have to excuse me — I still have to take it easy, so I think I’ll go spin and Cast On.


Filed under podcasts, rambling


I’m debating joining in the NaKniSweMo.

Ever since finishing Cobblestone (I swear, that’s one long-overdue FO post, but there has not been a drop of sunshine with which to properly do a photoshoot for it, and I love it so much I want you all to see it in full splendour)(also, Dru does not seem to want to be part of a photoshoot: whyever, I wonder?) I have wanted to knit another sweater. It was such a great knit, challenging yet easy, fast but not instantaneous, great final product.

Then again, I have had serious issues with Gatsby Girl (and there’s another post-in the-making all about the ongoing saga with that one….)

And then, I have 2 sweaters I really, really want to make (Tangled Yoke Cardigan from IK and that James Coviello one from VK), but since I want them so much I also want to use the right yarn for them, which I do not have.

What I do have is 12 balls of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in “Amber Heather”. This was enough for Dru’s Cobblestone, so should be plenty for a cardigan for myself. I’ve swatched for the Nantucket Jacket from IK, even cast on, but a relaxing knit that one does not seem to be. Should that deter me from making it, though?

I’m also tossing around the idea of making the Brennan Cardigan by the lovely Ms. Glenna, or just going dead-simple with that v-neck pullover from Fitted Knits.

Any other suggestions for sweaters I could make?

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