Monday, December 28, 2009

Some New Items at the Shop

I've been thinking a lot about this coming year and am hoping it will be a more positive and productive time. To that end, I have been thinking about the things I would like to change. I, of course, would like to lose some weight and get healthier, I vow to get more organized and I also want to finish and post more new items and shop projects, as well as taking the shop in new directions. I'll talk more about that in the coming weeks. I'm not going to call these resolutions, because that usually dooms them to failure. Rather, they are just things I want to work towards. What are your intentions for the coming year?

So in keeping with these intentions, here are some of the current projects finished or under way:

Jamie finished her first weaving on the Ashford Knitter's Loom. Isn't it great? The colors are marvelous and she really got through it quickly. You can produce items so quickly on these looms. It is really enjoyable.

We just got in some new yarns from JoJoLand. I luv JoJoLand's yarns. They are so soft and the colors are exciting without being too bright. Our newest shipment included Melody, her superwash fingering and Rhythm, her worsted weight which we haven't had before.
Paige is busy making an entrelac scarf with the cream/brown Rhythm. It is coming out beautifully and we will get a picture posted shortly.

Then here is Anne Shirley using Merisock and Santa Fe.

It is a modified Feather & Fan pattern, designed to be a scarf. I doubled the number of stitches to make it a wrap. It can be blocked or left unblocked to resemble a shibori project. I luv the texture and the fact that it is reversable. Too much fun and the picture doesn't do the colors of the yarns justice. They are so rich and really compliment each other. Another variation of the chevron idea.

And this is the Mitered Vee from Jane Slicer-Smith's Swing Swagger Drape book.

I luv doing mitered projects and this one went very quickly as it is using Kureyon so you don't have to change colors that often. Sh......this is for my downstream partner in Ravelry's Worldwide Shawl Exchange and it is a secret.

And this was the scene after Christmas dinner.

The babies got to share our food and were more than ready to also share nap time. There almost wasn't room for us!
Hope you have a great New Year's!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Ruminations

Be forewarned- this post has nothing to do with knitting and everything to do with the spirit of the season and finding meaning.

As a child, my Christmases were very joyful. My parents, while maybe not always able to provide everything my greedy child's heart wanted, certainly provided plenty and kept up the great charade of Santa Claus with much enthusiasm. Then, when I was 11, my father was lost in Viet Nam. While I'm sure my mother knew where he was, I and my brothers had no idea and our world fell apart. Since that time, the Holidays have always been very melancholy and difficult for me, and especially so now that my mother has passed. While it was difficult after my father was lost, she made a great effort to still put on all the trappings, long after our belief in Santa Claus had ended, despite her own loneliness and sense of loss. She truly embodied the spirit of generosity and giving, providing our family with cohesion, and it is sorely missed. I blame much of it on all the commercialism of our society, showing that every family should be "picture perfect" with no bickering, no family black sheep, no lack of monetary trappings and lots of social interaction and companionship. Yeah, right! Were that it were so!

I know that one of the issues I have dealt with since my father's loss is depression; it runs in the family, so it is not surprising. It has always been worse during the holiday season and I have struggled with it strongly since Mom's death. It has made the last several seasons totally without pleasure and I had come to dread them and just wanted to hurry through them. I find this season slightly different. This past year has been a trial on many levels but at the time of year that is usually the most difficult, I feel an introspection that I haven't in the past. Don't get me wrong- I haven't seen a miracle or been shown the light. Although, come to think of it, in a way maybe I have. I still feel intensely sad and terribly alone, especially since the family has drifted far apart, but I also for some reason have started to deeply realize that the expectations that commercials put on us are totally without basis in reality. Does anyone not feel some sense of expectations not met at this time of year? Not too many, I would bet. Does it mean we shouldn't enjoy the spirit of the season, no matter how we celebrate it, even if we don't utilize all the trappings our society shows as "normal"? Obviously not. This seems logical, we shouldn't even have to think about it, and I have always known it on some level. Never the less, it has been the case that I wallowed in self pity for what wasn't, what should have been. Maybe this is what my bottom is- I don't think I could have become much sadder, although this I also ignored on a superficial level. Old cliché, but true; when you hit the bottom, there is no way to go but up. I chose to ignore the trappings this year- didn't put up lights or a tree at home, didn't try to buy gifts for family we never see or hear from. And instead of thinking about how badly I feel, although it does leak through at odd moments, instead I feel motivated to look outside myself. Duh, huh? I think about all the usual world wide tragedies, especially the families who have a member fighting for our country and all the homeless and abused animals. But I also have had it brought into my heart all the people who strive to do something to balance these sorrows. Did anyone see the Rachel Ray segment that aired today? About her contest to support worthy animal rescue operations? OMG. It made me feel so petty yet so inspired. I finally (or again, maybe?) understand the cure for depression, loss, grief and worry: to devote yourself to balancing these sorrows.

How is that for a cliché?

Best of wishes to all for this season.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Anzula Thick&Thin Hat pattern

Here is a quick, easy, basic 1 skein hat pattern using Anzula Thick & Thin Corriedale.

Anzula Thick & Thin Hat
Fits 21-23" head
1 skein Anzula Thick & Thin Corriedale
#9 16" circular and dbl point needles Gauge: 4 sts=1"

Rolled Brim Version
Cast on 88 sts and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist sts. Work stockinette st (knit every round) for 6.5 from cast on.
Begin decreasing:
R 1: *K6, slip 2 tog knitwise, knit together* around-77 sts.
R 2 and all even rnds: Knit.
R 3: *K5, slip 2 tog knitwise, knit together* around-66 sts.
R 5: *K4, slip 2 tog knitwise, knit together* around-55 sts.
R 7: *K3, slip 2 tog knitwise, knit together* around-44 sts.
R 9: *K2, slip 2 tog knitwise, knit together* around-33 sts.
R 11: *K1, slip 2 tog knitwise, knit together( around-22 sts.
R 13: *Slip 2 tog knitwise, knit together* around-11 sts.
Knit 1 more rnd. Cut yarn, leaving a 12" tail. Thread a yarn needle with tail and pull through the remaining 11 sts, pull tight to close and weave in tail.

Ribbed Brim Version:
Cast on 88 sts and work 1.5 " in 2/2 rib. Continue as for Rolled Brim Version.

Jamie Learns to Weave!

Jamie is learning to weave! I talked about wanting to weave with the new Drop Spindle Brushed English Mohair and we decided to warp with CTH's Oceania.

Here is the color combination we decided on.

Here it is warped.

Moving the second strands to the eyes.

Finishing the tensioning.

Weaving with the mohair.
Isn't it coming out beautifully?

It is going to be so soft and rich. I can't wait for it to be finished!

Beaded Christmas Ornament

I can't believe that we are in December already! Wow, how time flies. Is everybody hard at work finishing up Christmas projects?
Here is the Beaded Christmas Ornament I designed and here is the pattern. I hope you enjoy it.
Beaded Christmas Ornament

Any fingering weight yarn, about 20 yds
(I used Anzula 50%merino/50% silk and Cascade Super Sock Select Semi Solid)
#6 Dbl point needles
#6 Miyuki beads, 72 per ornament
Glass ornaments, 8" in circumference
12" of twisted cord or 1/4" satin ribbon
Gauge: 4.5sts=1"

YFSSPPB: Bring yarn to front of work, slip next st purlwise, slip bead up close to right needle, take yarn to back and work next st according to instructions. This places the bead on the front of the slipped st on a float.

Begin Ornament:
String 72 beads on yarn. Cast on 4 sts on 1 needle.
R 1: K front & back in each st-8 sts. Turn.
R 2: Purl 1 row.
Divide sts between 4 needles and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the sts. (If you are comfortable working on a small amount of sts in the round, you can c/o 4 sts on 4 needles, join, and work these 2 rows in the round, knitting the second round instead of purling it.)
R 3: Working in the round, KF&B in each st-16 sts.
All even rnds: Knit.
R 5: KF&B in each st-32 sts.
R 7: *KF&B, K1* around-48 sts.
R 8: Knit.

Begin Beaded Eyelet Pattern:
R 1: *YO, K2tog* around.
R 2: *K1, YFSSPPB* around.
R 3: Knit.
R 4: *K2tog, YO* around.
R 5: *YFSSPPB, K1* around.
R 6: Knit.
Repeat rnds 1-3 of the Beaded Eyelet Pattern.
Knit 2 more rnds.
Work rnd 1 again (eyelet rnd).
Knit 4 more rnds. Bind off. Weave in loose ends, closing any hole in the bottom, if needed. Thread twisted cord or ribbon through top eyelet rnd. Insert ornament, draw up cord or ribbon tightly around top of ornament and tie in bow.