Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Minimal content

Happy Second Day of Christmas! I always like the day after Christmas better than Christmas. The work is done, the guests are gone and I like looking over the loot. This year I got an extra bonus--the day off and the house to myself. I got some great presents, including a third share in a nice patio furniture set for our new patio, a twenty dollar bill from one of my aunts (for the love of Pete! I'm thirty-seven years old, not necessary to slip me a twenty!), a pretty jacket, a book by a new author that's part of a series (I love discovering a new series), and a cell phone. Yes, the last two people in North America without cell phones, myself and my sister, are now Connected. And my sister went fancy with it too, getting us souped up phones with cameras, web access and all. I feel a little dumb trying to figure out what all I have and how much it's gonna cost me, but I do enjoy my "When the Saints Come Marching In" ringtone. On the down side, if my boss finds out I have a cellphone, I could conceivably be called at any moment only to tell her it's ok to turn the computer off if ctl+alt+delete does nothing. Must remember to make my work number a really short ringtone.

The Sugarplum pillows for the aunts were a hit. The word heirloom was actually bantered about. Gotta love the innocence of the Muggles.

Next up: a big six-day work week. Luckily the last Packer game with--incredibly--Play Off Implications, has been moved to Sunday night, so I won't miss seeing it after all. Go Pack!

Next post: Should I call a moratorium on yarn purchases in 2007? And if so, would it be cheating to buy enough for IK's Nantucket Jacket before I do?

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Two free patterns for your last-minute pleasure!
It’s the season for last-minute parties and last-minute presents. A person can only give so many bottles of wine before knitting pride takes over. That’s where these confections come in. Two little pillows to knit up quick and impress big. A small project like a pillow is a great way to try out a new technique; here we take on two-color stranding, log cabining and appliqué.


[MC] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220 yd per 100 g skein]; color: #9452 (light heather blue); 1 skein[CC] Cascade 220 [100% wool; 220 yd per 100 g skein]; color: #8393 (navy); 1 skein

1 24-inch US #7/4.5 mm circular needles
1 US #7/4.5 mm circular or straight needle for three-needle bind off

2 oz. Fiberfill or other stuffing for pillow
Tapestry needle
Stitch markers

20 sts/22 rows = 4" in color stranded stockinette stitch. Exact gauge is not critical.

This pattern is worked in the round with two colors. The yarn not in use should be carried loosely behind the stitches. When the stranded yarn is to be carried for more than four stitches, you may find it helpful to keep tension even by weaving in the stranded yarn as you go, but it is not necessary. The snowflake design is adapted from one found in 1000 Great Knitting Motifs by Luise Roberts.

(click chart to enlarge)

With MC, CO 74 stitches. Place marker to indicate beginning of round and join, being careful not to twist stitches. K 1 round in MC, join CC and work all rows of chart. Knit 1 round in MC. Do not cut yarn.
Three needle bindoff: Turn inside out so that WS is on the outside. Grasp needle cord between stitch 37 and stitch 38 and pull so that the tube lays flat with stitches 1 through 37 on the needle in front and stitches 38 through 74 on the needle in back. Using second set of circular needles, insert empty needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit, then into the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit, then knit these two stitches together. Repeat with the next stitch on each needle; pass the first stitch over the second. Continue in this manner until all stitches are bound off, cut yarn and pull through the last stitch on needle.


Weave in ends. Turn pillow right side out, stuff and sew the bottom seam with MC.



[MC] Knit Picks Merino Style [100 % wool; 123 yd per 50 g skein]; color: Vanilla; 1 skein[CC1] Knit Picks Merino Style [100 % wool; 123 yd per 50 g skein]; color: Pine; 1 skein
[CC2] Knit Picks Merino Style [100 % wool; 123 yd per 50 g skein]; color: Hollyberry; 1 skein
[CC3] DMC Pearl Cotton 5 [100% cotton 25 m per 5 g skein]; color: 498 (red); 1 skein
[CC4] DMC Pearl Cotton 5 [100% cotton 25 m per 5 g skein]; color: 319 (green); 1 skein
[CC5] DMC Pearl Cotton 5 [100% cotton 25 m per 5 g skein]; color: 5282 (metallic gold); 1 skein

1 set US #0/2 mm straight or circular needles
1 set US #5/ 3.75 mm straight or circular needles

2 oz. Fiberfill or other stuffing for pillow
Tapestry needle
Embroidery needle

25 sts/30 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch. Exact gauge is not critical.

When picking up stitches along the side of the knitting, pick up two stitches for every three rows. When picking up stitches along cast-on or bound-off edges, pick up one stitch for each existing stitch. The poinsettia appliqué is adapted from one found in Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Embellishments by Nicky Epstein.

With MC, and size 5 needles, CO 25 sts. Work in St st for 5 inches, ending with WS row. BO all stitches but last stitch, turn work and, with CC1, pick up 25 sts along left side of square, starting by drawing first stitch through stitch still on needle. Work in St st for 2 inches, ending with WS row. BO all but last stitch, turn work and, with CC2 pick up 36 sts along left side of CC1 rectangle and cast-on stitches of MC, starting by drawing first stitch through stitch still on needle. Work in St st for 2 inches, ending with WS row. BO all but last stitch, turn work and, with CC1, pick up 36 sts along left side of piece, starting by drawing first stitch through stitch still on needle. Work in St st for 2 inches, ending with WS row. BO all but last stitch, turn work and, with CC2 pick up 44 sts along left side of piece, starting by drawing first stitch through stitch still on needle. Work in St st for 2 inches, ending in WS row, BO all stitches.

Use the same log cabin technique as the front, starting by casting on 12 st with CC2 and working a 2 inch square. Continue making 1-inch high rectangles in the following color sequence: MC, CC1, MC, CC1, CC2, MC, CC2, MC. Finish with a round of one-half inch high rectangles of CC1 all the way around. BO all stitches.

Poinsettia Petals (make 10)

With CC3, and size 0 needles, CO 3 sts.
Row 1 and all WS rows: Purl
Row 2: Kfb, k1, kfb. 5 sts.
Row 4: Kfb, k3, kfb. 7 sts.
Row 6: Kfb, k5, kfb. 9 sts.
Work even in St st for 7 rows.
Row 14: SSK, k5, k2tog. 7 sts.
Row 16: SSK, k3, k2tog. 5 sts.
Row 18: SSK, k1, k2tog. 3 sts.
Row 19: Sl 1, k2tog, psso. 1 st. Cut the thread and pull through to fasten off, leaving a six-inch tail to sew petal to pillow.

Leaves (make 2)
With CC4, CO 5 sts.
Row 1: k2, yo, k1, yo, k2. 7 sts.
Row 2 and all WS rows: Purl
Row 3: k3, yo, k1, yo, k3. 9 sts.
Row 5: SSK, k5, k2tog. 7 sts.
Row 7: SSK, k3, k2tog. 5 sts.
Row 9: SSK, k1, k2tog. 3 sts.
Row 10: Sl 1, k2tog, psso. 1 st. Fasten off, leaving enough tail for sewing onto pillow.

Bobbles (make 7)
With CC5, CO 1 st.
Row 1: Kfb 2 times, k all in same stitch. One stitch becomes 5.
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Knit, pass first four sts over last stitch, fasten off.

Block all pieces and weave in ends. Leave ends of poinsettia petals, leaves, and bobbles to use to sew pieces onto pillow. Arrange five petals of poinsettia in a star shape on white block on front of pillow, leaving a space in center for bobbles, sew on. Arrange remaining five petals on top of and in between bottom petals and sew on. Sew on leaves as desired between two petals and sew on bobbles in center. Seam three sides of pillow with mattress stitch. Stuff with fiberfill, seam remaining side.

Copyright 2006 by Susan Iding. Pattern free for your personal, individual use. You may print out a copy to work with. You may not reformat the pattern for commercial use, and you may not sell them or items made these patterns. Any usage beyond what's mentioned here must be negotiated.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A mixed-dye merino salad spun

Start with merino top, hand dyed by Kathrows:

Split in half lengthwise and in fourths widthwise and spin vigorously from the fold to make two bobbins, and then ply together to create this:
Enjoy! Makes 200 yards worsted weight.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Flash Your Fiber Stash -- A Feast!

Here's my FIBER STASH--A veritable Fiber Feast! Looks yummy, doesn't it?

Let's see a little closer the things we have to feast on, shall we?

First Course:

Mixed dye Merino salads. Prepared for you by yours truly and Kathrows
(Note the silk hankie napkins!)

Second course:

Mohair soup, graciously provided by Bad Amy!

And pass the relishes:

White Bamboo, White Linen, Purple Corn Fiber

Now we're ready for the Main Course:

Corriedale and silk roving dyed in osage, indigo and madder surrounded by a bed of silk coccoons
(More in the next post)

FYFS 2 -- Second Course

How about some Mashed Potatoes?
Merino Top

And some Gravy? Silk Cap
Don't forget the Dressing:

Baby Alpaca!

FYFS 3 -- The Fiber Feast Continued

More side dishes:
Alpaca/llama/silk blend

Recycled soda bottles and denim


More hand-dyed merino

And to Drink:

My first homespun--Corriedale

For Bread:

Hand-dyed merino

For Dessert:

Merino and Pygora Pie

In the Candy Dish

A few Corriedale bonbons for needle felting

I hope you enjoyed the feast!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I have finally officially finished a Clapotis. I feel less of a fraud in the Knitty Coffeeshop!

It took five skeins of Patons SWS -- 70% wool, 30% soy, natural plum colorway. I enjoyed working with the yarn--it's soft and cushy, with a really nice sheen from the soy. The colors are all me--purpley pinky goodness. I can't carry off a wrap like this though, so it's destined as a Christmas gift.

Clapotis is definitely a great pattern--so much opportunity for modifications and substitutions. I have the distinct feeling that this will not be my only clapotis.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Rainbow Merino Handspun

Latest Spinning News: More Rainbow-dyed Merino! This is the second of seven skeins Kathrows (check out her brand-new blog here) and I dyed, oh a month and a half ago. So I'm moving a little slowly, so sue me. It's not like I'm getting paid, here. This one I spun a little finer, I figure it's worsted weight, two ply. I made the color a little random, too, so there's a lot of variation.
This came out a lot more even than the first one, but you can still see a bit of thick and thin action there. No one's gonna confuse it with a commercial yarn, that's for sure. But those colors are definitely not my favorites. Next up: bolder colors. Stay tuned.

Malabrigo Mittens

OOOOH, Malabrigo! I was right, it makes the warmest, softest mittens ever! Thanks to my super SP7 pal, Batty, my hands will be so warm this winter. And I just got a new black winter coat that will show off these beautiful green mittens. Knit at a tight gauge to ward off wind (and pilling), I started out with a two by two rib at the cuff and carried the ribbing up the back for a snug fit. I don't like floppy mittens. Nothing fancy--I let the yarn do all the talking. And I have enough leftovers to make a third mitten should I be so moronic as to lose one. It's happened before. Bring on Winter!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Today is a good day to spin

So I've been spinning and not posting. Bad Reluctant Blogger! Here's some stuff no-longer-hot off the bobbin.

Oh yeah, that's some good shit. Wish I'd bought about a pound of it. Double plied, about 10 wpi due to fuzzy, mohairy goodness. 2 ounces makes 125 yards, and I have another ounce to spin. I'm thinking maybe some fingerless mitts.


The first of these skeins Kathrows and I dyed at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. I spun this to be one long progressive colorway by splitting the roving in half, spinning the singles in the same color progression, then plying them together. Of course they weren't the same length, so there's considerable mixing of colors, but that's all to the good. Wow, that's some pastel, hey?


So Abiknits posted her first skein. I take up the challenge! Here's my very first yarn. It's not in a skein because about two months ago I was going to start actually knitting it so I wound it up. As you can see, not so much action there. Luckily, the frightening fug is still visible in ball form. The ball on the left was my first bobbin. The ball on my right was my second and third, plied for "better consistency." Yeah, right. I am fond of its fugly self, though. I really do think the blue was the perfect calming color for a dope who bought a spinning wheel sight unseen and proceeded to teach herself out of books.

Today I have free to knit and spin, watch last season's LOST on dvd and do a little laundry. Sometimes life is good.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival 2006

On Sunday Kathy (Kathrows) and I went to the Wisconsin Sheep and Fiber Festival, where we dyed merino roving, ate lamb hotdogs, got rained on, and bought stuff:

From top left: Corriedale and silk roving dyed in osage, indigo and madder, pygora roving, dyed silk hankie, camel down (for my sp), and two dyed blends of alpaca, llama, silk and wool. I had vowed to only spend cash and quit when my wallet was empty. Only the fact that the ATM machine was out of money and most of the vendors didn't take credit cards stopped me from seriously running into debt.

In the morning, we took a dye class called Hot Rainbow Dye. Little did I know it was to be taken literally. Here's our dyed merino rovings, 28 ounces worth:

The first three are handpainted and set in the microwave (by Kathy, by us collaboratively and by me, respectively). The next two are from a round pot with a divider in the middle, supposed to keep the dye from blending together and the last two are from a rectangular pan, supposed to blend the dyes more. You can see a lot of undyed fiber, especially in the last two.

How will they spin up? We'll have to wait to see! Right now I'm busy with this:

Pygora--from the pygmy angora goat. It's soft as kittens. Literally. It spins up hairy and smooshy and unevenly--I'm loving it, despite my decided preference for smooth yarns.

Here it is on the bobbin. I think I will ply it as it is so soft I'm afraid a singles might not be strong enough on its own. I can hardly stand to go to bed or eat supper while it is sitting there waiting to be spun.I'm going to start saving now for next year. I think I'll double the amount I have to spend.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hooray for Spinnyhead!

I hit the Fiber Motherload today! A deceptively small box arrives via Sheep Express:

Inside, a veritable bounty of spinnables! Can you believe: wonderful (purple!) mohair top, dyed silk bell (purple too!), ingeo (in, you guessed it, purple!), bleached linen top, bamboo top, recycled soda bottles and denim (???), and silk cocoons! Not to mention a make your own sheep kit (tee hee!), chai and cinnamon tea (the kettle's just about to boil!), yummy Giradelli chocolate with toffee, and two little mice for Nellie and Chester.

Nellie promptly stuck hers in Mom's shoe. She's been playing with it non-stop for an hour. That cat sure likes a new toy!

Chester inspected his, went for a bite to eat, and by the time he returned, Nellie had stuck his in a convenient shoe, so he went back to sleep.

Spinnyhead went above and beyond with this package! My hands are itching to try that mohair. Or maybe I'll start with the bamboo. Or the silk cap.... I'll keep you posted! Thanks so much Spinnyhead!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Batty Rocks!

Just look at this fab-u-lous final package I got from my super SP7 secret pal, Batty! The haul contains some great-smelling--mmm vanilla!-- shower gel and body cream, Burt's Bee's hand cream (don't you love Burt's Bees?), a rubber ducky :), dark, dark chocolate (the good stuff!), wonderful, soft, springy, cheerful, colorful sock yarn from Lucy Neatby that is a joy to pet, and that will be my next pair of socks, and a handknit, beaded swirl hat!

Here I am modelling the hat. It is wonderful! A lovely mulberry that I love, exactly the color I gravitate toward in the yarn shop. It's a great stitch pattern, and the beads are a perfect addition. It fits me really well, and I haven't taken it off since I opened my package, except to take the photo above. Batty is super-talented. I can't say enough about it--I just love it! Thanks so much Batty!

I've had a busy weekend, since I went to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival yesterday. That will have to wait for its own post. Suffice it to say, my wallet was completely empty at the end of the day, and only the fact that the ATM machine was out of money stopped me.

Finally, on a more somber note, it's the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I still remember every detail of that day--what I was wearing, who I was with, the e-mails I exchanged with friends across the nation. I expect you can remember too. It was a day of both hazy unreality and utter clarity. For those who lost loved ones, I wish peace. For those who planned the attacts, I hope for them to be brought to justice--whether in this world or the next.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

An Elephant and an Experiment

So I knitted up this Elephant for a little boy named Cooper who was born a few weeks ago. He's my best friend's first nephew and the whole family is so excited by his arrival! I hope to meet him this weekend. I'm thinking Elmer, but maybe that's a little hackneyed. Horton?

He's from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, which is just about the only pattern book I ever make anything from. One strand Koigu KPPPM, one strand Dale of Norway Baby Ull and Koigu KPPM for his kerchief. Cute, isn't he?

Meanwhile, in a fit of boredom, I have embarked upon an experiment. I had occasion to search the internet for a specific pattern book recently. When I discovered that the shipping for the pattern would be more than for the actual pattern itself, I decided to throw in some yarn as well to make it worth my while. None of the yarns were jumping out at me, so I very foolishly decided to purchase the Grab Bag. Now, the Grab Bag was billed as "Over $30 worth of yarn, usually 3 to 4 balls, for the low price of $19.95." You could pick your color choices. I decided on green for some godawful reason now unknown to me. It'll be an experiment, I said to myself. I'll take what they give me and make something from it. I'll expand my creative horizons. I won't cheat. It'll be fun.

The package arrived. The grab bag was pretty.

The contents were not. Nellie is disgusted. (I did warn you about the cats, didn't I? They are frickin' hams.)

That's a sparkly Packer green and gold ribbon yarn, a not-so-bad-in-small doses squiggly yarn, and a truly horrible avocado-and-harvest-gold-straight-straight-from-the-seventies-appliance-color-scheme eyelashy yarn.

What in the name of all that is holy can I create with this stuff? Suggestions? Bonus points for tying in my beloved Packers. Help!

Friday, July 28, 2006

A brace of Boogas

Those dang Booga Bags are so addicting, aren't they?

Top one is 3 balls Kureyon, bottom one four. I find making Boogas to be very soothing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Secret Spoiler Strikes Again

Yay! A great package arrived today from my SP7 pal, Secret Spoiler! Yummy Cadbury Fingers (now sadly half gone), a dark chocolate coconut candy bar of suspicious German origin which is supposed to be a clue (hmmm, yummm), Knitting Rules! which I've been dying to read, a really cute tape measure with a cat on it (you pull a bit of fur to pull it out--Nellie and Chester have been all over it), a little jar of Marmite (which I will be trying on my toast tomorrow morning--I figure it won't actually kill me, right?), and two lovely squishy balls of Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in a nice violet color (my first Debbie Bliss). I'm a little overwhelmed by it all, to tell you the truth! Thanks Secret Spoiler, you made my week!

You see I can't even take a picture without Chester getting a piece of the action.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Soysilk Drawstring Pouch

My first finished object with my own handspun. This floppy, silky drawstring pouch, adapted from a pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts, holds a birthday present for someone! It's all wrapped up and ready to be opened. The soysilk made a lovely drapey fabric perfect for the slouchy pouch. And there's plenty of uneveness to prove it's Hand Made. I hope the recipient likes it! I must admit to a glow of accomplishment when I hold it.