Sunday, December 31, 2006

Holiday Knitting

It's been a very busy Christmas season, and I've been getting a little knitting done while visiting, etc. I found 3/4 of a pair of socks that I went ahead and finished. You can see photos which show more detail on all of these by clicking here.

The pattern is Pat's Almost Serious Socks, which I got from Patternworks some time ago. It was free with a yarn purchase, and the original pair was my very first pair of socks. It has an easy lace pattern, and was meant to be done in a cotton yarn with gold and silver carrying thread for the heels and toes. This is a nice wool from Bergere de France, and for some reason I had done the first sock, and had the second one done about halfway down the heel flap, then stopped cold for about 5 years I think. Whatever. Anyway, it seems like sock time again, so I finished them, and then began a pair of quickies from an old favorite pattern called Fundamental Socks. It's in the Spin Off Socks book. It's just a plain ribbed sock done in a worsted weight yarn, but you put wooly nylon in the heel and sole. It's a nice technique which really adds to the durability of the socks. They were designed as work socks, and they are nice. Here's a picture of the cuff so far, with the Peep looking on.

I also did gauge swatches for the Bendigo Cabled Cardigan, and started it as well. Here's my progress on one side of the front, so far.

I like this pattern very much. It doesn't come with a chart, so I made my own after doing one full repeat with the written instructions. After that, and making the chart, it's almost memorized anyway. It's not a really complicated pattern, but interesting enough to make for good knitting, and I really like the color and the yarn itself.

I also have photos of the Fake-A-Gamo bag that is all knitted, and now just needs to be assembled. I haven't quite found the right lining for it, which is going to be important, as it will show through the fairly large holes in the pattern.

And here's a close up of the stitch pattern.

Hope you've all had a great holiday season, and a little down time to spend with family and friends. It's been very nice here, but today we are suddenly buried under snow, which makes a few last visits very difficult, if not impossible.

Buried Under the White Stuff

Yesterday and the preveious days, it rained, but today we finally got it. Not exactly what I was hoping for, or at least not quite yet.

You can see how deep it is on the deck railings.

The poor birds empty the feeders about as fast as I can fill them.

As always, larger versions of the photos at Pbase.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bendigo Wool is Here

From Yarn

My package of Australian wool came the 23rd, the last package before Christmas, and just for me! Bendigo didn't break their record, but it was a very respectable 12 day turnaround, so I'm pleased. I think it's a lovely color, (which you can see more clearly here) and even though my choices on the order form were Balls or Cones, I was a little surprised by the balls, as I guess I'd always had Skeins before, and then wound them into balls myself. They don't seem to offer that anymore. It used to be $1 more to have them wound for you, and I don't mind doing it myself, even though I don't have a ball-winder, just a nice swift. It's kind of relaxing, and I love to get my hands on the yarn. You get a real feel for it by doing the winding yourself, too.

I also got 2 patterns from them, and I may be going to use the cabled cardigan pattern from them. It looks very nice. I need to swatch a little first.

I finished all the knitting for the Fake-a-gamo bag last night, and blocked it. It looks so much better after blocking. Not even like the same stitch pattern, as the triangles all move into place rather than being lumpy. Now, all I have to do is sew it together and make the lining, which will be a little more complicated than the instructions. I like pockets inside my purses, and I also want to use some stiffening, so I will probably do a double lining, and put the interfacing in between layers. There are so many holes in the stitch pattern that whatever's next to it will show right through. The little curlicues at the bottom were so fun to do, and are really silly, but very cute. Pictures soon, I hope.

I'm off to pick up my sister at the bus depot, where United Airlines will finally get her from Denver to here. Fly United, ride the bus for 8 hours, after spending a day and a night at the airport.... Oh well, she was only supposed to be here yesterday afternoon. They promised her their next available flight otherwise, on Monday afternoon! So, our Christmas celebration will be slightly postponed.

Hope you are all enjoying whatever you are doing this holiday weekend! We are!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vogue 8323

This is a first try on Vogue 8323, a nice knit top pattern. I used View A, with the crossover neckline, and added sleeves. I was planning to do long sleeves, but I only had enough fabric to do 3/4 sleeves. I altered the pattern before I began, but I will be doing a few things to it before I make it again. I do think I will make it again, as I like the style. It will be better in a beefier knit as well. You can see the photo larger here, and a sideview here.

It's been a long time since I made a Vogue knit top, and I must say, the instructions were particularly bad. They say the pattern is for Moderate Stretch Knits Only, and then on the View C instructions, they say, "If using a knit fabric...." What did they expect you to use? They also mention a serger only in passing, after instructing you in each step to do double-stitched seams. That technique is from the dawn of knit fabrics, if I recall correctly. I certainly haven't seen that anywhere for years. They really could stand to update their cut-and-paste library of instructional paragraphs.

I've been working on Christmas presents some, and only have one more thing to finish, which shouldn't be too difficult, I hope. Mainly, I have to find my instructions for a nice, twisted cord. I used some from an old copy of Piecework magazine once, and I liked the results.

I have stalled a little on the Marfy dress, as things have just overrun me, and I need time to decide whether I really like the plaid chiffon with the matelasslé. I think it should be nice, but then I worry.

I have begun again on the Fake-a-gamo (Ferragamo knock-off) bag. I was about 3/4 done with the first side, and started to kind of dislike it, so I quit for a while. I finished it the other night, making a few changes to the very top section, and I really think it's going to be neat. I'm about half-way through the second side now, so I'm hoping it will finish quickly. The photo on the left is the original, with the wonderful, yet difficult to replicate, wicker top. The photo on the right is the copy, and mine will be very similar, although more like the original in color. You can get the pattern at KnitLit.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chiffon is here!

When I ordered the plaid chiffon for my Dressy Dress last Monday, I was slightly resigned to the idea that it might not come very quickly. Fashion Fabrics Club is not always the quickest online fabric source, but they vary pretty widely, so you never know. Well, the chiffon came yesterday, and I think I like it with the matelasse. One week from ordering to holding it in my hot little hand. Pretty good, I'd say.

I celebrated by ordering yarn and two patterns last night from Bendigo Woolen Mills. I thought I knew exactly what kind of sweater I wanted, but now I'm not so sure. My original plan was a cabled cardigan, and I still want one, but maybe in a lighter weight. Actually, all my original plans for this order kind of went out the window. I was set on Colonial yarn, which is a cabled wool, and makes for great stitch definition. I used it for The Red Cardigan, and it was great to knit with, and has held up beautifully.

You can see better quality photos here.

Unfortunately, I fell in love with a color which is only available in their Rustic range, also wool, but not cabled. I've used Rustic before, as well as Colonial, and it's very nice, but it's not Colonial. Rustic only comes in 8 & 12 ply (nominally DK & Chunky/Aran), while Colonial comes in 5 & 8 ply(Sport/Fingering & DK). In my opinion though, Rustic has much the best colors. I have ordered #951, Peppercorn, which is a blend of sage and pale teal with just a few reddish brown fibers mixed in. It's a complex blend, and the Colonial colors are much simpler. They have some lovely ones, though. I'm certainly not affiliated with Bendigo, but if you like yarn, it's worthwhile to email them and ask for a color card, as they have a lot of different yarns, and their prices are extremely reasonable. Hard to believe they don't have a website at all, but their service is great. They're at

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Many, Many Things, None of Them Fiber-Related

From Inbox

It's been quite the day, or two days, actually.

Yesterday I was basically gone all day from about noon until after 8pm. This is not conducive to getting to the things that I want to do, since there's always about so much time that's taken up by things I have to do, and there was barely time for that!

Today was rather similar, although I was at home more. It was a beautiful day today. Over 60 degrees, so I had planned to fill the fish ponds, which lose quite a bit to evaporation during very cold weather. The level falls until it's warm enough to fill them easily. It was a good day for this, but I ended up having to clean one filter, and rescue a smallish fish that was trying to swim up the tubing to the pump, and then got stuck! He seems to be fine, although I'm not going to believe that he's really okay for at least a few days anyway. Fish who seem fine after some weird adventure often suddenly die a few days later.

I also did a bunch of yard cleanup, and among other things, disposed of a topiary tree that seems to have met either a crabby woodpecker, or a Lilliputian Lumberjack.
From 12-5-06

I honestly don't know what happened to this, but I thought it was really funny. It's time for something new, anyway. I took this at the same time as the sunset photo. It was just really beautiful, and I was surprised it even looked anything like it really did, because sunset photos are usually very disappointing. They're like whale photos. It's unbelievable that a photo of a whale, the largest thing on earth looks like absolutely nothing, but it always does.

Yarnish Delight

From 12-5-06

I finished this quick little scarf Monday night. I think it's pretty cute, and for anyone with a cold neck, it's very nice. I like it worn both straight, as shown, and also with the "knot" at the side. The pattern is from Katherine Burgess, and is a free download. It's a rather old-fashioned item, but I think it's very nice, and after all, Vintage is In!

From 12-5-06

I ordered a new color card and price list from Bendigo Wools (of Bendigo, Australia) just a couple days ago, and here it came yesterday! They don't have a website, you just have to email them, and call a toll-free number to order. They hold the record for fastest service ever for a yarn order, from anywhere, to me. (I once got a yarn order which came from Australia, in 3 days!) I was pleased to get the color card, as I always liked their yarn, and they're very reasonably priced. I really like one of their colors in the Rustic line (which is on the back of the card shown) and will probably order some for a cardigan I have in mind. I wish the color was available in the Colonial line, as I like the cabled construction of the yarn. It gives such wonderful stitch definition and durability, but I'm afraid the color will trump everything. I have my heart set on a cabled cardigan, although I'm not quite settled on the pattern yet.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Dressy Dress

Well, I can't remember the last time I made a really dressy dress. I just don't wear them very much. I have a tendency to wear separates, or more casual things. I just fell in love with this Marfy pattern (#1128) though, and decided that I had to try it in the shorter length. I think I can get some good out of it during the holiday season this year.
From Patterns

I altered the pattern yesterday, doing a FBA and lengthening the dress 2". The sleeve length looks as if it may be fine, although I'll check them again with the dress on before I cut out the chiffon, which I don't have yet anyway. I'm using a chocolate poly matelasse that's really pretty nice. I cut it out and basted it all together (except the sleeves) tonight and tried it on. I realized that I forgot to fold out some of the length above the bust, but with this design, I can rather easily take a much deeper shoulder seam, and I'm not sure I'll even need to deepen the armscyes. I'll see. It's amazing how much difference it makes in the fit. Suddenly everything just slides right into place. Why I couldn't remember to do it first, I don't know, but perhaps I need to put up a poster with a list of the Required Alterations so that I don't have to rely on my memory. I was so worried about ruining the shaping of the pattern while doing the FBA that I think I just heaved a sigh of relief when it was done, seemingly without problems, and promptly forgot everything else I would normally do.

I am thinking of a plaid printed silk chiffon for the collar and sleeves.
From Fabric

I think with the plain, very dark brown for the dress itself, even with the matelasse texture, this might be a nice contrast.

It's so cold here now, 10 degrees as I write, that I had to make myself try on the dress, as it's not a warm dress. That may be something against it for this season. Well, either way, it will be done and ready to go when I want it.