Saturday, December 28, 2013

Final Reveal, Finally

 The Christmas pressies are all delivered and unwrapped and can now be revealed!  For nephew Aaron, a plush Dalek in bright Xmas red which, I believe, makes it the Supreme Dalek.  Feel free to correct me Dr. Who fans.

He's made from the Extermiknit! pattern by Entropyhouse.  There's an awful lot of knitting in those bobbles, but well worth it in the end.  He stands about 11 inches high and he's stuffed with polyfil, except for his base which is weighted with a poly-pellet filled bean bag.

 Niece Thea received a knitted charm bracelet.  This is from the Care of Magical Creatures pattern - both pack 1 and pack 2 by Tiny Owl Knits.  The pattern called for a metal bangle as the bracelet base, with a single crochet cover worked all around, but instead I chose to make a leather bracelet with a toggle clasp with the crocheted cover.  I like that the bracelet can open and close, but the leather has a distinct leathery smell, I'm hoping that fades with time.

Just in case Thea was wondering what some of the creatures are, the charms, in order from one end to the other are; gnome, antler, hippogriffe feather, frog (I made a chocolate frog), dragonfly, unicorn horn, phoenix feather, mandrake root, mermaid egg, potion bottle, dragon tail, will 'o wisp, owl (my favourite), bird's nest, goblin crown, chameleon, pixie wing, wand, fox tail, bear paw, fairy house (also very cute - should've taken a snap of that one!), cat's paw, raven feather, hedgehog, dirigible plum, starwhale, puffskein, bat, toadstool, and monster book.

So stinkin' adorable.
For Elly and Steve I made two pair of Fightin' Words fingerless mitts by Annie Watts.

 I knit them in what I like to believe are Winnipeg Jets colours.  They might not be exact, but not being a hockey fan, they're the best I could do.  Steve's are made with Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Cotton Stretch in turquoise and Knitpicks Gloss Merino/Silk in the Winter Night colourway.

 Elly's are Knitpicks Bare Merino/Silk in the natural colourway with the same turquoise Lana Grossa Meilenweit.  Can you read them?  They say POW and BAM.  For their first Christmas as a married couple (and for watching hockey games).

Hope everyone had a very Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cosy x 2

I'm tearing up the year end, am I not?  A staggering number of blog posts in the last few days, if I do say so.  I have two cosies to share, first up the LTYC Cowl by Kelly Hechinger.  This is a fabulously quick knit done in super-bulky yarn.  The entire piece can easily be worked in an evening.
I worked it in Malabrigo Yarns Rasta in the brilliant true red colourway.  It's got a very festive vibe to it, though if I were to make another I would go down a needle size, as it's a tad huge, and I don't have an overly large head.  Did you know that many film stars have large heads?  This is a well known fact - it makes for a more photogenic person, apparently.  I suppose there's no future for me in films.

Here's someone with a biggish head, the tea cosy I knitted this past week.  She's from the Sweet Old Lady pattern by Loly Fuertes.

I've made one of her patterns before, the nurse tea cosy, which I gifted to my Mum without ever blogging about it...hmmm....I wonder what else I never mention? she is in all her big-headed glory (not my Mum, but the Old Lady).  She's made mostly from scraps (the tea cosy!), with a hefty dose of Filatura Di Crosa Zara in black (like the angora pup mitts from the last post).

Can you see her wire-rimmed specs I crafted for her?  Adorable.

Next up I'll post the Christmas gifts I've made this year, but first I'll let the recipients
see them first.  In the mean time,
Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Christmas Werewolf

Is everyone feeling festive?  We have two new ornaments on the tree this year...

a sparkly Tardis and

a cheery red Dalek.

Nigel made sure that the Dalek shared the top of the tree with Darth Vader.  Evil must reign, and all that!
And a smidge more darkness...

this little fellow.  I meant to have him made for Hallowe'en, but didn't get him started until early November.  Does he look a wee bit pudgy?

Well, that's because he's really a werewolf.

Wait, no, he's just a regular guy...

Ack!  No, no it's a werewolf!
Oooh, it's a Topsy Turvy Werewolf.  Clever, yes?
I'll show you something I made this December (see, I am getting  caught up), these lovely, cosy mittens.  Made for me!
These were based on the Westie Mittens pattern by Michelle Czyzo.  I worked them in Filatura Di Crosa Zara in black and Elann Pure Angora in white.  The pattern was very sweet, but I didn't trust the stitch numbers with the suggested yarn and needles size.  It looked as though they'd knit up too narrow and too long for my hands, so I redrafted the entire pattern.  I ended up deleting the first nine rows of the body of the mitten and adding a traditional Norwegian gored thumb - my favourite thumb - does anyone else have a favourite thumb?.   

Sunday, December 15, 2013

And Then, Of Course, There was October...

We're not even going to talk about how negligent I've been in updating this year, instead we're going to plow through the end of the year with abandon!  Clearly, these snaps date back to Hallowe'en judging by the mantle decor in the upcoming image -  just ignore.

First project up is a pair of socks in the Pirate Danger pattern by Jeannie Cartmel.  Can you see the skull and cross bones appearing in the pattern?  They're being worked in Trekking Pro Natura by Zitron in the colourway called Jeans.  I started knitting them way back at the beginning of September and have only picked them up periodically since then, even now, I've not yet finished the first sock, but I'll still count it as an October project, since it sat staring at me through the month.

Both started and finished during October was the Morticia Shawl by Boo Knits.  Morticia was offered up at the end of September as a MKAL for October (MKAL stands for Mystery Knit-A-Long).  The pattern would be delivered up as four clues without seeing an example of the finished project, one clue a week for four weeks, with any dawdlers to be finished up by Hallowe'en.  I managed to finish by the 30th.  I've taken part in a Knit-A-Long (a KAL) before, but never in mystery form.  It was an interesting experience, but I think I prefer seeing where I'm going when I'm on a journey.

It was worked in JaggerSpun Heather 2/20 in the Lava colourway with matte black beads.  It's beautifully heavy with beads, giving it a lovely drape with deep Gothic points along the lower edge.  Very Morticia, indeed!

I'll be updating more this week in a desperate attempt to wrap up this year before it ends for real!

Friday, November 8, 2013

September's Knitting Shenanigans


Dear, dear , dear, all the way back to September, you say!  Yes, that's when these wee lovelies left the needles.  First up, Devilish Dragon by designer, Alan Dart.  He was worked in Sirdar Bonus DK in the light grey mix colourway.  This is the first time I've worked with this yarn, and I'm fairly impressed.  It's the yarn that's recommended for the pattern, but only available in the U.K, which is why I've never used it before.  I decided to take the plunge and order a few skeins, seeing as they were so cheap.  The yarn is made from 100% acrylic, not something I'd use for a garment, but very sturdy for a toy, and , though sturdy, it's still quite soft to the touch, and the colours were fairly attractive.  All in all, I'd definitely use this yarn again for projects, in fact, I bought a fair amount since there was one flat rate for shipping, just $7.95 CDN.  Oddly, it's also $7.95 to ship to Australia, and yet $9.55 to Denmark or Norway.  Doesn't that seem odd?  Isn't Norway closer to Britain than Australia?  Perhaps that's what my dragon is pondering on with his tongue lolling about like that...


He's a bit pigeon-toed, isn't he?

Also finished back in September, another dissection from designer, Emily Stoneking, this one is the bat.  He's knit from small scraps, with some needle felted organs for his innards.

I bought a piece of mat board in a colour called "Peacock", much richer than the colour in the photo.  He was hanging on the dining-room wall through Hallowe'en.

Happy Belated Hallowe'en!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Before September Ends

The new Lorelei is all finished, in fact she was done before mid-August, I've been lolling about, with no good excuse for where I've been.  Apart from those two surgeries I had over the summer - sounds quite dramatic, doesn't it?  It was just dental surgery to fix some receding gums.  I've been telling everyone I now have the gums of a teenager, but, I digress...

back to Lorelei.  I re-knit the entire doll (I won't bother linking to her, since she was just in the last post).  Her new tail is a lovely soft  shade of ice blue, her skin is no longer lumpy, stinky cotton, but a soft peach wool, and her hair is strands of bright orange sock yarn and apricot-coloured mohair.  Her sea-shell bra is made from the same metallic aqua yarn as the last one, and I re-used the bean bag derriere for her stuffing.  The new Lorelei also has a much better face - my embroidery skills still leave a lot to be desired.

Isn't she sweet?  Now Barnacle Bill the Pirate has a significant other.

Octo Puss isn't so sure about the new arrangement.

Also off the needles "recently" (as in, early August, earlier even than Lorelei), is another new shawl.  This one is called Billie Holiday by Susanna IC.  This is a very quick knit, one great, big enormous cast-on, a not-too-intricate beaded lace section, then short rowed stocking stitch with an optional beaded cast-off.  I chose to add the beads to the cast-off, but you can't see it in this particular snap.  The beads add a lovely weight to the drape of this shawl.  I worked it in Highland Alpaca Fino by Scachenmayr, in a beautiful shade of midnight blue.  The photo doesn't do the colour justice, it's deep and rich, the silver-lined beads look just like stars twinkling in the night sky.

Also, from way back in August, is the Troll by Alan Dart.  He was worked up in bits and pieces from the substantial yarn stash that lives in our house, and came out quite adorable.  The main body was knit in a very, very natural yarn.  It has a lot of lanolin in it, as though it were spun right off the sheep, out in a field somewhere.  It makes for quite a coarse textured skin, but quite fitting for a big, ugly troll.

His hair is suppose to be sewn on across the back of the head, from ear to ear, but Ian suggested a Mohawk might look more hip...

and so, Hipster Troll.

Stay tuned, since tomorrow is the start of October, perhaps I'll be back to update you on the September's knitting shenanigans.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Beauty, a Beast and an Alien

Pretty hydrangeas and baby's breath from the garden.  The hydrangeas have been particularly lovely this year, though it's been a lot of work keeping them hydrated on the very hot days.  In early July I was watering them twice a day, both times soaking them with the garden hose.  It made a difference though, right after the wedding they opened into beautiful shades of pink and blue.

Off the needles recently was a friend for Barnacle Bill the Pirate from this post, her name is Lorelei the Mermaid and she's terrible.  She's from an Alan Dart pattern, the same as Bill, but she didn't turn out anyway near as well (not the designer's fault, by the way).

I realised during construction of her that I didn't have enough flesh-toned yarn to finish her off (she has more skin showing than most of Dart's patterns).  Instead of heading out to a reputable yarn store, I foolishly headed over to Michael's.  Now, Michael's is fine for lots of things; pencil crayons, stickers, silk flowers..., but not yarn.

I had been hoping to find something in a DK weight, preferably in a wool or wool blend, but there was nothing.  I ended up buying a DK cotton, specifically produced for making dishcloths - Bah!  She's all lumpy and has a distinct, anti-bacterial soap stink - Bah, twice!

And look at her fingers... they're like big sausages!  I'm going to have to re-do her, she's just beastly!

Also off the needles (very recently), is a bit of wall art.

Ian now has his very own alien autopsy for his bedroom wall:

I'm very pleased with how this turned out.  He's made from scraps of DK weight yarn from the pattern by Emily Stoneking.  That link takes you to her etsy shop where you can buy patterns, kits and finished objects.  If you've been paying attention over the years, you'll remember that I made the same designer's dissected frog for my niece, Thea, back in 2010 - see here.

Perhaps I should take some inspiration and give my mermaid a bit of dissection.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Knitted Wedding Gift

In honour of Elly and Steve's wedding I knit a sweet, sentimental pillow for their wee home.  It's a pattern from the book Knitalong:  Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together by Larissa Brown, called The Pillow of Sei Shonagon.  Instead of knitting with the required linen, I chose Bourette de Soie by Pingouin, a chalky, nubbly silk in a natural colour.  After knitting a large eyelet rectangle, you write out a poem (or in this case, song lyrics) in ink, then cut the cotton into long strips and weave them through the eyelet holes.

I chose lyrics from the Belle and Sebastian song, Asleep on a Sunbeam, which are as follows:

When the half light makes for a clearer view  
Sleep a little more if you want to But restlessness has seized me now, it's true  
I could watch the dreams flicker in your eyes  
Lyin' here asleep on a sunbeam I wonder if you realize you fascinate me so
Think about a new destination If you think you need inspiration  

Roll out the map and mark it with a pin 
I will follow every direction Just lace up your shoes while I'm fetchin' a sleepin' bag, a tent 
Another summer's passing by
All I need is somewhere I can feel the grass beneath my feet 

A walk on sand, a fire, I can warm my hands My joy will be complete
I thought about a new destination I'm never short of new inspiration  
Roll out the map and mark it with the gin  
Made my plans to conquer the country I'm waiting for you to get out of your situation  
With your job and with your life
All I need is somewhere I can feel the grass beneath my feet  
A walk on sand, a fire, I can warm my hands My joy will be complete
Another summer's passin' by  
All I need is somewhere I can feel the grass beneath my feet  
A walk on sand, a fire, I can warm my hands My joy will be complete
A good song to represent setting off on an adventure together, yes?

After the wedding, Nigel and Ian had jetted off to Toronto and Chicago to see various concerts, one of which was Belle and Sebastian.  Nigel had suggested rather than giving the pillow to Elly and Steve, he should instead take it to the concert and heave it onto the stage for Stuart and the rest of the band.  I considered it briefly, but decided against it.  Maybe I should send them a link to my blog...

The band never made a video for this song, but someone uploaded the music.  Have a listen!

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Well, July has flown right by, and there have been many knitting projects that have been started and finished this year that I still haven't blogged.  So, over the next few posts (all of which are being composed today, and will be posted over the next few days) I'm going to get myself caught up on the documenting of projects that is suppose to be this blog!

Started back in March - March the 2nd if my Ravelry page is to be believed - is Paon designed by Kerry Milani.  I worked this up in Royal Wedding by Fyberspates, a very beautiful sapphire blue merino/alpaca/silk blend lace yarn with silver thread running through - this yarn was inspired by the Royal Wedding back in 2011.  I ordered the yarn back when it was first in production and it sat waiting for the right project.  After  starting and stopping another project with the yarn, I chose Paon as  the obvious choice for one particular pattern.  Why obvious, you ask?  Well, because my eldest, Elly, was planning her own wedding for July of this year with the colour/decor theme of peacocks (paon is french for peacock).  Meant to be!

Each eye of the peacock feathers are beaded with 13 beads.  I'm noticing that the one I chose to photograph has only 12 - there's suppose to be four at the base of the eye - Oops!  Thirteen being a good number, as the wedding was held on the 13th of July, 2013. 

I had thought I might have the shawl as a wrap for the event, but ended up buying a bright turquoise silk dress to wear (altered by my friend Lori - thanks again Lori!), and the sapphire and the turquoise competed too much with each other.  So, I ended up wearing a silvery-white wrap (store-bought, I'm ashamed to say), and Elly took the sapphire wrap to wear at the reception - which she didn't, because her dress was so heavy she was already over-heated!

Still, it's a beautiful shawl and she's got a lovely knitted memento of the day, in the same colour as the bridesmaids dresses!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Andy and the Ancients

I've finished off Andy Murray.  His tennis racquet was a bit of a beast to construct, and if I had to do another one I think I could do a much better job (the proportions are a bit off, I think it needs to be bigger).

I chose some dark brown Rowan tweed for his hair.  I realise, of course, the real Andy has more of a dark blonde with auburn lights sort of colour, but there were limited choices in yarn.  Nigel also made the suggestion that Andy's hair is rarely so tidy, so...

I added some needle-felted auburn lights - far less tidy than before.  Go get 'em, Andy!

New to our abode:

an antique cabinet for the kitchen.  I've been wanting something old for our new space.

I've filled it full of vintage bakelite - makes me very happy to walk passed it everyday!                        

I've been waiting patiently for a good old-fashioned haunting in my cabinet, but I haven't seen             anything yet.  In the meantime, I'll have to be content to watch this fantastic cabinet display at the       Manchester Museum.  Enjoy!