Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Yes that is a lump of coal you see! It's traditional in Scotland to go first footing on Hogmany (New Year's eve) and tradition has it that you bring a lump of coal to put on the fire, some whiskey and that you be male, dark and handsome! Of course it's difficult to meet all that criteria so often the coal is dismissed and folks bring the whiskey to put a glow in their cheeks instead...that makes everyone feel Bonnie!

So raise your glasses for a wee toast

A guid New Year to ane an a' And mony may ye see
(A good New Year to one and all And many may you see)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Xmas Knits Revealed

So it is the day after xmas or what is referred to in Britain as Boxing Day (Quick wikipedia definition for those not familair-Boxing Day is a traditional celebration, dating back to the Middle Ages, and consists of the practice of giving out gifts to employees, the poor, or to people in a lower social class.-Of course mostly what it's about these days are boxing day sales and more consuming......not having any servants ourselves we did donate some gifts to a family in need on time for xmas.

In light of all the over purchasing of goods that goes on at this time of the year (and I admit to a bit of over spending myself) I do make an effort with the handmade and finally I can share my productivity now that the recipients of the gifts have done their unwrapping!

For my niece in new Zealand- The Molly/Monkey Bag (Made up Pattern)

For her younger sister Maddy-Elijah by Ysolda- intended for Maddy but being looked after by Molly until Maddy is responsible enough for an elephant!

For my two brothers- The Shetland Shopper- My take on the string bag (and I know there are some great patterns out there for string bags but I felt compelled to come up with my own) using a basic shetland lace and made entirely in the round -free pattern coming soon!

For my daughter and one for Granny too- The Noro Striped Scarf a la Jared Flood

(Grandpa got an Unst Cap)

For my ocean mad son-A Dumbo Octopus pattern by Hansigurumi -check her out for more fun ocean friends and yes there really is an octupus with elephant like ears at the bottom of the ocean!

...and for my dearly beloved some more Fuzzy Feet.....(I think I've made about 14 pairs all told...not all for him)! Great pattern!

What was so special for me this year was that my daughter wanted to knit gifts for her family too.....I am so proud of her accomplishments and thrilled that she sees the joy in creating and giving.

Mr Froggy!- Very happily received by her younger brother! (Pattern made up by Maya)

Coral reef bag-Also made up by Maya and also happily recieved by Sage!

Noro Striped Hat- Made for Dad (little bit of help given on the shaping but mostly the work of Maya)

...and she's working on a scarf for me!

I got a lovely wooden yarn swift ......displaying a fuzzy foot yet to be felted (destined for me as I've never actually made myself a pair) created last night with yarn I received from my sister in New Zealand....first time anyone has given me yarn as a gift .....I was sooo happy!

Also on display on the swift but not being done justice in that photo is some gorgeous yarn I have treated myself to- a sport weight merino/silk blend, hand-dyed by CayaColourYarn( someone I 'met' recently via ravelry) destined to become a Gudrun orginal design in the near future. These photos aren't great either but I tell you it's a lovely hue of cornflower yellows!(And which this colourway is aptly named).

Wowsers...that was a lot of pictures...well done if you made it this far! for more swifting and to finish the other fuzzy foot as it's actually getting nippy enough in Fresno for some slipper socks!

Hope you all are having a festive/fun time whatever you celebrate (or don't)!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Don't Dis your Daemon!

My husband and I took our kids to see the Golden Compass last weekend. We all mostly enjoyed it as an action-packed, visually stunning experience (David and I had read the books so knew a lot was missing and had our own complaints about that)..however this post is not a movie review. As a result of the release of this movie there has been a lot of Daemon talk within the family-in this household and with family in Scotland and New Zealand.

Daemons,for those who don't know the book or movie, are animals that are like guardian spirits that stay with their human and reflect their inner Dad started thinking about what his daemon might be and that got the rest of us started....we came up with our own to begin with.....David reckoned his was something that liked to get out for walks and help him write his brother thought his was a duck (still not sure why).....and my daughter Maya was intent on hers being a snow leopard (her favourite animal and a daemon that is in the movie).

Then we were directed to here.....answer 20 questions truthfully and have your daemon revealed.......
Turns out Maya's is a snow leopard! (link to her blog to see her daemon-yes my 8 year old has a blog too)!
My son's sage was a gibbon -fairly appropriate
David's a fox.....perfect for getting out for walks and fueling his brain with plot....

...and mine...was a spider!

When this was revealed I had to admit to feeling disappointed...did not like the idea of a spider crawling around me especially after all the black widows I've found in this house (and subsequent dreams I've had) I answered the questions again....still a spider......I dismissed the whole thing and didn't save my daemon! It wasn't until my dad pointed out the weaving/spinning aspect of spiders that I realized how apt mine was and what a fool I'd been! However on my 3rd, 4th and 5th attempt I didn't get my spider back!! So I'm telling you now....don't dis you're daemon! I hope I haven't offended mine too much.....I'm going to believe he's still there spinning knitwear design ideas into my head and hands!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Feeling The Xmas Craftiness?

First off all credit for posting about this craft goes to Kat Coyle who blogged about these God's Eyes recently and inspired me to make some. It was such a fun and successfull experience for the whole family (well my husband didn"t participate but my 6 and 8 year old loved it) that I had to share with those who hadn't come across it before (and most of you Americans may well know all about this but it was new to this Scottish immigrant)!
For instructions visit Kat's blog for a cute little print out. We went for shortish sticks (probably about 5 inches in length) as we wanted these to be tree ornaments. As you can see from above we had all sorts of oddments of yarn and beads to use ....the possibilities were endless.
I made one slightly larger yellowish one to crown the tree and I think it's my favourite tree topper ever!
This is certainly manageable for age 5-ish and up...the yarn has to be wrapped in a certain way so "Over and Under" became my 6 year old's mantra for the duration of the activity! A fantastic way to display some of the leftovers of lovely yarns and a cool non-traditional festive decoration..whether hung on a tree or not!
For info on the symbolic aspect of God's eyes go here!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Little Black Dress Is Live!

I know I've blabbed about this already but she has now been published along with some other lovely things on's been a good week on the publication side of things....but more on that later!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Slipped Hours

Announcing another pattern available to buy through the Sanguine Gryphon's etsy store!
I designed this for her patterns section using her lovely "Dance" yarn (100% silk noil). It is a reversible (as in front and back) raglan worked from the bottom up. The slipped hourglass pattern is worked into the raglan on the body. The sweater is lightweight and silky against the skin.This yarn truly was a joy to work with. Gryphon has other beautiful hand-dyed yarns available for purchase and some other patterns too. Go check her out!

(Photos copyright of Sanguine Gryphon)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Unst Cap

This close fitting skullcap is not intended to function as your average winter wooly hat (as in not meant for the ski-slopes). Instead it can be worn as an indoor cap (for those who have chillier, older homes) or it can be worn outdoors for those who live in less northerly climes (maybe it’s not even winter where you live), or perhaps you’re just the type who prefers a less scratchy, more modest type of head covering in the winter (like my shaven-headed husband).

The origins of the lace pattern however come from a very northerly location, that of the island of Unst in Shetland (where ironically you’d probably want to wear a less ‘holey’ kind of hat)! I was attracted to this lace not only because it satisfies my need to include some aspect of my Shetland heritage when designing but also because of it's resemblance to crochet.

This classic looking cap can be made for any age, sex or hair length!

To fit head size 18(20, 22, 24) inches; 1 year old(2-4 year old, 5-adult small, adult large) Pick a size roughly 2 inches smaller than your head circumference as the cap is meant to be snuggish.

16(18, 20, 22) inches in circumference

MATERIALS[MC] Frog Tree Pima Silk [85% Pima Cotton/ 15% silk; 155 yds/m per 50g skein]; color: t830; 1 [1, 1, 1] skeins
16-inch US #4/3.5mm circular needle
16-inch US #5/3.75mm circular needle
1 stitch marker

GAUGE 24 sts/30 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch on larger circular needle
Change needle size as necessary to obtain gauge.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

xmas knitting

Yes indeed that time of year again...I always leave it a bit late and then have to do marathon knitting to get everything done! I also overload myself as it's become necessary for me to knit all my gifts...for everyone......!! However it's very satisfying to be able to give the ones I love a handknit and fun to choose what to knit for each individual! One of the books I have loved for ideas is the above by Melanie Falick (along with her Weekend Knitting book). Infact I decided to share a couple of projects from the above book that I made last year.....when I wasn't a blogger or Ravleryer (and therfore couldn't show off my completed knits)!
I totally fell in love with the Counterpane bag when I saw it and I had the good fortune to visit Santa Fe and the gorgeous La Lana Wools store...I didn't get the actual yarn called for in the book (very expensive and my dad was paying for it.....couldn't really justify the expense) but I did pick a hand-dyed yarn in a similar colour. I really like how it turned out...however seeing as I hardly ever use it I wondering if it should have a new home.....mmmmm?!
I ended up with quite a bit of left over yarn from the bag and paired it with another hand-dyed yarn (can't remember the brand now-wish I could as I really liked it- think it was made in peru-very natural colours-anyone have any ideas?) and made these stockings (also from Handknit Holidays) for my kids.

I have picked (notice it's picked not knit) my projects for this year's round of gifts but I guess I'll have to blog about them later as my family are frequent vistors here! I'm just like my son who had made a gift for me for xmas but couldn't bear to wait that long and so gave it to me early..he said he knows now to leave it to much closer to xmas! Guilty on both counts..impatient and leave things to the last minute!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Boho Baby Knits

I just got this book in the mail today and had to share how fantastic it is! I do "know" (in a blogging sense) several of the designers in this book so I knew it was going to be good no matter what. However I really am more than impressed. The book is filled from cover to cover with fun, colorful and definitely groovy patterns son was looking through with me and has already picked out his wardrobe! I honestly don't often come across a knitting book where I like all the patterns..but in this case I did.....I'm not being paid to really must check this book out if you have any wee people to knit for. Congratulations Kat, Edna, Marnie, Mary-Heather, Julia and Beth

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Free Love!

(A wee baby hat I whipped up for my cousin's new baby- thought I'd share the pattern)


Here’s a special little baby hat made in a bamboo/silk yarn called “Love” from Vickie Howell. Bamboo has antibacterial properties and offers some protection from UV rays and it’s a renewable resource….what a perfect covering for a new wee head.

Finished Size:
13 inch circumference can stretch to fit 16 inch head circumference
Newborn-12 months

2 balls Vickie Howell’s Love (70% Bamboo/ 30% Silk, 99yd/50g)
Shown in “Jack and Sally” (MC) and “Buttercup and Wesley” (CC)
Note: If making hat in a solid color only 1 ball is needed.

US#6 16 inch circular
Stitch Marker

22 sts and 24 rows = 4 inches on US#6 in stockinette stitch

After the rib band, stripes are worked in 2 rnd repeats. Carry colors up back of work making sure to overlap strands when changing color and being careful not to pull to tightly when beginning with the next color.

Using MC and the long tail method, cast on 84 sts on US#6 circular needle.
Place marker for beginning of the round and work k2, p2 rib for 4 rnds.
Start stripe sequence and knit every round until piece measures approx 3 inches from the beginning.
Next rnd: *sl 1 kw, k1, psso, k17, k2tog; rep from * around- 8sts decreased
Knit 1 rnd
Repeat the last two rounds knitting 2 sts less between the decreases and maintaining stripe sequence until 12 sts remain. Change to DPN when necessary.
Continue on these 12 sts and still in stripe sequence until “tail” measures approx 6 inches.
K2 together around-6 sts remain
Cut yarn leaving a tail and thread through remaining sts drawing them together.

Weave in ends
Tie tail at top of hat into a knot.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fiber Felting Fun!!

At the request of my brother I designed this bag for his wife...the only instruction I had was not to use purple (Helen doesn't like this colour)...other than that it was up to me. I decided on the colour combo then came up with a wee sketch.

(I do plan to put up a free pattern for this-or at least the basics of it's make-up on this here blog..very soon)

My initial intention had been to work it in intarsia but after plotting it on graph paper and a test run on a swatch which involved a lot of cursing at all the loose ends I had to take a different approach! (Me and intarsia not so compatible)!

After flicking through the wonderful Felted Knits by Beverley Galsakas I was reminded of needle felting..aha...the answer! I'd never actually done any before so again I had a wee practice first and was utterly convinced it was the way to go! It's like drawing on a felted brilliant...and I love how it adds texture and layers to the finished piece. So I limited the intarsia to just the orange center circle (although I'm not thrilled with how that bit came out-a tad too stair-steppy around the circumference)....and then needle felted to my heart's content....oh so much fun......stabbing away (into a piece of foam).....if you've never done this I highly recommend it!

Did you notice the design is diferent on each side?

Sadly I have to say goodbye to it (it leaves for New Zealand tomorrow) but I know it goes to a good home.....and because my sister-in-law is a friend of the small furry creatures (rabbits in particular) I threw in this little guy (great pattern here and more variations on Ravelry).

(BTW Helen has been explicitly told not to visit my blog until she receives a package from mean, I know)!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Here's what can be done with one ball of Jamieson's Shetland Chunky yarn!
(I must have some spider DNA in me somewhere as this web has actually stayed up for a week.....even through a storm and the sprinklers......)!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hat full of Love!

Ten Years of marriage show my love I made a Koolhaas Hat for a cool-ass man!

And just for fun I thought I'd share this photo of the early days!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ta Da!

Remember this....well it evolved,.....quickly at first ...but then it decided it was way too hot for chunky alpaca and stubbornly refused to be finished until we had some proper fall weather
But hey here it is.......Maya's Pacific Poncho (an adaptation of Kat Coyle's Poncho Vest from Knitscene- we resized for an 8year old and worked garter stitch instead of stockinette).
It all came about after a visit to the ocean and Maya's discovery of eucalyptus seed pods (hence the Pacific title).
I'd say Maya knit about 90% of this herself (I only slipped in the odd row here and there when she wasn't looking then realized my knitting was way tighter than hers and it would actually be too noticeable if I knit too many rows).....she even performed a three needle bind off (under supervision of course)!

Maya is now imagining something of her own design......even after the gentle reminders and prods I gave to keep going with this she appears to still be keen! Phew!
The seed pods worked well as buttons (we drilled a hole through the side) but they sure do smell!
I'd say this was a great project to pick for a younger knitter interested in a wearable garment without overwhelming them.