Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sock update

Dad's Harley socks and slippers arrived back in the UK and he really likes them :o) Here they are with some of his other Harley swag. I love the T-shirt -- Preston is just down the road from where my parents live (aaaahh home).

My Mum did send me some great shots of Dad modelling his new socks and slippers but for fear he'll become an internationally sought after foot model I'll spare you, oops I mean him, by not posting them here.

Glad you like them Dad.

Now onto another pair: I've started some simple 2x2 rib socks in Koigu. I love Koigu -- the colours and the squidgy socks that it makes.

And talking of soft and squidgy sock yarn, I ordered some wonderful handpainted Merino Cahsmere blend sock yarn from the Knittery. I had to have it. Yes I broke my yarn diet... I am weak :o(

The package arrived the other day and I appreciate the thought they put into it -- the yarn was wrapped in tissue and tucked inside were some jelly beans. What did make me smile most is that, according to the label, they are 'cheerfully' handpainted :o)

And there's more... my latest Sundara Seasons collection also came in. Some sock yarn in a beautiful shade of lavender/blue called Hyacinth.

Better get those dpns out and get cracking...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Comfy Sweater

Slimline Jacket, originally uploaded by samjoepics.

About this time last year I attended a talk by Debbie Bliss at String. She talked about her inspiration for design of knitted goods and her yarn. She also shared was a trunk full of handknit sweaters. There were many beautiful sweaters in there. Visually I am drawn to her sweaters that have some little unique detail, or those that are chock full of cables. As I was trying on a couple of them, there was one that I just fell in love with on touch alone -- the Slimline Jacket.

The slimline jacket is very simple. Not something I'd normally be drawn to. But this was so very very comfy. The kind of sweater that you can curl up in on a Sunday afternoon with a good book and a cup of tea. I had to make one. So here I am a year later and I've just cast on for the sweater. I'm excited to finish and wear this. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Mami's Koolhaas

Mami's Koolhaas, originally uploaded by samjoepics.

It's cooooold here in the Denver area, and Mami has asked if I'd make her a hat to go with the Shetland shawl. I was looking for a pattern that literally would match the lacy-ness (real word???) of the shawl. But after she saw me working on the Koolhaas for Little Joey, Mami asked if that's what I'd make for her. That it's beautiful! ;o)

I do love this yarn - it's Catalina's baby alpaca and silk mix. Yum! And as much as I love the Malabrigo version - the colours, the sproinginess (another made up word?) of the yarn -- I do think this one colour version is my favourite. The stitch detail is not obscured by the variety of colours -- it pops.

Check out some of the originals on BrooklynTweed's blog (the designer). Now these ones are truly stunning!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Braided neckpiece

Braided neckpiece, originally uploaded by samjoepics.

Here's a great simple knit from the Loop-d-Loop book -- the braided neckpiece. I knit it up with Plymouth yarns Baby Alpaca Grande. It feels sooooooo good. I found it kind of hangs funny if I wear the braid at the front, like a regular scarf. But slung over the shoulder like this I think it looks kind of funky and glam! (Ha me glam!) And it was all whipped together in one evening -- a great quick knit if you are in need of some instant gratification!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas fun

What a great Christmas!

The fun started on Christmas eve which is when my in-laws tend to celebrate. We enjoyed a traditional Colombian dinner of Pasteles de Aroz -- delicious. And then the dancing began! We danced up until midnight when we took a breather to each open a gift.

The next day we woke to a white Christmas. Beautiful! I phoned my family back home (I miss them terribly; especially at this time of year) it was soo good to hear everyone having a great time together. By the time I got off the phone it was time for us all to open gifts. Let's just say we were all spoilt silly! And then it was time for Christmas dinner -- a delicious ham and aroz con coco (coconut rice). And sprouts (an English Christmas staple! ha ha ha!). What a multi-cultural combination! ;o)

I wanted to share some of my knitting-related gifted goodies:

There's the Piddleloop project bags in a skull theme to match my fave knitting t-shirt. I love these bags and the thought that goes into them -- the accompanying stitch markers on the zippers and even the skull and crossbones glitter! How cool is that! I've been keen to get one of these as I've seen them pop up on a couple of blogs now. And this particular pattern couldn't be more perfect for my taste!
I also received this knitting snowman ornament. This is soo very adorable and has pride of place on our mantel. Check out the miniature knitting mag under his (?) arm
Thank you Kelly, you are an angel! A fantastic goody bag of gifts indeed.

And Nachaele too. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I received some lovely sock yarn in my favourite colours -- hot pink and green. Love it! And stitch markers... and sheep soap... and cinema tickets... and a lovely lavender salt scrub (perfect for a girl who can tend to be a bit of a stress head!)

And check this out from my brother -- it's a sheepy hot water bottle. The whole hot water bottle thing is very British. I love them -- perfect for heating the bed up on a cold day, easing aches and pains etc... And this one with a snuggly soft cover is lurvely!

And this last one, although not knitting related is kinda goofy enough that I wanted to share it with you. It's a puppy purse from my sis! How hilarious is this. (Yes, my family think I'm absolutley crazy over my 4-legged friends and that's what inspired the gift. They are right on the mark!)

Hope you all had a fantastic day with loved ones.
Stay warm,

Monday, December 24, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

What was I thinking?

Last week I decided to make Koolhaas as a Christmas gift. (There's nothing like leaving it to the last minute, right? ;)

I nipped over to a local yarn store to pick up what some Malabrigo and the pattern. I was chatting with the ladies there whilst I was purchasing my goodies and proclaimed how I was going to knit the hat that evening! (You see I was thinking it's a hat, it's little, how much work can it be - a couple of hours maybe?) They wished me luck and off I went on my merry way.

"That evening". How wrong was I! Here I am 5 days later and it's just now finished:

You see what I didn't realise is that all those little criss crosses are done with a cable needle. Yuck! I'm not a big fan of fiddly cable knitting. (I made a sweater for Joe a couple of years ago that is covered in cables and promised myself I wouldn't try that again anytime soon).

And guess what... my mother in law has seen me working on this and decided that this is the hat she wants. That it's beautiful! So a second one is now on the needles.

Anyway, back to the Camo Koolhaas... I tried to get a couple of good shots of someone wearing it. The best I could do was to call in one of my fave models. As you can tell, he isn't best impressed! Poor Buster ;) (His expression is hilarious!)

I was hoping he'd pull off something like this:

Don't you just love it? It's a Christmas card off my Mum and Dad.

And on the topic of cool cards. I received this one off my Grandma. It reminded me of the owls I've seen in blogland.

I've really got to learn how to sew... I'd love to make one of these in the cheery chocolate and cherry color scheme; like the robins on this card.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More Christmas crafting...

Tis the season to act like a little elf and crank out those Christmas gifts! Yesterday I made some very simple freshwater pearl earrings for a sister-in-law:

And the countdown is on for the gifts yet to be crafted:

I am going to make a Koolhaas hat for another relative. Although I have a feeling that I'll have to do my best to keep it from my husband as he loves camouflage colours.

And a request has been placed for another hat, for my mother-in-law, to go with the Shetland Shawl I'd made not so long ago. I was thinking that the foliage hat from Knitty might work. Or maybe even trying to incorporate the lace pattern from the shawl into a hat.

What do you think? Any other suggestions?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Felted Harley Slippers

In addition to the Harley Socks, I've also whipped out a pair of slippers for my Dad.

Ok so maybe not the most exciting project to share. And certainly not one of my favourite to knit. But I've got to say that I love, love, love wearing felted slippers. I hope my Dad enjoys them too. (Although maybe not too much otherwise he may be a 'repeat customer' next year).

And on that topic, one die hard fan is my husband. Last year I made him some in Miami Dolphins colours. He pulled them out again the other day and let's just say they've seen better days.

So I rummaged through the stash to find whatever odds and ends I could use to make a new pair (without breaking my yarn diet). I did find some of the leftovers from last year and added to this some other stash yarn to this to make it go a little further. The end result: a hideous pair of clown clogs! Here they are pre-felting:

But you know what he loves them. And since he's a happy camper, that's all that counts!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dad's Harley Davidson Socks

My Dad had asked me to make him some handknit socks last time I was home. When I asked what he was thinking about he said that he'd like some in Harley Davidson colours. Scout kindly dyed some yarn for me and I combined this with some plain black yarn to create these:

Pattern: My own concoction, top to toe
Size: Men's large
Yarn: Scout's Harley Davidson (custom dye) and Opal
Needles: Size 1 dpns
Started: October 2007
Finished: December 2007 (what can I say, I'm a slow sock knitter)

They did undergo the scissors this weekend before they were finally finished:

I am not patient. And so when it came to knitting the foot I was far too eager to finish. Consequently the first sock was going to be too small for him. Although I had a kind volunteer who was willing to adopt the socks (thanks Kelly), that would have left me in the position of having to knit another pair for my Dad. So I decided to knit the second sock larger and do some reconstruction on the first. This was the first time I had ever taken scissors to my knitting. Not to mention that in the background I had the encouraging words of my husband "you do know that's going to be a disaster, don't you?". ;o)

But I was victorious! And I'm happy to wash, block and ship them off to the UK this week!

PS - have you ever thought it a little odd that it's ok to 'model' handknit socks before you gift them? ;o)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Stuff and nonsense

I don't have a lot to report this week but I thought it about time to update the blog after a week of inactivity.

So what's new? I've received some great shipments from Sundara yarn. The Petals Collection 2007 closed out on a high note -- Magnolia socks. I love this colourway. (Pretty much anything that has a shade of pink or red is going to be a winner with me). And I adore Magnolias - they remind me of home. My Uncle has about 8 Magnolia trees that line his back garden and they are stunning in the spring when the branches are lined with the papery white and pink blooms.

The petals collection has now closed and has been replaced by the Seasons Collection. I really like how Sundara set this up -- you pick a season based on the types of colours you are normally drawn to. I chose Spring because I love crisp, bright colours. My first shipment arrived this week and I LOVE IT! It's called Gooseberries. Aah another reminder of home. (I've never seen gooseberries here so I was surprised to see the colourway name.) I love these sharp greens and couldn't be happier with my first shipment. Although if I'd subscribed to Autumn or Winter I would have been equally pleased -- you've got to love Sundara's eye for colour and her high-quality yarns.

So here I am merrily typing away about the new yarn I've acquired after just writing about stashbusting. My husband thought it funny -- one week after announcing that I am on a yarn diet the lovely Sundara yarn arrives in the mail. In my defence I'd already signed up to the Seasons collection in September, so technically doesn't count, right. Right???? ;o)

I've done a little knitting too. I whipped up a mini Santa Hat. (I adore this pattern from Handknit Holidays and made a variety of them for family members last year.)

I've also done a little stitches for britches knitting - Nachaele had pretty much received bulk orders for handknit dishcloths and so I frantically managed to churn out one set for her.

I'm about sick of the Tangled Yoke (as I'm sure you are if you read this blog regularly ha ha ha). But maybe I'll get it finished this weekend. The Harley socks for sure will get finished this weekend. Although I feel a disaster ahead... more to follow soon on that.

Bored of me yet? I'll sign off with this -- an early Christmas gift from my husband. We were in a toy store shopping for my 5-year old nephew and I saw this hand puppet. There was no way I was leaving the store without it!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Nachaele had this great idea to go on a yarn diet over the winter months and I'm on the bandwagon -- I need to do some serious stashbusting. She has started a Top 10 Stash Projects KAL and I'm using this as a good excuse to finish up some UFOs, as well as start some new projects with existing stash.

Here's my top 10, in no particular order:
1. Tangled Yoke (WIP)
2. Harley Socks (WIP)
3. Wicked
4. Slimline Jacket
5. Harley Slippers
6. Rowan Roadster (WIP)
7. Halloween Mystery Shawl (WIP)
8. At least one pair of socks
9. An aran cardi of some sort with this
10. And something with this, although I'm not quite sure what yet...

Speaking of the Tangled Yoke, I finished the cabling and I'm soo very close to being done. I couldn't be happier so far with how it's turning out. I can't wait to finish.

And I did get to start the Ruffles scarf last week (although very little progress was made).

Ooh but when I got back, I had a new knitty book waiting for me -- Knitting Lingerie Style. Other than the obvious (which I'm not convinced I'd ever make) there are some gorgeous tops and some fun socks in this great book. But they'll have to wait until the stashbusting is over -- I don't think I've got the perfect yarn to work on some of these lovelies.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I leave today for a week's business trip to California. I'm excited about the trip (and getting some warm weather). And I have the perfect project for the plane -- Ruffles from Interweave Scarf Style.

I subbed the recommended yarn with HandMaiden Sea Silk. Ooooh sooo verrryy sooofttt. Any super soft fabric reminds me of clothes shopping with my Mum -- she'd lead the way through the store, and would touch anything that looked like you could cuddle up in it. 'OOooh feel that' she'd say. So Mum, if you are reading, wait 'til you feel this. It's lush!

The other knitting news: I didn't make my NaKniSweMo goal that I'd set for myself. I'm very close -- I'm working on the cabled yoke. But there was no way I was going to complete it last night before my trip today. I don't know why I set myself these goals. Especially at this time of year when gift knitting takes priority. Aah well, I'm much closer than my last NaKniSweMo sweater - Roadster - that is still sat in my closet waiting for arms, a collar and a button band.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving tomorrow: enjoying the company of good friends; feasting on delicious food; knitting to my heart's content. Aah bliss!

My friends learned to knit earlier this year and I think they may just be bitten by the knit bug -- they asked if I'd mind knitting with them after dinner. Mind? I couldn't be happier! And since we'd be knitting I thought it would be fun to take around some goodie bags:

And on the knitting theme I also whipped up this felted wine bottle holder. I think they'll get a kick out of it. (At a minimum I know we'll enjoy what it's carrying!)

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Still plodding along

I just finished the second sleeve and am ready to start the cabling on the Tangled Yoke.
So, it could happen -- I could actually complete this thing as my NaKniSweMo sweater. Here's hoping (and frantically knitting)... I've already been day dreaming about starting some new projects:

There's ZephyrStyle's Wicked -- the long sleeve version. And I have some yarn in my stash that might do the trick.

A Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan knit. I don't normally like novelty type yarns but this stuff is so very soft and squidgy; perfect to curl up in on a chilly Sunday afternoon. So that's making it's way to the top of the list, esp. as I've also got the yarn for it.

Ooh and I want to make some more Santa Hats this year. My nephew grew out of his, and I have some friends that have young kids who might get a kick out of them.

With that said, I'd better get back to the yoke...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tis the Season...

One of the things I love about living in the US is that it feels like the holiday spirit starts in the middle of October. First you have Halloween, and you are surrounded by candy and giggling kids in crazy costumes. Thanksgiving preparation kicks in only a couple of days later when people start planning to spend good times with friends and family. And once that last turkey sandwich has been devoured it's almost Christmas. And I lurve Christmas!

So it dawned on me the other day that I need to get a move on and start my Christmas shopping for friends and relatives back home. Which meant that it was also time to bust out some of my stamps and get cracking on some handmade Christmas cards and tags.
Here's a few I whipped up this weekend:

Now I need to get myself to the shops to start hunting out those 'perfect gifts'. (Or at least some wacky ones that will bring a smile.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Knitty Friends

It's amazing to me how the Internet -- something so seemingly impersonal -- can enable you to meet new people with similar interests, in the very same neighbourhood. Through blogging and Ravelry, I've been lucky to do just that. And this weekend a few of us met up on Friday night to check out a local craft fair and then hang out and knit. And again for more knitting on Saturday morning. I had such a great time! Here's some pics, courtesy of Nachaele.

Kelly and Nachaele:

Stitches for Britches volunteer knitters:

...and me! (Nachaele had commented that I hadn't posted any pics of myself and so she took this and sent it to me 'for my blog' ha ha ha!)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quick update on projects

No major milestones to report on the knitting front this week and so I'm resorting to providing a WIP status (yawn!).

I'm creeping along on the Halloween Mystery Shawl (no pun intended). I'm not done with clue 1, and there's 4 more to go. I'll be amazed if this shawl will be ready in time for Halloween next year. But it is sooo very pretty.

I started the second Harley sock for my Dad so they should be ready in plenty of time for Christmas. I'm even thinking of making him a second pair with the self striping yarn. (I just need to get over that whole pooling thing!)

I also began a Klimt-inspired needlepoint by Candace Bahouth. With all this knitting I forgot how much I enjoy needlepoint. Although it's the last thing I need -- another hobby that just gobbles up time.

Oh yes, and while I'm on the topic of non-knitting crafty stuff, it was stamp club this week. We made a couple of cute cards -- a great little card for Thanksgiving; another that can be used as a recipe card (I guess?).

Not a bad week all in all...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Knitting Frenzy

Whoo, I've been knitting my little fingers off! And the result? I have one of the sleeves of the Tangled Yoke completed:

Turns out that my gauge differs slightly from the pattern and so I've been making a couple of modifications along the way. I'm also thinking about making the body just a touch longer. After reading some of the entries on Ravelry I think a couple of folks have also made various modifications to the original pattern. So I'm taking some comfort (false confidence?) in that.

Now onto the second sleeve. I just want to get that done so that I can get to the interesting bit -- the cabling around the yoke. But first I think a change of pace is needed. I'll be taking a break to see if I can get Clue 1 of the Halloween Mystery Shawl completed. Better late than never, right? ;)

Friday, November 02, 2007


That's right -- it's National Knit a Sweater in November.

It's just the prod I need to pull Tangled Yoke out of temporary hibernation and finish it up.

Besides, I've promised myself that I'm going to finish this one before another sweater finds it's way to my needles. (And the new Interweave Knits has landed and there's at least one project in there that is calling to me... )

So what am I doing typing? Wasting time that's what!
See ya... I've got some knitting to do! ;)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

This was poor Buster's costume last year. I like how he's trying to pull off 'regal' whilst dressed up like this. This year I've saved him from the humiliation -- no costume.

Halloween isn't a big deal in the UK and so it's quite the novelty for me -- I look forward to the trick or treaters and the various costumes they'll be donning. I have the largest mountain of candy waiting for them.

Have a spooktastic day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kusha Kusha Scarf

My World Series Kusha Kusha scarf is done:

...And so are the Rockies :o(
(They were difficult games to watch if you are a Rockies fan.)

But back to the scarf...
I'm undecided about the outcome: I love the sculptural quality of the Silk Stainless; I'm not convinced that my experiment with the cotton slub (instead of the merino) paid off. I was chatting with Joe about it and he had the exact opposite opinion -- he loved the combination, but not the silk stainless section. He said it looked like it was burnt! Ha ha ha!

Either way it was fun to work on and easy enough that it could be picked up or put down depending upon what was going on with the game.

I am tempted to have a go with the original kit/directions. But first I have a number of other projects that are begging to be finished.

Friday, October 26, 2007

World Series Knitting

I don't know about you, but I don't multi-task well. I love to watch TV and knit, but what I knit on depends on the level of interest I have for what's on the box. And right now it's the Baseball World Series which has me totally absorbed because our local team -- the Rockies -- are in it.

Since I don't have a suitable mindless knit on the go I decided to start one -- the Habu Kusha Kusha scarf:

This is a unique scarf that's knit with a stainless steel & silk blend (yes you read it right). The original kit is knit up with a fine merino yarn and then felted. But since I didn't have any of that to hand I decided I'd knit it up with the slubby Habu cotton that I have in my stash. I'm hoping I'll end up with a similarly cool end product (despite the obvious lack of felting).

Anyway the main thing is that it's an easy knit... which is just perfect for me to keep my eyes on the game. (Although for these first 2 games it's been difficult not to look away at times. Here's hoping they'll pull off a stunning performance on home turf this weekend). I'll have my rally cap on! ;)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Snow days

I love a good snow day. A day when I can stay tucked up inside with the fire on, a constant feed of tea (I have a good husband ;) and a pile of knitting projects to work on. Yesterday was one of those days.

I made some progress on the Mystery Halloween Shawl. Not much progress granted, but I did get past the dreaded row 18, and even to the point where I started adding beads. I ditched the purple beads -- I was hoping they'd add a touch of subtle sparkle. But there's subtle and there's camouflaged, and mine were the latter. So I rummaged around the house and found some black beads that work well. Besides, they are more appropriate for the theme.

I also have one Harley sock completed for my Dad. And I think it turned out alright after all. Just need to get cracking on the other one now... (if I can tear myself away from working on the shawl)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Supersized Shetland Shawl

My mother-in-law asked if I'd make her a big black shawl to keep her warm on those cold Colorado evenings. I'd seen quite a few of these done in a heavier weight yarn that had turned out beautifully and knew it would be just the ticket! Shetland Triangle Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn A. Clark (from Interweave Knits Wrap Style) Shetland Triangle Modifications:
  • A heavier weight yarn: Catalina 70% Baby Alpaca/30% Silk (yes, this feels soooo good)
  • Larger needles: Size 9
  • More repeats: 13 repeats of the body pattern
  • Shetland Triangle