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

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Purple loveliness

    I'm so excited about the Halloween Mystery Shawl that I cast on last night (despite promising myself that I'd finish the other lace shawl first.)

    The progress I've seen from the other knitters is simply stunning. And I'm looking forward to the 'final reveal' - will there be a halloween twist in the final clue? But besides all that, I just love this colour! At first I thought that maybe Rockies fever is getting to me, but every time I look at this yarn I just think 'yum'!

    On that note I'm going to go and see if I can make some good progress. (It's calling to me....)

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Halloween Mystery Shawl

    A couple of weeks ago I joined the Halloween Mystery Shawl KAL. (You can never have too many projects on the go!)

    The pattern calls for Jaggerspun Zephyr, but I thought I had the perfect yarn in my stash - the Habu Bamboo that I'd bought on my recent trip to Portland. I tried a couple of swatches with the Habu, but it wasn't working for me. I even went down a couple of needle sizes (actually 5 needle sizes!) to get a gauge that I liked. But on the teensy size 1 needles I wondered if the end product would fit anything other than the Bride of Chucky!

    So I went back to my local yarn store where I found this:

    I really should have gone with what the pattern suggested in the first place (especially as I know I can get a good result with this yarn).

    Wish me luck - this looks like it's going to be a tough project!

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Knitting funk

    Have you ever had one of those weeks where everything you work on looks crappy? This week has been one of those for me -- it's like I have the opposite of the Midas touch.

    There's been the first toe-up socks that I'm working on for Joe. I was excited about trying this approach, but unless the 2nd sock goes better than the first I might just stick with cuff down. I just can't seem to turn the heel very well - it looks a little scraggly. Good thing Joe's not a picky recipient! ;)

    And then the Halloween shawl. I was so excited about this project: I've been enjoying lace knitting recently; have heard great things about the mystery shawl projects; and have the gorgeous Habu bamboo yarn and some charcoal grey seeds beeds to work with. But so far I haven't been able to get a gauge that is pleasing to my eye. (Yes, I need to take a lesson from Joe's book and be less picky!)

    And Dad's Harley Davidson socks. This is the first time my Dad has asked me to make him anything and so I want the Harley socks to be perfect. I have beautiful yarn to work with. I just keep getting lots of pooling. I hate pooling. I've tried about 4 different sock patterns and a couple of different needle sizes to prevent it. But with no joy.

    But today I might have officially broken out of the funk. (Yay!) Either that or my perseverance won out. I've found a way to work the Harley socks by combining a plain black yarn with the lovely Harley custom dye. This might just work...

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    Every night is 'Knit Night'

    I thought you'd get a grin from my version of knit night -- a typical evening with Buster and Bella:

    As soon as I head for my room, the two of them follow me in, place their heads on the edge of the bed and wait for the go ahead to jump up and join me whilst I knit.

    I love this part of my day.

    You'll see in the picture, I've started a new pair of socks -- my first toe-up pair. Why the change? With the cuff down approach I always try to gauge how long I can make the leg so that I'll have enough yarn left for the foot. I normally end up with yarn leftover that I'm not quite sure how to use. (unless I make more of these!) Working from the toe-up I can just keep going on the leg until I run out.

    As for other social crafty stuff, my stamp club has started up again. A fun group of girls meet up each month, have a few drinks, appetizers and stamp. We made some great birthday and gift cards the other week, and hard to believe, but we actually started some of our Christmas cards already! (Yes I know... it's not even Halloween yet!)

    Speaking of which, I've decided to join the Halloween Mystery Shawl KAL. I'd seen it over on Kelly Girl Knits blog and was intrigued. Not that I need another project... but I'm sure I'm not alone there.

    Tuesday, October 02, 2007


    The Hedera socks are complete:

    I finished them on travels to and from Portland this weekend.
    (I've nicknamed them my Hotel Monaco socks because they mimic the colour scheme of the hotel we stayed in.)

    Pattern: Hedera by Cookie
    Yarn: Koigu
    Needles: Size 1 dpn
    Started: May 2007
    Finished: October 2007

    And as usual, my knitting colleagues and creative directors (the B&B team) got in on the FO photography this morning!

    Portland, Oregon

    Joe and I just returned from the most amazing weekend in Portland, Oregon. We'd gone to join in a friend's 50th celebration and decided to make a weekend of it.

    The time in Portland reminded me of when I lived in Amsterdam -- there were the cobbled squares with the trams running through them; the street performers; the interesting characters; the museums; the cool shops, bars and restaurants. Oh yes, and there was the weather! ;o)

    I also enjoyed some of the crafty hotspots. There's the Saturday market which features handmade items from a group of creative, talented artists. This was a great place to pick up unique and beautiful gifts. And also to get a bite from the International food vendors (yum!) This place, Limeys, made me smile. It is run by a bloke from Liverpool... not far from my hometown of Blackpool (small world). And yes we did get the 'cuppa tea'!

    I also stumbled across Knit Purl (which just happened to be a couple of blocks from our hotel). Knit Purl is a gorgeous yarn store and the staff there couldn't have been more warm, inviting and helpful. There were so many beautiful yarns and accessories in this store... I splurged on Habu goodies. I've already been dreaming what I'll be going to make with these.

    The hotel we stayed in was a feast for the eyes too -- the Hotel Monaco. I loved the bold decor. And that it was dog friendly :o) Next time maybe the B&B team can go with us!