Cosmo the black cat loves to help. Everything and anything he encounters is His Toy, and he is quite fond of helping me knit. He thinks the Jackyll & hide balaclava hat from Knitty is also an excellent place for a quick nap, but not as exciting as a crinkly paper bag. It also makes a lovely kitty blanket. He didn't think it was much fun folded up as a hat, but he stayed nearby to make sure it was still His Toy.
Okay, I'm ready to learn this spinning business. One of the SIFAC members makes spindles, so I had to buy one. Another SIFAC member brought in a huge bag of merino roving from a festival in Michigan, and let us each pick some colors - of course, I was immediately drawn to the blue/green/purple colors. Before I start spinning those little lovelies, I have to get the basic spinning down - I found a bag of merino roving to practice with at The Yarn Shoppe in Herrin.
I am completely addicted to Iris Schreier's Multidirectional knitting! Here is another Multidirectional Triangle Scarf, this time for stepdaughter Kelly's birthday. She likes burgundy, forest green, and navy so I scoured the internet for handpainted yarn in those colors. I found it at Mystical Creations Yarn on eBay, and it is a heavy worsted weight thick-and-thin silk/wool. The colors really popped when I took the scarf outside to photograph it - the burgundy looks almost fuchsia in this picture, but it really is a dark red. Check out the MCY eBay store, they have branched out into many kinds of yarn, all gorgeous!
Above are the lovely items I recieved from Kim, my swap partner in the Illusion Knitting and More Yahoo group's Halloween swap. In addition to the cleverly decorated Boo cloth, Kim sent me a tin of yummy caramel cocoa, a wonderful pumpkin soap that is too cute to use yet, a Pumpkin Pie Yankee Candle Tart, Vanilla Sugar lotion and spray, a packet of Burt's Bees honey lip balm with a sleeve to attach the balm to my keychain, a big cappucino chocolate bar, and some absolutely delicious toffees! Cosmo the evil black cat got into the picture as he was trying to steal the Boo cloth - he has a 'thing' for dishcloths and towels. I have a dish towel hanging on the oven handle, and Cosmo routinely snags it with his claws, then sinks his teeth into it, and drags it away to cover up the kibble in his dish. Sometimes he puts one of his toys in his dish, then covers it with the dish towel. Clearly he does not like to share food or toys! Here is Kim's picture of the Halloween goodies I sent to her. I had such fun shopping for things she would like, and only stopped adding items when I doubted that I could get the box taped shut. While I was googling for pictures of angels and nutcrackers, I came across Marilyn Scott-Walters' whimsical website, The Toymaker, where I found the Halloween gift bags and black cat greeting card. It's a wonderful place to explore, even if you don't have kids!
Here's my new Meez for autumn, I've been trying to upload the animated version, but no luck - I should've paid more attention in the HTML class. NO, my hair isn't that long yet....but it's getting there! I am well on my way to becoming a full-fledged crone. I'd rather buy yarn than pay for a haircut!
I have finally found a local group to join, the Southern Illinois Fiber Arts Collective. I made this soap sack from Lily Sugar 'n Cream Twist during my first meeting. Many of the members were spinning, and one was knitting with the new square needles. I am going to learn to spin with a drop spindle! Once a month they meet at The Yarn Shoppe in Herrin, which is both good and bad for me. Usually I can restrain myself from going there several times a week, but one visit is all it takes - I won't tell you how much $$ I spent there at the last meeting.
I wanted to learn Illusion or Shadow knitting, so I signed up for 2 Yahoo groups to learn how to do this, Illusion Knitting and More, and Illusion Knitting. This is the Pumpkin Illusion Cloth I made as my first attempt. When you look at it directly (below), it just looks like stripes - but if you view it at an angle (above), you can see the pattern. I used acrylic worsteds from my stash of vintage yarns. The pattern is from the Illusion Knitting and More group, if you want this pattern you should sign up for the group. They require participation in 2 swaps a year, and also require that you have a 'Life Happens' cloth in place with the moderator so that if you cannot finish a swap, there will be a cloth to send your swap partner. Below is my 'Life Happens' cloth, the Flying Geese design by Vaunda Rae Giberson. It is worked in the Reynolds Saucy mercerized cotton left over from Bri's Mushroom Cap, and it is much nicer to work with than the other cotton yarns that are readily available. Below is my first attempt at making a dishcloth, this is the Embossed Turtle cloth from Smariek Knits. I went stash-diving for an appropriate cotton yarn, and found a bag of Jack Frost Comfort 12 that I bought in the 70s. I googled Jack Frost yarn, and only found a few items on eBay, so I doubt it's being made anymore. After I made up the cloth, I atually read the label - nope, it's not cotton, it's acrylic! I don't think acrylic would make a very good washcloth, but I love this design.
I'd rather knit than crochet, but this is another pattern I had to make for my granddaughter Bri. Her school has a crazy hat day, and she liked this hat for it. The pattern is Lion Brand's Mushroom Cap, and it is worked in Reynold's Saucy mercerized cotton - I couldn't find Lion Cotton in red, which is what Bri wanted. It is goofy enough to qualify as a crazy hat.
Once in awhile I can't get a pattern out of my head, and the only solution is to put aside all the other UFOs and make it. That was the case with this shawl pattern - I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I couldn't find the thread it called for. I went stash-diving and found 2 colors of cotton thread, earmarked for some crocheted bags, and worked up this Country Cotton Shawl from Lion Brand Yarn. I used 2 different colors held together: 1 strand of Caron Grandma's Best Crochet Thread in Pale Teal and 1 strand of Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet Thread in Delft. I tried other, thicker cottons, but they didn't produce the lightweight drape I wanted. This shawl could be used as a pareo or sarong over a swimsuit, which is what I had in mind for it.
Here's Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb, wearing the cunning hat his Ma made for him. I couldn't find a picture of him wearing the hat and hefting a large weapon - a sure way to stop anyone taunting him about his hat.
My Sk8ter grandson Tyler requested these Sparky Flaming Hot Wristies, a design by Britta Stolfus Rueschoff. Britta has some lovely patterns on Knitty, but when I tried to locate the Sparky pattern, it had disappeared! I had to learn how to knit Fair Isle style, and I think I did pretty well for a first attempt at multi-stranded knitting. The link above is to a website that has lots of great knitting patterns. I'll be looking for more of Britta's great designs.Here is a view of the thumb holes, where I knitted a few more rows than the pattern called for. Tyler didn't care for the checkerboard design at the base of the flames, so I substituted rows of yellow, orange, and red.The yarn is Hauk from Dale of Norway, which is treated with Teflon so it will stand up to hard wear. Jayne Hats! I found several free knitting patterns on the web for Jayne Hats. Jayne Cobb Hat, My Jayne Hat Pattern, Bootstrap Productions, Jayne Cobb's Cunning Hat, Jayne Cobb Hat for Mugua, This Land, Yarn Demon, Cider Moon's version, and one from katydidknits. I got the basic idea, and went to town with the most outlandish color combinations I could make from my stash of acrylic worsted. Here is granddaughter Bri in her favorite red and black version.
Tabitha wanted to get in on the photo shoot, she picked this stripey Jayne hat.Cassie Ru liked the purple version. You have to see the Firefly series to grasp the significance of the Jayne hat. Sadly, the series was cancelled, but the outcry from the fans was so great that creator Joss Whedon made the film Serenity to tie up all the loose ends from the series. My daughter Arlyn and her family gave me the series and movie on DVD for my birthday - wooohooo!
Here are a pair of Multidirectional Baby Blankets for the twins, this one is made up in Caron Simply Soft colorway Baby Brights Ombre, with a single-crochet border of Caron Simply Soft colorway Off White - it actually matches the pale yellow of the Ombre yarn. This Multidirectional Baby Blanket is worked with 1 strand of TLC Essentials colorway Powder Pink and 1 strand of Baby Bee Peach Fuzz Ombre colorway Sweet Cheeks. To find out more about Iris Schreier's Multidirectional Knitting, click on the link at the top right of the page. This is the Ribbed Eyelet Hat, another Patti Pierce Stone pattern, worked in a vintage generic acrylic baby yarn from my stash. This is my crowning achievement in baby garments - a sweater that looks like it might actually fit a real baby. The pattern is from the Premature Baby Set designed by Denny Kelly from Australia. It is worked in TLC Baby colorway Powder Pink.
Here is the famous One Skein Hooded Baby Sweater - aka the 5-hour baby sweater. This is a great pattern, works up quickly, and is easy to do. I used some generic worsted acrylic from my stash. Bev's Baby Seed Cap, worked in Caron Simply Soft, colorway Baby Brights Ombre. I left the tassel off the top, it seemed to overwhelm this little hat. Check out Bev's Country Cottage for lots of nice baby things to knit for charity. Here is the green set, the Newborn Vest is Pat Z's design, also found on Bev's Country Cottage. It has snap closures at the shoulders and front, for easy access to babies in isolettes or warming tables. To go with the vest, the Honeycomb Preemie Hat and Booties are really tiny! I like this heathery yarn, Red Heart Soft Baby colorway New Mint Twinkle. It would be nice for either a boy or a girl. All the Soft Baby colors are really pretty, with some bright colors that are a nice change from the traditional baby pastels. This is the Lots of Eyelets Preemie Hat, another design by Patti Pierce Stone. The eyelets aren't visible until it is stretched out a bit. It's worked in Red Heart Soft Baby colorway Rocking Horse.