sweetfigs   s w e e t   f i g s


                in pursuit of a fruitful life


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

FO Report -- R is for Red Berries Hat

Last Thanksgiving, the sister that lives in Florida, her husband, and the three kids made the trek to Indianapolis for Thanksgiving and then spent a day with us in Chicago. We tried to fit in as much sightseeing as we could, and finished off the tour at Millenneuim Park.

By then, the sun was gone, a chill was setting in, and the Floridians were huddled up in their light "coats" and "winter gear." For a couple of minutes we watched the ice skaters glide about the rink, and my little nephew's teeth chattered as he pleaded with his mom to go ice skating.Instead, we scampered off for a round of piping hot cocoa and then bunched together under the warming lights at the El platform. Dinner was a couple of cheesy pies from Gino's East.

Yeah, they enjoyed their trip, but I felt bad about them being underdressed and chilled.

So this year, I started getting some warm hats ready.

For my niece S, who appreciates tiny little details, a cable heavy Shedir in dark pink wool, with all the knit stitches worked through-the-back-loop so that they really popped. Sorry, forgot to take a photo of that one.

For my nephew R, a variation on the Solstice Hat . He asked for red, so I obliged with some bulky wool & mohair from Wisconsin's Blackberry Ridge, in a hand dyed colorway called English Rose , umm, let's call it red berries for my boy.

Instead of the diamond pattern as written, I charted out some Rs, and needed to add just 2 stitches to the middle section to fit them all in.PDRM3155

As it turned out, the weather was great this year, and no one really needed to wear a hat. And my brother-in-law's work schedule forced them to cancel the Chicago leg of thia year's trip, so we didn't get to go ice skating at the park. Oh well. Maybe next year. We're ready.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

FO Report -- Solstice Hat w/Violet Lambs Pride

Question: What do you do when it's midday and your boyfriend says he wants to go visit his mom? And wants to leave in 20 minutes? And you haven't taken a shower or changed out of the sweat pants you slept in, because you've been cleaning the house and playing with the dog all morning? And you don't have a WIP for the car ride?

Answer: While the water heats up in the shower, grab the first pair of pants and shirt you can find that are clean and match (more or less), then raid the yarn stash for bits of bright violet Lamb's Pride wool and undyed mystery yarn, some circular 7s and 8s, and the Solstice Hat pattern written by Elizabeth Morriston primarily for people who are knitting for The Dulaan Project.

What you have by the time you get home: another hat for Dulaan.
This one in Lamb's Pride weighs 42 grams, while the one made from blueberry colored Paton's Classic Wool weighs 38 grams.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Belated Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I was too busy to post before we hit the road on Wednesday afternoon.

Our first stop was Indianapolis, where we rendezvoused with my sister from Florida, her husband, and her 3 kids (maybe you remember her artistic kids). They were staying with her husband's family, and D & I were graciously invited to come over for a family dinner. I haven't seen that part of the family since my sister got married 15 years ago. Time flies. The evening was short and sweet, and it was too dark and rushed to get any photos.

After staying overnight at pet-friendly La Quinta, we returned to the highway and drove to D's sister's for Thanksgiving Day. His family came in from parts of Indiana, Illinois, and Vermont. This little cutie pie is his niece's daughter.

Libby got to meet the newest member of the extended family, Charlie. Charlie is a rescue dog and until this holiday was never around such a big crowd. He was a little nervous at first, but warmed up quickly. Here's Lib and Charlie, helping the guys carve the last bits of turkey for sandwiches.


Back in Chicago, I spent the weekend doing a major de-cluttering of my craft room, the kitchen, and the storage closets. So, no crafting pics today. Just a big sigh of relief after a very busy, very satisfying 4-day weekend.


Monday, November 20, 2006

FO Report -- Zugspitze

Over the weekend I finished this child's cabled hat. It's a gift for a friend and my own pattern. I'm calling it Zugspitze, in reference to the Bavarian alp where cable cars take skiiers and sightseers to the peak.
Zugspitze full

My mother and I visited Zugspitze about a year ago. She lives near Nurnberg, and took me on a little tour of southern Bavaria.

I took this photo for my sisters.
Mama driving 100 mph (160k) on the autobahn!
She's laughing because I told her why I was taking the picture.Image 20 Driving to Garmisch
For you knitters, here's some sheep, as seen during the short train ride from Garmisch-Partenkirschner to the base of the cable cars.
Image 22 View from the Train to Zugspitze
Image 34
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Zugspitze cables close up
Zugspitze crown

Karabella Aurora 8 (100% Extrafine Merino Wool, 50 grams / 98 yards or 90 meters per ball, manufacturer recommends 18 st x 26 rows with US size 7 or 8 needles), Color #43, medium teal. Final weight of hat: 46 grams. US #6 (4mm) 16" circulars.


Friday, November 17, 2006

WIP Report, in lieu of Eye Candy

Happy Friday! Maybe it's the wind, maybe it's the grey, maybe it's the dismal lack of plant life, or maybe it's because I've been going out a lot and missed my zzzzs this week. Whatever it is, it's kept me from taking any photos for Eye Candy Friday.

I can, however, show off a one-skein child's cabled hat which I am designing for a gift. My yarn of choice is Karabella Aurora 8, in a medium shade of teal green.PDRM3038

At KIP the other day, spinner extraordinare Theresa mentioned that a cabled pattern will pop more when it is worked in a multi-ply yarn than when it is worked in a single-ply yarn.

Theresa's point went over my head until she started talking about flat planes, triangles, and squares. I imagine these shapes and a Light Bulb Moment occurs! The plys in a 2-ply will tend to lay flat against each other, while the plys in a 3-ply will form a triangle that resists flattening, a 4-ply will form a square .... Theresa's got a clearer explanation on her blog. Plying affects the yarn's structure. Duh.

So after swatching and frogging this 8-ply cable-loving yarn for about 2 weeks, I have found the right combination of knits & purls, the right gauge, and the right number of stitches to achieve a child's head circumference of 18-to-20 inches/45-to-51cm. I'm using a chart that says the finished hat height should be 8"/20cm. Which seems like a really tall hat for a 1-to-2 year old. There are no babies handy, so I'm going to wing it and aim for 7"/17.75cm height, unless somebody tells me different.

Enjoy the weekend, next week is a short one for most Americans.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

FO Report -- Orchid Pink and Violet Kitty Hat

Thanks for the feedback yesterday. The unadorned hat was a little too plain for me, but I thought embroidery stitches would make the top of the hat uncomfortable to wear. Too inflexible or maybe bumpy. So I came up with a different way to gussy up the kitty.

Size 4-to-6 girl's hat with kitty cat ears. A gift for a friend.

Pattern: vintage Family Headwear & Scarves booklet #98 published by Patons & Baldwin Canada, Inc. No publication date, looks like it's from the 1970s. Purchased from Vintage Knits.

Materials: Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian Highland wool, 100 grams / 220 yards per ball) 1 ball in Orchid Pink, #2449. Final weight of hat: 71 grams. US #7 (4.5mm) 16" circulars. Chibi tapestry needle for grafting. Bits of pink, violet and lime green fleece, coordinating shades of cotton embroidery floss, 2 Swarovski bicone crystals (5 or 6 mm), sharp needle for working blanket stitch, and Fabri Tac adhesive.

Modifications: Worked face ribbing in the round instead of flat + seam. Instead of "Inc 1 st in each of next 2 stitches," marked center of ears and worked left slanting and right slanting increases. Seamed side stitches to back flap by picking up stitches along the back flap and grafting them to the sides. Used sewn cast off.

The fleece flowers are a little soft and might have been better in felt. Does anyone sell "fat quarters" or smaller chunks of wool felt? When I search the internet I find either polyester felt or wool felt yardage. I could use a little wool felt for a Christmas project.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Ummmm, is this done?

After more knitting, seaming, and blocking, the pink WIP in this photoPDRM2932
has become a little girl's hat with kitty cat ears.

My hat pics are a little washed out, but the swatch photo shows the depth of this pretty orchid pink yarn. It's Cascade 220, #2449, a heathered 4-strand wool, so some of the strands are pink and some are violet. What little girl wouldn't love it? It's a girl's size 4-to-6, and a gift for a friend.

I used a very succinct vintage pattern from Laurie in Washington state. The pattern says to pick up & knit "X" stitches here, cast off "Y" stitches there, seam together, etc., without any helpful clues like "face ribbing" or "sides" or "back." The first time I used this pattern, I was almost done before I figured out how the whole thing was going to piece together.

So what do you think -- is the kitty hat done? It's looking a little plain to me and I've been admiring Lene's embroidery (here and here). Should I attempt to add some purple and white flowers to the top? I think pink and purple are the team colors of girls under 6, and I wouldn't want to disappoint the little girl who is getting this as a gift. D says it's done, but what does he know, he's not a girl.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Eye Candy Friday

Hmm, pumpkins and winter squash piled on some leaves. Uninspired.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Let's try something else.

Hey, Lib, want a treat?
There's a treat in there for you.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Find it!

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A well-placed kick topples the boring pile.

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Thanks for the kind words about Libby. She got a thorough going-over at her regular vet's yesterday, but there was no obvious explanation for her seizure.

So now we're waiting for the results of blood testing.

The possible diagnoses range from the reversible (liver damage) to the untreatable (brain tumor or neurologic damage from Lyme). She's been her usual, happy, alert self, so we're still hoping that it's nothing dire.

I've got the day off, and us girls are getting a few things done around the house before D gets home for dinner. We pruned the yarn stash, got the yard raked, put sugar pumpkins in the oven to roast for a homemade pie, and are just about to snuggle together for a quick knitting break. I hope your Friday is as sweet.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sweet Libby

We've had some unusually cold temperatures this fall, and they've caused the trees to shed their leaves early. Over the weekend we got the rakes out and picked up masses of bright gold leaves from the lawns and the sidewalks.

Before we swept away all that yellow, I took a few pictures of Libby and her dearest love. I do this almost every year, and can see the passage of time in those photos. She turned 7 over the summer, and her muzzle gets greyer every year.
She had fun investigating all the smells and greeting the passersby.

She often walks along with pedestrians, wagging her tail.

With some people, though, as soon as they are passed her, she lets out a big bark and scares them half to death.

I wish I knew what the heck she was thinking. What does she know about them that I don't know?

Later that night, she had a severe brain seizure and we rushed her to the emergency room.

She's never had a seizure before, so at first I didn't know what was happening, but it looked pretty painful and lasted several minutes. However, by the time we saw the veterinarian, she was almost back to normal, and very aware that she was at the dreaded vet's office.

We think, but can't be sure, that the seizure was caused by the neurologic damage she experienced over the summer when she had Lyme Disease. She's going to her regular vet tomorrow (sorry, honey) for more testing. We've got our fingers crossed that this seizure was an isolated event. I'm still in disbelief.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

It's Election Day across America. Please be counted.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Chicagoland Knit In for Dulaan Project 2007

On Saturday afternoon I took the train up to Evanston and joined Franklin and a whole slew of happy knitters at the Chicagoland Knit In for the Dulaan Project.

Franklin is a superb host! I had a great time chatting and eating and even managed to get in a little knitting.

I showed up with an array of circular needles, and cast on with some donated wool and a free Solstice Hat pattern written by Elizabeth Morriston (thank you) primarily for people who are knitting for The Dulaan Project.

If I hadn't been chatting and eating so many chocolate brownies, I could have finished this hat while I was there.

If you donated some blueberry Patons Classic Merino and a bag of undyed sheepy smelling yarn, thank you. Some of your yarn became one child's hat, blocked and ready to ship to Mongolia.

I also took home some pear Debbie Bliss Chunky Merino donated by blogger Karen of Yarn Is My Metier and have been playing around with my stitch reference book. If it works out, I'll probably write out a hat pattern.PDRM2984

My International Tote Swap II package arrived

A busy weekend kept me from posting until now. On Friday I received a very versatile handbag and loads of goodies from Linnet in California. I posted all the details on the swap page. Thanks, Linnet!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Eye Candy Friday

PDRM2941Happy Friday everyone!
I didn't intend for this to be a series, but I'm fascinated by how quickly the foliage changes once the temperatures dip, so here's the third and last shot of the same climbing vine.

I think the leaves have changed very quickly this year because its been so cold. It's early November and the temperatures are like mid December. The high today will be about 32° F / 0° C.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Move it along, there's nothing much to look at here

After a recent spate of Deadline Knitting, I'm free to start some new projects!

About two months ago I was ready to start my mother's red shawl, but the German instructions were kicking my butt. Then I got word that my grandmother in Florida was ill, so I started the much easier Red Scarf for OFA. Then I had to whip out some Socks of Doom or die in Sock Wars. Next up, another deadline for the International Tote Swap II. Shwooo!

So here I am on November 1st, back to my mother's red shawl. Thanks to Bonn blogger Sibylle, I've got an English translation of the shawl instructions. So far there's just some swatching and frogging going on since I'm substituting red Lang Fantomas for the Kidlana (my mom didn't like Kidlana's fuzziness).

I'm also swatching and frogging for a gift knit with some teal Karabella Aurora 8. This stuff is perfect for cables.

And I needed an easy project for commuting and KIP, so I'm working with a tried-and-true pattern and some stunning orchid pink Cascade 220.

Anyone care to guess at what that pink WIP is going to be?PDRM2932

Sorry for the lousy picture. Like I said at the beginning, I've got nothing much to show today. Why don't you go check out Sibylle's blog? She usually posts in both German and English, so feel free to say hallo or hello.