Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Happy Knitting (and Carding and Spinning),
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
When I moved into the house in 2001, there was a big controversy in the home-owner's association about acceptable mailboxes. The only ones allowed in the covenants were three particular wrought iron designs. There was an amendment to allow brick. After that went through, I built my own brick mailbox, using brick that the builder gave me, along with some "homemade" bricks with glass inlays. I made the bricks, the number plate, and the top stone, with mortar mix and glass "stones" you can get at craft stores (for flower arrangements and stuff like that).
My father-in-law once commented that the one thing about that mailbox was that it would still be there after the apocalypse. It turns out not to be so. With another layer of ice on the streets (seems to be a weekly occurrence, lately), a neighbor went out of control and hit it. (In case you're wondering, it was a Jeep with one of the steel cages on the front.)
In that second picture, you can tell the road is a sheet of ice. Nice, huh? We live on a curve, just to the left of frame in the second photo. Maybe we should put up some concrete barriers. (Well, I sort of had a brick barrier, before, but now I don't...)
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I actually finished this vest a few weeks ago, and I just had not taken any photos. The light wasn't great after I got home, today, either, but I took some, anyway.
The pattern is from Tahki Yarns, and it uses their own Doneghal Tweed "homespun."
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Mitchell turned three last week. Here is Mitchell, holding up his fingers and saying, "I'm Three."
There were so many gifts from the grandparents and Mommy and Daddy that he was running back and forth starting to open one and then another. He would ask for help opening one, and then get distracted and run off.
He liked his cake, actually, the frosting, but he wouldn't blow out the candles. He has an aversion to fire.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I finished an alpaca cowl a few weeks ago, actually. Alpaca fiber is certainly warm and cozy! It is based on the Monkey sock pattern from CookieA.
Using a circular needle (16 to 24”…16” is probably better, but I used 24”) or dpns, CO a multiple of 16 stitches. (I used long tail CO, but read the “Round 12” paragraph before deciding how to CO.) I used seven repeats (112 sts). The cowl is a bit on the drapey side. If you go to a larger gauge (or even in the same gauge, if you want the cowl a bit more snug), you might want to use six repeats (96 sts).
Using Classic Elite Inca Alpaca, and a size 5 needle, I knitted to a gauge of 22 sts over four inches in stockinette. I don’t consider that critical, except in deciding to possibly reduce the number of pattern repeats to six.
Place marker and join in the round.
Knit 5 rounds.
Round 6: *K2tog, YO*, repeat to end of round.
Knit 5 rounds.
Round 12: *K2tog, one from the left needle, one from the CO row*, repeat to end of round. This is a bit fiddly. I picked up one at a time, and I recommend placing split-ring markers every 8 stitches before trying this, so you can make sure the columns of stitches are aligned. Alternatively, you can pick up the whole CO row with a spare needle, making sure you picked up the same number as you CO, and then hold the two “left” needles parallel and knit them together onto the right needle. As an even more organized approach, you can CO with a provisional CO, then put that onto a spare needle for knitting together in the 12th round.
Round 13: Switch to the pattern stitch from the Monkey Socks by CookieA on Knitty.com. I used seven pattern repeats around, and five pattern repeats high.
When you have the height you want in the cowl, repeat the picot edge you used to start:
Knit 5 rounds.
Round 6: * K2tog, YO*, repeat to end of round.
Knit 5 rounds.
Round 12: Use the “Sewing Down a Picot Edge…” instructions from Jeannie Cartmel to hem the picot. Before doing so, I recommend using split-ring markers every 8 stitches to mark where you’re going to sew. To place your markers: between each 16-stitch pattern repeat, on the wrong side, count down five “bumps” from the picot point and hang a marker. After you have all seven (or however many repeats you did) marked, then count eight stitches right or left and hang another marker. Now, you have markers every eight stitches, all the way around the line where you will sew down the picot edge. The markers allow you to keep track that you are sewing in the right place and avoid getting a wonky hem.
When trying on this cowl, and taking it off, I ended up with it on my head like a headband, and I discovered it would make a lovely hat if I just added a bunch of decreases toward the end (and eliminated the last picot edge, obviously). In the photo, below, it is the cowl, and I'm holding the end bunched up in my hand. I’m thinking of trying a hat next, with a double decrease between each pattern repeat (in the purl sts). Then, you could definitely get a cowl and a hat out of three skeins of Inca Alpaca, since the hat would use slightly less yarn. (I need to go buy one more skein! I only had 2.) The picot hem makes a really pretty hat trim around the face.