Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 The Year of the Hat!

I started this year with a goal in mind. A hat per month. Use up some stash and try some quick, fun projects. I made a strong start with Molly in January,Monkey Bones Super Slouch in February,
and Ripley in March.After that, things got kind of off track during the summer. I'd been waiting forever for Carrie to write up the pattern for the Uncle Frank hat and as soon as Dear Baby Francis came out, I was all over it. That's for a total of 4 so far.For Christmas, Hubbs asked for a Freestyle Snowboarder's hat to match her skiing coat, in brown and black. I haven't blogged this one, as it was finished over this busy Christmas period, but it's made with Debbie Bliss's Alpaca Silk Aran.Hubb's hubby needed a hat too. So I whipped him up a Fine Fella - same as the one I made my own hubby earlier this fall, for a total of 7. Phew, over halfway to 12.
I had forgotten about these two beauties until I was trawling through pictures for this post. They are two tiny baby hats I made for Teddy's teacher from 1st grade. She had her 2nd baby - a girl - and I whipped these up to keep her little head warm. Aaawww. I forget the yarns, but I think you can see the softness, right ;0)
My final unblogged and unphotographed completed hat, is Tiny Owl Knits' Orchids and Fairylights. I made it for my SIL's 40th birthday which was on 23rd December. Well, that'll explain that rush then! I'll get a photo of it one day....

There was one other hat, but that's in solitary confinement until I can work out/stop procrastinating on, what to do with it. It was Plicate by Hunter Hammersen. I used Toasted yarn from A Verb for Keeping Warm. Let's just say the yarn didn't work with this pattern and leave it at that.

So, that brings the total 2011 hats to 11. Not far off my goal, and mainly crammed into the last month of the year, but still, I had a lot of fun with them.

Tomorrow is another knitting year and I wonder what it will bring.......

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Love Letters Socks

This is the third time I've knit this pattern. I LOVE the result. The little V's that make the heart shapes. The pattern change on the leg, to give opposite socks. The swathes of stockinette.But, I especially like the squiggly back and forth cables. They are fun to knit and look great.
Right now, they're winging their way to Wales, along with these other beauties (Honey Badger and Breaking Hearts), gifts for my Aunts and Cousin. Do you think they'll like them? };0)
Pattern: Love Letters by Irishgirlieknits
Colourway: Rosebud

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I saw Zonda's Dear Baby Francis socks and thought I really should post pics of mine too.

Knit in Kollage Sock-a-Licious, the are squishy and stretchy. The cables make the socks look small, but of course, they also make them stretchy, so they should fit a little one for quite a few months. Behold, their cuteness.....

In other "snap" news, that's what my nerves almost did when I realised I'd left my Christmas shopping late. I ordered some things from amazon on Sunday night and was given a delivery date estimate between 18th and 24th Dec. Cutting it close, or what! Since when did on-line ordering for Christmas delivery have to be done in November?! Oy! Now I have to go mall shopping }:0(
Happy Holidays peeps }:0)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Home-a-Rama Pillows

I have a wonderful friend here in the Charlotte 'burbs, Michele, who's an awesome crafter and artist. She gives art & craft lessons to our local community and makes the most beautiful things for her home. Go see the loveliness she has for sale in her Etsy shop .

A couple of months ago, Michele was working on a room design project for a local builder's "Home-a-rama". She was to decorate a girl's bedroom and a 'jack and jill' bathroom. She made all the fabric soft furnishings, but wanted a bit of extra texture, so asked me to make a couple of pillows.

Here they are, in all their disco glory.
Michele chose the colours, and I whipped up this granny square beauty.Other side......Buttony closure. No need for button holes. The granny square has them built-in.
This next one was knit, but I crocheted the two sides together in the contrasting green - yes, I am loving the crochet right now ;0)
Buttons courtesy of Michele's vast volumes of vintage. Couldn't resist that bit of alliteration. Carry on! And some duplicate stitch stems in that contrasting green, to tie it all together."Patterns", as such, are as follows:

You'll need not quite 6 skeins of "kitchen cotton", a 5mm hook and as many buttons to fasten as you'd like.
Front: Make 17 rounds of "Granny Square" pattern. Here's a good tutorial from Purl Soho.
Back: Same as Front
To make-up: Crochet 3 sides of the pillow together. Sew on buttons.
This should give you a pillow size around 16" square.

You'll need not quite 4 skeins of "kitchen cotton", a 5mm needle for the stockinette stitch stripes and a 4.5mm needle for the moss stitch. Use however many buttons to fasten as you'd like. Oh, and don't forget the crochet hook for making up.
Back of Pillow - Cast on 74 sts. Knit 39 stripes in stockinette stitch - 2 rows of each colour. Bind off.
Front of Pillow (Top) - Cast on 74 sts. Knit 26 stripes in stockinette stitch, then 8 rows of moss st. Bind off
Front of Pillow (Bottom) - Cast on 74 sts. Knit 8 stripes in stockinette stitch, then 3 rows of moss st. Insert button-holes at appropriate places on next row of moss st. Knit 4 more rows of moss st. Bind off.
To make-up - crochet the outside edges of the pillow together. Sew on buttons. Duplicate stitch the flower "stems". Sew on Flower buttons.
This should fit a 12"x16" pillow form. My gauge was around 4.5/5 sts per inch.

Stockinette Stitch: knit one row, purl the next.
Moss Stitch: knit one, purl one. On the following row, purl the knits and knit the purls.

Disco xo

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Giving Thanks for New York City

Well, December snuck up on me! And all the Thanksgiving traveling seriously cramped the blog-roll I was on. Oh well, it makes for a super long and picture-y post today :0)

All hail, the biggest Crayon in the world!!! As we drove up to New York City, we spotted signs for the Crayola factory and just about pee-ed our pants with excitement. We had to make the detour (it's not that far off the motorway), but were disappointed to find the factory doesn't do tours on Mondays. Of course! So we took this pic in the factory store instead. Next time, maybe.
Our first lunch in NYC is always at a Pret-a-Manger. It's a fantastic chain of ready-made sandwich shops, that started years and years ago in London, and so always reminds me of home. I pine for their Coronation Chicken sandwiches. I loved this knit-art on the wall :0)I took Teddy to the Guggenheim - Matthew complained of his feet, so he went shopping with Daddy instead 0.O
Teddy's looking like, "What the...?" right here. The artist on display in the Rotunda is Maurizio Cattelan. Apparently, he announced his retirement from the art world and this is a collective display of his works, suspended from the Rotunda ceiling. It was interesting in a "Huh?!" kind of a way. But I like that ;0) Teddy loved the building.No, this next photo is not "Occupy Wall Street". They were long gone, when we walked past Zuccoti Park. This is one of the campers, waiting to see Justin Beiber at the Today Show. I am partial to the little songster, but seriously?! It was cold. And wet. And did you see how he wore his jeans below his bottom, with his underpants all on display? I have no idea what's up with that, except I may be getting old. Whatevs!
We visited the World Trade Center Memorial. The reflection pools are beautiful and poignant. Pause for thought.
And rising, right next door to the memorial, is the new Freedom Tower. Quite the beauty :0)Returning to the happy, what's a Thanksgiving trip to NYC without a show at Radio City Music Hall? We took the boys to see the Rockette's Christmas Show. Never disappointing, the guys loved it as much as we did. I swear, there's not a bad seat in the house - we got the cheap seats and saw everything clearly.

It's such an elegant and beautiful space. Here's the Christmas-Tree-shaped chandelier in the foyer.And this is what holds it up. Yes, that is just one cable. Yikes!And the brothers. They love each other so :0)The last night of our trip, Tommy and I went to a friend's birthday party, while the grandparents looked after the boys. We stayed in a super-swanky hotel and I had to take a picture of the view from one side of our corner room. The other side, looked over the Library and down 42nd st. It was AWESOME!Now, let's end this travelogue with some more knitting. Spotted in the library of the New York Hall of Science in Queens. YarnBOMB!!!
What a trip!
Next up, Christmas }:0)

disco xo

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pillow Talk

Thank you all for your input on my UFO wips this week. It has been really helpful to get others thoughts. Even when you have the same thoughts yourself, it can be so hard to actually make a *gasp* decision!!!

So here's what I've come up with as an answer to the Entrelac pillow question. I'm going to make a stockinette back. Here it is started already (see how quickly these things can be done, once the decision has been made!).
I am even using stash yarn to finish this up. The big ball of brown is Cascade Eco-Wool, leftover from my Noro Blanket, and the Tonalita is obviously leftover from this pillow's front. I'm striping them, 2 rows each, and think there is enough of both to make the whole back, but if not I have this.......
...little ball of silk. The colour kind of works with some of the shades in the Tonalita. I'll use it to make the button-hole bands for the back. The back will be made of two parts (lengths to be determined) and they will fasten with buttons. I like to remove the pillow forms so I can wash the covers.
Here's a closer look at the knitting I've done so far.
We are preparing for our Thanksgiving trip to NYC/CT today - we leave in the morning. Not sure if I'll get to blog on the road, which could upset my 'posting every day' this month. Oh well, we'll see.

Happy Saturday y'all ;0)
disco xo

Friday, November 18, 2011

Harry Potter

Here's some Friday night fun for y'all.

Did you get your copy of the final Harry Potter movie yet? We got it release day and watched it right away - such an awesome movie. One of the things I LOVE about watching the Harry Potter films is seeing the British actors, some of them familiar faces from waaaaaaayyy long ago. I dug up video clips of some oldies, but goodies, for your enjoyment. OK, mainly my enjoyment, but you can join in too :0)

Mark Williams aka Arthur Weasley.
This is a clip from "The Fast Show" which was a HUGE comedy sketch show in the 90's. Added bonus: Johnny Depp. You're welcome ;0)

Dawn French aka The lady in the painting
Here's a classic sketch from Dawn French and her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders, who you may know from another very popular show.

And last but not least, Emma Thompson aka Sybill Trelawney.
The Young Ones was a classic from the 80's. Aaaaahhhh, the 80's, the best of times.
Added bonus: erm, everyone else in the clip ;0)

Do you recognise any of these shows?
Happy weekend
Disco xo

Thursday, November 17, 2011

WIP - Mission Falls Blanket

Thanks for all your input on the Entrelac pillow yesterday. I think the consensus is a plain stockinette back. That would be my preference too - a bit of easy, mindless knitting and not too much of a yarn investment required. Decision made - phew! :0)
The next UFO, has also been waiting on a decision. I started this blanket (more than) a couple of years ago. It's a log cabin construction, made with Mission Falls cotton. The pic I have up on the Ravelry project page has a couple of positive comments/likes, so I guess it has something about it. And I do still like the colours.
The decision I have to make is whether to invest in more yarn to make it a viable project. The yarn is discontinued, but there is a good amount for sale/trade on Ravelry. I would have to buy 2 or 3 balls of the pale green to balance out the squares themselves, plus a good amount of a contrasting colour (dark gray?) to edge all the squares.
So, wise ones, should I invest in the extra yarn and finish the project? Or frog the whole thing and put the yarn up for sale on Rav?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Entrelac Pillow

Before the end of the month, I hope to post about a few long-term UFOs I have. Usually they are that way, waiting for a decision to be made. Please feel free to give opinions, to try to help with those decisions.

I think it was Stitches West 2009 that I took an Entrelac class with Margaret Fisher. It's one of those techniques that looks fancy and complicated, but with a clear set of instructions is actually a breeze. Isn't it like that with most things in knitting?

So, I came home, found this beautiful Trendsetter Yarns Tonalita yarn and set to making a pillow for our family room couch.
Fast forward more than 2 and a half years, and here we have the pillow, one side completed. Now, my problem is that I have neither the yarn, nor the will to make a second, matching side. So, what to do, what to do?
I searched my fabric stash for something that might work with the greens and browns, and this is the only thing that even comes close. It's a wood grain.
I have no idea how to even begin attaching knitting to fabric. Maybe I should knit a plain back to the pillow, in a complementary colour instead? Chocolate brown?

So, I see the options to choose from as:
1. Bite the bullet - search out more Tonalita and make a matching back. I have some paypal $ to do this, but no time til after Christmas to even start making the back.
2. Machine stitch the fabric to the knitting - possibly shop for different fabric, although I do kind of like the 70's woodgrain.
3. Knit a plain back to the pillow. This option leads to another decision: which yarn/colour.

Thoughts, anyone?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lofty Scarf #2

Here's the second scarf I recently completed in Kollage's Lofty yarn. The pattern is called "Megan's Hiking", again by Kathy Zimmerman. I used the same colour as the Shawl Collared Cowl from this post, a beautiful teal.The pattern has a zig-zaggy cable up the middle......
....and cabled edges. I like this design feature a lot - it doesn't curl like stockinette and is more interesting than garter.
The 3 skeins called for, give a nice long scarf that can be wrapped around the neck a couple of times - super warm. And pretty, huh? :0)
disco xo

Monday, November 14, 2011

BeeKeeper's Update

Here's where we're at today. 19 "flowers" completed. I had to stop making the 'petals' and make some more colourful centres. It made a nice change to not be knitting yellow or grey. Not that I'm getting bored with the colour-scheme. I still heart it ;0)I've been contemplating how to arrange the two colours. Here they are striped - one row of yellow, one row of grey. What do you think of that arrangement? I think I need a lot more flowers before I'll be able to tell.
Some highlights of this past week or so's hexes are: these four, made with the Miss Babs Yummy Toes I showed you here;
and, these two made with Socks That Rock lightweight. Left is Hoofle Foofle and right is Festival of Lights.
Disco xo

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Boys' Current Favourite Song

I kid you not, the boys ask for this every time we get in the car.

Deserves a quiet Sunday night.
disco xo

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Little Love Affair

I have been having a little love affair this summer. With a guy called Erik Larson.

It started with his book "The Devil in the White City", a thrilling tale of construction, murder and deadlines in almost-turn-of-the-(19th)-century Chicago. Two stories run parallel - one chapter tells of a psychotic con-man who builds a deadly hotel. The following chapter will tell the trials and tribulations of construction of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. The murder story will creep you out - truly chilling evil, while the story of the building of the fair will entertain and inform you. You'll learn about new products introduced at the fair, some of which we still use today. One of the high-lights of the fair was the first ever Ferris Wheel. I could not put this book down, as they say, and got that sad feeling when you finish a book you've enjoyed.

I immediately bought another of his books "Isaac's Storm". The chronicle of the deadly hurricane which deluged and almost destroyed the town of Galveston, Texas in 1900. Isaac was the local weatherman, he's one story. The other story is the hurricane. When the two stories meet, the trouble starts. In this book, the author builds tension by describing how a storm starts and develops. He then goes on to describe warning signs for this big storm and how they were ignored, with deadly consequences. The descriptions of the storm hitting Galveston are incredible, sad and will keep you turning page after page.

The third of his books I read was "In The Garden of Beasts". This is the story of the American Ambassador to Germany, during the years leading up to WWII. Again, two stories intertwine - sensing a theme yet?. The story of the ambassador and his family and the story of the rise of Hitler's power. Again, an interesting read - we all know the subject matter, but the author shows us a smaller story, within that much bigger part of history.

The last book to be read was "Thunderstruck", finished in a fit of insomnia this morning. It should have been another quick read for me with two interesting subjects: Marconi "inventing" wireless communication, and Dr Crippen's murder of his wife. Marconi's invention helped in the pursuit and capture of Crippen. The book did seem to drag. There was a lot of, too much, discussion of Marconi's experiments - many of which were the same. However, a good bit of the action is set in London, in many streets and places I know - they even dine at a restaurant I've eaten in myself! So it wasn't a total bore. Altogether, I'm glad I read it.

So, I am done with Erik. I know he's working on a new book and wonder what his next 2 subjects will be. I'll be reading them, whatever.

Next up, Suzanne Collins and her Hunger Games.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The winds of change

We have these trees throughout our neighbourhood and I take delight in them every day of fall. They have a deep colour that ranges from peach to scarlet, depending on the light. Sadly, they are mostly on the ground, after yesterday's rain. But change must happen, and look what comes next....This morning, I noticed these beauties, popped out just in time to replace the fall tree leaves. Can't you almost taste Christmas? :0)
In other news, I just bought this dress, in honour of Wovember. Boiled wool - and not an online exclusive, I got it in the mall. It is the coolest thing I've bought in forever, it fits great (all that running may be paying off after all) and I'm excited to wear it soon. Perhaps on our Thanksgiving trip to NYC - only 9 days til we leave :0)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I-Cord Friendship Bracelets

I wonder if the "Treasure Box" is a peculiarity to the South Carolina elementary school system, or is used country/world-wide. My boys' classrooms both have these reward systems, which I would call an excellent concept, were they not filled with plastic rhinoceros, sticky balls and party bag slinkies. All destined to go in the junk box half an hour after arriving home.

In an effort to reduce said plastic-tat consumption, I made a ton of i-cord friendship bracelets. Hopefully they have a better chance of actually being used, and will disintegrate into the landfill they'll ultimately occupy, a couple of hundred years before their plastic compadres.

To make, you will need:
  • kitchen cotton yarn - the funkier the colours the better
  • 2.25mm dpns, or size to suit your yarn - I found this size gave a nice tight fabric.
  • 2.25mm crochet hook, or size to suit your yarn
  • a button
  • a darning needle
  • a small person to model

  • Cast on 3 stitches.
    Make i-cord until it fits around your small person's wrist.
    Cast off til you have only 1 stitch left on your needle.

    From that 1 stitch, chain 8 stitches with crochet hook. Cut yarn & secure through last stitch.
    Secure the crochet chain to the main bracelet, to form a loop.

    Using the cast on tail, sew a button onto the cast on edge.
    Darn in tails. After securing with a couple of stitches, you can hide the ends inside the i-cord tube.
    Make more.
    Send to school.

    Here's a bunch I made. They were well received by both kids and teachers.
    Disco xo