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Stranded

At my darling daughter’s request, I’m back to knitting hats. Stranded  hats.  She wore one of my hats to a party and ended up requesting 4 more, including 2 moose hats, which I had to design.  I got out my punch cards and away I went.  They appear to be frolicking or playing leapfrog though.

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Frolicking moose

I’m going to sew these on my machine to try to speed up the assembly.  Right now it takes me almost as much time to finish them by hand as it does to knit them on the machine.

Our good friend is heading way north to volunteer for the Yukon Quest.  She is an avid dog lover, skijoerer (yup I spelled that right.  Skijoring (in Wikipedia) which is defined as:  sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning ski driving. So she wants to see the pros at work with their sleds and  beautiful dogs.   I made her a hat of course.

It’s not my pattern; I bought the knitting chart and made my own punch card for my knitting machine.  I’m quite pleased with it.  Everyone at the dog shelter coveted one too.  A good endorsement.  The pattern is Husky Sledding Chart and its graphics are perfect.

Next up are panda hats I am still designing and punching cards for.  Three color punch card is keeping my brain fresh. My machine is older and relies on punch cards instead of the computer.  This means a lot of up front work before a pattern may be knit.

Loki looked stranded in the snow yesterday when he was stalking something in the bushes.

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So handsome.  Then he came in and cuddled with the rambunctious, hyper, mildly annoying, but so sweet, kitten, Elli. They were even touching for warmth.

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We had a small dinner party the other night and I made the American version of a self saucing pudding and I have to say it was delicious and easy.  The recipe is from King Arthur Flour.  They call it a self saucing chocolate cake.  Our chocolate loving, skijoerer loved it too.  A good testament.  Here’s how pretty the table looked before dinner.  I won’t show you the aftermath but a good time was had by all.

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Here’s the link to the King Arthur recipe.  Try it!

 

Chasing rainbows

Sometimes the most beautiful images occur on the dreariest days.  Rainbows don’t appear on sunny days.  Yesterday was gray with freezing rain predicted.  I went for a run and minutes after I got home, it started pouring with a little sun peaking through.  I got the camera out because I thought for sure a rainbow would form and wasn’t disappointed.

First a dull, double rainbow emerged.

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Then one dissolved and the other became more vivid.

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Finally, it widened across the sky.

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If it had been a sunny day, I wouldn’t have this to talk about.  I followed the rainbow all the way to work and when I got there, found the pot of gold.  Apparently, I have been accruing vacation time and don’t take enough time off!!  Lighthouses and sailing, here I come. And more rainbows to chase.

 

 

Full house

It took a while to attract the goldfinches this year to our feeders.  We had chickadees, one of which ate directly from Tim’s hand, nuthatches, blue jays of course and squirrels, including a big fat grey one.  Well they’re back, in a flock.  Yesterday there was no more room at the feeders.

I’m working to keep warm.  I put this string quilt on hold while I struggled to learn how to use my knitting machine(s).  Now it’s time to finish it for the cabin.  The fabric is all homespun and I made it entirely on my Singer treadle sewing machine.  It may have even been considered exercise.

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I know I’m human because of course I’ve erred but perhaps only I will know. The process was pretty simple.  Sew a lot of strips on a square piece of fabric, then clean it up.

Elli was fundamental in helping me plan the layout.  Now to add borders and layer it with wool batting.  It will weigh a ton and should be toasty.  I could have used it last night.  It was blustery cold and very windy.  We took our evening soak in the hot tub with a wind chill of 9 degrees f.  It was so windy, my robe blew right off the coat rack.  Happily Tim retrieved it for me.  But when I went to put my shoes on, I saw they had blown right down the hill on top of dear, departed Shirley’s ( my feline companion of 18 years) grave.  I had to tromp in the snow in my bare feet to retrieve them and say hello to Shirley.  Brrrrrr. A hot shower and wool clogs helped.

Look how pretty

Sometimes it’s fun and educational to follow a knitting pattern as written.  I rarely do and end up with a variety of results.  Not so with my most recent hand knit projects.  The patterns are from Brooklyn Tweed kids and are beautiful and a fun knit.

The first is a young girl’s sweater, Petal.  It all began when a niece requested another sweater for her daughter, in white please. Well she also has a son, and a sister with two boys. You see how it goes.  One white sweater became four.  I had fun planning the projects.  

Here’s Petal.

  
Look at those details. Not your average circular yoke cardigan. I have a cone of lovely sock yarn from Webs I’ve been using for all sorts of projects and it really softens after washing.

The next is Wyatt.  I liked the Henley style and stitch pattern.  I happened to have some yarn recycled from a girl’s dress made of cotton, cashmere and angora that is machine washable. It knit up beautifully and I have some left over for a soft hat.

   
 
Now for the older boys.  I wanted to knit sweaters on my two knitting machines. One can handle worsted and bulky weight yarn.  I found a nice raglan sweater on the Webs’ sight and converted it to work flat.  I liked the bold stripe and, since the boys are big Islanders fans, I incorporated their team colors.  It worked out beautifully.  What a way to sail through all that stockinette. The pattern is Jonathan.

  
Finally, I wanted to do some stranded color work on my knitting machine that works with fingering weight yarn.  I saw another pattern I liked in Brooklyn Tweed called Carson, which appealed to me because of the way the colorwork was used in the hem and sleeves.  But it was too small and a little tricky to convert.  I decided to make my life simple and knit a modified drop shoulder sweater with a V-neck.  Then I found a stranded pattern I liked in the book, Traditional Knitting by Michael Peirson, and made a punchcard to work with my Passap Dm80. I kept the neck detail from Carson, which rolls a little.

 
The first two sweaters took two months.  The last two, four days!  
Now I can finally get back to working on Tim’s quilt for the log cabin. 

Take a hike

Tim nearly dragged me out of the house today to take a hike. I’ve been down with a cold and my exercise plan has gone to pot – for now at least. 

All’s good though. I finished last minute Christmas gifts and shipped a wedding gift. It’s a tartan throw I wove. The plaid was from a wedding dress from 1766 in Scotland. 

   
   

 I’m pleased with it. I hope the bride to be is too. 

We snowshoed next door and saw evidence of a piliated woodpecker

   
 Beavers

  
Some little critters that live in a hole in the snow

And people who build rock cairns

  

Except for a small meltdown by me, a good time was had by all (Tim).
  
  

Put it in writing

The holidays are behind us.  The stockings, which were hung with care, are back in storage.

  
Attention turns to the New Year and our resolutions. Here’s mine.  In 2016 any additions to my wardrobe will be made by me.  That is not to say I will only wear handmade clothing but I have to make everything I would normally buy.  

Needless to say, I shopped at Victoria’s Secret and the Gap on December 30.

First on my list is a few silk camisoles.  Perhaps pajama pants from handwoven fabric.  My homemade bathing suit (sewn, not knit) is holding up just fine. I’m flush in hats, gloves, and slippers. I may need a wool coat. We’ll see what the New Year brings.

Feeling blue

It was time to pull out the dye pots and Greener Shades dyes.  Before Thanksgiving, my first attempt at dyeing my own self-striping sock yarn was a smashing success, almost. The dyeing process and results were great. I just couldn’t get to the yarn. 

How could that be? Well it’s a mildly involved process. In order to make two balls of identical yarn, to knit a pair of matching socks, first I knit two strands of white yarn together into a large rectangle. I knit it with very large stitches so the dye can easily penetrate the yarn.

  
The process is made easier because I knit the rectangle on a knitting machine but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Then I “paint” the rectangles with dye. In this case I painted half of each with black and the rest with varying shades of blue and green and maybe a little purple, my favorite color way these days. 

  
Then I let them dry during our beautiful fall weather.  Next step is to unravel the rectangle into two balls of yarn. That’s where I had a big fail the first time and kept trying to unravel from what turned out to be the wrong edge. Who knew?  It would unravel most of the way but get caught on the end stitches. I wasted so much yarn, I only had enough to make the cutest pair of tiny socks for little Otis. Now I know. 

  
We’ll see how these knit up big people socks.

   
In the meantime, I’m proud of my latest weaving endeavor. 

  
My floor loom is presently occupied by a small blanket in progress.  It’s inspired from a plaid from the 1700’s found on a wedding dress.  Despite careful planning, I ran out of weft yarn and am waiting for it to arrive so I can proceed with holiday weaving. In the meantime…gotta keep weaving. 

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