I started these while teaching a crocheted sock class, not really planning to finish them right away, but they've caught my interest. I do love making socks. (details are here.)It might also be influenced by the loss of one of my favorite handmade socks. I think it fell out of my bag on the way to class Saturday; and I think the kitten made off with it. She's started stealing my crochet hooks - out of my bag, no less - and chasing them around the house, like she does her ball. With the ball, it's cute. With my hooks, not so much. Hope this is just a phase for her. . . . And I really want my sock back.


Got the Knitting Bug

I've been on a knitting kick this week. It started with the Nancy Bush workshop on Tuesday. I was determined to finish the shawl sampler, hopefully in time for today's guild meeting. Made it! I finished knitting this - nupps and all - last night about 6 pm. This is definitely the most complicated knitting project I've tackled. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

One of my goals for the Ravelympics was to finish this handspun scarf I started knitting in 2007. Earlier in the week I decided this should be done in time for guild too. Nothing like a deadline to get me motivated.
Wove in the ends and put this on the blocking board last night about 7 pm.

And as long as I was fishing for WIPS*, I grabbed this on my way out the door this morning and finished it up during the guild meeting.
It had languished since the Cat Bordhi workshop in January while I finished up baby blankets. It's a little short - I'll cast on more stitches next time. But it's soft and it's DONE.

*Works In Progress. Details for all these projects are on my Ravelry page.


More Home Improvement

Dick's been working all week on finishing the remodel of our bedroom, stripping the last of the stubborn wallpaper, refinishing the wallboards and today, spraying texture on all the walls. None of it was fun but today was especially bad - there's no maneuvering room with all the furniture crowded into the center of the room. Fortunately, it's done. Now we can move on to deciding whether to re-wallpaper - with wallpaper we purchased 2 years ago (it was a good sale . . . ) - or just paint. We're both looking forward to this being finished.


Knitting With Nancy

This has been my year for taking classes with famous knitters. In January, I took Magical Moebius with Cat Bordhi at my favorite LYS. Great class; love the moebius.
Today it was Estonian lace knitting with Nancy Bush (check out some of her shawl patterns here.) I wasn't sure my knitting skills were up to the challenge, but I had a great time and - bonus - I wasn't the slowest one in the group.

Nancy taught Estonian folk knitting for the guild yesterday; I opted for the more expensive lace class because, while I doubt I'd ever knit socks or colorwork mittens, I definitely would like to knit some of the fabulous lace shawls in the 10 Shawls in 2010 . . . some day.

I made it through 8 rows of the chart before my brain totally fried; and only twice did I need Nancy's help un-knitting mistakes. I read charts, made nupps (pronounced nuuuuup like soup), and ended up with something that actually looks like lace.

I thought the best thing I'd get from today's class was Estonian folklore and Nancy's tips/tricks. Not so. The best thing was the boost it gave my knitting confidence. The size 8 needles I'm using to finally finish my One Row Handspun Scarf feel positively gigantic after spending the day with size 4's. And the knit-through-the-back stitch that's been giving me fits? Not any more. I've done NUPPS.


Little Girls

Leia came to visit today and it's amazing how quickly she's growing and changing. It's hard to get photos/videos of her; as soon as she hears the camera turn on, she's running over to see the pictures on the back. I snapped this quick video of her - she's torn between chasing the kitten and seeing what's on the camera. I was laughing so hard at her backing up to sit in my lap and see herself on camera that I forgot to hit the 'stop' button on the video.

Samantha brought Payton over to play with Leia this afternoon. The little girls greeted each other with a big hug in the front yard. So cute.
Neither quite has the concept of 'share' down yet, but they played very well together. Payton is 2 months older than Leia; Leia is taller and heavier but Payton has more hair.

click photo to embiggen

I'm calling it a draw in the cuteness sweepstakes.


Tunisian Treasure Shawl

Just posted a new shawl pattern on Ravelry. You can check it out - even if you aren't a Ravelry member - by clicking here or on the link in the sidebar.
I love how soft and squishy this shawl is. Its batwing shape helps it stay firmly on your shoulders; no sliding around like some triangle-shaped shawls.
I made mine using Misti Alpaca's Baby Alpaca Royal, but any soft, worsted weight yarn will work. You'll need a long - 12" or more - Tunisian/afghan hook since you'll have a lot of stitches on there before you're done.

Border detail

I'm planning to make another one of these as part of my '10 Shawls in 2010'. How about you?



I'm teaching two classes this weekend - crocheted socks tomorrow night and my Tunisian Treasure Shawl on Sunday. Before teaching a class, I always make a sample to double (or triple) check the pattern and make sure I remember all the steps. I was also curious how this shawl would look in a multi-color yarn, so . . . I grabbed some leftovers and made this. It looks better in real-life than in this nighttime shot; I'm definitely tempted to make this a full shawl rather than just a sample.

Little Miss Helpful had to check it out too,
with a sniff, a pounce and an (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to carry off a new play toy. I keep telling myself I'm going to miss her kitten playfulness when she grows up. Maybe with everything except my yarn projects.


Wool Eater Blanket

Spent the day crafting with three of my very favorite people - and the evening at a local school board meeting in support of SCIART, our local art/artists program. May I just say that if I had to do the school board thing every week, I'd shoot myself. Just not cut out to sit through the public comments and bu*****t.

Moving on. The blanket for Saturday's baby shower is done and grandma-to-be approved.
This is the Wool Eater Blanket by Sarah London (Ravelry link); it takes a lot of time - the last 6 rounds took an hour each - and uses a *lot* of yarn but it's worth it. I think it's really eye-catching.
This is 3 colors of Lion Brand 'Pound of Love' - white, pastel pink and bubble gum - with an H/5.00mm hook and measures about 38" square. Looking forward to seeing how the mom-to-be likes it.


Blankie FO

Baby blankie #1 is done and blocking. Pretty shots coming tomorrow. Now - on to my Ravelympic projects!


Ravelympics FO

My first project for Ravelympics 2010 is done and blocking, just in time for tomorrow night's class.

The most interesting pattern.
My goals were to try out different Tunisian shell stitches to see which I liked best
My favorite pattern.
and to use up some stash yarn. Success on both counts.
This and the next photo are different patterns but look a lot alike.
These are from a variety of sources - 101 Easy Tunisian Stitches; Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet; and Teach Yourself Tunisian Crochet. I also like Sharon Silverman's book on Tunisian Crochet.
The first pattern I tried and my least favorite; skews too much to the side.
Now to finish up a baby blanket before I get back to Ravelympics projects.


This and That

Little bits of miscellany -

  • Mr. "I'm Not A Cat Guy", caught in the act. This is where Snickers spends most nights; she's definitely a daddy's girl.
  • I started my first Ravelympics project, more out of necessity than an overwhelming desire to make this first. I'm teaching a Tunisian shell stitch class on Tuesday night and this scarf is the class sampler. Nothing like a deadline to get me moving.
  • Lily is recovering slowly from yesterday's try for Olympic gold. Wish I could get that relaxed when I sleep.


Kitty Olympics

Lily staged her own Olympics this week, although I think her version is better suited to the Summer rather than Winter Games. Miss Lil has several toys she likes, but this little hard-foam ball has emerged as the clear favorite. She bats it around - and over and under and through - everything in the house, often carrying it in her mouth from room to room until she finds the perfect spot to play. At night, she brings me the ball, drops it in my lap and waits for me to throw it or drop it, so she can chase it and bring it back. In the mornings she brings it with her when she comes into the bedroom to wake me up. She guards it jealously from the other cats, even though they've never shown the slightest interest in her treasure. When she really gets going, she'll run into walls, fall off furniture - most often landing on her face - and crash through doors, skidding on the tile floors, unable to stop. She puts so much time and effort into her training schedule, it's exhausting - and hilarious - to watch. I hope all the Winter Olympics athletes have as much fun at their games as Miss Lil does.


Progress and Cuties

Making progress on one baby blanket - it's about 24" square so I need a few more rows to hit my goal of 36" or larger.

The back is almost as pretty as the front.

Need to have this one done in less than 10 days, so the second baby blankie is hibernating right now. I did bring it out to show the intended recipient - can you tell Payton loves it? She came over to play while Leia was staying with us last weekend. I may be just a tad biased, but aren't they both cuties?


Wedge Weave

Today was the wedge weave class I signed up for a month ago, taught by internationally-known weaver, Michael Rohde - who just happens to be a member of my weaving guild. (His WeaveCast interview is here.)

Examples of Michael Rohde's wedge weave designs

When I signed up, I wasn't even sure what wedge weave was. Turns out it's a form of tapestry weaving, most often associated with Navajo weavers. Lots of zigzags, triangles and wedges. And lots of fun.

Rather than using traditional tapestry looms, Michael had us use rigid heddle looms which are fast and easy to warp. I lucked out - Deborah used my loom to demonstrate how to warp a rigid heddle (did the whole thing for me); then Michael used my loom to demonstrate how to lash on and start weaving (and did the whole thing for me.)

I'd made a good start by the time I got home from class (in time for Super Bowl! Ok, for the Super Bowl commercials), and got even more done by the end of the game. Not sure where I'm going with this exactly, but I'm enjoying the process.

Bad cell phone photo

Already planning to do another wedge weave using skeins of my handspun that are too short to knit or crochet. I say that after every workshop - I'm going to do something with what I learned! - but seldom do. Be interesting to see if this is any different.


Baby Blankies

Blankie #1:

Blankie #2:Progress is steadily slow (slowly steady?)