Wednesday, December 23, 2009

45 Lessons in Life

A friend in Texas sent this power point presentation to me. Watching these lessons and incredible images (thank you to whomever took them) popped me right into the Vortex.   At the end it says that 93% of the people receiving it will not share it.  I found it so beautiful I want to share it with as many people as possible.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Under the Mistletoe

My knitting ADD was really bad this past week.  No sooner did I read the Knitting Daily post about the Celestine Tree Topper and watch the video than I made plans to knit the thing immediately.  (Did I mention it is a free download?)  I rationalized my impulse by exchanging this project with another one that had yet to be started but, would be for the same person.  I also decided that this close to mailing deadline the original item would just take too long or else keep me up for days and nights.  I am truly trying to stay sane this Holiday Knitting Season so thought this exchange would be a great idea.

The size of the Star put me off a bit as did the white fabric.  I certainly don't want a 10" star with white bra cups on top of my tree so my thinking was that neither would my DIL, Liz.

 I could also see my son, Matt, making off color jokes and the whole thing put into a closet somewhere never to be seen again.   What a waste of good knitting.  So I thought: 1- a smaller needle would make a smaller star; 2- sparkly yarn would give it a more festive appearance; and 3- lighter weight yarn would also make it smaller.

I took myself, that very afternoon, off to Knitting Etc because I knew there would be some lace or fingering weight sparkly yarn in stock.   Sure enough there was some Filatura di Crosa Gioiello in white with metallic gold thread.  Perfect.  I got me 2 balls, just in case as the pattern calls for 288 yards and one ball is only 200 yards.

This star is called a dodecahedron (12 sided) but really is a stellated dodecahedron as the regular shape has flat sides.  Do you think my mathy brain may be part of the fascination with this project?

I just had to start this immediately that evening. Nevermind the other Holiday items that needed finishing.   This one called to me big time.  After some false starts and downsizing the needles to zeroes (it calls for US 2's) I got the hang of the points and how to add more and managed to get 2 out of the needed 12 done in a couple of hours. Then the knitting was placed in my bag in readiness for guild on the morrow.  This turns out to be a nice social pattern as once a couple of points were completed I didn't need to look at the instructions to know the process involved in knitting each point.
By Saturday evening I had it half done.

The markers are to remember which ones were done most recently.
Here's what the inside looks like.

However the white began to look dingey.  Joanne thought if Liz' decor was country it would fit in nicely as the look was very natural (um like old wash).  My son and DIL do not have a specific decor with 3 kids running about but they do live in CA and have practical tastes.  Country natural is not it.

What to do?   We thought maybe bleaching would whiten the yarn.  HA! Bleaching made it yellowish.
Now what?  AHA!  dye it.  So I made a small skein and experimented.  This stuff dyes easily and since it is small it dyes quickly in the microwave.  I debated whether to dye the half already finished and then the remaining yarn or to wait.   Waiting won out.

Here's point 9 on its way.

See how grey it all looks instead of sparkly?

Eleven points were completed and the beginning of the 12th.   Then those stitches were placed on a heavier cord and the same cording tied up the remaining yarn.

Much more festive now methinks.

I have done relatively few stuffed projects.  I thought I had way more than enough stuffing but was surprised at how much a 7 inch diameter star will eat.  The instructions suggested getting the majority of the star stuffed before starting the 12th point.  However I read on Ravelry about some people having difficulty picking up stitches once it was puffed up.  So I changed to 6 dpns from 4, started point 12, stuffed and stuffed and poked and stuffed and poked (Jim gave me the poking tip.) then knit a bit and stuffed, and knit and stuffed until it was whole.

On Tuesday morning I proudly showed the star to Cathy, who wondered about this displacing a possibly treasured tree topper already in place in CA.  Hmmm.  Again I did not want the star put back into its box and onto the shelf forever.  
Cathy came up with the neatest idea.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ta da!

Presenting Jim's Hoggett Vest

This sweater was a very satisfying knit. Just enough to keep up interest but not so much that it needed to stay on the table for concentration.
 The back story is in the previous post.

I asked Jim to make buttons for his vest expecting wooden ones.  Instead he chose to cut up some deer antlers.  They are subtle and beautiful. Jim glued them onto shank buttons so there would be enough height for the button looping.

Now on to other Holiday knits.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Adult Knitting Content

This post is not for the knitting squeamish.

In July I completed an EZ Shawl Collared Vest which was my very first attempt at steeking. (The pattern can be found on Schoolhouse Press  and there are several EZ forums on Ravelry). I can say from that experience that steeking comes in very handy besides allowing one to knit the whole body of a vest or sweater in the round.   One only needs to get over the forbiding idea that one has to Cut.  One's.  Knitting.  Apart.  eeeek.

Jim liked the vest so much he wanted one for himself.  Jim and I have a deal.  If he wants a sweater, he spins the yarn and I knit it up for him.   So he got himself quite of bit of Christine Johnson's nice hogett romney roving and made some 4 ply bulky yarn.

I started on his vest months ago but because my interests are so scattered varied and jump around eclectic, I also started several other things months ago too.     However the fall season reminds me that presents must be completed by a certain deadline which helps eliminate many of the UFO's.

So far I have completed 4 out of the 5 planned hats, and a wristlet (We are not mentioning what all else I have started).  So then the vest was next on the get-it-done list.   Over Thanksgiving weekend, the body was completed leaving me with only the sleeve edging and shawl collar left to do.   I ran a running stitch in a bright color up the middle of the center steek stitch.  Then used a narrow zig zag on my sewing machine to make sort of a sealed column on both sides of that stitch.   This is one of the sleeve steeks waiting it's turn.

Now if you are squeamish, do not look at the next part.

Yup, the colored thread is removed and the stitch is cut in half in the long direction dividing the sweater into two parts.

And here is a completed sleeve edging plus a shoulder 3 needle I-cord..

See all in one piece, no fraying as the sealed steek likes to curl under like a well behaved facing.
Both sleeves are now complete.

The Shawl collar is next.

Stay tuned.