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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rather long post with FOs

Yesterday there was thunder and lightening and the island had an island wide power outage. It was so dark. Luckily I found the crank flashlight and Kaiser flashlight and had bought a million candles when I was contemplating retirement as I thought candles would help me improve my mood. I even found the matches and batteries! The flashlight was given to all the providers at the last luncheon I attended in honor of one of our past presidents who had died of Parkinson's. His son told a touching story about his father's love of flashlights and how his dad always made sure he and all the children had a flashlight by their beside so they could find their way out in the dark.
My Hello Kitty radio which is always on the verge of going to Goodwill, came in handy again!
I was in the middle of making dinner when the power went out so we finished dinner on the grill and went to bed early. Power is almost completely restored to the whole island as I write this this evening.

In spite of the intermittent pouring rain today, my son tried out his new camera lens to document my recent projects.

I watched Firefly again and got inspired to make more Jayne Hats, this time the mini variety. I also can't stop humming the theme song...

Main Title Theme Written by: Joss Whedon
Performed by: Sonny Rhodes

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me
Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't comin' back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me
There's no place I can be
Since I found Serenity
But you can't take the sky from me...

Pattern: Jayne Cobb brooch by Eva MacDonald on craftster
Yarn: Lamb's Pride worsted
Needles: size 5 for smaller one, size 8 for larger one.
I am so sad Firefly never went on beyond Serenity.

That little blue Totoro is such a ham, but I think he just couldn't help nestling in the the cashmere!
Pattern: Palindrome by Kristin Bellehumeur
Yarn: 6ply 100% China Cashmere in coal, 3 skeins from Handknitting
Now I know why cashmere is such a luxury. It truly is not pokey at all! The pattern is remarkable as it is truly reversible. It was very easy and fast.

Opal lent me her blocking wires so I finally blocked feather and fan shawl. I love it and it is just the perfect size for me.

Here's a close up of the crocheted edge.

Another very clever pattern is the safed, veined leaf from the Tikkun Tree Project. It's a double knit leaf with veins. It fits perfectly on Take2!

Pattern: Habitat hat by Jared Flood
Yarn: Cascade Venezia, silk merino, one skein
Needles: size 8. smaller for the ribbing.

The photo did not come out too well. It is finished and drying now. The yarn is smooth and very soft with slight sheen and drape. I definitely will use it again. This pattern is well-written and satisfied my desire for cables.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Get ready for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

From all of us to all of you:)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gingersnaps, Sea Foam Green Gathered Scarf, FO

It's cookie time. I love these Gingersnaps from Marion Cunningham's
The Breakfast Cookbook. I will forever be grateful to chotda (creator of the Totoro cupcake!) for introducing me to this cookbook. The gingerbread recipe is awesome, too.

Pattern: Gathered Scarf
Yarn: Plymouth Bristol Buckingham, color way dark seafoam green (1042). The color is difficult to photograph, especially with the cloudy weather here.
Needles: size 2 and size 7

The pattern calls for size 4 and 7 needles, but I copied a scarf in the same yarn knit by another raveler. The intended recipient will be traveling to Boston in February (brr!) and no longer owns any cold weather clothing. I mentioned scarf and she said "itchy" so I picked this yarn hoping it would have no scratchies. It is very soft, so I'll just have to see. I was looking for jadeite green, her favorite color, but could only come with apple green, sage green and sea foam. So sea foam it is. Now I'm wondering if black would be more practical...hmmm. I do love the color, though.
This was a fun pattern to knit. Changing the needle size kept it just interesting enough even though it is just garter alternating with stockinette and some increases and decreases. Very clever.

The store has not been updated for awhile, as visiting family keep buying my stash and I have been working on some custom orders.'s cookie time!!! The waistline will suffer.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Winter in Hawaii means it's green in Koko Crater

But first the wips, as this is a craft blog. I have basketweave vest in a DK weight wool and gathered scarf in baby alpaca silk. These are both inching along and are attached to balls that never end. I feel the interest waning and the desire to cast on a sock or something colorful coming on. Only the scarf is a Christmas gift so I shall attempt to persevere.

Blogless Melody and I explored another surprising, hidden gem, the the Koko Crater Botanical Garden. It was one of those incredible lucky live Hawaii days! Koko Crater is on the dry side of the island, but the season's rains have greened it (and it's more famous neighbor Diamond Head) up. There are several gardens in this quiet peaceful place...plumeria garden with all bald trees, Mexico with amazing cacti, Hawaiian garden with some large Loulu palms, and Madagascar with some very alien looking specimens. For some reason I was under the impression there was only one Loulu palm left anywhere, so I was happy to see many large specimens of this native fan palm in this garden.

Today I tried Pumpkin Scones. I used this recipe and I must say, they taste wonderful! (it's all about the butter)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ramblings of a retired one, or another day with no agenda

My sky goddess sister flew in for one of her kamikaze visits and cleaned out some of my jewelry stash and bags. Thank you sistah! The holiday eating out frenzy has started! We did manage 3 walks, then my knee complained, so here I am sitting on my okole in front of the idiot box.

I had a lovely lunch with P. I think we agree that being retired is great fun! Also that menopause causes brain farts and speeds up time. I had the classic CPK barbecue chicken pizza while she had the sensible salad. Sigh. I gotta work on my healthier eating resolve. A stop at the Ed and Don's didn't help. I swear I was Christmas shopping!

I got rid of my electric Christmas tree last year. I just don't think a Christmas tree should hum. I decided to crochet one this year. I was fun to decorate it. I am still looking for the pattern I wanted to make, so found this one on the Internet. But no Christmas tree smell :(

Project: Crochet Christmas tree with star topper
Patterns: Crochet Christmas Tree and beaded star
Materials: Red Heart, assorted beads and crystals, small ornaments from Ben Franklin, and two blinking necklaces for lights.

WIP: Basketweave Vest
by Beatrice Smith
Published in
Jamieson's Shetland Knitting Book 2
Jamiesons of Shetland
This is one of those patterns that just jumped out at me when I saw it in the pattern book. The dark color obscures the pattern, but it is getting more obvious as it crawls along. Remind me not to do garments in DK weight yarn, hah.

Project: Helmet Liner
Material: Cascade 220 Superwash
This project looked very tiny, but my round-headed number two did the size trial and even his hair (which he tells me in growing in the style of a mathematician) fit into it. The Cascade Superwash is quite fun to knit with. This is my kind of instant gratification, one skein project.

Spindle Bag Prototype
Materials: Vintage yellow ginger Hawaiian print cotton.
The challenge is to make a bucket bag for a large ball of roving and 3 drop spindles, that stands up when put on the ground.
In this first prototype, I used fusible fleece for the sides and plastic canvas for the bottom. I think it needs stiffer handles. I actually like this bag and love the fabric, so it will be my spindle bag:)

I would love any additional thoughts drop-spindlers have about what is needed in a drop spindle bag.

I'm waiting for Netfliks to deliver Season 3 of 6 Feet Under and I'm waiting for some yarn to make my friend Christmas scarf. Think I'll pack up the Grab Bag for the Wisconsin connection, perhaps make those gift bags for the Saturday walking group, and really those Nurberger cookies taste better if they sit for a while before eating.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Walk Around the Neighborhood

In a lame attempt to stave of the effects of holiday eating, I'm trying to regain my resolve to walk. The neighborhood seems to be mostly ultra-green, the result of more rain. The colors are mostly white, yellow and orange, with a scattering of red.

I don't know what all the orange berries are. The Hawaiian "holly" is in bloom. The camellia appears to be a hybrid and may be an anomaly as it seems to be two flowers stuck together. I hope the baby birds grew up and flew before the nest blew out of the tree. One of these days I hope to get a good picture of the lehua. Reds are a challenge to photograph, especially when the wind is blowing. As this flower is not in my yard I don't fell entitled to pick it.

I've added a few new stitch markers and Snowball the cat to the shop. Snowball is sporting the Christmas hat. I modified fuzzymittens wee tree pattern for the hat. Now all the Totoros want one, too.
Cast on 30 stitches. Do 3-5 rows of K1P1 ribbing in white fluffy worsted, then change to main color and begin the decreases like her pattern. Add a few knit rows to make the hat longer in between the decrease rows, and add a last K2tog around last row before threading through the tail and pulling up. Add a pompom.

You might as well knit a bunch of wee trees, too. I know I am!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Totoro TP Cover, Pattern

This pattern is provided for personal use only.

This pattern has not been test knit. I hope to see more Totoros out there! Please leave me a comment if you make one.

Happy Thanksgiving! (My favorite American holiday:) Time to remember all I have to be thankful for and eat a lot of good food!

It requires basic crochet as well as knitting techniques such as intarsia, knitting in the round on double points, duplicate stitch, kitchener stitch and felting and needlefelting. These instructions use Beaverslide which felts up nicely and has a slight mohair halo. (and the natural heather was on sale!)

Size 11 DPs, set of 5
Beaverslide Fisherman's weight wool, one ball natural gray, one ball Jersey cream
Worsted weight acrylic yarn (cream or gray)
Size 6 crochet hook

Crochet Base and Liner
Base: (make 2)
Worsted weight acrylic
Size 5 (F) crochet hook American size
1. Chain 6 and join to make a circle
2. Chain 3. 11 dc into circle. Join in top of chain 3 with slipstitch. (12 dc. Chain 3 counts as first dc)
3. Chain 3. DC in joining. 2 dc in each dc around. Join. (24 dc)
4. Chain 3. *2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc. Repeat from * around. Join. (36 dc)
5. Chain 3. DC in joining. * dc in next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc. Repeat from * around. Join. (48 dc)
6. Continue in this manner, increasing 12 stitches/round, staggering the increases, until the round is slightly larger then the top of your toilet tissue roll. (Six double crochet rows worked for me and ended up with 72 stitches)
7. Chain 3, and dc in each dc, eliminating the increases until the liner fits the height of the TP roll.
8. Finish off.
9. Make a second round for the base*, but stop after the 6th dc crochet row (72 stitches) and finish off. (it should fit the top of the tp roll)


Using acrylic yarn, pick up one stitch in every other dc around the base*. (36 stitches) Divide stitches so there are 9 on each DP. (A contrasting acrylic helps when it's time to remove the base after felting)
Row 1: Join Beaverslide. Increase one stitch in each stitch around by knitting front and back.
Follow Chart, knitting in the round until you get to the tummy chart, then knit back and fourth until the tummy is complete. Join a second ball of body color or use the other end of your ball. When the tummy is complete resume knitting in the round.

(click the picture for a larger view)

The black stitches on the chart are decreases. Work the ones closer to the back toward the back and the ones in the front toward the front. To point a stitch to the right, k2tog. To point a stitch to the left , ssk. Sorry I don't know how to make a chart that shows this.

The top of the chart (ears), the row with the orange stitches is a knit row. After completing this row, knit 3 more stitches. Place those 3 stitches, the previous 10 stitches (for the right ear) and six stitches for the front of his head on a holder.

Knit the remaining 10 stitches in the round to complete the ear. When there are 3 stitches left, work slip one, knit 2tog, PSSO. Finish off.

Put the remaining stitches back on the needles with orange stitches ready to graft. Cut a long piece of yarn (enough to graft and enough to finish the left ear ??4ft). Thread darning needle and graft the front and back until there are 10 stitches remaining for the ear. Start grafting with Totoro looking at you, by going into backstitch as if to knit. Pull up the yarn leaving a 3-inch tail. Then go in to front stitch as if to purl, then back stitch as if to purl and pull off stitch. Continue to Kitchener until there is 10 stitches remain.

Complete second ear like the first.

Use yarn tails to close up holes around the ears. On the inside, snug up the joins and tie off.

Use duplicate stitch to add chest markings.

Cast on 20 stitches. Knit in the round for 16 rows.
K2tog around. (10 stitches)
K2tog around (5 stitches)
Thread tail through last 5 stitches pull up and thread tail to the inside.

Cast on 18 stitches. Join to knit in the round. Mark beginning.
Knit 10 rows.
Row 11 and 13: K2tog. Knit to last two stitches, ssk.
Row 12 and 14: knit
Bind off row. Knit 4 stitches for one arm and 3 for the second. Rearrange stitches to there are seven on each of two needles. 3 needle bind off and fasten off. Thread tail to inside, anchor and clip.

Using acrylic yarn whip stitch the opening in the back of the body.

Place the pieces in a cotton pillowcase and tie closed. In my machine on violent setting it takes 20 minutes, but check every 10 minutes to judge the progress. Beaverslide is a nice sturdy yarn after felting, so you can spin dry it briefly. Dry the pieces, shaping them while they are still damp. Cut the base off and remove the back stitching. If you are careful you can reuse the disc again.

Place the crocheted TP top inside the Totoro and using Beaverslide crochet them together along the bottom with a single crochet. . Additional rows can be added if Totoro is too short and decreases can be used to tight up the bottom.

Stuff his ears and tail, and the top of his head through opening on the back. Sew opening shut. Sew on tail and arms. Add eyes and other features. I needle felted is facial features on.

Cover the the tp roll with a plastic bag while shaping.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Noro Silk Garden Old Shale, FO

Pattern: Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl by Sarah Bradberry. The Pattern is free:)
Yarn: 5 skeins Noro Silk Garden, colorway 246
Needles: Size 11 circular. Size K, 6.5 mm crochet hook.
Modifications: I added a chained edging adapted from A Gathering of Lace, by Meg Swansen.

I love the idea of lovely gossamer lace and greatly admire the details such as the wedding veil in the 1998 Pieceworks. Alas I don't have the concentration or whatever it takes to make those complicated airy masterpieces, but feather and fan I can do! This shawl came out the perfect size for vertically challenged mwah! Who knows? Maybe it will even get blocked one of these days. The pattern was well written and easy to follow. I read in one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books that one must avoid binding off or casting on for a good shawl, so I used the crochet edging instead of a knitted bind off.

TP Totoro Take 3 is nearly dry. Take 1 and 2 are discussing whether or not he will fit a TP roll.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Giveaway Winner, update

Debbie won the drawing for the mystery giveaway, but has not sent me and email or snail mail addy, so the second name drawn, Angela, will get the giveaway. Thanks everyone for stopping by and playing!

Sock bag, Amy Butler fabric with beads on handles. Black and yellow daisy stitch markers. Two skeins of Koigu KPPPM, P123 colorway.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wreath Class, FO

Okay wait a minute, that's not a wreath. I still don't understand the ups and downs up blogger picture up loading. Oh well. I am baby-sitting two birds. One is a lovely cockatiel that has laid 4 eggs and is expecting 3 more. The other is some kind of ring necked parrot or parakeet, that hides under the paper whenever I walk by and also sleeps upside down. His owner cuts a hole in the paper so he can dive under whenever he wants. He starts peeking out right away to see if it is safe to come out. I am very amused. I catch him out every once in a while. He is very fast. I'm assuming he's a boy since men are strange birds, imo.

Moon has been nursing two baby birds and has documented their progress on her blog. I'm so impressed!

The Wahiawa Botanical Garden is another cool place I've never been to. I will have to go up again when it's not so wet. The wreath class was a lot of fun! I only used glue on one spot to cover the s pin in the cup like pod. I so wanted to include the reddish pod with the fuzzy seeds.

On the Totoro knitting scene, I'm trying knit another TP cover. Felting is a craft I'm not real experienced with so it's always fun to see what happens. The first try with the Beaverslide ended up way too small and even with stretching it would not fit the Quilted Northern roll. So it became a "safe" with a secret plastic container inside. One of his arms inadvertently became his tail, so I'm think I will not do arms, but we'll see.

The second take is fitting better, although he really has a different shape. With all the rain it has taken 3 days to dry. I hope to stuff him tomorrow so he can go to his new bathroom soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Swag, FO

I took a swag class at Hoomaluhia. The greens and supplies were provided! The teachers said they purposefully did not have samples as people are more creative if they have to design everything. I think it worked! There were all kinds of beautiful examples. Mine is hung by my front door now. Some of the materials come from the park so not the traditional materials. I especially love the bird of paradise like dried thing and the seed pods. Flowers and ribbons are not usually materials I have luck with, but this was a very forgiving project and every single one in the class was unique and beautiful. Unfortunately I did not bring my camera so only have my own to show.

I look forward to the wreath class on Tuesday and making wire stars this afternoon.

Oops, better run!

6 pm:
Back with the setting sun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fuzzy Farm sheep, FO

Pattern: fuzzymitten's Fuzzy Farm sheep.
Yarn: Cascade 220 and Debbie Bliss Donnegal Tweed

This is a quick little project. Perhaps I stuffed him too much. I wasn't quite sure of the ear placement and I don't know what happened to his tail. I'll have to re-read the pattern. I think he will look good in some mohair-y fluffy type yarn.

Light blue Totoro is knit of Cascade 220. He is in the shop along with Ladybug Bag lined with red. Dark blue Totoro has decided to join the flock at my house even though though it's getting crowded here.

Hott BFF sock number 2 had a bit of a run in today with the vacuum cleaner. Yikes! The ball was severed from the sock, but luckily the vacuum cleaner chewed up yarn from the ball and not the sock! I think there is enough left in tact to finish the sock.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Happiness is....and a Giveaway!!


My hair stylist is from Japan and when she flies home there is a Totoro shop in or near the airport. She brought me the nicest gift box with Totoro hand towels, a cell phone bag plushie, and small key chain and the cutest mug!

Peanut blossoms...
I was stashing peanut butter for a while and I'm finally down to the last bottle. The kisses were left over from Halloween. Surprisingly I have never made this classic from Hersheys. I used my convection oven and they turned out yummy even with the extra chunky peanut butter. I bet they don't last long.

Noro SG 47...
My shop therapy from Little Knits has come! What a deal for $5.40/skein. I think Kim is thinking about another Clapotis with hers. I'm not sure, but I'm wondering how it will look in a chevron pattern or Old Shale. Perhaps even this lace-knitting-impaired Hawaiian can knit Old Shale?

Sales in the shop! Thank you everyone for the support!

and of course, GREAT PEOPLE!

I have so much to be thankful for! I'm going to have a giveaway. I don't know what I'm going to giveaway yet, but hey, it's free and knitting related! Leave a comment before midnight, November 23, Hawaiian time and on November 24 I will pick name or two.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Sky, Shop and WIP updates

It's tough to resist the sky these days. Today is considered "partly cloudy". Right after I snapped this it rained just for a second. My forever patio-weeding project has moved into a new phase of development. All the moss I scraped away has sprouted again and so has the slime mold. The varieties of weeds I spared have sprouted seedpods or flowers. The birds visit often so they must be finding something to eat.

The termite inspection dudes came by. They pointed and shook their heads at my woodpile and recommended ground treatment, but I'm not sure I trust their explanation. It's a moot point, as I'm not going for the treatment this year. But I am putting a bit of the wood in the trash every week. I heard of someone putting bricks in the trash and breaking the automatic arm on the truck, so I'm going for no more then 1/4 of the total. So far, so good. While inspecting my house, the termite dude pointed out that the cement blocks my foundation are in has f*ck carved in to one and sh*t carved in to the other one. They are at least 12 years old and I never noticed that. A mystery.

One of my woodpiles is inhabited by carpenter bees, and they are scary, but I know I have to move them to get at the wood. I'm contemplating murder, I tell you, and I've been putting off as long as I can.

BFF one is complete and the second sock has been cast on. I hope the striping comes out similarly as I like the way this one striped up.

More bags are in the shop included this Hello Kitty one and a new Amy Butler fabric one. Opal, enabler that she is, got me lusting for more Amy Butler fabric, so I was an easy prey when I visiting Kaimuki Dry Goods for the Kona cotton I use for the lining, and more interfacing.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I bet I'm not alone in the struggle to diet. I found myself eating left over Halloween chocolate with a beer last night. How sick is that? I have had this beer in my outside refrigerator since last year when my BIL left it there. I don't know what got in to me. Starting with Halloween, the first of the Chocolate Holidays, it's downhill for me and my diet until Easter. At least the beer is "light". But I have a headache anyway.

On the brighter side, the knitting mojo has been greatly aided by knitting with wool. I purchased the Fly designs Monarch in the Hott colorway at Madrona last year. I'm still thinking about going to Madrona in February, but I'm also thinking a fall or spring trip when the weather is warmer would be fun, too. My Seattle buds are supposed to be visiting me in the summer for a class reunion, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed this happens. Too bad the wonder dog, Ebony, can't come.

I thought this yarn was a sock fingering, but it is considered a sport weight. After seeing Criminy Jickets lovely BFF, I decided to try this free Cookie A pattern. So far the cables break up the banding, and it's nice to see the striping in the heel and instep. The real test will see if the second sock does the same or goes off on a tangent of it's own.

I joined my very busy working/caregiver friend for another Sunday beading adventure. She gave me some good ideas on how to use some of my coin pearls for a a snowman, Christmas earrings and a couple of bracelets. I cranked out a bunch of acorn-like stitch markers. I will have to test them to see if the yarn catches on them. The challenge is to find bead caps that resemble acorn caps. I love making them and have a stockpile now. The Totoro's and I really like having a lot of them in the stash:) The blue glass beads are that indigo blue I love so much.

I put a couple new bags in the store. More are coming as soon as I get more interfacing and Kona cotton.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Poof! Halloween is over! On to Christmas!

Halloween is so different now. The weather was blustery and cool, but there was no rain...perfect for the little trick or treat-ers. So where were they? I had no takers. This made my son very happy as he now has all the candy to himself. Sigh.

I enjoyed this costume from the "Bento Man".

So I guess Christmas is officially on its way. Apparently Thanksgiving will be jumped over by the retailers in an effort to make up for the bad economy. The Knitted Brow talked me in to the Little Knits Noro silk garden sale, so I did my my part in boosting the economy. Of course Noro SG is not stash, you know, more like a necessity, "like oxygen" to quote catnip610 from the Ravelry group.

The linen/cotton Emily is officially hibernating. Instead I am working on a Christmas stocking for our only family baby, baby M. My embroidery sucks, but I'm determined to get her name on the stocking.

I'm obsessing bit on how the "el" in the middle look like another "d". Anybody know of and good embroidery tricks or tutorials? I think I will attempt to embroider some blue flowers either on the white or green sections or both.
I adapted the 66 stitch stocking from Sensational Knitted socks with the knit in afterthought heel so the heel would be red. The yarn is Cascade 220. I wish had figured out the math to put in some Norwegian stars although my multiple row Fairisle still tends to pull in.

Thanks to blogless D and B, my 2 Totoros are off to a good home and don't have to hang out in the shop. I put the UH small project bag and a My Melody Bento bag in the shop. I will be in the production mode next week:)