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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


leap-frogging through life
touching down now and again.
Seemingly random.

Pattern: Baktus by Strikkelise. A lovely mindless knit with endless possibilities.
Yarn: I have no ball bands, but I know this was gifted to me by Chris and is Knit picks sock something.
Needles: size 5, straight needles, Knit Picks Harmony gifted from Kim. I really love the sharp points and ease at which the yarn slides along.
Mods: I started with the Lacy Baktus but switched to the plain Baktus as I kept messing up. I continued to mess up the count on the plain Baktus until I switched the increases to the beginning of the needle. Go figure.

I have to call this done as I have run out of yarn just shy a few feet and will have to hunt for something that matches. This yarn marinated in the stash for quite some time as the colors did not speak to me. Baktus really allowed the colors to show up in an amazing way. I had been studying the color wheel trying to figure out what colors went with coral and the red-oranges I have added to stash for the red scarf project. (besides black or white). The pooling and striping really came out in an interesing pattern too.

I asked my son to put the tater tots in the oven and this is what I found when I took them out? Should I be worried?

The toilet in my craft room cracked after "only" 69 years. I had to say goodbye to the lovely brass handle. The new guy, basic Toto water saver moved in without a hitch. I had to organize and clean a bit so the plumber had room to work and these little guys and their acorn home were re-discovered!

Round 2 of Shibori with Darius Homay at Kuni's Island Fabric was a lot of fun. I went through all the basics from the first sessions. The best part is taking the clamping and sewing apart after the dyeing process and seeing what I got. The Mokume (wood grain pattern) is my favorite so far even though it's time consuming and uses up a lot of dental floss. Thank goodness I have a stash from way back when I always bought 5 on sale at Longs.

I finally destashed that sinful carton of whipping cream I felt compelled to buy over the holidays. I added a few chocolate chips to the Classic Cream Scones as if they weren't evil enough.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pattern: Sunny, Sunny, Sunny by Carol Sulcosky
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic, navy blue.
Needles: size 3,4

On the plus side, I really like the yarn and the cute hearts and idea of knitting a yoke and adding fabric. On the minus side portions of the instructions were not clear to me and in the end there were many ends to weave in in additions to some knots in the yarn. If I make another I think I'll forgo the shoulder shaping and do a 3 needle bind-off for the shoulders. Now to find some cute fabric for the skirt.

Brownie got a little gray friend.

I grew up calling this area Kawainui Swamp. The actual name is Kawai Nui Marsh. It is one of those places I've driven by for years and today I actually took the little 1.5 mile trail along the levee. It is a very easy walk and it was a beautiful day. My blogless baby sister flew in yesterday and joined us for the walk. We met "Al" a regular walker, who shared stories about the cultural significance and also related stories about the mushroom farm in the bomb shelter.

Addenda, 1/29/10: from (to answer my own question)
swamp: a tract of wet, spongy land, often having a growth of certain types of trees and other vegetation, but unfit for cultivation.

marsh: a tract of low wet land, often treeless and periodically inundated, generally characterized by a growth of grasses, sedges, cattails, and rushes.

bog: wet, spongy ground with soil composed mainly of decayed vegetable matter.

Addenda: 2/7/2010, one more word mentioned by blogless Kathy O.
billabong: An Australian English word meaning a small lake, specifically an oxbow lake, a section of still water adjacent to a river, cut off by a change in the watercourse, cf. an oxbow lake.

After the walk, blogless Melody, multitasking extraordinaire, came to the house and we put together some fabric postcards. We planned to sew the cards, too, but she forgot her power cord, and my aging 1530 Bernina decided to just sew backwards. The time was well spent designing and we came up with 11 cards. For lunch we had Eggplant Casserole and tossed greens.

On the knitting scene, Baktus is plugging along in some strange and unusual colors. I have two balls and the first is almost done. Baktus has 2794 projects and is in 2370 queues on Ravelry. Strikkelise is so kind to share this pretty mindless pattern. It is a great project to watch movies with.
For my next project, I'm perusing sock patterns and will probably go with Firestarter by Yarnissima in either STR lightweight Typhoon Tina, or Trekking Pro Natura by Zitron in gold/olive. The pattern is free on Ravelry. Yup the sock mojo is giving me a nudge.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ramblings on Martin Luther King Day

1. What a cute boy!
2. What a great scarf! I wonder if it’s crocheted?
3. What a splendid hat! It would be fun to knit, but who for?
4. The sweater ain’t bad, too.

It dawned on me yesterday as I watched this lovely but sad movie (Mrs.Palfrey at the Claremont) that up to about my mid 40s this would be the order of my reactions to this photo. Now it’s more like 2,3,4,1. heh. Perhaps it was when I realized that Rupert Friend is younger then my son!...and of course, it is a great scarf when you see it up close.

While watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for the umpteenth time, I was discussing Harry Potter knits with Chris. I have been sorted into Ravenclaw and I struggle with the colors...different for the book and movie. And what can I knit? In the last book Harry is no longer in school. And what would suit my tropical location? And do we really have to wait for December to see it?

24 started up again. The last season for Jack. In a wonder of ultra modern medicine, he and his daughter have survived and recovered from some stem cell something and are now good as new. The new head of CTU, Hastings, is clueless and a bit of a corner cutter. If he doesn't start listening to Chloe, he won't survive much of the season. I hope the 9pm time slot here is where 24 stays as I have yoga until 8pm Mondays. Choices, choices. I'm resisting a dvr as it would mean upgrading to digital cable.

Blogless Doris made this pretty piece over-dying pink cotton with indigo dye in Shibori Class.

It's been about small projects knit from stash while gearing up for Ravelympics. TheBeaverslide in catbird heather for CPH Hoodie is wound into balls. I hope I can approximate gauge. I've been mildly obsessed on making a yoke for a child's dress. I cast on for Sunny, Sunny, Sunny by Carol J. Sulcoski. It is going quickly. I wish I had hunted for the ball band before knitting up one ball. The Tahki Classic Cotton is really wonderful to knit with but it is worsted and not DK.

Whirliberri is finished.

Pattern: Whirligig Shrug by Stefanie Japel published in Interweave Knits, Weekend 2009
Yarn: Katia, Austral. DK weight 50% wool/acrylic. This yarn is wonderful to knit with and comes in really vivid colors.
Needles: size 6.
It looks tiny. I wish I had a real live 2 year old to try it on. It is very cute and was a fun, fast knit.

25% off at Ben Franklin today. Dare I attempt to run in and run out? I only need the ModPodge and some paint for the Totoro Clock. It's a trap, no doubt...but with the Club Card it will actually be 35% off, and maybe I could pick up a heart die or two for my Sizzix.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Manly gloves, FO

Pattern: Men's Fingerless Gloves by J. Campbell
Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca, Sportweight. I won this in a blog contest from the weebug. The yarn is strong, fuzzy, soft and very warn. Thanks again weebug!
Needles: My favorite rosewood DPNS, size 3
Comments: I did not read the pattern correctly and did a "M1" instead of a "increase in to" on the thumb gusset. This made for two extra stitches on the hand section of the glove. I found this out when I was working on the baby finger so just bound off two stitches and all was good. The pattern does not specify the number of rows for the stockinette portion of the fingers but they are easy to shorten. The pattern was easy to follow. I will not see the real recipient for quite some time, nor will he need them, but I suspect the Landcaster has similar sized hands. Maybe I'll give them a soak.
This is a nicely manly pattern and a quick easy knit.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Vest for Marg, FO and Ode to Ohagi

Pattern: Petrol, a free Knitty pattern by Carol Sulcoski.
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, color Denim Mix
Needles: size 6 and 8
Mods: 3 needle bind-off for shoulder seams.

This is a fast knit if one does not have distractions. I like that it is knit in the round. I hope it fits the recipient. I'm still debating on whether I should block it. The bottom edge curls and is part of the design. Many on Ravelry seem to have added ribbing which does make it look more finished. I rather like the curling edge, especially in the alpaca which is very silky and soft and has the halo. It makes seem a bit more feminine and hopefully will be more forgiving around a tummy.

Haiku for Ohagi

Ono ohagi
at Shinagawa Station
Yummy, yummy, yum!

This first attempt at recreating a wonderful memory...
Recipes for making the tsubushi-an varied widely. For 12 ounces of azuki beans the amount of sugar ranged from .75-2.5 cups! I went with the .75 cup and it was plenty sweet. The beans were nice and soft, but since I was worried about burning them, I probably did not cook them long enough to evaporate the excess water. Thus I have to eat by ohagi in a bowl with chopsticks. I wish I had learned to make this from my grandma. My dad always refers to these sweetened azuki beans as "Japanese chocolate". My uncle refers to ohagi as inside out mochi, as the rice is on the inside. I learned that it is not filled with mochi, but a the beans enclose mochi riceball inside.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Entropy or Keeping one's head above the Stash

First off, I want to thank everyone who commented on Brownie that cat. Blogger does not show me the email addresses for most of the posts or I would thank each of you individually. I appreciate the encouragement and feedback and also the errata sent to my by Prensy on Ravelry.

Every once and a while, I get stricken with an overpowering desire to downsize, destash, and organize and there is nothing the like the New Year to feed that insanity. I remember once upon a time I thought I would like to be able to live life out of a backpack and be free from stuff. But my true nature, like my family before me, is that of a pack rat. There are skeletons in the closet that bordered on hoarding. Is it congenital or am hiding behind clutter? The New Year's resolution, proposed by the blogless Landcaster, is that I need to take something out if I want to bring something in.

On one of my other mad organizing quests a couple years ago, I obsessed on a wonderful wardrobe made of maple at the very overpriced furniture store. It never went on sale so I figured it was not my karma to have it and I let it go. I settled on a cute finish it yourself cabinet which I put together and never painted. Then a windfall from abandoned bookcase with glass doors! It's now mine. So of course that means I have to reorganize everything.

And that's how I rediscover those bits of yarn in stash--some gifted to me, some purchased, that have slipped into oblivion. And that ginormous fabric stash that the Etsy shop was supposed to be outlet for.

Believe, me this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So what's going out? So far, books-craft books, novels, cook books, medical books. I can actually see a little space on the "library closet" shelves. I am not ready to part with the Pyrex pie plate and custard cups(I'm embarrassed to say how many I have) but I'm culling the plastic container/glass jar collection throwing out lids with no body and jars with no lids and have weeded out the expired cans and mystery items from the freezer and pantry.

I'm trying to use some of that stash.

Noro Ganpi Abaka Teipu is a very interesting yarn I won. I tried my hand at crocheting a yoke for a toddler dress, but it was not too successful.

On the other hand, the Plymouth Encore Rasta Rook Scarf was fun to make and the colors rather infectious even if it never finds a neck to adorn. The pattern, Rook Scarf is a free download from Sophia Kessinger's Ravelry Store, Yarn Over Manhattan. Crocheting the stripes the long way beats casting on 3 or 400 stitches, imo. It was easy peasy even for this survival crocheter.

I've also CO some Ultra Alpaca for Petrol in Denim Heather, Baktus by ©Strikkelise in a Knitpicks sock yarn gifted to me awhile back, and Manly fingerless mitts in the soft and fuzzy Frog Tree Alpaca, I won in a blog contest.

Time will tell how many of these make it to the end. I have high hopes for the fingerless mitts as it is a very fast and easy pattern.

On the work scene, the person who was credentialing for the position I have been filling in for, took another job. On one hand that means I can continue my two day work week. On the other hand, it's work. So far the people and work suit me fine and as a bonus I get to drive over the Pali and on to the Kaneohe Marine Base twice a week and enjoy the beauty of Lanikai and Kaneohe bay. It's something that I never get tired of because no two days are every the same:)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Brownie the Cat, A Knitted Cat Pattern

Disclaimer: I am not a pattern writer by trade and this pattern is free. This pattern has only been test knit by me and as the author, I have tunnel vision.
Update: 1/8/10 Thanks to Phrensy on Ravelry I have made some small corrections in the pattern.

The cat starts off knit in the round, from the bottom up. The intarsia portion is knit back and forth and leaves an opening in the back for stuffing. The top of the head and ears finish up the cat and are knit in the round.

Yarn: Brown is Malabrigo worsted for his back and chunky in white for his chest. Using different gauges changes his looks. Reverse the sizing if you want a cat with more color and a smaller white chest.
Needles: Size 5 dpns, set of 4 or 5. I knit on the tight side. Uses a needle a couple of sizes smaller then stated for the yarn, so the stuffing doesn't show through.
Gauge: really doesn't matter.
Materials to finish: 6-7 inch circle of fabric for weight beads. Stuffing of choice. I like wool roving or corn stuffing. Fiberfill makes a much softer cat, which is nice, too.
Techniques: Intarsia, Knitting in the Round, Kitchener. I knit from the same ball using both ends for my intarsia. I only go nuts for a short time, kind of like raising kids:)

Inc.1 is the same as a M1. Pick up strand between stitches with left needle front to back and knit through the back. (I've attempted to replace all the inc.1 with M1 in this first revision)

1. CO 5 stitches with chest color. (cc)
2. Slide stitches down to opposite end of DPN and bring working yarn around the back of work. Kf&b of the first CO stitch. Place a marker to mark the beginning. This joins the work to knit in the round. Kf&b of remaining stitches added two other needles. (10 st)
3. Knit
4. K2, Kf&b to end (18 st)
5. Knit
6. K1, Kf&b of next 5 stitches. K7, Kf&b to end. (28 st)
7. Knit
8. Knit
9. Join main color. K2. Change to cc. K3, M1, K19, M1, K3. Join second ball of mc, and K1. Turn work and start knitting back and forth in stockinette stitch. When changing colors twist colors and snug up to avoid holes. (30 st)
10. P1 with mc. Change to cc. P to last two stitches. Change to mc, P2. Turn
11. K3 with mc. Change to cc. K3, M1, K19, M1, K3. Change to mc, K2. Turn (32)
12. P2 with mc. Change to cc, P across to last 3 stitches. Change to mc. P3. Turn
13. K6 with mc. Change to cc. K3, M1, (K1, M1) 2 times, K11, (M1, K1) two times. M1, K3. Change to Mc. K5 (38 st) Turn
14. P5 with MC. Change to CC, P across to last 6 st. Change MC. P 6.turn
15. K9 with MC. Change to CC, K2 (M1, K1) two times. M1, K13, (M1, k1) two times. M1, K2. Change to MC. K8 (44 st)
16. P8 with MC. Change to CC. P to last 9 st. Change to MC. K9.

Add a 5th needle if the knitting is tight. Row 17 and all odd rows to Row 27: K8 with MC, change to CC, K to last 7 st. Change to MC K7. Turn
Row 18 and all even rows to Row 28: P7 with MC, Change to CC. P to last 8 st. Change MC K8.

29. K1 with MC, K2tog. K5. Change to CC and K to last 7 st. Change to MC. K5, SSK. Turn
30. P6 with MC. Change to CC. P to last 7 st. change to MC. K to end. Turn
31. K1 with MC. K2tog. K5. Change to CC. K to last 7 st. Change to MC. K5, SSK. Turn.
32. P6 with MC. Change to CC. P to last 7 st. Change to CC. P to end. Turn
33. K1 with MC. K2tog. K5. Change to CC. K to last 7 st. Change to MC. K5, SSK. Turn.
34. P6 with MC. Change to CC. P to last 7 st. Change to MC. P7. Turn. (38 st)
35. K1 with MC. K2tog. K4. Change to CC. K3, change to MC. K2. Change CC K15. Change to MC, K2. Change to CC, K3. Change to MC, K4, SSK. Turn
36. P5 with MC Change to CC, P3. Cut yarn and leave 5 in tail. Change to MC, p2. Join CC, P15. Change to MC, P2. Change CC, P3. Change to MC, P6. Turn
37. K1 with MC. K2tog, K4. Change to CC and K1. Cut yarn leaving tail to weave in. Change to MC K 5. Join CC, K11. Change to MC K5. Use tail to K1 with CC. Change to MC K4. SSK.
38. P13 with MC. P7 with CC. P14 with MC. Turn.
39. K1 with MC. K2tog. K11. Change to CC. K7. Change to MC, K11. SSK. Turn.
40. P13 with MC. Change to CC. P5. Change to MC, P14. Turn
41. K1 with MC, K2tog. K11. Change to CC, K5. Change to MC K11, SSK. Turn.
42. P 13 with MC. Cut yarn. Change to CC P3. Change to MC, P14. Turn.
43. K1, K2tog, K12 with MC. K1 with CC. Cut yarn. K12 with MC, SSK. Do not turn. Finish with MC.
44. Join to knit in the round. Knit one row. (28 st)
45. K1, K2tog. K6. SSK. K7, K2tog. K6, SSK. (24 st.)
46. K1, K2tog. K3. SSK. K9. K2tog. K3. SSK. (20 st)
47. K1, K2tog. K15. SSK (18 st)
48. Prepare stitches for the ears. Knit eight st. on to needle 1. K10 stitches on to needle 2.. Knit the first two stitches from needle 1 and place them on needle two. These 12 stitches are on hold for the top of the head and one ear. The 6 left on needle 1 are the other ear and the first one knit, which is knit in the round.

Left ear: K the 6 stitches on needle one. Join to knit in the round. Divide the stitches on 2 or 3 needles. SlK1PSSO. Snug this stitch up well and knit to end. K2, S1K1PSSO, K1. (4 st). S1K1PSSO. Knit last 2 stitches on to needle 1. Slide to the other end. SlK2tog, PSSO. End off.

Right ear: Rearrange remaining stitches on two needles, 6 st. on each needle.
Cut a piece of yarn long enough to knit the second ear and kitchener 3 stitches. 18 inch or so. Thread on darning needle. With the front of the cat facing you,
Sew into first stitch on back DPN, as if to purl, (back to front) and pull up leaving 4-5 inch tail. *Bring yarn forward and sew through first stitch on front needle as if to purl
Then go through first stitch of back DPN as if to purl and pull off that stitch.
Go through 2nd stitch on back needle as if to knit, but leave stitch on needle.
Bring yarn forward and go through first stitch on front needle as if to knit and pull stitch off.
Repeat from * until 3 stitches are left on each DPN. The long tail is on the back. Now continue knitting in the round with the long tail.
Knit one row. (6 st) K4, K2tog.(5 st) Next row, K1, K2tog, K2 on to same needle. (4 st) Slide to other end of DPN, K1, K2tog, K1. (3 st) Slide to other end of DPN. Last row. Sl, K2tog, PSSO. End off.

Tail: start with 3 stitches on 3 needles. Join to knit in the round. Knit one row. K1M1 around (6 st). Knit one row. K1M1K1 around. (9 st). Continue knitting in the round until it is as long as you want it. Knit or sew a curl in it. Stuff as you go. Bind off and finish stuffing.

Finishing: Sew in yarn tails around ears, close up any holes. Knot on the inside and use tails to stuff ears, or add stuffing. A small tweezers is helpful. Tighten up holes on the intarsia portion and knot or sew in ends on the inside. Join yarn at top of opening and sew opening closed about 1/3 of the way. Stuff head firmly.
To add weight so the cat stands up better, cut a circle of fabric 6-8 inches in diameter. Gather up the edge with a running stitch and strong thread. Add polyester beads or sand. I stay away from organic matter because bugs get into it here in the tropics. Stuff the bag into the bottom of the cat and add more stuffing around and on top if the bag. Finish sewing shut. Set cat on the table and shape it the way you want and then arrange the tail the way you want it before sewing it down.

Add features with embroidery, needle felting, beads or buttons.

This is George in Beaverslide Natural grey and white, aran weight. He came out bigger.

Here is my attempt at a graph. Please note that it starts on Row3. The black colored boxes on the right side are the middle back stitch. On his head, they represent the stitches to be Kitchenered. The other colored boxes represent decreases or increases. The red boxes at the top are the last body row before the ears begin. On George, I purled Row 3 for the end of his base.

More color or spots can be added by coloring in areas on the graph where you want the color. A single color can be used and the cat then can be entirely knit in the round. Just remember to stuff as you go:)