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Saturday, March 26, 2011


Pettine by acornbud
Pettine, a photo by acornbud on Flickr.

Pattern: Pettine
by Corrina Ferguson
from Sideways Shawlettes
Yarn: 1.2 skeins. Handmaiden, Mini-Maiden. Colorway Nova Scotia
Needles: size 6 lace Addi
Mod: none.

Comments. This photo shows the the unblocked shawlette, modeled by sister number 4. I loved the sideways pattern and the yarn. I may block this yet, but I like the way the unblocked lace ruffles.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finally Finished

This quilt block languished in stash for more then a decade and it's finally done! It's quite large so the choice now is a big pillow or have it framed. I'll see if sister number two feels it will match her decor as she has a birthday coming up soon.

Mom's portulaca are blooming in the dmz. Hardly anything grows in this area under the eaves. The soil is pretty poor there and sometimes the rain does not get to it.

I have 3 wips on the needles. That's a lot for this serial knitter.

My new whorl arrived from Majacraft. The original was a bit warped and although it did not affect the function it was quite noticeable so I got a new one. Hopefully Tracy will be able to re-machine the old one and find it another home. The new one is much better:)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wayward, Herbivore FO

Pattern: Herbivore, by Stephen West
Yarn: Our Connection colorway, hand dyed by Megan Smith, WaywardYarn on Etsy. 100% merino
Needles: Size 6

No modifications. After knitting with acrylic, this yarn was heavenly. The pattern was quite easy so this project flew off the needles! I'm keeping this one for me:)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Feral Knitting

I have been a big fan of the Feral Knitter and her incredible creations since I first discovered them.

Here's an example in one of my "stealth" photos of her at Madrona. I got to see her amazing shibori jacket in person, too.

I'm a continental knitter and my first efforts at two color knitting was very frustrating. My right hand just couldn't get a clue on how to throw and control the tension. I tried holding both yarns in my left hand and that was only slightly less frustrating, so I gave it up for a while.

Recently I saw a link on Ravelry to the Philospher's Wool video on two-handed Fair Isle technique and decided to give it a try again. These lovely people were at Madrona and teaching classes.

My project is the R2D2 hat by Carolyn posted on her blog, So Much Yarn, So Little Time. and the Star Wars charts by Sarah Bradberry. I found two balls of the the black sock yarn at the thrift store for 50% off of $2.99. Score! The contrasts are odds and ends of Koigu and mystery cream colored stuff.

This is way small for a hat and may become a bag, or maybe it will just remain a sampler. It's getting easier. Maybe this ole dog can learn a new trick.

On a somber note, the devastation in Japan is hard to watch. I don't have family in that part of Japan. I haven't heard from my "penpal" in Tokyo for a while now, but I can't help but worry about the impact there for him.

And I turned 60. Yikes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Woodland Spirit 2 (testing wip)

I'll post updates as they come up. (And better pictures with eyes when I have time)

My Totoro is 5.5 inches tall. Knitting starts back and forth. It proceeds in the round until the tummy. The intarsia portion is knit back and forth, leaving an opening in the back for stuffing. He is finished in the round. Tail and arms are knit separately and sewn on.

Materials: Cascade 220 in gray and white. Size 4 DPNs. Stuffing material of choice. Optional beads to weight bottom.

Knit in round
duplicate stitch

M1R : Pick up strand between stitches with left needle from back to front. Knit stitch through front.
M1L: Pick up strand between stitches with left needle from front to back. Knit stitch through back.
SSK: Slip next two stitches as if to knit. Slide the left-hand needle into the front part of both stitches and knit them together.

1 Slip knot
2 (K, purl, k) into slip knot. Turn. (3 st)
3 Kfb, into every stitch. (Don’t turn) (6 st)
Slide stitches to other end of needle and bring yarn around back to knit first stitch of last row. (like knitting an I-cord)

Knit in the round from here

4 K2 on to needle 1. K2 on to needle 2. K2 on to needle 3. (Add needles so stitches are divided on 3 needles)
5 Kfb, into every stitch around (12 st)
6 Knit
7 Kfb, into every stitch around (24 st)
8 Knit
9 Kfb, k1 across. (36 st)
10 K
11 Kfb, k across to last stitch, kfb. (38 st)

Begin intarsia, knit back and fourth.

12 Kfb, k11 on to needle 1. Change to CC. K14 onto needle 2. Join second ball of MC. K to last stitch. Kfb. Turn. (40 st)
13 Purl, following color as established. Turn
14 With MC, Kfb, k10, M1R, K1. K16 with CC. K1 with MC, M1L, K to last stitch. Kfb. Turn (44 st.)
15 Purl
16 With MC, Kfb, k11. M1R, k1. K 18 with CC. Change to MC. K1, M1, k to last stitch. Kfb. Turn(48 st.)
17-24 Stockinette. Continue color changes as established.
25 K16 in MC, k16 in CC, k 16 in MC
26 Purl
27 K17 in MC, k14 in CC, k 17 in MC.
28 Purl
29 K18 in MC, k12 in CC, k 18 in MC.
30 Purl
31 K19 in MC. K10 in CC. K 19 in MC.
32 P19 in MC. Cut yarn. P10 in CC, cut yarn. P 19 in MC. Turn.
33 Knit across with MC. Don’t turn.
Resume knitting in the round.
34-36 Knit around.
37 K14. SSK. K16. K2tog. K14. (46 st.)
38-47 (even rows)K2tog, knit to last two stitches. SSK.
38-47 (odd rows) Knit. (36 st.)
48 K10. SSK. K12. K2tog. K10. (34 st.)
49 K7. SSK. K1. SSK. K10. K2tog. K1. K2tog. K7.(30 st.)
50 K6. SSK. K1. SSK. K8. K2tog. K1. K2tog. K6. (26 st.)
51 K5. SSK. K1. SSK. K6. K2tog. K1. K2tog. K5. (22 st.)
52 K5. SSK. K8. K2tog. K5. (20 st.)
53 Knit around. Knit first two stitches from needle one on the needle 3.

Right ear
Next 6 stitches on needle one form the ear. Knit onto two needles, 3 stitches on each. The rest of the stitches can remain on the needles if you have enough needles, or you can place them on a holder or piece of spare yarn. Join 6 ear stitches to knit in round. Knit one row.

*(K1, M1, K2) twice. (8 stitches).
Knit one row.
(SSK, K2) twice. (6 st)
Knit one row.
(SSK, K2) twice. (4 st).
Knit one row.
(SSK twice (2 st).
SlK1PSSO). Finish off.

Left ear
Place 4 stitches in center front and center back on holders. These 8 stitches will be grafted to together at the end to form the top of his head.
Place remaining 6 stitches on two needles. Join yarn with Totoro facing you at top of head, leaving 18 inch tail. Knit two rows in the round.

Finish ear following directions from right ear, from *.

Top of head.
Kitchener the top of the head using the 18 inch tail.

Use tails to close up holes around ears and around the tummy. The tails can be knotted or woven in on the wrong side. Use scrap yarn or stuffing to stuff the ears. Add chest markings in MC with duplicate stitch.

Cut 6 inch circle of cloth and fill with plastic pellets for weight if desired. Close the little bag with a running stitch of doubled thread. Place inside through back and stuff around. Close up back.

Tail. With MC, CO 12 stitches. Knit in round for 10 rows. Knit two together around the next two rows. 3 stitches remain. Thread tail through and draw up. Stuff and sew on. It helps to set Totoro on a surface and place tail to help him balance.

Arms. Knit back and fourth. With MC, CO 12 stitches. Purl one row, knit one row, purl one row. Row 4: K2tog, k to last two stitches, SSK. (10 st.) Purl one row, knit one row, purl 1 row. Row 8: K2tog, k to last two stitches, SSK. (8 st.) Purl one row. Thread tail through and sew up back seam. Fold arm so seam is centered on one side. Sew down with seam toward body.

Add facial features of choice. I usually needle felt them on.

Admire your work.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Eating my way across Tacoma and Seattle

I'm thinking about all the wonderful eating experiences I had on my trip, while putting off doing my taxes and waiting for "mostly sunny". Back to the reality of cooking my own meals :(
I hope the weather clears up for the toddler pool party next door.

Bite, the restaurant at Hotel Murano where the Fiberarts Fesitival is held had a nice hearty, reasonably price brunch. The two meals I had there, mussels/clams and dinner of grilled shrimp and various shared salads were both tasty and served in generous portions. The coffee was good! It was a great way to start the day of fiber shopping and classes.

Galanga Thai was an easy walk up the the street from the hotel, and on a cold evening the fragrant, steaming bowl of beef noodle soup warmed me cockles.

Harbor Lights is and older restaurant on the water with great seafood. I split the pan fried crab and Sandy had a salmon salad. They were both yummy! I like that for a mere $3 more, they gave us each our own salad and starch.

Two Koi is another closeby restaurant. I had lunch there after visiting the Glass Museum, and the Tacoma Art Museum. It had a cute decor, and served huge portions! The food was fairly standard.

Kabuki Japanese Restaurant has been for around for awhile and my sister eats there often. The sukiyaki was very tasty.

Another Thai Restaurant, I'll have to ask my sister the name (Royal Thai). Royal Thai Bistro had very friendly people and wonderful food.

Lola's was my favorite eating place of all. It is one of Tom Douglas's restaurants and has a Greek flair. I don't like poached eggs but Betty's egg's benedict were a work of art. The smashed potatoes were awesome! I had the hand made doughnuts. They were light, puffy pillows served with vanilla marscapone and apple butter. I loved the applewood smoked sausages. They make them in the restaurant, but can't sell them raw/frozen to take home:(

I really wanted one last breakfast at Lola's but it was packed on Sunday, so we went acrss the street to the Dahlia Lounge. Once again Betty went with the Eggs Benedict. Their variation is the Green eggs and ham, but no smashed potatoes.

Palace Kitchen is another Tom Douglas Restaurant. It was quite busy. I was sad the morels were not in season like they were the last time I ate there. I had a very nice beet salad and the appetizer portion of braised lamb shank. The bread was fabulous. They are known for their triple threat coconut pie. The crust has coconut and almonds and so do the pudding and whipped cream layers. No meringue on this baby! I had it twice. They do take out:)

Anita's Crepes serves up whole wheat crepes stuffed with a variety of fillings. The picture is what blogless Margaret ordered. Mine was stuffed with chicken and while tasty was not as photogenic.

Emmer and Rye is named after an heirloom type of wheat called emmer. Spalt is another example. The rye got added because they serve a lot of rye whiskeys and beer. The menu was quite interesting. They offer all types of portions sizes as well...tastes, appetizers, full or half entrees which is quite nice since I can't eat as much as I used too. The pork belly is reminiscent of kau yuk or the roast pork from Chinatown. We tried lots of different things and they were all yummy. The restaurant is in an old house. Our waiter was wonderful!

Top Pot Doughnuts sells "hand-forged" doughnuts. I saw their story on TV recently. The name came from an old restaurant called Top Spot. The sign was stored for a while and the S fell off, so they added a coffee pot and the Top Pot coffee and doughnut place was born. I picked my hotel because if was right around the corner from this place. The coffee was wonderful. The doughnuts were huge. They specialized in buttermilk (old fashioned) doughnuts and cake doughnuts. I think there might have been a glazed in there somewhere. It would get quite busy at times, like a bus stopped and let a bunch of people off. I would love there to be a Top Pot Hawaii, but then of course, I should lay off the doughnuts:(

Honore serves fluffy French pastries.

Bay Cafe is a reasonably priced place to have breakfast.

BluWater Bistro is on the water and has nice burgers and fish.

Vince's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria
makes wonderful pizza.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Crown Mountain Farms had some cute cards in their booth at Madrona. The couple I remember had to do with yarn said something to the effect, "real friends don't let friends buy acrylic" and the other showed a smug boyfriend sitting next to his girlfriend who is holding an armful of Acme acrylic yarn, with a shocked, disgusted look in her eyes.

I was looking for something cheap and quick, so don't judge me, lol.

Jiffy Scarf
Pattern: my own, random stripes
Yarn: Jiffy Thick & Quick by Lion Brand
Needles: size 8
So I got quick and cheap, but the yarn kind of stuck to my dry hands as I knit and was not fun to knit with. Also the mistake rib curled on the edges. Next time I'll add a border.

Home spun Shawlette
Pattern: Splendid Triangle Shawl #80982AD by Lion Brand Yarn from Lion Brand Yarn Free Online Patterns
Yarn: Lion's Homespun
Needles: size 13
I omitted 3 repeats of the pattern for a shawlette and used only one skein. This is to be a gift. I've used this yarn before and and it's a little bit splitty to work with but quite soft. It's quite popular here in Hawaii. This is easily a one day project. I watched the entire Bleak House series (the one with Gillian Anderson) while knitting this for the birthday today. There was enough yarn to do one more pattern repeat. Next time...

Butternut Hat
Yarn: Butternut Woolens
Needles: size 11
Yarn: Butternut Woolens, thick and thin
Pattern: free with yarn.
This was one of those "gotta try" yarns at the Madrona Marketplace. I wish I had made the hat a tiny bit bigger as it doesn't quite cover my ears.

WIP: Stephen West's Herbivore in handyed SW merino sock yarn, by Megan. It feels so good to have some of the good stuff on my needles. This project is flying!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fun in Seattle

I went on some interesting tours this trip around and learned lots of new things.

Earthhues: I loved this place! There is no name on the building just the address 5129. There were several ladies in the back boiling up dyes on gas burners in the classroom getting ready for a class put on by a lys. The shelves were full of of yarns all dyed with natural dyes in a multitude of shades of wonderful colors. The owner, Michele Wipplinger was in, graciously shared her story and showed us her treasures, collected over her life of learning, giving, world travels and creating. It was truly fascinating!

Theo Chocolate Factory: One of the few makers vs melter's of chocolate. They are the first "green", fair trade and organic chocolate producers in America. Click to read more.

Their name comes from the scientific name of chocolate, Theobroma Cacao. This place smelled so of the Gods! They were generous with samples!

I made the tour reservations online with my iphone. Sandy's husband may be right. It the future a gadget like the iphone is all one will need, lol. I'm glad I made reservations as there was a wait list when we got there.

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience:
Wing Luke immigrated from China when he was 6 years old and became the first Asian American to hold elected office in the Pacific Northwest. It is in Seattle's Chinatown. It got me thinking about the experiences of the Hawaiians, Filipinos, in addition to the Chinese and Japanese. Life was not easy.

I got two prints by Mirikitani. If you have not seen the documentary on his life, The Cats of Mirikitani, I recommend it.

The tour included was of the store next door. The building had businesses on the street level and a boarding house upstairs for new immigrants. The store was operating until 2008. It looks like a lot of places in Honolulu Chinatown.

Northwest Flower and Garden Show: I got in on this in the last hour, so admission was free! There were tons of ideas for dream gardens.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Madrona Classes

I had two really fun classes at Madrona. Batts, Roving and Top taught by Judith Mackenzie and Spinning a Self Striping Yarn. I was loaned a great spinning wheel, a Schacht Matchless. It was set up for Scotch tension. Thanks Lisa!

Judith Mackenzie is a wonderfully calm and warm teacher with lots of fiber experience. I have her DVD, The Gentle Art of Plying, which I got about a month ago. It's been very useful.

We tried various types of fibers. Natural top is a very orderly arrangement of fibers. The process of making top is somewhat like ironing hair was back in the day. When a piece is pulled off it leaves a relatively straight line, while roving pulls off in a point. Dyeing top puts back some of the sproing and disorder into the fiber which explains why the dyed braids do not pull apart as easily. She still recommends not stripping top as it disorders the fibers unless it is for color order. She spins across the end side to side. I got one of my burning questions answered. While spinning, sometimes a big tuff gets away and the twist ends up in the fluff. While a small one can be undone, when I showed her a large one I'd broken off, she said, "Throw it on the floor." And so I did:)

Here she is with one of her assistants.

My second class was taught by the the Bellwether, Amelia Garripoli. She too was great teacher and very knowledgeable. Our class supplies included 12 colors of roving, which were divided for a pair of fingerless mitts. We chose our 4 least favorite colors for a background color. This background color was spun at a smaller gauge. The rest of the colors were spun one at a time, then plied with the thinner single. The background color does not show as much so the solids form stripes. I used the left over roving to practice on my new drops spindles and used the completed yarn for a sweater for Won Bin (my iphone)

I really enjoyed my two classes and learned a lot. It was great fun to see the variety of wheels and share tips and ideas.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Spinning Toys

Two years ago I was adamant about my "no spinning" policy. Now that is history. I've entered the world of spinning and I'm having a ball. Yes, another stash, another reason to shop and the danger of branching out into yet another craft.

The hardest part for me was learning how to draft. I watched a lot of you tubes, watched people spinning and tried a wheel a couple of times. I found that using the drop spindle was a way to slow down things so I could get the hang of drafting out the fibers. Also pre-drafting prior to spinning helped me get the feel of the fibers slipping out. I still find my drafting is not very fast using a wheel.

Adding the foot action was another story. I practiced with some unspun Lopi. It needs no drafting so I could practice the foot and hand motions without having to worry about how much fiber was slipping out (or not slipping out).

I had 4 things on my shopping list for the Madrona Marketplace...traveling kate, wool cards, WPI tool and Majacraft bobbins. No spindles on this list. Sandy said "don't hold back" so in addition to filling my list I have 3 more spindles.

Leopardwood square spindle from SpindleWood CO. It's square, but it really spins nicely. It's quite light for it's size.

This Turkish spindle was a gift from blogless Sandy. Thank you Sandy! It's made of ironwood by Jenkins. It spins great and you have a center pull when you are done. It comes apart like tinker toys. Quite an amazing little invention.

Bosworth Featherweight in walnut. Amelia Garripoli (AsktheBellweather) who taught Sandy's drop spindle class had a whole container full of these babies. Score!

WPI tool of Hawaiian koa wood. I couldn't pass it up and it was on the list;) The Koigu key chain was a little freebee from the Madrona people.

Just think about all the shipping costs I saved!! :)