Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Sweater "B" Done

I finished Braydon's "B" Sweater last night and Matilda the Bear agreed to model it even though she's not as big as he is.


Pattern: The basic "Panda Pullover" pattern, page 59 in Maine Woods Woolies by Hélène Rush, was used as the template for this sweater.  I charted the letter "B" and decided where to put the stripes on the sleeves.

Yarn: Berroco Pure Merino DK (now discontinued)
Main Color:  Baba Au Rhum #4523 ~3½ balls
Contrasting colors:  Chocolate #4574 and Ecru #4501, >1 ball of each

Needles: Size US #5/3.75mm

Notes:  The sweater is for my grandson, Braydon.  It was inspired by a sweater I made for his Mom when she was 3 years old.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Assembly Required

The pieces of Braydon's "B" sweater are finished and blocked and I'm now in the process of putting them together.  It won't take long to knit the neckband, then I'll have another Finished Object to tell you about. 

The color is a bit off.  The sweater is closer to the color of a football.
It's so much fun to knit for my Grandson!  I wonder what I should make for him next (he's 14 months old).  Here's something to think about:  I'm going to run a contest this coming weekend and for a chance to win the prize, just tell me what you think I should make next, with a link to a pattern or a picture, if you have one.  I'll post a picture of the prize when the contest opens and I think it's something that knitters will like, and probably don't already have!  Intrigued?  Come back with your best suggestion(s) on Sunday to find out more.

By the way, the Cowboy sweater that I talked about before is something I'll be making soon, but the smallest size is 4, so I'm not going to start it right away.  Maybe in a few months.  Besides, I have another intarsia project currently on the needles.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Triangle Squares Cushion - The Intarsia Begins

I think that winding yarns and weaving in ends is going to take more time than the actual knitting for the Triangle Squares Cushion. It's okay as I'm not in any hurry.

The first 10 rows of black stocking stitch are finished. These little yarn butterflies are for the first 23 rows of the patterning:

The yarns on the right, the bottom 5, are for the black vertical lines between the squares.  The larger one at the top is for one of the side borders.  For the other side, I'll work directly from the ball.  The small black yarn pieces on the left are for the centers of the squares.  The bottom row of the colored yarn is for the bottom triangle, the top colors are for the top triangle.

I also made a little shade card:

Okay, I'm ready to start the colorwork....

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Psychedelic Music Monday

Sometimes, when I have a little time to spare, it's fun to surf, letting the links take me wherever they might.  It interesting to see what others are making.  I came across a couple of things that made me smile, admiring the talent it took to make the items. 

The aran slipcover must have taken hours and hours and hours to make, that is, after all the time it would have taken to design it so that it fit the chair just right.  It must have been very heavy as the knitter approached the end of the project and started putting it together. 

With further exploring I found this whimsical kitchen clock.  On the website where I found it, here:, there was a comment that, if this had been an alarm clock, it could be a Strawberry Alarm Clock.  Am I aging myself by remembering this group? 

So, for Music Monday, here's the Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense and Peppermints"  The video is poor quality, but the song is groovy!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

♪ If You Could Read My Stitches, Love

What a tale my swatch could tell.  ♫

(With apologies to Gordon Lightfoot!)

I admit it, I don't always do a gauge swatch.  I normally skip this step for shawls, afghans or baby clothes where a specific size isn't critical.  As long as I like the fabric that I'm knitting, I'm fine with being swatchless.

For this swatch I used both yarns, one for each of the triangles - choosing little-used colors from the pattern so that I wouldn't run out later on.  I started with the suggested needle size, 3.25mm.  For the pillow, I want it to be exactly 24" square so that a pillow form will fit inside properly.   

6 sts x 8.5 rows = 1" on 3.00mm needles

I'm glad that I did as I learned the following:

  I didn't like the loose fabric I was creating, and the point where the yarns crossed was not a smooth, tight transition.

  On measuring, I was not making gauge, which explains the loose fabric.  I knit another swatch on smaller needles, 3.00mm.  The gauge is now correct and the block looks good to me.

  If I'd made the pillow at the looser gauge, I would have used more yarn.  I'm sure that I have plenty, at either gauge, but why risk it?

  The intarsia is going to be fairly easy since the pattern is predictable.

  After the gauge swatch was finished I took it apart and measured each length of yarn.  This told me that the two triangles use the same amount.  I thought that this would be the case, but now I'm sure.  I can precut yarns so that I don't have excessively long strands to deal with, especially since so many colors are involved. 

  Based on this little bit of knitting, using new-to-me Revive.  I'm finding that I like the yarn.  It reminds me of some of Rowan's earlier, discontinued yarns, such as Silkstones (from the 1980s, I think).  It has that slightly rough, organic feel.  If I still like it after finishing this project, I have another sweater that I'd like to do (but as a woman's cardigan).  But, that's for another time!

The two main colors for each block uses 159" (13 feet, 3 inches) of yarn and the small black rectangle in the center uses 20" of yarn.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Triangle Squares Cushion - The Preparations

Today I'm making preparations to start the Triangle Squares Cushion:

(1) In Excel I graphed one of the squares from the pattern chart.  I tried to enlarge a square on the photocopier but it turned out blurry.  I only needed to chart one square as all 48 are the same, just the colors and yarns are different.

(2)  The pattern is very small and it's difficult to tell what yarns to use, so I made an enlarged chart in Word.  It's fine that the knitting is a challenge.  I don't need the pattern to be one.  At the bottom of the chart I listed the 19 yarns.  When I print this page, I'll draw in the symbols by hand.

If you decide to make this cushion, you're welcome to print out these pages for your own use only.  If you put them on your blog, please let me know and give credit and a link back here.  Thanks!

(3)  I've taken a file card and punched holes in it.  I'll make my own color card, adding snippets of the yarns.

(4)  I'm going to start with making just one block to test the gauge.  When it's finished, I plan to rip it out and measure the lengths of yarn.  Then, I can cut pieces of yarn for each of the blocks, except for the black borders.  This will make the tangling easier to deal with.  Each piece can be pulled free from the other yarns when I get to it.  I don't plan to use bobbins, except perhaps for the black outside borders. 

All this planning will make the actual knitting easier, faster and less stressful.  While I've been doing these preparations, the pieces of Braydon's 'B' sweater are blocked and drying.  I'll be sewing them together this weekend and then will start the neckband.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fearless Fair Isle Knitting

I remember back in the early 1990s when knitting books were few and far between.  I would check the bookstore often, hoping that something new had been published.  When I found a new book that I liked I would pour over every word, every design, savoring the pictures, dreaming about making a new sweater. 

Over the years, it seems, there were new books every week.  I've purchased many and I love my knitting library.  I'm now cutting back greatly and only occasionally buy a new book.  What I'm seeing with so many books available is that they are either too similar to other ones on the market, or I just don't care for the designs, or I figure that I can make the design without the book.  Also, there is Ravelry, Patternfish, Knitty, Twist Collective, etc., where I can get something nice for free or little cost, buying just the pattern I want and not an entire book. 

I read on one of the online groups about a new book entitled "Fearless Fair Isle Knitting" by Kathleen Taylor.  I wasn't tempted at first as the hooded vest on the cover didn't grab my attention. 

Because the topic is fair isle, a technique I like, I did a search online to find out more.  I saw pictures of sweaters and graphs that appealed to me.  There is a section on techniques.  I decided that it would be a good addition to my bookcase.

I ordered the book and it arrived yesterday and I quickly flipped through it.  My first impression is that there is a lot of yellow in the pictures.  Of course, that wouldn't deter me from making a sweater that I liked otherwise.  Colors can be changed.  The photography shows off the projects well.  The knitting graphs are large and clear - just what you want when knitting with many colors.

If you like fair isle, chances are that you'll like this book.  I do.  I won't be casting on for any of the book's projects any time soon.  There are too many others, some of them fair isle, ahead of them in the queue.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Triangle Squares Cushion - The Yarns

The yarns for the Triangle Squares Cushion by Kaffe Fassett are Rowan Cotton Glace and Rowan Purelife Revive.  Both are a DK weight.  The design is the same on both sides of the cushion.  How tempting it is to do something totally different on the reverse.  I'm looking forward to knitting with Revive for the first time.

The yarns are, from left to right -

Row 1 (top) - Triangle Squares Cushion, Purelife Revive Yarns: 461 Pumice, 462 Basalt, 463 Pink Granite, 465 Rock

Row 2 - Purelife Revive Yarns:  467 Ironstone, 469 Flint, 470 Firestone, 472 Loam, 473 Grit

Row 3 - Cotton Glace Yarns:  445 Blood Orange, 724 Bubbles, 727 Black, 747 Candy Floss, 829 Twilight

Row 4 (bottom) - Cotton Glace Yarns:  832 Persimmon, 833 Ochre, 837 Baked Red, 838 Umber, 841 Garnet

Yarn Qualities:
Rowan Purelife Revive:  36% Silk, 36% Cotton, 28% Rayon; 137 yards/50 grams
Rowan Cotton Glace:  100% Cotton; 125 yards/50 grams

I'm looking forward to the weekend, but I doubt I'll be taking this with me to get the oil changed in my car.  It's not a very portable project!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A New Project Starting Soon

If you could knit the patterns from only one designer, who would it be? 

I have a couple of friends who are huge fans of Jared "Brooklyn Tweed" Flood, for example.  Others knit many of Anne Hanson's designs.  For someone else, it might be a designer of lace, or quick projects.

For me, as those who know me will attest, it would be Kaffe Fassett.  As a colorist, he is very talented.  I find myself wanting to make many of his designs, some of which go back to the late 80s/early 90s.  The shapes may be rather boxy, but I don't mind.  I can make changes if I feel like I want to.  I went to his website and found this interesting video: - then click on the picture on that page.

The picture, below, is slightly blurry as it's a screen shot from the video and he was moving:

I love color and find myself very anxious to start something new, so I will, this weekend.  I'm going to start on his Triangle Squares Cushion.  There are 19 colors in the cushion, a combination of Rowan Cotton Glace and Revive

So, tell me, whose patterns would you knit if you could only choose one designer?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The "B"

Braydon's "B" Pullover is coming along quickly.  The back and both sleeves are finished and are blocking right now.  I changed my mind on making it a modified drop-sleeve pullover, opting instead for raglan sleeves.  I had completed the back and had to rip out to the beginning of the armhole shaping.  I can't say that I minded.  Ripping back in knitting doesn't rip my heart out!  I just want to have a finished sweater that I like.  I made the decision as I was about to start the shaping on the sleeves, so there was no need to rip back on those.  Instead of following the instructions for the Penguin sweater in Maine Woods Woolies, I'm now using the Panda sweater on page 59 as a template.  I won't, however, be making the neck placket.

© JConklin 2011
The letter B is charted (in Excel) and ready to go.  I cast on last night and got the ribbing and a few rows of stocking stitch completed.  Tonight I'll be starting on the intarsia.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Les Peaux de Lièvres

With winter now behind us, I thought I'd celebrate the past season with a video that I found on "Diana Natters On". It's set in Montreal and is a love song. If you go to the You Tube link, a translation has been posted. Someone has put a lot of time, thought and machine-knitting into this. Enjoy and be amazed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Assembling the Materials

As I posted yesterday, I'm going to make a pullover for Braydon with the letter "B" on the front. 

I have the yarn, Berocco Pure Merino DK, which is now discontinued.  I can't imagine why they would discontinue such a nice yarn.  Obviously the company didn't ask me for my opinion.

Main color (left): #4523 Baba Au Rhum. Contrast Colors: #4501 Ecru and #4574 Chocolate

Rather than design a plain, modified drop shoulder sweater on which to knit the "B" motif I'm going to use a pattern from a book I haven't used in about 25 years, "Maine Woods Woolies" by Hélène Rush.

Browsing through the book has brought back memories.  For example, next to the pattern of the Aran Pullover (page 33) and the Sampler Pullover (page 64) I wrote "GOOD", meaning that it was a good pattern, clear and well-written and that the sweater turn out as planned, and there are yarn labels stapled to the pages.  I was also reminded that there was no yarn store in the town where I lived and I bought my yarn at Woolworth's.  The yarn really wasn't too bad for children's clothing.  For the Aran I used "Paton's Parade", which I'm betting has long been discontinued.  For the Sampler sweater there are two labels, so I must have made it twice, once with Picasso by Argyll DK and once with Jessan Malibu.  The price tag is still on the Malibu label.  It was 75 cents, marked down from $1.00 for a 50g ball. 

This time, I'm following the instructions given for the Penguin Pullover on page 57. 

I've started knitting the back of the sweater and later today I'll take out some knitter's graph paper and work on designing the letter "B" for the front.

Friday, March 18, 2011

J Is For Jessica

Once upon a time there was a young girl named Jessica.  She loved all of the sweaters that her mother made for her and there were many, as her mother loved to knit.  She knitted sweaters with animals, cartoon characters, piano keys, cables, textures and lots of colors.  One day she gave Jessica a sweater with a big letter 'J' on the front.  Jessica loved it and wore it often.

Jessica - Age 3 - Petawawa, Ontario
The years went by, too quickly it seems, and Jessica grew up.  She became a mother to an adorable little boy named Braydon.  "Ah ha", said her mother, "I'm a grandmother now and I'm going to knit for my grandson." She knit a sweater with a Smurf and another with stripes.  Then she thought to herself, "I must make a sweater like the one I made for Jessica, but with a big letter 'B' on the front."

One day Grandma was at her local yarn store, knitting with a nice group of ladies on a Friday night.  She decided to look in the half-price sale bin and there it was, the perfect yarn for the 'B' sweater.  It was a very nice yarn, sadly discontinued by the yarn company, and there was enough for a sweater for Braydon.  There were two colors of brown and she bought some of the lighter brown color and a ball of the dark brown color.  Grandma also had an almost-white color in her own little yarn store at home.  She calls that her "stash".

So now, grandma is knitting the sweater for Braydon and she hopes that he will like it.

The end.

Well, this story is at an end, but the knitting is now underway.  Details tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Céad Míle Fáilte

A hundred thousand welcomes.
My Mother's side of the family is Irish, emigrating to Canada during the potato famine in the early 1840s.  She has done an amazing job of tracing the family tree, along with photos.  It's been very interesting to "meet" my ancestors.  Her family's name is Donnelly, and we always celebrated St. Patrick's Day in our house.  There will be Irish stew on the table at dinnertime today.

Here's a little background that I found about the Donnellys on the Clanarans website:

Donelly, O’ Donnelly, Ó Donnghaile,

Ó Donnnghaile comes from the personal name Donnáil, which is composed of the words “donn” meaning ‘brown’, and “gal” meaning ‘bravery’. The Donnellys are descended from Donnáil O’ Neill, who was himself a descendant of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The Donnelly clan’s original territory was in Co. Donegal, but they subsequently moved to Co. Tyrone, where their name is remembered in the town of Ballydonnelly. Donnelly is the 65th most numerous surname in Ireland today.

Many of my ancestors lived in the town of Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.  It was very special to visit it several years ago and the people I met were warm and friendly. 

Well, you can't have Irish roots and not knit yourself a special Irish sweater.  I've made a few in the past and gave away all but one.  It was a British pattern in Canadian yarn.  But, I need something more authentic, so I bought the Donnelly aran from the Clanarans website, based in Killarney, County Kerry.

It's been in my stash for a while, but it hasn't been forgotten.  I also have the Armagh sweater by Alice Starmore from the Celtic Collection book on my wish list, but I must finish more projects before I can consider it.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


If you love birds and nature then you might want to check out the hummingbirds.  The link is here (there is a commercial before you can see the birds).  Mama Hummingbird is named Phoebe and her two little eggs hatched this past weekend.  Watching them on a monitor, it's easy to forget just how tiny they are.

I like to check in every day to watch as the babies grow, learn to fly and eventually leave the nest.  Right now they don't have their eyes open yet, and they are hungry little ones.  The nest is in a rose bush by a house in Southern California.  What a treat it is that the home owner shares this experience with us by setting up a camera.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Update:  Check out the video, featuring the knitted Royal Family on YouTube.

With all the talk about the upcoming Royal wedding I shouldn't be surprised that there is a Royal wedding knitting book due out at any time now.  The characters are amazingly realistic.  The Queen looks like...well, the Queen.  And, Prince Philip is fully decked out in his military uniform.  Camilla tries to outshine the bride and groom, dressed in red.  Even the Queen's corgis are part of the festivities. 
(L-R) Prince Charles (not shown), Camilla, Prince Harry, Prince William, Kate, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and the Royal corgis.
I can't help but wonder how many people are knitting up their own little Royal families.  This doesn't appear to be quick knitting with all the fine detail.  I'm betting that assembling and stuffing the pieces will take longer than the actual knitting.  

William and Kate
So, did I buy a copy of the pattern book?  I couldn't resist.  The book is "Knit Your Own Royal Wedding" by Fiona Goble, available here

Someday I'll post about another Royal book in my library, "Royal Knits" in case you want to make a little something for yourself?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thin Lizzy

With St. Paddy's Day coming up in a few days, I thought it would be fun to hear Irish band, Thin Lizzy.  This song still sounds good thirty-eight years later.  Thirty-eight years?  Where has the time gone?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mullet Socks x 2

My Mullet socks are finished and ready for business or for a party.  The yarn is beautifully soft and the colors are strong.  It was a pleasure to knit with it.


Generic sock pattern stocking stitch, short row heel
Cuff: Cast on twice as many stitches as needed, first row: k2tog across to create a small ruffle.
African Dancers from "1000 Great Knitting Motifs" - page 240

Yarn:  Moose Toes Sock Yarn kit from Cabin Cove Merchantile
200 yards of black, 50 yards each of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple and Pink

Needles:  Size US #0/2.00mm
Double pointed except for the dancers which were done in fairisle with 12" circulars.

Notes:  (1) The name of the socks comes from the phrase when talking about a Mullet haircut: “business in the front, party in the back”. These socks are “business” if you wear them with slacks as what you’ll see is plain black.  However, when you’re ready to party, roll up your pants’ cuffs and kick off your shoes and the socks become “party”. 

(2) For the Friends of Cabin Cove group on Ravelry, click here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cowboy Sweater

I've decided to knit a sweater from Knit O Graf for my grandson.  He lives in Calgary, home of the Calgary Stampede.  I think he needs a cowboy sweater, so I chose this one:

It's a cute pattern, one that I've wanted to make, but I didn't have a little boy to knit for before now.  I've decided to make a couple of changes, however.  I'm not sure that I like the bright yellow, so it will be beige instead.  I can always rip back and change it if the beige doesn't work out. 

If you look along the edging of the brown sections (omitting the horse), you see some red "piping".  I might make it in the yellow color, but I'm not sure yet.  I like the bright red of the cowboy as he jumps out at you.  When I think of Calgary, I think of things like the Calgary Flames hockey team and the Canadian flag and the color red comes immediately to my mind.

I ordered the yarn from Wool-Tyme, using Sandnes Lanett again, which I used in the Smurf sweater.  I like the color range, quality and the fact that it can be machine washed.  Great for kids.  These are the colors that I plan to use:
The smallest size on the pattern is 4 years, which means that Braydon may have to wait a while until it fits, unless I make a few adjustments.  I like to make children's sweaters bigger than they currently need so that they will get full use from them.  I'm looking forward to the arrival of the yarn so that I can get started.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Allerleisocken ... und mehr!

Isn't it fun to find blogs with interesting and inspiring knitting projects? 

I've been a reader of Ingrid's blog "allerleisocken ... und mehr!" for a while and she recently posted about an afghan she made using sock yarn - click here.  Many times, when something is made out of sock yarn, it still looks like sock yarn, but hers is done in such a way that it goes beyond the yarn.  I have a lot of sock yarn (a lot), and also a lot of Koigu which would also work.

Of course, when visiting websites, one click leads to another and I found Ulli's Blog, specifically this post from 2009 where you can see her bright and colorful afghan, plus a link to her pattern, here.

I might have to start making the occasional block as this could a good long-term project:  finish a pair of socks, make a square.  It would be a good travel project, too, as it's portable and easy to do.  It also becomes a memory-afghan.

It'll be fun!! - Es wird Spaß machen!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Knit O Graf

Does anyone remember the Knit O Graf patterns?  They were published in the 1950s, and, I think, also in the 1960s.  I really these old patterns and they are part of the reason that I grew to love intarsia knitting . 

I made several of the designs for my daughter and her friends when they were little:  Humpty Dumpty, Train,  Ducks and Clowns among them.  It was fun, and the kids loved them. 

One of the things that I really liked about these particular patterns was the fact that the knitting graph was life-size.  You could lay your knitting on top of it to be sure that your sweater was the same size as the one in the pattern.   It was also nice to have the intarsia graph so large.  Nowadays, I'd take it to a copy place and have it enlarged, but I don't remember that being an option "way back when".

I treasure these old patterns and wouldn't part with them for the world.  I won't make copies for anyone, but I have seen some of them on eBay.  I have an address for the company, if you're interested, but I have no idea if it's a good one as it's on the back of the catalog (above), which is probably 40 years old:  Knit-O-Graf Pattern Co., 958 Redwood Drive, Apple Valley, MN 55124.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random Bits

Just a few random notes today:

Here's the link for those of you who wanted to buy the lion puppet pattern: Audrey's Knits. The pattern contains directions for making 4 different puppets.

Enjoying a beverage!

I'm currently working on two projects that are predominantly black. 

The second Mullet sock is on the home stretch and should be finished in a couple of days.  It's all in black from here on until I get almost to the toe.  There is a brand new Ravelry group, click here, in support of Cabin Cove's yarn.  You're invited to join us.

And, currently at the top of my queue is my Bohus, The Large Lace Collar pullover (second row of photos, left side).  The multi-colored yoke is finished and it's all black knitting all the time from here to the end.  I'll be ready for plenty of color after these two projects.

There will be more FOs before long!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sticky Fingers

If you're in Canada (and some other places, too), then you know why I'm posting this picture. 


Tomorrow, back to knitting...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring in Germany

I miss Germany:  the people, the countryside, the food, the traditions, and more.  Usually, when you say the work "homesick", you're talking about your hometown.  I also include the city of Lahr im Schwarzwald which was my home for 8 years (1973-77 and 1988-1992).  I find it hard to believe that it's been 19 years since I've been in Lahr. 

The Stork Tower (Storchentum) on the Marktplatz and the remains of the city wall.

Old City Hall (Rathaus) in Lahr.
One of the times of year that I miss Lahr the most is leading up to Easter. New Orleans has its Mardi Gras, Rio de Janiero has its Carnival, and Germany has Fasching and I would love to be in Lahr to see a parade.  The masks (often made out of wood) and costumes, each representing a nearby town or village are amazing.  You don't want to wear a hat or one of the characters in the parade might take it and make you chase him down the street to retrieve it.  It's all in good fun, no matter what your age.

Then comes Easter, a time for flowers and tiny wooden ornaments hung from a forsythia branch, with it's little yellow flowers, placed in a pretty vase.  There are so many cute ones that it's hard to choose which ones to buy.  This little wooden rabbit is about 2" in height:

 I've made a decision that returning to Germany is something that I must do.  I don't know when, it might be a couple of years, but I'm going to start planning.  Planning is part of the fun, afterall.  I'm looking forward to seeing my friend, Rosa, walking on cobblestones, driving through the Black Forest and seeing the Rhine, visiting the Stadtpark (City Park), going to nearby towns, seeing castles, sitting at an outdoor cafe, etc. etc. etc.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Am Knitter, Hear Me Roar

Braydon's hand puppet is finished and my test-knitting notes have been emailed to the designer.  It's a good pattern and was a fun, whimsical knitting project.  What an awful picture, below.  Trying to take a picture of a puppet which is on your hand is almost impossible, for me, at least.  I laid the puppet down and took this picture, but you can't see its lower jaw.  This one will do until I can take a better one in a few days. 

Since adding this picture I realize that I forgot the whiskers.
I'll add them for the next, hopefully better, photo.


  1 ball of Plymouth Encore DK, color 1382 - yellow
1 ball of Sirdar Foxy, color 0430 - sable (now discontinued)
1 ball of Lion Brand Fun Fur, color: 124 - champagne
Length of black DK for embroidery
** See note, below.

Needles:  U.S. #4/3.5mm

Pattern:  Contact Audrey knits.  I'll post the details when I know them.

Notes:  (1) ** Fun Fur and Foxy are pretty-much identical/interchangeable.  Two shades were used for depth of color, but you could use two strands of one color, thus saving the cost of a second ball of novelty yarn.  On Saturday, 3/5/11, Fun Fur was on sale at Joann's for $2.50/ball.  This is the same yarn that's used for the beards of Alan Dart's gnomes, by the way.  I picked up a pretty copper color in order to make an Irish leprechaun from the gnome pattern someday, if I ever get caught up!

(2) As Braydon is just over a year old I embroidered the eyes rather than sewing on buttons.  The buttons would have been much easier since they already look alike.  I did the eyes a couple of times in order to try to make them match as closely as possible.  I would have preferred to make the eyes and nose dark brown, but couldn't find that color in my stash, so black it is!

(3)  The pattern includes designs for a dog, dinosaur and a rabbit along with the lion.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Knitting The Lion's Mane

This weekend I am test-knitting a lion hand puppet for Audrey Knits.  So far I'm finding the pattern directions to be very clear, plus all the photographs help a knitter to know exactly what they are to do.

As with so many things in life, there is more than one way to accomplish something.  I'm finding this to be true when it comes to knitting the lion's mane, holding two strands of novelty yarn together.  The pattern directs you to work in stocking stitch.  This results in the long eyelashes of the yarn to be on the inside of the puppet.  Then, when finished, you carefully brush the mane to bring them to the outside.  As you can see in this picture, it's a successful way to accomplish a full and fluffy lion's mane.  ( cute!)

Audrey's Lion
I decided to try a different method and it worked, too.  I finished knitting the yellow cuff and knit the first row of the mane, as in the pattern, with the right side facing.  Again, it means that the long eyelashes were on the inside, but for one row, it's okay.  I did this because I wanted this row of two-colored stitches (yellow plus the eyelash) to be on the inside.  Then, instead of continuing in stocking stitch, I switched to reverse stocking stitch, starting with a knit row on the reverse side.  What this did was to make the long hairs lie on the outside of the puppet.

Confusing?  It really isn't difficult.  I just changed from stocking stitch to reverse stocking stitch.  As you can see, I won't need to brush the yarn to bring the strands to the outside.  They are already there.  The mane is really thick, hopefully not too thick, and I think it's going to be fine. 

Next up was the short row shaping for the jaw.  If you ever want to reinforce your short row knitting skills to the point where you can do them mindlessly, make a Lizard Ridge afghan.  I made one full afghan (Ravelry link) and 3/4 of a second one.  By then, I decided to move on to other projects and gave away the squares to a friend who is going to finish it up for herself.  I'm looking forward to seeing it. 

I've had some enquiries about where to get the pattern and I'll post a link when Audrey gives me the details. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Evening Sky

I moved to Colorado in 1998 and I love this place for many reasons.  One of them is the beautiful sunsets that you often see in the western sky. 

To quote Led Zeppelin in the song Stairway to Heaven, "there's a feeling I get when I look to the west...."  ♪ ♫

These pictures show the sky, exactly how it looked last Monday night around 6:00 pm.  The only change I made was to open them in Photoshop to reduce the resolution to post them here.

I thought that the S-shaped  cloud formation was interesting, so I zoomed in on it::