Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Dec 28, 2009

Kate Jackson Earflap Hat

Picked up this pattern at RiverWools just before Christmas-thought it would be a fun quick knit and I was right. I cast on the first on Christmas Day and finished the second last night. Got to use my favorite yarn - Noro. Each took less than one skein of Kochoran and Iro.

Hat No. 1 in scrumptious soft Kochoran (wool, angora, silk), Color 18.

Below is Hat No. 2 in Iro (wool, silk) Color 61:

Here's a close-up of the cluster stitches on the brim, stitch definition better in the Iro.

The thing I love about this hat, besides the fast knit-up with Noro, is the whimsy potential, most available with the Iro hat. You can wear it with the crown looking like, well, a crown.
But if you don't feel particularly queenly one day, scrunch it down to wear it close to your head.

And if it's not queenly enough for you, save your pennies and try to get one of Xenobia Bailey's fabulous funky urban crochet crown hats!  I absolutely covet this one in her etsy shop.

Kate Jackson's Earflap Hat pattern is available on Ravelry here.  Or in February, you can take a class at Riverwools, featuring this pattern.

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Dec 25, 2009

Happy Christmas!

I woke up thinking of this classic John & Yoko song. So happy to find this one on YouTube.

Here is the Nativity scene that Sophia & built up over Advent, just the way my children and I used to.  The first week is stones & crystals, the second plants, the third animals, the fourth, people.
It meant a lot to me this year to have Sophia participate in Advent rituals with me.

And Raven came over on Solstice to help me create the small but meaningful celebration that night, which included putting up the little tree (which I didn't think I was going to do this year.)

Sweetness all around - only a bit was from the chocolate-cherry brownies.

This morning I finished a long-on-the-needles pair of socks. YAY!

That's Opal in my basic pattern for self-striping sock yarn. As usual, I've done cuff-tops, heels and toes in solid color. This time, orange heels and purple toes, cuffs.

Aestlight is coming along nicely, though I did have to run into RiverWools for moral support when I had to rip back not long after starting the Birdseye Lace part.  And I am still determined that this not be yet another UFO! 

Bright blessings of the season to all!!

Dec 16, 2009

Contraption: Swift & Ball Winder

As I was winding some lovely hand-dyed cotton the other day, I thought (as I often do) how glad I am to have a swift & ball winder at the ready when I need them.  It wasn't always so...

For years, I worked with a chair back and laboriously wound round balls of yarn by hand.  This was often frustrating and always slow.  I then got a ball winder and that was a huge improvement, especially because I love the resulting center-pull "cake" of yarn that results. Still, it was often frustrating without a swift.  (As for the heartwarming pictures of family members cheerfully willing to hold up  hands wrapped with yarn at just the right tension for winding off....well, let's just say not pictures from my household!)

I then found a cute little Swedish swift for $10 at a thrift shop. More improvement, though I had no permanent set-up for the tools because there just wasn't the space.  And, as often as not, the place I'd set up previously would be cluttered and unusable unless I took the time to declutter, make space. Then I'd still have to set up the swift and ball winder in just the right proximity and angle.  And the swift, cute as it was, was tiny and rickety.

Finally, I bought a nice sturdy big swift and set myself to figuring out how to create a place where it and the ball winder could be permanently set up, where I wouldn't have to do ten other things before I could wind a ball of yarn.

The result of my pondering is this contraption:

It's two plastic file crates, stacked together and upside-down with a modular cube unit tied and bungee-corded to the top.  The footprint is 13" X 16", more of course when you have the swift in operation.

Now I've also made the contraption do double-duty as a place to hang things from (the stocking full of rubber balls is for felting, though my granddaughter just doesn't understand and wistfully pokes at the Sponge Bob ball every time she comes over.)

I'm sure something could be made with all modular cube-type units, but the plastic crates make it very lightweight and easy to move out so there's room for the swift to unfold, then push it back out of the way.

The one-shelf cube is open on front, back and bottom and turned on its side. It's got useful storage space and I am using it for plastic bags.

And there you go.  It's not pretty, (but I'm sure it could be if I wanted to go there) and it's so functional it makes me want to blog about it.

Dec 6, 2009

Another UFO Transformation - Neck Warmer

This bit of knitting started out to be an experiment with two different Silk Garden colorways - one was that unusual off-white/beige colorway.  I was using a fairly small needle for SG and it looks like I was alternating colors every 2 rows.  I think I thought it would be a scarf, but it became fairly tedious fairly quickly because I didn't really care for the color combination.  I bound it off and consigned it to my Bits 'n' Pieces pile.

In my current urge to turn UFOs into something useful if they don't want to be what they started out to be, I paired this with another object that didn't quite work as I'd hoped - a little hammered copper pin I made for my "As Elfen As Ya Wanna Be" hats, which have a little flap that needs to be pinned up to the crown. (I suppose I should post about those hats - the reason I haven't is because it's an original pattern that seemed interesting enough that maybe I'd try to submit it somewhere, and, like poetry, such things aren't supposed to appear on one's blog first.)

Et voila, an interesting little neck warmer that can be scrunched and pinned in any number of ways.

and I discover:
1. I like the colorway, perhaps because it's just a small bit of it, and I love the narrow stripes going this way and that when wrapped around the neck.
2. I have been irrationally prejudiced against the Neck Warmer/Scarflette idea. I have been wearing this one for awhile since I modeled it, and I think it actually makes me feel warmer.

Good to know!

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Dec 1, 2009

Sock Pouches

Here's one UFO completed. A little pouch for my husband to use for a saxophone part.

It didn't start out life as a pouch.
It was supposed to be the first of a pair of magnificent Maze Mosaic Socks. Glorious Shibui yarn.

The reason why it was a UFO is because I had a lot of trouble with the heel and then the striped foot part.  It just didn't want to work for me as written.  I especially didn't like her heel flap instructions. I tried to do my usual heel, but still couldn't grok how to get those lively stripes streaming from it in the gusset.

So I just stopped trying. But couldn't bear to frog it.  When I came across the other day, I just bound it off and sewed it closed for a pouch.

And I love it.  I love the whole idea of making little pouches from glorious sock patterns.  It's a solution for people who love knitting socks, and have been afflicted with Second Sock Syndrome.
If I didn't already have Aestlight on the needles, I might be casting on for another Maze Mosaic...

Pattern in Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
IMPORTANT: Errata for this book here - some extensive errata on the Maze Mosaic pattern, too. I had a print-out at the time, but I'm wondering if some has been added since...

....maybe it wasn't me!!