Friday, September 30, 2011

Pussy Cat Hat and Sundry

Hi!  Five big boxes just came through the door, so I will have to make this a quickie update kind of blog post. 

I have ween working on little bits and bobs projects, nothing very distinct and nothing with new pictures. :-(

I just cast on for a Pussy Cat Hat for my niece, Lucy.  I think little kids are obligated to wear cute hats with ears, it's only fair. Anyway, this one is more of a balaclava, and hopefully it will keep her toasty and all of her adults entertained.  I'm using Dream in Color Classy in the pale pink, Petal Shower.

It is a vintage pattern from an old Beehive booklet, and I think the pattern changed depending on the edition of the book. My version calls for 4.5mm needles and a worsted weight yarn. Regardless, I have of course already started making modifications. the 1x1 ribbing is becoming 2x2 ribbing, and not as wide. Similarly, the neck will be a 2x2 rib, and I'll knit it in the round if possible, rather than flat and seamed. 

I suppose once the hat is done Lucy will get to start her knitwear modeling carreer!  Lucky you, she's pretty cute :-)

1. I pulled my Hourglass Sweater out of storage and lengthened the arms and body.  Lucky for me I knit it from the top-down!  I originally had anticipated the yarn would drape because of the alpaca content, but the Berroco Ultra Alpaca is actually extremely stable. It stretches remarkably in the width and holds it shape, but it does not stretch down in length. If anything, I thing it might have sprung up a little.  

The picture above is the old one, but I don't know if it would make a difference. I'll have to take a new one with the sweater on me, it really looks better with a real, live body inside of it. 

My Evaluation of Berroco Ultra Alpaca:

  • does not drape lengthwise
  • elastic possiblities widthwise
  • good for all kinds of projects that require a yarn with body
  • especially suitable for garments the require zero or negative ease
  • hand wash in Eucalan
  • knit top-down, or cast on provisionally with scrap yarn and finish ribbing/bands/cuffs last.
Look at how much I have written!  I guess I must be procrastinating a bit ... ;-)

As always, you can find us at

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mohair Cowl

I have a finished project to show off in these first days of fall - yay me!  Over the weekend I finished off my Mohair Cowl.  I loved working with the mohair so much I immediately wound up another skein in grey for a new project. Then the weather got warm and I lost my mohair mojo. Now it's raining and I feel the mo-mojo creeping back. 

 I was originally thinking about a capelet with a cowl neck, but now I don't know. I wonder if mohair legwarmers would look strange?  They could be wild, the fuzziness could create a funky furry quality around the ankles.  They may not wear well, though ..... just thinking out loud. ;-)

Anyway, the trinity stitch is beautiful, I love it and it was easy to knit!  I felt the ribbing was too wide and narrowed it a bit because it'll stretch with time. I also knit quite a bit more of the pattern stitch, lengthening the cowl. My modifications are in the project notes on Ravelry.

As always, you can find us at!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shout-Out to Mohair

The aptly named Mohair is Better cowl, in progress.

Hey Mohaiiiiiiiiiiir!

It's been a long time and it's so great to work with you again!  I'm actually really crushin' on you right now. You've gotten a bad reputation as being 'itchy', but I know that you don't need to be like that all the time. I love your fibres Mohair! They're so light and fluffy, and you make my knits so effortlessly airy. You just have so much body, you're like the bouffant of yarns! Plus I love your aura, that hazy halo is just so romantic. And you're practical too - I can knit you up fast and on big needles, and you're very affordable date. And then there's that weird but cool thing you do where your yardage seems to stretch twice as far as other yarns. 

I bumped into you in H&M yesterday, and I'm totally going to knit up the scarf I saw you in. By the way, I know you weren't looking your best - they mixed you with a LOT of acrylic, but I can see through it. 

 Yay Mohair! I'm so glad you're back! 

Clearly I'm really enjoying you in my Mohair is Better cowl. It's really easy, just a trinity stitch (worked wrong side out) sandwiched between 2 beds 1x1 ribbing. But I feel that the pattern could use some shaping (the ribbing is going to stretch out), so I jotted down my proposed modifications in my Ravelry project notes. 

I am using Kid Luxe (78% Kid Mohair, 13% Wool, 9% Nylon) in colour 501013 (close to Pantone's Deep Teal). It's a distributor brand yarn, so it's kind of like a store brand product at the super market - it's a great product and they keep the price down by not spending a ton of money on branding, marketing and advertising. At eight bucks a skein I'm smiling.  :-)

Addenda Sept. 16, 2011
Knittingdaily published a little article today about knitting with mohair!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Holiday

How I Spent My Summer Holiday
by Haley Waxberg

Most of my summer was spent here, with you, but for one fleeting week I escaped and ran away to California.  I went to visit friends who live in Oakland, and celebrate my friend Richard`s 40th birthday.  The party was awesome, I have no photos - I`m sure you understand, they would be incriminate any number of people. 

Above is my gift to Richard, a little installation in his yard.  You can see all of the pictures HERE. It's made of the same flowers I used for the Bicycle.  I think Rich liked it. 

We took a road trip up to Monterey to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, you can see me above with my new friend Mr. Seahorse.  The aquarium has some amazing exhibits including seahorses, jelly fish, and a kelp forest.  I got to pet a Ray too - it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be, it was slimy, cold and indifferent. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that a fish would be slimy and cold. Somewhere in the back of my mind I must have been expecting it to be like other petting zoos with docile, wide eyed animals eager to make your acquaintance for the price of a little feed. 

After the Aquarium closed we took a stroll up the "boardwalk" on Cannery Row. It's not a real boardwalk, just highly polished kitsch, but entertainment was there if you looked closely. While on the hunt for an awesomely tacky fridge magnet, I came across something even better ... kitsch-wear. Above I model the Burger Hat. It was so awesome it had to come home. Maybe I'll try and render it as a knit pattern?

And here's the runner up, Mr. Krabs!  He also made it back to Canada. As an aside, this beanie is really, really comfy. 

The sea life and the kitsch were awesome, but the best part of this road trip was the drive. We took two cars up, and I was in the girls car (named as such because it was only Jessica and me - 2 girls, one car). Almost as soon as the engine turned over I started rooting through the box of CDs, which was full of I don't know what, when I came across a hand written CD titled Amy's Answering Machine.  Me-  "WHAT is Amy's Answering Machine?" Jessica - "Oh my God! You've *never* heard  Amy's Answering Machine?!" OMG, it's roll on the ground, snarf your latte funny! (listen to some of it yourself).  It's the answering machine messages left by a neurotic mother for her only daughter. And by neurotic, I mean  she makes Woody Allen look like a dilettante. Jessica and I spent the next two hours listening to the disc over and over and over, trying to figure out who these people where, where they were from, and if it real?  In the end, we decided that we wanted it to be real, so it is. 

The next day (or maybe the day before?) we went to Berkeley. Above is some Yarn Bombing I came across. No, it is not as exciting as Amy's Answering Machine. Nothing is as fabulous as Amy's Answering Machine.

Here's my knitting listening to Big Audio Dynamite on the first day of the Outside Lands music festival in Panhandle Park in San Francisco. My knitting had lots of fun there. I had to figure out how to do a tubular cast-on in the middle of a field, without internet or books. I'm very impressed with the amount of knowledge crammed up in the corners of my brain, I didn't even know it was all up there. 

In the end, I had an awesome time and will be going back to California some time when the weather sucks here.  :-)

As always, you can find me at!

Friday, September 09, 2011

New FREE Boboli Cowl Patterns

Brand spankin' new from us, 2 patterns for simple, easy, elegant cowls using Berroco Boboli, a new yarn for Fall 2011. The yarn is beautiful, prismatic, and does most of the work for you. The rest of the pattern is in the beginner skill spectrum. It's also a non-thinker, a great project for those times when brain no work good. And of course, both patterns are Free!

This sweet little thing is the Boboli Cowl Worsted Version. It's a beautiful weight for fall, moving into  winter, and early spring. It's a straightforward knit and made with 2 skeins of Boboli and 4.5mm circular needles. The yarn knits quickly, and you'll be done before you know it! I made this version second and had no idea I would love it's delicate drape so much!

Here's the Boboli Cowl Bulky Version.  It's made on larger, 7mm needles, holding 2 strands together. Besides creating  a faster knit, it's also a thicker fabric, perfect for when the weather starts getting chill and carrying you into real winter.  It also has more body than the worsted version, and the colour takes on a tweedy quality that transcends the yarn's inherent variegation.

By the way, don't forget to follow the instructions and block your cowl in a bath of white vinegar and Eucalan - it softens up beautifully!

As always, you can find us at!