Thursday, November 30, 2006

This 'n That

Happiness is a hamster...

Happiness is no more jaw pain. I got my mouth guard from the dentist last Friday. We have begun a wonderful new friendship. I posed it on the yarn, well, because how attractive can a mouth appliance be? show it that I have no hard feelings that it cost me more yarn money than I even want to think about.

Happiness is a new project.

Okay, that's not happy. I bought this pattern for the Karabella Bramble Stitch Jacket a few years ago. I've been wanting to make it for all that time. Some lovely Berroco Touche came along, and I thought spring, not winter. Something sporty and cottony, not wool.

I HATE this pattern! How was I supposed to know two years ago that "brambles" were actually little lumpy bobble things? I mean, crap! How much fun is it to knit/purl/knit in one stitch and then purl 3 together over and over and over again. I had a headache after four small rows at the cuff of a sleeve. It doesn't even look all that great. Am I going to wear these lumpy little things all over my torso?? I am not. I hated knitting even the four rows it took to reach the decision that I was never ever going to work anything in bramble stitch. Maybe I could do it in seed stitch instead, but sheesh! Does anyone want the pattern??

The yarn is so delightfully soft (decadently soft), and it seems to like wide ribs just fine. And so do I. Now I have a job to do. I want to make a pullover like one I saw in a store last week. I would have bought the one in the store, but it went almost to my knees. No thanks. The pullover was done in six by two ribs and has a deep opening at the neck for the t-shirt to show. It had a hood too. I have quite a bit of the touche, but going to have to see if the front works the way I want -- and if there is enough for a hood. I'm on an orange kick this year.

Happiness is new snips 'n skeins from Elann. These are Elann's December Tuesday yarns. I like 'em all. Look out Visa! They are Mr Joe Blanket (Mr Joe is back in town); Classic Elite Skye Tweed; Classic Elite Beatrice (very soft!), and Diamond Desire (silk and cashmere DK, does it get any better than that??)

These are a bunch of my sample skeins from the last three or four months. I was thinking of making hats with a basic yarn, leftovers from my stash most likely, and working in the like-minded colours as accents. I can see about three hats here. Curious to see how it works out.

I was excited to hear that HUGe has penetrated Canada customs. Can mine be far behind??

HUGe Groups 1 and 2

If you are in HUGe groups one and two, then you got a drop necklace or 2 pairs of earrings. Can't remember which group got what. I thought I had taken a better picture of the earrings, but apparently not. If you can figure out who got earrings that match your necklace, maybe you can set up a prisoner exchange, ha ha ha.


I'm still waiting for HUGe to come...sigh...feeling lonely and unwanted. sniff.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Still Basking in That Pamir Glow

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on the Pamir sweater. I really did have a good time working out the details. You should have seen my first attempt at the sleeve cap! :)

People have commented on how well the stripes line up. It's not hard to do at all. I'll give some details about how to do that when I post the pattern. The neckline is a smooth V -- it looks notched because of the t-shirt I'm wearing underneath. This smooth V (without any bulky seeds or ribs) is one of my faves. I use it on lots of sweaters, even when they don't call for it. I'll describe how to do that too.

As to when all this information will arrive...soonish, I hope. Pattern writing is BORING.

I did indeed wear the sweater with pride last night when Doug and I went out to Bond. And as for Bond...I read all the original Bond books before I saw many of the movies and was always disappointed that none of the Bonds quite captured the original Bond (half monk/half thug). They were far too suave and not nearly tough enough. Sean Connery was always my favorite because he wore it well. Timothy Dalton caught it better than the others but didn't last. Now I finally have a Bond that fits the picture. Daniel Craig's bond is as tough and elastic as a wild cat, as thug as the job requires, and just a wee bit tormented. I loved it!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pamir Unplugged

Unblocked too!

Just finished this today. I am so pleased with it -- I designed it myself!

I used ten balls of's Pamir (4 purple, 3 light blue, 2 charcoal, 1 morrocan/dark blue). and size 6mm needles. Want me to post the pattern?? I took lots of notes. Dying to make a second one, plain this time, in the deep red (Kirsch).

The sweater feels great over a long-sleeved t-shirt. Very light and warm. I put it on for photos, and I refuse to take it off even though it needs a rinse and blocking. Doug and I are going out to James Bond tonight, and that sweater is staying ON! Honey, it's COLD out there.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Winter Wonderland

Enjoy it while it lasts...

I've noticed two interesting responses to my snow pictures. People either long for snow, or they are relieved not to have to deal with it anymore. Trish expressed disappointment to my news that this does not happen very much around here. For those of you unfamiliar with the Vancouver area, here are a few thoughts.

In winter, our temperatures might get close to freezing, but rarely dip below freezing, and then it's just below and doesn't last for very long. We might get one or two snowfalls in a season, or a few more, but the snow usually melts quickly or gets rained away. We rarely get more than an inch or so, and it can disappear the same day it arrives. Snow usually turns into rain. I have experienced far more wet/green Christmases than white ones. A truly white Christmas is very rare indeed. I have gone outside on Christmas day in a t-shirt and light jacket on occasion. Many people go golfing.

Northern British Columbia gets more snow, and the ski mountains get snow that can last all season. Last year I remember only two brief snowfalls that lasted less than a day. The snow we got yesterday broke a record from fifty years ago for this time of the year (November). The other unusual thing is that it has frozen onto everything. It snowed yesterday, and everything is STILL white. The temps are going to be very cold for us (-5 to -12 Celsius) for the next three days. That will mean lots of broken trees and branches, lots of driving mishaps, and lots of power outs.

I can see the park in the above two pictures from my family room window. The field is normally green and grassy all year round. People play soccer on the field all through the winter.

Many people don't like to drive in the snow because our streets are so hilly and slippery. A slush layer can form on top of, or underneath the ice. I drove all over the place today because no one was about. I even went to my chiropractor about half an hour away. His office had no power, so he treated me by candlelight.

That is the mailbox on our cul-de-sac. My HUGe box did not arrive today. Sigh...

Many Canadians move to Vancouver to get away from the snow. We have some of the mildest winter weather in Canada. Most Vancouverites are quite happy to see the snow go away.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Look what we woke up to!

Friday, November 24, 2006


The weather has been depressing. The weather has been so depressing that there is an acronym for it: SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It is a kind of depression that is brought on by a lack of sunlight due to winter and/or poor weather conditions. We have had one steady deluge since the beginning of November.

I do not suffer from SAD. I have my own affective disorder, and it is not seasonal. For me, it is a year-round kind of thing. The weather doesn't help, but I can live with it. What tends to get me down is when life feels overwhelming, and I just don't have the "gas" in my tank to deal with it. My body packs it in very easily at such times -- just goes on strike and refuses to cooperate. Then it's best to pull in all my drawbridges and wait to weather out the storm.

My jaw is easing up. Two weeks of doing essentially nothing has given my body the break it needed to begin to make repairs. I feel like I have shrunk down to about 10% of my normal size, but I am on my feet again. If wobbly.

I saw my therapist today. She has retracted her earlier injunction against knitting now that I have slowed down to pay attention again. Naturally she will be thrilled if I knit her a little something for Christmas. I checked. She wants a hat.

It was sunny for about five minutes when I came out. I was already dressed and out of the house, so I decided to head downtown to Urban Yarns. I have hardly bought any yarn lately, and I figured I was due. Something cheerful.

Is this not the cheerfulest thing ever??

I bought two balls of Katia Mexico in bright/funky colourways. For hats.

I also bought one skein of Fleece Artist Merino Sock Yarn. Theirs is sooooo nice. Again with the cheerful colour mix. It's called Pinata. These will probably be for me :)

And this one is for pure animal comfort. It's Drops pure alpaca in an exquisite green heather. Sport weight, and a good value at 180 yds per 50 gram ball. Something lacy, I'm thinking.

Slow-motion knitting continues. I finished the first boot sock and started on the second one. People have encouraged me to get off the DPN's, but I don't mind them. They make me clench my jaw because I put more tension on the yarn when I'm knitting socks. I have to un-learn the clenching part. I really can't stand circular needles and only use them when I have no choice. Sock #1 is super comfortable, so I cast on #2 before I could get distracted.

I'm working my way up the front of the second piece of the Pamir sweater. Someone wanted to know what pattern it is. It is my pattern. I'm making it up as I go along. If you like it when it's done, I'll post the pattern on the blog.

I heard a rumour that SOME people are already receiving their HUGe boxes. Can't wait!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

See-Jayne-Knit in Slo-Mo

OK, I'm blogging, but what I really want to do is complain. I want to whynge, whimper, whine, roll around on the floor and moan. I have this tiny little jaw issue called TMJ. I'm sure that some of you have just clapped your hand to the side of your face and let out a little mew of sympathy. You know what I'm talking about.

I don't think that I have ever been so thoroughly disabled by such a small part of my anatomy. I've fallen on my tail bone. I've had root canal. I've given birth. But all those things healed faster than this (and hurt less). I've got some chronic things that I've lugged around for years and years, but they come and go. This thing comes and brings a beer fridge.

The bottom line is that I've done a lot of jaw management and very little knitting over the last two weeks. OK, Doug got a hat. That was last week. This week I've done about three quarters of a sock. See?

The yarn is Phildar Legende, a sweet little blend of wool, acrylic and alpaca in a DK weight. It's soft and tweedy and of comfort to my fingers (they want to knit). I'm making a pair of boot socks.

I'm supposed to notice whenever I clench my jaw. Turns out, I clench my jaw when I knit on DPN's. So the sock is a lesson in self-awareness. I knit a few rows, work on relaxing my jaw, and repeat. After about an inch I put it down and go back and lay on the heat pack.

The other project I've had on needles for several weeks is this Pamir sweater. I started one version of this a month or so ago, but I've frogged that. I'm making it up as I go along, and that other one wasn't going along the way I wanted. I like the way this one is going though. This is the back.

The great thing about Pamir is that it is dead easy to spit-splice tails together. All those stripes, and no tails to weave in later...nice...

I've started the front. It's going to have a v-neck. The sleeves will have larger solid colour blocks and a few stripes just to connect to the front and back a bit.

The Pamir is nice to knit. Soft and comfy in the hands and very little clenching. :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Manly Hat

The man's office.

Doesn't every man need a shrine to The Incredibles in his office?

The man in his hat

How I made the man's hat

My man has a big head (24"), and he likes those ribbed watchman style caps that hug the head. I used a free Bernat pattern. It's probably still available on their website. The hat is knit flat in mostly K2 P2 ribbing, with a bit of shaping up at the top and then sewn down the one seam.

I made this hat for him in Bernat DenimStyle a few years ago, and it was his favorite, but it has gone ratty and pilly since. The new hat is made with's Super Tweed.

Yarn: Nearly two balls of Super Tweed (Nutmeg)
Needles: 5 1/2mm
Gauge: 16 st = 4"

I cast on 82 stitches and worked in K2P2 for 10 1/2" before the last bit of shaping. He gets about 2" of cuff to turn up. This hat stretches a lot and would fit heads from 22" to 24"

It even fit my 21" head, but I had to turn up about five" (fatter head = less cuff).

I really enjoyed knitting with the Super Tweed. It is very comfy on the hands, soft like a ragg wool. The cotton/wool/acrylic mix makes for a comfortable, warm and non-itchy hat. The little bit of elastic will help it hold its shape.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'd Rather be...

Well...back in Tofino actually. It was sunny and quite warm for two of the days we were there.

The weather here at home is pissy. No...worse than pissy. It is windy and pouring rain. It has been windy and pouring rain for five days now. Parts of the city are flooding. It feels like one of the plagues of Egypt. And while I'm complaining, I'll add that very little knitting has been done around here the last few days on account of my shoulder and neck. It's an old pain in the...(well you get the idea) for which I see a chiro and a massage therapist nearly weekly. Some weeks I can ignore it and some weeks I can't. Today is so bad that it is throbbing right up into my jaw. Between that and the rain, I'm not a very happy camper.

I'd rather think about happier days last week. Was it only a week ago?? This is the house where we stayed. If you squint a bit, you can see it hiding behind those trees. We had the entire lower floor. In the first picture, I'm relaxing out front on the wooden deck.

Doug chose to relax in the sun room extension of our suite. Can you see the title of the book he's reading? I thought this was an odd way to relax and mentioned that to him. I might have been laughing (at him) when I did so.

We didn't even need jackets on the third day.

The third day was very very calm compared to the stormy first day. On the middle day, we climbed up the rocks on that far end of the beach and watched the waves. They were still pretty whipped up from the storm the day before.

Yesterday, I got my first white box from Elann in over a month! Aren't I good? I have to say that I was very excited to receive it. Doug went out to get the mail, and came back into the house shouting: "White Box!!" Music to my ears...

Nobody packs a box like the folks at Elann. That green stuff is the Cedar Baby Cashmere for R's prayer shawl. I didn't post a better picture of it this time because it looked blueish in the pix. It is a true green (not blue), but likes to fake out the camera.

It's a ball...
It's a skein...
It's Super Tweed!

Elann's Super Tweed is super springy...super cushy...super pretty!

I just got the two balls each of my four favorite colours and still can't decide which colour I want a sweater in. Doug's getting a ribbed toque in the brown mix.

Well, maybe I'll pretend that I'm not aching and knit a few more rows on Doug's toque.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Little Miss Frugal Strikes Again

How to put leather soles on your felted slippers for super cheap.

Step 1: Go to thrift store and buy suede leather jacket(s) in colour of choice for as cheap as you can find. My favorite thrift store had a half price sale on today. So I paid 3.50 for the jacket. I think I can get at least six sets of soles out of it.

Step 2: Buy rotating leather punch tool (thanks T, great idea!!). This is a Tandy Leather punch I bought at Wal-Mart for 10 bucks.

Step 3: Make bottom of slipper pattern, trace and cut out. Punch!

Step 4: Sew sole on bottom of slipper and feel extremely proud of self.

Step 5: Repeat for other slipper. Dance around in slippers. Maybe drink some champagne. You can afford it!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Court Jesters of Hats

H took over the hat from yesterday. Claimed it as her own this morning by putting it on her head and refusing to take it off. She's been wearing it all day. C wanted one in "manly" colours. So...the three of us came up with this colour sequence. Now C has a hat on his head that he refuses to take off.

I made C's using the pattern I posted yesterday. I knit the main hat for 6" before shaping the crown.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I'm The Queen of Hats!

Who knew?

Okay, maybe I'm not the Queen of Hats, but if you play along, you can have a free hat pattern. Some Elannites have been asking about hats, so here are my humble offerings.

Not that I've actually made all that many hats...but I do have a few favorite patterns. Doug's hat is a simple ribbed hat knit flat on 5mm needles with Bernat Denim Style yarn. The hat pattern was free on the ball band of the yarn. He loves this hat and wears it all the time. I'm going to make him a new one exactly the same with Elann's new Super Tweed. I'm expecting my box on Tuesday.

My hat in the above photo is one that I cobbled together on my own. I wear it all the time. Here are various incarnations of it.

This is the hat I'm wearing in the photo. It was knit in the round and has a garter stitched band and stripes with some garter stitch bits thrown in from time to time.

This is the exact same pattern for a hat knit in the round, done with the garter stitch band, but no garter stitched details in the stripes.

This is the hat with ear-flaps. ear flap because I wanted to be able to show the plain side too. I'll add the other flap...later.

If you're an observant knitter, you'll notice that the ear-flap side is the "bad side" because that's where the round joins and the stripes go a bit wonky. I do my best when weaving in tails to even things up, but there's always a bit of flotz. No problem if you don't stripe. You can always put the wonk at the back, but I like to center an ear-flap over that part. Tends to distract the eye away from it IMO. Or you can be super anal and figure out a way to keep the overlapped bits from showing.

When I knit the hat without flaps, I wear the seam at the back.

This is Doug in the hat to show you that on his fat-head (I have permission to say this), it is kind of a beanie. My kids and I have the same size head. Doug has a super-sized head. You'll want to consider these things if you make this hat using my pattern.

Same hat having a shot by itself. I like bright colourful striped hats. Especially on kids. But the hat can be made plain or with different stripes or whatever turns your crank. I was thinking of making the iCord on the other side blue or charcoal.

If you want to make this hat in any of its is a FREE recipe, courtesy of me. I'm such a nice person!

*Take note: I am telling you how I made MY hat. You will have to decide how wide and deep and all that you want your hat to be.

Matt's Hat (I call it this because I made an ear-flaps version for my 13-yr-old nephew Matt last Christmas, and apparently he did not take it off all winter). I made Matt's hat about 6" long before shaping the crown and it came down right to his eyes. Teenagers sometimes like that kind of thing.

I used: Red Heart Cozy Wool in a bunch of great colours. 16" circular needle (6mm/US 10); set of 4 6mm DPN's
Gauge: 14 st = 4" on 6mm needles in SS

Cast on 64 stitches on the 16" circular, PM, join in round and knit a garter stitch band (beginning by purling the first row). Do I need to mention that you get garter stitch in the round by alternating knit/purl rows?? I begin with purl and knit 1 1/2 - 2" of garter (5 ridges on my hat), ending after a knit row.

Then I knit another 3 3/4 of main body of hat (total of 5 1/2" from the beginning, or longer if you want) before shaping the crown.

I shape the crown by placing markers every 8 stitches (total of 8 sections) and knitting 2 together (the last 2 stitches before the marker) every other row (plain knitting between) until I have 8 stitches left. I cut the yarn, thread on a needle and pick up the remaining 8 loops purl-wise off the DPN's, pull snug and fasten on the inside of the hat. You can use the yarn tail to fasten on a pom-pom, if you MUST have one.

The stripe pattern on my hat is:
White for the band / earflaps
2 rows charcoal
3 rows sage
1 row white
2 rows sage
1 row white
5 rows red
1 row white
1 row red
1 row white
3 rows blue (I began decreases on the second blue row)
1 row white
2 rows blue
1 row white
remainder: orange

Earflaps: hold hat with brim up and crown down, with RS facing you. Count 8 stitches from the center seam to the right. P/U and knit 15 st. from that point. Knit three rows in garter.

On 4th row (RS) K1, ssk, knit to last three st. K2tog, K1
Next row: knit

Repeat two rows until 3 st. remain. Use the 3 st to carry on in iCord for 12-14" or whatever length you like. I sometimes change colour for the iCord, as I did in red here. When the iCord is long enough, I draw the the yarn through the 3 live stitches on the end and draw it up through the cord to hide it. Then I tie a knot with the bottom inch of two of the iCord. Some people make pom-poms for the ends, or a fringe, or whatever. Some people eat cars.

You repeat the flap on the other side by folding the hat neatly in half and line up the other flap to match. Very scientific. Some people count to make it perfect.

Have fun!!

One more hat 'cuz blogless-B specifically asked for it.

This is a hat I made with Bernat Camoflage yarn (I like camo enough to make it with acrylic if that's all that's availabe). I made it using the exact same method from this free pattern:

As you can see, the hat is made by knitting two hats together and then punching one into the other. It is completely reversible. I never wear that noisy half showing. I don't like it. But I do like the more camo type camo.

Elann's free pattern for "Harlequin Hat" tells you how to do the provisional cast on so that you can knit one hat going one way, and then pick up the bottom stitches and knit the other hat going the other way. Cool eh? Makes for a nice warm hat. Elann's pattern is knit in sock yarn. I made mine with worsted/aran weight on 5mm needles.

I cast on 84 stitches, worked for 6 inches before shaping the brim, and then decreased for the brim over 7 sets of 12 stitches.