Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Yarn Trivia and Art

It's been a long week at work and home. My house is still trashed with items I brought back from my grandmother's house last weekend. Bags and bags, Boxes and Boxes of fabric, lace and assorted sewing items. 35 porcelain dolls she and my grandfather made and lottsa roosters and chickens she collected. I'll share photo's another time.

I saw an article on Yahoo about scientists uncovering da Vinci's painting techniques and one of the paintings Maddona of the Yarnwinder. Now how cool is that? Of course I had to find a picture of this painting to show you.

Here's Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna of the Yarnwinder

from wikipedia -
The Madonna of the Yarnwinder (c. 1501) is the subject of several oil paintings after a lost original by Leonardo da Vinci. They depict the Virgin Mary with the Christ child, who looks longingly at a yarnwinder which the Virgin is using to spin some yarn. The yarnwinder serves as a symbol both of the Mary's domesticity and the Cross on which Christ was crucified and may also suggest the Fates, understood in classical mythology as spinners.

I hope to blog again some time this weekend as I do have a lot more to share.

Have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend for my friends in the US.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mom's Chemo Shawl (Stora Dimun)

Yes I started yet another shawl but there's a really good reason ... yeah, like I need one ;-)

When I was visiting my mom in Seattle she asked if I would make her a shawl that she could wrap around her to keep warm while getting her chemo treatment, and of course I said yes. She then went on to describe how she'd like it to look and sketched the shape. Basically a triangle with rounded corners and pockets. The color would be a sage green which is both of our favorite color. We laughed at her sketch and said it looked like a jock strap and I proceeded to draw up a different design with her wishes and we both liked it and I would try to go ahead and design this shawl. Well after a week of contemplation and swatching I realized that I was wasting vauable knitting time since I had a self imposed completion date of the Autumnal Equinox (9/23) so that she would have it to wear all Fall and Winter. I went to KR and posted a thread asking if anyone knew of a pattern that fit the required shape and several came back with 'look in Folk Shawl's'. Well that was a big, huge duh moment. My very favorite everyday type shawl book in the world of course there would be at least one in there. Sure enough there was... the very first one. Stora Dimun Shawl inspired by Norway.
The thing about this shawl is the construction is very different. You cast on stitches for just about the entire perimeter of the shawl.... 449 stitches. So I got busy and did a crochet cast on of 449 stitches. Wow, that's a lot of casting on. But the upside is that as you decrease in the 4 corners you have fewer and fewer stitches as you move along. I really like the clean but streachy edge the crochet cast on gives and now on to knitting. This really is what I'd consider a mindless knitting project with garter stitch, decreases and a fairly simple lace section that is both charted and written.
I'm only using 4 stitch markers to mark the 8 stitch border on each end and the 25 stitch center panel.
You probably would like the details now. I'm using Frog Tree Alpaca Sport weight in Sage (13) and I estimate it will take about 7 balls. I'm currently on my 3rd ball. Needles: Denise Interchangeable size US 8 with a long cable.
Here it is where I left it last night begining of row 33 of 175. Not bad... I should have this finished in plenty of time for Fall.
This is currently my priority project and I do have self imposed deadlines for the others in my life but we'll get to that another time.
I'll be taking this with me to Sacramento today. Gotta help continue clearing out my grandma's house.
... back on Sunday.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

I had the best summer vacation. August 2 - 10th I went to Seattle.

Spent time with family and friends in one of my favorite cities Seattle.

Had plenty of time to hang out with my sister Annette and her husband Mark.
I'm on the left and she's in the foreground on the right.

I was able to spend a couple days with my mom which was great and she even suprised me with a request for a shawl which I'll tell you about tommorrow.

My sister and her husband have a wonderful home just a block and a half off of Lake Washington near Steward Park.
These were paddling by as we walked down to the pits and park where the vendors were the whole weekend. One of the reasons I went up when I did is because of Sea Fair (hydroplane races) On Friday, after a wonderful breakfast, we spent the morning down there watching the Red Baron do arial acrobatics and the amazing Blue Angels do their thing.

Another shot from the point near the pits and the park. On Sea Fair Saturday my sister and her husband have a open house and it was great seeing friends and having a great time.

On Sunday friends invited us down to the marina to have a picnic and watch the arieal show again.

Other things Annette and I got to do was see the Kubota Japanese Gardens which were beautiful and I got loads of great pictures.

Seattle Underground

The other big thing we were able to do for the first time was to take the Seattle Underground Tour which was really fun (and touristy).

Pioneer Square Glass Gazebo

Skylights. These were installed when the street level was raised creating the 'underground' and even after all this time they do an incredible job of providing light. You can see due to the mineral content in this 'antique' glass combined with sun (yes they do see the sun sometimes) they've turned a very pretty purple.
Antique and bookstore from the underground.
The tour was a little pricey and very touristy but fun and worth the 90 mins of brief Seattle history.
hmmm, knitting content. Well I did finish my Little Bunny Foo Foo Monkey's and started the Footzey Foo Monkeys as well and worked on the Icarus while on vaca. See previous post for pics. Tomorrow I'll share my newest and highest priority project of the moment.
Hope you all are having the best Summer.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Project Updates and Introduction

Socks, socks and more socks. Yes I am back in love with knitting socks and am maintaining the quota of at least 2 sock projects on the needles at all times
Hey, hey we're the Monkeys ....
While on vacation in Seattle I finished my very first pair of Monkeys. I love them! They were done according to Cookie's pattern. Cuff down and a gusset flap heel.

Other Stats
Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight in Little Bunny Foo Foo
Needles: Addi Turbo US 1

Ok, there was 1 modification. I did 5 repeats on the leg instead of 6. On the instep I needed only 4 repeats for my size 5.5 foot.

Here's the next Monkey. This one is Footzey Foo and again Socks that Rock Lightweight. This one I'm using my generic sock recipe.

Toe up using Magic Cast on technique found on and short row heel. So basically I'm just using Cookie's stitch pattern and inserting it into my favorite method for toe up socks. Still using 4 repeats for the instep and 5 for the leg as well as the twisted k1p1 ribbing at the cuff.

Love this Monkey pattern by Cookie (also on and will surely be making more.

Another picture of Footzey Foo

and together with Little Bunny Foo Foo.

Introduction to Icarus

Now you're probably wondering if I've lost the love for shawls. Well not exactly. Just before I left for Seattle; actually it was the day the Handmaiden Camel Spin arrived. I just couldn't resist casting on Mariam's Icarus shawl in the Bronze colorway. It just seemed like the perfect combination of pattern and color. I also love the way it matches the sewing bag my Grandma Ramona made back in the mid-30's. Right now I'm on the 4th of 7 repeats before I start the ends of the feathers. Even though this is a very easy repeat and a great TV project it's getting to be slow going due to the increasing number of stitches.

Want to know more about the myth of Icarus here is a article on it.

Tomorrow an update on my trip to Seattle and maybe another sock.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So much to catch up on

I can't believe it's been nearly 3 weeks now since I've posted ... the shame ;-)
I'm going to just give highlights and do pictures and details throughout the week.
Let's see what's been happening since we last met ...

*** I'm In!!! I received my Ravelry invite! WOOT!! You can find me there as jrhutch. Now to get busy and enter projects, stash, needles, queue and so on.

WIPs - Another quick update with pictures and details coming later.
  • Monkey Sock(s) - Finished the Little Bunny Foo Foo and just turned the heel on my second one with Footsey Foo. I loooove Socks that Rock and loooove this free pattern by Cookie A. I flipped my second pair in footsey foo by doing it toe up with my favorite short row toe and heel style.
  • MS3 Stole - Love this project ... oh and the theme is 'Swan Lake' complete with a wing. I'm still back on clue 4 (kinda caught the monkey sock bug) but will be back to this one soon and will share pictures.
  • Icarus Shawl - You're probably saying 'where did that one come from?'. Well my order of HandMaiden Camel Spin came in the last week of July, I saw the Bronze colorway and looked at this pattern from Miriam of mimknits and I knew I was a perfect match. I'm currently out of this colorway already but will be restocking it for sure.
  • VLT French Trellis Scarf/Stole - Well this one is still in time out. Not so much because I don't have a solution figured out for the knitted on border but because, well you see the ones above ;-) It also will be back in progress soon I promise as I do have a plan and I am a project type knitter that has to have projects completed.
  • Twisted Flowers Socks - Well this one went to the frog pond. I decided it needed a more subtle pattern for this fun, brightly colord Koigu. Looking through More Sensational Knitted Socks for the perfect stitch pattern. When I do decide to use this pattern I will use a solid colorway.
  • Kimono Shawl - This poor beauty has been out of progress for quite a while now. The yarn (Sea Silk) is so very nice to work with and I really enjoy this pattern from Folk Shawls. I think I just couldn't get into working with black with all this beautiful weather. This will be a Fall/Winter completion project.

Well, that went a little longer than expected but wanted to give a brief project status update. I promise more details and pictures soon.

Vacation (Seattle, WA) - August 2-10
I had a wonderful time visiting my sister, brother-in-law and mom in Seattle. Details and pictures coming soon!!!
Lace in the Woods 08 - This retreat is coming along nicely. I'm working with Leah at go-Monkey Designs on the goodie bags. Anne, Cookie A, Miriam and Susan are busy on their classes. I still need to go back down there and work on logistics.... maybe that will be a Labor Day excursion ;-)
Shop News - New yarn, needles, kits, patterns ...
Honeybee Stole pattern and kits are now available with Claudia Handpainted Silk and Habu Tsumugi Silk end of next week. This is the long awaited pattern by Anne at Knitspot Fiber Lounge and I am so excited to be able to offer this pattern and even more excited about the kits with my favorite silks from Claudia and Habu. The full Shawl pattern and kit should be available sometime in November.
Claudia Silk Lace just came in while I was gone. 2 new colorways Honey and Marigold and they are already going quickly.
Habu Tsumugi Silk should be coming in next week which includes the popular Whiskey and White colorways along with come new ones.
Coming Soon! I'm in the process of putting together sock kits. These will be collections of sock patterns designed by Anne, Cookie and Miriam combined with sock yarns from Claudia Hand Painted and Jojoland. These should be available along with HijaHiya sock needles this Saturday.