Sunday, January 30, 2011

White and Fluffy

The white and fluffy things have been extremely adorable lately. They could be polar bears or maybe dogs, it really is hard to tell. They miss Maddie and Thomas. A lot.

But the neighbors across the street are moving out and littlest white and fluffy has a friend over there that he has to visit (and then play in the mud).

It has been raining and melting snow here and everything is very muddy. Does things to White and Fluffy things - like make them unWhite and unFluffy.

I remembered that way back when there were lots of horses around here that the boys used Tail 'n Mane to keep the tails untangled and it worked. I did Big White and Fluffy - he has the most tangles and after the shampoo and conditioner he only had three tangles and that was because I didn't get those spots. Daddy came home and bath was over.

The stuff sells for about $4 a bottle and is available in department stores in the pet department and in the human hair care aisle. It is wonderful on long (and short) human hair.

Now to find the energy to give Little White and Fluffy his bath. You can tell that one is Whiter and Fluffier. But neither of them seem to care if they aren't White and Fluffy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Totoro Knitalong Three

First of all, I did go back and undo the last few rows of the top of the head.  It was entirely too pointy to be a Totoro.  I knit through row 61 where I had just decreased to 12 stitches and then I broke the yarn and ran it through those 12 stitches.  That makes a nice round topped head . . .I think it looks much better.
This also shows the white felt behind the eyes.  It just isn't Totoro without that white.
The ears are knit exactly according to Rududu's notes.  This is a picture of them as they came off the needles.
I didn't like the shape of them as they came off the needles, so I turned them so the part with the most increases/decreases ran up the back of the ear.  I thought that made a much more pleasing shape.  I put the 'seam' side in the back and sewed them on the top of the head - between two of the decrease lines on the body.  I didn't stuff my ears with anything.
I didn't think the arms were wide enough with ten stitches, so I cast on 14 stitches.  I knit 14 rows and then started the decreases.  I decreased every row - 
SSK, K3, K2tog, SSK, K3, K2tog
SSK, K1, K2tog, SSK, K1, K2tog
then kitchener the last 3 stitches together to finish. 
I didn't stuff my arms with anything.
For feet, I just knit two pieces of Icord that are about 3 3/4 inches long.  
I placed them in a C shape on the bottom of the toy.  I pinned them in place and then stood him up several times to make sure they were in just the right place.  The only reason you need them is to make the toy stand up and not roll around, so make sure that they do their job before you sew them on.
This is how mine ended up, but yours may need to be closer to the center or farther front or back (see how close the front parts are to the middle of the animal?).
Then I sewed the roundish white belly on and used some of the body color to embroider the markings on it.
He still needs a tail!  
Once again, I ignored Rududu's notes and knit this my way.  I cast on 15 stitches, joined and knit 7 rounds.  I had mine on three double pointed needles, so it was easiest to decrease one stitch at the beginning of each needle until I was down to 6 stitches and then run the yarn through.  Spelled out that would be:
Rows 1-7 Knit
Row 8:  *K2 tog, K3*  Repeat from * to * 3 times
Row 9:  *K2 tog, K2*  Repeat from * to * 3 times
Row 10:  *K2 tog, K1*  Repeat from * to * 3 times
Cut yarn and run through remaining 6 stitches.
The picture shows the tail stuffed.
Embroider a mouth and nose - or just a mouth or just a nose - and he is done and as cute as he can be!

The finished product:

Cute, isn't he?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Totoro Progress and Make 1

One of the Totoros:

How to do a M1 increase for Totoro.

Make one is a lifted increase that uses the horizontal bar between two stitches to create a new stitch.
First, find that bar.  It helps a little to stretch the two stitches apart.

Insert the tip of the right hand needle under the bar and lift it up.

Place the lifted bar onto the right hand needle so you can knit it.

Insert the right hand needle through the back of the lifted yarn - this will twist it when you knit the stitch and keep a hole from forming in your work.  
Knit the stitch as you normally would - except thru the back loop.

Drop that lifted bar after you've knit it and you have created a new stitch.


This is the Discworld, which is flat and rides on the back of four giant elephants who stand on the shell of the enormous star turtle Great A'Tuin, and which is bounded by a waterfall that cascades endlessly into space.

Scientists have calculated that the chance of anything so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one.
But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

RINCEWIND . . . Simply put, the most inept wizard to ever exist in any universe. Rincewind possesses a survival instinct that far outweighs his spellcasting, and is such a coward that (if Einstein is right) he's coming back from the other direction as a hero. Guaranteed to solve every minor problem by turning it into a major disaster.

SERGEANT FRED COLON. . . One of the longest standing members of the Ankh Morpork City Watch. An avid follower of pre-emptive patrolling: if he guards a landmark that's still there, if somebody comes to steal it, Fred Colon will be there to stop him!
(Description not taken from Terry Pratchett)

THE LIBRARIAN. . . It's the primary function of the Librarian of Unseen University to keep people from using the books, lest they wear out from all that reading. It also happens to be a primate function, given the fact that he's also a 300-lb. orangutan (transformed by a magic spell, but he prefers it so much he refuses to be re-transformed). Don't ever call him a monkey. Ever.

DEATH . . . An obvious sort of fellow: tall, thin (skeletal, as a matter of fact), and ALWAYS SPEAKS IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Generally shows up when you're dead, or just when he thinks you ought to be. Not a bad chap when you get to know him (and sooner or later, everyone gets to know him).

I knit them all using the traveling gnome pattern. I think they're pretty cool (and theres a bunch of people who've seen 'em who'd be willing to agree.) I find I can knit one over the course of my class, but I'm stuck on Carrot Ironfoundersson now until I go home and get a crochet hook so I can do his hair. I also have Granny in the works, but I'm going to make Mom do the hat brim. I'll post them when they're done.

Aren't they cute?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oink, Oink!!!

Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in.

Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt
Always have clean shirts to play around in.

In their sties with all their backing
They don't care what goes on around
In their eyes there's something lacking
What they need's a damn good whacking.

Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

Someone likes little piggies, and these are very, very little!

Remember the Robin and Wren roving I talked about here?  Well, I plied it up and it became this lovely yarn.  Since the singles had been sitting for over and year and were quite stale, the yarn is far from perfect, but I think it will knit ok, depending on what it is made into and it turned out awfully pretty.  It came out to 206 yards of a heavy sport/light worsted weight yarn.  Don't have anything to use it for, anybody have any good ideas?  What would you use it for?  It's not next-to-skin soft, so hats & scarfs are out.

I spun up about 4 ounces of the lovely Northstar Alpaca Farms alpaca roving and then navajo plied it to make just over 100 yards of lovely 3 ply yarn.  This is going to someone who paid for the roving and is paying for the yarn.  (Love that - have fun for free!)  I have 8 more ounces to spin and ply and make into yarn for her and since she is ready to knit it, it has to be done soon.

Here are my Family Jewels Knit along socks.  I hope I'm not giving away any secrets by posting them.  I really love the pattern that's starting to show up on them . . . and I still love the color, plum wine.  As you can see, the pair I'm knitting for Girl Far From Home is still at the end of the first clue.  Hmm, do you think she'll be mad about that?

We interrupt your normal knitting schedule for this transmission of the emergency theater knitting broadcast network.  Get out the 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats book and knit one Angela (the hat with the long arms) out of the yarns in the first picture and one Egyptian hat out of the yarns in the second picture.  These hats must be completed ASAP, so this is an emergency . . . repeat this is an emergency, not a drill!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tatting for Tatting Tea Tuesday

I've been tatting for several days to be ready for tea today!  I made it, almost.  If you don't count the fact that the ends are not hidden, this spinning wheel glass mat is finished.

It's lovely.  I used Yarnplayer's Garden Afternoon HDT in size 10 because I wanted this to be big and thick.  It is big and it is thick.  That tile it's centered on is about 6" across.  

See how nicely it goes with my tea pot?  Well, it's not actually my teapot, it belongs to Girl Far From Home, but it's just the right size for a small pot of tea for me, so I've been using it.  This mat is just the right size to set it on when it's full of tea.  Just what I was trying for and I'm very pleased.

Today I got out the spinning wheel which has been sadly neglected for over a year now.  I had these lovely blue, turquoise and brown singles on spools that had been sitting since a year ago in November.  The roving was called Robin & Wren and was dyed by Feeling Sheepish who seems to have closed her Etsy shop last July.  It was 5.8 ounces of New Zealand Romney wool and spun up to 206 yards of two ply, probably fingering or sport weight yarn.  I intended to navajo ply it when I spun it, and that would have been easier, but today I just wanted it off the spools so I didn't.  Since the singles have been sitting for 14 months, I have no idea if the plying twist is right or not, we'll have to see when the hank dries.

This is why I needed to get the singles off the spools!  I have 12 ounces of this lovely tricolor alpaca swirl from North Star Alpacas (my favorite alpaca vendor).  The lovely thing about Maple is that she carries a lot of variety in her shop.  She has pure alpaca, mostly from her own heard, or alpaca blended with merino both dyed and natural colors.  She occasionally blends her alpaca with luxury fibers like silk, bamboo, mohair and angora.  She sells raw unprocessed fiber, roving, batts and hand pulled roving.  She also sells fiber that has been hand spun into yarn and mill spun into yarn.  And she sells items that have been knitted from her fiber - both handknit and mill knit.  Sometimes she has woven goods in her shop too.  Everything she sells is wonderful and she's a dream to work with - she's willing to change things and set up special items anytime you don't see exactly what you want in her shop.  And alpaca is probably the funnest fiber to spin, certainly one of the easiest!  

This roving was purchased by a friend.  I gave her about 10 ounces of handspun alpaca swirl from Maple's farm and the friend had knit it into a project which isn't yet finished.  She didn't have enough of the other yarn left to finish it and this roving is a different color.  She could probably have gotten by with 10 ounces (or less, as she has a generous ball left over) but I figured better safe than sorry.   I asked Maple if she had something similar and this is similar - it has white, fawn and black alpaca.  As you can see on the label, the fiber is from her animals:  Polaris the fawn; Chinella the black and Celeste the white.  I love that I get to know who the fiber came from - Maple always sends a lovely picture of each animal with the fiber.  She also puts the most wonderful smelling sachets in with the fiber - and the smell lingers so that my hands smell lovely after I've been spinning.  That smell will always make me smile.

Anyway, I spun 2 ounces of this lovely fiber today and while my hand is just a little stiff, I'm thrilled to have my wheel back out and to know that I haven't lost the ability to spin.  Of course that is partly because this roving practically spins itself!  Pictures of the spun singles or maybe the yarn in a day or two.