busy winter

I have completely neglected to update this, again, so now to catch up I'll have to cram a post full of FOs!

Beware, Ravelry links in places - plus Knitty links, Flickr links, etc. A good thing is that even though I tend to take little to no notes as I knit, I often end up chatting about the FO in Ravelry messages exchanged with friends. I'll reproduce those here as needed in lieu of notes.

Since Christmas, I knit quite a bit.

- Four shawls:

A striped and luxurious version of the 'Northern Lights' Revontuli shawl, Lady Revontuli, half in organic alpaca-silk and half in Lady Godiva from Handmaiden (wool-silk blend):

I unvented something. I saw these little stuffed trees on the tables of the wonderful winstub I had lunch in saturday, and it inspired me to try and make them myself.

The first version (red velour) was completely hand-sewn and can't hold up without being propped (you can see the little felt "plug" I made to help it along). For the second I used my machine, and took pictures of the various steps so I could make this quick tutorial. There might be another somewhere else on the web already, in which case it's probably better... but I didn't see it, so I thought making mine would be useful.

family of trees

For one stuffed tree:

Call out

This is a semi-silly entry for my own benefit. I'm calling out my friend Sheeplass of sheeponmystuff, who is as talented with a crochet hook as with needles (this is not my case. I can not go much beyond single chain).

If you ever wanted to make me something some day (I seem you remember you asking, a long time ago - not of me personally, but in a general "what do my friends like?" kind of way), I would gently point you towards Gelsomina, a free felted crochet hat pattern on the Berroco website. I love hats! And this one is lovely.

I also meant to point you towards these adorable sheep stitch-markers on Etsy. Thought you might like'em.


And oooooh, I have a weakness for that. Oooooh, I have a thing for that. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot that horrifies me (the prices, for one, and today, looking at some of the toys and ornaments, the unknown and dubious ethical provenance of things, which tends to make me avoid buying the cheapest things possibly made by starving children. Of course, I should research the topic instead of relying on impressions yet continuing to be a Habitat client... I'm not claiming a moral high ground here).

The thing I really wanted that I did not buy is this little tree+lights - 55 Euros omg no. I did my best to pick carefully and still indulge a little bit.



Saturday, Mom heard on regional news that Sunday was the last day of a yarn fair held all last week in Kaysersberg, a little town an hour away by car, so we spent our Sunday afternoon walking around in the sun and... buying fibery things. The fair was small, only eight or ten exhibitors, but really varied and nice, with a mix of weavers, knitters and felt-makers, and products ranging from organic yarns (dyed in vegetable dyes) to felt jewelry to hats and bags, etc. Mom found great felted wrist warmers/mitts (not knitted and then felted, but wet felted only) for a friend of hers with a birthday coming up. I nearly bought a felt hat.

When I was in Cornwall recently I bought one hank of a lovely aran weight pure wool for a friend who wanted to (re)learn how to knit (he chose it). He mastered the knit stitch quickly enough, but after a while knitting a scarf in garter stitch, concluded that the wool was a little too scratchy to be worn next to skin around his neck.

I hence inherited 380g of undyed aran wool I had no project for. Quickly, an idea presented itself: I could not resist trying to knit a Hemlock Ring blanket, because it's a such a gorgeous pattern.


Today, I discovered that for years I have not been doing what I thought I was. Apparently this is the long tail cast on, when what I've been doing all along is this, aka the twisted German cast on, that I was mistakenly calling long tail. I found this out through a comment with embedded video on Livejournal in the knitting community. I'm still sort of in shock, heh. I'm surprised, too, because the person who posted the video mentioned that it's a stretchy, springy cast on. I've always found it quite tight, and its tightness is actually part of the reasons that made me think it was the long tail cast on, which everybody always notes is tight. I think tubular is stretchy, but twisted German? Not so much... In other news, I have a ton of pictures to edit, of the yarn I added to the stash during my trip to the UK, and of several FOs: the Hemlock Ring blanket I knit last week (which I just dyed blue - it's cooling as we speak), a ribbon scarf I knit out of bamboo for my friend in London, and the Noro Silk Garden vest I knit sideways for Mom this week. But I'm a little too tired to fiddle with that right now, so it'll be for another day!
I was already coveting Habu paper yarn and others, but now with these examples I'm positively lustful!

A Dutch designer called Greetje van Tiem makes yarn from old newspaper; Italian artist Ivano Vitali is already all over that.
I love how the comments from the dezeen.com post are teeming with people who want to buy some, to make some, and who're already trying to reproduce the result. Enthusiasm is fun.

Quiet Night

We're being very, very quiet here for the passing of 2007. It's just Mom and my brother and me. We had quite the domestic day. In the morning we did all the shopping for groceries in the next village over and joked with the butcher. In the afternoon, I put on a stew for tomorrow, then dyed some recycled sweater wool in food coloring dye, then prepared the upside down apple pie for the evening meal. I have enjoyed quiet New Year's Eves several years running -- big parties in the streets are not my type, I have a deep phobia of the sudden popping noises of firecrackers -- but this one might take the cake with its exceptional calm. We were done eating our wonderful roast duck meal at about 9.30, and an hour later the pie had been gleefully consumed, too. Mom dozed in front of the TV while me and my brother puttered each at our laptop for a while.. It's now just gone over into 2008 and Mom's in bed already! I might follow soon; I got up after a mere 5 hours of sleep last night. I only wanted to post this recipe I improvised for my stew, because I think tomorrow it'll be the yummiest start of the year, along with the New Year Concert of Vienna.

Wah, I am still really bad at updating this, uh. Let's do it in reverse chronological order, shall we?

In culinary news, yesterday I tried this recipe for experimental dark chocolate chip / bacon cookies.

bacon cookies

I messed up and put the bacon bits and chocolate chips in the dough at the same time as the flour.. So the whole thing ended up less bit-heavy that it should have been: the chocolate and bacon got chopped fine fine fine by the food processor. Still, an interesting experiment, and I will know better next time! I like the result a lot. It was also my first time ever making sugar icing, which is easier than pie!


Yay for icing.

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