Friday, May 1, 2009

February Lady Sweater (a free pattern)

Have you seen this? Pam has a point. I mean, Julie made a beautiful FLS. Stephanie made a beautiful FLS. Linda was working on one for a while. I've even contemplated one - though I have to say that I first learned about Pam's design on Pam's actual blog, well before it was all the rage. It's a beautiful pattern, and it was a very nice gift to the knitting community - I'm saddened to discover that certain organizations are using it for profit.

I'm just saying that when you post a free pattern (as some of us do from time to time), it should stay free. Pirates may be a mildly amusing game on Facebook, but its no way for people to treat each other in real life.

Okay. As you were.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Once Upon A Time

A long time ago (18 years ago today, in fact), I had a baby girl.

Happy birthday, Tasha. It hasn't always been a smooth journey, but the road is paved with love and I wouldn't trade you for anything.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pattern: Felted Social Bags

I was putting together my outfit for a recent social event (and if you know me, you'll know how often THAT happens) when I had this idea. Or actually, I had: (1) smoke-blue wool left over from Lydia's socks which tied in nicely to the colors I was wearing; (2) blue ribbon yarn called "sari" which was not actual sari yarn but was left over from my experiment with knitted I-cord necklaces; and (3) a few yards some rather busy silver-plated chain bought in bulk, which I'd decided was not going to work with a certain pendant after all. That, combined with the number of mitred triangle shawls I've done over the last few years, got me started, and the end result was the little purse shown at the top right of the photo.

I wore the purse and liked it, mostly. However, I still think it needs a little magnetic closure or hook or something for when it somehow gets turned upside down. (Don't ask me how. I don't know how. But somehow, this happens to all my purses on a regular basis.) And Kate suggested that I should try making one in a shorter profile, more wide than square, for the teenie-bopper crowd at this summer's market . . . which is how I ended up with the second little blue bag (on the left). I have a bronze-colored chain for that one.

Then I started thinking about all those fancy washcloth patterns I've collected, and I started playing. I pulled out a remnant of Colinette ribbon and some olive-green wool, made a flap from half of a round washcloth pattern, and ended up with the (so far unfelted) bag you see at the bottom. I love how two of the points from the flap line up perfectly with the corners of the bag. I'm thinking bronze chain again.

There's no telling where this will lead . . . .

Blue Mitred-Flap Bag

Size 9 (or so) needles
90 yards or so of bulky wool (NOT superwash!)
90 yards or so of novelty yarn (optional)
2 lanyard clips
Approximately 30" of chain
1 marker

Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1: increase 1 stitch in each of first two stitches, place marker, knit to end.
Row 2: increase 1 stitch in each of first two stitches, knit to end.
Row 3: knit 1, increase 1 stitch in next stitch, knit to last stitch before marker, increase 1 stitch, slide marker, knit to end.

Repeat Row 3 until you have 40 stitches on your needle. Optional: hold novelty yarn with wool and knit as 1 for every other pair of rows. i.e., novelty yarn is included for rows 1 & 2, hangs loose for 3 & 4, included for rows 5 & 6, etc.

Bind off all stitches except last stitch. Using last live loop as first loop of next row, pick up approximately 20 stitches across the base of your triangle.

Knit in stockinette stitch for approximately 18" or to your preferred length, keeping in mind that your work will shrink during the felting process. Bind off, spacing 4 "knit 2 together" stitches across the bound-off edge to reduce stretching.

Fold the stockinette portion of your work in half and stitch edges with wool yarn. Weave in ends, paying special attention to secure the novelty yarn. Wash with hot water, cold rinse in your washing machine with a few pairs of jeans. Lay flat and shape to dry.

Trim any remaining ends of wool yarn. Add magnetic closure if desired.
Add lanyard clips to ends of your chain "strap" and then clip through the sewn edges on the inside of your bag. Enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Signs of Spring

It's been raining hard here the last several days, and the results are really starting to show. Not only did I spot the first dandelions of the season this morning, but I have hyacinths in bloom! (Okay, so I had grape hyacinths and crocus already, but those always feel like the pre-show.) Between the hyacinth and the masses of forsythia in bloom and the soft green smell of a recent rain on a temperate afternoon, the air smells wonderful outside. Also, the chives are doing their best to take over the world - I should probably get some peat pots and transplant them now, in preparation for farmer's market in June.
Luna would still prefer snow, all things considered. But I've been putting her on a long line and "lunging" her in the field, so she's getting even more exercise as the weather warms. And she's getting so good with her commands!! Her latest tricks are to dance (balance on her hind feet and bounce around a bit) and to say hello (actually, hold out her paw to shake). I was considering teaching her to roll over or at least lay on her back with her paws straight up in a "play dead" pose, but the kitchen floor is a bit hard for that one. Maybe we'll work on it a bit more once the grass is less soggy.
And finally, it wouldn't be spring without the Prom. Tasha's last high school dance . . . yet another rite of passage as she progresses towards adulthood. I can't believe my baby is going to be 18 in a few days!

We spent some time today planning her high school graduation party, which will be held in mid-July at one of the park shelters in Falls. She's already got an enormous menu planned, and is figuring out exactly which kinds of streamers she wants and how many extra tables we'll need to show off the certificates and mementos of her high school career. Personally, I'm not very good at planning parties, so although her notes look fairly intimidating, I'm willing to follow her lead on this. (Um, within reason.)