Friday, November 30, 2012

Too many things to talk about

The first post is up for the Advent Calendar Scarf 2012, and it isn't even December.  I DON'T HAVE MY BEADS YET!  O!  Dear.  Can you all tell I am freaking out? I knew I should have run out today and bought some. Well, I actually stopped at Michael's but they did not have any 8/0  (not sure what the numbers mean or how they work, except that the beads get bigger as the number gets smaller.)  They had 11/0 and 6/0 and I was very tempted to get the 6/0 but they were just too big.  I am going to use the same Cascade Alpaca Lace yarn in Ecru

that I used to make my mom's Echo Flower Shawl.

I was going to just use the left over red beads from last year, but I can't find them... Sob.  Well, now I can use a different color.  I was thinking gold, but now I might use black.  I think that will look really nice with the ecru yarn.  Anyway, I am going to knit up the first 4 rows tonight, and then run out tomorrow morning (the shop opens at 10 am) and get some beads.

I turned in everything today for my first term as a Gryffindor.  I managed to turn in something for EVERY class again this month, as well as a completed OWL and BROOM, and I participated in every Quidditch (except for the Hat  Time Trials - I wasn't selected, but I cheered the team on).  Honestly, I am exhausted.  I really want to participate again next "term" which starts in January, but, I need to let myself relax a bit.  Famous last words as I was already reading the OWL prompts and thinking about what I might propose!

Anyway, I really want to show the Snape's Stockings that I finished as the last part of my History of Magic OWL.

One of the things that Cat Bordhi talked about in her Sweet Tomato Heels Class, was the need to make socks with a really tight fabric.  These socks wear the best.  This is especially important in the heels. If you are a loose purler (I am), the heels won't have the same strength as the rest of the sock.  Cat gave us some tips on how to make better heels.  One was to drop down a needle size, another to just drop down the purling needle.  She also suggested learning how to knit left handed, so that you are never actually purling, just knitting back but left-handed.  I have always wanted to learn this, as one of my sisters is a leftie, so I taught myself with much awkwardness.  I am very slow at it, but wow, it works!  My left handed knitting is very very tight, and the heels on these new socks are the best I have ever knit.

I finished the socks on the flight back from Princeton University yesterday.  And United Airlines is still horrible.  Honestly, a 6 1/2 hour flight with not even a bag of pretzels.  Also, it cost $8.00 to watch the movie or TV on flight. Pookie and I didn't starve though, we had brought apples and protein bars. Then, we landed in Seattle and the pilot said,"we are 5 minutes early."  But, there was a plane at our gate, and we had to wait for them to move, so actually, we were 45 minutes late, just sitting on the tarmac, waiting to pull up. 

So the socks are wonderful:
I was knitting the last 2 projects and trying to get everything posted today, and my feet were freezing, so ... although these socks will be my Christmas present for the Doc (he never reads this blog, so I am safe writing that), I wore them!
They fit great and are super warm.

The last 2 projects/classes I knit for this term were a hat for Flying, and a sheep for Charms.  The Flying class prompt was to create something inspired by a forgotten aviator.  So I did some research into early Women Flyers, and made a stash busting baby hat that is is fun and bright and is supposed to represent Opal Kunz.  This might sound silly, but it was fun doing the research.  Here is the hat:

The sheep was for Charms.  We were supposed to "bring the outdoors in."  This is a great prompt, and I had thought of making something with a leaf pattern, or perhaps even some leaves, like leaf washcloths or leaf trivets, but I decided to try to knit a small animal toy.  I knit a sheep.

Super easy and cute.

Can you tell I am now obsessed with apples? It is apple season, and we have so many wonderful varieties at our grocery stores, all from local farms.
These are all different types that I have at the house right now.  And NONE is a Fuji (a variety that I love).

I didn't write much about our trip to Princeton, but that would make this post super long.  The photo at the top is from a series of Chinese Zodiac sculptures in front of the Engineering Building.
Any way, we love the school.  Everything we saw and everything we learned just made us love it more.

Keep your fingers crossed for Pookie.

Ok, that's all for now.  I need to cast on my Scarf!


shaping the planet with new socks and a sheep.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Princeton


Pookie and I are in Princeton, NJ for a college visit at Princeton University.  It is super cold but I am comfortable in my huge puffy down jacket, my wool socks,

and my hand knit gloves!
There is a bit of snow on the ground.  We got up at 4 am to catch a 6 am flight.  I don't like to write negative things, but I hate United Airlines.  Really, a 5 1/2 hour flight, and they only give drinks.  Not even a pretzel bag for a snack.  EVERYTHING costs, from a bigger seat (I was SQUASHED between 2 very large men), to any entertainment ($7 to watch the on flight video).  I had brought apples (Opals and Granny Smiths) and some Balance Bars, so I was fine, but really, no pretzel bag? 

I knit like a fiend on my OWL socks as they must be finished by Friday.  I have about 1 more inch to go then I start the toes.  I will finish them on this trip.

I need to make a post about the heels as I have discovered something amazing, but the internet is slow, and I am super tired.

I will try to post tomorrow so you can see some daytime shots of the University.  It is really beautiful.


shaping the planet with warm, stylish hands.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


View from the airplane window over Arizona

View from the airplane window over Washington
I'm home, and it's great to be back.

This morning, at about 7 am the lake and hills looked like this:

not quite one hour later, they looked like this:

I cannot say how lovely it was to watch the sunrise over the Cascades.  It is great to be back home.


I worked as diligently as possible on my last few HPKCHC projects while I was flying and in Arizona, that is, when I was not baking, and visiting, etc.

Another Sherlock:

I decided to knit another Dearstalker hat.   I originally wanted to knit this hat for my nephew, J, who will turn 6 next month.  My plan was to give him a Nate the Great book by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, a magnifying glass, and a hat like the one Nate wears (or Sherlock Holmes wears).  I found a pattern on Ravelry, and knit one up last month, and it was HUGE. I gave it to my son, Pookie, who wore it for Halloween.
So, how to make it actually fit?  And not a seventeen year old, but a five year old?  I cut back quite a bit on the wedges, and it worked a lot better.  Also, the second hat is knit in a gray tweed instead of the brown used in the original version.

Have to say he seemed to love all of the gifts.  I turned in this project for my DADA (Defense against the Dark Arts) Class.  The assignment was to do a craft you never do, or use materials you don't usually use, in other words, try something new.  Of course, I HAVE knit this hat once before, but this is only my second time knitting with bulky yarn.  I rarely even use worsted weight for knitting.  To move from sock weight to bulky was indeed weird.  Of course, part of the weirdness is that the hat was finished in no time at all.  I was able to make the brims relatively stiff.  And the hat is very thick and warm.  Bulky has its uses, but I doubt I will use it often.


I cannot explain how fun it is to work on a BROOM  project.  This project, more than any other, has made me write bits of fan fiction, or little stories putting a new character (myself, of course!) into the Harry Potter World. 

The B.R.O.O.M. projects are actually called Order of the Phoenix Missions.  So, why do we say BROOM?  That stands for Basic Request for Ordinary Order Mission.   Anyway, the idea is that the Order of the Phoenix gets permission from the Head Mistress of Hogwarts to recruit students to help in the defense of Hogwarts against a dark wizard attack.  Even though these missions can be dangerous, the danger to all is great enough that brave and discreet students can volunteer.  So, you read up on the possible missions, then propose a project that fits the storyline.

My story deals with defense of the walls of Hogwarts.  I wrote a story where I noticed that there were cracks in some of the outer walls at Hogwarts, and I proposed creating some specially textured squares that would not only fix the cracks, but make the walls stronger.  Of course, in the real world, these squares are my Spa Washcloths that I started in the Liz Marino Gift Knits Club that I am knitting for Christmas gifts.  As I worked on my washcloths, I mentioned little bits of my "research" into patterns and textures in almost all of my class project turn ins.  The Order Missions are secret, obviously!, so I would never really say what I was doing out loud, but I would write passages like this one for Ancient Runes.  The story is that I am knitting with James Potter (I have been teaching him to knit for relaxation... another whole story line) when I notice he is distracted by a red headed girl walking in the courtyard below.  This is what I wrote:

      f1bercat, without looking up from her cotton washcloth she is casting on, smiles and says, "Someone, ahem, I mean something interesting down in the courtyard?"

James blushes a bit, then says, "I think the pattern of the cobblestones is very pretty, I mean, very sturdy looking.

"The cobblestones?" asks f1bercat peering doubtfully over the wall.  Just then, the same group of girls passes below again, the sun shining off the red hair of one of them.  "Sturdy?" she pauses and looks intently at the cobblestones below.  "What a great idea."  She rips back her washcloth and begins casting on again.  "Cobblestone pattern," she mutters.

James looks mystified, but f1bercat just keeps knitting, not mentioning her secret BROOM mission.


All a bit of silly fun, but actually, I have enjoyed the writing of these little stories, and the challenge to keep the general story line going.

Anyway, I have finished all 10 of my washcloths (plus many more that I knit for other things), and am ready to write up the last bit of story and turn them in.
Here are the first 5 I knit last month (October):
Here are the 5 I knit this month (November):
And here are all 10:

No two are alike.  They are all just experiments and playing around with texture patterns.  I might keep making these to have a selection on hand for quick gifts for friends.

That's all for today.  O!  except that I noticed when I returned home that our bird feeder was out of seeds.  I refilled it this morning, and was happy to see that the birds had been waiting for me.

Peace to all.

shaping the planet with a finished B.R.O.O.M. shhhhhhh.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads my blog.  Whether you live in the USA and celebrate this holiday, or live elsewhere, take today to remember how great life is, and all of the things for which we should be truly thankful.

Family and friends are definitely at the top of my list.


shaping the planet with a very full stomach.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sunny Days


I'm in Phoenix, Arizona for a few days, spending Thanksgiving with my husband's family and 2 of my own kids, Moogie and Himes.

I just took 2 apple pies out of the oven and put in 2 pumpkin pies, and while I wait for those to bake, I am trying to finish the heels of my Snape's Stockings

that I am knitting for the Doc, and for my HPKCHC History of Magic OWL (and also SolidSocks and SKA... are they a threefer or a fourfer?)

Today, my Father in Law, Himes, Moogie,

and I went to visit my Mother in Law's grave.  I miss her dreadfully.  She was a lovely woman, and a wonderful mother in law and Grandma to my kids.  We are thinking of you, Jeannie, and so wish you were celebrating this day of family with us.

Stay safe and well,

shaping the planet with 4 pies and a bit of a hole in her heart.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Heading out to Phoenix


Just a quick post.  I am traveling tomorrow to Phoenix for Thanksgiving.  I will be home on Friday, for 2nd Thanksgiving.  It's a complicated story.  My brother-in-law (Husband's sister's husband) has not been doing well, so we want to spend the holiday with the family.  But, only 3 of us can make it.  I will fly down from Seattle, followed by Moogie from Portland after her last class, and Himes will drive up to Phoenix from Tucson after HIS last class.  The Doc has the holiday call.  Pookie is interning for the Bellevue Youth Theater, and their production of Annie is opening the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Allifer always works every day except Thanksgiving.  Since we won't be together, and the family staying behind won't have a real Thanksgiving, I will cook a second Feast for them on Saturday.  Well, sort of a feast... Turkey, at least.

I will bring my computer, and camera, and stuff to knit (I hope to finish my Snape's Stocking - and thereby finish my OWL) while I am down there...and on the planes, but I am not sure how much I will be able to post.  I will try.

I wanted to post the photo of Moogie wearing the Ribbed Mobius Headband I designed.

Tonight Hvrdmnky and Skeinherder came over for a spinning night.  I will have to photograph my singles, but well, I am a bit shy about it because I am such a beginner.  The great news of the evening is that Doc came home from his neighborhood board meeting while we were spinning (Skeinherder and I were using spindles) and Hvrdmnky was on her Schact Ladybug.  Doc was fascinated, and after they left, he told me he thought it was really cool,  I said I might get one, and he did not seem surprised but rather liked the idea.

Anyway, absolutely POURING rain here today, and huge winds.  If it's clear tomorrow, I will try to get some good photos of the Cascades as there is sure to be some beautiful snow on them.

That's all for now.  Stay safe and well.


shaping the planet with some spun singles.

Two Cats and a Surprise


This weekend I attended two classes taught by Cat Bordhi, of the legendary Sweet Tomato Heels and Mobius Cast on fame.

The classes were held through my LYS, Serial Knitters.  The Sweet Tomato Heels class was on Saturday.  It was FULL.

My Eastside Stitchers buddy, GwenS, came, too, and I got a chance to meet her Malabrigo Junkies buddy, k2togkate.  Students sported the most beautiful knitwear.  Bionickristie wore her Different Lines by
Veera Välimäki.

The class was fast and fun and informative.  Cat is a very thorough teacher.  She gives lots of visual examples with great memory tricks.

BTW (by the way) the part of a stair that hangs over the corner of the tread and riser is called the "nosing."

She broke our group into small groups sessions, then walked around the room checking everyone's work, repeatedly, one by one, to be sure everyone understood what was going on.

She has great videos of how to do her heel on her website.

In addition to the heel, we also learned how to start a toe up sock with a Turkish Cast on
And began socks with Star Toes.  Expect more on this in later blogs, as I have started a pair for my brother.

The class on Sunday was on Mobius Knitting, and especially, on Designing Mobius knits.  The mobius structure is really interesting for designing, because there is no inside and outside, there is only one continuous side.  Anything you design should take this into account, and so all patterns must not have one obvious right or wrong side.  We talked about playing around with textures and patterns.  This is one of the fun things about Cat's own designs.  She likes to take an idea,

then keep stretching it, playing with it,

seeing what it can do, what else she can make.
Even so, during the class, one of the students, Claire, discovered something NEW about mobius knitting.  Yes, you read it here first!  Like many great discoveries, it started with a mistake, or not really a mistake but with trying something slightly different for one purpose, and getting a completely different result.  Serendipity.  This is about all I can say about what happened, except that Cat got really excited, and called in Jeny Staimen, of Jeny's Suprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.
Since Jeny lives close by, she came down to examine the Surprise, and stayed to give us a demonstration of her Metamorph cowl. 

It was really fun to be where knitting history was being made.  Expect more about this Surprise in the future, hopefully, patterns, etc. maybe even a book.

Stay safe and well,

shaping the future with..... shhhhhhhhh!  a secret surprise

O, in case you haven't figured it out, I am the 2nd cat.