Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shattered Silk

[If you're here for the Barbara Michaels novel of the same name, while I'm a big fan, this is not what I'm posting about.]

If you happen to have inherited, as I have, some lovely old lamps, and if their shades have not stood the test of time as well as the rest of them (shattering, in fact, as only silk can), you have four choices:
  • you can buy what passes for a lampshade today, which is stiff and seems to be made of paper;
  • you can acquire both the knowledge and the materials to make your own from Mr. Internet (but sadly, we can't download skill - yet);
  • you can pay someone a slightly exorbitant amount to custom make a shade for your lamp (but even then, the shade that is the "right" size isn't always in the repertoire of modern lampshade makers); or
  • you can mail your shade off, in all its tatters, to some lovely people in upstate New York, who after some consultation with you, will remake it using the original frame and new fabric, and ship it back to you, for a very reasonable amount given the awesomeness of their skills.
My new/old lampshade was waiting for me when I got home from work today, and was immediately re-attached to my grandparents' lamp (okay, I guess it's my lamp, but I don't think I'll ever think of it that way). I am SO happy with it!

Back to knitting:

Way back when I posted about my first pair of Olivers, but never went back and finished the story - I bought another skein, re-knit the foot-length, and they have been my husband's favorite socks ever since:

 Recently I made him a second pair - same pattern, same yarn, different color:

Pattern: Olivers
Yarn: Patons Kroy Sock FX, 3 skeins per pair,in Camo and Cadet
No mods. These socks look a little weird when empty, but fit like a dream!

And of course, there was just enough left over for a tiny nephew's cold toes:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Soft as a Bunny

KD gave me two balls of Patons Angora Bamboo some time ago. It is unbelievably soft, with that sheen and halo that bamboo gives fiber. I had great fun searching out the perfect pattern to use every inch of it, and wound up with the Edelweiss Neckwarmer. This was a simple, fun pattern; it knit up fast and problem-free. And then the poor thing languished for months, needing only buttons to be complete. One day I looked at it, sitting there so forlornly, and dove into the button stash, coming up with two Norwegian pewter buttons leftover from a card of buttons for a sweater (I've long since forgotten whose). Then it languished for another period of time while I consulted the pattern and studied the instructions for adding the crochet loops for the button holes. Then I tossed said instructions aside and just sewed on the buttons - I button them through parts of the lace.

It's comfortable around my neck (unlike alpaca, which bothers me), soft and pretty. But even in this mild winter that's just finishing up, I noticed that it wasn't all that warm. Should I feel bad for the poor bunnies, who are obviously not as well-protected from the cold as sheep? Or is it just because it's lace, and by definition full of holes?

Pattern: Edelweiss Neckwarmer (free Ravelry download)
Yarn: Patons Angora Bamboo, 2 skeins
Needles: size 10 (6.00 mm) straight needles
Modifications: skipped the buttonholes

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Knit Toys

Decades ago I came across Nathalie Craig's Knit Toys in my local library (and thanks to the power of the Internet, have recently acquired my own copy). I knit on a shoestring budget back then (as opposed to knitting on an actual shoestring, which I think would bring me to the end of my rope...). Scraps of fabric and notions from the store, leftover acrylic worsted from various projects, and a seemingly endless bag of polyester fiberfill, all combined with the magical patterns in this book to provide my three kids with hours of fun.


There were the sister dolls,  Rose Red and Rose White, with their tiny eyelet aprons and ribbon edging.

There were the three little kittens, complete with mittens and mama. I'm not a big fan of attaching joints, so this was probably my least favorite project.

There were babies in bunting. A doll with no arms or legs to attach! I was so delighted that in a burst of creativity, I figured out I could embroider both sides of the head with an "awake" and "asleep" face,  and turn the bonnet to "wake up" the baby (warning: do not try with actual baby). Of course, then there was all the sewing involved in lining the basket - I think they sat around for awhile before I tackled that.

There were mice. Lots of mice. The pattern is completely addicting: knit three pieces, join and stuff. Add ears, nose, eyes, and tail.

And of course, there were Gingerbread Men. Another jointless, addicting pattern, and my favorite.  I even did the math and figured out how to make a half-size version. I made entire Ginger families for some young gentlemen of my acquaintance. I also made several for the local kindergarten teachers, who always started the year with the story of the Gingerbread Man, complete with following his "footsteps" around the school (and incidentally learning the layout - it was an inspired project!), and ending with gingerbread cookies for snack.

Somewhere in this house there are more - little bears and roly-polys. All from this wonderful book, from which I filled my kids' childhoods and toy box.