FO: Mr. Smith and a Snapdragon Tam

I’m busy, busy knitting these days but I did promise some pics of FOs when they were done.

First: the Snapdragon Tam for my kids’ German Teacher, which was well received.

Löwenmäulchen is German for Snapdragons (or so says d'Internet

I absolutely loved knitting this pattern. And it flew up. I cast-on really late last Sunday night (more like early Monday morning, to be honest!). It was finished and blocking by Wednesday; ready to be gifted at the last German lesson on Thursday afternoon. I loved working in Malabrigo Sock too. I made this with 4mm needles, which I felt was a little loose for me. Next time, I make this – and I’m certain there will be a next time – I’ll make the next size up, in a smaller size needle.

I’m not absolutely convinced by the sudden flashes of lighter colour – I would have rathered if it had less of the yellow-green. But hopefully it doesn’t take from the overall effect. The German Teacher told me she loved it and that it was her favourite colour. So I’m happy!

Next up, this character:

Cute or what?

This pattern, Smith, also comes from Ysolda Teague’s book “Whimsical Little Knits 2”. I loved knitting this – attaching the various rows of stripes was such fun. I modified the centre portion by omitting the central repeat. I did it because I knew I wouldn’t have enough yarn if I followed the pattern as written. Now that it’s done, I think that including the repeated section would have made the overall body too elongated.

This was also a quick knit – though it stalled for a bit while I searched for what to use for stuffing. Going on a tip from fellow knitters Sinead (@sineadR) and Mairead (@doogarry), I bought cheap pillows in Pennies – two for €4!! They’re filled with perfect stuffing material and such a bargain too – can’t wait to make more soft toys, all of a sudden!

The yarn was “rescue skein” I re-homed when Clarabel was de-stashing recently. It’s a thick-n-thin cotton from Araucnia Yarns “N. Cotton PT 709” if that makes any sense to anyone?

I’m still knitting like the clappers, however: two gifts down, three to go… Not to mention GlenvarAgin – did someone mention GlenvarAgin?

No! Perish the thought! Shudder!

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Tour of Duty

Being a knitting-mother of school-going kids I believe I am honour-bound to produce a knitted item as presents for their teachers. It’s a duty I take very seriously but, over the past two years, what should be an opportunity to create a unique present – that is appreciated and cherished for its one-off exclusivity – becomes yet another lesson in hubris for me as the resulting item is (more-than-likely) greeted with quizzical look or received with forbearance.

This year, because I now have two children going to school, it should mean I’ve twice the “fun” in store. In fact, I have high hopes that I will succeed this year. Not only do I expect I will produce gifts that the recipients will like, but I won’t be stressed out of my head about how long it is taking me to make them.

Or… I’ve yet another module of “Hubris and How It Builds Character” to complete a practical exam for my Life-studies course at the University of Life. So why am I starting out feeling so confident? Why should this year be any different?

First of all, DD – precocious and forth-right girl that she is – asked her teacher what knitted gift would she like me to make for her. Word came back “I’ve loads of scarves and hats and gloves; but what I would really love is: a multi-coloured tea-cozy”. Thank you Ms Cusack – that’s exactly the information I needed. I’m delighted with this because

  1. at least I know I’m knitting something that she might actually want and use,
  2. it’s a fairly small and manageable project, so time-wise it won’t take most of the coming month and
  3. I’ve never knitted a tea-cozy before and it’s something I’ve wanted to do but needed an excuse to get on with.

Hedgehog Fibers

For Bonus-Points, I realised that I can dust down a WIP I started in a bout of Startitis earlier in the year: Calyx Hat by Debbie New in Noro Big Kureyon. If I judiciously omit to sew up the seams – at the right places – hey, presto: my hat’s a tea-cozy.

Then, I showed DS my copy of Whimsical Little Knits 2, by Ysolda Teague. I was thinking Snapdragon Tam or Scoll Lace Scarf. I should have guessed: naturally, he picked out Smith – the Hedgehog pattern – for me to make for his teacher.

I’m pleased with this selection too, since

  1. it also shouldn’t take too long and
  2. I’ve been wanting to make this pattern for a while.
  3. I’m on Double-Bonus Points because- surprisingly – I have brown yarn!
  4. What’s more, this pattern will teach me a new cast-on: Triple-Bonus-Points!!!

So, sorry Ms Daly, if you weren’t expecting to get a stuffed hedgehog this year; but this knitter is hoping for Kudos not Hubris, this time!

February Round-up

Yet again, the last day of the month falls on a blogging day. Plus, since it’s a Sunday and therefore a Sunday Miscellany-themed post a round-up of the month is in order:

  • 4 F.O. – Ishbel, Blackberry Socks (see below); 2 Charity Squares
  • 4 WIPs frogged – Meters of Miter Scarf; Pebble Argosy; Origami Hat; Frou-Frou Swatch (not over the finish line yet but the green alapaca mess has been tamed!)
  • 3 WIPs-not-whupped – GlenvarAgin Cardigan; Not-so Frou-Frou (maybe later this evening); Hat for Co-worker
  • 12 Ravelympics medals – 8 for the two charity squares; 3 Aerial Unwind Events (maybe another later this evening); 1 WIPs Dancing (maybe another later this evening)
  • 2 Meet-ups with others that I’ve only previously “met” online – City Centre SnB at Café Bell and February Spin-in at Powerscourt
  • 2 U.S.A. – Schoppel-Wolle Admiral Ombré from Fourboys; Rotex Metalic Novelty Yarn from Clarabel
  • 1 S.E.X. – Malabrigo Lace in Blue Emerald
  • 1 Major House Task started: Architect hired to develop necessary drawings and documents for demolition of garage and building of deck (yay!)
  • 1 Little lad now no-longer using a pacifier at all (double-yay!)
  • 2 funerals (boo!)

And… don’t forget:

Blackberries in February?

F.O. Blackberry Socks

I only finished these this morning, just in time to wear them to the Spin-in Meet-up at Powerscourt Townhouse this afternoon.

These are so comfy to wear and they generated a very satisfying “Oooh” from everyone at the meet-up. I’m thrilled with the matchy-ness; which I only discovered by accident.

Full-on F.O.

I know I blogged only two weeks ago about my Ishbel being an F.O. but I never showed you it in its entirety.

Besides, the photo I showed two weeks ago was before it was blocked. The transformation post-blocking is extraordinary.

I liked the squishy-ness of it pre-blocking but I have to say that the blocking makes the lacework just sing.

Before

After

I have Clarabel’s patience and skill to thank for how well this turned out.

An Epilogue and an F.O.

You’ll remember last Saturday that I said I’d tell you more today about the lovely parcel that Fourboys got for me.

Karmic Cycle

Clockwise from the top we have:

  • Schoppel Wolle Admiral Ombré sock wool, with accompanying gift card depicting a crochet octopus because “knitting on DPNs can be like wrestling a squid”;
  • 3 Creme Eggs – in the accompanying crocheted Chick card Fourboys asks: “How do you each yours… Share or scoff?” Not share, anyway!
  • 1 pack of printed tissues “just cos they’re cute” – I quite agree and these will not be used on any old – or young – nose, let me tell you!
  • 1 manicure set: hand cream, cuticle cream and nail board so that I can “give myself a mini-manicure before I sit back on the couch to scoff some eggs and knit socks”. Though we’ve never met, Fourboys seems to know me very well.

I don’t know where Fourboys got the cards depicting a cute crocheted toys. One was attached to each individual item, as well as one for the parcel as a whole:

Cute!

  •  Centre: Bella, Morella and Fin are bees who love to perform. They have just started up their own singing trio, The Bee Flats. They’ve already lined up their first concert at the local nightclub, The Hive. The word on the street is that the night is set to be buzzing!
  • Top right: Squiddly Dudley is a whizz in the kitchen. He discovered his natural talent when he joined the navy and was put to work in the galley. His eight hands allow him to work at lightning speeds when he is cooking up the most amazing fish dishes.
  • Bottom right: Cheryl the Snail is a relaxed kind of girl. She doesn’t get why these days everyone is always in such a hurry. Her motto is to relax and take your time in life. If you don’t take a look at what’s around you every now and again, you may miss something important… like a tasty lettuce leaf to munch on for dinner! – as Fourboys says: “my kind of girl. Go Cheryl!”
  • Bottom left: Mrs Mittens has known Bubbles the Rabbit since she was a little bunny attemptng to take her first hops around the garden. They’ve been friends ever since. Their favourite weekend outing is to the fancy cafes it the city to sip herbal tea and eat huge slices of carrot cake.
  • Top right: Joaquim is a intelectual chick. He likes nothing more than burying his beak in a good book or discussing philosophy with his five brothers and sisters Their usual topic of discussion revolves around that age-old quiestion – what came first? The chicken or the egg?

This parcel is something of an epilogue to the Irish Knitters Swap. It was originally intended as part of an angel parcel that the swap organiser tried to put together when my original present went AWOL. I had always considered an angel parcel to be token-gesture; a small consolation prize for the main event going awol. On this occasion, the organiser opted to include six other people who’d been in the swap to make up an angel parcel to beat all swap parcels! Each person was allocated one of the seven sins and Fourboys had “Sloth”. It must have been a logistical night-mare, as the seven people cover – literally – the length and breadth of Ireland: Belfast and Cork, Galway and Dublin, Cavan and Kildare. 

After my parcel showed up – and I had got an angel parcel from my knitting buddies in the meantime – Fourboys insisted the organiser forward her presents on to me, rather than have them returned to her. The timing all coincided with me sending her a present for her birthday; so there was a lovely cycle of Karma flowing to-and-fro there.

Before I go, I have a Knitting F.O. to present:

Ishbel by Ysolda Teague in Dazzle BFL from The Natural Dye Studio

This was a perfect filler project in the run-up to the Ravelympics – though a little too addictive as I tended to favour it over poor GlenvarAgin! I have to get more of the Dazzle in a matchy colour from The Natural Dye Studio to make a matching beret. And I have to make this pattern again. Though, I think if I do, I’ll change the double decrease in the lace section from the [sl1, k2tog, psso] as written to [sl2- kwise, k1, p2sso] so that the double-decreases form a centralised spine.

Razzle dazzle ’em

Billy and Company:
Razzle dazzle ’em
Give ’em a show that’s so splendiferous

Billy:
Row after row will grow vociferous

Razzle Dazzle ’em from Chicago The Musical w. Fred Ebb, m. John Kander

So… you know the way that I’m being monogamous and back on the straight and narrow with DH’s GlenvarAgin Cardigan…

Yeah?…

…and I’m not going to succumb to Startitis like I did last month…

Uh-huh?…

Well…

Warning: Post-rationalisation disclaimer ahead:

One of the disadvantages of making seamless sweaters top-down is that they get too bulky to carry in and out to work every day, just so that you can do a row or two at lunch-time.

Wah…whinewhinewhine…

I realised this as I was about to head out the door to work yesterday morning lugging (what seemed like) the heaviest knitting bag in the world.

Wait… Le’mme break out the violins for you here…

The difficulty has arisen now that I’ve finished my Two Hoots! and the Ziggy Socks – my more recent projects for easy, portable, lunch-time knitting fodder.

Whadya want? A rubber medal?

I initially thought “socks” but then it dawned on me that my skein of Dazzle was all balled up and ready for action for the Ishbel I’m planning in Ravelympics.

I see where this is going…

So I cast on:

It's flying up...

And it’s soooooo addictive…

I hear ya!

And it’s going so slowly…

Rilly?

Yeah, I keep stopping every second row to push it into the middle of my cable so I can admire it for a few minutes… 😉

::rolls eyes::

Cue: music…

Billy and Company:
Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!
Give ’em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle ’em
Back since the days of old Methuselah
Everyone loves the big bambooz-a-ler

Give ’em the old three ring circus
Stun and stagger ’em
When you’re in trouble, go into your dance
Though you are stiffer than a girder
They let ya get away with a murder
Razzle dazzle ’em
And you’ve got a romance

Give ’em the old
Razzle dazzle