Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I made this Loch Ness Monster for a friend using a pattern from Hansigurumi. The color had to be deep-dark-loch colors. I used 2 colors of mohair boucle, holding them together to make a tight furry fabric. (OK, Nessie is probably not furry, but I dare you to prove it.) The pattern was very easy to follow, though the tiny horns were a bit tough to do well in the round.

I am happy to report that the recipient was totally tickled with the gift. :-)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pleasure of a full bobbin

There is nothing like the joy of a full bobbin. It is something beyond the sense of accomplishment or the possibilities of finished objects to come. You KNOW that fiber. Every bit of it has passed through your fingers. You have put some of yourself into it, and thus it is a part of you. You have transformed it from one stage of its being to another, and knowing it so intimately, you see the beauty of its simplicity and form. I imagine woodcarvers and potters and other folks who make things with their hands feel similarly about their process and product. How does one distinguish an artisan from an artist? In my mind (as of this afternoon, anyway) an artist is all about the completed idea, while an artisan is about the interaction with the materials and the skill of the execution, in addition to the beauty and usefulness of the finished object. This is why I prefer to be an artisan rather than an artist.

Apparently a full bobbin inspires philosophizing, too.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One-Skein Bamboo Neck Pillow

I am very pleased with how well my neck-pillow-for-migraine-sufferers came out so I thought I would write up the instructions. It is very easy and can be made by anyone who can knit in the round on double points. Gauge is not particularly important. It could be scaled up to make an ice-filled lumbar cushion or it could be stuffed with ordinary stuffing to make a travel pillow.

So here goes my first try at publishing a pattern:


- 1 skein of Southwest Trading Company 100% Bamboo (or any other non-itchy yarn that suits your fancy)
- 1.5 yards ribbon or other material to make ties (twisted cords made of the Bamboo would be just fine)

- one set of four or five size 4 (3.5mm) double points (or size to suit your yarn)

- Mine was 7ss/inch, but anything close will work.

Cast on 60ss (using whatever cast on you prefer) and join into round.

Rounds 1-2: *(P1,K1)* repeat to end of round
Round 3: *(K2tog, YO)* repeat to end of round (be sure to remember the final YO)
Rounds 4-5: *(P1,K1)* repeat to end of round

SECTION 2 (the boring part):
Knit straight for 9 inches
(You could add a color pattern to make it more interesting, but avoid adding texture unless you want to emboss it into your neck.)

Section 3:
Rounds 1-2: *(P1,K1)* repeat to end of round
Round 3: *(K2tog, YO)* repeat to end of round (be sure to remember the final YO)
Rounds 4-5: *(P1,K1)* repeat to end of round
Bind off all stitches fairly loosely.

(Note - you could substitute any lace pattern that works over 60ss)
Pick up 60ss around one end of tube. Distribute onto 3 or 4 needles as desired.
Round 1: K
Round 2: *(K1, YO)* Repeat to end
Round 3: K
Round 4: P
Round 5: K

Increase 4 stitches on first needle as follows:
Knit 1st stitch, but do not remove from left needle. Instead put loop from right needle onto left. Now knit that loop and put it also on left needle. Continue 2 more times to make a total increase of 4 stitches.
Row 1: K3, K2tog, turn
Row 2: K4 (to end of needle), turn
Repeat these two rows until all stitches are consumed.
Graft last 4ss to first 4 increase stitches by either Kitchner or simply binding off and sewing together.


Weave in any loose ends. Weave ribbon or other cord through the eyelet holes made in SECTION 1 and 3.

To use: put ice in a small zip-top bag and roll bag in a wash cloth. Put roll in neck pillow and cinch ends. Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Log cabin with a twist

Sorry for my lengthy absence. SO much to talk about! Since I last posted I have been to Kentucky, finished two projects and started 2 more.

I will start with the long promised debut of my mystery project. It is related to the trip to Kentucky, as it was a wedding gift for my nephew and his intended (now wife). I wanted to make the happy couple something extra special, so I spun up a fleece that I have had in my stash for several years. Here's a picture of Tippy, a cormo lamb whose hoggett fleece was fine, soft, and very white. I spun up the yarn, then immersion dyed it, first blue, then (after removing half) overdyed it with yellow to make the emerald green that is one of the bride's favorite colors. I held two strands together as I knit to make a very cushy, warm blanket. To give the log cabin pattern a modern twist, I varied the thickness of the stripes as I went along, instead of doing the traditional balanced squares. I thought I could finish it by the end of April, but with a busy schedule I found myself still knitting away until the end of June, sweating under a heavy blanket in 90 degree temperatures. I think it was worth it. I am so pleased with how well it came out that I want to make another in purples for my trailer. Here's the happy couple with the blanket.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

One-skein Bamboo Blues Solved

Just one skein of fancy purple oh-so-soft bamboo yarn. What's a girl to do? Set it on the coffee table and contemplate it for a month or two. Not enough for socks. Too nice to serve as a cat toy (thus we remove it from the cat and put it back on the coffee table). It came to me in a flash of pain. Really. Migraine pain. The perfect use of this super soft, but decadently priced yarn would be a neck pillow! One that can accommodate ice wrapped in a washcloth. I started with eyeleted rib for a ribbon drawstring at each end, then will pick up the cast-on and cast-off to add a little lace at each end. And if I have enough yarn left I can make an eye mask for the full anti-migraine experience.