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Where have I been?

It’s been a long time. I have not felt the inspiration to blog as I should even though I have been knitting up a storm. Blame it on nothing. But today I put my Twitter feed up on my blog, so at least there will be new content.

Knitting up a storm: Designed and knit a pair of socks last week, knit two hats yesterday and today, finished off several other hats that needed additional decoration, started another sock today – same design, new yarn, hand-dyed, new recipient.

I think I may be coming back from my depression. That’s what this has been about – the non-participation I mean. I have other ideas to kickstart myself too. You’ll be hearing from me.

Men in hats

I had to knit Half-Dome again. I love that pattern, even if I do knit it in the round and not flat like YarnBoy Jesse Loesberg designed it. I was in one of my favourite restaurants a while ago, (The Dish, on Davie St. in Vancouver BC, and overheard Andrew, one of the owners, say he could use a hat to wear under his bike helmet.

I couldn’t resist and offered then and there to knit it for him. He asked me to use grey and black so I headed off to one of my favourite knitting stores, Three Bags Full on Main, in Vancouver where I discovered that they had no grey. I did find a wonderful green yarn though so I called Andrew and asked him if that would work. Thank heaven he agreed.

So I use Lorna’s Laces again, with a green body and a black brim and it turned out so well, even if I did have to knit it three times. The first time I knew it was too big, so I ripped back and made it with eight fewer stitches, and then it was too small, so I ripped back and made it with four more stitches than the last time and finally it was just right.

I delivered it to Andrew one day and then told him he had to have it with him the next day when I brought in some friends to see it and to take photos.

Here’s Andrew showing off the wonderful colour of the hat from the side.

Andrew side view

And here’s Andrew at work. I haven’t got a picture of him with his bike helmet, but then it would be invisible anyway.

Andrew at counter

Andrew is a cyclist and runner, and when I last saw him back in the beginning of December he was getting ready to go to Las Vegas to run a marathon. I don’t know if he’ll need his hat there.

A little history now. I met James over 26 years ago when I visited him with my new partner Geordie in San Francisco. We had a great visit, and invited him back to visit us in Calgary. He arrived in February – not the best time to visit Canada and he was not prepared for the weather. It being cold, and snowy, he was freezing, so I knit him a hat from a lovely Briggs and Little homespun yarn I happened to have lying around.

James came back into our lives just a year or so ago. He was now with his partner Terry of 26 years and they had decided to buy a pied a terre in Vancouver to get some respite from their hard difficult lives in Hawaii (yeah, right, a likely story).

But James and Terry love Vancouver and luckily for James, he had held onto that hat for the last 26 years and finally had a reason to wear it again. Why it didn’t get moth eaten after being stored for so long is a mystery to me, but I guess it means that this Canadian yarn is indestructible.

James

Mind you, Terry was in Vancouver too, and he needed a hat, but didn’t have one from way back like James did. So I had to knit him one too. His is quite unique. I designed it myself and for some unknown reason I made it reversible. I wonder if that is any advantage.

So here is Terry’s less than a month old hat – but one he got to wear during our freak snowstorm which brought cold weather for days.

Terry

Finally, we needed a group picture. Here you see all of us. Andrew with his green and black halfdome, James with a 26 year old brown hat, me with my first halfdome in green and black, Terry with month old purple hat, and my husband Geordie with a Half-Dome in Blue and Black (yarns from Lorna’s Laces on that one, too.)

Men in Hats

The new Gay Rainbow Hat

I love the Half-Dome hat by Jesse Loesberg in the Summer 2006 issue of
Knitty.com. My first one was a great success and I love wearing it, even if I don’ fit the criteria (having a decent head of hair).

However, one really wants to improve on an original sometimes, with apologies to the originator. I’m sure Picasso didn’t appreciate all the people who followed him but he had to put up with it, so apologies to Jesse right now. Anyway, what I came up with by accident started at the top instead of at the bottom and since I am not a believer in sewing up much, I knit this one in the round with no seam to sew up at the end, just two ends to sew in, one top, one bottom.

The yarn for this one is from Lorna’s Laces again – like the Heavenly Camisole. It’s Shepherd Sport weight again, but the rainbow repeat is done from red to purple and back to purple so it’s not just a simple red to purple, red to purple colouration. The colour sections are very short too, so one gets a lot of colour over all.

My design skills need work, of course, since when I was doing the math to work out the increases, I made a tiny error and instead of increasing on both sides of a quadrant of the hat, I managed to do my increases one at a time giving me not quadrants but octrants (oh I don’t think that’s a word, but it looks good so I’ll keep it).

Here it is on my head – it’s a little small for me but I stretched it over my big head anyway, just so I could show it off. It may have to go to my grandson, who is only five. Maybe it’s too big for him.

And here it is, stuffed with a towel to show the increases in a better light.

This may not be Jesse’s original hat, but I like it anyway. Any questions? Ask away.

The Amazing Multi-Purpose Washcloth

When I purchased my skein of this purple Euroflax linen, the intention was to make myself a washcloth to use in the swimming pool. I had already purchased some man-made fibre and used it, but since my gay knit group always introduced the new knitters to a simple washcloth to practice their new skills, it seemed that I was the only one without one, since I wasn’t a newbie.

I wanted to do something with a challenge though and I found it in the book Knitter’s Stash ( KS)which I had already used to make the Heavenly Camisole as a Christmas present for my friend Midge. The pattern that called to me was the Dragon Scales pattern which is found in other books as well – I found it most recently in the Vogue Knitting Stitchonary, (VKS) although there was a minor variation in the knitting instructions. KS called for an SSK decrease, while the VKS called for a K2tbl in its place. Seems I must have been psychic since I was actually using the K2tbl by mistake anyway.

Since I had a full skein, it seemed logical to use as much as the yarn as possible. The original pattern called for casting on 71 stitches to make a square washcloth. That gave a 5 pattern repeat. I didn’t need the piece that wide of course, so I cast on 45 stitches which gave a three pattern repeat instead. And I knit, and knit, and knit until I couldn’t stand it anymore and cast off with probably enough to do one more 12 row repeat. But who needed it? The washcloth was already 42 inches long which certainly was enough for me to hold in both hands and give my back a good scrub.

Here you see me demonstating the wonderful length of my washcloth. Forgive the partial nudity, but I am wearing my swimsuit which seemed to be the appropriate way to demonstrate the success of my endeavour. Just forgive the not quite perfect body. You do get to see my smile in the second picture of course.

Now what makes this the multi-purpose you ask? Well the next picture demonstrates how this lovely 42 inch washcloth will double quite nicely as a small but effective scarf. The good thing is that when this cloth is washed and dried in the dryer, or ironed with a nice hot iron, the linen softens up so that it is no longer scratchy as it is in its first iteration. Apparently the linen will continue to soften over time. The only disappointment is that although one can wear it to the pool on a cool winter’s evening, after using it as a washcloth it can’t be worn home quite so comfortably.

Me on my balcony with my rather mediaeval looking linen neckcloth.

Notwithstanding, this is a great success. I am very happy with my natural fibre washcloth and its alternate use as a scarf is just gravy. Good tasty gravy.

Done Doily – Morning Glorys

My mother and aunt were both addicted to doilies, but my mother liked to crochet them. I was always impressed with the amazing doilies my aunt produced using her knitting needles though – I always wondered why she didn’t crochet like my mother. Now I think that she actually didn’t crochet anyway – knitting was her forte and if that meant she wanted a doily she had to knit it. So knit she did.

The doily here is one I made following the Knitalong provided by KnitterguyKev in my GLBknit list. He provided the pattern eight rows at a time and since in the beginning that meant knitting very little, I was somewhat impatient for the next week’s pattern because I would finish the work very quickly. Things progressed though so by week four the rows were getting longer, the design a little more complicated and the challenge harder. And it did not do to make a mistake. Unknitting when one has done double yarn overs, and k3togs was more than a little difficult with the small gauge crochet cotton I was using.

This doily was knit using number 20 mercerized crochet cotton, and size 1, 2.25mm needles. A fine piece of work and when I was knitting something else and came back to these small needles it felt as if I was suddenly in the land of Brobdinag with Gulliver, attempting to work these tiny designs when I had such giant fingers.

In any case, I finished the doily on time, pinned it out finally and sprayed it with cotton starch today, ironed it out and it now takes pride of place on our side table. And I have come to an even better appreciation of the dedication my aunt made to her craft since her doilies were at least twice as big as this one, which is only about 9 1/2 inches in diameter, not including the crocheted chain edging.

I attempted to photograph it on the oak side table, but got a terrible reflection, so laid it out on my large ottoman which gives a much better view of the work. Thanks Kev, and congratulations to the other people who also finished, especially Renate who finished first!

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Dragon Scales and Country living

Our time in the country is at an end. It was a great getaway. We saw bighorn sheep on the way up four days ago, geese flying across the lake at sunset today, and lots of little quail, their topknots bobbing, running across the roads. And up here we had plenty of time to get in some good video watching, Mystery with the Inspector Lynley series, and tonight the first half of Painted Lady, a departure for Helen Mirren, but great television. (And there’s even a gay character, although as it happens oh so often, we last saw him hanging, gagged and tied by a trick he picked up. But we think there’s hope. We’ll see when we watch the conclusion.)

Well, away from that gory image. I also got lots of knitting done and lots of ideas thunk through. Above you see my linen washcloth, which is another pattern from the Knitter’s Stash book (home of the Heavenly Camisole). This one is in a lovely soft purple, although I’ve found that linen is not so soft to knit. I am promised that it will soften up in the wash. I will be the most expensively washed man after my swim workouts with the English Bay Swim Club, once this is finished. Since starting it today or was it yesterday? its at least double what you see here. I’ve given you two pictures, just because the lighting I used in them show the patterns differently and I thought that was worth a look. The yarn is Euroflax for those who were wondering and the pattern is called Dragon’s Scales, which appealed to me. I have a feeling I saw it in one of those pattern books (Barbara W?) called Dragon Skin, but I haven’t confirmed that.

I’m planning to make this piece at least a metre long – or rather, as long as I can make it with the yardage I have. That way I can use it to wash my back, that being the whole point.

Back to the city tomorrow, and my yoga class tomorrow night, my physio on Thursday – all those things I do to get my back back into shape. Posted by Picasa

Me knitting

I wanted to have a picture in my profile. It doesn’t seem so easy to do, but I did get one in. Now Idon’t know if I can delete the picture here, but hey, why bother? I’m sitting in our friend’s cabin working on my dragon scales washcloth. More to come on that soon, with pictures. It’s a gorgeous evening, after rain; we had a lovely sun spell, and then, just as the sun was setting a flock of geese flew by past the trees, over the lake and back again. Silhouetted against the sky they were a magnificent sight.

I’ve gotten lots of knitting done here, as well as some thinking about some things I want to knit. I have an idea for a hat, I’m thinking about knitting a jacket, (which I’ll have to design myself), I want to knit two hats as Christmas presents, I still have my felted clogs to think about. I may have to take knitting needles with me to Mexico so I can knit on the beach, in Puerto Vallarta at the Blue Chairs, over Christmas, or in the New Year, on the nude beach at Puerto Angel. (That should look funny.)

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