My current work in progress:

1. Segel, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply Toes in the "Draco" gradient set on a 3.5 mm (U.S. size 4) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

No Fooling

Here is my new work in progress:

WIP043014 240x135 No Fooling

This is Foolproof, a design by Louise Zass-Bangham. It’s a garter-stitch cowl with a very clever and fun construction. From the pattern description:

How about a cowl with no casting on & no binding off?

It’s made in rows but ends up all in one piece.

There’s no knitting in the round, no sewing, no grafting, no provisional cast-on, no picking up stitches. Promise.

You can make it to your own custom size, in your own choice of yarn without having to make a tension square. No kidding.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I can assure you: it is fun!

I am making mine from Three Irish Girls Kells Sport, in the “Illusion” and “Mary Bailey” colorways, using a U.S. size 5 needle. My cowl is around 11″ wide and when complete will be around 60″ in circumference.

This pattern is highly adjustable. When I finish this, I am tempted to immediately cast on again with different yarn and do another one in a different strip pattern. This one is going to be a gift, so I can easily talk myself into knitting another one, this time for me.

Loki

On Monday when I got home from work I found that my cleaning lady had left me a note. When she arrived at my home earlier that day she discovered the television in my bedroom was on and Loki was lying on my bed on his back, with his head on my pillow, watching daytime television.

Clearly he was not listening when I warned him that too much daytime television would rot his brain.

Loki043014 240x240 No Fooling

MatchMaker

My Matchmaker is done!

MATCHMAKER042414 240x236 MatchMaker

To recap, this is the Matchmaker pattern by Martina Behm, knit from fingering weight Wollmeise in the Mistelzweig and Bob colorways on a U.S. size 3 needle. Because the pattern called for a 2.5mm needle, it is knit at a looser gauge, so my Matchmaker is larger than stated on the pattern.

It also used more yarn. I ran out of the solid color 4 rows before the end, so simply worked 4 fewer rows. I ran out of the variegated color in the “triangle” portion (this makes sense if you have knit this). But I had a second skein of the variegated “Bob” so used some of that. I also have a second  skein of Mistelzweig, but because it was so close, I didn’t bother to break into it. I just stopped the piece a little sooner.

To block it, I put it in the washer/dryer. Best idea I had this week! I put it in a mesh bag and washed it on the delicate cycle, using a warm water wash and rinse. I used my regular detergent — it’s one of those no-dye-added for sensitive skin detergents. Then I threw it in the dryer on the delicate setting until it was just dry. It came out looking perfect. It softened up beautifully and the stitches are all nice and even. Wollmeise unblocked feels sort of stringy so it really needs a good blocking. And this did it perfectly.

MatchmakerCloseup042714 240x135 MatchMaker

I have found that I wear my knitted cowls more than any other item I have ever knit. So I foresee a lot more cowl knitting in my future! Here’s the yrn for my next cowl:

Yarn042714 240x135 MatchMaker

Chemo Caps

Someone I know is a caregiver for a family member going through chemotherapy right now. She mentioned the following about the chemo caps at a cancer center:

The baskets filled with colorful hats is a cheery site, but a woman who is still working came in for chemo infusion dressed in a dark, professional suit and was looking for a neutral hat. When she found a dark grey hat, you would think she had found gold! So happy! I told her I will spread the word to knitters that neutral colors are needed and appreciated!

So I’m doing my bit here to spread the word a little further. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to knit a hat for someone going through chemotherapy.

Loki’s Plan for the Day

Loki042714 184x240 MatchMaker

Watching his favorite television show. I hope it doesn’t give him any ideas!

Happy Easter

Loki thanks you all for your kind birthday wishes. He would also like to remind you that in Honor of his third birthday all of my patterns available for sale on Ravelry (including my new Nordic Scarf pattern) are 40% off their regular price through the end of April if you use the coupon code LOKI when you check out. The code can be used as many times as you like before May 1, 2014.

On the knitting front, my Matchmaker is progressing nicely — I am getting close to the point where I will join it into a circle.

WIP042014 240x210 Happy Easter

And other than that, here is our plan for the day:

Loki042014 238x240 Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all who celebrate it!

Happy Birthday, Loki!

Today, April 16, is Loki’s birthday! He is three years old!

In honor of Loki’s birthday I am having a pattern sale: all of my patterns available for sale on Ravelry (including my new Nordic Scarf pattern) will be 40% off through the end of April if you use the coupon code LOKI when you check out. The code can be used as many times as you like before May 1, 2014. Tell your friends!

Book Giveaway Winner

Sheila, who has been emailed, is the winner of a copy of  Cute Crochet World, by Suzann Thompson. Thanks to everyone who left a comment!

Relaxing Knitting

Because I have done several picky or complex projects in a row, I figured it was time for some relaxing knitting. I wanted a nice mindless pattern that I could knit without thinking about it. I decided on Martina Behm’s Matchmaker.

I went into the stash room and selected two colorways of Wollmeise fingering weight that I thought would look good together: Bob and Mistelzweig. The pattern directs you to use a 2.5mm needle. I am using a 3.25mm needle for the simple reason that is is the smallest size in which Signature Needle Arts circular needles are made. Fortunately, I like the look of the fabric at this gauge.

And I’ve made some good progress on my Matchmaker:

WIP041614 240x157 Happy Birthday, Loki!

The pattern directs you to break off the colors at the end of each section. Rather, I am carrying it up the side by knitting the color not in use together with the color being used at the end of each even-numbered row.

LastStitch041614 240x224 Happy Birthday, Loki!

It makes a nice stretchy edge and eliminates the number of ends I need to weave in. In an item like this that is more or less reversible, I like not having a lot of ends to weave in.

Edge041614 186x240 Happy Birthday, Loki!

I now need to go play with the Birthday Boy. He has been resting up so he’ll be all set for an extended play session tonight!

BirthdayBoy041614 240x140 Happy Birthday, Loki!

Cute

I recently received a copy of a soon-to-be-published book (May 6, 2014), Cute Crochet World, by Suzann Thompson. This is a collection of crochet patterns for . . . a lot of cute stuff. icon smile Cute

Cover041314 222x240 Cute

I guess this falls under the definition of amigurumi (which I looked up in wikipedia):

Amigurumi (編みぐるみ?, lit. crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knittingor crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, andnuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.[1] Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features,[2] as is typical in Japanese culture.

The patterns in this book are for items that are not stuffed (at least for the most part), so I guess technically they are not amigurumi. But the wikipedia entry goes on to say that the pervading aesthetic of amigurumi is cuteness. And that’s one thing this book has plenty of: cuteness!

The book is divided into six chapters: Critters; Food; Growing Things; Seasons; Toys, Tools, Transportation; and Home.

BackCover041314 240x159 Cute

I’ve picked out my favorites from each category. In the Critters section, I love this little turtle:

Turtle041314 200x240 Cute

For Food, how about a slice of kiwi fruit?

Kiwi041314 221x240 Cute

Or perhaps some grapes from the “Growing Things” section?

Grapes041314 179x240 Cute

Under “Seasons,” I love the nest complete with wee eggs!

Eggs041314 240x172 Cute

The eggs are stuffed, so they do qualify as amigurumi!

And in “Toys, Tools, Transportation” a fleet of baby carriages:

BabyCarriages041314 240x119 Cute

In “Home,” A seriously cute vintage tv set, complete with rabbit ear antenna:

TV041314 240x132 Cute

I can see using these motifs to decorate gifts, hang on a Christmas tree, put together into a larger piece, the list goes on. The book offers some creative ideas for using your tiny masterpieces, both in a section at the beginning of the book and s tips included in each pattern. The patterns themselves look pretty clear and easy to follow. You can make the motifs from pretty much any weight of yarn — the instructions are generic — they do not specify a specific yarn.

Once again, Sixth & Spring Books, has generously offered me a second copy to give away in a blog contest. Who’d like it?

To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment on this blog post by 11:00 am eastern time on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. We will select a winner via the Random Number Generator at that time.

Speaking of Cute

We have here a completed bunny.

Bunny041014 240x197 Cute

I used some lovely bunny-colored Cormo wool left over from another project.

Bunny041014b 162x240 Cute

The tail is knit from a frou-frou floofy fun fur yarn I got in a mystery box. I can think of no better use for it than a bunny tail!

Bunny041014a 240x147 Cute

Furminator!

Thanks to those of you who recommended the Furminator for Loki’s grooming needs. I have a comb that works very well that he likes: the teeth move, so they don’t pull at his fur. But I went ahead and ordered a Furminator because he is right now blowing his coat for Spring and my world is currently covered with a fine coat of white cat hair.

It arrived a couple of days ago and we gave it a whirl. It did do a fabulous job of pulling out a great deal of loose fur, and Loki seemed to enjoy the process.

Loki041314 240x184 Cute