My current work in progress:

1. "T-Rex," designed by Rebecca Danger, knit from Blue moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in the "Lucky" colorway on U.S. size 3 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

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

Bang a Gong (Get It On)

(Apologies to the late great Mark Bolan)

What’s with the T-Rex song title? Because I finished my own little T-Rex!

TRex040814a 187x240 Bang a Gong (Get It On)

He is knit from Rebecca Danger’s Terrence the Tap Dancing T-Rex pattern. I used a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in the “Lucky” colorway, on a U.S. size 2 needle.

TRex040814 158x240 Bang a Gong (Get It On)

Just a couple of mods — I elected not to knit the striped chest piece because the yarn I used has a bit of a striping pattern in it.

After the body was half done, I knit the tail, rather than wait until after the body was complete and stuffed. I also knit the arms and legs at this point. Once the tail was done, I stuffed it and attached the legs to the body, and started stuffing the body. Once the body was complete, I sewed on the arms before finishing stuffing the body. Then, on to the head, stuffing the head, and embroidering on the face. That’s it!

This is intended as a baby gift for a baby boy due any time now.

And now I am knitting a bunny for the baby’s big sister. This one. It should be complete by my next blog post.

Loki Sez

Loki040914 202x240 Bang a Gong (Get It On)

“I like bunnies.”

Twelve Years

First things first, the winner of a copy of  Happy Feet by Cathy Carron is Jamie, who has been emailed. Thanks to everyone who left a comment to enter the contest and of course to the always-generous Sixth and Spring Books for supplying the books for review and giveaway.

It escaped my notice last week that my blog had a birthday. At the beginning of this month, my blog turned 12 years old. My original blog was part of my wendyjohnson.net domain and the very oldest entries are still over there. Here is my first week of blogging.

Gripping reading, is it not? I do think I’ve come a long way since then. icon wink Twelve Years

I am not doing anything in particular to celebrate 12 years of blogging. Later this month there will be a big Loki Birthday Extravaganza (more on that later) — that plus a blog birthday celebration is too much excitement for me.

Speaking of coming a long way . . .

The Nordic Scarf is done.

NordicScarf040614 144x240 Twelve Years

I thought it would be fun to make an i-cord fringe, so that’s what I did. The scarf is knit in the round and then laid flat, so I picked up a couple of stitches from the front and back for each i-cord. It’s fun and I like how it looks, so it is All Good!

Fringe040614 240x177 Twelve Years

The pattern will be coming soon. Now I will need to put the scarf away until next winter. For most of last week the weather has been more or less seasonable. No snow!

Speaking of spring, I notice that Loki is starting to blow his coat. He still has plenty of floof on board, but I am getting considerably more loose fur out of him each day when I groom him.  I learned pretty quickly that he needs to be groomed every day. I could get away with grooming Lucy once a week, but Loki’s fur is far thicker and longer than hers ever was. Because of that, I have found, unfortunately, that it does mat, so I am ever vigilant. I would much prefer to comb out any mats but Loki, as much as he loves his Momma and enjoys the grooming sessions, is after all a wiggly little boy, and I have resorted to cutting out a couple of mats. I don’t want to hurt him by pulling on tangles and therefore make grooming sessions unpleasant, but on the other hand I hate the idea of cutting chunks of fur out of his coat. I shouldn’t worry, I guess, because he has so much floof any mat-cutting I’ve done is pretty un-noticable.

T-Rex!

There were several questions in the comments about my stated necessity for knitting a T-Rex. Hey, sometimes a T-Rex is necessary!

This T-Rex will be a baby gift for a soon-to-be-born baby boy. I’ve not made great progress on it because I’ve been using it for lunchtime knitting only. I generally get interrupted with work-related stuff during lunch every day, so I do not have a lot of knitting time there. But now that the Nordic Scarf is all but done, I can turn my attention full-time to the T-Rex so will hopefully complete it pretty quickly.

Here is the body in progress. I’ve knitted the tail before completing the body as I though it would be easier than knitting it on the completed stuffed animal, as directed in the pattern.

Tail040614 240x160 Twelve Years

And I’ve started on a leg. I’ll knit the arms and legs next, then complete the body.

Leg040614 240x160 Twelve Years

After T-Rex completion I think I will work on a series of small projects for a while. I’ve done a few honking big projects in a row, so some quickie knits will be a fun change.

Loki is dreaming about what a “big Loki Birthday Extravaganza” entails!

Loki040614 240x192 Twelve Years

In the Spring

In the Spring a knitter’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of small projects. (With apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson for butchering one of his lines.) Small projects, you say? How about footwear?

I was sent this new book for review:

Book040214 208x240 In the Spring

This is Happy Feet by Cathy Carron, which has a publication date of April 1, 2014 — yesterday.

This is not just a book of sock patterns. Well, sock patterns it has, but it has all sorts of knitted items for your feet.

How about some legwarmers?

legwarmer040214 192x240 In the Spring

Or “yoga socks?”

lyoga040214 192x240 In the Spring

Or slippers?

slipper040214 192x240 In the Spring

There are also plenty of socks in this book. They range from plain:

plainsocks040214 240x165 In the Spring

To crazy:

ziggy040214 192x240 In the Spring

To amazing!

pianokeys040214 192x240 In the Spring

You can check out all 33 fun patterns on the book’s Ravelry page, here.

There is also a lot of great information on sock construction and step by step illustrated directions for techniques you need for some of the projects in the book. All in all a great book, with a little something for everyone.

The publisher, 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 Sunday, April 6, 2014. We will select a winner via the Random Number Generator at that time.

Loki Sez

Loki040214 240x165 In the Spring

“Mo-o-o-o-o-o-om . . . aren’t you finished on the computer yet?