All Hallows Eve

Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!”
~Dexter Kozen

It’s Halloween! The Encyclopedia of Religion states that “the British church attempted to divert the interest in pagan customs by adding a Christian celebration to the calendar on the same date as Samhain, the ancient Celtic name for the festival that eventually would be renamed Halloween.” I find it fascinating how many traditions in numerous cultures and religions can be traced back to pagan customs. This time of year has numerous holidays. Saturday was Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Today is a Hallows Eve. November 1 is All Saints Day, and November 2 is the Day of the Dead. Do you have any traditions around this time of year? I typically watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” It was a childhood favorite that I still enjoy as an adult.

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All Hallows Eve means it’s the end of October. EEK! Where did the month go? I know I’ve not posted much the past two weeks. I’ve been knitting, honest! It’s rather annoying when my adult responsibilities get in the way of my crafting pursuits. Last time I posted, I only had one liberated wip for October. Above, is my second liberated wip. Okay, it wasn’t a wip for very long since it was a commissioned item. My Reindeer Hat, uses Malabrigo Rios in Cocoa and Natural. This free pattern is called Reindeer Antler Baby Beanie. This has a solo photo since it’s already at it’s forever home.

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Lately I’ve been feeling sort of bogged down by all my wips, I decided a few items I frog may need to live in sort of a hibernating bin. I found a few projects that only had about an inch done. I still want to make the pattern and in a few cases probably in that same yarn, but I want to get my wips down to a reasonable number. Two of this months frogged items are going in this bin. Both projects are from the Curls book. The other frogged items are a shawl from Malabrigo March 2015 and a Tour de Sock from 2015. Both of these projects had no progress over a year.

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This month I have four frogged projects and five finished projects. There was  a moment I didn’t think I was going to make it this month. In more exciting news, I’ve made up for my slow month in June. I’m back to eight projects each month.

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Practicing Patience

Our patience will achieve more than our force. ~ Edmond Burke

Patience when knitting or blocking lace is a must. Pinning out a lace shawl or scarf can be painstaking, but it is worth the effort. There are so many different ways to block garments. One can soak and then block, there’s steaming and also wet blocking. Lace must be blocked to open up the pattern otherwise it’s going to look like cooked noodles. Over the weekend, I blocked my first Liberated Orphan of October. My Portland Bias Scarf is completed. I know it seems a bit silly finishing a breezy summer scarf when the rainy season just started here. I hardly ever have new lightweight knit wear for the Spring and Summer. I normally knit warmer items for Autumn and Winter so this will be a nice change. This scarf is Risoni silk yarn. The drape is stunning, and I love the slubs of silk making thick and thin bits. Many people shy away from silk because it can stretch and grow while blocking. I’ve achieved good results pinning out a garment while dry and then spraying it wet with a misting water bottle.

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Update on other wips:

  • Frank in Pairs: Eight Frank rows completed towards stripe number five.
  • Dewberry Dancer: Sadly nothing new on this one yet this week. I think I caught it glaring at me this morning as I dashed through the lounge on my way to work.

I haven’t had a photo of Gracie in a bit so here’s an oldie, but a goodie.

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One wip orphan down and eight more to go!

 

Ailurophile

A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not. ~ Ernest Hemingway

It’s no secret. I’m a cat lover. As I write today’s blog post, Ernie is purring his heart out on my lap. Periodically, he’ll move and stare up at me commending me to fuss him. I recently ran across a few articles on the best places for cat lovers to vacation. Travel and Leisure did an article The Craziest Places for Cat lovers. The article contains some fascinating vacation spots from all over the world. Key West has been on my vacation list for awhile now. Visiting Hemingway’s house has clawed it’s way to the top of my list. Hemingway’s home has about 40-50 polydactyl cats. Of course after a stormy weekend, I’m longing for a little sunshine. We were fortunate not to lose power and fortunate the storms weren’t as strong as predicted. Our lights flickered exactly five times on Friday, but never stayed off more than 30 seconds. This meant I had a chance to cook, bake and knit.

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Flickering lights don’t scare me! I’m upside down cat. 

I made a pot of cheddar cauliflower soup that could easily be heated on our propane grill had the need occurred.

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I also tried my first Mary Berry cake recipe. I tried a gingerbread sponge. The flavor is excellent, but I should have taken it out of the oven five minutes sooner. As I was taking it out of the pan, I could just hear Paul and Mary saying it was cracked and slightly over baked. Not good for competitive baking, but easily fixed with some sauce and pumpkin ice cream.

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Update on other wips:

  • Frank in Pairs: Four stripes done and six rows completed towards stripe number five. This is now 15 inches long. I am aiming for the Frank side to be around 35 inches.
  • Dewberry Dancer: Six rows of section two are complete. Only 94 more to go!
  • I think maybe it’s time to pullout another project from the bins. Maybe one that could be used as a Christmas gift.

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The Projectionist

Since I talked about the best places for cat lovers to vacation, I thought it only fitting I review the 1940’s film, Cat People. This movie starts off with an ominous quote about evil and sin. I was tempted to cover my eyes with the aviatrix hat I was knitting, but the scene quickly changed to the zoo. The leading lady is often playful as a kitten, but shows her true nature when another female comes into her territory. This movie is full of cat innuendos including a dead bird, lions, caterwauling, a pacing panther and a robe torn to shreds. The only items missing are catnip and yarn.

While there was no yarn in the movie, the leading lady did play with some wool. (Okay, it might still be attached to the sheep.)

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This is how Ernie waited out the storms. He was attempting me to reorganize my craft room by making space in the bag bin.

The Calm Before the Storm

A smooth sail never made a skillful sailor.

The rainy season has officially begun in the Pacific Northwest. Last week, we flirted with the season change. We had a few rainy mornings, but the afternoons were sunny. I even managed to catch a double rainbow last week right as I started my work day. Tonight, we are expecting the first rain storm of the season to hit with high winds, flooding and possible power outages. We have our emergency supplies ready. Admittedly, it’s mostly alternative lightening so I can knit. If we do lose power, I plan to work on something bright and cheerful. Last month, I started an ankle version of Rye socks. These are my KC and the Sunshine Band socks made from Malabrigo Rios in Sunset. One can’t help but be happy with these adorning your feet.

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Update on other wips:

  • Portland Bias Scarf: Skein three has 4.05 grams left.
  • Frank in Pairs & Dewberry Dancer: these are both hoping for a power outage so I work on them.

I think Ernie found a place to weather the storm.

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Stay tuned for a whirl wind of finished projects during the last two weeks of October.

Hats with Accoutrements

Hats are like a halo of happiness.

It’s Tuesday. That means hats. Today I’m talking about hats with accoutrements or extra paraphernalia. I’m currently working on two different hats that have accoutrements. I’m also using two different ways to attach the fiddly bits. The first is I’m no Chicken. I’m using Malabrigo Rios on this one. The pattern is Little Chicken Baby Hat that I adapted to be for an adult. I did some research on the best way to attach knitted parts. I came across a helpful tutorial on Stitch Geek. Basically, I whipped stitched the comb, but left the bottom open. This allowed me to whip stitch both sides onto the hat giving it sort of a 3-D effect. It also helps it stand up. You can sort of see the close up below.

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The second hat I’m working on has been commissioned by my coworker (I hardly ever do this). I’m making a reindeer hat again out of Malabrigo Rios. The pattern is Reindeer Antler Baby Beanie.  This pattern has pick up stitches and knit the antler and ears onto the hat. You can see I’m almost done with the second antler. This way does seem a bit quicker to finish.

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Update on other wips:

  • Portland Bias Scarf: Skein three has 7.40 grams left.
  • Frank in Pairs: Nothing new on this one or the next one.
  • Dewberry Dancer: I really think this shawl could help out around the house some through the week so I would have more time to knit.

This week Burt was checking out the new movie releases in Sound and Vision. He misread the title of Batman vs. Superman thinking it was Batman vs. Catwomen. I think Burt has a crush on Catwoman.

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Okay, I know what you’re thinking. It’s almost the middle of the month and no liberated Orphan wips yet. What can I say. Where does the time go?

Changing of the Seasons

October’s poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter. ~ Nova S. Blair

The days are getting shorter, the air is crisp and mother nature is putting on a spectacular show. One day a tree is green and the next day the foliage has changed to bright oranges and reds. Changing of the seasons also means it’s time to pull out some hand knits that were tucked away for summer. This week I started wearing hand knit socks. The first pair I wore was from Tour de Sock 2013. The lovely cable pattern is Chicane by Debbie O’Neil. It keeps my feet warm and toasty on the chilly rainy days. I especially love matching heels and toes. Have you pulled out your winter knits yet? Do you have a favorite knit item you like to wear first? Or maybe you have a favorite Autumn recipe you make every year to signify the change of seasons.

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Update on other wips:

  • Portland Bias Scarf: Skein three has 8.70 grams left. I’m starting to wonder how many grams do I need for a two row border and bind off.
  • Frank in Pairs: The fourth Pairs stripe is finished. Maybe this week, I’ll get another photo update.
  • Dewberry Dancer: Section one is complete! This shawl now has about 140 stitches. Section two has about 100 rows and will increase to about 370 stitches on each row.

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The Projectionist

Last week, I mentioned a new section coming to my blog. Here I will review a new movie every week. Each month will have a theme. October is Hide Behind your Knitting Movies. For my very first movie review, I watched Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man! From the opening credits, I could tell this was going to be a claw biter. Immediately, the sinister music set the tone. I was tempted to cover my eyes in the opening graveyard scene. Unfortunately, my Portland Bias Scarf is pretty see-through so I didn’t miss any of the action. Size 5 knitting needles and lace weight silk yarn doesn’t really make a good curtain for censoring scary movies. It does, however, make a very breezy summer time scarf. Maybe I should have been working on some dense fingerless mitts Wolf Man could use. He’s so hairy it would have to be a very tight gauge to keep the hair from poking through. Or maybe some neck bolt cozies for Frankenstein. Those must get pretty chilly in the mountains.

In 113 action packed minutes this movie had  monsters, gypsies, singing, dancing, an angry mob scene, a love story and an explosion. Another five or ten minutes and the conspiracy theory section would have had more life. My stockinette scarf was just the right project to avoid missing any crucial plot points. I like movies that have ambiguous endings to keep me guessing. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man did just that.

If you like your leading men to have facial hair and a bit of an overbite, then this movie is for you!

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Ernie was prepared in case the Wolf Man got out of hand.

Hats for Halloween

There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch. ~Robert Braun

Halloween is a chance for adults to unleash their inner child. A chance to let your inhibitions run free. This can easily be transferred to knitting. The creativity one can express in knitting is endless. Last year, I made the British Hubby and myself Spider Beanies out of Malabrigo Rios. The pattern is Spider Slouchy. The British Hubby likes to wear his inside out all year round. He thinks it grips his head nicely when he runs (I may have gave him a funny look when he told me that, but at least he’s wearing it). This year, I stumbled upon a fun book from the library, Knitted Animal Hats.  I especially love Pattie the Cow and Leandro the Lion.

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Update on other wips:

  • Portland Bias Scarf: Skein three has 15.08 grams left.
  • Frank in Pairs: I just finished the third Pairs stripe. I love how this is turning out.
  • Dewberry Dancer: No new progress on this.

What’s this? Yesterday, I gave an item a nice soak. Could it be the first Liberated Orphan Wip of October?

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Burt’s checking out his investments. I suspect he’s put everything into tuna. Or maybe he’s interested in being the first tuxedo kitty on Mars. He is our most adventurous kitty.

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