Archive for February, 2008

Knitting Leftovers = ‘Furrrocious’ Dog Sweaters Four Ways

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FROM MOM’S LITTLE WRAP …

I’m an unabashed Rowan fan.  Give me most any Rowan pattern or any Rowan yarn, and I’ll be in heaven.  So when I stumbled on the delicious Ribbon Twist yarn from Rowan a couple of years ago in a series of patterns in Rowan 38, I ordered up some of this pretty yarn and made myself a “Charlotte” in the Ribble colorway ~ a soft sage green with strands of royal blue, turquoise and yellow running through it.  Here’s the little ponchette, one of my favorite wraps:

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This took four skeins (for smaller sizes, it’s three) and was worked on size US 17 needles in about a day and a half.

When I found out recently that my lovely Ribbon Twist has been discontinued by Rowan, I snapped up some more ~ it’s a luxurious yarn, big and thick (2 sts = 1″), in an absolutely glorious collection of colors.  Since everybody I know was discovering the Charlotte, I decided to make another one, in the colorway Rocky, a granite gray with pale gray and black ribbon:

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TO A RUG …

Another great yarn being axed by Rowan is Big Wool Tuft, a big, soft, plushy wonder that is from the same era as Ribbon Twist and comes in eight or 10 colors that coordinate with the Ribbon Twist colors.  They’re used together in “Ribbon Twist Collection,” an old Rowan book I wish I had, in “Big It Up”, “Big Just Got Bigger” and, as mentioned, Rowan 38.  A friend saw a little doggie sweater I had knitted out of white Big Wool Tuft an suggested it would make a good rug.  Well, sure!

Yarniverse is currently selling Big Wool Tuft, normally $10 a ball, at $22 for a bag of 10 balls! So I snapped up three bags ~ one black, one gray, to make my daughter a bedside “faux-kati” rug, and another in off-white, just for fun.  Ribbon Twist is on sale all over the place, at Jimmy Beans Wool, for example, where you can also get the Big Wool Tuft for $3.99 a ball if you don’t want a bag full.

TO A NEW ‘WARDROBE’ FOR THE PUPS

But the best part is the fun I’ve had working up a cute sweater pattern for the puppies using these two yarns.  The pattern is for a basic sweater in Ribbon Twist with two choices of hems ~ seed stitch or knitted faux fur (Big Wool Tuft).  But that’s where the basic ends and the fancy-schmancy begins.  The sweater neck is trimmed in big, bold vintage buttons, and my two different versions have either a button-on “fur” collar or button-on “fur”-trimmed hoodie.  Here are my two angels in their new finery:

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Now, you’ve met Willie, the fat little Yorkie on the left above, the ham-of-all-hams; but you’ve never been introduced to Chopsticks, my sweet, camera-shy miniature schnauzer mix, a rescue pup who’s a darling love bug, most excellent house-guarder, and ~ usually ~ not the first on the list of puppy knits.  Since Willie’s my muse and he’s tiny, he gets the pretty duds.  But this time I let Chopsy have the sweetest sweater ~ and she absolutely loves it!  You have never seen a prouder puppy.

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Chopsy’s sweater has the hoodie, and Willie’s has the “fur” collar (such a little pimp!).  As a friend said yesterday, the sweaters are great for travel ~ one outfit you can wear two ways.  And what about those Glamour mag office-to-evening switcheroos?  Add a pair of dressy pumps and some darker eye shadow, and that plain-jane dress goes right from work to date ~ just like Willie and Chopsy’s sweaters!

There’s a pdf download for this quick and easy pattern on my FREE PATTERNS page.  Soon to follow, a FREE TUTORIAL on how to line a dog sweater neck ~ and why you should.

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A Valentine to My Right Arm

michael-2007.jpg   A month ago today I had surgery for a significant tear in my right rotator cuff.  Since then, I’ve been trying to negotiate life in a sling attached to my body.  I can knit ~ up to a point, then it starts hurting like all getout.  I can work the computer, but some days I have to hand over the mouse to my left hand and let it do the work.   I can’t sleep at night for the pain, and I don’t know when it will end. 

I bring this up because today is That Day.  That Day when you’re supposed to shower the one you love with kisses and bouquets and candy and special tokens.  This is best I can do today, but my heart overflows with how much I mean what I have to say about my dear husband, Michael.

We met 20 years ago this coming St. Patrick’s Day, and three weeks later we were married, first marriage for me, second for him.  Everyone said it wouldn’t last, but once we got going I knew it would.  We’ve been through a lot over the past 20 years ~ open heart surgery and five bypasses for Michael, the frustration of infertility and the joy of adopting our baby from China, a knee replacement for me, a big move from his family home in the historic district to the little bungalow of my dreams in Ardsley Park. 

Through all this we’ve not always loved each other with that unflinching eye that sees no wrong and adores every pore and cell of the other partner.  Sometimes, as a matter of fact, I’m sure both of us have wished the other would just take a l-o-n-g vacation. All married couples go through this, I suppose.

But as we approach our 20th anniversary, I had begun to think there was never to be any more romance for us ~ that we would just plod together, side-by-side, wrestling for the remote and trying to dodge the inevitable insults of our teenage daughter, until she was grown and gone and we could sit and look at each other and wonder where it all went.

This month has made me fall in love all over again with the guy I was lucky enough to grab onto upon one day when I was at the end of my rope.  I can’t possibly count the wonderful ways he has cared for me this month, cooking our meals, buying our food, cleaning the house, chauffering me and April, feeding and bathing the dogs, opening and closing doors for me, washing my hair, fastening my bra in back, picking up prescriptions, bringing me surprises to try and appeal to my lackluster appetite.

When my husband’s parents were old, his mother had emphysema and was confined to their house down at Tybee beach.  Michael’s father, it seemed, lived for nothing but to take care of his wife. Even though his own dementia was encroaching, he managed to keep it together as long as his wife was alive.  My mother-in-law used to say she had married “the most wonderful man in the world,” and my husband thought she was joking.  I know she wasn’t.

I just found this picture of my husband taken a couple of years ago in a restaurant on Easter Sunday.  He hadn’t been able to find his regular glasses, so he wore these huge plastic things that I hated.  I’m sure when I took the picture I said it would have been a good one if he hadn’t worn those stupid glasses.  Well, I think it’s a great one anyway, because it perfectly captures the sweetness, humor and generosity of the man who has put up with me for almost 20 years.  And 20 more, I hope.

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Green Day Coming

It’s not even Valentine’s Day yet, but already we’re thinking ahead to St. Patrick’s Day here in Savannah, where the Irish and Irish-for-a-day do it up in style.  Our parade draws several hundred thousand people every year (yes!), it’s a school and business holiday, and the fountains flow green all over this pretty city.  The weather is usually balmy, but every once in a while it turns cool for the day.  Last year it did, and my hubby got to wear this vest I barely finished in time:

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This was a big project (to go with his big girth), and I thought I’d never get it done.  It’s knit in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, and the pattern is “Everybody’s Vest” from “Hip To Knit” by Judith L. Swartz.  If you get started now, you can finish in time.

An easier ~ and far cuter ~ project is my little “Shamrockin” dog sweater.

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Just look at that sweet monkey, so serious!  This, too, is knit in Lamb’s Pride Worsted and appliqued with felt shamrocks you can cut from the template included in the pattern.  It’s available on Etsy, and there’s a link over to the right on this page.

I have to show you this, even though I’m still writing the pattern.  Poor Willie, he’s usually game for any of my shenanigans.  But this was too much.  Still, don’t you think he rocks this hat?

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Anthropologie & Urban Outfitters ‘@home’ in Savannah

My friend Liz Demos, the creative talent behind one of Savannah’s most wonderful shops, @home, has confirmed in her blog that Urban Outfitters has signed a lease for more than 11,000 square feet of retail space in downtown Savannah. Now, won’t that just satisfy my shopping jones?  Poor me ~ I got a daughter whose idea of a cute outfit is her school uniform and who thinks Urban Outfitters makes clothes for “weird” people.  So I dream on their website of all the trendy get-ups I would put her in … if I could.  Now I can actually go into the store and dream.

Meanwhile, Anthropologie has already hit Savannah … without telling me! Last night I was browsing through the new catalog when something hit me. There was something ~ what was it? ~ very familiar about those pictures. Then I saw the names of some of the clothing … Forsyth Park Cardigan, Wormsloe Sweater Coat, Savannah Blouse, Monterey Stripe Surplice, Broughton Blouse. Now, if you’ve visited Savannah, those names don’t have to be explained, but if you haven’t, they’re names of prominent sites in Savannah that have been borrowed to go with the backgrounds of the pictures. If Anthropologie would let me download a photo I would, but they’ve got that site locked up tight, so just go thumb through the online catalog and you can get a glimpse of this wonderful, beautiful place I love live.  Where this afternoon, by the way, at the crack of February, it was 67.4 degrees outside my kitchen window and the magnolias were budding on my neighbor’s tree.

So I’ve been messing with some felting and hand-sewing this week and have come up with a little pet-lover’s tutorial ~ a way of making your own cute beaded or otherwise embellished and felted pet collars.  Check out the free tutorial in pdf download on a separate page.

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Those “Compliments”

WHAT NOT TO HEAR

I just walked through the TV room when somebody on some show like “What Not To Wear” was telling his victim that “That sort of dress makes you look like you have a waist.”  Reminds me of the compliment I got from my mother by phone yesterday when I sent her a few pictures of myself in my newly completed “Flicca” coat (designed by the remarkable Anna Bell of My Fashionable Life).

“I love your coat ~ it makes you look like you’ve lost weight.” 
“Well, I haven’t.” 
“Then you should wear it all the time because it makes you look like you have.”

I know she meant well, but, well, I’ve long since come to terms with my weight, something I guess my mom will never do, and I’m not trying to lose ~ or even look like I have.  Anyway, here’s the coat.  What do you think?

          

Now, I love this coat.  I made it with RYC Soft Tweed in slate blue, and it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.  Despite the yarn’s bulk (3 sts to the inch), it’s amazingly lightweight, so wearing the coat is a dream, even in Savannah, which hardly has any winter at all.

 This is my other recent creation, “Dinah” from Rowan 42, made in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk and GGH Soft Kid instead of the called for Rowan Wool Cotton and Kidsilk Haze.

This is my absolute favorite garment I’ve ever made.  I was drawn to the beautiful, completely coincidental matching of the two yarns made by two different companies, and when I found out the gauges on both worked with the pattern, it was mine!  I just loved working on this sweater ~ both yarns are so nice to stitch with.  Then I set about to find a ribbon to match ~ good luck.  I picked the silk satin one from M&J Trim and ordered it, sure it wouldn’t even be close to the color it was on my monitor.  As you can see, it’s a perfect match.  I was thrilled.

SOME ETSY FAVORITES

Seller Treehouse28‘s wonderful custom clothing, priced right and so perfect for my life, in comfy knits.

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I am crrrrazy for this over-the-top crocheted dress by Pink Willow Designs. It makes me think of all the wonderful times I’ve had in the islands, gets me in the mood for spring and summer like nothing else I’ve seen lately, and ~ to be honest ~ sets the wheels turning for how I can turn out a knockoff for myself (sorry, Pink Willow).

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And these fabulous Valentines from the frantic meerkat. I bought the first for my daughter (who just finished studying evolution vs. intelligent design, etc.) and the second for my husband, who is just wonderful and will get it.

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AND NOW …

I’m off to JoAnn’s to pick up a few items to complete something I’ll share with you next time.

A Grand Opening Gift

If you read my ONE previous post, back at the end of November, you’ll see it was with much ambivalence that I dove into these blogging waters.  But I’ve gotten myself excited about this thing, so now I’m of course all about it. 

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A couple of weeks ago I set a February 1 deadline to make a 2008 Valentine’s dog sweater and create a pattern to give away here.  That done, I’m offering this cutie, one of the sweetest little sweaters I’ve made for my pup.  Love the Cascade 220 for a dog sweater.  Love love LOVE the Cascade Cloud 9 for the sheer pleasure of knitting with it and for the gentle aura of fuzz it works up before you can even get it off the needles.  And I love the tiny floral lining. I hope you’ll enjoy knitting this sweater, and please let me know if you find any errors.

That said, I’m so tired from creating the pattern, working out how to do this blog thing, and recuperating from a recent rotator cuff repair operation … that I don’t have anything else to say for now.  Enjoy the pattern, and let me know how it goes for you.  I’ll have more fun stuff up next week ~ promise.