A Little Elfin Magic

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You may remember that I have a small collection of elves that show up every year at Advent.  Well this year I have continued to add to the collection with some little holiday themed gnomes.

The thing is, if you do a gnome in red and green, is it still a gnome or is it an elf?

Does the gnome nature depend solely upon it’s presence in a garden?

In Harry Potter, the Weasley’s dress up a garden gnome and use it as the angel on top of the tree.  Are they then of the same short statured origin just with different names?  Hmmm….

Regardless of what you call them, the gnomes from Never Not Gnoming are addictive to knit.  They are fast with an easily memorized pattern.  It’s perfect for using up all the little tiny balls of yarn that are leftover from knitting socks, or for the mini skeins that some of us collect.  Each new combination of yarns is even more cute than the last.  That gray mohair beard?  Adorable.  I think he looks like the gnome version of one of the ZZ Top guys.  I think I’d like to see a strand of mohair held with the fingering weight yarn.  Short beards, long beards, dark beards, or light; they’re all adorable.

I’m planning on teaching the Here We Gnome Again pattern as a shop class.  Which means that I need to get rolling on making more gnomes.  I can only imagine that they will be as much fun to make.  I’ve also got a few quick knits going for Christmas presents and an Advent calendar scarf which I am woefully behind on.  ‘Tis the season where I blissfully cast on new items with the hope of having them done by the time we celebrate.  And let me tell you,  making Christmas presents gets harder the older the girls get.  It’s not that they are picky (they’re really not), it’s that they stay up so late!  I’ve taken to hiding and knitting at night so that I can get something done without them knowing.  Sigh… who knew parenting teenagers was so fraught with peril!?

 

 

 

Sweater-ing Sweltering Meltingly Hot

I don’t complain about the heat much.  In fact, I’m much more likely to run to the cold end of the spectrum rather than the hot.  But seriously, Lake Superior could turn up the AC a little this week.  When I got into the office yesterday morning the temp upstairs was running around 90 degrees F.  It only went up from there.  A chocolate bar I had in my desk melted.  Melted.  All on it’s own.  Without being in the sun or being touched by a human.  I was melting.  While this might be normal for other areas in the country (or even the state), this is not normal for this close to Lake Superior.  We don’t have air conditioning in much of the housing stock because the lake tends to supply us with all the cool air we could desire.  (and then some!)

Which is kind of ironic since I just finished a sweater.  And by finished I mean the knitting is finished.  I need to graft the underarms and sew on buttons and weave in ends.  But essentially, it’s done!

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And it might be my new favorite sweater.

I kind of want to cast on another one right away!  I’m sure I need at least one or two more of the Carbeth Cardigans, and maybe one Carbeth Sweater.  It’s entirely possible that I have the yarn already in my stash.  (I may have even pulled out enough yarn for another one two last night)  Honestly, these do not take that much yarn.  The knitting on this took me 2 weeks.  Four days of that I was in the Boundary Waters knitting on socks instead of sweaters.  Granted I did knit sleeves in the car on the way up and back but did not take the sweater in the canoe because it was just too bulky.

Before I can knit another Carbeth, I have all the other big bulky things to finish knitting.  Just when you don’t really want anything large on your lap…  I’ve got child sweaters, and blankets, and big cowls, oh my!

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The red is a child sweater that I’m working on.  More on that a little later when I come to terms with my lack of ability to measure gauge.  It was a very patriotic type of knitting weekend!

Before we went camping in the Boundary Waters, I finished and blocked these socks.  They are the Smooth Operator socks.  This pattern has become my go to sock knitting pattern.  Mostly because I can now do them without looking at the pattern.  They make for easy peasy lunch time or movie knitting.

(It’s possible that my foot model has outgrown her gig.)

What’s a Girl to do?

What’s a girl to do when the dress she finds for graduation doesn’t quite meet the dress code of the Catholic school she attends?  #catholicschoolproblem

Mom the knitter swoops in to the rescue!

It is school policy that shoulders need to be covered for school events and Masses.  Since the dress almost but doesn’t quite cover her shoulders, we needed a little something.  Graduation was June 5… which can mean very hot or quite cool in this neck of the woods.  We are never quite sure what Mother Nature will bring, but since this child tends to run on the warm side, we figured we would err on the side of warm weather.  After all, we didn’t want her overheated as she sang the psalm!

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There were a couple of other requirements from Mom and daughter:

  1.  A little lace would be nice, but not completely necessary.
  2. Since I had the correct color of red worsted weight in my stash, I would prefer a pattern in worsted.  The plus to this is that it would go very quickly.
  3. It needed to be approved by the graduate.
  4. It should be found in Ravelry for free or in one of my many knitting books.  After a lengthy and involved Ravelry search in consultation with the soon to be graduate, I found the Evening Shrug pattern.

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It is knit in two pieces and kitchenered down the center. The sleeves are meant to be longer, but we really only wanted something that barely covered her shoulders.  My concern was whether she would be able to get it on and off if it didn’t have long enough arms.  Would there be enough stretch that she could get it on without dislocating her arms?

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The verdict is yes!  We did a lot of trying on as we went.  I added just a tiny bit of width to the garment and gave it a nice gentle block to make sure the lace sleeves popped.  And since several people commented on her sweater, the graduate was very pleased with how it turned out.

I am thinking I might do another one of these in white as it would be so versatile!  One of the wonderful things about my girls getting older is all three of us would be able to wear these.  But first, I have class samples to finish!  Hopefully now that summer is really here (at least the calendar says it’s June) I can buckle down and get some serious knitting done.  One of my favorite parts of summer is throwing something on the grill for dinner (=very few dishes to wash), sitting by a campfire or just sitting outdoors in the evening, and knitting.  Speaking of, I think I’m off to do just that now!

Give a hoot – Qiviut

alaska2018It’s pronounced kiv – ee – oot like give a hoot, and it is softer. lighter and warmer than cashmere.  This fiber comes from the under hair of 600-900 lb musk ox which are gently combed every day during the summer.  How would you like that job?

We visited friends in Alaska last week, and I was pretty excited to find out that there was a musk ox farm nearby.  I was also excited to see that they have mountains in their backyard (see photo above), but that’s another story.  See, the last time we were in Alaska we saw musk ox, but were not able to do a tour because tourist season had not started yet.  Instead I contented myself with buying some of the precious qiviut fiber and yarn.  Eight years later, I’ve been too afraid to knit or spin this amazing fiber because it’s “too good,” for just any pattern and my somewhat amateur spinning skills.

But really?  It’s just knitting.  I can do that.

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This is what $300 qiviut looks like!

Ok, maybe I won’t buy $300 qiviut to knit with…. after all I can handspin my own, thank you very much. But I did buy a 2 oz skein of qiviut/cashmere/alpaca with generous yardage.

Now the tricky part is determining a pattern to knit.

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Traditional qiviut patterns

Traditionally, the native people knit lace patterns specific to their area.  The book, Arctic Lace, talks about this more in depth.  Honestly, I do not know much more than this, so I would encourage you to read Arctic Lace and look into it on your own if you’re interested.  This display at the musk ox farm was really interesting to me.  I’m fairly confident that I could chart the lace patterns on this display, especially the one from the Seward area as that was one of the areas we visited on our trip.  I also found this Alaskan Moose scarf which, though not traditional, cracks me up.  So the question of the day is, what do I knit?  I have 2 skeins of qiviut from my 2 trips.  One a natural color, one a forest green…. both have generous yardage.

 

We visited this musk ox farm in Palmer, AK.  And just because I know some people will be wondering, the musk ox are only raised for their fiber.  They live until a ripe old age and are not used for meat.

All the News That’s Fit to Print

Due to a recent announcement that Area Voices will be shutting down, this blog will move to https://knittingupnorth.com/  Please head over there to follow me!  You will not see my blog posts on any Forum newspaper websites, so I ask that you click on the “Follow Us” button to sign up to have me delivered to you inbox when I post.  I’d hate to lose any of my readers in the move!  I’ll be working over the next month to migrate my blog posts to the new site.

There I was, enjoying my delicious cup of coffee…. just hanging out in my dining room… what, this old sweater?  You mean my super comfy, cozy Boxy sweater? 

The one made out of Malabrigo?  Why yes, I did make this sweater myself!  Have I mentioned that it is very comfortable? And that it goes very well with my brown and white patterned pants.  Who would have guessed that I would have very little to wear with these pants?!  Now, white and I don’t always play well together.  In fact, I’m incredibly paranoid that I will spill coffee on this sweater!  (So paranoid that there’s actually no coffee in that cup!)  (Actually, that might have more to do with the fact that the pictures were taken after I got home from work).  Regardless, it was clear that I needed a white sweater and that I needed one right away.  Since it’s April in Superior, I plan on getting at least a month out of this sweater.  For those of you not in Superior, we’re experiencing Second Winter with this weekend’s predicted snow storm.  I expect this will last until sometime in late May when we will get First Rainy Spring.

The details:

Start:  March 17

Finish:  April 7

Pattern:  Boxy by Joji Locatelli

Yarn:  Malabrigo Rios in Natural

Needle:  US 7

Modifications:  Knit seamless in the round.  I knit this in the smallest size because I was afraid it would hang down to my knees and overwhelm me if I wasn’t careful.  When I blocked this it grew beyond human proportions, so I threw it in the dryer for a few minutes when it was mostly dry.  I watched it carefully so that it wouldn’t shrink too much.  I absolutely love how cushy the fabric is.

 

And just for a giggle today…..  It’s a lot of fun having my girls be my photographer and stylist!

 

 

And just a reminder:  due to a recent announcement that Area Voices will be shutting down, this blog will move to https://knittingupnorth.com/  Please follow me there.

Hi! How’s it going?

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So there I was, plugging away at the Area Voices blog when all of a sudden, (*Bang, Boom! Crash!) I was told I needed to migrate my blog onto a new site because Area Voices was to be no more.

So here we are, chilling and knitting on the new site.  I sure hope you’ll follow me here.  Just click the “Follow” button over on the right and you’ll get a handy dandy little email every time I post.

See you soon!