Friday, November 26, 2010

Mustache it up.

this free pattern used to be on a website called the twisted think tank, which is now defunct - but because i want the world to be filled with silly people with fake mustaches and warm noses, i shall re-post this pattern for the good of all mankind.  and just in time for your holiday knitting, too!

mustachio nosewarmer

  • 1 skein flesh-toned sport weight yarn (i used's baby cashmere, which is actually fingering weight, so i held 2 strands together)
  • 1 skein any sport weight hairy-textured and -colored yarn (i used lorna's laces grace in 36ns chocolate)
  • set of #2 dpn's
  • darning needle
optional supplies:
  • size F crochet hook (if you prefer to crochet ties instead of making an i-cord
  • velcro, tiny snaps or a tiny button (if you prefer to have interchangeable mustaches)
to make nosewarmer:

using flesh-toned yarn or choice, cast on 40 sts onto #2 dpn's.  divide evenly among needles, PM, join for rnd.  work *k1, p1 ribbing for 4 rnds.  switch to stockinette stitch as follows:

k 4 rnds even.
*k6, k2tog, rep from * to end of rnd.
k 1 rnd even.
*k5, k2tog, rep from * to end of rnd.
k 1 rnd even.
*k4, k2tog, rep from * to end of rnd.
k 1 rnd even.
*k3, k2tog, rep from * to end of rnd.
k 1 rnd even.
*k2, k2tog, rep from * to end of rnd.
*k1, k2tog, rep from * to end of rnd.
*k2tog, rep from * to end of rnd.

5 sts remain.  cut yarn, use darning needle to pull through remaining sts and weave in ends.

to make 2 ties, either use crochet hook to single crochet for approx. 15 inches, or use #2 needles to make an i-cord by casting on 2 sts and working for approx. 15 inches.

to attach ties, flatten nosewarmer so that it is divided evenly in half.  attach tie at either side of flattened piece so that they will be spaced equally apart.

to make basic mustache (also known as the womb broom):  using hairy yarn of your choosing and #2 needles, CO 15 sts.  k 3 rows.  decr row:  k1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.  BO.  weave in ends.

tack mustache onto nosewarmer with some scrap yarn, or use the detachable method of your choosing!

10.10.11 Edited to add:  This is the basic version of this pattern.  I am currently working on a new version that will be available as a PDF download in my Ravelry shop for a nominal fee - it will have more photos, better instructions, and most importantly....MORE MUSTACHES! I'm working hard to make this totally worth the $3 asking price.  I hope you'll check back for updates and consider purchasing the new and improved pattern as your way of supporting an indie designer! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!

We decorated our first christmas tree (we've never lived anywhere with enough room to get one!), had dinner with family, and snuggled with our cats.  I even managed to sneak in some knitting time - so it was a good day all around.

It's crunch time for us gift-knitting crafters, and in the spirit of black friday/cyber monday, i would like to offer up this coupon code for 10% off of your entire purchase from my etsy shop.  This is good til the end of the year - please enter coupon code BLOGHOLIDAY2010 when you check out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

and miles to go before i sleep

lately, i just can't seem to find the time to knit, much less finish anything.  i have an ever-growing pile of things that are done, except for the ends that need to be woven in.  between all of the trips to the vet in the last week or two, coupled with getting a nasty virus that knocked me out for nearly a week, my productive knitting time has been seriously reduced.  and then there's all the time i spend on the internet - for example, i've used the first hour and half i've been awake this morning to list some more buttons in my etsy shop, do some facebooking, and now i'm here writing this blog entry. 

luckily, things are calming down.  we're getting robin's symptoms under control and starting to get his new routine down to a finer science.  robin is quite happily sitting in my lap right now and purring like crazy.  i'm looking forward to sitting around the house and knitting for the rest of the morning, and hopefully all day tomorrow and thursday. 

i've definitely noticed a priority shift since robin's diagnosis.  before, when either cat would hop into my lap while i was trying to knit, i might stop what i was doing to pet them, or i might just keep knitting and hope they'd move on to the next lap.  now it seems really important to put down my knitting, because with robin especially, we're on borrowed time.  i'm reading up on cat massage techniques to enhance both robin and tilly's health.  robin loves his massages, and i think they've already brought him a lot of pleasure and benefit.  tilly is sort of reticent of late, and i'm hoping her massages help bring her out of the closet, which (as previously mentioned) is where she seems to spend the lion's share of her time these days. 

now that i've rambled on and on about my dear, sweet kitties (and completed my transformation into that special brand of crazy yarn AND cat lady), let's take a gander at some nearly-FO's and WIPS!

first up: i really need to stop procrastinating.  i need to set an afternoon aside and sit myself down and WEAVE IN SOME ENDS. 

pattern:  alphamitts by emily b. miller
yarn:  lorna's laces shepherd sock in chocolate (MC) and red rover (CC)

once i enlarged the chart for my aged eyes, these flew off the needles. i love the way corrugated rib looks on a project, and using a variegated yarn with a solid color is an easy way to make your colorwork look even fancier!

 pattern:  some basic stripey socks i made up on the fly
yarn:  knitpicks simply cotton sport in basalt heather (MC) and green tea heather (CC)

i'm sold on the concept of sport-weight socks.  they're so fast to knit (these took about two weeks, but if i'd been more dedicated, i probably could have finished them in a week's time!).  i love this cotton yarn from knitpicks - i think it's my favorite yarn of theirs.  this is the first cotton yarn i've ever come across where you don't feel as though you're wrestling it as you knit with it.  it creates a really soft, bouncy fabric and i really can't say enough good things about it. 

moving on to the WIP department: 

pattern:  heliotrope stockings by me
yarn:  the sanguine gryphon skinny bugga!  in gryphon's purple soldier fly

finally resurrected this one to start sock #2 - just finished the fancy cabled cuff - the rest of the sock should fly off the needles (um, sorry, no pun intended). 

pattern:  gwynedd hat by cecily glowik macdonald
yarn: peruvian baby silk

i've had this yarn in my stash for years, and i'm quite pleased with finally getting to use it!  it's so soft and pretty, and for the money, an excellent bargain.  i'm holding two strands as i work, since this yarn is actually fingering-weight and the pattern calls for dk.  i'm getting ready to start the decreases, so this hat should be done in no time flat. 

pattern:  tsunami by judy sumner (from Knitted Socks East and West)
yarn:  zauberball crazy

in the last week, i started these socks with some yarn i picked up the last time i was at sister arts here in chicago.  I wanted a pattern that was interesting for me to knit, but not overly complicated, since the yarn is crazy enough on its own.  i think that, once these are blocked out, they'll be pretty cool! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

lost and found!

first one out of the gate - a favorite of mine!
congratulations to Julie from Maryland, who has the distinguished honor of being the first person to purchase buttons from my etsy shop!  i may or may not have mentioned this a few months back, but i have a HUGE button stash that i could never use up during my natural life.  they're mostly vintage, and there's a wide range of colors, styles, sizes - i have literally spent hours upon hours combing through my button stash, and every time i find exciting, new buttons i'd somehow never noticed before. 

at any rate, i've been quietly (or not-so-quietly) listing them in my etsy shop these past few weeks, and now the word is out.  i'll be listing more found buttons each week, so keep checking back! 

and if i haven't mentioned it before, the awesome graphics for my new button-y venture have been generously provided by (a different) Julie of Rotten Cupcakes!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meet Mr. Nubbins

By popular request, the Mr. Nubbins pattern is now available for purchase in my ravelry store and etsy shop!  All you need is a skein of Malabrigo Rasta, some safety eyes, buttons, and a couple of days to make the cutest gift anyone could hope to receive this season.

Be warned, however - Mr. Nubbins may look innocent and cute, but he is actually quite the rascal.  Even when he isn't getting into trouble, he doesn't mind being the scapegoat for the occasional messy room or missing batch of cookies.  He plays well with others, but has been known to stack the deck when playing Go Fish.

The details:

Price: $6

1 skein Malabrigo Rasta  150g/90 yds, 100% Merino
Small amount of black worsted-weight scrap yarn
Small amount of worsted-weight scrap yarn in contrasting color (for bowtie)
Set of US #13 double-pointed needles
Set of US #6 needles (any type)
3 stitch holders
Pair of 8mm safety eyes
Poly-fil stuffing
Tapestry needle

Optional:  3 small buttons in contrasting color

Finished measurements:
Mr. Nubbins stands 11 inches tall from bottom of legs to tops of ears. He is approximately 11.5 inches around the waist (excluding arms).

K2tog: Knit 2 sts together (decrease 1 st)
Kf&b: K 1 stitch through the front loop, then k it again through the back loop before pulling it off the LH needle onto the RH needle. (increase 1 st)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

speaking of robin...

unsuccessful attempt to hide from the vet.
how strange that i posted all those FO photos with robin in them last week...who would have guessed that, in the time since then, robin would fall ill and be diagnosed with chronic renal failure (CRF)?  certainly not me, but that's what has transpired since then.  it's not as dire as it sounds - his numbers are elevated, but not critical or acute, and everyone we've spoken with is extremely optimistic that we can control his symptoms through diet and fluid therapy.  he's not in pain, and he's only unhappy because he's been getting so much face time with his nemesis the vet.  all signs are pointing to him leading a good, long life, as long as we are careful to monitor him and keep him healthy. 

poor little guy is having an extended stay at the moment, where he is receiving an iv treatment to flush his kidneys and get his numbers down to a manageable level.  once they are satisfied with his progress, he can come home to snuggle!  it's been a stressful couple of days, but now that we know what we're up against, things feel a little less scary. 

tilly seems a little confused as to robin's whereabouts, but i think the terror of the patio door installation that took place all day yesterday superceded any feelings she might have on the subject of robin.  she spent the greater part of the day hiding in the closet - there's a nice pillow on a shelf that she has adopted as her bed, and that is where she chooses to spend her time whenever outsiders are in our midst. 

i did finally get some FO photos of the peak's island hood, which i was wearing out and about til the indian summer came back full force over the weekend.  this is the least silly pose i am capable of while wearing what is, essentially, and adult bonnet.  i don't say that to knock the pattern - it's beautiful!  but it's a certain kind of person who can rock a hooded scarf, and though i may not be of that ilk, i don't really care so long as i'm warm.  also, i am still in awe of how soft this project got after soaking it in hair conditioner.  i'll have to use that trick more often!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

a post in which robin is the star

the squirrel on wheels turned out even better than i was hoping for!  not only is he a zippy little critter himself, but a pretty fast knit as well - the whole things was finished in three days. 

[MC] 1 skein knit picks city tweed heavy worsted in tahitian pearl
[CC] small amount of lorna's laces shepherd worsted in 24ns navy

my other big news is that last week i finally finished my peak's island hood - it took me almost two months to knit!  a lot of that time was spent ignoring the project entirely, and it probably still wouldn't be done if i hadn't had help with the miles and miles of moss stitch. 

though i love the pattern and colors i chose to make it in, i think i ultimately wasn't excited about it because the yarn felt scratchy and a little gross, and i just couldn't imagine wrapping it around my head.  in the back of my mind, i suspected that this yarn would never have the softness and drape of the yarn actually called for in the pattern - it's just too rustic. 

then, when i went to block it in my bathtub, i had an idea.  why couldn't the same conditioner that makes my hair super-soft also have the same effect on this scarf?  even if it makes it one-quarter softer than it originally was, i would consider the experiment a success. 

so i squeezed a good dallop of aveda's dry remedy conditioner* into my soaking water and tossed in my scarf.  a few hours later, i rinsed it out and laid it flat to dry on the only thing long enough to block a scarf on - my massage table!  unfortunately for me, robin thinks the massage table belongs to him, and i had to shoo him off, more or less, every ten minutes.  finally i gave up, and he got comfortable - and as soon as the rest of the scarf was dry, i could hang it up on the shower rod in order to allow the cat-sized damp spot to finish drying. 

i'm happy to report that my scarf feels amazing now - my most modest expectations were surpassed several times over.  later today i need to find the perfect buttons and get some nice FO photos to post here!  

*full disclosure:  i work for an aveda spa, so i get a discount!