Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

Soup Socks for Tots November 26, 2006

Filed under: Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 2:06 pm

soup topThe Alphabet Soup socks are up!

I don’t have the yarn in right now to do a pair in the primary colors, but as soon as it arrives I will be working on that version. Compare these to the Crunch socks below and you can see I flipped the positions of some of the colors and I will do the same for the primary versions too. Can’t say which one is my favorite, but I can say they are darn fun to make!

At the moment I’m back at work on the Amish Quilt Throw which is nice, semi-mindless knitting, one color at a time for a change.

Once that is done I will be back on the Ponsettia scarf I think, unless the contract gets finalized for the bikini for Universal Yarns, in which case that project will cut in front of all of them.Shirley sent me the yarn which arrived on Friday, but until I get absolute confirmation it’s not touching any needles.

Glam YarnThe yarn is called Glam, a blend of Polyamide (what on earth is that? .. ah.. wikipedia says it’s nylon) with a teeny bit of Glitter. Touching the hank of yarn, it feels almost like a slightly slippery cotton, but once knit up it sort of feels more like tights. It has some stretch to it too, not sure if that’s coming from the yarn itself or from the tubular shape of it. I like the way it knits up, the only drawback I find is that I must have really dry skin as it snags every so slightly sometimes as I’m working with it, enough to notice it, but not enough to really be super annoying or do any damage to the yarn. It looks like I just need to get some hand cream and drink more water!

Just to give you a mental picture, I’m sitting at my desk here with a hat, scarf and 3 layers of tops on. Do you think it’s time I turned the heat on in my house?!! It’s even supposed to snow tomorrow – not here at sea level, but on Mt. Tam and Mt. Diablo (about 20 minutes away). Before I went to bed last night, Freia snuggled herself in next to me on the couch, she was all nice and toasty. I gave her an extra blanket last night as I wasn’t about to let her sleep on my bed, though it was tempting, she’s so warm…

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Crunch Socks for Tots November 23, 2006

Filed under: Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 8:55 pm

Crunch Fruit Loops SocksHere are the Crunch Socks in the Fruit Loops colorway – now done and up on the website. I think these colors are a nice alternative to the primary colorway I did first. I had those ones done and posted in the nick of time for the Knitter’s Review ad that went live last wednesday night. Primary CrunchAnd a good thing too, they are so far proving to be very popular!

For the Alphabet soup socks I reversed some of the colors and they worked out really well. I took all the finished socks with me to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house this evening and the kids loved them, counting and saying their alphabets.. it was cute. Once I get to organizing the photography on the other ones I will post them, but it is after all a holiday today, right?

Happy Turkey Day!

 

Trinity Stitch Scarf with Felted Flowers – on PBS! November 22, 2006

Filed under: Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 10:58 am

Shay and meHmm.. just found out that I will be on TV again, this is the 2nd segment that was taped last spring in Detroit for Shay Pendray’s Needle Arts Studio. This airs on PBS, sadly, I won’t be able to watch me make a fool of myself it as I don’t get digital cable (which is what this airs on in my area).

This project is actually a really fun one. I made two versions of a simple trinity stitch scarf, in different lengths. One I used two skeins of Cascade Cloud 9 yarn in black, the other version is just one skein, but with a keyhole through which to insert the flower and hold the scarf to your neck (Shay’s wearing it in the photo in another color).

The flower is felted and a little unusual and it’s sewn into a pretty 3D shape, rather than just lying flat as many other flower pins do. That is worked in four colors, 2 shades of one color for the petals, one color for the center, and a green for the leaves. The keyhole scarf requires a larger flower, the 2 skein version has instead multiple smaller flowers. The flowers are felted for stability, which adds a nice contrast to the textured stitch scarf.
Cascade paid for my appearance on the show, it’s sort of a weird thing, where the guests have to pay for their airtime (by the minute!). On both projects (here’s info on the first one) we went over the alloted time, but Shay was having so much fun, that she let the clock run. Cascade got their money’s worth! So, because Cascade paid for me to be there I picked the Cascade Cloud 9 which is a lovely soft wool and angora mix that felts beautifully.

LanikaiI think my experience of being on Knitty Gritty really helped doing this show. Knitty Gritty is very differently structured. In my case, a friend emailed the production company and told them they had to have me on the show..then she sent me an email and told me what she’d done, and I just about had a heart attack (thanks Sandy!) Within minutes of her email to them, I was contacted by a producer and they asked me to do a bikini. I said.. OK, sure, .. but what am I getting myself into?! In the end, it all must have gone fine as they called me back the following year for another show, and this time I brainstormed with Stephanie (one of the producers) and we came up with the Backgammon set idea together. Once you have an idea of what the project will be, it has to be approved by the network, which was a little trickier in the case of the bikini as the network (Scripps) is apparently quite conservative, but no problems in either case. Then prior to the show, you have to work out your step-outs (sort of like a cooking show, where the onions are already chopped and the cake is half-baked!) and knit all the little bits beforehand, which means a lot of knitting if it’s a complicated or large project! I think I made that bikini 6 or more times! Same for the backgammon set, all the different steps over and over again. That being said, it’s worth it as it makes the show run smoothly and the instructions clear both in your head and on screen.

Each little step-out segment for Knitty Gritty is taped pretty much nonstop, ie, no 2nd takes. You have a lot of rehearsal time with your producer off the set beforehand, but you get one or two run throughs on the set before taping. Of course if you really screw up, you get to do it over, but there was a few times I wish I’d said differently that they left in. Thankfully it didn’t sound as bad in the final edit as it did to me in my head!

So, back to Shay’s show, a completely different setup. I had met Shay at the TNNA shows and I think also at various Stitches shows. At the last San Diego show, she approached me again about doing it, saying she’d like to do something felted, maybe some flowers. Since Cascade is the yarn that I use in my felted designs, I walked her straight to the Cascade booth to talk to Jean, one of the owners of Cascade, who agreed to do it on the spot! All very exciting, I was going to do another show. Shay told me it would be one of the shorter segments, two minutes long, and that she knew I’d be great, then she walked away. Yipes! Then, half an hour later, she came back and said, “oh, you know it’s two segments” “oh, so I get four minutes – with a break in between – for one project?” “No, it’s two projects” and walked away again. Double Yipes! Now I had to come up with two quick projects. With this show, there is no going back and forth on your project, no required step outs, you are pretty much left alone to do whatever it is you have planned. Scary. I’d only seen a few bits of the show, so really didn’t have the best idea of what I would be doing, so I just followed the same sort of pathway as for the Knitty Gritty shows. The other big difference of course is that for Knitty Gritty you have up to about 18 minutes for your project. For Shay’s show, I had two.. count ’em.. two… Really Scary! Same deal here again, no 2nd takes, and only one taping! You also don’t really get any rehearsal time, just a brief run through of what you’d like to present with the director and with Shay.

It’s really impressive how it all comes together so amazingly smoothly in the end. You are there working with real pros of their field, and they certainly aren’t going to let you look dumb! They too want the best show possible, of course.

This is not a deliberate sales pitch, but here’s info on the different projects you can find on the Knitwhits site:

Patterns and kits are also available for these from many of the Knitwhits Stockists

 

Beauty and the Beast November 20, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Knitting,knitwhits,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 8:48 pm

A is for.. is for.. Alphabet Soup, or in this case Alphabet Soup sock. The first pair is finished, in a new colorway, Froot Loops. I will probably have it up on the Knitwhits site tomorrow. I will be randomly posting the letters of the alphabet from the chart here on the blog, but to get the full lot all at once (and the sock pattern to go along with it) check the Knitwhits site for the download or the kits. Once more yarn comes in I will do a version in primary colors like the Crunch sock (that has already shown itself to be a bestseller ~ woo hoo!). I’ve started on a Froot Loops version of the Crunch sock too.. so many socks, so much to do, so little time..

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Ridge viewTunnel of TreesBut always time to walk the dog.. not that I have a choice in the matter anyway. Took her up to the Skyline Trail this weekend, we’ve not been there in a while as it’s been raining, and I’ve been warned off by regulars as the tics come out once the rains start. Figuring it had dried out enough, I braved the trail on Sunday. How pretty it was.

The hills were all misty and the air was lovely and fresh. I deliberately went early to avoid kids, but was not so lucky. The first people I met on the trail were with a young ‘un who kept assuring me that he wasn’t afraid of dogs, .. cute, but doesn’t help, my dog is afraid of you! Anyway, scooted past them and got in a good long walk, lots of other dogs, lots of playing.

I walked to a really pretty spot on the trail, and this time, since I had my fab new camera with me, I was able to capture it. The light was perfect. It was this exact spot on the trail that actually prompted me to get a new camera, which I’d forgotten until I came back here. There’s something so magical to me about paths like this, trees on both sides and overhead with the light filtering through. The leaves absorb all sounds and the path gets quiet, except for the chirping of the birds watching you. I think that the look of this part of the trail is also something that’s more common in England where I grew up, and it is that familiarity which makes these spots so beautiful and comforting. California is full of stunning sweeping landscapes, but at least where I am, and certainly in the valleys and further south, the land becomes so arid and the grasses become toasted and golden and dry in the sun. Hills and fields of green are short lived in this part of the world, a far cry from Devon where I grew up.

I’ve yet to go further than this point on the trail, it’s quite a ways from the start, and by this time, especially if Freia’s been playing with other dogs, she’s fairly pooped out, and I don’t want to completely exhaust her.

DigOn the way back, we came across another large group of kids, so I put Freia on the leash until they were safely behind me and all was fine, she actually paid no attention to them whatsoever which was perfect.

My plan was to go up to Sacramento to visit my mother, so I didn’t want to walk for too long. As I got home and opened the back of the car to get the dog.. horrors! A Tic! Yuck! I squashed it on the ground.. eek.. another!, another! oh god.. .. I think there were eight in all (are you itching yet?), and one on her pillow in the car. In a frenzy I sprayed her down with tic spray and combed her through to make sure they were gone, then I removed her bedding for washing, sprayed that down, then the inside of the car. Brought her in the house, stripped myself down to my undies, threw everything in the wash, got tic treatment for the cats, covered them in pesticides.. poor things, combed Freia down again and found one more dying tic… This all took a good hour. Then I got her stuff together again for the drive to Sac, stopping at the pet store on the way to get some sort of other tic treatment only to find out that I would have to wait till this one wears off before I can even put a anti-tic collar on her.

I finally hit the road for Sac. One hour into the drive I see two lanes over from me (I’m in the far left lane) something fly off the back of a pick up truck, it hits one car, (it’s an ice chest – ice is flying everywhere), then skids into the car driving in the lane next to me and she manages to hit it with her car, and the damn thing skids over into my car. I couldn’t swerve to avoid it as there was really nowhere to go, and it happened so quickly that I wasn’t sure that swerving wouldn’t make the situation worse. Well.. it gets caught in the undercarriage of the car, and is making a terrible scraping noise (that’s after the initial THUNK as it hit my car) I put on my flashers and try to pull into the emergency lane, but it’s so poorly maintained that I can’t safely use it, so I have to go the other way to the emergency lane on the right. Fortunately the road was fairly free of traffic, as I crossed into each lane the chest would dislodge itself and get caught up in some other part of the underside of the car. I finally get the car over, and as I’m slowing down, one last thunk and the ice chest is free, which is a good thing as I could smell the plastic or styrofoam from the ice chest heating up from the friction with the ground.. what a stink. So, I check the underside and it all seemed OK.. I was lucky.

One the way to my mum’s I was also going to check out a kennel for boarding Freia while I’m in San Diego for TNNA in January. This particular kennel was recommended by my vet, and the website made it look pretty good. Very reasonably priced, ($18/day) and they have a pool. They all seemed very nice, the place was clean and well run, they are obviously pros, but I was practically in tears by the time I left. There is no way I could leave Freia here. The kennels are indoor/outdoor with cyclone fencing, there is a small dog run where she would be able to stretch her legs a bit but she would be alone, no people time, unless I pay for the pool time, then she would have 45 mins ball throwing and pool time, but oh, what a cold place.. not for her, at least not now while she’s still so young. She needs loving and playing with other pups and people. There is one other place that I will check out that is closer to home, a lot more expensive, but also looks like something a bit more doggy friendly, and more what she is used to.

Red SkyLastly, since I’m in pretty picture mode.. here’s a sunset from the other night’s walk around the Bay Trail. If you look closely, you can see one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, between the land masses on the left (San Francsico) and the right (Marin). And the island in the middle? That’s Alcatraz.

Have you stopped itching yet?

 

Sock For Tots – part 2 November 15, 2006

Filed under: Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 5:25 pm

Socks For Tots BoxesThe socks are up! Phew.. spent last night knitting and re-editing the Crunch pattern, it’s so so very much better now, then spent all of today writing, editing, web page building.. and I think the KR newsletter goes out in an hour.. (or is it thursday night? oh sigh, oh well.. at least it’s done!).

Now I have to do Soup, and I think I figured out which colorways to do as alternates for Crunch and Soup (violet, orange, pink and something.. teal maybe, or green). Also put up a new homepage on my site, which was way way long overdue. And I have to do the Wallis in Lagoon. Plus I have another couple of ideas to work out for the Socks For Tots range. It’s never ending. I must say, I’m really happy with how the Wallis Salsa Socks For Tots turned out, I may have to offer them in grownup sizes.. I know I want to wear them.

Because Soup will be an Alphabet sock, I’m thinking I will write it with the first 8 letters of the alphabet, but then include the charts for the remaining letters, that way, people could even write a name.. hmm.. maybe I should make mine say Knitwhit? A bit too cutesy for me.. but maybe for the show… now there’s an idea.

Wallis in Salsa

 

Socks for Tots! November 13, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 7:07 pm

Socks for Tots!OK, I can’t stand it anymore. Here’s a peek at my newest kit adventure. Socks For Tots! I’m super excited about these. I’ve done 3 different ones, two that are the same style but different colorways, and this one pictured here, which I’m going to call “Crunch”, as in number crunch. This means of course that I will have to do a “Soup”, as in alphabet soup to match… The difference about these kits from my other sock kits is that these are for kids 3-6 years, one size fits most. They will come in the same little clear box that my flower kits come in and they look so darn cute!They really will make the cutest little gifts and the sweetest socks. I was going to wait to release them in January at TNNA, but Christmas is coming and I would be a fool to wait. Besides it will be nice to be able to have a bit of selling history to share with shop owners at the show. I expect them to retail for a little under $20, and I’m using the lovely machine washable Louet Pearl merino yarn that I use in my other sock kits.

Have a seatBut boy, do I have a lot to do in the next couple of days. I have to write up the patterns from my notes, make a second sock in some other colorway yet to be determined, create the web pages, (and associated graphics), assemble some kits, update website homepage, create patterns for download (I think.. not sure on this one, this may be a kit-only project… have to think on it a bit) and other stuff which escapes me right now. And why do I have to do this in two days? Because the picture above is an ad going up on the Knitter’s Review newsletter which comes out on Wednesday night, so I have no choice but to be ready for it.

I will show you pictures of the others as I can get to it, in the meantime, I’ve got some patterns to write!

On a quick side note, it’s pouring with rain outside. I walked to the post office with Freia so she could get some outside time, and now we are both soaked. She’s still itching to go outside and play and is driving me and the cats crazy. In the last five minutes she’s finally given up and is curled up on her pillow next to me, snoring.

 

Contented Canine November 7, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Knitting,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 7:58 pm

Deadgrass DogYep, Freia and I have been AWOL for a few days, partly fun, partly work. I saw my dear friend and trusty trade show helper Christina at her baby shower on sunday. She’s the epitome of the beautiful mom-to-be. She’s positively glowing! Was nice to see her and her sister, meet some of her other (non-knitting) friends, and hey – I won a prize! I won an enormous gift basket of yummy smelling home fragrance stuff, and you know.. it’s not a bad thing for someone with a dog and two cats to have.

 

In knitting land I’ve come up with the cutest little kits that I will share with you shortly, but not just yet.. you will have to wait a bit to learn more. Trust me though.. this is cute. I’m excited. The patterns are getting written (by me) and the knitting is getting done (also by me). As for the Ponsietta Scarf, I’m still in love with that project too, but now I’m thinking it may need to be a sweater, the colors are lush and lovely, and the design is just the right proportion.

In Freia land, well for a change I took her to the vet today. Again. But hey, not for the bladder infection. Now she’s sprained her foot. I know, you would never know it from the picture here, but by the following morning she was limping and crying. Not good. So I gave her some anti-inflammatories that were left over from her spay operation and waited a day. Well, last night, same thing, crying in the night, and stiff and in pain by morning. As she warms up in the day, the pain subsides, and by the time of the appt. at the vet, she was almost normal, though the perceptive and very good vet could see that she was limping still a bit. We lay Freia down (it took 3 of us to do it.. fiesty little spitfire that she is) and all the manipulation in the world couldn’t get a peep out of the dog. It bothers her but it doesn’t. The vet thinks she’s a big crybaby, I call it sensitive (but I think she’s right). The verdict: 7-10 days of anti-inflammatories, no walks longer than 15 minutes and no running, or playing with other dogs. We are both going to be climbing the walls within 3 days, I just know it.

Before I forget, I learned about this organization on Frontline/World last night. I’d heard of microlending before, but then forgot. I’m glad for the reminder and I think I may get involved. Learn more about it here: www.kiva.org. You can really make a difference in a life, a family and a community with your involvement.

Here’s a little bit of sunshine for you. This is an ad that will be published in the next issue of Yarn Market News (a trade magazine distributed to yarn biz people). I’m going nuts for the bright colors right now.. maybe it’s owning a happy young goofy dog that’s doing it.

 

YMN ad