Monday, October 31, 2011

More Scary ... this time, Socks!

What? Doesn't everyone have Hallowe'en socks?

We have one lovely lady in our life who can't get enough of all things Hallowe'en. She loves the holiday and we love her so we made her Hallowe'en socks. Kroy. 3mm needles. With embroidered jack-o'lanterns. We're planning to do a lot more wool embroidery. This was fun! (And yes, she is one of the ones who appreciates our work. She'll definitely be getting more.)

We have noticed over our (considerably long) lifetime a growing trend to making much more of a holiday of Hallowe'en. When we were kids, it was more low key. We all dressed up in costumes. Yes. But they were mostly homemade concoctions. There were lots of hobos and ghosts (from old bed sheets). Witches were common. We once made a witch's hat out of black bristol board. Our best and most memorable costume involved a fake beard we made out of curls of paper glued to a mask.

We didn't really see the appeal of the holiday. We got candy at home. Not a lot but enough. And walking around the neighbourhood begging after dark wasn't our thing. Let's not forget that we were timid even then and fearful of the dark. We'd had our share of being bullied in broad daylight. It seemed silly to ask for more trouble after dark from enemies real OR imagined.

One memorable year, Hallowe'en coincided with the night of our regular Girl Guide meeting. Afterwards 3 of us set out trick-or-treating. We rang the doorbell of our first house and were horrified to see Dawn MacDougall (who's probably all grown up and way smarter now) reach out and "soap" the door screen. BEFORE the lady opened the door. We hadn't been given any notice that Dawn was packing (soap) or that she intended to deface any windows or screens. This was something nice girls didn't do and we were certainly nice girls. The lady was horrified, too. Soap is pretty hard to get off a window screen. However, we suppose she thought it couldn't have been us because who would be so bold (or stupid!) so she ponied up the candy.

Our 2 friends were hardcore Hallowe'en experts. They carried pillow cases for maximum candy acquisition. They gamely held up their pillowcases and the candy dropped into the abyss. We held up our pint-sized plastic jack-o'lantern which was fairly full by then with candy we'd got at the Guide meeting and the lady suggested we were pretty greedy and shouldn't we be calling it a night. Ah, yes. Good times.

 Happy Hallowe'en!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Something scary

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

The  Illustration Friday  prompt this week is 'scary'. We did this drawing earlier this year and the subject matter and tone are so out of character for us that every time we turn the page in our sketch book and see this one, it gives us a little jolt. It must resonate with some deep, dark spot in our psyche. Hope it doesn't give anyone else nightmares!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

In our mailbox

In today's mailbox.....2 more Haunted Houses postcards from a swap over on Postcard Cottage. On the left is Tamara's with a terrific bat which we think she cut from a Hallowe'en print (So cute!!) and on the right is Regina's who also made good use of Hallowe'en printed fabric. It's fun to open the box and find such beautiful postcards inside.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Worksssss in Progess Wednesday

We all know about Grandma Coco's attention span. It's pretty short. She's been making herself crazy with deadlined projects and now that they're completed, she's back on track with many irons in many fires....just the way she likes things.

So, on this particular Wednesday, she's working on the following:

SOCKS! Of course. These are specially made for a very sweet man who went out of his way recently to see that we got to a wonderful yarn store in a city that isn't our home. New socks seem like a small price to pay for such gallantry. The only problem is that he says he has 'hot feet' and, by that, we believe he means his feet feel hot in socks, NOT that, you know, he thinks he has George Clooneyesque feet or anything weird like that. We don't know if he's ever worn a pair of hand knit wool socks before. Maybe he'll just be blown away by the luxury that is in store for him. Maybe not. We're knitting these out of Ariquipa , which is 65% superwash wool, 20% alpaca and 15% nylon. It is soft, soft and the yarn is fine so the socks won't be bulky (which we think might be an issue). We've knit with Ariquipa before and we love it. These socks have lots of stretch. They are ribbed with an alternating twisted stitch that looks like a cable.

DOUBLE KNITTING!. We're working away on kid- and adult-sized versions of Coco's Cap. Along the way, we got interested in other types of double knitting....corrugated ribbing, for example, and the brioche stitch. It's a long and winding (and exciting!) road we're on. And we haven't got a deadline. :)

BEADS!!! Another micro macrame beaded bracelet. This one we're just winging. Because it's fun.

A spooky Haunted Houses postcard in the mail from Pat!

POSTCARDS!! We finished some postcards this week for trading but we won't show them because we don't want to spoil the surprise for our recipients but here's one we received in the mail from Pat. Thank you, Pat! Scary stuff!

And that, in a nutshell, is what we're up to on this grey final Wednesday in October. Pop on over to The Needle and Thread Network to see what some other Canadian fibre artists are up to.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week # 8 - Honeycomb Cable Stitch

This week's stitch pattern is no more complicated than any of the others but there are a few more rows.

There are now 48 stitches on the needle. Remember the 5 garter stitch border stitches on each edge.

Row 1: (right side) Knit

Row 2: K2, * p2, k2; repeat from * to end.

Rep the last 2 rows once more.

Row5: K1, * C2F, C2B; rep from * to last st, k1.

C2F = knit into front of 2nd stitch on needle,

then knit first st. slipping both sts off needle

at the same time. 

C2B = knit into back of 2nd st on needle, then knit

first st. slipping both sts off needle at the same time.

Row 6: P2, * k2, p2; rep from * to end.

Row 7: Knit

Row 8: As 6th row. Repeat the last 2 rows once more.

Row 11: K1, * C2B, C2F; rep from  * to last st., k1

Row 12: As 2nd row.

Rep these 12 rows 3 times, then work Rows 1 and 2 again.

Work the separator section:

Knit  6 rows this time in garter stitch, decreasing 1 stitch (by knitting 2 stitches together) somewhere in the middle of the last row.  (47 stitches total)

We're now 4 weeks away from finishing a lovely, warm scarf
for that special guy on our holiday gift list. Can you believe it?

We don't want to bum anyone out but.....2 months from today is.......You know.

For a printable .PDF, click here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My happy place

 ... or....wouldn't Valium be quicker?
Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

Last week, Grandma Coco had the great good fortune to meet a cyber friend for coffee in a little town an hour away, which was halfway for both of us. As this was a first in-the-flesh meeting, it could have gone either way. However, we are happy to report that our friend is just as lovely in person as she seems to be in the comments. We are also happy to report that she's not one of those cyber weirdos you sometimes read about. Thank goodness. What a relief!

In fact, she came bearing gifts!! She brought us some books from her own collection. A couple of "good read" books and a very thought-provoking book about meditating through knitting. Mindful Knitting by Tara Jon Manning. Since we often knit for the peace it brings us, we found this one particularly interesting. A very thoughtful gift!

Grandma Coco has been feeling a little stressed lately. Too many (mostly self-imposed) deadlines!! Why do we always remember too late that we hate to do anything to a deadline?? Deadlines suck the fun right out of everything. We need to calm down, breathe and find our centre again. OOOOOOOHHHHHHMMMM.......

One of the projects that needed to be finished was a whopper! These socks are for really big, man-sized feet. Note how big they are in relation to our Birkenstocks!!! If it weren't for the deadline, these would definitely qualify as mindful knitting since they just seemed to go on forever....round after round, inch after inch. We wrote about starting them here on September 28. In the end, we used almost all of the Sock-it-to-Me Soft Focus and 2 balls of the dark grey. That's about twice the wool we'd use for a normal pair. The resulting socks will be very warm and will likely be worn for ice-fishing by Coconut Number One.

Just to be clear.....if Grandma Coco knits you socks, you only get more if you somehow communicate that you liked them. She can't be making socks for people who don't like them. That would be pointless.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If this is Tuesday ...

... then it must be time for another installment of the Papa Bear Sampler Scarf adventure. We've had a very busy week but we're zoomin' along on our scarf. So many attractive stitch patterns to choose from. This week's is called Twisted Texture.

There are now 47 stitches on the needle. Remember the 5 garter stitch border stitches on each edge.

Row 1 (Wrong Side):  purl
Row 2: p1 * C2B, p1;  repeat from * to end.            
C2B= Knit into back of 2nd st. on needle, then knit first st.,
 slipping both sts off needle at the same time.
Row 3: k1, * purl into 2nd stitch on needle and then purl first stitch, slipping both stitches off needle at the same time, k1; repeat from * to end.
Row 4: knit

Repeat these 4 rows, 9 times. (36 rows)

Note that you start with Row 1 (the wrong side) on the left of the chart and note also the strange stitch symbols which I made up. Hope it’s clear. Please ask, if it’s not.

Work the separator section:
Knit  5 rows this time in garter stitch, increasing 1 stitch (by knitting into front and back of one stitch) somewhere in the middle of the last row.  (48 stitches total)

So far, so good! Only FIVE! sections left. 
And don't forget, we have a little gift for anyone who sends us a photo of their completed scarf.

For a .PDF of these instructions, click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week #6 - Papa Bear Sampler Scarf Knit-along

We're halfway home! And not a minute too soon since we actually saw a TV advertisement for Christmas this week! They get earlier every year.

This week's offering comes with a charmingly old world spelling ... Chequerboard ... lest you need further proof that our stitch dictionary is really quite old. It's an attractive pattern and not very taxing at all to knit. Manly though, right? Cassie seems to like it.

There are now 46 stitches on the needle. Remember the 5 garter stitch border stitches on each edge.

Row 1 (Right Side):  k4 * p4, k4;  repeat from * to end.
Row 2: p4 * k4, p4; repeat from * to end.
Row 3: same as Row 1
Row 4: same as Row 2
Row 5: same as Row 2
Row 6: same as Row 1
Row 7: same as Row 2
Row 8: same as Row 1

Repeat these 8 rows, 4 times. (32 rows)

Right click to see a full-size, printable chart.

Work the separator section:
Knit 7 rows this time increasing 1 stitch (by knitting into the front and back of one stitch) anywhere in the middle of the last row.  The last row is a right side row. (47 stitches total)

You'll find a .PDF of this week's installment here. Finally! Sorry for the delay.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A great show and a little rant

We set off today on a solitary journey to a destination we've been looking forward to for some time. As we pulled out of the driveway we reflected that this is the first time we've been able to drive ourselves anywhere all on our own since before the great Summer of Sightlessness 2011. We didn't go far really, just 20 minutes or so to the Arthur Child Heritage Museum in Gananoque, ON, where, until October 10th, they are hosting the Threadworks 2010 exhibition.

We've been to 3 of these now. Threadworks is a juried show which is held every 3 years. It is organized by the Ontario Network of Needleworkers. The theme of the 2010 show is Trees. A significant number of pieces from the show travel throughout Ontario for a 3-year run but entry is open to any Canadian resident.

This tree-themed exhibit is nothing short of spectacular......and we can't show you a single image from it because no photography is allowed and there was no print catalogue available. The best we can do is point you here to see some very poor quality, low-res images. Some of them are very bad indeed. Not one does the original piece justice. Some must make the fibre artist cringe.

Why have we become so sensitive to possible copyright infringement that we have made this pieces completely unavailable to most of the viewing public? What is the point of making art, if no one gets to see it? Furthermore, what is the point of making these fabulous pieces of art available in a format that makes them look so crummy?

If you get a chance to see this exhibit, be sure to go. It's amazing. Thread painting, quilting, embroidery. Absolutely breath-taking.

Because we're cyber sleuths at heart, we googled some of the names. It's surprising that so few of the artists have websites that we could access. Here's a good one: Kate Madeloso from Halifax, NS, made a lovely, quiet piece that we missed on our first tour of the room. This often happens to us. The big, the bright and the bold catch our eye on first glance. On our second tour, we were startled to see there were hand-embroidered messages written along the branches of the tree .... a letter from a friend to the tree itself. She won best hand embroidery for her Message to Earth. You can see it here on her blog.

Tracy Lawko, from Glen Huron, ON, has a calm and peaceful thread painted scene called November Hedgerow. She has a web presence where you can see examples of her work but not, unfortunately the piece from the show. Fortunately, it's one of the few that shows quite well in the Threadworks Catalogue.

Our very favourite piece didn't win any prize.  Can't See The Trees For The Forest by Linda Hiebert of Thornhill ON is perfect. Perfectly rendered. Elegant. And humorous. We can't find her online and that's a shame. Have a look in the catalogue. You probably won't be able to see it well enough but we won't spoil the experience by explaining what we saw just in case you have the great good fortune to see it in person.

There are still a few venues. You can see the schedule here. Oh, and in spite of what it says there, the show's on in Gananoque until October 10th.

Papa Bear Sampler Scarf Knit-along - Week #5

We crave something simple but attractive this week. Some subtle texture. How 'bout Basket Rib?

Wouldn't this be perfect for a sock?
There are now 47 stitches on the needle. Remember the 5 garter stitch border stitches on each edge.

Row 1 (Right Side):  Knit.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: K1, * sl 1 purlwise, k1; repeat from * to end.
Row 4: K1, * yf (move yarn to front as if to purl), sl 1 purlwise, yb (move yarn to back as if preparing to knit), k1; repeat from * to end.

Repeat these 4 rows, 11 times. (44 rows)  If you think you'll be short of yarn (or if you're just plain busy or lazy this week) this one would be a good one to knit fewer rows of.....of which to knit fewer rows? :)..... Just finish with Row 4.

Work the separator section:
Knit 6 rows this time decreasing 1 stitch (by knitting 2 stitches together) anywhere in the middle of the last row. (46 stitches total)

You can find a printable .PDF of this week's installment HERE.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Groovy, man!

Grandma Coco is not afraid to admit she's old enough to remember the macrame era of the late '60's, early '70's. Clunky plant hangers were all the rage. We never really took to it. Knot (!!) sure why. :)  However, it is said for every thing there is a season and it looks like our macrame season is now.

Yes! This is the micro macrame we talked about way back in the summer when we didn't have a snowball's chance in you-know-where of seeing the beads, let alone the tiny holes. But now, with the return of our eyesight, it's full speed ahead.

We saw some bracelets online somewhere many months ago and we haven't been able to get them off our minds. There isn't a whole lot of info to be found on the internet so we did what we always do. We bought a book. We ordered Micro-Macrame: 30 Beaded Designs For Jewelry Using Crystals and Cords by Annika deGroot. Then we started to assemble our materials. We had to order the special cord from Bello Modo. And of course, we had them throw in a few beads while we were at it. (Great service, BTW. And only $1 for shipping.)

We picked a design from the book....Zig-Zag Bracelet from page 48....and then we changed it slightly by subbing in the beads we had on hand because we find it really hard to follow rules.  Turns out, it's very forgiving. And not nearly as complicated as it looks. We have a whole winter of beady fun by the woodstove to look forward to.