Recently in Elijah Category

Pattern: Elijah, by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft Baby
Needles: US 2.5 (3 mm)

I have finished the sweetest little elephant.  And he definitely has kid appeal, because the second I finished seaming the second ear, Ms. Z wanted to make him her own. 

By now, I'm getting pretty accomplished with French knots -- and I almost feel good about how mine look.  In the past, I've considered French knots to be my embroidery nemesis.  I think I will be less concerned about them in the future. 

Elijah, like Sophie and Otto, comes from a well written pattern.  The only tricky bit,  in my opinion, is picking up the stitches for the ears since there are no easy to follow guide stitches.  My Elijah's ears are a bit off-center from each other, but I don't think the average toddler would notice, and I like to think it gives him a little extra charm.

Of the three patterns, I would rate the difficulty (from easiest to hardest) as Sophie, Elijah and Otto.  Most of the difficulty has little to do with the knitting, and all to do with proper stuffing and the embroidery.  That said, all of them are very approachable and knit up relatively quickly if you need a present for a special child in a hurry.

20091022_ElijahOtto&Sophie.jpg Here are my trio of toys enjoying a brief respite from the rain on my deck this afternoon.  Soon they will be making their journey to Madison, WI where they will be keeping company with a sweet, tiny new person.  What more could a toy ask for?

I'm pretty sure that I have enough yarn left to make at least one of these toys for Z.  I've been thinking about doing Sophie in some kind of patchwork manner (I don't have enough of one color left to make a whole toy), but have to think about how to do it so that it comes out cute and not just rag-bag looking.

Still Life and Neverwhere

I wasn't planning on a photo today, but then I saw what is becoming Elijah amidst my desk in the grey morning light and snapped a picture.  My desk is a mish-mash of knitting items and work-related papers, scissors, and yarn.  And an unfinished purple elephant.

What I was planning on talking about is a book I've just finished, Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman:

I've always been a devoted reader of fantasy fiction.  I love the idea of being able to do magic, of creatures that go beyond the ordinary.  Of a world where the laws of science don't always seem to hold.  Neverwhere is an lovely combination of fantastic creatures and not-quite-normal people set in the real, but not quite real, underground of modern-day London.  At it's core, this book is about the main character finding himself and understanding what he really wants in life, but wrapped up in that journey is a tour through the  London subway system of an alternate reality inhabited by people with remarkable skills and beasts from mythology.  As I was reading this book, it struck me a little bit like The Wizard of Oz meets Paradise Lost.  This book is a quick read, and Gaiman's writing is a treat to run your eyes over.

I'm also pretty psyched tonight because I purchased a farm share for the 2010 Cormo shearing from Juniper Moon Farm. next year I'll be looking forward to 24 ounces of lovely Cormo yarn.  Ever since I first found out about this sheep breed I've been wanting a Cormo sweater!

YarnCon Stash Additions

20091015_Sophie'sToesYarnCo.jpgOn Saturday afternoon, whatever powers that control the weather in Chicago finally decided to give us a little sunshine.  It made for a lovely day to head to YarnCon with Julie.  Both of us did a little stash enhancement at the Emily Parson's Sophie's Toes booth.  And on Sunday it was not only warm enough to take pictures outside, but I even sat and worked on Elijah on my balcony. 

I've been fondling the cashmere blend Sophie's Toes that I purchased earlier and was hoping that Emily would bring some more man-friendly colors with her.  I already have a skein of the regular merino yarn in "Walnut" (the lovely brown yarn on the left), but after sadly saying goodbye to several pairs of merino only socks, I've come to the conclusion that, at least in my house, if a yarn doesn't have a little nylon, it probably won't survive very long unless it's also very tightly spun or has more than 2 plies.  So I will save my original skein of for another project and use the cashmere/merino/nylon blend skein for the socks I had originally planned.  So, with any luck, John will get two pairs of nice new socks this winter.

The skein on the right is "Lagoon", also in the cashmere blend.  It's a much deeper, more saturated teal in real life, but still isn't dark enough for man-sock duty, so those socks will be destined for my feet.

The biggest prize, however, was the "Magic Ball" (the center pull cake in the center of the bowl).  Emily's Magic Balls are made up of sections of multiple colorways.  This one is called "Enchanted Forest" and features all my favorite jewel tones.  When I first laid my hands on it, Julie told me "Those are your colors!"  Yep.  Deep colors with purply-blue undertones go well with my skin.  Perhaps this ball is destined for a new scarf for me... with all the different colorways available in it, I've been thinking something modular might be fun.

I wrapped up the weekend with working steadily on Elijah (he now has a head, body and two legs) and even got a few rows in on the second Zebra Striper sweater sleeve.  My conversation with Julie, who is trying to decrease her unfinished project pile, has inspired me to go back to my UFO list and figure out what I can start finishing up...  


While a whole  lot of lucky knitters and spinners are heading off to Rhinebeck this weekend, I'll be staying here in Chicago and checking out a much smaller fiber show, YarnCon.  What YarnCon lacks in the presence of live sheep, it makes up for by being practically within walking distance of my house. But don't think that I won't be a little jealous of all those heading to NY -- though that jealousy will mostly be over getting to see fibery friends rather than getting to indulge in fibery consumerism.

In addition to YarnCon (which should be doubly fun, because I hope to be heading there with Julie), since the weather is likely to keep us indoors this weekend (what, I ask you, happened to the gentle entry of fall?) I suspect my needles will be in motion.  I cast on and got started with Elijah this afternoon, and last weekend, while heading out to our pumpkin patch experience I picked up my second Francie sock and made some headway on that project.  The other thing I did today was start to work out the design for my next pair of socks for John -- these socks are going to be my first foray into designing with twisted stitches, which I think will be just the perfect amount of patterning for the lovely cashmere blend Sophie's Toes.

In lieu of actual knitting photos, I have a few pictures from our trip to see the pumpkins.

20091015_Pumpkins.jpgI just loved the way those green squash looked with the pumpkins.  They were just the perfect sagey color contrast to the bright orange.  Definitely not a pair of colors I would have thought to put together, though!

20091015_MeAndZ.jpgAnd here is rare photo of me and Z -- riding a toddler sized train and both wearing our handknits. Z has on (and she actually requested to wear) her upsized "Baby Surprise" sweater and I spent the whole day cozy and warm in my cotton turtleneck and OWLS sweater (which I love).  The Owls are rapidly becoming one of my favorite go-to cold weather sweaters!