Agujas

The Art of Knitting

Frail Silk

On a weekend trip to San Antonio with my son, I managed a detour to Inskein Yarns. Inskein Yarns is located in a strip mall on a busy street. It is very small and does not have a huge selection. Despite its tiny size, there were 7-8 women huddled into a circle taking a knitting class.

They didn’t have any unique yarns but I found this skein of Maharashtra Silk which has 800 yards of 100% pure silk.

Maharashtra Silk 1

I liked the greens and purples and the yarn has a nice feel and sheen. Unfortunately, as I wound the skein into a ball, the yarn continuously fell apart. The single-ply was too frail, as if it had been spun too loosely.

The only thing I can think of to salvage it is to ply it with another fingering weight yarn. Any suggestions?

Sunday Knitting

It’s a beautiful Sunday, a little rainy, but calm and peaceful.

Mexican Easter Eggs

The cascarones are ready for cracking.

Cascarones

A hot pink sock in progress.

Sock in Progress

Wishing you a lovely day.

My Bulldog

I love dogs … but no one in my family does. Well that might be extreme. The teen always wanted a dog but he has allergies and he sneezes up a fit when around pets. The husband likes outdoor dogs, like labradors. I like smaller pets indoors but don’t like the doggy smell. So, I knit my own dog.

Bulldog 1

The pattern came from Knit Your Own Dog by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. This is the English Bulldog. I think bulldogs are adorable, sort of ugly-cute with their long jowls, large shoulders and short legs. Apparently they are known to drool and snore. What’s not to like?

Knitting up the body was easy. Just follow the pattern, and be sure to label the parts.

Bulldog Parts 1

Bulldog Parts 2

The tough part was putting him together. The instructions have shortcomings. The book could be much improved with diagrams showing how all the parts fit together, especially for the head. It was hard to visualize what he would look like from staring at the knit head pieces. I even thought of taking pictures of my bulldog in progress but most of the time, I was making it up as I went.

Bulldog Blocking

Overall, I am quite pleased with how he came out.

Bulldog 2

In retrospect, I have a few lessons learned to share with anyone who might knit their own best friend:

  • While I blocked some of the body parts, I didn’t block them all. I should have. It would have made joining the pieces easier.
  • I under-stuffed the legs. I will probably open him up a bit so that I can add more stuffing to the legs. They can’t quite hold up his weight. Even that may not be enough though. I’m toying around with inserting some popsicle sticks into the legs to help him stand. We’ll see.
  • He’s a bit thin. I was wary of overstuffing him to make sure I could get the accordion look but may have under done it. I may fatten him up a bit when I go in to stuff the legs.
  • To keep that accordion look, the pattern suggests tying a piece of yarn from the head to the tail inside the body. I sort of did that but I let the yarn exit under the tail. Then I sewed a very small clear button just underneath, barely visible. When I feel he needs some scrunching up, I tighten the yarn and wind it around the button to hold it in place.
  • I’m satisfied with the face except that I may move the nose up closer below his eyes. He has more of the bulldog look when I move the nose a little higher.

Bulldog 3

I like this little fella’. No fleas, muddy paws, picking up poop with a plastic baggie, no shedding. Perfect.

Recycled Jars

No one in my immediate household drinks coffee, except for me. So rather than making a whole pot, I make a cup at a time using instant coffee. Over time, I have accumulated a few empty glass coffee jars. The shape of these jars fit perfectly in my hand and I hated to simply throw them away. It seemed like such a waste. So, I found ways to reuse the jars.

Recycled Jars - Spices

They turned out to be perfect for spices like cinnamon sticks and leftover sesame seeds. I reduced the clutter in my pantry by saving smaller items in these jars rather than keeping bulky cardboard boxes or using plastic baggies. They also look very nice lined up in my pantry.

Recycled Jars - Kitchen

When I spin my own fiber, I use an old ball of acrylic yarn to tie up my skeins for storage or before dyeing. This little strawberry jam jar was just the right size. My son punched a hole in the lid and presto, I had a yarn pull jar.

Recycled Jars - String

Leftover candle jars are also great for storing items in plain sight. When the candle burned out in this thick glass, it became a repository for my double-pointed needles and other knitting doodads.

Recycled Jars - Needles

These empty candle jars collect my leftover yarns. From time to time, these leftovers become useful – like for wrapping packages, adding a hint of color to another knit piece, or for anything where a piece of string is needed. The lids keep the dirt and moths out and they display nicely.

Recycled Jars - Yarn 1

Recycled Jars - Yarn 2

My yarn jars make me happy and I feel like I am contributing just a little bit to making the earth greener.

To Spain or Bust

Another knit hat is off the needles. Simple pattern with reliable results. This hat is intended for a gentleman my husband met on his trip to Spain last year.

Another Beanie

On his walk along the Way of St. James, he stopped for the night in León in northern Spain. There, he befriended the owner of the Taller de Grabado y Estampa. He spent a few hours talking with the owner and artisan, José Holguera, in his engraving and stamping studio. My husband came home with these beautiful limited edition lithographs of the Catedral de León and a pilgrim’s staff imprinted by Holguera on his lithographic press.

Holguera Lithograph Catedral de León

Holguera Lithograph Staff

Over the holidays, an envelope stamped with Correos España arrived. It contained a beautiful lithograph of a modernist starry night.

Holguera Lithograph Star

As a token of appreciation, my husband wanted to send his friend a gift – so he asked me if I would hand knit a hat. The hat needed to be special, even in its simplicity. I went through my stash and selected the yarn I brought back from my trip to Colombia. It is 100% hand-spun wool in natural, undyed hues.

Natural undyed wool 1

I used the darker brown. The photo of the finished hat was taken under different outdoor lighting conditions so the richness of the brown does not come through as in this photograph.

Natural undyed wool 2

I was concerned it would be a bit scratchy but it is soft and warm. I doubled the yarn as I knitted to make it especially cushiony. It seems fitting somehow – 100% undyed, hand-spun wool from Bogotá, Colombia, hand-knit in Texas, for a friend in León, Spain.