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19 January 2016

Updates and Chit-Chat

Very cold here on the farm, with overnight temperatures dropping as low as 3°F (-16°C).  There's snow in the forecast, too, although the various weather agencies differ on how much we can expect at the end of this week.  After an unusually warm December, winter has pounced on January with all four feet!

There's a bit of a chill indoors, too.  A friend sent me a link to a pattern and asked if I could make it for her granddaughter -- and I had to turn her down.  The pattern is written for super bulky weight yarn.  As the arthritis in my wrists and thumb joints has progressed, it's become more difficult for me to knit large yarns.  I gave up super bulky a few years ago, and just this past autumn gave younger daughter the entirety of my bulky and super bulky yarn stash. She likes knitting and crocheting with larger yarns, and with no arthritis to trouble her hands, she'll put the yarn to good use.  That's why I work  in fingering, DK/sport, and light worsted weights -- easier on the joints.  It made me sad to tell my friend no, but I did provide her some information on a crocheted version of the same pattern, and contact info for another friend who may be able to make it for her. 

So today, I'm going to share an update on my doll project, as well as some other tiny things I've been working on.  First off, the doll!  You may recall from an earlier post that I've broadened my amigurumi horizon to this pattern for a knitted doll.  I'm pleased to report that all the knitting, sewing, and stuffing is complete!  Here is how my little doll -- whom I've named Angharad, after Maureen O'Hara's role in one of my favorite films, How Green Was My Valley -- currently looks:

Angharad with no hair!
As you can see, she has button eyes, an embroidered mouth, and chalked cheeks -- but no hair!  I thought at the beginning of this project that I had the color I wanted in a worsted weight, but I don't.  I tried using DK weight, but it was too fine and thin for my taste.  So Angharad will be bald, alas, until I go yarn shopping again.  This project is really very simple, and I recommend the pattern as a good start for anyone interested in knitting amigurumi dolls.

We've been trapping an unusual number of mice in our Victor "Tin Cat" humane mousetrap this winter, and I thought it would be nice to make an amigurumi mouse to represent all those we've caught and released.  So I introduce you to Moses Mouse!

Meet Moses Mouse!
The pattern by Phoenix Knits is a FREE Ravelry download.  I used the pattern as written for everything except the tiny little paws and the tail.  I did my own paws because I needed this mouse to hold up a little sign; and I felted the tail from two strands of yarn. The pattern specifies DK/sport or worsted yarn, but I used Knit Picks' Palette (fingering weight, 100% wool) in Briar Heather and Blush.  The eyes are eye buttons from JoAnn Fabrics.  I made a little sign from torn cardboard and wrote on it let my peepul go, and set him in the middle of the bed to surprise my husband when he came home.  He laughed and laughed, and immediately christened my little knitted rodent "Moses Mouse".  I'm thinking of knitting a Mrs. Moses to keep him company.

I love, love, love the crocheted wreaths made by Lucy at Attic 24 -- her Autumn Wreath and Winter Wreath are my favorites.  I also like Frankie Brown's knitted Woodland Wreath (a FREE Ravelry download).  There's something about gnomes, mushrooms, acorns, etc. that makes me smile.  I'm interested in making a crocheted version, however, and so I began by sourcing some free patterns for toadstools.  The first one I tried was by Yarnfreak. You can get the English translation of this pattern for free here.  (If that link doesn't work for you, try this one.)  Be forewarned, however, that the translation from the original Danish is not perfect, and can be downright difficult to figure out at times!  I wasn't displeased with my result (pictured left in the photo below), but it wasn't exactly what I wanted.  So I tried another pattern, this one by Orange Flower Yarns (also a FREE Ravelry download!).  This pattern offers two different versions of a toadstool/mushroom, and I chose to do the second version.  I am very happy with this toadstool (pictured right, below) and plan to make some more!  I used Knit Picks's Palette yarn in Red and White.

Toadstools by Yarnfreak (L) and Orange Flower Yarns (R).
After making more toadstools, I'm going to find some different patterns for acorns and play with those.  Stay tuned for the results of those trials!

With the temperatures dipping so low here, keeping warm is a priority.  I made my husband a knit cap last winter, when he was going through chemotherapy and felt the cold so severely.  Made of maroon and tan wool, it matches his casual coat very well, but clashes with his new black dress overcoat.  So yesterday morning, after hunting the Internet for a free pattern, I found the perfect one.  This classic 1940 watch cap pattern by Bucilla was widely distributed during World War II as a project one could knit and send to a soldier.  The pattern offers a few variations, but I chose to knit it as written, with one exception: I used DK weight yarn instead of worsted, because that's what I had on hand.  I simply knit the hat for the largest size, which worked out well because the spouse has a large head anyway.  The yarn I used is DROPS Karisma in color #16, Dark Grey Mix (DK weight, 100% superwash wool).  This yarn is soooo soft and very reasonably priced.  I'm very pleased with the finished result, and so is the man of the place.

World War II watch cap (c. 1940) by Bucilla.
Speaking of the spouse, he just sent me a text message -- they're forecasting 6-12" of snow here for Friday!  I think I'd best leave off the chit-chat, and go check the pantry!  What are you working on?  Leave me a  comment below and share your current project, and -- as always -- thanks for stopping by!

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