Thursday, July 24, 2008

My swap package...from Lavender

"I'll post tomorrow" turned out to be wishful thinking, but I finally got new batteries in my camera and some photos taken of Lavender's EXCELLENT and THOROUGHLY SPOILERIFFIC package to me.

  • Knitpicks DK-weight yarn for some thick socks for the wet PNW winter...
  • Socks Socks Socks, the book...
  • some BONUS sock yarn (Lane Cervinia Calzetteria) in the most beautiful berry-and-wine colorway...I don't know if I should KNIT it or DRINK it...
  • Books for my kids (they love the one about bats!)...
  • Harry Potter magnets and coloring book (not pictured, because they were IMMEDIATELY absconded with and squirreled away by my kiddos)...
  • soap sweaters for the whole family...the perfect excuse to buy some wonderful handmade soap at the farmers market...
  • TWO New York state washcloths...
  • 2 size 2 circs for making gorgeous Aran Sandal Socks from Socks Socks Socks ... I love the pattern SO MUCH...
  • Beautiful Ravenclaw stitch markers...

  • And a GORGEOUS cabled bag...Lavender must have really done her homework because I ADORE cables. I just think they are magical. The bag is lined in Ravenclaw Blue & Bronze...
And that's that! Thank you, Lavender. We're driving to Spokane today (yipes! better finish packing!) and I plan to start the sandal socks on the way--two at a time on two circs.

And for you haters out there--I don't care what Tim Gunn says, I'll wear socks with my Birkenstocks until the day I die. If we DIDN'T wear socks with our sandals up here, we'd only get to wear sandals 2.73 days a year, and that's just not enough.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Lavenders and I, part one

I've been thinking a lot about the thought and care that goes into swaps like the HSKS5 one I've just been involved in. I think it is a testament to the generous and, for lack of a better word, noble nature of knitters.

With few exceptions, when we give our word we stick to it, even if it takes a few extra days (weeks, months) to finish our project. It's a huge leap of faith to participate in a swap, and although I wasn't as active in HSKS5 as I thought I would be due to end-of-year nonsense and a death in my family, I thoroughly enjoyed being a lurker and participating in this world.

(I know there will be some angel packages, too, which both disprove AND prove my point, no?)

Tomorrow, when my camera is charged up, I'll post more about Lavender Ackerly's package to me. For now, I want to write about Lavender Diggory-Dolohov's package, which I had such fun putting together. And, thanks Lavender for the photos, which I am borrowing with her permission (on my own bandwidth...) I won't write about every single item (yawn!!!) but if you have any questions, feel free to add a comment.


For her knitted item, I wanted to design something on my own, and I had a bag idea in mind, sort of a conglomeration of a bunch of different bags I've seen online and in books. I wanted the bag to be simple (i.e. no intarsia or fancy colorwork), sturdy, pretty, and useful. When I found this Moda Dea Silk-Wool yarn in Charcoal and Wasabi, I knew I had my Slytherin colors.

I used Judy's Magic Cast-on and knitted the rectangular bottom in one piece, a double-thickness of yarn that made a long flat pouch. I reinforced the bottom by cutting a piece of plastic slightly smaller than the rectangle, rounding the corners so nothing would poke through or slice the yarn, inserted the plastic into the pouch, and then knitted the two live edges together. That gave me a flat rectangle with live stitches on one short end. I picked up stitches around the other 3 sides, ending up with a multiple that would work with my chosen stitch pattern. I then started working in the round up the sides of the bag using a 16" needle.

If you read Mason-Dixon Knitting (the blog or the book, ravelry link) you will recognize the stitch pattern from the Ballband Washcloth. It's a simple slip-stitch pattern that creates a yummy reverse-stockinette texture. In these colors it looks a bit like snakeskin, which I thought was Slytherin-appropriate. I continued the stitch pattern up as far as I thought it could go and remain sturdy, then did an I-cord bindoff for a little extra body to the edge.

The knitting went very smoothly; the lining was more of a challenge. I had already found the fabric I wanted to use, so that was easy. I'd just never lined anything without a pattern before! I winged it, reinforcing the lining with some light interfacing I found stuck in my (sorely neglected) sewing crates, and it went all right.

Once the lining was sewn, I was ready to put the whole shebang together...bag, lining, handles. But once again I was stymied. What to do with the handles? Should I attach them to the lining? or to the knitted bag? I tried attaching them to the knitting, first, but it just wasn't stable and the heavy-ish handles distorted the knitted fabric. So I sewed little straps into the lining, attached the handles, slip-stitched the lining to the bag, added the flap and a Nicky Epstein knitted i-cord button, and VIOLA (as my mom was done.

It was marvelously creative, combining sewing and knitting, and (a teensy bit) of designing, or at least the Dr.-Frankenstein-style borrowing that is my substitute for actual design sense.


For some reason I had a hard time finding Harry Potter merchandise in my town, so I stepped off the beaten path in my search for goodies for Lavender's package.

Lavender has been struggling a bit with her love life. Her sweetie, Sirius, has been MIA this term and his fate is unclear. So I made her a mix CD--we all remember how mix tapes got us through the painful throes of first love, don't we??--of love and heartbreak songs. The first half of the CD is a bunch of my favorite love songs, so if he returns she can listen to that half...and, if he doesn't return to her, the second half is tailor-made for nights of crying, chocolate, butterbeer, and railing at the injustices of love.

The stitch markers were so fun, because they came from CelticFrog's Etsy was fun to help out a fellow Ravenclaw. I also bought a set of Ravenclaw ones for myself--they are really pretty and useful.

The yarn was the major reason I didn't mail my package immediately after I finished Lavender's bag--I couldn't send it without the sock yarn, could I???

I had ordered some KnitPicks Gloss in (what I thought would be) green and grey, but the colors just weren't right--more like teal and light blue--and I was at a loss. Then I stopped into my LYS, Apple Yarns, and found THE PERFECT YARN. It's Cascade Heritage Paints color 9824, and the colors are beautiful, and what's more--there was the perfect pattern for it in the book I'd already bought, in the gauge appropriate for the needles I'd already picked out! It could not have been better. could have....if I'd been able to keep it FOR MYSELF. I'm just saying.

Lavender has been busily creating Twilight merchandise for the Twilight swap...and how amazing that there was a pattern named Twilight in the book I got her?

LinkWith the remainder of the lining fabric, I sewed this tote bag from these instructions. I hope it will be useful for trips to the grocery store or filling with lots and lots of yarn. If you're looking for simple tote bags to replace plastic shopping bags, check this pattern out--each bag uses just a yard of fabric (I used 1.5 yards, because I had that much to spare--did I think I would be lining an elephant or something???) and is self-lined. SUPER SIMPLE and very practical. I'm thinking of making some more for us and for Christmas presents...and I haven't had my sewing machine out in YEARS.

There were other goodies I won't explain in detail...suffice it to say that I had a ball putting this package together and I am so glad that Lavender likes it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Noctua Redirectus!

(Did you know that the Latin word for owl is "noctua"? The internet is so awesome...)

Lavender D-D got her package from me and likes it! yay!

And I tracked Lavender A's owl this morning and she is very near...but I will be traveling and under a Untraceable spell so won't be able to get it until I re-emerge on Monday. Waaaah. if only I were more proficient at Charms and could perform the Noctua Redirectus spell.


Quidditch...(by Hydrangea)

1. When Hagrid returns to Hogwarts after being sent to see the giants with Madame Maxime, Professor Umbridge questions him on his late return to school. She suspects that Hagrid had been to the mountains, but where does he tell her he has been?

d. South of France

2. Professor Umbridge comes to Hagrid's Hut and searches his cabin one evening (as she believes Harry, Ron and Hermione are there visiting him at night when they are not supposed to). When she walks past the place where Harry, Ron and Hermione are hiding under the Invisibility Cloak, Harry holds his breath. True or false?

b. False

3. A stately-looking witch in an emerald green shawl is one of the members of the Advance Guard who rescues Harry from Privet Drive. What is her name?

a. Emmeline Vance

4. What is the name of the witch who was killed two weeks after the photo of the original Order of the Phoenix was taken?

b. Marlene McKinnon

5. Which two fifth year Ravenclaw students does Dumbledore choose to be prefects?

d. Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil

6. Which house was Rose Zeller sorted into?

d. Hufflepuff

7. What is the color of Murtlap's essence?

c. Yellow

8. Name the Ravenclaw girl who became prefect in Harry's fifth year.

b. Padma Patil

9. According to a healer's portrait at St. Mungo's hospital, which disease was Ron suffering from?

d. Spattergroit

10. Which book did Harry give Hermione for Christmas?

a. "New Theory of Numberology"

Picture Scavenger Hunt
Padma Patil

Hannah Abbott


Dumbledore's Army

Cedric Diggory

Robert Pattinson will star in Twilight! (Did people see him on the cover of Entertainment Weekly last week???)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Accio Package! Spoilarifficus!

It's's on it's way to Lavender D-D. And what's more, I have NO PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE. I have a list of what I included, and I meant to take some photos, but time got away from me and I got to the post office ready to go with a sealed up box and NO CAMERA. So, Lavender dear, can you please take photos for me when it arrives???

Saturday, July 12, 2008

An Unfinished Week

Summer is lovely here. (When it's not raining.) This week has been gorgeous--blue skies, warm sun, the things other people in other parts of the country take for granted. I have wanted to be outside every second of every day. We have taken walks, gone running, watched our son ride his's been amazing.

The knitting and blogging have, of course, taken a hit in the time department. I just can't justify sitting inside with a pile of wool on my lap when I look outside at our beautiful flowers, I have a little girl running in saying "I need you, Mommy! Slide!" and there are parks to explore, summer smells to smell, cookies to bake, and books to read.

So the good news is that Lavender Diggory-Dolohov's items are done and I just need to add a few more items; it'll be in the mail on Monday! (Can I really have finished the knitted item so long ago??) The other good news is that, despite having to frog ONE ENTIRE SLEEVE (oh the anguish!) I am making good progress on M's Celtic Raglan, my Aquatic Raglan is nearly seamed & just needs a neckband, and I have 1.5 socks of a new pair. I'm not sure how all of these UFOs accumulated but I've been like a bee in a flower garden, sipping at each for a few seconds, then flitting off, then coming back.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Oh my heavens to Betsy!! by Hydrangea

Oh my dear Ravenclawians--I am so sorry! I had a moment of summer what-day-is-it-amnesia and realized this morning that I forgot to post yesterday. Yipes!

it's been a very busy week (believe it or not, yes I have been on vacation) and my knitting basket is bursting with goodies for Lavender Diggory-Dolohov...packing will commence tomorrow. yahoo! And whoopsie.