Thursday, December 31, 2020

Truffle Variation #4

 I'm ending this disaster of a year with a triumphant knitted finish. This shawl was made by request for Christina and is just now done. Yay! It is made from Plymouth Boku in the Key West colorway, and combined with Malabrigo Rios in Diana. Christina is tall and so this shawl is 20% larger than the previous ones, so that insures she will be able to meet the diamond/triangles in the front without having to tug at the edges.
 To keep it in place I have devised a shawl pin made from a stitch holder and three of my polymer clay beads. I found a source for the stitch holder and ordered 20 more, so from now on the shawls I will be knitting will each get one, color coordinated to the yarns employed. 

Here's the back view. Just looking at it now, this design could work as a poncho. Hmm. There is always another idea that springs from the previous. Especially if it is as enjoyable to make as this shawl has been.
So here's to a much better new year, safer, healthier, kinder, more fun and productive. I'm clearing the tables strewn with all kinds of yarns and making the studio usable again! I realized that I stopped sewing when we moved and never got back to it, since  I was distracted with new house things. I will document the mess being transformed to creative organization. Stay tuned.
Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Truffle Variation #3

Merry Christmas and God's peace unto to you in these happiest of days. I am truly enjoying staying home, in front of the fire, with Dave and the pugs, just knitting and munching on cookies.
This third iteration of the Truffle shawl begins with the middle section, knit with vertical stripes. Then the bottom section is picked up from there and lastly the neck section is knit. While I love the result, I did have to knit the front neck triangles last, and sew them to the middle band. I am usually against sewing, if I can help it, but to get this design to work, it was my only choice. Hmmm. 
The yarns used were my fave Malabrigo Rios, 100% merino and Noro Janome, 60% merino, 40% silk. So delicious, cooperative and springy.

My design idea for this version was to have decending split diamonds down the front which I emphasized with contrasting darker Rios yarn. Available to you, for $60, with free shipping. Email me at fibermania at g mail dot com. Merry Christmas to you and stay safe and healthy ! Lovest, Mel. SOLD

Friday, December 18, 2020

Truffle Variations

As so often happens, when one is knitting or quilting or with almost any creative endeavor, an alternate idea emerges and one just has to try it out. Since making the first Truffle Shawl, I thought I might do a different border, and change to larger stripes in the diamonds. So this shawl was designed to do just that. Plus instead of starting at the neck edge, I began at the bottom by making two long strips of stripes and joining them with an inverted diamond. From there I added a plain blue section, of two different yarns and then made the five diamonds, picking up stitches from that blue part. Repeating the two blue yarns I finished it off at the neck. I like the blue strip which meets in the ftont so nicely, accentuating the triangle yoke. 

 The yarns I used were Mirasol Tupa: 50% silk, 50% merino, Malabrigo Rastita: 100% merino, and then my hand dyed 100% merino Single and Stunning.

On the table, spread to 60" at the widest edge. I found it difficult to find a good spot to shoot these photos, and then realized the sun was coming up in the back of the house so I moved to the kitchen. Perfect!
The contrasting yarn is multicolored, with lime, yellow, green and blue, but the photos really don't show that at all, even the closeup. Just take my word for it.
Available for $60 with free shipping. Email me at fibermania at g mail dot com.

Earlier this week I made Truffle Shawl #2 by request. I had just enough of the same yarn to finish it, and while I was knitting, I carefully wrote the pattern, which is yours, also by request. Email me.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Truffle Shawl

I admit to being a yarn snob. Life is too short to knit with cheap yarn. I love the feel of quality yarn in my hands and the finished object always looks better and wears nicer if made with good wool, silk, mohair, and cashmere. However I am cheap. I don't like to splurge, unless I can find a bargain. So I shop on Ravelry from yarn people who are de-stashing and willing to offer their yarn at a great price. Here is a perfect example. Malabrigo Rios, a hand dyed merino that is so soft and fluffy and delicious in the hand that I can't resist having some. I admit to hoarding it. And when I came across a listing of Noro Janome yarn, 60% silk and 40% wool, well, the price was right. I had to have some.
When this lot arrived, it became a challenge to find a way to use it. What weird combination of colors. Very light to very dark with orange, yellow, pink, teal and almost black in each skein. 

But then mixed with the Rios, and suddenly it all worked. The woodsy-fernsy colors complimented each other and the combination was just what I needed for my newest design, the Truffle Shawl.
I wanted to design something that had a dynamic pattern, which would compliment the wearer, but not overpower her with too much going on. It mustn't be skimpy or too long, as those bigger shawls are unwieldy. I wanted a Goldilocks size. So I kept sketching until the length and width were just right. 60" wide and 25" at the center back. This shawl has dramatic, flattering lines, wider at the shoulder and tapering to the waist. 

The wearer can leave it open in the front or tie the ends together. It can be worn outside over a coat and then kept on inside if the room is drafty. 
The yarns make it practically weightless, yet warm.

I think I will be writing out the pattern and offering it to those who would like to knit their own. If you don't knit, then I am offering this for $60 shipping included. Email me at fibermania at g mail dot com. Sold

Monday, December 7, 2020

Chill Chaser

Over the last few days I have been staying in, keeping busy knitting and watching shows on my newly acquired HULU. St. Elsewhere, ER and Chance are some of the old goodies that have become accessible and O boy am I enjoying these episodes. When the first two were on tv, I lived in the midwest and the time zone put them on too late for me and my need to get up early for work. But Aha! I get to see them now at my convenience. O how I love this.  St. Elsewhere begins in 1982 with all those hairdos and shoulder pads, and Denzel Washington as a very young doctor. Woowoo! Love seeing Howie Mandel too. Then ER has George Clooney with brown hair, and Juliana Margulies with all those curls. That one started in 1994. And it is set in Chicago, so it's great visiting my old city again. Then Chance with Hugh Laurie, a thriller made in San Francisco, 2016-17 and so far so GREAT. 
To keep my fingers busy I knitted this scarf, Chill Chaser, from merinos and merino/silk yarns. I got the idea from another scarf, whose directions I found fiddly, so I devised a plan of my own, which surprisingly worked!
Really yummy and squishy, guaranteed to keep out the blustery winds or just drape nicely around the shoulders. 
 It measures about 16" at the widest part and over 60" wingspan, which is what they call the length of the shawl or scarf. 

The many yarns used make it a go with anything scarf. Hand wash (as if you'd ever need to ) in lukewarm water, lay flat to dry. $70, free shipping, email me at fibermania at g mail dot come. SOLD

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Knitting and Reading

Ooooohh, I was lucky and got the first copy of this mystery from my library. I love Anthony Horowitz, creator or Foyle's War (with yummy Michael Kitchen) and Midsommer Murders, as well as the YA series Alex Rider, which I just finished watching on Amazon. This is a mystery inside a mystery and it will be produced for PBS Masterpiece in 2021. The detective, Atticus Pund, will be played by Sir Kenneth Branaugh, as a German. Too fun. O how I wish I could read and knit at the same time. That would be heaven. 
We got a dusting of snow this week and it of course disappeared before I could take a picture. Nonetheless, it is suddenly cold and just in time for the holidays. Sigh. I am happy to stay in and cozy, by the fire. We have a gas fireplace, but had no logs until this week. I don't want to burn real wood, too messy, plus we don't have a convenient forest as we once had, so getting the wood isn't a simple thing. So like anyone with a computer, I ordered fake logs and they showed up at my door, and within minutes I had them arranged on the grate and ready to enjoy the flickering flames. Ain't life grand?


Here's the latest offering, a giant Baktus scarf, in black merino and rainbow Casablanca, wool, silk and mohair.
I stood on a step stool over my table to shoot this and couldn't get it all in, but you get the idea.

I knit a donut to hold the ends together, but of course you can toss the ends over your shoulder for a casual flair. Free shipping, $60, email me at fibermania at gmail dot com.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

New Traditions

Lots of things have changed for the better this year and the holiday was one of them. New houses, new husband for my sister, and our first Thanksgiving together was the start of some new dishes at the feast. Starting with dessert, Brooke's husband John likes LOVES chocolate so I decided to feature a chocolate pie as one of the dishes. I stole this picture off another website, but it looked pretty much like this. 

Graham cracker crust, a big box of Jello Pudding, or two of the regular size, 2 cups of milk, Cool Whip, and peanut butter and chocolate chips. Couldn't be easier. I had a jar with some remaining peanut butter, didn't measure, but it musta been about 3/4 cup. I tossed in some chocolate chips, both semi-sweet and milk and nuked them to melt in the peanut butter. Then I spread this mixture on the crumb crust. (Next time I will use the chocolate cookie crust). Then mix the jello with milk and pour half onto the crust and then add a lot of Cool Whip to the remaining half of the pudding and spoon it on for the next layer. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add more Cool Whip as the crowning glory. It was a huge hit. My sister and I love pumpkin pie, so we had a little of both, with lots of Cool Whip. At the store I saw a woman pile 5 tubs of the stuff in her cart. What's a holiday without it? I've been thinking of variations to this basic idea, crunchy peanut butter? slices of Reeses peanut butter cups, or forget the peanut butter and do Andes Mints melted, or Nutella...o my! All the possibilities.
  Brooke brought her famous Bacon with roasted brussel sprouts. Suddenly brussel sprouts are our fave. Roasting them makes all the difference. In fact roasted veggies were the theme of 2020. 

My niece was not able to attend, since someone at her Starbucks job got the plague, so she and her boyfriend self quarantined. We missed having her, but of course she and the boyfriend got big take-home plates of the goodies after we were done. She recently posted on Instagram that she was interested in learning to like mushrooms, and coincidentally I found a fellow mushroom lover in brother-in-law John, so I made Stuffed Mushrooms. Another stolen picture. I didn't have my camera in the kitchen...yeah, right.

Bella mushrooms, Italian sausage, whipped cream cheese, and parmesan, with a few breadcrumbs and parsely to add body and color. Cook the sausage til dark brown and crunchy (ok, just blacken it) and add it to some cream cheese and parm, sprinkle on bread crumbs and parsely flakes and pile into the caps. O, forgot! I did remove the stems and chopped them fine and sauteed them prior to adding them to the sausage mixture. Bake! I reserved two of these for my niece and hope she finds them tasty. 
One suprising new thing this year, is that I pretty much stayed sober. Usually I start drinking as soon as I start cooking, and things get blurry fast. But this year, in my older wiser age, I have been on the wagon for most of the year. So instead of losing my focus, I did what my sister has done and make a punch as a beverage to drink as the dinner gets assembled.

Pineapple juice, cranberry-raspberry juice and coconut-pineapple soda. Not too sweet, a lovely pinky-orange color and just a bit of fizz. Yummy. Pino Grigio was served with dinner and I had a couple of goblets full but was not as affected. 

A fine time was had by all and the weather was superb. Tennessee is just about the best place I could have chosen for my retirement. And my new neighborhood is wonderful. So much to be thankful for. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Silk and Merino Cowl

Now we are having fun! Getting that last jacket designed and finished was a challenge and having done it, I am ready to make fun gifty type items like this one of a kind cowl. It is made from a collection of soft and squishy silk and merino blends and while multicolored, is still tasteful.

Knit seamlessly with double mitered sections, it is just as lovely on the inside as it is outside. Not itchy, I promise! Available for $60 including shipping. Email me at fibermania at g mail dot com. SOLD