Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oxo the Lovable Elephant

Meet Oxo, the Lovable Elephant

Elijah by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport
100% superwash merino wool
136 yds/50 gr - color 1946 Silver Gray
1 full skein

Needles: size 3 Clover bamboo dpns

What a clever pattern! The entire elephant is knit seamlessly with arm, legs, and ears picked up and stitched outwardly. The legs were a breeze. The arms required a bit more patience because they were closer to the head and trunk. The ears were a challenge. Knitting them was fine, but I had to pick up stitches along an imaginary diagonal.

I ended up cutting a triangular slip of paper to size from the center back of the head to the first ear and using that to determine where to pick up for the second ear. Later I read a project on Ravelry where the knitter stuck a slender dpn straight through the elephant's head in order to determine where to place hers. This seemed brilliant but at least my fellow didn't get a headache!

I find I can never name a stuffed animal until the face is complete and the character emerges. While knitting this one I thought of other famous elephants:

Horton, of course
A person's a person, no matter how small!

Colonel Hathi
We're a crackerjack brigade, on a pachyderm parade
But we'd rather stroll to a waterhole, for a furlough in the shade!

Echo the Elephant
Every great family is headed by a commanding leader, and Echo's clan was no exception.....a wise and experienced mother who guided and protected her family for many years.

In the end, once I came across the bit of ribbon I tied around his neck, I named him Oxo. That's right, I named him after a beef cube!

I love tins of all sizes. [Perhaps you've noticed!] Years ago I would run across the mention of Oxo tins in my Miss Read books but never knew what exactly they originally contained. This was in the Dark Ages before the internet. My English friend enlightened me and gave me a couple of tins.

Miss Read used them to contain her household budgeted funds.
"I am going to put an elastic band round each of those Oxo tins and remove them only when the exigencies of rightful duty make it necessary." In fact that's probably what Oxo is doing up there with his tin, putting a bit by for a rainy day. He looks a foresighted chap, doesn't he?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wholly unnecessary

Once again, not being able to quickly and easily lay my hands on the exact string that I want proves frustrating.

I really want to knit a vintage beaded pineapple bag from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Piecework. Have I said lately how much I love Piecework? LOVE it. That issue is the 6th Annual Historical Knitting issue.

I know. You must be shaking your head about now and asking yourself "why, why??". What can I say? It is a bag made of string.

I'd link but there doesn't seem to be a photo of this particular pattern. In fact it doesn't even yet appear in Ravelry. But you can see a photo of one at Two Nerdy History Girls blog and read more about it. There is a link there, too, to a larger photo.

I love working with the Lizbeth threads. There are over 125 colors so I should be able to find the shades I need for the pineapple. It is clear, however, that I'm going to have to order them sight unseen as I cannot rely on the paltry offerings in the Big Box stores around here.

In the meantime, thinking about the bag and dithering over colors, I came across a pattern for a tatted bag. It is made in 12 sections so I thought I could start it and let it be a long-term project, just working on it as and when I had the time and inclination. I'm using color 640: Antique Violet Medium, a lovely dusky color.

Even though it is a fairly straightforward pattern, based on a old edging/insertion, I still managed to mess up when I got to the top and had to CUT a section out, tie on, and resume. It is slow going. Who knows if we'll ever see the finished bag or not.

ETA: Well, I started this post on March 4 and have gotten a bit more done and I am really enjoying this pattern. I just LOVE the number 12. So easy to keep up with my progress. I am on the third section so almost a quarter finished.

Just after starting this post, I saw that Franklin, too, has a knitted pineapple reticule. His post here and pattern at Knitty. Grrr. Blogger doesn't want to let me LINK. But surely you already know both Franklin and Knitty.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Agus cuid eile an lae dhuit fein.

which is Irish for "and the rest of the day to yourself";
the response to "top of the morning to you".

Proper FO post later after eyes and tail are added.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How do you knit an elephant?

One stitch at a time. : )

Naturally I thought of the joke/saying: How do you eat a elephant?
One bite at a time.

Often used as a time management metaphor, too, it seems.

What a fun, fun pattern Ysolda has designed! Very well written with all directions in nice, tidy tables with stitch counts. The little stuffed animal begins with 6 stitches at the top of his head and proceeds into the trunk. Stitches are then picked up (following a photo diagram in the pattern!) and the body is knitted down. Then stitches are picked up to knit the appendages. Clever girl.

Instead of using Emily Ocker's circular cast on, I found and used Laura Nelkin's Circular Cast On video tutorial. It uses the same principle but you don't have to get UP to find a crochet hook!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven

I just finished a lovely book of short stories, "Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes". I read it so quickly, but I just could not stop. Doesn't matter. I will be rereading this one many times I'm sure. Stories of England during WWII, those at home, evacuees, rationing (rationed chocolate!), sewing parties. Some humorous, some poignant. Naturally knitting got mentioned a couple of times.

The cover is so beautiful and features part of the painting "The Queue at the Fish Shop" by Evelyn Dunbar, the only salaried woman artist employed during WWII by the War Artists Advisory Committee. [How's that for a tie in during Women's History Month?!]

So England was in my mind when I stopped by the library this afternoon to pick up a book for JP. I wound up detouring through the non-fiction stacks and my eyes just happened to catch the book, "London 1945, Life in the Debris of War". I can pick right up where I left off. When you see the cover what is the first thing you notice? The red coat? It does stand out, but did you also happen to spot the string bags?

My knitting mentor is no longer with us, but she was born in England in 1923 and I heard some wartime stories from her. I can definitely picture her in a queue at the fish shop. If she were just down the road I know I'd be talking to her about the things I've been reading. I'd be showing her my latest knitting, too, I'm sure.

It was such a warm spring day here today. I didn't have to go into the office and instead made my way to a yarn shop where I purchased some yarn and Ysolda Teague's Elijah pattern for a sweet little elephant knit seamlessly (thankfully!).

"When she had hung up the receiver the clock was striking six. She went over to the radio, turned the knob, and sat down with all the other anxious women to knit and listen."
War Among Strangers" 17 January 1942
from "Good Evening, Mrs. Craven"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rahakiri Stole

Stitch pattern from "The Haapsalu Shawl" (p 157 - Rahakiri)
with edging from "Knitted Lace of Estonia" (p 154 - Modern 24-round lace edge)
27" x 56"

Yarn: Lace-a-licious by J. Knits
cobweb - 100% hand dyed alpaca
1200 yds/113 grams ; almost all of it
color name: Washington
[no link - I don't think still available]

Needles: Size 2 addi Lace

This stitch pattern is one of the old ones and, unlike many Haapsalu designs, contains no nupps. I thought the larger areas of stockinette would work well with this yarn and I liked that it was not directional.

In Estonian, raha = money and kiri=pattern. I suppose the roundish areas could be coins but this was not mentioned in the book.

This is the widest stole I've knit and I'm quite pleased with the finished dimensions. However the book instructs one to plan for a proportion of 1:3 and mine is close to 1:2. Still it is a good size for me. Since I knit the edging on in the round it is not a true Haapsalu shawl anyway. Perhaps one day I'll knit in the true manner, possibly if I ever do a large square.

Such an uninspired photo I know, but it does show the color fairly well and gives a reasonable idea of the size.