Tag Archives: knitting

Big Gay Aunties R Us! (My Nibbling Was born This Morning!)

My sister gave birth to her first child today. The “official” (read: roughly when said baby was all the way out of my sister’s body) time of birth is ~10:45am Calgary Time (AKA 12:45pm, where I’m at).
This child’s name is a deliberately unisex name. Whether this is because the parents are clueful enough to prep for the possibility that their new-born son may turn out to have been their new-born daughter all along, or just for the sake of some other sort of convenience, I have no idea, but this Big Gay Auntie is happy to see that choice regardless.
I finished my nibbling’s baby blanket today, sitting on the back porch in the sun(!) on the first really beautiful, honestly warm day of Spring. New life into the world. Persephone comes above ground again, and this baby came with her. โค (Granted, I doubt my non-practicing-but-technically-Abrahamic sister would be totally thrilled about being put in anything resembling the role of Demeter). I sang blessing lulabies into the yarn as I finished off the last rows, blocked it in a bath steeped with lavender and salt.
It's now roughly the size of a couch-throw, so considerably bigger than planned. My hope is that I can schlep it to the laundromat early next week and put it through a hot wash + hot dryer with a load of towels and socks and stuff, so that it'll shrink, felt just a little bit, and, hopefully, set the dye.
Right now, I'm trying to speed (Ha!) through a coordinating scarf (I know, I just said it was finally WARM outside, but my sister's getting a coordinating cowl, and I want both the parents to have a Thing to commemorate the birth of their first child that just happens to be completely devoid of Baby Markers if you aren't intimately familiar with a certain Security Blanket that (hopefully) gets dragged around everywhere) for my Brother-in-Law, so that when they eventually all drag themselve to my (Read: my MOM's) end of the country, I can hand them over with all due ceremony.
Anyway. Lovely Wife and I were hosting a bunch of people for coffee and similar when the call came in, so I got to announce it to a (small) room full Awesome Queer (and mostly, if not entirely, poly and kinky) Chicks who'd been asking about the knitting project I was trying to finish, so. ๐Ÿ˜€
Welcome to the Family, and the World, kidlet. We're happy to have you here. ๐Ÿ™‚

F is for Fetish – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So, Lee Harrington has a podcast about leather and spirituality (yeah, yeah, that totally narrows it down), in which he says โ€œItโ€™s called a fetish for a reasonโ€ with regards to the power/symbolism with-which we imbue certain fabrics (leather, rubber, as just a couple of examples).
I tend not to wear my leather skirts to Any Old Event. I wear them almost-exclusively to kink-related events (with some added queer events thrown in because Representing). Part of this is, honestly, because my leather clothes are not that comfortable. Theyโ€™re fine, as clothes go, but they tend towards pencil skirts and corsetry, which means theyโ€™re not the best for every-day Getting Things Done wear.
None the less, the idea of clothing as Objects of Power and Place, is both (a) a thing that gets me thinking, and (b) something that has resonated with me since my mid/late teens.
See, back when I was dressing my most gothically โ€“ complete with black lipstick and velvet everything, even on my most casual days โ€“ I still had what I thought of as โ€œRegaliaโ€. I think we all did. Our very best dress which โ€“ like leather garments, particularly gifted ones, in the Leather Community โ€“ were on par with full formal wear. When I dressed in that stuff, did my makeup all the way, added the extra, more cumbersome accessories (the finger armour, the rings connected to bracelets by delicate chains, the collars, the ear cuffs, the pony-falls and veils), I felt like I was putting on Full Ceremonial Dress: Regalia.
And โ€“ possibly because my leather clothes arenโ€™t the easiest to move in, but also because Iโ€™m investigating Sacred Kink and Leather Woo more and more these days โ€“ I find myself wanting some sort of Ceremonial Garb. Something elegant and comfortable (and warm, but not oppressively so) that I can toss on to Formalize whatever I happen to be wearing (or not wearing) to this Ritual or that Leather Event.
I am making myself a shawl. Knitting it myself and, in a lot of cases (the shawl is, essentially, going to be a bunch of sewn-together scarves) hand-spinning the yarn as well. And, when I thing about this shawl, I see myself at Unholy Harvest. I see it fringed with bone beads and stone rings, soaking up all the sex-blood-desire energy โ€“ and also the home-phamily-tribe energy โ€“ of that time-outside-of-time world. I think about the way the colours Iโ€™ve chosen to spin together for my colourful stripes (a) are reminiscent of the bi pride flag, and (b) unexpectedly correspond to my own kinks (see: Hanky Code) in remarkably accurate ways: Purple. Maroon. Fuschia. Dark blue. Black. I didnโ€™t pick them for those reasons โ€“ I picked them because they look good on me โ€“ but they work out that way anyway.
I think about the fact that wool โ€“ like leather โ€“ was once alive, came off the back of someone else, and that matters to me, thatโ€™s part of what makes it magical, makes it holy. I think about the fact that, as the creator of this object (on a number of different levels), I will be imbuing it was a lot of my own energy โ€“ and that effects the mindset that I try to hold while Iโ€™m working on it. Spin joyfully. Knit with love and certainty. That kind of thing. (Like making bread).
I think itโ€™s that โ€“ the mix of magico-religious materials and the imbuing of an object with power and place โ€“ that make me think of this shawl as โ€œkinky attireโ€. Itโ€™s โ€œfetishโ€ wear in the religious sense, and thatโ€™s carrying over (in multiple directions) to โ€œfetishโ€ wear in the bdsm/leather sense of the word.
Anyway. Thinky thoughts.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Shawl Project Plans

My altars are lit – finally, after too long (a couple of weeks, easy) having gone without – and I’m relaxing at home while my lovely wife is out on a date with one of her other sweeties.
I may have to send her a note suggesting that she grab a bottle of white wine on the way home, so that we can enjoy a glass of reisling (one can hope) with the chicken and sweet potatoes I’m (eventually) doing in the oven.
Right now, though, I’m messing about with the blogs. I finally got caught up on my Pagan Blog Project posts (see previous entry) and will, shortly, be caught up on my GGBP posts over on Syrens as well.
Right now, though, I want to talk about knitting. I’ve decided that I’m going to knit myself a heavy, striped shawl via the simple means of knitting nine (or so) long, skinny scarves and then sewing them together. The idea is that I’ll have black stripes (odd number, so that both “bookend” stripes are black) alternating with stripes of Various Colours and the plan is that each of the Various Colours will be a hand-spun yarn, ideally one with some verigation or colour blending going on. The shawl should end up being about 2.5′ deep by 5′ or 6′ long. At least that’s the hope.
Right now, that means one stripe done in the deep blue (with hints of purple and white) silk-merino that I got fairly early on in my spinning endevors, and one stripe (eventually, once I’ve spun some more) in the same deep ruby that I turned into arm warmers back in December. I do have a small heap of other roving that I can work with – most of which I got for felting soap and making felted jewelry (haven’t done much of either, though so might as well turn it into yarn) – and I’m thinking I’ll do a combination of turquoise and lavender with, maybe, a bit of darker purple thrown in here and there, and another skein done in the dark purple (though I’m not sure what I’ll mix it with… maybe white? I’d have to see how that went).
I’d like to spin something like a peacock blue, or a teal that I’ve heavily mixed with royal blue and just a few hints of emerald, but we’ll see… I’d have to get new roving for that. Likewise, I’d like to do a deep, bloody red – and I have some crimson roving lying around for just that purpose – but… Again, I’m not sure what I’d mix it with. Based on what I’ve got… carefully mixed feather-fine touches of ruby and dark purple, probably. And I’d love to do a variety of pinks… a rich fuschia couple with touches of the ruby plus something very pale but still in the pink spectrum.
Each colourful stripe could be a different width, too – possibly getting narrower as the colours get lighter? – for extra visual interest.
Who knows.
Anyway. That’s where I’m at. I won’t be hand-spinning the black yarn although I may be buying it. I’ve got three skeins of black merino already BUT it’s a really fine gage – like sock yarn, or close to it – and, while it’s turning out beautifully using a twisted-stitch and 2.25mm needles… it’s taking for freakin’ ever, and that’s not the idea here. the idea here is to be able to put the black stripes together on 7mm (or 5mm) needles, using a twisted stitch, and get each one done on a given lazy afternoon while watching Lord of the Rings or something.
Anyway. That – along with my erstwhile pair of socks – is my current Project for the moment.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Knitting with Handspun Yarn – Opera Length Arm-Warmers (in the round)

So. Quite a while back, I learned how to hand-spin using the drop spindle that my wife made me out of a cupboard-door-pull, a bent nail, and a bit of skinny doweling. It works quite well, fyi. There’s a reason you can make these things out of tinker toy. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Anyway. One of the fibres I’ve been spinning is corriedale. I went with this partially because it’s the least expensive fibre available at my local fibre-geeks shop, but also because it came in (among many other things) a lovely dark wine/berry colour that happens to be something I can wear.
So I spun a heap of that, all the while wondering what I would make from the stuff once I’d spun all the roving I’d bought. (For reference, I’ve used about 2/3 of the stuff as of now). I mean, yes, I know there are a zillion suggestions up on Ravelry for what to do with a small amount of slightly lumpy single-ply probably-worsted-weight yarn.
I’ve even used some of them.
But, this being me, I’m more likely to just futz around with something until I turn it into something useable (see: my method of cooking, for reference).
So where is this going?
It’s going to my attendance at a clothing swap, just shy of two months ago, where-at I was able to pick up a totally adorable 3/4-sleeve (on me…) funfur coat in, oh hey a lovely dark wine/berry colour. That just happens to match the yarn I’ve been hand-spinning for ages.
See, I live in a climate where winter is, for the most part, Serious Business. But we do get occasional weird-ass thaws, like the one that’s happening as we speak. The temperature is hovering around freezing (a week ago it was -28C not counting the wind chill, so…) and it’s safe for me to wear my totally adorable funfur coat out and about. BUT! It’s still not bare arms weather, which means: arm-warmers!
Yeah, I know. Who’s never made arm-warmers?
But I only just got the hang of making them using circular needles, so I’m feeling rather chuffed about the whole thing. I made myself a pair of elbow-length arm warmers to go with a specific piece of clothing. And they look good! ๐Ÿ˜€

Elbow-length arm-warmers made with berry/wine single-ply handspun corriedale yarn.  :-D Go me! :-D

Elbow-length arm-warmers made with berry/wine single-ply handspun corriedale yarn. ๐Ÿ˜€
Go me! ๐Ÿ˜€

Something I’ve learned, though, is that when knitting with hand-spun (or at least with yarn that I’ve handspun…) there may need to be an extra row here or there to make up for the variations in yarn thickness. My second one is just a tiny bit (maybe 5mm?) shorter than my first one.
Still! They do what they’re supposed to do and look like they’re supposed to look, and I managed not to drop any stitches, so I’m happy! ๐Ÿ˜€
If I were to do this pattern again with a similarly weighted (or “gaged”, I suppose) yarn, I would probably make some changes.
But let’s take a look.
Original Pattern for Opera-Length Arm-Warmers (for a very tall woman)
1) Cast 40 stitches onto a set of 4mm (or so) circular needles sized for making socks and baby-hats and similar.
2) Knit back-and-forth two rows
3) Knit in-the-round five rows (pattern continues in-the-round unless otherwise specified)
4) Knit two, Pearl two, for seven rows
5) Reduce (one row of stitches only) using the following stitche pattern: [Knit two, pearl-two-together, pearl one] –> You should now have thirty stitches on your needles
6) Knit two, Pearl two, for 14 rows
7) Knit (everything) for 50 rows
8) Knit back-and-forth (to make the hole for the thumb) for 24 rows
9) Knit in-the-round 10 rows
10) Cast off, keeping stitches fairly loose
If I were to do this pattern again, I would change steps 3, 4, and 5 as follows:
3) Knit in-the-round 16-20 rows, depending on how far over your elbow you want the arm-warmers to extend (NOTE: must be an even number of rows or the rest of the pattern won’t look right)
5) Reduce (one row of stitches only) using the following stitche pattern: [Knit one, knit-two-together, pearl two] –> You should now have thirty stitches on your needles
So there you have it. ๐Ÿ™‚ The original pattern makes a very fitted pair of 16″ arm-warmers that can be worn with or without thin gloves underneath. With the above changes, the arm-warmers will be 17″-18″ in length. If you’re a tall or long-limbed individual, these should run from right around where your palm meets your fingers to just above your elbows. There’s lots of space (in those fifty rows of knited stiches) to modify these for either length (remove – or add! – extra rows) and pattern, for example if you find the knitting-for-ever stuff to be insufficiently challenging, you could add a really spiffy cable pattern along one side to fancy it up a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚
Meliad the Birch Maiden. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sewing and Sprouting and Spinning, Oh My!

Hey there!
So it’s been wall-to-wall witchery around here lately. This isn’t a problem for me and, honestly, I kind of prefer it that way, but I wanted to throw some small-c crafty stuff up as well.
So here’s what I’m up to right now:
1) My Ghost recently made me a drop spindle, which I’ve been using to make (rather lumpy) silk-merino yarn using a technique more or less like this one:

Here’s a picture (recently seen on my crafty twitter-feed) of my drop spindle, and one of some of my (first attempts at) hand-spun yarn:

Drop Spindle made by Ghost. Because she’s awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

Two-ply on the left, single-ply on the right.

Two-ply on the left, single-ply on the right.

2) I’ve planted mustard greens in a pot on the window sill and, hopefully, they will actually be sprouting soon.
At the moment, it just looks like a pot of slightly sickly dirt… I’ve been watering them with the water left over from steaming greens because I figure they’ll pick up some much-needed nutrients that way but… I still have no idea how long they’ll take to actually sprout, let alone grow into micro greens and then Actual Greens. I’m thinking I may top up the soil a little with some used coffee grounds, as I hear that’s helpful for leafy greens. I’m hoping (valiently?) to see some sprouts by this coming weekend, as that will have been about two weeks from planting.
Wish me (and them) luck! ๐Ÿ™‚
3) Sewing. Having acquired a dress-maker’s dummy, I’ve started picking up second hand blouses (or men’s dress shirts, provided they don’t have pockets on the front) in order to taylor them into something that actually fits me.
This typically means picking up something with long sleeves in a size that’s slightly too big for (most of) me, and then cutting the sleeves off and taking it in at the waist.
So far, I’ve done one-and-a-half blouses like this. A purple one with some runching up the front (that now has elbow-length sleeves[1]) that could, I confess, do with a little more tayloring around the hips; and a black blouse with white pin-stripes and some ruffle detailing (a bit like this, but with much longer sleeves) which is cut and partially pinned to make it cap-sleeved. It may end up being sleeveless, but we’ll see. I may also tak it in just a little at the waist.
I still have a gorred skirt to re-hem (I made it ages ago, but the hem-line is totally borked above the left knee. I need to take it dow and re-do it in that particular spot. Wish me luck), and some heavy purple fabric that my lovely wife got me so that I could make another winter-weight skirt for myself.
Anyway. That’s where things are on the arts-and-crafts-and-gardening front. I’ve still got half a collection to post to Etsy before I start doing more jewelry, and I’m always needing to restock on candles. But regardless, that’s where I’m at. ๐Ÿ™‚
Talk to you later,
Meliad the Birch Maiden. ๐Ÿ™‚
[1] Which may get re-modeled yet again so that it has cap-sleeves. We shall see.

Crochet Pattern for Tiny Goat-Style Horns

So this blog has been all Pagan Blog Project all the time, of late.
Personally, I don’t see that as a bad thing, but I thought it would be good if I posted something more in line with food-and-crafts end of things.
See… My wife wants a winter hat with goat-style horns on the front. We are the House of Goat, after all, so I can see why she wants this. ๐Ÿ™‚
Conveniently, My Gurumi has a pattern for exactly that. I think you need some very tiny DPNs to do this pattern (and, as such, some comfort with using DPNs at the beginning of a project).
EDITED TO ADD: Apparently this pattern is for crochet, not knitting. Woops. Shows what I know. :-\
You can follow the link to the pattern, or read it below:
1 – make a double ring with 5 sc
2 – m2, sc4
3 – sc1, m2, sc4
4 – sc1, m2 x2, sc2, sc2tog
5 – sc2, m2, sc5
6 – sc3, m2 x2, sc3, sc2tog (from now on the decreases will always cross the first stitch of the new/next round, don’t worry, just start the new round after the decrease like nothing happend)
7 – sc3, m2, sc6
8 – sc4, m2 x2, sc4, sc2tog
9 – sc4, m2, sc7
10 – sc5, m2 x2, sc5, sc2tog
11 – sc5, m2, sc8
12 – sc6, m2 x2, sc6, sc2tog
13 – sc6, m2, sc9
14 – sc7, m2 x2, sc7, sc2tog
15 – sc7, m2, sc10
16 – sc8, m2 x2, sc8, sc2tog
17 – sc8, m2, sc11
(with a 3,5 mm hook my horn was about 6,5 cm long, there is a rhythm after row 8 that you can easily recognize and that allows you to elongate and enlarge the horn as wide as you like)
So there you have it. Or I have it. A pattern for knitting crocheting[1] tiny horns. (I love the delicate pink of the yarn she used for them… I’ll probably go with something like this, or else one of the small, bright, bits and bobs heaped in the bottom of my stash. We shall see. ๐Ÿ™‚
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] I will now have to learn to crochet. Cripes. O.O

Knitting an Autumn Forest

This is actually a post about knitting.

Knitting is, for me, a very seasonal thing. I was talking about it with my sweetie this morning[1] and she said she thought knitting – as a very stationary activity – was well-suited to the Summer, the time of year when not moving around a lot and, ideally, sitting quietly in the shade, will keep you most comfortable. But, for me, it’s so very connected with Winter. My guess is that it’s because, when it’s cold out, I want to bury my hands in something cozy and give myself excuses to curl up in a little ball somewhere warm with a blanket around my shoulders and a cup of tea close at hand.
However I think I also made this connection because it’s something you can do (to a point — all I can do is “garter stitch”) by feel, something you don’t need to think about all that much, something that – more to the point – you can do indoors, after the harvest is in, while the wind is howling outside. I associate it with winter because, for my agrarian ancestors at any rate, it was (most likely – I am making a big assumption here) something that was done during the time of year when they weren’t sheering or weeding or threshing or what-have-you.

Anyway. Knitting (and spinning; I found a neat drop-spindle tutorial on youtube – over here – which I rather like) are on my mind.

The “autumn forest” part of this post’s title comes from the variegated yarn I’m using to knit my mother a hat[2] which is going to be somewhere between a tuque and a cloche.
I picked the yarn because it’s (a) variegated, which makes the same-stitch-all-the-time look a bit less monotonous, and (b) because it’s in the right colour palate for her — she’s an Autumn, meaning that she looks best in golds, rusts, ambers, and olives.
I’ve been knitting double-stranded from two balls of variegated yarn, which means that the knit doesn’t move from colour to colour in blocks but, rather, is a constantly changing mix. I was looking at it this morning and what I saw was the forest in autumn, specifically Vincent Massey Park in mid-October, as viewed from the Carleton University campus early in the morning. The hazy mix of rust and pumpkin, gold and maroon and brown, mixed with the dark hunter-green of the conifers, emerging from the morning mist.
I like it. I think it will be perfect for her.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Reader, I confess it: I was knitting in bed.

[2] I don’t, at this point, work with patterns. As stated, above, I only know how to do garter stitch, so not a lot of point worrying about patterns just now.