Bleeding Hearts Stole, yay!

  • Pattern:  Anne Hanson’s Bleeding Hearts Stole, from Interweave Knits Spring 2008
  • Yarn:  The Painted Sheep Jasmine, 50/50 merino/silk laceweight, dyed by my friend Kris Gonzalez in the most beautiful, subtle variegated browns
  • Needles:  Knit Picks Harmony, US size 4 (3.5mm)
  • Mods:  I did not switch to a larger needle size for the bleeding hearts portion of the stole. Partly, I was too lazy, and partly, because I thought that flared ends might look nice.  And I did not knit two equal halves, as detailed in my previous post.
  • Ravelry link here

I am completely in love with this stole, partly because it took over a year to knit (with interruptions), but I love the design, and it was fun to knit.

To block the stole, I put it in the sink with some cool water and Soak Wash (I had a sample of the Citrus fragrance, mmm!) for about 20 minutes, then put it on a towel, rolled it up, and went across the rolled towel with my knees.  Then I used blocking wires to go through every little point on the edging – that was really a pain, but at least I had blocking wires!  It would have been much worse with just pins.  Then, I stretched it out and pinned the wires in place on some interlocking foam tiles I have.  At first I stretched it really long and wasn’t able to stretch it as wide as I wanted, so I moved the ends closer together and was able to stretch out the width some more.  Here’s what it looked like blocking – not much, since it’s brown yarn on black tiles..

Blocking the Bleeding Hearts Stole

But it gives you an idea of the process. I didn’t have quite enough blocks for the whole length of the stole, so I had to improvise. This gave less than ideal blocking for part of it, but I don’t think it’s too noticeable in the end.

Blocking Bleeding Hearts Stole, the less than ideal part..

It took about a day to dry, and then I got this:

Bleeding Hearts Stole, blocked

Here’s a closer look:

Bleeding Hearts Stole detail

Aaaah..  I love it!

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Aah, the return of real knitting content!  I started the Bleeding Hearts Stole over a year ago, and just finally managed to finish the knitting yesterday.  This evening, I grafted the two parts together.  Here’s the “before” picture.

 Bleeding Hearts Stole, two parts

I am a real novice at Kitchener stitch, since I have only done it for a couple of socks, and I prefer to do toe-up socks in order to avoid it..  Because I was not confident in my grafting skills, especially in lace, I moved the graft off-center so it wouldn’t be featured so prominently on my back – I did 14 repeats for one half, and 6 repeats for the other, instead of 10 and 10.  For guidance on Kitchener stitch, I used this Knitty.com article, which has excellent step-by-step photos.  The grafting itself went rather easily, but the hard part was evening up the tension so it would look nice.  What made it harder was that in this lace pattern, the graft line is zig-zagged!  Here is part of my graft, done losely at first:

Grafting losely

With much effort and strain on the eyes, I managed to get it looking somewhat even.

Evening the stitches

Below is the “after” picture.  The grafting turned out better than I thought it would, but it’s still obvious, so I’m happy with my decision to move it to the side, where hopefully my arm will be covering it somewhat.  

The join

Tomorrow, blocking!

After my last post about Mouse Guard, I got the okay from David Petersen to post pictures of Sadie!  My husband bought this original page from him for my birthday, and my dad blew up the colored page from the comic to the same size, then framed them side by side.  This is hanging on our living room wall.

Mouse Guard Sadie

Isn’t she gorgeous?  I love her!  Here is the sketch he did for me in my hardcover book, while we were chatting at the New York Comic-Con.

Sadie sketch, done while we were chatting!

This is why I was clutching the book in my arms in the picture I took with him!  Brilliant.

Speaking of small rodents, we had a pair of real mice for almost 2 years, but they both passed on recently.  Unfortunately their life spans are pretty short.  They were very darling, but were more afraid of us than interactive with us.  So Chris decided on rats instead (we would love to get a dog, but don’t have the space or the time to raise a dog right now).  I know that most people think, “ewwww, rats!”  But we had a friend in college who kept a rat which was quite smart, clean, and cuddly, and Chris read a lot to confirm that pet rats tend to be that way.  So when the Paper Heart Rattery had babies available, we put together a rat home and went to pick up a pair of new rats! Here they are:

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Here’s Tim meeting them for the first time:

Tim meeting the babies

He did manage to be gentle.

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Even so, they were pretty scared, especially in the travel cage.

In the carrying cage

Here’s the new home we had ready for them. Pretty sweet for a pair of rats, if you ask me.

Our setup

During the car ride home, we decided on their names. I’ve always found human names for pets to be funny, so that’s what we did. This little guy we named Steve.  Pretty darling!

Steve

And this one we named Joe.  He’s a little bigger and bolder than Steve.

Joe

Already, they’re settling in and starting to get used to us. Here’s Joe getting acquainted with Daddy Chris.

Getting acquainted with Daddy

They like to climb around on us, and when we go near the cage, they come up and try to snoof us through the bars.  Pretty cute!

I have always considered myself somewhat geeky, since I enjoy sci-fi, comics, video games, and other geeky things, but I never thought I’d find myself at the New York Comic-Con!  Chris convinced me to go because we’d be seeing an old college friend, and because we’d get to meet David Petersen, the creator of Mouse Guard, which I love and have mentioned on this blog before.  It is a comic world set in the 1100’s, with mice that are adorable, yet fierce, resourceful, and fearlessly determined to protect their society.  How can anyone resist that?

We got to the Javits Center early, and went straight to David’s table, so we had a nice long chat before he got too busy greeting fans.  Our friend Jason Liang snapped this photo of us chatting with him and his wife, Julia.

Petersens

Chris started off by telling them that he bought one of the original Mouse Guard pages for me.  It turns out that it is one of their favorites, and one they did not intend to sell, but we managed to get it due to a miscommunication between the two of them.  So I feel guilty, but very fortunate to have it.  He did reproduce it in watercolor for her later, which is so sweet.  I don’t think I can post a photo of the original that we own, but here you can see it on a T-shirt.  Of course I have ordered the shirt and will be wearing it all the time when the weather warms up!

As you can see, I was wearing my Malabrigo sweater that day.  I don’t remember how it came up, but Chris mentioned that I made it myself, so Julia told us about a scene in David’s upcoming children’s book that involves some porcupines who knit with their quills, and a bunny who tries but has a really hard time with it!  You can see a preview of this on his blog and it is delightful – I can’t wait for it to come out!  I told them they would have a large built-in audience of knitters looking for the book.

I brought my copy of the first Mouse Guard series collected in hardcover for him to autograph, which he signed with a little sketch of Sadie, the mouse in the artwork that we own.  I was going “squeeeeee!” on the inside the whole time.

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I don’t normally do the ga-ga fangurl thing, but Mouse Guard is really worth it!

After that, I didn’t really care what we did for the rest of the day, but it was enjoyable.  We ran into characters like these:

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Princess Peach from the Mario games – she was actually being interviewed for a cultural anthropolgy study.

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A mother and daughter duo, not matching, but cute.  

And of course, the requisite Stormtroopers!

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We even got to meet Colin Baker, the 6th Dr. Who.  As we were standing on line, I felt highly unworthy of even being there, because the women in front of us were totally geeking out – reciting what TARDIS stands for, debating over what will happen after the 13th Doctor, and fawning over a guy who was dressed like David Tennant, but didn’t look anything like him.  I never saw any of Colin Baker’s TV episodes, which apparently were pretty bad, but Chris and I really like the work he’s done in the Big Finish Dr. Who audio dramas. He was pleased to hear that we like them and said, “they are well written,” implying that the TV episodes were not..  Anyway, he signed a CD for us, and posed for a photo:

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He actually said, “a rose between two thorns.”

After that, I almost fell asleep a few times at the DC Forum, where Chris was eager to hear the latest about Green Lantern.  Then we left the convention and went for dinner with Jason.

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It had been forever since our last meeting.  He published some comics in college, and Chris contributed a couple of pieces.  Chris also commissioned a piece of artwork from him for my birthday many years ago:

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Talented, indeed!  It was great to see him again, and a great day in general, geeking out with the best!

Of course, I didn’t finish the Reid cardigan for Annabelle.  I told them, it’s a spring cardigan anyway!  Here’s what I have so far.

Reid cardi progress

I did manage to hold up the pieces to Annabelle, and think it will work out. It will just be longer than the pattern calls for. We had a nice time with her family for Christmas. Here’s Tim and Chris with Grandma and the cousins:

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Tim sampling Santa’s cookies that Uncle Nat made on Christmas Eve.

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Two excited cousins on Christmas morning!

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Checking out their stockings.

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Tim loved this Christmas light necklace!

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Princess Palooza!

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Baby Ryan, just happy to be there.

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It was a great Christmas!

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Oops!  Long time no blog, due to technical difficulties.  I’ve gotten some knitting done.  During a conference in October, I finished the feather and fan scarf I knit from my fractal stripe handspun.  I had reversed the pattern front to back in the middle of the scarf because I was knitting during a concert and messed up, but decided to leave it that way.  It turned out lovely.

Fractal Stripe Handspun knit in Feather and Fan

You can see that one half of the scarf has slow color changes, while the other has more frequent color changes.  I love it!  However, when I was blocking it, I discovered this:

Aaaaaugh!!!

Aaaaaaaaugh!!  I hate dropped stitches in lace.  As you can see, I salvaged what I could and put a safety pin through 3 stitches that seemed to prevent any further damage.  I am not sure how to pick these up again, and may just have to fudge it.  This was going to be a gift, but I don’t want to give something that I messed up.  So I may end up keeping it for myself – it depends on how well the repair goes.

So instead of working on that, I started a new project – the Reid lace cardigan, from Knitty.com.  This will be for Annabelle, and hopefully in time for Christmas.  But in trying to be clever and avoid seaming, I managed to mess up in a few different ways.

Reid Cardigan lace pattern

First off, I decided to knit the right and left fronts together with the back up to the armhole shaping.  Once I got there, I realized that there IS no armhole shaping – it’s a drop shoulder design.  Duh!  So basically I knit in one piece up to the neck shaping.  It really didn’t look that big to me.  Instead of frogging, I started on a sleeve.

Reid cardigan sleeve

I’ll see how it looks as a longer cardigan.  One of the ladies in my knitting group suggested putting a ribbon through the waist – I think that would look cute!  We’ll see how it goes as I fudge it up.

Tim had a hard time deciding what to be for Halloween this year.  He kept on changing his mind!  Finally, we told him he had to make a final choice, and he decided on a T-rex (or T-wex, as he pronounces it).  We went to a few craft stores before finding this green foam at Jo-Ann’s, and Chris made it into a great costume!

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The other kids at Tim’s school Halloween party really liked it!

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The side view.

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After about 15 minutes, he wanted out of the costume.  It may have been too warm for indoors, and did interfere with his cookie consumption.

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Dancing, yeah!  It was a fun party.  Here we are before going out trick-or-treating.

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Uncle Natty came to spend the evening with us too.

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I also have some photos from an Andy visit, earlier in the fall.  We went apple picking!

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What a beautiful tree.

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Tim picked lots of apples.

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So did Andy!

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Here’s a walk in the woods I took with Tim and Chris.

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Tim collected many beautiful leaves.

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Autum in New England is so beautiful! Here is the Flickr set, for more.  I do have knitting content coming soon!