Thursday, November 30, 2006

"hakucho" dishcloth

I love swans and do you know what? I just finished my very first ever hand knitted item that has a swan on it! I have been collecting swans and anything with swans slowly for many many years now. Someday I may show you my collection. This swan cloth is a first (of many) for me and I love it:
The pattern can be found here. As your probably have guessed by love of swan's is the reason why I named my blog "hakucho", which is the Japanese word for "swan". I picked out the name after looking through my eldest son's Japanese/English dictionary and thought it had a nice ring to it as well as it was fitting because of my love of swans. My son is very much into all things Japanese because of his great love of the art of a Japanese style of karate. Kyokushin Karate to be more specific. Guess some of the Japanese culture may have rubbed off on me as well, too! Now you know how I came up with "hakucho". :)
Another thing I had fun making the other day was this soap saver. I found the pattern on Jennifer's blog. She calls it a"soap holder wash cloth thingy". This was the first time I did the "linen" stitch and it was fun. I made this one for myself, but I think it would make a nice little gift. I'm going to use it in the shower for all those little odds and end of soap that you end up with, but really don't want to throw away. The good thing is that it's a wash cloth as well! I don't like to waste anything, so I can't wait to try it out :) ! Actually a new bar of soap fits right inside the pouch perfectly, but I'm using it for the scraps.
The pouch is small although it looks big in the picture. I think the pouch would make a good trinket or sachet or potpourri bag as well. I'm sure if I wanted to I could come up with a hundred different uses, but right now I'm not thinking too well. Here's a picture compared to the dishcloth for sizing purposes:
In addition to these new items I have been working a tiny bit on a new prayer shawl. I'm making it with some of the yarn Coats and Clark sent to our church. I'm making "Knitting a shawl the long way" by Janet Bristol. This pattern makes a shawl that will be self-fringing. I cut the yarn after every row. This is my new take-a-long project. I just have to make sure I carry a scissors with me :) The pattern I am using comes directly from Janet Bristol's prayer shawl ministry website. Guess that's about it for now. Hope I didn't ramble too much today.
Happy Knitting :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Getting ready for Christmas

I saw this pointsettia cloth on Rhoda's (g-girl) blog and knew I had to have this pattern. I love it! Checked everywhere with google searches including all the dishcloth sites and the pattern was nowhere to be found. Rhoda is wonderful; she sent me the pattern because it was the November's mid month KAL of the Monthly Dishcloth KAL yahoo qroup and it's not publically up on the net. I went out and bought some red yarn (Lion cotton) for this beautiful cloth. Guess what? I decided to go ahead and join the group! I think I'll enjoy it, but I hope I can keep up with all the reading of the posts! Here's the link to the groups blog, in case you might want to join, too. I probably should have joined sooner ( I'd have many more cloths ready for Christmas by now...better late than never! ) This group is another great pattern resource and I don't want to miss out on any more new patterns :) I have been enjoying making the dish/washcloths so much. I'm always ready to try a new pattern.
Happy Knitting :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Looks like a starfish!

Last night I finished my first Mason-Dixon Washcloth from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book. The yarn I used was natural colored 100% cotton chenille yarn from Pasa Yarns in Uxbridge, MA. Remember the huge cone I bought a while back?:
I had to go down a needles size. The 8's made the cloth much too loose. The resulting cloth doesn't lay flat, but it is very soft. I think it will make a nice face cloth. I've been thinking that I may crochet a chain and thread it trough the eyelets and put a bar of soap in side. That would be nice to shower with! I was expecting it to be flat; it looks like a star fish. Is that the way it's supposed to look or did I do something wrong? Maybe it's the yarn, or maybe it's the way I knit it. I'll have to make one in peaches & cream or sugar & cream next to see if there is a difference! One thing I like best about knitting dish/washcloths is that you get instant gratification of a finished object in just one or two nights of work!
I love knitting...happy knitting :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

That was easy!

The Christmas Bell dishcloth (mid month Dishcloth Fun KAL ) is finished now and it was a very easy knit. I wasn't sure what yarn to use, but I finally decided to go ahead and use what I had in my stash. It photographs lighter, but it is dark green (ACMoore 100% cotton mill ends) which was perfect for this pattern. The bell shows up nicely.

I'm planning on making many more wash/dish cloths for Christmas. They really make nice and useful gifts. I need to find some nice soaps to give with the cloths. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Happy Knitting :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm so happy...

.....that the "Baby Genius Burp Cloth" blanket (Kate's Christmas present) is finally finished!! I really hope she loves it. If I can go by the way she reacted to the two scarves I made for her in the past, I really think she will be very happy. This blanket is very hard to photograph. Today here we are having a very gray day, so this is about as good as it gets:
Here is a picture of it on top of my bed...a bad photo, but I think you can get the idea of it's size on top of my queen sized bed:
It came off my needles last night. I was starting to get really tired of it. A burp cloth is one thing, but a throw blanket that is approximately 50 X 66 " is quite a bit of knitting. I was getting distracted very easily and was very tempted to cast on something else...but I persisted and now it's done and I can finally move on. I love the way it turned out inspite of it all, but I am very sorry to say I did get a bit bored with knitting it. This stitch pattern produced a very nice heavy fabric that I think will be very cuddly. I got the idea for doing a blanket like this from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book. The yarn I used was Joann's Sensations Rainbow Classic Brushed, which is a very soft yarn. I used almost 3 skeins. The skeins are huge. Each one has 11 oz. and 615 yards. I have a very small amount left, but I did buy an extra skein--- just in case. I definitely will make something else with the leftovers.

Now I can move on to some smaller projects. The only thing on my needles right now is the prayer shawl I started, but haven't done much so far. I think I'll be working on my Christmas knitting from now on.

I also have an update on the "Kid's only Shopping" at the Holly Fair at my church last Saturday. The pocket slippers were a big hit and were sold very fast. The kids seemed to like them! I have to start knitting them earlier for next year's fair.
Most of today involved a great amount of baking in preparation for tomorrow, Thanksgiving. I made two pumpkin pies which were made with the fresh pumpkin I cooked last Saturday and I made a large apple pie. This a pretty good sized apple pie.
I used 4 1/2 pounds of apples, yum. Apple pie is my husband's all time favorite. Now that the boys are all getting older I think I'm going to have to start making two apple pies for Thanksgiving! I also made my baby(...12 years old this coming Friday) a birthday cake for tomorrow. We always celebrate his birthday on Thanksgiving. He is a Thanksgiving baby being born twelve years ago on Thanksgiving Day! Here's a picture of his cake, not very professional, but he was very happy with it when he saw it and that's what counts, right? The cake is chocolate with a buttercream icing:
T H A N K S G I V I N G !

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A very hard shelled pumpkin

Yesterday I tackled the job of cooking my five small pie pumpkins that I had bought a while back. Once a year I usually buy a bunch - cook, puree and freeze in ziploc bags in the required amount for a recipe. Well, the very first pumpkin (sticker on it said "pie pumpkin") I tried to cut in half was so hard that I just couldn't do it. Usually I have no trouble. I was glad it was a Saturday and my husband was home to lend a hand. Boy, did he have trouble, too...but he persisted ...he's a big strong man and was very determined to not let this pumpkin get the best of him...and he did manage to get it cut in half eventually!! What we really needed was a jack hammer. There was no way that this poor little pumpkin was ever going to be a jack-o-lantern! This was the first hard shelled pumpkin that I have ever come across in all my many years of cooking pumpkins. I then proceeded to cut and clean the rest and I was baking all afternoon. The hard shelled one was very stubborn in the cooking department as well. Couldn't even pierce it with a fork after 60 minutes in the oven. It took at least twice as long to cook as compared to the rest. The pumpkin flesh actually fell out of the shell when it was done. The shell that was left and stem (couldn't get that to come off either) is so hard that I was able to wash it as if it were a dish or bowl and now I have a covered pumpkin dish! I Want to keep it as I think it is very unusual. My 12 year old insists it's going to rot. I wonder if there is anything I can coat it with to preserve it? I'll have to investigate about that. I think it would make a nice candy dish or a nut (nuts with the shell that is) bowl. Very very interesting, so I thought I would share the story with you all. I know it's not a knitting post :)
Here's the picture of the inside of the shell opened up:
Here's the picture of it covered, actually it is a rather nice color considering it was baked for over an hour:

Friday, November 17, 2006

Where do you keep your WIP's?

This blog entry is in response to Monika's question on her blog. I started to comment and realized it was way too long and that it was a great question, so it deserved an entry in my blog. Here goes the answer: well, I have basically three bags I use... a small, a medium and a large. I feel like this is sounding a little like the story of the "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". The small one is a bright, red, shiny vinyl bag that my mother bought in Switzerland over twenty years ago.
( It was my parents' one and only trip to Europe. I'm still waiting for my trip there; sure hope it doesn't take that long for me to get to Europe. When my husband was in the Airforce he was stationed in Brussels and he would love to go back some day, so there is a little hope there. I also have relatives in Germany that I'd like to meet someday, too.) Back to the bags...the red one was Mom's knitting bag, because it was hers - I really love it and it's my favorite, but sometimes it's too small for a project. This one is empty right now, but it will have dishcloths in the making soon as I have many more to knit for Christmas. The middle sized one is a native American looking cotton print. It holds quite a bit, but tends to collapse on itself. Right now my latest prayer shawl is in that one. And my biggest one for WIP's is a dark green tote, like the ones from L.L. Bean, but I got this one in the Christmas Tree Shop. This one now contains the Mason-Dixon "Baby Genius Burp Cloth" blanket that I'm knitting for Kate. It's really getting tight trying to get the blanket in and out now and it's hard to take places also because of the size of the bag...the blanket has grown so big. Brought it with me yesterday to my son's 12 year well-checkup and I think I'm starting to look like a "bag lady" or it looks like I'm planning on staying on for the duration. I still have a ways to go with the blanket, but the end is in site...I really have to concentrate and get this one done soon or I might have to remove stash yarn from my very old extra large, white/red tote that did come from L.L. Bean!
Hope I don't have to do that because I won't have any place to store all that yarn. :(
Well, Monika...does that answer your question? Have a great weekend and...happy knitting :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Knitted Turkey Cloth (aka Gary the Gobbler) is finished!

My turkey dishcloth (Knitted Turkey Cloth - aka Gary the Gobbler) for the Dishcloth Fun KAL has been finished for awhile now. I figured it out very early on with this Mystery KAL. I found the pattern and finished way before everyone else except maybe Rhoda (better known as g-girl in the blogging world). I read on her blog that she figured it out, too, so I wasn't alone which made me feel better. I was good and kept quiet until now as I didn't want to spoil the fun for any one who did not know yet what we were knitting.

Now I'm anxiously waiting to find out what we are doing for the next KAL. All I know is that it will have a Christmas theme. I really don't have any Christmas colors in my cotton stash. All I have is a dark green and white. As soon as I know what we are making I probably should go to the store and get the appropriate colors. Any excuse to buy more yarn. I am really getting bad in that department.

In adding the links to this post I just noticed that Judith put up the pattern that we are doing next. Now I have a dilemma...should I go buy more yarn or pick an un- Christmas like color? The pattern we are doing is this one, Melissa's Christmas Bell Dishcloth. Now, what am I going to do? .....

Monday, November 13, 2006

Recent yarn acquisitions

On a recent trip to Pasa Yarns in Uxbridge, I acquired some new yarn. Pasa Yarns is an interesting place to visit. They sell yarn by the pound ( very reasonably priced I might add) on the second floor of an old mill (next to Berrocco, which unfortunately does not sell to the public! ). The place is rather messy, but they do have lots of interesting yarns. There are endless boxes in several rooms filled with all sorts of yarn on cones.
I lucked out on this day because I got some beautiful 100% wool. Very nice royal blue that I hope to use for felting. I also got some natural wool which hopefully if I don't chicken out will be my yarn dyeing experiment. I've been wanting to try my hand at dyeing, but have been afraid to try. I think I'll be ok once I take the plunge :) Once the holidays are all over I think I will conduct my experiment.
I also got a big cone of natural colored 100% cotton chenille. If I do well with my dyeing experiment, maybe I will try dyeing this yarn as well. The chenille is an incredibly soft yarn and I know it will make nice washcloths and towels. They didn't have any when I was there, but they also carry sock yarn. Must try knitting socks first though to make sure I like knitting them, then the next time I go I'll get some sock yarn. Too bad that it's a little bit of a trip for me or a would go more often just to see what they have in stock.
The last yarn that I bought were some cones of a wool/boucle blend that I am going to mix with simply soft from Michael's for a sweater for me. I want it easy care...machine washable and dryable. I love the colors. I think it will look nice with jeans. Previously I made a hat and scarf for my husband with a similar yarn with wonderful results. That's it for now... happy knitting :)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Prayer shawl finished and fringing

I finished the fushia prayer shawl finally. This one really took me a long time to make, but when you consider that it was my" take along" project it really isn't too bad. I would work on this while I had to wait for someone or something. You know how it goes. Last night I made the fringe. Making fringe with the Lion Brand homespun is no easy feat. As soon as you cut the yarn it immediately starts to fray. That means you really have to knot each stand after you cut the lengths and before you attach it to the shawl. That is a secret that was passed on to me by the ladies in my church's prayer shawl group.

This is a close up of the shawl:

Through trial and error I've found the easiest way to cut the lengths of yarn for the fringe to get them all the same length is to use a clip board. This is how I wrap the clip board with the yarn:

I wrap the board twice counting as I go, using the big clip to hold down the first strand of yarn. Two stand per cast (57 stitches in my case) on stitch and I attach 2 strands at a time with a crochet hook. This makes a very full fringe.

Here's a picture of me cutting the strands on the clip board.

What's nice about using the clip board is that it doesn't bend. If you have ever used cardboard to wrap the yarn it inevitably bends and the strands can become uneven unless you only do a few at a time.

The next prayer shawl will be made from yarn that was donated to our church by Coats and Clark. They were so generous. They sent us a huge box of mill ends for us to make shawls with. That was so nice of them. Thank you Coats and Clark :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ball Band Toilet Paper Cover Pattern

This is my pattern for a knitted toilet paper cover inspired by the "Ball Band" dishcloth. This cover is made to fit a 1000 sheet roll of toilet paper (The kind that is purchased singly, wrapped in a paper) .

**The pattern is based on the "Ballband Dishcloth" pattern and can be found in the Mason-Dixon Knitting book by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. The pattern can also be found on the back side of the Peaches & Cream label. I found mine on the 1lb. cone I purchased in Walmart. Another place you can find the pattern is on the Dishcloth Boutique website where the pattern is known as the Textured Slip Stitch Dishcloth. **

Edited 8/8/08 You can find the ballband dishcloth pattern at the elmore-pisgah website.

Edited: 8/9/07
Please email me if you would like the PDF file of this pattern for easier printing. I would be happy to email it to you. I am looking for another site to host my patterns in the PDF format. If anyone can recommend a reliable free site please let me know. Thanks :)
Edited: 9/28/2007
Click here to download pattern PDF file. Please email me with any problems or questions. Thanks!

Worsted weight cotton yarn. 2 small balls, 2 colors A and B. Most worsted weight yarns should work.
Size 7 circular (16") needles, and size 7 ( set of 4) double pointed needles
Large eyed yarn needle
1 stitch marker

Gauge: 18 stitches / 32 rows / 4" in pattern stitch

With color A cast on 60 stitches with the size 7 (16") circular needle. join being careful not to twist.
Knit 8 rounds.

Pattern starts now ( always slip stitches as if to purl and do not break yarn when changing colors, just carry loosely in back of work) :
Round 1 and 2: knit
Round 3: with color B, knit 4, slip1 (*knit 5, slip 1) repeat from * ending knit 1
Round 4: purl 4, yarn back, slip 1, yarn forward (*purl 5, yarn back, slip 1, yarn forward) repeat from * ending purl 1
Round 5: repeat round 4
Round 6: repeat round 4 again
Round 7: with color A, knit
Round 8: knit
Round 9: with color B, knit 1, slip1 (*knit 5, slip 1) repeat from * ending knit 4
Round 10: purl 1, yarn back, slip 1, yarn forward (*purl 5, yarn back, slip 1, yarn forward) repeat from * ending purl 4
Round 11: repeat round 10
Round 12: repeat round 10

Repeat these 12 rounds until there are 7 bands.
End with 2 knitted rounds of color A.

Decrease rounds:
Switch to size 7 double pointed needles, dividing stitches evenly.

Continue with color A
Round1: (* knit 4, knit 2 together) repeat from * ending with knit 2 together
Round2: knit
Round 3: (* knit 3, knit 2 together) repeat from * ending with knit 2 together
Round 4: knit
Round 5: (* knit 2, knit 2 together) repeat from * ending with knit 2 together
Round 6: knit
Round 7: (* knit 1, knit 2 together) repeat from * ending with knit 2 together
Round 8: knit
Round 9: (* knit 2 together) repeat from *
Round 10: knit
Round 11: (* knit 2 together) repeat from *

Break yarn and using large eyed yarn needle draw yarn through the 5 remaining stitches and fasten. Weave all end in.
If you have made an item from one of my patterns, please send me an email
[ hakucho19(at)yahoo(dot)com] and I would be happy to post it in my gallery!

Copyright ©2006 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ball Band Toilet Paper Cover

I was reminiscing recently about my childhood and I remembered my mother crocheting toilet paper hats or covers. She used cotton rug yarn to crochet the hat in the round and added a gross grain ribbon as the hat band. Mom sewed a plastic flower (no silk flowers in those days) to the hat band to finish off her hats. They were really cute. She gave them to everyone and people even asked her to make them for them when they redecorated their bathrooms so they would match their decor. I haven't thought about these in years....

Lately, I've been getting really tired of seeing my extra roll of toilet paper totally undressed! I thought to myself why not make a "ball band cover" for the toilet paper roll. I just love anything "ball band"! That's what I did. Guess this is kind of the modern version of my mother's covers. I knit it in the round so there are no seams and I'm very happy with the way it turned out. In fact I just cast on another one for my downstairs half bath. It was very quick to knit it up. Now I 'm thinking of buying a silk flower as an accessory (in honor of my mother), but that will have to wait for my shopping trip next week. Happy knitting :)