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Last year at this time, we were in a hipster restaurant when a group of people in Halloween costumes came in. One guy was wearing what looked like my grandma’s armchair; his face peered out of a hole cut into the back of the chair, and his arms and body were puffy with upholstery. As his friends sat at their table, he reached under his bum, tipped out two hinged wooden chair legs, and leaned back and sat. He *became* a chair – I don’t know if my description has done it justice, but it was brilliant. The rest of the restaurant broke into applause at his Halloween cleverness.

I love Halloween, but I’ve come to two realizations over the years: 1. I want to be chair guy, who goes all out with a great costume every year; and 2. I’m too cheap and too introverted to ever be chair guy. So this year, I’m keeping it small and simple, and doing what I do best: knitting!

It’s Max. From Where the Wild Things Are, less the 2009 movie and more the 1960s book. It’s just a toque/beanie with big wolf ears, and (soon to come) a felted crown; pattern by tinyowlknits. I may go all out and draw some whiskers on my face. And if people don’t know Where the Wild Things Are, that’s ok because I’ll just say I’m a crown-wearing goblin.

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You know I love a good cardigan, right? Well, I’m really excited about this one.

I wanted to design a solid cardigan with a shawl collar and a big cable up the back. It would be cozy, not too fitted, medium length, and knit out of dk-weight yarn. A quick search on Ravelry found almost exactly what I had been thinking of…already designed by Thea Colman.

That’s just life, I guess, and never one to turn down a good cardigan, I bought the pattern and cast on.

This cardi’s going to be awesome!

Ok, it’s not that cold here yet. But I’m ready. Last winter, ears cold, I had the shocking revelation that I only have one toque/beanie/winter hat. It’s a ratty old crocheted thing that I bought in the university SUB about, oh, five years ago. I’m almost embarrassed to write this. For all my knitting, I’ve never managed to produce a hat for myself. And then, in that way we tend to overcompensate, I had visions of dozens of hats to choose from, one for each winter outfit! That’s not going to happen, but at least now I have one.

I owe much of the inspiration to start knitting again a few years ago to Rowan (and to Felicia at Sweetgeorgia, but that’s a story for another time). The first pattern magazine I bought was a Rowan. It was in 2007, I don’t know where I got it, and I was totally shocked to find that people were writing fashionable knitting patterns. Really amazing patterns. Despite an early slip-up buying a gross railroad yarn (which I still inexplicably have in my bottom desk drawer, and which I find every few years and am still surprised that I would have spent any amount of money on), I was quickly hooked on Rowan Felted Tweed before I was much of a knitter at all. And then Kidsilk Haze, and Kid Classic, and etc. For all my support of artisans, tiny companies, slow movements, and locally made…big ol’ Rowan is my desert island yarn, the one I would choose if I could only have one.

So, I bought a ball of the new Rowan Drift about two minutes after it went on the yarn shop shelves. You saw the start of my Rapunzel hat here, and now it’s done. It’s a little large, but not at all unwearable. I hope we get four feet of snow this winter!

>>You should know that this pattern included long braids – not my thing, but go for it if your mom always cut your hair before it got past your shoulders, and you’ve always wondered what long princess braids are like.

Pattern: Free Rapunzel! by Tiny Owl Knits (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Rowan Drift (100% merino wool) in 908 Shore

Also, I’m excited to go to Knit Social’s yarn swap next Thursday evening in Vancouver, and have been going through my stash ruthlessly. Hope to see you there. I have some railroad yarn to trade.

Whoops – time to get this project up on the blog; Alexa beat me to it and it’s already up on the Urban Yarns blog! What a generous post, I’m very flattered. I’ll just give a few more details:

I saw a Duck Soup sample at another yarn shop a few years ago, and have been trying to get to it since. I think this is an ingenious design: it’s a jacket or sweater, depending on the size. Because babies grow so quickly, you’re meant to make it a couple sizes too large, rolling the hood and sleeves for a good jacket fit. Once baby is larger, unroll those sleeves and it’s a sweater. A cozy, handknit sweater! Economy, meet luxury. Brilliant.

I still have not had the pleasure of meeting Neko, the jacket’s recipient, but I hope it’s a gift that he & mom get a lot of use from. The frog closures were fiddly but fun, and they really made the project. It was a clever pattern, knit from the top of the hood down. The hood was kitchenered up the centre and the knot tied last.

Pattern: Duck Soup by annypurls (ravelry link here)
Yarn: Spud & Chlöe Sweater (55% wool, 45% cotton) in Moonlight
Mods: Frog closures – did 3 stitch i-cords in the same yarn (instead of sock yarn), but made them each about an inch longer than recommended

Here’s a little jacket, finished except for the frog-style buttons and closures. It’s called Duck Soup. A few years back, I was inspired by the Duck Soup blogged by Three Bags Full and, well, some things I don’t forget (you know, the really important things, like sweater patterns). Once it’s been buttoned and gifted, hopefully there will be some gratuitous cute baby shots.

Maybe you can tell how excited I am about a project by the amount of time it takes me to blog about it. Usually, I finish something and I’m so thrilled that I have to get a photo right away and post it.

My Damson shawl was finished back in May, and you might recall that I was lukewarm about the colour from the start. By the time I had finished and blocked, the colour had grown on me. But it turns out my real gripe is that it’s tiny* and I found myself adjusting it every 20 minutes so that it doesn’t fall off. A shawl pin would help…I think I’ll have kinder feelings towards Damson once fall weather rolls around.

The yarn, on the other hand, was so soft and springy; I enjoyed working with it, despite what I’ve recently learned about the superwash process. Are you reading, madelinetosh? I’d love it if you offered more non-superwash yarns…

Pattern: Damson by Ysolda Teague (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Earl Grey

* Not sure if tininess is the problem, or if it’s more of a length vs. depth issue. The top edge of Damson has increases on both sides, not just the right side as with other shawls I’ve knit. This gives it a deep v-shape at the neck, yet the ‘arms’ still aren’t long enough to get a good wrap-around. Get it?

Not quite dry yet…and I still can’t decide about those colours.

I knew I needed my 4mm needle for the upcoming Rock Island cast on, so even though I was using it for the Damson shawl, it was no big deal. I was going to put it on some waste yarn. Then something came over me: why not just finish Damson to free the needle?

I put in so many knitting hours this past week that I finally had to teach myself to knit continental to save my poor cramped right hand. I predict a Carson Demers workshop is in my future – the one on how to knit without hurting yourself.

Still trying to reserve judgement until I can wear it, but I’m fairly unenthusiastic about this one. The size is a bit small, which I knew going into it; usually I find more substantial shawls to be more stylish. Good thing my needle is free to start gargantuan Rock Island tonight.

Yes, we have socks! Dad’s birthday socks are ready to be wrapped.

Those pink threads are life lines in case the socks need a little lengthening or shortening. Doesn’t Sweetgeorgia dye the best dark blue around? In some lights it looks a bit blue-grey, in others blue-green, but it always looks complex and beautiful. In a manly way.

Pattern: Retro Rib Socks by Vintage Vogue (ravelry link here)
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock (80% superwash wool, 20% nylon) in Riptide

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