Thursday, December 31, 2009

From scratch

This project was made from scratch... really...
I wanted to show Christopher how can one dye wool with Kool Aid.
So we started some australian merino, I bought at the big craft fair.

And we dyed it. I could swear I had pictures from the whole process, but I can't find them now. But the result was this:

Then I spun it up and plyed with my lovely star shaped spindle I got from this seller on Etsy. The shape is so cute and I love that it is big enough to ply two normal spindleful of singles on it.

Then I skeined it. I winded it the legs of a stool...

Then winded in a centerpull ball...

Then I started thinking really hard to figure out what to knit with it. Thanks to my friend, Angela, who's blog have a Ravelry search feature. She pointed out the pattern for 198 yds of heaven. Which was absolutely perfect for me. It is made from smaller amount of yarn (as opposite the 800-1000 meter requiremenet of aregular lace shawl.), it is lace and shows off the yarn pretty well. Also it is modular and can be made bigger or smaller to use every bit of yarn.
So I took my 4 mm straight bamboo needles and set knitting.
Eight (yes, that is 8!!!) hours of knitting later I cast off.

And set blocking. After that:

I did more repeats than in the original pattern, and since I wanted to use every bit of yarn I have I stopped at the end of a repeat (instead of stopping at half repeat as recommended in the pattern), and tinkered with the edging to get it lined up with the pattern and have pointier edges.

Then I asked my son to make a picture of me wearing it!

Thank you my mom, and grandma handing down all those genes.
Thank you Marion for the cool spindle.

Thank you Abby Franquemont for the great videos and wonderful blog full of advice. I don't have anybody to show me things, your stuff is the next best thing.
Thank you Angela for pointing me toward the pattern.
Thank you Christopher for the pictures!

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Xmas pressies

These two were my most succesful presents.
When I saw my aunt the last time she loved my fingerless gloves, she kept admiring them, and trying them on...I usually do not give them presents at Xmas time, but I just had to make a pair for her. The yarn, once again came from the second hand store. A ball of white grey painted to give the fair isle effect and a small ball of self striping sock yarn paired up.

She did not expect anything, much less something handmade for her, and she was so moved... it was absolutely worth the time.

The other bigger present I made was a hat for my sister. I knew she likes berets, I knew she likes black, all I had to think up what to use for contrast color... I still had a ball of the self striping grey yarn I used before.
Here is selbu modern. She loved it, and it fits her personality and style very well.

I was so happy that these two present came trough so well, and were so lovingly recieved. I usually am a very selfish knitter, I don't really like to knit for others... reactions like these do make me think more on that...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Xmas sock parade

Presents finally gifted, and pictures can be revealed...
There was socks given...
This was made for the wife of my father.

These were for my uncle... when the last time we've met he mentioned that he had a pair of handknit socks made by my grandma, but it is falling apart and he would like keep it for the I made him a pair... but thinking of it more, I could say these were also made by my she was who taught me to knit and anytime I do something with yarn I do feel her (and my mom's) presence...

And these were for my dad. He loved the ones I gave him for his birthday early this year, and I saw they did got good wear...

I leave the two best present for the next post...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mákos Guba

It is one of the traditional Xmas foods around here.
In the original recepie one takes the simple "kifli" (much like hot dog rolls) dunk in milk, pour sugared ground poppy seeds over.
The way I make it...
Start with baking braids from sweet yeast dough sprinkled with roughly cut up walnuts and sugar.

Then cutting them up into bite sized pieces.

Soak them in boiling hot milk, that has sugar and lots of vanilla sugar in. put them into an oven proof dish, and sprinkle every layer with ground poppy seed mixed with powdered and vanilla sugar.

Put small bits of butter at the top and put in the oven until the edges are crispy.

Serve with extra sugared poppy, or if one fould find it dry, with some fruit syrup or jelly.

Yumm. Not for the faint of hearth, or the ones trying to loose weight...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Twinkle star

Traditional tree toppers in Hungary are long, narrow, looking like a rocket crossed with russian domes. In Miami I had a ...hmm I think it was supposed to be father Noel, but it looked rather like a wizard with dark blue cloak... As much as I loved it was left and eventually lost there.
Before Christopher was born I got an angel, which I dearly loved, but last year my boy announced he wants a star. What? Why?
"Mama, I want a star."
Well, last year I was happy to survive the days, and I could not even think about any star.
About two weeks ago Chris was right behind me when I opened the Knitting Daily letter in which there was the pattern. Chris pointed and squeled. "Mama, I want that star. Please knit me THAT star!".
So what's a mommy to do?

Pattern is Nora Gaughan's celestial.

Yarn, unknown second hand red yarn and gold thread. Needles 2.25 mm knit picks DPNs (they have six needles in the pack which is the numbers needed for this. It can be made on less, but really comfortable on six.

Modification: at the last point when there was three stitch on each side knitted 5 rows and left it open and put a tube made of red cardboard in before stuffing. Pulled the yarn through the stitches and closed it around the tube and fixed by punching through the board a few times with the needle and yarn.

I think I have a problem

Umm, the steem of my Xmas tree is about twice as big as the hole in the stand.
And the only usable toolI found is a bread knife. (That saw was loaned by P, but you could not cut a match with it).

The trouble no matter how I kept carving it, it always stood like a drunkard, leaning heavily one side and the only way it would stand with heavy support from the wall...
I have to admit, there were moments of frustration, when I used language not fitting to this holy day, there was moments when I threw the tree aside, banging my head in the wall.
I had my cell phone in my hand to call my father to ask him to get in his car and come and put these darn tree in its stand (that was after two and half hour "work" and 8 PM... he lives about an hour and some drive away...
Then taking P. way of thinking, with a help of a book under the stand and a piece of string tying the thing to the window knob...

Now I have bloody blisters on my hand (fingers) and bad scratches and sore muscles. But the smile on Chris face made the whole thing worth it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My little lamb...

The teachers in Chris's school decided this year to put on a Xmas play, which included sheepherdrs, sheep, and of course Mary and Joseph...Something of having in a herd of gorgeous shite soft wooled herd two scratchy greyish lambs outcast by everyone, but upon seeing the newborn Jesus their fur turned moiracoulosly soft and white. My boy was cast as one of the lambs...School of course had all kinds of coustomes, Sheepherders, angels, Mary Joseph, everything but sheeps... On the Xmas fair at St Lucia1s day the teacher... no she did not asked, she did not told me, but self evidently put the picture at the desk before me, saying "this is how it should looked like.." I couldn't even replied. I mean it wasn't given to the stay at home mom, nor the one with grandmas at hand, no to the single mom who works full time. They said I should just get some white pijamas, yeah, where? And most importantly when?... Only at home did my anger surfaced, but then Christopher started crying and telling me how he really wants the part, and mommy, please, please make me a sheep custome.Who can say no to a teary eyed eight year old? Not me... No white PJs of course, so I dived into my fabric stash, came up with some white jersey (for sweatshirt type of stuff), and made an overall for him. I didn't bothered with a pattern, I just put a pijama on the fabric for approximatle length and width... After so many time, I hoped that I know enough to cut into a fabric and came out something close to what I want. Then I went to my wool stash, dug out the australian merino and teared it apart to small bunches, which got sewn on the overall.

It was really succesful. For the other boy, the teacher made the coustome (hmm, I was singled out because they knew I would do it??? and at the end I did it well).

The play and the celebration was really lovely.

I baked a "cake", seet yeast dough layered with walnut, apple, poppy seed, and jam and raisin filling. There was not a crumb left of if... Of course there is more than enough baked sweets at home, but that is for an other post...

The first present...

I gave this season... This is my friend, Gizi. We've met about 12-14 years ago, while, living in FL P worked organizing trips for tourists. She and her family were in one of these trips. We hit off instantly, and I think of her as a very good friend. We don't meet or even talk very often, but when we do, we understand each o ther very well. She is the one who loves and appreciates crafts and handmade gifts. Also she is very patriotic, and I make a point of giving her tricolored things once in a while (the Hungarian flag is red,white and green). Sometimes it is a beaded necklace, sometimes it is a pair of sock...
This year it was a pair of felted clogs...
Here she is opening the package. She knew there will be something handmade, and since it was soft she supposed it was something knitted, but she did not expected...slippers :-)

She tried them on, and they fit her pretty well:

She also liked the embroidery that felted in:

And she said this is the warmest footwer she ever had.

The white and red yarn came from the second hand store (nowhere else it is possible to find feltable wool in this country), the lighter green is a bit of leftover Noro silk garden (from my sprig scarf) the darker one is wool embroidery thread (they sell it for gobleins). 6.5 mm circular addi needles.

Monday, December 21, 2009



Sunshine circle---done

Cardigan for Arwen



Slinky ribs

Strickentrends double

Strickentrends fold over

Silver belle


Cable down

Wine yoke

Trellis and vine


White lion

Girl Friday

Ruffled jacket



Sunday, December 20, 2009

What's up?

Just to tide me over until I can post pictures of Xmas knitting...
What's with work? Things are OK, ups and downs, the waves of the org change still not calmed entirely down. I have good times, and then not so good ones, but trudging on, hoping that it will finally turn to my way. One good thing that I got asked to write memos on meetings that are held in English, and lots of the big guys involved and in an area which these days extremely important. We'll see.
What is on TV?
Blood Ties. OK, I know it is a vampire thing, and ever since I suffered through the "Interview with the vampire" I never thought I would watch anything that involves big teeth and blood... I managed to stay out of the way of the twiglight mania.
But my late night knitting sessions I turn to the TV for company, and one very late night I bumped into the first episode of this... When I saw the guy who plays Henry...mmm, my mouth actually fell open.Then stayed that way drooling. He is soooo good looking. I would watch ANYTHING he plays in just for the sheer aesthetic value of looking at him. You know, I usually do not fall for the pretty, I am more for strong lines ( Timothy ) or for the interesting face, or even an interesting mind...But this time something made me look... and look again and again.
The strory is not bad either I love that the girl is not a girl, but a woman, not a minus 3 sized teenage chick, and the fact that they not only refer to bad vision, but she actually wears glasses. I like the spooky goth girl, I always loved outfits that made one wonder if it is an everyday one, or a custome. I wish I could work in a place that would require me to dress like that... hehehe.
I like the love triangle, but the truth is, as cute as Dylan something who plays the third would never be in the same legaue as Kyle Smid.
What's reading? When Jenny was here we talked about Sci Fi novels, and I mentioned one of my favourites, which is a thrilogy by a Hungarian author Peter Zsoldos. The Viking returns, The Fire far away and The last temptation. I like them very much and picked them up from the shelf one by one.
The first one is about the spaceship that is sent to discover a planet a few galaxy away that is similar to the earth. The ship gots crashed and Gregor gets cut off from his team. Appareantly the planet is really similar to the earth a few thousand/ tens of thousands of years ago. He meets animals, and then saves a neolithic man Nogo. For a while they live with his herd, but then a "hairless wonderer" draws a picure in the sand of a rocket into the sand and a makeshift map. So they escape the herd and make for the big river and end up in Avana which are appareantly ages ahead, "already" living in the bronze age.
In the second book we learn that the spaceship was fixed and started back to the earth, but Gregor's health suffered greatly, and had to be left behind. There was an uprising against the current king who was killed and our man was to sit in the throne. His aim is to make the life of these people better, and he struggles to use the knowledge he brought from the much more advanced civilization. He is a geologist though, and his medical, historical, economical knowledge is very superficial. Still he leads through wars, discoveries, through epidemic, and leads them from thr bronse age to the iron age. It is actually kind of a hystorical novel without having to be hystoricaly accurate.
At the end of the second novel they learn that at the other side of the planet there is an other continent, even more advanced than them...(Like medieval Europe or so).
The third one is very short and more like an afterthought... But the first two beside being good, engaging read, makes me wonder if it was ever translated to English... It would make a great epic movie too.
What's knitting? LOTS of xmas knitting. My family never asked me for knitted stuff, but this year... there was something for everyone. I will post pictures as soon as the recepient got it, OK? Let me just tell you, I would be happy when I can knit something I WANT to knit instead of something I have to...
What's cooking? No cooking but baking. Up until a couple of weeks ago I always made a big fuss about Xmas baking. P. had a sweet tooth. No, not one, but all of them. Even then I refused to fall into the buying presents pit, I always gave my father and my brother a big box of cookies (both of them had wifes who were... better at other things, let me put it that way), and panettones for friends... I remember the years when I used like fifteen pound of flour, and three-four pounds of walnuts and dozens of eggs just to start with. I remember the year when I made more than a a dozen different cookies and dozen panettones to give away. Life turned and P. is not here anymore and Chris just does not have his dad's love for cookies. I still have my father, but his wife always told that it is too much for them. My brother got divorced. I am more mature and don't want to impress so many with homebaked cake...
Last year there was no baking at all because I was so shaken, I still have no idea how I made through the holiday sane at all... But it is strange without smelling the vanilla, the nuts, the orange peel... This year I made a deal with my father, they will get only the traditional walnut and poppyseed rolled cakes but no cookies. I am making four panettones for the closest friends. And don't think I am an idiot, but I am making one walnut and one poppy cake for P. I don't know why. I do not want to "impress him", anymore, especially since it never worked. I know it was not my fault it ended the way it did, still I feel sad for him...

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I don't really like mohair
I don't really like boucle
I don't really like slubby yarn
I am not a great fan of top down sweaters
I am not really a fan of frills...
When Kriszta lent me Wendy Bernards Custom Knits book (all about knitting from the top down), I liked a couple of patterns, but the Lion neck cardigan wasn't one of them...
Still, when I found this yarn in the second hand store the connection in my mind was inmediatly done...I asked Kriszta for the book once again...

I can't praise this pattern enough. Knitted with a bigger needle (at least for me, 5 mm needles are kind of big), goes really, really fast. It is simple to knit, if someone looking for a first sweater to knit, this is great for that. Easy to adapt to many different type of yarns. This is totally different from the one they used in the book. But the result is just what everyone says. Pretty, comfortable, fast and fun.

I can tell this is not the last time I've knitted this. I never thought such a simple thing could be a cause for such a joy. It goes agains many of my dislikes, still it turned out exceptionally well.

Pattern: Wendy Bernard Lion Neck Cardigan
Yarn: Rödel Flaush Tweed (that's what the label says...38% viscose,23% mohair, 20% polyacryl, 19% polyamid)

It took 8 balls of yarn. that is 400 grams, 1040 meters.

I have one whole ball left. What to do with it??? Any suggestion?
Needles 5.5 mm addi circulars (60 cm, 80 cm)
Modification: only one. I added a bit of waist shaping.


Every year at St Lucia's day there is a small craft fair in Christopher's school. Every class makes small crafts to sell, and the money they get will stay in the class for little extras.

This year among other things there were a dozen decorative snowman made, and I was asked to knit hats and scrafs for them... OK, yarn I have (probably more than I could knit in a few years), This was even a great way to get rid of those annoying tiny amounts of leftovers... But Boy, knitting five stitch wilde strips for scarfs... made me want to tear my hair out... at the end my consolation was that they did turned out rather cute...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fussy cardigan

When I knitted the Tangled yoke cardigan it came out slightly big, but I liked the comfort and I thought I could get out something similar from the tweedy aran cardigan. I had a pack (10 balls) of yarn, from which I want to knit a vest for a dear friend, Ester, who helped so much getting rid of P's mess. Anyway The yarn is coming from a whole-sale store where one can only buy whole pack of yarns buying an other one therefore having enough for both projects seemed a good solution.
The pattern is fussy. There is the so called fancy rib, where you have to change two out of three stitches in every row, and then there are all those cables and diamond pattern and the twisted rib. For me, being a combined continental knitter, and having my stitches sitteing differently the fancy rib wasn't that bad. After that once I got into the rythm of the pattern it was even fun.

The pattern is Nora Gaughan's tweedy aran cardigan from the booklet I downloaded from knitting daily, the five most popular pattern of Interweave knitting. The description says it is a feminine version of the boyish aran sweaters, but looking through ravelry I found the finished items just that. Boyish. So, aside from the usual gauge issue (having different yarn and recalculating) I made a couple of changes. Longer body and more defined waist shaping.

Mirrored the cables on the diamond pattern on the body. Sligthly different shape of the sleeves, as narrower on the upper arms, and a bit trumety shaped at the cuff... And yes there IS a cuff as I added a fancy ribbed cuff.

The yarn is King Cole's merino blend DK, which as I already pointed out relaxes a lot, so it needed to be knit more thightly than usual. With my loose knitting that ended up using 3 mm needles.

And just to fulfill my friend's prophegy on me and glasses, I do have glasses with white frame now.

Ps.: Jenny, it was lovely to have you around again. And thank you for shooting the pictures.

Monday, November 16, 2009


This took me a while. Started in late winter, but put away may times.
The original idea was a picture in a german knitting magazine. But despite learning german in highschool, my knowledge of the language stuck at the poin when I can recite two lines of the poem "Du bist Sie eine Blume, so schön, und rein, and...".
So I checked the charts, and made up...

There is lacy diamond pattern, twisted double rib, and eyelets. And randomly spaced embroidered flowers.

Thight bodice, peplum, and trumpet shaped sleeves.

Yarn is King Cole, Merino Blend DK. 3mm needles.
This yarn relaxes. A LOT. I mean it. I knew this fact from my earlier knits (especially the yoga wrap) The pieces looked rather idiotic while I was knitting, because to offset this factor (and that I am a pretty loose knitter) I knitted it very thightly. Whoever saw did not thought the finished sweater would fit me. But it does. Perfectly.