Friday, February 24, 2006

Walkin' on the Wild Side!

And the knitting girls sing doo do do doo do do do...... (forgive me, Lou Reed!!, hehehe)

According to my friend and Knit Nite organizer,
Kim, apocalyptic events are occurring! Are you ready for another?

Yes, it's true....cover your eyes and protect the innocent....

KNITTER Deb has been walkin' on the wild side...


I give you Exhibit A:

These are 2 medallions from the Carnival Shawl from Rowan's Classic Holiday, Book 3. I'm using one of my *favorite* yarns, Knitpicks Shine, an ultra soft cotton/modal blend sportweight yarn.

What, you might ask, has caused this Fluffy KNITTER to walk on the wild side?

When I was about 8 years old I learned to knit and crochet. I was pretty unenthused by the knitting (too fussy, too many needles!) but the crochet really caught my fancy! After all this was in the 70's when acid green ponchos and granny square anything's were all the rage. So I merrily crocheted many a hideous poncho, a granny square vest or 20 (eek!!) and a couple of ripple stitch afghans but shockingly (not!) the crochet quickly lost it's charm and knitting came back onto the radar screen.

I knit steadily for many years, using my crochet skills for the occasional trim or border, but as an adjunct, nothing more.

Since I've returned to the knitting fold these last 3 years, I continue to use my meager and much atrophied crocheting skills, albeit rarely.

In that same 3 years I've been keeping my eyes open for an afghan that struck my fancy. Living in Florida, I really wanted a nice cotton afghan that would be cool enough for warm weather but good to snuggle in when it got cooler or the AC was working full blast :) Alas, nothing knitted really struck my fancy...then I saw the
Carnival Shawl. My eyes saw "crocheted shawl" but my brain said crocheted AFGHAN!!! YAY! I could make lots of medallions, sew em together and have the beautiful, cool cotton afghan I've been dreaming of!

As I mentioned, I am using the ultra soft and easy care Knitpicks
and so far the only color I have is the cream leftover from my Kiri. I've planned a striking, earth toned palette including the cream so I'll show off the other colors once they arrive :) The medallions are fun and easy to make and each one takes less than 2 hours! This will be my ongoing, "inbetweenmyTWOknittedprojects" grab-it project. I plan to make about 80 medallions so this won't be completed any time real soon! I'm really enjoying making these and I confess I'm thrilled to be back walking on the wild CROCHET side again!!

In less earth shattering news, this is and will always remain Casa de FluffyKNITTERDeb so KNITTING has occurred as well. In addition to another pattern repeat on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl.....

Here is my in progress Sockapalooza sock!

And look Claudia, my very first picot cast-on!! Isn't it lovely? I may be a picot convert cause that cast-on is just too cute!

My Sockapalooza pal has feet that are on the fluffy side too so I wanted a pattern that had lots of stretch and showcased the beautiful pinky-orange Twinkletoes yarn. I chose the awesome Lacy Scallops pattern from the talented and generous Sock Bug and I think it's a perfect marriage of pattern and yarn, don't you?

Lastly, I leave you with my P-Man because he has some wonderful news! He no longer has to live in the bombed out bare cement floored hovel we have been calling home for the last 4 months since Hurricane Wilma came to visit because....

We have a NEW FLOOR!!!

Doesn't it match his fur beautifully? Apparently, he's a *light oak* kinda guy!

We never realized how slippery this Pergo stuff is, it's kinda like living in a skating rink! My sweet Pumpkin has yet to adjust and he's still bashing sliding into the occasional wall now and again, altho his Mom has so far managed to remain horizontal! Good thing *fluffy* makes a good cushion in cases like this!

Next week, Pumpkin hopes to share another post hurricane hovel home improvement as well! I guess things are always changing when you start walking on the wild side!

Have a great weekend and crochet KNIT lots!! :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

D is for Diamond

Ever since I was a little girl I've been fascinated by rocks and have always collected them.

I'm especially intrigued by crystals so I thought I would share one of my favorites that begin with the letter D....D is for Diamond - Herkimer Diamond!

Herkimer Diamonds were first discovered in the 1700's in Herkimer County in upstate New York.

The Diamonds are found in pockets that form in Dolostone, a mineral formation consisting of Limestone, Magnesium and Dolomite.

This is how they appear when they are being mined.....

More examples....pretty cool, huh?

The surrounding stone is called the matrix. Often the stones are free inside the matrix but sometimes have to be chipped away from the matrix to release the crystal.

Herkimer Diamonds are the clearest naturally occurring quartz crystal. They are double terminated, meaning they have points on both ends. Herkimer Diamonds have 18 naturally occurring facets and none of the crystals in these pictures have been cut or polished in any way!

Most Herkimer Diamonds are clear and colorless. Here are some from my personal collection...

Notice the small "twin" crystal. Less common than single crystals but not especially rare. One rare occurrence is called "Enhydro". This is where some water has been trapped during the crystal formation and remains liquid in a small pocket inside the solid crystal.

This is my rare Herkimer Diamond...a perfectly terminated and faceted SMOKEY Diamond....isn't it lovely?

Some people believe that crystals contain metaphysical properties. It is said that putting a Herkimer Diamond under one's pillow will bring sweet dreams and enhance memory...much nicer than a sleeping pill!

Herkimer Diamonds are not the only Diamonds in my life....Here's my progress on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl....smooth segue, huh? hehehe.....

I've completed four of the ten repeats suggested for the shawl altho I may do less as my Mom is under five feet tall and I don't want a huge shawl to overwhelm her!

It's an easy pattern as lace goes and very intuitive so altho not completely mindless, it's a lace pattern I would recommend to a knitter early in her lace knitting journey! I'm really enjoying knitting this and I'm crazy about how great it looks in the Blue Heron Cotton! (and no blocking, tee hee!!)

Today there's a guest kitty visiting Chez FKD....Pumpkin wants you to meet his new friend.....

This is my neighbor Brooke and her new baby Annabelle! Isn't she a cutie?

Annabelle is a Blue Point Himalayan. Her breeder lost her home during Hurricane Wilma but managed to get the cats out and now is doing business out of a trailer so Brooke was happy to give this sweet girl a new home....and based on my last post, a new girlfriend for the P-Man can't happen soon enough!


I chose a pattern for my Sockapaloooza pal and it looks great with the Twinkletoes yarn but I'll save that for next time!

Have a great week and I hope you find the
Diamonds in your life!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Secrets, socks and Pumpkin takes a lover!

I was tagged by Catherine for this meme: 5 things in my fridge! I didn't want to list the mundane stuff everyone has so I thought I'd share the unusual. Here are my fridge "secrets"...

1- 12 oz. jar of capers - I love to put these in my pasta sauce!
2- a bottle of concentrated cherry juice - there is something in cherries that is really good for arthritis and because cherries aren't available year round, cherry juice does the trick!
3- A Lemon Pepper cooked chicken from Publix
4- A liter bottle of Bacardi Limon
5- Limes - ALWAYS! Never know when a girl's gonna need a Mojito some knitting water :)

I'm not tagging anyone, if you want to share your fridge secrets, have at it!

Now for the real secret......I can finally reveal the secret beaded gift project!!

It's the Beaded Shapley Shawlette!!

Here she is basking in the sun

You can see it on the lovely recipient here. Go pay Agnes a visit and tell her how beautiful she looks and how gorgeous ALL her knitting is!

I finished the FKDad Trekking socks and I must say I think they look spectacular!
The Trekking just knits up so well!! Here's the sock

and a close up of the many colors


Trekking XXL 100gm color #68
2x2 rib, YO short row/mini gusset heel
8sts/inch -- 72 sts on #1 US (2.25mm) metal Aero DPNs

I love how soft and handsome these knit up and I hope my Dad does too!

I neglected to post a pic of the handsome P-Man in my last post and apparently his adoring fans missed their Pumpkin fix so I'm making up for my faux pas by giving you a pictorial of Pumpkin's latest escapade....

A few weeks ago,
Bliss lost her precious teacup poodle Bunny but she also got 2 new additions to her family in the form of two adorable puppies. Bliss asked her readers to help her with some names and for all those who participated, she would draw a name and send a yarny prize! Guess who won? Why FKD of course!

Bliss sent me some lovely Wildfoote and Sockotta sock yarn AND a gorgeous skank of the most beautiful, green New Zealand Merino/CASHMERE yarn.

I had the yarn sitting on the couch so I could admire it and of course Pumpkin came over to see what new goodie had entered his domain.....

He gave the yarn a good sniff

and became mesmerized by the siren song of the cashmere

He begain his kneading *push-push* routine and he was really going at it!
In fact, his ardor became a bit well....vigorous ......

So I took the skank away and placed it on top of my TALL dresser in my bedroom.....

When I came back from the kitchen I found this:

He jumped up on my dresser, grabbed his new love, jumped back onto the couch with her and um, renewed his display of affection!!

I mean, the P-Man's got good taste choosing cashmere but really!! I dunno Bliss, does this make us in-laws in some bizarre parallel universe? hehehe....I was gonna make slipper socks for me out of this but having this yarn on my feet might well send Pumpkin over the edge!! Maybe he'll be the only cat in the world with hand knit cashmere mousies :)

Enjoy your week and to all our Olympians, both in Torino and Knitbloglandia, GO FOR THE GOLD!!!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cotton, the fabric of our lives...

Forgive my sounding like a commercial for cotton, I couldn't resist!

I've gotten a lot of very complimentary feedback on my last post (thanks everyone!!) and I wanted to clarify the no blocking/no shrinkage issue.

All cotton does shrink, it's the nature of the fiber.

Mercerized cotton is specially treated with Sodium Hydroxide, sometimes referred to as "gassing" to increase strength, luster and shine, affinity to absorb dye and resist shrinkage.

Mercerized cotton will shrink slightly, mainly in length rather than width but in a garment like a cotton shawl, the difference is negligible....altho I HIGHLY recommend swatching and washing/drying the swatch so there are no surprises!

Pure Cotton is a fiber with no memory, resiliency or elasticity. This is why it can cause wrist pain in some knitters because the "give" of animal fiber is missing. Because of these properties, cotton doesn't benefit from blocking in that it won't gain in size but a good bath will certainly even out the stitches.

Every lace knitter knows and anticipates that the true beauty of knitted lace is revealed in the blocking, when the stitches are opened to their true lace capacity - but this is ONLY true when WOOL(and alpaca to a lesser degree) is used. Because of the inelasticity of cotton, pretty much what comes off the needles is what the finished product will be! If you look at my Diamond Fantasy Shawl in progress, you'll see that the yarn overs are quite open and the shawl almost looks blocked already.

When I finish a cotton shawl, I give it a good soak in cold water with some baby shampoo to even and smooth out the stitches, then a trip thru the spin cycle to get rid of most of the moisture, toss it in the dryer on low heat and voila! Perfect shawl with NO BLOCKING!! Here is an example of another shawl I knit with Blue Heron Cotton,
Cotton Faroese Shawl close up and Not so close up

More good news is LINEN and HEMP have the same properties as cotton so shawls with all these plant fibers, altho not the easiest to knit with (linen!) do have the benefit of saving many a back with no blocking!

I've also been asked where I get this lovely laceweight cotton. My source is Carla at
Chez Casuelle - good source for Blue Heron Mercerized Laceweight Cotton in tons of colors and what she doesn't have, she will order for you...and 10% off for first time customers plus free shipping and a 20% preferred customer coupon on your next purchase! (NAYY - altho I wish I were, hehe)

Thus ends today's lesson, Everything You Wanted to Know About Cotton But Really Didn't Care Enough to Ask! :)

So why not expand your horizons and knit with something unexpected?

On a much more jovial note,
I totally nicked this from Lorette because it gave me the best chuckle I've had all week! Place your name in the box, click GO, and find out some little known facts about yourself too!

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Debi!

  1. The only Englishman to become Debi was Nicholas Breakspear, who was Debi from 1154 to 1159!
  2. Worldwide, Debi is the most important natural enemy of night-flying insects!
  3. A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but Debi can not.
  4. Red Debi at night, shepherd's delight. Red Debi at morning, shepherd's warning.
  5. Debi has often been found swimming miles from shore in the Indian Ocean.
  6. Debi can fly at an average speed of fifteen kilometres an hour.
  7. Debi is the world's tallest woman.
  8. If you lace Debi from the inside to the outside, the fit will be snugger around your big toe.
  9. Debi kept at the window will keep vampires at bay!
  10. Debi once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest.
I am interested in - do tell me about
Enjoy your chuckle and keep knitting!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

No more secrets

The SECRET beaded thingy is finally done, in all her 2000 beaded glory!

She's on her way to her new home, I hope her new owner likes her as much as I do....she came out quite lovely and it was hard to give her up!

I'll post a pic once she reaches her destination.

I was suffering post-beading depression so I needed a new project on the needles STAT! And what came to my rescue? Why it's a brand new lace's the Diamond Fantasy COTTON -- because yes, Virginia, C is for Cotton!

This is the beginning of the Diamond Fantasy Shawl, designed by Sivia Harding. It's a very cool pattern that incorporates knitting the border as you knit the body of the shawl by binding off as you knit along...brilliant!

I'm using my very favorite cotton, Blue Heron Laceweight Mercerized Cotton in the colorway Flax. The color on my monitor is pretty's a subtle pinky lavender, light yellowish green and beige colorway that looks almost like a strand of tiny pearls because the mercerized cotton is so shiny!

This is going to be a Mother's Day gift for the FK Mom because I've only knit her warmer shawls and here in Florida, cotton shawls are a must! This colorway is so perfect for her, I hope I can hold out til May....cause we all know I can't keep a secret, right La?

I've said many times I'm not a big fan of pure cotton cause it hurts my hands but this Blue Heron Cotton is lovely to work with...great hand, so smooth and shiny, a dream to knit with and stunning colorways! Can you tell I'm a fan? :)

The added bonus? Mercerized cotton needs no BLOCKING! When it's finished it gets a nice bath and a turn in the dryer and voila! Perfect cotton shawl! Thank you C for bringing cotton to my knitting world!

I'm still working on the beautiful Trekking socks for FK Dad, I'm about to turn the heel on sock #2.

Even tho I haven't had the greatest luck with the whole secret pal thing, being an avid sock knitter and having participated in version 1 and 2, I couldn't resist signing up for Alison's wonderful
Image hosting by Photobucket
I haven't settled on a pattern yet so while I finish the Trekking socks I will be searching for the perfect pattern for this:

This is a skank of Twinkletoes sock yarn that I was saving for myself but when my sock pal mentioned she had a recent onset of orange love, I knew that this was the yarn for her! I can't wait to marry this beautiful yarn with a complimentary pattern that makes my Sock Pal go "squee!!!!" when she gets them in 3 months! Thanks once again for hosting this event Alison, this time with over 600 participants!

I leave you with a picture of my beading supervisor. My handsome guy is preening in front of the 2 Rubbermaid tubs that house my many beads and crochet hooks. My P-Man is fascinated with beads to it seems.....he stares at those tubs, plotting how to get to the goodies inside that make such cool noises. Now if my bead stash looks like this, can you imagine my yarn stash? Oy!

Hope your week is full of fine fiber and to those in training, remember.....athletes carb up before their big events and chocolate is a carb :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Just a quickie

I love knitting *secret* gifts for friends who read my blog but it doesn't make for great blog fodder! I hoped to have finished the secret beaded knitting but alas the knitting gods were not smiling....

I found a crucial mistake I made and had to tink back 4 rows of 200 stitches each including removing the beads! I accidently split one stitch into two and it threw off the whole stitch count for all the subsequent rows....which of course didn't become apparent until 800 stitches later! And then to make matters even more interesting, the tinked yarn got completely tangled and said knot took me about an hour to return it to something usable. YIKES! What a fubar situation!

Note to self: Seduction merino/tencel is splitty and slinky...PAY ATTENTION!! :)

So needless to say, the secret beaded thingy is still on the needles but I hope to finish it in the next few days....which means a new project is very close on the horizon....YAY!

I can't show project #1 so here's project #2:

Some Trekking XXL socks for FK Dad!

This is color #68 in a simple 2 x 2 rib because the yarn is so pretty, I wanted to keep the pattern simple. Besides, FK Dad is pretty conservative so these socks may be a bit outside the box for him. I've used Trekking before and I like this yarn very much but this my first time with this marled, tweedy sort of colorway and I just LOVE it! The yarn is composed of four different colored strands plyed together but the really cool thing is the strands change color every 6 - 12 inches so the colors are always changing and morphing into each other and no two rows are alike! I find myself knitting just one more row to see what comes next! Very unique and fun yarn, I'm sure my Dad will love it. (click pic for a closer view)

Addendum: I've gotten lots of queries about a good on line resource for Trekking as it seems it's realtively hard to find. My favorite vendor for everything, especially sock yarns like Bearfoot, Lorna's Laces and THE BEST selection of Trekking (including the elusive #100!) is Judy at - great selection, really fast service and NO SHIPPING :) Go have a visit, you wont be sorry!

To make up for the skimpy knitting content, I bring you some beautiful Florida sky. Our landscape is mostly brown and we don't have any majestic mountains but we do have really amazing skies!

This was our sunrise yesterday morning.

And another view

Lovely, right?

Here's my favorite assistant checking out the view from his favorite perch on my front windowsill too!

Be back soon with a new WIP (I hope)! Have a great week everyone!