Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

A blog devoted to the art of the Luscious Gracious clan.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Gifts for our girls!

Deja Socks? Regia 6 ply again, this time as knee socks for Lily. If you're not careful, Kiki may dress you in a pair. It seems to be spreading.

Lucy models a prototype of headscarf/head that we think is perfect for ponytail days (it has been sooooo cold here in Phoenix....almost every day lately has been under 70 degrees). It's based on the idea of Shocking Pink Coif from Knitty, but we wanted to change it (of course). Not that Megan Reardon's design left anything lacking at all, but we had different yarn, and Lucy wanted another orange hat. We used some Rowan Biggie Print, some random pieces of my handspun, a little Lopi, and some other scraps to make this, well, quite ridiculous example of headgear (even funnier as a tube top). Back to the drawing board. Or maybe we should break down and follow Ms. Reardon's actual pattern?

This is another re-do for us. I made a scarf out of the wonderful Be Sweet (aka Goat Balls) yarn last year at Thanksgiving. And by that I mean at the actual table while eating Thanksgiving dinner with Steve's family. It was fun, but I never wore it, and it languished as a model at the knitting store for awhile. Finally, I was inspired by the way Illanna used hers in a One-skein Wonder, and added a little of this, a little of that (why, girls, why do we have SO MUCH orange and pink yarn? I did not think we were that type of girl......but the yarn stash tells no lies) to make a super-secret shruggy thingy for Lily Grace's Christmas gift. She loves it and wears it almost every day. It is so funny, with all of those ends hanging out, and with the random knitting that I made up as I went. The arms don't match, and the whole thing keeps stretching uncontrollably, but she is in heaven. It is so nice to still be appreciated as a mom/knitter. Please don't let them become fickle teens.
Close up. See the ends? See the mohair?

See my gorgeous daughter?

And here she is jamming out, on her big holiday gift from Santa......a new electric guitar. You all know what a fan she is of rock and roll in general, and the White Stripes in particular, but you may not know that she has also taken guitar lessons. That was way back in Indy, and in French, and on an acoustic, but she is determined.

And with a strap like this, how can she lose?

Daddy Steve made this out of Cascade "Crappa", he means "Copa" (it's splitty, it's slippery, it's twisty, and it's no Noro "Miho"), and some of Knit Picks "Palette" that he stole from Kiki. He even tried to crochet with the stuff, but with minimal improvement. Some people may love it, and we feel quite blasphemous complaining about Cascade ("220" and "Fixation" are staples in our fiber diet....please don't hate us, Cascade). We know not every yarn company is perfect. Colinette does make "Isis", and Rowan dares to mess with carrying cotton yarns.
Enough about that. On to perfect yarns.

Remember the handspun yarn from Stephanie at Half-Baked? Remember, Steve pretended that it was all for him for his birthday, even though it was clearly a housewarming/new year gift for me? Well, he started in on it immediately, and paired it with another one of his new favorites, Louisa Harding's "Kimono Ribbon". Ahhhhh, Louisa, you bring out the little girl in every knitting husband.

The yarns and Stephen's magic conspired to create a perfect wrap for Ms. Lucy Jane. She uses the new brooch from Marissa to close it, and it is her new constant companion. Dad Rocks!!! And he couldn't decide which image to use, so you get to see them both.

Here's a close-up of the "Kimono Ribbon" and the "Supercoiled Razzleberry Pie". Hope that this encourages Stephanie to make more of these one-of-a-kind, plied yarns. Her eye for color is just right in the lusciousgracious universe.

See that headband? Those colors were already in our stash when she brought the "Pie" over to us. And Stephen was already using the ribbon to create a unique headband/belt/scarf for Lucy.

He used Rowan beads and a Rowan stitch idea (from R2 issue 1) to criss-cross dropped stitches. It looks great, and I love this man, who is willing to sit in front of other (non-knitting) men and knit such femme yarns with huge purple needles while discussing photography and life. I am so lucky.

So is he. And he is rewarded with something a little more masculine. I made him these fingerless gloves and fun toboggan for one of his twelve days of Christmas. I combined two or three colors of Lopi Icelandic wool with some wool and mohair that Lisa Takata spun for us a few months back. Now if we only lived somewhere as cold as Iceland, he could wear them. I think they may cause heatstroke out here. You may not even want to look at the photo for long. If you feel faint, have a lie-down in the air-conditioning.

More mitts. Stephen's beautiful sister Shannon came to visit, and was rewarded with not only the lovely scarf (see some previous post) that Steve designed especially for her, but these kind-of-matching fingerless mittens are for running on cold days, when layers are important. What else do they match? Right! My Best Socks Ever! Still dirty. But maybe just one more wearing before washing......

I also made about ten pair of these for the men on our list. Rowan dk. In that green that I still have 10 skeins of...and I think that rather than using the yarn, I somehow created more. I cannot get rid of the stuff.....what is going on? Is the yarn fairy putting more in my closet? It's not angora, so I can't blame the bunnies. Driver, teacher, uncle, dad, etc......and still more green Rowan. I really wish that it would look good on me as a sweater. That is really saying something, because I will usually wear anything....

But I can't wear these. Notice the pen at the top added for scale. I made each of these little ornaments for Letoya's tree. We didn't have one this year because of the move, so she invited us to share in the decorating and enjoyment of hers. The girls and I had so much fun making things at her house, and I loved the reaction that I got when she opened the pink and green fancy (Target) box that held these tiny garments. Another example of the wonder that is Cascade "Fixation", and the wasteland that is my brain. Don't ask me how I did them. Guess I should have taken notes....but they were done so quickly and I was on to the next one before the thought occurred to me. I used the same techniques for hats, sweaters, and socks that I use on the real things, so if you are interested, read your Elizabeth Zimmermann, people. But make it smaller.
Lily also made some super-cool gifts. For her Secret Pal at school, she created this wristband with his name. Her knitting is always a hit at school, especially now that she taught her teacher to knit! Way to go, Lily!

Remember that awesome Noah's Ark card game for Connor? More examples here.

That monkey cracks me up. So do my monkeys. I end the weekend with a HUGE smile on my face. It could have something to do with the miles and miles of Phildar cashmere that came in the mail to me today from my favorite French/Greek people. Who can tell?

Knit on, and a great week to you all.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lucy's Knitted Gifts

Hi everybody! Over the holidays I made a lot of gifts for people . Here are some that were photoed in time.

This is a headband I made for my friend.

It's reversible.

For another friend I beaded some bobby pins that were her favorite colour (PINK!).

Another friend got this pink wristband(it's furry!).

Matching neckties for my cousin and grandpa. I used my Tie It On pattern.

My grandma got this lovely fair isle snowflake to finish off my knitted gifts post.
Knit on,


P.S. Here are some more of Connor's cards.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Knitted Accessories Galore!

Look, my new socks....They are made from Regia 6 ply Color Crazy, color 5403, and I used a little more than 2 skeins. After making a pair in a different color of this yarn for ms. lulu (photo in another post), I decided that I would make myself a pair, only Knee-Length. I love them, and have worn them for 3 days straight. How many days can you wear socks and get away with it?

Speaking of socks, I made this pair the other night while at Coffee Rush with Illanna and some of our other favorite knitters. Being a school night and all, S and the lulies had to stay home. Illanna and I stayed until closing, both egging each other on to finish projects.
More Mission Falls 1824, one skein per sock (I love knitting toe-up....when you are out of yarn, your socks are done!). Look at these silly cables. I turned them WITHOUT a cable needle, one of the many, many interesting, I will even say life-changing, things that I learned from my new Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen DVD glossary. Stephen bought it for me for our 12-year wedding anniversary (we've been happily married for at least 7 of those years!), and I broke it out after a crappy day last week. It was more than I needed for a pick-me-up, and I learned about a dozen things in the first five minutes. I really, really recommend it. Cheaper than therapy, and perfect for those of us without vcr players (Please, Meg, Please put the entire series out on dvd!).

These very soft, very warm socks are for a sweet friend in a cold climate who needs more than a little hug these days. I hope that each stitch carries with it all of the happiness and love I felt while knitting them.....and they are infused with Illanna's enthusiasm at the same time. Wow!
And here she is! I've been hearing quite a bit about a the growth of crochet these days, and I would have to agree. Case in point, this little jumper, made several years ago, used to fit Lucy when she was in kindergarten. Let's just say that it grew. It weighs a ton. Like chain mail. Very protective. What was I thinking? Apparently I was thinking that there would be another daughter in my future who would need a new sweater. Little did I know that it wouldn't be Lily: it is Illanna! When she gets tired of it, she can re-use the yarn. Probably enough in it to make 4 or 5 sweaters, no lie. But for now, she is looking boss. Just don't look at the side seams. Wow! How masculine! Illanna strikes again, with the best bag ever. This one is for Steve, and it is shaped like a fish. It's inspired by the Folk Bags book, and she felted it with Hopyard Spinnery's Pot Luck Alpaca. He loves it, but has to fight the rest of us when he wants to carry it.
See what I mean? Lucy thinks that it totally fits into her supermodel image.

At the first meeting of our International Knit Circle, Arizona Chapter (an extension of our group of knitters and other friendly rejects in Indy who came to our house every Friday night), we were so happy to host some of our favorite Valley Knitters. Now that we no longer live in Los Gatos (whatever that means; well, we know what the translation means, but did we ever live there?) and actually have a semi-clean house, we can go back to being social in our own place. Dear Stephanie of Half Baked came, and she wasn't empty handed.....what a thrill to receive some of her awesome handspun yarn, and in our favorite colors, too. Also, a gorgeous scarf, and magnets with lusciousgracious initials. She is selling this stuff on her website. With so much to offer, and obvious talent, you NEED to check it out. As in now. We'll wait. Go.

Done? Good. Look, Lucy is modeling her new hat, a gift from her mama during our official "12 Days of Christmas" celebration (the kids really missed out on any holiday preparations due to the flu and to the move, so we decided to drag out the festivities....we liked this idea so well that we are in the midst of "Month of Valentines" for our favorite Valentine, Stephen. He has so many girls who are head over heels for him, and if you are one of them, send him a Valentine of any sort. He deserves it). The hat is the second one that I made for her, and the only one that she actually likes. Oh, well. At least I didn't stay up all night for a week trying to make a secret sweater without her help with selecting yarn and a style. The girl has a definite opinion when it comes to fashion.

Scrap yarn (Lopi orange and Elsbeth Lavold silky wool in oatmeal) in different weights....just wanted to see what would happen in Fair Isle. I like it, but most wouldn't. My own and some traditional designs. It was fun, and a super quick knit. I love hats.
Here's the one that I made for Lily. It's made of some wool that we dyed together (Kool-Aid), and I added the pearls (knit right in) to make it extra-special. She loves it, and gets sooooo many compliments on it and her pretty blue eyes.
Here's the other hat, the first one that I made for Lucy. Maybe she doesn't like it because it is extra-dorky and super-nerdy or something.....or because it says "Baby Head" on it.....Kids. Who can tell?
Stephen made this original (no pattern people: don't even ask) scarf for his very glamorous sister Shannon. She always looks lovely, and these colors look perfect on her. This yarn is GGH Soft Kid. It is so light and airy, but also warm. She needs it. It isn't 85 degrees in other parts of the States....just here.

He didn't forget his mom, either. One night during the move (I passed out early and HE was the one staying up all night to knit for once) he made this entire bag out of Brown Sheep Bulky that we just HAPPENED to have in the house. We LOVE BSB in the lusciousgracious house. Again, just out of his head, no pattern, and he included a pocket and photos on silk of Grandma Cathy's little angels (aka the lulies).
And now, the continuation of Connor's Card Game:

We adore our little ones. They are so scrum-tru-lescent.

Preview of next post:

We don't know. Stay tuned.

And until then, knit on.


ps. Earlier in this post I wrote about the feelings of love and happiness that I feel when knitting. I am wondering how many other knitters find themselves smiling when knitting? Really, I can't believe how peaceful, and absolutely thrilled, such a simple act makes me feel. Every time that I "come to" while in the middle of a row or when it's time to leave, I realize that I am grinning ear to ear. I think this is a new development, and I am starting to wonder about my sanity.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Where oh where has my lusciousgracious gone?

Did you miss us? We missed you! So what have we been up to the last month or so since last post? Not much. Just 2 weeks of flu, 12 days of Christmas, 3 tons of moved books (we moved the rest of the apt. too, but it was mainly the books), 1 week of computer problems, 12 years of wedded bliss, and a Happy New Year. Amidst all the chaos we still managed to make a few things. Not as much as we wanted too, but enough to make me not sure where to start.

How about we start with the most recent? Just tonight there was a coronation in our new apartment. Illanna was named The Foxbot Queen/King for 2006. Lucy & Lily created the hand-crafted crown & scepter. I was glad to see the slash in the title, there is still hope for me in 2007.

This past weekend we had the first of what might turn into a semi-annual event. We unveiled the secret Santa gifts we had made for a group of our friends that are regulars at Jessica Knits. It was so much fun trying to guess who made what & to see all of the great knitted gifts. We even had the old guy that kept saying "Congratulations!" It may have been because we kept opening presents, but I still think he was congratulating me for being the one man at a table of 8 beautiful women!

Let's start with what we made. I made this felted bag for Marissa. I designed the Fair Isle pattern. I call it the M of hearts. It is supposed to be M's (for Marissa) that joined together make hearts. The yarn is Malabrigo.

Lucy made this cabled sweater style bag for Sara.
Here are Sara & Marissa with their gifts.
Lily picked Jessica as her gift recipient. She made her these delicious felted bags. The big one is a chocolate chip cookie with a couple bites missing. It is made from Brown Sheep. The eclair with sprinkles is made from various brownish yarns we had lying around the house.

Here is Jessica & Lily with the scrumptious felted bags.

Suspiciously, Kiki & Illanna had each other. Kiki made all of these goodies for Illanna using Cascade Fixation.

A Big Bag

A little bagSunglasses CaseNeedle CaseSheep/Monkey Change PurseJust to be fair to the rest of us that Kiki makes look like slackers, the last 2 items were delivered today, not on Saturday.

Illanna made a beautiful random lace wrap for Kiki out of her favorite lace yarn from Jessica's. Here are your 2005 & 2006 Foxbot Queens/Kings showing off their gifts.

Patricia made this funky felted bowl for Lily. It even has beads & buttons. Lily says that it is a perfect place to put more rocks. Mom thinks it will protect the furniture from more scratches, not that she minds. Thanks, Patricia!!

Lily thought it made a cool hat too.Here is Lily with Patricia.Marissa made Lucy this beautiful purse with a gorgeous flower pin. Here are the two ladies showing the gift. It is easy to see why this is Lucy's favorite accessory ever.....all that pink! And a new brooch! She's so happy!Jessica had my name. She used my favorite Point 5 yarn to make me this book with felted cover and matching felted vessel. The book is titled "felting with hand dyed yarns and other knitting projects for men..." , which is the title of the book that she thinks I should write. You know, encouraging new male knitters to start with high end, luxury yarns and then felt them. Hey, it worked for me! It is full of blank pages (including graph paper) for me to fill up.Sara made Patricia this lovely pair of "Smittens", mittens for couples. The two on the outside are different sizes, for the man & woman. The one in the middle is made so the couple can hold hands inside. How romantical! Illanna helped Patricia model them below.Kiki made these fingerless mitts for Kallan, Patricia's daughter. That way she had something when mom came home from the party. The yarn is Optimum, hand-dyed by Queen Illanna.

That was so much fun! Thanks everyone for the great gifts & great time. I am glad we decided this needs to be done twice a year. We need to go ahead & draw names now. I'm hoping the next gift I give won't still be wet when I give it!

O.K. that should be plenty of lusciousgracious goodness to make up for our little hiatus, right? But wait, there's more! We have to show the coolest thing that was made by the LG girls during the break.

This is a card game Lucy & Lily made for their cousin Connor. The Noah's Ark game comes with 26 pairs of animals and 1 Ark card. You play it like reverse Old Maid where you try to keep the Ark, or like memory. The girls drew all the pictures & left a couple of blank cards for Connor to add to the game himself. We will show a few of the cards each post, so you can eventually see the whole set. Enjoy!

Hope you all had a great Holiday season! We are looking forward to a 2006 filled with art, love & laughter. We wish you the same.


p.s. There is a lot more of what we made over the break coming soon.

p.p.s. HSB - Happy Steve's Birthday since we probably won't post tomorrow.