Look at the pretty

My mom’s birthday was last month. I decided to knit her a shawl.
The pattern is Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark. The yarn is Mirasol Yarn T’ika, a soft pima cotton yarn I found at Tuesday Morning. I also bought a shawl pin from Nicholas and Felice to go with it.
My mom’s not generally a shawl person, so who knows if she’ll wear it. Doesn’t matter, I enjoyed knitting it anyway, and could think of no one who deserved it better than her. Happy birthday., mom.

Stitches West 2010

This weekend I went down to Stitches West. Stitches is a big knitting convention put on by XRX, Inc., the publishers of Knitter’s Magazine. They have a few of these shows throughout the year at different locations. This one ran Thursday through Sunday in Santa Clara, California.
I was a big poopyhead and didn’t take pictures, so if you want to get a better idea of what Stitches was like, there are some entries about it at the official KniTalk blog, here.
Anyway, I arrived in Santa Clara Wednesday night, to beat the rush. I hung out in the lobby for a little bit, but ended up eating dinner in my room. So lonely. Don’t feel bad for me, though… circumstances totally reversed themselves over the next couple of nights.
I took a pretty full slate of classes. Thursday afternoon was a backwards knitting class, and Friday afternoon I took a cable class. Saturday I spent all day in a lace knitting class, and Sunday morning I had a finishing class. Really good classes; I learned a lot and got inspired to make a bunch of stuff (that I’ll probably never start but that’s another story). Most of the rest of the time was spent at the market, which took up most of the convention center’s expo hall. It was huge.
I wasn’t lonely after Wednesday because on Thursday I was joined by Sherry, a random stranger on Ravelry that I took in as a roommate at the hotel. She was nice enough to let me pal around with her while we weren’t in classes, and she introduced me to her friends from the Yarn Cottage, a vibrant and lively group of crazy knitters. And let me tell you, that was a hoot and a half. Margaritas in a hotel room one night, pajama party the next. It was amazing.
The Night Owl pajama party even made into the KniTalk blog. You can just see me in the background of some of the pictures there, in the pink shirt. It started out as a little get-together for the group, but it caught the attention of the Stitches organizers and sponsors. We even got prizes! I won a few skeins of Malabrigo and some Kollage. Yummy.
So, now I’m back from California, just barely recharged, and eagerly anticipating next year’s Stitches event. In the meantime, I made loads of new friends and had a great time. Yay knitting!

Construction done!

In case you didn’t notice, I’ve been documenting the construction we just finished around the end of the year. If you want, you can step back one entry, or check it out from the beginning.
So, I’d count our construction mostly complete in December. There were a few things still on the punchlist, and some accountant-type stuff left to do, but we’re moving in and taking back our space.
I still need to get better pictures, but here’s what we got so far.
Before and after!
We’re still doing stuff, so I might have more updates later!

Construction junction

I’m running out of "construction" titles. If you’re confused, check out the last installment, or start at the beginning.
By now, we’re in the middle of November, and we’re ready to finish this thing. First, we took the opportunity to change our entryway from a pale gray ceramic tile to a striking slate-look porcelain. We did this ourselves.
The sheetrock guy taped, textured, and primed the walls:
And we painted them ourselves.
As a part of this project, we chose to recarpet the whole house. The old carpets were the cheap "upgraded" stuff that came with the house 12 years ago. We picked out some fancy new space-age corn carpet or something. But first, we had to move all of our stuff out and rip up the old carpets. We really decluttered, donating a ton of stuff to Salvation Army and throwing a bunch away. It was also really strange living on bare floors for a couple of days.
The carpet guys came and laid down pads and carpet, and we’re done.
So that’s where we were at by mid-December. Furniture’s in, but we haven’t yet unpacked all the boxes.
Move on to see the final pictures.

Construction continues

The remodel is moving along as we move into October. Structure is done (go here to see the last entry, and here to start over), time to finish out the inside.
The electricians were by and did the electrical rough-in.
This is the upstairs bathroom. The new room extends past it, so the window was removed. Also, they had to move our skylight because of the slope of the new roof.
We did the painting ourselves to save a little money.
The garage gets its first visitor…
What it looks like looking down at the new part:
Gutters go on, and it’s starting to look like a real house.
Oh… see that satellite dish on the pergola? Yeah. That used to be on the corner of the house, but the guys moved it to a handmade "sled" for the duration of the project. We adjusted the dish by poking the sled with a stick. :D

Charted Chicken Chart

Just a few weeks ago, I made and entered this chicken in a local knitted chicken contest at Renaissance Yarns, for LYS Tour 2009. Guess what? It won! All of the chickens were so wonderful, and I really had fun. Thanks to Renaissance Yarns and everyone who voted, and congrats to our local knitters for their beautiful entries.

(Update September 2009: it also won a ribbon at the Puyallup Fair!)

Blue Sky Alpacas “Knit Chickens” pattern by Susan B. Anderson, with chart modification by yours truly

Interestingly enough, the chicken has also become quite popular on Ravelry. As of this writing, its project page has had 2600 views and it’s been favorited 831 times. I’m a bit mystified, but I’m glad people like it. There has been some interest in the chart, so, as promised, I’m now making the chart available to the public.

Download the chart from Flickr

The chart is for personal use only. Please do not sell the chart or finished objects based on it.


  • This is the chart for my colorwork modification to the chicken body only. For the chicken pattern itself, you must purchase the printed Blue Sky Alpacas “Knit Chickens” pattern from a store. (Update: a PDF is now available for purchase at that link.)
  • The chart is 105 stitches wide and 41 rows high, which will work with the small chicken in the Knit Chickens pattern, or any item of similar size.
  • The chart assumes that the start of the round is in the back. If you do apply this to the chicken pattern, you’ll have to knit some extra stitches to move the start of the round to the back, then move it again to its original location when you get to the neck.
  • The front and back center stitches are noted by green lines in the chart.
  • If you are knitting this in the round (as you would for the chicken pattern), you can try some jogless joins in the back as you move to each new row. It won’t line up perfectly, but it should smooth it out. Can you find the heart?
  • Some of the floats may be long, which can affect tension. You may have to experiment to keep them under control.

That’s it. If you have any questions, feel free to send them to me at ellemennop (at) live (dot) com. Enjoy!

Note to shop owners, teachers, knitalong organizers, and others:
If you want to use my chart for your activity, please do the following:

  • First credit Susan B. Anderson for the Blue Sky Alpacas pattern, with instructions or suggestions about how to buy it.
  • Then credit me, Michelle Mooney, for the charted colorwork, and link to this post to obtain the chart.
  • If you use images, I prefer that you use a picture of your own charted chicken, and include a picture of a chicken from the base pattern (BSA stock photo, if permitted, or your own).
  • If you want to use my photo, or distribute printed copies of my chart directly, please contact me at ellemennop (at) live (dot) com.
  • Any of my photos must be credited to me, and the chart must remain as-is, with notices intact.

Thanks very much!

see this project on ravelry