Hedgehog Knits

Adventures in knitting from the eastern edge of Canada.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


There was a time when I used to do a lot of quilting. I bought a copy of Quilting for Dummies one summer when I was doing field work up North, and read it in a tent in the middle of nowhere. By the end of the summerI was just itching to get back to civilization to buy some fabric and try it out. There's nothing like a good two months stuck out in the bush looking at beautiful scenery to provide inspiration.

I still dabble in quilting from time to time, and actually finished up a long-languishing quilt for my brother for Christmas this year. (Wouldn't you know it, in the rush to get it wrapped, I forgot to take a photo!)

This week has been particularly cold, so a few afghans have appeared on my couch and I have been forced to acknowledge just how ugly some of those blankets are (I won't provide the graphic details, but think polar fleece with loons - pure Canadiana). As long as I've been quilting, I've actually given most of the results away as gifts. It's high time I had my own quilt. Or in this case, a small lap quilt to snuggle under while I knit in front of the tv. (Maybe I'll build toward the larger goal of a big bed quilt soon.)

This is how far I've gotten on the quilt top:

There are still some more border pieces to go on. I'm totally making this up as I go along, pulling out leftovers and scraps in general themes of blue and yellow/brown. The block is a traditional one called "churn dash". I've never made it before this, but it's actually a pretty easy variation on a 9-patch.

At least I have a sewing machine now. Back in my grad school days, I completed my first two full bed-size quilts completely by hand - both were wedding gifts. It's so much faster now. While I really prefer the look of hand quilting over machine, I don't think I'll ever be able to go back!


Sunday, January 18, 2009


Isn't it funny how knitting mimics life sometimes?

Case in point: a photo of my desk today:

I've been studying for months for a big exam tomorrow morning. It's the professional practice and ethics exam, which all candidate engineers and geoscientists in Canada have to pass to be considered professionals, as apparently, having a Ph.D. in geology does not qualify me, legally speaking, to call myself a geologist! Pretty dry stuff, most of which applies far more to the engineers than to the geoscientists. (There are far fewer of us, so we get lumped into the same process).

My post-gnome-invasion knitting is equally boring this week (refer to plain stockinette sock above). I have had a few false starts. I knit one Delicato mitt out of some sock yarn leftovers, and then when the suspicion that I was running out of yarn was confirmed by the digital scale, I frogged it. Then I tried starting a second JoJo sweater, but after trying several combinations of colours and patterns from the stash (one self-striping yarn that looked red in the ball was looking very pink knit up, totally unsuitable for the little boy I intended it for!), I couldn't find anything that worked together at all. So I stuck my hand in the sock yarn bin at random, pulled out a ball, and started these plain vanilla stripey socks. When all else fails, I usually revert to stripes.

I'm also knitting a sweater for my brother, which right now is just a big tube of unphotogenic grey stockinette - equally uninspiring blog material.

I'll have to work on getting something more intersting on the go, for fear of boring myself to death. Maybe when this exam is over, I'll be feeling a bit more creative. Then again, once the exam is over, I won't have to procrastinate so much on studying, so I'll probably slow down to my normally slow blogging rate again.

Wish me luck!

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

One More for Good Measure

Whew. I think that I may finally be done with the gnomes... for now. Here's number seven (possibly the cutest one yet!)

I think that it may be time to move on to other things. Now what was I knitting before all of this started?....

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Monday, January 12, 2009


Gnome #5...

...and Gnome #6.

#7 is currently awaiting legs.

I can stop any time I want. Really!

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

One good gnome leads to another...

It all started with a ball of crazy fun fur yarn at the Dollar Store in mid-December.

I had wanted to try the Yuletide gnome pattern from Irresistible Gifts to Knit by Alan Dart, which I picked up last year in England. (As an aside, it's a fabulous collection of toy patterns. I want to knit the pirate next!) Though I have a large stash of odds and ends of yarn saved for small projects like this, I didn't have any suitable furry stuff for a gnome beard. Come to think of it, it's probably a good thing that I don't have such frightful stuff kicking around. It always kind of gives me the willies. But there, in the midst of the gift bags and tacky Christmas ornaments, was the most hideous pile of acrylic novelty yarns that I have ever seen. Made in China. Smelling vaguely chemical-y. And right on top, this single ball of white hairy stuff. I took it home to try it out. Hey, it was only a dollar.

The lead-up to Christmas in our household this year was nothing short of insane. Nick's business has been really getting off the ground, and he had a lot of catering jobs leading up to the 25th. 6 events in 7 days. This is definitely a good thing, but it really wore us both out. I was busy helping out when I was not at work, and he was even busier. We didn't finish decorating the tree on Christmas Eve until long after we should have been in bed waiting for Santa, and we didn't really get all the decorations up around the house until Boxing Day. Christmas Day was a bit of a blur, with several naps worked in amongst the festivities. But on Boxing Day, at yet another big family gathering, I sat down in a corner, finally well rested and relaxed, and started knitting a gnome. And all was right with the world.

It starts a the top of the head, and you knit down to his bottom (where I added a handful of dried beans to the stuffing to give a little "heft"). Then you add the little nose and arms and legs, and he gets progressively cuter with each addition. The beard is knitted separately and sewn on, but it really takes the addition of the hat to give the little guy his character. I was smitten. Those big blue eyes... wait a minute... you can't see them. No matter. He's as cute as a button.

By New Year's, a few friends had taken up residence on my mantle...

Is it wrong to take this much delight in simple knitted toys?

Today I finished the fifth, and started a sixth. I've already put the decorations away. My bag of stuffing is getting low, and my selection of red and green yarn scraps is getting pretty thin, but I think I may be able to squeeze out another couple before I get over the compulsive need to keep knitting gnomes. (I will get over it eventually, right?) Guess what my relatives are getting for Christmas next year?!

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