Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Give a Hoot

Sir Reginald Q. Hootington III, a.k.a. Mr. Hoots (my hand-knit owl), will be participating in a month-long Earth Day event this year.

CPAWS-OV & Wabi Sabi are partnering for a unique project to raise awareness about Ontario’s Wilderness for Earth Day 2011.  From April 1st to the 22nd, Wabi Sabi will be hosting a Woodland Window Display, demonstrating the diversity of the Ontario wilderness.  This Ontario woodland ecosystem will be constructed entirely out of fiber (look forward to knit, crocheted, and felted creatures).  If you are in Ottawa, be sure to stop by and check out the event (1078 Wellington Street West).    There will also be an Earth Day Celebration at Wabi Sabi on April 22nd.

See for more details.

 Mr. Hoots headed to his new home at the yarn store.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birthday Bear

I knit this little guy as a birthday present for a friend.  He's a bear, and a lion, and his name is Sir Leo Bearington Reginald the 1st.  I don't know how viable a species the bear-lion is, so there may or may not be a Sir Leo Bearington Reginald the 2nd, or the 3rd.  If you would like to know the story of Sir Leo's creation, read on....  If you would like to make your own bear-lion, skip to the bottom for the pattern.
There was a bear, walking along the African Savanna one day (he was lost, evidently), but really, I asked my friend Nick, if he were an animal, what would he be.  His response was that he had never really thought about it, but most people either compared him to a bear or a lion.  We proceeded to have an actual conversation about this, and discovered in the process that there were no mythical creatures that were a combination of these particular two species...or at least we could find none with minimal computer research.  So I knit one.  Now there is a mythical yarn-based bear-lion, who lives comfortably in temperate climates on top of desks, or kitchen counters, or really any empty surfaces that you might have lying around the house.  This particular breed of bear-lion makes up in adorability what he lacks in ferociousness. Luckily, he is largely an indoor species and will thus likely never have to defend himself in the wild.

He also is a coffee addict, spending much of his time hanging around half-empty coffee cups.  

This little guy is an adaptation of Henri the Knitted Bear by Rachel Borello, available as a free download on ravelry:

 The following changes and additions were made to the basic bear pattern.

Arms (make 2):
CO 3.
Row 1: Kfb around, arranging evenly over 3 dpns.
Row 2: Kfb around.
Rows 3-8: Knit.
Row 9: K4, k2tog, k2tog, k4.
Row 10: K3, k2tog, k2tog, k3.
Stuff arm.
Cut yarn and thread through all stitches. Pull tight and fasten off. Sew arms to body.

Legs (make 2):
CO 3.
Row 1: Kfb around, arranging evenly over 3 dpns.
Row 2: Kfb around.
Rows 3-8: Knit.
Row 9: K4, k2tog, k2tog, k4.
Row 10: K3, k2tog, k2tog, k3.
Stuff leg.
Cut yarn and thread through all stitches. Pull tight and fasten off. Sew legs to body.

Rows 1 and 2: Sl 1, k across.
Row 3: Sl 1, M1, k1, turn.
Row 4: Knit.
Row 5: Sl 1, M1, k4, turn.
Row 6: Sl 1, k across.
Row 7: Sl 1, M1, k2, turn.
Row 8: Knit.
Row 9: Sl 1, ssk, k across.
Row 10: Sl 1, k across.
Row 11: Sl 1, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 12: Knit.
Row 13: Sl 1, ssk, k across.
Row 14: Sl 1, k across – 4 sts at the end of this row.
Rep Rows 1-14 five times or until Mane fits around Head. Bind off, leaving a long tail.
Sew mane around head.

Crochet this part on a 5.5mm needle
Chain 10.
Sc in 2nd chain from end
Sc in each chain around (you should have a row of sc stitches on each side of your original chain at the end of this).
Bind off.
Create a small pom pom and attach it to the end of the tail.
Sew tail onto body.

Friday, February 4, 2011

By Hook or By Needle

'By Hook or By Needle' from 'By Hook or By Crook'.

The following is taken from The Phrase Finder (



By whatever means necessary - be they fair or foul. 



It is sometimes suggested that 'by hook or by crook' derives from the custom in mediaeval England of allowing peasants to take from royal forests whatever deadwood they could pull down with a shepherd's crook or cut with a reaper's billhook. This feudal custom was recorded in the 1820s by the English rural campaigner William Cobbett, although the custom itself long predates that reference. Another commonly repeated suggestion is that the phrase comes from the names of the villages of Hook Head and the nearby Crooke, in Waterford, Ireland. Hook Head and Crooke are on opposite sides of the Waterford channel and Cromwell (born 1599 - died 1658) is reputed to have said that Waterford would fall 'by Hook or by Crooke', i.e. by a landing of his army at one of those two places. A third suggestion is that the phrase derives from two learned judges, called Hooke and Crooke, who officiated during the reign of Charles I (born 1600 - died 1649) and who were called on to solve difficult legal cases. Hence, the cases would be resolved 'by Hooke or by Crooke'. 

Only the first of the above suggestions stands up to scrutiny by virtue of the age of the phrase. The earliest references to hooks and crooks in this context date back to the 14th century - the first known being from John Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1390:
What with hepe [hook] and what with croke [crook] they [by false Witness and Perjury] make her maister ofte winne.
Gower didn't use the modern 'by hook or by crook' version of the phrase, but it is clear that he was using the reference to hooks and crooks in the same sense that we do now.
The earliest citation of the phrase that I can find is in Philip Stubbes' The Anatomie of Abuses, 1583:
Either by hooke or crooke, by night or day.
There are several other theories as to the origin of 'by hook or by crook', all of which are either implausible or arose too late. Taking away those, we are left with two serious contenders: sheep farming and wood gathering.