Monday, November 30, 2009

winter woolies

Yesterday was Scott's first time out with the mobile oven, selling pizzas for pay. It being his first time, I went along for support and to provide gopher services. I did, in fact, have to gopher this and gopher that at the beginning, but then I had some quiet time, so I worked a while on my Red Scarf Project donation.
Luckily, it was a gorgeous day and a pleasant location, at a nearby farm store where they sell Christmas trees. I parked myself on a big rock in the orchard and knit away happily in the sunshine. It was almost warm out.

It was a day that was light on customers, as planned, since this was to be more of a learning experience than anything. We learned plenty and have plans for streamlining and improving the process already, but Scott did a stellar job with the pizzas (pepperoni, shrimp scampi with artichoke hearts, chicken florentine) and I'd say he has that part down pat. No doubt about it, though, as the sun got lower in the sky, the breeze was downright cold.

By the end of the day, Scott was finishing up some new stitch marker sets, which are in his Glastonbury Glassworks Etsy store now. Even his little sheep stitch markers are wearing their winter woolies -- hats and scarves -- and accompanied by mittens, balls of yarn, and snowballs!

I continued to work on the red scarf while Leah was at one of her activities in the evening. Next thing I knew, the last little bit of the skein of yarn popped out of my bag, almost entirely having been knit up. I'm not sure how it happened, but I knit over THREE FEET OF SCARF yesterday! I'll weave in the ends during Leah's activity this evening and block it over the next couple of days. I expect to put the finishing touches on a pair of mittens tonight too. More winter woolies for all!
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Somebody turned 15 yesterday! I knew it was coming. It's not a surprise.

He's now half a head taller than most doorways at Old Sturbridge Village. (Please note 3 handknits on my guys in this pic. Total of 6 handknits among the four of us when we visited OSV on T'giving. Yay for handknits in use!)

He's helpful with things like moving the cars around in the driveway, handling power tools and heavy jobs.

He comes in handy when there's a bug on the ceiling.

He works alongside Scott in the bakery/brick oven food sales.

Yet, every once in a while, like when knitting socks for him recently, it surprises the heck out of me that I have a 15-year-old son, no longer a little boy.

Especially not a little boy.

Leah's red sock on top, Jesse's blue sock beneath,
a full 3 inches longer to accommodate his size 13 feet!
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Saturday, November 28, 2009


Leah and I were knitting along happily on our current WIPs this week when I noticed quite a few knitting bloggers spreading the word that the Red Scarf Project was way short of the number of scarves needed for its program, which gives handmade scarves to college-bound young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. Since neither of us was working on anything that's a rush, Leah and I talked it over and decided we'd set our current projects aside and take a detour for the Red Scarf Project. There was a possibility of LYS visit that evening anyway, but we agreed it would be even better if we could use stash yarn, so off she went for stash-tossing and later dumped this collection on my desk:
Hm. Seems like it's meant to be! We cast on Wed. afternoon, knit with friends Wed. evening and during It's a Wonderful Life on Thurs. evening. I did another foot or so while out with a friend last night and she's been working steadily on hers too. Not even 72 hours later, here's our progress:
Mine, on left, Palindrome pattern with spiffy reversible cables, Lamb's Pride Superwash in Shane's Red, 3 ft. long. Hers, on right, basketweave, Cascade 220 Superwash, Really Red (which is, in fact, really red, not pinkish as it looks in the picture. Have we discussed lately how much I dislike my new camera and am just about ready to drop a big wad on something infinitely better and NOT NIKON, since I'm unhappy with them?), about 2 ft. long so far.

We aim to finish them up this week so they'll reach the Orphan Foundation of America in advance of the Dec. 15 deadline. Easy peasy and feels good too.

In the post-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas bakery lull, Scott's been back at the torch this weekend. Cute little glass sheep stitch markers, dressed in their winter knits, coming up soon!
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Friday, November 27, 2009

gobble gobble

Visiting the happy turkeys at Old Sturbridge Village.

The subversive volunteer answers questions for guests of the Village. She was also asked to pose for pictures with a visiting family.

Costumed interpreters enjoying their feast
just before we headed home for ours.

Three turkeys doing the hokey pokey on the OSV green.
I don't ask why. I just pretend not to know them. :-)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

rockin' the free world

Finally, the parade of post-vacation finished objects. Believe it or not, there are still more FOs to come!

Just Enough Ruffles scarf, knit by Debbie. The luscious angora yarn was purchased at Spa Knit and Spin last Feb. Leah was going to make this pattern, but it became my project instead when I needed another vacation knit. Entirely easy and quick to knit, but I think the result is pretty fabulous. This yarn, we paid for, but it occurs to me that everything else in these four pics was free or pretty darn close to it!

The scarf pin is a stick pin made by our friend Leslie Wind and received as a gift when we shared a booth at Franklin County Fiber Twist this fall. The stick travels through the back of one of Scott's glass buttons for a little more decoration where it holds the scarf ends in place.

Didja notice the cool cascading earrings Leah's wearing? Inspired by Sassafras Creations' knitting needle jewelry and our stash of aluminum straight knitting needles (which we rec'd as hand-me-downs, but don't use for knitting and were thinking about giving away), she used our pipe cutter to slice some needle shafts into loops. She then used chainmail rings to attach these to a small length of chain salvaged from who knows what. She also added a couple of rings with crystals on them, for sparkle, then hung the whole shebang on ear wires. They make just the slightest happy jingle when she walks, are colorful enough to go with everything, and the fact that they're made from knitting needles gives her a giggle.

Next up, mittens I knit in twined knitting technique. I've always been curious about this way of making extra thick and squishy fabric by knitting from both ends of a skein, alternating strands with a twist behind each stitch, so when I won two skeins of Crystal Palace Yarns Taos and saw that it was well suited to stranded knitting, it seemed a good time to give it a try. I got a Twined Knitting book from the library and really liked some of the patterns in it, but when it was time to cast on, I wanted very straightforward and simple instructions. Lisa Ellis' basic twined mittens pattern was a perfect introduction. Twined knitting is slow going and needing to frequently untwist the yarns is a little tedious, but I really didn't mind it and think the results are pretty cool. My tension was tight with the twisting of yarns, which is probably not uncommon with beginning twined knitters, so these turned out child-sized and will be donated somewhere. Another perfect opportunity to pay it forward.

In between bigger projects, Leah decided she wanted another snood, so she used weaving thread received (a big box of it, in many colors!) as a gift from a weaver to crochet one. She attached it to a headband that was in a bag of hair things received as a hand-me-down from my sister a couple of years ago.

Our lives are chock full of little gifts like these and a million more intangible kindnesses too. We are thankful for every single one of them and how they enrich our lives every day. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the States!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

satisfies all requirements

Leah, the Christmas elf, wanted to make a pair of mittens for somebody. Requirements included: 1) not girly design, 2) not boring to knit, 3) fingerless/flip-top for dexterity, 4) very warm. She bopped around on Ravelry until she formulated a plan that would satisfy all requirements, picked up some yarn at an entirely awesome knit night at our favorite lys a few days ago (following bbq wings and beer/lemonade at a nearby restaurant with a fun group of knitters), and left this on my desk yesterday afternoon:

It's a mash-up of the peekaboo mittens and deathflake chart, but she'll be modifying the peekboo opening so it overlaps.

There's a problem in the top section as a result of looser gauge with 1-color knitting and also maybe because of the peekaboo ribbing, so she'll rip that back and try something different soon. Suggestions welcome for this challenge. Smaller needles? Decrease stitches? Continue 2-color knitting (palm is checkerboard, but might look odd to have stranded knitting above deathflake motif but not below)?

Other than that glitch, she is psyched about mittens as a perfect project -- not too big, not too small, opportunity to keep it interesting but not take forever, eminently practical here in Connecticut, infinite options.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

we have lift-off!

Jesse and Scott had another great day at rocket club on Saturday, including a rocket drag race for a tie.
Jesse's Viper rocket on the left, another club member's on the right.

There are so many things that can go wrong at lift-off. That's why even the most experienced rocket enthusiasts hold their breath for the countdown and everybody cheers a successful launch and landing!

The same can be said of launching a new knitting project, especially if it's your first lace project...and your first time using beads...AND the first time reading a chart!

My mom started this Juno Regina stole when we were on vacation. Because of the above challenges combined with so many yarnovers on the diagonal, she has probably knit twice as many stitches as shown here and needed to tear half of them out for a redo, but she's all the way through the spiffy pattern at one end and should be able to fly through the long central portion without a problem.

We'll probably have to go on vacation together again when she gets to the diamonds on the other end ;-), but for the coming portion, the forecast is for a smooth flight.
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I have lots of knitting to show you, but haven't taken pics yet. Maybe later today. Meanwhile, I wanted to show you something funky.

First, a little background: I don't shop. Oh, I'll go to Goodwill or a tag sale for the rare thing we need around here, but big retail places give me the willies, from the artificial lighting and smells to the agonizing muzak and endless racks of stuff. I'd rather buy necessary items second-hand, at a fraction of the cost and often of very high quality, or find a way to otherwise make the most of what we already have. When we do need to hit a store for something new, it's with a very definite purpose and a quick in and out.

So, one rainy morning in South Carolina, when Scott wanted to browse a nearby Bass Pro Shop (the catalogs of which he has drooled over for years), the rest of us went along for the heck of it, my thought being that it could be entertaining, since shopping without a purpose is entirely foreign to us. I was right; it was entertaining!

Pardon me if this is old news, but the memo hadn't delivered under my rock yet. Apparently, fair isle sweaters are being marketed this season. Nothing unusual about that, but this year somebody came up with the idea of putting the pieces together inside out!

With all those floats, just waiting to catch on things! Seriously? Dropping $60 on this seems like a good idea to somebody? Unless it's somebody who can re-weave ends and fix a snagged loop of yarn, I bet it's headed for the landfill within one season.

Inside, it is indeed a fair isle sweater of the usual kind. It could almost be worn inside out, which would be the usual right side out, if not for the raggedy sewn seams.

So glad to have the option of making my own, at a fraction of the cost with second-hand/reclaimed yarn, in the styles that I like best, of higher quality materials and many, many more years of expected usefulness.

Okay, enough of the snark. See what retail places do to me? It's not pretty.

Parade of FOs to come!
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Friday, November 20, 2009

is it vacation time yet?

Seriously, whew, the before and after days of a vacation are pretty intense. We don't have another vacation on the horizon right away, but are definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving next week. In between the catch-up work and whole new round of lotsa work this week (and, yes, I am thankful every day for having lots and lots of work right now), I uploaded the vacation pics from my camera. Such good memories. Here's a succinct album, in case you care to take a look at some of the places we explored:

South Carolina 11/09

Between storm Ida and my early-rising ways, I enjoyed an abundance of quiet time and knitting projects in South Carolina. Between me, my mom, and Leah, we had eight(!) projects on the needles and all made lots of progress.

I liked seeing and doing new things, as always, but was just as happy for the quiet times, simply watching the birds dive for their breakfast and enjoying the early morning sun on my face.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I'm still pretty buried in catch-up work, but way back when I had time to kill (two days ago, at the airport ;-), I noticed again that a little wait time is a welcome thing when you come prepared.

How many knitters can you spot in this pic?

Even the smart flight attendants pull up a chair and work on a baby sweater in between flights.

Okay, back to work I go.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

doing the time warp

Toto, we're not in Kansas Connecticut anymore.

And apparently we're not in the 21st century anymore either!

Back home after 10 days in South Carolina. More to come.
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009


While pondering what to do with the Madli's shawl that needed to go bye-bye, I kept wishing I could find a travel project that was as perfect as the Estonian Garden Wrap that I knit while we were in Hawaii a couple of years ago.

Suddenly, a forehead-smacking moment! Since that Estonian Garden Wrap was given as a gift last Christmas, why don't I just knit that pattern again, in this yarn? Yeah, that's the ticket!

:::rip rip rip::: went Madli, saving the iridescent beads which will probably be substituted for the nupps on the Estonian Garden Wrap.

I'm not sure if there's enough time to start the new project before we leave, but it feels good to have a plan for that lovely Woolen Rabbit yarn. Meanwhile, I started a Just Enough Ruffles scarf in burgundy angora. Should be a fun little project with a nicely wearable result.
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Tuesday, November 03, 2009


:::sigh::: I thought Madli's shawl would be perfect vacation knitting, but I can't do anything other than concentrate on it for the knit rows and, even then, I make mistakes, so that's not going to work. Despite what the above pic might suggest, it's a beautiful pattern, but alternating twig patterns do not make for happy knitting in my world.

I'm not sure if I'll tear this out and start something entirely different (Bobbie gloves, maybe?), set it aside to work on in quiet times, or keep the edge section and just substitute a different lace motif for the main body. I'm loving the Woolen Rabbit yarn, though, and definitely want to use it. Hmmm.
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Monday, November 02, 2009

take a walk on the wild side

I've been watching and waiting for the Young at Heart chorus to do a show that fits with our calendar and yesterday was finally the day!

It was a sold out show, as is the case with most of their performances, I think. Lots of people knew they were in for a treat!

We laughed so hard that we cried. We sang along with some rockin' tunes. We clapped wildly and whooped up a storm. If you ever have a chance to see this group of octagenarians sing Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Ramones, and songs by many other well-known bands, do yourself a favor and go. So. Much. Fun!
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Sunday, November 01, 2009

flying the freak flag!

Three cheers for a day that celebrates creativity, fantasy, and full-on silliness. We had four events lined up for our Halloween day and they were all made of awesome, but the highlight was the wedding of an old friend, an artist and all 'round good egg. Wedding festivities were way out in the boonies, at a beautiful wooded camp beside a lake. Not yer usual wedding, masks were encouraged and, boy, such a parade of fantastical costumes.

Scott wore the pirate piggy mask that Leah crocheted for him, I was a colorful character, and Jesse was Mythbusters' Jamie Hyneman, complete with finger 'stache!
Leah proudly wore the gown she made from two scavenged dresses, including much hand sewing and embroidery embellishments, and jewelry that she made from our crystal bead stash. Many, many people complimented her costume and were then blown away then she said, "Thank you. I made it myself."

Our long-time friend Tina, one of the brides in this ceremony, has been a mask-maker forever, having even had an art gallery exhibit of her work. She and Phoebe, her partner, went all out for this special day -- feathers and mirrors and swirls, rich textural fabrics, dried flowers and foliage. Symbolically standing apart at the beginning of the ceremony, you can bet the space between them disappeared by the end. With a backdrop of autumn woodlands and blustery winds causing ribbons in the trees to twirl and dance, we heard poetry, song, instrumental music, and the vows of our friends.

Given that my neon green hair was a little unruly, I did a double take and had to blink a few times, but sure enough, one of the wedding guests was winding a ball of yarn! We had a good chat and I'm hoping to join in on the fiber night events she's setting up for the coming winter.
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