Thursday, December 31, 2009

4 makers

DPN holders, made by Jesse, for Leah

Cabled sweater sleeve, made by Leah,
(who will learn how to fix mis-crossed cables during this project!),
for Leah or maybe Debbie

fruit loop glass stitch markers/beads, made by Scott,
for the fun of it

socks, made by Debbie, for the bigfooted moose boy
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Houston, we have a problem

Or do we?

You may remember the Estonian Garden Wrap that appeared out of nowhere, entirely pleasant project that it is. Well, I have two skeins of this lovely Woolen Rabbit handpainted yarn and am pretty sure the wrap will be the right size (long enough that I can wrap it once around my neck and ends hang to waist if I want to use it as a big, beautiful scarf) if I use every last bit of those two skeins. This means the transition from one skein to the next happens at the mid-point, which will be front and center on the wearer's neck. But there's a significant difference in depth of color from one skein to the next, even though I tried my hardest to choose similar ones when I bought them last February.

Overexposed pic in the bright winter sunshine,
but you get the idea.
The shift is no less jarring in real life.

I've seen the suggestion of alternating skeins every other row to make the transition less abrupt, but that made it stripey, so I only did it once. I kept knitting for a while, thinking it would mellow out, but no.

I have asked people's opinions around here, but I need more input and so I turn to you, dear blog readers, for a poll, because I know you'll be straight with me and tell it like it is. When answering, please keep in mind that I have enjoyed every stitch of this project and would love to see it through to completion, but would not mind even a wee little bit if it needs to be ripped back some or all of the way. Really. Truly. Cross my heart.

So, what say you? (if you're reading this through a blog aggregator, click through to my blog to vote)

What's next for this Estonian Garden Wrap?
Just quit yer fussin' and keep knitting. It's handpainted yarn, you knucklehead, so embrace the variations.
Tear back to the transition and try knitting from the other end of the 2nd skein, as it may be darker there.
That yarn wants to be something else. Tear the whole thing back and work on your green sweater until the Philosopher's Wool cardigan kit arrives. :-)
I'll describe a different solution in the comments.

I just rec'd a message that the poll isn't working for somebody, but it has worked for a couple of other people so far, so I'll leave it up here. If it doesn't work for you, could you please just leave a comment instead? Thanks!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I can haz sitches

Now that Gram has received the cardinal woodland shawl I made to keep her warm this winter, it's not a secret anymore and I can post a picture here.
It was knit with three laceweight yarn strands, one strand of Army green coned wool ($1 at Goodwill) and two strands of forest green wool ($1/skein at the weavers' guild yarn tag sale), to produce a heathered worsted weight yarn that softened and bloomed nicely upon washing. Since I still had a bunch of this yarn left over and have been wanting to knit myself a sweater (after the last four were for other family members), I decided to stick with it and take advantage of the predictable lull in the workload this week.

I had been considering the Susie Hoodie, but I'm not fond of that point at the back lower edge, so I decided to just wing it, pulling bits from here and there, putting them together to see what happens. I cast on a cabled panel with provisional cast-on, using the chart from A Cardigan for Arwen. When that was long enough to go around my wrist, I kitchenered the ends and picked up stitches from a long edge, knitting up from there to make a sleeve.

A day or so later, the sleeve is up to underarm length. Not sure how I want to handle shoulder construction, so I'll figure that out later and cast on for the second sleeve later today. Meanwhile, since there's no identifying information on any of this yarn, minimal chance of getting more if I need it, and I have no idea of yardage, I weighed the sleeve to estimate how many grams I'd need for the remainder of the sweater. Seems like I'll have more than enough, so fingers crossed and forward we go!


Y'all know I type for a living, right? Well, believe me, a transcriptionist understands that typos happen, even to the best of us, and there are informal situations where it doesn't even matter, but some things are not just isolated boo-boos in a quickly written note and they make me cringe. So when Leah bought some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted for the felted stained glass fan bag she made (which is on an airplane to Florida at this very moment) and left one of the skeins on my desk, something on the label caught my eye. I blinked and looked again.

4-1/2 sitches per inch? Sitches? Where the heck is the first T?! One of the top 10 yarns on Ravelry, in over 19,000 projects and over 11,000 stashes, and nobody in the company noticed or, worse, nobody cares?

Ack!! :::transcriptionist's brain goes kaboom!:::

Oh, there are a few other typos on the label too, but none so screamingly cringe-worthy as sitches. I breathed deeply and tried to let it go. Really, I did. But in the end, I couldn't. I thought maybe nobody had noticed and thought certainly they would care, so I submitted a gentle message through their site. It's been many days since then, with not even so much as an acknowledgement of my helpful volunteer editing. I'm telling myself they must be very busy with holiday/year-end activities to not even respond to customer feedback because certainly they'd care, right? Right?! Spell checkers are our friends! Good grammar for all!! RIGHT?!

:::sigh::: Time for a walk in the woods. :-)
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 28, 2009

knitting for a knitter's knitting

She's reluctant to admit it, but there's no denying it anymore. My mom has become a Knitter (with a capital K). She knit some impressive stuff a long time ago, but then she put the needles away for many years. I think it was that whole raising-two-kids-while-working-full-time-and-getting-bachelor's-and-master's-degrees thing. We all know how those piffly bothers can interrupt a good knitting session.

Before felting,
a big, lumpy leap of faith.

Anyhow, mom knit me a poncho (which I love and wear often) on the sly as a xmas gift a few years ago, but she still claimed she could take it or leave it, this little pointy stick hobby of mine.

But then she thought it would be fun to knit a dress for her coworker's toddler. And a little bunny and hat to go with the dress.

And then a sweater for herself.

And then she spent a day at Stitches East with us and the subsequent knitting went mobile. She was knitting on the deck of our beach house in South Carolina, knitting in the airport, knitting while waiting for a performance to start, bringing her knitting along to show to friends (who also knit), get the picture. :-)

When we were leaving her house one afternoon after a quick visit, I asked what she was doing for the evening, since it's a rare evening or weekend day when she doesn't have something planned. With a big smile, she said, "I'm knitting."

"Hey, it's as big as a sweater!
I could knit almost a whole sweater body in a week?!"

So, when we were thinking of Christmas gifts, Leah decided to knit her Grandma a knitting bag to replace the little tote bag she's been using. She chose the felted stained glass fan bag, a pattern she has had in her favorites for a long time. The only question she had about the pattern was a quickie about the three-needle bind-off at the top edge, but otherwise she knit it entirely on her own.

Noro felts beautifully! Leah defuzzified it afterwards by shaving with a safety razor. Leather handles taken from a purse we got at Goodwill for $4. Pile o' Noro and magnetic clasp bought at our LYS.

Given how my mom spent some quiet time on Christmas afternoon, we think this project is a winner in every way.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 26, 2009


My mom, Squirt (nephew's dog),
and a Juno Regina wrap in progress.

Today? Brunch with knitterfriends.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 25, 2009


Merry Christmas, everybody!

I hope you finished your gift knitting in time!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

the calm

Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand
and for a talk beside the fire.
It is the time for home.
~ Edith Sitwell
(with thanks to Coventry Regional Farmers' Market
for the lovely quote, such a perfect fit)

Enjoy, everybody!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


There's been a flurry of activity around here. I have a feeling we're not the only ones experiencing this (and enjoying it).

A flurry of bead transactions online and in real life.

A flurry of finishing projects, including early morning stealth Kitchener stitching and a secret blocking place.

A flurry of bakery orders on a nonstandard schedule.

A big flurry of snowflakes a few days ago = only about 8" here, much more in not too far away.

A flurry of work that my clients are clearing off their desks and depositing on mine. But it's like hot potato. I don't want it here over the weekend either, so a flurry of trying to get it all done and covering for some people who are out on vacation.

A flurry of visits from friends as they pass through town and unexpected visits with people we bump into at assorted events.

And a full-on blizzard of smiles when Leah finished a bunny with dress (and sweater!)

and gave it to the little girl she babysits.
Also a flurry of handknits scooped up and given new homes when the knitting box was offered at a family gathering last weekend. Yahoo -- so nice to see the things we make be so enthusiastically received!


Quickie blog post. Two shakes of a lamb's rabbit's tail and I'm back to work again. On a mission to clear the desk! Not late, not stressed, just psyched!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 18, 2009

could've been worse

Anybody remember the icefishermitts I knit for Scott a couple of years ago? They're being put to good use again today, like this:

But, um, something's not quite right.
Do you see it?

How about now?

Sheesh, hon, be careful out there!

As least patching a knitted thumb tip doesn't require a trip to the emergency room!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 17, 2009

hey, where'd that come from?

I cast on the Estonian Garden Wrap (yes, another one) just before vacation. I didn't knit on it while we were away, because I was doing other projects, and I've finished plenty of other things since we got back, so I'm not really sure how this one arrived at this point. I think that just goes to show the intuitiveness of this pattern, how easily it flows from the needles. A lot of bang for the buck, I think, when it's the kind of pattern that goes easily into my head, so I can just zip along without referring to the chart a zillion times. I'm subbing beads for the nupps this time, using the dental floss loopie way of putting them on, as demo'd by Mona from Dye Dreams when we were at Stitches East. Loving it. I'm not going to have enough yarn, though, so I suppose I'll need to deal with that eventually. ;-)

Just had a brainstorm to help with one of Leah's xmas projects. Bingo!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


It's the little things in every day that are putting an almost constant smile on my face lately. I'm still working lots (and happy about that), but the festive feeling in the air just can't be beat. Because this is a feeling I don't want to forget, here's a list of some of last weekend's smilemakers:

1. Participating in a community quiltmaking event.

2. Asking a certain silly boy to give me a hand with some twisted cordmaking. He scurried into my office a minute later with a little twisting contraption he made. Bzzz -- cord twisted -- zip zip zip! If you know Jesse, you know he must use batteries, switches, and gears in every possible situation!

3. Donating those mittens by hanging them on a charity mitten and hat tree.

4. Eating sushi late at night with three of my favorite kids.

5. Knitting two socks at a time, on one circular needle, from one ball of yarn. Just because.

6. Browsing an art museum with kids who are old enough to enjoy it.

7. Having told Contraption Boy that another pair of mittens would need cord made for them too, he scurried off to his lair workshop bedroom and emerged a few minutes later with a bigger, better, more complicated cord twister, talking about gear ratios and more power and other motorized details that give him a buzz.

8. Knowing that these mittens will be given away too.

9. Bumping into old friends everywhere we go, including as we were toodling down the highway, where we managed not to bump into them but still have a conversation at highway speeds.

10. Nibbling an entirely unexpected treat of African foods, offered for free and presented beautifully, at a Kwanzaa celebration.

11. Singing with the ukulele band at a show for folks with Alzheimer's.

12. Going dairy-free because I think I've become allergic. :-( Finding out that dairy-free alternatives are pretty tasty and do not cause me to feel like I'm suffocating from my own phlegm and swollen airway. :-) Bonus smiles from the fridge: The pickles made by some farmer friends include Love as one of their ingredients.

13. Watching Leah realize last night that in the past week she has knit on a gift equivalent in size to the body of a sweater. You could practically see the smoke coming out of her ears and there was a definite smile on her face as she realized that she could knit herself an actual sweater in the same amount of time.

14. Seeing a grand total of SIX live music performances over the course of the weekend, including a handbell choir whose shows I adore. They're not the group shown below, but they did play this song and it grabs me every time.

15. Reading on Handmade Homeschool about 29 Gifts. Thinking it would be a fun family project. Then realizing we were already doing it, had been doing it for as far back as I could remember, and would probably continue indefinitely because that's just what we do. Maybe giving all those little gifts, tangible and intangible, is the true reason for the smiles.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 12, 2009

under wraps

Oh, the little white lies, they're flying fast and furious these days. There's whispering and closed doors and secrets and cover-ups. Such a good-natured tangled web!

The pic above is part of the fun. I can't tell you what it is or where it's going, but aren't the colors pretty in the winter sunshine? We'll use it here as a placeholder, because I'm not fond of a pictureless post, and invite those of you on Ravelry over to see our updated project pages, both mine and Leah's.

On mine, you might notice the two projects that go together in the first row. Putting it on Ravelry will keep it a secret from its recipient, but I put the finishing touches on it yesterday and am pretty happy with how it turned out. If you leave a comment, please help me keep the secret, but yay, such a good feeling when a project comes together (mostly) as envisioned.

It's been almost a year since Leah's Ravelry projects were updated. Wow, the Goob's skills have come a long way in the past year and her enthusiasm just keeps growing. Gotta love a hobby that can grow with you for a lifetime.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 11, 2009

reason #64938 why I never get any work done

It's because I just can't resist the little playtime breaks. Just a quick moment to take a pic of some new cow beads Scott made on request.
Cute cows.

Okay, no problem there. Really, it just took a minute or two. But then my mind wanders. How about...

Cow tipping!

He ain't heavy,
he's my udder!

I tried so hard to make ac(r)owbats. I got one to sit on its butt, but but they just wouldn't balance nose to nose.

And, um, the other positions were just not appropriate for this family-friendly blog. I should be ashamed of myself. But I'm not. heh heh...

TGIF, everybodeeee!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 10, 2009

tis the season

There's snow on the ground and twinkling lights strung all 'round town. Time for the knitwear to get put to use!

I brought the newly finished Fanning The Flame mittens to the Christmas tree farm for a picture. You may remember that I knit them on the wrong size needles, so they turned out too big, but I lined them with a barely-worn pair of mittens from last year and stitched them together at the cuffs. Now they're extra warm, with ragg wool on the inside and handpainted pretty sock yarn on the outside. This pattern was fun to make. It's my first modular knitting project. If I were to do it again, I think I'd modify the thumb placement, putting it at the center of the top arc of the fan so the fan juts out as a gusset. I guess I'm not a fan of the peasant thumb. Still, neat construction. I'd probably like them even better if I knit them with the correct size needles. ;-)

A friend sent a link to a recent family photo album and I was happy to see the hat I knit for their older daughter two years ago, worn through last winter until she outgrew it, now popping up to warm the noggin of their younger daughter!

Yesterday was a snowy day when we were especially thankful to work and learn at home. The guys made bagels and honey oatmeal bread in the mobile oven, then played a battle card game they've been loving. The girl continued her stealth elf projects, got a stylin' new haircut and an excellent Talbot's wool coat at Goodwill (woot!), and made gingerbread from an 18th century recipe. By evening, we were all settled in by the tree, enjoying the warmth of the wood stove and comforts of home.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 06, 2009

walking in a winter wonderland

Leah's contribution to the Red Scarf Project, a basketweave scarf knit with Cascade 220 Superwash in Really Red. Modeled during a quick stop on the side of the road on our way to the WinterFresh farmers' market, as we had the first real snowfall of the season last night and every single branch in the woods was covered with snow, every melting water drop of which was glittering in the bright sunshine this morning.

And curses to Scott, as I was thinking and saying that we were in a winter wonderland, but that thought was immediately followed in my head by what would then be belted out in real life if Scott had been with us... la la la "...Walking 'Round in Women's Underwear!"

Posted by Picasa


Pattern: Palindrome. Knit without a cable needle. Cool reversible cables, and easy too! Excellent social knitting, which is a good thing, as there was a fabulous lot of social time in the week I was knitting this.

For: Red Scarf Project

Yarn: Lamb's Pride Superwash, Shane's Red, scored at a stash swap.


Pattern? Free.

Yarn? Free.

Calmly doing something for others, while enjoying the sunshine or visiting with friends, at a time of year when so many people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off? Priceless.


p.s. Christina, I don't have contact info to reach you directly, but no, the Hybrid sweater is no longer available. I'll update the old blog post to reflect this.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 05, 2009


This week felt like we were navigating the crazy minefield of life. Among many, many other challenges and crises for those around us, we had half a day of no electricity and, later the same day, a water main break that eroded beneath our street and threatened to collapse part of it into the nearby ravine.

Yes, really.
"Please drive to the left, sir. We're concerned about a collapse,"
sez water company dude at the end of our driveway one evening.

Yesterday afternoon and evening presented the opportunity for a bit of a breather. After dropping Leah off for a ukulele band gig (where, BTW, the assisted living place's residents know how to par-tay!), Jesse and I headed out for a nice walk.

We were astounded to find blooming roses -- in December! in Connecticut!! -- and springtime blossoms on the poor, confused trees. We walked randomly, unfamiliar with the surrounding area just a short distance off a main road lined with retail places -- and we all know how I feel about retail places. I couldn't believe it when we looked to the right and saw a wide path leading off into a patch of forest! And so we headed off into the woods, shuffling through the leaves. Ahh. Part A of feeling a little more grounded.

Part B was then heading off to Old Sturbridge Village for their Christmas By Candlelight event, which has been mentioned here many times before. Spending the evening making memories with my family, nibbling gingerbread and sipping mulled cider, listening to live music, chilly air and a beautiful setting, bumping into friends, a magic show, a hug from Santa, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and a barn dance...

Leah and the other dancers going
'round for the next part of the fun.
She in her best 1840s-ish garb, including
dress she sewed,
mittens I knit, tippet and snood that she knit.
Total count of handknits in use among us for the evening? 12!

Ahh! That's better!! Refreshed!
Posted by Picasa