Another Satisfied Customer

And here we see DS Kate, recipient of the slightly modified Seafarer's Scarf, which was a joy to knit in Venezia. She seems to like it all right! I tried some Adobe Photoshopping to add tufts of nose hair, warts, and fangs, but I guess I need more practice with that software, as it didn't come out nearly as gruesome as I was trying for! (jk, Dearie, everyone knows you're the handsomer 8^).

My modification of the pattern involved doing a bit more than a simple garter stitch for the long panels (the middle around the neck is 4x4 ribbing, quite sensible for a scarf!). I did the *knit a row, K1P1 for the second row* pattern (which needs a name RIGHT NOW)!

Last of the Christmas Projects

I made one last hat, finished up the keyhole scarf, and gave a scarf I knitted last summer out of Noro Kochoran. Here are the gifties in all their handknitted-with-love glory:

Hat for DD1 (picture to come hopefully)

Keyhole scarf for DD2 (heart applique after several failed attempts at a cupcake--very popular type scarf on the modcloth/shanalogic type sites right now)

and Kochoran scarf for my friend Erin.

"DD#4" and her collegiate hat; a new WIP

Here is "DD#4," the friend of DD2 who has become like another daughter in our family. She likes her hat!

And here is a close-up of said hat, in all its 1 x 1 ribbing glory. It's doubled sport weight alpaca from Honey Lane Farms (got it at Stitches West last March), with off-white stripes of Fibre Works Organik wool blend.

And here is a present WIP, requested by la mama, as I had mentioned in a previous entry. It's the Sophie purse in black, gray, and variegated blue tones, to be felted.


What Would Dobby Do? That is the question. Well, he would take a tea cozy and make it a hat. In fact he did that (probably more than once, but my memory for HP details pales in comparison to DD2 and DD3's steel traps).

But what would Dobby do if he had knitted a hat that would fit someone with a severe case of hydrocephalus (not to mention severe and unremitting denial!!)? Obvious. He would do the reverse. "Hat" becomes tea cozy, and--extra benefit--the fact that it was knitted on straights means a seam needs joining and therefore the spout can be accommodatedYes, you're fast. This was the . . . ahem . . . "prototype" for Alex's much more successful hat, in that I realized I wanted it thicker and, oh yeah, SMALLER in circumference. But see right there, Tufts' colors, and the same basic stripe pattern.

I just have to show you my decreases. Ain't they purdy?

WIPs now: Well I keep trying to start my mom's felted purse, the Sophie, requested as a Christmas gift just a tad too late to be realistic, but still totally flattering. Mom is a champeen knitter from way back, whose mother was also a champeen Maine knitter (read, thick and warm!). But Mom can't knit with wool (allergies) so enter DD1 who can and does. I don't want to let her down, let me tell you. Also started a hat similar to Alex's but with another school's colors (in alpaca and organic cotton--all together now*--oooooooh, ahhhhhhh!). I wish I never had to knit with anything else. Also have the shibori scarf underway but it's really rough tweed and not fun to knit with (see above). I want to start a felted cloche but am still looking for a pattern I can handle. Any suggestions for the late beginner/early intermediate knitter?
*Apologies to anyone who has this stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Spoiler Alert--warning Kate!

I'm pretty sure DS doesn't spend much time here, but just in case, go find something else to do, Honey, since I'm about to spill the visual beans.

Here is the Seaman's Scarf (modified with a different stitch on the outer panels) that I made with Venezia in charcoal gray. I swatched several rows of various stitches so that she could see what she liked--various ribs and mistaken rib, as well as purl ridge. She and my nephew chose the 3x3 ribbing but also liked the one that I do often: Knit a row, K1P1 across next row, repeat. Wish I knew what this stitch is called!It sure comes out handsome! and the ribbing makes the neck part of the scarf thinner. Those sailors sure were clever!


Here it is [drumrolls, audience murmur quiets down]--

Alex's hat. He is the "spice"* of DD2, and already has my vote (I've never met him--yet) because he is so good to my daughter. The stripes are the colors of their school, Tufts University. Aren't those mighty snazzy colors for a school? (I once went to a school with orange and black--yich!)

(Technical info: 1x1 ribbing, size 6 circular, Bouton d'Or Ksar for the beige, scrap brown and light blue).

It's already off in a 2-day shipping box so that he will actually receive it before he leaves college for his winter break plans. Talk about cutting things close!

OK, I'm really proud of myself because yesterday I found I had messed it up (1x1 ribbing, circular, how could I mess up? but I do'ed--sigh) . When I got home, I got to the row with the mistakes (above and below each other, thankfully) and unraveled it. I had inserted a stitch holder below that I think would keep it from getting out of hand on the unraveling thing, right? Then, with my crochet hook I re-did it, telling myself all the time, "If it doesn't fix it, you can take it to the LYS and get help. Don't worry." But when I was all done, I smoothed it out and--voila! it was indeed fixed. Can't even find the place where it was. [Smiles bashfully but clearly pleased with self.]

Now I'm off to knit the last rows of DS's Christmas request--the charcoal gray scarf in two stitches, which I think I did pretty cleverly. This will require blocking though so I gotta finish it today and get it in the mail Monday.

Cheers, all, and happy (holiday) knitting!

*"Spice" comes from a boss long ago who always invited us to holiday parties by saying "Spouses and spices are welcome too." I think that's perfect.


Just to say that this last week before the "winter holidays" (Christmas vacation) will be jam-packed, and this weekend has been no different. I got two rows done on a hat I'm finishing up for DD2's beloved, Alex. And I have so much knitting I want to get to!

But there are cookies to bake for the exchange (some of us teacher/parents figured out how to get a variety of cookies that we can then divvy up for gifts to give teachers of our offspring). There is the tree to decorate (OK, that can wait, at least a few days), gifts to mail to out of state family (can't wait), gifts to wrap for family here (wait till later), tests to grade (no way! do it now!), and some other school related work that needs to get wrapped up. So . . . my Sunday (as was my Saturday) is going to be taken up. At least I can have the Christmas music going in the background.

Knitting Knotes:
My stepsister says that my little niece LOVES her new watermelon poncho (she's turned two and wants to do everything by herself--a poncho makes this possible!) and hat, and that the pink booties are almost too small already (waaaaah! I was so proud of those!). I had sewn jingle bells and little flower appliques on them, and Leonie loves wearing them and jingling around the room. But since I still know how to knit ;^) I guess I'll just have to put another pair on my to-do list.

Talked to DD2 this morning and she has been knitting at college!! Of course she is knitting a scarf for the aforementioned beloved, for his Christmas present. And she is looking forward to coming home for vacation and doing what has become a lovely tradition--knitting in front of the fireplace with her sister, DD1, friend Emily, and me. DD3 joins us too, and sometimes even DH sits with us and chats. Ahhhh! Only five days before that is all a possibility.

Stash Enhancement Continues: I'll take photos when I can--some loverly stuff! What IS it about Tencel? It's a great "development" in fiber.

More soon. Cheers everyone!

Little Hats for Little Fellas/Yarn Porn

I don't have much time for knitting these days but make good use of what I do have. This tiny cap is for my friend Leah's first grandchild born last week, a boy named Charles. I used the softest camel/wool yarn (bouton d'or Ksar) and a tiny bit of acrylic for the blue stripe. What looks like an orange stripe is straight-up camel beige! I'm pretty proud of it, and it just might be a hat to get him through this whole first winter!

Then there is the hat I knitted for a little guy named Chance, who is about to become a big brother. It's black and cream, a great stripe combo for a blondie such as this fella. The day after I gave the little packet to his father (I work with Steven) , I found in my mailbox at school a small envelope with very capital letters in that most confident yet newbie way that kids have, but even then I did not know who had given it to me. Opened it up to find . . . a thank-you card from Chance, written in that same block capital printing, saying he liked his new hat. Awwwwww! (His parents are raising a rare boy! Come to think of it, the baby about to debut is also a boy! Two of them! Imagine.)

I happened to see him and his daddy today at the Div. IV girls' volleyball state championship games (we lost :^( bummer! bum ref, more like) , and Chance smiled a huge smile and hugged me, thanking me for the hat. Awwwwww! There's a kid who knows how to ensure he gets future knitted hats! And I will always be trying most sensitively to knit something stylish, no matter the age.

On another topic . . .
I am really looking forward to the Christmas holidays when I will be able to spend long stretches talking with my girls (two of them home after a long absence!) and having a knitting fest. Two of the three girls knit but (both in college) they say they don't get any time for that when school is in session. Like mother, like daughter!

(Don't) Hide Your Eyes! YARN PORN ALERT!

First up, some Ella Rae silk I bought on the internet. Don't have a plan for it but there is probably enough for a summer shell. MMMMm!

Next is some lovely textured yarn I bought from granolayarns in beautiful Miamisburg Ohio, just over the (Heinecke) hill from my childhood home in West Carrollton. Here is some soft blue O-wool that I hope to make into a felted chapeau for someone special.

Then I fell for this Earl Grey and green tea-dyed yarn carried in the same shop, which is a lovelier light beige than this photo rendering. Granolayarns said she gets it from Spun Monkey, who also dyes wool with coffee--darker and also lovely!) but that it's not easy to get shipments because the fiber artist wants to avoid burning fossil fuels to get her products to market. Laudable. She is probably selling just fine at the local markets and craft fairs. But it's our loss! I did just check out Spun Monkey's own webpage and she'll be in San Francisco at the Bazaar Bizarre on 12/15! Enticing!

How to Get Through a Bad Day

Well, it wasn't a terrible, very bad, horrible, no good day (a la Judith Viorst) but it was worser and worser as the day wore on. I wanted to just stay home, get under the covers, and veg. This is probably all compliments of my hormonally compromised state. But before I even left, I put on comfy clothes

which one can do as a teacher (just don't wear jeans and you are probably home free)

and chose something with down to stay warm

and pockets for the special comfort of my favorite "inner teenager" item: my Bonne Bell Lipsmacker in Dr. Pepper flavor.

I did some retail therapy after school ended

came home to a "no-dinner" evening (don't have to cook, we all just fend for ourselves)

took something for the increasing headache

and this too

and got out the knitting.

There, now I think I can deal.

Barb from Alberta is my SP!

Wow, this time of year is already fun with the packages that arrive since I don't do malls much. But yesterday was JACKPOT time--three packages awaited me. The most exciting was from Alberta, Canada, and inside it was a treasure trove!

Several skeins of yarn, various colors that I love love love, some cotton, some wool, some feltable, some striping. I smell a felted purse project, and felted slippers for one of my nephews!


I also found a candle, a tools holder, a holiday wish list (boy will that be useful in the next few weeks!), some lovely scented white ginger body wash and lotion.


You'd be wrong. Those skeins were singletons meant for me to use with some of the best patterns in One Skein.

And then there was this surprise inside the purple "pop top" tool holder--a set of stitch markers that Barb made for me!

Did I mention I am one lucky SPer?

Barb, thank you so much, and I hope to show you the results of my yarn adventures very soon!

Somebody's Birthday is Coming!

I've been busy finishing up someone's gifties!

The poncho is now sewn together,

matching hat is finished,

and the pink slippers have been puffy painted to make them slip-proof. (Thanks to DD3.)

My little niece is going to be two (see below in next post for cute picture), and I hope she will like these birthday presents. She was so cute in the first poncho and hat I made her!

I'm also getting my SP 11's gifts together for the reveal later this week, and am almost ready! Here is my favorite present:
From a Denise Sutherland design, it's a small wooden box for treasures. These are some of the best knitting designs out there--check her work out!

One of SP's kids is really little so I found a board book that has little toddlers with the words to "Jingle Bells" as the only text.

For her older child, I found a story book appropriately focused on a man, Mr. Nick, who knits on the train every day on his way to work.

He has a friend who sits with him on the train each day, Mrs. Jolley, who also knits, but becomes ill and doesn't show up one day. So he visits her in the hospital, taking six balls of pink wool and some needles.

The story has a sweet ending, and Mr. Nick shows himself to be not only a great knitter but a wonderful friend. I hope the little guy will enjoy this story--his mama almost surely will!

You wonder if I'm sending my SP some knitted item or other? Well . . . I hope she won't be disappointed, but I'm not going to. I do plan to send her some great yarn but I think it will work better for her to knit what she likes. I think her skills are about five years ahead of mine!!

My own SP has been really kind. Most recently she sent me some bamboo circulars in my favorite size--scarf size! She said she's mailed something for me--I can't wait! I think she must be Canadian because she said she mailed it on Thursday (which was Thanksgiving!). 8^)

I've finished two other items but can't go into details anymore! Christmas is coming . . . the goose is getting fat! Must keep on knitting and finishing things so I can get everything ready by mailing time.

Happy knitting, all!

Giving Thanks

So much to be glad of and grateful for!

DH affectionately champions of all my endeavors, not to mention happily receiving and wearing my novice-ly knitted items and reading my blog faithfully (are you reading this, Bear?? 8^). He also goes wine tasting with me (and our friends) and watches DVDs with me whenever I can keep my eyes open at the end of a day.

DD1 is a lovely young woman from whom I always learn something interesting, who has already begun to leave her indelible mark on the world, and whom I admire greatly for her many gifts.

DD2 sets the bar for embracing life and rolling with the punches (is that a bunch of mixed metaphors or what??) as she branches out into the wide world (four metaphors in a row!!).

DD3 never ceases to crack me up, and sometimes even succeeds at making me laugh at myself; paradoxically, she takes her own life seriously enough to be headed for great things, without losing sight of what is most important to her.

Sister Kate will always be my soul-deep friend and the one who most totally "gets" me, flaws and all; she is, happily, also one who knows how to enjoy herself with a good drink on a beach in Hawaii!

I am so grateful for BFF Monica, the go-to person for perspective, humor and belly laughs, free therapy, workplace dishing, and honest hits on what I'm thinking or considering, not to mention someone to split a Coke with at faculty meetings. She has also provided me with a model for mothering without obsessing, something I have never managed!

And then there is BFF Barbara, whose erudite and hilarious emails from Europe keep me hoping she will one day soon be back in the US, where I can monopolize her summers and watch her daughters grow up! What would I do without her frank and forthright way of seeing the world?

My beloved stepmom, Leone, has had miraculous surgery and regained a great deal of the world that Parkinson's took from her. I was fortunate to spend a few days with her in October when she was well on the mend, and she's like another woman! One I remember from before.

I have seen my mother truly happy this year.

I have been able to spend time with my father this year.

My sweetie pie niece Leonie ('Onie) has charmed me and reminded me how fresh the world is when you are little.

Lucky me, I share my life with les chats, all of which entertain, comfort, warm, amuse, and annoy me on a daily basis:
Cleo and Kermit getting circular above
Left: Percy in a paper bag
Right: Pippi sees the world differently

I am so grateful for The Locale, our choice for 28 years and probably forever, the One True Paradise (hear that, Girlies? "There's no place like home, there's no place like home" . . . Come home soon! No snow to slog through!).
I am fortunate to have rediscovered knitting and acquiring yarn, the combination of which make me calmer, happier, and more artistically moved than any other hobby has ever done--

Life is good. Happy Thanksgiving.