Happy "B" Day

And no, I don't refer to birthdays, JK Rowling's, Harry Potter's, or anyone else celebrating today, though many happy returns and all that.

No, I refer to the subjects of my post today, the first of which is "bowl." (Though my cat Pippi [below, left] might also qualify, under the category "boob." She is rather doofy.)

If you have been paying close attention since last December (and I won't be hurt if you weren't) this is my solution to the alpaca hat that I made DH for Christmas (too loose), later felted, and too small. So I sewed a whip stitch around the edge, picked those up with crochet, picked those up with knitting needles, and knitted the rest of the top, clearly NOT a hat any longer, but a bowl.

DH can rest easy: another soft, fluffy hat (not felted!) will be his when the weather gets cold enough for hats.) This bowl, though, seems to still need a bit more of a clip. Where is that sweater shaver when you need it? Just trimming it with the sewing scissors hasn't brought out the lovely stripes and gradations of color--it's just a halo of fuzz right now. Sigh. If you were a sweater shaver, at my house, where would you hide?

Next up, we have "blocking board."
The cat at right (below) is not Pippi, but her large and lovely brother, Percival). He would not look at the camera either.

I love this blocking board! It folds open to 33x51 I believe, and the grid makes it easier for line challenged types like me to block something straight and neat. I got all excited about it after reading the Knitting Daily email about blocking basics, and since I've been spotty at best in the blocking department, I went for it. I want my gifts to look more "finished" and professional when I give them.

I've read all the posts on the Knitting Daily site from people commenting and asking more questions about blocking, and I still feel the same--I'm going to block most things from now on, because they end up looking more polished.

If you are thinking the blocking board looks like the one in the Knitting Daily posts, you are correct. It's made by a company in Ohio. Here's where I got mine. Not a plug for Joann, but they did move me to their free shipping club after I made this purchase (and I had bought it during a free shipping offer too--).

When I ordered it online, it was only after calling around to local Joann Fabrics stores and others, asking for the "Sew E-Z." No one carries it. DH said, snidely, "Funny how the Sew E-Z is not so easy to find!" He's a keeper.

OK, OTN: I admit it. I've started two new projects in the past 24 hours. No, Mom, I didn't finish all the ones I've got started, but I did finish the bowl! And it only took 7 months!! I'm 3/4 done with the little pink booties too, working on them during Law and Order SVU.

I have started a small pouch made with some gorgeous variegated hand-dyed merino from [and I love this name--it is so perfect] Yarn Rescue. Doesn't it feel virtuous to purchase something that is being RESCUED? I bought "Ripple," and "Opposites Attract," consisting of a green "Splendid" and the pink/purple combo, called "Clown Frown." It's the "Splendid" that I'm using for the pouch and have finished the eyelet row for a drawstring cord. I haven't decided whether to felt it or not, but I'm thinking it would make a perfect pajama bag for a little girl I know.

I also started a felted tote out of plain old Lion brand Wool Perfect for Felting, with brown, seaglass green, teal, and an olive-y green. The tote must be great because it is from a pattern called the Sophie bag (Sophi is my DD3) from Black Sheep Bags. They have it done up in solids but I see stripes, so I'm doing stripes!

Happy knitting, all!
PS Finished HP7 today and wow, it was so satisfying! I won't spoil it for anyone still not finished, but it is full of twists and turns and reversals and . . . wow. And I love the last chapter of tied-up loose ends. You can also read JK Rowling's chat about many other details on mugglenet.com, which provides lots of background, explanation, clarification, and bits that weren't in the book but which she has in her head, esp. about the history of certain characters [thx DD2 for the website recommendation]. As for the book itself, my favorite funny moment is when Luna Lovegood distracts people at a critical moment by looking out the window and saying, "Oooh, look, a blibbering humdinger!" I have lots of other favorites too, but I'll spare you now.

One Perfect Pink Mitten

Here it is, the tale I promised. [Ignore apparent product placement--that was just the first DVD I grabbed off the shelf for proportion.]

I was born in early 1961, two weeks late. My mother had arranged for her mother, my Grandma Monaghan, to come down for two weeks to help out when I was a newborn and my older brother not quite two. Grandma took the time off work and arrived around the first of the year.

Darned if I DIDN'T. So Mom sat around with her mom and Pete, waiting. [I have done this myself, with my third baby, while my mother-in-law and I entertained the troops and she asked me every few hours, "Do you feel anything yet?" To say that it was not fun is mincing words. And if I had told her what I was feeling, I think I would not have scored points with the MIL. ;^)]

Anyway, my grandmother's vacation time coming to an end, I finally arrove, and on the day I came home from the hospital, I had a little pink sweater and these mittens, Mom says, which Grandma had knitted for me. How she knew I would be a girl, I do not know! Why the mittens were toddler size, I also don't know, but I can tell you they really aren't big at all, just big for a newborn. I'm also guessing that they were on my little fists to keep me from trying to suck my thumb. :^)

I found this little lost mitten the other day in some mementos I'd stashed away, and really scrutinized the knitting this time. It's important to note that I have absolutely no faith in my skills to knit a mitten, let alone one that is only a few inches long! But the exquisiteness of the stitching, the perfect attachment of the thumb to the main body, and the woven in end in the cuff ribbing--well, I knew my grandma knitted kick-ass sweaters, but this is ART. I can't imagine the needles were anything bigger than size 1, and could even have been zeroes. It's wool of course (Grandma lived in Maine, and wool could be a matter of life and death I'd imagine.) I think my grandmother was a master knitter and then some. (So is Mom for that matter--maybe it will turn out to be genetic--hope,hope,hope!)

When I asked Mom what happened to the other mitten (I was praying I hadn't lost it myself--I've had these mementos for years), she said, True Knitter that she is, "I don't know where it is. Perhaps lost in the archival filing system I have." 8^)

Happy knitting!

Knitting Away While There's Time

Here are some of the things I've finished or begun--a scarf in Noro Kochoran (#17) done from the "boyfriend scarf" pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts (theirs was in cashmere but whatever). The Kochoran is a bit too fuzzy for my tastes (50% wool, 30% angora, 20% silk), but once it's blocked, I think it will be a great scarf, probably better suited to a woman/teenager than someone with XY chromosomes. You'll note that, as with most Noro yarns, it has several tones, and one thing I really couldn't capture was that there is an almost tomato-red part, and it still works with the pink/purple tones because the grays separate things nicely. If there is one thing that would keep me from knitting with Kochoran again it is the white blobs that seem to be intentional, part of the Noro "rough, natural" look. To me it seems messy, and I actually tried to remove them but found that was not wise--for a few stitches it's all angora fluff and I would have actually separated the yarn strand.

On to another FO: a baby hat, simple as could be, done in that same ggh Goa that I used for the kimono. I am not happy with the decreases, probably because I did them unevenly, but I think I have a solution: I am going to embroider flowers in a contrasting Goa that I got from destash (the yarn came from veganpurls--check out her blog!). [Completely off topic: I think destashforcash is now the domain of all of us ravelry wannabes who haven't gotten down in the queue and invited yet--at least we still have this option for sharing the fiber wealth!]

OK, and here are two beauties, first the beginning of a bootie (Bev's Stay-On Booties, my favorite pattern because it doesn't require DPNs but still gives a great product), and then feline beauty in the form of one of my cats, Cleo, who was extremely curious about what I was doing in her sunpatch. Too bad I can't put in a short clip of her "talking" to me. She is chatty.8^)

Tune in again tomorrow when I have a small tale to tell, with pictures. It's the best way to explain how knitting can/might well be/surely IS --in one's blood.

[In unrelated news, my eldest, who is working hard to save the world (or at least Latin America) is living in a rural village in Mexico this summer. I deserve bonus points for not booking a ticket and flying down there Tuesday because my baby got tonsillitis. :^( She said her tonsils were so swollen that she sounded like a frog when she talked. Fortunately, the people who run her hostel called their family doctor to attend her, and he came to the hostel with . . . get this . . . a black leather bag. Wow, I'm moving to Mexico!) And also, fortunately, she emailed us today that the tonsils are much less swollen, now that she is on the antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. I know I have to let her live her life, but what if she were in danger of dying? Ah well, I will stay sane (and stay here) and note that she took all her Dr. Mom's advice (and you guessed correctly, there was a bunch of it!). I think my best advice was to get lots of fluids, and NOT mojitos or Negro Modelas, two of her new favorite drinks.]

Ready for a Rave?

Not that kind of rave, people. A much, much better sort.

I have found a "one skein" type knitting book that I actually think is worth the money--One-Skein Wonders. It's set up sensibly, by yarn weight! Duh! The chapters start with bulky, and work down to fingering weight (with a nice "heavy worsted" section that often designers don't seem aware exists). There is also a section called worsted-mohair, and one for novelty yarns, the latter being a category many of us are still working on in our stashes from previous projects). Several projects are felted. There are so many patterns (the subtitle is 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites), and the color pictures are great. The patterns come from various LYSes around the US, with a designer usually named. I can see a sequel already, Way More One-Skein Wonders.

The only "awww, shucks" is that I just purchased the coolest shell pattern called Diotima from Valley Yarns, and here it is in the book! Dag-gonnit.

I'm just getting the top started actually, in white mulberry silk that I got on eBay recently, and am pretty excited about it. It will do nicely in the fall when it's 95 degrees in my classroom.

I'll post a photo of my progress on it when I get one of the DDs to loan me a camera--DH is visiting my MIL on Orcas Island for a few weeks of mountain biking, kayaking, and his mom's home cooking, oh, yes, and telecommuting to work via the internet and the phone.

Baby Kimono completed and a LYS coup!

It's a heavy-duty little wrap, thick and cushy, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it still fits Angelina! I have learned a ton, and when I tackle this pattern again, I will do even better with it.

I think it needs three buttons where the lace edging angles downward, which would remove the need for at least the external set of ties. I could even put a button inside at the bottom to substitute for those ties, a bit bulky.

I got the strap attached to the Deanna purse, and have been trying various other covers for the magnetic closure--still not satisfied with what I've done so far. I'll post a pic when this is all done.

Yesterday I scored a major coup when I found, at the sidewalk sale at one of my LYSes, Inspiration by SWTC for $3/skein. The regular price was $13!!! So needless to say I bought a bunch. No project in mind of course (work backwards, I like the challenge!!). It is almost a DK weight alpaca and soy fiber, and I got it in lavender. Seems like it would make a baby kimono too--I may just do this.

Friends and family need to start having babies so I can knit for everyone!

Happy knitting, all.

Baby Kimono looking good!

Now THIS is a baby sweater and I'm so proud of it! Compared to the hideous mistake I was knitting on before, this makes sense as I'm knitting it, and the M1 with a YO is creating the prettiest lacy placket. Here's a closeup of the increase--
I've actually done most of the second front flap, while watching TV last night, and I messed that up and frogged back to the shoulder and did it RIGHT. Fortunately on this sweater, when I got something wrong, I've been able to see what the mistake was and fix it. The direx are quite manageable.

I finished that hat I was mentioning recently and I think it turned out nice. It is also very soft.

Crazy Cat Lady Mel is having another contest!

If you haven't met Mel, go read her blog and find out all the details about her contest benefiting Interim House. For her birthday each year she holds a contest like the one I had earlier this year, in which those who donate yarn and etc. to the women at Interim House get their names put into a drawing, and on her birthday 8-8 she chooses a name and the winner takes all! As she said last year, according to her SIL, Mel gives good prize. I know because I WON last year!

And I was just getting ready to send stuff to IH too! So as soon as I return from the lovely Dayton, Ohio, I'll get my stuff together and send it to them. Be sure to check out the contest rules on Mel's site, but it's really very simple. Give generously, send a postcard from your part of the world, take a picture of it before you send it off and then let Melissa know you sent it (and what). Then keep your fingers and toes crossed (might slow down the knitting speed though!) that yours will be the name she chooses.

Bon chance everyone!


I read Karen's fun answers to a meme she was tagged with, and at the end I realized [oooofph] I'd been tagged too! Funny, I was already on it, fascinated with what my birthday means and has meant through the ages. So here's the meme:

On Wikipedia, enter your birth month and day only, and it gives you lists of important things that day signifies. Find three events in history, two birthdays, and one holiday celebrated on your birthday.

Mine's January 15, so I already knew a few of them (I get a three-day weekend for my birthday every year since the early 80s!!)


Jan. 15, 1559--Elizabeth I crowned queen of England

Jan. 15, 1870--a political cartoon for the first time represents the Democratic Party with a donkey (in caption it was referred to as a jackass--hmmmm, wonder if the cartoonist was partisan??!)

Jan. 15, 1919--Great Molasses Flood of Boston

Jan. 15, 1943--Japanese forces driven off Guadalcanal

Jan. 15, 1991--UN deadline for Iraq to remove its troops from Kuwait passes without compliance, signaling the start of Desert Storm


Jan. 15, 1622, Moliere, French playwright (that's cool--Tartuffe! The Miser! woo-hoo!)

Jan. 15, 1929, Martin L. King, Jr. (know'ed that!)

It was a bonanza really: Aristotle Onassis, Edward Teller, a porn star or two, three WWF wrestlers, the founder of the first SPCA (in Ireland, late 1700s, who’da thunk it?), Jean Bugatti (um people, it's a really cool sports car from past times), Ernest J. Gaines (author of A Lesson Before Dying), Chad Lowe [sound you hear is a raspberry!] and Howie Day (I think he's the singer of that song, "Collide"?).

And the very exciting holiday: Jan. 15 is Korean alphabet day in North Korea (why does that sound like more work for the little children?)

Now, who's getting tagged? It's Bells, Amanda, and Sue. What exciting and interesting things have happened on YOUR birthdays in history?

Well, hello there, UFO!

Where did you come from????

Remember the frenzied knitting of Irish Hiking Scarves last summer? I do, because I had to rip out rows so many times, and finally I was all in. I easily forgot about it almost entirely until I found one of my knitting totes in the closet--with heft--"Hey, what's in here?" Well, dang, that's where those size 9 needles have been hiding! And wow, I was 3/4 done with that scarf!

Since I'm running out of yarn after one more pattern repeat, I am thinking about making it into a small bag with I-cord--tres chic! Classique!

I also went through a bunch of patterns yesterday and settled on what several of you recommended for a replacement pattern to make the baby sweater again--the Mason-Dixon baby kimono. Nearly the same pattern but I can see I'll find it easier, and I can do those cool inside ties and outside ties, and it will stay on the baby! Look for progress on that soon.

Started a black knitted cap with a contrasting shiny/rayonish yarn that gives the effect of the stained glass knit without the complicated (for me) yarn switching. Only I discovered this a.m. that the yarn I've been thinking of as black with the brights in it is actually navy blue. Rule #740 is to always look at yarn in bright light when mixing and matching. You know me, I am forging on ahead anyway.

And I got some earrings and buttons for the felted purse closures that I think will turn out great. Now I have to decide whether to attempt to attach them with superglue, hotmelt glue gun, or soldering. (DH could help me with this last, if it's the surest way to secure them.) I have thought about how to remove the extra bits, the posts and clips from the earrings, but that shouldn't be too hard with my beading tools and elbow grease (or DH again, if need be--he's a sweetie). See the magnetic closure as it shows up on the outside? Well one of these would look just lovely covering it, and I have smaller closures for future bags, thus some of the smaller button/earring options below.

I frogged a wrap I tried to make in May out of watermelon Kornucopia by Kollage. After ripping out the baby sweater, that didn't hurt a bit!! I did learn to do a simple lace stitch for a stretchy shawl, yo's etc., but in the end it just wasn't looking very nice, so I'm going to use it for something baby oriented, along with this ball of Bamboozle that I rescued from the orphan bin at one of my LYSes. Baby bonnet? Bib? Booties? What is it about babies that everything associated starts with a B? One good thing, both the Bamboozle and the Kornucopia are machine washable, and both are soft. I guess that's two good things!

Working on a Super Secret project that I can't show you, but it's for one of the DDs and is turning out wonderfully. The only not so great thing is it involves striping, and I'm finding that I don't know how to carry the yarn properly so it doesn't "puddle" with the other color at the edges, so I may do some duplicate stitching around those to hide the unsightly stuff. If you can enlighten me, I would love to hear!!

I've been trying to destash on the new wordpress site, which is working out well, considering I've brought the stash down by four large flat rate boxes ;^), but if you're in the market for some super bulky Lopi, several skeins of single-ply seagreen worsted wool, or four balls of a nylon/silk blend yarn, check this out. A whole lot of smallish things that would be great for learners is getting boxed up for Interim House when I return from vacay, and at that point when I see what I have not sold on destash, I'll add it to the stuff I've collected for them, and know it will be happily used.

Lastly, (it seemed I might never get to "lastly"!) though the site is defunct now, there are some hilarious pix and comments on youknitwhat. If you are in need of a good belly laugh, give them a minute of your time. Warning: They are irreverent on lots of levels, so if you have a weak stomach for strong language, you can skip this. ;^)

Baby sweater is no more . . .

I finally do-ed it, frogged the sweater. I feel like it was the right thing to do, and even just seeing the photo on my blog a few times started to give me the willies because I could see how hideous it was becoming. Wish me luck folks on swatching and improving my techniques!

Yes, I have lost 5 lbs. already in the past three weeks. This feels really affirming since I was resisting anything vaguely diet-restrictive for the last two months of school. I want it, therefore I deserve it! In fact these first five lbs are the ones I gained in that time, so I really get to make progress now, with the next ten. That's my goal, nothing ridiculous, but having lived the whole school year with a car almost careening out of control style, I hope to set down some better attitudes and plans for the coming year.

I'm off to the thrift stores to look for old sparkly brooches, the kind my grandmother wore and the ladies at my church wore, which we all thought were so lame. They will adorn some of my felted things, and I'm really excited about the potential for glitzing up that they present.

Happy knitting!