Ladies and Gentlemen,

Here it is, the Spumoni Sweater for little Leone (we have two in our family). I am pretty proud of it, even as I see its flaws. May I never offend Allah.

See you all next week!

Coming together!

Leonie's sweater is materializing (yarnizing?), and I hope to finish and steam block it this afternoon. I have very little time (nothing like a deadline to get me working on a project!). Methinks the sleeves are a bit outsized, but it will be boxy anyway, and my hope is that it will fit her longer because it's roomy. ;^)

Leaving for the weekend in Seattle and the big 25th anniversary party. Family, family, everywhere! Hope you're enjoying your knitting!

Making up for Lost Knitting Time

Who, me?
Yes, I've been knitting--almost knonstop, it seems. Only one day this week saw no needle action, but otherwise I've been working on things, finishing things, starting new things, reading knitting books (and others) and just generally catching up on all my beloved projects. Fortunately, dinner was made (mostly) and laundry was done, as needed. And teenagers were enjoined to finish their own tasks. Most shocking, I managed to clean out all the drawers and cabinets in the big bathroom after ten years of girls' "stuff" collecting there--musical theater, product sampling, acne treatment, old hairbrushes, ick. DH asked me to tackle it for his sensibilities, as he qualifies as the neat freak in our marriage, but the more I did it, the gladder I became that I was doing it. Now, having "freecycled" some almost unused products, and vacuumed, washed, and reorganized the drawers, it looks like we just moved in. 8^) But this all didn't cut into my knitting time too much, and probably kept me from getting an RSI like I had in the spring from too much of a good thing.

Baby gift news
Young Rowan P. received his knitted booties in our heatwave, and his mama said that they love them 8^) but couldn't bear to put them on him yet 8^(. She also said that his feet when he was born were the size of the booties (I can't believe it! I thought I was making them a little bit long!). Forgot that his parents are both tall, gangly distance runners. [Note to self: consider genetics when determining how big to make baby things.]

Future baby gift?

If I consider genetics, then this hat must go to a kitten. [Whuh?!] The "stand" I made with knitting needles certainly looks grotesque, but I hope you can see that the hat itself is a keeper. I am going to resew one ear that is not quite perky enough but am very pleased with these results. No pattern either. Doubled the Happy Feet and it's stretchy and will keep some little person's head warm.

Done with one Yarn Rescue hat

Clementine the Blue Head Model is wearing my latest FO, the gorgeous Yarn Rescue "Passion in Bloom" handspun worked into a chapeau with naturally-occurring stripes and purposefully-placed ridges. This is a light hat, not for Arctic conditions, but lovely for fall or early spring. Originally, I worried that it would only fit a girl, but it's actually full size. Sometimes this "no pattern" stuff involves too much guesswork and open-mindedness about the results. Not to mention frogging something after ten [more like twenty!] rows when I admit to myself that it's turning into a sleeve, not a baby hat, not even a preemie size hat. ["You cain't tell that girl nothin'!" was my father's frustrated reaction when I was little. Stubborn as a mule.]

But I digress. Here's a pic of the crown, which was, at that point in the yarn, in the lighter color ranges and turned out quite nice.

I have to admit to a little extra pride anytime my crowns come out right because I don't switch to DPNs, but get onto long circs or just tough it out with what I'm using, and pull out the cable as much as possible. Laddering? Um, yeah. But I do plenty of tightening of stitches during the effort, and later mend little gaps as needed.

But . . . I lied. It's not actually a FO yet because, in solidarity with Cosymakes (I almost said "taking a page out of her book," but I didn't want you to think I would damage a knitting book), I am going to embellish it! I intend to use one of her templates and some buttons, though I have to admit to some trepidation about how to get the pattern onto the wool. Never done this, and with ridges and thick-n-thin, it seems a bit daunting. But I will forge ahead knowing that I can wash the hat and start over if it's not working out well.

Gratuitous cat pictures?
If you were looking carefully in one of the shots above, you saw the back view of this Pretty Kitty, my Pippi. She was "helping" me. (You shoulda seen her helping me when I had the button collection spread out on the rug!) Actually she, her brother, and the other tabby pair at our house are all helping me by giving up their shed coats for the greater good--when I get enough fluff I'm sending it to be spun into sport weight yarn. Yesterday I stuffed together what I had, checked for moths (nope! whew!) and weighed it. Already 4 oz! And they are into shedding bigtime right now with the heat wave we've had. Don't fret--they are indoor cats and don't truly suffer from the heat, but we have all noticed that it's harder to get cool, even in the house, these past several days. Here is one of the tabbies doing her cute routine (it works every time--who could resist rubbing that tummy?). The combination of all four colors of the cats (white, beige, brown and gray/black) is a wonderful charcoal gray.

Am I crazy to want yarn made from my cats' fur?
My DDs have all had the eeeeew reaction to my desire to have "cat" yarn. But what's eeeeew about it, I ask? It all gets washed, so it's not danderful ;^) and it will be the loveliest deep gray color and soft, as soft as all those kitties. Nope, the DDs absolutely are NOT receiving any of the fruits of those labors. Actually I do believe I'm doing that one all for me. Maybe a shawl or a capelet. Or . . . what about a scarf? (I haven't made one of those in about six hours!)

What's on the needles now
Aside from the approximately 8 UFO's I'm ignoring, I have started and frogged a baby hat out of the last of this ScoutJ superwash (the aforementioned "sleeve"). (I originally used it for a tea cozy for my friend Monica.) I am about to cast on again and give it another go. I am also knitting another smaller hat with my leftover Yarn Rescue from above, and continuing work on my "Karen" scarf (so named because Karen gave me the yarn as a pick-me-up--thanks for the kudos on Ravelry, Amanda!). And Leonie's sweater is still on hold, but I did get to 3 Beads and a Button (don't go there without your willpower!) and found gorgeous buttons for it, the kind that are so shiny and glowing that they look good enough to eat. I also have the soft and fuzzy lavender poncho half done for Leonie (for fall) that I am making from my bargain bin SWTC Inspiration. Not a good yarn to knit with when it's warm, that's for sure, so it's waiting for a cooler spell.

Cancer treatment update
DH is doing OK right now. Wednesday is going to be his third chemo treatment. He has had side effects from these first two rounds that were painful, unpleasant, or just disconcerting, but so far not too awful. He still has half his hair! and he shampoos it with the greatest gentleness. 8^) All his hair-challenged friends laugh that he still has way more than they do. Peripheral neuropathy is his most recent side effect, and while it's mild, it is strange and uncomfortable, though totally predictable given that one of his medications is vincristine, which causes it.

On the bright side, it does other things that help kill off the cancer cells, and that's the name of the game. While chemo affects everyone differently, he has worked every day since his diagnosis, and when I say "worked," I mean both for his job and on his household projects. No "Honey Do" list at our house--his is already way longer than mine could ever get.

That's all for now--if you are still reading, you deserve a medal, or at least a prize. Comment or email [keramoso AT yahoo DOT com] and tell me what interesting thing you noticed about this blog, and if you the first to guess right, I'll send you something really nice from the "overstocked warehouse."

~Happy Knitting!

What I Did Over Summer Vacation

Over the past week or so, I've worked on several new knitting projects and finished a few others that I forgot to tell you about.

Here are booties that I finished for Baby Rowan, who was hatched a few weeks ago. These are a modified version of Bev's Stay-On Booties, using sock weight yarn (Plymouth Yarn's Happy Feet in color 7) on Size 3 needles. (Start with 40 stitches and cast off 8 at the appropriate spots.) I stitched down the cuffs as well so that they won't be fussy. New parents have enough fussiness to deal with without having to fix booties. (Can you tell I thought a LOT about this? 8^)

And something I forgot to tell you about: I received the Blue Man?Woman hat modeler that I ordered from eBay. Ain't she/he purty? Dang it, I have to give this thing a gender--SHE. We'll call her . . . Clementine. She can be filled with something, such as candies, marbles or ?? But somehow I think I won't do that.
Clementine is already earning her keep. She models at present a little thing I made from light blue O-Wool, and which I actually finished a few months ago (except for the tassel which I intend to make . . . um . . . soon) .

I'm also partway through a hat I started when Yarn Rescue sent me a skein of divine purples and blues last week (color values are off in this picture--imagine much more purple). Can you tell I'm very much a starter? Fortunately I start small projects or I'd never have anything to show for all my yarn purchases . . . er . . . knitting projects.

And here is a pixie hat for a little newbie named Brennan. It took only half a skein of Rowan Calmer. [Ravelry link]
For anyone keeping track, I have NOT forgotten Leonie's sweater, but it is incubating for a few days, and I'll get it done, I will. It's too cute and she will grow too fast!

From one of my favorite philosophers:

Some days, “doing the best we can” may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect—on any front—and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.

—Mr. Rogers

PS: Why are we now noting when our links go back to ravelry? I know I'm doing it because I'm just a big copycat and have seen it a lot lately, but is there a real reason for doing that?

Have You Met CosyMakes?

She just published a book on knitting and embellishing very unique hats, for both adults and children, as well as a few other projects of an adornment nature. In fact, her book is called Knit One: Embellish Too, and I just received my autographed copy in the mail. Last night, I perused it at my leisure (Hmmmmm . . . have I been watching too much Jeeves and Wooster? I think NOT!) and am itching to get a hat underway.

But wait--there's more! I have spent some time looking at Cosy's own hats for sale in her etsy shop, as she has "models" of many that are featured in the book. And I've been salivating over a couple that I guess I could TRY to duplicate myself, but they are just so splendiferous already that I find myself going back to see them repeatedly. So . . . then I started to notice that though many are made with Cosy's own handspun yarns, or her thrift-store finds, or her sweater unravelments, she also has some made with yarns others have spun.

Enter Folktale Fibers--formerly known as feral feminine (surely there's an interesting story there!) who plies her trade as a "devoted spinster" on the Eastern seaboard. She has supplied some of the yarns used in CosyMakes' book projects (for the photos). Her yarns are so lively and I am thrilled with her use of tencel and other vegan options (although I love animal fibers, I prefer the cooler, shall we say, vegetal yarns in summer!). She does local art fairs in the MD area--wish I could go visit my friend Barbara! who is just about to move there! and also see/handle/buy some of Folktale's Fibers.

Lest you wonder if I have become a total internet, knitting blog junkie now that my vacation has fully started, well, you could be right. Time to go knit though, so see ya later. Here's a thought to leave you thinking ;^)

I have lived on the lip

of insanity, wanting to know reasons,

knocking on a door. It opens.

I've been knocking from the inside!

~Jelaluddin Rumi

Where I Been . . . Plus the Amazing Tale of the Very Generous Knit Blogger

That sound you hear echoing from the West Coast of the US is me, still sighing four days into my new summer vacation.


And getting back to my knitting, finally! Here is the sum total of several nights spent watching Planet Earth, in which (every single time) one animal chased down another beast, the latter not quite fast enough, and made a meal of it. Knitting was a good diversion when the viewer going got tough.

I can't even remember how many times I frogged the first part, the back panel, and started over. But it's all worth it, and I'm ready to do those decreases for the armhole, bind off, and get the sleeves done. Then it's a sewing challenge that I hope to be up to, some fun buttons, and a gift is ready for a sweet girlie. We'll be seeing each other at the end of this month for my sister's 25th anniversary party, so I have a good deadline to work under.

And then there's this! As school was boiling along (and we boiled almost literally in several days' high temperatures--no A/C at our campus), I came home one day to find a package waiting for me. Turns out, my blogging friend, Karen from Brooklyn, had recently put up some photos on her blog of new yarn purchases. I had admired a skein of charcoal, taupe/beige, and cream, and told her so. Silly me--she sent it off to me as a gift! It is much appreciated, Karen, and I am bowled over by your kindness and generosity.

Here's what I got underway with Size 4 needles--quite satisfying knitting, watching the striping/pooling effect as it comes to be, and thinking of how nicely it will curl in toward itself, as I am using a two row pattern that I love (you may have noticed!) that is so close to stockinette that it tends to curl. But it will be mine, my first SCARF of the autumn, and I am planning on it being a nice sort of cylindrical affair. I'd say it'll be sort of "toobyoolar," but it sounds so '80s.

DMIL was with us until yesterday, and now has gone home for a while to be among her friends again and to properly mourn the loss of her longtime canine friend, Lexie, who died unexpectedly just after MIL arrived here to help DH. My MIL was, characteristically, a wonderful whirlwind to have here while I pushed through the demanding last weeks of school, knitting on her now famous blanket, making new cushion covers for the patio furniture, cleaning things that (as I mentioned before) I never realized needed cleaning, and making all sorts of tasty things, including beef Bourguignonne and homemade strawberry pie. She also made a peach/mango pie that should win an award! What a great combination. Need I mention that my pants don't zip up very easily anymore? If anyone has a more industrious or project-oriented MIL, I'd like to meet her!

DH's cancer treatment news: His second round of chemo last Wednesday went OK, and he's just finished the last part of it, which involves five days of prednisone, high doses that make him ache all over and feel desperately hungry, thirsty, and (sometimes) anxious. He finds his skin very fragile and has to scratch gently if anything itches. Probably the result of something else in his "cocktail," he is gradually losing his thick, curly hair. The fact that it's been gradual in "shedding" has been a bit of a gentle let-down, as he had started to hope that perhaps he would not have to be bald. But I have a feeling if he had to choose between hair loss and nausea, I know what he'd take. His nauseated moments have been few, even with the Planet Earth chase-downs. ;^)

Thankfully, it is seeming as if he is bearing up pretty well under the onslaught of these good but intense drugs. Tumors have already diminished in size, and in about five weeks he will go for a second CT scan to find out just how much they have reduced. Meanwhile, he works, he does house projects, he has several great friends who come regularly to visit and/or walk with him, he goes for a run at good times, and . . . he hugs me, or I hug him, much much more every day than ever before. 8^)

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." --C.S. Lewis