Silk Stitches

Snuck on over to Stitches for a little while yesterday, no particular aim except to feast my eyes and say hi to Queen of Purple Yarn if I should find her at Purlescence's booth. Oh, and hopefully pick up my freebie at the Malabrigo booth (nope, they were already out--waaah!). Well, I went, I saw, and I conquered two skeins of yarn, one a pale sage silk/merino from Tess' Designs, and the other a burgundy quiviut/silk from Windy Valley Muskox.

I had missed her at the booth, but as I was leaving I heard QPY talking to a friend behind me, fortunately. When I turned to say hello, she was headed outside where she'd heard there was an alpaca! So as we headed out, I accompanied them, and we petted the sweet little beige and brown cutie.

I hear the Sweden hats were a mixed blessing: the little hat was just too small for Mr. 2-Year-Old, and the blue marled hat for Mr. 6-Year-Old was too big. The good news: Host Mom has a friend with a toddler younger than hers, so the Fair Isle can be passed on, and the blue hat fits . . . HER. I am happy that I inadvertently gave her a gift! So I'll knit some new ones soon. 8^(  but  8^).

I also continue on my capelette, the Better Than Ribbing Scarf #2 (above, but less purple and more merlot), and an alpaca scarf that will be a color block affair.

Getting lots of knitting done while we watch movies 8^). Today, it was Steve Carrell in Dan in Real Life. I think SC is a genius, and have always loved Juliette Binoche. This movie struck a chord as genuine given the representation of teenage girls, of which I've managed to raise, and never eat, three. I consider that quite an accomplishment!

Little Boy Hats

DD#2, in Stockholm for spring semester, is living with a host family who are generously providing her with a room, meals, cultural help, practical help, and two young sons to get to know. Molly, who is majoring in Child Development and interning in an English speaking elementary in Stockholm as part of her semester studies abroad, thrives when she is spending time with little sprites.

And these two, a six year old and his two-year-old brother, are fun, funny, and lively. My favorite story so far is of the family driving Molly home from the airport the day she first arrived, and William, the six year old, being a bit silly and outrageous on the drive. He told Molly, "We live in a garbage pail," and so she quickly replied (I am sure without batting an eye), "I hope it has HEAT!" So she's game for the adventures one undertakes with little kids, that's for sure.

Molly's host parents, both of whom work full time, are quite kind, generous, and helpful. Her host mother went out of her way to help Molly navigate a mail delivery problem recently when Molly couldn't get it sorted out. This sort of generosity towards one's children inspires generosity in repayment, of a kind.

So I started knitting. (You knew that's where we were headed, no?) I know it's silly to knit Fair Isle for a Scandinavian family, but that's what grabbed me, so I made this little hat for Elliot, and another in ombre blue wool for William. Elliot's is of various alpaca yarns (small-person hats are a great way to finish up partial balls of yarn!). PS: the Fair Isle pattern was partly adapted from Vyridia (a great simple first Fair Isle hat) and experiments with little birdseye stitches and what I call railroad tracks (see red and cream at below).

Who knows? Maybe they'll need them for another month or two in Sweden! LOL.
 This is Molly in her red hat and red balloon. She and some of her new program friends got the balloons at a small concert, and she decided to take them back to her host family on the subway and through the frozen streets of Solna, a suburb of Stockholm. She knew when the boys woke up the next morning, they would be excited to see two huge balloons in their living room. She was right!

A Labor of Love

Note: I've saved the best picture for last! ;^)

You may remember that DMIL Ruthie started a blanket for DH in summer 2008 when he was undergoing chemo. He asked her to make this as a comfort for him, and his mother would do just about anything for her son, even without a cancer diagnosis. You know how that is. 8^) Having already undergone the Herculean labors to bring the boy into the world, she readily embarks on a second task, The Blanket.

I remember him asking for something blue, large, and backed in polar fleece. That was it. This gave DMIL the creative freedom to do any number of things, but they were not going to come from a pattern. That ain't the way this woman knits. So she started with the center panel and some graph paper (she does create and work off stitch charts!) and planned out the figures for the white center. First there was she herself, in a chair, knitting something long and drapey--perhaps this very blanket! Note the verisimilitude of the wild gray hair she depicts.

Then, in a line, come a gray cat (Pippi), moi, "my" fat gray cat (Percy), DH, "his" cat Kermit,

Then we have eldest daughter; middle daughter with "her" cat Cleo; and youngest daughter. Middle daughter does not have a bright blue hairstyle; she spent a long time in her teen years wearing a hoodie or a hooded sweatshirt. Nana commemorates that here. 8^)

Note the metallic whiskers of some of these felines!
Needless to say, the center panel was finished that summer, but then the laborious panels around it began, and she has been working away at it when she could (many serious back problems, a little travel, and perhaps a wee bit of boredom kept her from it at times). And when someone asks for something big, she really serves it up big! This involved a heck of a lot of knitting!

And then yesterday a box appeared on the doorstep in her handwriting, with the note: Do Not Cut to Open on the top where it was taped. Hmmmm. I wondered but was not sure what it was. When DH arrived home, he knew and immediately (and carefully) opened the box and pulled out this Gift of a Blanket.
Miles and miles of seed stitch, lovely variegated self-patterning wool in spots, and solid blues of various shades in others.

Here's one last picture of the happy son.

Winding and winding . . . and cat fur spun into yarn!

I have been swamped with work and sick with a nasty cold, but in the middle of a strange vacation week that I'm spending recuperating, I finally got out the toy I'd purchased in December, a ball winder. None of our tables or surfaces has the right edge for the clamp, so DH thought of putting it on a footstool we have, and then I realized that a tall stool was even better.

I followed the directions, I put my skein on the table swift, I started the whole thing going, and IT WORKED!

First I wound the two skeins of kitty yarn I received last week but was too crazy-busy to post, and they made two lovely "cakes."
(I've tried a few times to knit with the yarn, and the needle size/pattern choice are still not right. It's going to have to be a lacey pattern with big needles to accommodate the halo that this fur is making. I love it, though, and will persevere!)
Then I grabbed two of Yarn Lust's skeins that I've purchased recently, and wound them up. Boy does this make me want to knit with them.
 If I weren't sick as a dog, I'd probably have wound up every hank in my stash by now! At least I'm not missing school.

Finished: the second Tuscany scarf, requested by my DSM Leone, and to be wrapped and mailed tomorrow. Won't she be surprised?!

Almost finished: the capelet in Lorna's Laces.

Happy knitting, all!

An Unexpected Gift

I arrived at school this morning and wheeled the rolling attache into the teachers' room, checking my mailbox as I do every day. On this Monday morning, though, a gift awaited! My coworker, Carol, had seen this knitting calendar, thought of me, and got it as a little "happy" for me.

How sweet! You realize your knitiot tendencies are widely known when something like this happens. ;^)

I found this historical tidbit on January 28: "While we don't know for sure where knitting began, historians feel reasonably sure that its birthplace was somewhere in the Islamic world of the Middle East. Why? Well, there are lots of reasons, but one of the coolest is that knitting moves right to left, just like Islamic writing does. Historians believe that if Europeans had invented knitting, it would progress as our writing does, from left to right."

Happy knitting, all! Hope I have pet fur news tomorrow!