Dec 31, 2009

ECF - Year In Review Edition

Instead of my usual Eye Candy Friday, I'm looking back at 2009 with a review in words and pictures. The words consist of the first sentence from the first post of each month. The pictures will be favorite blog photos from each month (not necessarily related to the words they accompany).

January - New Years Day is one of the best days of the year.

February - Let me start by saying that this was one of the best weekends of my life.

March - Stinkette was here.

April - Look what I won from Wendy!
Cherry Blossom - 4/1/09 - crop

May - Yesterday I posted a picture of the Dogwood tree in my yard.
20 Years - 5/11/09

June - It was another very full weekend although, sadly it didn't include a softball game.
On the Water

July - Here's a pair of socks that I am thrilled to be finished with.

August - Hubbo an I spent our last kid-free weekend in NY.
Robie House - Chicago, IL

September - The Ten on Tuesday topic for today is things I hate about travel but, with the exception of hotels that lack free WIFI, there really isn't anything I hate about travel.Peppers and garlic

October - I just love October and I'm so happy it's finally here.

November - If you're looking for the contest post, it's (here).

December - It is so good to be home.

Ending On A High Note

Happy New Year!

When I wrote yesterday's post I planned to write something today about the end of the year. Maybe something forward thinking and positive. A list of knit goals perhaps.

Then something happened a little sooner than I expected and capped off my year perfectly. I actually achieved one of my long-held goals. I finally wrote a pattern of my own and put it up on Ravelry. DQ inspired these gloves and she says that the pattern around the wrist looks like waves so I called it Winning Waves Mitts.
Over the years, as my knitting has progressed I've often found that the patterns in my head don't exist in written form. Usually I pick something close and play with it a little. Over time I got quite a few books by Nicki Epstein and Barbara Walker to help with this but I never write it down. Until now.

DSC_0876My daughters love fingerless gloves. Stinkette wears hers to bed and all through the summer. DQ wears hers all the time too. Over time my girls have stopped just accepting what I choose to make and now they tell me colors, the weight of yarn, and other little design details they want - or don't want.

DQ wanted a drak-ish, moody, blue in midweight. Nothing too chunky. She also wanted long wrists and a short hand - nothing too far beyond her knuckles. A little patterning is ok but she nixed lace or lots of cables.

I started with the yarn, Drean In Color Classy in a color called Deep Sea Flower. I love this stuff. Colorful but not enough to obscure a pattern. DQ loved the picot edge on another pair I have so that was a great place to start a pattern and the Gull Stitch that I found in Barbara Walkers book's fit so nicely (after a little modification) and the pattern flowed from there.


In the end, these fingerless gloves are just what my girl wanted and I'm happy that I am able to share the pattern with others. It is more gratifying than words can express to see my little pattern being favorited, downloaded, and added to queues. I think it'll be fun to see other versions pop up.

Now I need to get to work on designing a pair for Stinkette. She wants stars or lightning.

Dec 30, 2009

Kiila - The Socks That Made Me Want to Scream

I'm finishing 2 felted projects right now and there is a second sock on the needles that may or may not get finished before the ball drops. Bottom line - this is probably my last finished object post for this year.

These are Kiila by Yarnissima in Malabrigo sock. I had a lot of problems knitting these sock. Partly because of the color I chose - Cordovan - which is lovely but makes it difficult to see the stitches. The other thing was the yarn itself. This Malabrigo yarn is gorgeous and soft but it's kind of gently spun which makes it difficult to work twisty cabley stuff. What can I say? You live and you learn and the next time you choose a better yarn for a project.


Even with the issues I had knitting these socks I count them as a win. Look at the definition that the twisted stitches give to the little cabley bits.


So clever to incorporate the gusset increases into a gently growing series of loops up the sides of the foot. Freakin' brilliant!


Aside from the issues created by a poor yarn choice I had lapses in knitterly attention that caused me to totally fudge the pattern on one leg (and elsewhere). This is not a pattern that you can knit with your attention split.

The sock feel really good on and nobody will notice the errors so I'm calling these a win.

Dec 28, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Favorite Hand Knits from 2009

As of this writing there is no Ten on Tuesday Topic so Carole suggested one. She is crazy good at that. Here are my Ten Favorite Hand Knits from 2009

1. It seems like ages ago that I started my year crocheting kippot. No, it's not technically a knit but these were the project that I am proudest of. I set a goal, planned the project out and executed perfectly to add a little special something to my girl's big day. Win!


2. When I knit these I called them "Socks He Can't Refuse." They were for my grandfather who always professes that there is nothing he needs. It turns out that he needed these and didn't even know it. He uses a foot brace and wears these socks under it each night when he goes to bed. He says it's more comfortable that way. Even better - he has pulled the socks out every time I visit to tell me again how much he loves the colors in them.


3. Last year I made a scarf just like this one for my brother and Bruce watched jealously while I worked on it. I've never seen him want a hand knit so much so I had to make one for him. He loves it!


4. These are the Eclipse socks I made for DQ. I had never tried over stitching before and I wasn't sure how it would hold up but it worked out really well. My Twilight loving girl has worn them many times, including to the midninght showing of New Moon, and they still look great.


5. Apparently DQ was the big winner in the knit department this year. I made 28Thirty for her as my NaKniSweMo project and I was shocked that I managed to complete it within the month of November. No, she isn't wearing it yet much but that will change. This sweater deserves a bit of love.


6. This beret was made for a good friend who's had a really bad year. I hoped that a bit of Malabrigo silky wool would give her a bit of comfort and it has.


7. I made this little dress for my niece. I love the design choices I made. I love the way the yarn feels. I love just about everything about this dress and was proud to have created it.


8. Simple stripes - simply perfect. I cannot believe that I got them to match so well.


9. It was such a relief to have this off the needles after years of picking it up and putting it down. I call it "That Damn Vest" because it was such a slog but it deserves better because the finished product is perfect. It fits just right and the mistake rib that was so boring to knit looks great on. Hooray for finishing!


10. These may just look like a simple pair of fingerless gloves, the potato chips of knitting, but they're much more than that. They represent the fulfillment of one of my goals for 2009. I knit so darn many pairs of fingerless gloves that I'm always looking for the perfect pattern and nothing ever seems quite right. I've said before that I was just going to create one of my own but I never do. This time I did... and I wrote it down so that the glove could become a pair. Better yet, when I was done I cleaned up my notes and I hope to put it on Ravelry soon as a free download. As my girl would say - WIN!


Cookies To Go

This holiday season has been a bit of a reality check for me because for the first time DQ has plans for most of it. She left Christmas Eve for a youth convention and didn't return until Sunday afternoon and she's planning to spend New Year's Eve with friends too. It's great for her and it's the way it ought to be but it's a reminder that she's getting older so fast and she's got her own life.

DSC_0928Even though I missed DQ a lot we still had a great weekend. Stinkerbelle would probably say that her sister's absence improved the weekend. We had friends over on Christmas Eve for Chinese food and homemade ice cream. We all laughed and ate and the kids decorated sugar cookies in the shapes of six-pointed stars, men, and feet. Yup, feet. Those were the only cookie cutters I could find. I still have no idea why I have a cookie cutter in the shape of a foot but whatever. The kids turned them into snowmen and ghosts and they were just as yummy as more traditional shapes.

On Christmas Day we went to see Sherlock Holmes. Bruce, Stinkette and I all enjoyed it very much. It wasn't deep or life-changing but Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law were very good and great fun to watch.

How was your holiday break? Did you see anything good?

Dec 25, 2009

ECF - Gingerbread House Edition

This is the second year that we tried to build a gingerbread house and this year it was a success. It stayed together!

As you can see, ours was more of a Hanukkah house.

Have a great day and a wonderful weekend.

Dec 23, 2009

Snow and Stuff

Just in case you're wondering exactly how inept snow removal in the Commonwealth is, I can assure you that the roads by us are still lousy. I took this picture on Sunday but it hasn't changed much. The pavement in the foreground is my street. The street is driveable as long as you don't plan to park along it. The plows never really got anywhere near the curbs.


Beyond my street is a side street that's kind of clear but not really. That's pretty representative. You slip and slide and avoid the mounds of snow that appear out of nowhere. Good times!

Each day I go to work and there are a few less people on the streets and on the Metro. You'd think that with all the time lately I'd be getting a lot of knitting done. Wrong! Online scrabble is becoming an obsession. I may need a 12-step program. Last night in the car with the family I started counting out how many letters this word or that word has and making mental notes. My family is becoming a little worried.

Dec 22, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - 10 New Year's Resolutions

As much as it seems too soon to be pondering the new year, the signs are there - it's time. Time to look ahead and plan for the future. Here's my list of 10 New Year's Resolutions.


  1. Get Healthy - Losing weight would be nice but getting up a flight of stairs without being winded would be even better.
  2. Read more with Stinkerbelle - she loves it and needs it. She's even into Carl Hiassen now so this could be fun.
  3. Get the stash under control - For real. I'm still formulating a plan. One that still allows fun but without having to buy more storage equipment.
  4. Declutter - Nothing drastic but I think it's time to remove some stuff that is no longer useful. Old dried out art supplies might be a start.
  5. Cook more - I used to cook a lot. Reasonably healthy dinners and breads etc. I've allowed the family to take over my kitchen a bit and I think I need to reverse that trend.
  6. Divide and replant my irises - not all resolutions have to be ambitious - just necessary.
  7. Design and execute a new plan for our side yard. - This year we'll to the garden up right!
  8. Find a new couch - After way too many years to count I want to stop hating the couch and find a happy replacement. I can celebrate by lighting the old nasty one on fire!
  9. Start to figure out the kitchen - It's the last big home project on my list. If I don't start now I may never get it done.
  10. Stay positive

New Year's resolutions are notoriously hard to stick to but as I look at this list I really do see myself sticking to many of these. What are your resolutions?

Dec 21, 2009

Given to Hyperbole

Truly the DC area has a well-earned reputation for panicking over report of possible snow. If there is the potential for even a few flakes there is a shelf-clearing run on the markets. Just try to find a carton of orange juice or a few eggs anywhere. And it's not unusual for them to announce the closing of the schools before the first snow hits the ground. We know this and usually we laugh because I rarely see enough snow here to keep me inside.

Not this weekend. Here is an what we woke up to on Saturday morning... then the snow really started to fall.


By the end of the day our deck looked a bit different. The snow came about halfway up the railings and completely covered the legs of the chairs at the table. We got about 16+ inches at my house. Do you know what this does for weather wimps like those in the DC area? Dead stop! No planes, trains, busses, cars. Nothing.

When we went out the first time during the day at about noon this is how far we got with the shoveling. Pretty impressive! Not! The snow was still coming down so fast at that point that it was hopeless. It got in your face and covered your footsteps immediately.


We went out a second time and DQ played in the snow a bit. Stinkette had already checked out the snow and concluded that it was no good for forts or snowballs and went inside.


We went nowhere the first day. No where at all! We stayed in watching movies, eating chili, and playing games. Enforced family togetherness at it's best. And there's more to come because the school system was true to form and threw in the towel late Sunday - no school Monday to Wednesday which means my girls are starting their winter break early.

Thankfully I have an office to escape to.

Dec 18, 2009

ECF - Foggy Morning Edition

This is turning into a season of extreme weather. We started the week cocooned in a blanket of fog and now we're expecting a major snow storm. I'm not complaining because it ought to make for teriffic kntting weather but it's definitely unusual for us.

Stay warm and have a great weekend!

Dec 17, 2009


When one works all day in the city there's a whole secret suburban world you miss. Today I'm home for an appointment but really I'm just chillin'. It's an afternoon appointment so I went to the movies with DH. Ironically we saw Up In The Air. It's about a guy (played by the ever awesome George Clooney) who flys from city to city firing people. There are very funny points in the fick and I'm glad I saw it but it isn't exactly uplifting.
Anyway, coming out of the movie we saw this - a hallway full of strollers. Something about it and seeing the old ladies walking among them struck me. It's the secret of daytime suburbia.

Dec 15, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Favorite Things To Eat/Drink At The Holidays

Yesterday I mentioned that I got an ice cream maker for Hannukah. Here is the first creation it produced - Oreo Mint. Yum! It's the perfect thing to get me in the mood for the subject Carole and I came up with since there isn't an official one - 10 Favorite Things to Eat/Drink During the Holidays

Oreo Mint Ice Cream

  1. Latkes - you've got to eat them at least once during Hannukah. But it's best to eat them at someone else's house because otherwise your house will reek of latkes for days!
  2. Egg Nog - It's not for everyone but I like it.
  3. Hot chocolate - ideally it should snow during the holidays and snow and hot chocolate go hand and hand.
  4. Chinese food - if you want to find Jews on Christmas eve then check the Chinese restaurants. Srsly!
  5. Gingerbread Lattes - Just keep them coming.
  6. Candy Canes - Yum. I bet they'd go well in ice cream
  7. Cookies - gingerbread, sugar, chocolate chip even Snickerdoodles- they're all good.
  8. Chili - ok, I know this isn't exactly a traditional food but the holidays are all about warmth and comfort foods and chili is both. Besides, this is when I have the time to make it right.
  9. Cocktails - pick your poison. Sit back and relax with an adult beverage. Make mine a margarita.
  10. Meat - It could be london broil, brisket, or steak. The holidays are for family dinners and meat is usually the centerpiece.

What foods do you love to eat during the holidays?

Dec 14, 2009

Newly Minted Photographer

Holiday DessertHappy Hannukah or Chanukah or Hanukkah or however you choose to spell it. We celebrated in the usual way by lighting candles and eating latkes with friends. We played games and of course there were gifts.

DQ got a bunch of stuff including a pair of boots that she was obsessing over. Hubbo got NHL2K10 which will keep him very busy trying not to get his butt kicked for quite a while. I got an ice cream maker which, if I'm not careful, will go a long way towards padding my hips.

And Stinkerbelle got a camera. She was very excited and took pictures of everything she saw. I'd share with you but this she then deleted most of the best pictures except for screen shots of Lady Gaga she took of YouTube videos. The only two worth much are the picture of the cake and this shot of the artist herself.


Now that she's got a camera I think it's going to be lot's of fun. We can annoy the rest of the famil with our constant picture taking TOGETHER. Yay for family togetherness!

Dec 11, 2009

ECF - Ice Covered Rose Edition

As I was leaving our house last weekend, a day after the snowstorm, I noticed 2 roses that were stubbornly clinging to life had been covered in ice. Naturally I had to stop the car and take a picture. Just as predictably my daughter groaned as I did so.


I still think it was worth stopping the car.

Dec 10, 2009

A Gift In Time

About a month ago a friend casually asked if I'd started making my knitted gifts for this year yet. Um, no. Truthfully knitting gifts was the furthest thing from my mind at that point. I probably ought to have left it at that.

IMG_2963[1]Hanukkah starts tomorrow and this is what the one and only gift I am making this year looks like. A blue blob with a bit of yellow. I think it's safe to say that it will not be finished in time to mail to Indiana for "on time" delivery. On the positive side I can safely post this picture of it because it still looks nothing at all like it's supposed to. Is it for my brother? My sister-in-law? My niece? For now it's a mystery.

As much as I'd love to have this to it's destination on time I'm not stressing over this lonely unfinished gift. I'll just keep knitting away and aim to get it to the destination before Hannukah ends. Or not. The key is to keep this holiday season stress free.

Dec 9, 2009


I finished my NaKniSweMo project right on time which ought to make it a huge win. Well, it is and it isn't.
The pattern is 28Thirty by Sarah & Rachel for Zephyr Style. I used a bit less than 5 skeins of Peace Fleece in a gorgeous color called Baltic Sea. After quite polling nearly everyone I know and trying to reason with DQ I finally acquiesced and used the buttons DQ liked better - the oak leaf looking ones. On the inside I used plain black buttons to hide the mess I usualy create when attaching buttons. All this stuff is fine and yet I doubt this sweater will get much use. Why?


It itches. The Peace Fleece was perfectly lovely to knit with and it looks great. Nice and even with loads of body. I had heard that the yarn bloomed nicely after a wash and it did but it's still itchy. I told DQ that she can wear it with long sleeves and she may but she loves to layer short sleeves under sweaters or hoodies and this is not a sweater to be worn over short sleeves. What to do? Soak it again. Wash it on the gentle cycle. I don't know but it's worth thinking about because there is a lot to like about the sweater.


The pattern was really well written and clear and I followed it exactly. My only problem with the pattern as written is the sleeve length which is about a repeat too long. I like the way the garter ridges define he raglan sleeves and the bit of texture at the cuffs and hem. All good things. I think that the collar is a nifty and versatile feature. Wear it up or down. I even like the cropped length. DQ says it's not exactly what she expected it would be but I think it's a fun and young sweater and I hope that she comes to love it.

Dec 8, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Great Things About the Holidays

It still seems way to early to start talking about the holidays but the snow last weekend and the wintry weather we're expecting later today are certainly helping to put me in the right frame of mind. Here's a picture I took last weekend to set the stage for "10 Great Things About the Holidays."


  1. The Food - Hannukah gelt, potato latkes, Chinese food on Christmas Eve and whatever they serve at all the holiday parties. Yum!
  2. The Parties - Even the company parties can be a little bit fun but the ones with friends and family are the best.
  3. Friends and Family - Always!
  4. Giving presents - I love it when someone opens a gift I got for them and it's exactly the right thing. Some years the shopping is easier than others. I'm pretty sure that I'm spot on this year.
  5. Getting presents - I admit it, I like getting stuff too. There is a rather large package at home that's calling my name loudly.
  6. Baking - This is separate from the "food" entry because I find that the older I get the less likely I am to eat what I bake. It's all good but I get more joy from watching others eat it. Unless it's got apples in it. I'm all over apple desserts.
  7. Christmas Lights - For obvious reasons we don't put them up ourselves but I love to look at them. Sometimes I even take a long way home so I can see more of them.
  8. Time off -When isn't this a good thing? Is there ever a time this isn't welcome?
  9. Time to relax - Other times of the year are jam packed but at this time of the year I can usually squeeze in a little bit of down time.
  10. Snow - we don't get it very often but this time of year it just seems to fit.

What do you love about the holidays?

Dec 7, 2009

Snow... For Real!!!

It snowed at our house over the weekend. For real! They said on the news that this is the 3rd time in 5 years that we've gotten our first snow on December 5th but I don't think that it really stuck the first 2 times. This time it did and I loved it.


DSC_0822It was easy to love it since I didn't have too much to do out of the house. I did a few early errands before it got really bad because we couldn't have a birthday party without balloons and blowers and silly hats. I also went out for my mani-pedi because that's really important too. Snow or no snow I have my priorities.

Mostly I stayed in and baked birthday cake and knit while I watched the snow fall... all. day. long. It was great. I watched the snow cover our nasty straw excuse for a lawn and I watched it pile up on the deck and in the trees. By nightfall when DQ's friends arrived there was a pristine blanket of snow everywhere and the parents were all thankful that they didn't have to come back to pick their girls up until morning because the roads got pretty slick.

DSC_0845Chinese food was eaten and those girls got loud. They watched stuff on Y**T*be loudly. They played Apples to Apples loudly. They ate loudly. They watched movies loudly. You get the picture. It was all good though because there was no drama. I love a drama free party.

There were gifts of course but this one was my favorite. One of her best friends brought a blank, white, hoodie and fabric markers and had all the girls get together and doodle on it. There are silly things, Twilight things, and notes about inside jokes and school stuff. It was signed by all the girls at the party and it is the closest thing to wrapping yourself in the love of your friends.

Can you guess what she wore to school today?