Jan 31, 2013

Wrapping up 2012 Knits (and crochets)

January 31st! It's the end of the first month of the year and I'm still not through posting stuff I made in December. I cannot drag this out any longer. I'm gonna wrap it up today.

This is Arabella by Nicky Hale knit up in Tahki Cotton Classic.  It was such a learning experience and it really ought to have it's own post but I'll try to keep this short and sweet.

I have a friend who's having a rough time and she loves collars like this one so when I saw this pattern I was determined to make it for her which meant chasing down the UK publication it appeared in, The Knitter. In the future I'll hopefully know to watch out for crochet patterns from abroad.  I tried to make this 3 times before I realized that UK & US crochet terms mean different things.  What we call single crochet - they call double crochet, what we call double crochet - they call treble crochet, etc.  You can see where this would be a problem.  As I said - lesson learned.

The second issue was the yarn.  It's lovely and it looks great with the beads and the stitch pattern.  What it doesn't do is drape.  I'm sure that if I had used a nice wool it would've been fabulous.  I'm so sure of this that I bought some wool to use to prove my point.  I just need the beads and the time.  Watch for it.


This is Autobahn by Kate Gilbert in Shepherd's Wool Worsted.  Not a whole lot to say about this because the pattern and the yarn were just perfect. 


Small story though so in the absence of true knitting discussion here it is.  Bruce came home from work one cold December day and told me that he wore his entrelac  scarf and a friend admired it and commented that he was lucky that his wife knits.  Awwwww....

And Bruce is so pleased to tell me this.  It's really nice to have a family who loves my hand knits and shows them off proudly.  I appreciate it more than words can say so when my husband suggests that he really thinks his friend would love a hand knit hat I say sure.  I troll Rav for the perfect pattern and I buy a yarn that's nice but not budget busting.  And to my daughters chagrin, I push aside other projects to do a quick hat.  'Cause  hats are instant gratification.


Now he tells me that his friend loves the hat.  The color is great!  The pattern is great!  It's so nice and warm! 

And he'd really love one in grey.

Yarn has been bought. But he's a little further down in the queue this time.


And that's it. Onward to 2013.

Jan 30, 2013

Little Feet

I'm still not finished posting stuff I finished at the end of last year. I'm getting closer though.


The last time I made slippers for my girls was about 5 years ago. Since then they grew a bit and our family added more little girls who needed warm feet. What's a knitter to do?


I found a different pattern to use this time and I love it. Little Duffers by Mindie Tallack is so easy and quick and the result is so satisfying.  The yarn is KP Wool of the Andes for the soles and KP Chroma for the tops.

Both pairs of slippers turned out to be fraternal but for different reasons.  The red & yellow is fraternal because one was knit from the outside of the ball and the other from the center. The other one is fraternal because the repeat is way too long for the size I was knitting.  I love them anyway.  Who needs matchy, matchy slippers.


At this point you may ask why there are 2 pairs.  Which 2 children are they for?  Both of them are fro Miss M.  The yellow were the first try which were too big and the pink/blue/green are just perfect. Her feet will grow.


So I added some cute shapes and swirls to the soles in puffy paint for traction.  It doesn't hurt that thy add a little extra cuteness.


Now I just need to get Miss M to keep them on her feet.
And neither the parade of finished objects nor the display of slippers ends here. There are, as they always say, plenty more where those came from.

Jan 29, 2013

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs

We've had so darn much rain lately.  It's depressing.  And when it rains on a Monday it's even worse.  You just want to crawl back in bed.  So what do you do?


  1. See a good movie - the last one I saw was Django Unchained.  So totally Tarantino.
  2. Knit something you really love.  I just made myself a new hat with a pattern I adore and a yarn that rock.  Stay tuned for the results.
  3. Read a good book - or 3.  I am on a serious reading kick right now and I'm plowing through books that have been on my to-read list for ages.
  4. Go to the nursery - I went recently to ask a few questions about yard maintenance that I'd postponed.  It turns out that it was a perfect time to fertilize etc so I came home and spent a few minutes with my clippers and fertilizer. Looking forward to the spring.
  5. Play with a cute baby - admittedly, not everyone has one available but when you do it's a perfect antidote.
  6. Tackle a project that you've been putting off.  You have no idea how restorative it can be to clean a closet. So weird!
  7. Take out your shiny new camera and look for pretty things to photograph - If you don't have a new one, the old one would do I suppose.
  8. Bake, or cook something delicious - really anything in the kitchen is good.  The other day I found happiness at the bottom of a bowl of tomato soup. 
  9. Buy some awesome yarn - I went to one (ok 2) of my favorites stores this month and helped the bottom line at each of them greatly.  That is all I will say.  We'll not speak of the assorted online purchases.  Trust me though - some of the stuff that folloewed me home totally rocks and would make me smile on the darkest winter day.
  10. Take a vacation - this one is just wishful thinking but wouldn't it be great?
Then again, when the temps bounce between 30 and 70 degrees from day to day it's hard to feel the winter blahs for long.

Jan 25, 2013

ECF - Thirsty Edition

Miss M doesn't really have many words yet but one of the few that she possesses is "water".  So this picture really shouldn't be terribly surprising.


Jan 22, 2013

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things You Always Have in Your Car

I often feel like I live in my car.  You'd think that it would be less so now that DQ has her license.  That having one less child in need of taxi service would help.  It doesn't.  Not really.  I still spend lots of time in my car but now I spend more of it on errands.  It's the curse of suburbia.

I suspect that I'm not alone in this.  It's the sheer amount of time I spend in my car that causes the mess found within. That and the children.  When I bought my current car a few years ago I had every intention of keeping it immaculate and for a while it was.  I was very strict about what could and could not be brought into my car.  I insisted that the girls leave their spots as they found them. 

Then Miss M arrived.


From the moment I became pregnant I knew the days of having a clean vehicle were numbered.  I could sense the Cheerios staking their claim. It was inevitable. 

So this ToT topic is a little bit of an issue for me.  I wish I found it harder to come up with a list.  I wish it didn't have quite so much kid stuff on it.  I wish that I could still offer a ride to someone without first calculating how I could shift the mess within.

  1. A Soccer Mom Chair - for watching softball games or Miss M on a playground.  My old back demands it.
  2. Umbrellas of all sizes - I have ginormous golf umbrellas and smaller ones I can toss in a bag.  You never know when you'll need one.
  3. Towels - I really can't explain these.  I think they multiply in my trunk like bunnies.  They are handy from time to time.
  4. Shopping bags - I am green and take them with me.  I just don't always remember to take them into the store but I'm working on that.
  5. Chap stick - I always like to have one handy.
  6. My firewire cord - I love to hook up my iPod in the car so I keep one in my center console.
  7. Tic tacs - I have a very large pack of these.  I pop a few most days when I get in my car after work.  I don't know why.
  8. Windex and paper towels - I keep these in my trunk so that I can clean my windows whenever the spirit moves me.  If I have to go find them in the house then the moment will pass without action.
  9. Window Scraper Widget - Not the one for icy weather - this is like a blade for removing old, gnarly stickers from my windows.  Why?  See #8.
  10. Napkins - always handy.  Remember, there are kids in my car.
What's in your car?

Jan 18, 2013

ECF - Antidote Edition

Yesterday was Miss M's 18 month check up.  There were shots involved.


Donuts make it all better.

Jan 17, 2013

Oh Yes.... Progress Reports

I'm taking a quick break from sharing the recently finished objects to do a little progress report. I kind of forgot about them for a while. I guess that returning to blogging is a bit of a process.

The first one is the oldest of the bunch.  This is the back and 2 fromts of a sweater I'm making for my cousin's baby.  He's 1.  I'm way behind so I'm making a size for a 2-3 year old because goodness knows when I'll finally complete and deliver it.  I love both the yarn and the pattern and, happily, I love them together too.


This is the cowl I'm making for DQ. There was some confusion over the holidays when someone sent gifts without names on them. Stinkette opened a package containing a really nice cowl and both she and DQ instantly believed that it was meant for them. It turns out that Stinky was correct. So I'm making a cowl for DQ. This is my television knitting - mostly mindless.


The last currently active project is represented by this ball of yarn. It's actually hollow because the 2 ends leading from it both lead to socks that are about half finished. I can't show them to you because they're the Through The Loops Mystery Socks for this year.


There is another project that is semi-active and even more that are WIP's waiting in the wings for a little love but I'll wait until they are once again making progress to post about them.

Jan 16, 2013

Party Prep - DC Style

They're getting ready for a huge party here in the Nation's Capitol.  Of course by party I mean inauguration.


Can you see what's hiding behind these bleachers? That'd be the White House.


And then there's the assortment of trailers that have gathered nearby.


The media have arrived.


Just a little behind the scenes peek.

Jan 15, 2013

Not Qualified

Today's topic is 10 Tips for Sticking With Your Fitness Routine.  Since I don't actually have a fitness routine and I'm unlikely to start one anytime soon this really isn't a topic I can write about.

So back I go to the list of unposted knits.  Today I've got a pair of cute little mittens I made for Miss M.  They were inspired by our trip to New York over Thanksgiving when we went for a walk on a super windy day.  Thats when I realized that My sweet girl had no mittens or gloves yet.  What kind of mom let's her baby go out with cold hands?  Even worse, what kind of knitter?


I loved the idea of making Miss M some cute little mittens.  The pattern (this one) suggests making three mittens just in case one gets lost.  Such a great idea. So I decided to make a pink stripe on one, two pink stripes on the next and three on the third. Terribly original. Right?

Well, it turns out that my toddler is growing faster than I thought and these mittens barely fit her.  I don't know if she has big hands or what.  I have found another pattern for little kid mittens and I was all set to make them for her right away but then the weather got warm... and it's stayed that way.  It's January and it should be mitten weather but it's really not.  Thankfully these mittens were really fast to make so if the weather should become more seasonable I should be able to whip up a pair of cute mittens fast.

Jan 10, 2013

2012 Recap

Usually a person considers the past year before setting goals for the one to come but there's really no reason why it can't be done in the reverse. It's especially true since there was so much going on this year.  Some of it was well covered like the major home renovation we did.


I think I also covered Stinkerbelle's Bat Mitzvah.  It was a wonderful day and it made me so proud.


But, in a year when I only posted 79 times - that's about 1.5 per week - there was a lot that I never got around to blogging about.  One of those things was the big interfaith service that the Girl Scouts held at the National Cathedral where DQ was one of the featured speakers.  It was part of the centennial celebration and it made me so proud that she was invited to contribute and that she did so beautifully.

The speaker

And let's not forget Miss M's first Birthday.  What a day it was!  I turned out to be the day we got back in our completed home.  It was also the day the big derecho hit our area, knocking out power and felling trees all over.

Birthday Girl

As with any year it was not all high notes.  Last February we celebrated my grandparents 70th anniversary with a party that my sister and I insisted on.  I'm so glad that we did because we lost my grandmother in October.  It was the end of one of the best love stories ever.


If all that wasn't enough, two other events altered life as we know it forever.  DQ got her driver's license and I got reading glasses.  I guess we're both getting older.

And now I'm looking forward to the new year.  You never know what it may bring.

Jan 9, 2013

Holiday 2012 in a Hat

For today's post we'll return to the pile of finished objects from the end of last year.  This one was a gift.  One of the few I made during the holidays.


The pattern is Everglade by Woolly Wormhead knit up in Cascade 220. I gave it to my sister but I think my niece may have swiped it.  That's the rumor anyway. 

But the reason I made it for my sister is that she pretty much asked for it.  During our recent Indiana trip I went for a little walk around Bloomington one day with my sister and, happily if not surprisingly, it included a stop at a yarn store.  My sister is not a knitter or a lover of yarn in general but she indulged me.


As I started to feel those familiar "must knit" feelings my sister was admiring the samples. She commented that she'd really love a great, slouchy, hat.  Who wouldn't?  Even if you, like me, don't really look great in hats there is something about pulling one down over your ears on a cold winter day. Right?


The resulting hat is a win.  The pattern is well written and dead-simple.  I probably spent way more time considering the yarn and pattern choice than knitting it up.  After a good soak and a wee bit of blocking to open up the lacy bits this hat was perfect. 

I hope that it keeps my sister (or my niece) nice and warm.

Jan 8, 2013

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Goals for 2013

Last year my goals were so big and so clear. There was so much going on. This year it's different. It's like I'm still living in the post-everything glow. Is that even a thing?


Even though I feel really good about things there is always more to do. More hopes, more dreams, and more stuff I keep meaning to do.

  1. Go on a vacation - I have been trying to take my family away for a real vacation for the longest time but there is always some reason it won't work.  Jobs, exams at school, softball practice, etc, etc, etc... in short, commitments of all kinds.  This is the year I'm gonna get it done.
  2. Bake some bread - it's such a simple pleasure.  Baking bread makes the house smell wonderful and it's delicious.  I used to make it years ago but it's been far too long.
  3. Get in better shape - I'm not promising to loose tons of weight or work out regularly.  I just want to do better this year than I did last year.  
  4. Spin - my wheels are packed away and I need to give them a little workout again.
  5. Go to a fiber festival of some kind - Maryland Sheep and Wool is out for the third year in a row and that makes me very sad.  I'm really hoping that I get to go to another one.  It's been too long since I immersed myself among the wool fumes.
  6. Start working on my yard - now that the house looks good I need a yard worthy of it.  On second thought, I'd probably settle for getting rid of the big dead spot where the dumpster was.  Oh yeah, that's attractive!
  7. Start composting - I have wanted to start composting at home for years.  I think it goes along with the garden that has been so neglected lately.
  8. Take an art class - I don't know if I'll do it by myself, with my daughter, or a friend - maybe all three.  I'd love to do glass blowing or even get back to my roots and sketch a little or paint.  For the first time in a really long time I'm feeling the itch.
  9. Get more settled in the re-done house - we took a little while to adjust to the way things are today and now it's time to get back to business.  Window coverings and furniture are still needed for some rooms  Gotta keep going.
  10. Make a sweater for me - I'm very good at adding stuff for me to my queue for me.  I'm even good at buying yarn for those projects.  I'm just equally good at putting off personal projects in favor of those for my family and friends.
That's it.  That's my list.  What are your goals?

Jan 7, 2013

Weekend One

The first weekend of the year is in the books and I truly don't know what to think.  If this is the weekend that sets the tone for the rest of the year I may be in trouble.  I'm not sure I did a damn thing.


I didn't do much laundry or straightening up.  I started it way too late in the weekend.  I still haven't hung all the pictures that are waiting patiently for new homes.  Didn't cook much.  Didn't read much either.  Didn't find a solution to the problem with my crochet problem.

I did go shopping with Stinkette.  I also went yarn shopping alone (can I get a woot!).  I spent some quality time with Miss M as she once again tore apart my house and layered on as many clothes as she could.

I knit a wee bit.  Actually, I knit more than a little bit.

Actually, it wasn't a bad start to the year at all.

Jan 2, 2013

Hats Tested and Claimed

I have many obsessions and quite a few of them are knit related.  I can get lost considering yarns and patterns for hours.  One of the newest incarnations of the obsession is the test knitting groups.  I really don't know why, but helping a fellow knitter to get a pattern right and, of course, getting the first crack at it, is a kick.  I think that there's something about the deadlines too.  I'm a bit better under pressure.


This isone of my most recent test knits.  It's the Cable Fantasy Hat by Natalie Volyanyuk.  It was a nice quick knit.  I used some Dream in Color Classy in a color with a fabulous name - In Vino Veritas.  The pattern and the yarn played very well together.

There was a moment when I thought the outcome of this project might not be a happy one.  Immediately after casting off this hat barely hit my ears!  Ooops.  But I trusted in the designer and just gave it a nice, long, soak before blocking it hard on an inflated balloon.


In the end it turned out perfectly.  It fits snugly and just covers the ears.  It's such a nice hat that when in asked Stinkette to model it she fell hard and absconded with it.  It has been claimed for now and forever.

Jan 1, 2013

Happy, Happy

Happy New Year to you all and Happy 7th Blogiversary to me.

How did you celebrate the arrival of this fresh, new, year? We celebrated with a last minute party we threw together last night followed by a lot of relaxation today. All very good things.


 Now it's on to 2013.  After an extended break from knitting I am definitely back and my to-do list is long.  In fact, you an blame the lack of posting for the last few weeks on yarn and books.  They command every free minute.  Happily that means that I have lot's of finished objects to share in the weeks ahead.  So here's to considering the year that was and the year that will be.