Wednesday, December 31, 2008


For Christmas, Ann's friend, Anne, gave me a single skein of lovely thick wool that came with a hat pattern. You know that kind of yarn, it's super thick and gorgeous, and the 65 yds. of it is enough to make a hat. (It's a lovely gray and natural with a slight green tinge to it. I really like it.) Actually it came with two patterns. I immediately cast on the cabled one because I feel like making cables is a real magic trick. I knit like the wind and by the end of Christmas day was 4 stitches from the end of the last row when I realized that I didn't have enough yarn. Drat. I frogged it and balled it up. Yesterday I decided to tackle the non-cabled pattern figuring, correctly it turns out, that I'd use less yarn. Ta-da! In the first picture you see Durwood wearing it. In the second, is the hat and how much yarn I had left. In the third, you see the hat in it's final form with the tassel I made from that little handful of yarn. There's barely a molecule of it wasted. Thanks, Anne.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Nest is Empty Again

This morning our DD drove off to go back to her "real" life in Lexington leaving the folks in the frozen north. I reminded her last night that every mile means it'll be getting warmer. She kept checking the temp in KY and announcing it so I think she'll be glad to be back where it's not quite so cold and snowy. It was great to have her here for 10 days; she knit a lot, I knit a lot, and she got to spend time with Durwood which was in short supply when he was working.

Some of her "quality" time with Dad was spent in what she called the "meatball sweatshop"
helping him prepare Italian Wedding Soup as our contribution to the family's Souptastic Christmas Feast. Pictured is tray 1 of 3 of itty-bitty meatballs. Durwood says he likes to get 3 or 4 meatballs in every bite. I say I'd make as many meatballs as there are servings and be done with it! Just one giant meatball per bowl. Tom's Turkey Booyah (traditional NE Wisconsin poultry and veggie soup--Belgian, maybe?) and Beer Cheese Soup were good, but we thought Durwood's Italian Wedding Soup was the best.

My knitting moved along nicely this week even with the distraction of gift finishing and gift wrapping and gift giving and gift opening (with no gift returning). I finally (it only took 10 months of not-intensive knitting) finished sock #1 of my first pair of socks using real skinny sock yarn and US3s. You can see I did cast on sock #2. I should have the pair to wear next fall if my timetable remains constant. DD is a great sock-knitting motivator, she zooms along using US2s and the thinnest of yarn, all the while wearing hand knit socks from her arsenal of completed pairs.

In the face of her sockitude I decided to give knitting two at once on 2 circs another try. She and I sat down together and talked our way through the instructions and pictures in this book. I'm nearing the 2" mark on the cuff which is zooming along for me. I'll keep going on these; I'm determined.

I worked on the second of four sections of the sari silk purse for my DIL. I hope to finish it and cast on #3 by bedtime.

And finally, you have to see the coolest Christmas present I got from DD. She borrowed a knitting machine and knit a piece of fabric 18" X 34" out of undyed light worsted weight yarn. Then she used squirt bottles filled with dye to draw a reef scene on it. My job is to unpick the end and unravel it while knittin
g it into something else, like a shawl or gloves or whatever. She says it's about 300 yards so I have to find a pattern that uses almost that much or maybe 2 that add up, don't want to waste an inch. So very cool.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vincent the Underwater Elf is Born--Followed by a Snow Report

Isn't he cute? And he looks so happy. It took forever to make his mouth so he didn't look like he'd had a few too many egg nogs at the Elves' Christmas party. I really like how he turned out. I wasn't sure I'd like an elf not made in red and green but both of the ones I made this week are terrific.

And remember I took a picture on Dec. 9 of the 6" of snow we got? That day I swept the snow off the grill. Here's a picture of the grill today. See how much snow we're having to dea
l with? A lot. Too much if you ask me. We've gotten more than half our normal winter's worth this month and there's still a week left. They're saying 2-4" more tomorrow and more on the weekend. Aargh!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I was a good little crocheter yesterday and I finished the elf for Mr. & Mrs. Boss. And before midnight too. His legs are a little spindly looking and they're uneven but, hey, handmade! I like him. I hope his new parents do.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Elfin Magic

I've been crocheting elf parts the last few days. Haven't gotten one completed but here's what I've got done. I realized last night that I need to have the non-Pogo elf done on Monday to give to Mr. & Mrs. Boss because they graciously gave me Christmas Eve off so I need to leave their elf at the store when I close on Monday. Crochet like the wind! I'll make it, even if I have to buy another G hook and enlist my daughter to help make limbs.

And I couldn't resist taking a picture of Durwood, or as I like to call him, Wisconsin Skinny the Wii pool shark. He
scratches a lot (that's when the cue ball goes in a pocket) and complains a lot but he keeps playing. He's loving the Wii. Most every day he and I have a 3-game world championship bowling tournament. Usually I lose but every once in a while (like yesterday) I win.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree...

I'm very happy with how the tree turned out this year so I thought I'd share a photo or two. That's my favorite ornament of an octopus on the globe and my crocheted elf, Abercrombie, for whom I am making a friend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Underwater Elf

Our Christmas tree is one of those white wire trees people put in their yards with white lights. All the ornaments on it have an ocean theme. We have fish of every color, seahorses, whales, sharks, shells, some shiny, some sparkle-y, some woven, all kinds of materials and colors. I use a fringed batik sarong in turquoise, magenta, orange, and green as a tree skirt. When I put Abercrombie (the elf Ann and I crocheted last Christmas) under there he looked a bit out of place in his red and green, so I thought about it and decided to make a new elf in ocean colors. Not to replace Abercrombie, you understand, but to keep him company (yeah, that's it, keep him company, don't wanna hurt the elf's feelings right before Christmas). I was all ready to go on a yarn hunt in the stores but then I remembered some Red Heart Strata I had used when I was learning to knit by making afghan fish; it's called Pogo and has the exact colors I was looking for. I went down to the yarn vault and unearthed the remains of the skein. There wasn't much so I resigned to brave the cold and holiday shoppers for another skein. Went to Michaels. No Pogo. Off to Walmart West. No Pogo. Down Hwy. 41 to Walmart in DePere. No Pogo. Back to JoAnn's. Still no Pogo. By then it was dark and I was sensing a theme since there were no other versions of Strata on the shelves either. Could it be discontinued? I hurried home to get online to check. Yep, discontinued. I googled it and found one skein on eBay so I placed a bid and so far I'm high bidder. I also found a Red Heart Lovers forum on Ravelry so I posted there asking if anyone would be willing to sell me a skein. I have hopes. But I also had enough Pogo to crochet the body last night (I'm 2 rows into the head) and I think (fingers crossed) I have enough left to do the hands and feet which are just balls with no digits to fuss with.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dept. of Fur & Feathers

Since Durwood is the dean of hawk pictures I was feeling a bit left out in the wildlife photography area. Today that is behind me. I took pictures of the albino squirrel that lives in our neighborhood. I saw it a few weeks ago at the end of our neighbor's driveway scampering up a tree, so I kept putting fresh corn cobs out to try and lure it into the backyard. And today it arrived!

Cool, isn't it? It even has little pink eyes, which means it's a true albino. I hope the rest of the squirrels don't beat it up. We're calling it Alby.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Can I Just Say... much I love the colors of reclaimed silk yarn? I remember how beautiful and jewel-like the colors are, how they meld together in a glittering fabric, but between projects I forget how the yarn twists back on itself like a hyperactive snake making big snarls that I have to untangle.

I am released from Christmas gift knitting and have taken up knitting a purse for my DIL. This one's for you, Abby. I'm not promising when but it'll be before winter ends. Cross my heart.

I'll knit some Sudoku squares or even finish that sock I cast on last April and never finished. There is much in the stash to be magicked into life.

Friday, December 12, 2008

He Picked Mine!

Remember late last month I knitted a couple caps for Connor who has a virulent form of brain cancer? In three short weeks knitters/crocheters on Ravelry made 145 hats so that each student in Connor's school got a hat. They were distributed last Friday. Connor got to choose first. He chose the gray beret I made. I was flabergasted--and burst into tears.

I sometimes feel like I mail my charity knitting off into the void. Here's proof that what I do makes a difference. I am humbled.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Miscellaneous Stuff

Mostly I'm posting because I keep forgetting to post the newest Sharp-shinned hawk pictures Durwood took last Thursday when it was snowing. Aren't they wonderful? He's really lucky.

We woke
up today to 6" of the fluffy white stuff. I thought you might enjoy a view of the grill, the Emma's chair, and garden.

I finished another market bag at work yesterday. This is a great project to leave in my work backpack to have when I am underwhelmed by customers. Can you believe that people seem to be spending money on frivolities like rent and food and gas instead of scuba stuff? Me neither.

And finally, if you've got a few pennies left from your holiday gift buying, head over to the Yarn Harlot's post from the past and send your spare change to Doctors Without Borders. We who are so rich in so many ways can really make a difference. Have a happy holiday season no matter how you celebrate it, I'm happy to have you all in my life even if it's only in the blogosphere.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Selfish Knitting

Just a tad. I worked all day on the Phoenix Tears hat to go with the scarf I knitted last week. I don't know why it took all day to finish this hat. I had the 6 row ribbing done when I went to bed last night and there's only 28 rows after that, and it's on US15s. I do know that my hands ache right now. Maybe the 2 or 3 kinds of novelty yarn were too rigid for ease of knitting. I used the Meathead pattern and I made one of those in an afternoon last week. Oh well, it's done and now I can move on to the last half of the last stealth project tomorrow while I'm keeping the world safe from scuba diving. (It's been really customer-less at work with the saggy economy, see? So I'm getting a lot of knitting, crocheting, and web surfing done there.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Snowy Day

It's snowing. But then it is Wisconsin so I should expect that in December, I suppose. At least it's not a bazillion degrees below zero--yet.

Here's the hat I knitted on Thanksgiving for Mom to give to a friend. It's made with 2 strands of Lamb's Pride Bulky in Prairie Goldenrod on US 15 DPNs in my favorite Meathea
d Hat pattern. I love this hat!

I wore my Phoenix Tears scarf the last couple of days and realized that none of my current hats match it. Bummer. That means I have to make one. Oh look, I cast one on last night. Guess what pattern. Meathead? Ooh, you're so smart. I'm carrying 2 strands of Angel Hair, 1 of Squiggles, and 1 of Boa to start so it's thick enough and then I plan to add in the orange Fun Fur about halfway up to give it that plume-y look. Should be quite a hat, but then Mr. Boss did say he thought the scarf looked like "pizza puke." The man has no taste, no whimsy.

Durwood and I have been Wii bowling every day. Fitness, you know. See how focused he is?

The most exciting thing happened at the grocery this morning. I drove into the parking lot, snowflakes falling with enthusiasm, and there was the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile! I hurried in to do my little bit of shopping and raced out to find them setting up for display. I was first in line to see it. I got a Weiner Whistle.

It. Glows. In. The. Dark.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I am revisiting the first pattern I learned to use DPNs on just over a year later and I'm amazed at how much less afraid of them I am. These are nothing! Double Pointed Sticks? Piffle!

My primary reason for showing you this glove is the yarn. I know my pictures aren't doing the colors justice (they're much darker and richer in person), but, people, I stop after nearly every row to admire the colors. So beautiful.