Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thanks a Lot, Ann

I've just spent the last half hour going back over my last few posts linking the he** out of things. It was fun. Lastly I linked the "training sock" pattern you used to yesterday's post. *sigh* Can you guess what knitting I'm planning to pack? Hint--it's small enough to put in your carry-on and I'll have to buy some yarn. In fact, I'll probably cast one on when Dad's at work. (I'll wait until he leaves so he doesn't tease me too much.) *sigh* Oh, you're such an enabler.

I'm so glad you were here.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Ann showed me how to sock! It's very tiny, made on big needles with worsted yarn but it's a sock. I'm so proud. Maybe someday I'll make a real sock. It's so cute. Coochie coochie, little sock.

Abby's Mittens & A Cupcake

Abby was so tickled by the mittens that Ann and I made last Saturday that I said I'd make her some so I did. I had the fuzzy/hairy yarn, in fact I had a variety to choose from, and I bought the thick & quick from Patti's. Purple, mmmm.

I saw the cupcake pattern in One Skein and decided to make one out of what I had on hand. Well, I did have to buy the fluffy white stuff, but I had the bottom stuff and the fiberfill "in stock." It's bigger than I thought it would be and somehow disappointing. Cute, though, but useless. I did put a little rice (in a sandwich bag) in the bottom to make it stand up a bit better.

Look! I linked! Thanks, Ann, for teaching me how.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Elfin Magic

When I picked up my crochet hook last winter to help quit smoking my daughter told me about a Free Crochet Pattern a day website and I used to check it when I remembered. Then when I started this blog I linked to it so it was easier to check every day. Most of the time the pattern is for something I'm not that interested in, but every once in a while it sparks my interest. You have to print it out, or save it, because they don't have an archive. Last week, or the week before, the pattern was for a trio of little shelf-sitters: a gingerbread man, a snowman, and an elf. The gingerbread man and the snowman? Eh. But the elf I couldn't get out of my mind. I picked up some Caron Soft Shadows yarn on sale at Michael's and coerced DD into helping me make one on Christmas Eve. I crocheted the body, head, and hat; she made the limbs and collar. We finished him Christmas morning--and fell in love. Then we had to make another one for her so we reversed the colors so we didn't have to buy more yarn. Here they are: Elmer and Abercrombie. Aren't they the cutest?

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Time is flying too fast these days. I have too much I want to do and not enough time to do it. DD and I took a quick mitten class yesterday at my LYS (v. 2), Loops & Links--and we both burst out giggling whenever we look at what we made. Here are mine; DD isn't quite finished with mitten #2 so that debut will be a bit delayed. All gift knitting for opening on the actual Christmas day is done and wrapped. (I'd pat myself on the back but my arms are sore.) I finished the Selfish Fetchings yesterday morning, but forgot to decrease one stitch on each needle so one top is a little ruffley. I might have to pick it out and redo it. Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how much it bugs me, but it may be a while until I wear them again. It was nearly 50 degrees and rainy yesterday. Today it looks like this. You can't see the blowing snow but let me assure you it's blowing a gale. Gusts to 50 mph. Gak.

DH, DD, and I decorated the tree this morning--finally. We played Nat King Cole's Christmas cd and sang along. I've got Chex mix in the oven, our traditional holiday snack, and the buzzer's ringing. Gotta go stir!

If I get busy(er) and don't get back to the blog for a few days, have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fetching & Dashing

Sounds like something you'd do when Christmas shopping, doesn't it? Actually those are the names of two more fingerless mitts patterns. Hey, I'm weaning myself away from Forbidden Love but I can't quit cold turkey. I gotta knit mitts! But I think there's something wrong with this picture. Fetching was the original pattern. And it is beautiful with its three rows of little cables making the cuff and the k4p1 rib up the body making it look like some sort of Greek column then the final row of cables on the top. Then came Dashing, intended to be the masculine counterpart. It has the same k4p1 rib but one big cable in the center--and it's twice as long. It comes almost to my elbow and when I realized it was going to be so long, I cut back on the number of rows. I'm too stubborn to rip it out so I have to make a mate for it, but it's so long!

Friday, December 14, 2007


I think I have all the gift-knitting done. I think.

Now I'm onto selfish knitting. Or as Ann would say, the Selfish Fetchings. I'm using them to wean myself off the Forbidden Love Wrist Warmers, especially since I gave the
pattern copy from my knitting bag to a woman at The Attic last night before writer's. I see her there every once in a while working on an afghan or scarf and admire it. She liked my mitts so I gave her the pattern since I'd changed it a bit from the original so they don't go halfway up your arms getting caught on sleeves.

And just so you understand that I'm more
than just a knitter, here's the cover of the Fall 2007 issue of The Sheepshead Review. One of my stories, Soup for Marco, is in it. Yay, me!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Carnations and Obsession

First, you have to see the beautiful red carnations DH gave me for our 31st anniversary. Aren't they georgeous? And he grilled steaks and made fresh asparagus and homemade twice-baked potatoes for supper. What a catch!

I've been steadily working my way up (out?) on the Short & Sassy Shawl. Please remind me to check shawl patterns before I cast on in the future and only choose the ones that grow narrower rather than wider. This one gets bigger by 2 stitches each row. Thank heavens it's a one-skein pattern as I'm slowly going mad with the snail's pace.

I've become obsessed with making fingerless mitts. I finished the last (I thought) gift pair yesterday and heaved a sigh ready to move on to another project. I cast on (and frogged) a Pixie hat with Himalayan silk because the yarn's so rigid it was nearly impossible to make the stitches especially on circs. Boo-hoo, I wanted that hat. (Maybe I can crochet one. Hmmm.) Then I cast on a slipper, but, after 3 rows, it wasn't what I wanted after all, so I frogged that. I looked at patterns and at my stash--then cast on 2 more pairs of mitts, one fuzzy and one worsted. (Good thing I picked up a second pair of #8 dpns at Hancock last weekend because I liked the color, huh?) Help! I've fallen into the Forbidden Love Mitts pattern and I can't get up.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Stuff to See Here

Just to prove that I have been knitting, here are a couple things.

First, the felted crocheted tote made from Sensations Marvel and Cascade 220
. I have to say that it smelled like I was laundering moldy sheep when I felted it. Not the most appealing scent to run into in the basement. But it felted well, now all I have to do is sew that handle on and it'll be finis.

I found the pattern for the mitts on someone's blog and couldn't resist them just because of their name--Forbidden Love Wrist W
armers. Isn't that the most tempting pattern name? The yarn's the forbidden love part; the designer made them from Yarn Bee Soft Delight Extremes (it's acrylic *gasp*). She said she was embarrassed to have fallen for a non-organic yarn but loved the colors. Me too. If you Google "Forbidden Love Wrist Warmers" you'll find them and, if you forget to type in the wrist warmers part, well, a few more interesting sites, but just go to the mitts one, k? Anyhoo, I made them shorter so they'd fit better when wearing a sweater. And look at the cool bee needle holders! My daughter made them. She's brilliant.

And remember, Ann, on Sunday I said I had decided not to make a Rib Warmer for Dad? Well, not an hour after we hung up, I cast on. I know it kind of looks like Franken-foot but it's really going to be a knitted vest thing. Anyway, I have all that yarn that's not going to be a sweater now and I really wanted to try the pattern since it's kind of like yarn origami and, well, I wanted to. It's not like I think I have to have it done for Christmas or anything, I mean, I can quit whenever I want.

Monday, December 3, 2007

8 Random Thing About Me

I have to agree with David and Abby, I don't know any other people with blogs so I'm just going to put my list on here and hope for the best.

1. I love doing Origami. I have a stash of papers and instruction books in the basement and periodically I get them out and make all sorts of stuff that I admire and then recycle. It's the best when David and Ann are home and all three of us fold and laugh.

2. I talk to myself--a lot. Most of the time it's in my head but sometimes, like when I'm mowing the lawn, it sneaks out and I'm talking out loud.

3. I hate being lost. I am almost terrified of not knowing where I am. I admire people who just hop in the car or on an airplane and go somewhere with no definite plans. I could never do that.

4. My grandma taught me how to make a Jacob's Ladder with string, like Cat's Cradle, and I know how to make a few other figures and wish I knew how to make more. I have a book about that too.

5. I'm better at learning something new, especially something physical, if I have time to think how it will feel to do it before I have to make my attempt. That's why you'll find me at the back of the line.

6. I rarely suffer stage fright. I'm not shy at all about getting in front of a microphone or standing up to speak or read something I've written, even if I think it's crap. My mom takes credit for this since she entered me in a blue million dance contests when I was a little ballerina and dragged me, along with Deenie Hobbs and her two kids, all over southern Indiana to county fairs and school gyms. My most vivid memory is one county fair where the record player was on the edge of the supported-only-at-the-ends stage and every time I moved the record skipped. It was like dancing on a trampoline. I was crying but I kept on dancing.

7. I am inordinately proud of the fact that I can scuba dive since I can barely swim. And I think I'm pretty darned good at it too.

8. I hate crowds and meeting strangers, but I'm good at mustering up my guts, pasting a smile on my face, and introducing myself. People think I'm an extrovert. I'm not.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stealth Knitting

I have been knitting. I have. But nothing I can show off. Oh, I knitted a few rows on my red shawl and I knitted a couple more fish, but you don't really need to see either of those, do you? Look at the post before the last one and imagine the shawl a bit longer and a few more fish in the school, also variegated.

The best news is that my neighbor/renter/writing friend, Jenny, told me Tuesday when she came over to write together that one of her co-workers is teaching her how to knit. On Tuesday she was the proud owner of half a knitted washcloth square, not bias, square. We spent part of our writing time that afternoon looking at knitting books and patterns, needles and yarn. DH laughed at us. As if I needed more proof that yarn fumes are dangerous, Jenny said she was planning to knit a hat, scarf, and doggie sweater for her brother and sister-in-law and their dog-to-be for Christmas. This Christmas. In 25 days. Hope springs eternal. Or more probably, yarn fumes cause delusions. I must confess I spent part of Wednesday at work
online finding easy, big needle free patterns for scarves and doggie sweaters. I already have the perfect hat pattern. So, shoot me, I'm an enabler. Wednesday evening there was a knock at my door and Jenny burst in saying, "Can you help me? I forgot how to cast on!" She had gone to Walmart and fallen prey to a lone skein of Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair on sale, all fuzzy and shiny and tempting. I helped her alright--I showed her how to cast on, I lent her bamboo needles because she had purchased metal ones which were too slippery, and I gave her a skein of chunky yarn to play with. And then I gave her the patterns I had found. Turns out she stayed up half the night knitting that mohair scarf even though she had to be at work at 6 AM. Yep, she's got it bad. Tee-hee.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Magic Teapot

DH's favorite store, Cook's Corner, reopened less than two miles from our house. He and I made a field trip there last Tuesday (he's not allowed to go alone). We found his Christmas gift there (he promises to be surprised when he opens it) and I bought a red pottery teapot. It looks like a normal teapot (see photo) but I thought I should fill it with water and measure how much it holds so I'd know how much tea to put in. I got out the 4-cup measuring cup, filled the teapot and poured. I filled the measuring cup with plenty of water left in the pot. Pulled out the 8-cup measuring cup. Almost filled it. This little red teapot holds seven cups of water. SEVEN! The only thing I can figure is that the teapot has a hidden basement.

A Fishy Week

I know, I know, this was Thanksgiving week, but in my world of yarn it was fishy. I've been trying not to knit too much in hopes that my left hand will come back to life. It's been numb for a while so I'm working real hard to give it a rest. The problem is that everything I like to do--knit/crochet, read, write, type on the computer (I use both hands)--somehow involves my left elbow. That means my poor ulnar nerve never gets a break so my ring finger and middle finger are tingly. Not good, I think. So I've only been knitting one row of my shawl at a time, or maybe two. I hauled out the variegated acrylic and the size 10 needles to go back to knitting afghan fish since they're small, quick, and easy. And I treated myself to a pair of size 17 Crystal Palace needles at Loops & Links so knitting Twisted Rib Hats for charity would be easier. Wasn't that nice of me?

Oh yeah, another way it was a fishy week? DH brought home a pair of whole live lobsters for our Thanksgiving dinner since it was just the two of us. I figure the pilgrims might have had lobster, they were in Massachusetts, right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


It just occurred to me that Christmas is rolling around again, and I'm making hats again, this time with knitting needles instead of a crochet hook. Once again I used my big percent off coupon at JoAnn's and Michaels last weekend to buy books, one with 100 hats and the other a knitting how-to with lots of stitches listed and detailed in it. That's where I got the Twisted Rib Hat pattern. I frogged the girl hat ribbing which wasn't turning out the way I had hoped and used the yarn for the new hat. It's my kind of pattern--thick yarn and big needles (US 17s) and quick. In fact I made one this afternoon and I'm a slow knitter. I used doubled yarn for both hats. I'm such a slave to variegated. *sigh* Someday I'll make something all in solid colors. Nah, probably not.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Productive Week

I suddenly realized when it started to get darned cold the other day that the holidays are fast approaching. (So that's why all the stores have those lighted trees!) Which means if anyone's getting a yarn-ish gift, I need to get moving. Fortunately, I'm not foolish enough to think that a rank amateur knitter has any chance of being able to make something knitted for everyone, but there might be a few wooly items under the tree.

Here's a line-up of projects that floated to the top of the heap this week:

1) I spent some time at Patti's Yarn Shop yesterday looking for help to figure out how to make the decrease section match the increase one. No similar pattern was found but Patti said, "You just have to do the opposite of the increases" and that made sense, so after knitting and frogging the same one inch of scarf about a dozen times, I finally got it and finished the 2nd bias scarf last night. Yay, me!

2) I finished crocheting the tote bag for my second felting project. I'll get that into hot water later today or tomorrow.

3) and I've been slowly working on those
girl and boy hats. Twenty five rows of 4x4 ribbing takes a while to knit, but I'm past halfway and determined to get to the stockinette stitch part soon.

I'm on my way out to try and get the
last of the leaves to stay piled up at the curb for the leaf guys to pick up before the real winter comes. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Not Yarn, but Yarn-Related

Sorry to ruin your plans, Ann, but I saw this purple striped table runner and place mat at Ikea last month and instantly thought "needle holder." Well, maybe not instantly but I hadn't walked far past when I turned back and tossed them in the cart. I ended up frogging back to the place where I had all my stitches (before I somehow lost a couple--where do they go?) on the pastel scarf. I decided it was too obviously narrower so I risked angering the yarn gods and undid what I did yesterday at the craft fair, striving for perfection. *sigh* So no pictures of knitting progress.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Is there such a thing as "boy" yarn?

I found a hat pattern that I liked and thought I'd knit one to donate somewhere. I mean, it's Wisconsin and it's getting cold and it's gonna get colder. Somebody's gonna need a hat. I found this nice yarn at JoAnn's, on sale, and bought the blue and burnt orange thinking I'd make a boy hat. I cast it on and got this much done when DH asked if it was a hat for me. I said, no, it's for charity and anyway it's a boy hat. See? Blue yarn. He shook his head. Not boy yarn? Nope, girl yarn; it's fuzzy. Evidently boy yarn isn't fuzzy. So I'm knitting a girl hat with my fuzzy sale yarn, but I still want to make a boy hat so I bought this Galway wool. It's tweedy not fuzzy--boy yarn. It got the DH seal of approval this morning. Whew.

I'm finding I'm addicted to the Slightly Clerical Scarf I printed off Mason-Dixon Knitting's blog a few weeks ago. I made one for me and then I found this lovely wool on sale in these pretty colors so I'm making another one. It's small enough to carry to work and to errands and appointments, and being garter stitch, not very mentally taxing when I've only got a few moments to knit.

What do you do with a single skein of Moda Dea's Sassy Stripes that
you couldn't resist on sale because it's red? You knit a couple squares for Oliver's blanket, that's what you do. I don't know how to link things, but if you check out Mason-Dixon Knitting's blog Kay has info about it. Oliver's a young man in England confined to a wheelchair. He needs a new one, and they're pricey. A friend of his mom's got the idea to ask people to knit 4" squares of sock, fingering or 4-ply yarn that she'll make into a blanket and raffle off to help fund Oliver's new wheels. I was intrigued by the project but reluctant because of overseas mailing costs. Then I find that Kay has jumped on the bandwagon and is making an American blanket so we can help out without incurring high postage costs. Thanks, Kay! So fire up your size 3s and knit a little square or two for Oliver. Oh (this is another good part), for every square you send, they put your name in for a chance to win. Cool, huh? You can also follow the links in Kay's blog entry to purchase raffle tickets without making squares. Squares need to be sent to Kay by the end of November; email her for the address. All the info is in her blog entry. (I have got to learn how to link things.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007


It was such a beautiful sunny day it was difficult to focus on yarn-y things, especially since DH filled the house with the wonderful smells of Roasted Butternut Squash soup and Chocolate layer cake. Mmm. And he even washed all the pots and pans. He is truly a treasure. I did manage to get a little done between stirring his soup and licking the beaters. Hey, since the kids are all grown and gone somebody's got to do it! I'm anxious to see how the crocheted tote felts. I intended to use only the Sensations Marvel from JoAnn's but the thick & thin texture of it didn't work up the way I had hoped, so I picked up a skein of Cascade 220 in Black and am carrying them together. Makes a world of difference and it kind of looks like stained glass. Can't wait to see the result. The bias scarf's a nice relaxing project I can work on while sitting in Patti's Yarn Shop's kitchen listening to Dorothy (76) and Iris (91) debate the merits of various yarns, patterns and needles. An afternoon there is a real education!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Pair Beats One of a Kind

Finis! I took my needles in hand and finished the second glove. Woohoo!

Monday, October 29, 2007

WIPs & FO(!)

Learned a lesson this weekend--spending time with non-yarny friends is not the time to work on complicated patterns like gloves. Not that there were any knitting tragedies, you understand, I just didn't have the available concentration to make progress on my second glove.

I did make great time on the scarf (it's simply row after row of garter) and passed the half-century mark in my star dishcloth total. Now the next step is to convince people to buy them at the craft fair in a coupl
e weeks so I'll have money to replace all that yarn, or money in my yarn bank, or... well, you know what I mean.

And I've been knitting along on my first sweater sleeve. Of course, I have found any number of other patterns I'd like to knit, and then there's the tote bag and needle case I want to sew from fabric and a table runner I got at Ikea and... Suffice to say there's not enough time in my days to do everything I want to. Pesky job.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No "Second Glove" Syndrome Here!

I was a bit intimidated to tackle the second glove without Ann sitting right next to me saving me when I screwed up, but then I realized I'd need another glove before she got home at Christmas. It's bound to get cold before then. So I took a deep breath and started. I'm proud to say I knit the cuff and all the cables are exactly as they should be, no Moroccan arches to interrupt the symmetry. Beautiful!

I cast on another bias scarf, too, in some pretty wool I got at
Jo-Ann's. This is easy to tuck in my bag and take to work or on errands--and I love the colors, so unlike me to like pastels but I do.

I'm two dishcloths from my goal of having 50 by November 9th. Think I'll make it? Yeah me too; although I have slacked off on the "one a day" thing, there's no danger of me quitting making them altogether.

And...I got my Ravelry invite! Woohoo! Now I have to take pictures of my stash and decide where in the queue to put my projects and upload a crapload of pictures to Flickr so I can put them on Ravelry. Did you know I'm on Ravelry now?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Ann was home the last few days and it was absolutely fantastic to have another knitter in the house. We had a whirlwind 2 days trolling all the yarn shops in town and digging through my stash of yarn and patterns. Our Christmas gift stashes are now full to overflowing with ideas and nice wool yarn we'd never have bought if it hadn't been on clearance. We love clearance bins! I had gotten some Lion Brand Cashmere Blend when Ben Franklin went out of business but wasn't sure what I'd make with it. Then I bought One Skein with my Jo-Ann's coupon, paged through it and I knew.


Gloves with a cabled c
uff and real fingers. I had never used dpns before but Ann has made socks so I figured she could teach me. We will draw a veil over the awkward beginning of my adventure with dpns, and I'm still not at all sure I could start a project on my own, but suffice to say that Ann's patience is limitless. By the end of Friday's knitting we had a cuff, hand & thumb gusset. I have a few, let's just call them, freeform areas in my honeycomb cables, but as my grandpa used to say, a man running for his life will never notice. We spent Saturday, off and on, knitting tiny little tubes, one by one, and by bedtime on Saturday we each had one glove! Too cool. So much fun sitting knitting, talking, and laughing with my daughter. We did good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wanna Know How Warm It Has Been?

Last Friday when I was mowing the lawn I noticed something spring-like rather than fall-ish.

It's the forsythia; it's blooming; it's October. That's how warm it has been in WI. I heard on the radio that it's like the 7th warmest year on record. I keep putting on a jacket and then sweating. I'm kind of a slow learner or maybe a creature of habit, mid-October=jacket weather, not t-shirt. I like it warm, I do, I just can't seem to wrap my feeble mind around it right now.

FO, Dishcloths & a Sleeve!

I ran into the same chevron problem with ending the scarf as I had in starting it, but this time I figured it out myself--after knitting and frogging a couple of inches of scarf a few times. I didn't say I was fast, I just said I had eventually figured it out. Next time I'll make the scarf with more colors and shorter solid sections, maybe closer hues to get some blending too. I like the striped parts best. Doesn't the scarf look all casual & relaxed on the couch?

Dishcloth production has fallen off to a more reasonable rate--just over one per day. I'll still have more than 50 finished by the fair date Nov. 10. Hey, I should count. Maybe I have 50 now. Be right back...nope, not yet, only 42. But that's still pretty good output in 4 weeks.

So last night I didn't have the scarf to knit on after supper. What to do? What to do? I could cast on a sleeve since I stopped at the yarn shop and got some of those nice slick Crystal Palace bamboo needles on my way to work. So I did. It's a good idea I stole from the Yarn Harlot to star
t on a sleeve. Sleeves are narrower than the back (well, duh) so it's not like knitting a minivan cozy, plus the fun stuff, like stripes, starts early in this pattern. Well, patterns, since I'm taking the stripes from one pattern and the construction from another. I want to try raglan sleeves instead of drop shoulder sleeves. See the stripes? Cool, huh? Another 2 row black one comes next, then 2 rows of taupe, then 4 or 6 rows of cream. I geek out when stripes grow off the needles; I love watching them appear.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I was so excited yesterday when I realized that it was time to start changing over from off-white to black on the bias scarf. It's going faster than I imagined. And just in time too. Monday the high temp was 86, on Tuesday the high was a very cool & windy 51. Welcome to autumn in WI.

And I took a better picture of the capelet so that you can see the cable. I'm very proud of it, even though I'm still not sure I'd ever wear the thing.

This week I slacked off to "only" one dishcloth a day. See? I told you not to get too impressed with my output. I still like making them and revel in the way the colors stack up as I crochet around and around.

I haven't mentioned it in a while but it's been a week or two since I noticed that several days will go by and I won't think about smoking at all. I'll take Chantix for another week and then be done with that crutch. I'm confident.