Saturday, December 31, 2011

Next? No New Year Resolutions

My resolution is to have no more resolutions.  What will be, will be.  Que sera...
I started two new projects, and took another one out of hibernation from 2009, and added them to my "on needles" pile with two sweaters.  The trouble is, I love them all and want to work on all of them.  Somehow, they will be finished, but I really don't know what order.
Here are some preview pictures.
Robert, the Bear
Robert is going to be my "hook" for a class I'm offering in March.
Union Jack Argyle socks
Using two leftover sock yarns.  I think they will be pretty, but the "argyle-ness" might not be obvious.
And the two sweaters... previous blog.
The above 2009 project (Cats & Birds) is finished!
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011


Everybody needs them... everybody makes them!  I decided that my knitter friends don't need knits... but they need project bags.
I looked up (googled) how-to sites, and since I needed to get one (above) in the mail ASAP, I never found what I was looking for.  I 'reinvented the wheel' and it's OK, but THEN, (sorry, Pattie) I found what I was looking for.
Thanks to Kristina, who made the "cosmetic bag" over a year ago, and a link to the tutorial she used.   I love you all!   Thanks for sharing!
My tip... I've had this little doodad for years and rarely use it, but when I do-- I'm ecstatic because it works!  I used it here to make the straps.  Makes a neat turn:  You set the iron on the folded end coming out, pull and iron.

 Here's what the bags look like before the corners are sewn, wrong side out.
 And finished!
 Project bags for everyone!  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cats and Birds

The tale of two mittens:  One originally knitted two years ago.  Birds (Fly, fly) designed by Jorid, an inspiring young woman in Northern Norway.  She has a wonderful collection of mittens and hats in many animal patterns.  I wouldn't mind knitting all of them... but I chose her first free pattern to give it a go.
Did I mention that, ahem... I didn't knit the thumb two years ago, just the hand.  And then I thought, I don't need mittens.  But this year, I decided I DO need mittens.  Well, I need them in the evenings, when I take the dog out for walks... so I pulled the one mitten out and before I knew it, I was back at Jorid's shop and purchased a companion:  Cats!  My cats love birds...  Her patterns are in Norwegian and English.
I finished up the new mitten, with thumb, and knitted the other thumb, and discovered that the first one was shorter in the cuff.  I picked up stitches at the bottom and knitted a cuff and now:
 Not a tight fit in the cuff, but they are super long...10 1/2" long so they cover a great deal.  I used Rauma 100% wool (fin ull) making them lovely warm.
 Honestly, I just checked them... the above picture makes it appear that the right hand thumb is way too high, but they are exactly the same.  It's an illusion!  The thumb starts a third of the way up the fish.
I think Jorid is extremely clever with her designs.  Who wouldn't like cat paws in the snow!  (You can find Jorid in my right side column under "Blogs I Read":  Muffins Verden which translates to "Muffin's World", and she writes solely in Norwegian.  Her pictures tell quite a story.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Those young people...."

All I can say is that it's a good thing!  If there weren't young people, we "oldies" would be stuck in a rut.  Blanket statement there!
I'm just sayin'...  Think about it.  How many new things have you tried because someone near and dear to you, someone probably MUCH younger gave you the nudge?
Here's an example:
 Think about it!  Pancakes in a can.  And not just plain ol' pancakes... Whole Wheat Organic Batter Blaster.  And not only is there "no mess, no cleanup" but they are delicious!
Breakfast: A complete meal!
I'm just sayin'....
(No, I didn't add any "Slap yo mama".)

Monday, December 19, 2011


Post Christmas!  Even though I have one week to go, I'm really feeling like it's post-Christmas.  Gifts are almost done.  One to do but the recipient is away for 2 weeks, so not a 25th deadline.
I'm really looking forward to getting back to the sweaters:  One for Juju and one for me.
And after the 25th, I have FO's to post. (Trying to keep 'some' things secret until opened.)  With a record 4 days coming up of no appointments/work/rehearsals/gigs I'm ready to do some sitting around!
Here's what's on the needles:
Size US#1 (2.5mm) needles.  For a 3 year old, to be finished by February.
And for me:
Do you want to guess?  The white line in the center is waste yarn for the sleeve opening.  The "dahlia" part is in the middle of the back.  The right front (right) is complete, with reverse stockinette at the top, which is collar.  Finished picture see Ravelry.  I'm using US#5 needles and yummy DROPS Alpaca.  I wish I could wear it NOW!  Hopefully by February.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Land Ho! A marathon sock project

Why? Why do we knitters insist on torturing ourselves, and as soon as we see the end in sight, we start lining up more... lovely objects to knit?
Yes, I truly believe that my daughter will donate my stashes, and I will do my best to knit and sew the rest of my life.  Such is my burden... lol... however, what I am referring to as torture are my recent Busy Bee Socks.   Torture no longer, I've worn them every day since binding off at Knit nite.
The torture part is the length of time it took to get them on my feet!  And, well, there was a 'little' bit of teeth gnashing with rows and rows of crossing one stitch over another.  The toes were easy:
And the foot, being stockinette on the under-side was interesting, but by the time I had completed the second 'big' honeycomb I realized I better knit these two-at-a-time.  If I hadn't, I bet this one sock would be languishing in a drawer.  But look at that wool!  I have quite a stash of sock yarn, yet when I saw this in the LYS, hand-dyed by Color Fest Fiber Arts, Ignacio, CO, it didn't take that long to find it on my needles... 65% superwash merino, 10% donegal, 25% nylon.  It has these crazy bits of blue and red barely sticking to it.  I hope they don't just fall off...
Back to the knitting.  Toes, foot, heel, all good!
Then I came to the leg.  Just as I was growing weary of the honeycomb, it doubled to cover the front and back of the leg, of course.
The one drawback to knitting two-at-a-time socks:  The stitches stretch between the needle crossover.  I pull and pull to make them as tight as I can, yet there's always that little gap.  I honestly don't see it in the above picture, so the honeycomb must absorb it, but in the cuff...
Rounds of purl for the "beehive"-- I discretely turned the gap-iness so it's not in the picture.  The honeycomb went on forever!  And I was so glad to get to the "beehive" part, but totally beaten with a board when I saw there was yet another buzzing (yet, interesting) "busy bee" design, and then the interminable "beehive was back...  I bound off with a picot bind off for fear they wouldn't go around my calf.  It tucks (or rolls) behind the 'beehive' and ... gosh... I love 'em!
Sorry, everyone, they fit me perfectly!
I must be pretty content.  I haven't started another pair of socks, where I normally do within hours.  (Finished Thursday night.)

Busy Bees - August by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence from Knit Picks Website: I used the pattern from "Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders".  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yes, We Have Our Tomatoes

The miracle of gardening late in the year.
Remember when I planted two tomato plants in ... July?  Well, BARELY July! 
And I had only one small tomato to show for it when I pulled them up towards the end of October.
Then, instead of throwing them out, I hung them up.  I did this years ago and got some satisfaction so I decided to try it again.  Amazing!  In the garage with temps from mid-40's to mid-50's, they are ripening.
I have to chastise the hub from time to time if he leaves the garage door open too long. But now that he's tasted them... no problem.
A miracle, I say! December tomatoes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sleeping cats and dog

When it's COoooLD out, the animals curl up.
Cat in the dog bed:
Dog at my chair:  Can she get a little closer to the leg?
Cat in Dalmatian chair:
Sleep tight!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Burning Desire... or

Creating warmth in December.
A few blogs ago I directed interested knitters to TechKnitter's blog.  There are three links to various topics and this one caught my attention:  A burn chart to help identify mystery fibers.
I have a few "mystery fibers".  One is several skeins of yarn from a back street Quito, Ecuador trip, and another is carefully wound into balls white wool.  Or I assume it's wool.  
So, I welcomed a science experiment where I might get some idea as to what I have in my stash.
Here's how I managed to eat up a few hours, and make the house (and my fingers) smell not so Christmasy.  
I covered a rack with foil, and assembled some tools.  I collected my mystery fibers and a few others that I knew exactly their content.  That was very helpful in educating me as to what "Burns Self-Extinguishing" and other terms mean.
I tried cotton first.  It was over quickly! 
Fingering / 4 ply
100% Cotton
196 yards / 50 grams
It burned, and wasn't self-extinguishing.  That means it burned until there was nothing left to burn. It burned and charred, leaving ash. The smell and color of the ash was difficult to evaluate, but I know it was cotton. (The label doesn't lie...?)
Fingering / 4 ply
100% Merino
191 yards / 50 grams
I had no idea cotton (or many other fibers) burn so well.  I live a sheltered life.
The catch is that fiber-blends will - well... not behave like all of the fibers in them.  The Merino above didn't want to burn, but I kept lighting it.  I was beginning to think it was a blend with nylon, but no, the label says...
My mystery fiber from Ecuador, which I had treated as some sort of synthetic, appears to behave like acrylic. 
Yarn from Quito, Acrylic

 It sputtered and burned and melted into a neat, stinky pile. I determined it Burns, Not Self-Extinguishing, and Melts.  I couldn't discern what odor (vinegar, burning meat or tumeric: first of all, I didn't WANT to inhale any of the smoke, so I guess I'm not much of a scientist!) but the remains were definitely Soft Black Irregular Ash.  That's the part that scented my fingers.  I thought they just smelled 'smokey'.
by Patons
Worsted / 10 ply
100% Wool
210 yards / 100 grams
I tested "Classic Wool" from Patons, and it behaved exactly like wool, and identical to my white wool from the '80's.  
Top left: White Wool
Bottom:  Patons Classic Wool
Right: Acrylic
Yes, I'm quite sure that white wool traveled with me from Norway to the States in 1986 only to re-surface a few months ago in a container of other timeless craft items.  Wool sure is resilient!  I see no damage.  It probably was knitted, then frogged...more than 25 years ago!  (That's humbling...)
Christmas is coming!  Later, gator!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Knitting Hats

Granny K has been knitting hats for 9 grandchildren this season.  A definite improvement in her mojo compared to last year when the chosen project was slippers.
I decided to try some hats too.  Three so far:
One for me, with rhinestone snowflake that was my mother's:
 And two for friends to go with their last year gifts.

After thinking and examining my friends' heads, I have decided to frog the purply one and make it bigger.  I hate it when it isn't big enough, and since it took me 3 days, with many distractions the first time, I think I have time.
Patterns used:
#1 and 2: Head Huggers by Gail Tanquary from Ann Norling #55, with my own variations; Yarn #1: Wool-Ease Glitter / Multi by Lion BrandAran / 10 ply, 78% Acrylic, 19% Wool, 3% Polyester, 162 yards / 70 grams; #2: Pastaza by Cascade YarnsAran / 10 ply, 50% Wool, 50% Llama, 132 yards / 100 grams#3: Zig Zag Beanie by Dawn Leeseman from Interweave Knits, Fall 2008;  Yarn: Shepherd Worsted Multi by Lorna's LacesAran / 10 ply, 100% Wool, 225 yards / 114 grams

Monday, December 5, 2011

That's a lot of Ribbing!

The last report from Thursday's group. Jenn posed with her finished afghan:
I guess that's ALL the yarn she had, poor, young woman!
Congratulations, Jenn!  Hope you can stay warm in SE NM.  LOL

Who knew? Little gifts

It isn't often that I work on small projects, with BIG needles. (I classify any needles larger than #3 as big.)
I've been delighted to see that little projects don't take months (like so many of my other projects) so I keep thinking that since Christmas isn't here yet, I still have time.
Here are a few of my 'make one a day' gifts.

Will they bleed when wet?  Probably:  I'll make a little warning label.
Warning: Skin will have a sunburn glow with use.
LOL (I have some great friends--who don't read this blog!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Topics: Discuss!

Another successful night with the Knit One, Drink, Too gang.
Topics:  (Too numerous to think of them all, but here are some high-lights.)

1. How can a child be "non-gendered"? Only SA Fran can entertain us with that one.  She insists that since she will be the nanny very soon, the mystery will be revealed.

2.  What size should a hat be?  Try it ON!! Simone's husband has a big head.  Will the body of a newborn pullover be big enough for a man's head?  I tried on my hat, convinced myself that it was time to decrease only to try it on after 6 rows of decrease and discover I must have been 'drinking, too'...  Solution 1:  Rip it back and continue another inch before decrease.  Solution 2: Decrease every row and stuff the hat.  (That sure loses something out of context! LOL)

3.  Guinea pigs wear sweaters.  No, really!  See HERE.

4.  Should we eat meat? pro's and con's...

5.  Let's take a vote:  Who's too lazy to put on their shoes? Have you ever left the house without tying your shoes? or just scuffed along without bending over? Guilty! There, at the door, were my shoes with the heels smashed down.

These and other important topics are the reason that we get together every 2 weeks!
Oh, yeah, we knit a little, too.

Especially proud of MB's completed, lengthened, and gorgeously cabled sweater.   Turn off the heat and put it on!
 Why is this such a big event?  It's 6 months (or more) in the making! 

Baby is not a newborn at 4 months:  Baby-wear is now to be hubby-wear.  The camo hat:
Baby soft, hubby will use it for hunting. (What's wrong with this scenario? LOL)

What became of that baby sweater?

Granny K rewarded herself after picking up a bazillion stitches on her 5th hat of the season. What's going on here?  Boucle yarn disguised as a headband with stitches picked up to continue and further disguise itself as a hat.  The Christmas of the Hat at Granny K's!  One for each "grand".

SA Fran completed leg warmers for anyone "that" size.  A warm up project which will lead to guinea pig sweaters.  We BETTER get some pictures of that project.  I hope she writes to us from NJ...

The never-ending, almost finished, front and sleeve... Yee Girl has no problem keeping busy for YEARS on this one.  I think she likes the color.  I know WE do!

Jee Hostess, who just tore down her kitchen ceiling, is happily placing beads on her scarf while worrying about the cast on edge.  I feel her pain--"It will be fine."

Jenn came late, finishes her last day of student teaching tomorrow, and has a job that starts in January which will take her far away.  Granny K is making the most of the next week.  Jenn curses the skein that won't quit. (I heard her sigh...)  Her afghan is getting out of hand, and, I'm SOOOOO sorry I didn't get a picture.  Granny K, help me out!

Me, I took 3 UFO's and frogged the ONE I worked on.  It's to be worn tomorrow evening... getting cold around here! Of course, I'll be at a keyboard with my bare finger tips tomorrow and 20ºF.  Brrr...


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