Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tracy's Wish List

This year, I jotted things down as it occurred to me that I would like them. This helped prevent me from buying them for myself, and to compile a great wish list. I hope this is helpful for all you shoppers out there!

From Stitch in Time:
Claudia Hand Painted sock yarn
Assorted books at Stitch in Time (see my amazon wish list for books)
Gift certificates

Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa foot and body products

Fleece Artist sock yarn (one source is

Nice pajamas, size medium (all my larges are falling down)

Amazon wish list:

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Originally uploaded by Devine Knitting
Here is the Berlin Sweater from Simply Knits 3. It is warm, pink, and so comfy. The pattern is 2x2 ribbing but diagonally, so you move your stitches over every other row. That's a lot of ribbing! I do wish that it weren't so boxy and didn't have such long armholes. Next time, I will follow my gut and add waist shaping to pretty much anything I make again ever.

I used 6 skeins of Berroco's Ultra Alpaca, so this sweater was less than $50 to make. I trimmed the front bands with some chocolate brown of the same yarn that I had on hand (I needed to lessen the pink).

My favorite part of the sweater is the flare on the cuffs. I love it!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The UFO Poll

In knitting news, I am halfway through 2 big projects. I need to get some photos up of them, some recently finished things, as well as a truckload of yarn that I've acquired the past few months.

I'm loving the new Knitting Daily newsletters. Isn't Sandi Wiseheart doing a great job?

The UFO poll has me thinking about all the things I am not finishing and why. I should organize this on Ravelry (yes I got in!!!) but until I do all that, here's my list:

1. The Charley sweater for Rob. It's more than half-way done, but Rob lost 70 pounds between the time I cast on the sweater and got the back and first raglan sleeve done. Now I am torn between finishing a sweater that will certainly be too large or frogging so much cable work and ribbing.
2. Dale of Norway cardigan. The front and back are finished and even cut. It just needs sleeves. The sleeves seemed like a huge undertaking 2 years ago, but now I'm a much more proficient knitter now. I need to get on this!
3. Socks for Rob. One is done but might be a bit short, so I am loathe to case on 4. Socks for Marty. One is done and has been for a year or so. He will love these and I need to finish them!
4. 2 random kids' sweaters. No interest in finishing.
5. Felted slippers for my brother. I got halfway thru the first using Noro and realized that, to make a matching pair, I would need 4 skeins of Kureyon and wasn't willing to pay that much for a pair of slippers. So these need to be ripped back to the sole and started with some nice Lopi, with the Noro as a striped accent. Good for holiday knitting this year.
6. Charlene throw. I love this blanket, knit using Berroco's Chinchilla. I have about 1/7th done and just get so bored with the endlessness of it.
7. Gauntlets for Bethany. I am going to run out of yarn and can't finish these until I come up with a solution.

There are more. I know there are. I will add more later as I come across them. I also have the yarn and patterns for these projects:
1. Koigu Kersti sweater from Knitting from the Top Down
2. Noro Silk Garden sweater from Knitting from the Top Down
3. Knitter's Stash cardigan in blue Berroco Pleasure
4. Knitter's Stash cardigan in red Berroco Pleasure
5. Sweater for Rob in baby Alpaca
6. Watermelon mittens
7. Kiwi mittens
8. Beaded Christmas stockings for both boys in Ultra Alpaca
9. Socks for me
10. Socks for the boys

(There are more of these too!)

Friday, September 14, 2007


My 20-month-old has been saying "yarn" for awhile now. Usually when trying to touch it with banana- and oatmeal-covered fingers. But my eyes teared up this morning as I was walking him down the stairs, sock-in-progress in one hand and his tiny fingers in the other, and he said "knitting." In the cutest, sweetest voice possible. A couple steps later, he bent down to rub the dog's paw and say "tickle tickle," then kiss him on the nose. I think it's official now that I have the best baby in the universe.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Patiently waiting

* You signed up on July 3, 2007
* You are #12990 on the list.
* 1707 people are ahead of you in line.
* 18101 people are behind you in line.
* 36% of the list has been invited so far

I actually didn't sign up for Ravelry right away... I was there, I could have, but thought, nah, I'll wait til it's open to all. A month later, I went back and did sign up and am still waiting, patiently. I want to go there and see what people are making. I want to see if anyone else has knit the Berlin sweater from Simply Knit 3. Because I am having a problem with it. I wonder how long it takes to get 1707 people in?

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Tonight at my son's first official soccer league practice, I had a spare moment to pull out some knitting (the Cobblestone pullover that I had to cast on the other night, even tho my pink Berlin sweater is nearly finished and I have been so diligent about not casting on any other projects). Not three stitches in, 2 very friendly women nearly pounced on me to see what I was knitting. So fun! We talked knitting the rest of the practice. As it turns out, the two are sisters from South Africa whose mother is an award-winning knitter of the most complex kind. One sister, Louise, loves Kaffe Fassett and has completed many of his patterns. The other, Caroline, is more of a beginner but was inspired by our conversation to sign up for the class I take at my LYS. They both love Rowan and fine yarns and said that their mother could stock a store with her yarn room. I am so excited about spending more time with these delightful women at future soccer practices and games (now that it's a league, we have soccer two days a week)

Thanks for the kind comments on the beaded bridal bag. I am so darn proud of that bag!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ta Da!

Finally, I am unveiling the beaded bridal bag that I knit for my sister-in-law. I am more proud of this bag than anything else I've made; although this was not the most-difficult project I've ever knit, it was the most laborious, enjoying, and completely dazzling thing I've ever done. The pictures cannot do it justice, but here they are.

First, the lining. What a royal pain this was! I had to do it twice because the first time, I used a nice trim that ended up making the lining to thick and the clasp wouldn't snap. So I did a simple machine stitch and it is just fine:

The handle was the only part I didn't do myself. I was going to use a chain but couldn't find one that matched the vintage look of the purse frame. I had an experienced beader do whatever she wanted, and she did a wonderful job:

Did I mention that my kid was the ring bearer? He did a great job and was absolutely adorable. I was sure that he'd cartwheel down the aisle or toss the ringbearer pillow up in the air. Instead, he walked nicely down with a great smile, not too fast and not too slow, and went straight to the groom to hand him the pillow. Precious. Halfway through the ceremony, he was heard by all as he asked, "Are they married yet?" He was perfect.

So here is the entire purse in various poses:

The frame is lovely. A replica of a vintage frame, I chose it for the hearts embossed in it:

By the end of the night, the ring bearer collapsed on the floor and put his pillow to good use:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Oh Mexico

So Rob had to go to Mexico for work. Not anywhere exciting, just an industrial town near Mexico City. I asked him to please get me some yarn while he was there.

I never considered how difficult this might be. I did look online for yarn stores in Mexico and didn't find any. But I took that as more an indication of the Internet's inadequacies rather than an indication of how challenging it might be to find a yarn store in a small industrial Mexican town. I guess it didn't occur to me that most of his co-workers would be men and that they wouldn't also be knitters.

Diligent husband that he is, Rob asked around for a yarn store. It was probably as painful as if I had asked him to bring me home some Mexican tampons. He had to ask a lot of people, and none of them knew what he was talking about. Finally, the boss of the guy he was there to work with offered to send his wife to the market to see what she could come up with. Here's what she found:

I don't know how much it cost or what the yardage is. I am thrilled with this unique souvenir. It is soft and minimally-processed. It's still full of lanolin and has plenty of bits of straw and whatnot mixed in:

I'm not sure yet if I will dye it or felt it or just keep it in my Southern Living Gail Pittman bowl forever =) I do think I'll be sending a nice thank you gift of (maybe the Swallowtail Shawl!) something knitted to the woman who shopped for me.

(I really did cringe at how my husband relayed the painfulness of trying to find the yarn.)

Monday, August 06, 2007

A diversion

So the pink sweater is coming along, but after binding off one sleeve and seeing the mistake and knowing I had to rip out 6 inches, I decided to take a break. I came across a cute little burp cloth that I had started for a baby who's now old enough to hold down his breakfast, and decided to convert it into a dish towel. Then I made a matching wash cloth. (I really know how to avoid ripping out hard work!) The pattern is from the Mason-Dixon book, and the yarn is from a huge cone of Peaches & Cream:

After finishing these, I cast on the other sleeve, finished it, then ripped back the other sleeve and started making some progress. I just needed a little diversion!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What a difference a year makes!

One year ago today, my sweet little baby was not quite 7 months old. At 6 in the morning, Rob and I and handed off our precious little one to a very nice anesthesiologist with an English accent at the Mott's Children's Hospital of U-M. We spent the rest of the day anxiously waiting for reports from a pediatric neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon. By 5:00 that evening, our son was in the surgical recovery room receiving a pint of blood and IV morphine. He looked like this and I didn't recognize him at first:

A week later, we all came home from the hospital. The swelling gradually went down, the stitches dissolved, the hair grew back... and we recovered. It probably took this entire year for me to feel OK again. I still get a real sick feeling whenever he bonks his head on something, so maybe I'm not fully recovered. Still, I know that the experience of having a major surgery (a craniectomy - skull reconstruction - to repair a fused sagittal suture, a condition called craniosynostosis) on my babe traumatized me while simultaneously proving my good fortune. That his condition could be treated, that we had access to the best specialists in the world, that we had insurance to pay for much of it, that we all walked out of there with little more than a few months of night terrors... I cannot believe how lucky we are. And how awful that was to go through. And how much I love my kiddos.

My biggest complaint today is that I don't have enough time to knit. I've got nothing to complain about and so much more than so many others in this country and the world. I think I better go knit some hats for some preemies!

Here's what Jackson looks like today, with his older brother:

Someone please smack me the next time I bitch about how hard it is to take care of these two beautiful human beings who love me more than the air they breathe.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I'm enjoying a few minutes of blog-surfing time (wow do I enjoy Crazy Aunt Purl!) and came across a funny article on -R-'s blog and I just can't stop laughing about an idea she gave me (without her knowing, of course, I mean, she doesn't even know I read her blog much less know me to give me an idea). She's talking about her husband and tells about this event:
The radio people were discussing a recent case, and H called in to comment on some legal aspect of the case. He also totally lied about where he lived, for no real reason other than he is random. He also gives his name as "Diego" whenever he has to make a reservation at a restaurant. His name is not Diego. Nor is his name uncommon or hard to pronounce. H just likes to live on the edge by having a reservation-making alter ego.

Well I am the one who always has to call in to restaurants and things like that, and being the home-bound family of unruly boys that we are, those calls are typically for carry-out orders. We don't go places that take reservations, anyway. So I got this funny idea to next time I have to call in for food that Rob is going to go pick up, I use my reservation-making alter ego. So when he goes to Mancino's or Ocean Garden he has to say, "Pick up for Dora" or "Order for the Rockefeller family." Or, even have to guess which name I put it under (I always tell him when he leaves, because I trust him with the lives of our children and to operate a vehicle, but not to deduce his own surname at the Chili's window). But what if I stop telling him and he gets to the place and he doesn't know, and after his first name and his last name and my first name and my maiden name don't work, maybe he has to call me and then I can tell him, "it's under the name: Cat Deeley."

This idea has me so tickled that I can't wait til my husband gets back to town so that I can order take-out.

Friday, July 20, 2007


So many FO's - I'm so excited and I don't know what to do with myself!

I blocked the cardigan and sewed on the buttons:

I used the "Neckdown Summer Cardigan" pattern from Knitting Pure and Simple. The pattern was great. If I ever knit it again, I'll narrow the sweater a bit on the waist. It feels a bit wide there, but I like the fit otherwise. The yarn used is El D. Mouzakis Super-10 Butterfly mercerized cotton. It was awful to work with - so slippery and miserable - but it comes in great, fun colors. (Funny aside: someone on knitlist-ads was selling what I thought was this same yarn and even though I hate it, I still bought the yarn. It was $1/ball, how could I resist? I was so happy and surprised when I opened the box and it was some other cotton yarn!)

Then, I cast off the Lucy bag (from Two Old Bags). It still needs to be felted but it's cute:

You close the bag by pulling the long handle thru the short handle. I think I'll embellish it with one of my cute animal buttons and give it away!

I've also finished the sleeve of the Berlin sweater. I'm using Ultra Alpaca and I love the yarn. (There is a mistake in the sleeve, and and some point I have to rip back about 4 inches of the sleeve. But I'm waiting til the sting goes out a bit. Maybe you can see the mistake in the picture.)

THEN (Yes there is more!) I cast off the Swallowtail shawl. I love it and can't wait to block it. I used the new Addi Turbo lace needles and they were great. I was able to make the nupps with ease. The yarn is Malabrigo laceweight and it's so soft. I'll post more pics after I block it, but here it is on the lawn:

On to new projects! Going to spend the weekend converting the yarn room back into the guest room, and I'm sure I'll come across a project or two to cast on =)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Summertime fun

Lots going on over here!

The bridal shower is over - it was lots of work to get our house in shape to host such event (we are perfectly suited to host playgroups of 20+ children, but adults? Not so much), but it was well worth the trouble as I now have beautiful, weed-free gardens, a painted dining room (with a table and chairs, no less!), and happy memories of hosting family and friends for a party that honored my brother and his fiancee. I hope they loved it! The best part, and my favorite of all the planning and ideas, were the desserts. Michelle from Sweets 'n Moore outdid herself!

The bride and groom cake:

With matching cookie favors:

And a lovely display of desserts:

We recovered from the festivities in time to celebrate the 4th with family and then take our first family "vacation." Rob and I haven't been anywhere for more than a long weekend since we visited Brazil back BK (before kids). Marty has been on a plane for a wonderful weekend in Jekkyl Island, Georgia. That and a few drives to Chicago are it for our vacations. So I was pretty excited when my friend Jodie offered us her gorgeous summer home in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. We visited them there over Memorial Day and knew how fantastic it was - spacious, beautifully appointed and decorated, with lots of space, a pool, and a hottub. I had dreams of knitting by the pool while my children played and then spending the evenings drinking wine and talking with my husband while the children slept. These dreams were dashed progressively over the course of this "vacation," which is more aptly called "how much candy will it take to get 5 minutes of peace" or "summer of family pink eye."

It wasn't all bad. The house was great, it was wonderful to get away from the day-to-day duties at home, and the kids had fun. Plus we saw my Uncle Mike, which was the highlight of the trip. I had about one hour of knitting poolside, lots of knitting time in the car, and did make a ton of progress. I finished this within hours of our arrival (it still needs blocking):

And here we are, sun-kissed, tired, sick, but happy:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just when you think you're ahead

I have an issue - fear of finishing. Even worse, I have a fear of not having enough projects in the works. The two combined explain why I have at least 10 projects, all of which are within hours of being FOs, yet am compelled to cast on at least 3 new projects.

Case in point: My formerly-known-as American Idol summer cotton cardigan, now known as the So You Think You Can Dance cardigan, needs only one sleeve and a button band. Probably 2 nights of knitting, less than 4 hours total - I even have the buttons ready. It's been in this condition for more than 3 weeks. Some people might rush to finish this so that they could wear it lots of times before it starts snowing again in Michigan. But not someone with a fear-of-finishing/fear-of-not-enough-WIPs complex. Oh no. THAT person would cast on an alpaca sweater and insist to herself that she finish the sleeve before she touch the summer cardigan. In June. And she would shop for more wool. And she would work on the steeks for her Dale of Norway cardigan. The one that was abandoned 2 years ago and only needs sleeves. Somehow that sweater was in desperate need of steeking. Sewing and cutting up that sweater helped me avoid finishing the Swallowtail shawl, which is within 10 rows of being finished.

I know I get sad when I finish beloved projects and beloved books. But finishing those things frees me to work on other projects and to read other books. I need to get control of myself!

In other news, I'm almost finished with the absolutely perfect beaded bridal bag. I added the Swarovski crystal fringe and attached the frame. I do need to sew the lining, but it is otherwise ready to accompany my brother's fiancee on her wedding day!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Gleaners Campaign

If you read my recent post about feeding the hungry, or if you read about my mom's campaign back at Tinky McFrog'splace, then I hope you've summoned up a few dollars to send to Gleaners of southeast Michigan.

If you have, please send an e-mail to tdoell -at- gmail -dot- com. I'm going to raffle off my new Fleece Artist yarn to one of the donors. Thanks for giving!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What $155 of silk looks like

Just a few days ago, unveiled their Impressionist series of yarns that will be produced by wonderful yarnists (hah! that's yarn artists!) to replicate paintings by such artists as Monet, Renoir, etc. I could not resist (despite being broke on a rather tight budget at the moment) ordering a gorgeous kit to make this silk side-to-side jacket with a hem that uses beaded silk.

The unopened box was about the size of a Lands' End catalog. I almost didn't open the box - I couldn't believe that a) my order arrived so quickly or b) that my order would fit in that small box. But it did and it did.

Still, I was stunned by the beauty of this yarn. Of course, it's silk so I wasn't surprised that it was beautiful but the colorway is just so gorgeous. It really replicates Van Gogh's Irises. Please click the picture to make it bigger so you can see several things:
1)I unpacked 100% silk yarn and threw it on the ground to take its picture
2)The left-most skein is the beaded silk. Stunning!
3)The colors are true (on my monitor anyway) and worth the look

Now that I look on their web site (went there to get the picture) I see that most of the colorways are sold out. I'm so glad that I ordered this when I did and I really look forward to starting this project. I am going to delay starting it until I've got a few items off the needles. I want to fully focus on this project and not be needled by the unfinished buggers. Plus we are hosting a bridal shower here in 2 weeks and I really need to get my house in order (and paint the dining room) so I think this project will be a fitting reward for hosting a fabulous shower for my future sister-in-law!

In other knitting, I did cast off the cotton cardigan. Not sure if it is long enough. I'm going to decide after I finish the sleeves and try it on with something more fitting. Can you see my little visitor who popped in to see what mommy was doing in the bathroom?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Feeding the Hungry

Hello friends -

My mother, Darlene, has been raising funds to feed the hungry of Livingston County and southeast Michigan for over 15 years. The unemployment rate and economy of Michigan, coupled with disasters in other areas of our country (which diverts donations outside of our region), have left Gleaners in a difficult position; they are in danger of not meeting their budgetary needs. Many of the people they feed are children.

My mom has taught me that being a good citizen means helping others and being good to our planet. Because I can feed my children and meet their most basic needs for nutritious food and a clean bed, I am richer than many of my neighbors. I hope you will join me in supporting her current fund raising effort, detailed in the below e-mail.

"Paulauski, Darlene" wrote:

Subject: My campaign for Gleaners
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 09:40:16 -0400
From: "Paulauski, Darlene"

Dear Friends and Family Members,

As you probably know, I have the honor of working in the development department at Gleaners to raise funds on behalf of our hungry neighbors in southeast Michigan . I am usually writing grants or corporate solicitations, but everyone in the development department has been asked to come up with creative ideas to help raise funds so we can meet our budget for our fiscal year ending June 30. I decided to do a friends and family campaign via e-mail.

I hope you will help make it successful with a generous gift or pledge! My goal is to raise $10,000. I ask that after you make your gift that you also ask one or more of your friends or family members to contribute by forwarding my email to them along with your personal note. If you haven’t participated in a “viral” campaign before, you will be surprised at how generously people respond. I need your help to reach my goal, so please consider asking a friend or family member.

Our entire region in southeast Michigan is really struggling, and I would be grateful for your help.

Please click on the Donate Now button or link below to make a gift by credit card or call 866-GLEANERS, ext 241. You may also mail your gift to Gleaners, 2131 Beaufait, Detroit MI 48207. And if you can’t donate right now, your pledge will count toward our current budget.

Please mention Darlene’s Campaign in the comment section if you donate online or on your check in the memo section.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

313-923-3535, ext 242

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Slowly but surely

My WIPs are getting bigger. Not much to see, but the swallowtail shawl is getting longer, as is the cardigan. Progress on the shawl is much improved now that I have a pair of the new Addi lace needles. I knew they'd be great for overall lace knitting, but I wasn't sure if they'd work for the nupps on swallowtail. I'd been using my 0000 DPN for the purl-5-together bane, but now I can use the working lace needle for that technique and it's much faster. Still, I really have to focus on each row, and I haven't had much focus time lately.

I spent a lot of time in a car over the holiday weekend with our trip to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, so the cardigan grew a few inches. Nice because until now, I'd only worked on it during American Idol, and during the season finale I realized that I might not finish the sweater. Between the boring stockinette and the horrible slippery cotton, AI was the only thing that made this thing bearable. The car trip was good for its progress, and now I can hopefully finish it during So You Think You Can Dance :)

I know I won't get much done this week, as our neighborhood garage sale is this week and we have a lot of preparation to do. I've committed with to nightly effort after the kids go to bed. Maybe next week I'll get to cast something off!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gonna knock you off your feet

I'm taking a big step today. Something I haven't done in years. I'm casting on a pair of socks with yarn from my stash. Seriously.

I'm really proud of myself. I even -get this- got over the little twitch in my eye when I realized I'd only have enough sock yarn left to make 11 pairs. I really like even sets of things - pairs, dozens, etc. But I wound the yarn and cast on anyway. Yay me!

Just a few minutes later, the mail carrier arrived with 3 more pairs of sock yarn. Instant karma?

That's a skein of Fleece Artist and 2 colors of Northern Sunshine Designs, a nice shop in Canada where I received excellent service, beautiful yarn, and some very nice sock patterns from Darlene (go to her site, she has some great free patterns too). Here's a close-up of the Fleece Artist:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I don't like Mondays

If by Mondays you mean mercerized cotton. This stuff is the suck to work with. It's so slippery that I have to tug every single stitch, which is impossible to do evenly every time. If I were in the round, that would be manageable, but since knits and purls slant differently, my stockinette stitch looks like crap. I have made some progress, past the underarms and nothing but st st for a good 10" more.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Two years in the making

I cast 64 stitches on for these simple ribbed socks two years ago. They were my first socks, and I used Koigu and US1 needles. The first sock took forever. I used to think ribbing was so difficult. (can you hear me whining in italics?) But when I turned that first heel, I fell in love with the magic of knitting socks. I've made many other pairs since then, for other people, but of course these socks for me have languished. Just like the fresh fruit that I don't think I am entitled to eat as it is for the kids, I'm also not entitled to hand-knit socks. NOT ANYMORE SUCKERS! I'm going to eat fresh strawberries AND knit stuff for myself and ~get this~ DRINK HOT COFFEE. All you kids can bite me cuz mama is hungry and tired and her feet are cold!

So we went to a gymnastics birthday party today for children from 3-5 years old. I know enough about gymnastics events to know that you have to take your shoes off (not going to be embarrassed about the state of my feet or socks at another one of those again!) so how fantastic for me to wear my very own pair of lovely socks? Yay!!!

I did show them off and mention a few times that *hey I knit these* but only one other knitter was there and she was nice enough to compliment me every time I begged for recognition.

Besides the wonderful feeling of putting these on, I really appreciate how much faster the second one was knit - I've really come a long way!

Friday, May 04, 2007

New Books!

No new yarn yet this week (some Mountain Colors sock yarn may have snuck its way in but I turned a blind eye, and hope you will too) but I do have 2 new books: the beautiful Poems of Color that I ordered directly from Interweave Press (Amazon had a 3-week delay, but was cheaper) and, from my LYS, Knitting Beyond the Basics. This little gem has lovely patterns that are interesting, challenging, classic knits. There is a beaded lace tank that is begging me to be cast on, and a great selection of sweaters as well. I just noticed that there aren't any reviews posted about the book on Amazon. Does that mean I am the first to buy it?!?

On a side note, I'd like to thank my neighbor for waking me and my sick kid up at 6:45 this morning. Not only do your dogs bark all day, and your teenage boys yak it up all night, but now you are mowing your lawn at 7am. It's great that you can cover all the time slots. Those pesky quiet periods were really getting to me. Silly old me thought I'd be able to enjoy fresh air and open windows between the hours of 1AM and 8AM!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The problem with too many WIPs...

is that they all move so slowly. No pics to post today, just a musing about why I do things the way that I do. I have stalled projects all over the place, and yet didn't even pause to cast on the Swallowtail Shawl from IK Fall 06. To have 2 lace projects going while also working a beaded bag with intense finishing needs and a looming deadline, not to mention the summer cardigan that must be finished before the season to wear it ends, add to that an unfinished sock, which needs about one inch and then a toe and then can be enjoyed with its long-finished mate, and OH! let's not mention the sock yarn, patterns, and lace-weight that just piled its way into my stash (if I put it away then I can forget that I bought it and don't have to feel bad about it), and my this sentence has gotten away from me... MY POINT: my knitting is all over the place, taking over the house, and nothing is being finished because new things keep casting on. My problem is not with that.

My problem is with my sadness over my limited knitting time... there are so many things that I want to make, to work on, patterns and books and things waiting for me to cast them on, and it seems a shame to be unable to do so. I sacrifice as much sleep as I can, and that gives me about 4 hours a night to knit, if I totally ignore my home, which I do. Some nights I get caught up on the Internet or shopping or pattern browsing and that limits me even further. I know that some day, my children will be old enough for me to knit with them around, or even for them to leave the house without me, and I will have a lot more time then. I don't want to rush their growing up - it's going so fast already with Jackson - so I must find a way to reconcile my desire to cast on and knit things with my motherhood role.

I am in love with the Silken Spencer jacket in this '06 fall IK. I think that may be next. After the beaded bag, summer cardi, and koigu sock. Everything else can bite me.

Monday, April 23, 2007

One Fine Yarn

My patterns arrived today from One Fine Yarn (isn't that a great song?). I ordered three patterns from Hyphen Boy and I am so excited. I ordered the "Great Excuse Scarf" because I love the stripes, I owe DH a decent scarf, and the patterns calls for Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool, which I have in massive quantities and colors (I think I will use orange, blue, and khaki for one).

I also ordered the "Modular Shell Felted Backpack" because the design is so neat and I love seeing how creative people were in their choice of colors. I hope to do something cool and not just copy the colors that someone else came up with. I think I will make it as a tote instead of a backpack. The link shows all the cool things people did with their color choices.

Finally, there's the "Ocean Waves Shawl" and it's very pretty but I can't remember what my motivation was to order it. I mean, I am surrounded by shawl patterns and OH I REMEMBER NOW!!!! I ordered it because Hyphen Boy said the pattern would include his masterful concept of "instructions for making a flip-book for the lace pattern. Cards printed on card-stock can be cut out, hole-punched, and assembled with ring clasps. Each card has the instructions for a pair of right-side and wrong-side rows, and when each one has been completed, you just flip the page over. It's my best tip for lace knitting without losing your place in the pattern, even when you put your knitting down for some time." I NEED THIS because I am just as likely to cast this on and walk away from it for a year as I am to compulsively work on it for 10 days straight.

So 3 more patterns added to the collection... someday I will show my pattern stash, which is comparable to the yarn stash but easier to get away with because of the nature of its size. I do have binders for all my patterns and each is labeled. I'm a bit behind on putting some away, especially since I print so many of them, and those get put into plastic sleeves. Quite tidy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Busy Hands had a sale. Need I say more?

Of the purchases, this one had to be cast on immediately. Although it's annoying to be working this slippery mercerized cotton and all its YOs, the colors make me believe that we might actually have a summer approaching.

The top-down cardigan pattern is from Knitting Pure and Simple.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I've been making great progress on the beaded bag for Kristyn's wedding. I am past the half-way point, meaning I have completed 70 rows of k2, sl 6 beads, repeat 16 times... and I've finished 18 of the next 70 rows of the second half. This is good because we now have a shower date set, which means I have a deadline. If I didn't have deadlines like Christmas and birthdays, I'd never finish anything (and those don't always work for me anyway).

So the bag is really getting heavy, and after stringing my 5th hank, I started counting. I figured there were 100 beads per string, 10 strings per hank, and I made it halfway through with 4 hanks. So 10x100x4=4000 per half, or 8000 beads total. Doesn't that seem like a lot of beads? After that calculation, I counted the number of beads per string and discovered there are actually 300 beads per, so triple the total to 24,000. Is that normal? Granted, it is a nice size purse, not an amulet size but an actual evening bag, so I expected a lot of beads. But had you asked me, even after stringing them all, I'd have guessed in the neighborhood of 1500 to 2000. And this is why I never come close in the contests where you have to guess the # of pennies or jelly beans in a jar.

I hope it won't be too heavy!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I started the Lillelam sweater awhile ago, from the Dale of Norway Soft Treasures for Little Ones. I really wanted to finish it by Easter, and in the end (even hopped up on steroids) had to make a vest of it. The bad news is that a sweater with dropped sleeves doesn't fit quite right as a vest. The good news is that I made the largest size (24 months) so I have until next year to knit the sleeves and the coordinating fair isle pants and by then it should either fit Jackson properly or be entirely too small. And honestly, not to be too biased, my cute little guy can pull of just about any outfit.

I did make some changes to the pattern (besides omitting sleeves). I knit in the round and so made some adjustments to the # of stitches. I found this much more desirable than purling with two colors on US2 needles. It may have been lazy, but I can promise that this sweater would never have gotten past the acres of lattice stitch if it weren't all knitting. Never mind that whole fence. Since I was knitting in the round, I couldn't do the intarsia for the sheep. No worries, I just did him in duplicate stitch. That change did make the second layer of embroidery, the fluffy loop stitch, a bit more challenging, but in the end it worked perfectly. I also modified the neck and shoulder area to have a button row, to accommodate Jackson's large head. This added extra time and a trip to Joann's that I could have lived without, especially since my husband pulled the sweater right on over Jackson's head without unbuttoning those buttons. I keep telling myself that he'll need them next year if he really is going to wear it again, even though I know the majority of his head growth has already occurred.

So since I knit this thing in the round, I had to steek for the arm holes. I didn't bother adding any stitches or anything, just took two stitches in either side of each center stitch and outlined them with contrasting color yarn.

I then machine stitched over those contrasting yarns, which now cannot be removed, as they are sewn in. Others might have basted in a single line and sewed along side it, but I am a lousy seamstress and I need those kind of guidelines to not get crooked. My mom stopped by while I was sewing and I said, "Oh good, you can witness my cutting up this vest!" She pretty much screamed in horror, but I made her take pictures anyway.

Once the stitches were cut, I seamed up the shoulders and picked up stitches for the armbands (no need to mention the 2 days I spent trying to figure out a facing) and neckband. The fit wasn't as perfect as I'd have liked, but I think when I get around to those sleeves it will be. And I did learn a lot about embroidery, steeking, and modifying patterns. I loved this project and loved making that fluffy little sheep!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Jackson's New Sweater

Last August, my sweet baby needed surgery. He was not quite 7 months old. His surgery was quite serious - a cranial vault reconstruction to correct a condition called craniosynostosis, and we were paralyzed with fear. In the waiting room on the day of his surgery, I cast on this special sweater for him. Knit on size US3 needles with Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino, it's the picot cardigan from Fiona McTague's Knits for Babies and Toddlers. I knit it several sizes larger than he wore at the time, putting all my faith and courage that he would be fine and healthy to wear it soon. He spent a week in the hospital and about 5 minutes at home before declaring himself fully recovered. Though I haven't quite shaken the experience, he has never looked back. Here he is, modeling his new garb:

You may be able to see the button loops that I tatted. They were my first practice rings and I thought they were perfect as loops. Also, you may be able to see that the button band is a bit too long. This is what happens when you try to pick up the number of stitches the pattern tells you to pick up instead of using your own fool head to pick up the number that will actually give you a favorable result. Someday I may re-knit that button band, but I want my healthy thriving little babe to wear it while it still fits. There will be plenty of time for fixing it before I pack it up as his heirloom sweater.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fed Ex

Please explain why Fed Ex must ring my doorbell every time they make a delivery? And if that can't be answered, then why must they deliver during the only knitting time I have in daylight, AKA Jackson's nap time? Have you ever seen a woman with laryngitis try to chase after a barking dog, yelling STOP at the top of her no-voice, whilst a ball of yarn, still connected to a sweater, is wrapped around her foot? Well if you haven't, let me tell you that there are few more pathetic sites. In the end, I did not catch up to the dog before he made it to the foyer, which is directly under the nursery, and proceeded to perform the only job for which he exists - barking at the Fed Ex guy.

Felted Easter Basket

Felted Easter Egg Basket


Size 13 – 24” circular needles
Size 13 DPNs
2 skeins (100 yards each) worsted weight yarn for main color (or 1 skein bulky)
2 skeins (100 yards each) worsted weight yarn for contrasting color (optional) (or one skein bulky)
1 skein novelty yarn (optional)

I used a contrasting color for the basket bottom and brim. If using worsted weight yarn, two strands are held together throughout. Both Berocco Ultra Alpaca and Manos del Uruguay worked well for this project. Berocco’s Squiggle was a great novelty yarn with a grassy texture for the brim. A mohair blend also produced a nice fuzzy brim.

To form basket bottom:
Using contrasting color and circular needle, cast on 17 stitches. Knit every row for 32 rows, or until you have a square. Do not cast off.

To form basket sides:
Pick up stitches along the 3 sides of the square. You’ll pick up one stitch between each garter ridge – I was able to pick up 16 stitches on two sides and 17 on the cast-on side. Knit the 4th side and place marker. Change to main color and knit in the round until piece measures 6”.

To create brim:
Change to contrasting color and novelty yarn, if using. (If novelty yarn is bulky, use one strand of worsted and one strand of novelty.) Knit 6 stitches. Place 5 stitches onto holder. Cast on 5 stitches using the backward loop method. Knit the remaining 6 stitches on the basket side, then proceed to knit the next 16 or 17 stitches on the adjoining side. Repeat for the remaining two sides of the basket. Knit a 3” brim and cast off loosely. When cutting yarn, leave a good long tail; fold the brim and use the tail to slip stitch the brim in half. There will be a hole where the live stitches are on a holder. This will be filled in when you knit the handle. Simply cuff the rim as you pass those live stitches.

To knit handles:
Slip 5 stitches from holder onto DPN. Leaving a long tail, join yarn with contrasting color (or for a mottled look, use one strand of main color and one strand of contrasting color),
and knit 3 rows st st. Begin I-cord for remainder of handle. When handle is 17”, knit 3 rows st st and perform 3-needle bind off to connect handle to remaining 5 stitches on opposite side of bag. Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Before weaving these tails in, stitch the handle to the rim along the bottom and sides. This gives the handle extra support so it doesn’t flop over. Weave in ends and felt.

To felt:
Place in washer on hottest setting, smallest load. Add a tiny bit of detergent and agitate, without going through spin cycle, for 15-20 minutes. Check frequently, as different wools felt at different rates. When desired felting level is reached, remove from washer and remove excess water (I squeeze mine out, then wrap it in a towel and step on it). Shape and allow to dry.

Knitting on Steroids

So I saw the Yarn Harlot on Sunday. I'll be one of those Ann Arbor knitters who waited patiently while Stephanie flew to Detroit, Chicago, and back to Detroit. I'll let her tell the story first.

I loved her speech. I love the way Stephanie makes knitting seem like a really grand acheivement. I laughed a lot - many of us did - but I was really tickled when she said how nice it was to be a writer so that now, when people ask her what she did, she didn't just have, "I breastfeed" as a response (which is how I really have to answer that question... for the past 5 years I've either been gestating or nursing a child, or both... it's really what you do when you're in the thick of it). There were a lot of things that I liked about her speech and I'd love to write about it more but the *&(@#^%$^@&*#$ FedEx guy just woke up my baby AGAIN. My other kid keeps tearing off the "Do not ring this doorbell for the love of wool PLEASE do not make my dog go crazy with the thrill of fulfilling his only purpose in life."

And at the speech, I lost my voice and my doctor put me on steroids. Suddenly I can knit much more quickly. I know I can't stay on them long term, but I wish I could.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


For Christmas, I made 3 pairs of mittens. They were very cute, with soft Berocco Pleasure and fuzzy Firenze cuffs. There were scarves to match. I didn't take any pictures; they kept getting wrapped before I remembered to snap a shot. Pity, because the colors were great and the yarns worked well. I used the pattern in Stitch 'n Bitch and they flew off the size 9 needles.

Now I am working on a pair of fair isle gloves for myself. One is done, with even the ends woven in (no small task). I think they look cool inside-out!