Saturday, December 31, 2005


The house is empty. Except for the miniature people. They are picnicking in the backyard, so I have a nice moment of peace.
Things are moving a bit slowly here. The disease from the last few weeks has settled into my sinuses, which means I need to go to the doctor.

Which of course means I have to FIND a doctor.

Did I tell you about the one the HMO assigned me? The one with sandals and dirty toes? Not to gross you out, but I was so distracted last visit I really am not sure if anything medical happened. How can you trust a person with dirty toes with your health? I know we live near the beach now, but really.
So I am taking today off, no mopping or cleaning, just rest, knitting and bad TV. And I mean bad. Did you know they have a show called Ballroom Bootcamp? Did I mention I hate ballroom shows? Well, I was knitting and dropped the remote, so ballroom it is. What we suffer for the sake of art.
I am working on a vest/cardigan for girl#2. It is my last bit of Cotton Ease. Here’s the swatch I did in November. It is coming along. I am almost done with the shoulders. I am trying to perfect knitting in one big piece, then separating into the front and back.

And here, finally, my new socks from my sock exchange pal:
Aren’t they grand? The colors are perfect, did you see how they went with my snappy chords? And they fit great. Here’s a close up of the stitch pattern:
So Pretty. I cannot begin to tell you what a treat these are. This has been a lousy two weeks, and these socks have cheered my up so much!!
And if you need something to make you smile, here's a blog with pictures of Tasmanian penguins in sweaters.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Knitting News

Hey! The last of the houseguests just left. (Yeah!!) The girls are (almost) over the flu. If I could only find my floor again. This place is quite the mess.

We had a great Christmas despite all the chaos. No yarn from Santa, but I got a nice teapot, and I consider that necassary equipment. Also a copy of "Sensational Knitted Socks". Good loot.

Not much knitting happening, I am way too busy cleaning. But I did find this bit of knitting news. Scroll down a bit, it is on the left, or you can listen to the whole show. I was a bit disapointed they spoke of knitters as being of "a certain age", but funny none the less.

And if you have never heard the show "Wait wait don't tell me" you should give it a try. Great stuff!

Gotta scoot, for some reason Girl #2 is glued to "BBC news" in the other room. They really will watch anything!

P.S. Nevermind, they missed their flight. One more night.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Meet me in St. Lois

(Sorry for the misspelled title...when I fix it external links to the pattern do not work)

Here it is, the St. Louis Scarf for the brother in law. It is worked lengthwise in garter stitch, so it is simple and very fast. Both sides look good. Here's how you can get one...

4 balls Andean Treasure form Knit Picks
2 balls Lagoon (MC)
2 balls Granite (SC)
size 4 circular needles

note: the scarf is in garter stitch except where noted, so all rows are knit.

Cast on 200 stitches in MC
Knit 5 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 4 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 8 rows
in MC
Knit 2 rows
in SC
Knit 4 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 1 row in MC, the cut the yarn, leaving a few inches of yarn
Slide the scarf to teh other end of the circular needles and pick up the SC, continue in garter stitch
Knit 16 rows in SC
Slide scarf to other end of circular needles and attach MC, Purl across
Knit 2 rows SC
Knit 4 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 8 rows
in MC
Knit 2 rows
in SC
Knit 4 rows in MC
Knit 2 rows in SC
Knit 5 rows in MC
Bind off loosely

Pardon the husband's shaggy hair, as the girls say "Daddy needs a day of beauty!"

The boy hates haircuts!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 don't see me

I am not here. I am really doing laundry and cooking dinner. No blogging here. See the lady over there making jello for sick children? That's me...

(Warning, non knitting content below. For knitting skip to the ** )

Whew, let me tell you. BUSY!!

A bit of back story. We currently live in my husband's grandmother's
Grandma's Weddinghouse. Husband's wacky Grandma used to help watch the kids of the husband's current stepmother. She lived accross the street. Funny way to meet, huh?

Anyway, my father in-law had a big stroke last spring, he can now walk again with a cane, but still can't use his right hand. He is slowly regaining some speach, but has to be prompted on most words. Up until this he was a very successful aeorospace engineer. Wings were his specialty. Did stuff with stealth bomber, various F-15, 17's. You know, a rocket scientist. So all of their friends down here are stopping by to see him, which is sweet, but I need to install a revolving door. Poor guy is pooped.

And the girls are sick. This is only the second time Girl # 1 has even had a fever. She's a horse, that kid. So it is a bad disease that can put her out for days and days.

Oh, and did I mention my sister in-law is here from Washington State also? She just finished a tour in Iraq.

So the sister in law has a birthday this week. (All three of the husband's sibling were born on the same day). Her husband is currently serving in Iraq and
her in-laws live in Tampa . So not only are we having the whole family over for Christmas dinner, but now we are hosting her birthday dinner too. Plus, father-in-law's cousins he hasn't seen in years want to come visit too. I think I will be feeding 20 people on Thursday. I was thinking turkey, but buffalo is probably a better bet.

So that is why I am NOT blogging right now. Nope, not me.

(** Knitting news continues here )

The good news is I have finished the scarf for the brother in law. He's the twin of the sister that's here now. Are you following this? Me either.

It is the best scarf ever. I am wearing it now...pardon me, the doorbell.

Yo, I'm back. Just the uncle in-law stopping by.

It is done in the Knit Picks Andean Treasure in Lagoon and Granite. I'll add pictures later. That is if the doorbell will hush for a while.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The JMC Vest is done

From Here:

To Here:

It is in the box and on its way to Williamsburg. I was surprised at myself. It was so hard to pack that thing up. It has been my companion now for a few months. It really didn’t take that long to knit, but while I was working on other things I took to using it as a lap blanket. It felt like I was mailing off my security blanket.

I wish the photos had come out better. I did fix a few things. One of my pet peeves with men’s patterns is the shoulders and neck…you know, the gaping thing. I know I am overly picky, but a huge floppy neck hole just seems to distract me from the rest of the snappy sweater.

To fix it I purled two together for a few repeats of the ribbing around the top of the armholes and the sides of the neck. That seemed to fix it.

I also learned a new bind of. Let me tell you I was in a bind off rut. I followed the tutorial at DIY Knitty Gritty. I now want to go back and re-cast off a few pairs of socks, this technique is great, so stretchy.

As to other holiday knitting I am halfway done with the last scarf. Then I need to do the toe on Girl #2’s stocking and I am DONE. I really want to finish these so I can move on. I hate feeling stuck. I have all these ideas I never get to try.

Here’s the poorly lit zebra scarf for the girls’ cousin in Williamsburg. It is basically from the Vogue scarf book. I added a tail. It’s a fun quick pattern, I think it would work well for a child learning to knit. Something interesting but without using fun fur.

Not much time to knit today. We have finally pinned down when the in laws arrive. Apparently today, but we do not yet know when. Both girls are sick with high fevers and I am still in my PJ’s, so I need to get moving!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I am worried about us

Have you been reading the knitting blogs? Of course you have, or you wouldn’t be here, but I mean have you been READING them??

We all seem a bit frantic.

There is of course some gorgeous holiday knitting happening out there, but personally the race to finish is beginning to stress me a bit.

I am here today to share a story of a knitting grandmother and a time saving tip.

So there I was, knitting away on a sock at my last Mops (mothers of preschoolers) meeting. And one of the moms came over and started asking about what I was working on. She actually correctly identified it as a sock, which showed some basic understanding, if you know what I mean. She then starts talking about her grandmother the knitter. I love that knitting is such a good conversation starter.

Anyway, this gal’s grandmother was a champion knitter. Every family member got new duds for birthdays and Christmas. Gorgeous sweaters. The catch was she refused to finish, so every year they got a huge box of sweater parts they had to put together.

Is that not hilarious? Think of the time that would save you!! I just have this mental image of all the kids opening the box on Christmas morning…it makes me laugh.

Since the holidays are about family, do you have any funny family knitting stories?

Here’s another one I found online from Lynne Chaney at the White House web site. (and please don’t make this into a democrat/republican thing, it’s the holidays and I’d rather not go there)

Actually the white house site has a surprising number of knitting stories. Big pastime for the first ladies.


And a side note, I just came across this for those of us that need some holiday knitting encouragement. Franklin's blog is very snappy, and I had to share. His drawings make me smile, and who can beat that?

Friday, December 16, 2005

The in-laws are coming, the in-laws are coming

Ala Paul Revere. Now I just need some sort of lantern signal system that will tell me WHEN they are arriving and HOW LONG they are staying.

"We'll probably leave Saturday or Sunday or Monday. We might stop by my sister's house." This is all the information I have.

They obviously have no clue how filthy my house is. The girls have colds. I have been busy trying to fit in all the cookie-making and knitting that Christmas necessitates, and so the housework is sorely lacking here.

Plus, I need to know what to cook. This is a tough one. They are picky eaters, but never tell you until halfway through the meal that they don’t like something.

But the worst part is, they are staying in the yarn, I mean guest, room. I have to figure out what knitting I want out of there for the week or month they’ll be staying. Deep sigh.

On an up note I am SO close to finishing the vest it hurts. It is so neat to see the whole thing come together. As soon as I finish it I’ll add a picture to the post.

I am thinking I might even work up a pattern. It really does look snappy, and maybe someone out there has a few hundred yards of wool that need to be a vest.

Can you tell how excited I am about how it has turned out??? My poor husband had to stare at it and oooh for a good while before I’d let him sleep last night. Such a good sport, and defiantly worth enduring the in-laws over.

Gratuitous shot of the girls and the husband

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Emily Post would be Ashamed

OK, several years into my teaching stint I realized my students had NO IDEA how to do thank you notes. I taught mostly computer science (translate: nerds) and we often went to competitions, or had speakers from industry and such. As much as they hated it I made them write thank you letters.

So after a few rounds of this I got one that said “Thanks for coming and I hope you liked the bagels, you ate most of them anyway.” This from a kid with an IQ near 200.

Obviously couldn’t send this one to the college professor that had driven over three hours to come and spend the day with us.

So I made them read up on thank you notes ala Emily Post, and we did a big project where they had to go out and interview someone that had a job in a nerdy field…you know, programming, IT, something technical. The results were very funny. Most of them interviewed their dads, and they were all very surprised to find out that even if it was a cool “web job” that writing was still involved.

The second round of notes were much better, some even rose to charming.

So after all these years of preaching that they had to write NICE notes, here I am and I haven’t even acknowledged my secret Knit the Classics buddy! Shame on me!!!

It arrived while we were Giving Thanks up in Williamsburg. What a great surprise to come home to!

The book is Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. This is great. My math major self hasn’t allowed much branching out literature-wise, and this is something I haven’t ever read. Yeah!! She also included a gift certificate to Starbucks. I have visions of a nice long evening sipping hot beverages (it a chilly 50 degrees here!) and reading. The best part of the plan is it requires leaving the house WITHOUT children.

Those of you with resident miniature people know this yearning. It is almost a great as the fantasy of going to the potty without “help”.

Thank you Alice!! I cannot wait to get started, and I am sorry for being such a lame-o for taking this long to mention the present. You rock!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Knock, knock

Or make that honk, honk.

Our mailman, who does not like to get out of his truck, has taken to honking when he has a delivery. At least he is no longer trying to fell the mailbox by shoving in huge bags of yarn, but really! It is only 68 degrees here, and it is a light mist, not even real rain. His compatriots up north have it a whole lot worse today.

OK, vent over.

I am waiting for this to arrive from an ebay purchase. I know, it seems a totally wacky purchase. While we never lived there, I still spent a lot of time there as a child. My mom’s dad retired from the army at Ft. Benning and they stayed in the area. My parents were married at the chapel, and my father taught jump school there, from those very towers on the right. (They were leftovers from the world’s fair in New York and the Army bought them to train rangers…trivia you never knew you needed). My baby sister Sally was born there. Our Cocker Spaniel Buffy is in the pet cemetery there.

I generally collect fancier blue and white plates, I have a thing for corny Americana. But the tanks around the edges? I couldn’t resist.

So anyway, no plate today, but we did get a Christmas box from my snappy brother in law. Oddly enough, the one that is permanently banned from being on Ft. Benning because he got arrested during a peace protest there while he was in college.

Which reminds me, he needs a scarf. Which means, I need to knit one. Which means, I need to start one.

I am thinking of using some alpaca I have, and doing a lengthwise garter stitch thing, but I do have a question. How long should such a scarf be? I want it to sort of look like those plaid wool ones that dads wear.

At least mine did. He used to give us long lectures about crossing a scarf over your vital organs to keep them warm to prevent hypothermia. That’s what happens when you have an army ranger dad, you can always find north, you know about good and bad bugs, in case you are ever stuck in the wild without a snack, and you can prevent hypothermia.

I think all of this might have been the seed that grew into my knitting obsession…"must stay warm”. I am thinking I might now have a good name for the pattern for Dad’s vest…hmmm.

As a side note I can also start a fire anywhere, with almost anything. Even in the pouring rain. A special talent, I know. Can’t drive in reverse, but I can get you home with warm feet!

Friday, December 09, 2005

No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty…

Wait! That’s me!!

In case I forgot to mention it, I tutor math in the evenings. Last night was my last one for three weeks!! Could I be happier? Only if I got to spend all that time knitting. Poor kids have exams next week, so I’ve been swamped.

Plus, husband’s business is taking off, so the books have needed tending. That’s my job.

Busy, busy, busy.

So I am taking some time off and spending this afternoon knitting away on Dad’s vest. It could be done by Sunday, but I will not jinx it by setting a deadline. Knitting does not like deadlines.

And for the random kid story of the day…I asked girl #2 what she wanted from Santa…

“Hmmmm…all kinds if things, a dollhouse that’s just mine. And a car. A real one to drive, and a purse with money. Wait, not a dollhouse, a real house with a dog and a cat, but no sister.”

She asked that her real house be close by so I could still come and kiss boo-boos. I asked her where she would go in a car, and she said to the bank for lollypops.

The idea of my 2.5 year old driving to the bank makes me laugh and cringe all at the same time. It also makes me much more careful with the car keys, she’s that kind of kid.

So on that note, what do YOU want for Christmas? What would the ultimate gift for a knitter be?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Stocking Pics

This is girl #2 posing with her (almost) new stocking. Sorry for the blur, she's 2.5, and has a hard time being still. At the library this morning the walked straight into a fish tank. Close call.

For a more representational pose, here is Girl #2. She almost never has a hard time being still. She's our thinker.

And notice the window. They are on our back porch, where it is freakishly warm. It was 80 degrees today. 80!! It is snowing and in the 30's in Willy right now.

It is odd here, but I could get used to going to the beach in December.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I have the kick ups

I don’t know if it is the thumb sucking, or the fact that at 2.5 Girl #2 can fake burp already, but she almost constantly has the hiccups.

And I suppose it is sweet, since she thinks I can fix anything, but it means she spends a lot of time in my lap waiting for the “kick-ups”, as she says, to go away.

So it is only mindless knitting around here. We have about half the stocking done. I am not currently crazy about the design, but once her name is stitched in, and the snowman is applied, it should improve.

Any excuse to not pick up the cable vest, right? I do like working on it, but you know how it is, you pick up a project you haven’t touched in a while and it takes 30 minutes to figure out where you are. By then some small child has gotten a head stuck, or found a spider, or let the cat outside.

As a side note the poor cat had to be rescued three times from the backyard yesterday. He’s huge, 25 pounds, no fat, and he is terrified of the sky. And yet he craves the outdoors. Life is about contradictions isn’t it?

Can you tell I taught math? Here's the mock up. I tried working in her name, but had to frog it. Duplicate stitch is the name of the game. I am working it in the round in this great Galloway yarn I got from Knitting Sisters in Willy. Red and white, to be lined in ginham. The snowman will be crochet separately and sewn on for a 3-D look.
If it's sunny I'll take photos tomorrow.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Whew, we made it.

The girls and I are HOME.

We took a train from Richmond to Florida. We left yesterday at 5 PM and arrived down here at 1:30 AM.

I love Amtrak, it is great for travel with kids, but if you actually need to ARRIVE anywhere on time, forget it.

The trip was grand, but I am a bit down in the dumps to be back. As an army brat I always considered myself pretty adjustable, but this move to Florida has really thrown me. I think somewhere in the back of my head I keep thinking of it as temporary, so why bother.

Rowan Felted from Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg

So what to do when in a funk? Knit, of course!

I finished the Grape Ape socks. Just need to weave in the ends, block lightly, and mail off on Monday.

I didn’t touch Dad’s vest once while we were gone, so I need to start zipping away on that. I am also planning on starting a stocking for Girl #2, who is borrowing one from the husband. We’ll see. I have visions of all this fancy Nordic design, lined in red and white gingham. How many days until Christmas?

I had hoped to make it back up to Willy around Christmas also. My brother and his new fiancĂ© will be there. Alas, my in-laws are coming here, and we still don’t know for how long…ten days? Two weeks? We’ll find out when they leave.

Unfortunately the season also brings all sorts of knitting distractions. Cookies to make (like 7 or 8 dozen…eeek!). I have been trying to convince the husband for years that since he is a writer he should do the holiday cards. After all I, the ex-math teacher, do the checkbook. No dice there.

And don’t even get me started on Santa stuff. How am I going to hide all that??

Off to drink tea and plan a stocking.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Must knit socks

Must finish socks. Must mail socks to secret pal. Must not touch new yarn.

OK, so I have been doing good on the socks considering the fluster of the holidays. I even got a good six hours in on during the 12 hour ride up here, but today...temptation.

The Parental Units gave me an early Christmas present...a gift certificate to the Knitting Sisters here in Willy! Yeah!

So today we went over and I got to pick stuff out. I'll post photos ASAP, but the computer here (if it really can be considered a computer) lacks USB drives. I got Rowan tweed, some red and white yarn to make Girl # 2 a stocking and some other stuff, red wool with some other colors twisted in.

Can you tell I am being too lazy to go upstairs and check the labels??

In any case, Knitting Sisters has moved to a swank new location. Same shopping center, but much more space and a new room for classes. What a great store. Plus, now that we are out of Florida there's more wool available. I love the wool.

The best part is that my stepmother is going to take a knitting class this December. She is grand at all of the other needlecrafts (even made my wedding dress!!) and now she's trying knitting. The more the merrier!

(and apologies for any speling mishaps, working on substandard equipment here...and while I can do derivatives in my head I can't spell at all)

Adios from Williamsburg!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gobble Gobble

Well, we leave for Willimasburg tomorrow morning. I should be able to post, but Dad's computer is knda like trying to drive a pinto uphill in an ice storm. In other words, slow going.

But, I do have the digital camera along, so when we return I'll have snappy photos of knitting on the road.

And how typical is this, I have spent all day getting everyone else ready. It took me 15 minutes to pack my clothes and such, but it is almost midnight and I still haven't decided on all my knitting.

Have a great holiday!!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Grape Ape Photos

Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn? Louet Sales Opal. Love it!! Soft and seems like it will be very durable. Best sock yarn I've used.

The sock is a bit baggy in the photo. It is for my Sox Exchange person, and her feet are bigger than mine. Still, I think you can get a good idea of the grapes and how they will look.

Once the husband gats home I'll try to get a better photo. Have you noticed how hard it is to get a good sock self-protrait? I am just not that bendy anymore.

One final note, someone had mentioned using the grape ape cable for a scarf. I think it would work very well (might even try one myself!). I would recommed making the bobbles bigger so they stand out. For the sock I just did 3 stitches for the bobble...I thought anything bigger might make it look like the wearer had something wrong with her ankles, and we don't want that. For a sweater or scarf a four stitch bobble comes out better, more grape like.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Not much doin'

I'm just here plugging along on holiday knitting. Once we have more batteries for the camera I'll post some photos. The first "Grape Ape" sock is done. Needs blocking, but otherwise turned out OK.

And an amusing story from the family:

So the husband is telling the girls their bedtime story tonight about a girl named Yawnifer, who only liked to do boring things and eventually marries a guy named Yani.

Girl #1: Like what boring things?

The Husband: Oh, like watch TV, or read books about dirt, or nap…

Girl #1: Did she knit?

The Husband can’t answer, he’s laughing too hard.

This is the respect for knitting we have around here. Deep sigh.

Friday, November 18, 2005

And the weiner is....

Seriously though, no one is a weiner. But we do have a winner. And I have to say, y'all are fast! Most folks got it right, I forgot to include one of the symbols on the chart. The corrected version is here (click to make it readable):
And our winner is….imaginary drum roll….Just So Carfty!!
Here’s a shot of her new Grape Ape Stitch Marker.t is being tested on my dad's vest, but it will be free in time to make the mail on Monday.
As promised, here’s some of the stuff from Sit and Knit. Amazing place. I know, badly lit shots of yarn are a bit dull, but in the pic you can see the beginnings of the grape ape socks. I turned the heel today, so I should be able to show a picture of how it looks knitted up soon. Also, have you tried Louet Sales sock yarn. Soft? Yes! Machine Washable? You bet! I love this stuff, it is knitting up wonderfully.
I'll try not to gush too much, I wouldn't want the folks at Fiber Protective Services thinking the yarn and I were inappropriately close.
Now, it’s Friday. I have had the hardest time thinking of a question for today. Really, I got to go to a real yarn store, so my fiber curiosity is fairly well satiated right now.
Still, I have only been to four real knitting stores in my time, all have their good and bad points. For instance, I know displaying yarn to the ceiling looks good, but I am only 5’ 1 ¼ ", so a bit impractical. And I can’t be the only one, I can’t imagine the Globetrotters knitting.
So what works for you? What are you looking for? Selection? Location? Helpful staff? Sale rack?
What makes a great local yarn store?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fabulous Prizes!

Well, really if you look behind door number three, and really squint you might just spot it.

So I put up the Grape Ape cable pattern…one tiny problem. Did you spot it?

It’s nothin’ big, it would still work, but it might leave you scratching your head a bit. I'll correct it tomorrow. Since I went a bit crazy the other day making stitch markers, I figure I’ll offer one to the first person that can spot my dumb error.

So, whoever e-mails me the mistake in the chart first gets a fabulous grape ape stitch marker, free!

And I have stuff from by odessy to Sit and Knit yesterday, but no photographs yet. The girls and I had a great time, and we got stuck in traffic for over an hour coming home and I got one skein wound into a ball and a gauge swatch started. I love swatches!

And a tip…your house needs cleaning if you go to photograph you new yarn and cannot find a clean surface to put it on. Really! So I’ve got to go tidy up a bit. If I let that alpaca touch any surface in this house I’d have Fiber Protective Services here to take protective custody of the stash.

So I’ll update this latter with pics. Fun stuff!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Grape Ape

Grape Ape Chart is done!

Finally! Here's the chart.

Still working out the details on the to follow.


I confess, I have been a bad sock swapper. I have been so busy trying to get the socks I am making started, I have neglected to put up info for my secret knitter.

So this is a short dull post about my feet.

And, please forgive if it is a bit disjointed. Girl #1 is at preschool and Girl #2 is having some kind of fit about not having on sparkly shoes. She is a Wizard of Oz fanatic right now. I am tuning out as best I can, but really, it ain’t easy.

1. What are your foot measurements? My feet are different sizes. One is a size 6.5, the other is a size 5.5. You can average out to a size six, it always works for me.

2. Do you have a favorite sock yarn? Nope, I love them all

3. Is there a specific pattern you favor?...lace or ribbed? Again, I really am not picky. I live in Florida, so it’s never very cold here.

4. What colors do you prefer? Do you like solids or stripes? I tend to wear a lot of blues and greens. I am not crazy about most of the self stripping yarns, but I am willing to try them. Variegated is fine.

5. Do you have any allergies to a specific fiber? No Allergies.

6. Holiday that you usually celebrate? Christmas

Thanks! And sorry I've been so slow!

Oh, and the good news is that Girl #2 just ran to her room yelling “I not talking anymore to you!” A few minutes of peace!

The other good bit of news is I am planning a trip this afternoon to a yarn store!! I haven’t been past the small area that is Daytona Beach since we moved, and man do I need to get outta here. I have until 12:30 when Girl #1 gets out of preschool to get ready. We have snacks packed, music picked, kids books to read. So this afternoon, Sip and Knit.

Seriously, I have planned more for this 50 minute car ride than I normally do for the 12 hour drive back to Willy.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hey Mr. Postman

So a few days back, that snappy gal at Knit and Tonic was venting about the postman. We have a similar situation here in sunny Fla. Our guy arrives anywhere from 11 to 7. My biggest problem is he refuses to get out of the truck to bring boxes that are too big to the door. This combined with the somewhat unpredictable weather makes for tense times when packages are expected.

Just a few weeks ago I had to sprint out to stop him from shoving a HUGE package the size of a king sized pillow into the mailbox. He was trying so hard to shove it in there that the mailbox had to be replanted. Turned out to be from Knit Picks. Several of the yarn labels were damaged, but nothing so bad that Fiber Protective Services needed notifying.

So today I was so happy when the whole operation worked correctly and THIS arrived:

I love these things. It is of course the New Lux Knitting Books from 1951.

And in case you have a teen in your life, e-mail and I’ll send you a copy of this: (It's in a section called Togs for Teens!)

So back to my real knitting life. I took a serious look at the calendar, and I am realizing I can’t wait for Willy to get sock yarn. No time. I still have to finish Dad’s vest. So the girls and I are making a big leap on Wednesday: ORLANDO.

Yup, They have yarn there. So off we go. That way if nothing hits I still have time to order some stuff online.

Now…think purple for me.

I am swatching for Grape Ape socks. I started playing with it last night while watching some Elizabeth I thing on PBS. All I have on hand is green Essential Sock Yarn from Knit Picks. So the swatch is green, but you can pretend, right?

Here’s the rough chart. I’ll improve in the next couple of days.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Home Again Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

Colonial Sheep

OK, so this is the umpteenth Sunday in a row the husband has worked, poor guy. Really, since July he has been working 7 day weeks and has only taken one day off.

Why do I tell you this?

Because today, I grow tired of my children.

Sure, they are cute, and fun, and even do small household chores. Still, if I have to wipe ONE MORE NOSE!! You know what I mean. It’s a cute nose…but …but…

So obviously I am a bit stressed. So when the husband announced we might be able to head home to Willy (Williamsburg, VA for the tourists) for Thanksgiving, I was all over that idea.

It’s always nice to see the family and all the friends we left in The Old Dominion. Even a break from the kids is good.

But the REAL reason I am excited?

THEY HAVE A REAL YARN STORE!! A good one, a great one. Called Knitting Sisters. I love it there. Plus, I might get to go see my teaching buddies in Richmond and they have TWO yarn stores there.

Did I mention this is like a yarn desert here. A real wasteland for fiber. A knitting void. The only place to buy yarn here is Wal-Mart, and you know how I am about the Homespun.

I so need a yarn store right now. You see, I have the most exciting person for the Holiday Knits Sox Exchange. I can’t say who, but she is so snappy. I have all these ideas for socks I have been trying to get to…”Ants in Your Pants” in a nice rusty red. “Grape Ape” with a nice bumpy texture, “Duck, Duck Goose” with some neat-o triangles.

But really, none of these are snappy enough for my secret sock buddy. I need to go someplace and touch sock yarn to get some ideas.

I do this all the time. I get so worried about making the perfect thing that I take forever to get it together.

So wish me luck. I need the inspiration fairy to hit me over the head, or at least jab me in the side with some DPN’s.

** Oh, and a side note for you tourist types, or “tourons” as we call them in Willy. Knitting Sisters is right down the road from Bush Gardens, so next time you head to the Colonial Capital have your traveling companions drop you there instead. Spend the ticket price on yarn!

Girl #1 scowls at a colonial cow

Friday, November 11, 2005

What are you watching?

Miss MarpleLast night was Netflix movie night, and the husband had selected Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Has anyone seen it? Remember the part where the Improbability Ship turns into a ball of yarn with big knitting needles, and the crew is briefly depicted as knitted dolls?

Well, it’s a roundabout way of getting me thinking about knitting and sweaters in movies. Of course, Gromit knits. And Miss Marple.

Beyond that though, there are some movies where I have a hard time paying attention to the plot because of the sweaters. Usually they are set in World War II era England. You know, tweedy woolen things perfectly shaped.

Two movies I’ve recently seen that had the “sweater distraction” are Charlotte Gray and Sylvia (2003). I also rather like the knitting in the current PBS Miss Marple series. I know, I know, they change Agatha Christie’s plots, and I am not crazy about that, but the wool! Have you seen it?

So for this Friday’s question, what movies/TV shows inspire your knitting?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I’m not telling

Talk about pressure. So I am finally catching up around here…and you will NEVER believe who my holiday sock exchange person is.

NEVER. Will you get it out of me…nope, 'cause I’m not talking.

Well, OK, just a little. The amazing thing is that I used to live less than seven miles from her house. Yup, that close. Can you believe it?? My first boyfriend’s house is less than two miles away. Spooky, huh?

I tell you, the memories are flooding back. He was 14, in my freshman English class. Dark and brooding, if that is possible for a 14 year old. He was an officer in the CAP (Civil Air Patrol). Ah, the romance. A pre-teen in uniform…

Anyway, back to the socks. I have no idea of what to knit. I feel like I ought to start NOW, I have a feeling I am going to be picky about this one. I had been thinking some sort of red and white holiday thing, like fair-isle candy canes, but I’m not sure if that will do at all.

In actual knitting news, the little cardigan I am working on is zipping along. I am working it in one piece until I reach the armholes and then we’ll start to worry about how to manage the sleeves. The nice thing about knitting for miniature people is it goes quickly.

Sorry for the lack of photos. Girl #1 had a big leg injury that ate up most of my "Free time". Hint to five year olds: If you are NOT supposed to climb on your furniture, tipping the dresser over so it pins you to the ground WILL get you caught! No broken bones, but hopefully she now realizes "maybe these arbitrary rules mom comes up with are good for me. Except for the one about not licking things."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I’m Cheating on….

My Christmas knitting. Really, I know I shouldn’t be casting on a new project, but the Cotton Ease was calling me, and I love this ribbing:

The blue is much prettier, you know how it goes.

I am sure somewhere it is documented in one of the various knitting tomes and has a name. I sort of made it up, but I really can’t claim it as something new.

The plan is to make this a cardigan for Girl #2, with the light and dark blue stripes for the sleeves, and a collar of the same ribbing as the bottom.

But, since I have a total inability to follow patterns, mine or anyone else’s, we’ll see how it turns out.

On the up side I have 5/8th of Dad’s vest done, so that will take no time, right?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Why is it Tuesday and I am only now getting to post?? Because I am a mom, and we run a business from home, and sometimes life conspires so that knitting becomes impossible. I am so glad everyone left such great ideas on how they find time to knit. Today I need them all!

So in the last two days I have been to:

  • Laundromat
  • Playground
  • Bakery
  • Ridiculous five year old birthday party
  • Our local Zoning office
  • Grocery Store
  • Home Depot
  • Preschool
  • Library
  • Playgroup
  • Two Banks
  • Target

How do I cope? Well, I work on a strict treat system. So anytime I am overworked, I give myself a treat.

Yesterday’s treat was a trip to Hancock Fabric to look at yarn. I know, I know. Lion Brand is all they have, but it is what passes for crafting culture around here.

We are so fiber-isolated here I didn’t even know that Lion Brand now has a new 100% wool yarn. It is the only store in a 60 mile radius that has non-acrylic yarn. Plus bamboo needles.

The best part…they had three lonely balls of cotton ease for sale. I know, it has acrylic in it, but for a snappy new sweater for Girl #2, it is perfect.

And for the record, it takes REAL mom talent to entertain a two year old for two hours at a laundromat with only a piece of wool yarn.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday's Question: How do you....

Howdy folks!

I hope everyone’s week is winding down and you are all set for a relaxing weekend. Last week I got so many interesting answers to the knitting rules question, so I figured I’d post a new question for this weekend.

A while back the snappy Candsmom over at Bits of Knits asked how I found so much time to knit. I have been thinking about since then. I feel like I hardly EVER have time to knit.

So, I’m posing a question to everyone…how do YOU find time to knit?

This isn’t just for us stay at home mom types. We all are busy, so I am wondering what creative way you find time to accommodate your knitting.

My personal tip for moms: Duct Tape.

Seriously though, I knit everywhere. Doctors, preschool playground, library reading time, in line at the grocery store, anywhere. If I am not holding a child or doing household drudge stuff, I’m knitting.

So today after preschool the girls played on the playground for what seemed like hours. Not to worry, I got a good gauge swatch done for a cardigan I am planning.

I have even learned to hold a book open with my toes so I can knit and read. Didn’t work so well for Udolpho that we have been reading over at Knit the Classics, but otherwise I’ve had good luck.

So, share your secrets, how do you find time to knit?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sign of a Good Project

There it sat. Neglected, Lonely, Forgotten.

Then, Socktoberfest passes and you look at the calendar. Christmas is coming!

So, it is time to dust off those needles.

The worst part about returning to an old project is getting that momentum going again. You know the question…”Now where was I?”.

What makes a good project?

One worth dusting off. I really love how this vest is turning out, but it feels like it is taking forever. There are so many NEW projects calling.

I need a Ribbed Cardi. Need people.

But then, before I click to order the yarn, I spot it.

This is the cardigan I started last year. Then we moved and it got stuck in a box. Just found it. Won’t it be pretty once it has arms and a collar? I am planning on doing the collar in a nice cable rib, just like the hem.

I cannot stand the waste of an unfinished project...I saved to buy all that yarn, but there it sits. All the unfinished projects reflect the year we've had. A lot of change, and not a lot of knittin time.

So, I'm dusting them off. First I finish the vest for Dad's Christmas gift.

Then, something for me!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tag, I’m it, again!

Well, I was just tagged by Tammy at PuNk rAwK pUrL and Chrissy at Knittin Mom.

What is your all-time favorite yarn to knit with?

I tend to be kind of a purist with things. I make most of our foods from scratch; even occasionally do my own canning. Halloween costumes? Always homemade. Probably comes from reading Little House on the Prairie one too many times. So when it comes to yarns I am such a yarn snob…I prefer 100% cotton, wool, whatever. Cannot stand Acrylic, or any of its fake cousins.

Your favorite needles?

Brittany Birch. Unfortunately our cat, Mike, also loves to chew on them, making them useless. I almost always use wooden or bamboo needles.

(He look s so innocent)

The worst thing you've ever knit?

The shapely tank in Cotton Ease. I know, great pattern, and lots of folks love that yarn. It made me look shapely…like I was shaped out of mashed potatoes. Probably not the best thing to try to knit while my daughter was having (very minor) surgery. Bad knitting karma.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it, but it was the most fun to knit.)

I have never actually knitted a pattern without changing it substantially. Keeping that in mind, it is probably the Anouk I did in Paton’s Grace. For once I kept the shape mostly the same, but did a totally different design. Girl #2 wore this SO much last year. I have now decorated her room with it:

Most valuable knitting technique?

Short row shaping. I am all about toe up socks.

Best knit book or magazine?

I tend to like books of stitch patterns, Like Nicky Epstein’s “Knitting on the Edge” series, rather than pattern books. Interweave press is always a good bet.

Your favorite knitblogs?

Oh, I cannot just one favorite! You are all just so snappy….I only wish I had more time to keep up with them.

Your favorite knit-along?

Socktoberfest! (Thanks Lolly!)

Your favorite knitwear designer?

Right now I am coveting several things by Bonne Marie Burn. I’m sure I’ll have a new fave by next week. I get restless easily.

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it?)

This hat:

I designed this last fall after I found out this yarn does not felt very well. It is Manos del Uraguay. Sorry for the sludgy photos...rain today!

Oh, and for Self Portrait Tuesday, me in the hat:

So I looked pooped? Well, since this month is about identity, this is me after a day of cleaning, and NOT strangling my sugar-high children post Halloween.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Or I should say, Happy Fake Fall! It is so hard feeling like this is Halloween when our highs are in the 80's and it is only going down to 65 tonight. Maybe after we have been here a while I'll get used to it. Our tree out front dropped a leaf. That's it.

OK, this is how out of it I am…I thought Clapotis was pronounced Clap-otis, like Otis Redding. Since then I have listened to Amy R. Singer on Knit Cast. Man did I feel silly!

In my defense, I took Spanish in high school, not French. We were living near LA at the time and we were told during freshman orientation that if we ever hoped to get a summer job we’d have to know Spanish. And I , not wanting to cut my career at Jack in the Box short, signed right up.

Side note: before I was old enough to seek employment we moved back to Williamsburg, VA, so I got a GREAT first job of working in the Wythe candy store in Colonial Williamsburg. Been there? Yeah, best job I ever had.

So, I am the last person on the planet to make one, I know. Don’t think I didn’t try. Sally's Christmas YarnMy fabulous sister gave me # 2 balls of this mystery yarn last year for Christmas and I tried with it. Great yarn, but way too thick. The labels are in the bottom of the stash somewhere...really cute person on a scooter.

Fortunately I live in Daytona Beach now, so it is not like I have to worry about bumping into one around here…not exactly a big knitting scene.

So I am tackling it with Sock Landscape from Knit Picks .

Oh, and if anyone has any ideas, the yarn my sister gave me is still in the stash. It’s not enough for a sweater and though I am chilly by nature, I do not have much need for 50 scarves. It is Daytona after all.

Ideas? Maybe something for peaceful palms you say? My sister in law returns from Bagdad to Ft. Lewis in Washington in a few may be on to something.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Sneak Peek

Ok...first, sorry I have been slugginsh today in responding to folks. Out internet has been out most of the day. I'll catch up tomorrow, promise.

Second, Everyone's rules have been great! Haven't left one yet? No?! Click here.

Third, we are in a halloween rush here, so only a little bit of time to knit. Here's a little peek:

I am not sure this is working out. It is Knit Picks Sock Landscape. I love this yarn so much but I am not sure I have found it's pattern soul mate, you know?

We are trying to feel like fall here...but it's Florida. It is hard to imaging the girls trick-or-treating without thermal underwear on.