Sunday, December 10, 2006

Happy Holidays!

We're decking the halls here. Tree is up. Cookies are made. Holiday knitting is almost done.

I am even almost done with the girls' Christmas dresses. No, I am not staying up unitl 3 AM. I have had a few unexpected days at home because little-sis has pink eye.

As a working-mom side note, pink eye is not such a bad gig. You have to be home, no one questions the need to be here. They would prefer NOT see you until it is over. On the other hand she feels fine (it's a mild case), so there is not a lot of grouchy sick kid. Basically it has been a very relaxing few days of being mom. Dad takes over tomorrow so I can go in and catch up. That's the downside to teaching...coming up with sub plans is so much more work than just being there to teach! I have four preps this year, so it is not easy to come up with enough to fill an hour and a half class.

And a small bit of self promotion...have you seen the new Knitty?? Yup! I have a pattern in there!
My kids have hit the "yeah, that's nice mom" stage that comes right before outright eye rolling, so I figured I'd tell folks who might care. This might just be the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me (well OK, close to it anyway) so I am trying to enjoy as much as possible.

I am doing some personal knitting right now also...I mentioned a week or so back a bag I was working on to be felted. Here's little sis in the before shot:

It's in the machine now, so we'll see how it turns out.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This is a test. I am just experimenting with posting a picture. Actual content to follow.

The picture is a bad sketch that was done as an experiment with the drawing tablet we have.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Chill dude

Thank goodness, it's finally getting chilly here. I even got to wear wool out of the house today.

Everyone I know will think that I've lost it. I generally hate the cold and prefer things on the 90 degrees and humid side of life.

But, we've just moved back "north" to VA. After a year and a half in Florida I have been really missing the seasons. We sort of had a fall down there. Three days before Christmas the leaves fell off the trees, and then by New Year's Day they were growing back again. Not much foliage to enjoy.

So the leaves have been great. I do not even mind the raking. In honor of all this chill I have tried to wear something hand knit to work everyday last week. I think I made it, but I did cheat a bit on Tues...the long wool scarf I was wearing kept getting snagged on the remote tablet thing I use to do class notes. Not effective teaching strategy. It did amuse though, let me tell you.

What a work week too...the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always hectic, but for kids with rough home situations it can be total chaos. And for the record, yes, I was the idiot teacher telling the kid to hand over the cell phone that kept ringing, only to find out it was a house arrest ankle bracelet going off. Embarrassing!

I do not want to send the wrong idea. I teach at a great school, with really wonderful kids. But any school, public or private, is ultimately a human endeavor, and we are not collectively speaking, perfect.

In knitting news, I finished the World's Worst Hat for my brother. Seriously. Ugly.

It started off fine, but somewhere towards the end I stopped counting right or something, because it puckers something awful. I am almost tempted to write up the pattern as a cautionary tale...the hat not to knit. It is disappointing too because I managed to do a two-needle tubular cast on in the small feat let me tell you. I will eventually frog and try again, but I cannot face it yet.

So that's been pretty much the week. Choked myself on a scarf. Shocked by teenagers, and knitted a record-breakingly bad hat.

None of it perfect, but pretty good nonetheless.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sewing here

OK...I AM knitting these days, but right now I am in the middle of my third ball of patton's wool for a felted bag. The bag should be great, but right now it is just a huge heap of knitting, nothing interesting.

So today I'll post some sewing updates:

This is the coat I just finished this weekend for little sis. The lining is a sage fleece. It matched the pink better than the pics show. The outer fabric is actually some upholstery fabric I found. I had visions of some wide wale corduroy, but they had none when I went looking last week. I wandered into the home decor section and there it was.

I had some difficulty getting pics, she was not having a photographic moment. I'll try to get a better lit shot soon.

It still needs buttons, and I haven't decided how to do those yet. It's just starting to get chilly, so those can wait till this weekend.

Oh, and unlike the photo the pattern does line up. That was the hardest part...cutting it out. I love knitting, but sewing is done so quickly, there is a lot of satisfaction in that. The funny thing is I am so much more likely to goof it up, since I get impatient and don't think things out. Knitting gives me time to catch up with my thinking.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I am the queen!

So the other day at dinner, our resident three year old announced that she is "the queen of cheese".

We are not sure why, but she's "creative" and we try not to stifle. I think the husband congratulated her, and we all moved on.

But really I don't think I did. Deep down I want to be the queen of something. Something substantial.

At work I am often called the queen of the nerds, which is nice, but not quite lofty enough.

So today, I am declaring myself "queen of the world's most neglected knitting blog".

I have actually been knitting, but blogging has been nigh on impossible here recently. All "personal" pages are blocked at work. I have managed a work around that lets me read a lot of my usual blogs, but I cannot comment, or see pictures. This is all a bit of a killjoy.

So, actual knitting news:

I came very close to getting a visit from the Fiber Protective Services(FPS) folks this week. I have this grand alpaca I got to make a holiday present for someone TBA (translation: they might read this) I tried about 7 different patterns with this poor stuff...and frogged, and frogged, and frogged...

Then it dawned on me that I was abusing the yarn. It didn't want to be a scarf. It wanted to be a hat. So in about 6 hours it turned into the Shedir hat by Jenna Wilson from the Knitty special issue on breast cancer. I loved this hat until I blocked it, and then the entire family avoided the kitchen for a day and a half while it was blocked.

Note: Wet Alpaca Stinks!

But totally worth it. It is a great pattern that I will probably do again. I did 7 repeats instead of 8, which worked out fine. I have visions of adapting it into all kinds of snappy snowflake-like patterns.

More news...I will have a pattern published soon. Details to follow.

I am in progress on a felted tote for fall, that will probably be ready right in time for spring, the way things are going. I just finished a pair of baby pants in pink Wildfoote sock yarn. I love this stuff.

I have a pile of gift ideas for Christmas, but none can be serviced by my immediate stash, so they are on hold. The sump pump died this week, so no new yarn for a while.

I my defense I did protest spending my hard earned yarn-money on a new pump, but when the husband suggested sopping up some of the eight inches of rain we've had this week with woolen items I came to my senses. My poor stash has been in enough danger what with the FPS folks looking into the alpaca situation.

The queen has responsibilities after all. It's not all merino and bon-bons.

Monday, October 30, 2006


So it is time to catch up a bit. Again, I cannot post or read blogs at work, and what with the kids at home and all it is hard to get this done. The husband is now back in town ( more trips!), so things are easing up a bit.

This is big-sis' school spirit/halloween vest. The bobble up the front are ment to represent tiger paws. She has been very kind and supportive of this..."Sure mom, just like paw prints". She said this without rolling her eyes, which takes real self control.

As for the Homecoming outfit...I wore a cammo t-shirt with a green knitted vest. This vest:
And a parting shot of the orange vest:
(Hmmmm...she's lost it this time!)
In other knitting news I just finished a pair of pants for a baby shower. It was one of those showers where as soon as you walk in in a ponytail you feel as if homemade was not, possibly, the way to go. I included gas drops, which every mother ought to have, just in case, so perhaps that rounded it out. I am almost done with socktoberfest. Still no word on my pattern submission, so either a good sign, or I cannot properly e-mail. I'll fill y'all in later.

Oh, and a bit of crochet to round things old hat worn by little sis:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

What I do to educate the youth of America

OK, so teaching. You know…must be nice with all this time off we get, right??

I really do like it, but this is Homecoming week. Which means spirit garb. I am just faking jersey day, and twin day I have all worked out. Then there’s Thursday…cammo day.

Yes, I teach in the sticks. Actual cows roam in the field across the street from our high school.

Under normal circumstances I would also skip cammo day, but what with the kids I have this year, and being newly returned at all, I think I need to make a good show.

So my three options are:

1) Do the easy thing and buy a cammo bandana and wear it like a festive scarf

2) Borrow some of my dad’s old airborne ranger gear

3) Make a pink/green camo skirt (and yes, I can get the fabric for like $2 a yard)

I was leaning towards three until I remembered my doctor’s appt that afternoon. Thoughts? Opinions?

Anyhoo, knitting at school has been a kick. We have a pretty active knitting club. My computer guys are fascinated by the socks/vests/sweaters I leave on my desk. Frankly I’ve had almost no time to knit this week, what with the husband out of town and all, but it is amazing. The kids that are the most reluctant to talk or do anything all have some story about their Mumma (translation: mom) or Memaw (grandma) and the blanket/sweater/scarf they knit for them.

It may be the sticks, but handcrafting is a big part of life out here, which I love.

Girls and I are about to head out to the yarn store. I need some red sock yarn for spirit Fridays.

Go team!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

October, Argh!

So here we are October. I promised myself last year that I would not do it. Nope, not I. I would plan small reasonable gifts for people. No need to knit for everyone. My mental health is a valuable thing.

And we all know where that kind of thinking goes once fall hits. One chilly evening and all I can think is "who needs socks?"

Last year I did BIG projects. This year I am at least trying to think small.

So in the spirit of small, here's a wee pattern for Halloween. It would make a good stocking stuffer too, if you know any pirates. I also like these since the girls LOVE piraes right now, and I love their eyeballs, so the soft hook is a win-win scenario.

Materials: One ball chunky, cheap black yarn
One hank of plastic canvas thread in silver (the fat kind)
Optional: chunky yarn in a contrasting color. Use what you could even double up some worsted stuff.

One set METAL DPN’s in a size 8. Seriously, the silver stuff is scratchy, and I do not want to be responsible for messing up your best pair of bamboo needles.

This is all based on i-chord. So simple it hurts.

Start with the black yarn and work in a 5 stitch i-chord for about 2-3 inches. Depends on your pirate's hand. Switch to the silver. Work another inch or so. Then, every other row, slip the first three stitches and knit the other two. This will cause the hook to curve. When you think it is long enough taper the end by doing 1 row k2tog, across, then next row knit the remaining 3 stitches together. Pull the tail through and work in the end.

Now you need a cuff. Pick up about 10 stitches around the edge where the silver and black meet. Distribute the stitches evenly over 3 DPN’s.

K 1 row.

K1M1 for next row.

Repeat these two rows until the circle is wide enough to cover the pirate’s hand. Then knit straight until the cuff measures abut 4 inches. If you like knit the last two rows in the contrasting yarn. Bind off, weave in loose ends, then shiver me timbers! You’re a pirate.

If I can find my notes I’ll try to also post the eye patch and hat patterns. Again, super simple.


Monday, September 25, 2006

This weekend’s theme:

This weekend’s theme:
Obnoxious orange.
I mean the almost fluorescent kind.
Posting has been difficult. All personal pages are blocked from work. I can READ blogs, but I cannot comment or post. We’re trying the e-mail post today. I’ll add (orange!) photos later.
My students are testing today, so it is a lot of time to walk around and knit while I make sure each student is doing his/her own work with no undue assistance.
And what I am knitting? An orange vest!
Big-sis is a tiger cub this year at school, so I am making a vest out of kitchen cotton. Under the fluorescent here it GLOWS, let me tell you.
The vest has simple cables and bobbles to form tiger paws going up the front. The plan is to do a v-neck and have the paws continue up each side. We’ll see how that looks.
And other orange?
Two pumpkin t-shirts. We tried the freezer paper stencil thing and it worked out quite well. T Shirts were on sale at Michaels for $2, so we stocked up. This could get quite addictive. I have visions of a Spock shirt for the husband’s birthday.
And last? Ginger Carrot Soup. Very orange and very tasty!

Carrot and Ginger Soup

1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, diced
2 stalks celery diced
1 medium bag whole carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
Vegetable stock
Optional: Sour Cream or heavy cream
Cook the onion and celery with a pinch of salt in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger ands sauté for a minute. Add the carrots and sauté for another minute. Add the potatoes and enough stock and water to cover all the vegetables. Simmer for about 30 min until all the veggies are tender. Puree using a blender until smooth.
Add the sour cream or cream if desired. My girls like it with skim milk.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I am actually out of things to knit.

I know! Can you believe it? Even the spare project is done. I do have a sock I need to finish for my dad, but I can't find the second ball of yarn, so I might need to buy a new ball to finish.

So it is time to turn to holiday knitting. This year I start early. I plan simple short projects.


So we were at the mall a few weeks back and the Muz (the girls grandmother) let it be known that she could use a lace shawl. After some not-so-subtle questioning on my part I surmised:

1. She prefers rectangles
2. She prefers cotton (hot flashes and wool do not mix)

So I am thinking of starting a Print O' the Wave stole by Euny. I did a medium sized patch of it a few months back to experiment with lace, and I really like the way the pattern works. I have some Valley Cotton from Webs. (As I have mentioned I LOVE this stuff). Once the girls are in bed I think I will give it a try.

Really...who needs lesson plans? I'm sure my students will understand.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I should be writing lesson plans

Seriously…but I’m not. So there!

I got my fabulous hurricane sock in the mail over the weekend from Laura (but I do not know the address of her blog…will post it once I know!). Just look:

Isn’t it pretty? I have to say I am rather nervous about finishing the other. Just look at her stitches:

Aren’t they perfect? What if I can’t match it?

Oh, and the yarn. It is Sockotta, by Plymoth. I love that it is a cotton wool blend. I can totally see using it for Christmas gifts this year. Great stuff. Plus the name sounds like SOC CAH TOA, which makes my inner math teacher happy (it’s a memory aid for trig, sin, cosine, in case you're curious)

Plus she sent some fun spa stuff that I am just waiting to try out. It needs free time, which I could use, soon.

I had a moment at work today where the line for the copier dies down, and suddenly I was ALONE in the teacher’s lounge. I realized I hadn’t been alone in like 5 days.

Our building is super full of students this year, so I am roaming during my planning periods. Supplies are a mess…I was given 3 dry erase markers for the year. I have a friend that was given three strips of staples and tools to “make it work!” Despite this all in high spirits and the school year is getting off to a good start. Teenagers are teenagers, but mine generally behave, so I can’t complain.

So for personal knitting, I finished my hurricane sock and mailed it out. I am hoping she doesn’t hate me forever. The yarn was a tad on the *bright* side. I think it turned out well, but I hope she doesn’t need to stare at her feet…it could cause vision loss.

I am almost done with a baby blanket. We have like 5 impending babies, between family and friends, so I am cranking them out. I’ll post a picture and hopefully a pattern. I have an easy formula that is quick, cheap, and works for boys or girls. We’ll see what you all think once it is blocked.

A few folks asked about the raglan sweater from the last post. I really isn’t have a pattern…just used the basic raglan formula and did a picot edge. I meant it to be for little sis, but it grew, if you get my meaning. I tend to be loose on gauge, so when it is something I plan to knit for both I start by making one for little sis, so in a worse case scenario I end up with the bigger one done first.

In the next few days I have a pattern submission to send off. We’ll see how that goes.

OH!! I totally forgot! The pattern I sold to Elann is up. They used different colors than I did, and I really like the way it turned out. Go see!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kitchen Cotton + Raglan =

One snappy new sweater!

(Warning, this is mostly about sewing)

We are in full back to school mode. I return to work tomorrow (deep sigh). Big sis starts kindergarten in a week, and little sis starts preschool.

The girls are still small enough to tolerate handmade items, so I'm on a roll. The sweater is done in Sugar-and-Cream kitchen cotton. It is top down, no seaming. It took about 4 days to do and used about6 balls of the cotton. I was going to redo the neck, make it less wide, but out Kindergartener-to-be says she loves it and thinks the neck is fashionable, so who am I to argue?

Here are some skirts I finished yesterday:

The red is for big-sis’ first day of Kindergarten and the blue is for little sis.

I have finished several for myself, including:
AND finished the valences I started for this house before we moved to Florida a year and a half ago:

I am totally crafting-for-avoidance. I want to go back to work, but I don’t want to leave the girls. The thought of kindergarten is scary. She is SOOOO ready though, she is counting the days on a calendar. Her school is great, and she rides the bus to my high school in the afternoon, so I really cannot complain.

I am done, the sewing machine is put away for now. I need to finish some socks for presents, so it’s back to knitting!

Monday, August 14, 2006

How knitting saved the day

I have always been someone that travels pretty light. Before the upswing in my knitting I could manage a 5 day trip with a small backpack.

Then started the knitting.

Now, I still take the same volume of clothing, but once the knitting is added I need a good sized suitcase.

The husband, oh he of infinite patience, thinks this is ridiculous. But he tolerates, because he is patient that way.

So we went to Williamsburg to see the family and a few friends. So I had to bring the car-knitting project, the mindless-knitting-while-visiting project, the kids-are-busy-so-I-can-concentrate project. Plus, extra yarn.

We went to visit a high school buddy of the husbands and his new baby. About four hours before we headed over there we realized we had no baby gift. What to do?

Knit a bib, borrow a button from my stepmother, and go visit a new babe. He gooed once at the bib, and then it was taken over by his big-sis Emma. Quite popular.

And on the way home the husband actually said "Good thing we had all that yarn in your suitcase!"

Notice the WE...

I wish I had pics, but the husband is back in Florida with the camera.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Our house in the snow, 2004

We are back. We’ve been in the house for ten days. We’ve actually almost finished unpacking. This is my 16th move in 33 years…you get to a point where you just gotta get it done.

It feels so good to be back. Just the thrill of running into someone I know at the store is amazing. Of course this also has it’s drawbacks. It is very embarrassing to buy wine from one of my students at the grocery store. And I do not buy any undergarments in Richmond. Too much risk.

I remember when I was in high school the attendance secretary was spotted purchasing undergarments by a classmate. It was the biggest piece of gossip for WEEKS. Small town, small school, but still, I take these threats seriously.

Which makes my husband laugh, since I have the most boring life ever when it comes to high school gossip. “Did you hear, she knits….socks!”

The camera is still with the husband in Florida. So there are a few “see, we really have unpacked” pictures, but no knitting. I'll try to put one up tomorrow.

I have finished a hat for little sis. Something to help with her big hair this fall. Full of innovations. And it’s pink.

I am trying lace yet again. The trellis scarf from IK (maybe this spring?). I am finally able to do it, and am really making progress. I have realized I was knitting way too tight. This is one of the problems with knitting in isolation in Florida, no advice from folks that had been there. I generally do like to figure things out for myself, but knitting advice is well appreciated.

This is one of the things I am VERY excited about. There are multiple knitting groups here. Lots. As in more than none. I can interact with other humans face to face and not be the only one knitting. Once the husband returns from Florida I am planning on getting out of the house.

I finished all my back to work orientation the other day, and got though it admirably knitting away on a snappy wool/silk scarf I started ages ago. It is getting very long, but there always seems to be the same amount of yarn in the ball. It is some great Elsbeth Lavold stuff. I have come to think that the yarn is magic. Really, the ball stays the same size. The thing has so much of my life over the past few months knit into it. I’s my “in between projects” project. It has been to playgrounds, trains, airports, cars, doctor’s offices, job interviews, the list goes on. It has a great soapy smell, that yarn.

That's the short update. I have a lot of knitting I've been working on. Don't let me forget to tell you the story about eh value of a traveling stash. I actually saved the day with knitting.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Three days left

Oh boy, what a mess. I am mired in the move, so I am sorry if I am a bit behind down here.

Seriously, I can barely find the floor. Like a fool I packed most of my yarn in the load we took up last week, so I am left with a totally odd assortment of stuff. You know how it is, the few balls of knit-picks will in impossibly odd colors.

I did manage to finish one hat for little-sis. I think I also have enough to do mittens for this fall.

I asked her what she wants in a mitten the other night on the phone (the girls are staying with my parents during the final chaos of the move). She thought for a minute, then said she wants a thumb that can open. She's a thumb sucker. I am trying to think of a way to work it without ending up with a spit soaked mitten. Knowing her if I do not figure out this bit of knit-geneering she just will go gloveless is the frosty wasteland that is Richmond in January.

We leave on Saturday. Big truck full of furniture. For the record I turned 33 this April and this is my 16th move. Wish us luck!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Blog...what blog?

OK, so we are SUPPOSED to be driving to VA with the girls today. Like right now.

Except for the van is in the shop, or the "car doctor" as the children call the mechanic. It was doing this funky thing where as you speed up the AC, lights and radio volume would go up, and as you slow they went down. Fun for like 3 minutes.

The house is 33% packed and 100% messy. I am not even pretending that it could be clean again.

Plus big-sis is currently obsessed with spelling things. She is like THIS close to reading.

Problem is I do math, not spelling. You should have heard her huff when her dad told her I had spelled dinosaur wrong and she had to fix it on all the pages of her notebook.
(What?!? There's no "E"?? Betcha you can't do partial integration!!). Her exasperated "mom is losing it" glare stung, I tell you.

Oh, and the server is down at the school board office, so the kids in the online class I am teaching are in a bit of a panic. They have a midterm next week.

The one oasis right now is my knitting. I am rolling away on my hurricane swap sock, I think I have the kinks in the pattern worked out.

I actually submitted a pattern somewhere...fingers crossed.

So I have all day to pack, and balance the checkbook, and stretch the last of the food for one more day.

And try to figure out what to knit in the car tomorrow.

Oh, here's little sis posing in the vest I mentioned last post.

The yarn is some leftover KnitPicks stuff I had. The pattern I made up as I went along. Moss stitch center, stockingette along the sides.

I used a tubular cast on...I am obsessed with this cast on makes things look so nice!

Here is a real shot:

Sad part is I had to go outside in the rain to take this...there is not a clean surface in the house!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

So, where have I been?

Right now I am on the top bunk of an Amtrak sleeper car, heading south to Florida. Both girls are giggling in the bunk underneath me. It is 9:30 and they usually do not calm down enough to sleep until about 10. We have traveled by train a lot this year. We love it.

For the past week we’ve been staying with my folks in VA while I got started on the online class I am teaching this summer. Summer school is always an interesting mix of kids that need to pass to graduate, and kids that are trying to get ahead. It is a good group this year, ranging from 14 to 19. Quite the mix.

You’d think since I spent all week staring at a computer that I would have been able to post once, but no. This has been very consuming. I have done algebra online in the past, not geometry, so this is a new experience.

I am working on several things right now. A sock for my hurricane sock swap gal. I started doing the Pomatomus pattern from knitty. I love the pattern, but I kept making all the YO’s too big, especially the ones between the needles. I would like to try the pattern again to get it right, but since this is for someone else I want it to look better. It was getting huge holes where the YO’s were. You could use a toe in those holes. My fault, not the pattern. I’ve been too distracted to do fidgety technique.

So I am trying my own thing. On a side note, I have NEVER completed someone else’s pattern. EVER. I have started a few. I am always attracted to something with a new technique or pattern. But I quickly get tired and frog.

So it is with this poor sock. I am doing something simpler with ribbing and meandering Yo’s. Small manageable YO’s. I like the look so far. I’ll add pictures once we get home.

Home…another side issue. We move in three weeks. The girls are only down for two more weeks, then they get to stay with my folks while the husband and I drive up to VA with all our worldly possessions. How many boxes are packed?? Do not ask.

I did manage to get the office /yarn room painted while we were in Va. The room has two great walk in closets. One is big with shelves all the way around.

The other? Cedar lined. Yes, cedar. Even the floor. Even the ceiling. When we lived there before it was mostly full of baby clothes. I have come to my senses and ditched the baby clothes and accumulated a lot more wool since then.

Time to fuss at the girls. They are singing to the moon about roly-poly bugs. Loudly. At home this might be cute, but other people here are trying to sleep. Usually they play little house on the prairie, so I am not sure why we are on the roly-poly kick.

Goodnight! I’ll upload this sometime tomorrow.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Catch up

apologies for the lack of news...we had family show up TWO DAYS early for a visit. They called as they got off the interstate.

Anyhow, the girls and I are up in Williamsburg for a week. I am teaching an online summer school class this summer, and I get to meet and greet the parents on Monday.

I have my official teaching assignment for next year. Deep sigh of relief.

So on the drive up I got oodles of knitting time. Since we move in five weeks, and my working wardrobe is a bit thin I have set a challenge for myself. I am trying to go through as much yarn and fabric as I can to rebuild a work wardrobe.

I am finishing a raglan sweater I did in knit picks palette a few months back...It has been sad and sleeveless.

I am also halfway through a vest in a snappy green color. the yarn was left over from another project from last fall...Recycling at it's best.

I have also made a good stab at a project I might submit to one of the online's for a Halloween costume for the girls, so I am not sure it Knitty or Magknits would be a better option...any ideas?

Otherwise, some sewing, some packing, and a whole lot of entertaining (did I mention TWO days early!!). A busy week.

While I am here in Willy I plan on hitting the stores to find some sock yarn and other sundries for my hurricane sock buddy. To the person that got me (if they are even still bothering reading this sad neglected blog) I do have the questions halfway filled out, and should get them e-mailed to you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I have the best stepmother ever. Really.

As I have mentioned my mom died while I was in college, and my dad married pretty soon afterwards. I won’t go into her patience at inheriting a house full of teenagers. She is amazing.

Plus she’s crafty. She paints, sews. Used to weave. Gardens. She even made my wedding dress, out of antique lace of my grandmother’s. There was not a lot of yardage and she made it work. Plus, she did both bride’s maid dresses. Every year both girls get at least one homemade dress from their “Muz”.

Muz with little-sis.

As I have also mentioned I am living in a fiber desert. Unless you count Walmart and Red Heart, and I really don’t. So every time I head home my first mission is to get over to the Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg. And she’s right there with me, sniffing the yarn.

So this winter she decided to take a knitting class. She bought a ton of this gorgeous yarn, and has been doing this rather snappy garter stitch scarf. The only problem was that about 7 inches in there was some snaffoo and a hole was knitted in…a mistaken yarn over I think. And she wanted to fix the first few inches anyway, since they were a bit lumpy. And I felt so bad, because this last trip I had promised to cut it off and bind off just after all this for her, but we ran out of time.

This is a bag I made in the yarn she is using.

Again this amazes me, because this is the first beginner’s project I have ever known anyone to actually plan on wearing.

So this week I got this e-mail:

I enjoyed the updates on the blog. Thanks. We will post some pictures soon but Dad is now playing with loading more music on his ipod and playing with his new TV. I am getting into a sewing binge and just unraveled my entire scarf to reknit!
Let me stress she had already done at least two feet on this thing. Can you imagine the fortitude of frogging your first project??

I think we have a knitter.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The door is open

OK, so a while back I mentioned the husband allowing me to knit for him.

Did it work out? And how! He's worn that hat everyday for three weeks. I can't get it alone long enough to take a picture.

Then, two weekends ago, while we were camping he said,
nonchalant like, "You know, we could use a bag to hold stuff like food, but something we could see into. Could you knit that?"

What was I going to say? "Nope, too dull!" This my friends is opportunity knocking.

So I am working up something. More of a hammock than a bag. The prototype is for the girl's room to hold stuffed animals. If this works he'll be getting his camping bag really soon. And you all will be getting another pattern.

And of course, you know what this means...not too obvious? I'll explain.

He sees my knitting as a solution to real world problems. A useful activity.

This is big folks, big. It's all part of the master plan.

It started with getting him to pose in items knitted for others (see above). Then we replaced his favorite hat, the one he's had since middle school. An exact museum quality copy. Then finally this breakthrough.

Next he needs socks. He has feet shaped like hobbit feet, and that's being nice about them...very wide. So socks with a custom fit...he won't be able to say no.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Eggplant Tank Pattern

Eggplant Tank


#2 circular needles
#4 circular needles

I cone of Valley cotton in 3/2 size from Webs, or Paton’s Grace (about 5 balls)


5 stitches = 1 inch on size 4 needles.

Finished size:

Fits a size 34 bust.

Some references you might use:

tubular cast on/bind off:


Cast on 180 using tubular cast on using the #2 needles.

Here's how:

I use a crochet chain to do a provisional cast on. Chain 92 stitches.

Tip, tie a knot in the end of the yarn that you pull through to end the

chain, that way you know what end to undo to "unzip" the cast on.

Pick up the bumps along the back of the chain (90 total) using a size

two circular needle.

Set up row: K1, yo across row. K1 in last stitch.

Being careful not to twist the stitches join both sides. Slip the first stitch on the right hand needle to the left needle. K2tog. Place marker.

Work the round as follows: [K1, yarn in front, slip stitch] repeat across round

Next row [yarn in back, slip stitch, purl] repeat for this round.

Repeat for the next two rows.

Body of the tank:

Work in 1x1 ribbing for 2 ½ inches.

Switch to the size four circular needles and knit in plain stockinette stitch until the piece measures 13 inches from the cast on edge.

(If you need to adjust the finished length this is the place to do it. Add or remove a few inches as necessary. To figure out how much to adjust, measure from your armpit to where you want the tank to hit on your hip. Add about 1 ½ to 2 inches to this.)

Knit 60 stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. Work the next stitches in 1x1 ribbing until you get to the last four stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle.

Repeat this row until the 1x1 ribbing measures one inch. If you are concerned that the ribbing might not be tight enough, switch back to the number two needles just for the ribbing section.

Knit the first 60 stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. Cut a length of yarn about 3 times the length of the ribbed section. Cast off these stitches only using the tubular bind off.

Top of shirt front:

Row 1: Looking at the right side of the tank, reattach the yarn on the right. Place the first three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. Knit until you reach the last four stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle.

Row 2: Slip one stitch to right needle, purl to last stitch, slip last stitch to right needle.

Row 3: Place the first three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. K 2 tog. Knit until you reach the last six stitches. SSK. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle.

Row 4: Slip one stitch to right needle, purl to last stitch, slip last stitch to right needle.

Rows 5 – 12: Repeat rows 3 and 4 four more times.

You should now have 58 stitches left.

Row 13: Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. [P2tog, yo] repeat to last four stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle.

Row 14: Slip one stitch to right needle, purl to last stitch, slip last stitch to right needle.

Row 15: Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. Knit to last four stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle.

Row 16: Slip one stitch to right needle, purl next three stitches. [K2tog, yo] repeat to last four stitches, purl 3, slip last stitch to right needle.

Row 17: Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. Knit to last four stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle.

Row 18: Slip one stitch to right needle, purl to last stitch, slip last stitch to right needle.

Row 19: Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. Purl to last four stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle.

Row 20: Slip one stitch to right needle, purl to last stitch, slip last stitch to right needle.

Row 21: Slip one stitch to right needle, purl 3, work in 1x1 ribbing purl to last four stitches, purl 3, slip last stitch to right needle.

Row 22: Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle. Work across in established 1x1 ribbing until last four stitches. Place the next three stitches on a cable needle. K1, then knit the three stitches from the cable needle.

Bind off: Slip first stitch. Purl 3. Cut the yarn with a length about three times the length of the ribbing. Cast off ONLY the ribbing stitches using the tubular bind off. The first four and last four stitches should NOT be bound off.

Working on one set of four stitches at a time, reattach the yarn, then using the #4 circular needle work an i-chord until it measures 11 inches. Put the stitches on a stitch holder, and cut the yarn, leaving several inches to use to sew it to the back. Repeat on the other side with four remaining stitches.

At this point you might want to try it on to make sure that the i-chord is the right length, adjust as necessary.

Sew the ends of the i-chords to the back of the tank along the ribbed edge. I sewed mine five inches back from the front of the armpit section.

That's one snappy tank!!

Belly? What belly?

Lets face it, after birthing two children there are just certain things that I cannot wear. No amount of dieting and exercise will reattach the skin to my torso. Stretch marks? You better believe it.

So all these cute summer tops are grand, but short of surgical intervention there will always be a bulge. If I was a female form the TV series Manimal, all I would be able to turn into would be a Shar-pei.

And my obsession was born. I have wanted a knittable summer top that would not hug the belly. Nothing too hot or clingy, it’s hot here!!

So for the last four days all I have done is measure, knit, re-knit. And at last I have it.

(Pardon the goofy grin...the husband was making rude comments about the freckles.)

It is done on size two and four needles using the Valley mercerized cotton from webs. (By the way, have you seen the new website? Very nice re-design. Looks great, and much easier to find things.)

As I have said before, I love this stuff. For less that $17 you get an entire cone of yarn. 1260 yards. Do you know how much yarn that is?? This top took less than a half a pound. I have so much left over!!

Also, it comes in over 70 colors. SEVENTY. I have gone through at least six cones over the years.

You could also substitute Paton's Grace. I get about the same gauge with it.

I have half the pattern typed up, and will try to get it up by tomorrow. It is for a size 34 bust. I can try to work it up in another size if someone is interested.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

You think I could count

OK, I am a math teacher, for crying out loud, you think I could cast on the right number of stitches.

So I was out to dinner the other night (we were coming home form camping) and this gal walked by in a very snappy tank top.
It was tight at the hip, then a bit blousy. A few rows of lace at the top. Hers was a jersey knit, but I think it will translate well. I figured this would be nice and cool.

So I have been busy casting on what I thought was 342 stitches. And doing 3 inches of 1x1 ribbing.

And it was looking a bit small, but I just kept going. Then I counted. 180 stitches. My hips cannot be circles by a mere 180 stitches.

So, rip, goodbye eggplant ribbing. This was using the tubular cast on.

Deep sigh. Progress shot later. I have some counting to do.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Call David Horowitz

Do you remember that show? “Fight Back with David Horowitz. He exposed consumer fraud and allowed the viewer to fight back.

Well, in researching this blog post I found out he’s still out there, and it might be my time to contact him. Really, check out the site. It even has the old theme song.

My sister loved this show. When she was in the sixth grade she was on the lookout constantly. She wrote in to the show and got a letter back and everything. I have vague memories of her getting a fight back badge in the mail…I should ask if she still has it.

OK, here’s my deal. So everyone in the civilized world knows about Mason Dixon Knitting and the amazing new book. I have visited it at Barnes and Noble several times now. The girls play with the Thomas the Tank engine trains and I flip through it. No purchase yet since I am trying not to add any more bulk…moving next month and all.

I NEED that book. What I have skimmed has been so snappy, so we won’t be asking David to fight back against the book.

Here’s my issue. That Peaches and Cream cotton is like crack. Seriously, I almost never just buy random yarn. I generally have something in mind for everything I get. I might not ever get to it, but it has an intended purpose.

That said, there is something about $1.19 for a ball of yarn that just intoxicates me. So I have a few in my stash. And now there is a book of really great pattenrs using this stuff. So obviously I need more.

And the girls just happen to have killed the last bathmat. And Mason Dixon Knitting has a great pattern for a bathmat made of this cotton crack.

Side story, the death of the bathmat involves a turtle named Broccoli, markers, glitter glue, and toothpaste. Don’t ask. The turtle, federally protected endangered turtle the husband unknowingly brought home, I might add, is back safe and sound in its natural environment unharmed, but the mat is no more. There are things even I cannot wash out.

So I pulled out a few balls, then headed to the store to make sure I had enough. Here’s the problem:

Yup, they’ve gotten smaller. The one on the right is the ball from a year ago, the left the one I got yesterday. Same price, but a whole 1 oz. smaller. I want a Fight Back badge for this!!

Deep sigh.

The bathmat is going great and should be done by tomorrow. Pictures once it is done.

I also made a bib to be mailed of Monday, the girl’s newest step-cousin.

I am telling you, addictive stuff these patterns.

Oh, and I sold a pattern. Cannot yet say where it's going, but I am so happy I could burst. We even ate dinner out...I couldn't concentrate to cook.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

We're home

Well, we are back home in Florida. It has really hit me today though, this place is only home for 2 months, then we are back up to Virginia.

This is a test post via e-mail. Since things will be up in the air over the next few weeks I am trying out new ways to keep this up to date. I'll be back later today with some photos. It's baby central around here, I have two new babies to knit for, so it's time to get crackin'.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What was that?

You appear to be speaking.

Yes, you. Don’t think I don’t know what you are up to. This is my PTK, and you cannot waste it.
Fine, cry, it’s good for your sinuses.

No, I cannot come in there. If your feet are cold cover them up. That is why I knit after all...all these hours knitting and you can lay there and complain of cold feet.

Did I forget to remind you that tonight is the finale of Top Chef? Prime Potential Knitting Time. I can finish a whole sock in this time. Think of your feet, if not of me.

Yes, I am aware too much TV will rot your brain out, I remember telling you. Have you heard what childbearing does to it?? No?? Perhaps later...

Now, GO TO BED!!!

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday Queen Victoria! To celebrate the girls and their Muz (translation: Grandmother) are having tea this afternoon.

We are back from San Diego and are visiting here in Willy until the weekend. San Diego was grand, and I got in lots of PTK (Potential Knitting Time). We were out for my baby brother’s wedding, so sorry folks, some non-knitting photos follow. His wife is originally from Kobe Japan, and her family made their first trip to the US for the event. They are moving to Tokyo next month, so we are all trying to learn Japanese so we can visit. I took Japanese in college, but I need serious brushing up.

I am now almost done with this Walking sock from Knitting Vintage Socks. Since we’re at my folks house there are lots of fun spots to take photos.

Here he is lounging with friends on the 200-year old bed.

Visiting with my great-great-grandfather.

And some of the other locals.

And soaking up the sun in the front garden.

Friday, May 19, 2006

On Location

Howdy from California! We are on location at the lovely Glorietta Bay Inn Here on Coronado Island in CA. My brother is getting married (tonight!). I'll have some photos later...I forgot the camera cable.

Yesterday we went to the San Diego Zoo. Very exciting. I am working on a secret pair of socks for my dad's birthday, mostly while he's sitting right there. Good thing he tunes out my knitting.

"See" you all soon!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What to bring?

OK, so it's the usual. We're going on a road trip. 12 hours in the car. 6 hours on the plane, both ways. Total of 36 hours of Potential Knitting Time (PKT). This is important people, not to be wasted.

(And all that travel is over 15 days. My brother is getting married, and the travel arrangements are convoluded, to say the least)

Last time I had this much knitting time it turned out Awful!

I am debating ...socks? Too many needles to lose.

Hubby Hat? Good thought, but he won't be there so I can measure his head.

Sweater? Too big.

I have three days left to decide.

This is actually interfering with sleep. I have to drive to Orlando on Thursday to pick up the parental units at the airport. My plan in to stop by the knitting store there on the way to find something.

And yes, this means leaving two hours early, and bringing dinner for the girls. But think of all that wasted time if I didn't have the right project. Wasted PKT time. I shudder at the thought.

(And also, I just found out I am a finalist in the competition...Very exciting!!)