Friday, December 9, 2011

November, where did you go?

Do you ever have those days (or weeks or months) where you feel like everything's going non-stop and you're so busy that you can't take a deep breath ... yet it doesn't sound like all that much was going on when you try to explain it to someone else? I can probably sum it all up by saying, I have children.

But let's not get bogged down with that. Instead, here's the yarny stuff...

I made a small Storm Cloud Shawlette (designed by Hanna Breetz and offered for free) using my handspun, ~220 yards of two-ply Shetland wool hand-dyed by The Thylacine. The shawl couldn't be simpler to make and it shows off the color shifts in the yarn. I ran out of yarn before I was quite ready to be finished, so worked in some gray handspun I had left from an earlier shawlette along the bottom ruffle.

There was also a Springtime Baby Cardigan and a Foolproof Baby Hat out of some super-soft alpaca yarn. I made these for someone else and was thrilled that she liked them.

Then the temperature dropped and it seemed like the perfect time to make a pair of Trenza mitts, a free pattern designed by Susanna IC. I used three-ply handspun (Ashland Bay merino fiber) and it worked very nicely for the cables.

I also finished up the "Entwined" Shoulder Shawl designed by O/C Knitiot. Blocking definitely let the Berroco Lustra yarn bloom and show the stitch pattern to best advantage. I love the "woven" part that connects the shawl in front, though I may do some hidden stitching to flatten out the stockinette "fingers". The applied i-cord edging took some time to do, but it makes a gorgeous finished edge, doesn't it?

I only have one Christmas gift to make this year. It's for a friend who greatly admired a shawl I made last year, which ensured her a spot on the "people I'm willing to knit for" list. The gift shawl is not quite to the halfway point so there's enough pressure to keep me motivated but not quite so much that I am berating myself for not starting it sooner.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Briefly noted, and pictured too...

I'm taking a little break from the combined Thanksgiving/Early Christmas celebration with the relatives who are in town, so thought I'd take a minute to show you what's new here.

I just finished plying this blue-faced leicester fiber from BlueDog on Etsy...
248 yards, two-ply.
BFL wool from BlueDog Fibers in the Saime colorway.

The Cat's Paw scarf is also done...

Cat's Paw scarf, designed by Elizabeth Lovick. (Free pattern.)
Yarn: Be Sweet Bamboo in the Plum colorway

I'm knitting a Storm Cloud Shawlette out of my handspun so I hope that will keep me busy while everyone naps after the big Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. And if I nap, at least it's an easy enough pattern that I'll be able to remember where I was when I wake up enough to continue.

I still haven't started the one gift on my Christmas knitting list, but I did finally order the yarn. If only the rest of the Christmas shopping would be as enjoyable as the knitting is...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Irony of the day

I've been enjoying the little ironies lately... like when my daughter's teacher sent home a newsletter with a typo in the paragraph about how the spelling tests work this year.

Today's came in my e-mail box, courtesy of Interweave -- a company I like very much for books and magazines, despite their desire to send me not just e-mail every day, but summary e-mails on the weekend to review what they have sent me during the week.

How's this for a subject line: "<Fname><Lname>: It's all about you!"

Well, what could be more personal than that? I was intrigued. It turns out to be a survey about my experiences using their website:

It's good to know that they are tailoring my shopping experience to my very individual needs... or at least the very individual needs of <Fname> <Lname>.

I feel a little guilty about making fun of this, the intentions are good and the mistake is too easy to make -- and I've made it myself back when I did marketing work. But forgetting to personalize it on a message that promises, "It's all about you!" is just too funny to ignore.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Road knitting

Had I known what motherhood would make of me, I would have majored in Transportation and Logistics in college.

The Wedge scarf is done, with the majority of knitting done in the car, starting on the big road trip back in April and picked back up this month for waiting in school pick-up lines, etc.:

Wedge, designed by Norah Gaughan.
Free pattern from
Yarn: Teksrena 4-ply (fingering weight) from Lithuania

I also refreshed my memory on what I was doing with the "Entwined" Shoulder Shawl though it is not as easy to cart around with me. After taking this picture, I started the interesting part with the knitted "fingers" that get woven together to form the shawl closure.

"Entwined" Shoulder Shawl, designed by O/C Knitiot Designs - Deby Lake. ($5)
Yarn: Berroco Lustra (50% tencel, 50% merino)

Don't be alarmed, but I actually swatched this week. With shawls and scarves, I generally don't bother swatching, but for a baby sweater I thought it might be nice to produce something in the expected size...

Turns out my gauge is even crazier than I thought.
Let's just all hope for the best, shall we?

The Cat's Paw scarf should be finished today -- one daughter has voice and piano lessons, the other daughter has religious education class. I think they may be trying to wear me out so that I'll stop panicking at the notion that Teen Daughter is less than 2 months from being eligible for a driver's training permit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I wish I had a clever title...

Knitting binge this week, inspired by cooler weather and fueled by Halloween candy. (Milky Ways are my weakness. Or at least one of my weaknesses.)

In the "FINISHED" column ...

Garter Loop-Through Scarf, designed by Marci Richardson.
From the 101 Designer One Skein Wonders book, edited by Judith Durant.
Yarn: Mistletoe Farm's sport weight alpaca

Victorian Scarf, designed Kerin Dimeler-Laurence.
Available for free from
Yarn: Mistletoe Farm's sport weight alpaca

In the "ALMOST FINISHED" section:
  1. Cat's Paw scarf -- just a few more repeats
  2. Wedge scarf -- possibly just one more repeat, yarn is almost done
And in the "I REALLY NEED TO GET BACK TO THIS BEFORE I FORGET WHAT I WAS DOING SECTION," my Entwined Shoulder Shawl. I divided for the neck and then put it down to work on the Halloween costume. Now that temperatures are dropping, it seems more appealing to work on it.

Have a great weekend --

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween: The Recap

Mission accomplished. Here's my angel ...

Top and skirt from
Butterick pattern

The halo came out better than I expected: I used black pipe cleaners as the base and wrapped the ring with sparkly star garland and a narrow braided silver cord. I used two pieces of floral wire to attach the sides of it to a plastic hairband so that it slightly "floated" over her hair.

She could have used an extra layer for warmth, but didn't want to ruin her "look." I carried around a sweater for her, just in case, and managed to lose it along the trick-or-treating route.

We went trick-or-treating with friends and acquired plenty of candy, so a good time was had by all.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What a treat...

I keep wondering why the editors of Where Women Create
magazine haven't called... I avoided the chaos in the
officially designated sewing area by relocating to the kitchen.

I surprised myself and amazed the family by finishing the Halloween angel outfit (okay, except for the halo) in one marathon sewing session on Friday. There was one small tantrum (mine, how did you guess?), but once I realized that the sewing machine simply wanted me to use a needle appropriate to the fabric, all went smoothly.

This allowed me to attend the newly expanded Fiber in the Boro festival on Saturday without any trace of guilt (until I added up the receipts). Mariposa -- my faithful camera-girl, fiber enabler, and bag carrier -- provided this photo of fiber festival philosophy:

Keep your fingers crossed about the halo -- my vision includes a plastic hairband, jewelry wire, and sparkly silver cording.  Photographic evidence of our successful angel costume making to come Monday night, or whenever the Halloween candy haze wears off.