Sunday, December 31, 2006

And the winner is....

The Hermione Mitten...I agreed with everyone that I should honor what my KMKS pal likes and keep in mind she is a newer knitter. I could not resist buying the Diamond Patch Mittens pattern at my LYS. After looking it over, it would indeed be daunting to a new knitter - it's a little daunting to me, and I am not that new. We'll see. I also ended up buying some Berroco alpaca in worsted weight as well as a skein of Cascade 220 Quattro for my swapping pal (the pattern calls for Cascade 220), as well as the DPNs to make them up. Now to get started on my felted bag for the kit - I'm doing this pattern. I thought it could be extra awesome if I motivate myself to put a funkified brocade lining in it and a Noni flower broach on the outside, but bag first right?!

While at the LYS, since I had a fabulous gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, I also got a Romi shawl pin. (Though they charged more than I could have gotten it from Scout, doh! Lesson learned...) I am nearing the nupps portion of my Swallowtail Shawl - but so far, so good. I'm thinking this gorgeous pin will help inspire me to get 'er done. You can go over to Scout's Swag and pick your own - she had this awesome martini shaped one that sold out - but I bet she'll have more coming, AND her customer service is excellent (not to mention her prices are suggested retail at most:o)!

Go look at Nell's new Yarntini at Chicken Knits! Yarn envy!

I also want to make these cables booties like Susie's! She likes Yarntini too - maybe I should start a fan club?!

Happy New Year! I'm off to make Scout's Kick Ass Cosmos! They really are kick-ass!

Friday, December 29, 2006


I am in the Knit Mitt Kit Swap run in part by Scout J. We send a mitten pattern, yarn, handmade bag and whatever other goodies to our partner on January 16. I am mulling and mulling over what mitten pattern to get my partner - I'm a nerd that way. Really overthink things. So I ask you blogging world, what would you do? She suggested that she liked Hermione, a mitten that is interesting, knit out of Cascade 220 - a perfectly great mitten with a cable and bobble. I have seen the mittens done in Manos, a nice twist - way more exciting (to me?) than Cascade, obviously more cha-ching - of course. I even have ordered the pattern, caving under pressure, I really do want to make my partner happy. But then there is THIS mitten, the Diamond Patch. It is out of sock yarn, and I did find some fabulous Cherry Tree Hill here. The colors seem to be representative of what my pal likes - I just think they are fabulous. This pattern and yarn excite me...hmmm, maybe I am answering my own question here. Maybe I should get the Hermione for my pal - who is newer to knitting, and knit myself some diamond patch mittens out of the fabulous Yarntini I already have. Oh, gosh - thanks for listening. Funny how we answer our own questions more honestly when it's there in black and white... but really, what do you think?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Acedemy Award for Best Gift Giver of 2006 goes to....

My sister! Who got me this:

Yarntini fabulousness!! Be still my heart! Fig and Plum, 4-8-15-16-23-42 as inspired by Lost and one of her new semi-solids, Merlot. This was truly the best treat ever for this knitter. I am positively hooked on Yarntini's vibrant colors, I admit I'm a bit of a groupie. But I know I love a yarn when I assign a flavor to it, when my sensory takes over and it creates a pavlovian experience for me...when I can taste it! I know, how weird is that? That should be one of my 6 weird things - anyways, maybe it's not weird - do other knitters want to eat their favorite yarn? Doesn't it look like candy? Totally lickable?

I was pretty darn close to being entirely surprised (even though I had hinted at it heavily a while back) to open this gift - cheers little sister for job well done!! Weee!! if their were a statue to commemorate this gift - you would have it. Also thank you to Yarntini for helping to facilitate this big surprise - no small task while getting prepared for the holiday season.

Sissy, thank you also for modeling the My-So-Called scarf I made for you:) Cotton Candy! (don't kill me for posting your identity, just to be even steven - well, kinda - I'll post myself in the thoes of delirious fiber intoxication...)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I believe!!

It has been a most fabulous holiday for thoughtful gifts for this knitter. First I was bestowed by my Secret Pal 9 buddy - holy cow - she outdid herself. I got the most fabulous bubble gum pink basket/ bag from Lantern Moon - and it was filled with goodies to include 4 skeins of Filatura Di Crosa extra fine merino in bubble gum and a feisty lime green - just love those colors together. Also chocolate, two nifty tape measures - one lamb from Lantern Moon and the neatest one that is like a fishing reel. Also the tiniest crochet hook. I was so thrilled that this pre-christmas bonanza was all for me. *wee* I wish I knew a little more about my pal though - so if you're out there I would love to know more - your blog, what you knit, your first name:) I'm humbled by your glorious gifts!

Then truly, will wonders ever cease? I received a package from my most special yarn dying friend, Jessie a.k.a. Yarntini. With two skeins of a lovely worsted weight in "Lennie Briscoe" - inspired by one of our mutually favorite shows - Law & Order - dun dun...I was stunned and thrilled to receive such unexpected generosity. Someone was thinking about me!! I cannot put into words how touched I was to receive this package. Especially when just a teeny bit ago she sent me a most wonderful skein of "Port" (the deepest, most fabulous purple ever) sock weight to try - with the deal I send her pictures of my project - are you kidding, what knitter wouldn't grab up on that (win-win)? That was already a most special gift - as a side note I wound Port on Christmas as a gift to myself and have casted on - I'll share what in another post:). So anyways, I am feeling sincerely spoiled to the gills by this dear yarniphile - I am breathless. Thank you Jessie! I now have the task of deciding what pattern is worthy enough to deserve Lennie! What would Jerry Orbach do?

I also received another holiday bit from Yarntini - vicariously... I nearly wept - I will save that for tomorrow!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Stella is a hit!

I was nearly pleased to tears tonight when I gave Stella to my daughter. She was genuinely surprised and pleased. After months of her looking at the Knitted Babes book and asking me when I would ever make one...she danced around with her and took all of her clothes off, did her hair and told me to be careful because she is fragile...I could not have asked for a better reception for our new dolly.

What joy knitting has brought to me life - and it has been so wonderful to share the spoils with those I love. Tomorrow My-So-Called scarf and Backyard Leaves will go to their new homes. I can only dream of another shot of the pure joy I am feeling now in the afterglow of Stella. Now I am hoping for a long winter's nap before Santa comes in the morning. Good night and Merry, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006


She's nearly done, I'm thinking I should call her Stella - as in Stella was a hell-a-va futzy thing to do so close to Christmas:) I have some final touches and the ballet slippers to make. After working on her every spare minute the last couple of days I am thinking she is really more of a "display doll" than a "play doll" - I gave her a bit much hair, so she is a bit top heavy and maybe not so horseplay friendly. But really, just to sit on a little girl's dresser or watch over a sleeping child from the bedstand - I think she is kind of charming. I wouldn't mind my own little Stella, she offers me a little peek back into childhood. I had a Raggedy Ann doll who aptly became known as "raggy"... her dirty little body is still in a box at my parents house. That poor doll's limbs were sewed on over and over - sometimes her feet faced the wrong way - but I sure loved her.

We'll see how Stella goes over with my daughter - it's a crapshoot these days with the amazing toys out there quickly trumping anything handmade, I am merely hoping she might inspire a memory of some sort for us to remember fondly in Christmas future. "Remember that silly doll mom?" The possibilities are endless...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

5 more days til the man with the bag...

Ho Ho Ho!! Only 2 more days of the work week makes for lots of spirit!! And here are my own little girls actually posed in their Santa hats - now, that brings a warm fuzzy to my belly - no one is sassy, no one is climbing the tree, everyone is getting along - Christmas rocks! (Oh wait, the little one is having a tantrum right now - funny how you can tune that right out:)

My So-Called scarf is blocking...

I have been working on one final holiday project. It is for for my oldest daughter - I am hoping to finish a dolly from Knitted Babes. While in some ways they are a little odd looking, they have a certain charm, their dainty accessories are darling. I am hoping for the doll, a ballet leotard with tutu, wrap sweater and ballet slippers by Sunday. I think it is entirely possible. Let's find out! Otherwise, a New Year's gift?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A day like this...

Its been husband, I and the girls were up til after midnight last night enjoying Christmas with my in-laws. The kids were both so good - should have known pay back would come. You mess with a kid's schedule and that is what you get. So I sit back and sigh, kind of glad in some sense I have to go back to work tomorrow - I don't think another day like this would be a good thing. Sometimes I feel my youngest is God's way of challenging me to dig deep to be a good mother, sometimes I am sure I don't make the grade. For example - today my Christmas tree has come to this (I'd post a picture if one of my frustrations wasn't my computer savvy husband clearing everything out of the computer without talking to me, so no word prgram of any kind, no photo shop, no nothing - can't even get pictures off the camera - frustration #185 on the day)...but if you could see it, it has a barricade - a play yard, it's like a fort, safe from the little enemy. And bottom line, it's ugly. But it's that or Tutti climbing behind it into the bay window all day. So sigh again.

However, faith was strangely restored when the oddest thing happened. I was feeling frustrated about whatever - such a mixed bag of frustrations today - but I looked up and there is a white cat (a feline angel perhaps?) on my front deck looking in the window at me. As though sent from someone to remind me to not sweat the small stuff. It was amusing to see this little random cat peeking in my window, holding my stare - I never saw her before and she flew when I attempted to get closer for a picture. But thank you little stranger for helping me lighten up. Already the weight of the day is lifting. The kids are tucked safely in bed and I shall follow to wake up renewed for another week of work before the next round of holiday frenzy. Good night moon.

Quick little side note - I was surfing and found several adorable projects - a cool mixed media pin here and some mod holiday labels to print and color here. Not too mention a very cool run at needle felting here.

Feliz Navidog!

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

A little bit of Tina's what I need....

Remember that song? "Mambo #5"? That line is in there and gosh, it rings true for me! I met with one of my dearest friends for appetizers, drinks and presents last night - what a treat. She is such a warm and genuine person, I always feel better after we get together - except did I mention she is gorgeous? She really shouldn't stand next to me:) Seriously, it was a wonderful pre-holiday evening. I'm very grateful to have this special friend. I hope everyone is lucky enough to have a Tina. *superstar*
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She is my one friend who has taken an interest in knitting - we sat down last winter and she has been turning out garter scarves every since - I'm proud of that. We are taking it the next level if we ever find more time to sit down and concentrate. Tina is that special someone I set out to make a Flora for on Wednesday to be done by Thursday night to leave time for wrapping (and going to work at my real job) - only super special friends get that kind of energy output!

Lookee what I got!! A sushi wallet kit like the kind found here, and a cool set of Serendipity knitting needles...just for starters! *wee* I also got several other thoughtful gitfs to include hand-made (by Tina herself)stitch markers! This is the type of gift a knitter, a crafter pines for. Thank you my dear friend! Oh and several hours of gossip, giggles, giddyness and retail therapy were icing on this most delicious! I love you, man!  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Flying fingers

I decided this morning I need to get a Flora done by oh, Friday - I just love that pressure. I have 17 inches of 22 total so I should have that baby done before bed so it can block overnight. Well, except for the flower, I figure that can wait til tomorrow night. (Pictures after the giftee is presented with the goods, maybe she'll pose for me...)

I am seriously digging this holiday knitting pressure, I love the creative spirit it imbues - my shopping is done - now it is all about the fiber baby. I just feel like knitting is a joy, settling into the rythm of my bamboo sticks next to the peacefully lit tree, a little rum and diet coke within reach never hurts - life is good. Ahhh, it's like a bit of yoga practice, it's all the yoga I am gonna get for now. I should really be doing some salutes to the sun between rows but I am so darn caught up in holiday knit, knit, knit!! Downward dog - you'll have to wait. I feel like a warrior! Namaste.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Immediate gratification project!!

Santa Baby
Isn't this sweet little hat darling? It is by Susan B. Anderson, a book author and native of nearby Madison, WI. I learned to knit in her shop 4 years ago - it made me giddy when I found her book, Itty Bitty Hats, rather unexpectedly at a local store. It is so refreshing and renewing to see someone take their passion and make it into something so successful. Anyways, I got up early Sunday to download a podcast of an interview with her from Craftsanity yesterday morning, I listened while I worked on a mitten. It was so peaceful in my house. What a treat. Even more, she has posted a pattern for this cute, teeny hat "Santa Baby". I have been stalking her blog a little to see when it would be available - I'm a little neurotic that way - I was able to make one up last night (being a good stalker, I had my worsted weight yarn purchased in advance). I should make about 100 more, they are so darn cute, super quick and simple. Head over and check out the pattern - the people on your gift list will be glad ya did!

A quick side note - so I listened to the interview yesterday morning and who's voice do I hear at the local yarn store?? Oh I have tell you, Susan B. Anderson was there! What a treat to talk to someone with such enthusiasm, it's nearly contagious! Thank you, I am always grateful for a shot in the arm of such exhilerating excitement for knitting! And meeting someone so positive and friendly makes the rest of the day just that much better!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Cheers to weekend!

I am home with another sick kid - Calgon take me away...seriously, I think she was fine after her bout this morning, so by the time I got home to relive my husband for work at lunch - she was good. We played Candy Land, watched silly TV and even snuck off to Menards to buy a new Christmas tree - shhh...I had her keep her jammies on just in case the boss was out shopping. Still, it wouldn't have felt right to send her to school after two accidents this morning. (you remember those poor kids who
vomited at school - I didn't want to risk my 6-year-old's fragile reputation. First grade is harder than you think.)

I also got my holiday cards ordered from Shutterfly- starring a picture of the girls with Santa Claus. It was a rushed visit - we arrived at the mall just as Santa was seeing his last visitor before his break. My poor daughter's face crestfallen when we learned we had to wait an hour for the bearded fella to come back. Wandering around the Disney Store was no treat - but we made it more less unscathed. The little one just stared, the eldest was so excited she remembered after we were out of the "North Pole" that she forgot to tell him what she was longing for - luckily she was easily convinced that he "just knew" - after all, he must be listening after she got a prized trinket on St. Nicholas Eve right?
ho ho ho!!
And so the cards, they're ordered. I just love receiving cards with pictures in them, watching friend's and family's children grow. I am sad when I receive a card with a simple signature - I feel like telling the sender, please save the 39 cents if you haven't a thing to say (but you're sending me a card, don't you want to say something??). Where are the days of a hand-written note? I mean - we call it "snail mail" - that doesn't do much to conjure a positive image. I would rather write a letter over hang on the phone any day. I enjoy the suspense of waiting for the return letter, for answers to my questions. It is a lost art. But then knitting was lost for the majority it is everywhere - joy to the world! An article in the new Winter Knitty (go look!!) suggests it could be on the way out...**hands over ears "la la la"**...would I get more letters? Well, anyways, what are the chances?

I finished yet another pair of Fetching mitts - to match my one-skein, one cable scarf. The scarf turned out a little skinny, I hope it is long enough to keep the receipient warm. it's cold outside!

Monday, December 04, 2006

just say no to holiday "drama" - and say YES to Secret Pal goodies!

How auspicious...I half-heartedly read the story about reducing family drama in my new Redbook last night - I guess I shoulda paid closer attention as a bit of drama nearly horned in on my attempt at true "positivity" this holiday season. I'm absolutely commited to being into this holiday season in a spiritual sense, to bring the kids the happy memories they deserve and to kick my heels up a bit. I won't waste my time going into the drama but really, sometimes isn't appropriate when dealing with family dilemmas to simply throw your hands up and say "I tried" and move on? I believe it is okay not to take responsibility for your families shortcomings, it's okay to stop inviting people that say they'll come but don't show leaving you extra food for an army, it's okay to accept that we. do. not. pick. our. family. I say we should all give ourselves is okay to say "I don't pick you to spend my free time with". Isn't the season about spreading joy among those you love and those who love you back - love you back is the operative phrase here. So dear family member who is stuggling again with this same deja vu - do you hear me? You know who you are - it's okay, I love you and you belong to me too:) Please look in the mirror and repeat "it is okay to accept that I cannot be all things to all people, I'm still a good person". Did you say that?

I totally get obligation to some degree but when things are just one sided, I say enough is enough. Life is short. I will step down from my soap box now - thank you for anyone who might still be reading this rant.

On a slightly more fabulous note - after somewhat successfully averting negativity, I came home and was totally rewarded. Karma, Karma, Karma!! I received an awesome package from my Secret Pal 9 partner! Two skeins of Claudia's Hand-Painted with purples, tans and browns - how delicious. I am a Claudia virgin - and let me say, it's feel sproingy and wonderful!! It is reminiscent of Koigu, lovin' it! She also enclosed a set of short metal Skacel dpn's. I'm so excited to try another kind in my quest for "that set" of dpns. My tension is so tight I often snap my favorite natural materials, I'm stoked to have a new option to test run. Thank you so much SP 9 friend for renewing my spirit today, you're timing could not have been more spot on. Bless you! I can't wait to meet you!!claudia rocks!!!

Also - extra special woo hoo!! to Sandra for the fabuous chocolate - Milka with raisins and hazelnuts rock!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

pink bubblegum goodness and the karmic revival

tis the season
I am working on My-So-Called-Scarf for a holiday gift - I am using Malibrigo for the first time...o.m.g. It is the color of bubble gum and as soft as cotton candy. I would eat it if I could. That is a common theme for me, if I like the yarn, I think I should eat it...and I do love bubble gum. So much in fact that I always swallow it, something about the slippery texture, I just want to eat gum - ew, I know. Anyways, the scarf project is going along quickly - it's easy to memorize the simple two line pattern. When I settle in tonight, I hope to knit and then read Redbook - there are hints on a "hassle free" wishful. "Great gifts your really can afford." "No family drama." Can I afford not to read this? :) Seriously, my family of origin is not terribly dramatic - okay Mom...Kasey...are you reading this?... maybe a teeny bit sometimes, but it is so easy in the hustle of the season to get short on patience and long on negative self-talk.

Along the same vein, I hope to continue the season with a degree of mindfulness. I mean, isn't it funny a sitcom about a red-neck guy named Earl could offer some pretty sound advice - karma baby. I thought of Earl tonight when my husband retold an event from his morning. A man who he described as a "homeless" approached him after he dropped our daughter off at Sunday School. Apparently this gentleman was looking for help from the pastor and was telling my husband his story. My husband thought this guy wanted him to pay for a prescription for him based on their conversation. He then immediately thought that this guy - probably based soley on his appearance - must have been a drug abuser. My husband was raised by nice people but was not taught (or chose not to listen during such lessons) about how to pick a name off the tree to buy a gift for an underprivileged child, not people who put a buck in the Salvation Army bucket...I was raised a little differently (opposites attract, no myth here people) but I can recall giving money to the veterans in exchange for a tootsie roll, being taught not to stare at different people, to offer a smile, to share (or again, maybe I chose to listen during these lessons...but then my sister is a giver - so - anyways...). Anyhow, my husband was flustered about the guy after church. Instead of my usual rant abou helping people and his selfishness, we talked about how he might have helped the guy. He listened...what about taking telling this guy - "hey while you see the pastor, let me take your prescription and drop it off and pay for it, that way you can just pick it up?" That seemed very reasonable - no worries of sharing any personal information, no big commitment, yet the good deed is done. I think next time this situation presents itself, maybe my husband will find a way to give. Sometimes that's the hardest part - how to give without giving too much. How to give without guilt. How to give without making the givee feel desperate. How to find a way to give when your own family needs. The simplest things, a smile, helping the gas station attendant pick up the box of whatever she just dropped, helping the flustered mom corral the careening 2-year-old, a buck in the red bucket, even keeping your middle finger in check when "that moron" pulls out in front of you - little things yes, but good for our human kind, yes. Knitster bloggers are a huge community I am learning - I would love to hear what people are doing out there - what little things are you "paying forward"? I am not doing anything over the top, I am not tyring to pretend to be fabulous - I can only afford some little things this holiday myself - but let's share some good stuff. I don't think it is a stretch to think our home made scarves and mittens are a "pay it forward" to our non-knitting friends. Keepingn this log this year may encourage me to do more - keep me unselfish perhaps:) Outlous, to you or to myself, I commit to get something for the humane society by the end of the week to contribute to the bin at my children's daycare.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Random Acts of Knitter Kindness...

I just love the concept of "pay it forward". It made for a good movie and a whole darn Oprah show this week was about doing something nice for someone who isn't expecting it - of course $1000 from Oprah helped, but you don't really need that kind of money to make someone's day. I try to be mindful, I attempt pay it forward when I can, random acts of kindness give me warm fuzzies to no end....but in the insanity of life sometimes it easy to get caught up in doing for yourself - buying into the rationalization that "well, no one else thinks of me, so I have to". Poor us. So easy to get caught up, especially now in the crazy holiday mode. I shopped today but not before meditating, preparing myself that people will be rude, lines will be long, more people will be rude and parking lots will be hell - oh and more people will be rude. That's a crappy outlook but honestly, I think most of us can easily catch this little bah humbug without a conscious effort to slow down, be mindful and respect your waiting companions. And then, I get a couple of sweet things this week - acts of kindness that have not gone unnoticed. The "pay it forward" for me may be the smile I keep when I am waiting behind someone haggling over a price, or the guy who steals my parking stall - because really, those are small things - because I got yarn baby, check it out.

My week was made considerably brighter by several cyber knitters. First I received this great yarn from Scout J.'s stash. I merely commented on her Fecthing gloves - you know since I am hooked on knitting them and she offered up her leftover yardage...are you kidding?! Weeee! So another pair of Fetchings will be in order as soon as I can muster them.

Then - if you haven't seen Yarntini in person - you must! Check this purple goodness out - it is one of her new semi-solids in the "Port" colorway. It was gratis as part of a secret arrangement - so mind-blowing flattery is an added bonus. I hope to wind it up this weekend. I have high hopes for a lace scarf for moi, once more holiday knitting is put to bed. I am considering the Liesel. I made the pattern for the International Scarf Exchange partner and with my teeny leaf fetish...well, and since purple is my favorite color, this must be for Peaknit - I said it here people, for me. (with you alllll as my witnesses!!)

And just because my nano is so charming in her new skivvies, she deserved acknowledgment.

Lest I forget my finished little baby the mail and on the way to a new mommy-to-be...Shout out to Jenn!! Yay Baby!