Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The All-Knowing Frisky Speaks

"Oh great and all-knowing Frisky, tell me what to do about my Manos sweater that is too long. Should I frog it?"

"Nay. Give it to my Nana."

"Oh yes, that is much better!"

"Of course it is, silly hooman. Next you must make her a Huckleberry Ascot. Except with picots instead of bobbles."

"Of course, Wise One."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Handmade Holidays

For Mom: Breeze from Knitty

For Hubs: IK Holiday 2008 Aran Isle Slippers

For DS #2: Cabled Footies from OneSkein

For DS#1: (made this at Rhinebeck - just added the fleece lining for Christmas)

For my niece's American Girl Doll:

Last-minute Gift for Self, modeled on DS's perfectly round noggin :)

Ornaments: (the kids made these for everyone - very cute and easy to do)

And More Holiday Wishes from Frisky, hiding out under the tree with his handmade gift from Hubs's co-worker: a bunch of fleece stips knotted together securely to create a ropey thing with little ends hanging off all around. He is in love with it - a great gift idea for those doggies who have everything.

Also, thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts on my dad's passing. It has been a very difficult time. Thank god for family, good friends, and knitting - somehow we get through it, right?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Wishing you a blessed holiday season, whatever your reason.

Friday, December 19, 2008


It's been a while - and a tough time for my family and me. My stepdad passed away very unexpectedly on November 30.

He was my kids' hero, my husband's buddy, and the light of my mom's life. I think we are maybe still in denial. It's still so very hard to believe he's gone.

I've been doing a lot of knitting and rav-trolling and trying to get through the end-of-semester grading/drama/ice storm/snowstorm bullsh*t. Guess it's a blessing to be so busy.

Hug your loved ones tonight, and be safe.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Second Childhood

Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love being the mother of two boys. I wouldn't trade them for the world. But every now and again, I do wish I had an opportunity to do some "girl" things, especially the things I enjoyed as a child, sigh.

Fortunately, I found that some of these things have a boy equivalent. For example, reading the Henry Huggins series by Beverly Clearly was almost as satisfying as reading the Ramona series by Beverly Clearly. Stuffed animals are stuffed animals. All good.

One thing I haven't gotten to do the second time around? Dolls. Mind you, I was never into Barbies. (I sure was crazy about that baby from The Sunshine Family, though.*) But I did love me a historical doll and have always felt a little cheated to have missed out on the American Girl phenomenon. Luckily, I have a niece and can experience this vicariously ;)

A search of the great and wonderous Ravelry produced a bounty of seriously cute patterns. I like this one, and this one too, and a few others that I've queued. Like this one that I knit last night:

(Pardon the partial nudity, heheh - this is a generic 18" doll I picked up for cheap to use for sizing.) Pattern is here, and details are rav'ed here.

It was supposed to have sleeves, but wouldn't you know I ran out of yarn. I finished the arm openings with single crochet and did the same on the hood. I would probably make a few mods to cut down on the ridiculous # of ends that needed to be woven in, but will definitely make another with sleeves.

Also whipped up a little headband and a fun fur boa. He.

I scored a great doll trunk at the Black Friday sales so there's no stopping me now. There are hangers and drawers to fill, people. In fact, I think there is a tiny hooded cape in my immediate future...

*Consider yourself officially Middle Aged if you know what I'm talking about.
OH! and PS, lest you think I have gone all Steve Carell with his action figures in "The 40-Year Old Virgin," these items are actually for my niece, not me!! (I think...)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Busy, busy....

...Well, I am at least! Can't say the same for anyone else around here:

Should have a FO Christmas present before I fall asleep tonight.

"Mom, shhh! Can't you see I'm trying to nap?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Update, Patient #1

Time to check on the progress of my first guinea pig, er, cut-and-repair project, the Top Down Raglan.

But first, a PSA: Frisky would like to remind everyone that winter is for coziness:

Anyway, here's a shot of the saggy, baggy patient in the pre-op phase, ook:

The surgical team (comprised of me, along with my painfully honest family) recommended a complete neckline reconstruction and shoulder lift. You can view the gory details here.

After snipping, decreasing and binding off, I decided a collar might improve the situation. Here's how far I've gotten:

So far, so good. I like the way this looks.

Unfortunately, though, I got off to the wrong start on the first row so there is a nasty ridge at the join. It will have to be ripped out and reknit, but at this point in the saga that is small beans. I will get back to this for real this once the Christmas knitting settles down.

Speaking of Christmas knitting, I do have quite a bunch going that I can't show here. (If you are on Ravelry, go here and type "christmas2008" in the search box to view the current lineup.) I have to do things in spurts due to the presence of "prying eyes" in my house :) Thank goodness certain people do go to bed at some point.

Hope your knitting - holiday or otherwise - is going well. Know that I am busy Rav-stalking and queueing your projects, mwahaha!! (Except you, Kathy - yours are too hard!! LOL!)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I May Have Missed My Calling...

...perhaps I should have gone into medicine rather than social science?

My latest surgical procedure: The Cotton Vest Reduction. Here's the patient pre-op:

Not too bad, but unfortunately it was just long enough (and being made of cotton, it stretched even more) that it clung to my least favorite body part, The Post-40 Lower Abdominal Area.

As Jo the Supernanny would say, "that is not acceptable."

So out with the shears:

And back onto the needles we go.

Is it just me, or is it a mystical experience to witness how knitting down looks just like knitting up? I DON'T GET WHY IT WORKS, BUT THANK GOD IT DOES.

So here's the finished product. Much cuter, don't you think?

I swear, my laundry room mirror doesn't look nearly that gross in real life...ook.

Quick - look over here! It's Pepe Le Pew!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finally - an FO! Can't show it here, but you Ravelers can click to view. LOVE these! And clearly, Frisky is mesmerized by the knitting:


I'm also making some progress on this. Shhh...

In other knitting news, I had to do some surgery; my top-down raglan apparently intended to go south for the winter - as in, creeping down my shoulders - and I had to take action.

You know, as much as I love that top down seamless construction (and as much as I respect the guru EZ's opinion on the matter) I've come to believe that there really is some truth to the idea that seams help a sweater keep its shape.

I don't mean to criticize anyone else's preference, but I do have to admit that being at Rhinebeck and seeing all those handknits together in one place drove that point home; I saw some absolutely lovely examples of why seams work. Lightweight sweaters might work just fine without seams, but a heavy wool sweater - and especially in a large size - not so much. Gravity is a reality that has some inconvenient consequences - as those of us over 40are well aware - that must be taken into consideration.

Anyway, I decided at the outset that here was no way I was going to frog my raglan. After considering my options, I took a deep breath and snipped off the neckband:

Then I picked up the live stitches and started knitting up, decreasing as I went.

Once the neckline was small enough to stay up on my neck, I bound off the remaining stitches. Next step will be to pick up stitches along that bound-off edge and knit a collar. I'm hoping that this treatment at the top will help keep the rest of the cardi from sagging. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, Frisky is busy trying to stay warm and adjust to the pretty drastic drop in temperature we've been experiencing over the last few days. He's been pulling out and assessing his winter wardrobe

and getting caught up on his naps.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rhinebeck, Part 2

Back at the hotel we made a group decision to skip the Ravelry party - we were pooped! The guys went for a swim and I worked on kid knits for the following day. I had brought a bunch of needles but not the ones I needed to finish the hat - luckily for me, size 6 + size 3 = size 9 :) Worked like a charm.

Here is the hat keeping a head warm at the Pumpkin Chucking.

The neck warmer, made with 3 strands of Cascade 220, was a ridiculously fast knit. I posted a pic on Rav but trust me, there's not much to see, lol.

I missed the Leaping Llama contest but did see llamas:

Here is a fellow flaunting his ribbon - sound like anyone you know, Heather?

The sheep herding trials were brilliant - those border collies are so incredibly intelligent and well-behaved. As for the sheep, well...they certainly were cute :)

The canine frisbee demonstrations were also a lot of fun. My normally "frugal," anti-consumerist husband was sufficiently impressed as to purchase a small dog frisbee for Frisky. (For those of you who may be concerned about Frisky's welfare over the weekend, rest assured that he was busy being spolied at his nana's house.)

I didn't buy much, just a skein each of Brooks Farms Acero and Mas Acero. My pics don't do it justice so Im not posting them here. I also bought this fingering wt cotton/flax to make some Reusable Produce Bags. (Cotton is surprisingly hard to find in this weight.)

Also got some sheepskin insoles (I definitely needed them in my rubber boots) and this nifty maple WPI gauge:

Also some weird discounted yarn that made me say "wtf" almost moments after purchase. Oh well, what's Rhinebeck without a little buyer's remorse? At least it was cheap :)

And that's that. Goodbye, Rhinebeck. See you next year!


Have to admit, I've been a little bit skeptical about the hype surrounding Rhinebeck. I mean, it's a sheep and wool festival. Really, how great could it be?

It was easy enough to convince my family that this would be a nice weekend getaway. (Hubs says I had them at "Pumpkin Chucking.") We started looking early (in August, I think) and were able to get a room in Kingston, a short drive from the fairgrounds.

I guess the first indication of just what kind of weekend this would be was the sight of Ravelry buttons on seemingly everyone I passed in the hotel lobby when we arrived on Friday night. And then this happened. I have to tell you, these are some *seriously* fun girls.

The next morning, after a giant breakfast the family and I headed out early to the fair:

I immediately began kicking myself for underestimating the weather forecast. It was COLD!!! and all of our warm knitted hats and scarves were back home in NH. No matter - we found creative ways to layer and drank lots of hot beverages.

While I didn't take a ton of pictures, I did spot a number of people I recognized from rav and even my snb knit-bud Lynne. I think I probably scared some people with my "enthusiasm," but hey, I was a Rhinebeck virgin. Cut me some slack.

At one point I noticed someone I knew strolling by and almost shouted out, "Hey!" and waved frantically in this subtle way that I have of recognizing my homies in public. Fortunately before I did this I realized that it was Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Oops :) I don't actually know her. Crazy world, this internet.

I saw two friends sitting side by side wearing February Lady sweaters, and a couple of Tangled Yokes, and oodles and oodles of Clapotis. By far the most amazing knitted sight I saw never made it onto my camera but you can view it here. Even more gorgeous in person, if you can imagine, and the weather was just perfect for it.

Fiber - along with the animals that produce it - was everywhere. Knitters knitting on benches and in line. It was utterly fantastic. I didn't buy a ton, just a few things that I absolutely loved. (Also, believe it or not, some Cascade take back to the hotel and whip up some super-fast bulky knits to keep the kids' ears warm on Sunday!)

More later, maybe, after I catch my breath.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bigger Than My Body... a song by John Mayer. It also seems to be a theme with my knitting, sigh.

Exhibit A: My much beloved raglan cardi

Looks okay here, yes? But after washing it has some *serious* issues with the bigness, especially under the arms, and seems to grow a bit more every time I put it on. I still love it, and will definitely wear it anyway, but really wish I had made it smaller to begin with.

Exhibit B: My eagerly awaited Breath of Fresh Air Vest

I am a vest girl and wear them often in the fall and winter. I had an uneasy feeling about this one, though, so I put it on waste yarn and - yup - too big. In a sacky, unflattering way. This one is now in hibernation (I am still in denial.)

I am all about comfy knits but this is ridiculous. I can't help wondering why I keep making the same sizing mistakes. I made a Drops vest in cotton this summer that suffers from the same issue, and I haven't even washed it yet, ook! Is it a faulty gauge ruler, evil yarn fairies, or maybe (insert dramatic music here) a negative body image?

We may never know for sure.

Rather than tackle the problem head-on, though, I've conveniently chosen to set an all-accessory agenda for myself for the next few months. Socks, scarves, wraps, hats - oh yeah, baby. I know how to make those fit!

Today I started the Campus Scarf in a heathered charcoal grey (no stripes) for a certain someone special, and am finishing a pair of Breeze for another someone special, and will probably continue on this path until about Christmas.

And next week: RHINEBECK! Can you hear the angels sing?!

Friday, October 03, 2008


Despite a rather chaotic week I have managed to make considerable progress on two projects that have been in the works for quite some time.

First, the Top-Down Raglan:

Just a cuff, people! That's all that separates me and this finished Manos yarny goodness. Here's a closeup of the mismatched buttons, which, incidentally, I have had in my hot little hands for nigh on three years now just waiting for something to attach them to:

Fortunately it is almost cold enough for me to get some wear out of a sweater like this, especially at those endless late-night kid baseball games. At times like this, Frisky realizes how lucky he is to live in a house with children who take his comfort needs very seriously:

" zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz "

But I digress.

The second project is one that has come - quite unexpectedly - out of long-term hibernation and is now whizzing right along. I will leave it at that for now, but hopefully will have photographic proof of it, or them, by the end of the weekend. Go me!

Happy Fall :)