Sunday, December 30

A few more days.

I am revising my previous statement to say that I will be back after new year's day, instead of Christmas.

This past Friday was my last day at the old job (from hell) and I don't start my new one until the 7th, so I guess technically I am unemployed right now. It is one of the best feeling I have had in a long time.

I know that is a horrible thing to say since many people are unemployed against their will and not enjoying it at all (my husband was one for over six months), but this is the first time I haven't worked and it is a nice break.

See you next year!

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas!

I am going to be away from my computer until after Christmas. I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful and safe holiday, and that you get to be around people you love.

As a side note, does anyone else suffer from wrapped-gift amnesia? I was packing up gifts I had wrapped a week or so ago to bring down to my parents and came across a few boxes that I could not figure out the contents of. I know I purchased them and wrapped them, but I can't remember what in the world would be in that size box! This happens to me every year.

Finished: Small Christmas things

I pretty much gave up on my Christmas gift project list a few weeks ago when I was interviewing for my new job. So when I had some free time the last few nights I didn't know what to work on. Should I knit on one of the gifts that will never be done in time? Should I start something new for myself? The first idea wasn't very appealing and the second made me feel a little guilty so I started a few little gifts that I knew I could finished.

First up, mini mittens (pattern is here) out of Knit Picks Palette yarn. I attached these to the ribbon on my in-law's gift.

mini mitts 2

I also decided I had to make a toy for my parent's (spoiled brat) cat, Maggie. This is the mouse from the "catwarming set" in S&B Nation. I left off the eyes and ears, since Maggie would destroy them in about 30 seconds.

cat toy mouse

I used Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted in brown, along with some leftover Trekking XXL for a little color. I know she will appreciate it! ;-)

Monday, December 17

Finished: Felted Pottery

This felted pot is a Christmas gift for my Mom. The pattern is Autumn Duo from Carol Bristol Designs. I made the "beaded yarn bowl" without the beads.

The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Onyx Heather. I used exactly 4 balls.

It was difficult to get a good pre-felting photo, since it just looked like a gray blob. (I thought too late that I should have stuffed the unfelted bowl with something so at lease the shape was visible.) Christmas ornament included for scale.

vase pre-felting

I ran it through the permanent press wash cycle twice (about 16 minutes) with hot water before letting it rinse in cold water. I did pull it out before the spin cycle, since I have heard that can put creases in your project.

felted pot 1
felted pot 2

Once it is felted, you stuff the thing with something (I used plastic grocery bags) to shape it and let dry. I had a difficult time making it perfectly round and symetrical, but I don't think anyone but me will notice that it is slightly lopsided.

I did buy enough yarn to make two of these, on for my MIL as well, but I don't think I will get to it before Christmas. We'll see... I might just make it to keep for myself!

Thursday, December 13

Exceeding my daily ration of exclamation points.

I got some great news on Tuesday that has had me feeling better than I have in a long time. I have a new job!!!! Everything has kind of happened in a whirlwind this week and every other sentence out of my mouth sounds like it should be followed by exclamation points.

I have been looking for something perfect for a long time; basically since last March when layoffs began at my current job. The new gig is much more hands on (read: not sitting on my butt in front of a computer all day), much closer to home, and has terrific benefits.

I start January 8th. I have a feeling this is going to be the best Christmas season in a long time. I’ve been so psyched up that I have finished not one, but TWO knitted gifts.

Nothing like a little success for motivation. =)

Since I can not show any photos of the gifts here yet, I’ll leave you with a shot of my kitchen table centerpiece. It’s comprised of a Crate and Barrel Orion glass bowl, a set of red ornaments, a curved vase from Target, and a bunch of glittery twigs.

Christmas centerpiece

Please ignore the insurance papers on the table and the recycling in the background! Somehow I didn't even see them until I was posting this photo.

Monday, December 10

Nothing much to show.

I think I may be one of the only people who doesn’t turn to knitting when I am stressed or busy to unwind. I wish I could just pick up the needles and work on something to help calm me down or get my mind off life but it really doesn’t happen that way for me. Knitting becomes one more thing when I am busy, almost a chore, and I honestly spend more time than I would like to admit occupying my brain in very un-interactive ways. I have had a lot on my mind the last few weeks (nothing bad, just lots of little stuff) and have filled my evenings with wandering somewhat aimlessly around the apartment, staring at the TV or surfing the internet without really seeing any of it. Unfortunately, my coping mechanism for stressed and busy is complete avoidance.

Some stress is coming from the projects that I wanted to knit as Christmas gifts. Now this really isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things and I had alternate ideas from the beginning in case I didn’t finish anything. But I still wanted to try, you know? And I am dealing with running short on time by ignoring it all. Knit? What? I do that? My husband mentioned the other night that I hadn’t been knitting much lately and was a little worried. No, nothing’s wrong, just avoiding reality!

So we’ll see. I am very close to finishing one gift and if I can get myself to focus for an hour or so tonight it should be done.

Wednesday, December 5

Good Times all Around

Last Saturday we had a surprise party for my grandpa’s 85th birthday. Everyone on my Mom's side of the family was able to be there; it’s unusual to get us all in the same state at the same time. (And no, we didn't jump out from behind something and scare him... That was a common question from my co-workers!)

Papa's birthday

Happy Birthday Papa. I love you!

And some at least equally exciting news, I had a job interview on Monday that went very well. The job seems perfect for me and is much more interesting than my current job, not to mention closer to home. I would very much like to receive a call back. They told me if I don’t hear from HR in two weeks to give them a call. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, November 27


I am adding item #7 to my knitting gift list. I found these vase/pot patterns after hearing about them on the Lixie Knits It podcast (sorry, don't remember the episode). I bought the "Autumn Duo" pattern at the bottom of the page. I know my Mom would love one, and thought my Mom-In-Law would like one too. So I guess... that would be #7 and #8.

So you don't think I am adding to the list without having finished anything, here is the tea cozy being blocked on my bathroom counter last night:

tea cozy in progress

I think you can tell how it is constructed in this photo. I'm sure it is dry by now, but I don't really feel like doing all of the finishing embellishments tonight so it is still sitting on the counter. Hey, the week's still early!

Sunday, November 25


I hope everyone in the U.S. had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend. My favorite part was where I didn't have to go to work on Thursday and Friday...

We had a very cozy Thanksgiving dinner with just my husband and I, my parents and my grandparents. My contributions to dinner (well, desert mostly) were homemade cranberry sauce, jello salad with pecans, apple slices and whole cranberries, two pumpkins pies, a sweet potato pie, and ginger-spiced whipped topping. Yum.

I didn't work much on any of my gift projects - this is getting serious here. I'm not sure how things are going to be finished if I never work on them! But I did start the tea cozy kit for my aunt's gift Thursday night while watching a movie with my parents. (See #4 here.) You knit two squares and then join them and knit in the round, to make opening for the spout and handle. I've made decent progress so far:

Tea Cozy

Not bad. Once again, the cabling-without-a-cable-needle trick is saving me loads of time. I would like to finish this by next weekend, since I will be seeing my Mom again and she can include it in the package she mails to my aunt. The kit included embellishments and closures for the bottom corners which all need to be attached by my deadline.

Wednesday, November 21

Finished: Very Warm Hat

I mentioned a while back that I was making a hat as a Christmas gift for my husband. (He requested “black and plain”.) Well it has been finished for a few weeks, and since the weather is becoming cold and snowy here in Chicago it seemed silly to wait until Christmas to give it to him.

Very Warm Hat

I used the Very Warm Hat pattern from EZ’s The Opinionated Knitter. Fast and easy to knit; I loved adding the second layer to an otherwise plain hat.

The black outer layer is Knit Picks Swish Superwash and the lining is Main Line, a cotton/wool blend. I found the black Swish superwash a little “squeaky” and slick feeling which surprised me because I have used other colors of this yarn with no problems. Maybe it has something to do with the black dye on superwash yarn?

Anyway, I used almost the entire ball of the Swish, and a little less of the Main Line. My gauge was tighter with the Swish, so I had to adjust the number of stitches slightly when I added the lining.

Sunday, November 18


I can't believe I wrote that last post a week ago. Time seems to be moving at warp speed. The fact that Thanksgiving is next week is blowing my mind!

I have made very little knitting progress, gifts or otherwise. I spent most of the time I've been home this last week just sitting and staring at something on TV; usually I can't stand to do that. Maybe that means work is starting to melt my brain? Eeesh.

I'm hoping to have some photos of the gifts I am working on soon, but it's been impossible to get home before dark to take them. If I can't get them in natural light tomorrow, I'll just give in and use the flash. No photos make for a very boring blog!

I spent all of yesterday and today with my husband. That's actually very unusual, since he is a restaurant manager and weekends off are few and far between. It was fantastic - I appreciate the time with him more than ever because of this.

OK, I seems to be rambling here. Off to make holiday (yummy baked goods) plans! Knitting to come soon!

Sunday, November 11

Dreary Sunday

First, the good news: I found the missing sock-in-progress!

broadripple socks

It was in the front pocket of the bag I packed the weekend it disappeared.

(You can stop laughing at me now.)

Today is the kind of overcast fall day that makes you want to sit at home and do nothing. So besides a trip to the grocery store this morning that is exactly what I am doing. I cooked up a few batches of chicken and rice to freeze for lunches next week (one with broccoli and one with black beans and corn), put some laundry in the washer and now I'm watching an X-Files DVD. All I need is my knitting a maybe a little hot chocolate and my night is made!

Tuesday, November 6

Christmas List.

I am a champion list-maker. I’ve got notebooks of lists (work bag notebook, kitchen notebook, knitting notebook), a cascade of post-it notes stuck to the checkbook flap of my wallet for short-term lists, lists I email to myself… it goes on from there.

Many times I find that I never even look at a list again once I have it written down and out of my head. This list, my holiday knitting ideas, I am posting here so I can refer back to it in the future.

If you are reading this and think you might be on the list to receive a knitted gift please turn back now. I mean it. (Dad, I’m looking in your direction…)

1) Hat for my husband. He requested “black and plain”. Sigh. I am making EZ’s Very Warm Hat from the Opinionated Knitter; black wool with a brown wool/cotton lining. So he can wear it brown side out if he is feeling particularly adventurous.

2) Socks for my Dad. Worsted weight, superwash wool. I’m probably going to put in a stripe or two, but haven’t decided if I want ribbing all the way down the leg and foot or not yet.

3) Socks for my husband. Because he is acting jealous of Dad’s socks.

4) Commissioned tea cozy for my aunt. My mother gave me yarn and a pattern for a cabled tea cozy and said “wouldn’t this be a great gift for your aunt if I gave her a matching teapot?” Hmmm.

5) Socks for Mom. Now this is a kicker. She picked out two balls of yarn at Stitches Midwest for socks. I was going to surprise her with the patterns, and have them done for Christmas. I was more than halfway done with the first sock and I lost it. No, really. Lost It. I have no idea where it could be, since the only place I would have had it is in my apartment, in my work bag, or in my car after a weekend road trip. And it’s not any of those places. I mean come on, it’s not like I could have drove off and left it at a gas station as it was buying a pop.

6) Lace scarf for mom, from an IK mag (I’ll have to look up the pattern name). I really really want to make this for her. Nevermind that I haven’t started yet, or that I am a very slow lace knitter. Or that I haven’t finished the lace scarf I started for her last Christmas…

These are the main things I’ve got going this year. Which still seems like a lot (if you count the lace) since this is a busy time for me at work. I’ve had tons and tons of ideas such as felted potholder sets for aunts and cousins and a shawl/wrap for my MIL but I know I am not going to have time. Maybe next year. If I start in June.

Sunday, October 28

Finished: pumpkins!

After deciding not to do much holiday-gift knitting this year, my list of things to make seems to be growing steadily. Most of them I don't even have the yarn for yet. As is my usual MO in these situations, I have knit something completely unrelated. (I originally typed unproductive but really, how could making this cute little punkins be unproductive?!)


set I made first for Mom

punkins 2

punkins I made for me, after being sad at giving away the first set!

These are all made out of Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted in "Orange You Glad" and "Bev's Bear". (The color difference is just due to the lighting conditions.) You can find the pattern here.

Now I'm off to by some yarn at Knitpicks, and decide if any of my knitted gift ideas absolutely have to be done.

Saturday, October 20

Finished: Bluebell Boatneck sweater

I actually finished almost a month ago, but I was just able to take photos a few days ago after work.

Bluebell Boatneck Sweater

(It was a little windy!)

Cascade 220 Tweed, color #7611. I used 5 and a little bit skeins.
The pattern is from Fitted Knits.
Started: July 3, 2007
Finished: September 26, 2007

I am very happy with the finished sweater, but it could be a size smaller. I always (always) overestimate the size I need. Since I am aware of the problem, I try to convince myself to make a smaller size when I begin, but end up talking my way into the bigger one. Oh well; it's definitely wearable, and there is enough room to wear a long sleeve t-shirt underneath when it's really cold here.

Bluebell Boatneck Sweater

The only change I made was to sew up the corners of the neckline about an inch all around. The "boat" in the boatneck was a little too large for my tastes.

Bluebell Boatneck Sweater

Tuesday, October 16

Home again.

My vacation was too short (but whose isn't?) and I am still trying to get back into my normal routine. It surprises me how quickly I feel out of the loop with news, work, traffic, etc. when I don't follow my usual patterns. Maybe that is just me being stuck in a rut!

We stayed at the Luxor in Las Vegas, and made it to a few other hotels/casinos including the Hilton to see the Star Trek exhibit and a fabulous dinner at Craftsteak in the MGM Grand. We rented a car for a day on a whim and drove out to the gorgeous Red Rock Canyon conservation area. Of course that would be the day I forget to recharge my camera battery! At least I managed to get a few good shots. We were in geology-nerd heaven and need to visit again, more prepared to hike in the desert.

Red Rock Canyon

And bonus - renting a car allowed us to go to a Vegas yarn store! We went to Gail Knits, and I purchased a few balls of Classic Elite Puffin yarn.

puffin yarn

It is sort of a thin strip of fleece. I am planning on making some very soft and cozy mittens and perhaps some sort of head covering.

Monday, October 8

All I ever wanted...

My husband and I are leaving tonight for a much needed vacation (...had to get away). We will be in Las Vegas until Friday, and then have a nice weekend of downtime before heading back to work.

I am treating this vacation like a "reset button"; hopefully when I return I'll feel more focused and productive.

So look for the completed photos of my Bluebell Boatneck sweater plus increased knitting mojo next week!

(Bonus points in you recognize the song!)

Wednesday, October 3

Finished: Calorimetrys (Calorimetries?)

I finished both of these Calorimetrys this week:


This first one is Mom's and she is already in possession of it. (Unfortunately I did not get a model shot.) The yarn is Austermann Bambou Soft Color, in color #104.

Here is mine:


This yarn is Rowan Cashsoft Aran, in color #014 "Thunder". I am very pleased with both of them, and think they will come in very handy this winter. I typically go hatless in the cold (even though I own plenty!) simply because my curly/frizzy/short hair does not survive hat-removal well.

Oh and it took one ball of each yarn to make a calorimetry. For the Cashsoft Aran, that really means one entire ball. Don't tell anyone but I had to use some of the cast-on yarn tail to finish binding off!

Saturday, September 29

Quick knitting and improvisation

Hooray - I finished the knitting on my Bluebell Boatneck sweater. Now I just need to settle myself down and sew the stupid seams.

I needed a small, quick, "satisfying" project before I jumped into my next sweater or pair of socks. I decided to whip up a couple of Calorimetrys for my Mom and I with the yarn purchased at Loopy Yarn about a month ago.

Calorimetrys in progress

These are fun and easy to knit. I grabbed a ball of yarn and needles to start the second one during my lunchbreak on Thursday, but neglected to take the stitch markers that make the short rows much more brainless. After some quick thinking on settled on this:

calorimetry in progress

That is a square of paper towel folded into quarters and pierced with the needle. It worked amazingly well, and need need replacing from wear like I thought it might. So there is an idea for you - when stuck without a stitch marker, try a small square of paper!

Sunday, September 23

Finished: Trekking waffle socks

I don't think you have seen these yet; they were my car socks. (As in, kept in the... for lunchtime and other time-killing knitting.)

Trekking sock yarn socks
Trekking XXL color number 802; purchased around 2003

These were actually started way back in April, when I picked the yarn out of my stash because it made me think of Easter. You can tell I don't get much lunchtime knitting in!

I made the cuffs short for springtime wear, and carried the waffle pattern down the heel flap.

Trekking waffles socks

Now to choose yarn for the next pair of car socks!

Wednesday, September 19

Still Sleeves

The Bluebell Boatneck pattern calls for the sleeves to be knit flat and then seamed, even though the body of the sweater is knit in the round from the top down. I was thisclose to working the sleeves in the round as well, since I am a hasty seam-sewer at best, but decided that she must have had a good reason to design them flat.

bluebell boatneck sweater in progress 6

I wish I would have worked them in the round. Now that it is nearing completion, I’d be much happier if I could just cast off, weave in the ends and be done.

Oh well. Live and learn.

Thursday, September 13

Bluebell sleeve

I finally fixed my camera card. Actually, fixed is probably a stretch since it worked the first time I plugged it in today. But whatever - it works!

I am about 2/3 of the way through the first sleeve on my Bluebell Boatneck pullover.

Bluebell sweater sleeve

My progress has really slowed down over the last few weeks. I think it's mostly due to the entire sweater sitting on my lap as I knit the sleeve. It's not cold enough for a wool blanket yet!

I haven't made much knitting progress on anything lately, to tell the truth. I have plenty of ideas and things I want to start, but need to finish something I am working on first or else nothing will ever get done!

Tuesday, September 11


I have a photo of the Bluebell Boatneck sleeve I have been working on, but my camera and computer are not communicating at the moment. I can view the photos just fine in the camera, but when I put the memory card into my computer I get a message saying it needs to be formatted.

Until I can fix it, I thought I’d say a few things about Ravelry. I know many, many people are still waiting for their invitation. I must have actually been somewhat ahead of the curve on this one since I received mine a few weeks ago. I almost didn’t sign up at all since it didn’t sound like something I’d be interested in. It was sort of billed as the “My Space” of the knitting world and I am so totally not into those types of sites. Oh how wrong I was. Being able to see dozens (or hundreds) of knitters’ versions of different patterns, or what people are using a particular yarn for all in one place is very convenient – not to mention fun!

So if you have not added your name to the invite list go do it now; they are going live at some point but it couldn’t hurt to have your name in for the beta anyway. If you are already in Ravelry, come be my friend! My user name there is sknits.

I still need to add a bunch of older completed projects, but need to fire up my old computer and load the photos into flickr first. Hopefully I will have time to do that this week(end)!

Tuesday, September 4

Stash Enhancement

Last week, my hubby and I spent the day in downtown Chicago playing tourist. Besides eating at one of my favorite breakfast restaurants, Yolk, and spending too much money at Lush in Watertower Place, we also went to Loopy Yarns for the first time.

Loopy is located in the south loop on State Street. It's a cute little shop stuffed full with all the yarn you can imagine. Honestly, I now it's worth the hour train ride downtown just to eat at Yolk and then go around the corner to this shop!

I totally splurged on yarn - there was so much to choose from!

Loopy Yarn stash

Clockwise from the top I've got some yummy mmmMalabrigo for a scarf, Tofutsies for socks, and yarn for two Calorimetrys. As a side note, I wouldn't have purchased this much except that my husband encourages my yarn habit. He is very cute in yarn stores, touching everything and asking questions about what it can be used for, what it is made of, and how much do you need for project X? He apparently tries hard to remember all of the knitting things I ramble on about, and surprised me last night when I was musing out loud about the sleeves of my Bluebell Boatneck sweater being knit back and forth while the body is done in the round. His response? "Maybe you need the seams to help stabilize them or so the whole sweater doesn't have to twist in your lap as you knit around". Awwwww... can you believe it?

I had a few gift certificates about to expire at Amazon (one from pre-ordering HP7 and one from my electric company for taking a survey - random, I know) so I picked out a couple new knitting books.

new books!

I have been looking forward to owning more knitting books that are more "instructiony" and less "patterny".

All of this (plus Stitches Midwest a few weeks ago) has caused my "to do" list to grow exponentially. I really need to get cracking on my projects in progress to keep things under control!

Wednesday, August 29

I don't think you can even tell.

Last night, while watching DS9 with my husband, I finished up chart C of the (not so) Mystery Stole 3 and started on chart D.

MS3 stole

It is growing very slowly. Even when I feel as if I have knit a lot, I can barely see any progress. At this rate, I'll be lucky to finish by the end of the year!

Sunday, August 26

Some Knitting.

I haven't spent too much time knitting during the last week. Most of my time has been taken up with trying to stay dry during a week of unrelenting rain, resetting clocks after power failures, and dealing with weather related sinus yuckiness. Plus some after-work napping. Is there anything better than a nap during a thunderstorm?

I am almost finished with the body of my bluebell boatneck sweater however:

Bluebell sweater in progress

I have pretty much been ignoring MS3, even thought many people are actually finished, and will pick it up sometime when my head actually feels like it is attached to my body.

Oh, and I got my Ravelry invite! So that is where I plan to spend the rest on my Sunday...

Monday, August 20

The Stitches Midwest post - a week late

So a week ago Sunday my Mom and I went to Stitches Midwest in Rosemont, IL. It was much more crowded that last year, almost to the point of being overwhelming in the beginning. We got there just about a half an hour after they opened and had to fight Wizard World geeks for parking. (And I mean geek in the best possible way - if he didn't have to work my husband probably would have been there!) This year I was smart and I went prepared with a list of yarn I wanted to search for. Here is what I came home with:

Stitches Midwest 07 loot

Clockwise from top:
1) Merino roving (resembling cotton candy)
2)Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed for the Knitting Pure and Simple Top Down Cardigan
3) Alpaca roving (from an alpaca names Freckles!)
4) Valley Yarn Berkshire, to make the felted hat from IK Summer 2006
4) Sock yarn (picked by Mom - to be socks for Mom!) Trekking XXL and Austermann Step
5) Sock yarn for me: Mountain Color Bearfoot (I have wanted to try this for years!)
6) Mini-skein dyed by me at the Louet booth (more on this in another post.)
7) Elsebeth Lavod Classic AL (a great deal at Webs!) to make Something Red
7.5) button for something red
8) Pattern for Alchemy Yarn's Rockstar.

And in the middle, a bottle of Soak wool wash.

Next year, Stitches Midwest is going to be held in Schaumburg. I think this will be OK - especially for out of towners. There is much more to do around there, but the traffic is Schaumburg is such a drag. I usually try to avoid that whole area unless there is a store I just have to go to that is no where else. Rosemont is so convenient for me, just a quick zip down the tollway. But I digress.

Now to finish up my current projects so I can start on something from this list!

Wednesday, August 15

Catching Up

I've got a lot of things to share with you and a lot of photos to go with everything, so I am going to try my best to spread it all out over the next few days.

First of all, I put up a new page with my stash sale. (see above.) There are quite a few things listed there, frankly more than half of my current stash. I reached a point where I started to feel guilty about unused yarn as well as guilt when buying new yarn because of the unused yarn at home. So this seems like the best solution!

Also, I received my birthday gift from my parents in the mail today! (It is a little late since they wanted me to pick it out and I couldn't make up my mind.)

Namaste Bag
a new knitting bag!)

I have never had a proper knitting bag, and I just love this Namaste Jetsetter. I ordered it from Kpixie, and their service was super fast and friendly. So far I have my sweater project and my "tool bag" in it and love it. I'll give you a better review once I have used it for a little while.

Wednesday, August 8


I held the drawing for my birthday contest tonight:

contest drawing
I can be incredibly lo-tech sometimes.

The winner is ... Kati! Congratulations! Kati, I am going to send you an email in the next few minutes. Thanks to everyone who entered, and everyone who sent me good birthday wishes. I am going to try to respond to all of you but I'm not sure I will have time during the next few days. But definitely know it was appreciated!

Sunday, August 5

So hot... must.. keep... knitting.

Summer has finally hit Chicagoland. The weather has been so mild the last few months that I almost forgot how hot it can get in August. And as if temps in the 90sF aren't bad enough on their own, is has been sticky-muggy humid the last week which I really can't stand. I don't like to feel as if I need a second shower after just walking out to my car at 6:00 am.

I haven't knit much during the last week - mostly due to the heat but also some birthday distraction. It doesn't help that every project I have going right now is in wool. (My stunning brilliance is showing yet again...) I have managed to knit a few inches on my Bluebell Boatneck pullover, from Fitted Knits. I tried it on for size, and am already loving it quite a lot.

Bluebell Boatneck sweater in progress
cropped to remove the goofy look on my face.

I also have knit a few dozen rows on Mystery Stole 3, but you probably couldn't even tell the difference if I posted another photo.

Last but definitely not least, a huge THANK YOU!!!!! to all of you sweet people who sent me birthday (or birffday, as we call it) wishes. Don't forget, the drawing for the Mission Falls yarn is open until Wednesday. I'll draw a name after I get home from work, so lets say you have until 7:00pm central time to send me your entry! (See below for details.)

Tuesday, July 31

Happy Birthday to Me Contest!

I have spend a bunch of time recently looking through my yarn stash and setting aside things that no longer hold the same appeal as they did when I purchased them. Sometime in the near future I am going to be listing them all here for sale, and this will hopefully help the two reasons I have not bought yarn in a Very Long Time: lack of funds and guilt over existing unused yarn.

So I was thinking it might be fun to do a drawing and give a away a little bit of this yarn to a lucky blog-surfer. And what better time to start then on my birthday! So if you would like to become the new owner of these 8 skeins of Mission Falls 1984 Cotton,

contest yarn

here is what you have to do: send an email to contest (at) yarndreams (dot) com and put Birthday Contest in the subject line. I will pick a name randomly, let's say on next Wednesday the 8th. Anyone can win and I will ship your new yarn as soon as possible. Good Luck!

EDITED TO ADD: I should have thought of this earlier, but please include your blog or website address in your contest entry. Not required to win, of course, I just want to look! =)

Friday, July 27

Kind of a slow week.

I have done only small amounts of knitting this week, in between reading HP7 and fighting the dreaded summer cold. Blech.

(Oh, and I haven’t finished HP yet so shhh! No spoilers!)

I finally finished clue 1 on the mystery stole, and am looking forward to started clue 2 tonight. Now that I am going to be working across a fixed number of stitches (i.e. the increases are finished), I am going to place markers every 10 stitches and block off the chart in groups of 10 so it will be easier to find my place at a glance and (hopefully) catch mistakes sooner. I made some non-dangle stitch markers for the occasion:


I know I am going to jinx myself be saying this, but so far I have caught any mistakes before the end of the row so I haven't had to tink back more than a few dozen stitches. I mainly attribute this to not knitting while distracted and luck. Lots of luck.

Saturday, July 21

Good Mail Day.


As much as I want to, I am not going to start reading it today. I have to leave in just a few hours for a BBQ and concert and don't want to spend the whole night thinking about getting back to the book!

I have a feeling my knitting progress is going to slow drastically in the next few days. Which is a shame, since I am only managing a few rows a night on the mystery stole as it is. I am still on clue 1:

mystery stole 3

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, July 17

Colorful Coincidence?

I am back home and (mostly) recovered from my long weekend at the Chicagoland Speedway. I started my MS3 last night and am pleased with the results so far. I am not adding beads, mostly because I didn't have any that looked nice with the yarn and I was too cheap/anxious to start to buy some.

there was no swatching anywhere near this project

Last week I divided the top of my Bluebell Boatneck pullover and connected the body under the sleeves. I need to knit a few more plain rows and then put the whole thing on a long piece of yarn to try it on. I know this is an essential step, not to mention the whole point of knitting from the top down, but I am not looking forward to moving all those stitches off and then back on the needle.

Bluebell Boatneck pullover

I realized as I was taking these photos that the yarn colors in the two projects are very similar. This happens to me quite a lot, and I never seem to realize what I am doing until after the fact. For example, around the time I knit a lime green Bob I also knit a lime green dishcloth and purchased a lime green purse. I go in spurts where everything I buy matches - I had a brown clothing run a few months ago, and now have way to many brown tops (and how often do I really want to wear brown in the summer?).

Friday, July 13

I have yarn!

ms3 yarn

My yarn for Mystery Stole 3 came yesterday in the mail. It is Knitpicks' Shadow in "Sunset". I am already hopelessly behind everyone else, but still looking forward to starting soon. Unfortunately, I am going to be away from home all weekend and won't be able to start until at least Monday.

And I probably should force myself to swatch instead of just jumping right into the pattern. Probably.

Tuesday, July 10

Very Impatient.

Since I am still waiting for my Mystery Stole yarn to arrive, I needed a new project to work on in the meantime. I purchased Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel a few weeks ago, and thought it should be the source of my next project.

Fitted Knits book

This is an excellent book. If you haven't had a chance to look at it yet, I'd highly recommend you do so. There are only one or two patterns in the entire book that I don't think I would want to knit. And those are only maybe nots.

I am starting with the Bluebell Boatneck Pullover with some Cascade 220 tweed from I'd Rather Be Knitting.

Bluebell Boatneck Pullover in progress

Hot and humid July in Chicago is the perfect time to knit a wool sweater, yes?

Saturday, July 7

What next?

Since I finished my mini-Clapotis, I have been without a project to work on. (What? No, you are supposed to ignore the pile of unfinished objects next to my chair.) While contemplating things I could start, I stumbled upon the Yarn Harlot's post about joining Mystery Stole 3.

I had seen references to this project around the knit blog world for a week or so but didn't think it was for me. For some reason that night I became very excited at the idea and had to join in. I got in the day before the yahoo group closed. (I think this is why I joined - I've always been a great procrastinator and get some weird satisfaction from getting in just under the wire. Like, HA - you didn't think I would make it but it did!)

Nevermind that I am usually not much of a "joiner". Nevermind that I have never completed a large scale lace project. Nevermind that I don't think I'd ever even wear a stole or the fact that I am already two weeks behind everyone else. I am so totally excited to start.

I ordered some Shadow lace yarn from Knitpicks two nights ago and have printed out the clues (charts) that had been released already.

Now to find something to occupy myself with until my yarn arrives...

Mystery Stole 3 button

Thursday, July 5

Finished Project: Mini-Clapotis

Mini - Clapotis finished

started: June 16, 2007
finished: June 30, 2007
pattern: Clapotis from Knitty. See below for modifications.
yarn: 1 skein (280 yds.) Cherry Tree Hill Superwash Merino DK in color "Monet". This yarn was a gift from my aunt last Christmas. I loved working with it!
needles: size 5 US bamboo
finished size: approximately 7" by 51"

I am very happy with how my mini-Clapotis turned out. It was much quicker to knit that I was expecting and as I mentioned before, I got a kick out of dropping the stitches every few rows. I did end up blocking it lightly to help control edge-roll, but was careful not to completely flatten the waves. Here is what I did to make my Clapotis scarf-sized using 1 skein of yarn:

1) Work section 1.
2) Work section 2 two and a half times.
3) Work section 3 until long edge measures approximately 50"
4) Work section 4 decreases until 23 stitches remain
5) Work section 5

Obviously the above instructions will only make sense if you have read the pattern! I did have a small amount (maybe a 2 inch diameter loosely wound ball) of yarn left, but I don't think it would have been enough to add another repeat so I think I did pretty good estimating my yarn-usage before starting the decrease section.

Sunday, July 1

Finished Project: Felted Flowers

Well, I supposed these are an almost finished project.

Felted daffodil Felted Calla Lily Felted Sunflower
Daffodil, Calla Lily, Sunflower

They are finally dry and I used some invisible nylon sewing thread to snug things up and help the petals fall in the right direction (especially on the daffodil). I am having trouble jamming the wire through the stem to hold them up, however, and need to wait for my hubby to have time to help.

I like how these turned out, but now feel the need to make more felted flowers to fill a vase!

You can find the kits I used at Pick Up Sticks.