Friday, September 30, 2011


The challenge is on... it's "PINKtober!"  The gals on my Ravelry group called "12 months = 24 hats" (where our goal is to make at least two hats for chemo patients each month) is encouraging folks to make pink projects during October 2011 as it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I've got a head start:

I came up with this pattern on my own.  I started out intending to make a different pattern, got a little full of myself and did not consult the pattern, and then, several rows into the cap, I realized I had too many stitches. Duh!  I couldn't bear to frog it, so.... Ta-Dah!  A new design!  Yarn is Berroco Comfort DK in "rosebud".  Hat will go to "Halos of Hope" (caps for chemo patients).

The pattern link here on this blog can be found here:  Ribbons of Hope Hat
For the pattern link (PDF printable format) on Ravelry, click HERE.

Also making this pretty cabled mitts for Mitts of Steal (fingerless mitts for dialysis patients with cold hands).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do you ever have one of THOSE days!?...

One of my favorite books as a kid was "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day".  I checked out this book so many times from the library and my Mom read it to me over and over (Thanks, Mom!). 

For Alexander, it goes like this:

He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. When he got out of bed, he tripped over his skateboard and by mistake dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running. He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Nothing at all was right. Everything went wrong, right down to lima beans for supper and kissing on TV.

What do you do on a day like that? Well, you may think about going to Australia. You may also be glad to find that some days are like that for other people too.

I've felt as if I could relate to Alexander the past several days.  Today, I took the time to make myself some poached eggs in the new "Poach Pods" I splurged on for my birthday.  The very first bite I took, while I was still standing in the kitchen... it tumbled down the front of my shirt and landed on my left foot.  I guess it could have been worse; I could have been dressed for work and I could have been standing over carpet.

Yesterday, I took the time to make a pot of coffee before making my way to work (to get there at 6:00 am  on my birthday). I topped off my coffee mug on my way out the door.  As I was putting my shoes on in the garage, I noticed a moth fluttering about.  Sure enough, by the time I had both shoes on, the moth had taken a plunge in my hot, hot coffee and was floating there... dead. 

I was tucking my son in the other night. (Yep, he's 14 but still loves for me to tuck him in each night).  He decided to put his head and pillow at the foot of the bed which allowed me to step in extra close to give him a hug.  I forgot the steel bed frame has legs and casters (wheels) and I stubbed my toes... really bad.  They hurt for days.

As for my knitting, it was just as bad. I decided to try out a few patterns out of my book "Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders".  The socks I want to make with the cable that runs down to the big toe... it calls for casting on 72 stitches on size 1 needles. I have been working on the socks FOREVER and am still on the ribbing.  I keep asking the boys... what is 72 times 9?  What is 72 times 13?  I've completed a ridiculous number of stitches and I am STILL on the ribbing. The sock will be frogged and I will start over on larger needles with 52 stitches in each round.  At the rate I was going, sock #1 would never get done, let alone sock #2.

I cast on a drop stitch scarf with sock yarn too.  The pattern calls for a huge # of stitches and makes a squarish wrapl, but I opted to make a longer and narrower scarf. I got several rows into it and decided it's still too wide.  Time to frog!

I made a fingerless mitt with an elaborate cable; I finished it yesterday.  I cast on with the same number of stitches as the other fingerless mitts I've made recently but I used even larger needles to account for the cable pulling things together.  Yep, the fingerless mitt is really narrow and really tight.  I need to find someone with really small hands.

Yep, it's been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad few days. I am not yet contemplating moving to Australia.  Well, maybe...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fruit Stripe Fingerless Mitts

Fruit Stripe Mitts

I used leftover Berroco Comfort DK yarn (from chemo caps) to make another pair of fingerless mitts (for a charity called Mitts of Steal... dialysis patients who suffer from cold hands).  I used the same pattern from a few weeks ago ("Emilee Dee Mitts" the pattern link is HERE); only this time I eliminated the lace and just knit in stockinette. 

I am calling these mitts "Fruit Stripe Mitts" because the colors remind me of fruit... the bottom blue reminds me of blueberries; the middle green reminds me of kiwis or granny smith apples, and the top purple reminds me of concord grapes. Why is it that yarn reminds me of food... silly girl. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Smitten with my Mittens (One Skein Wonder Project #1)

I am smitten with my mittens! 

This is Project #1 from my quest to make lots of projects from the book entitled "Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders".  These mittens are made from two balls of wool in a self-patterning yarn called "Abiente" from the manufacture Schoppel Wolle in a color called "Heckenrosen".  Since this German yarn had an interesting name, I had to try to figure out the English translation.  I know "rosen" to translate to "roses" (plural) in German thanks to my many, many years of studying German.  I Googled "heckenrosen" and found beautiful blossoms which looked like apple blossoms.  I found a Wikipedia article and wouldn't you know... it was in German.  My best guess is that "heckenrosen" translates to "wild roses".  If I am wrong and you know differently, please let me know... I'd be curious to know!

I worked really hard to make these match!

I used this type of yarn (in a different colorway) for a pair of socks for my sister. 
Turns out this yarn, is actually sportweight and not sock weight. 
I did not notice that until I was typing in my project on my Ravelry. Duh!
Makes for some nice thick mittens (or socks).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Citron on the Blocking Mats... Mittens in Progress

Having a good time working on my knitting projects this weekend.  My Citron is on the blocking mats. Had a bit a RIDICULOUS amount of frustration working on this last night.  At my knitting group yesterday afternoon, I knew I could only get part way through the ruffle border before I was destined to run out of yarn.  I talked to Marilyn, my shop's knitting guru, and we figured at least 10 yards of yarn should be an ample amount to reserve for the cast off row... ummm, the last row has 540 stitches, just so you know.  I reserved what I thought was WAY MORE than 10 yards and confidently set out to cast off.  Wouldn't you know, just about 1/2 way through the cast off, I ran out of yarn.  I was doing a stretchy sort of bind off I've learned and I wondered if the bind off was eating up my yarn more quickly than I anticipated.  Discouraged and anxious to finish this project, I set out to undo the bind off and also undid the prior row to free up some yarn.  Ugh.  It was tedious and time consuming and I kept dropping stitches because the yarn is just fuzzy enough to catch on itself.  So by the time I unknit all those stitches, picked up a lot of dropped stitches, and then set out to AGAIN bind off all those stitches (did I tell you, there are 540 stitches in the last row?)... well, let's just say I was really REALLY happy to be done. 

No beauty shots of this lovely wrap just yet but here's a sneak peek of how this looks blocked. I do have to say I am much more happy with this shawlette now that it's been blocked.  A lot of the m1 increases made the stockinette sections look kind of sloppy, but the blocking straightened out things nicely.  I wish I would have had more yarn for more ruffle rows at the end.  But overall, I am liking this.

Don't you just love self-striping yarn like this!?

And I am smitten with my mittens... they are a blast to make!
I started these last Sunday and they are
my first official project from my mission to make
many, many projects from the book entitled
"Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's knitting...

The view from my knitting korner is quite soggy this morning...

We live in Southern Colorado and we've been experiencing quite a drought this year.
We only get an average of 12 to 13 inches of rain each year so this rain was very, very welcome!  It was pouring down rain on my drive home from work... it was pouring down rain when we ate dinner... it was raining on and off all evening... and when I awoke at 3:00 am this morning, it was still raining. 

Homemade applesauce with a little sugar and a lot of cinnamon is simmering away in the Crock Pot. 
The house should be smelling terriffic in a matter of a few hours.  The leftover chili will make a perfect lunch before I am off to my Thursday Knitting Group at my local yarn shop. 

My latest shawl project "Citron" is the perfect project on which to knit
on this cloudy, rainy day.

The yarn is Zauberball and the colorway is "Fuschienbeet" (Yarn manufactured in Germany from my good friend KLAK).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders

Several months ago, I found a great book on the shelves at Barnes & Noble Bookstore.  It's called "One- Skein Wonders: 101 Patterns That Go Way Beyond Socks!"  There are a few other "One-Skein Wonder" books out there in case the book sounds familiar and these books include "Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences" and "101 Designer One-Skein Wonders: A World of Possibilities Inspired by Just One Skein".  The books are by Judith Durant and you can see more about these books on Amazon if you click HERE.

I bought the book because I liked the looks of so many of the projects.  Sadly, I've not yet made any of them.  I am the same way with cook books; I am inspired by the recipes and the photos on the pages, but rarely actually make the recipes.  I was reminded of the book recently because someone on Ravelry recommended the book for it's fingerless mitts patterns.  Hey, I have that book and boy-oh-boy, do I have sock yarn!!!!  Since then, I've been combing the pages of the book, keeping in mind the yarn I have in my stash, and I couldn't believe how many of the projects I would really like to make AND I already have the perfect yarn for several of the projects.  I thought to myself... maybe I should try to make as many of these patterns as possible; that would be a fun goal.

I looked on Ravelry to see if there is a group and sure enough there is a group called "One Skein Wonders". (The folks in the group chat about the projects they are making from the One-Skein Wonders books).  You can see more about the group by clicking HERE.  Wouldn't you know, on the Ravelry "One Skein Wonders" forum, I found a lady who is making all the patterns in the Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders book.  She is calling herself the "Oneskeinwonderwoman" and her blog can be found HERE.  I've been looking through her blog and her completed projects are gorgeous... and, in my opinion, many of her completed projects are even nicer looking than the projects in the photos in the book.  In fact, some projects did not appeal to me that much until I saw the Oneskeinwonderwoman's workmanship and yarn choice.  I am sold... I am on a mission.  I am making a goal to make as many of these projects as I can.  Already I have about a dozen projects in mind with the yarn I have on hand.

So far, I've cast on a pair of mittens with some self-patterning sock yarn. So far, so good.  I can't wait to share the results with you here! 

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you...

Like most folks in America I imagine, I couldn't help but reflect on the events which occurred on September 11, 2001.  Where were you? What were you doing at the time you heard the news? And who were you with as the events of the day unfolded? Who did you call on the phone just to tell them... "I love you!"

A country song by Alan Jackson has been playing over and over in my head today.  Perhaps you know the song... here are the lyrics (it's a very nice song and Alan Jackson has a very nice, melodic voice):

"Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"
Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
you the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

[Repeat Chorus 2x]
And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?

As for me, I was just driving into the parking lot at work when I heard the announcement on the radio that one plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I quickly recalled a story about a very small plane flying into the Empire State Building decades before.  That's what I imagined it was... a small plane, an accident... you know, a small plane barely clipping the building?  An accident... certainly it had to be something like that.

I was with coworkers that day; I was upset that my husband and son were several states away, staying in a hotel while visiting my husband's dying grandfather.  I remembered how I had hated being alone when the Oklahoma Federal Buidling tragedy occurred in 1995 (my husband was working swing shift then).  I knew that on September 11th, I did not want to go home, to an empty house, and just sob in front of the TV.  Instead, after work, I went to WalMart to buy fabric for my young son's Halloween costume.  I did not mind waiting for the lady in the fabric department to assist me; I was extra patient and I thanked her profusely for taking the time to help me like she had.  I chatted with the other ladies in the fabric department; it just seemed like strangers wanted to relate and talk with one another.  Ordinarily, I would have been in a hurry or frustrated to have to wait.  I went to the check-out line.  People just kept talking to one another; I did not mind that my frozen items were thawing... it did not seem to matter.  The cashier said something about our country declaring war, a lady in line mentioned a grandchild who served in the National Guard and she was worried for his or her safety.  No one was in a hurry, we all just listened to one another as we all suddenly had so much in common.

I went home and worked and worked and WORKED on that Halloween costume.  I remember I stayed up really, REALLY late.  The costume was a Pokemon character called Charzar; a full body costume with a big zipper down the back. There was a head covering, mitts for the hands and shoe covers for the feet. The hands and feet had triangular shaped claws made out felt, all carefully stitched on.  The back of the costume had a big, stuffed tail and wings.  I used red and gold lame fabric so it looked like there was a little fire shooting out of the creature's tail.  Somehow I used some fishing line and safety pins to make the wings hold up (as opposed to draping like a cape).  It was quite elaborate for sure. I think at one point I figured I spent about 10 hours working on the costume for every 1 hour my son actually wore it.

I remember my drive to work on September 12th.  As I backed out of my drive way, I noticed my next-door neighbor, Louis, had his American flag on display on the front of his home.  Ordinarily, Louis only put out the flag on the Fourth of July and Flag Day (maybe Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, too).  And as I drove by more and more homes on my drive to work, I noticed more and more flags flying... such a quiet but BIG statement.  Seeing the flags made me cry and I remember never feeling more proud to be an American than I was at that very moment.

I remembering worrying about my husband and son returning from their trip to see family. I remember on the news, there were people lining up to get gasoline for their cars, concerned the gas would run out.  I remember being relieved when my husband and son made it home. 

For a number of weeks in September 2001, I remember bright blue skies on sunny days with no jet trails criss-crossing the sky to fly over the Sangre de Cristo and Rocky Mountains to the west of us.  I remember the sunny day in mid-September when husband and I were playing tennis.  Finally, the first jet we had seen in weeks flew over head and we stopped to watch go by.

I imagine today you are remembering, too.  Rembering where you were, how it made you feel, who you were with... memories we will carry inside us for the rest of our days.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My first pair of fingerless gloves... Done!

Pattern:  Emilee Dee Mitts (Pattern link can be found HERE)
Yarn:  Berroco Comfort DK in a sage green color.  Great for hats and mitts!

My first pair of mitts or fingerless gloves. I don't know what to call them.  I've always thought it would be fun to make a pair of these but never have since I could not see myself wearing them, nor did I have a friend or family member in mind who I thought would use or enjoy a pair.  But... several months ago, on Ravelry, I stumbled across a group called "Mitts of Steal".  The group link can be found HERE if you'd like more information.  It's a group which makes mitts like these for dialysis patients who suffer from cold hands.  I did not know that dialysis patients suffered from cold hands.  I am making a goal for myself to make four pairs.  I really like the lace pattern in this project and plan to use this pattern in a pair of socks sometime soon.  It looks like cable stitches to me, but the lace portion only calls for yarn overs, ssk's, and k2tog's.  Nice ribbed effect and nice eyelet. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hitchhiker... It's a wrap!

What is it?
It's a bird?

It's a plane?


(Not a great photo... sorry. The t-shirt is my favorite... "Chillin' with my Peeps")

It's my "Hitchhiker" and it's done!  Yay!
Finished two projects (two... count them... TWO projects) in ONE weekend! 

Pattern:  Hitchhiker by Martina Behm (pattern link is HERE).
Yarn:  Nymph Hand Paint by Flydesigns (link HERE).

My mom and I went to the Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon, in July 2011.  I was a bit overwhelmed by all the gorgeous yarn on display.  I was there for a few hours before I actually picked out a skein of yarn to purchase.  The colors in this yarn really caught my eye... vibrant blue, bright yellow, and fresh green.  The yarn is part merino wool and part tencel (made from wood pulp). I noticed the yarns containing tencel seem to have a very nice shine to them.  Of course once I bought this skein of yarn, my purse strings loosened up a bit and I bought some more yarn after that.  But this was my first Sock Summit purchase and it's finally been knit up.  The yarn was a dream to work with.  I did not block my project and it drapes and feels so nice.

On my plane ride home from the Sock Summit, I sat by another knitter who was returning to Denver, Colorado (she had attended the Sock Summit as well).  On the plane, she was knitting this great "Hitchhiker" pattern in some Wollmeise yarn.  Since my return home, I have not stopped thinking about this pattern. I finally broke down and purchased the pattern off of Ravelry a few weekends ago (it was less than five bucks and purchasing patterns on-line is really quick and simple... I just tend to avoid such since there are so many great FREE patterns out there).

I am glad I purchased the pattern and this yarn.  I am happy with my Hitchhiker.  I think it will be great to wear in the fall as the temperatures begin to dip. 

I enjoyed the pattern description on Ravelry; here it is:

Garter stitch. It‘s simple, its warm and squishy, stretchy and reversible and it makes any variegated, hand-dyed sockyarn really shine. So here‘s Hitchhiker: It is a narrow, slightly asymmetrically shaped triangular shawlette that can be wrapped around the neck several times. The ends are long enough to tie it with a knot. One of the short sides of the triangle features a saw-tooth border that evolves naturally during the knitting and gives the shawl its unusual shape. Because the knitting starts at one end, you can stop anytime, bind off and end up with a useful neckerchief, shawlette or shawl. A perfect project to relax in between more complicated ones, also very suitable for beginners and young knitters.

The name? Well, if you use a 150 g skein of Wollmeise 100% Merino for this, you can make how many teeth? That‘s right, 42. The answer to the question about the universe and everything, according to Douglas Adams' wonderful book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy“. So don‘t forget your towel, and happy knitting!

My project contains only 37 teeth but it is a nice sized wrap (I used nearly all of my 470 yards of yarn... on size US 4 needles... yep, that's a lot of stitches!).  I've heard of this book before and now I am very curious to read it.  What is the significance of 42 teeth and why do I need to remember my towel?  If anyone knows, let me know in the comments section.  Maybe I just need to read the book... while I wear my "Hitchhiker"...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Blueberry Pancakes and Potato Chips

I tought that post title might catch your attention.

The pattern... Potato Chip Scarf.  Ravelry pattern link is HERE.
The yarn... Crystal Palace's Mini Mochi in a colorway called "Blueberry Pancakes"

For my scarf (a Christmas present), the yarn is fingering weight, I used needle size US Size 7 (I used DPN's) and the pattern couldn't be simpler.  I used two balls of Mini Mochi and each ball contains 195 yards.  You can make the scarf on larger needles with one ball of yarn, but I like longer scarves.  You can use a variety of yarn types and weights for this scarf but I think this pattern and the Mini Mochi look great together because of the long color changes. I also like the look of the scarf on the size 7 needles because I like the tighter spiral. Scarves made on larger needles are floppier for a very different effect.  I read a pattern note saying this pattern is called Potato Chip Scarf because... you can't eat just one potato chip and you can't make just one Potato Chip Scarf.  As for me, I was pretty tired of the pattern by the time I finished this yesterday.  But then again, I am pretty excited to be on to my next projects. This pattern also reminds me of the curly fries you can get at fairs and festivals.

Cast on 20 stitches.
Row 1:  Knit 8 stitches, turn.
Row 2:  Knit 8 stitches, turn.
Row 3:  Knit 6 stitches, turn.
Row 4:  Knit 6 stitches, turn.
Row 5:  Knit 4 stitches, turn.
Row 6:  Knit 4 stitches, turn.
Row 7:  Knit 20 stitches, turn. 
Repeat rows 1 - 7 until you run out of yarn and bind off. 

The pattern is such that you work or make short rows back and forth on one side of the scarf only for the first six rows, then you knit across all 20 stitches on the needle (Row 7). When you start Row 1 for the second time, you are working on the opposite side of the scarf for six rows until you knit acros all 20 stitches (Row 7) again.  The result is sort of triangular wedges which create ruffles along both sides of the scarf that eventually begin to spiral. 
The construction of the scarf is such that the beginning and the end of the scarf are "forked" like a snake's tongue. Weird... I know!  You can stitch up the fork or you can leave the fork open.  I stitched mine shut.