Sunday, October 25, 2009


John is a faithful reader of, and makes sure to send me links to any knitting-related comics (plus any other geek thing that he thinks I'll find funny (he's almost always right)).

This is appropriate because I decided that I had to finish any works-in-progress (WiPs) before I got too deep into my Christmas gift knitting.

I'm doing really well, too. I finished ½ of a pair of socks a friend's baby several weeks ago, but hadn't gotten around to starting the second half. Earlier, I ran out to the car and found the project bag(gie) and knit while we watched our usual eclectic selection (Dagon and 1 disc of Monty Python's Flying Circus). It's a cabled sock - my first cabled project ever - and I've got about an inch to go in the foot before I start decreasing for the toe. This little guy has rather large feet -- the socks I knit for him pre-birth didn't come close to fitting when he was a couple of days old -- so I hope the toddler socks will fit!

Other WiPs: a gift for a friend that really requires a small amount of knitting, then some finishing and sewing, and my socks. I'm not counting a scarf I started, because I'm not sure I want to finish it anyway. I figure if it never made it into my Ravelry queue, then it's not official.

In other news: I don't think I mentioned that I'm on a crazy-strict medically-prescribed diet (and John is on it with me). I have pledged to not use my blog (or Facebook or Twitter) to continually post updates on what I'm eating (or not eating), how many calories taken in, how much weight lost, etc. But I'm feeling so much better, and that's excellent. Whenever I'm tempted to cheat (actually pretty rare), I just picture my dad's feet. He lost both legs below the knees - in stages - and I had to help change bandages on occasion. Now that I seem to have high blood pressure in addition to the diabetes, I have no choice if I want to hang around.

I do need to plug one of my favorite finds (may have been mentioned before): Fage 0%. It's Greek-strained yogurt, but I use it as a substitute for sour cream. May not be the best thing that the yogurt reminds me of sour cream, but hey, it works. Some of the food we get is pretty boring, but some "sour cream" and low sodium salsa really makes a difference.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Holiday Knitting

Neo Christmas 08I'm sure most people on my Christmas list appreciate the fact that I don't always do handmade gifts for everyone, every year. I try to alternate (unless money is impossibly tight). There are also few surprises, especially for knitted gifts, because I've learned that - at least for my people - it's best to find out if what I have in mind is something they'll actually use. (I'd much rather be told "no," than spend time and use yarn for something that's not going to be used/appreciated.)

Last year, I contacted the moms of kids on my list to see if any of them might want hats and, if so, what style. Some said "yes," some said "no." Those whose parents thought they'd appreciate hats, got fun hats. Those whose parents did not think so, did not get anything knitted.

This year, I'm getting a late start, but in my defense I didn't think I had that much knitting to do. Once I started making the list, and had a couple of conversations, I found out how wrong I was! Most of these gifts aren't surprises, so I thought I'd share some of my plans, in case other were looking for ideas.

First on the list is a young lady who wants the same kind of hat I knit for her guardian (mom??) last year. My goddaughter, at the ripe old age of 21, has become legal guardian to a high-schooler. I've been assured that this doesn't make me a "grand-" anything, but I'm happy to add K to my Christmas list. Like I said, she wants the same kind of hat I knit for Sarah last winter. Sarah, in turn, asked for flip-top/convertible mittens. And K would like the same, please, in her color (pink).

  • This Slouchy beret is not tough to knit and it works up fast on size 11 & 13 needles. I might go down a needle size, because I'll be using 2 strands of worsted-weight (Cascade 220 Superwash) instead of the bulky it calls for.
  • Peekaboo Mitten (Ravelry-only link, sorry!) - I plan on knitting a pair of these myself. But for now, I need 2 pairs.
  • He's not a boyfriend - he's my goddaughter's fiance - but The Boyfriend Hat (aka Hat Fit for a Boyfriend on Ravelry) is also in the queue. Planned yarn is more Cascade 220 Superwash.
  • I hope to get this monster, Olivia, knit up for honorary niece, M, and add a little tutu, like some of the images show. M takes ballet and I think she'll get a kick out of it. (If you like this pattern, check out the multi-pattern deals available in the shop. I believe all of her patterns are also available via Ravelry downloads.)
I kind of still owe at least one hat from last year (have had a rough time getting my hands on the right yarn), have a couple of things in mind for John, and one other Christmas hat. While I wait for my yarn order to get here from Oregon, I'm still plugging away on a pair of socks for me. I love how they fit (sock #2 is about 65% finished)!

Other "me" knitting: My favorite scarves have turned out to be basic ribbed numbers in squishy soft yarns. Add to that the fact that I finally learned how to do a basic cable, and this "Rib Rib Cable" scarf is a natural choice.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Emergency Yarn Ornaments - Now in PDF form

Knitter's Emergency OrnamentThis isn't new; it's a "pattern" (really a tutorial) I created a few years ago and posted on my old blog. But I've always meant to convert it to a PDF and make it available for download -- other things just always got in my way. Recently, people have been having trouble accessing the original blog post, so I finally got my butt in gear and finished the PDF. It's not perfect, but it's not that bad, either.

I originally called it the "Emergency Knitter's Ornament." I know of at least one person who did, indeed, break open the glass to get at the yarn. But she was nine and loved pretty yarn to knit with, so I cut her some slack.

Now, called "Emergency Yarn Ornament" (because "yarn" is shorter than "knitter's/crocheter's/weaver's/spinner's/dyer's"), the pattern is currently hosted on Ravelry as a free download. You should be able to obtain it using the following link:

download Emergency Yarn Ornament now

This is the ideal time of year to churn out a bunch of these. The clear glass ornaments are available at most "big box" craft stores and are frequently on sale.

Limitations: Only one store currently has permission to print and distribute copies of these (Nestucca Bay Yarns, in Oregon). Otherwise, making more than the necessary couple for personal use is a no-no. (Giving a copy to a friend who isn't online a lot is fine. Printing out stacks to hand out anywhere is not.) Store owners interested in an approved copy (with store logo added) to distribute should contact me. See PDF for the traditional copyright notice.

If you do make some, and are on Ravelry, please add them to your notebook. I really love seeing what other people turn out!

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Interim House Contest Results

(Finally, right? I wanted to give the other person a really good chance to respond about her package. Plus, I needed to make this fancy-schmancy collage so you could all see the goodies that these fine people sent!)

Before I get to the winner, I first have to say how very much in awe I am of the generosity these packages represent. Some were large, some small, some seriously tricked out, but they all are going to a great cause and the ladies at IH really get a kick out of hearing about them. They love the cards/postcards and notes that are frequently included, and the tools and yarn area great addition to their therapy.

It's all wonderful, and I don't want anyone to think that by calling out a couple of things that I don't think it's all fantastic! We had a small helper this year, with one (very) young lady helping photograph her mom's box. "WMK" included a card that read "It's Mel's Birthday/And I'm celebrating/By sending presents to YOU." Tvini sent one of her (now) famous (to me) scarf kits.

Sarah, Pam, Robin, Nadine, Stephanie, Tvini & WMK: thank you so much!

The winner: Robin! She will get a skein of Urban Legends yarn and a project bag.

She already knows; I emailed her after the drawing when I knew the announcement would be delayed.

However, everyone is going to get something. I'll be in touch to check on mailing addresses. If you want to send me an email now with that info., go right ahead.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

IH Results Delay for sad reason

I have the IH results ready to share -- they'll be up tomorrow. I'd planned on posting them tonight, but while I was looking for links for all the participants' blogs, I found that my dear internet buddy, Sarah, also known as "gwensmom" lost her sweet angel last week.

I'm kicking myself for being so bad at keeping up with friends' blogs. Hopefully I can rectify this before another friend goes through a severe crisis. I just don't have it in me to have a super upbeat message go live.

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