jaw dropping progress

Posted on 22 CommentsPosted in food and garden, home and family

jaw dropping—get it?? haha, little joke there . . . because my jaw actually did fall off! HAHAHA, i just crack myself up sometimes . . . ok, maybe not that funny, now that i think about it.

i’m just popping in to tell you that i’m feeling much, much better and hard at work on my 2018 goals already—i KNOW! how are you doing on yours?

well, i know you met ONE big goal, huzzah! i have to tell you how inspiring that is for me; if you can do it, then i can apply myself just a little more, too. and i have big plans.

first though i have to get this confounded thing removed from my mouth.

this is my fixator, which is pinning my jaw in place while the bones knit together—isn’t it cool that knitting is involved? i though you’d appreciate that . . . it looks a lot worse than it is; after a couple of weeks i got used to it being there. most people who see me on the street just think i’m carrying a chew toy, which is hilarious, since i don’t do toys.

after our trip to the doctor for my two-week followup, i was allowed to go on long walks again, which has been great.

i helped anne scout out all sorts of interesting light displays for our twelve nights of christmas lights on instagram. i even found a couple that she didn’t notice at first!

i’ve been to visit my friend casey a few times too, which is the best thing of all—he was wondering where the heck i’d gotten to. and he was very, very respectful of my fixator; we won’t resume our wrestling matches or serious horseplay until i’m completely cleared for activities like those.

instead he just bugs me constantly, cleaning my ears and nuzzling the back of my neck, haha. but i mostly let him because he means well and is very gentle. also, he doesn’t laugh at all about the clothes i need to wear because all my neck and chest fur was shaved off for my surgery. i actually like my puffy vest a lot, but i’m not a fan of the purple cowl.

this week anne remembered another cowl she had in her running gear and dug it out; this one suits me much better and sometimes i even keep it on in the house. don’t you think this is much more “me”? i mean, slate blue is SO my color . . .

speaking of christmas, i was stunned to learn about this holiday! a day (actually a month, it seemed like) totally devoted to sparkly lights and presents?? what’s not to love? and i got several really great gifts from friends, some of whom i wasn’t all that trusting of and one i’ve never even met, but who love me back anyway.

a huge stocking full of toys from my aunt helen, who has an adorable doggie named pepper; i can’t wait to meet them next time we visit our family in NY state.

and aunt katharine sent me these cheesy biscuits which i cannot WAIT to get my teeth on (when it’s alright to have crunchy foods again). i’m sorry i wasn’t so nice to her when she was visiting; i was a bit overwhelmed by having a houseguest . . .

and aunt kimkimkim sent me this coolio leash, which is made from wool and alpaca that is spun into a super durable rope. she knows how much i like my walks. i need to ask anne to help me organize some goodies for her birthday.

actually, it’s gotten really REALLY cold here since christmas and i’ve been cutting our walks short for the time being—my feet just can’t take the cold after a couple of miles. i’d rather stay in and snuggle up on the sofa, going out several times a day only for shorter walks right now (but i think that’s kind of stressful for anne and david; they are pretty busy). it’s supposed to be warmer this week coming up and hopefully we can get back to our regular walking schedule.

i do love the snuggling; it’s really growing on me. i was not to keen about being touched up til now, even by anne, who gets to touch me the most. but lately i can even let her hold my hands and clean my feet which she thinks is a HUGE step in the right direction (it’s the least i can do, right?). and most days, i also enjoy being gathered up for hugging, which used to make me panic because it felt like i was being smothered. now though, i can relax and enjoy sinking into the warmth.

i even find it quite nice to squish up against her when she’s knitting and lay my head in her lap. sometimes i do a lap takeover, too. that’s where i inch my way over and creep up onto her lap, a little at a time until there’s no more room for knitting junk. she doesn’t mind—she just lays her yarn on top of ME and we’re good.

last week we had a party! anne spent several days in the kitchen preparing all sorts of foods that human people find yummy to eat—lasagne, antipastos, and cheesecake.

now, you might not know this about me but, well, anything involving cheese is of supreme interest to me. i was raptly attentive as not one, not two, but FIVE different cheeses were scooped, cubed, or grated into the party dishes. and naturally i offered my services for taste-testing each one and cleaning up any scraps or bits that were not of use . . .

i was wondering what all the activity was about and she did try to explain it to me ahead of time, but boy oh boy, was i surprised when all of a sudden on tuesday night, there were FIVE TIMES the usual number of people at our house—plus another dog!

good thing i have been working hard, as promised, on letting my friends at “work” touch me and pet me. because the party was full of my work friends (and the dog, thor). and our friend ramona who is safe and a do-gooder, which is why i created a fundraiser for her on facebook.

i was ok with most of it until thor tried to take my “chew toy” out of my mouth. that was it for me—i found a safe spot sitting with my friends ellen and joe, where i could also keep anne in my sights at all times. ellen is just lovely and i almost always let her pet me now; we are working on that together.

in fact, i really hate it when she’s not there. i still check every day when we’re out for a walk, pulling over at the shop door to stop in and say hello. i just love it at “work”, but sometimes when we arrive, the place is empty.

i will admit up front that yes, i do need a bit of a crutch when it comes to the petting; treats make it much easier to overcome my fears. but i am slowly, slowly able to do it without them once in a while too. it’s just that the treats are so yummy, i completely forget myself and before i know it, lillian or ellen or megan are rubbing my ears and i realize it feels good. who knew?

yeah, so for a while after my surgery, we were a little flummoxed about treats—i needed them as badly as ever but my favorites were too crunchy for my jaw situation. we tried a variety of workarounds, mostly involving soaking or microwaving my biscuits, but that proved really messy and took WAY too much time.

then once the christmas rush was over, anne finally got “online” to see if she could figure out an alternative. she has this thing about making my treats, because i usually won’t eat the ones from a package (sorry, but they have absolutely no flavor, FYI).

and it turns out that she can make even more AMAZING ones than the ones she was making before!! plus these ones are soft so i can chew them without hurting myself. ok, i just asked her and she said the recipe is based on the one she found on the sheknows blog.

she put some of my favorite foods (and a couple i didn’t know i liked) into the noisy food-making machine and added some other stuff, including my favorite—CHEESE.

she let me taste the batter and i was like, eh.
but she spooned it out anyway and sprinkled the tops with CHEESE and put them in the hot box.

i’m not really sure what happens in there, but O.M.G., when they came out they were utterly transformed and SO yummy. yummy, yummy, YUMMY!!

i know it’s ridiculous, but i cannot control myself when these treats are mentioned. i will do just about anything to get one. i even let the newest person at work pet me right away because she offered me one (sorry ellen, no reflection on you at ALL; you’re still my fave).

anyway, the upshot of all this is that, seeing how much i love, love, love the new treats, anne went looking for ideas about changing my regular food so it would be equally yummy—and also better for me. i mean, she buys really good food and adds lots of my favorite vegetables, but you know what happens when a mom gets reading—suddenly they go on a kick to make everything “better”.

i already love cooked green beans, which are like a doggie superfood (and good thing we have a lot because i eat a ton of those).

and roasted sweet potatoes—these are so good you guys! steamed carrots are also a fave, along with mashed peas, but i had to stop eating that last one; peas and pumpkin don’t agree with me so much.

don’t get me wrong, anne and david tried all summer long to get me to eat raw blueberries, leafy greens, apples, and other stuff on lists such as this one, but i wouldn’t do it; they just didn’t smell like anything and i like smelly food. i much preferred cooked vegetables.

then when i had to switch to my current soft diet and spoon feeding, she seized the opportunity to get me to try new ingredients. she had the great idea to simply defrost raw, frozen fruits and veggies and presto-change-o, we hit a sweet spot. first i like the softer texture and secondly, once they are stirred into my pureed food, their smells and flavors really stand out.

now, along with my well-soaked kibble, canned soft food, and whipped canned salmon, we are trying all sorts of yummy stir-ins. meals have never been more exciting!

i let her know in every when i can think of how much i love my meals—when i hear my personal dishes clinking and containers coming out of the fridge, i race into the kitchen, run around the island twice and skid to a stop on the rug, then wiggle my butt for good measure (and because it never fails to make her laugh). i park right in front of the fridge where she can’t forget that i’m there, waiting ever so patiently. for at least a minute anyway before poking her leg to hurry up please . . .

i think i’m going to be really sad when my soft diet days are behind me and i’m hoping anne will think of a creative way to continue making fruits and vegetables taste good for me.

one thing that’s still a big challenge—and kind of a fight— is water. i’m afraid to go near my water dish because navigating it with the fixator might hurt, so anne has been syringing water into my mouth whenever she can get me to open it, then rewarding me with dabs of peanut butter. sadly, i am such a sucker that this mostly works, though she says not enough and often i make a big mess by flinging water all over the place.

and since i eat my meals in my bed where i can relax and be touched without worry, that just makes for a soggy mess sometimes. i mean, i would go without it altogether, but i guess that’s not good for me. i’m supposed to drink a lot more, but by the end of each day, we are too tired to fight about it and we settle for what we can get down.

well, we all go back to the hospital in sixteen days to see how my jaw is healing. they’ll put me to sleep again and i’ll get an x-ray and if everything looks good, they will remove the pins and the fixator and we will move on to the next stages of recovery (tho i’m not exactly sure yet what that involves). i’ll be sure to let you know as soon as i know more.

also, i’m sorry this post is going up so late—i know i promised it for sunday but wow, typing is SO hard.

red win

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in projects

view from the front window—a flock of startled frost birds taking flight from a snow bank. while the sky is bright and clear, the temps here have fallen to a new low. brrr, deep winter is here.

on one of the last “warm” days before the extreme cold hit and the ground froze solid, i managed to harvest the very last crop from our garden—parsnips! i love the flavor of parsnips when added to soups, mashed potatoes, and roast vegetable dishes, but they are extremely hard to find in our local stores. it’s good to leave them in the ground til after the hard frost, but that means most years they end up buried under snow. supposedly, you can leave them in til spring but when i’ve done that, they succumb to sodden rot. this year we finally have some decent ones—a small crop, but plenty for the dishes i’d like to make with them. and the day after i dug them, it snowed—a LOT.

cold as it is, our hearts are full and warm—all because of YOU. our red scarf scholarship fundraiser has come to a close for this year and we are super excited to report that we have broken all previous records!!

the final tally even made cardigan sit up straight. thank you one and all who participated in our best effort yet; we really appreciate every single purchase that led to our success this year and from the bottom of our hearts, we applaud you.

we will be funding a new student this year because jelissa is graduating—thanks to our last scholarship, she was able to enroll in all the classes she needed to finish her degree.

tina rasheem, our contact at foster care to success, always searches for a student who will major in an area that fits our own mission; whenever possible she matches our scholarship to a fashion, art, or writing student. i can’t wait to break the news to her about this year’s scholarship and hear about the recipient she decides on. we usually find out during the summer and we’ll be sure to keep you updated!

we really enjoyed the new format of our fundraiser this year too and i think you did as well; hopefully we can continue next year with a similar program. of course, we are always open to ideas to keep it fresh and fun, so let me know if you think of something brilliant! one reader has already requested that we include a doggie sweater or jacket and now that i know how much cardigan loves an outer layer, i am tossing ideas around.

speaking of the little vixen, while she certainly loves to curl up with a blanket next to me as i knit, she still likes her outdoor walks, which necessitates a whole new level of layering up for winter, haha. i am used to vigorous exercise in the coldest temperatures, but did not have warm enough things for the “walk a little, then stop to sniff” pace of our four legged princess. nor did i have much in the way of waterproof gear—a must when one needs to get out EVERY day, no matter what’s falling from the sky. and my boots, though very warm, were an absolute danger for walking on icy streets (there is no mandate here for clearing walks and hence, very few people do it).

plus, it’s been the winter of winters here this year—temperatures well below freezing for weeks on end now and lots of snow, the howl of wind constantly playing in the background. this is the time of year when a sunny day (or even hour) is rare anyway, but skies heavy with snow make it worse.

i managed to find some icebug boots with a removable web of cleats on sale that are so light and flexible, i can actually walk pretty fast in them when necessary. also, a knee-length water- and windproof down coat was located at a deep discount which i grabbed. it’s basically a big puffy sleeping bag with arms, but it works very well and now i’m never cold or wet. i use a two layer system for my hands that i learned from bike riding—thin liner gloves under polar fleece mittens—that works like a charm.

and then i still have to dress the dog, haha! puffy down vest and cowl for her, easy to slip on in a hurry even when she’s doing the pee-pee dance. yes, it takes forever to get out the door, but it’s usually well worth it. still, i’m always happy to walk back into the warm house and put my hands on some wool yarn, hehe.

we had an absolutely lovely christmas holiday, how about you? our house was very, very quiet with just ourselves and it was a wonderful respite. we all received gifts, both funny and touching—just enough to make it feel like a holiday but not so much that we don’t know where to put it all. i love everything i received and all of it very useful; many of our gifts have already been pressed into service around here, yay.

cardigan got a jaw reconstruction and a new bed from us and many thoughtful gifts from kimkimkim, my sister, katharine, and barb.

a box of goodies even arrived after christmas from katharine, full of tasty treats and notions.

this cashmere yarn is SO luscious, it quickly moved to the top of my queue; i’ve had my eye on the yarn from this company for a while and with this extreme cold, i know i can use another pair of fingerless mitts to wear for computer work. i’m finally kind of in small project mode (i know; WAY too late for gift knitting, oh well) and i’ve been on a bit of a kick for making fingerless mitts, so i will likely make these next.

as soon as i finish my lacunae hat.
which has been mostly languishing, though i’ve made a little progress since i last shared—i think i’m just about to the point where i can start the top decreases and from there it’s a quick finish. so what’s my problem? i really need this hat, too; i don’t know why it’s taking so long.

well, perhaps spoon feeding the dog is cutting into my knitting time (ya think?), but again, totally worth it. i would have missed a golden opportunity for bonding if it hadn’t fallen in my lap to do it. more on that in the next post—cardigan has lots of news to share. she knows that some of you are anxious to hear from her.

we did do some christmas gift knitting, if after the fact a bit. i had it in my mind for a while that i wanted to make something for our friend ramona (founder of JJs ruff roads), who spends hour upon hour out in the cold, helping lost dogs find their way back home. she doesn’t even know what knitting is really (she thought it was nearly the same as quilting), but i knew she’d enjoy some warm, handmade things. fingerless mitts are a perfect gift for her and a hat to go with them that actually fits (she is tiny and has a small head, like me).

i dug deep into my stash to pull out the last few skeins of black mission falls 1824 wool that i’d been hoarding for the perfect person. this is a lovely, soft yarn that makes lush, bouncy fabric which is also machine washable and even dryer friendly. when it was discontinued some ten years ago or so, i bought a bag to sock away for “guy” knitting. i’ve used most of it but had a few left—just the amount i needed for my project.

i meant to start knitting this months ago, but with everything backing up on me all year, i didn’t do it til, well—last weekend. so i declared new year’s eve and new year’s day as my own personal knitting holiday and spent them mostly on the sofa, snuggling with cardigan til all three pieces were complete. she makes a great yarn holder, doesn’t she?

i was even able to wash, block and dry them all with plenty of time to spare for wrapping. we did have a deadline—our office friends and family party was scheduled for tuesday night and i wanted to have them ready. i did not get a photo of her wearing them, but she loved them enough to pop them on immediately for the trip home. she was excited to have a black hat and mitts she could use for work at FedEx, where she needs her fingers free. i was excited that she liked them so much and also that little bits of cardigan were knit into the fabric.

now that holiday shopping, cooking, visiting, and gift knitting are done for the year, i’m back to work on regularly scheduled knitting projects. plenty of secret ones as usual, which i can’t show you yet, but also the red sweater i’ve designed and am knitting for david in festivus 4.0 sport weight. this first sleeve is finished now and i’m on to the second.

the sleeves are plain, but the body will be patterned. these are a nice, quick and mindless knit and they’re moving along quickly. this design is constructed in the round from the bottom up without seams, which is why i’m knitting the sleeves first—they will be all set to go when i hit the yoke and need to add them in. also i can double-check my final gauge in the round to make sure i’ve got that right. i just love this fabric and i know david will, too. i picked skeins that have very gradual and subtle gradient shading—really almost solid—but when i knit my own version in patchwork fingering (light print), i’ll use ones that have more obvious variations. still very subtle, but more gradient.

around the office, everyone is working hard to keep the wheels turning on upcoming projects. first, we are organizing the last components of our upcoming PAIRINGS club, which begins shipping in february.

make no mistake, we’ve been working on this for almost a year—chef katharine and i prepared way ahead for the food and recipe portion of this wonderful knit/taste experience. she was here last summer for over a week so we could cook together and take advantage of fresh garden produce and talk over appropriate yarn pairings with our knitspot team.

we talked and cooked and drove all over the area looking for great ingredients, making cardigan kinda crazy with kitchen upheaval (she survived and was mollified by the wealth of goodies on offer).

we came up with a four-course menu and recipes that sequence well into an entire meal or stand alone nicely for casual dinners. we chose dishes that can be varied easily to accommodate special diets or out of season ingredients.

in addition, we tried to imbue each installment with a sense of place, choosing ingredients that are emblematic of particular regions around our big, big country.

yarns and foods are a secret for now, but it think participants will be as tickled as they were last year with the first pairings club. each project is a pairing as well, making use of two yarns; the designs are aimed toward intermediate knitting skills and will include a range of techniques. if you’re new to all this, check out the final pairings 2016 book to get an idea of what to expect in the way of patterns and yarns.

we had to finalize our first yarn order for this PAIRINGS club, so space is now limited accordingly to the number of spots we have left—if you haven’t signed up yet but want to do so, i hope you’ll join us before they run out!

we are also getting ready to release the next winter ensemble collection, which includes eight designers who have contributed some awesome garments and accessories.

my own contribution is a v-neck pullover with a mega-cabled neck and side seam detail. early next week i’ll be using my sample as an example of how to block sweater pieces with complex or awkward shapes—if you love blocking (even more, if you hate blocking), don’t miss this post!

i’ve also begun work on a capsule collection that we plan to release in march—light, airy knits that will be perfect for spring and summer, to wear or to knit as the days grow warmer. i am SO excited about it; my ideas are aligning into a closely related set of pieces, making use of a variety of yarns which are pleasant to knit at that time.

let’s finish this post with something pretty—my tarta shawl and cortado cowl patterns are now available for general purchase!

these two super soft and light pieces were designed initially for our 2017 BNK club, when we knit them for the june installment using salt river mills suri decadence in a special put-up of half cream and half medium brown.

the fingering weight yarn is blended from natural shades of pure suri alpaca and muga silk, giving it phenomenal drape and softness.

the patterns include two sizes each and the samples pictured here are the smaller size, which can be knit from just one yarn set (two half skeins sold together).

to purchase tarta shawl pattern or view details, click here for our knitspot pattern shop listing and click here for knitspot ravelry shop (please purchase with the ravelry link if you prefer the pattern to be placed in your rav library).

to purchase coronado cowl pattern or view details, click here for our knitspot pattern shop listing and click here for knitspot ravelry shop (please purchase with the ravelry link if you prefer the pattern to be placed in your rav library).

wow, i didn’t think i had anything to write about today that didn’t involve nursing cardigan, haha, but i guess i was wrong. many of you have sent heartfelt notes and good wishes to her as we advance through her recovery and we are so touched by each one, thank you!

cardigan is feeling much more her usual self this week and has a lot to share; for those who have been asking, i’m helping her prepare a separate update post for sunday, which promises to be newsy. for now, she says, “happy weekend” and “be sure to wear a hat when you go out!”

tidings of comfort and joy

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, book reviews/events, home and family, patterns

happy holidays to all! we have much good news to share today and many, many things to be grateful for.

first, all of us at knitspot HQ are completely psyched to tell you this:

we are SO exploding this fundraiser with a bang!! (and cardigan is much happier about it than she looks—her fixator just gets in the way of her smile, haha)

we couldn’t be more excited, especially because we’re pretty sure we tipped that number over the lucky 7K since tuesday; thank you one and all.
and we still have one week to go . . . who knows, maybe we can make it to the magic 8!!

we had a lovely holiday note from foster care to success this past week and while it came to our house, it’s really for all of you. it’s true that what we give to this wonderful cause will expand and multiply beyond our imaginations; every seed dollar becomes so much more when planted in the future lives of these kids.

i also heard from our current scholarship recipient jelissa a few times this fall and she especially wanted to share her latest news during the fundraiser:

Hello Anne!
I am doing great! Sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you right away; the 1st [of december] was actually my birthday and I’m recovering from a cold.  Anyway, it’s looking as though I could possible get all As and maybe a B+ the lowest. Also, I am excited to hear  that  the fundraiser got off to a good start! I have attached a few presentations that I’ve worked on throughout this semester and included photos. Once again, thank you and the Knitspot community for everything!

This is the computer lab in the lower level of the school, I spent most of my days here doing work for my classes. One of the ways I was able to keep my grades up was to come here right after class and work on assignments in advance just to give myself a heads up for the week; by the end of the week I’m so exhausted. However, the bulk of my classes are on Mondays; I have three classes and I am here from 9am-9pm.

We experienced some snow over the weekend; it looked amazing in the park! It’s a huge change from the 60 degree weather we had experienced days before.

My best friend had a baby on October 4th and now I’m a Godmother! His name is Kaden Francis Drayton, I helped her find his first name- means fighter, and his middle name is her grandmother’s first name! This is him recently at one of his checkups, he’s now two months old.

Thank you again for everything, I will periodically set reminders to send more photos and maybe even videos for you guys to see. Since most of my classes require PowerPoint presentations; I’ve become quite good at them, maybe I can do a recap of the year/semester towards the end of December; I think that’d be fun!  I look forward to hearing from you and be on the look out for more updates!

jelissa also let me know that she’ll be spending the holidays in new jersey with a former foster family that she stays in close touch with; i was really glad to hear that she’d be surrounded with loved ones through this season. i hope she does have time now that school is out to send a few more photos and a followup note to share with you; i know it’s very heartwarming to hear news from our scholarship student from time to time.

i don’t know yet how many patterns and yarn we’ve sold during the fundraiser, but it has to be a lot—and each one was a building block that got us here. so please continue to spread the word and encourage your friends, knitting buddies, ravelry groups, knitting teachers and fellow students to participate—our goal is now unlimited!

if you are fired up and feel passionate after reading the fundraiser details, here are some small things you can do to help:

  1. purchase any of our 2017 red scarf fundraiser patterns herehere, here, here, and here, and/or add an extra donation on our website—use the pulldown menu to increase your gift and we will donate the entire pattern price PLUS that extra amount. we are happy to add the pattern to your rav library if you let us know!! (but we have to do it manually, so please tell us)
  2. purchase a pattern on ravelry hereherehere, here, here, and here—the entire retail pattern price will go into the scholarship fund.
  3. purchase a 2017 festivus kit which includes the pattern PLUS enough special edition festivus 4.0, to knit a scarf or cowl. we will add 5% of your yarn purchase price to the fund.
  4. buy one or more skeins of festivus 4.0 for any project and we will add 5% of your purchase price to the fund.
  5. please, please, PLEASE tell everyone you know about the fundraiser—they don’t need to be a knitter to throw $7 (or more!!) at this wonderful cause. please mention it with a link in your favorite ravelry groups, a link and hashtag on your Instagram, Facebook page (and link it), tweet it (with a link!), pin it (yes, with link) and finally just drag your friends over to look at the blog, haha. we’ll even give them a “knit naked sticker badge” if it helps them to help out.
  6. join us for a fun red scarf KAL in our ravelry mothership—we promise a rollicking good time, plenty of support, and of course, neat-o prizes.


i am so very grateful to our partner designers who joined me in creating designs to our scholarship effort this year; BIG hugs to kate atherley, mary o’shea, and kerri blumer for their contributions.

and speaking of our partner designers, here are a few other options for holiday gift knitting that are designed especially for using our festivus 4.0 yarns. you can find kits for all of these designs in the FESTIVUS section of our online shop. and while you’re there, take a moment to browse past festivus designs for more quick knit gift ideas.

kate atherley’s mayberry cap is a super quick, last-minute project to knit in festivus 4.0 worsted or any of our worsted weight yarns (it’d be extra yummy in chebris worsted, wow!). ellen knit one up in no time and it’s SO darn cute! kate has many, many clever, fun to knit designs in her pattern shop; you should take a peek.

keri blumer started the rollout of our 2017 pattern train with her andiron cowl and andiron scarf designs available for the ENTIRE fundraising period (we only asked for a month of sales, but she’s extending it!); she’s just awesome and she has lots of beautiful designs to share—be sure to check out her ravelry shop.

in november, we featured our festivus 4.0 sport weight in a delicious trio of colorwork accessories by designer mary o’shea of tullymongan designs.

mary has created many delightful items using bare naked wools yarns—check out her designer page for alternatives that will also work well with festivus 4.0 sport or worsted.

first up, if you live in a very cold climate and need to be outside frequently, these gorgeous cranberry trellis mittens might be right up your alley.

and if you like your accessories to coordinate mary’s got your back here too, with an awesome little cap and fingerless mitts.

the cranberry lattice cap is a match for the cranberry lattice mitts, but also coordinates perfectly with the cranberry trellis mittens—note the pattern in the thumb which matches the hat.

and finally, my bottoms up booties design, which one knitter described as “the coziest pair of slippers she’s ever knit”—which really warmed my heart. this pattern includes instructions for a variety of finishing options and we’ve got bootie kits to go with each of them!

the yarn has been so lovely to knit with that it inspired a new sweater design, which i’ve begun to knit in spare moments between finishing up other projects.

so far it’s just a sleeve on the way, but i promise, this will be an easy knit; i’m working in the round all the way up so as to take advantage of the subtle gradient shifts in the yarn. more on this as it progresses, but let me just share that i am totally in love with the feel of this fabric—it is soft, lush, and squishy beyond belief. it will make the ultimate sweatshirt-type pullover that mister knitspot loves to wear. my only regret is that i didn’t think of it or start it sooner so he’d be wearing it tomorrow . . .

if you are interested in a sweater quantity of this beautiful limited-run yarn, we can help you put a set together—choose a more varied gradient or a subtle one; we can pick them and send photos for approval before you purchase! email operationsATknitspotDOTcom for more info.

and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all that you do to make this happen each year!

ps: i’m offering a parade of christmas lights on our instagram account throughout the season—follow @knitspot to see the amazing displays that cardigan and i have discovered on our evening walks (use #twelvenightsofchristmaslights to add your own); trust me, the best is yet to come!

taking things in stride

Posted on 63 CommentsPosted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, home and family, projects

thank you all so very much for your enthusiastic response to my latest design publication—bottoms up booties; i’m so glad you like them. our scholarship fund total was up to $4294.20 last tuesday and i’m pretty sure that with this publication we went over 5K!! i am thrilled beyond measure; we’ve had a tough couple of weeks around here and we needed some good news.

right now, i’m working on the bootie number two with the button top cuff option; i’ve knit this pair all in kent worsted (driftwood shade) and i just love them—this yarn has so much depth and cushiness, mmm. if i don’t end up needing these for a gift, i might keep them for me.

today i looked at various button possibilities from the selection we carry in our online shop—all of these are natural bone and horn, but they vary in color and shading, depending on the source. the only ones i’m not entirely crazy about with this yarn color are the ones on the lower left, above.

while i do like the ones in the upper right, i think they might get lost in the fabric a bit. that leaves the black buffalo horn ones (left) and the red horn ones (right). i’m leaning toward the red ones, just as i did when i knit my herringweave cardigan in the driftwood color last year. the black ones tho are also classy and i might go with those just to change things up a bit for myself. which ones do you like?

i was stitching up the bottom seam of my button top bootie when realized that this option would also be cute without buttons or buttonholes—just the vented cuff which creates a split. it looks so cute, both turned up and folded down. when there’s better light tomorrow i’ll take some photos to show you what i mean . . .

once the second button cuff one is finished, i’m almost done with bootie knitting for the time being. i’d like to make a second slipper to match this prototype, which i knit using a sample skein of patchwork in worsted weight. that was when we thought we were going to get a whole shipment of the heavier weight yarn in. but our mill never sent it, so all we had were the sample skeins, which i’ve nearly used up knitting hats and these booties.

i just love this yarn, but i’m afraid it’s not to be, at least for now. i do have enough to knit a mate for this slipper tho . . . it’s a taller one with an extended leg and SOOooo toasty. it looks like it fits me here, but actually, it’s a bit big, being a large size. if it fits david, i’ll give them to him.

several people have asked me about resizing these slippers to fit even larger feet—i have to hand it to the knitters who regularly knit for men with size 13 feet and up; that’s real love. anyway, if i can, i’ll make some time this week to edit the pattern with two more sizes. i can’t promise because we have a lot going on this week, but i will try!

i love this photo, taken the saturday after thanksgiving when cardigan and i were hanging out and taking things easy.

i was working on my design, getting the fit right, while testing out cable options and she was watching me, haha. so peaceful.

little did we know what the rest of the day had in store for us! this flop for instance—the cable was too large and not pronounced enough; i just wasn’t sold on it, even after investing several tries into slippers that were “almost done”. ah well, re-doing is still knitting, right?

finally in the late afternoon i said, “enough of us sitting around on our patooties, cardigan; let’s get outside!”. it was a lovely late fall day and we headed up to the college nearby to walk in the fields. we watched the sun set and were just heading off the grounds toward the street when a large german shepherd came out of nowhere and attacked cardigan, going right for her throat.

the owner had been letting his dogs run free in the field, not realizing we were there. he threw himself on his dog and after several tries managed to pry its jaws apart, but not after a lot of damage had been done. poor cardigan’s jaw had been snapped in two and was hanging loosely, having sunk into the loose folds of her neck; it was horrific, but even more so because in the near dark, i thought it was torn away completely. i got her to the street and called david and my friend ramona; she told us where to take the dog for emergency care. our ER couldn’t take care of this injury, so we spent the rest of the night in a more distant vet ER.

thankfully, they were able to stabilize and sedate her, concluding that if she rested with them in the ICU, she could wait til monday for surgery. they decided to put her jaw back together with pins and an external fixator, which she will wear for at least eight weeks; it’s a little like the kind of scaffold they build for a smashed hand or wrist.

we picked her up on tuesday; she slept on my lap most of the way home (she had a morphine patch working in her favor).

she also has some nasty abrasions, bite wounds, and deep punctures all over her body; one on her neck is quite bad. when she came into the house, she hid under david’s desk until she figured out what’s what—she was extremely happy to be home, but pretty disoriented and distressed at first.

the hospital staff was quite concerned about her lack of appetite, but we assured them it was normal for her not to eat when fed by others. sure enough, as soon as i offered her some food, she wolfed it down and was hungry again a couple of hours later. she was eating so eagerly in fact, that we worried that it might be bad for her, haha. but we were told that she should return to her regular rations as soon as possible. no problem there; she’s eating quite well, as you can see in this youTube video david made the day after she got home.

unfortunately, she can’t feed herself, at least not yet; she has to keep from bumping or putting any pressure on the fixator and it’s right in the way of reaching food on her own. plus she can only have soft foods, which tend to smear all over the device before reaching her mouth—very frustrating.

we’ve been playing with an adapted bowl (my inner designer is just running away with this little bone to play with) and have come up with this jerry-rigged prototype, a little feeding shelf. in the process, we stumbled upon her first game—she just loves getting the food off the paddle and then hearing me cheer for her in my muppet voice! she will do it again and again, as long as the whole thing stays upright. if it tumbles down, she runs away and is hesitant to try again (that doesn’t last long when peanut butter or salmon is on offer).

but now that we know it will work, we can make something much more stable and permanent. while the macaroni boxes are endearing, they aren’t really cutting the mustard, structurally. and the plastic bowl scraper is too stiff; we need to get a silicone one. most of the time it’s easier and cleaner to hand feed her, but since she enjoys this contraption, we’ll use it sometimes; it’s the first toy she’s ever shown any interest in!

even while extremely high on pain meds (or maybe because of them), she was ready to get outside right away. she isn’t allowed a lot of activity but going outside to do her business is fine and gradually, i’ve been letting her walk a few blocks to satisfy her lust for new horizons. i’m hoping that after her two-week followup visit this wednesday, they will say she can go on slightly longer walks. keeping her indoors is killing both of us.

meanwhile, we’ve also had to make concessions for the cold; she is shaved over her whole front and the rest of her body clipped close. of course she developed a cough almost instantly, so she needs to be bundled for going out. our neighbor connie was kind enough to give us this red sweater, but it doesn’t fit right and cardigan won’t walk in it, haha; i think it feels like it’s falling off all the time.

i found something else that works great which we all like—a gray puffy vest.

once cardigan realized how cozy it is, i think she actually enjoys wearing it—she often keeps it on after coming back indoors.

on top of that i add a fleece cowl that i bought for running but rarely need to use; she didn’t like this as much at first, but now that the temps often fall below 25 degrees, she’s sold on it.

it’ll be a while before we see this cute lil nose again in its entirety and it might not look exactly the same afterward, so i’m crushing on this photo right now! i think they may have corrected her jaw alignment a bit, so her front lips don’t drape over as much as they used to, but it’s hard to tell; it could just be hardware and swelling that i’m seeing. but she’s being a real trooper about everything, taking all these changes right in stride. she even runs right up to other dogs still when we’re out on our walks; she’s not at all afraid. if anything, she’s finally become a bit more comfortable with people now, allowing small head pets from many friends.

to be honest, it’s pretty amazing how much she seems to have recovered already, bone mending aside. david and i were just wondering how dogs really experience pain and whether it hurts her as it would us. or as a street dog, did she learn early that pain is just part of life and dismisses it? she is lively and interested in everything that goes on around the house (especially food preparation); she sits very close by to watch everything i do.

sometimes i ask her to count for me, just to give her something to work on when i have to be away from my knitting chair for a while. she says my lacunae hat is right on track and that she loves the yarn, too (briar rose fourth of july). i’ve been working on this during our meetings and not paying much attention, since it’s at that “nothing but straight knitting for a while ” stage. and suddenly i realize i should measure it to see where i’m at (or have the dog do it).

i’m going to have lots of yarn left over; i think i may knit myself a matching headband since i use those a lot when the weather is a bit warmer. there might even be enough for a second pair of mitts . . . as insurance.

i’ve been swatching with festivus 4.0 sport weight and holy cow is this yarn lovely to knit with; it’s so lush. yeah, out of the blue, david said he’d like a sweater knit with it so i jumped right on that. i’ll have more to show you in a few days about this project, but it’s a simple design; just enough knit/purl texture to keep me from falling asleep.

it will be knit in the round in one piece to make the most of the gradient fade; these skeins have very subtle color changes that don’t show up well in this photo, but i will still take care to use them in an order that takes advantage of the color graduation. i’ll be starting with darker and more subtle shade changes near the bottom hems and working toward brighter and more noticeable banding near the top of the yoke.

if you are interested in a set of skeins for sweater making, please do feel free to email us  with your idea (jeevesATknitspotDOTcom). we can put together a mostly matching set or one that is more gradient—just let us know your preference.

well, i think someone needs to go for a quick walk before bed and since it takes a bit of time to get dressed for the cold now, i better shove off—see you soon!