Posted on 52 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, projects

ok, so this is my official last entry documenting my surge in the knitting wars—we are instructed by The Knitting Ruler to post our photos and a list of finished gift items.

i started my gift knitting very late (dec 1) and with just a small list of about half a dozen items, NONE of which i was sure i could finish.

almost a week later (dec 7) i was pretty much no further along with christmas knitting (and wondering what the heck i was gonna do for gifts, cuz i don’t DO shopping). having completed only the ribbing for one mitt, so i revised my list, paring it down a bit, and subbing in a couple of WIPs i discovered to help beef up the FOs for the holiday.

that very weekend (dec 9) i got my butt in gear and buckled down to finish a few quick knits (was it only three weeks ago??) for the mail carrier

and soon followed with a couple more for my nephew (who loves them by the way)

then, i was contacted by the Powers That Be, telling me i had been selected as a challenger in the knitting wars (dec 11), which coincided nicely with the chanting from the crowd for “MORE MITTS, MORE MITTS (and hats)”

i accepted the challenge even as i crossed yet another gift item from my list—

a finished pair of socks for david.
and well. you can’t tell me i’m being challenged without expecting a response.

another completed pair of socks (dec 15) and the real challenge was begun—was i seriously going to try to knit a sweater for big ol’ david with 10 days to go??

yup. after all the yarn had arrived, there was no turning back on the project, so i set out to do it.

and in the meantime, i remembered that i needed a couple of cute snugglies for some lil’ tykes in albany that must go out in the mail. so i cranked out these

and added these for good measure

and they went their merry way (dec 19), beefing up my total which was starting to look substantial (at least to me).

10 items was WAY more than i’d planned to knit and way, way more than i thought i could do.

but could i get the big item done (dec 20)??
that was still to be determined. i plugged away at it for the next few days, not even blogging much, and made excellent progress. but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and i had no backup gift for the love of my life.

in the meantime of course i could not stay away from the mitts (they should carry a warning label, i swear)

but after all, you’ve gotta have some time off. hehe.

was i going to finish the sweater or not?? let’s face it, i was dangerously close to being shamed.
of course, by now we all know the end of that story and a beautiful sweater (that fits!) was under the tree by christmas eve, and on the shoulders of the wearer christmas day.

i spent all of christmas day making a gift for myself . . i don’t know if this counts, but i really wanted to get one pair of mitts made for myself, and i did.

meanwhile, they’d pushed back the deadline to accommodate everyone’s holiday schedule and the fact that we all put off finishing knits gifts that we know we will not deliver til the week between.
(BTW, the sweater makes eleven . . .)

so i took advantage of the extra time this week to finish off gifts for friends

because you can never treat your friends TOO well—you will always need them at least as much as they need you.

and another for david

(i am SO not getting that back after yesterday; he was born to wear this wrap.)

which brought the total to 15.

and at the eleventh hour, i have a final two items

sorry for the terrible photo . . i almost forgot i had to post them tonight, so you get the after-dark pictures.

and i believe that makes seventeen. if you count the gift for i made ME, that makes eighteen. The Knitting Ruler wants a concise list, so to recap:

waffle mitts
waffle hat
plain james mitts
plain james hat
purple kiddie mitts
purple kiddie hat
blue and green kiddie mitts
blue and green kiddie hat
cardigan socks
marie antoinette socks
zig zag mitts green
zig zag hat green
red sweater
snow on cedar mitts
oh! canada wrap
pavé mitts large
pavé mitts medium
zig zag mitts brown (for myself, does it count??)

that adds up to 18, or 17 if they are going to be harsh.

for myself, i feel a real sense of accomplishment . . . i finished of a bunch of WIPs that may have not gotten done, simply because i said, “oh why not?”—and made time for them.
i even knit myself something i very much wanted, which is a rarity.

and though i’m pleased, i am hoping that the recipients are even more pleased, and that the effort has the desired effect of helping to empty the coffers of the benefactors into the hands of knitters without borders.

my deepest apologies to those that backed me with money pledges in the race—i sincerely did not expect to finish more than half a dozen or so items. please know that your gifts are VERY greatly appreciated, and that i’ll try to knit slower next time (hehehe, i’m just sayin’ that).

thank you all for your encouragement and cheerful support of the knitting war . . . may we all live to see another.

oh! canada

Posted on 46 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, patterns

a tribute in stitches to to the natural beauty of that great land to our north.

to purchase pattern or view pattern information, please click here

shown on this page in cuddly soft artisan merino & silk, colorway end of winter
available from ball and skein; special discount available for those who have purchased patterns.

many thanks to judy, who created and supplied this amazing yarn. michelle, from the sweet sheep wool shoppe in canada, test knit the wrap and provided excellent suggestions. rachel, as always, gleefully questioned every word of the pattern to make sure it was thoroughly correct, for which i am incredibly grateful.

it’s my week

Posted on 18 CommentsPosted in designing, projects

i had to chuckle when i turned the calendar page this morning and saw this.
because about a week ago i woke up one morning to this

not exactly the same chevron pattern, but the calendar seems to be right in step with me.
i wish i felt as much . . . i’ve been very lazy this week about everything except knitting. i don’t feel like being at my desk at all—i’ve been procrastinating on all things work-related in order to sneak over to the living room, curl up in my knitting chair, and knit by the glow of the christmas lights.
as if there is nothing else in the world to do. i know i’ll pay for this next week.

i love the new pavé mitts! so much so that i knit two last night

one in each of two sizes (there will be three all together).
i really get a charge out of the pattern . . . it looks just like the wobbly bike tracks that criss-cross the pavé once the peloton passes through. and it’s super-fun to knit—if you liked hot waffles, you will LOVE this one.
i’ll knit their mates today. i should be able to get both pair from one ball of the cascade 220 superwash i’m using. let’s look at them on my hand

above is the large size; it fits me well but still has enough room to fit a man’s (only slightly) larger hand (good, because they are a gift for our friend mark). the medium size fits me too—it’s a bit shorter and more snug

but still very comfortable. so it just depends on whatever fit i prefer, and what gauge my yarn will knit to. i could knit the largest size in a sport or fingering weight yarn and they would fit. or, i could knit the smallest size in a worsted weight yarn and they would fit too.

trying to decide whether i should write a pattern for a hat to go with, or just offer it as a mitt; what do you think—maybe an earflap hat? mark is an early-morning walker so i’m thinking that might be a nice partner with the mitts.

i also finished the hat to match the zig zag mitts. these will be a gift for our friend bil, who is mark’s partner (more men that appreciate handknits greatly). don’t judge the fit by how it looks here

i do have the smallest head you will probably find on a full-grown human—just a wee 20 inches around with proportionally shallow depth (any wonder that what’s inside it is all jumbled and crazy to get out?). the hat will fit bil just fine, and feel oh-so-comfy on his shaved head too.

the zig zag pattern is all written, tested and ready to go; i’m coordinating with lis at one planet yarn and fiber, who will be offering kits which include the cashmere yarn shown and the pattern for mitts, hat, and scarf. the yarn is just lovely . . . it knits up more like a sport weight than a DK, so it makes a particularly nice hat that feels warm without being bulky, and rides very lightly on the hair.

buyers will be able to purchase the yarn in amounts for each item or for the set. the pattern will also be available in my pattern shop. VERY soon, i promise—i know you’ve been waiting for this one.

lis also sent me some alternate yarn, a beautiful baby alpaca with which i will knit another pair of zig zags for myself. this makes a lovely alternative to the cashmere

and the company enthusiastically embraces fair employment practices and trade policies.

i want to also start a gift for david’s mom . . . each year i send her something handmade (as i do my own mom), and so far she has worn and enjoyed all of them and mentions often how much she likes them. there hasn’t been a big rush to get this underway because she doesn’t celebrate christmas, but i’d like to send it soon—a handmade gift can be very cheering on a gray winter day. i haven’t made her any mitts yet but i think she’d really like them, along with a knit hat, which i notice is her favorite type.

david is really fond of this coppery yarn which was sent by judy along with the yarn for oh! canada.

it the same artisan blend of merino and silk . . . and it will look awesome against mary’s skin—so yeah! at least one more set will be in the works soon. i only need to suss out just the right stitch pattern. i’ve been loving the knit/purl textures, but maybe cables? i dunno yet.

ok, i have one last FO for today. guess what?
more mitts.

don’t laugh. they really ARE different sizes. we have named them anne and debbieKnitter, because one looks like her tiny, dainty hand and one looks like a coal shovel mine.
i knit them on the same needles and from the same, one-size pattern. the only explanation is the handspun yarn. must’ve been a bit of variation between the beginning of the ball and the end, eh?
the same thing happened when i knit david’s tree scum socks—one came out wider and taller than the other, even though i knit the same number of repeats and decreases.

it’s ok though, i know the recipient will love them all the more for it.

now, i have lost count somewhat, but if i’m not mistaken the completed hat and SOC mitts puts my holiday gift knitting tally at 14. i’m pretty sure i will finish at least one more pair of mitts today, and possibly another item.

and i still have all day tomorrow. i just can’t stop.

it makes a nice samwidge

Posted on 29 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, projects

upside-down antipasto sandwich. mmm.
it doesn’t always work out that the leftovers have the right proportion of everything to make a yummy sandwich, but this year we hit it. beckie, you should be so sorry you didn’t take this home. but hey, you could come over for knitting and lunch this weekend . . . .

what could be better?
well, there is one thing . . . . maybe not better, but the perfect counterpoint

mom’s christmas cookies.
they were heaped much higher on christmas eve, and i realized today that i needed to get a photo of the diminishing pile before the chocolate ones disappeared entirely. (ahem—someone whose initials are DAVID has a bit of a penchant for chocolate. me, i like the shortbread and nut ones, but go through them a lot more slowly than he does.)

it’s nice to have leftovers and sweets to nibble on for the time between christmas and new year’s.

so, i finally finished a pair of mitts for myself and i’m wearing them as i speak type.

i love them—and, i really really needed them. i think i’m now completely in shape to stay warm in an old house this year. now, onto getting a few sweaters knit, eh?

they came in especially handy this morning after i’d spent a couple of hours on the living room floor with damp hands

blocking oh! canada.
(i know. it’s getting a little crowded in there, but i figure the wrap will be dry by tomorrow. and wow, can i just say that my house looks a lot better and cleaner in photos? makes me want to paper the walls entirely with blog photos instead of looking at the real thing . . . ).

ok, back to the subject at hand

it’s done! judy’s rich brown/gray/blue artisan merino & silk yarn is veritable river of luxury.

the rows of geese and cattails opened up beautifully after a good soak, and the fiber bloomed to a deep, yummy color and feel.

i can’t get over the transformation of the cattails in the center, which all but disappeared in the knitted fabric, and over which i fretted, feeling they did not balance the “geese” as well as i’d like. all that fretting for nothing . . i am thrilled with the proportion now. they look more like cattails even than they did in my imagination. just goes to show—you never know.

here’s the joining row, worked in kichener stitch after the two halves were knit from hem to center back. i’m pretty tickled with the diamonds that formed in that area—another reference to one of my favorite canadian products: black diamond cheddar.

i think i even managed to get the grafting of the garter stitch edging right this time

hehe. now if i can only remember how i did it for next time . . .

i also started work on a new pair of mitts

i love this fabric; it reminds me of the bumpy cobblestones, called pavé in europe, used to line streets. these stones add such challenge and excitement to the bike races we watch, such as paris-roubaix, also known as “the hell of the north”.

in fact, i may even name them after that race; we’ll see.

i started on a zig zag hat to match the mitts, too. no picture yet, but i hope to finish both those projects, plus the last snow on cedar mitt before the 31st. and hopefully a sock as well.

hmm, i better get cracking on that.