Sunday, December 30, 2007


From my sister Marla
Gift of recycled yarn and knitting pin.
from the shop at one of our favorite places, the American Visonary Art Museum. That makes me love the yarnballs even more than for their twistedy colors with that hippie store smell. I may just keep them in a bowl on my desk and admire them for a while.Gift of recycled yarn and knitting pin.

I gave myself the gift of not even attempting to do those things I said I would this week, like cleaning my office, whupping that bookkeeping once and for all, and catching up with IOU photos . What have I done with that time? Movies! Along with traveling back & forth to DC, and some social gatherings, I've seen Once, Walk Hard, Juno, Waitress, Into the Wild , and that's just the start of the rundown . I'm Not There is on later today unless the snow starts flying too heavily. Half of the viewings , the ones I didn't list, reveal I hang with teenage boys and their preoccupations. Which boil down to ONE thing .

Most films were on DVD but a few at theaters. Juno was
here, a completely swoon-worthy setting for watching any movie. Maybe Superbad might have been Supergood if I'd seen it in that venue?

You'd think I'd have finished tons of knitting what with all the screen gazing. Not really.

And a very special gift,Gift of recycled yarn and knitting pin.
passed on from my mom. It belonged to my grandmother . She received it in the 1940's for her commitment to charity knitting, when she organized the Bronx chapter of the Womens Voluntary Services to knit for the troops during WW2. I had no idea this was floating around the family, and as tiny and battered as it is, I treasure it. I haven't found too much about it yet online . I'll put the research on the to-do list. The pin? I'm wearing it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

progress report

3 pm Saturday I declared I was done for the day and planned to watch a movie and knit a hat for a bro-in-law. I used a don't mess with me tone.
Handknit hats
I'd sort of wanted to make that Noro scarf (you've seen it before?) but ran out of time so went the hat route.
pattern: Improvised 2-1 rib, over 92 stitches in the round
needles: us 7
yarns: 1 skein Noro Kureyon, 1 skein handyed charcoal-black merino from Farmhouse Yarns.
Thanks to the not-so-solid color of the black/charcoal,much softer than a true evenly dyed black, the switching colors worked well. When I got to the decreases I made the Noro stripes wider, I realized I liked knitting them better than the black and the 2-2 stripes were too symmetrical. (Did I mention I was in a a bad mood?)
Handknit hats

Handknit hats
I think he'll like it.

And here's an alpaca silk beret hat that only needs a button decision.

All that's left is some wrapping, one sock and a long car ride. Good to go!

Monday, December 17, 2007

knitbloggier than usual

Rarely do I have so many knitbloggy items in my reporting notebook.
First, there's the gift knitting.
Here we have socks underway for a sister. It is another
Artyarns Supermerino with Razor Shell cuff, and is, if you knew her, so very her. I ordered the main color , #239, thinking it was indigo-denimish, go ahead and look at the bottom of that link and see. I hoped to knit Dave much deserved socks but the skeins arrived with a truly purple bearing, so sis's it is. I've also completed a hat, I'll need to show it later this week. There are two other giftees I want to knit for definitely. Funny, as the number of days before the holiday decrease, the simplicity of the projects and the choice of yarn weight increase. Likely I'll be knitting two super chunky bulky somethings in the car as we drive down to DC next Monday.

I squandered serious amounts of knitting time finding and attempting to re-find a pattern for vertically striped mitts with checked thumbs to fulfill a funky mittens request from a nephew. You know how you get that set in your jaw, glint in your eye and you just can't move forward till you re-locate the pattern you have in mind? I was sure it was online. Or... maybe in a magazine. Nope, nope, nada. Just as I declared it too late to be thinking about any kind of handknit that required a pair, while calculating how many bars of chocolate would make an equally appreciated gift, I tripped over a little spiral bound book of patterns , Knitters I Know, from Blue Sky Alpacas not two feet from my desk, and there it was , the pattern . Can I have a D-U-H? (and can I have a W-T-F? Does that link really say that it is available for $65.50? Maybe I shouldn't keep it on the floor?)

Moving on. 1207FamVar_556Did you see flying pigs? Hell freezing over? (well sort of around here but anyway) - stop the presses, sister Lulu and I are back on task with the mitered square blanket.1207FamVar_555 Last seen in progress August 2006. We did some end weaving, steaming and seaming Sunday morning and soon had half of the squares secured into bigger squares. I snuck over for an hour attack this morning, assembling our first strip, before we lose our mojo again. It makes a lovely tube dress, yes? Do you think Kay has some kind of mutated DNA helix that enables her to put these together in apparent effortlessness? This is what I'm thinking as I'm seaming, even as I realize she is all " pfft those big squares tant pis!" sewing fifty gajillion much smaller mismatched squares for the Oliver Fund American blanket (which you must click over to and buy a raffle ticket now, btw).
FYI you can tell I'm working at Lulu's because she accessorizes beautifully. Just look at the pincushion she brought out for us to work with, it is mighty miterly.

Finally, I close with a moment only a knitblogger could love. NYC Saturday,for the first time ever I popped in at Purl. Filled with wonderful yarn and nice salespeople to be sure, but very crowded. I was retreating when I noticed a hat I'd downloaded from a blog only hours earlier. I mean not a version of the hat but I was certain it was the very same hat , a distinctive hat, on the head of the same daughter who wore it online., and here they were, yarn shopping, in 3D. I surprised all of us , blurting out " Hey, I saw that hat , you designed it. And you're the daughter, right ? I downloaded it ! It looks awesome !!". I used exclamation points in my voice, too. They looked startled or possibly stricken. It is kind of weird to have strangers know details about your clothing, and the designer, Kirsten, said she'd never had anyone out her before. Plus she'd only just posted the pattern to blog 24 hours before, and I'd never visited her blog before that. Most randomly, none of us live in NY. I sent an email saying I hoped I didn't freak them out . She assured me they'd both gotten a kick out of being recognized. fyi the hat? Even better in person.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

eight plus 1

Here it is , one day past Chanukah and I haven't even mentioned gift knitting. Which is not to say it hasn't been going on.
When my guys were little, we made dozens of these strings - yarn with recycled holiday cards from the year before. It got to the point where we had so many you'd get tangled walking through the house during Chanukah. Now we just use a couple dozen a year hanging above the kitchen table and window by the menorah. Some of the Xmas cards with religious themes cut into dreidel shapes are deliciously subversive.

Sister Lulu received socks from me, on the first night, when we had our Iron Chef Latke event .
Lulu Socks=RazorShell Cuffs

Pattern: Inspired by Miriam Feltons Razor Shell socks, these are instead knit over 48 worsted weight stitches. You can razor shell on any multiple of eight. I used the heel flap, toe and foot shape in stockinette I always use because , well, I just always do.

Needles: Size US 5 needles , or possibly US4. Just do a gauge swatch if you knit'em, OK?.

Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino , worsted weight, in # 114, an olive/moss/ eggplant/grape colorway that screamed her name. Toes, heels and cuff edge in another Artyarns Supermerino almost solid color, I think its 236. I've already sworn allegiance to knitting worsted weight socks this winter so I won't go there again. I love these, they are the shining achievement of my short sock knitting career.

On the third night she called to say she loved her socks so much she was tempted to wear them around her neck. The funny thing is, all along I had an extra skein of the yarn and planned to make a little scarfette with buttons for Lulu , along with the socks. It was a bit of a joke, we'd had a debate whether buttoned neck scarfs were fresh and cool (her opinion) or uptight and fussy (mine, although I may be wrong. There. I said it.)
On the fifth night, Lulu got the hastily finished other part of her handknits, this neck scarf.
I improvised with the same yarns, and the Razor Shell stitch again. Its a one-skeiner, if you're not counting the small amount of contrasting yarn on the ends.

Lulu Calls it a Dickey Razor Shell Scarf
Yarn: 1 skein MC plus small amount CC of Artyarns Supermerino
Needles: size us8 needles
Other: 2 good buttons
SK2togP = slip one, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over. Also sometimes called DD (double decrease)

In CC, cast on 22 stitches on size 8 needles.

row 1, RS:
Sl1, K1, *K1,YO, K2, SK2togP, K2, YO* repeat 2 more time, K2
row 2, WS:
Sl1, Purl to end.

Continue these two rows.
On row 4 switch to MC, continue these two rows until the scarf is 22" long, switch to CC, continue in pattern for 3 rows, bind off loosely.
Block to accentuate the scalloped ends . 1207FamVar_515Sew on antique buttons that you want to show off since they're featured by the style, try it on to find placement. No buttonholes needed since the lace accomodates the fastening.

Let me know if you try following these instructions, and show me the results!

Friday, December 07, 2007


Before I dive into some big visuals, a huge ferklempt thank you to everyone sending knits for The Tree of Warmth . Especially the New Haven SnB Homegirls like her, and her, and , if you're on Ravelry, her, who are coming through powerfully. Not to mention wow, with serious knitting talent. Must do a Tree of Warmth Show & Tell post before we set up the donation at the soup kitchen.
My co-conspirator in the Tree of Warmth project, Julie (she alas has neither blog nor website these days) offloaded a big honking bag of sturdy Newfoundland yarns to me a while back. She'd had them around for something like 20 years. They are woolly and strong and handsomely natural and as you can see, not so colorful. 18 months later, we scoured the local supermarkets for kool aid . My advice, don't expect a fabulous assortment of flavors in New England in winter.
The wet view: We mixed and added in some cake decorating coloring. Don't look to me for kool aid dyeing science. You should go to the new Knitty for that. (Impressive)

Dry view. We love them. Scarf underway and planning major mitten action

Love the overdyed orangey and grape solid (former) darker gray on the far right.

Speaking of leftovers? Here's what the munching horde resorted to Thanksgiving weekend.
Next year I'm giving everyone tiny flags with their names, so they can claim their food leftovers like teeny explorers on new mashed potato and gravy continents.