We are all 50% Mermaid...

... and now there's a little girl who may be approaching 75% mermaid.

My step daughter is about to turn 6.  I could not think of a more fitting blanket than this.

She'll be able to flap her fins while watching cartoons and swim across her living room floor in glorious fashion.

Knit with Bitsy Knits Squoosh Superwash in color The Case of the Sausalito Sunrise and Caron Simply Soft Party in color Royal Sparkle.

Happy Birthday Sierra Ruth Adaza.  We miss you and we wish we could be there to celebrate this day with you.

All our love,
Your American Family

Zero Hour

I finished Michael's birthday socks.  That's two socks.  Plural.  One for each foot.

They were finished at 10 pm tonight.  Also Michael's birthday.  That still counts, right?
I had the pattern somewhere, but it's missing.  Probably buried somewhere in the disaster that is my unfinished project pile.
Made with Superwash Merino by Flying Goat Farm that Michael picked out at Rhinebeck.  I don't know the colourway, but he saw then skein and decided that it looks like the sand and the sea, and that reminds him of Australia.  So these are the Sand and Sea Homesick socks.
I came dangerously close to running out of yarn for these.     

I made it though.  Who doesn't love a good game of yarn chicken.  The second sock may or may not be a row or two shorter than the first one.

I'm sure they'll be fine.

It's a lovely Christmas we're having this spring...

This is the first Christmas Jack doesn't have a finished sweater.  Considering it's currently 67º, I don't think he minds so much.  It's mostly done, just needs half a sleeve.  He'll have it next week, when it will actually be cold enough to wear it.

I'm choosing to blame the weather for my lack of knitting this season.  It's quite difficult to get into the spirit when it's this warm and humid and there hasn't been a single flake of snow yet.

I did finish the Noro Topper I was working on for my client/friend.

I gave it a nice warm soak and laid it on the mat to dry.

That took a fair bit longer to accomplish due to the weather, but it managed to dry just enough to get boxed and wrapped and picked up by the elves for delivery.

Made with Noro Silk Garden in color #211 Turquoise Fuchsia.  This was not the yarn called for so the pattern demanded some revisions, but it came out as expected and should hopefully fit quite nicely.

This brings the total Christmas knits to an appalling THREE.  That's all.  Just three.  Two pairs of socks and this poncho.

It's Christmas Eve, and this is the first one in years that I won't be crying into my wine and knitting at the dinner table.  The yarn will work itself into a finished project at it's own leisure this year.

Sweaters will come when they are needed, socks will be ready in due time, and everything else will fall into place.

For now, I'm off to lay under my Christmas tree and not worry about due dates.

Happy Solstice.

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

I've been neck deep in the Christmas knitting for quite some time now.  For some reason, I've been unable to make any real progress.

I've managed to finish only ONE project in all this time.  Granted, it is a Christmas project.  But something tells me just one isn't going to be enough.

Heading off the in-progress list we have Jack's Christmas Sweater 2015.  Just missing the sleeves. And he doesn't want a vest, I already asked.

We have Michael's Christmas socks.  Er... Michael's Christmas Sock.  Just the one for now.  Second one isn't even cast- on yet.  Maybe tomorrow.

And another Christmas Stocking.  Or at least a Christmas Stocking cuff.

These are Jack's Christmas socks.  Just my standard recipe, no frills.  They have the distinct honor of being only project I have actually completed.

I also have some things that are Christmasy only because it's December, but aren't actually Christmas knitting.  Like this sock.  These have dreams of becoming Michael's birthday socks, a birthday which happens to fall the week after Christmas.

Last up is a last minute gift for a dear friend and client.  After a meeting with her a couple of weeks ago, she handed me 3 full shopping bags of yarn telling me she just doesn't have the time.  In one bag I found a sweaters worth of Noro, a pattern, and the start of what appeared to be the bottom ribbing of the back piece.  Rather than finishing the sweater for her, I opted to use my creative license.

Sometimes we knitters change patterns when knitting for ourselves.  Longer/shorter sleeves, larger/smaller bust, longer/shorter waist, etc.  Rather than something that wouldn't fit her the way she prefers, I chose something that would be a little more lenient on sizing.

Pics to come, on the off chance that she sees this post.  I hope she likes it as much as I enjoyed making it.

In case anyone is curious, this is how I imagine I'll look by Christmas Eve...

The Greatest Day of the Year

The Sheep and Wool Festival is a sort of Mecca for artisans.  On the third weekend in October we make our pilgrimage to Rhinebeck, New York to partake in all things yarn.

There are sheep, and rabbits, and goats, and llamas.  Dogs bred to herd such fibre bearing creatures.  Spindles, and looms, and wheels.  Needles, and notions, and swifts, and winders.  And yarn of all content.  Cashmere, Angora, Merino, Alpaca, Shetland, Highland, Peruvian, Australian, Icelandic.

With all of these choices, on 144 acres (I looked it up), it's amazing that I managed to only come home with this.

I look forward to this weekend all year long.  I try to put myself on a yarn diet (and usually fail) just so that I can go batshit crazy buying everything I see in Rhinebeck.

It's become a bit of a tradition to stop at Fishkill Farms on the way home.  That's where the apples and pumpkins seen above come from.  

Any good apple picker knows that the good ones are always at the top of the tree.  That means you need someone to catch what you pick.

There are very few things that warrant standing in line for 45 minutes at sunset on a cold, blustery October evening. A Fishkill Farms box of piping hot apple donuts and a few cups of hot apple cider is on that list.  After that, it's time to head home and start counting down to next year.

Planning all the projects to use up the yarn, and all the recipes to use up the apples just helps the drive go faster.

To Block Or Not To Block

Last week, a fellow knitter told me she didn't really understand blocking.  I get that.  I didn't block any of my earlier knits.  The things I made when I was just getting into knitting didn't really require blocking and the fiber I was using wasn't responsive to it.

I'd try to block my projects, they wouldn't change, and I decided this whole blocking thing was just a fiddly extra step that didn't actually need to be done.

I was wrong.

Here's a Brush Creek Shawl I made for Rhinebeck, pre-blocking.

I used a gradient kit from Black Trillium Fibres in Quartz.

It's a lovely shawl with lots of yarn overs and k2tog/ssk to add detail.  Now let's see what happens after a little bath.

The shawl soaked for about 30 minutes in some wool wash and warm water.  After that, it got a good wringing in a fluffy towel and laid out for blocking.

Already much bigger.  The wingspan is approximately 4 feet, and the hight is nearly 2.

The yarn overs are more apparent.

And we can see the center line through the middle.

To Block Or Not To Block.

Definitely to block.  To swatch or not to swatch still needs some convincing.

I Was Told There Would Be A Motorcycle

The face mask for fall weather motorcycle riding came along rather quickly.

I asked Michael to model it for me as I estimated his head is approximately the same size as the intended recipient.  And are both bearded gents.

Knit with sock yarn, this took a bit of time but was still much faster than a pair of socks.  It has some short-row construction for the nose and a bit of a mesh stitch over the mouth. 

It's way too big for my small head, but Michael says it's comfortable and doesn't make his mouth sweat when he breathes.  That's a plus.

I made it a bit longer than the pattern suggested to allow for tucking into a riding jacket.

Hopefully it's warm as the weather is turning colder and the bike still isn't ready to ride.

I think it'll look badass with a black jacket and black helmet.  Double plus.

And So It Goes...

I thought I had a fairly decent handle on things.  I thought I had my startitis under control.  Then I realized there's less than 3 weeks until Rhinebeck and I didn't really have anything Rhinebeck-worthy to wear.

I dove into the stash, browsed some patterns, and came up with the Brush Creek Shawl.

I cast on, and got about 30 rows in before I realized I was horribly incapable of counting accurately, and  tore the whole mess out.

I cast on again, and realized I'm not horribly incapable of counting accurately but I am horribly incapable of reading accurately, and tore the whole mess out.

I'm using a gradient kit from Black Trillium Fibres that I got back when I was on that cowl jag.  The color is "quartz" and this is the darkest of the 5 shades.

I'm almost to the charts on the pattern, and up until now I was certain I could finish it for the 17th.  Now I'm not so sure.  They're quite daunting.

Also, I've had to put the newest blanket on hold for a bit.  I did make some progress, though.

It's getting there.  And so far it has no completion deadline.

I should find some wood to knock on.

Season's Greetings

It's (almost) that time of year again.  According to increasing Facebook posts, Christmas is just under 3 months away.

Every year I say I'm going to knit Christmas stockings for my family.  Every year I don't.  I had an idea that I would buy a felting yarn and then embellish the stockings with buttons, maybe some embroidery, and everyone would get a different color.  It would be easy.  I could definitely make 5 really big socks over the course of a year, right?

I probably could have, but now I'll never know.  I found a pattern I really liked sometime early last year and stored it away.  I got the yarn I wanted at the Wool Walk this spring, certain that by this December I'd have 5 of them ready to go. I downloaded the pattern, put my starting yarn on the swift, and eagerly got the needles and notions I would need.

Then I looked at the graphs.  There are 3 different patterns to choose from.  They are all worked over 104 stitches and repeated for 78 rounds.  And that's just for the "leg."

I would absolutely NOT have 5 by December.

I used Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers for this project.  That's a worsted weight 100% Peruvian Highland Wool.  These are knit on size 3 needles.  The fabric is exceptionally thick with very little stretch, which is perfect for stuffing with holiday goodies, but not so perfect for hand muscle health.

I'm absolutely in love with this one, while simultaneously dreading making another one, let alone four other ones.

The plan is to have each of our names professionally embroidered onto the cuff.  I think I can definitely make one per year without wanting to cry.


With the completion of the last minute hat and the unplanned blanket, I seem to have come down with a case of Startitis.  There's another project that's been on the needles for months, but that's still having a nice bath and isn't ready for its photo shoot yet.

I've managed to limit my exposure to just two projects.  Three if you count a second sock.  But that's really just a continuation of an existing project.  

One is a gift for a good friend's birthday next weekend.  

This is a face mask for fall weather motorcycle riding.  Knit with Zauberball Starke 6 in color #2100. It's a 6 ply, so it's cozy and tough.  And machine washable, which is important for a face mask.

Also on the needles is yet another tiny human blanket.  This tiny human isn't even on its way yet, but it will be and it never hurts to get a jump on things.

This lovely is made with Polka Dot Sheep Tenderfoot 80/20 in color Beargrass.  This blanket is going to take me approximately one lifetime to complete, so I'm glad I'm getting a bit of a headstart.  The construction is wonderful so far, albeit slow going.

Think it's a blanket yet?

And of course there's the sock.  I knit the first one ages ago and then got distracted with other fun things.  I just fished it out of the WIP bin and figured it's time to make it a pair.

I'm sure at one point I had the band to this, but it's gone now.  If memory serves, it's a Paton's Kroy Sock.  

Anyone want to place a bet on how close the baby is to arriving before I finish the blanket.  I'm not delusional enough to think that starting it this soon means it will be done ahead of time.

That's just crazy talk.

When Bad Things Happen To Good Yarn

I had about a day and a half to make a hat.  That's very doable.  No problem.

I went to my LYS, got the yarn I wanted to use, and promptly cast on.  I knit just about half and decided to put it down for the night.

I woke up the next morning, laid in bed for a bit, and got ready to finish up the hat before it needed to be with it's recipient.

Nothing could have prepared me for the horror that lay before me.  Needles destroyed.  Cable all but missing.  Yarn in scraps on the floor.

It was a yarn bath.

I mourned the appropriate amount of time, scolded the canine assailant, and cast on for the second time. I now had but a few hours to finish.

Done, bagged, and ready to be gifted.  I may have had to take this picture in the car on the way there.

Sometimes The Yarn Just Knows

As tends to happen when one reaches a certain age, the tiny humans begin making their appearance with some frequency.

These tiny humans need blankets.  It's a necessity.  And blankets of the hand-knit variety are my personal favorite.

This is the Twinkle Twinkle Blanket.  If you look close, there's itty bitty stars everywhere.

The variegation in the yarn makes it a bit tricky to see.  Someone told me the favorite colors of this Mommy are teal and gray, and I happened to have those very same colors in the stash.  I've had a few skeins of Swizzle in the stash for quite a bit of years.  I knew I liked the yarn, but it hadn't told me what it wanted to be until just that moment.

Maybe it knew all along, it just wasn't time yet.

In Triplicate

This year, the Christmas order from my boss came in March.  She sent me an email with a subject line reading "These are really, really cute… Christmas presents for the boys this year?" The body of the email contained one image.

I sat on the pattern for a couple of months and decided to get them done so I could be wide open for the start of the Christmas Sweatshop.

My son happily modeled one for me.  It's small for his 10-year-old head, but that's okay.  It's made for a 3-year-old head.

I must say, these are impossibly adorable.  I left off the buttons, but otherwise I made no modifications to the pattern whatsoever.  There were none needed.  I even used the recommended Thick & Quick.

They worked up fast as lightening, the only finicky bit being the ears.

I will most likely end up making one for myself.  Because a grown woman wearing a fox hood is completely acceptable, right?

Cowl Jag?

What constitutes a jag, exactly?  The Oxford English Dictionary says that a jag is "a period of indulgence in a particular pastime, emotion, interest, etc."  In that case, my entire life is nothing more than a series of jags.

The summer included a bit of a Spectral jag.  I really liked the one I made for my mother-in-law, so I decided I'd make another one for me.  On the Yarn Crawl back in May I found this lovely kit at the second to last store.

The colors are a bit more "me."  The only thing I would wish to improve is the size.  There was significantly less yardage in this kit than the other, and although I decreased stitches, it still came out a bit narrow for my taste.

Now I know better for next time.  Can time elapse between projects for the jag to continue, or must it be one continuous period?

Who knows... The OED also says that a jag is "as much liquor as a man can carry; a 'load' of drink."  So there's that...

Blink And You'll Miss It

That's how I feel about the last 4 months or so.  

Once upon a time, I stumbled on the pattern for the Spectral Cowl.  I fell immediately in love and promptly ordered a gradient kit.  This one came from Black Trillium Fibres and is accurately called "Mint."

This cowl was my travel knitting when I went all the way to Australia.  It went on a couple of planes...

it drove on the left side of the road…

and it even saw a kangaroo!

While we were there, I realized my mother-in-law loves bright colors and it never really gets cold enough in Australia for scarves or wool socks or sweaters or hats.  But the night wind is definitely chilly enough for a light cowl.

I finished it up when we got back home and boxed it up just in time for Mother's Day.  We're still not convinced she knows exactly what a cowl is, but she's pretended to like it and I suppose that counts for something, right?

Stash Buster

My cat, Buttercup, and I have an ongoing war over the rights to my yarn.  I know she's a cat, and she's just doing her cat thing, and that's fine.  I've willingly turned over plenty of yarn to her possession.  But she's a greedy little bugger and always always wants the yarn I've neatly reballed and placed in the yarn cabinet.

She has a deep adoration, or deep hatred, of my Bernat Alpaca Naturals.  She is constantly dragging all of it out of the cabinet.  Doesn't matter how high up I place it, she finds it every time.

I decided I'd either have to throw it all away, or knit it all up.

This is the Growing Leaves Cowl.  I'm not usually a fan of cowls, sometimes having something rubbing against my chin makes me a little twitchy.

To avoid this, I only did the repeat two times.  It has a nice drape, and the yarn is soft and comfortable.

The pattern worked up quickly with no issues at all.  It was started, blocked, and worn in a matter of two days or so.  

I have tons of this in other colors to use before Princess Buttercup claims another skein.  If only I needed 369 cowls. 

Population Growth

Several months ago, right around the time I made the two blankets for her newest grandson, my boss asked me to make another pink blanket for another soon to be born tiny human.  

I had free reign to choose any pattern and yarn I wanted, so I went a little different.  The Circle Baby Blanket is a lot of fun and flew off the needles.

I used Pound of Love for this one.  I generally don't like working with that yarn but it actually fit this project well.  The shade of pink was just right and I only used about half of each color.

I especially liked the way the back of blanket is completely different, but still doesn't look like an eye-sore as some wrong sides can.

Once I attached the tag with the little white ribbon, it all came together better than I would have thought.

At this rate, all the tiny humans in the Tri-State area will be bundled in a Woolly Llama blanket in no time.

I'm okay with that.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For those of you that read this blog, you know about the yearly battle that is Jack's Christmas Sweater.  There was the year he wanted a vest, no a sweater, no a vest.  There was the year he wanted a Christmas Sweater that wasn't Christmasy.  There was the year he didn't get a Christmas Sweater because there was a blanket that tried to steal my sanity.  

This year I started particularly late and didn't think it would get done.  He knew the sweater needed to be red, but not too red.  He knew it needed a snowflake, or maybe two, but not girly snowflakes.  And he knew it was definitely a sweater, not a vest.

It took some time, and some very generous liberties with a pattern, but we got it done.

Every year I try to remember that it doesn't need to be perfect because it will only fit him for this one season.  Then I long for the time when I can knit him something he won't grow out of so quickly.

Then I quickly remember that when that time does get here, I'll long for this time.  The now time.  The time when he's still my little boy and he still needs me and he still thinks wearing sweaters his mother knit for him is "cool."

So I'll knit him a sweater every year, and socks every birthday, and I'll remember to enjoy it while it lasts.  He's double-digits now.  I don't have much time left.

My Favorite Mother-in-Law

I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful relationship with my Mother-in-Law.  Technically, she hasn't been my MIL for about six years or so, but that's just a matter of paperwork.  She is my MIL because she is still part of my family.  My son adores her, and she adores him.  They have a beautiful relationship.  

As Christmas was coming around, I realized that of all the things I've made for her over the years, I somehow never made her socks.

Just a couple of months later, it was birthday time.  That's right, she had never gotten birthday socks.  

It may not make up for the last decade or so, but two pairs of socks in two months is a pretty good start.