Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm happy to have these done, because it has gotten cold recently!  These are the first mittens I've ever finished, which is hard to believe.  Overall I'm happy with them, but if I make them again I would make them shorter.  The pattern says that they should be 5.5" from the end of the thumb gusset to the end.  Mine are 6" and 6.25" (more on that later), yet they are a good inch and a half longer than my hand.
I learned something new with this pattern.  The cuff starts with a cabled i-cord.  I cord I can do, but I had never considered adding a cable to it.  It adds a nice bit of detail to the cuff!  The rest of the mitten is a free-flowing twisted stitch cable.  I didn't memorize the pattern, but it didn't take too long before it was intuitive as to what would happen next.  I like patterns like that.
The second mitten ended up being longer than the first one.  I thought it was because I had changed needles midway through the second one.  I just had to try out my new Signature needles I got for Christmas :-)  It turns out though that the problem was that I started the decreases 3 rows earlier on the first mitten but forgot to make a note of it on my pattern :-(  I finished the second one in the waiting room at the hospital while my son was having surgery and I left the first mitten at home, so didn't have it handy to compare the two.  Overall though, enjoyable pattern and comfy finished mittens.

Pattern: Clepsydra
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needle: Size 6
Mods: started decreases early on one mitten and ended decreases early on both

Thursday, December 29, 2011

WIP's on Thursday?

Thursday already :-(  I'm not sure how that happened, but I know it's true.  Probably because it's vacation week for us.  The kids are all home and Tom always takes this week off too.  You know what that means.... NO schedule!  It's nice, even though we did have a few commitments, but it also throws me off kilter every time.

I've been working on a few things since the last time I blogged.  I cast on the Brookfield Cowl.  Marcy is right, having my neck warm makes a huge difference in how cold or hot I am!  I have a scarf that I've been wearing the dickens out of, so it's time to add some nice hand-knits.  I picked out some Lush thinking that it will feel nice against the skin. This white will look nice with both my red jacket and my black coat too.  I was a little worried that the angora halo might obscure the stitch definition, but it's not a problem at all.
It starts with an icord cast on.  The join looks a little wonky to me, but I did follow the directions and marked the stitch I was supposed to for the finishing instructions later. (Marcy, if you're reading this and want to comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts!)
I also got back to the Lissajous socks.  I probably should have chosen a lighter color, but the farther along I get, the more convinced I am that it's going to be fine.  There's no way though that I'm finishing these by the end of the month for the Knit Sock Love KAL.
I also got back to the Washington Square sweater.  I finished the first sleeve and have about a third of the second sleeve done.
See those shiny new gold needles?  Yup, they're Signature needles!  They are a Christmas gift from my sweetie :-) I had used the Wish List on the Signature site after Sock Summit and emailed it to Tom.  It was really slick and easy to use and he was able to order exactly what I wanted.

What's on your needles this week?

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Modified Plan

I've spent the last month or so knitting like a crazy woman trying to add to my gift basket of knits, hoping that I would have enough small items that all my family members could choose something that they liked.  I thought it was a great idea but I didn't plan enough time to knit for everybody.  I decided I needed a Plan B!  Plan B turned out to be enough knits for my side of the family.  It turned out to be a great hit! 

We had a great afternoon together.  We had snacks, soups, and fabulous desserts.  After a fun Yankee Swap we settled in to enjoy the Patriots game.
I don't think that I will have an opportunity to blog again until after Christmas, so from my family to yours, I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Here!

*** Warning - RSC and Cookie A Sock Club Spoilers below ***

Christmas came early this week in the form of yarn!  In July my LYS, Spinning Yarns, had a special on Madelinetosh yarns.  We could special order any of their yarn bases, with a minimum of 4 skeins, and it would be 20% off.  We could also double dip with our frequent buyer card, which gave me an additional discount.  I also saved a gift certificate I had received for my birthday that spring to put toward my special order.  The end result when I put it all together, was a 50% out of pocket savings for me :-)  I picked out Tosh Vintage in Composition Book Grey for a Dark and Stormy Cardigan.  Margot called earlier this week to let me know that the 10 skeins I ordered finally arrived!
It's an interesting color!  I ordered it based on the picture on the website.  When I pulled it out of the bag I was surprised to see the purplish undertone, but when I took it outside into natural daylight it became a true grey.  I'm considering changing my plan and making a Vodka Gimlet instead with it.  I won't cast on until after Christmas, so I still have plenty of time to obsess about it.

While I was at the LYS picking this up I also picked up a couple more yarns "for gift knitting" :-)  First is Berrocco's Vintage Chunky.  I actually did start a new hat with this today. 
I also got 2 skeins of Classic Elite's Lush for a Brookfield Cowl.  I think it will work well. I'm just a little nervous that the Angora halo may overpower the stitch definition.  It will feel nice against the skin though!
I also stumbled upon a great deal on a destash on Ravelry that I couldn't pass up.  Madelinetosh tosh dk, in this gorgeous Logwood color for $8.50.  I looked at it 6 times thinking it had to be a typo.  It's $19.50 at the LYS.  Well, not a typo so I bought it.  It arrived in yesterday's mail and it is gorgeous!  I think it's going to become a hat for me.  Or mittens.
Last week I said I would show the November Rockin Sock Club yarn this week.  Here it is, Comfort & Joy!  It's such a happy color!  I've liked all the colors this year, but this one is my favorite from 2011.
Look at the colors all mixed together in the emergency skein.  Love,Love, Love!
Sign-ups for the 2012 Club are in January.  I'll be signing up again for sure.  I'm not sure how Tina can top this year's colors and patterns, but I know I'll continue to be amazed!

The last yarn that arrived this week is from the Cookie A Sock Club for December.  The yarn is Bugga!  I love the green and purple together.  I haven't gotten the pattern packet yet.  If you've not heard, Cookie's Mother passed away, so understandably she needed to leave town unexpectedly to travel to Thailand to be with family.  To add to her family's difficult time, her family's home was damaged by the severe recent flooding in Thailand.  If you'd like to read Cookie's note about this, it's in the announcements thread of the Sock Club group on Ravelry.  There is also a thread to leave your condolences if you are so moved.
Anyway, Cookie is a designing genius, so I can't wait to see what she designed to go with this colorway! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

10 Hostess Gifts

This certainly is a timely topic this week, as it often is, as so many of will be visiting friends and family celebrating the holiday season. It's nice to think of my host/hostess and bring a little something for them to enjoy later.  I don't know about you, but I have some friends who are fabulous at entertaining.  I know they put a lot of time, energy and attention into the event and to making everyone feel welcome and comfortable, so I try to remember to bring a little something to say "Thanks".  Here are some ideas.....

1. Poinsettia - They are always beautiful at this time of year
2. Wine - always a nice gift. If you have a local vineyard that would add a fun local twist to it.
3. Peppermint Schnapps - great by itself or to add to some cocoa.
4. Maple Syrup - the real stuff, not Mrs. Buttersworth. If you're traveling, I think it's a neat idea to bring a local specialty to share with your hosts.
5. Candles - either a scented jar candle or some tapers tied together with a pretty bow.
6. Seasonal Hand Towels -
7. Candy - Does your host happen to love Lindt Truffles?  Or do you have a local candy maker?
8. Flowers - A small seasonal arrangement is always nice
9. CD - A collection of seasonal music is nice, or if you know your hostess likes a particular genre or artist you can get something special that would fit.
10. Beach Towel - I know this is an odd one, BUT here's the story that goes with it.  I've mentioned before that I have a lakefront home, so I tend to have a fair bit of company, although it's mostly day guests in the form of my kid's teenage friends.  We go through a lot of towels in the summer time.  I had a house guest once who brought me a nice, thick plush beach towel to add to our collection.  It became an instant favorite in our house!  I tried to hide it and keep it for myself, but I lost that battle.  I think it was such a great gift because my guest know that a "nice" towel would be a treat, considering the department store cheapies I usually buy, knowing that they will most likely end up on the ground, in the driveway, and/or hanging from a tree :-)

Do you have a favorite Hostess gift that you like to give?  I''d love to hear it!  If you'd like to join Ten on Tuesday you can sign up here!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Update

The Christmas gift knitting continues and I am thisclose to bagging my idea of knitting a enough small items to let everyone pick something.  I made a list of all my family members that I would want to include and realized I would need at least 16 finished pieces.  So far I have 6 hats, an infinity scarf, and 3 pairs of socks.  That's only 10 items.  I need a new plan.  When I figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know what it is!

But for now I still continue to knit in a delusional haze like I'm actually going to make it.  New on the needles this week is a Koolhaas hat.  I'm using Dream in Color Classy and the color is called Black Parade.  It's a very cool color with some blue and teal undertones.  Click on the picture to enlarge it and you'll be able to see it even better.  So I have two thoughts about this project right now.  1. - Thank goodness I learned how to cable without a cable needle because it is saving me a TON of time. 2 - Has Dream in Color updated their Classy?  I've used it before and liked it, but this skein????  Wow!  It is so nicely spun and smooth it's like a different yarn, in a good way!
Here is my Clepsydra Mitten that I showed you last week.  This has been my car knitting because it's a nice light color so it's easier to work on in crappy light situations, which I seem to find myself in pretty regularly these days.  Great pattern and once I got going on it, it became quite intuitive for me, which is a plus for car knitting.
I think I have a row gauge issue though.  I've started the decreases for the top, but I'm already beyond the end of my longest finger.  I need to decided quickly whether I only do about 2 more decreases and have a blunter end, or keep going as written and have a bit of a floppy mitten.
I'd love to hear your opinion, so please leave me a comment. Thanks!

PS- I got my November Rockin Sock Club kit yesterday.  Holy Moly, it's the best one this year!  And I thought that except for maybe January's kit, it was a spectacular year for this club.  Just don't ask me how many I've actually knit :-)  I'll show it to you next week so I don't spoil someone's surprise by accident.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Holiday Traditions

Holiday traditions, we all have them.  Some are obvious choices because we make a point to do it each year, or holiday, and some just happen because "That's what we do".  I wonder though, are the favorites traditions the ones by choice or the ones by happenstance because it just wouldn't be Christmas without it.

1.  Tagging and cutting a tree.  Although my boys moan and groan every year about doing this, I suspect they would be secretly disappointed if they ever came home and a tree had magically appeared without a trip to the tree farm.

2.  Holiday Movies.  Our family favorite is Scrooged.  It never gets old for any of us and we usually watch it together the day we decorate the tree.  My favorite line is Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present... "It's a party!  I'm so glad I wore my pretty dress!"  If you've not seen this movie, here is the trailer for it.
3. Ornaments.  This is a traditions my mother started when I was a child.  I buy each of my boys an ornament each year.  When they have a home of their own, hopefully they will have a nice start to some decorations with some memories to go with them.

4.Christmas Sweaters.  I actually have 7 of them.  There.  I admitted it.  I am one of those crazy ladies you see at the mall, shopping in their Christmas sweater the day after Thanksgiving :-)

5. Book Group Christmas Party.  My good friend Kate's house is Christmas-palooza and she hosts our December gathering every year.  We had our party this past Friday night, complete with Reindeer Games.  It is always such a great time and I truly treasure the wonderful friendships I've made and expanded through this group.

6. Christmas Cards.  I love receiving them, especially the photo cards.

7. Fudge.  I love it.  A little too much, so I only make once a year for Christmas.

8. Tournament of Roses Parade.  I am always amazed at what the float designers come up with!  I watch it every year.

9. Bowl Games.  We've always enjoyed football, but over the last few years we have really become big fans of College Football.  My middle son attends the University of Alabama, so we're particularly excited about the BCS Championship game this year.  Roll Tide!

10. Snow Village.  We really got into this several years ago.  I honestly don't even know how many houses we have now, and accessory pieces.  I can tell you though that our collection is way to large to display together, so it is scattered throughout our entire house.  It takes a couple days to set up and we leave it up, usually until sometime in February. 

These are some of my favorites.  What are yours?

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Hat for Hiking

I finished another hat this weekend to add to the gift basket!  This is the Irish Hiking Hat by Jo Blackhorse.  I thought the this pattern would look great in a nice sturdy tweed.  I found Harrisville Tweed at my LYS and chose this nice chocolate brown.  As it turns out Harrisville Designs is a local NH company, so I also was pretty pleased to be able to shop local, on Small Business Saturday even!

I think that this pattern was more of a guide than an actual pattern and it had several small mistakes.  I certainly have knit enough that I was able to navigate my way through though.

It was suggested to knit the body of the hat somewhere between 5.5-7".  I stopped just shy of 6".  It fits my 15 year old son pretty well, but it's a little short for my husband.  One more cable repeat would have been better for him.
I did like how the decreases happen from the rib section of the pattern and then move into the cable section.
My hat used exactly 100 yds. With many yarns you could get two hats from one skein of yarn, which makes it an economical knit too.
My skein did happen to be a bit underweight, so I won't be able to make a second hat from the skein.  I might be able to get a set of fingerless mitts though, as long as I keep the cuff short.  But for now?  Time to start a new hat!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adding to the Holiday Knits

I've been trying to stockpile some quick knits to use as gifts for my family members and a few close friends.  It may be the year of the hat this year!

I've finished two Turn a Square hats by Jared Flood.  I used Cascade 220 and Noro Silk Garden.  I love how the Noro has the slow striping color changes, but I did find it a little splitty.  I made these 2 hats from one skein of each and I have just enough left over for a third hat.  I decided it was time for a change though.  Maybe I'll make that third hat maybe I won't.  I did learn how to do the jog-less stripe with this pattern, which I can see using again in the future.

I also knit a Poet Society Tam by Kirsten Kapur/Through the Loops Designs.  I picked up the pattern while at Sock Summit this summer.  The yarn is Rios in the color Zarzamora which I go from my LYS, Spinning Yarns.  I love Rios!  Every time I've used it, I've decided that it's my new favorite yarn

I decided to go with two buttons for the overlapping brim.  I really wanted one big funky button but I couldn't find one that was quite right.  But I do like these two buttons.  The color of them coordinates nicely with the yarn.

I don't know who these are going to be for yet.  I'm going to try a new idea this year.  I'm knitting projects that I just plain like and they're all going into a gift basket.  I'm hoping that by Christmas I will have enough FO's with enough variety that I will be able to let everyone pick for themselves what they would like to have.  We'll see how it works out.  It might be the best idea I ever had, or it could be the worst!