Author Archive

Who Wudda Thunk?

Apparently, if left alone for a long period of time, the blog does not write itself.  Maybe if I sneak in very quietly, no one will notice that I haven’t posted in almost a month.  I’ve been knitting… really I have.  I’ve even thought about what I would write.  Somehow it’s the writing that has slowed me down.

So here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been doing.

I decided to finish some sweaters during the Olympics.  I’ve got more sweaters than I care to think about on the needles.  Two of these sweaters were in danger of being outgrown before they even got finished.  Those sweaters became top priority.

1.  The February Child Sweater*

All I had left to finish on this sweater were the sleeves.  Since this was for Addie, my oldest and fastest grower, I wanted to add some extra length to the sleeves.  I was a little nervous about running out of yarn so I didn’t add any length to the bottom of the sweater.  She can always wear it a little short.  The sleeves are 17″ long!  That’s a lot of sleeve for a nine year old.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to take after Daddy.  I aggressively blocked this so that the lace would open up and to hopefully add a bit of length to the body.  The sleeves also grew a bit in length, but that just gives her some room to grow.

Just for kicks I tried this sweater on.  It’s a little short in the sleeves and definitely short in the body, but boy is it scary to realize that my 9 year old daughter is soon going to be bigger than me.

 

2.  The Playful Stripes Sweater*

This sweater had just the yolk to finish – which is really the fun part after the slog of the stockinette.  The only downside is that there are a ton of ends to weave in on the yolk.  I chose to weave the ends in rather than carry the yarn up the side.  I thought it would be easier to pick up stitches for the button band if the ends were woven in.  I lightly steam blocked this for the photo, but need to go back and reblock it so that the hems will lay flat.  Lily has been wearing this sans buttons as we haven’t found any that we like.

This sweater wasn’t officially finished during the Olympics.  I finished it on February 28.  Not too shabby considering I also made some baby hats in that time.

 

*The blog is not playing nice today.  I am having trouble linking to my Ravelry project pages.  All I can tell you is that both sweaters are on www.ravelry.com and you can see more beautiful variations there.

It’s Like This

There’s knitting and then there’s extreme knitting.  Even in the depths of winter when you consider knitting something that will cover you head to toe, extreme knitting is still extreme.

This is what I call extreme knitting.  (Warning the You Tube video I linked to is about 6 1/2 minutes long)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVRfVEONxJQ&feature=watch-vrec

On a totally different path, I’m kind of amazed at the number of patterns on Ravelry for a Snuggy.  Kind of scared by that actually.

You can even crochet a matching snuggy for someone!  Yes, it’s cold here, but I see this and wonder what will our descendants think in 800 years when they dig up remnants of acrylic snuggys?  Yikes.

Tips to Survive a Polar Vortex

It seems as though the Midwest has been gripped in the icy jaws of a Polar Vortex all winter.  Even those of us who grew up in Wisconsin and spent all of our lives here have learned this new phrase.  Apparently a Polar Vortex is when the air is ripped from your lungs the second you walk outside because it is so cold.  People do not say hello to neighbors; they walk with their heads down leaning into the bitter wind.  Public schools will be holding classes well into June because we have cancelled school so many times this winter due to extreme cold.  There are even rumors that Hell has frozen over.  So here are some tips for surviving a Polar Vortex.

1.  Laugh when the weather man says we could break the record for the most consecutive days of low temps below zero.  (the record is 22 and we’re sitting at day 18).

2.  Wear all of your hand knits all at once.  It really doesn’t matter if your hat matches your scarf, mittens or wool socks.  Just wear them.

3.  Appreciate your stash.  After all, wool has insulation value and you are just doing your part to keep your home warm.

4.  Throw the children outside to play when it gets above zero.  They need to move and play and get some fresh air in their lungs.  For that matter, so do we so get outside and enjoy some of winter.  Go skiing, snowshoeing or just enjoy your back yard.  I visited www.bayfield.org/bayfield-activities/ice-caves/

5.  Knit like the wind.  After all, when you don’t want to be outside it’s a good way to fend off cabin fever.

It seems as though I am very hard on my handknit mittens.  I have three pairs of mittens and all have holes.  I fixed my flip top mittens but those are really best for spring and fall when it’s not so bitterly cold.  For the kind of weather we’ve been having you need mittens that can handle the cold and wind.  My lined Fiddlehead mittens fit the bill, but they’re definitely not rugged.  Plus, the inside is unravelling on me.  These have gotten serious wear and just wore out at the tips of the fingers.  I’ll fix them, just not today.

For serious Polar Vortex type winters, you need mittens that can handle ice, snow and wind.  Felted mittens fit that bill.

Felted mittens without the cuffs

 

Pattern:  Felted Mittens

 

Yarn:  Classic Elite Yarns Kumara (85%merino, 15% camel) for the mitten.  Knitting My Way Home handspun (merino/silk blend) for the cuff.

Modifications:  None.  I did a bit of research to make sure the Kumara would felt as camel does not felt.  The percentage of merino was high enough that these took 2 cycles through my friends top loading washing machine.  I love showing people the before and after photos of these  mittens.  Heck, I love everything about these mittens.  They keep my hands warm on even the coldest days and I don’t have any problems driving in them.

Photo bombed!

 

“It’s so fluffy!”

My new shawl has been taken from me.

I’d barely finished it when a certain little someone realized that it was soft and warm.  When the weather hovers at a high of -15 F, I can understand the appeal!  Anything you can do to stay warm in this weather is appreciated.

We’ve been hunkered down, waiting out the cold weather.  My vehicle did not start this morning, even with a jump, so we are definitely stuck here at home.  School has been cancelled the last two days, so yesterday the girls helped me with some work that I had brought home last week “just in case” school was called off.  They are excellent envelope stuffers!  Today I’m all out of work that I can do from home so I think we’re going to do a little baking and perhaps play a board game or two.  It’s a rough life!

As for the shawl, it’s a kit I picked up at my LYS.  It’s made from HPKY Rome yarn, which is incredibly strong and lofty.  The pattern is the Bias Shawl, which appears to be a pattern you can only get with the kit.  Not that it’s super complicated.  In fact, I bet you could figure it out yourself.

It’s a double blanket sort of day!

 

What about us?  Well, we’re going to snuggle up and do the best we can to combat cabin fever.  Perhaps a little later we can hook Fluffy Dog up to a harness and dogsled to the store for fresh vegetables.  Or maybe I’ll stick with calling hubby with a list to pick up on his way home.

My only advice for the rest of you who are stuck in the same deep freeze is this:

Knit fast, it’s cold out there!

Take a Deep Breath

You all know that I like lists.  Sometimes my lists have lists.  I especially like lists when my desk is full to overflowing, like it is now.  I’m pretty sure a small child could hide in the paper piles on my desk.

So here’s a list of what I’m making for Christmas presents this year:

  1. Wee-est One – Minion Hat
  2. Wee One Who’s Not so Wee any more might get a hat if I can finish it in time.  She picked out the yarn so it’s not such a super surprise.
  3. _______ is getting hand knit socks because I know she likes them.  I just have to finish the cuff on one.
  4. ________ might get a hat if I can finish it in time.  This will be out of Minion hat leftovers but will definitely not be a Minion hat.
  5. The Boss is definitely getting received a hat.  It’s Turn a Square by Jared Flood and my all time favorite hat pattern.  It’s knit in black because black is what he wears.  I think he likes it, but I definitely have to teach him how to wear it… he keeps turning up the ribbing and not pulling it down over his ears.
  6. I have a Big Lace Scarf for _________ and _________ in two different colors because we certainly wouldn’t want them looking like they were wearing the same thing!
  7. One of the teachers received a scarf.  Just a cabled scarf out of Malabrigo in a midnight blue.
  8. One large cowl going to _______.  Again this is out of Malabrigo in Jupiter from my stash.
  9. I’m trying to finish another cowl for ______ who has been my Go-To person this summer and fall.  She was the mother my kids needed while I was running around like a crazy person.  Luckily the second part of her gift is coming from the UK and will not be here until after New Year’s, so I arranged to give her gift then.

 

 

One in a Minion

There are a lot of presents I can’t show you.  However, there’s one that I can, as long as you don’t tell any 7 year olds about it.

It’s what all the well dressed Minions will be wearing this year.

I still have to crochet the goggles, but that shouldn’t take too long.  If you haven’t seen Despicable Me or Despicable Me 2, then you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about.  Run out, get the movie and when you’re done giggling hysterically over the antics of the Minions, then come back here.

This particular 7 year old has already decided that she is going to be a Minion for Halloween.  Next year.  And perhaps the year after that.  And maybe most weekends up until then.  Nothing makes this little girl giggle like the small yellow creatures that say, “ba-na-na.”  Case in point, she got some Minion stickers from her teacher as a reward and went around saying, “Momma, I’m one in a Minion!  Get it?”  I think it’s going to be a hit.

I very roughly followed the pattern from Hand Me Down Hobby.  I used Cascade 220 for its durability and it’s reasonable price.   I’ll have a lot of yarn left and I’m debating whether to make Minion slippers or just make some baby hats to donate after Christmas.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Big Blue House to you!

 

I hope you get to spend this holiday with those you love.  And I also hope you get to sneak in a little knitting time too!

Winter is Coming

And in this neck of the woods, when winter is coming that means that Christmas is also coming.  Let me tell you, desperate times call for desperate measures.

It probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that I’ve been busy.  I have blogged in a month.  I haven’t been to knit night in much longer than that.  I run into the yarn store, grab what I need and run out.  It’s not that I’m not knitting, I am.  But I’m knitting in fits and starts when I can get a little down time and settle down enough to put sticks and string together.

So why am I desperate?  Well, my hubby got hurt at work a while back (almost exactly at the same time that my job went into overtime this fall).  He’s ok, but it’s a slow heal.  It means that he’s been on light duty and hasn’t been able to work any overtime.  So not only have I not had any time this fall to do much early Christmas shopping (I like to spread the shopping out over a longer time) but I also haven’t made many gifts yet.  I didn’t even have a plan for gifts.  Or I didn’t until I found this…

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.  As you can see, I found this on the clearance rack at Barnes & Noble.  I flipped through and found several things that I could make for gifts.  Mostly it’s gifts for babies or women but there are a few men’s or unisex things thrown in.  All the projects are sorted by the time it took the author and the test knitters to knit each project.  Obviously these are guidelines as no one knits at quite the same speed.  Plus, I can guarantee that mothers of toddlers know just how little can actually get done in the course of one hour.  For that matter, mothers of hungry growing girls know the same thing.  :)

My first project falls in the 2-4 hour range.  I’m slightly skeptical of this time range, but then see above.  I spent all day today in the kitchen – making pancakes, soup, dinner, baking cookies, and doing all the accompanying dishes.  So very little knitting got done, but the kids and I are well fed.

I’m using some lovely Misty Alpaca that was found deep in the stash along with size 15 needles.  This will be an incredibly soft fun gift for someone.

It’s in the Bag

My Knitting Bag

I don’t use Twitter, but if I did my life would look a little like this.  Mostly because I don’t have the bandwidth right now for anything more than 120 characters.

  • I really want to start a new project.
  • Longest bind off row EVER!
  • Blocking takes time away from Knitting.
  • We’ll sleep when the campaign’s over.  #mycoworkersrock
  • Ohhh, look it’s another unfinished project #saidnooneever
  • That’s going in the blog, right? #mycoworkersrock
  • How do I explain that I can’t go to a club I belong to because I’m going to speak at an Irish bar about Jesus? #tellthemitsaworkfunction
  • Lily just said the funniest thing in her 40 yr old voice.  Wish I could remember it.
  • This blog has been interrupted by a Capital Campaign…
  • I was going to explain what was in my knitting bag.  Let me sum up.  #toomanythingsontheneedles

What’s really in the bag?  Some things that I probably won’t have completed pictures of.

1.  A baby sweater – gifted already

2.  A shawl – donated to a silent auction

Bear Paw Shawlette

Bear Paw Shawlette

 

3.  Socks – still working on the 2nd one.

Houdini socks with a cool cuff

 

 

Oh George!

It’s a little known fact that Curious George knows how to knit.

Really, it’s true!  At least my Lily thinks it just might be true.

You see, George came with me to a convention this summer.  Not a fun knitting convention, but a convention where I can knit so it’s fun.  The convention goers are used to me knitting through all the meetings.  In fact, I think they’d be shocked if I didn’t knit.  What they don’t know (and I probably won’t be demonstrating for a good long time) is that I’ve also run meetings while I knit.  But I digress.  George went with me to this meeting because Lily was sad that I was going to a hotel without her and Addie.  She decided that I might get lonely and not have anyone to snuggle with.  Since she couldn’t possibly give up Teddy for a weekend, she sent George.  So I could snuggle with George when I was lonely.

George had a good time.

 

Relaxing….

He chilled in the king size bed.

Kicking Back

He kicked back and watched a little TV.  I’d say he put his feet up, but those legs are so short they didn’t reach the ottoman.

Enjoying nature

George made himself at home in the jungle.  Or at least as close to the jungle as he could get.  St. Cloud, MN has a beautiful public garden and though George didn’t get to come with me to the pig roast and garden tour, he did enjoy the flowers back at the hotel.

Red Solo Cup, I Fill You Up!

And of course, George enjoyed the theme of the convention:  Red Solo Cup.  He didn’t make it to the hospitality suites as he’s a bit of a lightweight.  And I believe he’s probably underage.  Instead, he worked a few rows on my Lightspeed.

At the end of the weekend I returned George to Lily.  I think he was a little worn out from his weekend and might have gotten a little cranky.