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What to do?


The time has come to decide what to do. This is my oldest living UFO. Alice Starmore’s Celtic Circles. And because the behemoth is red with 2 shades of orange it is almost impossible to get color accuracy. So just pay attention to the knitting, not the colors. Sunglasses might help.
I began this sweater 15 years ago. I have known this sweater almost twice as long as I have known my husband.
When I began this sweater so many things were different:
I was single.
I was just out on my own.
It was the Nineties.
It was the 20th Century.
I lived on the West Coast.
I had no children.
I had no stash.
They still made the yarn that I used in this sweater.
I had never knit a steek.
I had never knit in the round.
I had never done a 3 color ribbing.
I have knit about 10 inches up the armhole steeks. I do not have enough yarn to finish the body, let alone the arms. I do not even have a ball band for any of the yarns used but I think it is a pretty safe assumption that they are discontinued.
What could I turn this into? More important- what could I turn this into that when I look at it I wouldn’t see the unfinished sweater? A pillow? A kitty bed? A felted bag? Hey- maybe…
Or do I just knit the sleeves in a solid color that is complementary to the body? Or stripes? Or totally different colors? Ack! Would I actually wear it if I did finish it?
I have wanted to frog this off and on for years. I have wanted to finish it off and on for years. The one thing for certain is that I hate looking at it as it is. When I think of frogging it, I get a lump in my throat. I also imagine it could give me a great deal of pleasure to have this particular monkey off my back. Do unfinished projects interfere with knitting mojo? Might it be advantageous to frog the whole thing as we approach Christmas and the new year? Clearing the knitting slate? Rebirth?
ps: I have tried several times to upload pictures of the steeks, inside and amount of yarn left. Imagine if you will perfect steeks, impeccable innards and less than one whole ball of yarn for the 3 colors.



Moving is a funny thing. We moved from Seattle 18 months ago with 2 small hollering boys (who, of course were smaller and more hollering back then), a large dog and several truckloads of stuff. There were all sorts of trials and tribulations. The hubbalicious moved out here a month before we did, the boys and I moved into an apartment for that month while we packed & sent our stuff away (including my car), got the house ready for sale and waited for the escrow on our new house to close.
Flew cross country and into a new life. Where is the grocery store? How do I find a doctor? Ick, I HATE this grocery store, I miss my old one. (Larry’s) Then have 8 kajillion play dates trying to have the boys make friends and trying to make a few myself.
You know, a new routine, a new weather pattern, new yarn stores, new well, everything. It has been wonderful, and hard, and frustrating and a challenge. Who do I want to be in this new place? Did I like who I was in the old place? Why do people smoke and talk on cell phones while pumping gas here? Why is everybody calling me ma’am, or Mrs.?
I was in the gas station today and the car in front of me had Louisiana plates. The man came back to his car (this was not the smoking, cell phone guy) and I said, “You sure are a long way from home.”
And he said:”Yes, I sure I am. The water chased me from my home. Now I am here. I was back in Louisiana yesterday and it is still horrible. The smell is still awful, shops close early cause there are not enough people to work all the shifts, and it is like a dream that I cannot wake up from, it is so bad. 12 feet of water sure does cause a lot of damage.”
He went on to tell me more of his frustrations for the people of the Gulf Coast, and I got tears in my eyes. All I could tell him was how sorry I was for him and his family and that so many people were so embarrassed and ashamed how the Gulf Coast was treated.
This man was still shellshocked but happy, positive and gracious. And everything he has is gone. No work, no job, no computer, no back up files. Nothing.
And I complain about being in a new place, of my own free will, that has every ammenity one could ever wish for. My family is safe, my home is a safe, warm, inhabitable place. My fridge is stocked and the present are wrapped.
I tell you, that man had more of the spirit of Christmas, love and forgiveness in his little pinky that I may ever see.
I think he may have been my Christmas gift, teaching me about gratitude, sacrifice and the spirit of the Holidays.
This is a gift I want to keep.

I am outing myself


Okay. It is true. I have a few cookie cutters.
This column is most, but not all of my cookie cutters. Also not seen in this display are cake pans, candy molds and other various forms you can shove food stuffs into.
Here are the ones I pulled out yesterday for the Christmas baking.

So what are your secret collections? Other than yarn, fabric and other crafty items, what would I find in your closets that would have you say “Oh, no-really it is just a few…”

Even the Penguins are Cold


Today was the boy’s Christmas/Peace/Winter party at school. It was really fun and sweet. I made penguin cookies for the Toddler room. Fitting because it is about 20 degrees here.
I have made another hat, The Mrs. Ali, and it leapt into the wrapping paper so fast I couldn’t even get a picture. But it is The Carla, done in Amethyst. Two down, two to go.
The tree is up, but not decorated. Cookie Dough is made for our Cookie Decorating Extravaganza this afternoon. Packages have been mailed, lots of firewood procured, groceries ordered and the house is decorated.
And I am looking forward to lighting a fire in the fireplace, picking up some knitting and hanging out with my family.
Oh yea- and for all these years of knitting, I have NEVER made a pair of socks. I think it is high time. I have the books, I have the needles and I just might need some sock yarn. Hmmm- more yarn.
Tomorrow, I will show you the tree.

The Carla


Finished and gifted this hat to Angus’ teacher Carla yesterday. It is one WARM hat, which is perfect because she is one COLD lady. It was perfect, I showed up at school just as she was getting ready to take the kids outside to play.
It was a great knitter moment. I handed her the package and said: “If you are going outside, you need this.” When she saw the hat she said: “Now, THAT’S my color!” Then she put on the hat and wore it outdoors. It fits her perfectly, looks great and is super warm. Also, she is easy to spot because this hat is really red!
Here is how I amended the pattern I used:
1. No stripes. Why? This was a stash-busting exercise and this red went horribly with the other reds in the stash. Put it next to a tomato red and it looks pink and the tomato looks brown. Not what I was after.
2. I made the ribbing about 5 inches long, and then knit the first section of the hat the same length. Then entire ribbing is meant to be turned up and the fold line is designed to be at the bottom of the ears. Like a hat and a ear warmer/headband all in one. It is a very snug fit.
3. It is shorter, obviously. I wanted her to have it now and didn’t think the length would add warmth. For the record, it took about 3/4 of a skein of the Lamb’s Pride.
It was super-quick and really gratifying. I forgot how much I love Lamb’s Pride. I have more in the stash and think Duncan’s teacher and her assistant as well as Carla’s assistant might need a hat too.
So, yea it is just a hat. But a really great hat that warms her head and my heart.

Of Kook-i-ness and Hats


Things here at Maison LWIM (LWIM is Lookie What I Made! LWIM is just easier.) are a bit kooky. Yes, kooky. Actually the kook-o-meter needle is completely in the red. November is a crazy month. Actually it starts in mid-October with pre-Halloween stuff. Then Halloween, then Angus’ birthday, then a week later- Thanksgiving. Note to self- better family planning: I have a Thanksgiving baby and an Easter baby. It is more festive and a little bit more crazy that way. Maybe an Arbor Day baby or a Flag Day baby next time. If there is a next time. Now THERE’S a question for the ages.
Back to the kook-o-rama. I love, LOVE, L-O-V-E, making stuff. Painting, sculpture, knitting, food, collage, quilts. Really I just have always loved using my hands. Funny, I love my computer, blog, and email but I really miss writing letters. Pen and paper letters. Before we were a we or in actuality an us I was the letter sender, letter collager extraordinaire. Give me a pen, paper and a glue stick and I am a happy girl. Throw in a magazine and paper & a scissor and I am over the moon. Clearly, I am still a nine year old girl.
And I am a sucker… Angus’ teacher just moved up here in August from the Florida panhandle. We adore Carla. She eschews the “Miss” Carla. So on a day that I am wearing jeans, a long sleeved T-shirt, light jacket and flip-flops (Yea, I grew up in Los Angeles, so it is flip flops all the time, except if there is more than an inch of snow) , Carla is wearing: gloves, ear muffs, long underwear, a sweater, an overcoat (actually I typed overGOAT- now that is a much better and funnier image- an overgoat- I love it!).
Today, we were having flurries and Carla and the kids were on the playground when I went to pick the boys up. Carla was in her snow ensemble and she was clearly freezing. Like teeth chattering freezing. When I asked her where her hat was, get this- she says: “Oh, I don’t have a hat.”
I am sorry, but you cannot say that to a knitter. I am sure that she thought it an innocent statement; however, to me it was a call to action.
So, after berating her to tell me her favorite color (Red), I knew my course of action. I must knit Carla a hat. I came home and dug (digged?) through the stash and found some beautiful Lamb’s Pride worsted in Blue Blood Red (a FANTASTIC color), broke out my Denises and then went hunting for a pattern. I looked through the knitting library and quickly got frustrated. So I Googled “free hat patterns knitting” and found this pattern.
So, I am off and running and it looks to be a quick knit. I am hoping a FO by next week. Or much sooner, because Carla is freezing.
And the Shades of Grey Vest is about an inch from beginning to shape the neck.

Beautiful Crocus


This arrived in the mail yesterday, it is the yarn for Auntie Alice’s sweater. What a beautiful color. Not a color I wear and I love it all the same.
I will not/cannot knit this thing entirely in stockinette. I was thinking about slip stitch, but I am worried that the fabric will be too much for her. My other concern is this: Does slip stitch use MORE or LESS yarn than plain stockinette?
I am thinking less and the only way I will know, I suppose is to knit a stockinette swatch AND a slip stitch swatch with a finite amount of yarn. Measure out the same amount of yarn for both, knit the same number of stitches and rows for both and then measure what is left over.
Does that sound right?
Or can someone save my bacon and answer the question for me?
The Shades of Grey vest is coming along nicely- I am almost to the underarms. I am liking the progress and loving that I will not have to make sleeves. I am not thrilled with how the diamonds are looking. A bit lumpy for my taste and I am holding out hope that I can beat them into submission. And the white shadow diamond looks a bit wonky to me, so I believe I will duplicate stitch over it when I’m done.
Thanks for the kind comments about the boy’s Christmas picture. I did take it myself and I must say, it is one of my favorites. This year’s picture will be taken this weekend.
Some of you have asked what LWIM is. It is a much shorter version of Lookie What I Made!
And to warm my knitterly heart- the flakes are flying outside! It is not sticking, but a girl can dream.
Happy Friday!
ps: I just spell checked this entry and Blogger suggested “janitorial” for “knitterly”. Ha!

Christmas Picture


This is for Donna at Quiet Life.
It is our picture from last year. Note the matching clothes. Dressing my children alike makes me happy. Weird. I am all for creativity through personal expression. When it comes to my kids though, they will dress alike for as long as I can pull it off. Now I have to go pick out clothes for this year’s picture.

The Blind Date (Sweater) continued….


A day delayed, but here is Auntie Alice & Suzi part 2.
Suzi let me know the other day that Auntie Alice is excited that I am going to make her a sweater. She did not know I knit. As far as I can tell, she still thinks I am in middle school. Probably best not to mention the small hollering boys.
So, as I said the other day I ordered the yarn. Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere in 23, which is called Crocus. Suzi said that Auntie Alice liked Grey, Black and Purple. I figured if I was going to knit in cotton (okay 85% cotton) which was not my first choice, then there was no way I was going to knit it in black. Plus, I want her to be happy when she sees the sweater everyday. It will not do to have it be just plain black (a hold over from the husband knitting. Plain black, go to The Gap).
So being the good online consumer I am, I went right online to a site that sells yarn on the cheap. Or so I thought. I ordered 30 balls and was pleased with my purchase. It was $7.50 a ball with a $50ish discount (made the price per ball about $5.88). Then I did some more surfing and found it at Elann for $4.48 a ball. And they had 30 of the Crocus in stock. Erf. I felt foolish, to say the least. I kept forgetting to cancel the first order and then Knitting Karma kicked in. The store I had ordered it from, at the higher price, mailed me that it was backordered for 3 weeks. Whee. Go online, order it from Elann, call place #1 and cancel. I did have a few moments of panic that I was going to end up either with no yarn or 60 balls of Cotton Cashmere.
I was really happy to find the yarn so inexpensively. With my luck, I will post this entry and find it somewhere for $3.75 a ball. I just need to stop looking. It is ordered and on its way to my house. Get over it.
Now for a pattern. I dug out my Anne Budd-The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. What a godsend. I was concerned that I was not going to be able to find a pattern to fit Auntie Alice. Anne Budd’s directions go from 26″ up to a 54″ inch chest measurement. There is certainly something in there to fit her.
Now I need to pick a stitch. I really do not want to make a plain stockinette sweater and can’t make something with many cables as it will be too warm. Later today I will find the Harmony Guides and pick a nice textured but simple stitch. Any ideas on which to pick for a little old lady sweater that doesn’t look like a little old lady sweater? Seriously, any ideas are welcome.
Now if the yarn would get here, I can start swatching.

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