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Auntie Alice and the Blind Date (Sweater)

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I have this really big, crazy family. We all love each other very much; though sometimes we can’t figure out how exactly we are related to each other. Family reunions are a gas…we walk/run up to each other with a huge hug and kiss. The first words are out of our mouths are: “Hey, how are we related again?” And then we realize that it does not matter how, it just matters that we are related.
Then there is my fabulously crazy (in a great and inspiring way) Aunt Suzi. Okay really, she is a cousin 2 or 3 times removed (who actually knows?), but she feels more like an Aunt.
Here is a tid-bit about Suzi… about a billion years ago I was sitting in an airport about to fly home to see my crazy-big family. I wasn’t wearing a watch and was nervous about the time. I said to the lady in the airport lounge seat across from me: “Excuse me, do you know what time it is? ”
She answered with the time.
I said: “Thank you.”
Then I stared and stared.
The kind lady from the seat across from me noticed my staring.
It was then I said: “I am so sorry to stare but you look just like my Cousin/Aunt Suzi.”
Then we both started screaming and yelling.
Because, of course- it was Suzi.
The real point of this post is Suzi’s mother, Alice. Dear, sweet Auntie Alice. Always with a hug and a kiss and a very kind word. I adore Alice. She once sent me 2 dozen cookies in the mail. They were called “Blind Date Cookies”. They were a date wrapped in what tasted like Mexican wedding cookie dough. Unbelievably great. She had won a baking contest with them and when I told her how much I loved dates, well 2 weeks later I got the cookies in the mail.
I got the following email from Suzi this weekend:
Hi Again Cousin…
KT we are having a terrible time trying to find sweaters for my mother…with pockets.
Do you know of anyone that knits in this area? I tried knitting a scarf once and only got about 5 inches done before I perfected my cursing vocabulary…in several languages!
Anyhow, my mom wears a sweater everyday and has had the same ones for years, and they are totally falling apart. I found a wool one at Eddie Bower, but it has a cowel collar and is much to hot for her…she needs something to wear inside “The Home”. Please advise.
My response:
Ok, Suzi. Here is the deal. You cannot email me that I dear woman that I love needs a sweater and expect me to not demand to knit one for her. This beautiful woman who gave us YOU and sent me cookies in the mail.
Do I know any knitters? Why not just tell me my kids are ugly and stupid! Sheesh.
So, it will take a bit of cross country finagling but we can do this. There will be work for you and for me and your Mom will have a beautiful sweater to show for it.
This is what I need:
1. A picture of current favorite sweater(s)
2. Fiber content- read the label- Wool? Acrylic? Cotton? Copy contents of label (percentages too) and tell me
3. Cardigan? Probably a great choice if she gets easily hot/cold. Zipper or buttons? Or a tie closure?
4. How many pockets? Where? Do they need flap closures, no closures, snaps, Velcro?
5. Does it need to be machine washable and/or machine dryable?
6. Measurements.
a. Top of collar to bottom of sweater.
b. Arm length-cuff to shoulder seam
c. Bust- armpit to armpit
d. Shoulder seam to shoulder seam
e. If she wants a cardi, how deep of a neck?
7. Or if you are feeling really ambitious and have a big-ass piece of paper, put paper on the floor or table, place sweater on paper and trace the outline.
Then there are other concerns:
1. Color(s). What are her favorite colors?
2. Solid, stripes, fair aisle? Or can I wing it? How much does she care?
3. Cables or no cables? If she gets too warm then maybe not as they add warmth.
4. Type of collar? Probably something that adds flair but not too warm. I’m thinking a jewel neck.
Now, either email me or call me because I have got to get myself to the yarn store to make a sweater for a lady I love.
Xoxo- KT
Needless to say, the yarn is ordered and I will post the second half of the story tomorrow…
Sounds a lot like a Future Search , no?

The Franken-Vest

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Okay, there is boyfriend knitting. You’ve heard about the curse. You have heard exceptions to the curse. And then there is husband knitting. Some people have great success with Husband knitting. I am thinking I might not be in that category. Like, not at all.
So, way back in August I wrote about the Dog Walking sweater-scroll down to the August 29 entry. Remember, the sweater that weighs about 30 billion pounds? Well, that was knit years ago and I haven’t knit for the Hubbalicious since. Wince.
I noticed that a vest appeared in Hubbalicious’s wardrobe- a logo one from work. The shame! A knitter whose husband’s only vest is one with a corporate logo on it. So I offered to make him a vest.
Then the conversation ensued:
Me: Hon- what do you want your vest to look like?
Hubbalicious: Um, black.
Me: Well, okay- I can come up with a nice stitch.
H: Plain Black.
Me: How about 3 small cables.
H: Nope, plain black. No cables, no nothing.
Me: Go buy it at The Gap.
So we compromised and the vest is a low-key argyle. Two shades of grey and a bit of white on black. This cracks him up because he is a very binary person who is often told he cannot work in shades of grey.
I went to the LYS and bought the yarn. I was all set to use Cascade 220 and I was “upsold” to Jaeger Matchmaker DK. I should have politely stuck to my guns. I dislike this yarn. Immensely. It is splity and I am not crazy about how it looks knit up. Next time I will use metal needles because I feel as if I am carrying a refrigerator through quicksand.
So, I was very excited that we had made the Great Knitted Garment Compromise.
I cast on in the round and quickly finished the ribbing. Excited, fortified and Doing The Right Thing by knitting for my husband.
CRASH!
Argyle is Intarsia! Duh! Panic! Intarsia in the round! Oh no! Sinking feeling. Google my buns off and realize I have no choice but to knit straight. But I declined to rip out all the ribbing. So the front half goes onto a holder and I bang out the back. Simple stockinette. Done!
Then I start the front. I knit, place marker, knit more, place marker and then knit the number of stitches allotted to finish the row.
And END UP WITH FORTY EXTRA STITCHES.
Count. Recount. This is about to have to go to the Supreme Court. Recount again. Feel like I want to cry.
And realize that this vest has thrown down the gauntlet and laughed in my face.
Feeling woozy but driven, I figure the only smart thing is to cut the ribbing which I did. At this point, taking scissors to this thing gave me no fear and a little bit of happiness.
The proper number of stitches were strung onto pieces of yarn and the proper number were knitted up. I went about an inch into the pattern and then I saw it! One of the shades of grey was way to close to black and it virtually disappeared into the main color.
Frog.
Go online, order more yarn, give myself a pep talk and just kept going.
So, husband knitting? The jury is still out. I am now about one third of the way up the front and I am just going to keep going.
I did tell him that if I wasn’t pleased with the vest, that he wouldn’t be allowed to wear it to work.
I am really hoping that blocking saves my bacon on this one.

Thanksgiving List

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Twenty Things I am Thankful for:
(in somewhat random order)
1. My husband, children and my parents.
2. That there is food for all of my family.
3. Being a Stay at Home Mom.
4. Having a home to Stay Home in.
5. I am not cold.
6. I am not hungry (see #2).
7. I have love in my life.
8. Freedom of Thought.
9. Freedom of Speech.
10. My animals. Or rather, being my animals’ human.
11. Reading.
12. Painting.
13. Making things. Food, sewing, knitting.
14. Life long friends.
15. Barbara & Suzi.
16. Humour
17. Seeing the beauty in everyday life.
18. Sharpies.
19. Glue Stick.
20. Being American.
Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans. Happy lovely late-autumn Thursday to everybody else.

Forever in Blue Jeans

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Okay, okay, it has looked for a while that quilting has taken over LWIM. I admit that sewing fabric instead of making fabric has been very seductive of late. Sometimes when I am knitting (making fabric) I feel like I need to be doing more. Weird, huh? When I am making quilts, I feel like I am doing something. There are many different motions, using the sewing machine: press, pin, feed, sew and it feels more action packed, more involved somehow.
And yet my fingers and heart miss knitting. So, for those of you who thought you were never going to see knitting on LWIM again, Fear Not!
A few days ago I found a really old UFO. From 1996 I think. The Billy Boy Waist Coat from Rowan # 15 in Denim. It is a really easy slip stitch pattern and is nearly finished. Now here is the rub: I have finished the back, one front side and half of another. The half finished front is off the needles, for real- for some reason I took it off the needles and did not make a note what size needles I knit this on. No big deal, you say? Well for years I knit so tight that I went up a few sizes. I cannot for the life of me remember if I knit this to gauge or on a bigger needle. I searched for the needles I used- they were stained by the indigo- and I couldn’t find them I will have to count and re-swatch. I am thinking that I might make it into a cardigan. I will have to design sleeves. More swatching.
But as a precaution I went to Richesse and bought more Nashville. So it might be the frogpond and I could get 2 small hollering boy sweaters out of it. The UFO has never been washed so it should match the new stuff. Not in dye-lot but in fadedness. Any thoughts?
And I just looked closely at the picture (which you cannot see because blogger is being a bugger). Please ignore the knots and mid-row tie-offs. I have grown as a knitter- I swear. This may have sealed Billy Boy’s destiny to the frogpond. I will forever know that there are knots. Once you see them, you cannot un-see them. And the same for the seaming. It is horrid. I could reseam or be rational (snort) and frog.
Here ISN’T a picture of my Perfect Sweater Yarn. Cascade 220 in Café 2411. (I tried to upload twice) Mom and I spent way too long last weekend trying to figure out exactly what color it is. Mom says chestnut and I think it might be a chicory. Reminds me of those nail polish colors that aren’t quite brown and are not red. I do love the color and I am very curious about what it will look like knit up. I love the ability to buy yarn sight unseen, or at least sight- not-so-sure on the internet. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. It is yarn, so it is all good. It is YARN, right?
As soon as I can get blogger to cooperate I will upload pictures.
Knit on!

Whew!

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I love making special days special for my family. It fulfills me in a way that I never knew I could be fulfilled. This week was unbelievably full doing just that. And yes, there were tears (mine), cursing, louder than necessary voices and a few near meltdowns (mine too).
And yet my little boy had a great 5th birthday. Really, I think it was magic for him. I think that from now on, when people ask me what I do for a living I will reply: “Magician”.
I am taxed, pulled, driven to distraction and overjoyed in ways that were hereto for, unimagined.
Friday I baked 2 layers of a cake to make into a Police Badge cake for Angus. They did not hold together the way I would have liked, so I set the alarm for EARLY Saturday morning. I was going to the store, buy more cake stuff and try again. The alarm failed to go off, for sure I set it wrong or the cats stepped on the off button. TWO hours after I wanted to get up I did get up. Bad news when your first three words of the day are shouted expletives.
Then, I went downstairs to see if I could salvage what I had and found half of one of the layers GONE!!!!!! Needless to say, I became, um, emotional. And nobody would cop to it. I would imagine that if you were being glared out by a crying, exhausted woman that you too would clam up. And I am pretty sure it wasn’t the animals because all three of them were upstairs all night. Hmmmm. I’m putting my money on the Birthday Boy, but it all worked out so I will give him a pass on this one.
Craig saved the day and went to the store at 6:30 in the morning and got supplies, including new cake pans-just in case the old ones were cursed. Awesome, awesome husband move!
New cakes were baked, then the frosting debacle- no time to do a crumb coat- and it was a Red Velvet cake! Anyhow, Angus loved it and all the kids ate it. That is the point, right?
We have a history of crazy cakes for birthdays…Take a look!



My Dear Little Man:

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My Dear Little Man:
I love that you still call me Mom-Mom. I love that you can tell the most loved Mr Lion from the others, just by feeling the tails. I love that you take such pride and joy in hopping on one foot. And that you learned to skip, though in my mind I always wanted to be the one who taught you. Mainly I love that you know how to skip. I love that you cried when you had to go back to school a few weeks ago, after being sick, because you said: “I just want to be with you in your Magic Sewing Room”.
I love that you love to wind skeins of wool into balls and beg me to make you a quilt.
I love that you are becoming a kind, caring little boy. I love what a great big brother you are.
Your imagination and also your ability with logic are wonderful.
Being your Mom-Mom is the best. I love you bigger than the sky.
Happy 5th Birthday.
Mom-Mom
this is cross posted here

Ain’t no place I’d rather be

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Sorry for no blog yesterday after I said I would! Things here are at a more break neck speed than normal. This week is insanely crazy.
Here is a sampling of the week:
1. Birthday for a 5 year old and ALL that entails.
2. A houseguest. Who is awesome and pulls his own weight. Cleans up and even dressed Duncan for school today. Great to have him here and another person in the house just kicks it up a notch.
3. Mom arrives today. Another bonus. And having Gamma here excites the boys another notch. In a good way. Its just another notch.
4. Vomiting cats. A trip to the vet needs to happen.
5. Dog has mystery scab and bump. Another trip to the vet needs to happen. I am NOT taking 2 cats and a ninety pound dog to the vet at the same time.
6. Fall Feast on Friday at school. I was told yesterday that Angus needs to wear, (read I have to make) an Indian costume. Do NOT get me started.
7. I am volunteering (?) to help in Duncan’s class for the Fall Festival.
8. Need to make and decorate cookies for Angus’ class for his birthday on Thursday.
9. Need to make and decorate cookies and FED EX them for someone else’s birthday.
10. Need to scrub and clean house, yard, children, myself.
So here is a picture of part of the quilt top that will be come a quilt called Tennessee. Not great light today, but we won’t let that stop us. Maybe I should have called it Kentucky with the horses but Tennessee is what came to mind. Tennessee Walking Horses probably is the thought that flitted across my brain.
Also, I just got email that my yarn for the Perfect Sweater shipped from The Fiber Gallery ! Yippee! Of course it is Cascade 220 and I chose color 2411, Café. I received excellent customer service from The Fiber Gallery. They special ordered the color for me, extended The Perfect Sweater price for the whole bag (I told them that they didn’t have to and they did anyway!) and were super nice and very communicative! They get my vote for a great shop. If we still lived in Seattle they would be my LYS!

Cherry Blossom

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Again, a week in blogland has slipped by. But they have not really slipped by at Chez LWIM. I have been sewing my behind off. I have four 4! four! quilt tops ready to get borders, bindings and be quilted. Why this frenzy of quilting you ask? The ever generous Rachel put out a call for warm things for her neighborhood/town that has many people living in tents or half a house thanks to Katrina. And, get this, she has offered to deliver them from door to door, or tent to tent, or shelter to shelter. You get the idea- let’s get these people warm!
So I have a friend/neighbor/touchstone who is starting her longarm quilting business and she wants to get better at using her new longarm. (I promise to give you the full 411 when she has a website, and say a prayer…a b-l-o-g.) So, I also really want to learn to quilt and become better at sewing. A plot was hatched. We would put our heads together and some of our fabrics together and make quilts for people who had felt Katrina’s wrath. But where to donate them? Then Rachel put out her plea and we snapped to attention.
See how ingenious it is, I get to learn quilting/sewing technique from a master (though she would, in her ever so humble way argue that she is not a master. Pshaw!), she gets practice on her new machine and we get to keep people warm. Perfect.
Last week we had a meeting of the minds and figured out which fabrics went together and bundled them accordingly. Each bundle becomes a quilt. Then we figured out the mechanics. We realize there is a time factor, so intricate piece work was really out of the question. Also, we wanted a simple pattern that we could replicate in all sorts of fabric. So we decided on the nine patch using 9.5″ squares to finish at 9″. With squares this size, things go really quickly which is just great! Seriously, I cut the fabric Thursday and sewed it, row by row (not in patches) yesterday and finished it today!
So, this week I hope to show you a new quilt each day.
This one, Cherry Blossom, is just crazy. (In the photo all the colors, especially the greens are very washed out.) I mean I love bright colors and wear them often. Acid green? Adore it, wear it. Orange, ditto. Fuschia, you bet! This bad-boy is LOUD! And for me to say that is very rare. I alternately love it and can’t quite get my brain around it. And it is huge-81″x81″.
Tomorrow I will show you a slightly smaller quilt called Tennesee.
Oh and someone is turning 5 on Thursday. Very exciting and very heart-filling. Five!
Tomorrow we are going to Tennesee!

Crosses

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Well, sheesh! What a completely whirlwind couple of weeks. The kids tag teamed me and Duncan was home sick the first week, then when he went back, Angus was out for a week. A wee bit trying but, the rewards were so so sweet.
Angus spent a lot of time with me in the la-BOR-a-tory, otherwise known as Mom-Mom’s Magic Sewing Room. The origin of the latter name is this: last Christmas Hubbalicious gave me the most beautiful couch you have ever seen. I mean this couch is so fantastic that it should really not be in the same house with small hollering boys. It is enormous and silk. So I wanted the children no where near it. I told Angus that it was Mom-Mom’s Magic Couch. I then proceeded, with a completely straight face, to tell him it was Magic only for Mom-Mom and that if anyone else touched it, they would SHRINK in their sleep. Growing big and strong like Daddy is a big priority around here, so the prospect of shrinking scared him away from the couch, seriously. In the year we have had it, not only has Angus not touched it, he warns visitors to not even go in the room where the couch is. I put a similar fear in him about the la-BOR-a-tory. So he never goes in without me and LOVES it when he gets to.
He cried when he had to go back to school because, and I quote:”But, Mom-Mom, I reaaaaaaallllllly want to help you in your Magic Sewing Room”. Okay, how cool is that coming from an almost 5 year old boy?
The real capper in the realm of sweet rewards was when Angus, the Polar Bear (of course as a knitter I have kids that don’t wear sweaters without lots of coaxing), looked up at me and said:”Will you make me a quilt please Mom-Mom? So we can cuddle under it with the kittens.” Sure, honey- I will make you a million quilts until my fingers bleed, because you are so stinking cute. And why not just take the keys to the car while you are at it.
Here is the borderless top for the crosses quilt! 598 squares people! WoooHooo! And really this is my first quilt. I am pretty pleased. Now, to finish it! Ah, there’s the rub!
And the arty-stained glass look:

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