Categotry Archives: Uncategorized

Ahhhhhhhhhh, that’s better.

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These Ziplock Big Bags are perfect. They actually have a flat bottom (sadly, like your intrepid author) so you can open them up and then load stash into them. As mentioned earlier, they have handles so you can hang them up. They hold an amazing amount of stuff.
We have lived in Virginia and in this house for 15 months and I am just now getting my LA-bor-A-tory set straight. Ready for massive production when Duncan starts school on October 11. Angus started school 3 weeks ago, but Dunc cannot start until mid-October. They are in mixed-age classrooms and the State has rules about how many children under two and a half they can have on the premises (five, that’s it). So Duncan Doodle will be 2 and a half on the 9th of October and will start the 11th. Figures that the Monday is a holiday, doesn’t it? I had the delusion that when Angus started I would be able to get more done. Nope, Duncan needs Mommy almost every other minute. It makes sense, his best friend is away at school.
So while Duncan, aka: Dr. No, napped today I organized my stash. Sorted by manufacturer and sometimes by weight, we now have order in the LA-bor-A-tory closet.
I labeled each bag- started by putting color number and name on them too, but gave up. I discovered that I have some yarn that I have NO idea what to do with. And some that I have NO idea what to do with that I am not overly crazy about. The latter went into the WTF? bag. This is not bad yarn, just yarn that is either not for me or yarn that I have had so long and am so sick of looking at that it is in the WTF? bag. Stay posted, I may have a WTF? yarn give-away soon.
Next onto the books and magazines.
Hey have you seen Rowan 38, WTF?

Fibbing

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Now over here at Chez LWIM, we talk a lot about fibbing. Why fibbing is wrong. How fibbing hurts people’s feelings. How if you fib people will not want to be your friend. How fibbing is not nice and does not build character or rather, builds the type of character you don’t want. You get the gist.
Well, when I chose which size of the green sweater to make, I told a whopper. So, without slogging myself back through the humiliation of it all, let it suffice to say, I fibbed about which size I should make. Put it this way, my very petite and svelte mom tried this sweater on this past weekend and it barely fit her. I am a good 4 inches taller than she is and well, not svelte (currently).
I used to have the figure for fantastic clothes, but not the budget. Now it is the other way around, budget but not the body. But I digress.
So, I was at a crossroads. Do I throw it in a heap and say: “Out Out Damned Sweater!”? Or do I gift it to a smaller person? Well, I am very happy to report that I took the high road. I unsewed the side seams and the underarm seams (but left the shoulder seams- I did not want to rip the neckband back)and gave her a nice tepid bath…

Doesn’t she look like a gigantic greenish lobster? So after her bath, I got all the water out of her that I possibly could by putting about 3 towels on the floor, sweater on the towels and slowly, gently wrapped her and squeezed gently to get most of it out. Then I pinned the ever lovin’ snot out of her. Seriously folks, that is a king sized bed and I pinned every half inch. I calculate I used 300 pins, not including the ones that bent or broke.

And then she had a good night sleep and when she awoke, she was several sizes larger! So I seamed her back up…And she fits! And the button holes are blocked open and the button bands lie flat and she fits!

I am really pleased that I took the high road. Very happy to see that effort does really pay off. The longer I knit and sew, the more I find myself willing to do it the correct way. I have never wet-blocked before and it was a gas. I loved it and love that I took the time to do it. I had already steam blocked (and pinned) her but it wasn’t enough. The wet-blocking was the way to go as I wanted her to grow, grow, grow. And yes, I have learned that fibbing to oneself isn’t a wise choice either.

These are the greatest bags ever. The LA-bor-A-tory, or as Angus says:”Mom-Mom’s Magic Knitting Room” used to be Angus’ room. No, I did not manupulate the children into thinking that sharing a room would be fun, JUST to get a LA-bor-A-tory. I resemble that statement. So the LA-bor-A-tory has a nice sized closet with a couple of rods in it. Yarn goes in enormous ziplock bag, bag seals up, place hanger through bag handle and place on rod. Instant hanging stash!
Oh and if you happen to shop at the Harris Teeter in Reston, don’t bother looking for the bags. They are all in the above photo.

This one is for Kay

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Dear Kay-
In the comments on your blog today I said something about Euroflax and was promptly sent to the corner, which I predicted would happen. Though, I do confess, I thought I would be sent there by Ann, not you.
Oh, how I have learned the error of my ways. I have it on good authority that you are a complete hardass and I should be grateful that I did not get flogged with a broom.
I must state that the first time I met Euroflax was while doing my homework this weekend. I felt the skein. I had never knitted with it. Please forgive me, but it felt like toothpicks stranded together.
So, upon receiving your passionate and heart felt dope slap, I went off to my LYS. Such is my depth of conviction in your passion, I took a toddler with me. Upon arriving at my LYS, I explained to the very nice lady working there that I had blasphemed Euroflax. I thought she was going to have a stroke right there. “No!”, she said “It is fabulous and all you have to do is throw it in the washer and it is perfect- here feel this, we have a knitted and washed swatch!”
I felt the swatch, the toddler felt the swatch. We both loved the swatch. Doodle carried the two skeins of the Euroflax to the counter and handed them to the nice lady, while saying “Yarn, Yarn!” (Gotta train ‘em young to be Yarn Loving Fine Young Men.) They had very few colors, and sadly none in Denim-ish style. We purchased the eggplant colorway which was as close as I could come get to your beloved.
I faithfully came home, wound it into a center pull ball and cast on for the buttonhole band that you commanded me to make. And now I see the cunning in your plan. What good is a buttonhole band without a garment to attach it to? You are pure, beautiful, evil genius.
So, Dear Kay, I have now seen that I have done WRONG. I have said my Hail Kay’s and I will knit a garment out of this lovely fiber. And I promise to take a flax supplement every day for the rest of my life.
xoxoxo-KT
ps: Ann, can I re-comment for my least favorite yarn? I promise to say something really, really nice about it. Something so passionate and lusty that I might redeem myself for my impure thoughts about Euroflax. My desire to get sent to the corner again is waning by the moment, I promise.

Put Your Hands on the Car!

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Here we have the progress on the Nothing Rhymes with Orange scarf. This thing is a yarn black hole. This is two balls of the alpaca. On size 10s. So, I got to thinking that it needed to be frogged. I figured that it would be gargantuan and hot. Then I had pangs of guilt. What I wanted was to stop working on it. The thought of making Nothing Rhymes into a long scarf has been coma inducing. I felt bad, like I made some really big bad mistake. Completely whacko.
The light went on and I remembered that this is yarn, not stone. It is not permanent, it is fluid and changeable and this is key: an experiment. And perhaps most important- my experiment.
I really do like this yarn, the pattern and the color. An idea struck… Nothing Rhymes is going to become a neck warmer, still with some fun, as yet unselected, fringe. In order to make sure the idea was going to work, Nothing Rhymes needed to be tried on. And like a cop hiding out with a radar gun, there was hubbalicious with the camera. Okay actually, I asked him to take the picture. Thank you sweetie, it was great to see you laugh so hard.
Have you done your Perfect Yarn Homework yet?

Angst Abounds

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Knitting Angst. Yep, that about sums it up. Knitting Angst, because you know there is not quite enough regular, world gonna end Angst. Not enough toddler Angst. There are WIPS all around but nothing that really satisfies. The Orange scarf is growing and growing. The Apoca-Vest for Hubbalicious is going well. This vest is an entry in and of it self- more on this in the near future. I did quite a bit of stash enhancement this summer, books everywhere. So it is not for lack of goods or patterns. And I want to at least start thinking about what my next project will be. Nothing really appeals right now. I will probably get struck by lightening for this, but really nothing appeals. And yet I am going crazy not having a place to put my knitterly affections. You know the Orange scarf- which I am naming: Nothing Rhymes with Orange is soft and lovely and will be great when it is 20 degrees outside, but Nothing Rhymes is kind like candy floss. You eat a huge thing of it, the size of your head and it was fun and all, just not very satisfying. Looks great, tastes great, leaves you wanting more. Wanting more, but more what?
And I was feeling a little scattered, a bit unfocused and then I saw these fantastic shenanigans and realized that I was sad and I was missing someone. Well, technically something, but with a love like this- it is a someone, I miss Rowan Magpie. Bad. I loved this yarn and it is gone. And had I known it was going I would have stuffed my house to the rafters with it. And my car. And the dog crate. And the kids backpacks. This was the yarn that I made my first Fair Isle sweater with. The first yarn that I fell for. Now it is gone.
But there is a teeny tiny light. Some how, some where I had the great good fortune to find Richesse Online. You want anything Rowan these ladies have it. And they are really nice and p-r-o-m-p-t. I will tell you about their fantastic customer service in a minute, but first the yarn. Like I said, somehow,someway I found my way to these ladies and they had Magpie in two shades, Raven and Tranquil. Truthfully, if they had Soiled Diaper Brown I would have bought it. And they had enough in each color to actually make an adult garment. get out. I was over the moon. So I placed my order (for Rowan 38 too!)and waited for my email confirmation. Nope. Didn’t come. Did I dream sweet Magpie dreams and there really was none? Was it a fantasy? So I emailed them today and within 45 minutes I had a response. Forty Five minutes people! This is astoundingly great. And they were nice and sympathetic because I was in their database but no order. And I quote: “I’ll be standing by to ship your order if it comes in, and I am sorry your order didn’t come through the first time.” Ooooh, someone who understands and is waiting to ship my order of Magpie? Sweet Mercy!
I want to state that the lack of order was a pilot error on my part, NOT their part.
So Magpie is on its way to me. I am seeing a cabled cardigan with a huge shawl collar in Raven. Angst is lifting.
So the above sweater is Tartan Jacket from Zoe Mellor Colorful Knits for you and your Child ISBN#1-57076-080-2. The green is of course Magpie and the Tartan is out of Brown Sheep. I know all this waxing about Magpie and then I talk about Brown Sheep. This is arguably my favorite sweater that I have ever made. I love the colors and the tartan was fun to do. I made this sweater 7 years ago maybe and it has worn like iron. Love love love it. Hmmm. Now, I see more Angst lifting- I am getting an idea.
The sweater below is the aforementioned First Fair Isle. It is Annabel Fox’s Mosaic Jacket. It is about 9 years old. Also wears like iron but oh yea- fits like crap. You know how we are always going on about how those pesky stylists are pinning and tucking the sweater to make it look better? Well, not the one who did this shoot. I just found a picture of it in Rowan 34 and upon examination, it looks like crap on the model too. The back neck swoops so far down my back I feel like I am wearing a toga. The front opening is cavernous. The seams would make you cry. But live, learn, and try to do better the next time. And never trust a pattern that only shows you the back.
Maybe she needs a good frogging. Maybe I cut her arms off and make her into a cushion? Ooooooooh that sounded hostile. Not meant to be, just looking to get use out of what I have.

Give a Little is a little bit over $77,000. We should be pleased. And we need to go do more. Tomorrow I am packing a truck headed to Mississippi. Now the Angst is all but gone. Do something for someone else, you’ll feel better.

Oh September How I Love Thee

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This has been a long, hot, disgustingly sticky summer around these parts. Did the knitting cease? Nope. I love air conditioning. When we lived in the Pacific Northwest we even had it there. So you can imagine living in Virginia I have become even more fanatical about it.
So the knitting didn’t cease but any sort of organizational ability or will I had went out the window. Plus I made the Brilliant Decision. The one where I thought that because both boys were starting 5 day a week school in the Fall that I would not put them in summer camp. Keep them with me. Have a Mom-Mom and sons summer of love. Arts, Crafts, adventures. Okay, I was delusional. I think the Brilliant Decision is something you decide ONCE and then never again. So, even if the organizational ability or will hadn’t left me, and I did make attempts to get it together, the Brilliant Decision would have bitten me in the backside. I tested it out a few times. I cleaned out the boys closet. They saw me in the closet- no really I wasn’t hiding- and then they would proceed to take every clothing item off the hangers. They did this four times this summer. Yea, Brilliant Decision.
Yesterday was the first day of school for Angus. Can you hear the gospel choir in the back ground shouting out the Hallelujahs? I sure can. And the humidity seems to have hit the road. And now I have some time to actually do some things. Not as much as I would like because Doodle doesn’t start school until October 11th. Still, I feel like I have hit the Trifecta.
So above you see one of my 18 kajillion to do lists. Maybe the first item should say Find Brain. It is September and I trust my brain will return soon, I will get more and more done and soon, the best news of all- it will be sweater weather.

We are coming Mississippi!!

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The town we live in, Great Falls, Virginia, has a wonderful community based organization that is tough to describe. It is a community based referral service that is subscription driven. You can find positive referrals for anything from Chimney Sweeps to Birthday Party locations for toddlers. The other aspect to it,is Neighbors helping Neighbors. Someone is in distress, the casserole brigade comes a-knocking. You need someone to sit with you during chemo, just ask and in about 20 minutes you will have 100 offers. Someone is down and out with no transportation? There will be an ride offer or an offer of a donated car in about 3 minutes. Several months ago, I had some family members staying in the area with their 2 small children. I put out a request for a crib to use for a month- in literally 5 minutes I had 6 offers via e-mail. It is magic how this thing works. Kind of like knit bloggers. We see a need and we fill it. Just like Give a Little. As of this writing they are up to $55,000. Seriously. Do Not Mess With The Knit Bloggers. If you have not been there, go NOW. We will be here when you get back. No, really, go! Shoo! Hurry up now!
So back to Neighbors. Sharon, who runs it sent out a request for donations. They had a truck and an employee willing to drive it all the way from Northern Virginia to the Gulf Coast. After tirelessly working, she found two locations, both in Mississippi where there were contacts and they would accept our donations.

So today, another gal and I, along with Sharon, greeted all the people donating, separated the items by type, size, gender. Basically any way you could imagine. I think every person in the Great Falls Area who has ever had a baby donated diapers, wipes, sippy cups and pacifiers. Sharon, sweet thing that she is, was worried that no one would donate today. Pshaw! People were amazing. They cleaned out their closets and then sorted and labeled by size and gender. They went to Costco, they went to Target, they went to any place that had anything that was usable for someone who has nothing. One person brought about 20 brand new bras. There were ponytail holders and floating flash lights and Chef Boyardee and water and baby formula. And gently used men”s work clothes. There were the kids who with their mom cleaned out their piggy banks and went to the dollar store. 30 each of men’s and women’s deodorant. 75 disposable razors. 20 bottles of generic Advil. There was a lot more than that from the kids but my mind boggles and I can’t recount it all. I tell you that mom is doing it right as these kids were awesome.

Another Mom brought her kids in and they had raided their piggy banks and cash supply to give money to help people. Brava Mama!

So the truck that was not going to be ready to go until Friday or Saturday will now be leaving Tuesday for Mississippi. Clothes, shoes, bras, sanitary pads, underwear, onesies, peanut butter, gatorade. Can openers- these people need can openers. There was one lady, a dental hygenist who donated hundreds of single use toothpaste tubes. Like ketchup packets only longer and full of Crest. There was one man who donated many many things including his recently deceased father’s cane. I asked him if he was sure, if he wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons it would be fine. Nobody could fault him. He looked at me and (with an ever so slight hitch in his voice) said, No, it will do more good down there.
As I have been mesmerized by the horror in the media, today I was mesmerized by an out pouring of a small community who could not wait to do more.
And still it is not enough. We will do more. Hang tough Gulf Coast, Neighbors is on its way.
this is also posted here

Give a Little

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Please run, don’t walk over to see Margene and Susan. They have come up with a brilliant idea for Katrina relief.
All the specifics are on their sites but the basic idea is that you make a donation to the Red Cross and then mail the ladies (givealittle AT gmail.com.)with your name and donation amount. These fine ladies then keep a running tally of the amount we knitters have donated. And there are prizes. And there will be auctions.
This is my donation to the prize pool.
15 skeins (which I would be HAPPY to wind into balls) of Garn Studio Silke-Tweed. 52% Silk, 48% Wool. 200 Meters.
Knit on 3- 3.5 mm 23stsx30 rows. Color:23 A beautiful, garnet reddish color.
9 balls of Kid Silk Haze in Shade 598 Toffee (pale beige)
7 Balls of Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille in 8109, a nice pumpkin shade.
And you should see what else is being given as prizes.
So run, don’t walk.
Thank you so much to Margene & Susan and to all that are contributing in whatever manner you do.

My Magical Boys

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Okay, so maybe they are old enough for Harry Potter. Craig had the boys out to day and as Angus was conjuring next to Duncan an huge gust of wind came up and blew Duncan’s hair. Shazam indeed.
I always knew Angus was a powerful kid.
This photo is cross posted on our family blog here.

Getting some traction

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Here is the beginning of my latest WIP. I began yesterday and wasn’t sure I was feeling the love with this yarn or my pattern idea. Were the cables plump enough? Was the yarn going to cooperate? Was the way I am working this idea out going to give me what I wanted?
Looking at it this morning, I really like it. This would make a great on the go project. And the way I am knitting it is a bit different, so that is fun.
I cast on 100 stitches, so each side would be 50 sts wide. Then I marked off the center 10 stitches in the middle of each side. I joined it to knit it in the round. I knit two rows and then did the first cable- in a purl st. Take the first five sts off the needle, hold them in front, purl the second set of 5 sts, then purl the second. Worked my way around to the second cable and held them in back, purled away we go.
I wanted to do this in the round because I want this to be a long scarf and did not want to have to seam the whole thing. I mean I like really long scarves. I am the better part of six feet tall and I like lots of wrapping and draping. So instead of purling the entire thing and knitting the cables, I am doing the opposite. So I have the wrong side facing me at all times. Fun, and a little different.
When I am done I will seam the two ends and figure out some fun fringe or edging. I am thinking corkscrew fringe. We will see where my heart ends up.
Stefanie’s stitch markers are great to work with. I have never used fancy ones like these and I like looking down at my knitting and seeing the cables wear their little rose quartz earrings.
Also I am using my new Denise needles. The other day I was saying how pointy they were, right? The pointy factor is perfect for this Baby Alpaca Brush. When I began knitting I knit so so so tightly that if a pattern called for a size 5 I could use a size 9 and get gauge. Over the years, I have relaxed in my knitting and now knit to gauge on the suggested needle size. Not so with this yarn. They say that US9 will give me 3.5 sts per inch. I got 4 and a smidge per inch. Odd, but alright, I went up a size and am getting 3.5 to 3.75 per inch. I thought it would look sloppy and loose given what my swatch on the 9′s was like. Nope, it is lovely. The yarn really opened up and has a much better look and feel to it.
I am not sure how long this scarf will be but I have 19 more balls of this stuff and the photo above is one ball and is 5 inches tall. Maybe, just maybe it will be long enough.

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