Of Kook-i-ness and Hats

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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.
Onward!

Beautiful Crocus

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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

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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….

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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.

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 CafĂ© 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

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