We are coming Mississippi!!

by

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

by

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

by

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

by

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.

Helping

by

This press release was sent to me by Karen Walsh, the Director of Development for USCRI. We also have known each other since college.
USCRI Joins YMCA of Houston in Helping Displaced Americans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For further information contact:
Nicole Wilett, USCRI Press Officer, (202) 347-3507
Trazanna Moreno, YMCA of Greater Houston Dir, of Communications, (713) 758-9114
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 1, 2005 – In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) joins with partner agency YMCA International Services of Greater Houston in offering assistance to the many displaced persons arriving in Texas from across the Gulf states. An appeal for donations has been issued on USCRI’s website, www.refugees.org , the proceeds of which will be used exclusively for YMCA of Greater Houston’s efforts to assist Katrina’s victims. Donations can also be mailed directly to the address below.
The state of Texas is expecting over 80,000 people forced to flee Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi to seek refuge inside its borders, including those being relocated from the Superdome in New Orleans to the Astrodome in Houston. Displaced people all over the world, a group that now sadly includes Americans from this week’s tragedy, are in need of basic disaster relief assistance, such as food, shelter, health care, and sanitation. Reports of rape and armed elements within the Superdome also highlight the need for basic protection mechanisms to be put in place for those relocated to Houston.
At USCRI, our hearts go out to the millions of Americans whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Katrina. “This is a moment for Americans to join together and continue our nation’s long-standing tradition of helping those among us who have lost everything,” said USCRI President and CEO Lavinia Limón, who is working with YMCA International Services Director Jeff Watkins to coordinate the appeal.
The YMCA of Greater Houston has opened the doors of its 37 centers to Katrina’s victims, by offering bath and exercise facilities. Financial contributions will go towards the purchase of gift cards for food and other basic necessities, which will be distributed to those seeking safety in Texas.
Checks may be mailed to:
YMCA International Services of Greater Houston
Attention: Lisa Guitguit
6300 Westpark Drive, Suite 600
Houston, TX 77057

The Amazing Expando Sweater

by

I made this Amazing Expando Sweater when I was pregnant with Angus in 2000. I am not a novelty yarn kinda gal. Maybe that is why this was so much fun and easy to make. Maybe in my heart I am a novelty yarn kinda gal? Nah- I think it was just a fling. A really fun fling that I still have fond feelings for. I love this sweater. It was great fun to make and easy. Knit in the round in 3×3 rib to the armholes and then split, and well you know the rest. The best part about this sweater is that it pulls double duty. I wore this as a Maternity Sweater and then when Angus was actually here, I could wear it as a regular sweater. And it looked NOT like a Maternity sweater. And I guess I am getting excited for cooler weather if I am writing about it as it is a very warm sweater.

I think I will just keep hauling out the stuff I have made and show them one at a time then, I will make a gallery of them. It is fun as I get to see what I liked and didn’t. Useful right now since I am between projects and feel that awful, oh I must pick the RIGHT project feel.
Hmm? What shall it be? I just did a swatch of Plymouth Yarns Baby Brush Alpaca in a great orange. I thought I would make a nice cabley cardigan- the right size this time of course. But when I was making the swatch, I got the distinct feeling that this yarn did not want to be a big autumn sweater. And I think I would look like a giant orange cabled cotton ball. So, my usual MO when not knowing what to make is that I make a scarf. So I think I will make a circular scarf with a nice fat cable on each side. And looooooooong. Plus I will get to use these:

Stefanie sent me the sweetest package, a portion of which you see here. Look at these awesome stitch markers! Thank you Thank you Thank you. They are lovely. And beautifully made. And I love the magnets. The markers are resting comfortably on the new orange swatch. Hmm. A good match I think.
The whole little assemblage is atop my brand new Denise knitting needles. I had heard about them for years but never seen them in any of the LYS I have had. So when I saw them, I snatched them up. They are taking a little getting used to, but I like them. Man, they are pointy! They might not be my everyday needle, but for travel and portability, I think they will fit in just fine.

I’ve got some chops. Sort of.

by

Here is a detail of an almost finished WIP. It is the Modern Family cardigan from Knitting Today’s Classics ISBN#:1-887374-36-1 From the Studios of Classic Elite/Kristin Nicholas.
I am in a cardigan kind of mood. I love ‘em. I wear cardigans with everything from pyjamas to cute little skirts. I bought the yarn, Pastaza, from kaleidoscope yarns and I love it and they were wonderful to do business with. The yarn knit up beautifully. I love the definition of the cables and the twists. There were two adjustments I made to the original pattern by Linda Pratt. She called for Le Gran Mohair and in the pattern she called for a twist 5. I wasn’t crazy about how the TW5 looked so I did a 5 st repeat that was a TW2 P1 TW2.

If I do say so myself, this is some pretty spiffy mattress stitch. I don’t know that it is Ann & Kay worthy, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

So, all I’m saying is that I can get my way around a pattern. Or so I thought. Usually I am a sew the button band on kind of gal, but this time I did the pick up and knit. Ufff. Pffft. Yuck. We have serious floppage. Now this is an unblocked button band so I will attempt to flatten. I do not think it will work with my trusty iron. I am seriously considering unsewing the entire shooting match and giving it a nice soak and repinning the whole thing. Note to self: do not fib about current body size- your sweater will be a bit snug. Erff.
I will keep you posted. I loved knitting this sweater and finally taught my self how to cable without a cable needle thanks to this very generous gal.
I think this may be a loser, but I will try my hardest to make it a winner.

Walk the Dog

by

I made this sweater for Craig years ago. For our second Christmas together. It is Tyrone from Rowan Number 22. I made it out of some acrylic. Encore? I think. The drape really is lovely and the hand is awesome. Craig is very susceptible to Itchy Sweater Syndrome and I wanted to make sure that he would wear it. I used the yarn doubled. And it is wall to wall cables. This sweater weighs, no joke, about 12 pounds. And I shortened it by about 5 inches. I’ll bet those five inches would have added about 4 more pounds! I knew the color was a favorite of Craig’s though at the time I wasn’t so sure. Actually I disliked it. A lot. But I knew he would love it. And he did. And does. And the color has grown on me.
The problem is that I married a polar bear. Growing up in the horrid, cold, death trap that is Thunder Bay, Ontario the man can go out in literally freezing temperatures in a tee shirt and jeans. He has worn the sweater four times in six years. I do not fault him for this. The first time was when I gave it to him. Bonus points for showing enthusiasm! The second time was about a week later when I made him haul all 12,000 pounds of the sweater to my parent’s for Christmas. In Malibu. It was 70 degrees, inside the house. He wore that sweater the whole morning. Triple bonus points! When I noticed he was a little warm (the big indicator was that he was turning violet and sweating profusely) I told him it was okay to take it off. I do not think that I have ever seen the man more grateful. The third time was when I was pregnant with Angus and Craig walked the dog at about 5am. It was winter in Seattle and was a little icy and cold and damp. Still, I had to persuade him to wear it, and he did. This is how it got its name: “The Dog Walking Sweater”. The only time he can wear it reasonably comfortably is in the pre-dawn really chilly times. Like when the dog HAS to go at five in the morning. The last time he wore it was this winter. It was about 22 outside and he put it on to play in the snow with the boys. Bless him, he even wore the toque that I asked him to wear.
He won’t let me frog it. I have offered. He refuses. He loves it, he just doesn’t love to wear it. And I used to take it personally, but I do not anymore. I take those four times he has worn it as a love letter. A statement that I am his and he is mine and we have the beautiful, enormously heavy sweater to prove it. That’s I think a large part of what love is. Doing what makes the other person happy, makes you happy.
And now I would never dream of frogging it. Everytime I see it now, I remember how much he loves me.
Happy Anniversary Baby! Seven of the greatest years of my life.

Wait! Wait! I’m here!

by

I’m here! I’m here! Okay, I am a little late to the party and I am finally here. Traffic? Small hollering boys? A clothing fit? Pick any of the following reasons, they all tried to keep me away- nonetheless I have finally arrived to the knit-blogging party. And boy am I happy to be here. Mmm, why yes- I will have one of those, thank you. Delicious. May I have another? Thank you.
I have been knitting since I was well, er, younger. It all blurs in memory- was I eight, was I fourteen? Doesn’t matter- it has been a long time. I wore that horrid purple tweed curling (stockinette stitch) scarf for ever. I got really serious when all those fantastically fabulous ladies at Straw into Gold took me under their wings and explained to me many, many things. Gauge in particular was a very humbling lesson. I was all of 21(?) And I was making a cotton bolero from a VK Summer in the late eighties. The one with the drops at the cast-on edge. The one that after 2 babies in 29 months I would rather eat glass than wear. I had knit about half a sleeve- soon after this I learned the 2 sleeves at once trick- and with great pride I showed my half sleeve to a woman who was an expert knitter. She asked very gently (she was a kindergarten teacher) if I had checked my gauge? Gauge? Huh? What? The answer would be “No” as I had not a clue as to what gauge/tension was. Now, as much as I kvetch about it I always make a swatch. Sometimes several until I get it right. Sometimes when I do not know what to knit, I just make swatches from my stash and use those little cardboard tags (like the ones at garage sales) to note the yarn, needle size and gauge, etc. then I save them for when it is time to make a garment. Handy, very handy.
I have knit many things that I love some that I don’t (wear). Several have found new homes. I have made blankets, hats, sweaters, scarves, bags. No mittens or socks yet. I have a UFO that I have known longer than my husband and we are about to celebrate our 7 year anniversary. Actually, I started the sweater (Alice Starmore Celtic Circles- in Red and 2 shades of orange) 6 years before I married him! That is a 13 year old UFO. Crikey! I am ¾ of the way up the armhole steeks, so I am not going to quit now!
So here are my latest FOs. I wanted to start this blog before I started this really fun project but felt like I needed to present my invitation at the door, if you know what I mean. So I made 2 Weekend Getaway Satchels from IK Fall 2005. Two? Yes, two. One for me and one for my best girlfriend from college. Here are pictures of the fronts of both. Hers is first, with the blues and purples and mine is the one in the hotter colors. Hers is done, gifted and will hopefully be seen around town very soon. All I have to do for mine. is wait for it to dry, cut it to size, sew in the double lining, do the hex closure and the straps and I am finito! I will do a debrief for the bags tomorrow. I will say, it was a really fun project and I learned a bunch. Feeling kind of invincible. Like the first time I took both boys to Costco by myself. Yea, baby- I can do anything!

1 2 12 13 14 15 16