Monday, November 23, 2009

Stop Everything...

I have a child who wants me to knit him some socks!

So of course I must oblige.

Olympic Flame Socks

Hot Rod Socks by Pink Lemon Twist

Stranded knitting on socks is new to me, but you know what they say... 4th (or 5th) time's the charm.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I finished this a while back but never got around to taking pictures.


Ulmus by Through the Loops Designs
I used 1 hand of Malabrigo Sock in "Ivory" and 2 hanks of Claudia's Handpainted Fingering in "Rock, Paper, Scissors"


I love this shawl!!!!


I agonized over color choices for weeks before casting on (as evidenced by the bold colors I settled on). I finally grabbed several possible variations and started casting on samples. I believe this is called swatching among knitters... although its a rather foreign concept to me. It really made a difference to see the color options in swatches (and saved me from knitting a Christmas tree) so I highly recommend this step if you are considering this pattern.

Now on the needles is Anne Hanson's Brambler scarf. Well, that and many other things.


The yarn is Sanguine Gryphon's Sea Wool and it has a lovely sheen that just demanded to be knit into this fabulous winter scarf pattern that I've had for some time. I couldn't argue with yarn fate.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So Unworthy!

In spite of all my best intentions, I have been unable to get my act together enough to blog over the last week (or two... at least). My boys are keeping me crazy busy with football and school, and I've been using my free time to try to finish up my February Lady Sweater (which should be done today!)

However, I was just swept off my feet by news that I had been nominated for a Homeschool Blog Award under the category Best Cyber Buddy! I am totally humbled that somebody even thought of me (thank you for making my day)... so now I'll do what any good nominee would do and beg for your votes! :P

So if you have a chance, get your vote in! And if you're a homeschooler, check out the different categories for links to some amazing, encouraging and crazy bloggers!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Counting Cardigans

If I had a dollar for every cardigan I currently have on the needles, I'd have like 4... no... 5 1/2 dollars. Yeah, it may not seem like much but heck it's 1/3 the cost of the new Interweave Holiday Knits magazine that I had to buy today in order to keep my IK collection complete and my psyche balanced. (I'm still trying to process and justify my purchase so bear with me.)

Let's see... I have a Debbie Bliss cabled cardigan that I started an eternity ago, a Kim Hargreaves Boyfriend Sweater, a February Lady Sweater (of course because doesn't everyone?), a Noro short sleeved cardigan, and a lacy summer number that I'm not even thinking about. The 1/2 is a vest that I started last winter.

Disclaimer: This is no way a complete count of my WIPs... just the cardigans... and the ones I can remember.

The cardigans are starting to feel like debt that needs to be managed... but since I'm not very good at dealing with real debt, I'm not fairing much better here. Common sense would really dictate that I pick up the cotton Boyfriend Cardi and work on that during this dry heatwave, but common sense rarely dictates my knitting so I am working on the February Lady Sweater with some Dream In Color.

February Lady Sweater

The yarn is bugging me a bit (probably due to the void of any moisture in the air) but the colors are stunning. It's a very dark blue with variations of purple and such.

February Lady Sweater

I'm also quite the fan of this new style of cardigan as it eliminates worries about expanding waistlines. Not that I have an issue... just saying. I'm especially looking forward to finishing this one so I can add it to my pile of wool sweaters that it's never cool enough to wear. Sigh.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Full Speed Ahead

This is my view in the car these days.

AJ driving

travis drving

Yep... I have two (2!) teens learning to drive. For some reason, my oldest seemed rather unmotivated to get his driver's permit. He took Driver's Ed, got all the paperwork and signed up for Driver's Training... but was always too busy to go to the DMV and take the test. Until the day after his younger brother turned 15 1/2.

Travis, being rather competitive by nature (not sure who gets that from *ahem*) was armed and ready to get his permit and just had to await some paperwork when the day came. So, within a week, he got his permit as well.

Which plunged me into the insanity of being chauffeured around town by two teens.

Fortunately they are both good cautious drivers. But even so, I'm not quite sure how to prepare a driver of any age to maneuver the So Cal freeway system. Travis took me on the freeway the other day and did a fine job, but when we hit standstill traffic on the way home, we opted to exit instead of changing lanes and took side roads home. Deeeeep breath.

I realized that I never posted pictures of my finished Clothilde.


The pattern was very enjoyable and I could see knitting another one in the future.


I used Handmaiden Swiss Sea Sock in "Blooming Orchid" and let me tell you... next time I have some money to spend on yarn, I'm gonna be snatching up as much of this as I can get! It is silky soft and amazing!

Today I'm going to work on my February Lady Sweater and listen to an audio book. I hope.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Survived!

We hopped a train to Santa Barbara for the day and had a blast. Beautiful weather, lunch on the pier, a tour of the oceanography museum (with plenty of hands on exploration)...


and then to the beach for some real life exploration.

Wyatt had the most amazing find of the day...

SB Wyatt

Vertebrae! The scientist said they were either from a dolphin or a seal, but the really cool part is that they were still connected by cartilage! Of course the coolness of this is relative... "ooooh!" or "ewwwww"... your choice. But Wyatt thought it was all kinds of awesome as he is passionate about science and wildlife.

Daniel found a treasure as well. A treasure perfect for him... but of a very different nature. It was some sort of military belt which he was quick to imagine had survived WWII only to end up on the sandy shores of Santa Barbara.

So just when I'm thinking how great it was that they each found just the right treasure, Josiah emerged with his find...


An airplane liquor bottle.

Fortunately it was empty... as was the syringe they found a few minutes later.

Ahhh... you gotta love a city beach.

I would show you a close-up of the vertebrae, but to pretty things up I'll show you the Uptown Boot Sock from Favorite Socks that I started the other day with Handmaiden Casbah in Peridot.

Uptown Boot Socks

And now I get to sleep without worrying about train tracks tonight! Yay!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Can't Sleep

First of all, I was very blessed by all your kind words. Thank you!

I used to do a lot of my blogging late at night when I couldn't sleep, but lately it seems that I spend from about 2:00 on just trying to stay awake until bedtime. I've had a headache since, well, about August so that's been a bummer and pollen is not my friend.

But tonight I couldn't sleep because I kinda have something on my mind so after tossing and turning for a while, I thought... Hey, it's a blogging opportunity. Now if I'd had some Lucky Charms in the house, I might've taken a different direction here. But I don't... so here I am.

This Thursday, we are supposed to go on a train ride up the coast with our homeschool group. In addition to relayed expectations that our children all be on their absolute best behavior for the ride and the museum tour when we arrive (just shoot me now)... there's the whole train thing. Now don't get me wrong. I actually look forward to the train ride itself. It's more the train tracks that I have a problem with. Yes my friends, I have a deeply held yet understandably misunderstood heart stopping fear of train tracks. Not the trains mind you... just the tracks. And I'll tell you right now that there couldn't have been a worst week for that Australian baby stroller video to hit the airwaves than this one. Yes, I know the baby is fine... Praise the Lord! But any way you look at it, train tracks are just dangerous things. (And Julie... you just stop laughing at me right now!)

I've already started discussing arriving and boarding procedures with the boys. They have been informed that they stay behind me and as far away from the tracks as physically possible until the train has stopped and is ready for us to board. They are to board quickly (so the doors don't shut on us) yet with extreme caution (so they don't trip and fall) and they are not allowed to improvise with any practical jokes at any time.

As for the museum whose curators seem unnaturally obsessed with silent, obedient munchkins for a tour geared at K-2nd graders... I'm wondering if they would notice duct tape over the mouth of my youngest because, Lord help me, that is the only way he is going to be quiet.

And this, my sane friends, is what's keeping me awake.

Please tell me crazy things keep you awake too!

Monday, October 19, 2009


It's me. I'm still alive and kicking... just not blogging. Most days I can't decide if I want to keep blogging or not so I don't blog at all. Plus, finding the time is hard... taking decent pictures is a skill that still eludes me... and typing with a youngster who never (ever) stops talking isn't easy.

Truth is the whole internet experience has soured a bit for me as well. When I first started knitting and blogging I was a total internet noob. I barely knew how to google let alone how to upload a photo. And the only internet forum that I had been involved with was a homeschool message board which I eventually started avoiding because of a particular someone I'll just call Babs who thought she knew everything and was constantly telling everyone else why she was right and they were wrong. The nerve! Little did I know then that EVERY internet forum has its own Babs... and they are usually the least of the problem because, hidden behind their lap-top, some people are just plain mean.

However, I have made some wonderful internet friends who have blessed me in ways that far outweigh the negative impressions left on me by those who have left me extremely disillusioned so I'm not quite ready to give up yet. I think. Well... we'll see.

Anyhoo... let's see if I can catch up here....

Sept09 001

We've had a birthday.


A fire... or two or three.


Lots of football.


Check out that form! My oldest has taught me a thing or two about perseverence I'll tell you that! I never knew I would love Friday Night Lights so much!


Lots of goofy crazy boys. I would tell you that they were all just singing along with Taylor Swift but my oldest would kill me... so forget I said anything.


And even some knitting. These are Loksins that I knit for a friend out of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. Very fun pattern.

I also have a shawl on the blocking board and at least one other knit to post as well.

Now I must get things settled before our Big Night of TV begins. House (of course!), How I Met Your Mother (which we record during House), then Big Bang Theory and Castle (a new find).

About House... I love the way they've shaken up the show this season. They've managed to take a seasoned show and make it unpredictable again. I love that! What do you think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Ooooh... how I loved this knit! It was one of the fastest shawls evah! Actually, I started it over the summer during swimming lessons, then put it aside until I picked it up and finished in a couple of days last week... but really, I feel like I hardly spent any time knitting it.


I made the smaller size because I really wanted a nice little scarf to wear with a certain brown jacket I have. I must say, I'm becoming quite addicted to these smaller triangular scarf-size shawls. I seem to finish them long before I get bored which is always a good thing.


The yarn... ooooh, I wish I could remember the yarn... to the best of my recollection, it is Yarntini sock yarn so we'll go with that, and I'll add it's a very interesting yarn. It is a wee bit nubby (for lack of a better word) with slight variations of color and little splashes of pinks that make for a more, well, rustic or casual knit than many yarns. And I love it!




Ishbel by Ysolda Teague


Monday, September 14, 2009

Blogging while Teaching

The finished knits are actually starting to stack up so I finally grabbed my husband for a few pictures yesterday. I am presently attempting to coax my youngest through a phonics lesson explaining as we go that I'm not the one who needs to learn to read so it is useless for me to read the sentences in his workbook for him. I'm not sure if we'll ever move past short vowels at this rate.

While I torture him with a page of his workbook, I thought I'd put up a few pictures of the Aspen Leaf Shawl that I finished a week or so ago.

Aspen Leaf Scarf

I knit this with a wonderful hand painted cotton from Araucania called Lonco. It's fingering weight... and it didn't take me long to reconsider the sanity factor of knitting 400+ yards of lace with slippery cotton but fortunately the pattern was enjoyable and it knit up quickly once I got the feel for it.

Aspen Leaf Scarf

Although 2 hanks of yarn were used for the scarf/shawl that I originally saw in the store, I decided that I was done one would suffice and finished it up with less than a yard of the first hank left over. The result was a scarf 13" x 66" which seems just right to me.

Aspen Leaf Scarf
(Goofy husband face)

Sneak peeks...


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Happy Labor Day... and Knitting

I am thoroughly enjoying all of your responses to my last post! I can relate to so many of your reasons and I think that's what I love so much about knitting... the variety! From dishclothes to sweaters or stockinette to lace there is a project to suit just about any of my many moods. I've never stuck with a hobby so long before and I'm certain it's this variety of options, fibers, and techniques that has kept me enthralled. Add in the productivity factor and, well, it's really the perfect craft! I guess my frequent frustration over just *what* to knit, is actually what makes me love it so much.

Anyhoo... I have amazed myself by finishing the Aspen Leaf Scarf. (More photos and details later.)

Aspen Leaf Scarf

And, thanks to Maria, have found the perfect pattern for my luscious new Hand Maiden yarn.


Clothilde by Knitting Kninja


Happy Labor Day friends!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Why Do You Knit?

So I was trying to break my record for longest afternoon nap when I was rudely awakened by my cell phone. (Piece of advice.. never take your cell phone to your room for a nap.) On the phone was my 10 year old who had been locked out of the house as a joke by my 15 year old. Not funny.

I grabbed a Diet Pepsi, growled at my 15 year old, and plopped down on the couch. Now my allergies have been incredibly vicious and the smoke isn't helping, but on a whim I took my temperature and, although my well documented lack of confidence in ear thermometers leaves me uncertain, it appears I have a fever. No wonder it felt more like the flu than allergies.

Anyhoo... I want to knit... but am not sure what to work on. I wish I was one of those people who could just contentedly work on one project at a time enjoying each stitch to the fullest. But I'm not. I am, instead, one of those people who is always thinking about what is next and never quite content with what is on the needles once I've eyed that next must-knit project.

As with most things in my life, I also go through phases. I can go months at a time knitting only socks. They really are the ideal project because they are small, portable, full of variety, and can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Not only that they are the most practical and well-worn of all my knits. However, there are times when I feel like a sock is just a sock and my labor should produce something of more significance.

So I usually have a sweater going too. There are just so many irresistible patterns available that I have to really refrain from tackling them all. The sweater provides a much more visible display of my efforts... if it gets worn... which they rarely do in our So Cal weather.

Now I've really grown to love lace... especially the triangular shawl. I love every part of the process... matching the perfect yarn with the perfect pattern, the countdown of repeats and variety of charts, and especially the final blocking which completes the metamorphosis of the blob of string into beautiful shawl. But honestly, these are not worn enough to be considered anything more than artwork... and if I didn't knitting them so much, I wouldn't knit them at all.

To be fair, I also like scarves and lacy rectangular wraps, but the three unfinished rectangular lace shawls that currently take up space in my yarn basket inspire little in the way of optimism that I will every actually finish anything rectangular that requires more than 400 yards of yarn. But I'd really like to finish at least one of them.

So it leaves me to sit here and wonder... what should I knit. Which begs the question, "Why do I knit?" Certainly not out of necessity... nor practicality (wool socks in So Cal? Uh-uh.) Sometimes it's fascination with the construction of a certain pattern... or love of a particular yarn. Socks certainly provide the best opportunity/excuse for relatively inexpensive yarn fixes. And every once in a while, there's an item that I just must have... an item that, in my mind, I'll love and wear forever such as my recent Perfect Summer Cardigan or hopefully my current Perfect Fall Cardigan project. The turquoise Aspen Leaves Scarf (long rectangular wrap category) also falls into this category so I'm determined to work my way through this even if it's just a few repeats a week over the next year. But ugh! What should I work on now? And why does it feel like an obligation sometimes instead of leisure? And most importantly, with all this knitting, when will I get a chance to learn to crochet?

So... I ask you. Why do you knit? For practical purposes... entertainment... a creative outlet? Do you wear what you knit? And if you knit lace... what do you do with it all? Is knitting just for the beauty of it justifiable? For some reason that last question is important to me. We'll just blame it on the fever (even though it's always on my mind).

Please tell me "Why?"

Hand Maiden Swiss Mountain Super Sock

Oh, and then... please give me a pattern idea for this incredible Hand Maiden Swiss Super Sock in "Blooming Orchid" that I just got from The Loopy Ewe. I'm fascinated by the color combination of this merino/silk/sea cell blend and have no intention of using it for socks.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

FO: Kai-Mei Socks

I think this is the 4th pattern I've knit out of Cookie A's Sock Innovations... and I have no intention of putting the book aside yet.


Knit with Fiesta Baby Boom, these are the Kai-Mei socks which feature a gusset uniquely decreased across the top of the sock along the lace pattern.


These socks are going to a good friend of mine who has shown true appreciation for the hand knit sock by wearing the last pair I gave her with joy and consistency. In fact, she seemed to be wearing them every time I saw her for awhile... around the house, with her crocs, and at the park. I haven't seen them in a bit now so I'm guessing that they might have started to wear thin.

She told me recently that she felt bad that she hadn't cared for them better, but I was thrilled. They are SOCKS! As I think any sock knitter would agree, they are best loved when they are worn. So Keri gets another pair of socks to wiggle her toes in for a while.

I should also mention that she is probably one of the only people I know who even sort of understands my sock knitting... let alone would appreciate a gift of hand knit wool socks when it is a sweltering, smothering 100 degrees outside.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

FO: Foliage Shawl

My current WIPs were all sidelined last week so I could knit a gift for a very special friend of the family.

Foliage Shawl

Foliage Shawl by MimKnits
Malabrigo Sock in Alcaucil on size 6 needles
I added one repeat to the body before beginning the knit-on border. This knit up very quickly, but I think the border took as long as the body. I'd never done this type of border before but found it rather enjoyable.

I was also please that the lacy pattern produced such a large shawl out of only 1 hank of yarn.

Now returning to my regularly scheduled knitting... and pouring over new patterns.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Always Thinking Ahead...

Yep, that's me! Although the fact that I must cook dinner still blind-sides me every day at 5:00 (and way too often involves a trip to the grocery store), I almost always have at least 1, 2 or 5 things lined up that I want to knit next... and have usually acquired the necessary yarn as well.

So, in spite of having 3 shawls, 2 pairs of socks and a cardigan on the needles (at least)... the construction of Ysolda Teague's Vine Yoke Cardigan in the fall Twist Collective is beckoning me and has planted itself firmly in my mind.

Buying yarn is a no-no right now cuz afterall "money doesn't grow on trees you know" as my parents always used to say and I now find myself repeating to my kids. But a quick survey of my stash turned up a sufficient amount of Dream in Color Classy in "Midnight Derby".

Dream in Color Classy

I had originally planned to use it for a Lady's February Sweater but just wasn't feeling the love. Now I know why... it was meant for something else.

I have to finish at least one other project first, so (assuming I don't lose interest or get otherwise distracted in the meanwhile) this will be next.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And the Knit goes on...

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Keri took me out for my birthday. It was wonderful. She picked me up and took me up the coast to a yarn shop and then out to a funky restaurant (with terrific margaritas) for lunch.


Keri is an amazing artist and a capable knitter although she doesn't knit a lot. While at the yarn shop we found a fabulous sample of this lace scarf knit with about 600 yds of a fingering weight Araucania mercerized cotton.

"Could I do this?" she asked.

"Of course!" I was quick to reply, "I'd love to do it too." I mean... what could be easier than knitting your first lace with slippery cotton, right? So as a gift, Keri purchased the pattern and yarn for both of us. I chose turquoise (to fill that turquoise bug of mine) and she chose a beautiful lime green. Both perfect for adding a jazzy touch to our wardrobe in our warm weather.

It took me about 5 minutes once I got started to realize what I had gotten her into. I called to apologize, but she was content to try and try again, and is now proceeding beautifully. I have no idea if either one of us will ever finish, but it is a pleasant pattern to work on. And so far, she's still speaking to me.

Aspen Leaf Scarf

Meanwhile, I stumbled upon Frankie, aka the Perfect Fall Cardigan, in Kim Hargreave's "Breeze".

Rowan Frankie

I found the book and yarn on sale in London and with the current exchange rate was able to get a great deal on the supplies with my birthday money. I usually resist miles of stockinette, but this one looked worth it.

Rowan Frankie

Time will tell.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lazy Summer

I can't really say this summer has been a busy one... no big vacations... no rushing or chaos. No, I'd have to say it's been a pretty relaxing one. The kids have kept busy riding their bikes all over town except for JoJo who had something far more important to do.... learn to swim.

After spending July 4th floating in a jacuzzi with a life jacket...
Summer 2009

we coaxed him into some lessons. Last year he wanted nothing to do with the pool or the teacher, but this year he was ready and willing.

Swimming Lessons

And in no time at all....

Swimming Lessons
he was ready to fly! Well... at least swim. :)

The mega electronics store is always a fun trip with the kids.
Summer 2009

Okay guys, let's go....
Summer 2009
Come on now... let's go... pleeeeeeease!

And who doesn't love a good rib and cob sculpture.
Summer 2009
And yes, he ate that all and then some.

I've hardly seen my oldest. He seems to either be at football practice, working out, or sleeping. I must remember to get a picture of him.

I think the best discovery of our summer though has been Harry Potter. None of my children had ever been interested in reading the books until this summer. Although he could read them to himself, my 10 year old and I have been enjoying reading them together... and now my youngest has started listening in as well. This is the first time any of my boys have so thoroughly enjoyed a book and I am delighted.

Now, I need to turn my attention to stacks of dusty school books that need reorganizing for the new school year that's approaching, and get textbooks ordered for my teen's high school classes. Sigh... denial will only get me so far.