Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Grinch is Still Here


Christmas has come and gone, and I’m still feeling like the Grinch. The kids had a great time, and I… am a bit worn out. 4 Christmas celebrations in the span of 24 hours is a bit exhausting for me. We celebrate Christmas Eve with the FIL’s side of the family only 10 minutes away; early Christmas morning is just with the four of us at home; we head over for late breakfast at my SIL’s house 30 minutes away to open gifts with the MIL; and then it’s an hours drive away to my brother’s house for Christmas dinner with my side of the family. Aren’t you exhausted just reading about it? I think the kids had a grand time, and in the big scheme of things, that’s the most important thing for me. I want my kids to grow up with great Christmas memories, and I really believe they are. Maybe I need to admit to myself that the Grinch thing is not seasonal but year round.

As promised, here’s the roll call of holiday knitting, since they have all been gifted now:


Project: Cabled Footies for my sister in Virginia, based loosely on the pattern of the same name from One Skein
Yarn: KnitPicks Swish in Capri, 2 balls
Needles: KnitPicks Options size 6, 2 socks on 2 circs method
Start/Finish: I made these in November, as my sock-a-month kal for the month, and I don’t remember when I started or finished!
Thoughts: Loved the yarn and the pattern was easy. Used the usual Turkish cast on for the toes, and the short row heel from Priscilla’s Dream Socks. My sister said she wore them all day on Christmas (or was it the day after?), and yes, I did wash them before I sent them to her. (She made a point of asking me if I did that. She feels it’s gross to see feet modeling the socks and not knowing if they’re clean when gifted. Now that I think about it, I guess I have to agree with her!)


Project: Sporty Footies for my BIL in Virginia
Yarn: KnitPicks Swish in Coast Grey for the main body of the foot and Deep Ocean for the toes, less than 2 balls of the grey and less than 1 ball of the blue.
Needles: KnitPicks Options size 6, 2 socks on 2 circs method
Start/Finish: Sometime this month; the holiday knitting should be renamed holidaze because I can’t seem to remember a darn thing!
Thoughts: Turkish toes and Priscilla’s heels all in stockinette; easy peasy lemon cheesy. The change in colors made it a bit more challenging but I still enjoyed it. Yes, these were also washed before gifting (for those inquiring minds who want to know).

Both nieces in Virginia got the Fetching wristwarmers I posted earlier.


Project: Beanie for Sweetie Hubby, loosely based on the Kim’s Hats pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: 1 skein of Noro Kureyon color #51
Needles: Inox US size 7 16″ circular; I forgot I even had this needle until I dug around in the needle vase.
Start: December 19
Finish: December 20
Thoughts: I had forgotten how much I love knitting in the round with the right length circular needle. It was so fun zipping along on these 16″; I wish KnitPicks made smaller cables just for this! Sweetie Hubby seems to enjoy his hat; he settles in for a snooze with the cap on and it’s long enough to cover his eyes. Perfect!

Project: Ribbed Beanie for BIL (sorry, no picture!)
Yarn: 1 skein of Noro Kureyon
Needles: Inox US size 7 16″ circular
Start: December 24
Finish: December 25
Thoughts: I started this late afternoon on Christmas Eve, and was knitting at my FIL’s celebration. Nobody asked who it was for, but were just aware I was knitting, as usual. While at my SIL’s house, I cast off early afternoon in front of everybody, including my BIL, and it was a kick to toss the finished beanie at him. He was surprised (pleasantly, I hope), and it was fun to gift something that you just made in front of them. (Note to self: remember to take a picture after throwing FO at giftee.)


Project: Felted Clogs for my Mom
Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, 4 balls in Tulip for the heel and contrast trim, 2 balls in Red for the main body
Needles: KnitPicks Options in size 13
Start: December 16
Finish: Cast off on December 18 and felted on December 21
Thoughts: I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn. I agree with Sknitty’s latest post about enjoying some basic wool yarn, and not just for felting. I’m quite tempted to make a sweater this year out of Cascade 220, what Kay and Ann call the perfect yarn. This sweater, designed by Knittin’ Mom, actually looks interesting to me, but it’ll have to wait its turn in the queue, as there are a few other projects ahead of it. Felting was a new experience for me. I have given tons of advice to friends and family on felting, like I’m an expert, but I’m coming clean right now. I had never felted before this. It was magic happening before my very eyes. Unfortunately, I have a front loading washer, so it took 3 full wash and rinse cycles before it was down to the correct size. It took a full 4 days for the clogs to dry completely, and the bottom bumper is a bit wonky. All in all, though, my Mom seems quite happy with them. She’s wearing them around the house already, and says they’re quite warm, which is a good thing. This from the woman who wears an undershirt in the middle of summer, so she won’t get cold. Go figger. I still need to spray the bottom with some super sticky stuff, so we don’t run the risk of an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I shouldn’t laugh.


Project: Scarf/Shawl, pattern from Fay Lynn and Unraveled
Yarn: Trendsetter Dune in color #111, Plymouth Furlauro in color #830, and Classic Elite Calliope in color #5485 (I think; I lost the ball band), 1 ball of each
Needles: Addi Turbos in US size 19 and 17
Start: December 21
Finish: December 22, I think; again, me+holiday knitting=holidaze
Thoughts: I loved the colors together, but it was a bit too hairy after a while. My gauge grew again towards the end, so it’s wonky-shaped. It’s destined for the frog pond, and I’ll have to try again and be more consistent (yeah, right!).

These lovely scarves were knitted by my 13-year-old Sweetie Niece. These were Christmas gifties for her friends, and she handpicked the colors herself. She used WEBS’ Valley Yarns in Berkshire to make these chunky stripe garter stitch scarves. There was a third, but my sister didn’t get a picture of it before it was gifted. That one was chocolate brown and blue. Fabulous, no? Way to go, JJB!

Finally, this last picture sums up the Sweeties’ Christmas experience. Hope yours was just as great.

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Celebrate

In Sweetie Girl’s classroom holiday party, a Mom shared about her family’s tradition of celebrating Ramadan by demonstrating a henna application to the teacher’s hands. We’re lucky that we are part of a school that values different cultures. I also got in on the fun. The henna is on both hands, not just one. I just flipped one of the pictures to make the layout look more balanced. I especially love the design on my palm; notice how much darker it is than the other hand, even though they were applied at the same time. It’s supposed to last about one week, and I think I’ll miss it when it’s gone. This is a beautiful work of artistry, and even more so, the Mom who applied it free-handed it. It was so impressive to watch. I feel like I have a beautiful secret that I can quietly share with others when I want. Sweetie Girl is really excited to get her henna, when the Mom comes back to apply it to the kids.

However you and your loved ones celebrate, may you have a warm and wonderful gathering, surrounded by your friends and family.

More Holiday Knitting

The soccer weekend was a bust, unfortunately. Sweetie Boy played his soccer tourney in the cold, but I didn’t get to watch because Sweetie Girl came down with a fever Friday night. Which meant more holiday knitting time. This is what I finished this weekend: felted slippers for my Mom (pre-felted, of course). They’re made from the FiberTrends pattern, and I wouldn’t have attempted them, if Patty hadn’t told me how quickly they knit up. Jillian had also done a pair, so my interest was piqued. My mom has rather gaudy (ahem) taste in shoes, so I definitely went there with the colors on these. Hopefully, after they’re felted, the colors will soften a bit more and be not quite so vibrant. I’ll post a picture after they’re done with all of the specs. They look gigantic, feral child provided for scale.

What’s up next? Sweetie Husband mentioned that he was shivering in the cold this weekend at the soccer tourney, and it was a good thing Sweetie Boy had on his cap. (It’s been cold for us Southern Californians, dipping into the 40s at night. Brrrrrrr! No, I don’t expect any sympathy or mockery. I’m just telling you how it is.) It occurred to me that Sweetie Husband needs a cap. People, do you understand the enormity of this? This is H.U.G.E. Monumental even! Sweetie Husband has not asked for any knitted love from me. He doesn’t really wear sweaters; he’s a white tube sock sorta guy, even to work. I suggested a vest one time, but he scoffed at me. Yes, scoffed. Ha! Now I have a project to knit for Sweetie Husband with a specific purpose, and it will be accepted because it will be for his favorite pastime, watching the Sweeties play soccer. I dug out a ball of Noro Kureyon in some masculine colors from the stash, and I’m off to work on that and a quickie shawl to wear on Christmas Eve. I might even give that one away too. Happy knitting!

Quick Knit

We interrupt the regularly scheduled holiday knitting for a quick knit. Sweetie Boy has a soccer tourney this weekend, and it’s forecasted to rain the whole time. Being the controlling, overly concerned mom that I am (read: my boy can’t run around in the rain and mud, get soaked to the skin and catch a cold!), I decided to whip up a beanie for him. Boy oh boy was it fast! Just what I needed to soothe the holiday knitting doldrums. I started it Thursday evening and finished it Friday morning, probably about 3 hours total.

Project: Beanie hat, based loosely on the Shock Jock pattern from The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Knits for Older Kids
Yarn: Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran in black, less than 2 balls, double-stranded
Needles: Susan Bates Silverado US size 10s for ribbing in some weird magic loop like method; 16″ Clover bamboo and Denises size 11s for body, first the Clovers by themselves, and when the yarn was just too sticky on the needles, then Denises on a medium-length cable, then both for the 2-circs method. My Options cables and needle tips were out of commission, so I dug around and made do with whatever I had. That’s how lazy I was.
Start: Thursday, December 14
Finish: Friday, December 15

Thoughts: I cast on 56 stitches, based on what was recommended in the pattern. The pattern calls for the hat to be be knit flat and then seamed up. Pish-tosh, I can’t be bothered with seaming (read: I hate finishing.). The pattern also called for a wider ribbed section, and bigger stockinette section, so the ribbed section can be folded over. Lazy, am I… so much so that I just knit the ribbing for two inches and then started the stockinette part. After a bit, I put it on Sweetie Boy’s head to see if it was long enough. Then, I did the decreases and finished it up. It fits quite well, and when I gave it to Sweetie Boy this afternoon, he put it right on. Hey Mikey, I think he likes it! The added bonus is that the yarn is superwash wool, so after some sweatiness and rain this weekend, I can just toss it in the washer and dryer, along with the rest of his soccer kit.

I received the yarn, as part of a complicated, multi-level trade with KnitDevil, which involved books, needles, more yarn, lunches and probably other things that I don’t even remember. It was destined to be a couple of sweaters, but she ditched it after knitting it up, disagreeing with its fuzziness. Double-stranded for this project, I had no problem with the yarn and enjoyed the feel. Thanks, Madge, for keeping my Sweetie Boy warm!

Hello… Is this thing on?

I didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten about you. Holiday knitting is in full force right now, and I’ve also been working quite a bit. Busy as a bee, I tell ya. That’s how I got my nickname by the way. Enough of useless trivia about me.

My one teensy bit of exciting news is that I was a knitster on Knitty Gritty this week. Cat Bordhi was the guest, and she was revealing with revolutionary new pattern that will turn sock architecture on its head. Really. I had to babble on a bit about something or other at the end, and only God knows if it was coherent. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it gets edited out. Unfortunately, just like holiday knitting, I can’t show any pictures of the sock or talk about the pattern until the show is aired and her new sock book comes out in Spring 2007. I can tell you that I’m knitting only one sock at a time on two circs, and I hope I have enough motivation to finish that second sock, if and when the first one gets done. The pattern doesn’t lend itself easily to doing two at the same time IMHO. I could tell you more details, but then I’d have to kill you.

Being a knitster was … interesting. I didn’t know what to expect, and because Cat was so clear in her directions and concise in her words, we were done rather quickly by their standards. I had to be in Burbank at 7:00 a.m.; wardrobe okayed the other two knitsters’ and my outfits; we got mic’d; the producer prepped us for our chit chat and comments, and then onto the set we went. It was kind of surreal in that, of course, I wanted to be able to chat with Vickie Howell, but she was obviously working, practicing her lines, so she didn’t have the free time. Cat was terrific, coming over often to check on the progress of our socks, holding our projects, fondling the yarn, just very interested. I definitely appreciated that.

Things moved along so quickly that I didn’t get a chance to snap any pictures. I also didn’t even think about bringing any of Cat’s books for her to sign. Doh! Scout was just arriving when I was leaving. I didn’t want to ambush her and seem like a stalker, so I just quickly introduced myself and then hit the road, Jack. I think Jordana Paige was taping the show after ours, according to Scout. I missed her too, dang!

The other two knitsters were really nice and it was fun getting to know them. One was a local boy, and the other gal from Visalia. She sported a beautiful Clapotis made from Lion and Lamb in these beautiful raspberry and chocolate colors with just a hint of green. I tried hard not to tell her which LYSs to hit and avoid before heading home, but I had to share some of my opinions, especially when she said she really wanted to go to Wildfiber. Hopefully, she swung by Unraveled. All in all, an interesting experience, and I’d have to think about whether I’d want to do it again next season. BTW, KG is now being shown on HGTV, so if you don’t get DIY in your area, look for it on HGTV!

Sorry I don’t have any pictures of KG or my holiday knitting for you. I hope to soon, when I get further along on my Mom’s felted clogs. Thanks for tuning in and talk to you soon!

And Sew It Seams…

I know how to sew a little bit, enough to sew Halloween costumes for the Sweeties. My Mom was at one time a professional seamstress, when we were little kids, and she could sew things by creating her own patterns. Me? I passed the sewing segment of Home Economics in 7th grade, and it doesn’t get much more complicated than that. I am reluctant to schlep the sewing machine in from the garage whenever I need to run a seam. Mostly because it’s a hassle to set up, and I know the finished product isn’t going to be that great.

However, in preparation of Sweetie Girl’s Daisy meeting last week, I found myself in the dubious position of hauling out my-sometimes-friend, Singer. What did I sew? Well, I didn’t sew this, or this, or this. Let’s see if you can guess from the pictures what I sewed:

(People, do not try this at home, unless you are a trained professional. I assure you that I am certainly not.) Trying to run a sewing machine while simultaneously snapping a picture for the blog is dangerous at best. Remember my almost injury earlier this year? My eagerness for exciting blog pictures pushes me beyond the limits, I’m afraid. I’m sorry to say I didn’t run a straight seam one-handed or get a good picture, so it was for naught.

Have you guessed what it is yet? It’s this:

I Give In

Okay, okay, I give in. I give in. I finally admit it’s the holidays, because this is what we did at chez dim sum this weekend.

It’s a grand tree, and I’m always so happy when it’s up. It’s a faux-real pre-lit Costco tree that is a pain in the behind to fluff and separate the faux branches. However, I’m happy I don’t have to water it daily, worry about my house burning down from the Christmas kindling tree, or pick out pine needles from the rug. The kids have fun hanging their ornaments. Sweetie Boy loves hanging his baby ornaments, especially the Hallmark bears that mark his first, second and third Christmases. Sweetie Girl loves to hang *all* of the ornaments and I have to coax, cajole, then yell to put down the super fragile, breakable ones. As for the Christmas Tree Topper, we’ve had that one since our first Christmas together, so it’s special. He asked me yesterday how we should decide which Sweetie gets to put it on top of the tree. “Easy!” I said, “You get to do it every year.”

Every Christmas, each Sweetie chooses a new ornament and I mark their name and year on it. When they grow up and have their first Christmas tree, they’ll already have meaningful ornaments to put on it. I also buy a family ornament, usually one with a frame, and put in a family picture from the year. We all enjoy looking at the ornaments over the past few years to see how we have grown and aged (that part is not as fun for the adults).

I finished another holiday giftie this weekend too. It’s also another secret, so mum’s the word, okay? It’s for another Sweetie Niece.

Project: Fetching Wristwarmers
Yarn: SWTC Karaoke (wool and soy silk) in Wild Cherry, 1 skein
Needles: Options US size 5s, 2 wristwarmers on 2 circs method
Start: Friday, December 1
Finish: Sunday, December 3

Thoughts: I still really enjoy this pattern and recommend it to others. As for the yarn, I love the long color variations between red and pink. Jillian had warned me she heard the yarn pulled apart easily, and that it did. It happened once, and after spit splicing it together, I was careful not to yank too hard on it. It still needs its bath, so hopefully the picot edging will uncurl a bit afterwards.