Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of Year...

Wow, 2008 just *flew* by. And it's not like there wasn't stuff that seemed to last forever (notably, the US Presidential election)... it just didn't slow anything else down.

So, the "why" of why I'm finishing my FTSC-I #2 socks is so I can start my FTSC-II #1 socks:

JollyPyrate's photo is way better than mine, so I borrowed it!

They're gonna be lovely, but my Sock Club Rule is (thus far) "knit up before the next one comes". Granted, I've missed twice, but, darnit, at least I'm getting socks knitted up!

And, in the random images section, here are some paperclips that showed up on some documents at work that work GREAT as stitch markers on really small (#0-#2) circular needles:

It's great when knitting tools just find their way to my desk.

Oh - and HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Works in Progress

You know my friend D, at work, who does all the lovely crochet stuff? I finally got her wedding sampler off to the framers this weekend. It's been finished since... May? June? As yesterday was her anniversary (SECOND anniversary), I wanted to at least have some progress to show her.

Final pics will follow when it's back.

So, two days left to finish stuff. As of Sunday night (a long Sunday night, capped by my poor Denver Broncos choking horribly in San Diego), I had this much done on my Barbara Thompson Tiffany Wisteria Window:

The whole first panel is completely done, and is the densest, stitch-wise. Hopefully, this will just zoom along and be done shortly. *And* early enough that I actually sleep over the next few nights. (There was a slight problem with "sleep" during Friday evening, which turned into 3am Saturday morning, because I was NOT going to bed until that dratted Hammock Kitty was finished!) Here it is as of this morning - all the dark purple metallic is done (yeah, my wisteria is sparkly and irridescent), and a chunk more of the light purple:

Really, more is done here...

In the likely-to-be-the-first-finish-of-2009 category, we have my Fairy Tale Sock Club I #2 socks, The Fisherman and His Wife:

I'm doning each section of the sock on the first sock, then the second sock. This seems to prevent any trouble with Second Sock Syndrome for me.

I might actually end the year with 55 UFOs - which was halfway from where I started 2008 to my goal of "under 50". Squeal!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A finishing spree?

Ah, the year-end attempts to finish stuff and get it off the list. Usually, it's two weeks of panic, followed by months of wishing I'd done better. NOT THIS YEAR! This year, I totally rock. As of this morning, the UFO count is 56, and there's a shot I'll finish at least one more thing before year-end.

First up, I knitted up a little blue bunny jacket for my mom's Birthday Bunny. She loves all things Peter Rabbit; so, a PeterBunny was one of the 30 knitted during my bizarre bunny-knitting spree. He needed a jacket, though, and look: little (sort of) brass buttons!

Then, off to cross-stitch land, where I finished this cute little came-with-a-magazine Margaret Sherry kit:

Woohoo! The bunny jacket just took a couple of (distracted) hours, so it never hit The List; the Kitty got finished off in one very late night. Yay!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Fairy Tale, of sorts...

Once upon a time, there was a lovely woman named "G", who married a nice fellow, "B". They had a friend who made frequent trips to the farway, exotic land of China. (This is in the 60's; China really was both far away and exotic back then.) B asked his friend to order a dress for his wife, and he did. It was made of sapphire blue silk, and fit perfectly. The years went by; their daughter was able to (briefly) wear The Dress in between growth spurts (sadly, we have no photos of this). Their young niece was able to wear The Dress to the wedding of one of her cousins; there are photos of this, but we haven't tracked them down yet. (Plus, she'd probably kill me for putting them out here.) This year, G and B's beautiful granddaughters were old enough to try on The Dress. Here is S (on the left), and E on the right, wearing The Dress. S is a bit taller, so for now, The Dress will belong to E, to hold for the next generation.


I think it's really cool that someone can still wear The Dress; it's absolutely lovely!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tidings, etc.

Signs of the Season - a collection of photos from around Virginia...

Living Nativity at Calvary Baptist

Christmas gifts, "Before"; holiday wreath at work

Nest in a tree with a wreath, and a really cool-looking PT Cruiser, just because...

More icicles, and Feast Preparation (yum!) and, finally,

Pretty Lights!!

Hope you enjoyed a nice day off, everyone! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Night Before...

A Knitter's Night Before Christmas
~Author Unknown~

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
but I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn, I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both dad and the boys.

And though I was tired,my brain was a bit thick,
I knew in a moment,it must be Saint Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplexed-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I had expected
"move, Ashford; move, Lopi; move, Addie and Clover
Move, Reynolds; move, Starmore; move, Fraylic--move over"
"Paton, don't circle round; stand in line.

Come now, you sheep wool work just fine!
I know this is hard semi, it's just your first year,
I'd hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer."
I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight woolly sheep on my lawn all a'grazing.

And then,in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned round, Saint Nick, I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe
And his clothes were handknit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back,
and his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace,
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable,
And suddenly on one I spied a small label.
SC was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
and I asked "Hey Nick, did you knit all this stuff?"

He proudly replied "Ho-ho-ho, yes I did,
I learned how to knit when I was a kid."
He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself for I'd thought up a plan.

I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I'd laid my needles and yarn for a cap.

He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two;
For the first time I thought I'd really get through.
He put heels on the stockings and toes in some socks
While I sat back drinking Scotch on the rocks!!

So quickly like magic, his needles they flew,
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon
"Next year start your knitting sometime around June!"

(Also: Bonus Version for Quilters here - and thanks to C for posting it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crochets and Knits of Others

Today, I bring you another wonderful crochet project by Deb at work:


It's crocheted. And completely reversible. I wish my camera was better - can you tell that it's made of rings crocheted through each other? It's the coolest thing!!

Also in hat-land, here are Jinjifore's photos of the Star Tam she knitted (both Ravelry links, sorry) - absolutely lovely. I want to make one with all my leftover Fairy Tale Sock Club Yarn. It would be so pretty! Anyway, here are copies of Jinjifore's photos:


She really did a lovely job. There are other versions of the same tam on Ravelry, but the colors she chose really make the design pop, and she did a lovely job!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I just have to add, quickly, that I'm all a-squeal that people are loving their little knitted rabbits. Yay!!

A finish, without proof, and a start...

So, I've really been on a finishing-projects roll lately. To the point that, as of late (really really late) Friday night, I pretty much ran out of small, easy to knit without much thinking knitting projects. Completely out. The only knitting projects that I've started and have left to finish are:
  1. Illusion Dragon Blanket, which is presently about two bulky pounds of yarn attached to two MORE bulky pounds of yarn. NOT PORTABLE.
  2. Secret of the Stole Absolutely lovely - and beaded. Beads don't travel well.
  3. Peacock Scarf Again, lovely. Again, beaded. But with even smaller beads. NOT PORTABLE.
  4. Titania Sweater This would work if I wasn't carefully stitching both fronts (I'm making a cardigan) and the back at the same time to make sure everything matches up well. It could just be a small skein and some needles - but it's THREE skeins, six needles, and more headache to transport than it's really worth. Plus, it managed to lose itself in my house again (I don't know how; I thought all my knitting UFOs were in one place. They aren't.)
  5. Snowball's Chance in Hell Ninja Armwarmers Ooops. These are finished. Thus the problem. See?


    So cute, and just in time for winter!
    Somebody snapped a pic at C's party Saturday night!
    Thanks, whoever you were!!

  6. Forget-me-Not Lace Shawl is the carry-commute project now, but mohair lace isn't the easiest thing on a bumpy train.
  7. Tiger Eye Shawl is a possible. For one, it's out of my Claudia Handpainted Silk Lace, which I absolutely love... but it's a 25 row repeat really openwork pattern that makes my brain melt if I can't pay Very Careful Attention.
  8. Argyle Hearts Sweater ... is running off three skeins at once. Bulky, bulky, bulky. (The yarn, not the sweater. The sweater will just be pleasantly toasty.)
See? That's it. That's all the knitting I've got going. Everything on the needles at this time. And I'm doing SOOOO well not starting things, I'm trying really hard not to do so. But I may have to, just because I think doing lace or bulky all the time will drive me nuts.

Clearly, I need to find my Fairy Tale Sock Club I #2 socks and knit them. Now, where did I put that box?

Oh, there it is..!

How I spent an evening...!

Well, for a brief, shining moment, I had 56 UFOs. One of my cross-stitch pieces, "Welcome Friends", started back in the mid-90s, will never, ever get finished. It's lovely; I'm hoping to find one of those on-line finishing groups that, if they like your half-stitched piece, will adopt it and finish it for themselves. I'd hate to just toss it away, but I know I'm never finishing it, so it came off the scroll-bars on Sunday, and is boxed up ready to ship to its new home, if I can find it one.

As I cast on my first FTSC#1-2 sock this morning on the train (back up to 57), and brought along my size 6 bamboo needles to work so I could cast on the entrelac scarf for my husband (that would be 58), somehow, I don't think that will be the case by the end of the week, now that all the holiday stuff is done (Really. It is. Days early. First time EVER!). On the other hand, hey, I can start two new things and STILL be under 60 UFOs!!!!

Everyone have a good week!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Good Knitting Books for CHEEP!

Did you know that sells knitting books?? I sure didn't - and look, at good prices! (Sadly, I think I've got all the books I want for now, especially since I tracked down the second copy of Franklin Habit's "It Itches!" for my boss... no, wait, I don't have

Knitted Tams yet...!)

Oh, and since seeing it on Subway Knitter's blog, I also want a copy of this:

There's a green sweater in there that's just lovely! My mother had the original book, so it looks really familiar, but it got lost in a long-ago move. Hm. Maybe I should get her a copy for her birthday....!!

And I love this dress:

Seriously, folks - LARGE is an 11/12? And a 30" waist? Somewhere, Marilyn Monroe is spinning in her grave. And - sadly - I have to say the dress looked cuter on the mannequin-that-actually-had-a-figure in the store window than on the website/catalog model. Someone needs to feed that poor child - but she can't eat, or she won't get work. And that, my friends, is part of what's seriously wrong with the World of Fashion. Bless Delta Burke and her plus-sized lingere and swimsuit lines! And, besides... I'm going to make a dress based on the one you see to your left. And it will be knitted, and have boning, and otherwise be adorable... and big enough for a normal adult human female to wear. Yaaaaaaay!!

PS, it has been almost a week since I have knit anything rabbit-related. I have no urge to knit anything rabbit related, either, which is a problem, as I need a tiny rabbit-sized Peter Rabbit jacket. *Sigh!*

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A break from rabbits and knitting

In the post-rabbit reorganization of my living space and yarn, I actually found the Christmas Chessboard (one of the eight things that might be finished before the end of the year, if I could only find it.) I laid it out on the big table at work Monday morning, to see if I could actually get the squares alternate. I think you'd have to have a pretty good memory to actually play chess on it, to be honest; there's not a clear divvy-up of light and dark squares. Checkers would probably work, because you'd just stay on your diagonals... or it might just end up being A Pretty Thing. Whatever, it's hand-pieced, and it'll be hand-quilted, eventually.

I keep not getting much done on it because every time I pick it up, I have to figure out how the heck it all goes together again. Not this time! With the use of technology (a.k.a. "paper towels from the break room"), I was able to keep everything as it should be. I don't know why this didn't occur to me before; I use a huge felt-covered cardboard tube and muslin to keep my other (much larger) pieced things in order. *Sigh.*

Hopefully, I'll get this thing pieced once and for all so I can get on with the (very simple) quilting!!). Because, heck, it would be nice to finish *something* quilted this year, right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Neverending Rabbits, Part III

30 Rabbits in 45 Days or Less - Left Behind: Grey Bunny, Zinger and Peter
Of course, since I made all these little rabbits, I got to keep at least two. The first little grey one is the only white-and-grey I made. This is Grey Bunny (right); the next is Zinger (center). I made her to look like my favorite online rabbit friend, Twinkie. A Zinger is, bascially, a Twinkie covered in raspberry jam and coconut, and was my absolute favorite food when I was six. Since there's already a Twinkie Rabbit in the world, this is Zinger. (Eventually, I hope to get a *real* Zinger Rabbit. The house must be much improved before it's rabbit safe, however.) The tiny brown one is going to get a tiny blue knitted jacket with tiny brass buttons, and tiny brown felt shoes, and be a Peter Rabbit for my mom's birthday, which is coming up.

And finally, FrankenBunny, for my friend Jhada, who likes offbeat things and will hopefully appreciate a stuffed bunny made especially for her. It's a little... different, as you might have noticed. The extra ear is pretty much the clue. Got the idea from Hear-o the Rabbit.

That's it. Thirty rabbits in forty-five days, start to finish. Not too bad. There were, by the end, four white (including Frankenbunny), five light brown, two cream-and-brown, one grey-and-white, one Twinkie-brown, one Twinkie-grey, four dark brown, four grey, one chocolate brown chenille, four bright red and three cream-colored bunnies. And, just in case I hadn't mentioned it before...
I am never doing this again!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Neverending Rabbits, Part II

30 Rabbits in 45 Days or Less - Most of the Rest
Last week, it got serious. A good chunk of the remaining rabbits needed to be handed out in person on Saturday; the rest, minus three (I'm keeping two, and one is for the other half of my writing group here in DC), need to be in the mail by Sunday, at the latest. By Wednesday night, things were looking grim... so I decided to stay up way too late and just finish making and stuffing all the little rabbit heads, since that's one of the tricky bits.

Thursday, I was going to sew all the back feet together, but ended up finishing thirteen bodies completely instead.

Yes, that's a bunch of little rabbit bodies on a dish drying rack. It's okay, the rack, complete with dishes, was sitting next to me on the couch. (Don't ask why the dish drying rack is on the couch. Please. Then I'd have to figure it out.)

By Friday morning, I'd hit desperate. I put the remaining rabbit heads, with enough yarn and fluff to finish them, plus assorted knitted ears, in my bag, to see how much I could get done during lunch. Assuming, of course, that I GOT lunch on Friday. I got this much done:

Bag o' Bunnies

And that was enough. Friday night, it was the Race to Attach Ears. And that went swimmingly. So, here are all the remaining rabbits, minus three, all ready to be shipped all over the country and handed out hither and thither:

Rabbits in bags, to be handed out

Rabbits to be boxed and mailed

Rabbits in Boxes

And by Sunday night, they were all shipped out, along with all my holiday cards. So, but for figuring out how to wrap my husband's and mom's presents without them finding them first, I'm pretty much ready for Christmas early this year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Neverending Rabbits, Part I

30 Rabbits in 45 Days or Less - the First Seven
It's been a big pile of rabbits, lately.

Lots and lots of rabbits. But, slowly - and a bit overdue - they're starting to get finished. The very first rabbit went to my husband:

Then there was one each for my mom (the white one) and my dad (the brown one):

Awwww, they're dancing!!

I made one for each of the nieces & nephew and got them mailed off:

And from there, it just got silly. (Like it wasn't already.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

(Self) Control Issues

Because I hate photo-less posts, here's a photo of "my" tree by the Potomac, that I took in October:

The homestretch is on. The original goal for this year was to have "under 50" UFOs by the end of the year. After great contemplation (and a case of the Must Do Something!!s over the weekend), I realized that I'm never actually doing to do anything else on my Sekrit Projikt (socks). I learned some cool stuff, managed to reinvent the wheel (i-cord! I can make i-cord!), and have, at the end of it all, nice thick socks for shuffling around the house. There's nothing special or cool or unique about them, though, other than I had fun figuring out how to make them - so, I declare them DONE, and, if I stop here, totally machine-washable. So, they're Off The List.

As is SotS-III. The lovely yellow cotton yarn and brilliant beads I had for it... just don't work with the theme. I have much better yarn now (and a really cool idea involving the words "intarsia" and "lace"... we'll see), so I'll start that again next year. (Meanwhile, my lovely yellow will stay in reserve, just in case it'd work great for SotS-IV.) So, it's Off The List.

Plus, yesterday, I showed you those finished socks.

What does all this mean? you ask.

Well, basically, that I'm back to 59 UFOs all of a sudden. I've started 44 things this year, and, one way or another, I've finished 45 things this year. (And eleven of those finished things have been from previous years, too.) I'm just one finished project shy of where I started the year, at 58 UFOs, which is ten down from the year's high of 68. Yep, that's right - but I've actually been finishing projects. I'm pretty sure that the Rabbits of Doom will be finished this week, since I'm sending most of them out THIS WEEK, and people would rather get a nice, squooshy little rabbit than a bunch of tangled yarn and stuffing. And the Ninja Mittens gallop apace - all the fingers are now intact, and I'm just knitting around in graduallly decreasing circles. I don't have the itch to start anything new (looking at the giant bag of Rabbits has pretty much killed that!), and I've got my Forget-Me-Not shawl along with me, just in case I get bored with the Ninja Mitts.

In fact, it's really time to (sigh) delve into the Sixth Circle of Hell, otherwise known as my vastly overcrowded stash room, and go through *all* the projects. It's time to figure out what I'm actually going to finish - and if I'm not going to finish it, get rid of it. And if I'm not going to get rid of it, to finish it. For example: My friends I & M eloped a while back, and I had this cool idea for a sampler for them. It's just NOT working... so I think I'll break down and ask which sampler she'd actually like, and if it's doable, do that instead. ("Doable" = NOT a TW; my pleasantly insane friend K does those as samplers for folks. She also has the fortitude to work on just one project at a time.) After looking at the list, there are 8 projects that are within the "reasonable to finish this year" time-frame (NOT all eight, mind you - but eight that could be done in three weeks). There are also some that... while I love the patterns... will just NEVER happen. These include: (cross stitch) - Tiffany Wisteria Window (1) , Welcome Friends, "Unicorn" ("Night Watch")- not on 32ct black linen, anyway!!, "Angel of Christmas", "Mysterious Spirit Woman", Stoney Creek Chivalry Sampler, and.... and looking through my other crafts, I think I actually *will* finish the rest. But, once I find them (and if they don't cry too loudly at me to be saved), these six are probably going to go away. (I am particularly succeptable to the pitiful cries of projects yearning to be finished, so maybe not.) Until they are actually disposed of, however, they will NOT go off the list.

Sneak Peek at Monday's entry:

...tiny earless rabbits...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yarn. Bad, Beautiful and EVERYWHERE.

THIS JUST IN: Wendy is running a contest to win her copy of Knitting Noro! Go! Comment on the appropriate entry, and be entered in the Randomly Generated Drawing!

If you haven't seen the Colbert Report's segment on Subersive American Knitting and how it's attacking the very symbols of our Great Nation, go directly to the Colbert Nation Archives and watch. (I hadn't thought of passing this on until the Daily Chum did... so, heck, good idea. Here you go.) Ooooo, we crafters. We be BAD.

And knitting is TOTALLY "in", subversive or not: Check out the giant Yarn Ornaments at the Starbucks GW:

And then, down on the waterfront, wreaths on the door:

The wreath on the M Street Starbucks door isn't faring so well - it looks like two of the balls caught on something and started to unravel. On the interesting side, the wreaths are made of actual balls of yarn, not just yarn wound around a styrofoam ball or somesuch. But for the quickly unraveling wreath, I'd have thought they weren't made of real balls of yarn, and they are!

In I want to start it now, but I won't:

This is Danica, from, and Zoe Gladstone's great photo of Jesse Loesberg wearing same. I've been meaning to make my husband a nice fuzzy warm scarf, and I've been hiding two balls of Feza Cyprus Mohair in my desk at work for about a month now. I've also been meaning to try entrelac, and I'm OK with not having two colors to go back and forth (it's really all about figuring out how to do this 'entrelac' thing. So, it's possible that I may snap sometime before the end of the year and start this scarf. I'm hoping I won't, though, for the lowest possible beginning of year UFO number!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stuff I got, stuff I want...

Last Friday, I was released from work and ran to The GAP, where they had one (1) of the sweaters I wanted left in my size. I forked over actual cash, in an amount that, previously in the year bought me four pairs of jeans, a t-shirt and two new messenger bags. I don't buy first-run mall clothes very often, can you tell? But I just had to. I mean... it's ARGYLE. In hot pink, orange and yellow. On a soft heather background. I saw it in the window two weeks ago, and was hoping they wouldn't be gone by the time I got there, and they weren't!! (Plus, in DC - no tax on clothing right now!)

The Sweater

Me wearing same, with halo

In the things-I-want-but-really-just-can't-justify, I think I've found this year's winner: a set of size 1 STERLING SILVER dpns from Celtic Swan. Oh, they're lovely, and they'd be sooooooo useful, since if it's a sock or glove, I and my loose gauge knitting style will be using size 1 dpns.

(Shoulder Devil: "Oh, so pretty!"
Shoulder Angel: "Oh, you so don't need them!"
Shoulder Devil: "OH, SO PRETTY....!")

Fortunately, there's the much more affordable (and practical) Keychain Crochet Hook from Scout Swag.

Although.... my broken G Crystalite could be filed off and drilled.... hmmmmm.... (No, you don't want to know how I broke a nigh-indestructible acryllic crochet hook. You really don't.)

And, just because, today's t-shirt, with the phonecam:

Yeah, I got my Ravelry swag.