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November 2005
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January 2006

Gifts Revealed

Frances modeling the apron:

The second pair of fingerless Manos mitts:

A Caryl's Kerchief in KPPPM for the godmother:

Our nice time in Carolina incuded visits with several friends as well as Mom, and consumption of many sweets. The Wee C is eager to begin dance lessons now that Santa's brought her ballet slippers and tap shoes (the ultra-surprise guitar's still MIA ~ if it shows, it'll keep till her birthday). He brought me a shiny new blender in which we made our first milkshake tonight. The adventurous Hondo snuck out Wednesday morning for a three-hour tour of God-knows-where, but returned before we had to make him walk a few hundred miles home. Between the great escape and the broken lamp (just the wooden base ~ I should've done a cat-proofing sweep and removed the upended xmas-tree box from the living room), our kitties are no longer welcome Chez Mom. By next year, though, I'll probably know a neighbor well enough to solicit cat coverage for a shorter stay ~
Yeah, it's a lot cozier here by the heat vent!

Holiday Hint


I'm giving this to Frances in an hour or so ~ here's hoping she's strugging with a tree and not surfing the internet. I'll be taking a picture, too, to post for Tie One On. Been meaning to match the timing of that gig and finally did. If you look in the quilt gallery, you'll see that these strips left from my mom's log cabin inspired this project. Also complete in recent days: second pair of Manos mitts. We're off to NC tomorrow ~ happy holidays to all!


Earlier this month Stewart hosted an AlterKnits trunk show at the Yarn Lounge, where I admired the objects and bought the book. Many of her cool patterns called out to me, but one was the loudest at this time of gift knitting:


These are Leigh Radford's lace-up fingerless gloves, in Manos as spec'd, with hand-dyed silk ribbon from M&J Trimming (where all ribbon's 10% off until the end of the month). Already the fourth one is on the needles and past the thumb gusset ~ these babies are quick, yet also so stylin'! Remember that chevron scarf I said I'd started? Well, forget it now, because those two evenly measured balls are gloves 3 & 4, and the blue they were running with may quite likely become numbers 5-8! I love this pattern. Obviously. If only one color of ribbon wasn't back-ordered, I'd be giving them to my three Best Babes on 12/26. Instead, just one will be the lucky gal, but if the others love 'em, I can surely keep knitting them. In my sleep, at this point! These are going to Ida, our weekly sitter, who won't need them on her tropical family vacation, but with winter starting tomorrow, I think they'll get some wear. Oh, you can click here for a close-up of the eyelets and the ribbon ~

Sal's a Star

Saltail0001This morning my goddaughter Sallie portrayed the dragon engaged in battle with St. George  to great acclaim, some of it due to the fierce and fabulous tail created by yours truly. Her school even wanted to buy it, her mom told me tonight ~ but she said no dice because it's already reserved for Halloween '06 (and Halloween '12, when Wee C may be able to carry it off!).

I love an impromptu project, especially a successful one. When Ruth called in a panic Tuesday afternoon, I just told her to go buy two yards of fabric and I'd take it from there. I probably started designing the thing in my head while I was still at work, and I made a paper model while our dinner was cooking. By the time Ruthie stopped at our house on her way home from an evening meeting, I was halfway to the finish line, and enjoyed having an audience. I must give her credit for adding the red rickrack to the purchase, because it truly ties the tail to the headpiece they'd already acquired.  And Sallie herself found this particular cotton, a much better match than the basic canvas I'd suggested.

The first words out of the Lower School director's mouth when she saw Ruth at this morning's performance were Where's the godmother? I wish I could've been there, but it's hard to sneak out of the office at 9 a.m.  Luckily, dad Scott shot some video, so I'll catch a rerun after the holidays. I know my gal Sal's got performing talent*, but I'm tickled that I helped her steal the show!


*Speaking of talented performers, my friend Keenan, an occasional S&B attendee and UVa student, can be heard on tomorrow's  Weekend Edition, now that NPR picked up a story from Monday's Post about their theatrical production, Voices from the Class. (Sister Scottie is quoted in the article; both twins appear in the ensemble piece and in Post pix online.) Tune in at 9:40 a.m., or maybe listen online ~

Edited to add: The media is sexist! They recorded two monologues, and chose the other one to air.  Both are online to read but not to hear, alas ~


Two years ago, at her request, I knitted a hat for my best friend Sarah. (That was the Christmas she gave me sock yarn and a knitmag subscription, the first non-knitter to acknowledge my new obesssion). I offer the pattern up there at the left, since I did make it up as I went along ~ my first design!  But this summer, when she sent me pix of her new nephew and the KPPPM booties I made for him, she also returned the hat.  Turns out it didn't quite cover her ears (that earlier Wee C modeling shot shoud've tipped me off!) and the pom-pon had fallen off. What's a knitter to do? Easy: Grab a ball of Cashsoft Aran at the LYS, pick up stitches, and add an inch or two.


Stewart helped me select the perfect yarn to go with the Classic Elite Wings alpaca blend in a nicely contrasting deep green. (Later when I found an extra  skein of the original yarn in the stash, I wasn't even sorry.) I splurged on a pom-pon maker there, too, despite my fun with offering a how-to tutorial when I made the first one.

I picked up in every cast-on stitch and knit down, continuing the K6P2 but not the cable. And I learned something new with this version, too: the k2tog bind-off, courtesy of Wiseman's handy (& dandy) finishing techniques book. Much better than the standard BO even done in the ribbing. So the revised topper is off to Carolina; it didn't get there in time for the first snow, but should precede the next one!


Cupcakes0002 Have you ever seen a more delectable treat? I wish I could take the credit, but the most talented Heather, a knit-night regular, whipped this up from scratch, with nothing more than an inspiring photo in the 2004 Anthropologie holiday catalog and a variety of yarns and beads. If you'll pardon the background, here's another shot, including the one she added a bottom to at S&B. Wouldn't it be nice to be on her Christmas list? Let's just hope she writes out the pattern for us to knit our own cupcakes next year.

Once she relinquished the [un]baked goods, the Wee C went for the camera, but missed shooting Frances and Janene ~ and this was before we opened more tastiness, the yummy chocolate-covered caramel corn the latter brought:

Cshot0001_1 Cshot0003 Cshot0002_1

Yes, it's a rare S&B pic of yours truly, working on my Manos variation of the chevron scarf from Scarf Style. Later I cast on not one but two additional scarves, and knit until my eyes were bleary. I may be keeping the chevron one, but I started a variation on the Airy Scarf from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, using a wool-cashmere blend laceweight, doubled, for a gift, and a UFO fuzzy-yarn garter one to donate to someone in need ~

Mo' Mitts


I finished the matching pair while it was still snowing, after she & I had a snowball fight upon returning from preschool & work Monday night. That experience taught my girl that mittens are good! Now if only I could teach her to throw . . .  After she went to bed, I crocheted a chain to link them together and through her sleeves, which, surprisingly, she thinks is way cool.

Thanks, Sandy, for inspiring me with the Warm Hands Knitalong. These handwarmers were the perfect use of my impulse-buy Maryland mohair.

That Numbers Meme

Got it from Crazy Purl Laurie, last week, then forgot to post it ~ A little tricky, given that I have my 37 things list. Kinda feels like something for an online dating site, but WTF!

TEN random things you might not know about me:

  1. My MBTI type is INFP.
  2. I am allergic to my cats.
  3. I take insects outside rather than squish 'em.
  4. I'm a serious recycler.
  5. I'm good at standardized tests.
  6. I love to swing on a swing.
  7. I am against capital punishment.
  8. I don't really like television.
  9. I'm left-handed.
  10. I have voted for a Republican once or twice.

NINE places I’ve visited:

  1. Yosemite National Park
  2. Honduras
  3. Ambergris Cay, Belize
  4. Paris
  5. Helsinki
  6. Leningrad
  7. Iona
  8. Jerusalem
  9. Kitty Hawk

EIGHT ways to win my heart:

  1. make me laugh
  2. take me sailing
  3. read my poems
  4. do the Sunday Times crossword puzzle
  5. give me chocolate, flowers and yarn
  6. love my child
  7. kiss me (discreetly) in public
  8. cook

SEVEN things I want to do before I die:

  1. visit Australia
  2. walk on the Great Wall of China
  3. hang-glide
  4. see my daughter grow up
  5. live in the country (in any country)
  6. get a tattoo
  7. complete a poetry manuscript

SIX things I’m afraid of:

  1. poisonous snakes
  2. ticks -- these I DO squish!
  3. motorcycles
  4. breaking a bone -- why I no longer ski
  5. losing my brother or child
  6. the Bush administration

FIVE things I don't like:

  1. brussels sprouts
  2. the War in Iraq
  3. SUVs
  4. Barbie
  5. the Bush administration

FOUR ways to turn me off:

  1. disparage my beliefs (D)
  2. say mean things about my friends (H)
  3. abuse drugs (R)
  4. two-time me (E)

THREE Things I do every day:

  1. Drink a mug of tea
  2. Kiss my sleeping child
  3. read or knit

TWO things that make me happy:

  1. Caroline
  2. the kitties

ONE thing on my mind right now: Ah, this one's a secret!