Two More!

Given that much of the gift knitting was done and then put aside, my pictures are all over the place. Today I found another photo on my phone that I should have posted yesterday and I was finally able to snap the last knitted gift today!

For my brother's girlfriend I made a little pencil - she's an elementary school teacher. Of course the Lorax wanted it to try out.
I can certainly see making more of these in the future.

Over the last several weeks the Lorax has been taking the knit dishcloths that are all over our house and "dressing up Puppy". Poor puppy, having to wear dishcloths! Santa was kind enough to bring a present for puppy (and I think that really sealed the deal for L!) - a new sweater!


Holiday Hangover

Ahh. December 26. A day I look forward to especially since we have had the Lorax and have a Christmas marathon starting on Christmas Eve through Christmas night for the last 4 years. We travel to see family - and there is a lot of family to see. This year was probably the best yet - the Lorax is excited to see everyone, is social too (as she puts it "I'm going to go talk to some people") and is independent enough that we can let her roam about our location without too much worry. It was a very nice Christmas and we are so blessed to have such a generous family.

And I can finally post about some things that I made for gifts!
A Koolhaas hat for my youngest brother - I love this pattern though it took me several attempts to find my rhythm with the cables. Eventually I will make myself a hat like this. It is so cozy!

A lump of coal (pattern is on the knitpicks website) for my older younger brother, who one year as a kid actually did get coal in his stocking!

A pair of "Bella's Mittens" for my cousin. I had made this pattern earlier in the year as a sample for a class and loved them. I wish I could wear these - they are warm and snug just they way you would like them to be - however, with the lorax I find I do often need use of my fingers, so I don't do mittens too often. My cousin seemed to like them - she's a college kid - so I hope that she does get a lot of use out of them on campus.

Ok, so this isn't knit, it's sewn felt, and it's BACON! :) This was made for Dan and is just so cute and silly I had to make it as soon as I saw it online. I tend to take photos involving Jackson when he's been asleep because then he is quite compliant - seems like many photos lately have all caught him yawning!

And now I can look forward to non-gift knitting. I have several personal projects ready to go, two different samples that I hope to tell you about soon, and I'm considering a create-my-own-sock-club-thing, but that is still uncertain / in the works. Still need to deal with the Christmas aftermath. And I was lucky to receive a few knitting related gifts that I look forward to sharing here on the blog and putting to good use asap. Along with my new snow boots - apparently there is a big storm coming our way today / Monday! We will probably postpone picking Jackson up from his vacation until Tuesday or so due to the storm. He is so missed! The Lorax has been talking up building a snowman for a long time so some snow would be quite nice!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Christmas Wishes

The hustle and bustle are in full swing - I think it is going to be a very exciting Christmas - one that certainly will go by all too fast. If you can, try and slow down and enjoy the good stuff. Things like:
Enjoying a good viewing of The Yule Log (while it lasts - apparently our "Free On Demand" subscription to the Comcast Yule Log has run out?! Makes no sense to me, but we got to see a little bit of it!Anyway.)

Have a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. Homemade if possible. Need a recipe? I mixed up the hot chocolate mix from Under the Table and Dreaming for gifts along with marshmallows from Our Best Bites. Of course I had to sample to make sure it would work for gifts - delish!

Thank an elf! Isn't this great? My local apple orchard / farm market, Bishop's, posted on Facebook yesterday that "Buddy the Elf" was working there! On a whim, we stopped in this morning and asked one of the people working if they had seen Buddy. They said he was around and went into the back to find him. He came out and was adorable. I think Lorelai didn't know what to make of him - she was quite shy, but she did give him a high five. When we got home she found our DVD of "Elf" and said "This is who was saw at Bishop's". Gotta love local businesses!!

Looking forward to posting after Christmas when I can finally blog about things I've been knitting - the recipients do sometimes come across my blog and I didn't want to risk any spoilers! Merry Christmas!!


"Best" and Best Christmas Presents

I was just talking about the Best Christmas presents ever with my MIL the other night at dinner - and then today I read WifeMomKnitter's post about her "Best" presents (cringe worthy!). It got me thinking - Great blog fodder!!

Starting with the Best. The true best gifts ever - two immediately stand out in my memory - the year Santa brought my Cabbage Patch Kid, Garnett Lenore (oy. What a name. Side story - maybe I've shared this before? My uncle used to tease me as a kid that "Garnett Lenore would so become Coleslaw" and I was totally clueless until high school when I finally realized that coleslaw is made from cabbage.) And the year Santa brought a Care Bear - Cheer Bear. Each year those were the specific items I really really hoped Santa would bring and they were left under the tree - unwrapped! so they were the first things I spotted on Christmas morning. I have been pretty lucky with the gifts overall - one year my husband bought me cashmere yarn! What a guy!

The "Best" present that stands out? One year there was an aunt who glued a picture of my face onto a little wooden doll - the sort of thing you would find at a craft-sale / church bazaar. I don't know what she was thinking. I was in my late teens, so it just seemed odd. Certainly there are other gifts that were swiftly donated / regifted / swapped away as Bad Santas... clothes that aren't me, knick-knacks that seem so odd, the random items that make it obvious that the gift giver doesn't know you. And now that I'm a grown-up I can pretty much get the things I want and I don't need more things (though I do like my stuff. no question there. De-cluttering is going to be huge again in 2011.)

Speaking of gifts I should get on wrapping the items that are piling up around the house. And weave in the ends on some projects (and photograph said projects!). I always think there is more knitting time for all the things I want to do - or that I knit faster than I really do. Something needs to be done about that!!


Photo Cards

Originally uploaded by nutmegknitter
There was a surprise photo card in the mail today from my mom. Vintage 1984 "Greetings" from the Children. Circa 1984 - my brothers (who were 3.5 and 6 months) and I (6 and a half). I don't think we've changed one bit.

Wedding shoes

Wedding shoes
Originally uploaded by nutmegknitter
(Nearly Wordless Wednesday)
Found my wedding shoes while cleaning out a closet. Gave them to the Lorax to play with - "Mama, I love your wedding shoes!" :)


Family Photo

Family Photo
Originally uploaded by nutmegknitter
Lazy Sunday. Putting up the Christmas Tree. Good photo opportunity. Of course, when using the self-timer on the camera it is a good idea to take a lot of photos to be sure you get a good one. And then you can also be surprised at what you get. This is my favorite photo - not a perfect shot of our family, but a fun one. Jackson was yawning, not trying to snap at the kid!


Older, Wiser and Way More Active

Yesterday was the Lorax's 3rd Birthday!
We had a jam packed day. Dance class, a coffee break and then a stop at the toy store - she had been given some birthday money and bought some stickers and a Hello Kitty facecloth. A quick trip the library and run around outside. Phew.
My mom came by later with presents from other family members - one of which was this polka dot skirt that she immediately put on (and plans to wear today).
Dinner was spaghetti, her favorite, and I made cake. I think by the time we got to dessert it was all just too much - she didn't want to blow out the candle on her cake - so she enjoyed the sprinkle donut my mom brought earlier.

Happy Birthday to You! Keep on Smiling!


Thanksgiving Crafts

Last week I posted about my Pom Pom Maker - did you guess that I would take a shot at using the pom pom maker to whip up a flock of Pom Pom Toms, like Martha? Here's a shot in progress:
The pom poms are a great way to use up stash yarn if you have it. I used a mix of wool-acrylics / acrylics (think Ella Rae & Vanna's Choice). I will say that it was quite tedious to cut out the scalloped "feathers" - some are a bit pointy.

But the end result is pretty neat.
I gave up when it came to glueing the legs on - I wasn't sure they would stay up and they already look a little drunk as it is.

I also printed up the designs that Jessica of Craftily-Ever-After kindly shared.
Perfect - I was able to swap out some photos and prints in these frames for the more appropriate seasonal ones. Jessica also has ones for Halloween and Christmas!

It was a great day I think - my brothers, SIL and brother's girlfriend came in on Wednesday night and were quite gracious in allowing me to boss them all around. It was smooth sailing on Thursday. We had a little party for the Lorax since the whole family was there -
Three!!! (Just about.)

Couldn't ask for much more!


WIP Wednesday

Originally uploaded by nutmegknitter
Most of my Thanksgiving projects are still in progress (but well organized so there is no fretting about it) and I don't have photos of them yet. Instead I thought I would share this WIP. I picked up a skein of Plymouth Encore that had a great rainbow in it. My LYS had it worked up into a baby blanket. I wanted to see how it worked up - stripey? pooling? - and it is stripey for the win!
The pattern is BabySquared Blanket by WifeMomKnitter. It's a great size and just the thing for almost-auto-pilot knitting - a great break from the cabley project I've got going on and a nice break from the Thanksgiving planning. Another lovely feature? It is free! How generous of WifeMomKnitter to offer up such a great pattern!


PomPom Maker

Originally uploaded by nutmegknitter
Back in the summer I had a gift card to JoAnns - I made a rather impulsive decision to seek out a pompom maker (two actually). I thought I would use them for hats here and there and was pleased that they do actually work. Between yesterday and today I've been cranking them out! PomPoms are quite fun to make and quite the stashbuster for yarn. Hopefully I will be able to show you the end result in a few days, but for now I've got many more PomPoms to make.


Book Lemming

Sara posted that she is a Lemming. Well, count me in that company as well. I have professed my love of books and reading before, but it comes in spurts. I love the idea of this read-along:
YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge
YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge
hosted by The Book Vixen

* Runs January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011 (books read prior to 1/1/11 do not count). You can join at anytime. You can sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
* Read as many YA books that were originally published in the 80s and 90s as your heart desires. The only requirement is that the book(s) have to have been first published sometime between 1980 – 1999.
* Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
* Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine.
* You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them. It is not required that you review the books you read for this challenge but feel free to do so.
* Post this reading challenge on your blog so you can keep a list of the books you’ve read for this challenge. Please include a link back to this post so readers can join the challenge too.
* You do not have to be a book blogger to participate. You can keep tabs on books you’ve read for this challenge on Goodreads or LibraryThing if you’d like (maybe make a shelf for “YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge”). If you are not on either of those sites then you can list the books you read for this challenge in the comments on my wrap-up post, which will be up at the end of 2011.


September Circle

A while back I went up to Boston to visit Theatreknitter in her new place. Lucky gal, she can walk to a LYS, the lovely Seed Stitch. While we were in there, magic words were spoken "Pick out something for your birthday present!" This threw me for a momentary loop since I was completely surprised and I totally blanked on what I might have queued up or been lusting for. I did spy several Crazy Zauberballs that caught my eye. I decided on a red-pink-purple one, Indisch Rosa - pretty much outside my color comfort zone, but really, those colors were so striking! The pretty ball sat on my desk for a week or so and then the September Circle pattern was released - and it specifically called for a CZ!

The cast on was a bit intimidating (join without twisting a WHOLE lot of tiny stitches), but I found it to be a good knit for SnB or tv - rest rows, and the lace pattern was of the auto-pilot type. I think it is a good all around yarn karma that I finished it while on the retreat this weekend with Betsy!
Moments after binding off! Totally unblocked.

I didn't block vigorously - I'm impatient - so a bit of steam from the iron helped to show the pattern a bit more.
It's as big as my couch cushion.

I do plan to wear it like this (and look off at Jackson in the distance)
September Circle - FO!

But mostly I'll fold it in half, put it on and twist it to go around my neck a second time and wear it like this:

I love it, I really do and I expect to wear it often and maybe give the reds and pinks another shot. Now that I think of it - a good portion of the stash I swapped for at the retreat is in red shades. And my Dorflinger Tee is pomegranate pink...

Gratuitous Jackson Shots.

Good boy - he's also doing the "I'm looking at something far away" model technique we have learned watching America's Next Top Model. He might be "Smize-ing", but you never can be sure with a dachshund.

A Wordless Wednesday Story





Manners - Tiny Talk Tuesday

After I got off the phone with my Mom, the Lorax and I were playing playdoh and had this conversation:
L: Maybe we can ask Grammie to come to dance class on Friday.
Me: We did ask Grammie but remember your dance class is on Tuesday and Grammie has to work on Tuesdays.
L: Maybe if we ask nicely she'll come to dance class...

Happy Sigh.

At the end of October I blogged about my Sock Love. My copy of Knit. Sock. Love arrived in the mail the other day! The book is lovely - even just to flip through - I love the layout and organization and stories.
Happy sigh. I want to get this image printed on a project bag or something (anyone do stuff like that? should I just go through cafepress?). It just makes me happy. That and the incredibly cool fact that I am in this book! In the back I am listed as one of the knitters for Cusp.

And just when I thought I was coming off the high of wool fumes, a sample knit arrived in the mail - I am waiting to hear if I can blog about it or not, but it is for Lorna's Laces and this yarn is a dream just to touch in the skein - I am really looking forward to even swatching this yarn!


Knitter's Review Retreat

a.k.a. How I Spent My Weekend with Internet Strangers (but they were Knitters!)

I have been looking forward to this past weekend since July. And, as expected, it just flew by and now it is all over! The Knitter's Review Retreat was a fantastic time - and I hope to become a repeat retreated.

On Friday I met up with Theatreknitter at a sweet yarn shop in Lenox, Mass - Colorful Stitches. Great selection of yarns (and buttons and ribbon!) and patterns. I ended up with St.Denis Magazine #2 for the Juneberry Triangle pattern (and Scrollwork Socks as well as Lullaby Blanket). We drove up to the Williams Inn and what a sight - as soon as you walk inside, WHAM! Knitters!! EVERYWHERE. Excellent.

We checked in a we given a beautiful goody bag - the bag itself is awesome, but it also contained yarn (including Socks that Rock!), notecards, patterns, pins, a stitch marker, soak samples and chocolate!
Knitters Review Goody Bag

Each meal (and throughout each day) was a feast for the eyes as well as the body - so many gorgeous handknits. These knitters are amazing. After dinner on Friday night Clara gathered us all together to share a project / yarn that you love so much you would marry it if you could.
Knitter's Review Retreat #1
Clara is the one on the left in the tiara. :) Like many others there, I could not profess my love for just one yarn, instead I spoke about my Hope & Donald chevron scarf.

On Saturday there were classes offered - I took a "Math for Knitters" class with Ann Budd. Fantastic - I feel much better now about switching up yarns / gauges for sweater possibilities and maybe even trying to make up my own sweater.
Knitter's Math Class

Saturday afternoon we had the chance to shop - gorgeous yarns were everywhere! I got to fondle Quince & Co. yarns - the colors are great and the prices are as well. I was very particular in my shopping - at some point in the future I will buy some from Quince & Co because it really was so great, but I decided on String Theory Caper Lace in a Garnet color (for the Juneberry Triangle!). The colors are stunning and I do wish I could buy all their yarn! We also took a trip over to Storey Publishing - books at 50% off?! Yes please! I added a new-to-me sock book, the 101 Projects for Sock Yarns and a crochet help book to my library. I did finish a project too which was great fun - it needs a bit of blocking / steam - my September Circle.

Before dinner on Saturday, Cat Bordhi chatted with Betsy and I in the stash room (you bring stash you no longer love / need and take something else)! And then she needed a ball winder - we helped! And, OMG - Cat Bordhi used Betsy's ball winder and swift!!
Celebrity spinning

Saturday evening brought door prizes! I won a skein of Briar Rose Fibers Dream Weaver :) The weekend was just full of happy surprises like that - I also got quite lucky in my opinion - I found some Malabrigo in the stash room - some Mal Silky in a carrot orange, Mal Chunky which I've yet to try and Mal Gruesa. And a bunch of Knit Picks that I wanted to try and some sock leftovers.

Sunday's morning included "Yarn Church" where we entered into a commitment union with a new project - mine is the Juneberry Triangle. Also on Sunday morning at breakfast - Ann Budd, Pam Allen and Cat Bordhi were at our table. I don't think I did anything too outrageous to embarrass myself :) Everyone was just wonderful and it was such a great experience. Low key, relaxing, just a whole lot of yarn and knitters and inspiration.


Packing Paralysis

Today I have been trying to get packed and ready for the Knitter's Review Retreat - a weekend full of yarn and knitting! A packing occasion for which it is perfectly acceptable for me to bring "ALL the yarns" and yet I still can't decide. What do I want to work on while I am there? What yarns and things do I want to bring for swapping (without seeming greedy? but it's a great opportunity to share the stash with others!)? What knits do I want to wear? Decisions, decisions. I'm driving up, so there is plenty of room in the car for all the things in my "Maybe." pile.

I will be wearing my new sweater at some point this weekend. (And tonight to SnB. And for Thanksgiving. And many times after that.) I finished Dorflinger Tee by Mandy Moore, from this year's fall issue of Knitscene. Obligatory headless sweater shot:
Dorflinger Done!

I love this sweater. Big yarn makes for a quick project! This particular big yarn is Schaefer Yarn's Esperanza (sadly discontinued!!) in the Pomegranate colorway. There is a subtle tonal variation but it works nicely with the lace here. I haven't bothered to block the sweater and I don't think that I will - I would rather wear it. I find that I do pull at the bottom of the sweater, so maybe it will get a little blocking just to lengthen it a smidge.

And wouldn't you know? The little Lorax who won't wear most of the handknits, wants to be in the photos - look at that pose! When I held up the sweater to show her she thought it was a dress. Would love to try it on her, but I would also rather have smiles and hugs than tears.

Maybe one day I can get her to take the photos!


Zebra Scarf

I started this project, I think, back in September. 2006. I don't know why it was in hibernation for so long - it needed one little leg, 2 tiny ears, a mane and eyes put on, and ends woven in. Last night and today I decided to just get it done.

Zebra Scarf - found in "Vogue Knitting on the Go: Scarves Two" - I think this was the sole reason I bought the book (back when I did that sort of thing. sigh.)

It is seriously cute. The yarn I chose, Plymouth Yarn Oh My!, is really soft, but you totally loose stitch definition when you knit it. And it is a bit splitty. And unravels easily. It's like a chenille-y, multiple-tiny-eyelash-yarns together sort of yarn. Makes a cute project, but I'm not going to buy this again. Not sure what I will do with the leftovers.

Once again, Jackson totally rocks the zebra look.

The purple eyes were a specific request from the Lorax. She mostly approves of the scarf. But will she wear it?


Toddler Flittens

Yesterday when we were playing outside, I mentioned to the Lorax that I will have to make her a neckwarmer for her pink coat (I'm thinking Scallo-pie, Not-a-scarf or just finishing the Zebra scarf). She pipes up that "My hands are freezing!" I told her that I had some handy dandy hand warmers that she could wear - and that they were just like mommy's, only pink. I had been wearing my Fetchings earlier in the day. "Sure!" she says. Be still my heart. We run inside and I pulled out the Sucky Thumb Mitts I made last year.

Of course we had to get right back to playing.

She kept them on! I think she really liked that her fingers were still "free" and able to grab the ball or throw leaves or whatever. Handy tip to put them on? Making the "Thumbs Up" sign so the thumb goes in first into the right spot. They are a little big, so I am thinking about knitting them again in a DK yarn to be a little more snug.

I was blowing raspberries at her to get her to look at me while I snapped the picture and she did it right back at me. We've got attitude, yes we do! We've got attitude, how 'bout you?
Give Life, Donate Blood