So this was Christmas...

Whoosh. Another Christmas has come and gone - it was a whirlwind (as always) and went by way to fast (as always) but was a good time & a success! This year we were low key on the side of decorations due to the Little Nutmeg being rather full of grabby hands. We had a pink plastic pre-lit Christmas tree (really) - it was a work prize for DH back in the summer when they moved locations. We had some garland and lights, a few printed signs, and this year we brought in an Elf on the Shelf. There are a zillion ideas on Pinterest, and I made a note of a few, but our elf was less into mischief and more into a daily game of hide-and-seek. The Lorax loved it. Elfie, our elf, is a bit creepy looking, but it makes for fun photos - here's the round up of my instagram shots of where he hid. Elf on the shelf antics 2012 Elf on the shelf antics 2012 (2) Elf on the shelf antics 2012 (3)
My favorite was when the Disney Princesses captured Elfie in a bug box!
Though I did have a last minute flare-up of thinking that I must knit ALL.THE.THINGS. for Christmas gifts, in the end I knit 4 things. My mom had pinned several times cowls on pinterest as a not-so-subtle hint to me. I worked up a Fiona Button Scarf very quickly! Crochet cowl
I still consider myself a beginner crocheter and this was a piece-of-cake pattern.
DIY gold toe socks
I'm calling these my DIY-gold-toe socks, even though the gold toe stripe is really not in the right spot. I started these Cauchy socks for Dan back in March. He had forgotten about them! They were very well received - he has worn them every day after work! I would indulge in the Spud & Chloe Fine yarn again and trying these on for the photo made me realize that I need to make myself some new socks!! I also made Dan a basic guy beanie with Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair that he loved - the hat is ready to go and in his car, so no photos yet. It's snowing / raining now, so maybe tomorrow or the weekend? It seems that winter weather has truly settled in!
Oatmeal the snowman
One family Christmas party involved a Yankee Swap this year. I made Oatmeal the Snowman to go with a gift card. I love this little snowman and will be making myself another one! Unfortunately we had to duck out right after we picked out our gifts because it was getting late with the kids - so I have no idea who ended up with the snowman, or if he was loved. I hope!
In my little nutmeg, we had a nice Christmas. There were yarnie gifts which are great & I am very excited for 2013. I am working on my "resolutions" and what I want to accomplish / try, but for today (and probably the rest of the week), we're recovering - I think we all have a touch of Holiday Hangover and both kids are sick with sniffles / coughs / temps. How was your holiday?


WIP Wednesday

You know Kermit the Frog's muppet flail? That pretty much sums up how I'm feeling this week - tempered with a great deal of numbness, because it is near impossible to avoid the news out of Newtown. Not that you should ignore the news, but it is just so emotionally loaded that it takes a lot out of you.

Anyway, I'm trying to find that balance and not veer towards grinchiness. I've had a few projects just not work out the way I envisioned and they have been put on the back burner until my head clears. My work area is a mess of work related stuff, knitting / crochet related stuff, and I'm feeling overwhelmed by the clutter and my to-do list. I am really looking forward to December 27th or so when I can start to clear everything out and start over!

I've been working on an Oatmeal the Snowman that will be part of a Yankee Swap. I am going to have a rather hard time giving him away - luckily, I believe I will be able to make another one - this first one used up half a skein. I'm working on the arms now and have to do his scarf. Even partially done he makes me happy!

The weather has been so grey, rainy and generally icky, I would be happy to see some snow! This little snowman will hold me over for a bit!
This is my first time linking up to WIP Wednsdays! I usually do Yarn Along, but I'm not reading anything and I do want to make sure I don't let the dust bunnies into the blog!



My heart hurts. I have been a classroom teacher, I have practiced lockdown drills. I am a parent to a 5 year old who attends school. I live in Connecticut, maybe an hour away from Newtown. This feels a lot like after 9/11 - a pit in your stomach and a whole lot of WTF?! This morning when I brought L to school all the parents were saying so much to each other with just eye contact.
Because I don't really know what else to do when I feel this way except to pray and to knit, I've joined a group on Ravelry: 600 Monsters Strong for Connecticut (and Facebook page). The goal is to knit a huggable critter for every child at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. I'm also planning to participate with Fresh Stitches - similar idea, they are looking for knit, crochet, or sewn softies within the next week or so. Stacy is not organizing, but rather she's a great point person to get the information out there - and she has a bunch of great patterns I have had in my mental queue for a while.
Thank a teacher, hug your kids, let's all try to be patient and kind to each other this week. Thank you to the lady in front of me at the post office - she had a pile of packages to mail; I was only buying stamps and had the baby with me. She let me go before her. Pay it forward!


Craftsy: Shoot It! Class Review

Have you tried any Craftsy.com classes yet? I've been grabbing several of the free short videos and have enrolled in a few full length courses. I especially love that once you are in the class it's yours to view whenever! This week I have been able to make a few moments to make my way through Shoot It!

I have been a fan of Caro / splityarn for a long time, back in the early days of knit blogging and I even have one of her camera straps! Listening to her I like her even more - she's really down to earth and presents the information in a very easy to understand way. She discusses shooting pictures for patterns if you are a designer as well as those finished object shots. Each lesson, there are ten, is less than 30 minutes long - that is just right. I was able to knit while I watched, and when I needed to, I could pause, make a note, leave a comment, whatever.
I'll fully admit to being snobby about photos. I've spent a lot of time (and a lot of pixels) on my photos, and for the most part I feel like I am getting decent images. I should put in more to the post-production side and edit them a bit more (that's going to be one of my new resolutions, I will be revisiting Lesson #9: Post-processing). It drives me crazy to see on Ravelry projects or etsy items for sale just awful photos: out of focus, not centered, wrong exposure. I feel it's even worse when the shot is accompanied by a brush off "apology" - sorry for the terrible picture. I've been there. I've put up a bad photo now and again in the interest of time (and never-ending-energetic-children!) but there are instances when I see it every. single. time. Enough. Take another picture. Wait another day! It's worth it to show off your hard work! (end rant.)
Sadly, because I've had to split my time between the usual suspects (children, work, home, knitting, upcoming birthday, and holiday) I have no photos to show right now. I've been making notes as I watch the videos (another pretty nifty feature of the Craftsy classes) and I hope to put them to good use soon - I have some good ideas now for photographing my Lanesplitter skirt and I'm just about finished with socks and a hat that need their picture taken. I give this class 2 thumbs up - if you want to take better pictures, this is a great investment! Did you know that you can give Craftsy classes as gifts? Pretty cool.

Full disclosure - because I have signed up to be an affiliate of Craftsy.com, if you sign up for a class / make a purchase on the craftsy site via one of my links, I get a little bit in return. They offered me the opportunity to take a class of my choice for free, and all opinions are my own.


Here are your angry eyes!

Each time I picked up this hat to work on it, all I could hear in my head was the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 2 (thanks to the all-day post Thanksgiving marathon). "I'm packing your angry eyes!" This hat was a test knit for Cambria Washington. The pattern is well written and there are size options for babies through adults using different needle and yarn combinations. There are several eyebrow choices as well. Nate needed a new hat, and she still needed the toddler size tested! I used Rowan Calmer, which I love - it's got a bit of stretch, and makes for a warm hat. It's the same colors as Nate's Brick Rolled sweater. So, what do his "angry eyes" look like? A lot like his happy eyes, little ham! Eyebrow hat
Actually, the first photo I shot was probably the best, but I didn't have any settings ready so it's very grainy and I'm not going to waste the space on it.
Like his sister, he's got grabby hands when it comes time to wear a hat, so this is not going to ultimately cut it for this winter. This kid still needs a hat that ties under his chin. Or one of those hood / cowl versions.



Phew. After the wild week of Thanksgiving prep, work stuff, and a successful turkey dinner for 11, I'm ready to lay low. Of course, things are sure to pick up speed again with Christmas on the horizon. I've been knitting pieces here and there - I finished my Lanesplitter skirt, and it's a bugger to get a decent photo of. Which is why I'm really excited to make time this weekend to participate in the Shoot It Craftsy class. I've taken a "Photography for Knitters" class before, but I could use a refresher. This is a great time to try out the Craftsy.com classes - this weekend all the classes are $19.99!
Online Knitting Class for Beginners!
I've also bought a Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster class. Once you buy the class you can view it whenever you like! I'm actually saving that one for me to watch in January - I'm planning on working on my crochet skills in 2013 and that seems like a good present to myself! In the meantime I'm avoiding doing much of anything today. I hope to pick up my knitting and swatch a bit. My eye has been wandering to the online yarn sales - and pattern sales!


Vote 2012

Doing our part! The Lorax misheard me today when I told her there might be a line when we vote - she thought I said there might be a lion. Now that would be exciting! She voted for puppies, Nate voted for cookies.
I spotted this on twitter today and it struck a chord: 1)Vote for "your guy", 2)love "the other guy", and 3)pray for both. I am extremely happy this election season is done (though it does mean that holiday ads are going to start up immediately). I am tired of the attack ads, spun facts and nonsense that goes along with it.
Want a flash back? Here's a photo of the Lorax at the last presidential election!
Presidential election 2008



Sandy has come and gone. She destroyed a lot of trees in my town and left a lot of people in the dark for most of the week. It could always be worse and my heart just breaks for the people in New York City and along the Jersey Shore. Connecticut took a beating, no doubt, but we are getting back to normal with minimal wear and tear. I think we may have been more prepared than most, we weren't taking any chances after last years storms.

I thought I would be able to get a lot more knitting done. I just couldn't though - the schools have been closed all week, so with two little ones underfoot and being distracted and exhausted, I couldn't get much accomplished. The projects I planned on were fingering weight - what was I thinking? At night when I finally was able to put my mind to knitting, my projects were all fingering weight! Not the best idea when knitting by camping lantern. Oh well. I did finish one Jelly Bean sock and have cast on for the second. This sock is so comfortable! This is my first time using Spinnery Sock Art - Forest, this is the Grape Swirl colorway. I hope I can push myself to finish sock #2 because I know I will wear these with everything!
Sock 1

I finally got going (after a few restarts) on my Syren Scarf KAL. I'm using The Wool Dispensary Useful Poison, an MCN blend, and it is lovely to work with! In my storm prep, I did print out the pattern but that's not so helpful when you have someone who likes to take the paper. It crumples! It makes noise!
Paper taker
Syren scarf wip

Halloween was postponed due to the storm, but luckily the local apple orchard had a Halloween parade last week, so the little ones did get to wear their costumes.

I did a little bit of Halloween knitting, these eyeballs for a Halloween swap - I found some greeny-grey-zombie-flesh colored yarn in my stash (it might be malabrigo) and I love how they turned out.
Zombie eyes

I also received a special request asking me if I could help make a baby's 1st Halloween costume. Mom wanted the little guy to be Peter Pan, could I help? I am never one to back down from a challenge and I am powerless against the baby knits. I ended up crocheting the hat (from this pattern) & booties (from this pattern) and am very pleased with how they look! They were a big hit! And my small Yarn Pop bag was the perfect size for this project!
Peter pan set
Now I've got to play catch up! Stay safe, stay warm!


Oh Sandy!

Cue up Grease! It seems like not matter where the storm named Sandy actually hits (Delaware? Atlantic City? NYC?), CT is going to feel part of the punch. We're all still smarting from Irene & the Halloween nor'easter of 2011! We are prepared for the worst, but I am hoping for the best. I hope if you are in the path of Sandy you can do what you need to to stay safe! In the meantime, I saw this and thought it was good advice - if there's no power, there's no internet!
What will I be working on? I have two socks in progress, am planning to cast on a shawl project today, I have a colorwork hat in the wings, and a crochet monster in progress. I could also work on the minis. Or maybe I'll swatch, I am itching for a new sweater for me. Both kids need new winter hats too! Do you have knitting plans for the storm?


Pining for Rhinebeck

Oh Rhinebeck. We wait all year to go and then woosh! the weekend just flies by! I had a really great time and consider this year to be a big success. I went with a list and pretty much found what I was looking for: yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery to do a JETS hat (inspired by their modifications to the Icebreaker Hat), "breed specific" yarn (thank you Solitude Wool), and Bijou Spun Sport weight Yak Down yarn. I also received a yarn payment - the same dyelot in a sweater's worth of yarn from Good Karma Farm for the Charleston Tea project. The most fun though was the infamous Rhinebeck Hat! This year, our hats were individual interpretations of the Fiddlehead Hat. I made several tiny pandas for my hat, and tiny mermaids for Virginia's hat.
My hat base was a black sparkle "holiday" yarn with green sparkly fiddleheads to be a loose interpretation of bamboo. Virginia's hat was blue and sparkly with green sparkly fiddleheads for seaweed.
Tiny Mermaids
We made a point to find Miss Mochimochiland herself in the book signing area. I do have her newest book, which she was kind enough to sign. I think she liked our hats - she tweeted our picture! And now, it's back to reality. There have been several sleepless nights as Nate is teething, I'm trying to keep up in an online course I'm taking about web design, there's work stuff, and general life. But, I've got pretty yarn to squish and pet!


Shift Finished!

I am almost done with this year's crazy Rhinebeck Hat - I will probably post a photo on Friday. I can say that both are coming together nicely and this takes the cake for obnoxious, easy to spot, silly, & yet totally appropriate for attending a fiber festival. But this post is about a new FO! I mentioned here that I scored a destash of Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica - it was an assortment of skeins. I had fun pairing them together and finally cast on a collection to create Shift. I started with this: Purple pink
Many rows of garter stitch later, I have ended up with this: IMG_5182
I love that it can be long and chunky, but I can also double it for those really cold days that are sure to come!
Someone came looking for me when I was trying to take a few pictures! IMG_5195
And someone else was trying to snatch a few pancakes leftover from lunch, so I made him earn it.


Charleston Tea, finished!

Just today, I put the Charleston Tea in the mail, to return home at Good Karma Farm up in Maine. I know that I have said it here before but it is worth repeating: I love this yarn! It is a new blend and weight for them, and I am hoping to purchase more at Rhinebeck in a few weeks.
This colorway, which I believe is "Artichoke", was left to do its own thing. I did not bother to alternate the skeins and there was no instances of flashing. The cable and lace portion probably helped to break that up. There is a little bit of striping activity on the hood, but it still looks good.

I am considering knitting this again, for me. Now that's saying something! If I do decide to do that, I will be lengthening the body and sleeves and losing the hood. And those are rather minor modifications. I would also wear a more appropriate shirt underneath.
I love this photo. I can't put my finger on why, because it doesn't show the sweater very well, but something about it works, I think.



Last week was our local country fair. I entered a few items in the "Needlework" division: Juneberry Triangle, a Cow Hat, and the crochet Mom tattoo hat. I was very pleased to see that all of my entries won ribbons!
I have to admit, the competition in the Knitting and Crochet section of Needlework is not all that difficult. The knit and crochet categories are also a little outdated - my shawl was entered into the "Miscellaneous" category. The grand prize of the show went to a quilt.

Today is an overcast weekend day and my plans were limited to getting some house stuff done. I have been successful in that and was very excited when yarn goodies that I ordered mid-week arrived right as I finished putting the cleaning supplies away. This was my first order from Doodlebug Yarns - it came so quickly! Each item was wrapped in tissue paper and there were a few Tootsie Roll Pops. This felt like a swap package, not just something I ordered!
I now have a giraffe small Yarn Pop project bag, two skeins of The Wool Dispensary in Useful Poison: 13th Fairy & Sea Kelpie for a KAL on Ravelry. I am really looking forward to some totally selfish knitting!


Yarn Along - Sept 19 (and Winner!)

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?
Yarn along It has been a week of light reading - mostly flipping through magazines while grabbing a quick bite to eat. In this pile you will find Everyday Food, Whole Living, and Crochet Today! (research!) I've also been reading the blog comments for the So Pretty! Crochet giveaway - I've gotten some good tips and a few good ideas! I'm still working on my for-hire projects. The Charleston Tea sweater for Good Karma Farm is so close! I have a few more rows to go on the hood, then I will seam it and then, on to the button band! I even have the buttons all set and ready to go. The other project is a bit of production knitting and it is just not going as fast as I would like. One stitch at a time, I'll get there. So, who won the So Pretty! Crochet book? True Random Number Generator Min:1 Max:17 Result: 7 Powered by RANDOM.ORG That would be YOU, Wife, Mom, Knitter! I will get the book to you ASAP! :)


Braids and Cakes and Stripes

A gentle reminder - there are a few more days until I draw a winner of the So Pretty! Crochet book! Leave your comment on that post for a chance to win!
I am having a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that we just had the last weekend of summer. I remember thinking in June that, at the time, it seemed like the summer was going to stretch on forever. All of sudden it seems a switch has been flipped. The weather is stunning. At night temperatures are just cool enough to have a window open and use a blanket. I'm wearing socks again. My oven is being used more for baking sweet treats. I look forward to having a hot cup of tea in the afternoon and after dinner. This weekend I also accomplished a baking a loaf of banana bread and I braided my hair!
That may be an odd thing to blog about it, but I am so proud! For my entire life I have wrestled with my lion's mane. Seriously. I have massively thick hair which is a blessing and a curse. For me, it doesn't work to just leave it down unless it has been cut / layered / thinned. I am well overdue for a cut. When I was a kid my mom or one of my aunts would frequently french braid my hair. I have never been able to do it on my own. I think I just gave up too quickly when my arms tired. I tried again yesterday and it worked! DH even noticed with the comment of "That looks intricate!" Bonus points for me as it stayed in ALL day - I did hairspray it quite a bit when finished, but that plus 4 bobby pins are the only things holding it up!
I've been busy knitting on two knit for hire sample knitting projects. They are going well, but I can feel my hands start to itch for something else to knit. I have two socks in progress that I would love to pick up again and the Rhinebeck hats. Within the last week I have queued three patterns on Ravelry, all variations of a stripey scarf / cowl, and I just can't stop thinking about them. Next to polka dots, I think bold stripes are my favorite. Did you happen to see Simple Sprinkle, Sen-Sen, or Shift? I am thinking about doing the Sen-Sen in two colors of Silky Wool (magenta and a dusty pink), but I need to check my stash to be sure I have the right amounts. For the Sprinkle or Shift, I am thinking about using up a mish-mosh of Manos that I scored in a destash. All the yarn came caked, so I have no idea of colorways, but I have been having fun putting them together. What do you think? Rainbows are always great:
I do love blues-with-a-hint-of-purple:
I also love purples-with-blues:
Or I could step out of my usual colorway zone, and go with purpley-pink:
Purple pink
What did your weekend hold?


So Pretty! Crochet: Review & Giveaway

Hello! Gracious, where does the time go? When I got in touch with Amy about her new book, So Pretty! Crochet, many many weeks ago (ouch!), I had the best intentions of getting this giveaway up and running. I appreciate her patience as life has taken over here. I love back to school time for the fresh-start feel and that is what I intend to do here with my blog.

In the last 3-4 years I have been working on my crochet skills. I have the basics down and have a few finished items under my belt. I do not consider myself a newbie, though I do still rely heavily on reference materials as I work a project. When I first flipped through So Pretty! Crochet, I found many projects that I wanted to try! The styling and photographs draw you in and you really will say "Oooh, that is so pretty!" Among the 24 projects, there is a nice mix of accessories, small wearables and home decor. The projects are all current and trendy. The projects are designed by indie designers, and each pattern in introduced by the designer with links of where to find them online at their etsy site, blog, or twitter. The materials used in the projects meet a range of price points. I decided to give the Windowpane Cuff, by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, a try. This pattern has written and charted directions (awesome - for whatever reason, I am getting the hang of crochet charts much easier than the written directions! Knitting charts were not this easy for me!). I used some leftover Koigu sock yarn. I think it took me longer to decide on buttons than it did to actually work up the cuff! I am pleased with the results. I can see where I can still improve on my crochet skills, but that is expected! It fits Lorelai's lower leg quite well (the things we do for a good picture sometime!) and she kept it on for a while - fancy dress up, tah-dah!
This is a hardcover book and I love the sturdiness and beauty that adds, but I do wish it was spiral bound to help the pages lay flat. I also wish more projects from the book were up on Ravelry, certainly in time that will happen. You can look inside the book on amazon. This book does have basic instructions for crochet techniques which is handy for someone like me, but it is not a "Learn to crochet" book.
In the meantime, I am thinking about trying the I-cord bracelet (crochet i-cord! I never knew there was such a thing!), and I am wondering about the Pastelito Necklace (the bottom picture on the designer's blog) using some of my sock yarn leftovers.
Amy very kindly sent me this book and one to giveaway! Please leave a comment on this post (I have changed the comment settings, so everyone should be able to comment!) - Do you crochet? Do you have a crochet tip for me? Make sure I am able to get in touch with you if you win - an email or Ravelry id. I will draw a winner next Wednesday, Sept. 19.


It's all coming together

I am just about caught up. I think. Last week was thrown for a loop as party preparations took over. We went with a "Hungry Caterpillar" theme (and as themes go, it was a loose one) and this was a very DIY party for Nate's 1st. Caterpillar balloons IMG_4972
It was a good day, we had a good time, and afterwards I was exhausted. For several days. Party clean-up, catching up on a few loose ends, and then Nate came down with another bug of some sort. Lorelai's energy has been exponential, and trying to keep up with her is a whole other sporting event.
I have to get the buttons of the cuff I made from the "So Pretty! Crochet" book and then I will really be ready for the review and giveaway. I have one sleeve done on the sweater for Good Karma Farm - it is going to be so hard to send this sweater back. I love it! I have a new skein of Sock Art Forest from Green Moutain Spinnery all caked up and ready to be cast on once a few other things are set. It's always something, right? Grr.



The days may be long, but the years are short. Truer words are rarely spoken. I can't believe that already a year has passed since the little nutmeg arrived.
For the record Nate, here's a bit about you. You have 8 teeth and molars are coming in. Your balance is getting to be pretty good, and you are really good at cruising, but you don't seem interested in walking. You LOVE shooting mommy a sly look and crawling away to do the stairs. Which, by the way, you mastered going all the way up in about 2 days. You adore playing with Lorelai and she is a really good big sister to you. You are starting to get picky with food, and you will point to something you want and smack your high chair. No big surprise that you don't talk much - Lorelai does enough for both of you. When she isn't around you do babble and are verbal, and your words right now are Da & Ja. You love to play on the piano, the music cube, and when we listen to music at dinnertime, you "raise the roof"! Happy Birthday, my little guy! Love you!!


Yarn Along - August 15

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~
I finally finished The Body In the Library.  It was good, but not one of my favorites.  Maybe because I slogged through it, which is unusual. Just this morning I began reading Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.  To me, this is The Walking Dead crossed with Downton Abbey.  I've also been taking a closer look at So Pretty! Crochet, and I have a project that I need to block! I hope to have a review / giveaway on Friday, so please check back. I should tell you - if you have a kindle, and you do not want to wait for a giveaway, you can get the e-book version for $2.99 for a limited time! What a deal! The purple sweater is the Charelston Tea in the Good Karma Farm yarn. Still totally in love with the pattern and yarn! I am just a few rows away from the bottom ribbing, then on to the sleeves / button band / hood. It is coming along nicely, I think.  

This past week I also finished my Modular Relay event - I knit up 19 hexiflats from the Muppets vs Sesame Street mini-skein swap.  I had to gather everyone around for a photo shoot. 

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