Tuesday, November 29, 2011

yarn along

I'm happy to say that I'm in good shape for my family's Christmas get together this weekend.  Last week, I was feeling a bit panicked about finishing my niece's In Threes cardigan in time, along with all of the other gift making and preparations for this weekend.  But thanks to a stomach virus, I was able to stay home for most of last week and just get things done.  Not the way I wanted to spend my Thanksgiving, but here I am way ahead of schedule this week!

(The exclamation point above is my trying to put a positive spin on this stomach bug that hit us right before Thanksgiving and derailed our plans.  Plus, it had four of the five of us sick at the exact same time, making for a sleepless night.  But here we are, healthier now and without the added 5 lbs. I usually gain over Thanksgiving.)

I'm so ahead of schedule that I took a detour to make an owl stuffed ornament.  That first picture above is my unstuffed owl and the start of her scarf, because owls need scarves too.  I had to make one after seeing these.

And I picked up a copy of Buddha in the Attic to read this week.  I had read a positive review of it somewhere.  But I'm not getting hooked, and I don't think I'll finish it.  The story is about a group of Japanese women who come to the U.S. as brides early in the 20th century.  The narrator speaks for all the women collectively and I think that is what has kept me from really engaging with the story.  The collective voice mirrors the anonymity and invisibility the women feel here in the U.S., but it's also keeping me from connecting with any of the characters.

What are you reading and knitting this week?  Thanks to Ginny at small things for hosting another Yarn Along.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

yarn along

Thanksgiving isn't even here yet, and already I'm feeling slightly panicked about Christmas.  My family (including my parents and my sister's husband and children) celebrates Christmas the week after Thanksgiving here at my house.  So that means house cleaned, presents made or bought, and food prepared for my family to come visit overnight.  And it's 10 days away.  It's always a lot of fun, but my heart starts to race just about now every year.

I've got a spreadsheet started that includes gifts and deadlines and I'm off!

I was able to check off the first gift earlier this week.  I finished the Koolhaas hat I made for my husband's birthday on his birthday.  I'm thankful he likes to open presents at the end of the day on his birthday.  And now I'm onto handmade Christmas gift #1 for my niece Brooke.  I'm making her the In Threes cardigan.  I'm second guessing my choice of size--she's a little 1 year old peanut, and I'm making her the 18-24 months size--but I'm going to run with it anyway.  I'd rather the sweater be too big than too small.

I managed to finish We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson earlier this week too.  I really enjoyed this book.  It was suspenseful and engaging without being too scary.  I don't have anything new to read right now because I'm focused on holiday preparations, but I should probably find something light to read to help me relax at night. Any suggestions?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you participating in the Yarn Alongs.  I'm thankful for Ginny at small things for hosting these weekly gatherings and please feel free to leave a link to your knitting and reading here if you'd like.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

yarn along

I realized on Monday that my husband's birthday is rapidly approaching.  So I started making him a Koolhaas (pattern by Jared Flood).  I fell in love with the Koolhaas that Joy at You Know How We're An Art Family made last week, so I was sold on making one for my husband.  The only appropriate yarn I had on hand is a black superwash sock yarn, so I've doubled it up and I'm hoping for the best.  So far so good.  But my goodness is black difficult to photograph!

I picked up We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson based on Erin at Wild Whisper's recommendation.  I love suspenseful stories and Shirley Jackson too.  Her book The Haunting of Hill House is fantastic.

Thanks for all of your recommendations last week on a toddler girl's sweater.  I've decided on In Threes and I'm just waiting for the yarn to arrive.

What are you knitting and reading this week?  Thanks to Ginny at small things for hosting another yarn along.

Monday, November 14, 2011

dans la grande ville

I went to visit a college friend this weekend in Boston, without my husband or children.  It was a wonderful way to catch up with her.  I did miss my family.  But I also really enjoyed my pumpkin martini, mussels, and a goat cheese, apple, pecan, and cranberry salad for lunch.  I dare say it wouldn't have tasted nearly as good if I'd spent the entire meal asking the girls to stay seated, and please eat their food, and please talk in inside voices.

(This is the only picture I took in the city this weekend.  I sent it to my kids so that they didn't think I'd forgotten about them.  Their grandparents took them last year to see the Make Way for Ducklings statues, so I thought they'd find it interesting that I was there too.  Their response, "So?")

While browsing in Beacon Hill, before I sent them the picture--I was still feeling charitable--I found this French Bingo game for them.   I grew up learning some French from my grandparents who spoke it, mostly, when they had something private to say to each other.  And my mother spoke French too.  And my kids are fascinated by languages.

As we played yesterday, lots of words immediately came back to me.  I don't, however, ever remembering that "le pullover" means sweater.  I think that one would be difficult to forget.  But there it is.  The easiest word on the board.  And now I feel I've addressed something knitting related too, so this post doesn't seem too out of place.

Hope your weekend was wonderful!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

yarn along

Forgive the picture this week, please.  I can't decide whether I love that it's overexposed or not, but it's the only one I have, so here we are.

I finished the scrappy linen stitch scarf I was knitting last week and love it.  I blogged about it yesterday.

This week, I'm starting my Christmas knitting.  I'm making my oldest daughters each a pair of fingerless mitts.  They keep stealing mine, and they're way too big anyway, so each is getting a pair.  I'm just making them long and plain stockinette, because sometimes I just don't want to have to think about what's coming up next in the pattern.  I'm using some leftover Malabrigo for this pair.  

And I need some help from all of you.  I want to make my 1 year old niece a sweater for Christmas.  I'm eyeing In Threes.  I'm open to other suggestions, though, too.  I want to make something special for her.  The only stipulation is that it has to be for worsted weight since I've already picked out the yarn.  Please suggest away!

I'm about three-quarters of the way through Made for You and Me.  I'm finding this book interesting to read.  It's a memoir of a couple from Maine who moved west to California to seek greater career opportunities right as the recession was starting.  Finding themselves unexpectedly pregnant, then with a newborn and without work, they must move back home to Maine.  The book examines the idea of "going west" that Americans have--an image that evokes limitless opportunity--with the perceived loss of the American dream brought about by the recession.  

What are you reading and knitting this week?  And thanks to Ginny for hosting another Yarn Along.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

a wool scarf, on a 60 degree day in November

My scrappy linen stitch scarf is done!  What a fun, interesting knit.  I finished this late last week and spent most of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs weaving in the ends.  (Not my movie of choice on a Friday night, but it was the kids' pick.)  I think I'm in a minority of knitters who enjoy weaving in ends--I find it very peaceful--and thank goodness because I had over 50 of them to do.

I used a variety of worsted weight yarn scraps for this scarf.  Some were solids, some were variegated.  I worked most yarns for just about 2 rows each.  I made the mistake at the beginning of the scarf of changing yarns at the start of a row.  When I saw how many yarn tails I was accumulating on one side of the scarf, I realized I had to start changing yarns mid row, and staggering where I did that, to space out some of the weaving in later on.

I wore the scarf this weekend when it was cold and loved it.  It's super warm and just the right length.  But when I finally got around to taking pictures of it today, it was over 60 degrees outside.  In Maine.  In November.  My kids didn't jump at the opportunity, but my oldest indulged me anyway.

::project details::
Pattern: Linen Stitch Scarf
Ravelry page:  Scrappy Linen Stitch Scarf

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

yarn along

What a week it's been!  Between getting ready for the Nor'easter we had this weekend, and Halloween, and more Halloween...well, I'm just glad it's over.  Don't get me wrong.  I loved watching the kids celebrate Halloween, but I'm ready for the decorations to be put away and for me to get back to knitting.  (As my husband tells me, you can't knit and watch scary movies at the same time because you'll miss something.)

I'm bordering on obsessed with this linen stitch scarf I'm working on.  It's knit lengthwise, and I'm guessing it's about 6 feet long.  I've knit a few scarves before and they always seem to take forever.  Maybe because this one is knit legnthwise, I feel like I'm making progress more quickly.  It's already about 4 inches wide, so I'll probably only knit a few more rows before binding off.

I've just started Made for You and Me by Caitlin Shetterly.  I've joined a Maine Women Writers book club at my local book store, and this is the selection for November.  I just wish I weren't so tired when I finally sit down to read at night.  Thank goodness the next major holiday is several weeks away!

What are you reading and knitting this week?  Please share and link to your blog.  And thanks to Ginny at small things for another yarn along.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tendre is here!


My newest pattern, Tendre, is available for sale.  It's a cowl neck sweater for girls in sizes 6/6x to 14/16.  The design was inspired by my daughter who loves a big cozy cowl or scarf around her neck anytime it gets chilly.

It's available through Knit Picks and Ravelry.  Thank you to the knitters who so generously tested out the pattern for me and to Katherine Vaughn for tech editing the pattern.


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