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Archive for knit/crochet

100 hats

I signed up for the October Mondo Beyondo course, and it feels like I’m already jump-starting my life. Sometimes all it takes is one small step to get me excited and engaged again.

Here’s one of the items from my list (not everything on it is “visit Australia” or “stay on a houseboat”): knit 100 hats. One of my classmates pointed out that I could start that one right away, and she was right, because I actually have a hat on the needles as we speak.

So I registered a domain name: For now, it’s a blank page, but I think Hat #1 will be up there by the end of the week.

yes, i blew it

So I failed 2008 NaBloPoMo. That’s fine, as long as I don’t fail Thanksgiving. I’m making my second-ever bird, and I did some last minute shopping for food items — butter, onions, potatoes, crackers, cheese. (The last two we’ll need because we’re waiting until 3 pm to eat the big meal. Moon has to work.)

All I really want to do is knit, but I’ll get my chance to do that Friday during our big car ride to Sis #2’s house. I’ve been making lots of little things for an upcoming craft fair: 3 moebius scarves, 4 hats, a bunch of coffee cozies, some small felted bowls. And I’m still cranking out the small stuff. It’s very rewarding to use up extra yarn I’ve had sitting around. Of course, it makes me want to buy replacement yarn, but I’m resisting that temptation so far.


I can’t remember if I mentioned that Moon had a job interview yesterday and was hired on the spot. Her training started right away (last night), so I ended up running around with her trying to get a work permit and not being able to find her social security card, then going to the social security office to apply for a replacement, but having everything work out despite not being able to go to see “Role Models” as we had originally planned. (Peter, who was with us, wasn’t too happy about the turn of events. We’ll try again.)

Today I had swimming lessons and did a small amount of shopping. I’ve been collecting yarn for afghans lately. Acrylic stuff to crochet. I worked on my prayer shawl this afternoon and got quite a bit done. We caught the end of the Wisconsin/Minnesota game on TV. Moon was there in person with Brooke’s family, and seemed to have a good time despite the way the game turned around in the second half. The Paul Bunyan axe stays here. Woo?

And that’s about it. I think I’m back.

no more bricks

I’ve had two good nights of sleep. Last night I didn’t even have panicky feelings when I went to bed. So this is a huge improvement. I overslept a little (until 7) but was perfectly alert for swim class at 8:15. And hey, I’m getting better at this propelling myself through water stuff.

I feel incredibly good, but I think part of it was because I felt so bad before. Like, it feels awesome when you stop being hit in the head with a brick. Not that there’s anything unusual about the “not being hit in the head” state, just that the constant whapping was really annoying and demoralizing and it hurt.

This afternoon is Moon’s master class, which means I get to listen to lots of rock songs (over and over) and knit. Should be entertaining. Right now Moon and Pete are listening to the playlist. There are some pretty ambitious songs on there. Mostly I’m looking forward to hearing Pete sing lead for the Jackson 5 song.

In other news, our church is having a craft/harvest sale the first week of December, so I’ve been knitting hats, felted bowls and coffee cozies. I haven’t taken any pictures of them, but it was good to have some small projects that didn’t demand much thought.

I have a few projects that need ripping, but it’s a bit scary. I’m not sure where to start. Should be interesting, though, and it’ll be nice to have the yarn.

crochet on a snow day

Prayer shawlYes, I finished my Tunisian crochet prayer shawl — and I’ve already begun another one. (Pete helpfully agreed to demonstrate the finished product before it’s donated.) During Sunday’s ice/snow extravaganza, we were all confined to home for the day. So I dug out an old project and am attempting to revive it. I had made 49 small solid-colored granny squares, and decided at some point that I needed to stop. Now I’m bordering each of the squares in red, and I plan to join them into a lap blanket. Or it might be a dog blanket. I don’t know. At least it’ll be out of the UFO bin.

In other news, did you know Wisconsin has had a record-breaking snowfall this winter? Yeah. There was also this thing where about a thousand motorists were stranded for about 10 hours on a stretch of I-90 right outside Madison. It’s been interesting, and I can hardly wrap my mind around spring being a month away. It seems like a faraway imaginary place.

tunisian crochet rocks the casbah

Tunisian crochet pillowI haven’t even shown pictures of my Christmas haul, but one of my favorite gifts was a Tunisian crochet hook, personalized with my name burned into the side. I didn’t even know how to do Tunisian crochet, but it looked interesting and I love to learn new stuff.

It turns out that Tunisian crochet is very easy, fun AND looks great when you mix random yarns together. Which makes it a perfect stashbuster for all those little quarter-skeins of leftover yarn that tend to pile up over time.

After a few practice swatches using cheap acrylic, I gathered up some of my favorite leftovers in the purple family and tried my hand with three-color Tunisian. Basically, you alternate three different yarns and it creates a variagated effect very easily. Most of my yarn was already multicolor, so I was a little afraid I’d end up with a monstrosity. What do you think? I love it.

In fact, I was sad to finish. My mind wandered to the ever-present Lion Homespun prayer shawl project. I’ve made three prayer shawls for my (new thought/new age) church to donate to people in need of support, but I can’t say any of them were all that fun to make. For one thing, Homespun is a pain to work with – it’s very splitty. It’s our yarn of choice because it’s: (1) inexpensive, (2) readily available, (3) looks nice worked up, (4) very easy to care for. My two Homespun traditionally-crocheted shawls were slightly wonky because it was hard for me to keep track of where the loops were. I’m also not the best at keeping the sides straight. I knitted my latest one because I’m faster and more skilled with knitting than with crochet. Except it was so slow and boring that it took me at least twice as long to finish.

Prayer shawl in tunisian crochetI decided to rip out the few inches I’d completed on shawl #4, which was languishing in a plastic bag. Then I started working it in Tunisian. And look! It’s only been about a week, and I’m more than a fourth of the way finished. It’s so addicting that I keep picking it up even though I have socks to work on. What’s especially impressive to me is that the shawl is my at-home-only project, so I’ve made progress without car passenger time or waiting in line time.

Today’s another busy day in a long line of busy days, but I had to take the time to tell you about my latest obsession. And so it goes.

passing it on at starbucks

This morning, I had a happy surprise at the Starbucks drive-through. The person ahead of me had paid for my drink … after having her drink paid for by the person ahead of her and so on. Already, 10 cars had passed the good will on.

Of course, I paid for the order after mine. And since the barista from last winter seems to have moved on, I gave the barista at the window the knitted handwarmers I’d been carrying with me. She seemed very pleased and surprised. It was the perfect complement to the acts of kindness already in progress.

knitting update

Felted slippers afterThis is what I was knitting when we went to the So You Think You Can Dance performance a few weeks ago. Moon needed some new slippers, so I decided to try out this pattern from Craft magazine.

I had leftover wool from several other projects, and it worked out perfectly for this pattern. The whole thing is knit flat, in garter stitch. Couldn’t be easier. The fun comes when you fold the knit fabric and stitch it together to form this very elfin-looking footwear. If Moon hadn’t liked them, I’d have gladly kept them for myself.

I’ve been doing other knitting, too. Right now, I’m working on socks for my nephew — who admired the socks I had made for Sister #1. I felt pretty honored that he’d ask for such a thing for his 9th birthday.

FantineIn other knitting news, I finished Fantine some time ago, but hadn’t attached the collar button. I finally got around to it this morning. This is my self-portrait shot using the time honored technique of: hold the camera an arm’s length away, point randomly back to yourself and shoot. There’s another goofier picture that shows the sweater more clearly, but I didn’t feel like posting it here.

I really like the teal color, and I just realized it’s very close to what I chose for my Juliet sweater (which is on the queue for after I finish socks and more socks).

Also, I ordered one of the bags I had lusted over earlier. It’s on back order, sadly, but I should have it before Christmas. Can you guess which one?

knitting update

Thrummed MoebiusThis is my latest finished project, and I made it in less than a day! It’s a Thrummed Moebius, from a kit I purchased at a buy/sell/trade site that is no longer online. I was inspired to take it out because I was itching for a project to do on big needles, but I had no idea how quickly it would go.

Of course, Moon’s master class helped. I had four hours to just sit, listen and knit.

Here’s me wearing it this morning, and a back view.

I’d have had no trouble selling it right off my back.

Shibori pillowThis project was a bit more experimental, and I wasn’t quite as thrilled with the results. But at least we have a pillow that is sturdy enough to stand up to the abuse typical for items in our home. I wanted to try shibori felting, and this was a quick, inexpensive ($12) way to do it. If I do this technique again, I’ll make sure the buttons aren’t so small they can sneak out between stitches. And I’ll check the progress more often to prevent over-shrinkage.

Right now, I have a scarf in progress, a pair of yoga pants on hold, and my ever-present blanket squares. Some people have dozens of partly-finished projects, so I don’t feel too bad about looking around for more stuff to start. Socks for sure, a sweater for maybe.

elvis, rendered in yarn

Knit ElvisIt’s true. Someone has come up with a pattern for a knitted Elvis. (And a knitted Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn …)

Carol Meldrum is the author of Knitted Icons and I have a feeling I’m going to have to get hold of this book so I can help Moon complete her goal of an Elvis-infused bedroom. Seriously, how fun is that?

Of course, I’ve got many other projects queued up first. My nephew admired the socks I made for Sister #1, so I’m going to try and make him some for his birthday. I’m already working on a scarf, I’m planning socks for SpiritMan and Moon, and I was thinking about trying to knit a sweater this month. If only I had a day every week to devote completely to knitting and only knitting. Tomorrow is Moon’s master class at Good ‘n Loud, though, so I should be able to accomplish something while I’m listening to the kids and SpiritMan rock out.


RainycloudHere’s a recently finished project, which is now adding some personality to my cube at work. The pattern is at the MochiMochi Shop. I don’t often make toys, but I just might have to start making more because this one was so fun to put together.

My boss thought it was a sea creature, though. The suggestion was to add a lightning bolt to make the cloud more obviously a rain cloud, but I’m thinking that would be too menacing. And this little guy looks sweet and harmless, right? The kind of cloud that nourishes our plant life. Or something like that.

Now I’m finishing up a felted pillow. It shrank a little too much, but it’ll still be useful. And so sturdy, I might even put it on the sofa, where it will most certainly be squished and thrown around and left on the floor. And collect dog hair. (Okay, second thoughts now.)

i’ll be at the house of blues

Tonight I’m going with Moon and two friends (Brooke and Matt) to see Nightwish in Chicago. Originally I was going to drive and chaperone, but Brooke’s dad said he’d drive if I’d endure the music. (Kidding! I actually like Nightwish. They are like Abba, if Abba were heavy metal.) Should be fun. I wonder if the kids will dump me as soon as we get in the doors. They’ll have to if they plan to push their way up front and dance with the sweaty masses. We shall see.

Brooke’s dad will probably read a book during all the excitement. I’m super relieved that I won’t be driving, because I’m not the best at finding my way around Chicago, and I won’t have to worry if I nod off during the 3-hour trip back home. Plus, I can probably get a lot of knitting done during the drive down there.

Currently, I’m working on two projects: a felted shibori pillow modeled after KnitPicks’ Sticks and Stones pattern, and a scarf using Fleece Artist Sea Wool. Easy, repetitive stuff. I bought Zephyr’s Juliet pattern but I don’t have yarn for it yet. I also bought sock yarn so I can make socks for both Pete and Moon. Lots to keep my hands busy.

my new favorite throw pillow

Striped pillowThis is my latest finished product — I added the buttons last night. It’s based on a pattern I saw in Greetings from Knit Cafe, and I used various leftover yarns to make it. The only thing is that I don’t want it to be tossed on the floor, or be drooled upon by the dog. So my pillow might not get to live in the living room for a while.

In other knitting news, I made a pair of Monkey socks for Sister #1’s birthday, but I forgot to take a picture. Moon picked out the yarn (from Fleece Artist). It was awesome to knit with.

actual knitting content

Not so cooperative Scarf model

I finished this scarf a few weeks ago, but Moon wasn’t eager to model it for me. That’s why I needed a stand-in. Unfortunately, this particular scarf model doesn’t quite understand what the camera thing is all about, and requires pretzels to keep her in one place.

Also, she sheds.

socks, socks, socks!

For my sock palThe socks I made for my pal are long gone (mailed Aug. 2) – but here they are.

My own socks arrived from Lucia yesterday. So fun to get a package in the mail! She had put some extra goodies in the toes of the socks.

From my sock palShe worked on them on vacation in Maine, which is why she selected the postcard (as she doesn’t live in Maine). The crystal heart is really pretty, and a favorite shade of green/blue. Of course, you need a close-up of the socks in action.

Coolest toes everCan I just say how much I like these? Not only are they an original design, but they feature awesome ripples that create a really neat effect around the toes. I’m in awe. A perfect fit, and it looks like she used smaller needles than I usually do for socks. (To me, that’s a sign of great skill.)

This was my first Sockapalooza, and it was a lot of fun. I just hope my sock recipient likes the socks I made as much as I like the socks I received.

for my sock pal

In progressI haven’t written much about it, but I’ve been hard at work on my Sockapalooza 4 project. My pal says she has big feet, so I’m doing lots of repeats of this pattern. Which is actually quite fun. (It’s Monkey. A truly addicting sock.)

Anyway, I’ve been bringing Monkey Sockpal Sock with me everywhere I go. I might actually finish it before the deadline in August! The yarn is lovely to work with. Cherry Tree Hill. Yumm.

a bit of calm

FIL is home safe and sound, and the snow has stopped. Moon is getting better (she was sick and missed school Thursday and Friday). The weekend with Matthew Fox (theologian, not actor) is a memory – Pete was a major part of the planning, so preparations had occupied us in one way or another for months.

I haven’t neglected my knitting. Here are a few quick snapshots of recent finished projects:

Felted boxCrocheted bowlCrocheted bowlLucy bag

Peekaboo fingers at workMosaic socksJaywalkers!

getting ready

I’m surprisingly calm, considering I’m about to head into the fray of convention management for a week. (A 5-day work week, that is.) Today was Packing Day, which involved various lists and containers. (I’m bringing Bammo ingredients, Bammo being my daily lemon-maple-cayenne water beverage. Pete renamed it because he thought I might like it better with a catchier name. It worked, because I actually do look forward to it.)

I also ended up buying a few outfits, because I have so little that (a) fits, (b) is businesslike, and (c) was purchased in this century. But I caught some awesome deals, so it wasn’t as expensive a proposition as it may sound.

In knitting news, I made a set of handwarmers for Moon, from a pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. They were very quick, actually.


A few weeks ago, I finally made myself some socks out of the yarn Sis#4 gave me for my birthday in 2005. (Or was it Christmas a year ago? Either way, it was a while back.) I had made a water bottle caddy out of the skein earlier, but had more than enough for socks as well. Gotta love gift yarn!

I’m going to bring yarn and needles for my second Jaywalker sock with me this week. I made the first sock eons ago, and never got around to casting on for the second one. Mostly because it was knit on size 1 needles, and I much prefer doing socks on size 2 or 3.

Of course knitting stuff had a prominent place on my What to Bring list. I’d go through withdrawal without it.


Water bottle caddy

Yes, I’ve been knitting (and crocheting), but mostly just little projects that I can finish quickly. Well … this water bottle caddy wasn’t super-quick since it was knit on US2 needles. But it’s cute and useful. One change I made to the original pattern was to put the pocket on the inside of the strap — seems more secure that way. I also made a bib for my 1-year-old niece and cute cabled footies (sucky photo, though). I’m still making felted bowls and coffee cozies with my bits and pieces of yarn.

In other news, I’m having new lenses put into my old glasses frames. I get bored wearing the same pair all the time. Apparently there’s some funky new technology for old people glasses (i.e. ‘progressive lenses’ — which sounds like they’re in favor of socialized medicine or something), and I’ll love the results so much I’ll want to switch up my other glasses, too. Yahoo.

where do i start?

Geez, I’ve been busy. I’m working on my probono stuff, I have a few clients … and I have a new part-time job. It’s very cool. I’m a virtual employee, using my laptop and phone to connect with the virtual “office.” After only a few days, I’ve learned quite a bit about the tools that are available for this kind of thing. The bonus for me is that I get to keep my flexible hours and independence, while making some predictable income. The kitchen table is my desk. And I can work in my PJs if I feel like it.

In other news, I’ve been knitting and crocheting. Did you have any doubt?

Nine Patch

Check out my Mason-Dixon Knitting-inspired Nine Patch washrag. Man, I’ve been making a lot of washrags. We have a whole collection now.

Brown/pink cozy #1

I’ve also been making stuff like this to sell in my Etsy shop. I was commissioned to make moebius basket, and it was fun to create something special for someone I’d never met. (If you want to catch up on the full year’s knitting, just check out this page.)

We’ve been spending some time at the Farmer’s Market (at least when it’s not scorching hot outside). It’s always fun to see the genuine produce, and now the sweet corn is here.

Lost branch

Yesterday we saw a few casualties of the midweek storm, including this sorry appendage. Sleep has been a bit rough to come by this week, since the kids are staying up later and later, I’ve been afflicted with a nighttime cough, and thunder is loud.

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