Thursday, December 29, 2011


…"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
 The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
 Beware the Jubjub bird,
 and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!"

 He took his vorpal sword in hand:
 Long time the manxome foe he sought --

 So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
 Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
 And burbled as it came!
 One, two!One, two!And through and through
The vorpal blade went snickersnack!
 He left it dead, and with its head
 He went galumphing back.

 "And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
 Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day!Callooh!Callay!'
He chortled in his joy. …

Lewis Carroll (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

My last contribution to The Unique Sheep's Wonderland Sock Club:
This is what happened when I sat down to knit while thinking about the Jabberwocky from the Alice in Wonderland Movie. Personally, I think it fits pretty well....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review

                This is the 2nd book of the C.H.A.O.S Trilogy. I confess to not reading the 1st one, as I received this one from Book Sneeze to review. That wasn’t a big problem. There’s a little comic strip section in the front of the book explaining the background of the story. It is a fun little inclusion.

                This is definitely a Young Adult book- and in a lot of ways, it might have been better to continue the whole thing as a graphic novel, because that’s really what it reads like.  There’s not a lot of character development; there is a lot of stuff that is way out there and difficult to believe in the way the characters act and react.  It’s very much an action book, not big on description.

                Basically, Colt is a teenager (around 16, I guess, it never was clear) that is newly orphaned and living with his Grandpa, who apparently is a famous superhero immortalized in comic books. He and his two friends are on their way to the CHAOS Military Academy- although for some reason Colt is also being pushed as the successor to the CHAOS Directorship. (Which makes no sense to me, as it is obvious through the whole book that he’s a young, clueless kid- and no government agency is going to be run by a clueless teenager. A bit too far-fetched on that one for me.)  In the meantime, the current director of CHAOS has hired an assassin to get rid of Colt.  There’s some background stuff going on to fill things out nicely, but that pretty much sums it up.

                It was a quick, fun little read. It did hold my interest quite well, even though some of it was a bit far-fetched. All in all, it was a nice distraction; and probably a great book for teens.  


I love this time of year. I love that family gathers together often during the last 6 weeks of the year. It seems like the perfect way to end one year and start another- by being together.

And our families have a lot of reasons to get together and celebrate during the last weeks of the year. Not only do we have Thanksgiving and Christmas to enjoy- but there are a lot of birthdays this time of year as well.

Even though today is the actual day of her birth, last night our family joined with Joel's brother's family to celebrate the birthday of my beautiful niece, Sylvia, one year ago- as well as a brief Christmas celebration.  We all had a most wonderful time together.
Sylvia loved her cake. 
It is so hard to believe it's been a full year since she joined our family. What a wild and busy year it was. Roo and his cousin illustrated it perfectly for us:

This weekend is Christmas (Not that you didn't already know that....) and I am so looking forward to it. What better way could there be to end the year than to celebrate the birth of my Saviour?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"How Old Would You be....

"....If you didn't know how old you are?"

I love that quote. Joel got me a magnet with it for my birthday a few years ago. It has a picture of an elderly nun playing paddle-ball. I think it's great.

If I didn't know- I think I would be 22. I don't feel older than 22. Even though today is my birthday, and I do actually know how old I am, I still feel like the person I was when I was 22. I know I'm not- not entirely. I've changed, I've learned, I've grown (and shrunk a little- more than once; having kids'll do that to a person), I've taken up knitting.... But I'm still me.

I must confess, I get a little more spoiled each year when this day comes around. Apparently, the older I get, the more friends I get. I am a very very blessed woman. I have the most amazing family and friends.

This year, they conspired to get me everything on my Birthday/Christmas wishlist.

A lot of it, I got early (somehow that seems to happen more when you're an adult. When you're a kid, you never get your birthday presents early- you have to wait until the day- then you have to wait until the end of the party- and THEN you have to SHARE. That's always the hardest part. I've discovered there are some definite advantages to being an adult- even if it does come with an awful lot of responsibilities!), like the dehydrator I talked about in an earlier post (Thank you again, Mom, I am using it weekly!).

Then this last weekend, I REALLY got spoiled. My Plurk pals got together (again- remember the bread machine last year?), and blessed me.
   The Amazon gift certificate gave me some unexpected fun- the joy of watching my children help my husband put together my new shelf set:
Which is totally cute. Along with the shelves, I got some collapsible buckets- I need more storage space!
And to top it all off, they sent me a Kindle Touch.

I spent the weekend loading it.
I have over 160 books on it already- so I should be set for awhile!
I love it. I've been watching the Kindles for awhile- I actually got the Kindle for PC app over 6 months ago and have slowly been collecting free books- but I don't sit at my computer to read, so they were just sitting in there. Now I get to read them when and where I want to!

In fact, I had so much fun with my Kindle this weekend, that yesterday when I was trying to finish the library book before it's late; I touched the page, and was totally confused for a second because the page didn't turn like it was "supposed" to. :D

Once again, I am blown away by the generosity of the amazing people I know. Thank you so much my friends. I am so thankful for you.

I did get yet another gift for my birthday- but the dress boots that Joel ordered online for me didn't quite work out- so I'll be trying to find some later. But seriously- I can't believe it. How blessed can one person be????

My favorite part of my birthday and Christmas is yet to come, though. I've saved up, and today, the kids and I are going to go through the Samaritan's Purse Catalog together. We are so blessed- and now we get the opportunity to share it. I love that part of December. Advent and the opportunities that are all over for us to give something to someone else. It's my favorite tradition.

Samaritan's Purse also does Operation Christmas Child. We used to do this yearly with our church- now we do it on our own or with friends. The kids love it. They get to pick stuff out for other kids that don't have the resources we do. It is a great way for the kids to be involved in giving.

A couple of churches I have been to in the past do something I LOVE. It's called Advent Conspiracy.  During the Advent/Christmas season, people take a close look at their traditions and gift giving and choose something that costs money, and give it up for this year. Whether that means 1 less toy for each kid- or 1 less trip to the restaurant, or whatever it looks like for each family/individual- the money that is saved then goes to an organization such as Water for Life. I love this. I think it is the best. We are so blessed here- we need to share the love; and what better time than Christmas to do so?

What tradition of sharing do you have during this season??

Friday, December 2, 2011


Wow! What a wild week it has been ! Thanksgiving was a wonderful as I anticipated. The kids helped me make Frosty the Breadman:
All of our family came and celebrated with us. We shared our thanks, ate all day, and then the (younger) men had the traditional "Feats of Strength" Competition to burn off some of the calories:

The kids were suitably amazed. :)

Since Thanksgiving, I have been so busy.

I got all of my Christmas shopping done (except for my shopping for Joel. He is incredibly hard to find a gift for....), thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.  I do not, however, have all my Christmas crafting done; which means the busy-ness is far from over.

I have been frantically catching up on pattern writing and prepping for the next couple of designs I need to get going on. In November, I have designed and knit 2 pairs of mittens, 2 hats, and completed a pair of socks- all of which had to have the patterns to go with them finished and sent out to test knitters.

Admittedly, that doesn't seem like very much knitting to show for a full month- but I have been so busy otherwise with school, the kids, Thanksgiving, and all, that there was at least 2 weeks out of the month that I was only able to knit maybe 1 hr per day- which is not a whole lot of time.  I am hoping that things will actually start to calm down here pretty soon- when I'm done with the Christmas crafting, that is- and I will have some more time for knitting. In anticipation of that, I've started a new purse project (mittens and a cowl- or maybe a hat, I can't decide.), and a big at home colorwork sweater. Which I finally cast on for last night- and I am so loving how this yarn is knitting up!!! I am really excited about how this is going to turn out. I'll tell you more about it later.

So I have spent the last week prepping (shopping) for Christmas, doing and prepping for school and vacation, taking Roo to the Dr (prayer would be appreciated- that surgery is unnecessary. Nothing life-threatening, just things are not where they are supposed to be...), knitting/pattern writing/designing, cleaning and organizing (we always go through the toys and pass a lot on before Christmas in preparation- do you??), and just being busy with general mama stuff.....

In the meantime- I also received an early Birthday/Christmas present!
I am extremely excited about this big black box.

Because you see, it is a dehydrator. A nine tray Excalibur Dehydrator.

 And I have been putting it to good use already. The kids are thrilled- and so am I!

First Fruits:

First Meats:

Snacks the kids can have, and snacks I can have. Happy tummies all around. :D  Yay for useful gifts! (Thank you, Mom, I LOVE it! :D )

And just because I can't leave a blog post that has this many pictures without the requisite cuteness- here is Bear and Roo happily playing together- and Roo has discovered what to do about that painful camera flash. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

This is my favorite time of year by far. I confess I like Thanksgiving better than Christmas. Somehow, the whole gift giving thing is stressful for me. Maybe it's because I never feel like I can knit fast enough- and then I worry if the person will like their gift, or just say so, or maybe even not say so.

But Thanksgiving-

Thanksgiving is about being together.  It's about celebrating what you have (not planning what you want).  It's about gratitude, family, love, and counting your blessings.   Somehow, it's hard not to be content and joyful when you are counting your blessings.

I love it.

This year, if the weather is cooperative (and it looks like it will be), we will have a total of 6 kids and 9 adults in our cozy home tomorrow. They'll start coming today. I am so excited.

Tomorrow, we will feast and talk and watch the kids play and share what we are thankful for this year. We do it every year. It's my favorite part. There are those things we are always thankful for- but each year also adds its own blessings.

This year, I am thankful for health. My family is healthy- and I am healthier than I have been in years.
I am thankful for my husband's job- he has work that he enjoys and it provides enough that I get to be with my children all day.
I am thankful for our warm home, our vans that work, the good food that fills our bellies....
I am thankful most of all for my family. They fill my days with adventure and my heart with joy. I am blessed beyond measure.

Happy Thanksgiving- from our family to yours.
What are your special blessings this year?

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Today, I took a wild trip down memory lane.

 Today, I tried on a dress that I wore once- 11+ years ago.

 Today, I got to remember one of the happiest days of my entire life.

Today, I spent over half an hour ironing a dress that I haven't worn in 11+ years, and apparently will be completely unable to ever wear again.

 Today I realized that 11 years and 4 kids changes ones body in rather unexpected ways.

 Today, I am thankful for every minute of those 11+ body-changing years and the 4 miracles that helped change not only my body, but my entire life- for the better.

 Today, my daughter said she wants to wear my wedding dress someday.

 Today, as I am every day, I am completely and utterly blessed.

 I am thankful for today.

Friday, November 11, 2011

50 Things every Young Lady Should Know

A little Book Review Friday for you:

By Kay West with John Bridges and Bryan Curtis

This is a very nice little advice book for young ladies.  It was advertised for ages eight to fourteen, but I have to say I really think it is not for girls under eleven.  That’s just my opinion, but it does not seem necessary to me for an eight year old to read about dating and cosmetic etiquette.  If you’re okay with your daughter dating and going to dances at a younger age, then this book would be appropriate for her at that age. I am a bit old fashioned, maybe, but I think this book is for tween and teen-aged girls.

                That little rant out of the way, this is a good book. I do recommend it.  It covers a lot of material- from writing a thank you note to getting out of a car correctly.  It also covers how to use modern media such as the internet correctly- something I appreciated.  It is easy and quick to read, as each topic covers no more than 5 or 6 pages at most.   It will be a couple years yet, but this is one I am definitely going to have my daughter read- and keep for a handy little reference book. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Little Purple Hat

This story is just a bit on the late side. It actually happened a little over a week ago. But I have been so busy with school, kids stuff, and other knitting in the meantime I haven't taken the time to blog.

Not last weekend, but the weekend before, I sat down to knit a little purple hat for a baby. I grabbed some nice warm wool, because the baby this is intended for will be living in Canada. Canada in the winter is cold.
The yarn is Plymouth Galway Chunky.  The pattern is the hat from the Bouncing Baby set in Homespun, Handknit- which you may recognize from the YarnHarlot's blog a couple months ago.

I chose this pattern because after the intensity of the lace on the pink blob (which did turn out totally gorgeous by the way- and she does love it- but you can't see it 'til it's published, sorry), I desperately needed some instant gratification- and garter stitch.
So I happily sat down and cast on- with larger yarn and larger needles than the pattern calls for. Didn't swatch, just started merrily knitting away. You'd think I'd know better.
Half a day later, I realized that I was almost out of yarn, and not even halfway done with the hat. Hmmmmm.
This is what I had:
(remote for scale). Even my 8 year old laughed at me when I replied to his "Whatcha makin' Mama?", with "A baby hat." Yeah, not a baby hat. Not at that rate.
So I sat down, frogged the whole thing. Turned on a movie, cast on a good deal less stitches, did a minimum of math, and started merrily knitting again.

Three hours later, I had this:
(remote for scale, again) Much more like what I was looking for. I happily went to bed, got up in the morning and did some seaming, and got this:

I think it will do a great job of keeping a little Canadian girl's head nice and warm- and cute at the same time.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dimples Cloth

I made this cloth for a friend.  Being me, I couldn’t just find a stitch pattern. I sat down one evening after flipping through some stitch dictionaries, and doodled out a pattern.  I wanted something simple enough that I wouldn’t be staring at it all the time, but complex enough to be interesting- at least for the length of time it takes to knit a washcloth. This is what I got.  

It's a fairly simple textured cloth- similar to a basketweave, but with some garter striping to break it up. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. A fun, fast knit. Just when I needed some instant gratification after that huge pink project. :D  
It is available for sale on Ravelry for $1.00

Saturday, October 29, 2011

All Wound Up

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to Powell's Books to see the YarnHarlot present and sign her new book: All Wound Up.

I tried to get there early; but I'm a mom of 4 hungry kids, and I had to go to Costco on the way there. So I wasn't as early as I wanted to be, but still early enough to get a seat. And not a bad one, either.

Before the fun began, many knitters were taking pictures of the crowd. There was a big crowd. Standing room only.  I got a picture of Tina Newton taking crowd pictures.
I don't know what it is, but I absolutely cannot take a picture of Tina that is not blurry.  I have tried and tried. At 2 Sock Summits and here- and I don't have a single picture of her that is clear.  My camera is jinxed or something. And I'm pretty sure it's her. It used to be her and the YarnHarlot, but I realized last night, that that is true of pictures of them together.  But I got some clear ones of the YarnHarlot last night, so I'm convinced now that it's just Tina that jinxes my camera.

Here is Stephanie taking her obligatory photos of the crowd:
And Stephanie reading. This photo was very difficult to take, I'll have you know. It's hard to take pictures when you are laughing.
As always, Stephanie wrote a fantastic collection of humorous essays on, yes, knitting.

I thoroughly enjoyed what she read, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the book. If you knit, I recommend this book. If you don't knit- buy it for the knitter in your life. Don't bother reading it yourself, you won't get it. But we do, and we laugh. :D

I got some more fun and laughter this morning at home.  When I came out to the boys playing with the boxes from Costco: 
Laughter is a great start to the weekend.
Hope you have a good one. :D

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Winner is:

The random number generator said 6- so...Dawna! You have won an autographed copy of my book! Sending you an email now!

Thank you all for participating. :D

In other news-
I'm not as far along on the pink blob as I was hoping. I had to frog.
       I was just running out of yarn too fast- and to complete the pattern attractively, I had to frog back a bit and start the end of the pattern sooner.  I wound up ripping out 10 rows, then doing some stitch dropping and fixing to put some extra patterning in.
       It took me all day to get in a lifeline- then all of the next day to get all the stitches on the needle and the drop-down fixes finished. But I'm back up and knitting normally again, and very pleased with how it is turning out.
       It does seem a bit small to me right now- especially for putting almost 2000yds into it- but I think it will be much bigger when I get around to blocking it.
       Tomorrow I write up the pattern whether I've actually finished the last few rows or not. I have to get some other stuff knit up this weekend, so even if I haven't done the bind off on the pink blob, I'll be knitting with cotton for a Christmas design for The Unique Sheep tomorrow.  It will make a nice break. I'm looking forward to it.

This morning I got a surprise.  UPS brought me a big box with a brand new crockpot in it.  Remember the Bread Machine story?  Well, the amazing woman behind that was paying attention when I complained yesterday (yesterday!!) that my crockpot cracked. I use my crockpot a LOT. Like 3 or more times a week. Well, Karen stepped in again to bless me and my family.  What a lovely early birthday present- yet again.  We have a lovely new crockpot that I will be using first thing in the morning for our dinner tomorrow. Thank you, Karen. Everyone needs a friend like you. :D

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Meanderings

1.  My family is home. They went to see Joel's parents over the weekend to help celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. (Isn't that awesome? We are so blessed to have them in our lives, and so happy to get to celebrate such a wonderful thing.)  I should have gone, but Roo got himself a fever Thursday night; and there was no way I could take him for a 6 to 8 hr drive in a car seat on Friday when he was sick.  We were sad, but we stayed home together.  It turned out well. For everyone.   The celebration went well, Joel and the kids had a good time; and Roo and I had a great weekend together. He woke up well on Sunday, and I got a lot of quiet time. That was a wonderful blessing.  Except for the poor sick baby, it was almost like having my own personal retreat at home. :)

2. This afternoon, I took Bear for his 2nd hearing test.  All I can say is that God is awesome- and thank you so much to all of you who have prayed for him!  His eardrums are moving, and he is hearing all the frequencies in a normal range.  He is borderline, but the Dr said that that is probably because there is still some fluid draining out.  But compared to the last test 6 weeks ago, he is doing wonderfully!!! We are so thankful.

3. I am 8 rows and a bind off away from finishing the "pink blob" and turning it into a shawl.  However, with 1192 sts per row- that's about 9 hrs. (yes, I am unfortunately a much slower knitter than I would like. I can knit at about 35sts/minute, but I think I've been doing closer to 20sts/min on this. I suppose I should stop reading while knitting- but if I do, I'll never get any reading in- and I kinda like to read....)  However, 9 hrs isn't too bad, and that means that if all goes well, I should be blocking the blob out this weekend. I am very excited to see what it really looks like.

4. I need to play chess with my son. Joel said today that he thinks Buddy is at least as good at chess as he is. I totally believe him. Buddy learned to play chess about a week ago, and it is all he has wanted to do since. He plays all day- as long as he can talk his brother and sister into playing with him!  I think it's my turn to get beat. :)

5. This is my 170th post since starting to blog in 2008. I think I should have something special for that....

Leave a comment on this post before 12pm Pacific Time Friday the 21st to be entered in a giveaway for an autographed copy of my book from The Unique Sheep- "More Socks Inspired By the Lord of the Rings".

8 patterns in this book- including the 2 new ones- Faramir and Eowyn that are available no where else at this point. :D  The others are One Ring, Undomiel, Mithril, Dunedain, Fangorn Forest, and Days of the King (my personal favorite).  Leave me a comment telling which sock you would knit first. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birthday Boy

It is incredible to me that it has been two years already- and yet at the same time, I can't believe it's only been two years.
Happy Birthday to my sweet busy happy crazy Roo. 

I am so blessed by all wonderful kiddos. This guy is no exception. The only one who woke me up in the middle of the night before he was even born just because he was so very busy. He hasn't changed. I'm glad. :D

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Pink Blob

I think it will be beautiful when I am done.

I love The Unique Sheep yarns. This one is Marici in their Love Spoken Here Gradiance.

This is the largest project I have done to date with lace weight yarn. 2000yds. It has taken me 5 weeks to knit up 1000yds.  That seems a bit ridiculous to me when I remember that I have knit sweaters that take over 1200yds within 3wks. Granted, I had to do a lot of frogging. I got to a certain point; had a stitch pattern in mind, and for the life of me, I could not make it work! I finally scrapped it and found a new one.  Sometimes the yarn has most definite ideas of what it wants to be, and no amount of finagling on my part is going to make it work any other way.  I think I wasted a week on that one; but once we got past it, it has been going fairly smoothly.

I think it will be beautiful when I am done. I sure hope so.

This is a special project. A special project for someone very dear to me.

 I hope she likes it when it's done. Really likes it, not just says so likes it.

It's also meant to go in the book I'm working on. I figured a bit of a teaser would be okay. ;)

I think it will be beautiful when I am done. I hope you think so too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Review

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

Product Details

I just finished this book this morning. It may seem a bit odd that I would read a book that is "for" men, but the subscript on the cover says "discovering the secret of a man's soul". It doesn't say that it's for men only. I got it thinking I'd rather like to know the secret of a man's soul so that I can maybe understand a little more about my husband.

Well, I got what I wanted, and then some. This may be written as a book for men, but I really and truly think it is a book for couples.  And the woman should read it first.

I am totally impressed with this book.  I admit when I first started it, I was very skeptical. It seemed a bit on the theatrical side; but as I got further into it, and the points were expanded on, the feeling of theatrics disappeared to a large extent. Not entirely, which is totally expected, as the author was in theatre for a while; but his points were so well supported that a touch of theatrics didn't matter.

Eldredge talks about the dreams that boys have- that turn into the heart desires of men.  How our world/culture creates boredom instead of fulfillment of those dreams and desires- and how men can recover their hearts.  Going beyond recovery, he talks about how a man's heart can be wounded when he is a boy- which pretty much is a fantastic parenting section on how to help your boy grow up not wounded, with his heart and dreams intact.

I loved this book. It gave me insight into my husband that I did not previously have- a greater appreciation for our differences as man and woman; as well as teaching me how to help my boys become strong men. I will be keeping this book around to reread as my boys get older- and I've already grabbed several of John Eldredge's other books from my local library.  If they are as good as this one, I'll be buying them to reread over the years as well.

Friday, September 16, 2011


This post should have been done in August when the pattern was actually released to the Wonderland Sock Club- but I've been busy, so it's happening now.
This is the Dormouse sock. Inspired by the Dormouse from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head.

“….Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep, ‘Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle-‘ and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop.

“…the Dormouse fell asleep instantly, and neither of the others took the least notice of her going, though she looked back once or twice, half hoping that they would call after her: the last time she saw them, they were trying to put the Dormouse in the teapot.” Alice in Wonderland- L. Carroll

The sock is ankle height because mice are small. I love the jingle bells that "twinkle, twinkle" next to the star on the heel. It just seemed to fit so perfectly.
I also love the teapots around the ankle and toe.  This is a very fun, quick knit. Excellent for learning stranded knitting without being overwhelmed by it.
This is done with The Unique Sheep's Pashmi yarn, which is so perfect. It has cashmere for that extra softness.
Currently available only for club members, this pattern will be up for sale on Ravelry next year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Buddy's Birthday

It has been so amazing to watch this baby:

Become this amazing eight year old.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful, athletic, considerate Buddy. It's been a great 8 years. I am so looking forward to the next 8- and then some.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIP's or UFO's?

I hear a lot of knitters talking about their WIP's (work in progress) and UFO's (unfinished object).  Most of the time, they are talking in multiples.

There's this thing about knitting.  Some people call it startitis. It's the desire to start the next beautiful thing, whether you're done with the current one or not. It's a craving. There are so many gorgeous things to knit! Or, in my case, so many things trying to get out of my brain and into the yarn.

I know few knitters that don't have more than one project OTN (on the needles). I hear about some on Ravelry that can't get less than 20 OTN at one time.

I try to be good about it. I kinda have to be. As a designer, I have deadlines; and I have noticed in the past that when I get 3 or more projects going at once, it takes me 3 or more times longer to finish any one of them.  Being more of a product knitter than a process knitter (all about the finished product rather than the process to get there), that makes me crazy.  I need to see progress. And so does the yarn company or magazine I'm designing for.

I usually keep my WIP's to 2, maximum. I try to just have one, but there are times when I have a project that just can't travel. It's too big, too complicated, or just needs too much attention to go in the purse and be worked on when I'm waiting in line or sitting in a car. That is when I wind up with 2 WIP's. One for the purse (which these days means it languishes while I chase the toddler around wherever we are), and one for the serious designing at home. I do pretty good most of the time.  But I realized the other day that I actually have 3 projects going, not just the 2 I am consistently working on. Which brings up the question: When does a WIP become a UFO?

I'm pretty confident the 3rd project is in UFO status. It's been sitting in it's little (ok, not so little, it's a huge project) bag for at least a year now, and I haven't looked at it, much less knit on it. It is exactly halfway complete, no more, and no less. The reason it's sitting there is that it's not my design. If it was my design, it would probably have a deadline, and I wouldn't have been able to set it aside in the first place.  But it's another designer's pattern. One of the few which I have (at least tried to) knit more than once.

It's the World Map Afghan from Vogue Knitting. It's an old pattern, but I love it. The first time I did it, I taught myself intarsia knitting, and fell in love with colorwork. The second time, I wanted to knit it for a gift. I made a little modification- added some words in the ocean; but only made it through 2 of the 4 panels. Then I got some contracts, and with deadlines looming on my designs, the World Map got stuffed in a bag and put in a corner of the closet, where it has sat ever since.

Someday, I will pull it out and turn the UFO back into a WIP.  Someday. And then it will become the gift I wanted it to be. I just have to finish this book of designs, and those club designs, and the things my kids are begging for..... It might be another year or two. But the World Map doesn't seem to mind. It just sits quietly in the corner. Every once in a while it reminds me that I think it is beautiful and that a certain person would love it, but it's nice about it so far. Hopefully I can get back to it before it decides it's time to get tough....

When do your WIP's become UFO's? How many do you have?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It's been a busy couple weeks. That would be why I have somewhat neglected the blog.

Last week, Joel was in Canada with Skatechurch on the annual trip that is the reward for the kids that have faithfully come to the Bible Studies. While he was gone, I took the opportunity to do a hard core Fall Cleaning of the house. I literally moved everything out of a room, wiped down all the walls, cleaned the carpets/floors, and then cleaned everything as I moved it back in. All 11 rooms in our house.
I thought it was a small house.
I was wrong.
While I was at it, I used the opportunity to get rid of a few things here and there to try to cut down on the clutter. It was good. We have a clean house- well re-arranged so that it feels a bit like we've moved even though we haven't. I'm hoping that besides cutting down on the chances of getting mold and getting rid of a lot of allergens, just maybe it also means we'll live here for a few more years. It's pretty nice to stay in one place for longer then 3 to 6 months. I've been enjoying it.

Naturally, all that work meant less time to knit. I think I got in barely 2 hrs of knitting the whole week. I tried to make up for it last Saturday and yesterday, but I'm still behind where I want to be in my designs. I have about 3 inches left of this project, then I have 2 that need to be planned, graded, and knit before November. Which seems like it shouldn't be a problem except that next week, I start teaching knitting classes (yay!) and the week after that, we start school. Talk about cutting into the knitting time!

It'll be good, though. I'm looking forward to school this year. It'll be quite a challenge working it out with a busy 2yrold running around, but that's ok. The kids are ready for the structure of school again, and I think it will be fun.

In the midst of all the cleaning last week, there were several Doctor visits for Bear and I. We discovered that for some unknown reason, Bear's eardrums are not working correctly (it's not fluid buildup, we checked already, and dealt with that). So we'll be starting a long road of tests and more doctor visits. All prayer for his healing is much appreciated.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Flibbertigibbits

According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, Flibbertigibbits is: a silly flighty person. I feel a bit flighty, but not very silly. I have full intentions of flitting all over various topics in this post, though, so it fits a little. Mostly I just like how it sounds. Say it out loud. Isn't it a fun word?

Today, my daughter finished her first knitted object.
I honestly have no idea what it is.

But she did it all (except the cast on) by herself, and I am proud of her. It took her 5 days. She's gonna be a speed knitter, I know it. :D

It's getting to the end of summer. Fall is coming, school is starting, and harvest is in full swing or almost done.
Doesn't it just make you want to knit? With some of the fantastic colors you see out there in your garden?? Well, if that's the case (and I know it is), you need to check out this sock yarn club. Karen B colors yarn in the most delicious ways....

Speaking of gardens...

Do you feel better inside when you help things grow? Does getting your hands into the soil help you feel connected to something bigger than yourself? Is your spirit fed by growing things?

Anamchara Books and Grow It! Know It!™ invite you to share the ways gardening and farming—even simply growing a geranium in a window pot—have helped nourish your spirit and feel connected to something bigger than yourself. Send us your poetry, essays of 500 to 3,000 words, photographs, or artwork to tell others what gardening—large or small—means to you. (If you’re sending images, be sure they’re high resolution—at least 300 dpi at full print size, which will be about 7 inches by 7 inches.) Selected material will appear in the book Growing a Bountiful Spirit. Those whose entries are selected for publication will receive a complimentary copy of Growing a Bountiful Spirit and be able to order additional copies at 50 percent off the retail price.

For information or to make a submission, e-mail

I confess I'm not much of a gardener. I have my little herb pot, but my allergies make it just about impossible to get out and really get my hands dirty. That's ok. My kids are just about at the age that they can do it! Next summer, they will be learning about the joys of watching something they've planted turn into something edible and beautiful. I'm looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I'm knitting. Oh, and getting ready for school. The kids are about ready. I just have to catch up. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Compare and Contrast

I've worked with several different kinds of knitting needles over my short knitting career, and at Sock Summit, I was blessed with the opportunity to get a new kind of knitting needle. One considered to be the best of the best.

In talking with a dear friend of mine (a knitter, fortunately, so she didn't think I was crazy) yesterday, we got to talking about the advantages and disadvantages of different needles. I have discovered that I am very opinionated about my knitting needles.

When I first started knitting, I didn't know anything. I just went for cheap(there's a big story there, but we'll save that one for another time) and available. Well, at my local big store, that was Boye. After knitting with Boye straights for awhile, I began to switch to Clover bamboo. This happened at first only because the local store didn't have the Boye in the size I needed. But after the first one, I started switching all my needles to Clover, because I discovered that they didn't hurt my hands as badly as the metal Boye's. I have sensitive hands. Also, I didn't get so frustrated at the stitches slipping off the needles. I loved the softness, warmth, and stickiness of the bamboo/wooden needles. (I got a pair of US 4 Birch dpns somewhere in there too, but they kept snapping. I am hard on needles when I cable.)
The differences in the Boye and Clover were big for me at the time. The difference in the slip of the yarn on the needle was immense. I needed the yarn to stick a bit. I didn't know enough to care about the tips. Neither needle was particularly sharp, in my opinion. The Clover especially has a blunt tip. I have also discovered that I am very very hard on the tips of my needles. The Clover tips would eventually become spade-shaped. I never used Boye circulars, but I was always frustrated at the Clover circulars, because if it was longer than a 16" circular, the cable was twisted and very hard to work with no matter how much I soaked it in hot water.

When I discovered KnitPicks Harmony, I immediately set about replacing all my needles with them. I loved that they are soft, warm wood. I loved that the wood is slicker than the bamboo, because I was ready for just a bit more slipperiness. I loved that the cables are wonderfully flexible. But the longer I've worked with them....I hate that the cables pull out of the needles so easily. I hate that the tips start getting snaggy as soon as I start working cable stitches. I hate that the small sizes snap if I try to work a p3tog more than once in a row.

Quite honestly, the Harmony needles worked very well for me for a long time. But then I learned to knit differently. My old throwing method, holding the yarn between my thumb and forefinger was thrown out the window. I learned Lever knitting from the YarnHarlot, and it changed so very much about my knitting- and the needles that work best for me. The Harmony stopped being as effective. They were no longer slick enough. They snagged and dented and snapped too easily. I had to move back to metal needles.

I got some Addi Lace. I switch needles by getting what I need for the project I'm working on. At the time, I needed US 0's because I snapped my Harmony's. I like the Addi Lace. I like how sharp the tip is. I like how smooth the needles are, and how well the stitches move on them.
But I have a couple issues with them.
See the cable in the picture to the left? It's got kinks. That's from transferring stitches from one side to another in Magic Loop.
Also, the needles are hollow. Not a big deal, right? I'm hard on my needles. My 0's bent. I can bend them back, but still. Sometimes the bend gets pretty bad; and the longer that keeps up, pretty soon, it'll break too. I think the 1's will probably bend too. And maybe the 2's. So I haven't bought those sizes in Addi Lace. I probably won't. I will eventually replace my 0's. But I do like the Addi Lace in the larger sizes.
It's hard to see in this picture, but there are actually 2 different cables on the Addi Lace needles. I'm not sure why the different circulars come with different cables, if it's an old/new thing or a size thing or what; but I have a definite preference of cable. The blue cable is by far the most flexible, with the least amount of memory. The gold cable is flexible, but kinks easily. The red cable is alright, just a tad stiff; it might soften if I soaked it, but it hasn't been bad enough for me to feel the need for that yet. You can test flexibility and memory by pulling the needles out of the package and seeing how straight they fall when you just hold one needle.

Theses needles by far fall the straightest. There is no memory in this cable after being coiled in a package for a long time. These are ChiaoGoo.

I bought a few of these at Sock Summit because I've been hearing good things about them. I'm 3/4 of the way done with a sock using them, and I have been favorably impressed.
The needles seem strong- minimal bending on the 2.5mm even with hard cable work. The tips are nice and sharp- but the are shallowly beveled(short tips), which makes cabling without a cable needle a bit more difficult and time-consuming. It's not drastic, but I notice it.

The best part about these needles is definitely the cable. I really really like it. I do think it has the ability to kink if I'm not careful, but it won't kink as readily as the gold cable on the Addi Lace.
Look at this. The cable is flexible, and has no memory, but it's just a wee bit stiff. The stiffness is what keeps it from having memory. I have heard a complaint that the stiffness causes ladders when Magic Looping, but I'm not having that problem personally. And I have to say, I absolutely love the way the stitches slide on the cable. Because it is slightly stiff, and quite smooth, the stitches glide beautifully and don't need any extra manipulation to get them around. The extra manipulation has to happen on the needle, just past the join of the cable. There's a bit of a ridge there. On the small sizes- sock needles- it's minimal, and not enough to bother me to badly. But I won't buy this needle in the larger sizes no matter how much I love the cable, because the ridge is so defined that I think it would aggravate me.

I've been moving up the scale of knitting needle quality in my knitting career, I think. You get what you pay for, and needles are no exception. (That said, I really have to point out here, that the Chiaogoo cost less than the Addi Lace, but I think I am more impressed with them. At least so far. We'll see how they stand up to 2yrs of cable work and p3tog.) At Sock Summit this year, I received the ultimate in needles.
Thank you Signature Needle Arts, for sponsoring the teachers!
I was especially excited about this, because I had been saving up to purchase at least one pair, as I have heard SO much about them! The hype is not exaggerated, folks. Yes, they are expensive. But they are tools of the trade. How much does your husband spend for a good table saw? Way more than the cost of these needles- which will probably last longer than the table saw, by the way.

Anyway, I got the circulars. 6" needle length, 47" cable length. US 3's and US 5's. The stiletto tip is what you get on the circulars, which I am thrilled with. I love this tip. I can't tell you how much I love it. It is so perfect for cabling without a cable needle. P3tog's or k3togtbl? Not an issue. Love, love, love.

The cable? No memory, utterly flexible. The most flexible cable I've ever seen or used. Very impressive.

The join? Smooth, seamless, struggle-less. And, pivotal. Literally. The cable is not fixed in the needle. It swivels. No more untwisting the cable by spinning the needle in the stitches. The cable doesn't need untwisting.

I have to be honest in my review, though. I do have one problem with these needles. (no, not the price, although it does limit how many I will purchase at a time. )

My issue with these needles is the cable.
It is sticky.

I know, I just told you how amazing the cable is. It is amazing. It's great.

It's just sticky. I have to manipulate the stitches around the cable. I know, I have to do that on just about any cable needle. But on this one, I actually have to set the needles down, and work the stitches around the cable in order to continue working them. It slows me down. It's annoying. It is not annoying enough for me to stop using these needles. I love them, but it is a hang-up I have with them.

Please note, this would only be an issue with the circulars. I personally prefer circulars. It's all I normally use. But if you like straights or dpns, there is no sticky cable, and I have to say, the needle quality is unsurpassed. Utterly worth the money. (The circulars really are too- I fully intend to save up and get the US 4's when next I need the 4's- I just have to tell you what I've discovered in my "research". ;D)

The end of all this? For me, I'm ok with the Addi Lace. I won't replace the larger sized ones I have now unless they break in some way. I will replace the sock needles. I don't like dealing with the bending and the kinks in the cables.
I'm fully pleased with the Chiaogoo. I won't replace them unless they somehow break. I will use them to replace the Addi lace sock sizes. I won't buy them in larger sizes.
The Signatures? Too good not to use. I'll purchase them in any sizes I don't currently have needles that I'm happy with. I'll use them to replace any broken needles - if the size is available. Definitely my go-to needle of choice. I do hope they can fix the stickiness of the cable, though. But if they don't, I'll still buy them.

What needle is your fave?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sock Summit 2011

I should have posted about Sock Summit earlier, but I was so excited about the 2nd LotR booklet being released, I had to blog that first- and I've been recovering from all the excitement as well.

I wish I was better about taking pictures. I'm so bad about remembering my camera, and that I'll want to look back and remember all the awesome people and yarny goodness.... I had my camera the whole time. I got few photos. I think I was just so busy soaking it in I didn't have time to think about pictures.

Anyway, I'll try to do a bit of a recap of last weekend.

Wednesday evening I attended the Teachers' Dinner, where we all were thoroughly spoiled by the awesome Summit Teams (ST's). We mingled, we ate, and I at least, was inspired by the incredible amount of talent assembled in the room. It was an honor to be included as a teacher along with such as Anna Zilbourg, Amy Singer, Fiona Ellis, Cat Bordhi, and the 55 other amazing teachers. I just sat there, knit, and soaked up as much knowledge as I possibly could.

Thursday, I had the pleasure of auditing Cookie A's class on Advanced Top-Down Sock Design. It was great. Cookie is an excellent teacher, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to learn from her.
As it was a 6hr class, it kept me busy all day. I did get a break at lunch to meet my Plurk bud KarenB who was a vendor (her yarns are fantabulous, you should check them out- just sayin').
After class, the marketplace opened for students, and I promptly went and spent all my money. It didn't take very long.This is a shot of the majority of the great and useful souvenirs I walked away with. Note that on top of the basket is 2 pair of Signature circular needles. I'll be doing a review on those in the near future.
The green bag I talked about in a previous post. It is the Rio from Jordana Paige. Love it.
This is a Buffy Ann Stitchlight. I'll be reviewing it as well. Thanks to Buffy Ann for her support of the teachers. :)
A couple books and a pattern that followed me home. DH said I could keep them. They would have been lonely in the cold.

Friday morning, I took the class Morphing Cables from Fiona Ellis. Fiona is one of my design heroes, so it was pretty awesome to get to learn from her for 3 hrs.
I had my little fangirl moment when Fiona came into the classroom, saw my back, and said, "I know you!"
[side note: About 3 years ago, Fiona did a lecture at Twisted, which I attended. I was pretty excited, because at the time, I was knitting her Celtic Icon design from Inspired Cable Knits. I got to talk to her about it afterward, and she recognized it when I wore it to her class last Friday. I honestly didn't expect her to remember, but a designer knows her designs. And I did knit it in a distinctive color. :D )
Most wonderful time.

Friday afternoon, I got to teach my 3 hr class. I hate that I get so nervous and my voice shakes for the first 5 minutes, but once I start showing people how to do different knitting techniques, all the nerves go out the window. Knitting is so comfortable.
I was going to go to a party Friday night, but my daughter started running a temperature Thursday, and when it wasn't better by Friday evening, I went home. She had the fever from Thursday morning until Sunday night. What a coincidence. I'm just glad she woke up on Monday feeling great. It was a bit stressful not to be there when she was so sick, but hooray for my mom! :D It would have been a whole lot more stressful without her there to take care of my babies.

Saturday, I taught all day. A three hr class in the morning, and 3 1 hr classes in the afternoon. What a blast. I think at least one person in each class left feeling that they had gotten their money's worth. I had such a high by the end of the day. I love inspiring people and giving them tools to enhance creativity. It was amazing.
And then! the day was topped off with the most amazing Sock Summit Flash Mob. You have to go here to see it- my video was not so great, and for some reason, it wouldn't upload. But it happened, and if you come to my house, I can show you video footage of Fiona Ellis dancing in a flash mob.
What a great way to end the day!!! I went home and crashed after that.

Sunday, I came back to take a one-hr class from Kat Wilson. It was very informative. She is very knowledgeable, and I am thankful I was able to attend.
I had to bring Roo with me on Sunday.
He refused to let me out the door without him. He had had enough of me being gone. It wasn't a problem, and I was happy to get to spend some time with him after such a busy week.
It was pretty cool, really, because the first Sock Summit, I was 7 months pregnant with Roo; so I got to take him around and introduce him to the people that had known of him without knowing him before if you know what I mean. :) And that time, I DID remember my camera. :)

Then we walked around the marketplace some more, said goodbye to some of the wonderful people I had the opportunity to meet- such as Sharon of Three Irish Girls, who also has amazingly yummy yarns, and Shannon Okey of Cooperative Press, who is publishing a Men's Sock book with The Unique Sheep with one of my patterns in it. :) The book debuted at Sock Summit, and will be available soon. :)
Then I had to pry Roo away from the amazingly fun Sockgate that Tina surprised Stephanie with, and we came home to rest and recuperate. I'm not sure I'm fully rested from all the fun yet, but I am recovered enough to start planning and saving for the next one (if there is one, which I hope there is cause I loved it both times and I would be utterly sad if that was it.).

It was an amazing time. Thank you Stephanie, Tina, Rachel, Stephen, Natalie, Deb, and all the other wonderful ST's who worked so hard to put on such an awesome party!!!!