Sunday, December 9, 2018

Time Passes

Hello friends.  It’s been so long. Over a year which is shameful.  If I were going to make excuses, I’d say it’s because I’ve been working over 45 hours a week, began a master’s program in Fall 2017, and have had two recurrences of cancer.  That’s what I’d say IF I were going to make excuses.  But that would be bad form, wouldn’t it?

Last post, I let you know I was going to have another grandchild, and I do!  Her name is Addison and she’s the bee’s knees!  Between she and Miss Nora (who is growing like a weed), I’m a happy grandma.  Just wish I saw them more often, as they live up north and I’m still here on the coast.

But, there’s knitting. Always knitting.  And that brings me joy.  

Last month, my husband took me to the Bahamas and it was grand.  We stayed at a resort in Nassau and I loved it.  It was the first real vacation we’d had in 5 years.  Wish I was back there now, as it’s taken a turn for the cold here in the Deep South and I’m not pleased.  I took knitting with me, but didn’t work on it much as I think it makes the husband a little embarrassed when I knit in public.  He’s still under the delusion that knitting is for old people. I know…I should knit anyway.  Besides, I’m almost old…


When are we going back?


Okay, enough of the beach.  I miss it too much.  I’m posting pics of some things I’ve finished since my last post.  There aren’t nearly enough completed projects to fill an entire year, but it’s all I’ve had time for.

Flower Garden Ruffle Blanket for Addie

Which Way is Up cardi for Addie (in Ohio State colors, of course)

Just finished this for my boss's first grandchild.

Lined it with fuzzy fabric to hide the floats.

The last blanket was one I came up with using the Whale and Waves pattern I found. I lined it with a very soft, fuzzy fabric to keep baby's fingers from getting caught up in the floats.  My Ravelry project page is HERE.  The baby was born today.  :-)

Don't know when I'll write again, but happy knitting.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In Which I May Be A Hot Mess

I swear it was just a week or so ago when I posted last.  I’m missing time or something.  Or maybe…

Okay, didn’t happen.  If it had, I’d have taught them how to knit.  I’d have yarn-bombed their ship.  I’d have…oh, never mind.

I have been knitting.  I knitted a totally rocking sweater using this fabulous yarn that I absolutely love.  That was months ago.  Do I have a picture of it yet?  No.  Maybe for my next quarterly post (she shames herself).

Let’s see, what random pictures DO I have to show you (flips through iPhone pictures).

The second of a pair of socks.  Just a plain sock out of my head.  Top down with an afterthought heel.  Don’t tell her, but they’re for my daughter.  They’re veeeeee - gan.  Wool-free yarn.  I like the colors and who doesn’t love self-patterning yarn?  Makes you look more talented than you really are and I’m all for that.  

Made a great shawl.  I'll make more of these.  This time, I used this yarn. Trying to bust the stash a little.

Incidentally, love Louise Tilbrook

And a “scarflette”, whatever that is.  It's from a Jimmy Beans Wool Big Beanie Bag.  Can't find the pattern on Ravelry, but it has Neapolitan in the title.  Um, yeah.

Try not to be amazed at my fabulous photography skills

I knitted a bunny for my boo using this.  She turned two in June.  TWO.  I don’t know where the time went.  And a little sweater.  I mean, I knitted a little sweater.  The sweater didn't go anywhere.  This is award-winning prose, right here people.

I think she liked it.

And speaking of grandchildren, I’M GONNA HAVE ANOTHER ONE! Long about March.  And I have been working on my baby knitting list.  Happy, happy news!  It’s what keeps me going, since in the few months since the last post, my cancer returned and we lost one of our sweet fur-babies.  But enough of that talk.  No time to be bummed when there’s a baby on the way.

I’m off to stalk baby knitting patterns on Ravelry.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Blowing Off the Dust

Oh my gosh, you guys!  I promise you, I did not literally drop off the face of the earth, although for all of the dust and cobwebs on this blog, you would think so.  I am still alive and knitting, but what a journey I’ve had over the last several months.

In my last post, I shared that I had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, started treatment, then was overdosed by my (now former) oncologist and was in a lot of pain.  Since then, here’s what’s been going on:

  • Healed from the overdose (took forever, it seemed)
  • Found an online support group for this rare disease
  • Got a new oncologist
  • Began a different 12-week treatment
  • First 6 weeks were miserable - not much progress
  • Determined I was NOT gonna have surgery if I could help it
  • Pushed through the second 6 weeks
  • Treatment worked so well, I’m off of it until early June when I’ll be checked again


I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am, in spite of how hard this last year has been.  Thanks to those who shared such kind words and who kept in touch as I randomly showed up on Instagram even while the blog languished.  Many of you have been so encouraging.  I don’t know what the future holds for my prognosis, as this type of cancer often recurs, but I am hopeful.

And I have yarn.  Which makes everything better.  

Christmas came and went and was smack in the middle of my treatment, so it was unfortunately overshadowed a bit by that and then during the few days that my kids, granddaughter, and my mom were here together, my beloved dachshund, Daisy, had a spell (she’s 15 years old) and I really thought I was going to lose her.  I was pretty much weepy the whole time, which is horrible, because it is always such a blessing to see my family, and my granddaughter is always a special joy (but don’t tell my kids because they think they’re still my favorites).  

Elementary Watson
Knit Picks Stroll Solids in Cork

I did finish my Christmas knitting, so my son and daughter-in-law both got socks.  I used Knit Picks Stroll Solids for both.  I didn’t get a picture of my DIL’s socks but the pattern was River Rapids Socks in colorway Sapphire Heather.  The socks for my son are pictured.

Isn't she cute?!

I made my mom a pair of Ladies Felted House Slippers in Cascade 220, colorway pink.  My mom will probably beat me for posting this picture of her, but I’m living on the edge these days.  Unfortunately, one of the slippers was too big around the heel.  So I actually owe her another gift which I’ll surprise her with when she least expects it. 

As for the grand baby, I made her an Elmo headband:

For the record, fun fir is not fun.
Loosely based off of this pattern here.

A skirt:

Sea Anemone in Malabrigo Rios - Aguas
I added buttons to the pocket later but didn't get a pic

And a hat:

Owl Be There hat in Rowan Big Wool

I also knit my boss a scarf:

Gust in Cascade Alpaca Lace - Caribbean Heather

And last but not least, I finished the black, vegan sweater.  It actually fit pretty well, thanks to Custom Fit, and my daughter actually wore it to work, so it was worth it.  This once.  Mostly.

I'll get another beating for this one.  Meh...she's adorable.

Oh, and my mom stayed on through the end of March, which was a real blessing for me and I hope for her too, since she escaped some cold weather and snow.  


See you soon,

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Comfort of Fiber

It has been so long since I posted and so much has happened since my last entry about Princess Nora and her magical dress.  I actually got to see Princess Nora in August when I traveled to Ohio to spend some time with my mom.  I also got to see my daughter and daughter-in-law, one of my brothers and my mother-in-law, as well as my son, briefly.  I missed a lot of people, but had promised to help my mom do some decluttering and we were able to donate several of the things we cleared out to a worthy organization that will see they are given to those who can use them.  If you're reading this and I didn't come see you, I promise, I wish I could have.  It was a lovely visit, except for the plane trip which I'm not sure I'd do again.  I have never been afraid of flying, but had the trip between Columbus and Atlanta had been any worse, I'd have been booking a bus ticket for the last leg of my journey back to South Mississippi.  I'm just sayin'...

Right after that trip - craziness.

Turns out, about that third week of August I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and that's kind of what my life has revolved around since then.  The good news is, it's a slow-growing cancer, but the bad news is, it's rare enough that there doesn't seem to be a lot of information available on it and its treatment.  I started on a course of topical chemotherapy, but due to a miscommunication from my (maybe former) oncologist's office, I have spent nearly a week now in a significant amount of pain, missing a couple days of work (probably more).  I haven't felt like doing a whole lot of anything.

Except knitting, of course.

I told myself I wasn't going to do any Christmas knitting.  And then I ignored myself and started a list anyway.   And during the cancer ordeal, I have been able to complete one of those projects, which was a relief to get done.  It has cables.  These are a challenge for me.  If only I could cable like Thea Coleman.  I would be invincible.  I would need a cape, for sure.  Thea should have a cape.  And she should teach me how to knit cables like she does.  Seriously.

It's vegan!
I have been swatching for the next Christmas project:  a sweater for my daughter.  She knows what she's getting already because she submitted a specific request while I was in Ohio (which never happens - she has not the love of fiber her mother does) and she even helped me shop for "vegan" yarn for the project while I was there*.  Yes, that's right.  My daughter has gone all vegan on me, and it extends past her diet into what fiber she puts on her person.  I really AM proud of her - she's stuck to this for a while now.  But vegan yarn?  Really?  Meh... To top off the vegan thing, guess what color she wants it knit in.  Go ahead, guess.  That's right.  Black.  Because black yarn is the friend of every knitter.  Sure.  Sure it is.  But...since I would unreservedly throw myself in front of a bus for the child, I suppose I can push through knitting with black, vegan yarn.  We even managed to find a lovely 100% viscose yarn in her requisite black that didn't cost me a fortune.  I'll be using Feza Yarns Amaze.  

Now Ravelry has classified this yarn as worsted weight.  Whether they got that from the manufacturer or made it up on their own, someone is seriously deluded.  There is no way this is worsted weight yarn.  It's more like fingering or a very light sport weight.  Right now, I'm trying to decide what size needle to use to get the fabric I like, hence the swatching.  I'm going to try Amy Herzog's Custom Fit for the very first time which, if you live in a cave and haven't heard, allows you to pick a pattern and use whatever yarn you want - it will calculate the appropriate pattern instructions for you.  I'm excited about this project in spite of the fact that I won't be using my beloved wool.  I took Cassie's measurements before I left to come home and I am anxious to see how a custom fit sweater for her turns out because quite frankly, my daughter is not an easy fit.  

So anyway, I mentioned my rough few days and this weekend, while I had hoped I'd be doing much better by now, has been quite the challenge.  I've been in tears more than once over the last two days from the pain, but it's funny - I was sitting here with the black, vegan yarn, trying to muster up the energy to swatch with yet another needle size when I was drawn to put the skein of yarn to up my face and just feel it, so I did.  And it brought me great comfort.  It may not be wool, but it is soft and lovely and in spite of all that I've been through over the last week, I was able to draw some peace from the simple act of cuddling with a skein of black viscose.  

(not vegan)

This, as you well know my friends, is the power of fiber.  Just imagine what would happen if I fetched my stash of merino...


*Of course I found a yarn shop in Ohio.  This is the hidden agenda for every single trip away from home.  Don't tell The Husband.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Little Princess

Once upon a time, there was a little red-headed princess named Nora who lived in a beautiful castle with Queen Mommy and King Daddy.  She was the most beautiful little princess in the world and was always very, very happy.

Her Fairy Grandmother (yes, GRANDmother - hey, I’m writing this story) who lives far away made the beautiful princess a magical dress for her birthday sent it to the castle.  Queen Mommy put the dress on little Nora and took a picture which came out very well:

Beautiful Princess Nora

Queen Mommy then tried to take another picture but since the beautiful princess had just learned to walk, she became a bit difficult to keep still and the second picture was more of a candid shot:

"Look out, I'm comin' through!"

And then, like an Olympic runner, she was off like a shot…




Saturday, July 16, 2016

It's In the Bag

I'm pretty sure I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I had subscribed to Jimmy Beans Wool's Big Beanie Bag.  It's a once per month bag of goodies that includes a pattern along with yarn to make it, and some nice little notions like Heel foot cream, Clover darning needles, Lo Lo Cuticle Intensive and others.  It's like a happy little surprise that shows up once a month at my door and it currently serves two purposes - 1) I tend to forget to include accessories in my regular knitting which is the main staple of the bags, and 2) it keeps me from binge spending (so far) on massive amounts of yarn to feed the stash (The Husband should rejoice - I'm trying to knit my stash down).  I've gotten two of them to date and have finished projects to show from both.  You can choose warm colors, cool colors, or neutral colors.  I chose neutral.

The first bag, which is the one I previously posted a picture of, included four shades of Rowan SoftYak DK and a pattern for wrist warmers.  

I modified the pattern a bit because it called for the thumb increases right after the beginning of the round and I thought it would be best to offset them so that I could hide the round on the underside of the warmers.  I used the little trick to hide the offset stitch for the color change that I found online, but a knitter can still tell where the rounds begin.  Plus, seeing as how I hate weaving in ends, I managed to carry the yarns up the "seam" of the warmers by alternating which color I "caught" at the beginning of every two rounds or so.  Yay me!  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out and the yarn is an absolute dream.  Soft and beautiful.  I need something else out of this stuff.  Um...that is, after I've knitted down my stash a bit.  

The second bag contained another four colors of different yarns* and a pattern for a cowl.  The pattern seemed to have issues from the posts I read on the Big Beanie Bag discussion group on Ravelry and I really wasn't very keen on it anyway, so I searched through my Barbara Walker Treasury of Knitting Patterns and found a four-color pattern that I liked that fit with the original pattern's 95 stitch cast on.  I'm pretty keen on the result:

Four-Color Fancy Pattern, page 59

The only thing I'd do differently is that I'd increase the cast on by a few stitches.  It's a snug fit over the head (although I do have a rather large beaner).  But it does fit and if and when the weather gets cool here in South Mississippi I'll be wearing it proudly.

Never mind that it was 90+ degrees when I put this on.
And whose old lady chin is that??

Speaking of South Mississippi weather, while I love that I never have to shovel snow or drive on ice-covered roads down here, there are moments when I really want to move back to the north in order to take advantage of the cold weather and knit all things wooly.  Is that weird, do you think?


PS - Will post pictures of my granddaughter in the dress I knit from my last post soon!

*Yarns used were:  Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine, HiKoo Kenzie, Berroco Maya, and Plymouth Mushishi.  Liked them all.

Monday, July 4, 2016

How to Knit a Birthday Gift with Finesse and Style - In 45 Easy Steps

In celebration of my granddaughter’s first birthday, I decided to share with you today the highly technical and skilled steps required to make the birthday goodies I sent up for her party:

  1. Cast on for dress pattern, then realize the cute picot edging was done by seaming. 
  2. In a fit of rebellion, rip out the cast on and choose a provisional cast on for the picot edging instead. 
  3. Feel really smart about getting out of seaming the hems.
  4. Blast through knitting all pieces of the dress - back, front, two sleeves.
  5. Block pieces.
  6. Realize pattern does not include any real information on how to create the smocking effect on the bodice.
  7. Google “smocking hand knits” and find only one semi-useful article
  8. Attempt smocking, then realize that something is terribly wrong because your bodice doesn’t look anything like the pictures on the pattern page.
  9. Read over notes from other Ravelry users who made this pattern.
  10. Feel like an idiot as it slowly dawns on you that there is an error in the pattern which would have been very clear and avoided if you’d glanced over these project pages before beginning.
  11. Curse yourself and the pattern writer until you realize the pattern was free.  Then curse just yourself.
  12. Make yourself feel better by casting on and finishing a hat.
  13. Rip back entire bodice and reknit correctly.
  14. Re-block front.
  15. Stare blankly at above mentioned article, then at dress bodice, then back at article. 
  16. Try and pinpoint the moment when you lost the ability to understand English and make sense out of a perfectly logical diagram.
  17. Appeal to your knitting friends on Facebook, revealing to them your newfound inability to see the obvious.
  18. Be thankful they don’t judge.
  19. Make a trip to your LYS for moral support.
  20. Do a happy dance when the lightbulb finally kicks on.
  21. Finish smocking and steam block bodice.
  22. Remember that you hate seaming, especially sleeves.  Procrastinate using the excuse, “I have to make sure it is really dry before I try to seam it.” 
  23. Feel a little bad for lying to yourself, noting the birthday party date is rapidly approaching.
  24. Calculate time to ship using 2 to 3 day Priority Mail.  Lie to yourself again about when you’ll be finished and ready to ship.
  25. Seam dress and knit on neckline - garter stitch rounds - piece of cake (no pun intended).
  26. Realize you cast off too tightly on neckline. 
  27. Lie to yourself again by planning to pull out just the cast off and reknit using a stretchier method.
  28. Admit to self halfway through using the stretchier method, you don’t have enough yarn because you’ve already cut it.
  29. Decide to pull back entire neckline and reknit.  Need to be careful because some stitches were picked up and some were live stitches, but again…garter stitch rounds - piece of cake.
  30. Get back to last row of picked up and live stitches and DROP a live stitch on the bodice.
  31. In less than 30 seconds:
    - allow dropped stitch to ripple down three rows
    - realize what happened
    - spend a moment in disbelief
    - grasp for a stitch holder as your eyes well up
    - gasp for air as if someone punched you in the gut
    - hate yourself
  32. Throw a huge fit that the neighbors can probably hear while your husband wonders why you enjoy knitting and says something completely inappropriate which makes things worse.
  33. Throw a flip flop at your husband.
  34. After five minutes of your hissy, sink down into the sofa as a sobbing mess.
  35. Be grateful your husband didn’t call the men in white coats.
  36. Sit down with the now ruined dress, sure that you cannot fix it.
  37. Fix the dress.
  38. Cast off appropriately.
  39. Steam block one last time.
  40. Take some aspirin.
  41. Go to bed and wonder when exactly you lost your mind and if it’s hereditary.  Worry about passing it on to your granddaughter.
  42. Package up dress and hat and realize you’ll have to overnight it.
  43. Drop package at post office after work, paying just slightly less for shipping than all of the materials combined cost you.
  44. Go home and lie down.
  45. Wonder what you’ll knit next. 

Pictures to come.