A Gift of Words

It was my birthday last week. And yes it was a full week of birthday events. Dear friends came in from out of town to celebrate with me. We traveled to all my favorite places …..which means lots of yarn shops!  And yes, we bought a little bit of yarn. There were beautiful evenings of conversation and dinners that I got to cook!  And of course, wine and more talk of yarn…..

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But the main event was on my birthday. I chose to cook for  friends and family. It was a very special evening of fun and laughter.

However, the day began with a bit of panic ……..  It started about two weeks before when my dear friend called to let me know a package was coming addressed to me and NOT to open it but hold it for when she got there. Time passed, I was in party planning mode and alas the package did not arrive. So on the day of my birthday, when she asked for the box so she could wrap it, imagine her dismay when there was no box. This was a Saturday, the company was closed for the weekend. She was devastated as it was something special that she, a non knitter, had found for me a knitter.

I already thought I had the best gift of a visit from her and her hubby. Apparently she did not. So instead she locked herself away and created a most incredible gift for me. Far greater than anything that could be bought, she gave me the gift of words. I cannot begin to explain how surprised, blessed, delighted ……….more words ……..more words …… there are not enough words to describe how special the moment was as she read this to me.

So for all of you that never know what to give someone take a moment and write a little something that gives joy to their life. And yes, she gave me permission to share her words with you.

Thank you my dear, dear, friend.

An Ode for Olivia January 30-signed

 

 

 

One Minute Before Midnight

How can this be! It is 11:59pm on December 24th and I am binding off on the very last knitted gift. That was not the plan……in fact I really was finished one week ago or so I thought.

Let’s just say on December 17th I was celebrating. The cookies were baked and the tray was complete for our knit nite holiday party at Churchmouse.

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I was dressed in my newly knitted Christmas sweater

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and even had snuck in a little knitted cowl for my girlfriend.

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Himself had offered to drive me to knit nite that evening so I could drink a little bubbly. How perfect is that. Then it began…….. “You know, he said,  I don’t have a Holiday Vest a green one would look really good on me.”  I politely told him…… we could plan on that for NEXT YEAR. He understood and I thought all was settled.

I go upstairs to pack up the last items to take with me for the evening and there he is in the closet, digging thru my stacks of knitted scarfs. “What are you doing?” I asked. Himself replied  “I was looking for a red holiday scarf to wear, I don’t have one.” Let me just clarify that he has his own stack of knitted scarfs apparently they just did not fit the “Holiday Mood” he was going for.  Did I mention that he was just taking me to my party, not going to the party? And that my scarfs were a little girly for him?

And so off we go, he got me to the party, I had cookies and bubbly. I was feeling a little generous at that point. By the time he came to pick me up, I suggested we wander the store and see if there is something he might like. We found the perfect red for a scarf. It was a heavy worsted and I knew I could whip up a Mistake Rib scarf in a flash. That was the crazy talk happening, or the bubbly. Yup bought yarn, had yarn wound. I was off to the races. I could do this in a couple of days, he would have his Holiday Scarf!

Then the parties, and the wrapping, and the shopping required my time and got in the way of my knit a scarf time. I was bound and determined that this was going to be finished for THIS year’s Christmas. And that is why at 11:59pm I bound it off, stuck a bow on it and called it finished.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOODNIGHT!

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Block Party

Color block is everywhere this year. On sweaters, dresses, ponchos, and even scarfs. Those of you that knit with me know that I have been on a bit of a color block journey this year. Yup knit a poncho and a summer top in color block. It got to the point that I would look at a pattern and say “I could do that in color block”.  I have been inspired by so many colors that my head was spinning.

I really wanted a scarf for fall with all the colors of fall so “Block Party” was born.block2

It is a simple garter stitch that flows in two directions moving the color blocks from long to short.

The yarn is fingering which makes it light as a feather and the garter stitch makes it squishy. I made it super long, 88 inches. It can be double and triple wrapped and still not to be too thick around your neck.

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It is perfect for using up some bits of sock yarn or for a special splurge of new yarn.

I used 5 skeins  of Isager Alpaca Merino fingering (50% Alpaca 50% Merino Wool) 270 yards; 50 grams),  2 skeins Color A (36 – Farve), 1 skein Color B (30 – Black), 1 skein Color C (21 – Lingonberry), and 1 skein Color D (24 – Orange)

Here are a few inspiration mixes just for you ….and me as I don’t think I will be able to make just one.

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All are in stock and can be purchased from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas.

For those of you that want to use up some of your stash bits, here are the actual amounts I used for each color.  360 yds Color A, 115 yds each Color B & C, and 140 yds Color D.

Go to Ravelry for more pattern details and to purchase. And don’t forget to post your finished photos. I want to see your Block Party.

No Photos Please

A blog post without photos?  How can that be? Well because ……..it is secret knitting time. That’s right, we all are knitting secret things right now.  We start with great intentions of knitting special gifts for our special people. Hats, mittens, scarfs, socks, slippers and maybe even a sweater We pick out patterns and yarn with each person in mind and truly believe that this year “we can complete everything in time for the holidays”.

I made that list. I selected yarn and patterns and lined them up on my desk so I could stay on track.  I calculated it all out and thought, no problem, I can even slide in a sweater or two for me in this mix.  Full of confidence we all start down our list. First set of slippers, check done. Second set of slippers, check done …..but Himself “needed them NOW”. Second set of slippers delivered to Himself, must rethink list.  First hat finished. Love it when it only takes a day.

Second hat…… what was I thinking. Black yarn, fingering yarn, size 3 needle, casting on 150 stitches. Having a bit of a downer moment, need a little encouragement here.

I still have five more items to finish and I really wanted to make a sweater for me. I know it doesn’t sound that bad. Except we are pushing into November and somehow I volunteered to sew 30 scarfs for our choral group and they need to be done by Thanksgiving.

And those of you that know me, know that soon the cookie baking must begin. I am already being reminded by some, who shall remain nameless, that they of course will be on the cookie delivery list again this year.

Oh just one or two more items. I have a couple of new patterns in the works for you. Just a little photography, final pattern write up, test knit and they will be yours.

Coffee, coffee, coffee…….  Knit, knit, knit ……… I can do this!

Oh Squirrel!

I had a plan. I was knitting to the plan. There is a new pattern to be finished. There are slippers for company that must be finished. And all the knitted Christmas gifts. Plus, I had planned to sneak in a couple of sweaters for me. Then this arrived.

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My head was spinning. How cool is this yarn! It is a Miss Bab’s yarn called Pumpkin Apocalypse.  How could you not want to do something with this yarn. But….. I had a plan and this wasn’t on the plan.

So after touching it for several days I thought I would wind it into a cake just to see what would happen with the colors.

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O My!  Even more beautiful! My heart was pounding. I must stay on plan I must stay on plan.  Maybe I will look at a few patterns on Ravelry to see if something would be deserving of this yarn.

And magically the stars aligned and there it was, Reyna . A free pattern no less. I will add it to my library. I will print it out. OK maybe cast on and knit a few rows just to see what it looks like.

Then this happen

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Yup, already named it “Trick or Treat”. It is beautiful, well worth throwing my plan off a little.  I promised myself I will knit later into the night to get back on plan. No problem.

Wait a whole new series of patterns were just released on Ravelry……….. I feel a squirrel moment coming on.  Somebody save me…….

Saved From the Fire-pit

I believe that I average at least one EPIC knitting failure a year. It’s ugly, the yarn is junk, the fit is horrible and it is soooooo bad that I can’t even pass it off to Goodwill. I have been known to have a martini or two and burn that failure in the fire-pit.

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This year we have a burn ban in effect so the EPIC knitting failure has been staring at me for months. And because it has been staring at me I have been fiddling with it. So how can something so wonderful go so bad. Well let me begin……

It was a Churchmouse knit nite and there was a trunk show of finished sweaters ready for you to try on. A bunch of women that knit, yarn, and sweaters, let’s just say crazy happens. I tried on this sweater and immediately “fell in love”. I wanted to wear the sweater out of the store. But my only choice was to buy the pattern, the yarn, and knit the sweater. And so the downward cycle began.

I chose the size of the sample as it fit me to perfection. Did I say this is normally not my size. I bought the yarn in the exact amount listed on the label of the sweater. I went home and immediately did a large swatch, washed and blocked the swatch. This was going to be a perfect sweater. Nothing was going to go wrong.

I was off and running on knitting a beautiful sweater. It was not a simple pattern and there was really no easy way to try this one on as you went. But no problem as the sample fit me to perfection and my gauge swatch was spot on.

And then I ran out of one of the colors of yarn. Thank heavens there was still some of the dye lot at Churchmouse.  I had to pickup and knit miles of ribbing that went on and on forever.  Finally finished. I tried it on and it looked OK, but it wasn’t block and really needed that finishing or so I thought.

Into the water to soak and ready to carefully lift out and block. This sweater grew in the water so much so that it would have fit two of me. I desperately tried to get it to squish back into the size the pattern defined. I thought I had it. I matched the size on the pattern. I waited and waited as it dried.

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Finally time to try it on. It was big on me. Sometimes that is not a problem in sweaters. Sometimes I like them if they are a little big. This one had a large V pattern on the back the V was supposed to be at your waist. The V on me was pointing, yup you got on, on my behind. Failure….failure…..failure.

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OK so I am thinking I will soak this puppy one more time and then do a little felting and hope that works. Back into the water the ugly sweater goes. Towel roll and then to air dry a minute at a time in the dryer. Carefully I watched as it shrank to size. Or so I thought. Back to the blocking board to dry. And oops this time it was a little small. As I was pulling on it to see what I needed to adjust the yarn broke at the bottom bind off edge. That’s it I am done…..burn baby burn.

So it sat on my desk, staring at me for months as I waited for the burn ban to be lifted. It glared at me. Told me it deserved better. It reminded me that I really loved the pattern. No I was not going to knit it again. No the yarn was not able to be frogged. Really I love you little sweater….I HATE you little sweater.

And then I figured what have I got to lose I will take one more shot at this. Back into the water you go. I take the time to shape you into the smaller size on the pattern. The one I should have knit. And it dries. I try it on….better. The point is in a more appropriate location. The fit is better, but still needs a few more adjustments.  I take and crochet a row inside along the pickup edge of the ribbing to pull the fit in a little closer to my body. Much better. I pull out some matching thread and carefully stitch the broken yarn. One more time back on my body. Not bad.

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Not bad at all! I think this is wearable!  So I have my first sweater ready to go for fall. Lessons learned……trust your pattern size not the size that is written on a sample. And never ever have fear to rip, shrink, re-block and if all else fails burn that ugly thing in the fire-pit.

My Nana’s Handkerchief

I was cleaning out and organizing a few boxes the other day and found some of my Nana’s handkerchiefs. Yes, the real ones, the ones that had to be laundered. And if you were of a certain era, the first thing you learned to iron.

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For me, the memories of so many things came to mind. The smell of my mother’s cologne on her hanky. It was Chanel No. 5. Then the famous nana spitting on the hanky to wipe your face so you were presentable for church.

With that said, I knew I wanted to do something special to remember those moments, and a sweater design was born. It is a simple top down, A-line that is light and airy. A slit instead of a pocket to hold that special hanky. The hanky is fixed to the slit so it will not be ruined. It can be removed or changed out if you have a few to show off. Or simply omitted if you do not want to use a hanky.

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For me it is a precious memory that I can now carry with me and share my delightful moments with others. So pull out your Nana’s handkerchief, show it off a little, and share those special stories of laughter and joy ……..of times gone by.

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Some details: It is intended to have a positive ease of 1 – 2 inches. Model is shown with a 1in positive ease. Actual chest sizes are 30 1/2 (33, 36, 38 1/2) inches.

Yarn is Berroco Weekend Aran 4 (4, 5, 6) skeins 205 yards each in Tea Rose.

Gauge is 16 sts and 20 rows over 4inches in Stockinette stitch on a US 10 1/2 needles

For more details and to purchase go to Ravelry.