geekin' on yarn, parenting, & whatever else comes up.

WIPs Archive



March 2013



Catching Up: Everything Old is New Again

Written by , Posted in Blog, Bloggy Blatherings, Finished Objects, FOs, Fotoposts, Gifts, Knitting, Knitting Knatterings, Updates, WIPs

HI! Hi, Internets, hi!

So I’m browsing Ravelry this morning (likeyoudo), and there smack in the middle of the “what’s hot right now” list of patterns is an old knitblogger’s friend: Cornelia Tuttle-Hamilton’sย Klaralund! [rav link]

It’s possible that I am particularly knitstalgic at the moment, having finally imported ancient Typepad blog posts over that reach back to 2005. Certainly I was more clever in my blog headlines then, and FAR more prolific in my posts than the past ~mumble~ years have shown. But to come across a pattern that was one of the first in what felt like a constant wave of projects that would zoom across the (then somewhat limited, compared to today’s 2m Ravelry users) knit-blog-osphere, trending as one of the current projects that knitters are into in 2013, feels almost like an out-of-body experience. Time traveling, if you will, but with more needles and fewer Daleks.

Terribly pleased to see that the pattern has had more sizes added; I thought the reason it might have come back into knitterly awareness now is because of the release of the Noro: Knit 40 Fabulous Designs book, but since that happened in 2009, I really don’t know why it’s come back around. Not sure it’s relevant, really; I’m just kind of glad to see what feels like an old friend coming across my Ravelry options. ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, so. Everybody knows it isn’t real unless you blog it, right? So here’s all the stuff that hasn’t been real until RIGHT NOW, since last we met:

The Sainted Husband got his (almost)annual Crazy Hat Project result earlier this year – his Skully Hat remains the most oft-worn, beloved knitted item ever to come off my needles, so, as TSH is a professional editor and English teacher, I made him We Call Them Ampersands, a spin-off of the same pattern as his skully hat, now with more typography!

True to form, I’ve discovered I haven’t got a good Finished Object photoshoot of this one, but here’s a couple action shots of the hat doing its job:


(That’s my dad in the background; we were visiting them in Raleigh, NC and it was COLD that day. YAY knitted things to keep people warm!)

And a hazy at-home, natural-habitat shot:

Ampersands Hat


Project: We Call Them Ampersands; original pattern is Adrian Bazila’s We Call Them Pirates; Ampersand chart by Susette Newberry

Yarn: I don’t actually know. Generic shetland-esque wool I had in stash, no ballband.

Needles: Addi Turbo Lace US 5s

I don’t have a timeline for this one, either, I’m afraid. This is what happens when I don’t blog for forever; I have no digital memory to help me remember these things.

Hats are pretty much all I have had any knitting bandwidth for of late, it seems; I have a rainbow Ampersands I started for myself, but will have to rip because my gauge was wonky:

Rainbow Ampersands hat in progress

That’s Kuani for the color, and I think a shetland for the white. Pondering other options for this one.

The other hat I knit last year ate up nearly all my knitting mojo, and it was a confluence of Twitter Bravado and commission. I follow many of the authors I love over on Twitter, and one day the infamous Brain Hat was mentioned as a desired object by one of my most fave authors. I, perhaps foolishly, replied that I had two sticks and some string and could probably make that happen. Several DMs later, I had a commission to make the thing.

Brain Hat in medias res: (in media? Damnnit. Stupid Latin.)

It took four football fields of yarn, months of time, and at least half my sanity, but I TRIUMPHED:

Braiiiiin (hat)


Pattern: Alana Noritake’s Brain Hatย [Rav Link]

Yarn: Madeline Tosh Sock in “Nectar”ย from WEBS

Needles: Addi Turbo Lace, I think US 4s? Can’t remember specifically what size needles I did this on, am guessing based on some in-progress pics I’ve got on Flickr; I do know that purchasing an i-cord machine saved. my. bacon. with this project; holy crap but did this ever take forever! Thank goodness the recipients were terribly patient with me for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Started: February 4, 2012

Finished: December 18, 2012

As I’m sitting here doing this, I’m realizing that even though it feels like I haven’t knit anything in years, practically, I actually did finish a fair number of projects this year! Long-time readers (if there are any of you remaining) may recall the Samhain wedding shawl knit for Miss Plum’s godmother; so, when this lady birthed her first child this year, there had to be a small suite of Wee Laddie Knits! First, the obligatory Baby Surprise Jacket:

Handspun BSJ is done but for blocking! (for @wren's pending wee laddie)

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket

Yarn: My own handspun (!!!!)

Needles: No idea. Addi, yes, but size? No clue.

Completed: Sometime in March 2012.

I had enough handspun leftover to crank out a wee tiny Aviator cap:

In which @wren should avoid looking unless she wants spoilered:


I can’t remember what book I cribbed this off of; it was one of the very first knitting books I ever got, but it’s about the same as any other infant ear flap hat pattern that’s floating around out there. I was just ridiculously proud that it was knit from my own handspun. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then there was a second wee laddie sweater:

Sweater for pending Wee Laddie is DONE! So. Cute.Pattern: Fibre Space‘s Baby Stripes

Yarn: Spud & Chloรซย Sweater, purchased at Fibre Space

Needles: Addi Turbo Circular US8s

Completed: March 12, 2012

I have a grey hat in progress for another friend that stalled out on the crown decreases; need to take some pics of that for you; also I took some of this Clover Leaf Farms fiber in colorway “EarthTones”:

4oz braid of Clover Leaf Farms merino in "earthtones"

And am turning it into some handspun, like so:

Bonus 365 shot: playing with bouncing flash! @xPeregrine @tylluan

Not sure yet what that’s going to be.

Holy crap you guys, there is so much. I shall sum up what remains in a forthcoming post.

Meanwhile, tell me how y’all are doing?

PS: I went from dirty blonde to red while you weren’t looking:

For @mizjawnson, LOTD: Why Did I Wait So Long to Get the Naked Palette?!


and After:

2nd day flat iron curls:



February 2007



Be still my heart!

Written by , Posted in Finished Objects, Knitting Knatterings, Updates, WIPs

I actually FINISHED something!

For myself, no less.

Here’s why it’s cheating: Because it’s been on the needles (or off the needles and in the despair pile) for…what? Two years? Maybe more?


Here’s how I feel:

That, my friends, is the face of a woman who has discovered the difference a brutal blocking can make.

There are any number of things wrong with this sweater, since it was the first non-scarf item I ever cast-on for that wasn’t baby-sized, and because I was a new knitter who knew nothing at the time. But I’m going to ignore them all because it FITS and it’s warm and I love it as one can only love a first sweater that will see lots of wear.

Forgive a) the house clutter I tried and failed to photoshop out, b) my personal dumpiness, and c) the foggy mirror of our marble-top.

(The marble-top is what I’ve always called that beast of a dresser/mirror combo. It’s an antique, and the mirror has fogged edges as a result of its age. I love this thing. I begged my dad for it when they moved to a place that had no space for it, and he amazingly let me have it. Other than my engagement ring, the stone for which belonged to my mother, this is probably one of my most prized possessions. But as usual, I digress.)

On my person, zipped up:

And on my person, open:

The edges aren’t quite as wonky as they appear there — I flipped back the side on your left there because I am so damn proud of the ribbon over the zipper tape on the inside. I followed Kathy’s fantastic zipper insertion method (oh the Google hits on THAT phraseology, I bet!), and the link on her blog to another blogger’s use of grograin ribbon over the zipper tape in lieu of knitting a zipper facing, and I am so tickled with the results!

The ribbon was a happy marriage of browsing the fabric store and a sale. I am brainstorming what to do with the remaining 4-odd yards of the same ribbon, which I love despite it’s 80’s preppy overtones.

Zippers may be my new favorite thing:


Especially with ribbon inside:

Stitching the side of the ribbon that overlaid the zipper tape was an exercise in finger-piercing, however, as this particular zipper had that tough plastic overcoating on it. So the stitching itself is not as smooth as it might have been; however, I love handwork, (it’s a perversion, what can I say? Said perversion does not, however, extend to seaming, an exercise I loathed and am apparently not very good at) and didn’t want the stitching to show through on the front, so I didn’t sew it on the machine, which would have taken considerably less time than hand stitching did. I think next time I will sew the seams of my sweaters on the sewing machine, and hand finish the remainder. ๐Ÿ™‚

A few more shots of the sweater laid flat, and I shall shoosh, already. Everybody else seems to have Finished Objects every month or so, and they don’t go on like this. I can’t seem to help it, given that my finished objects seem to be separated by years rather than weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚



Project:  ChicKnits’ Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie
Yarn: Elann’s Peruvian Highland Wool in Tranquil Lagoon; something less than 10 balls
Needles:  Addi Turbo 24" circs, US 9 throughout
Mods: I used one needle size throughout, and went up a size to get a slightly larger sweater to fit over the Bust of Dooooom.
Notes: When I make another of these (and yes, there will have to be another, I think), I will want to make it longer — this one hits just at the top of my hips, and I prefer my sweaters to hit about mid-hip, so as not to get tugged every time I sit down and feel a draft in my lower back. Also, although I already learned this lesson from this sweater months ago, I won’t try to knit in my ends instead of weaving them in, as it makes fat wonky stitches for very noticeable bumps in an otherwise pleasing stretch of knitting. Also, I’d stitch the seams on a sewing machine next time, as my seaming skills are patently lacking.



June 2006



Threads of Life

Written by , Posted in Legacy, Quilting, Weblogs, WIPs

You folks will have to let me know if a post about a craft other than knitting bothers you here; I know this is theoretically a knitting blog, but for the summer, I may focus much more so on the other myriad crafts that draw my interest. If this will cause consternation in my readers, however, then I will create yet another blog for non-knitting Crafty-type posts. But that would be annoying for me, so let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, shall we? ๐Ÿ™‚

This evening, I finally got the incomplete bridal quilt my mother made
for me dragged out from its storing place in my Great-Grandmother’s
cedar chest. The legacy this quilt represents for both myself, my husband, and our daughter is difficult to quantify. My husband and I were both very close with my mother, and her early death caused my family huge amounts of pain and loss. So the fact that this quilt managed to make it through all the crap surrounding my mother’s passing to begin with is something of a miracle.

My mother had both Multiple Sclerosis, and also another, extremely rare auto-immune disorder called Behcet’s Disease. In addition to the havoc wrought on her system by MS, her immune system began to attack her vascular system. It got very bad very fast after a very long diagnosis process, and she died in February of 2002, at the age of 46 years old.

Before that, however, during the ten-odd years Mama spent as a semi- to total invalid, she found that hand applique, particularly in the Baltimore Album style, was one of the things she was still able to do, even on "bad" days. It was something I had shown her from my usual Craft-ADD repetoire that she took to immediately, and proceeded to take the art to glorious places.

When she began my wedding/bridal quilt, I don’t believe I’d even met my husband yet. The first block she finished was a classic album block out of a little book by Mimi Detrich:


Other than this particular quilt, which was her first foray into the Album style, Mama tended towards more sophisticated designer’s blocks, like the famous Elly Sienkiewicz blocks that most folks identify with the genre.  However, I have loved these simple blocks from the very beginning, and my mother’s sense of color, I think, made them all the more wonderful.

That first album block was completed in the year 2000, and the little book closes with a button Mama dug out from my Mom-Mom’s button stash. (Mom-Mom was my mother’s maternal grandmother, the one who at one time owned a yarn shop in Pennsylvania called Celeste’s Yarns)

Inside the album, my Mama wrote the following inscription:

She completed the hand applique of the remaining blocks for the quilt literally a week or two before she went into the hospital for the last time. She’d managed to complete all the blocks, and put the first three rows of the quilt top together before she was unable to do any more.

My mother’s friend, and my quilting mentor, Judy Shapiro, had initially taken the quilt immediately following my mother’s passing, in hopes that she would be able to have it completed for me. Unfortunately, Judy’s own health was not the best, and she needed all her energy for her own quilt artistry — which, if you click the link, you will see is amazing.

It took Judy and I several years, if you can believe it, to get our collective acts together long enough for me to go see her and collect the unfinished quilt. Seeing it again, after not having seen it since before my mother’s death, was indescribable. It still retains the cigarette smell from my mother’s home (now gone), and although I don’t generally like that smell, it brought her very close to me to open the bag, pull out the quilt, and remember seeing her working on each block with her hands I loved so much.

There were three rows completed and pieced together in what’s called a Garden Maze setting by my mother before she died; then Judy and her quilting friends completed another row. Tonight, I put together the last row. Now I have to finish paper-piecing the setting squares for the setting strips, and the quilt top will be completed except for borders, which I will need to applique myself.

The lower-most strip is the one I put together this evening, while the one above it is the one pieced together by Judy and friends.

This seems an ideal project for the way I’ve been feeling of late. I always feel my mother’s absence acutely, but lately I have wanted more than ever to feel close to her, and to embrace the legacy of handcrafts and needlework that she left with me. I want my little girl to have something, when she marries or is ready to accept it, that the grandmother she never knew stitched by hand, that her mother completed, and that has ties to other women of our family and the crafts we all have in common. So if you’re interested, I’ll try to post my progress here and let you know where things are. This has languished quite long enough, and I am ready to have the quilt complete in such a way that I can hug it close during the times I miss Mama the most.

I took a photo of every block this evening, but the light is lousy after dark, imagine that! So I will re-take those later, and if enough interest is out there for it, I’ll post the photos of blocks of my own I’ve appliqued, other quilt projects I have in the works, and etc.

I leave you with a few photos of Sophie, seated in the big bay window of our living room this past weekend, enjoying the sunshine and her Fireman Woody doll with the pull-string and everything, just like one of her favorite Pixar movies. We are hoping to make the Cars movie her first seen on the big screen; we’ll have to see, however, whether it’s too early to take her to something like that, or if she’ll be as enthralled as we hope.

Certainly we are constantly enthralled by her.




May 2006



As Promised

Written by , Posted in Fotoposts, Knitting Knatterings, Sockapaloooza, Updates, WIPs

First and foremost, I give you my long-traveled and most wonderously beauteous Sockapaloooza Socks, knit for me by Kimberly of A Knitted Frenzy!


Pay no attention to the terrible night-time-is-the-only-time-I-have-time-to-take-photos, photos; they fit perfectly, are of one of my favorite yarns (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Cranberries), and in a pattern I’d tried myself in the aforementioned Socks That Rock yarn that I thought I didn’t like. More on that in a moment. These are the Nancy Bush Child’s First Socks pattern from her Knitting Vintage Socks book, which I am utterly addicted to. My own pal’s socks were a pattern from the same book.

Kimberly is from Fresno, and sent me with my wonderful socks some poppy seeds, (I don’t know if I want to make bagels or stage my own scene with green face makeup, rubbing my hands together and cackling, "Poppies! POOOOOOPPPPPIIEEEEES!") a picture of the socks reclining on the bench in the subway with Kim’s iPod (who sports its own knitted cozy, natch), a handwritten card, and (as if this weren’t all enough) homemade strawberry jam! Said jam is three-quarters gone already, as my daughter and teen step-sons discovered and anhililated it inside two hours. It was scary, actually. ๐Ÿ™‚

THANK YOU, Kim! These are fantastic, and I am so tickled I haven’t taken them off hardly a moment. YAY! ~happy dance~

Now, as to the haul from MDSW, it was, as I said, somewhat meager. Here is what I got that I have in my hands — (There’s still Enya’s  fleece to come, in process of being…um…processed)


This is Mohair roving from Persimmon Tree Farm, owned by Greta Dise. (The Farm, not the roving in these photos. :)) I love it — these two photos are of the same ball of roving, but different sides. It’s called Fall Harvest, and I got the same stuff last year with glitz in it. I have grandiose notions of one day getting myself a spinning wheel and plying the non-glitz with the glitz. But then, ALL my notions tend towards the grandiose.

This is a horrid nighttime photo of my gorgeous Bosworth midi spindle, purchased from the Journey Wheel folks themselves. (THANK YOU, MR. BOSWORTH!) It’s made of Black Palm, with what I believe is a Padauk shaft. It’s LOVELY.  And yes, that is some yarn on the spindle shaft, why do you ask? ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of this spindle and yarn, behold! My first actual wee ball of handspun: (The Google hits on that should be rediculous…)


Sheila? That’s the Falklands wool you sent me that I was gushing about in a previous post. It’s SO lovely! This wee ball is all I could get on the spindle before it started to bobble, so I think I’ve a ways to go to learn about wrapping the shaft properly as I wind on.

And then there was the Socks That Rock. It was a madhouse trying to get this stuff, frankly, and if I had it all to do over, I might skip the mess and order online. But I’m very glad I tried it, and I do love it after all. Note the evidence, to the right:


Pardon the flash — I did say as night photos were all I could swing, if I was going to EVER show you guys this stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚

So yeah — that would be some picot-edge Jaywalkers, which was the only pattern that was ever going to work with the Mesa colourway for me. The mint green just killed it in any other pattern. So Cara is right. Again. ๐Ÿ™‚

I sent one skein — the Watermelon Tourmaline, don’t ever let it be said I don’t take care of my swap peeps  — to my Sockapaloooza pal with her socks, so these four are the remaining ones. Of these, I think the Alina is my favorite, and the Lemongrass and Fred Flintstone may have to become part of a fair-isle or mixed sock. (I actually like all three colourways together, but haven’t decided that I like that plan)

These jaywalkers are my first try at a picot edge, and I have to say that I am so in love with it! I especially love the way they make little crenellations like the wall of a castle. I showed them to TSH, and referred to them in that conversation as "dits". He asked what a dit was, and I said, THOSE!