August 30, 2012


I read the Harry Potter books - all of them, and I like Harry and his friends, but I wouldn't consider myself a huge fan.  Probably because I read The Lord of the Rings at the same time and Aragorn and his friends appealed to me way more.

However, Harry Potter and friends had a lot more kid friendly outfits that were doable and wearable and it just so happens that I have a niece who I think would love to wear a Hogwarts scarf this winter.  So I hunted around and saw this shawl.  That sealed the deal and I knew I had to make the Hogwarts Express.

After a little stash diving, I came up with some Tosh Light in the Toast colorway and cast on.

Sure I've got other WIPs just waiting in the wings, but the weather is getting cool at night and that's a sure sign that my niece is going to need this scarf in time for cold weather.

The pattern is all percentages and MATH which is presenting a little bit of a challenge since I hate both percentages and math, but I'm a good guesser.  Besides, most of the people that made this project mentioned how many owls they got so I'm hoping for 20 or more.

Fingers crossed this will be a quick knit and I can get back to what I was doing.

August 25, 2012

Couldn't Resist

I admit, I'm a pattern snob.  I like the things I like that are mind benders, technique challenges and  haven't been done by a million people.  I search out the odd, the off center, the rare.  It drives me crazy!
Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a pattern that hasn't been done by 800 people in all variations of cuteness?

Well, during one of my usual strolls down the aisles at Ravelry, I saw these booties and my heart went pitter patter.  I added them to my library on Ravelry, but I passed them by - until I could no longer resist the urge.  Cute or what?:

I, just like everyone else who made them, think they're the cutest ones ever.  I don't know why I resisted in the first place.

The yarn is Bebe Lang superwash in a lemon lime color with cutesy little flower buttons sitting on top of my chicks and hens which are just starting to bloom.

Made with my trusty US #3 needles and they took about 4 hours to make with very little finishing.

Here are the disclaimers: the only pattern I found is in Danish, but my computer has a translator and most of the words translated, some didn't so I had to figure it out.  Mercifully, I had You Tube to help me out - kind of - because the video isn't in English either, but here's the link.

The construction is the hardest bit and that's not hard at all when you see the video.

Good luck with yours, I know you're going to make a pair because they are so hard to resist.

August 21, 2012


The Little Oak sweater is done, and what a beauty it is!

Complete with little wood buttons and it looks as cute from the front:

As it does in the back:

Also newsworthy is that today I received an email saying that the yarn store School Products is moving to a new location and because of the move, they're having a sale from August 20-30.  They're offering 10% off of most yarns, and 50% off magazines.  There are pamphlets for $1.00 and if you buy $30-$50 worth of yarn, you get some magazines for free.

Naturally, headed there this morning (early lunch) and picked up a few balls of Karabella 4 in lilac and Karabella 8 in black with which I've already started a 2x2 rib hat:

And because I didn't want any of the old magazines, they threw in this pattern for free:

School Products is now located at 1201 Broadway (between 28 & 29th streets) now, but their new address (no move date yet) will be 135 West 29th Street between 6 & 7th avenues, about a block away from the old address.

Next on my list of things to do, is this mystery item:

More about that later.

August 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Tai!

Today my great nephew, Tai, turned 1.  That means that he's met many milestones; he learned to roll over, crawl, he grew some teeth and now he's walking - with some hand holding, of course.  But his most remarkable feature is being adorable.

He went from arm to arm - it seems no one could get enough of him.  I must admit he's not much of a conversationalist, mostly he makes a noise somewhere between a coo and and a non-diaper involved baby grunt (those sound decidedly different).  He's happy, he's healthy and today he is 1.  Yay!

Here he is with his big sister, Jada and his mom, Tanna:

Wow, I remember when each of them was born, which makes me feel really old.  Fortunately, being surrounded by youth makes getting older not seem so bad.  (Getting older sucks for other reasons.)

And while I was glad to spend the afternoon with Tai at his party, I did sneak a little knitting in.  Here's my progress so far on the Little Oak sweater:

Nine more rows of the chart, and then on to the button placket.  Not bad for a week of sporadic knitting.    I'm still in love with the yoke detail:

I'm going to make this sweater again with a different yarn next time, only next time I'm going to follow all of the instructions as written.  When I'm done, hopefully I won't notice a huge difference.

August 17, 2012

What a Day

I usually have Friday's off and this was one of my 'free' days.  Of course, it started early with an appointment at the dentist.  Not a great way to start the day, but at least it got me out of bed early so I could enjoy the day.

On the way to catch the bus, I saw there was a farmer's market set up.  Wow!  It's there every Friday and I knew that, but when I see them on the way to work, they're always just starting to set up.  Today I saw them in full swing:

There were lots of people there.  Lots.  They had bags and carts and I was sorry my mouth wasn't in any shape to even look. Note to self: go to the farmer's market before you go to the dentist.  At least then I'd have something to look forward to.

I don't know if  you can see the tents going down the street, but each booth was mobbed!  Who says Bronxites don't know how to eat healthy!

And at it again is Joyce who is just as talented at crochet as she is at knitting.  She made a baby blanket out of Berroco Comfort and I swear it's the softest blanket I've ever touched:

She put a flower on one corner so that when it isn't in use, it should be folded so the flower is on top.  Clever and adorable, don't you think?

As for my own knitting, I'm still working on the Little Oak baby sweater (Coastal Kids) which is a pretty quick knit with only a couple of tricky bits.  It's adorable too, but it'll be the end of the weekend before it's done (and months before it's ready to wear):

The only thing better than making a beautiful sweater is watching my stash go down.  Gotta make room for the new stash I'm going to get at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in October.

I'm off to knit and listen to the pitter patter of rain still falling after the thunderstorm that just whipped through.

August 13, 2012

Baby Wrap

There is no doubt that I am happy about the Summer Olympics coming to an end.  The United States won a whole slew of medals and I'm proud of all the Olympians who trained for years to earn them.

While the Olympians were flexing their skills and winning all over the place, I was knitting.  Yep, that's my kind of exercise - practically not moving.  And with all that quiet (except for when I was cheering my Olympic picks on), I finished the Summer Blooms Shawl.

And when I wasn't killing myself putting beads on thin  yarn, I worked on the Baby Wrap Sweater.  This pattern was so easy that an advanced beginner shouldn't be afraid to try.  It's almost all garter stitch with little in the way of finishing.  Still, the result was adorable.

I made it with Bebe Lang Superwash in mint and powder blue.  This is the sweetest sweater  I've ever made.

The ruffle is a cute little touch and was as easy to make as the body of the sweater:

And the i-cord accents on this sweater don't take much, but they surely add value to the look:

Even if you hate picking up stitches, the design element is certainly worth the effort.

The sweater comes in the girl version (ruffles at the collar) and the boy version (i-cord trim all around).

I'm as pleased as punch with the outcome.

So, what's on my needles now?  Coastal Kids Little Oak.  Another adorable little sweater.  I'm using Madelinetosh Pashmina:

I cast on this morning and here's where I am:

One more inch and I can start on the sleeves which are added before you get to the design element at the top of the sweater.

I'm just stash busting all over the place!  Must be all that Olympic energy rubbing off.  I hope it lasts through the winter, when I need it most.

August 11, 2012


I did it!  I did it!

The Summer Blooms shawl is done!

I did the best I could taking pictures that show the beads, but I'm just not that good with the camera I have:

The beads add very little weight to the shawl, but they're everywhere:

This shawl is lovely, but a lot of work and time consuming.  I never made anything with beads before, and I'd do it again (as soon as my fingers recover from all the blood letting).

And speaking of finishing, I also finished the Baby Wrap Sweater which is blocking and not quite ready for it's prime time debut, but here's a preview:

So now I'm ready to move on to the next big thing.  Whatever that is.

August 10, 2012

Baby Wrap

Today is Friday.  I'm usually home on Fridays trying to use up vacation days, but today I had to come to the office.  Fridays are usually quiet and most folks leave early while I am stuck behind listening to the silence until my appointed time to leave.  Boring!

Still high from the fumes of casting off the Summer Blooms Shawl last night, I have some down time to get this sweater done.  This morning when I packed my bag for work, I packed in my knitting stuff too.  The knitting bag contained everything I'd need:  the sweater pattern, the appropriate needles, the right yarn and the drawstring bag that contains all of my tools: darning needle, spare US #3 double points, scissors ... you know, my 'stuff'.

When I finished knitting the ruffled collar I reached in my bag for the dpns so I could start my i-cord, maybe sew in a few of these loose ends.  I found the drawstring bag, but it was (HELLO!) empty.  No needles, no dpns, no nothing.

(Reminds me of the episode of the Twilight Zone when the guy whose only wish for eternity was to be surrounded by books with nothing but time to read them, ends up in eternity with his glasses broken.)

No worries, the sweater will be finished at home tonight - and though it saddened me that I'd forgotten such an important part of my knitting arsenal, it gave me great delight to know that instead of my tool bag, I grabbed more knitting.  Yay! 

So here's the progress on my Plan B: 

Not to shabby on my part - to have knitting as a back up knitting plan.  Huh?  Tell me that's not clever.

Details about everything will follow as soon as everything is blocked and ready for prime time viewing.

August 04, 2012

One Row Forward

Two rows back ...

It's just a shawl.  I've made many shawls.  This is just one more.  I'm not intimidated.

I can make a shawl in 17 days, I've done it and I'm comfortable with it.  Nothing is too lacy or too complicated, just a little time consuming.  So what's the problem?

Beads.  Lining them up is an issue because when they don't line up it's like 'in your face you made a mistake.  Now go back and fix it.'  Undo, undo, undo, etc. 'Now make sure you stab yourself with the beading needle as often as possible - teach you a lesson.'

Yeah, the shawl is cute and everything:

But clearly it wants to hurt me.

I'm on row 30 or 34 on the chart, then no more beads until the very end, I think.

I may virtually win gold if I finish on time, but I will literally win gold when I can hold a pencil without pain.


I'm still working on my Summer Blooms shawl for Ravelympics and progress is about 3 rows per night, so rather than show you a picture of what looks like no progress, so let's talk about something else.

Let me give you spinners out there a piece of sage advice.  If you are going to pay more attention to the television show you're watching than to the spinning you're doing, then you should truly pick one, either the show or the spinning.

Here I was spinning some merino/silk to make yarn for Yvonne.  The show got interesting and the end I was holding broke free from my hand and buried itself into the spool.  I searched high and low for that end - pulling up strands and trying to follow it - sweating, swearing, tugging, rubbing and begging.
No luck.

Maybe if I put it down and go back to it I'll get lucky.  Nope.
Maybe if I cut a top strands and unravel it a bit I'll find the end.  Nope.
Light a candle, pray to the spinning gods, beg some more and then - put the scissors to work.

Oy!  It took me 30 minutes of sweat to get the spool clear and 4 ounces of fiber went down the drain.

Fortunately, the Tour de Fleece happened about the same time, so I made some new yarn for Yvonne.

And it was prettier and nicer and there was more of it.  Now she can make a hat or some warm mittens.

Whew!  Thank goodness it all worked out.