December 31, 2012


Every year, Phyllis from Soundview Presbyterian Church in the Bronx has an angel party for the children of the congregation.  The children write what they want on the back of little angels and the adults take an angel and buy what the child asked for.  In addition to that, CC Reilly, one of the knitters in our knitting circle asked that we make some hats and mittens to donate.

So the knitting circle provided these:

Honestly, CC Reilly knit most of the hats, but the group did make a contribution of hats, mittens and scarves and we'll do this again next year.

I read a story several years ago about a family that received a fruitcake during the holidays and no one owned up to bringing it, but after the holiday celebration was over the only thing untouched was the fruitcake. So the hostess decided that she would wrap the cake up and send it to one of her family members.  The recipient thought she meant to send it to a different family member so he packed the cake up and sent it to that person.  The third person packed it up and mailed it to someone else.  It went on like that the whole year, and the last person that got the cake brought it with him when he went back to join the family for the holidays.

The reason I bring that up is because the socks I intended to give to my son are going to be 'fruit caked'.  I just can't have them laying around the house.  To make matters worse, I was knitting on the train and lost on of my DPNs so the socks are on hold - as if they're determined to say here.  I'm trying to figure out who to send these socks to where the recipient won't hate my guts and give them back.  Honestly, I just can't love socks this loud:

So another year closes on knitting.  The year flew by in a hurry and I don't even know what all I made, but I'm sure I did a lot.  Next year I'm going to commit to making stuff for myself - something besides socks.  I don't know what I'll make, but I have lots of books and magazines with stuff in them that I want.

This year I'm actually going to purchase enough yarn to make myself a sweater or two.  I'm also going to spin more than just during the Tour de Fleece.  Those are the only two resolutions I'm going to make and hopefully keep.

Welcome 2013!

December 27, 2012

Oh My Word

I am going to be kind, but you don't have to be.  Tell me honestly, what do you think of these socks?

Putrid?  Loud?  Offensive? Scary? The pattern is plain vanilla, but the design is ... um ... somewhat lacking in beauty.  Don't blame the camera that took the picture, blame the yarn.  And the colors are not a trick of the eye or the camera - the socks are honestly that color.  Oy!

It took me a day and a half of trying to knit with my eyes closed.  Sheesh!  The yarn gets rougher with every stitch.

This pair is going to be fraternal twins because when I bound off the toe of sock one, I just cast on for sock two, not even daring to attempt twin-ness.

But let me tell you what scares me the most.

Remember how I told you that every time I went stash diving I ran into this yarn?  It just wouldn't go away, so I decided to make socks for my son and then it hit me.

I'm going to run into these socks for the rest of their lives.  I'm going to see them on his feet and have to fight back making an ugly face.  I'm going to see them in the laundry basket.  I'm going to see them in the middle of the floor or half hanging out of a boot by the front door.  I'm going to see one, and a few days later I'll see the other one which I will sweep from under the sofa.

Can you tell I'm cringing?

What can I do?  Who would want them?  Who could love them?  They hurt my eyes, my hands and my feelings.  So sad.

My next project is going to be something soft and in one color, or maybe 2, but certainly no more than that.  My eyes need a rest, I mean it.

December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is over, and I hope you all had a very merry one.  The presents have been opened and used, the dinner is gone, dishes washed and now it's time for the rest of the clean up.

I entered a contest more than a year ago and in 2011 I won, you can read about it here if you care to.  In the box was a bunch of stuff I adored, along with a bunch of stuff I wouldn't have looked at twice.

In that box was this skein of yarn that just hangs around because it's not on my favorites list.  It's not even close to colors I would choose, and maybe it feels, well, not so soft.  It's a brand I know, and the price is reasonable, but ... still ... it's just not particularly my cup of tea.

Lana Grossa Meilenweit Multieffekt:

When the speed holiday knitting happened it wasn't in consideration, however, while I was returning the stash to it's regularly designated bins, I came across this skein and thought to myself, 'There's no way in heck I want you back in my stash.  You are loud, proud, a good yarn and you deserve a home with an owner who will appreciate you'.  And that's when it hit me.

My son will wear any socks I make him.  They can be loud, pink, rough - anything.  So today I cast on for a pair of socks for him.

If this sock yarn was a solid color, I'd like it.  It has other advantages, like sturdy, utilitarian, competent ...

But I just got finished knitting a hat with the softest, richest, most beautiful yarn I've ever worked with, Classic Elite Fresco, and now I'm working this yarn.  Bah humbug!  

It is kind of Christmas-y, though.

Do you have one of those skeins?  Care to share what you did with yours?  If you're lucky, like I am, you have someone in  your family who will take anything you make and appreciate it.  That's where my DS comes in.  He has a pair of socks made from Madelinetosh and another pair made with Socks that Rock (Blue Moon Fiber Arts).  It makes no difference to him.

I thought maybe my mother would like a pair of socks, but giving them to her would be a cruel joke.  First the color, and she wouldn't hold back.  Then the texture, she'd hold back a little, but she'd bring up the socks at a family gathering and talk about how badly I treat her with knitted goods.

My next project will more than make up for what I'm knitting today.  I'll figure out what that will be and I'll forget this pair of socks ever happened.

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2012

Surprisingly, Done

I thought I was starting a project that had about as much chance of being finished as I have of setting my hair on fire.  Turns out, it was a fast knit for being stranded, which is to say that it took a little longer to knit than a 'regular' hat.

Selbu Modern is done and I have to say that the pattern is so well written that I'd make this hat a hundred times.

Let me tell you about this Classic Elite Fresco.  Talk about LOVE!  I love this yarn.  It's 60% wool,  30% baby alpaca and 10% mohair and it's softer than a baby's bum, softer than butter, softer than anything I've knit with in a very long time.  I realize it may be the baby alpaca which is always soft, or the mohair which gives the hat a soft halo.  Between the hat and the yarn, I had a love fest with this project.

I was a little worried about running out of yarn, but you know me and yarn.  I never run out!  This is what's left:

Now on to the next project, plain vanilla socks, which won't be finished before Christmas, but might be finished right after.  I don't even know where my sock yarn is, but I'll find it.  In a perfect world, I'd be able to knit one sock on the way to work, and the other on the way home.

Ha ha ha! You know that's not going to happen.

Happy Christmas Eve!

December 22, 2012

Two Days Before Christmas

And I'm still knitting away.  I know I shouldn't be knitting, but it's only because of Christmas and because I wouldn't work myself beyond capacity unless it was important.  Christmas knitting is important - to me.  I don't have a lot of money to go around and a hat or sweater always saves my good standing among the family members who appreciate my knitted goods.  Especially since that's about the only time they get them.

Except for Mom, of course.

She's a whole other story.

Still, there's not a lot of time, but a lot of knitting that I want to get done.  To that end, I finished Nylah's hat and mitten set:

There was no pattern for the hat, at least not one that I found, so I just made it up to match the mittens.  I cast on 84 stitches and knit for 5 inches, then started the decreases.  Easy peasy.  The bonus part is that her mom can change the i-cord ties for ribbons to match whatever coat/snowsuit she's wearing and they will help keep the mittens on the baby.  Edited to add the decrease section of the hat.  Every row is decreased on my hat.  Row 1: K2 tog, k10, repeat to end.  Row 2: K2 tog, k9, repeat to end.  You decrease until you get to the end with an even number of stitches, cut the yarn, thread it through, et voila!  

Then I started a hat because hats are fast and easy and everyone who has ever experienced winter in New York needs one.  Of course, a chunky weight cabled hat would have been easier and faster, but I've never gone the easy route.  I found one skein each of Classic Elite Fresco, 60% wool, 30% alpaca and 10% angora in white and periwinkle:

And decided to make the Selbu Modern by Kate Gagnon Osborn.

It's coming out beautifully!  The yarn is so soft and beautiful and has a halo, and it is far to beautiful to use for anything other than a pretty, soft, warm hat.  The pattern calls for needles size US #0 and US #2.  I used US #1 and US #3 because I made a different hat pattern of hers in the past and the hat was small and tight.  This time I was hoping for a hat more useful than decorative.  Not too shabby, eh?  I just hope I don't run out of yarn!

I highly recommend that if you plan to make this hat that you use the German Twisted Cast On so that you don't have to worry about your cast on row being too rigid and tight.  It really does make a difference.

For my next act of 'tempting the fates' I plan to make a pair of plain vanilla socks, and that should put an end to my knitting for a while.  Ha!  If you know me, you know that's not true.  It will be the end of my deadline knitting, though.  No more rushing to finish projects is more likely.

Happy knitting!

December 19, 2012

Second Verse

It's the same old story.  I went to the physical therapist today and she reiterated her directive that I not knit.  She showed me how knitters specifically hurt themselves by knitting for long periods of time.  It starts in the pads of the hands, they get stiff and it feels like arthritis, but it's not (if you don't already have it, that is).  It works up the wrist, the forearm, the shoulder and then to your back.  Huh?  What madness is this?  It's unbelievable!  And then she showed me.  I felt defeated.

So, I have a non-choice to make.  Clearly, I have done the unthinkable.  I gave up knitting.  For an hour.  Mainly because my hands hurt after the session.  As soon as the aspirin kicked in, I finished the socks for DS:

And then I cast on for some teeny, tiny little mittens for Nylah:

The pattern is Soft Wave Mittens by Anna Hromova (Ravelry).  I'm using US #3 needles and the last of the Caron Simply Soft baby sport yarn, circa early 1800 (as in at least 100 years old and I had to deep stash dive for it).  The yarn is 100% acrylic, it's soft and her little hands will be inside her snow suit so it's not as if they have a real job to do.

My next mission is to find something small to make that I can finish fast enough to do other things. Like laundry (yuck!), or dishes (double yuck!), or clean the bathroom (triple yuck!).  Not that I don't do those things anyway, but it's usually before I start knitting.

So, the last mitten is already on the needles, and they take about an hour each to make and then I'll move on to the next knitting thing.  All I can do is hope that the hot/cold packs do their job before I have to go for therapy again.

I need to make two hats and one cowl, but first I'm going to wash the dishes.

December 17, 2012


Today I put on my big girl pants and went to physical therapy.  Dr. Marianne is the nicest person in the world and she did her best to make therapy as painless as possible.

She explained to me that because I am a knitter my hands are hard working.  I had to agree because as a process knitter, it's unusual for me not to knit daily, sometimes four or five hours at a sitting.  The type of injury I sustained (flicking at a spider) aggravated an already existing problem of a repetitive motion type that is akin to carpal tunnel.  The muscles shorten and tighten in the hands and the sprain aggravated that.  The solution is no knitting.

No problem.  A couple of therapy sessions and we'll rub that right out, right?  No.  No knitting for months.  What?  My ears turned off so I can't be sure of anything she said right after that.  It's all a blank.

So, I did other things for a while.  We celebrated Erica's 12th birthday in knitting class:

Joanne and I took a trip to Best Buy where she sported the hat she crocheted:

And then I realized that the doctor said months ... as in six or so.  Well it took me a week to sneak this sock in:

And when I got home, I started on the second sock:

And then I realized that every stitch prolongs my therapy.  Every hour of knitting is equal to hours of therapy, 45 minutes at a time.

And you know what?  I feel it's an even trade.  I have the rest of my life to go to therapy, but the general population isn't ready (or safe) if I can't knit.  It would result in a personality change and that wouldn't be good.

So, with some modifications and concessions to my injury, I am able to knit slowly, painfully and amazingly with mostly one hand.

It's a fair trade.

(Incidentally, the pattern is my own so there was nothing to link it to.  Just a plain vanilla sock with corrugated rib at the cuff, two rows of each color and a solid heel and toe.)

December 10, 2012

Soft Tissue Lady

I wasn't going to go to the doctor today because my hand wasn't hurting, which to me means I'm healed and there's no reason to go.  The closer it came to time to go, I figured that if I'm healed I'll walk in and out with a clean bill of health.

My doctor is Mary Ann, and she is as sweet as pie, she deals with soft tissue damage.  She wrapped my hand in a nice heating pad with wet towels which felt lovely, then she had me squeeze a couple of things to test for strength and then she went to the massage.  She asked if I use my hands a lot.  I told her that I knit.  Well, so does she!  We chatted about Stitches East, Vogue Knitting Live, projects we've made and Elizabeth Zimmerman.  She's going to understand exactly where I'm coming from and she's not going to say 'no knitting'.  Whew!

She rubbed the top of my hand which was uncomfortable, but not painful, then she went to my palm - where I nearly let out a primal scream.   Turns out that I waited so long to get help for my sprain that all of my palm swollen and the damage went from one finger to three fingers.  Dang!

"Will I be able to knit?" I ask.

"No.." she said calmly.   What?!

"Not even a little bit?" I ask.

"Nope.  Didn't you notice that there are no wrinkles in the knuckles of your right hand?   Huh?  That's an indication of swelling."

At that, she must have noticed (and recognized) the glint in my eye.  You know, the glint that says, 'I know you said no, but I'm going to knit anyway'.

She went away and came back with a warm piece of cloth which she pressed into my hand, and then she went away and came back with some new 'gear':

I feel so betrayed!  And by a knitter, too!  For every hour I wear the splint, I can knit for 60 seconds.

I can't make anything in 60 second increments!

The gear is on until the swelling goes down and the healing has begun.  Dang!  Like I said, it's my own darned fault - since I willingly ignored the warning, I willingly accepted the consequences.  Or did I?

(Stay tuned because I am going to knit with this contraption on.  You knew I would!)

December 09, 2012

Side Job

I've been a knitter forever, and I'm pretty good at getting the job done.  When CC asked the knitting group to make hats and mittens for charity way back in November, I agreed.  Why? I know that all extraneous knitting ends in October because the last two months of the year are for necessary holiday knitting, right?

Anyway, I pulled up my go-to no-frills mitten pattern which you can find on Ravelry and here, I had a skein of Wool Ease from Lion Brand in Dark Rose Heather, my size US #7 needles and went to work.  The hat flew off the needles and took one evening.

Then I got to the  mittens which are easy-peasy and I knit while watching YouTube videos.  Everything was fine:

Until I realized I was . . .

Out of yarn!

So my mittens became mitts:

Problem solved.  Yay!

Now back to my regularly scheduled obligatory knitting.

December 08, 2012

Knitting Frenzy

OK, I'll admit I fell off the 'no knitting' wagon.  Guilty as charged.  I failed because the same principle applies to knitting as does going on a diet - this will be the last day before I have to stop eating all the food I love.  In my case, this will be the last knit before I go back to the doctor and really get cut off.

That said, I finished one thing today, but I can't show it to you for real or even tell you what it is because someone who shall remain unnamed reads this blog.

I used Alpaca with a Twist Baby Alpaca, and US #4 needles.  It took approximately a week to make and after the holidays, I'm going to make another.

When that was done, I was doing a little reorganizing and came across this last, lonely and only skein of Rowan Big Wool Fusion in colorway #4 Baltic.

If this lonely little skein got thrown in the box it wouldn't see the light of day until the end of days.  So, I pulled out my US #11 needles and cast on the Big Chunky Comfy Hat (Ravelry pattern).  An hour later I had this much done:

And an hour after that I had it done.  And this is the reason I like big, chunky wool.  I can show this hat because the recipient doesn't know this blog exists:

Lastly, and I mean it this time, I was gifted some lovely yarn by Sojourn Knitter who is always so generous with her stash (after I beg).  Hand Painted Knitting Yarn Donegal sock yarn called Tosca:

I suspect this is self striping yarn and it's been sitting for a while, looking so beautiful and lonely, so I wound it into a pre-knit pancake:

I'm going to cast on for a pair of socks for my son for Christmas.  And since this yarn is self striping, I don't even have to come up with a design.  Yay!

Oh, and have a peek at my new Holiday knitting bag from Maria Elena's Bliss.  It is too adorable!  And she included a little notions pouch which is equally adorable.

I cannot leave here today and not tell you what happened with Mom today.  She and I ran some errands this morning and then she invited me to go for a manicure.  Now, all of my manicures are done by me, but she insisted and she paid.  Thanks Mom!  But that's not the story.

We get to the nail salon and I picked out one of the colors from all the ugly colors they had to offer.  I took it to the table with me and waited for the manicurist to get to it (the smell of the place was killing me!).  I see my mom get up and go to the nail polish rack, sees nothing to her liking, comes to my table and takes my bottle back to her table.  Now it's time for my polish and her manicurist is using it.  So I use anything sitting on the table.

Mom and I are at the drying table and she looks at my nail polish and says, "I don't like how she did your nails, she filed them too short and what's with that color?"

I remained silent, but really?! OMG!

December 06, 2012

Brace Myself

Well, I'm still not allowed to knit and on Monday I go to the physical therapist to get fitted for a brace.  The good news is that I'm going to the doctor at all since I still think I can rub away the pain, the bad news is that I'll have to wear the brace for 4-8 weeks - depending on my progress.  If I continue to not knit, I might have to restrain myself against hurting folks, especially on the subway.  Sheesh!  I never quite appreciated how many people I was able to ignore when I knit on the train.  Anyway ...

While I am unable to knit, the ladies in the knitting group can.  For instance, CC Reilly made this lovely baby blanket:

I don't have the particulars on this blanket, but it is so squishy soft and pretty and has already been given to the recipient.  At the bottom of the blanket, she stitched out the name of the baby, Lucy:

It's hard to see, but it's beautiful.  And I should mention that CC is also a very talented embroiderer.  If she ever brings her works to class, I'll be sure to post pictures here.

And CC wasn't the only one who had a project to show.  Liz brought in a little show and tell of her own:

She knit this beautiful coat and the colors are so rich and beautiful, and the coat really looks good on her.  We took this picture outside of the library on this not-quite-freezing, but still quite cold and cloudy Fall day.

I really like it when the ladies finish projects and I can post them on the blog.  It's a point of pride that we all feel when we finish something, and we should be proud of our accomplishments - even if they don't have a blog to post their work on.

So here's to CC and Liz - great job!

And now I really, really, really want to knit something.

December 01, 2012


Denial is my best friend and I will tell you why.

The doctor said 'no knitting' and I winked at him and knit anyway.  I have a high pain threshold (loads of experience with monthly practice, if you know what I mean), and my finger wasn't hurting that bad.  Then on my follow up visit, he said, "It is not getting better, you need to see another doctor."  Huh?

The second doctor said, "Well, you sprained your finger and the spot where it sprained has a build up in fluid and it's separating the bone in your finger from it's associated bone in your palm.  What?  You need to see another doctor - or I can put your hand in a cast now.  And then my brain shut down and I lost hearing.

This is like a shell game.  The finger was not dislocated, it was sprained.  The fluid build up will not go away without physical therapy.  OK. But he didn't say 'no knitting' so I'll have someone rub my hand for a couple of weeks.  Not a real problem.  The pain went from a 2  to a 3 on a scale of 10 with 10 being excruciating,  and a hand massage won't be bad, provided the therapist will also do my manicure.

So I kind of didn't knit - because a garter stitch hat is kind of not knitting:

And for sure I didn't hear the doctor say no spinning.  My finger might be out of order, but my hearing isn't.  So I got the 100% merino from Unwind Yarn Company called Tiger's Eye out of the fiber cabinet, and boy is it yellow!

It's true beauty came out when I opened it up.  Wow!  How could I resist all those lovely colors:

I spun up one bobbin:

And then the doctor's spirit must have entered the room because while I was taking the picture, look what happened:

I guess he meant to say no spinning either. Oy!

Does no one understand that not knitting is not an option?  The world at large is in danger if I don't knit!  I cannot be nice while not knitting.  I cannot sleep without knitting first.  And now no spinning either?!  Oh no, no, no.  That cannot be.  I plan to deny any pain or discomfort until after the Christmas knitting is done.

Like I said before, if I willingly disregard the rules, then I willingly accept the consequences.  Gee whiz!