Gifts from Friends….and a few from myself


A few days before Christmas my former loopy ewe swap partner Christine emailed me to say she was sending a package my way. What a fun unexpected surprise! The email made me feel like a little kid straining my brain to try and figure out what might be in the box. What could Christine be sending me out of the goodness of her heart? My imagination totally failed me so there was much festive excitement when the package arrived. Frog helped me tear into it and the contents made both of us very happy. Christine sent us a cute decorative box which had knitting goodies nestled inside. A beautiful skein of Socks that Rock lightweight in the color Jade and a froggy tape measure. Heehee frog! Thank You Christine, your package was the highlight of my holiday.

My family got me several knitting books on my wish list, Cables Untangled, Color Style, and The Knitters book of yarn. Thank you for supplying me with many great patterns for this coming year.
My sweet husband got me my own digital camera, jokingly saying that it was a gift for both of us since it will keep me from using his camera. Smart of him since it’s only a matter of time until I drop a camera due to my poor balance and butter fingers.

So it was a book heavy, yarn light Christmas which is the excuse I’m using for the following purchases. (Is making up excuses a sign of addiction?) I’ve been very impressed with how my Maelstrom socks, made from Spirit Trail Fiberworks Helen, are wearing. The yarn is a little courser feeling during knitting than Hazel Knits or Smooshy but softness nicely with wear. The yarn is a very thick fingering making knitting go fast and the colors are wonderful. Sheri at the Loopy Ewe put up more Helen in the last sneak up and I had to snag a skein.

STF Helen

And the final yarn purchase of the year was 2 skeins of JoJo Land Cashmere from my Local LYS the Slip Knot. It was on sale so how could anyone say no. 400 yards should be enough to make a nice black beret to go with both of my coats.

Merry Christmas to You


Hooray work is over and it's holiday time for certain! Here's wishing a merry Christmas to everyone. May you be surrounded by loving family and find a bit of yarn in your stocking.

(Photo courtesy of my sister and her frog. It was too cute not to post.)

Sock club Hazel knits, Hazel Knits sock club


Warning, froggiegirl is about to wax poetical about Hazel Knits sock yarn yet again. If you find her devotion to this sock yarn creepily cult like please come back another day. Thank you.

OK now that all that is out of the way would you like to see the precious? An exclusive Woolgirl sock club colorway of the perfect sock yarn? Yes, Yes come closer. It's subtle but you'll like it.
Pine Cone
Oooooo see, it's called Whispering Pine which brings to mind pine trees covered in a crisp coat of snow. Ahhhhh so very romantic to this knitter who romanticizes winter.

This yarn would be the most satisfying end to the 2nd round of Woolgirl sock club. A Hazel Knits addict such as myself would have been happy with just the yarn... but there was plenty more. See for yourself.
Sock club booty
The accompanying sock pattern was designed by none other than Anne Hanson and is called Pine Cone (No ravelry link yet) Next we have knit gift tags which came in very handy this weekend when wrapping presents. Then a beautiful stitch marker from Spindle cat studio, plus a 2009 Desk Calendar where sheep appear to be behaving badly. Finally a sweet finish of tasty caramel Hersey kisses which are quickly becoming my favorite kiss favor.
Boy and am I glad now to have gone for the extra December shipment, unexpected Hazel Knits totally made my day. Thank you Jen for your continued great sock club packages!

Sooooo if you can't get enough of Hazel Knit's showing up in sock club boxes what do you do? You sign up for the Hazel knits sock club that's what! Oh yes, forget about all the "knitting down the sock yarn stash." That's so last year. This year's motto is convert half of the stash to Hazel knits and do the dance of joy. If you'd also like to add gratuitous amounts of this sock yarn to your stash, head over to Wendee's blog and check out the details. Then we can do the dance of joy together. Cha cha cha!

It's not Christmas without that last minute project


Christmas knitting planning goes something like this.  Mid-year the knitter decides what and whom are getting Christmas knits.  One or two of these are knit during the warm months in a fit of responsibility. Time passes and the knitter pares this list down thinking that certain people didn't really seem enthused about their knitted gift last year.  Maybe a gift card would actually be better.  November comes and the knitter is not in the mood to start another Christmas project and decides that Christmas knitting is done for the year. All is well until mid December when a twinge of guilt appears as all the presents are laid out for wrapping.  The knitter looks at the calendar and says, "Oh no! 10 days till Christmas!!! What can I knit that fast!!!!!"

I really thought that this year there would be no last minute gift knit.  Then last weekend while boxing up my mother's gift, the guilty twinge did show up.  My original plan had been to knit two pairs of socks, one black and one gray, butttttt those colors are really boring to knit. So I'd decided a few months ago that one black pair was enough knitted goodness.  

Then late October my mother's appendix burst inside of her.  It took about two days for the doctors to even figure this out because quote "She looked too healthy to have a burst appendix."  My mother even said when she was admitted, "My side really hurts.  Do you think my appendix must have burst?" and they told her, "No."  At least the doctors figured she had some sort of infection and put her on antibiotics right away.   Long story short is that my mother had to have a surgery at the beginning of this month to "clean everything up," but will be fine once she heals from that.  She plans to be back to work in the new year.

So when this twinge of guilt appeared I decided to take one of those special skeins. You know the ones you don't want to knit because you like to stare at them in the stash, in my case it was Platinum in discontinued Funky Carolina Merino/Tencel.  This yarn probably should have been knit in a complicated stitch but there was no time.  I cast on a speedy sock pattern, another pair of Slippery socks.  Now when my mother opens her Christmas present she will have two pairs of socks, one black, one gray and a big fat does of knitterly love.


Electronic patterns - you can't buy just one


Right now buying patterns off the net is kind of like sitting down with a pint of Haagen-Dazs. You tell yourself you're only going to have a little..... but one thing leads to another and soon your spoon is making that thud sound as it hits the cardboard bottom. Or in the case of patterns the sound might be cha ching as money flies out of your checking account.

Anyone else having this problem right now? I'd use the excuse that this pattern buying is to take the edge off of Christmas knitting, except that I'm not doing any. Will the excuse that my current project is in the vast amount of stockinette stage work?
I can hear some of you generous knitters saying, "It's OK, you're just lining up some future projects." Thank you generous knitters and you'd be right to if something new and shiny didn't always come along.

It seems that once a pattern has been bought there is a invisible timer ticking down. If I don't get the project on the needles before that time has expired the pattern will never get knit. Fair Enough and Coraline were both cast on within two weeks of purchase and finished. The two patterns Kingscot and Vivian bought from the twist collective in November, quickly approaching their knitting expiration date. The chic knits pattern Twist bought last year..... that has a snowballs chance in hell of ever getting knitted.  

What causes this? I still think these patterns are beautiful and would love to wear the completed sweaters.  I just don't want to knit them anymore. Is it a lack of moral fiber, maybe Knitters ADD?  Should I create a personal rule that patterns purchased need to be knitted before willy nilly spending more money on Brooklyn Tweed's latest lace project. Well maybe that's a special case..... who can resist his photographic charms. But you know what I mean!

So anyway how about a picture of something that did get on the needles in time.  Here's the yoke of Ophicleide designed by Kamicha over on ravelry.  Her project page is always drool worthy, go look go look now!  Enough of us must have drooled over this sweater that she wrote up a pattern.  Thank god because I've been trying to guess the stitch patterns and would have been totally off. 
The start of this project was a little shaky because of poor instruction reading by me.  When you start knitting the patterned yoke the first stitch on either side is an edge stitch and does not show in the chart.  If you miss reading this in the instructions (Oh it's there alright) your stitch count gets pretty funky.  Once that mistake was figured out I started slipping the stitches with the yarn on the wrong side. Generally just stupid stuff that will be blamed on trying to talk to people and read directions at the same time.  Kindergardeners banging on pianos also tend to be distracting, but these are the hazards of knitting during Thanksgiving. 

Now if you please excuse me I must try to resist buying the new Shetland Trader beret Breiwick.  Or maybe Selbu Modern instead.  All heck let's just get both.

FO Number 3 - Celtic Beanie


Sometime during the middle of the year my husband took the Son of Stitch and Bitch book off the bookshelf. It came back to me with post-it notes on a few pages and a comment that he especially liked the Celtic Beanie because it was double knit.  My response was probably, "Yeah Yeah I'll knit that for you sometime," because I remember not ordering the Mission Falls yarn for awhile.  (It's the 1824 superwash in 020 and 004 if you're interested) Then the yarn sat in the box it came in for long enough that feelings of guilt started to set in. 

The week of Thanksgiving I broke the box open and studied up on how double knitting works. My first impressions were that double knitting is pretty tedious. You have to move the yarn all over the place to get the reversible fabric which makes for slow progress and sore shoulders. While knitting the ribbing I was pretty pissed off at this project and wondering how it was going to get finished. Fortunately knitting the celtic knot pattern proved to be interesting and my mood greatly improved.  

The finished hat was the envy of all the men at Thanksgiving.  They love the squishiness of two layers of worsted superwash wool and the reversible colors. Hope it keeps my hubby's head nice and warm this winter, it's been colder than normal.  We've got snow falling from the sky right now, Yippie!

It's all about me


My former loopy swap buddy Christine tagged me with a Meme to tell six random things about myself.  

1. Don't challenge me to any game involving recalling 70's song lyrics because I will kick your ass! 

2. If you leave me alone in a room with a pan of brownies I will eat them alllll. 

3.  I wish I were talented enough to sing and dance in broadway musicals.  

4. I've laughed loudly and often enough at work to have been reprimanded for it.

5.  If there is a ball/frisbee flying through the air toward me there is a 85% chance it will hit me in the head. Don't know why, but it happens.

6.  To me the trifecta is taking a shower, putting on freshly laundered flannel jammies and getting into bed where the sheets are also freshly laundered.  Ahhhh bliss.

I'm not tagging anyone because honestly no one springs to mind.  And I'm antisocial, see you got a freebe!  :)

Knitting is a great hobby because you can be as social or antisocial as you want.  Even though I'm generally a lone knitter it's a lot of fun to talk about it and get comments from you guys out there.  So Thanks!

At the end of Thanksgiving vacation we went with the extended family to visit Pennypacker Mills.  The house was renovated in 1901 by Gov Samuel W Pennypacker as a summer retreat for his family. Right now it's all decorated up for christmas and you can walk up and join a tour.  The photo here is the upstairs area for the family to get together and engage in womanly pursuits.  Isn't it great!  I would have loved to sit down in that window seat and pull out some knitting. There was some half started knitting on a chair for affect along with some embroidery.
 My husband and I left to go home from there which meant a brand new route home that took us through the town of Skippack.  I'd never been there and commented, "You should pull over and let me go shopping."  Boy was I surprised when my husband did just that! We wandered around the stores on the main drag popping into the ones that interested us. I was busy staring in the direction of jewelry stores when my husband said, "Hey there's a yarn store over there. Don't you want to go in?"  God bless him he's a good man.  Yarnings was a very nice store with an upstairs and downstairs to browse around in.  I almost bought some more sublime cashmere/merino/silk blend and their new baby pattern book but stopped myself.  Can't remember why now, maybe it's harder to go nuts in a yarn shop if your husband is there. :)
There was one thing that had to come home with me.  Frog head buttons...Ohhhhh Yeah.

FO Number 2 - Little Birds on a Yoke


This sweater is a bit difficult to write about because all the pieces for it fell together so neatly it's almost like it knit itself. There was no swatching, sketching or working out the math beforehand, I just cast on with the thought that it would all work out. 

The germ of the idea started something like this..... I'd been thinking about knitting another tangled yoke and had purchased the gray felted tweed from my local LYS.  At the same time obsessively checking the finished Little Bird cardigans made by other ravelry users.  A beautiful design that would not work with my bust/waist configuration, but the birds were perfect.  Then the idea just popped into my head, why not knit a tangled yoke and just substitute the cable for some colorwork birds.  Why not knit the whole thing in the round to make stranding really simple and then learn how to steek. Why not cast on Right Now!!!

All the garter stitch rib in the tangled yoke pattern was replaced with the beaded ribbing specified in the Little birds pattern.  This changed the number of cast on stitches for all the pieces to be divisible by 3. The body size is basically the size 34 in Eunny Jang's pattern with about an extra inch of ease and the 8 steek stitches added. There are 26 birds on the yoke, 13 facing in each direction with a little geometric shape on the center back.  (An egg would have been better but needed too many stitches)
Rowan Felted Tweed turned out to be a good choice for a first steek. I followed Eunny Jang's hand sewn steek instructions and then zig zigged with my sewing machine alongside the hand stitched line.  The extra zig zig probably wasn't needed because the felted tweed didn't unravel past the hand stitched line.   The cardigan was then finished off with a double thickness button band and some blue wooden buttons that almost match the birds.

Other than the button band concerns that I blogged about on the 25th this cardigan feels almost perfect.  The tubular cast on for the ribbing looks excellent, the fit is great, and the little birds make me smile every time I wear it. 

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