Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the agony of defeat

It's called a counted thread em-
broidery for a reason!

You need to count.


I like the colors and think it will work overall, but for right now I'm going to have to pull out a quarter of that satin stitch section. It's two threads off! All because I failed to COUNT.

Oh well. What's time to a monkey?

[and these are not the subtly different colors called for by the pattern, I changed my mind.]

another year has gone by

back in
the box Santa!

We'll see you
next year.

[whew! My
favorite Santa
(circa 1964)
wasn't the only thing
that had to be
put away. What a job!]

Monday, December 29, 2008

String, string,

where; nor any color right!

Spent a lovely time yesterday looking through patterns and finally settled on the one I'd like to stitch. It uses two subtly different colors of pearl cotton in two sizes - so FOUR balls. Do you think I have ANY of the colors and sizes needed?


Need. More. String!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


noun: freedom provided by the cessation of activities; especially time free from work or duties.

It's been a very quiet, peaceful, relaxing Christmas and in large part, I think, because I have had more time off work this Christmas than I have had since high school. [and don't blab it around but that was a LONG time ago!]

The Leave It To Beaver socks are not the best looking ones I've ever knit, but just as I expected, the Lion Brand Sock-Ease is warm and wearable.

Pattern: Gentleman's Fancy Sock by Nancy Bush in "Knitting Vintage Socks"
Needles: Size 2 Inox dpns; just about my favorites
Yarn: Lion Brand Sock-Ease (w/ aloe) color Rock Candy; less than one 438 yard ball

Friday, December 26, 2008


File under the heading "just not as good as they used to be". I had several of these type puzzles when I was young(er) but they were more sturdily made and the tiles were much easier to move. I guess with all the electronic toys there is not much demand for these low-tech amusements. I couldn't resist sticking this one in a stocking this year but it turns out I'm the only one who enjoys playing with it.

I've not accomplished much else. It's been a very relaxing day around the cul-de-sac. I have (finally) finished the Leave It To Beaver socks. And am quietly celebrating 33 years with JP.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

all is calm

all is bright.
Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a bowl of fun

In the days right before Christmas it is good to have a small project or two to work on - something to soothe with the knitting but nothing too taxing for the tired, old brain. The miniature mittens have been a good project. I still haven't used up the first ball of 152 yards and it is entertaining to see how each one stripes up differently.

Hope your plans and projects and preparations are going well, too.

[pattern from the OOP Interweave book:
"Christmas Stockings: 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit" - Edited by Elaine Lipson]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

To: me From: me

Here it is Christmas and I was using an old, faded and stained (and ugly, I think you'll agree) dishcloth. Time to STOP the gift knitting, and START knitting something for me!

Ahh! That's better. Now I can go back to churning out mini mittens.

[I love the new one; Waffle Knit Dishcloth found here.]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rx: More PLAY for stringplay

Late last week I was in a bit of a funk and I knew that it could all be chalked up to a lack of play. I don't consider that I spend a lot of time "goofing off" (although some might disagree), but I do spend usually some part of every day in some creative pursuit, generally involving string.

When everyday chores crowd in too much and leave me no time for play, I can get a little grumpy. Reading blogs, I see that I am not alone.

There is usually just enough time in a week to get everything that has to be done done and still leave a bit of time for stringplay. Christmas comes along with all the extra things to be done and places to go and people to see and stringplay quickly takes a back seat.

Whenever I get to feeling really pushed and out of sorts I can generally step back and see that it's clearly a matter of not getting, what to me is completely necessary, downtime, a time for the hands to be busy but the mind to be freed to relax and roam and ponder. I'm big on pondering.

This was confirmed and reinforced in a podcast I only recently listened to - an interview with Dr. Stuart Brown of the National Institute for Play (no, I'm not kidding).

some scattered snippets from the podcast:

---Think of your earliest emotion-laden memories - what gave you joy? That will point to your innate talent.
---Look at the lives of highly successful people (musicians, athletes, entrepreneurs). They LOVE what they do and it is PLAY to them because they enjoy doing it so much.
---When you feel stuck, it is a clue to start playing.
---An active play life is a quality of a healthy individual.
---No play in adulthood has many consequences including the inability to cope in a world of many demands.
---A playful life contributes greatly to the capacity to approach and solve the complexities of life's problems.

Are you tired and stressed a bit this holiday season? Step back and PLAY awhile and I'll bet you start to feel lots better. I know I sure do!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The RED shawl

Pattern: Estonian Triangular Summer Shawl
by Nancy Bush
"Piecework" magazine Jul/Aug 2008; preview from Nancy's new book

Yarn: Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb
color NY225 blood red - about 1/2 ball?

Needles: Size 4 bamboo circular

I've already said that I love it. I debut it tonight at Christmas concert. I didn't start it with the intention of wearing for Christmas but am very happy to do so. : ) I love it in the RED and would never have considered it if not for seeing FloridaMo's gorgeous one.
The pattern was great; just perfect; perfectly Nancy Bush. I had to let it marinate a bit before getting up the nerve to sew on the separately-knit edging, and I had to have two goes at it before I got it done, but now I feel more comfortable about edgings in general. I'd like to try a knitted on one next.
Have you avoided nupps? Don't. They are just wonderful!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Elf Help

The RED shawl is blocked and I'm in love. FO pictures and details later but it's an Elf Saturday and there are Christmas things to do. Two little stringplay ornaments also finished.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday observations

1. It must be Christmas. I teared up last night over a Publix commer-cial.

2. My Christmas cactus and I have much in common. We both are growing whiskers.

Two readers (i.e. fully 100%) suggested I use the wreath for a centerpiece, so last night as I was hanging up the cranberry and popcorn garlands, I did. I love how the colors complement my M&Ms.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

time for cards

My Christmas card list is way too long and I wish I could cut back but I like to stay in touch and I really enjoy receiving cards.
For my needlework pals I always used to try to find a box of cards that depicted needlework in some way. Some years it was easier than others. Some years - this year - I simply didn't have the time to search around for them.
So this year I sent a digital pic electronically to the the drugstore and had prints made. Of course they don't exactly fit the blank cards I have (that would be too easy) so I'm trimming them a bit before attaching them to the card.
Then it's just a matter of writing, addressing, sealing, affixing stamps, and mailing. Piece of cake, right? Piece of cake? That reminds me......

Monday, December 8, 2008

If at first I dont' succeed....

Not quite - but closer.

Thanks to encouragement from a very kind fellow Ravelry knitter,

FloridaMo*, I attempted sewing on the edging to the Estonian triangle.

I had to pull out and redo the curve at the point but feel better about it now. Only trouble is I need to now pull out the WHOLE thing and start again. I have less length on one side than the other.

Live and learn. Good thing I have a goodly supply of holiday M&Ms on hand!

*FloridaMo is blogless, but I've linked to her Flickr pictures. She really turns out some beautiful shawls.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

All dressed up and no place to go

I've mentioned before that I usually contribute a wreath to the Woodstock Public Library's annual Festival of Wreaths. I always do the handwork during the summer and get it sorted away so that when the reminder comes just before Thanksgiving I'm not scrambling around to come up with something.
This year I decided I wanted to try to knit a lace wreath and I used a pattern for a lace fan from "Piecework" as my jumping off point.
In real life it looks a bit better than this picture. It's been pretty gray and overcast around here lately. And there are some lovely red glass beads that don't show up too well in this photo, either.
It's was the Monday before Thanksgiving before I realized that I had not heard from the library. When I called I was told that no display would be put up this year. Participation over the years (this would have been my ninth), had dwindled. Well, bah humbug.
I guess it won't matter now that I was never able to find liquid starch and now I don't have to worry about pinning out the edge loops or even falling back on Plan B.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Three Tenors in situ

I was invited down last evening to help my daughter get her tree in the stand and the lights on. She seems very pleased with the snowmen tree skirt and even took a picture of it in situ for me to use here.

I read a good bit and I re-read almost as much as I read. I tend to re-read at Christmas more than any other particular time of the year.

Maybe that's because I like the familiar and like to repeat traditions at Christmas? Maybe it's because I'm lazy and can't find the extra time needed for extra library trips and searching for good new-to-me books. I'm pretty sure it's a combination.

At any rate, the current re-read is "Christmas on Jane Street" a true story told by Billy Romp and with Wanda Urbanska.

It's a short little volume and can easily be re-read in an evening or over a couple of mornings with coffee. The Romps travel from their rural Vermont home every Thanksgiving with a load of cut Christmas trees to a lot in Manhattan, only leaving late on Christmas Eve for the tired night trip home. It's a father-daughter tale, too and a reminder that parenting is rewarding, but also hard.

This year I suddenly remem-bered Google Earth and had the bright idea of searching out Jane Street so I could get a look at the real location. So amazing. I could even see Bonsignour, the French food shop across the street from where the Romps set up their trees. What a treat!

I noticed the book at the bookstore last night. (Well I had to go pick up the new IW Knits magazine, didn't I?) Seems it is the 10th anniversary of the publication of the book and there is a new softcover anniversary edition.

I always enjoy seeing old friends at the bookstore.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Feet

I'm not much of a shopper and for most of my Christmas purchases I have "let my fingers do the walking". I am, however, really having fun wearing my new holiday Chucks.
So far I've resisted adding jingle bells like I always used to do in high school (since I'm all so much more mature, you know).
This pair of socks I finished back in the summer especially for my holiday shoes.
Pattern: Roza's Socks by Grumperina
Interweave KNITS, Spring 2007
Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Wool, color #4108 vine green, 2 balls
46% bamboo, 43% wool, 11% nylon
Needles: Size 1 bamboo dpns
This sock is knit with only 60 stitches. On size 1 needles as written, I was a bit afraid at first reading that it wouldn't fit my 'sturdy' legs, but reading the Haphazard Knitter's account and seeing - or rather shamelessly copying - hers made me decide to give it a try. Like she said, the brioche stitch rib makes a very stretchy and comfortable sock.
The two-row pattern makes this sock a perfect travel project, too. I think I might one day try it again in a yarn without the bamboo content.