Wednesday, December 28, 2011


A couple of days before Christmas I decided to cast on something small. Something simple to knit that wouldn't require too much concentration or frequent referring to a pattern.

I certainly didn't have time to spend digging around for a pattern and going out for yarn was definitely out of the question.

I ended up turning to two purchases I had made back in the spring at Stitches. This yarn was never intended to be paired with this pattern and the end result is just so-so, but the project served it's purpose and I now have a baby gift hat in the vault.

Back in the spring at Stitches South, I fell in love with a booth sample hat. It was knit in either a Koigu or a Claudia's Handpaint in a crayon box colorway and was ever so soft and yummy. When I asked for the pattern I was stunned to be handed this - The Scrunchie Hat by Sandy Joyner.
[no link found and neither pattern nor designer is found on Ravelry]

Proof once more that those shop samples are very effective. Never would I have thought to make the hat that is pictured on this pattern, although I suppose it is a good use for the Noro sock yarn called for by the designer.

Knitting this in a very pale solid color just totally misses the point pretty much. The Noro at least accented the rounds and the colorful Koigu of the sample made great show of the knit/purl stitch combinations. This pale blue does neither. : (

I used Kollage Yarns Luscious; a washable fingering weight blend of 63% cotton and 37% nylon. It comes 345 yards/100 grams and I guess I used maybe 180 yards or so. Just guessing.

I knit it with size 2 INOX needles. The pattern is written for 3 sizes and for a child's 15"-17" hat has you cast on 132 stitches with size 2 needles and the Noro Silk Garden Sock. That seemed like rather too many to me, but I tried it and yes, it was considerably too large. I ended up casting on 102, knitting the knit/purl pattern and decreasing down to 99 before the crown decreases started. Then I just ended with the little i-cord loop at the tip.

The part I like best about it is the way it collapses on itself when you put it down. I couldn't help but think of it as a squeezebox and tend to start singing or humming The Who song whenever I handle it.

Well it served the purpose for portable, simple holiday knitting and I think I'll keep my eyes peeled for some Koigu sometime.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Found this postcard back in the fall and had to get it since it featured a spinning wheel. Doesn't it look like a nice, cozy scene? I hope your Christmas is equally warm and cozy.

Postmark is illegible but here is the message:

Dear Sis: just a line to let you know we are all well
Hope this finds you all the same
Wish you could all come over for Xmas.
Would like to see you all
Tell the youngsters I will send them something later on
We butchered hogs on Wed.
By by with love to all
Your Sis

Friday, December 23, 2011

Time to (re)Read

I took this a few days ago when I finally began my Christmas rereading. There are a few more books that didn't make their way into the photo. Christmas, as I'm sure I don't have to tell you, is a busy, busy time. One way I try to relax and unwind from all the DOing, is to read and especially to reread those special holiday books that have brought such pleasure year after year.

That little dingy one on top is the one I shared in the previous post.

Next down is "Christmas on Jane Street" and a special bit about it (with photos!!) can be seen in a post from 2009.

The bottom two are technically books for children. Ideally we are all children at Christmas. This year I searched out other favorites from the children's department at the library. I enjoy reading Christmas carols, so in addition to my favorite carol book above, the library provided me with Tomie dePaola's "Book of Christmas Carols". What striking illustrations.

Another beautiful book, and new to my reading this year, was "A Carol For Christmas" written by Ann Tompert with lovely watercolor illustrations by Laura Kelly. Narrated from the perspective of a mouse, it tells the legend of how the popular Christmas carol ""Silent Night"" was written after the organ is damaged by mice. I love how she paints snow.

I also pulled out some old magazines. Remember when Redbook, Family Circle, and Ladies Home Journal used to have fiction? Often two or more short stories and also a longer one? These are fun, too, because you can time travel through the advertisements.

Hope you have time to relax and REdo some things that make your holidays extra special.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Remember when?

written by Doris Faulhaber; illustrated by Holly Hobbie
published (for $1) 1972; American Greetings Corporation
Loved, cherished, and reread yearly since.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Calm? Bright?

I'd say it is about 2/3 calm and 2/3 bright here on the cul-de-sac. Not too bad,

considering we are inching ever closer to Christmas Day.

Hope things are calm and bright where you are.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lace ornaments

Just a few of the beautiful ornaments on the lace club's Christmas tree:

the tape lace (bobbin lace) angel at the top of the tree

a tatted snowflake; satin ball with Battenberg overlay in the background

bobbin lace round; with gold metallic leaves

a Teneriffe motif; plain bobbin in foreground

bobbin lace with gold beads

tatted snowflake; crochet garland with pearls

and faintly seen at the right - bobbin lace tree

two color tatted candy cane!

I told you that I took photos of just a few of the many lovely ornaments on the lace club's Christmas tree. What I didn't take the time to do (I may have been distracted by the food, the fun, and those tiny hats!) was make notes of which lacemaker made which ornament. If one of you from the group reads this and can help me, I'd appreciate it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I had a ball!

So Saturday was the holiday party for the lace group. The Atlanta Chapter of IOLI celebrated 30 years as a chartered chapter this year. I missed that meeting (and lots of others). But miss the holiday party? No way! As in past years, it followed the usual (perfect) routine: EAT, gift exchange, group photo, fun craft project. We do have our priorities in order. : )

I packed my tote the night before with craft materials, gifts, camera, nametag and things. I even got there early and had time to sit and chat with Kay as she knit on another gift blanket. That was nice.

Many years Kay has been Party Guru and planned and prepared our crafty fun, but this year Pat (busy, but still blogless Pat) planned our project and we made paper Christmas ornament balls.

Pat owns a die cut machine and had a template that would cut 4 circles at a time out of each recycled Christmas card front. Pat had enough circles already cut for us so we could get right to work. Thanks, Pat!

Right to work as soon as we had all pawed through the circles and made our choices. Then things got a little quiet for this group as we were bent over gluing and assembling our spheres. I had to get Pat's help at least once to make sure I got the right edges glued together.

I especially loved the one Doris made as it looked quite Victorian.

Doris (2nd from left in green vest) was a charter member of the group and is an excellent historian for the group, keeping an album of photos and information. So nice to look back at all the good times and friends.

And if ALL that wasn't enough fun, Pat gave us all teeny tiny Santa hats to wear. Hilarious! So much FUN. I haven't laughed as much in months!

There are a lot of amazingly talented lacemakers pictured there. I got close-up photos of several of the ornaments on the tree that I hope to share in another post. Even those won't come close to showing what some of these women are capable of producing with just STRING!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cartoon for the day

Holiday eats and treats make me ever more grateful for elastic.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bread and Milk for Breakfast

Bread and milk for breakfast,

And woolen frocks to wear,

And a crumb for robin redbreast

On the cold days of the year.

Christina Rossetti - (1830-1894)

Today is the birthday of Christina Rossetti and the little poem above is just one of the sweet ones from my childhood poetry book. A better known poem might be In The Bleak Midwinter. I'll probably be humming it all day.

This photo taken this morning, paused during my daily walk, looks like a rather bleak day doesn't it? But is isn't quite midwinter and temperatures today will be in the high 50s. Rain is coming in they say. No snow on snow and no need, quite yet, for woollen frocks.

Have a lovely winter day wherever you are.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


and a Christmas cactus miracle!

The miracle here is that this plant is still living. I have not only managed to keep it alive (no small miracle I assure you), but it is blooming again.

This past Friday I met friend Kay at McDonalds for breakfast and chatter. Top notch way to start a day. She graciously shared with me some of the bounty of tatting thread she scored at a recent TOGA [Treadle On GeorgiA] gathering. Perhaps I was subconsciously thinking of the cactus blooms when I chose the colors I wanted? Thank you, Kay.

I know it has been awhile since I posted here. I think I'm going to have to blame the raking for part of that. I am happy to report, however, that almost all the leaves have fallen and I think I have almost finished the winter raking. So glad.

Now since I'm sure you are not all that interested in my cactus, I'll share of couple of things I have recently run across that are a bit more interesting.

The first is a video of Kaffeslabberas, and shows a knitting club in Copenhagen, Denmark whose members are pensioners. The video linked above is 11 minutes long with English subtitles. If you have the time, I think you will enjoy it.

I have managed a bit of knitting in between raking episodes, mostly working on gloves and
mittens. I finished the day before Thanksgiving the fingerless gloves.
I used maybe about 125 yards of the Malabrigo Sock in colorway Velvet Grapes and size 2 needles. They are ever so soft and very light. I hope, being 100% merino, that they will provide enough warmth. I then made a small neckwarmer with some of the remaining yarn alternating plain stockinette with three sections of three baby cable ribbing.

I have not yet gone back and knit the mate to the prototype using the Patons Kroy dark charcoal sock yarn. I had just had my fill of fingers for the moment.

Instead I moved on to a pair of mittens and finished them this afternoon. No pictures, but I'll try to get some soon. They are
standard ribbed cuff/plain mitten but I did make use of a fabulous book find that I lucked up on during our trip down to Jekyll.

We stopped off at a Book Warehouse just outside Savannah and I found this little treasure, The Mitten Book, by Inger and Ingrid Gottfridssson for 99 cents. 99 cents!

Most of the photographs are black and white, but there are many charts and also instructions for basic adult and children mittens. The designs are those originally collected and preserved by Hermanna Stengard which she published in 1925 and here made available once again in this book by Inger and Ingrid and with wonderful historic background. What a find!

While we are on the subject of mittens, do pop over to the Folklore Fashion website to have a look at some little works of art to keep your hands warm. At that same website, there is a stunning close up photo of knitted half mittens and beautiful bobbin lace in the children's costumes in this post.

Whew! A long post. Please indulge me to include this quote of Hermanna Stengard from the front of the book as I think it expresses much of what was in the Danish video:

"How would it look, do you think, if everyone, old and young, would sit down together to knit for awhile? Laughter and merriment and riddles and questions and folktales and anecdotes from each person's life would blend together in the stitches. Then later, when you recalled these events that have gone through your own fingers stitch by stitch, they would speak their own quiet language: Do you remember? Do you remember?" Hermanna Stengard, born 1861 Gotland, Sweden

Monday, November 21, 2011

What doesn't kill us

makes us stronger*. Right?

Geez that raking sure uses up prime stringplay time. But exercise is exercise I guess. One must do something to offset the M&M consumption.

I'd say the leaves are about 70% off trees. The hickory let go all at once after a cool snap last week. The oaks are still holding tight.

And just to show you what I'm up against, check out this photo

Doesn't take too many leaves of this size to make a load!

The yard is just covered with acorns this year. I've never seen so many acorns and many the size of pecans. Thanks to good old Google I was able to find out some information about this year's bounty.

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.
Sara Coleridge

*At least according to Fredrich Neitzsche. Can't say that I agree with many other things he said, however.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Can't spell glove without love

I made good progress on the finger(tip)less gloves over the weekend. It was nice to have the quiet time to spend with them as those fingers do get rather fiddly.

Just as I suspected this finer, multicolored yarn was not as forgiving when working the fingers. Invariably any wonky stitch ended up being worked with a light spot in the yarn which just accented it. Still I'm satisfied with them and think they will work out fine for my sweetie.

I love this baby cable cuff and hope I can remember it for the next pair of plain socks. I think just a few inches of this; maybe four 4-row repeats, would be great as the top ribbing to a pair.

The yarn, Malabrigo sock, is wonderfully soft and has been a joy to knit.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Like a glove

It fits.

I sure am happy that I recently bought these Clover stitch markers. They make really handy stitch holders and I could hold off the calculated number of stitches for each finger separately. How handy! Handy. Get it? I crack myself up!

The first glove is finished, just no photo. The Patons Kroy sock yarn I used is thick and would make a sturdy and warm glove or mitten. I'm not sure one quite as thick (or warm) is needed this time.

So.....more yarn. I bought some Malabrigo Sock in a deep, dark purple called Velvet Grapes. Love that colorway name and I think it is working up quite nicely. The fingers will be a bit less bulky as well.

I'm a bit afraid that this thinner yarn will not be quite as forgiving when it comes to knitting up the fingers. Guess I'll have to wait and see.

Have a wonderful weekend.

If you miss me, I'll probably be out in the yard raking. And raking. And raking. And raking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I spy

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
Emily Dickinson 1830–1886

spotted in the window of the antique shop across from work

Monday, November 14, 2011

Necessity is a Mother

Well, long time no see. Where does the time go??

We took a mini break and headed down to one of our favorite spots, Jekyll Island. Had a lovely, relaxed time which was just over before we knew it. We especially like to go in early November as we have the island almost to ourselves. Sure most of the restaurants and things are closed for the season, but we have yet to starve. [Vending machines still have M&Ms even in the off season!]

It was a bit chillier this year than in times past, and a bit windy as well, but still a Great Time. I feel so lucky to live close enough to be able to drive to the ocean in a reasonable length of time. Such a balm to the spirit, don't you think?

Anyway, here it is practically Thanksgiving and cool weather is really here (as well as mounds of falling leaves, but let's ignore them just now, ok?). My daughter has requested a pair of fingerless gloves. Not mitts, but gloves with partial fingers. I made her a cashmere pair in 2005 which she still has and wears but she wants to take care of those and needs a more everyday pair.

Back then I used the basic glove directions from the Winter 2003 issue of Knits[available in the CD collection if you're interested.] I can't recall but I think they had a plain thumb, or what is generally referred to as a peasant thumb, knit using waste yarn and no gusset. Since then I've knit mitts and mittens with gussets and I think they feel and wear a bit better.

In all my knitting books I could not find exactly what I wanted so I am going to TRY to work out what I envision using various sources. The cuff similar to Veronik Avery's Cabled Gloves in Knitting 24/7 but with a different stitch count. I'm using instead a baby cable rib from Sensational Knitted Socks and I'm only going to cable the cuff. We'll see how this goes!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

a little bit of patience

This photo is from my March 2009 folder. That may have been the last time I had any patience. I've never been blessed with patience and I seem to have none lately.

I find there is a direct correlation between available time and patience. The less time I have (or feel like I have) the less patient I am.

All this blather is just to point you, once again, to Mary Corbet's wonderful blog post featuring a stunning piece of Battenberg lace. Man-O-Manischewitz that is a beautiful piece of Battenberg.

Battenberg lace, a needle lace, starts with a framework of purchased tape which is first manipulated then connected and filled with needlemade bars and lace fillings. There is a gathering thread that runs along each side of the tape. By pulling and adjusting this thread you can shape the tape to match a drawn pattern. Baste the shaped tape and work your fillings.

The Sept/Oct 1995 issue of Piecework magazine had a wonderful article, "Sara Hadley & Royal Battenberg Lace" by Jane Viking Swanson and it was accompanied by a pattern for a collar designed by Jane.

Oh, those old Pieceworks; what a treasure they are!

See a lovely butterfly made by Jane at this link; about three quarters down the page - but while you're scrolling you can see lots of other lovely ornaments in this exchange!

Oh, and if you are sitting comfortably and want to see even more wonderful Christmas lace, see several years of exchanges on the Arachne site.

Speaking of Battenberg. Do you know the first time I saw it made? It was some lovely work of my friend, Pat. Pat does such beautiful work.

Designs drawn out in my photo above are from an old Creative Needle magazine (Sept/Oct 1998; what is it about September that sends magazine editors to Battenberg??) When I pulled the issue out just now to check the date, I found a nice angel all finished except for her head. Sigh.

Perhaps I ran out of patience. Or Time.