Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year - New Blog Site

The old year is coming to a close and as it does I'm going to close the chapter of my Blogger blog. I've found that I love the format and the publishing options over on Wordpress. AND by changing my blog to my website you all can easily access my pattern shop! So I will now be blogging over on my website, created for me by my father-in-law (didn't he do a great job?).

I'll see you all over at !

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baby's First Christmas

What a sweet Christmas we had with Baby John. Yes, we did wake up early, but for a feeding, not Christmas anticipation. No, he didn't understand what was going on but it was adorable to watch his fascination with the bows, ribbons and wrappings of the Christmas presents.

His Christmas sweater was finished just in time and he fit into it with a little room to spare! Ah, sweet satisfaction.

I have come to the conclusion that Christmas is made even dearer with a little one to share it with. I've been savoring the memories of John's first Christmas...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Knitting

I'm beginning to crest the hill with my Christmas knitting. Presents are coming together and flying off the needles now, despite the fussy baby with the wee baby cough.

JK hardly ever reads my blog, so I think it's safe to post his knitted Christmas present here. I made his a Guernsey-style vest. I used classic Cascade 220 and am extremely pleased with the stitch definition. I think the vest might be a little too big... we'll see. I went off a vest he had and I think I should have taken actual measurements from him. Oh, well, my fingers are crossed for a good fit.

I also just finished a new hat for JK. I made last year's hat a bit too small. (See a pattern developing here? It is hard to fit my husband.) I LOVE this hat and would like to steal it for my own. Instead I think I'm going to be knitting one for myself when all the Christmas knitting is over (and before I cast on for the Zimmermann Project).

This hat is lined with Princess - a lovely yarn with a cashmere/angora blend. It is wooly and warm inside.

I hope you all are doing well with your Christmas presents. I keep adding last minute gifts I want to knit... we'll see how far I get.
Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Thumb

Baby John found his thumb and oh, does he look so cute sucking it. Yes, I know, I'll have to break him of the habit later. But I was a thumb sucker as a child and I remember how comforting it can be. He'll get through that stage.

Baby John has had quite the week already. Monday morning his little cough that he had been having on and off for two weeks was decidedly worse. Still no fever. But it sounded horrid enough to call the doctor. The doctor wanted to see him immediately due to his decreased activity, sleepiness and fussiness. So in we went at their first available appointment - 3PM. The doctor was a bit concerned because he sounded so congested so she sent us off to get his little chest X-ray. That was an adventure. Fight rush hour traffic around Castleton to get back on 465, get off at Meridian, fight rush hour traffic to go the small distance to 106th Street. By the time we got to the X-ray place John was starving. Nurse in the car. Go in, try to fill out forms while he's fussing because he hasn't had a nap since 1 PM.

Thankfully he fell asleep in the car as I was on 465 driving to Marsh to get his prescription filled and thankfully the doctor called as I was pulling into Marsh to say that John did not have pneumonia. Thank goodness. BUT at the pharmacy we had trouble filling his prescription because somehow the insurance company hit the wrong button back in September and took him off our insurance. OH, MY GOODNESS.

I must have looked so tired and frazzeled checking out of Marsh because one of the store managers came up to me and asked me if I needed help getting to my car! Ha! I thought that was funny, but very sweet. I declined and managed to get everything stowed away myself.

This is Baby John's first taste of sickness and it is so sad to watch him go through it. He'll be just fine, thanks to modern medicine, a 24/7 humidifier in his room and the wonders of Baby Vicks. And of course, thanks to his little thumb he just discovered.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Regina Cardigan

Believe it or not, our pile of Christmas knitting will soon be completed and we will all hit the January blues desperate for a new project. So here is a new cardigan for you to consider.

The Regina Cardigan is knit, of course, from the top down with the button band knit along the way, so there is virtually no finishing. Don't we all LOVE that!

The one thing I really love about this cardigan is how the 1x1 rib flows without interruption into a 3x1 rib and gives the cardigan a gentle A-line shape.

I knit the model in Cascade 220 because I love the stitch definition Cascade 220 has. However, I think my next version of this sweater will be in Ultra Alpaca. The Ultra Alpaca will give the same stitch definition but add a little drape and swing.... I can't wait to cast another one onto my needles!

You can buy it over on Ravelry. It will soon be up on my shop website too...

Friday, December 11, 2009


My little pumpkin rolled over this afternoon. Can't believe it! JK was on the phone with me as John rolled over so he got to share in the special moment. John also grabbed his rattle and shook it for a long time. What a sweet little boy he is. I'm enjoying every moment.

Monday, December 7, 2009

7 December 2009 - Snow

Our first snow of the year! Isn't it wonderful? Just enough to be pretty.

Woke up this morning without much of a headache... the first time in weeks. Got things posted on Ravelry for the Knitting Zimmermann project, 40 minutes of exercise in and the kitchen floor swept and mopped all before 9:30 - oh, did I mention the baby fed and back for a nap. Can every day be headache free? Oh, wouldn't that be lovely!

I'm off to clean our bathroom while my headache stays away... later on I hope to post a new sweater pattern! Stay tuned....

December Sisters

My two sisters are December twins.... 9 years and 4 days apart. Saturday lunch was spent at the Sanctuary, eating, laughing, taking pictures and giving gifts to Heather, as her birthday comes first.

I have the best sisters a girl could ever wish for. I hope you have a very Happy Birthday today, H! I think it snowed just for you!

Love you H & Em -- looking forward to your birthday Em!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baby Leg Warmers

I first saw a pair of baby leg warmers on Fig & Plum. Her striped leg warmers were too cute for words.

Sure, I thought they were cute, but did a baby really need legwarmers? Come on. But then one afternoon I looked over at Baby John in his rumble seat and realized that Baby John's trousers had the habit of inching their way up his leg as he kicked. Horror of horror, his bare little legs were exposed to the cold air!

Something had to be done.

Note: I am a good mommy and do keep Baby John's feet covered in warm socks
I just took them off for the picture!

I rummaged around in my stash and found some bits and bobs that would work for baby leg warmers. Within no time they were done and placed on the chubby bare legs. Now I can breath easier, he is warm! Ah, the goodness of baby legwarmers. I am sold on them. Several more pairs are in line to knit... after I get my Christmas knitting done.

Here's a recent picture of my little man... bright eyed and happy after a nice long nap.

PS: The baby legwarmer pattern is free and fabulous! It can be found here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Yarn Journaling

For several years now I have imperfectly kept a yarn journal. Imperfectly because I wish I had pasted more yarn labels into my book and kept better track of the yarns I like. But you know how it is, sometimes life becomes consumed by that desire to "cast on the next project."

At other times I have done a good job and managed to past in the yarn label and a bit of the yarn before I moved onto the next knit. This little book as been so helpful as I am trying to choose yarns for the Knitting Zimmerman Project. I've been able to go back and read my thoughts about a certain yarn. Whether or not I've liked the stitch definition or not or what it does after the yarn is washed.

The boring pages are the pages I did not include yarn. I can't remember why I didn't include yarn. Perhaps I didn't have any left over. Surely not. But I've vowed never to do that again.

This is why I am a firm proponent of yarn shops putting their bar codes on the backside of the yarn label and not covering the name of the yarn or the dye lot. Both options totally ruin the yarn label in my opinion. This is also why I love pretty yarn labels and have sometimes just purchased the yarn because of the label. Yes, I know, pretty silly.

Have any of you kept a yarn journal before? If so, what are some of your favorite yarns?

Knitting Zimmermann

Hi Knitters,

I've posted over at Knitting Zimmermann. Tell me what you think -- do you knit Continental or English?

Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Project

Well, my fellow knitters, Baby John is sleeping and both the washing machine and dryer is full of laundry so I've decided to take a break and sit down with a strong cup of tea to tell you about my new project I'm going to begin in January.

Two days before Baby John's surprise birth I went out with a bunch of friends to see Julie & Julia. I was instantly inspired by the idea of slowly going through a master's work, learning their technique's, their artistry and their passion. After all, isn't that what Julie Powell did with Julia Child's cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"?

I went home and the next day put the audiobook version of Julie & Julia on hold at my local library. Then my life erupted with the joyful birth of Baby John and I forgot about the idea that was slowly growing in my mind until a month later when I received a notice from the library that the audiobook was available for pick up.

It was while I was listening to Julie & Julia and slowly getting into the routine of life with a wee babes that the idea hit me.... go check it out here. Make a note of it in your google reader and join me, if you wish, as I knit!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


There is something alluring to me about a cozy nook with a comfy chair and a warm shawl draped over the back of the chair. It just seems to invite you to come and have a bit of a sit & knit, doesn't it?

I don't think I have enough shawls around the house. I have decided to plan some shawl knitting for the holiday season. Once I have my Christmas knits accomplished, shawl knitting sounds restful and cozy.... I think I'd like to make an Ishbel for myself, and perhaps a wool peddler's shawl...

Friday, November 27, 2009


My sisters and I used to partiscipate in the grand "Black Friday" shopathon. Heather would plot out our route and the stores we would visit. We would pack up some yummy Thanksgiving leftovers into a wicker basket, fill up a thermos of tea and then hit the road early Friday morning. Because we were a crafty bunch (and still are) Hobby Lobby and Jo Ann Fabrics were always on our list of places to visit.

The year Heather had her first baby, Rachel, my mom and Heather were both away for Black Friday. (Rachel was born right before Thanksgiving). Emily and I decided that the tradition could not be missed so we got up early, made a run to Starbucks and hit our favorite stores for Christmas presents. (That was 9 years ago, Em, can you believe it?)

As the years have passed I have grown less and less fond of going out on Black Friday. In fact, if I'm really honest with you all, I really don't like the push and shove of Black Friday anymore. I prefer little shops where I can browse and mull over my purchases.

Besides, this year there is no one to shop with. Heather is in Oklahoma, Emily is in Virginia and my mom will be designing flower arrangements at the florist shop.

In lieu of our Black Friday shop, Em and I drove downtown on Monday to Mass Ave. There we browsed the little shops, laughed over the crazy trinkets in Silver In The City (a really great shop by the way) and sipped lattes at Starbucks. It was a fun, slow paced and relazing time.

For all of you heading out to the shops today, good luck. I'm going to take a walk to Starbucks and knit away on my Christmas knitting....


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Missing You

My heart is heavy today. I'm missing you, Uncle Bill. We had so much fun last year cooking with you. What laughs! What talks we had! You were a great cook and such an amazing uncle. Life passes too quickly. Enjoy every moment.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recycled Yarn

One year ago, for some reason, I really got into the art of recycling yarn. It's an art? Yes, it actually is. You can rip out old sweaters made from exquisite materials, but the yarn might look dead and limp. It takes a bit of artistry and "magic" tricks to get it looking "alive" again.

For a while I thought I would sell my "yarn" on etsy but it never happened. Instead, a year later I discovered these two batches of yarn in my stash. The first picture is some really lovely angora/wool yarn that I ripped, respun and hand dyed. I think a hat and bootie set for Baby John is in order.

This is some really lovely 100% cashmere yarn that I ripped and respun. There is enough for a sweater, hat and booties for Baby John. I'm looking forward to working with it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Feeling Festive

It's Thanksgiving week! I can't believe the holiday has arrived already. For some reason I feel like I am on vacation all week although JK and I are not "vacating". I suppose that vacation feeling has something to do with the fact that there is a festive feeling in the air.

Saturday JK watched Baby John for five hours while I went and did the food shopping, some Christmas shopping and some badly needed clothes shopping for myself. I think the opportunity to get out by myself added to the feeling of being on vacation!

I have some pretty big goals for myself this week. I would like to finish a really neat sweater design this week -- I'm one sleeve away from being done. I would like to wear it to Thanksgiving dinner... we'll see.

This week I really need to start on Christmas present knitting. I know... I'm really late this year. I'm not going to knit very many gifts but I do need to get on to knitting them. All of the knitting giftees read this blog so I won't be able to talk about them until after Christmas -- I know, no fun.

I'm also looking forward to unveiling a really cool project I'm going to be doing this coming year. Stay tuned this week... I'm going to unveil it soon!

For those of you traveling this week... happy travels and I hope you have lots of happy knitting to take along with you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five Years Ago Today...

Five years ago today I married the love of my life, the very talented JK. I can't believe five years have gone by. They have passed too quickly.

The entire wedding day was filled with beauty, fun and precious family who traveled from both ends of the nation and from England and Scotland to be there.

What an amazing blessing to be married to such a great guy! JK, you are the best! I love you, my dear! Happy Anniversary!

John's Baptism

I'm so sorry it has taken me so long to update you all about the much anticipated weekend. Some severe headaches have barred me from the computer. But today, I'm back.

John's Baptism was beautiful. I thought we were about to have a meltdown in the pew, for he was very sleepy. But we made it through the baptism and he even fell asleep as the pastor prayed! It was so cute. Although, because I could tell a meltdown was about to ensue, I left his passifier in his mouth. Thus Baby John was baptized, passifier and all!

Here's the little guy, heavy lidded and ready for a nice long nap.

Mom made a beautiful, Williamsburgish centerpiece for the table. I loved it!

The grandmas with the sweetest baby ever.

I did get his little baptism cardigan done. He wore it as his outfit before and after the baptism. He looked so cute. It's a bit big so he will grow into it. Now I want a matching one! There is nothing like a creamy cabled sweater...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why Do Babies Cry?

I was dashing into the library the other day and had a funny exchange with the library clerk.

Baby John doesn't like the library for some reason. I don't know if it is the bright lights or whether he just knows he supposed to be quiet and enjoys a good roar to break the silence.

I know he hates the library so I plan my library outings very carefully. All books are selected and ordered online while he is sleeping. No browsing the books stacks for me right now.

Once the note comes from the library that the books are available I either send JK or my mom. Sometimes I have to do it myself, like today. On those occasions I plan our trip to the library to come after morning naps and also right after a feeding (when he is the happiest).

Today I followed the same routine. Nap, feed, pack into the car. Drive the 5 minutes to the library. Put him in the stroller, wheel him into the library. Go directly to the hold stacks, pick up the books and DVDs. He was fine until I reached for the first DVD, then he let out a roar. I threw the DVDs into the stroller and practically ran to the hold book stack. Threw the two books into the stroller and ran to the check out.

At the check out he was screaming and screaming and I was fumbling with my card and the books. The library clerk came over, I apologized for the "noisy patron." "Oh, don't worry. But if you don't mind me asking, what's wrong with him?" I looked at her dumbly. What's wrong with him? Probably nothing more than he hates the library, but would she believe me? No. She obviously had never had a child. Then she explained, "I only have dogs at home." Oh, yeah...

I had to laugh. I've come to learn that babies cry for a variety of reasons. Some of them are just a plain dislike of the library. Ha! Life is funny.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


This coming Sunday Baby John will be baptized. It is amazing, already he is going to face one of life's mile markers. we are going to be hosting all the family back to our house for a celebratory dinner afterward. Thus, I have been cleaning, raking leaves & cutting the dog's hair in preparation for the dinner party.

Thank goodness there are a few more days left. I have a pumpkin cheesecake to make and freeze. I have some more food shopping to do and a ton more cleaning. But it is all fun because it is such a special day.

Baby John will be wearing one of the Wall's baptism gowns. Both sides of our family have gowns but I thought it would be special to start the tradition of the girls wearing the maternal gowns and the boys wearing the paternal gowns. We had four gowns to choose from; all were beautiful. I finally settled on a simple but elegant gown (the first picture) but just had to try on the gown that was the "frilliest" (second picture).

My mother commented on Monday afternoon that Baby John will need a white cardigan to go with his baptism outfit. I had none! Ahhh.... so Monday night I sat down at my desk and worked out a few calculations and cast on.

This is what I have done so far. It will have cables down the front and back. Will I get it done? Hmm... I don't know. But I'm going to try.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You

Veteran's Day is a bit more gut wrenching when your friends are veterans and married to veterans.

Veteran's Day used to pass me by on the calendar without much of a thought. Yes, I might think about my grandfather who served in WWII. But I never met him and only knew him through pictures.

Now veteran's are much closer. They are the husbands of my friends, the father of fellow knitters, the friend of my youngest sister.

Some of them are still serving, just deployed or serving out deployments, or home, out of the service but forever changed and bearing the evidence of their sacrifice in their broken body.

Yeah, it is gut wrenching. I have finally seen first hand how much veterans give up for me and my family.

All of you veterans have my humble and sincere respect and gratitude.

God bless you all.

Dear Anonymous....

Dear Anonymous Knitter,

You asked if I had a knitting tip... there are all sorts of knitting tips you can find in books or even discover yourself as you get to know your own style of knitting.

But the best tip I could give you is to get involved at your local yarn shop. Sign up for a class, go and sit and knit there. By doing this you will pick up knitting tips faster than you would through books.

This bit of advice is good for all of us. There are so many things we can learn from each other, from what the best yarn is to use for a certain project to how to get your ssk to look exactly like your k2tog. If you don't have a local yarn shop around you, find a knitting guild or club. If you don't have a knitting guild or club in your area, start one of your own! If you are seriously on your own, read all you can about knitting, it will be a comfort to your lonely soul!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Wee Bit of Christmas

I know, I shouldn't be blogging about Christmas just yet. But for me, preparation and planning is part of savoring the Holidays.

My sisters and my mom have always had a Christmas tea in preparation for Christmas and Christmas present making. This year it came a bit later in the season, but I wonder why....

It was a fun afternoon -- quite busy now that there are five little ones to look after after and a sixth one on the way. Mom did a Christmas craft with the kids, which they loved. I was torn between the Christmas craft and sitting on the couch with H knitting.

I chose to knit and worked on Baby John's Christmas Stocking! Here is the cuff - Norwegian Snowflakes. The background is a red that I overdyed in the crockpot and the white is some lovely Cascade 220 that I had lying around.... I'm falling in love with Cascade 220 again. Can you believe it? But it is the workhorse of yarns... but more on that at another time.

Happy Holiday Knitting everyone!

HiyaHiya Interchangeable Needles

I finally received the long awaited HiyaHiya Interchangeable Steel Needle Set I had ordered in the summer. And I think I really like them.

The set comes in a sweet little case, very handy for stashing in your knitting bag.

I purchased the small needle set which comes with #2 - #8 needles. The needles screw in without a tool, something I love. I am always hunting around in my Harmony needles for the little key.
The case itself has two great pockets. One inside and one on the backside of the case.

Four cables are included 16", 32", 40" & 47". Because you can create a 16" circular needle with this set the needles themselves are a little shorter than say, the Harmony set which does not have the option of creating a 16" circular needle. Because of the shorter needles some people may not like the HiyaHiya needles. However, for me, the 16" option is worth it! I use a range of needle lengths when creating a sweater.

Where can you order them? Stitches & Scones. And at $67.50 it's really a great deal!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Raking Leaves

It's time to rake leaves again. Some people prefer to "blow" the leaves. But I think there is something nice about raking and hearing the rustle of the leaves instead of the loud whirl of the blower engine.

I bundled Baby John up in his woolies and pushed him out on the deck to get his daily "airing" while I raked. He promptly fell asleep with his nook in his mouth.

Tonia notice the hat -- I love it. One of the nice features of his little "helmet" hat are the ear flaps! Love it! Did it come from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson?

When I realized I didn't have the bags to dispose of the leaves I raked them into piles anyways and decided I'd bag them another day. So now we have all these little piles all over our back lawn.

My reward for raking was a hot cup of tea. Baby John's reward for being so good was some "playtime" in his crib. His Grandma and Grandpa Wall made him the cutest mobile. I just got it hung this past Saturday, much to Baby John's delight. He LOVES it. Yesterday he figured out that I'm the one that makes it go round. Now whenever it stops turning he whimpers until I come back and give it another spin! Ha! Smart kid.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Wooly Hugger

I just finished a fun knit. It's a short sleeve tunic vest I designed with three leftover skeins of Bartlett Wool.

People often complain about "real" wool. You know, the rough, good stuff. But I love it. Real wool is extremely warm and comfortable. It often lasts longer than the over processed wool. When I am knitting with real wool I feel like I am getting back to the roots of knitting - the historic, time-honored way of knitting.

I always wash my Bartlett wool before I knit with it. When you receive it in the mail it still has some of the spinning oil on it, making it hard and scratchy. Once you throw it in the sink with a good capful of Eucalan wool wash it feels as soft as sheepsdown and is as welcoming as a good cup of tea.

I have named this little vest, The Wooly Hugger because it is so warm and comfortable. I.e. so very "sheepy." No, it's not a pattern ... yet. I've just been having fun knitting!

Speaking of real wool. I love what Rowan has done - offer sheep-breed-specific yarn. The sheep breeds are mainly British breeds such as Bluefaced Leiceister, Black Welsh, Brown Jacob, Suffolk and Shetland but they are wonderful.

I wish more companies would offer sheep-breed-specific yarn. Perhaps Clara Parkes new book "The Knitter's Book of Wool," will spur them on and more real, wooly goodness will be at our fingertips.