I always feel bad for December birthdays – people are spending so much time trying to find that perfect gift for someone…and then they have to do it twice in the same month. (I will say January birthdays, for me, are worse – there are 4 very close members of my family – including CoffeeBoy – who celebrate birthdays within one week in January. )  So I really wanted to make the 2 close members of the family feel special on their birthday this year.

Mom is one December baby and she’s had a rough year.  I decided she deserved mink – not some crappy fur jacket, but a mink/cashmere blend scarf.

Mom Deserves Mink Scarflet

Started: November 19th

Completed: December 1

Yarn: Great Northern Yarn Mink/Cashmere

Pattern: My own

Needles: Size 5

Notes:  I really wish I got a better shot of this, it was a lovely little scarf.  It took me forever to figure out a pattern for this yarn – it’s a very light yarn and it feels so fragile, when I’m used to more a tough wool.  I had a bunch of ideas, none worked so I went with just a garter stitch scarf with a twist –  I started with one stitch & just YO on each end until it was wide enough, then did YO K2tog & YO SSK on each end until it was long enough.  Then YO K3tog & YO SSSK on each end until back down to 1 stitch. I bought the shawl pin on etsy from AmericanCarver – it ended up a bit wide for it, but my mom loved it, plus she has a bunch of funky pins that she can switch it off with.  She was very happy with it – and timing couldn’t have been better since we are in the middle of a very cold snap here – cold even for me, after 2 MA winters.

The other December baby in my family is my youngest nephew.  And when I saw this pattern, I knew I had to make it for him.

Bruce the Mittens

Started: November 30th

Completed: December 3

Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Bulky in Squirrel Heather (way less than one hank) and some random Wool of the Andes held doubled for the mouth

PatternDeep Blue Sea Shark Mittens

Needles: Size 8

Notes: These were a big hit.  Again, I really wish I got better pictures of them, but it’s hard to get him to sit still to pose.

These were super quick to make, especially  in his size – my only issue was with the sewing up (I’m not so great on that).  There were a couple of issues in the pattern with sizing (without the person nearby) but they were minor.  I’m even tempted to make a pair for myself!  He was really excited about them – my sister told me he wore them bike riding and every time they stopped, the sharks “attacked” each other.

I’m still slowly getting through the rest of my holiday gifts but it’s been a busy couple of weeks – the past 2 weekends I’ve been out of town & my job has been pretty crazy busy at work.  I know I’ve hinted at what I do, but I can talk about it now since my project is now live – I’m working with outside knitwear designers on the Independent Designer Program – we put the first wave of patterns up last week.  It is a fun job – all of these patterns are fantastic! (one downfall to my job – I look at cute patterns all day long, which makes my knitting queue longer and longer).  We’ll put out more information out in January, but if you’re looking for a great pattern, check out what we have! 🙂

My job rules, by the way.  I’ve been very very lucky this year in my job opportunities. 🙂

I had a lovely visit yesterday with my family for Mother’s Day (and for The Amazing Race season finale – yah my fave team won!).  We spent the day mostly hanging outside in the sun, playing with the kids & zoo of animals my family owns (6 dogs, 3 cats, a frog and a rabbit.  Not kidding). I played football & soccer with my nephews and then got this cute picture of my niece’s rabbit & my sister’s dog

That's Emmett the rabbit & Holly the St. Bernard. Yes, Emmett runs around the yard sometimes


Also I gave part of a FO to my mom:

Stackable Kittahs

Started: April 30th

Completed: May 7th

Yarn: Pattons Classic Merino – black, grey, beige and brown – none were full skeins.  Some random stash yarn for the eyes & Big Kittah’s hands, feet & arms.

Pattern: Stackable Cats by MochimochiLand

Needles: Size 6US

Notes:  It’s pretty obvious I really love the Mochimochi patterns – they are super cute and really fun.  I’ve had this one for awhile and finally decided to make them.  I don’t think I made any real significant mods to them – I did magic loop the ears, arms, legs, & tails and for stuffing them I used a mix of stuffing & pellets to make them more bean bag like.   I only felted them slightly in the sink too – Paton’s has a tendency to felt up quickly and I didn’t want them to be completely felted.

I’m not has happy with the two larger ones but I do love Little Kittah:

So he went to live with my mom as part of her Mother’s Day present. I’ll make another one for myself at some point so the kittahs are complete.  Little kittah only took less than a day to make, the others were 2.

Right now I”m hard at work on Ishbel again – I decided I wanted to finish it by Friday to wear to the Knit & Crochet Show – I’m not taking any classes, just want to go to wonder around.   I might just be able to finish it.

I’m realizing I’m just not much of a lace knitter – I’m just not into it.  Of course I also said that about sock knitting a couple of years ago so who knows how I’ll be in the future.

You also might notice my new project bag under there.  I think I have a problem.

With the exception of the one on the far left which was part of my mom’s gift, all of these are mine AND each has a project in them.  I’ve had the Wicked Witch one for quite awhile as part of a Woolgirl kit and I guess I suddenly decided last week I needed more.  The one on the right is from Twisted, the other 3 are from a lovely Etsy seller BlueTulips.  And I bought one from Ravelry that might show up today.  AND I bought a bunch of fat quarters at JoAnn’s to attempt to make my own (FAIL until I get my mom to come up here & show me what’s wrong with my sewing machine).  Sigh. I am silly.


Sock Monkey!

Sock Monkey!

I’m off work again today – there’s not much going on in the office as everyone else is on vacation and decided I needed a bit of a break, which gives me a good time to actually upload some photos.  So how about some WiPs?




First up is Amelia – something I am determine to finish as soon as possible! I even took it to Houston & worked on it during the short breaks in my hotel room (which ended up being just doing a row or two at night, but at least it’s something). Now I’m on the second sleeve, then it’s just the yoke & edging. My biggest concern is running out of yarn – it’s Valley Yarns Superwash in Rosewood (the colour is a bit washed out in this photo) and while it’s listed in the catalog, it’s not on the website.  I think I’ll be okay but I may need to hunt down a lone ball for the edging.

I do have some fun buttons for it, but as I only have 4, I’ll need to hunt down a couple more.  Luckily, I bought them at JoAnne’s so they shouldn’t be too hard to find.


button button, whos got the buttons?

button button, who's got the buttons?


(the colour is much more true in this picture too)

Next up, I have (of course) a new pair of Commuter socks.

Again, this was from my trip to WEB’s – the Misti Alpaca sock yarn. I love the green stripes!  And they are going to be so warm – which is precisely why I started them.  I’m just doing a plain ol’ top down basic sock with an eye of  partridge heel and I’m on the foot of the second, so I should be done early next week.

Finally, not a WiP but a final unblogged FO from January.

Blingin’ Socks for my BFF

Started: January 3

Finished: January 16

Yarn:  Painted Skeins Silver, Silk, and Superwash Merino Sock Yarn in Graphite

Pattern: Reversi

Needles: Size 2US

Notes:  These were actually originally started back in November and were going to be an edited version of Reversim as Britt can attest to.  But when I finished one, I was so unhappy with it I just frogged it & started over with the real version of Reversi, although I did a short row heel instead of the reverse heel.  Anyway, I had to make these for the BFF – she loved the silver in my other pair of blingin’ socks & when I saw the black, it just screamed her name at me.  Anyway, not much more to say – this is, by far, my favourite sock pattern – and one day I’ll actually have a nice pair for myself – I just need to remember to make them out of superwash yarn!  Both pairs I’ve made for myself have shrank/felted slightly, although one pair I can still wear, just the stitch pattern has been muddled a bit.  Sigh.

And one day I’ll actually give these to my BFF – our timing of get togethers has been all off for the past month!  But I think we might be planning a Chocolate Buffet soon…

So yeah.  I’ve said it 100x now but work is completely insane now – it’s a month until our big 10 million dollar conference and now people are coming out of the wood works, demanding things get done RIGHT NOW.  So I’ve been a bit strapped for time. Not to mention CoffeeBoy’s computer died so he’s been using mine.  It’s not a big deal, I have my work computer, but it’s annoying when I want to upload pictures or music since both programs are on that one.  Ah well.  New computers were our Christmas gifts for each other this year…but we have to wait to buy them.

I have been knitting though, I guess I should give thanks to my hour & half on the train each day – it has been keeping me sane.  Just a little knitting to sort out my thoughts and relax a bit in the morning & evening commute.  In fact I finished 2 socks this week.  Of course, they are 2 different socks, but hey, progress!

Reversi.  They are a little small for my blockers.

Reversi. They are a little small for my blockers.

This is a Christmas gift for my bestest bud – it’s the second time I’ve knit it, as the other was really wonky and frogged.  Luckily she has small feet (compared to me) so it’s quick.  And it’s my favourite sock pattern in the world, Reversi, so it’s a nice knit for the train.

I love this pattern looks

I love this pattern looks

 I want to finish the second by next Saturday when we are going out to dinner to celebrate CB’s birthday.

Yes I am well aware how late I am in this gift.

This sock is a big distraction though.

Leyburn Sock in STR Pink Granite Mediumweight

Leyburn Sock in STR Pink Granite Mediumweight

STR.  Fun pattern.  KAL.  I have no willpower.

It’s part of the Leyburn KAL on the Ravelry Group Socks That Rawk! that all my favourite bloggers seem to be doing – Turtlegirl help set it up and ZondaIrishgirlieknits, and Trillian42 are all involved, to name just 4 of 126 so far.  The goal is to have as many different colours of STR as possible.  And since I had a colourway that hadn’t been chosen yet (Pink Granite), I got sucked in.  I’m glad I did actually, this pattern has been in my queue since it had been released but I have a tendency to put things in my queue that I never quite get to.  And I love it. The stitch pattern is so fun, it took a few rounds but now I have it memorized.  

closeup of the pretty pattern

close up of the pretty pattern

By the way I am stubbornly doing it cuff down on dpns.  Laugh all you want, I like my fiddly dpns.

So now it’s back to work.  I’ll probably just have more drive-bys until Mid February, after the conference.  At least I get to go someplace warm (Houston) in February!  Though it’s not like I really leave the conference hotel ,  I could be anywhere in the world actually.  But still, a small break from the snow & cold in MA.

After the first day of the year in a haze of sleep deprivation & airports, I am finally back in MA!  While it wasn’t the best vacation ever (see previous, whiny post), it was great being with my family & friends again. CoffeeBoy and I also made some decisions about our future, which makes us both feel better about coming back to life & reality again.  Mostly, both of us feel very stagnant in our current living situation, so now we have a goal to work for in the new year.

But how was the previous year in knitting?

I had approximately 50 knitting projects total (there are 42 according to Ravelry, but there were some I didn’t put in there – some dishcloths for one).

Some highlights:

I made a lot of socks

19 pairs, in fact. That’s up from 8 last year.  Which makes sense, given I now commute on a train 2 hours a day & sock knitting is perfect for it.

The original Reversi Socks

The original Reversi Socks

Most (13) were for me, 3 were for CoffeeBoy, 3 for other family members.  I also think that, in addition to the train commute, my Harmony dpns have added to my love for sock knitting.  I have become a dpn-only person, thought I have tried 2 circs & didn’t like it. 
Punk Rock Commuter Socks

Punk Rock Commuter Socks

I do have a long size 1 circular needle to try magic looping but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I like my dpn rut.  I pretty much stuck to top down heel flap basic stockinette socks although I did try a couple of patterns and lately have been doing a short row heel instead of my flaps.  Most were basic wool/nylon blend but I did branch out with some bamboo, silk, alpaca, and tencel.     

Movie Knitting Socks

Movie Knitting Socks

I, understandably, only wear handknit socks now (the exception is when I work out, I have little thin cotton socks for that).  It’s hard to pick favourites but I think my original Reversi socks turned out the best (though I sadly shrank them & they are no longer mine).  
Not Quite Knee-Highs

Not Quite Knee-Highs

The socks I probably wear the most are my Punk Rock Commuter  Socks, my Movie Knitting Socks and lately, my Not Quite Knee High socks (perfect to wear with my snow boots – they don’t slide down as much).   I do wear almost all the socks I completed for myself – some of the more boring ones are good for when I should be a bit more professional at work.
My sock plan for 2009 – well more socks!  With my commute lasting until at least March (if not longer), I should be able to get a  few more pairs done.  If I should  not have to do the daily train commute, I will probably still end up making more socks than anything in 2009.  Unless I fall in with dishcloths or something (unlikely, I like them I just don’t LOVE them)

I made a sweater in 2 weeks

Opulent Ragalan

Opulent Ragalan

Big accomplishment this year.  I made a total of 4 sweaters in 2008, 3 of which I wear frequently (sorry Blue Gable)  but my favourite is definitely my Opulent Ragalan, made for the Ravelmpics.  I still love this sweater, it looks nice for work over a collared shirt and keeps me very warm with out a lot of bulk (I love my Cozy sweater too, but it does add a lot of bulk to my already bulky body.  Still very warm – in fact, I have it on now)

I haven’t finished as many sweaters this year (key word: finished.  Many were frogged or simply abandoned).  I think part of it is the upswing in sock knitting and part of it is my weight gain over the past year makes me depressed about making sweaters.  I need to get over it and get my ass to the gym more often.  Anyway, my next non sock project is going to be using my Valley Superwash yarn I got during my trip to Webs.  I’ve almost decided on Amelia for it, but I also may go with something I’ve wanted to make for a very long time – The Nantucket Jacket.  I’m also planning on making the Sunrise Circle Jacket this year and maybe finally finish Mr. Greyjeans and Cables & Os – two sweaters I love but can’t seem to quite finish.  And I’m quite sure there will be many many more sweaters coming out this year that I will fall in love with but never make

I gave in to the Clap.

Clapotis that is.  After knitting it & now wearing it, I understand why nearly everyone in the knitting world has made this – it is a perfect accessory.  I probably wear it the most out of my scarves, because it’s so wide it covers my 

Silky Clapotis

Silky Clapotis

 face in the freezing cold, but I also love to have it for indoors – for instance it was wonderful to have on the plane because when I was cold, I could wear it as a shawl.  It also made a nice pillow. 🙂  And did I mention how much I love Malabrigo Silky Merino?  Love love love it so much, I’m tempted to make another one.  Even CoffeeBoy likes this project- although he keeps trying to convince me to make more for a gifts.  I’m sorry, I’m very selfish when it comes to these kind of projects – this one cost me $50 for the yarn and a month knitting on it non stop.   I do think a couple of girlfriends would like it, so I may just do that but…I need to decide if it is worth it to me to want to invest all that for something that may not be appreciated.  See?  Very Selfish.
I made a total of 3 scarves this year by the way.  I just don’t like making scarves all that much – one was even just a neckwarmer.  Seriously, sock knitting has ruined all big projects for me.

I joined a few yarn clubs for the first time

4 of them – Lotus Yarn’s Punk Rock Sock Club and Big Ass Yarn Club, Blue Hands Fibers’s Ravelry Sock Yarn Club and Scout’s Swag.  I loved all of them for different reasons – well, I’ve only received one shipment of Scout’s Swag so far.   

Lotus Yarns Big Ass Yarn Club

Lotus Yarn's Big Ass Yarn Club

But I’m not sure if I’ll join any this year, at least not right away – I am just not going to buy yarn unless I need it for a project already in mind and I definitely do not need any more sock yarn!  Call it a resolution, call it a yarn diet, call it whatever you want, I really just want to cut back on my stash.  It’s getting me a bit stressed out, having all this beautiful yarn and not using it yet!  I’ve only made a couple of things from my yarn club yarn – 3 projects out of 16 shipments so far. (the Punk Rock Commuter socks above,  Rainy Day socks and my Blissful So-Called Scarf & Hat).  Only one I may join is if Melanie has another Lotus Yarn club, otherwise, no clubs for me.  

Um, that may change.  I’m not very good with resolutions.  And really really tempted by pretty sock yarn.

I completed a year long project

I finally finished my year long project – this one was very special for me, as my Grandmother has always crocheted me blankets & I wanted to finally  make one for her.
Moms cat Mulan shown here for size.  Or because I couldnt get her off the blanket.

Mom's cat Mulan shown here for size. Or because I couldn't get her off the blanket.

 While this got very tedious to work on after awhile, I’m so glad I finished it.  I sadly, was not able to see my Grandmother over the holidays – weather ruined everything! – she will be getting this very soon from my mom.
Grandmas blanket.  Yes, that is still Mulan up there.

Grandma's blanket. Yes, that is still Mulan up there.

I started this in February, and worked on it off & on all year.  A month ago I realized I should probably finish it, so I kicked it in high gear and finished in time for Christmas, although of course it ended up not mattering as much since she won’t be getting it right away.  It’s the basic log cabin blanket, I used about 1.5 skeins of 5 different colours of Cotton Ease on size 8 needles.  If I were to do it again (very unlikely), I would probably use a different yarn – 2 months after I started this, KnitPicks came out with Comfy, which has a similar blend of yarn but much much MUCH softer.  Still, I think this will be durable & keep my grandmother’s legs warm nicely.

2008 knitting summery:

(don’t you just love Ravelry?)

19 pairs of socks 

7 hats/headwraps

5 toys4 sweaters

3 fingerless gloves/mitts

3 scarves/neckwarmers

1 blanket

probably 8 unblogged/unraveled projects – dishcloths, etc.

(I was going to do approximet yarn usage verses yarn added to stash but my excel is not working at moment.  The approx yarn added was over 20,000 yards though – eek!)

There are 12 days until Christmas.

There are 5 days until we fly back to Portland.

I have finish (knitting-wise):

  1. Grandma’s blanket (2 colour strips left & a border)
  2. Niece’s fingerless mitts (1 down, 1 to do)
  3. Sister’s socks (on the foot of the second)
  4. Baby Neice’s toy bunny (arms & head to knit, then to stuff)
  5. BIL neckwarmer (haven’t started)
  6. Gifts for other friends I want to do.
  7. Socks & fingerless gloves for friends here (which will probably be made after Christmas but before coming home) 

Plus I have to:

  1. Do a boatload of work to do this weekend & next week since I’ll be out of town for 2 weeks
  2. Do laundry & pack
  3. Clean so the house is not disgusting for my kind friends to witness while we are gone.
  4. Shop for extra gifts in Portland – Saturday Market here I come!
  5. Creat Gift tags for gifts/wrap presents

Can this be done without making myself crazy? Or making my loved ones crazy as I’m knitting like a fiend to finish?

Posting will be limited over the next couple of weeks (see list above as well as not knowing where I’ll have internet access and you know, I should spend time with family & friends…).  Happy Holidays to everyone!

Now excuse me while I go knit like a madwomen….

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in US!  It’s going to be a pretty quiet day around the ol’ Babbling/Coffee house – there are are pros & cons of living on the other side of the country from family – I don’t have to deal with some of my relatives I don’t particularly like but on the other hand, I miss my family very much.  But, since it is just us and since we have become big ol’ foodies, we get to make what we like.  CB has been obsessed with trying BlueFoot Chicken, after an Iron Chef episode, so instead of a turkey, he ordered that (they are from France, though he found a place in Canada that sells them – and yes, they really do have blue feet).  Paid a pretty penny for that – the shipping was even more than the bird itself.  So he’s in charge of that and is also making this  liquid pumpkin pie he made last year (which I like to call Pumpkin Juice, because I’m a nerd like that).  I’m making homemade stuffing (my first!), these awesome sounding mashed potatoes, and an interesting sounding pumpkin pie (cinnamon crust with maple mixed in the pumpkin.)  So I guess you can say it’s our take on the typical dinner.  Yum yum!

And man do I need this day off – work has been INSANE this week. Even though I worked from home yesterday, I still was nonstop all day, although being in my pjs all day was definitely a bonus.  I keep meaning to blog but I’ve been on the go & in the evenings, I’m still answering emails (joys of a Blackberry).  But I do have an FO to write about


Moms tye-dyed socks

Mom's tye-dyed socks

Started: November 8

Completed November 22

Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock – mill end from Black Sheep Gathering

Pattern:  Used the Thuja stitch pattern

Needles: Size 1US Harmony dpns

Notes:  As I mentioned before, my mom gave me her STR stash with a request of more handmade socks.  I finally got around to doing it!  As with every other STR socks I’ve made or started, these pooled.  A Lot.  Sometimes I don’t mind pooling (I like how the foot part looks, actually) but I hate when there is big blotches of colour, like on the cuff.  Ah well.  Believe it or not, they actually match, which is nice!  I finished these pretty quickly (less than 2 weeks) – I guess my mom’s smaller foot size had something to do with it, but really, it’s only an inch or so less on the foot.  I pair of gift socks down, 3 to go!

I’ve actually started the next pair but I don’t think I’ll write about them – the person I’m making them for has been to the blog (or at least my flickr page).  But I’m nearly done.  The rest of the holiday projects aren’t really something I can photograph easily – the grandma blanket, which doesn’t look that different, a toy I’m creating from scratch for my youngest niece, and more hats for the nephews.  Hopefully I’ll complete one of them soon, I’m getting a wee bit nervous about the time!

So all of you who celebrate it, good eats this Thanksgiving!

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