Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Needle Give-Away

The folks over at are having a give away of this lovely knitting needles set! Check it out here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Well, the end of a four-day holiday weekend is drawing near. Apparently it was a bit much for some.......

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From snowy Iowa....where the winter weather warnings are piling up! Have a wonderful holiday and stay warm and safe wherever you are!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ok, Now I Get It!

Sometimes it's hard for me to accept what seems like "hype" or "PR" of products.

Growing up, I began to be responsible for my own clothing purchases in 8th grade when I babysat regularly and then got a summer job at the Dairy Queen. I learned pretty quickly that I could either buy 1 pair of "designer" jeans, or 3 pairs of "plain" jeans. To me, jeans were jeans . . . especially when you compared the fabric and construction. Levis seemed just as good, if not better in quality, than the Calvin Kleins advertised by Brooke Shields.

In knitting I learned pretty early on that I really do prefer natural fibers to acrylic. And even among acrylic yarns, some are better (softer, easier on the hands to work with, etc.) than others.

So when I heard everyone swooning over Malabrigo, I figured it was just another form of hype--a fad which would fade and everyone would look at the Malabrigo in their stash a year or two later and wonder why they had spent money on it.

Boy, was I wrong! One sitting with the luscious fibery treat and I have to say....I get it! I think it's the sort of thing you don't really understand until you do knit with it for yourself. It is the softest wool I've knit with! It's smooshy and dreamy and delightful. I'm making my daughter a scarf from it.

I figured with everything going on in our little corner of the world, and not knowing what's up with hubby's job....I just needed a little extra comfort and a dash of joy....if only for the few minutes I steal off and on throughout the day to knit on this scarf!

(Still no official word when/if job changes are coming. The governor did sign the executive order today and we are still awaiting word as to its specific impact. I do appreciate all the thoughts, prayers and well wishes though....keep them coming!)

In other knitting news....

I finished an Elizabeth Zimmerman hat for DD. It's the "Very Warm" hat from Opinionated Knitter. I used up the left-over alpaca from her thrummed mittens and another color of alpaca for the inner lining. Should be very warm crossing campus.

Progress on DH's socks is slow....and hasn't happened much the past few days what with the malabrigo on the other needles. I'm using Dreams In Color Smooshy in the Cocoa Kissed colorway for them.

All the hand-knit Christmas gifts (and the ones we bought too!) have been put into the mail yesterday afternoon. Hopefully they will reach their destinations before the end of day next Thursday.

Happy Knitting! (8 more days until Christmas!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blue Christmas

Looks like the Christmas season might be a bit blue at our house. My hubby is anything but in the spirit after more news reports about the governor's impending action. (Mr. Culver says he's going to sign an executive order next week which will eliminate severl IT jobs in the state under the guise of "consolidating" government. Doug's job will likely be elimanated. Ho. Ho. Ho.)

Nothing says, "Merry Christmas" like standing in line at the unemployment office.

I know he's uber stressed and beginning to be depressed as well. If we didn't have kids who need medical insurance it might be a bit easier to swallow. I am quite worried about him.

So, it appears that I will be frantically looking for a full-time job with benefits. As will he should the ax fall.

Here's my resume if anyone knows of anything!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ready, Set, Snow!

I'm all prepared to get snowed in. I made my Target run where I procured:


I have pulled together all my Christmas card writing supplies including: the cards, address labels, stationery, stamps, and written letter for 2009.

I have my stash and a variety of knitting projects to work on.

School is letting out at 12:30.

I have gifts to wrap, wrapping paper and tape so I can begin working on the gifts that need to be boxed and shipped by Saturday.

There's food/drink aplenty on the premises.

I think I'm all set for the blizzard to hit!

Happy knitting/crafting/riding out the storm!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Impending Storm

I'd just like to say that the big winter storm which is forecast to dump 8"-12" of snow on my area had better hold off long enough for me to get to Target at 8 a.m. tomorrow! I plan to pick up Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince which I may watch 2 or 3 times if the storm is lengthy.

Yes, I'm a huge HP fan!

And this afternoon I found a bootleg trailer for the final two films.

Dh Preview One - The best bloopers are a click away


Weekend Projects

I worked on a couple of really quick knitting projects over the weekend. The first is a totally self-indulgent luxury item.

Quite a while ago I won a lovely prize from the wonderful ladies at Romancing The Yarn.

It was two balls of periwinkle baby cashmere from The label says it is 60% baby alpaca, 30% merino and 10% cashmere. I can tell you it feels FABULOUS! I finally settled on making myself a pair of fingerless mittens because we keep our computer room much cooler than the rest of the house (and that's saying something considering the thermostat is set at 64*!!)

I found the pattern, Swirling Gauntlets on Ravelry. It's written by Susanna IC and is available as a free download.

The results are amazing! Warm, lightweight, functional and quite fetching if I do say so myself. I love them!!

I also finally heeded the siren's call and pulled the leftover bits out of my basket from the hat I knit my niece. There was just the right amount to make her a scarf.

I used a US #8, 24" circular needle (love my KnitPicks Options!!) and cast on 160 stitches. Then I just knit back and forth in garter stitch, changing yarns at the end of each row. (Thusly it makes its own fringe at each end!) Easy peasy!

Now.....what can I accomplish today....???

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Love's Limits

If you look back to May 6 you'll see my initial post regarding the Elizabeth Zimmerman blanket I intended to knit.

It started out swell! I was so full of enthusiasm and love for all things EZ, after all Elizabeth is one of the knitting elites....a pioneer, an inspiration, a revered oracle of all things knitted.

Well, I can tell you, row upon row of nothing but garter stitch is d@mn boring!

Over the summer my love for the project waned.

The blanket languished at the bottom of my WIP(works in progress) pile.

Until one day in November I realized that there really were a limited number of days left until Christmas and if I truly intended to give the #$@^& thing as a gift, I'd better pull it out and get busy.

So here it is, finished at long last!

I'm afraid only a knitter is going to look at it and realize how much time went into the thing. But I do hope when my nephew cuddles up with it he might one day realize his Aunt Kim's love for him has no limits, not even endless rounds of boring garter stitch and more finishing work than she's ever put into any other project!

I decided I can't leave my niece hanging when it comes to hand knits for the holidays, so I started a quick pair of socks for her as well. Fortunately six year old feet aren't all that big and this pair will take me about 4 evenings of knitting while watching t.v.

Do you suppose I should've been making something for my own kids??

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Few Close-Ups

As promised yesterday, here are a few close-up photos of some of the items from my Reducio package!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Got Crabs!

We went to visit DD at college and spend some time with my brother's family on Saturday. It was a great day excpet for the fact we blew a tire just as we were getting back into town at the end of the day.

After a 50 minute delay of changing tires, we arrived home where my family was convinced someone's package had been delivered to the wrong address. It was for Emma Densaugo....which as it turns out, is my Harry Potter name for the Reducio swap group on Ravelry!

I was very excited to see a package! And it contained some really awesome stuff too!

I chose to be in Hufflepuff for this swap since I have socks from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw already. How cool that my partner beaded the sock!! The theme for this swap was "A Weasley Christmas/Yule", thus the stocking as well.

In addition, my spoiler (Katt) put in: a mini skein in a gorgeous red, Tazo teas, some stitch markers, a really cool art card she made that features some dyed fabric and feathers, and some incredibly cute crab cakes, with the most adorable crabs I've ever seen!

(I know! Right?! You're ooohing and ahhhing as well, aren't you?!)

Her note, written in verse, gives a little i.d. to each one. How fun, eh?

I'll post some more close-up photos tomorrow!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Like Cookies?

Do you like cookies? Not the things that track the internet sites you visit--I mean the delicious, home-baked treats that come in a world of varieties!

If you do, you will want to head over to my friend's blog, Sew Not My Day where she's having a cookie give-away!

The cookies are a beautiful 3 colored "spumoni" cookie which really look delicious.

Go check it out! Now!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ho, Ho,....HO NO!!!!

Holy Cr@p fellow knitters/sewers/crafters! There are exactly [ONLY!] 39 days until Chrismas (40 if you're willing to still count today!)

How are all your projects coming along?

I made some progress over the past week/weekend. I finished a pair of mittens for my holiday giving. (Not going to anyone who reads this blog, so I can picture the finished item!)

I turned 2 heels at once and started up the legs on the pair of socks I'm knitting from the hand-dyed sock blank.

And I started another quant for the younger set.....(I'm doing these for the younger ladies on my gift list.)

It's been a bit of a rough week as far as news of people I know discovering terminal illness or deaths (one unexpected and another I knew was coming, but still hated getting the news....) Thank goodness for knitting! Keeps the hands occupied and stills the mind/heart. I'm telling you....a lot of thoughts and prayers are knit into all these items as I pondered all the news this week.....

I don't know how much you've got on your "to do" list as far as hand-made items for Christmas goes, but if you're like me then it's time to kick it into high gear!

Happy knitting!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Out of Time

Being in the publishing world means working in a world who's timing it out of sync with "normal" time.

It's been Christmas for me for 3 weeks now, trying to get a December issue off to press.

Here's one of the cover options we won't be using:

I'll be on to New Year's and January before Thanksgiving.

It's a really odd feeling, being "out of time" with everyone else.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shadow Play

I'm swamped with work right now and no time for creative endeavors such as photography (other than what needs shot for the assignment deadline of any given day!)

I have started another Christmas mitten, but decided I'd just post a photo my daughter shot while walking around the neighborhood the other day with her brother.

You can probably tell by the length of the shadows, it was later in the day.

I think it's a fun photo and she has quite an eye to capture it!

Ok, back to the salt mines for me. . . .

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

On This Day in 1917

Today is my grandmother's 92 birthday. Here's a photo of her, my mother, my sister (the younger cutie on the left) and me (matching dress, on the right) ready to go to the Mother-Daughter banquet at church in May, 1970.

I believe my mom is using me to camoflauge the fact she is pregnant with my brother who was born in October of 1970.

My grandma is one of 13 children who survived, all of whom were older than her except for one sister. All of her siblings have passed away. She had three children of her own, my mother and her two brothers (one now deceased). Altogether grandma has six grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

Happy 92nd Birthday!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Catching Up

I must admit, I didn't do much knitting over the weekend. (*gasp!* "so close to Christmas?" you're thinking.)

Well, it's true. My left wrist has been very sore for a few days, so I was giving it a rest.

But I did take photos 1)of a completed project:

It's another of "Fool's Gold" by Chris Church from the Knotions ezine. I LOVE this pattern. Have now completed 3 child size hats for nephews & niece. This is the niece version. I knit it double stranded using 2 colors of pink superwash wool. I think it turned out great!

Also, I couldn't resist trying the sock blank that my swap partner/friend K sent me from California. K dyed the sock blank herself and I think it's really lovely.

I've been knitting on this in public and discovering that most people don't get the concept of a sock blank. So I'll explain.

The piece of knitted fabric comes that way. I am not undoing a piece of knitted fabric that someone took the time to lovingly hand knit. It came as one piece of fabric. And it was white.

K then dyed the sock blank in the manner of her choosing, with the colors she wanted to work with.

The blank was knitted double-stranded. That means that however K dyed it, when it unravels to become the sock yarn I make the socks from, the two seperate balls of yarn (which were knit together, side-by-side, into one piece of fabric) will knit up two identical socks. [This is a huge benefit to the people who must have identical twin socks....i.e. stripes must match up when the two seperate socks are layed side by side.]

Here's a shot that shows the two seperate strands coming apart from the knitted fabric, each going to its own sock. (I am knitting two socks at once on 2 circular needles.)

I met a woman at the car dealership last week who looked at me as if this were some sort of magic. We were both getting our oil changed in our vehicles. She was a crocheter. First off, she'd never seen "such tiny knitting needles!" Then she was convinced I had knit the sock blank fabric and changed my mind when the piece turned out too small to be anything useful. She seemed mesmerized by the whole process. We chatted for 15 or 20 minutes beyond my car being ready to roll. And I got a pattern for crocheting pot scrubbies from nylon cord to boot!

What have you been working on?

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Neighborhood Colors

These are two of my neighbors' trees. Have I mentioned lately that autumn is my favorite season??

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Trip To the Orchard

(of course there were apples, cider and fudge as well....but those were the boring parts for the youngins....)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Knitting on the Go

Here is the video Cat Bordhi made about knitting on the go. (a.k.a. knitting as exercise!)

My recent "on the go" project is the thrummed mittens I learned to make thanks to Leslie at Ewephoria Yarns in Pocahontas.

This is the final product:

And this is what they look like on the inside:

The lining is tufts of alpaca which make them feel like luxurious pillows of warmth on your hands. (Given the overheated state of my hands 90% of the time, I'm giving these to my DD who has cold hands and will soon be walking across a cold, wintry campus!)

I've found the process of thrumming a bit more tedious than I like with knitting, however I'm very glad to have learned the tecnique!

Happy knitting!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Life Is . . .

. . . strange? odd? weird? funny? full of karma? short? meant to be shared? a gift? exhilirating? pointless? a circle? better with coffee/chocolate/(your favorite here)?

You pick the word to complete the phrase.

How we answer says everything about who we are or where we are on the journey at that given moment.

I also believe the answer changes--sometimes rather frequently.

Having my DD home on fall break makes me happy. It also reminds me that I do, sometimes, worry that I'm starting to lose my cognitive skills as I venture full-steam-ahead into pre-menopause. (I'm told this is normal and everything will be ok once I reach the other side. I hope so. Some days I feel like a freaking idiot!)

I went to a knitting class last Wednesday evening where I and two of my knitting pals are learning to make thrummed mittens. I would post a picture, but I've decided I need to visit the frog pond and redo a bit before I show you. My thrums are courtesy of an alpaca named Cocoa. They are beautiful and so, so soft!!

At the class I met a couple lovely ladies from Pocahontas (where said class was taking place at Ewephoria Yarns....the best LYS ever!) I would really like to get to know them better, especially Jane who I sense has a lot of life wisdom and some great stories to share.

This is the best part of knitting to me. Don't get me wrong, I like the actual knitting: the tools, the lovely fibers, the act of creating something. But I also appreciate knitting's ability to create connections between people, often people who might not ever meet otherwise. It's a lovely, serendipitous thing to watch happen and I've learned to go with it and enjoy the ride. (Clearly, because this post started out with my intention to tell you about the Cat Bordhi video I watched thanks to Lucy Neatby's blog wherein Cat demonstrates the ability to knit while walking, swinging, sliding and climbing trees....thus enticing people to get up out of their knitting chairs, turn off the tv and get active while knitting.)

We will be venturing back to Pocahontas Wednesday evening for part two of our class. I do hope that Jane and Virginia come again so that we can visit!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You Can Make A Difference!

Make a Delicious Difference simply by watching!

Every time the video gets watched they donate five meals to the hungry! (Also my friend at work, Becky, has a son who is in the video!!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fools Gold

The minute I saw Chris Church's pattern, Fools Gold over at Knotions, I knew it was a pattern I HAD to make for my niece and nephew (whether for Christmas or otherwise).

It is simply THE cutest hat I've ever seen!

Even though they were actually visiting this past weekend, I went ahead and cast on for the project. I had some Swish bulky from Knit Picks left over from another project. It is a washable, 100% wool, so it seemed ideal. I started Friday night, knit a little on the hat Saturday evening and completed it Sunday afternoon in a couple of hours. (All total, knitting time was around 3-4 hours....I think.)

Here's the completed project:

. . . and atop a real head (though, granted, a head larger than the one it is intended for!!)

Chris Church's design rocks! It was easy to knit (and fun too!) It only takes about 135 yards of bulky weight yarn (1 skein!!) and a U.S. #10 24" circular needle. I think the wee kiddies (and their mom & dad) will like it!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It's Not A Fruit

One may be tempted to run off to the supermarket in search of a quant. It sounds like some exotic produce which is sure to either be absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious, or really putrid. When I first heard the word I was irresistable drawn to it.


It doesn't have anything to do with measuring or quantifying anything either.

What it DOES have to do with is my Christmas knitting list.

I intend to knit 5 quants (or would that be quanti?) as gifts for a few of the ladies on my list this year, particularly those living in climates where woolen mittens are not a practical gift. (i.e. Texas)

Some of the intended recipients may (or may not) read this blog, so I can only post photo which is a bit of a teaser.

This is my first completed quant. I hesitated to use a solid color yarn, but it turns out the organic cotton worked! It blocked well and the entrelac pattern is fine in a solid color.

The quant can be knit with a small amount of yarn, thus making it a perfect stash buster, particularly if you happen to have as many leftover sock yarn balls as I do. (I'm finding I like what it looks like with a DK or a fingering weight yarn.)

Turns out the quant may prove to be the ideal Christmas knit for some. It's quick. It results in a pretty item which will likely be used. (And the use for a quant ensures the recipient is bound to be noticed wearing it, perhaps even asked about it.)


Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy 51st!

Today my DH turns 51! We got him the NFL package on DirectTV to enjoy for a few months....which he is doing right now! We're having a beautiful day (weatherwise) here. We have a yummy chocolate cake with a genache topping and carmel/pecan glaze with fresh strawberries and raspberries. We'll go out for supper. And his bro from TX is visiting!

Happy Birthday D! I love you!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grey Skies & Sad News

Today the sky in our area has been overcast and grey.

My DD has come home from college a day earlier than expected because a classmate and friend from four years of band together ended his life this morning.

It's a horribly sad thing that an 18 year old kid (or anyone young) dies in any case, but especially so when it comes at their own hand. It's hard to imagine the pain, the desperation, the utter lack of hope. I had enjoyed this kid's musical talents at every band event we attended. He was uber talented and very smiley. Yet I barely knew him, or his family.....and still I've found myself shedding tears this afternoon.

So if you read this, please say a prayer or light a candle for Ben and everyone who knew him. The ripples of loss are spreading throughout the community and the kids and his family/friends can use all the support they can get.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fingers Crossed!

I'm over half-way done on mitten #2 for the current pair in progress.

I "winged" the decrease section of the tip of the hand on the first. I guess it turned out ok.

Also, since the pattern I did on the last red/white pair turned out looking differently on the palms (one emphasizes the red vertical stripe, while on the other the white stripe stands out.....I believe this is because one mitten's palm pattern began with red while the other one began with white), I wanted to try something that might look more "uniform" when completed, so I decided to do diagonal stripes. I have intentionally done it so that the stripes run in the opposite direction of each other. I'm liking how it's turning out!

We'll see what I think when it's off the needles.

Also last night I picked up the mitten I had done where I forgot to put in the thumb opening. I figured out which row and which 10 stitches it should have been. Then I placed a lifeline in the row below and the row above. I then snipped the middle stitch. (Ok, yes, this was difficult for me to do! I put it off for nearly 6 weeks! I envisioned a giant, gaping hole and a completely destroyed mitten.)

Guess what happened?! Nothing! It actually took some work to pull out the 10 stitches to make room for the thumb hole!

I had two yarn needles ready and as I gently pulled out the stitches, I threaded them onto the needles. Surprisingly, each side was 2"-3" long when unravelled. I wove them in on the back side of the mitten, on either side of the hole. Then I picked up the stitches from the lifelines above and below the hole and knit up the thumb just as though there'd always been a hole waiting there for me.

Phew! Can steeking be far behind??

Happy Knitting!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's A Win-Win Day!

Wow, am I feeling really blessed today!! I discovered I was given a blog award by a fellow blogger today, my friend Val over at Sew Not My Day

It is a "Kreativ Blogger" award.

I believe I'm supposed to tell you 7 things you didn't know about me and then nominate 7 other blogs for the award. So here goes!

1. I don't really like phoning for pizza and will always try to get out of doing it.
2. I always wished I had red hair when I was in grade school.
3. I've always wanted glasses.
4. I had a panic attack during my last dental appointment and nearly jumped out of the chair.
5. I can bait a fishhook and I can take a fish off the hook too.
6. I sometimes make frosting just to eat it on graham crackers.
7. I don't mind the smell of skunk.

Ok, now for 7 blogs I nominate/read daily:

Franklin Habit's The Panopticon
Romancing The Yarn
Crazy Aunt Purl
Wendy Knits
Yarn Harolot
and Cast On

I read many of the same ones my friend does, so I tried not to repeat any of the ones she posted today.

On the other "winning" front, look what came in the post today?!!!

It's a lovely box full of all sorts of goodies! A couple years ago I met an on-line friend via a swap over at We have kept in touch and formed a friendship. A few months ago she and I decided to do another swap which would feature a hand-made gift and some add-in treats. Isn't it a wonderful surprise?!!

I just LOVE the color of the sock blank! (And I've been really curious to see how they work, so I'm thrilled to have received one hand-dyed just for me!!) In addition there are several knitting goodies like a wpi key chain, little crochet hook for emergencies, yarn needles, blocking pins, and a lovely needle guage check that will make a cut necklace too! A little notebook which is perfect to tuck in my knitting bag to keep track of projects, some chocolate, a cool basket (I have to wonder if Kathleen hand-crafted it?! It's really nice!), and some coffee she made for me in a fall blend. (I have to tell you she sent me a small sample of this in the last exchange, and it is THE best coffee I've ever had.....I am so, so, SO happy to get some more!!!!!) <- and a mug with a knitting theme to go with it!

I tell you, I am one spoiled-rotten mamma today!

I was going to post my weekend mitten progress, but I'm going to indulge in a bit of chocolate and oogle my gifts a little more!

Happy Monday! Happy Knitting!

(& Thanks so much Kathleen!!) (& Val!!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Doing the Two Step

As in two steps forward, one step back!

Believe it or not, this mitten's entire hand was knit by Friday evening last week.
As I neared the lovely, pointed tip I had the sneaking suspicion something was wrong.
(That, and the fact I kept trying it on as I knit the decreases.)

WHEN will I learn to trust my gut instinct? (And the plain facts of what is sitting there on my body, clearly not fitting??!!)

The hand section was not long enough before the decreases began and thus the mitten did not fit.

While these mittens are lovely, and fun to knit....they're not exactly easy to frog.
I spent two hours Saturday evening tinking (that's unknitting, stitch by stitch) them to the point of where the decreasing had begun. It was tedious! (I've gotten good at wrapping stitches to ensure short carries on the back!)

Since then, they've been sitting and waiting for me to have a brainstorm on exactly how to lengthen them without overboard the other direction and ending up with palms which are way too long.

In the meantime, I've gone back to knitting on the endless garter stitch baby blanket from EZ's Opinionated Knitter. Bleh.

Happy Knitting!