Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Big Post Holiday Yawn

Christmas is over---- as much as I tried to slow it down it just didn't happen. As expected my son didn't make it home from NYC, boo hoo. He will arrive this Wednesday in time to spend a long weekend and to ring in 2010. I think the unexpected perk is that I need to stay out of the cookies and gingerbread in order to make sure he has enough of home goodies when he is here. And that lonely bare under the tree look has been postponed as his gifts are still bright and shining under there. (Along with my new set of BLUE Martha bowls and kitchen towels). It's going to be an aqua 2010 for sure!

All told it was a lovely few days, near perfection and I don't say that often. Even Mother Nature conspired to bring enough snow on the ground (and little on the roads) to call it a white Christmas.

Now I'm sittin' and knittin'.

Hope you and yours had the very best of times.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve

My youngest nephew is pretty excited, Santa comes tonight. His older brothers have that worldly smirk about them-------- not remembering that they once were captivated by the magic too! Silly boys.

The Skull Mitts, finished. A few mods (outside of upsizing them a bit)---- the cuff is a solid black instead of the stripes for better stretchability and recovery. The backs of the mitts went totally striped instead of the patterned checks. Don't ask me why I thought stripes were a bit manlier. :) Love 'em and my son will get a kick out of them as well.

The story on myself is that I finished the mitts and was in the process of blocking them when I noticed that I'd missed a black stitch on the sides----- there is sort of a braid detail around the mittens separating the front and the back. Ack. So being the clever knitter with a bit of holiday laziness----- I did what any smart girl would do. I got out my S*harpie and colored in the offending white stitch to black. Perfection!

May your evening be magical!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eve of Christmas Eve

The shopping complete, the wrapping done (almost), and a well deserved and relaxing dinner with friends will kick off what shall be a glorious time of Happy Christmas.

I roasted a turkey breast last week to pick on while the final prep at work happened and today the carcass is merrily bubbling to make a big pot of turkey veg soup. With a big pot of soup in the house any comfort can be found and any tragedy surely averted!

The candles made earlier are all delivered but two along with cookie baskets.

My vintage english muffins in a loaf recipe (making two fat loaves) are in the oven and smelling wonderful, spicy turkey and apple 'sausage' is freezing off for use over the coming weekend.

I'll have photos of the finished skull mitts tomorrow along with the accompanying story on myself that so amused the knitters last night.

With a batch of Nigella's gingerbread tomorrow along with maybe chili and cheese bread it's shaping up to be a good one.

I hope that things at your house are divine and you are calm and smiling!!!! Remember the old adage "Keep Calm & Carry On!"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Week Comes Christmas!

One week from today is Christmas Eve! It always sneaks up on a gal, this year was no exception. How are you doing on your preparations??? I'm actually in great shape..... giving myself the gift of some slack really helped a lot. We never care for ourselves first and I'll have to remember that it does, generally speaking, pay off.

Last night was the annual trek to St. Charle*s, a lovely little destination with cobblestone streets and old houses turned into shops of all quaint happiness. The river is right in back of Main Street and the new ice skating rink there was filled with lots of folks having a great time. Not me, my skating forte is watching hockey! I came to enjoy the lights, soak in the carolers and fife and drummers, the Victorian decorations, the shop windows and to grab a bite to eat.

When darkness came the lights really popped on the shops.

Main Street looked like a Main Street in our Christmas hearts SHOULD!

My favorite little storefront looked like the one above, red (my favorite color) and all decked out.

This shop was enormous and loaded with the most gorgeous wreaths and Santas, decorations and trees, just a feast for the eyes. I wanted it all and having recently downsized and sorted through tubs and tubs and tubs of decorations the last thing I needed was something new.

The Fife and Drum core lent a festive air to the evening, too bad the drum guy has such a bad case of the evil red eye!

This used to be my favorite shop, I've picked up a few great things from here over the years, including the little vintage washboard and quilt scrap currently in my laundry room---- now it is a wine shop.

Do you get enough of holiday lights? We all decided that while it was gorgeous, a dusting of snow would have indeed been icing on the cake.

And carriage rides---- of course! We didn't indulge but they were very busy. One of the horses, named Fred, was acting up in the carriage line. I think Fred might get coal in his stocking this year.

I adored this window------ the happy juxtaposition of a vintage home with a more current vintage aluminum tree. What happened to that aluminum tree I remember from my childhood? Long gone I suppose, and now they are so chic!

And Santa always center court, ho ho ho.

I've managed to knit a bit as the madness at work wound down. The simplest of things like one and 3/4 neckwarmers of super chunky yarns with funky buttons---- and I plan on finishing the thumbs on the skull mittens this afternoon. I'll take pics, really I will!

I'm out of the studio until the New Year, blessed to be able to work from home a bit and really settle in and enjoy the week leading up to Christmas. (I'm so excited, can you tell???) A little baking, a lot of enjoying, and hopefully some knitting in the mix. We made some simple soy candles for gift baskets this year, to be tucked in with the butterscotch haystacks, the peanut butter kisses, the spritz, the marshmallows and the fudge. (All of which to be made this weekend!) It was so much fun!

The collection of little glasses, the wicks, the fragrance (pine tree and cinnamon buns), and colorant awaited!

The soy wax was really easy to melt, I used my craft use only glass cup in an electric skillet on simmer. That and a chopstick (along with some patience) and it all muddled down. Add the chosen fragrance and color, mix and pour into wicked glasses..................

Love 'em!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Knitters Bearing Gifts

Members of our Tuesday Night Knit Group decided to make little knitted goodies for our hosts, a charming (and delicious) cafe here in town. We met a couple of Saturdays ago to put a few things together, Silvana hosted and we enjoyed her lovely home and hospitality. A few more things were added to the mix and we met again to string them onto a glitzy bit of holiday ribbon to make a garland of knitted holiday happiness.

It is hung over the "bar area" of the cafe, somehow comforting (and appropriate)! A wee mitten or two, glass balls filled with yarn, stars in many sizes and colors and the cutest little 'real' socks and a mitten in progress---------- completely adorable.

Even an EZ tree among the stars and baubles!

Check out that adorable little sweater, I so want one of those for my tree!!!! (I say that every year!)

The 'far view'==

Yet another from a distance glance.

Too cute------ and they loved it! We were happy to contribute and it feels even more like where we belong on Tuesday evenings. Now if we could just get that corner booth by the fireplace reserved for us!

Because I'm still feeling puny about no Knitting Contrisstmas this year, along with none too regular posts I bring a cookie recipe. I am making the usuals as we get closer to the big day but wanted to bake something NOW. Something different. Noticing the new chips that were chocolate and mint at the store last week I fiddled with a recipe to get a minty, chocolately cookie of yummy-ness.

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Recipe added to Grocery List!

  • 1-3/4 cups and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon regular salt
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 pkg, chocolate and mint chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Use one of the butter wrappers to grease a cookie sheet.

2. Cream butter and sugar. Add cocoa and mix thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if desired. Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.

3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or just until set. (Don’t overbake please!!!) Cool one minute and then remove to a wire rack.

Yield about 3 dozen small cookies, fewer large ones. I used a scoop and ended up with about 28 cookies. Increase cooking time for larger cookies one to two minutes, cookies should still look a little wet when done--- just until they are set up.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Contrite no Contrisstmas

It is December, December 2nd to be accurate. By this time many of the die hards have undoubtedly noticed that there is no Knitting Contrisstmas. For which I do apologize! Life has been alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) really busy, stressful, and overwhelming. It became necessary to pull up my big girl panties and make the declaration that this year, things are just going to have to be without KC. It's okay.... giving this up does allow me to take a breath and to keep plugging away at things on my desk (and beyond). So, maybe next year? We will see!

Knitting has slowed to a crawl and there will be very, very little gift knitting. So it goes. Giving up the thought that it would has also freed me to concentrate and to enjoy the season as much as I can. Tuesday night knitting group met as always last night and even though I had to duck out early, it was very nice. As a group we created the CUTEST holiday decorations for the place we meet weekly to eat and drink and knit.............. and they loved it. A strand strung with glass balls with bits of yarn, interspersed with little knitted things like a wee knitted stocking in progress hung by it's toothpick "needles", a little hat with pom pom, trees and stars and even a sweater vest and the cutest sweater that I'd love on my tree. (As if). We all forgot our cameras so I'll have to post some pics of this darling decoration next week.

Around Casa Contessa the tree is up and all holiday decor in place, it feels good.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Heart be Still----

Oh man, Nigella AND Christmas? Gracious gravy may my heart be still! I adore them both! An absolutely excellent book, great recipes, good background chatter from Nigella, excellent photography.

Let the holiday cheer begin!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I changed my mind with Thanksgiving placecards. These are still very nice------ from Martha of course. I'd started out with cute little turkeys sporting fall colored pom poms and bits of paper but just never arrived. So it goes.

The table still turned out great, now that I am dining room-less and not in a bad way. This table usually is folded in and handles my sewing machine and serger. During holiday time it shall be pressed into sturdy service. (Don't ask about the machines!) Pretty cute little turkeys on the table too, thanks Martha!

The first glimpse of the "new" kitchen, with holiday sides lined up on the counter and ready to to into the oven.

Hope your kitchen smells (smelled) as great as mine does today.............. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Remember Me?

Way too long to have made a blog entry, which I do apologize for. As friends know, I'm slammed at work, stressed in life and just overwhelmed. It's okay, I'm dealing.

While I work from home and try to tie up enough loose ends to take tomorrow off and enjoy Thanksgiving I can enjoy the smell of freshly baked pumpkin pies. Rather calming that!

I promise photos of:
  • 12 inches of the body of the Lloie Cardigan, going very slowly but still wonderful
  • I've ordered the new "green sweater" pattern from EZ which just came out----- can't wait!
  • The kitchen has taken me on an adventure into mid-century and away from country French in it's new aqua and red happy face
  • and I can't manage to knit a beret to save my life! Too big, too small, too something. I'm regrouping
until then------- happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US, and many blessings of counted blessings to us all!

Monday, November 16, 2009

in the blue

Work has been insane, insane I tell you! It has gotten in the way of my knitting time, much to my amazement!!

I am finding the long stretch of circular stockinette knitting that is now the Lloie cardi body is quite portable and has been hauled around with me over the past week. I was hoping to have a bit more to show for my efforts because push has met shove and it is time for some Christmas knitting. Not as much perhaps as years past, but well thought out intentional gift knitting nonetheless.

The weekend was spent working as has been my usual lately. Saturday did not have me doing the usual bride thing but assisting as fashion b*oudoir was shot. All I can say is that it is a very good thing I'm secure! Spending the day with young and lovely, firm and fit in their gorgeous lingerie could have been daunting.

Very much so.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An Open Love Letter---- No Knitting Content :)

Nope, no knitting content, not one whit. I did make it to knitting group yesterday and stayed for a whopping hour and a half, left before half the group arrived after work. While there I managed three cups of quite delightful coffee, enjoyed good chitchat and tried (again) unsuccessfully (always) to knit the round stockinette section of the navy Lloie cardie using the continental method. I was almost glad to GO-------- after all it was to see the object of my affection.

The Blues.

I used to be completely passionate about the PBR, that is professional bull riding. I love me some cowboys on bulls, but I digress.

I adore hockey, every bit of it. Dressing in blue to go to the game, tucking in enough money to perhaps score a Guiness or a box of funnel cake fries, maybe a hot dog while arriving early enough to watch the warm up. The sight of those completely adorable men (mostly young enough to plant me firmly into the reprobate camp) skating---- the adrenaline, the excitement, the everything. It is a good thing hockey is. Yeah, you betcha'! I can even sing the Canadian National Anthem thank you very much!

But my Blues, how I love them! From Mr. Oshie who is cute as pie and skates like those blades are an extension of his body, to Mr. Tkachuk, the elder statesman (sorry Keith) who makes it all spin. Keith, you were born the year I graduated from high school, I think that might make you feel better about the whole elder statesman comment. The new guy Lars scored his first goal at the last game we were at, (his first N*HL game) that was so exciting to be there for----- and I think he is 12. I'm pretty sure he doesn't shave yet!!! ;) Mr. McDowell, man you are a scoring machine------ and so dang energetic! Mr. Backes might make the U.S. Olympic team, how cool is that????? Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't sing the praises of my OTHER boyfriends Mr. Perron, B.J., Brad (2), and Jay------ you make my heart go pitter patter. Eric/k, Barret, Alex and Mike........... and oh Mr. Polak------- you guys work so hard! And you can't talk about your boyfriends without making sure that goalie Mr. Mason is not also on the list, gotta' love that guy.

Last night was without a doubt the BEST hockey game I've ever seen. Or at least in recent memory. There in seats twelve rows off center ice I watched the glory unfold. The first score came within minutes of the puck drop and they were at 4 by the time the first period ended. I was so in love with my boys!

Great hockey, lots of scoring, excellent ass kicking (Cam you ARE the enforcer), a WIN (canya' say 6-1) and free Big Macs? Hells bells a perfect hockey evening, sorry Canuck*s fans.

Icing on the cake was the Hat Trick----- my first three-fer in a very long time. It was INCREDIBLE! Watching all of the hats flying from the seats onto the rink in mad abandon was great............ and left me wishing I had a hat of my own to toss. I briefly considered tossing my panties onto the ice but remembered several things. First, it was not a Tom Jones concert, my panties were under a pair of jeans and I know for a fact that I could not get my pants off and do the panty tossing thing in enough time to be considered anything less than some kind of awful threat. Lastly they are for pity sake granny panties and as I am all but ignored by the camera in the stands because I am not a young hot thing (preferably blonde) tossing my granny panties onto the ice might get me arrested. It was Mr. Perron's first career hat trick, I'm pretty sure he would have dug the panty thing. Really.

I'm going to make you watch it here-------- you can knit while you do but I don't want you to miss anything---

Thanks boys, it was a glorious evening, even with hockey sticks and not my usual sticks of preference!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Top Shelf Where the Stockinette Goes

Hockey themed title today (aka Top Shelf)................ sorry I do love hockey! Last night I'd planned on coming home, opening a can of soup or some other easily accomplished meal and knitting while watching Gray's. Instead, imagine my joy when instead came an offer of free hockey tickets. Good ones. Hockey! Love the Blues, even when they've been struggling a bit lately. The new kid? First game in the NH*L and his first goal. Top Shelf baby!!!!!

Knitting has moved into top shelfdom as the ribbing is OVER. I recall EZ saying that the way to determine when ribbing is done when you can't bear to knit another stitch. I reached that point at about 2 3/4 inches, short of the prescribed 3". I'm okay with it, the ribbing that is there looks grand enough and I am DELIGHTED to move away from the 1x1 on those beensy 2's and enter the stockinette body on 3's. Three's! Feels like a big ole' honkin' needle and I like it.

The weekend will have too much work (including a bride to pose tomorrow) and a show on Sunday. This means that Monday will be full and I'm hoping for a breather shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Knit The Season!

Despite my fears that the holidays will be on our doorstep at the next wake up, and endless sniffling over the fact that it is November already and I have not started any handmade gifts, much less decided upon them------ I do LOVE a holiday book.

Better yet is the third in the Friday Night Knitting Club series, holiday themed, "Knit the Season" by Kate Jacobs. A novel nestled into a holiday vignette with knitting! How does it get better?

Having read all of Kate's previous books (including Comfort Food) I was intrigued by another book from the characters I've come to know from past volumes. As in the past, Kate generously provided a sneak peek of Chapter 1 (below), follow the link for the entire chapter.

Chapter 1

New York seemed to be a city made for celebrations, and Dakota Walker loved every moment of the holidays: from the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds breathlessly waiting for the lighting of the gigantic Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, to the winter-themed department store windows displaying postmodern Santas, to—her favorite—the kickoff to a month of fun with that ruckus of a parade on Thanksgiving morning. ****** To read more Chapter 1, please click HERE.

I finished the book last night, having received an advance copy to review. I loved it! If you are a fan of Friday Night Knitting Club, or are just looking for a holiday read, look no further. A great read from cover to cover! Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Christmas and New Years all represent, and as icing on the cake there is a wedding reception to remember. Yes, I do still miss Georgia Walker but her influence remains in this latest book as well as some great character development from the knitters we've come to know and love.

Kate was generous enough to stop preparations for her new book tour to answer a few questions, thanks Kate!


KC: Have the characters from the Friday Night Knitting Club stuck with you after the books have been written?

KJ: Absolutely. But I have characters haunting me who are in books I haven’t yet written, so that’s par for the course. For me, every character is just a real person who happens to be imaginary. That’s it. So I really think of them as friends, as people I care deeply about, and I forgive them all their mistakes and flaws. (Except for Cats’ ex-husband in the first book.) It’s exciting to me to have both Knit Two in paperback and Knit the Season in hardcover because I can talk about what’s going on with the series overall. You see, there’s five years between the narrative of the original FNKC and the setting of Knit Two, and the years in between have allowed certain characters to try to grow up. Yes, I mean Georgia’s daughter Dakota, but also Cat (who renames herself Catherine) and Darwin and so on. I like to say the characters are older but not always wiser, and that’s so true. They’re still making mistakes because that’s realistic, I think. So Knit Two is the story that answers some of the lingering questions from the first book, the what happens next of it all, and also looks at this idea of dealing with legacy and moving forward after loss. It also introduces some new characters and brings in some new elements. Knit the Season is the icing on the cake and not just because Dakota is serious about her pastry! Its set just over a year after Knit Two and is the book that really unifies the series. It is the happy holiday story the characters and the readers deserve.

KC: Did Knit The Season have a life of its own? That is, had the characters tell you where they were going?

KJ: Yes, characters can be bossy! Thing is, its important to follow them where they lead without letting them take over so much that the essence of the story I’m trying to tell becomes lost. That’s the challenge. To remain true to the characters and also true to myself. Knit the Season is a peek into the lives of the knitting club that I just had to share.

KC: What is on your needles?

KJ: My hat for the Lands End/Warming Families FeelGood charity drive! The goal is to knit 25,000 hats for people in need by the end of the year. We need your help, your energy, and your stash! Anyone can take part. There’s a free pattern (designed by knit guru Vickie Howell) available on my website or at . If you’re an absolute beginner and want to do a simple scarf, that’s fine as well. The concept is to reach out and share something warm.

Also: I'll be collecting hats at book signings in November, there’s a full list of details on the Events page at but the tour includes Atlanta, Dallas, Madison, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Fullerton, San Diego. Or simply give your knitted donation to your local Warming Families chapter. (For more, go to

KC: Any special gifts from your creative hands coming up for the holiday season?

KJ: I am 100 percent
focused on the hats for charity right now! Everything else just has to wait.
Holiday gifts will likely require Internet shopping and I often send Sarabeth's jams because they’re delicious.

KC: Has the response of the knitting community toward your books and your characters been a surprise to you?

KJ: Life is full of surprises. Always. I am so grateful for the reaction from the knitting community. Its one of the reasons why I always try to include stops at knitting shops when I'm on tour. To say thank you. Not only do I telephone book clubs to talk with readers at their homes and in libraries, but I also telephone little yarn shops if they want to do Friday Night Knitting Club nights.

When the novel first came out, I figured my mom would read it. And after that, I just didn't know. so I went around from yarn shop to yarn shop, reading from the novel and
introducing myself to knitters. Readers word-of-mouth carried the book along. And I hope they also have a soft spot for this quirky group of smart, strong women who are just figuring out life as it happens. The Friday Night Knitting Club series is all about friendship and supporting each other. And I'm so appreciative of the support I've received in my life.

Thanks Kate! I know for a fact I'll see you November 10th, a week from TODAY here in St. Louis! With luck I'll bring along MY knitting group and our projects. Hopefully STL will represent with some beanies for your charity project, it's a good one!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ode to Blue #2

Too long has passed since I've knit blue, I had forgotten the relative closeness to BLACK. Ahem, magnification and illumination rule the day.

I had also forgotten how long it has been since I've been away from the heavier yarns, the chunkies, the bold and the down and dirty. Jamieson's Jumper Weight was feeling like a cobweb when I first cast on and I've already had to go in search of a finer gauge crochet hook for 'those' things that crop up.

I've cast on for Lloie's cardigan and in what seems like lightyears of knitting have managed an inch and a half of 1x1 ribbing. Mind you, such ribbing is never fast but in Jamieson's Jumper Weight and on TWO's........ well suffice it to say that the ribbing just goes on and on. And on.

Because I have vowed to ENJOY the knitting of this classic cardi, I have also promised myself not to endlessly bitch about it. Too much. I do love the yarn, not overly soft but it has a very nice softer than many shetlands feel and a nice sweet crunch (or something akin to that).

I've told myself that with another inch and a half of the ribbing I shall move onto the happy swath of the body, delightful seamless sea of knitting it shall be and on THREE's? That will feel like knitting with broomhandles, surely.

I bring you no photos, at this phase it is really beyond boring. Even to me!

I did move Valkryie off the blocking towel, it is fully dry and minus a bit of crochet around the neckline finished. I'll call the model for photos soon.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I always love it when three things happen:

  • Halloween falls on a Saturday (much better people watching)
  • Work means not having a bride (speaks for itself)
  • There is a much awaited FO! (canya' say Valkyrie Vest?)

Definitely the treat after LOTS of tricks, Valkyrie is blocking as we speak, I am SOOOOOOO glad it is done.

Swatching is complete for Lloie's Cardigan, now the math to get the sizing figured and casting on-- hopefully this weekend.

Happy Halloween, may you have treats abundant!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Yarn is HERE!

Oh good grief I need to knit faster if I am going to avoid total temptation! I have not finished the Valkyrie Vest yet. In order to make good on my promise to myself I need to get that bad girl finished in order to begin work on Lloie's Cardigan.

And the yarn is HERE!!!!!! I was amazed by the lightning fast speed from Schoolhouse Press!!!

The body of the cardi will be the blue, it looks more royal here but it is a true rich navy. The leaves on the yoke will move from the raspberry into the rose and then the cream will be the petals around the neck. I love the colors and think it will be so pretty!! The emerald and the black will join the narrow cream band between the body and the yoke.

So, I can't wait to start. I want to GO! But in listening to my own set rules I can hear Elizabeth herself whisper in my ear............

KNIT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Almost done--

The Valkyrie Vest is ALMOST done, I swear I've knit this thing eight times! The last bit to the shoulder, a three needle bind off (love those) and side seams to stitch up.

Life continues to be crazy and other knitting hasn't happened much. I'm not liking the lacy bit of shawlette (I think it is the yarn which is nice enough but not working for me in the shawl sense) and of course the Everyday Wrap is just sitting in the knitting bag.

I had the opportunity to actually be a guest at a wedding last Saturday night, it was such a treat. No wrangling, just enjoying---- right down to the wedding cake which was delicious! The plans were to have the Wrap finished and ready to wear and that just didn't happen. Isn't it funny that the goals we set for ourselves move us forward? Now I don't have a particular goal in mind and I'm afraid that the wrap will just age out.

Yarn has been ordered for Lloie's Cardigan, can't wait to get it! With luck the timing will be great and the vest will be finished. I refuse to even swatch for the new sweater until it is.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crazy then Fall Down

I am telling you that life is so crazy right now I have forgotten how to swallow. My Mom used to say it was "crazy then you fall down". Pretty accurate if you ask me.

Brides are keeping me on my tip toes (which should come as no surprise to you if you get the whole bride thing anyway). Soon the thick of the season will be in the rearview mirror and I have to admit I'm ready for it.

Not a lot of knitting time, which is frustrating as the cool weather definitely wants nothing more. I have managed to put some length on the back of the Valkyrie Vest and it would be off the needles and on to the front if I could just sit down a bit with it.

It is looking good, I love the pattern----- and really enjoy the yarn a lot.

Then yesterday my eyes rolled back in my head and I apparently had the crazy part before the fall down. A friend (the wonderful Yo-el) finished a gorgeous bit of lace frothery in the form of a shawl(ette), Feather Duster. It is yummy. So to make a long story short, my car drove itself to Knitorious where I found myself standing in front of the lace weight yarn (after crusing the store of course). I purchased this really pretty skein of Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace Paints. It runs from red into purples and saffrons. I had a ball of fuzzy purple in my hand but decided to go with something different. WELL------- I had a couple of hours while waiting for things to upload and the obligatory on the phone time to work things out. Nothing made me feel more stupid than getting this pattern set up. I am not a total moron and can follow a chart but the chart didn't seem (in my addlepated mind) to sync with the written directions. After frogging the first 7 rows five times it was time to close up shop and head out for knitting. Sanity time in my week for sure. It took Silvana and I a bit of time to figure out that the charts numbering system does not match the number of rows currently done, or that are on the written directions. A simple enough thing but blitters, it did me in. I'm still wondering if I am just too crazy right now to have the wherewithal to manage even this simple bit of lace knitting. Time will tell.

This is apparently the fall down portion of crazy. You know, when you already have 3 projects on the needles (one over my personal limit) one easy peasy, one middle range, and one to concentrate over. But-------- this sweater has called my name and next in the queue. It is Lloie's Cardigan from Schoolhouse Press, Wool Gathering. Delish. We had fun at knitting yesterday nailing down colors, I have chosen a navy background with the leaves in a rasperryish rose and a soft gray. The top petals are cream, the stripe on the border is also cream with the "surprise" color, a tiny little pop of a dot, in an emerald green. My question was black background or cream? I was afraid that the black would be boring against the navy body of the cardigan but that the cream would somehow float off and get lost. All great minds concurred and I'm pretty certain that this is the combination I'll go with. Knitting bottom up in the round, attach the sleeves, a fun yoke and steeking------- yay. But I am going to force myself to get at least the vest finished first.

Part of crazy then fall down is that you are apt to do nutty things so time will tell how plans play out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

C'est Fini!!!!!!!!!!!

C'est Fini---------------- yesssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

At very long last the Ravenna Satchel is finished! This one lingered longer than imaginable, it had it's heartaches and pitfalls and well, boring spots.

But done it is. For the most part I love it, but it took a lot of changes-- some big and some small.

The needle felting (thanks Emily for the loan of the needle felting tools) made a world of difference, it was nasty icky without it. Sort of blobby and indistinguishable. The felting took two days and two needles. Finishing was different than the pattern specified and for a lot of reasons.

The pattern specified that the top of the felted bag use black seam binding and I really didn't like the look at all so left it all. I used purchased black suede handles and simple feet on the bottom of the bag. Those that were on the original Satchel were gorgeous but pricey and I opted out. Instead of (ick) using a long row of velcro to close the bag I inserted a center pull zipper by machine and find that it gives easy, wide access to the bag and stability. The bag was very floppy even after felting so the lining is two layers of home dec weight fabric (in a happy acid green giraffe print) with the heaviest interfacing imaginable sandwiched in between. The lining then was inserted into the satchel and I used liquid stitching to cement the lining to the top of the bag. The bottom was still very sloppyfloppy. The pattern calls for masonite and that was heavy and not a happening thing. Two layers of needlepoint canvas were not strong enough. I've chosen a double layer of foam core, wrapped with fabric cut to fit very tightly into the bottom of the bag. Hey, if it has to be replaced it has to be replaced.

The lining makes me smile------- all in all a great bag and I'm sooooooo happy to be done with it. NOTHING left in the works in progress, can you believe it. That my blitters feels better than just about anything!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bride With Sticks----- at long last!

Back on the contract last weekend for a wedding that included a couple of hours in the car. Location was a winery in a gorgeous Germanic town that included lovely views and the feel of the 1950's, it was delightful!

The bride and groom were such a treat!!!!!! They had been high school sweethearts who drifted apart, each having a daughter. Those marriages ended and they found each other again, discovering that they were collectively the loves of their lives. Such a beautiful story, and they were so in love.

I know.................. you can tell she doesn't knit but she did pose with the Valkyrie Vest so beautifully didn't she???? Because she is so great, I'll forgive the lack of knitterly-ness.

The dress was lovely right down to that chocolate brown satin sash. And the headpiece? So vintage and gorgeous, she rocked it!

Guess what certain Tote is finished????? Umhmmmmm, I'll bring photos soon!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Knitting On

They say no rest for the weary (which I like better than no rest for the wicked)---- and as I am weary, I'd tend to agree. Madness I say, madness.

There finally WAS a bride with sticks last Saturday, I'll have photos soon, she was wonderful--- the whole event was fabulous.

And I've been puttering, er knitting, a small bit----

Lots of car time yesterday meant that the Everyday Wrap got some work done on it. Boring as can be but the yummy yarn does add a small amount of spark. I'm about halfway done, this last half is going to just slog on. I'd love to have it done to wear to a wedding I actually get to attend as a guest, a rare and lovely occurance.

The Valkyrie Vest is getting small bits done----- everyone loves this shade of green as much as I do and it is a fun knit. Shaping as well as moving on to the other cable chart happens very soon.

And lastly, I was able to wear Nimbus yesterday to an out of town soccer game. The weather was a bit chilly and this sweater was not only cute but warm as well. It looked really cute over a white tunic and jeans.

The project for the moment is to FINISH the Ravenna Satchel. It's okay, it is salvageable but it is not my favorite. The finishing has been fussy as the felted bag itself is very floppy. A double layer of lining fabric has been sandwiched with super duper interfacing which seems to work well although the heaviness of that layer means hand finishing. What remains then will be to figure out a way to make the bottom firm-- probably a covered board or piece of masonite. The last bit will be the zipper which will make it quite nice. Inserting it is going to be a nightmare. It'll have to go in by hand because of the way the floppy bag had to be constructed for firm useability. Making the zipper secure might be a nightmare.

And on it goes.................

Monday, September 28, 2009

Valkyrie Voyage

The yarn has arrived, and the next project is off and going. Yes, I am still knitting the lovely hazy shawl, it is my knitting while hair on fire project.

It is the Valkyrie Vest by Lisa Shroyer in the new Interweave Knits Weekend magazine. The project (if you know it) is exactly like that pictured in the issue, not my norm but it is what it is. Youknowwho will get the vest and when the yarn options were looked at I went with LB Collection Organic Yarn in avocado.

I like the yarn very much, it knits into a very nice fabric, the texture is interesting and there is a play of sheen/flat that I like a lot. Not splitty at all, I'd agree with the Lion that this is a nice luxury organic yarn.

I was knitting away (watching football) and noticed that I had been pretty stupid. (Imagine!) After the ribbing on the back I had taken off on the wrong set of cable patterning, duh! I had to frog back to the ribbing (bye bye 4 inches!) and begin again with the correct pattern. The up side is when I get to the next set of cables I will be good to go honey!

I'm off work today (yay) and in addition to the project of going to the storage unit to pick up fall/winter clothes and swap out the closet (it is suddenly fall here!!!) I will finish the needle embroidery on the Ravenna Satchel. I decided to use a center separating zipper on the top of this large bag to keep it closed and help with structure so I picked that up over the weekend. Getting the needle felting DONE will hopefully spur me on to assembly and lining. I keep my fingers crossed that it will work out and be something I love.

On the bridal front, sad but true, I have yet another weekend with no bride with sticks!!!!! I've not been on the contract the past few weeks, which is nice--- but no knitting photos. I was on the contract yesterday but the bride kind of made me crazy and I never even posed her up. Maybe next week?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cautiously Optomistic?

After a first pass at the needle felting (with MUCH more to come) I am cautiously optomistic that the satchel won't look completely crappy. Maybe partially, but not completely!!!

Onward I go. It is a large piece with a lot of details, and of course the details are what makes the bag look so great. I do a little bit at a time and move on.

New yarn expected to deliver today! YAY! Nothing like the promise of a new project to make a knitter smile!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ravenna Mulling

I can't give up on it, I just can't. After much knitting, and sitting, and aging, and still wanting the finished (gorgeous from others) Ravenna Satchel, I plug on. This morning I didn't like it much better than I did when it was blocking. I looked online at other satchels at this phase and some looked pretty oooookey too.

I shall shave------------ and there are a couple of holes that I will fix (blech), and then I will steam block as the shape is less than perfection.

I am hoping that when I needle felt it becomes a lovely beautiful wonderful thing. Or something like it. Right now it looks very blobby because the leaf stems are not all pretty and swirly, and the low contrast will definitely benefit from a bit of high and low lights.

Work is NUTS right now so I may not get to this as quickly as I would like. So it goes.

I have managed a few inches on the wrap, a lovely little de-stressing project. I have a wedding where I actually get to go be a GUEST the end of October, it would surely be lovely if it were wearable.

Get Knittin'

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ravenna----- OFF the needles

Ravenna Satchel:
OFF the needles
Felting as we speak

First impression:


Now I understand it still needs to be shaved, needle felted, assembled, lined and handle-ized.

But right now, NOT a happy knitter.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


What I needed, yearned for, coveted was a lovely new take-a-long project. Currently I have the seaming to do on the eggplant Nimbus, and the last 6 rows of the Ravenna Satchel. Neither of which are terribly portable or which allow me to dash off a row or two when on the phone, waiting on an upload, or while pacing the studio floor. (Which sadly, I do!)

To the rescue is the Everyday Wrap byJulie Weisenberger. Simple but lovely and all of the different wraps from creative women on Ravelry have inspired me for sure!

Off I went (to Knitorious) to search for some yummy yarn thinking I'd choose some Kidsilk Haze which is called for in the pattern. Arriving in Knit Heaven the colors weren't exactly what I wanted but there were some great look/feel alike options. I chose GGH Kid Melange in a wonderful camel with some tonations.

After a few rows where I must have been daydreaming---- working the wrap in garter and not the prescribed stockinette------- it did indeed make a difference and a big one. So starting over I have a few inches on the needles.

Is that knitted fabric not the most delish? SOOOOOOO soft! The camel should go with everything and prove to be a most happy wrap.

Did you notice that I'm using bamboo straights? I almost never knit without my Denise's, these work very well and provide some 'grab'.

After knitting with so much chunkier yarn lately this happy fluff feels like knitting spiderwebs!