Monday, December 24, 2007

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

With Warmest Wishes From Our Family to Yours

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Sweater

I have been so super busy lately, that my poor blog has been neglected. I have been knitting though, and here's my latest FO. It's a fair isle for #2, AND it was completely designed by ME!

I took his measurements and using my gauge I figured out how much to cast on for the body and sleeves. I knit the body in the round up to the arm holes, and the same with the sleeves, then attached the sleeves and began the yoke. I used 2 different motifs from Sheila McGregor's Traditional Fair Isle Knitting and figured out the centering and the height of the yoke.

The whole thing turned out pretty well. The sweater is a little too large for #2, but he'll grow into it. I used Cascade Ecological Wool in natural brown, black, and gray. My needles were US 10 & 9 circulars and DPN's.

Sorry the post is hasty. I'm running around like crazy trying to make Christmas happen. If I don't see you before then, Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Warning: Slightly Nasty Video Ahead

Would you believe I was reminded of this song by a biography of Queen Elizabeth I?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Be Thankful

The best song of thanks ever recorded:

I'm thankful for:

My family

My life

The health of my kids and husband

My health

My ability to see color

My friends

My home

All of you

So many other things.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Finished Pomatomus and Scarves

Well, they're done. I'm not too happy with them, but they're off the needles and I don't have to think about them after this post.

For anyone who wants to make this pattern, I say go for it. Despite all my whining and moaning, it's not a difficult pattern and the end result is a pretty pair of socks.....BUT:

You really need to pay attention to the pattern because there are all kinds of little details, that if you miss them, you'll get screwed up like I did. For instance, when you start on Chart B, you don't begin with row 1, because that would mess up your stitch count. The pattern TELLS you to start with row 2, but if you're not paying attention, you might just plow through row 1 and wonder what happened.

Another thing that made me scratch my head one or twice, was most of this pattern is a variation on a 1x1 rib with the knit stitches all being made through the back loop. A couple of times the pattern indicates to K2TOG. I didn't know if it was a misprint or if in those places you didn't KTBL. I just knitted it as written and I guess it turned out OK.

There are other little things throughout the pattern like that, but all in all it's well written and turns out fine. Why then, do you ask, am I not thrilled with my new socks? They're too dang stretchy, that's why. The whole pattern is ribbed and they bag around my ankles, arches and toes. I can't stand baggy socks. I'd give them to someone with thicker legs and feet, but I've got short feet. I'd have to find someone with thick calves and 5.5 sized feet. Oh, well. Live and learn. I'd probably go down a needle size or two next time (if there ever was a next time, which there will NOT be). Here's some pics:

Can you see the bagginess? Bleh!

On to happier knits. I needed something easier and relatively mindless after Pomatomus. And bigger yarn, PUL-EEZ! So I looked on Ravelry and found this Drop Stitch Scarf pattern.

The designer is Christine Vogel and the pattern is simple and sweet. I used my Handmaiden Cashmere Silk I've been hoarding for a year or so. I knit the entire ball of yarn and the scarf is not quite as long as I am tall, so I'm trying to decide whether to end it short or break into the one hank of the stuff I have left. I won't use the entire hank, so I want to make sure I have enough left over to make another project, but I'm not sure what I want to do with it, so the drop stitch scarf is waiting for me to make up my mind.

In the mean time I've started the Montego Bay Scarf by Amy Singer from Interweave Knits Summer '07. I recently fell off my yarn diet and gave in to the Knit Picks Sale. I have never purchased laceweight yarn before, nor have I had any inclination to knit shawls or laceweight scarves, but MAN that sale was irresistible. So I bought way too much yarn with no projects in mind. I decided to give this scarf a whirl.

First I tried size 8 US, but the whole thing felt too insubstantial. I went down to 7's and still too flimsy. I went down to 6's and they are doing nicely. This is a great knit. Relatively mindless, but not boring. I'm using Knit Picks Shimmer, an alpaca and silk blend and it's really lovely to work with. I'm not crazy about the color, but maybe I'll find a recipient who likes it.

That's about it for now. I'm neglecting other things just to write this for you. I had better get back to the real world.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Total Frustration

I'm still working on this cursed Pomatomus. I've gotten through the 1st set of Chart B. I've got peace, quiet, and a fresh brain, not to mention a row counter. I knitted row 22, the last of the chart, and started on row 1. Hmmm. Something's wrong. Row 1 doesn't want to play nice. It's acting like it should be row 22. So, maybe I accidentally clicked the row counter one too many times. I knit a little bit of row 22 and it's acting as it should. I must have double clicked the row counter. I knit through row 22 and go to work on row 1 again. AAAUGHHHH!!!! It's not working. Row 1 really wants to be row 22. What am I doing wrong? There seems to be trick to getting from row 22 to row 1 and I can't figure it out.

I hate this damn sock.

EDIT: I figured it out! I printed the chart and the k3tbl didn't clearly show up on my copy. If I do that, then it'll all work out. I apologize Pomatomus. I lost my cool. Now, can we be friends again?

Friday, October 19, 2007


I've been working on Cookie A.'s Pomatomus socks from


It's not really a complicated pattern, but the chart has you frequently yarn overing at the beginning or end of the needles, leading to dropped YO's. I would do fine up to row 13 where everything changes, and I'd drop those damn stitches every time. I knit and tinked this sock so many times, I should have a couple of pairs by now. I finally got things sorted out and put in a lifelilne and things are going much more smoothly.
Here's some pictures. First the cuff:

Here's one full set of Chart A. There are 3 repeats of 22 rows and I screwed up row 13 on each of them.

I finally got through the leg and heel and have begun on the gussets:

I'm using Artyarns Ultramerino 4, and even though the yardage is comparable to the suggested yarn, I'm fearful I won't have enough to finish this sock. So help me, if that happens, I'm frogging it and never knitting a Pomatomus again. I mean, I'm not a quitter, but this is more abuse than one knitter should take.

Wow. I feel better getting that off my chest.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Liesel Completed

This was a sweet little knit. It was much easier than Branching Out. I don't know if that's because I'm better at lace or because the pattern is simpler, but it was. Here's how it looked before I blocked it:

And here it is on the blocking board. I was a little scared of blocking silk. I pinned it down every 1 inch around the edges, and about every 2 inches in the middle to straighten out the central line. Then I sprayed it with water liberally and let it dry. A few hours later, I sprayed it again and let it dry overnight.

Here's a comparison between the same end pre-blocking and post-blocking. It squared out nicely. I'm kind of interested in ironing it flat and creating a burnished effect, but maybe later.

In this picture you can see the front of the pattern on the left and the back of the pattern on the right. Both sides are pretty, so it really doesn't matter

Here's the final product showing a little of the drape. I simply love silk, but I don't know how well it'll hold its shape. This scarf is probably better suited for wool, but I'll take my silk version. The silk is a little demanding. It has no spring at all, and I had to check myself from knitting too tightly. I think a flowy sweater or shawl is probably a better project for this yarn, but it cost so much, I could only get one hank.

Well that's it for now. I hope everyone is doing well and getting some nice fall weather.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I've stopped with my felting projects long enough to begin a new knitting project. I'm still in stash busting mode, and I've had this one hank of Fiesta La Luz for at least a year. It's in a beautiful champagne colorway, with very subtle variations in the shades. I decided to try it with the Liesel pattern by Mary Joy Gumayagay. The original pattern calls for a thicker yarn, but similar yardage. I'm hoping I'll have enough of the La Luz for the pattern.

This is my first time working with 100% silk, and it takes some getting used to. It has no spring all all. I'm having to check myself from knitting too tightly, usually not a problem for me. The silk isn't really hard to work with, it just has it's own language. I've completed 4 repeats of the 10 row lace pattern:

Here's a closeup to show you how glossy and sweet this yarn is:

If anyone else has made this scarf (hint, hint Sandra), would you mind telling me how many repeats your finished scarf had? Thanks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Felting

Hi Everyone.

I have been really enjoying working with felt. I made another eyeglass case, and I think it turned out better than the first. The stitching is more even, and I think the buttons give it a kind of folk art feel. The green felt is thinner than the blue felt, so the leaves seem a little out of proportion to the whole thing. Next time, I'll take that into consideration:

I've begun another felted project. This time I'm making a small clutch decorated with shell buttons and embroidery. The example in the book is dark blue with bright orange buttons, but I had this light blue sweater and shell buttons, so I decided to make the whole thing kind of pearly. The colors of the embroidery threads echo the pearlized colors in the shell buttons. Here is the whole thing laid out. I still need to finish the embroidery, sew on the silk lining (still to be salvaged.), make a button hole and sew on the closing button:

When I finish the sewing and the embellishment, the clutch will look something like this:

Here's a close up so you can see the colors of the threads:

I'm having a blast with this!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fake Isle & Felting

Hi Ya'll!

Life has been hectic lately. Between teaching, momming, (soccer practice, chess club, play dates, etc.), and taking care of the homefront, I haven't had much time to knit or blog. I have been trying to bust my stash. I made all those little baby socks and hats, then moved on to a simple 2x2 ribbed scarf using Knit Picks Wakashan Alpaca (left over from Cardi #19 VK). I keep having urges to order more yarn, but after listing it on Ravelry, I realized I have enough yarn for several projects and I need to use it up. My stash is by no means large. I just can't stand having stuff build up. I am NOT a hoarder.

One of the more enjoyable stash busting projects has been Fake Isle from Magknits November 2006 by Amy King. Elabeth had a couple of pictures on her blog of the same hat, and I fell in love. It's a great little knit, if anyone is considering making one. I used Elann Peruvian Highland Silk, a wool/silk blend that is great to work with. I bought 3 balls of the stuff on impulse and it sat in my basket for about a year before I knew what it should be. Here are the 2 results:

I must admit I've fallen in love with a new craft. It's knitting related, though. A couple of weeks ago the family went to Books A Million after dinner. The boys played with the Thomas set and read books. I sat in one of the parents' chairs watching, with a stack of books to entertain me. One of the books I picked up was this:

I enjoyed looking through it, but figured I'd come back and buy it later if it stuck with me. Well, it did. I couldn't stop thinking about the pictures and the projects. I went to the Salvation Army and found a few wool sweaters, and through my own wardrobe and found old sweaters with moth holds and other problems. I started trying to full them in my uber-gentle front loading washer. (Dang modern technology). MIxed results. I tried lots of things, but 2 pairs of Levi's + a tennis ball did the trick. Anyway, I ended up with a pile of fulled sweaters, and no book.

I went back to BAM looking for the book, but I couldn't remember the title or the author. I looked through their sadly disorganized needlecraft section, book by book, but couldn't find it. I was discouraged, so the sweaters had to wait. Yesterday I went back and lo and behold there it was just waiting for me. This time I bought that sucker.

Today after my classes were over, I went back to the Salvation Army and found a few more sweaters and put them through the wringer. I sat down with my book and chose a pattern. I figured since I have limited sewing skills, and even more limited embroidery skills, I'd start off small and simple. I chose the eyeglass case because it fit the bill, and my sunglasses are perpetually scarred from rattling around in my purse.

The pattern in the book has a big heart motif, but I decided to go a little more subdued and just put some leaves on it. Here's the project in progress:

And here is the finished product. It looks amateurish, but it'll protect my sunglasses. I think if I make a couple more, I'll get better at my stitching.

I'm looking forward to trying some of the other projects in the book. The photographs are truly inspirational, and the patterns have a lot of pictorial potential.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Hi Everyone!

Is anyone in Ravelry? I got my invite this morning, and I've been trying to set up a little. I've looked, but can't find ya'll. If you're there, find me. I'm easy-the only Hesira in town. I'll be your friend, if you'll be mine!

Ravelry is fun, but a little overwhelming. I'm slowly adding things, and learning my way around. It looks like it will be a great resource.

Gimme a Hollar!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Where Did August Go?

Did you think I fell off the face of the Earth? Does anyone even bother to peek here anymore? I was so busy that I didn't make a single post for August. Let's call it my hiatus. What did I do in August? Not much knitting really. I made some baby hats and baby socks, in an effort to use some of my bits and pieces up. Here's the hats.

#1 did some knitting too

I went on a canoe trip. Here's me paddling with my nefew:

Here's me & my boys:

My school started a week and a half ago. Classes are going well. I haven't worn my studio class down yet, and my lecture class hasn't had time to form an opinion. I'm trying to keep it fresh and change things up this semester. More work for me, but keeps me and hopefully my students interested.

I love the fall Vogue Knitting! I plan to make the Debbie Bliss Silver Bell cardi as soon as the VK website comes back online. It's a beautiful sweater. Anybody else into it? Wanna compare notes once we get the pattern? Let me know.

I'm joining a local crafters group next Tuesday. There's this really cool woman who just opened a sewing store in town and she's all about getting crafty folks together. She's also the mom of one of #1's friends. I'm looking forward to hanging out with folks in their real bodies. Not that I don't love you guys, I'd hang out with you if you lived closer.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How I Grilled a Pizza.

I wish you could have been here Sunday night. I decided to try grilling pizza. I've been thinking about it for a while, but honestly, I was a little daunted by the idea of throwing uncooked dough onto the grill. I was scared the dang thing would ooze through the grate and onto the coals. So I finally got up my nerve and whipped up some whole wheat crust using a combination of several recipes. I added more olive oil to the dough, because somewhere I read that an oil rich dough does better on the coals.

Well, it seemed obvious to me that grilled veggies were the appropriate toppings, so I sliced up an eggplant and sweated it with salt for 1/2 hour, halved a red pepper and a Vidalia onion. I also had some portabello mushrooms.. I diced up some Roma tomatoes and garlic and let those sit at room temperature for about an hour. I infused about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil with chopped garlic, dried oregano, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. All the veggies except the tomatoes went on the grill. #2 had to get in on the action:

Here's a closeup of the veggies:

It's important when grilling pizza to have everything ready on hand. After I grilled the veggies I cut them up and put them into small bowls. I had 4 pizza doughs separated by plastic wrap. There's the olive oil on the right and fresh grated mozzarella on the left. A word of advice, don't let your cheese and dough get too warm. They become hard to handle. The first dough, the coolest, held its shape the best. The other 3 got progressively more difficult to pick up and stretched out a little. The cheese, well, it was clumping together and hard to sprinkle over the pizza.

You get the grill pretty hot and spread the olive oil on one side of the dough, put that side of the dough onto the grill and watch it bubble up. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough. Isn't that gorgeous? I was so excited when the dough puffed up instead of oozing down.

Then you flip the dough, spread that side with oil and put on your toppings. I started with the cheese then the tomatoes, then a little of everything else. I think the main thing is not to put on too much stuff. The pizzas weren't too difficult to get off the grill because I kept them pretty small. I had a couple of small pizza pans that I turned upside down and slid the pizzas onto them as they were done. This was hands down the BEST pizza I've ever eaten. Here's the finished product.

And that is how I grilled a pizza.

PS: I AM knitting, but the pizza pictures were more interesting than my knitted stuff. I'll get back on topic soon, I promise.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Vintage Baby Jacket and More

I finished the second Vintage Baby Jacket (well except for the buttons. Seems like I have an aversion to buttons lately). Here's the final product:

I used Blue Sky Alpaca in sportsweight and Addi Turbos #4 circulars. I changed the pattern to accomodate the yarn and made some other changes. First I wanted to reduce the number of seams, so I knitted in the 1/2 round up to the sleeve openings, then I just added a ball of yarn at the beginning of each section, 1 for the back and one for the other front, so I was working with 3 balls of yarn at once. I like this technique and will probably adapt it to other cardigans.

I also felt like the original pattern had too much skirt, so I narrowed the circumference at the bottom, but maintained the original at the chest. I think if I made it again, I would keep the dimensions I have now, but would change the lacework. It seems a little heavy in this particular yarn. But that's my critical eye, and I think this will make a good baby present for a little girl who is making her appearance some time this fall.

It's been mighty quiet around here. I took the boys up to Grama & Papa's house last Saturday. I stopped by the LYS there, the one that's supposed to be going out of business. DH isn't convinced. He thinks they're trying to move stock, but I really don't care because I got 4 hanks of buffalo fingering at 40% off:

The boys were with me at the store, and to keep them happy I bought them some yarn and some needles. They picked this Lornas Laces specially dyed for the shop. I'm not a fan of the colorway, but the boys like it. The yarn and the needles were 40% off, too, or I wouldn't have bought them. The knitting in this picture is mostly mine, but the boys did some of it. Even my 7 year old nefew, who got up on my lap and asked me to teach him how to knit. In 2 minutes he had the hang of it, and knitted about 3 rows:

Finally, I promised myself I was going to use up my stash. Here is a sock I've been working on. The yarn is some Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock I've had since last summer. I'm about done with this one and will finish it up and start the other one soon. It's just plain stockinette, but the color is so pretty, I think it will be fine.

Happy Dog Days!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Vintage Baby Jacket

I'm just shy of having this thing finished. I have had all the pieces finished for several weeks, but felt discouraged by the discrepancy in the dye lots. I finally set out to block them for piecing together, with the idea that once I had it sewn up I could decide whether or not to over-dye it if the difference was too noticeable. Here are the sleeves and fronts blocking:

Here are the pieces just set together, no sewing.

Here is the jacket sewn up, no buttons, and with a few loose ends in need of weaving in. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The difference between the sleeves and body isn't too noticeable, don't you think? I don't think I'm going to mess with it. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn, and I forget what size needles I used. I think they were US #3's, probably my Addi Turbos. I look back at previous posts and figure that out later. The color in the picture below is more true than the ones above. Can I just say how much I love the Cherry Hill Tree yarn? It's so soft and slightly fuzzy once it's been blocked. I'll use it again for baby clothes.

The garden is growing. Here are some zinnias:

My lemon basil is out of control. I can't keep the buds pinched back, so the bees are in heaven!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Socks

Lately I've been on a mission to use up my stash. I periodically remind myself I HAD to have that yarn or this, and it's been sitting in my basket for months, or even years. So, it's time my yarn gets the attention it deserves. The first yarn wasn't an impulse buy at all. No I started with some very special sock yarn, Regia Silk Sock. It's smooth, soft and easy to work with. The fabric it yields is wonderful, but what makes these particular skeins special to me is how I got them.

Last summer I was sick from Grave's Disease, and a good friend who lives far away sent me this yarn out of the blue. She said in a note to make myself a pair of socks. I had been knitting socks for everyone else all summer, you see. So after knitting a bunch of socks for Christmas gifts, I was too burned out to think of knitting socks for myself. But that was a year ago, and I'm ready to roll again:

My first pair of socks for myself. I used a vintage cable pattern, but left the cables out, to create a rib stitch that is P1K1P1, K3. I thought anything more complex than a rib would compete with the stripes, but I can see how a ripple or chevron would look nice. The stripes met up pretty well, but that was unplanned. The needles are some plain aluminum #2 dpns (4).

While the stripe matching was unintentional in the previous pair, I decided to make it happen in this pair of baby socks. Remember when I was talking about making baby gifts in advance? It occurred to me that all the small leftover balls of sock yarn from last summer would yield some quick knit baby socks. Since I just finished with the Regia, I used it for the first pair of baby socks. This is some basic baby sock pattern I found on line, nothing fancy. The pattern had a few dents and dings that I fixed to make it fit my style of sock knitting. So here's the matching stripes Regia Silk baby socks:

I've started another pair of baby socks, and have the vintage baby jacket blocking. I seem to be over my knitting blahs and I'll try to post more regularly again. I hope everyone is doing great and summer is treating you right.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Home Again!

At last! The travelling seems to over for now. We took a road trip to DC with the boys and had a blast. They didn't get too antsy in the car and once we arrived, they had a great time. We took them to the Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art and the Hirshorn Sculpture Museum. We walked on the Mall some, but it was really hot and we tried to stay out of the sun.

A few days after we got home, I took the boys to my folks and saw my sister who was visiting from California. I dropped the kids off, and headed home. DH & I then travelled to Biloxi, Mississippi for a professional conference for him, and just lounging for me. We stayed at the Beau Rivage Casino Hotel, and other than gambling and overpriced shopping there wasn't much to do. I did catch up on my sleep a little, and had a couple of really good meals. I drove to Grama's yesterday and picked the boys up after a week of not seeing them. While I was there, I dropped by the LYS and discovered it was closing. Even though it's 100 miles away, it's the closest yarn store to me. I'm so bummed. I did buy 2 hanks of Art Yarns Merino in this blue green color and 4 balls of Blue Sky Alpaca Sport at 30% off. Next week the sale is going to be better, but I'm not driving up for that.

Me, Sis & a cut-off #2:

My new yarn and cable needles:

On the knitting front, I'm almost finished with a sock out of Regia Silk Sock I received from a friend about a year ago. She sent me the yarn to cheer me up when I was sick and couldn't do much more than knit socks. I did get all my Christmas presents done early last year, but was too burned out to knit any more socks for a while. I'm making these for me. My first pair I knitted for myself. This picture was taken about a week ago, so I'm much further along. Since starting these, I've read the Regia Silk isn't very elastic, and I probably should have used fewer stitches, but I'll go with slouchy if that's what happens.

So my friends, it's tomatoes and basil, knitting socks, watching the kids in the pool and reruns of I Love Lucy. I really DO love Lucy you know.