Friday, November 30, 2012
Back in October I taught a class at Vogue Knitting Live on knitting a top-down baby cardigan. To go along with a life-size baby cardigan I offered the option of knitting a tiny top-down pullover sweater or cardigan during the class. You can learn all of the concepts of knitting a top-down raglan sweater or cardigan in this tiny version. I now have had this pattern test knit by several knitters and people from the class and I have incorporated their feedback into the pattern so it is ready to go live!
The pattern for the Tiny Top-Down Pullover Sweater and Cardigan includes the directions to make either the sweater version or the cardigan version. Each version is written out completely. The sweaters are about 3-inches in length and make the perfect ornaments and gifts for this holiday season.
The samples are knit in a small amount of worsted weight yarn (less than 50 yards is needed) on US size 7 needles. The sweater is knit on double-pointed needles, a set of 5 is needed. The cardigan is knit on circular needles for the body and double-points for the sleeves. The gauge is 5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch although gauge for this project isn't a do or die situation. You could be slightly off either way. Regardless, dig around for any tiny amounts of leftover worsted weight yarn and you will be ready to go.
You could easily knit these sweaters in different weights of yarn including fingering weight or sock weight. The lengths of the sleeves and body may need to be shortened slightly if you do this. I want to try a couple of these with some leftover sock yarn.
In the past I have knit these tiny sweater ornaments and put a gift card inside the body (it fits perfectly!) to give as holiday gifts. It adds a nice homemade touch to the gift I think.
The pattern is now available in my Ravelry pattern shop for $3.50.
Click here to find out more or to purchase the pattern for the Tiny Top-Down Pullover Sweater and Cardigan on Ravelry! You don't need to be a member of Ravelry to purchase patterns.
I have two more ornament patterns coming up quickly so stay tuned if interested.
By the way, the response to the Waiting for Winter Mittens and Fingerless Mitts pattern has been astounding. It was so fun to watch as the pattern climbed all the way up to the #2 pattern on the Top 20 Hot Patterns on Ravelry. The pattern is still selling like hotcakes and the knitalong already has well over 100 people signed up. The sign up is open throughout the knitalong which runs from Dec. 5th to Jan. 5th. I already have a couple of fantastic prizes lined up. Thank you for all of the support and for your willingness to jump in during this busy time of year.
Click here for the Waiting for Winter pattern!
Click here for the Waiting for Winter knitalong!
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I am so excited to finally be able to offer you my latest pattern, Waiting for Winter Mittens & Fingerless Mitts. This is a simple pattern for a basic worsted weight mitten that fits great and has the perfect shape. The increases and thumb gusset are incredibly simple and the pattern comes in three sizes: small (6 inch hand circumference), medium (7 inch hand circumference) and large (8 inch hand circumference). You measure the hand across the knuckles. The medium fits an average woman's hand. The length for the mitten and thumb are easy to customize and the pattern points out the spots to add or subtract length.
There are also instructions for a fingerless mitt version. I had over 10 knitters test knit this pattern and give me feedback that I've incorporated into the pattern. Every size was test knit in both the mittens and the fingerless mitts.
My hope is that this will become your go-to mitten pattern every year. I know that I use this pattern over and over and everyone loves the shape and fit of these mittens. That's why I finally wrote it up in three sizes and with a fingerless mitt option so you could have this pattern to fall back on, too. After a few pairs are completed you will have this pattern easily memorized.
All you need is 100 yards of worsted weight yarn for the small, 150 yards for the medium, and 200 yards for the large for the mittens. One of my test knitters reported that she made the large fingerless mitts with only 110 yards.
This is a great project for gift knitting and for using up that never-ending worsted weight stash. The yarn in the photo above is Noro Kureyon, and I needed 2 skeins for the medium size mittens.
This yarn is my own handspun from Dyeabolical roving. I just love this pair!
The thumb gusset uses a simple backward loop increase and Paula of the Knitting Pipeline has an excellent video tutorial for this technique right here.
You won't believe how fast these knit up, you'll have a pair before you know it. I used US size 7 dpns to get 5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch.
The yarn for the watermelon stripey mittens is from Freshisle Fibers in the Suffolk Wool.
The pattern is now for sale in my Ravelry pattern shop for $4.00. I will be hosting a Waiting for Winter Mitt-along starting December 5th and ending on January 5th on the Itty-Bitty Knits group.
Click here to purchase the pattern or to see more information on Ravelry (you don't need to be a Ravelry member to buy patterns on Ravelry)!
I'll be back soon with a couple more fun ornament patterns.
'Tis the season....
Saturday, November 24, 2012
My Calligraphy Cardigan is finally done. I am in love. I'm pretty sure it is one of the best things I've knit. The fit is perfection and it only took me a quick year and a half to finish. Ha.
Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Thunderstorm
I've cast on for another cardigan this morning. I'll be back in a couple of years wearing it proudly.
Happy weekend to you all.
Friday, November 23, 2012
I'm just jumping in today to give you a cardigan update. That's right, I am to the 4-inch ribbed cuff on the second sleeve of my wonderful Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.
The end is in sight!
Knowing me I will be wearing this before I wash and block it. It is too hard to resist. I have a feeling the dark blue dye will run like crazy when I soak it because at times while knitting I would have blue-tinged fingers. I believe that is the nature of the color. We'll have to see what happens.
I'll be back soon to share the finished cardigan creation.
One last and quick thing I don't want you to miss out on is that Craftsy is having a giganatic Black Friday sale on all of their online classes. If you are interested in my two knitting classes or ANY of the classes be sure to check it out. Craftsy is constantly adding new knitting classes from top-notch designers and teachers so if you haven't looked for awhile you may be surprised at the large selection.
Click on the logo below to see what's happening on Craftsy!
Have a good and healthy weekend ahead. Next week I'll be back with two new patterns for you! I'm super excited about that.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I want to take a moment in light of Thanksgiving to thank you all for joining me on this little blog I enjoy so much. I am forever thankful to each and every one of you for sharing your time and thoughts on here.
I hope you all have a great week and long weekend filled with family, friends, food and knitting.
Time has been sparse due to teacher conferences, no school for the kids and a busy weekend, but I have somehow managed to complete the gigantic ribbed button bands on my Calligraphy Cardigan. There is always something new to learn with every project and this time around I learned a new buttonhole technique which I adore and will use again. I made my buttonholes smaller because my buttons are 3/4 inch instead of the 1 inch buttons suggested in the pattern.
Once those button bands are finished (I also gave it a bit of a steam because I steeked the front) I can't wait to sew on the buttons and get the body finished and tidy with the ends woven in. It always seems like such an achievement. Now all I have left are those sleeves and I can blaze through those like nobody's business.
I need a new handknit cardigan in the worst way and this one is turning out wonderfully. I am thankful that I am nearing the end.
See? It even fits like a glove. I am going to wear this thing out. Now for those sleeves.... ready, aim, fire! Hopefully I can share the finished cardigan very soon.
Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig (such an easy, easy pattern!) in the second size, a 38.25 inch bust size - it is roomy which is perfect.
Madelinetosh Tosh DK yarn in the Thunderstorm colorway
Signature Needles in US size 6 (sweater knit on 24 inch circs and sleeves on dpns)
Buttons from the Sow's Ear
I'll see you right back here after the holiday. What are you all thankful for this year? I'd love to hear about it.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I have some more books to chat about briefly today and then at the end I have a couple of knits to update you on.... so here we go!
I started reading Coop by Michael Perry a long time ago, I believe it was on one of our trips to Door County at the end of the summer. I loved reading this book but got sidelined by work so I never quite finished it. Well, now I have finished it and I think it is touching, funny, and at times poignant. Clearly Michael Perry is a masterful writer and story teller. I recommend this book if you like to read about real life adventures from childhood to adulthood told through a wonderful use of language. It is a compelling read. A bonus for me, Michael Perry grew up and lives in Wisconsin (he is my same age, too) which makes things all the more familiar.
Click here to find out more about Coop.
Here is the description from Amazon:
Living in a ramshackle Wisconsin farmhouse—faced with thirty-seven acres of fallen fences and overgrown fields, and informed by his pregnant wife that she intends to deliver their baby at home—Michael Perry plumbs his unorthodox childhood for clues to how to proceed as a farmer, a husband, and a father. Whether he's remembering his younger days—when his city-bred parents took in sixty or so foster children while running a sheep and dairy farm—or describing what it's like to be bitten in the butt while wrestling a pig, Perry flourishes in his trademark humor. But he also writes from the quieter corners of his heart, chronicling experiences as joyful as the birth of his child and as devastating as the death of a dear friend.
I received a review copy of Sock Yarn Studio not too long ago. If you are looking for top-notch ways to knit with your sock yarn stash or you really enjoy working with fingering weight yarn, this book is just the thing for you. The author, Carol J. Sulcoski, designs many of the projects along with other many famous knitters making this a collection to keep and use over and over again. Really, this is a great book that I will use for years to come.
Click here for more information on Sock Yarn Studio.
Click here to see the projects on Ravelry. You'll be impressed!
Here is the description from amazon:
Knitting socks and knitting with hand-painted yarns are two hot trends. But what are knitters to do with leftover sock yarn? Or when they burn out on knitting socks? Sock Yarn Studio comes to the rescue with a delightful mix of projects--from one-skein hats, mittens, and scarves to multi-skein wraps, sweaters, and more--created with fingering or sport-weight sock yarns. And there's plenty of helpful advice for selecting yarns and knitting smart with tricky hand-paints and self-patterning yarns.
This is another fantastic book I recently received for review and I couldn't be more enthusiastic about recommending it to you. I am a longtime admirer of Kaffe Fassett and I know I've written about this many times in the past. Honestly, after reading about half of this new book, Dreaming in Color, An Autobiography, I can't tell you what a fascinating life Kaffe Fassett has had so far. I had no idea of his rich and varied history. Kaffe Fassett has paved the way for knitters, designers, artists and especially knitting books as we know them today. He is an incredibly important figure in our knitting history. As knitters we owe him so much recognition.
This book is a gorgeous coffee table treasure but it so much more than the vibrant photos, it is a moving and interesting autobiography and I am so glad it has been published. What a treat to read, hold, soak in and enjoy.
Click here to find out more about Dreaming in Color.
TC was thrilled when this huge coffee table book filled with a feast of puppies showed up a couple of weeks ago. It was sent to us by Stewart, Tabori & Chang publishing company. TC could not stop looking through the pages with non-stop sighs of awwws and oooohs in tow. It was fun to see her reaction. She took it over to show her little neighbor friend and she told me her friend was crazy over the book, too. They spent a long time looking and talking about each and every page. This is a treat of a book for any and all puppy lovers.
The book is just what it says in the title, Puppyhood, Life Size Portraits of Puppies at 6 Weeks Old. The photography is amazing and the subject couldn't be any sweeter.
Click here to see more about Puppyhood by J. Nichole Smith.
Here is the description from amazon:
Puppyhood showcases adorable puppies in life-size photographs taken at six weeks old. The book itself is oversize at 13 by 11 inches, allowing enough space to bring each of these little ones to life. Twenty-five breeds are captured in engaging photographs, showing all the details that make puppies so irresistible, from their pink bellies to their tiny teeth, soft ears, and oversize paws. The book features the most popular breeds, including the French bulldog, Labrador, golden retriever, and Parson Russell Terrier. Puppyhood is a unique gift book for dog lovers everywhere.
Now for some brief knitting updates, I have about 10 people test knitting my Waiting for Winter mitten pattern. I've already gotten some feedback and am waiting for more. It isn't the most exciting pattern (a mitten and fingerless mitts pattern for a worsted weight yarn in three sizes, small, medium and large) but who doesn't need a clearly written basic worsted mitten pattern? I sure do and that's why I wrote it.
It's nothing fancy but it's going to be a good one.
This pattern will be available after Thanksgiving so you'll have plenty of time to whip up some Waiting for Winter mittens for the holidays ahead.
I am also having several knitters test knit my pattern for the Tiny Pullover Sweater and Cardigan. I have gotten some great feedback on this already and so this pattern will be available after Thanksgiving as well.
Stay tuned if interested.
For those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving, it is at the end of next week.
For my own personal knitting, after I steeked the Calligraphy Cardigan I have made some progress on the button band. This cardigan is no small feat with tons of stockinette stitch and ribbing, two of my favorite things to wear. I think it is going to become a favorite for sure.
Oh, and on this chilly fall morning I pulled on my handknit sock and lo and behold.....
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Last Sunday I had a rare chance to meet up with a small gathering of knitters from our Ravelry group, Itty-Bitty Knits. There were five of us in total and we met at the Verona yarn and coffee shop, The Sow's Ear. We had such a great time, chatting, sharing our knitting, having coffee and quiche.... the time flew by.
Three of the knitters are from Illinois, which doesn't make them any less special, but one of the knitters, Mel, came all of the way from Australia to meet up with Itty-Bitty Knitters all over the country and Canada. That's right, Mel is a wonderful moderator for my Ravelry group and she has spent the last month, starting with Rhinebeck, traveling around and being hosted by members of the group. This group of hosts have been incredibly generous as they opened their homes to Mel along the way.
I felt so lucky to have this group make the effort to come all the way to Madison so I could meet them in person. It was a huge treat and the time spent together is something I'll never forget. Thank you!
Mel was so sweet, she knit me the cabled hat I am holding in the photo above. I love it.
The group from left to right consisted of Jo Ann (NrsMoo - rav id), Mel (womaninashoe - rav id), me, Kathy (Kally - rav id) and in the back row is Pat (plynn - rav id). I have been lucky enough to meet Pat a few times in person now at various places and I really enjoy her. She has a good sense of humor.
What a lovely bunch and the Sow's Ear is really the best place to be. We got our own room to hang out in which made it even better. The food and the coffee is wonderful there as well.
A few days before this Itty-Bitty meet up, I had the chance to meet up with another visiting friend from Maryland at the Sow's Ear for coffee and a chat. You may know her.
What a week!
Now with a brief bit of knitting news, I have the pattern finished for my Waiting for Winter Mittens. I am having a bunch of people test knit them before I release the pattern. It will be published very soon.
The mittens use from 100 to 200 yards of worsted weight yarn depending on the size. There are three sizes available small, medium and large and there are fingerless mitt instructions included as well.
Easy-peasy would be the best way to describe this pattern! The fastest knit in the west would be another way.
I'll keep you posted and in the meantime, have a good end to your week.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
The two winners of the Winter Bliss Cowl pattern are stitchwitchy and NanaKnits4Us (both rav ids)! Congratulations! Lise (zenitude on rav) is sending you your patterns through Ravelry. Thanks for entering.
Yesterday was an unseasonably warm day for November in Wisconsin. I think it got up to the mid-60s. Often we have snow by this time of year so I had to take advantage. I went to a different spot this time for a short hike. The different spot is called the Arboretum and it is another old favorite nature conservancy in Madison.
There is an area in the Arboretum devoted to all different types of pine trees and another devoted to different types of flowering trees. The flowering tree area is the best place to go in the spring. It is all so beautiful. The Arboretum is owned by the University of Wisconsin. We saw groups of college students working on different projects while we were there yesterday. They were fencing off areas for something, not quite sure what. There are many areas labeled and the trees are often labeled as well.
Click here for the UW Arboretum website.
I took these photos through Instagram on my iPhone. I love and enjoy Instagram so much, it is really a new passion of mine. I take lots of knitting and nature photos almost daily through Instagram. If you are interested in following me or checking it out, there is now a brand new way to follow Instagram on the internet. It is really fun and there are so many great designers and interesting people of all sorts of talents on here to inspire.
Click here for my Instagram webpage where you can check out my photos and follow updates!
What kind of leaf is this? Anyone? I know I know it but I can't remember. It looks like a golden fan to me. I gathered a few of these beauties to add to my growing leaf collection. TC and I have been pressing leaves this fall and then setting them out to admire.
On another old topic, I steeked my Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig yesterday! I started this old cardigan a long time ago. I used a crochet steek. I added a steek to the front of the cardigan, it's not in the pattern, so I could knit in the round instead of back and forth. I am now adding on the ribbed buttonband. I hope I like this cardigan in the end as it has been a lot of knitting. My hopes are high at this point.
I finished a couple of old books, old in the sense that I had started them months ago and hadn't gotten around to finishing them. I do that sometimes. I love to read books, fiction and non-fiction, but I don't have a lot of time to indulge myself too much right now. I often start books and don't finish until a long time later.
I started reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand way back on a spring vacation trip and just recently picked it up again to finish. It is a wonderfully written story about an older English gentleman, his family and small town, and the development of a very innocent new romance. It is a delightful read and a sweet story, and I highly recommend it. Thanks to Paula for the recommendation (I read and watch almost everything Paula recommends because I adore her taste).
I read this one in paperback book form, purchased at Barnes and Noble.
I also recently finished Hit by a Farm, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn. This is the story of a Minnesota author, Catherine Friend, who along with her partner, Melissa, drop everything and move to start a working farm. Catherine was supporting Melissa's lifelong dream of having a farm even though it wasn't a shared dream. This book is an account of their new things learned, the adjustment to farm living, and the daily trials and tribulations of farm life - good, bad and gross. There are some slightly graphic details about farming animals included so be warned if that's not your cup of tea. I'll admit to skipping over bits and pieces here and there.
I listened to Hit by a Farm on audiobook, purchased from iTunes. The book is read by the author, Catherine Friend, and her authentic Minnesota accent is charming if I do say so myself (I am sure I have my own Minnesota accent of sorts because both of my parents were born and raised in Minnesota). Catherine has a nice way of injecting humor and self-deprecation into situations that I enjoyed. She is endearing and honest.
It's a good book and if you are interested in the topic of starting a farm or just hearing about it. There is another book from Catherine after this one called, Sheepish. I may read this one, too, at some point. Thank you, AmyBeth, for this recommendation.
Click here to find out more about Hit by a Farm.
I really enjoyed Composed for so many reasons. Roseanne is a great writer and story teller. She kept me on my toes while reading because she jumps around on the timeline a bit. This didn't bother me but I had to keep track at times. Roseanne Cash is honest and thoughtful. She has lead a life with huge successes but many struggles as well. I think her intention was to tell her own story about her life because there have been so many stories and versions told by others about her family. Her story is respectfully told through her own words. I recommend this book.
I read Composed on my Kindle, purchased through Amazon.
Click here to find out more about Composed.
These are just books from my own personal library that I wanted to share with you today. I have two more books I am reading, one in paperback book form and another on my Kindle. Who knows when I will ever finish but I'll keep you posted when it happens.
Friday, November 09, 2012
The other day I linked to a great knitting blog, Pepperknit, by Erin - the editor in chief of Yarn Market News. She not only shares her knitting, friends and city (NYC), but she also shares recipes. I couldn't wait to try out Erin's recipe for roasted butternut squash soup. I picked up the ingredients on a trip to the grocery store and whipped up a batch for my family. I am a major year-round soup fan and butternut squash soups are a fall staple.
It was simple, quick, extra-delicious and the roasting of the veggies made the house smell so good. Give it a try. I diced up red onions, tomatoes and avocado to sprinkle on top when serving. We also added a dollop of sour cream and served with a crunchy baguette on the side. It was a meal of meals.
Click here for the recipe from Pepperknit! She has great photos of the soup in progress, too.
With permission, I am sharing Jessica's (knitgineering on rav) baby cardigan and tiny sweater ornaments from my VK Live class a couple of weeks ago. Within a few days after the class she had these all complete. I love your sweaters big and small, Jessica. Thanks for sharing with me.
Pattern for the tiny sweater coming soon....
Last but not least I have a fun giveaway for you. Lise Marleau Nesbitt (zenitude on rav) sent me an email yesterday. She offered to share two copies of her Winter Bliss cowl with us. Read all about this pattern here or click here to see the pattern on Ravelry. The pattern works with about 100 yards of any bulky weight yarn, Lise suggests Misti Alpaca Tonos Chunky or your wonderful handspun. I am definitely making one or two of these for gifts. I have Misti Alpaca sitting in my stash and I have some chunky handspun as well. This is the perfect stash busting pattern. You could also hold a worsted double. Look to the stash. The cowl only takes a couple of short hours to complete. It is knit flat in garter stitch and can easily be made to fit looser or closer around your neck. I love it.
Lise Marleau also has a beautiful etsy shop stocked full of hand dyed yarns and fiber. I seriously want the entire shop to be delivered to my house. Click here to see Zenitude on Etsy!
By the way, Lise Marleau Nesbitt will be at KnitEast with me next September so I'll get to meet her in person. She is from Ontario.
Leave a comment on this blog post if you would like this zippy Winter Bliss Cowl pattern either emailed or sent to you through ravelry. There will be two pattern winners. You need to leave only one comment on this post (remember there is a delay in posting, please don't post more than once), and the comment must include your rav id or email.
Comment away! This will be a quick one. Maybe we could knit our cowls together....
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
JillShoke (rav id) shared a heartwarming story on the Itty-Bitty Knits group the other day. With Jill's permission to use the story and her incredibly sweet photographs, I am now sharing the story with all of you. Here is how one knitter's wishes came true.....
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
(All photos provided by Sugar and Spice, photographer Caro Sheridan)
Today I have something fun and fresh to review in the crochet world. The fantastic Linda Permann has authored a brand new crochet ebook called, Sugar and Spice, Six Bakery-Inspired Crochet Fashions. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen more gorgeous crochet designs in my life. Linda called on some talented friends to help her pull her new book together. The photography is simply stunning and is by the talented Caro Sheridan or splityarn on Ravelry (she also has a photography class on Craftsy.com called Shoot It!), and the one and only Amy Herzog is one of the beautiful models. Linda is a talented and experienced designer as you'll see, so you can be completely confident when using her patterns.
Here is Linda's description of the book:
When I think of fall, I remember pumpkin patches, changing leaves and crisp morning walks. I savor those first cool mornings, and as the temperatures fall, my urge to snuggle up with crochet gets even stronger.
The six designs in Sugar and Spice were inspired by my love of crocheted texture—and desserts, ranging from simple to ornate. Bubbling cherries swim a cobbler crust, embossed designs adorn an Italian cookie, and glowing beads of sugar dance along the edge of a freshly baked pie. Just like a delicious dessert, a beautiful hat, shawl or sweater will leave you feeling warm and content.
I hope you find inspiration in these pages to make your own crochet delicacies, either as gifts or to cherish for yourself.
I think this cardigan is wonderful. There is so much detail and the fit is perfection. I would wear this thing out. What a perfect everyday little cardigan.
Click here to see more information about all of the patterns on Ravelry!
Click here to see more about Linda Permann! Really, you have to click on this link and just look at her work. Linda is so incredibly talented. She recently moved to Colorado to work at Craftsy.com - one of my favorite places to be! Craftsy is lucky to have such talent and experience.
I met Linda briefly at TNNA a couple of years ago. She is just as smart and adorable as her designs. As far as this ebook goes, I love every design in here. Each project is stylish, beautifully made and designed. Plus the projects look fairly quick and fun to crochet. Linda seriously takes crochet to an enviable level. Every project is stunning.
Click here for Linda's website and blog!
All six of the designs are made in Malabrigo yarns. What's not to love about that? I think Linda's pairing of yarn and project is perfection throughout the book.
The Pinzelle Beret is exquisite.
I love this Cherry Cobbler Beanie. Who doesn't like cherry cobbler?
I am going to have to try to crochet one of these hats.
This is one of my favorites, the Tart Shrug. It is so pretty and sweet looking.
These colors could not possibly look any better on the beautiful and talented Amy Herzog. She has the best hair in town. This is the Cocoa Wafer Cowl. It is all a winning combination, including the photography.
Click here to see all of Amy Herzog's designs! She has a new book coming out this spring, as well. I'll be reviewing this one as soon as I get a copy.
The gray with the yellow with Amy's wonderful coloring makes me want to crochet the Sugar Sparkles Shawl immediately. Just look at the border on this one! It is incredible.
I can't recommend Linda's work enough. She is a great one to follow. The ebook filled with these six designs can be purchased for download for a mere $18, which is only $3 per pattern. That is a steal. Let me know what you think.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
It is Sunday already. Last week was a complete blur. Do you want to hear about it? It really isn't all that interesting or important just busy life stuff that everyone has from time to time. If not, skip ahead to the knitting content. But if yes, here is the rundown:
I got back from VK Live Chicago on Sunday evening and awoke early Monday morning with a painful headache that I couldn't shake for several days. It was really a tough one. I don't suffer too often from headaches and usually if I ever get an occasional one it can be fixed with a couple of ibuprofen. This headache would not go away and it kept me up at night. Finally, on Wednesday the pain dulled. I was not able to accomplish much at all while the headache was there. Luckily it faded just in time for Halloween. On Halloween night we hosted our annual dinner and trick or treating at our house and neighborhood with my sister and brother's families which is always a treat not a trick. We had a good time together. Here is the creepy crew this year:
Aren't they great?
Next, I had to pick up my son who took the bus home from college in the middle of the night at 3am, on Thursday/Friday morning. Due to crazy scheduling of his classes, the bus schedule and doctor appointments there was no other choice. I set my alarm for 2:40am but couldn't really sleep leading up to 2:40am for fear I wouldn't get up. My son had doctor appointments for a knee injury on Friday. I spent the entire day at the hospital Friday where I did get some knitting done.
On Saturday we had to serve breakfast to the high school girls swim team before their meet. I had shopped for this on Thursday at a couple of different stores but hadn't organized it yet. I woke up early Saturday morning to get things set up and ready to be lugged into the school before their early warm-up was done. That went fine and the girls swam well at the meet that day. On Saturday night we hosted a small dinner gathering. I cooked up my mom's hearty bean soup recipe, sliced, buttered and warmed two loaves of french bread and made a yummy chopped salad with tons of veggies. It was a delicious and comforting meal if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, while I was cooking I sliced my finger. My husband ran out to get band aids because of course there was not a single band aid in our house. After cooking and cleaning for the dinner I felt a rare and true feeling of exhaustion set in.
Now it is Sunday morning, I am feeling much better. I can type and knit with my band aid-ed pointer finger which is good. My husband is taking my oldest son, TC, and our 9-year old nephew to a Packer football game right now. They are on the road as I write. It takes about 3 hours to get to Green Bay from Madison. The sun is shining but it should only be in the forties today so they loaded up winter coats, hats, mittens and blankets to keep them warm. My son with the knee injury opted out which opened up the spot for my nephew who is beyond excited to tag along.
None of this simple busy-ness seems important or relevant with all of the Hurricane Sandy issues going on but I thought I'd share anyway. The news clips and headlines are heartbreaking. I heard once from my friend and editor, Trent, that he was okay but I know his NYC apartment was without power and water for the week. I was thinking about him and all of the east coast knitters, friends and family this week. My brother and his family are all fine. They live in the D.C. area.
Needless to say, the blog and my book page editing have been neglected this past week and so today I am attending to both.
So on with some knitting! I finished the little hat on the right to donate to the Halos of Hope charity. They provide in-need chemo hats for patients all across the country. I'm getting these hats to the charity headquarters this week.
I'll tell you more about the hat on the right in an upcoming hat post. TC knit the hat on the left and she is donating it to Halos of Hope as well. She is a generous knitter, rarely keeping or knitting anything for herself.
I have recently designed several new baby hats for gifts that I haven't blogged about. I am considering releasing a mini hat collection for download on my pattern shop. I have a lot of pattern writing lined up for the upcoming weeks. Not my favorite thing but a necessary thing.
On another note, I just have to share this beautiful fall platter my sister gave me for my birthday that was earlier in October. I love it so much. She knows how much I love the fall season and I will use this year-round, not only in the autumn. It is a fused glass platter by Peggy Karr. Take a look at the red leaves and remember the color for later.
This morning I looked about my cluttered studio to take stock of things I need to get done. I gathered a big stack of books that range from fiction, to stitchery, to knitting. All of these I plan to talk about and review in upcoming posts. I have more books to review that aren't even in that stack. Some of the books I purchase myself and some are sent to me from various publishers to review. I am considering posting a book review a day for a week or two just to get caught up at some point soon. I think that would be kind of fun.
Lately I've been thinking about patterns that I have written up and knit but have never gotten out of my sketchbooks. This brings me to the cabinet in the photo above. It was a free find on the street next to my sister's house last summer. I couldn't believe my good fortune finding this cabinet that fits so perfectly into my tiny studio. I especially love the cameo knobs. This thing was so dirty when I brought it home. I had to scrub and scrub to get it clean. It was literally brown in some spots. It looks so good now.
Well, I bet you think I would store yarn inside....
... but instead I store years and years worth of sketchbooks. Inside these scrappy sketchbooks are my handwritten published books, random ideas, drawings, watercolor paintings, complete patterns, incomplete patterns, new book ideas, yarn samples, lists, etc.
In fact, on that way bottom shelf. I have a little cigar box with a lime green stripe that is storing a complete book idea inside. It is really good but I haven't shared it with anyone yet. So it sits.
I think I am going to pull out these sketchbooks and look for unused treasures over the winter. That is my plan.
While sitting at the doctor for most of the day on Friday I pulled out my old unfinished Calligraphy Cardigan in Tosh DK in the Thunderstorm colorway. I am almost to the ribbing on the bottom of the body. It is a long sweater with four inches of ribbing on the bottom edge. I think I have about four inches of stockinette left before I get to the ribbing. I know I will love this one when it is finished, I just need to finish it. I did add a steek at the front of the body because then I can knit round and round instead of back and forth. It was a good choice for me as it is surely making this go faster. I already have the perfect buttons lined up and waiting to be stitched onto the button band.
I have also been plugging away on my next shawl design. I can't wait to finish and I am getting close. I have one sample finished in handspun. This one is in Brooklyn Tweed's Loft (fingering weight), two skeins in the Long Johns colorway. I adore this yarn and color. If you look at my platter with the leaves, it is the red leaf color exactly. I love this color red. This shawl sits on the arm of my chair so I can steal a row or two whenever I have a second.
The harder I work the messier my studio gets. It happens over and over. I need an overhaul soon and then it will be clean and shiny and super-organized only to become cluttered once again as my work load increases and I become absorbed. It's just the way it is.
Oh, and here is another sketchbook brimming with handwritten patterns and drawings... and on the bottom of that stack in the background is yet another spiral sketchbook partially filled.
It goes on and on.
Have a super start to your week. I hope things are looking up out there for everyone.
p.s. As if this post wasn't long enough, I have to share two blogs I have fallen for in the best way. Click here and here to visit them.
p.p.s. Purl Soho just released their own yarn line, Purl Soho, a squishy merino wool. That is incredibly exciting and I can't wait to try it out! Click here to see more.