Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finished in the Nick of Time

Dear Mom,

I had my doubts. Could I finish knitting the long vest I hoped to wear to church on Christmas Eve? I had selflessly put that knitting on hold to finish weaving dishtowels, baking scones, wrapping gifts, and all that other stuff on my Christmas to-do list. But what to wear should I not finish that vest? I had no back-up plan. Every free moment in those last few days before the 24th were spent knittingknittingknitting. Not all bad, and I'd be the only one disappointed if I didn't finish- no body would be going without a gift.
In the wee hours of Christmas Eve (1:30am, to be exact) I put the last blocking pin in, turned the ceiling fan in the guest room on HIGH, and went to bed hoping the thing would be dry before church services in the afternoon.
It was.


I modified this pattern , adding length. I am pleased with the results.

The yarn I used is Misti Alpaca's Hand Paint Baby Suri Silk, which I am not finding on the Misti Alpaca web page, so it may be discontinued. Nice stuff, though, and it took 5 skeins for this project. I bought all that I could find when a local yarn shop closed a few years ago, and still have 4 skeins left. Enough for a simple turtleneck or pullover, maybe.
I started 2011 with the goal of knitting a pair of socks each month. Some month's socks were a little delayed, but I have so far managed to finish knitting 11 pairs of socks. The first sock of pair #12 is halfway done and I feel confident that I'll get this last pair finished before the ball drops on the 31st.

Will I knit another 12 pairs in 2012? Probably not. But I did like this goal and it did help me work my way through my sock yarn stash. I have other little projects and the yarn for them that I'd like to get done and right now I am thinking I may alternate those with socks each month. I need to organize the inventory and see what I come up with.

I am enjoying these last quiet days of 2011, resting, reading and knitting. I probably think this to myself at this time every year, but I really need to learn to slow down and savor the important moments. I am forever thinking about what comes next, what the next project or book will be, what tasks are waiting for me to manage them,and how to efficiently multi task them all.... and some of that has to be. Family and Home obligations are important, and I don't mind being the person that oversees laundry, meals, and schedules.  And I don't want to waste time. What I am guilty of is pressuring myself into doing more and not fully enjoying the thing I am doing NOW because I am bothering myself with NEXT.
I believe that The Best is Yet to Come. I just need to slow down and wait for it to get here rather than rush for it.


Friday, December 23, 2011


Dear Mom,

On Sunday afternoon, MelissaWhoSpinsButDoesNotKnit and I gave Fig a test drive. We watched a few you tube tutorials on drum carding and then started playing.
With Fig clamped to the kitchen island and all of us surrounded by a variety of fibers and roving, we selected colors to blend.
We carded a combination of bright blue, walnut brown and natural to create the batt you see to the left of the picture,

and then a combination of grey-brown, chocolate brown and grape.
There is a definite learning curve, but we're getting things figured out. Cleaning the carder for the next batch of fibers seems to be the hardest part. We had a better time with the second batch and discovered that the longer fibers were easier to pull and clean off the carder.
I've gone on to card two more batts of plain vanilla. The grape combination has been spun but not plied, and with such a little batt there won't be much yarn created to do much with, but when it is plied and skeined I'll show you what I/we made.

Next step?

Watch out.

And if you see me with stained hands and clothing, you'll know why.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Emergency Substitution

Dear Mom,

When you don't have the wooden pick you need for that part of the recipe that says "or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean",

a size 1 bamboo sock needle (clean) works just fine.


Friday, December 16, 2011


Dear Mom,
Meet the newest member of my fiber family!
She is an Ashford Drum Carder and her name is Figment Imogene.

MelissaWhoSpinsbutDoesNotKnit and I hatched a plan awhile ago to be on the lookout for a used drum carder that we could purchase together and share. We had our hopes on acquiring one, only to have the negotiations fall through. We refused to be discouraged, but did wonder if really possessing a drum carder was all a figment of our very fertile imaginations. Through the wonder that is ravelry I found hermajestymargo, who really must be one of Santa's helpers, because here we are with a freshly delivered drum carder. And she is real. As Bonnie Jo would say, "She is a BEAUT!"

So "Figment" because she is no longer a figment of our imaginations, and "Imogene" as a spin on imagining because we imagine so many possibilities with her.

Fig will have an extended family of rug hooking and spinning fiber at Melissa's house, and the knitting, spinning and weaving goings on here.

Daphne Joy and Donna Reed already like her.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ready or it comes.

Dear Mom,
The tree is up and decorated.
Pine needles litter the floor and Mr. Dyson has ingested his fill.
Gifts are not wrapped. Some gifts haven't even been purchased and others still wait for me to finish (or start) them.
It only occurred to me last night that I hadn't even given a thought to holiday baking.
And this one is giving me no help at all.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

November's Socks

Dear Mom,
November's socks are finished in mid-December putting December's socks in serious jeopardy. At best I hope to start them after Christmas. I am feeling hopelessly behind on all my Christmas gift projects!
These are from Nightfall sock yarn- hand dyed and cleverly wound and packaged to produce a nearly identical pair of socks.
Hand made Christmas gifts make for poor blogging. But behind the screen there is a flurry of fiber-related activity going on here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Coupon Code

Dear Mom,
It seems that a few people have had trouble with the coupon code for the Long Nights Cowl pattern. After a tiny bit of investigating and experimenting (and can I say it is a little weird to try buying your own pattern?) I've figured out that the coupon code "warm thoughts" must be entered like this:


no spaces.

Hit 'apply code' and it should work!


Monday, December 5, 2011

A Christmas Gift

Dear Mom,
With Christmas less than 3 weeks away, and knowing that there are plenty of knitters out there scrambling to get their Christmas gift knitting done, I've finished writing the pattern for the cowl from my last post and published it on ravelry.
The Long Nights Cowl is a quick, easy knit and can be finished in one evening if one is able to sit down without interruption.With the demands of the season, it is quite likely that two evenings will be required if baking cookies, keeping up with the laundry and letting the dogs out are competing with knitting time.
The pattern is available for purchase HERE. As a gift to all our blog readers, I am making the pattern available for free until Christmas. Simply enter warmthoughts in the coupon code at check out. Edited: don't put any spaces in the coupon code- sorry for the confusion!

p.s. Yes, that is a ReLinkWish fastening the cowl in place!