Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Daisy Mason's Tam

Dear Mom,

Downton Abbey.
Season 3, Episode 3 (in the US. I believe the UK episodes 1&2 were combined here, so it may technically have been episode 4 - anyway, it was the episode that aired here on Jan 20th.)
Daisy is wheeling her bike along the streets of Downton and then again riding her bike to visit Mr. Mason at the farm...... I don't know anything that happened in those scenes because I was fixated on that salmon colored tam she was wearing. I was mentally dissecting and knitting that hat.
Over and over again over the next several days.
Like Poe's Raven Tap Tap Tapping at the door, until that hat was knitted, it would haunt me evermore.

Meet my version of Daisy Mason's Tam.
the photos of Daisy are screen images captured from my computer
I even got the Young Lady to model it for me!

I knit this hat with Alpaca With a Twist Baby Twist, color 4003, and used slightly less than 200 yards. Any light worsted or dk weight yarn will work for this hat, and I've made the pattern available on the Warm Thoughts blog.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Big Reveal

Dear Mom,
Making gifts and blogging don't always cooperate. Especially if the gift's recipients are blog readers. It just won't do to ruin the surprise and makes for boring (or nonexistent) blogging.

My Knitting Friends and I just celebrated our 3rd annual Belated Christmas. This started when one of us couldn't quite get her gifts to us finished in time and we all decided we liked celebrating when the holiday stress was behind us. It gives us more time to enjoy the making of the gifts, and anticipating our January celebration is, in many ways, even better than the real thing. We exchanged our gifts this past Thursday and now I can share what had to be kept secret these past weeks.
Three handwoven scarves for three very special friends.

I started with three different warps, hand-painted by Carrie May , purchased at Tabby Tree Weaver, and I used the Raku weave pattern from the book Sixty Scarves for 60 Years. 
I was lucky to find warps with colorways that reminded me of each of my friends- one with blues and greens, one with pinks and purples, and a third with vibrant jewel tones.

To be perfectly honest, I never, NEVER!, thought I would be able to weave anything this pretty. I couldn't wait to give them to my friends. 
I suppose I should probably make one for myself....


Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Dear Mom,
It seems that more and more often I am finding myself in little time bubbles. I can be blissfully occupied for a Few Minutes only to find that  Many Minutes, (hours even!) have slipped away. And no, I am not having blackouts. I am either fully absorbed in something or turning in to a total space cadet.
Last week was pretty much one big bubble. The first two days I was so blissed out at being home alone that I missed Bible Study. And then there were a couple days spent in the good company of friends and knitting. And then suddenly it was Friday and the weekend. And now here it is Tuesday again, already.

One good thing about bubbles.... I seem to accomplish lots of good things when I am in them.
And one of those good things is this sweater.

This is Idunn- A free Knitty pattern.  I've knit this as a class sample for the Village Yarn Shop. The class starts this Friday. The pattern calls for Lite Lopi yarn, but I used good old Cascade 220 instead.
This sweater is worked from the top down, in the round, and the front button band is steeked- which means it is cut open after the knitting is done. I did change the way those front bands were finished. Rather than crochet an edge as the pattern asks, I picked up and knitted the bands. They are folded over and encase the raw steeked edges. I think this looks much neater. Probably mostly because I have basically NO crochet skills.
I knitted in the button loops as I worked the folded edge of the band.
I also made the buttons from Shrinky Dinks! I traced the pattern from a calico fabric print using fine point permanent markers. I used a large round cutter (from the scrap booking section of Michael's) to cut out the discs and used a regular hole punch for the holes in the center. After following the instructions for baking on the Shrinky Dinks package, I had 3 pretty buttons in a matter of minutes. My 2 inch disc yielded a 3/4 inch button.

Sadly, ironing was not one of the good things accomplished last week, and I am playing catch up today. Not so bad with a book in my ears, but still. It is ironing. I've given myself this little blog break and now it is time to get back at it. I'll have other good things to show you  that won't be ironing- here is a sneak peak at one of them.....


Friday, January 4, 2013


Dear Mom,

The yarn for the Downton Abbey Mystery KnitAlong arrived! It is wound into a ball and waiting for me to work a gauge swatch. The first clue is published on Sunday morning so the participants can knit along with Episode 1 on Sunday night. I am halfway through Season 2 in my review. Good thing I am reviewing- those episodes are packed with drama! I'd forgotten how much happens. I am also picking up on little things I'd missed the first time through. The anticipation builds....

One thing I haven't shared here, which was knitted and finished as a Christmas gift, is this sweater for my Young Man.

I know this is not a great photo. I am hoping to get a good picture or two of him wearing it before he goes back to school on Sunday. He has worn it a couple of times since Christmas. My critical eye sees a few things that could be improved as far as the fit goes- like some short row shaping across the back- or better yet, maybe he could just stand up straight and tall! All in all, a good fit considering the sweater was loosely based on measurements taken from a sweater in his closet.
I've written up the pattern and have the yarn to knit another one for My Hero. If all is well, I will publish the pattern for this one.

my faithful friend


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Last

Dear Mom,
I put off reporting this until 2012 was past us for fear of something happening to Olive. Happily, she is laying near me as I write this.
On December 14, our intrepid, adventurous guinea pig, Oreo, was laid to rest. Long-time blog readers may remember Oreo's escape and the hours she spent living in the wild. Oreo's blog posts can be found here and here. As it became obvious that her end was near, I was morbidly making plans to dig her grave before the ground froze. Thankfully, Oreo's last was a warm, sunny day. Again, I played the roll of grave-digger, pall bearer and officiate (the Young Lady choosing to remember Oreo in life), and laid Oreo to rest next to the hot tub, near the spot where she was finally captured after her hours of freedom.
Over the years, this family has been home to 7 guinea pigs. Oreo is The Last. I've disposed of all small animal accessories so NO ONE (including me) will be tempted to bring another one home. I've cleaned that cage for The Last time. I do miss the squeaks that greeted me in the morning, and I've caught myself reflexively gathering up raw vegetable scraps to feed her.
Oreo's was The Last animal death in a year that was burdened with them. (And this is why I waited to report  her demise. I couldn't risk jinxing Olive.)

These are the last days of Christmas break- school starts in for both kids on Monday. For the Young Man, that means getting his laundry caught up and sorted, books, boots and winter clothes packed for the trip back to school. The Christmas things are packed up and stored away in the attic- the house always feels bigger when everything is put back, and I feel a renewed motivation to keep things in order after the clutter and business of Christmas.

And with the quiet hours, I've had time to sit and watch some DVD's. Last night I began a marathon review of Seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey in anticipation of Sunday's Season 3! Such is my anticipation, I've joined a Downton Abbey Mystery Knit Along, and await the arrival of the yarn specially dyed for the project! Surely I am not the only person who watches those shows and yearns to wear long skirts and aprons, beautiful hats, calico prints and lace?

I hear Mr. Bosch alerting me that a load of laundry is done and ready for Mrs. Bosch. I think I will listen to the Downton Abbey soundtrack as I tend to the housework. I can still wear an apron over my wool sweater and denim.