Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Pointy Hat

I've completed the January challenge of knitting a pointy hat.  I hope this is pointy enough for you.
 A young friend of mine modeled the hat for me and I expect she will do great things in the future.

I've frogged two scarves and am ignoring one other... only time will tell what I should do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Year, more knitting

I can't believe we've been doing this blog for seven years.  That's amazing.  I wish I was a more prolific blogger and a better writer.

I'd like to resolve to blog more often but years ago I gave up making resolutions.  I'd resolved to do something amazing and then I'd quit or give up; it hurt.  So now I knit, workout, play with my camera, read books but I don't resolve to do anything big or spectacular.  I do my best and count all my blessings.

This year like so many before there are no big resolutions, just one tiny one.  I have four scarves "in-progress" that I have been working for over 2 years.  It becomes apparent to me that I'm not enjoying this knitting, I need to stop and rip them back and make something else with that yarn.  That's it, all I resolve to do.


P.S. I'm working on a very pointy hat!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Now we are 7

Look at that -- it's another year already. We started this blog seven years ago today. We have not been the most visible of bloggers. . . and we realized that we need a little bit of structure to keep us involved. And maybe one that doesn't involve a whole year's commitment. So this year we're trying something new. On or about the first of the month, we'll announce a brief guideline for that month's project. Assignment? Challenge? Topic? I am not sure what to call it. These will be intentionally open to interpretation, and fun, not punitive. You will never see "Take 1700 yards of laceweight yarn and a pattern that involves nupps and a lace repeat of at least 28 rows. . ." (or, Pat, if you do -- I'm not doing it!). I am in charge of odd-numbered months, and Pat will do the evens. Sometimes we'll post in-progress photos; sometimes it'll be just the final thing sneaking in at the last moment on the last day of the month. And, of course, there will be other knitting too! Here is just a sampling from this year:

January project: pointy hat. Watch this space! We're back.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

Sometimes I Feel Like Bartholomew Cubbins*

24 hats on the way to homeless kids in Maine -- and still plenty more stash to knit up. Half are out of my head; the others (example of each shown in the photo that has just two hats) are from this great pattern.

*The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, by Dr. Seuss

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Last week's mittens

Last Sunday, 18 inches (46 cm) of snow. This Sunday, 55 degrees F (12.7 C).

While it was snowing, I realized that I'd need mittens so I could shovel. And these happened:

1 strand Lamb's Pride worsted + 1 strand unidentified sock yarn. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Samadhi Saturday

Every year I sneak across the street at midnight or dawn and leave a birthday package at my neighbor's door. This year it was especially fun. Some of you may have heard that the Washington/Philadelphia/New York stretch got a little snow yesterday. . .here is what it looked like at midnight (not bad for a cell phone picture!). And it was so quiet -- no planes, no trains, hardly any cars. It was a beautiful night.

I made Samadhi, a Martina Behm design, using yarn dyed by my friend the Black Bunny. The yarn had been ripening in my possession for several years, and finally found its purpose.

The picture on the gridded board shows the colors almost truly. My scalloped edge -- well, let's say I hope I have more patience the next time I block one of these. Because I will most certainly make the pattern again.

Happy birthday, neighbor I am glad to call friend!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Another one

I had an extended fling with the Age of Brass and Steam in 2015. This one went off to Ohio last week. I sure wish I knew what the yarn was, because it was lovely to work with. It was from New England, a standard-size sock yarn skein, and there might be a little silk in it.

I had just enough yarn to do one extra section of the pattern and get halfway through the bindoff. I finished with a purple that wasn't an exact match, but I decided it was close enough. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I want to go to your sister. . .

I have always loved Manos del Uruguay's Wool Clasica. In years (too many years) when money was tight, I would allow myself to go to a yarn shop once a month, and I'd buy a skein of Manos as a treat. That led to an exceedingly undisciplined collection of colors, still waiting for me to figure out how to put them together.

But one year Manos introduced a line of naturals, and I fell hard. By that time I was able to buy a little more, a little more often, and I indulged myself by collecting a whole bunch, with the intent of someday making a blanket.

Last February, the skeins had matured to the point where it was time to cast on. I decided on my beloved bias squares, knit from two sides down to the last 2 stitches. And I cast on. Three rows into block #1, the blanket said to me, "I want to go to your sister." I had thought this one would be for me, but when the knitting talks. . .

Thursday, December 24, 2015

celebrate in whatever way makes you happy

Best wishes from elizabeth and pat . . .

Image result for free clip art holly

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What I did this summer

I have a lot of yarn.

I started a project to work through the many, many single skeins in my stash.

And all of these things went off to Maine this week to help keep homeless teens just a little warmer.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Azalea time

I was knitting on the front porch when I noticed an interesting juxtaposition:

I am racing the yarn to the finish -- will report back!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pitter Patter

Of very little feet. I finished these booties yesterday morning, just in time for the afternoon's baby shower.

But -- silly baby decided to be born yesterday morning. Shower postponed, and I guess he won't be wearing these home after all. . .

The pattern is Hodge. Yarn is a no-longer-labeled sock yarn that was in my collection and available. Finished weight (booties, not baby!) 20 grams.

Friday, February 27, 2015

It's been a great winter for knitting

But the first snowdrops are here! Battered and frostbitten, true, but here at last.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Uh oh

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy birthday

Every year on this day [posted a day later than planned -- January 24 is the official date] I leave a present on friend S's porch so she will be greeted by it when she leaves the house. This year, with nasty weather and the date falling on a Saturday, I didn't know how early that will be. So I tiptoed over right after midnight and left it well wrapped in plastic (we are having a Winter Weather Event -- involving every form of precipitation you can name, all of them cold and wet).

I decided last August to use up some of my random skeins of Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica making the Four Seasons Throw. I knit in individual blocks rather than strips because I wasn't sure what colors I'd ultimately use. If you have a chance to plan ahead, I'd definitely urge you to go with the strip technique!

By about block 3, I realized that S might really like this. She is a person who appreciates wool, so a good target. I finished all the knitting by November. And then, suddenly, on Tuesday of this week I realized I'd only sewn two blocks together and the birthday deadline was imminent. It's amazing how well I work with a deadline. . .

Thursday, January 8, 2015

a little warmer now

I won't be getting any points for originality when I mention that it's kind of cold today -- 12 degrees Fahrenheit at 9 this morning (Celsius folks, that is minus 11 for you). Which has finally made me put these things in a box and send them off to Maine, where they will be distributed at a shelter. I'm a little cold right now -- but I am inside my house, with more warm clothes to put on, and a way to make hot food and drinks, and I have never, not even once, had to live with the realization that I couldn't keep my kid warm. Except for the two hats, these things are toddler- and kid-sized, and they need to get on up there fast.

Friday, January 2, 2015

First project completed in 2015

Of course, that doesn't mean the project was started in 2015 -- I'm not sure, but I think these have been hanging around since 2013. One strand Lamb's Pride worsted, one strand miscellaneous sock yarn. I couldn't decide whether I liked them or thought they were hideous. My sister liked them a lot, and I came around to agreeing with her -- so I finished them today while we had coffee and handed them right over. I love stealth presents. . .

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January 1. Again.

Well, here we are, as has become customary, on the first day of the year. It's hard to believe that today is the fifth birthday of this very sporadic blog. And guess what? This year there is no plan. We aren't knitting to topic, we aren't knitting for a specific organization. . . we're just knitting. You can count on that. We hope that the absence of pressure will lead to more blog posts!! Of course, we'll continue to contribute to afghans for Afghans whenever there's a chance, and we'll do other stuff too -- it's just that none of it is Required this year.

In honor of the idea of beginning the year as you mean to go on, I have, indeed, cast on a new pair of socks. . . I hope you will join me.

Friday, December 19, 2014


I only knit simple things when I take the train.  But this was a Christmas emergency, so I took it with me and raced the ball of yarn to the finish line. Fortunately, I won this time:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Half a dozen is better than none

We've had frost here the last two mornings, uncharacteristically early in the season. If it's that cold here, it seems unlikely that it's warmer 400 miles north of here, so these mittens set off in a box this afternoon:

All from stash yarn. The color is a little washed out -- the second from right is actually a rich rust, not pink at all. From left to right: red Bartlett yarn;  Lorna's Laces DK millends (ca. 2001) held double; 3 pairs in a row of Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool, now a thing of the past (sigh); and 1 strand red and 1 strand blue held together of something from Knitpicks, also acquired a long time ago.

I had hoped to send twice as many pairs, but . . . so much more knitting than time! Winter is hardly over, and if I finish the pairs currently in progress, there will be another small box quite soon. The Maine Mitten Project does such good work. 

I've just cast on a pair bigger than I usually make for some big guy who's having a rough year and never gets anything that fits. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Uh oh

Oh dear. We have not been very good about posting. And we have not been very good at following our schedule for the year, with each month holding a different "assignment" for the Maine Mitten Project. I did send off quite a bit to afghans for Afghans, though, and that's important too. We get one, maybe two, chances per year to get warm things to Afghanistan in time for that year's winter, so it has to be done then; I can get stuff to Maine in two days any time I choose to swing by the post office. (I love my post office.)

But here we are, September 1. And even though we had Philadelphia's finest (ugh) summer weather today -- no, that's not true; it was a mere 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) and only around 80% humidity, so it could have been far worse -- that means cold weather is coming to the North very soon! I am going to dismiss the rest of our carefully designed schedule and just try to knit a bunch more mittens, hats, and socks. I will send what I've finished on October 1, so they are there when they are needed, and then send whatever else I've managed to finish on November 1 and December 1 (or a week after if there's something that is SOOOOOOO close that it can be finished in a hurry).

And if Pat and I can manage to get in the same place at the same time, we will mail together -- otherwise, we will do a synchronized sendoff.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

a stashbuster

At one point, some years ago, every time I went into a yarn store I would buy a skein of Manos del Uruguay's Wool Clasica. Sorting through my vast holdings, I've discovered that I have quite a bit of it. . . I have sorted it into a couple of blankets and a sweater (and maybe a second sweater), but there are still some skeins that don't go anywhere in particular. I looked for a hat pattern that would take just one skein, and found one that works -- I knit it up today to make sure there was enough yarn.

The pattern is the Basic Men's Toque, and you can download it free via Ravelry.

I knit 7 inches, not 6, before the crown shaping, and still had quite a bit left over. Next time I may knit some extra inches to make a fold-up brim, although I do like the way this pattern has you work the first two inches with a smaller needle, providing some subtle shaping.

This hasn't been washed or blocked (although it is a lumpy bumpy yarn so will probably look much the same), and it definitely looks better on a person than laid flat. It's a fine project for a car ride or an outdoor concert or when instant gratification is needed.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

back in action

Today was the deadline for submissions to afghans for Afghans, so we are done with that diversion and can turn our attention once more to the Maine Mitten Project. I just cast on using two strands of Lorna's Laces millends sport weight that I must have bought 10 years ago:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

uh oh

Yes, my production is falling way off schedule. In June we were supposed to knit adult mittens for the Maine mitten project, and in July the target was teens.

As always, I have an excuse. . . afghans for Afghans currently has two projects going. One is the June Baby Shower--just one month to collect tiny socks and hats (wool) for children aged birth to one year.  And there's another to gather hats, socks, and mittens to fit sizes for age 7 years on up to adult. The due date for those is currently listed as July 3.

We can get things to Afghanistan two or three times a year (if we're lucky). I can get things to Maine in two days, all year round. So Maine -- I will be back! And I'll knit double for you starting right after the A4A deadline. (And it still won't be cold, so I don't feel too neglectful.) Meanwhile, I need to take advantage of the chance to get things halfway around the world to another place where they are badly needed, and they'll get there before winter.

Friday, May 30, 2014

April Fool's?

I have to admit when I read your April post I was stunned.  I, too, had only one mitten with no thumb knit in the entire month of April.  What was I doing, what was I thinking and you my knitting hero, say it ain't so!  I was so surprised to be in the same boat as you.

I promised myself I would get teenager mittens done in May but instead I cast on a sweater for me and a hat for my daughter.  I'm hoping that June finds me knitting for folks less fortunate.  I am a bad knitting buddy!

Thursday, May 1, 2014


I blame the weather. Don't we all?

April's "assignment" was to knit mittens for small kids. I knit one (it still needs the thumb) and the cuff of the second. That's it. There was an 1160.1 (but who's counting?) road trip to North Carolina, and a day in New York, and a whole bunch of cold days and a birthday and. . . a bunch of stuff. But that mitten and a half didn't make much of a dent in the 200-g ball of yarn I'd hoped to use up. . .

May is mittens for teens. Guess theirs will be variegated blue wool as well!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

3 x 3

I interpreted the 3 colors, 3 things requirement a different way (the intention was to leave it WAY open to interpretation). I used all 3 colors in all 3 things and had a lot of fun with it:

The two pairs on the left will fit a large woman; the pair on the right (with the skinny stripes at the top) will fit a very large man's hand. Big guys get down on their luck too, and it's probably not that often that they find something big enough.

Even in Maine, cold weather will soon be coming to an end. So these will go in the box and I'll mail them out in October so they are ready when the need first arises.

Pictures of February's red mittens soon to come. The knitting is done, but the photographer is behind schedule.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Three Colors and Three Things

March is coming to a close.  I  love the phrase "in like a lion, out like a lamb" but this month we've gotten all lion with no lamb.  It's pouring down rain today and the best the weatherman could say is that it's not snow!  Enough said about the weather.

I knit three hats all in worsted weight wool.  Three different colors and two different styles, two regular roll brim (keep those ears warm hats) and one beanie because my kids tell me "everyone" wants a beanie.  I love knitting hats as they are small, portable projects just big enough to keep you going for a short while very mindlessly.  In the winter here, in NYC and in Maine you need a hat to keep you warm.  Don't ask for the pattern as they are just plain knitting without instructions.  Size 7 needles, cast on 80-some stitches and knit till it's deep enough... cast-off by dividing the stitches by a number and knitting two together till you have the top of a hat.

Thanks again to Glass Head for modeling so patiently!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

3 x 3

Good morning, everybody -- it is March!! This month's challenge, because March is #3, is as follows:

use 3 colors, and make 3 things. (Two mittens counts as one thing, alas.) I foresee small sizes. . .

I finished one pair of red mittens and have just thumbs for the second for the February challenge. Picture tomorrow, perhaps.

With yet another snowstorm bearing down on the Midatlantic region, knitting is definitely in the forecast!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter's not quite over

Perhaps you've heard that there's been a bit of snow here in the East this year. . .

And snow means shoveling. Our next-door neighbors beat us to it almost every time. To show my appreciation:

Maine wool from Bartlett yarns: Mountain Green with Dark Red Heather, and Lupine with Aqua Heather.

With more cold weather expected this week, I was just in time.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A 4-Thumb Night

With as much snow as we've had here in Southeastern Pa this past month, I've been trapped in the house surprisingly often.  This has forced me to read a great many books as well as watch some interesting Netflix shows, play with my camera and knit.  So far this week alone I've knit three pairs of mittens.  I showed a pair yesterday for Valentines Day but hadn't done the thumbs on the other two pairs.  Thumbs tend to be so fiddly that I put them off and then what happens but you've got a bunch of that kind of work to do all piling up.  Argh... the life of a snowbound knitter!

As we settled in last night to watch the first episode of the second season of House of Cards I forced myself to knit those thumbs.  I whipped out three thumbs in an hour, a thumb every 20 minutes seems reasonable but is actually sort of slow as it's just not much knit fabric.  With picking up, knitting-in-the-round on a very few stitches and then the decreases and finishing in the threads, it just takes awhile.  On top of all that I had to wait to complete thumb four as we watched a foreign film (Haute Cuisine).  I couldn't fiddly about with a thumb while reading the subtitles.  I guess I'm a good knitter just not a great knitter.

These mittens were knit using Elizabeth's Pattern, size 7 needles and Andes 100% wool yarn.  We are planning on sending these mittens to the Maine Mitten Project unless something more urgent arises.  These photos are pre-wash and blocking.  Knitting buddies, stop giving me the Edvard Munch Scream look, I know, I'll go do it now!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Red Mittens

I believe the challenge for this month was red...

The color red is hard to photograph.  I hope you can see it on your computer!

Monday, February 3, 2014


I had yarn left over from the silly hats I made for Christmas presents. I decided to use it up by making more stripey hats to give away:

I had very little left of any of the colors when I finished -- in fact, I had to rip out the green and purple hat several times before I engineered the stripes in such a way that they'd reach all the way to the end.

The yarn was thinner than I'd like -- the hats are bound for Maine so I wanted them to be very warm -- so I held the yarn double. With a cast-on of 72 stitches the knitting went quickly. But this is what confronted me after that!

It felt like weaving in the ends took as long as the actual knitting. Whenever I try to carry the yarn up when I am making stripes, it looks bad and feels lumpy, so this is what I had to do. (Yes, there was one more hat -- the Mission Falls colors seen upper left -- but (1) it refused to give me a decent photograph and (2) it's been claimed by a member of this household.)