Monday, December 31, 2007

Ellen Pattern

Need a neck warmer to keep the chill away but light enough to wear indoors? Ellen's your gal. Here are the specs; email me if you need more info or assistance.

Finished size after blocking: 18" x 5.5"
Yarn: 1 skein of Karabella Aurora 8 (100% extra fine Merino wool, 98yds)
Gauge: 18 stitches = 4" in stockinette
Needles: US size 8 16" circular or size to obtain gauge, size 10.5 needle for stretchy bind off.

This is a basic cable and eyelet pattern knit in a multiple of 11 stitches + 1. I added 3 extra stitches to create a flat panel to sew decorative buttons on , which is optional.
The cable is over 6 stitches: 6sc ( slip 3 to cable needle and hold to the back, k3, k3 from needle).

Cast on 81 stitches and join in the round. Knit 2 rows of garter stitch. Begin pattern as follows:

1. K4, * k1, yo, k2tog, k4, ssk, yo, k2* (repeat pattern between asterisks to the end)

2. K all

3. K4, * yo, k2tog, k6, ssk, yo, k1*

4. K

5. K4, * k1, yo, k2tog, k4, ssk, yo, k2*

6. K

7. K4, * yo, k2tog, 6sc, ssk, yo, k1*

8. K

Repeat these 8 rows for 4.5" or to preferred length.

Work 2 rows of garter stitch.

Bind off.

Lightly steam block to reduce the curling.

I hope you enjoy this pattern. This can be knit in a few hours and worn immediately. If you are like me, you may not want to take it off.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hey Howdy Hey

7 pairs in 7 weeks
Just a quick post to show off my Big Secret Gift knitting. The recipients seemed pleased and I am yet again victorious in defending the world against cold toes. Hope you all got everything on your wish lists and had a few memorable moments thrown in the mix. I had the opportunity to laugh until I cried a few times and that is what makes a good gathering for me. So, thank you to everyone who made me laugh this week. I treasure you more than you know. I'll be back again next week after I have found a place for every new toy in my children's rooms. Seriously, it will take the whole week. Happy New Year!
ps-check out these handwarmers, too cute!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.
Isak Dinesen

Thank you for the kind comments about Ellen. If you'd like the pattern let me know, I'm happy to share.

The December solstice and holiday festivities are almost upon us. The next few days are the last push of the year, for many of us the craziest days of preparations. This time is usually so chaotic and stressful we forget what we are really preparing for. We have been celebrating in many ways the return of the light for the past few weeks, preparing for a rebirth in our lives whether it be spiritual or secular. I hope you find your light again, friends.

I hope you all find your path without much stumbling, that your hearts can be full even though you may feel alone, and that we can all bear each other up as we go into the unknown of a new year shedding the previous year's worries for they really are so small.

Keep compassion in your heart as you hold the hands of your children, the hands of your dying, the memories of those lost or astray, and the loved ones you visit. You will have been all of these things in the end.

I am on blog holiday for the next week or so. Safe travels and Happy Holidays to you all!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Inspired by Veronik Avery's lovely Chevron Neck Warmer, I knew I wanted to knit one. I live in a milder climate so I designed mine to be cozy enough to keep chilly breezes off my neck without suffocating me indoors. I am calling this Ellen, for a most intriguing literary character, Countess Ellen Olenska. She defied convention as stylishly as a neck warmer full of holes.

Pattern: Ellen (my own design)

Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8 color 1350

Needles: US # 8 for body and 10.5 for bind off

I knit a generic cable and eyelet pattern in the round, leaving a 4 stitch stockinette panel (shown in top photo) in one spot where I'll add decorative buttons later. The neck warmer measures 18 inches in circumference and about 5 inches tall. I lightly steam blocked to keep the edges from rolling inward. I knit this over the course of a normal day watching the kids, so without interruption I would guess this could be knit in a few hours.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Did I miss it??

Apparently I missed the news. Seems the hordes of holiday shoppers all converging en masse at the local big box jarred the earth ever so slightly, causing our world to tilt even more on its axis. Scientists concur the Earth is now rotating at 24.073 degrees rather than the normal 23 degrees. The immediate effects of this orbital shift have been evidenced in small town Alabama where winter and spring decided to take a vacation and summer volunteered to come back for awhile. The lasting effects of this shift are unknown but can cause motherly crankiness since she has to dig in storage for little t shirts while getting a mean case of frizzy hair. Winter, please come back. I need you.

Little Man climbed to the top of the McD's outdoor playground and decided he was stuck. I sent up 4 children to get him down but he insisted I was his only means to safety. I squeezed my way to the top. We touched ground to the sound of applause from seven kids and a half dozen construction workers. Thank you, thank you very much.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Daily Life

I know many regular visitors to my corner of the blogiverse are knitters. Knitters looking for a progress pic or at the very least some yarn. I have been so wrapped up in Big Secret Gifts (as I am sure we all are now) that I haven't stopped to do much of anything else. I thought I'd share a typical day for me now. The sock being knit in the photos is a gift, but if you think it's for you, you are wrong.

Little Man makes my coffee so I can keep knitting.

Miss A braves the five sharp needles for a hug.

Yup, here too.

Sweet dreams little sock.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Girl Crush

Sandra of I May Be Knitting A Ranch House commented about my crush on Elizabeth Klett of A Mingled Yarn. This is no laughing matter. I really do have a huge girl crush on her knitting, sewing, and audio book recording. She is one of those rare individuals that seems to have an effortless Midas touch. She made her own winter coat. How could I not be smitten?

This got me thinking about my crushes. Since George Clooney is kind of thin and tired looking these days and my love for Paul Newman's broody character in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is as contextual as my love for Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday, my recent crushes have been on crafty artists and their wares. So without further ado, I present my crushes for December 2007:

1. Anything created by Emily Martin of inside a black apple. This is a print called Sylvie, for sale with many more amazing prints in her Etsy shop. Ms. Martin is in Athens, Georgia and I may have to go visit my cousins there so I can stalk her. Just kidding. Kind of. Her art calls my name. Some of my favorites include Sylvie, The Little Knitter, Lucy on a Windy Day, and Lunar Valentine. Go support her today.

2. Next up is this little knit hat by Franklin Habit. So cute it hurts. He got this right- sweet without being sickeningly so. Mr. Habit has promised to offer the pattern soon, so be on the look out.

3. My big crush on ergonomic design is no secret. I drink mostly coffee and tea so my Hubby, being so dear, bought me this mug from Miam Miam. I love this like no other material thing. Every sip from this mug is a gift. Check out the other fab designs. The company has a great philosophy and attention to the need for beauty in the everyday.

4. Lastly is my decade long crush on this woman. Isn't Nigella beautiful? I was addicted to her TV program back when I had cable and free time. Her recipes are delicious. I believe a biscuit and a hug from her could cure anything that ails you.

What do you have a crush on?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Trial and Error

For the past few days I have had a sewing project brewing in the back of my mind. Right there, behind doctor's visits, an unexplained black eye on Little Man, and loads of laundry, a quick sock project bag was being born in my imagination. So when LM decided to play blocks and trains all by himself, I seized the opportunity to blow several months of dust from my sewing machine.

This is the final product. Very easy to put together, but too small and the handles aren't centered. I am not discouraged. I always need a test dummy since I hate to sew directly from a pattern. Ok, truthfully, I hate to spend money on sewing patterns, so I make them up as I go. The next one of these will have a few modifications.

First the size. My sock projects fit in here fine, but I am currently knitting from a skein rather than a cake. I fear a cake wouldn't fit. I would like to fold the top over like a lunch bag. The sides are pressed in like a paper bag already. The handle would go on top of the flap rather than in the back.

My favorite part: pear recycled from the wool skirt that never really fit but I was wearing when Hubby proposed to me.

Also on my mind:

Check out the Lady Knits blog, she is destashing some nice items.

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton is available now on LibriVox. Elizabeth Klett reads this one and so far my Christmas wish is that she records a hundred more audio books for me (us) to enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I have fallen prey to a crafty sickness. The virus had remained dormant and nearly forgotten until I saw this, this , and this. Go ahead, look but come right back or the bug will get you too! Oh how could I not want to make the perfect Advent calendar that would, in all of it's handmade goodness, impart a magical cheer and mirth upon my family that would withstand even the most concentrated holiday crankiness?

I took heavy inspiration from Megan's joke calendar. Armed with craft paper, scissors, and yarn, I set out to make the aforementioned calendar of wonder and awe.

About three minutes into the cutting, writing jokes on each ornament, and tying knots, reality set in. The kids fell apart over who could hold the scissors, why I wouldn't share the jokes all at once, and well, everything. I finished the project about seven hours later. We laughed at the jokes as we hung them all at once on the tree rather than one a day like I had planned. Planning. Fatal mistake in Mom terms. Should only plan ahead snacks and diapers, not traditions.

I was a bit bummed until I read this post by Left -Handed Housewife. I laughed out loud over the first sentence, then cried a little through the rest, and ended up smiling and contented that I am not alone in this madness, and I will do this to myself all over again next year. Thanks for the perspective Frances.

This makes it all worth it: