On one of my Yahoo groups there has been a discussion about giving knitted gifts and the mixed reaction you often get. Sometimes the recipient smiles, says “Thanks” and then shoves it into a drawer, never to be seen again. Recently I had some very gratifying gift-giving experiences. I was cleaning out my sock drawer and came across several pairs that didn’t fit me too well. I showed them to Abby, and she tried them on and took a pair that fit her well. She wore them all day, washed them and put them right back on again (well, after drying). That’s gratifying! The others I took into work and offered to a co-worker who I know likes knitted items. They fit her perfectly and she promptly put on a pair and wore them all day. Imagine my surprise when I came back from vacation to these:


Beautiful handmade ornaments (they’re reversible) with all my favorite pictures of Izzy, along with a lovely thank you note for the socks. It’s so wonderful to know that your efforts are appreciated. Even in this case when the gifts were more or less second-hand.

And, speaking of socks:


These are KnitPicks free twisted sock pattern (downloaded from their website) made in their “Dancing” yarn in the Rhumba colorway. Don’t you just love those names? These are for my secret pal at work. I don’t know if any of my co-workers read my blog, but even if they do – they don’t know who my secret pal is. Hee hee! So if you’re reading – don’t you just wish you knew if you’re my secret pal? And I have another pair of simple ribbed socks started in the Tap (or is it Ballet?) colorway that I hope will fit me. Ahh – it seems the season of socks has begun.

I’m baaaack! Not without a bit of hassle, however. Due to mechanical difficulties, our flight out of Springfield, Missouri was delayed, causing us to miss our connection to Seattle. So, we ended up with a four hour layover in Dallas. The nice people at American Airlines managed to get us on a flight later in the evening and we ended up home late, but otherwise unscathed. It was amazing to watch the people in line getting irate and taking it out on the people behind the counter. I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer that they not fly a plane with mechanical difficulties.

We spent Thanksgiving in the little town in Missouri where I was born. How little is it you ask? Well, when my husband asked my dad how many people still lived in town, he started counting them off on his fingers and naming them by name. That’s small. Here’s a picture of downtown:


That’s pretty much it. Believe it or not, there’s a terrific restaurant in town – a small cafe really, but they serve the best hushpuppies and catfish on the face of the planet.

And, since there’s not much to do in town, knitting was accomplished:


Why, you may ask are there two socks on the needles? Good question. I started one pair for a unnamed person who I don’t think reads my blog, but you can never be too careful. When I got to the heel, I realized that they were going to be too small for her, so those will be for me and the other pair for her. I’m actually experiencing a renewed interest in sock knitting. Maybe the era of lace is on a hiatus and the era of socks has begun. Stranger things have happened.

And, I leave you with a picture of a hugely attractive group of people. For the first time in 18 years, my whole family was together – my mom and dad, my sister Claudia, myself, and my brothers Mike and Pat! Here’s hoping it won’t take us 18 years to make this happen again!


I’ve been tagged for a meme by Marguerite! I told her this was like getting chosen head cheerleader or getting to sit at the cool kid’s table at school (neither of which EVER happened to me in high school)! So here goes (although please don’t ask me what “meme” means):

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
No contest – Dale Baby Ull. It’s 100% wool and so soft that you can wear it next to your skin. Great for babies and adults. And machine washable, although I don’t.

Your favorite needles?
Addi Turbo circulars – you just can’t have too many pairs, although they’re getting kind of pricey. I also love my Bernat straights. I have two sets, 7″ and 14″ that my husband bought me the first year we were married. Like the marriage, they’re still going strong at 33 years and I use them all the time. The nicest gift he’s ever bought me.

The worst thing you’ve ever knit or crocheted?
This might sound a little arrogant, but I’ve never made anything I didn’t love. Part of that is because I am not afraid to cut my losses and frog! Closest I’ve come? The very first sweater I ever knit – a cardigan in a hideous kelly green (what WAS I thinking?). I don’t think I ever finished it, but I honed my continental knitting skills on it, so it served me well.

Your most favorite knit or crochet pattern? (maybe you don’t like wearing it…but it was the most fun to knit)
My Alice Starmore Flying Geese Gansey. Out of Dale Baby Ull, of course. I loved every minute of knitting this, as I do most Starmore patterns.

Most valuable knitting technique?
Do knit and purl count? I don’t know what else to pick. I can’t think of a single technique that I would choose over any other. They all work together.

Best knit book or magazine?
Once again, Alice Starmore is right up there with “Aran Knitting”. I’ve seen it go for a bundle on eBay, but I wouldn’t sell mine for any price. But I also have to choose “Knitting Without Tears” by Elizabeth Zimmerman. It was the first knitting book I ever bought (I have a first edition!). More than anything else, it taught me to be fearless about knitting and never to be afraid to try something. It taught me that knitting should be fun!

Your favorite knit-a-long?
Uh, don’t have one yet.

Your favorite knitblogs? I’m going to rephrase this one into the three knitbloggers I’d most like to have over for coffee.
Tops is Marguerite at Stitches of Violet. She seems like the kind of person I could happily spend the afternoon with – knitting, talking about our granddaughters and just having a great time. I think we are kindred souls.

Lorette – the Knitting Doctor. We’ve actually met and she is as articulate and fun as her blog. And she’s a doctor! How cool is that? I’m in awe of anyone that smart and dedicated who also knits.

Li at Life’s a Stitch. We’ve also met and had a great time. She’s the first knitblogger I actually met in person and she did not turn out to be an axe murderess as all my friends warned (You’re going to meet someone you met on the internet????). Pretty darn good knitter too.

Your favorite knitwear designer?
Alice Starmore. I find her patterns very knittable and wearable as well. The patterns are clear and are obviously written by some who actually knits! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her and have taken her Fair Isle knitting class (but not actually knit a Fair Isle sweater – I can’t get gauge. Man, that woman knits tightly!). So far I have made 6 of her designs, but unfortunately some were given away before my picture-taking, blogging days.

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)
I going to choose two. One is my Starmore Flying Geese gansey (out of Dale Baby Ull, of course) and my Norwegian sweater. This Norwegian sweater was knit without a pattern, using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s guidelines. I used fingering weight Alpaca! It was a rousing success and gave me an enormous confidence in my abilitiy to improvise and it is a wonderful, wonderful sweater to wear. It was also the first sweater I ever steeked and cut – on fingering weight alpaca. EZ said it was ok.



Memes, I believe, are a little like a pyramid scheme. There’s so many people at the top, but by the time it has trickled down to me, everyone’s done it. So rather than tag anyone, I will encourage anyone reading this who has not done it to have a go and let me know in comments so I can check it out.

And . . . I am officially on vacation as of today. Woo hoo! We fly out Sunday to my parents’ house in Missouri for Thanksgiving. Don’t know if I’ll blog or not. They have internet, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to download pictures. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go figure out what knitting to pack. Everyone knows that’s a lot more crucial than clothing. What to put in the carry on vs. the checked luggage. Are all my scissors and otherwise sharp things out of my carryon? Do I have enough projects???? Are there any yarn stores nearby in case I run out? The list goes on and on!

Apparently I don’t know how to knit properly. My husband wore Aranmor to the store yesterday. When I met up with him he was chatting with a saleslady. When she found out that I knit his sweater she told me that she would be glad to give me some knitting lessons. She took issue with my cast on and cast off. Since the neck ribbing was k2p2, she told me I should have cast off in k2p2. I told her I had and she said, “No, you didn’t.” She then told me she could teach me to cast on and off so that it looked like store bought sweaters. Being the polite, well bred lady that I am, I thanked her very much and beat a hasty retreat.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know I don’t know it all and I do occasionally take classes at my LYS. But I find it incredibly rude for a complete stranger to trash your knitting (so much for knocking ’em dead with my knitwear, huh?). For the record, I know how to cast on and off to make it look store bought. I choose not to because I prefer the hand knit look. So why does her criticism bother me so much?

Just to prove that I CAN TOO knit properly, behold Peacock Feathers.



One hour and a gazillion T-pins later:


And a detail shot:


I highly recommend this pattern (Fiddlesticks Knitting). Dorothy Siemens’ pattern is well written and easy to follow. I made very few mistakes (one is in the center point, but since I made it symetrically, I’m calling it a design feature) and don’t think I did any frogging at all. It took me approximately one month to do. I’m amazed at what I can accomplish when I concentrate on only one or two projects at a time. Next up, a CIC knit and some secret last minute Christmas knitting, then St. Brigid.

Oh, and check out the sidebar. I’m finally getting around to getting together some photo albums. First up, lace projects.

The house is eerily quiet.

You can actually walk through the living room without tripping over baby paraphenalia.

There is no baby slobber on my sweatshirt.

I took my good wool blazer to the cleaner to get the baby spit up off.

I seem to have a lot of time for knitting and studying.

It’s kind of lonely, but things are as they should be. Izzy is with her daddy, who missed her terribly. Abby is with her husband, who missed her terribly. And they’ll be back for Christmas (woo hoo!!). And I see a trip to Orlando in our future. Here’s a picture of Izzy excited about the trip and dressed for traveling:


Yes, it’s dark outside – we had to leave the house at 5:00 a.m.

So, on the way home from the airport I worked on Peacock Feathers and it’s now done!! I still have to block and can hopefully get to that tomorrow. But I must make myself work on my term paper first!

So . . . wanna hear about my harebrained scheme? Of course, my harebrained schemes usually end up creating a lot of work for myself, but I think this will be fun. I wore St. Enda to work the other day and complete strangers commented on how stunning she was (this is my new theory: If you can’t knock ’em dead with your good looks, knock ’em dead with your stunning knitwear). So I got to thinking how great it would be to have a family portrait taken with everyone in Aran knit sweaters. I’m already about a third of the way there – I have St. Enda for me and Aranmor for Bill. I’m not saying they’ll be done anytime soon, but that will also give me time to save up because the photographer I want isn’t cheap. But he does beautiful work and we can go on location to Deception Pass, the bridge on to our island. It is one of the most beautiful and visited places in Washington State.

So . . . next on the agenda is St. Brigid (picture courtesy of Wendy) for Abby. I’ve ordered the yarn and will cast on in January (or sooner if I get impatient, and you know I will). In the meantime I leave with a picture of babies and dogs – can it get any cuter?


Here is the reason I haven’t been posting much lately:


It’s a little difficult to type with a lap full of baby and dog. But, as you can see, we’ve adapted. You do what you gotta do! And we must have priorities. These have been (in order):

1. Go to work (in first place only because I have to).

2. Play with Izzy.

3. Study.

4. Everything else.

So far I don’t think I’ve completely dropped the ball on anything. I still have a job, I’m getting an A in both my classes and my household seems pretty happy. I’ve even gotten in some knitting time. Behold Peacock Feathers:


Right now it looks like an amorphous pile of dental floss, but it’s impossible to spread it out any more. I’m on the next to the last chart and it’s the first chart for which I’ve used markers. I never used to use markers and didn’t even think of it until about a year ago when I first read Wendy’s blog. It was such a “DOH!” moment. I could have saved myself a lot of grief in my lace knitting. I use them conscientiously now – except on this pattern. Up until now there have been so many rows where the markers had to be moved that I eschewed them. However, the pattern is getting more complicated with longer repeats and less need to move them that I figured discretion was the better part of valor and put them in. I’m glad I did – they’ve saved my bacon a couple of times.

And also in the works:


A little sweater for CIC. I had been putting off charity knitting and finally decided the time is now. I really didn’t want to knit little worsted or bulky weight socks – don’t know why but they drive me crazy – little things with large yarn. But I checked and worsted sweaters are needed, so I’m off and running. This is the Wonderful Wallaby pattern by Cottage Creations.

And I will leave you with our first annual Halloween picture. Nana is dressed as a WSU football player – that’s a real jersey from a 250 lb. tight end – it goes down to my knees! Izzy is wearing her little jumper that my friend made for her. What you can’t see is the little trick or treat bag that’s over her shoulder. It remained empty because, well, she’s too young and after all, Nana DOES work for a pediatric dentist!