useful & happy

So I had a lovely email the other day. It seems that an after school program leader has been using the knitting pathfinder I created in grad school as a resource while helping her group of kids learn to knit.

 I’ve been using your page quite a bit lately, while going over knitting basics before the kids dive into their own creations.

They had found another site and wanted to suggest it for knit one, find one. The leader asked if it was possible because the kids would think it was very cool.

I’ve added it to the “Instruction” section with a shout out to them – hope it makes their day … just like they made mine.  :)



Well, they certainly did change a bit in the last few months to a year.  I started a new job, Mr. Booties started a new job, child #1 started a new job and moved, and child #2 quit a job and had some other “learning to be an adult” adventures.

Blogging and knitting definitely suffered as a result.

As far as knitting for this year … I had some grand plans.  Suffice it to say that I’ve scaled those back to manageable levels.  A few baby gifts, a few small things for myself (maybe a cardigan or two) and some gifts for friends in Australia where we’re headed in August for two weeks.  I’ll post separately with an update on projects finished, underway, and planned.

The design front came to a grinding halt too.  Plans for mitts, socks, and some new booties are all on hold.  Hopefully, I’ll have time to work on those through the winter.  I am planning a quick and easy sport-weight scarf to keep me occupied while we’re in Australia.  We’ll see.

Work was wonderful – a very rewarding first year.  The very busy second half of the year was made even busier by the decision to renovate the entire first floor of the library building this summer.  Quite a few projects I had planned were put on the back-burner due to the need to pack, weed, and redistribute furniture in the last month or so of the school year.  I’m looking forward, this summer, to working on some of those projects and to getting workflows and procedures figured out for them.  I do hope next year is a little more settled, but with a newly renovated space, another new librarian coming on board, and my review/evaluation in the fall it will probably just be a different kind of chaos. ;)

work stuff

This is the box with the most pressing stuff in it, packed from my office (which is being demolished) at the end of the year.  The big binder is my new “keep it all in one place” to-do/action list and I hope to get some of the peskier little messes out of the way this summer.


bad …

… blogger … somewhat bad knitter.

Life got busy with a new job and somehow 6 months or so just flew by.  The new job is great, but I just haven’t had the mental energy to keep up with everything.  One of my goals for the new year is to get a little balance back into my life.

Knitting suffered a bit too.  My goal of 11 in 11 (pairs of socks and cabled things) was just barely achieved and only with a little fudging.  One “pair” of socks were these tiny ones …

 tiny socks

Some of the socks were cabled, so they counted for both.  Not exactly what I had in mind initially, but still not too bad.

Some of the socks did double duty on the design front too.  I’m working on two separate cable patterns:

Hugs & Kisses:

hugs and kisses socks

and Manly Hugs:

manly hugs mitts

I’m hoping to have patterns written up and published for mitts and socks for both by the middle of January.  Eventually, I’d like to add a toe-up version to the sock patterns too.

11in11 update

Well, I continue to mess with the master list of eleven cabled items and eleven pairs of socks, buy hey, it’s my list so I can do whatever I want.

For cables, it occurred to me that two hats finished early in the year were actually cabled projects.  Single stitch cables to be sure, but cables nonetheless.  So, I have completed two Travelling Rib Hats, one Rock Creek Hat, and I’m underway with a pair of Hugs & Kisses socks (my own design), and Schmidt vest for The Boy.  That’s three done and two on the needles.  I’d better get moving!

Traveling Rib hatSchmidt vest underway

In the sock stakes, I’ve finished six pairs, and I’ve started the seventh pair (the afore-mentioned Hugs & Kisses).  I also knitted a few tiny socks early in the year.  I’m totally counting those (and any more I whip through) as another pair.  ;)

Tiny socks

Skew socksHiss socks

Hugs & Kisses socks underway

The plan (well, today’s version of it anyway) is to knit at least one more pair of Hugs & Kisses, then I’ll only have two more pairs to do.  I’ll pick two from the revised list to round out the eleven (most likely Raindrops and Cauchy).  For cables, I’ll knit Dashing with my mods (twice, for two giftmas presents), the Hugs & Kisses can double as cable projects, then I’ll need to finish three projects from the revised list (definitely Wall Street Cables and Vivian, and possibly Beatnik, for myself).

Then there’s the Westknits Mystery KAL which starts August 1 (that’ll be a whole blog post by itself, I suspect), and assorted giftmas presents to get through.

Also, I’d really like another cardigan before I start work ….


“Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.”

I wonder what the knitting queue equivalent to this idiom is  … “Your imagined spare time is bigger than your reality” perhaps?

Revisiting the 11in11 idea, I’ve had to apply a little common sense to the two lists.

For eleven pairs of socks, here’s the revised list:

  1. Tracks (Ravelry pattern link), by OzKnitter, in Lion Brand Sock-Ease, Rock Candy – Done!
  2. Globe Trotter Socks (Ravelry pattern link), by Jodie St. Clair, in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Kindling – Done!Globe Trotters Socks
  3. Raindrops, by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks, in Schaefer Yarn Company Heather, in greens (not sure of colour name)
  4. Cauchy, by Cookie A., from Sock Innovation, in Dream in Color Smooshy, Black Parade
  5. Tatu (Try A Toe-Up) (Ravelry pattern link) by Carolyn Kern, in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport Multi – Done!Tatu socks
  6. 100-17 Ribbed Socks in Knit Picks Essential (now called Stroll) Carbon Twist – Done!
  7. Skew by Lana Holden from Knitty, Winter 2009, in Berroco Sox – Underway!
  8. Cable Footies (from One Skein), by Leigh Radford, in Queensland Collection Rustic Wool, Purple
  9. Cable Footies (from One Skein), by Leigh Radford, in Queensland Collection Rustic Wool, MidnightEasy Ribbed socks
  10. Cable Footies (from One Skein), by Leigh Radford, in Queensland Collection Rustic Wool, Denim
  11. Pavo Slipper Socks (from Interweave Knits, Winter 2010), by Chrissy Gardiner, in Knit Picks Stroll, Black Tweed (discontinued colour)

See what I’ve done there?  Yep, I should be able to finish Skew, knock out the four pairs of slipper socks, and make one other pair over the summer while I have plenty of time.  Then, I’ll only have Raindrops and Cauchy to go.  :)

As for the cable part of the challenge … well, that’s seen some slashing as well …

  1. Lia, by Mandie Harrington, from Knitty, Deep Fall 2010, in Queensland Collection Uruguay Chunky, Wisteria – Done! Lia cabled sweater
  2. Twisted Rib Cable Tank, by Angela Hahn, in Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran Cotton, Magenta
  3. Dr. G’s Memory Vest, by Kirsten Kapur, from Through the Loops!, in Cascade 220 Superwash, Lichen
  4. Wall Street Cables, by Kathy Zimmerman, from Arans & Celtics: The Best of Knitter’s Magazine, in Cascade 220 Sport, Navy
  5. Vivian, by Isolda Teague, from twist collective, Winter 2008, in Queensland Collection Uruguay Chunky, Russet – currently hibernating from 2009, it must be finished this year!
  6. Rock Creek Hat, Nicole Rheese, Knitty, Winter 2011 – a quickie, and done!Rock Creek hat
  7. Beatnik, by Norah Gaughan, from Knitty, Deep Fall 2010, in madelinetosh tosh vintage, Celadon
  8. Cable Footies (from One Skein), by Leigh Radford, in Queensland Collection Rustic Wool, Purple
  9. Cable Footies (from One Skein), by Leigh Radford, in Queensland Collection Rustic Wool, Midnight
  10. Cable Footies (from One Skein), by Leigh Radford, in Queensland Collection Rustic Wool, Denim
  11. Pavo Slipper Socks (from Interweave Knits, Winter 2010), by Chrissy Gardiner, in Knit Picks Stroll, Black Tweed (discontinued colour)

See what I’ve done there?  Yep, it’s called doubling up for the sake of necessity.  Cheating?  Never.

eleven in eleven

(aka the “Happy New Year’s” post)

The first knitting plan for 2011 is to do a self-imposed sock club (a la the Yarn Harlot’s of 2010) to finish 11 pairs of socks in the year.  Mine will be a little less random as I’ve matched patterns and yarns to planned recipients.  Should be some ready-made Christmas presents at the end of it all!  Here are the pattern and yarn pairings (recipients shall remain nameless for now):

  1. Retro Rib Socks, by Evelyn A. Clark, from Favorite Socks, in Knit Picks Essential (now called Stroll), Ash Tweed (discontinued colour, I think)
  2. Simplicity, by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks, in Lion Brand Sock-Ease, Rock Candy
  3. Raindrops, by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks, in Schaefer Yarn Company Heather, in greens (not sure of colour name)
  4. Cauchy, by Cookie A., from Sock Innovation, in Knit Picks Essential (now called Stroll) Carbon Twist (another discontinued colour, I think)
  5. Jelly Beans, by Maureen Clark, from Green Mountain Spinnery, in Knit Picks Imagination Hand Painted, Wicked Witch
  6. Leyburn Socks, by MintyFresh at pepperknit, in Dream in Color Smooshy, Black Parade
  7. Red Thread Socks, by Cookie A., in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Magnificent Meadow & The Red Thread
  8. Undulating Rib Socks, by Ann Budd, from Favorite Socks, in Knit Picks Felici, Putty
  9. On-Your-Toes Socks, by Ann Budd, from Interweave Knits, Summer 2007, in Lion Brand Sock-Ease, Toffee
  10. Coupling, by Deb Barnhill, from Knitty, Summer 2007, in Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah, Bronze
  11. Trilobite Socks, by Wendy D. Johnson, from Socks from the Toe Up, in Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy Socks, Panama

The second part of the plan is to make eleven cabled things.  I haven’t finalized this list yet; it will be made up of things for myself and gifts for other people’s birthdays, etc., as well as finishing one long overdue and hibernating project.  Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Lia, by Mandie Harrington, from Knitty, Deep Fall 2010, in Queensland Collection Uruguay Chunky, Wisteria
  2. Beatnik, by Norah Gaughan, from Knitty, Deep Fall 2010, in madelinetosh tosh vintage, Celadon
  3. Shredder Pullover, by Jennifer Hagan, from “Interweave Knits, Winter 2009,” in Ella Rae Classic Chunky Superwash, Mulled Wine Heather
  4. Alan, by Berroco Design Team, in Cascade 220 Superwash, Cordovan
  5. Sweet Eleanor, by Wendy Neal, in Filatura Di Crosa Baby Zarella, pink
  6. Twisted Rib Cable Tank, by Angela Hahn, in Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran Cotton, Magenta
  7. Dr. G’s Memory Vest, by Kirsten Kapur, from Through the Loops!, in Cascade 220 Superwash, Lichen
  8. Wall Street Cables, by Kathy Zimmerman, from Arans & Celtics: The Best of Knitter’s Magazine, in Cascade 220 Sport, Navy
  9. Vivian, by Isolda Teague, from twist collective, Winter 2008, in Queensland Collection Uruguay Chunky, Russet
  10. Unsure yet
  11. Unsure, but possibly a design I’ve been working on for cabled, fingerless mitts – if this works out, everyone will probably get a pair in their Christmas stockings

Underway at the moment:

Lia, which is knitting up at an appealingly rapid rate:

Lia sweaterMy test Traveling Rib hat, which is full of mistakes, but will still probably look okay, and which has taught me all kinds of things about the pattern:

Traveling Rib hatAnd, just cast on, the first pair of socks, Retro Rib:

Retro Rib socks

year of scarves update #10

Tenth and final update on the Year of Scarves.  It worked out pretty well and the final count is twelve scarves (or shawlettes) for 2010.  Having a goal of getting one done each month (even if I didn’t actually stick to that timetable) really proved a good incentive.  Having graduation, birthday, and Christmas gifts ready to go was also an excellent carrot for this donkey.

The final contenders in the YoS were these two:

Un_Noro striped scarfUn-Noro striped scarf

Both done in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (discontinued) for fast, machine-washable, and warm winter scarves.  For the ungrateful one and the boyfriend for Christmas.  I love this pattern and I’d do it again in a heartbeat with the right yarn.

In the Christmas knitting stakes, I’m not doing too badly with my original, and somewhat unrealistic, list.  Here’s what is already done:

Cabled coffee coziesDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsHive striped mittsChunky knitted beret


  • Jackson’s dead fish hat (just waiting for eyes) – pattern from Knitty
  • Miss Bella’s Arrrgyle dog coat – Bernat’s I-Matey Dog Coat pattern (more about this below)

Still on the crazy person goal items list:

  • Three hats (the architect, the boy, and the boyfriend)

Doing the three pairs of Dashing mitts gave me the time to ponder some modifications to the pattern.  I wanted the cables to twist in the direction of the hand worn (i.e. left-leaning cables for the left hand and right-leaning for the right), I wanted to add another cable round, but only on the top of the mitt – not on the palm, and I wanted a thumb gusset which grew out of one of the cables.  My mods are available on my Dashing page.  Doing this has been a spur to designing my own cabled mitts pattern.  I’m hoping to get these done for the ungrateful one for Christmas, but I probably will have to knit another pair after that to iron out any kinks in the pattern before I publish it.

The dog coat for Miss Bella is based on a Bernat pattern which is, by all accounts on Ravelry, atrociously written.  I’m going to nut it out somehow because I’d like to include something for that sweet and silly dog in the Christmas package, but I’m subbing in an Argyle pattern from Knitty (Mangyle) instead of the skull.  If I figure out the basic structure, I’ll be in good shape to rewrite the pattern next year and make her a custom Steelyard dog coat.  :)

I may do Mangyle down the track for the boy.  He’s hankering after an Argyle vest for some reason.

year of scarves update #9

Getting close to the end!

phoebe's un-Noro striped scarf
This is the ungrateful one’s (or her boyfriend’s) un-Noro scarf in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee. She wanted something in these colours and I was lucky enough to find plenty of each colour from two different Ravelers. One of them kindly sent an extra skein in a different colour and the girl has already knit herself a scarf out of it with some DIC Classy leftovers scavenged from my stash. All I have to do now is get her beyond garter stitch and she’ll be over on the dark side with the rest of us. ;)

That’s the second last scarf this year (I’ll knit another the same for Chris for Christmas), so the total will be 12 for the year.  Not exactly one each month as far as when they were knitted, but it averages out that way.  :)

As far as other knitting goes … well, it is the end of November so the manic Christmas knitting is in full swing.  Here’s what I plan to knit between now and December 24th (crazy person goal items are in italics):


  • Un-Noro for the ungrateful one: underway
  • Un-Noro for the boyfriend: next


  • Jackson’s “Alive, alive-O!” fish hat; underway except that I apparently live in some kind of alternate reality where 0.2 of a skein of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in black is enough to do all the black stripes.  Alas, I’ve had to order more from KP, which necessitated buying just over $50 worth of stuff total to get the free shipping.  ;)
  • Botanic for Wright: done!
  • Super-simple fast & easy chunky hand-knit beret for the ungrateful one: I will have enough of the Moda Dea Tweedle Dee left to do one of these in gray, I think.
  • Botanic (I think) for the boyfriend
  • Botanic (again!) for the architect
  • Botanic (I should be able to knit this in my sleep by now) for the boy


  • Dashing in machine wash and dry Wool-Ease for the architect: underway
  • Hive Mitts for our stupendous student aide at work (yarn ordered as part of KP “must get just over $50″ shopping spree)
  • Dashing (ditto machine wash & dry) for the boyfriend
  • Dashing (ditto care and knitting in sleep) for the boy
  • As yet unknown pattern for the ungrateful one


So, that’s only 2 more scarves, 5 hats, 5 pairs of mitts, 1 dog coat, and 2 coffee cozies to go, right?

Oh, and the Chiral cardigan I’ve done a gauge swatch and bought buttons for.  The buttons are just beautiful.

Argyle pattern pewter buttonsThey’re lead-free pewter in an Argyle pattern from Roosterick on etsy.  Not only are they lovely, but they come beautifully packaged, so they’d make great gifts for other knitters.

Oh, and finishing the ungrateful one’s blanket in time for her 21st a few days after Christmas.  Thankfully, that’s nearly done.  I’m halfway around the i-cord edging and it moves along pretty quickly.
i-cord edging on blanketWe won’t even mention the work I have to do for the final hours of my internship and the paper yet to be written.

Or the Maryjanes booties I took an order for yesterday …

year of scarves update #8

Well, the year is winding down and I may actually make it (remember the goal?  A scarf for everyone as a gift this year?).

I got Mum’s done just in time and it turned out beautifully.  I really like the Moda Dea Bamboo Wool.  Too bad Moda Dea seems to have disappeared.

Pattern: Fishtail Lace Scarf (from Knit Picks)
Yarn: Moda Dea Bamboo Wool

The architect is still an “architect” – but that’s another long story for another day.  His scarf is underway.  He knows he’s getting it and is already bugging me about whether or not it’ll get done in time.  *sigh*  It’s in Malabrigo Worsted which is like knitting with butter.  :)

I got the yarn for the ungrateful one’s scarf through a couple of Ravelry people.  She saw Zach’s and decided that she wanted the same kind of thing.  I *hated* the yarn I did Zach’s in (and I’m worried about the time factor), so I’ve got some Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (super bulky) lined up in the kind of colours she wanted.  I’ve actually got so much of it that, if I have time, I’ll do one for her boyfriend too.  He missed out on the “year of scarves” as his birthday is in February and I didn’t know about it until after then.  If I get both scarves done, I’ll give them to them for Christmas.  The yarn is pretty and should stand up to hard wear and tear I hope.

The prototype versions of the  MaryJanes booties nearly killed me, but I think I’ve finally got the kinks wrestled out of the pattern.  I just need to finish the final pair I’m knitting now and remember to take some pics of the critical/tricky bits in the pattern.  I should be able to get that done by the end of next week.  They’re coming out well.  Pics to come in another post.

A couple of other things started – two are secrets until December (and may remain that way forever if they don’t get finished) and the other is a Chiral cardigan from Interweave Knits, Fall 2010.  I’m doing it in Patons Classic Wool Tweeds on a whim.  So far I’ve only managed the gauge swatch, so no pics on that either.

year of scarves update #7

So, far from having all the spare time in the world now that I’m down to just the 2-credit internship to go, I’m swamped with work.  It might have something to do with still not being very good at saying no.  It’s a subject for another blog post though.

In the year of scarves, I’m still on track!  I finished the boy’s un-Noro scarf just in time for his birthday and I think he might actually like it!

un-noro striped scarfI’m at least 2/3 done with Mum’s Fishtail Lace scarf, but I need to rev up the pace to get it done and blocked before her birthday.

fishtail lace scarfI finally settled on patterns for the architect’s (Here and There Cables) and the ungrateful one’s scarves (Ruffles), so I can get started on those soon.

In the meantime, I finally got around to the two pairs of Shake Your Sockies booties requested by my boss for friends.  I got some lovely yarn at Knitty City when we were in the city the weekend before last and the booties are done, just waiting to be seamed.

preemie baby bootiesAnother big push will be finishing the ungrateful one’s blanket in time for her 21st.  Thankfully the weather is finally getting cooler, so I can work on that comfortably at night.

sock yarn blanket