Friday, December 26, 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The second day of Christmas was a Norman Rockwell type day at the Loo Family house. We started the morning with fresh baked gingerbread and coffee and I knit.

In the afternoon, Moma and I had tea and biscuits while we watched Christmas In Connecticut. And we knit.
In the evening, Moma and my darling brother (of the [not so] fingerless gloves) started to cook a lovely dinner of pork tenderloin, potatoes with brussel sprouts and mushroom bread pudding. And I knit.

We had cocktails by the tree while we listened to Christmas music. And I needed mine to knit.
I hope your holidays have been as picturesque.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Striped Christmas Stocking
by Sara Lucas and Allison Isaacs

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Perfect World

I see a world where there's a room full of yarn and everyone you meet is interested in whether you knit that sleeve flat or in the round and you have time to sit and knit from breakfast thru dinner. No one bats an eye when you pull out your knitting at the local tavern and they're only staring because they're envious of that hand-dyed merino wool you're petting and want to know where you picked that up. This world is where the greatest fiber arts minds gather and pass on their love and knowledge of all things knit. On the first weekend of November 2008, this world existed in Stitches East.
I was fortunate enough to accompany Moma to Stitches East this year in Baltimore. It was my first knitting convention. I found it comforting, daunting, and exciting all at the same time. It was quite comforting to be amoung "my own kind, " daunting to see a room full of yarn which meant a lot of difficult decisions and exciting to be surrounded by so much...knitting (knitting people, knitted garments, knitting accessories). But, armed with my list of upcoming projects, a map of the convention center and my class list, I was ready.
I had a full class load. Not surprisingly, my 2 favorites were classes where I got to finish projects:

Entrelac Basics with Gwen Bortner where I finished this felted cup holder

and Knitting with Wire with Nancie Wiseman where I finished this bracelet.

An extended weekend with nonstop knitting, finished projects and discounted yarn purchases is my kind of utopia.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Somebody's Baby

I've found yet another benefit of knitting for babies - PICTURES!! When I knit for friends, I ask (beg) for pictures of them wearing the finished product, but I have a difficult time obtaining the picture. However, these same friends LOVE to send me pictures of their precious offspring, so I've had a better rate of return on that front.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

That's What Friends Are For

Like most knitters, I have non-knitter friends who want to experience the delight of handknits (aka asking you continually when you're going to make them a scarf, a hat, gloves, a hammock, etc.) I must admit that I'm lucky because my group of non-knitter friends make fantastic, though sometimes impatient, guinea pigs. They also challenge me in more ways than just knitting.

In September, a friend sent me an email with this link and an order for 3 headbands. Look at it! People are charging money for this???? It's super simple....or it should have been, but I was trying to use leftover Cascade Fixation which was too elastic-y. Once I switched yarn to Stacy Charles Victoria (which I randomly found on sale) and realized that everyone else’s heads were smaller than mine, BlackLikeOurSouls Headbands were born.

Around the same time, another friend's hands got cold. She begged and begged and even went with me on a trip to Austin, TX, so she got Progressive Gloves in Steinbach Wolle Strapaz. I'd been wanting to knit this pattern for forever. Both the pattern & yarn were delightful. If I make them again, I may change the thumb placement though. It just kind of comes out of nowhere & I think I prefer a gusset-y type thumb.

Luckily, I had a chance to test that thought because the cold was catching & another pair of gloves was needed. I was feeling all inspired by Stitches East so I designed a pair of gloves for yet another friend. I went stash diving & found Grignasco Nature in a goes-with-anything camel color. Then I just decided what I liked in a pair of gloves/handwarmers and made that. I must admit that they almost designed themselves. I'm delighted with them. I call them I'm a Little Bit Cold, I'm a Little Bit Rock & Roll.

Finish Line

Just lately, I've encountered several IRL comments about my lack of blogging. Now, have any of you people considered that the reason that I'm not blogging is that I've been finishing....lots of projects?! Some of you seem to think I just sit around all day being my usual charming self, but doing nothing.

Behold! A parade of finished projects:

Another Karlchen Hat

with an improvised sundress
in leftovers

No News

I promise to blog more regularly.
I promise to blog more regularly.
I promise to blog more regularly.
I promise to blog more regularly.
I promise to blog more regularly.
I promise to blog more regularly
I promise to blog more regularly.
I promise to blog more regularly.
I promise to blog more regularly.
I promise to blog more regularly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Holding Out for a Hero

Superman had a cape.
Batman had a utility belt.
Wonder Woman had bracelets.
I finished the 4th heat in these Ravelympics last night while watching Superman in Bryant Park. I'm thrilled! I ended up knitting both bottom and top layers with Debbie Bliss Cathay and just added Ironstone Pizzazz (no link available) as the cast for the bottom layer. I don't generally like novelty yarns, but I had this left over and I think it makes the armwarmers more whimsical. According to several HGTV shows, that's a good thing.
I CO this morning for so you think you can hat by insanknitty. It should be a quick knit easily finishable by Closing Ceremonies on Saturday. Now that I've jinxed myself...I may be calling for Spiderman...or Catwoman...or Dr. Bombay if I run into problems...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hungry Eyes

The Chinese have attempted to thwart my Ravelympics efforts!

This morning I naively CO for Mrs Beeton. Tallulah was sitting beside me with her innocent eyes and angelic demeanor. I was happily trucking along on my 4th entry for Ravelympics when my yarn appeared to snag. I tugged on it a bit to no avail so I looked down to adjust the skein. It was then that I saw the yarn was definitely snagged...IN TALLULAH'S MOUTH. She was merrily chewing on my project gear. I'm relieved to report that I caught her before any real damage was done. Still, my little puglet of Chinese descent has been eyeing my yarn since the incident. I must admit she has good's 15% silk.

Another One Bites the Dust

During these Ravelympics, there's been almost as much knitting as swimming. I've just turned in my 3rd project - this one to the Baby Dressage Event.
The Quickie Baby Sweater was indeed quick. I only made one [unintentional] change to the pattern - the sleeve cuffs are seed stitch instead of ribbed...that's what happens when you knit during the Women's All-Around final. I was a tad concerned that the pattern & yarn combo was resulting in a cheap looking garment. I had visions of those knitted sweaters you sometimes see on tv which were obviously made with love cuz who would knit something that ugly just for fun. Like Nastia Liukin's father during the floor exercises, I was holding my breath during the dismount...I mean cast off. It turns out I was worried about nothing. I'm more than pleased with the results.
I've heard several commentators talk about how the structure of the pool in the Water Cube has contributed to the many World Records the swimmer's have broken during these Olympics. I may have somehow created a similar knitting environment. I'm flying thru my Ravelympics rotations. Tomorrow I'll start my next heat: Mrs Beeton.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who's That Girl?

If you saw someone on the Manhattan bound Q train covered in red wool this morning, that was me. I'm having a little problem with my current WIP. I'll get back to you after I get untangled.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm So Excited!

As I watch Michael Phelps during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, I too am inspired to overachieve. I mean, 10 Olympic Gold Medals - come on!!! Now, how can I reach a similar goal in knitting??..... If I'd been more creative, I would have attempted to finish 10 project with 10 skeins in 10 days or something....I'll have to settle for 5 projects with 11 skeins in 17 days. I've already medaled in 2 Ravelympics events:

Hat Dash

Although I finished it in a day, I endured 3 false starts.
1 I ran out of yarn with a couple of rows to go, so I frogged the whole thing.
2 I only CO 69 sts & cut 2 rows from the band. At the end, it was too short and I had lots of leftover yarn. So, I ribbed it out to the last straight row.
3 I added a couple more straight rows, but ran out of yarn again, so I ribbed back a couple of rows and
4 I K2tog for 2 rows before finishing and had just enough yarn to finish the hat.

Free-For-All FreestyleAn adjustment had to be made to this pattern…due to gauge problems. I ended up CO 40 sts instead of the 28 recommended. Also, I hate knitting with this yarn. I actually tossed the rest after I finished this project.
I'm well into my Baby Dressage entry. It's the Quickie Baby Sweater and it's going ridiculously well.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Horse With No Name

I've been working on my current project for a little longer than I'd like to admit...Ravelry tells me I cast on 14 May...this may the first time I haven't appreciated the wealth of info on Ravelry. I've learned a few things since 14 May. I've learned to read directions carefully otherwise you might knit 72 rows and only increase 2 stitches every 7 rows instead of 4 stitches every 7 rows. I've learned that you and your knitting can be on a train for 20 hours, but you will still only knit about 2 inches of straight stitch. And I learned that weaving in and snipping the ends is trickier than you might think when you are watching So You Think You Can Dance. And now there is a hole in my "Little Sister's Dress." I'll talk about that more later when I recover from the trauma.

I'd like to end on happy note. Tomorrow is WWKIP Day so you'll find me on the Broolyn Museum steps. I will not be knitting "Little Sister's Dress."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

It's A Girl!! Peanut (the wearer of both Ole Miss Baby Ensembles) was born on May 12. I'm very excited about having a new little girl for whom to knit. I pulled out my stash & all my books last night to find the girliest of girly summer wear. I struck GOLD in Knitting For Two (aka Baby Bloom). I'd acquired a few skeins of Rowan 4 ply cotton when Moma traded some stash on Ravelry and it was the perfect gauge for the "Silky Wrap Sweater". I cast on this morning during the ride to work and, when I had a minute, I logged onto Ravelry to "cast on" there. Alas, very few people had made the "Silky Wrap Sweater" and the finished products looked less than stellar. So, I flipped thru Rav to see what knitters HAD made from Rowan 4 ply cotton that did look stellar and I stumbled across "Little Sister's Dress." It's perfect for a new baby living in the TX heat of summer. I've found that dresses are especially good baby-wear because they can become tops as the baby grows. As an added bonus, this dress is knit top-down and is totally seamless. Now, that's my kind of GIRLY FUN!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ooh Ooh Baby

It's that time of year again when babies are popping out all over. They're born naked and it seems to be my job to clothe least for a day. I really like making baby clothes. I get to try out new techniques and there's not as much commitment as in adult-size clothing. Also, there are lots of ooooohhhss and aaaahhhssss over baby stuff....I like that part too.
First up, my knitting-group friend Kelsey had Emerson Jay on April 2. His daddy is a Cleveland Indians fan so I attemped a Baby Baseball Tee in navy & white. I used Rowan Wool Cotton in antique for the body and doubled-up Rowan 4-ply Cotton in navy for the sleeves. The pattern was seriously easy to follow and I'm seriously pleased with the outcome.
Next up, my brother's college-friend Melody was planning the birth of her daughter Izzy and her friends were planning an apropos party. Joe requested a slighty-girly-but-not-in-a-traditional-way gift. Luckily I'd just had a mini-shopping spree at The Point where I'd purchased a few skeins of variegated cotton. I chose a purple/green colorway and used the Cotton Hat pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. At first I wasn't sure I'd like the hat in a variegated yarn, but now I think it looks delightful and fun. Where there are baby hats, there are bootees. I used the leftover yarn from the hat and added some Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton in white for Saarrtje's Bootees. After a trip to M&J and the purchase of lavender purl buttons, these bootees were ready to boogie.
Most recently, the recipient of the Ole Miss baby ensemble was concerned it would be too big to wear home from the hospital. So, I planned Ole Miss baby ensemble #2. First up, I've wanted to make Blu since I first saw it. I purchased Rowan Denim in nashville at the only place in NYC that carried it - Downtown Yarns. The designer calls for changing yarn color for the cuffs, but I opted for dark denim all the way down and I used red instead of orange for the embroidery to match the school colors. This project challenging - the finishing was especially difficult and there were a few tears along the way.
As you can see, my model was going topless, so I searched out a top. I wanted something with a college sweatshirt vibe and along came Daisy. I like the hooded version and the only change I made to the pattern was adding the "M" on the back. Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton in red worked perfectly. I even got to make another trip to M&J for the navy buttons. Now the bear is stylin' & profilin'. Since Peanut is due to be born naked in just a week and a half, I'm relieved that Ole Miss Baby Emsemble #2 is finished and cute.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


In her blog yesterday, The Yarn Harlot (insert Hallelujah Chorus here) wrote about "Inexplicable Knitter Behavior." As usual, her obervations were astute and HI-larious.

On the subway this morning, I realized that a few more people than usual were staring while I was knitting. Ok, well...I wasn't knitting exactly. You know how sometimes you have to double your yarn because you bought the 4-ply instead of the wool cotton and they are very different gauges and then the yarn starts to wind up on itself? (Of course you do.) That was happening to me while I was knitting the sleeves for the Baby Baseball Tee (without mittens or pocket). So, I finished the row, then pushed the twisty part down toward the needles and held the whole thing by the yarn so that sleeve/needles turned round and round untwisting itself - had to do this part in the isle of the subway car where there was room. Then I continued knitting the sleeve. I suppose to the other strap-hangers in my subway car this was inexplicable behavior....but how do they get kinks out of their yarn?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wrap It Up

Sometime in the middle of winter while I was walking to work - after the point where I couldn't feel my earlobes anymore - I decided I needed some sort of hat/scarf combo that would cover my ears too.
I'd seen a few patterns & I even acquired some chunky ice blue wool yarn from Moma's that would look delightful with my new chocolate brown winter coat.
I started out with a pattern from my fave LYS The just didn't look like me. So, I pulled out Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book and set out to make my own pattern. I knew I wanted a large cable up the middle...
and I needed some sort of border so the sides wouldn't roll in...
as well as a border for the hat so it wouldn't roll up.
It came together quite quickly. I call it (W)rap Around Loo.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Way

Things have just not been going my way lately...

First I'll fulfill a promise from my last post. This was a deceptive project. Inspired by *some hat I saw in *some book at Mama's, I decided I could use my favorite hat pattern to create a similar look. In my last experience with said "**leftovers", I discovered that there was a very good reason everyone else had made socks from it. It's very elastic-y, so my last hat turned out to be a bit too small for my hair. This time I surmised I should cast on more stitches. I fell in love at first site of the FO. Love quickly soured as my cute little hat grew while on my head. I don't have much patience for growing pains - it hasn't gotten much wear since that day.
As my friends continue to get knocked up, I continue my foray into knitting for infants. The latest buns are in the ovens of ***Ole Miss & ****Mississippi State alums (respectively) so I elected to track down appropriate yarns in their school colors and create rivalry baby ensembles. I've tired a bit of hats & bootees & blankies (oh my!), so I picked up my fave baby books & picked out the "Wool Vest" from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies as well as "Pants" from Baby Bloom. At first it seemed as if the knitting fates were in my corner...Moma actually had a most appropriate blue cotton perfect for ensemble#1. (Bun #1 will reside in the sweltering heat of TX.) So, I only had to locate similar cottons in red & white which I easily did at The Point (Knitting Fever King Tut). Yet, they carried nothing in the way of washable wool in maroon. It was surprisingly difficult to find such a thing. Meanwhile, I'd started the Ole Miss pants and was having considerable gauge trouble as well as many inquiries as to whether I was knitting a Superman cape. After a couple of false starts with Ensemble#1, Knitpicks came to the rescue of Ensemble #2 with Swish DK in a charming shade they call "hollyberry" and I call maroon. Gauge didn't cooperate so much on these either. In the end, I settled on a US1 and the 0-3 mos directions for both ensembles. Finally, the pants (#2) came together; the top (#2) was much easier to finish just in time for the baby shower. Unfortunately, the baby showers for these consecutive pregnancies were on consecutive days. By sheer miracle and weary hands, I mostly finished the pants plus the front & back of the top (#1) before the shower, but none of it was sewn up. I suppose you could say the ensemble & I were in pieces.
Feeling a bit disenchanted with the whole knitting thing, I was determined to take a little break and give my fingers a chance to restore. But I needed to completely finish Ensemble #1, so I did that. On Friday.

On Saturday, there I was taking a well-deserved hiatus from knitting. It was only a whisper at first...but it got louder...and louder. There was this very nice, chunky ice-blue wool just sitting in my cedar chest calling to me. And I think it can still be considered a break when you go from knitting with a DK weight with US1's to a chunky weight with US11s. And it won't be cold much longer. So, I started a new project and I'm writing the pattern myself. Surely this time it'll go My Way.

*an object I can no longer remember
**Knitpicks Risata + unknown cotton yarn
***Ensemble #1 = Ole Miss outfit
**** Ensemble #2 = Miss State outfit

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

One Trick Pony

Sadly, the holidays are over. I'm trying to look forward to new things in the new year...keeping in mind my growing queue over at Ravelry and the many projects to be knit this year. Still, the fact remains that I had to get up at 7AM and function by 10AM and I'll have to do the whole thing over again tomorrow. Toto, I'm not in TN anymore...
I must toot my own horn though (what else is a blog for afterall?) and say that I used my vacation wisely. I got all the way thru my scrap-yarn leaving me halfway finished with The Labyrinth Rug. And I got a good start on a little hat for myself - a variation of the Karlchen Hat - using leftovers. I'll let you know if that one works out...And, just to show that I'm not a one-trick pony, I actually did some quilting - well, not the actual quilting part...just the sewing part, but still...

(from Sunbonnet Sue Visits Quilt in a Day)

Meanwhile..."ask and you shall receive"...I got some pictures of some very cute children in some very handknit sweaters:

(In picture order:
Tiny Tots #1560,
Baby Bolero,

That's me - keeping the world child's sweater at a time.