Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

The last shopping is done.  I got up at 6 this morning to stand in line at the bakery to get our traditional Christmas morning goodies.  Next year I have to call and order early.   Cherry cheese danish, walnut melt-a-ways and pineapple cheese.  Also distributed and back home by 8:00.  Yeah!

Kids are still sick and I feel just miserable, like I'm fighting something off, with aching joints and back.  I'll be drinking lots of orange juice and tea today and taking Tylenol to help ward off the miseries,.

I love the bags I found for the hand knit Christmas gifts this year.

Off to stuff shells and make a cake for son-in-law's birthday trifle.  Why are there December 24th birthdays?

Monday, December 22, 2014

And Closer Still!

All the kids are or have been sick this week.  It's just not right to be sick at Christmas.
We made the obligatory Gingerbread People

And the Christmas Village

Both are Martha Stewart recipes.

Makes quite the mess, but is fun.  We included an igloo made of tiny marshmallows that I think may reappear in years to come.
I also made Jam Thumbprints, Mexican Wedding Cakes and Pizzelles.  Just going to make some Peppermint Bark tomorrow and cookies will be over for another year.
 Everything is bought, arrived and wrapped.

Today we went out for our presents to ourselves, a new TV and DVD player for the bedroom and an IPod and Bose speaker for our tunes.  Can't wait for Christmas to try them out.
 Tomorrow I will make the Christmas sauce with Brasciole and clean the house.

Christmas Eve the only thing I will have to do is put together the stuffed shells, Triffle and artichokes and get the Christmas morning Danishes and distribute them.  Whew!

Christmas is Getting Closer

And yet I haven't started to panic.  All the gifts are purchased or made and ready to be wrapped, sauce will be made next week, cookies this week.  Cards are going out today.

The weekend was great.  Fig cookies were made and turned out delicious. We made a full batch of dough, so we probably got about 30 dozen or so (not sure how many).  Daughter #2 took a big container and I gave my aunt another big container and I still have 12 dozen or so left.

Here is the roaster pan full.  I will frost as I serve them or give them away.  I prefer them plain.

The snow we had last week is melting away and the amount we had covering the solar panels, slowly slipped off.  It was fun to watch.  We might actually make some electricity now although the short, grey days of December aren't too conducive to it.

I finished another pair of socks, my Christmas yarn that I actually got last year.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December Days

Had a new batch of snow yesterday and today that left about a foot of snow on everything, making the backyard look like it should two weeks before Christmas. Lots of strange shapes in the yard

along with some really beautiful sights.  Nothing like pine trees covered with snow! Those white streaks are snowflakes falling.

While I thought that Christmas was going to kick my butt this year, I feel as if I have everything under control.  Presents are all made or bought, just waiting for delivery, most going in gift bags so not  lot of wrapping to do, all the decorations are up and the house looks great.  This is a big job since the grandkids want everything out, while I would like to cut back a bit.  They helped and it is worth the effort.

We have our tree up and decorated which has to be a record for us.  Some years we have waited until the only thing left were Charlie Brown trees or incredibly expensive ones, but this year we went out on the afternoon of  December 8th.  It was a warmish day, no snow, just before the current weather system was due to come and dump on us. We were able get two lovely smallish trees (just the right size) very inexpensively.

One of my favorite ornaments, a sheep I got probably thirty years ago when I worked at a knit shop is next to the only ornament left from our original tree; 46 years of decorating our trees.  I think we lost most of the originals due to kitties.  It would be such an adventure for them to try and knock down the tree, climbing and chasing each other through the branches.  Every year there was a good deal of breakage or with the dogs, grabbing and gnawing some up.  I wonder how many we would have had without all the loss?

Now on the dark mornings I get to turn on the Christmas lights and enjoy the beautiful glow!


Christmas cookies are on the agenda starting this weekend.  We actually started by grinding the fig filling last weekend.  It is mellowing in the frig.  Cucidati cookie blitz this Saturday.
Then next week I'll make the gingerbread dough and pizzelles, Mexican Wedding Cakes and Jam Thumbprints.  Peppermint Bark is another easy recipe that everyone loves.

A few years ago I brought home some Perler Beads (or Hama Beads) hoping that the grands would have some fun with them on rainy days or days too cold to swim.  They were a resounding success.  So much so, that I have boxes of beads and lots of sites bookmarked with great designs to make.  That sucking sound is me being pulled in as I found snowflake and Christmas ornaments galore on Pinterest.  It is a fun and soothing little craft that I am really enjoying.  Great for small motor exercise.

Not sure where I'm going to put them, but I'll find a place.

Santa likes them, too!

Knitting gifts are all done and ready to go.  Bath Mitts for the whole gang!

An easy pattern that I think everyone will like.

The rest of December is making things for me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Yes, we had a storm that kept Buffalo on the national news for better than a week.  No, it didn't affect our corner of the world at all, as far as snow went.  There was a clear dividing line that had the snow remain to the south.  We are use to snow, drifts 7' high are not that unusual.  But straight, solid 7' was very unusual.  All the highways were closed and all schools in the area were also closed, even the ones that had no snow because the driving bans kept staff located to the south from getting to their schools.  So our kids had Tuesday off, then they tried to have them in on Wednesday.  My high schooler said that very few of the teachers were there, so Thursday and Friday were also Snow days.

Here's a picture of an unbelievable amount of snow.
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Also this picture is a favorite.  Having snow completely blocking you in the house has got to be a frightening experience.  Good some people made the best of it.


So I had nothing much to do but get ready for Thanksgiving.  All my veggies got done along with my two pumpkin pies that are in the freezer.  Today I made an apple and a blueberry pie.  I need more pie plates, since I still need to make chocolate pie.
Also, I was able to get Christmas knitting done.  Or almost done.  And the Buffalo Bills rolled over the Jets 38-3.  A really nice present for all the snow bound and the water logged, now that the snow has melted.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Before the Polar Vortex

Today is Veteran's Day and it is a beautiful, sunny warm day with a gentle breeze.  The perfect day to hang laundry outside!

I lost my dryer in September, I think, and have been trying to see how long I can do without.  So let's say the 1st of September was first day of this little experiment.  It is never a good time to have to  make a major investment in an appliance, but this came at a very inopportune time indeed. September is usually warm and sunny here and I have a clothes line that I use all summer to dry my sheets and the bathing suits and towels from swimming (love the smell of sheets hung out in the sunshine) so I decided to see if I could put off the new purchase for a few weeks.  I figured my grandmother had seven children and no dryer and she managed quite well, how hard would it be for me with just two adults, who mainly don't get terribly dirty.  Hubby takes his dress shirts and pants to the cleaner anyway, so I wouldn't have the problem of ironing them.

So the game was on!  How long could I go without having to buy a dryer!

September and even October, when it got a bit rainy was not a problem.  I washed clothes around the weather forecast instead of when the hamper was full.  I hung indoors on my wooden drying rack in front of the fireplace, all t-shirts get hung on hangers to dry and the system's been working fine.

My kids got into the spirit of my contest with myself, and have been cheering me on.  I thought I was going to have to give in this week, as I had a load of towels, sheets and sweats and jeans and the weather has been really too cold and rainy for hanging outdoors.  But because of the hurricane that is pushing frigid air into the US, we have a day today that is going to be sunny and breezy with a high in the 60's.  We get the cold air tomorrow.

So this is the scene in my backyard:

It actually makes me feel very clever and strangely empowered to try to "beat" the system.
I always feel betrayed when my appliances die on me.  My toaster oven has been broken for several years, it has to be manually started and stopped but as long as we are willing to keep an eye on the toast, it still does the job.  When it stops doing that, I may get a new one or try to jury rig a solution.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More about the Lace

I finished the Fiori Di Sole, washed and blocked it and it looks wonderful.  Not an error that I can see! (Doesn't mean there aren't any, just that I can't see them.)

I need to make an amendment to my statement of the last post about this being used for weddings.  It can be used for any occasion - if there is a wedding, if there is no wedding, for using when accepting a Nobel prize or Pulitzer or whatever the very special occasion is.  There is absolutely no pressure on anyone to get married.  If they want Nana and Papa to be present for a special occasion and we can't be, then I hope the shawl will hug them in our love!

This was a very satisfying knit, beautifully written with beautiful results.  I had never done a crochet castoff and initially found this a bit daunting as it felt fiddly to me, even though I have crocheted quite a bit, and there were a lot of stitches to cast off.  However, once I got into a rhythm and didn't try to rush in an effort to be done with it already, things went very smoothly.

Done but scrunched up.

   Having a good soak

 All Rung Out

Using the blocking wires 

 Pinned out

This is a little blurry, so you can't see all the pins I used.  Three boxes full!  Each crocheted chain needed to be pinned to fully open up the design.  It took about an hour plus to get it all done, but well worth the effort.

Now to figure out how to store this so that it stays beautiful, clean, safe from creatures and dust.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Persuing Perfection

"When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target. "~George Fisher

I love knitting lace.  I don't have many opportunities to wear my lace shawls, but I do love the process.  I had a great idea!  I would make a box full of knitted heirloom lace as a gift to my granddaughters and grandsons.  My intention is to make several different white and off white shawls that would be appropriate for brides to use on their wedding day.  

The first of the shawls is on my needles now.  I am making Rosemary Hill's gorgeous Fiori di Sole out of a silk and wool lace yarn.  It is perfect, in my opinion, for a wedding shawl.  

And that is the problem -"perfect".  I want this to have absolutely no errors, not even those wonky stitches that sometimes appear, and that is a high bar.  

I am at the midsection which is 5 repeats of 20 rows of a leaf pattern, that I find easy to intuit as I'm knitting.  Ah, such conceit.  I figured I could watch TV while I'm knitting this, no problem.  Life lines?  I don't need no stinking life lines!

So for the past two days I have been like Penelope, knitting by day and unraveling by night.  All the rows I knit  yesterday have to be re-knit because I found a large hole in the 5 stitch edge (the edge for Pete's sake, so easy!) that I couldn't fudge and I couldn't ignore.  

Fortunately, I had  put in life lines, as the day before I had to unknit 8 rows, one stitch at a time.

Glad to report the lifeline worked like it was suppose to and made the ripping out quicker with no fear of dropping stitches.

If I get through this, I also want to make a really pretty white heirloom lace baby blanket to add to the box.  Kind of a hug from Nana, even if she isn't there.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Normal Time

The start of school, cool beautiful sunny days, a hint of color in the trees -   the best season, fall!
Everyone returning to a "normal" routine including us.  No more early morning kid pick ups, swimming lessons, a craft table instead of a dining room table, reading time and knitting time and sewing time, once I clean up the house!

Now is the perfect time to review what went right and what to improve in the garden next year.  The best part of gardening is the surprises.  We cleaned out the garden area to the right of the shed.  The butterfly bushes did not survive the winter, but because they were not competing with them, the three $1.99 rose bushes that I planted probably 4 years or more ago in the same area, had the opportunity to thrive and bloom.  They are beautifully unusual colors, orange, mauve and a pretty red and they have produced lovely flowers all summer and are still going strong.

I forgot, again, to purchase gladiola bulbs in the spring (I need to set some kind of a reminder).  I love having them flower in the late summer because most of the intense flowering of the lilies is over and the fall flowers haven't come in yet.  I always plant zinnias, sunflowers and glads to continue the color.  Because I don't dig out the spent bulbs after flowering, they sometimes survive winter and re-boom and this year I did get about a dozen surprise glads.  Makes me happy!

We planted a very few vegetable plants and got a small harvest.  We are not going to plant a veggie garden next year.  We would like to put a grape arbor with some seating in that area, but maybe will just replant grass and use it for games for the kids.  Croquet and badminton need a little more room than we have available right now.  We had great luck with tomatoes in pots, so that may be a way to get some fresh vegetables.  There are just so many inexpensive farmers markets where everything is available.  Sometimes the cost is not worth it.  This summer has been cool and not very sunny, everything seems to be a bit late, including the sunflowers. Food for thought over the winter.

So for now it is clean up and planning for next year in the garden.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Beautiful Monday

After a very cool and windy weekend, today feels just so Spring.  Warm and sunny and perfect for.....the first grass cutting of the season.  Mowed the front lawn this morning as my hubby spent the weekend getting the lawnmower ready for the season. The grass was so long, it just couldn't wait another day or I never would be able to push the mower through.  Looks good and it really gives me a good workout.

The Churchmouse Easy Folded Poncho is on its way to West Virginia.  I purchased 8 skeins of yarn which was more than enough according to the pattern to finish the poncho and get a matching Wurm hat out of.  As I was knitting, it seemed like I was going through a lot more yarn and I panicked.  I ordered 2 more skeins from KnitPicks and requested the same dye lot.  They were able to send it in 3 days, which was great. However it only took a little less than 7 skeins after all.  Not to worry, I might get two hats out of the remaining balls of yarn, plus it is a neutral color that will work well with making a scarf from all the rest of the scraps of City Tweed I have left over from other projects.

I modified this a bit by adding 5 knit stitches to the edging and six knitted rows to the beginning and end.  I wanted to avoid the curling from just stockinette stitch but it did have to be blocked to get it to lay straight.

Media Monday.

Still catching up with all the same series.  I did add another PBS or BBC series to my viewing pile.  "Larkrise to Candleford" which is a charming 18th century tale of two cities, one poor, the other more middle and upper class. I was going through the DVD's at the library and picked it up there.  Another free entertainment. I so want to get rid of cable.
I finished "The Shining" and it was quite a bit different than I remembered.  I think I remembered the movie plot more than the book, so I'm glad I reread it before going on to Dr. Sleep.
I needed a break from Stephen King, so I loaded Diana Galbaldone's "Outlander" on my MP3 player.  I have had this audiobook for a couple of years but hesitated to listen because for one thing, it is 33 hours long and for another I had attempted to read it a few years ago and gave up halfway through.  The only reason I had it in my Audible library was because it was a sale item.  The Knitmore Girls podcast and Ravelry group is having a read-a-long and I was encouraged to pick this up again from all the enthusiastic comments about the series.  The reader is Davina Porter and although I didn't enjoy her reading on another series I listened to, she is just perfect for this one.  So far I am enjoying this very much. I am about 10 hours into the story with about 23 to go.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Some Finished Projects

It's been a rainy week, not too cool.  In the 50's so things are getting greener and the grass has started to grow alarmingly!  It definitely needs a cutting, but we haven't even got the lawnmower out of the shed and ready for the season.  Plus, it is just too wet.  By the time I get to it, it is going to be knee high.

The past few weeks have been busy with the kids vacation, half-days, sleepovers etc.  We have been looking forward to this weekend with two kid-free days.

I am going to take everything out of my clothes closet and organize it for the warmer weather.  That means looking over t-shirts and shorts, putting wool away for the summer and taking out the lighter weight sweaters.

Tonight it is homemade pea soup and hamburgers for dinner, so the soup is now simmering and smells great. Since it is raining and overcast, this seems like the perfect meal.

I finished just four knitting projects in March and April, which makes me feel like I'm slacking off since I had ten finished projects in January and six in February.  Since those were hats and cowls and socks, it is understandable.  The finished projects in March included a top down sweater and a pair of Fair Isle socks and the projects for April were Angel's birthday present and another pair of socks so I think I did okay. There was also a pair of curtains that I made for the spare bedroom in the mix in March and April.  All three of these projects will be subjects for another day.

While it is great to finish up any project, it doesn't compare to finishing something you have been working on for what seems like forever.  As you get to the point where you can actually see the finish line, your mind is suddenly filled with the thought "I can start something new!!" and you find yourself searching through your Ravelry queue and the stack of patterns you have printed out and that are on your nightstand (or your craft room, or the table next to your knitting chair).  Or is that just me?

This year I vowed to be more diligent in knitting through my stash and I have sort of been following that promise.  Of January and February's 16 items,  I had to buy yarn for five.  These were all special request items, the hats and cowl because they were needed by the men since they lost hats in mid-winter and the special holiday socks for hubby because I can't refuse him anything! March and April's yarn purchases were big ones  The yarn for Angel's birthday presents and a special request poncho for Jen which will be a birthday present.

So 21 items made and eight of them had to have new yarns purchased.  Not too bad, less than 50%.  Some of my projects used left over bits and some were very deep stash.  The Flax sweater and the white cowl were made from yarn I had since the 1980's.  I do have a bit more ancient yarn and it really feels good to use it up.

I purchased nothing new, no patterns, no yarn in April.  Is it difficult?  More than I thought it would be.  I have so much yarn and so many projects to get through, I really want to keep to this.  We'll see how I do.

While I was finishing up the Churchmouse Yarn's "Easy Folded Poncho"  for daughter #1, I knew I wanted to start anther large project, preferably a sweater for me.  I have four of them all kitted up in my craft room. I had checked out the "Metropolitan Knits" book from the library after hearing the review on the "Knitmore Girls" podcast.  The Atrium cardigan seemed perfect for the Serena yarn I had made the Dahlia Cardigan out of and then ripped out because it looked awful on me.  The yarn pools and flashes something awful but I am hoping the stitch used will eliminate that effect.  Also, the sweater is much more my style, a good thing to keep in mind when looking for a new project.  I have to keep reminding myself that no sweater is going to make me look like the models that wear them.

So that's on my needles and is hopefully an easy enough pattern to do while TV watching or going to knitting group. I am still working on the Catkin which needs total concentration.  I tried taking it to knitting group and it just didn't work.  I  have another pair of "homework" socks on my needles.  All of these projects, stash busters!

The poncho (did I ever think I would make another one of these, so 1980's) is spread out on blocking wires.  Actually this "poncho" is very up to date and will look great on my daughter. This morning I walked past my craft room where it is drying and Frankie is laying on top of it! Bad dog!  But the yarn is so warm and comfy. I had it draped over my legs as I was knitting, keeping me warm.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Busy Weeks

We managed to get through the past few weeks and came out the other side not too much the worse for wear!
Lots of kid time due to half days and Spring break, parents needed sleep-overs for little ones because of other commitments, so we were busy.  They are very easy, now that they are older but it still cuts into our down time.
It is really getting to be spring, even though the temperatures aren't heating us up too much.  The huge ice cover on the Great Lakes is going to mean a much cooler summer (probably) and a later spring.  The ice boom is still in and likely to remain until mid May.

Still there is color and a greening up of trees that is very good to see.  Magnolia blossoms fill the little tree.
 Forsythias are everywhere.

And the daffodils make me so happy.  I really need to plant more bulbs in the fall.  I miss my tulips and could really use a lot more early spring color in my garden.

Media Monday

What we are watching:

"House of Cards" second season - just when you thought Frank couldn't get any worse, he does!
"Turn"  watched the first two episodes and love it
"Castle" somehow we missed this series, so we got the first season from Netflix and are now hooked. Into the second season now.
"Call the Midwife"  It is streaming on Netflix and I watched the first two episodes when hubby was out. Didn't think this was my cup of tea, but I love it.  Couldn't knit while it was playing as I needed my tissues.
Still to watch- the second season of "Orphan Black".

We keep talking about cutting the cable cord.  It is doable, I think, if we get an antenna to pull in news and sports.  We watch the news and then programs that we have DVR'd each night or that we get streaming.  CBS series are the only one's that I can't figure out how to get without the cable.  That would be "The Good Wife" and "The Mentalist" and "The Big Bang Theory".

What I've been reading:

Hit a reading slump and just couldn't get into my books.  I think because I had binge-read my way through the Julia Spencer-Fleming series, every book I picked up after that just didn't get my attention.  I tried some tricks that the "Books on the Nightstand" podcast suggested.  I picked up the Dean Koontz' book "Velocity" and that got me going again.

Just finished the newest  Anna Pigeon "Destroyer Angel" Very good, very violent.

"A Time to Kill" audio book.  Have "Sycamore Row" to listen to, and hadn't read this before.  It was okay.

I am on a bit of a Steven King binge right now.  Listening to "The Shining" which I read in the '70's.  It is still very creepy.  I am going to listen to "Dr. Sleep" next and thought that I would refresh my memory of the original.  I think I remember the movie version better than the book.  I am also reading "Different Seasons".

So I think I am out of the slump.  I have "The Rosie Project" to read before Saturday (curse 7 day new materials checkout from the library).

Monday, April 14, 2014


I am not going to complain about the weather one bit which is a pleasant change.  70's over the weekend allowed for playing in the backyard, cleaning up the patio, open windows and bike riding!  Feeling it a little bit this morning as the elliptical is not quite the same as an outdoor ride in brisk winds.
Yes, I am aware that it is going to snow tomorrow, but right now I am just enjoying the sounds of birdsong outside my open windows

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cold, Cold and More Cold

Not to sound too much like a broken record but it is very cold out again today.   We are setting all kinds of records (or at least coming close to records) for coldest;  coldest February, lots of snow, wind chill, biggest potholes, most salt used, you name it we have it in Buffalo.  The temps got down to below zero and wind chills much less than that.   But although it is cold today, at least the sun is out.  Yeah!

Lots of opportunities to wear lots of warm knitted wool.  I have my long johns on under my cords and my sock liners on under my wool socks in the hopes that I will stay warm when I pick up the little girl today.

This week was supposed to be a full week of school for her, but she got sick on Tuesday and stayed home with me.  A little 24 hour bug that didn't affect us, thank goodness.

Lots of finished objects in the knitting department since the last time out:

 My Valentine Socks  finished in time for Valentines Day
A Turn a Square Hat for hubby with a little longer ribbing to cover his ears and this was done in grays and red.
The anniversary socks finally finished.
 A Windschief hat in navy for Mike
And a pair of socks for me for St. Patrick's Day.

All the socks are Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's plain sock top down heel-flap recipe with various rib variations, my go-to and much loved pattern.  My Valentine socks have some components of "I Love Gansey" from the "Sock Club".  The green sock's are the "Cynthia Variation" that Jasmine and Gigi of the Knitmore Girls talk about and I love how it looks with this self-striping Felici.  That yarn is going away and it is as soft as a baby's you-know-what.  I love the feel of it as I'm knitting so I ordered another couple of colors, again bright, happy colors (no way this winter is going to get me down).  At this rate my sock yarn box is never going to go down since I have replenished and then some what I have knit.

I have hubby's St. Pat's socks on the needles, just begun really.  That means I have 17 days to finish them.  I have never made a pair of totally Fair Isle socks and it is proving to be a little slow going.  That will be my only project until they are done.  We'll see how long they take.

I have a plain pair of socks for homework time that I have dubbed Mardi Gras socks because of the time of year and their very happy colors.  I won't have them finished for Mardi Gras which is Tuesday, but I think the bright color combination will lift my spirits until it starts to warm up.

Looks like I am still in the Happy Land of quick, small projects.  Sure gives me a sense of accomplishment!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Last week was a perfect week for using hats.  Forget about hat hair, it was so cold and windy. hats were a must.

In the crazy weather-winter we are having, there was another polar vortex on Tuesday, with wind chills in the -25 degree range, so the schools were closed.  Yeah!  Wednesday, it was only slightly warmer and the forecast called for it to get warmer by 11:00 a.m.  Most schools remained closed but not ours!  They had a two hour delay, which meant a lot of scrambling for parents.  The weather forecast was very wrong.  They forgot to mention that there would be snow and blowing wind all day, which made it the worst driving conditions I think I've driven in all year.  It was miserable!  Got everyone home safely, including two friends of the boy.  It was just too cold for them to walk home.  Saturday it rained!  Then it got cold enough to make Hat weather indeed.

I am doing well on my stash knitdown.  I have 11 items finished since the beginning of January. The remaining projects include five hats, three pairs of fingerless gloves,  two cowls and a sock and a half for my Valentines socks.  Small projects are really eating through the leftover yarn piles.

I have two larger projects that I am itching to get started on.  Once I get through the hat and fingerless glove set for Hubby and my Valentine gloves, oh, and the hat I promised #2 Son-in-law, I will start one of them. Both of them need total concentration, so I can work on them only when I am listening to books or TV shows that don't need too much attention.  That means I can have one or two of the small, portable projects when I am doing homework, waiting for appointments, riding in the car and all the other times I need mindless knitting.  Who knows, maybe this year I will totally become a project knitter.

Here are some pictures:

Windschief Scarf

Lovesocks for Hubby for Valentines day.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Miracle of Blocking

Day off today, which is funny since I don't work.  The kids have off for MLK day, so I get to stay home. There has been a flurry of knitting at my house.  I have (drum roll please) seven completed items for January. I am loving making small items like hats and cowls and fingerless mitts, using up stash yarn and making very welcome, warm items.

It is going to get freezing cold here again this week.  Temps below zero with lots of wind.  Yeah for wool!

This weekend we watched the playoff games and I knit up a storm.  This knitdown is really making me happy and I find myself planning the next project using up yarn in my stash.  The problem is I keep finding more and more oddiments that need to be destashed.  Here is the winding station I have set up on my dining room table with a few of the skeins waiting to be turned into yarn cakes to use in up-and-coming projects.

This is not, however the yarn I am using for the January Small Knits Throwdown .  That consists of yarn left over from finished projects where more than a skein has been leftover, or a project that has sat in my craft room so long, the recipient has outgrown it.  I am teaming these oddiments up with new patterns.  Although a few new yarn projects may creep in, such as the new hat for hubby since he lost his.  I had to buy a skein of Cascade Aran in grey and I made him a Windschief hat over the weekend.  What a fast knit!  I may have to make this hat for all the boys in the family.  It is good looking and snug like they like their hats.
I think I am going to make the matching cowl for hubby.  He's not so sure he will like it (is it too girly?)  but I think it will be a nice warm addition to his outdoor gear and won't get in his way like a scarf does.

Here are the items I have complete so far that I have not posted:


I have enough of the white yarn left to make matching fingerless gloves using the Koolhaas pattern that will make a really nice set of hat, cowl and mitts.  The Snuggly Cowl and the Magnolia hat used up the leftover
yarn from my Central Park hoodie with this much left over
I wasn't going to make the Elephant hat because it was a little small.  I probably should have made it 4 years ago when elephants were her favorite animal.  She is now into dragons and cheetahs.  However, I have a long queue of fair isle sweaters and hats that I have waiting and I haven't done this technique in a number of years, so I decided to make the hat as practice.  I added an extra row of border between the two elephant motifs and used a size larger needle.   I think I held my yarn a bit too tight with the large elephant motif but by the time I got to the small elephants, I had relaxed a bit and loosened up my tension.  I don't have a before picture, but when I finished I wasn't terribly pleased, as the stitches were a bit uneven and wonky.  As the yarn is a washable wool, I wasn't expecting much after blocking, but boy was I surprised.  The yarn relaxed in the bath and the hat is beautiful.  

Something I am really learning, especially as I use up yarn that has been sitting around for a while, blocking can be your finished garments best friend and make you look like a superstar knitter.