Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Sometimes detours are inevitable . . . or out of my control.  I had a bit of a knitting plan for this week, but I had to make an adjustment.

There's been another hat emergency in the family, and I didn't have the heart to say no.  Or yes, but you'll have to wait.  Instead I set aside my other projects and cast on a hat.

It's another Rikke Hat - this time a darker gray.  This pattern is great when you need a hat in a hurry.  I'll start decreasing in a few more rounds, and the hat will be off the needles later today.  This detour wasn't too long and involved - more like pulling off the road for a scenic overlook.  I'll be back to my regularly scheduled knitting soon enough.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday Recovery

This year the holiday calendar came equipped with a built-in recovery day, and I need it.  Since today is a day off for many businesses, I don't feel compelled to be overly productive. Instead I'll probably cast on a new project or three . . . maybe even catch up on some of the holiday movies I haven't watched this year.

Our plans were a little shaky heading into the weekend.

The cooking and baking list was long, and that final run to the grocery store for "just a couple things" took an entire afternoon.

Even more uncertain was the final tally of who was going to be here. How many significant others would make an appearance and when? Such is life with young adult children.

This year I said no to the gingerbread house, but my daughters overruled me.

I can't tell you how many times we've bought a gingerbread house and then never assembled it.  This year it was a success.

And I might have grabbed these chocolate samplers on that final store run just because of the knitting-inspired packaging.

With strategic delegating on my part and an extra glass of wine or two, everything came together just in the nick of time.  After all the fuss, it was a relaxing, enjoyable holiday for us.  

This is going to be one of those wacky weeks where I can't remember what day of the week it is.  That's OK.  I'll knit my way through it.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Searching for Simple

Yesterday was supposed to be a baking day, but, due to no fault of my own, I got off to a late start.  Then the 1.5 hours I spent on a phone call didn't help matters any.  When I had finally disentangled myself from a bureaucratic web and had hung up the phone, I realized that baking cookies wasn't going to happen that day.

Instead it was more important to spend time with a dear friend.  It's hard to resist an afternoon designated for drinking coffee and 
knitting . . . and starting a pair of mitts my son requested.

They won't be finished in time for the holidays, and that's fine.  I know he'll appreciate them and use them when they're done.  That's what counts.

The world is a crazy place these days.  My one goal for the holidays is to keep it simple.  We'll decorate the tree later today and maybe even bake a few cookies.  But in the end, the important thing is spending time with family and friends.  Cherish the moments.

This week's color inspiration . . . 

Light in the midst of darkness.

If you're celebrating this weekend, may your festivities be merry and bright.  And may we all find solace and peace.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's Just a Thumb

Last night at knit night I finished a mitten . . . almost.  All it needed was the thumb.  When I got home, I thought my batteries were still charged so I decided to quickly knit it up.  How long can it take to knit a thumb? Shortly after getting the thumb stitches situated, I ran out of power and called it a day.  

This is where I'm at this morning.  Not only is the thumb still on the needles, I'm out of coffee.  Maybe all of the holiday preparations are catching up with me.  How did I run out of coffee?!?  Surely I can finish a measly thumb today, but first I need some coffee.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Backward Day

Yesterday I had a busy day at the Handmade Holiday Market in Cambridge.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by.  It was a fun, festive event.  Usually the day after an event I cut myself a little 
slack . . . sleep in a little later, ease into the day with knitting and coffee.  I don't take the whole day off, but it's definitely more relaxed.  

Not so today.  Friday we had a birthday celebration, and there's another one on the calendar for today.  The Friday party was fun and everything went smoothly until we hit a bit of a snag with the cake. That's what I'm calling it when my friend's foolproof cake recipe wasn't foolproof for me.  In all fairness I should have tested the cake before debuting it at a birthday dinner, but we survived the ordeal with a quick run for an ice cream cake.

I definitely didn't want to risk another cake catastrophe today.  I was out the door early to run an errand with my daughter and then on to the grocery store.  I hate any kind of store this time of year - even the grocery store - but I needed food for dinner.  It turns out the grocery store is more manageable first thing in the morning.  I won't make it a habit, but that early forage for food was probably one of my better decisions today.

I really shouldn't even worry about dessert for tonight because technically it's not a cake.  

My son requested apple strudel.

This is my mother's recipe, and I've made it a million times.  Surely nothing could go wrong.

And it didn't.  I would hate to lose my credibility in the kitchen.

This has turned out to be one of those backward days.  Since I missed my morning knitting session, I've set aside some knitting time for later in the day.

Friday, December 16, 2016

All but the Blocking

My Tool Box Cowl is off the needles and will be ready to roll after a quick blocking.

The pattern includes two sizes, and I made the bigger version with one Lucia 28 Bundle. They aren't on the website yet, but I'll have the sample and the bundles available this Sunday at the Handmade Holiday Market.  This cowl was so much fun to make - and now there are matching mitts.  Since I don't wear booth samples for personal use, I'll just have to make another one.

In other news, we're getting ready to start another round of Yarn Knot Socks.

The first club installment ships next week, and there's still room if you want to get in on the fun.  Follow the link for signup information.

Cold weather has hit New England and with it comes a blue sky.  This week's color inspiration . . . 

Crystal clear.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Kindness and More

I don't know how we landed on Wednesday already, but here we are. It's that time of year when the to-do lists are long, and the days are a blur.  

Just a quick update today.  This Sunday I'll be vending at the Handmade Holiday Market hosted by gather here.  

This festive event brings together a diverse mix of talented vendors. Click on the link for details.  If you're in the area and are still working on your holiday shopping list, stop by for some fresh ideas.  This is the perfect opportunity to shop local.

I've opened up a new thread in the Ravelry group - More Kindness. The world is in a crazy, chaotic place right now, and acts of 
kindness - no matter how big or small - are essential.  Follow the link for details.  There's a giveaway involved, but more important it's about the hope and encouragement we need to face the challenges and be the change the world needs.

Now, back to your holiday preparations . . . 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Third Time's a Charm

Well I made the most of my weekend bonus knitting time.  I've been struggling with a pair of mittens for the Hand Along running in my knitting group.  I need new mittens so motivation isn't the issue, but I'm not crazy about the pattern I chose.  I ripped it out once because I didn't like the color and started again with a different color. 

I was making decent progress until I tried it on this weekend.  I debated about this pattern in the first place.  There were some red flags in the notes on the Ravelry pattern page, but I ignored them.  I convinced myself I would like the fit.  Well, I don't.  It took one more try-on for me to admit I wasn't going to wear these mittens.  I pulled out the needles and ripped it all out.

Without wasting any time, I found a different pattern and cast on with the same yarn.

Frost Farm Mittens.  I miss the beautiful cables from the other pattern, but these mitts are a better fit.  And that's the important part.

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Quiet Weekend

This weekend the tables are turned.  Half of my family is traveling, and for once I'm the one who gets to stay home.  Someone has to take care of the dog.  

I won't be home alone, but it will be considerably quieter without as much cooking and overall activity.  I've somehow convinced myself there will be a surplus of time and have created a mental list of things I could do.  The holiday season brings never-ending errands that need attention, but high on that list is uninterrupted knitting time.

This has been my mantra for quite some time, and it's especially appropriate now.  I will knit on.

Winter is settling in.  This week we had a nice dose of mixed precipitation, and it created this lovely color inspiration.

Icy frosting.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Knitting Emergency

The other day I had an emergency request.  My son is getting ready for a big trip, and he thought it would be nice to have a new hat.  "Mom, do you think you can get it done in time?"  Of course.  He didn't ask for a Doctor Who Scarf or a sweater - just a simple hat.  No problem.

My rule for holiday knitting is that I'm only knitting for those who make a specific request.  My son's request is pre-holiday, but otherwise it fits my rule to a T.  Since the request came with a time constraint, I put my other projects aside and got busy.

My son leaves today, so yesterday he checked in on the progress of his hat.  "You're not going to get it done in time, are you."  I assured him I didn't have that much knitting left, and there was still plenty of time.  Never underestimate the power of late-night knitting.  Yes, the hat would be ready.

And it is.  

This morning I completed the decrease rounds, cinched up the top and wove in the ends.  The pattern is Rikke Hat - soft, cushy garter with an easy fitting style.  The yarn is Marie, colorway Slate.  This gray color matches the day and picture taking was a challenge, but you get the general idea.  Later today my son and his new hat will be off on an international adventure.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled knitting.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Blame the Knitting

My inbox is a disaster, and the list of emails I need to send keeps growing.  I can think of plenty of excuses - the holiday season, family obligations and birthdays, extra cooking and baking.  But the real culprit is this.

My Tool Box Cowl.  I shot this outside for decent light and captured our first taste of winter in the process.  I love the winter white.

I'm ready to add my fourth color.  It's a cozy, snowy morning, and I could easily keep knitting.  Instead I'm going to be responsible and put this project down.  After I make a dent in my inbox, I'll pick it up 
again . . . just to get that fourth color started.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Slow and Steady

I'm making progress on Kiko's mitts, but it's in fits and starts.  After texting back and forth on color options, he selected the dark gray. 
Easy enough.  I had leftover gray from another project.  It seemed like a fairly big ball, but just as I was getting ready to cast on I decided to play it safe and weigh the yarn.  Looks can be deceiving, and the ball of yarn that appeared to be so big was only 40+ grams.  Not enough for these mitts.  I found a full skein of the same gray.  Problem solved.

With a full skein in hand, I debated my options for winding.  My umbrella swift made its final turns a couple weeks ago, and I haven't had time to replace it.  I thought about putting the skein on the back of a chair and winding it that way.  It's time consuming, but it works.  Then I remembered this.

My table top swift.  Another problem solved.  

I'm still winding by hand because my ball winder is attached to a work table, and there's isn't room for this 4-dowel contraption.  This winding process is a good mental exercise, and I'm trying to appreciate the slower pace.  And it definitely beats the back of a chair.

I found this week's color inspiration during an outing by the ocean.  The world is full of loud noises and bright colors.  Every minute of every day is a cacophony of information.  During these tumultuous, troubling times, it's essential to take a break and step back.

Peace, quiet, soothing solitude.