31 December 2007

It's just another New Year's Eve

May I humbly offer for your consideration...

Meema's Best of 2007 List
(continually updated as needed, and in no particular order)

Best Coffee Shop: Blue Moon Coffee Café

Best Sandwich: Jimmy John’s Beach Club®

Best Music Store: Groth Music

Best Yarn Shop: The Yarnery (duh)

Best Knitting Patterns: Marie Mayhew’s various Woolly goodies

Best Knitting Needles: Options Harmony wooden circular needles from Knit Picks

Best Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino

Best Bag: Total Tote by Creative Options

Best Web Time Vacuum: Ravelry

Best YouTube Video: "Here It Goes Again" by OK Go

Best Children’s Book: Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis

Best Place to Visit Father Christmas: Steamworks Coffee & Tea Co.

Best Blog: you can't make me choose!

Best Motivation for Creative Output: Going40’s limerick contest

Best Joke (tie): The Stoplight Joke and The Princess Joke (as told by Kidlet to over 300 high school students on Dec. 21st - 'at's my girl!)

Best Inventor of New Words: J.K. Rowling, in the Harry Potter series

Best Community Response to Tragedy: the Twin Cities’ reaction and adaptation to the I-35W bridge collapse


My resolutions for 2008?
1- To go greener than I do now, and teach my daughter the same sense of stewardship and responsibility.
2 - Teach more people to knit, of course!

I hope the new year brings you closer to your bliss. Be safe, and have a Happy!

The seventh day of Christmas

A day late, but worth the wait? You'll have to be the judge of that. Here are the previously undocumented elements of Christmas giving:

Recycled Sweater Totes
These are listed in my sidebar FO's, but I never did blog about them. Last year I purchased a pile of thrift shop wool sweaters with the intent of re-purposing them a la Alterknits. Felted in the washer, cut and sewn, they became handy dandy totes. Made eight total. Kinda green, kinda cool.

Stitch Markers

I've been looking at markers on Etsy for months, and it finally dawned on me, "Oh, yeah, I can bead and bend wire." It's been a while, and it was nice to use those skills again. Made six sets with various stones and sterling wire. This is my first design, so we'll see how they evolve. Maybe I'll find a retail outlet somewhere...

30 December 2007

The sixth day of Christmas

Later tonight I'll post photos of holiday projects - some previously unmentioned (ooh, teaser...) But for now, a knitting joke for your holiday amusement!
If you are blonde of locks, you may insert any group you desire in place of the B word...

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper rolled down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, "PULL OVER!"

"NO!" the blonde yelled back, "IT'S A SCARF!"

28 December 2007

Salvation is created (virtually)

Are you still wracking your brain for a last-minute gift idea? Did you receive a white elephant under the tree and have no idea what to write on the thank-you card? Can't bear to pick up your pointy sticks? This site may be the key to sanity - or at least a couple of laughs. Delightfully "decadent" holiday sweaters at your fingertips, and you don't have to touch a ball of yarn.

The hours of my life absorbed by the Internet continue to amaze and frighten me... oh, well. Have fun!

The fourth day of Christmas


25 December 2007

Holiday Knitting Day 2007

We made it!!

(In other words, it's Christmas morning, and if it ain't done now, there ain't nothing we can do about it but wrap it on the needles/unblocked/unseamed. If they love you, they value the process.)

Enjoy your day, be it with family, friends, or the quiet stillness of winter. And for those who celebrate it - have a Merry Christmas!

21 December 2007

The home stretch

Thursday afternoon I finished teaching lessons until January, so it's off to finish some gifts. Pointy sticks at the ready...

Knitting pictures to balance out the holiday activity-centric blogging of late:

pattern: Fiber Trends' Felt Clog (one of what is to hopefully be gifted as a pair)
yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted

pattern: The Fiber Pirate's Mistletoe Ornament
yarn: Frog Tree Sport (leaves), Cascade 220 (berries), random rug wool (bow)

Shameless Marie-Mayhew-o-Rama to follow:
pattern: Woolly Gingerbread Cookie
yarn: Frog Tree Sport (small), Cascade 220 Heathers (large), 220 and rug wool as above (decorations)

pattern: Felted Nest Ornament
yarn: Frog Tree Sport, blue roving

The weekend promises to be fiber-rich, so stay tuned for further maniacal progress. Happy knitting!

19 December 2007

Busy, busy, busy...

OK, who shook the calendar and made the days of December fall out? We're at X minus six days, and I am, oh, shall we say, behind in my holiday knitting. My eyes are always bigger than my schedule; I'm knitting on caffeine and prayer at this point. Gads.

Last Saturday Kidlet and I were on our way to an ECFE event and decided to say hello to the big rabbit sculpture on Portland and Minnehaha Parkway. It's sweet that someone puts a ribbon 'round its neck every December. We clamored through the snow and snapped a few pictures, but the rabbit was too frosty for Kidlet to stand on. We also stopped at the footbridge over Minnehaha Creek. She marveled at being so high above the creek. Then it was off to build "gingerbread" houses with other preschoolers. A messy endeavor, but what a blast!

I saw the sweetest holiday photo on another knitter's blog (well, second to Kidlet, natch). The young boy's words couldn't have been scripted better by a team of Hallmark's best writers. Follow this link to her post.

Enjoy the last days of expectation, and happy (frantic) knitting!

14 December 2007

Meeting Father Christmas

Note to readers: My post today is not yarn-centric, so if you aren't in the mood for a toddler report, keep on movin'.

J and I took Kidlet to Steamworks Coffee & Tea Co. in north Minneapolis this afternoon to meet Father Christmas. (I love discovering things by following links on other blogs - this is a favorite on Cate's.) The owner assumes the exquisite persona of F.C. every year, and we scheduled a liesurely half hour visit with this gentle man. Kidlet was completely transfixed from the moment we walked in and saw his coat lying on the bench. You know how Wallace holds his hands up at his shoulders and shakes them back and forth when happy and/or excited? That was Kidlet as we waited for our visit. Giddy.

F.C. came into the coffee shop, immediately greeting Kidlet and donning his coat and hat. He has obviously developed a method of drawing children into the sitting - starting out at a distance, exploring the Christmas tree, and listening closely to their words. If F.C. had a fan club, I'd want to be the prez. This is a wonderful way for kids to meet him. Forget the mall, Macy's, and all other frantic memory mills that plop a child into a strange man's lap and expect a favorable response in two minutes. I was touched by this experience, to the point that I'd drive hours to visit him each year until Kidlet professes nonbelief - and maybe a few years beyond.

(So, Meema, how do you really feel about Father Christmas?)

13 December 2007


We Midwestern knitters were shut out of the winners' circle (yet again). Life is cruel sometimes, but our day is coming. Don't know when, don't know where, but it's coming. And when it arrives, we will humbly receive our laurels, put our mittens back on, and get back to work. It's our way.

10 December 2007

Holiday Mayhem

No drawing results yet?!? Oh well. There's so much more to share...

Holiday Mayhem Weekend (#1 of __) started with a dress rehearsal for my church choir's service of Lessons and Carols on Saturday morning. Then Kidlet and I were off to my extended family's Christmas gathering. Between my cousins and me, there are six great-grandkids between the ages of two and eight (seen burying my 91-year-old grandmother on the couch). They all play together so well - I think we're in the Golden Years of cousinage.

One of the main events of this winter gathering is making lefse. Put a lot of Norwegians in one house, and that's generally what happens. Everyone gets a turn at rolling out the dough, and the resulting stack of lefse is divided out amongst the families. Kidlet's intensive Play-Doh training regimen paid off - her technique was greatly lauded.

Sunday morning's sermon was pre-empted by the youth Christmas Pageant. This year's was based on the book, Who Is Coming to Our House? (one of Kidlet's fave holiday books). She was the littlest Piggie in the stable, and very cute to boot. After church there was the requisite exploration of the pulpit, a.k.a. The Princess Tower.

Princess segue... here is Kidlet's favorite joke to tell of late: "How many princesses does it take to change a light bulb?" (How many?) "Would you change this light bulb for me please?" She cracks herself up. Me, too.

A Festive Service of Lessons and Carols was sung on Sunday afternoon, and it was lovely. The choir was as solid as we ever have been for a performance of this magnitude. Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols was amazing, with a gorgeous baritone solo provided by Eric with a C.

(The woman on the left is Cate, who, like the BVM, is great with child. Kidlet's best buddy is her first child, Bea. Oh yeah - Mark with a K is Bea's papa.)

This service is followed by a tea reception (we are, after all, Episcopalians), and then the choir graciously slips out to the afterglow party at Brian and Richard's house. My host gift for one of their many trees:

pattern: Marie Mayhew's Woolly Nest ornament
yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca, blue roving

Such a pity their home isn't a more festive locale:

(at right: eWAC
and Going40)

ve I mentioned how much I love singing with all of these people?

p.s. I'm now an official employee at my LYS of choice. Training was today. How much trouble am I in now??

Holiday mayhem intro

The holidays have hit with full force in my little corner of the world. A very busy weekend ended with me trying to post all about it last night, but editing pictures took much longer than anticipated. Tune in later tonight, and I shall regale you with an abundance of holiday cheer (and hopefully my stash-enhancing yarn contest victory speech).

02 December 2007

Free yarn, anyone?

(What a silly question, Meema.)

There's another blog drawing out there, this time sponsored by Kristin Nicholas of Getting Stitched on the Farm. She's cyber-launching her new book and is giving away five packages of TWENTY 50-GRAM SKEINS of her signature yarn, Julia (50% wool, 25% kid mohair, 25% alpaca). One entry per person, winners to be drawn on December 10. Good luck getting one of the other four prizes - the first one is obviously for me!

29 November 2007

Still here, still knitting

My apologies, kind readers, for the lack of knitted bits of late. I have been knitting, just haven't been posting photos. All shall be well.

Look - knitting!

This was Kidlet's cardigan on the 19th, and this is after binding off last night:

I loved using the Malabrigo for this pattern. Not only is it soft to knit, but the color changes are spit-felted as you go - I only had six yarn ends to weave in! (It still needs light blocking and six buttons, but I call that done.)

pattern: The Essential Cardigan, from Top-Down for Toddlers by Cabin Fever
yarn: Malabrigo Worsted Merino
needles: Denise Interchangeables, US#9
size: 2+
I've also begun making felted nest ornaments for holiday giving. They knit up soooo quickly! This photo is pre-felting (nests will go in the washing machine, while the egg roving is to be needle felted).

I have a photo of Kidlet to share from Thanksgiving weekend. Back story: I was knitting at Nana and Papa's house, and as I removed DPN's from my work, I was sticking them through my hair on the top o' my grand head. This puzzled Kidlet as she tried sticking the needles into her head. We then created a special knitting needle hairdo so her fine hair could hold them as well:

She is so durn funny!

It's finals week for my students, so my teaching schedule is a bit intense. Today, for example, I started at 7:30 a.m. and taught 17 voice lessons (a.k.a. Long Day's Journey Into Choir Rehearsal). Meema is tired. G'nite.

24 November 2007

We Rogues of Wool

It's an oddly entrancing knitting sea chantey... enjoy!

10 November 2007

Things that are green

a) earth-friendly knitting
b) Giuseppe Verdi (ok, a bit of a stretch)

I took my recycling out last night, walking past the obnoxiously large bag of plastic shopping bags I've been accumulating for about two years. (photo note: wine bottle is there as a size reference only) Remembering a blog posting I saw a few weeks ago, I grabbed two fistfuls of bags and a pair of scissors and headed to the living room. After much trimming, folding, cutting, slipknotting, and ball-winding, I have one healthy ball of plastic yarn to be knitted into a reusable French-style market bag. Depending on how time-intensive this little project is, this may be a "green gift" holiday item. At any rate, it's a great way to get a lot of use out of short-lived bags.

Digression from the green theme: today Kidlet wound her first lovely cakes of yarn using the swift and winder. It was Malabrigo, in pinks and yellows, for another little sweater. She was fascinated. I have a helper.

And now it's time for the opera break. Morro, ma prima in grazia is my favorite Verdi aria of all time. I don't think I would have used it for this ballet staging, but Karita Mattila sings it so wonderfully. Enjoy!

06 November 2007

Wool pusher


Hey, you.

Over here - I got some wool for ya.
The good stuff.

Just give it a try. You'll be back for more...

05 November 2007

Tricks, treats, and owies

Halloween came and went, and Kidlet thoroughly enjoyed herself. The fact that people open their doors and give her candy just for asking blew her little mind. I still haven't taken a photo of the finished candy corn bag, but here's a snap of it in action:

The next day we had the pleasure of our first ER trip that involved stitches. She was playing "pwano" and slipped off the bench, catching her lower lip betwixt her teeth and the keyboard rail on the way down. She was amazingly brave and patient during our lengthy visit, and has four tiny sutures below her lip (which are coming out tomorrow already).

Another stash enrichment opportunity: One of the LYS's in Minneapolis is going out of business and, of course, having a sale of the same nature. The sale prices aren't consistent across the board, but apparently that didn't prevent me and my partners in crime (Mom, Going 40 and Eric with a "C") from finding some deals.

Oh, I almost forgot. Not quite stash, but geek tools. This fall I used half-off coupons from JoAnn Fabrics to purchase my own yarn swift and ball winder. Squee! I made nice center-pull balls the old-fashioned way before, but now I have beautiful cakes of neatly coiled wooly goodness. When I have a chance, I'll post photographs of those, too.

Happy knitting!

30 October 2007

Warm toes, warm _______

Who would like to win beautiful sock yarn? Count me in! Visit this link to possibly clothe your toes in wooly goodness. All you need to do is guess the weight of a charming puppy...

p.s. I've finished knitting Kidlet's felted candy corn trick-or-treat bag, but as of right now needs to be felted. Pictures to come, no doubt.

25 October 2007

She's just a Bill

Sometimes I feel old when elements of my childhood are considered "retro." Heck, I don't feel nearly as old as my driver's license says I am. But then there are moments like tonight when I will boldly claim the 1970s as my own. The teen youth group at church threw a pre-Halloween party for the younger set, and Kidlet had a blast. S'mores, games, stories and songs, and the obligatory candy - what more does a kid need?

22 October 2007

Road trip

My little family unit and I have just returned from our extended weekend trip to Chicago. Squee! The fall colors along I-90 through Wisconsin were breathtaking around every turn - I'm sure J grew tired of hearing me say, "Ooh, look at those!" Kidlet was surprisingly amiable during the long hours in the car. What a trooper.

Being the responsible blogger I am, I scoped out yarn shops along our route. We stopped on Thursday afternoon at Off the Beaten Path Yarnhouse in Monona (a suburb of Madison, where my family lived for 3+ years). Their focus is natural fiber yarns, and lots of them. The ground floor of this large house serves as the shop, and is filled with lush displays of woolly-silky-planty goodness. J picked out Austermann Bamboo Soft Color for an everyday scarf. This was new to me: Bamboo Soft Color is a 65/35 blend of superwash merino and bamboo that is so soft and sproingy, I hope I can hand over the finished project when I'm done...

On to Chicago, where the yarn crawl came to a screeching halt, but family vacationing ensued. We stayed with J's brother and sister-(in)-law in the western suburbs, arriving for a late dinner on Thursday evening.

Kidlet was thrilled with the train ride into the city on Friday morning. We scaled the Sears Tower, walked around an appropriately windy downtown to explore statuary, then took the bus to the Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier. We apparently chased the Curious George exhibit from MN to IL. A quick rush-hour taxi ride back to Union Station, and dinner with family out in the 'burbs again. End of Busy Day.

Start of Next Busy Day. Brunch, some time to veg while watching School House Rock (one of Kidlet's many fixations), and off to the Cosley Zoo in Wheaton. It was a beautiful fall day to be outside, and the zoo was a great fit - familiar animals, smaller facility, and a pumpkin patch over which to obsess. Kidlet was very particular, but we all agreed she did a fine job selecting which was to come home with us. Another family dinner (great food!), and End of Next Busy Day.

Which brings us to yesterday, the day of travel. Brunch with Kidlet's cousin and his 10-week-old son, whom Kidlet absolutely adored, then into the car and homeward bound. It was a lot of travel time, and I have a lot to do in preparing for this week, but it was a great trip. I'm glad we took the time and made it happen.

Oh, and knitting? I took many things with me - a pattern for the yarn I planned on buying at a shop in Chicago that I didn't visit, a pattern for the yarn I had with me but left the needles I needed at home, blah blah blah. Instead, I made a preliminary swatch for J's scarf and have knitted several more kernels of candy corn (felted three before leaving town - very cute). I would have started the trick-or-treat felted bag for Kidlet as well, but didn't have the needles... Who packed my bags, anyway?