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?

16 October 2007

Location, location, location

I have THREE - count 'em, three - amazing, blue-ribbon LYS's within five miles of my home, not to mention several chain stores. I blame where I live for the stash event of last week. If I wasn't in an excessively creative metropolitan area, this wouldn't be a problem. OK, not entirely true - I'd still have online shopping, but seeing and feeling the yarn in person is the hook for me. Mmm, squishywoollygoodness...

At one of said shops of personal doom, I stumbled upon an awesome in-house pattern for felted candy corn. So cute! I showed Kidlet the pre-felted nugget I churned out last night, and her response was, "Ooh, is this going to be for me?" It is now, sweetie. If you're interested, the Woolly Candy Corn pattern is by Marie Mayhew, and results in 4" felted candies with worsted yarn (3" with sport weight).

Once you have been drawn to the Dark Side (read: Ravelry), come see me - I'm Meema over there, too. Happy fall knitting!

15 October 2007

Blog Action Day is here!

I was watching Blogger Play while doing some online banking, and saw this photo fly through the queue. "Cute," I thought, so I went to see from whence it came. Make-Out Good's blog was featuring this repurposed T-shirt-turned-reusable-shopping-bag a la Martha Stewart, and also revealed that today is Blog Action Day.*

This, combined with my noodlings yesterday about stash and holiday gifting/knitting, has me recalling a pattern from AlterKnits for repurposing old wool sweaters into felted totes. This
link paraphrases the process (with permissions). I also sheepishly recall that I scavenged at Savers last year for sweaters for this very project. An evening of felting now lies before me, but with the earth-friendly result of reusing someone else's unwanted sweaters.

Even if you "don't sew", there is very little required in this pattern; the seam at the bottom could be as basic as matress stitching, or as complexly machined as you like. Lining would be another option. Give it a try.

p.s. Another earth-friendly bit of info: for knitters in the TC area,
Borealis Yarns in StP is selling an eco-friendly reusable shopping bag for $5 in their store. If you bring this bag with you on future stash- or library-enhanching trips to Borealis, they will punch your shopper's card for an extra $5 punch. Even if you only buy a $3 pattern. And take it from me, this bag holds a LOT of groceries!

*On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

14 October 2007

All the leaves are brown...

... and the sky is grey.

OK, so technically here in the TC we are just reaching peak fall foliage, but there is a good portion of leaves that are of a brownish tinge. It's one of those cold, damp days which make you think the snow is just days away, and all you want to do is curl up in front of a fire with an afghan and a cup of cocoa/chai/tea and knit, and doze, and knit a bit more. I miss having a fireplace, but knitting with wool is a close second on the cozy scale.

I succumbed to a wool craving last week. A bad one. The kind that would earn a person frequent shopper perks at an LYS, if they'd offer it (hrmph). It did provide me with some ammunition for holiday gifting - even ideas for using up some stash. I'm at the point where I need to list out who is getting what, and how long each will take. Schedule time! I hope to have some smaller FO's to post by month's end.

15 more minutes left of Kidlet's nap time - I should be able to knock a few rows off of the stocking. Happy fall knitting!

10 October 2007


This past weekend was the first non-working Saturday I've had in a long time. Squee! A gal could get used to this. Kidlet and I went to church for the Blessing of the Animals service (she brought her stuffed bear pillow and a little stuffed doggie). A variety of real dogs were also in attendance with their people, as well as one very shy toad. After all were blessed, Kidlet and I went out to lunch and shopped for Nana's birthday gift. Then it was off to Kids' Hair for a trim (for Kidlet, of course). It was a lovely day.

Pictorial knitting update!

Kidlet's sweater, which is now off-the-needles-yet-still-unblocked:

The beginning of the Elizabethan stockings for Kerry:

I've ordered yarn from Little Knits for a sweater for myself. Methinks I won't cast that on until the holiday knitting is done. (BTW, Little Knits is a great place to get some name-brand yarns at crazy sale prices - retired colors, discontinued yarns, and the like.)

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. No numbers will be mentioned. ;-) Since M&D have been busy planning a move, we combined Mom's and Ness's birthday celebrations into one. Dinner at Mom's new favorite restaurant, then back to their house for the gifting, dessert, and a round of Wii Bowling. Have I mentioned that my parents are pretty cool?

Happy birthday, Mom!

03 October 2007


The Renaissance Festival is over for the season. :-D As much as I love participating, it's exhausting once school starts: five days of teaching, two 12-14 hour days of Festing. We were wiped out after packing up the shop on Sunday night. Driving home, though, I was giddy with the knowledge that I have zero work commitments on Satrudays now!

There has been scant progress on the knitting side of life, thanks to The-Site-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named. I do have a battle plan for the Elizabethan stockings, though, and have knit the top band of garter stitch and begun the stockinette decreasing to the knee. I'm excited about this project - very excited, actually, as it's my first crack at designing a fitted garment. This is also what scares me to death and stands to threaten my progress. I think I need to learn how to embrace frogging as constructive.