Whatcha’ think?

I need some advice, input and help.  What I really need is a visit from Stacy London, but PLEASE don’t REALLY send them, because I know how to dress to impress…  I just need the motivation more often.

The Knight and Fred, 8-2007

The Knight and Fred, 8-2007

Going on 13 years with an indoor basset hound has a lot to do with it.  While this photo is from work, and the Knight is in work clothes, the same positions are assumed at home.  There’s dog hair everywhere, slobber and goobers on pants, etc.

Yesterday afternoon, when Gretchen fell into the hot tub, the hemlock ring was wrapped around her, after she came out of the body sheet towel that was first called into service.   (She’s fine; we’d never had the hot tub cover open since she came to live with us, and the Knight was right there to scoop her out, and a lesson was learned… she won’t venture past the top step anytime soon!)

January 2008

January 2008

Baby Sissy was tucked in under my favorite shawl (by Grace  – today’s her birthday, so pop over and wish her a great one!).  My point here is, I USE my handknits, and since my dogs are very much a part of my life, they use them too, in a sense.

Where am I going with all of this?  Well, all of the above plays into my decisions when I am choosing a pattern for a wrap for me.  THAT part is not open for debate, and if it offends you that I don’t shield my knits from my dogs…  I won’t apologize.  I also make the same considerations when I knit for friends with small children.  Nothing with too many delicate yarn overs for little fingers to get caught in, baby blankets are made to be machine wash and dry, etc.

Toy sheep with Sharpie-drawn face

Toy sheep with Sharpie-drawn face

So, the point of this whole post is that while I’m very comfortable dropping a shawl of any shape around my shoulders, I don’t know how to wear them in public.  I’d like to wear them more, because shawls are my favorite project right now, and I have several that deserve to be seen outside of the house.

What shape do you like best, and why? 

Where do you wear your knitted wraps?  Please be specific.  I paint a broad stroke with my attire, and while my daily look is what Stacy would probably call high school casual (jeans and a decent shirt), I also do cocktail and black tie several times a year, with everything in between too.

HOW do you wear them?  With a shawl pin?  Tied?  Flapping in the breeze?  Some other stylin’ method?

The chair doesnt have THAT body part...

The chair doesn't have THAT body part...

While we’re at it, let’s attack the basic triangular shawl with its yarn over increases making an arrow pointing right to the body part most of us LEAST want ANYTHING to point to…

What do you think about the triangle and the “bottom point”?

I happen to like the function of this style.  If the shawl is large enough,  I can tie the front ends in a couple of different ways, and I can walk dogs, wash dishes, knit and otherwise go about my life.  The dogs have never scoffed at the point that points to a place I don’t want to draw eyes to, but precious as they are, they’re not good fashion advisors.

While we’re at it, share your favorite shawl patterns with me.  I have a BIG contest coming next month/week/soon, but I’ve asked so much of you that I should offer something for your troubles, huh?

How ’bout a gift certificate to one of my favorite indie dyers for some sock shawl yarn?  If enough of you participate, I’ll give two certificates, one each to two favorite dyers.

You’ll get one entry for EACH of the questions you answer, because I asked a lot.   Keep in mind you don’t have to be a knitter to enter!   (Yeah, you probably won’t get an entry for the favorite pattern part, but…)

If more than ten of you answer ALL the questions, EVERYONE answering ALL the questions (with non-knitters who mention they don’t knit getting a buy on the fave pattern question) will be entered in a separate drawing for that second gift certficate.  The rest of you will have to duke it out for the original prize, okay?

I did highlight the questions, to make it easier.  No bonuses will be given for advertising this contest, but obviously, the more answers I get, the more prizes I’ll give.

Contest ends at 8am Eastern time (my time!) on Friday, October 2nd, which is both my favorite aunt and uncle’s anniversary and the anniversary of her father/my grandfather’s death.  Prizes will be awarded right here, whenever I get around to blogging on Friday, assuming I’ve worked out the prize details with the two friends I’m blind-siding.

Dorsets and Dog Treats

I had two parcels waiting for me when I got home yesterday.  One was my Monthly Adventures (Ravelry Group) Dorset Button Swap goodies.

It was a great assortment of buttons, and while I insisted I didn’t care much for embellishments on these beauties, just look at the delicate shell facade on the brown one:

My kind partner sent more of the little shells.  Yes, one cracked in shipping, but as delicate as they are, the break was clean and the two pieces will glue back together nicely.

Look at this fancy jewel!  Makes me want to re-decorate a room in those colors just so I can use that as a pull on a fan or light…  Thanks Joanie!

Gretchen also got another birthday present from the pack at GypsyKnits.   Of course, Mr. B couldn’t resist sending something along for Sissy too, after he tested and approved it.  (Or sealed it with a slobbery kiss?)

You’ll have to pardon the photos.  I didn’t get home until after 8pm, and the girls were WILD.  Smelling the dogs and cats from the sender’s household didn’t help any at all.

I tried for a “staged” group shot, but the belated birthday girl is small and quick.  Before I could step back, focus and click…

Well, you KINDA’ got to see most of the goodies.  There’s a pink Swiffer cover, because Mr. B knows Sissy made lots of big footprints all over the hardwood floors over the rainy weekend, and if you hold your head at the right angle and use your imagination, you can ALMOST see the cute slide over the collar kerchiefs Kathy made for the girls!  (Yes, Sissy’s is lined in a lovely plaid!)

And just to tease, if you look behind the card Mr. B sent to Sissy  the girls, you MIGHT be able to see part of the prizes Kathy sent for my October contest.  I’m jealous, folks. 

Sissy generally isn’t much on toys, other than to play keep away from Gretchen.  However, she didn’t let this fleece braid out of her sight until it was time to come to work this morning.  I couldn’t get a better photo, because if I stared long enough to zoom in, she turned, just like that, to guard her prize, even from me.  (And yes, you dog whisperers, that did mean I had to take it from her a few times, just because I really am the Alpha Mom.)

Thanks to all the humans and critters at GypsyKnits!  The girls are well-spoiled and I can’t wait to announce the contest and prizes on October 5th!


Happy Monday!  We’re having a beautiful fall day here in my neck of the woods.  I spent the entire weekend at Haddon Woods, knitting a cowl fit for a princess.

That’s my Ruff-Ruffles cowl.  Somehow, Sis knew it was hers from the jump.  Even though it was a pleasant 70-something degrees outside yesterday, Sissy wore her new “necklace” with pride, and even got cranky when I removed it and put it on Gretchie.

I dont think I should be wearing this...

I don't think I should be wearing this...

Pattern:  Ruffles Cowl.   I followed the pattern to the letter, but clearly, I have more ruffles than the one shown with the pattern.   I had a grand total of 672 stitches to bind off, and since there were a lot of yarn overs (every other stitch!), I opted to practice my new knit backwards picot bind off, since a picot bind off was recommended. 

Off the needles, un-folded shot

Off the needles, un-folded shot

I did use Version 2, to give Sis a little more length in the ribbed section, as she won’t wear coats in the winter, but will wear a cowl.  Given the yardage range the designer gives and the VERY ruffled look of my cowl, I think the last K1, YO repeat will take you closer to 240-250 yards of yarn.

Most accurate color shot on *THIS* monitor...

Most accurate color shot on *THIS* monitor...

Yarn:  I can’t say enough about Sissy’s yarn.  Jessi really captured the colors perfectly, and it knitted up perfectly.   In case you haven’t read my blog in the past month, this is Springvalley Yarn’s Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy colorway, in a DK weight.  A portion of the profits for the sale of this and the Gretchen colorway goes to the ASPCA.

Needles:  My Knitpick Options, metal tip, size #8, 24″ cord.  It was literally all I could do to fit those 600++ stitches on this cord, yet it was WAY too long for the stockinette section.  Why doesn’t KPO offer a shorter cord?  (And no, I don’t care to buy the fixed in a shorter length.  Come on Hiya Hiya interchangeables! )

See the wet hair on Gretchen's head? Sis wanted her cowl back!

Verdict:  Without the cowl in my hands, I can’t count rows and figure out whether I screwed up or whether version 2 just doesn’t have a photo on the pattern page.  Either way, I’m delighted with the final results.  Jessi and Sissy are happy too, so it’s a VERY successful knit, regardless!

***ETA! – I must note that the delightful, responsive designer has changed the pattern to note that 250 yards is recommended…  Since Sis adores her Ruff-Ruffle, I’m apt to make another for her.

Never fear, Gretchie fans.  Her dress is underway, and I’ll be buying “jewels” for the neckline today.  Look for her in her Springvalley-Haddon Woods designer frock later this week, along with a Colonnade FO report once that is blocked.  However, since several of you are knitting Colonnades, please see my project notes or Yarndemon’s for an error in the originally released version of the  pattern…  The designer is aware of it, so I’m sure a correction will show up soon.

Crayons and Parachutes

There’s a happy little “getting to know you” question that asks what color crayon you would be.  I never know whether they want to know what my favorite color is, what color I look best in, or what color is most like my personality.  (Feel free to ponder “out loud” in the comments.  I’m curious like that.) 

For the record, my favorite color changes almost daily – or maybe even a few times in a given day.  I look best in jewel tones, as a general rule, and my personality changes about as often as my favorite color.  (I’m moody.)  As for parachutes, even that changes more than for some of you.

However, my fur-girls were lucky.  They landed in a household where each doggy has a “signature” color.  I’m not saying we’ll never repeat one, but so far, we haven’t.  Sissy is purple, a real, true, royal purple, and Gretchen is PANK, a sassy, hot, strong, bright pink.

Spring Valley Yarns

Springvalley Yarns

(For the record, on THIS monitor, the purple should be redder, and the pink lacks a bit of intensity.)

Like several of you, I couldn’t help myself, and I ordered some of Jessi‘s fabulous yarn in the girls’ colorways.  I’m knitting up the Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy’s item now, so you’ll just have to come back later to see what it became (or Rav-stalk me).  Gretchie’s item is next on the needles.

Being younger and less demanding  full of herself  more demure, Gretchen’s yarn is merely titled “Gretchen.”  If I could have fit it on her paperwork, she would have been Haddon Wood’s Lady Gretchen Greer, and she is always the lady.  Just as a reminder, a portion of the sales of both colorways goes to the ASPCA.

welcome1-1Another little joy to share today is Yarn Gift Bouquets.   A Ravelry friend had a rather sudden, unexpected death in the family.  One can’t bake a casserole and send it to another country, even if the two are on the same continent.  Luckily, Nichole suggested a “bouquet” she and her mother had received, and it just happened to help avoid customs delays too.  I’ll defnitely keep Yarn Gift Bouquets in mind for future use!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my royal knitting.  The Princess is helping the Knight do [his] laundry.  Gretchen is just pacing around, trying to keep tabs on everyone.  Just another rainy day in the Woods…


It’s Friday and it’s raining.   Those things both make me very happy.   I’m looking forward to a restful weekend with my new friend, Allegra.  Between her powers and the rain, I think my allergies will be back under control again in another day or so.

Meet Noria.  She’s my latest pride and joy. 

Pattern:  Gaia, available as a free Ravelry downl0ad.  (Honestly, if you’re not on Ravelry, just sign up, if for no other reason that to Rav-stalk and dowload free patterns.)  I didn’t make a single modification, other than to knit on and on, to make the most of my pretty yarn. 

My new skill was the picot knit backwards bind-off.  Knitting backwards is easy, and I’m looking forward to trying it again.  I might have to cast on for another entrelac project just so I can give it a whirl.  It’s a softer, rounder picot, although I suspect I could have blocked each point for a sharper look.

This pattern was written for Noro sock yarn(s).  No two will ever look the same, as the knitter decides when to make the change.  It’s nearly mindless, but has enough variety to keep it interesting.

Yarn:  Noro Silk Garden Sock.  I finally found this yarn’s zenith.  I don’t care to make socks with it, because it does have that Noro thick-thin thing going on, but in this shawl, it was great.

Needles:  US #5 circs.  I started with the Addi 24″, but had to switch to the Knitpicks Options (metal tips) and the 40″ cord.  I STRONGLY prefer the KPO pointy tips.  I’m glad I did start this project on the Addis though, because now I know I don’t need to invest in the Addi Interchangeables; I’ll wait on the Hiya Hiya version.  Using them back-to-back on the same project really drove that point home!

Verdict:  I have two more skeins of Noro Silk Garden sock, so there’s a chance I might do another of these.  It’s still a fairly small shawl, but I think it is going to live with a fairly small woman, so that will work out just fine.

So, what will you be doing this weekend?  I know there’s a Jane Slicer-Smith series of workshops in town this weekend.  I never signed up because I suspected my back wouldn’t be up to sitting all weekend, but I hope those of you who are attending have a great time!

FFF-smWhat about next weekend?  Who is coming to the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier next weekend?  I’m going to be there on Saturday, as is AnnDianne of Creatively Dyed will be there as a vendor for the whole thing.  AmyWendy?  Who else?

Will enough of us be there at the same time to plan our own little meet and greet?

Have a great weekend, whatever you do!

Paprika Symphony Toile

Sometimes, I just have to post more than once daily.  Sometimes, I just have to post within the same couple of hours.

Vera Bradley just released her newest colors.


Meet Symphony.  I like this one a lot, but it’s also MJ’s new favorite.  Use the link above to see your favorite bags in this pattern.  I’ve found that each bag uses the fabric a little differently, and some I like more than others.



This is Paprika.   One of my favorite spices, I’m afraid she’s also my undoing.  I’ve been having a running argument  joke  discussion with a few different friends about my dislike of the color orange.  I’m afraid my love for Paprika forces me to admit that  while I don’t care for Halloween orange, I do seem to like certain variations on the hue.  No, it won’t look so hot with my PANK or even the true red I wear a lot in cooler weather, but I do believe I have to have some Paprika, just the same.


Last – and least, in my book – is the very neutral, practical Imperial Toile.  I love the swatch, but there’s too much Imperial and not enough toile in the actual bags.  Still, I think VB has a three-run homer with these colors.  (I wouldn’t turn my nose up at bags in any of these colors, and I can’t tell you when that last happened with the release of new VB colors.) 

You know, I just might have to swing in and buy  see these fraternal triplets in person this afternoon…  Do share your thoughts and/or purchases too!

Lulu’s Tutu Squad

Happy Dogs on Thursday!  Despite battling severe fall allergies (which I’ve never had before, thanks much) and the danged allergy meds that don’t suit my system a hoot, it’s been one speedy week.

Yesterday, I (again) showed you Lulu DIVA and her grand tutu.  I won’t link and talk about her cause again, but I do owe you lots of LTS photos. 

Sissy, on the move!

Sissy, on the move!

My girls are too frisky to get the whole waddle idea.  (Waddles are popular with basset folk, for obvious reasons, but we all know Sissy is hardly a typical basset.)  Still, we all wanted to support Lulu in her first waddle, so out came the tutus and the cameras!

For unknown reasons, Sissy got a case of the zoomies as soon as her tutu was secured around her waist.  Of course, what Sissy does, Gretchie does, so we had to wait for Sis to calm down a bit to get Gretchie’s tutu on.

The tutu was a bit big for Gretch (one size does NOT fit all), so she was very lady-like and just waltzed and sat while her skirt was on.  Of course, Gretchen does seem to get the concept of decorum far, FAR better than her big sister…

Sissy, almost being lady-like

Sissy, almost being lady-like

The tutus were purchased at PetsMart, and while they are marked “one size” I would guess they’d best fit dogs in the 25-50 lbs. range.  Sis has TONS of room in hers too, but most dogs near 50 lbs. are bulkier than she is! 

My dear friend Ann has hatched a scheme for no-sew me to create a purple tutu for Sissy though.  Tulle, lots of velcro for the waist, and fabric glue…  I’ll probably add some sort of (insert proper sewing/fabric term here) 1/2 – 3/4 ” binding or whatever so I don’t have to try to match up all that velcro around that waist.

And whoooo hoooo, it’s little friday!  Look for an FO report tomorrow.

Fillin’ in the gaps…

September 2008

September 2008

… in Anita’s post.   I’ll just beebop through her post, in order and address all those “Chan will have to tell you” things.

In the second paragraph, we had dinner Thursday night at The Shebeen, one of my favorite local eateries.  I love their corn chowder, and we both enjoyed our Sadza Cakes.

Anita and the Majacraft at SMF

Anita and the Majacraft at SMF

I just had to share a photo of Anita spinning.  After Stony Mountain Fibers, we headed to It’s A Stitch, where we found two lovely shawl pins.  (I hope they get more; those were the last two!) 

Shawl by Grace

Shawl by Grace

From there, we headed up to Pins & Needles, where I bought some Berroco Peruvia for Colonnade, which should be a finished object tonight.

I think that covers all of Anita’s “Chan can tell you” comments.  If I left something out, please ask!  We had a great time, and I’m very jealous that my inlaws will be in her neck of the woods in a couple of months, but MJ has agreed to serve as a courier…

There’s a hint of what’s to come tomorrow…  The girls did indeed waddle in support of Lulu and Team Nut Nut


Now, I do have some invoices to get out today…

Holding out for an Indian Summer

One year ago today...

One year ago today...

As common as an Indian Summer is around here, I have no great photos that show what it is.  Instead, admire this alittletooearlyforatrueIndianSummer photo of Amanda and Michelle, taken a year ago at the end of our Knitters Day Out weekend.

Mugsys mum, still wet from watering..

Mugsy's mum, still wet from watering..

This hasn’t been a remarkable summer for me, so I’m quite content to let it go later today, when we transition to fall/autumn.   Despite the deaths that have come in the fall the last few years, I love this season, perhaps above all others.  I love the colors – especially the rich, deep wines – and the flavors of the season.  Bring on the pumpkin everything!  I love wrapping up in a shawl at night and in the morning, donning that first wool sweater of the season, and needing to wear my toasty handknit socks.

September 2008, OBX

September 2008, OBX

Still, Sissy and I are holding out for an Indian Summer at the beach.  We’re looking forward to getting sand between our toes and finding out what Gretchie thinks of the surf.  And if we get a few warm, beautiful days at home first, blessing abound!

What is your favorite season?  What do you like best about fall?

(And did I distract you?  No blocking happened at my house last night, so just keep waiting…)

Have I told you that Sissy rushes to the TV in the living room if I ask her if she wants to see Tony & Gibbs?  Yeah…  we’re a little hooked on NCIS…

Spun Carmel

I know, you want photos of Anita and me.  The few of both of us live on her camera, so until she downloads photos this evening – and gets around to blogging – you’ll just have to wait. 

My plan is to distract you with my return to spinning.  My Heavenly Handspinning Bella needed some adjustments, and Anita was able to get her in top form for me.  She was also able to help me make a few little changes so that I am spinning decently again.  I have quite a ways to go before I can call myself more than the most basic beginning spinner, but at least the herky-jerky stops and starts are down to a minimum.

That’s a very special part of my gift from Anita.  She made that for me!  She sells orifice hooks on her Etsy site.  See that little line there?  That’s so I don’t have to guess what size yarn I’m spinning.   (Because it still has to be plied with another strand you know?)  IF only I remembered what size that little line makes…  (‘Nita?  Help?)

And don’t ask about the colors in the background.  I’m going to block that tonight, and an FO report will follow, probably on Wednesday.

Anita and I did some yarn/fiber shopping Friday, but most of the weekend, we just laughed and knitted and spun and let Sissy and Gretchen entertain us.   There are some great photos of her spinning at Stony Mountain Fibers – on her camera – so again, just wait for her to blog. 

I also showed Anita how to make a dorset button.  That’s mine, done on about a 7″ ring, with Wick.  I need to find some ribbon or something to weave in that gap around the edge…

That’s Anita’s first dorset, made on a ring with a 2 1/2 inch inside diameter, but the ring itself is very thick and flat-ish.  It was made with Noro Matsuri.  The Knight was most pleased to see that the large rings he’d purchased were getting some use!

There’s so much more to share, but in the meantime, tell me about your weekend.  What’s new?  (And y’all tell Pissy that we need a photo of his new puppy, right?!)