Okay, so I *AM* a closet UVA fan, especially for basketball, and if you aren’t a college basketball fan, you might not know we’re having a banner year.   One lucky, expectant UVA friend will receive this FO (finished object) this week.

Oh — and UVA fans are Wahoos.  I’m really not sure why, but evidently, I’m not the only person in podunk who makes up words and then inserts them into her vocabulary.

UntitledProject: UVA Kickbag.  This is the second time I’ve done this pattern, and the third kickbag I’ve done.  One friend has already asked for a second bag for …B3 (her second child, and I won’t explain why I’m calling it B3 for privacy’s sake), so evidently, these sacks are functional, so they’re my new go-to-knit for my fertile friends.

Pattern: Kicking Bag for Babies is a very straight-forward, simple pattern.  I love the baby cables in the ribbed top, and after that, it’s mindless knitting in the round with a three-needle bind-off.  I’ve only done this pattern with self-striping/patterned yarns, so it wasn’t mind-numbing.

Yarn:  Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Team Spirit, from The Loopy Ewe.  Yummy goodness, and machine washable too.

Needles:  Knitpicks #3 Rainbow (wood) fixed circular in 16″ length.  (Anyone have the Caspian version?  I need more needles like a hole in the head, but this nature-lover is also a blue-green lover!)

Verdict:  I’m wondering how quickly I could do some for the TWO friends expecting TWINS in the next 45 days or so…  which is to say I really like this pattern.  It’s going to keep a little Wahoo snug as a bug this chilly spring at her first baseball games!  (I’m pretty sure her mom doesn’t read my blog and doesn’t have time right now even if she normally does…)

Now, if  you’ll excuse me I do have TWO baby blankets to finish/start, so back to the knitting.

Hounds Unite

Or, part 2 of yesterday’s post…

Happy Thorsday, little friday, Thankful Thursday, 3rd day of Christmas and more.   Gretchen has a cute little post up today about some of her favorite parts of Christmas thus far…

So, today’s post is really a finished object report, but first, the hound connection.  I met Kari through blogging.  Her departed Fred, a bloodhound, had food issues too, so bonding wasn’t hard to do!   Kari  lives in Texas, so when she announced she was expecting, I knew just what I wanted to knit for her…

It had to be lightweight and easy-care, because I’m pretty sure Haylie – the beautiful chocolate lab – thinks Kari is just the incubator for HER two-legged baby.   Enter the Tofutsies Blanket.


The fur-girls had to make sure the blankie really was suitable for Mini-K.  Long-time readers might recall that baby Sissy had a SERIOUS problem with Tofutsies as a pup.  Maybe even then, she was trying to tell us she needed a fish kibble?  (If that sounds crazy, just keep reading.)  

Pattern:  Stringtown’s Tofutsies Baby Blanket.   What a FABULOUS, simple pattern!  Look out friends…  I have a ton of Tofutsies (and a friend with a yarn shop that stocks it), so more of these might be coming.   It’s a car seat/stroller sized blankie, and it’s just light and lofty.

Courtesy of Ravelry & SWTC

Courtesy of Ravelry & SWTC

My only modification was to use “scraps” as Tofutsies skeins are nice and large so I generally have enough left over to do a pair of footies or something.  I was inspired to transition between colors by the Tofu Tee, which is also knit with Tofutsies, holding two strands together.

Yarn:  Duh?  Tofutsies in assorted colors.  I love this yarn because it’s the easiest care light fingering weight yarn ever.  It has loft -gets light and fluffy – so it’s great for blankets and baby clothes yet still does great socks and shawls too.  It is splitty, but that doesn’t bother me.  I just don’t use pointy tips with this yarn.

But what you REALLY need to know is that it is a blend of superwash wool, “soysilk”, cotton and chitin – made from shrimp and crab shells.   (Hence baby Sis’s fascination with the yarn!)

Needles:  US #8 circs

DSC03244Verdict:  Well, I’ve already said it; I see more of these in my future!  It was a quick, fun knit and I know it will serve baby Mini-K well, without causing her parents any trouble with special care needs.  I just hope Haylie doesn’t love the yarn as much as baby Sissy did!

Obviously, I’m thankful for Tofutsies, but I’m also thankful for all the wee ones coming into the world right now.   Several of my friends who have had or are having babies have had a few more challenges than some on the path, so that makes the babies all the more treasured.

Thankfully, both of our local friends who had to have surgery are doing okay.  One is back home even!

I’m really thankful though for all of our doggy-bloggy friends.  It cracks me up when I think about how I started a blog just so I could participate in a swap, and now Chanknits is barely accurate, as Chan doesn’t knit much at all these days…

What are you thankful for today?

Still Kickin’…

First things first.  We’re south and west of Sandy’s fury.  We still will get many inches of rain and/or snow, high winds, etc., but we’re not in her direct path as those north of here are, nor are we getting the sustained winds those to the east are getting.

photo.JPGI had another blissful weekend.  I finished two projects, blocked a third, and can actually share one of those today.  I started the Kicking Bag for a little boy baby, but his first-time parents were overwhelmed with gifts galore, so I set it aside… until a dear friend with that newborn I can’t get enough of happened to mention she’d really like a kick bag for her baby girl.  I asked if she cared if it was blue and yellow…

Pattern:  Kicking Bag for Babies.   It’s really a VERY simple pattern, and if I make it again, I might use multiple colors as the pattern suggested.  I’d forgotten how easy and tidy a 3-needle bind-off is too.

photo.JPGYarn:  Cuddle Muffin, by Jo-ann Sensations, as in the craft store.  It’s a self-patterned yarn, so the yarn did all the work.  It’s a synthetic, but it was soft and a little sproingy, so it knitted more like a superwash fingering than an acrylic.

Needle:  #3 circular Susan Bates.  Boy do they make fingers on a chalk board scrapey sounds.  I’m glad to be back with my Knitpick Options in the Harmony Wood tips.  Pointy and silent…

Verdict:  I’ll knit it again, even though it took forever.   It seems much more functional than the bulky weight snuggle bag I made earlier this year.

How was your weekend? 

If you’re in the northeast, I hope you’re safe and dry.

Belabored Argosy

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and firehouse meetings night…

October 2012 003The girls blogged about this project today too.  The photos are the same, but the story is different.   The Yellow Argosy Baby Blanket began at the very end of December, 2010.  Long-time readers might recall that was just a few days after Sissy’s double-glaucoma diagnosis, after she went blind in her left eye on Christmas Eve.  Pardon the pun, but it was a very dark time in the woods.  Sissy was in pain – because we were unable to manage the glaucoma in the left eye – and I’m not sure why I thought casting on for a baby blanket was a good idea.

Anyway, you can go to the girls’ post to read more about the history of said blanket/project.  Below is the finished object report.

Project:  Yellow Argosy.  

October 2012 004Pattern:  Argosy Baby Blanket.  This is my third Argosy.  The shawl was one of the first shawls/lace projects I did, and I really enjoyed the scarf too.   As I’ve gifted all three Argosy projects to date, I am pondering the wrap for me! 

The pattern is easy enough to memorize and keep track of, but I still made a few mistakes.  Baby E and her mom seem quite pleased with it as-is though, so shhhh…

My only modification was the twice-around, single crochet trim.  I had only intended to go around once, but the Knight announced more PANK was needed, so…

Yarn:  Plymouth Encore, for both the body and the trim.  Lovely yarn.  Great wool blend that makes it easy-care too.

October 2012 001

Needles:  US #7 extra-extra-long circular needle.  Actually, I used my Knitpick Options and sized up and down on cord length as needed.  The blanket is actually knitted from that one lone square, increased on both sides to its widest point, then decreased both sides back to one square. 

I also used a “H” crochet hook for the PANK trim.

October 2012 002Verdict:  I’m proud of it, the recipients love it, and if you can’t tell, there will be more Argosy in my future.

Thankful?  I’m thankful that my handknits find loving homes.  I’m thankful for the friends who stocked up my cupboard with baby socks and baby sweaters, so that I can knit a hat or a blanket or a toy or… just pull something out and gift it with love from all over.

I’m also thankful for friends who know that knitted with dog hair means more love too.

What are you thankful for today?

Mango Minster is Now Open

 May 2010 010

Calling all voters!  The time is NOW… head over to Mango Minster and vote TODAY for Sissy.  We’ll be mentioning our favorite candidate in most categories as we go along, just in case you’re inclined to vote all week.  Sissy has an early lead and has already composed a very thoughtful – for her – post.

We had a GREAT weekend.  Saturday, my cousin and some friends of hers came up for a birthday tour of the station.  I am shocked that TWO 13 year old girls with birthdays this month want to be firefighters, but of course, we were glad to show them around.  Chief Knight also gave them a ride in the engine, and then they (all!) helped us wash the bay floor.  Yesterday, like a lot of the rest of you, we watched the Super Bowl. 

January 2011 009And I think I’m almost half-way on the baby blanket I’d hoped to finish by mid-January.  Hem.  I had to move to a 60″ needle last night.  Baby should be here, but I haven’t heard.  If it’s a little girl, I’m going to embroidery hot PANK flowers on top.  If it’s a boy, I might do a blue crochet border… or not.

How was your weekend?

Not Frogged

This post is for the knitters, and for moms with baby blanket experience.  I need a little advice.

DSC01939Several months ago, I cast on for Serenity and it was a very happy start.

Oh – wait.  This is an I’m done with it report, not a finished object report, just to be clear.

I was using Caron One Pound, because I knew a sturdy acrylic was necessary for the household where this was supposed to be going to live.   Never again.  I’m sure the yarn was part of the problem; it REALLY hurt my hands.  Now, I’m no yarn snob.  There’s a time and a place for just about every yarn on the market, but this one’s time and place is going to have to be somewhere I’m not.

I used a size 6 Hiya Hiya circular needle, and THAT is where I think I went wrong.  The #6 was great for the start – actually, I crocheted the ring in the center, but you can see any of my crocheted in the round FO reports for more info on that – but given that I was using an acrylic and one can’t REALLY block acrylics, I think I used have switched to a #7 at some point.

October 2010 012

What say you?  That’s as blocked as the baby can get.  Now granted, there’s some puckering around the outside edge because I bound off immediately after a cable, because I’d had enough, and yet, I was fond enough of the pattern that I couldn’t just frog it.  I had originally intended to gift it to Gretchen as a crate pad, but I discovered that it is just the right size to drop over bare feet in this season of transition from sandals to socks. 

Now, here’s the question.  Is a fancy, cabled blankie that needs blocking a less than ideal gift for the average mom?  I’m thinking that regardless of the fiber content, most moms want a machine wash and dry and use kinda’ blanket.  I don’t want any of my blankets to ever end up on a top closet shelf because they aren’t practical.

This is REALLY important to me right now, because one of my nearest and dearests is expecting #3.  She is the sort who will treasure, use and properly care for whatever I give her, but since this will be her third child under the age of 4, I want to make the right blanket.


Baby #1 Blanket, 2008


Baby #2 blanket, August 2009

I’m hoping for a girl, but they aren’t finding out this time either, so I’m thinking I’ll knit in a red of some sort this time…  just because that seems right.

Thanks in advance for your input!

Cherished Friends

I’m so blessed to have the best friends in the world.    When I realized I couldn’t finish the baby blanket, Gmarie volunteered her services.   The box arrived yesterday, complete with goodies for me and for the fur-girls.

It’s much larger and lighter weight than what I was working on.    That makes it much more practical!

There’s the close-up of the embroidery.  Isn’t it darling!?   Willow’s mother and I grew up with Raggedy Ann, so that’s such a touching element to tie us all together.

You just have to see these earrings.  They’re my new favorites.  I have to find more outfits to wear them with!  They’re by Anna Perrone.   

Thanks so very much, G.   Everything is truly perfect.

I’ve found several new, fun Etsy shops of late.  (Ms. Perrone has one too, so this does all tie together, thank you…)  That, and several of my friends, bloggy and local, are talented ladies, so do share your favorite indie crafters with me!

Well!  I’ve spent nearly 30 minutes fighting with WordPress, so here are simple text links to three new to me vendors on Etsy.  Sorry for the lack of photos, but for whatever reason, WordPress freaked out…

Jennie the Potter

Hound Tracks

Made from Coins

Do you frog?

Okay knitters, why is it calling frogging when you pull apart a knitting project, in part or sum total?

After a fast start, Serenity literally became a pain to knit.  I like the pattern.  Despite the cables, it’s an easy enough design.  However, the rugged acrylic I selected based on the intended recipient, soon proved too hard on my hands.  As the rows got longer, it became harder to finish one or two rows before my hands ached so much I had to take a long break, or my fingers got numb and I had to quit.

After languishing almost a month with no progress, despite the April birth of the intended recipient, Gmarie helped me realize yesterday that I needed to throw in the towel.  I haven’t done the actual frogging yet, but I have let it go in my heart and mind.

I’ve found that when I’m trying to force myself to knit something, I lose ALL of my knitting mojo.  What about you?  Does it happen with other crafts too?

I don’t really have any plans at all this weekend, so tell me about yours!

Oh – and see the fur-girls’ blog for an update… but not while you’re eating.

Knitter up!

I’m happily progressing on the two projects that are getting all of my knitting time these days.

Serenity is a fabulous knit.  It has cables, lace and “resting rows.”   I love lace, but I really like the patterns where I get  every other row to just knit (or purl, but knit is better).  I’ve made tons more progress since the photo, but you get the idea.  I’m knitting with Caron One Pound, which is about as good as a “cheap” acrylic gets.  It will wear like iron, and that’s what matters for this project.   The baby shower is this coming Saturday, but the baby is due in mid-April, so I hope to finish it up as soon as possible.

I’m almost afraid to mention that my sock mojo is back.  I’m twitching and itching to get back to it so I can turn the heel on sock #1.  The pattern is the Horcrux Sock, and the yarn was a gift from Monica, from London.    I love the lightning bolt pooling too.  Since we’re back to seasonal temperatures again, if I can finish the socks post-haste, I might even be able to wear them once or twice before it is too warm for such.  Oh – the yarn is a Regia.

I’m still spinning away on this unknown wool.  It has a long, crimped fiber, if that helps anyone help me guess.   The photos don’t show all the little crimps sticking out all over the place, even on the bobbin.  It’s a little rough to the touch, but not annoyingly so.

That’s the bag of fiber.  It’s roughly a pound, so my plan is to spin it up and knit Grace‘s Comforting Embrace Shawl, in memory of  the friend who lost her battle with breast cancer last month.  She loved tie-dyed stuff, so I’m hoping this will ply into something really cool.

I’m reading American Gods.  The college friend who recommended it called it “grittier” than Anansi Boys, but I’m having trouble putting it down.  For a change, I wasn’t late to work because I couldn’t resist snuggling the fur-girls…  I couldn’t put the book down.  It’s dark, it’s violent, and I have to confess that I like that in a book now and then.  (But not sad.  I don’t like sad.)

What are you working on, reading or otherwise doing?

Star Ripple

Or, a few hours equals a lap blanket…

Project:  Lap Blanket 

This will head west tomorrow for Dawn’s charity lap blanket challenge.  There’s still time, so please consider cranking out a lap blanket for someone at Dawn’s grandmother’s nursing home.  If a lap blanket doesn’t fit into your yarn plans right now, I’m betting that the nursing home nearest you would gladly take donations most any time. 

Pattern:  Fox’s Beginner Round Ripple   I’ve wanted to make a ripple blanket for a while, basically since I got comfortable with crochet.  For whatever reason, I find crocheting in the round more fun than hooking flat, row after row.  This was a great little pattern, and really, if you can chain and double crochet, you can make one of your own.

If you don’t know how to do the magic adjustable ring, you are really missing out.   I’m lucky that I learned that little trick in my first crochet workshop, and maybe it’s why I love to crochet in the round.

Of course EVERYONE wants a shot of me with the blanket!

Yarn:  Let’s just say three different acrylics, okay?  I honestly don’t even know what the lilac is.  I’m going to guess Red Heart, but I don’t know.  It was part of a bag of yarn a former employee’s girlfriend (got that?) gave me.  I don’t love knitting with acrylics, but I can tell you that Caron’s One Pound (pink)  is less offensive than the Lion Brand Pound of Love (yellow) and the very coarse lilac.

Hook:  #I, Boye, of course.

Verdict:  Don’t be surprised to see this one again.  Once you get past the “starter doily” in the center,  it’s rapid-fire double crochet.   Being crochet, it’s a little heavy for a baby blanket (like I would know!), but I think it’ll make a sturdy, warm lap blanket.  I hope it makes some sweet lady very happy. 

That was what I did yesterday.  I also spun a bit, but it’s going to be a long time before I have a finished yarn to show you.  Today, I washed and blocked three older projects, but we’ll talk about them later in the week.  Now, I’m going to knit on the other blanket that I’ve ignored most of the week.  How did your weekend shape up?