Christmas Eve Deliveries

I’m not one to praise the United States Postal Service, but Christmas Eve impressed me.   Our Postmistress was out delivering, and my mail ran right on time.  The Knight was taking out some trash at 8pm at his grandfather’s, and THAT mail carrier (another lady) was still making sure as many last-minute packages and cards arrived before Christmas.

The first package was from Devon .  I don’t know that I would have EVER turned the heel of my first sock without her!  She spent part of a Sunday afternoon knitting along with me, telling me row by row how many stitches should be on each needle.  A friendship was born, just like that. 

There’s my first Christmas pickle, a lovely ornament that will have a tiny version of the dogs’ Christmas photo placed inside, and a lovely, handmade pin that will look great on almost all of my coats!  Thank you so very much, Devon.  Your friendship has certainly been a blessing this year!

Then, my package arrived from my FFBE pal!  I couldn’t get a group shot because we were heading out as the mail arrived.  I’m already carrying the bag.  I know Karen stressed over the colors, and they couldn’t be more perfect!  The flash made them a bit more vivid than they are, but you get the idea.  I love it!

There were lots of other goodies too.  Look at that Baywood yarn!  Yum!  And honey spoons, a pretty, HUGE tin of assorted teas, and the most wonderful smelling soaps are in that festive box, in a fir scent.  (LOVE fir scents.  Didn’t know I did until I was gifted some fir candles and now, this incredible soap.)  In the upper right is the very yarny card Karen sent too.  It was a lovely package, clearly put together with me in mind.  It certainly has been a grand season for swaps for me.  Thank you, Karen!

I apologize for the delay in getting this post up.  I started yesterday afternoon, and had internet problems at home.  I tried again in the middle of the night when the internet was working, but Sissy wanted to get back in bed; she just whined and fussed and wouldn’t settle on the sofa.  I put her back in the bed, and she stomped up between the Knight and Mugsy, sighed and went right to sleep.  Now, after I get my coffee, I’ll work on a doggy post for the day! 

Anne’s Sleeping Bag

DSCN0620After weeks of photoless whining and teasing, I can finally share Anne’s Felted Bag with you. She knew I was her spoiler as she was the lone hostess for this swap , and it feels as though a lot of October has been devoted to this project. I had hoped to have it done so it would arrive in her hands on her birthday, but such is life, and lucky, the Bag Lady knows how these things go.

Firstly, I must apologize to my friend. The bag did look better when it left here, but the photo on Anne’s blog just turns my stomach. chan1 Pout. I hope she knows I honestly wouldn’t have sent her such a train wreck of a bag, and I hope her Bag Lady skills will allow her to restore it to something more akin to what left here. Obviously, my concerns about it still being damp within somewhere were well-founded.

We’ll start at the end and work our way back. DSCN0621 There’s the finished product, which pleases me more than I thought it would. This is the Plymouth blah blah pattern, and let me be clear; I CANNOT recommend this pattern to anyone. Awful ain’t the word. There are errors in the chart and no errata to be found, although I think I was able to figure out how to make the assorted cables mirror each other, within the rows and top to bottom.

The little pop of green at the top? Yeah, well, pictured on the pattern photo, but NOT written into the pattern, so I kinda’ guessed, and made the green wider than I really wanted it, but it’s all good. The straps? Um, yeah. I made them THREE times as long as the pattern called for. Who on earth does a 35 row strap on a felted bag?! Also, a bag this size really should be done in a bulky yarn or two strands of worsted, and I’ll know better in the future, not that I’ll do this pattern again. No way. I hope Anne finds it acceptable and can use it to store yarn in or something, but it’s not even worth trying to modify for future use.

The details:

Yarn: Patons Wool. Six balls of dark grey, and two balls of bottle green, with the last ball of each barely getting used. I did have to buy an extra ball of the grey, as the pattern called for five, and I have this annoying habit of knitting VERY loosely for felted projects. Loved the way this felted up, with more heft than I would have predicted, but DANG this stuff sheds. In desperation, I did run it through the dryer on no heat for a few minutes, which helped tremendously. I also ran one of those shaver muh-bobs over it.

Needles: Knitpicks Options, in both metal and the sweet Harmonys. My knitting did tighten up some with the Harmonys, and I’m liking those very much. Size #10.5, 32 inch circs.

Pattern: Plymouth Celtic Felted Tote, #P635

New skills: You can’t see it in the final product, but I will likely take the time (and it is laborious) to do an i-cord bind-off on all my felted bags in the future. Great little trick, that.

This is also my first cabled project, and I enjoyed cables, but not the way this pattern was written. The bottoms and tops of the diamonds were sloppy, and I don’t know that I did anything wrong. (Really don’t like this pattern, just in case you missed that.) I’m looking forward to doing a cabled headband and other cables very soon.

I also had to do an infinite amount of seaming. DSCN0617 Each corner and each cable, inside and out, had to be drawn together to give it that little bit of texture. I like it, and had the bag not felted from 34″x 24″ to 17″ x 13″ , I think it would have shown up a bit better.

DSCN0615_edited-1 The handles were a neat trick. Each one is two straps, with different yarn-over patterns, so that they easily weave together. The end result is beautiful, I think, and it makes a solid, double-thick handle for this still very large tote.

This monster was truly a labor of love, and I’m sorry to tell any future felted bag pals that I don’t think you should count on a tote. I enjoy smaller bags a lot more. DSCN0614 Mugsy was kinda’ hoping it would be his new bed, and had it not felted better than expected, that was a serious possibility. Some orthopedic foam shoved in there with the top stitched shut, and he would have had labor-intensive dog bed.

Also, can anyone tell me why most of my bags have such a floppy, stretched-out top? We didn’t tug on this one much at all, except to widen it at the center, where the cable drew in so much, but all of my felted bags have this ruffly top, to some degree.

The promised how big is it really shot. DSCN0619_edited-1 Folks, I’m 5’3″ if that helps you wrap your mind around how big this was prior to felting.

Anners, I wish it had turned out more like the photo on the pattern, and I hope again you can restore it to what it looked like when it left here. Pout.

FFBE Final Question and More Again

Have you noticed that it’s feast or famine with my posts? Hope that doesn’t bother anyone. It’s a matter of time, and it’s a rainy, boring day in the working world.

How was your experience in the exchange? Did you enjoy the folks you met? Did you just love the bag you received? Please share any thoughts, criticism, and things you loved!

Well, I just sent out my pal’s package yesterday and haven’t received mine yet, so there’s little to report. My upstream pal has been in touch and has asked questions so I know she’s reading up on me, which will lead to a great bag, I’m sure! My downstream pal has been a royal pain in my rear, trying to solicit information about her bag from mutual friends… Oh yeah. Wait. That’s YOU, isn’t it Miss Question-asker? SNOL!! Seriously though, I had great fun spoiling you, although I do think YOU have more fun when you have a co-host, so I’ll be mindful of that next time I decide at the last minute to be less than helpful.
I will of course, go on and on when my package does arrive. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
And since I keep forgetting, I really need my SNOL button out in plain sight!

Also, if you’re like me (forgetful), you need a reminder that the Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap is open for registration. Get that questionnaire posted though!


Winding down, the fall felted bag exchange is. (Yoda, anyone?? Where did that come from?)

So, one last question for Anners, only I’m answering both options.

What was your favorite Halloween costume ever – for you? for your kids, if you have them? Why did you enjoy it so much? Do you still dress up now? Chat a bit about your traditions for dressing up on All Hallow’s Eve!

I’ve never been into Halloween, not even as a kid. The only non-store-bought costume I recall was around 5th grade, when I just had to be Athena, my goddess hero. I had a sheet toga, and I remember raising cane about my sandals… Obviously, it’s only my favorite because it was the only costume that required more than a trip to the store. I do enjoy carving a pumpkin, but that’s about it.

It’s a crisp, cool, sunny Sunday in October – the sky is clear, there’s a bit of a breeze, and the leaves have already started to change. How would you spend your day to best celebrate and enjoy the season? Are you at home curled up with tea and a book and a window open to enjoy the breeze? Do you head out on a long drive and hike through the mountains to see the trees? Go find pumpkins and colored corn to decorate? Tell us about your special day!

Wait – are we assuming the NASCAR race was on a Saturday night? If that’s the case, first things first! I’ll pull on my walking shoes and Mugsy and I will head out for a few miles. Then, when we get home, we’ll see if the Knight wants to ride across the mountain (FOOTHILL Anne, I know…) for any ol’ reason, so we can look at the leaves along the way. When I get home, the crockpot of pinto beans will be ready, so I’ll just whip up some cornbread and call it supper. If I have the energy, I’ll make apple or pumpkin bread pudding for dessert.

Noro Clarification

For my FFBE spoiler:

I wanted to love Kureyon, and I have some Silk Garden from a swap pal I hope to knit up sooner rather than later. I love the stripes, and I think now that I know more about felting, my first two bags – Chan and Booga, in Kureyon – would have been a bit tighter and thus, I’d be more excited about the results. So, it is indeed the KNITTING with Kureyon that I hate. I also can’t imagine wearing the stuff, or curling up under it. I hear Silk Garden is far better in the knitting with and touchability in the final product, so I do want to give it a whirl.
In fact, I can’t stop buying striped yarn, especially the self-striping kind. Part of its charm is my lack of confidence with color work, but it’s also just a little Chan will never be a dyer mystery, watching the colors ooze into stripes while I just do my thing with the needles.
A shorter answer? If you’re willing to knit with Kureyon for me, I’m sure I’d love it.


This is such a post-heavy day. Sorry, but if I try to spread them out, I forget. Friday should be a light or no post day, as I have my standing stamp & scrap group meeting. I’m stamping, because I owe thank you notes and I feel wasteful and lazy when I buy cards.

The questions from here:

How often do you change the purse or bag you’re carrying?

No moreso than I have to. I don’t carry much, but it’s still a pain. If I do change, it’s for the event in question, and then I go right back to the favored bag of the moment.

Do you change based on seasons? Outfits? Something else?

Well… yeah, I guess I do. I decided my cream, pale pink and light green Sidekick was too summery, so I whipped out another one. I do also change based on outfits, if the situation warrants it. For instance, if I’m going to a conference, I carry black portfolio, bag, etc. and wear black shoes too.

My “mission” matters too. For air travel, I carry a big tote as a purse AND knitting bag. For shopping, I carry as little as possible, perhaps a wallet on a string or wristlette.

What’s your favorite bag in the world (and it doesn’t have to be a knit/felted one!)?

Hands down, my classic Coach. Black, sized just right. Timeless, traditional, conservative and yet still indestructible.


The colors of fall tend to be oranges, yellows, crimsons, and other ‘leafy’ colors – what is your favorite “Color of Autumn” and where do you see it?

My favorites are maroon and gold. I do love all of the colors of the changing leaves, but I prefer to look at them rather than wear them, save the dark reds. I’m not sure where I’ll see them this year, as I suspect the continued drought will make the leaves rather muted.

Questions and Answers

So, my Fall Felted Bag Exchange pal has questions.

Questions: what is your preferred sock knitting method and what needles do you use? Also, favorite sock yarn or one you want to try?

Well pal o’ mine, I like anything BUT Magic Loop. Which is to say, I like dpns a lot, but two circs are so easy to travel with that I guess they are in the #1 slot. Needles? Addis and KnitPicks. I thought I was all about metal, but of late, I’ve been into wood and bamboo. ANYTHING bamboo appeals to me, because it’s the ultimate renewable resource. The stuff makes Virginia Creeper (read: kudzu) look like a slow grower. I’m also really liking the toe-up approach to socks, just for the record.

Favorite sock yarn. Okay gentle reader, I know I’ve professed my love for about ten different sock yarns, but honestly, Tofutsies has to get the #1 slot. For merino/superwash, I’d go with Lorna’s Laces or the local Misty Mountain, both available at the Loopy Ewe. Heck, if all else fails, if you can buy it there, I’ll like it. Wick is the only worsted weight sock yarn for me, although I might be trying some others in the holiday knitting rush, which I do believe is upon us. The simple fact is, I love wee little skinny sock yarns. I want to try them all.

Lace is also working its way into my heart, but we have a problem; I’m fickle and want a fast, but passionate fling with my works in progress. Lace? She’s a demanding mistress. She wants my full attention, my time, and to Mugsy’s chagrin, a lot of my lap space too. She’s what the boys call high maintenance, and ask my bigger than a wallet felted bags and baby blankies where that will get ya’. I’m high rent but not high maintenance, so lace is happening on my terms. (Read: Some of you will be getting pictures of your intended holiday gifts instead of the items.)

I have questions too. Why did my new-found joy in one LYS get dosed with cold water today? Do they really not want to sell me more yarn because I haven’t brought in a finished project from their stock yet? (I swear. I wouldn’t lie to you. That’s about word for word what the lady said, in the 14 seconds she took away from her friends at the table in the back. I need to finish up something(s) with the yarn I’ve purchased there so I can buy more. ‘Scuse me? Me and my yarn appetite walked out without even a good-bye. There’s a Fiber Festival this weekend, you know!)

Do you (specifically, Anne) know how hard it is for me to not to share a cool work in progress with y’all? I’m learning new skills, trying a new yarn, and keeping it to myself is killing me. I know you’ll love the bag, because I’m already thinking maybe I need one for me too…

And now, I have to walk away from this idiot box, so that knitting can actually take place.

No Pictures

I’m in a bind here, folks. I’m knitting, I promise, but it’s for Anne and as she is the sole hostess for the Felted Bag swap, she knows I’m her pal. So, pattern and yarn selections are the only secrets I can have. That means not even a shot for you. I toyed with the idea of a sepia shot, but that wouldn’t tell you much and would tell her too much. I feel like a mean department chief, writing rules and regs to punish everyone just because one idiot firefighter can’t behave, but those are the breaks. I can tell you it’s an awesome pattern and I know she’ll love it and the colors I selected. I tried to figure out how to post it on Ravelry without giving away too much, but trust me, she’s know, even if I just put it on my queue.

In other no picture news, we are supposed to run with the topic of the week for the Felted Bag swap…

As of this weekend, the season has officially changed on the calendar – but what makes Autumn feel like Autumn to you, and why?

It’s all about the toes. As y’all know, ask me the same question, two minutes apart, and you’ll get different answers. I’m fickle, but I can live with that. I’m still impressionable, and my moods and what’s going on around me impact my opinions strongly. Today, it’s about the toes. A local friend and I have a running joke about our toes, because we both live in flipflops and the like all summer. This year, I’m enjoying my knitted socks, so I’ve given in to conventional wisdom and if my feet are cold in the morning, I wear at least enclosed-toe shoes, but I’ve really enjoyed the couple of truly chilly mornings where socks were in order. (LOVE the way Lorna’s Laces feel on my feet. Must have more.) In the past, typing “Toes covered” in my email to my friend has been a lament, but this year, not so much. And yes folks, she *IS* on my list to receive handknit socks for Christmas. I just have to get a mutual friend to confirm size…

Now, for the conventional answer. Everything. I love the whole autumnal package. While I relish the four distinct seasons here in Central Virginia, and you’ll find me calling each my favorite as it arrives, autumn is the real, true favorite. I love a crisp, cool morning. I love watching the leaves change. There’s nothing like wrapping up in my favorite old corduroy shirt of my Dad’s on a Sunday afternoon. Apples. All things pumpkin. You get the point.

Hands down, this year, the upcoming tenth anniversary with the Knight is the biggest part of autumn. Both of us had brief first marriages, and I know that there were plenty of folks whispering that we wouldn’t last. Picture me smug, and happy. To celebrate, I’m finally ordering wedding photos. Maybe I’ll scan one or two for you. I especially love my highly controversial bridal portrait proofs. I had two done; one of just me, for my stepmom and my mother inlaw, both of whom scoffed at my primary poses, which were with my boys – Fred and Mugsy – and then my father inlaw and I have that one, with me and the dogs.

Sweet Cherry Bag

Can you see the cute little cherries on the ribbon? Squee! I hope my pal will enjoy that little touch. The package is ready to ship out tomorrow, save a note and some tissue paper. But let me tell you, CotLin is the only linen of any blended sort for me. Sigh. It slides on through, comparable to any of the ” – & dairy product” cottons, and I bet one wash would find it snuggly soft. I see a fitted item for me in this very color, maybe, next spring. Try it for the extra-special cloths you might be giving as gifts, or treat yourself; you deserve it! I am amazed at how it costs less and feels worlds better, but don’t take my word for it. Order some and try it for yourself.
In case you missed it the first time, this is Amanda’s “Mandy’s Candy Bag” pattern. You can also find it on Ravelry.
So, a little accountability check here. Tea swap – ready to ship out tomorrow. Sock it to Me – half way there on the socks, some shopping left to do, and really should ship by next Saturday to arrive before October 5th. Vegan swap – Do thoughts count? I’ve thought a lot about what to get my friendly pal, and I do have some yarn for her, and it needs to ship before October 15th. SP11 – Package #1 shipped out earlier this week. I already have one item for the final package, and have “commissioned” something for her with one of my truly artistic/crafty friends, to be a Halloween themed package. Should ship before the 15th too. My Felted Bag package has a personal deadline which the pal should be able to guess, but I think I’ve already told you I’m not talking about that swap here, right? 😉
Whew. Wow. I’m shocked. After Monkey #2, which should be done within the next week, I will have time to cast on for the Knight’s birthday (or Christmas if I miss the first deadline) surprise, my felted bag pal’s bag, finish my Summer Daze Tofutsies, and begin holiday knitting. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train!
Now, to cast on for that #2.