Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ho-Ho-Home Stretch

So my holiday knitting is *thisclose* to being complete. Granted, I did have to ax one project completely...but there's always Mother's Day or a birthday or a "Just Because" around the corner so the only one who knows it didn't get finished is me (and now you).

I'm still fussing over my neighbor's 30 yr old sweater - it needs a button band...and an icord (actually a single crochet chain - who does that??)...but I don't think a button band is appropriate for an already busy sweater so I'm thinking hook/eye clasps instead. We'll see. It's my MUST DO this weekend.

Also, I want to finish the T-Rexes (how do you pluralize that???) for the kids. The body of one is done and took a nano-second to I'm thinking they won't take long. Because Matthew isn't spending Christmas with us this year I'm planning to have them finished for his return on Dec 29th - plenty of time, right?

Since I finished the mystery scarf for my mom last night I brought the "ruffle" scarf on the train with me case I can finish it in time for an extra gift...I wonder who the lucky recipient might be?

How about everyone else? Are you ready for the final crunch? Is all your shopping done?

And...Is it January yet? tee hee

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Know why kids are awesome?

Last night Hubbins made a comment to Ramona and me that he wasn't feeling great. So Ramona asked me "Why doesn't Daddy feel good?" Not knowing exactly why myself I said "Daddy's tummy is upset". To which she replied...."Mommy, that's so silly. Daddy's tummy can't cry".

Ahhh are so innocent! Thank you for making me laugh and smile (and sometimes cry).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Test Knit Released!

Ann Weaver just released her new sock pattern...check her out on Ravelry!

Here are some photos of the first sock...don't you just love it!!?!

Ann Weaver Test Sock

Ann Weaver Test Sock

Ann Weaver Test Sock

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mascara, knitters and an everything bagel CAN fix some things

Without going into a lot of personal detail (this is a knitting blog after all)...things have been fairly emotional and hectic for me lately. In fact, they've been so topsy turvy that my "routine" life has been far from "normal". My eyes are a little puffy as proof.

This morning, after receiving the school delay call, hearing the town plows beeping half the morning and trudging through the snowy/rainy haze to the train, I fell into my seat exhausted, yet again. It's as though I can't shake the "funk" or cloud above me. And that's not "me".

So, while putting my makeup on I decided today would be a good day for some eye-brightening mascara. Score 1 for me. Then, after the last stop before NYC, I spied a fellow knitter working on a scarf (???) using some fluffy grey wool. Score 2. And finally, after arriving at work and getting a Board meeting started, I ate a delicious toasted everything bagel with a smidgen of cream cheese. Score 3.

It's amazing how some *little*itty*bitty* things can make you feel better.

Happy hump day y'all!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

December? Really? Holy ZOMG!

Ok, November 30th came and went. December 1st is kind of blurry. But December SECOND?!?! Holy ZOMG! Where does the time go?

I think the practicality of my handmade gift list is maybe not so practical after all!

Anyone else in the boat with me? Jump onboard we're ready to set sail!

Monday, November 30, 2009

WOW Thanksgiving - Thank you for being past tense!

Well, Thanksgiving weekend was crazy and calm and healthy and achy - what a rollercoaster!

We ended up not having the holiday at our home at all - hey, who am I to complain about not cleaning all those dishes? My in-laws cooked a standing rib roast and a small turkey breast (for me since I can't eat red meat) and some side dishes and we brought additional side dishes to their home. Afterward we went to my folks place for dessert. My sister and her family were up from VA and we were able to convince my grandmother to come out for a little while. It was nice to see everyone all in one day!

We kind of took it easy on Friday...and only ventured out for bagels in the morning. Who needs traffic and shopping crowds anyway? Not me!

On Saturday one of my cousin's hosted my dad's side of the family at her home: 4 families of 4 and our respective parents - 20 people in all! The kids all had someone "their own age" so Matthew didn't feel like he had to babysit the little kids for a change. I brought along my tripod and remote...this turned out pretty good considering how many smiles we had to get at one time!

365:278 Family

On Sunday I wasn't feeling so great and focused on finishing a couple of projects I've had in the pipeline (sorry, that's the Investment Banking side of me coming through!) for a while.

I finished up the Beagle scarf I was making for my friend and co-worker as a surprise holiday present. As the story goes, he often spies Alyssa and I looking at our current WIPs and usually asks "Hey, is that the scarf you're making me?" or says "Gee, that color doesn't really match my coat." Won't he be surprised when I hold up the scarf, he makes a comment, and I actually give it to him! Priceless.


Seeing as I had finished one thing...why not make it two in one day? I dragged out the sewing machine and sat down at the dining room table to pin (and re-pin and re-pin and re-pin) the zipper into Ken's unfinished sweater. Darn him making me learn how to sew a zipper into a hand knit! Anyway, after some fiddling with the machine and a couple passes through's done!

Ken's Sweater - for Ravelry

Ken's Sweater - for Ravelry

Ken's Sweater - for Ravelry

I also worked on a SUPER DUPER REALLY SECRET project - but, obviously, I can't blog more than than right now. Look for photos on/about December 19th!

Lastly, Ann, the creative genius behind Weaver Knits will be publishing a new (and FREE) Recession Pattern in the coming weeks. I am honored to be test knitting for her - and happy that I can knit using yarn from my stash - hooray for bustin' it up! I'll post some preview pics as soon as I can!

Happy Knitting all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weighted Stitches

There's been a lot on my mind lately...some of which has been written here, most of which has not.

What I thought about last night, while starting ANOTHER holiday present, is that our emotions , our states-of-minds, are sometimes knit into every stitch of a project. To expand, the project becomes a part of us due to external (physical and emotional) influences that occur while we are making it.

Prime example, I will always remember that I started my daughter's first sweater while we were visiting my in-laws on Martha's Vineyard in 2006. Those stitches, and that sweater, were my first steps back into (obsessive) knitting. I will always keep that sweater because it is evidence of my (lack of) skill at the time and reminds me of how far I've come in three short years. Those stitches have become a part of my history.

I am now making a scarf for my mom and while knitting it last night I was thinking of a friend of mine who is going through some tough times. I am happy that the scarf will be a part of mine AND my mom's life because my mom is a good "keeper". It saddens me that any friend is pained, but to know there is an outlet for me to think and create, well, that's quite a joy.

Know what I mean?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just call me "Lysol Lungs"

My co-worker is still out (thankfully) and is believed to have the flu (swine or otherwise) for certain. She's not allowed back to work until Monday (at the earliest).

Another co-worker, who does not sit in our vicinity, called out sick today. She thinks it's just a cold...fingers crossed it's nothing more serious.

Several other co-workers are in various stages of coughing, sneezing, hacking, miserable, etc.

Just call me Lysol Lungs...because all I do, every day, when I get to work is spray peoples desks down. Lovely.

In my knitting I've been working on holiday gifts and finally received the zippers for Ken's cardigan. I *may* try to attempt it this weekend - but I'll do a combo of hand basting and then machine sewing so I need to borrow-back my MIL's machine (alas, I am still functioning machine-less).

Keep thinking positive and HEALTHY thoughts - and happy knitting!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An actual knitting request! (and a quick project)

I usually knit things for my family without asking them what they would like...mostly because I don't want to hear "oh, that's alright, you don't have to make me something". I think most have a pair of socks (or two), and a scarf or a hat or mittens. I like making practical gifts more than anything.

A few years ago I made my Mom a lacy scarf with some Lorna's Laces. Purples and greens = lovely. It was my first "big" lace project as well as my first blocking one. Needless to say, I learned A LOT from it.

Last night I was talking to my Mom about Swine Flu, because, you know, it's a fun conversation to have before Thanksgiving with family. My Mom brought up Christmas gift ideas for her and my Dad. The last thing she asked was for a handmade scarf. I said "Of course...but do you want a warm scarf or a fashion scarf?" "I'm not sure. Maybe something long that wraps around like all the stores are showing." Hmmm, I'm not a big store shopper these days so I said "A scarf or a cowl, because cowl's are very popular these days." She said "A scarf." "What color? Do you want it to match a coat or some clothes?" "Oh, well, I guess I hadn't thought about that. Can I get back to you?" "Sure - just let me know."

I have to say - this is EXCITING! It's like my Mom is pseudo-commissioning me to make a scarf for her - yippie! As thoughts of stitches and lengths and yarns are rushing through my head I'm thinking of almost making her a cowl and scarf set - so she can always pull the cowl on for really cold days (can go up over her nose and face - she DOES get cold) and wrap the scarf around for extra toasty-ness. And on "warmer" days, or for fashion, she can wrap it around her neck willy-nilly. Right?

On another note, since my co-worker is still waiting for her h1n1 test results to come back, our family is running under the assumption that I am a carrier (go me!) and are treating me like I have the plague. I get it...really. Precautions are precautions are precautions. One sick person in a house is better than two sick adults AND two sick kids. Can dogs get it? Hmmm. Sorry Peanut, no more kisses for you until I'm in the clear - boo hiss.

But *just in case* all is good and we get the sign of approval that swine flu is not in our future, we have Thanksgiving at Ramona's school tonight. Part of the fun of this gathering is that they send home paper headbands, paper feathers, beads and string for us to make Indian headdresses for the festivities. It's a great time for families to sit and craft together - right up my alley! Unfortunately, they only sent home two headbands this year (Ramona and her friends make theirs in school). So I let K & M use the materials, Ramona strung up a necklace and I sat down with some brown, orange and green yarns. This is the result...

headband 2

headband 3

What do you think? Does it say "Thanksgiving" or "Autumn" or "Blobs of color"?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Swine Flu

This morning a close co-worker got sent home after she went to her doctor. She's been hacking/coughing at the office for several days, was out sick several days last week, and, this morning, was running a fever and was tested for h1n1.

While she is one of my favorite peeps, I'm fairly frustrated that she: a) didn't go to the dr last week; b) brought her germy-germs to the office to share with us (and possibly our families); and c) repeat the last two.

And while I might ordinarily appreciate "staying home sick" for its potential of quiet knitting time at home, I know that if I, or any of my family members, do get h1n1, the last thing I'll be doing is knitting. Which kinda stinks because I do have quite a bit of holiday knitting underway. And Thanksgiving is approaching...and family get-togethers...ugh!

So I'm spraying any and every surface with Lysol and keeping my thoughts positive. It may, or may not, help that I am already on antibiotics to deal with an ear infection (diagnosed on Monday) in case it's something other than h1n1. But what about my that because I slept wrong or a symptom of things to come?

Ok, no more paranoia - back to work (and more knitting!)

Have a healthy day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kitchener...a Friend?

I'm in the middle of holiday gift knitting. Seriously. In. The. Middle. I have about 3 or 4 things that I'm rotating because of their process. DPNs for the kids gifts. Large needles for a hat. Straights for a *gasp* scarf (more on that later). A sweater/vest/something for someone/me?

Last night I was working on the first of the "kids gifts". I had to kitchener. Kitchener and I have never been friends...try as I may to make the relationship work. I am patient. I am kind. I read everything five times before I even attempt it. Yet, somewhere between my brain and hands, something gets lost in translation. But last night...EUREKA! After doing *something* wrong and having it look wonky, a specific *something* that I could VISUALIZE this time - I FINALLY figured it out - something clicked. I can't explain what I was doing wrong - or even might do wrong again - but I *saw* kitchener. Granted, I've *seen* it PLENTY of times before - but this time, by George, I think I've got it. Hooray!

As for the aforementioned scarf. What is it about scarves that has such a negative connotation these days? Scarves are only for beginners? Real knitters make cowls? I guess we learn how to knit by making a scarf so it seems so elementary when we set out to make one later. This will be my second scarf in a month - the first being for charity (Red Scarf Project) and the second for a co-worker who, every time he sees my knitting, asks "Is that a scarf for me?" Well, this time the answer will be different - but hopefully a surprise. I'm making the Beagle Scarf from Norah Gaughan's Men's booklet - it's a 4 row repeat that I *finally* picked up once you get a couple inches into it. The edges don't curl (love that!) and there's enough mix in the pattern that it's not boring to knit (for 60").

Who else is in the Holiday Knitting Bog with me? Ain't it a blast? ha ha

Happy Knitting Y'all!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do you know how much knitters rock?

Okay, that's a silly question to actually ask a bunch of you know how much knitters rock?

Let me tell you.

This morning (actually, a mere 1/2 hour ago) I was knitting peacefully on the train when a lovely gal approached me and said "Are you Choo Choo Knits?" Giggling, I said "Why yes I am". And that's how I met GabFab...a friend of the lovely YarnyOldKim (who is NOT old by any stretch of the imagination). Gabrielle went on to tell me that she got on in Summit and spied me knitting and could tell, just from a brief glimpse of my profile, who I was from Kim's pics on flickr. I love Flickr; I love Ravelry; but most of all I LOVE KNITTERS!

I was going to compare Ravelry to a dating website. You can find people who have similar tastes in patterns/yarns or knitters by location or by additional interests (tv shows, sports, motherhood). The thing that's SO much better than a dating website - there's absolutely NO pressure to friend anyone or follow up with a phone call or go on a second date. You can comment on a total stranger's new sweater and you never have to chat again - no strings (pun intended) attached. In fact, just knowing that someone else is a knitter somehow gives me automatic peace of mind when I "meet" them - for example, I can think: "they are not a mass murderer with needles"..."they are a knitter and I DO have something to talk to them about".

If everyone knit would the world be a nicer place? It's friendly. It's calming. It's fun and challenging and inviting. Granted, it can also be daunting to learn a new technique or process - but hey, life is full of challenges...and if we don't try them how do we evolve?

Gabrielle and I parted ways once we arrived at Penn Station - but I do hope to see her again someday when our paths (or trains as the case was) cross. I walked to the E train with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Meeting her really was a great pick me up since I've been feeling so melancholy of late (time change, too many social engagements, etc.)

So how much do knitters rock? A whole HELLUVA LOT!

Now go get out there and meet some more - it'll do your mind some good!

Until next time...happy knitting y'all.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tempting Cozy Knits

When I first started back to work after my maternity leave I found that, with an infant, washable clothes were the way to go. Comfort was also a large factor since my body wasn't "back in shape" yet. Having received a J. Jill catalog, I decided to go to one of their stores and found some versatile, WASHABLE, wrinkle-free and affordable pieces. While I still wear some of the pants I bought (let's face it...we all have "those" days), I stopped shopping at J. Jill a few years ago.

But then the front cover of their catalog had this...

Hello...FOUR gorgeous knits in one picture? And this isn't a knitting magazine? I was in love!

With a little research I found FREE patterns for similar items...and have been adding them to my queue on Ravelry.

How about this Beret knit by Nonnahs*, designed by Natalie Larson

Or this v-neck cabled sweater by Jordana Paige

Gloves to keep your fingers warm by Julie Mueller

Or this fabulous Scarf by Lion Brand

It's amazing that knitters can always make something for themselves...rather than spend exorbident amounts of money...and feel a sense of accomplishment of "hey, I made this!" at the end. Granted, there is the cost of the yarn, but I'm sure we've got something hidden away in our stashes that would work...or how about having a Yarn Trade party with your friends - something "new" for everyone that way?

Until next time...happy knitting

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Page 5

As many of you know, you can "Friend" people on Ravelry. Friends you know. Friends you would like to know. Friends who knit pretty things. Friends who are interesting. Friends who Friend you. There are always lots of Friends to be had.

I have 6 pages of Friends. Many of which I met through Flickr and met in person at Rhinebeck (hooray for FRIENDS!).

The funny thing about some of these that the ones I look up the most are on Page 5. What's important about Page 5? Well, when Ravelry pulls up your Friend page there are quick links to pages 1, 2, 3, 4...and then 6. To access page 5 you have to go to 4 or 6 and hit next or back respectively. OR you can go to the Hop button and drop down to 5. Page 5 requires some extra attention...high maintenance Friends? Just joking - they all rock it!

Some of my page 5-ers worth mention (in alpha order):

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Handknits a plenty...but now what?

Once upon a time all knitters were "beginners". We first learned knitting, purling, casting on and binding off. We made large wobbly rectangles and called them scarves. We made potholders for everyone we knew! And through patient practice we learned how to control our tension, test our gauge, work with different needle sizes and read patterns. We became honest to goodness KNITTERS!

As you know by now, I learned to knit back in the mid-90s. In the first year I made a couple basic items and even graduated to SWEATERS (possibly 3 or 4). But then I battled carpal tunnel - a combo of knitting TOO tight (beginners mark) and using the computer at work in a way that did not agree with me (THANK YOU, HUMAN SCALE, for helping me - love them - highly recommend).

When my family was heading to Martha's Vineyard in August 2006 I decided to bring some yarn and needles and make my daughter, then 9 months old, a sweater. After all, what else is there to do when everyone else is out fishing? Little did I know that I would knit every single day thereafter. Ok, not EVERY day...but pretty close.

In the past 3 years I've learned SO much about patterns, sizing, designing and adjusting fit. In 2008 I started making samples for a LYS and test knitting for some designers I've met along the way. I've traveled near and far for my craft. I've gone out of my way to find yarn shops while on vacation...instead of a souvenir t-shirt, I buy yarn. I've knit for charity. I've enhanced my stash (ten fold?) and I've tried to help others with questions and techniques. I am a happy and fulfilled knitter.

There are still a couple of tricky things I'd like to learn: steeking for one. Yikes it scares me a bit. But I'll get there...I have a pattern, I have the yarn, I just need the "free" time (the biggest challenge) and courage to conquer it once and for all.

What's really eating at me this week is: Now what do I do with ALL the things I knit? I have Knitty's Bobbilicious sitting at the bottom of a storage tub. I wore it every Fall weekend possible in 2006. But I've moved on to more practical sweaters - things I can wear on an every day basis...and mostly to work. Do I frog it and make something else in it's place? Is that what you do? Do you say, "We had our good times, but I'm someone different so lets make you into something different too?". Then there's my beloved Capecho that was knit with no attention to gauge (clearly) and which I made several modifications to along the way. It sits. In a bin. Lonely. Last one to note is my turquoise vest. I admit, I knit this when I was fresh back on the knitting scene. I'll also admit, like an addict, that I knit the top portion of this wrong...all the knit stitches were through the back loop because I had forgotten the right way and was too lazy to REFRESH MY MEMORY. Dumb. End result: I wore this vest once, maybe twice, and I hate it. It reminds me of my idiocy. It reminds me that I made something less than perfect. Should I keep it as a reminder - or frog it and move on.

What do y'all do? Has anyone else found themselves at a similar crossroads?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Secret project...revealed!

Test (almost) available

You may recall that I was test knitting some Lorna's Laces yarn and a secret pattern back in July/August. Well, the big reveal is here!

Stefanie is such an awesome woman, mom, knitter, person, friend...I was thrilled to be involved in such a great children's pattern

Friday, October 23, 2009

Well, Friday didn't come soon enough

An enormously looooooooong week full of exhausting days and nights and I'm sooooooo thrilled it's Friday that I'm putting lots of exxxxxxxtra letters in my wooooooords (ha ha)

On Sunday hubbins and I cleaned the house from top to bottom as best we could because my sister and her kids were going to be visiting us the following afternoon. Nothing like visits from family to get your house clean! By the time we went to bed our home was a long would it last?

With a family visit my plan was to work 4 hours on Monday and take a half vacation day to be home around 2:00pm. But on Monday morning there was something wrong with the Amtrak lines running in and out of of Penn Station. And our train sat and sat and sat some more. Lucky for me that I signed up for transit alerts on my blackberry because they, at least, provided information that the conductors did not. We continued to sit. By the time we got to Penn (8:40 - an hour late) I had to make a work or not to work. If I went to the office I wouldn't have been able to stay 4 hours without disrupting the Master Plan for the afternoon. So I made the call to head back home. I took a delayed 8:50 train and was home around 10:00. Peanut was delighted to see me and but a little confused as to why I was there. She curled up on the couch and settled in for a cozy nap. I, on the other hand, got down to business and cranked away for a couple hours doing work. Ken came home around 1:00 and we ate lunch while he worked on his laptop. It was kinda cute. My sister and her kids came over later than expected but we all had a wonderful visit...and another exhausting day came to a close.

The girls and Matt

Back to work on Tuesday and I hit the ground running. By the time I got off the train that afternoon, I felt a spasm in the left side of my back. When I got up to go to bed, I could barely straighten up. I slept with my heating pad...which seemed to help...but had an awful nights sleep. I dreamt that I was in some snowy place and was tired and just wanted to go to bed. As I was falling asleep in my dream it was time to get up. And then it was...

Wednesday. Brought more of the same rushing around, organizing, and exhaustion. A woman I met on Ravelry had invited me to her knitting group a while ago. Because it was summer and we were heading on vacation I missed the early September dates. I missed the earlier October dates due to our Vineyard trip. So I vowed I would go but needed a bit of reassurance from Ken that he would not complain to me about it later. He's supportive...but he also likes to instill guilt on occasion. So I changed into some jeans, grabbed my bag and off I went. What a GREAT group of ladies. I'm not sure how often I'll get to go, but I would love to see some of them again. Ran to B&N afterward to get the new IK Holiday issue. Cashier said "Gee, that's a lot for a magazine" - thanks guy. Went home and Ken rewound Glee so I could watch it from the beginning. Gawd do I love that show! The inner dork in me hearts it so much. However, another night of heading to bed after 10:00pm.

Wee-hours of Thursday found me jolted up in bed listening to the following...
"Matt, what are you doing?"
"Matt, what were you doing downstairs?"
"Matt, are you ok?"
"I don't know what I was doing"
"Okay, just go back to bed"

Matthew is a sleepwalker. This isn't the first time it's happened, but it's the most disturbing because he actually left his room, moved the gate at the top of the stairs which keeps the dog from going down during the night and getting into trouble, was downstairs doing who knows what, and came back upstairs, moved the gate again, woke Ken and then had the above conversation. It kinda freaks me out. More than a little bit. When I went downstairs to leave for work the kitchen lights were all on. We still don't know what he was doing.

Having slept with the heating pad on my back again, I woke up from a bad nights sleep and had a headache. Is it my allergies? Did the heating pad break up a bunch of toxins in my body causing the headache? Was it just a culmination of everything? Who to work on Thursday.

Our friends from VT are in NJ and came over for dinner last night. Around 6:00 Matt tells me that he volunteered to bring cupcakes in to school for a mini-going away party for their substitute Math teacher who has been with them for several weeks while the regular teacher was getting medical treatment. At least he told me at 6, instead of 8:30 like the last time. So I'm organizing the muffin trays and Ken said "Oh, I need to bring cupcakes to work tomorrow" and I look at him, more like glare, and say "Really? What's going on at your office?" "Well, it's Friday and Friday's are good days for cupcakes and I haven't been laid off this week so that's a good reason." Seriously, this is my family. So 50 cupcakes and a couple hours later...I'm more exhausted and haven't been able to relax (per my internal plan) or knit and am slightly grumpy. The grumpiness caused a wee argument with Ken and in a moment of anger (it's not easy being a step-parent sometimes) I tossed my knitting bag on the dining room floor. After talking through the issues, we went to bed around 10, again.

Woke up this morning and HALLELUJAH it's FRIDAY! Except the week wouldn't be complete if I just said TGIF, right?

Alarm clock failed...possibly a user error...internal alarm was kind enough to go off while I still had plenty of time to get ready. Getting ready to leave for train, forget I left my coffee mug in said knitting bag from yesterday...oh crap, did i also have a little coffee left in it??? Picked up bag, no puddles...phew, lucked out. Washed mug, refilled with new and off I went. Followed morning routine...get regular seat, take off coat, open bag, get makeup, apply makeup, check emails, wonder if there's anything to panic about, all good, move on to knitting time. Reached in the bag and felt my BRAND NEW IK Holiday issue...and cried a little. There had been coffee in the mug. It had leaked. My IK is now soaked with coffee. Its depressing. I try to peal the front page away from the next one and a big hole appears. I can't think. My brain is officially toast. I'm SO done with the week. I move on. My NG Men's Sweaters booklet is also damaged - though certainly not as bad. My Lady February printed pattern is trash. My sweater, on the bright side, is completely dry. But it's washable so I kinda wish it had been soaked instead of the printed materials. I pulled out the sweater and knit more of the 1x1 collar ribbing. I just kept knitting. A conductor comes on the IC and delivers an incoherent message. A couple minutes go by and my bag vibrates...a new message has come through. Sure enough...NJ Transit delays of 15 - 20 minutes! Lovely. Turns out that there was a person walking on the tracks so the trains ran single file or some nonsense. I decided to take a moment and reevaluate the magazine. Slowly and carefully, I separated each page from the last until I had a pile of fluffed up and moist edges. I felt a pang of hope emerge. I slipped it back into my bag and it's now laid out on my desk drying out with some TLC.

Arriving 15 minutes late wasn't so bad but I didn't have time to stop and get a DnD coffee (my occasional Friday treat). The best co-worker in the world emailed me while she was on her way and asked what she could get me at DnD- she's such a good friend she can read my mind! I am gleefully drinking my large French Vanilla lite and sweet and my optimism has sprung up out of the shadows.

More importantly...tomorrow is Saturday and I can sleep late for the first time in WEEKS (that is, unless it doesn't rain, in which case we have to get Matthew up to be at the school by 6:30am so he can go to his track meet). Please PRAY FOR RAIN!!!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Rhinebeck Withdrawal!

Two days later and Rhinebeck withdrawal is setting in. OMG how great was it to see everyone?!?! Forget the yarn...ok, well I bought two skeins, a mug that I had coveted since last year and two pins...but seeing all my Flickr/Ravelry friends was just out of this world!

Not to mention being/feeling stalked the entire time - but that's what I get for running a contest called "where in the festival is choo choo knits?"! All the winner's were fabulous - sorry I didn't get photos with everyone - and please, the gal I kept running into...PM me when you get a chance!

Here are some photos to reminisce...

Birthday cheers with Alyssa!

One of the contest winners...

Ann, Elspeth and me

Hooters!  Me and Kim

Emily, me and Mai

Gleek and me

Nothing keeps this girl from eating ice cream


Me and Jenn T

Me and Dora

Friday, October 16, 2009

Less than 24 hours....then RHINEBECK!!!

Howdy all! The prize bags are filled to the brim with goodies galore - SUPER THANKS TO STEFANIE JAPEL AND KALEIDOSCOPE YARNS!!!

If you haven't signed up for my Rhinebeck contest yet...get a move on!

I'll post pix over the weekend - pray for sunshine and not rain/snow!

See you there!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Where does the time go? Seriously? I feel like I've got a list of things to knit - and not just stashed yarn that MIGHT turn into something - but a list of things I HAVE TO knit for people ASAP.

First up is the sweater I'm finishing for my neighbor, Louise. When Ken and I moved into our home 4 years ago and Louise found out I knit, she mentioned a "bea-u-tif-ul" sweater she had never finished. Every now and then I would show her my WIPs and she would, once again, tell me of her unfinished sweater. Over this past summer, her mom stopped by one afternoon and said "Louise tells me you knit and I was wondering if you can help me with something". Turns out it was Louise's mom who had been knitting the sweater and she was wondering if I could help her finish it as a surprise for Louise. Of course I said yes and a few days later found the sweater hidden on our front porch. Here's where it starts to get interesting. The pattern, as I was told, is from an old Better Housekeeping-type magazine that is no longer published. My guesstimate dates it to the 70s or early 80s (at best). The "cream" yarn is probably an acrylic and I was given the working yarn and an extra ball, with no ball bands. The back and two fronts were knit as separate pieces and the arms were knit flat from the cuff to underarm. All the pieces were then joined on a circular needle to continue for the yoke. The work stopped three rows after the joining. Because the sweater sat so long in storage, the safety pins that were clipped to it (denoting what each piece was) began to oxidize and caused the yarn to turn a light brown-tea color. However, the unused ball is probably still closer to the original state, so when I use them together the difference will be obvious...and there's no getting around this. I've been reseaching dying acrylic...which is not easy...and am entertaining the idea of letting the whole sweater soak in a "tea bath" for a day or two. I hate to detract from the original sweater - but I would be remiss to not make it the best I could. After charting the lace/bobble pattern I ripped back to the original join, corrected the stitch count and have gotten 5" done of the yoke. It's a slow process. Mainly because bobbles and I are NOT the best of friends. I've finished the working yarn that was attached and have started using the last ball. I hope I don't run out of yarn because then I'll have a bigger dilemma on my hands than just correcting the color. At this point I probably have 6 hours of work left for a Christmas deadline.

Next on the list is a cardi for Ken. I've started it. The back piece is done and I've started the fronts (or was it the sleeves) as two at a time. This is really a quick knit from the Norah Gaughan Men's booklet - but it's also been easy for me to set aside to work on samples and test knits BECAUSE it's for my husband. Oh, and I've also lingered because it will require a zipper which I: a) don't have yet; and b) have never attempted. Hooray for new and scary techinques!

Lastly, I told the kids I would knit them dinosaurs when I bought the pattern back in July. JULY! I have the yarn - they each got to pick their own ball of Noro - but I can't muster the energy to knit on dpns or knit "little" things. Too many ends to sew in and sew together. I'm bad with knitted toys that way. They are a quick and fun knit with a great end result...but the process, well, not so much.

I'm currently working on yet ANOTHER baby blanket (my 5th or 6th this year?) for a co-workers adopted grandson. She's really a great lady and her son and his wife deserve a handknit. But my heart isn't as into it as I would like so I've just been knitting it on the train. It'll be done by the weekend, no doubt, but eh is the best I can say.

Well that's it for me...just a reminder to sign up for the Rhinebeck Giveaway Contest (you can win via Twitter or cell phone now!) if you haven't already!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Since so many wonderful folks are not on Twitter I have decided to open the contest up cell phone users too! All you have to do is enter your phone number in the Comments section of the form and I'll send you a text message if you're one of the names drawn that hour! Easy as pie...but not quite as tasty!

Oh, and here's a fun posting on my latest sample for Kaleidoscope - love them!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting there...

I've gotten such a great response from everyone in the knitting community about my Rhinebeck contest and while my website isn't exactly "ready" for every day can start signing up for the contest - hooray! Blog readers are the first to spread the word!

I'm still looking for notions to include in the prize bags (especially buttons or pins!). If you know of anyone, please have them contact me asap.

Also - I have a yarn company on board who will donate either a Worsted or Fingering weight - but would love to include another vendor to donate the other. Know of anyone who might be interested and has a fabulous product line and would like some exposure? Please send them my way!
Thanks again for all of your continued support!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rhinebeck Give Away!

I've gotten a little further along in my Rhinebeck project and am working on additional sponsors (the current line up is still being kept a secret a little while longer). If you're part of the knitting community and would like some exposure, I promise this contest is for you!

What I'm looking for (donations of at least 4...or more...since there will be 4 BIG prizes and some "runner's up" prizes each hour)
  • notions...anyone who makes custom stitch markers, or buttons
  • needles
  • misc (t-shirts, bags, etc)

What I already have:

  • Patterns and swag from a Designer
  • Shawl pattern
  • Gift cards and swag from yarn shop/online retailer

I will gladly pay for shipping of these items - please let me know if you or a friend would be interested (pm me at choochooknits at hotmail dot com)

Thanks everyone!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rodeo Round-Up

Well folks there's been a lot going on at choo choo knits so I'm wrasselin' up a run-down for y'all!

I've been test knitting some patterns for Stefanie Japel (Glampyre) over the past month or so. The first two were children's patterns using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted...let me just say, this yarn is absolutely delicious...seriously, get me a scoop, stick it on a cone, and I want to eat it! And did I mention its MACHINE WASHABLE??? Such a plus when it comes to knitting for kids. I believe the pattern is off at the tech editor for finally approval and should be available in the coming week or two. I'll also be test knitting an adult version of a child's sweater (no info yet) so stay tuned for more info!

I am also sample knitting Seneca from the new Jared Flood booklet using Classic Elite's Lush (50% Angora / 50% Wool). If your budget doesn't allow angora I'm thinking a great substitute would be the new Vintage Wool from Berroco (which is soft and washable!). This sweater is on the intermediate level so you'll have your challenge with the cabling and yoke section. Stay tuned for final photos.

The "Dora" shawl pattern is coming along great and should be ready by mid-October (the latest). The combination of lace, construction, and design make this the perfect gift knit! I used Frog Tree Alpaca Sportweight for the original but will use some stashed Ultra Alpaca Fine (Berroco) for a secret holiday gift - shhh :o)

Other patterns that will be published soon are "Japel's Wings" (top down raglan combining leave motif and fitted elements using a worsted weight yarn) and "Scarsdale" (a cabled summer sweater with simple elements using a dk weight yarn).

Also in the works...I'm proud to annouce...a NEW WEBSITE! Details coming this fall...stay tuned!

I'm also working on an event for Rhinebeck which is expected to be a unique and exciting (and FUN) project!

Hope all is well with you and your knitting - drop me a line so we can catch-up properly!

Happy Knitting until next time!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A great day!

I must must must must must tell you that I am blushing over Stefanie Japels' blog posting today. I am privileged to have such an accolade bestowed upon me. Thanks Stefanie!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


One look at my Ravelry projects page lately and you might think "Has she gone mad? How many WIPs are on her needles right now?"

Yes, I think I have KADHD - Knitting Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

Well, either it's KADHD or RFS (Restless Finger Syndrome).'s that my brain is SO excited about the many projects I want to make/finish/start/dream/wear/gift that it can't pick JUST I'm rotating between them.

Case in point, I'm making up two samples for the shop so I spent a couple train rides working on the baby sweater during the week. I finished the back yesterday morning. Then, during the day, while we were in the car running errands, I worked on my Bateau sweater since it was St st in the round - can't screw that up too badly. For a short period of the afternoon, while trying to keep Ramona inside and COOL, I swatched for the fingerless mitts - Kollage yarn is SO soft and great to work with btw. Then, last night when we were watching the NASCAR race, I knit the right front of the baby sweater and started the third ball of the Bateau sweater.

It's safe to say that I'm not bored of any of them - I'm just spreading my time between them - and, somehow, they all seem to be going that possible???

Well, it's another gorgeous day here in NJ so I'll probably sit outside and drink my coffee and knit a bit while Hubbin's works his garden/green-thumb and Ramona does her thing...which is whatever mischief the day brings!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Look what we reeled in...

Happy Father's Day

I know a bunch of y'all don't flickr so I'm posting this over here in blogger land as well! Two cute kids, fo' sho!

We had a great Father's day celebration at our home - my sister, her hubby and their kids all flew in from Kansas and NC; my parents and my grandmother were there; as well as my in-laws. The weather held out (AFTER we had cleaned the house from top to bottom) so we were able to stay outside the entire afternoon. The kids were in heaven running around the yard, blowing bubbles, drinking obscene amounts of juice, eating everything they could grab when the parents weren't watching, and filling our yard with giggles galore! What a blessing it was to spend the day together!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Baby Blogging Steps (and NO, I'm not preggers!)

This is for Dora and Adam and Trudy - whom I love VERY much (and who have now guilted me back into steps my friends!)

Alyssa and I spent Saturday up in Danbury with Dora and her knitting friends! What can I say except we had a FABULOUS time - and I, for one, will miss Trudy SO SO SO much! As you'll recall, Dora is my SWS (Sock Wars Sister) and I just love her to pieces! Thanks for a lovely (albeit rainy/muggy) day!


Friday, June 05, 2009

Alrighty...I've got some pride to share

My little-sis just received an Educator of the Year award from the Army. Here's the article...

I'm still and there...but you can, of course, find me DAILY on flickr

In other news I found out that I had strep late last week (I had been starting to feel pretty miserable) and while it's a week later on MORE antibiotics (long story) I'm still not 100%...but definitely on the mend - hooray!

It's a rainy day (again) here in NYC and I'm SO ready for the weekend...NASCAR at Pocono Raceway on Sunday - yippie, I loves me some racin' boys!

So how are all of you doin'?

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm not changing my can't make me

Today is a Monday. I could end this post there because I know you would understand.

It's a Monday and I'm achy for a multitude of reasons. And I didn't feel like wearing clothes that "fit properly" I'm wearing brown pants that are "full" and an orange sweater (which I actually like - and got on sale for something crazy like $2.99 at Banana Republic a couple years back). I'm pretty sure that I picked up black shoes from my dark bedroom this morning but realized one was brown when I was on the train...and QUICKLY (you don't know how quickly) looked to make sure the other foot also had a brown shoe on it. I have the same pair of shoes in two colors, obviously. Whew....both brown.

And since there's a graveyard shift at the office today I decided, unanimously with my other selves, that I will not change my shoes today and you can't make me. Brown pants and brown shoes is defaulting to a matter if the shoes are more chocolate and the pants are more heathered. Take that fashionistas!

No pictures...because I simply don't want to hear the laughter...ha ha ha

Seriously...I'm smiling!

How's all with y'all?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why yes...yes it is me!

Hello fellow bloggers...I am back...and I apologize...has anyone been sucked into Flickr like me? I saw Jeannine poke her head in...I'm wondering who is next!!!

So what's new with me in knitting land? And where has March gone?!?!

The month started with a great day of new friends and knitting at Dora's house which Alyssa and I were privledged to attend! Dora, you may recall from prior posts, is my long-lost-sister (in spirit) and we "met" via Sock Wars 3. The War, and most of it's participants, were dreadful. But from the ashes rose a great friendship. Here's a photo of cute!

365:31 (Sock Wars Sisters!)

While at this mini-retreat Alyssa and I worked on our Lady Eleanor KAL For Two. I, however, questioned the sizing of mine? Was it too small? Would it be "wrappy" enough? How much yarn, in the end, would I need to make it everything I dreamed? Well, I frogged it the following day and restarted. Another day or two down the pike I decided that the second try was WAY too large. Urgh. Frogged again. Does anyone know what a pain it is to frog single ply silk? Let me just say, it's not fun. Attempt #3 seems to be the charm...although now I'm questioning if it's STILL too "wide". I ordered more yarn so I will have 2000 yarns invested when all is said and done. Egads! I'm halfway done and into the 3rd "ball" (at 500 yards it seems hardly a ball but more like a brick!). It's also, unfortunately, slightly too large to lug back and forth on the train. So it's slightly on hiatus for now...please pester me about it so it doesn't go into permanent hibernation!!!

Lady Eleanor - Half Way

Other recent knitting:

Textured Shrug from Stefanie Japel's new book GlamKnits
self portrait march 11 2009

Finished Tangled Yoke - see above photo with Dora...I wear this Cardigan A LOT!!!

Two 13" x 13" squares for the blanket

Because of the whole can't-carry-on-the-train issue with the L.E. I decided to start my mom's Flower Child sweater for Mother's Day. I'm making it with Knit Picks Cot-Lin in a similar green/sage color as the pattern photo. I haven't worked with the yarn before but so far it's been working up nicely. I have no photos to share of it as yet...bummer.

Instead...I'll leave you with this goofy photo mosaic I made for my 365 Project!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Peek a boo...I've been Flickr-ing...a LOT


Ok, I've been cheating on my blogging with Flickr. My bad. But it's been SO much fun!

I promise to blog more soon - honest to betsy!

How are you?!?!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cause they're whose clues? Blue's Clues!

For some reason I woke up with this song in my head - yes, Blue's Clues...weird!

It's been a super busy week at work and I am totally exhausted - so TGIF!!!

On the knitting front I finished my white pinwheel blanket on Wednesday evening - it looks great (photos to come over the weekend). I knit it in a sport weight on US8s. I LOVE the drape - esp because I usually like a tighter fabric on most projects. So this one got me thinking outside the box - hooray!

The funny thing about this blanket is that I worked late on Tuesday night and was able to meet up with my old knitting group on the train. Marybeth saw the blanket and asked what I was making. I told her and she laughed. My friend Patty, who later joined us, was also making the SAME blanket, ALSO in white! OMG, we had a good laugh. Right before Patty and I got off the train I put my blanket on my looked like a giant shower cap or chefs hat. Patty put her's on as well and we were laughing quite hard. Sue took a photo - and if I can get her to send it to me (come on Sue!!!) I'll share it - you'll crack up, I swear!

I started my first charity square on the train today - and got about 2.5" done - whoot whoot! I'm hoping to get a few of these done over the weekend - hooray!

In sad yarn news, the shop in our lobby is having a 50% off sale (which is actually great news for Alyssa and me) but I asked one of the nicer ladies if they were going out of business and she said "we prefer to say 'closing our doors'". It's really sad - they've been there for 22 years! If you have any thoughts on yarns you like and want me to look for you...just drop me a line! Yarn for the stash at 50% off - how can you pass that up?

Well - back to work - too busy for words right now!

Happy knitting friends!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eleven, Twelve, One, Two, Three, Four...

I know most folks don't get routine knitting time each day like I do because I take the train. So maybe this doesn't apply to anyone else but weird ol' me...

Do you find yourself counting even after you've stopped knitting?

I know this happens to me a lot at night when I'm walking home. If I'm working on a pattern that's in sets of 12s...well then I'm counting my steps in twelves...*twelve steps down the stairs, repeat from *, turn right, go through tunnel, go up stairs, two three four, cross parking lot, eleven twelve one, cross street, etc.

Usually it wears off before I get home - mostly due to the cold weather reminding me of how stinking cold and windy it's been lately.

Please tell me I'm not alone :o)

Happy Knitting Tuesday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Since when... I hold my working yarn like this?

Holding the yarn

I noticed this change started happening a few weeks back...but it wasn't consistent, and didn't feel "wrong" so I didn't stop.

But it JUST happens. No rhyme or reason. I'll be knitting happily along and viola...there it goes again!

This morning I noticed it on the train and quickly took a picture.


*Note: I'm knitting a pinwheel baby blanket for Evelyn. So far I'm up to 460 stitches...and on my 3rd ball of yarn. I'm thinking I'll get to 500sts and see where that leaves me. Has anyone ever done one of these? Any thoughts as to size/stitches? I'm thinking of working a couple rows in further bust the stash!

I took these photos for my 365 on Saturday. I figured out how to combine them in one excited when I learn new things! The really cool thing is that my grandmother made that sweater for me approx 20 years ago and I recently found it in one of my sweater bins. The colors might not be stylish (they weren't 20 years ago in fact) but it's cozy and reminds me of my Grandma who taught me how to knit.

Grandma's Sweater 20 years later

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fuggetaboutit Friday

The week is finally over and it kicked my butt all over the place. Let's see how it happened, shall we?

Monday - Tangled Yoke (part one)

As you know, I was battleing it out with the sewing machine on Monday trying to get the ribbon sewn into the Tangled Yoke. Score - Original Singer: 1; Me: 0. I tied up the score using my MIL's machine later that night. I even stayed up late to pick up the stitches and knit the buttonhole band. bed around 11:00pm

Tuesday - Tangled Yoke (part deux)

Woke up ready to tackle sewing on the buttons on the train ride into work. I even put my makeup on at the station before the train arrived so I didn't waste a minute of the hour ahead. I started sewing the buttons one one by one. Unfortunately something was a little off where the yolk meets in the front. I made it work as best as possible. No one will really know besides me (and now you if you're reading this, doh). I'm sewing, I'm sewing...button 3, 4, 5, 6...two more to go...7, 8...wait a minute, shouldn't I be done already...9...i'm out of buttons and still have the bottom/last one to sew. HO-LEE-MACARONI...I made too many button holes. Seriously? Are you kidding? I couldn't tell you how I did it if I tried. Was I up too late (yes)? Did I lay out EIGHT holes (yes!)? Then what on earth happened? Oh well. I got to work and wore it anway - and everyone loved it - especially Erin because her favorite color is green!

Wednesday - Commuting/Classic Penn Station/New York

Wednesday morning started off like this...


...just me and my coffee in the wee morning hours! Until...duh duh train broke down! Luckily we were partially in a we didn't need to wait for another train to come push us, etc. The bad part was that they kept announcing "We have a mechanical problem, the engineer is working on it" for about 20 minutes until they said "This train is out of service. Please detrain (yes, they use that word!) in an orderly fashion. Another train will be here in a few minutes and you can take that to Penn Station." So a thousand people are now trying to get off the train, a double decker no less, and the platforms are filling up. The train comes. Too many people. I decide to wait (something I learned to do more easily when I was pregnant). The next train will come on a completely different platform so we all shuffle down some stairs, through a tunnel and back up the other side. Turns out that the train coming in is the one my old knitting group takes - so at least I find them and catch up on what's new in everyone's lives. End result: I was one hour late to work. Urgh.

At the end of the day I run across two crazy New Yorker things:

  1. Woman w handouts saying: Sin will steal your soul in heaven
    Response: commuters laughing
  2. Overhead PA system tip to passengers: Don't be CELLfish when talking on your cell phone. Please be considerate of other passengers.

I realize on the way home that I've left my travel mug on my desk...of course...because that's my day/week.

Hubbins had scheduled a massage appointment for me since I've had a knot in my back for a couple weeks and keep feeling like something REALLY bad is going to happen. The massage is good, the steam shower is awesome, and I return home feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Thursday - One more day!!!

At 6:30 Hubbins says to me "Are you not going to work today?" to which I bolt out of bed and jump into the shower. I guess the massage really knocked those toxins around in my system and I completely ignored (and shut off) my alarm clock! Great!

Seeing as I left my travel mug at work on Wednesday, I grabbed a thermos from the cabinet and headed to the station. While standing on the platform I decide to take a sip. I screw off the "cup", press the button on the top, and try to take a sip from what appears to be the opening. WRONG! Instead of going in my mouth, a whole bunch of coffee pours down the front of my jacket (which I just washed on Monday) and onto the bottoms of my pant legs. I should have just gone back to bed right there and then.

I ran out of pink yarn for the baby blanket part way through the train ride into the city. So I started Sally's Neck Warmer using Tilli Tomas Flurries in a georgeous "burnt orange" color. It's just so niiiiiiiice.

feather and fan for sally

Casey is one of the things that make everything less stressful at the end of my day...can you wonder why? Here she is with her Mardi Gras mask...let's get ready to par-tay!

Mardi we come!

The "mess" behind her is a painting on her easel - she did not paint on our dining room walls as one friend asked

Friday - Crowded House

I woke up on time, got my regular seat on the train and things were looking good!
But the subway was SO crowded because there was a police investigation at 4th Street. Should I really have expected the week to end any different? Really? Luckily I'm a pro at where to stand on the platform and was right at the doors when they opened. Here's my self-portrait for the day...I wish you could feel the over-crowding, pushing, shoving and attitude better.


I did finish Sally's Neck Warmer - I have to take a picture still - and it looks really great on her!

It's almost quittin' time and I'm so glad to be heading home! I also got a note from Jill that she received the Noro sweater and she loves it - I'm hoping to see some modeling photos from her soon (hint hint).

I've got no big weekend plans - except to catch up on my sleep and figure out my next project - hooray!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Happy Knitting Y'all!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another case of the Monday's? (Part 1)

If you've ever seen the movie "Office Space" you'll know what I mean by the title of this post(and of my favorite movies ever!)

Do we really get "cases" of Monday's? Nah. But sometimes it just seems like "one of those days" when it happens on a Monday, the start to our work week, the easiest explanation is to blame it on Monday. Poor Monday.

But this week a good portion of corporate America had off on my Tuesday is a Monday that started on Monday and therefore all blame defaults to it. To be fair, this case of the Monday's/Tuesday's started many years ago.

When I was a little girl both my mother and grandmother sewed because, let's face it, who didn't sew in the 70s. The 70s were all about sewing and matching blue gingham least in my small world. My mom even made my sister and me matching Mickey Mouse print dresses for our trip to Disney one year. Those were the days.

So all my life I've sewed on my mom's Singer. I mostly made Halloween costumes and clothes (I vaguely remember making some M.C. Hammer-style pants, red of course, to wear to a Cure concert...with a hand painted t-shirt that my friend Donna and I made in her mom's dining room...Robert Smith never looked so happy as the way I portrayed him). I digress...

The point is...I knew I would always own a sewing machine. Approximately 10 years ago, my grandmother moved from her home to an independent living facility. Since she was downsizing she gave me her machine, complete with table/cabinet. It was an honor to receive such a nostalgic piece of my childhood. The hours my grandmother and I spent on that machine whenever I would visit...I could start listing project after was heaven.

I brought the machine in for a tune up and was kind of disappointed when they said it would take a few weeks. I patiently waited and picked it up as soon as it was ready. Mind you, I had nothing in mind to sew...but the mere thought that I COULD sew...well, that was something. Of course the best laid plans fell to the wayside and I didn't make anything for quite some time. By the time I did want to make something, I realized the bobbin threading wasn't working properly no matter what I tried. I should have brought it back in for servicing right away...but I didn't. Bad Karen. Some more time went by and I tried the machine again. I used an old piece of felt and everything worked great! I moved on to the actual project and it all fell apart...the bottom bobbin was misbehaving. I was SO upset. I closed the table up again and it sat like that for years.

My tangled yoke was the deal breaker. I knew I wanted to reinforce the button band with ribbon but was afraid the machine would pull one of its notorious stunts. I took every precaution. I knit an extra swatch. I carefully examined the machine and the bobbin threading. I tested on the swatch AND some old felt. The old gal seemed to be working!

Until yesterday afternoon. Hubbins and Ramona were happily watching Sponge Bob and I snuck away to the basement to tackle the button band once and for all. I retested on felt. I moved my chair around until I was comfortable. I brought the needle down into the ribbon and through the yarn, dropped the foot and pressed the peddle to the metal.

About5 inches along I could tell disaster had struck. I pulled the sweater out and lo and behold, SNAGGING all along the underside. I could have cried. I pulled my seam ripper from my notions pouch and started taking out the mess of thread. I got some more felt and the knitted swatch and tested on them again. No problem. Ok, maybe it was a human error. Let's try again. This time the machine seemed to be to about 9 inches...let's just take a teensy weensy peek...NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Yes, full of "clumping". Fighting back the tears and restraining myself from screaming, I took the sweater and went upstairs, leaving the monster machine in the dark to think about what it had done! Hubbins immediately knew something was wrong. I said "It's either the machine or me...and it might be time for a new machine!" My brain raced...Did I still have the President's Day coupons for AC Moore? How late were they open? How much does a new machine even cost? My head hurt. Bad.

Hubbins to the rescue! "Do you want me to call my mom so you can borrow hers?" OMG - his mom has a machine? How did I never know this?!?! "Yes, please, call her, now, please, thank you, what year is it?" came spilling across my lips. "I dunno. My grandmother bought it for her so it's not that old". [**Hubbins' paternal grandmother was an awesome awesome lady - she passed away several years before I entered the picture so we never met...BUT she had a yarn stash the family tells stories about and she was quite crafty. They say she would have LOVED me like it's no body's business...and I know I would have loved her back].

So Hubbins the Great hopped in the car and drove over to his parents house (1/2 mile away). I sat patiently at the dining room table re-pinning the ribbon in place. A swear a white burst of light shone from behind him when he got back home - hooray for Hubbins and Nana!

I quickly set up the machine, wound a bobbin and prayed. I don't even think I tested on anything...I much worse could it get? I carefully started sewing and immediately knew things were looking up. I stopped about 6 inches in and the stitching was perfect! I kept going all the way to the end and snipped the thread. Can I have a Hallelujah and an Amen.

...stay tuned for the second installment of this story tomorrow...

Here's a photo of me wearing it at work...just so you know there's a happy ending!

Finished Tangled Yoke

Monday, February 16, 2009


Hooray...the Noro Cardi was finished on Friday night and shipped off to Jill on Saturday morning. By my estimations she should receive it on Tuesday (tomorrow). I also sent the Cabled Cape (whew, glad I finally "got it right"). I also made a twisty scarf (with some mods) over the weekend and am busy working on the first of a million baby blankets I am making this year. Here are some weekend pictures (more stories to follow tomorrow!).

Noro Cardi - Front
Noro Cardi - back
Noro Cardi - Left pocket inside


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rollin' rollin' rollin'...keep the Noro goin'...rawhide!

Hubbins was feeling better last night so I spent some more time seaming the Noro Cardi - hooray! I also opted to try seaming on the train this morning - which is usually something I avoid because it's easier to spread out a sweater and concentrate at home in a stationary location

That being said, I've got the second sleeve and pockets left to do...and, of course, more loose ends!

Here's a peek...
noro cardi 6

And here's my SP for the day...I know, thrilling, right?
SP february 12 2009