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