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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A knitting year-in-review

This year was heavily productive, both personally and in my knitting.  I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology focusing on Child Development and Applied Behavior Analysis.  Four months after graduating, I was accepted to Kaplan's graduate program and started coursework toward a master's in ABA.  My hubby was accepted to URI to complete his bachelor's degree in psychology too (which is really really exciting).  We survived one child starting kindergarten and another starting high school (barely, in both cases).  My car died and had to be donated.  I bought a bike, and then left it sitting in the bike shop all summer long, lol.  Alex finally got to start at Meeting Street and we've seen some great improvements in his behavior. 

Meanwhile, where yarn is concerned, I knit much more this year than I realized.  I completed 42 of 46 projects this year, including four adult sized sweaters, a pair of knee-highs, several mittens and handwarmers, two Christmas stockings, and more hats than I can count.  I published six independent designs and had one published by Interweave.  I had two other designs accepted by another magazine, to be published next year.  I participated in my first Steven West knit-along, and I started my first Jared Flood pattern.  Overall, it's been in interesting knitting year and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what 2013 brings.  I've got several designs planned for next year and I'm looking forward to knitting more patterns from other knitters.  My goal this year is to try to have more fun, and hopefully, to finish my Beekeeper's Quilt :)

And now, as a reward for sticking around this post, here are some photos of stuff from this year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Twas the night before Christmas Eve...

and all through the house, my children were not stirring because they asked to spend the night at Nana's, lol.  I decided it made good sense and provided me with an extra night to do the wrapping.  I'm usually up until 1 or 2 am trying to finish up.  My husband sweetly offers to help every year, and inevitably I end up shoving him out of the way to take over because he's nowhere as good at is as I am.  This year he cheerfully announced that he "did the bows!"

This year, like other years, we did our best to make sure we got a variety of cute, fun things, and at least one thing that was on each child's list.  And each year after we wrap the gifts, we're left wondering where everything went and why it looks like we got them so little.  I know it's not the amount of gifts that count, but children need to be able to see at least a few things under the tree with their names on them.  However, when they open these gifts, I think they'll be pleased.  Dante has been asking for a used Nintendo DS to replace his broken one.  He'd like to be able to play his games.  Aaron found one at a great price, and picked it up complete with a Nerf case to protect it from bring dropped (which lead to the first one breaking).  We also got him his first cell phone.  It's a little prepaid thing.  Nothing fancy, just a way for me to be able to communicate with him when he is at school.  My husband gets called into work early sometimes, and he's doing a sport so it would make me feel a heck of a lot better to be able to text him and let him know that he'll need to get a ride home. 

Alex got a new Skylander's game, and I knit him a ninja.  He loves Lego Ninja and has been after me to make that for him for a while now.  He has no idea that I already did, lol.  What's funny is that I got him a raindeer rubber duck for the tub and I put it in a giant box instead of putting it in his stocking.  See, studying child development means that I know Alex will see that Dante has more boxes under the tree and he will assume that he has more gifts.  He won't realize that his extra gifts are in his stocking.  So to avoid crying and claims of unfairness on Christmas morning, I wrapped a rubber duck in a box and put it under the tree so that he'll have the same number of packages as Dante.  These are the things that anyone with small children, or more than one child, will understand, lol. 

I finished the hats for my friend and she is flying out tomorrow to present them as gifts to extended family.  So what am I doing with my deadline-free knitting time?  Working on Aaron's Rockaway sweater and knitting a gift bag for Alex's loose DS game.  I'm using the last of my handspun and I'll put his initial on it so he can use it as an ornament next year.  He seems to like when I knit ornaments, lol.  And finally, here's a photo of the rice crispy treat trains we made today before the boys left for Nana's house.
Alex at work

Saturday, December 22, 2012

More fun with ornaments

I don't know why I didn't start doing this sooner, but I've been having a blast knitting ornaments (as you probably know by now, lol).  Alex turned in his teacher gift, and she showed it off to the entire class.  He said that he got high-fives from everyone and that they talked about it all through circle time.  I think they were just talking, and he assumed it was about the ornament...I mean, what else could they be talking about?! lol.

Since the Christmas balls, I've make two mittens from the Smittens pattern, two ornaments from The Knitter's Almanac, and I whipped up a little sweater for the tree.  This yarn is from a pair of socks that Rain from Honey & Ollie knit for me a million years ago, for our first (and my only) sock swap.  The socks were later attacked by carpet beetle larva, and I had to rip them out so that I could knit little hexipuffs for my Bee Keeper's Quilt with the left over yarn.  That way I can keep them forever.  I figured I had quite a lot of this yarn, and it would make a beautiful little sweater ornament (and I was right).  And since Alex was upset with me for giving away the mini-mittens, tree, and star ornaments (they were gifts to my coworkers), I figure I'll finish my last Expressions hat today and spend the rest of my free time knitting more ornaments and baking gingerbread cookies.  It's my first year for both activities.  We'll see how it goes :)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last minute knitting

Christmas is closing in fast, and I'm suddenly aware of all the things that I still need to do.  I haven't baked anywhere near what I'd planned on, and I'm still knitting the Expressions hats for a friend.  I had hoped to knit something for all of my boys in time for Christmas, but it doesn't look like I'll accomplish that.  I did, however, somehow remember that I needed to make a gift for Alex's amazing teacher.  I spent my free time yesterday making this little gem.  It's a pattern called Balls Up (I know, hilarious), and I used scraps from my hexipuff making kit for the colorwork.  I also happened to have some ribbon on hand, which made a very pretty hanger.  Alex took it in to school today, and he looked very pleased with himself.
Now this little pretty?  I knit this for the ornament exchange with my fantastic knitting group, the Knitaholics.  It was my first knitted ornament, and it was a blast.  Took longer than I expected, but the result was worth it.  But what to do with all my free time now that I have a break from school and Christmas vacation is coming?  I'm watching my new boxed set of Peanut's Holiday DVD's, and knitting sweater ornaments.  I hope to use some of my precious handspun yarn to make a mitten for the tree, like the ones that Smoking Hot Needles made.  I'm really excited about these little gems.  I've also got plans to knit some of the ornaments from The Knitter's Almanac.  Ann made a few and they were really beautiful.  And on that note, I'm off to finish this episode of Sherlock and knit this teeny-tiny little sweater.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Difficult reentry

The passage of time dulls the acute pain, but does nothing for the persistent throbbing that replaces it.  That stay.  Any little thing can trigger it, and when it returns it's just as sharp as the day the injury first happened.  As a psych major, I understand that memory is tied to emotion and that the surroundings in which it was encoded can all serve as triggers to recall that memory; good ones as well as the bad.  The passage of time can do nothing about that either.

Today I walked Alex to school for the first time in a week, and when we got there I kissed him at least a dozen times and hugged him closer than ever.  I let him run off into his school building, watching the other children leaving their parents as well, and all I could think of was how safe school always felt, and how that feeling is broken now.  I was reminded of that day when the safety of our school was shattered too, and even though it's been 20 years, the fear rushed back.  I broke down on the way home and was never so happy that it was raining, so I could use the umbrella to shield my face from the looks of strangers.  I wouldn't begin to know what to say to them.  I wouldn't want to discuss Beamon or Judy or Jason or Mr. Brens.  I wouldn't begin to know how to explain what a former student, who was mentally ill and had not received the care he needed, felt he had to do in order to set things right. 

I couldn't explain how I was away with my track team, only to find out that a friend had been shot dead, and that so many others were still being held hostage by a man with semi-automatic weapons, which he had obtained legally.  Or how every time a fire drill, or fake bomb-threat, or fire cracker, or any other loud unexpected noise took place, we all feared for our lives all over again.  Or how we had to place memorial benches around the school grounds, and change the names of the buildings so that calling them by name would no longer evoke flash backs.  Or how the principal had to hand a diploma to a family of a deceased student, every year for the next three years.  Or how many of those sweet children grew up to be bitter, vengeful adults who think the worst of society.  Or how my school was the reason for the change to law enforcement's response policy to school violence in California.  Or how I broke down in tears every May 1st for years and years.  Or even why I sit here right now, crying my eyes out because I remember.  And I'm afraid for my own children.  And I'm afraid of what Alex will hear at school today, and I don't want him to feel like I feel right now; not ever in his life.

No one out here has ever heard of the Lindhurst school shooting.  All of my support system is 3000 miles away and I feel like an anomaly.  I want to reach out to my community for support, but I'm afraid of triggering someone else's memories of the day.  I want to speak to someone who already knows the back story so that I don't have to relive it when I try to explain why I'm so affected by Newtown.  But I can't.  So I'll share this now, and hope that it will help those who have never been personally affected by an act such as this one to understand the long term fall out.  Time took away the sharp, unbearable pain, but it left the dull throbbing ache, and I'm feeling the old injury act up right now.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I need a distraction

This had been a difficult week around the nation, but specifically here in New England.  I need a distraction from a tragedy that hits way too close to home for me.  I have a vivacious little 6-year old boy.  He and his brother are the light of my life.  I am also a former student of Lindhurst High School, the first school in the United States to have an armed assailant walk onto the ground armed with assault riffles and shotguns.  That man killed 5 people (one student from each graduating class and a teacher; one a boy I knew very well), wounded 18 others, and held over 80 students hostage for over 8 hours.  It did not receive the media coverage that later incidents did, and in hindsight I believe that was for the best.  There were no copycat incidents after the Lindhurst Shooting.  But there were many others after Columbine.  I'm not going to make a grand political statement, but I will say that I lived it once as a child, and now I live it again as a mother of a child who is the same age as those who's lives were taken, and I live about an hour away from Connecticut.  They are our neighbors.  This is too close to home, literally, and I'm struggling not to cry or go out into the world and scream. 

I need a distraction.  Alex was home sick for a week with the flu and now Dante has the fever.  I'm thankful that they are home sick because it means that they're home and they're alive.  I've been looking at photos like this one, which captures their personalities so well, lol.  Dante is more reserved and tends to hang back, while Alex shoves his way to the front and commands attention.  I have finals but the paper is coming together too quickly.  My discussion board post is done.  It leaves me with a lot of free time to think, and when I do I want to cry.  I choose to pray instead. 

I've been filling the time with knitting and baking.  I find myself with a little extra knitting time and I'm working on eyebrow hats for a friend.  They are going faster than expected.  This should be a good thing, but I need the distraction of work and busyness and a hectic schedule.  I will fill the time with scripture study, and crafting with my children, and snuggling every chance I get.  Dante doesn't like to be kissed or snuggled, but he's sick and weak, and I'm going to take advantage of his weakened state to love on him and touch him as much as I can.  He seems to understand when I really really need comfort, and will stand still long enough to let me hug him :) 

Alex is well again, and has to go back to school tomorrow.  I think everyone will understand if I feel reluctant to send him.  I need a distraction.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Small blessings

Yes.  I've discovered Instagram and I've gone a little overboard, lol.  But it's fun and super fast to upload a photo, so sit back and enjoy the faux-vintage photos ;)

We finally got the tree home and out of the bag.  It took me another three days to fluff it out so that we could decorate it.  Then it was another day or so before we finally got the ornaments on it (did I already talk about this?!) and Alex did a beautiful job.  This year he made an effort to try to get ornaments on the back and top of the tree as well as the lower front.  As you can see from the photos, I still haven't gotten around to plugging in the lights, lol.

This holiday season so far has been truly wonderful.  My husband is working more hours and feeling better about being busy and having more spending money than we expected at this time of year.  I finally finished my two biggest repair projects and received a large payout right when I really needed it most.  I took some of my windfall over to Sams Club (my annual pilgrimage) to get my yearly 25lb bag of sugar, along with a giant bag of flower, more chocolate chips than I can count, two giant bars of milk and white chocolate for the peppermint bark that Dante requested, and for good measure, a box of pumpkin break mix from Krusteaz (only because you can make pumpkin pancakes) and a kit to make a train out of Rice Crispy treats, lol.  I love to bake and I'm looking forward to making something special for my friends and family.  Other than knitting, I show my love through baked goods, lol. 

In other holiday-related news, the boxes are starting to arrive, I've been watching Christmas movies every day, and I've decided to play the 12-days-of-annoying-my-husband, lol.  I busted my husband's chops and texted him that I'd "accidentally" opened a package before I realized that it wasn't for me.  He wasn't pleased, and it was hilarious!  Then I told him i was just kidding and the box remained sealed.  When he got home he was upset because the label apparently said what was inside...somehow I didn't see it, but I'm not sure he believes me, lol.  Since then I've taken his phone and sent a strange email to his friend (they were messaging back and forth and I jumped into the mix), and posted multiple photos of Grumpy Cat to his facebook page, lol.  Oh man.  If I'm not careful, I'm going to end up on the naughty list ;)

Finally, I'm pleased that some of my knitting time has opened up for me and I can work on some Expressions hats for a good friend.  I wasn't sure if I could fit them in with my then-current obligations, but things have suddenly changed and I'm feeling positive about that.  But more on that for another time.  Right now, I've got finals this week and the assignment is similar to one I've done two other times.  It shouldn't be very hard to write this paper.  Then I'll have a week two break followed by Christmas and New Years break!  I don't start my next class until January 2nd.  That means that I'll get to truly enjoy the rest of this holiday season and spend time with my guys without feeling guilty for letting my homework slide.  It's going to be great.  I'm very very thankful.

Monday, December 10, 2012

'Tis the season, lol

This weekend, my husband picked up our tree from his mom's garage and we brought it home.  It was another two days before we got it out of the bag.  It's been at least one more before we got it fluffed out, and I'm counting on one more for sure, before we get any ornaments on it.  You see, it's been busy around here.  He's working more hours and I'm gearing up for finals (cause they always fall right near a major holiday), and Dante is running indoor track and already on his second meet, and Alex went off and got a virus.  He's home sick for the second day this week and will definitely be home again tomorrow.  Sniffles, cough, and fever.  We had to squeeze in a trip to the pediatrician to make sure it wasn't anything serious, and to get a refill on his inhalers.  This caused my over-stressed and over-run husband to start a 'discussion' (again) about why we need to change to a pediatrician that's closer to where we live.  Naturally I responded emotionally rationally with why that's never going to happen.  Never.  Thankfully, we were distracted enough with the fevered 6-year old to get ourselves back on track and focused again.

So, that got me wondering if anyone else out there with children have any stories about switching pediatricians for convenience (not because they were terrible...that's self explanatory).  My stand is that I've got two boys with complicated issues and I really want to stay with the doctor who already knows their history, actually considers their whole history when making medical choices, and trusts my judgment enough to humor me when I really insist something more is going on (because I've been right 90% of the time).  I don't want to start all over with someone new, and I feel like a little inconvenience in driving is well worth it for all the stuff I don't deal with.  I'm afraid to leave them, search all over and not find that same relationship, and then have their patient spots filled so I wouldn't be able to get them back in to their same doctor again.  I figure if it's not broke...  But it IS a stress on my husband who has to do all the driving these days.  I want to listen to his side, but I can't seem to communicate my own well enough for him to understand why I really want to stay put.  Maybe if I could get an idea what other parents have had to go through, I could make a better decision.  Any constructive input would be appreciated.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm knitting.  I'm finishing a test knit, and starting the second of two patterns I had accepted a while back.  The deadline is coming faster than I expected.  I had to turn down some paid knitting, sticking to my decree of "I will not take on any new repairs, commissions, or test/sample work until January".  It's greatly reduced my holiday stress, and I might even be able to catch up on my current backlog of repair and design work.  I'm even hopeful that I might be able to knit something for Aaron and Dante this year, lol.  I don't have much to share photo-wise, other than my hilarious children.  They're definitely characters.  When I look at those faces, I can hardly believe that I made them, lol.  It makes me want to cover them with wool and stuff them with baked goods.  I'm planning to bake some banana bread tonight, and maybe some cookies.  You know...my typical behavioral response to being busy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Expressions hat pattern is available for pre-order

You all may remember this hilarious photo of my buddy Clara, wearing her very own Expression hat.  The pattern has been tested and it's now available for pre-order.  If you get it before December 3rd, you'll save $1.50 off the regular price!  The sale ends when the pattern launches.

These hats are so much fun, and I've had requests for several for Christmas.  So far the most popular eyebrow chart (by a landslide) is the Angry eyebrow.  I think all but one of my testers opted for that.  One cutie got a set of Groucho Marx eyebrows, lol.  You just gotta love a little kid in a hat with crazy-brows!

Anyway, the pattern offers a large range of sizes, from newborn all the way up to adult large!  The needles and yarn weights are all included, gauges for each size, and of course there are five different eyebrow charts to choose from.  I'm personally looking forward to seeing the first uni-brow.  Any takers?  But I digress.  The hats work up really fast and most knitters can finish one in a day or two.  They make great last minute gifts, and they're a good way to use up yarn scraps or to play with fun colors you wouldn't usually work with.  I used up the scraps of my Madeline Tosh Chunky in Gilded (a color I adore but I can't put right next to my skin, unless I want to look like I'm on my death bed), by striping it with cream and using red on the brim.  That put the red and white closest to my face so I still look alive, but let me use my beloved color.  Also, the hem is great if you're knitting for children or someone with sensitive skin.  You can use cotton, or a synthetic for the inside of the brim, and then switch to a warm animal fiber for the outside...best of both worlds!  They're not itchy, and they can still be warm.  It works for Alex (who has legitimate sensory issues and is very sensitive).

So, go on over and join the dozen or so ladies who've already pre-ordered their copy :)  They're fast.  They're fun.  There's a size for everyone (that rhymed!).  And if that's not enough to convince you...here's a photo of more kids in eyebrow hats, courtesy of one of my test knitters, Cathy, and a link to her blog post about the pattern.  It's a good one!
property of Cathy Ngo

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  You may remember that we'd spotted this group of turkeys about a month back.  They all survived (at least until yesterday.  I haven't seen them today...) 

This year I've got a much more Zen approach to the holiday.  Things need not be perfect.  Alex really struggles with Thanksgiving (I think in part to our need to try to keep up with old traditions).  His sensory modulation disorder makes it difficult for him to enjoy many of the Thanksgiving classics, like turkey, gravy, stuffing, eating until you pop and then eating again, taking a turkey-induced nap, watching the parade.  You name it...he hates it.  And I was never a big fan of gathering up the family, getting everyone dressed in their church clothes, and heading over to my in-laws only to sit around for another hour or so smelling the food that isn't finished cooking yet (even though we were told that it would be).  That leads to Alex freaking out about being hungry, and my not being able to feed him because I know he won't eat dinner after, and him refusing to actually eat any of the food once it hits the table.  Then a power struggle between Alex and the men-in-charge begins.  One insists he's just being picky or difficult and things we should just force him to eat.  The other threatens him with punishment if he doesn't eat.  Alex calls their bluffs and ends up in the corner over defiant behavior (which turned out to be a sensory-defensive behavior).  I end up stressed out and ticked off.  Sound familiar?

This year, we're skipping all that nonsense.  I'm vegetarian and won't be eating any turkey, and Alex doesn't like turkey.  He and I are eating fish.  He's very excited about it.  Not only are we eating fish, but I'm cooking that fish myself (because he's picky about how he likes it) and he's going to eat before we even leave to go to Nana's.  That way, if he refuses to eat any of the food, it won't matter one bit.  If he only wants to eat cranberry sauce and pie...so be it.  I'm going to enjoy a stress free holiday.  I might even go so far as to let him wear his Super Mario pajamas to Nana's house if he doesn't want to get dressed (as we'll probably be there until pretty close to bed time).  Because really, the important thing is spending time with loved ones, and not how good we looked while we did.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Knitting part 1: Alex's Ninja

This little bad-boy is the Ninja that Alex asked me for, from the Knitwits book.  It's hilarious!  He has no idea that I knit it for him, and he's going to lose his business when he unwraps this guy on Christmas morning.  Unfortunately, I have to knit two more.  For some reason, boys are hardwired to like ninjas, and it appears that they never outgrow that.  I knew that Dante wanted a black one, but I had no idea that Aaron was being serious when he said he wanted one too, lol.  Sigh.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Expanding my reach

just breath!
I don't know what came over me, but yesterday I decided it was finally time to start using my Craftsy account.  I signed up when Craftsy first got started (I think I was trying to win something), and I promptly forgot all about it.  Then they started hosting classes and there were a few that had real appeal for me, but I just didn't have the time.  Then I got an email telling me about their pattern store, and how sweet the deal is over there.  Much better than anything some of the other online pattern sales sites are offering.  Right now I mainly use Ravelry because I love it, and it's where the knitters are, but I can see that lots and lots of knitters are on Craftsy too.  It's like the light went on yesterday and I decided to try my hand at uploading a pattern.  Next thing I knew, I had five patterns up there!

I don't know how well this is going to work out for me, but it seems like a good idea to try them out.  Their site offers a heck of a lot more than just knitting and crochet, and for that reason, I find it to be overwhelming.  That being said, I'm sure there are a lot of people who navigate the cite quite successfully, and I hope that they'll find my patterns and consider making a purchase.  And if you have a Craftsy account already, and you've knit any of my patterns, would you please consider adding that project to your Craftsy profile?  I'd love to see some projects other than mine up there :)

Now, in knitting news.  I'm working on several test knit socks for a friend and fellow designer's book.  It's crazy!  I'm involved in the smallest way but when it comes out, I'll be able to point to a few of the socks and say "I tested those socks".  It's so cool!  And when I'm not working on those, I'm trying to knock out the ever-growing pile of finishing/repair work that I do for the shop.  Right now I'm converting an Irish cabled pullover into a cardigan.  Last night I worked the crocheted steek reinforcement and cut it open.  I started knitting the button bands yesterday.  I need to pull out my giant copy of "Principles of Knitting" to figure out how to do what I'm envisioning, but I think it'll turn out nicely.  I definitely underestimated how long it would take, and I'll need to call the client and let her know.  She might even be willing to knit the button bands on her own if I can pick them up.  And once the repairs and tests are finished, I'll have to kick it into high gear and start working on my new designs for the online magazine.  The yarn is here, and I'm excited to cast on.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Busy busyness (business?) either way.

My friends, I've been updating like crazy around here and I'm sure you've noticed.  You're probably wondering where all this productivity is coming from.  Well, I'll tell you.  First, school started so naturally I'm knitting more instead of focusing on my studies.  I honestly don't know how I got through my undergrad work with a GPA as high as I did, lol.  Second, these are projects that I've been keeping quiet for a while.  Secret knitting is now being revealed! 

These are the Kinnikinnick Mitts, which are part of an ebook containing a matching hat and scarf.  I knit the sample about a month ago for Carol Sunday of Sunday Knits.  She is a very talented designer with her own yarn label!  These were knit with one skein each of Eden 3 ply and Nirvana 3 ply (well, more like half a skein, but since you can't buy half a skein we'll just call it one each).  The yarn comes in pretty, subtle colors which remind me a bit of the darker, more sophisticated colors of yarns like Debbie Bliss and Rowan.  They felt soft in the skein but got much softer as I knit with them.  And they're warm!!  Like, crazy-warm.  I seriously considered asking her to skip my payment and to let me keep the extra two skeins of yarn I got when we thought the post office had lost the first ones.  Seriously.  But unfortunately, Christmas is coming and I've got to buy gifts, lol.  Knit gifts alone don't cut it around here.

Anyway, the mitts (which are closer to arm-warmers in length) are quite comfortable, and feature an extra long cuff and a "welted thumb".  I'd never knit a thumb welt before and I had to pay close attention to that section.  I actually had to rip back because I was on autopilot and started working a traditional gusset.  The increases on a welt are placed on either side of two stitch markers, and the increase rounds are worked at a different ratio.  It was easy to do, but I had to pay attention.  The resulting thumb has a relaxed and comfortable fit.  The hand portion is also a little longer than usual, but I liked that.  These would be great for chilly mornings when I walk Alex to school.  I could definitely see myself wearing this (unlike some of the samples I've knit before, lol), and it was hard to mail these back.  As soon as I get time, I'm going to knit myself a pair.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mabel's Closet

photo is property of Hannah Fettig aka Knitbot
Hannah Fettig, of Knotbot fame has a new pattern book called Mabel's Closet, which is soon to be released.  It's inspired by her new baby girl, and features the cutest, prettiest, most classic garments you could ever knit for a baby girl.  I was really excited to see the preview, so I entered a contest to win a copy...AND I WON!!  Shut the front door people!  I've never won a blog contest, and if I was ever going to win one, this is a good one to start with, lol. 

You see, there are a lot of people having babies right now, and I love having simple, elegant patterns to knit pieces that can pass down from one baby to the next.  This little collection includes an adorable swing coat, and a jumper, and the cute little beret you see on the cover.  Oh, and a simple little blanket.  There is no shortage of cute in this collection.  And thanks to Hannah, and Quince & Co, I'll have a pretty little tote to carry it around in too :)  Thanks again Hannah!!

Oh.  And in an unrelated note, the Elizabeta Knee-highs are now available to the public, lol.  You can find the pattern download here

Thursday, November 15, 2012

more expressions

So you think angry eyebrows are hilarious, but you're not all that impressed yet.  Maybe you don't want everyone to think you're ticked off all the time.  Maybe they already do and you don't want to confirm their suspicion (happens to me all the time, lol).  Well then, have I got a deal for you!

Introducing expressions hats, now with even more expressions.  (Sounds just like an info-mercial, right?)  These represent most of the other designs I worked on in secret this fall.  Starting from the top and working our way down, we have the Groucho Marx eyebrows for the perfect bushy-man-eyebrow expression.  Next up we have the Girly eyebrow, perfect for the lady of the house.  Finally we have the Unibrow, because every small child should experience the self-esteem shattering effects of a unibrow...how else will they grow up to be a productive, neurotic member of society, lol.  I've got one more hat with one of my favorite expressions still to come.  Alex wore it to school today so it wasn't available for photos.  He wears it every day.  He loves this thing, lol.

Test knitting has started and I hope to be able to release these before the end of the year.  Then you can make a bunch, and use them like mood-hats!  No one will ever have to guess how you're feeling ever again ;)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Express yourself

I've been working on a sweet little pattern in secret, and I'm really excited to share a little bit with you.  You may recall my obsession with the Incognito Cowl from Knitty.  I even knit one for each of the boys but they found the yarn too itchy and I had to rip them back.  It was a sad sad day for all concerned, but I digress.  I remember thinking "you know what would be awesome?...a matching hat with eyebrows!"  Then I got off the computer and went to do something, never following up on that sweet, sweet idea.  Every time I'd scroll through Ravelry and come across one of those cowls, I'd remember my idea, and then get up to go make lunch. 

Finally, the day came that I could stand it no longer!  I contacted the designer of the Sweetest Cowl In The World, told her about my idea, and asked her blessing to move forward on my own design (because it was clearly inspired by her original work, and frankly it's more polite to ask first).  She graciously agreed and I cast on IMMEDIATELY.  I sketched eyebrow charts and embroidered hats, and striped, and decreased, and ripped back, and started over again.  I knit hats for 10 straight days.  Everyone in my house now owns a hat with eyebrows on it.  It was so much fun.  I've got five different eyebrow motifs to choose from, and one (a reject from one of my four attempts at the perfect 'angry eyebrow') is sure to be a popular selection (think reality t.v., and New Jersey, lol).

My original plan was to submit this design to Knitty so these patterns could live happily ever after, together under the watchful eye of Amy (the super-sweet editor).  But then I thought about it and realized that I just couldn't wait and I really wanted to release them sooner than that.  And I put the baby hat on an actual baby and took a picture and I really wanted to show everyone how hilarious it all is...so I've decided to release this independently.  Testing starts this week.  I hope to wrap it up by December 1st and have this pattern out in time for last minute gift ideas, lol. 

So with that in mind, I give you... The Angry Baby

Friday, November 9, 2012

Look what Alex woke up to

This is Gort, the gym monster.  He's from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters, by Rebecca Danger.  When I told my boys who designed this guy, they all said
"is that her real name?"
"...her last name is Danger?"
Lets just say they had a great time with that (think stupid pick-up lines, lol).

So, Gort.  I decided to knit him for Alex for Christmas.  I've wanted to knit a monster for a long, long time.  Check my Ravelry que and see for yourself.  There are tons of them in there.  But for some reason I just never got around to it.  And I really should have because he was so much fun to make!  It took me like...two days.  I spent a lot of extra time working on the stuffing, fluffing it out before I stuffed him (like Rebecca said) and it came out right the first time.  Then I went into the shop and took advantage of the many sizes of creature-eye buttons Naomi recently purchased.  I think they look great! 

Gort is knit with three colors of Berroco Vintage DK.  I picked up bags and bags of it this summer at the sale.  I figured it was perfect kid yarn and I'm always knitting sweaters or hats or something like that for babies (or Alex) so why not stock up.  I used wasabi (2165), snow day (2100), and cracked pepper (2107).  The mouth is white felt attached with fabric glue.  Honestly, I used minimal yardage.  I think I used under half a skein of the wasabi, and that's the color I used most.  I can definitely get a second monster out of what I have left over.  I'm thinking of doing one of the others from the book in the same colors but in different combinations.  This can easily get out of hand. 

Here are some shots of this guy from our photo shoot.  You will notice that Alex is in one of them.  Although I planned to give this to Alex for Christmas, I just couldn't wait.  I wanted to make sure he even liked this guy before the big day.  Now that I know he does, I've started work on the ninja he asked me for (from the Knitwits book).  Anyway, enjoy the many faces of Gort.