Playing Favorites

First off, let me just say that I promise there is a knitting aspect to this post, if you're willing to get through the wordy part. :) Trust me, the background story is helpful in understanding the reason for the knitting part. (At least I hope so. It's possible that this will make no sense at all.)

Oh, and one other thing...I feel a little bit like I want to start sharing just a little more about myself on this blog. I know up till now this has been 99% about knitting...but I know that when people whose blogs I read share more about themselves, I find it more fun to read. So in an effort to make this blog less boring, I am going to try and open up a bit. :)

Now on to my story.

I consider myself to be very lucky in that I married into a really great family. My in-laws, every last one of them, are wonderful people. I've become good friends with my husband's two aunts, and especially one cousin. They are fun people, and there are many laughs when everyone gets together. They've really made me feel like part of the family, too.

This past Thanksgiving we went to visit my husband's family in upstate New York. Almost all of his family lives close to each other...my husband (his name is John...perhaps that will make this easier? :) heh) and two of his three siblings are the only ones who actually moved away, and we're the only ones on the east coast.

Anyway, holidays are big family events with them and everyone comes over to John's parents' house for the big meal (they host Thanksgiving every year no matter what). So this year it was the usual crew, and after the meal people sat around chatting and enjoying themselves. I found myself sitting in the kitchen with John's two aunts and one of the aunt's two daughters.

They're all fun-loving people and though I don't know the history of it, somewhere along the way a sort of "game" was born where the two daughters began vying for the position of "favorite" with the aunts. This involves fetching a cup of coffee or tea or water when needed, and just doing little chores or favors, all in the name of fun. The rules (if there are any) are vague and really it's just a mutual "I'll do something nice for you in order to be your favorite" even if it's the cousin's affections you're after. Oh and yes, this "game" makes no sense. It's just fun, is all, and the source of many laughs.

So on Thanksgiving we were all chatting in the kitchen, and John's one cousin happened to be sitting on a suitcase as there were no more chairs. I was at this point mostly unaware of the "game" and I quietly left the room to get another chair for her. Well, this was taken as a strategic move in the "game" and I was instantly adopted into the game myself. Much laughter was shared (I really only got the chair because I saw it was needed...I just like to do those sorts of things if I can) and the conversation turned to things people could to for one another to win points.

At one point, one aunt commented that she wanted to try the coconut cake we'd brought up, and (even though I am a shy person and this is not something I would ordinarily do), I heard this as, "Hey, I can win some points if I get her some!" So I made a great show of hopping up and exclaiming that I would be most happy to get her some. (Again, this is actually not a "me" sort of thing to do! I prefer to blend in and not be the object of attention, especially in a group.) But everyone roared with laughter and the one cousin with whom I've become friends hopped up after me and chased me into the dining room, where she proceeded to hold my arms back as I tried to get a piece of cake for her mom, and we were both hysterical. I finally succeeded and ran back to the aunt who requested the cake. Meanwhile, the cousin then heaped another plate full of other goodies and was close on my heels offering that as well. It was very funny. I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time.

Fast forward to Christmastime, and when we got a Christmas card from the cake-requesting-aunt, it had a little note indicating that I was very close to becoming the favorite. hehe. ;)

Fast forward further to Valentine's day where my husband and I were chatting at dinner and he came up with the idea that I should knit his two aunts each a hat, and send them off in the mail to them. I thought this was a great idea and then decided I'd add a note saying that the hat was for "my favorite aunt-in-law"...with the hopes that they'd each get a chuckle out of it and then show them to each other, thereby discovering I am playing favorites with both of them. :) Mock-sneaky, fun, and almost guaranteed to elicit a laugh.

Which brings me to the knitting portion of this post (thanks for reading through all that!) I found this yarn called Caron Simply Soft Shadows. I wanted something soft and machine washable since they're gifts.


The yarn is neat and I like how it knitted up...it's basically a solid color but one ply is a long-color-changing strand that gave a subtle change throughout the hat.


I used my usual roll-brim hat which is quick, easy, and fits most people.

This color was called Opal Twist:


It was basically black with a thread that changed from white to gray to browns.

This one was an off-white with a brown/off-white thread, called Pearl Frost:


Specs on these hats:

Pattern: Basic Roll Brim Hat
Needles used: Size 7 (16" circs and DPNs)
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Shadows
Colors: Opal Twist and Pearl Frost
Amount used: 1 ball of each
Started: 2/20/08
Finished: 2/27/08

Now I'm going to get them ready to mail off to John's aunts, and hopefully this will elicit some sort of response! I'll keep you posted of any developments. :)

Foliage Hat complete

So, I've been a little under the weather this past week, I think I've got a case of the flu. It's kind of knocked me flat and I am still feeling pretty crappy. But better, I think. Finally.

I did get a little knitting done during my downtime, and finished the Foliage hat. I think it came out kind of neat. I wasn't sure if all the yarn colors were going to detract from the pattern of the hat at all, but I don't think it really did. I think it kind of works.


I loved knitting this...it was fun to start at the top and work down from there. The top makes a neat pattern, and the colors were fun too:


A detail shot:


But here's the thing...I almost ran out of yarn. I thought that this not being a roll-brim hat that sucks up yarn for the roll part might work...well, it did, but this was all I had left:


Whew! I had to watch my yarn at the end and only did 5 rows of ribbing instead of the 8 that the pattern called for. My technique is that I used as much as I dared, and then knotted the remaining yarn in the middle, and knit another row. Since I didn't quite reach the knot, I knew I had enough for one more row (ie, the bind-off). But, since I wanted it to be as stretchy as possible, I did a sewn bind-off. That actually took a little less than a row's worth of yarn, fyi.

Anyway, really fun hat to make. Although I'm not as sure I'm keen on how it looks on me...it sort of sticks up a bit and gives me a big head, hee. But that's probably just my own self-criticism!

Specs on this project:

Pattern: Foliage from Knitty.com
Size: worsted weight version
Needles used: Size 7 (16" circs and DPNs) and Size 5 (16" circs)
Yarn: Noro Kureyon
Color: #188 (purples, greens, dark grays/black)
Amount used: entire ball with none to spare!
Started: 2/17/08
Finished: 2/20/08
Notes: I was running out of yarn so I only did 5 rows of ribbing and then bound off (using the sewn bind-off method for stretchiness).



So, since I finished all of my mini sweaters and DH's hat and mittens and that sparkly pink bag, I decided it was okay to let myself cast on something new.

Oh, the possibilities!!

I decided to get out this ball of Noro I'd picked up and try my usual roll-brim hat.


But I got to the crown will about 12 rows still to go and was out of yarn. I ripped it out, and wound it back into a pretty yarn cake (these will never cease to amuse me which is why you're seeing another photo of the yarn...hehe...but you can see the pretty colors better).


Anyway, I have been wanting to make a Foliage hat for some time, so I just went ahead and cast on. I figure a hat that doesn't use up as much yarn with a roll-up brim might just make it with this ball of yarn. But if worse comes to worst, I have a couple of other similar-colored leftover balls I can use. But I'm hoping it'll work.

So, here's my hat-in-progress, which is hard to see all scrunched up, but if I try to stretch it out I am in danger of letting the stitches off the ends.


So far I really like it, both the pattern itself and the yarn. I think even with the color changing of the yarn and the patterny knit, I still think it's working. The pattern is really fun...so far, I'm really enjoying it.

Well, dinner's ready, gotta run.

Girl's Night Out Purse

Hooray for sunshine! It's been so gloomy and rainy and yuck around here that when it was finally sunny (a couple of days ago) I was so much happier. And since it was finally sunny out, I got some better photos of my sparkly pink bag. I've even already used it, it was awesome! It's small but the perfect size for money and lipstick and such.

Here is the whole bag:


And here in this closeup you can really see the sequins:


As I was trying to describe previously, this is how the flap works...the front side is worked in reverse stockinette so that when it folds down to the front side, it's right side out. And then the back is worked normally, so that when that is folded over it's the right side facing...make sense?


Anyway, as I said, I love this little bag! I'm really happy with how it came out, and the little sparkles just entertain me to no end! Oh, I did make one modification to the pattern, which was that I didn't do the i-cord all the way around. I just didn't think it needed it, the seaming came out neat and with enough structure.

Specs on this project:

Pattern: Girl's Night Out ~ kit
Needles used: Size 5 & 8 straights; Size 3 DPNs
Yarn: Tilli Tomas Disco Lights
Color: Hope
Amount used: most of 1 skein
Started: 1/26/08
Finished: 2/12/08

That's it for the F.O.s hereabouts...I started something new and will be back with photos on that later!


Husband's Hat and Mittens

I finally got around to taking pictures of my husband's hat and mittens...I needed to do this while not letting him see since his birthday isn't for another couple of weeks.

Anyway, you've seen the hat before, but here it is again:


I still really like how it came out. Here's some detail of the stripes:


And now, finally, I have the mittens all done too:


And here's some detail of the same striping pattern I used on the hat:


I like how the mittens came out too.

Here they are all together. At some point it might be fun to get a photo of them with his coat, but he'd definitely notice me doing that! :)


Specs on this project:

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease
Colors: Oxford Grey, Grey Heather, Blue Heather and Denim
Amount used: from stash--small amounts of blues and light gray, a little more of dark gray

Pattern: My own pattern for a man's hat with stripes
Needles used: Size 7 (16" circulars and DPNs)
Started: 11/5/07
Finished: 1/7/08

Pattern: my X-large Mittens Pattern (based on Pop-Up Paws)
Needles used: Size 4 & 6 DPNs
Started: 12/11/07
Finished: 2/15/08

Back soon with photos of the sparkly purse...as you can see by the mitten photos, it's finally sunny here!

(whoops...ETA project specs)



Happy Valentine's Day! Well, day after... I'm not usually an over-the-top valentine person, but this year I had some fun with it. I brought some chocolates in to work for my coworkers and also made a couple of knitted valentines for a couple of friends.

But first off, here's what my sweet husband gave me:


And this awesome-smelling candle, Velvet Petals:


It's PIIIIINK!! :)

And this is what we had for dinner last night...heart-shaped ravioli!


Here they are cooking:


Fun, and tasty too. We decided to stay in last night and enjoy a nice, simple dinner at home, and tonight we're going out to one of our favorite restaurants...The Melting Pot. It's a fondue place, and soooo tasty and fun! We like to go there for special occasions. (I'm planning to use my Girl's Night Out bag, too. :)

So now that Valentine's Day has passed I can finally share with you the knitted valentines I've been alluding to which I made for a couple of friends.

But first up is the adorably cute valentine my friend J gave to me:


Isn't that pretty? I love, love, love the colors...pink and purple and silver sparkles! So cute. Here's another shot (without flash):


Isn't that great? I love the little tiny pink heart button, too. :) She made all these awesome valentines for her friends and she is the reason I was inspired to make a couple of my own, in my preferred craft.

So this is what I made for her:


I had such fun making this. I had limited valentiney colors available to me in my sock yarn leftovers stash, but this one fit the bill perfectly. I used the same mini sweater pattern from before, and then I added some Xs and Os around the bottom of the sweater using red embroidery floss and white beads, and then made the red and white wire hanger.


I found the little heart in some scrap paper and cut that out, punched a hole in it, threaded it onto the string and attached to the sweater. I wrote a little (tiny!) message on the back. I wanted to make a special valentine for my friend since she is always thinking of me and giving me little goodies here and there. :)

And then I made another one for another friend at work...she's become a good friend too and gives me little things now and then, so I wanted to make her one as well, knowing she too would appreciate it. These are a bit of work, but the fun type, and totally worth it for the right people!


I added a little heart tag to this one too:


For little tiny sweaters they went over big! That warmed my heart. :)

That's it for my Valentine's Day report...I know I still owe you photos of the Girl's Night Out purse and my husband's hat and mittens. Soon, I promise!




That is how I would describe the weather hereabouts today. It was snowy and icy yesterday, and overnight it got warmer and started raining to beat hell, and now the area has turned into a giant puddle. bleh.

So...I finished my Sparkly Pink Bag last night...love it! Although due to the aforementioned craptastic weather, I have no photos to share. The ones I took inside were just not doing it justice, so patience shall have to prevail.

I've also been cranking out other little things...but, again, since a couple of them are surprises and my friend might stop by I cannot spoil any Valentine secrets. Soon though. ;)

In other news...the other day I got a call from my best friend with one of the greatest compliments that a knitter can receive: she was a little afraid to tell me...but she needed to report that she'd worn holes in the socks I'd made her. Yay!! This means she loves them!! Of course, I already knew she loved them (this is why best friends are awesome...they tell you the truth) but to know that she loves them enough to have worn holes in them? That's just awesome. :) I think she was a little surprised that I was not upset but in fact took it as a compliment and was pleased to hear it. heh. And what's more...she raved about them and even said that she'd love it if she had an entire drawerful of my socks! How cool is that?! Definitely made my day. I gotta get knitting on the socks! Up till now I've made her just ribbed socks in rather tame colors...but she said she'd be up for some brighter ones in patterns, too.

That's all for now. Back soon with photos.


Slight change

Anyone notice? I made a couple of tweaks in my formatting here...hope the smaller font size doesn't bother anyone's eyes... ;) I made it gray instead of black, too, hopefully that'll soften it a little. I think I like it.

That is all.



I was named by Lynn over at Knots in a Row for the You Make My Day Award! How nice is that? I don't know much about the origin of this award. All I know is it made my day too, thanks Lynn! :o)

I know you're supposed to nominate a list of others...though I would rather just say this: all of you whose blogs I read and comment on, with whom I've chitchatted on email and by comments...consider yourself nominated! I tend to read the blogs of all the people who comment here, and you guys make my day every time you stop by. I am happy to have "met" all of my new bloggy friends. :)

(I hope this is coming out sounding right...I only mean nice things, however it might sound. :)

Have a great evening!


It's not a secret that I tend to get distracted from my main projects by the charms of knitting and various other craft projects from time to time...as was evidenced by my recent lengthy list of WIPs...heh. I just can't help myself! ;)

I was once again sidetracked by a small project (in my mind, small project = justifiable!) and made this:


I am totally charmed by the tiny sweater. I've seen them around the 'net, and have wanted to make one for some time, and finally got around to it. I figure this will be a fun way to use up bits of favorite sock yarns.

Some of you may recognize this particular yarn...that's a bit of my leftover Silkie Socks That Rock yarn from last year's April installment of the Rockin' Sock Club (Grasshopper socks, colorway: Walking on the Wild Tide).

Then I made a teeny little hanger out of some plastic covered wire. Since the wire wasn't that thick a gauge I twisted two pieces together.



Here it is hanging...(it's on a teeny little light switch on our oven). I think it'll make a cute Christmas ornament.


Now on to the non-knitting content!


Last weekend my friend came over and instead of watching the superbowl, we did crafty things! First, we went to the local craft/fabric store and perused the button aisle for a good long while. She has some of her own craft plans for buttons and that was what brought us there in the first place...but as I was admiring the fun and funky big buttons, an idea came to my head. Wouldn't it be fun to make pins/brooches out of them? I mentioned this to my friend...turns out she'd had the same idea but didn't know where to find the pin backs. So off I went to the beading aisle and found a few sizes of them, and brought them back to show her. We excitedly agreed to split the bags of them between us, and got to down to business choosing our buttons.


After we did so, we headed back to my place where I dug out my selection of embroidery floss which I have apparently been "collecting" since I was a kid...boy do I have a lot of colors! This project only needed a tiny amount of floss for each pin. So this came in very handy indeed, as we were able to choose just the right colors for our buttons, and within minutes, we turned them into pins. Talk about instant gratification! It was an extremely satisfying project.


All of the above pins were the ones I made, and here are some my friend made:


Aren't they fun? I've been pinning them to my coat and switching them off all week.

Okay, now I need to get back to my knitting...I am making a couple of little Valentine surprises for friends (I can't mention them here yet because my one friend checks the blog now and then) and I also need to finish my sparkly pink bag by Friday, when we are going to to dinner for Valentine's Day.


Twinkle Toes

I'm here to report on my completed Twinkle Toes socks:

Twinkle Toes

In fact I am wearing them right now and I love them! Here's the picot cuff:

picot edge

I made the leg portion of the socks a little shorter than some of my other socks, and so far they're staying up well and I love them!

Specs on my Twinkle Toes Socks:

Pattern: Plain stockinette with picot cuff
Needles used: Size 2 (size 3 for cast on)
Yarn: Gypsyknits Sock It 3-ply Merino Superwash Fingering
Color: Christmas Twinkle Lights
Amount used: less than 1 skein
Started: 1/4/08
Finished: 1/26/08

Now I'm off to work on my punch needle some more. More knitting soon!


More punch needle and half a sparkly bag

I'm back with photos of my punch needle project. I haven't worked on it in a couple of days (I haven't even knit much...I don't know where my evenings are going!) but this weekend ought to bring some good crafting time.

So, here's the kit I got for the punch needle project. I got mine at my local Michaels.

Daisy and Dots punch needle kit

As I mentioned in my last post, the whole thing is worked from the back. The design is pre-printed in reverse on one side of the fabric which is then the back of your work.

Once you thread your needle, a scary-looking thing which looks like it could be used to draw blood, (I was trying to find a good photo of the needle online but can't seem to find one...this page has the best explanation of it) then you begin filling in the little sections of the design.

Here's my WIP shot of the back:


And here is what it looks like on the front:


I like it so far! I can see a couple of spots where I didn't fill it in enough, and I could certainly go back and do so, but we'll see how it looks when I get all of the design done. It condenses itself together a bit once all of the sections are done.

Now back to knitting! As I mentioned before, I started the Girl's Night Out purse. I love it!! It's so sparkly and fun! A quick knit, too.

Here's the back of the bag, as an exciting inch-and-a-half of stockinette:

WIP bag back

I already knit the bag front, and love how it came out:

WIP bag front

The bag is shaped in a slight taper as you go up and then you make that fun little flap at the top. The back will be almost the same, except the stockinette on the flap will be reversed so that when it gets flipped over the front to "close" the bag the right side of the stockinette will show (did that make any sense? I'll show pix when it's done).

Anyway, loving the sparkle! It'll definitely be a fun bag for an evening out.

Back soon with FO photos of my Twinkle Toes socks!