Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Can You Stand Another Ida?

The monogamous knitting continues! Here is the latest Ida's Kitchen hat, knit again in Berocco Ultra Alpaca Lite.

Why so many of these? Next week I'm going Up North with some friends, where we hope to spend a lot of time cross country skiing. I'm planning to pull out my pile of Ida Kitchens and let my friends pick one if they want.

In the meantime, I'm luxuriating in the first week of winter break. My daughter Rachel is home for the whole week, so we have been shopping and movie-going and playing Set. This is her first year out of college, so it's the first year she hasn't been home for a month at the holiday time. I have kept my schedule very open so I can spend as much time as possible with her.

I've seen a lot less of Seth, who goes to school right here in Madison. He is planning to apply to vet school next fall, so he has been busy volunteering at the zoo, the Humane Society, and a local veterinarian's office.

My job is really hard, but I have to admit that the breaks are nice!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have A Sweet Holiday

The warmest wishes to all on this winter holiday! May you be surrounded by loved ones and good food!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Unusually Monogamous

I have been knitting one thing and one thing only:

It's a Honey Cowl in a Madtosh worsted. Can't find a band ball, but it's a pretty blend of reds and purples.

It took me three tries to get this one going. I accidentally twisted the stitches when I joined it to knit in the round on the first two tries. So, for this one, I knit the first two rows flat, as you can see by the little V at the bottom, right where the row changes.

I think I've been monogamous, in part, because I really, really would like to wear this cowl this winter!

Friday, December 21, 2012


This was the view from my house yesterday, before the snow was even done falling. The forecast of a blizzard was accurate! It snowed and snowed and snowed, sometimes with startling force. It is absolutely gorgeous -- and thanks to Keith and his snowblower, I was able to enjoy it it in full. It was a wet, heavy snow and having to shovel 15 inches of the stuff would have ruined my snow day!

The snow day was yesterday, Thursday, and we were all dreading having to come back for one day before our two-week winter break. However, because of high winds and drift, we have today off, too! It feels great to have such a long break, but I know that it will make that much harder to return in January. Don't get me wrong; I love my work. But it is hard and emotionally draining.

Why the two-week blogging lapse? Between working long days, selling jewelry, and getting all the gifts wrapped and sent, I just couldn't find the time or energy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

FO Friday

Full disclosure: I finished this weeks ago, but this is the first photo of the cowl being worn.

It's Favorite Cowl, a free pattern from Urban Gypsy. My only complaint is that mine rolls at the ends, which her's does not. Anybody have a theory here? What can I do t stop the rolling? (And, yes, I blocked it!)

The yarn is Amazing by Lion Brand. It is actually pretty soft after a soaking in Eucalan. 

Urban Gypsy designed this as a stash buster, so you might want to use it that way. Whether you chose stash or new yarn, it is a great last-minute gift.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Looks Like Glass

It's funny how often the best creations come from pure play -- no planning, no measuring -- just playing around with supplies. That's how I came up with this necklace:

People have raved about this piece. Strangers have walked up to me for a closer look. And what they see surprises them: It's made of buttons. Apparently, the dangles look like barrel-shaped glass beads!

I love buttons almost as much as I love beads. I devised these dangles because I had been noticing that I rarely used the really small buttons, and I was beginning to have too many of them left over in comparison to their larger counterparts. So one day I just spilled a bunch of them onto my desk and starting playing.

The process turned out to be addictive and now I am almost completely out of small buttons! New problem: What to do with all those larger buttons?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ode to Ida

When I bought my first batch of yarn for Ida's Kitchen, the hat designed by Kirsten Kapur, I hoped I'd like it. Because it takes seven colors, I knew I'd need to make a handful to use up all those partial skeins. Fortunately, I love the pattern.

Here are my two most recent:

The striped hat uses up much of my original yarn. The solid pink hat is for my daughter, who has very subtle taste. It looks boring, but this hat has the cutest silhouette ever!

I seem to be hooked on this pattern. I bought a few more skeins of yarn and I'm having great fun trying out a different palette:
The yarn is Ultra Alpaca Light. The pattern calls for Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight, but I've been so happy with the Ultra Alpaca that I haven't been tempted to go for the more expensive Blue Sky!