Sunday, November 30, 2014

Because of the Packer game...

...foot traffic is way down this afternoon at my art fair!
The place was pretty crowded this morning but things slowed down quite a bit about an hour before kick-off.

I don't mind just hanging out. A lot of people I haven't seen in ages show up. A few minutes ago, a former student happened by, which is always fun. Plus I have been working on this:

Last year I did very well at this show. This year I'm just glad that I am not losing money!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shop with a Blogger

Earlier this year, I was lucky to receive a sampling of lotion bars in the beta stage. Maker and blogger Alicia Landi of Woolen Diversions was looking for feedback on three different samples she had made. I was not a very helpful sampler, though, as I loved them all!

Thankfully, other testers had some preferences and, with their help, Alicia went on to launch Sweet Sheep Solid Lotion Bars:

This is great stuff. At the risk of sounding like a paid ad (which this is not!), I can say that it's not even December and the air here is cold and dry. My Sweet Sheep Solid Lotion Bar is keeping my hands from being painfully dry!

The bars are handmade from all-natural ingredients, like cocoa butter, mango butter, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, meadowfoam oil, and vitamin E oil as well as lanolin. And the scents are amazing! I pulled a Turkish Mocha-scented bar out of my purse recently when I was at a restaurant with friends and everyone at the table was seduced by the scent. They all wanted to know how they could get one of these.

I bought enough for all the women in my family for Hanukkah (none of them knit, so I don't think I'm giving away anything).

By now, I'm sure that you want to know how you can get your dry, chapped hands on one of these. It's easy because Alicia has an Etsy shop here.

The only problem you'll have is deciding which one of the amazing scents you want. I do highly recommend the Turkish Mocha, but I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.

And speaking of shops, I have my one craft fair of the year tomorrow. It's a great show that benefits Madison's Arboretum and the show features only local producers. You can get everything there from clothing to organic honey to jewelry. I have been taking it easy this weekend but I'm going to have to get going today.

I hope your Thanksgiving was lovely. I am always happy if I can have both my children at the table at the same time. Seth lives here in Madison, but he's in vet school so I don't see a lot of him. Rachel is in grad school at the University of Miami and she did not enjoy the wintery weather here. Still, it was great to have her home. She flew back yesterday and the house is too quiet without her.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Back with Thanks, a Winner and Some Knitting

Let's start with the more important news. The winner of the skein of Malabrigo and the sock pattern, Lynn -- chosen randomly by my lovely visiting daughter -- is Cathy of Irish Eyes Knitter. Thanks to all of your who responded; I love blog friends (even though I haven't been a very good one lately). Cathy,  you can just email me your mailing address at:

Secondly, there is knitting. I kitchnered the two halves together along the backs and completed the hood of the Babies & Bears Sweater:

I was expecially pleased that the kitcher turned out smoothly. I can't even tell which seam is kitchnered and which one is knitted on:

And finally, the thanks. Even though I grumble way too often, I know that I am very lucky to have wonderful friends and family, a solid roof over my head, and enough money that I don't have to worry about paying the bills.

I hope that Martha Steward's Pecan Maple Pie is as good as it looks. I've got a date with a large and awkward turkey, so I'll sign off wishing you a happy and delicious holiday.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Great Listening for Crafting

I don't know about you, but I love listening to National Public Radio or podcasts when I knit, especially on a cold or rainy day when I have time to indulge in crafting. Last weekend, I holed up with an amazing new podcast:
Serial is a true story told over the course of a season. A spin-off from This American Life, Serial focuses on the murder of a popular high school senior who was murdered in Baltimore County. Adnan Syed has spent 15 years in jail claiming he didn't kill her. Did he? Or is he doing time for someone else?

One of the things that makes this series so riveting is that the producers don't know the answer. They are reporting in real time, so they are just as mystified and curious as the audience. We get to follow their trail, listen in on their interviews with everyone from Adnan to police, and consider all the angles.

I also found a great Guardian article listening more great podcasts. You can check that out here.

If you'd like to be part of my Fall Giveaway, leave a comment for me by 6 p.m. on Sunday!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It's Time for Some Serious Kitchner Stitch

The Babies & Bears Sweater is ready to be seamed down the back:

The pattern calls for the Kitchner Stitch. I can Kitchner. I have closed up countless socks and a fair number of mittens this way. But this is 36 live stitches -- 72 if you count both sides. My worry is that I'll lose track of where I am. I figure I need to find a time where I will not be interrupted. Easier said than done! And no listing to podcasts.

I still have a long ways to go on this project. I have to knit a border and add a hood. Luckily there is no deadline.

I hope your week is going well. Mine has been unusually uneventful. When you're a special ed teacher, that's a good thing!

Don't forget to comment on this post to be part of the Fall Give-away.

I'm linking up with Frontier Dreams and Small Things.

Fall Giveaway

Seeing as I've done quite a bit of stash enhancement lately, it feels like the right time to lighten up that same stash, so I've put together a fall sock "kit." First up, some autumnal sock yarn, Malabrigo in Terracota.

And I cannot wait to start my own pair of socks using this pattern:
The pattern is called Lynn and designed by Adrienne Ku. I saw a completed sock at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago a few weeks ago and just fell in love with it. I actually bought two of the patterns so I could use one for this giveaway. It's a very elegant pattern and quite dramatic -- but without any weird architecture! There are only a few projects (so far!) on Ravelry so you can see a little more about this pattern here.

Adrienne Ku of Mushroom Knits designed the very popular Simple Skyp Socks, which have been knit by 3,577 people on Ravelry so far, so I'm sure that this will be a well-written pattern.

To participate in the give-away, just leave a comment on this post by 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 16, and I'll use some method of random selection to pick a winner. Do give me some way to contact you: email, Rav name, etc. If I already read your blog, I know where to find you!

Well, it's Sunday night. The weekend sure went fast. We went out to dinner with my parents; visited Keith's parents; and saw the movie Birdman, which is interesting but kind of odd. Because I'm going to be in a holiday show at the end of November, I spent a lot of time making jewelry, both by myself and with friends, which is MUCH more fun!

I hope you had a great weekend.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When Knitting Looks Like Frosting

This yarn is downright yummy.
It's even better close up:

I haven't decided yet if this Jetsetter cowl is for me or a gift. Am I the only one who has trouble making this decision?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Finally, the Loot

I didn't expect to take a full week to blog about my trip to Vogue Live Chicago last weekend, but I did. I attended a school board meeting Monday night and waited three hours to speak! I got to bed late that night and spent the rest of the week in a state of sleep deprivation. The week ended on a high note with the entire 8th-grade team dressing as M&Ms.

Yes, there was shopping. I know. I know. I said I was going on a yarn diet after the Sheep and Wool Show in September. But now I really have to stop shopping!

First up is this fabulous skein from Fleur de Fiber of Chicago. As many of you know, I love deep pinks and therefore was absolutely required to acquire this skein, which I think is going to be a hat someday:

Ombre dying is all the rage this year. I have to admit that I have a weakness for it -- especially when the colors are this awesome. This skein, which will eventually become a cowl, is from Mia Bella Yarn:
I've long wanted to try my hand at crocheting with beads. Seeing as I know nothing about crocheting, I need to start with something simple. The lovely ladies at Bead Biz set me up with these supplies and instructions for a simple bracelet.
 And given how well my stranded mittens are going, I decided I'm ready to take on something a little more complex:

I picked up this kit from Windy Knitty. It's my first experience with the famous Jamieson & Smith Shetland wool. Kate Davies designed the Scandinavian-style hat. I love the design -- sans the pompon. There is a photo inside the leaflet of the crown without the pompon, and I like that much better!

At least I'm not buying random yarn anymore. I do think I'll knit every one of these ... eventually.

And last, here are the M&Ms. The students really got a kick out of our costumes.
I am so lucky to work with an amazing group of teachers!