FO: Monster Mania

I had so much fun making the Penelope Sisters that I decided to create another grouping, this time for my nieces and nephews. Since all four are under the age of 5, I went the practical route on the yarn. There’s just something so cute (at least to me) about super-sized monsters for little kids, so I chose super bulky.

Pattern: Penelope the Empathetic Monster by Rebecca Danger
Yarn: Wool-Ease Thick & Quick (Sky Blue, Lemongrass, Fig)

They we a big hit — not that you’d exactly know that from this I Love Lucy attempt at a group photo.

FO: Taos Transverse

The only thing I’ve been working on longer than this now finally finished cardigan is the Moderne Log Cabin… and that’s a blanket, so much more deserving of the extended timeframe.

I’m very happy to announce that it was finished in time to make it under the tree for my mother.

Pattern: Transverse Cardigan by Ann Weaver
Yarn: Hand-dyed yarn from 2010 Taos Wool Festival

Good thing she liked it enough to be willing to pose for the FO photos. Izzy helped with the photoshoot so she gets the credit/blame for the final goofy pose. And, yep, that’s Northern Minnesota in late December — just barely enough snow to call it a White Christmas.

FO: Monster Mash

My finishing plans for the knitted monsters got derailed last weekend by my own little monsters. And, to be fair, my growing addiction to Pinterest is also partly to blame. It seems Halloween is approaching Christmas in this house in terms of build up and activities.

Along with trying out Ghost Cupcakes (and a half-dozen other Halloween-themed foods), last weekend Izzy’s school had its first Monsters on the Mesa fundraising event, complete with a 1K costume parade for the kids and dogs. Dorothy & Toto were reprised, but this time with a wig. (Note: I’ve long since expected to get a shot of both looking at the camera at the same time.)

But this weekend, thanks to a light activity load (and that extra precious hour), both monsters were assembled and photographed. Here they are before the purple one heads off to MN tomorrow to a good friend’s daughter who is like a sister to Izzy (who’s hanging on to the other one).

Pattern: Penelope the Empathetic Monster by Rebecca Danger
Yarn: Queensland Collection Rustic Tweed
(Forest Green & Grape)

FO: Button Tunic

I fell in love with this sweet little tunic the minute I saw it in Brave New Knits. One giant pocket for outdoor collecting? Genius. Problem was the sizing, and sadly the style, no longer suited my soon-to-hit-double-digits daughter.

So I seized my “Craft It Forward” opportunity when a a family member with not one, but two, little girls signed on. The plan was to make it for the oldest, with the thought that it might last as a hand-me-down.

I already had the purple cotton in my stash (purchased for some now-long-forgotten project when Izzy was little). Bought the dark indigo for the contrast, figuring it would make a good (read: dirt-hiding) pocket. I used flower buttons I had on hand and purchased the others, smitten with the tiny little sheep in the center of each.

The Cotton Glace knits up beautifully, but for the first time I understood why some people hate knitting with cotton. My hands required a lot more stretching due to the lack of give. Now that it’s been mailed off to the recipient several days ago, figure it’s finally safe to blog it. Seeing the photos here, wish I’d made the pocket a bit deeper. But even so, can’t you just imagine wildflowers poking out between those buttons?

Pattern: Button Tunic by Julie Weisenberger
Yarn: Rowan Cotton Glace (Lavender & Nightshade)

2011 FOs: Sugar and Spice

How can it be February already? This year the calendar seems as caffeinated as I’ve been to keep up with everyday life. To start, an FO that’s a first and old hat all at once. It’s the first FO that’s been worn multiple times before getting documented here. (It was photographed back in mid-January, though.) It’s also the third of the back-to-back Saroyans I’ve knit. This one for me, using yarn purchased during the trip to Taos. I’m pretty sure I’m done with this pattern … for now, at least.

Pattern: Saroyan 

After those multiple leafy, lacy scarfs, is it any wonder I was craving something bolder and faster to knit? When my friend Chris posted a Craft It Forward invitation on Facebook, I jumped right on board. And when I found this stunning handspun in the inoxia studios Etsy shop, I snapped it up for Jane, who has signed on as one of the five people I’m passing the the crafting on to. The hardest part about this project was finding a stitch “pattern” that let the yarn shine. I settled on a simple K1P1, which also gives the cowl plenty of stretch.

And, yes, that is snow. And, no, this wasn’t taken in MN. That’s NM snow you see.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Along with finally starting this blog, last year I also set knitting goals for the first time. Rather than (as I feared) feeling like nagging tasks and dragging down my desire to knit, the two activities set me on a year of knitting like never before. More projects. More techniques attempted. More knitting friends.

So here we go again. This year my goals are about colorwork: a small starter project in Fair Isle (Intarsia is all I’ve ever attempted) and then something that requires steeking (what’s more fearless than cutting your knitting?). I’ve picked out the first project — the Fiddlehead Mittens, a pattern that I continue to love with each new version that hits Ravelry and one that Julie of Knitted Bliss has inspired me to tackle. As for the steeking, maybe one of the blankets in the second Mason-Dixon Knitting book? Definitely open for suggestions, so please post if you have them.

Also, I’ve got long-delayed FO shots for my old group of Twin Cities Public Television noon crafters. The 2009 log cabin afghan for my sister and brother-in-law that they saw lots of in its early stages but never got photographed when finished. When I saw it out during my visit this year, I staged a mini photoshoot so I could complete my Ravelry queue. (Yeah, I’m a bit of a completion nut; it’s pretty sick how much I love checking off those lists! 😉 And you’ll notice I remembered to photograph the FOs this Christmas. Happy New Year and new knitting!

Final 2010 FOs

In the blur that was the holiday season 2010, there was lots of knitting but no blogging or photographing of FOs — especially since presents were part of the mix. The upside of that, however, was that I got a fresh mix of scenery and faces for this blog.

Pattern: Saroyan
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (Lichen)

I’ve long-admired this pattern on Ravelry and picked it because I could easily lengthen the center section. (Mom isn’t a fan of wool, or anything really warm, right around her neck.) Plus, she’s also a big fan of Bones, so I knew she’d appreciate the nod to the show made by the pattern’s designer. Since she wore it throughout present opening, I’m pretty sure it was a hit. She was a good sport about modeling it for me later in good light (and, as promised, she’ll be happy to see that I did not include her no-makeup face in the posted photo).

Pattern: Saroyan
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Solids (Orange)

This pattern is seriously addictive. I was only about half-way done with Mom’s where I decided I needed to make a second. This one for my friend Liz, who’s also a knitter. (Meaning, I could rest assured that she’d appreciate a handmade birthday present.) I really loved this yarn, which I haven’t knit with before, but picked because it was the closest match I could find to the yarn I bought in Taos for my Transverse Cardigan that she openly coveted. Mission accomplished because she asked within minutes of opening the scarf, “Is this that yarn from Taos?”

Pattern: Destroyed Cowl
Yarn: Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals (Rose Slate)

This last FO was actually the first finished, started and completed during that long Thanksgiving weekend as I kept Izzy company on the couch and watched too-many-to-count episodes of Monk (selected because the kid is really into mysteries at the moment and this is one of the few series where the violence is kept to a minimum; plus, if you saw Izzy’s room you’d understand my desire to try to send a little OCD vibe her way). While this one was knit for me, I was happy to share its wooly warmth for her test run in MN of her new ice skates.

A Tale of Two Christmases

Last year, Izzy and I hosted Christmas in Albuquerque for my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. We were in high holiday mode, with every ornament we had making its way onto the tree and lots of new paper chains and snowflakes filling the house. Batch upon batch of cookies were made. And the baking and decorating continued after their arrival, with me making from scratch (for the first time) the gingerbread pieces for five houses (Grandpa preferred to supervise construction and sample the candy adornments).

This year was far more Dickensian in spirit. The holiday season began with Izzy awaking Thanksgiving morn with a raging stomach flu that pushed our turkey dinner to the following weekend. Then a new initiative at work continued to consume a good 60+ hours/week straight through to our plane’s departure for Minnesota on December 23. One secret holiday knitting project was finished and blocked just days before we left, but the other went with me on the plane and kept me busy through December 27 — the day before I saw the recipient — and got blocked on a spare bed at my parents’. (Nothing like cutting it close!) The tree never made it out of storage. We threw a wreath on the front door, pulled out the Christmas doormat, and called it a day. In an attempt to provide some festivity for Izzy, we purchased Trader Joe’s Really Big Gingerbread Man Kit. Poor guy didn’t even make his way onto the good dishes.