Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Lovely Year

I sat upstairs early this morning, watching the snow fall swiftly as I nursed the Wee One and reflected on this past year. Truly an amazing, life-altering time for me. I am almost sad to see it end!

The snow that fell is now melting as the day warms above freezing, sending rivulets of water coursing underneath slushy, almost-melted snow down the driveway, down the bank of ivy. You can see and hear the water. It almost feels like spring, today. Fresh. Cool. Possibility.

So this is the last day of this wonderful year. It feels like the earth is cleaning the blackboard so there will be room for tomorrow's lesson. Everything wiped clear.

And that is what tomorrow for me will entail; taking down the decor here at Knitsburgh. Packing away memories to be re-visited next year. Cleaning the house, both physically and spiritually. Starting over again as it was, before the holidays came.

I will say goodbye to this year quietly and a bit sadly and ready myself for the next.

Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Finally able to take a breather here at Knitsburgh. A quick update on the craftiness follows:
1. Nature Boy's niece liked her interchangeable hat! Others liked it too, so much that more have been requested for other little heads...I better get knitting as we will likely see them over the Russian Christmas Extravaganza...
2. Here are some sea glass pendants I made for some special folk out there: Different view which makes the colors stand out more:

They were made with some of the stock pile of sea glass found on the North Carolina shore when we lived on the Outer Banks. I made some little sachet bags to house some of them for gifting out of some fabric scraps but sadly, the pics I took cannot be located at this time. If I stumble upon such pics I will show you sometime.
3. My vegan Yule log cake.
It was really yummy and didn't come out half bad. I did not have a jelly roll pan, so I just used my largest cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I made my fave vegan chocolate cake recipe and baked it for about 15 minutes, let it cool about 5 minutes, then rolled it from short end to short end and left it cool completely all rolled up. I then iced it with my fave vegan chocolate icing and stuck a piece of the cake cut off the side before rolling it up on it for a branch, gluing it with icing and covering it too. I wish I had more time to make it and venture outside for some greenery to properly decorate it but I had to pick up Kay at the train station and time was short. Maybe next year I will only make the cake and not all the cookies too. We are still eating our way through a ton of sugar.
4. Some silly magnets for Wee One's auntie. I really went cheap and quick here, printing out pics on regular copy paper, then gluing them onto some magnets that come in the mail for free as fake "credit cards" trying to sucker you into getting a credit card...if they only knew what I did with mine! I then put some packing tape over it to help seal in the photo, trimmed around the edges and voila, some silly magnets for your abode or cubicle. Hopefully for your abode.
5. Some things (Wee One's Red Sweater among others) did not get completed. I was sad but I think it will be ok. I did not stay up all night on the Eve of Christmas to complete things this year. I chose sanity instead. I think my family appreciated this too.

We traveled from Knitsburgh to my parents' to Nature Boy's parents across the state on Christmas Day. We woke at 6AM that morning and did not reach Nature Boy's kin's homestead until after 9PM that night. We drove back yesterday and I am finally recovered from the unpacking and such. We had so much fun! This is one holiday season I won't soon forget, so many firsts. I only hope the Wee learns to love the madness as much as Nature Boy and I do. Happy Holidays to everyone out there!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Deadly Craft

The crafts are killer around here.

So yeah I cut right though the measuring tape. Call the crime lab, another severed body. A new murder investigation begins here at Knitsburgh...

Please hold on as the next parts will move quickly from one subject to the next without much rhyme or reason. Maybe I should post smaller amounts daily instead of once-a-weekish and smattering you with all sorts of chatter? Maybe but not today; today you will be chatted up. Grab some tea and a cookie and get comfy. Away we go.

Have to first tell you about the awesome goodness at Handmade Arcade. Sadly I did not think to take photos while I was there and cannot attest to the goodness of the vegan food because I did not partake this year, but the wares, they were wonderful! This year Nature Boy and Wee One came with which was quite helpful indeed; we took his stroller in which probably wasn't our best move. As I was standing in line to buy this print from Strawberry Luna for the Wee One's room:

I overheard the following:

20-something man: "Oh god, look at that guy with the stroller!"

20-something woman: "Oh how awful! This is really not the best place for that!"

I laughed in my head. I remember being that age and saying similar stuff. I wanted to tell them, oh I said those things too, just you wait...but managed some control. Nature Boy and I laughed at it later. Oh the days...

I did throw the Baby Bjorn in the car for the next too-crowded thing we find ourselves at.

There may or may not have been other purchases there; one may just not be at liberty to discuss it yet, Mr. or Ms. Snoopy Snooperson.

Oh now on to other stuff hanging on the walls. Here is a pic of the frame that Nature Boy made for the other print we got for Wee One this summer:
Here is a pic of some free package inserts from BPAL that I framed up for our bedroom:I had those pics on my dresser mirror for years cause I liked them and finally thought, hmm, could just frame them already. I love the art that comes from BPAL almost as much as the oils!

And then we move over to...some Yuletide Cheer!

The tree:

And stockings:

So, the cookies (three kinds in two days) are now baked, the handmade holiday cards sent...things are getting crossed off the list! Let's hope there are no further fatal crafting incidents around Knitsburgh for the rest of the year and in 2010...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's the most craftacular time...

...of the year!

Here is the hat I knit for Nature Boy's niece plus the little do-dads which snap on. She can wear it plain or with one of them. Or maybe she will even make some of her own?!?!? Hopefully she will like the interchangeable stuff enough that it won't suck to get a hat for a gift. Don't worry, we got her some other non-handmade fun too.

The pattern is by Just Jussi and called "Poppy." The interchangeable idea I claim as my own. The hat is by the same gal and knit in much the same fashion as the Wee One's recent aviator helmet. You should check out her patterns if you knit, they are fun and fast and I think cute too.

Next up is the finished stacking rings toy for Wee One. After making the rings I stitched up a cloth pyramid, sewed it to a square with a hole cut out of the center, then sewed another square to it. In all, the whole thing took 2 bags of bamboo fiber fill. That alone is a testament to the gigantic-acity of it. Yes, it will definately qualify for the Festivus Feats of Strength as the Wee will surely be a mini-muscleman if he is able to heft it.

You might think with all this that Ms. Knitsburgh might be ready to sit on her laurels and relax. You would be wrong. Ms. Knitsburgh has a few other handcrafty projects on her list to go...some may not appear here until after the holidays as it would not be a surprise if someone spied their gift here, now would it?

The crafts are calling....see ya!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Craft Abandoned...

Oh no! Nature Boy is slacking on his end of the ornament completion:
I'm trying not to nag him but it's been a week now since he has returned to them. Mine are finished and ready to mail to the Special Folk; once they are gone I'll post some pics.

Here is some inspiration for another gift:
I hope to knit a hat for a young niece, then craft up some interchangeable do-dads she can attach to it to give her some sass. I'm thinking buttons, fabric or knitted roses and bows will all work (plus eat up some of my leftover craft stash). "Hope" is the operative word here...

I leave you with an elvin friend. He was crocheted by Onie, or Ona, who lived next door to us when I was myself a wee. She made all sorts of beautiful cakes and this is what she made all three of us for Christmas one year; his arms and legs had rolls of lifesavers in them. I wonder where that vintage pattern could be found and what he was called? I miss you Ona and would you believe after all these years your little elf is still making me smile?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Learning Curve...

Here is a Wee One Yuletyde Present which I have been working on. The fabric before (hello ROY G. BIV....or at least ROY G. BI...couldn't find a violet fabric that was just right at the fabric shop):

And after:

Some notes:
1. You can't make a circular ring by sewing the wrong sides together at both the inner and outer ring seams. After some false starts, I finally sewed the outer seams on the wrong side, then turned and sewed the inner seams from the right side, reinforcing with two rounds of stitches around the circle. I used pinking shears to cut the fabric and hope the inner side doesn't fray too much.
2. You can't have too much fill. I had some bamboo fill left from the Wee Rattle and thought there would be enough, but the last ring, as you can see from the pics, is only half-way filled.
3. This toy appears to be so huge, it could be part of the Festivus Feats of Strength competitions. I hope the Wee One is strong enough to heft them! I made the inner circle 6" and increased each circle by one inch, so the last one is a whopping dinner plate sized 11" (I know because I used a dinner plate to trace out the circle). Oh my! If I were to make another, I would start with a much smalled inner circle. Maybe 3" (though my ability to sew a circle this small is definitely questionable).
4. I still need to craft up a base and holder for the rings, although they seem to stack well enough without one; I'll let you know what I do indeed come up with.
5. Nature Boy helped with the fabric selection and apparently, we like the octopi. I didn't even notice until I was cutting that the two blue prints are heavily octopi-influenced.

So I need to run out for more fill and finish this project up! The Wee One Red Sweater is still on the needles...still working on the front...not much else to say about it now. Better get going and craft some more 'cause it is December already and I have space under the tree that needs to be filled up.

So what do I do with all the leftover flannel fabric? I found a pattern for a ball, could make a blanket...any other ideas out there? I've got at least a 1/2 yard left of each if not more.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Interrupted

Thanksgiving weekend was not at all what we had envisioned here in Knitsburgh. I spent the week cooking and baking vegan tastiness to carry forth across the land to visit two sets of Wee Grandfolk. Misfortune struck, bringing a hasty retreat back to Knitsburgh. Family drama, car trouble and finally illness ensured our fate. So disappointing.

Have faith readers, there is always good with the bad. Blue Molly (the car) only sustained a busted radiator hose and did not in fact need a new alternator. The illness appears to be a fierce cold at its worst and not any type of scary flu. We had gotten both the regular and H1N1 shots last week in an effort to prevent the Wee One from sickness, however he too has the cold, poor thing.

So what to do when you are stuck in Knitsburgh? You can knit up a Wee Hat:

The pattern came from Just Jussi thru Ravelry. It was fun and fast and keeps a Wee One's ears warm. It also seems to actually stay on his head through a walk, which is hard to accomplish with his other hats. Thank you, chin strap! That Jussi is pretty smart, I would say.

I also hit a great sale at Joanne Fabric this weekend and picked up some super-cheap printed flannel to make into some Wee Fun. If things turn out like I think it might look like in my head, I will share the results here.

We also made some ornaments this past week and weekend and will have photos up soon after they are completed and sent to some special folks.

We also started the Holiday-ification of the Estate. I need to tell you about our artificial tree. Years ago, when living in Colorado, we would trek up into the mountains, pay $10 and cut down a tree the forest service had designated as one that would be removed for fire control purposes. They were wild and scraggly and see through and so natural. When we left Colorado we were stuck with either buying a cut tree or one with a root ball. I would normally prefer the second option, however when living on the shore and our yard was sand, it wasn't really feasible. Now, living in the city where the estate grounds are rather limited, there really wouldn't be any space. We were buying a cut tree and then "recycling" it after the four short weeks it lived with us.

Three years ago, we decided to get an artificial tree. Part of the decision involved our oldest cat, Madison Penelope. Though Miss Madison Penelope has been with us for thirteen holidays now, she will still eat the pine tree. She chews it up and throws up needles. Every day. She doesn't want to eat fresh cat grass; she wants to eat pine trees. She is insatiable, unstoppable and irrepressible. Which if you ask me is part of the beauty of her, she's not just a lay-around-and-nap-cat, indeed.

So back to the main point here. We got this tree and it came pre-lit which also means Nature Boy and I don't disagree about where the lights should go (deep in the branches say I, right on the tips says Nature Boy). We just snap three sections together, plug it in and put on the ornaments. Sounds great, but one section of lights is not like the others. It doesn't light up right away, then will suddenly start blinking, then go out, then blink. This year, Nature Boy seemed determined to fix this. He took out fuses, replugged things, adjusted bulbs and wires, with no fix. Then something unheard of happened. He read the directions! He found a number for customer service. Customer service was called and they are sending a whole new middle section for our tree! Incredible! A tree that is three years old. In fact I was informed the tree is under warranty until 2017! So if anyone out there needs an artificial tree go with the Sylvania Staylit types, which have a 10 year guarantee.

Thanksgiving wasn't the greatest but I've already got my sights on Yule and it looks like it will be fantastic!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Who's a Rude-A-Potamus??!?!?!??

It is done! Behold, the Wee One's Yuletide Stocking:

I like it better now that it's finished and hanging by our fireplace, ready for the holidays to get started. I mean, why pack it away now, we'll be putting up the holiday decor in a couple of weeks? Still needs a washing and blocking though.

Now I'm back to working on the Red Sweater for the Wee. It's honestly a boring knit for me after all that stranded colorwork. I can't say I even worked a stitch on it in two days' time now. Could mean trouble...

Ok now for a pop quiz. You are shopping in a small-aisled grocery store called Complete Edibles. You come upon an aisle where a stunning woman is making her canned pumpkin selection and her cart, with the most beautiful wee one in all the land, is in your way. What do you do?

A. Wait a moment patiently behind her as she finishes. Hey, you're retired and have all day...
B. Say, "Excuse me" and allow her to move her cart out of your way. Hey, you're retired and need to make up for lost years...
C. Push her cart with her baby in it aside, scraping your cart into it in doing so and say absolutely nothing. Hey, you're retired and a big, mean, rude-a-potamous and eat cute babies for dinner.

Yeah, that's right. I went to the store for some foodstuffs and came out again appalled at the minds of people. Who moves your cart with your baby in it and says not a word? You can bet I said a few things. I really need to do the whole on-line food ordering. It could also help me avoid the H1N1...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Of Note...

Thanks Teresa from Affectioknit for the lovely note cards! They came Saturday and we found them when we returned from our Saturday Adventure.

What indeed was the Saturday Adventure? The Wee One and I went walking along the South Side. We walked along the river first, then walked along Carson. We stopped at Dozen and I tried a vegan choco chip-pecan cookie. Honestly, I was not that impressed and think my cookies taste a bit better...but I've had their vegan cupcakes before (at another location in the city) and they are quite tasty. I would recommend the cupcakes for sure!

Since I like to dabble in All Things Craftacular, when passing the Bead Mine, I saw sadly a store closing sign which declared all merch was on sale at 40-60% off. So if you like me can't have enough beads and findings even though your Craftorium might explode at the seams from all the shiny beady fun inside, you might want to get there and soon. Avoid the shortest salesgirl, she was not the most helpful. I could explain further but really that's all the info you need in the end, just avoid her if you can.

Of course, I forgot my camera but the views of the Monongahela River, the Canadian Geese, the boats, the Wee One in the sun under some trees are living inside my head at least.

Friday, November 13, 2009


So yesterday I stole some moments and tried to further the Wee Yuletide Stocking along. I guess I was a bit preoccupied and seemed to miss some light green and undyed stripe-age:

So I ripped back and tried it again. I was so hoping to have the foot pattern finished yesterday but when I discovered my mistake, all the wind went out of my sails. So I'm only about as far as I was when I initially discovered my mistake.

Here is a close-up, albeit blurry, of the part I'm not so happy with.

It lies in the joining of the rounds. I just can't seem to figure out how to join and carry up the other colors without them showing through to the right side. If you don't twist the two yarns together from the previous and current rows, there is a hole in the seam. If you twist, you sometimes get color where it should not be. Also, seems my tension has been a bit too tight when carrying the yarn up through the join too, resulting in some puckering. Again, hoping a good blocking might help it a little but the colors showing through won't be helped, I'm afraid. I need to further investigate how to sucessfully knit fair isle and/or stranded knitting in the round. Too bad I didn't do so before knitting this stocking...but then again this is a stocking built upon and for tradition and my tradition seems to be knitting with some flaws. The age-old "proof a mortal made it" saga or risk being turned into a spider. Click HERE for some other myths about weaving, spinning, knitting and other fun fibre forms.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Big Thank-You!

Thanks veterans and those who are currently protecting us right now! We love you here in Knitsburgh.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indian Summer

What a great warm weekend we just had! How did we spend some of the time? We walked with the Wee One downtown and on the north shore, then toured some replica ships built to the specifications of the Nina and Pinta of Columbus' fleet. You can read more HERE about the "floating museums" and see the schedule; they are going to be spending the winter in some tropical place. There was a sign in the Pinta advertising for crew members...

We also went to see the new Fred Rogers statue.

We ended the day in a Mexican restaurant, tofu and bean taco with chips and salsa...the best day. Wee One did not sleep once, he was too busy taking in all the sights.

Oh, the knitting, right. The stuff this blog is supposed to be about. The Wee Yule Stocking is about 6 rows shy of the start of the heel. Its ok, I'm not happy with something on the round joining and will show some photos of the problem later when I feel strong enough to face it. At this point I will not rip back and Nature Boy assures me no one but I will notice it. The problem is I will notice it and know it's not my best knitting. I could care less when it's on a sweater for me, but the Wee Yule Stocking? Oh dear...