On Resolutions

I had a completely different post planned for this photo, but as it seems par for the course the last few days I’m changing directions. The storm is over and the area has dug out from it’s mix of wet heavy snow and sleet.  Our sidewalks were under water for a good part of Christmas Day while other parts of town got blanketed in snow.  It’s been a goofy last few days while we changed Christmas plans around to accomodate the weather. 

While we were hunkered down inside, I knitted (a little).  And baked.  And cooked.  Cleaned a littled.  Entertained Children.  Fended off the repeated, "Can we open our presents now?"  And dreamt up ways to use up my stash of yarn and fiber. 


A beautiful photo from my friend Knittymuggins.  Check out her warm and witty blog here

I’ve never been very good at resolutions.  I seem to get distracted and not keep the resolution; then, halfway through the year I just feel guilty because I haven’t kept up my resolutions.  So this year, I am not setting any knitting resolutions.  I am setting a Knitting Intention.  I intend to knit from stash more this year and not save my stash for "good."  I’m not going to be knitting for the Pope anytime soon, so there’s no point in saving yarn because it’s "too good to use."  My family and my loved ones are good enough to splurge on.  I love them and if I want to knit a pair of socks from my single skein of Wollemeise, then I will. 

To that end, I created a very simple spreadsheet on Excel that will keep track of the number of skeins and the yardage of the yarn I knit from stash.  It’s extremely basic, but I think it will be useful in showing just how much yarn I’ve used over the last year.  I haven’t figured out how to keep track of my roving that has been spun into yarn, but I don’t have as much of that so I’m not terribly worried.

May your New Year be filled with love and awe, and may you be surrounded by your loved ones. 

Christmas Wrap Up

May your Christmas be a filled with love and fun as ours. 

I may not be done with all my Christmas preparations, but I feel like I’m in a good spot.  I’ve got 2 gifts left to pick up (one of which doesn’t need to be done until next week).  I’ve got 2 gifts left to knit – one is a slipper that doesn’t need to be finished until next week and the second is a hat that I can finish up in an evening.  Wrapping can be done Christmas Eve afternoon while the kids are at their daycare party.  I think I’m done making Christmas cookies.  It’s totally reasonable to think that I’ve got this Christmas thing licked.  Which should be reason enough for fate to kick me in the butt before tomorrow night rolls around. 

My guess is that fate is going to hit me in one of two areas.  The first is the giant storm that is supposed to be rolling in.  I love snow and I really want snow this winter, but it’s coming at a time when I’m supposed to be travelling to my parents house for Christmas Day!  The other way that fate might send me screaming to hide under my covers is that I’m working on a gift for our daycare lady that just doesn’t seem to want to come together.  It’s a scrapbook with little things about each kid in the daycare.  I’m waiting on photos from the other parents and just hoping that they’ll come in time.  I know better than to do this sort of thing at the last minute.  It’s craziness I tell you, pure craziness. 

Despite the threat of a snow of epic proportions, I’m going to make the bread I promised my Mom for Christmas Day dinner.  It’s the bestest, most easiest recipe I’ve found for making bread.  And despite all my efforts, I’ve yet to screw it up.  It’s from Arisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  You make a giant batch of the dough (which takes maybe 5 minutes) and let it sit in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Any time you want fresh bread you take it out, saw off a hunk of dough and let it sit on your countertop for 40 minutes and bring your oven (and a good quality pizza stone) up to temp.  Throw it in the oven and you’ve got awesome bread.  I’ve thrown in flax seed for a really yummy change.  So even if we get snowed in, we’ll be eating well at the Big Blue House. 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

A Brilliant Idea

I love my mittens.  They are warm and cozy and beautiful.  They are Fiddlehead Mittens from Hello Yarn made with Manos Silky outside and Frog Tree Alpaca inside.  I’ve made two pairs of these mittens and I could probably make more.  I just love the play of color up these mittens.  Made with a tiny circular needle (9") the pattern just flies along. 

There’s only one problem.  I am very hard on mittens.  I tend to be a picker.  If there is a loose thread or a little bit of an inconsistency, I worry at it with my fingertips while I drive.  I pick and I rub and eventually there is a hole.  But I think I solved the problem brilliantly.  Or at least I thought I did until I shared my solution with a friend and she looked at me like I was nuts.


I took a little fluff of fiber – Cloudlover Merino/Bamboo – in the tips of the fingers and thumb.  This helps keep my fingers toasty warm and gives me something even softer to touch all day long.  It makes me want to spin some more.  It just makes me happy.  Now I’m quite sure that someone else has thought of this before me, has anyone else heard of this?

I showed this to a friend and she thought it was kind of yucky – like having kleenex stuck in the mitten.  So maybe it’s not for everyone.  But if you’re a texture person, give it a try. 

Down to the Wire

I’m down to the wire with my required Christmas knitting.  I finished up this scarf for my husband’s cousin last week, blocked it after our company left and now it’s ready to ship to the Windy City.  It’s the only item that I agreed to knit for someone else to give away. 

Honestly, I only agreed to it because a.) she asked me in August b.) she offered to buy the yarn and c.) she is a wonderful person who has done many wonderful things for my girls and my husband and I.  Even with all of these things, the scarf ended up being extremely stressful because it was knit for someone else to give away. 


For the life of me I cannot remember what the pattern is.  It’s a simple cable, repeated over 12 rows.  Basically 2 of the rows are cable rows and the rest are just all knit or purl.  Repeat until you are completely bored or until the 2 skeins of yarn run out.  The yarn is Berocco Vintage Wool in Douglas Fir. It’s manly, yet soft and warm. 

Since we’re down to the wire before Christmas, send me your best Christmas knitting and we’ll post the favorites.  Email me at jposkozim at duluth news dot cahm (separated to keep the spammers from finding it) a photo of your favorite knitted (or crocheted) Christmas gift and a little blurb about it including the pattern (with link if possible).  I’ll do a final days of Christmas knitting post. 

Knitting for a Cause

Christmas Knitting is in full swing at our house.  I finished up several projects over the weekend and took the time to work on a hat for a good cause.  This hat is going to the Newspapers in Education Auction that we hold at our office every year.  NIE works to put newspapers in classrooms, helping teachers with lesson plans and supplementing the textbooks and teaching materials that the schools already have.  More information can be found at the NIE website

The Details:

Pattern:  The Yarn Harlot’s Unorginal Hat.

Yarn:  Misti Alpaca Chunky

Modifications:  I used a size 10 needle.  The pattern calls for a 7mm needle which is somewhere between a US size 10 and size 11.  I think next time I’d go up to the 11.  It just occured to me that I never checked my gauge.  So I’m not entirely sure how accurate it is to tell you what size needle to use.  Heck, use your best judgement.  It’s a hat, so it will fit someone.  If it’s a gift though, check gauge.   It also probably wouldn’t hurt to run another strand of yarn (maybe dk weight or so) along with the Misti Alpaca.  Something that would help beef up the size of the yarn and give some stitch definition once the alpaca goes all fuzzy and blooms. 



It fits a 5 year old girl very nicely, but will also fit a women’s small.  If I make one of these for an adult, I think I’ll go up a needle size.  For a baby, I’d just reduce the number of pattern repeats – do 3 instead of 4 and perhaps shorten the length (although it’s awfully cute with a rolled up brim). 

Hippie Spice Socks

One gift down.  Lots more to do! 

These are what I’m calling the Hippie Spice Socks.  They’re going to our daycare lady for her birthday this week.  No, she’s not a hippie.  I just find the name funny since it’s a combination of Market Spice and what I think of when I hear "flower power." 

Pattern:  Market Spice from Wollemeise.  Follow the link for a free pattern. 

Yarn:  Flower Power from Socks that Rock, Blue Moon Fiber Arts and a bit of Dream in Color Smooshy for the toes.

Modifications:  I decided not to follow the slip stitch pattern all the way down the foot because it might be too irritating when you wear socks.  I hate having something with texture across the top of my foot, it always feels like my shoes are laced too tightly.  These are made to fit a women’s size 9 foot.  I ran out of yarn right at the toes of the second sock.  I ripped out the toe of the first and knit them both in the Dream in Color yarn that I had left over.  I think the colorway is Stormy Skies or something like that.  The ball band is long long gone. 

I think this photo shows off the colors better.  I took the picture thinking you’d be able to see the texture on the leg better also.  I can’t wait to wrap these up in a pretty package.  Our daycare lady wears crocs most of the time and I think these will help keep her feet warm when she’s outside with the kids. 


I was eating alone the other day (I often do this for lunch) at a local restaurant.  I finished my meal in record time so that I would have some extra time to knit.  I realize that this is not the healthiest way to eat, but I’ve got Christmas looming as a deadline.  I’m to the point where if I knitted while I cooked and while I slept, I might just get it all done in time. 

As I was knitting, I overheard the waitress explain where she was at with all her tables before she left for the day.  "And that table, she’s just putzing."  Really, is that what you think of knitting? 

Even if you don’t know what it is that I’m doing, it’s clear that it’s more than just folding my napkin into origami shapes.  It’s more than doodling or playing on my cell phone.  Call it crafting.  Heck, call it crochet if that’s all you know.  But, darn it, don’t tell me I’m putzing.  I’m creating gifts here people!  I am in serious production mode and I don’t have time to sit around putzing. 

Dying to Knit

What does a knitter do when she finds an incredible deal on 100% merino wool, but it’s not quite in the color she had wanted?  She dyes it!

I had wanted a navy blue yarn to knit my daughter a sweater with.  I started off with a very pretty pale blue yarn.  I dumped it in the sink along with some vinegar and let it soak for about a half hour or so. 

Then, I threw it in my largest pot and  started playing mad scientist.  I added all the blue food coloring that I had in the cupboard, decided that wasn’t enough so I added all the Wilton’s  frosting dye that I had.  I stir it up and looked at all the pretty blues.  Hmmm… it wasn’t quite the color I wanted… I needed  it darker, richer…. so I found a package of red Kool-aide in the cupboard and threw it in.  This concoction simmered on the stove while I knitted away on a sock.  I let it simmer (never boiling) until all the color was taken up and the water was clear. I let it cool overnight and then rinsed it out in cool water. 

I hung it over the sink to dry and checked it compulsively for dryness. 

Here’s the final version!  It’s not navy blue, but I think it’s even prettier than I had expected.  As one of my co-workers said, it looks like a peacock! 

Some Kind of Crazy

Keep the t-shirt slogans coming, I love ’em!

What’s crazier than a sweater over your swimsuit?  Following the directions in Custom Knits to make your very own Duct Tape Dress Form.  A friend and I got together over the weekend to make one.  Her husband was completely baffled as to why we would want to wrap ourselves in duct tape and what that had to do with knitting. We tried to explain that as you’re knitting a sweater, it’s very nice to try it on as you go.  However, this sometimes makes altering it on yourself a bit difficult.  Dress forms are the easy answer.  However, a dress form can be incredibly pricey.  Duct tape however, is cheap!

You’ll have to get the book for the exact directions, but here’s basically what you do.  Start with an old t-shirt.  One from my college days worked well for me.  Have a friend start wrapping your waist in duct tape.  Work your way up the body.  I recommend cutting strips of duct tape ahead of time as this tends to take awhile.  Eventually you’ll cut the sleeves off the shirt.  You’ll also want to put some plastic wrap around your neck as duct tape on those little hairs at the back of the neck really hurt.  Use several layers of duct tape. 

When you are encased in duct tape from your hips to your waist, your friend will cut the t-shirt up the back.  You’ll laugh and giggle about how you really didn’t think your body looked quite like that.  I firmly believe that my tummy is not that squishy and my chest is larger (and perkier come to think about it).  Depending upon your personality you may need therapy at this point.  Personally, I believe that denial is not just a river in Egypt.  Tape up the back of the "new you" and start stuffing it with fiber fill. 

Cut a piece of cardboard to fit at the bottom and tape it all into place. 

Then you can proudly display your new form.  Funny, it looks an awful lot like my body once it is clothed.  Wonder how that works?