Hunker Down and Knit

As I knit write this, the wind is howling outside.  Here in the Big Blue House, there is rain to go with the wind; but up on the hill in Duluth it is snowing.  Honest to goodness, huge flakes of snow.  It makes me realize that I am not even close to prepared for winter.  The warm weather we had in October lulled me into thinking that we had more time than we really do.  I didn’t get the rose covered up, we still have leaves that haven’t been raked and I wanted to plant some garlic this year.  And the knitting, oh the knitting… I have so much I want to get done.  Somehow I had dreams of everyone getting new hats before it got cold.  It’s really not my fault that the weather dropped from 50’s and 60’s to 30’s overnight!  I guess the only thing I can do is ignore the state of my house for a bit and just curl up, listen to the wind blow and knit.  At least with the state of my stash I’ll have plenty of insulation in the house this winter!

So, uh, what are you doing next weekend?  Anything fun?  Want to come knit with me?  I’ve heard there’s going to be a really cool workshop on Saturday.  You can learn more about it here.  It looks like there are still a couple of spots left.   So if you’re local, come see the Three Irish Girls studio and play with their beautiful hand dyed yarns.  Quick, go look now and sign up, I’ll wait until you get back.   I have only knit a little with Sharon’s yarn, but I have all rave reviews so far!  I am unreasonably excited about this workshop and I’d love to have some friends in the workshop with me.  With any luck, I’ll be in the workshop while my husband and father in law are installing my new stove.  (Please please please let my stove come in by the weekend.  Please.)

There’s a Whole Lot of Pink Here

There seems to be an awful lot of pink around The Big Blue House lately.  I made a pink hat for Lily.  One of Addie’s friends at school just had a baby girl born at their house.  One of my husband’s cousins is having a girl.  And a charity asked if I wouldn’t mind making a hat for a baby that is associated with their organization.  So I’m breaking out the girly stash yarn (and some new yarn) to make up a batch of pink hats.

Lily wasn’t the most willing model for these shots.  I know she loves her hat since she wears it everywhere she goes.  She’s still at the age where almost anything that Mommy makes for her is cool.  She just doesn’t want her picture taken.  I tried to get some outside shots, but the days are definitely getting shorter and it was dark before we could get any pictures tonight.

Photographing a moving target is harder than it looks!

The Details:

Pattern:  Wisteria Waves Silk Merino Beanie from 101 Luxury One Skein Wonders.

Yarn:  Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino in Cosmos

Modifications:  I thought the hat needed something a little more.  I was going to make a long floppy tail on top, but my husband suggested knitting a leaf.  I whipped out some green worsted weight from my stash and knit up a leaf.  Otherwise the patten was knit as written.  After I blocked the hat, it came out quite a bit larger than I wanted.  It sort of flopped onto Lily’s head.  I’m sure it would have fit a large adult head.  I threw the hat into the dryer for a few minutes and it came out perfectly.

I did learn a little tip from a podcast I was listening to.  The hat had 4 lace rows interspersed with plain knit rows.  I took 4 index cards and wrote out one line of the lace pattern on each card.  That way I didn’t have to carry the book around with me and I could just flip a card over when I was done.  I didn’t worry about loosing my place!  I tend to watch tv while I’m knitting, so loosing my place is pretty common even on simple repeat rows.  Now as long as I don’t loose the cards…

Cranky Lily

Lily decided to be camera shy.

Bonus Recipe:

Northwoods Fajitas

Grilled venison tenderloin, sliced

1/2 onion, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

1 clove minced garlic

wild rice, prepared

tortilla shells

shredded cheese


This is what we had for dinner tonight.  I would have taken a picture for the blog, but there wasn’t anything left!  Everyone devoured the food. It was a great way to use up the leftover venison and wild rice that was in our fridge.

I sauteed the onions, green pepper and garlic in a pan on top of the stove.  As the onions were getting caramelized, I added the venison to heat through.  Serve on tortillas with wild rice, cheese and salsa inside the shell.

Hemmed In

pre-hemmingThere is something about a hemmed piece of knit wear that I just love.  The edge is crisp and straight, there is no curling and it just looks neat and tidy.  Plus, it is double thick along the hemmed edge, so the fabric lays very nice.  I really don’t know why I don’t do hems more often!  It seems like every time I do a knitted hem I spend as much time admiring it as I do knitting it. Hmmm… maybe this is why I don’t do hems that often, the admiring takes too long.   I tend to show it off to everyone I know because I think it’s the cleverest piece of knitting I’ve ever seen.  It makes me wonder who thought of this.  I’d love to spend 5 minutes in the presence of that genius.

I’m not sure if there are other ways to do it, but I’ll walk you through what I do.

First, knit an inch in plain stockinette.  Then do one row of purl.  Knit another inch in plain stockinette.  You’ll see as you start to knit the second part of stockinette that the edge folds over on itself very nicely.

HemOnce you have two equal lengths of stockinette separated by one row of purl, fold the cast on edge up so it is directly behind the needles.  Knit one stitch from the needle together with one stitch from the cast on edge.  This will be a knit 2 together.  I think you could easily use a provisional cast on or put the cast on stitches onto a 3rd needle, but I usually just pick up a stitch as I go.

'lil pumpkin hatThe finished product will make for a very warm band around the baby’s ears.  This is some Blue Sky Alpaca dk weight that has resisted my every effort to make it into something presentable up until this point.  I tried lace, I tried fussy, I tried tiny booties.  Nothing seemed to work until I hit upon the magic gauge of 5 stitches per inch.  I cast on 94 stitches, did the hem and then knit until I almost ran out of yarn.  I finished it off with kitchener stitch to create the flat top.  Somehow I think the yarn knew exactly what it wanted to be.  It wanted to be a simple garment and I was trying to force it into something more than it could be.

I love funny hats on babies and I think this will fit the bill perfectly.  It’s being sent to an old college friend as soon as I can drag myself to the post office.

Winter’s Coming… Time to Take Out the Hats

I’d like to say it’s been a crazy few weeks around here, but I’m beginning to see that it’s always a crazy few weeks at my house.  With two very active little girls, there is no rest for the wicked!  Between piano lessons, baking for random school events, helping with reading homework, and just keeping all their stuff organized, it gets hectic around here.  To add to the chaos, we’ve had an on again, off again schedule of people getting sick.  In the last 2 months, we’ve had 3 rounds of strep throat, 1 sinus infection and numerous colds.  Yesterday I had an appointment with the podiatrist because I was having pain in the ball of my foot when I walked (or ran) a lot.  It (along with the sinus infection) had finally caused me to stop running.  The podiatrist said it wasn’t a big deal, just a impinged nerve and that he could give me a simple little injection.  Again, let me stress that this sounded like it wasn’t a big deal. I asked if it was cortisone, and he said no, it was another steroid and a pain killer.  The pain killer should have been my first hint.  He seemed rather nonchalant about the whole thing.  So, I said go ahead, let’s get this thing taken care of.  Holy Hannah!!!  The shot itself wasn’t a big deal.  It tweaked the nerve endings a bit but didn’t really hurt much.  However, by noon I was feeling it.  By 2pm I was walking to a drug store to find an ice pack to put on my foot.  By 5pm when I left the office, I could barely get my shoe back on.  My foot had swelled up like a sausage and it hurt to put weight on it.  I went home and planted myself on the sofa with an ice pack and barely moved.  It hurt every time the kids came to cuddle up with me. It hurt to have a light blanket on me.

This morning when I woke up, it was still very painful.  However, it’s steadily gotten better over the course of the day.  I can now almost completely curl my toes.  I no longer want to curse the doctor or the broom he road in on.  Honestly, the only good thought I had about that man was that at least he kind of flirted with me before putting me through this much pain.

Since I was stuck in a sitting position anyway, I decided it was time to take stock of our winter hats and see if the girls need any new hats for winter.  I was amazed (not at the variety of hats, after all this is the Northland) but of how dirty they all were.  I took several of the knit hats that were the worst offenders and washed them in the sink.  Several fleece hats went into the washing machine.  To be fair, only the bright multi-colored hat and the purple pointy hat are ones my girls will wear this fall.  The others are baby hats that need to find a good home.  In fact, the green one is one that will be going to a relatively new baby as soon as I finish it.  I’ll talk more about it in my next post.

Clean Hats

I’m starting to feel a new hat binge coming on soon.  Maybe a sized up Vine Lace Baby Hat for Lily.   There’s a better picture on Ravelry here.  Since I can still get away with fun hats for both girls, maybe I’ll try the Purple Delight Hat.  Whatever hat I choose, it’s got to be cool enough for the playground but still fun for the girls to wear (and for me to knit!).