My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Last FO for 2007

How to spend the last day of 2007? Enjoying an afternoon ski with the husband after recovering from a bumpy 2.5 hour snow machine ride back from my parents cabin. Snow machining is a true full body workout. Bump - Bump - Bump. At least we made it back safely!

I gave DH a pair of Skate Cross-Country skis for Christmas this year. He's been using an old pair of back country skis forever, and I'm ready for him to come out on the groomed trails with me. He is such a natural athlete that I was surprised that I was able to ski faster and better than him. Wow - I think this is the only time I'll be able to say I'm better at something athletic than Wade. I'd better cherish it, because once he fine tunes his technique & becomes more efficient, I'll be left in the dust (I mean snow), I'm sure.

Last Finished Object of 2007. Yup - another hat from Hat's On! This time its the "Triple-Patterned Watch Cap" for Orion's teacher, Sharon. Can I say again how much I love this book?!? Too bad my in-laws don't live in a climate more suitable for hat wearing. These are such a quick & fun knit - great gift ideas - so, all future teachers (at least every other year - the kids have the same teachers for 2 years in a row) are pretty much guaranteed a hat! So - only one more hat to go - a gift for Iain's kindergarten aide & Camp Fire leader. I think it'll be another combo pattern from the book - perhaps the Doublemasa & Danish Earflap (I so love the crown!) I guess I know what the first FO for 2008 will be.

See how the cuff rolls? Hmm - not quite sure how to avoid that except to tack it down after the fact. I also want to point out the twined herringbone edge - it looks pretty good!

This is what the top of the hat looks like. You won't believe how many shots it took for me to get the hat centered in the photo. Yup - self portrait of the top of my head.

Ta Da! Once the hat is on the brim doesn't seem to roll as much. Ohh - and the kitchen even looks clean in the background. Whew!


Pattern: Mentioned above

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash ( I *love* this yarn & it washes (in the machine) great!

Needles: Addi Turbo Size 6US

Size: Large (20")

Modifications: None - The twined herringbone edge even worked out this time! Hooray! I'm not crazy over this hat as the cuff rolls a bit - I may try to tack it down later. I also don't understand the need to knit fair isle for 4+ inches when most of it is covered by the hem. The construction is pretty neat - knit the cuff, turn & knit the rest of the hat. This way the cuff can be turned & everything is on the right side. Orion thinks Sharon will love it. She is a wee little thing, so I hope it's not too big.

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hat's On!..

and on, and on... I almost entitled this post "Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire" since I claimed in my post on Dec. 24th that I'd restrain from casting on another hat. Well, butter my butt & call me a biscuit, but I could not ignore the siren call of the Mission 1824 Wool & the Hat's On! patterns. So - I cast on Sunday evening and combined two patterns from the book & finished early this afternoon.


Pattern: Norwegian Star Cap & Danish Earflap Cap from the book Hat's On!

Size: Medium

Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool (superwash) - 2 skeins of the dark purple, and almost 1 skein of the pink.

Needles: Addi Turbo 20" circulars Size 4 for the hem, Size 6 for the body & crown (used dpn when I was close to the top)

Modifications: The gauge is slightly different using the Mission Falls yarn. I chose it for it's softness & color - I wanted to do a purple/pink hat. So - the body is using the Norwegian Star pattern & I was so enamored by the top of the Danish earflap cap, I used it for the crown. I'm pleased with the result, however I think the cap needs more depth. The Danish pattern accounts for lack of depth with the earflaps. Live & learn I guess. So, after a little soak, I gently pulled it into the shape/length I like.

Recipient: Iain's kindergarten teacher, Pam. His teacher left early for vacation to visit Cambodia, the birthplace of her adopted son. So - gave me some time to create some hand knits for her.
Cute little picot edge is created after folding up and securing the hem.

My only complaint is the jog at the seam. I googled "fair isle jogless jog", but no luck - any suggestions out there? I understand the jogless jog for stripes, but that doesn't quite work with the pattern, so it's a little off kilter at the back. I guess it could be used to always know where the back of the hat is?

~Ciao (I make no promises that I'll work on those Vintage socks. I think the "Triple-Patterned Watch Cap" for Orion's teacher.)

P.S. - If all the photos don't show up, I don't know what's up. It's not your computer. iPhoto is acting strangely this afternoon.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa - Stop Here!

Dear Santa...These cookies were chosen just for you.

As you can see, we had many from which to choose. We chose only the best for you.

Here's the note we're leaving with the plate of cookies:

"Please give one to Mrs Clase. Merry Chrismas Santa. The carits are for the raindeer.
From Orion & Iain"

See - we made the cookies with lots of love!

Merry Christmas to All! Peace, Love, and Joy in 2008

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Christmas / Winter break has arrived!! That means....

  1. More time for knitting
  2. More time for outdoor play
  3. No excuse for letting the house fall into disarray
  4. NO GRADING!!!
  5. More time w/my family
  6. Sleeping in...
  7. NO GRADING!!!
  8. Time to relax & do whatever
  9. More time for knitting
  10. Time to get Christmas letter written..
  11. Actually put Christmas cards in the mail...
  12. Did I mention - NO GRADING!!
Yes - vacation has arrived. For high school teachers this meant a week of midterm exams, so other than the grading (argh) it was a nice, 'easy' slow, week leading into break. I can't imagine the chaos that reigned in the elementary & middle school classrooms the week prior to break. I think Iain fell asleep in the car on the way home at least 3 times this week. Everyone was ready for break!!

The temps have warmed up so this afternoon we met up with friends for a little ice skating. I haven't played organized hockey for the past few weeks due to late game times, so it was fun to get out on the ice & move the body. A wee bit of wind, but we all had a great time!
Orion & Iain skating around. Surprisingly, Orion's skates still fit from last season. Of course, Iain out grew his, so we had to buy a new pair. The days of 'hand-me-downs' are over.

Iain, Gary, Tazlina, Me, & Orion skating around while Wade takes the photo. This was taken around 3:30 pm! Keep in mind, Solstice was Friday, so our days are actually getting longer!! I think we gained 14 seconds of daylight today. Whoo hoo!!

Knitting update: I'm on a bit of a hat jag right now & Hat's On by Charlene Schurch is now my favorite knitting book. I'm having to restrain myself from casting on another hat tonight - I do so need to finish my vintage socks for my swap pal by January 7.

Here's the beginning of the Norwegian Star Hat from the Hat's On book. The bottom 3" of stockinette are knit on size 4 needles & then folded up & knit to create a hem. How slick is that? So - that means if your floats from the Fair Isle aren't very neat & trim, they'll be hidden by the hem. The hem adds another layer of knitted fabric, so this hat is very warm - great for Alaska!! I began this hat w/size 4 for the hem & then onto size 7 for the main body of the hat. I only used size 7 size I didn't have a size 6 circular w/a small enough cable. When I moved into the crown I experienced some difficulty w/the lice pattern (due to error on my part of not completely reading the directions). It quickly became apparent (well not so quickly - I just kept ignoring the 'little voice') the hat would be too big, so riiiiip, riiiip, riiiip the hat went - back down to the hem. Arghhhh

After purchasing the correct size circular, I picked up the live stitches & knit like a fool. I ripped back Saturday, Dec. 15 & finished the hat the evening of Dec. 16th. I love the picot edge formed when the hem is folded. The band is a smidge loose, & I could have knit a few rows to make the hat a bit deeper, but overall it's really cute & I'm pleased. The jog in the pattern where I joined in the round isn't too terribly bad. I've vowed to work on that in the future... The hat was originally a Christmas gift for Wade, but w/his short hair & small head, it didn't look right, so - a new hat for me. :0)

Orion proudly models the Danish Earflap cap - hat #2 of my hat jag & again from Hat's On. Again - this was originally knit w/Wade in mind. I think the hat is pretty cute on Orion - they'll have to duke it out.
I love this hat!! A very quick knit - I cast this on Tuesday evening & finished it this morning. The earflaps are double layers & knit using short rows. Man, Charlene Schurch is just brilliant! The patterns are well written & easy to follow. Any mistakes are totally mine. I think the trickiest part was making the lanyard things for the earflaps. They aren't totally perfect, but they'll do.

Here's the driving force behind why I wanted to knit this particular hat:

How cool is that? I think I'm going to knit the next hat w/this top regardless of what the pattern says.


Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash - I used the same skein of white in both hats. I think I can even get a 3rd hat from it as a contrast color.

Needles: Addi Turbo 20" circular in both size 4 US (hem/earflaps) and 6 US (body/crown)

Sizes: Large for Norwegian Hat; Medium for Danish Earflap cap

Love these hats! I'm planning on knitting at least 3 more from this book during break as gifts for Orion & Iain's teachers. Small tokens of appreciation were given prior to break - no time for knitting before, so I'll take advantage of the time now.

Ciao! Off to make cookies for Santa!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's Beginning to look a lot like...

... Global Warming? Spring Time? - I know you thought I was going to say Christmas. But - it couldn't be further from the truth. Again - gale force winds bringing temperatures into the 40's (Chinook Winds) have robbed us of snow, yet again. Actually, the snow left some time ago. This weekend's wind just added the finishing touch. The photo to the left is of the back yard. The patches of snow you see are remnants of the only good snowfall we've received this year, the week prior to Thanksgiving. I promise, this photo was taken this morning at about 11:25 am - I tried to get a time stamp imprinted on the photo, but couldn't find that feature on the camera. Oh well ....

Here's a glimpse of the front yard:

The advantage of the warm winds was that the streets and our steep driveway are devoid of ice - making it much safer to walk down the street & retrieve our mail. Earlier on this week the streets in our neighborhood were covered with glare ice - slippery as snot - a couple of times I slid past our driveway coming home. I wasn't driving fast either, just the coefficient of friction was very, very, low.

The disadvantages of having no snow in the 2nd week of December are many. Days are getting shorter. The sun doesn't peak above the mountains until after 10:00 am - then it dutifully sets by 4:00 pm. Without snow, it's pretty dark - nothing to reflect the city lights.

When it's dark - it's gloomy. When it's gloomy, people are sad and do crazy things. The headline in last Monday's paper reported about "Bloody Sunday" where one person was killed by a machete and two people were shot - one died from his wounds. On Tuesday morning we find out another person (whom it turns out we know from soccer) was shot during a carjacking. It turns out the same individual was responsible for all this mayhem. It was extremely scary, but it's also somewhat comforting to know that there aren't 4 separate psychos running loose in Anchorage. The Anchorage Police captured the individual responsible. I don't think we can blame his actions on the lack of snow - perhaps there's a history of mental illness?? - but it does emphasize the fact that it's pretty grim around here without snow.

Okay - onto some happy things. How about a knitting update?

I found some more Mission Falls 1824 Wool in the correct color to finish up my 2nd pair of Fetchings. Our lys - Far North Yarn - has increased their color section. To my joyful surprise, their inventory has greatly increased and diversified. It was hard getting out of the store without going crazy. One more cable row, 4 rows of 4x1 ribbing & the thumb to go. These are a Christmas gift.

Update on my Vintage Sock: Only a couple of more pattern repeats to go before I knit the heel flap. Not too bad. I've been pretty good at knitting one pattern repeat each day. I have to have these completed & in the mail to my secret pal by January 7th. So far, so good...

While at Far North, I picked up the correct size circulars so I can work on another Christmas gift - the Norwegian Star hat from Charlene Schurch's book, Hat's On. I love this book! The patterns are well written & there's a pattern for everyone. It's so hard to choose. While I'm knitting this one (I started yesterday - it's an addictive knit), I'm thinking what I'll knit next & the colors I'll use. I'm using my coffee bean stitch markers from Eva - aren't they cool? Margaret gave me that idea - use a marker at each end of a pattern repeat so I can easily figure out if I made a mistake. Before, I'd wait until the end of an entire row to determine if a mistake was made. And of course - the mistake would always be near the beginning of the row meaning I had to tink several stitches. So not fun. This way is much better & I get to use my stitch markers. :0)

I finished the Fair Isle Mystery Hat. I have mixed feelings about this one. Because of the number of colors, it means tons of ends to weave in. Again - not fun. Also - my gauge changed drastically & the hat is very tight. I like the ways the colors play off each other. I think I just need more practice with my Fair Isle technique.

I've been slowly making progress on the Alligator scarf. The pattern & yarn is from Morehouse Farm. The yarn is a bit scratchy for my taste (it's supposed to be 100% merino, but it doesn't feel like it) - I hope it softens up when I wash it. I'm at the part where I'm repeating the pattern over and over again to create the bumps. It's a brilliant design, but requires the M1 technique by inserting the left needle into the strand & knitting it. I don't really like that because it's slow. Oh well.. I'm trying to finish this as a Christmas gift for Orion. As long as I don't shove it in a bag, and faithfully work on it everyday, I should be okay.

Last, but not least - The Sock I Don't Love.. Earlier in the week I was struck by the "I gotta cast on something new" and took on learning how to do a picot edge. I found the instructions here. I was pleased with how it turned out. However, the love quickly faded. The pattern is Synesthesia, which can be found here. I love the pattern - I love what the sock is supposed to look like. I'm not loving what I've made so far. I'm giving it one more pattern repeat (of only 8 rows) before it dives into the frog pond. I think the picot edge flares too much, making the ribbing very loose. I can only imagine this sock falling down & pooling around my ankles. I'm using the same yarn (Cherry Hill Tree) the pattern suggested as well as the same size needles (Size 2 US) - perhaps my gauge is the problem. We'll see - perhaps I'll come back to this over winter vacation.

That's what I get for not posting for so long - one looooooooong post. Well - back to knitting, laundry, and baking. I'm just ignoring the pile of grading hidden away in my school bag.

Happy Day! Ciao~

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thank You Eva!

Hooray - The Deutsche Post came through! I finally received my swap package from Eva last Tuesday. I've been swamped w/school & Christmas knitting, so I haven't taken the time to upload pictures, etc.

Here's the loot:

Yummy coffee, hard candies, chocolate (my kids have absconded w/most of the chocolate), cool yarn, a calendar w/a photo of my favorite soccer player, Michael Ballack (he's German as well), and cute little coffee bean stitch markers. You can see them peeking out behind the colorful yarn. Here's a closer view:
Aren't they cute? They're already being used in a Christmas knitting project.
Danke schön! Eva!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Passing it on...

Check this out...Whose nimble fingers could those be?

The fingers of my 5-year old son, Iain, of course. While big brother was out playing with friends, Iain expressed an interest of learning how to knit. So - with some chunky yarn and size 13 needles, we were off. He's a quick study and quickly proclaimed "I'm getting the hang of this!"
Even the pros need a little help. Here he's asked me to 'frog' a couple of rows to fix an oops. Yes - he even knows the knitting lingo. First he learns the lyrics to Duran Duran songs & now he's knitting. What's next? I so love this age - where their minds and will are so pliable!

He says he's making a scarf - I'll let you know how that works out.

Meanwhile - here's some big kid knitting:

Socks complete to count for November credit for the SAM4 and the pair for Sockin' in to Maggie. I even finished by the deadline & before the yarn ran out - whew!


Pattern: Broadripple (modified) from

Yarn: STR lightweight in "Spot Rock On" colorway.

Needles: Addi Turbo Size 1 US. Magic Loop method (of course)

Modifications: The original pattern calls for a heavier yarn & knit over 56 stitches. I CO 72 & increased the number of knit stitches between the decreases and yarn overs by 1. I'm happy with the way they turned out - no pooling this time!!

Works in Progress:

  1. Fetching Pair #2 using Mission Falls 1824 wool
  2. Mystery Fair Isle Hat
  3. Child's French Sock from the Vintage Socks book by Nancy Bush
I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We certainly did - a fabulous dinner with my parents & some great friends, knitting, soccer (Orion scored his first goal!), and the Nutcracker. We certainly are thankful!

The secret to a moist turkey is the pre-baking massage.

The 23 lb bird in all it's post-baking glory


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blog Worthy

As the Yarn Harlot said in her Nov. 19th post - sometimes the blog just writes itself. Oh yes - how true that is. I've been busy w/life, work, etc & haven't felt the urge to post until a visit to my parent's house this past Sunday.

Wow - so much blog material.... where to begin?

How about here:
My stepmother is very generous & likes to make things for the family. Before she married my dad, she was a professional designer - trained in Japan (she's Japanese). So - she often hems pants for me (I'm only 5'2"), etc. However, sometimes she comes up some interesting projects. For instance - she felt my husband needed an apron. Yeah right.... Wade needs an apron like a 'fish needs a bicycle' (verse from the U2 song "Trying to Throw Your Arms Around The World"). But of course, she didn't use just any material to make his apron. She used this:
Yes - nothing screams masculinity like an apron made with Transformers material. She's a crafty, creative one - that stepmother of mine. :0) Wade was a great sport & wore it during our entire visit & for the hour long drive home. He's a good son-in-law. Wade wants to me to make it clear that he can and does (upon occasion) cook...

Next up: Eau De Skunk...
Did you know you can purchase essence of skunk? Yeah - neither did I. One of the reasons my father decided to retire in Alaska was the opportunities for hunting and fishing. He's since expanded that to trapping. He's planning on trapping marten out at the cabin, so he made these:
The poor critter doesn't stand a chance - food is placed in the top of the box, a scent stick (smothered with the eau de skunk) is inserted into the box, and the trap is set at the bottom. When the marten enters the box to get to the food - SNAP! - Bye-Bye little marten. Sorry.... For the record, I'm not a fan of wearing fur, etc.

And then - after the critter has met its demise, my dad removes the skin and slips it on to one of these:
Frightening how similar it is to a sock blocker! When I mentioned this, my father & brother shot me interesting looks, but trust me - it works on the same principle: slip the skin onto the blocker & let it dry.

Knitting Updates:

Finished These:

(ignore the snoopy band-aid)

Fetching - knit using yarn from the stash. What a cool & fast knit. Well - it's fast as long as you remember the last cable row on Fetching #2 & don't have to "un-bind-off" and re-knit. I figured I've made progress as a knitter as the thought crossed my mind when I discovered my error that I could just leave it be & reknit an entire new one. Not that it would have been faster to do so; it's just going back to fix mistakes is just so humbling. I'm planning on making more pairs for gifts. I'm considering altering the pattern to include a removable mitten top. I figure that would be more practical for Alaska's cold weather.

Started these:

They are the pattern "Child's French Socks" from Nancy Bush's Vintage Sock book. I'm stash busting & using a ball of Colinette' Jitterbug that I purchased during the road trip this summer.

This is the progress I'm making on Nobleknits Fair Isle Mystery Hat. The outcome isn't much of a mystery to me as I surfed the web to see the finished product after I completed part III of the pattern. My colors are slightly different, but oh well. I love how they work together & I love the Mission Falls 1824 wool. However - I was informed by my knitting pal Mags that a true fair isle uses only 2 colors of yarn at any one time. On some rows I'm using up to three. Mags also passed on to me a nifty way of preventing long ugly looking floats. Take a look...

Making Progress on this:
The modified Broadripple using STR lightweight Spot Rock On. I'm trying to finish these by the end of the month to receive credit for November in the SAM4 & to send off for Sockin' it To Maggie.

Don't ask about the Minimalist Cardigan...

As you can see - my KADD (Knitters Attention Deficit Disorder) still rules my world. I'm looking forward to spending fun times with my family & friends tomorrow & indulging in some productive knitting time.

Weather update:The weather has taken a turn - warm Chinook winds are gusting through Anchorage & melting the glorious snow we received two weeks ago. Argh... Snow doesn't stand a chance in 45.7°F temperatures. So much for the Thanksgiving skiing plans...
Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's Here!!

... and blasting through my stereo! What is it, you ask? Well - if you've been following my missives, at the top I've been tracking the days until Duran Duran's release of their new album Red Carpet Massacre! After dropping off the kids this morning, I hurried to a local music store to procure the goods. Alas - they did not have it!! I like to support the local businesses, but hey - I'm not above heading to the box stores to get my Duran Duran fix. Thank you Fred Meyer!

In one word: Awesome!

Not the Duran Duran we (okay - me) all know and loved from the 80's. They've stepped up the funk a bit - great jamming tunes. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland have added their musical talents to the album. While I don't think Simon, John, Nick, and Roger need extraneous help, perhaps the addition of Justin & Timbaland will help the younger generations realize what they've been missing. I'm so sad when all my students know about Duran Duran is that Hungry Like the Wolf was on Shrek 2. It's not even one of their best songs (in my humble opinion), even if it is one of their most popular.

I have a brief confession - I've been listening to their album for the past couple of weeks as someone recorded one of their concerts on Broadway & uploaded the concert. How fun it's been to be able to sing along (in my car) to the new songs as soon as I popped the CD into my car's CD player. I think Iain can even sing along - he's been overhead singing some Duran Duran tunes while playing in his room. Yes - indoctrination at a young age, very good, yes yes - very good indeed.

So - go out & get this fun album. I guarantee you won't be able to stop tapping your feet & bee-bopping around the room. If you happen to live in San Diego - they'll be in concert there Dec. 9th. I'd love to go, but can't justify the expense to fly down & buy tickets right now. I hope they'll be on the west coast again & I can plan ahead. Dec. 9th is just too close to semester exams to be gone from school.

Yes - good knitting tunes! I think my speed as increased while I've been listening - I'm halfway through Fetching #2.

Yes - It's a good day!!! Thank you Simon, John, Nick, and Roger

More about knitting & registering for the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival (argh) next time - right now I just want to hang out & jam.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Finally - it's snowing! You'd figure that living in Alaska we'd be inundated with snow by now. Yeah - this year - not so much. In fact the temps have been above average for the past week (meaning above freezing) which also means - no snow. When there is no snow in November - it's dark. Dark is dreary. Dark is no fun. Winter in Alaska is no fun without snow. Snow is fun. We like snow. Okay - I'm writing like a 2nd grader now. Geez -

The topic of today's post was going to be "Where the heck is the frickin' snow?" I guess that had to change. However - I won't hold my breath - the temps could shift & then all the glorious whiteness will melt away. *Sigh*

This is the backyard. Unfortunately my little camera won't actually capture the small flakes of snow drifting to the ground. Look carefully & you can see the grass (green!) slowly disappearing under the soft snow.

So - what to do on a lazy Saturday? Should I tackle this:

(a box full of chemistry lab notebooks & papers)? Or this:

Yeah - that's what I'd choose too.

Happy Saturday ~ Ciao