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!!!