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An Inspiring Book

I’ve been in a bit of a nesting/cleaning mode the past few weeks.

So far, I’ve gone through 80% of the closets, drawers, and cabinets in my house (excluding my yarn stash) and have donated boxes and bags of excess clothing and household items to charity. Honestly, I believe the gust of wind you might have felt was my house exhaling a huge sigh of relief.

I bragged to my knitting group about my progress and one knitter nodded her head and said, “Oh, yes. Swedish death cleaning.” I had never heard of such of thing (my roots are Norwegian, not Swedish) and thought she was kidding.

She has since loaned me a fascinating book written in 2018 by a woman “somewhere between eighty and one hundred years old” who has death cleaned for so many others that she’s “dammed if someone else [will have] to death clean after [her].” Having cleaned out my parents’ house, I completely agree with her. With the exception of my precious yarn stash, which my family knows to distribute among my knitting friends, I don’t want my husband, kids, or siblings to have to deal with what they will see only as clutter.

Perhaps I’m procrastinating on “more important” work that has to be done at my desk, but I now feel the need to revisit all those closets, drawers, and cabinets for a second sweep!

 

Twelve Days of Fun

As an ongoing project throughout the year, I knitted all 12 mini mittens in Kathy Lewinski’s 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland as a gift for an unsuspecting friend. The mittens are quite addictive and I found them hard to put down for other obligations. I’m planning to attach the mittens to a long I-cord to form a garland.  However, if I don’t get to it, they’ll be adorable as separate ornaments.

You can purchase the pattern for all 12 designs in the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland on Ravelry for $5.00, which includes the written pattern and 26 charts (a mirrored version and numbered version for each of the twelve days, plus an alternative picture for day seven). You can also download the patterns separately for free, though I think the $5 price is a steal for all the clever charts!

The mittens are worked with fingering weight yarn on size U.S. 1 (2.25 mm) double-pointed needles. Each mitten measures about 4.5” tall and 2.25” wide (not including thumb). I purchased one 400 yd skein each of three colors for the mittens shown here and I’m fairly certain that there’s enough yarn left to knit another set. That one will be for ME!

Multi Tasking

In the now-I’ve-seen-everything department, my soon-to-be brother-in-law sent me a link to a rocking chair that he thought would interest me.

No kidding!

Who doesn’t love to knit while gently swaying back and forth in a rocker? The Rocking Knit chair designed by Damien Ludi and Colin Peillex takes this concept to a new level. The chair is designed so that kinetic energy produced from the rocker’s gliding motion actually knits a hat as you relax and rock back and forth.

The gears at the top of the chair turn and draw yarn up into what looks like a giant spool knitters with every sway back and forth. As you read the paper, the chair knits a tube that can be turned into a  hat!

Just think — if you were to knit while rocking in this chair, you could produce two hats at once! If the knitting circumference were larger, you could knit a sweater body while knitting the sleeves by hand.

 

 

Go to this website to see the chair in action.

 

Oh, Baby!

In celebration of my niece’s baby (the first grandchild on my side of the family), I designed what I believe is my first knitted baby blanket. I named it Walker Baby Blanket, in honor of my side of the family. My hope is that this soft and squishy blanket will keep her little nugget warm and cozy in a stroller, car seat, or crib.

The blanket begins with a circular cast-on in the center, and then progresses outward in four sections of ever-widening stripes of moss stitch bounded by eyelet increases. It’s edged with garter-stitch stripes and finished with a decorative Channel Island bind-off.

 

This practical blanket is knitted out of machine-washable Knit One Crochet Too DungarEASE (60% cotton, 40% acrylic; 250 yards [228 meters]/100 grams) in Sand (gray), Chambray (blue), Cactus (green), and Buttercup (yellow) on size 8 (5 mm) needles for a gauge of 18 stitches per 4″ (10 cm).

To encourage the new parents to use the blanket, I added a fun “wear it out” tag that I purchased from Four Purls knit shop in Winter Haven, Florida, last fall.

Use the code BABY to get 20% off the purchase price of this pattern on Ravelry between now and midnight on Friday, July 26.

Great Expectations

My niece is expecting what will be the first grandchild on my side of the family. Needless to say, I’m over-the-top excited! So excited that I’ve been busy designing a blanket and two cardigans for the soon-to-be bundle of joy.

The blanket is knitted with Knit One Crochet Too DungarEASE, a machine washable cotton-acrylic blend.

We don’t know the gender of the baby (all will be relived in late April) so I designed one sweater in pink (with ruffles) out of Manos del Uruguay Alegria.

Then I designed a and one in blue (without ruffles) In River City Yarns Hat Trick Semi Solid.

If the baby is a girl, I’ll send both sweaters; if it’s a boy I’ll probably stick to tradition and only send the blue one.

I’m in the process of getting the patterns tech edited and photographed and hope to post them on Ravelry in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned for price discounts when I do!

 

 

Free Time!

I don’t know about you, but I always feel as though I’ve been given a gift each fall when Daylight Savings Time ends. I love the concept of “falling back” an hour.  I only wish it didn’t necessitate “springing forward” each spring — it takes me a week to recover from the lost hour. But I digress.

This year I decided to take advantage of the hour gained by going off Daylight Savings Time last Sunday by starting a new project. I cast on stitches for (yet) another pair of socks at the top of the hour and marked my progress at the end of that hour. The geek in me decided to count the stitches –2,448 stitches in 60 minutes!

Not bad for a free hour’s work!

The yarn is Jorstad Creek Tweed Sock (100% BFL wool; 435 yards [397 meters]/100 grams) in the Chartreuse colorway. I’m using my go-to rib of k3, p1, and working the upper leg on size US 1.5 (2.50 mm) Signature double-pointed needles; I’ll work the lower leg, heel, foot, and toe on size US 1 (2.5 mm) needles. Working the upper leg on one size larger needles is a trick I learned long ago from the venerable Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. It gives just enough flare in the upper leg to accommodate the calf muscle. Brilliant!

How did you use your free hour?

Cat Claws

As many of you already know, I inherited my parents’ cat (Lily) last spring. Lily is sweet and affectionate, albeit a bit needy. I give her plenty of attention, brush her every day (well, almost every day), and let her sleep on my pillow next to my head at night. She’s quick to purr and follows me around the house like a puppy.

The only real issue I have is with her claws. She likes to “poke” me when she wants to be petted but her sharp claws can stab me instead. I’ve tried to clip her claws myself without much luck. She runs away when she sees the clippers. If I persist, she hides under the bed.

I hope that one of you has pointers on clipping cat claws. A couple of months ago I hired a mobile grooming service to come to my house (Lily refuses to go in a cat carrier). It cost a small fortune but at least Lily wasn’t mad at *me*.

 

Please give me advice! I noticed last night that Lily has been using those sharp claws on the furniture too!

 

My Absence

I feel the need to explain why I haven’t posted for several weeks. Last month my most excellent father died. Although there is a hole in my heart the size of the Sahara, I am extremely grateful that he got to die on his terms — in his own home, without pain, and surrounded by his family.

In the last days I took a couple of photos that speak volumes to me. In the first, he’s dozing in his favorite chair listening to classical music with his faithful cat Lily in his lap. Of course he’s wearing the sweater I knitted for him back in 1980! The second photo shows his attachment to Lily, the world’s most loyal cat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have inherited Lily and we’re getting accustomed to one another. She brings me lots of comfort. Be sure to hug someone you love today.

Channeling Bing

To entertain myself while shoveling out from the overnight snowstorm, I took liberty with a classic holiday song. I apologize in advance if I offend anyone…

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!

Winter snowstorm

But my knitting is so delightful!

Progress 3 on Rumplestiltskin

 

Since I’ve nowhere to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

 

I’ve got lots of projects for knitting,

projects for knitting

And a comfy couch just for sitting.

comfy couch

Because I’ve nowhere to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

When I finally get up out of my chair, how I’ll hate how my knees they will ache.

But I’ll have handmade gifts to share; let’s hope that I don’t make a mistake!

All day long my needles will be clicking, and delicious chai I’ll be sipping.

Chai and knitting

I’m so glad there’s nowhere to go. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Outside the snow keeps falling, while my knitting inside keeps calling.

Me with snow shovel

I think there may be enough snow for today. Could the clouds just please go away!

Wishing you all knot-less yarn and warm woolies!

Fun with Leaves

DH and I have spent several days dealing with the pile of leaves produced by our most spectacular ash trees in the front yard.

fallen leaves

I spent one day raking them into piles that DH could “vacuum”.

piles of leaves

Let me just say that the gathering part was a lot more fun when the boys were small. The photo below was taken when the kids were about 2 and 3 years old. That’s Twin One on the left pulling leaves out of his mouth, Son One (the goat herder) in the middle, and Twin Two on the right, laughing the loudest.

Three boys in leaves, 1995

They’re not in college and beyond so we don’t see them very often. Oh, how I miss them!