Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ring Out the Old

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

On the first day of this year, I posted those lines, which always bring a lump to my throat for some reason. I thought it might be nice to finish out the year in the same way.

On January 1, 2008 I had 138 full skeins of yarn in my stash (and countless leftovers). On December 31, 2008 I have 119. Of course, that number has gone down and then up and then down again over the past 12 months. Maybe a year from today I'll have gone below 100. That's one of my goals - to use more of the yarn (and other things) I already have.

In 2008 I did not knit as much as I had done the previous year. Still, I am proud of the knitting I did accomplish. Here's the list:

Community Knitting:
4 pairs of slippers
1 pair of socks
6 pairs of mittens
2 pairs of wristwarmers
3 hats
2 toys
1 scarf

A total of 27 items (my largest category, for some strange reason...), including washcloths, toys, baby clothes, hats and sweaters.

Only three items here, one for a friend of Liat's, one for a friend of mine, and one for the sister of a friend.

A vest and the lace trim I used on my recycled jeans bag.

This one is the shocker: only 11 pairs of socks this year! That's probably because I didn't make any baby or toddler sized socks. But still, less than a pair a month? Surely next year I will do better.

Even though I feel I should have done more this year, I know I am very lucky to be able to create things and give them to people in need, or to people I love. Lately, I have come to appreciate more than ever just how full and lovely my life is. Having caring friends is a large part of that, and for that I want to tell you all: thank you. May 2009 bring you all good health and much happiness.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Once upon a time there was a simple, rather homely, garter stitch afghan.It was made many years ago by a budding knitter, who knew little about appropriate sizes for things and could only work the knit stitch, but who loved to knit. Apparently, she also knew nothing about the differences between acrylic and wool yarn, for she used both in the same project, which she proceeded over the coming years to dutifully machine wash and dry as needed.

The funny little aghan was loved and used, especially by the knitter's young daughters. But one day, the knitter finally opened her unobservant eyes and realized the thing was hideously deformed. The wool yarn, you see, had felted quite nicely over the years. And the acrylic...hadn't.

So one blustery winter day during school vacation, the knitter and her daughters unravelled all the acrylic yarn, and rolled it into balls. The felted pieces were set aside to be repurposed as...something else. (Tune in later). It was agreed that the salvaged yarn from the old afghan should be put to use as part of a new afghan. The new afghan will be made up of many cute little knitted fish.

To be continued...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Meital's Knitting Bag

Shortly after I made the recycled jeans bag for myself, I got the idea of making a similar bag for Meital. I even knew which colors I wanted to use, and set aside a stack of fabrics.

But we all know how slowly I operate... In this case, it was a good thing, because I had something I could make for Meital for Chanukah! At first, I'd had a different shaped bag in mind, but then I realized she needed something that was long enough to hold her knitting book (Jean Greenhowe's Jiffyknits) and her 14" straight knitting needles.

Once again, I used an old pair of my jeans. I added a few items I'd saved over the years; a pocket from a pair of jeans Meital probably wore in preschool, and a butterfly embroidery from another old pair she'd loved into holes. Liat made a beaded butterfly especially for the bag.

I started searching out trims to put over the seams, and started adding beads and sequins to embellish. Thanks go to Liat for allowing me to raid her bead stash. And I once again used beads and sequins salvaged from our old plastic mules. There is only a small amount of embroidery, but I pulled out all my hand dyed threads and glossy rayon floss for the occasion.

I'm pretty pleased with the finished result, and so is Meital! (I am not, however, thrilled with the blurry photo).

Here's another one.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Knitted Gifts

In all, I made 6 knitted gifts this year: 3 pairs of socks, 2 hats, and a pair of wristwarmers. Above are the socks for Meital, from Sockotta yarn I was given by my lovely friend Ellen. See how nicely they worked up, Ellen? Meital is delighted with them, and immediately pulled off her socks and put these on when she opened them last night.

And here are Liat's socks. I succeeded in surprising her with these, which made me happy. She thought I would start on them once Meital's were done, and I deliberately fooled her (how evil of me) by waiting until the very last second to finish Meital's socks. Meanwhile, of course, I was secretly working on these as well (up to and including taking refuge in the bathroom to knit undisturbed, once the girls were home on vacation and my stealth knitting time was limited. Yarn is Cherry Tree Hill. Liat also immediately pulled off her socks and put these on last night.

This is the hat I made for Liat, and which did NOT surprise her. This is the second Coronet Hat (pattern on Knitty) I have made; the first one was a gift which has not yet been received, but Liat saw it and wanted the same hat. Actually, she wanted that exact hat, but the color was perfect for the recipient, so I had Liat chose another yarn from my stash (some acrylic I've had for awhile - very soft and a pretty color, but it squeaks when I knit with it. 'Nuff said.) For Liat's hat, I simply picked up the stitches along the cabled band on the right side, so that there would not be a folded up brim; I also made the hat shorter so that it doesn't come down over Liat's earlobes and get tanlged in her earrings.

I've already shown you Avi's socks and the wristwarmers, so we're about caught up now on knitted gifts. Next time, I'll show you the knitting bag I made for Meital.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where to Start?

Hello out there! I hope everyone had/is having a very Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Chanukah. Once again, in spite of my good intentions, I failed to send out holiday cards this year; but I have been thinking of you!

So much has happened since the last time I posted, I hardly know where to begin. So first off, I will show you two of the gifts my sweet, talented and creative girls gave me (not that I'm biased or anything).

Liat made me this bookmark (to go with the Harlan Coben book the girls also got me). The top photo is of Meital, the bottom of Liat. I thought this was just so cute and clever! I hate to hide it inside a book.

And Meital, my budding knitter, made me this sweet little pumpkin from Jean Greenhowe's Jiffyknits, a fantastic book for new, young knitters. All of the adorable toys in the book are made with garter stitch rectangles - small ones. Just perfect for someone who is learning to knit but doesn't have a lot of patience for knitting in one color long enough to make a scarf or even a blanket for a Beanie Baby (dating myself here; probably I should have said Webkins, no?). Once she'd made the pumpkin, Meital decided to add accessories, so she knit a blanket and two hats (they fit on the pumpkin's stem, isn't that cute?).

Okay, enough gushing. For now.

Also this month, I knit a hat to go in a care package to an IDF soldier. The girls' schools often have package drives before Chanukah, to send boxes of goodies to our soliders. Usually, the boxes include soup mixes, snacks, candy and cookies, but you know a knitter just has to include a knitted something, right? The photo is saved from being completely dull (after all, what's exciting about a 2x2 rib black knitted hat?) by the lovely model, don't you agree?

Here we have the wrist warmers I knit for my niece Kim (being modeled by Liat). I have learned that they arrived safely, and fit perfectly! (Love it when that happens).

I have more to show you, but will save some for next time...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


It has become a running joke in my family that I never remember anything, and I never notice anything. Now, I can offer you proof!

Jill presented me with this award (thank you, Jill!) almost a week ago, and I either didn't notice, or noticed, and then forgot (sadly, both are entirely likely scenarios). I appreciate it and am honored.

The Spreader of Love award the rules are:

1. Post a copy on your blog

2. Mention who gave you the award

3. Pass the award on to 6 others. I choose the following:


4. Leave a message on their blog letting them know the honor has been bestowed upon them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crazy Time

I'm sure many of you are in the same predicament as I, crafting madly in an effort to provide lovely gifts and/or cards for your friends and loved ones for the holidays. Still, I apologize for how long it has been since I last posted.

Above you see the socks I knit for Avi, in Opal. Last year, I knit him socks for the first time, by his own request, using up scraps of leftover sock yarn. The resultant stripey socks came out pretty well, and he wears them every night during the winter. I decided to make handknit socks for Avi a Chanukah tradition, but this time I knit the socks from a new skein of yarn. A year from now, if all goes well, he'll have what I was taught was the requisite minimum of any item of clothing, as per the following scenario: a pair in use, a pair in the drawer and a pair in the laundry.

Right now, I have one other completed gift. Another is nearly done. Then I have a number of other things in various early stages of development. Cryptic as that is, it's all I can tell you for now.

So I'll leave you with a gratuitous shot of baked goods, in this case a caramel cake, and wish you all happy crafting!