Thursday, December 27, 2007

and in closing...

2007 was a great year for my knitting. Having this blog has breathed a little bit of life into what used to largely be a solo adventure. Thanks for reading! I've enjoyed getting to know more of you and though most of us have never met, I call you my friends.

And for your viewing pleasure:

Annika in the hat she requested I knit.

Upside Down Daisy hat from Susan B. Anderson's Itty-Bitty Hats, knit with the suggested yarns of Rowan handknit dk cotton and ggh Samoa.

Happy New Year to everyone! I wish you love and good health in 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

prep, chill and bake

The knitting needles are at rest. Beware, though, because now the baking begins in earnest.

"lemony snicket" recipe here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

socks make the world go round

Rampantly knitting. Needles flying. Pinkie finger cramping.

What had begun as yarn but is now socks:

completed ballet teacher socks
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Multi in Ballerina Blues; basic 3x1 rib sock

completed Maggie's socks
White Oak Studio tvyarn sock in Fried Green Tomatoes; Shock Wave pattern

I need to make another pair of socks in the Ballerina Blues colorway for the other daughter's ballet teacher, too. Hopefully I can get those done almost as quickly as the first pair. 5 days? C'mon, I can do it!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

if at first you don't succeed...

August 07: began "Zeeby's Bag" at my sister's request for a Christmas gift.

October: needed to order more yarn than pattern called for. Why, I don't know. I didn't make this bag any larger than the one in the book. Anyway, waiting for the yarn to arrive pushed this project back a bit, because of course I had to start something new...

November: Finished the straps and the bag languished, unseamed, as do all of my projects that require finishing.

December: December? How did time pass so quickly?! Bag seamed and straps attached. But wait! Kerstin wanted an anchor.

Uh, that is NOT an anchor. Nope. To prove it, I asked flickr and ravelry friends to check it out and tell me what they thought it was. And they thought exactly what I thought: a stick figure falling on it's ass.

Let's try, try again...

Much better, right?? The bag is lined with the pin-up girl fabric, since I was fully aware that such a bag would stretch and stretch and stretch when used. "Felt me!" is what I really kept hearing while seaming this up. Hopefully Kerstin likes it. My fingers are crossed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

christmastime is here again

aka: Good-bye November

I decided to start decorating today for Christmas. The pride and joy of the year is the family of hand-knit Santa stockings for my three kids and husband. You all were asking where my stocking was when I posted about the stockings previously, and the answer to that was "in a box in the attic". Now that the decorations have come out of hiding, the lonely sock was so happy to meet with its new relatives.

My stocking is hard to see in a photo. Obviously, the face and name are not on one side, as the stockings I knit are. My name, "Melana", and the face cover the entire surface of the stocking great-grandma made. Her Santa face was knit in the body of the stocking, but the name is duplicate stitched. On the ones I knit, I duplicate stitched both the name and the face. Her yarn is some sort of acrylic, which has lead to the melting of stockings when I was little. I, of course, being a yarn snob, do not use acrylic, so these stockings are all of Lamb's Pride Worsted.

On the needles (active needles, that is) are Maggie's Fried Green Shock Waves:

Please read about Maggie, and see if your heartstrings don't pull a little. I decided that even if the deadline is today, Maggie can still use socks tomorrow. Anyone with a sock obsession is deserving in my book!

The yarn is White Oak Studio TVyarn in Fried Green Tomatoes, which is actually a colorway exclusive to the Chick Flick tvyarn Sock Club. I think that the next three-month run will begin in February...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

thankful for

generous, loving husband
healthy, beautiful kids
plenty to eat
warm, lived-in home
caring, giving friends

i hope you all have a wondrous, family-filled, heart-filling, tummy-filling thanksgiving.
xoxo, melana

a great mail day

check out the loot! There are two skeins of sKNITches BeBop Sock: Turtleback (green) and Preppy (brown); the purply mass is the gorgeous Yarn Pirate Booty Club installment for November: a BFL in Solstice; everything else is from Leslie! SO generous! She answered my inquiry of how to knit socks with the magic loop method by sending an instructional booklet, but also included a skein of yarn, a pattern for the yarn, a sweet note and one of her handsewn tissue holders. Thanks Leslie!!

I've just cast on the mate to Karma's Good Karma socks, but what I really need to complete is my sister's Christmas gift. Kerstin asked for Zeeby's Bag, which she saw in Stitch n Bitch, but with one modification: an anchor on the front. Her fiance is a Marine, and with an anchor, she can represent! I also found USO pin-up style girls on fabric, with which I plan to line the purse. Hopefully I can figure out how to do a pocket of some sort.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

knitting for mother-in-laws

What I've been knitting this weekend:
pattern: Charade
yarn: Yarn Pirate Merino Sock in Karma
needles: size 2 dpn
gift for: Karma, my husband's step-mother

What I finished earlier this week:
pattern: Garter Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
yarn: Lorna's Laces in Ballerina Blue
needles: size 2 dpn
gift for: Linda, my husband's mother

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

knitting for mothers

It's November, and the days are gorgeous. So much sun, mild temperatures. I wish that we had this weather everyday: crisp mornings, warm afternoons, early evenings...

For my mom, who came back out to California to help me during the Southern California Firestorm, I made a Coronet. It's made of a lovely pistachio colored Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I'm hoping that this hat is warm and can cover her ears in the cold Colorado air, but that it won't be itchy.

I began my holiday knitting in earnest this week. For my mother-in-law I cast on Garter Rib socks from Sensational Knitted Socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi. The colorway is a Yarn Market exclusive called Ballerina Blues, based on the painting "Dancers at Rest" by Edgar Degas. I'm knitting these on size 2 dpn.

The sock is coming out beautifully. This is the first Charlene Schurch pattern I've done, and I have to say that she is making her way to patron sock saint status in my book. Her heel flap, with its garter stitch border, is not only extremely easy to pick up stitches from, but is aesthetically pleasing. And though I have seen other patterns with a solution to gaps at the gusset, Charlene is the only pattern-writer to show me how to successfully avoid that little stretched out stitch I always get where my gusset begins.

Other holiday knitting: for my (step)mother-in-law I am knitting socks in Yarn Pirate Merino Sock, in a colorway that shares her name: Karma. I finally bought more Lamb's Pride Worsted to finish up my sister's Zeeby's Bag; I have only the straps to complete, but I will be lining this bag as well. I may knit a Chevron Scarf for my sister-in-law. I have the requisite Socks that Rock in Farmhouse and Watermelon Tourmaline; though they were not purchased with the intent to become a scarf, but to be socks.

In the last Yarn Pirate Booty Club installment, Georgia sent a couple of long hot pink circular needles, so I'm pondering whether I should look into learning the Magic Loop method. Do any of you do this? Did you take a class, or did you find a tutorial online? If you have a good tutorial to share -- one heavy with photos AND verbiage -- please post in the comments. After the Garter Rib socks are done, I may try it out.

eta: Laurel found out on Saturday that she IS the baby mouse that gets shot in the rear during the Nutcracker! Yay Laurel!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


happy birthday to punkin, who is beyond excited to be classified as a "tween" for four years.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

let the halloweening begin

Aaah, sweet success. I love the warm rush I get when I slide the last needle out of a project and find I am then holding a finished object.

I'm sure you've all heard or seen of the fires that are raging through Southern California. I simply can't believe that there are now 18 different fires and that the majority of those that broke out today are probably due to arson. If you've read my previous posts, you're probably aware that Husband is a firefighter. On Sunday, while at work, he and his crew were called up to join a team of 15 other firefighters and head down to L.A. The last update from Husband I received was via text message this evening: he's in the town of Fillmore protecting homes. He'll probably be up through the night working the line, only resting once he's pulled off-line sometime tomorrow. I'm thinking I wouldn't be standing after 24 hours, let alone lugging 60lbs of protective gear and a charged hose line around a neighborhood.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

everything pink

Today was Annika's Everything Pink Party. Here's what the kitchen looked like:
Appropriately, we had pink lemonade, strawberry marshmallows, pink shades of Jelly Bellys, and a tiered cake.
The cake itself is a white cake -- the best ever! -- with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream between the layers, and used for the swirls and polka dots, and a plain Meringue Buttercream on the outside. Yum!
Hopefully it was a birthday she'll always remember. We made three tutus with nearly 20 yards of tulle, of which maybe I'll post a picture of when I get a more internet-compatible shot. We also beaded bracelets and danced around with boas. Very fancy!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


happy birthday, sweet girl!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

yes, i'm new...

In my last posting, I saw that I cannot change the font type (as in bold, italic, etc.) nor can I click on the little globe with the chain to link anything to another site. All of those tools that are normally in the header above the field in which I type my post are just gone! Is it something in my settings? The only tools that ARE available are the spell check and insert photo buttons.

I'm getting irked.

Now for those of you who do not use Blogger but who have found your way here anyway, I ask for your guidance as well. I have the aforementioned Fitted Textured Sweater still waiting to be seamed. Should I seam it, as a learning experience, even though I know right now that I will NEVER wear it? Or do I frog the $110 worth of yarn and re-ball it and save it for another, yet to be determined project?

Thanks in advance for your help in either of my predicaments!

**ETA: I realized the problem this morning (10/17). I had begun using Safari rather than Firefox, and once I opened the edit page in Firefox, everything was there again. YAY!**

Monday, October 15, 2007

a reprieve

Obviously I'm not a committed blogger; I usually average three posts a month, right? And if September hit the payload with six posts, then I've got a little lee-way for October...

No seriously, I haven't been posting because I've just been REALLY busy. In fact, this entry won't even include much knitting-related news, and that's because I've not had time to knit! My mom came out from Colorado last week. It was a great visit during which her focus really seemed to be hanging out with the kids. Mom left Saturday, and the kids and I were at the kitchen table that night. Annika said that she really liked playing hair salon with Grandma. Gavin (age 2) said "gwamma, gwamma", and Laurel began to cry. Then she tearfully -- and with a little genuine but dramatic flair -- cried "Grandma JUST left! I can't talk about her right now!"
mom & me, a couple of years ago

So since I've no knitting to really share (although I haven't blogged about my Spookly Socks -- click on sidebar) I thought I'd do one of those "30 things about me" posts. That way, you can say you know me better.

1. I'm young. I have an issue with being the youngest mom at a playgroup or a Mom's Club function. Recently, I've noticed that there are younger moms than me, but then I remember that they're just joining the club because they are new moms, and usually to just one kid.

2. I love pilates on the reformer, but I'm not a skinny person. I wish I were. My new resolution is to up my game in the regular gym. Then the toned muscles I have can emerge from some excess baggage. Literally.

3. As per #2, my main motivation for being fit is so I can see my kids' kids, and my kids' kids' kids, etc. My secondary motivation is because when I start knitting more sweaters -- which I WILL do one day -- I can buy fewer skeins of the required yarn. It's all about the yarn budget! ;-)

4. I hate my kitchen. You will probably never see pictures of my kitchen. Period.

5. My husband is a pack-rat. I wish I had the balls to start throwing stuff out -- stuff that he wouldn't realize he was missing -- but I don't.

6. I played volleyball throughout high school. I loved it. On varsity, we had "specialties". Mine was back-row: you know, digging balls and such. I can still dig a fast spike, roll backwards, land on two feet and get up. Quickly.

7. My dad collects Hot Wheels, and so always gave them to me and my sibs. Then he started giving them to my girls. They weren't impressed. I'm secretly happy that I have a son just so my dad can push Hot Wheels at him.

8. This school year, I'm Room Mom, on the Parent Board, and helping with a huge fundraiser that occurs this month. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now because besides this,

9. two daughters have birthdays coming up. Annika will be four on Wednesday and Laurel will be eight later this month. We're hosting an "Everything Pink/Fancy Nancy" party for A and L will be hosting our first sleepover.

10. My favorite foods: baked brie & crunchy french bread; chicken tortilla soup; lemon shrimp skewers; nectarines; Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Lattes & Pumpkin Muffins, but not the fake cream cheese junk in the middle.

11. I love getting Pottery Barn catalogs. I wish I lived in the pages of PBK.

12. I love books. All books. My favorite gifts are bookstore gift cards.

13. The kids are down with child-parent PDAs. I will enjoy it while I can.

14. I have reddish-blonde hair. That's me, as a toddler >>>>. So far, none of the kids have it.

15. I have one tattoo: a sun on the outside of my ankle. It's 10 years old. I should have it re-inked, but I'm afraid of how it might turn out.

16. I don't particularly like jewelry on me. On other people, yes, but not me.

17. So I only wear two things: earrings (24/7) and a watch (like 18/7).

18. I love sock yarn. But fingering weight only. Worsted just seems too thick to wear in shoes...

19. Acrylic -- literally -- makes me want to itch.

20. I have sensitive skin. I itch quite a bit. I'm in the process of tossing perfectly good lotions/soaps/creams because I need to find what is still making me scratch.

21. My calendar is a dry erase board (and it's Pottery Barn!) which is color coded. Each member of the family has a color. As the mom, I got last pick. I'm orange. ew. I should have taken executive rights and selected first. But then I'd have mommy guilt.

22. I struggle with mommy guilt. Especially when I'm on the computer, ignoring my kids. :-/

23. Husband is a firefighter. He works a 48-hour shift. That means I'm the one stuck with morning duties when he's gone -- which is actually three mornings a week at least. I hate mornings. Actually, I just hate getting up out of the warm bed.

24. The daughters dance ballet and tap. And Laurel is going to perform in the Nutcracker again this year. It's an honor. And this year it's in a fancy new art center. She is going to be a baby mouse during the fight scene between the rat king and the Nutcracker. She's hoping she can be the one baby mouse that gets shot in the rear, since it's the only solo part.

25. She was a gingerbread cookie in the Nutcracker two years ago, and the naughty cookie at that. It was the only solo part. She loves solos.

26. Last year, she couldn't audition because she was too young. To be a cookie, you must be selected, not audition, thus the gap in performances.

27. I realize those last three aren't about me. But I can add that because she's involved in the Nutcracker, it means that I must shuttle her to multiple dance classes a week, toting two other kids with me, sometimes until 10pm, and that I also must volunteer 10 hours of time to help the production.

28. My ex-boyfriend is a world-class computer hacker. Seriously. Like government-wants-to-hire-him good. But he refuses to talk to me, so I don't know much else.

29. I want to learn to crochet so that I can make Babette.

30. I love riding my bike to the central neighborhood mailbox to get the mail. Especially in the fall, when the street is covered in leaves and I kick them up with my tires.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

good-bye September

How quickly did it fly by for you? It feels like I was only just anticipating Autumn's arrival, and once I can officially wipe my dry-erase calendar of September, I will be basking in the cool fall air.

This week a bug has bit me. It was the deadly FinishYourUFOs bug. Thus:

I think I blogged before that the reason I wanted to learn to knit was so that I could knit Christmas stockings. My great-grandmother had knit everyone in her family Christmas stockings very similar to these. In fact, as soon as my mother would announce the birth of my siblings, we'd soon receive a hand-knit stocking for the babe.

When I married, my husband very solemnly hung a tube sock next to my well-loved hand-knit Christmas sock. I nearly fell over in shock. Although my stocking was a great decoration, he said, one of the best things about his family's regular-old-sock tradition was when he'd hang up a bigger sock every year of his childhood. Couldn't we consider his tradition, he'd asked. Umm... I don't think so!

A few days later, the tube sock was replaced by a "temporary" fleece stocking, then a still "temporary" tapestry-like stocking (it's now five years old). I began to wonder when I'd learn to knit. It wasn't until 2003 that I took a knitting class at our community college, and of course, I began my search for the stocking pattern. The search ended in a little knit shop in Colorado in 2004. Finally, a similar pattern to the stocking I had at home! This pattern was actually part of a kit, sold with enough Lamb's Pride for one sock, and is from Yarn-Craft Supplies in Wisconsin.

2005 came and went with nary a stocking stitch. After my last child was born, though, I began knitting on the stockings in earnest. Spring of 2006 is the official start date of these four stockings. Today is the finished date. Only 18 months later. How sad is that? I'll be overjoyed this Christmas season, though. And every one thereafter. And hopefully my children will want me to knit stockings for their families, too, remembering how they hung their stockings at home so long ago.

I really need to finish my Louisa Harding sweater, too. I have to seam the sides and the set-in sleeves. I'm a bit intimidated, since I've never set in sleeves before. $100 in yarn may end up an expensive lesson in how not to seam. Oh well, though...

The last project I have to share with you is my newly begun Hedgerow Sock. I'm loving the pattern, since it's easy to memorize and I could knit it while watching Grey's Anatomy premiere and catching up on anything I've DVR'd in the week.

Have a great first week of October!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

our first rainy day

... and I've got a completed pair of Embossed Autumn Leaves with which to celebrate.

Friday, September 21, 2007

knittin' my bit

one can get so much done when one is sick.

pattern: Embossed Leaves from Interweave Knits Favorite Socks
yarn: The Plucky Knitter 100% merino in Pumpkin Latte
needles: size 4 dpn for twisted rib cuff and size 3 dpn for body of sock

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Charade Parade

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's an FO to share!

I finished these Charades last night. As I had mentioned before, I had intended to start an undulating rib sock but instead the Yarn Pirate called out, "No! More Charades!" As fun as the pattern is, I'm over it, and moving on to (drum roll please):

yes, Embossed Leaves. Will these be done in time to welcome the first day of Autumn, September 23? We shall see! The gorgeous yarn is from The Plucky Knitter: 100% merino fingering. I already had to frog the first 16-round pattern repeat. I had made the cuff in size 4 needles, then wanted to change to size 3. I realized that I had switched out only two of the four needles once I had completed the first repeat.

I'm also anxious to begin Garter Rib socks with my Zuluknitty:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

mission completed

ta-da! Not only am I sending out a second blog post this week, I'm also sending out the Fingerless Gloves I knit up for Sarah! phew! I finished these in four (?) days, which is record time for me, considering I've got three kids under 7 years of age. It was so much fun to have a project that I knew I must get off the needles. I've set deadlines for myself before, but really, I've never held fast to them. They'll be out in tomorrow's mail, and I'll be left with the many other projects that have been languishing since Sunday.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

WIPs: kid [and] gloves

How time flies! Two years ago, I had just delivered our little baby boy. Today, he's running around, climbing on the entertainment center and speaking in sentences! To think that I worried he'd develop more slowly in comparison to his sisters. He's moving at lightning speed, and probably just to keep up with those big sisters of his.

Since he IS a little daredevil, and because he's been running around after bath time with his hooded towel over his head and calling it a cape, I thought I'd knit him one. It's not unusual for me to think that one of my kids would love a particular knitted item, I knit it and then he or she hates it and refuses to wear the thing. This Greatest American Hero cape from New Knits on the Block is no different. Gavin loved it until I put the grosgrain ribbon closure around the neck. Now he will humor me by wearing the cape for literally three seconds and then he lifts his head and looks to the ceiling and groans "take it off".

So in this badly composed picture, he is throwing a fit. But he's wearing it. And that's what counts.

My other pet project is the fingerless gloves by Wendy of Knit and Tonic and I'm knitting them for Sarah at the Plucky Knitter. Sarah was looking for knitting volunteers; poor thing spends so much time dyeing yarn she's got no time to knit! She sent me a skein of her 100% merino wool in this gorgeous tonal plum colorway, I'll knit the gloves, send them back, and she'll have a project to show off her fantastic work at a LYS's fall open house. Thankfully, you don't have to go to her LYS to get The Plucky Knitter yarns. They're all over at Sarah's etsy shop. Go get some -- it's ALL beyond-words-beautiful! My two favorite base yarns are the above-mentioned merino and the merino-cashmere blend.

Not much else has been happening here. I visited a somewhat "L" LYS today. It was my first time at Knit This, Purl That. I loved that the gal working there sat on the couch and hung with my kidlets while I shopped around -- she seemed genuine and my daughters ate that up. Why can't all LYS be so welcoming to children?? I'm positive that the mom-customers would spend more money since they have more time to shop. I, in fact, had only gone in to search out the Lantern Moon Sox Stix and came out with two skeins of Lorna's Laces along with my needles. The colorway is somewhere I have always wanted to go: Tuscany.

Thanks to a Friend for giving me a kick in the rear to post. It may have been another week before I'd gotten over here!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

happy days are near again

I'll preface by saying it's in the low 100's today, but I'm pretending otherwise. My favorite season is Autumn. Windows open, breezes blowing, leaves falling, chilly mornings, sweaters and boots, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and pumpkin muffins... There may be nothing better.

I think that splurging on the 2% milk-with whip version AND the muffin will weigh on me once I'm on the Pilates reformer tomorrow!

Autumn also holds a special place in my heart because all three of my kids celebrate their birthdays, I love Halloween, and let's face it: once the costumes are hung up and the candy is stashed away, the retail rush of Christmas and other Winter Holidays begins. And you all must know by now that I can do my fair share of shopping.

My recent spree(s) have included lots of yarn for hand-knitted gifts I plan on making for Christmas. My sister has requested "Zeeby's Bag" with an added flair of "Marine swag" -- as in USMC Marines. I'm looking for some retro fabric to line the bag, and I think I'll duplicate stitch an anchor on the lower right hand corner.

My great UPS guy dropped off a box from Yarn Market yesterday. It was an order I'd placed a week ago and included an Addi Turbo so I can start The Great American Hero cape from New Knits on the Block for my son, Rowan dk handknit so I can make more Upside Down Daisy hats, and gorgeous and exclusive Lorna's Laces in Ballerina Blues:

Have you seen these Impressionist-inspired yarns at Yarn Market? My mother-in-law will swoon upon receiving some socks made from this. Once I saw the yarn in person, I went back an ordered six more skeins. The girls' ballet teachers will be getting socks for their end-of-year thank you gift.

I wanted to thank all of you who have been reading my blog thus far. I wish I could post more, but with three young ones about, I'm satisfied if I can get one post up a week. Thanks also to those of you who have linked my blog to yours. I take it as the highest compliment!

Have a great week!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Moratorium? What moratorium?!

So I think I voluntarily said in my last post that I'd not purchase any more goods to support my habit. I can't remember when exactly that went out the window, but it absolutely has. All of the fantastic things for which I was waiting to arrive have come, and my favorite is the Namaste bag I got over at Scout's. I'm now waiting for three skeins of yarn from The Plucky Knitter -- you have to check her out! Her colorways are to die for, and she just got picked up at The Loopy Ewe and One Planet Yarn and Fiber; hopefully her yarn doesn't become extinct so that I have to stalk websites just to see what's been updated.

Speaking of, I've never been fortunate enough to buy a skein of Yarntini directly from Jessica. Those skeins that do make it on eBay are always listed at a ransom, but besides that, I hate to buy a great yarn from a middleman at $40 when the indie dyer still only sells the yarn at $25. In any case, I've been on an autumn color kick lately and bought Pure Fall via eBay. I think I'll love it, and maybe Jessica will forgive me.

As for what is on the needles this week:

I'm still working on my Annika socks. They are slow going -- I keep them in the car for when I have to wait in the pick-up line at my daughter's school.

I cast on another Charade, this time in Rum Runner Yarn Pirate. I had fully intended to make a pair of socks in an undulating rib, but as soon as I got past the cuff, I was a woman possessed and Charade #2 began.

The Louisa Harding sweater is partially seamed. I am NOT liking it at all. I was in love with how this sweater fit -- on the model. I should have realized right away that I look awful in crewnecks. Anyway, I'll finish seaming it, for the practice of it, and then sock it away...

I have finished the duplicate stitching on a lot of the Christmas stockings. I am making four, and of the four, there is one I had to frog to the heel so I can add more length to the leg. They will be done before Christmas, though.

My afghan is hibernating, as per my Ravelry page. Have you been to Ravelry to put your name on the invite list? Or have you a Raveler already? Yes? Then have you donated?? Ü

And, as promised, a shot or two of my finished Charades in Rosie:

**and yes, those are Danskos!**