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Happy Birthday!

Whew, another frenzied gift making time nearly wrapped up. I’ve been out of touch but definitely busy making gifts for a string of birthdays at the end of February and beginning of March.

Today is my brother Brian’s birthday and he got his gift on Friday.

Bender Bending Rodriguez

It was Bender Bending Rodriguez crocheted from the pattern here. He’s in worsted weight yarn, so he is roughly 22″ tall, rather than the 13″ that the pattern author got in DK weight. Big enough he can hold his own beer. 🙂 I sewed a small round “pillow” out of scrap fabric that i filled with poly pellets for his bottom. I’ve had trouble in the past with the pellets falling out of the crochet holes, so I figured this was the safest approach. There are no poly pellets in his feet or hands.

I’ve also fallen head over heels for Shrinky Dinks (plastic that shrinks to 1/3 of it’s original size with 9 times the thickness) and made this card with a magnet on front by tracing a screenshot from Futurama onto a sheet of Ruff n Ready Shrinky Dink that I purchased at Michaels.  I played with pre-printed Shrinky Dinks as a kid, but only recently sought them out for general crafting.

Shrinky Dink card/magnet

For my Mom’s birthday on February 27th, I knit a small purse from a kit (called Lissa) I purchased at Stitches in Baltimore from Swallow Hill Creations. Stringing the beads and knitting on 000 needles probably make this a one of a kind project. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the purse and the card, so hopefully I can update you with a picture from my folks.

For Scott’s Grandma’s birthday on the 24th, I made a little melon ball kitty from mercerized fingering wt. cotton from this pattern, and free-styled a cupcake container. I also made a Shrinky Dink card.

Littlest kitty Shrinky Dink birthday card

The first birthday was my Aunt Carolyn’s on the 21st. and she got a melon ball kitty named Whimsy in his cupcake house. This was based on the idea that everyone needs a little whimsy on their birthday. He has a Shrinky Dink name tag.

Whimsy and his cupcake house

I’m also working on a sweater for Scott out of Cascade 220. I’m hoping to get it done before it is too warm for wool, but since I’m working without a pattern, it could be a trick.

At the prospect of winding all the yarn I would need for his sweater, I decided to invest in a yarn swift and ball winder. In addition to being fun, it has already saved tons of time that I would have spent winding balls by hand. As you can see it doesn’t clamp on every table, but I managed to find a place to use it. 🙂

Swift and Winder

I haven’t been very good at writing a narrative and I do hope to improve, but in the mean time, I do have lots of pictures. 😛

I have not forgotten the improved knitting bag sewing instructions, but the day I was working on that, I was called by a recruiter for an interview and things have been crazy ever since. I hope to have some time in the upcoming week to get that finished and posted.

When you think you know…

After 9 years of marriage, you begin to see patterns. You can usually predict what your spouse is going to do and what kind of gifts they give. We don’t usually exchange holiday gifts, and the last gift I was given was a remote control helicopter. Fun? Yes, but not what I would have picked out for myself.

Today Scott out did himself. He has been saying for days that he has a surprise coming in the mail for me. I had trouble thinking what it could be. He made a big deal about hoping the company was discrete, and how he made sure it had my name on it. I admit he had me quite scared.

Then today a box came from Scott, who was working from home, ran upstairs and couldn’t wait for me to open it. I opened it and I have to admit I was stunned.

Barbara Walker’s treasury of knitting patterns

He bought me knitting books! And not just any books, but the ones I have been longing for and restraining myself until after the holidays: Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns! THE go to guide for stitch patterns. Just flipping through them I see endless possibilities. This will be the beginning of full on design for me. I can’t wait, and Christmas gift planning is already being adjusted to incorporate some patterns from these books.

He sure teases me about knitting, but wants to see me go as far as I can with it. What a guy! With the pressure he’s under from work, I don’t know how he has time to notice me, but I sure do appreciate it.

Just goes to show that when you think you know, you’re most likely to be surprised.

Snow and an FO

Well, it really is winter here in Central NJ. We have the snow to prove it. Here’s a view from our patio door.

I made Scott take a walk with me in the snow to grab a couple shots of his new hat. It is the Marsan watchcap from I knit it from 2 oz. of Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair, even though it calls for 3.5-4 oz. I had exactly 1 ft of yarn left, so I don’t know if I can get that lucky again. I used US8 dpns from Lion Brand (set of 5) and knit the Large size (88 stitches to start).

The purl stitches look a bit open, but he says it is pretty warm. I don’t think I would do the decreases at the beginning of each dpn again, since it lead to ladders at the decrease. I haven’t blocked it yet, but it may have to wait until it needs washing. 🙂

Overall it was a very easy knit.

Snow falling fast

Snow falling fast

We’re in the north again!

It seems winter is here. This morning as I was getting ready to take Scott to work, I looked out the window and there were HUGE snowflakes falling out of the sky! Though we have seen snow in recent years, it hasn’t been so large or so heavy or pretty in a while. I tried to get a picture out of our courtyard entrance.

If you look closely you can see the streaks of snow falling, but as none of it stuck, this picture is mostly of the leaves.

Happiness is… a pile of yarn.

I officially have a stash!

Originally uploaded by Stellar Babble.

I’m grinning from ear to ear today!

Scott and I got up and drove ~ 1 hour to a farm west of Princeton where there was a yarn/yard sale.
It was the farm of Lee who used to own the Glenmarl Woolworks in Princeton.  She had a lot of inventory left over and she was donating the proceeds to charity.  I got all this wool for less than $75!

Haul includes:
1 skein of Plymouth yarn Baby Alpaca Grande
3 skeins of rowanspun dk – 2 red , one navy
1 skein of Cascade 220 Tweed
and 9 skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair
(4 wintergreen, 2 clove, 2 glacier lake and 1 midnight blue)

Soooooo happy!

And she said that she will be pulling new yarn from the basement for tomorrow. Very tempting!


Urban Necessity, MagKnits

Originally uploaded by Stellar Babble.

Another project for the month of August. These have been done a while, I just haven’t had the ambition to figure out how to take a picture of both of my hands until today.

Winter wear made from 1 skein of Catalina Alpaca/Silk. Very soft and warm. I hope they don’t stretch too much.

Urban Necessity pattern from MagKnits. I used k2p2 ribbing and left the back plain. Had some trouble counting where to put decreases on mitten cap, but they look passable.


V-neck with Deep Ribbing, Fitted Knits

Originally uploaded by Stellar Babble.

I got the Fitted Knits book in May, the yarn in June, started in July and finished in August…barely. I finally sat down and sewed in the ends on this sweater. It is my first sweater with fancy wool yarn, and boy is it warm. 🙂

I think I’m going to like it, as long as I can get over it being so scratchy. The llama/ wool mix is new to me, and I bought the yarn online without feeling it first. I think I would probably choose something that is softer and sheds less if I made it again, but overall, I’m thrilled.

I still have to block it, but never having done that before, I am a little nervous. I may just call this done until I wear it this winter and worry about blocking with the first wash.

Little Wonder

On Saturday I got a birth announcement for Griffin. He was born 2 lbs, 3.5 oz on June 19th to my friends Tiff and Drew. The pictures of the tiny babe made me want to make something to keep him warm and snuggly in the months ahead.

This sweater is the result. Shoulder to hem it is 10″ tall. Buttons are 1″. Considering he was born 15″ long, this will probably be huge for a while, but I’m hoping they like it just the same.

baby sweater

It is made from BERNAT Bamboo Natural Blends yarn in color Dill. At 67 yds per ball, it took 3 balls of yarn to make the One Skein Wonders Pattern “One-Skein-Wonder Baby Sweater”. I used 6mm (US10) needles and my gauge was smaller than the pattern’s at 14st/4″ ( pattern called for 12st/4″). The proportions seem ok and since I am knitting for a preemie, I figured smaller was better. The pattern says the stitches are large enough to accommodate buttons, but it didn’t look like it in my case, so I made button holes 2 stitches wide. I was thinking that the neck closed at 11″ and calculated button position with that number, realizing after I got to the top that the top 2 buttons were going to be closer since the front length is 9.5″. I think it worked out okay though, since I don’t think the top one will be buttoned much.

The yarn is incredibly soft and drapes rather than stretches. I hope the weight isn’t too much for little Griffin, and that it will be comforting for many months. It is so adorable, I am having trouble packing it up and sending it off.

Baby things are fun to make. They are so small, they just fly off the needles. Before I started the sweater, I finished a soaker for my new friend from Knit night, Larissa, who is expecting at the beginning of October and is planning on cloth diapering whenever possible. I made a size large of the Curly Purly pattern from some Deep Charcoal Lamb’s Pride Worsted she had in her stash. This was my first attempt at short rows, and there are some little holes on either side I’m not happy with, but for the purpose of covering cloth diapers, everything worked out just fine.

Curly Purly Soaker

I am also very close to finishing the “V-neck sweater with deep ribbing” from Fitted Knits. I just have to weave in the ends and block it, so I hope to have pictures by the end of the week. It was my first project with fancy yarn, and it turned out okay. I used the specified yarn, Cascade Pastazza, but I think I might be allergic to Llama wool. Every time I work with it, my eyes get itchy, but I’m still hoping to wear it. We’ll see.

That’s about it in knitting news.


Well, it has been less than a week and already packing fatigue has set in. Progress has been made, but there is more stuff everywhere you look. I have limited the kitchen to 2 pots one pan and a couple of plate/bowls that I bought when we moved back to Berkeley and couldn’t find the dishes. 🙂

Considering we still have more than 2 weeks (the PODS container arrives on the 16th), I am not too worried, but maybe I should be. Dr. B spent Sunday working on the books and got one book case empty. That room is going to be a lot of work before it is all done. He put all the stuff he didn’t want in the rest of the house into that room, not to mention all the stuff he really wanted close by. Part sanctuary, part junk room, it will take a lot to empty it. Some of it I can do, but some of the books he still needs, so I am waiting for some direction.

Dr. B is still spending every day at work just like nothing is changing, trying to finish things before he leaves. He already has plans to come back to Austin in July to finish some stuff, but his new boss is going to want him to work there on the new stuff very quickly.

On the flip side, my secret sock is coming along nicely. I have turned the heel and am working on the gusset. I haven’t quite figured out how to keep there from being a hole right were the picked up stitches meet the top, but it doesn’t look too bad. Considering I have only knit one sock in cotton on US3 needles, I don’t feel too bad about it. Using nice sock yarn gives it a lovely look and feel. I am following Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s instructions in Knitting Rules! and things are going smoothly. She really makes a good argument for knitting in general, not that I needed much persuasion. I have made 3 hats and a sock since I read her book, and that is just the start. I have been reading knitting blogs for several hours a day. So much fun to see what people are making and what skill is out there. Hopefully one day I’ll have the skills and endurance to tackle a sweater.

At least in New Jersey I will have the weather for wool. Knitting is kind of a silly hobby in Texas. Too hot for most everything.

I snatched a couple of photos from Jennie’s flickr site of me in NYC. I can hardly wait to get back there!
Tea For Two
Times Square

It’s been a while…

I have been reading blogs again since I stopped working, and it has made me want to try posting again.

Lots of things have changed since my last post. Let’s see…
1)I started and stopped working after 6 months as a contractor for a company that makes fused silica apparatus for the semiconductor industry.  I think everyone (including me) thought it felt like I was there longer, because I got some really nice gifts when I left.
2)The reason I quit is because we are moving to Highland Park NJ in the middle of April so that Dr. B can start a new job at Rutgers University.
3)I just got back from a trip to find a place, which was great fun because our sister-in-law, Jennie, came up from Baltimore to spend the weekend with me. It was my first time in New York City, and boy am I smitten.
4)I’ve learned to knit and have been bitten by the knitting bug in a major way. Even found time to visit a LYS while I was in NJ and picked up one skein of sock yarn. Since I have so much packing to do, the knitting is limited to half an hour during the day as a reward. I have been known to do nothing all day but knit if I have a project I am into. It would be disasterous in this case, so I am exercising control.
5) After reading blogs about the Yarn Harlot’s “represent” day with yarn crawls in NYC, I am anxious to get out there, but I know Dr. B will flip out if my knitting habit really takes off. From what I see on the web, I am only in the early stages of the addiction. I will have to exercise discipline or get a job real quick to support my habit since the yarns available look so yummy.

Check out my flickr site if you want to see what our new apartment looks like. Checking out those photos and thinking about NYC is what keeps me moving in the drudgery that is packing.

I am going to try to post more, if only to be able to come back and read about what I have been doing when I look back and say “Where did all the time go?”


The end of David and Jennie’s Wedding day

The end of David and Jennie’s Wedding day

Originally uploaded by Stellar Babble.

By the end of the day, we were all tired, but Rodney did finally get a shot of Scott and I together. Since he was best man, we didn’t see too much of each other that day. He looks sharp in the tux though

The Morning of David and Jennie’s Wedding

The Morning of David and Jennie’s Wedding

Originally uploaded by Stellar Babble.

For those that want to know what I wore to David and Jennie’s wedding in May, here’s a nice shot that Rodney (their photographer) took. This is in the bridal suite where the ladies were preparing for the wedding. I am wearing a vintage dress I found in Berkeley.

Where to start…

It seems that a chronicle of activities is a good way to measure the use of a day. Publishing it for the world might just help jumpstart the motivation section of my brain that has been wilting from neglect.
My days are primarily filled with crafty things, so for right now, that will probably be the majority of the content I provide.