Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Selfish Knitting Month

A few years ago, a blogger tagged January as selfish knitting month.  Although we knitters/crocheters  have something on the needles year round, most projects done in the last 3 or 4 months of every year are holiday gifts for our friends and loved ones.  What better way to celebrate all the hard work that produced heart-felt gifts than to start something special just for you?  Choosing my first selfish project of the month was tough  (there are 650 patterns in my Ravelry queue) but the winner - just for the luxury factor alone - is this B├ęcot hat by Julie Hoover.
It's a classic slouchy shape made with a luxurious yarn.  The suggested yarn is Jones and Vandermeer Happy Mink.  It's a guilt-free mink mixed with cashmere.   Last week my yarn came from Knit Purl Yarns.  They are my current favorite online site to satisfy my yarn snob tendencies (lol).  I went with the model color "Truffle".  My fingers can't move fast enough on this one. With the temperatures in single digits today, I'd like some instant gratification to wear when I have to go out tomorrow.  I'm off to cast on ............ 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Best of 2013

Happy New Year to all.  Renewing the blog with a fresh look for the new year.  It's an understatement to say that 2013 went by in a flash. 

  • From retirement to working a couple days a week to keep the mind fresh (and afford my yarn habit);
  • Leisure travel - Atlantic City, Williamsburg, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Dover;
  • Knit trips - Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival; Stitches Midwest; Shenandoah Fiber Festival; New York Sheep and Wool Festival
  • Family fun with the girls & the grandkids;
  • A spin on the relationship wheel (enough said) 
  • Purchase of my first sheep fleece and lots of knitting
Plenty has been written about the peaceful nature of knitting and how it can restore a person's sense of peace & tranquility.  I am a testament to the truth of that assertion.  Even with everything going on, my mind always reverted to the fact that this was the first year without the physical presence of my Mom.  But her angel spirit remains with me everyday.  To keep life in balance, I relied on family, knitting, knit-sibs, &  a vast array of luxurious yarns.  Here's the "Best of the Year-In-Yarn":

Hats and cowls were my projects of choice for the year.  A few projects not shown are a second Hitchhiker Shawl, another Beanie in Fort Hunt Federals colors, two cabled beanies (Icicle pattern), and a second pair of leg warmers.  I'm not ashamed to say I have developed a deep appreciation for llama, cashmere, and silk yarns that will continue into 2014. 
My fleece was purchased at the Shenandoah Fiber Festival and has been processed into DK-weight yarn by the Central Virginia Fiber Mill.  I should receive it shortly so stay tuned for the pics.  I welcome all suggestions for a large, intricate project that will showcase its beauty.  In the meantime, here's the progress on my first project of 2014.  It's the Lineage Cowl by Lisa Mutch.  It's a very simple, classic style cowl with garter stitch and a few stockinette lines.  I'm using Madeline Tosh Merino Light purchased at Vogue Knitting Live in 2012.  The colorway is Midnight in Manhattan which was created for that first Vogue Knitting event.  Loving the pattern, loving the yarn .......


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blue Sky Love

Hope everyone had a wonderful (& filling) Thanksgiving holiday.  I managed to bring home enough leftovers from daughter's house to ensure no cooking for quite a few days. 

This is my first year not venturing out for Black Friday.  I'm truly "ole school" - napping after dinner, rising at midnight, layering on the clothes to ensure warmth while standing in line waiting for the doors to open.  Unfortunately, this year's marketing (stores open all day Thanksgiving; sales starting a week early; non sale-worthy pricing) -  took all the anticipated fun out of it.  10 - 20% off doesn't even offset the cost of gas!  I was tempted by my LYS' early opening but I truly, truly, need to be on a yarn diet......... the stash is out of control. 

Speaking of stash, I'm doing very well on my quest to finish a decent amount of knitted gifts for Christmas.  My latest project completion is the Lovely Ribbed Cowl pattern from Purl Soho.

Made with Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino - it's as soft & cushy as it looks & the project only took 5 days to complete due to the ribbed simplicity.  This is my third project using this yarn & each time, I love it more & more.  When the yarn diet ends, this yarn will be at the top of my list. 
On to my next project - Slouchy Gauntlets - an extra long pair of fingerless mitts.  Suggested yarn is the same Suri Merino but I'm substituting using Rowan Felted Tweed.  Happy knitting!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Magic Yarn Ball

At last count, I belong to at least 41 groups on Ravelry.  From hat, cowl & sweater lovers to fans of Amazing Race & Top Chef - there's a group for everyone & everything on Rav.  One of my favorites is my swap group - Yarn Snobs Inc........... yes, that's right, I am a Yarn Snob!  Although I began my knitting journey with acrylic yarns, there is nothing quite like the feel of Alpaca, Silk, Cashmere & 100% Merino. 

The ladies of YSI have opened my eyes to lots of specialty yarns & we love to treat each other with all kinds of goodies.  Which brings me to our latest swap - the Magic Yarn Ball Swap.  Each swapper gets a partner. Starting with one goody in the middle - yarn is wrapped around small gifts for the recipient to find as they knit up or unwind the yarn. Our swap focused on items from each knitters wishlist.  I received my ball a couple weeks ago.

Beautifully decorated for fall/Halloween, my partner outdid herself (thanks, Mary)!  But the outside was just a warm up to the goodies inside.  It actually took me awhile to unwind because there were 3 separate sections of goodies.  A gorgeous tote with my favorite Fleur de Lis pattern, stitch markers & holders, chart keeper, tape measurer, note book, needle caps, scented soap and of course a skein of luxury yarn.

It's the cashmere/merino blend (Bugga) from the Sanguine Gryphon in Red-White Leaf  Beetle colorway. A gorgeous pink.  Mary also gifted me an added bonus of the Summer Wind Cowl pattern by IrishGirlKnits which will look lovely in this color, 
I'm off to start winding up my partner's ball.  Hoping to do mine justice.  Happy knitting!


Friday, November 9, 2012

The Week In Review

My daughter has an awesome timeshare in Williamsburg, VA so I've truly been chillaxing & putting in some dedicated knitting time.  My BFF came down last weekend so we spent some time at the Outlets, Ripley's Museum, & in Virginia Beach.  Drove back to NoVA on election day to vote with DD#2. 

That's my Knitters For Obama pin (WAHOO!).  Drove back to Williamsburg & spent Wednesday celebrating the end of all those dang political TV ads (can someone say excessive?).  Visited my favorite southern  LYS - Knitting Sisters - & picked up some new stash for my holiday gift knitting.
That's Rowan Drift, Rowan Felted Tweed, Regia sock yarn, Prism Lace Wool and a cool logo tote.  Really love that shop.  The ladies are super-friendly & the inventory is great.  I managed to finish a couple of projects using my Vogue Chicago stash....... my Lucy Hat & the Ombre Cowl.  Lucy Hat uses Madeline Tosh Vintage & the Ombre Cowl is in Rowan Kid Silk Haze.  Both projects were fun & gave me new appreciation of these yarns. 

In fact, I see that Little Knits has a fantastic price for the MadTosh Vintage so I'm off to make an order.  Happy Knitting!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Yarn & Family Love

This has been a whirlwind year for me - full of highs & lows.  I'm getting used to the life of retirement & find that I truly enjoy the ability to travel on a whim.  The year started with Vogue Knitting  Live in New York, followed by Homespun Yarn Party, followed by Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  This was my first year hosting a knit2gether for "I Love Yarn Day" & I missed a couple of my favorites - Stitches Midwest & Shenandoah Fiber Fest.  The ultimate treat was my first New York Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY.  Tagging along with my knitsibs - Cici, Chelette, Arthella, and Wanda - it was truly a great experience. 

Eating, knitting, shopping, more eating.  The Rav meetup was fun.  Getting to meet & greet the knitty "celebs", bloggers,designers, and of course other Ravelers.  Stayed at home a couple days then made my way to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago.  Great (cold, cold, cold) time hanging out with aunts & cousin, Jen.  Even took a sidetrip to Loopy Yarns .

 Final stop was Cincinnati, OH to spend a few days with family.  Kept abreast of impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the homefront while knitting up some of the new stash.  Quick visit to their LYS - Hank, A Yarn Boutique (of course more stash was acquired).  Very nice shop with a great inventory.  Back home now finishing up the Lucy Hat - from the latest Knitscene magazine.  It's a great pattern!
As the weather continues to cool down, my knitting mojo heats up so I'm in full knitting mode now.  Winter knitwear for me, the daughters, & the grandboys, as well as holiday gifting.  Life is good!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

In Loving Memory of Gwen Sampson

To my Mom who passed away last week.

You blessed my life in so many ways
I will cherish our memories until the end of my days.
You left me too soon - this was not part of our plan
But God's wishes always come before those of man

A special bond we share like no other
For this is possible for only Daughter and Mother
I thank God for each day we were able to share
Without you in my life, it will be difficult to bear

Being with God, you will find joy and peace
In this I find comfort and some happiness at least
Mud-Dear you will always be
My Mom so loving and so loved by me.

Excerpted from Deanne Finewood's poem - Mommy Dearest

Saturday, July 7, 2012


My birthday was a couple weeks ago but this is worth a new celebration.

It's Chocolate! So pretty I don't want to cut it........

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Whoosh, whoosh (blowing the dust off the blog). Happy Belated Independence Day to all! This year is super-special for lots of reasons. After a couple of fun-filled celebrations, I joined the Double Nickel Club (yep, that's 55 for those counting) and retired from federal service after 32 years on the job. Independence is sweet. My Plans? Refocusing efforts toward my Arts & Crafts business (Stitches of Heritage); traveling; getting healthier; assisting Mom; volunteering my time/talents; & of course more time knitting! My latest project is the Color Affection Shawl. As the Ravelry stats will attest, it is very popular. I've named my version the "2ManyAffections" shawl because it's being made especially for Mom who is always chilly during/after chemo. Hopefully, this shawl will wrap her in warmth & love on a daily basis. I'm using Miss Babs Yummy Superwash yarn in the Moss, Frogbelly & Roasted Pumpkin colorways.

You would think boredom would set in since the pattern is entirely garter stitch, but the stripes & design keep it interesting.
Until next time, happy knitting!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kauni Love

A year or so ago, I made a Baktus Scarf using Kauni yarn. The long colorways & color transitions make this one of my favorite yarns. Aunt E & Jen are currently doing a KAL (knit-a-long) for a Kauni shawl/wrap we saw at Stitches Midwest. Not to be left out, I went to my stash for the black/gray/white combo which is becoming a great Leaf Lace Scarf

The pattern is quick & super simple so hopefully I'll finish before the cooler weather settles in. Mom's eyes sparkled when I showed it to her so I probably won't get to keep it for myself (lol).

Finished the Minimalist Top aka the "Fuzzy Wuzzy Bear" sweater. All the stockinette wore me down so it didn't quite make it to tunic length. Fits nicely though & oh so warm. This was supposed to be my year of "11 Sweaters in 2011"....... well, Fuzzy Wuzzy officially rolls in as #1. What can I say but I certainly had good intentions.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yarn Blast in the Midwest

This year's Stitches Midwest was a blast. Aunt E & I met up with Jen in the burbs of Chicago this past weekend for a knitting getaway of yarns, gadgets, and books. This was our 3rd year in attendance & we were immediately greeted by....... What a hoot!

I got to visit all me favorite vendors - Signature Needle Arts, Miss Babs Yarns, WEBS, and Habu Textiles - as well as some new favorites: Erin Lane Bags, Flying Fingers, The Yarn & Fiber Company, Windy Valley Musk Ox, and Fiber Optic.

Plenty of goodies but I think my favorite has to be the Habu hand-dyed cashmere & the silk/mohair blend from Capistrano Fiber Arts (sold by Habu). Planning a couple of luxury scarves for me & only me (lol). Here's some shots from the weekend ................

I even managed to start & finish a project over the weekend. WEBS gave away a mini-skein of Berroco Boboli at the festival that I turned into a headband for DD#1. The Boboli is ultra soft & great to knit with.

Happy knitting

Monday, August 22, 2011

Knitting Nook - DIY Style

Trying to get my "knitting seasons" in sync. Seems that by the time Autumn rolls around, I should have at least a couple of cardigans, car coats & wraps completed. Headed in the right direction. I finished Jared Flood's Guernsey Wrap in an olive color which will be great for early fall. Didn't follow all the repeats but it's certainly long enough to wraparound a couple times.

Also finishing the Mohair Minimalist by Anna Kuduja. It's a top-down seamless top in stockinette stitch. Found myself with an extended ER wait with Mom earlier in the month so this baby was practically finished in a weekend. That was the positive - the not-so-positive was that I obviously used a heavier mohair than the original pattern envisioned so mine isn't so sheer. But it will be perfect for winter when I'm going for the fuzzy-wuzzy-wuzza-bear look (lol). Making it tunic length so maybe mama bear?

All my years & years of watching HGTV have finally paid off. I needed to convert the former knitting room back to a bedroom & find some space for the yarn & knitting paraphernalia. Drum roll please........... meet my Knitting Nook!

With a great chair find on Craigslist, floor tiles from Lowes (love them!), and all my knitting gear, I'm in knitters heaven........also known as the oversized closet of my bedroom. I had a blast & looking forward to starting my next project when I return from Stitches Midwest this weekend.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another Year Older

So much going on. Days are whizzing by. Mom's chemo treatments are ongoing; DD#2 scored a great new job; DD#1 was honored as Citizen of the Year in Media from the Roanoke NAACP and I celebrated my 54th birthday a couple weeks ago. I'm entering a landmark year - planning on retiring on my next birthday....... Oh Happy Day!

In the midst of all this I'm still balancing out the hectic with knitting. After a couple of hiccups on the chart for Shirley Paden's Cabled Shrug, finally making decent progress. It is a beautiful design & the cables are exquisite. Haven't felt so challenged since completing the Every Way Wrap back in 2009.

Y'all know how I love all my knitting gadgets. Special shout-out to my knitsib, Debbie, for this beautiful Yarn Bowl. Been scoping them out for over a year & just like Goldilocks.......some were too small, some were too low......but this one is just right!

Happy Knitting.........

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Guernsey & The Shrug

Happy Memorial Day!!! The wonderful start of summer.......bar-b-ques, picnics, beaches & of course - new knitting projects. After finishing so many hats, I need a challenge. So I turned to one of my favorite designers, Shirley Paden. There are several of her patterns in my Ravelry queue including a cabled shrug from the Interweave Knits Fall 2005 issue. Chose the Nashua Alpaca/Merino blend in Periwinkle from my stash.

The design is a simple rectangle with cuffs and an intricate diamond-cable pattern. Since I'm going through my "wrap" phase, I also started Jared Flood's Guernsey Wrap. It's also a simple rectangle with a series of knit & purl patterns that simulate a traditional Guernsey sweater. Chose Elann's Limited Edition Naples - a wool/silk/rayon blend with a great drape. Perfect for any air-conditioned venue.

The Guernsey is my take-along project while the shrug demands all my attention so it's my stay-at-home project. So no excuses for not knitting all the time (lol).

Enjoy any festivities you have going on today. Mom came home from hospital on Saturday full of energy so we'll plant the garden today & enjoy goodies off the grill. Happy Knitting!