Playing Around With Color

Last week, in the midst of Glum March, I was desperate for color, any color to break up the monotonous dreariness. This week my outlook has changed. Even before the spate of lovely, sunny weather in the unseasonable 70ºs arrived my mood had shifted. When I went for a walk in a snow flurry early Saturday morning, in my long down coat (with hat, scarf and mittens) I didn’t think, I am sick of this stinking weather and having to wear all these blasted layers. I thought, It won’t be long now. and I enjoyed myself. What caused this shift? I’m not sure. It might have been exercise. It might have been beer. But I think it was color.

I have been seriously dabbling in chromatic therapy. After I knit my tiny green leprechaun I dyed some yarn with koolaid.

After that, I baked my leprechaun trap cake. You must look at the lovely cake that Not Martha created to understand what I was after, but I had a blast destroying my kitchen for this ridiculous purpose.
My finished product was not as polished as Not Martha’s, but it did receive a satisfying amount of giggles from some curious diners. What was in this leprechaun trap cake anyway? Had I in fact trapped a leprechaun? Was there a rainbow inside?

Well, I guess that the part of the directions, where she tells you to flip the cake over, was lost on me. If you look carefully, and maybe upside down, you may see that there sort of was a little bit of a rainbow developing inside my cake. Not what I was hoping for, but …
If you look carefully, very carefully, you might see, on the right hand side, the red shadow of a leprechaun inside the cake, scooping out the pot of gold. Do you see it? Look a little closer. Now do you see it?

Chromatic therapy is very cool. If you’re feeling glum give it a try. Right now freezing drizzle is falling from the sky and I couldn’t care less. Not a problem, not a bother, not a mood wrecker in the least. I am knitting a new 22.5 Degree scarf in Hawaiian Punch Red (with strawberry lemonade highlights) and I am happy as a clam.
Oh, and here is one more reason to be happy:

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Glum Buster

March is glum. There is no way around it, and  I have been succumbing to the  blahs. Yesterday I tried to envision something that would cure my blahs, but even the thought of going somewhere delicious and diving into the ocean and eating dinner outside did not feel like it would do the trick. You always have to come back from a trip like that, I kept thinking. And when you come back, it is still March. It is still gray and cold and muddy and dreary. March is glum.

What March needs is a little magic. A little magic, and a little green. Hey, I thought, perhaps I could knit something a little green and a little magic.

And so I did. I think it’s working. Every time I look at this little guy I feel a little less glum, and a tiny, tiny bit more like I live in a world where magic can happen. Yesterday I lived in world where only crummy stuff happens, and it keeps happening over and over. Today I spy a tiny leprechaun (is that redundant?) and it’s perking me up. 

In case this cure wears off I can make more and more. An army of glum busters, thanks to Anna Hrachovec and her teeny tiny mochi mochi , which has made this tiny piece of knitting magic possible. The knitting alone cheered me up immensely, and gave me a serious problem to ponder. How can one knit a tiny leprechaun a hat? At first I attempted to knit him a top hat, which flopped right over his face. Once I hit on the idea of a tam o’shanter, (which is really more appropriate for a knit leprechaun, don’t you think?) he practically scrambled off the needles.

This is just the beginning of my campaign to bring some magic into March. Next weekend I am going to make a leprechaun trapwhich I will share with my fellow glum New Englanders, and things will soon turn around. That’s the plan anyway. And there is nothing better than a plan.

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Nothing to complain about

As you know, we in New England have nothing to complain about. No snow, no ice, no slush, no multiple days in the row of Yak Trax and chipping, or slogging and shoveling. The absence of snow is almost palpable. There are no wet mittens spread out to dry, no pile of soggy boots clogging up the doorway. We haven’t moaned and groaned with our neighbors while shoveling the walks. We haven’t been awakened by the snow plow and  worried about the roads. We haven’t run into the grocery store to buy bread and milk and butter and chocolate chips just in case we run out and have a baking emergency. It has been lovely, but strange. I keep feeling as though  something’s missing.

The misery is missing. The shared comaraderie of chapped hands and sore backs. And we have had to find alternatives for skiing and skating and sledding. We went to the beach.

We loved the patterns in the sand.
We walked on the Cliff Walk in Newport.
The non knitters in the household decided to master the boomerang.
And I decided to add another lawn ornament.
And tried to knit some green back into the landscape.
They say we may get some snow tomorrow and the next day. Let it come. We’re due. And I am confident that it won’t last. I am knitting some sunshine.

And I gotta say, I love having nothing to complain about.

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A small tragedy

Don’t worry, no tiny chickens get hurt in this post.

It is only that I have lost a button. Is this really a tragedy? Well, yes. A small one. You see, I love this sweater. I wear it all the time. Perhaps you remember when I knit this sweater. It was a nostalgic experience for me, and now I am having another nostalgic experience remembering knitting this sweater. And the buttons are so absolutely perfect. Sigh.

Yesterday, which was the day after the day I lost the button, I retraced my steps. This is what I found out.

*The Man at my favorite garage (West Newton Auto, gas 8cents off on Mondays) picks up buttons. He had one he found on his steps  in his pocket. But not mine.

*Sometime people loose things in the freezer bins at Trader Joe’s and it might take a few days before the lost things turn up. My button hasn’t turned up.

*The administrative assistant at one of the places I work used to be a wardrobe assistant. Really? I didn’t find my button, but she told me where I might find a match. The Button Box. Interesting. Anyone up for a ride to Wellesley?

As I was driving home it hit me that I’d vacumned the day before. I remembered a definite big whooshing suck at one point, that must have been my button. Of course the button would be there. It’s always in the last place you look, right? Everything is in the last place you look. I eagerly slit the dusty bag open to find:  dust, hair, a whole kleenex, and a fancy lego piece. Oh dear.

Well, you see it really isn’t much of a tragedy in the scheme of things. No one is hurt. No plans have been destroyed. No sleep has been lost. But it gets me. The real problem is the fact that I’d noticed the button was loose and I didn’t do anything about it. And the day before, at knitting group, my friend Carolyn described the best way to sew on a button, and that’s not the way I sewed my button on. So this was a preventable tragedy. And I didn’t prevent it. This is what gets me.

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teeny tiny

One of my favorite things about Vogue Knitting Live was Anna Hrachovec’s knitted epic war: Gnomes VS Snowmen. I’d never heard of this  warped, weird, and tiny world. And every bit of it is knit. Amazing. It made me giddy to look at all these cuddly creatures doing mean things to one another. 

I guess it comes as some consolation that even in mochimochiland there are issues that need to be resolved.

So, when Mark asked me on Saturday morning what I wanted to do after my long and crazy week, I said, “I want to knit a tiny chicken.” And he said, “Of course you do.” In a nice way. I didn’t do it immediately. First I cleaned the disaster area known as our home, and then I went cross-country skiing, and then, at beer o’clock, I sat by the fire and knit.
It made my day. This is a very precious tiny chicken. And I plan on making her lots and lots of friends.
It gives me great hope to know that there are people out there in the world creating strange stuff like this, and creating patterns for this strange stuff, and that lots of this strange stuff is knit.

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Plum Blossoms

Well, I had a plan. A plan to knit Christmas presents all year long. And I have already strayed. The second completed project has turned into
Plum Blossom Mittens for me.

As luck would have it I finished them on the way to NYC for Vogue Knitting Live with the Ladies Of The Knit. The weather took a sudden dip into the land of frigid temperatures. What could I do? There I am in Midtown Manhattan with only mitts and freezing fingers. I had to put them on. Would you have tucked them away? Really?

These are  super warm. They feel like thrummed mittens, probably because of the two strands of bulky weight yarn cushioning my hands. And the design is too clever. They have icord thumbs. I’d never heard of such a creation, and they work. Ha! Who thinks this stuff up? It’s a minor engineering miracle. And they are all mine.

More on VKL soon. I’ve got work to do!

Posted in Holiday Knitting, Knitting, Mittens | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

A Plan

For the last decade or so I’ve resolved to knit small gift items all year long and tuck them away for Christmas gifts. Some years this has been a resolution without any results. Some years I actually manage to stow a few things away in January, but then I  forget the gift knitting part until sometime in late November. And I always end up with a giant pile of yarn, and bunches of planned projects, around December 1st. And then the knitting lunacy begins.

So this year I have decided I need an actual plan. I resist plans for knitting because knitting is not obligatory. I don’t have to knit, I like to. It is my relaxing hobby. A creative outlet. An intriguing puzzle of stitches and techniques that keeps me involved and sometimes even warm. And I love getting inspired to cast on for something new.  I will be dutifully fulfilling a knitterly deadline when I get sidetracked by some new pattern that comes my way (Kris! Susan V.!) But this year I have a Strategy.

I have made a list. A Christmas knit list for next year. And instead of having ideas rolling around in my head, I’ve actually mapped out what will be knit, linked to tempting projects already in my queue, and fished around in my stash to match up these projects to yarn in hand. Wow.

I have not taken this the step further an organized person, intent on seeing their plan reach fruition, would take. I have not printed out these patterns, or tucked them away in zip-locked bags with the yarn. And I have not made the essential time-line that should be made in order to stay on target. And I am not married to these projects. If another cunning mitten pattern, or hat, or sock, demand to be knit up I will abandon the list and make the substitution.


So there you have it. A New Year’s Knitting Resolution for 2012. Gifts for many and lots of leeway for inspiration and me. I resolve to sort of resolve.

Here is next year’s Christmas folks. Already two and three quarters mittens completed. I have a plan, and I willing to stray.

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Cam’s Household Hints #1

Happy New Year!

Here is something else that happened during the holidays: Cam turned twelve. That’s a big number. I’m not really prepared, but I guess I don’t have any choice but to supply food and ever larger clothing. Bummer.
He is turning into something of a domestic genius, so I thought I would post some of his tips here. This is a piece of advice he is handing out these days, and one that I have actually taken.
“If there is a room in your house that you think needs painting, match the color to your favorite T shirt. Here’s how it works. Take your mother to the hardware store while you are wearing the shirt. If she tries to pick a color a couple of shades lighter, tell her to stop wimping out. If you are going with pink, it might as well be a Manly Pink. Make sure it matches exactly.

After the room is painted it will look great. Of course it will, remember, you painted it the color of your favorite T shirt. You are going to love it. Trust me. And if other people get annoyed with you, you can put your shirt on and blend right into the walls. Perfect camouflage. (get it? Cam-ou-flage)”

So there you have it. Good advice from a newly minted twelve year old. I have to go now. I have some driving to do, some resolutions to make, and some risotto to stir. Then I get to cast on a new project, the first of 2012. I’m off.

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From Our Neighborhood in 2011

Happy holidays from our neighborhood to yours. May they be full of fun, food, and fiber. 

This is really the beginning of a new phase. Today we usher in a new knit season. The annual Post Gift Knitting Cast-on-athon. While we were in the throws of all those late nights and stolen moments, what projects were you dreaming of? True, those unfinshished projects languishing in bags should be revisited, but this is also a good time to indulge in some purely fun stuff.

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Of course I couldn’t stop with one Big Snowy Owl. It was just too much fun. And these holidays are supposed to be fun, right?

And besides, the first guy really looked like he could use a friend.

But now look what happened.

They had a baby!  I guess ‘Tis the season. It must have been immaculate conception.

I hope I’ve gotten this monkey off my back, because I really need to get some practical gifts knit up. I feel a theme coming on  though. There is no telling where it may lead. Watch out. (Too bad there is so much else to actually do.)

In other news, we saw Peter Pan  last night. If you are in the Boston area, and you are looking for some fun entertainment you might consider this show. We loved the tent, the snug feeling inside the theatre, the set, the costumes, the flying, the adaptation of the novel, and especially the puppets. The puppets killed me because they were so low-tech and poetic. For example, the crocodile was made of coat hangers and was operated by boys in striped pajamas; it was very imaginative and joyful. The acting however, was sort of Children’s Theatre on Red Bull. If you are a lover of spectacle and live theatre, dance, and circus this could be just the show you’re looking for. My kids liked it too.

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