Tag Archives: tea leaves cardigan

Fish Lips Kiss

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There are times when I see a pattern and think it’s the greatest thing ever.  Then, when I get the pattern and want to start it, something makes my knitting mojo sink.  I’ve had the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern printed out for over a year.  I had heard about it being the best heel around – comfortable and knit to fit your own foot – so I figured I had to try it.  I went and bought it (only $1 on Ravelry!) and printed it out.  Sixteen (16!) pages later, and seeing the need to make a template of your foot, I thought to myself, “Hmmmm.  Maybe later.”  I put it away for another day.  Recently, I started hearing about it all over again on a few podcasts.  Paula from the Knitting Pipeline podcast said it was the only heel she ever uses now.  Since I love Paula, I decided to revisit the pattern. [As an aside, Paula also recently gave a 5-star review for the iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets.  Her daughter-in-law said it changed her life- changed her life! – and I am now dying to get it since I hate housecleaning.]

Originally, what turned me off was what seemed like the “extra work” involved (making a template of your foot).  But this time I decided to just jump right in and follow all the suggestions.  If Paula could do it, so could I.  I enlisted Paul’s help (since the pattern says you should absolutely not trace your own foot because you should be standing with your weight evenly distributed).  Got the template made and my toe-up sock started:


(And now you know how weirdly shaped my wide, flat, no arch, getting-a-bunion feet are.  Nothing like a blog to “put it all out there”.)

See the solid line and dotted lines on the template?  You use those to tell you how far to knit your toe and then the rest of the sock before starting the heel:


I did mine as a toe-up sock, but this template can also be used for a cuff-down sock!

Then you do the special, fancy, not-hard heel and then finish the sock:

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Pretty neat and totally fits me great.  Apparently, that little pucker in the heel is how the pattern got its name.  I’ll be scheduling a class to teach this at The Spinning Room coming up in April.

In other knitting news, I finished the pre-steeked portion of Paul’s Perun vest:


He said it looks “fancy” which makes me nervous that he won’t want to wear it.  I promised him it wasn’t fancy and that it was very “outdoorsy”.  Also that the neck would not be that tight since it is a zippered vest.  I am very happy with how it turned out so far.  Since that was done, we went and bought a zipper.  Now I have no choice but to do the steeking.  I’m very nervous.  Stay tuned.

In students-who-finished-a-project-news, look at Jan’s finished (but for the button-sewing) Tea Leaves Cardigan!:


It looks GREAT!

In Doodlebug crafting news, they made Martha’s heart garland for their mom and dad for Valentine’s Day:


Then this week they made some pinecone bird feeders:


And then drew pictures of birds eating from them (based on my very artistic sample):


Mr. Doodlebug decided to make his into an alien rocketship (on the left).

And then we hung them in the yard, and in one tree, where there is a nest every year, we put some extra wool yarn in case they needed it for their nest:

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Wish me luck on the vest steeking.  Hoping to get started on it this weekend….

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Where have you been?  I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for you to come back and read my blog.  Oh, wait.  That means I’d have to write a post, right?  Well, there’s that.  Life has been life as it has been lately so instead of excuses, I’ll just give a blog post when I can.  Don’t forget this about me:


So, Thanksgiving happened.  I’m thankful for all the readers of my blog, especially if you kept coming back to a November 14 post hoping for a new one. Thanks for hanging in.  Lots of turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and probably a vegetable somewhere in there.

Lots of knitting classes happened.  I remembered to take a picture of one:


Picking up button band stitches on the Tea Leaves Cardigan.  They are all coming along nicely.  And now I already have almost two full classes for this sweater in January/February!

Then it got cold one day and hippity-hoppers needed hats and mittens:


And then I started the Baa-ble Hat, which is just about the cutest hat ever.  I had the pattern (Just the pattern.  Just a picture.  Not even started.) at the yarn shop one day and I had seven people on a preliminary waitlist to take the class.  Which I hadn’t even scheduled.  And for which I hadn’t even knitted the sample!

So, I figured I should probably start it and here’s what happened:


See how cute the sheep are?  See how they are different sizes?  See how my sets of 5 white stitches on the needle are all the same size?  For some who-knows-what reason (although I know: it was the tried-to-knit-during-post-Thanksgiving-meal-shenanigans thing) I simply followed the little pattern for the first sheep (near the red arrow).  And the funny thing is, I knew the sheep were different sizes.  It was what I loved most about the hat, that they looked like a haphazard herd.  Oy.

But, ripped out a few rows, got back on track and I’m now on the top decreases:


I was worried that my burgundy brim would hide the sheep legs too much, and I was right, but I love the colors anyway.  Next picture will be pom-pom’ed and blocked!  A pretty quick knit for me.  Which is good because I now have two full classes already scheduled for this one in January/February too!

Now, on to more holiday preparations since it is already December 9 and who knows how that happened.  The good thing is that some of it is knitting so I can kill two birds with one stone with this:



A List for the First Day of Spring

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1) Today, at 6:45pm, it will be Spring.

2) Today it will also snow.

3) It’s ok.  Spring is in my mind and I’m pretending things are all Spring, all the time. I’m picturing these crocuses:


and these daffodils:


in full bloom (I’m not going to worry they will die because they thought they were supposed to bloom but then it was 10 degrees last night), with sunshine and blue sky and a nice warm breeze.

4) I’m working on my Spring tee, with cotton yarn:


Second Story Tee, from the new Spring Interweave KNITS magazine, using Cascade Cotton Rich DK (which has been discontinued).  I’ve got about 1/2 the back done.  The front is the same but the diagonal is reversed.  I want to finish it so I can wear it as soon as the weather is nice.  However.  It’s getting a little dull knitting the same pattern over and over and over, with no shaping.  Maybe I should break out another unfinished thing to work on in between….

5) I’m also in the mood to bake something Spring-y (light and refreshing) like these lemon bars. But first it will be two more batches of the Doughnut Muffins I made last week, to bring to my classes at The Spinning Room tomorrow.

6) I also Sprung into action (see what I did there? “sprung”!) and actually put buttons on my Tea Leaves Cardigan:


I just love this sweater. I  love the color.  I love how it fits.  I love that it’s cozy on the first day of Spring (when the weather is not exactly Spring-y).

Pi Day Activities

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Saturday was “Pi” day.  The date, 3/14/15, is the beginning of the pi number and at 9:26 and 53 seconds in the morning it would continue the pi number.  So, I actually set the alarm so I could get a picture of that:


I know.  I’m a weirdo.  But then I forgot to get a picture of the date on a computer screen to put next to it.  So, really, the effect is lost.


A lot of people were making pie on pi day.  I made Doughnut Muffins.


I just happened to have everything I needed so it was fate.  But, I forgot the nutmeg until I was almost ready to put the batter in the pans:


Close one.  Then, into the oven:


And out of the oven 15 minutes later (so fast!):

Then dip the tops in butter and roll them in cinnamon-sugar:

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Oh. My. Gosh. So. Delicious! Tastes just like a doughnut.  They were moist and nutmeg-y and a little crunchy from the sugar and just wonderful.  They are so, so, so, so easy and you MUST try them.

When I first saw this recipe, I immediately thought of the Dirt Bombs that are sold at the Cottage St. Bakery in Orleans, Mass (Cape Cod).  However, they dip the whole muffin in the butter and pack on the cinnamon-sugar.  Definitely more rich and indulgent.  The ones I made were excellent and I don’t think I would dip the whole muffin.

And yes, one of them is not dipped.  My dad was coming to visit and he’s not big on sweets, so in anticipation that he might actually want one (he didn’t), I left off the cinnamon-sugar.  But, Paul actually preferred them without the cinnamon-sugar (what????? but it’s sooooooo good with the cinnamon-sugar), so he had that one.

Other Pi Day activities included a trip to The Spinning Room to participate in the knit-a-long for the Age of Brass and Steam Kercheif.  I started it on Saturday and finished it this morning!



Paul and I also babysat the doodlebugs on Saturday night so their parents could have a date night.  After they went to bed I finished the buttonbands on my Tea Leaves Cardigan!  Hooray!  Cause for celebration, right?  Not so fast….


Those buttonbands are drooping off the bottom edge.  Not good.  And you know what???  This totally could have been avoided if  A) I had read the instructions thoroughly before starting and B) when I actually saw the correct instruction after 4 rows of the first buttonband, I had not ignored them, thinking it would still be fine.

I was supposed to switch to a smaller needle for the buttonbands.  When I realized that I had not done that (after 4 of the 8 rows for the buttonband), I rationalized the whole thing away, thinking using the larger needle, a mere .5 mm larger, would not make a big difference at all.  So, I kept going.  And then, after finishing the first buttonband, I didn’t even check to see how it looked.  (What the heck????) So convinced was I that this simply would not matter at all, I just moved right on to the second buttonband, bound off, and tried it on.  It looked terrible.  I showed it to Paul and told him I just didn’t think the .5mm difference in needle size would have mattered.  He asked how many stitches I had to knit and I told him 126 and he did some quick math (something having to do with the diameter being .5mm difference but the actually stitch would make a .25mm difference, multiplied by 126 stitches) and he said it could have made a difference of about an inch, which is about how much those bands were drooping.

And you know what?  I knew it, really.  I’ve made sweaters before.  I’ve read about why you need to switch needles.  I’ve seen why you need to switch needles.  But I was so close to being done with the sweater.  So anxious to have it finished so I could wear it and move on to the next thing.  And I ignored everything I knew about knitting and why you need to switch to smaller needles, and I just didn’t want to rip out those four rows!   But in the end, instead of ripping out a mere 4 rows, I ripped out two bind off rows, 16 knit rows and 252 picked up stitches….


I re-knit them the next day with the smaller needle:


So much better.  And now my Tea Leaves cardigan is done!

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….except for buttons. Ugh.

The Human Tape Measure

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I was knitting along on my Tea Leaves Cardigan, at a point in the pattern where I had to knit back and forth in stockinette stitch for thirteen inches, when I stopped to consider how much I had knit.  I didn’t have my tape measure with me, so I asked Paul how much I had knit.  Paul has an uncanny ability to look at something and say what its measurement is.  He said, “It’s 10 inches.”


Don’t ask me why I bothered to get the tape measure.  Just to prove it to you I guess.

Then I plugged right along, got the body done and a sleeve started:


It looks very uneven and sloppy but that is because my dress form is a size negative 2 and I am not.  But you get the idea.  Just sleeves and button bands and I’ll be done.  And sewing on buttons. (ugh)  I can’t tell you how much I love the color.

In the mean time, I got obsessed with two patterns in the new Interweave KNITS magazine.  The Second Story Tee , which I started yesterday:


I’m making it with Cascade Cotton Rich DK and hope that it will be a nice spring/summer top. See?  Looking forward to spring and summer….

And the cover pattern, the One Way Tee which I will make with this great dk weight yarn that I got at Fibre Space when we went to Virginia last year:


But this one will have to wait until after I knit Paul’s slippers.  He’s walking around in these and I’m kind of starting to feel bad:


(and it wasn’t until I sought them out to take that picture that I realized how big the holes are….!)  And seeing how winter is not going to end any time soon (more snow last night, more snow tomorrow, very windy and cold today), it might be nice for him to have a new pair.

Oh, and I just finished listening to Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.  It was very good. Sad.  But good.

Tenth Verse, Same as the First

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More cold and more snow.  More cold and more snow.  More cold and more snow…..

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You can’t even tell we have a pond anymore….

We recently watched a whole bunch of episodes of Alaska State Troopers.  It should have made me feel better about this weather we are having.  In some places in Alaska, they have much colder temperatures, more snow, and hardly any sunlight.  For a really long time.  So why am I complaining about a couple of months, one of which the average temperature has been 12 degrees when it is supposed to be 38?

The other day, when it was only 15 degrees, I took the doodlebugs outside to play.  It was sunny, so it felt warmer.  By the way, the threshold for how “warm” it has to be to go outside has gotten lower as the winter has gone on.  Early in winter, temps in the twenties seemed too cold.  Now, if the temp is in the teens but the “real feel” is in the twenties, we’re all good.  And I’m telling you, those snowsuits keep them so warm, they are sweating when they come inside.  Anyhow, back to the other day…..Miss Ladybug stopped playing to ask what I was doing – I was just standing in the sun, with my face tilted up and my eyes closed.  I told her I was trying to get some vitamin D.  The sun felt so good and I realized how little time I had spent in the sun these past couple of months.  She also asked me recently when summer was coming. I told her not soon enough, but I would settle for spring arriving pretty quickly.  On the plus side, it is not pitch black when we wake up, it’s still light out at 6pm, and in two weeks we’ll be changing the clocks.  So spring can’t be that far.

But meanwhile, and as usual, the knitting helps.  Having something warm and wooly to work on makes things nice and cozy.  I’m plugging away on my Tea Leaves Cardigan….


It kind of looks like a jumbled mess right now.  When I separate for the sleeves, you’ll get a better idea of what it looks like. Also, can I just say that I love this color?  But then again, purple is my thing.

And I’ve started working on another pattern to publish. I’m breaking all the rules and giving you a teeny tiny sneak peek:


Are you staying warm?

The Knitting Helps

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I’m not going to complain about the 0.9 degree weather with the minus 30 wind chill today.  Or the snow that is expected tomorrow.  Because all of that is such old news.  Who needs old news?

But I will clarify that in my last post, no one seemed to realize that the pictures of the heater I was showing you at the end, were because the pipes inside the baseboards froze and burst.


Two holes in the pipe and so lucky that nothing flooded and we caught it quickly.  And boy was I ever thankful that Paul knows what the heck he is doing.  What could have been a several hundred dollar emergency call to a plumber, was a $30 piece of copper pipe that Paul replaced himself.  Whew.

And lucky me, I got to help by taking the million and one heating element thingys off the old 6 foot long copper pipe and put them back on the new 6 foot long copper pipe:


I’m really terrible – such a complainer and grumpy about the boring-ness of it all (after all, I could have been knitting).  Paul is very patient.

And this morning we woke up and discovered the need for this (again):


After we thought we had all our bases covered, another frozen pipe (inside a closed closet) that, again thankfully, was caught even earlier and this one didn’t burst.

But here’s a good thing about the snow…..

This is Jake in Virginia, who hardly gets to see snow and loves it soooooo much….


Isn’t he just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen and makes your frozen face melt into a smile?

Also, on an “inside day” with the doodlebugs, they practiced counting by making tarts for the Queen of Hearts with play-doh:


And so all this boring, monotonous, every day, all day cold stuff is helped a lot by the knitting, which I’ve been doing a lot of.  I finished my Heaven and Space shawlette and gave it a cozy blocking by the fire:



(I have no idea what happened but all my pictures on the dress form came out crooked.)  I am mostly happy with it and a tiny bit unhappy.  I love the color. I love the pattern – easy and great for tv knitting.  I really liked knitting with the yarn, Cozy Soft.  However.  The yarn is 75% acrylic and 25% wool, which means the fabric will not really relax like I want it to.  I wanted it to look like the pattern picture, but even though I stretched it out flat, the acrylic is making it scrunch back up and get all wavy and bumpy.  While this looks ok, it looks “only ok” and my preference would be for it to lay flatter.  Next time, which there might be, because I really really like this pattern, I will use wool.  Or wool/alpaca blend, because I love alpaca and it would be so cozy.

I also made a sample Homesock for an upcoming class:

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I made a pair for my sister for Christmas.  They are funny looking when you aren’t wearing them and look like they won’t fit, but they stretch right out and fit nice and comfy and snug.  Sized for toddler to adults!

And then I started my Tea Leaves Cardigan, which I’ve had in my queue on Ravelry for a long time and have always wanted to knit.


(I know.  Shocking that it’s purple. But it’s an awesome, deep, heathered purple.)  It is a top-down sweater and I will be teaching a class for this as well.

And last night I taught a colorwork fingerless mitts class:


Although teaching a full mitten would probably be more appropriate.

Two classes to teach this weekend and I’m hoping to finally make some cupcakes!  Stay tuned….