Sunday, August 30, 2009

Many More Mittnz

Susan did these. Aren't they nice?

Yes, mitts are acceptable! They keep hands toasty while letting the fingers run free.

Are you finished yet? Only 1 month to go! Send me a picture and I'll make your Mittnz famous.


Friday, August 28, 2009

More Mittnz

Cherri sent me this photo of her ten pairs of Mittnz for this year's challenge. I love solid color Mittnz. (Truth is, I love all Mittnz, solid, striped, patterned.)

Nice assortment of colors. Some are girl-y, some guy-y. Some could swing either way.

See the pink one in the upper left? A group of my friends have decided that in honor of that thing I'm going through they are knitting Mittnz in pink. I am, indeed, honored.

So honored, in fact, that I am also knitting a pink pair myself.

the yarn is left over from the Pink Baby Blankie Fair Entry (I have lots, expect it to appear and reappear frequently), the pattern is Ann Budd's from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. I'm making the second size and following the pattern religiously blindly.

Also shown: In two shades of blue, a pair from the mitten-shaped Knit Mittens! by Robin Hansen. They're garter stitch (very warm) and Brown Sheep superwash (ditto). The green striped pair are also Brown Sheep, but not superwash, in a very forgetable pattern (I forgot), because I hate, hate, hate seaming fiddly stuff.

The pink ones will be pair #5 for me. The blue ones took just two evenings, so I am pretty sure I will make my 9 pair goal by the end of September mailing.

Are you knittn a Mittn? Leave me a comment or send me an e with a photo (abmcmanusATverizonDOTnet). I'll post your picture here.

We'd all love to see what you are doing!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Right Down To the Wire

I can drop my entries off as early as 8 AM.

I am done. Finished. Fertig. This is as good as it gets.

Everything is pressed, washed, blocked, and ready to go.

And here's the finishing touch. The final piece. The last one in.

Mr. or Mrs. Santa, Other.

He's soft and squishy and I really, really like him. Pattern is very loosely based on one in Jean Greenhowe's Knitted Toys. Yarn is a mixture of cotton and cotton blends. There's Lion Brand Cotton Ease (the red), Some lovely mercerized cotton that I think is Tahki Cotton Classic (the blue and pinks) and more of the Patons Chunky Cotton (the white).

The looped fringe is the technique I "learned" for this one. Fact is, I couldn't do it followin Greenhowe's directions, but found something similar in another book.

That's it for this year's fair entries. I'll post results in about 10 days.

Barbara C sent me this photo of her completed Mittnz.

Love the colors!

Love that there will be warm hands.

Now that fair knitting is behind me, I should get moving on my remaining 6 ::eepp:: pairs! Yes, I really have finished only 3 pairs. So far.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quick Drive By Blog

Two sorta days off (I had a class yesterday morning, remember?) and I was able to stick a fork in 3 more entries.

Witness, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Other (as in "Not Plastic Canvas). This is a Jean Greenhowe pattern. I like him. Her, not so much.

Red Heart.

Toy, Knitted. From 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders ed. by Judith Durant.

Someday, I'll learn to read pattern directions. That will save ripping time!

Yarn is Patons Chunky Cotton that was a gift a while back.

It's called Bedtime Buddy, but in this cotton yarn, it could be BathtimeBuddy except that it would take years to dry after a bath.

I didn't bother to block. No time to dry.

The pink baby blankie. Corners finished with knotted i-cord.

Couldn't wrap my mind around the knitted-on lace border. Gave up. Did i-cord instead.

Here's how it looks in all its glory. Approximately 30"X36" which is an okay size for carseat covering. With more time, I'd have made it bigger.

The fair looms large, with 60 hours until the drop-deadline for turning in entries and I am down to one single last entry to complete. I should be able to finish it after work tonight.

No photo of that here. You'll need to be patient. I need to learn another technique on the fly to finish it.

Or, I'll need to punt!

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

All Day, All the Way

A relaxing [?] Sunday, mostly, as I plunged headlong into finishing the last four::eep:: entries for the fair.

For those of you keeping score, they are: Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Other (eyes left to see progress on those), Mr. OR Mrs. Claus, Other (not started, thinking of ideas), Toy, knitted (also not started, but I know what I'll make)

and Infant carriage/crib cover, Knit.

This one needs about 1/2 of the edging completed (piece of cake), though I abandoned the knitted -on lace edging about 3" in. I'll save that technique for when the clock isn't ticking quite so loudly.

Everything is due at the fairgrounds by 6 PM on Friday. That gives me something like 96 hours if I sleep-knit the whole time.

And on a health note: Thanks to everyone for the kind comments, both here on the blog and in my email. I cannot express how much it means to hear from all of you, and especially those of you who are survivors. I will keep you posted on decisions and struggles.

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TMI-Not For the Squeamish

You were warned!

Let me just say that (to paraphrase Mark Twain), the rumors of my death (or impending death) are greatly exaggerated!

Read on at your own peril.

Here's what's going on:

In April, I had a "suspicious" mammogram that was followed up with ultrasound. A small calcification that they had been following for years (since 2002?) appeared to be growing. It was pinpointed and I was referred to a surgeon. A stereotactic biopsy was performed. The diagnosis was atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) and though it appeared non-malignant, a lumpectomy was recommended because ADH can lead to other more serious things.

I had the lumpectomy. Pathology report came back showing ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of about 2 mm, stage 0 (that's zero, and ironically, about the size of a size 0 (US) knitting needle) cancer, non-invasive, right at the edge of the surgical site.

A second surgery was performed a month later to obtain "clean margins," which were, indeed, clean. An MRI follow-up confirmed that there were no remaining malignant cells.

The next recommendation was for a very intense, short-term radiation treatment (brachytherapy) in which a balloon catheter is implanted and a radioactive seed the size of a grain of rice is inserted 2 times a day for 5 days. This is to prevent recurrence. The device was inserted, and I was facing 10 days (in this heat) without showers and/or deodorant. A CT last Friday revealed that there was insufficient tissue between the catheter and the skin to prevent burning to the skin. The device was removed and I was referred for "traditional" radiation.

I saw the radiologist last Wednesday, and asked point blank, "Why am I doing this?"

Since the answer wasn't definitive. . .

Right now, I am weighing my options. There is no reason to rush and several good reasons to wait. DCIS has about a 5-10% recurrence rate after 10 years no matter what treatment is employed. If I have radiation now, and it recurs, I may not be a candidate for further radiation. Medical options (Tamoxifen) to prevent recurrence are available. I am meeting with a medical oncologist to discuss them in a week.

Never mind that being zapped 33 times that close to my heart, lung, and ribcage scares the bejeezus out of me.

Keep a good thought, please, but don't worry. I am bigger than this!

And let me just add for those women who dislike the discomfort of a mammogram--I didn't feel anything, nada, zero, zilch! Find something 2 mm in diameter. It's about the thickness of a pencil lead. Smaller than a BB, a lot! Bigger than a poppy seed, but not much. Would you have felt that through layers of skin and fat? I didn't! And probably would not, even if I had known exactly where to feel.

Don't put off routine tests!



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Finished Mittnz

Fay sent me a picture of her very colorful Mittnz.
Aren't they pretty? Don't you feel inspired?
Wouldn't you like to see a picture of your Mittnz right here?
So finish 'em up and shoot me a picture to abmcmanusATverizonDOTnet.
I'll put your Mitttnz picture right here, too.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Six Days and Counting

The Lap robe, Knitted is finished, complete with i-cord edging and all ends woven in..

We all know that this is really a baby blanket, don't we.

Can we keep it Our Little Secret?

I plan to make a little sweater as a Go With (perhaps the Rambling Rows Jacket since it's garter stitch--though mitered) in the same yarn (Patons Decor Rich Blues).

There's not much more I can say about this blankie. It's done. It's been Companion Car Knitting for longer than I care to think about. Miles and miles of mind-sucking garter stitch.

So what do I do for an encore?

Yep, another mind-sucking garter stitch (though mitered) blankie in pink. At least the miters are a little bit interesting!

There will be photos when there's more to show on that score.

Honestly, I don't like the way this pooled At All. I was okay with that big blop of dark when I thought that there might be another somewhere to balance it off.

No balancing blop appeared, though. ::le sigh::

I guess we can call it interesting and let it go at that. It will be a good Throw It On the Floor for Naps blankie.

Everybody needs one of those!

By my reckoning, I have 6 days (including today) and 4 entries (only 1 started) to finish. I am off Monday and Tuesday (though I have a class Tuesday morning that I cannot skip except for my own personal death). This is a very truncated Take a Week Off Before the Fair To Finish entries week.

I am going to attempt to get stuff blocked this weekend. (I left it to the end because there will be wrinkles and fold marks from storing the stuff otherwise.) Then, I'll get it all tagged and ready.

Is there a pool going yet?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Closing In On the Finish Line

You've seen the snowman. He was featured here.

Now, he is joined by Christmas Ornament-Santa.

Valient effort. Sort of nasty looking.

Cotton yarn with some floofy crap that I got for a buck at the Tree. It really is very nasty to knit, but the texture is what I wanted.

I may throw the rest of it away.

(Caron "Bliss"--bad name for a bad product!)

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Monday, August 17, 2009

how Could I Forget?

I finished this cute pair of little girl socks yesterday, took a picture, then promptly forgot to post

Bad, Sheepie!

They are not of the warm variety. No, the yarn is Patons Astra (100% ack) in a variety of colors. Pattern was suggested by Child's Fair Isle Cuff Socks in Vogue Knitting OTG Socks 2.

The cuffs don't fold down, because I was certain (rightly so) that I would run out of yarn before I ran out of second sock.

This is a Debbie Bliss design and another head scratcher. The cuff is knitted flat then seamed.

What is up with that?

And all three sizes start with the same big honkin' cuff. The only difference is in the length of the foot.

Ah, well.

I cast on for the Santa Ornament, so (if you are keeping score) six entries (including 3 officially started) and eleven days to go. ::eep::


Sunday, August 16, 2009


A new resource for knitters.

If you spend way too much time looking for that Pattern That's Here Somewhere In One Of These Magazines, check this out:

An index of Interweave Knits and other periodicals (some, Coming Soon).

In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, I know the owner. She's good people and a dedicated indexer! This site holds a world of information. Lots is free and even more is available by subscription.

Seriously, check it out! You won't be sorry.


Hey, Santa!

I am starting to have quite a stockpile of Christmas Stockings, Knitted.

I make one for the fair each year and I've given away quite a few. (I think they make great baby gifts!)

This one will rank among my favorites, though.

The pattern, or rather the pattern that suggested this one, is in the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2006 special issue. Designer is Nicky Epstein, and with all due respect, I have to wonder what she was thinking!

The original pattern calls for knitting flat and seaming up the back and for knitting a bunch of i-cord and sewing it on after. I used reverse stockinette (the red) to mimic that look. I knit it on dpns.

I left off the 40 knit-separately-and-sewn-on-last bobbles. I wasn't going to try faking them.

The yarn is Caron Simply Soft (the navy), Plymouth Encore (the red) and some odd ball acrylic from the Tiny Prince's scrap ball bag (the white and black).

I had to really scrounge for that scrap of orange (actually peach) for the carrot nose. It's a bit of variegated baby shades fuzzy stuff also from TP's collection. There was just enough before it turned to white and pink!

The snowman is knit separately and stitched on. That might be the reason for knitting flat, but truthfully, I rolled a magazine up and put it inside to keep me from stitching the front and back together. No big deal. And no seaming.

Seven entries (3 well-started) to go. Twelve days (including today) to go!

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not So Big Feet

Felting accomplished!

Though it took moore trips through the washer than I expected, the clogs are firmly felted and drying as I type.

I'm very pleased with the fit. They'll keep my toes toasty this winter!

And the Other Half wants a pair of his own.

Sparky's really feeling the heat this summer. (Who isn't?)

She's camped out in the Other Half's office where it is dark and cool.

Adding a layer of cat hair to the keyboard.

And the screen.

In my next life, I'm coming back as my cat.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Really Big Feet

However late, I do eventually jump on most bandwagons!

Witness the Fiber Trends Felt Clogs.

Was this a "fun knit?" No, I don't think so. The yarn (Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride --Periwinkle and a dark burgundy) was a gift from a wool-allergic Imaginary Friend. I was pretty sure that I had enough.

It was damned close!

Originally, I planned for burgundy cuffs but had to rework the first one when it became painfully obvious even to me that the second outer sole was going to be striped if I didn't rip off the cuff and reuse that yarn.

When I finally finished, I was left with a couple of snippets of burgundy and a ball of periwinkle the size of a golf ball.

The knitting itself wasn't difficult, but required attention. This is not what I would call mindless knitting.

Tomorrow, I'll throw them in the washer (in a pillowcase--I learned that lesson the hard way!) and felt them to size.

Did I mention that I've always wanted a pair of these clogs for myself?

Eight entries (4 of them at least started) and 13 days to go!

And in distressing news on a medical front, I had the therapy "device" implanted on Wednesday and removed today after a CT scan revealed that there wasn't enough buffering tissue between the implant and the skin to allow the procedure to continue safely.

I am really saddened by this. bummed out, in fact. It means that radiation will take 6 weeks (daily, M-F) instead of one as we had originally hoped.


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More Mittnz

Nancy sent me this picture of her completed Mittnz.

She says she's not finished, so soon she'll join the ranks of the overachievers!

Aren't these great? If you click on the picture, it gets bigger and you can see the fine workmanship.

As soon as my fair knitting is finished, I'll be cranking out Mittnz, too.

You can send a picture of your finished Mittnz to me at abmcmanus At verizon DOT net. Nine pairs gets you in the draw for yarny prizes.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Overachiever of the Year

And it's Julie who sent me this picture of her 14 completed pairs.
I love the colors! So bright and cheerful and sure to please the kids who will wear them.
How are you coming with your Mittn knittn?
Yeh, me either. After the fair!!


Monday, August 10, 2009

One More Down

Child Sweater, finished.

Love the yarn! (It's not flat, it's heathered.) But it's pretty well likely discontinued. Plymouth Encore DK. The color is 1405 Malt. I have 1 ball left that might become a matching hat.

Or not.

This will look a whole lot better once it's blocked.

Nine more to go. Seventeen days left. ::eep::

Started another tonight. Will start another tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Lookie Here!

Emily sent this picture of the Mittnz she made.
I really like them.
I am really far behind!
I really will catch up.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

What a week!

My birthday (last Saturday, thanks for all the well wishes) spilled over into the week. I am blessed!

Rabbitch sent me some lovely Toe Jam sock yarn (the two hanks of blues) and a little bit of experimental Revenge to add to some I already have in the hopes that there might be enough to make something for the rapidly growing Tiny Prince of Wails.

I'm thinking hat and mittens with actual thumbs, as the Tiny Prince ain't a baby any more!

She's been at the Sock Summit, but she'll be adding to that Etsy page. If you like your socks to be unique, Rabbitworks works! Hop on over.

Ellen sent me these balls of Patons Astra that I plan to combine with some other Astra (it's a DK weight acrylic) into a pair of fair isle-cuffed socks/slippers. This gift was a bit of serendipity as I have several tiny bits of Astra, but nothing "dark for contrast."

Thanks, Ellen! I can move forward now without a trip anywhere that I might be tempted to replenish the stash (as if it needs it)!

I'll start that fair entry soon!

And here's my birthday gift to myself.

Two pounds (!) of silk/merino handpainted semi-solids. It was a genuine bargain and the price is what really got me over my yarn-buying slump.

Yes, I know that I don't need more yarn, but that's never stopped me in the past.

I love this stuff. It feels wonderful and I'm sure it will make up into many wonderful accessories.

And no. I really didn't need it, but sometimes we all need to give in to the wants.

Progress! I really concentrated on fair entries today. The little sweater is almost nearly finished. I need about 4 more cable repeats, then the cabled ribbing, about 48 more rounds, total. Yes, I am counting. I haven't timed a round, though so it hasn't reached the obsession point --yet.

The stocking is looking promising as well. There's a snowman applique that goes on the front. I'll suspend knitting on the leg long enough to make the snow-body so I can see if it's possible to shorten the thing just a tad.

Dark blue for a Christmas stocking? Wait. Really, wait! It's quite cute. You'll see.

Meanwhile, it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow. That will keep us indoors, though the lawn, oh, the lawn, hasn't been mowed in two weeks. It looks pretty bad.

And the weeds, oh, the weeds, haven't been addressed all summer.

And we will not speak about the shrubbery. At All.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Update

With less than 3 weeks left to complete fair entries, I find myself in pretty much the same situation as last week. Ten entries to finish, but less time to finish them.

So rather than a concerted push to finish what is already started, I did what any normal (definition, please) knitter would do--I started some more stuff!

Left to right (sort of): The blue laprobe at roughly 28" X 30" or "closing in on the finish line." (I'm shooting for 36-40" square plus an i-cord edging.)

The taupe colored blob is a child's cabled sweater. The color is Malt (a heathery grayed brown with flecks of other colors). The Yarn is Encore DK, the pattern from Kids to Grown-Ups Seamless Sweaters by Mary Rich Goodwin. I'm making a size 4 and have just the body from the armpit down to finish.

The red and navy is the start of a Chrismas stocking--Nicki Epstein-inspired. I'm knitting in the applied (as in stitched on after the fact) i-cord and making some other accomodations to the need for mindless.

The pink mitered blankie is at the same point where you last saw it. It will become this week's car- and lunchtime-knitting.

So there you have it, Four projects in the works. Six projects unstarted ; 19 days to go.


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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Dear Bree

Dear Bree,

Here's the thing.

I can certainly understand going out clubbing. I can understand flirting. I can understand liking that cute guy who bought you the Apple Martinis, but when he asked you for your phone number, and you decided you had second thoughts . . .

Why the heck did you give him my phone number?

He's calling every night when the bars close. That would be 2 in the ay-em.



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Sunday, August 02, 2009

And Some Stuff Happened

The Other Half and I had outdoor plans for this afternoon/evening. They involved a lot of little kids and a playground program "celebration" and a bunch of other Rotarians. This morning, we awoke to downpour.

By 11, both the Celebration and the Rain Date were canceled. Bonus evening! I'll take it.

Finished another entry today. Nothing too special about this Adult Cap, Knitted. The pattern is in Homespun Handknit.

(There was a clue in the photo. Did you spot it?)

The yarn is not homespun (or handspun to divorce it from that stuff of the same name). It's not even a natural fiber (unless you consider petroleum to be natural).

Yarn is Caron Simply Soft (Dark Country Blue) and Brunswick Windrush (Ecru). Both yarns are very vintage from two different sources.

One more entry finished!

The laprobe is looking a tad bigger thanks to some serious car knitting. This is turning into a sampler of pooling, isn't it?

This will be my mindless project for the week. I have plans for a couple of other pieces. Yarn is purchased, I just need to get cracking.

Twenty-five days and 10 entries (3 or 4* of them started) to go.

*One sock cuff is partially completed. I dislike both the pattern and the yarn, so I may start another Adult Socks, Slippers, Knitted. In something softer. And fluffier.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Productive Week

In anticipation of Turning Sixty (which I do sometime around noon today), I have been offering sage (hah!) advice all week. Some has been gleaned from years of experience, other was blatantly stolen. It matters not. It's all good stuff. ::coff::

Anyway, I've also been cranking out the fair entries, and even so, I'm getting a bit concerned about what isnot finished - - -yet.

But we're not here to talk about my shortcomings (I hope). Let's talk successes!

Here's a Child Cap, knitted which I think came out pretty well. (It probably won't be big enough for the intended wearer, which is probably okay since he probably won't wear it anyway.)

Yarn is Patons Classic Wool, Denim Marl. Pattern is from Fully Wooly. There's a kid sweater there as well that I have my eye on.

And no matter what you might think, this is not a Christmas ornament.

It is a Winter Bauble. A Solstice Decoration.

The recipient does not celebrate Christmas. But he'd like to play in snow. Sadly (not really), he lives where it doesn't (snow).

So he will have to make do with a tiny Mr. or Mrs. Snowman, Other (as in Not Plastic Canvas or Ceramic). I'll mail it in time for the holiday he celebrates.

Yarn: some sort of leftover pompadour baby weight sparkly stuff and Red Heart sport. Pattern: On a Wing and a Prayer.

And bringing up the rear: Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, Other (see above).

Lightly felted after knitting and stuffing, yarn is some sort of Shetland stuff from that bin over there (the only white yarn in the place that's likely to felt at all), some Brown Sheep Naturespun leftover (the top hat) some turquoise cotton leftovers from Elann (might be Sonata??) and some sparkly stuff that was part of the Great Goodwill Haul of early spring. (I cut it close on that one. There was about 1' left when I finished.)

The pattern was at the Knit Picks website. Don't know if it's still there.

The two blankies are still in production and I have cast on a Child Sweater. Eleven entries to complete; 26 days to do it! ::eep::

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