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Twins bound by a love of knitting talk about knitting and more.

Archive for November, 2007

We Like to Start Them Young

Hi Ellen!

You may have heard that the military is concerned about “making our numbers” this recruiting year. We are in competition with other employers for a narrowing pool of physically and mentally fit talent. Instead of grousing about it, we’re just being more innovative.

Little Sailor SweaterFor example, this little pink Sailor sweater (a crackerjack sweater to be specific) is for the soon to be born daughter of Melinda, one of the Navy women with whom I work. Her husband is in the Navy too. So you see, if we can’t recruit them, at least we can reproduce them! We’ll make sure their paychecks get a bit of a bonus if she signs on beyond toddlerhood.

Sailor Sweater Neckerchief DetailI’m actually pretty pleased with the results of this effort. The base pattern is by Catherine Shields and is called the Brendan Sweater. I found it on etsy. I wasn’t entirely happy with the original neckline, so I modified it a bit and I added the neckerchief detail to make it look more authentic. Sailor Sweater Mattress Stitch DetailEven Allen admitted it was pretty cute. Oh, and look at that mattress stitching! I think I finally got the hang of it. My first effort at intarsia as well. It was a fun and fast knit…and gives me something to show at show and tell at guild next week. I still have to deal with the sizing problem on the adult sweater I pieced last week and I don’t think I’ll have gotten to it by Monday.

Love, Jan

The halls are decked, now it’s time to knit.

Hi, Jan,

I took today off to get some stuff done. You know, things that pile up, like canceling the YMCA membership that you haven’t found time for in months and paying the mortgage. And as we are downsizing on decorating this year (didn’t make sense in a year we are spending the holidays in Ohio and West Virginia), I actually got that all but done today, too.

115.jpgSnowflake lights went up really fast – I’d installed the cup hooks to hang them last year and didn’t take those out, so it was a matter of pulling them out of their boxes and hanging them. It took longer to find the power strips to plug them all in.

img_1309.JPGIt was kind of sad not having either of my ladies around to arrange the creche. This is the first year in a long time that I actually set it up myself. The creche came from Wilson’s grandmother’s and so is special to us.

And I have my santas. img_1311.JPGI settled on collecting santas some years ago because they fit my Christian past and Unitarian Universalist present. Santa to me is the essence of generosity, and that suits both religions. A couple of my favorites get featured here. One of them is from you several years back, Jan.116.jpgimg_1303.JPGimg_1299.JPG

Now I am ready to kick back and knit on that Refined Raglan. Here it is – I’ve finished the hem! 210.jpg

No, I didn’t actually get everything on my list done, but I got enough done that I feel good about it. I want to buy a couple of huge poinsettias (no tree this year, so I’m splurging on poinsettias). I hope you are making progress on your holiday lists, too.



Pie me!

pie \pah ee\ vb 1: to partake of pie 2: to serve pie 3: to consume pie while in a festive group adjto please


Hi, Jan,

Yes, it was fun timing to have you join the feast at Becky & Mike’s for a few minutes.

We had a lovely time. There is something about being with someone who has known you over 40 years and still appreciates you and wants to find out more about you that is wonderful. And hearing your childhood stories affirmed, and affirming theirs. In case there happens to be a reader of this blog who doesn’t know our background, Becky lived 5 houses down the street from us and it was a generous gesture of the universe that led us both to Minneapolis.28.jpg

The turkey was rich – cherry glazed with hazelnuts in the stuffing. 111.jpgMike carved with the confidence of a surgeon (though his usual subjects, ears and throats, are much smaller) and we ate and laughed and played the traditional after-dinner board game.35.jpg

Here is your daily brassica. 112.jpg114.jpg

And the full moon, shining over Ridgedale Mall where we managed to escape most of the shopping craziness, buying just some fuses to prove that our old TV really is dead. Makes it even prettier. I hope your ma 0′ the bride dress shopping went well, though. Does the auntie o’ the bride need anything special?

113.jpgAnd finally, I reveal the holiday gift, because I am pretty sure that the person receiving this doesn’t know about our blog and I am so happy to have something done that fits that I needed to post it. It’s Kat Coyle’s Nomad Hat and Scarf, from Interweave Knits Fall 2007. The yarn is Pronto. I found knitting with this very full bodied yarn to be a little tiring on my hands, but I’m happy with the result.

Love to everyone, including Ruby and Max.



Dear Ellen,

family-t-day-2007.JPGI loved catching you over at Mike and Becky’s when I called to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. It sounded like you guys were having a good time. The Hamby bunch had a very good time. We had both kids home along with their significant others and everyone helped prepare and clean-up. It actually gave me time to piece together Sally’s favorite sweater while the meal was cooking.

Hamby Turkey on Turkey Day 2007No pic of that today as I am once again foiled by my obsession that I must make things a size or two too large in order to fit me. (First sweater story below — second sweater I like, but didn’t intend to make it the cute “swing” sweater that it is.) I am pondering what to do. I believe I can pull off an attempt to take it in…with the sewing machine. The turkey, however, turned out mahvelous!

We all consumed to excess…and there was much excess leftover. We will be eating well for a good many days. Tina tells us that this is important as having excess on your table (during the Chinese New Year or at any celebration) portends surpluses in the coming year. We will have a big year. Especially if we keep eating like this!

Ruby Hypnotizes for TreatsPost Dinner T-day 2007Post dinner Ruby activated her hypnotism rays and forced Marie to feed her many treats. Then she and Max set the example for evening activities. We did our best to keep pace with them, but they are, after all, professionals.

Today — mother of the bride dress shopping. If it will fit me today, it will certainly fit me in February!

Love, Jan

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Jan,

Among the things I’m thankful for this year is the creation of this blog with you. It’s made me more present in my day, wondering what could I post that would be remotely interesting to you, let alone to anyone else who reads the blog. It’s given me a chance to share my life with you and with our extended family and friends. I know how much I appreciate peeking into Karen’s life reading her blog, and I hope our drivel gives others that same chance. Thanks for being the catalyst that made this happen.

110.jpgOne little slice of today to share (and coming from me, no one is going to be surprised at the theme) – feast items! Aren’t Brussels sprouts marvels of construction? And talk about beautiful – shades from palest green to almost burgundy, perfectly blended. Perhaps I need to dye some yarn in this colorway. At the very least, it would be amusing to knit with a yarn that I can refer to as Brussels sprouts. I’m roasting these, seasoned with cumin and garlic and cayenne. This recipe converted Wilson from a Brussels sprout hater to a Brussels sprout anticipator.

34.jpgAnd squash are so great. Look at those curves. Makes me feel better about some of mine (though I don’t look so good in orange).

27.jpgAnd saving the best for last – pie! With all that fruit, it’s a breakfast food, you know. These are pumpkin (obviously) and tart cherry, with cherries off our own tree. It is a genetic dwarf, self-fertile variety ‘North Star’. It was bred at the U of Minnesota and I picked and pitted these last June.

We’ll spend the day with Becky, Michael, Claire and Max, dear friends who are truly family to us, missing Karen and Jenny (it definitely feels odd to do this day without them), and thinking of the rest of the family.

Happy Thanksgiving.



Do you recognize this yarn?


It is very satisfying to have a clean start. And to have these nice yarn cheeses. That’s what I call them anyway, for they are solid as a wheel of cheese. (If you don’t feel very happy, I recommend a nice cheese.)

It’s All About Expectations

CourbetteLipizzaner Patriot

Lipizzaner Sidelit

Dale, Allen and I went to see the “World Famous” Lipizzaner Stallions today. We had a good time. I didn’t realize when I bought the tickets that we were actually going to a “knock off” of the Royal Lipizzaners trained at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. I did realize that I hadn’t paid nearly enough for the tickets, so hadn’t expected these to be the first string. So, good thing my expectations weren’t as high as they might have been.

Lipizzaners Wheel

Don’t get me wrong. The horses were very impressive and the riders were excellent — but they were impressive/excellent at the “B” List grading criteria. Since I wasn’t expecting “A” List, I wasn’t disappointed. We had a fine time and you can see that the horses were, indeed, very pretty. Allen and Dale were good sports and found nice things to say. Lipizzaner KnittingAllen even was willing to take the photo of me knitting during intermission to allow me to make this post have at least a connection to knitting.

Ever since seeing the Spanish Riding School horses on “Sixty Minutes” when I was maybe 10 (?) I’ve wanted to be dazzled by these stallions. That desire was sharpened when I came within 25 Kilometers of the original stud farm in Lipica…and was unable to convince the air wing guys (with whom I was on liberty) that visiting horses would be a better way to spend our time off the ship than drinking in Postonja. Go figure. Today wasn’t dazzling, but it did buy off the desire for a while. If I ever end up in Slovenia again though, we’re making the trip to Lipica!

Rainy days and Sundays always get me down,

Except when the rain turns to big fluffy snowflakes and Sunday afternoon is filled with a knitting group and the evening with a snuggly movie session.

William just learned to knit yesterday – look at him go. 18.jpg I think the chocolate cigar is giving him extra knitting energy. Lisa is his mom and teacher and we got to watch her deny her firstborn the use of her cashmere yarn. It was the first thing William picked out of her stash. You have to admit, he’s got the true instinct. Lisa is working on a tea cozy of her own design. Oh, and it should be obvious that William is working on a scarf.

? 25.jpgKathy is knitting with yarn she dyed herself. It is the Knitpicks merino fingering-weight.32.jpg

I kept on with the holiday surprise in yesterday’s post. It was cozy, hot cider, fire in the fireplace, watching the snow (which didn’t stick, but we are heading in the right direction).

Tonight Wilson and I will snuggle up on the futon and watch 28 Up. This is a series of documentaries following a group of kids, starting at age 7 and reconnecting with them every 7 years. It is pretty interesting to see the seeds of behaviors early on. There are a couple of these kids I really like, and I’m rooting for them to have nice lives.

One more nice touch to the evening – Jimmy John’s subs for supper. Yummy, and clean up consists of pitching the paper they wrap them in. I guess Sunday’s aren’t so bad, after all.

Mighty Mini

Allen’s New Innocenti Mini We are definitely becoming quite the mini family. Todayour son Allen picked up his new 1973 Innocenti Mini. It is incredibly cute. He’s 6’2″ tall, so it’s kind of amazing that he fits in it so well — it’s even smaller than my 2003 Mini Cooper S. It may be smaller, but despite its diminutive size, it has already created a big surge of Mini mania on his part. We’re pretty pleased he chose to go this route over the types of cars that many of his friends have gone for…and it will make for much easier Christmas shopping!

New beginnings.

24.jpg Frogging is a bit like a needed surgery. You dread the procedure, but you feel a lot of relief once it is done. That is helped along in the case of the Refined Raglan by getting to cuddle the wonderful Aran yarn again. Here it is, almost dry from its reconditioning bath. Judit demonstrates that it even smells good!17.jpg

I am being patient and letting it dry completely before winding it into balls. In the meantime, I’m working on a bit of holiday knitting. Here is a snippet. 31.jpgI don’t want to give too much away, even though the intended recipient is unlikely to be reading, but you just can’t be too careful. Just today I saw a cow being abducted, and I have been warned. The yarn is Pronto, a 30% wool, 70% acrylic chunky.