WIP Wednesday-Christmas Knitting? Really?

I know what you’re thinking, but I only got one of the convertible mitts for my nephew finished by Christmas. I gave him the one I had finished, but I had to take it back so I could make sure I knitted the second one to match. Poor kid! On the gift tag, I wrote “To Nep_ _ _  From Au_ _  Because it’s only half done!” He got a kick out of that.

I made good progress on the second one this week:

Mitt 2

I’ve got about six or eight rows left on the main part of the mitt, then I can work on the flap and finish the thumb. Most of the thumb gets knitted when you knit the gusset, so there’s just the top of the thumb and the thumb flap to do on that. I doubt I’ll get it done this week, but I want to finish as soon as I can so my nephew can wear them.

Now that the holidays are over, I can replenish my supply of knitted cup sleeves. I buy a lot of single balls of yarn with no particular plan for them, so I started knitting sleeves for my Starbucks cups. Now and then someone will say how much they like the sleeve I’m using, so I give it to them. You should see their faces light up! I gave out my last one a couple weeks before Christmas, so I need to knit some more. For the current one, I’m using my go-to pattern, Kitamu.

Cup Sleeve 1 Cup Sleeve 2

The pattern doesn’t show up very well with this yarn, but knitting into the row below makes for a nice cushy sleeve. Now that I know how many stitches to cast on (the first version had about 12 stitches too many), I can do one in an evening or two.

Did you have to finish any projects after Christmas? Please tell me I’m not the only one!


WIP Wednesday-What Else Did You Expect?

The Christmas knitting continues apace. I’ve made good progress on the Podster Mitts:

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I just have to knit the thumb and weave in the ends, and I’m done!

Oh, wait–I have to knit two of these, don’t I?

And Christmas is when?

Uh, oh.

WIP Wednesday: Christmas Knitting

I’m in the thick of Christmas knitting this week. The last grab bag I got from Wollmeise had a skein of yarn in Ravens colors, and I knew I had to use it to knit something for my nephew, who is a huge fan. I’m tinkering with the numbers on Podster Gloves to make them fit a 10-year-old’s hands. If I get too close on time, I might have to leave the convertible part off or give him one finished mitt to make sure it fits before I finish the other one.

I was looking for a hat pattern that would work with the color patterning in the yarn, and someone on Ravelry suggested Rayonnante sur le Tapis Rouge. It turns out that the designer was looking for knitters to test the English translation of the pattern. Perfect! You knit the brim sideways first, then pick up stitches along the edge to knit the crown. The brim doesn’t look like much so far, but it will look better once I graft the ends and pick up for the crown. And block it–blocking works wonders.


The dark colors are actually purple and black. I need to work on taking better in-progress pictures, but it’s hard to get decent shots when it gets dark so early. I’m usually at the mercy of the lighting in my kitchen.

The hat for my cousin’s son is on hold since the projects for my nephew are due first. BUT…I found out at Thanksgiving that we’ll be celebrating Christmas with that part of the family on the 27th, so I don’t have as much time as I thought. Time for me to get off the computer and get knitting!

At Last, the Downton Abbey Post, Part 2

Ready for more beautiful dresses?  Here are more of the costumes from Downton Abbey on exhibit at Winterthur in Wilmington, Delaware.

Some of the dresses used vintage materials, like on the bodice of the infamous harem pants Sybil wore.

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Rose’s whole dress is vintage and has quite a story.

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The beading on the front of this dress was so heavy and Michelle Dockery, the actress who plays Mary, is so tiny that she could barely stand up straight!

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These are just some dresses I liked. It almost seems like a waste to spend so much time on details that viewers won’t even notice, but the Downton Abbey people feel that wearing authentic costumes helps the actors do a better job of portraying the characters.

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The people at Winterthur told us that this is the only place the exhibit will be shown in the US. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan in the mid-Atlantic area, I recommend making the trip. The costumes will be there until January 4, the day before Season 5 starts. You can, and should, get your tickets ahead of time here so you don’t have to worry about it being sold out.

Before we left Winterthur, we took a look at the exhibit of soup tureens, which was sponsored by, you guessed it, Campbell’s soup. Yes, you heard right: soup tureens. Stay tuned!

At Last, the Downton Abbey Post, Part 1

In September, I went with my mom and aunt to Winterthur to see the exhibit of Downton Abbey costumes. We spent a couple hours wandering through the exhibit, admiring the beautiful costumes and reading about Winterthur in the same period. There were costumes for everyone from the staff

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to the Crawley sisters

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to the Dowager Countess.

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The detail on the clothes was amazing! This is Edith’s wedding gown. Just look at the beading on the train.

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Mrs. Levinson’s dress had even more exquisite beadwork.

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There are a lot of images in this post, so I’m going to continue it tomorrow. See you then!

Making an Ass Out of, Uh, Me and Me

You’ve heard that saying “Never assume. It makes an ASS out of U and ME.” Lately, I’ve been making an ass out of me and me. Let me explain:

Last year, I covered my kitchen floor with cookbook pages.

Kitchen floor

It took a long time to finish, so I didn’t use my garbage disposal for months. The next time I did try to use it, I flipped the switch and heard…nothing. Since it was almost 15 years old, I assumed it had reached the end of its life and would have to be replaced. OK, I thought, I’ll replace it one of these days. Then the sink stopped draining. Now there was no putting off replacing the garbage disposal.

I was talking to Bossman Mike about it, and he asked if I had pushed the reset button. Of course not! Since there was no sound when I turned on the switch, I had assumed it was dead. He said, “Push the reset button and use the little allen wrench to turn the blades before you go out and buy a new disposal.” He’s the boss ,so I went home and tried it. Guess what? It totally worked. I had forgotten that the pit from an olive or date had fallen down the drain a while back and I decided to leave it there rather than risk reaching down and feeling around for it. I like my fingers, you know? Now that the blade is unjammed, the disposal works just fine. Go figure.

You would think I had learned my lesson, but then you’d be assuming, too. When I got home from work Wednesday, the house felt chilly, so I went to the thermostat to bump up the heat a bit. The display was blank. Nothing. Nada. I tried pressing the Reset button. Nope. Did the thermostat die, or did the furnace die? I turned the fan setting from Auto to On, and the furnace started up, but the air it was blowing wasn’t very warm. Of course I assumed the worst: I would have to spend thousands of dollars that I didn’t have to replace my furnace, and do it over Thanksgiving weekend.

I called my handy-dandy neighbor, who suggested replacing the thermostat first to see if that was the problem. So off I went to Home Depot. I picked out a thermostat and read the features on the back. OK, it had everything I needed, but wait a minute. What’s this at the bottom about needing a battery? I didn’t know thermostats used batteries! I bought the thermostat in case I needed it and picked up a package of batteries. When I got home, I opened the old thermostat, and sure enough, there were two AA batteries. I changed the batteries and put the cover back on, and presto! A working display and a warm house, all for the price of two batteries.

All of this has taught me that when something goes wrong around the house, I need to step back, take a few deep breaths, and take a minute to think logically about what the problem could be before I freak out and assume the worst. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Home Depot. I have a thermostat to return.

When have you assumed the worst and had it turn out OK? Share it in the comments!

Always Use the Right Tools

Everyone has a story about their Thanksgiving disaster. Mine happened about 20 years ago. I was making a cranberry cheesecake to take for dessert, and the recipe said to blend the ingredients in a food processor.  I didn’t have a food processor, but I thought a blender would work well enough. After all, I was just mixing a few things together.

I put the cream cheese in the blender jar, followed by the eggs, vanilla, and other ingredients, and turned the blender on High. After it ran for a few seconds, the blender bogged down because the cream cheese was too thick. No problem, I thought, I’ll just grab a spatula and push some of the liquid down by the blades.

Did you notice that I didn’t say anything about turning off the blender? Yeah, I forgot that part. As I pushed the spatula down through the layers of liquid and cream cheese, the blades came unjammed and began spinning. One of the blades caught the spatula and started it spinning, too. Then VWOOM! a volcano erupted out of the blender, splattering batter over everything. There was even batter dripping from the ceiling.

After I wiped the ceiling and cabinets clean, I poured the remaining batter into the pan and baked it. Nobody asked why the cheesecake was so small, and I certainly wasn’t telling.

That Monday, I put a food processor on my Christmas list.

Share your own Thanksgiving disaster in the comments!