Holiday Knits

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop

The holidays are approaching. For many this means extra spending on gifts, personalized Christmas cards and stressful crafting. I like giving small handmade gifts with a personal note and a nice piece of chocolate. If you recall, in the summer I had planned to give patchwork dish towels. I have a pretty good stock pile of these towels so I’ll probably give some to my family this year, but I haven’t really decided on what to make for my coworker gifts.

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As the British Hubby and I are getting close to hat/scarf/shawl saturation, I like to make items for the gift bin so I always have a supply. I pulled out a wip from Malabrigo March 2015, Malabrigo Elevation. The yarn is of course Malabrigo Rios in Natural. The pattern is High Elevation by Cassie Munksgard. I’m on the second repeat so I think there’s a chance I can get this completed in time for the holidays.

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Knitting items on a deadline isn’t my favorite. It makes me feel like knitting is a job instead of my fun hobby (I already have one job). I did manage to finish Milo III for the baby shower last Thursday. Here’s the first completed wip for November! This is in Malabrigo Rios color Purpuras.

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Update on other wips:

  • Frank in Pairs: Eight stripes are completed. It’s measuring in at 27 inches.
  • Dewberry Dancer: Now that Milo III is completed, this one is back in rotation. I expect to see more progress on this one soon.

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I received several good suggestions for November’s movie theme. Drum roll please! Presenting: Decoder Ring Knitting Movies! Our first movie is The Parallex View. It has a very young looking Warren Batty. The gripping opening scene takes place on the Space Needle. I actually stopped knitting. The scene was intense, but I also thought I spotted a female reporter sporting a knitted vest. This 1974 movie contains a parade, shooting, bar fight, 70’s car chase (including a Duke’s of Hazard style jump), boat explosion, false identities and a very unusual death by drowning in a damn overflow. Numerous times during this movie, I completely stopped knitting the Milo III. I’m almost certain I saw coded messages in Warren’s hair (perhaps, buy more yarn). If you haven’t seen this 70’s flick, check it out.

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Gracie’s newest sleep spot. It’s where Burt normally sleeps!013

One wip down and seven more to go!

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The Eve of Election Day

Independence is happiness.Susan B. Anthony

In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention was the first women’s rights convention. It passed a resolution in favor of women’s suffrage. This idea was thought too extreme even by some of the convention organizers. Seventy two years later in 1920, the 19th amendment was passed giving women the right to vote in the United States. Ninety six years later, the United States is on the verge of another milestone for women’s rights with the possibility of the first female president. It’s the eve of election day. Go vote. Today The Vatican City is the only country in the world where women don’t have the right to vote. Only Cardinals are allowed to vote, and the election of a new Pope is the only item voted on. I’m not going to talk about morals, politics, religion or personal choices. I am urging you to vote. Over the past several centuries, millions of people have lost their lives fighting and defending freedom all over the world. If you live in the United States, please go vote.

Update on other wips:

  • Frank in Pairs: This morning, I had 28 of the 30 Frank rows completed before the next Pairs stripe.
  • Dewberry Dancer: I’m working on this one now. I’m attempting to reach row 20 of section two tonight.

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Last month, I only managed to review two movies. Where did the month go? October’s theme was Hide Behind your Knitting Movies. I’m looking for suggestions for November’s theme. If you have an idea, leave your suggestions in the comments.

I think Gracie was trying to be scary in this photo. It’s just difficult when you’re that fluffy.

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Ailurophile

A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not. ~ Ernest Hemingway

It’s no secret. I’m a cat lover. As I write today’s blog post, Ernie is purring his heart out on my lap. Periodically, he’ll move and stare up at me commending me to fuss him. I recently ran across a few articles on the best places for cat lovers to vacation. Travel and Leisure did an article The Craziest Places for Cat lovers. The article contains some fascinating vacation spots from all over the world. Key West has been on my vacation list for awhile now. Visiting Hemingway’s house has clawed it’s way to the top of my list. Hemingway’s home has about 40-50 polydactyl cats. Of course after a stormy weekend, I’m longing for a little sunshine. We were fortunate not to lose power and fortunate the storms weren’t as strong as predicted. Our lights flickered exactly five times on Friday, but never stayed off more than 30 seconds. This meant I had a chance to cook, bake and knit.

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Flickering lights don’t scare me! I’m upside down cat. 

I made a pot of cheddar cauliflower soup that could easily be heated on our propane grill had the need occurred.

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I also tried my first Mary Berry cake recipe. I tried a gingerbread sponge. The flavor is excellent, but I should have taken it out of the oven five minutes sooner. As I was taking it out of the pan, I could just hear Paul and Mary saying it was cracked and slightly over baked. Not good for competitive baking, but easily fixed with some sauce and pumpkin ice cream.

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Update on other wips:

  • Frank in Pairs: Four stripes done and six rows completed towards stripe number five. This is now 15 inches long. I am aiming for the Frank side to be around 35 inches.
  • Dewberry Dancer: Six rows of section two are complete. Only 94 more to go!
  • I think maybe it’s time to pullout another project from the bins. Maybe one that could be used as a Christmas gift.

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The Projectionist

Since I talked about the best places for cat lovers to vacation, I thought it only fitting I review the 1940’s film, Cat People. This movie starts off with an ominous quote about evil and sin. I was tempted to cover my eyes with the aviatrix hat I was knitting, but the scene quickly changed to the zoo. The leading lady is often playful as a kitten, but shows her true nature when another female comes into her territory. This movie is full of cat innuendos including a dead bird, lions, caterwauling, a pacing panther and a robe torn to shreds. The only items missing are catnip and yarn.

While there was no yarn in the movie, the leading lady did play with some wool. (Okay, it might still be attached to the sheep.)

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This is how Ernie waited out the storms. He was attempting me to reorganize my craft room by making space in the bag bin.

Changing of the Seasons

October’s poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter. ~ Nova S. Blair

The days are getting shorter, the air is crisp and mother nature is putting on a spectacular show. One day a tree is green and the next day the foliage has changed to bright oranges and reds. Changing of the seasons also means it’s time to pull out some hand knits that were tucked away for summer. This week I started wearing hand knit socks. The first pair I wore was from Tour de Sock 2013. The lovely cable pattern is Chicane by Debbie O’Neil. It keeps my feet warm and toasty on the chilly rainy days. I especially love matching heels and toes. Have you pulled out your winter knits yet? Do you have a favorite knit item you like to wear first? Or maybe you have a favorite Autumn recipe you make every year to signify the change of seasons.

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Update on other wips:

  • Portland Bias Scarf: Skein three has 8.70 grams left. I’m starting to wonder how many grams do I need for a two row border and bind off.
  • Frank in Pairs: The fourth Pairs stripe is finished. Maybe this week, I’ll get another photo update.
  • Dewberry Dancer: Section one is complete! This shawl now has about 140 stitches. Section two has about 100 rows and will increase to about 370 stitches on each row.

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The Projectionist

Last week, I mentioned a new section coming to my blog. Here I will review a new movie every week. Each month will have a theme. October is Hide Behind your Knitting Movies. For my very first movie review, I watched Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man! From the opening credits, I could tell this was going to be a claw biter. Immediately, the sinister music set the tone. I was tempted to cover my eyes in the opening graveyard scene. Unfortunately, my Portland Bias Scarf is pretty see-through so I didn’t miss any of the action. Size 5 knitting needles and lace weight silk yarn doesn’t really make a good curtain for censoring scary movies. It does, however, make a very breezy summer time scarf. Maybe I should have been working on some dense fingerless mitts Wolf Man could use. He’s so hairy it would have to be a very tight gauge to keep the hair from poking through. Or maybe some neck bolt cozies for Frankenstein. Those must get pretty chilly in the mountains.

In 113 action packed minutes this movie had  monsters, gypsies, singing, dancing, an angry mob scene, a love story and an explosion. Another five or ten minutes and the conspiracy theory section would have had more life. My stockinette scarf was just the right project to avoid missing any crucial plot points. I like movies that have ambiguous endings to keep me guessing. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man did just that.

If you like your leading men to have facial hair and a bit of an overbite, then this movie is for you!

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Ernie was prepared in case the Wolf Man got out of hand.