From the Fog

I’ve got a terrible cold which is probably the punishment I get for how completely smug I was about saying that the knitting and Christmas prep were all moving along at a good clip.  I couldn’t possibly be more stuffed up if I tried and this morning I was so desperate to feel better that I took an expired Benylin. (Joe’s going to run out and try and get me something a little better- like maybe a huge bottle of whiskey.) Despite the punishing cold, and at the risk of turning it into pneumonia with further smugness, this weekend I really got a lot done. The spreadsheet marches along, a few things were wrapped, a few more things were sorted out, and despite a party (I knit while I attended. I know they think I’m odd, but I think I’m just normalizing knitting within our culture) my knitting goals turned out to be actual goals.  This time of year I have a hard time telling the difference between goals and plans I make that have all the sense of a reindeer on skates.  These, because they were achievable, turned out to be actual goals.   I finished a cashmere watchcap,

Yarn: Groove Cashmere, pattern: Lorne’s Hat. 

and I knit a whole Pretty Thing in just a few hours. 

I don’t want to toot my own horn on this one (since it is my pattern) but I consider this a really good last minute emergency gift.  It’s only 61 rounds and goes pretty quickly, assuming you’re reasonably comfortable with charts, and this time, the yarn was my favourite part.  

I knit this one out of a slightly dear cashmere silk – Superior, from Filatura Di Crossa.  I got it at the Little Red Mitten while I was there – absolutely inspired by one that Joan was wearing.  The yarn was $26, and I took a deep breath, remembered it was cashmere and silk and bought it.

When I was done, I weighed the cowl, then the ball.  The finished thing was 9g, and what was left in the ball was 16g, so I’ll have enough for a whole other one, and that makes this yarn way, way less expensive than I thought.  It was like suddenly getting it for half price. (I admit, you have to think the way I do to make that work.)

Just to round the weekend out, the better part of a sock…

I feel like today’s probably going to be less productive – knitting wise, but I figure that fighting this cold is likely better for all of Christmas in the long run. (By long run I mean tomorrow. I’ll kick Christmas arse tomorrow.)

I hope you forgive me for making the gifts section short and sweet today.

Gifts for Knitters 7

Where there is knitting, there are charts, and where there are charts there is a knitter always seeking a good way to keep track of where he is in a chart.  Here’s a bunch of solutions.  There’s the magnetic boards that stand up like an easel, a magnet strip holds the chart against the board and keeps track of where you are on the chart.  There’s a basic one from Knit Picks, and  Knitters Pride has two different sizes, and theirs includes pockets to keep pens and patterns in.  Slipped Stitch Studios (I know I keep mentioning them, but their stuff just looks so neat) has an assortment of pattern wallets – all of which are pretty clever,  and for the guy knitters who said that all the stuff is girly? Are you sure? How about this one. Or this one. Or how about mustaches?   If you’re looking for something smaller, how about these super neat ribbon/magnet chart keepers? You just sandwich your chart between the two magnets, and there you go. (By the way, these work great for knitters who like to work from books or magazines – those mediums are hard to attach to boards.)
Stocking stuffer in the chart department?  Removable Highlighter Tape. I LOVE THIS STUFF.  It would be brilliant in your knitter’s stocking. You’ll look so clever.
Finally, because so many of you said to keep the books coming, for any knitter who struggles with charts?  Charts Made Simple: understanding knitting charts visually by JC Briar.  Hard to beat.

Gifts for Knitters 8

Paper goods for knitters, because your knitter likes knitting related EVERYTHING.  I like these ones from Buffalogirls Design (especially the "I was knitting before knitting was cool" one.)  If you’re American, there’s still time to get fabulous Knitterella stuff before Christmas (If you’re not American order anyway. Just put it away for next year.) There’s note cardsgift tags all fabulous.  These look charming. So do these… in fact, you could just get on Etsy and see what you find.  (I want it all. Look at these mice. Stop me.)

78 thoughts on “From the Fog

  1. I have a single skein of qiviut that my MIL got me that I have been nervous to use. I figured that this would be a good make one for her and one for me gift. I’ll have to pull it out. It should be enough grams!

  2. I am knitting Lorne’s Hat too. Just on the decreasing. We’ll ignore the fact it was a 2011 Christmas gift. The Pretty Thing would be a grand gift for myself, don’t you think? As for the knitting mice – get them!! They are adorable. (Try Oil of Oregano to help with the cold.)

  3. Try SinusBuster for the congestion. It’s a little harsh at first, but it breaks through gunk better than anything else I’ve used, and I’ve got chronic sinus/allergy/asthma problems. Good luck knitting fast and Happy Holidays!

  4. If only the I was knitting… were a picture of a younger woman rather than the old-lady stereotype.
    Love that Pretty Thing, and love that I finally know a project good enough for my waiting, hoarded ball of Cashmere Superior. Thank you! (Let’s see, where did I stash your pattern…)

  5. I’m so sorry you’re sick. Here’s a suggestion for your gift list which I just discovered on Ravelry – well, maybe not for this list since this is not a gift from knitters but rather than for them. But GREAT last minute items: PInt Sized Pines, Tea Toters, Ups-a-Daisy Measuring Tape and How About a Nightcap – all patterns by Julie Tarsha, whose work I just discovered.

  6. The blue cowl is gorgeous! It looks so soft and it must be a pleasure to wear. Lovely blue color for the hat and the socks look like they’be so warm to wear. Thanks for the gift suggestions. It makes it so much easier for me. Hope you get well soon!!!

  7. For the tech-savvy gift givers: If they have an iPad or the like, look into “Knit Companion”. It’s a slightly expensive paid app ($16), but it makes charts and patterns so easy, and if they’ve already got the hardware, it’s not much more than the other suggestions. Because it’s the crafter creating the charts, it works for crocheters as well.

  8. Sorry you’re under the weather. I was going to mention Knit Companion, but noticed that the commenter right ahead of me already mentioned it. It’s terrific! I was knitting a challenging pattern with a paper chart and tape, and absolutely could not knit it while with friends. I loaded it unto Knit Companion and voila–knit without a hitch!

  9. I hope you feel better soon! I knew your gift lists would be helpful, now I have to have a pattern wallet and just emailed the information to my husband. Thank you!

  10. I feel your pain with the cold: I can’t imagine any more gunk could be in my head, and yet, there is more!
    off to buy more tissues

  11. I love everything you’re posting but apparently everyone else does, too! Every time I got to an etsy site it says that the item sold out on the date of the blog post. Haha, happy holidays to those etsy sellers I guess! Some knitters out there are getting great gifts 🙂

  12. knit knit knit, read stephanie’s blog, knit, laugh at out of date Benelyn (a CKW staple), knit, reread blog, realise need to knit more, knit harder, knit faster, knitknitknitknitknit
    ps keep up gift tips am printing out blog and leaving pages EVERYWHERE round this house!
    pps The upside of a cold is you can knit more as people expect a little less work from a “poorly” person!!

  13. I’d know that Lorne hat a mile away. I’ve made it a dozen or so times. Best hat EVER. Even downsized it for a wee baby boy. Love, Love, Love it.

  14. Those tea cup notes are awesome as is the lovely jewelry from Ciarrai Studios on etsy. I just received my first order from her shop and I love it! Thanks for your other inspirations!

  15. You must remember this recipe. Go write it down, now. It’s the best congestion remedy ever.
    A cup of hot water
    A shot of whiskey
    A spoonful of sugar
    A slice of lemon
    and 4 or 5 whole cloves stuck through the lemon
    Put it all together. It will clear your sinuses, relieve muscular pain, ease headache and stress, and promote relaxation.
    I resort to this before I take over the counter meds. Seriously – it’s awesome.
    Just remember that it does contain whiskey – so having four or five and trying to knit with lace weight silk cashmere may not be the brightest idea.

  16. Try COLD-EEZE!!! They look like cough drops -take up to 6 a day. They have zinc in them. It will stop a cold in its tracks. THEY WORK!!!!

  17. Stephanie, so sorry you’re feeling poorly. Rest, knit and drink hot toddies, seem to be the universal prescriptions for wellness. I love the socks. Can you supply the source of the yarn – it’s beautiful. Thanks.

  18. I have a horrid cold too! Can you get Yogu tea up in Canada? Their Cold Season tea really helps. Feel better!

  19. I love my ColdFX this time of year! (that and the humidifiers we use in our bedrooms. 90% of colds are succumbed to due to lack of sleep and dehydration!).
    Feel better, and keep kicking Christmas ass! 🙂

  20. I cannot agree with you more on getting a truly luxurious yarn to make a Pretty Thing, and how quickly it knits up. I used a heavenly cashmere to knit one for my daughter when you first released the pattern, and not only was it three times faster to knit than I’d expected, she absolutely LOVES it (and since she lives in the mountains where it gets very, very cold, she needs it, too!). You created the perfect cowl that time! Maybe I need to make myself one, too from that qiviut I’ve been hoarding …

  21. I’d like to suggest a netti pot for your cold. Basically, your forcing salty water up your nose. It’s not pleasant, but totally clears out your sinuses. I swear it’ll make you feel better. You don’t even need a pot–you could use anything that can force a medium amount of warm salty water into one nostril and out the other.

  22. Tylenol cold and sinus always gives me some relief when I’m sick. Colds always seem to invade my sinuses, with accompanying miserable headaches. My favourite remedy is Thai coconut soup, made with chicken broth, lime juice and coconut milk, and really hot and spicy. You just put your head over the steam and inhale. And after you’ve finished the cup, you feel so much better, you realize that you might just live after all. If you’re vegetarian, you might want to subsitute vegetable broth for the chicken. But I don’t think it would have the same head-clearing effect. And finally, I think we should be able to take our knitting anywhere. I’ve had thoughts about knitting in church, but haven’t tried it yet.

  23. I’ve made two hats like that and still have two to go, along with two more in a different, girly pattern. Love the Pretty Thing. Knit on.

  24. Vitamin C Steph – load up on it. It kept a cold to-be from becoming full blown and it probally will do good for you.
    And I LOVE pretty thing!!!

  25. Your logic made perfect sense. If you can get more than one FO from one skein of yarn, then it’s perfectly fine to pay “more” for it. Even cheap yarn. In fact, that’s even better 🙂

  26. I second the Knit Companion recommendation.
    It has a bit of a learning curve but after that charts seem to go by in a snap.
    I always seem to misplace my paper patterns then have to reprint and figure out where I am. I am much less likely to misplace my Ipad or phone.

  27. Yup, just suffered through a wicked cold that became a sinus infection since I’m nursing and can’t take decongestants. Feel better soon! Hot Toddys (Toddies?) for the win!
    So…I just bought the pretty thing pattern. I’m a moderately fast knitter, and I’m wondering if it’s insane for me to knock out a few crochet dishcloths, two Pretty Things, and finish hand-sewing my daughter’s 1st Christmas stocking, all while being at home with a cruising 8 month-old I may need a sanity check.

  28. Get well soon! I wholeheartedly support the recommendations for hot toddies – they might not cure, medically speaking, but they always make me feel a lot better. My traditional recipe is a double shot of whisky, the juice of a lemon (yes, a whole one), and a tablespoon of honey, in a mug of boiling water. I’ve also tried with golden rum, and lime juice in place of the lemon, and that’s rather tasty too.
    Re paper goods for knitters, there’s a Finnish illustration and design studio called Polkka Jam who do a really stylish, sweet notebook with yarn on it ( – I actually got one of these in the post just today. And they have some really nice postcards too, which often feature some combination of yarn/cats/stoves.

  29. Highlighter tape also works great for flagging cookbooks for the “good recipes”… cheaper than post-its.

  30. Take care of yourself! I am a big believer in medication (any kind that works). And then take some more! This is a rough holiday on which to be sick. Rest, meds and repeat…

  31. I’d like to find some really nice personalized labels to attach to my handknits. A friend wants to buy me some but I can’t find any nice ones I like. Any suggestions?

  32. For the techie knitters there’s a great iPad app called JKnit Lite which allows me to make the charts big enough so I can see them and keep track row by row. Now I actually enjoy knitting from charts!

  33. Oooh I’ve been wanting to try the superior, since I’m allergic to kidsilk haze, and it looks great in your pattern which has also been in my queue for AGES!

  34. Spoke/wrote too soon. Once you download the free part you do have to pay to get the rest. (I paid, because it sounds worth it.)

  35. Oooh, thank you for that stat on the Superior. I’m knitting a Pretty Thing right now with Superior (in bright orange) and knowing that I can get two of them out of that ball is priceless information. Oh my gosh, it’s like knitting with a wisp of cloud/

  36. So sorry you are not feeling well. One suggestion, lemonade is a natural decongestant, and in cold weather tastes really nice when warmed. I have some in my freezer at all times. Kids like it too.
    I understand your math and agree! Two gifts for #26, makes perfect sense.

  37. Thus christmas doth make cowards of us all. (I think you must be way ahead of me and my half-baked christmas plans) Good luck!

  38. Echinacea. Soup made with lots of garlic and onion. Ginger tea with lemon and honey. Buckley’s Cold and Sinus (wait for it…) TABLETS instead of the yucky cough and cold syrup. Saved my life two weeks ago, albeit this stupid cough is hanging on forever, making me miserable when I want to be all busy and seasonally-cheerful. Just bought yarn for Pretty Thing, can’t wait – but have to because it’s for me and Christmas knitting must come first.

  39. Like Presbytera, I solemnly swear I had nothing to do with your cold. (But warm steam does help the congestion. If you don’t like a Neti pot, you can buy a nasal spray that is nothing but saline solution. It can help loosen up the gunk, especially if the air is dry.)
    That yarn made a Pretty Thing into a Gorgeous Thing. And wouldn’t some beads make the next one into a Stupendously Beautiful Thing?
    I would be jealous of that cashmere watch cap — but the color’s not right for me. I’d get mistaken for a zombie wearing that shade that close to my face. (Still, wanna get that pattern!)

  40. I am very hot-toddy-favorable. I may just have to make Pretty Thing, and since we carry Superior at the shop where I work, there should be no problem. Thanks for the inspiration!

  41. I have enough for two of these from the Superior I made my wedding shawl out of – excellent! Thanks for the idea!

  42. Got half way through this post and all I could think of was, ‘Gee-Awd, do you ever sleep….?’

  43. Yeah that stuff is all pretty girly. I don’t know too many men who like cute mustache themed cloth. In fact, I think some of them are a bit to girly for the girls.

  44. Thank you Stephanie for mentioning my little online shop with the special cards for knitters. I got many visitors today and a bunch of sales. It took me a while to figured out where is all the traffic coming from. Again, very cool, I feel privileged to be mentioned on your awsome blog.
    Happy Holidays and Happy Knitting to all!

  45. Feel better. Rest. Fluids. Order Indian take-out. The chili’s will help clear your sinuses. And stay wrapped up from the breeze you must be creating by knitting so fast!

  46. Sorry about the cold – just at the wrong time of year. I agree about the hot whisky toddy. Might not cure the cold, but you will feel a lot better about it! Also – try inhaling – old-fashioned eucalyptus oil – its horrible, but boy does it ever work! Can you get Olbas Oil in Canada? nearly as good but smells better.
    The Pretty thing is – very pretty. After I finish the four hats and half-a-pair of socks, I might have a go – there is some cashmere in the stash, just begging to be made into something gorgeous, for ME.

  47. So much left over yarn, it makes sence, your gift only costs about a third of the price of the skein, so you are well of. On the cold theme, try drinking elderberry juice this winter, one glass a day and in summer elderberryflowerjuice. It is ok to dilute with water (in most cases you buy the syrup stuff) and a litlle gin or jenever or wodka, just to make it more fun. It is said to boost your resistence against colds.
    I thought “must aches” kind of a weird word;-), no, thank you.

  48. I just went to Slipped Stitch and love their stuff! This is going on my wish list. Love your ideas. And for the cold good drugs, sleep, and fluids always help.

  49. I LOVE the ‘knitting in public is normalizing it in our culture’ thing – it’s similar in my mind to breastfeeding in public – I see it as my personal goal to make 1 person a day comfortable with both of those!! 🙂

  50. Ok, so the cowl is just 66 rounds, but I”d make an error in row 1 with that featherweight stuff. I know I would. Then I would rip the yarn, toss it in a loopy, tangled puddle in the corner where the dustballs could have a little fun with it. But the idea of getting two cowls out of one skein? Well, that does rock my ready to wear socks.

  51. I, too, think it is my mission to knit in public whenever I can. I try to knit in those in-between kinds of situations, the ones where it may be seen as odd but not outrageous. Pushing the envelope, you know. I knit following my teen-age daughter around stores. (Somehow, she has never complained.) When I am walking around with a strand of yarn trailing out of my purse, I feel bold! I am glad to hear that Stephanie knit at a party- I did that once, and got odd looks, but I would not have made it through that one without knitting! I agree that we need to get people used to it. Like Ashley said, it is like breastfeeding- it should be so commonplace that people don’t even think twice about someone doing it.

  52. For keeping track of charts, don’t forget to suggest Knit Companion as the gift of choice for all knitters who own an iPad! This is the most amazing app ever. I know the woman who designed it, and am always pleased to be able to crow her praises to others. Check it out!

  53. Thank you for the great pattern keeper and magnets idea. I couldn’t wait for Christmas and had to order the farmyard keeper for myself. Might get others for knitter friends too…maybe

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  55. I, too, finished a blue Lorne’s Hat; however, it was not cashmere, but Malabrigo Rios. I swear I was ready to poke my eyes out by the time I finished that 30 cm. of K2P2 ribbing on 120 stitches. The saving grace was the 13 rows that ended the hat. That part was fast. The blue hat is for Jeremy. I intended to make a green one for Justin and a gray one for Jamie. I am NOT doing that-well, not before this Christmas.

  56. I must find something to make that Pretty thing. I hope you feel better. I am getting over a nasty cold myself, and have found a NeilMed sinus wash bottle thingy to be amazingly helpful. Much easier to use and more effective than a neti pot. Washes that gunk right out. I hope you come to the Tampa Bay area in Florida someday…I’m watching for it! 🙂 Feel better…

  57. Um–it’s now the 14th: DID YOU DIE in your daring attempt, or what?!? (Suspense, way out of proportion…)

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