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December 2009

Pictures as Promised

Okay, I got the camera and the computer together in the same room finally. 

Here is the Sea Wool Scarf, made from Colinette "Tao" 100% silk, in color "Lapis". The pattern is from Yarn Forward magazine, issue 11. It's shaped like a shawl, but it's small like a scarf:


Here is how you wear it (unfortunately it doesn't make me young and blonde when I wear it.):


Here are the yellow mittens I just made out of Peace Fleece:


Here are the black socks I am working on now. Just plain black socks. I actually already have finished the first sock and am part way up the ribbing on the second sock, since I took this picture yesterday. I am using Lang Jawolle:


And finally, here is the finished Hanne Falkenberg! 



And here is Nicky snoozing:



Decorating for Christmas

This morning I went out and clipped boughs from evergreens around my house, so I could decorate the window boxes in front of Unique One. They are so pretty now! I filled them with balsam fir and pine, and then I went to a local garden center and bought a bundle of twigs with red berries on them, and put them in the window boxes too. They look so pretty! I'll post pictures soon. I also went to our local farm stand and bought a decorated wreath and hung it on Unique One's door, and replaced the fall flag with a holiday winter one. The flag has a really cute snowman holding a candy cane on it. Very festive! 

I put little white lights around the store windows and hung up our usual snowflake decorations from the ceiling, so now we are all decorated up for Christmas. It feels good to be ready. I think last year, I didn't even get boughs in the window boxes until the Friday of Christmas by the Sea, which is about a week late. And I didn't even try to decorate the window boxes, just shoved greens into them, in kind of a half-hearted fashion, at that. I am much more into the Christmas spirit this year than I was last year. 

Oh, and you should see the cute Christmas tree decorations we are selling! Little trees all decorated with red ribbons, and garland and a ton of handmade little "gingerbread" people all over them. The ornaments are made of applesauce and cinnamon, so they smell amazing. They are the most festive thing ever, and the best bit is, they are made right here in Camden. They cost only, $24.00, and lemme tell ya, the amount of handwork that went into each..... well, they're a steal, in my opinion. There are gingerbread boys and girls as regular tree ornaments available too, for $3.95, and we also have the ever popular (around here, anyway) Christmas belted Galloway cow tree ornaments for sale for $3.95. Again, pictures as soon as I remember to get my camera and my store in the same time/space continuum. 

AND I finished my Hanna Falkenberg jacket 10 minutes ago, and I finished a silk scarf tonight too. I started the silk scarf in Freeport about a week ago. It's pretty. Pictures soon. 

Don't Forget the Felines!

You know how it is, you get busy during the holidays. You are busy knitting wonderful gifts, probably. It is easy to forget to knit something for the furry ones in your life too! I know I have realized at the last minute that I haven't remembered the holiday gifts for people's kitties ..... and dashed out at the last minute to gather them. It is amazing how expensive cat toys seem to be, when you have to buy all the cat toys for the 14 cats in your family and friends circle, all at once! 

So, to forestall that problem, I am jumping in NOW to give you my little catnip mouse toy pattern that is quick and easy to knit. It only takes about 20 minutes to make one. You can make 3 of them during the hiatus between Turkey Dinner and Post-Turkey-Dinner Pie. I will post a picture of a completed mouse as soon as I can.

Here's the pattern:




Yarn: Lush (50% wool/50% angora) by Classic Elite. I think one skein will make around 10 to 12 mice, maybe more. You could use any worsted weight yarn, but cats like angora blends. I also think cats might be color blind, so make the colors YOU like best :)


Needles: size 4 double pointed needles.


Cast on 21 sts, leaving a long tail to sew up with later (and also it makes the mouse’s tail, too). Join into a circle and knit 16 rounds. 


Begin decreases for head: 


Next round: knit 2, knit 2 together through the back loops, knit to last 4 sts in the round, knit 2 together, knit 2. 


Repeat this decrease round until there are 7 sts left. Next round: knit 2 together  three times, knit one. Cut yarn, leaving a long tail which you then thread onto a darning needle and pull through the remaining 4 sts. Pull them up tight, and then pull this yarn to the inside, to make little loops for ears at the beginning of the decrease rounds, tacking each loop in place. (You can just secure this on the inside and leave the ears off if you don’t want to bother with the ears. My cat likes to pull at the ears with her teeth. It gives her something to do.)


Thread the cast-on tail onto a darning needle and run it in and out around the cast on edge, making a mini drawstring bag sort of thing. Fill the mouse with catnip or, if you prefer, fiberfill stuffing (some cats are on a no-catnip diet, having abused the substance at some point in life, no doubt.) Pull on the cast-on tail, closing the drawstring tight; tack in place several times to secure the opening, making it as tightly closed as possible and leaving the tail outside. Tie a little knot  about half an inch from the end of the tail so you’ll have something to hold onto as you dangle the little critter in front of the cat. Or you may want to just throw it on the floor and stand back. 

Back to Work (and Day 2 & 3 of vacation)

Sorry, I forgot to post Day 2 of vacation. Pretty much, it was just spinning and knitting. Oh, and there was a fire drill in the hotel. They warned me about it, so I left for a walk and missed the whole thing.

My Hanne Falkenberg jacket is done except for 1/2 the collar band and the two narrow sleeve cuffs. I got some lovely yellow Peace Fleece at Halcyon not too long ago, and I knit a mitten from it. I spun the 4 ounces of 50/50 merino & tencel fiber I got from Spunky Eclectic at the SPA in February, it is a pretty blue-green/yellow/brown color called "Aspen". It's shiny! It's really pretty, and I think the skein will become a Christmas present. I also went to Grace Robinson and got some sport weight 100% silk from Colinette in the pretty blue color "Lapis", which I have now half done a "Sea-Wool Scarf" from Yarn Forward magazine, issue #11 I think. It's a small version of a Faroe-type shawl, meant to be worn as a scarf, with long tassels that hang down from the 3 points. Its pretty. It might become a Christmas present too. I love it but I don't think I would wear it. I also don't know what to do with my Martini scarf; I love it a lot, but I don't think I will wear it. 

Even though I had to work yesterday at the store, I am still counting it as Day 3 of my vacation, because last night I went to a fabulous concert in Rockland at the Strand Theater. I heard Coco Montoya and Tommy Castro play some excellent blues! It was a rockin' event, and I loved it. Before the show, I went to dinner at Rustica, about 50 steps from the Strand, and had veggie lasagne followed by........


...... limoncello for dessert. I was introduced to limoncello on one of the September knitting cruises this year by Mrs. Krueger (of the Alaskan Mrs. Kruegers), and it is yummy. It will knock you flat on your ass in about 10 miliseconds, so you have to be careful, you have to really really really sip it. And when I say, sip it, I mean SIP IT. Slowly. Take a small sip, savor it, swallow it. Do not sip again until the burning in your throat goes away!!! It took me 20 minutes to drink that little glass of limoncello, but I could still walk afterwards, so I count that as a win. And I knew I had about 4 more hours before I would be driving, so all was well, don't worry. 

Things are pretty slow at the store, but I am trying to be positive. As in, "I am positive I am not making any money!!!" Heh. Hopefully things will pick up. The yarn store part of Unique One is actually coming along pretty well, but the sweaters are woefully under-inventoried. Susan and Tracy and Stephanie and I are knitting as fast as we can, but it takes a while to make the sweaters in amounts that really show. I have to get through a backlog of sweater orders from this summer, but as soon as those are caught up, I will start making stock for the shelves and then you will see an improvement. I wish I had more inventory for Christmas, but whatchagonna do. All I can do is keep on as best I can. 

Happy knitting, and I promise not to write such long blog posts again for a while.

Vacation Day 1

I'm on vacation, in Freeport, Maine. I only get 3 days, so I better make the most of it! and so far I am doing great :) 

 I slept late this morning and had a lovely breakfast. I love that the Hampton Inn offers free breakfast. The lady that runs the breakfast room is named Donna, and she is a sweetheart. I asked her if there was a sidewalk all the way from the Hampton Inn down into Freeport, and she assured me that there was.... which settled my plans for the day. Funny, if I had had to get into the car to drive into town, I would have just stayed in my room all day, because I didn't want to deal with traffic or parking or whatever. But since I could walk, I did. 

First I had to go file my taxes online (one great thing about the internet, you can do stuff like that from anywhere!) and then I was ready to go. 

It is actually a little bit of a hike from the Hampton Inn to Lala Bean, but what a great day for a walk!!! It was so sunny, and really windy, and I loved every step of the way. I was wearing a black windbreaker, and the sun was so hot, it felt like a heating pad on my back. It was a little too hot, really, but what a great feeling for the third week into November :) 

I got into town and went into Beans, mostly because I wanted to look at the two moose they have there, with the locked antlers, that were found in New Sweden, a town not too far from my home town of Portage Lake. It was pretty cool to see those two moose. I shopped around both floors in Beans, and considered buying a Bean tote bag, since I am currently carrying half my knitting in a grocery bag (which is SO ridiculous; my husband rolls his eyes at how many bags and baskets I have at home). But I didn't buy anything. 

I went into the British Good store, because I always love to go in there. Today they had a fabulous yellow male store cat playing around, and he only had 3 legs. It reminded me of a cat I used to have named Missy, who only had 3 legs. There were lots of great things at the British goods store, and I thought of you Shelagh! but I didn't buy anything. I was sorely tempted to get the giant bag of Smarties candy, but I refrained, because I knew that the Lindt store was on my way back to the hotel. 

It was fun shopping around, browsing all my favorite stores, and I zoomed through the new mall area, but again did not buy anything. I am a bad consumer. I went to Petrillo's for a light lunch of carrot ginger soup and a small salad, which was soooo good. There was a lot of ginger in the soup and it had a great zing to it! It was just perfect. I definitely recommend Petrillo's, which is a little out of the way, on Depot Street, behind the new mall. It is small, but very friendly, and the Italian menu was great. I got a salad with soup and coffee for twelve bucks, it was very yummy indeed. 

The Lindt store got me on the way back, and that's were I dropped my $32. I got some peanut butter truffles for Joe and something for a Christmas gift, and some assorted flavors of truffles for me. I got my spinning wheel out of the car when I got back to the hotel and I have a vision in my mind of spinning and drinking diet coke and eating truffles for the rest of the day. Oh, and maybe watching a movie. 

So, I feel all windblown and possibly sunburned and full of yummy, good-for-me food, and the prospect of spinning and knitting and eating chocolate for the rest of the next 36 hours (except for when I sleep), and I'm thinking this is a pretty good vacation. 

Knitting Classes at Unique One

I finally finished putting my class schedule together for 2010. All of the classes are scheduled in January through April. All but one of the classes will be held at Cappy's Chowder House (next door to Unique One), and one class will be held at the Lord Camden Inn conference room (just up the street from Unique One). In all cases, lunch is included in the class fee! 

Click here to see the class schedule!