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paper snowflakes

And we got some actual snow to go with the paper variety. Pretty, no?

Okay, you’re thinking. Cut the crap, chemgrrl, so did you finish this big project or what?

Damn straight, I did.

cobblestone pullover

Señor Cobblestone!

Pattern: The Cobblestone pullover by Jared Flood (Interweave Knits, Fall 2007)
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, caviar, 5.5 skeins (this yarn has been discontinued. sniff.)
Needle: US 10
Started: September 10, 2007
Finished: December 31st, 2007, 5:05 pm EST. Bloody hell, I had loads of time to spare.
Recipient: el blubbo. He likes it.
Mods: knit at a larger gauge than the pattern called for. I knit the smallest size, and it turned out to be the medium size (out of five sizes–the blub falls squarely in the “large” division in store-bought clothing).

It looks a little wonky in the above picture, but that is pre-blocking. It’s drying nicely on our bed now. Most of the weirdness was due to the transition from stockinette stitch to garter stitch, but it seems to have blocked out. So do you know what this means? This means I am RID of the ubiquitous sweater guilt. You see, I promised the blub a sweater for Christmas two years ago. He chose a pattern that made me want to drink oxalic acid and jump off of something tall, so I never finished it. Then, back in September, I surreptitiously began this sweater as a replacement. He’s happy with it, so I’m FREE! And I get to unravel the old monstrosity. Woot and wahoo! I am a happy chemgrrl.

So. As far as the Knitting Wars are concerned, I still got my ass kicked. Laurie finished 16 projects. I only finished 14. Ah well, such is life. I hope that some people will still give to the American Cancer Society, but no one is under any obligation. I’m still going to give. Too bad they don’t take yarn donations. I cleaned up my stash today and found some stuff I don’t really remember buying. Maybe I was blocking it? Anyway charity is good no matter what form it takes. I’m grateful for ANYthing anyone wants to donate. If you do, let me know and I’ll send you some really special yarn from my stash. Yeah, that’s it! Special.

So here’s where I was going to talk about all the projects I finished this year, and my resolutions from last year, and what I hoped to change in the coming year, blah blah blah. Quite frankly, I’m getting kind of sick of that crap so I think I’ll skip it. Instead I’ll leave you with some pictures of Izzy playing with his catnip hearts that Jesh made. You just can’t beat cute kitties. Not even if you have a stick!

Izzy and heart 1Izzy and heart 2
Izzy and heart 3Izzy and heart 4

Sorry for some of the blurriness. He was moving really fast. :)

Have a good one, everybody!

Grab some coffee, cuz we’re going to be here for awhile. I’ll try to keep the chatter to a minimum, k?

First: some more FOs.

sweet baby cap model

Sweet baby cap!
Pattern: sweet baby cap
Yarn: STR mediumweight, henpecked. I still have tons of this left. Sheesh! Will it ever end?
Needle: 3.0 mm (I may convert to metric. It just seems the right thing to do.)
Started: Dec 24
Finished: Dec 27
For: Baby J, to match his mittens
Mods: none

The yarn pooled kind of funny. It doesn’t bother me, though. In fact, I kind of like it. Next!

Some neckwarmers


Pattern: Giftblitz basketweave neckwarmer, by Huan-Hua Chye
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted, held double
Needle: 8 mm (US 11–It’s hard to stick to just metric. My brain is trained.)
For both, started and finished on Dec 25, on the car ride back from Chicago. I think each took about an hour and a half.
For: some nice people. Yes, I’m sure you know who you are. :)

I got the buttons for these at Joann’s. Who knew they had such a nice button selection?

brown neckwarmer

green neckwarmer

I REALLY liked the pattern. Thanks, Huan-Hua! They turned out fantabulous.

Okay, that officially brings my Knitting Wars tally up to 13. I’ll do the breakdown tomorrow, as well as (I hope!) showcase my last and most glorious gifty FO. Yes, I found something else. And it is BIG. I hope I can finish the damn thing. I WILL be up to midnight, furiously knitting away. Godspeed, good needles!

Now for some gifty things for ME!

knitting books

Yay for knitting books! From top to bottom: At Knit’s End, from the blub; When Bad Things Happen to Good Knitters from my mum; Stitchionary 2 from the blub’s parents; and The Natural Knitter from my BIL and SIL. Thank you! I love getting knitting books. Isn’t it the best? I also got some yarn! Goody goody gumdrops!

brown bartlett yarn

2 skeins of this lovely tweedy brown Bartlett Yarn, 2 ply. I’m got this hat in mind.

grey bartlett yarn

1 skein of the same Bartlett Yarns in grey, for Gretel.

Habu bamboo yarn

1 skein Habu Textiles laceweight bamboo. This is so freakin pretty. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but it will be nice!

All that yarn is from the blub. To be honest, *he* didn’t pick it out. Up there is what I exchanged the yarn he got me for. Tee hee. He DID get me yarn, though. But one I didn’t like (Tofutsies–no give! I started a pair of socks with this awhile ago, which are hibernating), and the other I didn’t like the colors (but it was 100% silk. He still gets major brownie points for that). I also got a pattern–the wonderful wallaby. Not bad, eh? AND, I almost forgot, I also got a KnitPick’s gift certificate from my mum. It’s not spent yet, but I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to get. Thanks, Mumsie!

And last but not least, I got my winter swap package from the knittyboards! It came to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. Perfect.

silk and merino on wreath

And perfect is the word I would use to describe this yarn. It’s Ellen’s Half Pint Farm yarn, 50% merino 50% silk. It’s from Jesh, of course. I think she must have crawled inside my brain and mucked about for a bit, because I love love LOVE this yarn. It’s really gorgeous; you’d have to see it in person. Believe me. I’m thinking of making some fair-isle mittens with it (these). Would that be bad? I don’t know how it would work with the slippery silk. Or maybe I’ll make it into a cute stripy scarf so I can wrap it around my neck. Or maybe I’ll just sleep with it. I don’t know. I DO know that I very much enjoy just admiring it. Lovely, lovely. Jesh also sent some very yummy homemade fudge, which is um, gone already. And some catnip stuffed hearts for Izzy, that I don’t have a picture of because they’re covered in cat spit and look really disgusting now. But that just proves that Izzy loves them. :) Also in the package were some teeny tiny little origami stars. Jesh did you make those? I wouldn’t have thought that human fingers could fold things so small. I mean they are TINY! Sorry I don’t have a pic of those, either. I was afraid that they’d blow away if I took them outside, and the light in the house is always poor. Anyway, thank you so much, Jesh! Should I gloat and say I knew it was you all along? No, I don’t think I will. I am above such things, thank heavens.


Okay, I’ll see everyone tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can pull this huge project out of my nether-regions.

Oh yeah, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hellooooooooooooooooo…just want you to know I’m still alive. I’m back at home now, and I’ve brought a wicked cold with me. I was actually planning on coming into work yesterday, but then I woke up feeling like roasted balls of shit, so I just stayed in bed for a bit. Then I attempted to clean up my trashed house (Christmas detritus + the blub home alone for a week + cats home alone for three days = unholy mess). I didn’t get very far. I ended up just reading my new knitting books on the couch for a couple of hours with a nice cup of tea and some HOMEMADE FUDGE, but that has to wait until later. Right now we are talking FO’s. And here they are!

foliage hat

Foliage hat!
Pattern by Emilee Mooney
Yarn: Malabrigo chunky, olive, 1 skein (leftover from my Lace Leaf pullover)
Needles: KP nickel dpns, sz US 10 (6.0 mm)
Started and finished: December 18th, 2007. All told, it took me about three hours.
Recipient: my friend Jolene, but I haven’t sent it yet. Maybe I should take a better picture.

Sorry for the suckage photo. Bizarre, but the times I wanted to do photo shoots seemed like when all seven adults in the house decided to take a nap. So I was on my own. Hard to tell from my lovely picture, but this hat is really cute. And it was so quick! And so soft and nice! I hope it stays that way, but I know it won’t. My Lace Leaf pullover is Pilli-Vanilli now. Every time I put it on, it starts singing “Blame it on the rain,” which is rather annoying. I need to shave it to shut the frigging thing up. ANYway, love the hat. Moving on.

HG's mittens

Little girlie mittens!
Pattern: kind of, but not really. I sort of used this one from Spunky Eclectic, but it was more of a guideline. A jumping off point, if you will.
Yarn: some leftover Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in Sherbert. I made HG some socks from it a loooong time ago, that never fit her anyway. Sniff. But now she has happy pink mittens, which she really likes. Unfortunately, she likes looking at them, not wearing them. Ah well.
Needles: KP nickel dpns, 3.0 mm (one of the size 2’s)
Started: December 19th
Finished: December 21st
Receipent: HG, age 4

I actually knitted three mittens, but the first one was kind of screwy. I ended up frogging it to finish the thumb on the last one anyway. Ran out of yarn. Now I have half a mitten left. Can someone please tell me what to do with half of a pink kid mitten?

J's mittens

The mittens of Baby J
Pattern: I made it up. I didn’t even have a guideline. I’m living on the edge here. Wahoo!
Yarn: STR mediumweight, henpecked. This was left over from my Thuja-inspired fingerless gloves. I still have tons left, so I’m making a matching hat. Yay for STR.
Needles: KP nickel dpns, 2.5 mm (one of the 1’s. Bloody US sizing…)
Started: December 22nd
Finished: December 23rd
Recipient: Baby J, 1

Like I said, I’m making a matching hat. This one. It’s hella cute, dudes. (Look at me! I’m talking like a Californian! Huan-Hua, are you so proud or what?) I’m kind of bummed I didn’t finish it before we all went home, but I’ll just mail it to them when it’s done. Baby J isn’t in dire need of a hat, plus they’re in Virginia now where it doesn’t get THAT cold. Not like the Arctic Tundra of the greater Chicago area. Brrr!

So what’s the Knitting Wars tally now? Let’s see…I think it’s 10. Right? I may be forgetting something. I actually have two more almost finished things (have to sew on buttons–that’s it) and a half-finished baby hat. After that…um. Can I knit Christmas gifts for myself? Will that count? Cuz I’m fresh out of gifts to knit, and I really need some mittens for me. I was going to make my Christmas stocking, but I decided that I want different colors which need to be ordered, and there’s no effing way they’ll be here before my deadline of Dec 31st. So Knitting Ruler? What say you?

Next time—Christmas gifts! My recipients’ reactions to their knitted presents, and the knitting-ish ones I got, including some FABULOUS yarn from the coolest girl ever. Yes Jesh, I’m talking about you! Smile for the cameras.

Hi-ho, greetings from the Chicago suburbs. Just doing a quickie post while I can here. There are these crazy short people running around, making it hard to do things like knit, write blog posts, or finish a thought. How do you Moms do it? It’s okay, though–they’re cute, that makes up for it.

So, I did finish the Christmas in Tallinn stocking on Monday night.

Christmas stocking 1

Ta da!

Pattern: Christmas in Tallinn stocking (sorry, that’s a Ravelry link) by Nancy Bush from Knitting on the Road
Yarn: KnitPicks Telemark, appox. 1/2 ball cream, 1 1/2 balls garnet
Needle: 4 for fair isle part, 3 for foot
Started: Friday, December 14
Finished: Monday, December 17
For: el blubbo

Not bad for my first fair isle ever, eh? It was a bit puckery before I blocked it, but now the knitted fabric is pretty even.

Extreme close up!

Christmas stocking close up


Hmm, I kind of like that picture. Maybe I’ll make it my new banner. Or maybe I should use this picture instead? I took it at home a few days ago, when we had that pretty snowfall. Opinions?

snowy woods

Oh crap, I’m getting sidetracked. The stocking! I didn’t do any mods. I’m in production mode here, no time for monkeying with the pattern. I really like the way it turned out, anyway. Three cheers for Nancy Bush. I want to make one for me, too, but I’m having second thoughts about just reversing the colors. I think I want to use the green (up at the top) for my stocking. I also want to use the same general shape (I’m quite smitten with the unusual toe), but a different motif for the main body. Maybe Christmas trees? Or cute woodland animals? Cute woodland animals climbing Christmas trees? I don’t know yet. I’m letting it stew, cuz there’s no way I’m doing any two-handed knitting or chart following here. Today I was starting some kid-sized mittens, and the kid in question picked up my ball of yarn and ran away with it. Yes, it was still attached to my needles. So nothing complicated for the time being.

I started and finished a Foliage hat for a friend on the bus ride up here, but that’ll have to wait to be blogged about for a couple of days. No pictures yet. Can you stand the suspense? Persevere, if you can. It’s a hard road, but I know you can walk it.

Okay, I’m going to bed. It’s midnight here, waaaaaaaaaaaaaay past my bedtime. To the couch I go! And hopefully I won’t be awoken by cold little hands on my face at 5:30 am. Cold little hands that need mittens!


I’m in my groove, now. You can’t stop me! No! You just can’t stop!

Sorry. Monday morning. Loads of caffeine. AND I had a most productive weekend. :)

Scholar collar
Trees get cold, too.

The Goethe Collar
Pattern: the Scholar Collar, from brooklyn tweed
Yarn: Morehouse Farm Merino, bulky in burgundy, 1 skein (overdyed with red)
Needles: 11, I think. It may have been a 13
Begun: November 10th
Finished: December 14th, 2007
For: FIL
Mods: none, since I didn’t actually have a pattern.

Remember this? If you don’t go back and read about my saga here.

All caught up? So you remember all that crap about the buttons? Well, CHECK. THIS. OUT.

Goethe button

Yup, that’s the button. Does it not KICK ASS? Sorry for all the yelling, but I’m SO very excited about this. It’s friggin PERFECT! Can you see around the edges? That’s sterling silver. The story of how this came to be is very long and drawn out, but I will try to summarize: Soldering was discussed, between the blub and this very nice friend of his that is quite crafty. Wes (the friend) took it to a Soldering Master that he knows, and they determined that it couldn’t be safely soldered, because the heat might transfer through to the front of the coin, which they had determined to be aluminum. So Wes decided he would try to make a silver “frame” for it, and he and the blub met one day at a jewelry store downtown to buy the materials for it. Short aside: Wes and the blub went to high school together, and collectively they know about every single person in town. End of aside. So they went in the store, and the guy behind the counter is a friend of theirs. So this guy looks at the coin and says, “Oh yeah, I can slap something together,” grabs his stuff, and assembles this button in approximately ten minutes. He then attempts to just GIVE it to the blub. The blub insists on giving him ten bucks, which he finally takes. Wes then took it home and polished it up, and the blub handed it to me with a big grin on Friday afternoon. And then I said, “HOLY CRAP!”

End of story.

The jeweler in my story is Tim Terry, of Tim Terry Jewelers. If you live in Bloomington, by all means get thee to his shop and buy stuff. He’s a really nice guy.

Look at this thing! It’s beautiful! Here’s the side:

Goethe button side

It’s so shiny and spectacular! My FIL will go APESHIT. This is the best thing ever.

The only thing a wee bit wrong, is that the scarf stretched a bit after blocking. So I think the button sits a bit low, now. I may have to go back and add another (plain!) button along the side edge of the scarf, to keep it shut better. But I decided to wait and see what my FIL thinks before doing that.

So are we counting? That’s Christmas present #6 finished! First five are: blub’s hat, delicato mitts, Odessa, Elijah, and kitties.


I also finished some monsters on Saturday.

sock monsters

Sorry for el crappo picture. My batteries died in my nice camera, so I had to use my old one. Aren’t these cute? The purple one with the green sparkly eye and the bows is for my niece, and the strange alien licky rabbit/crab is for my nephew. That one didn’t quite turn out how I planned, but it has since grown on me. I followed the schematic (for Estelle, for those interested), but the arms kind of ended up on the front instead of on the sides. I don’t know how that happened, but I can’t look at this sockie monster without laughing, which I think is a good thing. Nephew E is very silly (it’s so great!), and I think he’ll really love this. Especially the tongue. Slurp!

And this is what I did on Sunday:

stocking as of Sun afternoon

Again, crappy picture. Sorry.

So this is the Christmas stocking as of Sunday afternoon. I’m a bit farther on it now, I’ve finished the heel and gusset, and I’m into the foot. Another inch and I can start decreasing for the toe. To be fair, I did knit some of this on Saturday, about 1/3 of the snowflake section. It was slow going for a bit, but then I figured out how to hold the yarn in my left hand for picking (I was doing the two-handed colorwork thing) and BAM! It started going really fast. I think I’ll finish it tonight. I hope anyway.

So I’m leaving for Chicago tomorrow. I’m taking A LOT of yarn with me. Get those bets in now, people! I’m SO winning this one.

KNITTING WAR: transmission received. Will proceed to the rendezvous point at 0:00 hours in t-minus 17 days, 8 hrs, 7 minutes. Will accomplish mission or die in the attempt.

Yeah, so what’s all this crap about? It’s Knitting Wars! I don’t know who tagged me for this, but I accepted the challenge. You can read about that here.

Here’s how it works: I’ve been paired up with another knitter (or pitted against, your choice). We both knit like fiends on Christmas knitting. The knitter with the most projects finished by midnight on December 31st wins. The winner gets $5 for each project finished donated to a charity of their choice. My choice is the American Cancer Society. My research involves finding new non-invasive cancer treatments. I’ve lost an uncle (he was 9) and two friends to cancer. I’m currently being monitored (every six months–fun times) for cervical cancer. So let’s just say it’s near and dear to my heart.

Anyhoo, if you wish to join in as a sponsor (adding another $5 for every gift I finish), go to the Knitting Wars blog and leave a comment that says, “I’M IN for the chemgrrl chronicles!” Then leave your email and blog address (if you’ve got one). Please do, or at least show your support here, cuz my shifty opponent is talkin’ smack about me. And we CANNOT have that.

Knitters, ho!

ETA: war blog link fixed! Sorry ’bout that.


the kitties

Pattern: Swat Team Kitties, by craftyalien
Yarn: Mostly KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, but the black is Patons Classic Merino wool
Begun: November 30
Finished: December 13
Recepient: HGK
Mods: none in knitting, but some in finishing, to follow

Woot! (I’m sorry, I mean w00t!) One more Christmas project out of the way. I can’t believe how long the finishing took with these guys. Last night I spent about an hour+ on each one. That was after they were already felted. Yikes, dude. They turned out cute though, eh?

So I made them for my niece, who hearts kitties (she’s four) and they look like my kitties and hers. Can you tell?

OscarCute Oscar

Oscar. Mini-Oscar looks a little beat-up and sad, which is accurate, excepting the sad part. This cat will purr the entire time he’s at the vet. Or when we’re bandaging him up because he was fighting with the neighbor’s cat. Again. Sheesh.

KelpieKelpie 3

Kelpie. I made her doppelganger look much happier than she normally does. She’s kind of a testy cat. I guess the felted one was wishful thinking. She is definitely the prettiest cat, though, and the mini-Kelpie turned out the cutest, I think.


That’s Jebby, HG’s cat. It’s short for Jebediah. The picture on the right is the only one I have, which she took by the way. Not bad for a four-year-old, huh?

Izzymodest Izzy

Izzy. Sigh. This little kitty looks *nothing* like my Izzers. Those don’t look like spots, they look like a bad toupee! Plus, it felted kind of funny, so his head looks huge. The blub started calling him John-boy. I don’t know, what do you think?


Izzy needs glasses.

So, mods. The pattern says to stuff the kitties, then put their little faces on. I thought this was a bad idea, so I did it before I stuffed them. I guess that was it, really. Huh. It seemed like a huge leap at the time. Oh! I also machine-felted them. Except the ears. I was afraid the ears would get all curly, so I hand-felted those.

So! Mark that one off the Christmas knitting list. Ha! So I just have left the finishing of the Scholar Collar and…the stockings. Do you think the sock monsters count as far as Knitting Wars are concerned? Because technically, they’re not knitted. Oh hell, it doesn’t matter. I have to finish them this weekend anyway.

Speaking of Knitting Wars…I still haven’t gotten my orders. I hope they didn’t forget me. I’m also kind of sad that only a few people seem to be rooting for me. *whine* Don’t you guys like me anymore? *sniff* I guess I’ll just go sit in the corner and cry now…

(*One of my husband’s pet names for me is “you rat bastard.” So please understand that when I call you nameless people “bastards” it is a term of affection. Really. That’s just the way I was raised. Get-togethers with my family are interesting affairs, let me tell you.)

So I had just decided that there was NO WAY in hell that I would be able to finish the two Christmas stockings by Christmas. And I had also been thinking that I really needed to haul ass this weekend to make the sock monsters for my niece and nephew, plus finish the Scholar Collar for my FIL. PLUS the Swat Team kitties. I’m done knitting those, but they take a crapload of finishing. Did I mention that I’m leaving for Chicago on Tuesday? So I need to get all of this stuff (excepting the Christmas stockings, of course) done BEFORE I go. I’m turning into a mad flurry of productivity and exhaustion on my own here.

And then…

And then…, this morning, I get this in my mailbox.

Guesss whhhhhaaaattttttttttt……………YOU have been chosen!!

1,2,3,4 I declare a KNITTING WAR…………………………..YOU have been chosen…should you choose to accept this mission, you will receive your orders soon….via your blog….your war will be against another yet fun and famous knitter.
What are the details you say… see who can finish ALL Christmas knitting before Christmas……the reward for winning this war you ask……a donation of $5 per winners project to afore mentioned charity of their choice…….anyone wishing to join in must sign in to whomever’s blog they represent by stating “I’M IN” this means they too will meet with every finished project $5 to the charity of winners choice. The secret agents at hand will be keeping track of whose who. I cannot tell you who these 3 people are….well, I could, but then I would have to take all your stash so mum’s the word ‘eh.
So strong warrior…………… you choose or not!!!!
P.S. If you accept you must post this exact email on your blog with my name blurred out please:) Your instructions will follow with your answer…..we’re waiting…………….

You know the drill:) remember, contributors and myself are to be secret. Well, you could tell, but then we take away your stash in the middle of the night;)
Please respond within 24 hours or this email will self destruct;)

Bloody hell!

Do I really need this added stress in my life? People watching me? Charity donations at stake? Rushing through Fair Isle stockings when I’ve never done that technique before in my life?

Screw it. I ACCEPT.

I don’t know who my opponent is;

(cue Rocky theme music very softly in the background)

Or what kind of competition I’m up against;

(music growing stronger now)

Or even if the Gods of Fair Isle will chew me up and spit me out like the ground chuck that I am, but…

(Da da da dum da da da da, DA DAAAAAAAAAAA!)


Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
June 2021