Saturday, January 30, 2010


...and so the men don't feel neglected, I knit a SNOOD just for them:
This "Man-SNOOD" was knit using a new yarn line: Spud & Chloe, by Blue Sky Alpaca. Outer is a washable super-bulky wool (65%) /organic cotton (35%) blend which comes in the nine "outdoorsy, heathery" colors below.
You can either knit my SNOOD, Pattern link HERE, or chose from one of the many free PATTERNS on the Spud & Chloe website. Very Cool.

Friday, January 29, 2010

South End SNOOD

There once was a girl who was learning
to make that for which she was yearning.
not to expect from Hubby,
nor gifts 'neath the tree,
nor pay more than she was currently earning.

She fancied a SNOOD she'd seen pictured
at Burberry's fall runway show (fashionister),
"I can knit THAT," she said,
constructing in her head
a design to stay $325.00 richer!

Now mavens galore took the bait,
and on back-ordered lists must now wait,
she started knitting at four,
and was soon out the door,
making swanky South End party by eight.

To read about the Burberry SNOOD, read below:

Review of the Burberry Snood
October 07,
2009 by J. Rica Middlebrooks

A Scarf and Hoodie Combination
The Burberry Snood has quickly become one of the most fashionable fall and winter accessories all over the world. The stylish and functional piece services the purpose of keeping the neck warm while also providing the comfort of a hoodie. The Burberry Snood also makes a fashion statement however because the style of the neck accessory can be arranged to create a signature look with even the plainest of outfits.

The Burberry Snood is available in a variety of fabric blends, patterns and solids. For the lover of Burberry, investment in this item is a plus because it can be worn with anything during the fall and winter season. If looking for a Burberry Snood with basic colors such as black, tan, and cream an excellent choice is the Check Rendition. Made from 55% crinkle merino wool and 45 % cashmere blend the stylish snood can be layered over a slinky dress, a sweater, a shirt, a cape or anything you might want to accentuate. The Burberry Snood in Check Rendition retails for approximately $278.00.

If you are a fan of the house print or the Burberry light brown camel check so many people are familiar with the Burberry Snood in House Checkered Print is a must have. Made from 100% cashmere this Burberry Snood is deliciously luxurious and stylish. Perfect to loop around the neck when wearing high fashions jeans and boots, the tan, black, and light brown checkered accessory is a fashion piece that will never go out of style. Wear it as a neck warmer or hoodie to achieve the look of the moment. The Burberry Snood in House Print in a giant checkered pattern retails for approximately $295.00.

If you prefer a subtle look the collection of Burberry Snoods offers a deep eggplant color with black in a subtle check pattern. As with the other Burberry Snoods the unique accessory is made from a combination of 55% merino wool and 45% cashmere and need only be slipped over the head and arranged around the neck, or gently pull onto the head for a scarf hoodie effect. The Burberry Snood is definitely the fashion accessory of the season. The average retail price for the multi-colored snood is $225.00.

The Burberry Snood is also available in a variety of argyle patterns and solid colors. The Burberry Snood can be found at most high end retailers such as Macy's, Nordstrom's and Net-a-Porter in addition to the official web site for Burberry.

Follow this link to my patterns page to make your very own South End SNOOD.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mardi Gras Swap II

OK, it is probably a bad thing when your swap partner (whom you've never met) elicits more squeals of delight with their swap gifts than your husband did with his over Christmas...AND they're better wrapped.
That being said...

My package arrived from my swap partner, Deborah, and I KNEW I was in for a suprise...she had individually wrapped at least 20 items and stuffed them in a box with bead, dubloons, and a king-cake baby (which was meant to be found in the stuffing...what fun!). My partner forgot nobody in my family...she included yummies to eat (from local St. Louis makers)...including Cajun spices, a cajun dip, some incredible tea and (what swap package is complete without...) chocolate!!!! The fixin's for a MG party were there, complete with streamers, a mirror-ball, plates, napkins, masks and noise-makers (the kids were thrilled!).

For my beloved puppies, she knit two terrific size-matched PGG bone-shaped dog toys:

Deborah works at a LYS in St. Louis, and one of her tremendously talented colleagues, Suzanne, crafted these incredible jewelry-cum-stitch-markers. I also got some beautiful PGG glass beads. If you're interested, try contacting her through Knitorious in St. Louis:

...and another, a fellow swapper, is a yarnie with an etsy shop called, DYEABOLICAL...she made this awesome custom-dyed silk thread for the occasion:

Finally, the piece-de-resistance...a pair of Selbuvotter (traditional Norwegian mittens) in a Bacchanalian pattern PERFECT for a chilly northeastern Mardi Gras! If every stitch in a knitting project is a labor of love, then this sure represents a LOT of very complicated LOVE!

I don't know how to thank my dear new friend, Deborah, enough for all she has given me...not only in this box, but in this Mardi Gras season - as I spend it away from my home of New Orleans in the chilly Northeast yet again. I look to her as an someone who, though she has never lived in New Orleans, has managed to carry on the spirit of the season through her indomitable spirit and her wildly non-traditional Deborah, from one Ex-"Muse" to another (true) Muse...Thank you.
Happy Mardi Gras, Y'all!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mardi Gras Swap I

To celebrate Mardi Gras this year, the members of the Mardi Gras Knitters group on Ravelry participated in a swap. Organized by the group moderator, Deborah from St. Louis, each New Orleans member was paired with a non-resident-fan-of-MG. Packages were to include one knit item, one small project, and whatever else swappers thought would be appreciated by their partners for under the cost-cap.

I was paired with the Mardi Gras Knitterly Queen herself, the organizer of the group, Deborah. What I learned is that she (like me) has a new Cavelier King Charles Spaniel in her life who is the apple of her eye. She also belongs to a St. Louis Mardi Gras Krewe called the Banana Bike Krewe. Finally, she loves all things vintage (also like me). She is my new BFF.

I chose as my knit project a retro dog sweater made for her new baby. The pattern is from Coats & Clark Book #133: Children's Knits and was published in the 1950s (another Brimfield find). I chose an amazing yarn by trendsetter called Aura to give the body of the sweater a soft all-over sparkle, pairing it with Country(Naturally Caron) in purple for warmth. I added green and gold for the highlights and added a crochet border. Finally, to kick it up a notch, I attached Mardi Gras beads to the front so that Steuben will not have to catch any (it's tough without opposable thumbs). Here is the sweater modelled expertly by my friend, Edel's Cav, Bailey. If you want to catch the sweater in action on the recipient, be sure to attend the Beggin' Pet Parade in St. Louis...and be sure to keep your eye on the prize winner's stand.

A little trip down memory lane brings me back to when my husband and I had the honor of escorting our rescue Weimeraner, Taylor, at his debut as the Duke of the Krewe of Barkus (invited by the Queen, Momus, owned by dear departed friend Dr. Eduardo Marvez and Robert Ripley). To support Krewe of Barkus and their wonderful work at the animal rescue facilities in New Orleans, click HERE. I can highly recommend investing in their COOKBOOK (Deborah will be recieving one of these as well as a little lagniappe) which features recipes from New Orleans' greatest chefs/resturaunts.

For a project I chose a vintage pattern from a periodical published in England in 1888-1900 called, ironically, Weldon's Practical Knitter. It is a pattern for what was at the time the height of fashion, Cycling Hose/Socks...with a turned down top embellished with fair-isle style fleur-de-lis. Along with the pattern went the appropriate lace-weight merino yarns in purple, green, and gold/yellow.

I fashioned a set of Mardi Gras stitch markers to sweeten the pot...

And wrote to my new friend, Kathy Bray at Alsatian Soaps to ask for a custom colored package of her incredible knitter's soaps which come in a trio shaped like little balls of yarn. They, and the peppermint soap, have saved my hands this winter...check her out on her KNITTERS HANDS WEBSITE...or at Jimmy Beans Wool.

Some Limited Edition Zapp's Chips in Voodoo Gumbo for snacking while knitting...AND some beads to top it all off.

This was such a great swap that the challenge was not in finding enough items to swap, but in limiting the contents to keep close to the cost cap.

Stay tuned to see the amazing package I recieved from The Queen.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Norway, Selbuvotter (traditional Norwegian knit mittens), and Obama

Here is a heartwarming story that made me appreciate (again) how knitting brings, not only yarn, but people, together. It is particularly meaningful for me as my dear father was Norwegian and we are planning a trip to Norway this summer with our three children to share with them their rich cultural heritage at a family reunion. With luck, you'll be seeing some Selbuvotter on my website in the near future! [Story printed in on 4/19/09, written by SIRIL K. HERSETH...awkwardly translated by online automated translation software]

Mary Mentha Andersen (52) is perhaps the most happy day. Her great dream to see Obama again will soon come true.

She met him for the first time when she would move from USA to Norway, on 2 November 1988. Mary had just married the Norwegian Dag Andersen, and looked forward to starting a life together with him in Åsgårdstrand outside Horten.

Obama as rescuing knight: But first she must get all their belongings to Norway.

At the airport in Miami, it was hectic with long lines at check-in counters. When it finally was Mary’s turn and she had placed the baggage on the tape, she got the message that turned the world upside down: “You must pay $ 103 in overvekt if you carry both suitcases to Norway, said the man behind the counter. ”

Paid for Mary:
Mary had no money. Her new husband had gone on ahead of Norway, and Mary had no one else she could call. She tried to explain the situation to the man behind the counter, but he showed no bamhjertighet. Then she began to cry. It was when she heard a friendly voice behind him say: “I pay for her. ”

Mary turned and there stood a tall, dark man she had never seen before. She promised him to pay back the money as soon as she had come to Norway. The man wrote down the name and address of his on a patch, and gave it to Mary.

There was the Barack Obama, and address in Kansas where his mother lived at that time.

Got a letter from Obama Mary to pay him back as soon as she arrived in Norway. Since then she wondered who this man was friendly. “He exuded an authority already at the time, “says Mary.

She told the story of their Obama-meet for the first time in VG. There she showed the letter that her parents had of Obama dated 4 May 2006 and stamped “United States Senate, Washington DC.

“I want to thank you for writing such nice words about me and that you reminded me of the incident from the airport in Miami. I’m glad I could help back then, and is happy to learn that their daughter is doing well in Norway. Please send her my lykkeønskninger. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States Senator. ”

The letter was a response to a letter of thanks Mary’s parents had sent him.

Had a dream: Now she tells Dagbladet how it has gone to her to see Obama again.

“This summer, I had a dream that Obama would come to Norway one day. Since then I have tried to think of what I would give him if he shows up. When I learned about nobelprisnominasjonen, I was in the fire and flames, “says Andersen.

She has told her story to friends and acquaintances, including the sailor minister Dagfinn Kvale. He was so touched by this that he wrote a letter to Thorbjørn Jagland and requested that Mary had to be present when Obama gets the peace prize.

Though Mary wrote to the U.S. embassy in Oslo to ask how she could have given Selbuvotter to Obama and his family.

See awards: This week she received a call from the Nobel Institute, who told her to get two tickets to the peace prize because of the letter from sjømanspresen.

Mary hoping for a chance to get as close to Obama that she can deliver mittens. She will also carry Selbuvotter to Michelle and two daughters. All the pairs have a close friend knitted.

“I want to give him something back, since he helped me at that time. Maybe he’ll take on the Selbuvotter while he is here. It would have been fantastic, “says Mary.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Knitting Resolutions...PATUEY!

In an episode you may recall entitled, "Drafted" (originally broadcast 12/24/1951), Lucy and Ethel surreptitiously open Ricky's mail from the government and mistake his arrangements to play a show for the troops for a Draft notice. In a scene entitled, "The Girls Take up Knitting," Lucy declares between sobs that she is going to take up knitting socks to match Ricky's uniform to show her support for her beloved husband. When Ethel suspects that George plans to go with Ricky to Fort Dix, she also takes up knitting. The two sit knitting to commiserate and the gag goes as follows: Both women agree they will have to be strong to support their great and noble husbands...and the war effort (Korea). Between strong moments and hand-holding, they alternately fall apart. Finally, Lucy admits, "who are we kidding", that she is so upset she can hardly knit a sock and holds up her handiwork for the camera...

Ethel regards the "sock" and replies, "you're beyond socks, you've gone on to blankets," to which vapid Lucy perpetuates that gag by wistfully replying that she wishes that there was more they could do to support their men than knitting TENTS.

Which got me to thinking...

I had recently read of a young woman named, Kate Pokorny, who is currently knitting a YURT in an effort to raise awareness about sustainable green ways of living. A link to her project blog can be followed HERE. Anyway, clearly this young woman came up with a dream...a larger-than-life model of crocheted wonderful wooliness...unattainable with her income, and therefore inspiring her to action. She is, to me, the model of a knitter who would make a RESOLUTION...i.e., "This year I will knit an entire YURT."

By contrast, Lucille Ball set out to knit a sock and, distracted by life's many challenges and upheavals, found herself so distracted that she kept compulsively knitting until she found herself knitting a blanket...and then a TENT.

Now, both of them ended up with a fiber-based structure in which to live...but what differs is how they got there.

So, as 2009 turned to 2010 and I sought refuge from the bitter cold in my traditional home with a fireplace, I thought long and hard about knitting resolutions and what I wanted to share with you, gentle reader...

and all I came up with is this: Know Thyself.
While resolutions work for many people and serve as a form of external inspiration when no internal source can be found, they are not for every person and not for every knitter. Personally, if I know I have to do something, I can avoid it like the skills of procrastination are imrivalled. Having attempted hand knit holiday gifts one year, I have learned that the necessity of creating gifts by a deadline crushes my every impulse to sit and knit. For this reason, therefore, I have decided to make myself no knitting resolutions...indeed no resolutions of any kind this year. In 2010...and in every preceding year, by eschewing resolutions and following my nature...and THAT has made all the difference.