It’s the little things

knit girl 1This evening on the bus I finished a book that I started about two months ago. It’s an itty bitty book that got shoved into my bag to be read on my afternoon commute, and that got shunted in favor of knitting, especially in the days close to Christmas because I was busy trying to finish this knitted doll for my daughter.

Today, too, I made a few personal decisions about cutting out some needlessly stressful things in my life, without regard for how this “looks” to others. Screw others.

In the last couple of months I’ve gotten far afield of my goals for myself as far as my writing and editing career (despite having signed with a new agency last month), and most of it is because I’m dealing with things that have nothing to do with my personal goals or needs. No more of that. Time to get back on track.

The little things can be good…finishing books and knitting dolls. Or they can be bad…other people’s pettiness that cause unnecessary stress. Here’s to more of the good little things, and fewer of the bad. Here’s to ending the year on a less stressful note.

For the record, my reading stats for this year: 15 books. I meant to read 50. Well, they both have fives in them. 🙂



Among the Regis women, my mother’s side of the family, there is a saying: “You’re not dressed up unless your back is out.” It’s a fashion tradition we younger (and not-so-younger) ladies of the family have readily adopted. Last summer when my 20 year old cousin visited from Canada on what can only be described as a shopping vacation, her prized buy was an ivory-colored backless silk cami that I very nearly stole. So when I came across this sweater on one of my favorite knitting sites, I knew I wanted to make it. But of course, being me, I didn’t want to follow a pattern. So instead, I made this:



Granted, it’s much more backless than you probably want in a sweater. The original shows just a sliver of skin, enough that you could wear it solo, whereas mine really requires a cami unless I’m being ultra-daring. (I’m not. Ever.) And as I was taking a picture of it this morning, it occurred to me that it might be the mullet of sweaters; business in the front, party in the back. And because that makes me laugh, I love it even more.

So there you have it. My backless sweater. Made from some Lion Brand Nature’s Choice Organic  Cotton yarn that I had left over from a baby blanket project.

24 mittens dangling

So the mitten advent calendar is finally finished! Whew! That was a lot of tiny mittens.

Before you feast your eyes on the wonder that is my creativity, here’s how the whole thing came about: I had three problems. 1) I wanted to get the kids a beautiful, really unique, and preferably home-made advent calendar. 2) I fell in love with a mitten garland that I saw at Anthropologie. 3) I wanted something to decorate the stairs. Talk about killing three birds with one ambitious little garland!

Well, using a pattern I found on Lion Brand and eight skeins of yarn I had sitting in my stash, I made this:

Here it is from the dining room looking up.

None of the 24 stripe patterns are repeated, so each mitten is a unique little holder, just perfect for a small toy or piece of candy. We’ll be using this next year because the kids are already more than 1/2 way into the cardboard, commercially-bought, chocolate-filled advent calendars I picked up this year. In the meantime, our advent mitten garland will simply grace the main banister, looking extra adorable.

For the record, I changed colors every 4 rows, and did a 5 color repeat. Since there are 7 color changes, the 1st 2 colors at the cuff are also the last 2 colors at the tip of the fingers. And now you have everything you need to know to repeat my little advent feat. But if you do, let me know where you’ve posted your picture, huh? I’d love to see yours.

And in case you want your advent tradition to be more than a countdown to toy bliss, here’s a list of bible verses, one for each of the 24 nights, to help you and your kids count down to the big day. My guys look forward to it every night.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Advent mittens

I came across this cute mitten garland on Anthropologie recently, but balked at the $48 price tag. I had also been searching for a really great Advent calendar. So it wasn’t a far jump to: Hey, I can knit. Why don’t I knit myself this garland AND make it my advent calendar? Of course, it was already December 6th, and my kids were already digging the store-bought cardboard advent calendar I got from Target with the little chocolates inside, but better late than never, right?

I found a mitten ornament pattern on Lion Brand’s website, and got started that night with some brightly-colored yarn from my stash. Three days later, this is where I am.

I guess I’ll have it for next Christmas.

Yarn control

I tackled organizing my yarn stash this weekend because it was getting a little out of control. While it’s not the biggest stash of yarn in the world, it still needs a little attention now and then.

Here’s what it looks like all neatly bagged by fiber type, and safely tucked into it’s container. I wish I had taken a before picture.

And here’s what it looks like laid out. It’s pretty small, now that I see it that way.

My prized possession in this stash is my recycled silk yarn. When I bought it originally, I got a lot of the blue color because I wanted to knit the Unbiased bag for my mom. (It came out great, btw.) But my LYS* had two hanks of this pink shade that wasn’t enough really to make anything out of, but I just couldn’t leave it there! So I have it, and I have no idea what to do with it. Any ideas?

I have way too much lime green Lion Brand Cotton Ease. I bought it for a couple of projects, including the leaf cami and a hat/scarf set for my  brother. I also have too much of that coral pink Classic Elite Premiere. I already made a dress out of that Classic Elite and I could probably easily make a 2nd one. why did I buy all of that? Oh, that’s right, it was on sale. Now what do I do with those? Sheesh. Let me know if you want to trade.

I also have a bunch of UFOs** that need their ends woven in. Some of those poor things have been sitting in the yarn box for over a year. I just really, really hate weaving in ends.

Then there’s the  knitted doll I started making for my niece last Christmas, and all I have to show for that Big Idea is one and a half doll feet.

But that’s not the worst of it. I started making a hat for my son before he was born, and it didn’t come out right, so I put it away intending to go back to it at some point. And here it is, still half-knitted. And my son just turned five.

So that’s my stash, folks. I decided to keep everything in baggies to keep them safe from dust and bugs, and also because I have small children who  like to unravel things. Since it’s a small stash, it’s easy to keep in the little box, high up on top of my filing cabinet where they’d have to climb to get to it. Not that they couldn’t, but it’s a deterrent. Plus it’s in my office and they tend not to hang out in there unless I’m there as well.

What’s in your stash?

*LYS = local yarn store; **UFOs = un-finished objects

Procrastinating… with hats

The revision of my novel has been scaring the ever-livin’-crap out of me. And so, I have been knitting hats. Because hats are kind of awesome. And also because they’re quick!

The first is a pattern I found on Ravelry. It came out a little more loose than I wanted, so this one’s going to be donated to a nearby hospital, and I’ll maybe make another one for myself, or I’ll make a ton of these and donate them all. Yeah. I think I’ll do that.

The second is a simple beanie that I just threw together and at the end, I made some bobbles and attached them to the side for a little visual interest.

And the last one is based on the same basic beanie pattern as the grape one above. Only I threw in some cables for texture and made it longer so that it would have some slouch.

And now I return to my  revision. But wait! Is that more yarn over there?

New project: Tiger Lilly Tank

It’s been a while since I’ve knitted anything, and this seems like a perfect summer project: Lion Brand’s Tiger Lilly Tank. I may even knit it in the same colorway as the sample.

I love the simple details at the straps, under the bust and the hem. But I do wish that they provided instructions for knitting it in the round. I absolutely loathe sewing up seams, and I usually do a terrible job. But is that a self-fulfilling prophecy and it turns out badly because I don’t like doing it? Or do I not like doing it because it always turns out badly?


Stress-relief: circle scarf and hand-warmers

Waiting for word on two manuscripts is stressful.

Writing a novel is stressful.

Participating in NaNoWriMo (with an entirely different novel) is stressful.

Not having any freelance work and knowing there’s none in the foreseeable future is really stressful.

And when I’m stressed, I knit.

So hello circle scarf! I knit it flat, then sewed the ends together to make a tube, then I sewed the ends together again to make a circle. You can wear it long like in the picture above…

…or you can double it up for something more cozy. I also sewed beads all over it so it’s a bit sparkly. But it doesn’t show in the pictures.

And then there are these lovely hand-warmers. It’s like the ones I made for the kids. Same yarn, too. They were knit in the round and for the thumb holes, I knit back and forth for a few rows and then re-joined the yarn to finish.

They’re just the things to make a stressed-out writer feel comforted.

Balance (with yarn)

Because I’ve been so stressed out of late about my writing life, I took a little time to make some kid-sized mitts for my two lovelies over the past week. Here they are modeling my latest creations.

The color is a little off, but you get the idea. Maybe I’ll take a new picture later. In daylight. I used Lion Brand cotton ease in purple and blue and knit them in the round to avoid seaming afterwards.

My daughter particularly likes hers and has been wearing them to bed, which leads me to think I need to make her a 2nd pair, and maybe a 3rd. My son only wanted a pair because his sister had a pair, and he’s not to be left out. I also started a pair for myself in the terra-cotta color.

I didn’t use a pattern, but if you’re interested in making these, I can give you a quick run-down. Just let me know in the comments.

Avant garde

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about yarn. Because it’s been a while since I’ve knitted anything. But I’ve been looking for a new project. Something interesting and cute and a maybe a little weird.

Like this:

Or maybe more traditional but with a twist like this:

And then I came across this little number.

Hello new knitting project.