Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bonne Marie's Felted Bucket Hat


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And after....

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It's still drying (as evidenced by the towel stuffed in it) so I can't model it yet officially. I would definitely make another one of these - it was a quick and fun knit.

Next time I make this, I would not use chunky yarn though as this made the brim a little too thick (as it's knit double stranded) and a little floppy - I used Peruvian Highland Chunky knit to the gauge recommended. I would just use straight worsted weight next time as the directions state. I usually am a big directions-follower but this time I lived dangerously as I wanted to make it in chocolate and I had the chunky yarn on hand. It may be OK when it fully dries though.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

2007 Goals

I got inspired by other people's lists of resolutions for 2007 and thought I would post mine. I like calling them "goals" rather than resolutions as that resonates more with me and seems more achievement-oriented.

2007 Goals

1. Knit from my stash - no yarn shopping (unless for a gift or if I run out of yarn for a project in process) until Stitches Midwest in August

2. Start and complete one crochet sweater

3. Learn how to do crochet motifs (in the round, granny squares, etc.)

4. Learn how to put in a zipper and sew a pair of pants and a skirt

5. Finish two classes in the UWM state & local tax graduate certificate program (one more to go then in 2008 to finish)

6. Finish at least two more NIU MBA classes and consider taking another in the summer to finish in Spring 2008 instead of Fall 2008

7. Go out at least once a week for a nice dinner "date night" with Jim

8. Be a more consistent blogger - with more posts and pictures about my non-knitting life while continuing to show a lot of pictures of knitting projects...more like a diary of my life including knitting than solely a knitting blog.

FO/WIP Update

I was looking back over my old knitalong blogs and one was the Two Steps Forward, One Back blog, where you were to finish two projects for every one started. I think I did pretty well with this and have now gotten my WIP down to a reasonable level. I took the old list from that blog and updated it just to see how many projects I'd completed since September and was surprised! Here's the new list. I know I owe you guys pictures on a bunch of these as I haven't blogged about them - I highlighted these in blue so I'd remember!


1. Somewhat Cowl in Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk - started two weeks ago on the cruise - working on front, almost ready to join to separate sleeves/work in the round
2. Knitty pedicure socks (working on 2nd sock)
3. Debbie Bliss lace/bobble jacket - working on back

Ready to start my husband's sweater for the Manly Gift Along and Eiffel for the SKC Knitalong!!!

Completed Projects
1. Stitch Diva Knitted Bodice

2. Bob's Big Wool basketweave cardigan from Men in Knits
3. coral CeCe in Calmer
4. Noro Klaralund V-neck (re-sewn correctly)
5. Jaeger Natural Fleece V-neck Zennor

6. Noah's v-neck Yarn Girls "Mikey Liked It" pullover
7. Chic Knits Ariann
8. Rowan Babies "Fame"

9. Tartalette scarf
10. Knitty Blackberry shrug

Projects that Just Need Sewing/Picking Up Stitches/Felting

1. fuschia Cork baby sweater - sew
2. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran baby sweater - finish sewing

3. Greek Pullover from Interweave Knits – finish sewing

1. Green Gable in Brown Sheep Lilac Haze
2. Plymouth Napa ballet pullover from Interweave Knits back issue
3. yellow/orange cork garter ridge sweater from Rowan Cork Collection
4. Peg's garter stitch vest
5. "Jessica" in Colinette Shimmer 5- (finished but didn't like end result)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Pics!

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Me and Jim on Christmas morning before going over to Aunt Vicki and Uncle Frank's house. I'm wearing Ariann, actually buttoned. The length seems to have shortened up a bit since I wore it before, so it looks better.

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McKenna, modeling her "Fame" sweater (Rowan Babies book). Look at that pose!

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McKenna's little brother Noah, opening gifts with his Uncle Danny (Jim's cousin.)

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Noah's V-neck "Mikey Liked It" sweater (Yarn Girls Guide to Kid Knits) - we missed getting the shot with him actually trying it on. It is a little big on him but should fit him next year. Last year's sweater was too small, so I guess I overdid it on the size.

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Noah's twin sister, Mia, with her mom (Jim's cousin Tracy) and her Dress Me Up dress from the Yarn Girls Guide to Kid Knits.

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Aunt Vicki with her new vest in Jaeger Natural Fleece.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Cruise Pics!

So here's where we were from the 16th to the 21st...

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Our "home away from home" - we did a Sky Suite this time and really liked it. The balcony was big enough to have two deck chairs plus a square dining table, and we spent a lot of time out there on the sea days as the pool deck was pretty crowded.

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Getting off the ship at Grand Cayman (they didn't take a pic in Jamaica)


Formal night (only one on this cruise as it was only 5 nights)


"Informal" night at dinner


Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach - LOVED IT! We'd been to the island before but had done an organized air/sea excursion with a seaplane and submarine tour. This time we just decided to take it easy and hang out on the beach. What a fun day!

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Last Christmas FO and a New Knitalong!

Here's my father in law Bob's finished Basketcase up at 5 am to finish it. It was hard to take a good picture of because it's so huge, so I hung it up, but now the shoulders look deformed. It looks better in real life. But it's being wrapped and sent up to northern Wisconsin as we speak (thanks Jim!)

Pattern: Basketcase Jacket from Men in Knits by Tara Jon Manning
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool ("Cloak" colorway)
Needles: Addi Turbo 15s and 13s (for edging)

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Something new that I'm really excited about - I am co-hosting my first knitalong starting January 1st! Me and Jeanne started talking about knitting sweaters for our husbands and decided, why not set up a knitalong? I wrote an intro about it, etc. at and Jeanne did an awesome job formatting the blog and made cool buttons for it, set up places for links, and other cool stuff etc. Check it out, and post a comment with your email address (or email me or Jeanne with your email address) to join! It will also be listed on the 2007 list of knitalongs. Here's a link to the old list for 2006, but I'm not sure if it will be on the same site or set up on a new one.

And now, having finished my last "knitting on a deadline" item (this morning) and my marketing final (last night), I'm off! My last day in the office for the year is today, and Jim and I leave for our getaway Caribbean cruise tomorrow morning. I'll be checking email once a day (any more than that and I get in trouble) but will be back on Thursday.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Gift Spoiler (Peggy, Don't Read!)

Just finished the felted clogs from the Fiber Trends pattern for my mother in law, Peggy...I think they came out cute! I wish the pattern said what the proper measurements are for each size - I made the small women's size (size 6) for her, which I would wear as well and tried them on - they fit me so I think they'll be fine.

Pattern: Fiber Trends Felted Clogs

Yarn: Mausch Chunky (2 skeins)

Needles: Size 13 Clover Bamboos (16" length)


Also, I'm almost done with my father in law's Basketcase Jacket from Men in Knits - woke up at 4:45 this morning to make the 2nd button band and the collar (DONE). Now all I have to do is weave in the ends and sew the buttons on. Pics to come once I do that tonight after my marketing final...

And now, a little quiz for fun - I got this one from
Tricotine. Enjoy!

You are The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Finished Ariann Pics!

Here she is....

Pattern: Bonne Marie's Ariann
Yarn: Brooks Farm Riata
Needles: Addi Turbos, Size 5

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You may be wondering why there's no buttoned version. I can button it, but because it turned out long, it pulls across my hips as the button is at the fullest part. So it wasn't too flattering. If I made this again with this yarn, I would make a bigger swatch and measure how much it grew lengthwise as well as widthwise. I think it grew 3" in that direction (although I didn't do a final pre-blocking length measurement) as it ended up being 24" long and should have been about 21". The width grew from about 30" (wayyyy too small) to the 35.5" size that I made. That size fits fine in the upper body and would have worked at the high hip, but not over the butt! Which I don't feel too bad about as not a lot of people have a lower hip measurement smaller than 35.5".

Monday, December 11, 2006

Miscellaneous Stuff

I finished my first pair of pajama pants in my sewing class! They fit very well and the fabric for them cost $8. My sewing class at JoAnn Superstore was very good (thanks for the recommendation, Amanda!) and I liked that our teacher showed us how to adjust patterns to make them shorter or longer. There was a woman in my class that is 6'1" and I am about 5'1" so we both really liked getting this little tip as it's something we'd both need to do on almost every pattern.

Here they are...and I bought more flannel fabrics to make three more pairs yesterday. SICK! Can't wait to take the next class in January - we will be making real pants, with a zipper, in that one.

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Yesterday I also went to the Chic Knits trunk show at Arcadia Knitting - here's a pic of me and Bonne Marie wearing our CeCes. I also finished Ariann but I don't have any pics. I'll probably wear that one in a few days to work so I'll take a pic that day to show y'all.

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And, since it's the season, here's a pic of me and my crazy tree.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Another Christmas gift down....

This one is the "Mikey Liked It" V-neck from the Yarn Girls' Guide to Kid Knits; yarn is Elann Peruvian Collection Quechua (65% alpaca, 35% tencel) in colors 2163 (blue) and 100 (cream) held together instead of Blue Sky Alpaca, which was a lot pricier. Done!


Friday, December 08, 2006

I've Joined the Cult (of the Sock)

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1st Pedicure Sock in progress...I used Elann Esprit (cotton/elastic) yarn that I had in my stash from a tube top I started about a year and a half ago as one of my first projects. I love how socks have definite steps - and by the time I'm sick of one step, it's time to move on to the next. Did Yarn Harlot say that in her last book? I read it somewhere lately and it's so true! So I've joined the cult of the sock, and will always have one pair going as the perfect mobile project. My husband was very impressed with the sock, and how it fit so nicely on my foot. He wants me to make him socks now!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Blocking Success!

Here's Ariann - and after a good bath, she measures exactly what she should!!!!!! I had been worrying...

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Story Time

My story is in response to a meme that I saw on Pixie Purls' blog that I really enjoyed. I thought I would continue it and write mine as well to let you all know a little more about me. I don’t think my story is anywhere near as interesting as hers, but here goes.

Some of you know that I’m an accountant, more specifically in tax, as the director of a mid-size company’s tax department, and people are usually surprised when they find out that’s what I do. I would have never guessed back in junior high or the first few years of high school that I would be doing this. My best subjects in school were always English and Social Studies as I love to read and write and learn about different types of people and societies.

My mom taught me how to read at a very young age and throughout most of elementary school reading was my passion. I would walk to the library with my mom and take out 12 or 13 books that were “too old” for me in a week and read them all. I remember I was reading “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” and other quasi-young teen books by Judy Blume in 2nd grade, covering subjects like puberty and sex, so I was “wise beyond my years” for the time (late 70s/early 80s as I was born in 1972.) I really didn’t like being a kid much and always felt older than I was (and now, feel younger than I am – how does that work?)

Since I became an accountant you may be wondering, what about math? Did she like math? Truthfully, I was fine at it but never stellar – liked algebra but hated geometry. And I still don’t have that kind of “engineering mind” to figure out construction-type things in knitting (the loop d loop patterns leave me scratching my head – like how does that fit together?) As for science, with the exception of a few classes in high school, I pretty much hated it. I hated the labs, particularly - they never turned out the way they were supposed to, and I never took anything away from them. In fact when I took the ACTs, my score in math was a 22, whereas my English and Social Studies scores were 31 and 30, and science was only a 20.

So, what careers did I consider? When I was really young I used to want to be a teacher (and I did that for the past seven years online, teaching accounting and tax.) In junior high, I used to want to be a hairstylist or makeup artist. In high school, I alternatively wanted to be an artist, then a psychologist, then a doctor when I really liked my biology and anatomy/physiology classes. My dad talked me out of all of these alternatives. He said I had a mind for business and that accounting was a great career choice. He always had side businesses like auto body shops as well as being an engineer as his “day job” – he knew how much he relied on his accountants and he impressed upon me that I would always have a job (a big deal to him, and ultimately to me.) He also impressed upon me that I should never depend on a man to support me, that I should be self-sufficient and that women could do anything men could do. This had a profound effect on me and I really internalized it. My mom reinforced this philosophy for me, even though it wasn’t the choice she had made for herself, because I think if circumstances were different for her, she may have wanted to be more independent.

When it was time to pick colleges in junior year, my dad said I should go with the school that would give me the biggest (academic) scholarship I could get and live at home in order to stay focused on studying and save money. He said it didn’t matter whether the undergraduate school I went to was a big name or not, because later when I got my master’s, that would be when a bigger name made more of a difference and everyone would only pay attention to where my last degree was from.

All of this advice led me to select St. Xavier University, a small private school on the outskirts of Chicago near the suburbs as they offered me a 50% non-need based academic scholarship. My dad was familiar with the school as he grew up in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago, not far from the school, and went to high school at Brother Rice, the Catholic high school nearby. My grandmother had actually worked at the university in the kitchen when my dad and uncle were growing up so that as an employee, she could get the tuition paid for over at the affiliated high school for her kids.

Anyway, with the choice of SXU, I could live at home and work, because my dad said he would pay the other ½ of the remaining ½, or 25% of the total cost, and I would be expected to cover the other 25%. I didn’t understand why he did this at the time as he could have easily covered the entire amount, wherever I would have chosen to go. It (and everything that went along with this) caused me a lot of trepidation then but I do believe it made me a stronger person.

At SXU, I tentatively declared my major as accounting at the outset, but was full well expecting not to like my initial accounting class. Surprise! I loved the rationality of it, and that everything made sense to me. I liked that accounting really was “the language of business” and that it was an important way to get involved in the business world. I liked the focus in my classes on explaining accounting to non-accountants, and aha - here’s where I saw my communication/writing skills setting me apart from some other accountants, who hated the world of words and writing and communication.

So the rest is history. I ended up having to maintain a 3.8 GPA to keep the Presidential Scholarship that SXU had given me and so I graduated magna cum laude. I interviewed with Deloitte for an auditing job and Arthur Andersen for a tax job, and Andersen must have clearly recognized that I was more of a tax person by nature and hired me. I worked at the firm for a year, and really didn’t like not knowing much about each client at my lowly staff level and the bureaucracy of a huge organization. Also I had gotten married the November after graduation to my college boyfriend, and he was extremely threatened by the social aspect of working at the firm – the late night drinking with co-workers, the camaraderie.

So, I quit the firm and began work at a mid-size bank in the western suburbs of Chicago. I did both tax and investor relations work at the bank, and although I didn’t fit well within their culture (stodgy and resistant to change) I learned and accomplished a lot. I also divorced my college boyfriend/husband and met Jim, who would later become my husband in 2002. At 26, I was promoted to Assistant Vice President, and I also started and completed my MST (master’s in tax) at DePaul University, which is nationally reknowned for this program (fulfilling my dad’s game plan for me, although I didn’t think about this at the time.)

In 2000, I left the bank to become the manager of domestic taxation at the US headquarters of a well-known European auto manufacturer. I learned a lot here as well, but again this organization was too slow and bureaucratic for me (they had meetings to plan to plan and were extremely resistant to change) and so I left to join my current organization in 2002. The way it worked out, I ended up having the new job lined up so that I gave notice to the auto company, Jim and I married on a two week Mediterranean cruise, and when I came back, I started my new job here.

After some initial challenges that I got through and working with a fabulously supportive boss who was not planning to relocate to the area long-term, I was promoted to tax director when he left the company in 2004. I enjoy working at my company as it is mid-size (although publicly traded) and there isn’t much bureaucracy. I also love running my own (small) department and I have another great boss who doesn't micromanage anything - basically leaves me to my own devices. The only thing I dislike is that I really like being busy and some days there's not enough to do, even though I'm also working on my MBA now at NIU and have four more classes left.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ariann - Done with Most of the Knitting Now!

Ariann after all of the knitting except for the collar...


Here's my post on the KAL blog regarding it....she needs some MAJOR blocking but I am encouraged that everyone else says it makes a huge difference, plus I remember how different my swatch was after washing. "It'll be fine, it'll be fine", is my mantra right now...

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's Official - I Have An Accent...

This was a fun little quiz to take - I've been told that I have a Midwest accent, but I guess this makes it official! (Although I still don't say "tree" for "three" or "sixt" for sixth.) I guess that would be the mobbed-up version of the Chicago accent.

It is so true that "I (do) think I speak Standard English straight from the dictionary". I also grew up calling carbonated drinks "pop" but somewhere along the line started calling them "soda". My mother (from the Cape Cod area of the East Coast originally) told me that she grew up calling carbonated drinks "tonic". So weird...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another Christmas Gift Down!

Edited to Add Pattern Info:
Pattern: "Fame" from Rowan Babies
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool Fusion
Needles: size 15 addi turbos

For McKenna - even though this hanging kinda funny on the hanger, it looks really cute "in person"!

Jim went to a Blackhawks game tonight with his friend Tim so I sat here, caught up on Grey's Anatomy, and finished seaming this sweater. I also finished the 2nd sleeve of my FIL's sweater from Men in Knits. I'll post pics once I have it seamed. Not too many more to go! I finished a lot of Christmas gifts back in August as part of the UFO August KAL, but now decided to get the remaining ones out of the way so I can move on with the projects I want to make!

Case in point - the Somewhat Cowl. I ordered the yarn today from Kpixie - thought it'd be a fun project to take with me on our cruise on the 16th!