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Friday, December 2, 2005

XMAS Decorating: DONE...

whitesoxsox.jpg

the Socks were all hung by the chimney with care
in hopes that MORE sock yarn soon would be there...

I'll admit it. I'm 50% Scrooge; 50% Chesnuts Roasting by an Open Fire. Stoking the personal Christmas Spirit usually takes a few weeks for me - sometimes right up to the finish line. Not for me the Tree in Every Room! The Garlanded Gate! The House-of-a-Thousand-Lights!

This just might be it.

Then again, I have plenty of time to turn the corner.

Why just last night on the #66, the Spirit was washing us all down. Never, or at least in common seasonal memory, do I recall such a Warm, dare I say Fuzzy, night of commuter riding. In spite of the packages banging everywhere, in spite of standing passengers suddenly sitting on the seated during numerous Lurching Quick Stops, in spite of the biting cold sapping whatever remained of our Low 6PM Blood Sugar, we were alright. The Christmas Kids were Alright...

Even the usuals - the Mouthy Loud Teenage Contingent - were in check. I might have been dreaming but I think I heard a Yes, Mamm after I said Excuse Me to a teen I had to squeeze by in passing (and even though that *mamm* is possibly the #1 Ego Prick for women of a certain age, I had to say Thank You Young Person...)

Love was everywhere, even after we got going and I got going on a new sock! Another rider actually asked me if I'd finished the one I'd been working on last week. DANG! Almost busted for Startitis right in Transit! Unheard of.

Luckily, the White SOX Sox are FINI!

And don't they look all darn cute hanging from the mantle. Do your Duty boys...

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Sunday, December 4, 2005

watson_FINI.jpg

Oh, blessed light of December - ye are only on the map between 6:30a to 4p these days, but I love you all the same...


The wonders of the Digital Color Space Spectrum never cease to amaze me! The gamut is so much more clipped in the blues than film - but today I think the actual color of the wintry skies worked a little magic.

I *think* this looks like the real color it is!

But on your monitor, who knows? :)

You always read this disclaimer (yep, I'm slacking again in those online catalogs...) and I really know, from the school of hard knocks, that it's true. I saw the light today and just decided to go for it - I thought I might have a match! Now my journal is complete with the finished object - and I still love those little pockets!

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Monday, December 5, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

in case you missed the KnitOut in Chicago (wwhawt, there wasn't one?) and are jonesing for a Group Love-In, don't miss the Annual New York

Santa Con!

I double dog dare ya to put on the beard and pick up the needles...

>>>>> Past Santa Mischief <<<<<

NYTImes reports...

Global *Santas*

You'll need a Cheap Santa Suit if you want to PARTEEEEE!!!!

really, which would look better on me, this or this...

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Tuesday, December 6, 2005

CSI: Chicago Style

Much of my life has been spent in the Corridors of Law. On any given day, you might find me at one of the Federal, County or Municipal courthouses of Chicago, waiting with the rest of the Press Corps to advance *the Story* with a suspect, lawyer or witness by getting a picture and sound bite.

A day last week was no different, except something knitterly poked it's fibery little head into the proceedings. Right before a Reporter was about to deliver his goods LIVE, he fumbled with his earpiece, that umbilical cord that connects us, almost anywhere we are to the mighty, omnipotent Control Room.

It seems the little bugger was all twisted UP! Someone standing near said loudly, "Give it to her, she's a Knitter!" pointing to me, as I stood, standing by, behind the camera, waiting to go LIVE with said reporter.

I must say, part of me was pleased - recognition in my chosen field is rare and stingy - and within seconds, I'd unknotted the naughty cord and ON we went, to what I believed was the (silent) CHEERS of my live shot mates...

>>>>>>> Remember this? <<<<<<<

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Ah, the back of a beautiful ribbon top, called the Red Chinese Style Sweater from Rebecca (Magazine No.26 September - December).

I started this in 2003, getting the *yarn* as a reward for the stupendous amount of overtime I worked during the Cubs Playoff Season. I found this piece the other day doing Inventory of Lost Projects in my stuff; there it was lurking in shiny beauty, begging me to finish it...

I picked this project because it was So Pretty, So Sophisticated, So Party Girl. I could imagine me wearing it on the slightly formal Holiday rounds (there I go Twirling onto the Dance Floor...)

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It is made from a ribbon called Tiffany - deep scarlet, slubbed with black. It will be trimmed with gold. I won't be able to put the flower stencil on it because even though I have the design, I don't have the transfer paper that they use in Europe and couldn't find a substitute anywhere here.

Ahhh, but those who will not LEARN from their mistakes are bound to repeat them! No sooner had I shot the above picture, and gotten out the needles to cast on, than much of that lovely ribbon spontaneously JUMPED OFF Its BALL!

All of a sudden, I had a mass, a PILE of ribbon everywhere on the floor, which then (and how many times has this happened to you?) snagged on my feet when I rose from my chair and was dragged across the room!

Hannibal Lector is ALIVE!

But who am I - why, that chick that unknotted the earpiece in the Halls of Justice, that's who. Am I intimidated by some rampaging ribbon who refuses to do my bidding. NAY! I say. Bring It...

Out comes the ball winder, and onto a core the ribbon goes - half-way there any bigger ball bits on the floor start cannibalizing each other, merging into knots and blobs. NO WAY!, baby, this is the Fiber Bureau of Intimidation and you're going on the ball winder. Standing, I will gently tease the blobs apart, shake them, jiggle and un-do.

tiffany_ribbon2.jpg

And here Hanni-Ball lays, after twice winding (yes, it took 2 spins to get out all the teeth), now stuffed in its cardboard wrapper, secured in a ziplock bag, twisted-tied tight...

Now, the question remains, will it be done
in time for the Holidaze?

Cast-ON and Deliver!

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Thursday, December 8, 2005

sheilafini.jpg



In a move that's certain to put the Daze in my holidays
I've actually finished my Christmas Sweater!

Hey, what time DAY is it?

Well, by my trusty calendar, it's THE EIGHTth of December!!!

(This is the part where I put down the OTHER holiday sweater and stamp my little feet on the floor real fast like the Bleacher Bums do at Wrigley - WOOT!)

I have NO IDEA how this happened; it's certainly been my MO to go right up against the DAY and usually miss it altogether (or write something lame like, "Hey - RED is good for Valentine's Day too!" and really, isn't THAT just the best excuse to squeeze another 6 weeks into slacking on a project! Borrow at will, si vous plait...)

I must say, this was one of the most enjoyable outings with a yarn I've had in a long time. Perhaps my love affair with all that Barn Yarn in my near past has prepped me for the rich, soft, luxurious treat this turned out to be. The yarn is 50% Baby Alpaca / 50% Merino - SOFT soft SOFT! Warm warm warm? This is the reason I *vented* the piece with an eyelet lace design - hopefully, this will allow it to breathe, not smother, on use.

All that remains now is for me to go out SHOPPING! for a sweet, sexy camisole to wear under this cardi - hmmm... Company Christmas Party here I come!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Sheila is a Tart
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold *Classic AL*
Color: 006 Garnet
Gauge: 18sts/24rows over 4"
Needles: #7 & #8

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Monday, December 12, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

-- more fun from the Washington Post Style Invitational
(word combo archives)
...

Affirma-bottom: What you'll have afta some more time on the StairMasta. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

Appropri-nastics: Maneuvers used to tack a pork barrel amendment onto unrelated legislation. (Pam Sweeney)

Carb-ule: The largest amount of non-protein allowed on the Atkins diet. (Andrew Hoenig, Rockville)

Gram-stand: To brag excessively about one's grandchildren. (Pam Sweeney, Germantown)

Ho-job: A trade or profession in which one must degrade himself in exchange for money. (Phil Battey, Alexandria)

Hy-by: A greeting designed to get you past that boring guy at the office without having to stop and chat. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

Infor-less: Describing a convict who worked out a plea bargain. (Fred Dawson, Beltsville)

Nip-ship: A bra. (Tom Witte)

Oui-ple: Yes-men. (Ted Weitzman, Olney)

Posteri-mining: Searching for the lost thong. (Pam Sweeney)

Pub-scriptions: The original over-the-counter medications. (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick)

Snot-tumn: Ragweed season . (Brendan Beary)


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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

buddhabutton.jpg

The person who taught me to knit actually didn't care too much for the sticks and string. For her, the call of the Hook was much sweeter and slippers and blankies and lace flew from her hands as long as I was a child.

And as a child I pestered. And Pestered. And one snowy afternoon while she was sitting us, Grandma taught me how to knit.

I didn't want to be like Doily Grandma I wanted to be Mitten Grandma and that being perhaps the one thing she really enjoyed knitting, she obliged. Gussetted mittens were my first project and I wore those uneven, Mutt & Jeff gloves of love UNTIL I'd mastered stitching well enough to make a pair that actually worked. Even at 10 years of age, I was Stubborn; I was Willing; I had lots of time on my hands...

But Grandma's real love was crochet - I recall fondly the many pairs of pillowcases she edged with lace, frosted with embroidery. I have one pair I save for guests - the white-on-white floral design on the fabric is wide satin-stitched roses and vines; the hem - 5 inch deep, intricate lace. They will grace the Holiday House for Christmas and She will be with us again.

I thought of Grandma while I was making the Sheila sweater - I needed a button. And She of the Thousand Buttons (NOTHING was thrown away in that household if it could be even remotely used again) might've come up with a match but I was empty handed.

So OUT came the hook! I'd read about covered buttons, none of which really filled the bill here, so I decided to try my own. First I found a lightweight ring-type shank button in my button box. You could use some plastic curtain rings in the right dimension, but I had this and it already had a shank (a little metal loop that you sew to the garment to attach) and was the right size.

I was using aran weight yarn so I used a size C hook and made a 5 stitch chain, slipping them together into a circle, to close. Then I made 20 Treble crochets into the center of the circle making a disk. You could use double crochet if you want a smaller diameter button; or single crochet, etc.

Then I went around the edge of the disk, in single crochet - one stitch made in every odd number st (1, 3, 5, etc) and two stitches made in every even stitch. This made a rim on the outside edge of the disk.

I then broke off a generous tail of yarn and threaded it through the very outside edge of the disk, placed the ring into the *cup* , tightened and knotted off.

VOILA! A matching button...

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas 2005

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Bauble


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Bauble Head

When you're a dork, you're a dork all the way! I am just getting to the part in the 12 Days of Christmas where you go and enjoy all the shop windows! SILLY ME - I just was running up Michigan Ave to a very important rendevous with my hair dresser. I was late, as usual, coming in from a far north assignment - passing out-of-towners on the right, walking at a speed about 150% faster than the average tourist.

I just couldn't miss my appointment AGAIN!

But this blue ornament (in the Crate & Barrel store window of all places) made me stop in my tracks - it's my favorite so far this year. I have no explantion for the love - it just is...

AND, wonder of wonders, I now have a cell camera-phone! Stop me before I shoot again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OH the power of being able to record the Fresh Coiffed DO! It never looks the same as it does in the Salon - even in the Salon's bathroom mirror...

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KIPKIPKIPKIPKIP tonight 7-9pm Letizia's 2144 W Division

Hanni-ball Lector Part 2

tiffany3.jpg

The Drama continues at Chez Chic with Hanni-ball eluding capture once again! No sooner had it been tamed by a maximum security lock-down, than it SPRANG into life a few yards down the needle and tried to ESCAPE again!

And, in an effort to keep the knitting ALIVE, the ribbon yarn was set free - above you see it (and the view from my favorite knitting chair - Yo Scout! I'm IT!) stretching out on the carpet and beyond. Given no other choice but to completely unravel the rest of the nasty little ball I flung it far and wide across the room, then reeled it in as I kept knitting.

And this, I believe, conquered the Beast in the end. Knitting should not be stressful. If it's doing something that is making my blood boil, I usually seek the path of least resistance and try and continue. In this case, it was throwing the offender across the room! Sometimes, I can quickly solve the problem by traditional means; other times it helps to just walk away and wait for the Muse to start it up again at a later time.

And the Muse, she didn't disappoint... chicmuse.gif

Deep in the grey matter of my brain, I remembered a solution that someone used where they made a Reeler for the ribbon by taking a pencil and a shoe box. Said pencil was the post and it was stuck through the center of the ribbon ball, then through two holes/slits in the longwise sides of a shoebox.

Well, I didn't have a shoe box. Or a pencil. And I was too ass-lazy to get up from the above chair to go look for one. BUT I did see something else that would do just fine and it was right next to my chair: a little basket! I keep three of these in near proximity to the chair,



filled with the current projects in my WIP line-up - keeps 'em off the floor, untangled, and clean...

I grabbed my Wand, stuck it through the little hinge on one side of the basket, then through the new ball of ribbon, back through the opposite hinge, and VOILA!

wizwhz1.jpg
hmm, wonder if this qualifies as a Weasley's Wizard Wheeze???

Reel Away, in comfort and relief! The ribbon, with a gentle tug, comes off smoothly, with little twisting and now You Can WAIL!

tiffany4.jpg

OMG! She's blocking Nylon!

Indeed - I block everything! To set the shape of the garment and really show that Ribbon tiffany4.jpg it was washed in lukewarm water, rolled in a towel, then set out on my blocking rug to measure. EEEY! I can't wait to wear this...

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Friday, December 16, 2005

sheilacami.jpg

not only is Sheila a Tart, she's a Fierce Tart...

Okay, okay so I've been watching ANTM5 and can't get up! Although my (ex)husband accused me once of learning everything I know from TV (like that's a bad thing?), I know this is Going to WORK.

Its glorious silk taffeta & ombré chiffon (Laundry by Shelli Segal) will be paired with paper-weight grey flannel trousers, that cardi and strappy sandals.

The party invite said "dressy" and I read "company cocktail party" not PROM...

No Jewelry to be lost during sweaty DJ'd dance party after the cocktail hour(s) over because there is sufficient beading on its bodice to bling the unsuspecting.

No upskirt drafts during long walk from parking garage to hotel to take away the flush of a sincere entrance - baby it's COLD outside in Chicago this year!

In short - everthing I need to be covered while I got it covered...

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The origins of Fierce

Dramality Speaking

just whisper it: FIERCE

Just Tyra

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Monday, December 19, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

ReGIFT

gift.jpg

from WORDSPY (09/27/02): "Today's word originated with that always reliable source of neologisms, the TV show Seinfeld. Regift (and the noun regifter) appeared in the episode titled The Label Maker, which first aired on January 19, 1995."

PROOF (positive that everything I know, and you too, I learned on TV!): Here's the script snippet where regift was used in that Seinfeld episode (regifter was used earlier in the show; note, as well, yet another neologism: degift):

George: The wedding is off. Now you can go to the Super Bowl.

Jerry: I can't call Tim Whatley and ask for the tickets back.

George: You just gave them to him two days ago, he's gotta give you a grace period.

Jerry: Are you even vaguely familiar with the concept of giving? There's no grace period.

George: Well, didn't he regift the label maker?

Jerry: Possibly.

George: Well, if he can regift, why can't you degift?

Jerry: You may have a point.

George: I have a point, I have a point."

OOOHHhh, my family knows me so well! I opened a shipped box from my Sis and found the above lovely pahck-ahge. Now, if you've been reading CK for awhile, you can find a Christmas theme in this label...

Every year I receive a Singing Toy! Last year, it was this, shown in this little movie. Be afraid - be very AFRAID.

There has been a veritable collection through these doors, and I must say the word THROUGH, because the biggest Joke/Gift of all is they ALWAYS become a ReGift. I had a caroling stuffed frog that was cycled around for YEARS and was only retired when my friend's elderly Mom REFUSED to ReGift! She loved that Frog, with his croaky Jingle Bells, et al... and roundly told us all off when we informed her it was HER turn to pass it along...

I am dying of curiousity about this package but other family etiquette (MUST wait until Christmas Eve) prevents me from tearing into it. So I'm going to have to satisfy my craving by asking YOU:


What's the best ReGift you've given/received?

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Tuesday, December 20, 2006

the Joys of the Season

megyarn.jpg
thank you so much Meg!

YES! I'm a little slow on the uptake, but lately I've been discovering first-hand what all the fuss is about. The adorable HappyBean herself, (hi Meg!), sent me some of her gorgeous handspun yarn and I've been knittin' it.

The bitter cold is doing strange and wonderful things to my brain. I am actually getting a LOT done. My theory is that when you are forced to lurk inside, the Cabin Fever just might give birth to some glorious whim. SUDDENLY! You are furiously writing or stitching or composing or cooking - the weather just might free(force) you to create...

It is not unusual, when the cold spell lands, for me to grab multi-strands of yarn and combine. I don't do this other times of the year but in the deep winter it's like grabbing for the covers in the early morning chill and favoring your ears with their warmth.

My Ears.

Possibly the most vulnerable part of my body when I'm working outside. (Now nose and fingertips, do not whine - you are sissies too!)

So it became the plan to craft a chapaeu that would honor My Ears and warm my little head...

I mixed one strand of aqua worsted weight handspun with one strand sportweight Dale Sisik (chartruese) left over from these and knitted an earwarmer. I was going to stop right there but something made me tour the Stash and look what I found...

flapS.jpg

So some more Mixing was unavoidable - and here's something I haven't done before - changed up from a much smaller gauge to a larger one in a different section of the work. EXCITING stuff to be sure but something that took a couple (cough) tries to get the proportion right.

I still have to finish the top of the hat BUT a dilemma remains - POMPOM noPOMPOM?

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Look out Below: Holiday Avalanche!

tiffany6.jpg

If one is not careful, one could just be buried
neck-deep right about now with food, cooking, shopping, wrapping,
coiffing, quaffing, KNITTING?

There you go - ya just need ONE to escape the Others...

My GreatGetaway Knitting continues to be the Rebecca Chinese top! So far, I've seamed the shoulders and sides (went rather easily and quickly using the ribbon yarn and mattress stitch - I am SHOCKED!). Then it was Pay-Off Time.

Now usually they say this can be a M..., well you know, but really, it wasn't all that bad ONCE I just surrendered. Ribbon is just STRING after all and behaves rather remarkably like yarn, if you squint your eyes and pretend a little. I used a crochet hook and picked up stitches all around the bottom as instructed by the pattern then plopped them on the Bamboo needles I knit the body with. Edging: Done. CAKE WALK...

NOW I once again march up to the Maze of Choices of My Own Making and stall...

Awhile back, I bought a little golden frog closure to hook the keyhole shut. It doesn't really match the color of the trim and really, I thought it looked a tad Frederick's of Hollywood.

Generally, that would be a good thing for me (my DNA requires me to be 10% overdressed/undressed at all times) but in this case, it was verging on, oh about 25% tack-i-fonic.

OUT came the brooches!

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Ooh my, will it be Bakelite? Shell? Paste? Rhinestone? Hey, why do they call it rhinestone anyway?

As if I'm not spinning like a Top with all the Holidaze Excitement already, I must twirl myself some more...

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Happy Holidays!!!


ChicChristmas2005.gif


Wishing you and yours the Happiest of Holidays 2005!

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Monday, December 26, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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say hello to the newest member of our family, my nephew, Sammy!

Happy Holidays, Pardners! :)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

PomPom and Circumstance

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


the wonderful Imbrium
writes: " I'm gonna have to say go with the pompom. Maybe two. Like little fluffy ears. :D"

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

pp1s.jpg

So I grabbed the nearest book that looked like the right size and wrapped it up real good!

THAT's how I made pompoms as a kiddie. That's how I remember the joy...

So how come my PomPom looks like a limp little sea creature beached on the sand?

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Talks to Self: Because when you were a child, your pompoms were not aspiring to be ginourmous globes but tiny little dingle balls, perfect for tiny little hands. Time to run for help!

Time to make the Donuts! Following the directions here I traced a canister of Christmas Cookies and cut out 2 circles. Then I cut out circles in the middle and wrapped them in yarn until, as directed, the center of the circle was *FULL*.

pp3.jpg

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now the fun with scissors begins...

Using the very sharpest of instruments (NO RUNNING!) I cut the 2 disks apart, then trimmed the edges

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And here is where the leap of faith is required - you have to run a length of yarn between the disks, tighten 'til your face turns blue and knot. Lucklily, coming right after a Christmas present wrapping marathon, this was easier than I thought.

After that, you fluff it up with your hands and consider its fate: more trimming? more teasing? more wine?

My pompom was WAY too big so I went for more trimming and flattened it AGAIN with a plate (I'd already destroyed my donuts) then trimmed all around the plate edge.

 

pp4.jpg

And VOILA!

PomPom!

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But HEY! Isn't there some kind of law that requires the Hat Trim to weigh ALOT less than the hat itself? This baby was so heavy (35g) it required a Hard Hat as it's base to not only support its weight but protect the wearer's Head...

Say Hello to my new 2006 PAPERWEIGHT!

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Pam writes: "No pompom -- tassel or weird I cord things or braids, yes."

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

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KooKaDeeKOO!

Now that it's 50 degrees outside here in Chicago, I have an Artic Ready Hat! Not to worry, we all know another BLAST is in the wings and this little number just might pull me through.

Back in the early days, I made a Snood to battle the great outChores while shoveling snow. The mistake was combining a strand of mohair with a strand of worsted - looked good, tasted BAD. Those little bits of hair kept finding their way into my mouth whenever I took a breath. Blahchk...

This time, we have semi-coverage without the beard - or the pompom!

Instead, we have a little Icord clover - I doubled the yarn like on the bottom of the hat and made about a foot of cord then twisted it and sewed it to the top of the hat. I'm thinking it's a cowlick of sorts, which in my family is fondly referred to as a KookadeeKoo! One of the ladies at the salon where I get my hair cut is from the Ukraine - and she says that's a Real Word! Anybody know how it's spelled?

...a special THANK YOU to Meg from Inch-by-Inch

inchbyinch.jpg

for the wonderful hand spun yarn!
I think I'm hooked forevermore!

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Friday, December 30, 2005

Ring out ye Olde - Bling in the NEW!

tiffany7.jpg

Chinese Sweater
Pattern: Rebecca Magazine 26 - #17
Yarn: Tiffany
Color: Red & Bronze
Gauge: 18sts/24rows over 4"
Needles: #7 & #8

For once in my life, the Holiday knitting is finished before the clock strikes Midnight! Although like many of you, I've wanted to clear the deck of ALL projects before that 5 morphs into 6, I am happily satisfied I got this Far - ususually about now, my biological imperative and lack of finishing is making me dig deep in the back forty of the closet, like some crazed fashion anthropologist, WILLING something/anything to appear that will get me through the next round of holiday cheer.

I can't wait to wear this - it's part of my New Year's *Party Frock* and will be paired with a skirt, black hose and high black pumps.

Pumps. I love that word. It is very p-p-p-arty.

tiffany8.jpg

CU of Flower Brooch made from colored sea shells...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Happy New Year Everybody!!!
I wish You & Yours the very very Best in the Coming Year! Thank you for stopping by in the last one and joining in on the fun...

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