Do you have any idea how unusual this is where I live? Before Christmas? This much?



While this was falling, we had a fire in the fireplace, we put up the Christmas tree, and hung up our stockings.  I am so much more in the Christmas mood now than I was yesterday.  Going to bed now, hoping for visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.


a hat for carmen banana

Carmen Banana is not your usual sock monkey.  She comes as a kit from Knit Picks with a wardrobe to die for.  After I knit Carmen, her fancy panties, and a dress for a night out on the town, her outfit just did not look quite put together without a topper.  Long ago, I promised a pattern on my ravelry project page, and at last, here it is.

carmen closeup

In Knit Picks Stroll yarn and at a gauge of 8 stitches and 10 rows to the inch in stockinette, this pattern will yield a hat that is 7 inches in circumference.

Use the circular knitting method of your choice.  I knit this little hat using Magic Loop on a 32” circular needle in the same size I used for Carmen.

Using the cable cast on technique and main color, cast on 56 stitches.  Place a marker for beginning of round and k1p1 rib for 4 rounds.  Knit in stockinette for 9 rounds.  Begin decrease rounds:

  1. *ssk, k5*
  2. knit
  3. *ssk, k4*
  4. knit
  5. *ssk, k3*
  6. knit
  7. *ssk, k2*
  8. knit
  9. *ssk, k1*
  10. ssk 8 times
  11. ssk 4 times

Break yarn leaving a 10” tail. With a tapestry needle pull yarn through all stitches, pull tight, pull tail to inside, weave end in and cut.

For the flower, cast on 60 stitches in contrast color, knit front and back in each stitch, knit one row, loosely cast off, leaving a long tail.  Coil the knitting, securing with the yarn tail.  Sew to the hat.

The shape of Carmen’s head is such that she will lose this hat unless you secure it to her head, either by sewing, or with a tiny safety pin on the inside, as I did.

download the pdf:  Hat with Flower for Sock Monkey or Doll


sew a little something

Feels so good to be back in my sewing room.  This project took maybe 2 hours total in actual stitchout and assemble time.  I spent much more than that browsing the internet for free machine embroidery designs. The winner? Found at  The name and corner decoration were created in Husqvarna Viking 5D Embroidery Extra software for embroidery sewing machine.  Short story long, I was gifted with a nav device for my birthday.  It’s the sleekest, slimmest, smartest, coolest nav ever.  It used to have a sleek and luxurious leather slip case.  I think that slip case got left in the parking lot of a rest area between Greensboro and Asheville NC when it slipped surreptitiously from my car as I got out to stretch my legs.  Sleek, slim, smart, sneaky little s**t .  The nav itself is 4.8″W x 2.9″H x .35″D (12.2 x 7.5 x .89 cm) in size.  The case is roughly 3 3/8″ by 5 3/8″.  The original treeglobe embroidery design measures 9.42″ x 5.85″.  The 5D software automatically adjusts stitch density when you resize,  which is amazing, for those of us who remember what it was like to try and adjust it ourselves.  If you’re one too, you know what I’m talking about.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, feel blessed because the software is so much better now, and you’ll never need to know how to do this.

embroidered nav case5

what does it mean?

I’d love to know the backstory on this design.  If you do know it, please leave me a comment.  It’s an extraordinary and beautiful design, and such a treat because it’s a free download.  I think the critter climbing the tree is a squirrel.  If you have a better guess, please tell me.  It’s an applique design, which means it pauses the machine so you can put fabric down for the globe background, and then again to cut around the stitched down fabric.  Seriously cool, huh?

I measured and estimated, and designed the case to be hooped all at once.  The name and the corner decoration were created in the 5D monogram wizard.

embroidered nav case3


Here’s how it is arranged in the hoop:

embroidery for nav case

template image

I put gold quilting cotton with tear-away stabilizer in the hoop, and then basted all around just inside the hoop.  Push the start button and the machine does the rest.  You can tell I’m only mostly southern, because I said “push” the button instead of “mash” the button.  You can mash it if you are more comfortable with that.  I took the finished embroidery out of the hoop and layered it with quilt batting and a backing piece of cotton print.  I did not remove the stabilizer.  I basted the quilt sandwich together around the edge.

treeglobe nav case working diagram

the pattern outline

Now the grunt work:

Thin satin stitch all round on the pink and turquoise lines with rayon embroidery thread in upper thread and bobbin.  Cut just outside the stitching.  Wider satin stitch overcast on the pink line.  Fold right sides out, lining sides together along the longer blue dotted line.  Wider satin stitch overcast on the turquoise lines.  Make a button loop by satin stitching over piping cord.  Attach it at the flap point by zigzag stitching.  Put a little fray check here and there. Sew on a button.  Do a neater job of satin stitching over your cord than I did!

button loop

okay, so it's a little messy

and a peek at the print for the lining, since I matched the colors for the embroidery:

embroidered nav case2

insert nav here

I’m more than pleased with the result.  I might even like it just a wee bit more than the sleek, slim, smart leather case that slipped surreptitiously away when I wasn’t looking.  Call it serendipity.

For those that are still with me, a reward recipe I wrote for my bread machine:

cinnamon bread

This bread has a great springy texture and is dense but not heavy.  It makes great french toast, but let it soak a little longer than usual.  Adding the flax seed makes it rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber. My kids like it spread with smart butter, ’cause we just can’t get enough lignans, sprinkled with brown sugar splenda mix and dusted with yet a little more cinnamon, then lightly toasted.  I hope you will enjoy it.

click here to downloadcinnamon bread recipe pdf

It gets better

Just read the Panopticon post by the same title.  Just want to do what I can to make sure as many as possible read it as well.  In the words of LoriAngela, the first commenter, “Life is not a simple pain. We must be loved as we are. Without hope there is nothing. Your words are strong. I will pass them on to my knitting teenage daughter to share with her friends of all ilks.”  I will do the same.  Thank you, Franklin Habit, for being a voice of hope and comfort in this messed-up world.

I can knit back backwards!

Thanks to excellent instructions from the knit witch in a video.  I’ve never been able to grasp it before.  This is important because I’ve got two projects going which will go much faster with this technique.  The Peacock’s Best Vest from SWTC involves 114 mitered diamonds, no less, and assorted other little triangles and stuff.  They’re all in garter stitch, so I guess I’ll have to learn how to purl back backwards too.  Or just turn my work over and over and over . . . .  The other one is Lizard Ridge, from knitty. Lots of short rows every sixth row.  I have no pictures yet, as the two projects are still mostly in my head.

I do have a picture of another knitty pattern.  This took me literally months to complete.  I really like the result, but I am so slow.  It’s decimal, in classic elite premiere.  My ravelry project page here.

the models mother made her do this, therefore incognito

the model's mother made her do this, therefore incognito

Behind the model you see a variety of clematis with an unusual flower color.  It’s ready for its closeup.

how do I look?

how do I look?

I love blue flowers.

did I promise you a roadside attraction?

How about Foamhenge?  Foamhenge?, you say.  Yes.  Just like Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in the South of England, but made of styrofoam.  No, really.  It’s a same size replica in Natural Bridge, VA.  Find a review of foamhenge, and an interview with the artist, Mark Cline, at .  You can book this place for your special event, or attend the Enchantment Faire in September.  How many places can you visit where you can buy a knighthood for your child, or watch flaming coconuts flung from a trebuchet?  I’d like to see the sheep tossing contest, myself.†  We just wandered around and in it on a beautiful spring day.

ETA: not live sheep of course, or even formerly live sheep, sillies!

I took this picture from down the hill a bit.  The tiny human is 6′ 3″ or so IRL.  If you go look at the large size of the picture, he appears to be trying to escape while Merlin throws a spell at him.



The one below is taken from inside the circle, the same human is there for scale.

soooo big!

soooo big!

Notice the difference in construction on the sign below.  Go to the largest flickr size to make the print easier to read.

If you are curious what it looks like really close up, it looks like styrofoam with gray paint on it.

yup, styrofoam

yup, styrofoam

One more picture for you, just a beautiful near-sunset skyline from inside the standing foams:

Virginia mountain sky

Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain sky