Scarves for Las Vegas friends

Leaving Las Vegas was just as difficult as the Sheryl Crow song makes it sound.  Although neither one of us had any kind of gambling addiction, so I guess not quite as bad.

But we made some wonderful friends in Vegas, people whom we hope to keep in contact with for years to come!  For some of those folks, I was able to make scarves before we moved, so those are the scarves I’ll share here.  All of the scarves were made from yarn straight from my stash, and most of the patterns were ones I had either been waiting for the right time to try or were patterns I already knew would be perfect.

First there was our favorite family, the Wiks!  Jenn was my “neighbor” at Liberty, and was the first person I met when I was new.  She was (and is) one of the most hospitable and genuinely friendly people I’ve ever met.  She also has a fabulous sense of style, so I wanted to make a scarf for her that would hopefully go with outfits she already had.  It’s called a Golden Threads Boa, and I made it with a black ribbon yarn from Berroco, black Fizz yarn and black sequined thread.  The pictures don’t do it justice — I think it turned out very elegant, and it had a great drape to it.

Then for Josh — the funny man and all-around friendly guy.  It’s always tricky to find a pattern for a dude, but luckily I had just bought a new book called One Skein Projects, and the book had some really nice simple cable rib patterns that would work well.  I used a yarn made from camel hair that was soooo soft and lovely to work with. I had two skeins of the yarn in two different colors — teal and white — and thought rather than trying to create stripes that were evenly spaced, I’d just split the scarf in two colors — right and left side.  Sort of a wrong-colored port and starboard. The end result is the scarf I think I’m most pleased with.

Then for the Wiklets!  Gavin has been Patrick’s buddy in daycare since they were born, so I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to make for him, and Emma has been Patrick’s little “momma,” so she needed a scarf that would be glamorous and delightful.  Here’s what I made for them:

Gavin got a Gator Scarf.  This is one of my favorite scarves ever — a Morehouse Merino pattern that has so many different options to it!  This one is made from a green wool blend, perfect yarn for a little kid.  I also took out a couple rows of scales to make it a little shorter. 

Then Emma got a scarf made from acrylic yarn with fun little kernels of color in it.  The base kernels were pink, so I thought that would appeal to a lovely lady like Emma!  The pattern is meant for bulky alpaca yarn, but I think it works pretty well as a working kid’s scarf.  Sturdy, washable, and ready for a chilly day!

After making scarves for the Wiks, I made this scarf for “Auntie Ro-Ro.”  Ro-Ro is a waitress at Amore’s Taste of Chicago, the best pizza place in Vegas, but she was so much more than that to us.  We’ve known her since we started going to their restaurant on Friday nights, and she was so excited for us when we became pregnant.  And Patrick loved her so much — she lavished attention on him!  She would always threaten to bite his cheeks someday — which is a tempting proposition, seeing how apple-y they are.  But she helped organize his baptism party at Amore’s, always brought him his own soup in a little bowl, and treated him like the special little guy he is!  We already miss seeing her once a week, and will be sure to visit her when we are in town. It’s a horizontally striped scarf in red and white Lily Chin wool with an extra stripe of red sequins.  I really like how this one turned out — no pattern here, just cast on for about how long you want it to be, and then knit like crazy in garter stitch!

And last, but not least, is a scarf for someone who has been a mentor to me in many senses, but most as an ELL teaching guru — Connie!  I have missed her when she got transferred to another school, but now I’ll miss her even more when I’m in another state!  She was so helpful with all of the applications to grad school, and with great ideas for teaching, and also just for life in general.  For Connie, I made the Golden Threads Boa also, but you’ll see that the effect is very different.  I used black Fizz again, but for the base yarn, I used a novelty ribbon yarn with some really pretty colors in it.

We will miss all of these friends and more dearly, but we are so excited to be starting up again here in California!  I’m already on the next project — it’s a big one, so go ahead and start feeling the suspense now!

Labyrinth Scarf for Karen (“Kah-nin”)

We have been so blessed during our time in Las Vegas to find such wonderful, caring people to help us with Patrick.  First, there was Patti, who was so fantastic as a daycare provider.  We were so sad to see her go, and so was Patrick!  It was difficult to believe that we’d be able to find someone else who would care for Patrick with just the right amounts of love, humor, knowledge, and boundaries.

But Karen was definitely that person!  It made me feel so good at the end of the day to pick up Patrick from her house, where he was excited to see me, but so bummed to leave her.  He learned so much from his time with her — manners, how to be a good friend to others, and of course, the fist bump followed by the elbow bump followed by a kiss or a hug (that’s my favorite thing).  It’s difficult to quantify your gratitude to a person like Karen into a farewell gift, but all I knew for sure was that a farewell/thank you gift was TOTALLY necessary.

So here it is!  Karen’s Labyrinth scarf, made with Lily Chin wool yarn in an amazingly regal purple and bright white.  The yarn was a DREAM to work with — super strong but soft and pliable — and the pattern was really fun.  On the close-up picture you can probably see how the pattern gets its name, but it’s just a simple knit or purl stitch all the way through.  It took a little while to get the rhythm of it down, but once I did, I was able to keep my eyes off the pattern.  Loved it!

If I’d had more time, I would have loved to have done more for this amazing lady.  But I just hope, as with all gifts, that the scarf will remind her about how much we appreciated all she did for our little guy this year.  AND I hope it will keep her warm — that’s important too.  🙂

Flamingo Scarf for me

Working through the stash…now I can be honest about this.  I’m furiously trying to work through the yarn I have WITHOUT buying anything new in order to skim the fat from the top of my stash so that it will fit in storage when we move onto the boat come July.  Got to, got to, got to slim it down.  Actually, right now, I’ve got it pretty slimmed down already — but there are several small project amounts that I want to use up before we move.

So here was another one!  The Flamingo Scarf, from Morehouse Merino again (my favorites) and another past Christmas present from Patrick and/or Drew.  If you’ve ever been in my classroom, or had to share a dorm room with me in college, say, then you know that I really do like these awkward birds.  It started because of Fantasia 2000 — the yo-yoing flamingo:

One of the friends I went to see the movie with thought this lovely little purple flamingo was just like me — it became a karaoke nickname, Madame Flamingo, and then turned into a little side-obsession after that.  Now I have stuffed flamingos, flamingo artwork, flamingo ornaments, and even flamingo bookends in my classroom — all very tastefully done, I assure you.  But what was I missing?  A flamingo scarf, obviously!

But not any more!  It was lots of fun to create — you start at the beak, then work down the neck to the body and then the legs are made separately and sewn on.  It was fast, and cute, and is a perfect funky addition to my wardrobe.  Ta-da!  Take that, all you line-dancing, conformist flamingos!  Ha!

Sushi Scarf for me

Sushi Scarf!  Sushi Scarf!  I was so excited to make this one!  And I am SUPER pleased to find that it is long enough and warm enough to be a winter-time scarf — it wraps twice around my neck and still criss-crosses in front.  LOVE IT!

Okay, backing up — this was another part of my Christmas scarf extravaganza.  This is another Morehouse Merino knit kit (bless them), and I started this one IMMEDIATELY.  I brought it with for our Christmas trip to Minnesota, and began rolling out some sushi.  Luckily, this sushi didn’t need any special equipment.  Inspired by Guy Fieri, Drew makes a Pork “sushi” roll that is a headache just to watch him make.  (Yes, I am lucky, and hopefully I say thank you enough for all the gourmet meals that come out of our kitchen.)  He has to use a bamboo mat to roll the sushi up, and sometimes it works beautifully — other times, I hear “Sailor Drew” cursing Neptune and his trident from behind the island.

These sushi rolls were a piece of cake.  It was just a long strip of garter stitch with changing colors.  Once it was long enough, I just rolled it up in a spiral and sewed the loose ends through it to secure it.  Easy peasy AND Japanesey.

I only had two issues with this scarf.  One was that once you finish the sushi rolls, it’s just garter stitch the whole way — bo-ring.  That’s why it took me so long to finish it — boredom once the sushi rolls were done.  (or “udon.”)  The second is that the knit kit I received for it did not include enough of the “rice” white yarn — so I had to substitute.  It doesn’t show, though, which is good.  I wouldn’t want it to look like I switchd to brown rice sushi partway through my scarf.

So, here are the pictures — enjoy!   Now I’m looking forward to cooler weather so I can wear this scarf and get some oohs and aahs.  And maybe some free wasabi.

Nano Scarf #3 for me

Insert your own witty clue here.

One of my favorite things about marriage is creating a new conglomeration of traditions.  He brings some, I bring some — it’s fun.  My favorite tradition that Drew brought to our little family has to do with Christmas gift tags.  Instead of writing “To Drew From Liz” on a little sticker with a smiley Santa, you make the “To/From” into clues.  A few Christmases ago, I took this clue writing to the extreme and placed a present under the tree with the tag, “To Dr. Teeth From Fozzie.”  Drew puzzled this one out for a long time.  A LONG time.  He had all kinds of good guesses — by the shape, you could tell it was a book, but what book?  Something about the Muppets, obviously.  Turns out, in my quest to write an indecipherable clue, I had written the worst “clue” ever.  (It was actually a biography of Hunter S. Thompson, called “Gonzo.”  Esoteric at best, I know.)

So, this PAST Christmas, it was Patrick’s turn to join the tradition.  Nevermind that he was only 7 months old…he still “wrote” some wonderful clues on my gift tags.   One of my presents said this on the tag: “To Big Feet From Little Feet.”  I was pretty sure it was a knitting project, and I wracked my brain thinking of every possible sock pattern Drew might have found online.

At least I didn't have to knit in nano size.

When I finally opened the present, I laughed.  It was this Gecko Feet Scarf, that I had been hinting at for months, ever since my birthday.  There’s a wonderful yarn website called Morehouse Merino, and they get more creative by the minute.  This scarf was based on a nano photograph of a gecko’s padded feet — hence the clue!

Love it! Thank you, Little Feet!

To make it, I had to keep changing between size 17 needles, the approximate diameter of a chair leg, and size 6, the diameter of a green stalk of basil. It was a pain, and I am glad it has turned out so beautifully, or I would have been a little peeved.  It’s made with Morehouse’s lace yarn, one in a variegated blend, and the other in a pastel yellow.  I can’t believe how much it looks like the nano picture.  Pretty cool.

I have two Morehouse scarves left to go from my Christmas 2010 stash.  I’m almost finished with the second one, and boy is it cool.  Don’t worry — I won’t spoil it for you.  Although my loyal readers have already seen me working on it, so who am I kidding?  Here’s your Christmas gift tag clue: “To Unagi From Wasabi.”  Any guesses?

One last close-up of the scarf so you can compare it to the nano photo.  It was soft, light yarn, so perfect for summer work.  Thank you again to my nano baby!

Morehouse Merino has a new line of scarves and shawls that they just introduced.  Instead of nano photographs, these pieces are based on satellite photographs of large, distinct land features, like the Bahamas Tide or the Susitna Glacier in Alaska.  I’ll be checking my Christmas gift tag clues very closely this year!

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