Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawl is on through Sunday, September 25.

Finishing on the Go

Dear Ann,
Well, I ‘ve been a-rambling and a-wandering, and I’m about to set off for more. On Wednesday I experienced the rapturous transports of a 6-hour round-trip journey to Philadelphia on NJ Transit and SEPTA (Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). I was ALONE. All was QUIET. I had FAKE UGG BOOTIES AND A SHERPA HAT to finish for Cristina’s newest boy, Elio. It could have been the Orient Express–I wouldn’t have enjoyed it more.
New York Penn to Trenton
I had known for at least two weeks that I was probably going to be visiting Cristina. At least two months ago, I had finished knitting a Sherpa Hat and Ugg Boots from this pattern. I could have put the final touches on them at any time. Did I do so? Of course not! It is so much more exciting to bring your scissors and your yarn needle and all your other sharp implements with you to Penn Station, find yourself a double or, preferably, triple seat on the train, and set to work. It gives you that Harlotty frisson of setting yourself an impossible task and almost failing to do it. Drama, suspense, a lot of fun.
First I made the second earflap, which you see here reposing on my thigh:
After much picking up of stitches and snipping of fluffy bits of Berrocco ‘Plush’, the Sherpa was done, and the Sherpa was good:

The clock was ticking. I had two practically nude, plush-free booties. They looked nothing like the Ugg booties they are so cleverly designed to resemble. The pressure was ON, baby. Could I do it?
I rose to the occasion. The reason I hadn’t finished the Plush trim in the first place was, that the pattern’s direction to use a yarn needle to ‘weave’ the Plush yarn between the stitches did not yield that Genuine Ugg Look that I was looking for. So, right there on the train, I made a split-second decision to simply pick up stitches down the sides, and across the instep, and then cast them off. This made for a mighty fluffitude of Plush and gave the Illusion of Ugg that I was looking for.
Here we have Ugg Number One:
And here we have the complete set, finished just as the train pulled into center city Philly:
As my Carrie would say, FEW! Whatta relief!
Baby (Drool!)
I think Elio liked the boots and hat. He consented to pose beatifically with my chins. It was very hard to put him down. I’m sure that at this age, he’s a high-maintenace bundle of joy, but he has that delicious newborn heft as he leans into your shoulder. I imagine it repays all of those midnight wake-up calls, and then some.
As proof that I finished my modest contribution to the Red Scarf Project, here’s Cristina modelling it.
Looped in The French Manner. The Manolo says, the French Manner, it is the One True Way to wear the Scarf. The Catherine de Neuve, she has the je ne sais quoi! The Jeanne Moreau, she has that which is going on!
Meanwhile Back at the (Buttonhole) Ranch
The Buttonhole Baggers are still going strong. We have innovation, we have variation, we have Just Plain Good Knittin’. (The basic pattern is here.)
Mary deB has been conducting experiments in the lab. She is trying to get the handle to be big enough to slip over the wrist, so that the bag is easier to carry around. Eureka!
Here’s how Mary reports that she did it: “I short-rowed back and forth at each end for about 8 rows to make a dip, then cast off on the dip for the hole. I did also cast on more sts, like maybe I cast off 20 and cast on 25.” So now you, too, can create a Buttonhole Bag that you can carry and hold your coffee at the same time. Thanks, Mary!
Meanwhile, Marlo likes everything about the Buttonhole Bag except one little ol’ thing: that part where you KNIT IT. The knitting, she’s not so into. So she translated it into the exotic language of crochet:
All you crochet people lurking out there, and you know who you are, run over to Marlo’s to get the deets on how to crochet your way to a Buttonhole today.
Finally, see a sleek and sassy Buttonhole over at Jan’s. You’ll go for the humble felted bag — you’ll stay for the fantastic quilts.
Go Buttonhole People! The Manolo says, you are Super Fantastic!
Next up: We have 5 days of vacation and we’re headed south. Much knitting will ensue. I’ve cast on a new pullover from Denim People, I’m finishing up projects that haven’t seen the light of day since–never mind– and I just got a copy of Barbara Walker: The Green One (yes, the one that is chock full of pinwheels, hexadecagons, and very odd ‘sampler’ coats and such). I may sleep with it under my pillow.
Thanks to Angela for pointing out this and this. Between Angela and Anne, I never have to wear myself out scouring the internet for delights. Mock me for my love of the Gates, ridicule me with cat-gates and with Stonehenges of cheese crackers, but I heart the Gates. Off to post my latest pics of…The Gates.
Love, Kay




  1. Thanks for the memories! For years I would take the NJ Transit/Septa connection back home from college in NY! Those taxi rides to Penn Station were always a great way to jumpstart the trip – I always thought I’d miss the train. You’re lucky you had a quiet ride – not usually the case as I remember. These days I’m an Amtrak girl – cuts about an hour off the ride. But train travel is still my favorite – comfortable seats and lots of knitting time!
    Love the ugg booties and hat. Printed out the pattern for my soon to be born niece or nephew! They will be so cute!
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. hat and booties are adorable!

  3. I, too, want to thank you for the train memories. The summer after college I commuted between Philly and NY to visit da boyfriend. Oh, those dramatic, teary goodbyes at 30th Street Station! Must have given our fellow travelers quite a show. ( I didn’t knit then, but I did occasionally drag my sewing machine on the train with me.) Now that I think of it, how many 22 year old girls take the sewing machine for a weekend with the boyfriend?! Well, I really do love to sew.

  4. Is it just me but does “Buttonhole Ranch” sound kind of dirty? Just me? OK.

  5. Oh Angela, to drag an innocent felted bag down into the gutter…..xox

  6. I do love those uggs. Once I prepared to travel from Toronto to Vancouver on the train (yes, romantic ideas of an undergrad…) by buying some yarn and needles to make a scarf. But somehow I lost a needle before I even started. It was a sad 4 days.
    I also love those big gates and would like to wander around with them. Have you seen this:

  7. Kay, the hubby and I–we are with you on the Gates! We’ve both spent hours wandering around the park and we’re off for more this weekend. Love, love, love them! I’ve got one photo up, but I promise to eventually share all three bazillion we’ve taken…

  8. ohhh….. kay….such tender moments you shared with the wee bambino…i’m absolutely cooing….and your ugg-nesses are so sweet…. thanx for caring and sharing….bon voyage “down south”….and hearts, too…

  9. The finished objects, they are all super fantastic! And as for the gates, surely you have seen Jennifer’s orange gates scarf?

  10. oh, how i love the manolo and his gallery of the horrors.

  11. the baby uggs are SO awesome! i NEED to make a pair for my daughter.

  12. The Manolo… how he has messed with the grammar classes we have all taken. But oh! How fashionable we are!

  13. I LOVE THE NEW BABY ELIO!!!! Bring on the Louis Armstrong!!
    Cant wait to have a play date!

  14. Fabulous post. I also bootied on the go this weekend – much fun. I love the buttonhole bags as well. I’m not a felter by nature, but I may have to add a little buttonhole to my list of WIPs sometime this year. Tres chic. As for the Gates, I will be in NYC on March 5 for a baby shower – mere days too late. I am considering hopping an Amtrak up there for a single day this weekend just so I don’t miss them – we’ll see.

  15. Ah, baby cuddles. Have just come back from a weekend away with my older (age 10) son. The baby in the next room was fond of waking up at 2 am and 4 am and screaming its wee little lungs blue. Each night, my sleep-fuddled reaction was, in order: (1) “oh, maybe I should see if I could help,” (no Evelyn, that is insane, these poor parents do not want you knocking on their hotel room door at 2 am); followed by (2) “(sleepy smile) it’s not mine…”
    My son, a true man, slept through it all.
    Am waiting for the next baby boy (at the rate my friends are popping babies, it shouldn’t be long) so that I too can plunge into fluffy faux-suede madness. Yarn is ready to go, and I’m sure I could find a train trip somewhere to oblige!

  16. oh oh oh i also love the gates and visited them (from toronto) just this past weekend. people may mock them, sure. but they are fabulous, nonetheless.
    ps thanks for the link to bemused.typepad.com and the amazing quilts!

  17. Fantastic those Ugg booties…and in blue, too! I just used the Berroco suede for a poncho, and loved it. Perhaps the booties will be on my list soon… Great blog!

  18. Love that hat and booties set!


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