the llama’s Thanksgiving

Remember this lovely skein of merino/cashmere silk yarn from Spirit Trail?

The Giveaway Llama worked her magic this morning, and we have a winner!

Congratulations, Rachel-AKA-ladygem154!! The yarn is yours, and I’ll be sending you an email shortly to work out the details of how to get it to you.

I don’t know why I had to make Rachel’s name hot pink. We’ll just move on, shall  we?

As always, these little giveaways are my way of saying “Thank you for reading my blog,” for being part of our little community here in WiseheartLand, and for leaving comments that never fail to make me laugh or warm my heart.

Aaannndd…I always feel a bit sad when I read all the lovely comments on giveaway days and in the end, can send out only ONE prezzie each time. All of you deserve lovely yarn. ALL OF YOU.


I finished the mittens!

The white mitten has not been blocked, as you can probably tell, but I couldn’t wait to show you the pictures.

The white mitten was much more challenging than the purple one. There was the gauge issue; even after needle size wrangling, it is still a wee bit smaller and shorter than the purple one. And then, there was the problem of the purple yarn showing behind the white, especially in the places where I did my usual trick of breaking up long floats by weaving the not-floating yarn around the back of the stitch. Every time I did that, it showed a tiny bit of purple, and that annoys me. So in the top half of the mitten, I tried just leaving the long floats. Predictably, they caught on my fingers when I put the mittens on…boooo.

So I spend quite a bit of time carefully weaving yarn in and out of the floats on the inside of the mittens to tack them down. It worked, but now the inside of the white mitten is significantly less tidy than the inside of the purple one…and I am very picky about how the inside of my knitting looks. I want my woven-in ends to be practically invisible; I want my seams neat; I want floats to be tensioned properly and so on and on.

After thinking about it a bit, I decided that I simply need more practice doing colourwork. So I went online and ordered a few skeins of yarn to practice with. Yes, I’ll probably practice on more mittens, as I found knitting the Lotus Leaf Mittens to be a very rich, very engaging treat, like a particularly good piece of dark chocolate. Doing the complex colourwork, following the charts, trying to keep my tension even, and knitting on weeeeee tiny needles (Size 0/2.0mm) was wonderful brain food.

And of course, the yarns were wonderful to work with.

In the name of practicing…

I’d bought some really amazing fiber at Rhinebeck from Dan at Gnomespun Fibers: a deep blue braid of Dorset (the Lobelia colourway), a breed I had not spun before. I spent a happy few evenings spinning it up into a bouncy, soft 2-ply:

Oh, look. A cat tail in the photo. Again.  ::headdesk::

I decided that it would be lovely yarn for another pair of colourwork mittens…so clearly I needed a second colour. And clearly it needed to be another colour of handspun.

I decided on creamy white, just to be a bit traditional about things. I found some beautiful wool, medium staple with a nice crimp, very bouncy, amazing feel in the hand:

I really, really wish I knew what this wool was, because I love it so much. It’s well-aged in my stash, and the label had gone walkabout, so I have no clue.

I did, however, have a clue about some lovely alpaca:

And I had a bit of white angelina (sparkly!) left over from a class:

Two passes through my drumcarder, and I had nine wonderfully fluffy clouds:


The wool will give the mittens amazing warmth and memory; the alpaca will add shine and warmth; the angelina will add sparkle! I haven’t had a chance to sit down and spin any of this blend yet, but I think it will look gorgeous with the blue Dorset yarn.

Of course, that’s a LOT of creamy white sparkly fiber. I think I will have enough for two pairs of mittens. Good thing I have a second braid from Gnome Dan! This one is also Dorset, but it is a deep purple.

Yes, I know I just knit a pair of purple and white colourwork mittens. Maybe they’ll be for a friend. Or maybe they won’t. Who cares? It’s going to be Pretty Mitten Season here this winter.


Dusty wishes to thank you most kindly for all the lovely things you said about him in the comments. He does indeed have the most amazing jewel-like blue eyes, set in a face worthy of a white tiger. He and Zoe are littermates, as I’ve mentioned before, and they spend a lot of time snuggling in the sunshine.

There seems to be a lot of that snuggling-in-the-sunshine going on around here, as we all savour the last few days of mild weather before winter comes a-knocking.

And finally…

It’s American Thanksgiving tomorrow, a holiday I love with all my heart. Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated in early October, and I happened to be traveling at the time, so in a way, I won’t actually have a Thanksgiving at all this year. Tomorrow’s an ordinary work day for Nicholas; he leaves early and gets home late. I have errands to do in the city, which means long hours of driving for me in city traffic.

Thanksgiving isn’t really about turkey, though, is it? It’s about connecting with family, friends, and one’s family traditions; it’s about gratitude and humility and joy in the gifts we have been given. I am keenly aware that my life is rich with many gifts: my work, my fiber talents, my writing, my beloved animals, my adored husband, a warm home and plenty of food.

Although my family is far away, I feel very strongly that I spend a certain amount of time each day with my other family, my online family, a group of people as warm and caring and generous and funny and talented as anyone could ever hope to know. So tomorrow, while I’m driving around Toronto, I’ll be saying prayers of gratitude for all of you, for the joy, friendship, and meaning you bring to my life each and every day. Thank you; your presence in my life–yes, even you lurkers who never comment!–is truly a gift for which I am thankful.

Here’s a few of my favourite things…just a few, mind you. There’s so much to be grateful for, it would all fill a book.

Friends represented by Melanie, Rachel, and Jennifer

Cute and curious alpaca

Meeting new people (Sam!) and learning things at workshops and fiber fests

Silliness, yarn, and laughter: Jesh and Patrick

And, of course, a wonderful man named Nicholas.

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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23 Responses to the llama’s Thanksgiving

  1. I am always thankful for blogs like yours. I learn so much about life, fiber and kitties.


  2. Astrid Bear says:

    Aww . . . .. Happy Thanksgiving! And those mittens are amazing.


  3. melanie says:

    Oh, Sandi! I’m so honored to be on your blog! (hugs) Happy Thanksgiving to you!


  4. Ann Williams says:

    The mittens are beautiful!!! I have only done one colorwork project, a baby hat in a class. Also, you have the prettiest kitties. Love reading your blog!!!!


  5. Suze says:

    Your mittens made me gasp with delight! They.are.beautiful!!! Can’t wait to see the blue and white ones, my favorite color combo. Your handspun yarn is so lovely! (How many synonyms of beautiful are there?)


  6. Purlista says:

    Have a very happy Thanksgiving, even if you are roaming around Toronto! I am thankful to have invisible friends like you who share so graciously.


  7. Purlista says:

    PS: I love the mittens! Colorwork is my personal favorite – it becomes very addictive very quickly!


  8. Sandy, you make the world a better place – I am thankful for you and all the yarn and knitting in my life –


  9. molly says:

    as i age/ripen/grow wiser/age, i realize that every day is a thanksgiving day – turkey or no turkey. and one of the things i am so thankful for is my knitting community – real and virtual.
    so happy thanksgiving day to you! drive carefully!


  10. Janet says:

    Love the mittens! You did such a great job of dealing with the difficulties of making them in reverse colours. Well worth it, they look so great together!


  11. Rachel says:

    Your mittens and spinning are amazing. You are an inspiration. And I don’t care if my name is in your blog in hot pink, I am truly grateful to have won — it feels like another birthday present and I so had my fingers crossed for this color which I adore. I am also honored and grateful to be called friend and to appear with Melanie and Jennifer in your blog. I have a lot to be thankful for this year — wonderful friends, family, health and happiness. I wish you and Sir N the same.


  12. Sandy says:

    Lovely post! I am thankful that you continue to shine on in your loving, caring way and that you spread it around with wonderful abandon.


  13. Gloria19 says:

    The mittens are awesomely beautimous.
    We are thankful for you. enjoy the day.


  14. GeniaKnitz says:

    I am thankful for knitting blogs – sharing the lives and thoughts of a group of wonderful people who I feel as if I know, even if we never meet. And for the fact that so many of them have beautiful cats! ;o)
    Be grateful that you don’t have to cook tomorrow! (Why yes, I have been cooking for a week, and by this time tomorrow won’t even be hungry – how did you know?) But I will be with my wonderful family and cats and friends, so I’m sure it will be worth it.
    But if I drop and break one more measuring cup or discover that I’m out of one more ingredient tomorrow, I’m leaving town!


  15. laflaka says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! Thank you for this warm light space in the fiber and internet world.



  16. Margo says:

    Love your mittens and your blog.


  17. Pat says:

    Hi Sandi and Nicholas,
    Thank you to you and Sir Nicholas for this blog, your stories, pictures, behind the scene work and friendship. I feel like I have friends that are a part of my life even though we have never met, I look forward to your blog, adventures in knitting and spinning and pictures of your precious pets. The world is a better place with you in it! Thanks again. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Pat aka westies


  18. Arla Schmaltz says:

    Hard to leave a comment when everything that I wanted to say has already been said…Blessings to you and yours on this American Thanksgiving Day…even if you are travelling around the city…Safe travels and safe return home!!!


  19. Barbara Greene says:

    May your day be a happy one even if you aren’t “officially” celebrating Thanksgiving! I am very thankful for my family and friends and for this wonderful blog that provides gifts of talk and pictures and inspiration every time I read it. Thanks Sandi and Sir Nic!


  20. Deb says:

    Your mittens are really amazing. Wish I had the courage to try a pair. Maybe…… Happy Thanksgiving to you and Nicolas!


  21. KnittingNiki says:

    Thank you Sandi from the bottom of my heart. I am one of the lurkers who (almost) never comments and I loved the way you included us all in your warm and loving embrace!! I am sitting down to finish the last few inches of the back of my WiseSweater and getting organized to start the fronts, so I’ve spent time this afternoon re-reading your valuable writings detailing how to make sweaters that fit, and just generally becoming re-inspired to continue work on my “purple haze” cardigan. Thank you for sharing your beautiful purple and white mittens and, more importantly, your life experiences with us!


  22. Jerri says:

    I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now, I don’t comment often but I want you to know how much I appreciate all the work you put into your blog and that it keeps me knitting sometimes when I think I’ll just put it away for a while. You have the right focus for Thanksgiving, it is not the turkey but the family. Thank you for what you do! I am thankful for many things including your blog.


  23. Bonnie says:

    If you do figure out how to hide those floats, please let us know! I also catch them if they have to travel more than 4 or 5 stitches, and they always show up a bit on the front. Usually I can ignore it, but there was a pair of white and blue mittens that still haunt me.


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