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All that merry and happy stuff for whatever it is you want to be merry and happy about.


The girls, Leo and I will be enjoying a Merry Christmas of no obligation and, perhaps, a little hiking. Who could ask for a better present?

Giselle is now available


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Get the pattern here

Despite some delays along the way, it's so gratifying to have this pattern finally available.

The design may be mine but I can't dismiss the many hours that others put in to make this pattern a quality product. Self publishing has it's merits, but knowing that my piece has been test knit, proofread, tech edited, professionally photographed (even if the model is a bit amateurish*) and nicely laid out is wonderful, and a bit humbling.

Thank you to those of you who have been waiting for this and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Garment designed by Marnie MacLean for Stitch Diva Studios.

All photographs are Copyright Jennifer Hansen 2007. All rights reserved.

Orange garment knit by Sarah Wilson

Red/Silver garment knit by Marnie MacLean

Cropped version knit by Danna Spiro who also provided copy editing

Technical editor Donna Druchunas

* Teehee, just playing with you. I'm not fishing for compliments



I finished Astoria.

Astoria front alone Astoria front layered

If I hadn't flubbed the sleeves, the first go around, I probably could have finished this baby in a week.

Most setbacks slow my momentum substantially, and this was no exception, but since this piece is one of those ubiquitous top-down raglans, there was no reason not to finish it up. Almost all the work was already done, and having tried it on, I was sure it was a design I'd enjoy wearing.

Astoria front full length Astoria with helpers Astoria back full length

The finished piece looks just like I hoped. The body darts allowed me to get a good custom fit and I think the wave motif pops nicely against the deep gray and purple.

And for all of you voyeurs, here's a look at the garments naughty bits.

Astoria floats

I ended up with plenty of leftover yarn, after the piece was done. I could have made the sleeves much longer but I didn't think it would look right with the length of the garment. Like Goldilocks would say, this seemed "juuuuuust right."

For those who might ask, and several of you have already, I'm not sure if I'll offer a pattern. Right now, I'm just happy to have a deadline associated with this. We'll see. It's simple enough that it might be worth it to write something up.

On an, arguably, unrelated note, you see those jeans up there? I like them. They fit me well. You see how, in that top left shot, they sit on my hips, near the hem of Astoria? Those are considered a high waisted cut. Can you believe that? When did our waistlines get so low that 3 inches below my belly button is high waisted? Or is my torso so freakishly long that there isn't a mom-pant alive that can pass my hip bone? Let me tell you though, it's nice to wear a pair of pants that doesn't threaten to show the world my knees from a bird's eye view. You know?

Lucky Seven


My sweet ray of sunshine, Miss Panda Bear, turns 7 today. Well, as a rescue, we aren't entirely sure of her exact birthday, but it appears that this is the likely day.

Our family had a dog when I was very young, but, in reality, Panda is my first. I would have sworn, up and down, that I did not have it in me to be a dog person, before I met her. I thought of dogs as being drooly, stinky, needy and loud.

When Leo and Panda met for the first time.

Perhaps I was tainted by my experience with dogs in my neighborhood. Most were allowed to roam freely about our cul-de-sac, and were often poorly mannered and pushy. Others were tied up outside, year round, and spent their days barking and lunging at passersby.

Panda's first few weeks at home. She could be very silly.

In my teens, some of my closest friends had dogs, but almost never the sort with which the family felt inclined to spend long hours. These dogs were appreciated, well cared for and content dogs, but they weren't ever taken on hikes, or, for that matter, even long walks. They didn't sit with their people and get pet while everyone watched TV, they tended to just be high energy distractions. There were exceptions, but they were rare.

Panda's first trip to the beach.

So when Leo and I moved in together and he said that his first goal would be to find a place that allowed pets and get a dog, I felt a certain trepidation.

With those sweet eyes, she could have gotten away with being much more poorly behaved.

I don't think we had lived in LA for more than a few days before my best friend and animal trainer extraordinaire, was telling us about a sweet 9 month old Border Collie mix who needed a home. She was one of an accidental litter of puppies born in December, who had been used in a commercial. The owner decided he didn't want them back so the training company agreed to place them. The entire littler, who looked mostly like cattle dogs, were quickly adopted out. The lone straggler was a timid, and gentle girl named Houston, who looked far more Border Collie like than her siblings.

Panda loves to be picked up and held like this.

Leo and I met Houston and she clung to Leo immediately, which was incredibly out of character for her. We paid the dollar adoption fee, and brought her home that night.

She didn't pee for almost a day. I woke up every couple hours, that night, to give her another shot at it, to no avail.

I wasn't sure what we had gotten ourselves into.

Houston, now Panda, had just been spayed a week before and could lie on her back for hours getting belly rubs, to dull the itch of her hair growing back, but as soon as we stopped, she'd duck under the coffee table or bed and hide from the sounds of kids playing outside.

Panda's always been a fast learner.

Soon, she started to open up at home, becoming a snuggly, loving and affectionate girl, as well as a keen learner and surprisingly well behaved addition to the household. Still, leaving the house was an exercise in frustration. Panda would attempt to drag us, bodily, back home, while we would endeavor to find positive experiences for her to help her overcome her fears. We could ask her to sit, and she would, but her whole body would quake with fear and she'd drool incessantly until we would bring her home. There wasn't a treat in the world that made the experience fun for her.

You can't keep this girl out of the water

It wasn't until we brought her to the ocean, that we saw her full potential. At home, the distant hum of airplanes in the sky, would send Panda into a drooling, quivering trance, but at the beach the roar of waves crashing upon the shore, was a symphony for her. She was in her element. We began to make beach trips a regular event for her and the result was a happier dog at home.

At seven, Panda seems more content and happy than she ever was as a younger pup. Even though her black spots are becoming speckled with white hairs and her coat has grown less silky and more fluffy, I still see that thoughtful gleam in her eyes and thirst for adventure.

Seven? She doesn't look a day over three.

Each year with Panda, continues to be a gift. Here's hoping we have many many more ahead.

Happy birthday, little girl.

A weekend of goodily goodness


Panda is today's Grown-Up Daily Pup.

*Sigh* I had so much fun this weekend that I'm all the more sad it's Monday. On Friday, Leo and I watched bad movies while I spun up my batt of sparkly BFL that I got from Amy back at the Fiber Frolic, in Maine.

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Photos never do sparkly things justice, so take my word for it, when I say it looks lovely without being garish, almost like it was lightly sprinkled with silver dust. I spun the singles up and then plied it into a 3-ply using the Navajo plying method. The photos are pre-wash and thwack. I have about 98 yards of approximately DK weight yarn. I will definitely work this into something, but what, I'm not sure.

On Saturday night, we celebrated a friend's birthday by going out for dinner and playing pool...very very poorly. If any of you watch the American version of The Office, it's like when Kelly and Pam played ping-pong. That certainly didn't take away from the fun.
Actually, it probably made it more fun. The best part is, I got to flip off a hummer.


If that weren't all good enough, on Sunday, we packed up the girls (who were feeling plenty stir crazy with all the rain we've gotten) and headed to Mt. Hood for a good hike in the snow.





See all the pictures here.

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