I tamed the Oopado!

PicMonkey Collage

What’s the Oopado? The first question is what’s the Ravelry GAL. The GAL is the Ravelry Indie Design Gift-a-long, an annual event where knitters and crocheters prepare for the holidays as only fiber folks can. With support and encouragement from others on Ravelry, and with a beginning two weeks or so of discounted patterns, the GAL runs from the week before U.S. Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. There are eight categories of paid patterns to choose from:

  • Hats & other head things
  • Cowls, scarves, & other neck things
  • Shawls & stoles
  • Sweaters & other garments
  • Hand & arm things
  • Kids & baby things (except toys)
  • Foot & leg things
  • Toys, home, & other miscellaneous things

And taming the oopado? It’s when a knitter knits at least one item from each of the 8 categories before the GAL closes.

The smaller items? Piece ‘o cake. But also finishing a shawl and a garment? I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Some forced idleness over the holidays was quite a boon to my knitting and I finished all I’d planned.

Starting with the small stuff, this is Coffee Klatch, by 10 Hours or Less. It’s a fun mosaic dishcloth, knit here in Knitpicks Dishie:


Regular readers know I’m a sucker for mosaic dishcloths and this one is definitely a keeper!  Actually, though, I gave it away. I’m quite sure another is in my near future.

This is Jennifer Boot Cuffs, by Kate Bostick of Cowtown Knits.


You can probably tell from the pristine condition of my boots, that we haven’t had much snow in Michigan yet this year. My cuffs are knit in humble, very serviceable Lion Brand Heartland. Actually, they aren’t my boot cuffs. They are now my niece Melanie’s boot cuffs. Here’s a closer look.


My choice from the hand category is Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Mitts. Mine are knit in Stonehedge Fiber Shepherd’s Wool DK, a wonderful yarn that’s been discontinued.


I’ve knit Farm to Market Mitts three times before and haven’t yet kept a pair for me. These are mine. They are tucked in my coat pocket. It’s very odd. I didn’t notice until just this very minute, that I’ve got a major goof on the first cable on the right mitt. That must be why I kept them for me.

My hat choice was another Susan Vilas Lewis (Stay Toasty) interesting knit: Vitruvian Man, again in Shepherd’s Wool DK.


Here’s who inspired the hat’s main motif:


Honestly, I didn’t know his name. But I’ve certainly seen the image many times, the Leonardo da Vinci guy with the extra limbs, with his arms trapped in the square and his legs trapped in the circle. You can read all about Vitruvian Man here. For present purposes, he’s an excellent hat.

Here’s the top of his head.


My neck category selection is Nocturne in M, by Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs. It’s a one-skein, asymmetrical keyhole scarf. The “M” thing is because Kereit designed it for Malabrigo Rios. Rios is wonderfully soft. It’s one of those I can’t-say-enough-good-things-about-this-yarn yarns. Especially when yarns and necks will be rubbing elbows.


I’m told that the Archangel colorway I used is very popular. I definitely like it. You can clearly see how the shades and colors evolved throughout the skein.

Next, in the baby & kids category, is Georgie Hallam’s Milo. There are 10,144 project pages on Milo. It’s an amazingly versatile little garment, sized from newborn to 6 years. Mine is knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, sized for a nine month old.


When the Masterpiece Theatre production of Jane Eyre came out in late 2007, Ravelry was abuzz with discussion of Jane’s rustic shawl. Carol Sunday came to the rescue and soon developed and released “To Eyre…,” complete with that great garter stitch ruffle.



Keep in mind that what is itch to many people is cozy to me, but a rustic shawl needs a rustic yarn. Harrisville Design’s WATERshed fit the bill. This is the Mallard colorway. I really like this shawl. But as a friend commented, I won’t be mistaken for Kate Middleton when I wear it. To Eyre satisfied the shawl/stole GAL category.

This is my GAL selection in the garment category: another Georgie Hallam (TIKKIknits) design: Summer Carnival. It’s such a sweet and simple thing.


There’s a lovely brooch pattern in the heart position. And another set of three medallions (carnival/ferris wheels) on the right front near the bottom ribbing.


My Summer Carnival is knit in Classic Elite Fresco, a 3-ply sportweight mix of 60% wool, 30% alpaca, 10% angora. The colorway is 5306, which isn’t showing on the current CE product page. They would usually mean it’s been discontinued. I hope not because straw is an interesting vintage shade.

Hallam’s pattern has a 1950’s sensibility to it. I can see Doris Day wearing this.


Thanks to all the Indie Designers who worked so hard to make the third annual Ravelry GAL so much fun. They organized giveaways, gave away lots of encouragement, and gave gobs of discounts. They’re a talented and generous bunch and the knitting universe is fortunate to have them.




There are gazillions of thumbless mitten patterns in the knitting universe for freshly hatched humans. And there are gazillions of detailed beauties for those of us whose hands have stopped growing. But for toddlers, the pickings are rather slim.

This is Heather Mees’s (of Mees’ Pieces) free pattern on Ravelry named “Another Pair of Mittens.” Let’s get one thing straight, though. This won’t be a dissertation on the use of apostophes in proper names that end in an “s.” But if you wonder about the raging grammar controversy that led the Chicago Manual of Style to eventually part company with itself and my grammar teachers to favor Mees’s check this out.

Back to mittens.

My only modification was to knit a long connecting I-cord, which Isaac’s mom thought was a great idea. Now our little guy will come home with the same number of mittens he left with. Well, at least they’ll be lost in pairs, which is always some consolation.


The alternative of knitting a third mitten just in case, works too. So does mixing and matching colors. These are knit in easy-care, throw-in-the-wash-then-in-the-dryer, Plymouth Encore.Imittens



A great knitter who I respect was writing about using knits and purls to create a sweater with interesting butterfly details. In the process, she offered up some good-natured ribbing (not the ribbing we knitters think of) about not understanding those of us who knit dishcloths. In the process, she linked to this beauty of a free picture dishcloth pattern on Ravelry. Fisch,,Blubb”–Spuli. Deborah9 designed it. My apologies to Deborah9 for vandalizing her pattern title. Spuli is supposed to have an umlaut above the “u” and I can’t figure out how to make that happen on my uni-lingual keyboard.

This pattern is a real hoot to knit. The pattern is released in German and in English.

My Blubb is knit in Drops Muskat by Garnstudio, a mercerized DK cotton. I used US size 2 needles. Part of the trick to picture knitting like this is to create a tight fabric. The pattern calls for sportweight cotton and size 0-1 US needles.

The picture is best viewed from an oblique angle. So, not straight on. Straight on, it looks like this.


Kind of messy.This deep orange cloth was actually my Blubb #2.

Here’s my Blubb #1, also in Muskat, this time knit on US size 3 needles.


You’ll notice some of the bubbles are missing. So are some of the spacing rows. One skein of Muskat wasn’t enough to complete the chart at this gauge.

Here’s a a look from straight on.


This goofy kind of stuff can be great fun. My holiday guests are going to have quite a selection of dishcloths to choose from this year.

Dear Canada Geese,


I am writing to let you know that your weeks-long visit to Hillman’s Long Lake is not exactly making my days. In the late spring and summer months, three pair of you stay on our lake and raise your young ones here. They are enough of a nuisance that many of us have tried a number of katy-bar-the-door techniques, to keep you off our lawns.

Personally, I’ve tried alligator decoys. Maybe some of you remember Headley.


Headley was supposed to reach some deep place in your breed memory and remind you that alligators eat you in places south.

He didn’t work. Even his jewel-like eyes didn’t work.

Next the internet was filled with glowing reports of how a coyote decoy would do the trick.


All that trick did was scare me, and our guests, every time we came upon it. There was enough goose poop in the vicinity of the coyote that I gather some of you have a perverse sense of humor.

Yes, fencing works. But only if every neighbor wants to hem themselves in just to hem you out.

But really. This is ridiculous. We’ve spent more than three weeks with you floating around the lake in large gangs. You aren’t coming out of the water to feed as much as usual, but lordy some people with those nice green lawns are in for a terrible surprise in the spring. The little gift packages you’re leaving behind will break down some by then, but not totally.

I am writing to let you know that we are a lake that is very inhospitable when it comes to geese. Lately, for example, I’ve discovered you don’t like old ladies in long white bathrobes running out of the house noisily opening and closing a big brown umbrella in your general direction.

Long Lake will be frozen soon and I figure you’ll finally get the message and leave. In the meantime, whatever inner compass brings you back to places (and I know it’s a myth that you have a magnet in your beak), just be certain you don’t come back here in the spring.


“This is not the lake you’re looking for.” Please. Please. “Move along, nothing to see here.”