Tag Archives: harry potter

All Aboard the Hogwarts Express!


Since my last post was very word heavy, lets make this one picture heavy shall we? I tried to take pictures of the progress of my Hogwarts Express Shawl by Susan Ashcroft. It was a lovely gift from a friend for my birthday – no worries if your reading this, I will keep your identity safe. 🙂 I used Malabrigo Sock Yarn  (my first time working with Malabrigo – also a gift) in Cordovan. Any other information you would like to know about my project – or the minuscule tweaks I made with 440 yards of this luxurious yarn, click HERE.  Otherwise, let me let the pictures talk for themselves.

The Yarn was already caked.

The Yarn was already caked.

The set-up with my yarn pet.

The set-up with my yarn pet.

Lovely, calming garter stitch.

Lovely, calming garter stitch.

The yarn is oh so pretty.

The yarn is oh so pretty.

Garter section is done

Garter section is done

The owls have eyes - all 34 of them!

The owls have eyes – all 34 of them!

Max does not like being stared at.

Max does not like being stared at.

Completed at 4am

Completed at 4am

I can't quit taking it's picture.

I can’t quit taking it’s picture.

On the bed in the basement

On the bed in the basement

Still pretty darn stunning

Still pretty darn stunning – and my favorite picture.

Friends and neighbors, I love this shawl!!

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The Incredibly Heartbreaking Story of How I Came By My First Skein of Malabrigo


Has there every been a time in your life that you really, truly wished there were hidden cameras recording the moment for posterity? Well on January 29th such a day happened to me at my new Local Yarn Store. I want to share with you the story as close to verbatim as I can, because the incredible oddness of it was blessedly unique.

~Setting the Stage~

I was sitting at a long table at the front of the shop. I had come in for a bar of Lo-lo to Go (which was 75% off) but remained lingering – throughly content to fondle the yarn and work on my pattern.

A woman comes in through the back entrance with a cake of (yummy) yarn in her hand. The weather is crummy, we are actually just a few hours from getting 10.5″ of more snow and she was obviously in a hurry. Here is the conversations that ensued. 

  • Woman: I would like to return this please. I don’t have the tags but I remember what it is and I should be in your system.
  • Clerk: I am so sorry but we cannot accept returns on yarn that has been caked.
  • Woman: ….
  • Clerk:  I wish that there was something I could do but there is no way to inventory it.
  • Woman: ….
  • Clerk: If you’d like I can suggest a pattern for you to…
  • Woman: I only buy one project worth of yarn at a time and I decided not to do a project with sock yarn. I am going to use worsted yarn, so I cannot use this.
  • Clerk: (makes desperate eye contact with yours truly) I am sure that we can modify the pattern you are doing so you can use sock yarn. Let me have a look, Rachel – what do you think.
  • Me: I love modifying things!

I walk over to the checkout counter and the strap on my purse breaks, spilling the contents of my purse all over the floor. I laugh but the woman is looking at me strangely, strangely enough that it actually makes  me nervous. The clerk is pulling up the pattern on Ravelry when the woman turns her full attention to me….

  • Woman: What’s your name?
  • Me: Rachel, what’s yo….(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you have a stash?
  • Me: Um, yes I d…(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you knit with sock yarn?
  • Me: Yes. (I have temporarily given up on more than one word answers)
  • Woman: Do you like this yarn?
  • Me: Yes, it’s lovel….(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you have a project that could use this yarn to the best of it’s abilities?
  • Me: Um…
  • Woman: A pattern. Do you have one planned?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Woman: What is it?
  • Me: The Hogwarts Express Shawl
  • Woman: And who is it by?
  • Me: Susan Ashcroft.
  • Woman: When did you buy the pattern?
  • Me: I didn’t. It was a gift for my birthday from a very dear f….(cut off).
  • Woman: When was your birthday?
  • Me: December 27th…? (at this point I wasn’t sure)
  • Woman: Let me see your queue.

At this point the store clerk is staring at me with open mouth amazement. She hands me her iPad and I pull up my queue. There was the message from my gifter and the pattern.

  • Woman: Here you are. (She’s handing me the freaking cake)
  • Me: I cannot just take this, at least let me buy your worsted yarn (I didn’t have the money for this, but I was flummoxed and I did owe her one).
  • Woman: Do I look poor to you?
  • Me: Uhhh…No. (she didn’t – but then neither do I)
  • Woman: I can afford my own yarn thank you. Here are the specifications on the yarn (she pulls a scrap of paper out of her purse). Just do me a favor.
  • Me: Uhh….anything!
  • Woman: Let this be your next finished project. Go home and cast it on, and use it. I hate languishing yarn.
  • Me: Okay…

At this point she turns back to the befuddled store clerk and lists, which such precise clarity the yarn brand/weight/name/quantity that she needs. The clerk all but runs away to go get the items the woman asked for, leaving me alone with the woman. I was planning on thanking her again and giving her my Ravelry name so she could see the FO when she said….

  • Woman: My daughter was on Xanax.

I am confused, then I realize that when my purse spilled open my own anti-anxiety medication bottle fell out of my purse – she must have seen it.

  • Woman: She committed suicide several years ago when she quit taking her medicine. She lost her job and lost interest in everything she did – I didn’t notice.
  • Me: I am so sorry….
  • Woman: Can you do me one more favor?
  • Me: Anything.
  • Woman: Tell the people you love to pay attention if you cannot list, on the spot, something you are passionate about. To pay attention if you quit doing something you so obviously love. Tell them to pay attention.
  • Me: I promise.

Friends and neighbors, thank you for letting me share this story.

The Munchkin & Harry Potter (Hat) Love


I have been listening to my friends talk about the birth of their children for years now, I may only be 28 but it seems my generation is okey-dokey with popping them out early. There is no judgement here; they all seem so happy, so content with life. I may experience the pangs of not having a child of my own – by which I mean someone who I carried in my body and brought into the world. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t feel a sharp stab from this fact, being a woman whose body cannot do the one function that can create new life is utterly soul-shattering. Or it would be, if not for my Munchkin.

My Munchkin as Harry Potter - Age 4.

My Munchkin as Harry Potter – Age 4.

This is my niece Gloria, but for the purposes of this blog I will always refer to her as the Munchkin; this is what I’ve always called her and until she begs me to stop I will continue to do so. I did not give birth to the Munchkin, but I live and breathe for her, I would die for her. Isn’t this what motherhood feels like? Like an infinite well of love that will never go dry? She is the primary reason I strive to be a better person and has been since the day she was born.

Oh nostalgia, I am getting away from my point here!

Okay. Tears dried, nose blown and ready to move onward!

It was because of the Munchkin that I have been inundated with Harry Potter for the past 10 years. She LOVED these movies, we watched them so many times that the DVD’s wore themselves out and had to be replaced. I could quote lines from Harry Potter like a devout Christian can recite scripture, and I never grew tired of it. Watching her face come to life in the midst of imaginary worlds filled with magic created its own sort of magic here on earth. As she grew older and started reading the books I was elated at the possibility of continuing that magic, and I was never disappointed.

So as I was pondering Tiny Owl Knits blog and saw a Harry Potter-esq hat…well…my credit card has never jumped out of my wallet so quickly! The Parseltongue Hat may be my favorite Tiny Owl Knits creation due solely to the fact that the whole time I was knitting it was like a lovely trip down memory lane. I have been watching the Munchkin grow up for almost 12 years now (oh God, I feel old) but Harry Potter still reminds me of the magic of childhood.

So I knit, and knit, and knit until I could barely feel my fingers with my brand-spanking new addi-clicks which are as amazing as everyone says. It was the first time I worked a pattern from the crown down which was like a little adventure all by itself, luckily one that didn’t end in a brim that was overly tight due to my overly tight gauge. Stephanie Dosen is a genius with creative, whimsical patterns and this hat was no different. As I saw the snakes and their tongues sliding off my needles, well, I was giddy.

I love this pattern, and I will make it again and again. For now though, I am keeping this hat to remind me that life is magical. I may never be called “mommy” by a tiny little person who kind of looks like me, but I have been called “Rachel” for the last 12 years by my Munchkin, and there is nothing more I hold dear.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there! Mother’s Day may be hard for someone like me but hey, I have a Mom so I get it. Two baby showers this weekend and I won’t have another for a whole 6 weeks!

So friends and neighbors, any patterns/books/music/movies that make you feel like there is still magic in the world? If so, I am dying to hear about it!