Sunday, December 25, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The last two batches of Cranberry Pecan Chex Mix are finished and cooling. Will take them to the farm today where my sister, Nancy, Mom and I will package them up for the Christmas baskets.
Everyone in the family decided that this would be a more simple holiday this year. We are only exchanging food gifts. So, we have fixed fruitcakes, fruitcake cookies, fudge, penuche, regular Chex mix, Cranberry Pecan Chex Mix, wedding cookies, pecan nut logs, and cheese straws. Most of these are gluten free this year. I doubt anyone can tell.
|Okay, Okay, Get the Picture Taken Already!|
Packages have been shipped to NYC and Pennsylvania and they have arrived! The December birthdays have come and gone with lots of cake and ice cream and singing.
The tree is trimmed, the few presents wrapped and the Christmas knitting done! Guess Christmas can happen now. hee hee.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Peaceful Kwanzaa and Eid.
I am going to go work on my December socks. ;~)
Friday, December 16, 2011
Only 9 days until Christmas. Instead of caroling, I have been cowling. heehee. Four made with two more to go. I can hear the Christmas bells ringing. They are getting closer.
I am using bulky yarn and a size US 11 (8mm) 16 inch circular needle. It takes about 4 hours to make a cowl. I am using the Thick and Quick Ribbed Cowl by Naomi Adams, a free pattern on Ravelry. I like the cowls better when I only cast on 72 stitches. Pictures are on my Ravelry project page. I will post them here after Christmas.
I also bought some beautiful shawl pins to give with the cowls. I also have finished a Mossy Pebbles Scarf and am still working on the Encompassing Midnight circular shawl.
My Alpaca Icelandic Yoke Sweater is on hold for now. I plan to work on it on the train when we head to NYC after Christmas to visit with our daughter and her family. Should have plenty of time as we are on the train for 15 hours. Have never ridden on the train, so this will be an adventure. We understand that all the stations should have their Christmas decoration up and we are looking forward to seeing them.
Even if you are not cowling, I hope you are caroling or at least humming as you go about your preparations for Christmas or the holiday you celebrate. In our busy lives we need to remember to find joy in the little things so that we don’t get overwhelmed.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Feeling better after being on antibiotics for 10 days. Can finally breath without pain or coughing.
Good thing I feel better as I am on staff for a women’s retreat this weekend. The retreat is supposed to be a respite in the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas. While that sounds great, it’s not much of a respite for those preparing for the retreat. I will spend most of tomorrow finishing and printing the booklet to be used as a journal during the retreat.
Once that is printed, folded and stapled, I can work on my presentations. Thankfully, I only have three and the other presenters are great. Everything will work well once we get started. It’s just hectic getting everything in place before everyone arrives.
I am looking forward to Sunday. We plan to start decorating the house for Christmas. This year, I have no other commitments (after the retreat) except attending parties, baking, buying and wrapping presents and enjoying the season.
Since I am doing no Christmas knitting this year, I plan to work on my Encompassing Midnight Cowl and my Alpaca Icelandic Yoke Sweater.
I hope your preparations are going well.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Just a quick note to say that I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. We had a great get together at my sister’s with a special surprise that our son, Matt and his family came home on their way to Georgia. It was wonderful seeing them. Saw our other son who lives locally and talked to our daughter who was at her inlaws.
I developed bronchitis and am currently on antibiotics while trying not to cough up a lung. Resting a lot. Knitting getting little love. The Alpaca Icelandic Yoke Sweater body is about 13 inches long. I need to knit another skein to make it to the armhole join.
Going back to rest.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Two hours of exercise today! Boy, am I tired. Didn’t go to the gym, didn’t walk or “Shred”. Two solid hours of moving furniture and boxes of books from the second guest room to the office so that our son and his family can come for Thanksgiving.
We got a call yesterday asking could they stop by on their way to Georgia and spend the night and Thanksgiving Day. Of course, they can!
And of course, when asked, I said, “sure, we have enough beds for everyone”. I just didn’t say that the beds were covered in yarn, books, clothes that don’t fit and stuff. Three huge garbage bags went out the door and I took this opportunity to sort my stash by weight. I think it will be very hard to convince Tom that I neeeed to go to a yarn shop when we travel.
The other good part was that I found yarn that I had forgotten that I had purchased. I am being struck with startitis something fierce. All I want to do is surf Ravelry for new projects. Arrgh!
I am forcing myself to continuing working on the colorwork yoke sweater (two sleeves and half the bottom ribbing are finished) and our daughter’s Encompass scarf (one and a half repeats are finished).
My knitting baby items, trying to get a stash put away, has paid off. The reason our son and his family are heading to Georgia is to visit his sister-in-law who had a two-month early preemie. I have the perfect little sweater all ready for the new arrival. Welcome, John Michael.
Now to rest up for tomorrow when I will be dusting, starting to cook for Thanksgiving dinner and counting my blessings.
I hope your preparations are going well for the holiday.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Read Glenna C’s blog (Knitting to Stay Sane) this morning and shouted hurray! She wrote about knitting what you want to knit, not what others think you should knit. If Lisa likes to knit dishcloths, go for it! If Ramona likes to knit hats and socks, why shouldn’t she? If I don’t like to knit shawls and scarflettes and want to knit only one or two things at a time, why should I be made to feel inferior. Our knitting is just as good if not better than others who jump on every bandwagon and join every KAL.
That being said I am slogging through a cowl in black alpaca. That’s right, I said black. Our DD lives in the frozen north and has requested warm neck wear in either black or gray. Uggh! The only bright light is that I am knitting Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Encompass which is a wonderful pattern. It would be more fun if I was knitting it in a nice cheerful color.
I have turned the heel on the second sock of the “He Who Must Not Be Named” socks. Only mindless knitting left. They should be finished soon.
I have finished the Elizabeth Zimmermann stocking hat that I am using for a gauge swatch for my EPS Yoke Sweater. The fabric is so soft and light weight. I love it. Now to measure a sweater that I like the fit of and start the bottom ribbing. Since this is about knitting what I want, I plan to knit both sleeves first. (One at a time, of course!) That way, when I get the body finished to the underarms, I can move right into the yoke, which is the fun part. Also the sleeves will be great take-along, car knitting.
I am perusing a stack of fairisle books and patterns to decide on which I will use for the yoke. This sweater will probably not be finished until January or February as I am easily distracted by small projects. But, that is okay, since just about the time it is finished, the weather will be cool enough to wear it.
So are you knitting what you want?
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Halloween was a non-event at our house. We put up the Halloween village on the piano in the living room and put out a few mums and a fall flag on the front porch. We had no trick or treaters. The only ones that enjoyed the screaming witch door bell were the grandchildren and the UPS man.
The Mexican sage is finally blooming, but we have had frost a few mornings this week which will shorten its blooming season. The blooms will be enjoyed for as long as they are here. It is a little sad to see it go. It marks the end of fall, which is my favorite time of year.
Knitting: Fingerless mitts are finished. I modified the pattern accidentally. I was knitting the Susie’s Reading Mitts on Lorna’s Laces Honor in the Goblin colorway. Everything was going well, until I got interrupted while knitting the lace at the top of the mitt. When I came back I assumed I knew where I was and stopped doing the lace and began the turning pattern. This made the mitts too tight when the picot edge was turned. Frog! but just the sewn edge. I decided to leave the edge bound off but not to turned with a picot edge. I repeated the mistake on the other mitt. They are warm and fit well. Guess I need to call it a design feature instead of a mistake. ;~)
Working on an Encompass scarf in black alpaca. Fun to knit, but I need to be uninterrupted to keep up with the charts. I have two skeins of the yarn. I hope that will make the scarf wide enough. We’ll see.
Dinner tonight uses up leftover baked chicken leg quarters. I put red inca quinoa, onions, a bag of cole slaw mix and chicken stock with some herbs in the crockpot, stirred well and added the chicken on the top. It has been cooking for half the day. The house smells wonderful! Hard to wait for Tom to come home to see if it taste as good as it smells.
In the meantime, I’ll keep working on the scarf until dinner.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Seems like fall has finally arrived. Morning temperatures are dipping and the leaves are changing colors and/or dropping. The trees in the yard are beautiful. with very vivid colors this year. Must be caused by draught we had for much of the summer.
Even the poison oak looks delightful with its deep red leaves. Guess what we will be doing tomorrow?
It looks like it might be a cold winter though as all the bushes have big bright berries on them. Mother Nature is storing food for the birds and squirrels.
I did find one last geranium desperately holding on.
Time to get going on hats, mittens and scarves!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Just a peek at some of the recent stash enhancement following SAFF.
Wolle’s Yarn Creations Color Changing Cotton - Summer Harvest
Shawl Pattern - Masrche Viete by Rachel Valente
Cozy Rabbit Farm - 100% Angora - Handpainted and Handspun I forget the owner’s name but she lives in the same town that my husband’s parents are from.
McMatley Alpacas - 100% Alpaca - Fontine and Lucian and a blend of brown and beige fleeces. Just gotta love yarn named after the animal. Great job, Ernie and Cliff
Stony Hill Fiber Arts - Organic Cotton and Bamboo and 100% Organic Island Cotton. Fingerless mitten pattern and cabled hat pattern.
Whirlwind Ranch - Classic Alpaca and Paca de Seda
From The Sassy Knitter - Baby Bunny
Now to find a place to put it all!
Monday, October 24, 2011
Spent a relaxing few days with friends in the North Carolina mountains before heading to SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair). The opportunity to relax and rest for even a day and a half was well needed.
Shortly after I arrived to their house way up in the woods, we headed to town to meet with Lisa’s Knitting group. What an absolutely delightful group of women (Richard was absent). They were so welcoming and sharing. We spent time knitting, sharing ideas, patterns and projects. The group keeps picture albums of their completed projects. What fun to see how all the beautiful things they have knitted over the years. It was also interesting to see how each knitter put her own touch on the projects.
We left the group and headed to Lisa’s church. A quaint, little mountain church that was built from a Sears and Roebuck kit at the turn of the last century. I loved it!
We headed back to the house, enjoying the changing color of the leaves and the rarified mountain air.
Jim met us with a scrumptious grilled chicken dinner. He even made twice baked potatoes with caramelized onions. What a treat!
I slept so well in the guest room that I want to go back soon.
On Friday, we headed down to Black Mountain to the Yarn Shop. I now have another destination when we head to this area. The owner was warm and welcoming and invited us back soon.
We, then, headed to SAFF. What an experience. Animals, fiber, yarn, food, friends and knitted wear galore! We had a great time and I plan to go again next year. Maybe for more than one day!
I’ll show all my loot in a later blog.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Went to Knitting Fest at our LYS on Saturday. It was a great Meet, Eat and Greet event where a dozen or so knitters got together to knit, exchange project ideas and ask for and get help on projects. What a lively group!
I am please to say I have converted at least one knitter to socks and we are working on the second. Mary Anne’s second pair of socks look like she has been knitting socks forever. The stripes even match! Come on Irma, you can do it too!
While I was there, I started a Gamecock Hat on Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky in garnet with black and white colorwork designs. I cheated a little by using a black and white marled yarn for the patterns. I am used Elizabeth Zimmerman’s pattern from The Knitting Workshop book. It is only my second attempt at knitting continental style with the left hand and English style with the right to keep the colors separate. Not too bad if I say so myself. I finished the hat when I got home as Tom was out of town camping with the scouts at a Diocesan Camporee.
I say my second attempt, because earlier in the week, I finished a gold and green hat using the same technique and same pattern in a worsted weight acrylic. Well, almost the same pattern. The gold and green hat followed the patterns in the book. On the Gamecock Hat I was doing the patterns from memory.
I will be making more of these as this hat pattern is very easy.
Now on to scarves. I received a text from our daughter who has moved to New York. She has put in a request (not a very subtle one) for warm scarves. Her color choices are black or gray. Not my favorite colors to knit, but she is our only daughter. ;~P
So, I headed to the stash and found a beautiful Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky in the inspiring colorway of #600. It is a marled black and gray. Just what the biomedical engineer ordered. Sorry, no doctors in the family!
I have started the scarf. I am using the Super Yak Scarf pattern from One Skein Wonders - 101 Yarn Shop Favorites. It uses an unusual technique of a “make 7”. The scarf also has a ruffle on each end. I hope she will like it. It should be very warm as alpaca is so much warmer than wool.
Maybe if I make her a few in black and/or gray, I can then ease her into more interesting colors. Who knows by summer she may be ready for “Summer Flies” or “Baktus” or “Clapotis” in summer colors.
Friday, October 14, 2011
When I was at TKGA Knit and Crochet Show last month, I met artist, Maggie Weldon. Her pottery is beautiful. She takes knitted, crocheted or tatted lace and impresses pottery with it.
Maggie uses this as a way to save and/or share prized pieces of lace that have been handed down for generations or as a way to show off new designs. She makes new heirlooms each with a certificate of authenticity.
Many of her customers send her a lace piece that they found when going through their loved one's estate after they passed on. Everyone in the family wants the same piece of lace as a remembrance.
Maggie takes the lace and makes trays, dishes, ornaments, bowls, etc. That way everyone in the family can enjoy the beautiful work and has an item that is very useful.
Maggie also finds laces and makes unique designed pottery to show off the lace pattern. I was able to purchase a few from her.
Friday, October 7, 2011
The days are cooler. This should make me want to knit all the time gearing up for winter. However, it just makes me want to search patterns and start new things. There are so many new books and magazines tempting me.
I am trying to be good and ignore start-itis. Get behind me, Satan!
The Log Cabin Garter Stitch Baby Blanket is getting close to completion. I have to finish the two brown sections, then knit the two lavender sections and then I will knit an inch of blue border around the entire blanket. Should end up about 36 inches (91 cm) square.
I finished one of the “He Who Must Not Be Named” sports weight socks (Lorna’s Laces Honor yarn) and have cast on the toe of the second sock. Should be finished by Halloween. The alpaca/silk yarn is so soft but so strong. Great combo!
|One sock down! Bag is from Piddleloop.|
|Wonderful Wendy Johnson heel|
I am working on a swatch in Araucania Yarns Tolhauca Multy.
I would like this to be a cotton garter stitch sideways knit jacket. I am having some trouble getting the proper guage. It is knitting a much larger stitch gauge than suggested. I may have to just adjust the pattern. I really like the fabric using the size US 5 (3.75 mm). It almost looks woven.
I am also using this cotton yarn to make the Noro Keyhole Scarf as part of the Quickie KAL on Fibernymph’s Podcast. It is a great ribbed scarf. Loving it!
Writing about all these projects makes me want to grab my needles, so i will post this and give in to the temptation for a little while.