Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Quickie update - great craft/art show!

Nocoastcraft.com is having the coolest craft show this upcoming Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Midtown Global Marketplace in Minneapolis. As soon as I drop one child off at the SATs and one at Lego League (we're a geeky family), it's off to craft heaven. La, la, la, yarn, fabric, stuff, la, la, la. . . . (she skips off in anticipation.)

Birthday booty, er, bounty . . .

Do these people know me or what? This is just the knitting-related portion of Sunday's birthday bounty. My sister sent the bulky yarn and the Lantern Moon needle sleeve and needles as well as some lovely stitch holders. I've always wanted some Lantern Moon items but held off because it seemed too expensive to buy for myself. Thanks, Chrissie!

Good Friend Melissa must have been stranded in a yarn shop because she gave me not one but three lovely knitting books, two skeins of KnitPicks yarn and some great wool wash. I know she is doing a lot of holiday knitting so we will have to have find some knitting time together to check out the great patterns in "Knitting for Peace."

There were other, non-knitting related presents as well. My husband remembered my plea for a new bicycle helmet (unfortunately, only slightly less nerdy than the one I had before but much better fitting) and my daughters all performed special music for Sunday's church service. I have the photographs to prove that they actually play instruments and (at least Kate does) sing in public. Lovely!

I really haven't had time to enjoy my new knit gear - I've been too busy knitting! I promised a few knitted tree socks for a Girl Scout craft sale and I've been also working on my first pair of Mrs. Beeton's ruffly wrist warmers. They've been giving me fits figuring out how to place the beads but I think I'll be able make the next pair more quickly now that I've got it figured out. More pictures to come.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Blog Day!

Well, it might not actually be today - in fact, the real date was November 14 - but I needed a few days to reflect. And come up with something. I've really enjoyed blogging even if it's in relative obscurity. I've also found so many other bloggers with similar interests and love of fiber that my blog reading has made quite a dent in my knitting! Knitting podcasts have become an addiction of mine - I listen via ITunes and my IPod everywhere - and I've been finding that knitting is truly an international obsession. One podcaster that I listen to lives in Japan and another, David Reidy, from Sticks and String, is in Australia. Finding these sites has been great - there are so many takes on knitting out there.

Myself, I've had a couple of knitting intensive days over the holiday weekend. I've been working on a pair of Mrs. Beeton's gauntlets from Brenda Dayne but the Rowan Kidsilk Haze that I'm using has been giving me fits! I cast on three times and consistently twisted the stitches so that I had a lovely Mobius strip of knitting. Not a wristlet. Gaaugh. I'll hopefully post a picture tomorrow.

As for this morning's giveaway - it was the easiest one yet. The two circular saws were posted on Freecycle and went the same day. The two bags of books, picture frame and cd of bagpipe music (yes, actual pipers piping) went to St. John the Evangelist for their next big sale. The big white thing - a canvas suit storage bag for a closet - the black dish shelf also went on Freecycle. They haven't gone yet but they will leave my property this week.

I'm expecting some more knitting time tomorrow - at least I hope so. It's my birthday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

At last, a full repeat!

One full repeat of Intelocking Balloons - unfortunately, now I need to pop away and make the wristlets that these will accompany. The Mrs. Beeton's wrist warmers are Christmas presents but I think the scarf will be a birthday present for the same girl.

The beaded cast on is a killer but the rest has been going well. I take photos tomorrow. I am hoping to use the long Thanksgiving weekend for a lot of knitting. My birthday is Sunday so I'm not really sure what is planned for that day. Casino Royale perhaps?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

OOOh, a new button!

I just knew this would be the spot for me - after all, I am making something in Noro during November - but now I found the button for this. Lovely. Fun. Something to make me knit faster!

Saturday fun!

I had a very busy today with our redecorating after painting (ie. hanging curtains and refilling bookshelves), cleaning and attending the Weavers Guild of Minnesota's Fiber Fest at the Textile Center of Minnesota

I bought some beautiful woven towels and tablerunners as Christmas presents and was very tempted by some beautiful wallhangings. My husband and I are going back tomorrow to take another look at a wallhanging for our parlor.

Today's Saturday Seven was very easy to sort out. You might have a hard time seeing the difference but there is a cream colored tablecloth as well as a mis-matched set of pink and floral sheets on that pile. The sheets are not a pair and do not match any sheets at my house. I think they came from my late Mother-in-law's house on a folding bed we inherited. If she was still around, I would offer them back but . . . The tablecloth has never been the right size for our dining room table so it was time to have it move on. The two books are merely the start of the book deluge as we sort out the book boxes in our garage's attic. At the end of my life, I do not want to have people looking at my left behinds and asking, "Why on earth did they keep that?"

I bought the black gloves for a cross country skiing trip but they were always too big and bulky. I put them in my car with our family's "distress bags." Not for us but to give to homeless people asking for help. Our church puts together large ziplock bags of essentials like socks, canned food, bottled water, personal items and over-the-counter medicines. The deacons sell them to church members who hand them out to people in need. I'll hand out the gloves with the next bag I give out. This isn't an every day situation but I drive a lot and often see people with "Help if you can" signs at the top of on-ramps.

The large paper folio we bought for a long-ago art project. The picture frame was another gift that I was saving from at least seven years ago. Everything today was easy to part with and will go to a local charity. I sorted them out earlier this week. I've found that it's a lot easier to think about why we are keeping or not keeping something when I set it aside for a few days. In fact, with all our cleaning, I think I've set aside at least four things already to give away next week!

Knitting wise, I've been fighting the good fight on the green Interlocking Balloons scarf. Only eight more repeats left! I'm starting the Mrs. Beeton gloves designed by Brenda Dayne
and these will go together as a gift. I am on the endless winter of knitting in the round on the Sheep Tote. Slog on, slog on, slog . . . on. . .

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Party with Oldest Daughter!

Although she really observed her birthday yesterday, today was the day we celebrated Oldest Daughter's 17th birthday. I felt a little bad making her do her chores but we are trying to finish painting and then clean up for friends, pizza and a trip to a hockey game tomorrow afternoon. Tonight was the family birthday dinner, cake (German Chocolate) and presents.

So, basically, she's worked this birthday angle for three days of partying! Hard to believe she is so wise!

So, what with all the birthday to-do, I have to hurry up and get in the Saturday Seven. I've been organizing our family photos for a few years and finally have worked my way through the copy-paper box full of miscellaneous photos. You know the kind, the extra copies of birthday photos and golf-outings that come your way. Well, I've been sorting them into subject matter and putting them into labeled photo envelopes in photo storage boxes. Underneath this pile of photos, I've been finding all kinds of things. One bag of stencils had almost as many memories as the photos. In the past, I've stencilled bedrooms, kitchens, and family rooms. I've saved the stencils even though I don't use them anymore. The two photo frames came from various family members but I could never find a place for them. The three rolls of Laura Ashley "Kate" wallpaper came from when we wallpapered our bathroom in our last house. I still love this paper. Lovely Middle Daughter donated a bag of clothes and a stack of Elementary School piano music. The last item was a favorite sweater that I've held onto for a long tim - since the 1980s. It was cotton and never fit flatteringly - but it had the best strip of appliqued leaves.

I can only hope to make leaves and berries like that.

Friday, November 10, 2006

. . . and seen again

I thought you might like a peek at the Interlocking Ballons scarf that I am working on for the Scarf Style knitalong. I picked this pattern because I love the undulating pattern but it is excruciating slow to knit. Usually, a repeating pattern has a right side and then a "knit or purl back" side but this often changes from side to side. Augh! I still like it but the design is not the easy point I was looking for. It will be a Christmas present - 8 more repeats of 44 lines more!

For relief, I am also working on the Fiber Trends "Sheep Tote" bag - a much easier felted style. I can almost close my eyes to knit this one! I am not putting the needle-felted sheep on the outside but I love all the extra pockets. I've never felted anything with pockets so I am looking forward to this treat.

The thread wrapped into the yarn creates a really interesting, almost aggressive texture that is very pretty when felted. Right now, however, those "jump out bumps" make me think I've dropped a stitch and I keep going back to check. So far - no problems.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Things seen . . .

Well, Saturday just got by me somehow - we had painting, cleaning, trips to the hardware store, dentist's appointments, etc. and I had a late afternoon/evening Movie Night with the Monday Night Book Club. We were celebrating Melissa's and Marti's BIG birthdays. You know that those are the kind of birthdays you can't just put out on the Internet So we went to see Sweet Land - a charming little Minnesota-made movie - and then went out to dinner at Beaujo's Wine Bar and Bistro in Edina. Very good food and really quite reasonable. The wines were great, too.

So, all this fun and frivolity took up the rest of Saturday. So there weren't any Saturday Seven photos. Here's what I had in mind.

I think I mentioned before that as I clean out my house, I've been finding both more and less to give away. I cleaned out my former girl scout supplies and came up with two very nice file boxes. One I am donating to my church library for library cataloging supplies and the other is going to Freecycle. The four books, two sets of mystery series, will go to the book exchange at my YWCA. The Seventh thing I didn't want to bring in from the garage. It's a a Fisher Price bed gate - the hinged gate thing that you use to help toddlers sleep in a big bed. Youngest Child moved from a crib into a toddler bed and never needed the bed gate. My older children never had a "toddler bed" and they always needed the bedgate. One daughter even fell out of bed once and broke her collar bone. Darn those high Victorian iron bedstands! We got rid of those a few years ago but I never got rid of the gate. It's going on Freecycle in the morning.

Knitting wise, I've been working on a felted bag in Noro - today was just boring garter stitch but I'm really enjoying the yarn. It's Noro Kuja - a funky yarn with a color-changing, contrasting thead wrapped around it. My colorway is mostly plum and green. It has a great felted texture because the thread doesn't felt. Kind of a flecked look. I'll take a picture and post soon, promise.

Good Night!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Soctoberfest Revels!

I finished Andy's Striped Socks in just the nick of time, late on Halloween night. Actually, I had to rip the toes out and redo them in black because of a funky little extra row that I put in way back by the heel of the first sock. That put off my striping pattern on the second sock as well. Despite this, they seem to fit well. Andy has very long, narrow feet with narrow heels so I always need to adapt his sock patterns. He is really a ragg sock kind of guy - he doesn't seem to like fancy socks - so almost all of his handknit socks are a variation on a ribbed sock.

Now that I have a little more free time, I worked on my Interlocking Balloons scarf from Scarf Style. I like the pattern but I think that I need to photocopy the page so I can cross out lines of graphing. And it's hand-dyed indigo/turquoise - a lovely color for bleak winter days.