Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nothing happening here - move along.

Except for a cup of tea  - or six. I have a cold with a bad cough; it is very cold here and I got a rigid heddle loom for Christmas. That should be enough said, right?

See you in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Let the wild snow rumpus begin!

But before the big snowfall (okay, guys, this is Minnesota, right?), I thought you might like to check out this:

Mombot has the perfect fashion accessory for a thrifty soul.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled snowstorm. Just in case I don't fight my way out of the snowdrifts in time, 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One down, two to go . . .

Okay, I'd pretend it was Saturday and time for the Seven but that would be too easy.

Holiday preparations are starting to cut into my free time - but with yesterday's Monday Book Club meeting, I have one holiday starting point out of the way. We had a great time - we read short plays at our holiday meeting - and now I've got Christmas cookies to bake . . . a college student to get home and another to visit the doctor.  I am so glad the snowing won't start until Christmas Eve!

I finished one of the Bella Marie Mittens and am working on the second. I think I'll try the "Two at a Time" technique the next time I make these mittens.

I also spent a little time spinning up the remaining green wool from this summer. Maybe a hat? Mittens? Hmm. Next up on the spinning wheel, the Anonymous Fleece from GFMelissa!

Saturday's Seven were a sweater, two tee shirts, a turtleneck, two pairs of shoes and a mattress pad. I don't know why I hung onto the shoes for so long - they just never fit - and the mattress pad fits a youth bed. Was I going to wait until we had grandchildren to use that one again? Off they go to the St. John the Evangelist Big Sale!

Time to finish up the Christmas cards and put the cookie dough in the fridge to chill. Then, a little recuperative knitting!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Your heart is full of unwashed socks.

"Oh, really?" you say. That is just another, more eloquent way of saying - you're a crab cake.

Just in case your puzzler is tired - Enjoy this clip from "How the Grinch stole Christmas." I can't rouse myself to give you anything more . . .

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stop and say a prayer

I think I've mentioned my friend Mary who taught me to knit. Her daughter - the same age as one of mine - has Ewing's sarcoma.

She is going into yet another lung surgery today for tumor removal before she can undergo more treatment.

I thought I would let you read what her mother wrote on her Caring Bridge site today:

Hi. We left for the hospital just after 5 am. J. was in good spirits. She is not in surgery yet, but now that she is 18, the parents aren't invited to be with her as much. They will call us back before she goes in. We already know that this is going to be more involved than we first thought. We got 2nd and 3rd opinions from friends of ours who also happen to be in radiology. Looks like the operation today will involve Both lungs now. The left will require the big incision, but they might be able to do the right with a scope. If not, she will have the 6-7" incisions on both sides of her back. It makes for 2 chest tubes and a longer recovery,, in any case, but we want to make sure that all measureable cancer is removed before she goes to the stem cell transplant in late Jan. Sooo, please pray that the surgery goes well and gets all the cancer. Pray for the surgical team and for a recovery without complications. Thanks everybody! She will be in for many hours, so don't freak if you don't hear back before 3 or so. Thanks! Mary 

J. is such a nice girl who has undergone quite a lot of treatment over the last two years but kept very positive. Just keep her and her family in your mind today during all the holiday whirl. She could be any of our children . . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

The holidays struck early!

Good Friend Melissa stopped by early on Sunday morning for a little Saint Lucia Day festivities. She brought everything but the coffee cups and the wreath! Yum! I didn't make any saffron buns this year - just too busy with the weaving on Saturday - but I enjoyed all her hard work.

GFMelissa and Mr. Daisy enjoying a cup of Swedish coffee!

And if this didn't get you into the holiday mood, stop by

The Minnesota Knitters' Guild annual Holiday Party & Silent Auction
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Our annual holiday party caps off another fabulous year of knitting. Bring a treat to share with the group and high-quality yarn and knitting notions to donate to the auction. The proceeds from the silent auction are used to fund the Service Committee budget.

Location: 3000 University Ave SE Minneapolis, MN
Contact: (612) 436-0464, ext. 115
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

See You There!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A one day project!

I loved my weaving class at the Yarnery today! It was challenging to think about using yarn in a different way but I really loved getting a project done in a day. We started at 10 a.m. and went to 4 p.m. with a break for lunch. It ended up being about 64 inches long and 9 1/2 inches wide with fringe on either end.

This photo is before it was washed and hung to dry. It's upstairs right now - I can't wait to wear it!

It's a beautiful mix of burgandy, gold and green - very pretty!
In other fiber news, I've started another pair of Bella Mittens for Youngest Daughter. The same yarn (Karabella Soft Tweed) but in gray but and one size larger needles (8).

Teeny-tiny was the theme of this week's Saturday Seven.  A pair of Youngest Child's twill pants, a sweatshirt, two polo shirts, a tee shirt, a pair of shorts and a pair of mittens. Man, that kid is just grow, grow, growing! He didn't even get to wear the mittens (I bought them at the end of the season last year) so they are going to the mitten tree at my church.

Just in case you have a spare pair of mittens or gloves laying around (knitted or otherwise), my church is sponsoring its yearly "Mitten Tree."
Randolph Heights Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul collects new hats, mittens and scarves for distribution at the Naomi Family Residence, the women and children's residence program of the Union Gospel Mission of the Twin Cities.  The RHPC Mitten Tree is collecting until December 20, 2009.

If you are interested in contributing a pair or two, please send them to:
Randolph Heights Presbyterian Church
Attn.: Mitten Tree program

435 Hamline Avenue South
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, December 11, 2009

On the way out the door -

Hey! I've got a dinner and a movie date ASAP so this is one quick link. And if any of you are in Saint Paul tomorrow - I'll be enjoying the all day weaving class over at the Yarnery! Yea for yet another hobby that will make me a good person to know come the revolution (or the economic collapse - your pick!)


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snow day means (wool) wash day

This morning, I decided to use my snow day (at 15 degrees F. and blowing snow - no way was I going outside!) to check out the RDF (Really Dirty Fleece!) that I've been cleaning bit by bit.

I have six bags of cleaned and carded fleece. Each section is a different color.

Mostly gray - black, dark black/brown, dark gray, medium gray and light gray!
The last section of cleaned and carded wool is a nice colored gray but I don't think I'm going to be able to use it with the other colors. It is just the dirtiest section . . .

that what looks like heathered gray is really - VM. Vegetable matter. 

It got to the point today when I looked over what I was cleaning and I just bundled up that section and tossed it. The remaining sections -  dark brown, black and dark gray - were relatively clean so I washed them up and I'll get a final carding session in later this week. I don't really know what I'm going to get yarn-wise but I'm hoping to get something good enough for hats and mittens. 

One of my favorite links that I've gone to over and over this week is Spinning ForthRuth MacGregor's great links, videos and articles make me think this nasty old fleece might actually make some fun yarn!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Saturday, Saturday

Today was the day we planned on having the Christmas tree put up. It didn't quite work out as planned - we do have a nice clean spot for it in the living room, though!

I feel the same thing about my knitting! I have a have a plan for knitting but not actually much going on. Mostly, I've been checking out the other patterns in my "Two at a time" sock book. Is it wrong to want another pair when I've only worked about five inches so far? I'm stalking the Twilight sock pattern and it is calling, calling to me. Maybe I'll use this yarn?

Or the remains of this:

I have been working here and there on my Road Less Travelled scarf as well.

This must be the world's largest ball of yarn - I'm not expecting to finish up until sometime in the New Year!

Since Saturday is once again here - here's the Saturday Seven! I cleaned out the toy box and pulled out five stuffed animals and an Iron Man costume. The chair was the last folding chair of a table and chair set I got from my parents after graduation. They were used when my parents bought them so they had a long and full life - fly, little folding chair, fly! Actually, the whole load is going off to the St. John the Evangelist Sale.

I did have a photo of last week's Saturday Seven - but it was bad. Very Poor. Sucky. Icky. And it's all gone anyway. I dropped it off on Monday morning as part of the "Let's clean up after Thanksgiving" game plan.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday - yes, Friday.

I keep thinking this should be Sunday. Holidays do that to you!

Not much going on here - just saw this and wanted to share. I was really glad my daughters never played against her - they both had long ponytails!

I think this girl needs a knitting . . .

Here is a link to the real story behind all that crabbiness.

Back to the knitting - I'm stalking a Hurry Up Last Minute Sweater pattern on Ravelry.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving means . . .

A Happy Blogaversary!

Actually, I started my blog slightly more than four years ago (on November 14, 2005) but I always associate it with Thanksgiving so I make that the celebratory date. 

I recently went back and checked out my long-ago blogging goals.

"To start writing what I've thinking about. And that's knitting. What's on the needles, what I wish I was working on and what I've learned in the process. Probably that there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I want - and still get a nap."

If it's humanly possible, I'm thinking even more about knitting. I've been trying to finish up some longstanding projects - think brown sweater! - as well as some trying out some new ones -  I highly recommend the Bella Mittens! 

Foolish Middle Daughter - she's modeling the mittens but she's wearing shorts!

I also think my foray into two-at-a-time socks has been going well as well. 

"It's the other things that keep my projects creeping along. Husband and family, an active church life, as well as a growing exercise regimen (mostly swimming but also running and cross country skiing) plus reading and spinning are too distracting. Must Say "Time to sit down!" more often."

Well, with this cold for the past few weeks, I've had plenty of time to sit down. And lay down. My exercise regimen has completely fallen by the wayside. But things are looking up and since it hasn't really snowed yet (or snowed enough for cross country skiing with GFMelissa!), I don't feel too bad about it.  Who knows, I may become one of those odd people who go more often to the gym between Thanksgiving and Christmas than the rest of the year?! Husband, family and church life - they are definitely the same but since no one is being confirmed, graduating or breaking a leg this year - it's all good.

 "I am not a slow knitter, just an overscheduled one. I keep finding the next project - and starting it. Interfering with completionn of Baby Sweater #1 were one shawl, a pair of beaded mittens, cabled socks and a beautiful shawl from Kristmen's Design Studio called 'Glorianna.'"

Well, I finished that Babies & Bears sweater as well as the Beaded Mittens but I have no idea what shawl I meant. I think it was the Kiri Shawl which I was getting ready to knit for the Knitting Olympics in February 2006. I did enjoy making that shawl. I think I frogged the socks though - the Cabled Rib socks from Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave Press. I went on to make the Retro Rib socks several times as well as the Go with the Flow Socks so I don't feel too bad about that. The "shawl" was actually a scarf and it was frogged as well. I like the pattern just fine but it didn't seem to go with the yarn. Maybe I'll pull that patten out again this coming year . . .

Since 2005 I've had a lot of fun projects as well as a few epic fails. I'll be taking apart my sister's blue Mission Falls Bay Cardigan  and making it a bit smaller - possible the Bay Bolero? - sometime in the next year or I'll be hearing about it forever. Ditto the Big Brown Sweater, Aka., Mr. Daisy's River Grass Gansey. I just don't like the twisted stitch section at all

In celebration of all these goals - met and unmet - and of our anniversary over here at Chez Daisy, I'm setting up a little contest.  In almost a complete rip off of Knittymama's* anniversary contest, I'm launching the Pattern Review Contest:

Contest rules:
1. Review a knitting, sewing, spinning….any kind of pattern, really, on your blog. It doesn’t have to be detailed but, please, give us the down low. Hard to follow? Good charting instructions? Timeless? Trendy?  Worth buying or should we search out the free on-line version?
2. Leave a comment here leading to your pattern review. 
3. Post a link in your review that brings us back to the contest here. That way your readers will be able to read the comments section here and put in their two cents. Did they hate it? Love that pattern? Think you're crazy "but in a good sort of way" for attempting it?
4. After that - you'll just have to sit on your hands until the end of the month. The day after Christmas (December 26, 2009) is when I'll assign each of the pattern reviews a number and then toss you all into the proverbial hat - the random number generator - to award a prize. Two prizes actually. **
One is a copy of  Charmed Knits: Projects for fans of Harry Potter by Allison Hansel.

Remember this Sweetie?
One copy of 2-at-a-Time Socks: Revealed Inside. . . The Secret of Knitting Two at Once on One Circular Needle Works for any Sock Pattern!, by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.

Fun Times x 2!

So let's see some pattern review, ladies and gents! I am sure you have some information to share!

*To be honest, her's was for book reviews. Mine is for pattern reviews. So totally not a rip off!
** Just love that Bold button!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Down go the rest of the dominos . . .

Well, I think I'm over my cold - finally - but some of the other members of the family have gone down today. So, I've been working on the Bella mittens and cleaning out some drawers. One pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, two teeshirts, a vest and two pairs of mittens. The mittens are new - I sewed them for a mitten tree at my church - but they are going off to charity.

Back to some serious television watching and knitting. Oh, and enjoying a little Twilight-themed chocolate!

Middle Daughter picked up a pack of these at the Big Bullseye store this afternoon. Mmm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday again?

 Tuesday evening was the Minnesota Knitters' Guild presentation on Norwegian knitting. We were lucky enough to get Sue Flanders, one of the authors of Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from Vesterheim Museum along with Janine Kosel.  She gave a great talk and power point show about how they wrote the book and the designs. When we originally set up the program, we didn't know if we could get the authors so we decided to bring along something made from one of their patterns and steek it.

Since I didn't have time to knit up one of their great sweater designs, I took the sleeve design from the book's kids Voss Sweater and turned it into a neck warmer design. Luckily, our author's program was excellent so I didn't need to break into a steeking song and dance. I finished the neck warmer this week anyway. I steeked it and picked up and knit a garter stitch border with buttonholes.

Today I picked up three buttons and - ta da! - I have a neck warmer.

I also started knitting a pair of Bella Mittens for Middle Daughter. I'll probably finish them before I get the chance to see "New Moon" - all those teen girls can go before me!

In honor of those mittens, take a peek at this Friday Film: This is a talented set of teens!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Almost a wool winder!

You may remember that GFMelissa gave me a fleece from Shepherd's Harvest. It was a spur of the moment gift to her from another friend who came to the festival for the first time.

And it was pretty obvious that she was overcome by the festival atmosphere - she bought the fleece off one of the sheep-shearing exhibition sheep. Instead of letting the shearer bundle it up properly with the cut ends outside, she just stuffed it all into a trash bag. Then it rattled around in that plastic bag for a couple of months. So it was pretty beat up and dirty when I pulled it out of the bag on Monday for a little fiber inspection.

Big and dirty. Brown, black and grey all in one package. To start with, I shook the fleece and most of the taggy (read: poo-filled) ends just fell off. I'm sure I sacrificed a lot of good fleece as well but my kitchen just isn't set up for that. The dog really loved that trash bag of poo/vegetable matter, though! Then, I broke the fleece apart into three separate sections where the fleece types seemed to differ.

Working with the sectioned fleece, I pulled it apart on table, pulled out locks and used a dog comb to comb out the ends. I wore a heavy plastic glove on the hand that held the locks because I kept combing my knuckles - ow! I layered netting in the plastic laundry basket and made little sausages of fleece locks  which I then rolled up and tied together.

I tried to keep the color division when I made the fiber sausages. One of the sections was grey/light brown; one dark brown and one very black section with coarse white guard hairs.

This last section was very pretty but very coarse.

All in all, I got cleaned half the total fleece. I didn't get around to photographing the washing process but it involved a lot of soap and water and several rinses. We'll see how it all turns out . . . Mr. Daisy really liked that brown color so I'll have to see how much I have when I'm done washing the whole thing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Small steps

After finishing my Sugar Maple socks last week,  I jumped back into sock knitting with a pair of Classic Socks from 2-at-a-time Socks. I've just finished the ribbing at the top of the socks and now I'm moving into the central pattern. I think I will try the Gentleman Socks again some time but time is short. I need to finish these socks by Christmas as well as one or two other holiday projects.

The Saturday Seven this week was more like a Saturday Nine. And I'm not sure how I feel about this. My book group reads a play every December and this was nine copies of "You can't take it with you." This lot is going off to another book group for their use. I feel a little conflicted because it's probably no longer covered under personal use copyright ( I bought the play book) - but it was quite expensively copied and I hate to waste the  work. Hmm. Maybe I should give then the original copy as well.

Now, it's off to the showers for me. We're going to the opera for Oldest Daughter's birthday treat. Never fear - I'll bring my knitting!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday, friday - time for a cup of tea!

One of my favorite websites is Fleur de Guerre's Diary of a Vintage Girl. She hasthe most amazing social life. She also has a great sense of humor to go with herdress sense! 

She led me to this:

Which led me to this:

Monday, November 09, 2009


Sugar Maple socks
Still wet and a bit lumpy looking but these socks are actually the exact same size and length! This has always been a problem for me and I really enjoyed Kitchener stitching them together at the toe last night while watching "Howl's Moving Castle" yet again.

And just a shout out to Oldest Daughter - her birthday is tomorrow and I always remember holding her and watching CNN about the fall of the Berlin Wall. A great memory.

Happy Birthday Kate!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Saturday on horseback. Or,

those Swedes really know how to throw a party!

Today was the first  Julmarknad, or Christmas Fair, at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. 

The event, which will be repeated on November 21, is a combination of family activities, music, food, Christmas decorations, and shopping. GFMelissa and I and our respective children enjoyed the nationality rooms as well as the gift shop. 

Youngest Child especially loved the mechanical "ride on" Dala Horse.  GFMelissa says those are the rides outside the Walmarts in Sweden - I think (hope?) she was joking!

Earlier in the week, the GF and I dropped by Amazing Threads  in Maple Grove. They are collecting donations for the troops overseas again this year. It was really easy to drop something off, knowing they are working with Paradyszmatera to ship needed personal items to troops stationed overseas. And it probably didn't hurt that there was a shoppers' discount involved . . .

I think I'm almost ready to start another pair of "2 at a time socks" so I picked up as skein of lovely Pagewood Farm Yukon sock yarn in the Prism colorway. Soft and lovely! And right nearby was 

a lovely skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Berry color way. Hmm, maybe this will be the next pair of socks?

Sadly, the Saturday Seven this week appears to be two items short. Pants, turtleneck, boots, hat, tee shirt - ah, but wait. I already dropped off the two pairs of jeans. 

Somehow, they got stuffed in with last weeks S7 and were dropped off at the Saint John the Evangelist Sale already. I don't think I could ever go to that sale again. I think I may be involved with at least 25% of the items. And thank goodness they collect items all year long . . .

Friday, November 06, 2009

More Friday bites

Graveyard Book Cake - Top
Originally uploaded by twokingsconfections

It if tastes half as good as it looks - we're in trouble. This is the grand prize winner of the The Graveyard Book Dessert Challenge over at I didn't make this and (in fact) I didn't know anything about this contest but every prize winning entry looks delicious.

In honor of the contest, take a look at this:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We hooked up the spooky music tape and the fogger tonight for the first time. Very atmospheric and pretty - the only problem is every time the fogger sends out a burst of fog, I think the porch is on fire!

There has been plenty of knitting going on this week - I've turned the heel on my Sugar Maple's On Fire socks and now I'm on the home stretch - yea!!

Youngest Boy went out trick or treating with Mr. Daisy. He's Harry Potter and Mr. Daisy is Hagrid. I, on the other hand, am paying homage to another Halloween pantheon. I'm a medical school researcher at Miskatonic University's Orne Library. I do believe the library stays open past midnight . . .

(As for the pumpkins - they are all vampire pumpkins in honor of "Twilight." In fact, the sign says, "This is the rind of a killer." I guess this is a Vampire Weekend - tee hee!)

You would think that I weeded all these tee shirts out of my wardrobe when the seasons changed and I pulled out all the turtlenecks. Alas, I simply found all these in my ironing pile. They've been there since the summer time. And with three black tee shirts, two brown tee shirts, a cream colored one and a blue tee - I generally wear a limited color palette.

Time to go back to my knitting and enjoying the left over "Good and Plenty"s. Good thing I like licorice!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Much as I love Halloween . . .

I'm getting a little tired.

First the Multnomah Autumn Shawl,

then, the first Halloween Party of the season,

followed by the yard decorating (we're big Harry Potter fans, you know!)

all bring about an urge for one of these! (actually I was just practicing using my new Joby Gorrilapod.

In honor of Halloween week, I give you Boilerplate!

And a "Make your own goggles" video over at Threadbanger.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

From top to toe

Since finishing my Multnomah Shawl earlier this week, I've been on a slippery sock slope. I've ripped back my Gentleman's Socks in preparation for making Two at a time Socks (two socks on one long needle) only using the Gentleman Sock stitch pattern.

It's a complicated story but I just didn't like the heel from the original pattern and I knew I needed serious help to get both finished so . . . time to learn how to do two at a time. Actually the "two at a time from the toe up" sounded even better but I thought, "One step at a time, girl, one step!"

I bought this book, 2-at-a-Time Socks: Revealed Inside. . . The Secret of Knitting Two at Once on One Circular Needle Works for any Sock Pattern! by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, some time ago. I love all the patterns but I don't love how the initial pattern is shown worked in worsted weight yarn. I've no time to make socks that no one will wear. Just start me out on a plainer pattern but using real sock yarn and then I'll do just fine.

Because I jumped right into a pattern, it was a bit tricky to start. I couldn't believe that my sock would actually fit. I think that was because my needle was very new and straight out of the bag. Now that I've been using it a bit, it lies flat more easily and that's made all the difference.

For my practice pair, I am making the Sugar Maple pattern out of Mountain Colors' Bearfoot in the Firestorm colorway. For me.

As of Wednesday, this is how far I'd gotten. I've found that carrying the yarn from individual bags - both on one side of my lap - has kept me from getting too tangled. I've been watching old science fiction series online and the knitting is actually going pretty fast. As my needle cable has loosened up so has my knitting and that is working out well. I'm working on the Yarn Harlot's "Inch at a Time" plan of sock knitting. Every time I pick up the socks, I'm determined to get in an inch of knitting.

I think this spiral bound book is easy to handle and I already have my eye on a few other patterns such as the Classic Sock or the Sailor's Delight. By the way, Knittymama is collecting craft book reviews for a contest over at her blog so you might want to skip on over there for some other good pattern ideas.

This week was the Minnesota Knitters' Guild's Fall Yarn preview meeting. That's where we have yarn shops come and talk about the trends and patterns new for fall (this time the shops were Coldwater Collaborative and Lila & Claudines) but all this yarn exposure comes at a price. $$$!

I picked up a pattern and some lovely Araucania Panguipulli for a shrug for a birthday present. The pattern is very simple and if I'd used the yarn called for, quite inexpensive. But the Araucania Panguipulli called to me. It's a mix of blues, browns and Burgundies - very usable!

Since Friday was a day off school for Youngest Child - AND a snow day to boot! -

I made delicious oatmeal raisin cookies. The best so far - straight out of The New Best Recipe Cookbook from Cook's Illustrated. Love those guys!

Today being Saturday and all - time to clean out my own closet. A jean jumper, a turtleneck, jeans, three teeshirts, and a polo shirt. Farewell!

Now, time enough to find my knitting bag and get in an inch of knitting!