Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Christmas crunch . . .

 Even Father Christmas feels holiday stress -

Did you post early? I know I have a few more for the mail today. 

Just in case the Christmas hammer really comes down and I don't get away to blog - 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday bling!

We like a flashy Christmas. 
I've asked for plain white lights for a while but, apparently, that isn't traditional in our family. 

I've been pushing St. Lucia Day (December 13) as a tradition for some time. Now that Youngest Child is the only one left, though, we had to mix our metaphors.

Meet Star Boy & Lucia!

I decided to extend the season by making some beaded pins. I used this artwork (from Lucia, Child of Light: The History And Traditions of Sweden's Lucia Celebration by 
Florence Ekstrand) as my inspiration.

I sketched it to be just larger than a pin back.

Maybe not so many beads?

My first pin - light blue felt front and red backing. 

I decided to embroider the greens on the the wreath and bead only the candles, flames and berries. 

After I beaded the design, I sewed the pin back to the backing felt piece, then glued them together. I added a bit of embroidery around the edges and Ta-Da!

Pin #2.  This one looked a bit like an advent wreath.

I ended up with three different designs.

There has been some knitting going on as well - but those are presents!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Which one?

Which one of these excerpts represents how I spent this past week?

1) "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

2) Attach sts of left front to sts at top of sleeve cap using short rows as follows:
Row 1 [WS]: Work in pattern to 1 st before first marker; p2tog, removing marker and replacing it on left needle after p2tog is worked; turn work.
Row 2 [RS]: Work in pattern to end.
Repeat these 2 rows 3 times more.

Next Row [WS]: Work in pattern to 1 st before first marker; p2tog, removing marker; p to next marker, slip marker. Proceed to Row 1 of next section. 5 sts remain for left sleeve cap.

3) 'With a leap that startled Lucy and almost pulled her off her feet, Penny dashed forward the last few yards and began to bark ferociously. The pile seemed to shiver for a moment – and then something small and brown jumped up. Frozen, it stood hissing at them with small dark eyes that glittered and a mouth almost too full of sharp teeth.  Whatever animal it was, it was quite large – Lucy thought it seemed almost Penny’s height – and it seemed to clutching the bundle of rags. Almost as if it was gnawing the collection of greasy rags and tattered clothes . . . Penny’s barking ratcheted up even louder and she lunged to the end of her leash. In the confines of the alley, the sound echoed off the brick pavement and walls and seemed to sound like two or three large dogs.

For a moment, Lucy stared straight into an oddly bare face full of teeth and hate and then the animal – what was it? – turned and dashed halfway down the alley, jumped the low wall and escaped through the backyards down the block.

“Hey, who’s out here?” A voice called from above. “Hello?”'

Okay - the answer is both 2) & 3). Two is a section of the Turn of the Glass cardigan. The section where I went wrong. Yes, I was knitting in church and I got caught up and by the time I got home, I discovered a serious problem. The good thing about this? If you contact the pattern's author, Kathleen Dames, she emails you back with some help!

Three is from my first entry into NaMoWrimo! That's where you write a 50,000 novel in a month. Now, I hit that word count on Sunday but in order to finish my story, I was writing until 1:15 a.m. this morning. It's not the best story - but then, I was only "In it, to Finish It!" Basically, you write, write, write and don't bother to edit because you are forcing yourself to get 50,000 words.

This writing challenge was developed by The Office of Letters and Light and their motto is "Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon." Yes, I am lucky in that Mr. Daisy enjoys cooking the Thanksgiving turkey because I spent most of the holiday weekend writing.

I haven't been writing much since graduate school and it was fun, albeit tiring, month!

Now, it's time to finally catch up with my Christmas movie viewing (I've been saving the ones from the Hallmark Channel since before Thanksgiving!) and my other knitting projects - perhaps a few Christmas presents?

(#1 is, of course, the opening lines of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 novel, Paul Clifford. Its distinctive awfulness is what inspired the The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Their motto is "Where “WWW” means “Wretched Writers Welcome” and I recommend their site!)

Monday, November 28, 2011

A new friend or . . .

a tasty reminder of our trip to New Orleans?

Phil's got some attitude.
“My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.”

This  young pup has come to live at our house, courtesy of my son's third grade teacher. As a Red Swamp Crayfish, he doesn't do much and I'm the one having to clean his tank and feed him. Yet, every day when Youngest Child comes home from school, he runs to say hello to "Phil Falafel."

What I found disturbing was that right in the middle of my Thanksgiving food photos were these:

They almost look like we are raising him until he's big enough for some of this:

garlic crab fries, crawfish etouffee

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year's pies were coconut cream and cherry. Both were delicious.

It made up for having to go out tomorrow to shop.

Yes, I have to exchange yarn at Lila & Claudine's Yarn and Gifts because a daughter someone has decided to start knitting a gift for a person that I was going to make a gift for out of lovely yarn.

So, it's off to exchange it for another color so that I can make this cute pattern for someone else. 
Fun times, out on the roads on Black Friday.

On my needles, I've been doing a bit more knitting on the Turn of the Glass cardigan.

I still love the seed stitch edging!

I've just been fiddling around with this sweater since last spring and I'm really looking forward to being done

Hope your weekend is peaceful and full of delicious things!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Full Elvis

So, I'm working away at home. Mr. Daisy comes home for lunch (yes, if his office was any closer, it would be in my living room) and starts making some bacon. He looks at my sad little peanut butter and banana sandwich and says, "That looks like it needs some bacon."  And, surprisingly, it did!

We called it, "The Full Elvis."
It was delicious!

I will just tell myself it was in honor of my blogaversary. Yes, I started writing about knitting six years ago just prior to Thanksgiving. Bit by bit, I've added in spinning, weaving, cooking, sewing, etc., etc. 
Thanks for hanging in there!

I'm not knitting baby sweaters very much anymore but I'll tell you one embarrassing fact: I still have the blue sweater that I was knitting for my daughter. I knit it. Ripped it out. Swatched for another sweater. Tried another pattern. Ripped it out. I'm hoping to finally finish this project before she graduates from college. Keep your fingers crossed.

As for knitting, I'm currently ripping apart an unfortunate-looking hat (it was supposed to be Elizabeth Zimmerman's Snail Hat) to turn it into a Star Tam from Homespun, Handknit.

Long ago, the ripped apart hat was originally some of my own hand-spun yarn.

I think I bought the fiber at a Weavers' Guild Holiday sale but I know I didn't start spinning it until summer 2009. After about two skeins, I got bored. Well, I finally unearthed the rest of the fiber and it turns out, I need a winter hat. It's currently 20 degrees F. outside.

This is why the shoemaker's children have no shoes!

Add this to the fact that I'm doing NaNoWrimo this year and Thanksgiving is next week and I'm really suffering from a lack of sleep!

Back to those sandwiches . . .

Thursday, November 03, 2011

See the pumpkin . . .

eat the pumpkin!

Traditionally, I've made my kids eat a "real meal" prior to going out to make the rounds. This year - vegetable pot pie with cheese biscuit crust - in the shape of pumpkins. Very yummy!

As a former theatre costume shop manager, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  This year, I was fighting off a cold all weekend until Youngest Child told me that he wouldn't be able to go trick or treating because I hadn't finished his costume. Well, that made me break out the liquid cold medicine and get stitching.

This looks like a particularly busty knight but it just comes from trying to fit a "Youngest Child" sized costume on a "me" sized dress form.

Sir Knight right before he hit the road

with the rest of the neighborhood gang. 
Zombies, ninjas and angels - oh, my!

It was a beautiful evening for trick or treating so they had a long night of it.

But, what about the knitting,  you say. Knitting? Well . . . maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spinning my wheel (s)

After listening to a few bad episodes of The Knitmore Girls podcast that mentioned cleaning your spinning wheel, I threw caution to the winds and cleaned (with Murphy's Oil Soap) and waxed my Lendrum.

I've been spinning about an hour a day since then. I'm still working on "The Endless Fleece" - my first grey Shetland fleece - but I'm hoping to finally finish it up this fall. The plied yarn is a lofty soft grey - I think I'm going to measure it all out and see if there is enough for a sweater.

I'm also still working on those "two at a time" sleeves. Sigh. That's all you can say.

Outside the fiber world, I was inspired by the Vikings/Packers game on Sunday to  make a chicken pot pie for dinner. Despite the final score - the pie was delicious!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Banners at work

Halloween banners are totally workplace appropriate!

Or so Oldest Daughter told me. She took my latest into work to brighten up the help desk! I don't know who these two dudes are but they don't look impressed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shawls vs Sweaters

Partner in Crime, GFMelissa tempted me to come out scootering with her this past week. She looked much better (color cordinated!) so I used her picture instead. We puttered over to a local coffee shop and had a little knitting consult. 

You see, we had a little agreement this summer - she would knit a lace shawl and I would knit a Lopi sweater. Well, the shoe has fallen. She's started her lace shawl (the Skywalker shawl) and I am now doomed to start the Hans Lopi sweater.

I love the Lopi designs but - I'm not sure about the yarn. Let me confess, I actually bought the yarn for this sweater years ago. 

I actually dug out the box of Lopi yarn that I bought (from Webs) and I believe that it says "2007" on the label.

I only bought enough of the main yarn for a size 6 and Youngest Child now wears an 8 so I'm going to buy some two more skeins for the sleeves.

So, it's time to break out the size 6 needles and the dustbuster - Lopi yarn sheds like a son of a gun! - and get knitting.

I did finally finish up the Holden Shawlette.  I just needed to wake up and knit. The picot edging was particularly snooze inducing.

I like the floppy look of the edging but I didn't like the time it took to knit.

Besides knitting here and there during the last month, I've been sewing again. 

Holiday banners 

and gift bags.

I found this cute fabric on Middle Daughter has a thing for elephants so I may be making something for her next package.

I've still been collecting Saturday Seven's - this week is tee shirts and sweat shirts. 

Now, on to the next set of projects!

Monday, September 26, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

on the way home from the Minnesota Knitters' Guild. It was one of those nights that you only read about - windy, dark, spitting rain and lonely.  Since I've been re-reading the various permutations of Sherlock Holmes, it was particularly apt!

As for the rest of my life, not particularly mysterious. A bit trying, though.

Our September MKG meeting is always our largest meeting with a huge number of members bringing in their State Fair submissions and presenting them along with the most humorous part - reading aloud the judges comments.

With such terrible weather, we had fewer participants but each one had several items. We provided bottled water but pots of tea or coffee - or possibly bottles of wine! -  were what we really needed to keep staff and guests from running out of steam.

 I would also not recommend starting a lace pattern late at night, whilst laying on a couch and watching television. My entire knitting this past weekend was removing the misplaced laced pattern that I added in before finishing the main body of my Holden Shawlette.

Before I went away for the weekend, I did find the time to choose a Saturday Seven - and drop them off at GFMelissa's house for her youngest child. Pants, shirts, a robe and a stuffed animal. Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Not quite out from under the bed but . . .

close enough. Three girls go off to college and I get to clean up. And that means clean out! This collection - books, pants and sheets.

More pants (these are little boy's pants, though) clipboards, pencil cases and shoes.

More jeans and sheets.

Pants, shorts, sweaters and tee shirts.

An afghan, tee shirts, a book, a pair of kid's sunglasses and a camping table.

Socks, sewing patterns, sports bras and swimming goggles.

This little box full of . . .

toddler toys and animals. Just consider this as seven weeks of Saturday Sevens all at one time.

And back on the knitting front - still crawling along on the Holden Shawlette. One small feature I didn't quite pick up on - the lace pattern doesn't start until you work your way up to 193 stitches. Me? I'm at about 120. Ho, hum until then.

This was originally going to be a travel project and right now, I'm thinking I'd better get working on the Turn of the Glass cardigan. Next week's chilly weather speaks "cardigan" to me! The Holden can wait.

Especially as I've recently received a request. A knitting request for a Dr. Watson Sweater. This pattern for a variation on this sweater. Oh, my, it's going to be a busy autumn!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A flurry of activity . . .

turns into a swamp of very little.

Youngest Child may have found his career!

This Girl found a new friend!

I didn't make any of these but I plan on following their owners home.

And these fine items? Not mine either. I was in Maryland when entries were dropped off so, no State Fair entries for me.

These were from my fellow Textile Center enthusiasts.

Wee Folk!

This is all that This Girl left behind when she moved out. So I washed them and put them in her drawer.

Then I bought this to start the next pair.

This Holden Shawlette is still crawling about.

I am still waiting for my favorite season, Autumn, to really get started. 
The best part? No more weeding!