Monday, December 30, 2013

Thinking ahead to 2014

 There is a great book out there called Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill. In this book, the author Susan Hill was looking for an wanted book in her library when she ran across many others on her own shelves  that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. This inspired her to start a year of reading her books and not buying new books until she had read her own stash.

As a knitter, I know stash. I recently had to move my stash (not a complete airing but a shuffling around) in order to get into some filing cabinets in the same closet. After a good look around,  I realized, "I have a ton of projects ready to go!"

Yep. Yarn purchased, in project bags, patterns printed and even needles set aside. At least 14 undone projects. That's a lot of yarn.

So, I've been planning my 2014 as a stash down year just as Susan Hill read down her own "stash" of books. And, I'm also planning to read off my own shelves - real and on my kindle - to get some of my own book "stash" used up as well.

Susan described a book as one "which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life." 

I am hoping my "14 projects in 2014 Stash and Project Busting" (14in14S&PB) will be as inspiring. Right now, I'm planning on attacking my current WIPs:

1.  Advent Scarf
2.  Sock Yarn Mittens
3.  Caherciveen for james
4.  miss winkle
5.  Lady Londonberrry
6.  Acer Love
7.  OwlMittens
8.   It calls, “Finish me, finish me!” (My Benedetta)

as well as from my queue which now reflects my "Bag of Bags" holding all my planned-but-not-yet-knitted projects. 

9.  The Socialite
10. Easy Folded Poncho
11. To infinity and Beyond Cowl
12.  Basic Ribbed Socks
13.  Felted Woolly Owl
14.  Pine Forest Baby Blanket

I'll work through my queue as well but not in any particular order. And, of course, I'll be popping some charitable projects such as mittens or bears or cowls into the mix as needed. 

 Same with my books. I've had some half-read books for almost a year and it's time to get them gone! Then, I'll work through any unread books on my shelves and then, from my library reading list. 

Of course, I'll slip a few new books in there as well because of my book group, etc. BUT not until something is finished first!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

One month later - or - The Holiday Deluge

Once again, knitting survives the Holiday Deluge.

And the still unfinished Advent Scarf . . . 

And the latest addition to my stash? Santa knew just what to put in my stocking!

Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn in gray

Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn in rainbow

I sense a two color shawl coming on . . .

Friday, November 29, 2013

A package arrived today . . .

I am a big procrastinator. In fact, during college when I first began dating my then-boyfriend/now-husband, one of my professors called us the procrastinator couple.

I can't help it - I just work better on a deadline.

Several deadlines? No probs.

So, this month, I'm already doing NaNoWriMo (over 50,000 words right now but not finished) and participating in a SavvyGirls Podcast Swapetition. The theme was "Winter is coming" and I had a lot of fun planning my package. Then, I decided to knit something for my swap partner. And bake something. And it was all due by November 30.  

A friend asked me to run in a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving with her as well, so - 

Me and Miss Steph, the most cheerful running companion ever. Also, very fast!
that meant making time to train. Toss in some random charity and family Christmas knitting and I'm existing on coffee fumes. 

Today, after I returned from mailing my own swap package, I found a sweet surprise waiting for me.

My own swap partner, PJ from New Hampshire, had sent me a lovely gift.

Everyone lurking to see the big reveal . . .

First off, a card with a scene from Nashua, New Hampshire

All the goods -  my favorite Rowan yarn, candy, tea and fabric and a hand knitted Washington Square hat.

Youngest Daughter thought she'd be the best model for it.

I had to tuck my hair up - maybe it's a sign I should get my hair cut?

I can't wait to tell you what I sent as well. All in all, a very successful Swapetition!

As Tuesday was my birthday, I have a little more yarn to show you.

Dear Mr. Daisy bought me this lovely Cephalapod Yarns Bugga sock weight yarn from Knitty City in New York City. Great choice! I am going to be knitting the Advent Scarf from Lila & Claudine's this year and this will be the perfect yarn.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sew, sew, write, write, write, KNIT, write, write

Whoever thought of having NaNoWriMo in November was seriously disturbed.

First, Halloween always demands a costume - or two.

Youngest Child asked for a Newsies costume. Basically, they don't make vests for little boys anymore. So, I bought a woman's vest from a thrift store and then dyed it gray. Then, I found out what a paper boy's bag looked like and sewed one. Then, I stenciled it with the name of the newspaper that the news boys were striking against back in 1899. 

Luckily, he already had the hat!

Then, it was time to set up our little version of Godric's Hollow. Since we made all our tombstones before the movie version came out,  I think we might need to update them next year!

And, then it was time to finish up another pair of mittens for the Children's Comfort Tote Project. As I didn't have a camera handy, I had to use my computer's camera to take this terrible photo of a soft, soft pair of mittens.

And, now, I'm all tied up with NaNoWriMo 2013. Yep, third year of crazy non-stop writing.  Time to say good bye for about - three more weeks. 

By then, I'll also have a mystery project knitted for a knitting gift exchange and, possibly some more of my Benedetta sweater. Crazy, of course.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Are you blue?

Last week, I attended an indigo dyeing class at the Textile Center of Minnesota. I've dyed yarn with homegrown indigo before and it never really took. But this time, we experimented with pre-reduced Indigo Crystals that made a much deeper color.

The four small skeins in the back came out of a cold water dye and the darker, larger skein came out of a hot water dye vat. Both yarns are hand spun - I think it might be merino.

I also tried a little merino curls  - carding that up and then spinning it is next on the list! 

The class was full of amazing students - some dyeing fiber and hand spun yarn, some commercial yarns, some even dyeing linens and kimono fabric. 

I can't wait to try this on my own!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mittens are the best treat for Mitten Day

I have only a quick update from back on October 14 - 

Happy Mitten Day!

Yep, I tried to celebrate by making a few pairs of mittens for a charitable group up in Maine, The Children's Comfort Tote Project.

From their Facebook page:

"We are trying to gather mittens for children (ages 3-12) transitioning from the local shelter in Augusta, Maine to new homes. The Comfort Totes will have a new pillow, PJ's, dental care items, a nightlight and other comforting items including mittens, hats and a blanket ( hoping some can be afghans..even donated squares 7 x 9 that we can assemble) Does anyone have time to make some squares or a few pairs of mittens or a hat?

For those wondering WHERE to send items please send
Nancy Bartlett
Children's Comfort Tote Project
65 Lincoln Street
Augusta, ME 04330

For those who are wondering WHEN as soon as possible,
our dream is to have the totes filled before 12/31/13."

Two sizes - one 12 yr. old and one two year old. The larger ones are the "No gauge, no swatch mittens" and the smaller are the "Maize" pattern from TinCanKnits.

I'm also making a pair of sock yarn mittens from "Mittens to Fit" using Serenity Sock Yarn. I'm still a little iffy on these ones. They seem a lot of work for, you know, mittens.

Unfortunately, what's holding me back from churning out mittens is a bad, bad cold.
In fact, late last week I remember groaning aloud and saying to my husband, "How could you bring this home to us?' He had it from work (a week of illness), then I got it (I'm finishing up the week) and now Middle Daughter who lives at home has it. Ugh.

I may have to disinfect the whole batch before I send them on . . .

Thursday, October 03, 2013

National Poetry Day does - Sherlock!

I love reading and rereading the Sherlock Holmes stories but I wasn't aware that there was Sherlock-inspired poetry until I read about here at the "I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere" website. This accompanies the excellent IHOSE podcast and is a fascinating resource for fans of The Detective. 

I'd also heard of National Poetry Day but not this poem. You can also hear a recording of the poem being read aloud here at the University of Minnesota Library’s Media Archive.
It seems perfect for a grey October day . . .


Here dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game’s afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears–
Only those things the heart believes are true.

A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen ninety-five.
                                        - Vincent Starrett  

(October 26, 1886 – January 5, 1974; author of the Adventure of the Unique Hamlet, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and other writings)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Barely knitting or . . . knitting bearly?

Things are moving pretty slowly on the knitting front at Chez Daisy. I did complete one more Mother Bear project.

Meet Petal!

My suggestion? Don't decide to put on a neck bow after you sew on the face. Her's keeps popping up and covering up her face. 

I also finally finished my Botany Shawl. I just wasn't feeling the love for this shawl for a long time.

A bit washed out - really more of a bottle green.
I found it hard to see the pattern appearing so I really just had to take it on faith that I wasn't messing up.

It is so soft - I can't wait for cool weather to wear it about town. I did knit the smaller size and it used up one skein of yarn almost exactly.

I also found out that I was a winner on the 2 Knit Lit Chicks' Mother Bear KAL/CAL. I won this cute little project bag which winged all the way from Frenny in England and her "It's Sew in the Bag" Etsy shop.

That's me - Sassy and Classic!

It's called the Sassy Classic and it has a cute little tab to help keep it organized in my larger knitting bag. Perfect for mittens or socks! I recommend that you check her shop out!

My next step is to jump back into knitting my "first" sweater for 2013 - only it looks like it will be my only sweater. Time to buckle down, ladies, and get something done.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Cap'n be eyein' this with pleasure

Yes, once again, me hearties, it's

Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Need an eyepatch? Get one here!

Spending time in the galley? Git yr'self a washcloth here!

Need something to keep yr grog warm? Get a wrist warmer here!

Need somethin' to warm yr noggin? Try the hat from here!

And just remember  to ARGH!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Still surviving

"Survivor Tree"

Tree outside the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

From their website

"The callery pear tree became known as the Survivor Tree after sustaining extensive damage, but living through the September 11, 2001, terror attacks at the World Trade Center. In October 2001, the tree with lifeless limbs, snapped roots and blackened trunk was discovered and freed from the piles of smoldering rubble in the plaza of the World Trade Center. The tree was originally planted in the 1970s in the vicinity of buildings four and five in the WTC complex near Church Street."

This photo was taken in January 2012 after the Memorial opened but before the main body of the museum has opened.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Bears have Arrived!

My first three Mother Bear Project bears. 

"The Mother Bear Project provides comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear." 

That's how their website describes these lovely comforting little bears. I've made three in the last couple of weeks because they are entirely addicting. My copy of the Mother Bear pattern came from my copy of "Knitting for Peace" but you can also get the pattern here. I can't wait to drop them off!  

The most recent bear is named Paul. 

I forgot to mention two great fiber gifts I picked up on vacation this summer.

Harmony, PA, is a tiny little village built by the Harmony Society in 1804. It's in western Pennsylvania near where my family lives. The Harmonists were a millennial pietist group that lasted in Pennyslvania for about ten years before they moved elsewhere. As a result, there are lots of beautiful German style stone buildings in Harmony. In recent years, this has become a bit of a hippie hangout - a little like Yellow Springs, Ohio, in fact - and one great store there is Darn Yarn Needles & Thread.

The perfect name - Pumpkin!

I've had some Unplanned Peacock Studio yarn before and I was so please to find this lovely autumnal skein.

Since spinning is like enjoying your yarn twice, I also picked up some fiber.

The "Woodland" colorway

This is the softest Bluefaced Leicester top from Wild Hare Fiber Studio. The green/gray color reminded me of the deep shadows of late summer.

I'd love to get back to Harmony this fall. And it looks like they have a Christmas Market as well - hmm.  Sounds like a flying family visit this winter!

I am also thinking ahead to winter and making some skirts. This collection of scraps is the same pattern as my Little Bits quilt but once it's all sewn together, I am going to use it in a skirt. 

Mmm, autumn!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two bears, one shawl and 1119 miles

Hello earthling

It's "back to school" time of year and that means the annual drive to Annapolis, MD to drop Youngest Daughter off at school. 
I pulled out a bag of leftover Lion Brand Wool Ease and set to work. 1037 miles later - I had two little bears.

Oliver - Mother Bear Project Bear #1.

Clara - Mother Bear Project Bear #2.


Boy, were these addictive! And I was pleasantly surprised how easy the pattern went. I adapted the pattern from "Knitting for Peace" into an in-the-round version and then went a step further and made it a la Magic Loop.

After I finished two, I pulled out my Botany Shawl and went to town on that as well. I have about two more rows to go before binding off, blocking and  - photos! I guess there is something to traveling long, long distances in search of an education!

Along the way, we stopped off to tour the Gettysburg Battlefield. Very interesting - but also very sobering as well.

Monument to the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

And - it's done

Once again, poor photos fail to show the cuteness of a finished item.

I ended up using a light blue sewn on edging and a deeper blue backing.

Both were batik fabrics - I think they make a nice, allover pattern with the long arm quilting in white.

What I'll do with it - I'm not so sure. Gift? My own use? Giant tablecloth or wall hanging? 

Hmm. Now - back to knitting!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Happy Quilt Day!

I finally finished and sent off to be quilted my Craftsy Block of the Month quilt - for 2012. All that is left is putting on my edging. 

This view of the yard makes my husband cry.

The backing is bright blue and the edging will be lighter blue.

Onward - to knitting!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two projects down - two to go.

I can't believe I didn't take a completed picture - but I finally finished my Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month quilt top. The photo below is when I was laying out possible block combinations. I went on to add sashing and borders in white. Then, I picked out a light blue batik print fabric for the back and drove it over to Two Quilting Ladies to be quilted.

Let me tell you - it really took time away from my knitting! I'm looking forward to seeing it come back in August.

And on the knitting front - 

This rumpled mess is my Fledermaus-tuch - knit up in Dream in Color Starry. There really isn't a good way to photograph it and - as it is over 85 degrees today - I'll wait a bit before modeling it.

With those out of the way, I'm back working on the Benedetta by Carrie Bostick Hoge. Still on the yoke . . . still gray and impossible to photograph.

I've also been working on my other shawl - 

the Botany Shawl from TinCanKnits's Handmade in the U.K. I love all the patterns in this book and highly recommend it.  I'm sure you'll be seeing more of her patterns here in the future! I'm also playing around with starting another shawl - the Black Death Shawl? - or my long-forgotten Acer. Hmm. 
Time to enjoy the air-conditioning and knit!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Creeping along

So, that sweater I started with the weird loose set of stitches? I worked and worked it but - I wasn't able to fix it. So, after an evening of tv watching and unwinding, washing and hanging the hank - I started again with the world's largest ball of yarn. 

This time - a Benedetta. Hopefully, since it isn't a 360 degree kind of sweater, it will go faster. Sigh.

Also, our new bundle of sunshine, Nico, decided to eat the heel out of Youngest Child's favorite socks. Sigh.

Even the Fledermaus Shawl is creeping along right now -  it's my carry-along project for soccer games, band concerts and church services - but it's all garter stitch. Sigh.

On the up side - I finally finished up my quilt blocks from the 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month class.

Cleopatra's Puzzle Block

Chain Block

Friendship Circle Block

Circle of Geese

At this rate, I'll be finishing up the whole quilt by 2015! And I'll be able to cuddle up with my newly-completed Benedetta. Sigh. I'm really hoping June will end on a better note . . .

Monday, May 06, 2013

Spring fever - I've got it

It's a bit embarrassing to have to admit that I've only completed two little baby hats since we last met. 

Yes, there has been ribbing (and binding off - woot!) completed on the gray Breezy Cardigan and I've actually had to rip out and re-cast on for the Acer Cardigan (new yarn was absolutely necessary) and I've worked a few more rows on the Fledermaus but it all boils down to -

Spring Fever.

Baby hats are merely a drop in the bucket of what I want to accomplish right now.

The Baby Leaves Baby Hat is easy and charming.

The second hat - an Otis Baby Hat - was fun as well.

(Flicker is playing jokes on me right now!)

But the best thing going on right now is


Next up on the springtime front?