Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

... As the stockings were hung, by the chimney with care...
Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

While you're preparing for the holidays...

Do me a favor...reach out and hug your family members really tight...for a really long time. Even the ones you have issues with. I have 4 items left to knit and 2 to sew to get ready for 'the big day'. Then on Saturday morning I'm hopping on a plane to go home. I need to be with my Mom and family as they have been called home to say their goodbyes to her big sister. She's my Auntie who taught me to knit when I was a little kid and her path with Alzheimer's seems to be coming to a close.

Let this season be one that brings you peace and love and healing. May good memories both support you and be created to carry you and yours throughout the years to come. Family is a precious thing where I come from. There is NOTHING that can replace it. I'm hugging my kids tonight really tight..and soon I'll be hugging the rest of the family just as tightly. Consider yourselves all hugged from me, too. May you all enjoy the memories, traditions and love passed down through your own families.

From my house to yours..Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Now..go hug someone.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Worsted, worsted, worsted....bulky.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoo we just knew it had to happen...karma will put all things in order. Daily. Right?

I was sooooo happy with the way that Mom's scarf turned out and really pleased that something that is fairly easy, turns out so well, and looks so complicated. Ok, so that's a bit of the ego, but I feel that way about knitting cables, too. For me, it's never been difficult to knit cables or lace, but non-knitters think it's a whole lot of work. It's not brain surgery, or rocket science. If the pattern is written correctly, I can generally get it to work. And I like that. There are plenty of doctors and engineers and technical people out there to do the things I can't so I don't have to. But it's fun to know that I can do somethings that others either can't or won't and with a few twists and turns, or yo's or sk2p's it's going to look great. Add to that a quick wash and block...and waaa-laaa, it looks even better! (And at the same time reminds us that knitting with different fibers than you generally use, feels really good to your hands!)

So....once you're sitting back, admiring what you've already done, feeling pretty smug with yourself, learn another lesson from me. Karma, it's going to come back for a visit.

Let's start this little story from the beginning. And since I'm pretty sure the 'yet to be recipient' doesn't read this, I can tell you all the 'twisted' details.

6 months or so ago, I started looking for the 'correct' colors to knit a beanie for the boyfriend for one of my daughters. One would think that with all my yarn in my stash, I could just open a bin and it would be there waiting for needles. Ah. Not so. One would ALSO think that yarn companies should keep 'on the books' the original crayola 8 colors in their basic color lines. Ah. Not so either, apparently.

Now, I have been looking not only for a wool type in these same colors, but also in a hemp yarn. The 'theme' for this search is the Rastafarian Movement. What better way to knit up 'Rasta' themed items, than to use hemp yarn? [Do some reading on the subject matter, especially if you're a 'green' kind of person! Then, write to your Congressman/woman] ANY way....

Over the past 6 months I have searched through a gazillion nooks and crannies for these 4 colors. For the same weight, in the same brand, in stock all at the same time. Black, red, yellow and green. Shouldn't be a difficult search. Right? Wrong. I can find 2 or 3 in the same brand, but not 4. Or not available at the same time from a single store. Paton's has Black and Red. Lion Wool had the yellow. No one that I could find had the right color green.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I started looking online for a single source. Same trouble I kept coming up with, until someone on one of the yahoo groups mentioned Webs. Not ONLY did they have get this...ALL 4 Colors in Cascade 220...but they were in stock, and could ship with more than enough time for me to knit the hat.

Interject a side note here. I generally don't knit on purpose for Christmas gifts. I don't plan it that way. I'm just not organized for the number of gifts that I'd like to make for people. Many years ago, I started in March knitting sweaters for a whole group of nieces and nephews for their gifts. I think I finished about 2 days before Christmas. It turned out to be a bit of a disaster, yadda yadda yadda...So I decided then and knit for those who appreciate and not put the stress of a time table and just send it on it's way. My own niece would be the perfect example. Her birthday is in September and for the past few years as I come up with ideas that she would like, I intend to get them finished over the summer in hopes that I could mail them in time for her birthday but end up being lucky enough to get things to her before the end of the year.

This year, I'm really proud of myself. Not only did I get Mom and Dad's gifts wrapped and shipped prior to March or June (soooooooooooo many gifts have been handed to them in those months, I kid you not.) But, I was also able to send along some baking for them! I was on a roll. I didn't send the scarf with the box, but knowing that it would be light weight and small to ship, I knew it could go separately and still make it on time. So, click, click, click. I worked away....I had also found a hat pattern (the mushroom hat) that was easy enough to make a hat, or three for my Dad and brothers to slip into the box just in time for Christmas giving. And I had had the colors in my stash that I wanted to use. So, I decided that a little knitting for Christmas wouldn't hurt this year. They went so fast, that I thought I'd add a hat, or two for my son. Then...feeling pretty sure of myself, I decided to add hats for all three of my daughters' boyfriends. Oh boy! Smug. I mean, we were on a roll, and things were happening fast. And really very well.

This is all that was left over of the skein of Plymouth Ecco Cashmere that I used for the scarf. I was really 'feeling my oats' as they say. Even with a couple of days off from knitting on the scarf, as I worked on the hats, it still got done. And then blocked. And then photographed. And then blogged. Boy, the britches were getting big now!

In between time, the online ordering came into place. Point, click...point click..ship, ship, ship....the holidays were falling into place without a whole lot of trying to find a parking place, grumpy salespeople, or 'sorry I just sold the last one a few moments ago'. [can you see where this is going?] Smooth as a baby's behind. Well, sorta. One item was ordered the first week in November, and has been repeatedly been delayed over and over again. Other items were procured in it's place, and if it ever shows up, well, that's OK, there's always other gift giving opportunities to use it for. A second one was ordered as 'in stock' that then went to 'delayed' for 2 weeks, then moved into the 'sold out' category. I had been searching for that one since September. However, another has been found and with the 'gift' of pay 'through the nose' amounts, it should be here by Wednesday. Whew. Love the 'free shipping' many companies were giving this year! The final 'saved by the seat of my pants' happened just last night. While out and about shopping, I'd been trying to order online one of the pastry boards for pies and cookie baking. My computer had frozen up and I wasn't sure the order had gone through. I figured I'd give it over night before trying to call and see if it made it through when I walked into a store and bingo-there it was for about 1/2 the cost!

Oh, ya. Did the happy dance all the way home last night! No shipping costs, no delays, no worries. Even started making plans to have a particular baker's helper come over on Wednesday to help me christen the board. Roll, baby...we were on it. All over it. Like flour in my kitchen after my babies had helped with the baking years ago. alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll over it!

And smug.

Smug will kill you.

Turned on the computer last night to hear the Webs order has been delayed until December 29th. This after finishing all the other hats. Meaning the colors for the one hat that I have been TRYING to knit since June, will not make it on time for Christmas. The other 8 have been completed, washed, blocked and wrapped. Karma, I tell you!

As I was getting to the Post Office to return a box this afternoon, I got some news via text message that threw me off my game. It's not anything that I can do a thing about, and it's a heart breaker, and I just didn't want to deal with it. So with it being 80*F outside, and totally not feeling like Christmas (no snow and slush and ice), I thought I'd run a few errands and dash into the LYS to pick up some yarn for another gifting project that didn't have a deadline. Imagine my reaction to walking through the front door of the store and smack dab in the center of the first display on the counter was THE PERFECT GREEN COLOR in Lamb's Pride! Oh baby! Then, the red, the yellow..the black! OH man! I was about ready to have a Carlton dance moment when I then went to look in the hemp section and check out what I was able to find:

Holy cow! I was able to reset my thinking motors and my feet were not sitting still. They wanted to 'bust a move' and my fingers were itching to snap while the Carlton Dance was hopping around my head! 6 Months. 4 single colors. 2 different types of fibers. All in 1 bag, card swiped and out the door! Prayers for the text messages having been said, and prayers of blessings while I drove home with my treasures! We were going to knit and knit fast and then wrap, wrap, wrap and really get down to some Christmas decorating around this house.

My daughter was off to work and my son went to a basketball game, compliments of his friend. I grabbed the yarn and needles and plopped my behind into the chair for some long winter knitting. OK, so it was 80*F, the doors and windows were wide opened, the TV was on but we were on a roll! Me, and the needles. Oh baby! We had outsmarted the 'back ordered' gremlins! We had spit into the wind. We had laughed at deadlines. We had figured it out. Yarn, in lap. Needles in hands.

Karma hit.

Can you see it? Look closer. Can you figure what went wrong? Look again. It's there..staring me right in the face. Only as I took the pictures prior to sitting in the chair I never noticed it. What, you can't see it? Look once more. It's there....





Knitters, you know that feeling, don'tcha?

Air out of the tires, balloon popped, straight back to ground zero, karma smacking you right between the eyes.

Yep, some days just end up like that.

Worsted, worsted, worsted...bulky.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Magic Time!

Take 1 tsp of Eucalan, add 1 gallon of tepid water into a clean bowl,

carefully load in a cashmere lace scarf and leave to soak for 15 minutes.

Add one really old, ugly king sized sheet that has line on it, and spread it out on the floor.

Take off all rings,

Gently roll scarf into towel to soak up the water without felting the scarf.

Add 140 pins, give or take and pin scarf out using the pattern on the sheet to keep it evenly pinned.

How do You use your cookie racks?

Using the rest of the Euclan water, soak wool hats that also need a 'bath'. MAKE CERTAIN to go from light to dark...why?????????????

The Burgundy Paton's Classic Wool-bled. All.over.the.white.towel.

See? It even left the water pink.

Leave to dry over night...

Take out the pins and hang in the back yard...

Yo! Mr. DeMille, the scarf ready for it's close up!

Waaaa. Laaaa.....all Prettied up!

Snap, snap, snap goes the camera, wrap, pretty bow and mail off to Mom for Christmas delivery!

This is going to look fabulous with Mom's red coat on Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Want a fast gift? Copy an apron that you already have in your closet, cut out double fabric, use grosgrain ribbon for ties and stitch it back to back. Then, make matching aprons for the granddaughters to match their Grandma!

One more mushroom hat done...

5 more to click click....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ta-da! Just needs a bath and a block!

More details with the blocked picture...after it's gotten all 'prettied'.

And yes, I took another 2 days off from knitting on it. OY! So many other things to do this month!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

getting there...

The best laid plans-huh? Here's where I made it by Friday night. I had to stop when I found myself repeatedly falling asleep, and dropping stitches. For knitting lace dangerously-meaning not using a lifeline, that was not a good thing to do. The scarf is at 25 pattern repeats right now, with 13 of 50g of yarn to knit yet. I figure that should be roughly 8 more pattern repeats. Which means had I worked on it yesterday, I would have been finished by now. [I really do love this yarn! I need to start knitting with better fibers for myself! What a treat to feel it flow through my hands!]

That means, I didn't touch it for one single stitch at all! My kids had company here at the house yesterday, and I enjoyed the visit. Baked a little for Christmas packages, and now have to hit the floor running today! I want to finish the baking and the scarf today, not to mention there's a bit of sewing that needs to be accomplished as well, and get it all popped into the mail tomorrow morning.

OK. Quit laughing. It's good to have a plan. And I like to dream really big!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh boy...I may have bit off a bit too much...

We're (yes, we, as in the needles and me) are at the 10 pattern repeat mark. HOWEVER, as you can clearly see...WE have a ways to go yet...Friday's not going to happen..but I'm willing to go down fighting! Someone please, pry the needles out of my hands when they freeze in that position!

On the plus side, this cashmere is a real treasure to knit with! Sooooooooo soft!

Back to clicking!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

If it's needles are clicking.., tink tink..., tink, tink...

isn't that the way it's suppose to sound in December?

I finished the HUGE pink and black Christmas project and the baby blanket over the past weekend for middle daughter's friends who already had their baby girl, so that should have already been mailed off.

I have 3 mushroom hats done now for my two brothers and my Dad.

Check out what I found in issue #11 of The Knitter!

Kay shows her dishcloth that she knit for The Dishcloth Hangups for 2010 Calendar!

Here's the Contents page and...

And the page of Kay and Ann's article. Still seems strange to see the name of something I'm attached to in 'print'. At times I want to run down the Joann's aisles where I picked up my copy and show everyone there that this is where (the link to order the calendars is part of Kay's article) you can get the calendar that has my patterns in it...and other times I look at it Someday when I grow up, I wonder what it will feel like to have my patterns in print. Then I have to remind myself..oh already happened! It's defiantly an 'out of body' experience for me.

Knitting needles aren't the ONLY needles that have found their way into my life. Yep...

Piggy Flu, stay away from me! I have been stuck good to do my part to keep you at bay.

In the meantime,

I'm trying to get this finished by Friday to mail off to my Mom. This is another of those 'patterns with purchase' that came with my Plymouth Earth Ecco Cashmere. It's 12 row pattern repeat and as you can see I have a whole 4 pattern repeats completed at this point. Since it takes the whole skein for the scarf....

I'm thinking it's going to take me a whole lot of knitting to get this me ...

think it could be substituted for Jingle Bells?

Good luck to you and yours as you prepare for your holiday season! I'm off to work on Christmas knitting!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Still playing catchup!

Still playing catch up know, sometimes when you start baking/cooking, just like heading through the buffet line, your eyes get a bit bigger than your stomach! Well, going back to the NY trip, I had picked so many things to do there, that I just didn't have time for every thing that I wanted to do, including blogging. So, here are some more pictures and updates from the recent past. AND if the computer will remain connected to the Internet, I'll be able to finally post these for your reading pleasure...
Let's see...there was cake...

and cake...

and cake...

and chicken enchiladas...

and yet, still more cake...thanks to the youngest daughter's pick of 'numbers'...

my birthday was celebrated by the kids doing the cooking! Got to love having kids who can cook! (sadly I missed the picture of the beef stew the middle daughter made-for me!)

And what cook, doesn't deserve a kiss?

Or goofy grins for the 'correct' numbers?

Then, Thanksgiving came, and there was more cooking...

and our 'entertainment' was compliments of Big Brother teaching Little Brother how to play Guitar hero against...

Youngest sister...

And for Mom's birthday, I copied one of her reversible aprons with Charlie Brown and the gang's Christmas fabrics...

with the other side in Red and White stripes. You can't see it well, but both sides have pockets on them. Not too shabby for copying an apron Mom's already got hanging in her pantry!

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I was still knitting. A couple of weeks ago, while at Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, I picked up a pattern for a BSJ that fits on a bottle of beer. I thought I'd use Dale of Norway's Baby Ull, and shrink it down farther to make an ornament for the Christmas tree! I added the attached I-cord, and clearly have some more tinkering to do with this. I'm not thrilled with how my neckline came out. But as I did with my first BSJ, I knit it up in a solid yarn. Now I can go back and add stripes where I know they'll turn out. The neckline needs some attention, too. Can you see these made up for friends and family in colors to match hockey jerseys? Like I've done for the baby sweaters? Too cute for the sports minded in your family and gift list? I can't wait for more time on 'my plate' to really play with this pattern. But, can you see how little it turned out? It's got a 3 inch measurement across the 'chest' area to give you an idea next to my lens cap.

Next up, I'm making some hats for quick last minute Christmas gifts for my brothers. I have one done in Navy and Burnt Orange Paton's Classic Wool, (US) 6 (4.0mm) needles using the Mushroom cap pattern from Morehouse, you can find the pattern here:

My middle daughter found these for my Birthday! They may quite possibly be the perfect blend of Raspberry and Milk Chocolate flavors, in my book! (Most put dark chocolate with raspberry...) I'm not sure if she needs to receive my undying love for this, or the responsibility for buying me some more workout gear...ahahahaha...But OH BABY I love 'em!

Yesterday, I started the annual Christmas cookie baking mess...errrr...process..Peanut Butter Blossoms! (Recipe over <----there).

Today, it's my goal to finish this baby blanket and make Swedish Cream Wafers (also over <----). We'll see how far I get! After all...I want a particular box in the mail by Saturday! And I've got a bit more knitting to finish before that can happen!

Happy knitting/crocheting/baking!