Monday, April 23, 2007

Cutest Baby Hat

This little hat looks like I picked it out of a case at New York Cupcakes. I can imagine a sweet baby in this hat. I made this hat from a kit from Fancy Image Yarn. The pattern is called Cutest Baby Hat by Myra Hansen. It would look really sweet with the sweater Lilly made from Fancy Image Yarn. A picture of that sweater is on a Jan. 31st post.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Very Special Birthday

BJ shown here is a significant member of our family. Unknown to us , on a large farm in Idaho 30 years ago a bay filly was born on St. Patricks day with a star as big as her little face. She was a carefully bred horse, having the most famous names in the Quarter Horse world on her registration. She acquired numerous points and awards in the American Quarter Horse Association circuit. She then bred 4 very successful colts. Taking advantage of her beautiful forward movement she was trained in dressage and became very successful, going up to the third level. All this was unknown to us when she came into our life. We were looking for a horse for our then 10 year old horse crazy daughter. We found her at a day camp for horse loving kids. She was not used by the children though since she was a highly spirited horse. She was used by the experienced trainers. It was one of those trainers that we knew who told us about her. We came to try her out. She was a beautiful sight. Huge muscular hind quarters and a wide deep chest gave her that classic foundation Quarter Horse look. She had very polite ground manners and a friendly curious interest in my daughter and I. Being the safe mom I tried her out first. She was smooth as silk, but boy did she want to go fast. I felt like I could barely keep her under control. My daughter could hardly wait to try her. She was a very capable rider but I was afraid BJ was too much horse for her. Before she got on, my daughter has a little ritual of letting the horse sniff her and pressing her head against against the horse's head. Well BJ understood, and she moved out with my daughter on her in a calm steady gait that was the picture of control. We bought her right then and promised BJ she would never be sold again. BJ and my daughter had many adventures together and they both loved to show winning lots of blue ribbons. BJ always gave me and any other person who rode her a wild ride, but she always took care of my daughter and kept her safe. My daughter is still riding dressage, she is competing nationally on the east coast this week for her collage team. She compares every horse she rides to BJ, as the perfect standard. So when BJ turned 30 this year, we felt we had to celebrate with a party with those who knew her and appreciated her for the wonderful spirit she has brought to all of us.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

OK, as promised, here is the A Swell Yarn "Duet" socks. It was quite a challenge getting a photo of them on my feet! I didn't want ANY of my white legs to be showing!
Two years ago Flo, Jo and I went to Flo's lake cabin to have a weekend "stitch and bitch". The first night all of us got ready for bed and Flo ( after a few glasses of wine) looked at me and said, "I didn't know you had to wear support hose!" I quickly told her I didn't, but we all cracked up laughing. My legs were SO white that she thought they were the white nurses support stockings! I have never heard the end of that one. So, since I didn't want this confirmed on camera, I had to get a picture of my socks WITHOUT legs! As you can probably tell in the photo, these were just a tad bit too loose on me. I will wear them as bed socks or slipper socks and I will adjust the pattern for the next pair. I will try four stitches less and an inch shorter. So, I learned three new techniques I hadn't tried before with this pattern. First there was the Magic Cast On, which is demonstrated on Renaissance Yarns web site, then I learned the Afterthought Heel, and finally I learned Elizabeth Zimmerman's elastic bind off. Socks are a whole new world! Yes, Flo, there is enough yarn in most skeins if you should ever decide to make two socks! :o)

Here We Go Again

Well, I was knitting along and I finished my Turquoise Duet socks, (that's really what picture I should be putting here) but I got an opportunity to
make these eggs. I have always wanted to make one of these and a very good friend of mine has made them for years. Soooooo, she said, "come on over and I'll show you how". What fun! It does take patience, but the reward is worth it. The bunny is the one I made with my friend and the bird one is going to a good friend for her birthday. I guess I have one more reason to shop. Well, yes, there is the chicken eggs, but then there are flowers, glitter, trims, miniatures............who would have thought a chicken egg had such potential!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Afterthought Heel

Who would have thought there were so many ways to knit a sock heel? This is the Afterthought Heel, which has been quite interesting. A row of waste yarn is knit into the sock (shown in previous post), then the waste yarn is removed when the sock is finished and the stitches from the removed yarn are picked up and knit with decreases. So far, so good! It is decreased until 24 stitches remain and then they are grafted with the Kitchener Stitch. Between the Magic Cast on and the Afterthought Heel, I am amazed by this pattern from Renaissance Yarns.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Miles Away

Okay, Lilly, I'll make a deal. You can teach me your new technique and I will purchase some new yarn and then I can start on a new pair of socks.

Note the word NEW.

This just might do the trick and get me motivated to knit, at least until summer. The real reason I don't knit in the summer is because I spend the summer months at our cabin, which is miles from the nearest milkbox...Lilly's Magic Milkbox.

I put my creative juices to good use, though. Making a Mojito is a fine art and I don't need Lilly for that, but I do need her to drink one with me every now and then!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Heaven, I'm in Heaven....

PUT YOUR KNITTING NEEDLES AWAY!?? Flo, say it ain't so! I'll never forget when Flo's daughter asked if Lilly knits in the summer too. Yes, daughter, Lilly knits in her sleep and all year round. I guess I need Flo to come over and work on my flowers because not only do I not like to get my hands dirty, but they are rarely without knitting needles! I have to save my hands for silk, alpaca, wool and cashmere. :o) My poor garden could REALLY use some help. Hmmm, maybe I could knit some felted flowers!
I just love this new sock yarn. I am in absolute heaven knitting with it. It is so soft and nice and the color is wonderful. The contrast heel and toe give some extra pizazz. I think I really do like the Magic Cast On and the toe up pattern. This is my second toe up sock, but I haven't done an Afterthought heel before. You use a row of waste yarn (which you can barely spot in the photo) and go back after the sock is finished and knit the heel. At least I THINK that is how you do it. Here's some progress, so you can see the beautiful colors of this yarn. Back to knitting, my hands have been without needles a whole 20 mintues! Hopefully, when Flo gets her garden finished, she will take pity and come work on mine.

Good Day To Be Me

This time of year is when my poor knitting needles go into hibernation, usually until October. I gather up my projects, stuff them in my knitting bag and there they will sit until I start getting that ancy, restless feeling that I can't put my finger on and it doesn't go away until I finally settle into my comfy chair with a new project in hand. Note: New Project. Picking up an unfinished project after months away from the needles is akin to eating a half eaten cookie that has been sitting on the counter for a day or two. I've been known to do just that, by the way, but nothing compares to a freshly baked still warm from the oven cookie...or two.

What will I do with my idle time between now and October? I will find any and every excuse to go outside and putter in my garden, digging up plants and dividing them and planting new ones. My approach to gardening is similar to my approach to knitting. The minute the plants start arriving at the nurseries I start itching to fill up a wagon full of perennials and annuals and anything that just might survive in my yard. I hunt and gather. I'm on a mission and I never go to a nursery looking for a specific plant. I search until something catches my eye. I don't have a plan, just yet. I buy first and think later. I won't know where I'm going to plant it until I get it home and then I take the little guy around until I find the perfect home. Sometimes it isn't perfect and I must dig him up, usually after he starts wilting from the heat of the all day sun because he is, in fact, a shade lover whose owner neglected to take notice and put him in with the geraniums and their sun loving friends. They probably talk about him behind his back which is why he is droopy and sullen and his leaves are burning from embarrasement. It causes me great angst to know I may have damaged him forever and he quite possibly would have had a better life in the hands of a Master Gardener with a Ph.D. in Soil Studies.

The way I approach gardening and knitting, or whatever it is I do, speaks volumes, which I am now finally discovering. No need to pay for a session with a shrink; take up a hobby. Start knitting or gardening and you will learn more about yourself than you ever care to know. My husband is the polar opposite and his approach to everything is very analytical and precise, always with a spreadsheet full of data he has gathered and entered ever so carefully. Very neat. Very tidy. Very structured. He often has a look of bewilderment or confusion on his face when I back in the driveway, open the back of my Suburban and, voila, there is a garden in my trunk. Green leafy plants spring forth, colorful blooms are abundant, a new pair of gloves to start the season. I am in my element until I hear my husband as he approaches.

"Where are you going to plant those?"

"Huh? I don't know. I havent' thought about it yet."

"If you had a plan and stuck to it then you would know exactly where you are going to plant them and you wouldn't waste so much time digging up plants and moving them every year."


Then we both look deep into each others eyes and walk away in total confusion. We don't think alike and never will. He doesn't understand my approach and I can't begin to think how boring it would be to approach things the way he does. I would be tired before I even got started if I had to lay out my garden on a spreadsheet and draw a detailed 3 dimensional layout of my yard before I could shop for plants.

There is a slight problem with this method, both in my gardening and knitting. I have a garden of yarn spilling forth from drawers and bags, needles a go-go, and several completed socks...but they are all different. Not one completed pair to wear.

Maybe I do need a shrink.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Yippppeeeeee! A new project! I bought this yarn from Renaissance Yarns about a month ago, but I made myself wait to start it until I finished my Rockin Sock Club project this month. This is another sock yarn called "Duet" It is a superwash Merino Wool and as you can see it includes a contrasting yarn for the heel and toe! It is produced locally here in Washington State by a company called A Swell Yarnshop. She doesn't repeat the colors, so when you see one you like, you HAVE to buy it then! My kind of purchase!! :o) I am so excited about the toe up technique from the STRC that I am going to try a traditional sock with this method! I will post my progress next week.

Pretty in Pink

One of my latest completed projects is this very soft feminine scarf designed by Megan Wright. It is a Hilltop Yarns pattern and is knitted in very soft Alpaca and Silk Yarn. I loved this pattern! It was easy to memorize and quick to work up! I hope I can do it justice and behave myself when I wear it! ME? Behave?
Pattern: Rhapsody in Lace and Ruffles #00074
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca Silk (4 skeins) color: Blush
Needle #7 US

Monday, April 2, 2007

Latte Art

No, this isn't from Starbucks!