Friday, August 29, 2008

Photo Lineup and Yarn Cakes

I have been a woman on a mission. I've made some good progress on the Stardust s/s cardi for DD17, more pictures next week. I added beads for a little bling and DD and I both really like the way it's turning out.

I made my way back to Twist and swapped out the sherbet leftovers for some "boy colors" of the same yarn. Boys deserve equal time, don't they? I think this looks like a police photo lineup. This yarn is just going to go to the stash box for a while.

I also picked up 2 lonely skeins of dark red Classic Elite Provence. I had seen them the last time I was in Twist and told myself that if they were still there, I would have to grab them. They say "Holiday Table Runner" to me. I have even looked at stitches for this project, too, so I guess you could say it's a project on the radar.

And to satisfy my curiosity, I finally ventured to the "other" yarn shop in town, Heritage Hut. The atmosphere wasn't nearly as welcoming as Twist, and, true to what others had said, the stock was completely different. She stocks TONS of leaflets, which surprised me in a good way. I was also happy to see DMC Cebelia in every color and in 3 weights! I bought some Reynolds Morocco in cream, a bulky cotton/linen blend for a quickie project (it's a secret for now). The Morocco and the Provence both needed to be wound, so that meant the kitchen counter had to be cleaned off! 

And I "baked" yarn cakes!

Finally, I made it to the Thursday night SNB at Twist and Shelly had helpers putting together new glass display cases. I am thrilled to see such a fun LYS succeed to the point that Shelley can reinvest in the business and make the shop even better. You go, girl! 

DH decided that he would go to TX this weekend, so no Woolie Ewe for me after all. I think I have enough to keep me busy right here! I hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend with lots of relaxing time to knit! I plan on it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All Swatched Out

I worked lots of swatches over the last 2 days... forget jute, at least in the weight I have. It's not pliable enough to knit with, and I think it would have really hurt my hands if I tried to tighten it up. So..... I started Stardust for DD. When I get to the lace pattern, I think I will try adding some beads. DD can decide if she likes them, or if the ones I am planning to use are too heavy for the yarn.

I am hoping to run by the Twist today and swap out the leftovers from the sherbet yarn for something different, maybe the same yarn in "boy" colors, maybe something totally different. And it's high time to stop in at the other LYS in town. I haven't been there yet, but I hear that the stock is completely different. It's nice that the 2 shops don't have the same stuff. I have a couple of projects in mind that I don't have the right yarn for. Isn't that the way it always is?

This weekend will bring more opportunities for stash enhancement. I am taking DD to the Dallas area for a soccer tournament. I think that means a stop in Plano at The Woolie Ewe. I have never been there, but if their web site is any indication of what's actually in stock, it could be very hard to make choices without blowing the budget! I think our game schedule will work in my favor for once! I have been to tournaments there several times, but stopping by the yarn shop just never worked out. October means a trip to Des Moines, IA - anybody know of a fun LYS there?

The transition from laid back summer to school days is a bear! I think I need to relax and knit (or at least shop for yarn). I hope you have a good day!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Swatch Day

Finally!  I finished knitting the last of the baby designs. All they lack is applying snap closures. Here's a sneak peak. These should be sent off for review in a couple of days. Sorry I can't show you more. :)

So now I am in a dilemma of what to work on next. Mind you, there is no shortage of choices. I think I will spend the day swatching. I am really anxious to fiddle with the new Baby Llama, but I also want to work on an idea I have for knitting with jute and beads. If the jute is too hard on my hands, forget it! 

This will be a good day for swatching.... isn't that what you do when you are waiting around in medical clinics? 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Road Trip Stash Enhancement

Home again! I have made 2 road trips since last Friday, the weekend soccer trip to KC (they won all 4 games), and then a "quick" out and back to deliver furniture to DD in StL. She has a great little apartment in what was once an old school, so the place has tons of character and it passes the Mom and Dad requirements for being a safe place to live. 

As I was driving out, I saw a billboard advertising this yarn shop on I-70 in Columbia, MO. I don't think I have ever seen a yarn shop billboard before - good advertising got me. 

I stopped on the way back, convincing myself that it was really time to stretch my legs (translated, that means time to stretch my stash!). I have been looking for just the right yarn to substitute for the overly expensive Gossamer in this pattern for DD, and at last I found it, Baby Llama by Elsebeth Lavold. I can't wait to cast on. It doesn't have quite as much bling as the Gossamer, but DD is not a blingy kind of girl. I think this will be perfect.

This yarn is incredibly soft! Can you tell by the picture? I showed it to DD and she loves it. Yea!

I didn't stop with just one yarn purchase. From the sale bin, my all time favorite baby yarn (oops, back to the pastels I go!). I was really getting low on my stash of Peter Pan. You can't see it in the picture, but there are "dots" in both the blue and the pink yarn.

There were plenty of other temptations and a friendly staff, so if you are ever passing mile marker 127 on 1-70 in MO, you only have to go half a block south off the interstate to find temptation of your own! They are at the top of the hill on the left. Yes, I am enabling you! If you need any more convincing, I can add that gas prices are 20-25 cents lower in MO than anywhere else I have been lately.

Next trip to StL, DD21 promised to take me to a "really nice yarn shop".... this could be interesting, especially since she barely knows how to knit. Hmmmm, should I plan another trip?  I think I am set for a while.

I did manage to finish off another sherbet baby project last Saturday, but it took me until Weds night to weave in the ends. Good grief!! Two down, one to go. I am home for a while now, so hopefully I can get the last one done soon. I am really looking forward to working with the Baby Llama. 

Knit on!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Flood of '08

Once again, there's not a lot of knitting to report. Yesterday was one of those days I would rather forget. The hot water hose on my washer split, and by the time I figured out that the sound of running water was not DS in the shower, the water had gone down the floor vent and was raining out of the ducts into the room below -- the room where I keep all my yarn and sewing stuff. Remember this? 

Thanks to all those plastic bins, none of my yarn got wet, but a lot of my papers and sewing supplies were soaked. The binder of all the my printed pdf patterns (the one that eluded me for so long when we moved in) was pretty wet. I poured water out of my sewing box that is full of notions and thread. When we realized what was happening, we first grabbed the electronics, as in my sewing machine and its original table (circa 1945) and serger (circa 1993 - Ha!), and got them out of the "rain" (they still work). We swept and squeegeed a lot of water directly into the sump pump hole -what a way to find out that our sump pump does, indeed, work! Now I have fans strategically placed to dry the important stuff (and a new hose for the washer). My drying rack is hosting an interesting array of "stuff".

I got evrything cleaned up enough that I felt justified in going to SNB - I needed the break. I'm so impressed with all the projects being done for Ravolympics. I wish I had remembered to take my camera! 

We have a mini road trip planned for this weekend... DD and I are heading to KC for a soccer tournament. I like tournament weekends. They usually mean a lot of knitting time for me. I would love to report good progress next week.

Have a good weekend, all!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Charity Knitting

I know a lot of knitters, myself included, who knit for charity, especially hats for preemies and sick kids, and afghan squares for Warm Up America. My favorite charity is one that we can't really knit for, First Candle (if you try to link over, their web site has been down). This is an organization that funds research for infant and toddler health from prenatal to 2 years. Their focus is finding causes of SIDS, miscarriages, and stillbirths. 
I found this little sweater last month when we were unpacking and washed it "just because". I think it was worn a couple of times, but it has been safely packed away for 18+ years.  

I made this sweater for my middle son who lived a short 6 months, but would have turned 19 yesterday. Losing a child has taught me a lot of things, and one of the biggest lessons is the difference between sadness and sorrow, and happiness and joy. I will always be sad about losing him, but I also feel joy knowing that he is in a better place.  

Over the years I have often thought that I would like to design for charity, this charity, rather than just knit for any charity.  And one of these days I will act on it - I just have to get my act together.  

I have 4 healthy children who are well beyond the infant and toddler years that I am so thankful for, and I think of how crazy it would be to have another teenager. But as a dear friend once told me, there would always be room for one more toothbrush in the toothbrush holder and one more hamburger in the frying pan.

Back to my knitting - oddly enough, I am working on baby items. I finished romper #1 - now on to the next one. =)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Knitting

I had high hopes of getting a lot of knitting time this weekend, and I suppose I did a fair bit of it, but also quite a bit of frogging (again!). It's hard to knit and watch the Olympics. I think my family is addicted to watching the Games, and Michael Phelps, in particular. I grew up swimming competitively, and I still swim for exercise (and not too slowly for a middle aged Mom), but still only at about half the speed of the Olympians. Do you think Michael Phelps can knit? 

My KnitPicks order arrived on Saturday - Yea for new books and extra long circulars! I ordered a couple of 47" needles thinking I will be give the magic loop method of sock knitting a try.  

The weekend was quite rainy and cool. The A/C is OFF and the kids pulled out blankets at night! Does this mean it's not too long until sweater weather? The flowers appreciated the long drink and the grass is growing as though it was still June. I know it can't be June... today is registration day at school. 

I'm off to a busy day, hoping to steal time for a few stitches here and there. have a good Monday!

Friday, August 8, 2008

No Knitting

Sadly, there's no knitting in this picture... When a new IK shows up in the mailbox, everything comes to a screeching halt so that I can wander through the pages and make lots of mental notes. I haven't gotten all the way through this one yet, but I will. So far I think my favorite is the Deborah Newton sweater on the cover. I made a Deborah Newton hooded cardigan last spring and I haven't even worn it yet, but fall will come eventually and I think it will be a wardrobe staple for me.

The little romper in the picture used to be worn by my youngest DS who is 15 today (notice that his birthday is 08/08/08 - kinda cool!). I loved this little outfit - perfect for a little guy born at the hottest time of the year, and it was quickly outgrown. I dug it out to help me figure out some things to do with the sherbet yarn. I sure hope I have some knitting to show next week!

I'm off to make the birthday cake of DS' choice. I've been spending way too much time in the kitchen and not enough time knitting.

Have a good and restful weekend.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Chocolate Snappers

OK, here's how you make these yummy, crunchy, milk-dipping cookies. The recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies. For the first part where you melt cocoa, sugar, and shortening, you can substitute 1c melted chocolate chips. I've never done it that way, but that's what the original recipe called for. I just know that if I open a bag of chocolate chips and only use half of them, the other half magically disappears.

Preheat oven to 350. 

6T cocoa
7T + 1/2c sugar
1/4c + 2/3c shortening
1 egg
1/4c light Karo
1 3/4c flour
2t baking soda
1t cinnamon
1/4t salt

Melt 6T cocoa, 7T sugar, and 1/4c shortening; stir and set aside. Cream 2/3c shortening and 1/2c sugar. Blend in egg and Karo, then blend in melted chocolate. Sift in dry ingredients.
Drop by rounded tsps onto ungreased pan. Moisten the bottom of a glass, dip in sugar, then slightly flatten each cookie with the glass (dipping glass in sugar between each flattening). Bake 12 minutes. 


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sweltering Swatching

I've been playing a little bit with the "sherbet yarn". I have dragged out stitchionaries and looked at lots of pattern stitches. But I've only knit a couple of keeper swatches.
That Harmony Guide in the picture is one of the "old" ones. I have the whole "old" set, and just this one is falling apart. I do like the way the Harmony Guides were reorganized a couple of years ago, but since I also own all the Barbara Walker and Nicky Epstein books, I'm not sure I can justify the additional inspiration (especially since I just treated myself to other new books - my KnitPicks order is on the way). One of my new SNB friends had her EZ books spiral bound at Kinkos. Hmmmm, that might be what I need to do with my beloved Harmony Guide!

My kids (esp DS) laugh at me when I take pictures of food. Since DD21 is home for the week, I made her favorite cookies. 

These are called Chocolate Snappers, and they are one of the all-time best milk-dipping cookies. They are really just a chocolate sugar cookie, but they have a touch of cinnamon, and I guess that's what sets them apart in my book (and DD's)! DS is convinced that anything baked in the convection oven is better. Let me know if you want me to post the recipe for these. 

 I hope you all are finding ways to beat the heat. This is the time for little knitting projects... nothing heavy and hot in our laps this time of year. 

Ciao for now! 

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dog Days

Welcome to the dog days of summer! People told us that Kansas in August was like a furnace blast. They weren't kidding. The ever-present wind/breeze/gusts are not the least bit cooling -- actually, quite the opposite. I guess I'm glad I'm not a hairy dog. Our dogs think they want to go out, so out they go, then they come in and lie on the cool tile and pant LOUDLY for what seems like an eternity. 

We ventured into a book store Saturday night and the knitting selection was much bigger than other stores I've been in... but I refrained... for a little while. When I got home, I checked KnitPicks sale prices on the ones I was interested in, and, well, uh, you know what happened. I decided if I was going to do it, I might as well hit that $50 mark so I could get free shipping. It wasn't hard. KnitPicks 40% off books sale ends this Friday, just in case you forgot about the sale or "need" a certain book. 

Progress is a wonderful thing! I finished the table runner I started last week, so now I get to play with the sherbet yarn that I bought last week. I'm browsing some stitch books for inspiration - having something in mind makes it harder to find the right pattern stitch. 

If you are a raveler and you have ever looked at my project page, here is the purse that has been 85% complete for months. I'm thinking about finishing it - all it needs is lining, and that doesn't take long. I have the fabric, and the sewing machine is set up. I think I can get it done before the first frost hits. 
The unfinished purse is an elongated version of this one that I designed for the new Gooseberry Patch Oh-So-Easy Knits leaflet, available here
I love the cover model, but I tend to accumulate so much junk in my purses that I had to go bigger!

I hope you all had a cool and restful weekend and that you managed some quality knitting time. My older DD is coming to visit for the week and youngest DS has a birthday on Friday. It will be crazy around here. If I don't get back here, have a good week. 

Friday, August 1, 2008

Food Fetish?

I have a design in mind that my can't be made from my stash so I gave in to temptation last night and did a little stash enhancement at SNB. This is Punto from Nomotta, and it's 55% cotton/45% acrylic and machine washable. I'm thinking in terms of a baby design, so washability is important. It works to 4.5 sts/in, so it'll also be a quick project. These colors are a stretch for me. Almost all of my baby projects have been worked in Peter Pan soft pastels. I'm breaking out of the old mold!

The colors remind me of rainbow sherbert - and I do believe that ice cream should be consumed on a daily basis, preferably Blue Bell. I checked the Blue Bell web site to be sure they delivered to KS before I agreed to move here. I think I have an addiction to ice cream... kind of like an addiction to yarn!

On another note, political signs are everywhere around here, and there seems to be an over-abundance of candidates for various judicial positions. I pass by this sign every day, and the carnivore in me thinks that it should read "Bacon for Breakfast". Don't you agree? I love hot breakfasts... but that's usually reserved for weekends.

Hot breakfasts and ice cream... now there's a healthy diet! As long as my fingers are busy knitting, I can't eat. See, there is a balance after all.

On the needles: I'm making good progress on the table runner - Yea!