Monthly Archives: December 2007

Blogyear in Review

AKA: What a year it’s been!

I’ve seen this meme a few places, but I think I saw it first at Knitorious. . . . A retrospective of the year as seen through the first lines of the first posts of each month.

Since I only started blogging in April of this year, the Blogyear is less than a full year.  But still, today’s a good time to look back through the retrospectoscope (not as far back as the WABAC machine).  And given my addiction to footnotes and parenthetical remarks, I’m adding a comment to each post, from my so-much-older-and-wiser perspective of today.

April

What Lies Within. 

supersock-dk-ball.jpg

It is always a wonder and mystery to me, how a skein of handpainted yarn will knit up.

Still is. 

May

Tropical Twist

tropical-twist-bag.jpg

Sounds like an umbrella drink, but it’s not.

 I like how this felted bag turned out.  I calculated the stitch count to make the spirals happen in the hand-dyed yarn.  I sold it this fall to raise money for the Nutcracker Ballet, and two of my acquaintances politely fought over it as they both wanted it; quite a compliment!

June

I Have Strange Children (They Probably Get It From Their Mother)

barbie-scary-1.jpg

barbie-unveiled.jpg 

No real knitting content today — the Pink Fuzzy continues to frustrate me by its ability to slo-mo my progress.

The Pink Fuzzy Cardigan took a long time — slippery little stitches of kid mohair/silk.  I think the Harmony needles would be great for this kind of yarn, now.  Pink Fuzzy eventually was completed and given to the graduating senior it was destined for, and turned out pretty well, except I think I could have made the sleeves narrower (i.e. probably the yoke shallower).  I sent a pic to the pattern designer, Diane Soucy of Knitting Pure and Simple, and she posted it in her gallery, and sent me a free pattern; how cool is that? 

The title of the post of course refers to my daughters, whose version of putting make-up on a Barbie Styling Head is featured above.  The younger one, the Gothlet, says that Barbies ARE scary.

July

Sunny Sunday

echinacea-x-2.jpg

Not a lot of knitting progress to show today — so you’ll have to wait till tomorrow!

Posted in the Black Hole stages of MS3 (oops, still not done to this day) and Ribbi Shell (likewise oops).  (Both will be returned to, however!  They’re both fine projects, just pushed off the list by more urgent things.) So some pretty flower pictures for distraction.

August

A Short Chapter of the Epic: Quatre jours en Montréal, troisième

Short post for two reasons:

1) we spent much of the day in le Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum), where you are not allowed to take pictures, and

2) my camera battery charger got unplugged so I had no charged battery!

montreal-hard-rock.jpg

If you like travel or like Montréal, the late July and early August posts have some great pictures!  Not so much this post, though, as noted.  But the above photo from this day’s post, is the most discreet Hard Rock Café I have ever seen.

September

And They’re Off!

First, an early morning Saturday Sky; usually there’s a bluff in the picture, but today there’s rather a lot of fog in the way:

Off to a very fun Twin Cities Renaissance/State Fair/KNITTING weekend, chronicled in a later post!

October

Sock-Tober First

There’s a sock contest going on at Quiddity:

The third annual Show Your Socks Contest, in fact!

first-socks.jpg

The sock on the right was one of the pair of the first socks I ever started (two at a time, toe up) — but didn’t finish.  The left sock is the first one I completed.  I went on to finish the right sock and its mate later in the month of Sock-Tober.  Hooray for a UFO -> FO conversion!

November

Friday Eye Candy

Here’s your Eye Candy for today!

Hee, hee!
(Almost as amusing, the candy was handed out to her by her ophthalmologist grandpa!)

What more can I say?  Except that the eyeball candy was foil-wrapped chocolate, and pretty tasty.  We collectively ate a lot of eyeballs that week.

December

Saturday Sky with Christmas Tree

Looking out the window at work today:

saturday-sky-with-tree-and-crane.jpg

Saturday Sky with Christmas Tree and Crane!

Rather self-explanatory, except for the actual reason that there is a Christmas tree in the sky!  Which is hard to explain, so I’m not even going to try.

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Happy New Year, everyone!  Thanks for reading (and commenting, and sharing your friendship) in 2007.  Here’s to 2008!

What a Week!

Holidays are fun but exhausting, not?

Since this time last week, there was marathon knitting, wrapping, cooking, and eating. In between all that, a few other fun activities occurred as well:

hard-fought-game-of-sorry.jpg

Killer games of “Sorry!”

A trip to the community golf course at dusk
evening-at-the-golf-course.jpg

for a little sledding

sledding-at-dusk.jpg

exhausted-sledder.jpg

(Don’t worry, she didn’t wipe out, she just chose to tip over, being completely exhausted from carrying the foam sled.)

It was a beautiful night.

evening-lights.jpg

I had planned to do a little cross-country skiing while the Gothlet went sledding. But I had gotten new skis some years ago, and never (apparently) used them due to lack of snow and some intervening health problems. My prior skis were from junior high and so gouged (from skiing on not enough snow, probably!) that they were more like snowshoes. But — at least I could get those boots in the old-fashioned 3-pin bindings! I tried for 15 minutes to get my boot in the new-fangled bindings, and finally gave up as it was getting dark.

Okay, I’ve Googled now, and think I have figured it out. I’ll practice at home this time, before going anywhere. But hopefully, New Year’s Day when I have time off, I can try this again….because we actually have enough snow, and it’s not below zero!

On the way home, we saw a somewhat startling sight (but this is Wisconsin, so I shouldn’t have been surprised):

packer-inflatable.jpg

Another view, just for Vicki:

packer-inflatable-2.jpg

So, besides that, what else happened?
Sculpey was sculpted by the Gothlet into a Chinese dragon.

sculpey-dragon.jpg

Trinity the corn snake got a Christmas mouse (a merry Christmouse?) to eat; here she is, impersonating Hathor, as apparently she is a pagan:

trinity-as-hathor.jpg

Thursday I had the Second Annual Post-Holiday Knitting Get-Together at my house, but regret to say I only pulled my camera out late in the proceedings, after some had had to leave, to snap a few not-so-great pictures; but here are thumbnails.

and-more-wine.jpgwine-r-us.jpgend-of-party.jpgat-knits-end.jpg

It was a lot of fun; good wine, good company and good knitting!

Speaking of knitting, some of that happened this week also.

The Preteen snuck a picture of me knitting Christmas Day night:

xmas-sweater.jpg

I don’t know what was so funny.

I worked on re-knitting my brother’s fingerless mitt, that had encountered bad pooling:

printed-circuit-board-mitt-in-progress.jpg

With alternating two different strands of yarn, the pooling was kept under control; I like it much better than this: flashing.jpg

And I started (and have almost finished) this:

pirates-in-progress.jpg

pirates-detail.jpg

“We Call Them Pirates” hat by Hello Yarn, free pattern. I’m modifying this for the Gothlet, knitting it in Dalegarn Baby Ull. I should have it finished tomorrow.

More snow fell, off and on all week:

braided-snow.jpg

and yesterday, coming out of yet another gray Saturday Sky:

saturday-sky-through-the-window.jpg

tree-of-damocles-through-the-window.jpg

Apparently the van was happy, though:

happy-van.jpg

And my little Saturn was REALLY happy!

very-happy-car.jpg

Hope you had a happy week too!

Friday Eye Candy, Amaryllis Bright and Dark

amaryllis-in-bloom.jpg

amaryllis-light-and-dark.jpg

There are no flowers outside; I need to get my flower fix where I can!

amaryllis-translucency.jpg

Unwrapped!

The last presents were opened today, as old friends of ours stopped by before leaving town. But of course, the best part of Christmas was the time we spent together with family and friends. Including my friends just mentioned above; today was their 20th wedding anniversary! And my husband and I were their best man/maid of honor; 20 years ago. Wow, what a concept. Wait, the picture’s up on the fridge. Let me get it and scan it for you.

wedding-picture-j-and-s.jpg

My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I, December 26, 1987. Note the 80’s glasses. (Mine were just as big, but I had put contacts in for the occasion.) We were just babies. Good heavens.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Jackie and Shaun!

Yesterday, we had a relaxed morning, having gone to the candlelight Lessons and Carols church service the night before; then my brother-in-law and his wife came over, bearing fudge and presents; then dinner at my folks’, which we usually do potluck style. Now my husband is the literal chef in the family, having been a sous-chef in a fancy restaurant in one of his former lives. But there were two recipes from knitbloggers I was anxious to try, and wasn’t able/allowed to at Thanksgiving. So I made Corn Souffle as shared by Kay at Mason-Dixon Knitting, and Southern Living Pumpkin Pie which Wendy makes every Thanksgiving. They were both well-received, though my daughters unflatteringly questioned that I had really made them. Twice. “You MADE this, Mom? YOU made it?” Gee, thanks, girls. Ah well, at least they liked it.

Speaking of things that were liked: the hand-knits were also well-received. I shamelessly stole borrowed Steph’s Unoriginal Hat idea. Except that even though her Blue Moon Fiber Arts Leticia and my Misti Alpaca Super Chunky are supposed to knit to the same gauge — they don’t, in my hands. There was no way I was going to achieve the same gauge. So I heavily modified the hat, therefore now I supposed it’s an Extremely Unoriginal Hat. Or a Plagiarized Unoriginal Hat. Anyway, inspired by the above, here are the girls’ Extremely Unoriginal Hats:

very-unoriginal-hats.jpg

The Gothlet didn’t take her purple hat off all day.

The Preteen didn’t take her fingerless mitts off all day, except to eat:

preteen-fingerless-mitts.jpg

These pictures were her idea, and she particularly requested the following photo be posted!

the-preteen-model.jpg

She is über-cool, not?

So all those that received hand-knits were requested to model them:

scarf-recipient.jpg

My husband’s brother, who could stand in for Santa, if Santa were a mathematical genius;

and my sister-in-law, my brother’s wife, who liked her Twisted fingerless mitts and Pioneer Braid scarf:

admiring-mitts.jpg

palm-reading.jpg

The gloves were a little loose on me, so I wasn’t sure they’d fit my sister-in-law, but I thought she’d like the colors, so I took a chance. And they fit her perfectly; her hands are a bit bigger than mine. It was meant to be, apparently.

My brother got a present on the needles:

flashing.jpg

And actually, that was a good thing because I could try them on and fit them to his hand. I knew he had big hands, but even so, I think I would have made them too small; he’s 6’2″ with hands that are proportionate! My husband’s hands are broad but not as big all over.

But I frogged after the above picture; I was hating the flashing. I like the stripy effect at the cuff, but with the gusset, the “pool” was widening and spreading, and it looked like it was just going to keep on going. So I ripped back almost all the gusset. I divided the yarn into two balls, winding by hand, making sure to wind in the same direction. And now, for the gusset, I am alternating every two rows with the two different balls, making sure I originally started at a different spot in the color sequence, and it’s better from my point of view.

I have a little more to share, but it’s getting late and I have to work way too early in the morning. So I will leave you with a couple final Preteen shots (I think she’s working on her 8 x 10 portfolio):

First, I Love My Hat:

hat-model.jpg

and I Love My Presents:

i-love-my-presents.jpg

Hope your holidays were happy too!

Merry Christmas!

oil-paint-wreath.jpg

Wishing you warm welcomes this holiday season.

Christmas Eve Eve

Much to do, but I’m not stressing.

(Too much, anyway. Of course, maybe I should be. I think I am just learning to embrace my inner procrastinator, though.)

Today was a snow day; we needed to clean anyway, so cleaning and laundry were punctuated by shoveling.

mid-snowstorm.jpg

By the way, that would be my car — on the far left. Yep, the one under the snow. It snowed at least another few inches after this, and it’s still snowing off and on. And blowing and drifting. I think we got about a foot, but it’s hard to tell since the drifts are deeper. Winter in the Midwest! At least it’s not too cold.

[Oops, I think I have just karmically invoked a cold spell soon. Sorry, fellow Heartlanders.]

[Another parenthetical remark — do I have any other kind? — “Heartland”, though corny as well as vaguely irritating to me, is still better than being referred to as the “midsection of the country”. Don’t you just hate that? Makes me feel like Flabby Abs. Or maybe I’m just projecting.]

Anyway. . . .

Here’s the finished felted Green Spiral bag, post-blocking and drying (yep, Jeanne, love those radiators! I really do. Good for wet mittens and socks as well as felted bags….):

felted-bag-with-foot-for-scale.jpg Compare to pre-felting: bag-ready-to-felt.jpg

Same number of floorboards, so the scale should be about the same. Notice the festive blogger sock in the first picture. No, no one except some machine knit it.

I decided to double the I-cord straps for extra sturdiness, and made them shorter so the bag could tuck under an arm:

wearing-bag.jpg

If I had had more time and know-how, I would have put a stiffener in the bottom. The last felted bag I made was not as deep, and it kept its shape. For this one, the broader base gave it more room but less squareness despite aggressive blocking. Ah well, always room for improvement.

By the way, as I took the big books out this morning that I used to block the bag, I had to laugh; they were such a telling microcosm of our household.

The four books were:

  1. The Complete Garden Guide
  2. The Pythons Autobiography by The Pythons
  3. The History of the American Guitar
  4. Color Atlas of Human Anatomy

Nothing if not eclectic, that’s us. (Technically, two books are mine, one’s the husband’s and one’s ‘ours’. But I have read them all.)

I need to work tomorrow morning (but anticipate being able to do a bit of knitting at work, enough to finish a Preteen project plus hopefully a bit more). Then, Christmas will be what it will be, whether I’m ready or not. My brother and his wife, and my brother-in-law and his wife, made it down safely from the Twin Cities despite the storm (& intermittent highway white-out conditions); that’s the most important thing. By the time they leave Wednesday, all should be settled down.

I’m looking forward to hanging out with family, eating wonderful things, and exchanging gifts. I don’t need anything (though I did ask for some knitting books), but I love seeing people open their presents. And, of course, we might watch a few classics on TV:

cindy-lou-who-and-max.jpg

(TV Screenshot a la Crazy Aunt Purl.)

Do you know I’ve never seen “A Christmas Story“? Maybe this will be the year.

So, since I can’t knit and type at the same time (must look into that speech recognition technology), I suspect I’ll be blogging post-holidays, at which time I hope to catch up on email too. (I did take the day after Christmas off, too; that sounds like heaven right now, and I have not been able to take any time off beyond the holiday itself, and the afternoon of Christmas Eve, for the last 8 years. Thus I am very excited about that one day!) (Wanna bet that the Preteen will ask me to take her to the mall? I can think of better ways to spend my day off, from my point of view. Knitting; staying inside and drinking tea; reading; seeing family before they go home. Catching up with you all. Yep. No mall for me Wednesday.)

So Happy Holidays to all of you! I hope you are all surrounded by the warmth of loved ones, now and always.

coming-home-christmas-eve.jpg

Saturday, Felt Day

You got to see the beginnings of the felted bag a friend commissioned me to knit, as a Christmas present for her daughter.

prefelted-bag.jpg

Well, here it was this morning:

bag-ready-to-felt.jpg

And, now, modeled by the lovely Gothlet:

bag-over-the-head.jpg

She’s a good sport.

Specs: made from 4 skeins of Araucania Nature Wool Chunky (now on sale at Webs!), 3 of which I dyed to make the dark green stripe, and one left plain for the base of the bag and the I-cord strap. Pattern, based on the famous Booga Bag. However, I swatched and calculated the number of stitches needed to make the dark green stripes line up, then made a rectangle to be the shape I wanted and the number of stitches I needed; which was 40 stitches by 40 rows (20 garter ridges), to make a total of 120 stitches in the round after picking up stitches.

bag-bottom.jpg

Man, this stuff felts well. After one 14 minute trip through the washer, with warm water, not hot, there was no stitch definition left.

Now we’re drying (I carefully spun out most of the moisture, and it’s sitting on a foam pad on top of the radiator where it’s nice and toasty, so it should dry quickly, I think); here’s the blocking shot, which is just not as exciting as lace blocking shots!

bag-blocking.jpg

That’s four coffee table books in a bag with a towel wrapped around it.

So, while all this was happening, this morning the Saturday Sky looked like this:

saturday-morning-sky.jpg

reflecting on this:

rainy-steps.jpg

Yep, it was raining today. In Wisconsin. In December. Ick.

But later in the afternoon, it changed.

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Yay, snow!

snow-on-the-wreath.jpg

We’re supposed to get another 5 to 8 inches tonight.

Did you notice, our little Japanese maple still has some of its leaves clinging?

japanese-maple.jpg

So pretty against the snow.

I hope it doesn’t mess up travel plans for those that are doing so, but I’m glad it’s snowing.

(Remind me of that tomorrow when I’m shoveling….)

Icicle Time

I should be doing at least seventeen other things, sleep being prominent on the list, but I had to show you what came in the mail last night:

icicle-yarn.jpg

I don’t often take yarn pictures in the dark, but I simply had to this time. (Serves me right that the picture’s blurry, since my camera, like most digital cameras, has trouble focusing in the dark.)

This yarn is so wonderful! And such a perfect melding of base yarn to colorway; and Icicle is the perfect name for it! Tencel is not a favorite of mine generally, but the merino/tencel blend of this yarn gives it such a lustrous luminescence that sets off the colors beautifully.

What to knit? I must ponder. After Christmas, that is. No time for pondering now.

Speaking of icicles, I had the same Christmas icicle lights up for the last three years. I mean, the SAME. For the entire LAST three years. As in, I never took them down. OK, I’m a twinkie. (I didn’t have them plugged in, fear not.)

But this year, they were progressively giving up the ghost.

pathetic-christmas-lights.jpg

Is that pathetic, or what? (Actually, after the above picture, half of the above lights went out. And they used to have colors. How pathetic can you get, really?)

So the Preteen and I (she volunteered! though she changed her mind halfway through and I forced her to keep going) took down the old and put up the new. See how nice?

new-lights.jpg

This time, though, I tied the light strings on with acrylic yarn rather than the bulletproof plastic locking ties my husband had me use last time (which take hedge shears or something similar to get off, I swear). Should make it easier to take the lights down in fewer than three years this time.

We’ll see.

We’re having a heat wave!

Look!

water.jpg

Visible Street! and Liquid Water!

(Not for much longer, admittedly:)

ice-in-progress.jpg

Yes, it got up to the freezing (or melting) mark today, which is a warm day when you’ve already acclimated to winter (long before the official start of winter, of course, but we’re used to that). But I didn’t leave work as early as I hoped; it was early-ish, about 4:25 pm, but this time of year, at this latitude in the Northern Hemisphere, sunset is . . . 4:29 pm.

I rushed home by the light of an afternoon moon moon-in-the-afternoon.jpg to take knitting pictures, because I promised I would. Though my camera battery was running low, I do have a couple things for show and tell.

This is the former mutant paramecium scarf .

rainbow-scarf.jpg

I’m going to fringe-ify it a bit more, and then it’s a present for a gift exchange at work tomorrow.

And here are the black fingerless mitts, now kept safely away from the scissors:

preteen-mitts.jpg

And a new fingerless mitt for someone else (you see, I am constrained by what I can knit in front of certain people, so need multiple projects so that I can knit at all possible times) :

fingerless-mitt-to-be.jpg

And a new WIP since last weekend, a felted bag-to-be, commissioned by an acquaintance for her daughter.

prefelted-bag.jpg

I overdyed the yarn dark green in one area, and engineered the size of the bag, specifically to get the dark green spirals going up the side. I think I’m going to wish I had more yarn, though. Hmm. We will soon see.

And I forgot to take a picture of the Pioneer Braid Scarf, to finish which I did splice in a few more yards of yarn from a second skein of Twisted yarn (Duchess yarn in the Rodney colorway).  There, I think that accounts for all my WIPs from last week, plus some, other than the “mutant elf Ravelry cap”, which will wait until after the holidays (though I started playing around with my idea for it, with the second skein of the yarn I used for the Pioneer Braid Scarf.  Not that I should be experimenting with it right now. . . .too much to do. . .)

Ah, well, the panic hasn’t set in.  At least I don’t work this weekend!  And I’d hate to break the tradition of wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, after all.  Ha.

Obnoxious runny nose head cold happening (I think I got it from Lisa — you know how nasty those computer viruses can be!), my work colleague off all week from today, Church stuff (and ‘liturgical’ knitting group!) tomorrow night, choir concert Thursday night, and stealth knitting to do; so look for me around Friday, perhaps!  One can only hope.

A Lick And A Promise

That’s what I’ve been doing at home, at work, and on the blog!

So here’s today’s lick (weekend tidbits) and a promise of knitting.

First:

saturday-day-december-15.jpg

A Saturday Sky from this last weekend.

Although I mostly saw it like this, from inside:

saturday-sky-with-amaryllis.jpg

(when I wasn’t at work).

‘Tis the season for concerts, recitals and assorted holiday events, as the Yarn Harlot just related. (Though I’m thinking that it was the girl with the French horn who was pretty good: second row, second on the right.)

band-concert.jpg

So then there was the church Christmas pageant, with wayward sheep

wayward-sheep.jpg

(the small brown cow started a hayfight right after that).

In fact, see the Gothlet, as a star, reading here?

lead-star-speech.jpg

Now see the woman beyond her, in pink, biting her nails? That’s the mother of the brown cow, a friend of mine. Hayfight in progress!

The Gothlet was a Lead Star, which meant she herded little kindergartener stars around.

lead-star-by-the-tree.jpg

(Here she is, keeping a close eye on them. No hayfights in the star department, no, sir!)

While the Preteen assisted with musical accompaniment.

bell-choir.jpg

I know you want to see the sheep again.

last-sheep-picture.jpg

Things that make you go “Awwww!”

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This weekend, there was also a Gothlet piano recital (and a duet with her mother, who therefore had to practice piano this last week along with everything else), with no good pictures (though I have a nice video!). And a work-related party. Coming up is a middle school choir concert, and then — the kids are off school! Which means the Preteen will want to be taken to the mall or friends’ houses at every opportunity, and the Gothlet will want to do crafts (which generally involves mess and help-needed). Ah well, that’s our life.

There has been knitting, I promise (with Christmas coming up, what else?) but I’ll wait till tomorrow to post it, as I am supposed to get done with work while there is still light in the sky, and I hope to take decent photos then. Promise!