Monthly Archives: December 2008

Snow and Eye-ce Candy Friday

More snow this week.

echinacea-with-dot

Snow….

and ice.

icicle-pov

About 30 inches of snowfall in December so far — unofficially tied for second snowiest December on record in these parts.  They’re saying 1 – 3 more inches tomorrow night….

Non-Secret Knitting

During all the recent extracurricular activities, knitting has been happening.

But of course!  That goes without saying.

Some of it is stealth, but some I can show you.

First, here’s the corollary to the Gothlet’s Noro Striped Scarf, which (if you recall) looked like this:

piano-playing-scarf

It was knit to the Gothlet’s exact specifications as far as length (otherwise, I would have knit to the end of the skeins — two of each color).  Thus,  I had a little yarn left over.

I decided to make a hat.  The remainders looked to be about the right yardage for a hat. The Gothlet declined, but I was happy to have a Noro Silk Garden hat, so it was to be for me.   It knit up fast, and I love it!

noro-striped-hat

Here it is in last Saturday’s snow; the flash making it look a bit brighter than it is, perhaps.

noro-striped-hat-looks-at-s

The hat and I look at the Saturday Sky with Snow.

Front view:

noro-striped-hat-overall

Here’s the recipe if anyone wants to duplicate it:

I cast on 100 stitches stretchily (I have a big head; if you’re knitting for someone less big-headed, choose a smaller multiple of 4) and knit in K1 P1 rib in rounds, alternating colors every two rounds.  I didn’t worry about doing  ‘jogless joins’ since the ribbing tended to disguise the join, but I found the join was less obvious if I joined the new color on a purl stitch rather than a knit stitch. (I did break the yarn and split splice once to avoid two similar greens coming together (just started from the other end of the remaining yarn).)

When the work was just over six inches long, I decreased something like what follows, continuing to change colors every two rounds (I changed color one round and did decreases the next round for simplicity, though this isn’t critical)

*k1 p1 k2 tog* around for 1 round  (75 stitches)

k1 *p1 k2* around (repeat between asterisks to end of round, end k1)  for about 3 rounds

*k2 tog k1* around for 1 round (50 stitches)

k all stitches for about 3 rounds

*k2 tog* around for 1 round (25 stitches)

k 1 round, ending k2 tog (24 stitches)

*k2 tog* around  for 1 round (12 stitches)

Place the 12 stitches on two needles, six stitches to a needle, so as to be able to graft them together, then use the Kitchener stitch to do so, and weave in ends.

This is a slight modification of the cool trick outlined in this tutorial from the Techknitter.  (Modified because the hat she’s using for an example is k2 p2 rib — my usual fave — so the decreases don’t apply.)  It makes a truly flat and not pointy hat top.  Here’s a close-up:

noro-hat-top

If you look back at the first picture:  Look, Ma!  No point!  Even if a smaller-headed person wears the hat.

I ran out of yarn in one colorway (not the other) part way into the decreases, so borrowed some yards from a third colorway.  The teal green is the interloper.

I am verra, verra happy with my Noro Striped Hat.  And it’s surprisingly warm but breathable  (the silk content helps, I’m sure).  YAY for new hats!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Non-stealth project number two:

We have a Secret Santa exchange at work:  tiny gifts for several weeks, then a somewhat bigger gift the day of our intra-departmental informal Christmas party at work.  (We have a dinner/dancing holiday party in January.)  I happened to draw the name of a friend of mine; so I put a little more into her gift, I admit.

She’s a purple fan.  She’s also a beginning knitter, and appreciates handknits.

So I made her this:

dayflower-detail

A scarf using one repeat of the “Dayflower” pattern from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Stitch Patterns.  I put a three-garter-stitch edging on each side, six garter stitch rows at top and bottom, and knit till I ran out of time, basically (the story of my life).  I could have put in a couple more repeats, but it turned out long enough.

dayflower-long-view

It’s Dream in Color Classy knit together with Rowan Kidsilk Haze for a bit of extra fluffy.  Classy is soft but smooth, being a superwash merino.  In cold Wisconsin winters, I thought fuzzy softness would be nice, and the KSH would also add another textural and color dimension, and not obscure the lace pattern as much as an overtly fluffier single yarn would.

I’m happy with how it turned out, though unfortunately I did not have my camera at the party to take modeled shots.

dayflower-midportion

If  I can get my friend to pose, I’ll post one later.

It’s about 5 1/2 inches wide, just under 5 feet long.  Nice chunky lace.  My left thumb weighed in about its personal feelings re: p2 tog tbl (it’s anti this stitch maneuver).  However, the stitch occurred only once every 16 rows, so my thumb had to just suck it up and deal with it.

Now back to cleaning and a touch more Stealth Knitting!  From inside, though I have to run errands once (and sing at church tonight).  It looks like last Saturday’s Sky again, but snowing harder.

saturday-sky-december-20-20

I believe this snowfall is getting us to the second snowiest December on record for our area (last December was the 5th snowiest).

Silent Night

The RockStar’s middle school combined grade choir singing and signing “Silent Night” last Thursday.  (Two of the RockStar’s friends appear at the beginning: singing the alto in the duet, and also the signer on the left.)  Watch to the end if you watch: it’s very cool.

Merry Christmas to all that celebrate it.

Where’s That Pause Button When You Need It?

Another crazy weekend done, and now only 3 days until Christmas.

Gulp.  Possibly the least-prepared I’ve ever been.  The house is a disaster area, we don’t have our tree up, I’m not even sure which presents I don’t have yet.

But I haven’t been sitting around eating bonbons!

Going in reverse:

Just got done portraying “Esther”, the matriarch of a nomadic shepherd family coming in to Bethlehem to try to sell a couple sheep. Unfortunately, the village is very full and the village elders (like the one below) wouldn’t let us in to sell our sheep because there was no room yet to do so.  So we pitched our tent outside the city to bide our time, and talked to people coming through for the census.  And I spun wool into yarn, naturally.  Pictures to come at some point (from other people’s cameras).

shepherd-and-elder

(That village elder would be my father!).

Lots of fun, I’m exhausted, and I now have six balls of singles to ply.  Not the best yarn in the world, but it IS yarn (and will be plied yarn soon.  Well,  after the holidays).

Night before that, shepherding not sheep, but six preteens through the snow to see the movie “Twilight”  (the majority for the second time; I think they’re in love with Edward).  Plus an Urgent Care visit (nothing serious, just annoying).

Night before that, a piano recital. The Gothlet’s.  Here she is, demonstrating (under duress) the latest in Wisconsin evening fashion.

the-well-dressed-wisconsin

Well, OK, she changed her footwear for the actual recital.

It’s always fun to see the recitals, remembering that it wasn’t that long ago that she was the size of the kindergarteners at the same recital, whose feet are nowhere near touching the floor.

small-piano-player

And now she looks like this.

10-year-old-pianist

This recital was a bit of a stressor for me, too, as we played a duet; the which I only found out about two weeks beforehand (getting not so good at the telling me about these things, the Gothlet is — or isn’t).  Then, because despite finally getting on the stick and practicing her little fingers off, she was NOT getting the hang of the duet.  (I think it was a little above her level.)  She could have just skipped it, but we ended up changing to a different duet — 3 days before the recital!  LOTS more practicing ensued, on my part too (I’m really not that good a piano player, I only took piano for a few years, and this is starting to approach my limits).  But we pulled off  “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” with a few minor wobbles but a strong finish.

The night before:  The RockStar’s choir concert (she had a short solo).

choir-concert

Though I recorded her solo on my not-so-great-sound-quality camera, I’ll spare you that.  However, I will want to share with you the choir’s rendition of “Silent Night”.  Her choir director performed it in a way that seems to be becoming a yearly tradition now: first sung as an a cappella solo (duet this year) with accompanying ASL signing; then choral singing with accompaniment; then humming with choral signing; then signing silently: truly a “Silent Night”.   It rather gives me goosebumps.  The RockStar’s friend did signing and another friend sang the alto part for the duet.  I thought I had uploaded the song to YouTube, but it was the wrong song.  Thus I’ll add in the YouTube video once I get it uploaded, or blog it later…I didn’t want to delay this post ANY MORE.

Before that:  working late, some child had to go shopping emergently as I recall also, and then there was Nutcracker, of course, with a band concert in the middle.

No action pictures from the Nutcracker performance (not allowed to photograph in the theater), but here’s the Chinese dancer in the dressing room..

dressing-room-chinese

Who received a floral tribute….

nutcracker-flowers

She danced beautifully.  And in a very rat-like manner when appropriate.

Phew.  I think that brings us up to speed.  Now for choir rehearsals tonight and tomorrow night for a Christmas Eve cantata, and a RockStar home puking today.  (Cross our — frequently washed — fingers that no one else gets the bug.)

Now, I’m still looking for that TRULY Universal Remote with the Pause Button!  The one that works on Life too!  Seen one anywhere?

Garden in the Snow Eye Candy Friday

From earlier this week.

daylily-snowcup

So far, in less than a week, we’ve had snow, rain,  above-freezing overnight temps (not usual this time of year), a sudden plunge to subzero Fahrenheit (also not typical this time of year here), another 5 inches of snow (these photos were taken then), a bit of sun (enough to lead to icicles yesterday) and now more snow overnight.  It’s still coming down thickly, so another snow day for the kids.

And it’s not even winter on the calendar yet…

snowcup

Moonset this Morning (Bonus Eye Candy Friday)

1-moonrise

I wasn’t going to have an Eye Candy post today — no real time, and no new pretty pictures (see ‘no time’).  But this morning I looked out the front window to see the moon looking back at me, and had to grab my camera.  (If you click to embiggen, you can see it a little more as I saw it; the white background of the blog makes it look darker than it was.)

It’s the setting moon, tangled in my neighbor’s tree, as seen through the window, hence the refraction of the light.

2-moonrise

(It was -2F (-19C) again, and I was not at that point dressed for such weather to be able to take the photo from outside!)

Slightly later, while running into work (a touch late from taking the time to upload these pictures), I saw the moon again just above the horizon:  all huge and pinky-peach in the pale blue sunrise sky, above the snow-covered river bluffs.  Beautiful.

No picture, though; you’ll just have to imagine!

A little yarn, a little music….

Trying to keep you posted (ar, ar) so I’m not even farther behind!  (I have told you nothing about my trip to the Twin Cities, other than getting stuck in Rochester, nor about spinning and knitting with friends last weekend….)

But let me show you what came in the mail this week!

A Ravelry swap led to this wonderfulness arriving from Janet in British Columbia!

sssk-swappage

(I *love* getting packages from Canada!  Especially from knitters in Canada who have excellent taste and also the ability to pick out my very favorite colors!)  Look at the Opal yarn and its gorgeous shading.  It’s a touch richer and darker than the flash (sadly necessary as we approach the darkest day of the year) makes it look.  But still all my favorite jewel tones, as you can see.

The beautiful ornament next to the yarn will unfortunately need a little surgery, thanks to the postal service; he has a left arm fracture.  However, it’s at the shoulder, and (unlike in real life), that should make it easier to fix seamlessly).  Love (1)! Then, look at the CHOCOLATE!  Some awesome Droste pastilles (I usually only am indulged with this at Christmas, and then not the pastilles, YUM) and then some Nestle’s which I have never had, but which combines two of my favorite flavors, double YUM.  Below that:

lovely-handmade-bookmark

A handmade, hand-woven book mark.

Am I spoiled rotten, or what?

Thank you, Janet!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quick but photo-filled proud parental update:

Today’s Nutcracker school performance apparently went well.  (RockStar alone is in it this year, the Gothlet decided not to audition as she wanted to see it and at her age, roles are limited also.)  More on that Saturday when I get to see her perform.

Few scenes from the band concert:

band-concert-december-2008

(the band gets a bit smaller every year in middle school).

Here’s the RockStar, second row, second from the left:

brass

Two of her best friends are also in the picture, one behind her, and another on the far right of the picture.  Hmm.  Maybe that, as well as locking horns with the new band director, has something to do with her band grades slipping even though she’s a good musician?  Silly girl.

Here are the French horns doin’ that spit valve thing that they have to do, in some musical pieces more than others.

spit-time

And, lastly, here’s another of the RockStar’s friends, who plays percussion (the Gothlet would like to do this next year), who has impressive cymbal technique during their last piece, a band arrangement of “The Great Gates of Kiev”.

cymbals-1

cymbals-21

cymbals-3

They played it nicely.  (Of course, that piece reminded me of this cafepress design which I just gave to my friend, an accomplished horn player.  Love it!  And it’s so true!)

Now for equal Gothlet time: last week was open dance classes at their dance studio (i.e. we get to watch).  The RockStar is only taking two classes this year, due to schedule conflicts/interest/time.  The Gothlet is taking every class she can – probably too much.  But I got to see most of her classes last week.  I didn’t have my camera for all, but here she is in Music Theatre Dance II (turquoise cami), and ballet.

music-theatre-dance-ii-h

music-theatre-dance-ii-i

music-theatre-dance-ii-a1

She and her friend are certainly well matched as a pair in this choreography.

music-theatre-dance-ii-d

Now, a little ballet:

tired-sous-sus

arabesque

Wish I’d had my camera for Tap: I think that’s her favorite and best class.  But that really needs a video to capture!