Sunday, September 30, 2007

Spin & Knit & Ravelry

I picked up some rockin' patterns on Ebay this summer, other than the one's listed on yesterday's post. I got this book:

Here is the pattern that sold me on this book:

Haa, haa, haaa! A Jacket Called Horse! Nice pattern name, but it sold ME! And this ripple coat was a bonus find in the same book:

And, I spent probably more than I should have on this, but I had to have this Annie Blatt pattern book:
so that I could make this pattern:

That pattern is high on my list of things to make. I think it looks fairly easy, and just beautiful. Would be a great addition to my work wardrobe....

Yesterday's trip to the spinning supply place was fruitful. It takes about 45 minutes to drive there through the country, and is deep in bu-fu-land. But well worth finding! This place is built onto the owner's house, they have a small pasture with some sheep, and a stock of Blue Moon FiberArts and Mountain Colors yarns (to name a few) that rivals any shop I've seen! Also lots of spinning supplies and wheels, and fiber, and I got to touch vicuna fiber--sooooooo soft! I'm definitely going back. Hope to have some one-on-one spinning classes there this autumn :)

I feel myself getting mightily distracted from my Christmas knitting goals. (C'mon Aim, you only have to do that for 3 more months....)

Oh, and one more thing...MY INVITE FOR RAVELRY JUST CAME, woohooooooo! Guess what I'm gonna be doing.... :)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Spinning again....

Oooooh, I'm so excited. Today I'm going to the local (-ish) spinning store and introduce myself and see if I can get signed up for some one-on-one spinning classes. I want to try different wheels, because my plan is to get a small travel wheel someday. I also need to be taught to ply from my drop-spindle.

I'm also bumming today. My daughter leaves again Monday for her Marines technical training. She will be gone this time for about 5 months, with maybe some leave for the holiday season. It seems like we just got her back from SC and boot camp! She has made the most of her time home though, doing all the girly things she loves, like scrapbooking, shopping, and baking up a storm!

My daughter brought us some Western Cake last night, one of our favorite family recipes, handed down to me by my mom. We love this cake, it is so moist from the dates (which give it fiber too--and I'm a fiber-holic inside AND out!) It is chocolatey goodness, with a crunchy sweet topping. This is probably the one cake recipe I'd take with me to a desert island....(think I could bake there?)

Mom's Western Cake

One 8-oz pkg dates cut up in one cup of hot water--add 1 tsp baking soda. Let cool.

1 c oleo
1-1/3 c flour
1 c granulated sugar
2 T cocoa
2 eggs
1 t salt
1 t vanilla ext

Add the date mixture & mix well. Pour into greased and floured 9" x 13" baking pan. Spoon on topping:

Mix tog:
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c granulated sugar

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Oooooh, this rocks!

Loving this recipe for nearly 40 years!

I am having fun going through my summer-acquired patterns and books. There are a lot of really cool patterns that I want to make. I don't think I showed y'all what I bought on e-bay...a bunch of really cool patterns, including my first Herbert Neibling lace knitting patterns.
Of course, some of the patterns are in German, which might make life tricky, but there are English knitting symbol translations that came with the patterns.

I think I want to make snowdrop as a first Neibling project (this one is in English), and a small one at that. No huge tablecloth for me yet!! Snowdrop is found in this Anna magazine from Jan 1992:

I also acquired a bunch of vintage Granny Square magazines:

I love this cover the best, and I think it would be cool to make this shirt:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cable Envy

Oh, Oh, you have to see the ultimate cabled sweater. This is the cutest thing I've ever seen, and the pattern is free from Vogue Knits! Here is where I first saw it, and I think she did a marvelous job, lengthening it a bit! The pattern for Silver Belle is found here, try not to laugh when you see the picture....

What is up with Vogue's photographers? Their photos are so ridiculous that I'm turned off of the patterns completely! (See another example.)

They get the most twiggy, flat-chested model to wear this sweater, which is about 10 sizes too large for her, and photograph her in a jerky, unnatural pose, and the sweater comes off looking saggy and rotten! I'm sorry, but the model borders on scrawny in this pic. She looks like a 12 year old playing dress-up in Mommy's clothes!

The wrong size of the wrong style and fit make her look negative-chested, see how the sweater sags inward at the bustline?! WTF? I never would have looked twice at that pattern if I hadn't seen the beautiful finished product on A Friend to Knit With! (And nothing against the model, she is very beautiful. But what's that dishcloth on her head? Did they neglect to tell her she was going to be photographed that day....?!)

Now, however, I'm very excited about that pattern, and really want to make it. The cables are amazing in their layout, and there are sooooo many of them! I love the way they meet in the back yoke too. This is one of the most perfect cabled designs I think I've ever seen. Drool.

So, in spite of Vogue Knitting's editorial efforts to the contrary, I am in love with this sweater. I must dig through my stash and see what I have that could become a Silver Belle. Otherwise, another big yarn purchase is in the making.....*ahem*

Kudos to A Friend to Knit With.

P.S. While I'm on a rant, look at what else they did to that poor model:

This photo spread looks like "Night of the Living Dead." Or maybe she's a victim of domestic violence...

Neither of which is a really nice way to sell a knit pattern to the general public. What were they thinking?! (Now, pause, and tell me: have you even thought about the sweater she's wearing yet? See what I mean?!)

Oh yes, everyone I know stands around like this:

Bet she saw a chiropractor after that shoot....

Okay. I guess I'm done ripping, 'til the next issue of VK.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yesterday's post

wow, look how verbose I am at 3 AM!!! Must try to sleep through the night, so I don't have too many rambling posts like that on my blog, heh.

Here's my puppy, harrassing the older dog....She doesn't move very well anymore, so he kind of circles her and does a "drive-by" and she reaches out as he goes past! Silly pups. (And silly momma who talks to the doggies in a baby voice :D)

Okay, have you seen this: The B4 Bag by Bloomoon Creations? I saw it last year, and I think I wasn't impressed because of the colors it is made of on the website. However, I saw one in person last week at knit night, and it was really really cute. I mean CUTE--done in bright pastels. So I got online and ordered myself one. Y'know, because I don't have many projects planned and I need more patterns *cough* *cough* (Big cheezy grin)

And another lady at knit night was in the process of making a Noni bag, the Lattice Bag. It is sooooooo cute, I had to go in search of that pattern too, so I bought it 2 days later at another LYS. Yet another WIST on my LIST.
Both of these bags are felted creations, and they are really very pretty when finished.

And Kauni yarns...something I've lusted after since I saw the Kauni Cardigan pattern...I think I posted about this previously. I just found that yarn here and it looks gorgeous! Cannot wait to get some, heh. I can blame it on this woman at I Hide Yarn. It's also available in the U.S. here. This kind of yarn would work well in the VERTIGO SCARF from yesterday's post....hmmm. Hasta manana.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Swatching has begun on my ballerina swing coat. I decided not to wait to start that project, as it looks like it will be a fun knit, and I'd like to wear it before the sweater season is over....

I decided to weigh the yarn that comes with it, so I can recreate the pattern in another color later. The kits themselves are pretty expensive. I have a feeling that I will try one of Hanne Falkenberg's other designs after Ballerina is completed. There are some really neat patterns she sells in kit form.

I need to also start the next scarf, which will likely be either the DNA scarf or the Dulaan scarf (see previous posts.) Can't start right now, as my yarn is buried in the closet in the bedroom where DH is snoring away!

Hey, speaking of scarf....have you seen
the Vertigo Scarf? What a beautifully colorful scarf! I love the combination of a multicolor yarn with a solid yarn this way. I would like to get my hands on some of the rainbow yarn she used! :)

I am also interested in doing a double-knit scarf, in bi-colors of either red and white, or green and white. I think that could be very graphic, AND being a double layer of knit fabric would make it pretty warm and special! On my to do list for sure!

Today I am thinking of all my UFOs. I still have the blue beauty sweater to finish, and that should be a priority because I love that yarn. Love love love it. Also need to work on my Mananita! And I never have learned to ply my spun singles yet, so spinning is on hold since my spindle is full! Not enough time in the day for fiber fun!

With that thought, I'm off. Must catch a few more ZZZZZs before it's time to get up and start the workday. It's hump day, and a full moon. Hmmm, what does that portend?!
See ya! ;o)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another FO

Note to self:

Brown sheep cotton fleece swatch before washing= 4 x 5.5 inches
Brown sheep cotton fleece swatch after washing= 3.5 x 5.25 inches

That means 12.5% shrinkage across rows, and 4.5% shrinkage down the grain. Since I feel like the cardigan came out a little wide for me, I can deal with that 12.5% shrinkage around the girth of the garment, and minimal shrinkage of the garment length. Yay!

So, now I know how to care for my Spiderweb cardigan....might be able to get away with hot water and drying it once. So I think I will go for it.

Hey, I finished the blue novelty scarf while watching the Saints play the Titans Monday night....Nice little bit of knitting I got done :) I've also worked on this during my lunch hour.

I love to finish projects! It seems like most of the summer was spent working on WIP and never finishing anything (though I really have made a lot this year, there was an unsatisfyingly long time where there was no joy of the FO! I think it was 2-1/2 months....)

Anyway, I'm still in progress on the reversible cable scarf. I think the design is brilliant, but I'm not sure I like the yarn. It was s'posed to be for a male giftee, but the color is really girly. I don't need to be cranking out any more girl gifts at this time, I still have 3 brothers to knit for. So I might put that aside for a while, even though I'm in the mood to finish it! The cables take much more time and concentration than mindless garter stitch....and 3 cable scarves for my bro's seems like plenty to finish before Christmas!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Spiderweb Cardigan--finished!

I finished the Spiderweb Cardigan yesterday! While watching the Bears get trounced by the Cowboys. Da Bears! I love to watch football, and knitting or crocheting while I watch is a major bonus. Two birds with one stone, as they say....

Anyway, here are unblocked pics:

Project specs:
Pattern: Spiderweb Cardigan

Source: Interweave Crochet Spring 2007 issue

Yarn: Worsted weight, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, 4 skeins

Needles: Crochet hook US "H"

Mods: I didn't change anything.

I love this pattern. It is my first crocheted garment, and I still need to block it. I am going to wash the swatch tonight in the hottest water possible, and then tumble dry on hot. I want to see if I can treat it like I do most of my clothing...if it shrinks a bit, that would be okay, but I want to know if I have to block it carefully or not. Can't wait to wear it to work!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

new books from a summer of indulgence

Now I have a chance to show my other new books:

Some of these I got from the Interweave Press annual scarred and dinged sale, for 50% off their normal price. Some I acquired on Ebay. I was just at Barnes & Noble in Savannah, and saw Nicky Epstein's hardcover books (from the Edge-knitting series) for 15 dollars! So I may try to find those locally--that's 50% off!

But, then again, I have shamelessly stashed books over the summer, and probably don't need to get any more. I need to weed out the ones I have. I'm planning to sell some old ones that I don't like on Ebay--I know I said THAT 5 months has a way of intervening! I am hoping to clean house soon, especially my medical books. I went hog-wild in school and bought every stinking book I laid my eyes on. Now I'm thinking that was silly. That is my modus operandi though, I'm a book-aholic of the first order. Whatever my passion, you will find me buying books on that subject. :) It's a form of packrat-ism I seem to have no control over....

Told ya there were a lot! But they were cheap..... :D

To change the subject, we'll be having a cookout this evening with DD and my bro. Looks like the weather is cooperating, on this last day of summer! Should be fun. Talk to y'all manana....

Friday, September 21, 2007


Tonight is knit night...I might try to make it, since it's been at least 6 weeks. I miss my knitting chicas!

Here's a pic of my reversible cable scarf:

The colors are all messed up--it's a maroon yarn, but midnight will do that to your photos!
I haven't worked on this since before my trip, but I am itching to get back to it. Work has been extra-hectic this week, so I may have to work through lunch today to avoid staying late tonight. So, no lunchtime knitting today!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

spiderweb cardigan

Here are pics of my progress while on the trip to Savannah:

I am making the spiderweb cardigan from Interweave Crochet, Spring 2007 issue. It is really fast and easy once you get the hang of the pattern. And I can see how modular it is too! This is a photo of the right front, with arm-hole split, and most of the back. Time to add the next skein of yarn!

I did not take other projects with me except the blue scarf, but it was just as well. I only worked on the cardigan for all the time I had moments of sitting around waiting (mostly in the airport!) It wasn't until the flight back that I pulled out the blue novelty yarn scarf and cranked out a few rows of that:

I am not getting to much yarniness since my return to the midwest this week. Am trying to get back into my normal routine, but apparently still need to catch up on missed sleep! Every day after work, I hit the sack about 6:30-7:30 pm, and get about 12-14 hours of sleep before getting up and heading back to work! Sheesh. At this moment, I already had 5 hours of sleep, and have been up an hour...Will need to get back to bed pretty soon, so I can function at work!

Good thing is, payday is in 2 days! Yahoo! And we will be going out to dinner with DD, maybe this weekend. That will be fun :) She only has about 2 weeks of leave before she heads back out to the east coast for more training. But she'll be back in time for the holidays, and at least now we can talk on the phone :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Semper fidelis and a mother's love

Life sometimes gives you a defining moment. These moments are special and rare, times that touch the heart. It is up to you to pull your head up out of the slog of the daily grind and take note when they occur. One of the very sweetest defining moments EVER is being reunited with a loved one from whom you've been separated. There is nothing that compares.

Seeing DD graduate from the Marine Corps boot camp was one of the most bittersweet episodes of my life. Sweet because I got to see her for the first time in 3 months, and talk to her in person. Hold her in my arms, and kiss her. Sweet because she attained a goal she had the drive to work toward. Sweet because, there is something amazing about patriotism, so completely soul-deep that it touches the core of my being and the foundation values my life is built upon. And makes me proud.

Yet bitter. Bitter because, I can see the toll the physical hardship has taken on my young and beautiful daughter. The weight loss, to the point of unhealthiness. The never satiated appetite she expressed the first 3 days we were with her. The new lines around her young eyes, the scars and bruises on her body from the school of hard knocks. This is not a path I would have chosen for my child. And oh, how it hurts.

How to return to "normal-ness" after something like this is branded on your heart? How do you go back to the routine daily things that need to be done? A large part of my heart is never going to be the same. But, mothers do this very thing every day, as their adult children take paths they never would have chosen. I am but one of millions. This is really one of the hardest things I've done as a mom. But I am so proud of her. Semper fidelis!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Life as I know it

We are back from Georgia and S.C. It was extremely drippy humid hot there. Yucky. But, I got to visit with the bro, see DD graduate from boot camp, and wade in the ocean! What could be better than all that?!

Have to work today. I am actually looking forward to doing normal things. The flight back was okay until they began the descent. I don't know if it was the size of the plane, or my queasy stomach which had been present for a couple of days, but I was very motion sick. The guy next to me on the plane thought I was gonna hurl. I nearly did. Then when we landed, I knew there was no way I'd be able to manage the train-ride to our parking lot, then the drive home, so I popped some Dramamine.

Which explains why I just awoke from a 14 hour sleep! LOL! Ready to go back to work, and get into the swing of normal-ness again. Whew!

While on the trip, I started a new project--the spiderweb cardigan from Interweave Crochet's spring issue. I took 2 skeins of Cotton Fleece with me, and used them both up, so was knitting on the blue scarf on the plane yesterday. Pics later.
Good to be home! Home sweet home! :O)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Should Say 'Bye!

I am leaving in the early afternoon tomorrow for DD's graduation from boot camp! On my return, hopefully life will be getting back to a somewhat normal schedule! Cya....


Monday, September 10, 2007

of bees & chocolate

Picture this: I get a phone call at work today at 4 pm. My DS called to tell me one of the dogs wouldn't come in from being outside in the back today. Finally, after being called and called, my puppy came around the corner of the house...."covered with a hundred bees, with about a hundred more following him!" My son took such good care of him before he called me, I'm so proud of him. He spent a 1/2 hour killing the bees that he kept getting out of the dog's fur (you KNOW how furry my dog is), then he called the vet, and they advised him to monitor the dog. So he called me. And, he tried to find the hive himself, before it started raining like gang-busters. But he couldn't find it, so we can't take action to get rid of it yet! Yikes.
We had a great day at work today, if a day at work can be called great! It was someone's b-day, and so we all pitched in and ordered a choco-banana arrangement from Edible Arrangements, pictured above (after we all munched on it for a day!) It was delivered with a balloon, and was it ever good! Yummy fruit, with some of it covered in a thick coating of chocolate....Then our boss paid for lunch, and I got spinach/feta pizza that was incredible!

I didn't get around to knitting much on my lunch hour b/c I was busy socializing and eating! That's a nice trade-off sometimes :) But now I am home in my cozy house, it is pouring rain out, and I have my knitting and some soup on the stove....with some cornbread in the oven. Then I have to begin to organize my packing for the trip. We leave in 2 days for Savannah, Georgia! Yay!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Scarf #6 specs, and Scarf #7

Here's the scoop on scarfy #6, in that novelty yarn I was talking about yesterday:

Pattern: Garter stitch over 22 stitches
Source: just a made up pattern
Yarn: "No Bo" No Boundaries (W*lm*rt brand) 50 gm per ball (57%Acrylic, 24% Nylon, 18% Wool, 1% metallic) color number 379/1 Mul 1057--this stuff was really cheap! And remarkably soft....
Needles: US13
Work remaining: 4 more balls of yarn?

Mods: I don't know, maybe at the ends I might do bobble fringes or something funky....

I also started scarf #7, which is the reversible cable scarf from Cables Untangled by Melissa Leapman. So far it's a fun knit, despite the fact I can't find ANY of my cable needles (I just bought a couple new ones on sale--where the heck did I put them?!) I'm making-do with a DPN for now. It's in the same yarn as Crazy Weave, but a different color. Here's a preview:I have really dropped the ball when it comes to posting recipes--sorry y'all. I may bake something today--can't leave the house b/c I might miss the phone call from DD from boot camp! She gets to call home today, for the first time since leaving in June, and graduates into full Marine-hood later this week! We are traveling to Savannah on Wednesday to see her graduation. And a huge contingent of extended family is going too! Can't wait!
Today should be a catch-up day, and a relax day. Finally! We threw a surprise B-day party for DS yesterday, and it worked out well. We've been having a population explosion of spiders in this house, so 'bug-bomb'-ing the house was our cover story. Which was brilliant, I must say! He was supposed to stay away from the house for 4 hours, then be home at 1:00 pm to help us wipe down all surfaces. He was very surprised when he walked in the house and we all shouted, "Surprise!!!!!" It was a good day :-D (Now, when can we actually bug-bomb.....?) Decorations by DH! Didn't he do a good job?!

I would like to spin today. I am going to learn to ply my singles, because I have not been able to spin since my drop spindle is full to the brim! This is the first time I've had a chance....