Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ach du meine blog-freunden!

Look what Hakucho gave me:

Wasn't that nice?
In turn I will give the award to the bloggers that make my day:
Hakucho ;)
You guys are great, thanks so much for commenting on my blog, and having your own blogs to reciprocate on! It's so entertaining to visit with everyone and get inspired too :)
I know some of you may have already been awarded this...that means you make more than one person's day =D

Here are the rules:
Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!

I got a new book Friday night at knitting. It's "Andean Folk Knits" by Marcia Lewandoski. I heard about this from AX174 at Blah, Blah, Blog. She made the llama bag, and I would love to make this too!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sweater progress, hat pattern!

I'm back. Work has been very mentally exhausting the past 3-4 weeks, and so my blogging is limited to weekends, when I'm somewhat fresh! And last weekend, I had to work for the first time--only 2 hours, but I hope this doesn't start a new trend. I'm already working my tush off during the week!

First, let me show off my new purchase:

I bought it on QVC while late-night knitting (when DH woke me with his snores.) Snoring can be expensive, as this picture proves! I love this lamp!

Here is an update on knitterly progress:

I had started to make a sweater from this cushy, squishy yarn about 15 months ago. The sweater is my first attempt at making something w/o a pattern! I sketched out some pattern pieces and as I knit, I measured myself and how deep an armscye I wanted, how long a waistline, etc. Lots of ripping out and re-starting in the beginning (which I didn't mind, as this is the ultimate 'pleasure knitting' yarn! Knitting it over again and again just means more time for this yarn to run through my fingers, heh!)

It got shelved 9 months ago, and just came onto the needles again this week. I am having a blast with this! It's my first sweater design, my first 3-needle BO for shoulders, my first portrait/shawl collar, my first attempt at shaping sleeve caps with short-rows, etc! I am learning tons, which is half the fun here :) And did I mention I LOVE THIS YARN?! (It is Deluxe Chunky LP 100% Wool by Universal Yarn Company).

The idea for this sweater came after seeing Kathleen the Knitting Queen's similar one she wore last year. She told me she had done it w/o a pattern, and encouraged my interest in doing my own version! She's been great! Thanks for the idea and suggestions, Kathleen :)

I also made a Chullo style hat for my girlfriend at work. I gave it to her yesterday. She told me she wanted a black hat with earflaps and ties. I found the lovely black Lion Suede and knew she'd love the softness, but I was fairly certain it would not be warm. So I paired it with a strand of Lion Wool, and knit them together. Here's the pic:

and here's the pattern:

Girlfriend Hat

Gauge: 3 st/in and 3-1/2 rows/in
Needle: size US 10.5 sixteen inch circular, and 4 DPNs in same size
Yarn: one strand Lion Suede held with one strand Lion wool.

CO 60 sts. Place marker(PM) at beg of round. Garter stitch x 6 rounds.
Next round= inc 1, K 20, inc 1, K20, inc 1, K20.
Now stockinette stitch around x 10 rounds. (63 stitches)

Body of hat:
Rnd 1= * SSK, K7, PM * Repeat around.
Rnd 2= (and all even numbered rounds) K around.
Rnd 3= * SSK, K6 * Repeat around.
Rnd 5= * SSK, K5 * Repeat around.
Rnd 7= * SSK, K4 * Repeat around
Rnd 8= as round 2.
Now switch to DPNs.

Rnd 9= * SSK, K3 * Repeat around.
Rnd 11= * SSK, K2* Repeat around.
Rnd 13= * S2, K1, pass 2 SS over * Repeat around, 7 sts.
Cut yarn. Thread through all 7 stitches left on needle and pull tight. Weave in ends.

Ear flaps:
With right side facing, pick up 10 stitches, then turn and knit 6 rows (garter stitch).
R 7= (K2, K2tog)2 times, K2. (8 sts)
R 8= K across.
R 9= K1, K2 tog, K2, K2 tog, K1. (6 sts)
R 10= K across.
R 11= K1 (K2 tog)2 times, K1. (4 sts)
R 12= K across.

R 13 and remaining rows= knit I-cord over remaining 4 stitches until tie is desired length. Tie knot in end of I-cord, or if desired, add pompom or tassel.
To place second earflap, count along hat brim from edge of first earflap, and begin picking up stitches from the 16th stitch.

P.S. this fits a 21-23" head! You may want to decrease the needle size to make it smaller.

Hope y'all like it. And most of all, I hope my GF does! :) If anybody makes one, I'd sure like to see it, you can leave a comment here....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Zucchini Jam

In my last post I mentioned the Zucchini Jam that a lovely old lady down the street taught me how to make when I was a newlywed. She also taught me to tat, and I will always be in her debt for that.

I decided, in her honor, to share the Zucchini Jam recipe with y'all. It sounds kinda strange, but is really fun to make. It tastes incredible! The zucchini is just in it for 'tooth' (texture). And because squash tastes like nothing in and of itself, the flavor of the jam comes from Jello! (flavored gelatin mix)

Here's the recipe:

Alice Stoner's Zucchini Jam

4 cups finely grated (not shredded) zuchini, about 3 medium--should look like applesauce

4 cups sugar

1 cup crushed pineapple, DON'T DRAIN OFF THE JUICE

1/2 cup lemon juice, bottled is okay

2- 3oz packages of Jello gelatin

Mix all above except the jello in a saucepan, and cook about 10 minutes or til the squash is clear. Remove from the heat, and add Jello, mixing well. Pour into sterile 1/2 pint jars and seal. Makes 7 half-pint jars of jam.

Great served over toast, and is a cute gift to add to a basket at Christmas. The beauty of this recipe is you can make it any time of the year, you are not limited to strawberry-picking time or apple-picking time. Just get yourself 3 zucchinis from the market, and away you go!

I haven't made this in a couple of years, I would love to get a batch going....Can't right now, I'm broke after paying tuition for DS. But I get paid later this week, so I can go to the store soon :) I love this recipe!

I designed a hat for my girlfriend. Am finishing up the details right now, and will hopefully post a FO pic and instructions later this week. I looked around for a pattern for what she wanted, but given the yarn I decided to use, I couldn't find a match. So I designed my own! "Girlfriend Hat pattern" coming soon....

I really must sit down and start digging into my Ballerina. The instructions became so very general, that I will likely have to sit down and write out where/when the decreases/increases occur, row by row. Now I know why they are talking about making a spreadsheet for Hanne Falkenberg's designs....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Celestine done!!!

All right, here's Celestine:

Isn't she pretty?! I am thinking about tossing her into the washer and felting her a tad bit. She looks pretty strange, a star with each point a different color, but it was fun to explore that pattern and fun to explore that yarn!

I wanted to share a really cute crochet pattern I found from my Ravelry-surfing: a crochet amigurumi dragonfly! Isn't that too cute?!

Did I mention that there is a translation for the Revontuli-huivi shawl into English from [Finnish]? Here it is; looks like an easy and warm shawl to me.....Love it in the gradated yarns....

Here is a really neat knit top FO, with a link to what japanese magazine the pattern is from. It looks really simple. And non-boring to make! I should have started with a couple of sleeveless tops for my first sweaters....

And I know it's late days for a Christmas ornament, but this reindeer pattern is really cute....It would be a fun make.

Another 'after the fact' Christmas knit that I just found on Ravelry: these knit ornament covers made from leftover sock yarns!

I borrowed this photo from a Raveler (spoonsnspools) who made one, to show what they look like! What a cute idea!!! I may have to get that pattern....

I joined a tatting group in Ravelry, it is so cool to see that other people really do tat! I know they do, but have not met one since the dear old lady who taught me when I was a newlywed. She taught me so many cool things, including a really cool recipe for "zucchini jam." But mostly I remember sitting in her living room, while she showed me how to tat. That was in 1983. Everytime I do that craft I think of her. I was blessed to have such a neighbor!

So for all you tatters out there, here's a link to a cute tatted butterfly motif.

And, have you seen this book (scroll down to see the crochet lace Japanese craft book)? Oh look at the beautiful white Irish Crochet Lace cardi....I've always been extremely fascinated by Irish Crochet Lace, I was collecting books and patterns about it in the 1980's, but then, as now (with Ravelry), it was more of a study and less of an accomplishment! I spend so much time drooling over things, that there is no time to actually make them! Heh.

But I think I might pull out my old books on Irish Crochet lace....

I am pumped about February, because, getting through that month (mentally intact) is usually my biggest feat of the winter--I have something amazing scheduled next month which will make it ROCK this year!! I signed up for a three-Saturday spinning class, that really only costs about $10 an hour! I am so excited, yet bummed out that I have to wait another 3 weeks before it starts....I can hardly wait! I get to review drop-spindle spinning, then move up to a wheel. And I've heard this teacher is great about letting you take a wheel home to try it before committing to buy! What a great plan to avoid cabin-fever :)

And, I'm feeling pretty good considering I didn't take off any time over Christmas. I decided to save that week off for late April, as every year I die a little inside if I can't get out to my garden. This spring it's gonna be great to be outside during daylight hours! I may even be able to have a little garage sale!

Feeling good about my New Year resolutions. This year it's about going back to daily exercise of some kind (after 2 years of studiously avoiding any), getting a grip on my eating habits, spending habits, and thinking habits. Even though some of the old die-hard habits are slow to change, at this point, they are still uppermost in my mind. Habits take two weeks to form; in order to change a habit, it's gonna take at least two weeks of orchestrating change. January has already seen some progress! Yay.

I have started doing some yoga poses in the mornings again. It has not become a regular thing yet, as I have had 3 separate respiratory illnesses so far in 2008, and that has put a crimp in my plans. But I am very happy to start off the day with a couple of easy poses to get some flexibility going. It's gonna be a while before I can do much in the way of down-dogs, or a full practice of any kind, given my stupid wrist ganglion/arthritis symptoms. But I can work up to it. After all, I have all year...!

p.s. but you should see me, flopping around like a fish out of water, trying to do sun salutations. Snicker.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hemlock done!!!!!!!

Wahoo, the Hemlock ring blanket has come off the needles at exactly 0845 today! This after an overnight bind-off session--that scallop BO took longer than the whole stinking blanket!!! (I exaggerate,of course. Did I say I would stop exaggerating for the new year?!)

Here's a funky pic of it straight off the needles:

I sure hope it blocks out well! This is finished just in time for our awful cold-wave: windchills in the below-zeroes, and a high today of 4 degrees! Ick. It has been really nice to sit with this wooly wonder on my lap while knitting. My dad's B-day is in early Feb, but I may give it to him early so he gets more use out of it!

I am ready to stuff the Celestine, and haven't done so yet b/c my stuffing is in the closet in the room where DH is snoozing. I don't want to wake him up digging around in the closet, ya know?!

But, the happy thing is that Celestine will also be an FO later today! Gosh, now I'll HAVE to work on the Hello Kitty KAL projects and Ballerina. I also promised my girlfriend a black chullo-type hat, which I will be CO for today. I am on a knitting rampage right now, I feel like finishing up all my WIPs. My list on Ravelry shows I have around 11 WIPs dozing away in a project basket! Sheesh, talk about knitting ADD :)

I am doing an Atkins induction diet right now, it's been 1+ weeks. I lost a bit of weight so far, but Atkins is hard for me to do b/c I'm a vegetarian! Good thing I eat eggs and fish, but I'm just about sick of them right now :) The best thing this is doing is stopping my nervous carb-snacking at work. I ALWAYS was eating something, another piece of chocolate, a piece of cake, a cookie, a granola bar, a doughnut--you get the picture! My blood sugar was a bit unhappy with me initially, but I feel so much better and lighter at this point! I'm going to keep going with it....

Hope all you knitters are staying warm this winter! See ya later (with pics of blocked Hemlock Ring and finished Celestine)!Bye....

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Been sick, got a raise, worked like an ox, enjoyed DH's b-day, got DS registered (second semester), got sick again. In other words, not too much knitting going on here. Now I am suffering from eye strain, relapse of bronchitis, messed up hormones, and a persistent GI problem. Sigh. Never a dull moment :)

I am making (very slow) progress on Celestine:

The Kauni rainbow yarn is really fun; I keep wanting to make the next star point to see what the next color variation looks like knit up!! And it's a good size project to haul back and forth to work.

As opposed to Hemlock Ring, which is in it's last 3 rows and rather bulky at this point. I messed up a YO row 5 rows back, and have been trying to rip back only a section to fix it instead of unraveling 300 something stitches x 5 rows, but now that I've spent 2-1/2 hours doing that, I realize that nothing but ripping out will suffice. I can't stand it, I'm so close to being finished! Oh well, I have been enjoying it during football games....Maybe it'll get me through the Super Bowl :)

I'm learning something from both projects, which is fun. I've heard people say you can't fix lace--oh, now I see why! :( You can tell I'm an "experiential" learner!!

And Celestine calls for "pick up and knit" to add on each star point, but when I do that I get a ridge at the join (red arrows in next photo.) I like it much better if I just pick up the stitches around, and THEN knit them on the first row. It looks so much cleaner :) See the black arrows in the next photo:

See how the black arrows are pointing out seams with nice smooth joins?! (Click to see it better!) This needs some blocking for sure, but I think you get the idea.

Won't be doing much internet this weekend if my eyes don't calm down. I'll probably just refill my antibiotics and sleep. Happy Saturday y'all!

Aim the inundated.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Puppies and Knitting

My puppy talks to the mailman. He is so funny--the same mailman comes everyday around noon, you'd think my puppy would be used to him! But when the guy is across the street, Fizz starts moaning, and singing, and it escalates the closer the guy gets! He gets really agitated, and runs from window to window, looking out and talking all the time, "Row. Woof. Arr. Oooh raar." And then when the mailman finally steps onto our porch, all hell breaks loose and he starts barking like the guy is breaking into the house! It's enough to scare away ANY intruder, but of course, when the puppy is part of your own family, you think it is funny and cute (well, all the build-up is, but the barking at the top of his lungs is a bit much!) He makes the funniest little O-shape with his mouth during all the verbalizations, when he says, "Roor" and pauses, looking at you. Hee hee hee.

Doggies are a blast :) I always think what trouble they could get into if they had fingers and hands...they would be going through the cupboards, eating everything in sight until they got sick, opening doors and going outside to chase everything that caught their fancy! That could be bad :)

Okay, enough about dogs. I want to show you some neat knitting sites I found:

This is a website devoted to sweaters in the book "Poetry in Stitches." I believe the book is of norwegian fair-isle patterns. The pattern on the cover of the book is completely intriguing to me, and I see that book in my future...! Anyway, you can see the progress of some knitters doing these impressive sweaters on the website :)

What the?!!! Ha ha haaaaaaa! There must be a story behind this!

Here's a knit Christmas garland! Kind of a neat idea if you have some novelty yarns in your stash.... you know, for next year!

And this looks like a good resource for anyone interested in trying their hand at their first fair-isle project--lots of references to videos, and yarn lists, and other resources. This is going in my side-bar....

I like this website for inspiration knitting from Japanese knit books! Really great stuff going on over there.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

what I got for Christmas

He likes to play in the snow!

I got this fun calendar for Christmas from DD. Will be nice to flip through these daily while at work this year! Not that I need anymore project ideas, but it's nice to keep the inspiration going!!

Wow, I just spent about 4 hours on Ravelry (1/1/08), with breaks to move the laundry along, and eat. I can just blow a whole day on that website! My brain is spinning right now. I must get off the 'puter b/c DH is going to have a hissy if I don't give him a turn :()

Again, Happy New Year.

Okay, now it's 1/2/08. I just worked all day again, what a workhorse I can be. I love my job right now.

I am very happy these days. I think the satisfaction of moving through the holidays, being with family and friends, and having well-deserved time off really makes a difference! Plus all the new knitting and surfing time!!!

I am working away on the Hemlock ring. Will be knitting on that tonight. But what has really got me going is the Celestine from Norah Gaughan (pattern on Berocco's website): I cast on last night in my Kauni rainbow yarn, and I'm really excited to be making it in this. I don't know what it will look like in this yarn, but I'm having fun using it! And it's a nice break from the boring color of Hemlock :)

I had a brainstorm too. I really want to use my Jojoland Rhythm yarn for the Klaralund sweater! It is self-striping and a really neat colorway I think would look very well in that pattern. I've been sitting on it wondering what to do with it for a number of months...I love brainstorms!

Well, back to the knitting board. Oh, and by the way, I need to get started on my HK knitting pattern for the KAL blog! The pattern came out Christmas Eve, but I am somewhat behind :)

Resolutions for the New Year

New Year Knitting Resolutions:

1. Be prolific.
2. Be creative.
3. Be financially responsible.

There. It's open to interpretation, but I just need some loose guidelines for making changes I want to see happen! Some of these span more than just my knitting goals, but then, that's a given.

Before I wax too philosophical, I want to pass on one of my all-time favorite jokes. Let this set the tenor for my new year....;-p

Long ago, when sailing ships ruled the sea, the ships were always in danger of being attacked by pirates.

One day, a certain captain and his crew saw that a pirate ship was approaching. The crew became worried, but the Captain was calm.

He bellowed to his First Mate, "Bring me my red shirt!"

The First Mate quickly got the Captain's red shirt, which the captain put on. Then he led his crew into fierce battle against the pirates. Although there were some casualties among the crew, the pirates were defeated.

Later that day, the lookout shouted that there were
two pirate vessels approaching
their ship. The crew was nervous, but the Captain, calm as ever, bellowed, "Bring me my red shirt!" And once again the battle was on!

The Captain and his crew bravely fought off the pirates, though this time more casualties occurred.

Weary from the battles, the men sat around on deck that night recounting the day's events when an ensign looked at the Captain and asked, "Sir, why do you call for your red shirt before the battle?"

The Captain explained, "If I am wounded in battle, the red shirt does not show the blood, so you men will continue to fight unafraid." The men sat in silence. They were amazed at the courage of such a man.

As dawn came the next morning, the lookout spotted more pirate ships, 10 of them, drawing close. Terror struck the crew; the men became silent and looked to the Captain, their leader, for his usual command.

The Captain, bellowed, 'Bring me my brown pants!!!'

Hope you liked this joke. Hee hee hee o.O

And now, to some knitting:
Look at this interesting site, this woman dyes her yarns from botanicals she collects in the woods, mostly mushrooms!!! Is this not gorgeous?! Look at some of the colors she gets, wow. I am so impressed. She is a very inspiring read, I think I will be following her blog carefully!

And, I have another scarf project in mind: check this out! It is so pretty, I would love a scarf like this! I am very tempted to try to figure that one out based on the photos. She states it is made in one piece, and I think I know how that's done.... :)

And here is a link to lots of info about Japanese knitting patterns, for my future reference if not yours!

Okay, time to knit some more. I am on round 72 of the Hemlock Ring Blanket. Many more to go, but that's okay. I have the whole winter looming ahead of me. We are snowed in, with heaps of snow everywhere. I love it! We have had such stinky snow-stingey winters in the past decade, I'm excited to have some deep snow!!!

Oh, one last comment: LOOK AT WHERE THIS WOMAN LIVES!!!!! (Scroll to previous/next posts on her blog for other beautiful photos of her home.)
How come I live in such a topographically challenged area, when there are places like this around?!"
Wow. Almost makes me want to revise my plans to move to the south pacific.....(I said almost!) I love her photography, it puts me right there.

I will enjoy visiting with all of you in 2008--thanks everyone for making blogging such a joy to a newbie like me! I now have 9 months of blogging under my belt--woo hoo!
Happy 2008!