Showing posts with label Knitting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knitting. Show all posts

Friday, June 27, 2014

Last Week of June Review

Sweeping off the patio is now my full time summertime obsession.  I feel like the old man in the cartoon from years past who in the fall tracked down every fallen leave from his lawn and bagged it immediately, even desperately catching them as the wind blew them from the tree, leaf by leaf.  The husband thinks the old cottonwoods out back perhaps need more watering, so he has taken to that task of the evening.  The dogs tool around in the back looking for squirrels and I putter with the sweeping as the sun lowers in its sphere.  And the days are now getting shorter, so I hear, making earlier bedtimes easier to explain...people don't understand when you lie down before the sun does.

Liking an entertainment area free of dead cottonwood leaves, this week we will have entertained with friends and a few repasts.  A luncheon, a neighborly get together, and a couple friend tonight: all outside on a fairly leaf free patio.  Tonight I will be making a new salad with sweet potatoes and a rice vinegar dressing that is tossed together with the sweet potatoes and grilled corn cut from the cobs.  The cobs were grilled last night and are safely tucked away in the fridge for their glorious debut today with the sweet potatoes, black beans and a cilantro vinegar dressing. I'll let you know how it turns out.  One other sort-of recipe for a tea punch that was refreshing and tasty was equal parts brewed tea, pineapple-banana juice, orange juice and ginger ale.  That went down fairly well.




On the fishing front, we caught nothing this week other than a photo of a blue heron that let me get pretty close to where he was scouting trout.  There are lots of these blue herons around the water.  Last week I caught a 12 inch trout, my largest haul so far.  And he was delicious!


This morning after her walk, Libby SweetPea and I will be making our hospice visits.  Here is an older picture of Miss Libby posing in her therapy dog scarf.


She is on a walk right now with her sister Mercy.  Every morning the routine is that they dance around, pulling and tugging at their leashes, waiting for their old dad to get on his hat and retrieve his walking stick. Libby gets the leash in her mouth, and it takes a bit of cajoling to get her to release it so the walk can commence.  Once the 25 minute exercise is finished, she is ready for a nap.  But today she has to gear up and make her visits to her assigned patients.  Two are in an Alzheimer's facility and two are in a nursing home. Libby is pretty easy to handle on her visits since she is an old pro at being quiet and sitting on my lap while being petted; that and she is already worn out from her prior walk.  Staff people at the facilities usually comment on her good behavior, but they have not seen her at home where she tools around like hell on wheels, barking at every neighbor she can view out the front door window.

On the knitting front, I have now ripped out the lace scarf at least three times.  This will not get the best of me.  Here it is in progress, yet again.

Disappointment from Sunday last (this post): that beta test was a semi-ok trial, but it only allows 15 pictures per slideshow on Photosnack.  I am still trying to get pictures downloaded from the Cloud to my computer, following all instructions to the letter, but just cannot get albums downloaded back on my computer.  After googling many answers to this question, the process is still not working for me.  It seems that once they are in the cloud, they stay there.  And there is no putting more than 15 pictures at a time on a slideshow or movie if they are not still residing on your computer's hard drive.  Any feedback on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

And for Paint Party Friday, the Sun is finished:


Ya'll have a great weekend, ya hear?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Waiting

After six weeks of waiting, I called Knit Picks today to check on a back order of Swish yarn this morning. Their back order was due on May 15, but I had not received an email notifying me it was in stock. Going back to March, while knitting up the Delancey Cardigan, I was just five rows short of completion on the button band when the last of the yarn was used up.  So I immediately went online to order another skein, only to learn it was on back order.  The sweater was begun in January, was knitted through March, and now likely will not be completed until June.  It is like an albatross on my back, but the end seems to be in sight now.

Progress on the Shetland Lace Shawl: have finished the body of the shawl and am on to the edging!  I have joined these groups on Ravelry, all favorites since my trip to Shetland: Shetland Textile Museum, Jamieson & Smith Lovers and the Shetland Guild... This is my second Shetland Lace Shawl and it knits up beautifully.


This will continue to be my work in progress tomorrow, Wednesday.  Lots of people are joining in, and it is always fun to see what others are doing.  THIS is the link.

Back to Shetland.  Remember Ann Cleeves, the author I have talked about before on this post?  Am now reading her latest in the Shetland series, Dead Water.  The main character, Detective Perez, has a White Wife beer, brewed on Unst at the Valhalla Brewery.  It made me smile to know I had also imbibed of that brand of beer while learning the story of the mysterious slaying of the woman for whom the beer was named. Love that beer!  Love Cleeves!


Spring means a new haircut! I was going for the Dame Judi Dench look, but still need the hair to go white.

The Judi look:


The Nancy look:

How is your spring going?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Concentration

Concentration, or absenting myself from felicity (in Jean's words) while I start another round and adding an additional center panel to the Vogue lace shawl. That is what is needed: concentration.


The yarn is 100% organic linen from Quince & Co.  It feels fairly rough, being linen, and is smaller in circumference than I had envisioned, so the shawl will be smaller than the picture of the finished project shown on the published project sheet.  I am using a size larger needle to accommodate this difference in yarn size and hoping the yarn will soften after washing.  It is a bit like knitting with kite string at present.

If you are wondering what "organic linen" actually means, look here for an intense written presentation.  My take on what the organic blog says can be narrowed down to:
  • Lowest practical ecological impact
  • Fair Trade guidelines
That being said, on with knitting.  The Chart II repeat (middle) is now in process; it begins on row 49 and is repeated 15 times prior to adding the wings. I had difficulty in reading the chart, as it is different on the right and wrong sides, naturally, so I made a flip chart with index cards which made the changing charts easier to follow.  However, it took about 150 cards to make the chart. This is definitely my Magnum Opus of knitting.  And it may be the  last, God willing that I live long enough to finish the knit.

The center is beginning to look like hearts, and I wonder if this is because of the yarn.  Liking it thus far, but it requires concentration and cannot be successfully knit with the husband in the room providing side notes or asking questions, adding to the ambient noise of tv commentary.  However, it can be happily knit on while sitting alone and having an episode of "Pride and  Prejudice"spicing up the airwaves.  The husband will retreat to his den with the dogs when he hears Colin Firth.

It is cold here today, and I had to bring in all my seedlings last night because of the frost warnings.  Three more days of in and out with these little guys, and then the zinnias and cosmos


will be almost ready to go into their new raised bed.  More later on that project.  Three pots of marigolds are in the garage, and more pots of herbs are up by the back door that will have to go out again in the sun by 10 AM when the frost warning is lifted.  Three more days of this and then we should be free of frost.  One wonders at the efficacy of all this attention to planting when the local grocer provides plants already blooming.

Lastly, one new addition to the front porch: an urn with columbine and marigolds, reminding me of college colors:



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mary Janes for Baby, Shortbread

Knitting:

Annie at Knitsofacto, knitter extraordinaire, published a complimentary pattern for baby Mary Jane booties found here (not for sale).  They were so cute that it spurred me on to knit some.




Only one completed thus far.  Linking up with Small Things

and also linking with Tami at Works in Progress Wednesday.

Painting:

Almost finished with this for sale at the Palisade Art Lover's Show in April:


Oils, 11" x 14"

Cooking/Baking:

Here is an old favorite recipe from Natalie that I'll be making soon, adding culinary lavender for spring flavor:

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, unsifted
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut in chunks
(lavender, chopped finely, about 2 Tbsp, optional)

With your hands, work mixture until it is very crumbly and no large particles remain,; then press mixture into a firm lump with your hands.  Place dough (it is crumbly) in an 8 or 9 inch layer cake pan with removable bottom and press out firmly, evenly.  Impress edge of the dough with the tines of a fork and prick surface evenly.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a pale golden brown.  Remove from oven and while warm, cut with a sharp knife into wedges and sprinkle with about 1 Tbsp. sugar.  Let cool, then remove pan rim and transfer cookies to a serving tray or airtight container.  Keep at room temperature as long as a week; freeze for longer storage.  Makes 8 to 12 cookies.


The picture above is of two ladies knitting at the Shetland Scalloway Museum.  I took it last summer while at the coffee shop museum.  They meet weekly and knit, chat and share SCOTCH SHORTBREAD (note the plastic container between them that holds their treats).  I just loved that they brought their own cookies to the museum while they worked and chatted with me. Their brogues were very thick, and I had to ask them to repeat their words several times.  And yes, they did give me permission to take their picture for blogging purposes. These two ladies were amazed that there picture appeared immediately on the iPad!  Neither had seen an iPad before.

Read this Month and maybe back into February:

Hidden, by Catherine McKenzie (excellent!)
Best Kept Secret, by Jeffrey Archer (The Clifton Chronicles) a keeper
The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila (written in the 1500's, and I just could not understand most of what she had to say about Purgatory, but I was determined to read it for the Lenten Season.)  Read it only if you dare.
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch (loved this 2008 Agatha Award Nominee Book; Inspector Exeter of Scotland Yard at the turn of the century kept me interested; will be reading more by Charles Finch)
A Time to Kill (only 20% through this), by John Grisham.  Lots of courtroom drama
Sycamore Row by John Grisham (the husband said to read A Time To Kill if I liked this one, which I did)

What are you up to?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Candied Violets and KnitWits

There are lots of ways to make sugar coated violets.  Since my two violets are blooming profusely, it was time to make a few to top a basic buttermilk cake from Lottie and Doof.



This is what they look like after 14 hours in the fridge


Be sure to give yourself a day for the egg whites to dry, making them ahead of time so that they will be ready for cake decoration.


Several KnitWits were served cake and ice cream yesterday sans the violet toppers since they were still drying. Should have read the recipe two days ago. Oh well.


Still knitting on the chevron Delancey cardigan and am half way through one sleeve.  Pictures later.

Remember it is Fiber Arts Friday!
Photobucket and linking with a new site, from a home schooler in South Africa

Friday, February 7, 2014

Photos Scanned, Clean Up Happened

Although I have not been blogging, I have been reading each of your posts, my friends.  First, let me say that I have tried to comment on most of your blogs, and secondly, since two weeks ago, daughter Julie came through her medical problems just fine.  No more headaches, no surgery.

That new scanner I ordered is the bee's knees.  Or is it bees' knees?  Anyway, it works very well, creating light where there was none, enhancing colors, cropping off non-essentials, etc.  It is just a run of the mill brand and was inexpensive, but it is the technology that has changed over the years. The old scanner just was not cutting it.  Results of all that scanning of old photos resulted in several trash cans full of old albums and photos.  And several boxes of heavier papers and albums were taken away by the local disposer.  We get an old age discount because the waste disposal guys figure that seniors don't have much trash.  Suppose we more than got out money's worth from this trash removal service over the last couple of weeks.

All in all, those pictures from the 1970's until digital times have all been scanned.  And the result? The best ones are now residing on one thumb drive. Amazing. It was an emotional time, truthfully.  Looking at my daughters when they were babes in arms, thinking of those years, most of which were troubled and unhappy, working hard, having little free time.  I had so much rather be living my life now rather than then. A couple of digital photo flashing frames were loaded with hundreds of vacation and family photos. The good times can be remembered at will. Happy, happy.

One large four drawer file cabinet is now in the garage ready for the "Fresh as a Daisy" pickup that the city provides in April for items too large for regular pick up.  And now my little study is boasting a new two drawer mahogany and much smaller file for papers.  Lots of the old files were also trashed.  Who knew one could accumulate so much unimportant stuff over a few years time?

Clean up pictures:
 (organized, items tossed)

(dusted)

And the amaryllis bulbs Natalie gave me are growing, finally,  in the guest bath:


The husband ordered new retirement business cards.  He has not yet handed one out, and I'm wondering if people will need an explanation of his thought process in creating these.  Probably he will not even get reactions.  Who knows.  And what price would one pay to a holistic detective agent?


Yes, knitters, I have now completed two thirds of my Looped Loop cowl and am on the home stretch of the Delancey Cardigan in grey and mustard orange.  The Looped Loop has to be knit under strong light. Usually I am watching some Inspector Lynley mystery shows on Netflix, so there have been a few dropped stitches. Next up to watch is "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", Jan.   And yesterday I was involved enough to have to rip out some grey on the cardigan because it was time for a stripe.  Onward.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cornbread, Cardigans and Canines

A few days ago, I shared some cornbread with a friend.  The recipe had absolutely no flour in its list of ingredients, so I figured it would be good for her "no gluten whatsoever" current diet plan.  Warning her that it would be very filling and loaded with calories because of the butter and cheese involved in its makeup, she willingly took it. Click for recipe.

The next day she e-mailed me and said something like "thanks for the cornbread...very light and delicious." Thought that was hilarious as she obviously had not even taken a bite of that dense cornbread.

On to my cardigan knitting, the Delancey Cardigan found here. It has stripes that point downwards with a chevron stripe motif which makes it a flattering style.  Thinking I had memorized the pattern well enough to continue knitting on and on, I later found out (and too late!) that I had missed a "slip two, knit one" at the beginning of the side, so had to rip out an hour's worth of work.

It actually could have been worse, since when knitting the Delancey I was watching the latest episode of "Downton Abbey", not really paying much attention to the knitting.  Friend Jan said the Brits were a bit up in arms about that episode with Anna Bates being victimized.  You can see an interview with Anna (Joanne Froggat) at this link as both she and writer Julian Fellowes discuss the episode. It's a wonder I got even a stitch made since the episode caught me in its emotional and visual grasp.

Of course, I was using my shrinky dink Downton Abbey knitting markers with the tv up loud and clearly empathizing with Mr. Bates.

I do have a few markers left from when I made them last year, so if you want two, I'll send you them postage paid.  Just leave a comment telling me your favorite actor from the series. Will draw from comments for the winner if there is more than one reader interested.


And the canines?  They are an expensive pair this month as BOTH had to have their annual check ups, vaccinations and dental cleanings.  We are not the first to think the IRS should give us a tax break on their medical expenses.

"We are cute and our teeth are clean."

Reading The Gravity of Birds, courtesy of sister Pam.  Sewing on a Vogue Pattern ( 8731).  What are you up to?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Honey of a Cowl

This fiber I'm working with now is ornery as a toddler overdue for a nap.  It is colorful, a pretty variegation of mixed colors, but stiff as a board.  Well maybe not quite as stiff as a board, but it definitely could stand up to a fist fight without a bruising.

My hands are getting a bit cramped from putting size 9 circular needles through it, making purl stitches and then slipped stitches, then going back to a row of knitting around on alternating rows.


But it is worth fussing with this 100 percent and slightly tamed wool from Scotland for several reasons of personal intrinsic value, the major one being that it was a souvenir from that glorious summer day last July when we Joyce James tourers visited the Woolshed on Orkney.  Women crofters from that southern Scottish island raise their own sheep for the fiber, then go through all the laborious processes of refining the wool until they can eventually dye it to their own specifications or individual liking. Only then are the skeins wound and marked, delivered to the Woolshed, and made ready for purchase.  In this case we tourists were the ones eager to snatch up wool rugs, jumpers, and those beautifully dyed skeins that were so artfully decorating straw baskets and stuffed into worn wooden shelving in that remote marketplace, a two room working craft producers' cooperative studio.

The one wool skein I brought home from the Woolshed has patiently waited for the perfect small project to make use of its properties (it contains 100 grams).  And so the Honey Cowl seemed fitting.  Honey Cowl, when completed, looks somewhat like a honeycomb with rows of purled stitches and slipped stitches simulating a honeycomb.


See its ridges?  Wye, they practically stand up to salute the eye of the beholder.  Perhaps it can be folded under a collar or over a turtleneck and secured with a scarf clip to tame its less than cuddly fiber characteristic.  Only seven more inches of honey comb stitching to go until it can be bound off.  Am going through lots of hand moisturizers on this cowl.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wovember Wool Fair Isle Hat Entry

Ending November 30, all contest entries must be sent in to Wovember.  Details are here.  I just made the contest deadline in time!

To recap about the contest:
This year – as with last year – Wovember will be focused on closing the gap between producers and consumers of yarn. The month of November will feature a sequence of woolly contents on the Wovember site, divided into 5 sections:

*growing wool
*harvesting wool
*processing wool
*working with wool
*wearing wool
A range of specific people were invited to contribute guests posts for each section, but in addition to this, ALL were warmly invited to help shape the celebration!

Jamieson & Smith Wool Brokers are giving this prize: adequate quantities of yarn to make Felicity Ford's pattern Blayter, as well as the pattern.  Blacker Yarns is doing the same, and Foula Wool is also supplying a woolly goodness prize.

So although it took me all month, I did finish the Shetland Heritage Hat today with their 100% wool, 2 ply yarns, in various colors, from Jamieson & Smith's.

 
All details are here.
 
 
(top of the hat, poor color correction !)
 
Here is Felicity Ford's Baby Jacket called Blayter:
I really wanna win the pattern and yarns so, pick me, pick me!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Oyster Stitch

In her post today for Wovember, Kate Davies showed off her new pattern that is sort of like a swingy, loose coat sweater.  Not planning to knit such a garment, but I was intrigued by the stitch she described.  It is an old stitch, apparently, and inspired by the grey bi-valved oyster.  She says it has an easily remembered cadence to the pattern.

That certain book that Davies referenced for the stitch pattern was a paperback, and I have pretty much vowed to not yet again buy tangible books that sit on shelves waiting for dust to grace their tops. So I rummaged through my stitch pattern dictionary that still huddles in a bookcase with older books that were mercifully saved from a prior trip of donations to Good Will.  (Some beloved books just cannot be parted from their owners); The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns was one such relic.  Alas, no oyster pattern to be found within its pages.

YouTube did show how to knit that stitch, courtesy of NewStitchADay.

Kate Davies knitted her sweater from a grey color, naturally.  Oysters are grey. But there is a voice in the back of my head that echoes from an older woman, even older than I, that whispered once "grey is not a pretty color for a woman to wear".  I am trying not to listen.

Regardless of that little voice trying to dissuade me from using the color grey in knitwear, there are some gorgeous, classy looks using that neutral shade.  It seems to be quite the favorite color now, even for baby clothes and blankets.


Thinking about oysters, they have lots of colors, not just grey.  Browns, blacks, greens, yellows, ivory, all make up the ubiquitous grey of the oyster.  We saw lots of oyster farms while in Shetland this summer.  And we even ate a few, which were quite delicious.  Oysters Rockefeller are a favorite holiday appetizer for the hub and me.  Soon.

So using a pretty grey one ply merino yarn, I may make up something in an oyster stitch...perhaps mittens from a free pattern supplied on Ravelry by Rebecca Blair.  We shall see.  There are two other projects on the needles still needing a bit of attention before we sally off on another adventure.

 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pleated Ballet Slippers

Between dramatic health issues with a friend, my own eye issues, and computer problems, the knitting has been sparse over the last few days.

The good news is that I got some punctal plugs yesterday for dry eye.  The jury is out if it will help, but I am crossing fingers.

PhotobucketAnd since it is Friday, Fiber Arts Friday, here is something I started yesterday:

Ballet slippers!  Well, actually not for dance, but to look nicer on the feet than slouching around in my old LL Bean moose footwear.  Don't even try to picture it.  Not a pretty sight.

The feminine footwear pattern by Julie Weisenberger can be found here.  Slippers on her site look this this:


Mine are used from these yarns, mixtures of wools and acrylics, held double and are in progress.  I plan on making several pairs.




Foot bottoms will be painted with puffy paint I found on Amazon, but it is available at any craft store as well.  The puffy paint helps keep the slippers from sliding on hardwood floors.

 
Update: 10.22.13
 
First pair frogged.  Second pair much better and finished.  Fun making the little pleats.  Here is the yarn and also the finished product: