Sunday, December 31, 2006

Just finished in time for the new year!

I just finished these bibs which will be baby gifts in the new year. Guess I just made the deadline as 2006 is ending soon!

These were really fun and very easy. The pattern is from the the Mason-Dixon Knitting book by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. I was tempted to try one of the fancy stitch patterns from my new Barbara Walker's Treasury but decided against it. These are need to be fancy. Hopefully they will have lots of food and drool stuck on them. I want them to be used, not put away in a drawer. I know if someone had given me elaborate knitted items for my boys I probably would be afraid to use them. I think these will be used. I wish I had had some for my boys when they were babies. I probably would have had dozen of them!

Well, I hope this finds everyone happily waiting for the new year to begin. I know I am looking forward to order being restored in my household tomorrow when we take down the tree and all the rest of the decorations.

May everyone have a very happy and healthy new year!

happy knitting in 2007 :)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'm glad that the holidays are almost over!

I can't wait to get my house completely back to normal. The boys ( my husband included) have been home all week and my house is a complete disaster. They make quite the mess! I'm looking forward to the Christmas presents finding their new resting places and not in my living room!

Hopefully everyone had a really wonderful Christmas. I was very happy to receive some knitting books this year! My husband gave me Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and Vivian Hoxbro's Domino Knitting. My middle son gave me the yarn harlot's book (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee), At Knit's End meditations for women who knit too much you by chance think he's trying to tell me something ?
My youngest made me the cutest little ceramic animal:
I just love it! Believe it or not... it is a rabbit. When I opened it up I thought it was a pig! Everyone else that I've shown it to, thinks the same thing. It's a pigrab or rablet or what ever combination you can come up with. I don't care what it is...I love it dearly!

Kate and her mom made me two absolutely beautiful handsewn Christmas pointsettia pillows. I wish the picture was better so you can see the incredible applique stitching and French knot embroidery. I really admire people who are so talented in their sewing abilities! These works of art, I will cherish forever:
I finished just in time for Christmas four more ballbands:
Since Christmas I have even knitted the midmonth KAL for my monthly dishcloth yahoo group:
"snowy drops"

This was my first attempt at a lacey pattern. I'm very pleased with the results!

I wish for all my knitting friends lots and lots of very happy knitting for 2007 :)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Looks like it's a ballband Christmas!

I thought I would post my blog entry today, because I'll probably be too busy over the next couple of days. I'll post the remaining pictures after Christmas. The end of my Christmas knitting is in sight now. I only have a few more ballbands to knit. I would definitely say for me this was the Christmas of the ballband!

Here's a few that I have finished and one that is almost:
I decided to make a scarf for Kate, my eldest son's girlfriend, to match her Baby Genius Burp blanket. I thought I would have just enough yarn and I think it was meant to be because I had aproximately a foot and a half of yarn left after I finished the scarf. It made the perfect lenght for a scarf. I used the Curly Purly scarf pattern .
Today I really enjoyed making Janice's Pretzel, M&M, Hershey kiss candies. I followed Janice's recipe to the "T" ( well almost) and they came out perfectly. I couldn't find ring pretzels in two stores, so I substituted waffle pretzels instead and they came out great. I used both milk chocolate and dark chocolate kisses. The one thing I did that I wouldn't repeat was that I rushed the first pan because I didn't have enough room in the frig. I should have just left them alone before I tried to move them. I found out on subsequent pans that they do set at room temperature as long as you get the first few minutes in the frig. :)
In the cookie swap at church this past Sunday one of the cookies were pretzel turtles. They used the baking chocolate chips, a carmel and the traditional small 3 holed pretzels. I did it a little differently and used Janice's method, but substituted a rolo carmel candy. Once the rolo was melted I put the pecan on top and they were perfect! Very easy!
This last picture is for my friend Carol of Cape Cod. She has the same type of manger set and we both were wondering if it's the same set. Well, Carol, what do you think?
On this note I will leave you and I wish each and everyone of you a very happy and safe holiday. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I've been tagged... my friend Rhoda. Here's what it's all about:

"THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the "6 weird things about you." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you are tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog."

Six weird things about me:

1. I can not sleep in an unmade bed. If for whatever reason my bed does not get made, I must make it before I can get comfortable and go to sleep.

2. I avoid going bare foot at all costs except at the beach. I have to have shoes, slippers, flip flops or socks on my feet at all times.

3. I won't wear make-up. The only time in my whole life that I wore make-up was at my senior prom. I didn't even wear make-up at my wedding! I always use moisturizer and wear clear lip gloss though.

4. I'm cold all the time. Even in the summer I wear long sleeves most of the time. I freeze in air-conditioning! If I ever get hot, it's usually because I have a fever!

5. I have to have the toilet paper come from on top of the roll, and not have the paper hang close to the wall. I am very tempted to change the orientation when I visit other people's bathrooms...but I'm good, I do restrain myself. If one of my family members puts in on the wrong way in my house, I have to change it no matter what!

6. According to my boys, I do have somewhat of a weird laugh at times!

Ok, so now you know just how weird I am. You won't believe it, but this list is just the tip of the iceberg. According to my boys I am so weird that I would be here typing for days. :)

I have to tag 6 people. So, I guess Janice, Monika, Ren, Ang, Monica and last, but not least, Nora consider yourselves tagged! Please do not be upset with me. I know everyone is busy at this time of the year and please if you don't feel up to participating, please don't. I won't mind a bit. It doesn't bother me one way or the other what you do, just ignore the tag. OK? I thought it might be fun to know just how weird I am...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My knitting is slow as cold molasses!

Well, I haven't accomplish a whole lot since my last knitting post. Lately I have been so tired at night that by the time I get to knit, I start making mistakes and spend more time fixing the mistakes rather than actual knitting. I did manage to finish the Mystery KAL for Dishcloth Fun KAL which has moved and changed it's name. (FunKnittingDishclothsKal is the new name.) I think I am going to skip the KAL that starts today. I can wait and do it at another time. I just can't have any more distractions right now. Here is the mystery KAL that I finished earlier in the week. When I say really was a mystery. For the longest time I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was.
To make the stocking stand out better I used a crochet hook and some cotton chenille yarn and crocheted a kind of slip stitch chain for the outline. I got the idea for outlining from car54. It's a very small cloth. I really like them a bit bigger and it does not lat flat. I don't believe in blocking a dish/wash cloth but this one really needs it. If I use it as a gift I will have to block, so I think I'll keep it for myself!

I finished my second blue/purple ball band which I tried slipping the first stitch of every row. The edge is a little neater than the original ballband.

A very nice thing happened after I posted the mate to this cloth and this one on the needles. I got an email from Lisa who belongs to the Monthly Dishcloth KAL Yahoo group that I also belong to. She reminded me of her idea of using EZ's applied i-cord technique on the edges of the ballband to make the edges very neat and tidy. The funny thing is that I did remember her post on the Mason-Dixon KAL. I went back and found the post on August 2nd:

"Ballband Tidy Edges Instructions

I cast on four extra stitches so that I can use two stitches each side for the Applied I-cord (not my own technique, it's EZ's, credit where credit is due). For my own dishcloths (Brick/Ballband/Textured-- all the same pattern) I cast on 39 and then the four extra. For every row, knit the first two stitches, then knit in pattern until the last two stitches. When you get to the last two stitches, bring your yarn to the Purl position (front) and slip those stitches as if to Purl. On all RS rows, twist the working yarn and the resting yarn to carry the color. Keep doing this all the way up the cloth and you will see that you will be encasing the edges as you go along. Remember to give the cord a little tug (down) as you begin each row and you will see it forms a little casing. In order to keep the I-cord edge tighter, on all WS rows, you could knit into the back of the first stitch. You could also knit into the back of the first two stitches instead of just the first one."

I tried it on the next two that I made:

Here's how it looks on the reverse side:

I really like this technique! Much neater and it's very easy to do. Thank you Lisa for jogging my memory. For comparison purposes I took a picture of three ballbands with the different edges.
The orange/green is the original ballband with no modifications. The blue/purple is the slip first stitch of every row, and the yellow/blue is the applied i-cord. I think you can see the differences.

Now I have to get going and finish up the rest of my Christmas knitting :)

Happy Knitting :)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A few of my favorite things

We put up our Christmas tree today and some decorations. The tree's not a perfect Martha Stewart tree by any standards, but we're happy with it. The tree skirt is a latch hook rug that I made many years before I was married. The poor little angel on top of the tree is the one I made as a kid. She's had a few wardrobe malfunctions over the years. She's been mended and changed a little...but her head is the original! I'm lucky my boys still let me keep my childhood traditions. Believe it or not I still put up the same old manger set my parents had in their house. Most of the pieces came from the five and ten cents store and I still use the cardboard manger. Once again it wouldn't be Christmas in my house without them!

Some of the new traditions in my house include a small collection of nutcrackers. The only one that is of some value is my "chubby jester" Steinbach nutcracker from Germany. I got it one year marked way down after Christmas (in March) because it was missing some parts. Guess no one wanted him :( I improvised one of the parts that was mssing. Once I got him home and did a little googling I was shocked to see how much he would be if he was perfect!! I don't mind that he's not perfect. He's my favorite. :)
In an earlier post I told you about how much I love swans. Here's a picture of my swan ornaments:
Now to make this post an apporpriate post for a knitting blog... here are the pictures of our Christmas stockings. I knitted all of them except my oldest son's (Nick).
His stocking was a baby gift from my cousin who had it made for him by a lady in her church. The rest I knitted. Here are rest of the stockings. Their patterns were all from the old McCall's Needlework and Craft's magazines from days gone by:

The next picture is not of knitting, but it is related to needlework. Here are the crocheted snowflakes that I made before I was married. They were stiffened I think with a sugar solution. I can't remember much about them, like where the patterns came from. I must say though they have kept very well all these years:
Last but not least is the picture of another one of our traditions. This is a homemade Advent calendar:
I made this rather simple calendar of my own design when my oldest was very little. Every year on December 1st without fail the calendar goes up on our wall. My youngest even though he's twelve still enjoys moving the small ornament up on the tree every day. My middle son when he's up early has been known to move the ornament before my youngest gets the chance. I think he still likes it as well, but I don't think he'd admit it. Over all we think it's the best way to count down until Christmas Eve.

Sorry for this long post. I thought you might be interested in our traditions since I've been very slow at my knitting and have nothing new to show you.

Enjoy the very fast approaching Christmas season and I can't forget to wish you...
happy knitting :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Very slow progress...

My progress with my knitting seems to have slowed down to a snails pace. I don't seem to have enough knitting time lately. Hope I can finish everything by Christmas.

I finished the (my first actual) Monthly Dishcloth Yahoo Group KAL last night. The cloth turned out to be a rocking horse! I thought it was going to be a sleigh, but I was so wrong. No doubt it really was mystifying:
I finished a ball band cloth and started another coordinating one. On these ones I tried doing a slip stitch the first stitch of every row to see if I could make a neater edge. I do think it is an improvement on the others I made previously.
I've been clueless as to what my Dishcloth Fun (mystery) KAL is until today. I'm not saying... in case I'm wrong, but I think I might know what it is going to turn out to be.
Yesterday while I happened to be on my regular shopping trip with a couple of added stores I found some Moda Dea Cartwheel yarn at a wonderful price. This yarn is 100% wool, thick and thin with a handspun quality. Very soft. I wasn't sure about the thick and thin parts. The thin gets really thin...almost fingering weight. I put it down. I would want to felt it, but just wasn't sure. So when in doubt I usually don't go ahead with this kind of purchase. There were so many colors to choose from, but I decided not to buy any even if it was $1.00 a skein. Bad move, because the next store I went to was Joann's and they had the exact same thing for $5.99 a skein. I came home and did a little researching and googling and found out that it does really felt well. I asked about it in a couple of forums and also asked my friends at Mason-Dixon KAL. After I got a couple of responses and found out that it is very good for felting, I quickly finished up the supper dishes and headed back out. The store is close by, only the next town over. Unfortunately they didn't have the better colors left in any real quanity. I did manage to get 20 skeins altogether, cleaning out what they had left. Maybe it's a good thing they didn't have more as I would have bought too much. Do you know what my son said to me? : "Mom, you're didn't leave any for anyone else!!":
12 Bronzeberry (photographs a little dark, but I think it will be good for what I want to do with it) :
6 Hazey:
1 Raspberries:
and 1 coral reef:
The last two single skeins I just bought because they were pretty...I'm sure I'll find a use for them. I really missed the boat on this one...I'm hoping they may get some more in later. I'll have to keep looking. In the meantime I should try it out and see how I like it. I figured out that I got about $120 dollars worth of yarn for $20.oo ...not bad. Now I can't wait to try all my new yarn out....have to wait a bit longer :(

Many thanks to Amy for wanting to help me out with a little swatch experimental felting! The knitting community is really wonderful. They are all so friendly and helpful. I am really enjoying being a part of it all :)

Well I'm happy....happy knitting to all :)