Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-bye 2011, Welcome 2012

Sharing from my camera
taken with Kodak EasyShare mini m200
I can't believe 2011 is just about gone in a few hours! It's been quite the year. There were lots of ups and downs and some big bumps in the road. One of the special "ups" was getting to meet my sister for the very first time when my sister and her husband journeyed by train clear across country to visit with me and my family here in Massachusetts. Then there were a few "downs" and  I have to be honest to say that I am looking forward to a brand new year. New projects, old friends and new friends and hopefully good health and much happiness  for everyone. Happy New Year!

Let's see, what have I been up to since my past post? You may not believe me....I have been trying to write this post for some time now (before Christmas to be exact), but life kept getting in the way. The time just flies scares me. I'm here now, so here's the scoop....Christmas came extremely fast for me this year. We had a really nice Christmas. We celebrated my father's 95th birthday. Here he is blowing out his candles.
taken with Canon Power Shot SX110 IS
After dinner at my house, we piled into the car and brought all the desserts (vanilla and chocolate birthday cakes, apple pie, pumpkin pie and a new recipe that I tried,  walnut maple pie) to my Dad at his assisted living place. The walnut maple pie was a big hit and will be the one to make every year from now on. I love that it is made with real maple syrup and not that yucky high fructose corn syrup. This pie is not as sweet as the traditional pecan pie. I LOVE this recipe! Sorry no photo, but here's the link to the recipe -  walnut maple pie.

Despite the fact no one had any knitted items on their lists, I did manage to knit a couple of gifts. For my son's mother-in-law I knit her another pair of comfy socks pretty much just like the ones I made for her last year.
taken with Canon Power Shot SX110 IS
She had told me earlier how much she enjoys wearing those socks to bed just about every night. She was very pleased when she opened them up so that proved to be a good thing to give to her.  I also knit a little mouse toy for my son's and daughter-in-law's cat, Neko.
Sharing from my camera
taken with Kodak EasyShare mini m200
Poor Neko. They adopted her this past fall from a shelter and she was supposed to be about 2 years old, but when the vet checked her out the vet thought she was much older because of the condition of her teeth. In fact they were told she had thyroid problems and was diagnosed with lymphoma. It is so sad because they got really attached to her in a short amount of time. She's such a nice cat. I'm still hoping the diagnosis is wrong, but it seems from the ultrasound that the lymphoma has already metastasized. Needless to say she's being spoiled by all.

taken with Canon Power Shot SX110 IS
Here's Neko's mouse. She didn't get too excited when she saw it. I think she would have liked it better if it was filled with catnip. I'll have to find some catnip and make her another one soon :)

taken with Canon Power Shot SX110 IS
I got a new camera ( Kodak EasyShare Mini M200) for Christmas. I've been wanting a nice small one that I can carry with me in my pocketbook. This one fits the bill and it now resides in my purse. My non-smart cell phone's camera is lousy.  This one is perfect.
taken with Canon Power Shot SX110 IS
It only weighs about 3 oz as compared  to my good canon camera - new model link Canon PowerShot SX120IS. That one weighs almost 11 oz and doesn't fit in my bag.
Sharing from my camera
taken with Kodak EasyShare mini m200

I'm really impressed with the quality of the shots for such an inexpensive camera, plus it's super easy to use. I've taken a few shots of all the sweets I made for Christmas.
Sharing from my camera
taken with Kodak EasyShare mini m200
It was the first time I made gumdrops and caramels.
Sharing from my camera
taken with Kodak EasyShare mini m200
Sharing from my camera
taken with Kodak EasyShare mini m200
I also had a mishap with my chocolate chip cookies this year. No worries, for I threw the half baked cookies back in the bowl with the missing ingredient and reformed the cookies. Because some of the cookies were partially baked before I discovered my mistake, the chocolate chips melted and I ended up with chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Bet you didn't know you could do that. Neither did I, but I was determined not to waste all those ingredients. Actually I got tired of forming the cookies and dumped what was left in a pan and make some chocolatey cookie squares :)
Sharing from my camera
taken with Kodak EasyShare mini m200
Nothing wasted 3 bags of chocolate chip, brown sugar, butter, etc....I was happy. All's well that end's well...for the cookies were actually tasty despite my big mistake.

Sharing from my camera
taken with Kodak EasyShare mini m200
Look what my sister sent me for Christmas... a row counter necklace. Love it to pieces, plus she personalized it with the leather and bead necklace. I'm really enjoying it immensely. I have a very thoughtful sister :) FYI-the above photo was taken at night without a flash...pretty good?

In case you are wondering, yes, I am still working on the circle cloth blanket. Still very slow going with not much progress. I have about 5 1/2 squares left to finish. I don't know why, but every time I sit down to knit on the squares it take about three or four rows and them I'm off to sleep...sitting up and head bobbing. I usually just give up and go to bed. I guess the TV shows I've been watching, plus the monotony of the squares just relaxes me so much that I can't keep my eyes open. I can't wait to start knitting some other projects. I'm half tempted to put the blanket aside, but I'm afraid I might never finish it. I just want it to be over and done with it. I doubt I'd ever tackle another blanket like this it will be my one and only. Hope the recipient appreciates it :)

I'm wishing that this coming year will be very good one to all my friends. A happy and healthy new year to all. Happy Knitting :)
Sharing from my camera
Kodak EasyShare mini m200
Copyright ©2006-2011 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thank You

First and foremost I want to thank all of you who purchased my sister's Candy Cane Pony Pattern. Since my sister who is blogless and doesn't yet belong (I'm encouraging her to join) to ravelry, I'm helping her out by publishing her pattern on my ravelry design page. I usually offer my patterns for free, but this time I have offered the unique pattern for $2.00  through ravelry. I'm sending my sister all the proceeds from the sale after the fees are deducted. She is most appreciative for the money from pattern's sale and for my part in getting the word out about her cute Christmas ornament pattern.

The feedback so far on the pattern has been very good. It is a quick, easy little project. The candy cane ponies make great stocking stuffers, favors, little gifts, package decorations in lieu of bows. Here's some very festive Christmasy ponies made by knit2purlone. They can be unicorns if that's what you are into. Add a pointy shell for the unicorn and use pastel yarn...that's what SweetMama (ponies, no horns) intends to do. If you want to make a more permanent ornament you can buy Cane Cane Pens and use them instead of real candy canes. Check out Mary Gildersleeve's. Or you can use plastic candy cane ornaments like the ones I found in Michaels. IMG_1460IMG_1461 They go for $4.99 a dozen , but I was lucky to get them half off. IMG_1459You could even make reindeer out of them using pipecleaners for the antlers and red pompoms for the noses. Too cute!

I've been trying to work on my Circle Square blanket for the Pine Street Inn. Very slow progress, but I feel the end is in site. I have just about one more row of seven squares to finish. I'm just about finished with the square on my needles right now.IMG_1457The countdown begins :) Hopefully I'll have it finished before the next Pine Street Inn Knit-a-thon in November 2012!

Not to disappoint you, but I'm not doing much in the way of Christmas knitting this year. No requests for knitted items on the wish lists this year in my family. I have to confess that it doesn't really upset me. I've been falling asleep at night when I sit down to knit so that's probably why I'm not accomplishing much. It is freeing to know I'm not under any pressure to make the big Christmas Eve deadline this year. I can just let the holidays happen. I have plenty of baking to do, so don't worry I won't be bored :)

I am looking forward to the new year with some new projects in mind. Until next time...hope you are enjoying your holiday time and you are happily knitting away :)

Copyright ©2006-2011 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Rounding up the ponies....



 ....just in time for the Holly Fair at my church. Christmas is coming and so are the ponies. They are all dressed up and looking for new homes.

I can't take any credit for the idea. My sister in Oregon is the one who came up with the design. Aren't they cute? They were fun to make and a great diversion from my blanket squares.

With their googly eyes they seem to take on their own personalities.
Thanks, Sis, for sharing your idea with me :)

happy knitting :)

Edited 11/10/2011 - -  Since my sister is blogless and is not a part of ravelry yet, she has given me permission to sell her pattern for her. I listed her unique pattern for sale today. Details an be found here:  Candy Cane Pony Pattern from Hollinger's Fiber Farm on ravelry.
Any questions or comments are welcomed. Thank you :)      

Copyright ©2006-2011 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not sure knooking is for me

 ....but it might be for some of you crocheters out there! What is "knooking" you ask?  It's knitting with a crochet hook. Actually it's a new technique (at least it's new to me) that incorporates a long crochet hook with a hole at the non hook end and a cord. You pull the cord through the hole and just let it hang there while you mimic the knit stitch, all the while the cord keeps you from dropping your stitches. I find the whole process very interesting and clever. While I would be interested in trying out the technique, I doubt it would make me not want to knit the old-fashioned way.  I LOVE knitting, LOVE my knitting needles, LOVE the feel of the yarn sliding on my needles. Love the control. I do know how to crochet, but I do not LOVE crochet the way I LOVE knitting. I know there are many crocheters out there that either don't know how to knit or feel the same way about crocheting as I do about knitting, so if you LOVE to crochet and want to end up with a  real looking, not an imposter knit fabric - not at all like the afghan stitch or tunisian crochet - try knooking!! Let me know if you do....I'm very curious as to how easy that would be? Check out the The Knook Kit, the new book (pamphlet) from Leisure Arts on knooking  which comes with every thing you need to start knooking. When they come up a way to knit a crochet like fabric...then I'd really be excited. I wonder what they would call it..."critting"? LOL ;)

happy knooking :)

Copyright ©2006-2011 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My one and only

At the moment I have only one project on my needles. I'm diligently working on my Circle Squares (that sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?) for the blanket I will donate to the Pine Street Inn Knit-a-thon this year.

My progress is so very slow. As hard as I have tried to date I have only cranked out 16 squares. I need 35 to make a blanket.

I'm anxious to start joining the squares, but I must restrain myself. I need to finish all the squares first so I can decide on their placement. Can't wait. The knit-a-thon takes place on Sunday, November 6th. It's not in the cards for me to attend this year's event, so I guess the pressure is off. I will send the completed blanket in once it's finished, when ever that may be, hopefully before the end of the year.

Are you thinking about adding some new yarn to your stash? If you think you do need more yarn, be sure and check out the auction going on to benefit the Pine Street Inn and to help end homelessness. There are lots of great yarns up on the auction block.  Thanks for looking :)

Last, but not least a special note to let everyone know that my Circle Baby Blanket Pattern is now available in Spanish with charts on Ravelry. Special thanks to Carmela Salcedo, my knitting friend from Spain for translating the pattern. To download the Spanish Translation just click on the Ravelry download link.

I think that's it for now. Once I finish my blanket I hope to have more to show you. Have a great weekend with lots of happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2011 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Trying to turn over a new leaf

I've really been trying to be a better blogger, reading and posting, but it isn't working out. I guess I'm just not motivated enough. My only excuse is that I've been distracted by other things. I have way too much on my to-do-list that I get paralyzed ;)

Since this is a knitting blog,  I'll show you some of my finished items, so you can see I am accomplishing a few things. First a baby blanket for my husband's niece whose baby is due in November:IMG_1366
I love this pattern, for it looks great on either side. IMG_1369
It's a pattern from Debbie Macomber. In fact this particular blanket was mentioned originally in one her (Hannah's List (Blossom Street) books that I read  this summer and  I found the pattern in  Knit Along With Debbie Macomber: Hannah's List. This Leisure Arts book has other interesting patterns as well. In the future I'll definitely be making this one again. IMG_1368It's easy, plus the pattern keeps you interested and it doesn't get boring.

My sister, who visited me this summer, had a birthday in the beginning of October, so I sent her a little package. IMG_1363
I made her a couple of my favorite dishcloths (ballband and DW), a toilet paper cover and a set of crocheted  potholders. I included some notecards and chocolate. She seemed pleased.

I also made a set of  potholders for a friend. I used the same crocheted pattern. IMG_1356
They make nice hot pads. Decorative and useful...a very good thing.

I'm still reading listening to my audio books. I've really been enjoying Debbie Macomber's books. I've just finished the Blossom Street series and will start the Cedar Cove series soon. I've taken a little break from Debbie Macomber and I'm presently reading Room: A Novel. Initially I almost gave up on this book until I realized what it was about and then I had a hard time putting it down. Won't spoil it for you should you want to read it, but I recommend especially the audio version. If you are interested I've been keeping track of my books with Goodreads. Its ravelry for reading. Be sure and check it out as it is very clever!

Miss Pink is no longer blooming. She made me quite happy for over 6 months and is now working on a new leaf. IMG_1373
Hopefully she'll be nice to me and make me some more flowers. I've been feeding her, but not sure what else to do to get her to blossom again. I'll have to get her a new pot soon, too.

I was not very happy to find that my poor Christmas cactus had been attacked.IMG_1374 I think the culprits may be either our resident chipmunks or the squirrels that live in our back yard. I've caught a squirrel digging up my daffodil bulbs. Not sure what happened, but I'm not happy. I potted some of the broken off pieces in hopes of salvaging the plant. Luckily it is all budded up, so I think the main plant should survive. Big difference from last year 2010 Christmas Cactus sad.

One of my main distractions lately is my interest in my family's history. Encouraged by my sister, who is an expert in her own right, I've been bitten by the search bug and at some point couldn't help myself. I've found out some interesting things I didn't know. It's so much fun. It's like solving a  big puzzle. Now I have to put it all together with the photos and documents I do have. Once again I wish I had more time to do it all justice.

Not willing to make a promise I may not keep so I wont tell you I will post more often, but I will tell you I'll try not to wait so long in between posts. Guess I'm in a rut. Maybe my knitting is just not as exciting as it was before. I'm still working on the circle squares (my only project on the needles right now) for my Pine Street Inn blanket. I'm not going to be able to attend the knit-a-thon this year and I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish all the squares in time to assemble the blanket in time for the knit-a-thon. I'm determined to keep all the squares together, so I can donate a finished blanket. Last year I almost had enough squares, but decided to donate just the squares i did get done. It was hard to see them split up. I had envisioned a blanket with just my squares. Do you remember the ones from last year? Hopefully I'll get it done in time to send in, if not it will be a little late. Better late than never, right?

That's pretty much it for now. Bye for now.....Happy Knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2011 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Still knitting

The summer really flew by and now I find myself right smack dab in the middle of September. Can't believe the month is half gone. It really feels like fall already. It is actually cold here with the temps yesterday barely reaching 60 degrees.

I have not been a very good blogger. At the beginning of the summer I thought I'd have so much time to do everything I wanted to do. Never happened. I did have a wonderful visit with my sister and husband, but the rest of the summer just flew by.  We spent a little time at the cape. Then, once home had an extended power outage due to that nasty "lady" named Irene, mean Irene, as I have heard her called. The hurricane that hit New England pretty hard. We didn't have much damage, a few minor branches down, but we lost power, phone, cable, internet for almost four days. That was hard. We managed ok. I bought ice to try to save our food. Lost some, but not due to spoilage. Just couldn't refreeze what had thawed and couldn't cook and eat it all. Lost the ice cream I had. We sacrificed it, knowing the if we opened up the freezer to eat it, we definitely would lose what was in the freezer.

I have been knitting. I've been listening to audiobooks. Early in the spring/summer I discovered them and have not looked back. It all started when I borrowed one of those playaways at  my library and I liked it! I also tried downloading audiobooks from my local library. My middle son was kind enough to let me borrow his MP3 player, a sansa fuze, and I loved it! Totally awesome and I found myself not only knitting with it, but cooking and doing my household chores while listening to my books. This takes multitasking to a whole new level for me. Doing something you enjoy while doing things that are not, well, exciting, makes me stay focused and I easily get the jobs done with less distraction. I also found when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep, I really liked listening to my books. Since my husband didn't know what I wanted for my birthday in June, I suggested he get me my very own fuze. Which he did. I did a little research and found that the best model for audiobooks is the older model of the  Sansa Fuze MP3 Players), the same one my son has:
IMG_1271I found it surprising that the newer and "improved" fuze was not so good with audiobooks from the reviews I had read. Thankfully new models of the old fuze are still available. I bought mine on amazon. I have got to tell you I LOVE that little thing.

Now this leads me to tell you about what I have been knitting, well actually if you really must know know I did do some crochet, not knitting this time. I needed something to hold my fuze when I would listen to it in the middle of the night. I came up with this, a bed sling for my fuze:IMG_1313IMG_1314

Perfect to hang on the bedpost. It keeps it nice and handy for when I need it during the night. I can listen and I don't disturb my husband. Perfect!

Then I realized I could use a sling for me to wear around my neck. Most of my pockets don't hold much and some of my pants don't even have pockets. I didn't want to buy a special case so I crochet a similar little pouch to wear around my neck. IMG_1311IMG_1312The neck sling is ideal for a mobile fuze holder while I'm actively doing housework or just for sitting and knitting and when I knit and listen in the car. It's always handy. Can you tell how happy I am with the way both of these slings turned out?IMG_1315

The other project I worked on was a poncho for me to wear in the house this winter. I can wear it over my multiple layers when I get cold. I made it on the suggestion of my sister when she was here this summer. I used some of her handspun wool, plus some of my odds end ends of wool yarn that I have accumulated. It is a real stashbuster! She even furnished me with the pattern. Not sure where she got it from....have not been able to find it on the internet anywhere. Here it is:IMG_1320IMG_1323

I'm sure to be nice and warm this winter :)

Currently I am working on a baby blanket for a niece whose baby is due in November. It's a new to me pattern and I'm liking the way it is knitting up. I'm also still working on the circle squares for a blanket, but I have to admit there has been very little progress on this project.IMG_1316 I In addition I have to get going on some gift items that I'll be needing soon. You may not be hearing from me, but I assure you ....I am still knitting away....happily :)

Bye for now....Happy Knitting :)

P.S. I'm getting very forgetful. In my last post, I forgot to show you the pepper mill my brother-in-law made for me:
IMG_1325 It looks like a lighthouse and I love it!

Copyright ©2006-2011 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.