Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Joe was home for the last five days. We worked on our Christmas shopping for grandchildren and decorating our home for Christmas.  Our goal is to have all grandchildren shopping done before Thanksgiving and we are well on our way.  I didn't really think we would manage it but we have 11 completed with 4 to go! 

Since some of our kids and grandkids come for Thanksgiving, but not Christmas, we are always decorated for Christmas at Thanksgiving (confusing?).  It takes us (me) several days!  This year, I decided to start mid-November so there wouldn't be the big rush right before Thanksgiving.  It feels really good to be "ahead" instead of running "behind" and trying to catch up. Joe has misplaced some lights that are important to the front of the house.  We are still looking........ (I probably put them somewhere special so I would be able to find them)

We are going to be babysitting Audrey (Audie Doodle) for the week before Thanksgiving while her Mom and Dad are out of town.  Audie is four years old, cute as a button and a handful!  I have been stocking up on crafty things for us to do together - making bead bracelets, ornaments and some baking.  We are looking forward to spending time with her.  I hear she already has her bag packed.   I promise to post some pics of Audie Doodle.

My Knit - I finished both pair of Cabled Footies that I was working on.  This is the same pair; pictures taken at different times with different lighting.  The pic on the right is closer to the actual color of Jade.

Closeup detail

Blocked and ready to go

Agean Pair unblocked
 I posted the last pair showing what they look like unblocked.  Blocking makes a huge difference in looking "finished".  You know, the difference between handmade and homemade.  It is important to block knitted items especially when they are a gift.  The presentation is so much better looking, don't you think?

The "Fun Knitting"

I started another sweater for Bella in a red yarn with sparkle.  It is Red Heart Shimmer in red #1929.  It is acrylic but I saw a display swatch and it was really pretty knitted.  It has been fun to knit a little red sparkly sweater that is very soft! 

Beginning first sleeve
 You can actually see the sparkles - I didn't think they would show up! 

Collar Detail
This looks like a sleeve cuff!  It is the turtleneck for the sweater.  Red is Bella's color!

Serious knitting - I have to finish up Jayden's Wallaby.  It is finished except for kitchenering the hoodie and tucking away the loose ends.   Not much to do but needs to be done.  He will be here next Wednesday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bella's Birthday!

Today is Bella's First Birthday!  In honor of her day, I am posting pictures of her.  Bella was my Christmas present last year from Joe.  She was born on November 12th, 3 days after my birthday.  We took her home a couple of days after Christmas.  We visited her several times while she was still with her brothers and sisters

 Her first picture @ 3 days old
We had to choose our puppy on the spot as they were all sold before they were born

Side view

Wearing her first knitted sweater

Same day - Joe is holding her

At home under our Christmas Tree

She has grown into her first knitted sweater

She loves her nap
Valentine's Day
T-shirt X-small

Getting into her toy box
Her shirt says "if you are looking for trouble, you found it"

Her second Vet visit - Hiding her face
Sporting her knitted Hooded Jacket

Can't imagine our days without Miss B

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bella in Her Christmas Sweater

Bella finally decided to get up although she doesn't seem quiet awake yet.  I think she thought she heard the doorbell. 

Bella - not fully awake
 I was right.  She is on the back of the sofa going back to sleep.  Sigh........

Back to sleep in her favorite place

Monday, Monday

Monday isn't ever my favorite day of the seven days in a week.  After a full weekend of TexMex dining, Greek belly -dancing (Loretta and I did the tradition circle dance NOT the belly-dancing) at The Olive Oil and NFL Football Sunday; here I sit trying hard to remember if I took my antihistamine when I got up. This morning, after the time change, Joe was up before 4AM and so was I.  Getting up that early, I never feel like I am at my best.  A nap is probably on the agenda for later.....

The Christmas red and white stripe sweater is finished.  I am pleased with the way it has turned out; resisting the urge to add a bit of crocheted lace around the collar.  I know there will be other Christmas sweaters in the next few weeks.

Bella is currently taking her morning nap.  This is the best I can do until she is ready to play.

I have started some gift knitting (and I am leaving it at that).  To get in the mood, I got out my Christmas knitting basket and put my current "knit" (as Kayla says) in it.  It helps me to be "in the Season" and persevere with the knitting to be done.  The projects are the Cable Footies in Oneskein.  I have one pair completed; and two more to go.  If you have knit them, you know they go very fast.   Hope to be finished with these by the weekend. 

Christmas Knitting Basket

completed pair
with no hints of who they belong to!

Pair in progress

The neat thing about this VERY sock is that it is the FIRST time EVER, after years of knitting socks on a small circular, that I have not used double points at the heel and gussets.  No, not at all!  I was watching the news this morning and had knit the heel, turned the heel, and started picking up gusset stitches before I realized that the dps were not in my hands.  Probably had a lot to do with getting up so darn early.  Bazinga!  (don't you just love Sheldon?)  HI Matthew!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christmas Dog Sweater

I have been working on this cute little red and white striped sweater for the Christmas holidays.  I love the stripes; they look so crisp. Trying to make it unisex; I have used a plain collar.  I added a couple of snowflake buttons for embellishment.  I can't decide what to call it - Santa's Little Helper or Candy Cane - still thinking about it.  This sweater is knit completely in the round except for the sleeves.  Circular knitting stops at the collar as it is knit back and forth.  Super easy! 


 I have fallen in love with Cascade Fixation all over again.  Seems it is perfect for dog sweaters, especially in a warmer climate.  It has just enough stretch to make pulling it over Bella's head easy for both of us.  (she gets a treat for trying on sweaters - doggie dressup is fun)

Collar with Snowflake Buttons

Armhole detail

Friday, November 5, 2010

Crystal Palace Yarn's New Sausalito

Crystal Palace Yarns is debuting a new yarn, Sausalito, in the Spring of 2012. Susan emailed and asked if I would work up a new sock pattern, using Sausalito, for their website. Of course, I would! It is an exciting opportunity to design with a yarn that is brand, spanking new! She said samples are arriving, and she would send some to me. The yarn arrived a couple of days ago. (I LOVE getting yarn in the mail) Sausalito is truly gorgeous and as soft as silk!
80% merino and 20% nylon
198 yds/181m
50 grams
2 - 5 US needles
This is colorway 8117
shades of taupe and light blue
This is colorway 8107
russets, navy, greens with some plum
I have started swatching with this one on a size US #1. It is swatching beautifully; the colors are really blending together as I knit. You can get a good idea of the actual size of this yarn from my thumbnail in this photo. (yep, I am still wearing Halloween polish - hoping to change out this afternoon before we go to dinner)
You will want to be watching for Sausalito at your LYS next Spring. It is a sock yarn but as everyone knows, we are knitting EVERYTHING with sock yarn. Posts of my progress with Sausalito will be forthcoming.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sock Yarn One - Skein Wonders

Here it is! The One - Skein Wonders new book! I received my Designer's copy in the mail last Thursday. Yippee!
I was blessed to have two patterns chosen to be included in this book. Two patterns were submitted hoping that maybe one of them would be chosen.
Ruby Begonia was designed several years ago while sitting with a group of dear friends and knitters in Lake Charles, LA. It was our weekly knit group meeting at Joe Muggs. Joe, my husband, had recently gifted me with a gorgeous pair of purple glitter sunglasses. (I know, they are fabulous) I was afraid of getting them scratched in my handbag so Ruby Begonia was created to protect those much-loved sunglasses. (Ruby Begonia was a character in my favorite after school program as a child)
I had just finished Calypso when I received the invitation to submit a design. I loved the sock yarn and the stitch pattern; decided it needed some beads to go with the sparkle of the yarn. Of course. Shoulder shrugs are the greatest little wrap ever. (Calypso was a tropical beauty in the last Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow movie)
I am certain you will love this book; especially if you love sock yarn as I do. There are many beautiful patterns to knit which means, of course, you will need MORE sock yarn.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dog Sweaters

My Christmas gift from Joe last year was Bella. Bella is the cutest Boston Terrier you will ever see. Her marking are perfect and she is about as big as a minute; weighing in at just 10lbs. Bella has a super disposition and loves everyone; especially children. Now that she is full grown, I want her to be dressed for the season - every season. This past October, I kept going to PetsMart wanting to buy some cute "clothes" for her. I didn't find anything like what I had in mind. The lightbulb came on! I knit! Now, I have become slightly obsessed about knitting for her. It's almost instant gratification! Such a small sweater takes so little time. In a couple of evenings, she is sporting a new outfit. Okay, I CAN follow a pattern (when I want to). I have 5 dog sweater books. None of them had many, if one , pattern knit in the round. COME ON, why not? I want a great fitting sweater, knit in the round with minimal finishing. It can't be that hard! Seems I had challenged myself. First I began with a better fit. After knitting a couple of basic sweaters and trying them on Bella, I watched her wearing it; looking at the fit and deciding where I thought it could be imporved. Joe and I have had several discussions about fit and how to get the garment to do what I want it to do or not do. After several attempts, I have a basic, in the round, sweater pattern that fits well and knits up quickly. The two areas that I have addressed are (1) fitting better in the chest area and (2) leg openings that allow maximum movement for a very active Boston Terrier. I think she needs a couple of sweater per holiday. It will be fun to create looks for each specific celebration. This sweater is going to be called Candy Cane. It's really cute on her. Not quite finished, it will have some type of embellishment around the neck.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Hemlock Ring - Lots of Photos

I have finished Hemlock Ring!
Hemlock Ring isn't a difficult knit. Watching the Flower and then Feather and Fan pattern appear was exciting; it took me about a week to complete. It is ready to block but I have to order something to block it on; so it will go on hold for now! It is approximately 36" across, when blocked from feather and fan tip to tip! Hemlock is going to make a gorgeous small tablecloth for my table. These pictures are more representative of the true color of the Senso I am using. I took a lot of pictures -
This is the center stretched out to block.
Closer -
Showing some of the feather and fan section
feather and fan detailing and stretched out a bit
I found it took me 30 minutes to bind off one section. Having 8 feather and fan sections; that would make it 4 hrs to bind off the whole tablecloth.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hemlock Ring

Hemlock Ring is a very old pattern dating back to 1942 from the book Crocheted and Knitted Doilies Book 184. Amazing! This is an incredibly beautiful knitting pattern. I truly love knitting in the round and lace. This has been a very enjoyable knit for me reminding me of hours spent with both my Grandmothers while they crocheted the most beautiful doilies, tablecloths and bedspreads I had ever laid eyes on! I have my Grandmother and Meme to thank for a love of all things crocheted and knitted. (When my Meme passed, many knitting needles were found with her crafting supplies even though she crocheted most of the time. We were quite surprised) Deciding what thread to use for Hemlock wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. Cotton, of course, like a doily; but I wanted it bigger than a doily so I would need a heavier weight cotton! Rummaging in the yarn room closet (expecting that to take all morning); I found a tub of Senso by DMC - 100% cotton! (color N 1006 - red) I see Hemlock as a great little tablecloth for a wicker chest used as a coffee table in a room who's decor is best described as "texmex cottage". (The texmex part is a talavera collection that keeps growing.) I had some difficulty deciding what size needle to use and swatching didn't help at all. Senso calls for 2.5 or 3.0mm (#1 or #2). Those were just too small as you can tell by the flower in the center. I moved up to a #4 and finally settled on a #5 on the feather and fan part. I thought this would be a challenging knit project, but it isn't. The beginning of 8 sts on dps is the only challenge. It is actually a very enjoyable lace knitting pattern making a beautiful keepsake that will last forever if knit in a quality thread/yarn. I started this on Sunday afternoon delighting in watching the knitted design grow; becoming prettier as I progressed. I could hardly put it down at night to go to bed! The picture below is a bit rumpled; but you can see some of the detail. I surely will have to block the the hell out of this to get it to lie flat; but it will be worth it.
Today is cloudy and gray due to the tropical rain showers passing through so the color of the Senso isn't true. It is more of a cherry red.
I am almost finished. I have about 8 more rows around but that "around" is a long way now. I hear the bind off takes days.....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Can't Believe It's Already July!

Where has the year gone? It seems it was just Christmas and Bella, my Christmas present, was a tiny puppy! It would be nearly impossible to try and catch up so I will just start anew. Joe keeps us very busy - always on the go doing something. Never a dull moment; some days I think that wouldn't be so bad. This is "grandchildren" month and several will be here one or two at a time to spend a few days with us. I will be depending on caffeine to help me keep up. Even though I have been knitting constantly; I have been in a knitting funk. I haven't been really excited about anything knitting. A couple of days ago, I found Hemlock Ring (on Ravelry) and fell in love. I have not only started it; I have it nearly completed. Pictures will follow soon.