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Archive for December, 2007


An FFO – finally finished object, this time a little hat

Hi, Jan,

This one is laughable. 115.jpgI started knitting this little hat November 2 and finished the knitting November 3. I finished weaving the ends in just a few minutes ago. I count it as finished, even though I am going to block it yet tonight.

There was a moment when I thought it wouldn’t get done, despite it needing less than 5 minutes of attention. Pearl was doing his best to be helpful. He kept butting the hand that held the yarn needle. So cute. I thought I’d snap a picture of him. You know what they say about pride goeth… 114.jpgI couldn’t have gotten a better action shot if I’d tried. Luckily, no blood was spilt on the knitting and we made friends afterward.210.jpg

Judit was far more cooperative. 36.jpg Still, I don’t think the hat is really sized for her.

The hat will be donated to Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners for their clothing shelf.

The design is of my own making. I used a bulky yarn and cast on about as many stitches as seemed good. It was too many, so I decreased every other row for the first few rounds. This actually makes for a really comfy bell shaped hat and accentuates the roll brim. I then knit in stockinette until I felt I had enough of a crown – about 5 to 6 inches. I really dislike hats that have too short of a crown. In Minnesota you want to keep your ears warm! After that, I space 6 decreases out evenly every other row and then ended in an I-cord topknot.

A cinch, except for that bit about getting your nose eaten by a black panther.

Love,

Ellen

Home Sweet Home…but I do get a lot of knitting done in airports

Hi Ellen!

As I’m sure you noted, this last week was a quiet one for me regards blog posting. Nonetheless, it wasn’t very quiet in the real world. I had a full day at work on Monday followed by a drive to Annapolis. I was there 2 days and then made it into Newport, RI just ahead of 8 inches of snow. After a day and a half I returned to Portsmouth yesterday evening. I was in conferences the whole time I was out of town…and they always exhaust me. I don’t know if it’s the sitting about listening to PowerPoint, or if it’s the energy output of being “on” the entire time to be ready to field the questions that fall into my command’s domain. Bubble BathSudsy ToesI used to like conferences, but lately find that I’d far prefer to be a hermit. Staying home and taking a bubble bath is pretty high on my list of things to do most any day (especially when you have a tub that you can fill all the way to the top!).

Dale helped out on this trip in that he came with me to Annapolis. He drove us both up and stayed for the 2 days. It was nice not to return to an empty hotel room at the end of the days’ events. It gave me a bit of normalcy as we wound down the days watching TV with Dale looking at magazines and me knitting.

Dale Models Tina ScarfDale Hangs w Tinas ScarfI managed to finish that scarf for Tina…and am pretty pleased with it. It’s out of Tahki Bunny — 50% merino, 25% alpaca and 25% acrylic — and luscious to knit. The pattern is from “One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet” but I made it with two balls for some extra length. Dale once again makes a lovely model…and finds it impossible to restrain his own brand of humor.

Bitsy BootiesBitsy Booties on TootsiesBaby Sailor Set

He even stayed till Thursday morning when I flew out of BWI up to RI. That night I was supposed to go to a reception, but opted to claim my Achilles tendon was aching (it was, but maybe not as much as I intimated) and stay in my hotel room making bitsy baby socks to go with the Sailor sweater fro Melinda’s baby. They were fun little knits and I’m very pleased with them. They look narrow, but they stretch out well and since the sweater is size 3 mos. I figure the little socks work too. Again, Dale with the modeling.

Myrtle Leaf LaceHalfway Myrtle Leaf Center Panel

On the way back I pulled out the Myrtle Leaf and Willow Lace Shawl I’m making for Marie for her wedding gift. It’s coming along. The cashmere/silk blend slows me down though…I have to keep stopping to pet the fabric. I’m just over halfway on the center panel and seem to be gaining speed, so I think I’ll make it on time. I just ordered some yarn to make a simple lace shrug to go with my dress, so I hope it finishes by end of January…or I’ll be buying a shrug to go with my dress!

Tonight we have more doings for the Navy — The Great White Fleet Gala will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the sailing of the The Great White Fleet. There will be lots of dignitaries. I will be one of the more junior folks there — assigned to attend to fill out the crowd and act as a mingler/flower pot. I’m sure we’ll enjoy it once we get there, but right now the bubble bath sounds lots better!

Love, Jan

With a blog, you can have your cookies and eat them, too.

Dear Jan,

Today is cookie day, primarily because if we don’t get something off to Jenny soon, Santa won’t find her in Korea. I needed to get some cookies decorated and in the mail, along with a few gifts.

I have been pretty happy with our ladies growing up and going off into their own lives. Both of them are doing interesting things that they chose – what could be sad about that? Here is what is sad about that – this will be the first year in about 2 decades that we haven’t had a cookie decorating party at our house with their friends. I nearly lost it in Target when I passed the Wilton decorating stuff the other day.

So, we have cycled through one tradition, it seems. Perhaps one day we will cycle back to it with grandbabies (note that grandbabies is a generic term and includes grandnieces or grandnephews as well as grandchildren (Marie, note that particularly well)). For now, Wilson and I are doing a few cookies to deliver as expected to our niece and nephew (Margaret’s kids) who we will see in West Virginia over the holidays. 35.jpgHere is one cookie that is expected – an Ohio cookie with major interstate highways, Wilson’s creation from about the time of the original cookie parties. Another cookie tradition is the decorating of the gingerbread man and woman to represent the people at the party. 51.jpgPlease note, Wilson doesn’t really wear a red belt and purple pants to work, nor do I waltz around the house in a full skirt on most days.

42.jpgI am calling this cookie my Tennessee Williams cookie. First person to post why in the comments will receive some sock yarn from my stash. (Leslie, this should be right down your alley, but be fast, as it is right down Jenny’s, too.) (Jan, let the others play, OK?)

113.jpg112.jpgSome other cookies are new this year, and feel very at home in our kitchen in Minnesota. I hope they travel well.

61.jpgAnd these are so tiny that they don’t contain any calories. I eat them by the dozen. You would think their cuteness would protect them. You would be wrong.

Love,

Ellen

Do you recognize this yarn?

Hi, Jan,

110.jpgThe RR proceeds apace. I am almost at the point of increasing the waist shaping. I didn’t frog the sleeves, but I do want to knit them a bit longer; still, getting all the pieces back on one needle is conceivable for the not too distant future. I am not happy with the hem – I think I needed to use a smaller needle on the inside as it is insisting on flipping to the front. I had used a lighter weight yarn and hoped that would do it, but no, I really should undo it and reknit the hem.

I wonder what a little bit of elastic would do run through the tube of the hem. It is worth a try, anyway. I am getting good at undoing things on this sweater, and that would be an easy one to undo.

There is a little holiday knitting going on, too, but of course I’m not going to post that!

Love,

Ellen

Looking Forward to Good Looking Grandkids

Hi Ellen!

Ugly Babe in ArmsI finished a little Sailor Hat to go with the sweater I knit for Melinda’s soon to be born baby girl. (VERY soon…she’s dropped just about to between her knees in the last week. I’m betting Tuesday.) We can only hope that she is better looking than my model, Knuckles. Knuckles has a very cheerful temperament…nary a cry from her as she modeled the sweater and the hat. She just kept that silly smile on her face.

Dale and Ugly BabyIt was kind of sweet to see how Dale cradled her. I think he’s looking forward to me knitting for our own grandchildren someday. Again, let’s hope they’re lots better looking.

Do you remember that baby I babysat for one year when we lived on West Park? I kept telling you how ugly it was and you told me I was cruel for saying that about a baby? Then you substituted for me one time and came back and said she was even uglier than I had led you to believe. I think Knuckles is more attractive.

I’m going to try to knock out some fast booties too, but also have several other Xmas gifts to get to. We’ll see.

Love, Jan

Mondays are great when there’s knitting at the end!

Hi, Jan,

I wish you could have been with us last night. Our knitting group was absolutely rocking. 10.jpg9.jpgAnnie was hostess, and she provided all the requisites – tea, wine, and pets. Ellie was such a sweet dog, and Bob was an excellent watch cat for Judy’s knitting. 27.jpgAnnie’s project here is a basket that we all await seeing how it turns out. It seems it has grown beyond expectations.

34.jpgJudy brought along one of her long time projects in addition to her current sock. This is a marvel of intarsia and cabling. It is a masterpiece in progress. 18.jpg131.jpg Kathy is also working on socks, a follow-up to her last pair which she started one month ago at our last knitting group. Peggy is a real knitter. 8.jpgHere she models an iconic hat, which she knit in many different versions as she started her knitting career. It will be fun watching her go to the next level. The picture captures what I think of as the real Peggy – smiling and enthusiastic.

Alison is the queen of the Dale – though I think Christina may be challenging her. 41.jpg111.jpgAlison just finished this gorgeous Dale pattern for her daughter (Lisa and I wish we were said daughter – the sweater is gorgeous) and is working on one for herself. Oh, and check out Lisa’s sweater – that is the first sweater she ever knit. How many of us can say we actually wear our first sweater? 7.jpgChristina goes contemporary with her Dale choices – here she has the body going on a very lovely Dale pattern. I hope she comes back to knit with us again so we can see her progress. I really like seeing Christina, as she is one of Karen’s friends and it is just a little bit like hugging Karen when I hug Christina. (In case that sounded bad, let me make clear that I love Christina for herself, too. The Karen connection is just gravy.) She also happens to be Peggy’s daughter.

6.jpgCarrie and Julie are fabulous additions to the group. I love this color for Carrie’s red hair, and you would love the feel of the yarns Julie is working with. That white stuff is completely lux.

5.jpgLisa brought the party streamer crown she knit for her son (Leigh Radford Alternkits pattern). It was too big, so she gets to wear it. I think she makes the perfect knitting princess.

Conversation was all over the map, but we did spend a fair amount of time talking about Turkey and other Eastern Europe travel and then segued to Hungary and Romania. Annie is doing charity knitting for the Roma people there. 121.jpgLook at this awesome sweater out of the Green Mountain Spinnery book. Annie denies it is knit in Vikings purple and gold, and I suppose the child who receives it won’t really care, but some of us suspect she is showing a latent football fixation.

19.jpg

28.jpgFinally, just to keep you up to date on Minnesota weather (it is the main topic of conversation here from about September to August), here is a shot of how today’s snow continued to fill in our back yard. I hope you can come visit some time when the group is meeting and meet all these lovely people in person.

The rest of the story…

Hi, Jan,

17.jpg26.jpgThe snowfall is over for a day or two, at least. Here is the net result for the backyard. A bit more snow came down overnight, but I didn’t knit anymore, so the RR remains as last seen. With my back still causing trouble, Wilson is stuck with the shoveling. I feel a little guilty, really I do.

Congratulations to you and Allen on the Army-Navy game.  Condolences to Dale.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Hi, Jan,

For your enjoyment, we have here an intermittent update on the “major snow event” now hitting the Midwest in general and Minneapolis/St. Paul in particular, and our back yard in very particular.

1.jpg2.jpgHere is our backyard at 8:00 this morning. Note the leftover Halloween pumpkin. Usually the deer eat the pumpkins. Perhaps this is foreboding of a more successful gardening season next year, if there aren’t any deer around to eat Jack or cucumber plants.

3.jpg4.jpgHere we are about an hour and a half later. This is the “light snow” they predicted for the morning. It may be heavy enough to keep me indoors. That I got home from a business trip about 10 pm last night and have a deep need for crawling into a cave to sleep this weekend has nothing to do with my lack of ambition to go to a church meeting. It is all the “light snow” that is keeping me in. More to come as the day progresses.

11.jpg 21.jpgIt’s now 10:30 and the road is covered with snow, further cementing my resolve to be a lazy butt be prudent and stay home. I don’t know how long it will take me to feel like actually accomplishing something today other than taking pictures of snow. The attraction between the couch cushions and my posterior is exacerbated by the arrival of a new Knitters. Stay tuned and find out if any laundry gets done!

12.jpg22.jpg Just past noon, and Wilson’s industrious efforts to fill the wood bin and empty the compost bins inspired me to do some cooking. We have a pot of spaghetti sauce from summer tomatoes that were frozen during the time of the tomato floods and some potato cabbage soup going on the stove right now. The veggies are all from our farm share.

23.jpg31.jpg13.jpg1:30 and the soup has been eaten and the sauce is starting to thicken. We’re watching a football game (Go, Hokies!) with a fire blazing in our wood stove, feeling very content. The snow isn’t coming very fast, though it seems to be picking up a little. Oh, and Wilson started the laundry. What a guy.

I’m including some progress photos on the Refined Raglan, so if the snow peters out, at least something can show some progress. What you see here is the hem. You can spot the ridge where the provisional cast on was knit in. I didn’t do the sleeve cuffs this way – I’m going to pick up stitches from the cast on and knit the hems that way, then sew them down, but I wanted to get rid of the curl at the bottom of the sweater so it looked more finished as I worked.

24.jpg32.jpg14.jpgIt’s 3:26, the light is fading, and the heavy snow has yet to hit, though they promise it around 5:00. The Hokies are ahead and have the ball with just a few minutes remaining. The sauce is nicely thickened, and some progress has been made on the RR. A nice, cozy afternoon. Sometimes it is important to not try to achieve too much.

25.jpg33.jpg15.jpgAnd at 9:00 pm, I can state for certain that I did not achieve too much today. 16.jpgThe RR is done up to the start of the waistline shaping, and the snow is still coming. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere near the amount they originally predicted, but at least there is a nice blanket on the ground and so far none of the freezing rain they predicted, either. The flakes are very nice with the flash, I think. And with this, the day is a wrap.