Friday, January 30, 2009

Wow.. No knitting pictures in 2009...

I just realized looking back that I have not posted any knitting pictures since Christmas. How could that be? I have knit!

So, this post is dedicated to getting caught up showing the finished objects (all but one that is, since the recipient has not yet received even after mailing 1 week ago today)

So, let's start with socks! We all know I love knitting socks - so MUCH so, that I decided to limit myself to 2 pair a month. I don't think that will kill me - but we'll see. I had my 2 pair done in January before the 15th - so I am very anxiously awaiting Feb 1 to start my first pair for February.

The first pair I made was from Zen Garden Yarn "Squooshy" in the Evergreen color which was the yarn club shipment for the month of December. It was such nice yarn that Mom liked, that I got an extra one for her - which she received in a care package this month.

The pattern is Traveling Vine by Charlene Schurch out of the book "More Sensational Knitted Socks". I love this yarn and the pattern was fun to do as well.

Then I moved on to a Sundara yarn color called "Spiced" - it's a cross between pumpkin pie filling and a golden mustard. The pattern is Ribbed Lace, another by Charlene Schurch but out of her Sensational Knitted Socks book. I was amazed with the yarn listed at only 350 yards (compared to others that are 400+) how this yarn just seemed to grow as I knit. I like these too! >

I had made my Mom a scarf I think 2 years ago and when my folks were here for Christmas, I noticed the scarf was starting to look a little ratty, worn, pilly, etc.. So I decided to knit her a new one! This is called The Prismatic Scarf by Huan-Hua Chye and I used a Mountain Colors Twizzle yarn which is a combination of Silk and Wool! Very soft and nice to work with! Mom received it in her goodie package back on Monday. With the ice storm and cold they are experiencing this week, it was just in time.

I knit this second scarf for myself - it is made with Zen Garden Sock Yarn with cashmere - it is to die for - the brown is called Coffee Bean and the pink is It's a Girl - The pink is really a real, real, real hot pink and I think the brown tones it a bit otherwise you'd need sunglasses! It is the Chevron pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. It's near 85 inches long so it'll wrap around pretty nice!

Then I made a silly, fun project - for those who have seen or actually have a pair of my felted clogs - this is a summer style - these are felted flip flops! They're 'ok' - a little floppy - no pun intended! They are of course, for me - as you can tell by your blue jean yarn.

As one of my knitting new year resolutions, I decided to knit at least one 'charity' project per quarter. So, a group of us are working with Project Linus to knit blankets. Here's a picture of the 'boy' blanket I made. I'm hoping to make another with girl colors! Project Linus is having a "make a blanket" day on Feb 21st - so that's the deadline. Here is a link to their information, if you're interested!

And, I continue to work on my jacket - picture in a previous post - I have finished the bottom charted designs and now am up to around the waistline. It's pretty and I'm really liking it and I am taking my time, enjoying it and making it sure it is done correctly!

Well, that's my January 'stuff' - I have put aside my thrum mittens for the moment, trying to get the guage right so they are not either to big or too small is causing me headaches, so it is 'resting' at the moment.. LOL!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's BB Time!!!

Well, Bree's 5th grade girls Basketball team started a week ago! She's very excited this year and has been practicing getting "tougher".

She is tougher than last year - she proved it in this game! She was NOT going to allow the other team's best player to get by her, she was NOT going to allow someone to steal the ball from her and when she got a rebound, she was NOT going to let anyone else grab it away! And she didn't!

She played the best I've seen her play.....yet! And she had fun and she enjoys her teammates. They played their first game on Saturday. They are Michigan State this year (last year they were NC). Duke (the team they played on Sat) beat them by 2 points... It was a good game!

Here are a few pics I took -

Bree did a fantastic job in defending this girl. They bumped and pushed and did all the basketball things on defense one should do!

Bree has been practicing dribbling with both hands and without watching the ball. This year the coaches also instituted 'plays' which he calls out when they cross the half court line.

Keep in mind that you cannot defend on the players until they cross half court (that's why you don't see anyone defending her).

She plays each saturday thru March 21 with practice during the week.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No School = Fun Day!

On Friday, the kids were out of school (for some silly reason - like "building accomplishments day" - don't ask me what it is - I have no idea - and yes, it is absolutely ridiculous!)

So, Bree and I and her friend, Lexi and her Mom went to Esther's Place out in Big Rock (about 1/2 hour from us). Link here: (I have to link it this way as for some reason the hyperlink function does not work for me)

One (of many) unique things about Esther's Place is that it is a Co-op of Illinois Fiber producers - or friends of Illinois - there are a group of sheep, alpaca, angora rabbit, mohair and pygora goat farmers that joined together to educate folks about fibers here in Illinois as well as take advantage of group milling, advertising and they have a wonderful retail home (think old farm style house- but updated) that they sell their wares.

They offer spinning, weaving, felting, knitting and all the learning you can absorb about so many different breeds of sheep, various fibers and the like. Two officers of the co-op who also founded it are a Mother-Daughter team (Donna and Natasha) are the nicest, warmest, friendliest, most helpful fiber folks around!

Bree selected a dry needle felted project, Lexi a 'wet' felted scarf project, Kathy a 'wet' felted table runner and I selected a knitted (I know -surprise, surprise) Thrummed Mitten project.

We all gathered our materials and Natasha led the way in assisting in the teaching all the processes. Bree did 2 flowers

And had seen what she had named "Quackers" the duck around the shop and decided she wanted to make one as well. Time ran out while there so we purchased supplies for her to make at home - and she did. Quackers no 2 is darling (even though Bree thinks it is an ugly duckling) and she did this from 'remembering' what the original Quackers looked like - no instructions or pattern or such - just a visual in that artistic, creative mind of hers.. I think he (or she) is awesome!

My Mittens are in progress - they are kind of cumbersome to do as they are made using pieces of roving (thing washed, brushed sheep wool - in my case from a Romney Sheepie) and knit along with your yarn every now and again - so it is like putting your hand into a big bag of sheep's wool and will be OH SO WARM! The 'dots' you see on the knitted part of the mitten are actually roving bits from the big ball of roving also in the picture.

I am still waiting for Kathy to send me pics of Lexi and her projects (as neither of us brought a camera with).

During our project work, Donna supplied us with Hot Cocoa, Tea, Coffee and made absolutely delicious Chocolate Chip Scones which the girls just loved!

The girls (and Kathy) had never been to Esther's before and were so overwhelmed by the kindness and the selection of projects that we are making plans to go again in February!

It was such a fun Day! I wish they were all like that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Who knew?

Bree loves to build rooms for her pets. Her Breyers occupy a bookshelf in her bedroom and they are all lined up in stalls with name plates, blankets (made from fabric scraps), halters made from elastic hair ties and leg wraps (on the show horses - LOL).

She then got interested in "Littlest Pet Shops" and has a collection of 25 or so. So, she started using index cards (as they are about 1 maybe 1-1/2 inches tall or thereabouts) and build what I call a townhouse with rooms for each. She made beds, tables, chairs, cars, tv's - you name it - she's found some craft supply of some sort and basically furnished this 25 or more room townhouse.

I was talking to Joy from my knitting group and Joy mentioned that there is this WHOLE world of 'miniatures'. People do this for a profession and it is a big deal. Joy made some demo's and displays of 'room boxes' for a company in Ohio. She started telling me all about it. I was floored.

So, last week, she gave me this newspaper clipping for a 'miniature show' - as in trade show with vendors, displays, etc.. Much of this room box stuff centers around miniature doll houses and people who put them together.

They come in scales of 1/4", 1/2" and 1" - yes, they have furniture that is made/created at 1/4 of an inch to scale.

I told Bree about this and we looked up some websites on the internet. OH MY GOODNESS. Looking at some of these pictures you would think you're looking at a 10 million dollar model home at full scale. It is amazing! Here are a few pics from random websites:

The Art Institute of Chicago has a display of 68 rooms by this man. Here's the info: The 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms enable one to glimpse elements of European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. Painstakingly constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot, these fascinating models were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications.

Here's the URL if you want to see more...

So, Saturday among the yucky, snowy weather we drove up to Schaumburg for this show. It was amazing. The people were SO nice and helpful after we explained this was our first initiation into all this. Bree picked out some supplies, listened intensely to the suggestions by the vendors on how to 'make' things with common household items, etc..

She is thrilled. Bill and I were just in awe! She is so creative and imaginative that this will be right up her alley. She just needs to take her time, have pride in her work and patience - she wants to get it all done NOW, (I do NOT know where that comes from - nope, don't have a clue!)

It was a neat Saturday to spend together as a family. Bree also got to top off her night at a Chicago Wolves hockey game - her first 'live' hockey game as she was invited by a friend of hers. Their seats were behind the net, right next to the guy in the glass box that sets of the lights and sounds when a goal is scored. She came home hoarse from yelling but had a fantastic time! Thanks Bartz's!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is there such a thing of 'never enough'..

Yarn, that is.

I went to a yarn store today that I had not been to before.ever. It was filled to the brim. More yarn in a yarn store than I've seen.

I bought 3 skeins. All three were purchased to make Bree things. All primary rainbow colored. One will be socks, and the other 2 skeins will be used for felted FLIP FLOPS. These should be fun!

You would think I would have enough yarn. But, I do not think there is any such thing of 'enough' yarn. You never know just when that one project, that one cool, special, gift or such that might come up at the last minute and you need to have the yarn at your fingertips. Kind of like people from the depression era stock up on canned food. Not me. I stock up on yarn. That way, I may not be able to eat, but I'll be knitting. Or like horse people having that extra saddle pad, extra headstall, extra brush. Just like that! (wait, that's me too - I see a pattern here)

I finished my 2nd stealth project since Jan 1. Pictures can not be shown until the recipient receives, though. And I did cast on my jacket. (Jacket pictured in previous post). That is going to take a while.

Question is what to cast on next.. I have to have a smaller project to carry around. The jacket is not going to fit in my purse - ha! Socks? maybe. Felted flip flops is a good possibility as I really want to see how these turn out. Perhaps, another stealth knitting project - another illusion scarf - looks like piano keys. Socks, maybe. probably. then a scarf or flip flops.

Ooooh, and I saw these cool mittens today. They were "nordic", "latvian", "fair isle" type mittens with colorwork. Pretty cool. I see something like this getting added to my list to knit. Hmm.. I wonder if I have any yarn for something like this? I bet I don't. Looks like I'll have to go yarn shopping. oh darn.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Mom puts me to shame...

About a year and a half ago, we saw this pattern at a quiliting store. I've done some basic quilting as in actually making like small crib size quilts, but it is not my strength. I don't like that it is not portable.

Mom has been quilting for about 4 or so years now and she has gotten to be VERY good at it (despite what she tells everyone). She has a group down in TN that get together and help each other, etc..

I thought this pattern was awesome and immediately thought of Bree. We selected some fabrics - since it is all pieced - I gave Mom a close up head shot of Bree's mare, Tess and told Mom to try to make it look like Tess.

She continued to work on this for over a year going thru multiple revisions and revisions and tearing it apart and redoing, and redoing and redoing.

I think she did a fantastic job and she gave it to Bree who was thrilled! It is hanging prominently in Bree's room by her ribbons and such from showing. (Now all she needs is the Buckle case that Poppa was/is supposed to be making for her).

I love it and for 76 years old with pretty rotten bad RA and her fingers being pretty gnarly - she rocks. I hope when I'm 50 (not so far away) I have half her energy, determination, skills, persistence, eagerness to learn new things and desire to do some really cool stuff and be able to keep up with my daugher as she does me.

Mom, I bow to you! You decide how awesome she did...

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Christmas Holidays are officially over..

Or winter break or whatever politically correct term is being used...

How do I know this you may ask?

It's not because We've taken down any Christmas decorations - because that has not happened. (I actually have to take photos so I know how to set up the village next year - LOL).

It's not because the weather has broke. Eventhough we have no snow on the ground - thanks to the 60 degrees we had last week.

It's not because the stores aren't offering sales.

It IS because my house was QUIET today. The Kids went back to school today. It was nice and quiet (minus the dogs barking from time to time for absolutely NO reason).

I spent the day reorganizing and moving furniture, etc around in my studio. I had broken down my studio for the holidays to put the 2nd spare bed back up for the guests we had.

Bill put up 4 shelves (2 on each side of the windows) yesterday. So, I had to fill them with cool stuff. Not quite done with that yet as I need to get some extra easels for the little picture frame type stitching stuff. And I combined my sewing machine tables into one.. it looks cool. I rearranged my knitting yarn bins.

Bree gave me her 'decorating' stamp of approval - which is HUGE! LOL!!!

One of my knitting resolutions is to inventory my yarns. So, this will be a big help in accomplishing that goal.

When it is complete, I will take pics and post. I also need to find some cool - not prim - but country type curtains with SHEEPIES on them. The theme throughout the room is definitely my lambie/sheepie collection. I love me my sheep (as Paige would say).

So, by the end of this week, my goal is to have the house decorations down and boxed - save the 2 Christmas trees which will be dismantled over the weekend.

One step at a time! Baby steps - but at least moving in the right direction!

(And, I've been good about posting this year TOO!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ok, Someone talk some sense into me!!!

As I posted below, while at The Fold on Thursday, I was so serious about thinking about deciding on getting a spinning wheel. I've been looking online, emailing with some folks about ideas and the like.

Then today, in my New Year notebook (started a new one to kick off 2009), I started listing the things I need/want to knit. Things I already have yarn for. Things I already have 'planned' for gifts coming up in the next 3 months. Things I have patterns for. I am up to 10. And ONLY ONE of these is socks.

So, I shouldn't even be daydreaming about spinning. My list is extensive (well, kind of simplistic, but a project or two - like the jacket I posted about are complex). But, I am STILL daydreaming about spinning. What is it about the mystique of spinning that has me captured? I honestly do not know. Could it be something new? Perhaps the idea of making something from beginning to end (as in spin the yarn, dye it then knit it and finally gift it)? Is it because it is the natural progression of a knitter / fiber addict? Is it because it is just something different - craft wise - for me to add to my forte'? Do I REALLY need another thing to add to my forte?

I wish I could rent a wheel for say 2 weeks. Let me play, see if it is really something I want to do. If it is, then fine. If not, then I get this all out of my system.

I like the things on my KNIT TO DO list. They will be fun, different and challenging projects (ok, some).

I need to start thinking of the balance of the year and starting the gifts I need to complete NOW.

So, I shouldn't think any further about spinning...

Yea, right.

Friday, January 2, 2009

AH... The world is right again...

I posted back a day or two how I missed knitting socks and that I had to wait until other Christmas gifts were completed.

I cast on last Friday a pair of socks. They are done. They are pretty. I love the yarn (Zen Garden Squooshy) and love the pattern Traveling Vines by Charlene Church.

Here's a pic of the work in progress, I will get a completed picture tomorrow on my model's feet (Bree's feet are in most of my sock pics) - it works great as at 11 years old, her foot size is ONLY 1/2 size smaller than mine.

The Color is called Evergreen and was December's yarn club shipment. It is SWEEEEEEEETTTTT..

The world is right again.. (Did I say that out loud - again?)

We went to the barn today. It was freeeeeezin. (Literally lower than 32 degrees). My sinus / head cold that is on again off again - it cannot make up its mind if it is going to take hold of me is "on-again" today. What the heck is that all about. I sure wish it would make up its mind. If I'm going to get a cold, let's get on with it. If not, take a freaking hike.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Starting the New Year off right...

I won! I won! I won!

What a great way to start off the new year!

Val, Lisa, Becky, Rachel and I (from the knitting group) all went to The Fold (Marengo, IL) today for their New Year's Day sale / open house. I can't think of a better way to kick off 2009, great friends, lots of sweeet yarn, a peek at some spinning wheels (I am SO jonesing) and on top of it all, I won a book as a door prize. It is called "Crocheting on the Edge" by Nicky Epstein and it is even SIGNED by her! How cool is that?!

We all did some serious credit card damage! And I think over the 6 hours we were there, I looked and looked and looked and looked some more and at a couple of spinning wheels. I do NOT know how I walked out of there without buying one. Sheer will is all I can think of! And, maybe the fact that I purchased yarn and was inspired to knit up some things and getting a spinning wheel would have prevented that from happend.

I purchased some yarn (Cascade Ecological Wool to be double stranded) for this jacket:

The yarn is Charcoal and a medium shade of gray.

I also purchased some Easter Pastel sock yarn for socks for Bree and of course, it wouldn't be me, if I didn't purchase some blue jean colored sock yarn - LOL! Ok, I confess, somehow, someway, some blue jean color wool yarn made it into my basket to make some felted flip flops.

And one skein of Rare Gems, Sock That Rock seemed to call my name. (ok, I KNOW I do not need any more sock yarn, but it is a cool colorway)!

I'm in a mad dash to finish the Traveing Vine socks I started on Saturday. I have 49 more rows. I am holding myself back for jumping right into the jacket!

I've decided I need to make a list of what I have in the 'que' to knit, then prioritize them and then start knocking them off one by one. I think that will be a task for tomorrow.

Other than that, not much is happening. Bree and I went to the barn yesterday and delivered Christmas gifts. That's always fun.

Last night some idiots (read this as teenagers who need to be shot) decided it would be funny to open gates on all the fenced yards. This morning, I was up early to get ready to go and let the dogs out. Well, after 20 minutes of Bailey (the Goldendoodle) not returning I went out in the yard. Imagine the heart stoppage when I see the side gate wide open. (It was not open at 11pm last night, when we let the dogs out for the final time). I yelled to Bree to get Bill, hopped in my truck and started driving around - knowing that she runs like a gazelle and had a 20 minute head start - hell, she could have been a county over or worse - dead on the busy street near our house. THANKFULLY... She was 3 doors down. Apparently, she walked down, saw THEIR gate open and thought it was her yard and was in their fenced yard. Talk about taking 10 years off your life. We walked down our street around the park area (where there are about 6 other houses with fenced yards and ALL gates were open). I swear if I ever find out who did this stupid-ass stunt, you all will have to send bail money as I will be in jail on an assault and battery charge.

PS - See, I am starting off the new year with a post. Yay me!