December 22, 2006

Shiny Objects

First of all your comments on my Target experience cracked me up!!! The holidays seriously bring out the crazy in people, don’t they. Anyways I have one other handmade gift that I can share on the blog… after that it all has to wait until next week….

So my other grandma – not the one I made the shawl for – isn’t so into the hand knits. Last year I knit a felted bag and a scarf for her and I don’t think she really liked it all that much. Which is fine because she appreciates and loves my handmade jewelry more than anyone ever has. She still wears things that I made for her literally when I was in grade school. She has also through the years given me many, many beads and necklaces, etc. that are basically bobbles from the ‘60’s for me to take apart and reuse. Gotta love that! She’s also one of the few people that I know who can really pull off fantabulous earrings.

So anyways this year I wanted to make her some truly spectacular jewelry:
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out… and all of the findings are sterling silver so it’s definitely a quality piece… I hope she likes it!

Chemo Cap Pattern

This is just a basic hat knit out of Cotton-ease that I made with leftovers from Odessa.


Materials:
Less than ½ ball of Cotton-ease
Size 5 circular needle
Size 6 circular needle
Size 6 double pointed needles

Setup:
Cast on 100 stitches on the size 5 needles, join for knitting in the round being careful not to twist. Knit 2 Purl 2 rib for 1 inch. Switch to larger needles. Knit one round then begin beaded rounds.

Beaded Rounds:
Round 1: Knit 3, Bead 1 (instructions on the odessa pattern)*Knit 9, Bead 1, repeat from * around, Knit 6
Round 2: Knit 8, Bead 1, *Knit 9, Bead 1, repeat from * around, Knit 1
Round 3: Knit One Round

Repeat beaded rounds 3 times total.
Knit even until hat measures 5 ½" from cast on edge.

Decrease rounds:
Round 1: *Knit 8, Knit two together, repeat from * around
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: *Knit 7, Knit two together, repeat from * around
Round 4: Knit
Round 5: *Knit 6, Knit two together, repeat from * around
Round 6: Knit
Round 7: *Knit 5, Knit two together, repeat from * around
Round 8: Knit
Round 9: *Knit 4, Knit two together, repeat from * around
Round 10: Knit
Round 11: *Knit 3, Knit two together, repeat from * around
Round 12: Knit
Round 13: *Knit 2, Knit two together, repeat from * around
Round 14: Knit
Round 15: *Knit 1, Knit two together, repeat from * around
Round 16: Knit two together around

Cut yarn leaving a long tail. Draw tail through remaining stitches, pull tight, and secure to inside of hat. Tuck in ends. Block if desired.

December 21, 2006

Bah humbug

Just an FYI. I don’t care how filled with holiday cheer you are…. if it’s 9:00 at night, the week before Christmas, and you’re checking me out at Target I do NOT want to chat with you. Especially if what you want to chat about is the fact that yes, my purchases include cute underwear and a bottle of wine, and no those are not "typical holiday necessities." Actually, the wine is completely necessary to survive conversations like this one thank you very much.

Is it Christmas yet?

December 18, 2006

Winner!

Ok so sorry I forgot to do this yesterday… the whole Christmas preparation thing… you know.

Aaanyways here’s how I did this… I took everyone’s name who commented on the post and made a numbered list… I listed your name twice if you gave me a pattern suggestion – 3 times if you gave me more than one (a few people had emailed me more suggestions). Then I went to the random number generator and this is what I got:


Lucky number 7 is the winner!

That means that Knitting Nurse – you’re getting some yummy pink merino! I can't wait to see what you make with it! Thanks for playing everyone… I will have to do this again sometime soon!

In other news I had a great weekend... I so wish this picture didn't come out blurry:

Aren't we cute in our matching aprons? Baking cookies w/ my mom and my grandma is one of my fav. traditions... although this year I relinquished my rights to the pizzelle iron b/c my grandma needed to sit down and that is a sitting down kindof job…

Speaking of grandma’s I finished a hat this weekend for Jennifer’s grandma. Hopefully I’ll have some time to write up the pattern and post it tomorrow...


Congrats, again Knitting Nurse!

December 15, 2006

Manly Knitting

Several of you commented that we should set up a knit along for the men in our lives… well… Robin and I did! This is the first time hosting a knit along for both of us so we’re very excited about it. Check it out:

Come on over if you want to play along and knit a sweater for a guy.

Other than that I’ve done no knitting of late. Haven’t even had a chance to swatch for the Durrow… it’s been a crazy week. But the tree is up, the annual shopping trip with my dad is complete, and I’m almost (meaning sortof kindof not really) done with my other shopping.

Tomorrow I’m baking cookies all day with my mom and my grandma – it’s tradition that we get together and do that… so I probably won’t get to picking names for the merino until Sunday. Just wanted to let you know.

Have a great weekend!!!

December 12, 2006

The next big thing

Check out what the UPS man brought me yesterday:
That would be 15 balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed to make my husband his very own Durrow. It’s seriously amazing yarn – 80% wool, 5% silk, 5% cashmere. By far the most expensive and luxurious thing I’ve ever knit.

I think he deserves to have me spend all of my time, energy, and good yarn on him, though, since he does put up with me spending my time and energy on good yarn!

I haven’t even swatched it yet. I was waiting until I finish the Thuja kneesocks and a few other things… my resolve is weakening, though… it’s just so soft….and really, I think I’ve done enough of the Christmas crafting for this year….

Who wants some hand painted lace weight merino?

First of all thank you for all of the wonderful compliments on my shawl! It made my weekend to read them… and holy crap I got over 20 comments?! I feel like a celebrity!

So anyways for the shawl I dyed 2 skeins of yarn…. And I used exactly one skein – I think I had literally less than 2 feet left...Now that I'm done I’m completely sick of the pink lace…. So who wants this?

It’s 880 yards of the knitpicks dye your own merino. I posted about dying it here. If you want it just comment on this post… then I’ll put all of your names in a hat and pick one! I should have time to mail it out this Sat… so I’ll pick names sometime Sat. (Dec 12) morning.

Oh and if you give me an idea for something lacy to knit with either of these (745ish yards each of laceweight from my last secret pal): I’ll put your name in the hat twice! I need a new lace project…

Ooooh this is fun. I’ve never had a contest before!

December 7, 2006

Cherry Blossom Shawl Block Party

Blocking lace is the coolest thing ever.... this was my first attempt at blocking something circular so I didn't really know what I was doing...

Basically I started by doing everything that I did when I blocked Adamas - I let it soak for about a half hour (with euclean) then being careful not to let any of it streach out I smooshed it in a towel to get rid of some of the excess water.

From there I was sortof at a loss. I didn’t know how to use my blocking wires effectively… I tried pinning the first repeat evenly but that was a mess… and the shawl started out really pouchy in the middle and somehow the middle pinning seemed to exaggerate that. Finally I came up with this solution:

I pinned my tape measure through the middle at the exact center of the shawl… this way I had a nice measure of radius. From there I just pinned out points at the same dimension (23.5"). First I pinned opposite sides, then the cross, then each middle point from there on.

Eventually I started pinning out each point.

Until it was finished.

This baby is seriously stretched within an inch of its life. I had to keep checking to make sure none of the pins had popped out! But eventually it relaxed into that shape – and no more pins were sent flying across the room.

Oh yeah - as soon as I put it on my blocking board I realized it was going to be way bigger than I had room for… luckily I had a hand-me-down board that used to be my great grandma’s. Putting the two boards together worked well enough but if I did it again I think I’d put something underneath them to keep them from sliding around.

anyways... here's what you really want to see:

Before:

After:


Before (last Friday's post)After:


Before:


After:


The specs:
Pattern: Cherry Blossom Shawl from the Spring 2002 Interweave knits
Modifications: I only knit 9 repeats of the third chart instead of whatever they called for… my grandma is a small woman so I didn’t want the shawl to be too big! It still came out a pretty decent size – about 45" across.
Yarn: Knitpicks Color your own that I Dyed myself with koolaid
Timeline: For-ever. Since June. I had some issues though…



 It was so very worth it in the end!

December 4, 2006

Sneak preview

I blocked the Cherry Blossom Shawl last night:


I made myself wait until last nigh to block it b/c I knew that if it was drying all weekend I would spend all weekend moving pins around. This way I’m at work and I can’t obsess over it….
Hopefully tonight it will be dry…. I will post lots and lots and lots more pictures when I unpin it!

In other news… if you live in Cleveland and haven’t been to the Barcelona exhibit yet go now. It’s awesome. The Gaudi models and Miro sketches alone are worth the admission price. Not to mention getting to see Dali's Accomodations of Desire up close and personal. We went on Sat with Osam & Alyson… we also went to the Botanical Garden to check out the gingerbread houses and had a lovely dinner at La Dolce Vita. Sadly I have no pictures of any of this … someday I’ll remember to photograph things other than yarn. Heh.

December 1, 2006

Awesomely Bad Friday

Two things that are awesomely bad that I’m totally addicted to right now:

1.) V-spot videos through VH1.com. Yeah… I’m ashamed to admit just how many times I’ve listened to the new Beyoncee song today… To the left to the left… And I fogot how hot the guy in the Crazy video was and how bad ass it was when Alicia bungee jumped in flannel.

You must not know ‘bout me…You must not know ‘bout me

2.) Beverly Hills 90210 on Soap Net. They’re back to the Brenda years and I can’t get enough of the teen angst. The sleepover episode is on December 6th – set your DVR’s. I know I did!

There must be some kindof early ‘90’s bug going around…

I can have another you in a minute… matter fact he’ll be here in a minute

Sorry – I’m a little giddy today… I just finished a huuuuge deadline at work. Everything got done, everything looks really good and the client is very happy with our work. Whoot!

Oh yeah and does anyone know how to block a circular shawl? ‘cause this baby’s done:

Hope you have an awesomely bad weekend!

November 30, 2006

The edging that never ends

Yup. Still working on it. My goal was to have it done by the end of November…. I have tonight to work on it and this much left:
Totally doable if I can keep myself from getting distracted.

November 29, 2006

The first of the charity knitting


It’s a scarf for our troops knit out of bernat camo yarn. Right now Catans is doing a thing with the USO where they are donating yarn for scarves. Appantly the average cold temp. in Iraq right now is 38 degrees which I totally didn’t know. How it works is you buy camo yarn from them, knit or crochet a scarf then bring it back to Catans, and they reimburse you for the yarn. It’s a pretty good deal. And however you feel about this war supporting the troops in any way possible is definitely a good thing.

The scarf is 14 stitches on size 15 needles, double stranded yarn, garter stitch all the way. It took me not very long at all… I knit it mostly on our trip to Pittsburgh to visit Matt’s family for their Thanksgiving. Where by the way I got to re-teach a 6-year old how to knit! I taught her last Thanksgiving and this year as soon as she saw my needles she was all over me. Her enthusiasm was great – she kept asking me (even during thanksgiving dinner) "can we get back to the knitting now?" and even better "maybe just one more row." How quickly they learn.

November 28, 2006

Thuja is just a Red Herring.

So right... let's get back to the knitting shall we?

Check out my "progress" on the second Thuja Kneesock:

Ok… so in case you haven’t noticed I’ve pretty much been exclusively posting about Thuja as far as knitting content goes… and those of you who know me know that I am NOT a monogomous knitter. Yeah….

I’m doing it again. I don’t know how this happened… I don’t know how I got back to this place….but I’m starting down the slippery slope that is The Christmas Knitting. I tried a different tactic swearing that I was only going to knit one big gift. One ginormous, extremely complicated, very intense shawl that I’ve been working on since June. Its for my grandma and knitting guru so it’s totally worth it…But then my brother asked for socks….And the edging of the shawl is really boring to knit and I’m an epic procrastinator. ‘Cause if I’m knitting other Christmas gifts then I’m not really procrastinating, right?

It’s been downhill from there.

I’m trying to initiate a few rules to maintain sanity this year:

  1. If they got a handknitted gift last year, they aren’t getting one this year (Mom) (Well ok so my brother who mocks my knitting more than anyone somehow is managing to get me to knit for him two years running. He did ask, though. I’m totally weak to requests for the knitting.)
  2. If I can’t think of anything fun to knit for them I’m not just going to knit something random just to include them (this pretty much eliminates all of the guys in my family) (unless any of you want a hat…hats are so universal and manly)(and that’s the thinking that got me into this situation in the first place. Forget the hats)
  3. I’m done now. Seriously. I’m not going to let myself think that I HAVE to knit for anyone. Whatever I have done that’s it. I’m not making lists (except this one), I’m not starting a million projects all at once, I’m just going to knit one thing at a time and consider myself done, done every time I finish a project.
  4. Other forms of craft do not technically count towards the Christmas knitting.
  5. Charity Knitting - it seems like nice way to spend my knitting time during the holiday season - so I'm going to try to do as much of this as I can. Even if it means that I can't knit gifts for people that I actually know.

We’ll see how sane I am come Dec. 23…Especially since this is starting to call out to me:


I so want to knit it for Matt…It just screams Matt… and the cables - they speak to me. I’ve never knit him a sweater before and I think that 2 years of marriage eliminates the sweater curse… plus I haven’t knit anything that big in a long time. There’s no way in hell I’d get it done by Christmas but it might be kindof fun to try! And if not his birthday is in March…. Have any of you knit anything out of the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed before? I’ve heard good things about it but it’s kindof pricy…

November 23, 2006

Success!

Everything today went very well… and I learned that there are two things about hosting Thanksgiving that are indescribably cool:

  1. You get to smell the Turkey all day while it cooks.
  2. You get to keep the leftovers. It’s awesome.

Anyways I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Matt and Dexter carving our first bird

Thankful

Well… I got it all done. My house is clean (despite the boys weekend… holy crap can a group of guys create a mess!), the table is set, the sweet potatoes are ready to go into the oven (thanks Michelle!), the cranberry sauce is chilling, my house smells like pumpkin pie, and the turkey is occupying a very large percentage of the refrigerator:

And check out the dining room:

We had to put two tables together b/c we don’t actually own a dining room table yet but I think that it looks pretty nice. This is the first time we’ve used our china so even that is exciting.

Really exciting actually....

'cause I loooove the gravy boat.


It makes me happy...


Anyways with all of this talk of "what are you thankful for" I thought I’d let you guys know that I’m thankful for knitbloggers and for this amazing online community. Thanks for inspiring me to create, for teaching me so many new things like lace and socks, and for being so supportive when I just want to give up on projects like the interminable Tempting II. You guys rule.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

November 15, 2006

Procrastination as an art form

So remember this?


That would be the Cherry Blossom Shawl that I’m knitting for my grandma for Christmas. I just need to finish the extremely boring and yet too complicated to knit while watching tv edging. Last night I should have been doing laundry/cleaning /grocery shopping or doing about a million other things that I need to do to get ready for Thanksgiving that I can’t do this weekend because my house is being taken over by a herd of guys. Instead I worked on the shawl. But it totally counts as being productive since I have to have this done by Christmas… and knitting is waaay more fun than cleaning the bathroom.

Yeah. I’m an epic procrastinator who will probably be pulling an all-nighter next Wed. night making sweet potatoes and scrubbing things.

But there will be progress on the shawl!

Thanks, by the way, for all of your encouragement about Thanksgiving! I've totally got it under control now. Sortof.

November 13, 2006

But a little Freaked Out

Things that are freaking me out right now:

  1. I’m having Thanksgiving. At my house. Like a grownup. Complete with a turkey and pies and china and extended family and everything. I’ve never hosted an actual holiday before. It’s not like we haven’t done plenty of entertaining – but seriously? Entertaining my friends is no biggie… they are just happy that we have a house and food for them… they’re not so picky about how clean that house is or what we’re feeding them. But this is Thanksgiving! With Grandparents! And I don’t even own a dining room table!!!
  2. Thanksgiving is only 10 days away.
  3. This weekend I’m leaving my house completely unsupervised so that Matt and his boys can have a guys weekend. This is perhaps not so good.
  4. I found out that Brittany got married 3 days before we did...and she has two kids. For some reason this freaks me out. Not that we want kids right now or anything... just that that's even possible.
  5. Christmas is only 41 days away. And people keep feeling the need to tell me this. Christmas knitting? What Christmas knitting? Who said anything about Christmas knitting?
  6. I have a huge work deadline on Dec. 1. I know we can handle it and I know I’m capable of getting everything done that needs to be done, but still. Big deadline.
  7. This website. Amusing, but kindof freaky.
  8. I’ve never made sweet potatoes or cranberries before… any ideas for recipes? I’ve also never made a whole turkey but everyone assures me that this is easy… I’m borrowing my grandma’s roaster to make it in… the roaster is 58 years old. That freaks me out, too.

Stress is good, though… keeps me on my toes… but sadly it cuts into the knitting time… Thuja part deux is barely started…

Oh well… at least we finally got around to raking the leaves!

November 10, 2006

Fingerlakes Fun (Oct. 8-10)

Riiiight… so I wrote this all up literally the day we got back. That was what… a month ago? Then I never finished downloading all of the pictures and putting the post together to share…. Better late than never I guess, right?

Well we had a wonderful trip… I can’t say enough good things about the area, really. Good food, good wine, perfect fall weather…. I’ll just start at the beginning…I have to warn you – this is very long and boring but I wanted to write out my impressions of the wineries for future reference for myself… you can totally just skip all the words and look at the pretty fall pictures if you want. I won’t be insulted!

We left on Sunday and checked into the B’nB at around 3:30ish leaving us just enough time to hit up a few wineries before they closed...

Keuka Spring:
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This winery had a hell of a view. I can’t really give a good honest opinion of their wine b/c when we were there I was just so excited to actually be at a wine tasting that my judgement may have been a tad clouded. We did really, really like their syval blanc though. Nice and dry and crisp.

McGregor Winery:
Photo Hosted at Buzznet Photo Hosted at Buzznet
This winery is also on the Eastern side of Keuka but they are set back a little further from the lake. The tasting room was set up so that you sat down and were served each type of wine. Much more relaxed than standing at a counter which was nice. We loved their 2002 Pinot – and it was really cool to get to taste it next to their 2004 Pinot. I’m not sure if it was the growing season or the age of the wine but the ’02 was way, way better.

The next day it was all about the wine… we spent the whole day on the Eastern side of Seneca lake....

Fox Run Vineyards:
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Yeah… we liked their semi-dry Reisling the best even though we usually like the dryer ones…. Matt liked their blush wine but I didn’t. I’m not really a blush wine kindof gal, though.

Seneca Shore:
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This place had a ton of wines to try. We really liked their Gew├╝rztraminer … and they had a couple of different ones to taste. However, we ended up buying the Traminette because it has a cool story – It essentially was a gewurzt grape that the people at Cornell messed with so that it would be hardier in this region. I thought that was cool. It tasted similar to the Gew├╝rztraminer (spicy) but with a different finish. Yes I actually know what that means now!

Anthony Road:
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This place had the really cool feature of a garden overlooking the lake. We got to try several different varieties of the grapes straight off the vine! Their wines were kindof eh though. We liked all of them but didn’t flip over any of them. Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Prejean:
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This place was weird b/c all of their wines tasted spicy to us. That worked out really, really well for some varieties and not so much for others. I loved their Cab Sauvignon and Matt loved their Chardonnay (the oak barrel one, not the steel barrel one).

Miles Wine Cellers:
This place was really cool. Literally right on the lake… check out the view...
Photo Hosted at Buzznet
And the people there were super-friendly and nice. I actually really liked their Cab Franc and I usually don’t love those…. But picturing it with a steak dinner.. mmmmmm. We also liked their Wisteria blush – again I don’t usually like blush wines but this one was by far the best we tasted. It didn’t leave that super-fruity taste in my mouth at all. I could picture it being real good on a 100 degree day in the middle of July.

From there we were a little tasted out so we just asked the ladies at Miles where we should go next. They recommended several places to get some variety into our trip. We ended up going down to Glenora to see what a more commercial Finger Lakes winery was like. It was a zoo. Tour busses and all. Exactly what we expected. So all we tasted was their Raspberry Spumante b/c that sounded fun. It was fun. That’s about all I got on that. We did eat lunch at their restaurant outside with this view:
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Beautiful. Oh and yes that is Adamas I'm wearing.

From their we skipped down to Lakewood Winery mainly because of the name…
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This place was ok… we liked their standard wines b/c we figure anyone would like them. We actually drank the red we bought here on Halloween – goodstuff…. Also we tried a port here and it was pretty phenomenal.

From there we were done with the wine. I can’t believe it but we were. So we went hiking in the Watkins Glen Canyon. Here’s some pics:
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Very cool.

Then it was back to the B’nB for a nap before a fancy schmancy dinner at the Esperenza Mansion. Worst picture ever of us taken at dinner:
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Seriously. We’re not that unattractive usually.

The next day we were exhausted and had to drive home. So we took it easy and drove to Keuka State Park and hung out there for awhile. That place has some beautiful views:
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And the Keuka Lake water is so clear!
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From there we decided that we were only going to go to one more winery before headed home….
Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars:
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This place was probably my fav. It’s located really high up just south of the fork in Keuka Lake which made for some more spectacular views.

I liked that they were commercial without being a frickin’ tourist trap… and their wines seemed very well thought out (if that makes any sense). Anyways we went nuts over their reserve Reisling. Best Reisling we tasted all trip by far. Unfortunately that was a tad out of our budget so we settled on their Salmon Run Dry Reisling to take home with us. Not a bad compromise. We also liked their pinot (and their fleur de pinot – both were good) and really enjoyed trying their different varieties of champagne back to back.

After that we lost all will power and stopped at just one more winery…

Heron Hill:
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This one we thought was closest in feel to a California winery – probably because of the fancy tasting room and swanky architecture. I really wanted to love either their eclipse red or their eclipse white because the bottles are so cool… unfortunately they were just ok. Their Late Harvest Vidal Blanc dessert wine, however was fantabulous.

Here’s some more pretty pictures from atop Keuka lake:
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Photo Hosted at Buzznet

It was a great trip.

Whew that was a loooooooong frickin' post!
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