Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm Blocking Entrelac Stole Today

Well, I'm still at home; just couldn't get it together last night to hit the road this morning so we will leave tomorrow instead. It's so nice to be able to be flexible and to be able to change plans on the spur of a moment now that we're retired. So, instead of traveling, I'm blocking my entrelac stole that I finished knitting in the wee hours of Monday night-Tuesday morning. I was determined to finish it up since it had been on the near completion list for a few weeks. This morning after having coffee and chocolate dipped cookies, I decided that I would have time to add the fringe and set it to block this morning; then I'd be able to take it on our trip to wrap up in on the car ride. Here's a photo of it laying outside on the hot-tub drying in the breeze.
It's not a good photo because I had to face the sun when I was taking it, but it gives you an idea of how large it is and I'll make a better photo once it is dry and steamed down if needed. I used all but a few yards of Nora's Silk Garden Lite to knit the shawl and the 9th ball for fringe. DH ask if I'd charge $500 to knit one for someone else and my reply was 'about that since it has almost $100 of yarn in it and it has taken me almost six months to knit' LOL. Actually the actual knitting went rather quick, I'm just always working on a half-dozen projects at a time.

And here's a new picture of the pink and green knitted bowl after I place potpourri in it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Felted Bowl, Bag, and Hats

I've been busy today getting my packages ready for the post. I have one for my Bag-A-Holic partner and one for my Christmas Around The World partner and the last one for my Secret-Pal-1 pal. Each has been lots of fun putting together and I think my pals will be pleased with them.

I've also been busy making photos of some of the gifts I've been making for family and friends. There are hats, bags, and bowls. I failed to get a photo of a purple hat, it went into one of the boxes that is ready to send out but I do have one of a Christmas Red (Patons marino) felted hat that I knitted for a sister and another one in a different shade of red (Cascade 220). The purple was made from Lopi (Reynolds) and is such a fabulous shade of purple, I loved it. The bowl is made from scrap yarn and I think both pieces are Patons marino, I love Patons for felting and caught it on sale in late summer so bought up a bit of it. It doesn't let me down; that I like after having spent my time knitting a project. The bag I made in the Bag Style Knit-a-long I participated in is also made from Patons, taking almost the entire two skeins of yarn. That's another thing I love about that yarn, for most felted bags and felted hats, two skeins is about the right amount. I like to have only a tiny bit left over after a project is finished; if I have almost a full skein left over I'm aggravated.

Tonight is knit night in the city with friends. We didn't meet last week because of guest visiting for Thanksgiving and everyone busy with preparations for Thursday. Tonight will be catch up night on our lady's new love lives. It's wonderful to see them in love again in their golden years.

Tomorrow night will be knit night in the village. Last week we met at someone's home because the shop's proprietor didn't have time to keep the shop open (?). We had a really nice time away from the shop and I'm expecting that the first of the year we will decide to meet at a different person's home each week rather than this constant haggling with the new owner. It's a good group of ladies and we don't want to give up our knit group, still we don't want to have stipulations put on when we can or can't meet. I understand the new proprietor has a group that meets during the week-day and that’s fine, but some people do have to work. This is a working group except for the two of us that have now retired. She also wants to put is in a situation where we feel obligated to use this knitting time just for charity. Most of us already knit for charity with other groups and feel we want this time for our personal time. Anyway, the idea is on the burner until after Christmas. Everyone has too many other things to think about and keep us busy until then.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pal's Knitting Going To Post Tomorrow

Thanksgiving has come and gone so now the fuss is all about Christmas. One month from today, the 24th is really the day we have our family togetherness, our Christmas dinner, and then the exchanging of gifts around the Christmas tree. It will have come and gone before I conscious of it happening. It is true, time does move fast as you grow older. Weeks slip by as if it was only a day or two and the month seems to have gone by before I realizing it.

Thanksgiving Day in central Virginia was 'hot', not warm, but plain hot and humid. We turned the ceiling fans on in both the kitchen and the great room well before noon; still it was too warm. I think the temperature climbed to about 76 degrees, much to warm for the end of November. In mid-afternoon we had a bit of rain which allowed the temperature to begin cooling off and today its downright cold.

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful. It was wonderful having the family all together once more and a wonderful abundance of good food on the table and good friends stopping in to say hello. I am so thankful for it all. Last year I was having a rough time with chemo-treatments, this year I feel great. Such a big change in health and I am thankful for it and being able to be with my beloved family through another year.

Last night little Dariana spent the night with papa and I. It was such a good time for us all. We played pretend, her favorite game, to entertain her until bedtime. We had an imaginary birthday party with peanut butter and jelly cake and candles, and imaginary school with a story being read from one of my knitting magazines about peacocks (from an advertisements she saw inside), and we played house with 'my baby' falling and hitting her head on the hearth and mommy taking her to the Dr. to get medicine. We can see that each of these pretends are so real to little Dariana. She is so much fun and we adore her.

I do have the hats and bag I mentioned on last post, felted and ready to send out tomorrow but I've put off making photos yet; I will have to post them later. I'm pleased with the way they each turned out and hope my pals will be pleased once they are received. I have one more project to knit for a pal (plan to work on it later tonight) and I will be finished up with my current swaps. I want to knit two quick bags to have for hostess gifts while we are visiting family next week, one for a niece and one for a sister-in-law. The Nicky Epstein bag is in its first stages. I've decided I will only work on it during my Tuesday night group knitting, at least until after the first of the year when things settle down a bit.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Knitting, Iris and Hoakies Football

The bag pinned together and then sewn before fulling.

The hats before fulling, two different reds, Paton's on the left and Cascade on the right.

Today I finished the triangle bag I've been working on, sewed it together and felted it. It turned out very pretty I think and although it is quiet a bit smaller than it was before being fulled, it is still a nice, roomy bag. I think I will enjoy it and am thinking of doing one for a sister-in-law in black and cream or black and gray, either would be pretty I think. This was an easy knit if you don't mind decreases and increases on almost every row all the way through the bag. You do have to keep up with the grouping of rows so that your pieces can be matcher perfectly once you start putting it together and it does take awhile to knit because it is knit with size 6 needles. I used Paton's yarn and put it though two short cycles to get it to the felted point that I wanted. Usually I get by with one cycle but today I added two hats and a long I-cord for one of the hats, perhaps that is why it needed the additional time. They all came out nicely and are on the kitchen counter drying right now.

Mr. Maestro and his friend, Sissy, the poodle from next door, went to the groomer together this morning to get all pretty and fresh for Thanksgiving. Maestro was a tiny bit un-tidy after spending Wednesday with the veterinarian getting his teeth cleaned and three of them extracted. It had only been a year in August since we had his teeth cleaned but in that period he had gotten gum disease and had three impacted teeth. I cried of course, but am glad we got it taken care of before there was a real problem. Maestro is 11 years old now, not a young age for canine.

While I was car-pooling and picking up the last items from the grocery for our Thanksgiving dinner, Mr. Rō was potting iris to be given as door prizes at our Harvest Dinner for the Iris Society tomorrow. They are waiting for me to put a foil-wrap around them so they will look festive and catch any soil that might escape the pots. I've already prepared my dish to go, a curried rice salad with artichokes, shrimp, water chestnuts, almonds and black olives. I snuck a few bites before I put it away and it taste yummy. Tomorrow is also the local knitting guild meeting so I'll get up moving in the morning to be there at 9 o'clock and then at the Iris Society by 1 o'clock. We will leave that event early so that Mr. Rō can get home in time to see part of the VA Tech football game. All Hoakies out there knows how important that is; NOTHING comes before a Hoakie Game.

I can now concentrate on the Jacobean bag and finish up the shawl. I do need to get two additional bags made before the first week in December when we go to visit family. I want everything finished up by the end of the year because come Jan 1, I hope to knit sweaters. They have been on hold and its time I got them knitted. Too, I haven't accomplished much toward the trip I wanted us to take to Great Britain late next spring. I'm beginning to think it may be put on hold for awhile, there doesn't seem to be time to work it in. A decision will have to be made soon or I won't be able to make the arrangements for us to stay the length of time I'd like to.

I have my last SP-11 package ready to go in the mail, the needles I'd ordered from Paradise Fibers finally came yesterday after I contacted them to see what the problem was. I also have the bag for my pal of the Bag-A-Holic Swap ready to go. I want to get both of these packages in the mail Monday if possible. That will leave only the Christmas Around The World Exchange for me to complete this year. Next year I must do fewer exchanges and knit-along and work more on sweaters, sweaters, sweaters. Will I be able to? I hope so, but gosh I do love a good exchange.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Busy Knitting and Thinking About the Holidays

I've been really busy knitting away this last week. I have too many projects going at one time again and I'm anxious to finish off a couple of them this week. I only have a few decreasing rows left to the triangle bag and then putting it together and fulling it. I'm not sure about lining, that will depend on the density of the bag once it is felted and if the lining can be attached without a lot of work to keep it from showing once the bag has been folded into the orgamic triangle. The entralac shawl is still not finished but is so close to being that I need to find a half-day to devote to that alone and complete it; and now the Jacobean bag is on my needles. It is already growing on my and I expect I'm going to find it fun to knit once I get the hang of all that yarn hanging. For me the fun of everyone doing the same project at once is watching each other and how each person accomplishes a particular stitch or task differently, coming out with the same end results. There are seven of us knitting the bag, a couple chose not to knit along on this project, and there last night there was lots of helping and teasing going on around the table. Good knitting friends are the best.

The iris buds that Mr. Rō brought in from his garden last week has bloomed and I failed to get pictures to post. The green tomatoes on the window sills are ripening and I am expecting to still have ripe tomatoes for the Thanksgiving Holidays when DS will be home for a few days. We'll have lots of salads while he is here because he is watching his weight again. Like his mother he doesn't mind salad meals, we both love our veggies. We've always had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of the afternoon, but a few years ago we begin deep-frying the turkey in place of baking it. The turkey comes out so moist and good with the crispy skin having sealed in the juices when it was dropped into the pot of hot grease. It makes a pretty and golden brown bird for the table.

I've been thinking about Christmas and what I can give to some of my knitting friends. I've decided on a project, something that I think they will all enjoy but in case one of them is reading this, I won't say what it is. I can tell you this much, I found the perfect piece of material to use for linings, a black background with a white kitty-cat playing in a ball of twine. As soon as I finish the shawl and the triangle bag I plan to cut the linings and start sewing.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Now I'm Knitting a Nicky Epstein Bag

Monday night I drove into the village for knit night at the LYS. It is only the second time I've been since the ownership changed. It took a few weeks for the new proprietors to work things out and I thought the group was going to fold; I think they thought so too and decided it would be worth their effort to accommodate the group and, in a welcoming environment. Anyway, the group was ready to start a new project with everyone making the Nicky Epstein, Jacobean Floral Felted Bag. I wasn't sure I was going to do it but then decided I should show my support for the shop and to the proprietors. I realize how fortunate we are to have a LYS here in our little rural village and I do want it to survive and prosper.
I'm not sure I like the bag (plus it means I'll have to break down and read a chart) and it was a bit costly considering that it was bagged into project-like quantities with just the amount of yarn needed to knit the bag. I'm again trying to think of it as helping the shop survive and I can always give the bag as a gift or use it in one of the bag swaps I participate in.
I'm almost finished knitting the first triangle of the Two-Tone Triangle Bag for the Bag Styles' Knit-Along. It is knitting up nicely even with all the right and left increases. I have a couple of embellishment ideas that I may try to incorporate in it when I'm ready to put the bag together.
It is wintertime here, 23 degrees this morning. This means we won't have any re-blooming iris in our garden this fall. Mr. Rō's heart is broken. He has been covering them for about a week now trying to protect the ones with buds from the nighttime elements. Yesterday he decided it would be a losing battle and so cut and brought in one that has three buds and already showing color. This particular iris is named Iceland and is a gorgeous white, big blossoms, fragrant, and performs beautifully in our garden. It amazes most people to learn there are some tall bearded iris that bloom a second time each year, in the fall. A few years back we had our Harvest Dinner for the Iris Society on the 3rd Sat. In November. We had enough bloom in our previous garden that I was able to cut and arranged a basket full of iris for the table. We now live about 20 miles northwest of our previous home but thats enought for the planting zone to change.

While Mr. Rō was in the iris garden, I was picking tomatoes. There are only two large plants remaining and bearing fruit ; they are loaded with so many green tomatoes the vines are weighted down. I picked what was left of the ripened ones and most of the largest green ones. They will ripen on the window sill and we should still have fresh tomatoes from the garden for Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Knitting Two-Toned Triangle Bag

I've chosen the yarn I want to use for knitting the Two-Toned Triangle bag in the new book, bag STYLE. There are a lot of pretty bags in this book but the Triangle Bag caught my attention right away. I love the difference of the shape; the fabric being folded into an origami form after being knitted and felted. The bag is knitted on size 6 needles with one strain of yarn so I'm hoping the fabric will be as thick and dense as I like for my bags. I know there has already been a few people knitting this bag over on the Bag Style Knit-along and they seem to be happy with the results.
I've finished knitting the red hat and also one in a different shade of red. Both hats are for gifts and I still have to full, shape, and dry them. I'm glad to have the knitting finished so I can move on to another project because I have lots of knitting to get done before the end of this year.
Mr. Rō has been busy these last few days weeding his iris beds and planting seeds that were produced from cross-pollinating between two different iris when they bloomed in the spring. He likes to plant his seeds for iris around All Hallows Eve which is October 30th. We aren't pagan and we're not into witchcraft; this time for planting is related to the phase of the moon and 'all that kind of stuff'. Anyway, it seems to work well for him and its just a little bit of fun to mention when he is telling 'iris tales'. The seed will not germinate until spring and then it will take two to three years before they are mature enough to produce blooms. If there happens to be one beautiful flower out of the seeds planted he will be lucky. Still there will be lots of work to do and records to keep for another three or four years before he will know if the iris is worthy of introduction. Its lots of work and lots of fun for him, just as knitting is for me.
I'll leave you today with a couple of pictures from Saturdays party. Precious Dariana and her five best friends from nursery school along with family members, had a terrific time at the Children's Museum helping Dariana celebrate becoming 3 years old!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Knitting Missing At Christmas Craft Show

Yesterday my neighbor and I decided we'd loaf a bit and take in the Christmas Craft Show, have a nice lunch and do a little shopping. This particular show comes to Richmond every year and it is large, taking up an entire building. I've never been to this one and I must say it doesn't compare with the Bazaar Bazaar which is even larger and hosted at the buildings at the old State Fair grounds, now the Richmond Raceways. The larger portion of this show was jewelry, some very pretty and a lot of repeats in items being displayed. The thing that struck me is there wasn't one single booth of knitting, not one. As 'hot' as the knitting world is today I was surprised. Of course the smallest booth rents for $400.00 for the event, I suppose that could have something to do with it. It would take lots of yarn and time to knit $400.00 before you could begin making a profit at all.

Later in the afternoon we stopped by 'Lettuce Knit' near my old home and were discussing why there wasn't any knitting booths. One of the ladies remarked that she thought it was because this particular craft show doesn't draw the kind of people that are willing to pay for hand knitted items. I agree to some extent, but I go a bit farther in thinking that most people aren't willing to pay for hand knitting, period. Why? well I believe that most people never go into a true yarn shop and see all the beautiful fibers and colors that are available today. I believe most people's knowledge of knitting and crochet is from the yarn they see in the local craft stores usually selling in an under $5.00 price range and of seeing their grandmother knit or crochet using that acrylic yarn. While acrylic yarn has its place, it is the natural fibers that I think of when speaking of handmade versus homemade. Handmade to me means something that you put your heart and soul into to make it special and beautiful as well as made well. Most people never think this far and only see $5.00 for a skein of yarn and not anything for the labor. Labor? Yes, to me knitting is a labor of love, but if I'm going to sell it, then it has to be a labor of my time spent making you something by hand and that ain't cheap.

For lunch we stopped by Kuba-Kuba for sandwiches and plantains. Yum. Sally had never been here before. It wasn't just the food I wanted her to experience, I wanted her to enjoy the atmosphere. Kuba-Kuba is in an old section of the city; its very, very tiny located in the ground-floor basement of a nice, big old home. It is tiny in size and larger than life in everything else. Noise, wobbly tables, extremely uncomfortable chairs, an uneven floor, and a co-ed rest room that can be a real surprise. Still, the restaurant is always packed, any day and any time of day or evening with people waiting for one of the 'under a dozen' tables for two, or one of the 'two' booths for parties of four or more, or one of the half-dozen bar stools. The food is cooked right there in the dining area, and the shelves are stocked with Cuban coffee, pasta, olive oil, and religious candles. There are Barbie doll legs only, hanging from the lights and a picture of The Last Supper on the wall behind the bar. This isn't to make light of The Last Supper, its just the opposite; religion is very dear to most of the Cuban community. The clientele is a big mix, students from VCU (an arts related university) with purple and green hair, rings in their nose, belly button or wherever else they can pierce; neighborhood families with babies in tow and dogs waiting for them at the door; as well as people dressed in business clothing, suits and high-healed shoes. Watching and listening to such a mixture is more entertaining than the chefs dancing as they cook.

I drove Sally down Monument Avenue where 'Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson' face off, and through much of the Fan District. The leaves were colorful and the autumn sun was shining bright casting longer shadows on everything; it was beautiful. A lovely day.

Today we will celebrate Dariana's third birthday along with her friends from school and a few family members. I'm sure I'll have pictures for you tomorrow. I've already given her a new dress for the party and papa has a package wrapped and ready to go. I'm looking forward to seeing how she interacts with her peers. Papa has been to some of her school functions but I've not been able to attend any so far. I'm anxious to see her in a social environment with other children her age. She can now say the 'Pledge of Allegiance', can you believe that, three years old!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Knitted Red Hat

Last night I was able to finish knitting the red hat and now it is waiting to be fulled. I knitted a black I-cord to go around it and will buy a feather to stick in the cord. Sister should look snazzy wearing this one on Sunday mornings. I will take it to her when we go to visit later this month or early in December. I'll post photos after it is fulled.

When I was casting on for the hat I got out my new Knit-Pick Harmony wooden needles to use. I attached one needle and then the other, thinking it didn't feel quiet right. As I started to cast on I felt an un-even lump and stopped to check it, I had a bad needle. I was so disappointed because I've loved using these needles since I've had them. I called Knit-Pick right away and their service department personnel were so nice. The size 11 needle won't be in until Nov. 7th but they will send a replacement as soon as their needles arrive. While I was talking to them I ordered a size 13 circular needle to go with my set. It seems I use a size 13 often enough to justify buying one.

Today I placed an order with Paradise Fiber for a set of Audi Turbo DP needles in size 1. These are for my secret pal who loves to knit socks and had mentioned she would like to have a set of the Audi needles. I'm hoping they will be here next week and that I will have finished the treat I'm knitted for her so they can be sent off winding up this exchange. This has been a lot of fun and my upstream partner has been the greatest. What wonderful gifts she has spoiled me with. The word 'spoil' really fits here. That's exactly how I feel, wonderful gifts just because someone wants to make you feel special; like a child on one's birthday.


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DH'S Cardigan

Ruffled Shawl

Ruffled Shawl
Knitted Prayer Shawl with Crochet Ruffle

Knitting Class

Knitting Class
Teaching Co-workers to Knit

Wave & Shell Shawl

Wave & Shell Shawl

Plum WIne (SDB-Iris) 04/01/07

Plum WIne (SDB-Iris) 04/01/07

Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat
Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat

Chemo Hat
Peaches & Cream Yarn

Felted Hats

Felted Hats
Gray Hat Before Felting

Felted Hat

Felted Hat
Gray Hat After Felting

Baby's Hat

Baby's Hat
Dariana's Hat