Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mixed Update

Finally--since my last post we found out that Declan O'Neal Jones, our second grandson, finally came out of hiding in Mommyworld and emerged, weighing 9 lbs. He had a little trouble with the cord trying to strangle him, then fluid in his lungs, then low temp, but he's just fine now. Mommy is, too, except she's struggling with second child guilt. I warned her about that one--it makes you feel split in half. When the third one comes, though, you're completely over that and just trying to keep up with everybody!
Anyway, I finished Declan's blankie, and I am going to sew on a flannel backing to make it sturdy and functional. Here's a peek. I'm going to wrestle this into a pattern--it's got kinks. For now, it's just for Declan. I put some little socks with it that I knit for his big brother, Preston, who outgrew them before I finished.

No pics of the little guy yet. Things like that are slow coming from my second daughter! That's not even a hint for her, either--she doesn't read the blog.
I also am working on another pair of McGuinness Branch Socks. I changed the rib to more coordinate with the main lace pattern. Doesn't the pattern show up so much better in a solid color? This is Dalegarn Baby Ull. I like it for socks! Very stretchy.
This week has been design seclusion time. I am working on six sweaters--especially two cable cardigans for the site--four sock patterns, two scarf ones, & a pair of fingerless mitts.

I've got all the numbers worked out and the two site sweaters & three of the socks on the needles, so you know what I gotta do!

Yep--fighe! Knit, of course. (Oh, and I almost forgot--I finally learned toe-up socks with the figure eight CO. Love it!)

Happy Knitting everyone!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I'm still here...

I thought I'd better check in. Feeling kinda disconnected this week. After the visit with Em & Ran, I had to jump back onto some subbing this past week, so it's been sort of routine, routine.

I tried to get a crochet pattern ready for submission for a book coming up, but had to chunk it. Not enough time. I really wish these publishers would give a designer more than three weeks' warning if they want designs. I've had this design for a crocheted bag in the works since last summer, but it just had not reached the stage I needed, even after a couple of full days' attention. That is just fine--it will wait for another opportunity.

I have been giving Declan's blanket top priority, because the little dude's gotta come any day. Nope, still no Declan--at least not as a separate entity. I know Jessica's ready to be just one person by now!

I am also working on another pair of McGuinness Branch and am using Baby Ull. I really like it! The socks are coming out very stretchy and have a lovely fabric. It certainly shows the stitch pattern better than the Cherry Tree Hill. They are a frog green--I'll show when I get the first one done.

Instead of knitting pics, I thought I'd show you a couple of pictures from the visit week. Here's a recap of the highlights. After we picked Emily & Randall up from Seatac, we ushered them back to Tacoma and we all got lunch at Meconi's--one of our favorite pubs here. On Sunday, we had a lovely Eggs Benedict breakfast and then we went antiquing down on Antique Row after lattes at Tully's.

On Monday, we did the Seattle day. First, Pike Place Market, which wasn't crowded, making it more fun to look at all the cool stuff, and eat some cool stuff! The first thing Emily and I pounced on was some authentic, fresh Turkish Delight. Yum! Like eating roses. Then we found some hazelnut scones and broccoli-and-cheese-stuffed croissants. Oh, my! I can't even tell you all the pretties and yummies we saw. Then we just drove around town and showed them the sights--Capitol Hill, Fremont (the Troll), Volunteer Park (where Fred took this picture--yes, it was a pretty day.) See the needle?

Then we went on to Queen Ann to feast at our very favorite pub, Hilltop Ale House. Great food--great beer. Emily and I had fish tacos and the guys had hamburgers and steak sandwiches. Afterward, we always hit Cafe Ladro for coffee--some for now and some for later (beans to grind at home, baby). Emily and I also got a big slice of their berry pie. They have the biggest pies I've ever seen! I should have taken a picture of that!

The next day we took a stay-at-home movie day. Some of us were feeling less than our best. That was fun--we ordered pizza & everything. On Wednesday, we struck out for Mt. Rainier, rain and all. We got as far as this lookout point, which is past Longmire, but not nearly up to Paradise. The snow was just getting too cloudy and visibility was low.
We turned around and stopped by the Copper Creek Restaurant not far from the park entrance. Affectionately called the "Stupid Pie Restaurant" (by us, only by us), they do make some good blackberry pie a la mode.





Thursday was museum day, because Tacoma's got some great museums! We did the glass museum first--saw a guy make a little glass horse in the auditorium, a school field trip group making a dress embellished with all kinds of beads, sequins & stuff, a huge buffet piece made entirely of clear glass, an exhibit devoted to fashion (bodyless glamourous garments made of shadowy glass), a couple of "musical" exhibits (my favorites) involving glass, lots of other amazing glass vessels/sculptures, and always the fun gift shop. Fred spent quite a bit of time looking at a huge, wonderful book of Diane Arbus's work. I must find him a copy of it that doesn't cost $100. (Can we say Half Price Books?) Then we strolled across the beautiful bridge that connects the glass museum with Pacific Avenue. Really great Chihuly pieces in the bridge itself. It's fantasyland, actually.

We walked from there up to the Tacoma Art Museum, where, lo and behold, it was Free Third Thursday. Hurray! They have the Great American Thing exhibit going on right now and it was so good to see. What a mix. After all the culture, we went to the Spar for beer and a couple of hummus plates, because they make the best hummus I've ever had. Then we went by the market for some fresh halibut for dinner, which we all enjoyed by candlelight and good conversation. We built a fire, enjoyed some brandy, and crashed.

St. Patrick's Day came and we toasted it at another of our favorite T-town pubs, The Engine House, which really is an old fire house. They've got the old fire hose nozzles and safety nets to prove it. Emily and I had some more fish tacos and the guys did some more various forms of beef, and we did the Guinness. Strangely enough, we then spent the rest of the evening doing a King of the Hill marathon while Emily crocheted and I knit. "Yup."

The next day we took them back to Seatac and they flew home. We miss you guys! We'll see you in two months, though, when we all get to see Natalie get her degree at old Ugga.

AND Happy Birthday today, Randall! Have a good one, buddy!

Okay, I'd better get busy. Catch a walk, clean up this place a little, and finish the blanket. I'll show a peek when it's done.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Will the real Vernal Equinox please stand up? One of our calendars says yesterday and the other says today. Well, whenever Spring arrived, I say yippee! It's certainly looking like spring around here--lots of flowers and a lot of actual sunshine. Sunday, Fred & I took a big old walk to enjoy it. I was very sore afterwards from all the hibernative lack of activity over the past three months. Gotta get in shape for the hikes!

Before Emily & Randall got here, we cleaned a bit, and one thing that had to be tackled was my yarn/fun/dressing room. It was horrendous. Here are some after shots. Now I might actually spend some time here, maybe, kinda, probably not.

Above the windows you see two Trellis Lace window toppers I knit. Then there's my trusty old drawing table where I no longer have much time to do paper crafts and beading. But it's there waiting if I ever do!




From this angle you can see my "blue corner" where I made myself an inviting place to sit and work on knitting projects, but I still seem to gravitate toward the living room. At least I moved all but a couple of projects up here, so that there aren't a gazillion baskets and bags sitting in the main living space. Clutter is stressful!



And best of all, here is some of the yarn. This is almost all wool. I have visited my cotton stash, but not dragged it out into view yet. Must finish up some cold weather projects first. If I get tempted with the cotton, I'll never get done.

Most will recognize Cascade labels hanging out over on the top left, then under that there is a whole bin of assorted Patons Classic Merino. The bins beside hold Katia "Scotch" I got on a crazy sale, some Auracania, and below, a bunch of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed. Next door to those, on bottom, my beloved Eco Wool stash, and above, a whole ton of Cascade Sierra in steel grey, some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, and a big batch of DaleGarn Baby Ull. All of these yarn batches are earmarked for sweater & bag designs. The stack of drawer bins hold Cascade 220 & Pastaza partial skeins, an assortment of wools for small projects to come, a big bunch of lovely purple Cascade Pastaza for a big ladies Aran cardigan I can't wait to get to (it's like having a huge box of Godiva chocolates hiding in your cupboard, but better!), and, gosh, I forget what else. Gotta visit my stash again! Of course, the baskets and baskets of little projects, one of which holds the TKGA Master Knitter Level One stuff, waiting for me. Must visit that a lot!

In the closet next to Hilda up there (the headless torso) are two bins of cotton yarns. That's not an embarrassingly large stash. It's all pretty much assigned to certain projects in the works and I haven't bought any yarn to speak of in months, if you don't count sock yarn. Oh, yeah, there's a stack of hat boxes next to that dresser in the second picture, two of which hold sock yarn. I think that's all.

Thanks for visiting my yarn with me, even if I didn't really show you the yarn in its gorgeously specific beauty. Maybe next time!

Reothart Sona Dhut!
(I hope I said Happy Spring!)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Return of the Monday Goodies (aka #4)

Sorry no goodies last week. We were in Seattle with the lovely house guests!

Now, you should check out Supernaturale. It's inspiring & crafty!

For yarn stuff, go see the Big Yarn Guide.

If you've thought about making your own charts, check this out.

Do you know about Wise Needle? Good site.

Have fun, and have a good Monday. Spring starts tomorrow! Woohoo!

Figheadh Sona Dhut!
(Happy Knitting)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

And More Socks!

Emily & Randall are on their way back home, and I finished the socks just in the nick of time. Here's a picture of the both of them posing in them this morning...late this morning, around 10:30. We left for the airport less than an hour after that. Yeah, I cut it close! Thank goodness the Kitchener stitch was kind to me today.




Also, Emily crocheted herself a quickie scarf in less than 8 hours! Yesterday, we went to a craft store really nearby and she got a couple of skeins of Lion Suede and a J-10 hook and made this lovely big net scarf. She used just over a skein. It's about 80" long! When she wraps it around her neck, it still hangs past her knees--just what she wanted. I gave her a very short refresher course and she was off & hooking away.


We had an awesome visit with these folks. They are the perfect houseguests, and so much fun. We're already planning the next visit!

Now I must get busy on Declan's blankie--still no word. That little bugger is hanging on tight.

Happy Saturday!



Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Socks!

Golly. I've had this pair started since last fall sometime, but I just finished the second one. They are for Emily, my oldest, who is here with us! I am done with the first & started on the second of a pair for Randall, Em's hubby, who is also here with us! I plan to get a lot of knitting done on them on the drive to Mt. Rainier today--yea! This is why I haven't posted in a couple of days. Too much fun--siteseeing, stuffing our faces, a little knitting, watching movies, listening for the phone to ring so someone will tell us Declan has arrived (the second grandson), because he's on the verge!

Socks:
Lion Brand Magic Stripes, size 2 dpn, classic round heel and grafted toe (yes, Kassandra, I finally learned!)

Happy Wednesday All!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Good Gussets & Fourchettes!

Glove terminology sounds like profanity...
"Those gloves are fourchette, you son of a gusset maker! "

Here's our Lombard Street Gloves. The cable is one of my favorites--it's twisty, for sure! Just like good old Lombard Street in San Fran.

As soon as I learned to make gloves, I wanted to put a cable on some, and it had to be this one.
These are Fred's pair and they are made with Stahl sche Wolle Socka, color #311 on size 2 circs up to the fingers, and dpn from there.

Of course, here are the much-crowed ones in the beloved Frog Tree Alpaca. I love them.

That's the last of our spring release. More coming, especially toward the end of summer. As of now we have a baby layette set, a scarf & hat set, and four sweaters testing for fall release.







Guess what else! We have the Sock of the Month at Frog Pond Knits in Citrus Heights, CA! It's our Cable & Lace Socks from last year. Here's a pic of the owner's test sock. Thanks Violet!!!



Have a great weekend, all you knittin' fools!

Friday, March 10, 2006

A Family Tree Branch

My maternal grandparents lived in Langdale, AL, (don't try to find it; it isn't there anymore) in a little house with a big back yard with a creek running behind it. On the other side of the creek was a hill. If you climbed that hill, you would be at the big ball field. Granny & Grandaddy's house was where my mom's whole family would gather every Christmas and every Easter. Easter was the best, because of the huge egg hunts in that back yard with a multitude of cousins. We would all have to stay on the front porch ("No peeking!") while the grown-ups hid the eggs. On the call, we would all run down the side of the house and race for the most eggs.

At both holidays, someone was always walking around with their Bell & Howell, so we have many embarrassing movies of those wonderful times. All the food! All the fun! All the bad hairdos! One Christmas, my aunt Sarah made all the females red, wool jumpers. You know, the kind you wear with a white shirt with a Peter Pan collar and a circle pin. We all wore them, too. It was mandatory. At the Easter gatherings, my mom would usually get us all rounded up to go and play softball at the field behind the house. My mom loved to play softball! I loved seeing her play, too.

I spent a lot of time at my grandparent's house watching my granny cook all day in the kitchen. She was the best cook I've ever known. Her fried chicken, mashed "ice" potatoes (it took me many years to find out she was saying Irish) & biscuits would make you weep for joy, as would her fresh apple cake, and my very favorite, stawberry cake, just to name a few. A country gourmet chef, she was. My grandaddy's interests lay more in catching bobcats in a homemade cage, and "fixing things" with gold spray paint & duct tape. One time he tied the lawnmower to a stake in the middle of the yard on a long rope so it would mow the lawn itself in a spiral, ever narrowing until it got to the stake. A country inventor, he was.

That branch behind the house was always called "Maginnys Branch" and was somewhat of a mystery. I think we were forbidden to get into it. I never did. I just learned from my mom recently that it was really McGuinness Branch. Ah, the jumblings of the Southern dialect. Gotta love it.

Anyway, I designed some lace socks. That's what I meant to tell you about, but I got carried away reminiscing about Granny & Grandad. I miss those guys. They were some mighty interesting folks. There I go again...oh, yeah, the socks. The lace pattern looks like water flowing around rocks, so I thought of "Maginnys Branch" and there ya go.

I did them in the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock color "Spanish Moss" which seems appropriate--a Southern thing. The socks have a lacy rib to match. I loved making them. I want to do another in a solid color to show off the pattern more.

Okay, that's the fourth of five new patterns. Thanks for bearing with me as I show 'em off. Tomorrow, the last will be gloves, my new obsession.

As for socks, I am almost done with a pair for Emily and a pair for Randall--my oldest daughter and her husband who will be here TOMORROW!!! I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Can you tell? Oh, and the weather was very strange yesterday. Snow in huge clumps (it was snowing snowballs, Twig!), which didn't stick, then sunshine, then rain, then more snow that did...not...stick. Yet, it's cold aplenty here. What gives? For once, though, I really don't want the snow. At least not until that plane carrying my sweeties all the way from Georgia touches down and we get them here safe with us.

I hope your week is coming to an end in a delightful way, that your knitting is being kind, and that you have pleasing plans for the weekend. Math d'fhacinn an seo! Good to see you here--leave me a howdy in the comment box!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mavis & Hilda

Here's good old Headless Hilda wearing the recently completed Mavis Scarf. I love the Hilda! I found her at an antique store for only $38. Vintage mannequins of any kind are almost impossible to get hold of. This one is the real McCoy--detachable arms and spinning hands! She's just a torso with a ringhead, but she's mine.

Mavis came about when I wanted to do a little lace scarf and see what it would do with four different yarn weights. I tried it out with this Cashmereno from KFI in the champagney color. The yarn was a joy to work with, and it is so soft.
It blocked well, too, as you can see. It was a little slippery on my Addi Turbo 16" circular, but I enjoyed it. (I should shut up about this yarn, though. Apparently it's discontinued--not on the KFI site..hmmm.) The lace pattern is Fishtail Lace from Harmony Guide Vol 2.



I also wanted to design a small project for using some of these luxury yarns that I would feel too guilty buying more than a couple of skeins of, like Muench "Touch Me." Here is Mavis #2 with that yarn. Too much fun. It's a rather bulky yarn and gives Mavis a whole different look and feel.








For the worsted weight, I used some Cascade Sierra so that it could be a spring/summer scarf. Sierra is 80% cotton & 20% wool.









Here they all are together in various stages. The Mavis on the far left is with Frog Tree Alpaca I had left from making the gloves I will share on another post. The Frog Tree is a lace weight.
Mavis is a delightful, dainty little project. The pattern is up for sale on the site, and I will be showing pics of the other Mavises as I finish them. (There's a funny on the name, but I won't go into that now--it's a joke on Nana, Mom!)

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your knitting is being very kind to you today!

Slainte!




(Update--It's snowing! Maybe I'll get some good pictures!)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Sock of Seagulls

"I ran, I ran so far away...." No, not a Flock of Seagulls--a Sock of Seagulls! This was suggested to me, I believe, by the lovely Eilidh on the now defunct Save Gaelic forum. (How I miss that forum--so many wonderful, helpful Gaelic speakers now out of reach! Boohoo!)

Anyway, back to the socks. When I found the Triple Gull stitch in the first Barbara Walker Treasury, I knew I had to put it into a sock. It's so much fun to work. This pair is made with Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Winter Sky. Love the yarn & love the color. Thanks, Jen & Kassandra for the tests!

Just another of our little group of new patterns for spring--small projects for the warming weather. The Seagull Socks, or Stocainnean Fhaoileag* in the lovely Scots Gaelic.

*correct usage credited to the wonderful Camha of Save Gaelic Forum fame


Le deagh dhùrachd!
With best wishes!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bags with Heart

We released five new patterns! Yea! Go here to see the NEW! patterns.

First, I will showcase this felted bag set.

I wanted to try a cable on a felted bag, and this heart-shaped one seemed perfect. It's worked in one piece, in the round, and gradually grows more narrow toward the top, which binds off with I-cord. I had to adapt the cable pattern a bit to make it closed-end. I originally found the stitch pattern in The New Knitting Stitch Library by Leslie Stanfield.

The large tote is very roomy--comes out about 16" wide & 9" deep. The small one is quite dainty, measuring in at about 9"x 5". As it says in the blurb on the site, it could be a mother-daughter set.

That's Sue's set, one of my best testers! Hers and mine were both done with Cascade 220, double on the big bag and single on the small one.

It's fun to make! Try one!


I'll be showing a new product each day, so come back for more!



Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Monday Goodies #3

What's better than stretch pants? You know...links!












My friend Kassandra has started a blog for yarn shop reviews. Go and add a review of your favorite shop.

I've had this one on my favorites for a while, but just discovered the great how-to videos at Knitting Help. Knitting at Knoon has some, too.


If you love vintage knitting like I do, go to Yesterknits. It's just fun to look at the images and buy some patterns!

Wouldn't you love a whole Aran dress like this? It's almost as good as the Aran wedding dress.






Speaking of vintage, look at what I found when Fred & I went antiquing last week.

Love it! The hat book is especially keen. I'll show more later.

(Pardon the shadow of my big ol' head!)



While I'm adding random images, I promised to show more Girl Scout badges, for anyone who's interested. (I never did hear back from Norway Needles, although I was willing to send her a couple--if anyone knows her, tell her I'm not dangerous--well, most of the time!)










To finish up, I give you one more link to make you giggle. Go to stuff on my cat. Now, I have only directed you to the category "clothes on my cat." Some of the other images disturb me. I feel almost sure that these folks aren't compromising their kitties, but a "whole shelf of books on my cat???" This reminds me of the books we used to have when my girls were little. The characters were real cats all dressed up. Hilarious. I love kitties, I do! And they look so cute dressed up! You should not, however, dress up your cat if he/she has an objection. They really are not here just to satisfy our entertainment needs. But you gotta love this:



Have a great Monday, everyone!

(thanks to Agnes for the picture!)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Curse of the Girlfriend...Scarf?

The title refers to a conversation with a student Friday on a sub job for a drama/English teacher. I was working on Mavis (which is done!) and when he came into class, he said, "I can do that." (I love to knit while subbing--it's a good conversation starter. Who'm I kidding? I love to knit ALL THE TIME.) He told me that his aunt had taught him and that he had started a scarf for his girlfriend, but then they broke up. I told him about the curse of the boyfriend sweater and that he'd probably better rip that scarf out and start over. Like many new knitters, he said he had forgotten how to cast on. I really gotta start taking extra supplies with me for times like
these.

We keep getting snow predictions too far out into the future for them to actually materialize. The only white stuff we've had lately is this. What are these--snowflakes on steroids? One day when Fred and I were out for our morning walk, big clumps started dropping. Not sleet, nor hail, but this.





Someone please enlighten me.







On the home front, we've got house guests coming next weekend--my oldest daughter and her husband! Yea! It's okay that we have no snow, Emily & Randall. We'll take you to Mount Rainier, where we WILL see snow anyway, so it doesn't matter. We also plan to give them a lovely ferry ride to San Juan Island, do the usual "tour of our favorite Seattle spots," and hit all the best of Tacoma--maybe jump over to the Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor one afternoon. We have corned beef & cabbage (and oat bread??) planned for St. Patty's, not to mention hoisting a pint. The week will not be long enough. I can't wait!!!

March is just loaded. The visit with Em & Ran, Figheadh has her one-year birthday coming up, and my middle daughter is due to deliver our second grandson! Also, Fred changed jobs and is a happy guy. Too much goodness!

Knitting-wise, I have only the closing of the toe on my Cherry Tree Hill socks, gotta finish up a scarf, I started my Master Knitter Level 1 swatches, and am getting designs ready to send to mags. We plan to release a few new patterns very soon--I'll be presenting them here this week.

I leave you with a shot of our lovely crocuses. Daffodils are blooming as well, and the tulips are poking through. The earth is sprouting with color around here!


'S math a bhith beo!
It is good to be alive!

Beannachd leat!
Bye!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Gosh...

I had a big ol' rambling post all done, and then my sidebar disappeared, and then part of my post disappeared, so I axed the whole thing. I'm new at this. What the heck?

I'll try it again later, y'all!

Mar sin leibh, an-drasta!
G'bye for now!