WIP-it Wednesday and some flowers...

...I totally love this Iris cardigan!! It is a fast knit and it is so cute. Last night I finished the body and moved it onto waste yarn until I'm ready to do the trim. Here's what it looks like now:

Iris cardigan, as of 4/29

I'll start the sleeves tonight. I like how the colors came together, but I still haven't decided whether to use the blue (sky) or the green (Fog, the middle color) for the trim. Any preferences? I'm open to suggestions!

Because I'm having such a good time with this sweater, nothing else has called my name, meaning that I probably won't start anything new until this is done. That's a big change for me since I'm so easily distracted by pretty fiber to spin. (LOL!) That being said, I'll probably do a little spinning on the weekend.

Our garden continues to explode with color. Here are a few flowers I saw this morning. A red poppy in the front yard (I think the petals look like crepe paper)...

Red Poppy

Flowers on one of the trellises in the backyard...

Flowering trumpet vine

and a bee's-eye view of a flower on another trumpet vine.

Red Trumpet Flower, Bee's Eye View

There are a few more in my Flickr account, if you're interested. Enjoy!

actual knitting occurred...

...I know, what a concept! I finished one Saartje's Bootee. I think it's too small, but I definitely liked working it in the round. I'll make a complete pair using larger needles.

Saartje's Bootee(s)

I made the decision to frog the Crossover Top—I just wasn't happy with the color differences. Since Purlescence was having a sale (LOL!), I decided to go look there on Saturday. I ended up buying the same yarn, but in a different colorway, again making sure that the lot numbers matched. I know I'm taking a big chance here, but I really do love the yarn!

Since I was out and about, I decided to take a trip over to Full Thread Ahead. The last time I was there they had the Vickie Howell Craft yarn (South West Trading Company) that I used to make the bunny. I wanted to get more so I could make another one. They didn't have that yarn, but I did find some sale yarn that will do. It is Cloud 9 yarn by Cascade and contains 50% merino and 50% angora. It's soft and squishy and has a nice little halo of fuzz.

While I was there I saw a model of a sweater that was similar to the Tulips sweater, but it had a different edge finishing with an i-cord tie, only used 5 colors of yarn, and was in Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. I really liked the way it looked, so I asked about the pattern. It turns out that the pattern was free if you bought the yarn...no problem there! I picked 5 colors that I liked. I also found a nice pink and white Artyarns superwash merino yarn that will turn into some very cute bootees or baby socks.

Once I got home, I couldn't wait to start the cardigan. I ended up working on it for the rest of the weekend. Here's what it looks like so far:

Iris Cardigan


The last color to be added is a purple (Phlox). I haven't decided which color to use as the trim yet, but the sweater will tell me what it wants. I really love how it is coming together! I'm making the smallest size, but I'm enjoying this so much, that I may make a larger size using some brighter colors. The cotton is a little hard on the hands, but I'm using aluminum circulars to make it a bit smoother.

The Daughter is headed back home as we speak...I took her to the airport at noon. The dropping her off part wasn't too bad, but the getting out of the airport was a mess! 20 minutes, people! Let's hear it for 4 lanes becoming 3, becoming 2, and then becoming 1! And, taxis? You are no better than the rest of us, so wait your turn to merge!! Seriously!

Anyway, it was good to have her home, even if it was only for a few days!

April Sky Candy Friday...

...after our April showers earlier this week:

April Sky #1

After I took that picture, I turned around and got this picture:

April Sky #2

Quite a difference, isn't it?

Still no knitting to show you.
Saartje's Bootees are causing me a little grief...the strap instructions are not as clear as I'd like them to be and I'm not loving the seams that will run across the bootee bottoms and up the back. I found an in-the-round variation that Fleegle created, so I'm trying that even though I have nearly finished one bootee in the flat version.

I have a short day today—the Daughter and I are spending some time together this afternoon. Also, let's hear it for the Husband...it's his birthday!

Happy Birthday, J! Is this what you'll be doing this weekend??

training

quick post...

...because I'm smack in the middle of a work project that requires all of my brain cells.

Very little knitting is happening right now. I am working on Saartje's Bootees, but they don't look like much at the moment.

The Crossover Top is at a standstill because even though I bought all the yarn in the same dye lot, the one I used for the front is much lighter than the one I used for the back. ARG! So now I have to decide whether to just start over with different yarn and use this yarn for some one-skein patterns. At least it's an easy knit...

Since I have no crafts to show you, how about another "playing with Picnik" picture? I took a photo of a red rose blooming in our front yard and sent it through the Holga-ish filter. This is the result (make sure to click for the larger size):

Holga-ish Rose


I think it's cool... I tried the black-and-white effect, too, but I really prefer this one.

See you on Eye Candy Friday...back to work for me!

trip report, sort of...

...I'm a little tired from the driving and I have a ton of work to do.

It took me about 4 hours to get to my mom's...going through Gilroy was slow and I did make a Starbucks stop in King City (which is about halfway).
I'd forgotten how much I hate to drive!

I visited with my mom, sister, brother, and nephew; it was really good to see them. My brother took me out for dinner, which I really enjoyed. There's nothing like a good filet mignon cooked over oak wood....yum! The weather was overcast on Friday and Saturday, so no good picture opportunities there. I didn't have time for a lot of knitting, so nothing to show there!

On my way home yesterday, I stopped in Morro Bay for a mini-reunion with some high school classmates. What a kick to see these people again! I took a few pictures (which will remain private since I don't have permission to post them) and caught up with what everyone was up to. I had a good time, but I only stayed a couple of hours as I wanted to get on the road in hopes of avoiding the worst of the Gilroy traffic on Sunday night. (I avoided all but about 10 miles of stop-and-go...)

Instead of going back to San Luis Obispo to catch highway 101, I took highway 1 towards Cambria. I passed my old stomping grounds in Cayucos and just enjoyed the scenery. I cut across to 101 on highway 46. There was hardly any traffic on 46 and the road is well-paved, making it a very pleasant drive. I had to stop and take these two pictures:


This shot shows Morro Bay in the distance...

Morro Bay in the distance

This is taken from the same spot, but shooting to the right of the bay...I love these green, rolling hills.

Rolling hills


It was a quick trip, packing with a lot of visiting. While I enjoyed the visits, I was very glad to see the Husband and the cats! I just need to catch up on some sleep...

The Daughter will be home on Wednesday for a few days and I'm really looking forward to that!

Road trip!

...well, for me anyway. I'm leaving this afternoon to visit my mother for the weekend. It takes 3 1/2 to 4 hours to drive there, depending on how long it takes me to get through Gilroy. Going by myself means that I don't get 3 1/2 hours to knit!

I packed last night and reviewed what I wanted to take knitting-wise. The Crossover Top is going with me, but I'm starting to get bored with all that stockinette. I decided to take the yarn and needles for Saartje's Bootees. This is a very popular pattern in Ravelry and they are too cute for words.

I decided to use a Dream in Color "Smooshy" yarn in Wisterious. It has a lot of pale purples and doesn't look too girly, so it should work for either gender. I wound it into a yarn cake last night and tucked it into my bag.

So today's eye candy is Wisterious:

Wisterious Smooshy, up close and personal

I'm taking my camera with me this weekend and I'm hoping to get a few pictures along the way. I'll give a trip report on Monday!

Wednesday and I've got nothing new to show...

...I have been knitting on the Crossover Top, but it's not worth posting another picture that looks essentially the same as the one I posted on Friday. I have finished the back and am nearly done with the left front. Still to do are the right front and the sleeves. At first, I wasn't sure exactly how the left front was going to work. I just kept plugging away at it, making sure that I followed the instructions carefully. Now that I'm almost to the shoulder, it's looking just right.

Instead I'll show you one of my older finished projects. Click a picture to see the larger version. (Apologies up front about the picture quality: they are scans of photos. Eventually I'll retake them with a digital camera.)

The following pictures are of the quilt I made for our daughter's graduation from Stanford in 2000. This was my second full size quilt and was a year in the making. It is an attic windows quilt, which I find is one of the better patterns to show off novelty fabrics. I named the quilt "Livin' La Vida Violeta" because our daughter is always on the go, her favorite color is purple, and her degrees are in Spanish and Latin American Studies.

There are 80 6-inch squares on the front, each one representing a person, activity, or interest from her life. It starts in the top left corner with a 1978 block and ends in the bottom right corner with a Class of 2000 block. There are specialty buttons spread throughout, like a bicycle button on the Husband's block.

Livin' La Vida Violeta

The back of the quilt is a cityscape fabric, with appliquéd city scenes, more patches, and other items. In the lavender border I hand wrote the names of all her family members, all of her friends, her favorite movies, and her favorite songs.

Livin' La Vida Violeta (back)

Collecting the fabrics was the most difficult part of the quilt. And then I had to limit myself to 80 squares because I didn't want this quilt to be huge. Whenever I couldn't find a fabric with the right motif, I went searching for anything that was made of fabric. For example, she loves Tigger. At the time there were no Tigger fabrics anywhere, but I found a pair of toddler overalls with a Tigger appliqué that I cut off and used in a block. I used old t-shirts, patches from her old cheerleading and basketball uniforms, and miniature flag replicas for the California, Costa Rica, and Mexico blocks.

Here's a sample of the blocks. This is the basketball block...

Sylvester and Basketball square

The sorority block (I cross stitched it--there weren't any fabrics or t-shirts with this on it)...

Sorority square

And one of my favorites, the pea pod block. Pea Pod was her nickname as a baby and she had a stuffed pea pod toy that she carried around. I made this 3 dimensional appliqué to commemorate that. The face on the top pea matches the pea pod toy's face.

Pea Pod Square in the graduation quilt


The other major part of this project was the book I made to go with it. The book explains how I made the quilt and has a description and picture for each of the squares.

This was probably the largest project I've done, but it was well worth seeing the look on her face when she opened it!

Back on Friday with some eye candy!

my secret project's no secret anymore...

...Jane received her present on Saturday (Yay, USPS!). I can now show you pictures of what was in her package, using the list I posted on her birthday.
  • One celebrates her birthday and can be used every year:

    Birthday Pillow

  • One celebrates our friendship:

    The Best Things in Life...

  • One will help her through her day:

    Hydrangea Tote bag

  • One is to share with someone special:

    Bunny Love

    Remember this bunny? I made it for Jane to share with her first grandchild who is due in September.
Jane reports that she loves everything, especially the bunny (what's not to love about that cute little thing?). So it was another successful surprise.


As for my weekend, I finished and e-filed our taxes; I got the last information from The Daughter today and will finish hers tonight. I did do a little spinning, but mostly I knitted the Crossover Top. I finished the back and am working on one of the two front pieces. (If I read the instructions a little closer, I'd have probably finished the first front by now...oops!) So far, nothing else is calling my name to be cast on—I may actually finish this little top before starting anything else. We'll see!

Eye Candy Friday, garden style...

...the garden is exploding with color right now and I am totally enjoying all of the flowers. We have pansies...

Purple Pansy

some unknown red flowers (if you know what this is, tell me!)...

Spring Reds

apple blossoms...

Apple Blossoms, 2008

and poppies!

Poster Poppies

This poppy picture is one of my photos to which I applied Picnik's Posterize feature. It's a cool little effect.

There has been some knitting. I am working on the back of the Debbie Bliss Crossover Top. I'm using Crustal Palace's Merino 5 and I love the way the colors are falling. It looks a little too blue in this picture; there more teal-y in real life.

Crossover top, WIP

Up this weekend, finishing off the taxes and then some spinning! I have to get my craft on this weekend, because next weekend I'm driving to my Mom's and visiting my sister.

today, it's all about Jane...

...because it's her birthday!

Happy Birthday, Jane!

She hasn't posted on her blog in a few days, but go leave her a comment anyway!

Jane and I met in high school. We were friends all 4 years, but after graduation I moved away and we lost touch. Fast forward to October of 2004...she found me on Classmates.com and emailed me. We exchanged lots of emails as we caught up. We segued to IM and now use that as our preferred communication mode. Everyone who knows us is aware that Jane and I have a standing IM date on Monday nights—we try hard not to break that, but sometimes life gets in the way!

The last few weeks, I've been giving her a bad time about her birthday gift. She's been begging for clues, so Monday I told her that her present was "bigger than a bread box, and smaller than a horse." Needless to say, that didn't appease her. So, because I'm late (AGAIN!) in mailing her present (I took it to the post office today, Jane), I thought I'd post a few clues here.
  • The present is made up of four parts, which in total are bigger than a bread box.
    - One celebrates her birthday and can be used every year
    - One celebrates our friendship
    - One will help her through her day

    - One is to share with someone special

  • There is at least some hand-work in each piece.

  • The box holds the best part and must be opened last.
Here are some spring flowers for you...have a great day, Jane! Love ya!

How I spent Sunday...

Lost Sunday

...not only did I get to do the taxes, but I discovered that the tax software is only for Mac OS 10.4 and above. I had 10.3.x—how fabulous! We had to buy a new OS and install it on my laptop before I could go any further. Several stores and many hours later, I had Leopard on my Mac and the first draft of our taxes and the Daughter's taxes done. And it was 11PM...

It was kind of a lost weekend, craft-wise. I did manage to finish the secret present on Saturday. Now I need to find a box to fit it in, wrap it, and get it mailed. So, Jane, it might be a day or so late... (I try so hard every year to get it in the mail on time, and I'm batting zero so far!)

Most of Saturday was taken up with shopping and prepping for the company party at 5pm. We have themed holiday parties and this year's theme was "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." We could bring a bacon dish, a movie title inspired dish, a song title dish, or whatever as long as you could make the connection back to Kevin Bacon. I made St. Louis-style BBQ chicken (Bessie Smith, who was in St. Louis Blues and is 4 degrees from Kevin Bacon) and Edith Pilaf (for Edith Piaf, who is 3 degrees from Kevin Bacon). The food was all yummy and everyone seemed to have a great time.

I did little knitting on Sunday while I was waiting for things to update—just a few rows on the Crossover Top. I'm working on the back piece, trying to get used to the way Debbie Bliss writes the pattern. The tech writer in me wants numbered steps and a more specific instructions, but I'm figuring it out.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a picture of the columbine blooming in the backyard. Our backyard is in Spring overload right now and it's gorgeous!

Columbine

What's up, Doc?

Bunny Love

Is this cute or what?! Eye Candy Friday AND a finished project!

I liked doing this pattern...it was a little challenging to put it all together and embroidering on knitting was not fun. However, I really like how it turned out! Hopefully, the baby who receives it will love it as much as I do!

Next up: Crossover Top from the Debbie Bliss book "Essential Baby." I cast on last night and managed to get a couple of rows done before bedtime.

I realize that the blog has been quiet for the last few days...I'm really busy with a couple of work projects and once I get home, all I wanted to do was finish the bunny or work on the secret birthday present (almost there!). There have also been lots of phone calls with family members about the various goings on...trust me, it's very draining.

Up this weekend: our company
Christmas party (yes, we have our Christmas party in March or April...when we have a summer picnic, it's in October. It works for us!), taxes (ick), and whatever else I can squeeze in.

Have a good one!

March 2008 Recap...

...no pictures, just the recap!

Finished:
  • 3/23 Lenore Socks from BMFA Rockin' Sock Club (knitting)
  • 3/22 Penngrove Purples yarn
    Royale Hare superwash merino (4.0 oz) in Penngrove Purples
    Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
    2-ply, yield: 315 yds.
    Weight: 11 WPI average
  • 3/14 Knit2 Bag Pattern
  • 3/8 Knitted wire necklace (copper and beads)
  • 3/9 The Wright Stuff quilt

    Edited to add:
  • 3/30 "Block Party" pillow by Pine Mountain (cross stitch kit)
  • 3/29 "Best Things in Life" pillow by Pine Mountain (cross stitch kit)

Worked on:
  • Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting)
  • Secret birthday present components (will update recap after they are opened by the birthday girl)
    See edited list above
  • Ravelry Notebook!
Started:
  • 3/25 Knitted bunny from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
  • 3/15 Spinning Copperhead 2 (Falkland) from Yarn Wench.

Works In Progress (did not work on):
  1. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  2. Spinning 4 oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple
  3. Spinning 2 Chasing Rainbows rovings together in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)
  4. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

UFOs:
  1. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  2. Central Air socks (knitting)
  3. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Paint it Black quilt
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch; still languishing in its stretcher bars)
  9. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  10. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)

So, going into April I have 10 UFOs and 4 WIPs that have had no activity yet. Since I started the year with a total of 14 UFOs and 5 WIPs, this is progress!

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm so ready for the weekend! As I mentioned in an earlier post, my camera and I took a walk last Sunday to test out its featur...