Finished Object Friday...

...my second finished object of the year!  I finished the Husband's Jacques Cousteau hat [Ravelry] Wednesday night. Here's what it looks like:

Jack's Cousteau hat

and from the top:

Jack's Cousteau hat, from the top

Specs:
Started 12/31/13;
Finished 1/29/14;
Pattern: Jacques Cousteau Hat by Lalla Pohjanpalo;
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in Navy

He's happy with it and wore it this morning. Yay! I plan on making a couple of hats for Halos of Hope, but I think I'll wait a couple of days before starting them. After knitting on the Cousteau hat for most of last weekend, I want to work on a different kind of knitting for a bit.

Up this weekend: I need to catch up with some of the chores that we missed last weekend. I seriously need to vacuum before the cat hair takes over the world!

I have a little clean up to do in the studio, too.  There are stray knitting needles and skeins of yarn that need to be put away. I need to vacuum in there, too, but it's mostly stray threads and fiber.

After that, I plan on working on the mermaid. I'd like to finish beading her tail,  but we'll see how far I get!
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WIP-it Wednesday, and a little catch-up...

...I'm a little tired and a little behind on the blog, but we had a great weekend.

As I mentioned, the Husband and I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Saturday.  The first thing we did was go outside to the Great Tide Pool area and take a deep breath. I love the sea air! There were several otters and porpoises in the distance. I used my camera to zoom in on a group of otters and got an OK picture of them.

My primary reason for going to the aquarium was to finally see the jellyfish exhibit. This is a popular exhibit and it was sometimes difficult to get pictures because of all the other people. However, I did manage to get a few good shots.

Jellyfish 4
 
Jellyfish 8

Whenever we OD'd on people, we went back out to the Great Tide Pool area. This sea gull decided to hang out and people watch.


We like the shore bird area as well.


We had lunch at Cannery Row and went back for round two at the aquarium to see the sand dollars and anything else we missed.


We had an anniversary dinner at Domenico's On The Wharf. Yummy!! We went back to our hotel room, stuffed and happy.

On Sunday, we decided to go to Point Lobos State Reserve. I've never been there and short hike sounded good. We took an hour hike in the area and enjoyed being outside.


One thing that struck us was how brown everything is. While the East Coast is getting slammed with bad weather, we have had no rain in two months and it shows. Normally everything is very green this time of the year.

From there, we drove up Highway 1 to Pescadero State Beach.


I hadn't been there in a long time. It was nice to wander down the beach looking at the shells and rocks that the waves had brought in.

Shells among the rocks

After a late lunch in Half Moon Bay, we headed home.

The Husband likes to drive on these trips, so I was able to knit while we went from place to place. I am motivated to finish the Cousteau hat this month, so I worked on it the whole time. I am 95% done with the hat so I won't show a picture until I'm done.

I miss the ocean already. We agreed that we need to visit the ocean more often, as we both need the peace it brings.
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Eye Candy Friday...

...and I can't wait for it to the weekend!  (I know...what's new!)

Our plum tree has started to bloom.

Plum blossom 2

Plum blossom 1

It hasn't figured out yet that it's only January. With all of our nice weather, the plants are very confused. I wish that it would rain because we really need it. It is so dry around here.

Up this weekend:   Our 33/28 anniversary is tomorrow and we are going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  This will give me the ocean time that I sorely need. I want to see the jellyfish and check out the new-to-me exhibits. The Cousteau hat is the perfect car tip project. I've knit 5 of the 10 inches I need before starting the decreases.

Really looking forward to tomorrow!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...and there are several things in play.

As promised, here's a look at the current state of Anasazi:

Anasazi, as of 1/22/14

Not my favorite color combination, but it's still infinitely better than Vegas (AKA: the Pink Nightmare).

I have knit about 4 inches of the 10 inches that I need for the Cousteau hat.

I have restarted the Rockefeller shawl and the Cat Bordhi method of hiding the wraps for W&T is working. Halleluja!

Mediterranean Mermaid: the beading has begun! I found a few thread options at Jo-Ann's yesterday. I found a slightly thicker invisible thread, a light gray silk, a pale blue rayon, and a pale green rayon. The pale green matches the fabric very well and is easier to work with than the invisible thread. Here's what the tail looks like so far:

Let the beading begin...

It's going to be a long slog...this picture represents about 3.5 hours worth of beading.

In stash news, I received a couple of club shipments this month. First is the December 2013 installment of the Rockin' Whorl Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. This is Spring Dreamin', a Camel-merino-silk blend.

Camel-Merino-Silk top

This is the last installment for me as I decided not to renew the club. I much prefer the ProVerbial club installments from A Verb For Keeping Warm. For the January 2014 installment of the ProVerbial club, I received Birds of a Different Feather, a blue merino-silk, a red alpaca, and a shawl pattern.

ProVerbial January 2014 Club Installment


WIPs in rotation:

  1. Mediterranean Mermaid (cross stitch):
  2. Jacques Cousteau hat for the Husband [Ravelry]
  3. Rockefeller Moon shawl  [Ravelry]
  4. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
Waiting to be rotated in:
  1. Carbonized Zombie socks [Ravelry]
  2. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry]
  3. Hive cross stitch
  4. Love Scissor fob (cross stitch)
Hibernating:
  1. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  3. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting) [Ravelry
WIPs To Be:
  • A wall hanging (weaving) using the natural color handspun I did last summer.
    On hold until after Stitches West.
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me. 

And the Socks That Rock Lightweight prize goes to...

....sciencejock! You win the skein of Socks That Rock Lightweight in Fleur de couleur. Send me email (marie_novicki at yahoo.com) and let me know whether you've changed your address since last year. I'll send it out as soon as I can. Congrats!!

The quick weekend report: I finished the back-stitching on the mermaid and started the beading; I worked on Anasazi (needlepoint), which has been languishing in the UFO stack; and I decided that the Japanese short row technique didn't work for me either.

The longer report...

The Mediterranean Mermaid is in the home stretch! I finished the back-stitching on Saturday--the crown was a P.I.T.A. and I had to rip it out twice. I hope that it will show up better after I've added the beads. I gave the project a bath, ironed out most of the wrinkles, and hung it to dry overnight. Here's what she looked like just before the bath:

Mediterranean Mermaid, as of 1/18/14

I started beading her tail on Sunday. The pattern calls for invisible thread for the beads that are not directly on the mermaid. I'd forgotten how awful it was to hand stitch with invisible thread! It really is invisible...you can't see to thread the needle! It doesn't stay in the needle and you can't knot it onto the needle because you won't be able to get it through the beads. I may walk over to Joann at lunchtime and see whether they have an invisible thread that has a little more weight to it. The one I'm using is very light, perfect for machine quilting, but not for this. I might look at the silk threads to see whether they have a pale gray or blue that might work.

Anasazi is progressing again. I finally got past those four corners that were supposed to be filled with French knots in 4 or 5  shades of teal. I filled them with basket-weave stitches using the variegated floss used elsewhere in the project.  I'll take an updated picture soon.

As for the short rows, I tried the Japanese method (safety pin) and the yarn variant, the M1 method, the YO method, and the traditional wrap&turn. I hated all of them. I can see them all, with the YO being the worst of the bunch.  So, I frogged the whole thing and started again, using W&T and trying the Cat Bordhi method of dealing with the wraps. I haven't gotten very far yet, so I can't tell whether this is better. However, I'm just going to go with it.

Sometimes, that's all you can do...
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Eye Candy Friday and a contest reminder...

...and I have no new pictures to show today. The yard is pretty bleak right now and now with a drought emergency declared, it might continue to be that way.

I feel the need for ocean, so I'm recycling some pictures we took in Carmel and Monterey in 2008.

This is the beach at Carmel:

Carmel Beach

and a lone gull:

Seagull at Carmel

Up this weekend: No specific plans for me. The Husband has a day trip planned for Saturday, so I'll be in my studio all day. I'm making great progress on the mermaid and I want to keep up the momentum.

I'll also continue to work on the hat an the new shawl. Because the hat is pretty mindless knitting, I've discovered that I can knit and read at the same time. Yes! I won't get as bored this way and make a dent in those 7.75 inches that I need to knit.

Given that I really need ocean right now, maybe I try to convince the Husband to take a day trip for our anniversary next weekend. Monterey isn't that far away...



CONTEST REMINDER!!
Leave a comment on my 1/6/14 post by Midnight PST, Monday 1/20/14.

We'll draw the winner's name out of a hat on Tuesday, 1/21/14.

The prize: 1 skein of Socks That Rock Lightweight in Fleur de couleur.
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...in which I unveil the latest WIP, the Rockefeller shawl. Here's what I've knit so far:

Rockefeller Moon shawl

I need to knit 31 of wedges to make the top portion of the shawl. Each wedge calls for 3 wrap-and-turns...ugh! I'm trying the Japanese short row method for the next couple of wedges to see whether I like they way they look. I've done one so far and it's a little better than W&T, but a bit fiddly.

WIP Roll Call
WIPs in rotation:

  1. Mediterranean Mermaid (cross stitch):
    Working on the back stitching.
  2. Jacques Cousteau hat for the Husband [Ravelry]
    Knitted 2.25 of 10 inches
  3. Rockefeller Moon shawl  [Ravelry]
    Working on the top section
Waiting to be rotated in:
  1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  2. Carbonized Zombie socks [Ravelry]
  3. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry]
  5. Hive cross stitch
  6. Love Scissor fob (cross stitch)
Hibernating:
  1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting) [Ravelry
WIPs To Be:
  • A wall hanging (weaving) using the natural color handspun I did last summer.
    I need to wait until after Stitches West to start this project. I need to keep my loom empty for class.
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.



CONTEST REMINDER!!
Leave a comment on my 1/6/14 post by Midnight PST, Monday 1/20/14.

We'll draw the winner's name out of a hat on Tuesday, 1/21/14.

The prize: 1 skein of Socks That Rock Lightweight in Fleur de couleur.

random Tuesday and a contest reminder...

...it's just that kind of a day.
1. I hate wrap-and-turn short rows. They never look right. There are tons of short rows in the Rockefeller shawl [Ravelry] so I have many opportunities to swear at wrap-and-turn.  I tried the YO method of short rows, which didn't work because I'm using two distinct colors--the wrong color shows up in inconvenient places.  At Craft Coffee last night, a knitter recommended trying the safety pin method for short rows. I'll give that a shot and see if it works.
2. The Cousteau hat looks great, but it's really boring! I have knit 2.25 inches of K3 P2...only 7.75 inches to go!

3. I finished the cross stitching portion of the mermaid! Hooray!  I started the back-stitching after taking this picture last night:

Mediterranean Mermaid, as of 1/13/14


4. Stitches West is in 5 weeks (give or take a day)! Really looking forward to my weaving class!


CONTEST REMINDER!!
Leave a comment on my 1/6/14 post by Midnight PST, Monday 1/20/14.

We'll draw the winner's name out of a hat on Tuesday, 1/21/14.

The prize: 1 skein of Socks That Rock Lightweight in Fleur de couleur.
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Eye Candy Friday...

...and thank goodness this week is over. The week after my 2-week Christmas vacation is always the world's longest week!

This morning's sunrise was more pastel than normal.

Pastel sunrise 1/10/14

What was really interesting is that it was relatively clear at my house, but extremely foggy less than 2 miles away.

I started a new project last night, the Rockefeller shawl by Stephen West [Ravelry]. As I explained to the Husband, the Cousteau hat [Ravelry] I'm making for him will look great when it's done, but knitting it is kind of boring (K3 P2 for 9 inches!!). I'll swap between it and the Rockefeller shawl.

Up this weekend: Spin-In is tomorrow...yay!  I had to miss December's and I really looking forward to seeing everyone again. I think I'm going to spin a Ranch of the Oaks purchase from Stitches West 2013. I just need to find it in the stash.

Other than that, no major plans. There's still plenty of stitching to do on the mermaid and there are many  other UFOs to choose from!



CONTEST REMINDER!!
Leave a comment on my 1/6/14 post by Midnight PST, Monday 1/20/14.

We'll draw the winner's name out of a hat on Tuesday, 1/21/14.

The prize: 1 skein of Socks That Rock Lightweight in Fleur de couleur.
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...only one WIP picture to show, but I do have pictures of the finished shawl!

I started a second hat for the Husband, the Jacques Cousteau hat [Ravelry] by Lalla Pohjanpalo. I haven't gotten very far, but it looks like it will fit his head.

Jacques Cousteau hat

I haven't taken a recent picture of the mermaid, but I have finished her hair (HURRAY!). I need to finish her arms and the vase that she is holding.  The next step will be to do the back-stitching.  I'm getting closer to the beading!

None of the other WIPs have received any play in the last month.

Now for the shawl pictures. I have not been successful taking a picture of the whole shawl, but I do have the following pictures.

Me and the Shawl:

The Night is Purple and Full of Stars Shawl

The edging:

The Night is Purple and Full of Stars edging

A detail shot of the edging:

The Night is Purple and Full of Stars edging detail

A slice view of the shawl

The Night is Purple and Full of Stars Shawl, slice

Specs:
Started 5/19/13;
Finished 12/31/13;
Pattern: Southern Skies by Audrey Nicklin; edging is a modified version of Jared Floods' Leaves of Grass border;
Yarn: Colinette Jitterburg in Velvet Bilberry;
Stars: Silver-lined crystal 6/0 beads;
Edging:  Silver-lined amethyst 6/0 beads with amethyst magatama seed beads on each point.
Size: 58 inches in diameter, blocked

Knitting two pi shawls in one year was crazy. I'm glad I did them, but I'm not doing that again!


CONTEST REMINDER!!
Leave a comment on my 1/6/14 post by Midnight PST, Monday 1/20/14.

We'll draw the winner's name out of a hat on Tuesday, 1/21/14.

The prize: 1 skein of Socks That Rock Lightweight in Fleur de couleur.
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2013 End of the Year Recap...

Those not on Ravelry can see pictures of these items in my Flickr photostream and sets: Knitting, Spinning, Quilting/Sewing, Needlework, and Weaving.

Short Story: It was the year of the pi shawl. I knit two (!) in one year...and vowed never to do that again! It was also the year I learned how to spin art yarn.

Finished:

Christmas Baking, etc.
  1. 661 biscotti; 815 cookies
  2. 9 pounds of chocolate (fudge and chocolate bark) -- this is an estimate, I think it might be closer to 12 pounds, but I need to do some calculations
  3. 15 lbs of flavored nuts
  4. 30 mini-loaves and 10 medium loaves of fruitcake,  pumpkin bread, and lemon bread 
 Knitting
    1. Have a Mini-Pookie Christmas ornaments [Ravelry]
    2. Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds, a Celestarium shawl  [Ravelry]
    3. Make Mine Charcoal hat [Ravelry]
    4. Sea Foam Cowl [Ravelry]
    5. The Night is Purple and Full of Stars (Southern Skies) shawl (knitting) [Ravelry
      Quilting/Sewing/Beading/Other
      1. Caterwauling quilt for the cats 
      2. What Do You See in the Sea? baby quilt
      3. Bunnies and Duckies and Bears, Oh My! baby quilt (quilting)
      Reading
      • Read 101 books (list at the end of the post)
      Spinning
      1. Black Peacock; Wild Card Bling batt  from Yarn Wench; 37.2 yds bulky [Ravelry]
      2. Blue Fortune; Mostly Blue Wheel of Fortune batt (1 oz) from Purlescence Yarns; 37.2 yds, 10 WPI [Ravelry]
      3. Bollywood; Red and Blue Wheel of Fortune batt from Purlescense Yarns; 87.5 yds. 11-12 WPI [Ravelry]
      4. Carnaval; Wild Card 4931 batt  from Yarn Wench; 74.4 yds , bulky  [Ravelry]
      5. Crashing Surf; Wild Card Bling batt from Yarn Wench; 31.6 yds bulky [Ravelry]
      6. Crazy Purple from Tanglebella Fibers; 119.1 yds 10 WPI[Ravelry]
      7. Cream V from Faerie Mountain Fibers; 96.7 yds 13 WPI [Ravelry]
      8. Earth; Red and Brown Wheel of Fortune batt from Purlescence Yarns; 46.5 yds 11 WPI) [Ravelry]
      9. Get Back Red-Black  from Faerie Mountain Fibers; 74.4 yds 9 WPI  [Ravelry]
      10. Glimmer 1 - 20.5 yds bulky [Ravelry];  Glimmer 2 - 24.2 yds, bulky [Ravelry]; Glimmer Locks - 9.3 yds bulky;  [Ravelry]: all  from Glimmer Wild Card Bling batt by Yarn Wench;
      11. Monet handspun from Greenwood Fiberworks; 68.9 yds 13 WPI [Ravelry]
      12. Navajo Turquoise from the Yarn Wench; 210.3 yds. chain ply; 14 WPI  [Ravelry]
      13. Pilgrim from A Verb for Keeping Warm; 325.7yds, 17 WPI [Ravelry]
      14. Pretty in Pink; Pink Layered batt from Caliope's Fibre; approx 50 yards, worsted weight  [Ravelry]
      15. Purple Fortune; Purple Wheel of Fortune batt from Purlescence Yarns; 100.5 yds 13 WPI ) [Ravelry]
      16. Red Fortune; Red-Gold Wheel of Fortune batt from Purlescence Yarns; 102.3 yds 13 WPI [Ravelry]
      17. Red-copper; Mostly Red Wheel of Fortune batt  from Purlescense Yarns; 94.9 yds. 12 WPI [Ravelry]
      18. Royale from A Verb For Keeping Warm; 169.4 yds chain-ply, 18 WPI [Ravelry]
      19. Tribe from Greenwood Fiberworks; 238.2 yds chain ply; 15 WPI [Ravelry]
      20. Verdant art yarn; Art rolags from The Yarn Wench; 37.2 yds. Bulky weight [Ravelry]
      21. Wild and Natural; Natural Dyes Wild Card #5018 from Yarn Wench; 93 yds, 11 WPI [Ravelry]
      22. Windsor Denim and Chocolate from Royale Hare; 134 yds chain-plied, 12 WPI [Ravelry]
      23. Witches Tresses from Shooting Yarn; 214.1 yds 10 WPI ) [Ravelry]
      24. Zen 2 from Yarn Wench; 249.4 yds chain-ply 12 WPI [Ravelry]
      Stitching
      1. A Captured Moment, a Daydreams/Dimensions kit (cross stitch)
      2. Bulb by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
      3. Be a Witch by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
      4. Happy Pumpkin Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
      5. Lamb by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
      6. Oriental Butterfly,  a Daydreams/Dimensions kit (embroidery)
      7. Recipe for Summer, Pine Mountain Designs kit (cross stitch)
      Weaving
      1. Log Cabin Scarf--finishing work for Stitches West class [Ravelry]
      2. A Taste of Honey woven shawl (weaving) [Ravelry]
      Other Crafts
      1. Set of 5 stitch markers (beading)
      2. 10 project bags (sewing)

      IDJ (It's Dead, Jim):
      Reading
      • Dearie (Julia Child bio), Bob Spitz (tedious amount of detail)
      • Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner, Diana Gabaldon (not into the British spy thing)
      • The Wolf Gift, Anne Rice (Could not get into it; really didn't care about the characters)
      Crafts
      • Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
      • Watercolour Cats
      • Watercolour Lighthouses

      Works in Progress:
      1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
      2. Carbonized Zombie Socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
      3. Cazadero Mist (4 oz) from Royale Hare [Ravelry]
      4. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
      5. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
      6. Hive by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
      7. Jack's Cousteau Hat  [Ravelry]
      8. Love scissor fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
      9. Mediterranean Mermaid by Mirabilia, originally started 11/6/11; restarted 9/1/13 (cross stitch)
      UFOs:
      1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
      2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
      3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
      4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting) [Ravelry]
      Reading (Too long to put under Finished):
      1. 12th of Never, James Patterson
      2. A Demon's Desire , Lizzy Ford
      3. A Touch of Dead, Charlaine Harris
      4. A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses, Molly Harper
      5. Always Running , Luis J. Rodrigues
      6. And Then You Dye, Monica Ferris
      7. Archangels Legion , Nalini Singh
      8. Autumn Storm, Lizzy Ford
      9. Birthright, Nora Roberts
      10. Biting Bad, Chloe Neill
      11. Blood Trade, Faith Hunter
      12. Bloodfever, Karen Marie Moning
      13. Bound, Elisabeth Naughton
      14. Buried in Buttercream , GA McKevett
      15. Burro Genius, Victor Villasenor
      16. Calculated in Death, JD Robb
      17. Chasing Fire, Nora Roberts
      18. Chimes at Midnight, Seanan McGuire
      19. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Joanne Fluke
      20. Close Knit Killer , Maggie Sefton
      21. Coveted, Shawntelle Madison
      22. Dance Upon the Air, Nora Roberts
      23. Dark Summer, Lizzy Ford
      24. Dark Witch, Nora Roberts
      25. Darkfever, Karen Marie Moning
      26. Darkness Dawns, Dianne Duvall
      27. Darkness Rises, Dianne Duvall
      28. Darkyn's Mate, Lizzy Ford
      29. Dates From Hell, Kim Harrison
      30. Dead Ever After, Charlaine Harris
      31. Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison
      32. Deadly Sting, Jennifer Estep
      33. Deidre's Death, Lizzy Ford
      34. Destiny Kills, Keri Arthur
      35. Devils Food Cake Murder, Joanne Fluke
      36. Dreamfever, Karen Marie Moning
      37. Dumping Billy, Olivia Goldsmith
      38. Enraptured, Elisabeth Naughton
      39. Enslaved, Elisabeth Naughton
      40. Entwined, Elisabeth Naughton
      41. Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues, Diana Rowland
      42. Ever After, Kim Harrison
      43. Face the Fire, Nora Roberts
      44. Faefever, Karen Marie Moning
      45. Forbidden, Jacquelyn Frank
      46. Forever, Jacquelyn Frank
      47. Frost Burned, Patricia Briggs
      48. Gabriel's Angel, Nora Roberts
      49. Gabriel's Hope, Lizzy Ford
      50. Gotcha, Fern Michaels
      51. Gunmetal Magic, Ilona Andrews
      52. Heart of Venom, Jennifer Estep
      53. Heartbreak Ranch, Fern Michaels
      54. Heaven and Earth, Nora Roberts
      55. House Rules, Chloe Neill
      56. In Their Footsteps/Thief of Hearts, Tess Gerritsen
      57. Keeper of the Bride, Tess Gerritsen
      58. Kept, Shawntelle Madison
      59. Kicking It, Faith Hunter
      60. Kiera's Moon , Lizzy Ford
      61. Kiss of Venom, Jennifer Estep
      62. Maddy's Oasis , Lizzy Ford
      63. Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews
      64. Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews
      65. Magic Burns, Ilona Andrews
      66. Magic Dreans, Ilona Andrews
      67. Magic Gifts, Ilona Andrews
      68. Magic Mourns, Ilona Andrews
      69. Magic Rises, Ilona Andrews
      70. Magic Slays, Ilona Andrews
      71. Magic Strikes, Ilona Andrews
      72. Marked, Elisabeth Naughton
      73. Mercy Burns, Keri Arthur
      74. Mr and Miss Anonymous, Fern Michaels
      75. Murder Comes Unraveled, Very Ann Grace
      76. My Happy Days in Hollywood, Gary Marshall
      77. My Life as a White Trash Zombie, Diana Rowland
      78. Night Reigns, Dianne Duvall
      79. Personal Demons, Stacia Kane
      80. Phantom Shadows, Dianne Duvall
      81. Presumed Guilty, Tess Gerritsen
      82. Rebel Heart, Lizzy Ford
      83. Second Honeymoon, James Patterson
      84. Shadowfever, Karen Marie Moning
      85. Some Girls Bite, Chloe Neill
      86. Star Kissed, Lizzy Ford
      87. Starting Now, Debbie Macomber
      88. Tempted, Elisabeth Naughton
      89. Thankless in Death , JD Robb
      90. The Ideal Man, Julie Garwood
      91. The Inn at Rose Harbor, Debbie Maccomber
      92. The Next Always , Nora Roberts
      93. The Search, Nora Roberts
      94. The Spider, Jennifer Estep
      95. Touch of the Demon, Diana Rowland
      96. Transition: The Story of How I became a Man, Chaz Bono
      97. Twice Tempted, Jeaniene Frost
      98. Unfinished Business, Nora Roberts
      99. White Trash Zombie Apocalypse, Diana Rowland
      100. Winter Fire, Lizzy Ford
      101. Xander's Curse, Lizzy Ford

      Happy Blogiversary to me...

      ...OK, one day late!

      I started this blog January 5, 2006 as a way to track my projects and share them with friends and anyone else who was interested. I would have never guessed that I would still be at it 8 years later. My blogging has been a bit more sporadic in the last year and a half due to life and work getting in the way. But I'm going to keep at it because it is the best way to gauge how well or how poorly a particular project is progressing. It's interesting to go back and see where the problems were and how much I have progressed since then.

      In honor of my Blogiversary, how about a little Contest? Leave a comment on this post by Midnight PST, Monday 1/20/14.

      I'll do the random number thing and post the winner on Tuesday, 1/21/14.

      The prize: 1 skein of Socks That Rock Lightweight in Fleur de couleur:

      Socks that Rock Lightweight

      This was the club yarn for the May 2013 installment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club. (The mini-skein is not included.)

      Good Luck!

      I still need to post a year-end recap. I'll try to so that in the next day or so.
      .

      first Eye Candy Friday of 2014...

      ...brought to you by the two floral gifts I received last week. A poinsettia from one of my Daughter's friends:

      Poinsettia

      A miniature Parade Rose from my sister-in-law:

      Parade Rose #2

      and another view:

      Parade Rose #1

      Also Eye-Candy-worthy was this morning's sunrise:

      Sunrise 1/3/14

      I spent Wednesday afternoon blocking the shawl. It took several hours of crawling on the floor, measuring and pinning it to the blocking mats. Despite having purchased extra puzzle mats and pins, I didn't have quite enough of either. I still ended up having to put a quilt beneath the mats to pin out the points. It's not a perfect blocking job, but it's the best I can do for now. Pictures when I can face unpinning it!

      I spent yesterday deconstructing Christmas and returning the living room furniture to its normal configuration. It took all day, but it was worth it. I'd rather have one very full day that having it spread out over several days. The tree is outside, waiting for next week's garbage day. The only thing I didn't do was haul all the boxes upstairs. I did that this morning after the gym.

      Up this weekend: Take pictures of the shawl, do some serious stitching on the mermaid, and work on my year-end recap post.  I also need to mentally prepare myself to return to work on Monday.

      Sigh. Vacations are never long enough!
      .

      December 2013 recap...

      Finished:
      • 12/26 Make Mine Charcoal hat [Ravelry]
      • 12/26 Have a Mini-Pookie Christmas ornaments [Ravelry]
      • 12/31 The Night is Purple and Full of Stars (Southern Skies) shawl (knitting) [Ravelry
      • Christmas baking:
        • Bark and fudge: 9 pounds
        • Biscotti: 661
        • Breads and fruitcakes: 30 mini-loaves and 10 medium loaves 
        • Cookies: 815
        • Spicy nuts: 3 pounds
        • Sugared nuts: 12 pounds
      • Books:
        1. Birthright, Nora Roberts
        2. Kicking It, Faith Hunter
        3. Kept, Shawntelle Madison
        4. Coveted, Shawntelle Madison
        5. The Spider, Jennifer Estep
      Started:
      • 12/31 Jack's Cousteau Hat  [Ravelry]
      Worked on:
      • Carbonized Zombie Socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
      • Cazadero Mist (4 oz) from Royale Hare [Ravelry]
      • Mediterranean Mermaid by Mirabilia, originally started 11/6/11; restarted 9/1/13 (cross stitch)

      Works In Progress, did not work on:
      1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
      2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
      3. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
      4. Hive by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
      5. Love scissor fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)

      UFOs/Hibernation:
      1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
      2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
      3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
      4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting) [Ravelry

      WIPs To Be:
      • A wall hanging (weaving) using the natural color handspun I did last summer
      • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me. 

      First day of 2014 and it's WIP-it Wednesday...

      ...Here is the first sunrise of the year:

      Sunrise Jan 1, 2014

      Last night's dinner was a collection of pre-made hors d'oeuvres that I just had to bake in the oven.  Very simple, but very filling. We toasted the new year with champagne and fresh raspberries. We texted the Daughter who is in LA for the Rose Bowl and watched the fireworks on TV for a bit. It was a laid-back celebration, just the kind we like.

      The Last Finishes of the 2013:

      I finished knitting The Night is Purple and Full of Stars (aka Southern Skies) shawl [Ravelry] around 5:30pm. I knew there was no way I could block it last night, but I'm declaring it done anyway.  I'll block it today. Here it is in its unblocked state:

      The Night is Purple and Full of Stars shawl

      Specs: 
      Started: 5/18/13
      Finished: 12/31/13
      Pattern: Southern Skies by Audrey Nicklin
      Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Bilberry, 4 skeins
      Mods: Used a modification of the edging from Leaves of Grass shawl

      Have a Mini-Pookies Christmas ornaments [Ravelry] was the stealth Christmas present for my friend:

      Mini-Pookies ornaments
      Specs:
      Started: 12/5/13
      Finished: 12/26/13
      Pattern: Mini-Pookies by Barbara Prime
      Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in various colors

      The other Christmas present was for The Husband. This is his new Make Mine Charcoal hat [Ravelry]:

      Make Mine Charcoal hat, from the top

      Specs:
      Started: 12/17/13
      Finished: 12/26/13
      Pattern: Make Mine Gray by Steph Michaud
      Yarn: Cascade 220 SW in Jet and Patons Classic Wool  


      WIP Roll Call
      WIPs in rotation:
      1. Mediterranean Mermaid (cross stitch):
        Still working on the hair.
      2. Carbonized Zombie socks [Ravelry]
        Working the instep decreases
      3. Jacques Cousteau hat for the Husband [Ravelry]
        Just started
      4. Cazadero Mist handspun  [Ravelry]
        Need to ply the singles
      Waiting to be rotated in:
      1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
      2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
      3. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry]
      4. Hive cross stitch
      5. Love Scissor fob (cross stitch)
      Hibernating:
      1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
      2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
      3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
      4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting) [Ravelry
      WIPs To Be:
      • A wall hanging (weaving) using the natural color handspun I did last summer
      • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

      Eye Candy Friday...

      ...and heading into full-on baking mode! With the time change and shorter days, I have more opportunities to take sunrise photos. Here'...