Friday, November 30, 2007

Eye Candy Friday, end of November...

...can you believe it?!

First up, a
fter many modifications, lots of tinking and frogging, the Peekaboo mittens are finally done.

Peekaboo Mittens, finished

Red Heart Simply Soft yarn in Gray (they are a lot more gray in real life)
Needles: Size 5 circulars
Made them slightly wider at the knuckles and longer above and below the opening to allow for larger hands

The husband has finished the staining and will seal the doors today. Here's a peek at what things look like right now:

Second living room door, stained

(The walls are a creamy white. This picture makes them look pale yellow.) Once the doors are dry, we can start putting the room back in order.

I continue to improve, but I'm still not "well." I plan on taking it easy this weekend and will try not to overdo things. I do want to finish the Christmas wall hanging and get back to my secret Christmas projects...first I have to find them in all this stuff! LOL!

Have a good one!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm alive, sort of...

...let's just say that I'll be glad when I'm well!

I spent the majority of the day in bed, dozing. I didn't have enough energy to do anything until about 4pm. Then I reknit the tops of the Peekaboo mittens, again. That makes the fourth time I've knit the tops, but this time I got the right length. Then I started on the right thumb...and then I pulled it out. It was just too tight. So I am now picking up more stitches for the thumb and it's working much better. Of course, by this time I was wiped out, so I didn't finish.

Our new windows are in and they look fabulous! The Husband is busy painting the walls and staining the doors (let's not even talk about paint fumes and being sick...). Until he's done, we'll be living in chaos. But, it is so worth it! I'm hoping we can get the house back in order this weekend.

That's it for now. Back for Eye Candy Friday tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving is done...

..and so is the Splendor yarn. While it isn't as purple as I wanted, I like how it turned out.

Splendor Yarn

I used two Splendor singles and one purple single for this yarn. When I ran out of the purple single, I Navajo-plied the rest.

Finished 11/24/2007
Yarn Wench
BFL Wool roving (4.3 oz) in Splendor 2 and Falkland roving (2.0 oz) in Purple 2
Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel

Traditional 3-ply yarn, yield: 158.5 yds.

Navajo-ply, yield: 50 yds.

12 WPI, Medium (Worsted) weight

Here's the close-up of the traditional 3-ply yarn:

Splendor Yarn, close up

Here's the close-up of the Navajo-ply yarn:

Splendor Yarn 2

On the knitting front, I worked on the Peekaboo mittens in the car on the way to and from the Christmas tree farm, watching TV, and on the trip to the airport yesterday to drop off the Daughter. I love that my husband prefers to drive on these trips; it gives me lots of craft time!

Peekaboo Mittens, in progress

Anyway, when I started working on these, they were still cuffs. I am past the finger opening and working on my way to the top of the mittens. Once I finish that, I can do the thumbs. I think I could have finished these mittens if it wasn't for the fact that the Daughter and I have big hands with long fingers. I had finished the openings and tried the mittens on—the opening was set too low and was not wide enough. (I should have remembered this from the last time I knitted this pattern. Oh, well...) So I ripped out the opening and knitted 4 additional rows and increased 4 stitches. Then I started the rows for the opening and made it 16 stitches wide instead of 12. It fits much better now! I hope to finish these mittens this week.

Yesterday, after taking the Daughter to the airport, the Husband and I spent the rest of the day moving stuff out of my craft room, my office, and moving all the craft, bedroom, and living room furniture, pictures, etc. away from the four sliding glass doors that we are having replaced. What a lot of work that was!! We had to take down all the curtain rods and move the rugs, too. We were both really tired and sore after that.

The window guys showed up at 7:30 this morning and began removing stucco around the windows (read: Boom! Boom! Boom!). They will replace the two smaller windows today and the two larger ones tomorrow. I'll be glad when it's done (so will the cats!) Then comes the fun part of putting everything away. Oh, boy!!

It's gonna be a long week!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Eye Candy Friday...

...after the Christmas tree farm.

Crest Ranch Christmas Tree Farm

It was a gorgeous day and the company was wonderful, as always.

I'm working away on the Daughter's mittens and hope to get some spinning in tomorrow. Mostly, I want to enjoy this short time with the Daughter before she goes back to Baltimore.

Off to make a turkey sandwich for dinner...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving's tomorrow...

...and I've got a bunch to do. Thank goodness the Husband is doing the airport run to pick up the Daughter!

This morning, I put the turkey in its brine bath, made a Safeway run for breakfast, and a Target run for a new shirt. Then, I went to work. Yeah...that's where I am now,
finishing up a project and taking care of a few things that won't hold until Monday. Every year I tell myself that I should take Wednesday off; every year I forget.

Because I have no crafty pictures, you'll have to be happy with cats. :-) Here are the two girls watching me fly around this morning trying to get ready for work:

Do you want something?

Sombra, of course sat still for just one picture before she nosed the camera. I got wonderful shots of her nose, eyes, and ears while she checked out the camera. (You'd think she'd never seen one before.) Tica, on the other hand, could not be bothered to move—I took several pictures where she is in the exact same position, with the exact same look on her face (annoyed).

Anyway, I am leaving early...need to make the stuffing (dressing), put the yam casserole together, and bake the bread pudding and a pumpkin pie. By the time I'm finished with that, my floors will definitely need mopping!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it!! Have a good one!

Monday, November 19, 2007

lots accomplished, little to show...

...partly because I worked on Christmas projects that are secret, and partly because the you can't really see the progress I made.

**SPOILER ALERT! If you belong to the Petals Collection club, there is a picture of the last installment at the bottom of this post**

Saturday, I worked on the Christmas wall hanging. I took care of all the loose threads, added a hanging sleeve, and worked on the binding. I've got about 1/3 of the binding tacked down, so I still have quite a bit to do. I should be able to finish it over the holiday. I'm having trouble coming up with a suitable name for it, though. Nothing "punny" comes to mind, at least not that I haven't already used for something else.

Sunday, I worked on the Daughter's Peekaboo mittens. I didn't get very far, but at least they are progressing. Tight now they don't look any different than a pair of socks as I'm still doing the cuffs.

I spent a good part of the weekend doing Thanksgiving prep. I made my first run to the grocery store and bought the turkey plus a lot of the other things I needed to get things started. Mr. Turkey is defrosting in the refrigerator as we speak. He'll go into his brine bath on Wednesday.

I made a smaller batch of cranberry sauce. I kept this year's version pretty simple: 1 bag of cranberries, brown sugar, one lemon, one orange, and a generous splash of faux Grand Marnier. There's not really a recipe; I just kind of dump it all together, cook it until the berries burst, and then taste it to adjust the liqueur. Then I add my "secret" ingredient: 1 can of Ocean Spray Cranberry sauce! It makes the sauce thicker and mellows out the tartness of the citrus. In previous years, I made my sauce totally from scratch, but I've decided I'd rather put more effort in the turkey and the stuffing rather than the cranberry sauce.

I spent a lot of time looking for a recipe that I used last year for Eggnog Bread Pudding. I want to serve two desserts, pumpkin pie and something else. The bread pudding was a hit when I took it to a potluck last December and it can be made ahead of time, a big plus. I looked every where, including online, and finally found it buried in a folder of potential cookie recipes. And, it had all my notes about substitutions written on it. Yay! I made the eggnog bread last night and will put this together Wednesday night.

I still have a lot to do, and I'm working M-W this week. It's good we're not eating until 3pm!

And just so this is not a picture-less post, the last installment of the Petals Collection arrived today.

This is Magnolia. As with all of Sundara's colorways, it's gorgeous. And, well, pink. I am not a pink person; pink doesn't look that great on me; pink and I have a history (see Pink Nightmare). However, I'm sure I can find someone who will love this yarn, I just need to find the right pattern for it. The pattern, on the other hand, is right up my alley! I just love it! It's going ot be hard not casting on for this pair of socks!

Petals Collection - November

Magnolia is final installment of the Petals Collection club. I'm really sorry it's ending, but I now have a wonderful library of Sundara sock patterns and some gorgeous socks.

Posting this week will be kind of sporadic. I've got lots to do before Thursday!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Eye Candy Friday, photo version

This is a quick post because I have to work on a deliverable...

I finished the Corrugator scarf. Here's Teddy modeling the finished item.

Blue Moon Corrugator scarf

It still needs a bath and some light blocking, but that won't take long.

And to tide you over until I can do a longer post: some flowers and some Autumn leaves.

Pink cluster flowers Autumn leaves

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

more about the weekend...

...our Internet connection is back. Yay! While we have cable Internet at home, by the time I get home, I'm pretty tired of looking at a computer screen. So I left a few things out of Monday's post just do I could actually post something.

Besides doing my crafty stuff, I decided to get a few things that we needed for Thanksgiving. It's at my house this year, so I get to cook all my favorite things. The Daughter will arrive on Wednesday and will be able to help me out. There will only be five of us for dinner, but some other family may drop by for dessert.

I made my annual trek to Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos. I used their Apple and Spices brining mix last year and just loved it. I wanted to get that again, plus their turkey gravy base. Now I can make an OK gravy, but adding some of the gravy base to it really adds that extra oompf. While I was there, I picked up a jar of their Pecan Pumpkin Butter; now I just need to figure out what to use it in!

One thing about going to W-S in Los Gatos is that Sur La Table is one street and one block over, and there is a nice Borders bookstore across the street from Sur La Table. I hit SLT first...I found some red cookie sprinkles that were different than the kind you get at the grocery store. They also had some pearl luster dust--I use this for the snowflake cookies and I was almost out.

Then I went across the street to Borders and bought the new JD Robb book, "Creation in Death." as a treat for myself.

I'd forgotten how much I loved shopping. I used to do a whole lot more of it. At some point, my crafts kind of took over my life and I stopped going on shopping trips except for the grocery store. While I'm sure I've saved some money by not shopping as often, I think I've missed just being out and about. Hmmmm, need to figure out how to balance the experience with the checkbook!

I'm almost to the end of the Corrugator scarf. It's interesting how the blues started off light and got darker and darker as I knit the scarf. I'll have to practice more on my spinning to get a more consistent color change.

Just so it won't be a picture-less post, here's a shot of the yarn that's calling my name right now:

Beaded Metallic Wool

This is a beaded metallic wool from Blur Heron, in the Winterwood colorway. I think this is destined to be a wrap of some sort. I don't have enough yardage for Nereides, which I'd love to knit for myself. So either I'll have to find one more skein or find another pattern. However, this is not on the short list of things to do for Christmas, so I'll just have to admire the yarn from afar!

Speaking of Christmas, I'm making progress on my secret projects. I think the recipient will be quite surprised!! That's all I'm saying...

Monday, November 12, 2007

yes, I'm here...

...our Internet connection at work has been down since Friday morning. The only connection I can get is a very weak WiFi that keeps dropping me. I can barely get email checked, much less blog. I hope it gets fixed soon!

Anyway, I finished the machine quilting and sewing for the Christmas wall hanging. Here is it waiting for me to hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt, take care of the loose threads, and label it.

Wall hanging, ready for hand sewing

I'm very happy with the way it's turning out.

I also finished spinning the Splendor roving. I spun about 2 ounces of purple Falkland to use as the third ply. It looks a little red in the picture, but it is purple...

Splendor singles

I'm getting close to the end of the Corrugator scarf, too. Maybe I'll finish it this week!

Yay! I love getting things done!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Eye Candy Friday, now with socks...

...I finished the Poppy socks yesterday! Yay!!

Poppy Socks

And they fit beautifully, see:

Poppy Socks, again

(The color is more "true" in the first picture.)


Yarn and pattern from the Petals Collection sock club by Sundara Yarn
Color and pattern name: Poppy
Needles: two circular in size 3mm; started with Knit Picks and ended with HiyaHiya
Finished: 11/8/2007

Now that I'm done with these socks, I'm working on the Corrugator scarf while I figure out which Christmas present is next in the queue.

Up this weekend: finish the Christmas wall hanging and work on presents! Oh, and enjoy a little Autumn sky action, like this:

Autumn Sky

Have a good one!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I am *this* close... being done with the Poppy socks.

Since I don't want to post another in-progress picture for these socks (I want to show you finished socks!), here's a picture of another flower that the Husband has planted. This is another nemesia (the blue flowers in Friday's post were also nemesia), this time in yellow and cream.

Yellow Nemesia

I like how these little flowers grow in clusters; there's something very appealing about them.

Anyway, I hope to have finished socks for Eye Candy Friday!

Monday, November 05, 2007

feeling crafty...

...I had a wonderfully productive weekend. Although I didn't actually finish anything, I made excellent progress on three fronts.

First off, the quilting. I found a border fabric at The Granary. I was looking for a green that went with the other green border I already had. I knew I couldn't find the same fabric because it was one from my stash plus it was from the 2005 Hoffman collection. I found a nice batik with gold metallic swirly things that went perfectly with the top. I added the new green border and finished it off with another cream and gold border. I have already made the binding our of the same fabric as the red border. I think It will look really good!

Christmas Wall Hanging

The top is the exact width of the background fabric so I didn't have to piece the the back at all. I pin-basted it on Sunday and started the machine quilting. I've finished all the stitch-in-the-ditch quilting and have quilted the borders around the center squares. I'll finish this quilt up next weekend.

I finishing spinning the first bobbin of the Splendor roving:

Splendor 2--First Bobbin

...and I'm very close to finishing bobbin #2. I have another roving from Yarn Wench that has some of the same purples. I think I may spin that and ply them together to get a more purple yarn.

And finally, I'm almost to the toe decreases for the Poppy socks! Yay!

Poppy Socks progress

I really like how these socks are looking and they fit perfectly so far. I'm sorry that my Petals Collection sock club is at the end. I really love Sundara's patterns and her color sense. However, I decided I can only handle two sock clubs at a time. Right now that's Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock club and Full Thread Ahead's club (Full Toes Ahead).

Anyway, I hope to finally finish these socks this week. Then I can get back to the Corrugator scarf that uses bigger needles. My hands will thank me!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Eye Candy Friday...

...the Husband is busy getting the garden ready for winter, pulling up the dead plants and planting some new flowers.

Nemesia (?) Daisy

Here are the last of the tomatoes for this year:

Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

He has planted a bunch of calendulas for me and is faithfully dead-heading them and putting the petals aside to dry for my soap. I used to buy my dried calendulas at Whole Foods, but they are not carrying them anymore. The other brand that I can buy locally is just not as nice. I know I can buy them online, but why bother when I can get them at home!

I'm still chugging away on the Poppy socks. One reason they are taking so long is that my hands get very tired and cramped up after a few rows. I finally decided that it was the needles: these circulars have too short a needle. Yesterday I went to Full Thread Ahead at lunch time. After looking at their selection, there was only one brand that had the 3.0mm size in stock and had a longer needle: I bought two HiyaHiya circulars and swapped over to them. My hands are much happier now! The added bonus was that the HiyaHiyas were not as expensive as the Addis. So, maybe with new needles these socks will go faster. (I can dream, can't I?)

Up this weekend: find the last border fabric for the Christmas wall hanging so I can finish it, work on my secret Christmas projects (still no hints, Jane!), and spin more on the Splendor 2 roving. I have to work on my craft stuff as much as possible this month...once December hits, I'm in full baking mode!

Hmmm, guess I should start deciding which cookies to make in December...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

October 2007 recap...

...because it's now November! (Can you believe it?!)

Finished (pictures in my Flickr projects set):
  • Summer of Love Lace socks in the Flower Power yarn from Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock club
  • Yarn Wench 100% Falkland top (4.1oz) in October Sky
    Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
    Yield: 330.6 yards;
    2-ply yarn
    Weight: 13 WPI, Between Sport and Medium (Worsted) weight
In progress:
  • Knitting Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue.
  • Spinning 4+ oz of Yarn Wench 100% Falkland wool top in Josie; 1.5 spindles-full so far
  • Spinning 4 oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple
  • Knitting the Corrugator scarf in Blue Moon by Spunky Eclectic (my own handspun yarn!)
  • Poppy socks from Sundara's Petals Collection
  • Spinning 4.3 oz of Yarn Wench BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) in Splendor Variation 2; first bobbin
  • Spinning 2 Chasing Rainbows rovings together in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)
  • Peekaboo mittens (knitting); decided that the previous yarn was not going to work, so instead of casting on for the second mitten, cast on a new pair in a different yarn
On Hiatus until I can face them again:UFOs (In progress, but didn't work on):
  • Flip-top mittens (knitting)
  • Just Nan 2002 Christmas ornament (cross stitch)
  • Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  • Queen Mermaid (cross stitch)
  • Sangria shawl (knitting)
  • Seahorses pillow (needlepoint)
  • Twinkletoes slippers (knitting)
  • Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
Once I finish the Poppy socks, I'm going to try really hard to resist casting on for the Lenore socks (Rockin' Sock Club) and work on the Daughter's Peekaboo mittens plus all the Christmas stuff I've got in process. (Lenore, however, is seriously calling my name...)

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm looking forward to the weekend! This week we harvested plums from one of our trees: Corncockles have sprouted up all o...