Friday, November 26, 2010

Look What I Made Today

It's a bath fishie! Inside this innocuous dishcloth cotton shell is a ping pong ball that makes this a tub toy. Finishing the fish with the ping pong ball inside was, as Grandpa Gerst used to say, a trick with a hole in it. It took some creative maneuvering and I had to hold my mouth just right to manage it but I was successful. I plan to make a couple more to complete the baby gift "school." Next up is a goldfish drawstring bag with a granny square tail (kinda looks like a fantail goldfish) to put all the goodies in. It'll be the most fish-tastic baby gift ever!

You Know, I Forgot Another One

I don't know what made me think of it, maybe grubbing around in the backpack I take to work, but I have another project OTN that's been there forever. For. Ever. It's the Sudoku Throw. The wife of one of the instructors up at The Clearing is a quilter and her quilt group was doing a Quilt A-Long making a lap quilt using colors instead of numbers in a sudoku grid. I thought that was a swell idea, so when I got home I clipped a solution out of the paper, assigned each number a color, and made a plan. I'm making it from Cotton Ease using the simplest bias dishcloth pattern for the blocks. I'll knit strips of charcoal (which looks like black to me) to separate the nine-patch blocks, and then edge it in the charcoal too. My original plan was for that to be my work project because the blocks are easy to put down mid-row if the phone rings or a customer comes in and then pick back up. That lasted about half a throw's worth and now the bag o'yarn & needles just rides back and forth and seldom gets to see the light unless I finish what I really want to work on or forget something I need for it. A-a-anyway, here's the plan and some of the blocks for you to see.

Anyone out there shopping this morning or are you all back home already? There's absolutely nothing I want badly enough to get up that early. Nothing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Did you have a good day? We did. I stayed in my jammies all day and knitted. Durwood went to the grocery for a few things and then watched football on TV. It was a lovely day all around.

I finished the slipp
ers and then felted them,

and the second Fish Bib.

We had turkey tacos for supper. As you can see there were lots of veggies and all usual food groups.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One Done, A Bazillion To Go

I gave it my all yesterday at work and this afternoon (when I wasn't napping on the couch with it in my hands) and finished Izzy's Hat. I think it's cute, and it's just in time because it's dreadful cold and windy today.

We saw some green alien
gonads at the end of our walk today. Dusty did a little online research and discovered that they're really wild cucumbers. I'm kinda disappointed that they're something so tame.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Forgot One

I got to thinking when I couldn't fall asleep last night that I'd forgotten a UFO yesterday. Deep in the basement time-out area (which isn't too large) is a scarf/shawl that's probably over half done but that I fell out of love with. I don't remember what I called it. Let's see if the picture will tell me... Ah, yes, it's the Seafoam Scarf and it fell out of favor in May. Pretty, isn't it? I should finish it one of these days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Need To Catch Finish-itis

Start-itis I can get anyplace anytime, but finish-itis is a much rarer disease. The need to finish things has begun to scratch at my consciousness lately so I decided to take pictures of everything I have OTN (on the needles) at present. I'm stunned. I suspect you will be too.

In basement time out is the Khaki cardi which needs only 1 1/2 sleeves and finishing.

The Lava Shawl hasn't seen any action in months since I had to frog all the lace rows and start at the end of th
e stockinette section and forgot it in a corner.

I worked feverishly on the back of the Red Marl Sweater and have done only a few rows of the front. Not really sure why.

I'm in the middle of slipper #2 of a pattern I found intriguing awhile back.

The 198 yds. of Mochi shawlette is on smaller needles with skinnier yarn than the last one and it's taking longer. I got distracted.

I have bee
n working fairly steadily on the Wrap.

I restarted Izzy's Hat last week and worked on it exclusively at work. I'm about an inch from starting the purple brim and earflaps.

The other night I was thinking about starting another narrow Purse Stitch scarf--so I did. But I promise to knit on the Wrap or Izzy's hat first when I need a yarn fix. Cross my heart.

And last night I picked up a crochet hook and whipped up a
nother Fish Bib for the Frisque baby-to-be. It needs fins, edging, applied I-cord, and an eye. That'll be a quick finish.

I solemnly swear that I won't cast on another project until I finish one of the big ones in the list (above Izzy's Hat) first. I really mean it. *dodges lightning bolt*

DS's First FO

DS stopped in yesterday afternoon for a second knitting lesson to learn how to bind off his first Finished Object, a dishcloth. He was disparaging of its lack of symetry and the irregularity of his stitches. I pooh poohed because everyone's first FO is wonky and more than a bit embarrassing. For proof I give you his first dishcloth and mine, knitted a three years ago. (Has it really been three years already?? That means it's been 3 years since I've smoked too. Yay, me.)

See, DS? Yours is squarer than mine.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Done With the Sauce

I only wanted to accomplish two things yesterday and I managed. I got all the applesauce canned and got my nails done. It doesn't seem like much but for a while I wasn't even sure I'd get one of them done. I got the dishes washed, then I carried a bunch of pint jars up from the basement and washed them. I realized that I didn't have enough lids so I zipped to the grocery for them--and picked up a few other things while I was there, of course. Back home I showed Durwood a voucher Mr. Boss gave me for lunch at a pizza buffet place and we decided to go. It was okay, not great, but hey, it was essentially free. By the time we got home it was after 1 PM, so I started right away to reheat the sauce and get water boiling in the canner. There was a lot more applesauce than I thought there was. I knew I'd picked a lot of apples, and I'd added 5# of pears to one batch just for variety, so I had to do 4 batches in the canner. (The back 2 rows are the apple/pear sauce and the front 2 are applesauce. I made 11 pints of each!) It took about 2 hours so by 3 PM I was off to the nail salon.

I always get red nail polish because red's my favorite and an old friend told me
once that getting your nails done and keeping them looking nice is the only beauty regimen you can enjoy yourself. Other people can see your hairdo, jewelry, and outfit, but you can spread out your hand, look at your nails and say, "man, I look goooood." It only costs me twenty bucks (including tip) every three weeks, well worth it.

I finished the first bib the other day and learned
how to make applied I-cord in the bargain. The bib is darling (I'll definitely make more) and applying I-cord is a bit tedious but very easy and it goes fast.

I'm still chugging away on my wrap. When I get near the end of the color after this one it'll be time to rejoin my stitc
hes and knit the other sleeve. I can't wait to finish it and snuggle up in its soft wooliness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hitting The Sauce

I finally got around to making applesauce yesterday afternoon. I had a LOT of apples, probably a bushel, that made two big kettles worth. It was late by the time they were all cooked to mush so I squooshed them through the ricer on the Kitchen Aid (which attachment they don't make anymore and is so handy) and set the bowls in Durwood's van for the night to stay cold. I always leave the peels on because 1) I'm lazy and B) it makes the sauce pink. The second batch that has the pears is very good, you can taste both flavors. On my day off this week I'll reheat it, sweeten it a bit, and can it in quarts and pints. There just might be Christmas applesauce gifts this year.

P.S. I'm totally sick of the avocado green sink. Totally. Maybe Santa will bring me a stainless steel one. I'd even be happy with plain old white. Anything but green!

The daughter of a diving friend is expecting and they had a baby shower for her this past weekend in Madison. I couldn't go but I've been working on making a boodle of fish-y gifts for when the little guy makes his entrance. I found a pattern for a crocheted fish potholder and decided to see if I could make a single fish and attach I-cord ties to turn it into a bib. I had some scraps of dishcloth cotton upstairs so I sat while the apples simmered and got to work. It went fast. All that's left to do is crochet around the outside with the cream and figure out how to apply I-cord to the tail end. I'm certrain that there's a tutorial on YouTube that'll show me. YouTube is great for that sort of thing. You can play things over and over until you've got it figured out.

A few years back DIL's parents gave Mom an orchid for Mother's Day. She's kept it alive (which is a miracle in itself) and every year it has bloomed in the spring. This year was no different, except that in the summer when the first flower spike began to die back, a second one started to grow and buds emerged and began to open. Now it's mid-November and she's still got orchids blooming. Amazing!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A New Kntter & A Trip to the Frog Pond

My "little" son asked for knitting lessons for his birthday. I was thrilled and went out to buy his first yarn and needles. All the bags I found were either very girly or too expensive, so I bought a quilted bag at Nueske's the other day because I figured that a smokehouse bag was pretty manly. He loved it! We started with a basic garter stitch dishcloth knit on the diagonal so he'd learn to knit, increase, and decrease. He did pretty well, got through the first half with only a few boo-boos.

While he was working on his knitting I worked on Izzy's hat, getting the brim done and making the first earflap. I cut the yarn and took a look at it and realized that it was waaaaay too big for her. Dang it.

So I pulled out the ball winder and frogged it. It was nearly complete and now it's back to being 2 balls of yarn. I hate when that happens. I'm going to give it a little time-out, just a day or so, and then plunge back in. I have to work a lot this week so I'll make that my work project. I should be able to knock it off by the weekend. (she says, probably jinxing an already frogged hat)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alien Gonads

Now there's a headline to catch your attention, don't you think? Dusty and I walked out along the bay in the glorious sun and warm autumn air this morning and came upon these pods. I saw something similar at the Farmer's Market last month, fresh and green, and they were on a stalk. People were walking around with them looking like they'd won a prize. Let me tell you, I don't think I'd let them in my house. The ones we saw today grow on vines, but they are golden colored, oval, slightly fuzzy, and the right size. They grow singly which is what leads me to think they're alien (because mammals' gonads come in pairs, you know). We saw a few on the ground, walked a bit, saw a few more draped over some low weeds, and then shazam! there was a tree full of them. We kept our eyes peeled for extraterrestrials but all we saw was a turkey running down the path in the distance. It looked plenty odd but not otherworldly. One of the testicles, uh, gonads, um, pods I looked closely at had a seed in it. I brought the seed home and plan to plant it next spring. So if you come by next summer and the house is covered with vines and lime green "pods", drive right on by. For your own safety, flee!

I remembered last week that I promised the daughter of a friend that I'd knit her an earflap hat for winter. Naturally I can't find any more yarn to match the fingerless mitts I made her last spring, but I found some chunky, fuzzy yarn in pink and purple that'll do just fine. I cast on
yesterday morning and got through the crown increases before I decided that it was too little somehow. I started to slide the circular needle out and it sproinged out to the size I was hoping it'd be, so I whipped out a skinny DPN, caught the loose stitches and coaxed them back onto the needle. Whew. I'm using the old faithful Thorpe pattern and plan to use the dark purple solid I bought for the garter section and then edge it with the variegated. And I'll probably have enough yarn left to whip her up some matching mitts. A smart person would make her brother a hat too, and I will to preserve sanity in the family. Their family, not mine. It's too late to hope for sanity here. Way too late.

Durwood had the brilliant idea to grill some goat chops last night. I did and
they were deelicious! Next time we'll marinate them so they're a bit tenderer but they were very tasty. Aren't they cute?

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Not Working All Week

I can't say that enough. I think this is the first time I've ever had a week off without going someplace. This week I'm staying home, well, staying in town. I have plans most evenings except tonight and Thursday but that's okay, except for walking a couple of mornings and lunch with my DIL tomorrow, my days are all mine. I do have a chore list but it's pretty short. I know that the week will fly by but I'm relishing it all the same. It'd be perfect if I could convince Durwood to go off but since we can't afford to go away together for a few days we can't afford for him to go alone either. I plan to get in plenty of knitting because all my OTNs are nagging at me even though I plunged into another narrow scarf on Saturday and I remembered on Friday that I promised to knit a hat for a friend's daughter so I've got that on deck.

I did finish the little fish toy for an upcoming baby, with more fish-type
doodads to come before the baby is born. The toy is cute and was pretty easy to make. It's not as soft as I'd like so I might be making another one before the happy day. But it is cute. See?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Now It's Officially Autumn

I went out into the backyard after lunch and gathered up the fallen apples that were all squirrel-bit and then I used a long-handled rake to help get the ones too high up from the overhanging branches from the parking lot behind the house. I kept hearing footsteps on the parking lot behind the fence and waited for someone to come and ask me what I thought I was doing. You know "stolen" apples taste sweeter. It was fun to reach up high to try and get more. Durwood even came out and took my picture so I got him to help get a few more from up high. We got a lot more than I thought we would, there's going to be a lot of homemade applesauce around. Then I got a bright idea--I'd go get some pears to cook with the apples and make some of it apple-pear sauce. The Apple Store didn't have any (go figure!), neither did Aldi, so I went to Woodman's and got a bag of pale green rocks. Now I have to be patient and let them ripen. Looks like I'll be making the sauce on Sunday or Monday rather than tomorrow as I'd originally planned. Sometimes I'm not very patient.

I found some pieces of a hornet's nest in the yard that I though looked pretty and delicate. I don't know what I'll do with them but I'm keeping them.

And here's a side-on shot of Frida the Fish. See? Don't you think it looks lik
e a blue boob? I need to get the eyes and fins on and stuff it, stat, so it looks like a fish. Get your mind out of the gutter, Barbara, this is for a baby. Sheesh, post-menopausal women are not to be trusted.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm Weak

I caved. The other day I trolled through the free patterns on Ravelry looking for some toy to knit for Bill & Diane's daughter's baby-to-be, and since we met them through scuba diving I thought something fish-y would be good. So I found a stuffed fish toy, a crocheted fish-shaped dishcloth I think I can make into a bib, another toy I'm thinking of adjusting so it'll hold a bar of soap, and a drawstring bag shaped like a fish to hold it all. I dug out some self-patterning acrylic to use for the toy but I held off casting on, intending to work on what I have rather than cast on something new. I managed not to cast on--for one whole day. I rationalized that it's a small item and won't take me long so it's okay. It's going to be very cute, not very soft, but very cute (even though right now it looks kind of like a blue and patterned boobie with a nipple). I may have to knit another one with some cotton chenille I have that would be very soft but this is good practice and it's amusing me.

I'm on the 5th skein of Ara on my Campsie Wrap and it's looking lovely and it's so
warm on my lap. I know I'm going to like it even if I look like a trussed up pig in it. I already love it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Got Mail!

When I was up in Door County I stopped at Spin in Sturgeon Bay and bought two skeins of cotton/poly yarn from the 40% off basket that I knitted into a narrow scarf. I love that scarf. On the way home I stopped again and got the rest of the yarn in the basket, which was 3 skeins, meaning I could knit a scarf and a half. Naturally the yarn I like the best Gedifra Fiorista is discontinued. Naturally.

I trolled around other yarn shops, buying yarn here and there, but none is exactly right.

I got an email from Knitting Daily last week offering free shipping from Webs. So I went on their website and found the exact yarn I got at Spin and ordered 3 skeins, one each of three colors. (Of course you had to order $75 worth to get the free shipping. I resisted.) It came today! Yippee! Now I have enough to knit 3 more scarves of the optimum yarn. If only I had a couple more pairs of hands to knit faster.