Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End Yarns

Do you believe that 2009 is done?!? Me neither. Where did it go? When I look back at the year all I see is a blur. I am pleased to see the long list of Finished 2009 items over there on the left. I didn't finish all the projects that were OTN (on the needles) at the start of the year but enough of them got done that I feel a tiny glow of satisfaction somewhere deep inside. I'm hoping (see? not really definitely committing; always like to have an out) to stop buying yarn in 2010, no matter how good a deal it is, until I get a bunch of the stash knitted/crocheted into usable items. No more buying those 2 skeins of clearance yarn just in case I want to knit a hat out of it. No more getting hooked by pretty colors or soft fibers with no place to go with them. The sky won't fall if I let the JoAnn's and Michael's coupons that come in the Sunday paper expire unredeemed. Really. I have at least one of every size of needle--straight, double-points, and circular--and a whole row of crochet hooks; there's no need to buy any of those. I'm resourceful, I can make do.

I was sorting through a basket and ran across a Brangelina Hat that I started a month or so back. It was the perfect no-thought-needed project to work on while all the kids were home, so that's done, and yesterday I cast on (and knit the cuff twice) the coordinating gloves and almost have the first one done. I'm using one strand each of Patons Classic Wool in Mercury and Bernat Alpaca in Stone for them and I'm loving the color and feel. This is a great glove pattern. It's free (always good) and it uses bulky yarn and 10.5 needles for a warm and fast knit.

I also finished (I think) my extemporaneous hexagon scarf yesterday. I might put more fringe on it, in fact, I definitely will, but I like it. It's warm and soft and doesn't look like anyone else's scarf.

And I spent a couple hours knitting at Dusty's on Tuesday (I invited myself over because she said on Facebook that she had baked pumpkin bread) and turned the heel of Reef Sock 2. I'll be working down the gusset later tonight and then I'll be zoomin
g down the foot to the toe. Okay, maybe zooming is a bit optimistic given my usual knitting speed, but it won't take as long as the leg; I'm sure of that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stealth Knitting Revealed

It took me a while, but I made Fish Hats for my "kids." They're not really kids, they're not kids at all, but they are my children and their partners, and they deserve goofy hats. I had fun picking out the yarn and the colors for each one, and I enjoyed knitting them. I made my fishes live by using bright yellow buttons for the pupils. I just couldn't bring myself to embroider a big black X on the white felt circle to make them dead fish. Just couldn't do it. (I forgot to take a portrait of Fish Hat 4, so Anne if you read this, please lay it out, take its picture, and send it to me. Thanks.)

Durwood doesn't knit, he plays with wood, so he built birdhouses for the kids for Christmas that he finished on Christmas morning. I painted them--after Christmas, but the kids liked them and the birdies will love them. I hope he makes more for me to hang in the back yard. *hint, hint*

morning it was foggy and cold, so the fog droplets froze onto the naked trees. For just a few minutes after the fog burned off or all froze to the trees, this is what it looked like. I'm very impressed that I managed to get pictures before it melted away.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Purse!

Last month (only last month? really???) after mall walking, I went shopping with my friend Dusty to find fabric so she could make me a new purse. Dusty is a quilter who knits and she makes lovely and practical things with fabric, like coasters and potholders and notebook covers, but she also designs purses and I needed a new one in the worst way. I found the perfect fabric, 100% cotton, black with red kanji characters and gold seals on it. She wasn't crazy about the fabric, I think she actually hated it, but she made the purse. It is perfect. It has pockets everywhere with Velcro and zippers and buttons. I love it. Mom keeps trying to steal it but I'm holding onto it real tight.

I got a knitted squid cellphone holder from DD for Christmas so my phone stops getting lost in purses not made by Dusty. It's even lined! Very cool.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Tree

I want to show you our Christmas tree. I love it. I found ornaments with a tropical/ocean theme at Taylor Creek, a decorative stuff store, a few years ago and bought one of each after Christmas when they were half price. Two years ago I got a white metal tree at KMart that showcases the ornament. No pine needles to distract from their sparkly beauty.

This is Vincent the Caribbean Elf. He's sitting on an ocean-
colors sarong that I use as a tree skirt.

I love how sparkly the tree is, and that I can sit and look at all the ornaments that I bought on our trips overseas. I've got a seashell one from the Phillipines, straw fish from Penang, Malaysia, one of the flamingos is from Bonaire. I've never liked themed anything, but this tree pleases the daylights out of me.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hello Yummy Treats, Goodbye Diet

It was a making day today. I made all of our little family's favorite and traditional holiday treats:

a batch of Chex Party Mix,

a pan of English Toffee,

a double batch of Samurai Knitter's Toffee Shortbread (new last year and so delicious they're dangerous),

and Eggnog flavor (regular spritz recipe with 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg sifted into the flour) "Pooping Dog" spritz cookies with Red Hot eyes and mini chocolate chip poops.

I am making things with yarn too. I'm crocheting hexagons with all the leftover yarn I can dig up. I plan to attach them not in a straight line and leave the tails on the edges for fringe. It's going to be sort of like a scarf I saw in a mall store window, but when I went back to see the scarf it was gone and the store wasn't open so I couldn't go in and see if they still had one, so I'm just guessing, but I'm having fun and not buying any new yarn to do it. That's a good thing; I have too much yarn.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Plethora of Purses

A herd of purse? A flock of purses? A felt of purses? Okay, enough already, you get the drift. I finished the felted purses. I left them in a bit longer than I should have so they're a bit smaller than I wanted but I think they look great and today they all go to their new, hopefully happy with them, owners.

First is Carla's purse. It's for my beautician (her 10 year old daughter will probably appropriate it.):

The other two are for my writing group friends. We have no men in our group this year so it was easy to decide on
a gift for them:

Felting the purses didn't change them too dramatically, but they're a bit smaller and firmer. I decided not to line them. I like the way they turned out.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I sat down after supper and knitted like the wind. I finished the second Prospectors purse and got the 3 of them felted. Now they're drying. They smell a lot like wet sheep.

Here's the purse pre-felting.

I'll post pictures of all three when they're dry and not so smelly.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rescued Crocheting

I went to Goodwill yesterday afternoon in search of a last minute Christmas idea. While flipping the rack in the Domestics dept. I saw something I just couldn't leave there. It's a crocheted doily made with a teensy hook and thin crochet cotton. It's 20" in diameter and quite plain but pretty. I think it needs to live here for a while.

I worked on the snowman at FNKC and I cast on the third of the purses I need to have finished and felted by daybreak on Thursday. I did work on the last of the Stealth knitting, but of course you have to wait to see it until after Christmas.

Remind me next year to scale back by Christmas knitting enthusiasms.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hub Deep To A Ferris Wheel

That's how much snow we got. You think I'm kidding? Look. That poor mourning dove was so confused. 14.6" total snowfall in 2 days.

I started another project. I just had to; I can't work on only one at a time. It's a crocheted snowman that sits on a table or mantle.
Don't think that the Stealth Project and this little snowman are the only things OTN, but the other three (four? maybe more) are on hold until after the Stealth knitting is finished, to be picked up soon.

I bought myself an amarylis bulb week before last. I'm amazed at how quickly it grows.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's A Lock

We're having a white Christmas--guaranteed. Here's how it looked yesterday in the early evening, about 6 PM. (Fifi is my 9' tall Christmas lawn decoration. I tell people who are silly enough to ask "why a flamingo" that I'm rebelling against traditional Christmas themes. I ask you, who wouldn't rather have a flamingo in their yard than a snowman? There's a 12' palm tree that goes with her but I can't carry it by myself. There'll have to be some modifications to it before next Christmas so she won't be alone.)

And here's how it looks this morning. Blizzard Alison has moved in and
s pissed. So far we have 12" of snow and it's blowing like crazy, with more snow expected before noon. It's the wet, heavy stuff.

This is what I'm thankful for today. My big red snow blower with the electric starter. Thanks again, Durwood.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

And For Those Hoping For A White Christmas...

Friday morning there were snow flurries. See the little white spots on the patio?

The weather guessers have issued a Weather Advisory for 2"-4" for tonight into tomorrow, and we're supposed to have another 4" on Wednesday. Here it comes! I got my warm boots out to wear to work tomorrow. Goodbye mismatched socks, hello warm wooly ones.

Wha...? Project Monogamy?

Who would be foolish enough to promise something like that? That would be silly given my history of never being able to stick to one thing for long. I must have been drunk on mulled cider and shortbread. Yeah, that's it. I didn't know what I was typing. Besides, you do want to have knitting or crocheting to look at for the next week or so, don't you? Of course, you do.

Aaanyway, Friday on the drive all the way up to the Holiday Open House at The Clearing I worked on Stealth Project 4
like a good little knitter. The Open House was very nice. The Christmas tree was in a grouping of other trees and natural decorations and was very beautiful.

There was a large table of goodies with big silver ur
ns of coffee and mulled cider with real mugs to drink it out of. Durwood and I made certain to taste each and every one of the treats, some of them more than once, just to make certain that they were all up to the high standards we expect of The Clearing.

We sat with Mike the director for a while and got to see Kathy and Melinda and Tammy from the office too.

I saw what looked like the world's largest ball winder up on a shelf above the Jensen center room. It's probably something for weaving but it sure would make yarn winding go fast, wouldn't it?

On the way home I knitted on Stealth Project 4 too, maybe not quite as diligently as I had on the way up but still I worked on nothing else and got about 1/4 along. We stopped at Red Sock Yarns in Fish Creek where I found this bulky yarn in Kiwi and Pomegranate. I wanted something to make stripes in the dark variegated brown of a pair of purses that I am making for Christmas gifts.

Well, then I couldn't resist casting on Prospectors Purse 1 when w
e got home and then I kept going at Friday Night Knitting Circle, getting to the Kiwi stripe near the end of the evening. Then yesterday I was anxious to see how the bright green looked so I kept going. By bedtime I was at the point of binding off the handle stitches on the next row, so I decided to go to bed and finish today.

I will work more on Stealth Project 4 today, I swear. Once I see about getting Fifi my 9' tall Christmas decoration flamingo out on the lawn, if all her lights light when I plug her in. And after I finish that purse.