Monday, December 27, 2010

Update and Two Scarves

Update: Surgery went off without a hitch, and I was sent home that very evening. Except for a day's worth of nausea from the anesthesia, everything was fine until early Christmas morning. Apparently my heart decided things were boring and went dancing off on a rhythm all its own. Yes, I had a very stubborn case of atrial fib. that didn't resolve despite the Urgent Care team's best efforts until I got back home. That meant yet another trip back to the hospital to make sure that said heart really was behaving, and now I'm happily on the mend. Hallelujah!

So, we had our Christmas feast yesterday in the true spirit of Boxing Day. And then we learned that it really was an historic day. David lost his first tooth! We were a witness to the new gap, thanks to Skype, and all I can think is, "How did this child get to be almost six already?" Here's a photo of the DD#1's whole family, enjoying the snow at Lake Geneva. All that snow makes me shiver!

It's a good thing I finished this little sweater since it seems to fit just perfectly at the moment.

And then there's this little guy who seems to grow before our very eyes. Here he is, watching our choir concert, thanks to modern technology and the fact that all services are streamed live. (Wouldn't our parents be amazed? Horrified?)

Only a couple of knitting projects haven't been shared. This scarf is made from Trendsetter's Soleil yarn and was FUN to knit.

I tried the same pattern (Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf)in Cleckheaton with equally good results. I love this pattern and am so grateful to have found it on Stitches of Violet's blog. It is so easy and looks great in any yarn!

Having observed David's teacher standing outside daily to help the children find their parent's cars, I decided that she needed a hat to survive the Chicago winter. I well remember playground duty days with a lot of sympathy!

That is my update for now, except for a report on the Advent Calendar scarf. Needless to say it is not finished, but I am well ahead of the game for next year as I'm almost done with Day #7! Yeah! (It's about time to get back to the Christmas SAL, don't you think?)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Waiting Game

What have I been up to this month? Not a whole lot. At the moment I'm trying hard to wait for gall bladder surgery without going nuts. It's scheduled for this Wednesday, which is rotten timing, but we did get to sing in the choir concert last Sunday, the gifts have all been mailed, the cards almost done, and I've been working on the Advent Calendar scarf which is guaranteed to keep one's mind (and fingers) occupied. (See the sidebar for the link. Almost all of the days are there, and you can join me in being behind!) Fortunately I was able to help decorate a table for our Christmas Dessert event at church. It's always a fun way to begin the holiday season and time out from the hustle and bustle to focus on the real reason for celebration.

This is a dark and rainy month for us in the Northwest. Even the cats are noticing. The "Register Wars" are in full force.

We haven't figured out why this is the favored register, but it's almost always occupied by one or the other of our furry felines.

Lots of projects have been finished. I made a another companion for Mr. Popper. A cardinal is awaiting another wing; maybe that'll happen tomorrow.

Lots of knitting happened during our Thanksgiving trip. The Mystery Socks are finally finished. I just love the yarn color, hydrangea, and unfortunately it's no longer available.

Sophia's sweater is complete and fits. Hurrah.

David requested a "Ginger Hat" when he saw the "Mocha Hat" I made last fall. It's kind of big, but he deemed it "perfect" which makes this Oma very happy.



We must have mailed our packages too soon because some have already been opened, but that means I can share them. That'll be another post because my scarf is calling. I'm only just starting Day 6, and this is day 19. Yikes!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Outrunning the SNOW! (Image heavy)

We set off for California last week in what became a big snowfall in Seattle that cancelled school and delayed traffic for hours. Luckily we outran most of the snow as we left early in the dark before things got too interesting. Even so, we had snow almost to the WA/OR border and were glad we had already decided to cut over to the coast at Eugene. Besides being a last minute way to avoid the snowy mountain passes in the Siskyous, that road is a great place to see elk. We weren't disappointed.


The coastal route is slow but beautiful. As you can see, it wasn't clear and sunny there either!

The highway goes quickly from 4 lanes down to 2 in spots where it wends its way through the giant redwoods. We had never seen this place before. Can you imagine living there?

Our destination was San Luis Obispo and the memorial service for our friends' dad. He was a professor at Cal Poly and a very nice man. Following the service, we joined the family for their traditional Thanksgiving celebration; we made the total attendees, 30! It was great fun to reacquaint ourselves with all the family members, including grandhildren we'd never met.


All too soon it was time to head north. We again decided to travel on 101 and were glad we did. With all the rain on the coast, the mountains more than likely were difficult driving. Even though it was Black Friday, we had no problem getting through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge.



We "hurried" home but managed to see a few interesting things on the way. At one place we stopped for lunch, we saw lots of white cranes in an adjacent field.

Since this is the beginning of the holiday season, we took a mistletoe picture. This holiday symbol is actually a parasite that is spread by the birds and seems, at least in California, to prefer the liveoak trees.

At the Ca/OR border we saw a huge herd of elk.

I'm not sure what this guy is saying, but it must have been important!

Do you have any idea how much knitting can be completed in 2400 miles? I can't share that yet though because most of it's holiday related; you'll just have to take my word for it. The snow was gone when we got home, but we returned with many pleasant memories of a Thanksgiving that was both joyous and just a little bit sad. It was definitely a memorable trip.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Friend for Mr. Popper

Today's headlines include this cheery news: "It may be fall, but this weekend, it'll be winter." Our garden hasn't quite gotten the message. We still have hydrangeas, pansies and have even seen some roses on our walks. Our beauty berries are also in their glory. The holidays are sneeking up quite quickly, and it's time to speed up the knitting and sewing.

Mr. Popper was lonely, so he now has a friend named Nick. What with the threat of winter, it seems like a good time to show these Arctic pals. Next I'm going to try to use the leftover yarn to make a chicken.......

Back in the Midwest, Miss Sophia has found a new look, and the boys are modeling some of Oma's wares.



Gotta run. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Playing and Projects

November seems to be marching right along these days. We got a good reminder of the impending holiday last weekend at our choir workshop, spending most of the day practicing Christmas music. (We also learned that a CD of our spring concert featuring Haydn's Creation is being released next month!) As usual I have lots projects and ideas in the works. We'll see how many actually get completed!

The stitch in this dishcloth is really fun. The pattern can be found at Lily Sugar 'n Creme and is called The Twist Knit Dishcloth. I think the stitch would be pretty in a scarf although it is a bit stretchy. I really needed these needles for another project which hastened the finish!

A couple weekends ago we went exploring in the Magnolia neighborhood because that's where Catherine and Brent are house-hunting. I am sitting at the base of an old madrona tree; the early settlers thought they were magnolia trees, and thus the name of the area.

We had fun in Discovery Park, hiking down to the water and this old abandoned lighthouse.

You can also see Mount Rainier from this trail. That mountain sure gets around!

I didn't work much on the Christmas SAL last month and will be putting it aside until after the holidays. The sleepy Santa was my focus this time. Maybe it'll get done by next Christmas?

This little project caught my eye. It was a free pattern on Webs. Besides the penquin, there's a very cute polar bear.

Gotta run. It's a sunny day, and we're going to walk around Green Lake. Catch you later!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Farewell, October!

Leaves are falling steadily, here and in the Midwest as well. When we were visiting last month, David was anxious to play in the leaves but only acorns were raining down. Times have changed!

Here the sidewalks and gutters are covered with leaves thanks to recent wind and rain. Our area has a variety of maple appropriately called the Big-leaf Maple. Can you see why? Some are even larger! What we can't figure out is why we get these leaves in our yard since no trees of this type are in it!

Not too many projects to show at the moment although I did complete this scarf. It's made of Bee Sweet Magic Ball, just one of an African brand that returns part of the price to the women who make it. The original project, a shawlette, was driving me crazy because I didn't like the fishnet look from the size 36 (!) needles which were awkward to use. So I switched to this simple garter stitch pattern on 112 stitches which was in the Webs Winter Catalogue. It shows off the yarn changes much better although frogging mohair is NOT FUN!

This past Friday my quilt group had a work party. We ended up with 72 partially finished stockings, just 8 short of the number our local Ronald McDonald House requested. Here are my most recent contributions. (The green is the backing for both Felix and Bugs.) Next time we are adding a white fleece cuff, and they'll be finished.

Another indication that the holidays are sneaking up on us is provided every year by our mixed up Christmas cactus plants. This one is a combination of two colors, and it's the first time both parts have bloomed at once since Janet sent it to us. None of them bloom at Christmas anymore, and this year they're out for Halloween!

Speaking of Halloween, no post on this day would be complete without photos of the GK in costume. Even Daniel is participating this year, and Sophia may be living in her outfit which just happens to be her favorite color. Remember the tractor? This girl loves anything PINK!

Happily, Jill and Michael keep us well supplied with photos since we can't be there in person. David's class had a grand celebration. He's the NASA guy, waiting for Mom who arrived wearing her old chicken costume. Wish I could have seen that!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Fall!

Not too much going on here except lots of walking since the weather has been so nice. The days are noticably shorter at both ends, and we know the winter rains are coming soon. Apparently the Midewest is having a wonderful fall as well. Doesn't Daniel look as if he's enjoying being outside?

This morning's paper had a surprise. President Obama visited the home of the UW hospital volunteer coordinator for one of his "backyard chats"! Not a word was mentioned when we volunteered there this week, but recently one of the patients in the antepartum unit wanted to make thumbless mittens, so I had to find a pattern that would work. First I made a plain one using fingering yarn on a regular 2-needle mitten pattern and omitted the thumb. Then I searched for another patter online and found something prettier. Unfortunately the woman had gone home before my next visit, but at least I have a couple of new samples in my stash of projects.

SueR recently showed a photo of a Halloween dishcloth that she made and included the link to her pattern. I decided to see whether I could change it from a lacy pumpkin into something slightly different. Remembering the huge ball of orange yarn left from Daniel's hat, I decided to make a hotpad. Don't know if this thick enough to be a good hotpad, but Dick immediately recognized it as a pumpkin! Hurrah!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sidetracked~~~Again!

How could I forget about Socktober? Last year I knit Kirsten Kapur's very fun Mystery Sock, so when I realized she was doing another one this year, all my good plans of finishing a couple of sweaters got derailed in favor of following along with the socks. (This year's pattern is just as pretty but can't be shown till they're finished.) And then along came my quilt group's latest project:


The local Ronald McDonald House requested 80 Christmas stockings, and guess whose group jumped on board? Our last meeting was spent cutting out lots of stockings from some prequilted fabric one member brought, and then I took home some different fabric to quilt and made 4 more. The next step is to sew the pairs together and add a white fleece cuff....probably at tomorrow's meeting.

And then there was this cute project that I stumbled on at the Spin a Yarn website. It looked like a perfect bootie for the antepartum moms, so I had to give it a try. The way the ears are made is quite clever, and the pattern is free!


And then there's these three little gremlins. Time to get a Halloween box in the mail. Oh my, when will I ever get back to those sweaters?