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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Something Old, Some Things New

About a week ago, I finished my third UFO this month, a really good feeling. This was a raglan sweater I started for Sophia and then decided it would be too big. Well, guess what? It will fit her now! And all that's left is to mail it. The color in the photo is not true as it's actually purple with red and blue flecks. (I'm using the leftovers on David's dinosaur sweater. Stay tuned.)
Sophia's Sweater
This was one of the projects I worked on as we traveled to San Juan Island last week. It's a quick and easy hat pattern that I've made many times. The yarn is called Poems from Wisdom Yarns and was fun to knit.
Poems Hat
When we got back home, this was in my mailbox from Jeanne's Whirl into Winter giveaway, a real surprise because I never expect to win a drawing. Isn't her card cute? Nice fabric to get busy and sew!
Thank you, Jeanne

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time Off!

We took a couple of days off this week and headed north to visit our friends Susan and Rainer, who live on San Juan Island. In keeping with the CED theme "play," I've been looking through Dick's photos of some of our favorite moments. We traveled by ferry and were able to walk on with just one suitcase for the two of us. I did take a knitting bag though, both for the car trip to Anacortes, where the ferry is located, and for the ferry trip which was nonstop, going, and one stop on the way back.
A Distant Ferry
The weather was great on Friday, so we had some good views of Mount Baker and saw a few cormorants sunning themselves on the pilings by the ferry dock.
Snowy Mount Baker
Sometimes these birds stretch out their wings to catch more sun, but this time I guess it wasn't quite warm enough for that.
Fun in the Sun
Susan and Rainer's beautiful house sits above the water and looks out at the Olympic Mountains and Haro Strait. I'm sure if we lived there, nothing would get done because I'd be staring out the window all the time! Not only is there gorgeous scenery, they also have animals and birds to entertain!
What are you doing?
This little fox is one of many that roam the island looking for rabbits. The other direction from the house Dick caught this majestic fellow, looking for his breakfast. Both of these photos were taken from the comfort of the living room!
Bald Eagle
We had fun exploring the various sights of the island and also did a bit of shopping while waiting for our return ferry late Saturday afternoon. (Yes, Virginia, there is a yarn shop but no quilt store.) On the way back to Anacortes, our ferry was scheduled to stop at Lopez Island,and the folks who wanted to get off there had to back onto the ferry, quite a challenge I would think if you had to pull a boat trailer.
Counting cars
By the time we got back home, it was snowing lightly, an interesting end to a lovely January jaunt and a fun time visiting friends.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chloe!

My grandniece Chloe turned three last weekend, and we were rather slow in getting a package off to her. I did, however, have fun making her an apron which is a smaller version of the one I made earlier. The fabric came with the pattern, and I was delighted to find the perfect buttons, little gingerbread men, in my stash.
Chloe's Apron
And lo and behold, I found the perfect (IMHO)book in my giftie stash to accompany the apron: Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. I just LOVE her illustrations!
Have fun reading and cooking, Chloe!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Noah's Bugs and a Thank You

This block features some of the smaller critters that joined Noah on his ark. Me, I'm wondering how come he included mosquitoes! Those of you who've been to the Midswest in the summer will probably agree. This is block number 11 out of 12; it's been a fun project and I'm looking forward to making a quilt with them. Now that the dates on this block, I guess there's a deadline, too!
The Buggy Block

Saturday's mail brought a surprise package from Augsburg, Germany, and Ele who lives there. If you've not seen her blog, go take a look here. You will love her flower fairy headers, and even if you don't understand German, you can enjoy the lovely way she's arranged the photos for her blog. When I admired a piece of stitching she'd done, she offered to send me some of the fabric. It was sold out, I think, so she sent some other things, all designed to get my creative juices flowing: thread, several patterns, some evenweave fabric and some buttons that will be perfect for CQ projects. Thank you so much, Ele. Some day I hope we will meet face to face!
Danke Schoen, Ele!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Finished and Headed to.....Africa!

The second sock is DONE, hurrah! Catherine stopped over the other evening, so I asked her if she wanted them. She did and will wear them on the plane as she heads off again to Africa. You can read about her work here as it's quite an interesting endeavor. (She's the gal in the plain red shirt.)
Pansy Socks at last!
I was attracted to the name of this yarn (Knitpicks) first as I LOVE pansies, and then I realized that it's the UW colors (Washington not Wisconsin!). For some reason the two socks appear to be different sizes; I think one is a bit stretched from trying on? Normally I can match up multi-colored yarn better than I did here, but oh well, they are done and seemingly appreciated! Now on to another ancient UFO.....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Checking in on CED 2009

According to Leah, January's CED theme is "Play" for those of us who've joined her Creative Every Day challenge. Well, I've been playing with yarn and the header of my blog. The latter, which you can see above, is a from a photo that Dick took last year of a witch hazel bush in our neighborhood. It blooms faithfully every January and serves as a great reminder that spring is indeed the next season, hurrah!
My Hat Creation
But, it was Catherine who provided the necessary "yarn push" when she phoned to say she needed two pairs of booties "right away" for a couple of baby showers. Thus began my yarn "play." The first pair was in my stash of partially finished booties, and I forgot to get a photo of them for May and Kris's challenge. Oh well. I found some cute baby boy-yarn at my LYS and thought there'd be enough for booties and a hat, so I modified a favorite hat pattern to include the same stitch as the booties. Maybe one day I'll even create my own pattern, who knows?

Just today Catherine provided a link to a slide show from her November trip to Africa for her work. I was struck by the beautiful fabric in the women's clothing and couldn't help thinking how much fun it would be to have some to play with! Hmmmm, maybe I'll put in a request since she's headed that way again on Saturday..... Check it out, and you'll see what I mean!

Addendum for Suze: The bootie pattern is from a Leisure Arts book called Booties to Knit and Crochet. The yarn is a fingering weight from Rozetti called Baby Dots. The hat pattern is one I've adapted from a class I took from Lauren Lindemann who has a cool shop in downtown Seattle called So Much Yarn.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Last, the First and a Confession

These heart sachets are a lot of fun to knit, and I made four of them for Christmas gifts. Since my lavender crop was rather sparse (2 flowers), I had to locate a source of dried lavender for the stuffing. Much to my delight and relief, I found an online place called Local Harvest, which connected me with Lavender Hill, and now have enough for many, many more sachets! Note to self: a pound of dried lavender goes a LONG way! I posted an "unstuffed" version of this heart in a different color back in the fall sometime. This sachet is made of a different colorway of Koigu yarn and is the last of my handmade Christmas 2008 gifts.
Heart Sachet
My first finish for 2009 is a hat and mitten set for Sophia. I got this pattern last spring when we took Jane and Ted to Gig Harbor and just happened to visit the Yarn Garden there. The ruffle on the hat and mittens is interesting to knit, and I will be interested to see how they fit little Miss Blue Eyes.
for Sophia
At the moment I'm working on a UFO that I unearthed for Kris and May's monthly challenge. Socks are my downfall. They are so easy to start and so hard to finish because there are two of them! Once I do the first sock, it's way too easy to put the project aside for later, and later just never arrives. At least, that's my excuse this time....couldn't even remember the pattern I was using which is really BAD! Stay tuned, I'm halfway down the foot of #2. Hurrah!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Two Awards and a MeMe

Yesterday I received the Proximity Award from Cheryl, a blogging friend from Wisconsin.

Here are the guidelines for this award:'This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers' aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!' So, with thanks to Cheryl, I am going to pass this along to the following people in far away places whose blogs I enjoy reading. Even though we're separated by many miles and we've never met face to face, we are blogging friends.
Kathy in Pennsylvania
Kris in Australia
Linda in England
Barbara in Germany and sometimes Sweden

In response to the same post I received the "Spreader of Love" award from Kathy. Thank you so much, Kathy!

As you may remember, she made me a beautiful Christmas pillow, and is herself quite a good "love-spreader!" There are a couple of people I'd like to pass this award on to as they have done special things for me that have brightened my days:
Susan, who introduced me to CQ and blogging
Pat, who shared Snowman Soup with David
Susan, who got me hooked on knitting mitts and loves to make handmade gifts
Cheryl, who lives in my home state

Way back in early December, Pat tagged me with this MeMe. Being a procrastinator at heart, and also deep in last minute holiday projects, I've waited till now to do this little task: 1. Link your blog to the person who tagged you. 2. Mention the rules. 3. Tell six quirky yet not boring, unspectacular details about yourself. 4. Tag five other bloggers by linking your blog to them, and lastly 5. Go to each person's blog and leave a comment for them. So here goes on the details and hopefully you'll not fall asleep reading them:
1. I spent seven summers in the woods as a Girl Scout camp counselor.
2. I love music and used to play the violin and piano; now I sing in our church choir.
3. Volunteering is another thing I enjoy. I was an AmeriCorp volunteer in 1994-95 and used my stipend to earn a UW certificate in Distant Learning Design and Development.
4. In addition to needlework, I am interested in genealogy.
5. I was born in Oklahoma, grew up in Wisconsin, lived in Colorado, and California but have lived here in Washinton state for over 30 years.
6. I LOVE cats.
Since this MeMe has made the rounds, I'm not going to tag anyone. However, if you read this post and are so inspired, you can do it, too. Have fun!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Socks and a Scarf

Last summer when we drove down to California and back, I picked up a couple of skeins of Adriafil Knitcol yarn in Crescent City and started a pair of socks for David. He made good use of them in our snowy weather.
David's Socks
And I had more than enough yarn to knit a pair for Sophia also. It was fun to see how different the multicolored yarn looked in a smaller sock.
Sophia's Socks
One other summer driving (riding actually!) project I gave to my pilates instructor. She and her family spent the holidays in England visiting their DD#1 who is studying abroad for the year, and I figured she might just be able to use a warm scarf. She'b back now, and she did! I love the combination of Crystal Palace Poof and Fizz for knits up SO soft and pretty.
Nancy's Scarf

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mitts are addictive! And so are hats!

Susan got me started on knitting fingerless gloves or mitts, and it was quite an addictive adventure. The free pattern Fetching warns that the amount of yarn will be snug, and so it was. Fortunately, I had bought 2 skeins of the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, but I hoped to only use one, so it was a bit hair-raising at the end. As you can see I finished with yarn to spare! And was able to make 2 pairs. Then I decided to try to adapt the pattern for our son.
Just enough, whew!
I used suggestions from Barbara sent via Susan and added a few twists of my own to make the pattern look masculine. I think he likes them even though he said his fingers got cold. Was that a hint for gloves?
Jogging anyone?
I tried a whole different hat and mitten set for Catherine, in a new yarn by Jill Eaton. The pattern was in the Holiday Issue of Knit Simple, and I used some of the yarn left from Angelina's hat for the embroidery.
Hat and Mittens
With the way it's been snowing tonight, these items may actually prove useful!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ready for the next Noah!

The waning hours of 2008 found me stitching the Noah BOM block #10. We'd done so much cooking and dishwashing over the past holiday week that a quiet evening at home really hit the spot. So, Lynette, bring on number 11! Aren't the lions cute? (See the sidebar for more.) Noah BOM 10

PS Check out Diane's blog for a cute giveaway. She's made a very nice little chickadee pillow! It looks just like the little guys that come to our feeder.

Friday, January 2, 2009

"Cell Phone Cuties"

This pattern was part of a kit that made two cell phone pouches, but I've recently seen the Fig Tree Threads pattern sold separately. It was a fun project, and I gave one to my sister and the other to a good friend. Dick created a mock cell phone so the recipient would know the purpose of the pouch. This backfired a little with my sister as she thought it was purchased somewhere because of the professional looking "phone." Amazing what you can do with Google images and a bit of cardboard!
Cell Phone Pouch

Thursday, January 1, 2009

December Birthdays

Ever since our younger daughter was born three days after Christmas, I've had the challenge of making that day special even though it follows one of the most gift-laden days of the year. I've also had a special spot for anyone else who has their birthday that month. My sister came up with the best idea for celebrating: a half birthday! She threw a party for Catherine when she was visiting her cousins one June, and that made a very special memory. I've already shared photos of our birthday brunch but not of the "dumpling" bag I made. It was an experiment, really, to see what would happen when two different yarns are felted. In my opinion, it really does look like a dumpling, but I prefer the shape of Sharon Dreifuss's original pattern that I made earlier.
Dumpling Bag
One of my work friends and her daughter also have December birthdays. I made a vintage apron for Debbie from a Vanilla House pattern called Four Corners.
Four Corners Apron!
Then for Angelina I made this cute hat that was in the holiday 2008 issue of Knit Simple. It was fun to finally use my new pom pom maker!
Drawstring Hat

Hats and More Hats

This year I challenged myself to make something for everyone for Christmas and came pretty close to that goal. Starting earlier is my goal for next year when there will be a new little Chicago gremlin waiting for a holiday sweater! Here's Opa with Sophia. She's wearing the Moose, and he's wearing Hat#4.
Opa and Miss Blue Eyes
This warm hat is a fast project that uses Woolease Thick and Quick yarn.
The pattern is called "Ed's Hat" and is a freebie available at the Lionbrand website. In addition to using chunky yarn, the pattern calls for size 13 needles. this is truly a quick project!
This hat is nice and cozy, the perfect topper for shoveling snow or even a walk in the woods!