Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 Knitting Awards

John, Anne, and 2 day old Sydney waiting to be released from the hospital and all wearing Grandma B's handknit socks for the trip homeNew granddaughter Sydney was the number one highlight of the year.

The Sweetest Knitting Memory Award goes to the three pair of Opal Handpainted socks worn by John, Anne, and Sydney Anne the day they left the hospital and went home together for the first time.

I didn't know they were going to do this, and, when I got the picture, I cried. What a perfect way to include a new grandma who had to be 2000 miles away on this momentous occasion.

More details here.

Shetland lace sampler scarf endsThe Most Fun in Knitting Award goes to the Shetland Lace Workshop given by Liz Lovick on the EZasPi Yahoo List.

Most of the workshop happened while I was busy traveling to Idaho and suffering a mother board and harddrive replacement. I still found time to play around swatching the lace patterns, and ended up with a lovely, soft alpaca Shetland lace sampler scarf.

More details here.

knit helmet hatThe Most Useful Knitted Item Award goes to this ugly but soft and warm alpaca helmet hat I whipped up one day last autumn.

Even on nasty, snowy, cold days I walk the dogs a minimum of three times. This hat goes on first, before my Squall Parka. I pull the helmet chin up over my mouth and snuggle in for a comfortable stroll.

More details here.

Me, standing outside on a very hot day wearing my freshly blocked Lavold sweaterLastly, the Most Disappointing Yarn Award goes to this Lavold Silky Tweed for the reasons listed below the picture.

  • I bought the yarn on impulse and paid full price for it. It wasn't cheap.
  • The basketweave stitch is limp and not well defined at the gauge I used, 22 stitches/4 inchs.
  • I had to watch my stitches constantly and knit slowly because the threads in the yarn separated as I was knitting. Every time I would knit at my normal speed, I would split stitches.
  • There was little to none give to the yarn and it hurt my hands and wrists to knit with it.
  • Now that the sweater is done (I finished it out of pure stubbornness), it is shedding those little pieces of tweed every time I wear it.
  • Did I mention that this was the most expensive item I knit in 2005?

For more information on this project, go here.

Wishing all my readers a wonderful, fibery, healthy, happy 2006.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

How Did That Happen?

Weight problem emergency!

After noticing that my jeans were a bit snug, I got on the scale this morning. That was a serious reality check.

Dieting started immediately afterward.

Note the cute little Tickerfactory ruler and marker over in the sidebar. Wednesday is weigh-in day and my goal is to lose 14 pounds.

My body doesn't like to give up its extra weight, so I'm not going to stress myself out with an end date goal. As long as the trend is down, I'll feel successful. Or at least as successful as someone can feel who let 14 pounds sneak on her body.

I'm very disappointed with myself over not catching the weight gain earlier. How did that happen?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Knitting Log for December 28

What a nice, peaceful, quiet week this has been as I enjoy my Christmas gifts and knit.

Anne's birthday socks knit from Opal Lollipop 1012Pattern: Basic Sock

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Lollipop 1012

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

Anne's birthday socks are ready to mail to Idaho, just in time for her January 10 birthday.

Lollipop is one of my favorite Opal collections. This 1012 colorway is designed with Anne's favorite colors.

My next birthday socks will also be Lollipop in shades of blue for Son John's birthday in March.

Aguave back progressPattern: Aguave by Katherine Hunt in Summer 2005 Knitter's

Yarn: Knitpicks Shine, 60% pima cotton, 40% model

Color: River

Needles: Addi Turbo #4

Gauge: 24 stitches/4 inches in SS after washing

This yarn drapes, this stitch pattern drapes, and I finally gave up trying to get an accurate gauge swatch.

I'm knitting a fabric I like, plan to wear it over a turtleneck or tank, and optimistically think it will be just fine.

Realistically, I'm a little concerned.

Fifth pair of CIC socks for the January challengePattern: Simple ribbing, 40 stitches around

Yarn: Cascade 220

Color: Royal blue (actual color name unknown)

Needles: Clover bamboo

Gauge: 5 stitches/inch, 8 rows/inch

These are the fifth CIC socks knit for the January sock challenge. One more pair to knit to make my goal of six pair by the end of January.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Christmas star and PapillonTo all my online friends and readers: Wishing you a wonderful holiday, however you celebrate - or don't celebrate.

Tonight, Christmas Eve, we are going to my mother's apartment for a family dinner and gift opening.

Tomorrow, Christmas Day, DH and I are spending home with plenty of good food, our three furry loved ones, and all our new books, yarn, and chocolate. We'll be watching it snow, feeding the birds, napping, and relaxing. I'll be doing a little knitting.

That's just the way I like Christmas to be. The only thing that could make it better would be to have the Idaho family here.

Take care, stay calm, and have fun. It will all be over soon.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Yarn on the Doorstep

Not one, but two shipments of yarn were on my doorstep when I got home from a yummy lunch out today.

14 skeins of river Knitpicks Shine and two skeins of Andean TreasureThe blue Shine arrived from Knitpicks

As mentioned here, I swatched the blush color Shine and found it to knit up to a perfect DK weight.

Unfortunately, the river blue Shine looks more like sport weight. I'm not sure it's going to work for the pattern I want to knit. Bigger needles isn't an option. I want a snug fabric in this yarn so it won't sag.

One thing is for sure, it didn't do any good to knit that blush swatch because I'm going to have to swatch with the blue as well. It's very different from the blush. Sigh.

There's a lesson here. Maybe if I write it down, I'll remember it for next time.

Different colors of the same yarn may possibly knit up to different gauges. Always swatch in the color I'm going to be knitting.

The two odd skeins in front are Andean Treasure, a sport weight alpaca. I bought them to play with and also so I could see the colors. That dark red (embers) is super gorgeous. They're both so soft and snuggly can hardly keep my hands off them.

20 skeins of antique rose Peruvian Highland WoolIn another box was 20 skeins of antique rose Peruvian Highland Wool from Elann.

Note the swatch on top. It was knit from the same color and even the same dyelot as the 20 skeins, and it's right on gauge. I'm ready for the Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong starting January 1.

For those of you wondering why I bought so much wool, I didn't want there to be any doubt about having enough to finish. The left over will make thick and warm CIC socks.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Those Things That Marguerite Makes

At doggy school parties they call these "Those Things That Marguerite Makes". I assume, since they get sought out and eaten, that is a compliment.

Please don't tell them how easy these are to make.

Need a quick, rich sweet bar to round out your holiday cookie plate? Here it is.

Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies

2 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter - needs to be soft, at room temperature
1 cup pecan halves
  • Mix well.
  • Pat firmly into an ungreased 13 X 9 pan.
  • Spread pecan halves evenly on top.

2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Heat with constant stirring until boiling.
  • Boil for 1 minute.
    Note: I do the heating and boiling in the microwave.
    1 minute - whip with whisk - 1 minute - whip with whisk.
    You can tell when it starts to boil and thicken.
    Then, give it 45 more seconds, whip with whisk, and it's done.
    In my microwave the total procedure takes 4 minutes.

  • Pour over crust and pecans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

1 cup milk chocolate chips (not semi-sweet)
  • Sprinkle chips over top immediately after removing from oven.
  • Chips will partially melt, but still look like chips. That bothered me at first, but it's OK.
  • Cool slightly and cut. They're much easier to cut when they're still a bit warm.
  • Enjoy.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Knitting Log for December 17

Two swatches in Knitpicks Shine, color blushWhile knitting away on the boring Opal Lollipop socks, I've been day dreaming about 2006 projects, which resulted in some swatching.

This is Knitpicks Shine a 60% pima cotton, 40% modal blend in color Blush.

I bought one skein of it to check out the color and the feel of the yarn.

I was hoping for a pastel pink. The color is bright bubble gum pink. I won't be buying any more of this color unless one of my granddaughters just has to have it.

The yarn was easy to knit on #5 bamboo needles. I made a large swatch to test if Shine would hurt my hands like most cotton yarns do. It didn't.

Knitpicks calls Shine a sport weight yarn, but I think it's a bit heavy for sport weight. On the stockinette swatch, I got perfect gauge for a DK weight yarn, 22 stitches over 4 inches after washing in the washer and dryer.

Aguave sweater from Summer 2005 KnittersThe stitch pattern on the larger swatch is for the Aguave sweater designed by Katherine Hunt and published in the Summer 2005 Knitter's.

This pattern calls for DK weight cotton yarn, and, once again, the Shine worked almost perfectly to the DK gauge.

In fact, the swatch results were so much to my liking that I just ordered 14 skeins of Shine to knit Aguave in River (dark blue).

This could be the beginning of the end of my Guidelines for Knitting Peace. I need to be very careful or I'm going to have too many projects going at once.

The Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong (FLAK) starts January 1. Keeping up with the group is going to be my number one priority. Unfortunately for my planning, I don't know how fast the pattern is going to unfold. Janet, the designer, is going to be knitting just ahead of the group, and I would imagine she is a fast knitter. On the other hand, she has many simultaneous projects, a newsletter to publish, and two children to slow down the FLAK pattern installments.

There is also an Anniversary Pi Knitalong on the EZasPi Yahoo List starting January 22. My thoughts on joining and what type of Pi shawl to knit are still so muddled, I'm not going to write any more about it now.

Has anyone noticed a lack of pictures of a finished Hanover Jacket? It's been sitting in the back room for more months than I care to admit to, so I'm not going to look up when I finished knitting it. It needs the sleeves set in and the side seams sewn. That's all. It's been screaming at me lately, so I think I'm going to sew it up soon.

Why do I avoid finishing garments once the pieces are knit?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Party Report

Doggy school dogs attempting to pose for a pictureNormally doggy school has a strict "no sniff" policy. But party night wasn't a normal night and the dogs seemed to know it. There was plenty of sneaky sniffing going on as we tried to get all the dogs to sit stay for a group photo.

Sunny is not a party dog. She didn't like the noise or the sniffing and she did not want to stay with the group, so trainer Gail sat on the floor with Sunny and held her for the picture.

What Sunny really wanted to do was to sit on my lap and watch. That's how she spent most of the evening, so she had a good time once the picture fracas was over.

See those three fingers in the foreground? That was my futile sit stay hand signal.

At the time this picture was snapped, there were many people yelling "stay". Most of the dogs stayed most of the time, but I don't think anyone got a picture without at least one human included as they put their dog back in position.

Susan, mom to a chow mix named Millicent, told me she had three great pictures of my butt.

Pappy is a party dog. He participated in the sneaky sniffing and would have happily lead a pack of dogs on a romp around the room if I had allowed it.

Dog dish on a standSeveral weeks ago the dogs drew names to exchange inexpensive gifts.

Sunny received this dish on a stand from Ramon, a standard poodle.

Papillon hanging ornamentPappy got this cute Papillon ornament from Marcy, a bull terrier.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Designer Dog Prepares for Party

Sunny standing in the grassSunny, our mixed breed dog, will no longer stand for being called a mutt. She heard people at doggy school talking about designer dogs, (cockapoos, schnoodles, golden doodles, etc) Since Sunny is a princess and is allowed to make declarations, she has declared herself a third generation designer dog.

We're not sure what breeds have gone into her design.

We adopted Sunny when she was seven weeks old and weighted two pounds. She was living in a pen with her two sisters. One sister looked something like a poodle, the other sister looked something like a Jack Russell terrier. Sunny looked something like a Papillon puppy.

Her foster home called her a Papillon/terrier mix, but they were guessing. She's not delicate like a Papillon, and I suspect she might have some Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mixed in with her design instead of Papillon. But then where did she get her beautiful, tri-color Papillon tail?

Part of the fun of having a mutt designer dog is guessing what breeds are in there. We're going to have a lifetime of fun guessing with Sunny.

Bubble Buddy, extra bubbles, and Merrick's Venison Holiday StewTomorrow evening is the doggy school holiday party. We're having a potluck dinner and teacher Gail is planning doggy fun for us.

Instead of having the party during class time, Gail is having a combined advanced class party on Wednesday when no other classes are scheduled. Since I have a dog in each of the two advanced classes, that means I'll be there with two dogs.

Sunny and Pappy think of doggy school as a night out with Mom and without the other dog, so it could be a bit shocking for them to end up at doggy school together.

The dogs drew names for gifts. Pappy drew Sundance, a very young Australian Shepherd. Sunny drew Downy, a mid-sized designer dog who got her name because she was found lost and starving trying to get warm under the outside dryer vent.

Sundance and Downy are getting identical gift bags containing:
  • Bubble Buddy, a scented bubble blowin' dog toy
  • Three jars of bubble juice scented sizzling bacon, peanut butter, and Bar B Q chicken
  • Can of Merrick's Venison Holiday Stew, a wonderful tasty dog food containing venison, red jacket potatoes, carrots, zucchini, sugar peas, and apples.

Trainer Gail is getting her Opal Lollipops. The fact that she is the only person outside my immediate family to ever get a pair of hand knit Opal socks from me testifies to my appreciation for the great job she does with the dogs.

I'm taking the camera to the party. With two dogs to keep track of, I may forget to take pictures. But I have good intentions.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Kimmy Gets Her Present

There hasn't been any knitting for the last few days, which makes it rather difficult to write a knitting blog.

Even my most faithful readers don't want to see the new inch or two knit on the Lollipop socks - not that I've knit an inch or two, because I haven't.

Yesterday there was a break in the snowfall so I headed east, picking up Mom in Kalamazoo and driving to Battle Creek for lunch with daughter Heather and granddaughter Kimmy.

Kimmy and her birthday gift from IdahoI had planned on taking pictures of the four generations of us having lunch, but we were so busy yakking and laughing that I forgot until everyone had their coats on and we were ready to go.

Then I shot this picture of Kimmy with her birthday (10 years old!) present I delivered from John, Anne, and Sydney in Idaho, and my camera batteries went dead.

The gift is a case full of cosmetics and accessories for pretty young ladies. Kimmy loves it, which is good because I sacrificed my favorite nail scissors to fly it to Michigan.

I KNOW you can't take nail scissors on a plane. It was before dawn and I was trying to close my suitcase with Kimmy's gift in it, so I plucked out my cosmetic case complete with nail scissors and crammed it in my carryon bag. Oops.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Early Morning Snowy Dogwalk

This morning I grabbed the camera when I took the dogs out for their first walk about 8 am. All three had a great romp in the six to eight inches of snow we have, and now they're back in bed sleeping off the cold and the exercise.

The snow is gray looking because there is no sunshine. The days are short, so it's barely daylight. The sky is overcast and dark.

Glory in the snowGlory, the queen of the house, is almost ten now. Her blackness makes it difficult to get a good picture of her, but she does show up well against the snow.

Sunny in the snowThe little dogs hop through the snow like kangaroos.

Sunny's curly chest is a snow magnet. The snow gets picked up by her hair and immediately turns into solidly affixed iceballs. That's why she willingly wears a coat that covers her chest and her tummy.

Pappy in the snowPappy has a thick, warm, straight coat that repels the snow. He will happily plow through snow that's over his head and dive into snowbanks looking for rodents.

Fortunately, we don't have that much snow - yet.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Opal Lollipop 1012 Socks Started

Opal Lollipop 1012 socks in progressPattern: Basic Sock

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Lollipop 1012

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

There is much sock knitting going on in knitting blogland, and I'm no exception. It seems like a good way to finish up the knitting year and is helping me get a start on my gift socks for 2006.

These are daughter-in-law Anne's birthday socks for her early January birthday. The Lollipop 1012 has all the colors she likes - navy blue, black, deep red, dark green. I'm letting the self patterning yarn create the beauty without the help (or interference) of a stitch pattern.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Converting Shoe Size to Sock Length

Looking at a shoe or foot size chart for knitting gift socks can be very confusing, at least to me. If a foot is 9 inches long, how does that translate into length of a sock measured flat?

I have women of all shoe sizes in my family. Here is a sock size chart I keep in my sock notebook based on my experience knitting for them.

The measurement listed and number of rows listed is the length from the gusset pickup row to the beginning of the toe decreases.

The number of rows given is for my sock knitting gauge of 10 rows per inch. If your sock knitting gauge is different and you want to count rows, you will need to recalculate.

Shoe size 6, 6 inches, 60 rows
Shoe size 7, 6.4 inches, 64 rows
Shoe size 8, 6.7 inches, 67 rows
Shoe size 9, 7 inches, 70 rows
Shoe size 10, 7.4 inches, 74 rows
Shoe size 11, 7.7 inches, 77 rows
Shoe size 12, 8 inches, 80 rows

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Which Color for the FLAK?

Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in some of my favorite colorsThe FLAK (Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong) officially starts January 1 on the Aranknit Yahoo list. Many knitters, including myself, are looking forward to getting started.

Janet Szabo is designing a top down Aran just for us. Our first assignment is to buy yarn and get gauge in whatever filler stitch we're going to use.

Since Janet is using Elann's Peruvian Collection Highland Wool, I hopped over to Elann to check it out. And what did I see? Colors, oh so many beautiful colors that it took me two days to select seven colors to see in person.

I ordered two skeins of each color and plan on knitting CIC socks with this yarn. But first, I'm going to knit a few swatches, get gauge for the Aran, select my favorite color of the seven, and order 1900 yards of it for my FLAK.

The swatch in the picture and the partially used skein above the swatch are Antique Rose. Today it's the leading contender for my FLAK, but not by much. And I reserve the right to have a different favorite tomorrow.

I would love a sweater in each of these seven colors. Darn. I was hoping a few of them would be disappointing to make the color decision easier.

Above the partial Antique Rose skein is Orange Brandy. To the left of the swatch is Dusty Rose. In the upper right hand corner is Autumn Peach and Candy Cane Red. To the right of the swatch is Dusty Teal and Celadon.

Which is your favorite?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday Fun for December 3

Quiz Time for Princesses
After spotting this quiz on Birdsong's Blog, I couldn't resist giving it a try.

The questions brought a smile to my face. Haul out your imagination and have fun with it.

Sorry guys. Unless you want to be a princess, the quiz won't work for you - but scroll down a bit because everyone can have fun with the Chocolate Math.

The Traditional Princess

You are generous, graceful, and practical with both
feet planted firmly on the ground. You tend to
be a little on the old-fashioned side. You
value home, hearth, and family life and love to
be of service to others.

Role Models: Snow White, Maid Marian

You are most likely to: Discover a hidden talent
for spinning straw into gold.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Chocolate Math
Elaine shared this with the EZasPi Yahoo List and told us to spread it around.

I love figuring out why these things work. You only have to figure out why it works if that's part of the fun for you.


Don't tell me your age; you probably would tell a falsehood anyway-
but the Hershey Man will know!

This is pretty neat.
It takes less than a minute
Work this out as you read ...
Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!
This is not one of those waste of time things, it's fun.

  1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you
    would like to have chocolate(more than once but less than 10)

  2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

  3. Add 5

  4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator

  5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1755 ..
    If you haven't, add 1754.

  6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.
    You should have a three digit number
    • The first digit of this was your original number
      (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).
    • The next two numbers are YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)


Thanks Elaine! Now I know how old I am. How did that happen?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Knit Unto Others - Four

Knit Unto Others KAL button Knit Unto Others, a short, two week Thanksgiving knitalong where we knit to warm those in need of warmth.

My Knit Unto Others goal is four pair of children's socks for CIC.

Here's the last pair. They were finished on Monday, two days before the knitalong deadline of November 30.

Last pair of CIC socks for Knit Unto OthersYarn: Cascade 220, 100% wool

Color: Royal blue

Needles: Clover bamboo premium circular knitting needles, #5.

Gauge: 5.5 stitches/inch, 7.5 rows/inch

Pattern: Basketweave Ribbing

(multiple of 8 stitches)

Round 1: k3,p,k3,p
Round 2: k3,p5
Round 3: k3,p,k3,p
Round 4: k3,p5
Round 5: k3,p,k3,p
Round 6: k3,p5
Round 7: k3,p,k3,p
Round 8: p4,k3,p
Round 9: k3,p,k3,p
Round 10: p4,k3,p
Round 11: k3,p,k3,p
Round 12: p4,k3,p