Saying goodbye to 2012

It's sad to see a year pass by, especially so quickly, but it's always exciting to me to welcome a new year and all the possibilities the new year brings.  Before I start talking about what 2013 will bring, here are a few words to say goodbye to 2012.

It has been a productive year on the knitting front. I actually started and finished 14 knit projects in 2012.  Thanks to Big Huge Labs (link), I'm able to create and save a mosaic of the pictures of my projects.


From left to right:
  1. Sweet Baby Sweater
  2. Mae Day Dress
  3. Summer Flies Shawl
  4. Baby Fern Lace Cowl/Hood
  5. Wingspan
  6. Yoked Baby Cardigan
  7. Baktus
  8. Flat Bear
  9. Dishcloths and Tribble
  10. Portland Hoodie Cowl
  11. Baktus (extended stitch)
  12. Baby Surprise Jacket
  13. Trousseau
  14. Pie Wedge Shawl
  15. remaining pics are some of my own handspun that was spun this year
I'm pleased with my projects this year. I think I have made good progress with my techniques and I've learned a few new things as well.

Overall, 2012 was a good year. I've been at my job for 12 months now and it's gone really well. I appreciate them and they appreciate my abilities, that's always a good thing. I've said goodbye to some friends and family that have moved away and although we still keep in touch, they are no longer nearby.  I've done some re-organizing and decluttering in my home, bought a new freezer and refrigerator, and nearly finished the office which makes it now a wonderfully cozy room.

2013 brings some new adventures. I'm having both knees replaced, one at a time.  Although I wanted to do them at the same time, the Doc strongly recommended against it because of the increased chance of blod clots. So, I agreed to do one at a time.  The first will be sometime at the end of Feb/first of March and then the second one I'm planning on mid-August. I have to call them next week to schedule.  I know the surgery will bring pain initially, but there is light at the end of this tunnel of pain I've been enduring.  I look forward to being able to walk without pain again, and be able to stand up for longer periods of time to cook, go up and down stairs without having to do one foot at a time.  There will be no vacation time in 2013 because I'll be using it along with Short-Term Disability during my knee replacements, but I'll try to make use of some free time during the STD period.  Stay tuned for updates on the knees.

Happy New Year to all of you and I look forward to chatting with you in the new year!

Mae Day Dress

With no recipient in mind, I first started this dress because I wanted to try out the smocking section. I could have just knit a swatch and try out that smocking pattern, but I thought I might as well make a baby dress and try out the smocking at the same time.  The pattern calls for a Vickie Howell yarn and I had some Vickie Howell Rock on hand. So that's what I used. It's not the softest of yarns, it's a hemp, soy, wool combination. It was not an easy yarn with which to try the smocking stitch. Maybe the smocking stitch isn't easy in any yarn, I just can't comment on that. It's not a pattern that I'll be doing again. I think the dress is adorable, but once I was done with the smocking stitch.......well, I was bored. I persevered and finished it, but it's not a do-over.  This picture is pre-washing. I have it soaking now in a little bit of shampoo, so we'll see if that helps soften it a little.  This is my last finished project for 2012.
I have been working on more UFO's.  The Patches Baby Sweater #2 and the Knit 1 Below Cowl.  I love the way the Knit 1 Below cowl looks, but I'm not enjoying the 1x1 rib. Waaaaaay too much back and forth movement. I will continue though. I've got 5 inches done and I have to have 12 inches. argh.

Our first snow for the season

Yes, we had snow come our way. Not sure how much we'll get overall, but it was pretty this morning. Fat, fluffy and wet flakes....the kind that sticks to the trees.....BEAUTIFUL!!!

Joyeux Noel to all.......

I hope that you are having a very Merry Christmas. I know some of you are enjoying a white Christmas, so be careful if you have to drive in it.

I have been working on some UFO's and in addition to the Trousseau that I finished knitting on Thursday, yesterday I finished the Mae Day dress.  All ends are woven in and the I-cord straps are done. It looks lovely although the fabric is a little stiff. I hope that soaking it will help soften it.  Picture to come later.

Today I will be doing a little turkey and some potatoes for DH and I. nothing fancy. I made a cheese ball on Saturday and we have been enjoying munching on that. It's been awhile since I made one. 

Today I will finish some laundry, make gel air fresheners, maybe block the Trousseau, organize my 2013 calendar and who knows what else I'll get into.

A Merry Christmas to all of you!

Happy Holidays one and all

First, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. For those of you in Iowa and other parts of the midwest, enjoy the barrage of snow and please be careful if you have to go out. Safe travels to those of you who travel to see friends and family.

I'm going to try and have a relaxing holiday, eat a little turkey, some green beans, taters, and a little pie.  I'm planning on getting some knitting done and some spinning too.  Maybe watch some old movies on TCM (my favorite).

Speaking of knitting, I finished the Yoked Cardigan with hours to spare. No time to take a picture of it at home with the better camera, so here it is with my cell phone in the harsh fluorescent lights at work.  It was well received by the mother. It turned out to be somewhere around a 12-14 month old size which I think is perfect. That way it will fit the baby at some point.

I also bound off my Trousseau last night at knit-night. So, this weekend, I will weave in the ends and do some blocking. I love the way it turned out. It's a beautiful pattern, it just can't be visiting knitting for me. I have to pay attention to what I'm doing.  Pictures will come after blocking.
Otherwise, I'll work on some other UFO's and then I will probably do some charity knitting.
 
Again, Happy Holidays!!!

Berger Cookies

A client delivered a tin of cookies yesterday to our office.  We assumed the typical sugar cookie, etc.  oh no, not something as bland as that.  This was a light airy cookie that was slathered with a delicious fudge. Can I say YUMMMMMYYYYY?  I can say YUMMMMY when it comes to these cookies. They are fabulous.  They are from Berger Cookies.  Check them out. Obviously they deliver.  I've posted a picture of the cookies so you can see what I'm talking about.  YUUMMMMMMMM
I'm just saying.
 

Baby Gifts

My DH asked me several weeks ago if I would knit something special for a friend of his who is having their first baby, a girl (he thinks).  I felt honored that he felt proud enough of my knitting to ask, so after some thought, I decided to knit the adorable Yoked Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.  I had purchased this pattern at my LYS after seeing the store model, it is adorable!!!!  It is a multi-size pattern going from a 17-61 inch bust.  It's a genius design too, easy peasy.  I'm using Queensland's Bebe Cotsoy in a lavender pink color.  I would say I'm over 50% done. (Photo to come later)  I'll probably do a hat or booties to go with it, but depends on how much time I have left.

I've been looking at some new blogs too, non-knitting.  I've been getting the sewing bug and there are a lot more blogs about sewing and quilting than there used to be.  I have a new "page" at the top of this blog titled, Non-Knitting Blogs I Read.  I've placed a few of my favorites in there but I'm sure I'll add more.  In my looking around, I found a tutorial on making a lined fabric bucket.  I'm going to make one of these very soon.

Otherwise, on the knitting front, I had to put the finishing of the Trousseau to the side so that I could work on the baby shower gift. I've also got a pair of black socks I'm working on with Knitpicks Swish.

Update on my kitchen re-do. All new three appliances have been delivered, installed, cleaned and already in use.  A very tiring endeavor but oh so worth it.  My new fridge is fabulous, it has lots of room, things don't get hidden because I'm just cramming it in there.  The freezer is nicely laid out and the new beverage center is working out nicely as well.  The beverage center would have been helpful with my old side-by-side, but we didn't know about them until we started looking for a new fridge. 

I've also been re-organizing the pantry and I love it. I'm using bins that I've labeled and that's working out perfectly.  I had already been organizing and throwing out old cans before I thought to take a Before picture. So here's a BEFORE pic already in progress.
 And here are the AFTER pictures. I'm not completely done yet as I ran out of White Bins (purchased from Wally World) but it's a good start and I'm pleased with the results.  Now all I have to do is slide the bin out to see what I have and I can place the newly purchased cans in the back of the bin more easily and they won't get lost in the melee.

November weather

Good thing I keep a journal, since it's hard to believe that it's been over a month since I've posted.  What on earth have I been doing?

Well, as I posted before we had ordered a new refrigerator and a new freezer.  We received those (thank goodness on different weekends) and once the cleaning of them was done, I started having fun on how I wanted to organize them.  I'm still working on that as I'm re-arranging items, but for the most part I'm there.  The upright freezer is another work in progress, even though it's about the same size as my old one. It's made differently with movable door bins, etc, so I'm still working on that one. 

We also purchased a beverage center. It can also serve as a wine cooler, but we wanted it to hold milk, choc milk, cream, juices, beer (can and long-neck bottles), white wine and some bottled water.  That piece arrived yesterday while I was at work, so DH got that one all cleaned and fixed up.

As for knitting, I finished the Portland Hoodie. The idea is that you can wear it as a hoodie or a cowl.  It's much tighter around my neck that it is on this model. I like the pattern and I like the Hoodie. I'm just not too find of the chunky yarn and the one I used is the Baby Alpaca and it sheds on everything. I put it over my head and the yarn is all over me, my lips, my eyes.....I just don't know if I'll wear it.  We don't get that many cold winters enough for me to wear it, so we'll see.
LeAnn and I took a Knit 1 Below Cowl class at Ewe & Company last week. It's a fun thing to do, both the class and the K1below method.  I'm using a solid bamboo for Color A and a blingy variegated for Color B.  The picture on the left shows it in its natural "at rest" state, then the picture on the right shows what it looks like spread open.  You can wear it with either the Color A on the outside or the Color B on the outside.
 

We have been having some unseasonably warm weather, although I think today is back to normal.  Last week we were in the mid to high 60's.  On Wednesday, DH picked me up from work and we had a picnic lunch at the park.  Yes, that is a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in the distance.  If you've never been to Nashville, there is this mammoth building in Centennial Park (not too far from Vanderbilt Univ), that's why Nashville is called the Athens of the south.  The weather was fabulous. The park is usually filled with people but because it was the day before a holiday, it was relatively quiet.
Thanksgiving Day was quiet. I did a little surfing on the net, a little knitting on the K1Below Cowl, prepared a small turkey breast and some cheesy hashbrowns, some turnip greens for DH and we played some colorku.  It was a great day.  I was back at work on Friday and the traffic was glorious.
This weekend's agenda. I'm going to work on my kitchen pantry. I need to re-organize and throw away some things that I know are out of date.  I also need to decide what to make for a friend of ours who is having his first baby.  DH made a special request that I knit something so I have until Dec 14th, which is when the shower is. I had better get busy.

On another note, I have decided to get my knees replaced a year early. The doc didn't want to do both knees at once, so I'm doing them separately, but only 2 months apart.  So, I'm planning on the first one to be the end of Feb, 1st week of March.  I know it will be painful and hard work, but there will be light at the end of that tunnel.  So I say.....BRING IT ON!!!

Just in time for cool weather

I finished knitting the Baby Fern Cowl Hood and I took some pictures of it on my model. It's been so long since I used her that I don't remember what I named her. I'll have to go back in time on this blog and see what her name is. :-)
Unblocked it measured 16.5 inches long.  I didn't block it for length, just to set the stitches.  I finished it just in time for some cooler weather.



While on vacation I was also able to get some spinning done. I finished plying this on Wednesday morning and attempted to dry it outside, but with 30-40 mph winds, it didn't want to stay put on the deck, so I ended up bringing it inside.  It's a BFL/Bamboo from Daily Fibers and I ended up with 488 yards.



Refrigerators and knitting

Research.....thank goodness for the internet.  Being able to research appliances (or anything for that matter) on the internet enables one to buy with knowledge, as well as saving my knees.  When we bought our house 12 years ago, it came with a side-by-side refrigerator. At the time, I thought it was do-able and didn't request it being changed. I was wrong and it didn't take long to realize it, but by then it was too late. Within months I was wanting to get rid of it, but how do you get rid of a relatively new appliance? Anyway, I dealt with it for nearly 12 years and finally in September I said enough. I can't take it anymore. So we started researching.  We finally decided on the Samsung 29 cf french door with freezer at the bottom.  We didn't want the ice and water dispenser on the door since we rarely use ice and drink distilled water, so didn't need it.  Buying without the dispenser requires the item to be ordered, which is probably good.  That gives me this vacation week to prepare.  We also opted for white rather than stainless.  While I like the look of stainless, I think it is a fad and my other appliances are white anyway.  We are also getting a new up-right freezer as my old one is nearly 24 years old and is probably ready to peter-out. We picked the Whirlpool for this one.  Silly probably, but I'm excited about their arrival.

As for knitting, I had to frog to my lifeline on the Trousseau.  I made a mistake and couldn't fix it with all the yarn-overs. Thank goodness I used a lifeline, but it had to go into timeout for a little while until I got over the frustration and sadness for the lost time.  Meanwhile, I worked on the Baby Fern Cowl/Hood. The pattern called for casting on 117 stitches and I opted for 153. I didn't want it to be tight around my neck nor my face if I pulled it up. I knit the 6 row pattern until it was long enough on my neck when I pulled it up onto my head. Pictures coming soon.  I used my recently finished handspun, the French Quarter merino/bamboo. It's extremely soft and I love it!  I had it on last night after I finished casting off and holy cow is it warm.

So, now that the Cowl is finished other than blocking, I will get back on the Trousseau.  I have also signed up to do a Summer Flies Again shawl and enter it into a contest at LYS Ewe and Company.  It's a larger version of the Summer Flies shawl which I adore.  I'm using the Lana Grossa Evento in a beautiful reddish black.

As for spinning, I'm working with another Daily Fibers BFL/bamboo. Surprisingly it's a combination of green and blue. Vey pretty. I should have the 2nd single spun today and will ply them this week.

Fall

Fall......my most favorite time of year. I love the low 70's weather, the changing colors, the nice breezes, and just the general crisp feeling.  It's about the only time I really love the color orange.

Pumpkins everywhere. 

Also leaves that go from green, to orange, to yellow.






As I look out my window in my home office, I see several trees all at once, and I have the full gamut.....green, orange, yellow and when a little breeze comes along, it rains yellow leaves as they fall to the ground. I love it.
There's also apples, glorious apples.  My favorite one to eat is the Fuji, but I love the colors of all apples......
 .......and then you have all the gourds, so full of color and texture. I don't know another time of year that provides all the different things that fall provides.
We are still pretty warm in Tennessee, but you can tell that fall is right around the corner and I'm ready for it.  I'm ready to make homemade soup, chili and knit some warm and wooly things. I want to use my handknit shawls, and my fingerless gloves, and cowls.  Off to knit, so enjoy your fall and go play in some fallen leaves.

Finally some pictures and update on projects

It seems that I spend a lot of time thinking about space and de-cluttering. I’m always trying to organize my home to make it more user-friendly. Now I know there is just DH and I and our house isn’t huge, but sometimes I feel discombobulated. Nothing is where it needs to be and then when I organize I find stuff and think, “What the heck am I keeping this for?” So, I de-clutter and so far I haven’t regretted eliminating anything.

One large item that takes space is magazines, specifically knitting and spinning magazines. I’ve pretty much eliminated all my other ones. Luckily, there is only one spinning magazine that I get and I love perusing it when it comes, Spin Off. I purchased some of the CD’s a couple of years ago of the Spin Off magazine, so that all issues of a particular year are on one CD. I love it!!! I can peruse them while sitting at my computer and I have really been enjoying that. I recently purchased a few more at Interweave’s half-off sale. One of the knitting magazines that I like, Creative Knitting, in addition to the hard copy magazine, I also get it digitally. The question on both of these, should I keep the hard-copy? As to Creative Knitting, I’ve been tearing out the patterns I like, then getting rid of the rest of it. One of the things I don’t like about the digital mag is that they lock and protect the pdf to the point I can’t extract a few pages. So if the one pattern I want to knit are on pages 43, 44, and 88, I can’t just extract those pages and save it as a new file to put on my Kindle or my phone or my tablet. No, I have to keep the whole HUGE space-taking file. (why do I have such an issue with things that take up space?) Back to the question, do I keep the hard copy? I’m really battling with this and although we just had some cabinets built in the office to accommodate such stuff, I don’t want to pile them full of magazines. What do my blogland friends do????

Ok, on to some pictures that I’ve been remiss in adding.  First is the Wingspan. This is the original one I made and blogged about.  I could never figure out how to wear it around my neck, I tried all kinds of configurations.  Unlike a shawl or shawlette, I just couldn’t get it to lay right on my neck and shoulders. The first time I wore it, a co-worker said “oh, what a nice collar.”  Collar?? Seriously?  No, that wasn’t my intention.  I don’t think it was an intentional dissing (is that word still used?) statement, it just wasn’t what I wanted to hear. So I tried it again, and still couldn’t get it right. So, it’s relegated to the closet being unused.  That’s why I frogged the Lace Wingspan, cause I knew I wouldn’t wear it.

Next is the Baktus. I modified the original pattern by adding 3 wraps around the needle on every other 3rd row and dropping the wraps on the 4th.  I love the way this one turned out. It’s not as dense as the original Baktus and it’s very light. The yarn is Carnival by Creatively Dyed Yarns purchased at Stitches South in 2011, a blend of merino, cashmere and angora.

The next one is the Mae Day dress from Vickie Howell. I'm using Vickie Howell's Rock yarn (40% soysilk, 30% fine wool, 30% hemp). I mainly started this pattern because of the smocking stitch. While it was fun, I was tired of it by the time I was done.  I'm six inches into the body of the dress and I have to do nine inches before I get near the end. It will have Icord straps that "grow with the child".



Next up is the Trousseau.  I'm knitting this with the Lana Grossa Lace Lux, the same yarn that I was using for the Lace Wingspan.  It's a lovely pattern. It actually calls for a fingering/dk weight but this will work.  I'm knitting this as a KAL with my friend Reyna who has recently moved back far across the US to California. She is sorely missed.

Next up is a new tool recently purchased on Etsy from the Benjamin Green Studio. This is very well handmade, the craftsmanship is awesome. I have already been playing with it and I love it.







On an unrelated issue is my new skillet. I love this thing. I was in the market for a new skillet and assumed I would go for a Circulon or a Calphalon. I kept going back to this one and it was comparably priced.  So far I'm in love.  I'm going to give it a little more use before I decide to buy a complete set, just to make sure it holds out as advertised.  Some of the reviews said that within 3 months, it was no longer stick-free, but then I can't see how they use and abuse it.  I'm careful with my cookware and since I need some new saucepans as well, I may go to this if it holds well.

And lastly, some recently spun fiber. This was purchased on Etsy fron McMullin Fiber Co. It was glorious to spin and I love the colors. It's called Bambino and the colorway is called French Quarter. It's a 50/50 merino/bamboo blend. 2 ply, 536 yards.

Sept 1 and still hot and muggy

Yep, Sept 1 and the humidity is extremely heavy. Is this due in part to Isaac? possibly, and I won't complain about it too much, since we only get some rain benefits from it and we aren't being flooded like the folks in Louisiana. I feel so horribly bad for those people, but sometimes you gotta say enough is enough. As one of my favorite shows growing up used to say, "Jed, move away from there". (aka The Beverly Hillbillies)  Anyway, all that being said, I wish them all the best.

As for knitting:  Well.....I'd sort of lost my mojo. I still worked on a few things, I just wasn't excited about what I was working on. I did knit a couple of dishcloths as well as the scrubbie called a Tribble. My old Tribble was in rags and I'd thrown it away awhile back, I just never replaced it. So finally did that and those little projects energized me.  I finally turned the heel on sock #2 of my Raggi socks, so now I can knit the leg and be done with it.  I also bought some black yarn to make some socks, so I'll probably cast on for them shortly. I work in a conservative bank and one of their dress code requirements is conservative socks. go figure!

My Fiber Trends felted clogs finally couldn't be mended anymore, so those have been trashed as well and I bought the yarn to knit another pair. Yarn was purchased at Ewe & Co at a 25% off sale but this particular yarn was in the 50% off bin, so I made out like a bandit!  All I have to do is dig out the pattern and I can get started on them as well, since I just know winter is around the corner. YIPPPEEEEE.  Did I mention I don't like summer?

I started a Baktus with some yarn I purchased at Stitches South 2011.  This beautifully dyed yarn is from Creatively Dyed Yarn.  Instead of doing the regular pattern which seems a little dense to me, I decided that on every other 3rd row, I would wrap the yarn 3 times around the needle and then drop them on the 4th row.  I'm almost up to what I've decided is the mid-way point. So I'll start decreasing soon.  Pic to come later.

I frogged the Lace Wingspan in that glorious Lana Grossa Lace Lux. Have any of you used this stuff? yummmmmyyyy.  After wearing the other WIngspan once or twice, I'm just not liking it. So.....I decided I'm not going to waste precious time and this precious yarn knitting something that I'm not going to wear. Life is just too short.  So, I've been looking for another shawl pattern to knit with the Lace Lux. I'm close to deciding, but no decision yet.

As for spinning, I'm almost done spinning the last single from the McMullin Fiber Co on Etsy. It's a 50 merino/50 bamboo mix and the collorway is called French Quarter.  It's a pretty colorway of white/green/yellow/burgundy.  I'll hopefully ply this over this long weekend.

So, the mojo is back and I'm going to go peruse my stash!

Wow, August already.

Wow, it's been almost a month since I've posted.  I don't know that I can pinpoint exactly what I've been doing. Mainly a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I have not focused on one project, well except for maybe the office and unpacking boxes.  I've almost got my side of the room done and organized.  I will help DH with his side and then I can settle down in my knitting/spinning corner.  Getting to August lets me know that Fall is right around the corner and I'm ready for it. I don't know why I would complain about the heat because I'm not out in it that often. I leave my house during the week, get in my air-conditioned car. I walk up a little hill from the parking garage to my office (ok, this is in the heat for maybe 10 minutes), then I work in an air-conditioned office, I may go out at lunch, then back to the parking garage after work, then in my car and back in the house, all of which is air-conditioned.  So, it really shouldn't bother me that bad and this year........well, I'm just ready for fall, that's all.

I wore my wingspan twice, still trying to decide if I like it. I loved knitting it, truly lots of fun, but wearing it.......I don't know yet.  It probably needs to be a little bigger for it to lay around my neck right. It has caused me to stall on my lace wingspan, not sure that's what I want to make with that lovely Lana Grossa Lace Lux. That stuff is just divine! May have to frog it and do something else with it.

Other than finishing the Candy Corn and Licorice earlier in July, I haven't done any spinning. Partly because I had to put everything away to bring the boxes back into the office to unpack, but I could have fit some time to spin somewhere in there, surely! The Tour de France takes a lot of evening time to watch and I usually will knit during that. I have made good headway into my sock yarn squares blanket. I don't know how many squares I'm up to now, but I still have quite a ways to go. I've hardly watched any of the Olympics other than a little of Michael Phelps and his beautiful butterfly stroke.  I do like men's gymnastics and I may look for that event.

I made frog-eye salad today. How fun. I never knew it was done with pasta, I thought it was just the big ball tapioca. Now I know. :-)

OK, I'm going to spin for a little bit. I have this new fiber called French Quarter. Can't wait!

What to do when it's 104 degrees F???

Well.........stay inside if at all possible. While inside, there are lots of things to do! 

1. I finished spinning the Candy Corn and Licorice with the lace-weight fuschia I obtained at knit night......Love it. Fingering weight at 900 yards. (The mosaic is free from Bighugelabs.com)

2. Diving through the stash to see what I have and determining whether I'll truly ever knit with the stuff. I de-stashed some yarn into a bag for charity knitting. Sometimes we just have to be realistic, right? I'll probably make some type of log cabin blanket or a striped one.  I have more de-stashing to do, but it's a good start. 

3.  Worked on our office some more and hung up the curtain between the office and the kitchen. I blogged about this before. We also moved the packed up book boxes back into the office so we could unpack them and moved the bookcases into their final locations. The office is probably 75% complete. This has been a 2+ year project, but I see light at the end of the tunnel.

4.  In my stash diving in number 2 above, I came across some other things that have hibernated awhile.  Prior to my knitting addiction that started approximately 6.5 years ago, I had several hobbies. One was sewing, some quilting, paper crafting, the list is infinite. Since I picked up knitting again, most everything else has gone to the wayside.  I have been getting the urge to do a little sewing again, so I've been working on the hobby room to get better access to my sewing machine, etc. So....back to what I came across that has been in hibernation awhile is a paper-pieced tumbling blocks quilt top.  This project is in its infancy, but it's fun and totally portable. So portable in fact, that I made its own carrying case.  It's made from a cloth placemat and I placed different sized ziploc bags in it and then sewed a ribbon down the middle. This covers the bottom ends of the ziplocs but leaves the zip end available for use.  Then on to the tumbling blocks pattern. It is paper pieced so you start out by making paper diamonds in the size that you want. I made lots of them so that when I had a few minutes, I could baste the material to the paper.  Once you have a bunch (or just several) made, you can start piecing the block together. The key is to have a light, medium and dark variation in each block. Once you decide which side (left, right, top) each one goes in, you just keep with that. The idea is that you are looking at "blocks" with the light coming from a certain direction. So in my example, the light is coming from the right.  So, I'll be working on this from time to time.

There are many more things to do inside, but that's all I got done over my 4 day holiday weekend.

Catching up

The Tour de France starts today so I’ll be busy watching it for the next 3 weeks. I always, always look forward to this race and I love watching it. Both DH and I love it. I will be picking a project today to work on during the Tour. Update on this later.

Catching up.....I’m a little behind in posting so I’ve got a few things to catch up. First off, the prize winner from June 15th. I used a highly effective random number generator. Since there were only 5 comments, I placed nicely folder paper pieces (with numbers hidden on the inside) into a bowl and had my DH draw a number. The winner is # 1 ……Carol, so if you can send me an email with your address, I will get the prize shipped to you.

Second….the reason I’m behind in posting. As usual, we were having internet problems. As I’ve complained many times on this blog, because I live in the country, there are very few alternatives to pick from for internet service. DSL, Cable, UVerse, Broadband….none of those are available here. So, my alternatives are dial-up, ISDN, satellite or a very expensive T1 line. We’ve been using ISDN which transmits at 128k. We have opted to move to HughesNet satellite internet and now our download speed will be at 1.5MB. Quite a bit of difference over 128k and this way DH and I can surf at the same time, rather than taking turns. Of course, this doesn’t even begin to compare with cable internet where the download speed is 30MB. 1.5MB compared to 30MB, HUGE DIFFERENCE. But it’ll be better than what we had, so hopefully no more complaints. So far, so good.

Third….some finished projects. I am thrilled in that I have finished the Pie-Wedge Shawl. It’s knit with Cherry Tree Hill Suri Lace Alpaca. It took almost all of 2 skeins. I shortened the pattern by 20 sts so it would be a little shorter. So, rather than casting on 102 sts I cast on 82. I started this project in January and finally finished it in June. It’s hard to describe how light and airy this is and it’s very warm. It feels as if you have nothing on your shoulders and then all of sudden you realize how warm you are. It’s wonderful. It was hard to stay monogamous to this project but I did for the most part. I would longingly look at other patterns and say ooooh, I could cast on for that project with this yarn and then I’d say, nope focus on the pie-wedge. Yep, glad I did.
The next finished project is the Knit Flat Bear. I first read about this bear on Wise Hilda Knits blog. He was super-easy and knit in one piece, so you don’t have to attach all these little pieces and have the ears all whomper-jawed. (look it up) From top of head to the bottom of the feet, he stands a little over 6 inches. He is knit with Berroco Chincilla on size 4’s and he’s very soft and cuddly. Lightly filled with craft fiberfill. I finished this in one night and added the eyes and nose the next day.
The Summer Flies Shawl in Aslan Trends Alpaca. Soooo soft and yummy. I finished this a couple of months ago but just hadn’t taken any pictures. So, here they are.
Next, the Wingspan. This was a very fun pattern. I will probably do another one. I’ll decide after I’ve worn it a couple of times to see how it’s going to lay around my neck.

Upcoming projects: I bought some delicious Lana Grossa Lace Lux in creamy white. I’ve stalked surfed Ravelry to see what I wanted to make with it. I've decided on the Lace Wingspan and I'm going to make it my Tour de France project. 
Spinning. I finally did some spinning last weekend. I sure do enjoy it. It’s hard to put my finger on why I enjoy it, especially compared to where my mind was with spinning 3 years ago. There’s just an overwhelming calm (mind and body) while you’re spinning, in comparison to knitting, it’s a different calm. I spun some Daily Fibers Mixed BFL/Tussah silk in a colorway called Candy Corn and Licorice. I had originally planned to ply it with purple, but I was given a gorgeous lace weight fuschia at knit night this past Thursday and I think I’ll try that. Finished pics later.