Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Princess, Her Highness and some wonderful gifts




 The gorgeousness battle continues between my lovely Christmas Cacti.  Princess has lead off with a brilliant display, but Her highness, who is much older, and wiser is in it for the long haul.  She reminds me that age is beauty in and of itself, I have to agree.  She may not have as many blossoms, but the ones she has are incredible.  They are the deepest red and a big beautiful size.  And as she also shared, she has been blooming on time for years, and that accounts for a lot.  The competition is all in fun as both plants know they are loved, and I am proud of them.  I have a feeling Princess can learn a thing or two from Her Highness, you can flash your beauty when you are young, but what you have deep inside you to share over time is really what is important.


Friend/teacher/therapists gifts are all wrapped and ready to deliver.  Hooray for that all being done!

I received two amazing gifts in the mail this past weekend.  Right when I thought my headache was going to burst my head open I received these wonderful, thoughtful gifts.  First are these amazing notebooks for knitters from my beautiful friend Anne of NaNa GoGo...in search of simple things. 
They were made by Jill Draper of jilldraper.com, and might I add they are wonderful.  First the cover is stamped with pictures of beautiful wool providing friends, and inside the cover is a weight conversion chart, small ruler and a needle conversion chart.  The blank pages are for your notes while making a project.  The idea is brilliant and I just love it.  Thank you so much Anne!!!!  Anne and I have shared a lot of things over the years, including our dear friends fighting for their lives as they battled cancer.  Anne is the very best, she is so talented with needles and a hook, and a kind word when needed, you are going to be in awe of all her beautiful makes.  Please pop in and wish her Happy Holidays.


Another bag popped into my mail box from  Chris at Chrissie's Knits Times.  This is not really a Christmas present, but rather a just because present.  Now who else but a blogger would send you a just becasue present at the busiest freaking time of the year?  You see Chris works a bit part time in a yarn store, (I know I am insanely jealous, too).  She saw this yarn and thought I would like it.  And guess what, she was right.  She knew about my dishcloth obsession these past few months and thought I might like to give this yarn a try.  This yarn is so beautiful, and I think perfect for dishcloths as it is a bit thinner than the Sugar'n Cream I had been using.  This is Sudz by Estelle Yarns, 100 % cotton yarn.  I think I am in love.


Look at these vibrant colors!  I love them.  Now my mind is spinning and I am thinking of things to make with these beauties, and it just might not be dishcloths.  Thank you so much Chris, please pop in and send Chris a big hello, and look at the absolutely stunning cowl she just finished.  She attempts all sorts of knitting I only dream of.
 

A lot of you are already closing down your blogs for the Holidays, to you I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season.  I will be here, trying to stay up with all the festivities as best as I can through these busy days.  I appreciate your visits all year long, and I appreciate all the time you take to connect with me though commenting especially this time of year when time seems so limited.

Wishing you a wonderful day.
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Limpet Mitts according to Meredith and some Christmas

Way back in November, Sue of Mr. Micawber's Recipe for Happiness posted a CAL for her beautiful Limpet Mitts pattern.  I am not usually one to jump in but Sue's patterns are so fascinating and you learn so much from her.  I decided to get moving and try to stay up with the instructions.  Alas I have to admit I did not stay up, but I finished mine yesterday, well Limpet Mitts according to Meredith that is.


Here was the first section to the pattern.  I was so thrilled I learned about Sue's special way of joining rounds and I learned how to make Limpets.  They are so fun and such an incredible design element. 
This poor portion of the pattern remained all by itself until yesterday when I finally decided to get this project done.
 

Now Sue, don't be all embarrassed for me but I just could not do the thumb portion of the mitt.   First of all I got mixed up, and since I was nursing a pretty bad headache I had to read the directions several times (not your fault they were flawless).  When my heads hurts nothing makes sense even simple directions.  Then as I actually got it right I decided that the yarn I was using was too thick to make the thumb, there would have just been too much yarn between my thumb and hand.


I put them down for a while and thought about it.  What if I made it without the thumb portion?  Well I am no designer or even that creative, so I had to give this a lot of thought, and frankly my head was not cooperating.  I finally worked it out, going back and forth for four rows and then joining again in the round.  The problem was I should have decreased before going back and forth to make them fit better as Sue was decreasing at the same time she was making the thumb, well live and learn.  My yarn choice was also a bit to thick, I made a smaller size but really should have used slightly thinner yarn.


They are a bit wide across the widest part of my hand, but I do sort of have thin hands, they just might be perfect for someone else, but there is no way I am giving these away, I like them too much.  I used Jo Sharp yarn left over from one of the tank top/sweaters I made earlier this year.  So here they are Limpet Mitt's according to Meredith, minus the thumb, and a little too big........


Signs of Christmas are all over my house.  Little Buddy loves looking at these snowflakes slowly spinning in my windows.
 

My mantle has been decorated since right after Thanksgiving.  I don't like to decorate early but I know with my schedule it is the only way it works for me.
 

I collected Santa's for years, it was a great present for my parents to give me, as it always gave them something to look for that I would love.


My favorite Father Christmas I bought years ago at an art fair where my parents used to live in Michigan, he is sitting on my Father's antigue red bike.
 

Not the best picture here but I did want you to see Her Highness on the right, and Princess on the left, in relation to the other plants I have.  These two are ginormous for Christmas Cactus plants.  Princess was really 1/3 of the size when I bought her last year.  Do you see my tomato plant in the middle?
 

Little Buddy's face has healed right up.  By the next day all you could really see was the scratch on his face.  If you looked really close there was a tiny bit of brusing around his eye.
 

He says thanks for all your well wishes.

Happy Sunday.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Can you stand two more......and poor Little Buddy

I am done with my Christmas crochet/knitting creating.  I may not be done with all creating but creating of the crochet or knitted kind is finished.  I made the last cowl for Little Buddy's babysitter.  She watches him every Monday and Wednesday while I am at work.  I love her and so does he.  She loves purple so I decided she needed a cowl too.


Yes another Malabrigo Rios Cowl.  I usually make her a shawl, but she is getting a cowl this year instead.  She likes to walk in the park and believe it or not it has been chilly here recently.  I thought this might keep her neck warm on chilly mornings.


I love the variations in color in Malabrigo yarn, and it is just so soft to work with.


Then I decided to use the Cascade Yarn Eco Duo yarn I bought in Ohio to make myself a cowl, too.  Now I just about love this yarn more than any yarn I have ever worked with, and I love this exact color.  I now have this cowl, a large basket weave cowl, and a Queen Anne's Lace Scarf all made from this exact same yarn in the exact same color.   Knowing myself, next time I see it in a store I will probably buy some more.  I just can't seem to help myself.


It is so pretty and soft who can resist?


Now for Little Buddy.  Apparently he took a big fall on the playground today near the sandbox.  His poor little face hit the fence and I think the fence won.  He was very sad when he got home from school, I can't blame him, I bet that it was pretty scary.  I know his teachers took great care of him and I told them that little, active boys are going to fall, no matter how hard we try to watch them.  It is all part of growing up and exploring.  I have a feeling this sweet face is going to look worse before it looks better.

Hope you are not feeling as beat up as this little one is looking.
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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Simple Sunday

I run around so much for work, and of course for Little Buddy that today I need a simple day.  Actually every Sunday I need a simple day.  My decorations are up, well except for my tree which is the last thing I put up and the first thing I take down.  My yarny gifts are almost complete, the last crochet cowl is in the works as I type this.  I have Christmas cards to address and must get my husband to write a wee note about Little Buddy to include with our cards.    A lot of people don't know about him yet and I want them to see how he fits into our family, and not to think he is our Grandchild (I am assuming Mr. 21's ?!?!?!),  like one acquaintance thought after he ran into my husband and Little Buddy at the grocery store.  Seriously this man, who actually knows Mr. 21, actually asked that!
Today is about simple.


Maybe I will wear my new scrap yarn slippers.  These are made with the leftover Malabrigo bits and bobs I had from the crochet cowls I made.  The flowers were already made, I have a tendency to whip one up when I have a bit of yarn leftover.  I used them to cover my wonky seams which are ever so much more apparent in stripes.  Funny the stripes match up from the wrong side when I sewed them up.  Lets just say my finishing techniques leave much to be desired.


I love the wonkieness of them, is wonkieness actually a word? You can find the pattern for them here.


I saw these plastic ornaments on sale at Joann's for a dollar each and had an idea.  Only a true yarn lover would think of putting yarn ends into a plastic ornament and think it would look dazzling on a tree. 


My lovely friend Lynda sent me these two ornaments.   They have been on her Christmas tree for years.  I think she sent them to the right place.


May I introduce you to Mrs. Claus with toothpick knitting needles.

And of course this darling sheep who will never be packed away in the Christmas bin again.  I think this lovely sheep deserves to be displayed year round. 


Her Highness is getting ready to burst into bloom.  She was moved closer to the house this year as our summer was very hot.  She has grown a little but is in risk of being shown up by her daughter, Princess.


I purchased Princess last year and she has outdone herself growing and adapting to her new home.  She is huge and apparently loves the total neglect I give her.  If you have read my blog in years past you will know my Christmas cactus live outside in the Florida heat and humidity, I water them all the time, re-pot them and frankly forget they are supposed to be treated differently.  I never follow the rules on growing them and they seem to thrive so I am keeping with what works. 


I almost forgot to buy an Amaryllis plant this year.  I loved having one on my table last year, so when I saw one at the grocery store a few days ago I bought it.  I bought the smallest one they had so I could see it grow.  It has already grown inches in just a few short days.  I look forward to seeing that gorgeous red bloom.

So today is about simple, being at home, making blueberry muffins, addressing cards, maybe a row or two of crochet, a bike ride/walk with Little Buddy and just being at home. 

How is your Sunday shaping up?
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Ohio State Scarf and Hat


Do you remember the wonderful Ohio State themed yarn I bought while visiting my son in Columbus?  It is now a scarf and hat, made for him for Christmas.  This is Cascade Yarns, 128 Superwash, in merino wool, 128 yards per skein.  It is really a delight to work with, very soft and fluffy.
 

I am fascinated how variegated yarn behaves when used in different situations.  Here is the hat, knit in the round in pretty basic stockinette stitch.  I love how the colors pool, but are slightly different in each row.  I cast on 54 stitches using size 10 1/2 double pointed needles, made around a 2 inch rib, knit it until I thought it was long enough, about 8 1/2 inches, and then  knit tog 2 tog until I had just a few stitches on the needles.  I then used a darning needle to pull the yarn through the last remaining stitches, and it was done, easy peasy.  This is based on the pattern I referred to in my last post.


Now look at the same yarn used in a very simple garter stitch scarf, it looks completely different.  Cast on 21 stitches using size 10 1/2 needles, knit each row until you run out of yarn, that was at about the 48 in. mark for me.  I'd say it is pretty manly, just perfect for Mr. 21.


I thought the scarf was okay until I made the hat, which I am in total love with and now makes the scarf look pretty drab.  The hat just has some extra zing I think, and I love the colors, love, love, love the way it turned out.  I could do something else with the scarf, but I am not frogging it as I know my son, it will be lost in no time at all.  Two more finished projects to add to my list.

Now for the modeling session...........


Someone I know was not in the mood to model.  He was busy eating his breakfast and watching his shows before school.  I took a million photos of him, almost all of them were a big blur as he was turning his head every which way.
 

I swear he looks like an Elf, one of Santa's helpers with his tiny little head.
 

Even blurry he is awfully cute.

Happy Friday.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A new hat and more cowls


My lovely friend Taci has recently been making some wonderful hats and posted about them on her blog.  I was looking for an easy hat pattern and this hat fit all my requirements perfectly.  Meet the Simple Slouch Hat by Robyn Devine.  It is very fun and fast to make.  I can see why Taci has gone hat crazy lately. 


 I made this as another gift for my friend Lynda.  She is getting the woven towels and dishcloths, the  green slippers, and a cowl and a hat for Christmas.  When I paired the hat with the cowl I was sure surprised, look at how awful they look together even though they are both made from Malabrigo Rios Archangel in the same dye lot.  This simple was not going to do. 


I was lucky to have one more skein of the Archangel and whipped this new cowl up.  It looks a bit better and I am hoping it will look even better when they are not put so close together.  Funny how the colors are so different.  And really I think the difference in knitting and crochet accentuate the color differences so much don't you?  I will keep the top cowl for a gift for a therapist or friend and give the bottom cowl to Lynda.


Remember this is the Earth Fairy Button Cowl by Jennifer at Fiber Flux.  It is so fast to make and I think it makes a very fun present.  You see all that yarn I bought on my trip is almost used up already.  I have started on the Ohio State scarf, I might have one more of these cowls to make and then the gift knitting/crochet will be over for the season.  Hooray!!!  Back to some sanity in my life if that is possible.

This weekend, besides a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family, I took our Christmas photo, ordered Christmas cards and got all decorated for the Holidays, well minus the tree that is.  I was on a mission to get it all up and out of the way so when I returned to work after a few days off I would not be even more overwhelmed with Holiday stuff.  I have about 2/3 of my shopping done, I am getting ready to ship a few items.  I am trying so hard to be on top of things this Season.  Normally I am a Christmas grouch, maybe if I am ahead of the game this year I will feel better once the big day comes.  This is not my favorite time of year like it is for so many.  To be honest I usually feel so overwhelmed by it all and by the time Christmas Day arrives I am just downright exhausted.  I am trying to be better and enjoy the moment, but it is so hard with so much added stuff to do with the Holidays. 

My computer has had a bad virus, so hopefully it has not affected your ability to visit me because it sure has affected my ability to visit you and leave comments.  It has had a home visit by the computer doctor and is now on the mend.  I hope to catch up with you all soon.

I am off to knit with friends this evening.  What are you up to?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Malabrigo Madness and Happy Thanksgiving

I have fallen back in love with Malabrigo yarn again, not that we ever had a falling out, I just stopped buying it and using it for a while.  Now I feel like I never want to knit or crochet with anything else.  This yarn is so smooth and beautiful, it is perfect for this new cowl/scarf, which has become my current obsession.





This is the Earth Fairy Button Cowl by Jen at Fiber Flux.  Jen designs about a million beautiful free crochet patterns a year.  This one especially caught my eye and I knew I had to make it.  And you know me, once I make one of something I have to make at least a hundred of them.

I have made four so far, with one more in the works.  Three of the above were from stash yarn.   I know you saw my yarn purchases from my trip to Ohio, I have a few more in mind to make.  Suddenly I think everyone I know should have one!

In order of appearance:

Malabrigo Rios Archangel
Malabrigo Rios Compossita
Malabrigo Rios Azules
 Malabrigo Rios Archangel in a different dye lot.

I purchased the buttons at Joann's, and I used a size J hook.  These are fast to make and used most of the 210 yards in the skein.  A perfect one skein project.  Don't you want to join in the fun?


Yesterday I finished the first part of the delightful Sue's Limpet Mitts.  I am behind in the CAL as the whole pattern has now been provided by Sue on her wonderful blog and I have only made it this far.  The directions are clear and easy, and if you have any questions there are pictures and videos to help. I am learning new stitches and new ways to do things, thank you Sue. I plan on getting at least the matching part of the mitt done sometime today.  Maybe I can get completely done with both of them by the end of the weekend.


I want to wish all of you celebrating Thanksgiving a very special day tomorrow.  My boys will all be together, well at least for the 38 hours Mr. 21 will be home.  I love it when we are all together as a family, everyone sleeping in their own bed just where they are supposed to be. 

I have much to be thankful for this year and every year.  I want you to know that I am truly thankful for each and everyone of you.  I appreciate you taking the time to come and visit me in this little part of my world.  I appreciate your comments and the conversations we have.  I appreciate that you have let me into your life and that you don't mind being a part of mine.

Have a wonderful day tomorrow.

And remember Christmas is less than a month away, now that is a scary thought!
 
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