Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The End is Near

The End of the Year, that is. I hope everyone had a nice holiday. We had a technology fest at Christmas--many electric tools, video pods, computer accessories, and so on. There was yarn and more, but you'll have to wait until the New Year for pictures. We are scurrying around today, taking down the tree since it has been up for a month, doing wash, cleaning the house, mailing the very delayed Christmas cards... We're off to California for a few days for my niece's christening, so have a Happy New Year. I will see you in 06.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

On the Needles.

The Dalarna Socks have proven to be a joy to knit. I haven't had a lot of time to work on them, but they are just lovely. The yarn is Wendy Guernsey. It is deeply color and a little stiff, making for a firm sock that should hold up nicely. The cuff includes Tvåändsstickning or Swedish two ended knitting. The top and bottom of the cuff use this technique with some nice ribbing in between. The pattern is Nancy Bush's and, like all of her sock patterns, the directions are clear and helpful. Below the cuff is a clock pattern that runs down to the ankle. While these might take quite a while to finish (given I work on them only every three days), they have the potential to move into my favorite sock position.

Dalarna Sock
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Since I've been finishing up a number of projects, I've been thinking about what comes next. I was looking at this yarn: Peace Fleece.

Peace Fleece
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

One of my goals for this past year was to learn to cable. Um. Yeah. It's almost 2006, but I'm cabling! This book is what I am using:

I can't say enough about this pamphlet. If you want to learn about cables or to learn to cable without a needle, this is what you need. I made it through the little intro chapters and am getting ready to start this:

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Holiday: The good, the bad, the miraculous

Yes, the good, the bad, the miraculous holiday events. Really.

I guess we do the good news first.

Lots of holiday parties here. First, the school parties. This was the only half decent picture we could get on the school program evening. Too much singing and sugar do not make for a calm child.

Happy Holidays!
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

And back at school at 8 am for another sugar fest. I decided that Klaralund needed to make an appearance. This sweater is the one that I grab when I throw on jeans and run out the door. Here we are discussing the relative merits of green frosting vs. red frosting.

Klaralund at the Party
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

We ended up deciding that white cake with multi colored sparkles was actually the best for 8 am.

Holiday Cupcakes
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

And the weather has been cool, but not cold. Since Texas never really gets that cold we seem to be raking leaves all winter long. Notice that the child is a huge help...

Raking Leaves
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

More good, you ask? I picked up my gifted hat from our local knitting guild exchange. Isn't it wonderful?

Hat Exchange Hat
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Diana (no blog) pulled my number out of the hat and received the bag of Via Mala yarn that I provided. I had two skeins left from my poncho (Feb 05). She added the lovely little flower from some stash wool. Isn't it just too cute? And, since no one else in my household was awake to take the picture, here's the hat in the bathroom mirror shot:

Hat Exchange
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Ok. Let's move on to the bad... Take a look at this:

A bad Hair day
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Thanks to all the other knitters who put up their mistakes, I am actually brave enough to blog about my stupidity with the Amelie bolero. Notice that the cat is still obsessed with the fuzz? I'm close to giving it to him permanently. Yes, the sleeves are BOTH in upside down. What a dope. I looked and looked at the back piece that wraps into the bolero fronts and decided that the side seams must go under the arm pit. No, no. Actually they go on the shoulder. Bad guess. Of course the instructions in Rebecca are no help. They basically say--sew up the side seams with the sleeves. Duh. So, I put one sleeve in and actually looked at the sweater again, tried it on, and thought things were going well. No. Apparently not. It takes BOTH sleeves for me to grasp the problem. Argh. I threw this aside in disgust. I will indeed rip and resew the sleeves, however, this has reminded me that I am actually most happy when I knit more traditional designs with more traditional, natural fiber yarns. Yes, I want to be cool and hip (see even those words are pase) but I'm really an old fuddy duddy (as my grandmother would say).

Enough about the bad. Now, what about the miraculous?

Miraculous-- my husband asked me to make him a sweater. Why so strange? Well, this is the man that has never worn a sweater in the years that I have known him. Once in a while he will put on a sweatshirt when it gets really cold, but this is a new thing.

So, I'm thrilled he wants a knitted object. But, there are some issues to consider.
  1. He has a 48 inch chest. This is huge. Most Rowan men's patterns only go up to 46". I'm going to be knitting FOREVER on this sweater, so I better like the pattern and the yarn.
  2. He won't wear scratchy fabrics. That leaves out most wools and neither of us likes acrylics.
  3. He wants a lightweight sweater (probably cotton) since we live in Texas, and he is always warm.
  4. He wants a traditional design, preferably an aran.
  5. He wants a tough, durable sweater ( he destroys most of his clothes rather quickly... it is actually a joke in his family).
  6. Machine washable is best--we all do our own wash and he just throws everything in the machine.
  7. The only colors that are appropriate are dark blue, dark grey or dark green.
I've been pondering this dilema, and think I have a solution--Rowan Denim. I've ordered Rowan Denim and will take a good look at the possible patterns when it gets here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Misty Garden Scarf

I have been busy, busy at work since final grades are due. Can we say--end of the semester?

My birthday was on Monday, and I had a lovely time. Bruce and Anna made a cake and bought flowers. Anna made sure the cake was exactly what she wanted--chocolate with chocolate icing and sprinkles! And the flowers were purple also--her favorite color. We had a sitter and went to dinner and a movie. I think it was the 4th time we have had a couple date in 3 years... We saw the new Harry Potter movie, which I enjoyed. You can't get too hung up on all of the missing scenes from the book. It is pieced together, but fun. Poor Snape gets little time, but the action scenes are great fun--though it was certainly the most frightening of all the movies so far.

And, the big knitting news is that I finished my last knitted holiday gift:

Misty Garden Scarf
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

This is the Misty Garden Scarf from Scarf Style. I am so slow when it comes to following the knitting trends. I kept looking and looking at this book but didn't know what to make from it. I followed the pattern exactly, but used the Jane Ellison's Queensland Collection Comfort Mohair (632). It knit very nicely. The great thing about this was the pattern was easily memorizable and fast--perfect for watching the child and keeping the hands busy.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Winter Ice

Yes, I live in Texas where it hits 100 degrees regularly in the summer. One would think that if you put up with the heat, you would be spared the cold. No luck. It rained and iced on Wednesday night, hitting a low of 25 (freezing cold and horrid for Texas). Remember that Houston has 4 sandtrucks--I'm in a much smaller town and figure we have very little equipment to deal with ice. The University rightly closed on Thursday, even though the public schools were open. Our poor Texas plants bravely held up against the cold.

Winter Ice
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

I love how the ice froze on the barbed wire fence.

Ice on the Fence
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

I have been cold for three days. How pitiful. I grew up dealing with ice and snow, but apparently 12 years in Texas has made me soft. Our knitting guild had its Holiday Party last night, but I decided not to go. My husband seemed concerned about the various patches of black ice and made clear that he did not want me to slide off the road. While I probably could have gone, I decided to be whimpy and play it safe. I feel badly about not going, as I have a finished hat to gift to a knitter. I'm off to our local knitting store to deposit the hat for pickup!

In case you didn't get the email, the Winter Knitty is live. There's some great patterns again and an article that grabbed my attention: Twined Knitting. Twined knitting has been of interest to me because I have the yarn for this lovely sock in my stash:

Dalarna Sock
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

That's Dalarna from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. I special ordered the Wendy Guernsey yarn (in grey) a month or so again, and I think it is time to get moving on these socks. Off to cast on!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Flamingoes and Birthday Treats

Our local holiday parade was this past weekend, and it was cold. Not only did we know bunches of people in the parade (small town), but every group was giving away candy. Do you know what that much sugar can do to a sheltered 3 year old? Eek. However, the best thing from the parade, according to the child, was this flamingo headband:

Christmas Flamingos
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Cute Christmas flamingoes, no?

We are also approaching my b-day season (Dec 12, but with the holidays my birthday is sporatically celebrated throughout December). My Mom sent these cute items:

Tea Time
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Tea for my tea pot and a great little tea timer. And, knowing that I love to stash that knitting, she found this kit:

mitten kit
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

I had seen the Nordic Fiber Arts mitten kits, like the one my Mom sent, on Wendy's blog. I was looking for some challenging color work, and it sounded like these mittens would be great. Wendy said that the charts and instructions were incredibly clear and that there was a separate left and right pattern, and she was right. I chose Nordhav mittens with the Strikkegarn yarn (Do you like the colors Mom picked?). What better way to start this sort of knitting?

When I was looking at the Nordic Fiber Arts web page I noticed that the company location was Durham, NH--one town over from where my Mom lives. Mom decided to do some checking and the owner of Nordic Fiber Arts is (pay attention here--small town connections get trick sometimes!) the mother of the woman that sings in the praise choir with my Mom and the mother in law of the church choir director. Whoa. Where's Kevin Bacon?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Decorations

It's time to for the Holidays! Last weekend (when it was balmy--notice the shorts) we cut our Christmas tree from a local farmer.

Cut your own Tree
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Here is the tree when decorated. Do you see the trains under the tree? They are my father's trains from the 50s and a brand new Christmas train for the child. We have the cattle car, where cows walk off the train, various lights, a musical car, and a car where an elf chases a reindeer. What fun! Anna spends hours watching the train spin around the track.

More trains for the tree
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

On the other hand, the cat is terrified of the train. Poor guy.

Scare the Cat!
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Don't Look MOM PT. 2

I mean it Mom--You'll spoil your surprise!

My Mom requested a knitted vest to throw over her sweaters. I let her look through lots of books, but she liked the very simple Asymmetrical Vest in Sally Melville's Knit Stitch book. She found the garter stitch, casual look exactly right. Here's the finished product:

Simple Asymetrical Vest
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

I used Brown Sheep Nature Spun held double and the recommended needles. Since Mom wanted this to be loose, I made the XL size, which should work over a sweater. I do like the funky mismatched bottom.

Of course, that means I only have one more gifty on the needles. Hmm. That means I need another project! Remember this one?

Wish List
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

Yes, that is the Bolero from Rebecca. And I've started it.

Amelie Bolero and the Attack Cat
Originally uploaded by amyeetx.

So that cat didn't eat the sweater. He actually loves the fuzz--perhaps he thinks it is his lost Mom. You knit the entire body in one piece. It starts with the bottom section and then you add on both sides. Right now I'm adding the middle. When the middle is finished, it's on to the sleeves and the joining. The last step is to pick up and add the collar and a band around the entire bolero bottom.

As you can tell from the pictures, the yarn, Amelie, is incredibly furry. I love this and hate it. It feels great--soft and furry, like a long haired kitten. However, as something to knit with, it stirs both love and hate. It doesn't show mistakes, which is great, but if you have to rip it is really a pain. You tug to get those little fuzzies to let go, and if you drop a stitch, it takes forever to fish around to find the lost loop. But, I keep thinking of how nice this will be when it is finished.

Gallery of Finished Objects

Gallery 2007
Gallery 2006
Gallery 2005
Gallery 2004

On the Needles

Cable Cardigan

Faroe Island Sweater

Rowan Denim Seahorse


Future Knits

Lisette from Rowan

Lorna's Laces Socks

Backyard Leaves Scarf

Eloise from Jane Ellison


The WeatherPixie


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