Monday, February 28, 2011

Under The Sea

After an icy start to the day (a car spun out in front of me on the way to work), the sun came out and dried things up. It is amazing what a little thing like sunshine can do for you. I was meeting a friend for lunch at Crazy Horse, our favorite restaurant for lunch and my spirits were high. Not only was I going to share some fun with a friend, but I was going to wear sunglasses on the way! Maybe silly, but when you live in Holland MI, it really isn't sunny that often in the winter months.

Anyway, as I was driving along, I was thinking about summer and my next vacation, which is in July. In turn, that got me to thinking about my last vacation to Orlando, Florida. Which got me to thinking about the 3 balls of Rowan Lempur Linen sitting in my stash. I took some of this yarn with me when we went to Florida and knit my sister the lacy linen scarf. It was calling after I got home from work and finished dinner, I grabbed my pattern for the easy drop stitch scarf and got to work. It really is an easy pattern and it looks quite sharp, even though it has not been blocked. It reminds me of waves of  cool water.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Back Up

After a slow week (regarding knitting) I finally finished the back of the charcoal ladder rib vest. I must say it felt like my knitting was shrinking instead of growing. Every time I pulled out the tape measure to see how it was coming it seemed like it was less instead of more. Crazy, huh? 26 1/2 inches never seemed so far away. And yet, here I am, cast off.

The shoulder/neck area had really weird shaping that I am interested to see how it all goes together. Usually I just decrease along the neck for shaping and then cast off all of the shoulder. This pattern had you decrease at the neck and shoulder. Hmmm. Well, I guess you can't learn if you don't try something new, right?

I had a birthday party at my house Saturday night for my sister and my two kids. I know, you are thinking, how many birthday parties do your kids get anyway? Well, this was with my mom and we decided to combine the three for her. Usually we have family get togethers at my sister's house, but  I try to offer to host a few a year. I am not the greatest cook, nor do I have any great love for it, which probably accounts for my lack of cooking and hostess skills. I spent Saturday morning running around for food at Meijer and Montello Meat Market. I intended to bake a cake, but after I saw this at Meijer, I changed my mind. Not only did it look great, it tasted pretty good as well. I went with standard birthday candles, which disappointed my husband as he really likes those ones that are impossible to blow out. Well, that was my weekend.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Climbing The Ladder

As expected, we had a "snow day" today due to the ice storm that hit Holland on Sunday. Since my laptop was home over the weekend, I decided to take a "snow day" too and work from home at the kitchen counter. Boy, I sure appreciate my leather Equa chair in my office after sitting on a wood stool all day. I suppose I could have moved over to the couch, but I was in a rhythm, scheduling meetings, declining others, updating spreadsheets and getting things out of my in box and onto the next person.

My first executive order of the day was to have the kids go outside. I fully understand what my mother meant when she said fresh air will do you good. So off they went. They promptly decided to throw snowballs at the defenseless snowman in the front yard. Hey, whatever keeps them busy and out of trouble.

I feel like I am making good progress on the charcoal tweed ladder rib vest for hub. I am in a good rhythm on this as well, having gotten past the arm decreases. The pattern is incredibly easy and yet good looking. I keep looking at the bag holding the rest of the yarn. Will I have enough? There is not much yardage on these balls, so I am feeling apprehensive....
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Honeycomb Washcloth

Yesterday afternoon I was searching for a blanket pattern for my Project Linus charity project of the year. I found a pattern called the Cos Cob Throw from the Lion Brand Yarn website. It has big chunky cables and looks cozy. I just need to order some yarn to get going on it. Then, I found a pattern called circle cloth. It is a pattern for a washcloth that looks like honeycomb. I was very intrigued, so I grabbed some cotton from my stash (somewhere my husband is cheering) and some number 7 needles and went to work. The directions called out to cast on 46 stitches, but I opted to go with 40 as the pattern is a 6 stitch repeat.I also did one less repeat of the pattern, ending with a 7 x 7 cloth. It is really quick to work up and very attractive.

Due to the slip stitch of the pattern, it has incredible depth and cushiness. I could see using this pattern, or a variation of this pattern as an accent on a hat or sweater or with really chunky cotton to make a bathmat. I am seriously thinking about making some more of these as Christmas gifts.

We are in the middle of another snow storm, just when I was getting used to (and happy with) no snow and lots of green grass. Even my bulbs were starting to come up. Alas, we are in Holland, MI and it will be winter right up until the end. My sister flew to NY for the weekend. Guess whose flight got canceled? I guess we just must be jinxed or something!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Patentsteek Anyone?

When I was at Barnes and Nobles the other day, I picked up a new book (surprise, surprise) about knitting. The title that caught my eye during this trip was Knitting Brioche, The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch by Nancy Marchant.  Don't you just love those cushy fabrics on the cover? They just make me want to squeeze them. In the past, I have made one scarf with brioche stitch, but I would not say I am an expert at it by any means. So, I thought it would give me a great opportunity to educate myself and check out the projects in the back as well.

Ms. Marchant is an expert at brioche, she even has her own website regarding brioche:  She goes into great depth in her book about the origins of brioche stitch. For example, she tells us that in the Netherlands, the brioche stitch is referred to as patentsteek. The next section covers how to work brioche both in written and chart directions. The charts still have me a little confused, but I think given a little more time that I will start to grasp the new symbols. At the end of the book are 25 patterns all with a Dutch flair. My personal favorite is the herfst avond scarf, which is Dutch for fall evening. It is a cozy little mohair scarf that puts a new spin on traditional brioche stitch. All in all, it was a great purchase and I look forward to creating some projects using brioche stitch.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

A Vest For My Valentine

We decided to spend the weekend with my mother in law this past weekend as she had just celebrated a birthday on the 10th. She lives in the Detroit area, so only a couple of hours in the car, but prime knitting time. Before we left, I cast on the 109 stitches for the back of the charcoal ladder ribbed vest and went to town.  This is the first really B I G project that I have ever made for Don, but I am pretty sure he is sweater worthy after 16 years of marriage! The pattern is not something I am familiar with, but easy peasy to remember, with only 4 rows to the pattern and 2 of the 4 are knit across the whole row. How hard is that? I love the cushy ribbing and the charcoal tweed is a sharp looking yarn.

I got a couple more repeats in tonight before I put the kiddos to bed. Don is sick with a cold, so he is already in bed before the kids. Even though he was not feeling great, he took time and got me flowers, which he had delivered to my work, isn't that sweet? I hope everyone had a fantastic Valentine's Day!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Third Time is a Charm

I have been working on the finishing touches of the ruby red vest this week, I must say, for me sewing goes slow. If you do the math, that is a very small portion of the time invested, but it just F E E L S like it, if you know what I mean. Those of you that are sewers are not grasping my grumbling I am certain. I have no idea how people can hand sew a whole quilt and I certainly admire their skill.

So, today I was sewing on the snaps and the buttons. Ever since I made the Lettuce Jacket, I have loved working with snaps. I sewed on the 1st half and then the second, when I went to snap it together to check the fit, I realized I had sewed the second snap on backwards, doh! So I cut it off and sew it on correctly. This time, when I held up the vest, it was too far over so the heaviness of the fabric was flipping over backwards. So I cut it off again and re-resewed it right on the edge of the trim, which resolved this issue. Third time is a charm, I guess.

I am not super pleased with the fit of the vest under the arm section, I may rework the upper portion to skinny it up a bit, we will see.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Danno

yes, my son is eating sand from the beach
Today my beautiful son (and my only son) turned 9. It seems like only yesterday I was pushing him in the stroller or carrying him around. He really liked to be carried. His birthday meal of choice was (drum roll please) McDonalds. Its all about the toy. Don made him a cake, the anti cake to his sister's chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Yep, white cake with butter cream frosting.This time we had the right amount of candles. I booked the last hour of work and came home at 4 so he could open presents and we could eat and then get to our haircuts by 5:30. After we got home, I helped Elizabeth study. Consequently, the ruby ribbed vest is still in pieces. I am feeling kind of tired right now. Maybe I will get to it tomorrow.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Sew What?!

I traveled down to Coldwater, MI today for a supplier visit, which afforded me two "cheater" hours of knitting while riding in the back seat of the car. With that plus the final push tonight after dinner, I finished all of the knitting required on the ruby ribbed vest and I am PUMPED! I think I am more elated with this project than others because I was really suffering from project a.d.d. and I wanted to start working on my husband's vest since I already have the yarn in hand. One thing that helped is that they both use the same size needle, so I would have had to put this on a stitch holder or another set of circs while I worked on his vest.

Although I still need to press all of the pieces and then sew them together and then add a single crochet trim, so what! For all practical purposes, I am done!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Knit Together

Today, from noon to 3 pm, my LYS, Lizzie Ann's Wool Company, hosted a Super Bowl event. Typically, the store is not open on Sundays (not much in Holland is open on Sundays). This was my first time to attend a group knit ever and I really enjoyed it. I must admit that I did not really learn anyone's names, there were just too many for me to remember, but they were all helpful and encouraging each other, which was really neat to see. They usually have a knit along on Tuesday nights and I was invited to come on Tuesday, but I can't make it this week as it is my son's 9th birthday. It is a tough choice, dinner at McDonalds or knitting. I guess I know where my priorities are this time.

I spent 2 hours at the store and then came home and knit feverishly today, somehow getting that left side done has really kicked me into high gear. I have just started the decreases for the edge, it won't be too long now.
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

East, West, Home Really is Best

Got home Thursday night and boy did it feel good. There is something about sleeping in your own bed; I find I don't sleep nearly as well away from home. On Wednesday, we were notified that our flight home on Thursday morning was going to be canceled yet again and was rescheduled for Friday morning. Thank goodness travel services found us a flight home Thursday afternoon via Delta Airlines through Detroit Metro.
Playing on the snow mountain

As I picked up my van and drove home, I was astounded by the amount of snow everywhere. I know, I know, I was watching the weather on the weather channel, but it is not the same unless you are really there. I live on the corner of a subdivision and they push all of the snow into a mountain in the middle of the cul de sac. My kids love to sled on the mountain. The two snow days this week gave them plenty of time to play outside.

I finished the left side of the ruby red vest and I am so glad to hit that milestone. I was starting to lose interest in this project, it just seems to be taking so long. I also have about 10" completed on the right side. I am getting so close, I just need to stay focused! Lizzie Ann's Wool is going to have a Super Bowl sale tomorrow, I can't wait.....

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stranded in NY; Day 4

Inside Grand Central Station in New York City....Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday we decided to move from our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Melville, to a hotel closer to LaGuardia Airport, since our flight was scheduled to depart at 6 am on Thursday. I wanted to make certain we were not going to miss this flight home. We grabbed lunch across the street from the Hilton. As we sat down, John Lennon started to sing Nobody Told Me. As I listened to the words, I thought, this is the soundtrack of our trip....after we checked into our new hotel, we decided to check out the city. After clearly telling us to take the #7 train (purple), the hotel graciously drove us to the local train station and we rode to Times Square. Let me preface this by saying this small town girl has never been on a subway in her life. It was pretty convient, I must say. Times Square was bright and flashing lights and noise. While were were on the subway, we received word that our flight out on Thursday am was cancelled and rescheduled for Friday am. This was starting to drive me CRAZY! I called Travel Services again and they booked us on a flight via Delta through Detroit on Thursday afternoon.

After we walked around there for awhile and did a little shopping, we decided to hop back on the subway and check out Grand Central Station. The architecture was fabulous to see, it must have been quite a beautiful building in its heyday (not that it wasn't beautiful today). I noticed a sign dedicated to Jackie Kennedy, who apparently saved the building from being torn down. Good for her and us.

We walked around a little more and decided to have dinner at a little Italian Restaurant. While there we were reminded of the unrest going on in Egypt as Anderson Cooper and his team were roughed up. It really puts our situation in perspective.

Well, hoping to be home some time tonight, wish us luck!

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzard of 2011

The weather has continued to wreak havoc on our travel plans. The midwest is getting clobbered by a winter storm that has blizzard conditions to the north, ice south of that and freezing rain south of that. As I look out my hotel window, I can see that it is freezing rain currently and it is a slippery mess. Thousands of flights have been cancelled across the United States, mine included. Our reschedule was supposed to depart this afternoon, but was cancelled. After spending half an hour on the phone with travel services yesterday, who spent an hour on the phone with Frontier Airlines, we are booked on a 6 am flight Thursday morning. Cross your fingers as we would like to get home soon. On the bright side, I have a whole lot of time that I can dedicate to knitting.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In the Big Apple

Left yesterday on yet another business trip, this one to see a supplier in Long Island, NY. Since I am always looking for a deal, I had travel services scrounge up a $294 fare, with a layover in Milwaukee. I know, I know, you are thinking why are you flying west to go east? Well, it was a good deal. Normally, this would not be a problem. BUT, when the snowstorm of the century is coming, probably not the best idea. We left Grand Rapids airport about 1/2 hour late, but thankfully, the Milwaukee plane was held for us. As we were boarding in Milwaukee, I got an email from the airlines letting me know that my flight home Tuesday night was cancelled and rescheduled for Wednesday morning. Bummer. I only brought one change of clothes. Oh well, I guess I can always go shopping, right? On the bright side, I started working on the right side of the ruby ribbed vest and I should get plenty more done today after I conclude my supplier visit. Lets hope I get home before I run out of yarn.
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