Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Measuring First Is Important

Yesterday morning I finished the buttercup shrug. The only modifications to the pattern I made were shorter sleeves (I didn't think I could take another set of short rows). I made 4 decreases at the bottom before I started the ribbing because it seemed a bit boxy for my back and I switched the ties to i cord instead of flat knitting. All in all, it was a quick knit.

Yesterday we were also given a blast of hot weather, the thermometer on my van read 90 when I left to pick up burritos for dinner. But onto my measuring first story. Back in the spring, our local Home Depot closed. I wasn't terribly disappointed as we still have a Menards and Lowes. During the 20% off sale, I convinced hub that we should buy matching storm doors for the front of our house as we had wanted them but had put off the purchase for quite some time. He agreed and off we went. Fast forward to yesterday, I convince hub to install the doors. We pull out the first door and bring it out front. And . . . . it doesn't fit the first door. Thankfully it fits the second door. So we installed. Now we just need to sweet talk our friends at Lowes or Menards to let us exchange the second door for another. Hopefully we can be persuasive enough.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Color Me Lovely

My hands are a bit tired, so I am stopping knitting for a break. I am not going to finish the buttercup shrug today, I only have 12 rows of the ribbing done on the bottom and the pattern calls for 19 rows. That is 184 stitches x 7, which frankly is more than my hands can handle today.

Today the day started off as sunny and warm but by the time we left church, it was already clouding up. The forecast indicated rain starting around 2 so we had and early lunch and then headed to the walking trails on the north side of Holland to get in some exercise before the rain. We saw a lot of turtles and frogs and one lone duck before we headed back to the van to head over to Chow Hound to pick up cat food (and check out the Humane Society kitties).

After having rain and thunder most of the day, I thought of the things that brighten my day, which are usually colorful.

My hanging basket on my deck

One of my buckets of marigolds
Giovanni our beta

Misha our little princess

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Sweet Little Buttercup

Elizabeth had a recital this week but I wasn't 100% certain she was going to make it as she has been really sick recently. I took her to the doctor on Monday and initially they had thought she had mono - which she didn't. It was just a bad virus I guess. She decided that since she was unable to go to her school orchestra concert that she wanted to wear her uniform to the recital. She did really well and as all parents are, I was pleased with her performance.

I did some shopping yesterday and I came across the BEST dress. It was from Kohls and is called the Chaps Babydoll Dress. I fell in love with it on the hanger, which is very unusual for me and after I put it on I was sold! I can't wait to wear it.

I got quite a bit further on the buttercup shrug, Elizabeth is modeling it for me. The ribbing around the neck and front is completed. The only portion left is the ribbing around the bottom and then the ties. I am going to add some decreases to the bottom even though the pattern does not call out for them because it will be too boxy otherwise.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When in Doubt, Rip it Out

I hate short row shaping. Did I mention I hate short row shaping? I do. Ok, let me rephrase that, I hate short row shaping when doing stockinette stitch. My first go around on the shaping of the sleeve of the buttercup shrug was a disaster. The one side looked passable, but the other was gappy with holes where the stitch was slipped from one needle to the other. I know you are thinking, knit the wrap and the stitch together. I did. It still had a hole. Which made me tug and tug at it trying to tighten it up from the back. I got it snugged up, but then I had a big one inch loop in the back and what the heck do you do with that? So I took a deep sign and ripped it all back out and started again on the sleeve. Round two looks better, but still not great. Anyway, on to sleeve number two. Maybe blocking will help a bit?
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Time Well Invested

I made a ton of progress on the buttercup shrug today. I finished the left front and the left and right inserts (the pieces under the arms). The sewing left a bit to be desired. I redid the one side three times and I am still not thrilled with the fact that it does not line up, the bottom of the fronts slope downward and the inserts are straight. Oh well, perhaps the ribbing that is added at the end will cover it up a bit. Or perhaps some serious blocking. At this stage it sort of resembles a really short and boxy vest. Tomorrow, onto the sleeves.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shifting the Yellow Focus

I didn't make too much progress on the buttercup shrug today. After I checked the forecast and saw that it was going to be a warm and dry morning, I high tailed it to Englesman's Gardens to pick up flowers and veggies. We did plant seeds in peat pots for the garden earlier, but it has been so cold and rainy that they are not doing that great. So, I picked up tomatoes (regular and sweet cherries) and broccoli. I looked for lettuce but there was none to be seen. A lot of the vegetables were already picked over even though it was only 9:30 am. I also went with 2 flats of marigolds this year to keep away the rabbits. The fact that they are frost resistant is another plus in our area. I got all of the front and side window boxes planted, but I ran out for the pots in the back, so I ran out again for another flat in the afternoon, but by that time, it was (you guessed it) raining again.

I have 7" done on the left side of the shrug, 2 1/2 more inches until the short row shaping and then 2 1/2 more inches until the side is done. I like chunking the work up into manageable pieces as it seems to go a little faster.

While at the library today, I picked up a cd for learning Italian. It is only 3 weeks until we leave for Italy!!! I can't wait.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why 3 Needle Bind Off Isn't My Favorite

Yesterday I finished the right front piece of the buttercup shrug. I spent 15 minutes agonizing over whether the right side was the right side when I had the shrug on or when I was looking at it. Have you ever had moments like this that make you feel sort of inadequate? Well, I do. A LOT! The other thing that I pondered for quite some time was the fact that the pattern writer had 2 rows of short row shaping. When you are knitting with a size 6 needle that isn't a heck of a lot of variation between the two sides. I still haven't figured that out yet, but I am hoping once I try it on that it becomes more apparent. The moment of truth was the 3 needle bind off which I have not attempted in quite some time. I think it is just awkward, sort of like the first time you knit with dps, if you know what I mean? It looks ok, just it is a clunky process and I guess that is why I don't like it, since it doesn't feel rhythmic and smooth. Enough whining about attachment methods.

Took a walk with hub and the boy thru Van Raalte Farm tonight. It was pretty muddy yet, but very beautiful.
 The sun was shining, but depending where you were on the trail, you could be covered by the canopy of the leaves.
 The river was flowing quite rapidly due to all of the rain we have had recently.

Its a peaceful place to walk and enjoy nature only a few minutes from home.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just Shrugging Along

Took a little road trip to Chicago today to visit a supplier. You guessed it, I claimed the back seat and knit the whole way on my new project the buttercup shrug. I was a little uncertain about the color, since I don't have anything that color in my closet, but then I figure everything goes with black or white, right? Well, I've got plenty of those 2 colors in my closet. So, I cast on and the rest is history as they say. I just finished the back portion and have started on the right front. I dislike that it is piecey, which = sewing, but I am going to over look this pattern sin and enjoy what will be a very versatile piece to wear this summer.

Georgie, (my cat) just joined me in the den for another rousing game of fetch the milk ring. Misha (my other cat) just looks on disdainfully. Not the most flattering shot of Georgie, but oh well, you get the point. He thinks he is a dog. Silly cat!

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

How to Get a Good Looking Edge Stitch

Ever wonder how to get a better looking edge stitch? Well wonder no more. A good looking edge is as simple as a slip stitch. All you have to do is slip the first stitch of every row before you start your pattern. It creates a lovely chain stitch on the edge that looks good for items that the edge will show such as scarves or blankets. For items that are going to be sewn, it works well for lining up pieces to sew loops together. Give it a try and see what you think.
Garter Stitch Edge With No Slip Stitch
Side View of Garter Stitch With No Slip Stitch
Seed Stitch Edge With Slip Stitch
Side View of Seed Stitch Edge with Slip Stitch

The Scarf Struggle

I love to knit. But lately I have been putting off working on my latest project, the lacy leaf scarf. I know I will never finish it if I don't knit it, but there was something about it that was bugging me. Yesterday, I came upon the answer. I had forced myself to sit down and work on it. My husband and I were chatting about his camping trip (more on that later) and I was struggling to knit, converse and follow the pattern. AHA! I can't memorize the pattern so I can't multi task with this knitting. That is what was bugging me! To help myself out, I cast on a shrug yesterday that has rows of seed stitch, very easy to memorize and multi task. I'll get back to the scarf, but I am just taking a little hiatus.

Roasting hotdogs

Hiking in the woods

Trying to get the frisbee
As I mentioned previously, the boys went on a camping trip on the north side of town. They were supposed to meet at the campsite at 6pm and then they were coming home the next day at 2pm. It started raining at 7:30pm. Need I say more? Boys being boys, I think they secretly liked playing in the rain.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tulip Time

The week was the main portion of the Holland Tulip Festival. Everywhere you look in Holland, there are different colors and types of these beautiful flowers.

On Wednesday, there is a street scrubbing parade, which includes the mayor and the governor. On Thursday, there is a childrens parade and all of the local school children, don Dutch costumes and march in the parade. My son got a new costume this year as we lost the pants for his previous year costume. I know, you are thinking, how in the world do you lose a pair of pants? I have no idea, but have moved on from this irritation with $65 less dollars in my pocket. The weather co operated and it was a sunny 84 degrees, which is a touch warm for marching, but a heck of a lot better than 55 and sprinkling.

Here is my son marching with his class (he is the one in the middle of the picture with the purple flag). He was dying by the end of the route and in desperate need of water, but they don't like to give them water during the parade or they will likely have to go to the bathroom, I guess. Thankfully, my husband was smart enough to pack 2 water bottles.
Another treat during tulip time is the carnival food. Earlier in the week we went down in the evening for elephant ears (fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar). As we departed from the parade, we stopped by and picked up some cotton candy and caramel corn. Dan wanted a caramel apple but we compromised and got him the apple sliced in a bowl and covered in caramel. I think he was disappointed he did not get his way, but I knew what would happen, he would take a bite and it would fall off the stick and then he would cry the rest of the way home. Been there and done that before.
Elizabeth enjoyed the sticky cotton candy, I think the whole bag was gone before we got home!

We missed the Dutch dancing this year, which is kind of disappointing, but I guess we will catch it next year.

All in all, the tulips were beautiful, the food good, the weather co operated and a good time was had by all.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Hope all the moms out there are having a fabulous day!

Checking out the card from Dan
String Art
Me and Dan
Sweet, the bird feeder I wanted!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tulip Salad

The weather has warmed up enough to bring on the tulips. I am happy because next week is the Holland Tulip Time Parade and it would be a shame to have no tulips for the tourists, not to mention the locals. The rabbit who resides in my backyard is happy as well, since it provides good eating for him (or her).

I have been making very slow progress on my scarf, it has been a crazy busy week and not a lot of knitting has been accomplished, unfortunately. On the good side, I have been making reservations for my trip to Italy and the most fabulous news of all is that hub is going to go with me!! We are looking forward to our trip in June. I CAN'T WAIT!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Garden Party

After a very wet week, it finally warmed up and was somewhat pleasant this weekend. Even though it was indoor weather, it seemed like there was not much time to get any knitting in this week. We went to a great fundraiser dinner for Compassionate Heart Ministries on Tuesday night and Dan had his school performance Friday night.

Saturday I dropped off my Project Linus blanket (finally) at Lizzie Ann's. Since I was already there, I decided to shop, ha ha! I indulged in some self beaded yarn and some linen blends as well. When we walked last night I wore my boucle earwarmer and boy I was thankful as the wind was chilly after the sun went down.

Today I finally sat down and got in a few more rows on my latest project. I must say I love this yarn, if is fabulous to work with and not the least bit splitty or rough on the hands.I thought I would show off the scarf in my flower garden in the back, the tulips are almost open, just in time for the Tulip Festival.
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