Let It Snow!

Let it snow!  Well, for all of 5 minutes, anyway.  We got sleety rain last night and just a few minutes of snow this morning.  For now, the sun is shining and we’re enjoying that big yellow thing in the sky.

More sorting out and finishing projects this week.  My Easter egg socks are done:


I love the color, but am less enamored of the yarn.  This is Trekking XXL.  I love the colors of Trekking, but find it rather harsh next to some of the more lovely yarns.  I also should have used a size 0 instead of a size 1.  The fabric is just a little flimsy.  And they match, except at the toes.  What’s with that?  Anyway, they’re done. 

I spent some time updating Ravelry.  In keeping with really looking at projects and deciding whether or not they are worthy of my time, I have frogged the lone panel of the Guernsey afghan.  I probably will crank out a square of the All American Aran Afghan from time to time when I want a short break from other projects, but those will be for fun and as the spirit moves, so I’m not adding it to my projects.  That leaves me with only four projects (be still my heart!).  Of those, three are very close to being done.  The cable and rib jacket just needs the sleeves sewn in and a zipper, the toddler sweater is all done except for the sleeves and the Garden Shawl just needs the border.  I think I’m beginning to feel a little knitting peace stealing in.  Although I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions, my goal this year is to declutter my life in general.  Less projects, less junk, less confusion.

Of course, that’s not to say nothing new will be started.  My Round Robin quilt group is starting a new project.  Our assignment was to bring a square to the next meeting, we will exchange and each person adds to the square.  We continue trading until we’ve all had a chance to work on each other’s square.  I spent yesterday working on my contribution.   I decided to do something a little different – not sure if the rest of the group will shoot me or not!  I made 24 squares!  I found these cute redwork (only I used blue) patterns for an Old Testament quilt.  Here are two of my favorites:



Of course, the group won’t have to add to each square.  Their challenge will be to put the squares together into a quilt.  It’s a fun group and they are used to being thrown a curve ball and adapt very, very well!

In poking around Ravelry, I found a group of knitters with Corgis!  What fun.  So many cute little puppy faces.  It’s interesting looking at all the groups – there is literally a group for anything, and I mean anything!  I’m trying to limit how many I join – it’s just impossible to keep up.

Nothing exciting for the agenda this week.  There’s a long stretch with no trips or exciting cultural events.  But it is also a long stretch that I can dedicate to school.

Baby, It’s cold outside!

Baby, it’s cold outside!  Well, those of you in Minnesota and Michigan would probably beg to differ.  It’s been in the teens and twenties at night here.  For us that’s pretty chilly.  The upside is that we’re actually getting a little sunshine.  We haven’t had sunshine in weeks and I had almost forgotten what it looked like.  The answer is, "Bright!"  I feel as if we’re all little moles coming out of our holes and squinting.

My first opera experience was great fun.  My sister and I went to see Pagliacci.  I would definitely go again.  No pictures this time because we were in the audience where, of course, pictures are not allowed.  There was plenty of time to knit over the weekend and I finished a toddler sized gansey (still needs blocking):


And started another:


The pattern is Toddler’s Cable Yoke Guernsey Pullover by Silver Creek, yarn Wool of the Andes in Spruce and Stream, size 5 needles.  Very quick and easy pattern and highly recommended.  I’ve set a goal of two sweaters for the current CIC challenge and I should reach that with no trouble.

I would try to do more little sweaters, but school is in session and taking a fair amount of time.  I think this may be the hardest class I have ever taken.  Not the course work – that seems as if it’s going to be pretty easy.  The hardest part is just staying motivated.  Only 3 months to go – it hardly seems possible!!!  What will I do with myself when I don’t spend part of my evenings studying?  Blog more?  Knit more?  Take a nap? 

Maybe knit and sew more for the grandbabies.  Remember the little white set I made for Ivy that was too big to be a newborn set?  She finally grew into it:


Even Isobel got into the act by modeling the hat:


The jacket is the one I made for her on my sewing getaway.

And lest she be forgotten, my other baby is growing way too fast as well:


I still don’t think I’m done crying for Hester.  Maybe you never get to that point.  I had a bit of a meltdown the other day when I took Maggie out for a walk and ran into someone who did not know about Hester.  I told him, and on the way back through the woods we walked by Hester’s grave.  But Maggie has been such a solace to us.  It’s hard to be sad too long with her puppy antics keeping us entertained.  The one sad thing is that I think Hester would have loved her!  Several days ago Bill took her to coffee with him.  He and his car buddies get together at a boat shop near our home.  One of the other guys brought his dog – an Irish Setter mix about four times as big as Maggie.  They really hit it off and started playing tug-o-war with a toy.  The other dog was so big that he was dragging Maggie all over the floor.  And she was having a blast!


Quilting and more

For over 10 years I’ve met with a small group of quilters.  We started off as a Round Robin group, but have branched out into other projects as well.  Over the years the others have come and gone, but there are three of us that have been there since the beginning.  We only number four now, with the fifth on sabbatical, but it is a great group of women and we treasure our time together.  Our two projects recently have been Mystery Quilts.  Friday night we met for the last clue in our current mystery.  Today I spent all day in the sewing room finishing up:


Up until Friday night none of us had any idea how this was going to come together, but I am quite pleased.  Now I’m debating whether to hand quilt or machine quilt.  I am a dyed-in-the wool hand quilter.  I love doing it and I love the results I get.  In fact, I have won quite a few awards for my hand quilting.  But it takes so long!  I have been dabbling in machine quilting and I have mixed feelings.  It’s definitely faster, but not nearly as relaxing and the results I get are certainly not as refined.  I know there is a learning curve and I would get better with practice, but . . . . For now, however, this will go on the back burner while I finish other projects.

While I was sewing I had companions to keep me company:


Yes, that’s a hand knit afghan that Maggie’s sleeping on.  It’s an Aran afghan from the 80’s – you know, the harvest gold years?  It’s full of bobbles, so I had to put it down inside out because Maggie liked chewing on them.

On the knitting front, I frogged the Bright Traditions child’s sweater.  I liked the pattern, but the collar called for was a shawl collar, and no matter what I did, it just wasn’t coming out nicely.  I could have ripped down to the start of the collar and recalculated a crew neck, but somehow I just kept going.  A little hissy fit, I guess.  But fear not, because on our Bellingham yarn craw I had picked up a cute gansey pattern by Silver Creek and I’m almost back up to the collar again:


Pattern is Toddler’s Cable Yoke Guernsey Pullover by Silver Creek, yarn is Wool of Andes in Spruce on size 5 needles.  This will be for Children in Common.

And speaking of needles, I got a Knitpicks order this week.  A whole handful of Harmony wood needles.  I really do like them!  Mom and Dad just gave me money this Christmas so I was able to indulge – thanks Mom and Dad!  Also in the mail, The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, courtesy of a gift certificate from Ben & Abby (thanks guys!).  Lots of recipes for really luscious breads – can’t wait to do some baking. 

I may or may not be able to post next week.  Last month was the ballet, this month is the opera.  My sister and I are going to see Pagliacci.  I’ve never been to the opera before and I’m really looking forward to it.  Once again, Bill is glad he dodged this bullet!  I’ll give you a full report.

First FO of the Year

Behold, the first FO of the year:


Plain Jane stockinette socks out of Knit Picks Essentials on size 1 needles.  I started these way back in September when I was in Orlando.

Marguerite commented on my 9 wip’s in Ravelry.  She said that she was amazed that I was so organized that I could keep my place in so many projects.  Well, you know what?  I can’t!  When I pick up a project that I haven’t worked on in months, it takes forever to figure out where I was and what I was doing.  Several days ago I decided to work on the Bright Traditions child sweater.  I was so lost in the directions I ended frogging back several inches to get back to a reference point.  Not good.  I think this was just the incentive I needed to cut way back on my projects.  So, I’m giving another go at limiting my wip’s.  Remember you heard it here first!  I’ve already frogged a couple of projects that just weren’t working and I’m making an effort to complete some of the wip’s that are the closest to being done.  My current emphasis is to finish Abby’s sweater.  I got a lot accomplished yesterday – collar done and side seams sewn:


The sleeves are knitted, I just need to seam and insert.  Of course, then the search is on for a zipper.  I feel a little bad that the weather in Orlando has actually been cold enough that she could have used it this week!

In fact, it was cool enough that the munchkins modeled their Tulip sweaters!


In closing I leave you more puppy cuteness.  In our house we call this "lap full o’ dog":


That’s Kirby in his usual spot, snuggled against me in the recliner.  This is where he is the happiest.  He’d rather do this than anything else, including eating.  He’ll be getting lots of snuggling time because this where I both knit and study.  Classes start tomorrow – my last semester!!!  My main class is "Managing Behavior in Early Childhood".  I also have two seminars to attend and that will be it.  I can’t wait!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone.  Our celebration consisted of trying to stay up as late as possible, but we’re both fighting colds and hit the hay at 9:30!  I did take the time to make an inventory of my knitting accomplishments for 2007:

8 pairs of socks
1 pair fingerless mitts
2 shawls
1 baby afghan
1 vest
1 scarf
4 baby/child sweaters
2 small quilts

Not quite the output of 2006, but not too shabby either.  And considering that I also had some pretty difficult classes it’s probably surprising I got that much done.  Oh, and that doesn’t include several dresses I made for Isobel.  What are my goals for this year?  Well, looking at my last year’s New Year’s resolution, I set some rather unrealistic goals about the number of wip’s I would have at any time.  Marguerite pointed out that I have 9 wip’s posted on Ravelry.  That is definitely too many.  So today I’m going to spend assessing each project and some may be frogged.  My goal for 2008 will be to complete the ones that remain and to end the year with considerably fewer projects than I started.

Marguerite also requested more puppy pictures, so here you are:

Maggie’s newest toy is the laundry basket.  She loves jumping in and out:


However, sorting laundry can be quite exhausting:



She also loves investigating interesting smelling objects:


And this has become an increasingly frequent sight around here:


My friend Jan pointed out that Kirby is not getting equal photo opportunity.  Kirby is getting to be pretty old – he’ll turn 15 this year.  He spends much of his time sleeping, curled up next to me in the chair while I knit.  So it’s pretty hard to catch him doing anything else.  Here he is in one of his more alert moments:


He still has not quite accepted Maggie.  As far as he’s concerned, she’s an annoying little pest.  She’ll run circles around him, barking and trying to get him to play, but he is clearly not interested.  I believe he’ll come around, though.  It took him several months to get used to Hester, and she was not nearly as squirrely as little Maggie.  Bill and I, however, are completely taken in by Maggie.  She is settling in to be a very good little dog.  She’s completely housebroken now and for the most part confines her chewing to her toys.  She sits on command and comes most of the time.

Yesterday Bill and I were reflecting on how differently the year turned out than we had expected.  A year ago we had no idea that Ivy would be coming into our lives.  We also did not know that Hester would be leaving us, or that Maggie would come and fill in the gap left by her death.  Joys and sorrows.  I wonder what this year will bring?