Monday, December 31, 2007

Year's End

I just couldn't let the end of the year slip past without a post to the blog. It's been a very busy Christmas season with a few curveballs thrown in. A trip to the in-law's, medical tests with good results, and a dead computer. And in spite of those things, Christmas happened, the Christmas knitting did get done! And now, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I can knit whatever I want. (Not that there's tons of stuff on the needles waiting for my attention.) So, I wish you all a very Happy New Year and wish you all untangled yarn!

Friday, November 30, 2007

The last day of November

Well, here it is the last day of November. Christmas and the holidays are right around the corner. One of the things that I really enjoy around this time of the year is wreath making and being off from work. I live in Central Pennsylvania where hunting is BIG. I know that folks who aren't accustomed to this cultural quirk are sometimes a bit put off by it all. The Monday after Thanksgiving is the first day of deer season. Schools take the day off because no one would be there. Some schools take off Monday and Tuesday. And if you'd live here, you'd realize what a necessary thing it is. The deer herd in Central PA is huge. There's lots of corn, grain, and other crops grown all over the place and it's food for the deer. The amount of hunting licenses sold by the Game Commission is calculated by how much the herd needs to be culled.

The other hunting story that amazes me always is bear hunting. That occurs before Thanksgiving. Now, you think bears live in Alaska and the wilds of northern Canada. Nosiree, Bob -- the bear season here in PA in 2007 yield over 2000 black bear. Again, I realize that most of this bear habitat is located in the center section of the state, but I find it amazing that bears have adapted so well.

Anyhow, none of this has to do with knitting, but what it does have to do with is that I get to take time off from work this time of the year to use up my comp time. The boss is an avid hunter. And I make Christmas wreaths.

I have a clamping machine and I have a nice work area set up in my basement. I used to make LOTS of wreaths for a local club who sold them as a fundraiser. The club has disbanded and now I just have a few private customers and make them for gifts. It's a very enjoyable thing to do. But it does take away from some knitting time. Plus it really sets off my carpel tunnel in my wrists.
The other thing I do is watch the various craft and food shows that feature the holidays. And I must say, DIY, HGTV, and the Food Network need to get their act together. I've seen the same shows year after year. The other thing I've learned is that Martha is EVERYWHERE! Martha has long blocks of time on at least three different networks. I enjoy learning about the projects that are on her shows, but Martha's tone of voice is SOOOOO condescending. It really takes away from her presentation and it makes me wonder why someone who talks down to her guests/helpers the way she does, why is she making something herself?
Oh, well, that's my view on the world for today. I'm off to the basement to make a few more wreaths. More knitting tomorrow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kool Aid and the Hedge Hog

You see I saw this pattern on Ravelry for a really cute knit fellow that's a hedge hog. And I just have to make one. So, I ordered the pattern (Fiber Trends) from the Mannings. And then it was decided that the hedge hog needed to be green with bright yellow fun fur. Then I went about trying to find how I could come into the possession of some really bright green wool that would felt. Off to the stash I went and found two 8 oz. skeins of Lion's Brand Fishermans Wool. I wound off into a hank about 180 yards. (using the non-scientific guessing method). Then after doing my internet research homework, I decided that Kool Aid brand lemon-lime was the flavor we needed in order to dye the wool green. Off the store I went and came home with 10 packages of lemon-lime for a mere $2.10.

Then I soaked my hank of yarn in water with just a bit of soap.

Next, I put six packets of lemon-lime in the large pot on the stove and put the yarn in the pot.
Stirring gently and then I did put in a glug of vinegar. (I didn't have white vinegar so I just used some good ole apple cider vinegar.)
Stirred gently and before the water even came to a boil, the yarn had soaked up all the color and the water was clear. Just did bring it to a boil just for luck and pulled the pot off the heat.
After cooling, the yarn got dunked in the sink full of lukewarm water and rinsed. I didn't detect one speck of color rinsing out.
And voila, just like magic, we have a skein of hedge hog green yarn. VERY simple process and it was fun, too!
I'll be considering other colors for the rest of the Fishermans Wool. I think it would make some fine mittens.

Green is the color

Kool Aid dying is happening as we speak. Details later.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's been Pondemonium here on the Fake Isle

Clever title!! It's been a month since I blogged, but that doesn't mean that knitting hasn't happened. There was a slight detour with a week long trip to Las Vegas. Woo-hoo! DH won a seat in a tournament sponsored by World Tavern Poker. It was a great time. We flew on Southwest, which was a pretty good experience, even if the plane was absolutely, clear full on the ride home. It was a straight-through flight both ways, however. (good thing) We stayed at Binion's in downtown Las Vegas. (not a good thing, but it was clean and it was cheap) DH did well in his tournament. He won some $$ at poker and I won some $$ at slots. And we had a good time.

However, I didn't do much knitting. I worked on socks on the plane on the way. But nary a stitch while we were there because the lighting and sitting arrangements in the hotel room were very poor. And then on the flight home we were packed in like sardines.

But I do have some knitting to report on. First the Pondemonium sweater. I have the front and back done to the neck. And the duplicate stitch on the worms is done. Next step is to do the duplicate stitch on the bugs, frogs and ducks. Then on to the sleeves. This is a really cute pattern.

And since it's unhealthy to have only one (or two or three or four) projects OTN at one time, I'm also working a Fake Isle hat. I purchased two skeins of Noro Kureyon at the Mannings in October and this pattern spoke to me. It only uses one skein of Noro and the black is Wool of the Andes. It's really turning out nice. It's a birthday gift for a November birthday that I need to get sent off pronto! But now, I have a lonely skein. Might have to order two more to make another hat and matching mittens... hmmmm, stash enhancement!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Knitting again

My company has come and gone, knitting has been happening, and I got my Ravelry invite. While my company - A New Day -- was here we went on an extended yarn/craft store crawl. It included three LYS. The absolute, no holds barred, best one was The Mannings. I was absolutely speechless. They had EVERYTHING!!! The folks there were very friendly, helpful and apologizing that they were packing stuff up to go to Stitches. They carry TONS of yarn for knitting and weaving, plus weaving looms and spinning wheels, all sizes of every kind of knitting needle that exists, kits, patterns, et cetera. Great place. If you ever get to the Gettysburg, PA area don't miss it.

Plus on the way home we stopped for apples at the Round Barn. Cool place. This barn is actually round. The apples I got there were excellent too!

I'm working my way around the Pondemonium sweater. After a frogging incident, things are progressing nicely. At first I was going to use intarsia to put in the worms, bugs, frogs, and ducks. But I've decided that duplicate stitch would be nicer and it is. I'm just about to the point now where I have to split the front and the back for the sleeves.

And I finally got my invite for Ravelry. What a great place! You can look up a pattern that you like and see how other folks made it their own. You can research yarn that you have and see what others have done with it. Excellent idea. Right now it's in beta for testing, but once they are up and running, you won't need to be a member to search through it.

DH and I are heading to Las Vegas for a week. He's playing in a poker tournament. I'm planning sock knitting for the trip. Should be tons of fun. DD is going to bond with her Nana and Amy the dog is going to visit Nana and Sam the cat. My office is moving to new quarters this week. Exciting and stressful all at the same time.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bursting Forth

Fall is just about upon us. The weather has been OUTSTANDING! Cool, sunny days, brisk nights for excellent sleeping. The mums are especially beautiful this year. Here's a futher sampling of mine.

And there has been some knitting going on. I'm working on the Slant Pocket Bag, which is a free pattern at Jimmy Beans Wool website. I have the body done and have now started on the strap. The slant pocket part is going to be made from a coordinating bit of varigated wool. Then it all has to be sewn together and felted and then lined. The pattern calls for the bag to be knit with Size 9 needles -- I used 10 1/2. It's the usual size I use for felting worsted weight yarn. Also, the pattern calls for the strap to be knit 16 stitches across. That would be too wide to match with the bottom strip of garter stitch. So, I'm doing 10 stitches. (It will save yarn too, because I'm down to the end of the skein.) The yarn is Lion's Wool that was purchased to make slippers. I was trying out a new felted slipper pattern and it was not a good thing. I spend two evenings frogging the one slipper that I made and I'm recycling. Much better use of the yarn!

I also took the opportunity to practice a bit of continental style knitting. With my wrist and elbow problems, I think it's good to learn different ways to knit. There's a great video that I heard about on the KnitList and I learned a lot. And I believe that I can actually knit faster continental style. Goes to show, you can teach an old dog new tricks!

My DH won a poker tournament, that was the culmination of a series of poker tournaments, and it entitles him to participate (for free) in a big poker tournament in Las Vegas!!! So, we're hoping that we can swing being off work, coordinating the plane tickets, and can be lucky enough to get one of the discount room deals at Binion's where the tournament is being held. We were to Vegas about 16 years ago and just had a blast. This would only be a quick weekend get-a-way, but I think it would be great fun. I've already picked out the knitting that gets to go! (Socks, of course.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Knitting Lite

I've been really taking it easy with the knitting lately. I have tennis elbow, which I think comes from a combination of knitting, computer surfing, typing, and my court reporting job. And knitting really seems to irritate it. So, I'm knitting in moderation. I've got about 40 rows done on the new felted purse. And I every day I get out the sea silk and pet the OTN scarf. It's so nice to work with. Oh, I'll get back to it, slowly but surely.

I have some lovely hardy mums that are just about to burst forth. I never had any annuals this year, which is something that's never happened for ten years. For a lot of reasons, it was a busy summer. But, I really wanted to cash in on some fall color. Pretty nice, huh?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Christmas is just around the corner

With the thought of Christmas being right around the corner, I've been also working on a couple of ideas for gifts. I ran across the free patterns at Jimmy Beans Wool. They host a contest and the winners are offered on their site. It started out with my interest in the Pondemonium child's sweater pattern. Very cute. I have a new great-nephew who is nine months old and needs a nice hand knit sweater for Christmas. Now, I just need to find the right yarn.

But I also ran across a pattern for a felted purse that has a great double pocket on the front. Ah-ha! Definate Christmas gift material. I have yarn in the stash to use and fabric to match for the lining. So, it's on the needles. It's called the Slant Pocket Bag. Click here for the link. Also be sure to check out the other free patterns listed on the right side of the page.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sweater knitting

Progress on sweater sleeves. Second attempt.

And you might check out my new counting device. Works like a dream. And I made it myself.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Here's what I did on my summer vacation. First I read "The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt" which explains how Joseph of the Bible could be the grandfather of King Tut. Very interesting book. I have this author's book on Moses ordered from Amazon.

Next I started reading a book about the Bayeux Tapestry. My two favorite things. Needlework and British history. There's pictures too! Plus, if you're interested just Google Bayeux Tapestry. There's ton's of stuff including an animated version on You Tube.

And I found this nifty sunglasses to help me read on the beach. They are actually reading glasses, to help those of us who's eye sight isn't what it used to be...

Then I got to see these marvelous sunsets each and every night from the confort of the swing on the balcony of our house.

And here's a shot of some pirate wenches that we just happened to find hanging out in with a lovely pirate skeleton!

And in spite all this fun, I actually did knit some. I'm nearing the finish of the front of my sweater. Then it will be on to the sleeves. Photo's on that later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not much knitting

Just mostly sitting on the beach -- it's hard work...

Monday, August 06, 2007


Where has the month gone?!? Oh, my. To be honest, I've really been busy and there has been some knitting going on. My grandfather passed away on July 12 and that cause a bit of a whirlwind. It was not unexpected, but it's always a surprise when a loved one passes. He was 95 years old and was in remarkably good condition -- he just couldn't remember anything. Then I had company for a long weekend, which carried over into a week of county fair. And the transcripts are piling up. I've been to the doctor, eye doctor, dentist, and hairdresser. Vacation is a mere 5 (the F-I-V-E) days away! And we're off to the beach for a week. (oh, how it wish it was two.)

I acquired some lovely silk and sea cell yarn for an obscene amount of money, but it's REALLY nice. A clever little pattern came with it for a scarf and I'm working on it with the addition of clear glass beads. First time I've ever tried beads. I like it. It does slow things down a bit, but I think the end result will be worth it. As I get a larger chunk of the knitting done, I'll post a better picture so you can see the pattern.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A blue lining

The lining in my Landscape bag is complete. It was a several night project, but I've learned over the years it's better to not rush these things. I used some plastic canvas on the front, back and base. It was lightly sewn to the inside of the bag, and then the lining was sewn in. Best thing is the magnet clasp is attached through the plastic canvas and it creates a nice firm place for the clasp to be attached. Now that I've been successful with my lining, I might try it again!

It's a good way to keep cool in this 90 degree weather.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Saturday Projects

First we have the refelting of the French Market bag. It seems to be going well. I have the bag drying over a bag o'DVD's. It will wind up being deeper. I'm happier about it.

Then I've been working on the lining for the Landscape bag. I want to enter it into the local county fair and I think it should be lined. I found some great lining guidlines/directions at Noni Felted Bags. Some pretty creative bags, too!

My lining is some 100% cotton (left over from my quilting days) I used some iron on lining for some added body. Made some pockets for the inside. And folded over the corners of the bottom to square it off. I'm going to pick up some plastic canvas at Wally World this afternoon for some more body, add a magnetic closure on the inside and stitch to top edge in place. Hopefully tomorrow you'll get to see a finished picture.

But for now, we're off furniture shopping. The recliners in the living room are absolutely shot and leaning to the left.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Well, I'm still contemplating my French Market bag. I really do like the color. As a matter of fact, I'd love to have a coat make out of this felted material in this color. (Boy that would really use up the yarn to cover my butt!!!) Anyhow, I am disappointed in the size. But, not to worry. First, I'm going to make the bag wet and refelt by using DVDs. And I have an ancient bag of buttons that at one time I was going to sew onto a quilt.

Many years ago, after the Oklahoma City bombing, my friend over at A New Day, and I made small angel quilts that were presented to the families of those who's loved ones died that day. I've always felt honored that our two quilts were given to the lady who lost both of her sons that day in the daycare. The quilts were rustic, county-style with an angel pattern and sewn with much love. I bought the buttons for on that quilt, but they never got sewn on -- I thought it might be a little over the top. So, the bag of buttons was never opened. Until now -- I'm going to sew them on the outside of my French Market bag.

The other bit of info for today is how I repaired the wavy top edge of my other felted bag. I used doubled quilting thread and ran a running stitch along the top of my bag, drew in the bag a bit to make it not wavy and then refelted it. Much better.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

French Market Bag

The knitting is done. It only took a couple episodes of "Deadliest Catch", "Ice Road Truckers" and a viewing of "The Queen" and viola, we have an unfelted French Market Bag. Here's another view where you can really see the handles. The yarn came from Elann and it's the Peruvian Highlands Wool.
And now, here's the felted version. The color in the photo is just about true. I blocked it with a round wooden bucket. Just couldn't find something square that was the right size. However, after doing a Google search of the French Market Bag, I think next try I'll use some DVD's.
My complaint is the finished size. I've placed a pair of my reading glasses in front so you can get an idea as to scale. I did run it through the washer twice for felting and I think once would have done it. The yarn felted up fast. The version took three and three-quarter skeins of yarn. Next time, I'm making it taller and making the handles longer. The pattern calls for decreasing the handles every four rows. I'm going to try decreasing every six rows. Also, the pattern calls for knitting the body for eight inches. I'm going for more. The plan on the next one is the bottom is being knit from black. When I get to the end of the increasing the circle for the bottom, I'm switching over the the lovely purple yarn I bought. I'm going to knit the sides for three and a half skeins. I'll let you know how many inches that is. At least twelve (instead of the 8 called for in the pattern).
Don't get me wrong, I do like my bag. I have some coordinating buttons to sew on and I need to find a jazzy lining. Maybe I can get to a fabric store this weekend. Unfortunately ( or fortunately) my transcript business has picked up and that really cuts into my knitting time. But I'm not complaining. It's going to buy me a new pair of recliners. The early Salvation Army look in my living room is out the door!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Priority Mail

Priority mail from Elann can only mean one thing!

I'm almost through the first ball of yarn on my French Market Bag.
I know, I know. Where's the Booty Bag, you ask? Well, it may wind up in Davy Jones' Locker, matey. The pattern is not a problem. It only took me casting on four times to get the method for doing double knitting wrapped around my brain. Once I got that down, I do have about ten row completed, but to do double knitting you have to knit 1, purl 1 FOREVER! It takes a LONG time.
So for now, with my patience run very thin, I'm working on the French Market Bag. Pattern at Knitty.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Before and After

Here's the before felting picture of my tote bag. It's huge! I really like the colors. And it was all done with yarn from my stash. Wool of the Andes and Patons Wool.

And here's the "after" picture. I've got it stuffed with plastic grocery bags while it's drying. The idea is to have a tote for my laptop for when I need to take it with me. And it's a good fit. I have an IBM Thinkpad and it will fit nicely, including the power supply and maybe even some files. I'm very pleased. I'm also going to enter it in the fair.

Now, I'm done with "fair" knitting. I have a cotton towel I'd like to work on, socks that need to be ripped back past the heel because I didn't make the leg long enough, and the "Pirate Queen Booty Bag."

The weather here in Central PA has just been beautiful. Highs in the upper 70's, low humidity. But it is going to heat up the middle of the week. We got all our air conditioners in place in anticipation. But it's to cool off again before the weekend. Only draw back is it's very dry. The yard is parched. I did some home improvement over the weekend and did some painting in my bathroom. The wood work is now all a nice light blue. The color is called delight. And it is. But painting the baseboard behind the toilet was not a delight.

Monday, June 18, 2007


My yarn has arrived from KnitPicks! I'm planning felted clog slippers -- I've worn out another pair. And then there's the Pirate Queen Booty Bag purse in red and black for DD. She wanted to know why she needed a booty bag. (12-year-olds just have no sense of humor.) And I picked out some Gossamer in three colors to play with.

We've changed internet providers (my old company isn't going to be providing residential service anymore.) I must say, we switched to Embarq. It was relatively painless, less expensive, and MUCH faster. Now to work on changing over my e-mail. At least I have until the end of July.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back in business

Now, I'm back in business. The old Fuji camera still works. And I was even able to get my laptop to recognize it and download the pictures. I'm going to try some superglue and duct tape on the Kodak Easyshare. What a pain these digital cameras can be -- don't get me wrong, they are wonderfully easy to use and it's so nice that you don't have to pay all that $$$ to get the photos developed and all. But this is the third digital camera that we've had battery door issues with.

Anyhow, here's a shot of my Garterlac dishcloth. You'll find the pattern here. The border around the edge is my contribution to the pattern. I'll be entering it in the local fair as a set with a towel.

The towel shown below is just a test drive of the pattern and the yarn. It turned out very nice in person, but the white in the red-white-blue varigated yarn is really cream. So, I'll be keeping the test drive for myself. I'm currently working on a towel that matches the dishcloth. I know there's been a thread on the KnitList over the past week about towel toppers/kitchen towels and the like. Yes, they are an old fashioned thing, but a strategically placed towel is a God send in the kitchen. Plus, this is much nicer than one that's made from the cheapest dollar store tea towel with a crocheted topper made from Red Heart yarn. In this case the entire towel and topper is made from cotton dishcloth yarn.

I even have hot pads on my table that are round dishcloth pattern made from cotton yarn and they are great. They serve as hot pads, placemats, clean up for emergency spills and the like.

Anyhow, I'll keep you posted as to what items I'll be entering in the fair. So far, I have two felted bags, two pairs of socks, a pair of felted clogs, a shawl, dishcloth and dishcloth/towel set. My only goal is to win a few bucks to buy more yarn with.

Pardon the technical difficulties

You'll have to excuse the lack of a photo. The battery door has broken on my digital camera. Seems like that is always the problem with digital cameras. In the mean time, I need to dig out my old digital camera, find some batteries that have a bit of power in them and crank the old thing up. Then I have to find the thing-a-mag-jig to actually get the pictures on my computer. It's always something...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lunch hour bliss

It's so hard to come back to work the day after a long holiday weekend. Even more so when I had two extra days and turned it into a five-day vacation at home. But today's lunch hour made up for it. It's warm, sunny, not humid, nice breeze and there's an easy knitting project and iced tea waiting for me on the porch near the glider. Lunch time bliss!

Friday, May 25, 2007

And now for a little holiday time!

Ah, finally it's summertime. Warm days, cool nights, the windows are thrown open and the breeze just moves through the house. Wonderful! I have five days in a row off from work. It's almost like being on vacation. (Can't hear the ocean, though...)

First off, here's a shot of the salvia in my front flower bed. It's really beautiful right now. The hummingbirds and the bees think so, too. Then I finally got to the garden center and picked out a pink azalea and a pink rhododendrum. I've not had much luck in the location where these bushes are going. I'm not quite sure what the problem is as the rhododendrums that were in this location originally died after being there for years. It may be some kind of bug problem, but I have a little something that will take care of that.

I've been knitting away on what's going to be a felted tote for my laptop. It's mostly KnitPicks Wool of the Andes with some Lion's Wool thrown in. As you can see, the front and back are finished. I'm working on the bottom and I'm playing around with mitered squares for the sides. It all gets put together with a three needle bind-off and a double I-Cord handle.

I have a few other minor projects I'd like to do over the weekend involving laundry, gardening, and a picnic on Monday. Have a great weekend and don't forget to put out your flag!

P.S. I've spent most of the evening trying to upload the pictures to Blogger. It wasn't going well... Saturday afternoon -- still not going well, but I figured a way to work around it, I think.