Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Cold and The Cookies

Veronica arrived on Friday! Yeah!! I love having the whole family under one roof.  When I got to bed at night, it's the last thing I think about...I know where everyone is; with me.  That won't last, so I'm enjoying it while I can.

So it's cold here, colder than Gainesville (that's for sure!).  I knit the most cozy infinity scarf with Malabrigo Rasta.  It's a single ply, super bulky yarn...almost like a roving yarn.  Anyway, super simple scarf, I cast on about 80ish stitches in the round and worked seed stitch till I thought I had enough yarn to cast off.  When working the bind off, I ran out of yarn about 10 stitches short...no problem!  I recently learned the Russian Bind Off (thank you Athena!) and so I worked those last few in that manner and Viola!  DONE!  I haven't had a chance to even wear it when That Young College Lady finds it and confiscates it.  I'm teasing...God knows I don't need another scarf.  I gladly gave it to her. She tripled it then wrapped it around her head to stay warm.  In the house.

Even Gracie is needing a little extra layer to stay warm.  In the house.

Maybe I should turn up the heat a bit but it's so nice to see everyone wanting to wear my knitted stuff.  KIDDING!  I'll go turn it up.

Last night we decorated Christmas Cookies!!  Veronica made them.  I tell you it's so nice when I can supervise kitchen activities from the comfort of my knitting nest (while knitting, of course).  So we usually do half plain for decorating and half with colored sugar sprinkles (Mike's favorite).
Here she is in action...
Watch out Betty!  (as in Betty Crocker)

Ready, set...GO!

I posted this on Instagram and so far no one has noticed the poor gingerbread man with the torn off, bloody leg courtesy of Justine.  You think maybe we watch too much Walking Dead?

And some gifts arrived from our family in San Diego!  Thanks Lisa, Mike and John!  Uncle Mike couldn't wait to get into the chocolate, John...so he did!  I'm sure he's on Santa's naughty list. (I didn't complain since he shared it with me.)

I hope you're as excited about Christmas as we are!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fair Isle Dreams

This will be another knitting post so those of you non-knitters might want to look away.  Or keep reading! Hey, it could be worse.  You could be fighting traffic to get to the mall for last minute Christmas shopping...or circling the Target parking lot for a parking space...or something equally as dull and boring (and not knitting related).  I'll try to post pretty pictures to keep you interested.  hee-hee

Oh wait...coffee, gotta get another cup.

Ah. Better.  Ok, knitting.  I'm not too severe when it comes to New Year Resolutions. I usually half-ass promise myself to do something and fail miserably, so not a good idea.  But occasionally I do make a knitting promise...like to try something new, knit from the stash exclusively, etc.  Next year I'm thinking...fair isle (or stranded knitting to some)!  
What's that, ask you non-knitter types?
Here's an example:
Yeah, I cringe a little too.  The old fair isle style is very boxy shaped and all over print. Look up Alice Starmore if you want to see more.  An updated version appeals to me...more fitted (not tight but shaped) and narrower sleeves, too.  This one is toned down quite a bit as far as color goes, usually there are multiple colors (15-20 colors) and can be a bit loud and in your face.  Fair isle is usually knit in a small gauge, like fingering weight, which might sound daunting to knit a whole sweater in that weight but it actually goes quickly.  Watching the colors change and pattern emerge is a great motivator to quick finishing.  

Techniques are fun to learn and master when you do fair isle...how to hold the yarn so the color you want to pop, does and the dreaded...queue dramatic music here...STEEK! That's a section of the sweater designed to be secured and cut (yup, with scissors) to create a cardigan, neck, sleeve holes, etc.

So here are a few patterns I'm thinking about...I could change my mind in the future but it's at least a good sampling.

I've started this hat and it's been sitting for a while so it will probably be first on the list.  Mine is a bright blue and white...very wintry.

Kate has a ton of fair isle hats, yoke sweater, etc.  She just came out with a book too.  I gotta get it.  Anyway back to Peerie Flooers.  Mike got me the kit; yarn, pattern and adorable bag to go with...so this one is a must for next year. I'm hoping there will be enough yarn leftover for some mitts.
Here's a sweater or two I have yarn for in my stash.
It's stranded...two colors.  Mine are charcoal gray and bright pink.
My friend Dolly made one and used a variegated yarn for the yellow so it looked more like color work, very clever and cute sweater.  What to see it?
Cute, huh?  

And this sweater (another Kate Davies) I'll use as inspiration for my own design.  I hope.  I have some med-gray and some purples in several shades I thought this might work.  Do the color work on the body only and solid sleeves.  

And some smaller projects too. 
It's even a free pattern on Ravelry! Don't they look soft and warm?

And these...
(another freebie)

You might be scratching your head about now...didn't she just post a totally different list of things she wanted to knit? What about all the KALs and MKALs? 

Part of the fun of knitting is planning and queueing and dreaming....

Friday, December 19, 2014

Knitting Along

In the knitting world...aka the world of Ravelry (If you knit, crochet or anything related to fiber, you must get on Ravelry and if you're already signed up, get on there daily...it's worth it!) there is a thing called a knit-along...or if you're real adventurous, a mystery knit-along.  
A normal knit-along, henceforth referred to as a KAL, you buy the pattern and make the project along with a bunch of other people. This can be 50 people or if the designer is popular, thousands of people! It can be a new project or a designer might say..."knit any of my sock patterns".  Some offer prizes!  I won a skein of sock yarn in one I did with Blue Peninsula.  So fun!  I'm doing another one with her after the first of the year called "selfish" KAL.  Knitters will knit a lot prior to Christmas, so some selfish knitting at the first of the year is always welcome.  I did a bunch of Christmas knitting this year.
 A MKAL (see what I did there) is basically the same thing only you don't know what the finished object will look like...other than what it will be, like a sock or shawl. And the "clues" are rationed out, usually weekly.  You get clue one, knit it up...and if you're fast enough...wait for the next clue (the pattern continued), knit it up and so on and so forth. Get it?
I should say, that the MKAL is always chancy.  I mean, really...you're casting on a project that you don't know how it will turn out in the end.  Risky knitting indeed.  BUT you can (and I have) wait a few weeks to see the clues emerge and decide if you like it or not, then join in.  The bummer about doing this is the pattern is usually offered at a discount (or free) prior to the cast on date.
I've done a few.  It's fun because the designers have "groups" and you can follow a thread (or two or three) where everyone chats and shares their experience.  It's a fun way to connect with people across the globe (or in your knit group) who are knitting the same thing as you.
My friends in my knit group are so fun, there's always someone ready to jump in and join a KAL/MKAL.  

Here's what I'm doing in the KAL/MKAL department:
2015 Selfish Knitting KAL
I have a couple yarns to choose from in my stash.  Maybe I should knit two pair? Anyone want a pair of mitts? I think they're so cute!
There are a few of us in the knit group doing this one. Bulky yarn and a mystery...what could be better!  (Mom...you should do this with your Marble you love so much!)  No picture, duh, but this is the one on the project page.
This is a toe-up mystery sock knit-along.  I haven't done a sock MKAL in a while...sounds like a no pressure, fun, knit!

Here's a sample of prior KAL/MKALs I've done:
 Above and below are my Couplet Socks from a KAL. The one below is my yarn the one above is the yarn I won! I love this designer and the sock pattern looked great so I jumped right in! Love my socks, they fit so great.
 This shawl was a MKAL that had 5 weeks of clues, with two clues each week.  You could choose which clue of the two you wanted to do!  So the combination of clues gave several different outcomes, it was fun to see all the different shawls.  It was called Follow Your Arrow.  You can see the "arrow" theme in the stitch patterns. 3,460 people participated in this MKAL, a very popular designer.
 Anyway, I've done more but I'm woefully short on photos in my projects.  

So if you're looking to expand your knitting horizon and want to try something new and exciting...come join me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wordfull Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday...not me, I've got something to say today.

I learned many, many years ago, like when I was a kid and wanted pom-poms for my roller skates (it was all the rage then), how to make a decent pom-pom.  The trick is to make sure you wind up enough yarn.  Nothing more pitiful than a flimsy, loosy-goosy pom-pom. BUT my pom-poms require a lot of trimming. I usually find something laying around that is about the size of the pom-pom I want to create and wrap my yarn around that...tie if off...the trim the heck out of it (over a trash can cuz it makes a mess)...and viola! a pom-pom.

Like this:

So my friend, Dolly, has made the most adorable hats for her grand kids.  All with an awesome pom-pom on top.  She asked for my help in making one, then remembered she had a pom-pom maker somewhere in her craft stuff.  It's made my Clover and can be found in JoAnn's or probably Michael's, too.

She brought it last night and walked me through how to use it...then today I watched a video on Youtube on how to use it. So much less trimming to do...and it makes a nice, thick, dense pom-pom! Ok...I need one.  NEED.  ONE. 

 Here's what it looks like:

I love gadgets.  This one would make a great stocking stuffer.  

(I better send this post to Santa.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ten for the tummy on Tuesday

Ten things I like to cook, bake...and um, EAT (and drink) during Christmastime:

1.  Almond Roca
You knew this would be #1, huh?  I've already made two batches, well Justine helped me a great deal, she did all the stirring. The best part is breaking it up with a hammer.

2. Crack Pretzels
As much fun to make as they are to eat.  Lots of happy memories of my time in Florida associated with these babies, too.

3.  Sugar Cookies
Making, decorating and eating...it's all good.

4.  Hot Chocolate
Sounds silly but it just tastes better when it's super cold outside.  Or after a long walk in the snow.

5.  Peppermint Mocha
Starbucks has this every winter...it's so good!  Especially while shopping with your daughters at the mall.

6.  Chicken Noodle Soup
I've discovered these Pennsylvania Dutch noodles here and they're so good! This is a family favorite.

7.  Chili
I make good chili and Mike loves it during the cold winter months.  Ok, who wouldn't?

8.  Potato Casserole
I make this every Christmas to eat with our ham on Christmas day.  My dear friend Elsie gave me the recipe many, many years ago.  It's so good!  Ok, I'll give you the recipe:  1 bag of frozen hash browns (thawed), 2 cans cream of potato soup, 1 16oz tub of sour cream and a few cups on grated cheddar cheese (I usually use about 2, you can use more).  Mix all together put in a 9x12 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 min. or so, till the top is browned a bit. (It's easy to cut in half too.) Enjoy!

9.  Fudge
Elsie gave me a great recipe for fudge too. Turns out perfect every time...smooth and creamy not grainy. Important with fudge, that it not be grainy...or is that just me?

10.  Spiced Nuts
My wonderful mother-in-law gave me the best recipe for spiced nuts!  They're sweet not spicy. Made with pecan halves, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.  Very good.  I made some for Veronica to take back to her boyfriend after Thanksgiving.  We decorated the tree to the wonderful smell of them baking in the oven.  Nice!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Topsy Turvy!!

I know most of you are probably sick of this already....
but for those of you who haven't seen my latest FO.
My first topsy-turvy!!

This adorable snowman...
 turn him inside out...
 and you have a Christmas tree!

Made this three panel photo with my new app.

I'm working on a squirrel/hedgehog one now.  You can be sure to find photos here when I'm done!  I really like that these are made with worsted weight yarn.  I have tons of worsted scraps in my stash and my friend gave me a ton of her scraps, so I'm set for a quite a while!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday...saying goodbye

My grandmother passed away this week.

She is my dad's mom. I only met her a few times in my life so we weren't that close.  I was much closer to my mom's mom. We always called her Grandmother Bruner...kind of formal name for a grandma but they lived far away and my dad doesn't like his family so unless we absolutely had to, we didn't communicate with them much.  But my memories of her are all good.  She was a great cook and no one ever went hungry in her presence! She was a wonderful gardener and took pride in her lovely southern landscape.  We went to visit her a few years ago, Mike, the kids and I, while she was still pretty healthy and living by herself in Alabama.  She cooked for us...breakfast, dinner (what you know as lunch) and supper (dinner...and way too big a meal if you've had "dinner" a few hours before)! I've never been so full.  She gave me a few of her cast iron pans which we use everyday.  Seriously, one is a hoe cake pan and it's perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches.  She dug up a few crape myrtle trees for us to plant at our home in Florida...all are still alive and thriving today (not because I have any sort of green-thumb but it rains a lot in Florida and those type of trees grow like weeds there). I'm glad she got to meet our kids.  She lived to almost 100...a long life.  

Grandmother Bruner

Monday, December 8, 2014

Happy Monday!

Has it really been a week since I've blogged?  Well, I have a good excuse...I've been sick with some crud Veronica brought home for Thanksgiving. I have it, Mike has it and Justine is getting over it.  Anyway, so that's that.  I am feeling better (still coughing) and back among the living.

I have been knitting.  I have some Christmas stuff to get done, yeah, like in presents.  Some are being mailed to California so I REALLY need to get knitting.  Actually, I should be ok, the big stuff I've already finished and the remainder is small projects like hats.  I can usually knit a hat in a day or two. I'm also making a topsy-turvy snowman/Christmas tree thing...hopefully I will finish it soon and post pictures. Topsy-turvy, you ask?  You know, it looks like something, then you turn it inside-out and it's something else. Topsy-turvy!

I did some Small Business Saturday shopping.  One for Christmas and one for yarn. You're shocked?!  I got a skein for a hat (gift) and a skein of sock yarn for me!  It's a super bright, multi-colored...color called Bollywood! I hope it arrives today. Really, considering all the crazy yarn sales going on, I did pretty good.

Mike has my car today so I'm stuck at home.  Stuck sounds like I'm not happy about it but truth is, I am.  I love being "stuck" at home. I have some cleaning to do, some blocking to do, planning to do...hey, Christmas is around the corner!  I still have tons of shopping to do, too.  And wrapping....and baking....and...and...and...

And some knitting to do, too.  Those Christmas gifts aren't going to knit themselves!!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday's Musings

I love to check out Google Images.  Anything you want to find a picture of, you can.  Be careful on some that say "click for higher resolution" though...unless you want to see porn.  Ugh.  Anyway, so I'm on there this morning, thinking about "change".  Change.  It's the one thing that remains the same in life, wouldn't you say? Then, as you do, when you're looking at the computer, I got side tracked.  I typed in "things that happened in 1962".  That's the year I was born.  Maybe I was still thinking about change, so much has happened since 1962.  In the world and in my life, of course.

But it was very interesting...Here's a sampling:

 Barbie looked a whole lot different.  Of course I wouldn't be into Barbie for a few years yet.  My Barbie was Malibu Barbie...complete with a tan and long blond hair. 

Apparently Seattle had a good year in '62.  See the other headline? That's Mitt's father, George Romney.  I read through some of his bio on Wiki. Interesting stuff.  

John F. Kennedy was president. 

In February of 1962, John Glenn orbited the Moon three times in five hours, travelling 17,000 miles per hour in Mercury's Friendship 7 capsule.  And a few weeks ago a probe was landed on a comet.  A lot has changed in Space since '62.

 Movies were funny...in a weird kinda way.  They're still funny these days...and just as raunchy.
 Lawrence of Arabia was a big hit.  Epic dramas will never go out of style in the movies.
This movie still creeps me out.  My sister, too.
Scary movies have changed quite a bit.  A lot of gore these days, but there are still some scary ones that make me squirm in my seat.

 Thank God electric ranges don't look like this anymore! (Truth be told, I do like all the extra room on that range.) Although, I think the photo of this manual is awesome! And thank God women don't dress up to cook dinner anymore...at least not in my house!  haha
Cars were damn cool in '62.

So check out the year you were born, you might learn something new.