Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy, happy

Christmas 2010 is now in the books.  This room is a complete mess now.

 Here they go, ready to attack some wrapping paper.

All the nieces and nephews wearing their handmade goodies.

We really didn't get all that much snow.  Once the winds kicked up, most of the snow blew off our lawn and across the street.  Not fun for sledding, but pretty to look at.

I started a sweater.  After I tried this on, I decided to frog it.  It puckered at the raglan increases, and I could tell I was going to have big holes in the armpits when I started the sleeves.  The beauty of knitting is that I can stop mid-sweater and undo it!

See, I decided to make a cabled tube top instead!

And the paperwhites are blooming!
I wish you all a very happy new year.  See you in 2011.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Catch up

Hey there.  What's the quickest, most fun way to catch up?  Pictures, of course!  Here we go!

The Next-to-last set!  For my 16 year old nephew.  I wish you could see the hat in person.  So much texture going on--cables, seed stitch.  I may make one for myself.  And those mitts.  Simple and fun.
The "keeping it real" department.  Laundry is threatening to take over--but really, when is it not about to take over--it's always just in different stages: dirty, clean but not folded, folded but not put away... you get the picture.
 We tried hanging this pine garland outside.  The command adhesive hooks did not want to cooperate (I wouldn't want to hang out in twenty degrees, either.), so it came inside.  Looks festive, don't you think?
 Hey--this is the last pair of mittens!!!  The first one is done (except the thumb), and I'm on the second one.  Please, do not let me take on four sets of stranded hats and mittens again.  It nearly did me in this year.
 This is where I like to spend my afternoons.  At one-thirty or two, this is the warmest place in the house.  If I had a cat, this would be the cat's favorite place.
 This morning, I played with sugar and dough.  Always fun.
 Then I packed these up and went to the post office. Less fun, but now it's done!
 And then I started cutting some fabric.  I figure if I cut some now, I can take my time and have it ready for next Christmas!
And that's what I'm doing in between class parties and dance lessons and Girl Scout meetings.  Rob is off all next week, so my computer time will be limited...but I'll try to pop back in here at least one more time. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Show and Tell

I think this season is going to be one of our more relaxed ones.  We put up our tree over the weekend.  That's a couple of weeks earlier than we usually do it, but I think it will be nice to be able to enjoy it for the month.
 Knitting by the fireplace is always nice.  This winter I want to make an effort to spend more time by the fire.

And yes, you can knit a sweater in a week!  I still have to weave in the ends and block it--on this version, the neck is not laying right.  I'm hoping some aggressive blocking will help that.  Now I can get back to knitting the last three gifts.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's here!

Well, that was quick!  Yesterday afternoon, Bobby opened the front door, and guess what was sandwiched in between the front door and the storm door?  The new camera! Woo hoo!  Break out the batteries!

Let's view the celebration!
 I caught him off-guard!
 Quick shot of the Advent calendar.
 Caroline was ready for her close-up.
 And here are Sarah's mittens.  Aren't they cute?
 The littles were trying to stage a shot.  Caitlin wanted me to capture the cotton balls falling from her hand like snow.  I tried explaining that mama has to read the manual first.  And the headband?  Well, today is Eighties Day at school, so I had to go to Claire's in search of some early-Madonna gear.  And they had it.
And here's how I spent my birthday money.  A box of goodness from Webs.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Post with the lousy pictures

As I type this, the lovely people from Amazon have promised me that my (our) new camera (that shoots movies) is on its way to our house. I *think* we're calling it an early Christmas present for me/us even though I was prepared to part with my birthday money to make it happen.  And it's "early" because there's no way I'm going to limp along with awful pictures when I know there's a new camera in the house.  Whew.  Deep breath.  So this will hopefully be the last post with lousy pictures!

Right before Thanksgiving, I finished this hat for my nephew.  He's a Steelers fan.

 I also finished the pink and white mittens for my niece, but Blogger has rejected that picture.  It was a very poor picture, so I don't blame Blogger!

Here's how our Thanksgiving looked: a little blurry and a lot of fun.  We even had huge, beautiful snowflakes falling for a couple of hours in the morning.

Dad brought his top hat.  Somehow this is a thing now.
 And after dinner, there was a lively game of Blokus.
I am slowly bringing out the Christmas decorations.  Our outdoor lights are done.  Would you believe that I forgot to put up the Advent calendar last night?  I hung it as soon as the kids went to school.  They can have their Hershey Kisses this afternoon.

And after all my bellyaching about a sweater for myself, I decided to use some of my 17 (!!) skeins of red yarn to knit myself another Francis--this time with long sleeves.  Can I just say how much fun it is to knit stockinette (in only one color!) in the round after so many stranded projects?   This sweater is literally flying off the needles.  And then I'll just have three more little projects to finish for Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My New Mantra

Okay, I'm a couple of days late, but I'm back.  And I don't really have a game plan for all these seasonal crafty projects--just one rule and a new mantra.  The rule?  Don't start any new projects.  The mantra? (With apologies to Alec Baldwin's character in Glengarry Glen Ross) Always Be Knitting.

I finished the second pair of mittens. And the only way to take a picture seems to be with the flash.  This picture was taken before I finished the thumb.

I'm working on another pair of mittens (another pair where I had to merge two patterns--so the writing out of the pattern has been time-consuming and there has been some trial-and-error).  And I started a hat for one of my nephews.  Yes, I started a project, but this one was already planned.  I am trying to avoid starting any unplanned gifts.  I am also working on Caroline's sweater at night (those secret knitting projects are tough to fit in, I tell you!).  I'm almost finished with the back.  My sweater?  Is on hold (see my one rule above).  I'm okay with it. For now.

And as a corollary to "don't start anything new," I decided to find a stopping point on other projects.  So these little decorations are done--I finished stuffing them and sewed them closed.
 And these unsewn ones will go into storage for another year.
Just this morning I realized that my parents will be arriving here next Tuesday.  And while this is super-exciting, that also means that it's time to start preparing the house for guests.  I am hosting Thanksgiving again this year, and I am super-tickled about this because it is also my fortieth birthday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday again

I'm finding that having a camera on the blink just kills my blogging mojo.    My 365 project is now going to be more like "283".  Oh well.  Last week I found a book at the library that was full of red, white and pink Christmas decorations.

I went to Joann's, and for a couple of days this week, my dining room table looked like this:
 And this:
 And this.
I love that red-and-white homespun in a way that probably isn't normal. . .

Other than that, I've been slowly knitting.  And I'm in a funk about my own Christmas sweater.  Actually, it was going to be my Birthday sweater, but that is not going to happen.  Last January, I bought the pattern for this.  In August, I purchased the yarn (it's Deep Red).  I was going to knit this sweater for Christmas, maybe my birthday if I finished it early enough.  Now I'm running out of time and am looking at other patterns.  I truly love this (in much the same way as I love that homespun fabric), but I don't think I'll be able to complete it in time for Christmas.  So now I'm contemplating this.  And I'm thinking that it could become a Valentine's project if I really run out of time. 

What I need to do is stop taking on new projects!  Those Christmas decorations are not finished.  The nieces' mittens are not finished.  The nephews' hat and mittens are not even started, and I'm contemplating knitting a scarf and a throw blanket as Christmas gifts.  Those Christmas lights I started a month ago?  I have three of them.  Do you see a pattern here?  I think I have Seasonal ADD.  It's time to get realistic.  How about I come back on Monday with a realistic game plan?  What are you doing for your holiday crafting?  Are you on schedule, or are you (like me) easily distracted?   

Monday, November 1, 2010


Did you miss me?  I missed last Friday's post!  Oh well, nothing like a Monday Five or Six to make up for it!

1.  I call this "What is going on with my camera?"

 This was taken in my kitchen during the day--it's not super-bright in there.  I was checking the white balance and pressing all sorts of exposure compensation buttons.  No idea what the problem is.  But it does work later in the day (and in lower light).

2. See here--the flash came on, which I don't love (but it was night), and now you can see that I've finished the first mitten for this set!

These mittens...are tough.  There are some mistakes.  I can live with it.  The next one will be better.

3.  Here's a completed set!  I finally finished the last thumb--and it didn't turn out right because I should have reversed the pattern (not that the book tells you that).  Anyway, it's done.  These mittens have been so challenging for me.  The hats were an absolute breeze, so the difference is surprising.

4.  Soccer season is almost over.  But we have to get through a tournament first--a "two games in one day" tournament!  And there are two days of "two games in one day"! 

This picture is of Bobby at a soccer game.  He sure looks funny, doesn't he?  He's stooped over and reading the first Harry Potter book!  Each child is reading a Harry Potter book!  They are all so into it, I'm just tickled!    

5.  I finished that scarf for Hermione just in time.  And then Bobby said he wanted a scarf! 
Happy First of November!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Five

1.  It's "Celebrate Education Week" over at the elementary school.  This means that I've been over there almost every day to play math games with first graders, visit the third grade insect zoo, create an advertisement for one of the thirteen colonies.  It's also book fair week, so I got a little Christmas shopping done (Knuffle Bunny Free!  I didn't even know this was out.  We love, love, love Mo Willems in this house!)

 2.  I have finished one of my mittens.  That top picture shows it without the thumb, but it's done now. 
 Runs a little large, I'd say.  But there is no way I'm re-knitting this, so I'll just have a gorgeous pair of really large mittens (whenever I finish the mate).

 3. So here are all of the nieces' hats.  They were also running large, so for Sarah's (the pink and white), I took out one of the pattern repeats.  It seems to fit all my kiddos' heads just fine, so I think it'll work for her.
 4. Kristyn had a good idea--that I should finish up the sets instead of starting the nephews' hats.  She's right, I will feel so much better when I have some complete gift sets to admire.
 I had been dragging my feet on this because the mitten patterns I'm using are all adult sizes--way too large for an eleven-year-old.  I tried using the pattern as written, but it was huge on me.  I had to cut it way down, as you can see.
 Now that the first one is done, the second one should be a breeze!  I know I'm going to have to adapt Sarah's mittens, but I'm hoping that for Alexis (she's 14), I can just use the pattern as written and just knit with smaller needles.
5.  Harry Potter robes are done, now I'm racing the clock to knit up a Gryffindor scarf for Caroline.  It's really going quickly because I'm using ginormous yarn and size 13 needles.  My only concern is that I will run out of yarn before it's long enough!

Tonight we're going on a spooky hayride with the Boy Scouts.  I hope it's not too spooky--some of my littles are not into extreme spookiness.  I also hope it's not too chilly.  It may be time to dig out some hats and mittens.  Happy weekend to you all!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Five

1. I have a new blog header.  No really, I have a new picture all ready to go over on flickr.  But when I try to add it over here, I get an "invalid url" message from Blogger.  Sigh.

2.  A couple of weeks ago, I bought this giant jar for cookies.  So much better than ziploc bags, don't you think?  And now there are only two cookies left in the jar...

 3.  This week, I brought out the sewing machine for the first time in a long while.  I made this table runner and some napkins.  We used them last night.   I had been wanting to make a table runner.  It was a good warmup for the sewing machine--I have two Hogwarts robes to make before the 31st.

 4.  This is the third hat.  I did take a picture of the second hat, but I managed to not upload's done, I promise, and it's super cute, too.  Now, do I make hats for the nephews, or get started on the nieces' mittens?  Or do I chuck it all to make two Gryffindor scarves?  This homemade Halloween costumes thing is becoming time consuming!
5.  I don't really have anything else to add, but "Friday Four" just wasn't as exciting as "Friday Five."  I'll be back next week--hopefully with some finished mittens to show you!