Saturday, May 27, 2006

In the Blink of an Eye....

One of my goals for the weekend was to create this hat. A friend asked me to come up with a pattern for a garter stitch hat. It was supposed to fit an adult sized head. My first attempt became a toddler or child-sized hat. It was a very quick knit, maybe less than four hours from start to finish. The resulting pattern is here. It's a PDF file, so you should be able to just right-click on it and save it if you like. I may keep working at it, and add a size for adults, but for now I wanted to share it, in case anyone is looking for a quick gift idea.

I'm only learning the ins and outs of blogging, so I'm not sure how to get that file to open here in the blog. If you have any problems with it, please let me know.

Finally, Rollie says "Don't look now, but I think I'm being watched..."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

From One Bag to Another...

After the Booga Bag, I was hooked, and promptly started another. This one took me a little longer to finish, but today I gave it a second fulling with the laundry, sewed on a vintage button, and called it done. This pattern was in the Jamieson's Shetland Book #3, and it was designed by the "Two Old Bags" ladies. I don't care for that name very much, but I didn't like the previous name of their business, "Wool You Order" either. The pattern was very good, up until the handle. The handle was in plain stockinette, and it curled a lot when it was fulled, which made it a tiny bit skinnier than I would have liked. I'd make the bag again, but change the handle to something flatter and wider. Maybe double knit, or seed or linen stitch.

The yarn was the same as the Booga, more Tahki Ambrosia Slim. I already have a third bag started, this time a Market Squares bag from Knitter's. I made this pattern a few years ago, when it came out, but only made it half as big. It turned into a lovely hat. The yarn was some coned 2-ply wool from Webs. Very nice to work with.

I'm using more of the Ambrosia Slim in the new bag, but in a different colorway. This yarn is fulling very nicely, so it's fun to work with.

Now that summer's almost here, it's hard to find knitting time. I am so far behind in yardwork, housework, eBay work, you name it. I get a little knitting squeezed in during lunch and meetings, but that's only on small things, like socks, washcloths, booties, etc. There are so many yarns and patterns waiting to be made. As soon as I finish this, I'm going to sit down with my needles and knit for the rest of the evening. Wish I didn't feel soooo sleepy....

Finally, Rusty shows just how boring it can be to be kept inside when all the little birdies are outside just dying to play with him...didn't know cats could sulk, did you?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Knit One, Rip One

This has been a hectic week. On Monday, my computer at work caught fire. Luckily, I was still able to back it up, and remove the hard drive, send it up to tech support, and will be getting a replacement by the end of the week. However, being without a computer for even three or four days just feels wrong. I've been trying to get some things done, but I'm definitely out of sync.

Tuesday I thought I'd just knit and relax in the evening. I picked up three balls of Lion Watercolor yarn in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby, and thought I would make a baby sweater. Found a pattern on the internet, and cast on. After knitting for a couple of hours, and almost coming to the end of the first ball, I realized that I should have made the smallest size instead of the largest, because I was probably going to run out of yarn. So I ripped it all out. Normally I wouldn't have noticed, but this time it really felt like two hours wasted. I guess I'm just having an "off" week.

Wednesday wasn't much better, with a tick bite that landed me at the clinic. I did manage to transplant 46 strawberry plants, and start a new bed, so that makes the future look bright. This is such a busy time of year for yardwork, it really cuts into the knitting time. But I'm really feeling like I need to relax with my feet up and the needles clicking. Maybe Friday night...

Finally, Rusty says "Don't bother me, I'm getting my catnip fix."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Have VW, Will Travel....

Yesterday was adventure. It's hard to schedule an adventure - sometimes they just have to happen. But, because my brother and I both have to work for a living, sometimes they have to be planned. We both managed to get a Friday off, and decided to ignore the skyrocketing gas prices and take a road trip.

I had been hoping to go further afield, but we stuck close to home, relatively speaking. We explored the better parts of Vernon County, Wisconsin, located in Southwestern Wisconsin. On our way there, we made a stop at St. Joseph Ridge, to visit this grotto.Because the weather was against us, raining and spitting snow, and 40 degrees, we did't stay too long at the grotto. But I'll say right now, these types of places fascinate me. There are enough of them located in my part of the state to do an in depth study on. I'm kind of "collecting" them - grottos and sculpture gardens. This one was built in the 1920's. Someday, I'd like to build my own. Most of the grottos and sculpture gardens I've seen have been made by immigrants, but they didn't start building them until they were in their 60's or later. So the way I figure it, I've got about 20 years yet to do my research, and collect my rocks and pieces of glass and other interesting articles. Every grotto or garden seems to have religious symbols, and patritoic symbols. Maybe I will put in some knitting symbols as well.In addition to man-made structures, it's fun to find geologic features that seem to defy reason. Here's a landform called "3 Chimneys", located between Viroqua and Westby. I'm going to have to do a bit of studying on this one too. My brother knew where it was located (in a farm field on a country road), but neither of us could find out why it was formed or what material it was. We were in an unglaciated part of the state, and I thought we were too far away from the areas overrun by glacial meltwaters, but I'm not sure.
In addition to finding unique landforms, we were also exploring Amish country. At first, we bought a few things from a "commercial" shop that carried crafts by local Amish and other artisans. Then we started going down the country roads, and finding the actual farmsteads, many of which sell their goods right from home. At one home my brother bought a peach pie, fresh from the oven. It was too nasty a day for a picnic, so the pie rode in the backseat, filling the car with the most wonderful aroma! Every place we stopped, when we got back in the car, the fragance of baked peaches made us swoon. At another home I bought a bent hickory footstool and we visited with the carpenter in his woodshop. Later we realized that we had only found one of several Amish communities in the area, so another trip is planned.

In spite of the weather, we had a good time, probably spent too much money, learned a bit more about the Viroqua area, and basically had a nice break.

Coming soon - KNITTING CONTENT - I promise, really I do...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ma...

Today would have been my Mom's 90th birthday. She passed away nearly eight years ago, and I still miss her so much it hurts sometimes. She would have loved today - the weather was beautiful, the May flowers are blooming - it was a picture perfect day. We could have had a wonderful birthday celebration.

In her memory today, I baked cookies. Lots of cookies. Over 300 - we are having an event at the refuge this week, and I offered to bake cookies for the volunteers and presenters. Ma would have loved the baking day - she taught me to bake when I was very young, and she had a huge recipe collection. I'm not sure how many actually got made, but she was forever clipping recipes or copying them down. I still have most of her recipes and need to sort through them and get them organized and preserved.

She taught me a lot about needlework too. Embroidery, sewing, crocheting, but surprisingly, she didn't teach me to knit. She claimed not to know how, but I think it came and went. I have a baby sweater she knit for me, and I remember asking her to knit a garter stitch sweater from a "Woman's Day" magazine for me when I was in high school. She did, but it was terribly heavy and uncomfortable. I think she ripped it out and used the yarn in an afghan. She was an expert crocheter, and among other things, made beautiful lace hankies, many of which she gave as bridal or anniversary gifts.

Perhaps her best known trait was to be able to make something out of almost nothing. She was very creative, and saved almost everything, because you never knew what you might need it for. Juice cans were lashed together and upholstered and became footstools. Scrap lumber and molding became a triple decker bunk bed for my dolls. Old curtains were used to make the doll's bedding. A large piece of plastic draped over piled up timbers became my swimming/sliding pool. I could go on and on.

It's that creative spirit that I hope to carry on, whether it's in cooking, or knitting, or gardening. You can see from the photo that she had a pretty good green thumb. Tomorrow I hope to start in on the gardening, and I'm sure she'll be with me in spirit. I can't wait. Happy Birthday Ma!