Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday preparations

I've only managed to finish a couple of crochet pieces and some swatches in the past few weeks. This star shaped centerpiece is from my crochet class. This larger one is for the dining room and I made a smaller one for the kitchen table. I took stock and although it seems I have been knitting and crocheting like crazy, nothing's DONE. Must be due to working on 9 things at once. But I am happy to report on this last day of November I'm mostly done with Christmas shopping, the house is decorated and cards are slated to go out this weekend. Now, if I could only put my butt in gear to work the button bands on my Mom's Christmas sweater, I'll be golden.

I have been attending my knitting and crochet classes and even taught a beginning sock class last week, so lots of fiber related fun is going on. Then there's the serious time bandit - Ravelry. I like it so much and it's getting better daily. My projects - at least those I want to share - are all up. Every bit of my stash is up, save the one basket of odds and ends I use for my homework samples. What's really addicting is all the forums.

Thanksgiving was great. It's the one big meal I am mostly responsible for. As is commonly known, I am not the family cook, so it's always nerve wracking for me to get everything in place at the same time. Bob makes the pies the day before and this year Heather make a potato and leek soup to augment the side dishes for herself and boyfriend, both vegetarians. So, to add to my frenzy, there's another cook in the kitchen. She watches every cooking show and is much more creative than I am, but when she turned off the double oven timer for her potatoes, little did we notice, she turned both ovens off. An hour later as I was wondering why the turkey was not browning on schedule, there was panic and I admit, tears. But it really wasn't a big deal with just the girls and their other halves in attendance. We plied them with drink. Bob joked about it being the revenge of the militant vegetarians.

Then I'm preparing the sweet potato side dish and our old faithful mixer dies in dramatic fashion. The beaters seemed to wrap around one another and seized up. I about killed my little hand mixer too to get that in the oven too. But it really was great because these are the tales that make the holidays special. The girls were quite happy the mixer was dead. Somehow the then stylish color of dirty yellow offended their sense of style and I always kept it covered so as not to hear them complain about it.

We celebrated on Wednesday, since Erika and husband were flying out on Thanksgiving day for a weekend wedding of a special friend in Pennsylvania. We armed them with turkey leftovers which they enjoyed in their hotel Thanksgiving evening with drinks from a convenience store, the only thing opened when they arrived.

On Thanksgiving Day, I relaxed and watched the Macy's Parade with my feet up instead of flurrying around preparing my meat stuffing. Forget Cyber Monday, I shopped online until my credit card cried, "Uncle!" The best thing is most of the stuff was on my doorstep by Monday. The new White Kitchen Aid mixer took a few days longer, but is now in its appointed place on the counter, uncovered.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Not knitting. We're in Laughlin playing. As big time spenders, we play the nickel video poker slots. After more than a year without winning the big jackpot, I'm happy to report the dry spell is over. I just got this one at the Edgewater, AND I got one last night here at the Tropicana Express. Yay! more yarn money....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Seamless Yoke is done

It took a little longer than expected to do the buttonbands. I made myself slow down to do them just right. Then to tack down the steeked sections with a nice even herringbone stitch. I steamed it a bit, but will hold off on a full wet blocking for now. I didn't get the top button in the exact spot needed, so I put in a snap. Overall, I really like it, especially after learning so many new techniques.

Now, if it would only cool down here in San Diego, so I could wear it!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I steeked it!

With my heart pounding, I cut my sweater in class yesterday. My instructor was hovering and about 15 members of the class surrounded me, watching and giving encouragement. It worked! and there was no fraying of the edges. I felt like a rock star with everyone ooh and aahing over the results. Although I had brought my camera to class, I was so caught up in the moment, I forgot to ask someone to take pictures. I picked up the stitches for the button and neck band and should finish that tonight. The buttons from my stash I thought would work are not quite right, so I'll go out tomorrow to get some. I'll be doing the afterthought button hole.

I did get some pix of the sewing process in preparation to the actual cut. Being careful to catch the legs of the stitch is absolutely essential. It didn't take long, but was tedious. I stitched 2 rows on either side of the cut line. It was hard to resist the temptation to do 3 or 4 rows, but I was warned that could make it stiff.

With all the counting of things to upload to Ravelry, here is my needle inventory. Let's see, 75 circulars, 11 Flex, 9 Options tips and assorted cables. 69 sets of Double Points, 36 pairs of straights and the 2 vintage Boye sets. The yellow Boye set is the one I went into hock for back in college in the early 70s.
I was so happy last week when I went to the ISO and destashing board on Ravelry to find the 10" double pointed needles I have been looking for for several years. I got them on Thursday. These are the aluminum Boyes which are no longer made. I wanted the size 9 and 10s. These work well for hats and sleeves. I'm so comfortable with the DPNs, I often use them instead of the short circulars.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sock Boot Camp

It was an especially fun day yesterday at the Bonita Knitting Store. The Tofutsie's trunk show spurred a sock themed event, the boot camp. Lots of folks came in and I got to reconnect with some knitters I had not seen in a while. I feel like such a proud mama when a student from one of my beginning sock classes comes in with socks to show off. Although not made by my own hands, they seem partly mine, too.

It was also Kathy's birthday and our celebration included pancit and cake. Her 'men' came in, hubby and sons, with flowers. Everyone was jealous because they were so obviously loving.

This past week brought me several special moments. In Crochet class Wednesday, a classmate's grandson had arrived two weeks prior. I had made baby Joshua a pair of Ugg booties. The thank you card with a photo of the tiny baby wearing them was priceless. I have the photo up on my bulletin board and it brings a smile every time my eyes wander over in that direction. It has also helped inspire me to get on with making some more of the booties. My daughter is going to a baby shower next week and has requested a pair. I should really just knock out a few pairs to have them on hand.

Since Wednesday was Halloween, I was happy the child development class came through our crochet class on their costume parade. Who wouldn't love 50 preschoolers in costume? I love kiddies in costume but in past years very few come to the door, so I got my fix of adorable cuteness.

I am also making good progress on my Elizabeth Zimmermann percentage sweater, the Seamless Yoke. The mechanics of colorwork is still not fluid for me, but I'm liking the results. With some pointers from my workshop instructor, Athena, I plan to be ready to cut my steeks next Friday. Stay tuned.

Another happy surprise was our guest in Friday's knitting workshop. Charlie, the previous instructor, is in town for a few weeks and spent the afternoon visiting. It was great seeing her and catching up with her adventures rebuilding her home in the woods of Missouri.