Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Celebrating a Sleeve





Ta da!  I am almost done with one sleeve!  I think I need a ticker tape parade (I remember them, do you?)  I am motivated once again to work on this project.  I will not start another project until this one is done.  For some reason the cuff took forever.  Once I picked up the stitches for the sleeve it went faster.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Weekends


This weekend contained:

-saving a toad from the skimmer of the pool
-opening the pool (no one has been in....yet!)
-focusing on knitting my cashmere cardigan sleeves
-sketching out a menu for THE graduation party for both kids in two weeks
-finally purchasing a swing for the patio (this took more than three years-I quit being picky)
-tolerating very high humidity
-a Memorial Day birthday (our son is 18 years old today!)
-more cake
-enjoying last couple of days our daughter is off before she starts her summer job

Joining Amanda at Habit of Being

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Swallowtail Shawl





My swallowtail shawl is complete :)  I am really pleased with it.  As you can see, I was the model AND the photographer.  Oh the things one is capable of doing when there is a will.  I liked this pattern and thought it was easier than most to follow.  However, I have had to pick up many dropped stitches while knitting because I think the yarn, Silky Alpaca Lace is quite slippery and I was not focusing. I think a wool would be better for a beginner lace knitter.  I loved the Silky Alpaca and would knit with it again.

I know I have posted before on the wonders of blocking but I have to again.  I blocked the daylights out of this shawl after a 20 minute soak in wool wash and it came out perfectly.  I really like the lacy open look.

I know it is evil but I wish it was cold outside so I could wear it.  Patience is not one of my virtues ;)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sister Swap






This year my sister and I did another yarn swap.  What is fun is that each of us thinks we got the "better" present!  She is quite a gifted at sewing and knitting.  I am a knitter.  I have the capability to sew basic projects but not the burning desire for perfection this means that my sewing would probably be sloppy.  She made the sewn zipper pouch!!  I just love these, I have a smaller one and they are perfect for little stitch markers or clip-on markers for knitting.  I really love my treasure chest!  I have filled it with beads and buttons and it is already on display in the family room.

My sister also made the stitch markers!  (her talents are endless....)  Almost all of my stitch markers have been crafted by her.  If you think the yarn is another skein of Madelinetosh lace, you are correct!  I really like the color, denim, a lot :) So when May rolls around again next year, I believe that we will swap again because it is FUN.

This is the post completes my trip last weekend to Pittsburgh, I saved the best for last-of course!  I forgot to snap some photos at the Holy Communion party on Sunday, I was talking and eating to much (I do both of those equally well).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yarn Shopping








Last Saturday my sister and I went yarn shopping.  These photos were taken in a little town, Sewickley PA.  I love this place because it reminds me a little of Cape May NJ.  There are Victorian houses and and tons of specialty shops.  The first two photos were taken by me of a garden store.  Isn't that frog the cutest?
While I was paying for some awesome yarn at Yarns Unlimited, my sister snapped the last three photos.  I would love to own a sheep planter!!

So you may wonder what did I buy? Well I bought Madelinetosh Lace!



The red (named Tart!) was purchased at Natural Stitches, sorry that pictures are missing, I forgot during my excitedness of yarn buying :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yarn Along


Well as you can see I am still reading the same book(s).  The Help is really really really good, I wish I read more during the day so I can finish it.  But those snippets of time are for knitting.  I am also slowly reading The Dirty Life.  I read barely a page this week so it is pretty much idle.

I have made a lot of progress on my swallowtail shawl.  I only have about 10 more rows and then I can cast off.  I have really enjoyed this pattern and would like to knit it again with 100% wool.  Right now I am using alpaca/silk blend and it is quite "slinky".  I drop stitches frequently which means I am fixing it almost every time I pick it up.

My other project is the valley cardigan.  I just need TWO sleeves--that is it.  Oh and a little bit of the neckline.  Wouldn't it be great to have it done in a week???  I think I will try very hard to focus on this goal.  I would love to have it out of my knitting bag :)

I would love to hear what you are knitting and reading!  If you want to see what other's are doing, go on over to Ginny's blog~Small Things!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Out in the Country








My dad moved a little more than an hour north of where I grew up near Pittsburgh.  He has always wanted to live in the country and farm the land.  I guess he farms a little bit of his land but definitely not on a grand scale.  He only has fruits and vegetables and the only animal is Emma (sleeping in the picture).  There is a bear that has been "visiting" the garbage and the porcupines are eating his barn but they are kind of unwanted.

My dad loves to be outside and cook outside.  If he could do this every day all year round he would be very happy.  So when we visit, there is bound to be an outdoor cooked meal.  He loves his campfire pit and I could not believe he was deep frying potato slices......I really wish they were healthy because they were delicious!

His house is little so we only drop by and visit for three hours before we head off to visit the rest of the family.  It is nice to stop and relax and eat and visit.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekends



This weekend contained:

-laughing with the four of us and the extended family.
-a four hour drive on Friday to visit all of our family near Pittsburgh.
-a yarn shopping trip with my sister :D
-lots of good good home cooked food!
-lots of talking with relatives I have not seen in years (a decade?).
-First Holy Communion of our goddaughter and I think it feels like yesterday she was baptised!
-getting a great gift while doing a yarn swap with my sister.
-eating lots of cake :D
-trying to remember to take pictures while having a good time.
-a picnic with NICE non raining weather (it came back~the rain that is).

joining Amanda at Habit of Being


Friday, May 20, 2011

Bed Head



Every morning Frodo is the laziest little dog-ever.  He usually will sleep on the couch until noonish then he might get up, explore the house, maybe see what is going on outside.  It is around dinner time and after that he becomes quite energetic and demanding.  He now barks at us if we do not play fetch and get his tennis balls that roll under the couch (he CAN get them himself he is just a team player).  The new activity that he has been found doing is chasing bumble bees outside!  I am just waiting to see if and when he gets stung because I think he might quit.  I have also caught him looking for snakes that live between the pool cement and the grass (yes they are there and they are non-poisonous). So far both parties are avoiding each other.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Buttercup Yellow



I am madly in love with this color.  It is a shame that the company gives numbers instead of names for the different colors so I decided to name it buttercup yellow, but gold is really what it is.  I am sure you noticed that this is NOT the pattern that I was thinking about.  I did about twenty to thirty rows of Bias (which I still love the look).  But I think I wanted some left slanting decreases to balance the right slanting decreases.  So after ripping out, I am doing a pattern of my own creation--I casted on 56 stitches, did six rows of garter stitch. The body of the scarf is three stitches on each end in garter stitch and the middle is *knit two together, yarn over, knit one, yarn over, slip slip knit* repeated.  I still get lots of lacy looking yarn overs and more balance with the decreased stitches.  I think I will try Bias some other time with a different yarn.

The flower which is Hummingbird Mix Nicotiana was a centerpiece at the band banquet on Tuesday night. Every senior parent was lucky to bring one home :)  Every band parent brings a dish to share. It was a fun evening of socializing and listening to some of the kids perform.  

Last night we went to the Academic Banquet that is hosted by the school board.  There is a dinner buffet with dessert.  This year I decided on Black Forest Cake and it was one of the best I have tasted!  Maybe I should make it sometime..

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yarn Along


This week I am reading The Help and The Dirty Life.  Both books are really really good.  I am glad that I have two great books going on at the same time.  For knitting I am working on my Swallowtail Shawl.  I am on Chart three and each row is taking longer and longer because the shawl is getting wider.  This shawl has been a tiny challenge when I make a mistake or drop a stitch.  The yarn is slick because of the alpaca content.  I have learned not to quit mid row!  Below is a close up of the Swallowtail.  That gorgeous gold cotton yarn is going to be this pattern.  I am winding it into a ball this morning.  The yarn is sticky so it is taking longer than I thought.  My "swift" is two chairs back to back.  I think I see a possible future Christmas gift for me :)

I can honestly say that I haven't been knitting much.  We have been swamped with high school band, prom, band banquet and tonight the academic banquet.  Everyday there is something going on the calendar!  Just think in three months there will be nothing on the calendar.  I look forward to the quietness and slowness of the fall but I know I will miss my kids very much when they are off at their universities.


Please go over to Ginny's blog~Small Things and see what others are knitting and reading!  It is always lots of fun.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ideas


Last week I was at our local yarn store shopping for a present for my sister-yes she knits!  So of course while shopping for her I saw something for me.  I really tried to stick to shopping for her present, but this skein called to me and I ended up buying it.  I just love the deep gold color.  It is 100% cotton and it will make a perfect summer scarf.  I have not done a search on Ravelry as of yet but I know this pattern is in my mind.  I have seen it made by a dear Ravelry friend Twoknitwit.  Isn't it lovely?  

I already have an unfinished sweater and an unfinished shawl which really need some attention.  Yet I am itching to start another project!  Such a sweet dilemma to be in :D

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekends


Our weekend was quite busy.  On Friday night we went to our VERY last high school band/chorus concert.  We have been going to band/chorus concerts for 10 years!  I am sure when our son is at university he will be participating in music or theater so there will be more events to come.  

Prom was on Saturday, again the last one!  Pictures were at our house and the two of them were so nice looking in their tuxedo and dress.  Of course there were more pictures at the country club with all of their friends. Once the happy prom couple went inside to eat, us "old" folks went out to dinner with friends.  

Sunday was relaxing and peaceful.  I went to church, did some laundry and emailed to friends photos of the concert and the prom. 

Weekending with Amanda at Habit of Being

Friday, May 13, 2011

Shawl Update (again)




Well well well I was so sure of myself.  I posted yesterday about this shawl and then blogger had a big hiccup and removed it.  So now I am left to blog again about this shawl but with a slightly different twist.  Yesterday I spent about 1-2 hours trying to fix a "tiny" mistake without ripping out.  I did it twice, each time thinking I was successful and then when I would look at it again after a mini break and doubt my handiwork.  In the afternoon, once again starting the pattern I STILL had a mistake.  So today I knit backwards six-seven rows. Why does knitting backwards take so long?  I really did not want to take it off the needles since alpaca is slippery and I knew the stitches would be lost.  So I am glad to report that I have fixed the problem and I only have three more repeats and then onto the next chart!  (unless I make another mistake)

As for coffee......I used the four cup maker that is my daughter's and it makes me love my old coffee maker even more.  Just think in one week my replacement maker will be delivered and all will be right in the morning :)

My other news is that my son and his doubles partner made it to the district semi-finals.  Yesterday's third tennis match was fantastic! It was really hot sitting there on the bleachers and I am sure it was hotter for the tennis players.  Usually it is still spring jacket weather around here in May. So there will be more tennis next week, what a season.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shawl Updates



As stated in a previous post, my progress has been somewhat sporadic due to being busier with life.  I am not complaining at all.  I will have all of this coming school year to myself and my hobbies.  Anyways, the swallowtail shawl is working up quite nicely.  The yarn is Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace and I am really enjoying working with it.  There is not much sheen from the lace but I will wait until washing and blocking to make a final judgement.  I have only four more repeats of the budding lace pattern and then I get to do the next chart!  I really like that the designer included charts in the pattern.  For some reason I assume I have the six row chart memorized and then always find a mistake.....so far I have not had to rip out rows yet.  

Can you believe that my coffee maker has died this morning (thankfully after half heartedly brewing)?  I have had this coffee maker for six years and have loved it so much that I went on Amazon and bought the EXACT same one.  So for the time being, I will use my daughter's little maker tomorrow morning.  For those of you wondering, it was a Cuisinart.  Love it!!!

Yarn Along


I just bought these two books yesterday and can't wait to start them!  The Help has been on my list to read since it came out last year.  I have been waiting patiently for it to come out in paperback.  I think I read that there will be a movie sometime soon.  The Dirty Life is another book that I have seen on this yarn along that has been on my list.  How exciting to find it displayed at Barnes and Noble!  

On the knitting front, I am working on my sleeves for this cardigan, and I am working on this shawl.  I haven't made much progress on either.  I think I will blame it on my daughter who moved back home last week from university.  We have been taking walks and shopping and just plain talking.  My knitting sits beside me somewhat neglected. I am okay with that, before long August will be here and we will be driving two kids to their universities.  Such exciting times for them and for us!

Check out Ginny's blog-Small Things for more knitting and reading ideas!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sweater Progress




I've successfully finished the body of the valley cardigan!  At first I was worried about the hand dyed look since there is quite a difference in shades of color, but I really really like it now that it's all knitted up. This project has taken me quite some time and I think it is because I keep starting other projects and placing this cardigan aside. I love to start big projects but my attention span seems to waiver. Yesterday I casted on the first sleeve (after a six day break....).  I did decide to keep to the original pattern and make the cuffs for the sleeve.  I'm quite excited knowing that I am very close to the end.

A dear sweet friend gave me a knitting present, which is the best kind of present to get.  The last photo is a fun tape measure (or is it a measurer?), I think she bought it at a yarn shop near or in Ithaca NY.  Not too sure about that.  So of course I am looking for things to measure ;) 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekends




This weekend was quite eventful.  Our daughter graduated from university on Saturday.  The ceremony was held outside and we lucked out having sunny skies and mild temperatures!  Our son missed most of the graduation because he was at district tennis playoffs for singles.  He unfortunately (or fortunately) lost the very first match.  This meant that he was able to whip over and catch the very end of her graduation. We also attended a luncheon for top honor graduates.  

Sunday was relaxing and peaceful with walking, talking, knitting and being together----a perfect Mother's day :)

Weekending hosted by Amanda at habit of being.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Swallowtail Knit Along



I casted on for the swallowtail shawl yesterday and so far it is a really fun pattern.  I chose lace weight yarn.  My sister is using fingering weight yarn, I have no idea what brand or color.....yet.  Anybody and everybody who is interested in knitting this shawl with us is more than welcome.  The pattern can be found here.  The yarn that you choose is pretty flexible-lace, fingering or DK/sport.  Also in the pattern the designer gives you approximate yardage needed.  I am always thrilled when a designer has charts included. I seem to knit super fast with a chart.  

Today we will be moving all of our daughter's "stuff" from her dorm room back home.  That means that my clean house will be a mess.  Now by clean I mean uncluttered.  My house could always use a dusting or a sweep up.  I am looking forward to her being here and going on outings (she is always up for a car ride!).  She has her last final sometime this afternoon and then she will be done with undergraduate requirements.  Graduation is this weekend! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Two Shawls on the Horizon


I sure am glad I did not reveal what I started two days ago with this brown alpaca silky lace because it went into the frog pond.  I cannot really pinpoint why I was not thrilled with the scarf, but I just wasn't thrilled.  So this beautiful yarn will become a swallowtail shawl.  I do believe my favorite sister (and only sister) might be joining me for a little knit along!  I need to call her and confirm that.  I think it is a tragedy that I have not knit this very popular shawl and that needs to be remedied.


And speaking of favorite sisters, last Thanksgiving for either my birthday gift or for a Christmas gift, I cannot remember which one since I opened both, she gifted me this super lovely Madelintosh merio light skein.  I am happy to say that it will become another traveling woman shawl.  I have knitted this before and blogged about it here.  I thoroughly enjoyed this project and I ended up giving the shawl to my step mother for Christmas.  So I really need to make one that I keep.  Madelinetosh yarn is my absolute favorite yarn when it comes to superwash wool and the hand dying variations.    


I have also decided that I need to start knitting from all the magazines that I buy.  I love Ravelry and that is where most of my patterns seem to come from.  So while on Ravelry, I did a search through my knitting magazines and found some possible shawls to knit.  This weekend I think I will flip through them and maybe have a new project for the future.  I hope I can read my writing when the time comes, it can be a bit messy.


I think spring has truly sprung around here.  This is a picture of my backyard through the back window.  Once summer comes, I will not be able to see the green lawn past the trees.  I think my husband is going to open the pool in the next two weeks.  I am pretty sure it will be much too cold to swim in at first but it is nice to look at :)

My son took his AP calculus test yesterday and thinks he did fine.  He is planning to major in math (seriously considering a double major with physics).  Next week he will take the AP physics exam.  It is funny because he already took finals in both courses and so the rest of the school year will be projects.  I think I heard something about rocket launching!