Friday, June 29, 2012
I am finding myself wishing away the summer already and it has only just begun. If the temperature would stay in the high seventies all summer long, I don't think I would be having romantic notions of fall (and winter). Staying in the present is best achieved by appreciating snippets of the season.
My summer appreciation list:
sunny skies, bare feet, painted toes, cold drinks, AC (that's a cheat but I'm listing it), long days, grilling most of dinners, watermelon, blueberries, swinging on the swing, butterflies, capri pants, ice pops, ice cream, cicada sounds, cricket sounds, smell of cut grass even though it makes my nose runny, kids are home for summer vacation and small knitting projects.
I feel like such a positive thinking person now!!
This photo was taken in the early morning while I went to get the newspaper. Frodo even let me stop to snap! Yesterday afternoon there was a bird chirping away on the grass, one that I did not recognize. I think this weekend I'll do some internet research to identify it. Just when I think I've seen all wild life something new comes along. Of course I did not have the camera with me. Even if I did have my camera, I do not own a super duper zoom lens.....but still it would make it easier to identify than using my memory.
What is on your summer appreciation list?
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Last week both of the kids dropped by our local library at different times for the used book sale. I decided not to go, I have so so many books and it would have been the only stop made that day. I also am left with the car without working AC, you know I hate to be hot even for book shopping. When they left I said "if you see anything I would like, buy it".
My daughter was one of the first customers on her way to work. The hard core book shoppers. I'm sure they've been planning for weeks to be there when the library opened. I cannot recall what she bought for herself. But she did buy me something. I've mentioned a couple times that I would like a book of Emily Dickinson poems. I was NOT going to pay full price-that's just silliness.
Have you noticed that when you want something or are in hot pursuit, it's never to be found! I have that problem with books and shoes. So I quit looking. Yet my daughter remembered that I wanted a poem collection and she FOUND it!! Lucky lucky me.
Even though I have too many books (is there such a thing) I have managed to make room on my selves for one more book.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I have a very big announcement.....I am on the ribbing of my cardigan! Every day I try to work on this cardigan. I have grand visions of what it will be like when it is done. But it's taking forever to knit. So getting to the ribbing is such an accomplishment. I'm thinking about four inches of ribbing should do it. All that's left are sleeves and the button bands. I hope that I will have this cardigan done before the summer ends.
My hat is very near the stockinette section of the pattern. This is the project that I've been knitting while reading at the same time. The yarn is wool so I don't have to worry about stitches slipping off (like the cardigan). My sister in law can knit so fast while reading and she was the one years and years ago that inspired me to practice. I cannot knit a complicated pattern. Just ribbing or plain knitting.
I finished The Weird Sisters and overall a nice enjoyable read. I did not like all the Shakespeare quotes thrown into the story line. But once the story line was established and I was eagerly reading to see what was going to happen to each sister, the quotes did not stand out and detract from the book (for me). I'm a big fan of family dynamics and will always pick up that type of book. It's like peeking into someone's living room window :)
I started I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It is one of J. K. Rowling's favorite books. My daughter read the book and did not like it. However, she said that I would love it. So I'm reading it. We tend to have opposite tastes in books so I'm interested to see if I love it!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Last week I discussed my sock construction and some of you wanted to know the rest of the pattern. So here is my feeble attempt to explain the heel flap and turning the heel. This sock is for my husband and I knit about 8-8 1/2 inches from the cast on edge. Remember that I am on five needles, four needles hold the sock stitches and the fifth needle is my knitting needle.
When I begin my heel flap I just knit across the first two needles! Yep-that is 34 stitches and that is half of the stitches I casted on (68 total). I knit and purl back and forth NOT in the round until the flap measures about 2 1/2 inches which for me is 26 rows.
End your flap so that the right side is showing. Here comes the challenging part. Some math is involved. To construct the heel turning you have to divide your flap into thirds....I know! My total number is 34 stitches so my division will be 11 stitches-12 stitches-11 stitches. My middle third is ALWAYS an even number because I like it that way. (If I were making a smaller sock, my total sock cast on would be 60 stitches, half would be 30 stitches and my division in thirds would be 10 sts-10 sts-10 sts.) It is sock magic :D
Row 1: knit across the first third (11 sts)-continue to knit across the second third (12 sts) then SSK. Stop turn the work. (photo above is the first ssk)
Row 3: slip first stitch, k 12, ssk, turn
Row 4: slip first stitch k 12 p2tog, turn
repeat rows 3 +4 until you cannot ssk or p2tog anymore stitches. If you can visualize it, you are decreasing stitches on your first and last third group of stitches. The middle third remains constant. Next week will be the gusset-easy peasy!!
So go ahead my friends, make your very own sock with your own numbers.....and math!
Sunday, June 24, 2012
A weekend filled with:
-combining simple knitting and reading a book AT the same time :)
-maintaining reading comprehension
-without any knitting mistakes
-a graduation party of a dear friend's son
-LOTS of cake (my downfall with staying on a "healthy" diet)
-resuming walks now that the weather is pleasant
-chocolate (my other downfall)
-dare I say "donut"? yep, one of those too (I only live once)
-watching the season finale of Glee on the dvr and loving the plot twist
-thinking all week and this weekend that life is good
How was your weekend?
Friday, June 22, 2012
This week I did not accomplish all that I set out to do. I think I am not as motivated when the weather is hot (excuse #1). I also became lax in my to do list making (excuse #2). This morning, I wrote out many tasks that I want to accomplish today and in the upcoming week. I am amazed that it's almost near the end of June! The older I get the faster each day and week whizzes by.
In the photo, my son is sitting on his foot-hence the 2.5 feet on the ground :) I hope you have a great weekend!!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
It is HOT here. Really really hot. But I bet you already knew that.
In April we received three tiny trees from my sister and brother in law to plant. One did not make it because our gardening negligence. The five gallon bucket the saplings arrived in collected too much water during a couple of rain storms. We planted all three trees hoping for the best. The hawthorn and the crab apple (?) have decided to continue living.
This spot had a dogwood sapling and Frodo decided it was very dead and ripped it out of the ground. He is an expert gardener! He was so happy to have a twig (dead tree) to romp around the yard. Yesterday, we went out to fill in the empty spot. After much deliberation, we chose a butterfly bush. At our last house we owned, we had a screened-in porch surrounded by butterfly bushes. It was beautiful. We loved how quickly they grew and enjoyed all the bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds that visited.
Our little vegetable patch is growing nicely. We planted tomatoes, basil, peppers cucumbers and a few kale. So far the rabbits, ground hogs and deer are not interested in eating any of it. Let's hope it stays that way.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I am knitting the forever cardigan, desperately trying to get to the ribbing of the body. I work on the cardigan every day eagerly dreaming of how it will look when worn. I hope my dream comes true! I thought today I would show you a tiny project I casted on this past week to break up my knitting monotony. It is a hat and I have no idea who will one day wear it. The yarn matches the cowl I made for my daughter. The pattern is one that I've knit up before, I love it because it uses fingering weight yarn and I tend to knit with that weight. I posted about the socks I'm knitting for my husband yesterday. Next week I will share with you how I do the heel flap and the gusset. Who knew socks could be so exciting?
I am reading The Weird Sisters which is turning out to be a very good read. At first I was having trouble getting into the story. Sometimes after a really compelling read I have difficulty immersing myself into a new novel. I am happy to say that I am enjoying reading about three sisters who are not that weird, just sisters. Of course they have life problems and I'm guessing they will be resolved by the end of the book.
Last but not least, I had to put my rooster bowl in the photo, just because he makes me smile :)
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I think everybody has a preference of how they knit up socks. I knit my first sock in the early 1990's before there was internet and before knitting socks was a trend. I picked up a pattern at a LYS (so lucky there was one in!) and just started knitting. Yep. I did not do gauge. So the socks came out HUGE because it was DK weight yarn. Also the socks had about 50% cotton content so they were soaking wet whenever you wore them, they did not wick away water. I have them somewhere in my cedar chest and I do love them because they were my very first pair.
Now that I am a seasoned knitter, I have certain criteria for my sock knitting. I always knit on double pointed metal needles. I think I knit the fastest on these and I do not get ladders. I am guessing that I have been knitting for so long that I have perfected my tension. I have done magic loop and just did not care for it. I'm old fashioned???
I ALWAYS buy superwash wool with 25% nylon. My absolute favorite yarn is trekking. I machine wash all of my hand knit socks in cold water and sometimes I accidentally dry them in the dryer. Trekking can handle my mistakes. I avoid non commercial dyed yarn for socks because I do not hand wash and there's the chance they will felt (and they do when I dry them!).
I use 5 needles for knitting socks so that when I get to the heel flap I do not have to rearrange any stitches. I cast on 60 stitches for me or my daughter and I cast on 68 stitches for the guys. With sock yarn on size 2 needles. It never changes. I like to cast on multiples of 4 stitches so I can do a 2 x 2 ribbing. I love cuff down construction just because. This is the little pattern that I came up with for these pair of socks.
Cast on 68 sts. join. knit 2 x 2 ribbing for 2 inches.
Row 1-4: knit
Row 5 + 6: purl
Row 7-9: p2 k2 across
Row 10 + 11: purl
Repeat rows 1-11 until the leg measures around 8 1/2 inches. As you can see I am not at 8 1/2 inches yet!
Do you have a favorite sock pattern? dpns or magic loop? I 'd love to know!!
Sunday, June 17, 2012
My weekend happened to be a non traveling weekend. It was a stay at home weekend which was just what I needed. I enjoyed very lovely breezy afternoons on the back patio reading my book or knitting on some projects. Saturday morning was coffee on the patio with my husband just talking about everything and nothing at the same time.
I took a walk with Frodo and the family down the dirt road that is now completely shaded with trees. All of the lilies are in bloom-a beautiful sight.
Today is filled with loads and loads of laundry. Moving the sewing machine into my daughter's room so she can craft like crazy AND the mess involved stays in one room (brilliant!). My guest room can stay tidy for future visitors. Hear that sis???
Frodo has found a teeny tiny gap in the fence, so my husband is securing the compound. I have to admit that Frodo is brilliant, he continues to find little crevices. He definitely sees the glass half full :) Gotta love that in a dog.
Friday, June 15, 2012
I really enjoyed my past week because I am home and my future travels are few. It takes me many days to prepare for a trip and then many more days to recover, physically and mentally. I think it helped immensely that the heat wave is a memory and cool air with blue skies are in abundance.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
I thought I would share with you today my collection of stories....or books! I have them sprinkled about my home and they are a major part of my decor. All of the classics and "old" books are on the first floor.
In the above photo, the three blue books were in my grandfather's collection. My grandfather and my mother were avid learners and readers. He would frequently say "if you did not know how to do something, read a book about it step by step". How true!
The local library was my go to place for financial planning, plumbing, gardening, cooking, and leisure reading. I would sign up my kids for reading summer programs, even before they could read. I love going to bookstores and just being alone with other people browsing the aisles.
All four of us love to read. Our tastes are different, but the happiness of starting a book and escaping into a story is the same. At times I think I should pare down the collection, but it would be for me giving away a part of myself. I cannot imagine my living space without books surrounding me.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I finished a shawl over the weekend and was down to one project-the featherweight cardigan (blue project on the left, hee hee I mean on your right!). I love that giddy feeling of starting a top down cardigan and I knit full steam ahead until I divide for the sleeves......then because of all the stockinette I get a little bored. That is why I like to have more than a couple of projects on the needles. Then I can switch around.
So I casted on a pair of socks for my husband in gray. He loves hand knit socks! I will make up a stitch pattern when I get the cuff done. I always cast on a multiple of four (68 stitches for him). I have a generic vanilla sock pattern that is memorized. So since I'm on the cuff, I don't know what the sock's future holds yet.
The Story Sisters-oh! It was such a good book and if you have been reading this blog, I read it "fast". It's not a very happy book but I loved her character description through life's events. I enjoyed the plot and the writer has such a lyrical magical style to story writing. I think I might read it again to absorb more of the creative writing. So yes, I do recommend this book.
My new novel that I'm reading is The Weird Sisters that I started two days ago and I am not very far into the book so I cannot opine. I'm hoping that it's a good book :)
What are reading and knitting?
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I finished my shawl on the way up to London, Ontario. It was fun blitzing through the ruffle while riding in the car. I felt so accomplished. The yarn is by Twist and Twine and it was wonderful to knit. I enjoyed the tiny bit of sparkle that was incorporated in the spinning. Just enough to hint at some glitz.
The pattern is a must knit. It was easy and I loved how it used just one skein of fingering weight yarn. You also can repeat the ruffle until you are nearly done with the skein. I did not do the picot edge bind off. I felt that the ruffle pattern was enough for me.
Now.......when will I be able to wear this? You guessed it. In the fall. My favorite time of the year and it cannot come soon enough.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Yesterday's post did not say where the photo was.......oops! So I thought I would share the rest of the photos. We stopped at this PA welcome center on the way home and took photos of the scenic overlook! We have driven past this center countless of times, never stopping. I am so glad that we did because the view was amazing.
One thing I love about Pennsylvania is the mountains (or hills), trees, and many rivers and streams. This view would be even better in the fall.
I am sure you are wondering who the winner is of the stitch markers..well I am happy to announce that the winner through a random number generator is:
Sunday, June 10, 2012
My weekend was filled with:
-8 hour car ride to and from my husband's family in London, Ontario, Canada.
-leisurely hanging out at the bookstore, frantically using the wifi, and inhaling the smell of coffee and book print, two of my favorite scents! (someone should make a candle scent!)
-being very hot! (I keep my AC colder than they do--boo hoo)
-seeing nieces and a nephew and just being amazed at how old they look
-being amazed at how old that makes me
-lots of car knitting on the way up
-no car knitting coming home-it was too hot
-my husband running into a high school friend and his wife-an instant friendship was forged in 20 minutes and I'm sure that we will be seeing them again in the future, how cool is that?
how was your weekend?
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Aren't these the cutest ever? I am a rooster collector, I have no idea why. I'm going to guess I like the red in the rooster. Anyways, these two little guys were my mom's and I inherited them fourteen years ago. She either found them at garage sales or they were my in my grandmother's collection. I wish I knew. Does it matter though? They are mine and I love them :)
Joining Lady Cordelia
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
After all of the heat waves we have had in the early spring, it is cold now. I even wore one of my wool sweaters two days ago because it was chilly. I am not complaining, just reporting. The chill in the air has renewed my interest in knitting this soft sparkly shawl. Today I am on the ruffle! I was powering through the pattern just to get to the ruffle which is the best part. I am going to knit the ruffle until the yarn runs out. That's the plan. Yesterday I posted about my featherweight cardigan which has been getting equal knitting time. I usually have three projects going on at the same time so maybe a pair of socks for my husband will make it on the needles this weekend! He is in desperate need of wool socks. I don't know how he manages to work holes in the bottom of the socks but he does. I still have my original pair of wool socks from over 12 years ago-not a hole to be seen!
The book The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman is GOOD! I am about half way through the book and I really do not care how it ends. Hoffman is excellent at mapping out dysfunctional characters who you empathize for and with and yet dislike a great deal. I am definitely going to read more of her books based on how much I am enjoying this one.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I have been working on this super scrumptious sweater off and on for weeks. Every time I pick it up and work a few rows, I wonder why I have not worked on it more. I will blame it on the miles and miles of mind-numbingly (spell check does NOT like that word and I'm too lazy to google) boring stockinette stitch. However, all that stockinette lets me talk, watch tv and best of all--not count stitches and look for mistakes. I just pick up and go!
It's perfect for summer time knitting around my house these days. Soon enough I will have time to focus on charts and counting and intricate patterns to knit up. Casting on this sweater with slippery silk yarn was not fun. But now that I have some fabric to grasp--oh my I love to knit with silk! I might have to save my pennies and indulge in another skein of this Claudia's hand painted silk, the yardage is quite generous (1100 yds) And really can there be too many featherweight cardigans? Nope.
Did you know that I am having a giveaway--it's over here! Leave a comment and you have a chance to win. Also in the next week or two I will have another pattern available to download. I am keeping it a secret for now so you'll have to just keep visiting to find out what it is.
Monday, June 4, 2012
It's been a while since I did a giveaway, so why not? Let's do one! If you would like a chance to win five stitch markers made by my sister, please leave a comment by Sunday June 10th. I will select a winner using a random number generator and announce the winner in a blog post next Monday.
Good luck! (over ripe bananas not included)
Sunday, June 3, 2012
This was a glorious weekend. Bright beautiful sunny skies but chilly! I ran around the house and opened windows to move the air about. Then ran around again to shut the whole house up again. Today promises to be an opened window day as well.
I decided to update my little blog with a new banner. On my "about me" page is a photo of me while at the beach---I KNOW! I do not look like Frodo as some of you might believe. This photo is one of my famous "I'll take it myself" shots. I am really really getting good at those :) I find that my blog shyness is slowly ebbing away, hence the photo.
Friday, my daughter and I picked up my dear elderly friend who was our old religious director many years ago and we headed off to the "religious" store. (Roman Catholic supply store) I had a great time browsing around and managed to make a couple of items. My dear friend only goes to this store when I do since it is a 45 minute drive one way. I loved being able to do something nice for her.
Yesterday was a really nice relaxing out of this world day for me. I sat and listened to podcasts and knitted my little heart out. I tried knitting outside but I was too cold?!?! While I was knitting I was thinking of the next projects...I really want to make another Citron, and another, and another. We will see if I'll really do it. When I wasn't knitting, I was reading. Everyone had a book and it was quiet.
Now it's not always quiet....my son decided to play the classic Nitendo 64 Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask.....that can be a little loud. I remember that we bought the game used for his birthday....(he was 7 or 8). So as you can imagine, I frequently have Zelda songs stuck in my head.
My husband returned from a two day conference and my fingers are crossed that our vegetable garden gets planted today. He does all the labor, we all reap the rewards.
How was your weekend?