Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's almost the new year

First I want to share my fiber related gifts with you. Here's the alpaca sock yarn.

The turtle earrings are so cute - I am not sure that I did the best job of photographing them, but I tried. The background, of course is the yummy alpaca yarn.

I signed up for the Spunky Eclectic fiber club a few weeks ago and the first package arrived the day before Christmas, so I put it under the tree. I hope my spinning skills are up to the challenge of keeping these colors intact. I smile everytime I look at it - it's so cheerful.

I am not usually a new year resolution person - I don't like to set myself up for failure. LOL. But I do usually try to think over what I was happy and unhappy about over the previous year and what I might like to do to change the things I was unhappy about. For this coming year I would like to do more sewing. I want to improve my sewing skills and be able to make things for myself that I can't find in the store. I want to continue to be more active than I used to be. For instance, continue my walking and do more in the yard and with Bob on the boat, instead of sitting around as much as I used to. I will always make time for knitting and spinning, and while I may wish for more time, I know that this is real life and choices have to be made. I can work and have less time for knitting or have more knitting time and starve, for example. LOL. I want to enjoy whatever we are doing - enjoy each moment for whatever joy I can get from it. I already do this to some extent - that's one of the things I am happy about, but I will continue to work on that.

Speaking of being happy - it's time for Raven's football. Have a good New Year holiday.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Twas the week after Christmas....

We had a very nice Christmas Eve. I am not sure how or why it started that way, but my family has always celebrated (guests and opening presents) Christmas on the Eve. Some good friends joined us and we had a good visit. Christmas Day is the holiday meal (standing rib roast) and a quiet day at home. Here's our tree.

Here's the outside of the house. We did less decorating than other years, but I think it's cute.

I took the day after Christmas off from work and had planned to have lunch out with Karen, and do our gift exchange. We decided on a place to eat that wasn't open for lunch, though, so we had an early dinner. The food was yummy and relativly healthy (fish) and we avoided dessert. We had tried to walk in the morning but the rain started first. It was too cold to walk wet. Instead I spent a pleasant 2 hours browsing through Karen's extensive fiber library. I made note of a half dozen books that I hope to purchase over the next few months now that I have looked them over to see whether I would really like to own them. When I got home from dinner, though, I ruined the effect of avoiding dessert by eating most of a Lindt chocolate Santa. Yum!
I received a pair of turtles earrings, imported from Vermont, bath scents, Chibi needles in a blue container and some alpaca! sock yarn. I can't wait to cast on for those.

DH gifted me with a Nikon D40X for Christmas. I love it! The package included a 18-55 mm lens and DH added a 55-200 zoom. We can also use the lenses purchased for use with his N90, though those have to be manually focused. I have everything I could need (photographically, of course) to take beautiful photos now, and to be able to share them electronically or via hard copy. "All" I have to do now is to learn how to use the camera. I mean, I can point and shoot, but there is so much more to be learned to do things the way I would like. I plan to take lots of photos and get used to the camera, then take some classes. This will be a fun winter and spring, I think. The good news is that all that practise will not cost a thing since there is no film to develop.

I have returned to work - 2 whole days this week - but I am having trouble concentrating. My mind is on that yummy sock yarn and the pair of socks I will be knitting to keep my feet warm in the house.

Friday, December 21, 2007

OMG! It's almost Christmas

It's been a long, hard week. I had a paragraph of a post written a few days ago and it was so lame that I deleted it. It promises to be a very busy time for the next 3 days, so I am snatching this time as I wait for traffic to ease a little (it took me 1 hour and 40 minutes to drive 35 miles last night) to update you a little on what has been going on.

The good news is that all required knitting gifts have been completed. (there is one more that is not done but I won't see that person until after the new year and I have lots of time to finish that scarf) The bad news is that one of the gifts needs to be re-knit - it's a too-big hat. It went pretty fast the first time, though. The rest of the bad news is that I have very few gifts purchased, the house is filthy, there are no cookies baked and the tree has no decorations on it. Guests arrive at about 7:30 on Monday night.

I was sick last weekend due to a reaction to a new medication for my back pain. I no longer take that medication, but 3 days were lost. I have worked 10-12 hours/day for the lst few days trying to finish things so I can be off for most of next week, but I am tired. The plan is for DH and I to go shopping tomorrow, wrap and decorate tree Sat. night and Sunday morning, clean house on Sunday afternoon and evening, cook and bake on Monday. Can we do it?

Actually, I was very stressed about this the other day and then I thought about the whole Christmas spirit thing and settled down. Our friends and family are coming to see us and have a good time. They are not going to look on top of the furniture to see whether I dusted well enough. The important things will be done, I will remain in a good mood and be friendly (as long as I have food in my stomach) and we will enjoy good company. I refuse to be stressed into being a bitch.

I hope to have some photos the next time I post - sorry about the text only for now. There just hasn't been time. Have a very merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

winter storm watch

I hope, I hope, I hope we get snow. I have it all planned - get up and do several hours of holiday shopping, get groceries, eat lunch, walk with Karen, then go home and stay warm and cozy and busy with tree decorating and knitting for the rest of the weekend. Oh, and watch football on Sunday, preferably while sipping on some hot chocolate laced with a little amaretto after coming in from a walk in the cold weather.

My knitting progress yesterday consisted of many rows of 3 x 3 ribbing in black alpaca for the gift scarf, and a sock toe cast on and some increases. I was out and about most of the day and needed basically mindless knitting to work on. I had a very enjoyable lunch with Karen at our friend Beth's house. She has a beautiful house and always makes us feel very welcome. We had a nice chat, ate lunch, chatted and knitted, ate dessert, and chatted some more before we finally had to head off to other appointments. I knitted while waiting to see my doctor, then I knitted while waiting for my hair appointment and then I went to knit night at the LYS. I think I will be very happy to see that scarf finished.

I have been surfing blog land a lot lately and I keep running across shawls that I want to knit. I love shawls. I have quite a bit of lace weight yarn in my stash and I am anxious to use some of it, but I really want to finish up some of my current projects first. I used to have 10 or more projects going on a regular basis. Now I try to keep the number to about half that because I see such a difference in the finishing time. I am not a project driven knitter, but I do actually like to complete things on a regular basis, and that's been happening faster lately with fewer projects on the needles. Imagine that!

I ordered the yarn for my Donegal tweed sweater last night. I settled on the dark grey color. It won't be in for a while and that is actually a good thing. I will have time to finish up the lace hemp top and do a good job of swatching, charting, measuring and planning this project. I really want this to come out right, and though I am usually a "fly by the seat of my pants" kinda girl, this will have to be planned to come out right. When I want to get a break from cables, I will start a shawl, and hopefully with an easily memorized pattern so I can have a break from cable crossings and looking at charts. Don't get me wrong - I love cables. I just need more than one type of project to work on.

Stay warm and be safe if you have to drive in bad weather.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

dinner with friends

I just got back from having shared a wonderful dinner with friends from work. Joanne has a cute little apartment in what was once a mansion. The grounds are beautiful and her apartment very nicely decorated. The dinner was delicious - cod filet, a rice dish with mushrooms and fresh green beans. Yum! The conversation never died though the ages of the people there ranged from 40's to 70's . I didn't even get lost going home! (I am directionally challenged, though only reversing directions).

I took tomorrow off for a doctor appointment, so I don't have to get up at 5:30 (my usual time to rise). I get to sleep in, then go have lunch with two more friends before heading to the doctor, then a haircut, then knitting night at my LYS. It should be a good day all around, assuming the weather doesn't interfere. There are all kinds of weather forecast and not much of it is good.

I so want to find more free time for things I love to do instead of things I have to do. I know that I am not the only one, and I know that I am better off than a lot of people as far as time to knit. I would really like to be able to take one day per week and have it be a knit/spin day. Nothing else could be done on that special day but crafty things. Doesn't that sound great? For me it would be spinning and knitting, but I might occasionally add a few hours of stained glass work. I took classes in stained glass several years ago, and actually made a six sided window for our house with a lotus and butterfly on it. It looks good and I would like to try to get back to it. Unfortuantely I never feel like I have the time. One extra day added to the week, for craft activities. That's what I want for Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2007

a mixed bag weekend

This was not one of those weekends where I say "I had such a great weekend" but it wasn't horrible, either. I think it's all the grey weather that is getting to me. I had lots of knitting time this weekend, though a good number of those hours were because I had back pain and had to lie on the couch with ice packs. Ice. In winter. Not soothing and comforting, I tell you. Not at all. At one point I actually had the ice on my back and a heating pad held to my front for warmth.

On the knitting front, I am knitting a hat for a co-worker to coordinate with the scarf that another co-worker is making for her, in the same yarn. I used the scarf stitch pattern on the turned up brim of the hat and made the rest in stockinette. I think it looks nice, I just hope it fits her. LOL.

The merging colors capelet is complete but it might be frogged. : (
Mine isn't as long as the one in the photo on the package, and I feel like I have to stretch it to go over my shoulders. I do have yarn left, so I plan to weigh the remainder of the yarn and make a decision as to whether I will frog it or make do as is. The colors are a little deeper in real life - the edge is actually purple (which I love)

No progress was made on the lace top in hemp. With my back problems I didn't spend much time sitting up, so I couldn't follow the chart. I feel much better today so I hope to get more of this knitting done throughout the week.
Here are some photos of the lace patterns in the hemp top.

I am also working on a ribbed scarf (holiday gift knitting). It's black, so I doubt I will post photos. But it's alpaca and very soft. : )

Due to my back pain last week, Karen and I didn't get many walking days in, but we walked both Saturday and Sunday. If it's not raining when I get home at about 7, we will walk today, too.

Edited to add that we did walk despite a fine drizzle that fell. That is why we walk together - it's much harder to wimp out. ; )

Holiday preparations are in progress. Some of the outdoor Christmas decorations are up thanks to DH being willing to slog around on the mushy ground in the damp, chilly air. They look cute. The tree is purchased and in the house in a bucket. Maybe tomorrow evening it can come upstairs and get settled in the tree stand, with decorating next. Red lights, red and gold balls - simple but nice. The next decision is whether the Christmas dishes come out this year. I normally take out the holiday dinnerware for Thanksgiving dinner, and use it until mid to late January. I love those dishes. This year, though, we weren't home for Thanksgiving, AND I have new everyday dinnerware that I really like, so I haven't decided whether to make the change over this year.

While I "agonize" over Christmas dishes, DH is out on the boat. We do not live down south. We live in the mid-atlantic region. It's cold out there. Not below freezing cold, but 45 is kinda cold for boating, dontcha think? He's fishing. Better him than me.

I haven't done much holiday gift shopping. I love to shop for gifts. I really don't want to spend the time buying things that people don't really want, though, and for some people it is very difficult to find something they want and haven't gone out and purchased. Even my kids - I know they need clothes, for instance, but don't really feel comfortable about choosing something they like. Both boys are men, actually - 26 and 30 - and have very different taste. I think gift cards are going to save the day. Each one will get a gift to open and a gift card to spend. I really enjoy buying stocking stuffers. Those are fun! We celebrate with friends and family on Christmas Eve, then Christmas Day is just family for dinner - standing rib roast. Yum!

My next post will hopefully include photos of some beads I bought over the weekend (that was part of the good weekend) and the yarn I hope to use them on. Have a good week. Knit and be happy.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I love the snow. I love to see it falling, I love to walk in it. I love to throw snowballs. I even like to shovel it! We have a few inches - about 3, maybe - on the deck in the back of the house, less on the street due to earlier melting, but it looks so nice. If only my back wasn't hurting so much.....

I finished my fingerless mitts in Lorna's Laces Pinstripe. There's a littel cable crossing going on there on the back of the hand, and no "fingers". They feel cozy.

I did a lot of work on the merging colors capelet, and have only 5 rows and the bindoff to complete. I love the colors right now. I wish I had thought to try to reverse them - I think I might have liked it more with the darker colors nearer my face. Maybe next time.

I have knit about 6 inches on the hemp lace top and I can actually see the pattern! I went down a needle size due to the fact that the measurement was a little bigger across than I wanted. I did not rip - I just figured that the needle change would work as shaping. I hope. ; ) No photo of that today.

I am going to take my knitting, lie down in bed (to help my back) and knit with the lights out so I can watch the snow fall. Have a good night, all.