Sunday, August 26, 2012

Do they have a drug for that?

It has been a busy week at my house!

School started back, so TDQ,TFB and TOB (The Drama Queen, The First Brother and The Other Brother) all had new routines to try and settle into.  Actually, they are the old routines with minor tweaks to bus stop pickups, but from the way they are acting you would think that the world was changing before their eyes.  To make things easier they still have the same chores as they did the week before, hah!  At least that is what I thought, in reality it turns out that over 50% of the time I had their chores from the week before, but by mid week I was tired of that so anything that wasn't done they either had to do the next morning before leaving or, if the offender had just gone up to bed, they came back down to do it.

Yesterday evening was interrupted by......

What is it they say, a picture is worth a thousand words?

That happy face passed right over our roof (actually that is how we knew it was there, he peeked in TDQ's bedroom window on his way over!) and we didn't think to grab the camera until it was the other side of the houses across from us.

Then we heard noises that said for sure there was another one around, but where?

Being stealthy, that low, in a hot air balloon is difficult, the gas flame things are loud!
A little height to get over those houses and then....
Down it went to land in a vacant lot nearby.

They weren't offering free rides to all comers which is a pity. I am sure it would have been a nice finish to the week.

In my little bit of quiet time after the kids go to bed and I am supposed to be catching up on my chores I have been in a dither.

What to knit next?

I should be looking at Holiday Knitting, now that school is back.  But instead I was searching for patterns  Ravelry, along with providing lots of choices, is a great time sink!  I browsed and searched, swatched and browsed some more.

Maybe something like this? Or this?  I keep going back and looking at this one!

TFB announced that his Language Arts teacher is pregnant and needs a baby blanket, so I scrolled through ideas for those as well.

And to top it off I have yarn that started out whispering very gently "Don't forget about me."  and is now yelling quite loudly "When are you going to knit with me?"

I might have a serious case of Startitis on my hands!

Wish me luck, I seem to have gone from nothing to speak of, to several major projects on my needles!

~M


Sunday, August 19, 2012

All Good Things Must Come to an End

I have had such fun knitting with the Bad Cat Designs Group, Summer Sangria!   After Back to the Garden and Sugar Plum Fairy this felt like a much more laid back, straight forward knit.  Not that there weren't challenges, there were, but in my mind this pattern was much more intuitive than the other two.  But, as we all know, when you are having fun in the sun, eventually the days start getting shorter and Back to School Sales start , and local stores are filled with frantic parents all looking for the same calculator that no-one has in stock any more, and you know that your Summer Knitting Time has wound down.

Mine wound down yesterday and this morning.  Which can only mean one thing, I have Finished Object Shots to share. (But not cheesecake photo's, we can't walk in the living room as things are still wet and blocking!)  But, without any further blabbering, let me present :

Summer Sangria, White Sangria!


Yarn:  Bernat Baby, the old one without nylon added in Antique White
Needles : US 4
Beads?  Not on this one, she is destined to be a baby blanket.
Edging? Absolutely, but I changed it up a little and made all the loops the same number of chain stitches.

Finished size?  Uhhhhhh, well you see I have this tape measure that is AWOL right now!
Special Handling?  I steam blocked this one so that she can run through the washer and dryer and come out looking just like this!

But where, you may ask, can you get White Sangria?  Isn't it traditionally a red wine mix?

 How's about a recipe?

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bottle of white wine (Riesling, Albarino, Chablis, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 oranges (sliced) or may substitute 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 1 lime (sliced)
  • 2 oz. brandy (optional)
  • 1/2 liter of ginger ale or club soda (ginger ale for those with a sweeter tooth!)

Preparation:

Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the orange,lemon and lime into the wine, add brandy if desired. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving. If you'd like to serve right away, use chilled white wine and serve over lots of ice.

(Cue your best Late Night Infomercial Voice)

But, wait, that's not all, scroll down now for :

Summer Sangria, in Lara's Creations ColourWave Sangria.

Yarn : see above, it is wonderfully magic stuff but a true terror if you ever decide that you are going to knit until the color change!  I couldn't find it happening, but it sure does transform beautifully from a pale pinky tone to the deep burgundy we all associate with Sangria.
Needles : US 3
 Beads?  Oh yes, three kinds and let me tell you trying to photo the ones above was a testament to my still having some patience, contrary to what my kids think!  Those gold ones are throughout the piece, adding just a hint more glint to the sparkle the yarn already has.

There are three of these purple ones, each edge and center, just to be different.
And these big sparkly ones anchor the edge.  But this time around I skipped the crochet edge and went for a more simple bind off.

What, you want a recipe to go with this one too?

Oh, alright, you twisted my arm!

Ingredients:

  • A bottle of cheap red wine
  • A similar quantity (or slightly less) of 7up, Sprite or other sparkling lemon drink
  • A glass of liquor (ideally brandy, whiskey or cointreau)
  • A peach
  • An apple
  • An orange
  • 5-10oz of sugar
  • Cinnamon

Preparation:


  1. If you plan your sangria a day in advance, you could chop the fruit and soak in the liquor in the fridge overnight, though this is far from necessary. Any liquor will do (well, perhaps not vodka or gin). If you are worried about mixing your drinks, stick to grape-based beverages and choose brandy. You can be adventurous with the fruit - kiwi is popular and I've seen banana used. But peach is always good - the flavor nicely infuses into the drink.
  2. For presentation reasons, you should strain the day-old fruit before preparing the sangria and add fresh fruit shortly before serving.
  3. Pour the wine, liquor and lemonade into a punch bowl and add lots of ice. If you are preparing immediately before serving and you'd like it to stay slightly fizzy, pour the lemonade into the bowl first and pour the other ingredients in slowly.
  4. Add half the sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Taste. If it doesn't taste sweet enough, add more sugar. You'd be surprised how much sugar is necessary.
  5. Add ice and fresh fruit.
  6. Serve
Note that the quantities are not very exact. There is no science to making sangria. Just see what tastes best!

There is just one sad thing about this entire post.......I now have to make a choice about what to cast on next!

~M
Recipes stolen verbatum from the internet!  About.com and About.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wow, Three in a Row!

I know you were not expecting another post anywhere near this quickly!  I certainly wasn't, but....TDQ has something that she wants to share!


She is ever so pleased with her bracelet. Not necessarily a project I would have suggested for a novice knitter, dealing with those great big beads and a small number of stitches is not the route I usually go when trying to teach someone to knit...ok the smaller needles yes, but not dragging beads and dealing with trying to keep them tight to your work while figuring out knits and purls!

She opted for some purple sock yarn for her second project, got it cast on and then drifted off to do something else.  Teenagers!  All gung ho one minute, gone the next.

I finally got ready for the last chart and bind off for my Sangria's.

Here is the "Summer" version

I am still totally in love with the yarn!  The little silver flecks that appear when I am knitting do not show up well in my pictures, nor does the soft, squishiness of the yarn itself.  You, seriously, have to try some!  The morsel sized skeins are just right for a cowl...just saying!

Close up of Chart D before I run off to knit Chart E and locate that pesky crochet hook that I keep losing, for the bind off!

Of course, being this close to the end of knit can only mean one thing!

What should I knit next?

~M

Monday, August 13, 2012

Do you believe in magic?

Do you remember those little, tiny, balls of yarn I shared with you yesterday?

It seems, that along with being small and cute, they are magic.

They bring out mythical creatures!
Behold, the magic of teeny, tiny, little balls of yarn and a package of beads!
I know you are sure that the picture is smoke and mirrors, a trick of the light, or even greatly photoshopped, but that is a real picture of the mythical creature known as a Knitting Drama Queen!
It almost looked like she was smiling, while partaking in that hobby that she has assured me is "boring" and not something she would ever want to do!

I tried to sneak in the pictures, working on the "if you ignore it" the behavior will continue...uh oh.....

Looks like I got caught!

While she was getting half way through hers, I knit this one.  I wanted to have something similar on my needles so when she asked for help I could show her on mine, and not once take up her project as my own...I am sure that Mom knitting on her bracelet would be the kiss of death to ever knitting again!

Once she gets through with those 50 rows I think I might throw a pattern and some cashmere her way!  Followed, very quickly by a door and a big lock for my yarn room!!!

~M






Sunday, August 12, 2012

Teeny, Tiny Things are cute!

As promised, TDQ and the weather cooperated with me for half a second and I got my modeled shots of A Midnight Stroll on the Beach.


Brushing her hair before we took pictures was obviously not in the cards!

After we ran a couple of errands, she talked me into running into a local craft store, it also has rearranged since last we were in, so we couldn't find the things we wanted as quickly as I would have liked, but we might have accidentally gone up and down the yarn aisles. I was looking, turning my nose up actually, at some sport weight yarn when this Drama Queen squeal hit the air.  "These are just sooooooo cute!"

She came prancing over to me with several little packets of yarn.  I talked her out of all but one....

When we paid for the things we were in for, the cashier said she was using a less flashy set to make amigurumi animals for her daughter, and had already got several out of the first pack.  Let's put things into a little perspective here, it is really hard to tell from that picture how big, or small, those balls of yarn are!
Assorted beads and a size 16 crochet hook for size comparison!

I am not one for amigurumi animals, they are cute to look at, but darn fiddly little critters to knit!  But, those beads and the hook gave me an idea.......
(Excuse the blurry pictures, one of us couldn't hold still!)

27 beads, a toggle clasp and half an hour later we have a bracelet!
And enough yarn to make many more.

But, I am a chart behind on my Sangria, so I will not be knitting more bracelets for a day or three.

~M






Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Midnight Stroll at the Beach

Wow, did that two weeks shoot by in a hurry!  I had all these really big plans for how my Scrap Challenge knit was going to be, and then it hit me the other day that there was no way that I had enough time to knit as many stitches as my original plan needed.

So I did what any rational knitter would do when modifying a pattern anyway...I modified it again!

The original plan was to have approximately 60 rows of each color and end up with a very large, but very light, shawl.  Each color would have appeared once on its own as an open work area, once with the color before or after it as stripes, once on its own as a plain band and then the darkest color would have had an additional band of open work for the bottom of the shawl.

I had to use each color for the piece to qualify for the challenge, but I could use as much or as little as I wanted of each one, so when on Thursday I was still only on color 3, I threw that plan out the window and just knit.

Want to see what resulted?

Doesn't look like much, fresh off the needles like that, does it?

I started with the lightest blue, added a row of next shade blue eyelets, mixed the two blues in stripes and then dropped the lightest blue from the project. The original plan would have followed that pattern all the way to shade five where the entire piece would have been bound off.  The contrast between the third and fourth colors is a little more dramatic so I switched up the plan there.

You'll see in the next picture!


I ended up just using the darkest color, which looks almost black to me, for the last few rows and the bind off.
 
So instead of a lot of the darker water that you see when taking a midnight stroll on the beach, mostly I knit the pale streaks of moonlight and starlight that sometimes catch the tops of the waves.

Obligatory Stats :

ColourMart Scrap Set Challenge, cool merino lace
Based on Elegant Cashmere Triangle
Size 1 (US) needles, the 2.5mm
Grand total of 38 grams of yarn used
Someone stole my tape measure so I don't have finished dimensions, but I will get modeled shots when TDQ and the weather are being more cooperative.  Not tiny, anyway, certainly shawl sized!
It might not have followed the original plan, but I still think it will go well with a pair of skinny jeans and a white shirt.  What do you think?

~M





Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Not Olympic Sized Yet

Today TDQ declared that Tuesday's are bad days, and I am not sure that I completely disagree with her!  I heard more of the "it-seems-to-be-never-ending" What have you done lately? and Why haven't you done this, or that, or six more things? and The solution is to work more hours!  When all I want is to find some balance!

I suppose it is like that pursuit of happiness that I am promised in The Constitution of the United States.  If you read all the words it says I can search for, and chase after, happiness all I want, but nowhere, not once, am I guaranteed to actually find or catch it!

In my ideal world, because I really and truly do love my work, I would get up and go in to my job, work a satisfaction filled day and then come home. Home where I would find my children had helped with the housework (they do, sometimes, when they remember to look at our chore board), that everyone ate their evening meal in civility (ok, not so much there is usually some heated discussion about something going on!) and then settle down to a quiet evening where we could talk, or play, or knit while listening to music we all agreed on, or a tv show we all liked to watch.

What I get instead is, rushed to work, run like heck while there, evening board meetings, conference calls telling me I am not doing enough, suggestions on how I can work more hours each week, customers who need help and more time than I need, gang members who march into my office and shut the door! (panicked my staff pretty good, but you would not believe how quickly a man with a gun arrived to escort him out!) Emails detailing my failings and those of my peer group, interspiced with calls to my best friend at work, am I crazy? Do I do that badly?  Am I really such a waste of space?*

My self imposed knitting deadlines are creeping up on me and what do I have to show for them?

Certainly not Olympic sized yet!

Maybe what I need to do is tell everyone else to "Go Away" and settle with some knitting until I find a modicum of balance.  What do you think?

~M


*Why is it that no matter how much of a difference I make to the community I work in, how many awards I take home, home many times someone comes in and says "I just wanted to tell you how much you helped..." that all it takes is one hurtful, bullying, person to make a snotty comment and it brings me to tears?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Just a little

Some time ago I wrote a post where I talked about Enough.  At the time, although what I mentioned here was more about "stuff" there were other things that I had "enough" of and I tried really hard to let some of them just be, rather than take over my life.  Getting rid of stuff helped too, I am sure. Less stuff is always a good thing, especially us American's seem to fill our homes and lives with some of the most useless stuff there is.

Lately though, I have been wanting "Just a little..."  sometimes that gets followed with "more bounce in my steps" or "time with my kids"  or "rain for my garden" or "peace in my mind".  Some days are of course better than others, the days where I start by asking for "Just a little more patience" before I have got my shoes on, well those I am going to just let be.

But in keeping with the Just a Little theme, here is just a little knitting on Sangria Lace.
I really cannot tell you how impressed I am with the yarn I am using!  It is so soft and squishy, sparkly and cuddly...not to mention how meticulously the gradient has been dyed in it.  You can get your own here and then take this challenge for me....find the color changes!  I tried with it in the skein, I tried with it on the swift, I have tried with it in a ball and now I am trying to find them when I knit and I cannot do it!  This is one yarn where any plan of knitting until the "next color" will have you up all night and completing  a project!!

That picture is through the end of Chart C, Chart D will probably be posted to the group tomorrow, but I must not look at it!

Why?

Well, if you look at this you will see why.
Hmm, that Olympic knitting looks exactly the same as the last time we saw it!  I had better put some time in with her before the games are over!

~M