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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's

Today we all say "Goodbye" to 2009 and look forward to 2010! 2009 has been a good year for our family and I hope it treated you well also.

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I finished up my French Press Felted Slippers and I'm wearing them right now! Aren't they cute? I just used some plain ivory, pearly buttons on these, but I'm thinking I might make another pair or three - maybe black with big, honkin' rhinestone buttons?

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I only wrote one pattern this year (Flamenco) and while I did stay pretty busy with our move and my parent's move (which for me, really only involved a few extra animals around here for a bit), I definitely want to get more done next year. I've already got three patterns in various stages of development and I've got some ideas for a fourth pattern. I'm also playing with some other ideas for patterns. I'm looking forward to the Olympics in February (both for the actual Olympics, which I've watched since I was a small Pink Lemon and for the Ravelympics - knitting plans will be revealed later). I'd also like to do some more crochet next year.

I hope you have a fun and safe New Year's Eve tonight! We've decided to let Caleb stay up since he's 9 now (but he has to have naps today and tomorrow), so that should be fun. May 2010 be a fabulous year for you and your family!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Little Something For Me

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Back in October, when I first saw the French Press Slippers on Ravelry, I fell head over heels in love with them. I decided to make myself a pair as soon as I finished my Christmas Knitting. Last Saturday I went stash diving and came up with some of Elann's Peruvian Sierra Aran (80% wool, 20% alpaca) in Atlantic Mist and cast on. They knit up very quickly and soon I was seaming them together (not difficult if you take a minute and pin the pieces together).

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Yesterday I ran over to Mom and Dad's to felt them (they have a standard top loader, I have a high efficiency top loader) and got them all felted down to size. Now I'm trying to get them dry. Since it spent all afternoon and evening either snowing or raining here (yes, it snowed again), I decided to take drastic measures. I popped the slippers and straps onto a cookie sheet and preheated the oven to 225 degrees and when it had preheated, turned it off and stuck the slippers in. I've been shutting them in the oven and leaving them there for several hours before I pull them out and reheat the oven again. They are definitely more dry than they were yesterday, but there's still ways to go.

One thing I really like about this pattern is that the soles are shaped for right and left. I love the Fiber Trends felted slipper patterns, but I haven't seen one that involves a shaped sole yet. I think the shaping of the sole not only makes the slippers fit better, but also makes them look less clunky.

I've got to find some buttons today so I can sew the straps on as soon as I get them dry!

(Just in case you're thinking of making these, there is a French Press Knits group on Ravelry and it's very helpful.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Secret Christmas Knitting, Revealed!

I hope everyone of you had a wonderful Christmas! We had a great one here. Mom and Dad (and Barclay the dog) came over along with Rick (my brother) and Mindy (his wife and owner of the original Hanami). It was the first time we'd all had Christmas together in years! I baked for 3 days and in the end we had way too many pies, cakes and fat and sugar based items, but it was so much fun getting everyone together.

We also had a Christmas miracle - a White Christmas! It started snowing here on Christmas Eve and didn't let up until the wee morning hours of Christmas. I've heard (but not verified) that it has been 87 years since this area had had a White Christmas. Even living in Colorado, we didn't have very many White Christmases.

Now that everyone has opened their gifts, I can show you the Secret Christmas Knitting I did. First up, Mindy's Korppi Wrap:
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This is the Silky Alpaca Lace Shawl pattern that I made late last Spring in pink for myself. At the time I mentioned that it would be a great project to make for a nonknitter in Superwash yarn because it would be easy to wear and be easy to take care of. Mindy liked the idea and picked out the Korppi colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Art's Raven Series. This was my Waiting-On-Caleb knitting - sitting at school in the pick up line, sitting at the gym, sitting at the orthodontist. It rode around in the car for a couple months and it was the perfect project for working in public because it's total auto-pilot knitting. A good washing, and spreading it out smoothly to dry and it was ready to wrap up for Christmas.
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It was also time for Mickael and his Dad to have new slippers, so I made two pairs of the Fiber Trends Felted Clogs. These are made of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in Blue Flannel for my Father in Law and Onyx for Mickael. Mickael has been happily sliding across our hardwood floors since he opened them up.
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Finally, my Mother in Law asked for some slipper socks with short cuffs to wear while she's laying on the sofa in the evenings. I decided to double fingering weight yarn to make them thick and cozy. I used Louet Gems Fingering weight for the cuffs and Apple Laine's Apple Pie for the foot section. The Apple Pie is a blend of wool, mohair and silk and I felt like it would wear better in the foot section since mohair is very strong and abrasion resistant.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This is too good not to share!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No, I didn't get kidnapped by elves.

I did finish my Christmas knitting and everything is either shipped or drying before I wrap it and put it under our tree. I haven't picked up knitting needles since I finished up the gifts, but I have high hopes for today.

I'm going to start baking today and tomorrow and since I'll have some time while things are doing the actual baking, I should be able to get some knitting done. I've got Caleb and Mickael home this week which is really great. We pulled out a giant (2000) piece puzzle to work on this week and every evening we've been sitting down and working on it. Of course, we might play with it a bit here and there during the day too. We spent yesterday helping Mom and Dad some with their house. Mom's sewing and knitting areas were just piled high with boxes (that weren't all supposed to be there) and the shelves and cabinets that were supposed to be holding things, were in the middle of the areas. So we went over and pulled everything out, sorted boxes and got them in the general direction they were supposed to be be, and set up the bookshelves and cabinets where they needed to be in order to be useful so Mom could come in and unpack the boxes. We're not quite done, but we got a lot done and now Cinnamon and Shibori (Mom and Dad's cats) have new secret kitty tunnels and places to go.

I'll blog when I have something to show you, and I'll definitely blog next week with all my stealth Christmas knitting, but in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely week, surrounded by those you love.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random Wednesday

I've finished 3 Christmas Knitting Projects now and I have one more to go! This means that Friday (Caleb has an appointment tomorrow morning, so no blog), I should have actual pictures of something I can show you!

To distract you from a complete lack of blog content, I will share something about Ramius. He can talk. Not just meow, meep, purr and normal cat sounds, he can actually say words - or rather, one word: "Mom." I guess Mom is close enough to Meow (and normal cat noises) that it's not too hard for a cat to say. The funny thing is, he says it exactly like Caleb says it.

Caleb's room is farther from our bedroom in this house than it's ever been in previous houses and while we can easily hear him if he calls, it's a bit of a hike for us to get to him. When he does call, one or both of us jumps out of bed and runs to him to see what's wrong. (Caleb isn't a "cry wolf" kind of kid, so if he calls us in the middle of the night, he's had a nightmare or is sick and he needs us there immediately.) Ramius was apparently paying attention to this and one night, in the middle of the night, I heard, "Mom!" So I jumped out of bed and was racing to Caleb's room. Running next to me, purring more than he usually does on the way to check on Caleb, was Ramius. When we got to Caleb's room, he was sprawled out in a tangle of covers, snoring happily, completely asleep. Ramius, I noticed, was rubbing against me and purring ecstatically. That's when it hit me - it was the cat, not the kid, calling me. Unfortunately, Ramius had figured out how to get me up at night if he wanted some attention and he now does this periodically. Not every night, not even every week, but a couple of times a month or so, he feels that in the wee morning hours, he needs a human awake to play with him. Fortunately for me, I've figured this out and knowing both Ramius and Caleb the way I do, I've gotten a little bit smarter. When Caleb needs us, he calls and keeps calling - the kid has no patience and doesn't even give us a chance to get to him from his first call. Ramius on the other hand has infinite patience and will call and then wait. I've figured out that if I get a second "Mom!", I'll know if it's Caleb or Ramius before I jump out of bed and race through the house. The first couple times it happened, it took me a while to figure things out though. It just goes to show that not teaching animals to talk is probably a good thing, although Ramius figured this out all by himself.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I am in charge today...

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because Mommy can't come to the blog. Actually, she could come to the blog, but she has nothing to show you because she's still Christmas knitting. She said to let you know that she has finished Christmas Knitting Project #2 and is working away on Christmas Knitting Project #3. Her goal is to finish it by tomorrow, which will only leave her with one more project and that last one doesn't have to get shipped, so she'll get it done in plenty of time.

Anyway, enough about stuff that doesn't have anything to do with me. Today I am going to soak up as much sunshine as possible and then I'm going to go sit under the tree with all the lights and dangly things and look fabulous. Every year Mommy and Daddy and now the Caleb-thing helps to put a tree in our house. I do not understand the ways of the humans, but as long as I don't see the bottom of my food bowl, I humor them. I must admit, I do look rather fabulous sitting beneath the branches with the twinkly lights on them, but then I look fabulous doing anything.

He-That-Is-Called-Finn seems to think that just because I'm sitting on the floor, I'm fair game for snuffling. This is not the case. I need to train him the way I trained the Small-Loaner-Dog-Called-Barclay. He came over the other day for a play date with Finn and I didn't even have to remind him of my superiority and power. As soon as I walked into the room, he jumped up and ran to Mommy's other side and he kept her in between us the whole time. Yes, the Barclay dog is wise to remember me.

I think I feel a nap coming on now. There's no point in being tired when it's time for my lunchtime nap after all. Being the Supreme Power in the Universe takes a lot of energy, you know.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Still with the Christmas knitting

I am now past the halfway point of Christmas Knitting Project #2 and hope to really make a dent in it today and tomorrow. Then I have Christmas Knitting Project #3, which should be pretty fast and Christmas Knitting Project #4, which is identical to Christmas Knitting Project #2, except in a different color and it doesn't have to be ready before Christmas because it stays here.

Did I mention that originally there was a Christmas Knitting Project #5? There's no way it's getting done on time. I'm currently debating wrapping it up as it is, which will free me up to work on it in front of the recipient, or keeping it a secret for next Christmas. It could be Christmas Knitting Project #1 for 2010! The only thing is, while I want to give it this year, it will make the giftee happier if it's finished when they get it, so I'll probably just hold it til next year.

Want to know what cracked me up yesterday? When I read the Yarn Harlot's post about the French Press Slippers, I had to laugh. I found that pattern wandering around Ravelry several weeks ago and I love those slippers, but I won't let myself cast on for them until I'm done with my Christmas knitting. Periodically, I go to Ravelry just to look at the finished slippers - they're so cute, I definitely understand her obsession with them and I'll be casting on for my own pair next month.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm a little reindeer!

Mommy got me this new fancy, fluffy thing to wear for Christmas! She says I sound just like a little reindeer! It makes fancy Christmas noises when I walk around wearing it, so Mommy only puts it on me for a little while every day. Caleb giggles when I wear it and Daddy says I look like an idiot - that must be a good thing because he smiles when he says it. Ramius doesn't like it very much, but he's probably just jealous because he doesn't have one. Here it is:

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Isn't it pretty? Oops, I dropped it.

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There it is!

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Now Mommy put it on me so you can see how pretty I look in it.

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Now I'm all decorated for Christmas! Are you decorated for Christmas yet?

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

From the Deepest, Darkest Corner of the Stash Closet...

...where wooly dreams wait for their day in the sun and naughty projects go to think about what they've done, comes something from Blog Past. The Bohus Gray Mist pullover!

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I don't think I've done anything with this since we moved to Texas. According to the project page for this on Ravelry, I started it in January of 2007. I set it aside during the move, knowing that I'd mess it up, and then every time I thought about it, I remembered that I needed to weave in ends (the pattern specifically says to do them as you go) and stitch down the neckband facing. I got the ends woven in a couple of nights ago and yesterday I stitched down the neckband facing.
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Now it's full speed ahead on the colorwork and I did get a little more done in the knitting department too. I'm more than halfway through the chart for the colorwork (though not by much), but I'm not quite to the halfway point visually in the colorwork - make sense? I've just started the lightest color and then I'll start fading back to the darker colors of gray and blue. I was sitting on the floor with Finn curled next to me, sleeping, looking at the way the colors work together, and thinking of the traditions behind this Swedish style of knitting, with the fine needles (US 1.5 - 2.5 mm), tiny wool and angora yarn making tiny stitches, the patterns of color and purl stitches growing beneath my hands and listening to Aerosmith scream about how "Dude Looks Like A Lady." Yes, just like they did it when the designs were fresh and new!

For those of you who are wondering, this was purchased as a kit from Solveig Gustafsson (click Bohus Stickning for the Bohus kits) . I just checked out the "newer" kits (they are all traditional Bohus designs, reproduced as kits for knitters now, the "new" ones are just new to the site - not new designs) and I can see I'll need to add the New Azalea to my stash - I love the pinks and reds against that black. I already have the Forest Darkness in Black and the Large Lace Collar Jacket kits stashed away. I'm playing with the insane idea of making one of these for the Olympics - we're supposed to push ourselves, right?

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cassidy

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I've finished up the back of Cassidy! I finished it over the weekend and have cast on for the fronts but that's about all I've done on them. In Christmas knitting, I've finished one project and I've started a second project. The second and third projects are going to be pretty fast but last week I got a request for a fourth project. Fortunately, it should also be fast. I am taking pictures of these things when I finish them and I'll blog them after Christmas, I just can't blog them right now.

I did find another unfinished project that I need to get back to work on that is bloggable so you won't have to see Cassidy every single day. I'm going to have to do some archeological reconstruction to figure out where I am on it, but I tend to be pretty OC about making notes so hopefully I can figure it all out quickly.

In upcoming pattern design news, I've started a design for a new wrap that is pretty different from everything else I've done so far. The design is charted in the computer and I'm test knitting it now (but it's not bloggable). I'll also be designing the sock pattern for Yarn 4 Socks' February sock club (which is not bloggable either). I realized a couple of weeks ago that the only new design I did for 2009 was Flamenco. I know I moved last year, but I would have liked to do another pattern or two.

Fortunately, everything that has a deadline will be finished in time for the Olympics. I'm on Team Cardigan for the Ravelympics but at this point I have no idea what I'll be knitting. The Olympics are 16 days and last time I cranked out 4 pairs of socks. I don't have to knit a cardigan (even though I'm on Team Cardigan), but I'm having some trouble getting my head around that so I'll probably choose a cardigan pattern anyway. Any ideas or suggestions for Olympic knitting? I can knit a fairly simple cardigan in about 2 weeks (and could probably do Cassidy in that time if I tried), so it's got to have more going on than stockinette or a few cables. Ideas?

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tiny Ornament Socks

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Every year in December, we pull out Caleb's little advent cabinet. It has 25 small doors and little compartments for small gifts. Each night he gets to open one little door as we count down to Christmas. This means that I need 25 tiny things to put into each compartment. We usually go with small ornaments and this year I decided to knit some tiny socks for some of his gifts. This is a great way to use up the tiny bits (and sometimes not so tiny bits) of leftover sock yarn.

Here are two of the socks I've done so far. I'm not really working from a pattern, I'm just casting on 24 stitches on my size 1's (2.25 mm) and winging it. The sock on the right has a heel flap and probably should have had more rounds on the foot before I started toe decreases. The sock on the left has a short row heel and I like the foot length better. They measure about 2-3 inches long. If I took the time, I could probably find a free pattern (or 10) on the Internets for tiny ornament socks, but I'm having fun just making it up as I go.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Surprise this Morning!

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This is what we woke up to this morning. The roads were mostly just wet (with a little bit of slush), so the critters still had to go to school, but it was a beautiful surprise to wake up and see this. I think it will be gone before lunch.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cassidy

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I hope everyone had a great weekend and if your weekend involved turkey, I hope there was lots of it and good friends and family to go with it!

I'm still working on the back of Cassidy. (Actually, I'm working on more than that, but Cassidy is all I can show right now on the blog.) I've just started the armholes, so the rows have gotten shorter and things should really start moving along quickly now. The cabling is easy and since I made a few notes, I can work on this while I watch TV without too much trouble. Ramius has been helping me with it a bit - by helping I mean that he has been sitting in my lap while I knit on it - he hasn't actually been knitting on it himself in his spare time. It seems to me, that with the amount of spare time cats have (and by spare time I refer to 25% of the time spent sleeping), if cats could knit, they'd turn out an amazing quantity of work. I mean cats don't have to do laundry, pick up kids from school, cook, vacuum, clean the house, do the grocery shopping or any of the other things we have to do and it's not like a cat will get sucked into Ravelry for hours, looking at knitting. If cats had thumbs and could stay awake, they could be the perfect knitters! Just something to think about...

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