Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday, everyone! Today is another wonderful day full of sharing of knitting and reading. Joining up with Ginny...

Finished baby sweater.

Shades of blue and green.

I'll start with Mom first. Mom finished the baby sweater for her friend while here (and has trusted me to deliver it) and it is just adorable. I really do like wrap sweaters on infants. Not sure what pattern she used, but I'll ask her once she is safely back home.

Out of the leftover baby sweater yarn, Mom made herself a pair of wristers (both were finished last night) and a hat. The other hat/wrister set is a gift she made for her friend using Bernat's Mosaic yarn in Spectrum. The pattern for the hat is here. And yes, Mom's newest teddy bear needed a sweater and so he is now properly clothed.

On the reading front, Mom finished reading Skipped Parts (and thoroughly enjoyed it) along with The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald. Mom says she really enjoyed it and says it's full of twists and turns. We both took a read over a Christmas present I gave her The Mystic Cookfire which she is extremely tickled with.

For me, other than the cookbook, my reading was not happening at all. I had more knitting and other things on my list, but I do have two books ready to go for when Chase and I head out tonight.

Sadly, my Dad's sweater is not completed (I've got about 24 more rows to go), but isn't it pretty?? I'm going to keep working on it today and pack what's not done up and take it on the train. He'll get it while we're in Delaware!

That little pink semi-circle is a prosthesis I knitted up for Mom. I told Mom when she was going through the early stages of her diagnosis that I would knit her a boob if she needed me to. She has noticed in the past two weeks that there is a bit of a difference (I think that I glanced at her funny earlier this week and she said "I know! I'm lopsided now! I can't help it!"). So I knitted a simple circle and folded it in half and put poly fill inside it. I stitched one part with purple so if she needs to add or take out filling, or change it, she can. She is quite pleased with the results and has requested a couple more to have on hand.

I'll be clicking around later today, but most likely catching up later this week. Chase and I head out late tonight, and I am also fighting a broken S key on my keyboard (replacement key is on the way to my Dad's). I have lots to talk about and oodles of things to share.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and Happy Hanukkah and Joyous Solstice! We are in the middle of a wonderful time of year. Today Mom and I are pleased to be linking up with Ginny in her weekly yarn along post.

Laying out all of the knitting projects this morning for a picture with two very nosy cats nearby was quite fun! Jessie tried to run off with a ball of yarn, and this picture was snapped seconds before Sage plopped his massive body onto the baby sweater.

We'll start with only contribution and those are the completed sleeves for my Dad's sweater. I still have to finish the body (I know, I know!), which I have been instructed to continue with once I am done with this post (I really do my best work when under pressure).

In the past week Mom has knitted a pair of purple wristers for Chase's teacher, started a teal colored teddy bear sweater for her newest teddy bear, and is working on a baby sweater for a friend of hers. The sweater is in process of being pieced together.

Reading wise, I sadly have to say that other than re-reading recipes for holiday baking and reading every one's blogs, I have not had a chance to crack into a new book. I finished up my exams and then focused on getting the house in order for Mom's return. Since Monday night we have been going non-stop.

Mom started reading Skipped Parts (I am dying to talk to someone about it!). She also re-read a favorite of hers: Christine Feehan's Shadow Game.

And now I am going to take a moment to share a wonderful gift I received this week.

I found a friend of my Mom's on Facebook over a year ago. This woman was a part of my childhood. Her two sons are the same age as my brother and myself. We used to spend countless summers together off the coast of Maine. She and Mom were serious knitters together. Jody moved to Florida a few years ago, and when I found her on Facebook, it was like picking up where everyone left off.

The crochet bracelet I made a few months ago that was not the right size, Jody insisted on wanting (sight unseen!). I ended up crocheting another one just for her. Jody mentioned the other day that she was doing some elfing of her own and I didn't really think much of it.

To my utter shock, I received a rather large box Monday afternoon full of yarn.

Gedifra yarn!
There is so much wonderfully soft and beautiful yarn! Reds, pinks, cream, black, purple tweed, and greens. I am in yarn Heaven. 


When I thanked Jody for her extreme generosity she told me that in Florida there is no need for snuggly yarn and that she knew it was going to a good home. Oh yes. I love it all and now can dream of new projects!

So now I would like to ask for suggestions from you, my friends, on what I could possibly knit for someone who lives down south? I'd love to add a lightweight sweater to my knitting queue for this coming year, but am at a loss to a good decent pattern. Suggestions?

And on that note, I am going to scrounge a few fresh cookies from the dining room, put on a little Road to Avonlea, and continue the sweater.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny's yarn along a bit later today, but here we go!

On the sweater front, I am pleased to report that the body of the sweater is at 13 inches as of this morning. I am ready to start a new skein on the body, so I put it up for now. I started working on the first sleeve when Steve and I were on a little adventure yesterday. I'm passed the three inch cuff and steadily increasing my way up! I had a perfect plan for this sweater and that would be to have the body and the sleeves done and ready for the yoke. I'd wait until I was alone (Steve at work and Chase at school means no distractions), pour a nice big cup of coffee and put on It's a Wonderful Life and focus on my knitting. Time is counting down and this plan still may play out, but Mom might be here (and she is a welcome and delightful distraction).

Since I didn't participate last week, I'll provide an update on my "green" projects. I realized that while red is my favorite color, I tend to gravitate to a lot of green, too. The cloche I knitted was green (which, by the way, I washed one too many times while felting and turned it into small child size -- it is on the way to my goddaughter now -- sorry no pictures of it finished!). The clogs in the picture above are "celery" green (these are a gift for my stepmom). Overall I am pleased with the outcome of the clogs. They fit Chase's massive feet, so I am sure they will fit my stepmom nicely. I ordered the suede bottoms for them and am patiently waiting on delivery. I really wanted to use Cascade 220 yarn because it does felt so nicely (it didn't disappoint when I felted my cloche), but I was running out of time so I opted for Brown Sheep Lanaloft Worsted instead per the suggestion of someone at the LYS. I think another go in the wash would felt it the way I want it, but I am not running the risk of shrinking these anymore.  They look a little misshapen in this picture, but the one is actually still stuffed with plastic bags while the other lost the stuffing earlier this week.

I also decided no elaborate cat toys this year, but am making simple little knit balls for them instead. I made two that I took over to my cat-sitting charge to cheer him up, so there are only two left to display. The green striped is made with leftover cloche and clog yarn, and the green/blue is out of leftover Optimistic yarn. Mom is bringing me more scrap yarn next week, so I will make a few more toys. I know they will be received since a certain feline *ahem Jessica* has taken off with in progress toys already.

On the reading front, last week I read A Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston. I really do enjoy the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series and this book certainly didn't disappoint. This week I read Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin. I had a hard time putting this book down. I looked forward to a few minutes of reading time so I could finish this story. It's raw, emotional, shocking, and sad. I was so excited to see the video of it was available instantly on Netflix and watched it this afternoon while wrapping presents. I am so glad I read the book first, because in typical Hollywood fashion, the movie was an absolute flop when it come to the story. I really wanted to stop watching because they either changed important parts or just left them out all together. I felt I had to finish it through just to see how it ended.

Mom is not participating this week because she was having issues sending me her pictures last night. She did want me to mention that she was almost done with the front of the baby sweater she is working on, thought she made a mistake, and ripped down to the ribbing, only to realize she hadn't made a mistake. Have no fear, Mom will be here next Monday and will be participating again!

So now I am going to go see what everyone else is working on and catch up. Happy knitting!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From this, to this.. Holiday edition!

Chase and I are getting on the ball (okay, we're a few days later than planned) getting the rest of the decorations up. I have little motivation to go outside and put lights up when it's 23 degrees out (Chase, however, was quite motivated to be outside doing "manly" things).

For now, I'll share our indoor pictures because I haven't plugged in the outdoor lights and am instead cowering inside where it is warm and toasty. ;-)

An empty corner in our living room went from this...

(I had to send all of my cookbooks to the office!)

To this..

(oops, I left my drill out!)
Chase made the paper chain garland when he was out on the farm last weekend.

Our fireplace went from this...

To this... 

(Sorry.. so much sunshine today!)

My Mom made every stocking up there, save for the teal one, which I knitted for her (it was the second item I ever knitted). My stocking is still my original stocking. :-) And yes, the pets each have their own stocking.

How about some close-ups? 

My Madonna and Child. I fell in love with this piece of art two years ago at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. The artist, Joel Zaretsky, is out of New York and this is "painted" using a paint with metallic pigments (copolymer) and is dripped on to canvas. This piece was originally commissioned for a church, but they didn't like it because the Holy Mother was showing too much breast. Their loss, my gain!

Our Nativity. Back in the day when Chase and I were our own family unit, we had the Fisher Price Nativity set (which he still has in his room). When Steve and I were married, I decided it was time for a "grown up" Nativity. We both fell in love with the simple, rustic feel to this set. 

Mom's stocking! I used wonderful Cascade 220 yarn for this and it felted so wonderfully. 

The human stockings.

Yep, here are the human stockings. And yes, you do see a Lego set on Chase's stocking holder. :-)

The fuzzies.
Mom cross-stitched the stockings. She was so funny this year because she had no new stockings to make (I did say I could use a larger one that was at least three feet long, but I don't think she took me seriously). 

Now that there is a bit more of the holiday cheer indoors, I suppose it's time to go finish the outdoors.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Playing catch-up

Time is flying and I am doing my best to keep up. Every day this week we have had some sort of activity going on outside of the home and I don't foresee a break coming before Sunday. Chase has a lot of Scout activities over the next couple of weeks, plus Steve has two concerts (one was Tuesday), and finally I have the rest of the semester coming to an end. I'm done with one class, a little behind in another, and at the finals part in the other two.

My knitting is coming along quite nicely. I will be posting my yarn-along post later today. Mom's knitting is coming along nicely, too. ;)

Oh, I should also mention a trip to the vet on Tuesday for a sick kitty. Jessica-4 has a UTI (and crystals in her urine) and is on medication for the next three weeks. Nothing says "morning fun" like holding down a cat and forcing medicine. She may be small, but she is extremely feisty (she is the only one I am afraid would bite me).

Tonight will be a late night with a Scout activity, and an extremely early morning tomorrow when Chase and I take a friend to the airport around five am. I hope things smooth out come Sunday.

For now, I leave you with Sage snoozing by the Christmas tree (because, really, why would the tree skirt actually stay on the tree for more than an hour?).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Things that go crash in the night

I suppose if you forget to tether the tree to a wall, and you happen to have a handful of extremely nosy cats, these things do happen. But why must it happen at 3am??

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I feel like I have been a bad friend this past week. I'm not quite sure why I haven't been as attentive as I usually have been, but I do apologize for it. I've been reading how everyone has been doing, and I've wanted to post and respond, but I just .. I don't know. Again, I am truly sorry.

First and foremost, the stitch markers were mailed off Thursday afternoon. I know I had planned on getting them out earlier than that, but I kept forgetting them at home when I took Chase to school.

I think part of the problem was that I was fighting a migraine all week. I felt it churning Tuesday morning, but it wasn't enough to take anything. It finally came to blows on Thursday. By the time I got home from a few quick errands, I took my migraine meds and put myself to bed. I really dislike laying down when I take those meds. When I wake up, yes I feel better, but it's so hard to feel normal. I struggled for the evening of Thursday and finally felt good Friday morning. The worst part is it bounced back at full force Saturday morning! That time I took the meds and I stayed up and knitted (which I hadn't touched since Wednesday). Migraine went away and I finished my cloche, not to mention the fact that I didn't have to deal with the groggy post-migraine side effects. I'm planning on seeing my doc in the next week or so and discussing this with her again. The meds work, but I really am not pleased with the side effects.

Sadly I know I've been busy this week, and yet I am not quite sure with what exactly. I know I've been working on school stuff (always), and I made bread and started to work on Chase's apron (which still needs to be finished), but other than that.. I am not sure what has been keeping me occupied (especially since my knitting was put on hold). There was also a scout pack meeting (goodness.. this is going to be a busy month!), and a visit with a good friend, and lunch out with Steve (we spent over two hours chatting!).

I do have some pictures I managed to snap during the week to show what has been going on.

Thursday while I waited for the antique store to open, I decided to nurse my migraine at the coffee house. Oh they had the most fabulous pumpkin muffins! So good. And, I guess I did get some knitting in on my Dad's sweater, too.
A week ago at the antique store down the street, I saw these little gems in a display case and immediately thought of my Gram. I remember she had a village on her mantle. I snapped a picture and sent it to my Dad who was so excited to see them. He says one of his earliest memories of Christmas involved a little village. So Steve and I decided we needed to pick these up for him. In case you haven't seen these before, they have a little hole in the back to go on a string of lights and they are made out of cardboard! They're so delicate and so precious. My Dad is thrilled.
Friday after Chase got home from school, we went to pick our Christmas tree out. Steve's family has been getting a tree from Flatsnoot's for over thirty years. It's a wonderful family tradition. Flatsnoot's comes down from Mesick, Michigan the week of Thanksgiving and sets up shop in Ann Arbor.  The day Chase and I saw the German flag painted air stream, we squealed with delight.

Duke, the father of the brood, remembers everyone and everything about them. I wish I had gotten pictures inside the air stream. There are all sorts of lights strung about. Chase said there was a new set of a wolf howling at the moon (I still think the flamingos are my favorite). Oh and while you're inside paying for your tree, you also get to have a small hot toddy *ahem*.
Chase disappeared into a forest of Christmas trees. It had to be a certain height, and a specific width. We wanted a nice big, full-figured tree. And we found it (if you couldn't tell by Chase's thrilled expression!).

Today was a family day. We went to the Potter's Guild sale in Ann Arbor today. Sadly my ceramics mentor was not at the sale (gosh I miss her so!), but I did pick up a replacement mug for the one that was broken in May. I am so thrilled beyond belief! After the pottery sale, we ran errands, and then attended the Country Christmas at Cobblestone Farm. Chase helped out with the crafts and made a massive paper chain for our tree.
And now that the tree is decorated, Chase is in bed, and things are quiet again in the house, I am going to sit down with a cup of coffee, a piece of tiger butter, and work on my knitting. I'll be catching up on how everyone has been tomorrow!

I love this mug. Love. Love. Love.

Hope everyone is doing well!