Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pictures, Finally!

I was going to write this post yesterday, but you guys know how it is. Thankfully, it was just the batteries in the camera. Apparently, rechargeable batteries that have been in constant use for over 4 years will not run a camera anymore. What is the world coming to?! New batteries and look what we have:

My new knitting books. I haven’t really looked over Mary Thomas’s Knitting Book but I’ve heard it is very good. Until now, I didn’t have any kind of how to book other than one of those cheap ones that you pick up at a discount store that tells you how to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off. The Alice Starmore book has nice sweaters and VERY nice pictures. I gave my nicest opinion of Alice Starmore last post.

These are the books I was waxing poetic about when my camera batteries went bad. Lots of great inspiration to be had, as I mentioned on Monday.

In actual knitting news, I have finished the left front of my crinkle sweater. Now I am on to the right front. When it is done, I will have only the sleeves to do. And that means I am practically done with the sweater. Finished objects are always fun!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bad Camera

There won’t be any pictures around here for a few days. My camera shuts off every time I try to take a picture. I charged batteries overnight, so it seems like it may be the camera. Brent is supposed to bring home some new batteries tonight just to be sure.

I’ve made my update post to stash along about how little knitting I’ve done this month. There are some people over there who do some serious stash busting. They make me feel bad. I barely have a stash to knit from compared to many people out there. I just wanted to make myself use some yarn before buying more. It isn’t working because I am going to buy some yarn for some sweaters for me pretty soon. I have to swatch, after all. You can’t design a Norwegian sweater or a gansey without at least swatching…. My excuse anyway. Hee hee. I love buying new yarn.

Does anyone else out there not get why people are so in love with Alice Starmore’s sweater designs? I just got The Celtic Collection and I just don’t see what makes her more fabulous than a lot of other designers out there. Maybe it is just that I haven’t seen her other designs. I’ve been wrong about lots of things in my life, so maybe this is one of those things I’m wrong about.

Monday, February 25, 2008

New Goodies

Last Friday we had a huge upset in the gardening dept. It snowed. Fortunately, it was only a couple inches and now most of our snow is gone because it rained last night and today it was over 50 F. I went ahead and ordered chickens. I decided to go for the cochins and pray for hens. Those little roosters are pretty darn cute, anyway.

Last Wednesday, I dyed my first yarn. It was terribly fun and I can guarantee I will be doing more. I ordered a dye kit and some sock yarn from Knitpicks to do some more. I also ordered a practice skein of their silk/wool blend to dye myself some red yarn for a Thermal.

I also got some new books. Today I am showing off the non-knitting books. They both have great inspiration potential AND some projects that I really would make for my family. The cover of Simple Sewing with a French Twist shows projects for the little girls section. The ‘Tomato Floor Cushion’ is something I will most likely make for my girls. They love a little stool just their height to sit on.

Doodle Stitching is an idea I just love. It encourages you to sketch your own stuff on fabric to embroider. There is a really cute little bunny in it that I want to make. It isn’t one of the projects, but it will be easy to do. The bunny is a simple rag doll kind of shape with embroidery on it. It’d be quicker for Easter than the felted bunnies I was thinking about, too.

I got some knitting books, but we’ll talk about those another day.

PS. If it seems like I meant to put in a picture of the books, I did. But my camera felt otherwise, so I may have to edit the picture in later.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Flowers and Chickens

I will answer comments first today. When I bought the tablecloth fabric, the girl cutting it said it would make great playhouse curtains. I was very amused that some one made a comment about it reminding them of something along those lines. I use sort of heavy cotton for my dishtowels. Some of the stuff you find in the calico section may be all cotton, but it can be really lightweight. The kitchen-y prints I’ve found in JoAnn’s were mostly heavier stuff that was exactly what I wanted. If I’m going to make my own kitchen towels, I want them to last. The towels I’ve been using are ones my grandmother made from flour sacks. A few months ago I was looking at a reproduction fabric site and was amazed that the towels were really THAT old. My grandmother made them over many years and gave loads of them to my brother and I to play with. I was also surprised to find out how cool prints from the 1930’s were. I can’t wait to get some and make kitchen curtains.

So much snow has melted over the past week around here, that I have started thinking about the garden and flowers. Yesterday I got a bunch of flower seed and a big tray to start them in. They are all perennials for an eyesore area in our yard. I had intended it to be a rose garden, but it turns out that roses prefer not to grow there. It has become a weed infested eyesore except for early in the spring when daffodils and tulips planted there bloom.

With spring coming, it is also time to think about replenishing our meager flock of chickens. We decided not to get more ducks. There are 7 of them and that is probably plenty. They will probably build a nest and increase, anyway. We have so few chickens left that I can’t believe we are still getting enough eggs to eat. I would prefer to get cochin bantams because they are little, cute, and not destructive. Large chickens are destructive if given half a chance. They especially like to dig holes in flower beds for having a dust bath. I would also prefer to get only hens. They don’t sex bantams, so I have to choose between only hens and cochin bantams. Last year, we ended up with only 1 hen surviving out of 1 dozen baby chicks. She happens to be one of the survivors of The Beast. I expect that all of the youngsters that died were hens. We had very bad luck last year.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thinking Spring

What sunny, lovely weather we are having. Our snow is melting away and I am lovin’ it. It is starting to feel like spring could come this year, afterall.

Since we started seeing dirt and grass around here, I’ve been wanting to redecorate for a more springy feeling in the kitchen. Yesterday I went to JoAnn’s and found myself some fabric for the table. When I made some kitchen towels a while back, I began to really appreciate having something of my very own in the kitchen. I decided to make my own tablecloth rather just throwing some stash fabric on under the plastic.

An in progress shot:

And the finished product:

My husband made our table when we moved into our house. However, he has never put a final finish on it. Until he does that, it isn’t safe from spills staining it. For now, I buy a new piece of plastic to cover it up every year. I love our table and wish we could look at it instead of covering it with plastic. On the other hand, that plastic DOES keep the kids from ruining my brand new tablecloths with lord-knows-what.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My New Book

I was expecting to get a package today, but it came yesterday. It contained 2 books. One for my husband’s birthday and this one:

I can see that this book is going to be fun. It was originally published in 1887 and I saw something in it about ‘how to do old-fashioned needlework’. If it was ‘old-fashioned’ in 1887, I’m interested. Yesterday, I read all about how to throw a great Valentine’s Day party. I love lost arts, and this book is bound to have a couple at least.

This morning, I finally remembered to go check and see when we would get our tax return. Imagine my delight when it said it should be in our account tomorrow. And me without a shopping list! This year I got the feeling from my husband that it was some sort of race between him and one his work friends to see who would get their taxes to the accountant first.

Earlier this week, my husband asked me what he should bring home with him tonight. I told him to bring me a live plant. Like I always do. Apparently, I am not getting a rose bush, but tulips. He didn’t know he wasn’t getting roses until the guy riding with him said “I thought you were going to get roses.” I do not know how anyone can go through life and not know the difference between roses and tulips. I really don’t. But my husband has. So much for getting a new houseplant. However, I will get a lifetime of giggling and teasing him about the time he brought me tulips instead of roses. Hopefully I’ll be able to plant them outside. I can’t remember if forced tulips will bloom again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Change

I’ve been busy this week already, it seems. There hasn’t been much knitting going on, but lots of other things. Yesterday we made cupcakes and valentines for knitter #2 to take to preschool today. We had snack and if I hadn’t made cupcakes, they still would have gotten plenty of sugar in before lunch time. They might not have wanted to eat cheese or celery sticks with all the candy waiting in their valentine bags, though.

At the very least, I can show you my knitting progress on Crinkle:

It was a good thing I had to stop working on the front and do the back, because it turns out I did the decreases wrong on the front. I was supposed to do them EVERY row and I was doing them every right side row. It’s not like I have to rip out the whole thing. Or the whole front.

Some times, a girls just needs a change. Especially after you have spent a few years chasing small children around. You start to feel like you are frumpy, boring, and probably your mother. No, I have not cut my hair and I am not going to. I am going to dye it black. Maybe I’ll get another tattoo. Or something else pierced. Probably not, but you never know.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why Being a Blind Follower Isn't All Bad

Finally, I have knitting progress worth reporting on, but no decent light to show off where I have gotten to. I’ve bound off the underarm stitches on my Crinkle and have started doing the armhole decreases. If I had read the instructions better before starting on the left front, I wouldn’t have met with a problem. When using the blind follower method of knitting, you knit the back before the fronts. I’m using the do-it-my-own-darned-way method and have knit the fronts and back all at once. You knit the back to a certain length and then knit the fronts 17 rows shorter. I have decided I will finish doing the armhole decreases and then quit my work on the left front. And do the back. Suddenly Crinkle is much more fun to knit and I have quit conspiring with other yarns to start other projects.

Last night I broke down and told my husband that I was working on a pair of socks for his birthday. It turns out to be a very good thing I did, because he told me the other pair I made for him are too short in the leg. I was going to make these the same length. I prefer socks with a nice long leg myself. Some day I am going to make those Eunny Jang socks in their full, glorious length.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Little Self Control, Please

Today we stayed home from preschool. Knitter #2 was sick over the weekend and woke up pretty miserable this morning. She feels a lot better this evening. It was very weird being home today. I am not used to it.

What’s a girl to do with her time? Other than knitting and cleaning house, that is. She makes kitchen towels, of course!

I find it funny that Sarah mentioned in the comments that she likes to mix geometrics with florals, because that is exactly what has been sewn alongside the daisy print on those quilt blocks.

I’ve been having to practice a little self control around here. I’ve been struck by all these urges to start new projects. It is very unlike me to be that way. The more projects I start, the worse it gets. Usually, I have no problem waiting until I finish one project before I start a new one. So, this afternoon when I was really wanting to start a sweater for one of the kids, I just picked up Crinkle and knit on it instead.

Friday, February 01, 2008

What I've Been up to Lately

Since I don’t have any interesting knitting progress to show you, how about a quilt block?

I think when I get more of the fabrics on the blocks, the daisy fabric won’t look so out of place. This quilt is going to be red and white, one of my favorite color combinations. It is for our bedroom.

Next shot is some fabric I picked up for myself yesterday. I may have to buy more because my oldest announced she and her little sister both need spring dresses made with this fabric. That is the sort of thing I love to hear. Requests. From my darlings. This stuff is going to be a sleeveless top.

Last of all, this is the project I will do for the knit along. They are socks that I had originally hoped to make for Brent for Christmas. They might be birthday socks, but probably they won’t be done in time for that.

One of my resolutions for this year was to make a toy every month. I procrastinated and forgot and etc, so I didn’t get my toy finished in January. I thought it would be done in just a few hours. I was wrong, but it should be finished in a day or so.