Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hollyday Socks

I finished my gift knitting with time to spare, so I decided that it was time to knit myself  a pair of Christmas socks.  A quick look through the stash and I found my skein of Hollyday. Perfect. I wanted a design that was patterned, and not lace, and decided on Cedar Creek.

The sock starts with a nice picot edge..........
Then continues with textured stitch pattern that continues on the foot.
An Eye of the Partridge heel flap that resulted in great striping on the heel. I didn't take a heel picture but you can kind of see it in this picture.
I didn't finish them in time to wear for Christmas, but I did finish them by the end of the month to count for the Sock-A-Month 10 group.  This gives me a completed pair of socks for each month this round which was July through December. Yay!

Pattern: Cedar Creek
Yarn: STR lightweight in Hollyday
needle: 2.25mm magic looped
Mods: The pattern calls for a smaller needle size for the picot cuff and the foot.  I didn't change needle size

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

10 on Tuesday

The topic for this week is 10 Intentions for 2011. 

1. Eat a more healthy diet. Time to consciously add more fruit and dairy on daily basis.

2. Cook more from scratch. I plan to dramatically reduce the amount of prepared and convenient foods that are so easy to throw together when a meal needs to be put together quickly.

3. Exercise more.  I have been aiming for 30 minutes a day for a while now and yet falling short.  I'll continue that goal.

4. Read more for pleasure.  Some months the only book I read is for the book club I'm part of.  I'd like to read at least one book a month just because.

5. Reduce the size of my knitting stash.

6. Ebay stuff that I know I will never use or use again.

7. Finally decide on some curtains for my bedroom.  The roman blinds that I have now are great for keeping the sun out of my eyes first thing in the morning but are ugly as all hell.  Functional, yes, but ugly. 

8. Paint the middle bedroom.  It's the only room in the house that hasn't had a face-lift since we moved in 11 years ago and it desperately needs it.

9. Go to Sock Camp!  It is the best fun ever!

10. Spend more time with friends.  It is the people who are most dear to you that fill your emotional/spiritual tank. I must make more time for that.

So these are my intentions for 2011!  What are yours?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Memories

Do you have any Christmas traditions in your family?  My family does.  We cut our tree at the local tree farm each year.  They always have warm cider and cookies on the weekends and Chandler looks forward to the cider every year.  When we went to tag our tree we saw a tree that was not only tagged, but decorated.  Now that's the way to tag a tree!
We picked one for ourselves.  We have to find one that's big enough.  We have a 16 foot ceiling in our family room.
Chandler was singing "I'm too sexy for my tree...." and goofing around.  I couldn't resist :-)
The boys were a little over anxious cutting the tree, so we had a little repair to do when we got it out of the field.
At home, Matthew helped Tom string the lights.  It's always a big debate, every year, white or colored?  I thought I was getting my favorite white lights this year, until I stepped away for a bit and came back to a colored strand wrapping the trunk!
This is where the old family tradition comes in.  My mother has always given me an ornament a year, since I was little.  When I got a home of my own, I had some ornaments to take with me.  It's a tradition I have continued with my own children.  This elf is the only ornament I have left from my childhood.  It gets special packing when we pack up after Christmas.
So does this one.  This is the only ornament Tom has from his childhood.  These two bring a smile to our faces every year.
This fall Tom and I went on our first cruise.  When I stumbled upon this ornament, I couldn't resist getting it for him :-)
Woody is Matthew's.  He was the perfect age for Toy Story when it was first released and he used to do the funniest impression of Woody, right down to the vacant look in his eyes when Andy was playing with Woody.  My mother found this for him years ago.
If you know Justin, then you know this one says it all for him, right down to that impish yet devilish smile!
Chandler's first Christmas, so sweet, but that's just the mother in me with her baby :-)
By the time we finish decorating, it's a tree full of memories.  Each ornament reminds me of an experience or trip, or a special interest each of us has had.
I don't think I'll be blogging again until after Christmas, so I'd like to wish you wonderful holiday!
May your hearts be full of joy and your homes with love!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

It's four days before Christmas!  Four!  It's hard to believe it's nearly here.  I think that I am ready.  My shopping is done. I'm done my planned gift knitting and didn't allow myself to add anything else. My wrapping is nearly done except for the few things that are trickling in by UPS and USPS.  I even did the bulk of my grocery shopping yesterday and placed orders at the bakery and butcher for my breads and roast to be picked up Friday morning.  And my Christmas Cards are going out in the mail today.  Woohoo!  Now, what did I forget?  I'm sure something.

This week's 10 on Tuesday is 10 Last Minute Gift Ideas.  Hopefully I won't need any of them, but just in case, here they are.

1. Bake something.  I can whip out a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies in 30 minutes flat.  Who doesn't love fresh from the oven cookies?

2. An I.O.U. for a special treat later.  The boy next door and my DS2 have the same birthday.  He loves my home-made Ice Cream Cake.  I have been known to give him an IOU for a cake of his own to be redeemed at a later date, as long as he gives me 48 hours notice.

3. Movie Theater Gift Cards.  I know I love going to the movies but seldom do.  I make a point to go though when I have a gift card.

4. Gift Card to a favorite restaurant, or a new restaurant in the area.

5. Tickets to a local event.  We have an AHL Hockey team nearby and their games are always fun to attend.  Great hockey, great entertainment, and family friendly pricing.  First Night is right around the corner too, and most of the celebrations around here require a ticket.

6. Mani or Pedi Gift Certificate.  There's a shop or 3 in every mall nearby.  Either is always a nice pampering treat.  What holiday season is complete without "Picka colah honey" and "you pay now?"

7. Movie Night at Home bag.  This is another favorite gift at my house. A new-release DVD, microwave popcorn, and a couple boxes of movie candy all in a gift bag.

8. Fingerless Mitts.  Many patterns can be made in an evening or two.

9. Knit a Hat.  Similar to fingerless mitts, if you pick the right pattern, you can whip one up in a couple evenings.

10. Alcohol.  Given the recipient, a nice bottle of wine or a bottle of something seasonal.  My husband loves Peppermint Schnapps.  Just a simple shot on ice or a bit added to his hot chocolate. Mmmm.

Are you ready for Christmas?  What last minute gifts do you like to give?

Merry Christmas!!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Olympic Hat

Winter in New England means it is time for hats.  I added several patterns of hats I'd like to make to my list this year.  There's no way I'll make them all, but it's nice to have a list of ideas to choose from.

I started this year with the Olympic Reindeer Hat.  It's a replica of the hat that Team USA wore for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  I know that Ralph Lauren sold them, but I never saw one in a local store, so I decided to tackle this free pattern that was on Ravelry.  Colorwork is not my strongest skill, so I headed off to my LYS to take a clinic to help me with my tension and carrying of contrasting colors.  It was the BEST $15 I have ever spent on knitting.

My carrying was not perfect, but I was pretty happy with it overall.  After completing the hat, there are a few things I would like to change about it.  First, it's a little tall.  I was hoping that a good wash and block might help that, but I don't think it did.  If I make this hat again I think I will take out a row or two of white above and below the moose/reindeer.  The tree also looks a little stumpy, so I would rechart that and make it a little taller.  There is room to move the reindeer to the outside to create space for taller tree.

I would also think about recharting the bottom border motif. Look at the center diamond on the bottom.  There's definitely a mistake in the chart.  It's where you begin the chart repeat for the second half of the hat.  I didn't notice it until I was well past it and decided not to rip back.
The next thing I would consider is how to avoid carrying the blue for such long distances between the antlers.  I did see another hat on ravelry that added some snowflakes.  Genius!  They filled some of the white space and cut down on the carrying. 
I still need to add some braids to the top after it dries.  Overall, it was a great knit and it fits everyone in my family well.  This one may be gifted and I'll knit another with the modifications for myself.  I used Cascade 220 which made it an affordable knit, especially since I have plenty of white and red left for a second hat.  I may have to pick up another skein of navy to complete another hat.  I just have to weigh what's left to decide for sure.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten on Tuesday


This week is 10 Things on your To-Do List.  This time of year we all have a list, in fact probably more than one!  So here are 10 Things that are on my List.

1. Bake cookies for the neighborhood cookie swap.
2. Address my Christmas cards.
3. Convince my boys that I really do need a picture of them, together, reasonably presentable, to include in said Christmas Cards.
4. Finish my shopping
5. Wrap gifts, preferably before the 24th :-)
6. Find a recipe for Beef Wellington and give it a try.  If it's good, then I'll make it for Christmas Dinner.
7. Make an appointment for a haircut.
8. Get the tree.  We tagged one a few weeks ago and planned to get it this past Sunday. Heavy wind-driven rain kept us home, so we still need to do this.
9. Finish weaving in the tails on the Reindeer hat and block it.
10. Make fudge. Both Chocolate and layered chocolate & peanut butter.  Yum!

These are a few of the things I still need to do this month.  What's on your list?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sparkly like the Stars

I'm excited to show you my finished shawl!  I always admire them when I see them, but I seldom plan to make any myself.
I started this back in August with the intention of just poking along on it.  That worked out great!  I finished it a couple weeks ago and blocked it, but I didn't get around to taking finished pictures until a couple days ago.
I used Dream in Color Starry.  It has just the right amount of sparkle to make this simple piece feel elegant or dressy or you'd like, or feel fun with a more casual outfit.  It was really hard to get a good picture that showed the sparkle.  This one will do, but I have to say, the silver in the yarn is so much prettier in person!
This is going into the gift pile.  I know just the right person who will appreciate it and wear it :-)  I'll cast on a new one for myself some time soon.

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague, small size
yarn: Dream in Color Starry in Grey Tabby
Needle: AddiTurbo size 6
Cast On: August 23
Bind Off: November 30
Mods: None

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10 on Tuesday

I've been reading the blog Z Knits...and Sews for a while and one of the things that I have enjoyed on it is the 10 on Tuesday that Zonda has done.  It went away for awhile and I missed it, but last week it was back.  I was really happy to see it.  So much in fact that I decided to join.  I hope you'll enjoy it too, and maybe you'll learn a few fun things about me along the way!

This week's list is 10 favorite Holiday Shows, so here it goes!

1. Miracle on 34th Street, the original one in black and white.  "I believe, I believe"

2. Dr Suess' The Grinch who Stole Christmas, the animated one. 

3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  I love the Winter Warlock :-)

4. Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer.  Remember, Bumbles bounce!

5. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, because it really kicks the whole season off for me.

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas.  A true classic to me and I love when Linus tells the story of Christmas :-)

7. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I don't see it every year, but when I do......  mesmerized by the music.

8. Borrowed Hearts, a cheesy made-for-TV movie starring Roma Downey and Eric McCormack.  You know how it's going to end about 30 seconds into it, but I love it just the same :-)

9. Scrooged, the Bill Murray one. Technically it's a  movie, but since it's been playing on TCM this year I'm going to count it.  We quote lines from it all year.  "I'm so glad I wore my pretty dress"  "The bitch hit me with a toaster"

10. It's a Wonderful Life.  Sorry, don't hate me, but I do love this movie :-)  "Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings"

There are so many more shows/movies that I love, but it is "10" on Tuesday, so I'll stop.

What are your favorites?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Rest of the Story

Do you remember these socks? 
Let me tell you what is so special about them to me.  They were my very first test knit!  For the incredible designer Cookie A!  Cookie had posted on her Facebook page that she was looking for some test knitters for her new sock book.  There was a link to a questionnaire that she asked potential knitters to fill out, and so I did.  I really thought that would be the end of it and I wondered when the new book would be released.

You can imagine how stunned I was to actually receive an email, from Cookie herself, that I had been selected to knit Thelonious! Seriously?!?!  I was speechless.
Off I ran to my stash to pick out something that would be just right.  I settled on Skinny Bugga in Karner Blue and then waited for the pattern to arrive.  And then I knit, and made notes, scratched my head thinking, made more notes, chatted on line with other test knitters, and knit some more.  We had 5 days to complete the sock.  At one point I wasn't sure I would make the deadline, but in the end, I did!
I really enjoyed the experience.  Thank you Cookie A!  I hope I have the opportunity to do it again someday!

I now have my copy of the book Knit. Sock. Love.  It's also available in pdf format.  I admit I got both :-)  I always make a working copy of my patterns to carry around with me.  It's going to be so easy to just print the pattern I want, as opposed to flattening the book out on my copier, trying to get  a good copy.
And see this?  You may have to click to enlarge the picture, but there's my name, as a test knitter!  And to my sock club/camp friends, there's another name there that you may recognize too :-)
This may have been my most exciting knitting experience.  It's right up there with having met the Yarn Harlot in person!  What's yours?