Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Today was all about Halloween fun around here:

Scraping out the pumpkin guts is yucky work.

And I mean WORK!

Can we go trick or treating yet?

The triumphant return of Cleopatra and Ninja.

Time for candy trading!!

Quite a haul to choose from!

Hope your Halloween was full of fun!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Look Who's a Lookie Loo!

I am shocked, humbled, encouraged, and downright tickled to get a second mention on Kiddley. I lOVE that site! If I am ever having a bad day, I am SO going to read that write-up! I hope some new readers are stopping by (welcome!) and the community web of crafting/schooling/living bloggers will continue to weave together. How fun!

Knitting Chickens

Two things (of many) that make me happy inside: chickens and knitting. Really!

As I try to find examples and practices of each in my daily life, I have been quite pleasantly surprised to notice how many combined instances there are.

Case in point:

To celebrate Fun Friday (a mostly weekly event around here), we watched Disney's animated "Robin Hood". Well, there in the opening credits was Lady Cluck - a KNITTING CHICKEN!

Hanging out at the library, I spied this book:

I think this family is technically a family of ducks, but I won't quibble over the poultry. The mother only knits on the cover (what's with that?), but there it is: KNITTING POULTRY!

I did recently spy a western/circus book with a cowboy knitting a purple scarf with chickens running around on the same page. Close, very fun, but not a direct hit.

Do let me know if you see any knitting chickens around, would you?

One Last Goodbye

I finally got around to leveling the garden on Friday - a fitting end to my "Garden Friday" efforts. Here is the last hurrah:

All those plants filled 4 large garbage bags. I could hardly lift them.

While clipping back the jungle, I discovered more birdhouse gourds. Surprise gifts from the garden. I propped them on the gate fence posts to keep them from being trampled. They made such cute finials, they needed to stay!

Bring on the fall weather!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pumpkin Patch

I was quite taken with the Trick or Treat Bag from Lion Brand Yarn's website last year, but didn't get a chance to knit one. So this year, I'm making up for lost time!

I wanted to make two for my nieces and one for own dear daughter. I figured that they are small, so why not? So I fired up the Knit-O-Matic (me!) and cranked out two in time for a visit this weekend.

Here are the first two in their pre-felted state Friday morning done in Lion Wool with #7 needles:

And here they are all sewn up and be-ribboned. The pattern calls for embroidering the jack-o-lantern faces after construction, but anything I came up with looked awful. So I went with the more subtle (lazy!) insinuation of a jack-o-lantern.

They really shrunk on the height, but not as much on the width. And if you couldn't figure out what the now squatty orange blobs were, I included little hints:

I'll try my daughter's with the face done in intarsia. I'm curious to see if it will show up after felting, but it'll be a fun practice piece. Love the felting - it hides (almost) all sins! Now if only the black yarn will hold out for one more purse....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Go Momma! It's Your Birthday!

What do I have in common with these people today?

an offering from my brother

Little "E"
Theloniuos Monk
Brett Favre
David Lee Roth
Giuseppe Verdi

Hint: The answer is not that I drive too fast, make good or bad music, or play sports well.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I am SO SO SO happy to announce the arrival of...

.... the mitered square blanket!

But first - the last, arduous steps.

Before the mattress stitching marathon and the garter stitch border, there was the blocking. Do not listen to your
friend (even when it is REALLY what you want to hear) when she assures you that blocking your squares can be easily accomplished all at once in the washing machine. If you try it yourself - here's what you get:

After much detangling, I was able to lay out the squares and realize that the squares were so different in size. Was it the machine mangling or my tension shifting? Who knows - I was marching to the end - and taking no prisoners!

Here is what my lovely pals (thanks Amy, Pam, and Mary - and the beer!!) came up with for block placement. Happiness is a digital camera. I just carried around my camera and compared blocks to recreate the placement when seaming the blocks. Easy peasy!

And here's my baby:

And some of my favorite combinations:

Love how the blue stripes lined up in this four-square set:

I liked how the "outside" corners met up in the center:

Welcome to the world little blanket. Hope you have fun with my new nephew - and thank you for arriving before he did!!

How To/Not To Miter

I've reached the border knitting of my mitered square blanket. Not spellbinding (pun intended!), but SO very nice to be close to the finish line! So far, no baby news from my brother, so I may get this blanket done before my nephew arrives.

I couldn't find my copy of the MDK book, so I tried to remember the helpful hints posted on the MDK KAL and on Mason-Dixon itself. I decided to try the mitered border and set off picking up stitches. I was so happy to get to the actual knitting again (after MILES of mattress stitching), I forgot to increase every other row. If you skip the increases for the first 3-4 rows and then increase every row thereafter, you create a great hook:

If you behave yourself and do as you are told (something we all struggle with in this house, it seems) and make your increases on each end of every OTHER row, you create a beautiful 45 degree angle:

Let this be a lesson - behave yourself!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Time for Fun

As the birthday season ramps up - we've been making time for fun.

On a recent visit to the River, we discovered that my daughter is quite the little fisherwoman under her Grandpa's tutelage. Here's what she thinks she caught:

And here's what I as a proud mama saw (same catch):

Love the macro setting on our camera. It's all fish stories, right?!

Meanwhile, my son was as happy as a pig in mud:

We also made a run to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. We went to celebrate my son's 8th birthday. The water park was fantastic and kept the kids busy for more hours than I care to admit. Here my son gets pummeled by the gigantic water bucket.

My daughter conquered her fear of waves and was lazily drifting on an inner tube in the wave pool by the end of the day.

And through all our trips I've been seaming up the mitered square blanket. I finally joined the "great divide" as I've been calling the longest center seam. Now on to the border!

My idea of fun this afternoon is going to be curling up with some chai tea, picking up stitches, and watching Swiss Family Robinson with my birthday boy on this cold, rainy afternoon. What are you doing for fun time today?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Happy October!

Hallelujah, October is here! This is a big month in our house as many birthdays of family members fall in the first two weeks. A nephew may even be joining the elite October group any day now.

I am sick of this summer's heat, sick of sickness, and sick of no progress in knitting while I work away on the mattress stitching of the mitered square blanket for said nephew-to-be. So I was VERY happy to start the month out with a simple, pleasing finished project.

A knitted reminder of an important cause this month. I knitted this for a friend, a breast cancer survivor. I was aiming for October 1, but finished today. It's a simple (no fringe!) 2x2 rib made from Homespun "Cotton Candy". A fluffy, warm, fun neck hug for this winter.

And since we are turning our fickle backs on summer, a final goodbye to the garden is in order. I think that I am going to whack it all down this weekend. The tomato output has slowed and the bird house gourds are as big as I think they plan to be. Anyone know how to dry them? I think the neighbor on the other side of the fence will enjoy having his yard back. I really didn't think that tomatoes could cascade as they have this year. Waterfall might be a more appropriate term.

Happy October to you all!