Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Here Kitty, Kitty!

The theme for Sew? I Knit this month/6 weeks is shirts. I'm pulling out a work that has been on hold a long time. This challenge will hopefully spur me on to actually get it done.

I saw the idea I'll be using in the
Handmades newsletter almost 2 years (?) ago and loved it (their website has a ton of idea outfits). It's a little sleeveless smocked blouse with Hello Kitty's head picture-smocked in the center. The bright pink fabric will be the top and the Kitty patterned fabric might be a little skirt or capris. The catch is that there is no pattern for the head, but the owner was nice enough to send me an idea of how to make my own. Should be fun to figure out. Now - can I get this done in time?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Shrinky Dink
or No, That Is Not A Lawn Mower Cozy

While learning continental knitting, I wanted so work on a few projects where I was in familiar territory. What could be better than felted bags?! I did another Buttonhole Bag with Cascade 220 adding rows to make it taller.

I took a break from knitting to mow the yard, so here is the bag on the lawn mower for scale.

And here it is in the adirondack chair relaxing after mowing.

I'm shrinking!

And a gratuitous shot in the spiderwort.

I never tire of the fun of felting!

Garden Friday

It's been THREE weeks since I remembered to update my Garden Friday photo. Check out the 6 May entry and see the difference a few weeks can make. I just wish it would rain so the plants could get a really good soaking. The kids are certainly doing their part to help. (Pam - we're getting your pots this morning!)

Happy gardening!

Continental Cranking

I splurged for the Knitting Korner's continental how to DVD. I figure that since I can't seem to find more time to knit and I can't go any faster with my current style, I'll try continental. Nenah, the teacher, is a hoot! It's like my own little knitting class. I've been concentrating on just the knit stitch right now and I'm cranking along!

I whipped up this washcloth (Peaches and Cream) in one day following along with Nenah. It's a very fancy pattern that I came up with - cast on my age (the number is NOT 73 as my daughter thinks), then knit until I made a square. Look for it on Knitty soon!

At this rate, I might break into the increase/decrease and purl sections this weekend. What a continental goober I am!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Backyard Birds

Have you met Sticky the Cardinal?

He is our bird friend that visits our feeder several times a day. My daughter named him Sticky because of the feather sticking out of this wing. Doesn't seem to slow him down and it helps us keep track of him. He even has a wife, appropriately named Mrs. Sticky. Their sharing of wheat grass seed caused my daughter to report "they really are married - they're kissing!". While clearing limbs from a backyard tree last week, Mrs. Sticky appeared and started chirping loudly at me. She's pretty shy, so I figured something was up. Sure enough, her nest was in the same tree, so we left her alone to get back to work.

Mrs. Sticky picked a great neighborhood. The robin family in the front yard has successfully raised their babies. We noticed they were gone from their nest last week. And this afternoon, we saw one getting a flying lesson from its mama.

And speaking of homeschooling, my daughter "officially" finished preschool today. She's so proud - and so are we!

Foliage Socks - DONE!

How exciting to finish a pair of socks. Actually, it is more like a relief. That second-sock syndrome was hard at work with this pair. I turned the heel on Wednesday night (so engrossed in Lost and Alias it took three hours to do and I dropped a stitch!). My goal was to power through the finish line this weekend. And at 11 p.m. last night, the pair was complete.

The bad news is that these do not fit me. Too short, too tight. And frankly, I have enough clothes in that category. The (REALLY) good news is that they seem like they will do fine for my intended target after all! A little long now, but should be great this fall.

And what else should you wear when eating watermelon but wool socks?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Wonder-full Ball

I saw this wonder ball on whipup and was so enchanted. I recently bought a used copy of The Children's Year (because I kept checking out the library's copy), the book that generated the idea, so I'm all for this kind of fun. Happily, some brave soul is organizing a swap. Having never done one, I thought this would be a fun one to try. So, while in Hancock yesterday, ideas started popping up.

I'm planning to make a little pouch out of the fabric and load the ball with lots of summery/fishy-type items. If I can find some fish gummies, I'll add those too. The yarn I'm planning to use is Lion Cotton in this amazing turquoise/blue color. Should be fun for a summer washcloth. I'm loading the ball with a little bracelet kit (the package with glare) - the beads reminded me of bubbles. Continuing with the bubbles, there is a yard of fun orange trim with yellow bubbles/dots. I'm adding a little shark caribiner key chain, a little packet of fish food, and a little felt fish/pincushion/cat toy/ornament (that I designed and made myself) to "round" out the ball. Fun summer knitting (Hope my swap-ee thinks so too)!

Signups end 31 May and then we swap. Can't wait!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Krystal Crusade

The very first Mason Dixon Knitting blog (look under 19 July) that I read detailed a hilarious account of competitive eating, sisterly rivalry, and Krystal burgers. While knitting on the Ballbands, I saw a Sign. No, not a shining light kind of sign, but a roadside advertisement for Krystal! My mission was clear - find a Krystal while in Atlanta!

My family was happy to eat lunch, but didn't understand the urgency. Didn't they see The Sign? They got over it, because here is our Krystal carnage:

Boy, were they good! However, professional eaters have risen a notch on my totem pole. After 4 of these little tasty treats, I was ready to give up food for the rest of the day. But, boy howdy, they were GOOD!

Tempting Fate

We had a great trip to Atlanta this past week. I grabbed some Peaches 'N Cream beforehand to cast on for a Mason Dixon Knitting Ballband Warshrag. What a fun pattern! So what if everyone is doing one - there's a reason! It's great. And much cheaper to knock out that the Clapotis!

Here is the first one underway:

I hurried to finish while the sun was still up and my lovely hand model husband (Go Hoos!) displayed the finished product:

I had such fun with #1, I tempted fate with a second. I just reversed the yarn colors for the contrast and knit away. Just as I was finishing the last row (with yarn to spare), the skies opened and the rain started.

Then the penny-sized hail began pelting us.

Crazy! Luckily, it stopped after a short time, and "all" we had to drive through were torential rains complete with thunder and lightening. But we made it home, thanks to my husband, and here are the pair of washcloths checking out their new home, the kitchen counter.

Glad to be home!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Baby Bird Field Trip Day

It all started with an innocent walk. "Let's go see if there are nay baby ducks at the pond!" I told my kids this morning. So we grabbed some bread and walked to the pond. We see baby ducks - two families, in fact. We marvel at the beauty of these tiny, fuzzy little guys. All are happy.

Then we notice that there is a lone duckling. He gets entirely too close to the wrong mama duck, who then proceeds to try to drown her. Really. Like grabbing with her beak and thrashing the baby. So horrible, I have to grab my daughter and say "Don't look!". We are horrified.

Here is the mean mama in an earlier territorial dispute.

Luckily, my son is a faster thinker (and a big eater so he immediately came up with a great strategy) and throws bread toward the angry mama (the one with feathers) to distract her. It works! We walk along the shore with the duckling until he reunites with his proper brood and leave feeling great about the world.

On the way home, my daughter almost steps on a baby bird that fell from its nest and lay dead on the sidewalk. She bursts into uncontrollable tears. Even brother walks home slowly, mournfully, and tells me "It's like seeing a dead kid in the middle of the sidewalk". We are very sad.

We arrive home and notice a robin's nest in a tree in our front yard. We can see a tiny head popping up and chirping. It's a baby bird! We all cheer and are happy again.

I go in my house - and really need a nap. So much drama! I feel like I boarded the roller coaster ride by mistake instead of the gentle tea cups. When I download our pictures from the morning, my son suggests calling them "Baby Bird Field Trip". And it was. And so much more.

I Heart Little Projects

Between two socks, I needed a break. So I rifled through my stash of magazines and pattern printouts and found Interweave Knits Summer 2005 issue and the Heart Sachet. Perfect for a little baby on the way whose mama likes this awful burlap twine, I mean, Noro. The colors are wonderful, but the texture is wayyy too much like a Brillo pad. So here was my chance to try it out.

I selected Noro Silk Garden Lite because it felt better than the rest and was the smallest gauge I could find at Unraveled. Also, I figured the "Lite" title meant that it would burn calories while I knitted.

Here was the progress on the heart after a day of noodling. This is a pattern that you take on faith alone. How else do you explain a triangular pattern chart that really makes a square. It was fun to try, and I really liked how quickly each square formed - once I stopped trying to do other things at the same time. And look how the Noro color way is doing its thing:

Here is it yesterday with one square to go:

This is the back of the heart - and I must admit, it is the dark side. The gaping mouth sort of reminded me of a baby waiting to be fed (patiently, while you finish a row of knitting, of course) like a baby bird - which is appropriate because today turned into Baby Bird Field trip day - but I'll leave that for another post.

Here is the heart all stuffed and mattress stitched with a little crocheted loop. The loop will either faciliate hanging or improve its use as a weapon as said baby gets a bit older.

Enjoy, little one!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Garden Friday

We planted our garden yesterday! We don't really have a good space for a "real" garden, so I decided to get a bunch of pots this year and see what happens. The kids and I planted tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumber plants. We also tucked in some watermelon, birdhouse gourd, sunflower, and nasturtium seeds.

To celebrate, I thought that I'd start a weekly entry to track the progress (optimism!) of our little attempt at growing what we eat. I had to snap a few pictures of what else was happening, too. Anyone else have a garden to share?

Cute pots ready to liven up the deck.

The irises are going crazy. I was worried about all the colors at one time (looks like "clown pants" one neighbor commented on his pansies), but lost track of which plant was which color when I moved them. Now there are a sea of color and I really like how this bed looks.

The pink peonies are busting loose. And what is that large white flower

The Reverse Bloom Flower Washcloth from Weekend Knitting in Holly Spring Homespun Cotton Chenille. One of the most fun projects I have done in a while. Used #3 dpns (not for the faint of heart). Please look surprised if this is under your tree this Christmas!

Jesus Loves Me

We have been so fortunate to be involved with Community Bible Study this year at Gayton Baptist. The children's program has been the most impressive with a great Junior CBS class for homeschoolers. To end the year, the younger children sang songs they had been practicing. It was really cute (and why is it that at least one little girl has to pull her dress up over her head while in front of a large group? I don't know why - I'm just glad it wasn't mine - this time!). Here they all are, lined up for the fun (with no underwear showing)!

My little sheep is the one in the middle with the yellow bow.

To thank my son's and daughter's teachers, I knitted prayer shawls for each of them.

The blue one made it's appearance earlier, but here is the green one (for the teacher of the "green sheep"). It's being modeled by the sweetest little stuffed lamb that was a gift for the childcare coordinator. I worked this one on 13 needles using Knit Picks' Suri Dream in Fern. The color is a bit brighter than this is showing. I really liked how much more open and airy the 13's made this shawl (vs. the 11's I used for the blue one). So wonderfully meditative: CO a number of stitches that is divisible by 3, then *K1, YO, K2tog * Repeat this over and over - for every row, both sides until you are done. Beautifully simple. Hope these sweet ladies enjoy the warmth of prayer on a chilly morning and remember all of their little sheep.