Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No more excuses...

My package from Knit Picks arrived today and within it are the infamous cable needles. I have no more excuses. And it came with three skeins of KnitPicks Swish super wash yarn that will be the makings of a cable hat.

I also got two skeins of Berrocco Comfort to make the Tudora pattern from I picked colors that will go with the pin my friend M gave for for my big b-day.

In the same package I also got KnitPicks Crayon yarn to make a cardi that I liked in Creative Knitting July 2007 edition.

And I got some clearance yarn, KnitPicks Gossamer, to do a lace project of either the flame wrap or the Lauren's wimple pattern from Mountain Colors yarn.

Either way all of these projects must wait while I continue to work on swatches for the KIC program.

So I am off to learn cables with the help of Leapman's Cables Untangled book. See you on the other side...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Visit to Colorado Fiber Arts

Spent a lovely day with my mom Saturday. We discovered a great little knitting shop in the historic district called Colorado Fiber Arts. The building they are in has the very fun windows that you can dress up with displays.

The gals there were friendly and helpful, assisting my mother on what yarn could be substituted for the VERY expensive Great Adirondack Sierra yarn used in a cape pattern she fell in love with.

They showed us a fabulous scarf pattern knit with sock yarn and glass beads that is to die for. And we signed up for a class making Moebius felted baskets. We get to learn the infamous Moebius cast on and how to make fun baskets. It should be a fun afternoon in March for us.

The weather was perfect at almost 60 degrees. An uplifting day from the sub-zero weather we had been having. Of course that weather is back again. At least we are not in Montana with -77 degrees wind chill. That is not just cold, that is inhospitable.

Hope you are having a grand day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hand Warmers: Necessary and Lovely

So I should tell the story of getting started on handwarmers and show you some picks of my work. I know, and it is on to KIC swatches. Those cable needles should be here anytime now...

The handwarmer story begins with a pair (one of the first things I did with fingering weight yarn) I made for my mother out of Cascade Fixation. She keeps them at her computer desk at home and says the work really well without being overly warm.

Well, one day my dad complained that his hands were cold. So first they tried the Magic Gloves you can buy in WalMart, they are thin and very stretchy for good flexibility. He said that he still could not work in them because he could not feel what he was doing. So mom offered him the fingerless ones I had made her. She has not see them again except on his hands.

So one day I asked him how those were working for him. He said that they were okay however the end of them closest to his fingers rolled up and did not afford him any warmth on that part of his hand.

So I started looking around for a pattern for fingerless gloves. I found one that will should work, however wanted to knit something faster than all those little half fingers. So while we were visiting Colorful Yarns in Centennial we found a knit sample of the Fetching mitts made famous by I also found they had the more manly version called Dashing. So I pondered those two choices, knowing I have yet to knit my first cable. Then we visited Purls of Wisdom and Jen shared with me a great spiral rib patterned version of handwrist warmers from Free pattern and all. I think the link will take you right to the pattern however you may have to sign up for their free newsletter.

I made my first pair just like the pattern called for and they turned out too big for dad, so I have them at work for me to wear. Then I downsized the pattern by using sz 5 needles and less stitches cast on. They are a perfect fit and I do not believe he has had them off since mom took them home to him. I have since made a pair for one of my co-workers and have another pair to finish for the other co-worker.

They are fairly fast to make once you get the hang of the pattern and they work up nicely in a wool blend like Lion Brand Wool Ease. So here is the debut of my other knitting assistants, these would be underlings to the Head Knit Inspector, Pedro, of course. Floxy joins us to show that the knitting has the stamp of approval from sheep and Sir Hops-Alot is keeping a close eye in case he is called upon to assist in the Frog Pond. So far, knock on wood, that has not been necessary and the worst I have had to do is TINK a needle or two for a row gone awry.

Hope you are living your dreams!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

KIC It! or Going for Level One.

Time to work on my certification. I have been knitting hats and handwarmers since the first of the year instead of working on my Knitting Instructor's certification program from CYCA (Craft Yarn Council of America). Bad on me!

So this weekend I have to set aside the production knitting and get in gear with swathces to turn in for my first level evaluation. I have the first 3 done and have 5 or 8 more to go. I will also be knitting my very first cable. Little scared here. My excuse this past week was I did not have a serviceable cable needle and I ran out of time(do you sense procrastination?)

It should be fine now because I have on order from Knit Picks the new Harmony Wood cable needle set. And I have Melissa Leapman's book Cables Untangled from the library to read up on the awe-inspiring cable technique that I am about to venture into. I know some of you are laughing at me right about now because you have seen the Knitting Daily logo of Knitting Fearlessly on the blog. However that may be more bravado than truth...okay, I'll just believe.

And do you love the graphic for this post? I found it online at Arg! Cartoon Animation Studio. There are several that are so cute and I made sure I credited them so no one gets upset with copywrite issues.

Hope you are enjoying a warm and productive winter so far.

Birthday Celebration: Part Two

And this weekend I got to spend the afternoon with my very good friend, M. We went to see Enchanted. What a fun movie. Even better than I expected. Disney went all out to produce this one. You have to watch very carefully to pick up on the various fairy tale and previous Disney movie references. I will have to see it again when it comes out on DVD, maybe have to add it to my movie collection.

Then we had a fun lunch at Ruby's Diner, with presents. Not everyone will give me a sharp kitchen knife in a public place. Good thing it was after the lunch rush. :-) And there were other fun things in the gift bag, like a lovely pin I can use on a knit scarf or neck warmer, a mini book of writer block buster ideas, very handy, plus a staple-less stapler and fun notepad.

Many thanks to M for the fabulous day and the many cards she started sending me 6 months ago to get me ready for this milestone birthday. Friends don't come any better than that.

Hope your birthdays include special family and friends to help you celebrate!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy 50 or Watching 40s in the Rear View Mirror

Hey, watch where you throw that confetti! Who brought the horns in here? Can't you see I am celebrating the Big 50? Oh, that's what all the hoopla is. Thank you.

I decided a long time ago that fearing a milestone birthday is just silly. You may as well embrace it and party til your butt falls off, besides the other alternative is just not as much fun.

So I started my long weekend of celebrating with a trip to the eye doctor. He assured me that my eyes are healthy. Good thing, because I have not been able to see out of them clearly since I was six. Then I was off for a shopping day with my mom. She exchanged some Christmas gifts for others that fit better (yay for mom) and I got a new work outfit and winter coat - thanks so much.

Dinner at Joe's Crab Shack was a hoot! Good food, fun drink with a shark in it, and they only made me look a little foolish in front of a room full of strangers. They say that is good for the soul occasionally. Overall, a fun place for a birthday dinner.

Then we were off to Denver to visit the Wings Over the Rockies Air Museum. It is located on the Lowry base and is a little tricky to find. Once you get there you realize that you could have seen the gynormous hangar from a ways off if you had known where to look. It is full of displays of historic pictures and memorabilia from Lowry's heyday which includes it's roll during the Eisenhower days when Denver was known as the Summer White House and the Glenn Miller Band played for the then president in the Hangar where the museum is now. During our visit that is the music that was piped through the building, definitely some good dance tunes.
Dad had the opportunity to look at a restored J3 Piper Cub, like the one he learned to fly in --- years ago. (He'd shoot me if I filled that number in)

And we had the chance to stand next to and under the Blackbird. It is huge.

Afterwards we visited a couple new knitting stores, both in Centennial, Colorful Yarns and Knitty Cat. Both had lots of fun things to look at.

We stayed overnight and headed home the next morning with a stop in Parker, CO, to visit the newly opened Purls of Wisdom. The shop owner, Jen, was very helpful explaining what she carries in the way of a large selection of traditional yarns selections. She has the largest selection of Rowan I have ever seen. She says it is her favorite yarn, especially the one called Calmer. Her shop has a very meditative feel to it, as her website says - Zen-like.

A great weekend all in all. The weather cooperated and the traffic was light, not much else you can hope for.

My theory: Celebrate every age because you only get to do it once in this linear fashion!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hat Attack!

With weather like this wouldn't you want to knit everything you could to stay warm? This may be what brought on my Hat Attack!

I started out the new year with nothing to knit - if you can believe that. I finished all of my Christmas gift knits for 2007, on time, (that could be because I started them in August) and nothing left on my project list.

So I was free wheeling and antsy to get started on a new project list for the first quarter of the year. I went to my new One Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites book by Judith Durant and perused the multitude of patterns. I found the cutest hat, the Twirly-top Toque. I found some yarn and cast on, got started and realized that I did not own the necessary size of double pointed needles (DPNS) to finish the top. So after shopping three major craft stores I ended up ordering them from Knitting Warehouse. Once I finished that first hat, I discovered that the headband portion makes up beautifully on its own. So I made a couple of those.

By January 3rd, I was fully enraptured by hats and headbands at it became more so when I received my Knitting Daily newsletter that mentioned Cecily's Beanie. It is a free pattern obtainable by registering at Knitting Daily and it is a wonderfully simple, fast hat pattern, that so far fits everyone I have tried it on. Since January 3rd I have completed a baker's dozen of these hats. The picture only shows a few that I managed to keep in the house long enough to photograph them.

The pattern calls for it to be knit in the flat and seamed up the back. I retrofit the pattern to knit it in the round and can share that trick with you if you want, just let me know.

Pedro tried to keep warm on the couch and eventually shamed me into bringing his kitty igloo out and setting it up on the couch. Once that was done I did not have to look far for him. Even my dad was feeling it when he came to visit.

And, of course, there were more hats. I found that knitting them helped keep me warm. One, because I was wearing one in the house while I knit and even to bed one night, and two, because I was focused on my knitting and not on the temperature.

Hope your knitting is keeping you warm this year and that you are following your passion.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Christmas Memories or The Finale of a Fabulous Broadway Musical

My brother, The Evil Elf, just sent me the family pic that includes me from Christmas Day 2007.
Let me ID the wild bunch:
From left to right, seated: my niece, Erica; my stepdad, Mac; my other niece, Lauren; my mom, Elaine and the Evil Elf himself, Dale.
Crouched in the back, from left to right:
My sister-in-law, Judy and yours truly.
I hope you have wonderful memories of this holiday season!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I know that we all have many varied, highly creative and interesting recipes and ideas of how to use leftover turkey. My question is: how many of you have lots of yummy uses for leftover ham, besides in sandwiches?

From my family's traditional Christmas dinner I went home with a lovely chunk of Black Forest ham and had no real ideas what to do with it for just one person. So I scrounged around in my cupboards and fridge until I came up with an idea. Then the idea involved the grocery store.

One delicious idea is to saute onions and garlic, add cubed ham, a jar of alfredo sauce, a can of sliced mushrooms and frozen peas. Serve over your favorite shape of pasta. I used thin spaghetti and added shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese to the top with a liberal sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.

For my mother's table I suggested she get a jar of the double cheese sauce from Ragu (that is the yellow one) and do a similar thing over macaroni noodles to feed the hungry Georgia kids. A version of mac and cheese that does not actually involve a box.

Before I am done I know the leftover ham will make it to my breakfast table one morning and into ramen noodles, another fast favorite of mine.

Hope your post holiday meals are as much fun to make, however easier, than the big feast where all those leftovers are created. Remakes can be even more fun.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Years ago I gave up on specific resolutions. Instead I make a list of achievable goals. This year I plan to eat healthier and get more exercise (the standards) and, more specifically:
Successfully complete Level 1 and 2 of the CYCA Knit Instructor Certification program
Update my blog weekly
Learn all the features and functions of my digital camera

I hope all your dreams come true this New Year.