Saturday, July 28, 2012

Patrick's Crazy Socks

In the weeks leading up to the Olympics, I wanted to clear most of my projects off the needles and hooks. One such project...Patrick's Crazy Socks. He requested crazy colored socks and picked out the yarn. I casted on 72 sts (a good number I've found for men's socks) and did a rib and St st sock. Surprisingly, they went super fast. I ended up getting them out of one skein, so I have a second skein in this color that I'll probably pop onto Rav for sale.

On the happy feet!

Knitted on US 1.5 needles
One skein of sock yarn from Sweet Georgia
Pattern improvised

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olympic Knitting!

Every two years during the Olympics, I set a knitting or crochet goal for myself. I don't usually sign up for any Ravelry teams, but do my own thing. I have never once accomplished my goal. I plan to change that this time around. Here is the goal and it should be a huge challenge (in the spirit of the games).

I am going to try and knit the Spud & Chloe on the Farm for my niece. (It will be her main Christmas present.) Today, as the counter was being installed, I distracted myself by getting it all into center-pull balls and gathering the needles and supplies I will need.

I broke it down into days. I have no idea how realistic or not these are...

  • 7/27-8/30 Chloe and hay
  • 7/31-8/2 Spud and lamb
  • 8/3-8/5 Dog and fence
  • 8/6-8/8 Cow and barn
  • 8/9-8/11 Pigs and buckets
  • 8/12 Cat
  • I'll make the chicks and hens at a later date for Easter. I will NOT be making the mice. Ewww...
I hope that E and J will enjoy playing with them. The reception of giraffe was so positive that I felt like it was worth the effort. I'll be casting on during the opening ceremonies. Are you doing an Olympic challenge? Bring on the gymnastics!

Monday, July 23, 2012

On the Needles

During all the housing changes, I developed a severe reaction to the paint and dust. So much so that my loving hubby "sent me to my room" and took care of everything. Being ever so grateful, I casted on a pair of socks he requested.

Although PK can be very boy (LOVES baseball, beer, sci-fi, comics, etc), he is also an artist via his writing and poetry. Every now and then, his creative side shows up in his clothes. He surprised me with one of these instances during a trip to Simply Socks. He requested a pair of "crazy colored socks." I showed him the Sweet Georgia wall and had him pick what he wanted. (I wanted to get a skein of this yarn for ages to knit up.)

Tough Love Sock yarn from Sweet Georgia
Knitting on US 2 needles and knitting my own made up pattern.

When not working on his sock, I've been knitting on my central park hoodie and made a lot of progress. I am still worried as heck about the fit, but I keep repeating, "It's wool. It's cables." It really should block out okay, but we shall see.

I have a goal of completing a test knit, one sock, and the CPH before the Olympics start. I have all my Olympic knitting planned out so that I can work out in the morning and then knit and watch the games all day/night.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Painting and the Dresser

Although we aren't fans of painting, we do love the fresh and clean feel of it. As we prepare to try and sell the house next spring, we have been updating the house and that includes lots and lots of fresh paint. We decided to do all the updates now so that we can enjoy the them. These types of things I find frustrating, overwhelming, and unsettling. I like things just so so and everything clean and in a specific place. I can't really say I've been all that pleasant to live with over the last few weeks. (As I type this, we have 33 boxes of hardwood flooring sitting in the front room and 1/2 the trim is painted.) It all makes me want to rip my hair out. BUT, it will all be worth it when the paint is done, the floors are in, and the new kitchen counter is installed.

In the midst of the house updates, I took a look at an old dresser that Patrick inherited. Years ago my MIL gave me permission to paint if I wanted. At the time, I was happy to leave the wood. I noticed before vacation that it really could use some TLC. So, as Patrick was painting the walls, I went to sanding and painting the dresser in the hopes that it would look great and be a functional entertainment center. I am SO happy with the results! The hardware (that I was initially going to replace) was spray painted red. It sort of repelled it a bit and left some of the metal showing. LOVE the result! It has a great little cottage feel to it. AND, because I used leftover paint from the birdhouses and paint we already had for the trim, it was a FREE project.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Florida Trip: Finale

You didn't think that I would go on a trip and not visit a yarn shop, did you? I pre-picked A Good Yarn in Sarasota long before we drove down. The great online reviews are all true! Wow. It was bursting with yarn and they had an entire wall of colorways just for their shop. We went on a Friday afternoon and it was so lively and full in there! A front table of 12 or so ladies were working away, another group of 5 or so men and women were in the spinning area working, and there was group after group shopping while we were there. With all this hustle and bustle, the staff easily could have just checked people out, but they took the time to chat with us and tell us about the area and the influence on the colorway I purchased. Such nice people. It is a must see store if you are in the area. 

I held myself to one book and some Madelinetosh in color Midnight Pass to make a sweater. But, oh, what a book. After taking a Japanese knitting course several years ago, I've been looking for a stitchionary that was mentioned and passed around in the class. Here is was with five other copies. (I should have bought them up and resold them online given the crazy prices I have seen!) I can't wait to incorporate some of the combinations into my own knitting projects.

First, I must say that this picture I took doesn't do this color justice. You need to run over to the shop website and check out their pictures and the pictures that were used for inspiration. They do sell and ship, so you have been warned that your wallet might empty out after visiting the site! My grand plan is to combine this yarn, some stitches from the book, and those inspirational tree pictures and create an interesting cardigan for myself. We shall see...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Babette Is FINISHED!

I started Babette on January 1st, 2008. All these years later, she is finally done! Despite the length of time it took me to complete it, it was really a fun project. Most of those years, she sat in the basket taunting me to piece her together. Every time I would go through my UFOs and decide what to give up on and what to keep, she would be the first to keep. I'm so glad I stuck with it. She is a mixture of yarns I picked up on trips (the main linen/silk orange is from San Fran, the Sheep Shop from a visit to see Carol) and stash yarns I gathered while working at Stitches & Scones (lots of Koigu).

Pattern: Babette from Interweave Crochet 2006
Partial yarn list (fingering yarns held doubled): 
Sheep Shop 
Cotton thread 
Chutney in color Orange (from Artfibers) 
Cotton Classic 
Handmaiden Sea Silk 
Panda Silk 
Miss babs custom dye
Hook size: E

I honestly don't know if I will use it as a blanket. I am super tempted to have it framed and hang it!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Florida Trip: Part IV...Space Center!

One of the only solid things we had planned for this vacation was a trip to the Kennedy Space Center. Patrick is a big scyfy/space/techie/geek fan. When we saw that tropical storm Debby was setting in, we checked out the weather report for the Cape and it was okay for much of the day and the original date we planned was predicted to be awful. So, we got in the car early that day and drove over. It was the PERFECT day to go because most people didn't want to chance it and it didn't start raining until we were leaving. No lines, easy to see everything, and great parking.

Being silly in the capsule. My comment as we were crawling out..."I'm glad we did this before we got too much older or we might get stuck!"

While most of this excursion was for Patrick, I still enjoyed myself and even managed to luck into our special speaker talking about fabrics used on the shuttle! How great is that?!? She literally quilted a fabric that they put on the exterior for heat protection.

Happy PK!
Some astronaut photos to go with our yearly scarecrow pictures.

I love how happy Patrick looks in this picture. He had this grin on the entire day. Happily exploring it all and taking it all in...reading off facts along the way. 

 Do you see that HUGE nest? It is a bald eagle's nest and is the size of a king size bed! We often play the, "What was your favorite part of the day?" game in the car after a day adventure. This was my favorite part of the day! I thought it was amazing.

I might have to crop this picture of the mission control room sign for the upcoming basketball season! Isn't it funny the things that jump out at you? : )

Now, remember that rain I mentioned. Well, on the way back to our rental it was AWFUL. You couldn't see the road. It was frightening. I tried to keep my mind off of it and not freak out too much (poor Patrick). I can't show you this knitting project as it is a test knit for an upcoming kit. But, you can tell from this little snippet that the yarn is glorious and I used one of my birthday gifts from my SIL's family as a stitch marker. It is made from a shell. Isn't it cute? I ended up finishing the test knit and the Unique Sheep blanket on this vacay. I didn't get to work on my central park hoodie, so that is first up as we ease back to real life.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Florida Trip: Part III...The Celebration

After spending the morning at the beautiful gardens on our anniversary, we had lunch at Yoder's. OMG!!!!! Not good for the weight watching, but SO good. The ultimate is the peanut butter cream pie. Heaven!!!!

Here are a few pictures from our gift exchange. Each year we try and follow the traditional anniversary gift list. This year was steel. I went for a piece of art for Patrick.

We got each other the same card!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Florida Trip: Part II...Feathered Friends and Foliage

The first morning of our weeks in Florida, Patrick was outside working and these feathered friends showed up. They became regular visitors of ours and for some reason one of them fixated on me. He would drop by and if I wasn't outside, he would walk off. If I was there, he would boldly come as close as he could and watch me for a long time. I told Patrick that it must be like going to the zoo...we were enclosed in a screen pool area and they were the free to roam around and watch us. I named my new friend Joe and the other guy Jamie.

Most of the first week was spent with Patrick working and me in the pool, so there was not a lot of picture taking (thank goodness)! We had a nice dinner with my aunt and uncle who live in the area. We saw 5 alligators swimming by while eating. Those things freak me out and there were several hit on I-75 right before we arrived. Can you imagine?!? Anyway, we scheduled the vacay around our 11th wedding anniversary, so our anniversary day was pretty planned out: farmer's market, Selby Gardens, Yoder's for lunch, some chill time, and sunset dinner on the beach. Well, a little witch named Debby started to rain on our parade! Yes, we can cross Ride Out a Tropical Storm from our bucket list. Luckily, we did get the market and gardens in prior to the rain. 

I loved the gardens. If you live in the Sarasota area and have never gone, you should. What a little treasure. Because the weather was predicted to be threatening that day, it was not crowded at all. I took lots of inspirational pictures to give my design senses a boost. 

These bucket plants that gather water and the little mouth looking ones that eat insects were very cool!

Loved the perfect little balanced details on this plant. It reminded me of the crocheted flower blocks I had just worked on. This was even one of the color combinations!

SO tall bamboo trees. They swayed and made this beautiful clicking sound. 

These were some, pardon my french, some crazy a$$ fish! Most of the visitors we saw, including us, stopped by the koi pond to feed the fish and ducks. So, you know that they eat well. Little piglets! They were fighting like mad to get their portions. One unsuspecting pre-teen boy innocently walked up to toss some food and the fish jumped out of the water and to his hand. He screached like a girl and jumped away. The ducks that live with the koi had their own little personalities. One of them used the fish as a launching pad and the other one was just annoyed and kept smacking them away. I fell in love with the color combinations of the koi. Such brilliant displays of red, orange, and yellow set against the contrast of the white and deep black. Of course, I kept thinking what a great colorway of yarn that would make!

There was a little stack of blocks that you put your head in. You hum notes and if you hit the correct one, you can feel your entire body vibrate.

One of my favorite pictures of Patrick from this trip. These trees were amazing. They grow roots from their limbs to support the weight as they grow. Basically, re-attaching to the ground when it needs to so that it can become massive.

I loved, loved, loved this tree. I just thought seeing the roots twist and turn was inspiring. Kind of like cables in a knit pattern, no? But more on that in a later post...

Crabby much?