Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some Finished Objects

Several people have asked me about the photo in the Christmas post.  The photo is of my Granddaddy and this is my all-time favorite photo of him.  He loved Christmas and every year, he hit the woods with his ax, sometimes with one or more grandchildren in tow, to find a Christmas tree.  The quality of this photo is not so good since it was one of those polaroid photos but I love it anyway.

I have a bunch of finished objects to tell you about:

My Mother's Christmas scarf.  The Two-Way Ruffled Scarf by Churchmouse Yarns done in Kidsilk Haze.  She loves it!  You may remember that I made one like this for me back in the summer and almost lost it when Mother saw it. 

Catherine's Shawl by Madelinetosh Yarns.  This Kale colorway in tosh is very difficult to photography.  I finished this in December and it is still unblocked.  I'm rather disappointed in this.  I can't decide it it's too small or I'm too large.  I'm hoping that blocking it will work some sort of sizing magic.  I'm waiting on my new blocking wires from Churchmouse to arrive and hopefully, will have a blocked photo next weekend.  I think if I were to do this again, I would add more repeats and might do in a DK weight.

Two baby hats for my sister-in-law to give as a gift.  Good old Berroco Comfort Chunky along with In The Making's House Hat Worksheet makes short work of these!

Welted Fingerless Gloves for me in Rowan Baby Alpaca DK.  A wonderful pattern by Churchmouse and the yarn, wow!  The yarn was buttery soft.  But......I knit the second one at a much tighter gauge than the first so I frogged the first and reknit it.  See how much bigger it was.....

(Please forgive the red tissue paper.  It was nighttime and I was in the middle of gift wrapping).

And finally, a decent photo of my Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf.  I've discovered something.  It's mightly hard to photography (at least for me) Koigu without it looking all mottled.

Hope you've enjoyed these!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tristan's Blankie of Many Colors

Tristan’s Blankie is finished.  It was actually completed back in November, November 17 to be exact.  It is now in Kentucky, ferried by a family member going to visit at the first of the month, and is all packaged up waiting to be opened by the little fella himself on Christmas Day.

This blanket was fun to knit in a being 8-years-old and rolling down the grassy bank at my Grandparent’s house kind of way.  When it came time to change colors, I closed my eyes, plunged my hand down in the basket of not used yet yarn, stirred it around, and pulled one out.  Unless the color family had been used in the row immediately below, it was used, no matter what.  And along the way, I happened on some surprisingly pleasing color combinations, well, surprising to me anyway. 

Here’s how the entire blanket looks  Forgive the lumpiness.  That’s from the dead grass underneath.

I hope the boys love their blankets as much as I loved making them.  I've told their Mother that these blankets are for loving, for taking on picnics, for spreading out to look at the stars, and for cuddling on the sofa on a cold day. 

Along towards the end of this blanket, I started thinking about making another one, this time for me.  But since I had so many baby gifts to knit, I decided to wait until after Christmas to make that decision.  But for the past several days, I’ve been thinking more and more about log cabins and blankets in general.  I've realized that I miss having a log cabin going.  All that garter stitch going on for miles.  The kind of zen knitting after a long day, the comfort when I could use comfort, and the joy of having something familiar when I’m between projects or having a “moment” with a project.  So, we'll see what happens.......

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seen at the Piggly Wiggly

Seen at the Piggly Wiggly (aka The Pig) in Warrior, AL this evening. 

I've seen this bear riding up and down Highway 160 and Highway 31 but this was the first time I've caught him stopped.  I didn't realize this was a business, I just thought it was some guys having fun with unsuspecting motorists!  It turns out that Larry of Larry's Bear Den is just promoting his business, which is located in Warrior.  He used a chainsaw to carve the bears and birds that you see in the truck.  He does amazing work, doesn't he?  That standing bear is impressive. 

So, if you're looking for a last minute gift for the person who has everything or would like a lifesize bear for yourself, give Larry a call.  He'll be happy to hear from you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Must Enter Contest

Elizabeth of Liz Thomas Photography is having a contest over on her blog, Three Boys and a Thousand Hills.  You'll need to scroll down to the November 26th post for details (I know, I'm a little behind here).  Elizabeth is my friend, cousin, mother of my three favorite fellas, and photographer extraordinaire.

I just love Elizabeth's work.  I really do.  Her studio is the farm where she lives or the village nearby and I'm not sure how she does it, but her work always looks fresh and different.  She just doesn't take pictures, she tells a story.  I'm ever amazed at her ability to capture the soul and the spirit of the people she photographs.

This past fall, I got to be Elizabeth's assistant for an afternoon shoot.  Since then, I've decided that when I retire, I want to be her assistant.  I just love this photo from that afternoon!  Doesn't it look like it belongs in Southern Living?

Back to the contest, she has some fabulous prizes to give away!  And one of them just happens to be a custom child's hat made by Graves Gap Knitting!  Two of the options are the pumpkin one pictured above or the striped one below.

Oh, and before I forget, Elizabeth says that if anyone in Alabama wins the mini session, it can be scheduled the next time she comes home to Alabama.  Personally, I think it would be well worth the trip to Kentucky.  But then again, I'm always looking for a reason to see the fellas!

When you enter the contest, please be sure and let Elizabeth know that you heard about the contest here.  And if you win a prize, be sure to let me know.  Good luck!

All photos used with permision of Liz Thomas Photography.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thank You Mr. Mailman!

Friday and Saturday were lots of fun at my house!  My orders from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas came.  Yes, two orders (I splurged)!  I placed an order on Monday but they were out of one item but were expecting it again soon.  I happened to check again on Tuesday and the item was in so I ordered it!

This was Friday's order!  It was just like Christmas!

Here's what was in my bag:
-one skein of Rowan Baby Alpaca DK in Color 205 (Jacob).  This is destined for Churchmouse's Welted Fingerless Gloves and I'm swatching now.  The yarn is SOOO soft!  Cream in not really my color but it will be on my hands, not next to my face
-a linen project bag
-a beautiful, blank, notecard

Also included was a lovely note from Susan C. at Churchmouse.  Thank you Susan! 

Saturday's mail brought this:

My order was all packed and wrapped in tissue paper and included another lovely notecard.

In the box was the Wooly Wreath and Garland Kit.  I don't think I'll get this made in time for Christmas but it'll be fine to leave up through the winter. 

So, thank you Churchmouse and Mr. Mailman for making my days!
The coffee's on so I'm going to swatch for my new gloves!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Supper at Big Daddy's

I finally ate at Big Daddy's.  I've been meaning to stop by for a while now and finally ate there a week ago with friends and cousins, Virginia and Kelley.  It was a cold night and the atmosphere (and temperature) inside was warm and welcoming.

In 2008, Big Daddy's won the Birmingham News' readers choice award for best ribs.

This night, we didn't try the ribs.  I had the Bar-B-Q chicken and Virginia and Kelley had the Bar-B-Que pork.  They prounouced their pork delicious.  My chicken was a little chewier than I would have liked but the flavor was good.  Next time, I'll try the pork.  See that little cup of slaw?  You can put that on your sandwich or on your plate like we did.  Those fries!  Oh, they were the crispiest, most wonderful things ever.  We all loved them.  I could have eaten a plate full of just fries!

We met Big Daddy while we were there and he gracefully posed so Kelley and I could take a picture of him. And, Jon, if you're reading this, he says he ships his Bar-B-Q all the time.  Just give him a call!

So, if you're ever travelling I-65 between Birmingham and Huntsville and are in the mood for barbeque, hop off at one of the Warrior exits and check out Big Daddy's.  Tell him that the crazy ladies taking all kinds of pictures of his restaurant and their food sent you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fast Forward

Have you ever felt like your life was on fast forward and you weren't the one pushing the fast forward button?  Well that's exactly how I've felt since my last post.  The days just seem to be flying by at an alarming speed.  So, what exactly have I been doing?  Well, I've helped my parents with a huge project, stopped by the Gee's Bend Living Exhibit, gone shopping with a friend for something to wear to a wedding, attended two baby showers, gotten stuck in two epic proportion traffic jams (thankfully I had my knitting), attended a giant wedding, travelled to Nashville for Thanksgiving and some Black Friday shopping, drove across the interstate for another Thanksgiving dinner and to see my three favorite boys, listened to Alabama fans whoop it up, and saw Auburn fans cry in their sweet tea (even non-football fans like me check the score of this game!). 

But I haven't stopped knitting.  I've been making baby hats for seven babies that have either arrived since October or are scheduled to arrive this month and next.  I've also finished a blanket but that's another post.  I've made an adult hat and am working on another.  And I'm making my Mother a scarf for Christmas. 

Stayed tuned for more updates this week! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Raise Your Voices And Sing!

Today, my Mother, my cousin Virginia, and I went to County Line Church in Corner, AL for the Reid Memorial Sacred Harp Singing.  Mother and I went to listen and Virginia went to sing.  And what a singing it was!  The little church was full , joyful voices raised the rafters, and the floor was vibrating from the tapping of feet in time to the music. 

The music is raw, and almost shouting at times instead of the melodious music we're accustomed to. But as I sit in that little county church, I feel a sense of history, a connection to my ancestors who sang this music with the joy, fervor and abandon that these people sing.  And it can be haunting at times.  I've listened to it online but I don't think anything compares to hearing it in person. 

In Sacred Harp, the singers sit in a square.  Each side of the square is a different part.  Everyone takes turn standing in the middle of the square and leading a song.  They first sing the shapes and then the words.  Virginia had told me and I had read that the sound in the middle of the square is just incredible and totally different than when sitting out in the church.  And they were right.  Today, I stood in the center with Virginia as she led a song.

Were they ever right!  It was like being in surround sound.  I just wanted to close my eyes and listen.  And now, I wish I had. 

Lunch was served today and what a spread there was!  Fried chicken, dressing, green beans, pinto beans, and the dishes just kept on.  Oh my!  The meal plan (diet) never made it in the door of the fellowship hall today!

 I took green beans, Apple Dumplings, and Hallelujah Biscuits .  I came home with no Apple Dumplings, one biscuit, and half of the green beans. 

There was a little row of crafters - Ruby, my Mother, and me.  Ruby and I knitted and Mother crocheted.  The three of us had a most enjoyable time just listening to the music, tapping our feet, and knitting or crocheting away.

Here are a few photos from the day:

Young and old were there today with all ages in between.  There were people there from Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, and all over Alabama. I can't wait to go again.

A Trio of Hats for A Trio of Boys

Aren't these fellas just adorable in their pumpkin hats?  Last weekend, I went to Berea and Paint Lick, Kentucky to visit my favoritist fellas in the whole wide world.  And I took their pumpkin hats with them.  Their mom and I had decided that  Liam, at a very grownup age 5, probably wouldn't want a stem and leaf on his since he is starting to assert his opinion on matters of clothing.  But when he saw his brothers' hats, he wanted his to be just like theirs.  Thankfully, I had made an extra leaf and had packed it along with brown yarn and my size 8 DPN's in my knitting bags.  So getting them on his hat was a snap.

Isn't this sunset beautiful?  This is what the boys see from their front yard every day.  EVERY DAY!  It is just absolutely beautiful when seeing it in person.

While I was in Berea, I stopped in to check out Weaver's Bottom Craft Studio.  I had  wanted to stop in on previous but just never did for one reaon or another.  Virginia and I stopped in this time and had a delightful visit with Mary Colmer and she was kind enough to give a weaving demonstration for me. 

I did some knitting while there but alas, no pictures.  I mostly worked on Tristan's blanket and have started the eighth and final round of "logs".  The goal is to finish by Thanksgiving.  I also worked on Catherine's shawl.  I'm slogging away on the ruffle.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hats, Hats, Hats

I'm still knitting hats, so many, that I've lost count of them.  These hats, are destined for baby boys who are making their appearances this month.  One in Baton Rouge, and the other here in Alabama, in Fultondale.  They should be nice and cozy in their new hats.

I'm also making pumpkin hats for the Thomas Boys in Kentucky.  I've finished Liam and Walker's and have Tristan's on the needles now.

Not much other knitting on in the past few weeks other than hats.  Stay tuned.......I hope to be showing you more pumpkin hats soon!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hats and More Hats

Hats.  I've been making lots of hats lately.  To be specific, I've made six in the past 2 1/2 weeks and they're all newborn hats.  Oh, and I have another on the needles now.  

All these hat making is the result of realizing that I have five babies to knit for and they're all due between the end of this month through the end of December.  Since three of the babies are due in September and October, I'm making Susan B. Anderson's Little Pumpkin Hat for them.  I'm also making a couple of just simple little hats for them using the House Hat Worksheet from my LYS.  Oh, and they're ALL boys!  Not a girl in the bunch!

The hats in the photo above are for Rebecca's baby and will be gifted at her baby shower tomorrow afternoon.  I hope she likes them.

Back to hat knitting.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Perfect Day for Knitting

Thanks to what's left of Lee, Hurricane Lee, that is, today has been the perfect day for knitting.  We've had heavy rains and the wind is blowing it sideways.  And there's flash flooding too.  All which makes it the perfect day for staying inside and knitting.  Thankfully, I didn't have to go or be anywhere today so I've spent the greater part of the day in my jammies watching Dr. Quinn, and knitting.  And all the while drinking copious amounts of coffee.  And I've enjoyed every minute.

I've gotten a lot done on my Catherine's Shawl (sorry for the bad picture) and am almost done with the increases on the body. 

Back to my knitting, Dr. Quinn, and coffee.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Finished. Completed. Almost All Done.

The Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf is all done.  Well, almost.  The knitting is done, the seemingly endless bind-off is done, it's had a wash and a had a nice long lie-in on the Blocking Bed.  But the fringe still needs to be trimmed.  That'll be done this weekend.  The good folks at Churchmouse Yarns suggest on the pattern that it be steam pressed for the blocking but since I took this thing from here to yonder and back, I opted for a nice wash. 

Yesterday, I stopped in the yarn shop on my way home from work and found myself at the KPPPM and thinking that that a scarf in blues would be pretty.  I guess this means that I'll be casting on for another one soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fried Chicken = Family Reunion

Wherever there’s vast amounts of fried chicken, there’s bound to be a family reunion or at the very least, some sort of family gathering.  You see it sitting out on the table in the boxes or buckets so everyone knows where it came from, the local grocery store, KFC, or Jack’s Hamburger’s.  That way everyone can pick their favorite.  Crispy?  Extra crispy?  Spicy?  Sadly though, it’s mostly bought chicken now.  Rarely do you see real homemade chicken.  Most “homemade” are breaded frozen chicken fingers that someone cooked.  I can remember the time when my Mother would fry chicken all morning for a family gathering.  My cousin asked at a recent family gathering what happened to my Mother’s chicken and I told him in the kindest way possible, “it’s a fond memory”. 

All this talk of fried chicken means that I’ve been to family reunions, two in the past two weeks and both on my Mother’s side.  Two weeks ago, I went Welti, up in Cullman County.  The reunion there was held at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, founded by my great-great-great (I think that’s enough greats) grandfather.  Many of his decedents still go to church there. 

Last week, I was off to Kimberly with yet more covered dishes, including this strawberry cake, a family recipe from my Dad’s side of the family.  When I got there, the cake looked like this: 

Here’s what I brought home:

Scarf Knitting
All of this shopping for food, cooking, and reunioning hasn’t left me as much time to knit as I would have liked but I’ve been cruising right along on my Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf, a fine pattern from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.  I’m past the 4” mark now. 

I’ve read how some folks don’t particularly care for the linen stitch because it’s time consuming and it is.  I didn’t care for doing the gauge, and not because I was eager to get started, but because just about the time I got into a rhythm, I was at the end of the row.  With 450 stitches on the needles for the scarf, there’s plenty of time to get into a rhythm.  Having stitch markers every 50 stitches is a lifesaver – you goof up and you know you only have 50 stitches to deal with.  And, I have discovered a few things while working on this scarf:

1.  I can’t carry on an involved conversation while knitting it
2.  I have to count the end stitches to make sure I still have 50 stitches since this is where I tend to lose one or two.
3.  Ripping out 450 stitches is painful and putting them back on the needles is time consuming
4.  Since you cut the yarn at the end of the row, you can’t tell if you need to knit or purl the next row and where to even start if you do figure it out so different color markers to designate knit and purl sides are a must.  Oh, and as insurance, a sticky note as to which is which stuck on the pattern.

Last week at Knit Night, I found myself standing in front of the KPPPM and thinking about another Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf, in blues or purples. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Knit Night = Yarn Shopping

Last Thursday night, I went to my LYS's Knit Night and came home with this:

On the left is Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Dewberry and on the right is Madeline Tosh Light in Kale.  The Kidsilk is destined for Birch and I hope to get it made by a wedding I'll be attending in mid-November.  The Tosh is for Catherine's Shawl.

I love Knit Night.  I can knit and chat with other knitter, pick up anything I might need, and pet the yarn.  And I usually manage to bring some of the yarn home with me. 


Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Long Weekend and a Road Trip

So, last Thursday's a week ago, my parents and I headed to one of my favorite places in the whole world - Berea, KY - for a long weekend away.  We have family there and I am always looking for an excuse to visit and to shop in the craft stores, stop for a coffee at Berea Coffee and Tea, and most important, visit the boys out at the farm.

My parents stayed on the square at historic Boone Tavern , while I stayed just down the street with my cousin. 

My parents absolutely loved staying here and are already looking forward to staying again sometime.  The hotel was built in 1909 after Mrs. Frost, the college president's wife, told her husband that something had to be done after hosting 300 guests in ONE summer!  At that time, college visitors and prospective students stayed with the Frosts. Just thinking about hosting 300 people in my home in one summer just boggles my mind!  Much of the furniture in the rooms were built by the college students. 

Mother and I stopped in at the Promenade Gallery on Center Street and I bought these:

Handcrafted knitting needles.  Aren't they gorgeous?  These happen to be a size 7.  I haven't used them yet but am so looking forward it.  They also had crochet hooks, which Mother bought, and needle gauges.

No visit to Berea is complete without a visit to the farm to see three of the most precious little boys ever! 

This is the view from the front porch.  This front porch has the most amazing front row seats to the sunset.  Unfortunately, it rained while we where there so we missed ou

It was great to see everyone and to catch up.  We came home already looking forward to going again.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

I'm a bit behind on the blogging this month.  My power cord went out on my laptop on the 4th and it took several days to get a new one.  During the meantime, Mother has been in the hospital.  I did get a lot of knitting done that Sunday in the ER.  That Sunday, I finished the scarf portion of my Two-Way Ruffle Scarf, a beautiful pattern by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.  Here it is in all of it's fluffy, soft glory before blocking.  Mother and I (OK.  Mother) steam blocked it this afternoon.  Photos to be coming soon.

A Finished Object to Report
I finally took pictures of my Multnomah post blocking.  Ya'll, this is a good example of the miracle of blocking.  A nice wash and then a nice rest on my guest bed just did wonders for this.  I'm so looking forward to wearing this but since this is Alabama, that will probably won't be until the end of October.

Here's my current take-along work in progress.  The Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf, another wonderful pattern by Churchmouse.  I'm using three colorways of Koigu KPPPM.  When I was buying the Koigu at my LYS last month, Heather, one of the super ladies who works there, advised me to choose colors that make me happy.  She was right.  And I'm glad I took her advice. 

This represents 1 week and 1 day of knitting - 1 1/4". This counts two hours of knitting time at the doctor's office on Monday and working primarily on this.  The fingering yarn combined with a 450-stitch cast on and working the linen stitch makes going a little slow but after a couple of stitches, I get a rhythm going and work pretty quickly.  When working on this in public, I have gotten a lot of compliments on it.  I just hope I have as many when I wear it this winter!

In other knitting news, I'm still working on Tristan's Blankie of Many Colors and I've started a birthday bib for Liam.  Pictures of those to be coming soon. 

Speaking of birthday bibs, hop on over to Three Boys and a Thousand Hills and read about the birthday bibs I made for Walker and Tristan (you'll need to scroll down to the July 12 entry) and see the bibs in action!