Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Bunch of Knitting Going On

I’ve been knitting a lot lately and I mean a LOT.  It seems like I’ve been knitting more than usual but really, I think it’s just that I’ve been working on things that had a deadline of some sort. 

Two by Two
First up are the hats and booties I knit for Andrea’s twin boys and I finished them in the nick of time.  I finished them in time (with a couple of days to spare!) for her shower at work on the 5th and then left them on my kitchen table.  So, it was the next week when I got them to her.  The babies were born the next week, on the 17th.  They’re a little early but doing well.    


Roll Tide!
Next up, I made a Paris Scarf in Alabama team colors for my friend, Sandy.  Sandy crochets but when she saw the Alabama and Auburn scarves at In The Making, she fell in love with the Bama version.  Kits were handily for sale and so she bought one and I knitted it for her.  Just a note everyone:  per Robin at the shop, the sample has a cast on of 61 stitches so that’s what I used.  Sandy loves it! And it goes wonderfully with her Bama purse that our friend, Pam, made for her.


A Knit Along
Betsy and I finished our bi-state knit along of Color Affection.  Betsy finished almost an entire two weeks before I did but that’s OK.  I tell you, those last rows were almost painful.  I felt like I had been to the beach and back by the time I had completed two rows!  But the result is absolutely lovely.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t make gauge, so I settled for a 7 needle.  Next time, (if there is a next time), I think I should go down to a size 6 needle.  My goal was to finish in time to wear to the Sacred Harp singing at County Line this past Sunday and I made it with time to spare.  It was a chilly morning and chilly in the church so I was glad to have it around my shoulders. 


No Purling Required
I took Purl Dreams, a baby blanket for a co-worker’s new grand-daughter to be, with me to the Sacred Harp Singing with the hopes of finishing it.  And I did!  The faster they sang, the faster I knit!  I told them to keep singing fast songs.  I was ready for the bind off after lunch and bound off the last few stitches as they were singing the closing song.  It’s knit in the round so it looks kinda like a feed sack.  During the morning break, Henry stopped by to chat and couldn’t figure out how I was going to get it off the needles without cutting it.  He checked on the progress when the singing was over and was surprised to see it off the needles.  It's still unblocked, but here's a photo of it....


I’ve started on my Christmas knitting.  So far, the plan is to knit Honey Cowl and a few pairs of the Welted Fingerless Mitts.  I’ve also got my eye on Ferryboat Mitts, a new pattern from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.  Speaking of which, have you all seen their new Autumn release?  I want to knit them all!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adventures in Noro

I started to title this post “Knitting With Crack” because that’s what knitting with Noro is like.  Addicting.  Totally addicting.  All I want to do is knit so I can see what the next color change is going to be and I find myself digging into my ball of yarn to see what’s coming up.   

What am I knitting?  It’s Kay Gardiner’s Mitered Crosses Blanket for Japan blanket and I’m using the called for Noro Silk Garden.  The crosses are knit in Noro Silk Garden with a natural colored log cabin border, also in Noro Silk Garden.  I have to admit to feeling a bit letdown when I get to the log cabin border or “frame” because as much as I like to log cabin, those color changes in Noro #269 just aren’t as much fun.  But they do an exceptional job of setting off the colored crosses.  Here’s what I mean……

 Both crosses are knit from the same skein of yarn.  Just look at that!  Not all skeins are that dramatic but it’s still interesting and fun.  I’m really glad that I chose to use a variety of different colorways and I’m knitting it as it comes – no snipping or clipping colors here!

This has turned out to be perfect summer knitting.  It’s small and easy to take along even though there’s a bit of cutting the yarn and sewing in of ends.

Square production has slowed down for the time being.  I ran out of the #269 for the log cabin border but I've restocked.  My friend, Betsy, and I are doing a knit-a-long together, and I have a baby shower on October 5 (twins!).  But I always have a square in my knitting bag.  The perfect odd moments knitting.



Monday, August 27, 2012

A Hot Cup of Comfort

A hurricane, Issac, is swirling in the Gulf and causing all the weather forecasters in states with a coastline to work overtime.  For a minute there, it was thought that Issac was going to hit around Mobile causing those of us in middle Alabama to make sure we were prepared for any power outages from winds or spin-off tornadoes.  I had my mental list going: knitting that could be done in low light, gas for the car, batteries for flashlights and Coleman lantern, books on the Nook, and cookies.  

But as always, when we have a hurricane along the Gulf around the time school starts back up, my mind wanders back to Hurricane Frederick.  Frederick pounded Mobile and the remnants moved upward to Birmingham bringing drenching rain and high winds rendering an umbrella utterly useless.  I was in my first semester at Samford University and slogged to class through the pouring rain and wading standing water.  In my opinion, I should have gotten extra credit for showing up.

That afternoon, when I arrived for my Spanish class, all wet and chilled, I found that my professor, Senora Allgood, had rounded up enough coffee mugs and styrofoam coffee cups for everyone in class.  She had fired up her electric pot to heat up water and handed out cups of hot water and tea bags.  The only problem was that she didn't have enough tea bags so we had to share - two people per tea bag.  But we didn't care.  We were just grateful for having something hot to drink and thankful for her kindness.

Frederick hit in 1979.  Thirty-three years ago.  I'm still grateful for that cup of tea and I'm reminded that it's the small things that are remembered the most and have the greatest impact. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Learning to Cable

Isn't the little coral sweater beautiful?  It's Mignon, a fabulous pattern from Loop London.  A big thanks to the wonderful ladies at In The Making for allowing me to borrow their display and window for a photo op! 

One of my knitting goals this year was to learn to cable and Robin at In The Making told me Mignon was perfect for learning and she was right!  I don't know why I thought cables were so hard but they aren't at all.  Just a little fiddly.  And Robin told me another secret too - I didn't have to have a cable needle (the store was sold out that day).  All I needed was a DPN and those I have.

The sweater was a delight to make and quick too.  This week, it will be headed to Lexington, KY for a special little girl who is scheduled to arrive in September.  The sweater has been finished for a couple of weeks but I keep putting off mailing it.  I'm so proud of it, I've been showing it off to everyone who'll look!

Here's another view, a little closer up:

The pattern is available on Ravelry or In The Making.   I used Cascade's Ultra Pima and I used just barely over one skein.   I think this is one of those good to have in your knitting aresenal patterns since it can be worn by a girl or boy, depending of course, on the color.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reading and Knitting

Have you read Ann Shayne’s new novel, Bowling Avenue?  If not, hop on over to www.annshayne.com and check it out.  While you’re there, you can read the first chapter and get ordering information (you can also order from Books-a-Million). 

The novel is set during Nashville’s Great Flood and is about family.  Having read Mason-Dixon Knitting for years, I was familiar with Ann’s writing style.  And I was delighted to find Ann’s delightful turn of phrase and downright Southerness.  Oh, and you’ll find knitting in there too.  I found myself downright envying Ginna’s yarn stash. 

All the time I was reading, I kept thinking I should be knitting, so somewhere about half-way through Bowling Avenue, I found the perfect knit -the cowl from Churchmouse’s Easy Folded Poncho (I knit it separate from the poncho).  Round and round I knit, with my Nook propped on the arm of the sofa, pausing only to turn the page.  Before I realized it, I was finished with the book and the cowl.  It was a bit of a let down to be finished with the book (and the cowl).

In other knitting news, Mable.  I’m happy to report that it appears that both sleeves are the same length!  But I have a confession…..I’ve never sewn in sleeves so I’ve scheduled a private lesson at my LYS last Saturday morning to get some help.  Robin was a great teacher and made learning to put in sleeves fun.  

And of course, I did some shopping while I was there!  Mignon, Loop's new baby cardigan, came home with me along with some beautiful Cascade Ultra Pima.  The photo doesn't do justice at all.  The color is a beautiful, vibrant coral color (color #3767-Deep Coral).  So far, everyone's who seen it remarks on how beautiful the color is.  And the yarn is just a joy to knit.

There was a lot of talk (and some knitting) of Dull Roar's Bad Oyster in the shop and I decided that I needed to try it too so I bought the pattern and some Malabrigo Sock Yarn.

 So, there's a lot of new going on in my house.  Learning to put in sleeves, learning to make cables, and I'll be doing my first steek with Bad Oyster.  Exciting stuff, for sure.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Startitis to Overwhelmed to Sane Again

I'm sorry for the long silence ya'll.  At the beginning of May, I had a severe case of startitis which went right into being so overwhelmed that I was feeling frazzled which just made me feel frazzled in general.  Sound familiar?  Here's what I had going on:

The pink in the front is Mable, a baby sweater I'm making for a friend's new granddaugther to be.  I watched the daughter growing up so it's a pleasure to knit for her baby.  Moving on to the left is the Mohair Bias Loop.  I'm still not sure why I thought it'd be a good idea to join the Churchmouse KAL on Ravelry when I had so much other knitting going on.  Moving along is the Mitered Square Blanket.  And then Liberty.  Liberty has been languishing in my knitting bag since the end of February/first of March.  But it is becoming fairly well travelled.  It has travelled in my knitting bag to work, to Mother's hospital room, to the ER with my dad, a sacred harp singing in Nauvoo, AL, the knit shop in Cahaba Heights, and to Nashville.  I'm thinking of making a map of Liberty's travels.  And finally, the Easy Folded Poncho which just needs to be seamed.  Not shown in the picture are the two Baby Kimonos and baby hats I was making for a friend's new twin granddaughters.  The Kimonos needed seaming and ribbon closures and one hat had to be made. 

On Mother's Day weekend, I had an epiphany.  I needed to set priorities.  And the first priority was to finish the twins' kimonos and hats.  (The color isn't showing up well here but it's called Rosebud-I used Berroco Comfort)

Since setting priorities, things are going along much better. The next thing that has a deadline is Mable since baby Cadance is due at the end of this month.

By the way, I'm curious.  What are your "go-to" baby gifts?  I'm looking for mine but haven't found it so far. If I'm short on time, I make three hats in Comfort Chunky.  Right now, I'm experimenting with sweaters but I'm not sure that's gonna be it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sunday Dinner and a Recipe

Every Sunday, we have Sunday Dinner at my Mother and Daddy's house.  Here in the rural South, folks still call the noon meal "dinner".  Sometimes, it's just Mother, Daddy, and me and sometimes family or friends join us.  Sometimes, Mother cooks the meal, sometimes I do, and sometimes we cook it together.  But I almost always make the dessert.  Sunday before last, I made an old favorite, Cocoa Cake.  The recipe was given to me years ago by a co-worker.  She would bring it to work for covered dish dinners or just because.  She said it was her family's favorite cake and her grown children still requested it for their birthday's. (Sorry for the poor photo)

Cocoa Cake

2 cups sugar
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
1 stick butter
1 cup water
3 teaspoons cocoa
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda

1 stick butter, melted
3 teaspoons cocoa
1 box confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan.
2.  Mix sugar, flour, and salt.  Set aside.
3.  In a saucepan, mix oil, butter, water, and cocoa.  Bring to a boil.  Add to dry ingredients.
4.  Beat eggs, buttermilk, and soda.  Add to cocoa mixture.
5.  Bake for 30 minutes.

1.  Mix butter, cocoa, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Add enough milk to soften icing.

Yolanda's note:  sprinkles optional but I always add them to the top of this cake.  I love sprinkles!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Attacked by Pollen

Spring is a happy time.  The weather is warmer, days are longer, and the flowers and bushes are blooming.  And in all the excitement of welcoming spring (and warmer weather), I forgot about my nemesis – pollen. This year's attack has been vicious and I’m just now feeling like I’m back among the living. 

You’d think that with three sick days off from work, several doctor appointments, and not much on my social calendar, I’d be happily knitting away.  But I just haven’t felt like knitting very much.   I did manage to finish one half done baby hat, one half done mitered square and I knit up another baby kimono.   But…..I have been reading.  A lot.  I’ve read seven or eight books and am currently reading another.  

I’ve felt better in the last couple of weeks and I’m happy to report that as of today, I've completed 23 squares for my mitered square blanket.  I’m a little worried though, that the colors won’t come together very well, that I should have planned better, and that one will need sunglasses just to look at it.  But despite these worries, I just keep pressing on and knitting squares.  Knitting those things is like eating Lays Potato Chips.  You can’t knit just one!

Off to knit another square!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Do Not Disturb

This week, I've all but hung a "Do Not Disturb" sign on my back door after getting home from work in the evening.  Last Saturday, I snagged this copy of Downton Abbey, Series 1, The Original UK Edition at Target.  And I've been watching it EVERY evening this week.  I've been catching up since I somehow missed Series 1 when it first came on.  Well, actually I did see bits and pieces but didn't watch it through since it usually went off at 11pm and I had to be up early the next morning for work.

Anyway, I've been coming home and quickly doing my chores, and then settling down on the sofa in my jammies, a cup of Earl Grey, decaf, and my knitting.  It has been nice to be able to rewind (is that a word for DVDs?) and rewatch bits if I miss a phrase or gesture.

Someone at work who has never seen the show was asking me about it.  Where to start? This is Britist drama!  There's the superb writing, the cast, the costuming, the scenery.  And then there's all the little gestures and looks.  And then, of course, there's all the history. 

My cousin, Virginia, and I are planning a Downton Abbey Day where we'll watch Series 1 and Series 2.  I think we need to have tea and scones too. 

And finally, a big Thank You! to my local PBS station, APT, for showing Downton Abbey.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Knit On!

Knit on. Those words have been playing in my mind in an almost continuous loop for the past 2 ½ weeks. My Mother has been in the hospital so things at my house have been somewhat out of sorts, as you can imagine. But I’ve been knitting although not as often as I would like and I certainly haven’t been able to do much that required a lot of thought since by the end of the day, I’ve been tired.

I knit the entire right side and finished the MDK Baby Kimono while sitting in the ER with my Mother. Several people asked what I was knitting and when I told them a baby sweater, they had a rather confused look on their face. But I really can’t blame them since the knitting dangling from my needles didn’t look anything like a sweater. So I’d stop knitting and fold it over to show them. Then, they were amazed at how something so misshapen could turn into a cute little sweater. It has been washed and is waiting for seaming.

I made two cute little baby hats which I call Lunch Hour Hats since they were knit while sitting with my Mother during my lunch hour so my Dad could go have lunch. Her cardiologist, after observing me knitting and talking without looking at my work, told me I was “really good at that”.

I picked up my Mitered Square Blanket again and so far, I have completed 7.5 squares. Its perfect hospital knitting since it is portable and easy to put down as long as long as I’m using a row counter. It requires just enough thought to keep things interesting and deciding on colors is entertaining. Sometimes, though, I forget to carry my yarn up the side but I’ve decided not to worry about that.

Sadly, Liberty has been languishing in my knitting bag since, for me anyway, it requires concentration. But I have managed to knit a few rows here and there.

The good news is that the doctors have gotten Mother all fixed up and she’s home now.  She says that after 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital, it sure is good to sit in her own chair and to sleep in her own bed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Click Click Clickety Click

Can you hear the sound of needles clicking?  That's me, busy working on Liberty.  It's coming along nicely now that I’ve gotten fairly comfortable with two-handed knitting again.  I’ll just be knitting along, immersed in following my chart, and ever now and again, I'll stop and take a look at my knitting and I think, "Oh. WOW!"  It is SUCH fun to see the pattern emerging.

One thing though.  My white stitches are a little tight and I think it's because I'm knitting the white with my left hand, which is not my dominent hand.  If anyone out there has any ideas or tips to help me with this, I'd surely appreciate it.

When I need a break from pattern squinting, I pick up the Cute Baby Kimono (from Mason-Dixon Knitting) I'm making for my friend's daughter, Ellen.  I’ll be making two of these since Ellen is having twins!   I’m using Berroco Comfort in Rosebud.  Since big sister, Kate, will only be 1 ½ when her sisters are born, Ellen needs something that is super easy care and Comfort fits the bill.

This is knit all in one piece with seaming up the sides and underarms.  I'm almost finished with the left side.  This is an easy and quick knit and has been my take along knitting this week.

Oh, and one more thing.  I've discovered that a nice steaming mug of Earl Grey (decaf) is the perfect accompaniment to Liberty knitting.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Liberty at Last

I’ve been wanting to make Mason-Dixon’s Liberty Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines ever since my pre-ordered copy arrived on my doorstep.  I even took a Fair Isle class at my LYS.  I keep check on the Fair Isle web cam, which Ann graciously provided in the book,  but don’t always get to see much since I tend to forget that when it’s 5:30pm (or later) at my house, it’s nighttime there. But that hasn't made any difference lately since their web cam must be broken since it's been offline.   At various times over the past few years, I’ve thought hard about Liberty but always got overwhelmed with choosing a color.  But the idea started percolating again back in December.

So at the end of December, after all the baby hats were done, and the one Christmas scarf had been finished and gifted, I took a trip to my LYS to browse their Ultra Alapaca.  Remembering Heather’s admonition, while choosing yarn for my Linen Stitch Scarf, to choose colors that make me happy, I brought home Cyclamen, Winter White, Chianti, and Pale Blue.  And then, I just looked at them for a couple of weeks. 

In the end, I chose Chianti (the red next to the blue) for the background and Winter White for the foreground.  And no, this is not an Alabama (the football team) blanket.  These colors make me happy.  Plain and simple. 

I had to go down to a size 5 needle to get gauge and now that I'm in the colorwork, it's a little slow but I'm hoping that things will pick up once I get used to holding yarn in both hands. 


It's so exciting to watch the pattern emerge.  And the feel of the wool/alpaca is absolutely wonderful. 

Ann says in the book that this is "knitting for the ages" and she's right.  So much so that I've already asked Elizabeth to photograph it for me.

Ann and Kay, I hope that I do you proud. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Socks and Blankets

This time of the year, my thoughts always turn to blankets and socks.  I’m not sure why it’s not sweaters and shawls instead but there you have it.  Blankets and socks.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I cast on for a blanket and a pair of socks but I think about it.  And I search for patterns.
This year though, I’ve done more than just think about it.  I’ve cast on for a pair of socks.  I haven’t gotten very far but that’s because I’ve pulled them out and started over.  I started out using mini circulars because I have heard they’re wonderful, once you get used to the tiny things.  But I struggled with my K2P2 ribbing, it was going soooo slow on those circs, and I was getting rather frustrated so I ripped it out and started over on DPN’s and all was right in my world again.


I’m using the Basic Sock Pattern from Churchmouse that I bought a while back along with some Paton’s Kroy Socks FX yarn that’s been in my stash for a while.  I have a confession to make.  I didn’t swatch.  The pattern calls for size 1 needles and so I just started right in.  My rational being that in the past, I’ve knit socks using a size 2 or 3 using the same cast on of 64 stitches and they just didn’t fit as snug as I would have liked.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Just Do It!
I’ve been wanting to make Mason-Dixon’s Liberty and Mitered Square Blankets for a long time, since I first saw them in the books, as a matter of fact.  I even bought some Takhi for the Mitered Square Blanket.  But in the end, I couldn’t decide on a color scheme.  Did I want to use just just a few colors or a whole bunch?  Did I want a recurring theme?  And which yarn would to use since it didn't have to Tahki or even cotton for that matter.  And Ravelry was no help.  Did you know, that to date, there are 836 projects on Ravelry? 
And then, there is Liberty.  Fewer projects on Ravelry for sure but  I was just plain undecided about colors.  And since it has a steek, it really needs to be wool.  I like the one pictured in the book but did I really want to use the same colors?

As you can tell, indecision reigned, not to mention the little matter of budget.  At any rate, back at the end of December, I decided that 2012 was the year to JUST DO IT!  So stay tuned, you’ll be hearing more about these blankets in the coming months!

Monday, January 30, 2012

An Update on the Poncho

My Easy Folded Poncho is finished.  Well almost.  It still needs to liberated from the blocking wires and seamed.

After I finished binding off, I pinned up the shoulder and tried it on and I love it!  And at that moment, I knew that it should be cowl-less.  So, all that fretting was for naught. I'm already thinking though that I'd like another one in the Rowan Felted Tweed, this time in Seafarer (navy).

Here it is all bathed and blocking on the blocking bed.  I used my new blocking wires and I love 'em!  It's all dry now and ready for the seaming.

I haven't mentioned how much I love Rowan Felted Tweed.  It's so tweedy......so English (well my idea of English tweed anyway).  And wonderfully sticky.  I used bamboo needles this time but I would definitely use Addi's next time.  But before I start the next one, I need a good supply of movies.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


On Christmas Day, my niece and I had a coconut cake throwndown!  Lindsay made the Barefoot Contessa’s Coconut Cake recipe and I used a version of the one that my Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Aunt made for years.  I forgot to take a picture of the cakes before cutting but here's Lindsay's:

And here's mine:

We even had scoresheets.

The judges were my dad, my brother, my nephew, and Lindsay’s dad and they took their jobs very seriously.

And the winner was.........Lindsay and the Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cake recipe! I understand that it was close with only a few points separating the two.  One thing though.  We didn’t count on two coconut cakes being a LOT of coconut cake! 

Inch by Inch

My Easy Folded Poncho is coming along.  Inch by inch.  An inch is about all I can manage to knit  in the evenings before nodding off.  I blame it on the TV, of course.  There doesn’t seem to be much on other than Law & Order and Everybody Loves Raymond reruns, most of which I saw last January.  I could get better cable than the 120 stations plus local that I have now, but that would seriously cut into my yarn funds and I’m not willing to do that.  So, until the weekends, when my favorite Britcoms come on, I’m slowly, but surely, making progress.  Right now, I'm at 28.25 inches.  Only 21.75 more inches to go. 

New Toys
I have two new toys that I’ve been coveting for a long time:  a  Rowenta iron and a set of blocking wires.  Now, I think I can do just about anything! 

I’ve been wanting a Rowenta for a long time and I look at them just about every time I go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond,  So, a couple of days before Christmas, I was in Target and you know how you cut down an aisle that's not crowded?  Well, I did that and found myself on the laundry aisle and lo and behold, there were Rowenta irons!  Rowenta's at Target!  I remembered a gift card I’d had for a couple of years because I couldn’t decide what to buy and I knew then, that’s why I’d held onto it.  It was destined for a Rowenta.  I even had enough left over for a much needed new ironing board cover. 

I’ve used it several times and can I tell you, it is wonderful.  The heft is wonderful and when you press the steam button, it sounds like a steam engine!  This baby can steam any curling edge into submission quickly and efficiently.

Then, there’s my new blocking wires from Churchmouse.  I love ‘em.  I had saved blocking my Catherine’s Shawl so I could try them out on the top edge, and they worked wonderfully. 

Speaking of the Catherine’s Shawl, blocking, even with my new blocking wires, didn’t redeem it.  It just didn’t seem to matter how I draped it, tied it, stretched it, or scrunched it, it looked just plain horrible on me.  My mother and my friend, Pam, both seconded the opinion.  I guess I’m just too big for it or it’s too small.  I can’t decide which.  So, I’m frogging it.  Any ideas of what to do with two skeins of Madelinetosh tosh merino light?

Pull From The Tangle
Kay, over at Mason-Dixon Knitting, wrote a blog post entitled “Pull From The Tangle” about how pulling from the tangle applies to life.  That has stuck with me as I've pulled from the tangle a few times for the past week.