12.31.2008

Had To Do It

I finished 2 and a half of the three blocks I needed so I gave in to temptation and started the rug. I figured it was better to get it out of my system then try to finish all the blocks AND do the rug, which would probably have hurt my shoulder again. So see? I'm being proactive. Or something.
This is the first 10 rounds. Only 8 more to go. I'm using a 10 mm (N/P) hook and 3 strands of all-wool rug yarn that I bought as a mill end from Yarn Barn of Kansas. Depending on the size when I'm done, I may felt this; I think it would be cozier on the tootsies.

Hope to have this finished and on the bathroom floor tomorrow night.

Happy New Year to All!

12.30.2008

Disciplined

I'm trying to finish several projects but I keep getting distracted by things I Must-Start-Right-NOW. The latest? This rug from the February 2009 edition of Crochet World magazine. Can't really explain why, but I'm completely gaga over this thing. It's made with 2 or 3 strands of yarn held together and a big hook, so it should go really fast. And it's a stash-buster since I'm planning to use wool rug yarn that I bought for weaving.

So I've made
myself a deal. If I finish the three samples I need for my crochet block-a-month class by Wednesday, I can start this rug New Year's Eve. Don't finish the samples? No rug. My New Year's resolution is to do only knitting until at least one of my sweaters is finished.

Now I just need to get my head in the game and finish those *@#& squares.

12.29.2008

F'd O!

Done, done, done - and I love it. I blocked the shawl fairly severely last night, so I think it may shrink a little lengthwise. I'm not sure what to expect from 50% bamboo yarn; anybody know? I like how long this is now but an inch or two shorter will be ok too. Blocking really opened up the design so you can better see the lacyness of the third row. It also improved the drape; I love how fantastic this feels when I'm wearing it. I ended up using approx. 599 yards; I had about a yard left from my fifth ball when I was done. Still not crazy about the yarn but love the colors and love the shawl. After all, 208 Ravelers can't be wrong, right?

12.27.2008

Making Progress

My Eva's Shawl (non-Ravelry link; opens a .pdf file), that I hoped to have done in time for Christmas, is just about finished. I'm going to add another 3-row repeat to make it just a touch longer; then I need to crochet the 2-row border, weave in my ends, and it's ready for blocking. Love the pattern - very easy bat-wing design that should stay on my shoulders when I wear it.
The yarn is Crystal Palace's Panda Silk DK in Cranberry Tones (a blend of bamboo, wool and silk). I went gaga for this the minute I saw it; bought an entire bag (12 balls) so I'd have enough to do whatever project I wanted.

About half way into the first ball, I decided looks aren't everything. The yarn is super splitty and tangles on itself badly. I still love the colors but it's a good thing my LYS will take back unused balls. Looks like 7 of these are going back.

12.25.2008

Video Time

For Christmas, Rachel bought us an RCA SmallWonder camcorder. I'm still testing it out, but so far, I think this is one of the best presents EVER.

My first two videos, featuring Leia, of course. (please let me know if you can't see these or if there is no sound. Thanks.)

video
(filmed using LP - low play - option)

video
(filmed using HQ - high quality - option)

Merry Christmas!

As you can tell, Santa was very good to us this year. Naia was absolutely dwarfed by the pile of presents around her Christmas tree. Dick and I exchanged presents before we headed over to see the grandkids. I got him a GPS for the car and a router thingee (technical woodworking terminology for 'I don't have a clue what this is but he really wants it'). He made me this gorgeous box - curly maple and ebony for the lid; black walnut and sateen for the sides - that just happened to hid a pair of diamond stud earrings and a display rack for my scarves and shawls. I'd apparently complained awhile ago about not being able to see/display all my FO's; Dick thought about it and came up with this. He took a floor lamp we were no longer using, turned the shade around, put a purpleheart finial on top, and added 10 rotating 'arms'. He covered this with a sheet, pinned a ribbon to it, and has had it sitting by the tree for almost a week, taunting me to figure it out. Needless to say, I couldn't. Now I can hang my woven and crocheted items and admire see them all at once. Love.This.

Leia had no clue what was going on
this morning, but loved watching all the activity around her. Miles was at this dad's for the week, so Naia was the center of gift-opening-attention. Almost all the photos I have of her are blurred from her being in constant motion. Needless to say, she had a great time. Since Dick is still germy, he delegated his traditional turkey-carving duties to Gary for the first time. Gary was a bit intimidated - probably because we were all standing around, cameras in hand, in case he messed up - but did an excellent job on the bird.

Gary also held Leia without protest.
I call this the 'Addy Effect'; he was scared to death to hold Addison when she was little but now he knows kids don't break very easily (and aren't contagious) and is more comfortable. Yeah, Addison!

Leia, 4-months
Marie and Dad

One of Gary's presents was a remote controlled helicopter.
We bought it as almost a gag gift, a stocking stuffer. It turned out to be great fun for both Gary, who played around trying to figure it all out for over an hour, and the cats. Ored and AJ were fascinated by the buzzing, spinning, flashing interloper until it dive-bombed AJ (accidentally, Gary swears). After that, they watched from under a chair.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holly Days to All!

12.24.2008

Countdown to Christmas

Dick's cold is alive and well. This is how he's spent most of the last few days - on the couch with his personal little lap warmer. Snickers has claimed both his lap and that afghan as her territory; all others beware.

We're celebrating Christmas with the California grands tomorrow, so we went out to see Dick's parents for Christmas Eve. Leia was the star attraction -
I love that great-grandma and Leia have almost the same expression in this shot.

Naia discovered the joys of making static angels; she'd swing her arms and legs against the carpet, like she was making a snow angel, then try to touch - and shock - Aunt Marie.
Naia was pretty good at building up static; Marie wasn't nearly as thrilled with the game as Naia was.
My Christmas shawls - both woven and crocheted - are unfinished. And I'm OK with that. I probably could have completed one or the other, but it would have meant giving up baby-holding time. I'll finish these eventually. Babies grow up too quick.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
to You and Yours!

12.22.2008

Holiday Tradition

Yet another holiday tradition is upon us. Yesterday's silliness gave way to today's colds for Dick, Naia, Marie and Miles; fevers, and a trip to the ER for Chris and Miles with yet another ear infection. Sure hope that old adage about moms (and grandmoms) not having time to get sick holds true. I hate colds.

12.21.2008

Silly Day

Naia and Miles dropped by for a few hours today while Chris did some holiday things. Both were in a good mood and it took about half an hour before they developed a severe case of the sillies.

Naia, aka "Bubble Face", did her impression of Santa (or is that Colonel Sanders?)
while Miles did his interpretation of 'Dances With Cracker'. Miles plays shy when the camera first comes out, but that's just a ploy. He loves being the center of attention.

When they started getting tired we decided to open the presents that Aunt Rachel sent.

Put down the camera, grandma . . .

Naia did the unpacking
and Miles did the distribution (one for you, two for me . . . )The Storytime Theatre was a big hit. Thanks, Auntie Rachel!

12.20.2008

Randomness

1. Breanne sent me flowers for my birthday earlier this week. She said it's the first time she'd ever sent flowers to anyone. I was honored to be the recipient. And they were gorgeous. Even AJ thought so.
2. Marie got me a Graydog! So beautiful. I'm planning to use this one rather than stash it away in my collection. It's too pretty not to share and I love the cool feel of the turquoise.

3. Addy's scarf is finished and in the mail, along with the last of the presents for the Colorado branch. I took a couple more shots before packing it up. I'm amazed at what a difference natural/outdoor light makes. Still liking the basketweave texture. Hope Addy likes it too. 4. While in Colorado, Rachel and I took a painting class at the local pottery store. We learned how to transfer images along with some painting tips and tricks. We left town before my plate was ready to be picked up so Rachel shipped it with some holiday presents. Not bad for a first effort, eh? The store has monthly classes so I'm hoping to take more when we next visit Addison.

5. I started a weaving project tonight. Found a new Noro Kureyon colorway (#226) that just screamed Christmas shawl, so I broke out the rigid heddle loom and warped it up.
I'll start the actual weaving tomorrow, probably with a black sport-weight alpaca as the weft. Warping would have gone so much faster if Oreo hadn't felt the need to 'help'. Don't you love her "who, me?" look. I had to chase her off shortly after this when she grabbed the danging warp thread and tried to make a run for it. She almost managed to upend the teevee tray and dump everything on the ground. My little darling.

12.18.2008

Mini Stockings

These are the first of many mini-stockings (say that fast three times) that I'm making as tags for this year's Christmas presents. Each is a granny hexagon that is folded in half and seamed around the outside edge. Fast, cute and fun. What more could you ask for in a pattern? Doris Chan is offering this as a free download on Ravelry and on her blog. I'm going to see how many I can make without duplicating a color sequence. (I'm up to 12 so far.)

I also finished another scarf for Addy with the leftover yarn from her Roselette sweater and Swirls cap. The pattern is one I came up with - 4x4 basketweave on the ends, with 2x2 ribs in the center. Very textural and fun.
The idea is that the button can be threaded through anywhere on the scarf so Addy can wear it snug around her neck when it's cold (it was -4 in Loveland this week) or fashionably loose when the weather is warmer.
I tried to take these photos as the sun was setting; I'm bummed they turned out so crummy. Hope I can get better ones before I ship this off tomorrow.

12.17.2008

The White Stuff

Slow day for blogging so I'm going to steal borrow a photo that Dick's sister sent. This is snow in California. Not where we are on the coast - we just got rain and wind and cold. This is the high desert near Lancaster/Palmdale, where over 8" of the white stuff is sticking to the ground. Sure is pretty in a shivery, break-out-the-shovel kinda way.

We went to see a live production of Jesus Christ Superstar - featuring Ted Neeley, who also starred in the move - tonight at the Wilshire Theatre. I spent the very long, very wet drive down to Beverly Hills, plus the half hour before the play started, working on these. I'll try to get photos tomorrow.

JC was the first professional play I ever saw, right out of high school. I'd been involved in high school musicals as part of the band or orchestra, but seeing a professionally done, very controversial (at the time) play was eye-opening. Dick and I love going to plays and musicals and we've seen several live versions of JC - and the movie, multiple times - over the years.

Maybe I was expecting too much - Neeley has to be getting up there in years - but this one was disappointing. Not a lot of energy, odd staging, just blah. Oh well. Phantom of the Opera is coming in January. Bet that will be excellent.

12.14.2008

Felt So Good

I took a felted ornaments class today with Jane Davis, author, teacher and all-around crafty person, who just happens to live around the corner from my favorite LYS. The ornaments are wet-felted over a styrofoam ball, then the decorative elements are applied with needle felting. Considering that all of this is free-form - and I am not an artist - I thought mine turned out pretty well.

Naia and Leia were at the house when I got back from class. Whenever Naia visits, I try to find something crafty for her to do. (Yes, I'm trying to bring her over to the dark craft side.) One of my classmates mentioned making felted soap, which is the perfect project for a seven-year-old who loves playing with water and bubbles. (I used this tutorial for a refresher.)
I found a Deb Menz-style multi-colored wool batt that I'd made in a guild workshop, grabbed a few bars of cheap soap stashed in my wool bins (the smell keeps the moths out. Allegedly), put the step stool up to the sink, and we were ready. Naia, like most 7-year-olds, has a pretty short attention span. I've tried other projects with her - weaving potholders, crochet, cross-stitch - and nothing has held her interest like this did. We spent over 2 hours happily wrapping soap with roving, soaking it with hot water and sudsing it all around until it felted.

We ended up with three felted soaps. One, the only bar of Camay I used, took much longer to felt and the wool didn't cover as well.
The other two - good old strong scented Irish Spring - felted fast and easily. Naia is thrilled with her treasures and we had a great time playing in the water. What more could you ask of a project?

p.s. I was supposed to take another felting class yesterday but
I was the only one signed up so it was canceled. That instructor was in today's class and it turns out she wants to learn to make crocheted socks. So . . . we're going to trade instruction. I'll make a felted Santa and she'll make my basic sock recipe. How cool is that!!