Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Crocheting

I just couldn't help myself.

I accompanied Sarah to a nearby yarn shop which sells much more expensive yarn than I can afford. I wasn't tempted. Really, I wasn't! (Especially since it was obvious that crocheters weren't catered to.) But on the way home, I could not stop thinking about how I wanted to make another shawl in more pastel colors, so I talked Sarah into going to JoAnn's, despite the fact we were both hungry and tired. I had intended to choose Lion Brand Homespun yarn, but didn't find anything that I liked, so we started looking around. I found this Sensations Rainbow Classic yarn, which is exclusive to JoAnn's, and was the right weight, and also on sale.
I'm not sure why I'm crocheting instead of cross stitching, especially because I'm having terrible pain in my arms, which sometimes radiates down to my forearms. My pain killers are my friends right now, I'm sorry to say.
This shawl is going to be gorgeous. It certainly puts me in the mood for spring!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shawl Completed

The snow has arrived. We're expecting 7" - 12" by late Wednesday night! And just in time, I completed my shawl tonight. The pattern is from the book, The Prayer Shawl Ministry: Reaching Those In Need. I did make it larger than the pattern called for; I ended up using six skeins of Lion Brand Jiffy yarn in Navy. The pattern needed four skeins of Lion Brand Homespun for a total of 680 yards; I used just short of 810 yards. Here are some pictures of the finished project, including a close-up of the edge treatment:
Come laundry day, I will run this through the wash to soften it up a bit.

I am already thinking about making another one of these in softer, more muted colors, probably a variegated yarn.

Also on my agenda is this lovely afghan from Herrschners, for which I bought the kit in blue.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recent Purchase

Shortly after Christmas, Sarah and I were at Lowe's, and noticed that a furniture line they were carrying was on clearance, with everything half price. I have been wanting to either refinish the bench I had in our front entry, or purchase a new one. From the picture below, you can see I went for the new one.
This detail is in several places on the bench. Isn't it pretty?
We're amazed at how much bigger the front entry appears with the smaller bench.

I'll leave you with a picture of Kelly. I've resorted to putting a sheet on the couch she's allowed to get on, and I change it out every couple of weeks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grace's Scarf - Finished!

It's one month after Christmas - where did the time go? - and I finally completed Grace's scarf! It's about six feet long, and is based on a scarf she has nearly worn out. I used Vanna's Choice yarn in White, Charcoal Grey, Silver Grey, and Black.
Here are a couple of close-ups. There isn't a definite pattern repeat in the scarf, which I think adds to its charm.
Grace, I hope you enjoy your scarf and it keeps you warm!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Crocheting

Grace's scarf is nearly finished - all it lacks is the fringe. I enjoyed making it, and decided to leave my crochet hook in hand and try to finish a shawl I started well over a year ago but had been frustrated with because of a consistent mistake at the end of each row, but which now has been found and corrected. Unfortunately, I am nearly out of yarn; Sarah is looking for more in the same dye lot on Ravelry (after checking Ebay and Etsy to no avail), but if she doesn't come up with anything, I'll check the local craft stores and hopefully find a close match.
Here's a dish cloth I made tonight. It was my first time working with cotton yarn. I used the pattern that came with the yarn, although I did have to go around the outside more times than the pattern called for in order to get the size correct; even so, it worked up very quickly.
I'm going to start a felted purse next. Or at least I think I am. I have sewing to do, although I can't do that while watching TV in the evenings. Maybe I'll go back to cross stitching - who knows?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

These two little guys seem to be oblivious to the cold. I wish I shared that with them! It's something like 9 degrees F (-13 C), a mere two degrees warmer than it will be come daylight. However, Wednesday night, it will be -7 F (-22 C), so this is almost a heat wave!

I've started a mystery cross stitch project, about which I cannot even give any hints or show any pictures. I'll be alternating with other projects, I'm sure, so I'll try to keep things as interesting as possible here!

Today I worked on a crocheted scarf that didn't get finished in time to give Grace as a Christmas gift. I based it on a scarf she already has, but which is falling apart. It's finally long enough, so I'm working on weaving in all the loose ends, which are in abundant supply. I am toying with the idea of doing some sort of edging along the long sides; I will also make loads of fringe. When it's completed, I'll get Grace to model it for the camera.

I hope you're keeping warm, wherever you are!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Love and Faithfulness"

It's finished! I can't believe how fast this stitched up once I got going on it.
"Love and Faithfulness"
by
Little House Needleworks
Stitched on 28 count Antique White Monaco
using Crescent Colors thread (supplied in kit)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Stitching Progress

Sometimes not feeling well has advantages, such as providing time to stitch. On Friday night, I finished Joyeux Noel (Cat's Whiskers, JCS 2007 Ornament issue.) Those diamond eyelet stitches were killers, and I was excited when the last ones were stitched. Part of the problem was the loose nature of the Irish Linen (Charles Craft, color is "Tea") I chose for the project. I'm not a fan of linen - I much prefer evenweave - so I was already starting at a disadvantage. As for final finishing, I will probably do a flat ornament, although now that I look at the finished piece, it would make a very large ornament, at least 3" x 4.25". I'm also wary of hanging my stitched ornaments on the tree as the cats - or perhaps just one of them - has been quite active in removing ornaments from the tree. There are only so many that can be hung out of a cat's reach!
Today we watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and later, You've Got Mail. I spent the time stitching on Love and Faithfulness, which I started in August, then put away. It's a relief to be stitching on evenweave again!

Christmas 2008 Memories, Part Four

See that coffee cake in the left center of the photo? I have used the same recipe since I was, well, since I found it before I was married (that'd be nearly 25 years ago). It's deliciously fattening, made with heavy cream, evaporated milk, butter, and a filling of sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts. The only change I've made to the original recipe is to make the dough in the bread machine.

We always eat Christmas breakfast together, savoring grapefruit and coffee cake.
Following breakfast, Phil reads the Christmas story from the book of Luke, then we open gifts. Grace paused to have her picture taken with Kelly, who is reluctantly wearing her hat. (Hey, she didn't like the elf ears, either.)
Callie took it all in stride. Her white sidekick, Klaus, was nowhere to be seen.
Do you think Grace liked her monkey bathrobe? The girl is ga-ga for monkeys!
She was even more excited about her piano music to the musical Wicked, which she had Sarah saw on the stage recently.
Phil liked the heavy duty scissors he got to use in his workshop. They're cool!
Sarah was sitting next to me, so I didn't get any pictures of her. Oh, and I apologize for the glare in some of the pictures - the sun was actually shining!

Although I didn't get any crafting gifts, I did get a gift card to A.C. Moore. Phil also gave me the DVD of Mansfield Park; the new Rush of Fools CD, Wonder of the World; and a book by B. J. Hoff, one of my favorite authors. Sarah gave me some unfinished (knitted) socks, and Grace got me a new Dustbuster.

It was a quiet day at home, just the four of us. Our dinner of turkey and the works was delicious, and none of us got food poisoning from having to use the cooler and garage as a refrigerator since ours stopped working on Christmas Eve. We even learned some interesting things from watching Mythbusters later in the day. We still have to open gifts with my parents when they return from Chicago, and with Phil's family. Of course, by the time you read this, those events will probably have taken place. The wonders of Blogger's feature that allows us to schedule posts for later publication.

Time to start preparing for Christmas 2009! (Ha, ha.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

1st Christmas

I was able to complete 1st Christmas by Lizzie Kate shortly before Christmas and deliver it to the special little girl I stitched it for. My only complaint about the pattern is that it did not include a template for the heart; it took me quite a while to get the shape right.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas 2008 Memories, Part Three

Since our girls were small, we have made an annual trek to Stokoe Farms, a nearby Christmas tree farm. For many years, we cut out own tree, but eventually it became clear that I am allergic to them, and we purchased an artificial tree. Still, we make the trip to Stokoe every year to see the animals, walk amongst the evergreens, browse the Country Christmas Shop, and partake of the free sugar cookies and hot chocolate.

This was the third year, I believe, that we took our dog, Kelly, with us. There was a lot of snow on December 20, and Kelly took full advantage of it, romping, rolling, and sticking her head under it. Here she is with her "mama", Grace, before the fun began.
The reindeer did not like Kelly, although she was curious about them.
We walked a bit further to the manger scene, where the llama, already agitated, made it very clear that our dog did not belong anywhere near it.
Just before my camera batteries got too low to take pictures, I shot this brief video of Kelly.
video
We had a fun day. I'm already looking forward to next year's trip!

Thursday, January 1, 2009