Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Joe Made Me Do It!

My cousin Joe reminds me that I haven't posted for ages!  Thanks for the little nudge, Joe...

I think this photo says it all about why I haven't been on here:

Yes, there's a jumbled up pullover on the left, with only the sleeves left to be knitted.  In the center are two books written by another cousin, Jeff Maulhardt, about my family's roots in Oxnard, California.  In front you see a stack of file folders, organized by my family's various surnames, and some notes...plus the obligatory cup of coffee to keep me going.  Yes, thanks to Mary, I've been bitten by the Ancestry.com genealogy bug!  So engrossing, entertaining, fascinating and obsessive.  Just what I need, one more obsession...no smart cracks, OK?!

Meanwhile, out the window, winter is leaving us and spring is trying hard to arrive.  This morning is still very chilly, but here's how things looked a couple of days ago:

Cloudy was ready to start his around-the-hard prowl, under the Manchurian Pear blossoms.

Then he decided to visit the horses in the adjacent paddock...notice they are still wearing their rugs.  It's still down into the mid-30s at night.

Patch decided to join his brother in a prowl around the yard, oblivious to the fact that Chloe is perched on the limb directly above his head.

Doesn't Chloe look smug, having gotten away with escaping Patch's less-than-welcome attentions?!

OK, enough schmoozing...back to the family tree!

And thanks again, Joe, for getting me back to Blogger, and also for sending the GREAT family photos!  You are the best!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Done and Dusted...and Modeled!

So I did get this shawl soaked and blocked and dried in time to wear it out for dinner last night.  First up, here's a picture of it blocking:

It was BIG...ended up 80" x 45".

And here's how it looked when I wore it:

And the back view:
Glad this one is finally finished, but I feel a little bereft!  Of course, I do have the pullover I'm working on, plus another shawl that's underway...

We took a 2-hour walk today up into Mountain View Cemetery at the top of Piedmont Avenue.  This is the cemetery that was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park.  It was a glorious summer day and I took zillions of pics.  I think they will deserve a separate post.

As Yarnivorous Lynne would say...anon!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yay! The Red Highland Triangle Shawl is Finished!

I thought that knitted-on border was going to finish me off, but there's nothing like keepin' on keepin' on...

Here's the finished product, even if it does still look like a large red puddle:

Don't have the energy to tackle the blocking at the moment.  But I do have a nice glass of Zin poured and at the ready to celebrate!

Tomorrow is soon enough for the soaking, blocking...and modeling!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

California Girl in California, and the Knitting is Fine...

We were delayed a day in leaving Australia because of the volcanic ash cloud that caused cancelled flights for a few days.  Bad news was we had to route through LAX instead of direct to SFO, but we arrived eventually, tired but ready for some summer.  Oakland was glad to oblige!

I did some knitting on the train to Sydney, then gave it a rest for the flight.  The Red Highland Triangle Shawl is proceeding well and I'm knitting the edging now.  Fiddly, but effective.  Wanna see?  Of COURSE you do!

The shawl still looks kind of like a big red puddle, but it will change into a dramatic, beautiful piece when it's blocked...I hope.  Here's where we are with it today.

As you can see, there's a l-o-n-n-n-n-g way to go, so I'm taking a break and (surprise, surprise) starting something new:

I bought this gorgeous yarn at Stitches West last year and have been itching to start something with it.  Now seemed like a good time...  I seem to be on a red kick, don't I?  This yarn is a wonderful color but hard to describe.  I'm calling it Black Cherry, for want of a better name.  It's a blend of wool, silk and viscose, from Brooks Farm Yarns in Texas.  Lovely stuff to knit with.  The pattern is a top down swing pullover from Knitting Pure and Simple...couldn't be simpler or plainer.  I think it will look good layered over a t-neck, or worn alone with black pants and a nice necklace for a bit more dressy look.

The weather is glorious -- sunny and warm, but not too hot.  I think we'll hang about for a bit, then take a stroll down to Article Pract (LYS, name is a play on the words "practical art" -- I know, kinda lame, but a great yarn shop) and then on to Barlata's Tapas Bar for a little nosh, then an early night.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Early O'Clock

Jetlag has me in its throes...asleep at 5PM, up at 1AM...what's a girl to do?  Why, funny you should ask!

On the last trip I wore my greeny-brown Highland Triangle Shawl a lot and enjoyed it every time, so I decided to make another.  I can credit/blame Bells for my color choice...RED, RED, RED.  It's Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool, which is the same yarn I used for the last Highland Triangle.  It suits this shawl very well.  Drapey, easy to wrap, not too heavy, a nice sparkle to the color because of the silk content.  This pattern, from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls book, is a dream to knit.  Daunting, at first, because it is such a large shawl, but the pattern is simple, logical, orderly and relaxing to knit once you have the hang of it.  As you see, I photocopy the chart and put it on a board with a rubber band to mark the rows.  I also highlight the pattern repeats to prevent getting lost if my mind wanders, and I use stitch markers on the needles for the same reason.

Anyway, here's how it looks.  I'm actually pretty impressed that even with jetlag, I'm not messing up!

I'm taking a chance that my friends won't mind me posting pics of them wearing the berets I mentioned in the last post.  I think they are traveling today, so I can't ask permission, but they look SO GOOD in the berets I can't stand not to share.

Here's R in his charcoal Moss Stitch Beret:
And K in her brown Porom Beret:
Looks GREAT from the back, too:
Once the sun comes up I may get out in the garden for a bit.  Yesterday was crisp but sunny, so I got a little cutting back of the Japanese Anemones done, and I'd like to tackle the Hydrangeas...  But it's windy today, I can already tell, so that may not happen...frost and wind  may overcome the sunshine.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Home Again, Down Under

We arrived back today after a very easy flight.  It was a busy trip for me, from a knitting point of view...lots of hats promised and delivered.  
Here's the navy watch cap for Ross, finished, at last.  Forgot to take a photo of the brown one for Greg...need to get a modeled shot.

And here's the brown Porom for Karine...need to get permission from her to post a pic of her wearing it! It looks MUCH better on her, believe me...

And here's me wearing the charcoal beret I made for Rodnay.  Also need to ask if I can post a pic of him wearing it...
I think I already posted pics of the Mink/Cashmere berets in blueberry, so I won't post them again.  But here's what I'm up to now..

First, a small triangle shawl, a Mystery Knit-along on Ravelry, pattern by Wendy Johnston.  This picture was taken shortly after I started, and now I'm only waiting for the final clue before finishing.

And last, but not least, Anne Hanson's Crooked Walking Shawl is now underway, using more of the spectacular Great Northern Yarns, this time a fingering weight blend of Mink, Milk and Merino:
I've learned the hard way not to attempt any lace knitting when I'm jetlagged, so progress on these last two will have to wait a few days.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Another Old Friend

We've had a tough couple of years with our little furry friends, and the time has come to say goodbye to little Cassie:

She was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago, but had been responding quite well to her insulin injections.  We boarded her at the vet for this trip to California, so they could continue the insulin therapy.  Sadly, a few days ago she began to be quite ill, listless, not eating, and uninterested in her surroundings.  Investigation revealed a large mass in her abdomen, and this morning we got the news that the end had come for her.  They have been keeping her comfortable with morphine, a heated igloo, hand-fed treats when they could get her to eat.  But the time has come to say goodbye.

Here's the little darling in earlier days, as a spry young cat in the Sierra Foothills, lounging on top of her favorite perch:

Cassie was a stray, found wandering the streets of the small Gold Country town of Sutter Creek in 1997.  We adopted her from the animal shelter, and she had made lots of moves around California and then to Australia in 2006.  She was a cat with lots of personality, with a funny little meow, a shivery tail when she was pleased or excited, and a big fondness for her dinner.

It's hard not to be there with her at this sad time, but we are so fortunate to have such caring, affectionate staff at the vet in Moss Vale.  They really appreciated Cassie and always loved having her stay.  She was among friends at the end, and for that we are grateful.  We'll miss you, little friend.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Amazing Great Northern Yarns...My New Favorites

After finishing the Porom Beret using the glorious 100% Cashmere DK from Great Northern (pics on my Rav project page), I started yesterday on the first of two Monkey Bread Berets for friends.  I made the last one for myself from the deep green 70% Mink/30% Cashmere DK weight from Great Northern and it turned out so beautifully that I knew I wanted to make more of this pattern for a couple of friends.  Both friends chose the Blueberry colorway, and it really is a gorgeous color.

You may remember I mentioned I washed the 100% Cashmere in the skein to gain loft before I started knitting.  The Blueberry Mink/Cashmere looks pretty non-bloomy in the skein (as did the dark green when I got it) but I decided to just knit it up and then see where I was...I knew it would bloom in the soak when finished.

Yesterday I started the first Monkey Bread and to my amazement the yarn, which has only tiny trace amounts of the light oil used in spinning the yarn, begins to bloom immediately as you start working with it.  Your fingers must absorb the small amount of oil (and your fingers don't feel at all sticky or greasy, just light and moisturized!) leaving the yarn free to fluff up and expand as you work.  Want proof?  Here's a pic showing the beret where it is this morning (I got most of the hat knitted up yesterday!) with the wound skein beside it.  Can you see the difference in texture between the two?

You can see the bloom much better in the close-up, which I lightened so you can see it even more:

I gotta tell you, this stuff is just wonderful to work with!  And you only need one skein to make Anne's great pattern.  I'm making only one modification:  Toward the top there is one cable that she specifies as 7 over 1...from my last hat I feel that poor lonely stitch with 7 others stretched over it looks too tortured, so I'm changing that cable to 5 over 3 left.  To my eyes, it looks more relaxed.  Other than that, I'm knitting it as she wrote the pattern, and it is just a really special knitting experience!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Woo-Hoo, the Cashmere Beret is Finished!

This was one of the most enjoyable projects I have EVER knit...the Great Northern Yarns cashmere was so soft, light and exquisite, and a perfect match for Jared Flood's wonderful Porom pattern.

As this DK weight yarn is a bit lighter than the usual DK, and I didn't want this to be too slouchy but more of a real beret, I used 3.5mm needles for the ribbing and 4mm for the rest.  Jared suggests knitting to about 6 or 6.5" before starting the crown decreases, but as it's pretty lacy and therefore quite stretchy, I decided to knit only to about 5" before starting the decreases to avoid having it be too floppy and stretched out.  Turned out to be absolutely perfect, in my opinion.

Here's another shot of it blocking:

Once it's dry, I'll try a modelled shot, and then I can deliver it to Karine!  Can't wait!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I'm a Knitting Tragic!

Do you want to know just how obsessive I am?  Since DH is away, guess who's indulging in an orgy of knitting time?  So, let's see just how bad things are at the moment.

Here's the most glorious beret I've ever knit, in Great Northern Yarns 100% Cashmere DK -- this will be a beret for my friend, K (you know who you are, Karine!) and its about half finished.  This yarn is SO soft and light, I think it's going to feel like wearing a kitten on your head!

The pattern is Porom, by Jared Flood, a design I've knit a couple of times before --  it's one of my all-time favorites.

Here are a couple more pics of the beret, in progress:

And I didn't post a pic of my friend A's finished Icarus.  Forgot to take a pic of it on her, but here it is blocking...the yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8 Ply, a very fine micron Merino that is soft, silky-feeling and luscious:

But to know just how nutso I really am, this picture says it all...yes, there are two other watch caps on the needles, in various stages of completion.  The dark blue for Ross and the hot chocolate one for Greg.  Plus, there are four more skeins, also destined for hats that are promised to family and friends.  The two skeins of Blueberry on the right are that incredibly beautiful 70% Mink/30% Cashmere from Great Northern Yarns in the colorway Blueberry...can you believe two friends to whom I promised hats chose the same color?
I know my knitting friends will understand...compulsive knitter at work!  And I refuse to show you a picture of the closet where I'm storing all the OTHER yarns I have queued up for various projects.  You'll just have to wait and see...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Jane Eyre Shawl: The Modeled Shots

So much fun!  I wore this to the movie, Jane Eyre, yesterday.  No other Jane Eyre Shawls were present, except for the one onscreen!  

I really love the look of those ruffles across the back:

And here's Jane, herself, wearing her version in the movie, in case you haven't seen it:

The movie is fun for the costumes and atmosphere, but a little slow, I thought.  But if you are a knitter, you really should make one of these shawls.  Very warm, slightly shaped over the shoulders so it stays on pretty well.  I think there's another in my future!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

California Girl Back in California...for the Moment.

 So here we are again...back in Sunny California for nearly a month.  Brought my knittin' with me, and a few quilt blocks:

This is my finished To Eyre shawl, pattern by Carol Sunday on Ravelry, following extensive discussions on the Rav boards about the shawl worn by Jane Eyre in the new movie, and Carol's exemplary pattern creation.  HOWEVER...having run out of yarn about two-thirds through the shawl, I was forced to scavenge the collar from a sweater I knitted from the same yarn last year.  Want to see the poor, depleted sweater today?

Kinda sad, no?  However, the sweater was a bit too wide for me, and the collar overwhelming for my size, so I think I'll knit a new one, same pattern, smaller size and different yarn.

If the new shawl is dry in time I'm hoping to wear it when I go to see the movie tomorrow...wonder if anyone will recognize it as the same shawl Jane's wearing in the movie.

And I've been working on a Corn and Beans Quilt for my DS, and brought 3 and a half blocks with me to show him how it's going.  Can you see the fabric that has green beans on it?  How about the one with ears of corn?  Cool!  He loves the blocks, so I'm good to go.

I've got about 7 hats queued up to knit, so that should keep me out of trouble while we're here...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Long Time, No Blog!

Here I am again, though I'm sure no one will care any longer...one can only disappear for so long or so many times -- but here I am again. Time to reinvent my blog as a place to keep track of what projects I'm working on and what's up in my life.

So, even if no one is listening, here goes .

Oh. I see. Blogger STILL puts photos in the reverse order of the way you load them. I would have thought they'd have sorted that out by now, but never mind... Maybe one of these days I'll switch to WordPress or something...how hard is it to do that, anyway?

Here's how things looked a couple of days ago, as autumn winds down and winter approaches the Southern Highlands. If I took this picture today, only about one-tenth of the leaves would be remaining on the tree!
If you are a Ravelry member, you may have come across the discussion of the shawls worn by the main character in the new movie version of Jane Eyre. A couple of very clever group members developed patterns to replicate the shawls worn in the movie and many of us are attempting to recreate the simple, rustic looking shawl. Here's my attempt. Of course, most knitters were probably smart enough to be sure they had enough yarn on hand before they started. That wouldn't be me, of course! Fortunately, I have a sweater in California that I knit from this year a couple of years ago. I'll cannabalize the collar of that sweater to finish this up. Where there's a will, there's a way!
From the back, you can't tell as much that I've run out of yarn at a crucial juncture...
And here's the finished shawl I did for my friend in gorgeous, heavy dark grey Lamb's Pride Heather. It will be very warm in winter, but much too heavy for other seasons. So...watch this space for a surprise shawl underway as we speak...Icarus, done in a DK weight luxurious extra fine merino wool...lovely!
And what have I been doing on the quilting front? Ah, a new queen-size quilt for DS with the traditional Corn & Beans block. The colors will be corn and beans colors...what else?!! Here is the first block about half finished. There are actually three completed now and lots of pieces cut out, so I'll have more pics soon.
And that's it from me for the moment. We'll be off to California again on May 6...can't wait to finish up my To Eyre shawl!