сряда, 26 февруари 2014 г.

May Is My Month

Why?  Because so much of May  is a part of me, in more ways than one.

May is the month where everything turns green again, and green is my favorite color.

My wedding anniversary was May 1st.
My birthday was May 11th.........and I am now 71 years young.

Mother's Day was May 12th, and for the first time, in more than 30 years, I enjoyed dinner in the company of my son Barry, and daughter Heather.  The meal was great, but the company was the best of all.

And many of my friend's birthdays are in May as well.  Wendy, Freda, Andrea, Tracy.  All celebrate their birthdays this special month of May.  So for me, May is a month of celebration, in one way or another.  And this year, for my birthday, I made out like a bandit!  It was Xmas, all over again.  :)

From my dear friend Corinne, this wonderful hat that she created just for me.
It's a perfect fit, and I wear it while working in the yard and garden.  I don't even require sun glasses, because the rim extends far enough to block the sun from getting into my eyes, but I can see just fine.  I absolutely adore my new "yard" hat, and I thank you so very much, Corinne.  XOXO

From my sister Ruthie, and niece Jessica, a box of goodies, mailed from Germany.  My sister and her family are now back in the States, but my birthday came before they flew out of Germany.  To make sure I received my gift in time for my birthday, they mailed them out early. 
A gorgeous silk scarf from Vienna, with a hand-painted and sequinned mask from the Carnivale.  A skein of Opal yarn I specifically asked for.  I loved the one she sent me for Xmas so much, I wanted another to make a shawlette with.  From the Wolfgang & Frederic Zwerger "Popa Polka" collection, colorway- "Partie."  There was also a box of Belgian chocolates, but they were gone before I got the photo.  (YUM)  And a set of 4 ceramic soup mugs, each mug features the recipe of a different kind of soup.  The only one I know is the Tomatensuppe.  The other three are Huhnesuppe, Pilzsuppe, and Zwiebelsuppe.   Ruthie assures me that she has the English translation for the recipes, and will see that I get it soon.  :)  I'm just dying of curiosity.  LOL   Thank you Ruthie, Jeff, and Jessica.  XOXO

From my friend "Ollie" another surprise box of goodies.
This box held 3 mesh project or whatever bags (in the back), a bright yellow Smiley keyboard brush that is mounted on my desk.  He sits there like Humpty-Dumpty, so I can clean my keyboard daily.  There were also 6 yarn bobbins, a silicone mug cover (to keep your coffee hot), in the front you can see the 6 lovely red stitch markers, held together by the blue ribbon.  There were 2 mini storage bins (orange,purple), and then yarn.  Lots of yarn!  2 skeins of Lopi Reynolds 100% Icelandic wool in light browns with black flecks.  3 Skeins of Koigu KPPM hand painted, 100% Merino wool, variegated greens and golds. And 880 yards of Simply Divine Lace Merino wool, colorway - "Sweet Dreams." I certainly cannot complain about a lack of yarn!  Thank you Ollie.  XOXO

I also received a gorgeous Bonsai Gardenia plant from my daughter, Heather, with the little tools that you care for a bonsai tree with.  Also 3 Star Jasmine plants for growing outside.  From my son Barry, a dozen yellow roses (my favorite), and a gift card for Amazon.com.  And another Amazon gift card from my BFF Kate.

Since I injured myself when I started the yard and garden work, I have been slowed down considerably, but not all together.  The leg has continued to improve, but the wrist continues to give me problems.  Still, I can manage a little knitting every day now, and I am able to crochet too.  And even with a painful wrist, I managed to weed out the raised beds, so my veggie plants and seeds could go in the ground.  As of yesterday, my garden is complete.  Radishes and Asparagus beans (from Ollie), tomatoes, banana peppers, Zucchini squash, Yellow straight-neck squash, and cucumbers, all planted.  Now I just have to be patient and wait!  That is the hardest part....LOL

When I posted last, I showed you a hand-bag I crocheted (Chroma Bag).  Well, the crocheting went so quickly, and I liked the bag so much, but it looked too dressy for every-day use.  So in the spirit of the Month of May, the arrival of Spring, and all the beautiful flowers that are springing up and beginning to bloom, I made a another crocheted bag. 

Using the bright Spring colors that I had made the Spring Coasters with, I chose that yarn for my new hand-bag, my "Spring Fling" bag.
 This is the outside of the bag.  One thing for sure.  No one could walk off with this bag, and then claim they picked it up by mistake.  It's so loud, you could almost go deaf just looking at it.  :) 
And to make sure the lining suited the rest of the bag, I found a beautiful chartreuse-yellow cloth.  I think it matches beautifully!  I love this bag!!  And I have already received numerous compliments on it, and I've even been asked if I plan to make more for sale.  I declined making more of them.  I just don't want that obligation, for one thing.  Plus, the pattern was free for personal use, not for resale in any way.  But it is nice to know I am not the only one that thinks it's a very nice bag.  :)

I apologize for taking so long before posting again.  But since my knitting and crocheting are limited, for the time being, there just isn't a whole lot to post about.  I certainly hope that eventually, the wrist will heal fully, so I can get back to my crafting like I'm used to doing before.  But until then, it takes me longer to finish things.  I am working on several projects though.  A pair of socks, a shawlette, 2 lace scarves, and more baby socks (just for the fun of it).

I hope everyone else is enjoying the month of May as much as I am.  For all you Mother's out there, I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day too.

Until next time, take care, and keep well.  Always............keep smiling.   :)

Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 5/18/2013 02:56:00 PM 2 comments:
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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
April Was A Dry Month
Because needle crafts were at a minimum.  With the promise of Spring around the corner, and a few nice, balmy days, I got too excited, and went too far, and ended up injuring myself.  Not once, but twice.  And because of it, very little knitting was being done in this house, for several weeks.

Early in the month, we had a few very nice days.  Sunshine and highs in the mid-50's.  For someone who loves Spring, I couldn't contain myself.  I had to get outside and do something!  There was a lot to be done too.  Cleaning the dead and dry foliage from the perennial bed.  Especially the lilies and Hosta plants, so the new green growth would not have to struggle so hard to see the Sun.  I also have a large Willow Tree, and every Winter it drops a mess all over the lawn, and what isn't heavy enough to stay where it lands, the wind blows further around.  In other words, a lot of raking needed to be done, gathering of Winter's kill, and hauling it off.  It proved to be too much, too soon, for my left wrist, and it left me in a lot of pain.  I couldn't even hold a fork with that hand, let alone knit something.  This seems to happen every Spring.  I think I am being careful, and not doing too much, but in reality I am always doing more than I should.  Obviously I am not thinking right.

Then this last weekend, with more lovely weather on hand, I thought I would get started pulling weeds from the flower bed, so I could put some Preen down.  I wanted to get to them before they got too big, and again I thought I could do more than my body was capable of.  I spent too much time on my garden stool, and in doing that pulled the leg muscles so badly that by the next day, I could barely get around because my right leg could not hold any weight at all.

Lucky for me, while my leg wasn't being cooperative, my wrist was feeling better, and so something did get done.  But since shortly after finishing my lace shawl, there has been little to no knitting.  GAH!

This scarf, the Simple Reversible Lace Scarf, was made using yarn left over from my knit tunic top.

I managed to finish this scarf just recently.  Most of it was done before I injured my wrist, so as soon as I finished the shawl, it only took a few more days to finish this scarf.  So with the yarn I bought to knit one tunic top, I ended up with a shawlette and a scarf as well.  Not a drop was left over or went to waste, but all put to good use.

And then yesterday, I really put my wrist to the test.  I found a very cute handbag pattern, crocheted, that I wanted to make.  I had some stash laying around that I could easily use for the bag.  Nothing special, just ages old acrylic yarns from decades back, but I can't stand to throw yarn away, so it sat.  I was tickled to find something to do with it, and it worked out even better than I could have hoped for.

The Chroma Bag by Moogly.  This bag was so quick and easy to do, I did it all in one day, from beginning to end.  The only part that wasn't done yesterday was sewing a lining inside.  I did that this morning.  And I had so much fun making it, I'm now thinking of trying to make another, using the left over bright Spring colors I used for the Spring Coasters.  I think it would make a fun and cheerful bag for the Spring season, so I'll have to give it a try and see how it goes.  The yarns in this bag are simply black, grey and off-white, but I think it came out really well.  And it felt wonderful to have BOTH of my hands working again, and together.  :)

So although I don't have a lot to write about, I am more than pleased to have at least something to share with you all.

We've had a little rain over the last day or so, but it really isn't cold either.  And yet things are expected to be much nicer tomorrow and for the next several days.  This time we are expecting to see several days up into the 70's and with plenty of sunshine as well.  My son helped me to get the most of the yard word done, and now I'm just waiting for the day to mow the lawn for the first time in 2013.  It's almost ready, and with the recent rain, I have a feeling it will be any day now.  Most likely Friday, as I have somewhere else to be on Wednesday and Thursday.  :)

Have a wonderful week, and remember............... keep smiling.  :)
Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 4/30/2013 01:51:00 PM 10 comments:
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Spring Mystery Shawl KAL 2013
Today's post is going to be many photos of the same article.  Mostly because I could not place my shawl anywhere to get a really good shot of it fully open, or showing the true color, and it was very frustrating.  To block it, I had to lay my blocking squares on the floor, and crawl around them.  For a person my size, that was WORK, and boy did I work up a sweat.  LOL  But I did get it blocked.  I would have taken a photo then but for the fact that there is no real good light there at all, so the photo not have come out well anyway.

This morning I laid it against the back of my dark-brown sofa, thinking that would work great.  Alas, it did not.  For some reason, every photo was blurred, and not usable.  Also, the area was too dark to get a really good shot.  So I draped it over my computer chair for a few shots, and took it outside, draped over the Rhododendron bush for another shot.  So you will see different views, and I hope that between them all, you will get a good idea of how lovely it is.  By the way, I'm calling this my "Flower Trellis Shawl," because that's is what it looks like to me.  First there is trellising, then the blossoming flowers, followed by more trellis, then more flowers.  Whatever, that's what I'm seeing.  LOL
 I did take the time to get at least one close-up of the beads, because they blend in with the yarn so perfectly, you won't notice them at all in any of the other photos.  But in the center of every Florette, there is a bead.
                           Above - draped over my PC chair
 This photo shows the color better than any of the others.  It really is a very lovely yellow.  I chose the yellow because I have no shawls in yellow, and now after I've finished my mustard yellow tunic as well, I guess yellow is my color this year.  :)
                   Again, draped over the PC chair, just a different drape.

The Spring Mystery Shawl KAL 2013, by Renee Leverington, has been a fun and different experience for me.  I had never done a shawl KAL before, let alone a "mystery" shawl KAL.  In the beginning I was very nervous I might have trouble figuring the graphs out, but it was charted very well, and the instructions were very good on how to proceed.  The pattern flowed very nicely, in such a way that if you were paying attention at all, you easily caught errors because things would not be lining up the way they should if it was right.  Yes, I did make errors, but I caught them quickly and was able to rectify my mistake in very good time.

All but one, that is.  Along the top edge, there was a k2, yo.  Simple as pie, how could anyone mess that up?  Right?  Well, in 2 locations, I did just that, so the yarn-over is missing.  But I never noticed that simple mistake until it was way too late to do anything about it.  So my shawl is not perfect.  It has a flaw, but that makes it all my own, and also a reminder, that next time, I need to pay closer attention, even to stitches that are repeated through the entire process.

I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely Spring weather.  Today we are having bright sunshine and it's 55º at this posting, and getting warmer.  Whatever your weather, try to enjoy your day and remember...........keep smiling.    :)
Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 4/17/2013 01:29:00 PM 10 comments:
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Friday, April 05, 2013
A Few Little Things
A Memorial to Dudley  ( January 2004 - April 2013)

 Dudley was a little black ball of energy from day 1, and he remained that way all his life.  So when Dudley is no longer able to even walk, it was obvious something was wrong in a serious way.

Dudley loved everyone!  When I bought him, he was already 9 months old, had yet to be neutered, had been used for breeding, had not been cared for by a Vet, and he came with many problems I knew nothing about, but learned of them as the days and weeks past.  My first goal was to get this randy little male dog to the Vet to be checked, neutered, inoculated, and checked over.  Besides the neutering, he required Dental surgery as well, because he had a baby tooth that refuse to fall out, and his adult tooth was nearly done dropping, and it was causing problems with his mouth.  Dudley came with emotional baggage as well.  He was not only very excitable, but he suffered terribly from separation anxiety.  And not just separation from his owners, but every human he met.  Once Dudley met you, in his mind he owned you, and you were never to leave him.  Well, that's what he wanted, but seldom got.  Of course.  So when people left, he went into a tizzy, spinning like the proverbial top, round and round, and round he went.  So much that at times he would literally fall over, quickly recover and begin spinning once again.  At first it would be a very large circle, but little by little that circle got smaller and smaller, until he was spinning in place.

It was this infernal spinning that eventually took it's toll on his spine, and the day came when his back went out, so as he struggled to spin, he cried out in pain at the same time.  But he was going to try his best to keep whoever that person was that had been visiting, from leaving.  Everyone thought it was the most amusing thing to see, and they would encourage him.  Even in 80-90º weather, with his tongue literally hanging to the ground, "keep spinning Dudley" they would call.  Meanwhile, I'm terrified he will drop over from the heat, and it worried me constantly.  He would be totally exhausted for such a long time after the company left.  I kept wishing he would realize it was not good for him, but that was wishful thinking on my part.  After all, he was just a dog, and obviously not a very smart one.  A lot of love maybe, but not so much in the brain department.

Dudley loved everyone, and couldn't stand for anyone to leave him behind.  I know he would have left with anyone that wanted to take him off.  He might miss us at some later time, but he was always ready to go with anyone and everyone.  He was a ball of loving energy from morning till bed.  But eventually, the spinning had to come to an end.  For the past 3 years he has been bolstered with the aid of Prednizone, but that only works for so long.  Earlier this week, the Prednizone stopped working.  I even doubled the dose, and it had absolutely no effect.  Poor Dudley was in extreme pain, bad enough that he was no longer able to get about without being hunched over in agony, whimpering from the pain, and that is not living, but existing.  Dudley is resting and at peace now.  I am learning daily what a force he was in my everyday life, that I didn't realize before.  He was loved, and he is missed, but the memories of him will live with me always.

Spring Mystery Shawl 2013
This is my shawl so far, with Clue #3 added.  I am going to have to find something dark to set it up on, because it's very hard to see on a light surface.  The yarn is a pastel yellow.  It is beginning to look as though the design is something like a trellis and flowers blossoms.  Whatever it will eventually be, I will have to wait and see, but I am really enjoying this KAL.

Springtime Coasters by Doni Speigle
 I am not sure if it was through my AllCrafts newsletter, or my AllFreeCrochet newsletter, but because I do subscribe to both of them, one of the patterns featured a short while back, was this pattern for these adorable and brightly colored coasters.  I fell in love with them right away, and just had to make them.  They will be so pretty on a picnic or patio table, during the Summer months, while enjoying a cook-out in the back yard.  A splash of color and happiness.  I have really enjoyed making them too.  Very quick and easy to do.  You can find the pattern here at Whiskers & Wool.

Spring is here, and I think it would be impossible to deny it after today.  It has been bright sunshine and much warmer all day long.  More of the same, or better, is scheduled for the next several days.  A little rain will be seen too, but what would Spring be without a little rain?  I'm just soaking it all in and enjoying every moment of it.

Have a great weekend, take care, keep well, and keep smiling....  :)

Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 4/05/2013 06:50:00 PM 11 comments:
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Friday, March 29, 2013
Spring Arrived Today!
Whatever happens tomorrow, or next week, I will just have to accept it, be it warmer or colder, rainy or snowy.  But today SPRING arrived!

You can smell it in the air.  You can hear it because the birds are going crazy, announcing their return loudly and clearly.  Because the sun was up early, and so bright it woke me ahead of my scheduled time, and there was no ignoring it.  And since I've been longing for this day to arrive, I went with it and climbed out of bed joyfully.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather was just plain ridiculous!  It could not make up it's mind just what it wanted to to.  We had sunshine and clouds.  We had rain, then sleet, then snow, and back to sunshine again, all inside 30 minutes time, and that happened on and off, all day long for two whole days.  Yesterday was warmer, mostly cloudy, but at least not quite so confusing.  Then this morning it was Spring!  I'm more than ready for her.

I received my Spring Mystery Shawl Clue #2, on Sunday night, and started knitting bright and early Monday morning.  It took me most of the day to finish it, but it was finished before the sun went down, and it is coming along very nicely indeed!
It is impossible to see the beads, they blend in with the pastel yellow yarn so perfectly, but they are there, in the center of each little diamond shaped blossom.  I did catch 2 little errors I had made, and was able to have them corrected swiftly and with no problems.  Otherwise the knitting went very nicely and I am very happy with my mystery shawl so far.

On another note, I am not all that fond of pancakes, but the other day, reading through one of my Bisquick cook books, I found this "Sour-Cream Berry Pancake" recipe.  I had some dried cherries, so I soaked them in hot water for about 15 minutes, to plump them out, and used them in the recipe.
They came out so nicely, I thought maybe I would share the recipe with all of you, and maybe you would like to try them too.  Very light, quick and easy to mix up, and extremely tasty.

Sour Cream Berry Pancakes
2 cups Bisquick or Jiffy Mix
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 to 3/4 cups milk
1 cup blueberries, or other berry
    (if you have raisins or dried cherries, soak them
     in hot water, drain and then add to mix)
Optional: 1 Tblsp sugar
Combine all ingredients, mixing well.  Drop about 1/4 cup
per pancake, onto heated griddle, and cook.

Baby News:
I learned a few months back, that a very sweet young woman I know was pregnant with her first child, a baby girl.  She had been a member of the Spinning Guild I belonged to a few years ago, and although I did not know her really well, she was always so kind and friendly to me, that I decided I wanted to put a little gift together for her new baby when it arrived.  Then not too long ago I learned that a very dear friend was about to become a Grandmother for the first time.  Her son and his wife were expecting their first child, a baby boy, as well.  I'm sure you can guess how this tale goes.

First, I got busy knitting up tiny little infant socks, using left over superwash sock yarn I had used to knit socks for myself.  Then another very dear friend of mine (hello Corinne ;)  ) was telling me of this adorable self-binding receiving blanket, she had found on YouTube, and was going to make a few to see how they worked up and if they might make nice baby gifts.  As it turned out, they were a success, and the moment I saw them (she had sent me photos) I knew I wanted one for each of my gift packages too.  I did offer to pay her to make them for me, but she is such a dear heart, she insisted on gifting them to me, so I could send them along.  (Thank you again Corinne.  I know they are going to love your sweet blankets, and I can't begin to express how I feel.)  After I received the blankets, I felt as though something was missing, so I sat down and crocheted up a pair of bibs for each babe too.  Every Mother knows, you can never have too many bibs.  Pink and yellow for baby girl.  Blue and yellow for baby boy.
This morning, both packages were mailed out.  One for baby girl, and one for baby boy.

Oh yes, my friend from the spinning guild delivered her darling daughter on March 16th.  Baby girl is named "Willow."  I love it!  Mother and daughter are doing great!  I was very happy to know that too.

For today, I guess that's all she wrote.  The weekend is about to begin, and although I have no special plans for myself.  I do hope that every has a fun and enjoyable weekend.  And I hope Spring shines through till Monday, at least.  Take care, keep well, and remember to keep smiling!  :)
Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 3/29/2013 01:50:00 PM 4 comments:
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Saturday, March 23, 2013
As March Marches On
I have not slowed down one little bit, where my knitting is concerned.  This week, as I started my Spring Mystery Shawl 2013 KAL, I also kept up with other projects that had been started, and even started a few more projects.

The little yellow Sweetheart Shawl that I began as an accessory for my knit tunic, was completed.  It was a very simply and easy knit, and moved quickly.
 Above, the front view, and below, the back view.
As with the tunic top, the yarn is KnitPick's Comfy Sport in the "Creme Brulee" colorway.  The needles were US #6, and the pattern can be found at LionBrand.  It's a very cute little shawlette, and I hope it goes well with my top.  Since I still had almost 3 skeins of yarn left, I have cast on yet again, to make a reversible lace scarf also, to wear with the top when I am not in the mood for using the shawl.  Always nice having options.  Don't you agree?

Last night I finished my Opal yarn socks, the yarn was a gift from my sister Ruth (Thanks again Sis!).
The yarn is Opal, "Pappa Polka" is the colorway, the needles were Harmony wood circular - 2.50 mm - 32".  I cast on 64 stitches, and using the "eye of partridge" heel.  A perfect fit!  I will probably be casting on again, because I like having a pair of socks on the needles for whenever I'll be out and might find myself needing to kill some time.  But I think I am going to try a patterned sock for my next pair, and will see if I can find some solid yarn to ensure the pattern is not hidden by the colored yarns.  Most of the time I use a simple 2x2 rib pattern.  No need for anything else, since the yarns themselves are so nicely patterned, you can keep the stitches simple and plain.  But it's time for a bit of a change, so next pair will more than likely have a design knit into them.  Not sure what though.

I am also working on infant socks that will be gifted to a couple of friends, who will soon be having their first baby.  I also plan to crochet up a couple of cotton bibs to send along as well.  You can never have too many bibs, if my memory serves me well.  :)  After all, it's been at least 44 years since my last "baby" was born.  But I seem to recall going through quite a few bibs those first couple of years.

I will be collecting Clue #2 for the Spring Mystery Shawl, this afternoon.  I've also cast on for a second lace stole/scarf, this time with Nupps in the design. I have never done Nupps before, so this is my first effort with that little trick, and so far, I've managed fairly well.  Not sure if I'm going to love them or hate them by the time it's finished, but at least I'll have had the experience. 

My "to-do" pile of patterns is growing thicker by the day, as well.  I keep finding things that I really like so very much, and hoping I can manage to get them all done.  It keeps me interested, involved, and busy, and I'm loving every moment of it.

I guess that is all for now.  I hope everyone is keeping a happy face and a positive attitude while old man Winter continues playing games with us.  Do not doubt that Spring will arrive.  And when she does, very likely she will not be leaving us like she did last year, allowing Winter to nip the buds off the apple trees again.  But she will be here to stay.  So hang in there.  All things come to those to wait patiently.  And as always............... keep smiling  :)

Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 3/23/2013 11:50:00 AM 5 comments:
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Sunday, March 17, 2013
Spring Mystery Shawl 2013 KAL - Clue 1
I've knit a few lace shawls over the past couple years, so when a friend told me about the Spring Mystery Shawl KAL, I jumped at the opportunity.  Why?  Mainly because I had never done a shawl KAL before, and I'd never done a mystery shawl at all.  I liked the challenge it presented.

So yesterday, late afternoon, I received Clue 1.  They will be presented one a week for 5 weeks.  I was all ready having received my beads for the shawl just that morning, and raring to go, so that is just what I did.

So here is Clue 1, all finished, and waiting for the next installment.  I have to tell you, I was a bit nervous going into this.  I've seen some of the other shawls Renee Leverington has designed, and they are amazing.  So I was a little concerned about whether I was up to the challenge, but obviously I was up to the beginning of it, at the least.  Beads are included within the pattern, and for my beads I chose antiqued cream pearls.  A little difficult to see here, so I've cropped out a section for a closer view.
By the way, the yarn is Decadently Devine Decadent Lace SW, in Lemon Quartz colorway, a very pastel yellow.  So the beads blend in nicely, but up close they are easily seen.

I'm really looking forward to continuing with this challenge.  I am already very pleased with the way it is going, and have little doubt that the rest of it will be just as lovely, if not more so.

On the home front - in other words, outside............... I found this just about 2 days ago.
Daffodils have begun sprouting through the soil.  I guess that means that Mother Nature is announcing that Spring is nearly here, as loudly as the birds have been announcing it too.

Guess that's all for the time being.  Will have updates to share as soon as I can finish them.  LOL

Have a great day, and keep smiling.....................   :)
Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 3/17/2013 09:09:00 AM 5 comments:
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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Oh My - It's Been A Long Time.....
Since I posted last.  I see it's been at least a month.  Well, that's not because I've been fooling around, believe me.  I've been hard at work knitting up some goodies for myself, and I've done quite a bit of reading too.  It's just that when you don't have anything quite finished, I find it hard to post.  But now that I have something to actually show you for all this time I've been away, I rushed over as quickly as possible, to show it off.  :)

From the booklet "Curvey Knits" by Jillian Moreno, I give you my A-Line Tunic!
Another garment I've made for myself, that is a perfect fit.  And since it contains side panels, if I can manage to LOSE some of this horrible weight, I can simply remove the trim from the armhole, remove the 2 side panels, stitch up the side seams, and re-knit around the armholes.  And it should fit me again, for some time to come.  What I like most about this tunic is that I can wear it year round with a blouse underneath for Winter, or alone as a sleeveless top in Summer.  With a collared blouse or Turtleneck pullover, it should look fine either way.  Dress it up with a dressy blouse, or dress it down with a simple pullover.  This tunic is going to see a lot of wear and tear.
PS: forgot to mention, but the yarn used for this garment is Comfy sport, from KnitPicks.com, a very soft cotton yarn, so the garment is lightweight and very comfortable.

Since I bought extra yarn, to make sure I had enough, I am knitting a small and simple lace shawlette to wear as an accessory piece.
I found the pattern for this at LionBrand.com.  It's called the "Sweetheart Shaw," and it's a free pattern, if you are interested.  It will more than likely be worn more as a scarf than a shawl on me, because it probably will never be big enough to go all around me if knit according to pattern.  But it is a simple enough design, that I believe I will be able to continue to make it larger, if I find I have enough yarn left over to work with.  But either as a shawl or a scarf, it will make a nice little accessory to wear with the tunic.

On the sock front, I now have one of my socks finished, and I've begun the second.
The yarn is Opal, colorway "Poppa Polka", using size 2.50 mm - 32" circular needles, casting on 64 stitches.  A simple 2 x 2 rib pattern.  This time I chose to use the "eye of partridge" heel, and I really like it very much.  Enough that I think I will make this my standard heel from now on.  I wanted to experiment with the heel and toe, and tried first using the Fleegle Heel, but did not like that at all, so I frogged it and started over.  I also tried a star toe, and found I did not like that either, so I removed the toe and knit the standard toe with the kitchener bind-off at the end.  I think I'm done experimenting with my socks now.  I've found what I like best, and I'm tired of trying new things and being disappointed over and over again.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  And I have everything figured out now so that I can knit a perfect fitting sock every time using my tried and true methods.  I'm done playing around.  LOL

Now, a little update on my surprising Petunia plant.
Back in January I wrote about my petunia plant that I had finally brought inside, to see what it would do, and it stunned me by growing very nicely and bursting into bloom.  Well, at it's peak it reached a total of 7 gorgeous bright red blossoms at one time.  This was just about 4-5 weeks ago.  Then I did a stupid thing!

Looking at the plant, I noticed that at the base, the bulk of the plant was all dead stems sticking out, and thinking to prevent them from stealing any nutrition from the one part that was lush, green, and blooming so profusely, I thought it would be best for the plant to cut the dead stuff off.  So I took the plant clippers and sniped at one fairly long dead branch.   I did this at the peril of my lovely petunia, because I had not bothered to check first, and find exactly where the live foliage was originating from.  Well, guess what?  It was growing off from that very same stem I had just so callously chopped off the main plant!!!

I was so angry with myself for doing such a stupid thing, but I immediately dug another hole in the pot, and replanted that stem immediately.  I also cut off all the flowers, but leaving a nice stem on each of them, and put them in water.

Well, this plant must be either very determined, or I must be one of the luckiest people in the world, because, as you can see, it simply REFUSES TO DIE!  The flowers in the glass have been blooming, non-stop, all these many weeks.  And the dead branch sprung forth and continued blooming as well.  Those few blossoms in the upper photo are what it has now.

The cuttings have not grown roots, but I'm not giving up on them.  I plan to stick them in the soil and see if that will help them to produce roots.  Not everything will root in water, and possibly the petunia is one of them.  But that stem I shoved into the soil after so rudely cutting it from it's root source, seems to have made roots.  I say this because for the past month, even as it continued to blossom, all the folliage was drooping and withering more and more.  But that is no longer the case.  It is now standing up and the stem continues to sprout more new growth.  These changes I have just begun to notice over the past week.  So that gives me hope that if I stick the flower cuttings that have been sitting in water, into the soil, given time, they too just might take root.  And even if they do not, I'll not have lost anything, because the main stem seems to have done so, and continues to grow.

I will have to rename this plant to "Wonder Petunia" after this.  It's been through numerous hard frosts and refused to die off.  And then chopped right off, and still it lives and continues blooming.  That may not truly be miraculous, but it sure is a wonder to me.

I think Winter is in the process right now of howling out his last hoorah.  After a few beautiful warm and sunny days, we had a few flurries last night.  It covered the bare ground and turned it white again, but not enough that all the blades of grass were hidden.  And with this afternoon's returning sunshine, it may even be melted by the end of the day.  When the warmer days blew in, they brought with them the early birds of Spring.  The Canadian Geese, flying over constantly all day and night, and loudly proclaiming their arrival.  Then the Eastern Bluebird, the Robin, and the Red-Winged Blackbirds have all arrived.  I don't believe Old Man Winter has a leg to stand on right now, and expect him to be totally gone any day now.

To all of you out there, I wish you a great day and lots of sunshine.
Remember.................KEEP SMILING!

                                  HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!

Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 3/14/2013 01:16:00 PM 4 comments:
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Saturday, February 09, 2013
February Knitting
My hands have been very busy this month.  Between several knitting projects and my continued spinning, there has been no chance of Winter boredom setting in.  And yesterday, as the snow was flying, my son and I prepared a Mid-Winter BBQ just to remind us that Summer is not really so far away.  Grilled chicken and potato salad was our dinner, with Blueberry cobbler for dessert.  It might have been bitterly cold and snowy outside, but it was July in February inside.  :)

Below, the Abby Cowl:

The Abby Cowl is a Knitty.com pattern I found a while back, and loved it right away.  Very easy to knit too.  The yarn is my own homespun from wool roving I purchased 2 years back.  It doesn't even say on the receipt what kind of wool.  It is a minty green, 2 ply yarn, about DK weight.  I was not at all pleased with how I plied the yarn.  It was splitty, and I found that annoying.  I also had far less than what the pattern called for, but it works just fine, and actually does keep my neck toasty and warm from drafts and blowing winds.

Next, my first feeble attempt at Double Knitting, in two colors.

I've never actually seen anything made this way, but I had seen it on-line and read about it a few times.  So when NewStitchADay.com announced they were going to hold a free class on double-knitting, I jumped at the chance to learn something new.  I am not exactly proud of my achievement, because my edges are really wonky, and the consistency of my stitches is not too great either.  But I did manage to follow along well enough to figure it out, and finish at least a hot-pad/pot holder.  I used simple kitchen cotten, and size #8 circular needle.  It was very fiddly for most of it, but about 2/3 of the way in, I finally figured out that I could do the purl stitches with my left hand, and the knit stitches with the right hand, without getting myself too messed up.  But each and every stitch I had to concentrate on exactly what I was doing, or I would forget to bring the contrasting color forward, when I needed to, or knit the wrong color at the wrong time.  It was not mindless knitting at all!!  But I learned something new, and I have completed the basic project as instructed.  Whether I will ever use this technique in the future, I cannot say.  I have my doubts, but I won't count it out altogether.  LOL

This is The Wurm.  A Ravelry pattern that is also a free download.  As you can see, it's not finished yet, but quickly getting there.  The yarn is Premier Yarns Alpaca Dance, in the Dusty Green colorway.  This yarn was part of my Xmas gift from my friend Heather.  A DK weight yarn, using #5 circular needles, it's looking pretty good so far.  I am really liking the look of this hat, and enjoying knitting it.  It is a very easy pattern, I think even a beginning knitter could manage it with little trouble.  I did make one little change.  The double band is supposed to be all knit, but I am in such a habit of knitting k2, p2, ribbing, that I got started in that pattern before I realized I was supposed to just knit 12 rows.  No problem, I did the purl turning row, then continued on in the k2, p2 ribbing the rest of the way.  Then I picked up the edge stitches with the next knit row and I have a ribbed edge on my hat, rather than a plain knit edge.

 Next: A HUGE SURPRISE package that arrived in the mail, from a very dear friend, Ollie.  (Thank you again Ollie)
 At the bottom of the box, were these 8 skeins of the most gorgeous blue lace-weight yarn.  I have no idea how many yards are in each skein, but the yarn is so fine, it looks like it must be a LOT.  And I have 8 skeins of it.  If there is as much yarn there as I think there might be, I will be knitting shawls for everybody!!  LOL  I am so excited, and can't wait to get started.  :)

Sitting on top of all that gorgeous blue lace yarn, were these 4 skiens of sock (fingering) weight yarn.

 The top skein is Opal Handpainted.  I love Opal yarn, but I've never before used any of their handpainted yarn, so I'm looking forward to doing that.  I don't know what the colorway is because I can't read German.  You might think, for their American and English buyers, they could at least put the color in both German and English, but they don't.  It's easy to see though, that the greens are rich and vibrant, and it will be a toss-up as to whether I make a small shawl or a pair of socks with it.

The other three smaller skeins are Apple Laine fingering wool in the "Go Green" colorway. The label says 65% wool, 20% mohair, 5% silk, 10% nylon.    Very soft greens and lighter colors, it will make for a very soft pair of socks.  I have to say, I have the best clothed feet in town, guaranteed!!  With all the beautiful and wonderful wool and wool blend yarns for sock knitting, the colors are endless and so exciting.  It makes wearing socks a fun thing and not just necessary to keep your feet warm.  And they really do keep my feet toasty warm too.  I don't think I could ever go back to cotton store bought socks again.  My feet have been wonderfully spoiled the last 6-7 years, and I hope to keep right on spoiling them for many years to come.

Of course, I am in the process of making a pair of socks right now.  I attempted the Fleegle Heel pattern this time, but after I had the heel finished, my sock looked like the heel was upside down, and it was way too big as well.

Most all of my socks, except for maybe 3 pair, are all knit cuff down, using the traditional flap heel.  It is sturdy, strong, and easy to do.  And over time I have fine-tuned the basic measurements so that every pair is a perfect fit.  That took a good bit of time and practice to reach this place.  Then I try a new heel, and it threw everything out of whack.  My measurements didn't work right with this heel method.  I didn't like the look of the heel either.  So I frogged it and started over.  A friend (Hi Jackie) sent me instructions on how to do the heel from the cuff down, so I am going to give that a go and see how that works out.  So next time, I might have news on that, and a finished pair of socks too.

Until then, I hope everyone is in good health and making the most of this Wintery weather.  We got a good 6" of new snow last night, but the sun was out bright and early this morning.  Now it's all just blowing around out there, so that in some spots it's a foot deep, and in others, it's bare ground.  It's that windy, yes!  So that is all from me for today.  Take care, keep well, and keep smiling...........  :)

Happy Valentine's Day               
Posted by Sandie Lynne Knapp at 2/09/2013 02:08:00 PM 8 comments:
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Friday, February 01, 2013
Nicky's Hat and Other Things
It has been very busy here the past week or two.  I've taken a few knitting classes, streaming live, from New Stitch A Day.   The first on Continental Knitting, which was very helpful and informative.  The second class was yesterday, on Lace Knitting.  Most of the information I knew, but I still learned a couple of new things.  There is always something to be learned, and while I'm able, I might just as well gather it up.  Just in case anyone is interested, check into NewStitchADay.com and sign up as a free member.  They are making videos of the classes for purchase if you want continued access to the videos.  But each class is also held for one day, FREE, and open to any who wish to attend, but you must be a member, and sign up for the class ahead of time.  They are holding each class twice, in the same day.  Morning class is 10 AM PT or 1 PM ST, and 6 PM PT or 9 PM ST (Pacific or Standard time).

After learning the Continental style of knitting, I knit a hat for myself, and my nephew asked if I would make him a hat too.  So I did, and managed to get it done in 1 day, using a new method of knitting.  I thought that was pretty good.

The yarn is natural colored Alpaca, in a fingering weight, so I used double strands to make it thicker and heavier.  Happy wearing Nicky.

After that, I started on a Babushka for myself.  The pattern is from Lizbeth Upitis' "Shawls and Scarves" : The Best of Knitter's Magazine, Knitter's Magazine 9, Winter 1987.  And this one is the Turquoise babushka, skill level: advanced.  Mine is made with the same yarn I used for Nicky's hat, except that for the babushka, I did not double it.

As you can see, it can be worn in more ways than one.  I tried to get a photo of it laid flat, but I was limited in space.  Sorry about that.

This is the most complicated scarf/babushka I've ever done.  The main part is done first, starting at the longest edge, and working down to the point.  Then you use an invisible cast on, cast on 8 stitches for the wider lace edging, working across once, then on the way back, you pick up 1 stitch from the long angled side edge.  Each section using 3 of the long edge stitches.  When you reach the center point, you do the lace stitches as a mitered square on that one center stitch, and then you continue on down the other angled side edge as previously, picking up 1 stitch from the edge, every other row.

After that is done, you pick up the other end of the invisible cast on- (the edging) and begin the scallop stitch edging along the longest side of the triangle (the area around the face) and as you make each scallop, you move along picking up sitches along that edge as you go.  Never before have I knit anything quite so complicated, and yet it wasn't at all difficult.  And it's very soft, and warm too.  In the top I have it as a scarf, and on the bottom, tied behind the head, more as a hat.  But there are many other ways it could be worn also.

About a week or so back, a friend told me about the Spring Mystery Shawl 2013, that is beginning about March 15th.  It was free to join the KAL, and there is a Ravelry group set up for the participants also.  I was interested because I've never done a Mystery Shawl KAL before, and at this same time I have been spinning some beautiful wool/mohair/glitz blend I was wanting to use to make a shawl with.  So I joined the group, and I am anxiously awaiting the beginning of the KAL.  I'm a bit nervous, as there are no written instructions, the pattern is all written on graphs, and delivered piece-meal, a section at a time.  But I'm up for the challenge and really looking forward to it.

In preparation, I have been spinning a LOT, and today I finally plied the first batch of the yarn I was hoping to use for my Mystery Shawl.

This is what I have done so far.  The fiber is "Copper Pennies" from SteamValley Fiber .  So far I have about 420 yards of very fine fingering weight.  My guide tells me that fingering weight yarn is 19 - 22 wraps per inch  And I managed 22 wraps per inch, with my 2 ply yarn.  This is the finest I've ever spun, and I could not be more pleased with it.  But since the Mystery Shawl calls for 875 yards of lace weight (35 wpi), I will have to get busy spinning more yarn.  I divided the roving by weight, so I should then be very able to get another 420 yards, but that might not be enough.  It is a dilemna.  To buy the yarn recommended and keep this for another pattern I am wanting to make, or try to use it for the Mystery Shawl.  I am now leaning toward using it for another shawl.  Maybe a shawlette, which I would probably get more use out of anyway.  And I still have plenty of time to purchase the yarn offered for sale from Goddess Knits to make her Mystery Shawl with.    Things don't always go as we plan, but it's not all bad either.

So for now, that is what I've been up to.  How about you?

Have a great weekend, take care, keep healthy, and always keep smiling.  :)