Monday, March 31, 2008

Multi-Topic Monday

First: It’s the official opening day of baseball, I thought I’d mention that the Cubs did play the Brewers at home on a rainy-cool Chicago spring day. The score is still tied 0-0 as I write this… and I hear Mr. Cub leading the 7th inning stretch…. (root, root, root) … St. Louis opens against the Rockies a little later today …so you’ll have to check the sports page for the outcomes.

Next! The knitting progresses on the diagonal delight vest, many garter stitch stripes in a chevron formation. I have about 1.5” knit so far – not very picture worthy yet. No more work on the socks lately.

Next! This arrived in the mail today:
Things I learned From Knitting. And I’m going to go to a book signing later this month, WooHoo!

Next! We picked out the new flooring to replace the original carpeting in our living room/dining room area today. I’m sure there will be more to follow.

And last, but not least... There will be knitting updates tomorrow on non-bloggable projects.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back Home

We are back at home and DH is “processing” as they say. Losing his Dad was not an unexpected event, but we weren’t expecting it quite so soon after the last visit. We’re very glad we made the trip Easter weekend, though. Both DH and I enjoy short trips but the car travel really gets to us after a while. I think 3 trips in 3 weeks might be pushing our limit. The cats were extremely happy when we showed up Friday night. I have to admit yesterday was a bit out-of-focus. We’ve got a little catching up to do around the house (and for DH) at work. Other than that we’re doing okay.

I got a bit of knitting done and have a couple other projects to show off tomorrow as well.
The vest is ready for the work on the back to begin. It was hard to photograph this part very well. The triangles form the front, back and sides of the bottom of the vest. The back will be knit where the two triangles meet and the fronts will be on the outside of each triangle….
You just have to use your imagination at this point.

The socks are past the heel turn and ready for the legs to start; sorry it's kind of an icky picture. I'm sure they'll look more sock-like in the next update.

Since the blog has been pretty somber and boring the last couple of entries, I thought I’d share the latest Zelda adventure. We had a pile of stuff collected and ready to go out for recycling this morning and were finishing up the Sunday paper to add to the pile when we heard a commotion in the hall… there was Zelda scooting across the floor half in/ half out of an empty soda carton. I tried to get a picture but she popped out before the camera was ready and slunk off downstairs doing the kitty version of muttering under her breath. I think by her posture it was a mix of surprise and humiliation. Anyway I figured the opportunity was lost. But apparently not… because about ten or so minutes later, here’s what I saw…

I was surprised she did it again, but since she survived the first time she must have reasoned that it was sort of a neat little cave or something! Anyhow, this time I got the proof! The cat is positively goofy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sad News

The phone rang early this morning with the news that my father-in-law had passed away. It may be quiet here for a few days. Please stop by again, though.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Back to Knitting…

It’s been a long couple of weeks here at Chez Nana.

Last week after barely getting reoriented from our trip to visit grandbabies, DH decided we needed to go to see his father who is in poor health. We had originally planned to visit on Friday and Saturday, but seeing the forecast for our neck of the woods, we decided we would be better off leaving ahead of the storm (that dropped 11” of ‘Spring Snow’) on our city. That was a good plan, actually since we went to Des Moines where they had beautiful spring sunshine and his family couldn’t believe we were being snowed on at home. We returned home late Saturday, when thankfully all the roads were clear.

Fortunately, all that time on the road afforded a lot of knitting time. I knitted some triangles like this for my diagonal delight vest:
I’m in love with these colors. It took a few attempts to get the hang of the slip-stitch and increases for the triangle, but the pattern was pretty easy to remember once I got going. One word of advice for anyone thinking of doing this or a similar pattern, though; stitch marker! (getting the center increase right is essential)

And I worked on a pair of socks…. Plain self-striping socks, but new technique … two at a time toe-up, magic loop. Whee! If the yarn looks familiar it is because this is a redo of the socks I knit last fall. I wasn’t happy with the fit and decided to frog them and start over. Seemed like a good time to dive in to the toe up technique!

We don’t have a lot of family traditions, but one that has been observed as long as we have had a cat in the family is to treat them to a special dinner of canned food on holidays. Here are Saucey and Zelda enjoying their “Easter Feast” of Salmon and Rice.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I serve a living Savior… But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53: 5) For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4) ... You ask me how I know he lives, he lives within my heart!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Trip Report and Finished Socks

I’m still trying to catch up after traveling to MI to see our new granddaughter. (Alanta modeling her new sweater)

It seems like whenever we travel anywhere it always takes about a day or so to get back to normal routine and feel any energy. I did have some good knitting time in on the trip since we drove.

We had a nice visit with the kids and “Papa” enjoyed bonding with his newest grandbaby. Big brothers Aiden and Braylen were non-stop the entire time we visited, so it was hard to get very many good pictures.

DH also got a chance to catch up with his other daughter who was taking advantage of her spring break to see the new baby, too. She brought along her puppy...(Macy) ...

Who only added to the hubbub the twins were creating. Needless to say it's nice visiting grandkids, but the best part is leaving them well loved, but leaving them with their parents when it’s time to go home.

I finished knitting the Kitty Socks Friday and grafted the toes in the car on the first part of the trip. The best part of that is I got to wear them on Sunday!

The rest of the trip I worked on the Little Slip of a Thing and am almost finished with it. Sorry I don’t have any decent pictures to share. Both the camera and the weather have turned a little uncooperative on me. We had foggy grey blech most of today and I didn’t get a chance to take pictures earlier in the progress when the camera was still behaving. I think it’s just a need for new batteries, but it might have gotten manhandled during the trip. I need to buy batteries, but lack energy to go to the store. …Sounds like a vicious cycle (ha, ha). So my next project will be the one I’ve been looking forward to for a while, the Diagonal Stripe Vest (kit) by Shelridge Farms (and Maureen Mason Jamison) which I bought at Stitches last summer. I’m really looking forward to getting it started….

Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finished Object Round-Up

Since I promised several times to post pictures of my finished objects:

Here’s what I’ve done in March, so far:

Alanta’s Baby Sweater:
(Pattern: Feather and Fan Baby Sweater, Yarn: Bernat Softee)

Baby Booties (for a future shower)

A felted purse:
(Pattern: Amanda's Squatty Sidekick; Yarn: Paton's Wool, Regency)

And the catnip mice from previous post

On the needles now:

Kitty Socks

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Kitty Knits Blog Tour

Knitter and author Donna Druchunas recently published the book Kitty Knits: Projects for Cats and Their People. I had the treat of interviewing her for this blog entry.

One of the things that really made an impression on me and I think adds a very nice touch to the book is the cat themed poems interspersed throughout the book. What was your inspiration to do this, and how did you choose what to include?

I once had an idea for a book called "Poetry Mittens" that would have
a collection of handspun, handknitted mittens, each accompanied by a
poem. I haven't gotten to do that book yet, but I always liked the
idea of including poetry in a knitting book. I also wanted it to be
easy for the publisher, so I chose older poems that were in the
public domain. I liked the idea that those would be familiar to most
readers, perhaps even childhood favorites, plus there were no legal
issues in getting permission to include the poems.

When I showed the book around to my friends in my knitting groups, the project that really seemed to get a lot of positive comments was the Peruvian Lace Scarf. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

I have been in a lace knitting mode ever since I started working on
Arctic Lace. This pattern is a carry over from that book. The cat
motif was adapted by a Peruvian weaving by Dorothy Reade in the
1960s. She worked with the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers' Cooperative
( in Alaska when it was just getting started.
So this project ties together several of my interests: ethnic
knitting designs, lace knitting, and Alaska.

I know you have written several other books before this one. There are so many wonderful projects in this book. I was wondering, how many projects do you typically start with and how do you end up deciding which ones make the cut to be included in the book?

Every book is different. Normally, you sketch out each project, make
a swatch, and right up a description of the project. Then you send
all of that to a publisher, with an outline of your book, as a book
proposal. If the publisher decides they want to do your book, they
will assign an editor to you, and your editor will work with you if
they want any changes to the projects. Sometimes they will ask you to
change some colors, or to make more sweaters and less accessories, or
something like that. After you agree on the final project list, then
you make everything as agreed upon between author and editor.

I really enjoyed the simplicity and easy to follow instructions for the Catnip Mouse toy. I just started knitting the Kitty Socks. I noticed that the sock pattern uses a slightly bigger gauge than most sock patterns call for; did you choose this design element to make the socks a quick project?

It was just the gauge that I liked for that yarn when I made my
swatch. I wanted the socks to be soft and cuddly. But if you want
stronger socks, you can make them at a tighter gauge and use the
larger size of the pattern.

I really enjoyed this book and have a couple of the other projects tabbed for future knitting. What’s next for you? Do you have any other books in the works?

I have 2 more books in the Ethnic Knitting series in the works. I am
also going to Lithuania this summer to do some research on a future
book about Lithuanian knitting. I won't know what will be in that
book until after my research trip.

My newest books are: Kitty Knits: Projects for Cats and Their People and

Ethnic Knitting Discovery: The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and the Andes

If you’re a cat lover looking for some fun knitting projects, or happen to know a knitter who love cats; this is a great book. The instructions are written clearly and are easy to follow. The book is laid out nicely with great illustrations, poems and clear text and charts. The projects for cats include warnings for yarn substitution to prevent harm. The two projects I have already worked were fun and quick (so far). I highly recommend that you add this book to your library some day soon!

The Catnip Mice pattern was a big hit with Saucey and Zelda.... Here are a few "action shots"I smell catnip....
Is it just me or is everything upsidedown??

Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy mailbox

I’m feeling some love from my mailman again. Saturday, I got a package from my daughter with a cute card and stickers (just because she loves me) and today a pair of shoes I ordered from Lands End arrived. Additionally, I got a swap package. (Yay for swaps).

The package actually got here Saturday, but we were out when the mailman came by and because it needed to be signed for, he just left a slip in our box. I went to the PO today and picked it up

The package was from Russia. I participated in the ‘Sock Knitters of the World Unite and Swap” swap. My sender was Zoya (aka Zozzy on ravelry) from St. Petersburg. Look at the goodies she sent!

Some beautiful periwinkle colored yarn, coffee, chocolate (looks like dark and with almonds) I’ll be taste testing that soon. There was also a row counter and knitting gauge with metric conversions which I really needed a spoon, postcards, calendar and magnet with scenery from in and around St. Petersburg.

I didn’t knit as much as I would have liked because I was busy with other chores and errands, including taking Zelda in for her annual check up, most of the day. Hopefully I’ll have plenty of knitting content in the next post.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekend Update

So as it turned out, my class ended up being a private lesson with the owner of the shop, Lynette! I had a wonderful hour of her undivided attention while she showed me one-on-one some of the little tricks she uses for making neat seams and she also helped me with my tension problem by figuring out that I was actually "throwing" the yarn when I purled. Since I knit continental, I guess the result was that my stitches were formed differently, so they ended up looking differently as a result. She taught me a different way to do my purling and it seems to work. She also showed me a couple of great reference books which will have to go on my “wish list” for the time being. All in all it was a very fortuitous morning! Oh, and this yummy Koigu KPPPM might have followed me home. Lynette was very kind and helpful to me and has such a nice shop; it’s just too bad that I don’t get to go there as often as I would if I lived closer. Unfortunatly, I spent so much time with practice-purling that I didn’t actually get to finish the baby sweater yesterday as planned! So no pictures of any Finished Objects just yet.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Knitting Class!

I was out and about most of the day today so I didn’t get a chance to take any update photos of the sweater in progress or other projects I mentioned or am working on. Tomorrow I’m going to a knitting class here. The class is on finishing. No; not the too many UFO type. The making things look pretty when you are done type. My goal for the class is twofold. I generally want to learn how to make my finished projects look the best they can but there’s also another reason. I keep forgetting to mention that I signed up for the TKGA Master Knitter Level I course. I have my instructions, my binder, the yarn for swatches and everything is ready to go. I’ve read over most of it and my two biggest areas of concern for being able to submit acceptable swatches are my tendency to have erratic tension and finishing. Hopefully this class will help me improve my finishing techniques. The tension thing I’ll have to work on as I go. Oh, and just in case you are wondering; the baby sweater is coming along just fine. I have one sleeve, the collar and the button bands left to knit. The mice are patiently waiting for me to schlep downstairs and figure out where I hid the fiberfill. I know I have some, but for some mysterious reason, it's not in the craft area. Neither, Saucey nor Zelda have figured out that they mice are toys yet, so they are safe for the time being. And the booties just need to be washed and blocked. So hopefully, there will be a report on the class and some pictures of finished projects sometime later this weekend. Happy Knitting!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

This and That


And That:

And These:

And now I have a bunch of sewing up to do:

I need to sew: the shoulder seams on the sweater so I can knit the sleeves; the back seam of the booties and the buttons on the straps; and the bottoms of the felted mice - once they are stuffed and filled with catnip, that is.

Can you guess which my least favorite part of knitting is? Tee hee!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Reposted Spring Sneak Peek

Note: I took down the first version of this post because there was a viral comment attached and I did not know how else to delete that comment. Beware of comments posted by a blogger named Yokora.

This weekend’s pleasant temperatures were a little teaser for spring, but alas, didn’t last very long. We’re back to forecasts for temperatures in the 20s and 30s.

Fortunately it seemed to revitalize me a little. Since I already finished one of my projects for March, I took some time yesterday to organize my projects for March. That’s always a good feeling to have something crossed off the list and enthusiasm about what’s next to do. Then, I got started on the baby sweater for little Alanta. I chose the Feather and Fan Baby Sweater from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. So far it is coming along nicely. I had a little problem with doing the first pattern repeat – I think it was because we were watching racing and it doesn’t really help you count the knitting when they start talking about laps and pole positions and other number heavy commentary. Once I figured out what I did and corrected it, and the race was over, it went just fine. I’m a big fan of feather and fan patterns because they are so simple to knit, but look like you slaved over the knitting. Also, speaking of teasers; just for fun this morning I did a quick little project from the Kitty Knits book. Details will be coming up next week. I’ll be interviewing the Author here on my blog next Wednesday so I thought I’d try a couple of the patterns as part of the interview. My March KAL socks will also be a pattern from this book.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fun Finds and Other Knitting Topics

Yesterday DH and I decided to venture out to a favorite haunt that we hadn’t been to visit yet since we’ve been back in the area. It’s a combination Antique shop and Auto Museum. There are antiques, collectibles and lots of vintage and specialty cars. It’s a nice compromise for a Saturday outing. I spent the morning poking about the antiques and he went and ogled the cars. Fortunately he didn’t see anything he could afford to buy (Hee, hee). But I found a few nifty things. The first thing I found was a cute little statue of a cat hugging a ball of yarn (how perfect is that!). The kitty kind of looks like Zelda and it’s hugging a huge ball of yarn proportionally. It’s actually a string holder. You put a ball of twine into the ball of yarn and there’s a little hole at the top where the string can be pulled through. It had some slight damage and was a reasonable buy at around 6 dollars. I didn’t notice until I pulled the price sticker off that it was made by Fitz and Floyd which is one of my favorite collectible makers. I’ll probably put it on my desk with some twine or scrap yarn for the occasional need to tie something together for whatever reason. Next I found 6 vintage Pattern leaflets from Leisure Arts and Unger (with copyrights between 1979 and 1987) for a whopping $5.00 (for all 6). How could I resist. My friends at knitting group will get a kick out of them. Plus, a couple of the patterns are actually not bad. The real find though, were the vintage nylon circular needles I got 2 of them for $2.00 each. Practically a steal! I also found some steel ones with the wire cables which weren’t in great condition. They were 40% off the $16.00 sticker price. Not bad. I already have a couple sets of these and they aren’t much fun to knit with, but I’m thinking about using them for some sort of shadow box display for the office / craft room. I started to take pictures but it actually clouded up when I was rounding up everything. The pictures might be a little dark, but here’s a look see.

March knitting is off to a fine start. I fixed my mittens:

(Of course, NOW, the temperatures are above 40 degrees and it’s raining…) (hmpf)

Anyway, if you like my mittens check out these: Jared's Kuryeon Gloves. He humbles me with his creativity and skill.

I finished my part of the super-secret group project that one of my knitting groups is doing. (Sorry no picture – it’s a surprise).

Here’s the big project I have planned for March… I don’t know if I can knit the whole thing this month, but I plan to get it started! Diagonal Delight Vest (Kit by Shelridge Farms)

Oh, please let me clarify something in Friday’s post. Some of the comments led me to think that I was a little misleading. My writing must have gotten as complex as my February knitting.

To clarify; I actually knit 2 pair of socks in February. I know my swap partner is an occasional reader so I deliberately avoided posting any pictures or details of the second pair of socks that will be going to her. The knitting was a little complicated because I was doing new techniques in both patterns. I really liked both patterns and wanted to make sure I met my self imposed deadline to finish them both in February, so I was alternating between the two. (It’s not likely that I will try anything that crazy again, too soon.) I promise, though, that once the box is safely in the mail and it won’t spoil her surprise, I will post the details and pictures of the second pair of socks I knit in February. I think they turned out even better than the Annetrelac socks and hope to knit myself a pair down the road!