Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cute little Gracie

Gracie Poses
 What a girl, my Gracie. 
This must be my all-time favorite picture of her, though not quite in focus, since I used the iPhone camera.  I think it's from about March of this year. She's now 3 years old, weighs 10 lbs and I've (successfully) trimmed her coat - myself!!  She loves her stuffed toys, especially retrieving them or playing tug-of-war. Sleeping on my lap is her very favorite activity.

We've been buddies now about 18 months---and she is a great dog!  So loving & affectionate; I really picked a sweetie.  I can't remember what my life was "BG" -Before Gracie. It's nice to be adored.  And she's a pretty good traveler, too. Two airplane trips to Texas so far, even changed planes on the last one in March.  However the last leg back was a long flight, after an even longer day. About an hour before we were due to land in Phoenix, she escaped from the carrier. Really. She was seconds, I mean seconds from running up and down the center aisle. I 'bout had a stroke. But the lady next to me and I grabbed her, fast. She flew the rest of the flight, incognito, on my lap under my sweatshirt.  So she basically got what SHE wanted - my lap! (and we weren't asked to leave the plane)

I have a new toy -- for me, not Gracie.
It's a fantastic pedometer called a FitBit Zip. I love it & use it every single day.  I track my food, blood pressure, weight, steps walked, miles traveled and calories burned.  It gives me the needed motivation to walk farther, longer, faster....and increase burning those calories. And best of all:  it securely attaches to my bra, so I forget about it. Doesn't get lost, drop off my pants & break, quit working, nor do I leave it in the bathroom! I track all my numbers on either my PC or iPhone.  Since I started using it (Mid-April) I've increased my daily steps, am burning more calories and have lost 11 pounds.  I'm a believer. 

Here's a link to the website:  http://www.fitbit.com/home

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Honey Cowl Finished

LOVE my new cowl!   The yarn is ever so soft, a dream to knit with. The bright blue-ish purple is one of my favorite colors.  

The pattern is by Madelinetosh.
It's called: Honey Cowl

I used 4 skeins (480 yds/439.9m) of:
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK (8ply) 
55% merino 33% microfiber 12% cashmere
Color: Ultramarine 18036

US 8 (5.0) circular 32"
US 9 (5.5) circular 32"
Finished size: 10" deep X 50" round

I modified the pattern:  
CO 220 stitches
K one round with size 8 needles.
Then I started pattern with size 9 needles.
When it was almost the depth I wanted, I knit the final 6-8 rounds, so that only one edge would curl.
Cast off as usual with the size 9 needles.

I like it worn both ways, long and draping, or wrapped twice to keep my neck warm. I especially like the purple color against the red tee. I was able to wear it once to work, weather in Arizona being a little too warm for wool cowls. No matter, plenty of months to wear it next winter.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A little yarn for my stash

Dream Everlasting
Rain Cloud
100% superwash Australian merino wool 12 ply dk
275 yds - 100 grams 
1 skein
Noro Cash Iroho  - 02 Black
Silk - Lamb's Wool - Cashmere - Nylon
2 skeins @ 91 meters

Noro Silk Garden Sock 269
beige & creams
300 meters - 1 skein

Noro Taiyo Sock
TS-03 purple-teals-blues
Cotton - Wool - Nylon - Silk
1 skein - 420 meters 
 Deborah Norville Serenity Sock
Superwash merino-bamboo-nylon
2 balls @ 230 yds

Cascade Yarns Venezia -Worsted
Merino wool & silk
132 - natural beige
2 skeins @219 yards

Noro Shirakaba 14
Reds Silk-Cotton-Wool
2 skeins @ 125 meters

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2 More Shawls

I love making shawls. Love love love. So thoroughly satisfying and a practical use of 2 skeins of 'nice' merino & silk yarn.  And it doesn't taking freaking forever to finish! 
I go through cycles, probably like other knitters. T-G !  I'm over the dishcloth period. Still - technically - in the bear-sweater period, as I have a new, naked bear, awaiting his cabled & seed stitch sweater. A charity auction project, goes with the blanket already started, a violet-purple cotton blend.

Saroyan Pine Scarf

Yarn =   Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy
DK / 8 ply / 153 yards
41% Cotton, 34% Hemp, 25% Rayon
 3 skeins = 459.0 yards (419.7m)
Color =  Pine Green 28

Pattern  =  Saroyan by Liz Abinante
Size after blocking  = 10"x77"
Needle =  US 6 - 4.0 mm

A lovely pattern, love the yarn. A beautiful teal green. I did 9-11-9 repeats (9-increases 11-center 9-decreases); unblocked was 9”x65”, after light blocking 10”x77”. Just enough left of the 3rd ball, I could have done one more center repeat.
Cotton/hemp has a nice drape, though a little color bleeding when I got it wet for blocking. Great weight for hot weather climates…hope to wear this all winter.


Lemony Chinook Scarf 
Pattern =  Chinook Scarf by Ali Green

Size after blocking = 14" x 68"
Needle = US 6 - 4.0 mm
Yarn  =  Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino
DK / 8 ply / 150 yards
51% Silk, 49% Merino
Used  =  2 skeins = 300.0 yards (274.3m)
Color  = Yellow

A dear friend’s mother will celebrate her 100th birthday in November and... yellow is her favorite color. Who wouldn’t want a little silk & merino scarf? Love love love the Malabrigo.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hempathy Kerchief

A perfect little scarf for Arizona weather!  I'm pleased overall with the casual & rustic linen & lace look. 

Hempathy is a nice weight for hot climates, love the hemp & cotton drape in this little kerchief.

Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy
Weight:     DK / 8 ply
Content:    41% Cotton, 34% Hemp, 25% Rayon

After some serious blocking, it measured 56” across and 20” deep…

The Clara Parkes free pattern (below) is great for a beginner, as I'm still learning triangular shawl-making.  However, the flexible bind-off is just a little tedious! The straightforward instructions are easy to modify.

I call this:  Hempathy Kerchief
Pattern:   One-Skein Shawl by Clara Parkes

Needle:         US 6 - 4.0 mm
Yarn Used:    Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy
How much:    1.8 skeins = 275.4 yards (251.8m)
Colorway:      Pale Silver/Gray 34
Size:               20" x 56"

 A Light and airy scarf, I achieved what I had in mind, mostly---it did get a little tedious so I stopped sooner than I probably should have, for size. A little bigger would have been better, and wish I used 7 or 8 needle instead of 6. Another learning experience!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Plain, Simple & Easy = Comfy Socks

OKAY! I give up ---- if the ENTIRE KNITTING WORLD can knit socks, then so can I. So I did just that. Picked up my DPN's & knit the dumb pink socks. I'll use the pattern again, only less bulky yarn.  Comfy for lounging around inside, not shoes.

Aren't they just precious.  So very pink. So very plain & simple, even I could follow & understand the directions.  The pattern was straightforward & understandable, even for me, a fearful, sock-challenged knitter (up until now). The free pattern, from Knitting on the Net, is called:  Easy Beginner Sock Pattern 

I used my 2nd skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Dusty Pink, a worsted weight inexpensive yarn. I made the cabled hat (a gift) earlier this year in pink, also in gray & mushroom.  I followed the pattern...and gasp! they turned out fine. They fit me. They look like real SOCKS! I brought them in to work to show all my co-workers (and they were mighty impressed as well they should be). My foot is a US size 9 and they are perfect. I didn't modify the pattern in the least.

Needle: US 7.0  - 4.5 mm
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids & Heathers 
Worsted / 10 ply    80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
Gauge: 18.0 to 20.0 sts = 4 inches
How much: 1 skeins = 197.0 yards (180.1m)
Colorway:  Dusty Pink

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Serious Shawlette/Yarn Addiction Period

  My 2nd shawlette!  All finished, blocked & photographed. OMG. Love it as much as the first. Just need cooler weather, so I can wear it to work. 

I've learned a lot by knitting these "beginner" lace scarves---that is I've learned what NOT to do.  And please, would I just follow instructions & suggestions... one of these days !! 

Next time I will end the first skein before I run out, also remembering to join the 2nd skein at the end of a row (not in the middle).  I may not use every single iota of yarn yardage, but the  'lace points' will match and I won't be scrambling at the end to finish. I think (this time) I have learned that suggestions are made by experienced knitters FOR A REASON. I will pay attention from now on.            

I used the same Chinook Scarf pattern, but this time tried a different fine yarn:
Alpaca Silk by Blue Sky Alpacas
DK / 8 ply   Content:  50% Alpaca, 50% Silk
Yardage: 146 yards (134 meters)
Unit weight: 50 grams (1.76 ounces)
I used 2 skeins - 292.0 yards (267.0m)
Needle:   US 5 - 3.75 mm
Color: 110 Ecru                                          

I've started another small lace shawl - in the Elsabeth Lavold Hempathy. A teal-pine-green color. The pattern is  Saroyan by Liz Abinante.  More later, only just started knitting the first leaf.

A quick trip to Tucson/visit an old friend resulted in 2 LYS stops---well of course! Add 3 more yarns to my stash. Surely all the yarn I can possibly handle, in a lifetime. Or at least in 2012.   
The yellow Malabrigo is for my friend's mother; she will celebrate 100 years in November. What better reason to buy yarn/knit a shawlette for her, in her favorite color: yellow.
And I bought some other interesting yarns, but what to make?   Next project/learning experience will be the triangular style shawl.  Another 3 balls of the Elsabeth Lavold Hempathy, only in a silver grey.  Lovely lovely yarn. Nice weight/mix for this hot climate (cotton, hemp & rayon).

Then 3 skeins of Berroco Seduce. Darker greyish. Yum.
Can't wait to make something out of it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happiness: One Holiday Gift Done & Pattern for Scarf

     Yeah!  Finished the cabled hat months ago. The scarf took forever, probably 'cuz I'm so slow. After blocking the ribbing opened up; looks nice with the hat. It doesn't weigh much, an important factor when shipping gifts overseas.

Needle:  US 8 - 5.0 mm

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Heathers Worsted / 10 ply
80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
Colorway: Oxford  Gray Charcoal

Scarf:   2 skeins=492.5 yards
Size: 7"x64"
Pattern: Easy Cabled & Ribbed Scarf (pattern below)
Hat:  1 skein=197.0 yards
Size: Medium/Large
Pattern: Cabled Hat by Cathy Campbell

Easy Cabled & Ribbed Scarf

By azdiana53

I wanted an easy, simple cabled & ribbed scarf to go with the cable hat already made as a gift. It had to be easy as I'm a beginner.

Level: suitable for a beginner's cable project

Yarn: Any worsted weight yarn
I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids & Heathers
Worsted / 10 ply (9 wpi) 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
Per skein: 197 yards/85 Grams

Used: 2 Skeins = 394 yds/170 grams
Colorway: 152 Oxford Gray (Charcoal)
Gauge: about 6 sts to 1"
Needle: US 8 / 5.0
Notions: #8 needle, cable needle, tapestry needle
Size: 7" x 64" (after blocking)

Cable Stitches:
C8B: slip 4 sts on the cable needle & hold in back; knit the next 4 sts, then knit the 4 sts on the cable needle.
C8F: slip 4 sts on the cable needle & hold in front; knit the next 4 sts, then knit the 4 sts. on the cable needle.

Directions: Cast on 49 sts.
Set up rows:
(RS): K8, *P3, K3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, K8
(WS): P8, *K3, P3 repeat from* to last 8 sts, P8

Begin Pattern:
Row 1: Cable row (RS): C8B, *P3, K3* repeat ** to last 8 sts, C8F
Row 2: P8, *K3, P3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, P8
Row 3: K8, *P3, K3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, K8
Row 4: P8, *K3, P3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, P8
Row 5: K8, *P3, K3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, K8
Row 6: P8, *K3, P3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, P8
Row 7: K8, *P3, K3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, K8
Row 8: P8, *K3, P3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, P8

Repeat rows 1-8 until scarf measures approx 60" or desired length.

Finishing Rows:
Row 1: Cable row (RS): C8B, *P3, K3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, C8F
Row 2: P8, *K3, P3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, P8
Row 3: K8, *P3, K3 repeat from * to last 8 sts, K8
Bind off in pattern. Weave in ends. I soaked the scarf completely, then blocked as for lace, to pull out the ribbing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More yarn please. I'm into shawls

Need more time. Certainly not less yarn.
I keep finding beautifully irresistible yarn.
And special patterns I can't wait to try.
More time, please.
Louisa Harding Kashmir DK

 Cascade Venezia Worsted. Lace scarf, please.

 Aslan Trends Ecolana in a beautiful natural oatmeal. Hat maybe?

Love my Noro Silk Garden, 2 skeins of this.
Maybe a hat, for a friend who wants a warm winter hat?

Cotton Ease is great for a Charity blanket, a cotton acrylic blend.
Nice to work with.

Rowan Pima Cotton DK, a lovely grey. I love grays.

Cannot wait to knit with the Blue Sky Alpaca, a silk & Alpaca blend.
I think a lace shawlette is in order.

Wool & Bamboo from JoAnn's,  a shawl with this...I think

Monday, July 18, 2011

Odds & Ends

It's been quite the busy few months.  What I thought I'd be doing this summer changed abruptly in late April when my father became ill. His 6-wk visit to sister in Texas ended with a trip to the ER, not the train trip planned home to Arizona. Four hours of surgery later, we've watched his recovery over 5 weeks of hospitalization in Houston followed by another 6 weeks in nursing/rehab. He's improving & doing quite well considering he's 88.  We're all optimistic he'll soon be living in his own apartment in an assisted living complex close to sister. He is SO cold, all the time, even in humid south Texas in the summer! A Diamondback fleece throw was the easiest & faster item I could conjure up.  

You can see we have a Baxter mascot to go with his D-Back blanket. And most necessary to recovery, a Keep Calm & Carry On message--for everyone concerned!

I'm pretty sure I started this shawl.....sometime.... in the past couple months. Knitting with a finer yarn than I'm used to using, I find it slow going. But I've wanted to try making a triangular shawl. So many patterns to choose from. As you can see, very simple, not a fancy lace - just yet anyway.

This was the Prayer Shawl I started about 2 years ago. Just so boring & tedious, I knitted anything else to avoid finishing it & finally hid the mess in a bag in the closet. Totally frogged. But, seemed perfect to finish as a lap-throw instead, for my cold Dad. No worries about laundering, it's acrylic, from Homespun. I will never knit with this yarn again. Ugly yarn. :(

And, just in case I don't have enough things to keep me occupied (work, home, elder-care, knitting, genealogy, gardening.....) I've put my stamp collecting addiction into high gear as well. I've saved stamps over the years, so with the addition/donation of LOTS from sister, I felt the need (need?) to make a real BOOK to store them all. Good grief. Hundreds from Sweden, thanks to 10 years of correspondence with cousin Bjorn. Really cool stamps, I might say. Gosh, I even ordered a few online. ok. More than a few. About 50. But I shared with sister & a friend at work. Below is the front of my black linen book.

First page....

Look at some of the Swedish stamps...

I like famous people too....

More favorite stamps from the world of art...