Monday, March 27, 2006

The needles are a'clickin!

I recently bought a new knitting book, and Easy Knitting magazine's Spring issue. Lots of great patterns!! My "to do'' list is now much longer!! :) And my wonderful SP7 secret pal Tammie sent me the Knit Picks Adamus shawl pattern and the yarn to make it with! :)

Here's a picture of my recent pattern acquisitions:

I have a new Crochet pattern book too -- I'll post about that tomorrow.

The Reader's Digest book is very good -- it has lots of quickie projects that look fun to make. Great gift ideas!!

Easy Knitting (and Crochet) has some great patterns in their spring issue. There is a cotton purse that I'm going to make -- very very cute! And there are 3 very cute knitted pillows that I'm making for our screened in porch. I've started on the knit stitch diagonal one already.

The pillow is 14"x14". The yarn I'm using is Red Heart Multicolor in Pinata. It looks a lot like tie dye colors.

I have also started the Adamus shawl, but I'm using bamboo circular needles -- and the blunt ends are driving me nuts!! It's hard to pick up lace weight with rounded ends........I think I'm going to pull out the little bit I have done and start again with aluminum needles that have a more sharp needle point. That way my language doesn't get bad everytime I have to SSK. :)

A big thank you to my SP7 secret pal, Tammie! I got her reveal package, and just loved it!

Here's the goodies she sent!

She also sent a book, some candy and two mini beanie babies for my son Joshua -- he wouldn't let me have them back to take the picture. :) Thank you Tammie!! You are super secret pal!

I also received a boxie from my C'ville DC secret pal!! She sent me some really yummy yarn -- and some candy, which my sons enjoyed! Here's a picture:

Thank you to my C'ville Secret pal!! :)

On the home front, I'm still doing a lot of yard work, and my husband is still working on the addition he's putting on the house. He's got most of the sheet rock up, so he's working on finishing up the walls. :) Almost done!

We've done lots of clean up in our yard this spring already. And I've planted flowers (which I have to cover every night since it still gets cold at night). I'm also painting our patio furniture, and I bought new cushions.

Here's a before and after:

It's hard to tell -- but they were painted in blue textured spray paint, and had rust spots. So I threw out the old cushions and sanded everything down.

Now it looks like this:

I'm still working on sewing ties on the new cushions. I'll take another photo when I have the cushions all done. :) It looks like we bought new patio furniture! Amazing what a little rustoleum enamel can do! The color is technically Hunter Green, but I call it park bench green. :)

I'm nearly done with the back porch furniture. I have one more chair to paint, and two tables to touch up a bit. Then I have the front porch furniture to paint (the same color) -- four chairs and one table. :) Then when I'm all done with that, I need to repaint both porches.

While I was working on the furniture cushions today, the birds were very busy in the back yard. The robins aren't afraid of much of anything this year. I nearly walked right up to one, and he walked away rather than flying. I guess I don't look that threatening.

This cheeky little bird sat right there and posed for a picture. :)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Crafting and Building

Lots going on at our house this week! We've been doing a lot of work on the house and in the yard, and I've also spent some time dyeing yarn and knitting. :)

Crafting first.... :)

I dyed some Knitpicks Merino with Koolaid. I mixed Blue, Strawberry and Wild Cherry together and got a neat black cherry sort of color. :)

Here's a picture of yarn soup:

I hung it out on the porch to dry, and it came out a really nice color. I haven't wound it into balls yet, but I plan to make a nice lace shawl with it. The yarn really dyed well -- it sucked up all the dye in no time at all. :)

I also got a nice purse from Rebecca at Crochetville in the purse exchange. She also sent some beads, stitch markers, a notepad and 2 balls of yarn.

I just love the color! And she lined it with fabric that says "Elvis Lives'' -- I had to smile at that! Very cute!! :)

For about the last week, my husband has been working on closing in our carport. He's making it into a rec/gaming room. They really made great progress this weekend!

On Friday night, this is what the room looked like:

Tonight, after a day of working hard, the room looks like this:

My husband's brother, dad and a friend helped him today. They really got a lot done. The OSB board, windows and the door are in now, so it really looks like a room now!

But.....there's also a colossal size mess:

There's still a lot left to do. Insulation, sheetrock, painting, carpeting, and siding on the outside....but they've made a lot of progress.

Joshua has been helping daddy. He really enjoyed trying on daddy's ear protection.

And he helped decorate a little bit:

Since Joshua was such a good boy while daddy and mommy were busy working today, daddy took time to put together Joshua's swingset. It was given to us a few months ago and has been in pieces in the backyard all winter.

It's not safe to play on still needs the bolts tightened, swings replaced, a coat of paint, and the legs dug in and concreted into the ground. But at least it's assembled now, and we replaced a lot of the bolts that were rusted. By next weekend, Joshua will have a swingset to play on!! :)


Friday, March 10, 2006

Work, Work, Work

Well, I just haven't had much time to knit or crochet lately. Since the weather has warmed up here in NC, I've been busy out in the yard. Lots to do!

So far, we've really gotten a lot done, but we're nowhere near finished yet. The yard is basically in that "in progress'' messy state. We bought the house last year in February, and knew we wanted to make changes to the yard. But with unpacking and all the business of moving, closing on a house, unpacking, etc....we never got any of it done. So, it feels great to finally get our "to do'' list out and get to work!

I yanked out the wooden border I didn't like:

I yanked out the bushes I didn't like:

That picture is of the pile just after I'd gotten's grown much bigger since then. lol.

And, then my son yanked out more bushes I didn't like:

These bushes had red berries on them that really are pretty -- but I wanted to make sure the baby wouldn't be tempted to eat them. I'd rather be safe than sorry -- so I had Mikey chop them down. I'm going to put Elephant Ears in the spot instead.

We made a tribute to the Blair Witch Project as well. lol.

So tomorrow's all going down to the curb for the city to pick up. And, I'm planting new stuff! :) That's the fun part! :)

We haven't been all work and no play though. We bought Joshua a sand pile, and he's been having a great time! :)

Baby Josh has been having a great time playing outside. It wears him out though. He has to come inside a couple times a day to get his daily fix of The Wiggles.

The kitty cat keeping him company is our neighbor's cat who doesn't seem to realize where she lives. lol. She comes over to our house all the time and just makes herself at home. Obviously. :)

This weekend my husband is working on a room addition to the house, and I'm going to be doing more work out in the yard.

One good thing about it....all the work outside is really keeping me on my diet! And the exercise is really good for me!! :)


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fun & Flirty Crocheted Purse

**If you like my blog and patterns, please vote for me on the Crochet and Hook list. Vote by clicking the blue box towards the top in the left margin of my blog. Thank you so much!! Let me know what you think of my patterns -- just click the email link (also in the left hand margin).**


**The usual disclaimer: This pattern is my original work, and is meant for your personal use and enjoyment. Please do not distribute or sell copies of this pattern or present it as your own design or Guido the crochet design enforcer shall visit you in the night. :)**

If you like this pattern, or the other original patterns posted at my website, please take a moment and vote for my site on the Crochet & Hook List. Just click on the link in the left hand margin of this webpage! Thank you for your support!!


Size J crochet hook
2 Balls Lion brand Fun Fur (or other fur/eyelash yarn)
1 8 oz skein of WW yarn -- acrylic or natural fiber
1 ball metallic size 10 thread, or desired color
**This bag is not felted so it can be made from any sort of WW yarn you prefer. **
1 decorative button (or 3 buttons if you choose the alternate handle attachment)
Small Yarn needle for working in ends and sewing on button.


Using ww yarn and size 10 thread held together, chain 21.

**The first few rows are worked in the round without joining. This will form an oval for the bottom of the bag, with shaping done by decreased stitches.**

Row1: hdc in 2nd chain from hook and across to last chain. Ch 1. Hdc in loops along bottom of original chain and across to first stitch on row 1. Do NOT join. Put a stitch marker on the first stitch of the round to mark the beginning stitch. 40 stitches

Row 2-4: hdc around. Do not join. (40 stitches)

Row 5: hdc in next 18 st, hdc decrease over next 2 st, hdc in next 18 st, hdc dec over next 2 st (38 st). Do not join. Continue in round.

Row 6-9: hdc around. Do not join. (38 st)

Row 10: hdc in next 12 st, hdc dec over next 2 st, hdc in next 3 st, hdc dec over next 2 st, hdc in next 12 st, hdc dec over next 2 st, hdc in next 3 st, hdc dec over next 2 st. (34 st). Put a stitch marker on last st.

Row11: hdc in next 12, ch 1, hdc in dec from row 10, hdc in next 3, ch 1, hdc in dec from row 10, hdc in next 12 st, ch 1, hdc in dec from row 10, hdc in next 3, ch 1, JOIN with sl st to top of dec with marker from row 10. (34 st)

Row 12-15: Ch 2 (counts as first hdc) hdc around. Join with sl st to first ch 2.

Row 16: As row 12, but join 2 strands of Fun Fur in final stitch of row, and cut off size 10 thread, leaving 5 inch tail to weave in. **So you will be working with ww yarn and two strands of Fun Fur for the next several rows. **

Row 17-20: Ch 2, hdc around, join with sl st to first ch 2. Cut off 2 strands of Fun Fur leaving 5 inch tails to weave in. Rejoin size 10 thread. Continue with ww yarn and size 10 thread held together.

Row 21: ch 2, hdc around, join with sl st to first ch 2.

Repeat row 21 until bag is desired size.

There are two ways to join the handles for this bag.

Loop method

Continue repeating row 21 until bag is desired height.
Row 1: ch 2, hdc in next 13 st, ch 3, skip next 3 hdc, hdc in next 14, ch 3, skip next 3 hdc,join in top of first ch 2.
Row 2-3: hdc around. Finish off.

Basic handle:

Ch 7, hdc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc across. Repeat until desired length, plus 6 inches.

Starting outside of the bag, put one end of handle through the ch 3 space, and pull through about 3 inches of handle. Secure end to strap using decorative button. Repeat for the other side, making sure that strap isn't twisted.

Crochet method:

Find the middle six stitches at corner of bag. Attach ww yarn and 2 strands of Fun Fur in 1st stitch. hdc in next 5 st. Turn. Ch 2. hdc in next 5. Repeat until handle is desired length. Find middle six stitches at other corner of bag. Join to 1st st with sl st. Sl st in next 5. FO leaving 5" tail to work in.

Purse Flap:

Find middle 12 stitches on back of bag. Join ww yarn in 1st st
Row 1: ch 2, hdc in next 11. turn.
Repeat row 1 until flap measures 5 inches, or desired length.
Row 2: ch 2, hdc next 4 st, ch 2, skip next 2 hdc, hdc next 5 st. Turn. (10 hdc)
Row 3 Ch 2. Hdc in next 4 and in next 2 ch st, hdc in next 5 st. Turn. (12 hdc)
Row4-5: ch 2, hdc across. turn.
Row 6-8 : ch 2, hdc dec across 1st 2 st. hdc to last 2 hdc, hdc dec over last 2 st.

Folding flap over bag, check for correct button placement. Sew decorative button to front of purse, and button using ch 2 space on flap.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sunshine and Surprises!

Great weekend here so far! Friday I came home after having a stressful day, and a box was waiting for me on the front porch. My sweet SP7 had sent me another wonderful box!

Lookie what I got!

She sent me two big hanks of Knit Picks "Paint Your Own'' Merino wool, and several packs of Koolaid to dye it with. There were also two skeins of 100% merino Shadow in "Jewel'' and a lace shawl pattern to make with it. :) Very pretty!! And two skeins of Regia cotton sock yarn in a pretty heathery grey. Thank you!!!!!! :)

I have officially restarted my cabled socks. Got a couple rows done this morning -- the first knitting I've had time to do in a few days. It's yardwork and spring cleaning season! I've been working inside and outside the house to get started on a few projects.

There are flowers blooming in my yard already!! :)

The flowers are pretty, and I'm really enjoying them. But they don't hide the fact that the yard is a mess!!!!!! We have leaves to rake. Tree branches to trim. Mulch to put out. Weeds to spray. Roses to prune. Garden to till. Bushes to trim. Swingset to assemble. Sand pile to fill. Room addition to build. Painting to do. Lawn furniture to clean and paint. And much more. Unfortunately.

Baby Josh says "Oh no! How will we ever get all this done??!!!!''

Mom says "It'll will be easy!!! We'll just call for help from............

BABY HULK!! :) (That's his tough, wrestler face -- he growls when he does it. Talk about hilarious!)

Josh claps for his superhero self! :)

I'm going to post this entry now and go watch Lady and the Tramp with the baby. :) One of my favorite Disney movies!


Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Did you see my nice new gold Olympic medal I added to my blog??


That's right -- there isn't one.


I was going nice and strong on my Olympic socks and was nearly down to the heel on both of them when........

Disaster struck.

I tried the triple lutz and fell, and the French judge gave me low marks. No....wait. Wrong sport.

The baby found my knitting bag......

I'm sure you all see what's coming.

And he tried to help Mommy.......


Both socks were pulled off the needles and were just too much of a mess for me to try to save.

The horrifying end of my bid for the Olympic gold.

I won't be on the crafting Wheaties box for 2006.

But.....I still feel victorious! I had the cabling pattern spot on -- It wasn't hard. And after the baby pulled the socks off the needles, I tried them on to see if I had my size right. And yep....I was doing great!!

So, I don't feel badly about having to start over again. Now that I know the stitching pattern, it will go much faster this time around!!

And, I got a consolation prize!! My husband went on Amazon and bought me a copy of Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. You can see the book here at Interweave Press. It's great! Nancy took sock patterns from the 1800's and updated them to modern instructions. The book gives a little history of sock knitting, and includes some of the original instructions and knitting advice from the old patterns. Very cool!! I just love it!! The patterns included in the book are for all sizes too -- men's, women's and children's sock patterns. And one pair of long knitted stockings that would be great for someone in SCA, reinactment, or historical groups. :)

And today I'm going to start all over again on my Olympic socks! I'm back in training! :)