Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Back From Austin

This is a picture of me, doing what I do best, although you can't tell it from Elizabeth's expression. I spent LOTS of time holding Elizabeth, walking Elizabeth, talking to Elizabeth and...well, you get the idea. She is just starting to react to people so it was a special treat to be there with her.

I did play with the other grandchildren, of course. We went to the bookstore, Grandpa took them ice skating, and we just hung out. We worked on knitting and Ella is getting quite proficient at it. I even was able to teach her to cast on. Her first big project is knitting a hat for Elizabeth and it's going very well.

There is no better treat at Christmas, or anytime, than to spend time with family, and especially with little ones.

I hope your holidays were just as great as ours !

Monday, December 22, 2008

In the Nick of Time

Get it? Saint Nick? Nevermind.

Anyhow, I finished the stocking and finally sort of figured out the duplicate stitching. All of my Christmas knitting is finished and I'm free to knit whatever comes along next.

I also finished the second ruana, which was a large project, even though it's done on size 13 needles. I sort of felt as if I were knitting a blanket.

So on to Christmas in Austin!!!

Merry Christmas, ya'll!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to Impress Your Family and Friends

I discovered this recipe yesterday when I had my hair cut. My stylist had made these for the shop, and they are yummy. I thought they must have come from some high-end bakery, but nope. And they are easy!


Chocolate bonbon pops

Ingredients for pops:

18 oreos (crush by hand or in a food processor-but not to a powder state)
1 1/2 cups toasted crushed pecans (crush before toasting)
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, orange juice (what's the point?), kahlua, or alcohol of your choice
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Coating: one 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix all of above together in the food processor, or by hand, roll into balls, and put on parchment or waxed paper on baking sheet. Put into freezer for 30 minutes. If you want them to be pops, put lollipop sticks (I have no clue where to get these) in them before putting them into freezer.
The most difficult part is rolling the oreo mixture into balls. It helps to put the pecans in the mix while they are still hot. I also added some coconut to the oreo mixture because I LOVE coconut!

Meanwhile, melt one 12 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips or morsels with 1 tablespoon shortening.

When pops have cooled, dip them into the chocolate, then put into small cupcake type papers, or, if on sticks, just cover and keep in refrigerator until time to serve.

They turned out really well, and if I do not eat them all (recipe makes about 20) before tomorrow's knit night, I'll take them with me.
(Warning: 1. These are a bit messy to make. 2. There are oreos left after you take eighteen out to use in the recipe.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yet Another Scarf

As I told older daughter the other day, I seem destined to own too many scarves. I keep falling in love with yarns and buying them to make something with.

However, this yarn from River's Edge Weaving Studio is so yummy that I can hardly bear to knit with it. What else to do with it? Well, as I originally wrote, maybe I could keep it as a pet.

But that would be a waste (and weird), so I bought a skein of mohair (Rowan kidsilk aura, color 752) to knit with the mohair/wool blend. A knitting friend suggested size 11 needles, with 15 or so stitches, alternating 20 rows of each yarn.

I'll give that a try and see what happens. If all else fails, I'll give it a name and let it live in my house.

Monday, December 15, 2008


or, a fortunate discovery made accidentally.

We recently inherited a grandmother's clock, literally from my husband's grandmother, by way of his mother. It had to be shipped from Albany, New York and took quite a long time to arrive. It needed a specially built box and all sorts of careful packing. The original finial had disappeared years ago, but it had a replacement and that was broken, not in shipping; we don't know when or where.

I set out on Saturday to find a replacement finial, thinking that I could just go to Woodcraft, a specialty woodworking shop I knew of, where I would find a variety of finials to choose from.

When I arrived, there was a packed parking lot....odd...and a crowd of people in the store. I found a salesperson, told him what I was looking for, and was told that such a thing is not sold. It has to be made. But then he pointed to a man at the front of the store and told me that he was demonstrating woodturning and that I should ask him to make one for me. Really?

I went up front and asked if he could make a new finial; he said he would be happy to. He started with a block of wood, perhaps 2" x 2" x 8" long. He put it on what I now know is a lathe, and started work. The lathe spins the wood very, very fast, and the woodturner uses various tools to take away whatever is not a finial.

As I stood there, with a CROWD, watching, the man standing next to me asked, "Do you know who that is?"

I saw that his jacket said "Nick Cook" but that was all I knew. When I said that I didn't, several people standing near told me that Nick Cook is a master woodturner, and that he teaches and demonstrates all around the world. He is FAMOUS, folks!!! And he was making me a new finial!!! Holy Cow! For the knitters who are reading, this would be like walking into a yarn shop with a problem and having some nice woman say, "I'll do it," and finding out that the woman is Elizabeth Zimmerman.

The skill that turning a finial requires is amazing - all the lathe does is spin the wood. Mr. Cook had to know which tools to use and when to use them, and had to have the most exquisite sense of touch and pressure in order to shave the wood precisely in the right places to get the shape he wanted. The little ball on the end of the finial was his idea; he said that the original finial had probably had one. How he could make that small detail without having it come off in the process is a mystery to me - but not to him.

So now I have a perfect finial, made by a true master woodturner!

Thank you, Mr. Cook!!! I am honored.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why Three and a Half Inches of Rain is a Good Thing

Even though I am starting to whine about the rain that has gone on for over two days.

This is a picture of Lake Lanier, the source of water for the Atlanta area. (More pictures are here.) The lake has looked this bad for a couple of years; it just hasn't rained much in the Southeast.

So, I shouldn't complain about the dark skies and rain and gloomy days. I'm glad for the rain, and glad that we do have more sunshine here in the winter than people in places like Alaska do, and where Becca has to live in darkness, even at 9:00 in the MORNING! I think it would take lots of happy lights (and drugs maybe) for me to live in such darkness.

But I am hoping that the rain will turn to snow as a cold front goes through. At least snow is pretty.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Because

It made me giggle.


This past Sunday, my LYS had its yearly open house which included a great sale. I picked up what cannot technically be called stash, since I purchased it all for specific projects. (I have borrowed that idea of stash from another knitter and I LIKE it. BTW, stash also does not consist of any yarn that is bought to make something for someone other than the knitter. Yay!)

I am making a second two-stripe Noro scarf because the first one was so much fun to knit. The pink Cascade 220 is for a sweater for Elizabeth Anne, since I stole her Araucania yarn to make socks for myself. (Shamelessly promoting my own posts here)

AND, I am throwing caution to the wind and knitting something for younger daughter, whose tastes are a mystery to me. She may or may not like this something, but since I am copying it from a knitter friend's completed project, I know what it looks like and I know I will like it and it will find a home with me if necessary.

The shop was so crowded (great for the new owner)that four of us went across the street to a small diner to drink tea, talk knitting, AND knit. It was a great afternoon, in spite of the fact that I still can't duplicate stitch (more shameless promotion) decently. Poor Elizabeth Anne....

I Am Not a Grinch.

Really, I'm not. I like Christmas. It's fun, especially with children around.

But I do NOT like doing Christmas cards and I don't know anyone who does. Everyone I talk to considers writing cards to be a chore. Why on earth do we still do it?

After all, we're in the 21st century now, a time of e-mails, text-messaging, i-mming (whatever that is), blogs, web cams and other things that I probably haven't even heard of. Christmas cards are tree-based communications, and don't we need all the trees we can grow? (Don't ask the timber industry about this.)

I was brought up on guilt (the gift that keeps on giving) and am used to feeling guilty for all sorts of things I shouldn't waste my time even thinking about; guilt accomplishes nothing. But when I write Christmas card notes to people I haven't communicated with since LAST year's Christmas card notes, I feel guilty for not keeping in touch. But then I remember that they haven't been in touch with me either. So why are we sending each other cards, for %^&* sake?

I suppose that no one wants to be the first person to stop all of this craziness.

Can you guess that I have an afternoon of writing cards ahead of me? And that I would MUCH rather be knitting?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Second Ruana

When I knit older daughter's ruana, I ran out of mohair at the very end of it (Shh...don't tell hokgardner) and had to get creative to finish it because the yarn color had been discontinued. The LYS shop owner called around to local shops and checked out her internet sources but couldn't find any more of the color. In spite of that problem, the ruana turned out just fine, and apparently older daughter didn't notice anything unusual about it. (Shh.........)

I have the same amount of yarn this time, since I bought all the yarn for both ruanas many, many months ago. In order to solve the problem before it occurs, I am randomly knitting in mohair I have left from the Mountain Colors mixed fiber throw I made recently. The colorway is much closer than it appears to be in this photo, and I hope it will work out ok.

But if the combination does look sort of odd, I'll do what my knitting guru always suggests and call it a "design element."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why I Will Bribe Younger Daughter

Should she decide to have children.

This is a picture of the beginnings of an upper-case letter A. It is on the stocking I knit months ago for new granddaughter Elizabeth Anne. Because older daughter, Elizabeth's mother, didn't want to know ahead of time "whom she was carrying," I couldn't knit the name of said whom into the stocking as I was making it. I say that science has invented such wonderful things as ultrasound for a reason, and that she and her husband should appreciate and take advantage of scientific advances, if only for the convenience of one knittergran. But no, we had to wait.

So now I'm left to try and figure out how to duplicate stitch, which is a method of sewing over each stitch and in the process, to make it look as if each stitch had been originally knit in. Hah. It took one and one-half hours to get these twenty-three stitches done and not done well. Why? I'll tell you why. Because I had to rip out what I had done FOUR times to even get this far. And I was at my local LYS where, on Wednesday afternoons, our knitting guru, Jan, is available for help. Even with her help, this took an hour and a half.

So, on to the bribery. Should younger daughter decide to have children, I will, if necessary, bribe her to not only find out the sex of the new baby, but also to name said child well in advance of delivery.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holy Sheep!

Another finished project! I'm on a roll...a skein....a ball? Oh, never mind. But I've been knitting a lot lately and I think the key to finishing lots of projects is to have lots of different things OTN. That way, I'm never bored and I can just keep switching from one to another. I have a knit-night friend who once said she had eighteen projects OTN. That is too many, WAY too many for me. I would just get confused and end up with a sleeve on a scarf or something. But two or three I can manage.

This scarf project is FUN! It is made with two skeins each of Noro Silk Garden, colors 255 and 211. If you know Noro yarn, you know that there is an unlimited number of combinations for striping, since the yarns are multicolored. I don't think I've ever seen a solid color Noro. I don't know if there is one...

Anyhow, for an easy, fast and fun project, check out Jared Flood's pattern on his Brooklyn Tweed site. If you need a Christmas gift for someone, you can finish this one in time. I promise!

Now I have only one project going, and it's a summer weight wrap, so I'm off to shop in my stash for something more to do!