Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Oman-St. Louis Number

When I was in college studying engineering, I always joked that I wanted to have a number, theorum, or equation named after me. Well, today I've discovered that number.

This number is defined as the ratio of started projects to finished projects over a 30 day time period. Posting on the blog every day this month has definitely raised my Oman-St. Louis number. As I talked about earlier, I am a chronic project starter. This month, however, saw the completion of four projects:

It also saw the start of seven new ones.

Therefore (), my Oman-St. Louis number is:

Not bad! It's usually probably more like 5 or 6! So I don't think Pythagoras or Bernoulli have much to worry about, but this may just be the beginning of my knitting related calculations!

In the next post I'll talk more about the central project in the WIP collage. It's a good one!

 Oh! And I did it!  A post every day in March. Whew!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

But It's My Day!

Ever since I was little, one of my favorite parts of the day has been getting the mail. I still love it, even though now, more often than not, the mail is full of junk mail and bills. There's always the chance that something special will be in there. And today there was!

My mom must have gone right to work when she got back to Marinette, because the valence for the kitchen window was waiting for me in the mailbox today. I love, love the curtains and they make the kitchen seem much more cozy. Thanks, Mom! They are perfect.

My  brother and sister will understand the title of this post. When I was growing up, we all loved getting the mail. We actually argued about it until my parents got the idea to assign days to each of us kids. On "our" day we could sit in the front seat in the car and get the mail. But we also had to do chores that day, like setting the table for dinner. We would always be reminding each other that it was our day to sit up front by shouting, "It's my day!" Pretty smart of my parents, now that I think of it! 

My dad is really great at sending out notes and packages, and they are always thoughtful. When I was in college, every once in awhile I'd get a note from him with $5 or $10. The note usually said something like, "Take a break and have one on me!" That always made me feel so good!  When he sent out the valence yesterday he included something extra. Only he would think of this:

My very favorite cheese! You can't get good Wisconsin aged cheddar like this in Iowa. This is in the freezer now, waiting for a special occasion.

So I just want to say thanks again, to my wonderful parents. I love you both very much!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cleaning House

So I must admit, I can be a bit of a procrastinator. Today, I really wanted to clean up the house so that when Paul gets home, everything would be tidy. But the knitter/ procrastinator in me just couldn't bring myself to put away all that laundry. So I found another mess...

This counts, right? I set up a workstation in the family room (on our new couch!) including the ball winder and a dining room chair.

Two hours later I had this!

Not bad! And check out that couch! Tomorrow I'll put the laundry away; if I don't find more yarn to wind, that is! And one last thing, I couldn't let you think it was all smooth sailing. There was one major fail:

I'm still not quite sure what to do with this one.

Monday, March 28, 2011


A gigantic "Thank You!" to Susan Mohr Krupke for taking our engagement photos yesterday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Future Obsession?

I know my love of all thing fiber-related is partly due to my mother. While she knits and crochets, she is also an extremely accomplished quilter and seamstress (sewer?... that just looks wrong).  And like me, she travels nowhere without a project or two (or three). Before we distracted her with the kitchen curtains, this is what she was working on:

The last two photos show the quilting frame she bought for $7 at a thrift shop. The quilt itself was a kit from Nancy's Notions. With such inspiration, I think it's only a matter of time before I start quilting! And note Paul's posing in the last photo. It was good practice for engagement photo shoot we had this afternoon!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Moms Are The Best!

My parents came down this weekend to visit. This was the first time they've seen the house since we've moved in. We've been here for a couple months now, and the place really feels like a home. Of course, there are still about 1000 things we want to do. Today, we got to cross one more thing off the list. This afternoon, Mom and I went to Quilts by the Oz, in Moline, and I found some awesome fabric for kitchen curtains.

I was going to try to make the curtains myself, but I'm no fool, and when my mom offered to sew them up this afternoon, I immediately accepted. She is making a valence, two panels, and tie-back sashes. She is  a master at all things sewing and I'm so grateful to be able to benefit from her awesome skills. This would have taken me about three weeks to accomplish, and she's going to make them in a few days.

Here is a before  picture of the kitchen window Stay tuned for the after picture!

And thanks to my dad, too, for hanging up the curtain rods!!

I've got to go now, we are off to the Redstone Room for a John McCutcheon concert!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Starting Something New Again

So with the recent success of the crocheted lion applique, I am going to do another crochet project. When I was little, one of my great aunties gave me one of my most prized toys, a crocheted, heart-shaped doll that I called Soft Dolly. It's really a strange looking thing, with a heart-shaped, stuffed body, a ruffled skirt, spiral arms and legs and pompons for hands and feet. Over 20 years after it was made, it is a little worse for the wear.

There's only one leg, one foot, no hands, and no face. Frankly, even if Soft Dolly had everything she's missing, I still think she'd be a little creepy. But I absolutely loved this doll and I'm determined to make another, with the help of this pattern on Ravelry, my trusty crochet book, and the original doll. I'm using  Spud and ChloĆ« Sweater in Ice Cream and Watermelon. (Leftover from my Mouse project.)

Here's what I've got so far.

Hopefully, I'll have more to show tomorrow. Tonight we are watching Meet the Parents with my parents :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Buckley T. Bear, Jr.

Another project done in just one night! I just love this little guy. He turned out really well, but I wasn't sure since the pattern called for the bear to be felted. The pattern is Little Bear by Denise Powell. It was the only pattern I could find that was of a realistic looking bear, not a teddy bear. After knitting it, I can say that it was worth every penny of the $6 price tag.

It's knit in one piece from tail to nose to underbody, in garter stitch. The adorable shaping is made by the use of short rows. I've reclaimed my knowledge of that technique! The pattern reminded me a lot of Elizabeth Zimmerman, especially her Christmas Fiddle Faddle Pattern from Knitters' Almanac. The pattern was a joy to knit, and it was so sweet to see the bear taking shape.

After sewing up the bear, I took to the button bin to find the perfect eyes.

Would you believe that I couldn't find what I was looking for? I did however find a little leather button for the nose. For the eyes, I stopped by Hancock Fabrics on my way to the Eldridge Knitting Nook and picked up small,round, black shank buttons. It took me just about as long to sew on the nose and eyes as it did to knit the bear.

For the body, I used Knit Picks Merino Style in Coal (the same yarn I used for the Checkered Skull and Crossbones). For the snout, I used a tiny bit of Argyle Fiber Mill's Fifty Mile Fiber, that I bought at the Driftless Area Fibre Arts Faire in 2009. Since I didn't felt him, I just knit him on smaller needles that usual so the stuffing wouldn't show through.  I used US 2's, but I'm a really loose knitter. And with that, I have only one thing left to say...

The End!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meet Buckley

It has been brought to my attention that I haven't knit very many things for Paul lately. Today I remedied that by starting a project for Paul to take on the road with him when he's traveling for work. He has a stuffed bear his mother gave him, but it's a big too large to tag along on road trips. So I'm making a miniature version.

I'll post more about the pattern and finished photos tomorrow! Cheers!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Barter System, Knitting Style

Today's post is another blast from the past. The first summer I lived in Iowa, my friend Tom approached me with a proposal. He wanted a hand-knit hat and in exchange he'd give me an extra road bike he had. Sure! I said. I was confident I could make whatever hat he had in mind. He sent me a picture of what he'd like it to look like, and when I saw it I started to get a little worried. Here's the inspiration picture.

If I knit him that, then I would get this.

So, I ordered some yarn and tried to figure out how to make that beast. The yarn I used was Knit Picks Merino Style in the Coal and Vanilla colorways. My friend Colleen had made the We Call Them Pirates hat, and introduced me to the free pattern. I thought the skull and cross bones would be perfect. I did a little experimental swatch and figured out that rectangles 4 stitches wide by 5 rows tall looked pretty good. Here's what I ended up with.

What do you think? I also did a turned hem by casting on provisionally and then knitting in black for about 3 inches, then I started the checker pattern and worked for 3 more inches. When I do provisional cast-ons for hems, I keep the bottom stitches on a circular needle and then when my work is twice as long as I want the hem to be, I turn up the bottom and knit one stitch from the working needle and one stitch from the provisional needle together. This gives a pretty clean hem.

And finally, here's a picture of Tom in the finished hat. I think I did a pretty good job matching the inspiration hat! check out my Ravelry project page, Checkered Skull and Crossbones, for more information. And I love the bike!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Summer Cowl; Entrelac, Take Two

Remember Dorrie's Cowl? I loved learning how to do entrelac, and as soon as I finished that first cowl, I started planning my next entrelac project. I became inspired when I was at Serendipity Yarn Shoppe in Muscatine and saw the shelf of Stonehedge Mill Ends.  I bought one skein for my mom for her birthday.

And I bought another for myself.

A lot of the mill ends had crazy color combinations, but I really like the nautical theme of this skein. And it is so soft!! I immediately thought of a making a summery cowl for boat rides and camping trips and summer evenings outside. I looked up a few entrelac patterns, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. So I just casted on and went  from there. I measured my other cowl and then cast on to knit a smaller, lighter cowl. The kicker was that I decided to knit this one in the round, so that the color changes make vertical stripes, instead of blocks of color. Also, this way I won't have to seam the cowl at the end.

This is what I've got so far:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Learning Something New...

This weekend, Paul and I went up to Madison for our nephew's baptism. Not only did I have a great time visiting with Paul's family, but I learned a new knitting skill as well! This afternoon at the party, Sydney, the daughter of a family friend, was finger knitting. The scarf she made is pictured above, and she generously gave it to me! The yarn used was Lamb's Pride and they bought it at Loop Yarn Shop in Milwaukee. Knitty has a great tutorial for this technique here. Basically, you can make an I-Cord without any needles!

Here are a few more pictures of the weekend.  Mouse, from Spud and ChloĆ« at the Farm, made the trip with us.

Paul and Nephew #1 got some important work done and built a big boy bed.

 Nephew #2 looks absolutely adorable with his new blanket.

I'd show you the bird, but Nephew #1 promptly placed it in my full coffee cup, and it had to go through an emergency wash and block session!

Olive update tomorrow and I'll show you another project I've been working on!