November 29, 2010

In addition to finishing the scarf for my dad, I also finished World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler. I really liked this book. Good story line and the characters were very engaging. I have the second book, The Witch of Herborn, from the library already and I'm looking forward to reading it.

November 28, 2010

Mission Accomplished! I finished the Aran Cashmere Scarf that I wanted to get done for my dad. Pattern: Aran Cashmere Scarf by Beth Walker-O'Brien
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Worsted Weight in Grey Heather, 2 skeins
Needles: Size 6 Harmony Interchangeable
Started: 11/22/10
Finished: 11/27/10
Mods: None

This was a very easy pattern to memorize. The pattern looks really complicated but it's not. After about 3 repeats of the pattern, I was able to go by memory. Would I do it again? Most likely not, it's not it's too difficult, it's just that knitting a scarf is really boring. I'm glad that I made myself finish this because otherwise I'm not sure I ever would have finished it.

November 26, 2010

Since I was able to whip up a pair of fingerless gloves for my little sister so fast, I thought I'd go ahead and try to get a scarf done for my dad. I hadn't really planned on doing any Christmas knitting this year but you know what they say about well made plans.
I've had my eye on this scarf that I saw on Jared Floods Website, Brooklyn Tweed for some time. I thought it was a really beautiful scarf that was masculine enough for my dad while still being interesting enough for me to knit.
Photo & Knitting by Jared Flood, from his blog, Brooklyn Tweed

The pattern for the scarf is called Aran Cashmere Scarf by Beth Walker-O'Brien. It's from a book called Simple 1-2-3 Knitting. It took a lot of time and research but I finally found the book on Barnes & I'm not sure if the book is currently out of print or not but when I found it I bought it. It was pretty cheap as I recall, about $6.00 not including shipping. I bought it back in January with the intention of knitting this scarf for my dad but with the crazy year I've been having I figured it would be much easier to just do store bought gifts for everyone this year instead of trying to knit everyone something special.
But since I was able to knit up the gloves for Jess so quickly, I figured I'd give the scarf ago and see if I can get it done in time. I have a couple of weeks before I need to get the gifts wrapped and boxed and mailed to my parents house in Oregon but I think I should be able to get it done in time. This weekend is going to be a quiet one around my house since Hubbs is on call for work and it's supposed to be storming.
I stopped off at my local Jo-Anns Crafts on my way home from work on Monday to check see if they had any yarn that interested me. Normally for gift knitting I would pick up something more luxurious from my local yarn shop but since the scarf is going to be for my dad, I figured something that is soft and durable as well as machine washable would be best. I'm sure that my dad will end up wearing this out in shop where it will get wood chips and other assorted shop type stuff on it. And I wanted my step-mom to be able to just toss it into the wash without a second thought. I spent about 30 min's waffling back and forth over a couple of different yarns but in the end, I chose Lion Brand Wool Ease in Worsted weight for my project. I chose a grey very similar to the color that Jared Flood chose for his scarf.
I'm going to put my Moorish Lattice Cardigan to the side to concentrate on getting this scarf done for my dad. If I can get it done in a timely manner, I might decide to tackle a cowl for my step-mom. If there's time, I'm thinking something done in a blue to bring out her beautiful eyes. I've already picked out another gift for her in case I can't get everything done in time. Fingers crossed!

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2010

I finished another book this week. This time I finished my at work reading book.

I rated After America by John Birmingham as a three star on GoodReads. It was a decent story but I felt like it left off in the middle of the story and there was no closure. So I liked it but it wasn't great.

Since I need/have to have some break time reading for work, I grabbed The Jasmine Moon Murder off my night stand at home. I'm out of Library books except for the one I'm already reading at home and I won't get a chance to get to the library until tonight. The Tea Shop Mysteries are cute books, easy to read. Plus it's pretty short at only couple of hundred pages and I can finish it up pretty quickly. I got my mom hooked on these books and now she buys them when she finds one she hasn't read before and then passes them to me. Free books are always awesome.

In addition to going to the library tonight I also have to bake a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. It will be my first pumpkin pie I've ever baked. Hopefully I'll be able to get it right the first time and it won't require me running to the store for more supplies. I will admit that I bought a ready made crust instead of making my own. Last year I went through about 5 batches of pie dough because I kept screwing it up. I ended up going to the store and just buying the pre-made stuff and nobody knew the difference.
The week leading up to a holiday is always so busy for me. Thankfully I got a bit a head of the curve this by doing part of my holiday cooking on Sunday. Since Thanksgiving got switched from my house to my grandmothers house I don't have to do all the food but I was asked to make my Cranberry-Tangerine Chutney that everyone loves. It's really yummy on the turkey but because it's sweet, I like it over a block of cream cheese with crackers on the side. It's not a complicated recipe but it does take some time and you really have to watch it on the stove so it doesn't burn. You pretty much just dump all the ingredients into a pot on the stove and let it cook down for about 40 min's. But you have to watch it and stir every so often. The recipe says stir occasionally but I've found that if you don't stir it more often then it sticks to the bottom of the pot and burns. And no one likes burned chutney.
Well, I guess I better get my tail in gear if I'm going to get everything done today! Happy pre-turkey day!

November 23, 2010

Since we all know that I can't go more then 10 seconds without something to read, I started World Made by Hand when I finished Contagious by Scott Sigler.

Jenna over at Cold Antler Farm recommended The Witch of Herborn County by James Howard Kunstler on her November 2 blog post. After I read her recommendation of this author, I ran over to GoodReads to check out the book. When I realized that The Witch of Herborn County is the second book in the series, I requested World Made by Hand and The Witch of Herborn County from my local library.
So far I'm only in about 20 pages of World made by Hand and I'm loving it. Here's the excerpt from GoodReads:
"In The Long Emergency celebrated social commentator James Howard Kunstler explored how the terminal decline of oil production, combined with climate change, had the potential to put industrial civilization out of business. In World Made by Hand, an astonishing work of speculative fiction, Kunstler brings to life what America might be, a few decades hence, after these catastrophes converge. For the townspeople of Union Grove, New York, the future is nothing like they thought it would be. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president, and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure. Their challenges play out in a dazzling, fully realized world of abandoned highways and empty houses, horses working the fields and rivers, no longer polluted, and replenished with fish. With the cost of oil skyrocketing—and with it the price of food—Kunstler’s extraordinary book, full of love and loss, violence and power, sex and drugs, depression and desperation, but also plenty of hope, is more relevant than ever."

November 22, 2010

Over the weekend, I finished Contagious by Scott Sigler. It's the second book in this series. I read the first book back in September and really liked it. It's a bit creepy and some parts are pretty gross but still a good read. I would have thought that some of it might have given me nightmares but it didn't bother me at all.

From the cover:
"From the acclaimed author of Infected comes an epic and exhilarating story of humanity’s secret battle against a horrific enemy. Across America, a mysterious pathogen transforms ordinary people into raging killers, psychopaths driven by a terrifying, alien agenda. The human race fights back, yet after every battle the disease responds, adapts, using sophisticated strategies and brilliant ruses to fool its pursuers. The only possible explanation: the epidemic is driven not by evolution but by some malevolent intelligence.Standing against this unimaginable threat is a small group, assembled under the strictest secrecy. Their best weapon is hulking former football star Perry Dawsey, left psychologically shattered by his own struggles with this terrible enemy, who possesses an unexplainable ability to locate the disease’s hosts. Violent and unpredictable, Perry is both the nation’s best hope and a terrifying liability. Hardened CIA veteran Dew Phillips must somehow forge a connection with him if they’re going to stand a chance against this maddeningly adaptable opponent. Alongside them is Margaret Montoya, a brilliant epidemiologist who fights for a cure even as she reels under the weight of endless horrors. These three and their team have kept humanity in the game, but that’s not good enough anymore, not when the disease turns contagious, triggering a fast countdown to Armageddon. Meanwhile, other enemies join the battle, and a new threat — one that comes from a most unexpected source — may ultimately prove the most dangerous of all.Catapulting the reader into a world where humanity’s life span is measured in hours and the president’s finger hovers over the nuclear button, rising star Scott Sigler takes us on a breathtaking, hyper-adrenalized ride filled with terror and jaw-dropping action. Contagious is a truly grand work of suspense, science, and horror from a new master."

November 21, 2010

My Friday/Saturday Project. I cast on for some fingerless mits for my little sister for Christmas. I had envisioned a more simple and longer glove but I really liked these and I had the perfect yarn for it in my stash already.

Pattern: I Heart Knitting Mitts by Suzanne Smart
Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style in Hollyberry (1 50g skein)
Needles: US 3 Knit Picks Harmony DPNs
Mods: None
Started: 11/19/10
Finished: 11/20/10

November 19, 2010

Ya gotta love Costco...

Went to Costco for coffee, toilet paper and a few other household goods and came home with snowshoes. Is that normal? Hubbs and I have been talking for a couple of years about getting snowshoes and I'm pretty excited that we finally got some. Every time we've looked at them at various locations, they've been pretty pricey so we've never bought them. But Costco had a starter kit that included the shoes, poles and a gear bag for $70 which is a pretty good price. Not sure about the quality of the shoes but at least it'll be something to get us started. Now if only winter will let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

November 18, 2010

Last Friday and Saturday I went with my mom and a couple of her friends to do a quilt shop shop-hop. I had no intentions of buying anything but of course I did.

Cheri, Mary, My Mom & me...wearing my Coffee with Cream Jacket (again)

At the Quilted Vine in Santa Rosa, I fell in love with this quilt that was hanging in the store.

So of course, I bought the fabric to replicate it myself.

And I got the pattern too.

I fell in love with this fabric at Queen B's Quilt Shop in Antioch...

I found this pattern to go with it.

At Cornerstone Quilt Shoppe in Fairfield I found the cutest zoo animal baby fabric. I just couldn't leave without it...

The shop had the flannel version made up in this pattern. I liked it but I don't like working with flannel so I got the plain cotton version. I don't need a baby quilt right now but by the time that I get this made up, someone I know will be needing a new baby quilt...maybe me.
Guess I better get to sewing.

November 17, 2010

Congratulations, Ravelry!
1,000,000 Ravelers is huge!

November 16, 2010

On Veterans Day, Hubbs and I decided to make a day of it. We so rarely ever get the chance (or are willing to spend the money) to go to the movies. We got popcorn, candy and huge sodas and laughed our butts off to Due Date staring Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis. It was so funny and a great way to spend the morning. Plus as a bonus the theater wasn't packed so it was really nice.

After the movies we decided to spend the afternoon at Sutters Fort State Historic Park in downtown Sacramento. It was a beautiful fall day, perfect for exploring Sacramento.

I work my Coffee with Cream Jacket that I finished at the beginning of October. This jacket has gotten a lot of wear since I finished. I wear it at least a couple of times a week.

Naturally I was fascinated by the huge spinning wheels and the yarn swifts on display.

And the wool carders.

The walls were very thick and high. But because the fort is now in the middle of the city it was hard to imagine what it must have been like for the people that lived here. I can't imagine what it would have looked like outside of the walls with nothing but wilderness for hundreds of miles.

My favorite part (after the spinning wheels) was the duck pond outside of the fort. I loved this turtle trying to sun itself in the weak fall afternoon sunshine.
The ducks seems to be enjoying the water.

I dared Hubbs to try to catch one of the ducks but the ducks were having no part in it. After about 1 second Hubbs gave up and the ducks went back to cleaning themselves.
I really enjoyed finally getting to see Sutters Fort. It's only a few blocks from my old office building but I never got the chance to get there to to see it. I moved to Sacramento almost 7 years ago. I guess I just get around to seeing things in my own good time.
Since Hubbs and I have been visiting a lot of state parks this year, I really need to print out a list and cross them off as we visit them. Maybe we can see all of them sooner or later.

November 15, 2010

The new Winter 2010 Twist Collective is up and I'm in love. Twist Collective always has one or two patterns that I like but not love and this time they have several that I really, really like.

Photography by David Whitfield
This is Leaving by Anne Hanson. I've often admired her designs and I follow her blog, KnitSpot, but so far I haven't found anything that I really want to knit but that has changed. I love this sweater. The scoop neck and the details on the sleeves is really attention grabbing.
Photography by David Whitfield
I love the pull over version. I like the unbroken pattern down the front and the back.
Photograph by Jane Heller

This is Roheline by Suvi Simola. I love the dropped stitch (go figure) detail on both the yoke and the cuffs.
Photography by Jane Heller
Photograph by Jane Heller

Parcel by Carol Feller. Love that the detail is off to the side and not taking up the whole but is the the main focus.

Photograph by Jane Heller
Love the detail going down the arm.
Photograph by Marten Ivert
Chambord by Karen Maple. Love the neck line on this one. Simple but dressy. It would be great for a holiday party.
Photograph by Marten Ivert
I try not to love something because of the color and really purple does nothing for me but I do love the little twist of color on the cuff and the collar. It's unexpected.
Photograph by Marten Ivert
Greenway by Amy Herzog. The neckline on this sweater needs no introduction from the body. The plain stockinette stitch really sets it up for the neckline to shine.
Oh me, oh my. If only there was time to knit everything I want to knit. The only way I could get it all done is if I had nothing else to do all day but knit, no chores, no work, no time for nothing else...on second thought that doesn't sound all that fun. I think I'll pass.

November 11, 2010

Mornings here have been so beautiful lately. We had a small storm over the weekend and every day since has be just breath taking. Everyday on my way to work I wish I didn't have to go and I could just drive around taking pictures. It's been so amazing, so non-typical for this area. It seems like normally we go from summer directly into winter but this year has been so different, so lovely.
This is an oak tree in the parking lot of my work. The red leaves are just amazing.

November 10, 2010

An I thought that hand knit sweaters were for wearing...

But after walking into my bedroom and seeing Sphinx Kitty nestled in to three hand knit sweaters and one pair of hand knit socks, I now know better. But this explains why I kept having to pick up a pile of sweaters from my bedroom floor. This pile includes my Heather Hoodie, my Thermal and my Feather Weight Cardigan as well as my Summer Lovin' Socks. Poor, poor hand knits. So abused. But at least you can't fault kitty for her excellent choice in comfy, yarn-y goodness!

November 9, 2010

Vera is blocking! Finally. Some times I have such a block on blocking.

Valpuri is coming a long nicely. I bound off for the body on Sunday evening and cast on for the 1st sleeve. It was fun and challenging working the pattern in the round when it was written flat. Can't wait to finish up my Valpuri.

November 8, 2010

I love my lovely new boots but none of my hand knit socks fit inside of the new boots and I don't have any knee length socks either. Well, I have one pair of socks that has got to be 20 years old and aren't made of any kind of natural fibers. Yes, I know. No one should have socks that are 20 years old but these have sentimental value to them. But that's a different story.
So naturally, I think the answer is a new pair of knee length hand knit socks. After using the Ravelry search that I love so much, I found Vintage Knee Socks by Hannah Fettig from her book Closely Knit: Handmade Gifts for the Ones You Love. They are knit with lace weight yarn held double. I'm hoping that they will be thin enough for me to wear under my boots.
Picture Copyright Hannah Fettig

Hannah's book is available on Amazon and I'm sure it's in your local book store too. But me being me, I requested it from my local library. I love my library. It's such an amazing free service, I don't know why more people don't take advantage of it.
I'm thinking Shadow Lace Yarn from Knit Picks for this project. Maybe Vineyard Heather. I'm thinking some nice purple socks under my black boots might be just the thing to make rainy winter days better. Since I'm planning on ordering my yarn for my Moorish Lattice Cardigan from Knit Picks, what would it hurt to get a few skeins of lace weight yarn?
Speaking of Moorish Lattice Cardigan, I purchased and printed out a copy of the pattern. My Valupri is almost done, so I really need to start prepping for my new cardigan. The thought of having nothing to work on sends shivers of fear down my spine. It's not a good idea for me to not having any thing to work on, it's how I get into trouble!

November 7, 2010

Hope you had a nice cozy, lazy Sunday too!

November 5, 2010

Oh how I love comfortable shoes. I've crammed my feet into enough extremely high heels and too small flats to last me a life time. I've been searching for a pair of heeled boots for a while but everything I liked was either too pricey, too high heeled, not heeled enough, too pricey...too everything but what I wanted. I also generally wait until too late in the season to actually find a pair of boots, by the time I find something I like, they're sold out in my size.

But this year, I found these. They're B.O.C Kramers and I love them. They are so comfortable. I feel like I'm wearing bedroom slippers at work.
They are really great. I can wear them under my boot cut jeans and with skirts. Too bad I don't have any skirts that I can wear them with. I might have to make a trip for fabric to make a couple. They'd look great with a pair of tights and a skirt. Love, love, love these boots.

November 4, 2010

Since my Vera is off the needles I've been in search of my next project. I seriously considered doing another Slouchy Cardigan because I wear my green one so much. I would like to do a second one eventually, a gray or black one, but for right now I'm looking for something more interesting to knit.

Thank goodness for Ravelry. Where else can you search a million patterns all in one place? I love their search feature. You can sort by size, gender, type of garment or accessory, yarn type...etc. After many, many hours spent searching for just the right thing I found the Moorish Lattice Cardigan by Kirsten Hipsky. The pattern is for sale on Webs website for only $1.99. A $1.99 people! Now that's a pattern price I can live with!
Picture © Kirsten Hipsky
I love the lattice work on this cardigan and the fact that it has pockets. I'm constantly trying to put my hands into pockets that don't exist on my Buttercream Jacket cardigan.

Since I decided that I'm going to order Wool of the Andes in Worsted Weight from KnitPicks for this pattern (in red of course), I realized that I was going to need another project to occupy my brain, my hands and my needles. I had 3.5 skeins of Berroco Vintage left over from Vera, somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 yards. Too much to just toss into my "stash" (not that I have much of one), so I started searching again on Ravelry for a pattern to meet my needs. I found a lot of things I really liked, of course. But I finally found Valpuri by the Berroco Design Team. This one is a free download.

Picture © berroco

The cables are really interesting on this and I thought in Sloeberry, which is a purple color, it would be nice to wear to work. The pattern calls for it to be knit flat but the construction is pretty basic, so I decided that I'm going to give it a shot and kit it in the round. This will be the first time that I've tried converting a pattern in this manner. It's knit bottom up and so far I've finished the ribbing and one repeat of the cable pattern.
I'm so nervous that I'm not going to have enough yarn to finish this. I'm knitting the size 36 and the pattern calls for 8 balls of Berroco Bling Bling. Each ball is 50 grams and 92 yards. I'm using Berroco Vintage, it's 100 grams and 217 yards. I have 3.5 balls for a total of 759 yards. The Bling Bling is 736 yards, so I should be good but when ever I use something I have on hand and didn't specificly buy for a project I get so nervous.
I'm taking detailed notes for my conversion to knitting in the round and I can't wait to see if I can pull this off. In the mean time, I need to block Vera so I can start wearing it. Even though the pattern shows the finished sweater with a button closure the pattern did not give directions for it. I need to find a way to close it after I get it blocked. I'm thinking a button over a snap. We shall see!

November 3, 2010

As I said last week, I've been lusting after this Jordana Paige bag. But at $89, it's out of my price range right now...and will be for a while. So yesterday I was searching on Targets website for a new purse. I have a black satchel bag that I love but it's getting to the point where I carry so much stuff that it's some times hard to fit my wallet into it. Between my eyeglass case, my cell phone, my iPod, my camera and my wallet (not to mention the stuff that always seems to collect in the bottom of my bag) there just wasn't enough room. Normally I don't buy colored bags. Black and only black. I wear a lot of black and gray too but for some reason something made me look at green bags. I guess I couldn't stop thinking about the Jordana Paige.

Normally, I'm not much of an obsessive person but this bag...I don't know. I just couldn't stop. I even went so far as to mention it to Hubbs but when he asked how much and I said $89, I could see that there was no way he was going to approve a handbag that is almost half of my car payment. Too much money.

So in my search at Target, I found this bag:

Not an exact match but pretty dang close and at $25, it was a bag I could get behind. So off we went to Target. The Target in Elk Grove had the bag and it is big. Way bigger then I would normally carry but since I also want to be able to stuff a knitting project into when necessary instead of carrying an additional knitting bag I think it's going to work.
I love a new handbag. Makes me feel all spiffy.

November 2, 2010

My Vera is off the needles. She still needs a blocking but she's done. More pictures to follow.

November 1, 2010

Even though Saturday wasn't the greatest day weather wise, Hubbs and I took the opportunity to use some passes to visit the Sacramento Zoo. Being that the weather was very over cast and threatening rain, we pretty much had the zoo to ourselves. After our cross country trip earlier this year, I'm a bit spoiled for having places to ourselves, but I love being able to see everything without having to fight with a ton of of other people.


A Lemur that wasn't sure about the umbrella I was holding in my other hand


I love how his upper lip hangs so far over his bottom lip


African Reg Hog and her babies

Not sure what this thing is called but I love his horns

The Chimpanzees were eating large pieces of pumpkins

The tigers were so pretty

Monkey! He looks so sad.

Flamingos. They sound like geese when they're feeding.


The King of the Jungle, the lion

Ant Eater

Snow Leopard



We really enjoyed the zoo. We got to talk to some of the handlers and I even got to pet a hedgehog. The only thing I could have lived without was the reptile house but that was the part that Hubbs really enjoyed the most. Snakes scare the spit outta me but it was still interesting. Hubbs went first in the reptile house and warned me if there were snakes in each part so I was prepared for them and not jumping out of my skin. Even though I don't really like them, it was still neat.
I love the zoo and I can't wait to go back again. Hopefully next time we'll be able to see the pandas!