Thursday, December 27, 2007

Catching up on Christmas

I wanted to share with my friends a little of the Christmas tree at my parents. Our tree is of the highly eclectic variety. My mother was quoted as saying this year, "There is always room on the tree for 10 or 12 more (ornaments)..."

The felt of the first indications of the crafty greatness yet to come in my future. The whole Peanuts gang is on there, in various stages of coming unglued. I think there will have to be a serious Elmers glue intervention in the near future. I love that Muffy and my childhood art projects still take center stage on the tree.

Below Lucy is Mother Jones in a Santa hat holding a tree. We have three of those on our tree- got to have Mother Jones!

These vintage paper mache ornaments are part of my earliest Christmas memories. They are signed De Sela. I have seen other ornaments by this artist on eBay, but none as cute as the ones we have. When it comes time to divy up the Christmas ornaments there could be war, thank heavens some of them are doubles. This little doodlebug is my favorite!

Maybe I'll let Muffy have this little grasshopper?

Angels and snowmen are multiples, so we each get one!

There is this sweet little worm munching on watermelon and another little worm chomping on a juicy pear.

A real struggle may occur over the little orange angel. My mom thinks she is ugly and has been trying to get rid of her; Muffy and I adore her. The only reason she still makes an appearance each year is because Muffy and I dig her out and plunk her down in the middle of mom's angel collection on the piano. I will try to be generous and share.
It is hard mom and dad bought those ornaments when I was a baby. It is really one of the few times I differentiate between my family and hers. For 14 years these ornaments were my childhood and mine alone. But they have been on the tree for her whole life too, so...she can have a snowman and a little angel and we'll see where we go from there.

Here's mom, aka Jeannie, showing off her Pomatumus socks knit from the lovely sock yarn from Yarn Pirate. Fortunately the fit is perfect, cause I'd hate to knit them again!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas...that all your knitted gifts were met with delight...that Santa brought lots of knitting paraphenalia...and stockings were stuffed with cashmere not coal!

Cheers to us all having a happy, healthy new year!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Herringbone Happenings

...and December has been all about herringbone. Embarrassingly, it took me a bit to realise that my two big Christmas knitting projects were the same stitch, oy. (Are you allowed to have Christmas and oy in the same sentence?)

I am knitting the My So Called Scarf for my uberfabulous handyman, Bill. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies in the Tuscany colorway. It is doing a pretty good faux argyle, which has kept up even though I have two skeins in here. I was so worried that it would stop when the first skein ran out. Love the pops of bright blue that will compliment his baby-blues.

Second up are the Charade socks for my also uberfabulous stepdad, EB. These are knit using Schaefer Anne in Mr. Greenjeans (love the name almost as much as the colorway!) This is the first time I am using Anne for socks and the fabric on ones is wonderful. These are going to be some toasty socks.

Last night I called my mother for a quick size check on leg length. Serendipity struck and I was just where I needed to stop for the ribbing. I love those moments...really love them...those socks were taking forever to knit. Hopefully tonight I'll get to switch the status to finished on Ravelry! I'll post finished pics when EB models them on Christmas morning.

Now, on to why I was being such a dip and not realizing for so long that herringbone had taken over my life. The stitch pattern is written differently on the two projects.

My So Called Scarf's line one of the repeat reads: *sl 1, K1, psso but before dropping the slipped stitch from the left needle, knit into the back of it*

And Charade's line one repeat is *sl1 purlwise, K1, YO, psso knit stitch and YO*

In my humble opinion the Charade version is much easier to understand and faster to knit. Since I have switched to that version, my scarf is growing much more quickly. I might even have all of my Christmas knitting off the needles on time. How could that happen?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Beatrix Again

My second Beatrix is all finished and ready to be mailed off to baby Alejandra. I am so happy with how she turned out, just lovely. Of course, this one I knit and frogged, and knit again because my gauge was horrifically off. Quelle suprise...
Knit in gorgeous Koigu this is my second Beatrix. I must confess that this was a happy knit because I got to use a non-traditional pallet for a baby girl. Alejandra's mommy is a decidedly unpink girl, so there were no thoughts of pink or pastels for Alejandra. I love the little teacup button closure.

I knit this adorable stripy beret out of the left over yarn. It was part of the bundle that I donated to my church's Harvest Festival. Another mutual friend of her mommy was shamelessly talked into buying the beret as a gift for Carmen, the mom, so they could have a "mommy and me" moment. I am so ashamed that I convinced him to buy it...I cannot see Carmen ever wearing it. Oh well, it was for charity....hehehehe.

Oh, and I had my first sale on etsy! Yippppeeee!!! I wish I had a beret to toss in the air...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back from the West

Back from another Thanksgiving in Nevada at my uncle's. It was a very lazy vacation with a lot of lounging, reading and knitting. I finished off the last book in Dorothy Dunnett's series, House of Niccolo. It has taken me a long time to read all eight books and I took even longer with the last book, making it last. Anyone want to have the books to read? They are a great time for any history buff...and they are taking up half a shelf in my closet...really, does anyone want them?

Much progress was made on EB's Christmas socks and the scarf I am making for handydude, Bill. Of course a lot of that progress was made while sitting in the Phoenix airport for eight hours waiting for clearance to take off on the way home.

New additions have been made to the Johnson menagerie. This is India, named for the tawny spot on her forehead that looks like a bindi. Like all kitties she is by turns sweet, wild and ferocious. Its been a while since I was this scratched up and infatuated.

India is not the only new member; there is also Meaghen, who would not sit still long enough for a photo. All were a blur of reddish gold fur. She is a golden retrevier who looks and acts more like a dippy Irish Setter. She has all the potential to be a wonderful dog if anyone had the time and energy to train her.

This beatiful, but dusty boy is hopefully going to be the next member of our family. He doesn't have a name yet. He just showed up in my uncle's drive way and hopped up in his lap when he opened the car door. The cat looks a lot like my uncle's old kitty Midnight. Midnight was the love of my know how I love black cats.

The Friday after Thanksgiving all the lights start popping up in Carson City. This Wal-Mart inspired gem was down the street from my uncle. Wish I had taken the time to learn how to use the movie feature on my camera so I could have captured the Muzak Christmas music that was being broadcast into the night.

This house was nothing when compaired to one of the houses in Virgina City. Saddly I did not have my camera with me to capture the splendor. They had not one, but a dozen blow-up snowmen and other important Christmas figures like Tigger and Pooh. There were prancing light-up reindeers, several Santa's workshops, old fashioned plastic choir boys and more.

Best was the nativity scene with the light-up baby Jesus. Boy, was that kid throwing off some serious lumens!

Our one field trip was to Truckee, CA. A very cute little tourist town, with the standard gift shops and a candy store that was blowing the most intoxicating chocolate aroma into the night air. My fat cells started to sing with glee with one whiff and positively danced after a cup of their hot chocolate.

The sky that evening was so cool looking. A bank of dense clouds where hovering just over the ridge of the Sierra Nevadas, a last bit of light shining through the break.

Imagine my surprise when I tried a different setting on my camera and captured all these "little folk" skiing on the hood of this wagon!

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving with lots of turkey, trimmings and minimal family disfunction.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Haul

These are my lovelies that I bought at Southwind Farms. Sadly, I don't know which alpaca's fleece this came from, unlike Marissa and her pedigreed yarn.

I just cannot say enough about how wonderful our visit to Southwind Farms was, love those alpacas! Penny and Jim Mullen are wonderful, warm people.

And this is my Webs haul...Cascade Pastaza for the Cozy V-Neck sweater from Fitted Knits.

Tahki Ghost Prints for Urchin.

And a sweater's worth of Stockbridge from Valley Yarns in light grey to make the Cable Luxe Sweater.

I am off to Carson City, NV for Thanksgiving. Everybody have a happy and safe holiday!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Are We There Yet?

This weekend, Regina, Marissa, Rhonda, Sherry and I headed up to New England for our own fiberfest. I was first introduced to Webs at Stitches two years ago, imagine my surprise when I learned that they were only an hour away from my parents home in Connecticut. All of that yarn, so close, and I never knew?

A road trip to Webs became a frequent subject of conversation during knitting get-togethers. This weekend, we finally loaded up a rented mini-van and hit the road. Most of the baggage going up were WIPs...there was a whole lot of knitting going on in that van. My "So Called Scarf" is finally making some progress and hit a real growth spurt.

Yes, this is Marissa actually skipping with glee across the Web's parking lot.
And a sweet gentleman in a nifty granny square sweater, who brought his wife to the yarn Mecca; we heard no grumbling. we think that Flint, Robert or Mike may mellow like that with age?Everyone was incredibly well behaved. There was no pushing or shoving to get to the yarn. No one fibbed about how a color would look on someone else so they could score that colorway. We all played nicely in the yarn-box of Webs and left with lots of goodies. I'll detail my score later.

While in Northampton we stopped in at Northampton Wools and checked out all of their goodies. We chatted up some very friendly people there. Sherry was even giving spinning pointers and doing her very best enabling. Marissa scored some Jitterbug that was later spotted on the mini-van's dashboard having elicit sex with the yummy tweed she bought at Webs.

This gem of a bumper sticker was spotted on our way back to the mini-van. I think I could live in Northampton.

Today, on our way back to Philly we stopped at Southwind Farms in Watertown, CT and indulged in some mad alpaca love.

At first they were very shy with us, but warmed up as their curiosity grew stronger. The fleeces were incredibly dense and so soft.

Alpacas are incredibly bright animals. In some ways they reminded us of cats...for the most part they knew their names, but would choose to ignore you anyway. They are also very clean animals and not at all barnyard stinky. It was lovely to see the close bond between the alpacas and the farm's owner, Jim.

I loved the handlebar mustache on this gal, just like my dad's. We were told she is a bit ornery and quite a spitter. She was very well-behaved with us, despite Marissa smooching it up with her baby boy.

This adorable little guy is six-weeks old and a future champion alpaca. Watching him bounce and gamble about the enclosure was so much fun.

Lots of soft, lovely alpaca yarn came home with us. Southwind Farms has a nice selection of yarn from their alpacas. A huge thank you to Jim and Penny Mullen for opening the farm so that we could come and visit their herd! If you are wandering through western Connecticut, give them a call and go visit. I cannot recommend them enough.

Another huge thank you to my mom and step-father, Ed, for hosting us this weekend! It meant a lot to me to have my friends meet my parents and have my parents get to know my dear friends.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tag-Team Quilting

I am a bit of a control freak, particularly when it comes to my quilts. I have very definite ideas about fabrics, straight lines, and how many stitches to the inch are in my quilting ( there are a lot BTW.)

Then along comes my wonderful friend Marissa with her, and I quote, "lackadaisical and creative" artistic nature. I fell in love with the quilt she made for another friend's adopted baby. And thought hmmmmm....maybe I could use a little loosening up?

Our adorable mutual friend here, I get to show you the reveal!

All the knitting glitteratti gathered at Rosie's to celebrate Flippy's imminent arrival. There was champagne, cupcakes and chocolate cake! Yum! A grand time was had by all and some of us even did a little knitting.

Marissa and I were both very happy with our tag-team quilt. But the expression on Courtney's face when she unwrapped it was the best. Mariss and I are hoping that this becomes the future security blanket, you know, the one that secretly gets packed when Flippy goes off to college.

My quilting mojo may be making a return. Thank heavens, because I have several quilts that need to be finished. How could that be, you might ask?

These eensy tiny baby mittens were knit by Emily. As Kate would say, "they are so stinkin' cute!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sock Model Wanted...

...must be size seven shoe, with slender, shapely ankles. Own supply of adorable shoes to wear with my socks is highly desirable.

Yup, I have come to the conclusion that I can knit lovely socks, but I cannot model them. There is a huge degree of photo envy here. All those pictures on Ravelry and Flickr of beautiful socks in funky maryjanes leave me in the pit of dispair. I used to blame it on the awkward angles and bad backgrounds when I took the pictures myself. Now the truth is glaringly obvious. I had friends at knitting circle photograph my socks on my feet. This was the best shot...ouch.

My mummy used to tell me that my feet looked like some little old Chinese lady had bound them at birth. The only person that ever praised them was my ballet teacher, who said I had the best natural pointe. Unfortunately, add to that high arch and instep, ankles that have been sprained multiple times and finished with a nasty break, and you have a sock modeling disaster.

The socks are lovely on their own. It is the Monkey pattern; knit from Black Bunny Fibers merino.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

From Beast to Beauty

Lady Eleanor was the beauty of the ball, erh...Harvest Festival at 1st Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. I am happy to say that she sold for $300 in the silent auction today! A lot of my items were sold today which makes me extremely pleased.

I have had a problem for a while with the general concept that because it is a church event that hand-made things should all be sold on the cheap. Come on guys this is a fundraiser for charity! Cough up the bucks! There are still plenty of items there, that are the cheesy craft things and oodles of novelty scarves all for those that only want to pay $10 max for any thing. Some of the older women doubted that my things would sell at higher prices. Ppphhhht (raspberry sound) they were wrong! There are people out there willing to pay the proper price for hand-made goods.

So it was a fun day despite the torrential downpours. My stash of finished pieces has been diminished, money has been raised for children's charities in Philadelphia and I have a nice little tax deduction.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Oh my goodness, Artemis and I have been Simpsonized. Don't we look smashing?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blocking the Beast

Well, I finally stopped procrastinating and blocked the beast. I gave Lady Eleanor a good soaking in Euclan in the kitchen sink and popped her in the washer for a good spin. That much wet wool weighs a ton.

Just for this event I invested in blocking wires. It was a good thing. This would have taken every pin in my possession. I think this incredibly tedious task would have gone even better if both cats had not found it so fascinating.
Now onto the fringing! There is hope too that my first Lady E. will now get finished...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Caution! Under Construction

Well, here at Chez Lisa, we are under construction. It's the morning of day three and my head is splitting from the noise of saws, drills and hammers.

It is however all going to be worth it. The leak that has plagued my condo from the date of purchase has finally been located and is being fixed. I am also getting a new door frame to the soon to be rebuilt deck and a new screendoor. Its costing a bundle, but if it eliminates all the stress I carry with me every time it rains heavily or walk into the kitchen and see the huge honking hole in the ceiling over the sink, it will be worth it.

Also underconstruction are a bunch of hats for new-borns.
These are knit from Koigu mill ends and are a mini version of the "James Dean Hat" from Rosie's. Thanks to Courtney's Max for the fabulous idea! The hats I am knitting are going up for sale at a charity fundraiser at the end of the month.

September and October has seen a lot of charity knitting. I am waiting to block Lady E for the same fundraiser above. And then there were the vests for afghans for Afghans.

Stash busting for charity has felt great. And addictive, I have more of the alpaca above, waiting to be another sweater for an Afghan child. I hope they keep some kids toasty warm! Thanks to Allison (Ravelry link) for organizing the drive on Ravelry. Some members knit a truly impressive number of sweaters, mittens, hats and socks.

Now I need to get moving on the Christmas knitting!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Making up

Pomotomus and I have put our differences aside. Our friendship has been resumed and I've cast on the second sock. All we needed was a little time apart to adjust our perspective.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cleaning Up the WIP

I have been inspired by all of the projects that Mariss is finishing. And think it is time for me to get with the program.

Finishing is not part of my genetic make-up. My mother makes beautiful clothing and taught me to sew. But, if you go through our closets you will find a ton of safety pins...all in the waist bands of trousers and skirts. Now that I think about it, is it a problem with finishing or a problem with closure?

Two berets are finished and blocked. (Big thank you to Kate for the raspberry Koigu rescue!)

Beatrix the second is being seamed. My two vests for afghans for is getting its buttons sewn on is blocked and drying.

My second Lady Eleanor is waiting for its chance to be blocked and fringed. Maybe then I will do the finishing on my first Lady E. I admit to be a little wigged out by blocking something so big...and I have blocking space issues.

And work resumed at lunch today on Courtney's Claposhrug. One sleeve to go!

Now if only I could get back to the Pomotomus...sigh.