Monday, December 31, 2007

Holiday Get-Togethers

Everyone should be so lucky as to spend time together with aunts, uncles, cousins....the whole gang!....over the holidays. You learn things about who you are, what it means to be a part of a family and something bigger than yourself, and the world in general.

Happy Holidays and may 2008 turn out to be great!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I'm woefully behind in my holiday prep. I've not actually baked one thing although I do have this to share with you today.

I got these a month ago (or better) from a local cookie baker who makes fabulous treats. I had to shoot a photo to go along with the baking article in the December issue of Fort Dodge Today. They're long gone.

The good news is: two of us are eating once more. Amanda was released from her 30-day liquid diet. It seems to have done the trick with getting her Crohn's into remission. So there will be Christmas feasting at our house. *yeah!*

If only I had some things prepared.

Ah well, there's still a week!

Happy Knitting & Shooting!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

2 FO's

I'm plugging away at my usual stack of December projects. The "big giveaway" items for all ladies in the family are done. (Not posting photos as some of the ladies look at this blog. Sorry sis!!)

I have finished a sweater I plan to give for Christmas to someone in the family who wears a size 12 months. I am making a "matching" one in the same yarn, only purple, for the big sister who shall be nameless at this point. Here's the small, boy version:

I knit this using TLC's "Wiggles" yarn which was on sale at Hobby Lobby. Yes, I used acrylic. It's for a baby. It needs to be easy to wash for a mommy who is busy raising two kids and going to college at the same time. Shoot me. The pattern is from Knitting Pure and Simple.

In the meantime I also have two seperate socks started: the third for my "Neopolitan" trio (I started this one last week when I was teaching friends at knitting how to do short rows for toe-up socks.......more on that another time) and one from KnitPicks Memories on size 00 or 000 needles. They are feeling scrumptious!

In the meantime, I knit these:

My friend Joanne was eager to do a pair, so we cast on this week and took off despite other pending Christmas knitting. They were fun to do and I like the thumb gusset staying in ribbing while the rest of the mitten switched to stockinette stich. Very clever. Very simple. Will make more of these for sure!! I used Lambs Pride washable from Nebraska. Good stuff. A little light for the pattern which called for worsted. This was more like a DK weight. But they are nice. I can tell they will be warm, even when wet....which is a HUGE benefit to wool where I live! (It's currently snowing. We are supposed to get 4-6 inches by morning. Did I mention it's not even actually winter yet according to the calendar?????????)

Happy Knitting....and stay warm!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Neopolitan Socks

Well, I've completed my first pair of totally made-up-on-the-fly socks. I learned to knit toe-up socks specifically so that I might one day make a pair with the toes and heel in a color different from the rest of the sock. I took it one step further and added stripes, etc. And I intentionally made them to not be twins. Here they are:

I call them "Neopolitan Socks" because the color combination reminds me of Neopolitan ice cream. I love the combination of pink and brown! I used Pallette from Knit Picks and size US#0 needles. What I did learn from this first attempt is that where I made the color joins to switch stripes the socks have a little less "give" in the ribbing due to my attempt to make sure no holes developed. Live and learn. I have enough yarn that I think I may make a third sock so that a person can grab any 2 of the 3 to wear. I think they're fun!

One a non-knitting note: I had the pleasure of seeing my nephews from Ohio over the Thanksgiving weekend. This is them:

They are really growing up quickly! We were all really happy to see them and I had a lot of fun visiting with them. (Ok, well one of them was involved more with wrestling cousins than talking, but that's ok too!!) I have to say I've loved every stage of parenting, but I'm finding this stage where the kids turn into teens really cool. I love to hear their opinions and views. I find them immensely interesting. I really love seeing their humor develop and watching them blossom. It's a whole different sort of relationship with teens. Very cool. (Although I do wish I could save them the growing pains and inevitable heartaches that have helped each of us get to where/who we are today.....I guess that's just part of life and they have to go through it too. It's interesting to me how they process that kind of thing and what remarkable courage and strength of character they have!)


I'm teaching a small group of gals to do socks at knitting tomorrow. Wish me luck!
Happy Knitting!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jojoland Melody Socks

I've been knitting up the lovliest pair of socks for myself from some yarn I had never heard of until I did a swap in an on-line knitting group I'm part of. I received two balls of this lovely yarn from Anne and everyone in my local knitting circle "ooohed" and "aaahed" over the subtle color transitions.

I'm excited about how pretty they are and the yarn feels good too. (I can tell it will bloom when washed as well....always making it even softer!)

In other news, I finished up the Opal black/grey socks for my DD, have been completing more Christmas knits and made it through the extra projects at work. It's been a little odd putting together a December issue in October; thank goodness for Christmas CD's!

Today is my grandmother's 90th I wish her a very happy birthday and look forward to taking her out for lunch next week.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Something Beautiful

I've been so swamped with work (not complaining, it's been fun to do!) that I haven't had time to knit.

I've been doing a lot of photography....of the sort I'm not the best at: people portraits. I'd like to think I'm getting better as I go. I even had to photograph the best portrait photographer in town! (THAT was nerve-wracking!!! She does such beautiful work with the local seniors and weddings and families......) In all the hurry and scurry of that project combined with trying to get the magazine out on time, I took 5 minutes to capture a couple photos of the dahlia my husband is growing.

Wherever we've lived he has planted things. Usually it's been tulips. But then he noticed that everytime he planted tulips, we moved within a year. So, after 13 years in this house, he planted dahlias.

I think they're spectacular!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Calling All Movie Costume People!!!!!!!

I posted on Ravelry my interest in this knit item from the movie, The Village.

I like the look of this collar type scarf and wondered if the pattern was available.
Someone responded that they liked this piece from the same movie: (the older lady on the right)

Surely there's a market of knitters out there who'd LOVE to make these types of things.
What pieces from movie wardrobes would you like to see made available as patterns???

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Love My Mailman

I know this is treading on dangerous ground for a gal who works out of a home office, but I think I'm in love with the mailman. Look what he's been bringing me!

This is my swap package from Ann B. on my Illusion Knitting group. She has totally spoiled me for the Halloween swap! (And I feel totally guilty that the box I sent her direction was not packed as full!!) The illusion cloth she knit is SOOO cute! All the goodies: chocolate, coffee, tea, sock yarn, roving, a journal, scrapbooking items, goodness! Thank you Ann!

Over the weekend the mailman delivered another box from KnitPicks as well. The first one, last Thursday had contained by new Harmony dpns (which I've been working with all weekend on a new sock made from Trekking XXL. Getting the hang of this toe-up thing!)

I am LOVING this color of Trekking by the way! I'm keeping this pair for myself. The Harmony dpns are terrific. More grip to them than my metal ones, but less than my Britanny's (which had become "unusable" in my book due to how much they slow me down.)

Anyway....then over the weekend the mailman brought my second box from KP which had my interchangeable needles! Yeah!! I confess I haven't tried them out yet since I've got the socks in progress, but I have three projects cued up for which I was waiting to get these needles. So I'm very excited!

Thank you Mr. Postman!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Some of the Best Things

Sometimes some of the best things in life are the things we've forgotten.

I've seen this phenomenon with my own kids. When they were younger and we would have "clean your room" day they would often discover toys that they'd lost under the bed or behind the dresser or other places. These toys had been out-of sight-out-of-mind long enough that rediscovering them brought the kids much joy. (Not to mention distractions large enough to turn a 2 hour job into an all day kind of project, but let's not go there.)

Guess what I forgot about?


I got my name in the queue last July and completely forgot about it until I received my invitation to join today. *yeah!* With waves of joy I am venturing into another fiber zone. I've only just dipped my toes in thus far, but it looks like a great place and I'm certain that I'll be diving in deep one of these days and there will be no getting me out of the water!

Happy Knitting & Spinning!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

New Toy

Resistance is futile. When I have the inkling that I should try a new creative venture I often put it off. I don't know why. I always cave in and give it a go eventually. Thus...... new toy!

I've been really curious about spinning for about a year now. I've read up on it via the web, magazines and books at the library. I've watched the spinning 101 episode on Knitty Gritty time and time again. It was the siren's voice beckoning me to jump in that I could, in the end, no longer resist!

Last week I won some Qiviuk fiber from a blog I read daily (Romancing the Yarn...button to the right.) QIVIUK!!!!! I was beyond thrilled as I've been curious about this fiber ever since I heard about it last winter. And now there is some of the glorious stuff on its way to me!!

Since it's fiber, and not yarn, my urge to spin got me to order a "Learn to Spin" kit from Nancy's Knit Knacks (no affiliation.) My kit came Thursday, and I spun all the fiber enclosed for practice in the kit last night.

What fun!!!! I'm definitely hooked! This is my first attempt.

What you might not be able to tell is that this first attempt came out as a "bulky" weight yarn. (I've got some more in process that is actually more like worsted weight.)

If you've been curious, you might want to give it a try. Hand spindles aren't that expensive. You can get prepared roving that's ready to go. And it really is wonderfully satisfying to spin your own yarn! I can't wait to get good at it and start to combine colors, add twist and slubs, get a lightweight spindle so that I can prepare sock yarn . . . . .

. . . oh, my mind is spinning with the possibilities!

Happy Knitting, Shooting . . . AND SPINNING!

Monday, August 13, 2007

SSS, Take That!!

I'm coming off THE worst case of Second Sock Syndrome (SSS), EVER!

I've been working on this pair of knee hi's for my DD for months now.
Thank goodness I've finished just in time for school to start next week.

Here they are, modeled by the recipient herself:

While I was avoiding finishing up what seemed to take FOREVER (that second leg/cuff was a killer....K3 P2 ribbing......ZZzzzzzzz.......) I was looking up much more interesting sock patterns on line. I had to go out and buy a new binder to put them all in!

Now my DS wants me to do a pair for him. At least they won't be knee-hi's! But I won't get to use all my pretty lace patterns with picot edged bind-offs. Nevertheless, I will not succomb to SSS again!

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Breeze Socks

I've been working on completing my second pair of socks using the pattern, "Breeze" from The first pair I did I used varigated yarn I had dyed myself. Not a good choice as virtually none of the stitch pattern was visible. This time I used KnitPicks new yarn, Risata, in the colorway "buttermilk." The yarn is 42% cotton, 39% superwash merino wool, 13% polyamide, and 6% elite elastic.

I liked working with this yarn, a lot. It's not as "stretchy" as Cascade's Fixation, but had a nice little "rebound" to it. Here is a close-up of the heel cable:

The first time I made the socks for my DD (who wears a women's US size 9 shoe) I made the large size. As it turned out, they are really too big for her. I made this pair following the instructions for the medium sized sock (for myself, same sized feet) and they fit nicely. I also opted for the rolled cuff instead of the ribbed one. I really like how they turned out!

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It Is Finished

Well, I finished the scarf with 2 hours and twenty minutes to spare before the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. My son was able to wear it to pick up his book.

Here it is: (from above)

and this is what you see when looking at it from the level:

That is my copy of the book with the scarf. After 17 hours of reading I finished the final installment of Harry Potter. While I, like J.K. Rowling, LOVED the book....I think I need some time yet for all that happened to fully sink in. My DD was in tears to think our journey with Harry has come to an end. He is the first character in my childrens' lives to have felt like a part of the family for so long. (I can only imagine how much more intense this must be for Rowling!! My goodness!!)

If anyone British reads this, I'd love to know what McGonagal's phrase r.e. Snape means (as it is not, in fact, a common phrase in the US) "done a bunk"???????????
I have a feeling it's very funny, whatever it is!

Well, now I must go.

Happy Knitting and Shooting!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Joy Riding

I took a break from my furious knitting under deadline pressure on the HP illusion scarf for my son in order to actually put a few hours in on the job for which I get paid. Interviewed a gentleman from church r.e. his '57 Chevy Bel Air. Got all the details and some great photos for the magazine layout. (Trying to work in ways to engage the male readers out there!)

Any who....the big treat was that my daughter (who was along as my photographic assistant) and I got to go for a ride with the top down.

What an ABSOLUTE THRILL!!!!!!! This car is perfectly restored, all original parts except the battery. Bob is an artist when it comes to fine-tuning engines and keeping a "three on the tree" manual transmission working perfectly. You can't imagine the wonderful sound when he fired it up! And the thrill of the air blowing through your hair. And those heavenly comfortable seats! Wowza!

I sometimes still find myself amazed that someone is paying me to do this stuff. Meet great people. Hear interesting stories. Write. Photograph. Put it all together.

It's a dream come true!

Guess I'll get back to knitting now....after all there's not much time left before they expect to go to a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premiere in that scarf!
Wish me luck!

Happy Shooting and Knitting!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Illusion Scarf

Ever since I saw the Knitty Gritty episode on illusion knitting I was intrigued. Then I came across a brilliant pattern by Lindsay on which is a pattern with the Dark Mark from Harry Potter hidden in the scarf. This was all I needed to give it a whirl. (We are Harry Potter crazy at our house. My daughter got "Outstanding" on the last W.O.M.B.A.T. on JK Rowling's website.) I'm only a little bit into it but this is it so far:

This is what it looks like straight on:

and this is what you see if you view it from the flat edge:

It's been fun to watch the pattern emerge. I keep tipping the project every few rows to see what's happening. I'm going to investigate this method further. I'd like to come up with some illusions having to do with the "good" guys in HP. Just imagine, me--making my own pattern. Cool!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I Dyed & Went to Tennessee

Well, it's been a loooong time since I posted. And I have no excuses that sound good, so I'm not even going to bother. All I can say is that it's been an eventful six weeks since I last posted.

I learned how to dye yarn in my crock pot!

Here is a batch of lovely stuff I call "Summertime Citrus" along with a pair of finished socks. (Pattern is "Breeze" from the Summer '07 I HIGHLY recommend the pattern. I highly discourage you from trying it with vary-colored yarn!!)

And some close-up's of the sock details:

It has lovely lace-work and cables. All kinds of fun, but easy to knit--even in the car. (Which is where I knit this pair! Driving from Iowa to Tennessee for our family vacation a couple weeks ago!)

The next thing I dyed last month was this beautiful hank of Icelandic wool from Tongue River Farms:

I was going for more purple than blue, but misjudged the amount of dye needed for this amount of yarn. That's why they call it "learning." I'm still very happy with the color results and can't wait to see how it knits up!

As you might imagine, these two experiments have got my creative brain ticking away on overtime! If only I had unlimited resources for yarn expenditures, I'd get all sorts of undyed yarns and have a go at all sorts of gorgeous color schemes! This really was a blast and I can't wait to give it another try.

In the meantime (besides finally actually taking over as managing editor of a monthly magazine while continuing to write and photograph for them...) I also managed to accomplish these projects over the last 6 weeks:

Knee-hi socks in school colors for my DD who plans to wear them for marching band:

Another entrelac bag which will NOT be felted (but that yet needs a handle and lining):

and another sweater for the new nephew (who is three months old on the 4th and rolling over already!):

I think he's going to look a little like Pooh in a bee costume, what do you think?
Still debating on buttons.

And just in case you're the sort of person who likes visual proof of the world's realities, here are a couple photos from our trip to Tennessee.

Phew! That ought to about catch me up! I have a feeling I've neglected a couple other knitting projects, but ah well, such is life. I hope to be a bit more regular in my posts once more!

Happy Knitting & Shooting!

Monday, May 14, 2007

First Entrelac!

I have completed my first entrelac project! I drove 2 hours with my best knitting friend to take a class at a LYS in Sioux City, IA (Susan's Yarn Garden -- DON'T miss it if you're ever driving through on I-29!!) And this is the result!

It's knit with Noro Kuryeon (sp?). I really like it!

I completed one sock of the pair from Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Knitted Socks, but haven't photographed it yet due to not being done with the pair. Also I'm knitting away on a knee - thigh high pair of magic stripes in school colors for my DD. She plans to wear them for marching band next fall.

At work I'm in the official position of taking over as editor for the local monthly magazine -- and LOVING it! I write 5 articles (ok, one of those is just a photograph with a quote as a "Parting Shot" on the last page!) and put together 2 other sections: the community calendar of things to see and do as well as the "Seen About Town" which features photos of people at community, social or charitable events and galas, etc. I also take photos for the articles I write and shoot the cover each month. So it's keeping me busy! In the publishing business we're working 2 months ahead, so currently working on July's issue. Sometimes makes the photography aspect "interesting!" (Shooting "summer" when spring blossoms are blooming for instance!)

Here's my June cover for the theme and cover story, "Celebrating Dad! Why We Love Our Fathers."

This is just my mock-up to give the art dep't an idea, so I'm not sure if the actual cover will look this way, but it IS the photo they'll use.

Well, that's it for today.
Happy Shooting & Knitting!

Friday, April 13, 2007

A New Nephew! (& Coffee!!)

I've been busy with work related stuff, but did take time to visit family for Easter. My brother and his wife welcomed our new little nephew--Logan--on Wed. April 4th. We happen to think he's a gorgeous kiddo -- you GOTTA love that HAIR!!

Also took a few food photos as filler for a local Visitor's Guide. Thought you might enjoy this one:

The word "cappuccino" on the table is a shadow being cast from the signage on the big picture window of the coffee shop on Main St. I thought it was kinda cool!

I did knit my DD a sweater over the Easter's one of those quickies done in super chunky yarn on size 15 needles and only comes down to about 2-3 inches above the waistline. It looks cute on her and she had friends at school asking for one in different colors. I'll try to snap a photo when she wears it again and post a pic.

That's all for now. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

First Cables

I completed my first pair of cable-down-the-side socks! I think they turned out gret and will make a nice birthday gift for my sis!

Here's a closer look at those cables! (Yes, they mirror each other!)


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

I've been very busy with work. Coming to deadlines on a local county's annual Visitors Guide. (Last minute rush to edit and grab forgotten photos or filler material, etc, etc.)

Also crunch time on the transition between simply writing for and actually becoming the managing editor for the local monthly magazine. *enough said*

Also had a great lunch in the state capital with another publishing outfit for which one of my photos graced the cover of one of their magazines a couple months ago. Hope to perhaps get some more assignment work from them as well!

All in all, it's been BUSY!

I did go out last night to capture an image that says "Small, rural communities" for the Visitors Guide.

How did I do?

On the knitting front: I have been working on 2 socks on 2 circs with my first-ever cable design down each cuff. They are being knit with Knit Picks' Essential yarn in a rich, deep green. (Also using Knit Picks circular 24" needles in US #1) I'm hoping to finish them up by Saturday to take to my sister for her birthday gift.

(Last minute gift idea, just in case: she also wants a copy of my blue-ribbon state fair I can get one of those printed in a pinch!)

Happy Shooting & Knitting!

Monday, March 12, 2007


I thought I should post a picture of the finished project. Buttons attached, somewhat blocked (I think those sleeves are going to roll up no matter what I do!) and ready to be delivered this weekend to my 3 yr. old niece. I hope she and her mommy will like it!

I also finished over the weekend the first of the "Loopy Socks" from Knit Picks (using their yarn "Dancing.") This was my first experience with "loop stitch" and it was easy and fun. My 15 yr. old dtr. loves them!

I've already got about 4" out of 7" done on cuff number two, and since they are only 56 stitches around on size US#3 needles, they knit up very quickly.

Well, gotta get to work!
Happy Knitting!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Fever

Even with huge piles of snow still on the ground, the temperature is rising day by day. Water is dripping and running and puddling all around. Birds are singing. Geese are flying north. And there's a feeling of expectancy in the air. You can smell spring's nearness!

I had lunch with a friend last Friday and she brought me some daffodils. I want to share them with you!

I posted some close-ups of single blooms in my photo gallery. There's a link on the right side of the page.

Happy Shooting, Knitting and Spring!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ok, I'll Admit It

I am disappointed with how the swap turned out for me.

Here are just a few of the pics of packages others received:

Not to mention the box that I myself shipped off. I realize the whole point is that it's better to give than to receive. And I did have fun making that cashmere shrug for Gudron and learning new stitches. It was really fun to imagine her delight in opening the box and discovering the many little treasures I had included.

And it looks like almost everyone else had the same idea and feeling in getting into the spirit of the exchange.

And then my package arrived. In an envelope. A ripped envelope.

I feel guilty about feeling ripped off. (And this is probably why I asked the people putting the swap together at the very beginning what the perameters were for what should be sent/included in the package!) Guilty feelings aside, I do in fact, feel as though I definitely got the short end of the stick.

And I'm not sure I'll do a swap again. At least one that's not clearly defined r.e. how much to spend or include, etc.

Thus the second of my "poor me" themed blog entries. Not that anyone is actually reading them. I'm going to work on my latest pair of socks now.

Happy Knitting!

Follow this link to look at the photo album of the packages people received from their swap partners:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It Came!

My package from the International Swap ("Colors of Spring") arrived today from Germany. (*yeah!*)

It contained one very bright, very "springy" green scarf in fun fur!!

I don't believe I've ever seen this color in yarn before and I think it will look OUTSTANDING against my black coat!!!

Thank you Katja!

(p.s. The flowery card is her postcard to me!)

Monday, February 26, 2007

I Would Have Been Knitting...BUT

The weather had me imprisoned in a never-ending cycle of shoveling and scooping!
We got socked with a big winter storm over the weekend. It started with thunder and lightning on Friday which turned over to sleet/ice overnight. Woke up to about 1/4 inch of ice on Saturday morning and by noon it turned over to snow which continued until Sunday night. In the end we got about 10" of it! We kept going out to shovel every 2 inches or so in order to keep up and not kill our backs. (It was the wet, heavy stuff!)
I did actually finish the pair of KnitPicks socks I was doing in the s'mores colorway and I started a quick pair of slipper socks in 100% bamboo DK weight on US #5 dpns. Pictures later. I've got to get kids to school (we had a late start), finish scooping the driveway and front walk for the mailman and get to work on my project for the newspaper.