Friday, December 31, 2010

New Adventures

I'm not going to do one of those year end wrap up type entries. If I want to take stock of what happened in 2010 I will go back and look at archived entries.

Did I mention that my DH got me a GPS unit for the holidays? Specifically, this one:

I did a story for Fort Dodge Today a couple of years ago on a family who were geocachers (pronounced: jee-oh-cashers). I was intrigued by the idea of this high-tech treasure hunting, but the gps unit remained elusive in the budget. Thanks to a Cabella's charge-card and the price of gas the past few years, he had earned enough credits to get one!

We've been out on a few geocaching adventures already with seven successful finds and two we couldn't find. (I'm blaming the snow cover!)

If you don't know what it is you can check it all out at this website.

We visited my brother's family yesterday and took them out "treasure hunting" with us. The little ones had great fun and we found a cache with some trinkets in it for them to take home. (I had some other trinkets with me to leave behind per protocol.)

Another fun element to geocaching is Travel Bugs. These are metal dog tags with serial numbers and trinkets attached which cachers pick up in one place and take to a new place per the wishes of the owner or the goals listed for the bug. We were able to deliver one to the western border yesterday. We also picked one up!

This one is called "Iditadog" and was started in Anchorage, AK by some school kids in 2007. It's original goal was to travel around and get back in time to go on the Iditarod race in 2008, but it is still traveling. We may keep ahold of this one until vacation this summer when I hope we will be able to deliver it much farther west (and north). We'll see!

Today we're having sleet/ice/snow. I'm going to have to take a nap if staying up until midnight is in the cards. We shall see.

Happy New Year one and all! See you in 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Heroes For The Holidays

I am pleased to report that I received the company of two of my knitting heroes for the holidays: the commemorative edition of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac (complete with an Introduction by Stephanie Pearl McFee, a third knitting hero of mine!) along with Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

I have already delved into both volumes, and am happy to report that I am already busy incorporating one of the patterns from Walker's tome onto the sock currently in progress on my needles.

I always enjoy reading EZ as well....she is so liberating!! One cannot help but become more self-confident as a knitter after reading her encouraging words. (I think that confidence spills over into other areas as well.)

In non-knitting (and non-photography) news....DS and I went in search of our first geocaches today. I also received a Garmin GPS unit for the holidays with which we can now take part in the fun that is geocaching. We did an earnest search for three caches today, finding two. (I am convinced the third one was not meant to be found in the winter with snow on the ground. We will have to try again in the spring.)

If you don't know about the sport/game/fun, check it out at!

Here's another photo from my forray into the woods a few days ago. (No caching involved...we were only out to take photos!)

Happy knitting and shooting and caching!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter's Fruit

We have been having a winter wonderland of frozen fog/hoarfrost the past few days.

Yesterday, in order to get out of the house, DD and I went out into the woods and took a walk with our cameras. She got a lot more pictures than I did due to the fact I had dimentia and forgot to charge my camera's batteries.

But I did manage to shoot a few before the camera gave up the ghost. This is my favorite.

I know it doesn't really show the beautiful frost covered trees, but sometimes the details are just too pretty to pass up.

Happy Shooting!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays!

May yours be merry & bright!

(Local lighting display with 30+ scenes done by a variety of groups. They set it up in our county park's campground and Santa comes and gives candy canes to everyone. Always fun and supports the work of the local Sertoma group.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Disappointment Thy Name Is...

Knit Picks Andean Chullo kit.

After doing a lot of Latvian mittens last year for the holidays, I kind of fell in love with doing stranded color work in knitting. When Knit Picks advertised their Andean Chullo hat kit last fall, I ordered one as soon as I could, knowing it would be fun to try.

Here's the photo of the completed hat which comes with the pattern:

Now if I had been savy and listening to a recent book of knitting advice I was reading, I should have known something was amiss at this point in the project.

Can you see what my clue should have been?

Yes, at no point does this hat actually appear on a real/actual HUMAN head. The only shots of it are on this clear dummy head. Right there I should have been asking myself "what's wrong with this hat that they don't have a live model in it?"

(My recent knitting advice said to always eye suspiciously the way any photos which accompany patterns are presented. Is the person standing or sitting funny? Are they showing the item from only one angle? What does the way they photographed it on the model say about potential pit falls/problems with the pattern?)

Ignoring that advice and plunging straight ahead like the mighty knitting fool I am, here's what I ended up with:

Yes, it was lovely to knit. I had fun doing the color work. I liked the patterns, especially the llamas.

But dudes.....


It is way, WAY too tall to fit a normal human head without looking completely silly!! (Can you see there are a good 4" to 6" of hat above the top of the head that just sticks up or flops over?!)

If you are related to Herman Munster or happen to know any members of the Conehead family, this hat would be perfect.

But don't expect your 17 year old DS to wear it, no matter how kind hearted he is to his dear, batty, old, yarn-crazed mom.

It just doesn't fit.

Oh, and I could have done without the serious, raging sinus cold/respiratory flu right before Christmas.

Happy Knitting!
(I'm going to get some more tea.....)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Knitting

Holiday knitting beginning to take up every waking moment? Is it all you think about? Is it all you do in your "free" time? Anxious you may not get it all done?

Are you obsessed? Compare yourself to this knitter and let me know!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, December 06, 2010

On Top Of It

I've switched from my slipper knitting frenzy (because I THINK I have them all completed!!) to doing a few last minute hats, etc. My DD saw a beret she liked at Target a few weeks ago and I took a picture of it with my cell phone. I went on line and found a very similar pattern, took her yarn shopping and commenced knitting. I found the "Druidess Beret" pattern on Ravelry and here's how it turned out.

I really enjoyed this pattern as there was somthing going on all the time. It's also the first chart-only pattern that I've actually completed! I knit it with Cascade 210 (it calls for DK weight yarn) in the colorway "Turtle."

Also it occurred to me that I did not show you the pair of slippers I did with Granny Square flaps or the way I put a decorative edge on one of the pairs of plain colored slippers. Without further ado, this is what they look like:

Granny square slippers for niece in Texas.

Blanket stitch edging on slippers for niece in Sioux City. (The hardest part about this was choosing which contrasting color to use!!)

I have a few other quick things to finish off for the holidays, but the bulk of it is finished. What isn't done yet are all little "extras"--so if they don't get finished it's no big deal. I can give them to the receipients at any time.

Hope you are all in full swing either enjoying the holidays or preparing for the ones yet to come!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Because They Said So

I went to my weekly knitting group last week and they all "ahhh-ed" and "oooh-ed"
over the wee pair of Christmas slippers I made from stash for one of the smallest pairs of feet in the family. Since they were a hit, I'm sharing them with you too!

You can wear them with the "flaps" up to keep your ankles warm like this:

Or, if you prefer, fold down the flaps for what my DS calls the "elf" look:

Either way, I think they are going to look cute and keep toes warm!

I will post some pics after I figure out how I'm going to embellish the single color slippers for people with larger feet.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Wedding Bells

Had the pleasure of shooting some photos for my nephew's wedding this past weekend. It was a perfect day with sunshine and temps around 70*--high for Iowa this time of year!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

On The Shelves

Barbara Bretton's new book, Spun by Sorcery, was released yesterday!

This is the third book in the series and I am excited to read it. I'm also excited because I believe my Basic Sock pattern (which I use when teaching sock knitting 101) is included in the appendix at the back of the book!!

It's too bad our book store closed a few months ago. I have to wait until I can get to "the big city" to find a book seller and pick up a copy.

Monday, November 01, 2010


If you are one of the folks who likes to read comments on Blogs, then you might notice a comment on my last post r.e. the use of RIT dye.

It stems from a question I posed over at Marie's blog, Permission to Unwind, about her beautiful newly finished sweater.

(Go peek, I'll wait.)

Isn't that a beautiful sweater she made?

She mentioned having used RIT dye to make it the creamy, hot cocoa color you see in the photos and that got me curious about that particular dyeing process.

I remember my mom using RIT dye to color sheets when we were kids. I believe she simply used our washing machine for the whole process. I've never really looked at the dye too closely. So I was curious as to how Marie was able to dye a wool sweater. She had some great tips, especially to keep the object from felting. I may have to give it a try some time!

Anyone else out there ever used RIT? Do you have any tips to pass along?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Problem With Reading

I visit several blogs each day. It's a habit I enjoy and I feel I have a connection to others across the blog-o-sphere who share some of the same passions I have.....fiber, food, books, travel, etc.

The problem with such a reading habit, however, is that one is likely to stumble upon a variety of buttons and counters on other blogs.

Yesterday I ran across a blog which included a "Countdown To Chrismas" clock on the sidebar.


That was a wake up call!

Less than 2 months left until the gift giving festivities! (Even less if you're celebrating Hanukkah!!)

I finished off the handknit gifts for guys a while back. This was not really too difficult as the hand knit portion of the guy gifts is small this year. (Especially compared to the aspirations I harbor for the ladies' gifts.)

I'm not saying who is getting what, but here is what I have thus far for the women:

Thank goodness it's a felting project! That means (generally speaking) using larger needles than I do when knitting socks. This results in quicker knitting times.

Wish me luck!! (and do you think people in warm climates need something like what's pictured above?)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Former Indulgence

Ok, I'll admit it.

When my kids were younger I used to like watching some of the programming they chose, and one of my favorites was the PBS series, Arthur.

Someone on Ravelry found this episode and I couldn't resist passing it on.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Ahhh, Friday

You've got to love a beautiful Friday in autumn!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Twisted Stitches

I picked up this book because I am fascinated by the effects that can be accomplished with simple, twisted stitches.

When I opened the book, however, I must admit to feeling a bit intimidated!

Fortunately the fine folks at Knitting Daily must have anticipated that this might happen to knitters and they put together a very informative
video for us! (Note: there are a couple of twisted stitch patterns in the current issue of Interweave Knits (Fall 2010) you won't want to miss. It's a great intro to the genre and will perhaps picque your curiosity!)

Happy Knitting!

Monday, October 18, 2010

On My Swap Box

My friend in CA and I recently had our annual swap fun. Let me tell you, I am one spoiled knitter! Look what I found when I opened the box!!!

This generous gift makes the box I sent her look pathetic.

She sent not one, or even two(!) skeins of yarn, but rather six! Five of these beauties were hand dyed by me friend. (Isn't she talented?! I'm telling you, she should sell these on Etsy or something!) And the other is Wool In the Woods!! It's so lovely with delicate gold threads running throughout....simply lovely!

Here are the details of what-is-what:

1. Hand dyed wool in greens/golds.
2. Hand dyed in lovely red/scarlet.
3. Hand dyed blues/purple.
4. Hand dyed sock blank in orange/toffee colors. (She knew I struggled with knitting the other one she sent last year and so unknit it and rewound it into two seperate balls.) I really love this one and am saving it for when I feel the dead of winter greys/whites surrounding me. I will need a splash of color and this is perfect!!
5. Autum spice blend to add to my coffee in the morning. This stuff is UNBELIEVABLY delicious!!!
6. Wool In the Woods which I'm thinking is likely to become a shawl....but we'll see.
7. Second hand dyed sock blank. Look, I've already cast on my next pair of socks!
8. Sachet of lavender...smells incredible!
9. Pair of scissors for my knitting kit with lovely bead work attached. I'll always know which pair is mine at knitting group!
10. Stitch markers which match the scissors. (Someone has some mad beading skillz!)
11. Festive ceramic pumpkin. (Looks terrific on my mantle!)
12. Labels to put on my hand knit projects.
13. My favorite treat this time of year!

Now don't you all agree, I'm terribly, horribly spoiled, aren't I???

Want a closer peek? Here you go!

Thank you K!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Color Work

Went to be with my knitting friends for our weekly gathering today. I took this for show-and-tell:

It's knit from Rauma wool I purchased at the new yarn shop in Ames a few weeks ago. Those of you who know I knit some Latvian mittens for people last year will recognize the braid technique I picked up from that experience.

Everyone oohed and ahhed over the hat this morning. They wanted to know if they could get a copy of the pattern. That's when I had to admit to making it up as I went along.

I thought the three colors I found in the sale bin ($4 each) would look nice together and I just cast on 128 stitches and took off with whatever struck my fancy at the time. (I do tend to keep Fibonacci numbers in mind somewhat when thinking of rounds/patterns, but not always!)

I had enough wool left over to finish off the last 6 items I needed to create for the male presents I'm doing for the holidays. (Hopefully some of the men I'm gifting are ok with deep turquoise and eggplant purple. I think some of them will be.)

On another note:

For those who are interested in the issues of bullying and suicide, I would direct you to one of people I follow as a personal knitting icon, Franklin Habit, who wrote a very poignant and elegant blog entry regarding the topic on his blog The Panoptican titled "It Gets Better." Go, read it....and don't skip the hundreds of comments, especially if you have been bullied or felt hopeless/desperate because you felt no on supported you, no one cared, no one was there for you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Things I've Been Shooting

I've been on some very interesting photo shoots for various work projects in the past couple of weeks. Here are a few of the things I've captured.

Well, I would show you more but my DS sat down to watch Hulu and has sucked up all the bandwidth making it impossible for me to upload any more photos right now. Suffice it to say there were smiling ladies, a dental hygeine school lab, and a restaurant.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Am Sick & Tired

I'm sick and tired of opening the newspaper or turning on the news only to hear that another precious life has been lost to suicide. And while I understand that not all of the people who take their own life are dealing with homosexuality, enough of them are that I feel it's vital to get the message out.

Chris Colfer for The Trevor Project - It Gets Better from The Trevor Project on Vimeo.

If the above doesn't represent your situation but the desperate feeling is still a part of your life, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach someone who cares and who will help.

It gets better! There are people who want to help, people who care, people who understand.

Added on 10/15/2010:

Thank you Joel!!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Resistance Is Feudal

Greetings! Feels like it's been a while since I blogged! We had a fun trip to Riverssance this past Saturday. It's a Renaissance Faire in Sioux City which has been going for a few years now. What a great time! (I had forgotten how much FUN Renaissance reenactors are! If I ever decide to get into reenacting, it will definitely be Renaissance period stuff.)

Lords and ladies, knights, falconers, artists, elves and faeries, pirates, belly dancers, peasants, musicians, craftsfolk and tradesfolk...I love the atmosphere!

(Plus, who doesn't love a good shout of "Huzzah!" every now and then, right?!)

Here's the photo recap!

This last photo requires a bit of explanation. It is a 4 ton carillon, the only instrument of its kind in existence. It dates back to when the cathedrals had carillons in their bell towers. The musician would be hidden away and noone ever knew who played the melodies that tolled from the towers. This is Cast In Bronze and he tours with the instrument. It is AMAZING!! What a site to see and a musical experience not to be missed. My niece kept asking me to take her back over to see and listen to the bells. I will be putting a few of his CDs on my holiday wish list!

One thing I enjoyed was the village where you could experience the trades and crafts of the Renaissance. Particularly interesting to me were the weaver and the lady with a small hand mill who was milling grains and baking bread over a campfire.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Was In The Air

We had a very fall-like weekend. The high temp yesterday was only 54*F! I finished these socks in a very fall-like colorway last week and am just now getting around to posting.

This is Knit PIcks Felici in the colorway "Clay" (although I keep thinking of Indian Corn when I see them!) I decided to do toe-up and use up each ball completely. Consequently, the feet are a hair too big for me. I'm counting on them shrinking up just a tad when I wash them.

I also started another pair using Paton's Kroy from Hobby Lobby. It's the line called FX and I really like what this colorway is doing!

I'm knitting these with 64 sts to the round and the fabric is coming out dense. I think these are going to make very warm socks!

Yes, I'm on a sock knitting bender. I noticed that most of my hand knit socks were darned at least once, if not more. I have given several pairs away and decided to go on a spree of sock making for myself. In doing so I have decided I LOVE my Kollage square needles!! I'm using the 5" and 6" double points in size US#1. (Although I just got some US#0 today! Yippee!!)

Happy knitting!