Saturday, December 29, 2007

DIY: Picture Ornaments

Making picture ornaments is a family tradition handed down from my Grandma Penny. For many years now, I have made an ornament for each year that passes with pictures of us, our pets or here recently, our vacation road trip Christmas card. You too can start a new tradition for your family. I keep the supplies in a tin and get it out every year with my Christmas things. You'll need the following:

3" styrofoam ball
Velvet cut in 2" strip and a small circle
2 hair pins
Fishing line swivel
Any size bell
Metallic fabric paint
Craft glue and a picture

It's really quite simple to glue together following the pictures starting with slicing off an end of the styrofoam ball (I found using a bread knife works the best) and tracing your ball on the picture. Just be very careful when working with the glue not to get it smeared all over the velvet by wiping your fingers frequently on a damp paper towel. Glue the picture on and then the trim starting on the front bottom wrapping it around to cover the gaps and seams. Insert the swivel on top and the bell on the bottom with the hair pins and finally, use the fabric paint to write on name(s) or place(s) and the year on each side. Allow to dry, hang and enjoy your snapshots in time.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Got Nothin' Better to Do

While husband is occupied in the garage modifying his kick-start HD Shovelhead with an electric starter and new belt drive, I'm looking forward to four days off from work with nothing better to do than to lounge by the fireplace, sip some wine and work on my latest knitting project. What a great weekend to rejuvenate and reflect on the passing of 2007 and new goals for 2008.

On second thought, I'd better get myself into the gym to work off the extra holiday weight!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

I hope this post finds you reflecting on a wonderful Christmas holiday. We've had our family dinners and all the gifts have been opened. My best gift has been spending a very long, snow-filled weekend with my family and several get togethers.

I'd love to share a few of my other favorite gifts:

A cowgirl apron from Mom I picked out almost a year ago in Canton, TX. Funny, it matches my reconstructed luggage...

A shiny, chrome Harley Davidson hitch cover for my 4-wheel ride I've been wanting for a couple of years. There's gotta be a redneck joke here...

Yet another rhinestone belt buckle to add to my collection. Our friend, Micca (who works at Alefs HD) told husband I was admiring it the last time I was in the shop -- I'm like a moth to a flame when it comes to rhinestones! The biggest surprise of them all!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bring on the Snow

I woke this morning to thunder then came rain, sleet, snow and now a blizzard. We put the truck in 4-wheel drive and navigated across town to take care of (our horse) Duke. Hope you're staying in today, Melanie, Ford Mustangs don't have a chance in this kind of weather! I counted four that were stuck in the snow and thought of you. I just love this kind of adverse weather and we braved the blowing snow and limited visibility to have a breakfast lunch at Riverside Cafe and a quick stop at Twist for an emergency supply of yarn. It was a fun adventure for the day and now we're warm and cozy by the fire. Sheba's watching the snow fall and you can see how much snow were getting -- this is just what's blowing in under the patio cover. I'm hoping it stays around a while for a White Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A New Love for Wool

Living in the Midwest allows us to wear wool about 5 months out of the year. This may help explain my love for Noro but lately I've discovered classic pure virgin wool skirts from Pendelton that go great with my Born Whitley boots. Pendelton has been around a long time and they have an interesting story about their Northwestern woolen mills and Indian blankets. (I found many of these blankets for sale in the Portland, OR airport). Although my skirts were constructed in El Salvador, it's good to buy an item that at least the label reads, " Woven in our USA mills." You can buy Pendelton products on-line or find a wide selection of women's wear at Dillard's-Towne East. Nothing is more cozy than a handknit sweater, a great wool skirt and boots!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lia is Moving

My dear knitting friend, Lia, has been talking about moving for months to Spokane, WA and we've all avoided discussing it in detail because it's just too sad. But there's no getting around it now that she's there today searching for a new home and will be moving away in a couple of weeks. The Wichita KIP (Knitting in Public) experience has gifted me with many friendships over the years and with that comes the sad realization that nothing ever stays the same and people move in and out of your life. Fortunately, for us, we have the blogworld and will be able to keep tabs on her great adventures - just like we do with Allison.

Lia, your kind spirit and generosity will be greatly missed here in Kansas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Duke in the Snow

There's something very magical to me about horses and snow. They are so majestic just standing there braving the elements. (Of course, our old boy gets to lounge in a warm stall covered in hay in bad weather). I like to coax Duke out into the field with an apple and then get him to run in the field of snow - he's just so beautiful like that. Then he'll get excited and fall down to roll in the snow. I must give credit where it's due -- while all this magical frolicking is going on, husband is shoveling poop and doing the not so enjoyable things that it takes to care for a horse.

Retro Rib (Tabi) Socks

This is how you safely wear flip-flops in the winter! Using J.Knits superwash/nylon wool on #1 dpn's, I followed the Retro Rib pattern from Interweave Knits/Winter 2004 to the toe shaping then switched to the Japanese split sock Tabi pattern from Not Just More Socks. A great way to add warmth to your favorite flip-flops.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Holiday on the Plaza

Sleet, snow and falling temperatures didn't stop us from driving to Kansas City for husband's Christmas party over the weekend. I don't get many opportunities to be a passenger in a car so I was excited to have many hours of uninterrupted knitting time. This year we all gathered at Ruth's Chris on the Plaza for exceptional steak dinners and a variety of delicious wines. It was a cold evening that followed as we walked along the Plaza with our friends John and Tammy (pictured) taking in all the Christmas lights. A trip to the Plaza will do wonders to get you in a festive holiday mood and a stop at Cabela's on the way home finished up my Christmas shopping list.

And then there was knitting -- and lots of it. In fact, I managed to finish the Bettna jacket in Noro Silk Garden in a record setting week thanks to work road trips and overnight hotel stays. Talk about multi-tasking! Now if I can only get my Christmas cards sent out...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Millais Sweater

Shelly asked me to knit up this sweater for the shop. It's a Colinette kit of Taos silk and Pariseinne mohair. I found the mohair to be pretty tricky and way too easy to drop stitches. I guess that's just how mohair is and almost impossible to undo if you make a mistake and have to tink (knit backwards!). Good lighting and deliberate stitches was mandatory for this project.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"L"s the Word

I met Angelique at Yoga Central this morning. It was my first time there and I thoroughly enjoyed the change of scenery. The smaller class was much more intimate than the classes at the "Y" and offered more challenging strength poses. From now on, I'm going to call Angelique "My Little Pretzel." She's so tiny and has wonderful flexibility with awesome form.

After yoga, I swung by Twist to visit with Shelly. She had Janet, a true artist at all she does, make me an L sweater pin from sterling silver. Right off, you think of Laverne and Shirley. Shelly is selling these pins at a very reasonable price in a variety of shapes and styles.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Duke and My Felted Cowboy Hat

My new felted hat came in pretty handy for today's temperature of 32 degrees. Duke sniffed around on the wool of my hat and tickled my ears with hot air from his nostrils. We fed him grain and locked him in for the dropping temperatures tonight. I'm hoping we get snow from our 50% chance later today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

The turkey is finished and the side dishes are all prepared for our holiday meal. I still have a couple hours before family arrives and I'm thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving day.

I give thanks:

for being married to my best friend and making every day special

for the good or improved health of my family

for financial security for my mother and my father being able to live the retirement of his dreams

for having some really special girlfriends in my life to spend time with

for having a good job that is building my financial retirement goals

for emotional happiness and the material things I have worked hard for

and finally

for Twist and Ravelry for providing an outlet for creativity, sharing and the balance that knitting has brought to my life

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Holiday Fixins

The anticipation is building for the Thanksgiving holiday. I'm about 99% sure I have everything to fix our holiday meal. This year I'll be cooking for my husband, mom, father-in-law, sister-in-law and her husband. The pressure of fixing a perfect turkey and meal used to make me real nervous but I've pretty much got it down now. I'm looking forward to a long weekend of burning the fireplace, knitting and taking in a few yoga classes to burn off the extra calories.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Le Slouch

'Tis the season to wear hats for warmth and I like to wear them to keep my hair back. I sported my beret to breakfast and the grocery store this morning. I made Le Slouch in stockinette with an 8" slouch from Classic Elite's Waterlily from Twist. This merino yarn has a mottled suede look just perfect for a casual day.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Noro Hat

This hat made from Noro Kureyon is my first pattern project idea from Ravelry. I like the bands of color and the hat but it's taking everything I have to resist felting it into a bowl. Noro = Love

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Winter Cowboy Hat

Winter's around the corner and felting's in the air. Thank you Lalana Wools for the inspiration to make this felted Winter Cowboy Hat. This is my most favorite finished knitted project EVER. I absolutely love this hat. I have several cowboy hats but this one is so special and hard to believe handmade. While in New Mexico in July, I found this pattern and selected Lalana Wools' hand dyed worsted wool in walnut (to match my favorite boots) and indigo for the hatband and trim. The indigo is a combination wool and silk that gives a nice contrasting sheen and dimension. This hat makes me want to thrown on a duster and ride a horse through a mountain of snow.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Market Bag

For me, knitting inspiration comes from the yarn shops I visit and the people I know. This felted bag was a combination of both. K.Anne had once come to a meetup showing off a new bag her felted exchange partner had made for her and it was gorgeous. I was attracted to the shape, color and lovely leather handles. I filed this bag away in a corner of my obsessive knitting memory for a future project. Recently, I was at Yarns and they had for sale leather handles and big, handmade wood buttons and that bag insipiration came flooding back.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tree Jacket

The Tree Jacket is complete and not quite what I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, I like it but I was going for a more snug fit, especially in the arms. I should have knitted the chest circumference in small instead of medium and I probably wouldn't have ended up with such roomy arms. It's all good and I will wear my labor of love, just in a different way than I had originally planned.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

2007 Sewing & Quilt Expo

Jackie, Lia, Angelique and I loaded up early Friday morning for an overnight stay in Kansas City for the 2007 Sewing and Quilt Expo. Along the way, we stopped at Yarns in Salina, Shivering Sheep in Abilene, Stitch Nitch in North KC and The Studio off the Plaza in KC. It was our own little yarn shop hop. It was such a great day with mexican food and margaritas for lunch, a ton of shopping and a sushi dinner at Stix in Legends Mall. We were worn out by the time we made our way back to our motel and crashed at an early hour.

What's a Saturday morning without Panera? We woke up early and did some knitting in our pj's and then headed over to Panera for our customary Saturday morning of souffles and knitting. Then made our way to the convention center where we served as Knitting Ambassadors and taught several customers basic knitting stitches.

We just didn't get enough yarn so we made a quick stop on the way back home in Lawrence for yet more yarn at Yarn Barn and a great salad for lunch. I sure had a fun trip with my KIP buds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ravelry - A Knit and Crochet Community

What a suprise to find an email today that I have been accepted to Ravelry. I signed up so long ago that I actually forgot all about it. So, I spent all night loading my notebook with old and new projects, added my groups and friends' list. Right now, there are 492 Ravelers online -- how exciting is that??

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Vest in Noro

My KIP friend, Maxine is knitting this vest and I thought it would be perfect in my favorite yarn, Noro (7 skeins Silk Garden). It's a simple pattern of two easy pieces that I modified as follows:
Front Panel - On #7, CO 74 sts, K2, P2 for 57"
Back Panel - Pick up 82 sts in middle of front panel, K2, P2 for
15 1/2"
I picked up mom this morning to go to the Flea Market and of course, she fell in love with the colors of this Noro and demanded I make her one too. Why not, Christmas is around the corner. I'll make hers on #8s for a looser fit.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

DIY: Reconstructed Suitcase(s)

I have a little overnight trip coming up next weekend and it got me to thinking about the $9 suitcase I purchased last month at the Colliseum Flea Market. (I have a thing for old, rustic Samsonite suitcases). Last year, at a flea market in Canton, Texas, I found a very nostalgic traincase for $6 and had a vision of recovering it in some western cowgirl fabric I adore. I pulled out the insides, recovered the pieces and glued them back in place. Then glued fabric on the outside, added fringe trim, brass tacks and a silver star medallion concho and there you have it - a roomy case for cosmetics - western style.

Anyways, back to the suitcase. Today I used the same coordinating fabric following the steps above. I was able to keep the very functional elastic divider intact as the green coordinates with the other fabrics. Now I have two pieces of one-of-a-kind luggage just perfect for a weekend getaway.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tallgrass Country Club

I had a tough day at the office today -- NOT! Me and 3 other women coworkers played golf following a meeting that was sponsored by Wesley Medical Center. The 70 degree weather couldn't have been more beautiful and I hit some pretty good shots. I now know why they call it tall grass - we lost quite a few balls in the rough. But with golf, it's those little successes that keep you in the game and make you think someday you could actually be decent at it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dress Yoke

This is 44 inches of beautiful cable. The next step is to pick up sts along one edge for the front, back and sleeves working downward for the body of the dress. Then pick up sts along the other side for the garter yoke (collar). I still feel like I have to make apologies for making this in Wool-Ease but then again, darn it, I'm going to be happy with my choice! It's affordable, washable wool with no shrinking or itchiness.

I think I like cables. Instead of using cable needles, I'm using the same size dpn, setting it aside while I knit stitches and then knit right off of the dpn making the cable twist.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Moderne Baby Blanket

I knitted this baby blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting for a coworker's new baby girl, Carlee. The colors match the bedding that her momma sewed. Instead of using mercerized cotton for the blanket, I opted for the nylon/acrylic blend in Berroco's Comfort yarn (8 skeins). It made for a really soft and lighter blanket.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Woofstock 2007

Look who we met up with on the highway on our way to Sedgwick County Park for the 10th annual Woofstock event to benefit the Kansas Humane Society. Why, it's Lia and Sahale. Our dogs got along well except Sheba got a little agitated with the other nosey dogs halfway through the event. There were hundreds of people and dogs with some places a little too close for comfort. We walked in the Mut Strut and as always enjoyed seeing all the different breeds of dogs. It was a good turnout and should have raised a good amount of money for a new adoption building in Wichita.

Update (11/19/07): Woofstock 2007 was a reacord-breaking year. Attendance increased 50% with 15,000 people and 6,000 dogs. The event reached $206,000 - an increase of 16%. Mark your calendar next year for October 4, 2008.

DIY: Fitted Woofstock T-Shirt

I don't like to wear traditional t-shirts so when I got up this morning to get ready for Woofstock I was thinking about what I could do with my event shirt to make it more appealing. I came up with a plan:

Take a fitted shirt and lay it down to make a pattern. My Woofstock t-shirt is Large so I just extended the seams all the way down to the finished edge so it will be long and scrunchy at the bottom. This is where a serger comes in handy to sew the side seams and insert smaller, capped sleeves in just minutes. Stitched the collar down and TA DA - a new, more appealing event T-shirt -- now we're off to Woofstock.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Happy Special Day

I don't like to count the years anymore so I've renamed my birthday to My Special Day. I took the day off from work to do something I enjoy. Yeah, I could've spent the day curled up in my new room knitting but I called up a special friend(s) and asked to spend the day with. We ate, drank and rode our bikes in celebration of my day. When I got home there was a package on the counter from mom. To my delight, it's Oprah's new book, O's Guide to Life. It was a very good day.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cowboy Town

The new Brooks & Dunn CD was released today. Have I mentioned lately how much I love, love, love Ronnie and Kix? I think my favorite track is #7 "Tequila". I can just imagine that the girls at Coyote Ugly are going to be kick'n it with this song. Makes me wanna put on my boots and dance on a bar.

Go on - get your own copy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Revealed: My New Craft Room

While we had the house disassembled for new paint and carpet, we decided to expand and move my craft room from a dark little room in the basement to an upstairs master bedroom. It was a big, long and somewhat empty junk room that transformed into the craft room of my dreams. I purchased coordinating office furniture pieces, added a denim covered loveseat, made denim valances and matching table runners to tie the whole room together.

Check out this video (double click on arrow) of my new creative oasis.

The Nest is Full!

The most exquisite yarn order arrived today from Blue Sky Alpacas. I fell in love with the Scoop Neck Vest knit from Brushed Suri and Alpaca/Silk. (It's one of the nominations for the next Sexy Knitters Club KAL). Aside from my current WIP's, I now have more than I can possibly ever finish this winter. Let the nesting begin!

Nesting for Winter?

Monarchs are flying south, horses are getting their winter coats and I'm sure somewhere up north bears are preparing for hibernation. And what do you think knitters do to prepare for winter -- we build our knitting nest. Mine a pile of projects mounting as a yarn order arrived yesterday from Lion Brand. I know, you say, Lion Brand with a wrinkle in your nose. Yarn snobs take note: flip thru a fall/winter catalog and there are some pretty cool designers in their camp. I'm looking forward to making this Cable Luxe Maxi dress in easy-to-care-for Wool-Ease in Cocoa. Can't you just picture it with a great pair of boots and a chunky necklace?