Saturday, August 28, 2010

Refined Aran Jacket

Hi! If anyone is interested, the sweater I'm making for Kate is a free pattern from Knitting Daily called the Refined Aran Jacket. I'm making it in a dark blue that coordinates with her uniform skirt and it'll be perfect for school -- provided that it fits and all the other variables involved in knitting a garment to fit an actual person work out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bunnies and Cables

Today I sat in my "office" for six and half hours straight and when the computer screen started going blurry and I was about to scream, I decided to take a little break. I took Genevieve out into the playpen and took some pictures of her. Her naturally black fur is growing in from the head back after her summer haircut. I have an oak branch in the pen for the bunnies to play with and nibble on and Genny sat up on her haunches and examined it for a while.
Thanks to lots of teleconferenced meetings recently, I've gotten a lot done on the new school sweater I started for Kate. It has four little cables running up the back and more cables on the front, plus pockets. Thank goodness, I can knit and look at the computer screen at the same time! Otherwise, these meetings would drive me insane!
Well, back to work. Jeff is taking Kate out to dinner at the Metropolitan Club so they'll be out of my hair and I can work through the evening. Ironically, what they'll spend on dinner will probably equal my pay for the day. But, the Trademark taxonomy must be done. Back to it...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Welcome to My New World

At Annette's urging, I've finally decided to update my blog. I've been silent for so long because I have a new job and it takes a lot of my time -- so I haven't had time for a lot of the knitting and spinning things in my life since February. As I told Annette, all I do anymore is sit in the basement in front of my computer. Not to be dissuaded, though, Annette said, "Then take a picture of your work station and post that." So, I did. Here we see a picture of my makeshift work station, a door painted blue and placed across two file cabinets. I have my spinning wheel clock above and my faithful companion, Sam, below.

The rug he's lying on is alpaca ...

Next we have a picture of my UFOs, all hung neatly in bags waiting their turn to be finished (or not). The beautiful steamer trunk that Kathryn refinished for me is full of fiber to spin and is flanked by chairs full of more fiber.

Here is a picture of the top of a dresser full of spinning supplies and dyes. It has three jars of dye on top, a duck-shaped basket full of my handspun yarn, and an example of "quilling," which is a type of rug hooking that was practiced in colonial times.

Next, we have a small sample of my commercial yarn stash, guarded by an angel made out of roving.
Last, here's my collection of knitting and spinning books. The ram holding up the books on the top shelf was a gift from Lynne and is far more attractive than this picture shows. The baskets are full of my hand spun yarn -- in fact, I wove the basket on the right myself too. The display case hanging on the wall has part of my collection of ancient spindle whorls in it. My Mom made me the sign that says "Penny Landen Needlewoman" on it with counted cross-stitch.
So, this is a view of what I see eight hours a day. After reviewing it, it strikes me that it's full of a lot of lovely gifts that people I love have given me. Not a bad place to be ....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!!

We had a fun day today. We celebrated Easter and my birthday together. Mom and Dad drove up and we all went to Mass together and then to the Metropolitan Club for a lavish buffet. I totally pigged out on cold shrimp and crab and eggs benedict and roast beef. Then we drove up to Devue Park to enjoy the view over the city for a little while. When we got home, we topped off our dinner with a fabulous birthday cake Kate made for me. It was four layers of chocolate with strawberry filling in between and chocolate poured over the top. Totally sinful! We could hardly eat it after the buffet, but somehow we managed. The picture above is of Daddy with the two girls, who are wearing their Easter bunny ears.

Now to catch up on some knitting. Annette requested a picture of my angora key fob. I just made it up as I went along. The little random number generator is so small, I was afraid I'd lose it if I didn't have something attached to it. So I grabbed a small skein of Andy fur and knitted a square and then a strap to attach it to the thingie. It's silky soft and it helps to remind me of fibery goodness while I'm working.

Here's a picture of my work scarf. It's plain garter stitch so I can work on it during telephone conferences (Shhhh! Don't tell on me!). The alpaca and silk in it really give it a beautiful sheen. The color is called hyacinth, but it really looks like a purplish navy.

Last, but not least, I finished Ally's Centre scarf. It's double knitted so it's two thickness of material and in her college colors, gold and black. I was a little disappointed that it doesn't look very difficult, but I found it to be a challenging project. You have to knit each row twice and you have to keep straight which color to use at any given time. I've done color work before that looked a lot more impressive, but this was hard.

I started on a fair isle tam yesterday. I've just been doing the ribbing, so there isn't anything really to show yet. In fact, I'm still picking the pattern. More later on that. It may be slow going since I have so little time for knitting now.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and that you were able to share it with your family and friends.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Out Like a Lamb

It's the end of March and I'm checking in with a quick note. Things have changed a lot around here in the past month.

I've taken a great job with Lexis doing legal research from home. On the one hand, it's great because I can do it when I want to -- and in my pajamas! On the other hand, it's challenging to get in 40 hours a week without letting it take over your entire life. Even though I work hard all day, I often find myself working after dinner to squeeze in eight hours each day. Consequently, I haven't been doing much knitting and no spinning.

I finished the Centre scarf for Ally and I made an angora key fob for my Lexis random number generator (that allows me to get on the system). It's undoubtedly the fanciest random number generator there is. I started a plain garter stitch scarf out of alpaca and silk to keep me busy during long meetings. And that's about it.

I just ordered some yarn to finish off the plain scarf and maybe make a hat to match. I'm also thinking about making another fair isle tam with some variegated yarn I picked up at a fiber festival last year. ... just THINKING at the moment.

Spring fiber festivals? I don't know whether I'll make it this year or not. I'll have to see whether Lynne wants to go with me and when they are. It's hard to have all your time taken up after 18 years of "flex time" at home with the girls. Still, I'm grateful to have a paying job in this economy.

I'll post pictures of my projects when I get a few minutes. Gotta go!

Monday, February 15, 2010

February Snow

We're snowed in again. What a lot of snow we're getting this year! We've got about a foot on the ground and more on the way. Sam had a hard time finding a place to do his business this morning.

Here he is on his way out the door. Look how high the snow is piled on the patio table.

Before the second round of snow, though, we had some fun at the Guild House. We had the first annual Fiber Friday Sleepover. Thirteen of us gathered at the house for dinner and dessert and ten of us brought our sleeping bags and air mattresses and spent the night. We knitted and spun and wove well into the night. Actually, I went to bed at 1:00, but everyone else stayed up until 3:00!!! We laughed and talked and had a wonderful time. The next morning, Pat Maley made us some eggs with asparagus and cheese and mushrooms -- delicious! We had muffins and Holly's freshly churned butter. Most important, Grace finally got her tapestry started!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Catch up with January Knitting

I finally found my camera battery charger AND the skein of pastel yarn that I thought was lost, so now I can post some pictures of what I've been doing and what I'm currently working on.

December and January were busy months for knitting projects. I made Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Pretty Thing neck warmer out of some beautiful angora blend yarn that Lynne gave me. The colors don't show up very well in the picture, but it's a gentle lavender and pale green. I had so much yarn left over that I made a headband to go with it.

I also made another neckwarmer. I decided that my pet skein of yarn, 50% silk and 50% merino in ocean shades, needed to finally be knit into something. It used to live by my desk and get petted a lot. Now it's become a neckwarmer. I used the Meine Kalte Liebe pattern that I've used before and liked.

When I was in Florida with nothing to do but knit, read and relax, I made three hats for felting and I felted them when I got home. The first one was red, the second one was purple and the last was is a wee beanie made out of the leftovers from the red and purple hats.

Last, but not least, my current project is a little baby hat for Maria and Eric's new baby, Caroline. I finally found the lost skein of pastel yarn and I started making a little hat from this pattern. After knitting about three inches of ribbing, I took a good hard look at it and realized that the hat would hardly fit a Barbie doll. Then I looked at the pattern more closely and realized it was for preemies. So, that hat took a visit to the frog pond. I started again with this pattern and it looks closer to the right size now, but the colors are pooling pretty badly. I'm officially taking the position that it doesn't matter.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas at the Landen House

Florida is still chilly. I got up to see the sunrise again this morning. Even in the brisk weather, it's still beautiful to see the sun rise over the ocean.

So, I've got a cup of hot coffee and I'm going to share some pictures of our family Christmas. Kate and I decorated the tree early this year so we could enjoy it longer and I wrapped all the gifts in the same paper -- at Kate's suggestion -- to make a prettier display. Kate made a bunch of paper flowers out of tissue and we put them on the tree branches to add to the festive look.

Ally and Kate woke up considerably later than when they were little. In fact, Jeff and I beat both of them downstairs by at least an hour. When they got ready to come downstairs, we caught them on film and they hammed it up for the camera.

We all opened our stockings and then had a breakfast casserole that I had put together the previous evening from a recipe I got from Mom. Then the four of us gathered around the tree and opened all of our presents. In recognition of my Spongebob mania, Ally gave me a Spongebob throw and the 1st season of Spongebob on DVD. Kate gave me some lovely wooly slippers that I had been looking at admiringly. In addition to other things, I knitted both of them some wool socks and was proud to see both of them wearing them while we were on vacation in Florida. Jeff and I gave each other laptops for Christmas, so we're super high tech this year!

Later in the day on Christmas we had to get ready for an early departure for Florida the next morning. We got our last laundry done and packed our bags and got ready to go.

The next day, after a thankfully uneventful flight, we arrived at the Disney Vacation Club at Vero Beach. Kate got this picture of Jeff and me at the kitchen table in the condo.

Our friends the Neacks shared our vacation with us and here is a picture we took on New Year's Eve (Kate was in her room and missed the shot). We had a great vacation. Larry took Kate kayaking one day and they saw at least nine dolphins, some as close as three feet away! The next day, Larry took Jeff and Ally on a six mile bike ride -- which he thought was no big deal, but Ally and Jeff thought was a major ride. The rest of the time we relaxed and hung out. We missed Mom and Dad, who usually come down to Florida with us after Christmas, but Mom wasn't feeling like coming this year. We talked to them on the phone several times.

So, that was our Christmas. We were blessed with time for family and friends. I hope your Christmas was just as nice.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Presents Day in Louisville

I'm still in Florida, but the weather is hardly Florida-like! It got down to 28 degrees last night! Since I have plenty of time but no pictures of Florida to post (because the camera is out of battery), I'm going to write about our Christmas.

We loaded up the car to celebrate "Presents Day" with my extended family. "Presents Day" originated through the wisdom of my mother who didn't want to fight for Christmas Day with all of our conflicting schedules and so each year we designate a day for all the family to get together and exchange presents. This year, we celebrated fairly late -- on the 23rd-- because three of our four college students weren't getting out of school until late.

Amy and Frank, my sister-in-law and brother, hosted us this year because Frank was on call and couldn't leave Louisville. Amy had the house decorated beautifully and was all set up to present a holiday feast for all of us. We brought dishes to help out, but Amy really did the lion's share of work and it was lovely.

Everyone but Kathryn's husband, John, was able to come. Here is a picture of Kathryn, my sister and her son, William.

Here, my brother Frank watches my daughter Kate opening a present. Frank is sporting a yellow bow tie that I gave him belatedly for his October birthday.

My daughter, Ally, is sitting on the couch with my husband Jeff and my Dad.

Ally was tickled when she received a canvas bag for transporting her stuff to and from college. The surprise was that it was filled with her favorite snack foods!

Here's a pretty good picture of my Mom, enjoying the day and having everyone together.

Kate, my daughter, was eager to unwrap her gifts, which turned out to be some terrific cooking implements to foster her passion for cooking. She was especially thrilled with the "pinch bowls," just like on her favorite cooking shows.

Here's a group picture showing (from left to right) my nephew John, my sister-in-law Amy, my niece Mary Beth and my sister Kathryn.

Frank and Amy's two sons newly home from their college in California helped their parents play host to this year's gathering.
And, last but not least, we see Jeff displaying his gifts -- a tie and a wallet -- while my Dad looks on approvingly.
Next up, our family Christmas at home.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back in the Sunshine State

Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that after our annual Christmas break vacation to Vero Beach, Jeff said I could stay for another week. He's taking care of everything at home -- getting the girls back to school and everything -- and letting me relax for another week here at a luxury hotel on the beach. The bad news is that my camera is out of battery and I can't post any pictures of the beautiful beach or anything. Apparently, I left the charger at home, so I'm out of luck. So everyone will just have to imagine the green/blue waves breaking outside my window, the white breakers and the rhythmic roar of the ocean.

The sun is shining brightly, but the weather is cold -- and is predicted to remain cold all week. It's beautiful, but it's not swimming weather, or even weather to sit outside in the sunshine. Fortunately, I have a lot of fun things to do indoors. I'm listening to an audiobook, taking a DVD course in Impressionist Art, reading a novel and knitting a hat.

I wanted to post a picture of my most recent finished object, but I guess that will have to wait until I get home. I knitted Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "Pretty Thing," a lacy neck warmer, out of some beautiful angora/merino fingering yarn that Lynne gave me. It's a lovely lavender and green and turned out pretty well. Kate has been looking at it with a longing eye.

When I learned I would be staying here in Florida, my primary concern :) was that I didn't have any more yarn or a project to work on. After a lengthy search (Florida doesn't seem to be big on knitting), I found some wool yarn and I'm knitting a red hat for felting. It's going quickly; I may need to buy more yarn before I leave on Saturday!

I'm looking forward to starting a new class when I get home. I'll be working on a Masters Degree in CIT and taking a course on Scripting. I'll be finding out more about it, hopefully, when the class gets started. At the moment, I'm completely in the dark.

Since I don't have any pictures to share, I'll use the pictures I have. In the next blog entry, I'll be reporting on my Christmas with my extended family and my nuclear family and my first week at Vero -- I have pictures of all of that. See you soon!