Happy New Year – 2011

Yes, I know, there’s about 12 hours til the New Year but haven’t we already started looking ahead? Don’t we wonder what this new year will bring? We know that only the calendar changes yet we do entertain the notion of change and new beginnings.

This year passed unbelievably fast. I made resolutions for this year and I think it would be fitting on the last day of the year to review what I said I would do starting the first day of the year:

1. Don’t buy any yarn unless it is to match up with yarn already in the stash which is being used immediately on a project.

I am giving myself a B- on this. For the most part, I stuck with that and stayed within the exception guidelines. But there were a couple of moments where I did not – like a couple of days ago when I was in Joann looking for buttons. I didn’t find any buttons I liked better than the ones I had but I did notice Joann has redone their brand yarn and I saw the new Love Bug yarn (new to me) and I thought, ‘Bridesmaid shawl’ so I picked up a couple of skeins. Though the intention is honorable, that was not in the rules, so I score down a little.


2. Do projects which require the use of scrap yarn – such as squares or leaf patterns or learning how to make that darned elusive granny square.

Well, score a big whopping A on that one. Not only did I make several square afghans, I also made several granny square afghans. Didn’t do a thing to harm the stash though.


3. Stay out of temptation’s way by not going to yarn stores.

Flunked that big time. I’ve been in yarn stores more this year than any year past and I’m happy to break that rule. I said back then Melissa would laugh at me for making this resolution and would work towards my demise and in fact, she introduced us to a couple of new yarn stores this year – enabler to the core. She just can’t help herself.

So the new resolutions for 2011:

Face my fears – I have a much greater fear of success than I do failure. Given my age, I really don’t have that much time to live to my potential so starting today instead of waiting until the magical 1-1-11 gives me one more day to move forward.

Finish the books I’m writing and find an editor to look them over.

Kill the stash – a holdover from mid year this year and still worth doing. I would like to replace stash shopping with real fiber shopping when I start a project and given how fast I knit and crochet that could be a fun outing several times a month.

Get back into shape – hard to believe I was a high school and college athlete. Can’t go way back there but can do way better than where I am now. No magic numbers – just improvement.

That’s enough to keep me busy for more than a year, but I’m giving it a shot for the next 366.

Whether or not you make or break resolutions, I wish you every good thing in the coming year – the love and joy of family and friends, the appreciation of the laughter of children (yours or someone else’s)the comfort of a warm bed and a good book. Warm and breezy summer days, the willingness to help someone in your community, the country and the world and the peace you desire in your soul.

This is the only 2011 we’ll get – let’s make it a great new year.

Movin’

It occurred to me you haven’t seen the hat. Well, I knew you hadn’t seen the hat, I just got around to taking a pic of it. A cute accomplishment.

I’m getting ready for the New Year. I was going to ask some folks to come over and put some feelers out but Mr. Honey has other plans that involve me but no one else. So we are doing things his way for NYE considering he followed what I wanted to do for Christmas – he really enjoyed himself at Melissa’s and they ooohed and aaahhhed appropriately at his cake – which was supposed to be a trifle but I’m over it.

Yesterday there were four squares done and now there are seven complete – we are trucking along down the afghan super highway – can I get it all done by the 22nd? Still remains to be seen. One of the fun parts about doing this afghan is I am using all my square and pattern books to make them – except for the Great American Afghan and the Technical Afghan books – one because Melissa has one and because the squares will come out too big for this afghan so I can’t use them. But I have pile of five books and I alternate between them and so there are some crochet squares thrown in. All the knit books I notice have garter stitch and stockinette stitches in them and one book says the stitches can’t be used for commercial purposes – seriously? Do they think they invented garter and stockinette stitches? Yeah, try and defend that in any court of law.

I took another look at the bag I made and I do think it’s cute – though I will still make another one for the shop – but it ‘s got the cute working.

Tomorrow is NYE and the weather is supposed to be between 40 and 50 – heat wave!! We’re talking about putting things on the grill and freezing them for later. Not a bad idea. For the NYE dinner, I am thinking spaghetti and catfish. This plan may be nixed by Mr. Honey because it is his night to fix dinner but we will see.

In the meantime, I am feeling a little peckish so I need to eat something and get back to the knitting – I have a goal to reach and I also need to make something else before the 22nd for a gift and will need all the time I can get.

I suspect I will post tomorrow, but in case that doesn’t happen let me wish you and yours a safe and festive celebration of the coming of 2011. May your wishes and good intentions see the light of day.

Less Than Desired


So, I had this idea these cute little bags would be great for bridesmaids. Order them in the color you want to match the dresses and the girls could be consistent while still having a little purse that could carry the keys, lipstick and cell phone. It needs to be blocked and lined for the entire cute effect to come into play.

it’s cute enough and I will finish it out but I need another one to place in the shop – it’s just kind of – dull. The next one I make will be in a lighter color – a color a bride or bridesmaid could see using.
That makes the eighth item I’ve made this month. Really cooking with gas before the New Year.
I have four squares done for the afghan and I figured out the afghan needed to be 56 squares. If I can get it done, it will turn into a Christmas present but that means I would have to get it done in the next 25 days. That would be quite the trick – and treat – since I have to work anyway might as well give it a shot.

I’m going to give credit to the speediness of the knitting to the signature needles. I know I am normally a swift knitter and I think they have sped up the knitting a little but there’s no denying the squares are being finished faster. Since my hands and the fibers are the same, got to give it to the tools.

I’ve already used a skein of yarn and have another one started and I am starting the third skein because I need two colors for the next square. If this goes well, it won’t just be a 56 square afghan, it will have some personalization because I am going to add names of the family members who will receive it. Wish me luck cause this will be a challenge!

Riding the Rails

So, Christmas morning came and Mr. Honey went off the church as he normally does and I took that opportunity to wrap his Christmas presents. He wanted books – so he received the books he asked for which were financial/economic books so I thought the fun thing would be to wrap the books in the Business section of the newspaper – we need to recycle where we can.

Now, over the past few years, Mr. Honey has brought home these beautiful gift boxes from Menard’s so we don‘t wrap presents anymore because the boxes takes it to a new level but I’ve still been known to not wrap a present. So this year, I wrapped them in the business section and then put them back in the Amazon box they came in and close it back up to make it look like I didn’t even bother wrapping them.

When he came back and he said it was time to exchange presents (I didn’t prod him too much) I handed him the box and he said, ‘No wrapping?’ Which caused me to go into fits of laughter which he didn’t understand until he sat down and opened the box.

So obviously I was going to take the title of Christmas Prankster.

He handed me a box that was bigger than a box holding three sets of the world’s most awesome knitting needles should hold – and he even put a yarn cord around the box as the ribbon.
I open the box and there’s yarn! And I said, “You got me yarn, too!’ (Notes: 1. You got me yarn. 2. You got me yarn, too, so there better be something else in the box.)

I look at one of the labels on the yarn and I think – “They don’t sell this yarn at Knot Just Knits.’ Then I look at the other yarn. It’s my yarn! It’s yarn I already own. I take the skeins out of the box and there at the bottom is a wrapped package – of one set of needles.

OK.

As I put the yarn aside, I see another set of needles buried in one of the skeins.

That’s better. So I have two sets of Signature needles. It does not escape me that I have three sets of Signature needles on my wish list but I am happy with two. (After I ask him if he left anything on my wish list and he said no.)They are beautiful and luscious and I have to explain to Mr. Honey why these are the gold standard.

Later that day we are headed to the fabulous Melissa’s home for Christmas Dinner. We are outside when I reach into my bag – and there’s the third set of needles. He chuckles madly and says he snuck it in my bag when I wasn’t looking and considering I was knitting in the morning and using the bag, he was surprised I didn’t notice.

So he gets the Christmas prank award.

Mr. Honey anxiously waited for me to use the needles and my next project called for size 5 needles instead of the 8,9, 10 that I have – so I disappointed him yesterday. But today when he walked in the door I show him I had finally cast on with them and again he wanted to know why they were so good and my reply was they move like a car on rails. Handcrafted. Hand polished. Smoother than Tiger Woods both on and off the course. And beautiful color and balance. It doesn’t speed up my knitting that much but the stitches are better – they are more even and I have not split the yarn once in several hours of knitting. My hands have to get used to them, my hands started to ache when I started using them but that went away after a little while. I have already decided I need a set of size seven needles for the smaller projects that I do – and I will get that pair myself as opposed to wait for the anniversary gift.

My initial thought is that these are nice needles to have. They are holding the worsted weight yarn I have without any slippage and yet they yarn moves very smoothly. I am curious how they will handle a slippery yarn. There’s a definite difference between them and the needles that we’re used to buying. If you can get a pair (or three) they are nice to have in the tool box.

I hope your Christmas was great. We had a really good time and last night we went out to dinner with my brother-in-law and they gave me a beautiful painting by Jonathan Green – a Gullah artist. It’s was some very nice icing atop a very nice cake.

This is the time of year we start thinking of New Year’s resolutions – I am still committed to getting rid of the stash and I’ve completed seven things this month (I made a cute little bag that just needs a lining) and I have a squares afghan on the needles – the Signature needles. I hope you have a safe and festive celebration – whatever that means to you. And let’s all look towards making 2011 something we can share and be proud of!!

Whatever..Whenever

My drool of the day comes from astrid naturals and is her Shea butter soap. Have you ever had Shea butter on your skin or used it on your hair? OMG! Maia sells it in different fragrances and at a great price. Check her out!

Again, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I didn’t think I would get around to writing today but it has been really quiet around here – except for now because Mr. Honey is in the kitchen making dessert for us to take over to the Fabulous Melissa’s…but the phone hasn’t rang and the dog hasn’t been barking too much. Pretty quiet, so after clearing out 200 of the 1900 emails I have in my in box and starting a hat to match the gloves and scarflette in the picture, there’s room to post.

I have made five things this month – which is a pretty good month – I should actually be able to squeeze the hat in before 2011 hits. The scarflette was supposed to be a scarf but I just didn’t want to make it anymore and decided since cowls and little mufflers were in, I could shorten up the length and it would do just fine. I wrapped it around my neck and it was warm!! So, there you go.

The gloves are reversible – you can wear the, with the knit or purl stitches showing. The hat will be a cute hat with a tail and a pom-pom. Then i think I must get away from the blue. Green, yellow, hey, gray’s nice. Something must take me away from the blue!

Mr. Honey is sooooo busted. At StitchCraft Wednesday night, Marion and Robin told me they knew what I was getting for Christmas because they were in Knot Just Knits when this man walked in and said to the shop owner that he needed to buy the items off his wife’s wish list. I told you a few days ago that there are three sets of Signature Needles on my wish list.

While we were having dinner on Tuesday somehow the conversation came around to knitting needles and he wanted to know why I thought they were so special. He had already purchased them. They were in the house. They are in the house now. Somewhere. They are the precious and I am Gollum. I have not told him I know. I am sure he will want to relay his conversation with Marion and Robin and I want him to have his fun.

But if I knew where they were – I’d knit with them while he was sleeping and put them back. Just like what I used to do with gifts when I was a kid.

Once again, let me wish you and yours a wonderful holiday. I am thrilled beyond measure that there are those of you who will be surrounded by generations – parents, grandparents, siblings and children. You are living some of the most precious memories you will ever have. I look back on those days now and see the wonder and special feelings of love, grace and blessings that go into a Christmas Eve/Christmas Day dinner.

We can never go back to those days – too many are gone – but the memories mean so much more. I can remember the laughter. I see the smiles. I can recall the moment I was at the ‘big’ table with the adults. I remember helping Mom get the good china out of the cabinet. It only happened twice a year. And waking up to a house that smelled of turkey roasting, chitlins, sweet potato pie and peach cobbler.

I remember Dad – who I’m missing a lot today – bringing home the real Christmas tree and the whole house smelling like pine and we put those gigantic painted Christmas lights on the tree that would never pass safety standards today and pulling out the green and red tree holder and steadying the tree.

I remember the arrival of my maternal grandparents from Louisiana – Cherry with her chewing tobacco (and Sanka can) and Herman with his pipe. We knew it was Christmas when Granddaddy pulled out his change purse. A quarter was magic.

This evening, after church, I will head over to my sister-in-law’s house and spend time with her and most of her kids. Again there will be three generations but this time I will be one of the elders. That’s what happens when you grow up.

Make some wonderful memories tonight and tomorrow.

Funky Town

My drool of the day: Lemon Calendula soap by Angelic. I have to have a bar of handmade soap in the house. The stuff is sinful and when the one I have now begins to run out, I will make my way over to Angelic’s shop. Have you tried homemade toiletries? It had to be what Eve used. My goodness, if someone local makes some of this stuff, you owe it to yourself to try and it and if they don’t, start with Angelic – you will be so hooked!

I took the Deep Blue Sea afghan with me last night to Tamale Hut Cafe to be with my knit crew (April and Melissa – where were you??) In the midst of knitting a row, I decided I didn’t like. Well, I decided I didn’t like it before then but I changed my mind. Now I really don’t like it so I cut it off and it is in the middle of being frogged.

My posse (Vickie, Robin and Marion) looked over the colors and we picked the ones we thought would work best and I tried to start over but just decided the colors were not going to work with this particular design. Worked very well for the Bohemian Blue not so much for this one. Thus, I have started a new project – a hat and scarf set using the ton of blue I purchased thinking I was going to use it all up in the afghan and thus not adding to the stash.

Let this be a lesson to you – I don’t know what kind of lesson but I am sure there is one in there to be had. The hat and scarf are things I’ve done before and it should be a relatively quick knit. Even though I have started the scarf over already because there are more stitches than there should be and because it’s a lace pattern, it’s a little hard to correct so it’s better I should just start it over.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and it has been decided we shall go over to my sister-in-law’s house. But when I think about it, Mr. Honey will be going over to her house. I will not be able to join them. She is having dinner early (around 4) which means dinner won’t be ready until 5 and I have to be at church at 6 to rehearse and then we have our service at 7. Since her house is about 20 minutes from our house and moves me away from my church – the logistics just won’t work. So I will send him off and hopefully he will remember to bring some Christmas dinner back home to me.

Tomorrow is also the date my father died. In the past, I’ve missed my mom more than my dad, but this year I feel his loss more acutely. I don’t why that is but I don’t think I’m going to try and figure it out. There’s nothing wrong with missing him so it’s not a problem i need to fix. I just want him to know that I am missing him and I think of him every Christmas Eve but this one I’m feeling a little more than usual.

I hope you are surrounded by family or if not that they are within an email or a phone call’s reach. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Easy Does It

Does it make you uterus ache? Just a little? Me, neither. But I do think it’s really cute and I think it came out really lovely and it’s not even blocked yet! This little darling is for a two year old. Can you imagine it in red with a heart or green with a shamrock? (Note to self, find a shamrock motif…)

We don’t have any two year olds in the neighborhood any more – at least I don’t know any who are that young – so I can’t try it out on anyone. (Another note to self: get a toddler doll.)

Duke is wearing his dog coat and it will have to be redone. The pattern is written for a dog that doesn’t run…into bushes. Mr. Honey looped a collar through it and we have other thoughts on how to change it up – he does look hot – whatever the canine equivalent of hot is and he already knows that when we pick it up it means freedom for him and perhaps he can stay outside in the snow and cold a little longer. In fact, when he wants to go back out after we’ve called him in, he will avoid us taking the coat off.

I had selected a shawl to do next with the idea I would market it as a bridesmaid’s gift. I did a swatch (pause while you pick yourself up off the floor) and the yarn I used wasn’t right for it. It came out to thick. I didn’t find this out until after I purchased five skeins. So instead of the shawl, the skeins, which happen to be a shade of blue, will be used in another blue afghan.

This one is a take off on the amber waves afghan which I’ve wanted to do for years. Since the blue bohemian didn’t kill off as much of the stash as i thought it was going to, this should do it in for sure. it requires double stranding or the pattern just won’t work and it’s coming along very quickly – the original pattern wants size 15 circulars but the only size 15 circulars i have are from my interchangeable needles and one of the few flaws it has is the larger needles are very short and kind of uncomfortable so I am using my Clover bamboo needles and they are working like a dream. The yarn isn’t slipping away and it isn’t sticking and the work is going relatively fast. I get to work on it for a couple o hours and hope I make some really good progress. it would be nice to get it done before year’s end – no pressure – ten days. It’s not like I’m cooking Christmas dinner. We are leaving that to the fabulous Melissa who has invited over to her joint. We are bringing wine and a dessert. Mr. Honey told me what he was making but darned if I can remember what he said. I might hand him the recipe for Trifle that folks made last week at church – that stuff is angel’s food! They made it with brownies instead of angels food cake and even the angels came down with their spoons!

I’m off for a couple of hours of blissful knitting and probably to watch some of what has been recorded on the DVR. I will take a photo of the Deep Blue Sea afghan for the next posting!!

Leave Your Lights On

My drool of the day is this necklace by Amber Nicole Designs. Love the color. Love the design. Sigh. I need to be rich.

Mr. Honey has been on a go out to breakfast tear this week. We went out for breakfast twice. I remember my mother-in-law telling me something a long time ago. She was married twice (and engaged in her eighties!) and she used to be a homebody. She didn’t want to go out or do things but in her second marriage that all changed and she said to me, “If your husband wants to go somewhere; go.”

So, I went out to breakfast twice this week with my husband. During the second breakfast outing he wanted to know what I was going to do now that all the shows were over. First, I am waiting for the check to arrive from the last show so I can close out the folks who participated.

Second, I told him of my thoughts, idea, plans for 2011 and getting ready for January, February and March. I am working on a poncho for a kid: I am thinking towards outings with the little one (female) and thought a cute poncho might be a nice item. I am thinking I should embellish it with some sort of motif but I don’t know what would go on the front of a poncho: puppy? heart? Then again, there’s nothing wrong with something simple, elegant and plain. I know I will be pulling out the pom-pom maker and adding at least two of those. It should be a relatively quick knit. I started this one last night and I should be able to kick it out by tomorrow – it’s for a two year old after all, how big can they be? I am thinking of making a version for Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Days.

I started fleshing out the notes for the sermon on Sunday. Believe it or not, I am pretty shy so delivering a sermon is a difficult feat for me. I really love doing it but I love it more when it’s done.

I hope this weekend before Christmas finds you ready for the holiday. Christmas Eve is one week from today. It will mark the 9th year of my father’s passing. I have a portraits of my father and mother on the top of our china cabinet. They are young and they are beautiful and they are watching. They were beautiful even as they aged and they watched us as well. I do not believe that has ended. But I am saddened. I know next Friday will be a bustle of activity as we prepare for the Christmas Eve service so it’s this moment in time I think of my dad and miss him.

I am going to work on the kiddie poncho and hopefully put the finishing touches on the sermon and kick out another page of the book. That will round out the day and begin the weekend quite nicely. This month is messing with my mind – it’s the 17th but it’s also the third Friday of the month – isn’t that weird?

Turn, Turn, Turn

My drool of the day is the crochet tree from Akuadesigns. I can even see putting some ornaments on it. Cute!

Can someone please explain to me why I am thinking about knitting a pair of socks? Fear not, I am not in danger of actually pulling out the one skein of sock yarn I’ve had in my possession for more than a year and whipping up a pair. I just want to know why I’ve been thinking about it.

There are some things which should not be considered: Brett Favre in a Bears uniform….President Palin….me knitting another pair of socks. Though of the three, the socks is the most likely.

I am giving the sermon on Sunday and I will be talking to Ecclesiastes 3:1-13. It is a familiar passage; to everything there is a season. A time to be born, a time to die; a tie to sow, a time to reap, and so on.

It does not escape me that this time of year is crowded for us. There’s Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa – holidays that are there for everyone. But also it’s Mr.Honey’s birthday in October and my birthday in November. It is my mother’s birthday in October. It is also the time of his mother’s passing right before his birthday and my father’s passing on Christmas Eve. In the midst of all the celebration are moments of sadness.

But the text in Ecclesiastes says there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. There will be a time when it is necessary for a myriad of things to occur. But it also says God has placed the idea of eternity into our souls and we will never know all that God has done and will do but we are to be happy and do good while we are here. So while there may be a time for hate, war and sadness to be, they are not to be of equal measure to love, peace and joy. As we prepare to put away this year with the celebration of lights, the coming of the Christ child, and the beginning of a new year, it is understandable that there will be moments of sadness and regret. There will be that time of missing those who are gone but the good news is we also have the happiness of knowing they were here. That joy does not diminish.

Rhapsody In Blue

This is my drool of the day. They are Antique Lace Earrings by Beyond Jewelry. Now that I had all my hairs cut, it gives me the chance to wear big earrings that make me feel great!

I ended the throw a few inches early because I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was ready to move on. The truth is, I was ready to move on a couple of inches before I stopped it but kept going until it was at least the same size square. I could wrap it around me so it’s not so bad and I’m looking at the photo thinking how lovely it is. What you don’t see are the sequins I tied into the fringe. Peacock blue sequins in every eighth fringe. Happy with it I am.

But here’s the thing. I know I said it was a stash buster and that I was noticing some skeins were getting smaller. I turned the lights out and I guess that meant it hooked up because it doesn’t seem like I nicked the stash at all. I have a bag of blues.

The foundation for 2011 is being set. I won’t be adding anything new to the shop until 2011 and I am pushing out the old items! Miss April doesn’t understand why I am not content with having the clearance items. She doesn’t get that I want the entire store to be new. I’m not sure either other than I want the slate as clean as possible. In order to make that happen, I am really discounting what’s in the shop right now.

I sold about ten items during the show so I still have a good sized inventory that I would like to see go to good homes and I have two afghans ready to start the new year. I am looking in the pattern books for items that would be connected with January – March. So that would be some winter items, Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of the Easter season. Looking through the pattern book I noticed a scarf that I can do in red that would be a lovely, soft gift for Valentine’s day. I’m thinking of adding heart charms on the edges. It’s a lovely lace pattern and I think it would make a beautiful gift for a new girlfriend or someone who loves red. I’ll show it to you when it’s done.