Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What next?

It is 2AM +/-

The wind is whipping outside and my mind refuses to let me get more shut eye. Weariness will hit tomorrow as the nearly 50 degree temperatures of yesterday meander through my mind.

I hate the weather here and that will not change.

Plus, hunger is ravaging my body. Since the onset of BBS - Big Butt Syndrome, I've been watching the calories around here AND exercising daily (nearly) on the treadmill. Starving is not in the plan, but sometimes hunger just now!

A couple of knit projects are in the works. Chris sent the lovely Briar Rose Wistful (above) destined to become a Morning Glory Wrap. Anne Hanson is a genius when it comes to pattern design. Methinks everyone knows this but, if you are not familiar with Anne, take time to browse her patterns at the link - they will not disappoint!

Chantal, a Norah Gaughn pattern from Berroco has been in process as well. The yarn was frogged from Becky's ISE5 scarf attempt in favor of a softer alpaca. The stitch chosen for the scarf made the yarn feel scratchy, but it is working well in a Fisherman's Rib. This rib is a very nice stitch, but seems to go on forever. The back ribbing was finally finished last weekend and I've switched over to the Ultra Alpaca for the upper back. The armholes and decreases are all in and there are a few inches left to go. The rib seems a bit big where the seam goes in. Otherwise, I like the way it looks. Progress photos are needed.

The Brea Bag is still waiting in the wings. There was only one fat quarter of the cupcake fabric and the thought was to seam a solid at the bottom in order to have enough cupcake showing at the top. All along, a hunt was going on for the elusive fabric which was located at Crybaby's Fabric Boutique. They have cute stuff and I love the Organic Sheeps print!
The entire remaining inventory of white cupcake fabric is on it's way to me!

Other than that, the urge to cast-on has been resisted. Time is of the essence as we wait to hear of college acceptance and trudge away on the Scrapbooks. Why, oh why is scrapbooking such a chore for me? Say a little prayer, if you will, on this one because June will be here before we know it and the Scrapbooks will be unfinished.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mittens for Mitizi aka what I finished today 1/28/2008

Mitzi's Birthday Mittens are only one week late!

We are supposed to get more snow this week so it may be cold enough to give them a try. Temptation to add little eyelashes and a pearl necklace was barely resisted. The bird does have a little bead eye, though.

On the fiber front, I've decided that this is 'I Love My Mailman Day'. On occasion, he brings things that I actually this roving dyed especially for me. Briar Rose roving? I must be the luckiest girl in the world!

My spinning skills must continue to improve to be Briar-Rose-Worthy!

A little bird popped an e-mail in my inbox hinting at the fact that a finished Froggy may be in my future. Tomorrow will be the day if it is going to happen. I would really love to learn to make them myself because there is a little penguin and a lion that are pretty cute too. Crochet in my future does not look promising!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ways to skin a frog

A little frog has been driving me crazy! This guy has been on my mind since reading about him on Brooke's site last week.

My crochet skills can best be described as: limp, drag the hook; limp, drag the hook... However, there is this friend who I am lucky enough to have and she is a crochet fiend. We met to 'knit' today and she was presented with a pattern and yarn to 'help' me start Mr. Frog. She got him started and turned over the controls to LDH (Limp Drag Hook). I promptly butchered him over and over again. Mr. Frog pattern went home with Stitcher Bomb.

Enter dream sequence: Next week, when we meet to knit, Stitcher Bomb enters carrying a finished Froggy!

Yoooo Hoooo, SB, are you reading?

Reinforcing seams

Mitzi snuck away yesterday to have dinner and it was a much needed visit. During the past many months, we have discussed ideal materials to use when reinforcing seams in knit garments. The goal was to make it to JoAnn's today and see if they had our ideal product for Mitzi's top with raglan sleeves (I didn't make it there, sorry...). The photos above are of a sweater utilizing what may very well be the perfect solution.

Sharing this photo with you is the next best thing to actually touching it. Be Sweet yarn is VERY nice and I've often admired it from afar. Can you believe my friend, SB, gifted me this today? Oh my goodness, it is so fabulous and I am a lucky, lucky girl!
One pair of Bird in Hand mittens coming right up!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fabric in the mail

This fabric came from Apple Lover's Etsy Shop and it arrived today all the way from Taiwan.

It is even more endearing in person than via photo and is perfect!

Perfect for the Brea bag I knit a few weeks back and have never posted about. It also isn't included in my projects on Ravelry...which led me to wonder why some projects get posted right away, some wait until they are finished, then others that fade off into the yarn pile never to be posted at all.

Generally, I post my projects once they are cast-on. My guess as to why this one is not out there would have to be because so many folks have made this bag - how could mine ever be original? Methinks the fabric will do the trick!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

LIVE...From Chicago!

...not so 'live' really. The Palmer House charges $17.?? for internet connectivity (per day, methinks) and we didn't need connectivity THAT badly.

Just a quick jaunt to soak up some culture. There was great food and Hubs surprised Bugg and I with tickets to Wicked!!! I've wanted to see this show for a very long time and last year he refused to pay the price that these tickets sometimes command. Turns out, you can get lucky by visiting the theatre on performance day.

The show was fantastic (as were our seats) and the plan is to go again when the show is at The Wharton Center in Lansing this summer. If you have the chance to catch it while on tour or in a major city, you will not be sorry!

A few modeling shots of our T-shirts.

Bugg has red-eye in the second, but it sort of goes with her pose so I didn't fix it for this post.


I've cast-on Chantal from Norah Gaughan's Vol 1. All of that Fisherman's Rib goes slowly. It was thrilling to be able to use the Ultra Alpaca Light frogged from Becky's ISE5 scarf. The yarn works well in Fisherman's Rib and is extremely soft.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What a good spinning lesson can do

A few weeks back my order of Funky Carolina roving came and it is beautiful. This is 1/5 of the order - we will save the others for later. The link for the Etsy shop is added with hesitancy. I really like to have first dibs on this stuff!

Yesterday had me trekking to a much anticipated spinning lesson - yay! Beth told me to practice...Georgia and I have been doing exactly as advised today, see?

That little twist is sweet! I love it, I love it!

And, the progressing bobbin...

Spinning interested me long before I took the initiative to learn more. There were plenty of crafts that I had invested in - time and money, spinning did not need to add to that long list. When the decision was made, I dove right in and am so happy about it.

So, about those other crafts...I'm thinking of selling the loom and I really need to finish that quilt on the quilt rack then think about selling it...(the quilt rack, that is)

Monday, January 14, 2008

What I finished today (1/14/08)

Given the return of colder weather, a new scarf is certain to maintain the warmth.

The thought was to use some Briar Rose leftovers for a toaster cozy. There was 3 ounces of Fourth of July remaining from Icarus and it was perfect for a project on my mind since ISE5. I'm calling it Rose Trellis and it used every bit of the 3 ounces of yarn.

A cozy is still needed, but the Briar Rose is not going to be used for that purpose.

The pattern is prepared and tested and will be scuttled into a PDF then posted.

We had planned to see The Bucket List this weekend, but never really moved from the house. There wasn't much new ON DEMAND either. With the Writers strike, viewing enjoyment is severely limited.

I've finally been able to schedule my first official spinning lesson since getting Georgia today. Some fantastic roving has made it's way here and I can't wait to spin it.

More knitting? Still working on the Mitzi's. One is almost finished!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


My Knit Bud and I finally met last week for the first time since the Holidays - what a wonderful time I had just visiting.
She really loved Bugg's bird mittens and gushed tremendously, so a pair for her were added to my queue.
They've been started and are named 'Mitzis' in honor of my good bud.
She does read my blog Hello so the fact that these are for her will not be a surprise. The surprise will be if I get them finished by her birthday next week.

I just have to share - during the Holidays, Mom was reloading her scrubbing bubbles shower cleaner. I was interested and she swears that it does work...but $20 +/- for this gadget?
Hunting for coupons proved unfruitful - full price?
Turns out Wal-Mart had it for $14.00 (SOLD!) **side bar - there was a coupon in the box for $3 off another one!**
It works immediately if you clean/scrub the shower first OR it will work in 2 weeks on a dirty shower. Me thinks it can be sped up by just running it over and over again 14 times (=2 weeks, right?). Scrubbing the shower by hand was unappealing, especially because the kool-aid dye experiment was scheduled for yesterday.
You will get a report back when results begin to show. It may take longer because the attachment was missing from the box - you know, the one that moves up and down the shower walls sucking all of the gunk off?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Dying my Hand spun

The fiber is natural Romney purchased long before Georgia came to live with me. Some was spun on my drop spindle, and is still there (I should check and see how it is doing).

This is over spun a bit and has little twisty pieces here and there. Other than the Alpaca, this is the only other hand spun I've produced-so far.

This kool-aid dye recipe is where I began.

Bare Romney hand spun

After 2 minutes in dye solution

After 4 minutes in dye solution (rested 2 minutes between heatings)

During rinse

Soaking in wool wash

Clear water after soak

Hang drying while weighted

Close up (little twists visible)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

What I finished today (1/6/08)

The Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang - Interweave Knits Winter 2007

Knit Picks Palette

Rainforest Heather

Size 4 needles

What a great stash buster! The 'sampler' pack of Palette was here and seemed to be a great substitute for the original yarn (plus, it's already paid for). The colors seem to match pretty well.
I've learned from small stranding projects in the past, but am not a pro...yet. The results are pretty good and any unevenness evened out in the blocking.

This project is addictive!

Pictured is my second attempt - the first was past the neck shaping and I did not pay close enough attention to the directions. PLUS, my skills/technique had improved. I will make little purses or something out of the first attempt.

This is the first time I used steeks and there was not much anxiety about cutting, but I did elect to stitch on each side of the cut.

-Absolutely my favorite project of all time and I discovered that I LOVE color work.

Friday, January 04, 2008

My exercise regimen for 2008

Wow! The holidays sure pack on the pounds!

Santa dropped off Dance Dance Revolution for the kid's game system. It seems easy enough while watching and it gets easier with a little practice. Realization settled in quickly that my body is not as young or in shape as it used to be.

An idea! This would be a fun exercise regimen (trust me, it makes you sweat). Have fun and loose the cookie pounds at the same time - sounds good.

For now, I am a closet DDR user. The kids just laughed and laughed. They should watch out, though - after a few week's practice I will be able to dance their butts off!

Now, where did I put that candy bar....

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Family Recipe Box

Ann and Kay over at Mason-Dixon Knitting are holding a contest involving Recipe Boxes and the possibilities they contain.

Where we come from, the Recipe Box (insert spiritual sound here) holds the family heritage much like the Family Bible we brought from the Southern States in the mid-1900's.

Enough suspense, I present the Hartman Family Recipe Box (insert spiritual sound here):

...I did not promise it would be pretty. Totally utilitarian, I know. The inside, you ask?

Wait for it....

My husband's Grandmother and Mother operated family restaurants in the Midwest. They compiled these recipes (many of which call for 40 eggs and 16 cups of sugar) for use at large family gatherings as well as in their restaurants.

Q. What sort of recipe did it take to raise a family and run a restaurant in the Midwest during the mid-1900's?

A. The same type it takes today! Hubs says it looks like a recipe for Kahlua. I am skeptical, but any booze you can brew up at home seems worthwhile.

A well-loved recipe was likely made after the consumption of above:

Any recipe that has been on fire (literally) and survived to collect so many smudges/ingredients MUST be good.

In tribute:

Mary B. Hartman (Stevens) May 27, 1913 - April, 1969


Helen M. Heckathorn (Hartman) June 17, 1934 - Aug. 30, 2002

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

When I win the lottery

The newspaper covered yet another story about a lottery winner who plunged into certain doom after winning.

Hubs and I participate in the Hillbilly* Retirement Plan - we buy lottery tickets most every week for the major lottery in our State. We have won a free ticket on occasion, but our retirement plan remains largely unfunded by any lottery winnings.

Stories of those who have won significantly (at least $1,000,000. qualifies for significant for these purposes) convey tales of woe, but that does not make me think about how winning would destroy our lives. I remain certain that things for us would be very different and the hope remains that someday the opportunity to prove such will present itself.

Top 10 Things I will do when we win the lottery in no particular order:
1. Buy 1 (at least) of everything from Williams-Sonoma (Hubs knows about this and supports my desire)
2. Hire someone to open our mail and 'deal' with the beggers
3. Become a silent partner in a small business venture
4. Support a charity of our choice
5. Pay a personal shopper to find some jeans that make my butt look great
6. Finish my dental work, pay for it myself, then hire an attorney to sue BC/BS to get the money back
7. Spend the rest of Winter in a warm location
8. Invest significantly
9. Become debt free
10. Take time to organize all of my yarn so I can find what I want when I need it

*This comment is not designed to insult or demean any Hillbilly. I am half Hillbilly and Hubs feels certain he is all Hillbilly thus we are legit in making this statement.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ringing in the, NEW Year

The New Year arrived safely. The SAFELY part is always a concern with the people who consume vast amounts of alcohol and then choose to drive...possibly at the expense of my innocent family members (or yours).

My parents arrived safely home after their visit and a huge snow arrived. The visit was nice and relaxed without much ado. We played cards and ate, even shopped a little. Oprah's Pomegranate Martini's were a big hit. A few photos of mom to prove how much she enjoyed them...

I won't lie, I enjoyed them too - Oprah and I agree, these are a favorite thing! Note to self: need more Sky Citrus Vodka

Ok, a better picture of my folks:

Dad likes to play it tough, but he loves being loved on.


Admittedly, I watched most of The Planet of The Apes movies yesterday. They were mesmerizing - truly! Once it began, there was no turning back. Was it my imagination, or did Charlton Heston look much, much older at the end of the first movie (from the beginning)? Linda Harrison had a great part - I don't think she ever said a word. Anyway, I would steer clear of the name 'Cornelius' for my children - that name wasn't very lucky for the Apes.


The Bird in Hand mittens are finished...I like them a lot, but Bugg claimed them (don't laugh, My Favorite Youngest Son was going to fight her for them until I promised to make a masculine version). A few photos:

Happy New Year! May 2008 bring you happiness, family times, and fortune.