Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Wonder Of It All

Finally! Gabby experienced her first snowfall this morning. How magical it is to see the things that cause wonder in a child. We took her to the back door so she could see the ground covered in white. Being her first time to see snow, she couldn't figure it out. I stepped out and gathered some into a ball and brought it in. When her mommy gave it to her she immediately said "hot". The picture looks like she's tasting it (a good assumption because she tastes everything else!), however, she's actually blowing on it. After we put it in a bowl, so she could show this strange and wonderful discovery to Grandpa, she finally had a little sample of it. We've had to sit on the back steps several times to snuggle up and watch it snow.

The little snow bird is finally napping now so Grammy's getting a break from snow watching! It's time to pick up my crochet hook and create another Snow Blossom Scarf. The one on my Etsy shop is heading for Phoenix tomorrow, where I'm sure it will be the only thing resembling a snowflake. This new one I've started is made from a gorgeous, soft and sparkly yarn of merino wool, silk, and genuine sterling silver.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

So Sweet!

I just can't resist showing this Shower Me With Love newborn baby hat. It's a custom order for one excited Grandma who is waiting for her new granddaughter to arrive any day now. I love the umbrella stitch pattern and it's so sweet knit up in this pink bamboo and nylon yarn. I crocheted the ivory flower from a fine wool/mohair blend and stuck a little tiny iridescent glass bead in the center because a girl's never too young for a little sparkle!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Much To Be Thankful For!

Tis' the day after Thanksgiving
(And though we're still living...)
All through the house
Not a creature is stirring,
Especially my spouse.
All bellies were stuffed
And today are quite puffed,
Leaving us drowsy
And feeling quite lousy!
All through the night
The fridge was packed tight
As the waist on my pants,
On catching my breath...I don't stand a chance!
Though the dishes are dirty
And the laundry's piled high,
Christmas approaches
So my needles must fly.
But rest was the order just for today.
Maybe tomorrow will find us at work and at play.
And all things again will be made right,
If we can just get some sleep for one more night!
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
My family found much to be thankful for yesterday. Scott is recovering, though slowly, from his surgery. And although his "feast" consisted mostly of pudding and juice and his day was spent in the recliner, we were both blessed by having the love and laughter of our family surrounding us.
Also, Gabby's beloved "Tinoy Uncle" landed safely in Atlanta, Georgia this morning. Tinoy was at the airport in Mumbai, India yesterday trying to get on his flight back to the States. The terrorists were in the same airport looking at passports and taking those heading for America hostage. Thankfully, God placed a hedge of protection around him and they did not find him. Though there was much screaming and chaos and the air around him was black with smoke from the bombings, he was finally able to board the plane that brought him safely back to us. We are rejoicing and giving great thanks to God for His abundant mercies!
"For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6
Welcome home to your family in the States, Tinoy! We love you and are breathing easier today, knowing you are back on American soil. Our prayers are still with the beautiful people of your homeland who have suffered such devastation and loss.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beaded Scarf

I love the vintage look of this beaded scarf! I made this one for myself a couple of years ago and have made a few for gifts since then. It's knit up on hand-painted wool sock yarn. There are approximately 2400 glass beads, which add a little weight to the scarf but don't make it too heavy to wear. The beads are actually what give it the perfect drape. They make those vintage looking scallops hang beautifully. I have to keep this one hidden at all times or my little assistant (Gabby, of course!) wants to run around the house with it wrapped in various ways around her body.
I plan to eventually make some for my Etsy shop, but there are too many other things on the front burner right now! They are fun to wear though and they feel so smooth when you run your hands down all those glass beads. This scarf has total aesthetic appeal!

Let me leave you with this quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:

"Be careful of little things. Life is a great bundle of little things."

To which I say "amen". Enjoy the many "little things" especially during this holiday season. Remember, God has blessed us richly with them. Share lots of laughs, hugs, and kisses with your family tomorrow. God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

"Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame." Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Here's the Gang!

Last night found me chatting it up again with the girls at Eli's. They had hooks and needles flying---well, sort of. Becky's still struggling with the whole crocheted sock thing! I really think the stitch count in the pattern is off so I brought the book home to peruse it better. And Sarah was having a similar problem with a hat. It's her first time to knit in the round, which she's doing on two sets of circulars. Once we got it connected correctly and she got past the first round we realized the pattern is definitely written wrong. She ordered it online and is going to contact the designer to ask "what in the world?". I'm anxious to see what happens there.

The gang pictured together is: seated, left to right, Barbara, Me, Sarah and standing behind us, left to right: Becky and Cathy.

Cathy and Barbara pretty much sailed through the evening smoothly with their scarves. Cathy, a brand new knitter, is working on a feather and fan scarf and Barbara, a "I put my hook down years ago and want to pick it back up" crocheter is zipping through a shell stitch scarf.

All things considered, we had our usual great time full of laughs and Eli's delicious drinks made especially for us by Emily, the owners very cute sister. As always, I can't wait until next Monday night (finally! something that makes me look forward to a Monday:). Thanks Girls!!!

One final note---we all eyeballed and talked about a new dessert Katie had in the case last night- a Tiramasu Pumpkin thing. We showed great restraint (worrying over our thighs, especially with the big Thanksgiving Feast just days away)! However... I could sneak back in there today while none of the girls are looking. I do have a few errands to run, which often requires a little pick me up from Eli's. Those dreaded errands are sounding better by the minute!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Home Again, Home Again!

Well, I finally got my hubby home yesterday afternoon and all is well. He just has to spend the next couple of weeks recovering. Poor thing has to live off jello, pudding, and liquids for awhile though. No turkey and dressing for him this week!
I did get a little bit of knitting accomplished during those hours spent at the hospital. I liked the ponchette I made a few days ago so well that I started another one with some different yarn. Plus I knew something knit in the round would be the perfect choice for the atmosphere, since it doesn't seem to take as much concentration. You can just keep going and going and be done before you know it. However, I did not get it finished (too many interruptions, I did have to look after Scott a little bit!). Hopefully I'll get it done tomorrow.
The first one was made from the hand-dyed superwash wool. It's on my Etsy shop now listed as "Bridget's Gone To Town" ( for my beautiful sister because the minute I saw the pattern it reminded me of something she would love to wear!). I'm using a self striping wool/silk blend by Noro for the current one, which is actually what the pattern calls for. I love to make the same garment using different yarns to see what I can come up with each time. The colors in this one are so pretty. And who doesn't love something self striping?! Takes all the work out and it ends up looking gorgeous.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just a Little FYI

I will be away from the Land of Blog for the next few days. My sweet hubby has to have some surgery and, since we can't bear to be away from each other too much, I'll be staying with him at the hospital. So we are busy packing our bags tonight for this fun adventure (his first ever surgery). I just rummaged around the closet to find a cute little floral tapestry overnight bag for MY stuff - make-up, curling iron - you know the important things in life! Just because he's going under the knife doesn't mean I can't look good. Afterall I don't plan on receiving visitors without my lipstick on. And of course my main concern is what to take in my knitting bag! I just got a new project on the needles so I don't have to try to concentrate on casting on and counting (and recounting) stitches tomorrow. OH! I guess I'd better think about what he might need in HIS bag. Let's see... do I even have a bag for him? Oh well, he'll be knocked out most of the time anyway. And he could care less about being cute. But for me, it's like a mini vacation. KNITTING TIME with no dog wanting to run in and out a million times a day, no laundry, no phone, etc., etc.,etc.,. I told him during his estimated two week recovery time he finally gets to learn to knit. Don't want him just lying around taking up space and sucking up air! Anyway, TaTa For Now. Talk to you all in a few days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking Care of Business

There's nothing quite like a little teamwork. I thought I'd let everybody know I do have a silent business partner. Well...OK, maybe with a name like "Gabby", you can pretty much figure out she's not exactly "silent". She gets right down to business the minute she sees me at the computer needing assistance! Of course she likes to periodically take a little taste of any pens or markers that might be lying about. She enjoys the fact that all business can be conducted while wearing her jammies!

One of her favorite aspects of the partnership is to do random inventory checks on product availability (otherwise known as sneak attacks on the yarn when Grammy isn't looking!). I guess she is under the false impression this gives her job security. It really makes her day when she can coax the cat into helping her with the counting process.

She has also discovered that at the end of a day of too much work and not enough play a girl sure gets tuckered out!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Learning To Crochet Socks

As always, Monday evening found me hanging out with the girls in my knit/crochet class at Eli's Coffee Shop. I teach each one to knit or crochet, whichever they choose. Sometimes a few are working on the same project, and other times they're all doing something different. I tell them it stretches my dendrites to hop back and forth between them. I figure, being a blonde, they're doing me a favor by expanding my brain cell function!
Tonight Becky (otherwise known to the group as the Frog Queen, due to her rules of perfection!), had her first go at learning to crochet socks. Notice the look of determination and great concentration as she began. She did periodically mention the possibility of hitting the floor with a full fledged temper tantrum, but as the evening progressed you'll see she kicked back, slung her Cookie Monsters over the arm of the chair and got down to business. Way to go Froggy! Of course, I'm sure by now she has gone home and frogged (rip-it, rip-it, rip-it) that same sock cuff umpteen times. She really wants to master a pair of socks though. Cathy told her she may just have to learn to knit some instead. Hmmm...which instruments should I choose to torture her psyche with for that lesson---five douple pointed needles or two sets of circulars? P.S. Look for pictures of the group next Monday night. Cathy, who ALWAYS looks cute, refused to let me take her picture tonight, claiming a "bad hair day" kind of excuse!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Yarn!

My shipment of Lorna's Laces yarn that I ordered on September 4th finally arrived yesterday. I was so excited! They hand dye it especially for each order so it takes a while to get it. But it is definitely worth the wait! It is THE SOFTEST wool you can imagine and machine washable. I chose several hanks of Shepherd Bulky in two different colors. Tuscany is the one with all the reds, greens, blues, and purples. The one with shades of green, teal, and purple is called Baltic Sea. Of course I had to start a new project last night using some of it!

I did, however, finish my snowflake scarf of Alpaca first. Look for it on Hand Knits That Blossom.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Although we've been enjoying unseasonably warm weather for an Illinois November, I know it will eventually snow. And I have to admit --- I do love snow! There's nothing like it when it's freshly fallen, especially after dark when the street lights cast a glow, giving the illlusion of thousands of diamonds sparkling all over. I love to wrap up in a warm coat and fluffy scarf and mittens and walk in the chill night air to breathe in the scent of snow. The closer the holidays get, the more anxious I become for the beauty of it all. Only God could create such a wondrous thing as a snowflake.
I've always loved anything that looks like a snowflake. That's why as soon as I found this scarf pattern in "101 Small Indulgences: Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders" by Judith Durant, I knew I had to purchase the book and some heavenly yarn to try it out. I chose a whisper soft, fine weight 100% alpaca to crochet this lovely little luxury item. Actually, the pattern doesn't refer to it as a snowflake, but it sure looks like one to me! There will be eleven of these gorgeous squares total. The border I'm adding to each end is not part of the pattern, but I thought it would add just the right touch.
P.S. Happy Birthday Courtney!!! 15 years ago today you made me an "Auntie" for the first time. I love You!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tea Time

I love tea time and all the pretty things that go along with it! There's nothing like a steaming pot of tea covered with a special cozy on a winter afternoon. My daughters and I enjoy a pot together often. I also love having friends in to share a relaxing cup of tea with because conversation often flows better over a fragrant pot of tea.
Tea cozies are a wonderful way to keep the tea hot while making an ordinary day feel like a special occasion. And what teapot really wants to be naked anyway?! These are my two favorite cozies. I have several rose covered ones for sale but as of yet haven't finished a cottage cozy for my shop (coming soon, hopefully!).

Here's a favorite cookie recipe that is perfect for tea time:

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

1 cup salted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour

Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla; mix well. Sift flour and add to butter mixture a little at a time. Mix well. Roll dough into walnut sized pieces and dip in flour then press onto ungreased cookie sheet. *I use an antique cut glass sugar bowl with a pretty design on the bottom to press the cookies down. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Yeild: 2 dozen. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


There's a tea cozy in my Etsy shop named "Carey Takes Tea With Me" after my dear friend of many years. Carey and I have been through so much life together. I'm so thankful for her precious friendship.

Her husband, Russ, gave us a very special Christmas gift last year. We each got an envelope containing gift certificates for lunch out together, a shopping trip to our favorite yarn shop, (what a great guy!) and this beautiful poem he wrote:

Twenty and some years ago,
two strangers met and began
purling their first stitches.

God had given each a skein
from which live stitches
could be pulled from the
center of their lives.
A swatch was knitted,
the sample of the beautiful
friendship that was to come.

Over time the pattern
which formed, sometimes
used a garter stitch, sometimes
ribbing, and now and then,
a dropped stitch was found
that only frogging could mend.

But through it all,
the Master Knitter gauged
the rows of their lives,
placing memorable stitch
markers along the way
and brought enduring increase.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Falling Leaves

There are leaves falling all around us this time of year. Because we live in an old house with big trees, we have lots and lots of leaves. It can be a rather back breaking job to keep on top of (for Scott that is!). The only leaves I deal with usually are the ones that fall from my knitting needles. I love lace patterns with leaves knitted into the design. A couple of years ago I made this scarf for Hilary who also loves leaves and whose favorite color happens to be green. The yarn is a lace weight wool/silk blend and was very nice to work with. I see it leaving the house wrapped around her neck quite often.

Yesterday I started a new pattern I just couldn't resist trying out. It's going to be a skinny scarf of small leaves one on top of the other with a large leaf falling from each end. I'm not sure yet how long to make it. I'm crazy about the yarn! It's actually a wool sock yarn. The rich colors make me think of a rose garden.
I also love to embellish my work with knitted leaves.
I think the leaves dangling from one end of this scarf add so much to the finished look. This particular scarf is heading for Canada, where I'm sure its coziness will be greatly appreciated. My fingers are flying to create another one for my Etsy shop!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Little Indian Princess

I can't resist showing off my little Indian princess! Gabby absolutely loves to wear a bindi. They're little self stick ones that "Tinoy Uncle" brought back last Christmas after his visit home. And , no, that's not a type-o, in India the word "uncle" comes after the name. This is a special blog post for Tinoy, so he can see Gabby smiling at him across the miles. He's away right now going through a cardiology fellowship in Wisconsin. Hugs and kisses to you Tinoy---your family here misses you! Enjoy your upcoming trip to India. P.S. Bring more bindi's!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Frankly, Scarlett

Looks like it's back to Red again! Although I love the sublime softness of the ivory set, they're almost too soft to stay in place properly. This pair is made from a merino superwash wool that has a little springiness to it. It's still a soft, non-scratchy wool and will definitely be warm. This yarn offers nice stitch definition and makes the sizing just perfect. I love the look and feel of the finished product.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hot Off The Hooks And Needles

Late last night I finished this pair of wrist warmers. They're like fingerless gloves but there's no thumb hole. The part that comes up over the hand is knitted ribbing, while the wrist part is a section of crocheted bobbles. What a fun project they were! The yarn is a blend of merino wool, silk, and cashmere. Oh So Soft! Today I must get busy making the hat that completes the set. Look for them by the end of the week on my Etsy shop as the first item in my "Winter Wonderland" section.

I just had to take a picture of these adorable bear hats crocheted by my sweet friend Becky. She has little cousins who love to be the Care Bears when they enter the magical world of make believe. Each of the colorful hats has a red heart button sewn to the back. Just too cute!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

For The Love Of Red

Red roses, red nail polish, red lipstick, red clothing, red yarn... I love it all! I just love red! Even my vintage white enameled kitchen table has little red vines, hearts, and scrollwork designs covering it. It was love at first sight the day I discovered it tucked into a back corner of an antique mall about ten years ago. Had To Have It!!!

Every now and then red shows up at the end of my knitting needles or crochet hook. Here are just a few samples of my romance with red. The heart placemat was knit from a rose covered Waverly fabric cut into a long continuous strip and hand rolled into a ball. Just the ball is pretty sitting in a basket with a pair of knitting needles . If you've never knit with fabric, give it a try. It's fun and I love the finished product.If you'll look real close you can see I also have an occasional fixation with the feather and fan stitch. It shows up in my work almost as often as those splashes of red do. The scarf pictured here is another bit of "unfinished business" that will probably eventually find its way to my Etsy shop. And the crocheted capelet is actually my personal one but there is one just like it for sale on Hand Knits That Blossom.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Little Ones

Last night I added a "Little Ones" line to my Etsy shop. This is for all you Mommy's, Auntie's and Grammy's who have precious little ones to spoil! I've been selling baby knitwear for the last few years but had my stock too depleted to put anything online until now. So keep watching on Hand Knits That Blossom as I add knew items.

Here are a few pictures of some things I made for Gabby. I'll eventually make more like these to add to my shop. I just love the sweater and was sad when she outgrew it. The blanket is a popular one that I originally made to teach a crochet class on. Customers love it! And, if you check out my shop, you'll notice that same umbrella stitch hat. I made the one pictured here while we were awaiting Gabby's arrival. It's made from a gorgeous wool/angora blend in my favorite shade of dusty pink. She looks adorable in it! It'll be perfect this winter.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Love Affair With Lace

"Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises." Elizabeth Zimmerman (1910-1999)

I love this quote. Not only does it apply to knitting crises, but doesn't knitting help center us during the many storms of life as well? It certainly does me. Can't we all pick up a piece of knitting and have memories flit through our minds the moment we touch it of the season of life we were in during its creation?

While cleaning out the closet in my office a couple of days ago, I ran across several articles of "unfinished business". Suddenly it occured to me that every single item was lacework in the making that had been abandoned. After giving it some thought, I realized I have a tendency to create knitted lace when I'm smooth sailing through life due to the fact it requires a little extra concentration. If life gets a little hectic or bumpy I'll set aside the project and start something new. All the while I tell myself I'll get back to the lace soon.

I have such a passion for lacework that I'm convinced the word LACE is part of my love language! Of course I have completed many of these items over the years. However, I took some pictures of a few things that are still waiting for my undivided attention again.

This is the beginning of a cardigan in the softest baby alpaca/silk yarn I've ever felt. It's absolutely heavenly! I started it about a year ago but it got shoved to the background because it's for me. I seldom ever knit for myself. I think, however, I will pick this back up through the winter. (Hopefully!). Technically I guess this is more an example of texture than lacework, but it's still some serious
"unfinished business"!

And below is a little collection of projects still on the needles. Notice the blue piece in the background. It's the front of a shell I was making for myself two summers ago. The back is totally done and this piece only lacks a few more rows . Maybe I'll get around to it for next summer!
On the left is the very beginning of a shawl (who knows if that'll ever grow!), and to the right is a sock stopped just at the beginning of the heel. One sock is done for crying out loud! You'd think I could force myself to finish the other one.

And this last shining example of my occasional lack of ability to stay on task is one I finally gave up on and reconfigured.
It started life as a wanna be shawl and ended up being a rose instead. When I ran across it I just bound off where it was and twisted it into a flower and- Voila'!- not a total waste after all. Sometimes we just have to set ourselves free!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Work in Progress

Today I'm working on a lovely lacey cowl for my Etsy shop. It's being knit up in the round on some of my favorite Addi Turbo needles. The Sublime yarn of extra fine merino wool, silk, and cashmere glides along beautifully on these slick needles. I love the rich plum color! Knitting with smooth needles and silky soft yarn is a pure delight. I feel like I'm being pampered while creating something luxurious for someone else. Look for this "Fields of Lace" cowl on my shop sometime next week (because, of course, I have several other projects in the making as well!).

Just a tip--- Whenever I hand ball a skein of yarn I put it in this pretty vintage Chinese bowl to keep it from rolling away from me. It's just one more way of enhancing the whole wonderful experience.

On a Personal Note

There's been a little bumble bee buzzing around my work area the last couple of days! Gabby was so excited with her costume that she had to put it back on over her jammies first thing this morning.