I've neglected to introduce the newest member of my Fiber Equipment Family. This could be because I haven't been able to think of a good name for her/him/it.
I recently had a very full knitting class and decided to use some of the proceeds from that class to purchase a new yarn swift. The little umbrella swift that Wendy gave me 20+ Christmases ago has been wearing out. The threads on the clamp that secure it to a table are stripped and I can only tighten it so far. I've been using some of that stuff you put under rugs to keep them from slipping as a wedge to fill in the gap between the thickness of my table and the tightest spot on the clamp. Winding yarn from skeins into center-pull balls was becoming wobbly adventure. There were occasions when the swift would wobble itself right off the table.
Knowing its days were numbered, I had started casually investigating the different swifts available.
When I saw the Strauch Skeinwinder, I knew I'd found what I wanted. I chose to purchase the combination floor and table model and ordered it from Sheep Street Fibers.
She is beautiful, sturdy, easy to use, versatile. In addition to using her as a yarn swift, I can wind hand spun yarn off the bobbin and into a skein. There are marks on the center post at 1, 1.5 and 2 yard increments to tell me how much yarn I've wound on the skein. I am very happy with this purchase. She was worth every penny. Now, if only I could think of good name...
The Young Man is home. We moved him out of the dorm and back home last Thursday. So far, if you overlook the futon frame hanging from bike hooks in the garage, and the mini fridge and microwave underneath that, and the futon cushion on his top bunk, and the various back-to-the-dorm boxes next to that, the transition has gone pretty darn smoothly. It helps that he is employed full time thanks to Bonnie Jo's Mister.
Olive is making a transition of her own. I had her in to the vet to take a look at a lower incisor that was chipped while playing an aggressive round of tetherball. (Now there is something I never thought I'd say.... "My dog chipped a tooth playing tetherball.") After examining the tooth and telling me there was really nothing to be concerned about, the vet quickly and abruptly brought up Olive's weight. For a second there I thought maybe I had accidentally taken her with me to one of my Doctor visits. Olive is now making the slow switch to a lower calorie dog food. And producing a staggering amount of Gas. Concerned, and worried the odor might keep me up all night, I did a quick internet search and read that a dollop of yogurt in her food might help. We slept well. And no noxious clouds yet today.
In an effort to get a grip on my many, many projects, the dining room table was excavated, projects organized and I am taking a Deep Breath. Sometimes, many times, I get nervous about all the Things I Want To Do. Like there is a whirling cyclone of projects in my brain and that deep breath of fresh air and a step back is needed to let the dust settle and gain some focus. In the past, lists have helped. I started a short term knitting project goal list today, and I will need a long term goal list along with that. And probably a list of Other Projects I Want to Do..... I must remember There is Satisfaction in Finishing, and Serenity in a Well Ordered Life.
That is all well and good until a project is interrupted. Like when My Hero asks me "how long does it take to knit a baby sweater?" For the woman who just returned from her maternity leave. It seems the whole pregnancy and birth part just slipped his mind and it wasn't until the photos of the baby girl were in his hand that he thought of having a gift. When stuff like this happens I wonder why I don't just knit a bunch of stuff for emergency gifting. As if I have a shortage of knitting ideas and need to fill the time. Nope. It is usually the pressure of a deadline that motivates me to produce gifts.
Thankfully, I recently purchased the book 60 Quick Baby Knits. This book is FULL of the cutest baby things. And they aren't lying when they say Quick. After knitting the adorable cardigan (Project #7), I had enough yarn left over for the very cute little cloche style hat (Project #11).
The hat came off the needles last night and is wrapped and ready for gifting today.
Here they are:
Because they are my favorite, I am very particular about Oatmeal Raisin cookies. They have to be plump, soft and chewy, sweet and spicy. To splurge on a bakery-made oatmeal raisin cookie and find it bland and/or crunchy is such a disappointment.
Thanks to Ina Garten, my search for the Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe is over.
The recipe is here, or in her Back to the Basics cookbook. (Or, the "green one" as my knitting friends and I refer to it.) In the book's margin notes, Ina suggests letting the cookies cool on the pan for a chewier cookie. I did and they are.
One other thing- I reduced the amount of granulated sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup. I read somewhere that you can reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe up to 25% without really affecting the outcome (other than calories.) In the calorie and sugar intake department, every little bit helps. Supposedly. But that is a subject for another blog post another day.
Before it all gets forgotten, or seems like Old News, I need to catch up here.
It's that blasted Catch 22. Busy, productive, and stuff to share....no time to share it.
I took advantage of one of our very few dry, sunny days to take Elle out onto the porch for a photo shoot.
Off the needles:
This is Bermuda. I used about 1 1/2 balls of Noro Taiyo sock yarn. The combination of the pattern's short rows and the long color runs in the yarn make this look like I worked harder than I did.
The yarn is a combination of cotton, wool, nylon and silk. I think this will be a nice summer shawl. I may make another in shades of grey, white and cream. (I knit like I have the wardrobe and life and skinny arms and legs to support frothy, dressy things.)
Judy Jetson, my vintage Singer sewing machine-( you can read about Judy here, and here)- worked on another Schoolhouse Tunic. I tweeked the pattern a little bit more- putting the centered inverted pleat on the skirt front and drafting a new pattern piece, with no pleats, for the skirt back.
I used a men's tuxedo top for my bodice fronts. I love it when an idea works!
And I also adjusted the length. This one is somewhere between the shirt and tunic lengths. For me, this is just right, and this latest version of the pattern is my favorite. Time to try something different.
I have This Pattern next in line.
Except for the mountain that was plowed from the cul-de-sac into the front yard, all of last weeks snow has melted.
One of the hundreds of crocus bulbs I've planted in the front yard. Last summer's heat and drought took it's toll and I neglected to add more to the lawn last fall. Hopefully this summer will be different and there will be another 100 bulbs blooming next spring. I get a thrill every time I see these brave flowers in my winter-brown lawn.
Yesterday I wore my Alpine Tweed sweater and the boldly patterned dress I sewed to church.
This dress is a lengthened Schoolhouse Tunic minus the pleats in the skirt. I wore this with a grey camisole and grey tights. I love this cardigan. The dress is okay. I am still on a search for the perfect tunic/dress pattern. I saw Lisette pattern 2245 on Pinterest, ordered it, and it arrived on Saturday. I need some time to work up a little sewing bravery- I will mentally sew it a few times and then have to wake up one day with all the stars lined up and say to myself "today is the day"- and then I can start sewing on that one. Stay tuned.
By far, the very nicest thing that happened last week was this:
This was a thank you for a sweater I made and gave to her. She is most definitely Knit worthy, the sweater is perfect on her and I wanted her to have it with no strings attached and no thanks needed..... But I very happily accepted the quilt!
I have taken about eleventy-two photos of this quilt, and I move it about, trying it on in different rooms. Right now it is on the railing between the family room and kitchen- pretty much so I can admire it all day long.
My Hero shoveled about 8 inches of snow off the driveway this morning. Another inch or two is expected before it all ends this afternoon. This is reportedly a 100-year record breaking snowfall.
Buried under that snow, in the front yard, crocuses are blooming.....