Spins A Good Yarn

Spring Trees and A Quilted Pup

June 4th, 2008

This has been one of the most beautiful Springs that I can remember. The flowers have been lovely and long-lasting and the trees are just beautiful. I love the Spring with all the green everywhere. So much better that Winter’s constant favorite color of gray! My friend, Joyce, has a lovely spot in the village where she lives. It is like being in the country while living in the city. Her pink dogwood was so pretty that I had to take a picture of it when I went to her house for a visit. Gorgeous, huh?!?!

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I have a flowering crab in front of the window in my living room. I planted it there many years ago to block the sun from shining in all morning long and heating up the house. It has grown quite large and it has created quite a nice spot for some lovely ferns, ivy and vinca vine beneath it and a happy place for birds to gather in its branches.

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Speaking of flowers: My daughter, Meagan, is a quilt artist and she made me a beautiful, flowered book to keep my artist trading cards in. She put a picture of Tiffany on both the back and front of it. There are quilted flowers in the background and appliqued ones on the background fabric. I love it!!!!! She made it for me for Mother’s Day. Thanks again, Meagan!!!!!

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Here’s the front.

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And here’s the back!

And here’s the original picture that she used for the book. Meagan’s husband had been playing with Tiffany with a silky blanket and when he took the blanket off of her this is how she looked!

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It is one of my very favorite pictures!

On With The Show!!!

May 31st, 2008

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted to this blog and I apologize to anyone who has been reading and has become frustrated with my non-bloginess. My life blew up last November and I’m still trying to find my place in this new world. My husband decided he didn’t want to be married to me anymore and the whole thing has left me quite unsettled, to say the least! I’m trying to move on and thought getting the blog going again would be a great place to start.

I’ve been knitting quite a lot. I joined a group on Ravelry which is titled the “Year-Long-Gift-Along” and I’ve been knitting gifts for Christmas as well as all the smaller ones that occur through out the year. Here are some of the gifts I’ve knitted so far:

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These socks were for Meagan’s birthday in March. The pattern was “Sailor’s Delight” from the book “2-at-a-time Socks” by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. The yarn was Misty Mountain Farm Jubilee in the Sandy Foam colorway. She really liked them and they were really fun to knit. I knitted them on dpn’s instead of one long needle, but I am going to try the one needle technique soon.

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I’d never knitted a lace shawl before and I always wanted to, so when I found this Calypso (be sure to scroll down) pattern at the Sewing and Quilting Expo in Cleveland, Ohio, this spring I had to buy it and make it. It used two skeins of Aussi Sock yarn in the colorway Faded Valentine. The colors remind me of melted chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream. I loved knitting this shawl and want to start on another one immediately. I made it for my mom for Mother’s Day. It fit her perfectly!

I have discovered that I LOVE knitting lace!!! I started the Icarus Shawl, but don’t have much knitted on it yet. I’m using Cherry Tree Hill Merino Lace in the “Old Rose” colorway and the yarn is knitting up into a lovely and very soft fabric. It is SOOO very nice!!!

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I’ve finished several smaller projects and have stashed them away in my “Christmas Box”. What a great idea to have gifts already knitted up and ready to give to someone if a present is needed in a hurry. Not to mention the less stress at Christmas when gifts are already knitted and all ready to be wrapped. I knitted a prayer shawl for my aunt who has lost two of her children in the last four years. I gave it to her for Mother’s Day because I knew she would be missing her sons a lot. She really liked it and uses it often. I want to knit up another one to have on hand for someone who may need it in the future. I like the idea of prayer shawls and think they are a real comfort to anyone who is going through a hard time.

I’ll leave you with a picture of two of my new little friends. Hope you enjoy!

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51 in 1001

February 22nd, 2008

I found a group on Ravelry which led me to this site, 101 To Do In 1001 Days. You are supposed to make a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in 1001 days (which is approximately 33 months). There is a great calculator which will figure out your ending date here. It started on January 1, 2008, but, as you can see, I’m a little behind! In fact a LOT behind, as I only have 51 items on my list. I found a new friend in Meagan’s knitting group in Mentor, Ohio, who also wants to do this, but doesn’t have 101 items either. So, we decided to mentor each other and do our lists even though we don’t have quite enough items. Any progress is great, I say. So here is my list:

Knitting Projects:
1. Finish Blue Sweater
2. Knit 1 pair of socks per month (2/33)
3. Knit 18 items from Ravelry queue (1/33)
4. Knit 12 charity projects (1/12)
5. Finish purple socks
6. Finish Fair Isle sweater
7. Sort knitting needles
8. Have all Christmas presents for 2008 knitted by December 15, 2008
9. Have all Christmas presents for 2009 knitted by December 15, 2009
10. Rip out sweater with three yarns held together and rewind yarn *Done 1-29-08*
11. Find patterns using knitted and felted sweaters
12. Record stash on Ravelry

Weaving Projects:
13. Finish 7’ shawl on loom *Done 1-29-08*
14. Weave second 7’ shawl
15. Weave 4’ shawl
16. Finish woven jacket with two 7’ and one 4’ shawl
17. Weave 20 minutes each day on tri-loom

Spinning
18. Spin 20 minutes each day on wheel or spindle

Health
19. Lose 15 pounds and keep it off
20. Make appointment for physical
21. Make appointment for mammogram
22. Make dentist appointment
23. Use hand cream every night before bed
24. Take vitamins and calcium each morning

Reading and Writing
25. Write blog post once a week (2/143)
26. Start and maintain a gratitude journal
27. Journal through Rebuilding book
28. Journal through Law of Attraction book
29. Read 1 non-fiction book each month (2/33)
30. Write thank you card if a gift is received
31. Answer emails the same day I receive them
32. Make a list of “5 Things To Do” each day and DO them
33. Make a list of “100 Things That Make Me Happy”

Music
34. Organize CD collection
35. Purge CD collection
36. Purge Itunes
37. Add new Cd’s to Itunes
38. Purchase two new movies from Itunes
39. Add new movies & music to IPod Video
40. Start playing flute again
41. Start playing whistle again

Household
42. Put loose recipies in black cookbook
43. Do “hanger thing” with clothes every 6 months (0/5)
44. Use reusable grocery bags every time I shop

Exploration
45. Take a dance class
46. Go hiking
47. Go camping
48. Go to the ocean
49. Learn to sell on ebay

Miscellaneous

50. Make 100 stitch markers (0/100)

51. Make 1 weavette square each month (0/33)

This is a great concept and I’ve already been working on some of the ongoing projects and I feel a sense of accomplishment already!

Here is a picture my friend Judy sent to me!
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Isn’t this a hoot!?!?!

And Then There Were Two

February 2nd, 2008

On a cold, winter day 13 years ago in December, we got a new puppy. He was 12 weeks old and a little, white maltese. We named him Dustin Tanner and he was a wonderful puppy. It was love at first sight between the two of us. I was his human and he was my dog. Never was there a more loyal and devoted little dog than this little guy was to me. All I had to do was look in his direction and his tail would wag and his eyes would brighten. It was always this way…for 13 years.

Today, he is no more. His health had deteriorated for the past 1 1/2 years to the point that it wasn’t fair to him to ask him to go on. So, with a sorrowful heart and the much appreciated help of my son-in-law, Marcus, I took him to the vet to be sent on to a better place. One where he could hear and be able to eat treats and not have to wear diapers any more.

He was a great little dog and we will miss his happy, wagging tail and his sweet spirit. We thank him for bringing us so much joy for so many years.

Here is a poem that the girls at the vet hospital sent home with us:

If it be I grow frail and weak,
And pain should wake me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle can’t be won.

You will be sad, I’ll understand,
Don’t let your grief then stay your hand,
For this day more than all the rest,
Your love and friendship stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years,
What is to come will hold no fears,
You’ll not want me to suffer, so,
When the time comes, please let me go.

I know in time, you too will see,
It is a kindness you do me,
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering, I’ve been saved.

Do not grieve that it should be you,
Who has to decide this thing to do
We’ve been so close, we two, these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
~~ Author Unknown

We still have two dogs, Mandy and Tiffanie, but our hearts have been broken today and we will always love and miss our third, little white dog!

Rest in peace, little guy!

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A Tale of Two Scarves! And a Free Pattern!

January 8th, 2008

My son wanted me to knit him a scarf. My 21-year-old son, who is very, very picky and just slightly opinionated! He wanted a scarf that was green, grey and cream with the stripes going the long way.

Okay, where to start… First, I found a yarn that he would think was suitable. Not wool, not scratchy and with dark colors. We had Kraemer’s Summit Hill at the shop where I worked and he didn’t have to know that it was superwash wool. It was not scratchy and the correct colors, so I cast on and knitted and knitted and knitted! On and on and on on small needles as it is a rather thin yarn! It was the neverending scarf, but finally it was done. Here it is:
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It was a lovely scarf and just the way he wanted it to look. Can you hear the “but” coming? It was too long!!! By about 2 feet! He didn’t want to wrap it around his neck, he just wanted it to hang on each side of his neck, on his coat. Couldn’t I just “fix” it? Rip it out and reknit it? Fix it!

Did I mention that this scarf was a gift for Christmas of 2006 and here it was almost Christmas of 2007 and he still wasn’t going to wear that “too long” scarf. I was secretly hoping he would just give in and wear the thing, but he has a long memory and started with the “can’t you just fix it” argument again. Guilt set in and I was determined to find an answer.

I could not bear to rip that neverending and oh, so nice scarf out, so I decided to make a second one. I found some Lamb’s Pride yarn in my stash and refigured the pattern for the different gauge and length and started off again. The yarns were a perfect match even though they were from totally different yarn companies and I was very pleased with the result:
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Here are the two scarves side by side:
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I am pretty happy with the second scarf. I figured the gauge just right and it was just the right length and I felt pretty smart. I thought I would post the pattern in case anyone else might like a lengthwise striped scarf that is not too long or too short so here you are:

Lengthwise Striped Scarf – 68″ x 5 1/2″

Lamb’s Pride Worsted Yarn ( 190 yards-4 oz.) , One skein each of Forest Green, Dark Gray and Cream

Gauge – 4 1/2 stitches per inch on #9 circular needle (I do knit rather tightly so check your own gauge)

Note: Slip first stitch of each row purlwise with yarn in front, then move yarn to back to continue knitting row. Also, it makes your edge neater if you change colors on the last stitch of previous row by knitting last stitch with new color.

Cast on 280 stitches loosely onto circular needle with Dark Gray. Knit 5 more rows with Dark Gray.

Knit 4 rows Cream.

Knit 6 rows Forest Green.

Knit 4 rows Cream.

Knit 6 rows Dark Gray.

Knit 4 rows Cream.

Knit 6 rows Forest Green.

Knit 4 rows Cream.

Knit 5 rows Dark Gray.

Bind off loosely with Dark Gray. Weave in all those pesky ends and then enjoy your scarf!

Christmas Presents I Received!

January 1st, 2008

I received some wonderful presents this year and thought I would share some of them with you. My daughter, Meagan, made me a beautiful scarf from the book 101 One-Skein Wonders.
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She used a mohair-linen blend by Louet in my favorite color green and I LOVE it!!!

She also made me a soft, cuddley and “oh so warm” fleece and flannel throw! Isn’t the doggie flannel just the cutest thing?!?!?!?
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My mom and dad gave me a Cobra GPS navigation system so I can get around without getting lost and I am so thankful for them! My mom also gave me these way-cool knitting notion bags! (Okay, they are really cosmetic bags, but they will be PERFECT for knitting notions and knitting projects and knitting….)
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I bought myself a super-cool present! Meagan and I LOVE watching the “Gilmore Girls” and were sad when the last season was over. I saw that a 7-Season Set had been produced that had the entire seven seasons and was supposed to look like a “Barbie Doll Case”. I was innocently looking around at the mall, when what jumped right into my hands but this little case! I HAD to get it and here it is!
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The cover opens up and has all the seven seasons in individual “booklets” on the right-hand side. The DVD’s are all pink and there are pictures of the characters on each booklet.
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There are two booklets in the set. One has an episode index with lots and lots of pictures and the other is a “Gilmorism” dictionary of sorts!
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It is SOOOOOOOOO fun!!!!!!!!

I received lots of other wonderful presents and am so thankful to everyone for thinking of me this Christmas season!

Christmas Knitting!

December 29th, 2007

Christmas came and went and all the presents were wrapped, unwrapped and enjoyed by their recipients! Here are some of the gifts that were knitted:

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This is the sweater that I knitted for my mom. The yarn was Silky Wool and I used a #5 Harmony circular needle from Knit Picks. I used a “pattern suggestion” from the book “The Sweater Workshop” by Jacqueline Fee. You do a gauge swatch and determine the stitches per inch, then using measurements from the intended wearer, you work off percentages of a key number which is the waist/high hip measurement x the stitches per inch number. I had never done anything like this before and was a little nervous because I jumped right to the back of the book, skipping the basic sweater, basic cardigan and onto the V-Neck Cardigan. I was a little worried, but all went very well and (except for running out of buttons and almost not being able to get any more) the sweater turned out very nice and fit my mom just perfect. Like it was made for her, LOL!!! She knew about it as I kept having her try it on as I was knitting it. I will certainly knit another sweater or two or three using this wonderful book!!!

The underarm seam was joined using the kitchener stitch and was the last thing to be finished. It was not hard and looks great!
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I made two pair of socks for her birthday, also, which is in December. This first pair is made using Wendy Johnson’s toe-up feather and fan pattern and the yarn is from Ellen’s 1/2 pint farm. It is a blend of wool and tencel and is very soft. I had to knit the first cuff twice as it was too small the first time. GRRRR! This pattern was really fun and easy to knit!
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The second pair was knitted with Zitron Lifestyle yarn, toe up with a short row toe and using the slip-stitch heel with gusset pattern which was also written by Wendy Johnson. I got the yarn at the Summer Gallery at Chautauqua, NY, where I taught knitting this summer. Wonderful yarn!!!!
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I made Marcus a hat which spells out “H-A-T” in binary code. I used this pattern for the basic hat and charted out the three 8-unit letters of the code. I may make some more even though I used Red Heart yarn which was not my favorite to knit with. It did have the perfect colors, though! And it fit and he likes it, yay!!!!
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I gave Meagan a pair of socks from the 2007 Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Club. The colorway was “Monsoon” and she just loved them. I knitted them in February and saved them for her until Christmas. She was so happy!!! I forgot to take a picture of them. Sorry!!!

I made Meagan some little mini socks from the Keychain Sock Blocker Sock pattern by Debbie Jennings (purchased at the Loopy Ewe of course!). They turned out really cute and she just loved them, but neither one would fit on the mini sock blocker that comes with the kit. I have to seriously knit looser!!!!! Each one only took about an hour. Both pair were knitted using the leftovers from socks that I had made her as gifts before.
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It was a very sad and strange Christmas. My life will be changing forever soon and is a scary place to be right now. Time will tell what will happen and I am keeping my faith in God and am very thankful for all my friends and their wonderful support!

Here’s a picture of Meagan and Marcus’s little yorkie, Alyssa. She is always dressed up for the holidays in all her finery!
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I will leave you with a darling picture of my little dog, Tiffany. I had some Christmas stuffed animals “decorating” my bed and she just blended right in. She is SUCH a cutie and very photogenic!
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Quilting (still)!

November 21st, 2007

I used to quilt! A lot. For years. I even worked at the Calico Cat quilt shop and taught quilting. I did bed quilts, lap quilts, baby quilts, miniature quilts and wall quilts. I did piecing, paper piecing and needle-turned applique (I really liked the applique). Then I started knitting. And knitting and knitting and knitting and spinning. Did I mention the knitting?!?!? I tend to become slightly compulsive with my hobbies in case you were wondering.

Anyway, I have a wonderful Bernina Virtuosa 155 sewing machine that makes quilting like play. It is a great machine and is so reliable. I have two friends who I still do machine quilting for. I am their own personal quilter! They have grandsons who are the same age and they like to make identical projects and then I get to quilt them.

Here are some of the quilts I’ve done for them recently.

This one is a baby quilt for Nancy. I did a medium stipple over the whole quilt. It is so cute!
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Both Bev and Nancy made a wall hanging out of this cute panel with borders. I stitched all the borders around the blocks and then did the outer borders. After Christmas, I think they are going to have me embellish them with beads, buttons and cute little hearts and bells, etc.
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This is a lovely throw that Bev made. It’s also quilted with a medium stipple.
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Bev made this beautiful quilt using panels and piecing around them. Notice the little “helper”! Here’s the front:
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And the back!
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Bev made this wallhanging with many, many little tiny pieces!
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And last but not least, Nancy made up this baby quilt with panels and strips.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip into my “quilting” life!

Now, back to the knitting!!!

Bad Times In the Ole Corral!

November 10th, 2007

I am sorry that I haven’t been blogging for the last few weeks. There are some serious things going on in my family and I’ll probably be quite sporatic for the next few months. Life must go on so I am trying really hard to go on, too!

Anyway, I might as well tell you about our spinning guild’s recent trip to Kent and Nanette Knappenberger’s “ranch” in Westfield, NY, since we are talking about corrals! Our group is call the “Hilltop Spinners” and it was started about 25 years ago. My daughter and I joined about 3 1/2 years ago. I first learned to spin on a drop spindle and quickly had a new Lendrum spinning wheel all my own.

Kent and Nanette have sheep, a mohair goat named “Fred”, horses, a cow, a llama named “Sugar Bear” and some dogs (and lots of cute kids!!!). We always have a great time when our meeting is at their house. They have beautiful fiber and roving for us to buy and a fun project for us to “make and take”. This year we played around with dying fiber and locks and then baked our creations in the oven for one hour to set the dye. Beautiful hand-dyed rovings and fleece were had by all. Last year we cleaned and washed “Fred” for our own mohair to spin!

Here are some pictures from our special day:

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This is Fred the mohair goat. Last year, Kent had been shearing him and only had one side of him done when we came for our guild meeting. When Kent tried to show Fred to us, Fred wouldn’t come our of his little shed because he was so embarassed!!!
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Here is Kent (Nanette is just behind him) with his horses.
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And here is the little pony!
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I bought two fleeces to spin. They are both border leicester fleeces.
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This one is from “Marianne”.
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And this one is from Laura!
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And our dying experiments were very lovely! Here are the locks:
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And the roving!
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We had a great time and are very thankful to Kent and Nanette for being the perfect hosts for our spinning guild! Thanks again!!!

Clapotis Finished!

November 1st, 2007

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted! I’m sorry to anyone who has been checking this blog. I hope you haven’t given up on me! I visited my daughter, Meagan, in Cleveland for a week and I am still trying to get caught up! She has some great, new recipies on her blog, so go check them out!

I finally finished my Clapotis. I really like how it came out. The yarn is very soft and squishy, just perfect for wrapping up in. I used Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed and would recommend it to anyone who wants a lovely Clapotis. I think I used around 10 balls altogether. I took pictures of my friend, Joyce, wearing it. She is the perfect person to use as a model. Tall and thin and pretty! She even got all dressed up when I asked if I could take a picture of her wearing it. I didn’t even have to ask! She is a real GEM!!! Here are the pictures I took of her:

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Joyce really lives in our little town of Lakewood, but you would never know it. Isn’t her back yard pretty? We have our spinning meetings there all the time and sit out under the tree and just enjoy a “little bit of country in the city”! Thanks Joyce for being such a great friend!!!

I’ve got lots and lots of great stuff to blog about, so come back tomorrow while I try to get caught up. I promise I’ve got some fun photos for you!

See you tomorrow!

Ravelry: Spinsagoodyarn