Monday, January 17, 2011

The thrill of victory....

It's taken me 17 days, and it's about a month later than I needed it, but I finally finished something this year.

And a close-up:

This Christmas tree skirt has been sewn and basted, waiting to be quilted for at least 2 years. Probably more like 3 or 4. Want to know how long it took me to quilt it? About 4 hours, plus another couple of hours to bind it. I'm pretty sure I could have found 6 hours in 3 or 4 years to finish it. No, I don't have an explanation for it, either. Oh well, it's done now.

I had lots of help while I was quilting it.

"Mama, stop moving my quilt around!"

"And if you don't stop, I'll get you with my laser eyes!"

...and the agony of defeat.

As you know, I've been waffling about the Karira socks. I thought I'd finish them and see if they fit me. If they didn't fit me, I was going to see if they fit someone else and if that didn't work out I was going to get some nice sock blockers and hang them on the wall.

But then I was working on them last night and I decided I just couldn't finish them if I wasn't going to be able to wear them. So I took them off the needles, soaked them and put them on sock blockers to dry. I tried them on and have decided that they are just not going to work as socks. The yarn is too pretty to just hang on the wall, so I'm thinking that I'll rip them back to before the linen stitch heels (that took forever to knit) and make fingerless mitts out of them.

I think they'll look pretty good as mitts

I haven't had the nerve to actually rip them back yet. Maybe later this week.

This doesn't have anything to do with anything, but have you ever cut into a pepper and found a little one inside?

Pretty cool, huh?

And in cat news there's been quite a bit of male bonding and brotherly love going on here.

"This is a pretty cool basket Mama left out for us"

Hanging out on the chair

"I love you, little brother"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Got Egg Nog?

Christmas is over and you might have a bit of leftover egg nog in your fridge. If you've had your fill of drinking it, you could use the leftovers for cookies.

You can find the recipe here. I opted to not use the icing, but added 1 cup of Craisins to the dough. They're nice and soft, and the egg nog isn't overwhelming, so if you're not really a fan of it, don't worry.

In keeping with the food theme, I made a pot of chicken soup the other day from leftover chicken and broth that was in the freezer.

No shortage of chicken here, folks.

I promised to share the knitting in this post, so I'll start with the finished objects, since they're more interesting.

First up, my Noro striped scarf. This is not new to anyone who reads knitting blogs, but I really enjoyed making it. I used two different colorways of Noro Silk Garden yarn and followed the instructions here.

I only cast on 31 stitches, since I prefer a narrower scarf, and I only used one skein of one color, and a little more than a skein of the second color so it's not terribly long. But I'm not one of those double-it-up-and-pull-it-through people, so it's fine.

The next two were made from kits I got at Studio Knit in Medina, OH.

Adorable little Santa hat - needs stuffing or something, I think

Isn't this the cutest thing EVER?

They were pretty quick knits. The hat I started and finished in one evening. The snowman took a little longer, since it was more involved. I did the accessories one evening and the body another. I liked these so much I bought some yarn to make more of them.

I'm still slogging away on the Karira socks.

They're a little farther along than this now.

They are taking forever. Probably because they are linen stitch and charted lace that I can't really memorize. And I've been knitting those other projects and sewing a couple dozen fiddly grocery bags.

Plus, my heart isn't really in them anymore. Once I got the heel turned, I tried them on and I could barely get them over my ankles. One of my friends is a designer and she said her latest pattern was pretty tight as she was knitting it, but it stretched a bit when she washed and blocked them. I have hope that I'll actually be able to wear these when I'm done. If not, I'll either find someone very sock-worthy to give them to, or get some pretty sock blockers and hang them on the wall as art. The yarn is gorgeous and they're my first lace socks. I can't bring myself to rip them back and I would never start them over, at least not as written. If I did, I'd do 1x1 ribbing on the back panel, I think. I like the way the linen stitch looks (it's on the back of the heel), but I'm not a fan of knitting it.

I also started a new project.

Warm Thoughts from Decorator Throws to Knit

This is knitting up a lot faster than the socks, and I like how it's striping. The yarn I'm using comes in 50g balls, and I'm holding it double, so it's been entertaining trying to keep the pattern repeats more or less together. I have lots of little bits and balls of various colors lying around. I'll probably make cat toys with them later. My only concern is that it isn't superwash wool, so I'm going to have to be very careful when I wash it.

I've been on vacation the last two weeks, so Emma has spent quite a bit of time on my lap. In fact, she's here now. Who cares if there's a laptop there, she just squeezes her way in. The other day, I was laying on the couch and she was using me as a kitty bed. This doesn't look comfortable at all, but it must have been, since she stayed that way for quite a while.

"Yes, my head and back feet are going different directions. What of it?"

Oh, and Happy New Year, everyone! A lot of my friends had a pretty rough 2010, and I'm hoping that 2011 is kinder to them.