Sunday, June 22, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Drumroll, please, I hopped on over to and plugged in the numbers from 1 to 73 from the Mr. Linky list, and-

Here is what it said:

Our winner is #59, Aberdonian, from across the pond, in Grenoble, France. Congrats! I'll be watching your blog too see what you create with your new yarn!! Have fun with it.

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the contest- it's been fun to stop by your blogs (many of them new to me!) and see the wide range of goals out there, some of them nice, sweet, and simple, some of them loftier than my own!

A peek into the start on my own summer knitting goals should come later this week. Right now, I'm finding myself knee deep in book lists and lesson plans and ideas as I am attempting to put together at least the first trimester of our upcoming homeschool year- with 9th & 4th grade boys, and 2nd & 1st grade girls, a 3 yr old preschooler, and a 1 yr old wee one (and a baby due in October!) That planning, perhaps with a little spring cleaning that got missed, and a camping 'trip' to gear up for next week, will suck up much of my non-knitting time, I'm sure... oh, yeah, and playing in the pool with my kids as soon as I manage to find an acceptable maternity swimsuit (this one, perhaps?)...

Happy knitting-

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To Bake, or Not to Bake- That is the Question

Every year, right about this time, the time when it just starts getting hot enough to be a bit uncomfortable once you add the extra heat of having the oven on for an hour or two, I get bitten by the baking bug. I can't really explain it. I like to cook and I like to bake, but I'm no queen of the cookie.

I live in Minnesota, a land where rising fuel prices have made it increasingly more expensive to stay warm in the winter (in addition to filling the gas tanks in the vehicles, we won't even mention that...) It would make sense for me to bake all winter long. I have an electric range, our furnace runs on propane, which seems to add up a lot more than our electric bill in the winter. In the winter I bake things like chickens, roasts, pizzas, and enough french fries to feed an army of 8, but not a lot of 'baked goods'.

And then late spring/early summer hits, and I get an insatiable urge to start baking cakes and muffins, cookies and scones, even the occasional pie. Perhaps it is the thought of summer menus and avoiding the oven for months. Perhaps it is the repetitive reading of A Friend to Knit With's blog. Perhaps it is a yet unnamed syndrome that I should seek treatment for. Whatever it is, it is feeding my pregnant sweet tooth (and causing this strange numerical increase phenomenon on the scale... the whipping cream could have something to do with it, perhaps...)

In the last couple weeks, I've made 3 'cookie cakes', a rhubarb crisp with the first harvest of our homegrown rhubarb, and some raspberry scones (frozen raspberries, when they're ripe, we eat 'em off the plants as fast as we can grow 'em around here, mental note- need to plant more raspberries...)

What does this have to do with knitting? Not much, expect for how comforting it is to sit with warm baked goods, a good strong latte with freshly whipped cream (just whip up about twice as much as you think the kids will need on their 'cookie cakes', that should leave enough for coffee drinks...), and some yarn. Knit a row/rnd, take a bite, take a sip, breath a deep sigh of contentment. Now this is living... and those pictures are making me need another latte...
Happy knitting-
*health update- 19 month old had CT scan yesterday to rule out broken nose, hemotomas, and any subcranial bleeding, or something like that; bruising is turning ugly, poor thing
-5 yr old's asthma got bad enough for another ER visit last night; no admission though, waiting with the 'big guns' (oral steroids) for now, seems allergic and not bacterial- no pneumonia so far; closed up house, turned on AC early, installed fresh filter, gave benedryl as well as nebs, and she's holding stable, still not out of the woods with this episode, but maybe keeping her out of all the pollens for a bit will help- she needs more allergy testing, one more apt to make...
*contest update- still time to set some goals for summer knitting!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Never A Dull Moment...

As if restarting the inhaler regimen for the asthmatic 3 & 5 yr olds wasn't enough this week (stinking pollen counts, stinking allergies, stinking asthma...), this morning we added a bloodied, then swollen, then bruised bridge of the nose on a 19 month old to the mix of medical marvels around here. It's kind of hard to knit with a wounded baby in need of much cuddling sympathy on my lap... I put down the needles and spent some quality time making sure my wee one could follow the stuffed puppy with her eyes, making sure her pupils looked normal, etc... to rule out any mild concussion...
There was a new bike, there was a new biker, there was a baby's face making fast and hard contact with some handlebars, there was screaming (baby's), there was tension (mine), and then there was deep breathing (and sighs of relief) and relaxing cuddling- the kind that takes precedence over knitting any day.

Not a lot got done today, but I did manage to get a sleeve on that new Kid's Pullover shortly before the handlebar/nose incident. I am really loving the Skinny Dyed Cotton. Every time I knit with it I think of several more things that would be really great in this yarn...

So one more arm on that sweater, a wee bit more of a 2nd sock (need to get off the needles to make way for starting more socks this weekend for Summer of Socks 2008!), and another couple rows on a dolly dress will round out my knitting for the next couple of days. Also on tomorrow's agenda will be the quilt blocks for our $5 quilt/block of the month club quilts. 2 of my girls (5 & 7) are making matching quilts for their new room (once the boys move downstairs) and even my 8 yr old son is going to make a quilt for himself! Fun stuff, I tell ya. I've got some fabric to cut out some fun bibs, but I think that just might get pushed back in the week... we'll see, I guess it may depend on how healthy and unharmed my children can stay for the next few days.
More knitting content soon, but for today, I'll leave you with a few pics of a recent Saturday's spur of the moment mammoth landscaping project, in which we ripped out all of the old overgrown stuff that gave our cozy home a rather unpleasant Adam's Family home kind of look...
How do you keep several small children out of the way of Dad and Grandpa driving big, orange, vintage tractors around the yard?
Easy- let them spend time trimming the bushes (before you rip them out. Pointless? It's all in how you look at it... it kept a couple youngers occupied and stationary for several minutes at a time- it's called strategy, or as my husband like to say, strategerie...)
and finding and playing with little green things, that's always fun, unless you're squeamish, which my younger ones are not...
collecting some new leaves from different trees in our yard...
or you can always send them to play with the baby goose that wandered out of a clump of woods in the side yard, apparently imprinting on my 8 yr old son, following him out of the trees, baby goose honking all the way to the house...
they affectionately named him "Wally", enjoyed his company for about 24 hours, then released him (hoping and praying that he can hook up with a goose family, but if not, at least he won't die here, in front of the kids) at a nearby county park with a convenient walking trail and lake... he had seriously imprinted, kept swimming back to the kids and following them away from the water's edge... now that doesn't happen every day.
And what does mom do to stay out of the way, and make herself useful? Transplant hostas, of course...

Off to check for wheezing one last time before I attempt to sleep tonight. I hear some not-so-good-sounding coughing coming from upstairs... Asthma flare-ups can get tiring, literally.

Hoping tomorrow is rather uneventful,

happy knitting-


Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Prizes to Boot, and a Quick FO

More prizes anyone? Nichole D, of Saving Nine, has graciously (and generously!) offered to add a set of her adorable, handmade, knitting needle earrings (from her etsy shop- check it out) to the prizes for the Summer Knitting Goals 2008 Contest! I'm very excited about this! (Thanks again, Nichole!!)
Nichole will custom make a pair, in the needle size the winner chooses, or if you don't have pierced ears, you may pick a key ring and a set of stitch markers! (I actually have a conscience and have decided that it would be very, very wrong of me to rig things to win my own contest... but... how cute are those?!)

In recent knitting news- I am working on a new sample of one of Blue Sky Alpacas latest (coming soon to a yarn shop near you) patterns. It's a sweet little Kid's Pullover, designed by Wendy Bernard, using the new Skinny Dyed cotton. It's got some fun style and flair, with a sailor-like collar and some colorwork- just enough to be fun! I love colorwork, but I know that many knitters are a wee bit intimidated by colorwork. This pattern would make a great first attempt at colorwork. For one thing, it's a kid item, less knitting, period. For another thing, there really isn't very much colorwork- just enough to get some practice and experience. It's fun stuff- try it, you just may like it.

The one I'm working on contains much more pink... real pics soon...

Well, even though I am on a deadline to get this sample made, I pulled one of my famous 'stop in the middle of whatever it is you're doing, and start another project' moves last night and cast on for the new Baby Bobbi Bear Sweater- that was around 8:55pm, and I was weaving in ends at 9:55pm. How's that for instant gratification?

We were at my sister's place a couple weeks back and I noticed that her Baby Bobbi Bear was sporting an adorable bulky sweater. Cute stuff. She made it up on the fly one night while feeling a bit restless, and hey, now it's a freebie pattern on Blue Sky's website!

My 3 yr old decided that her bear must be cold (because how could a bear without a sweater be warm?) and therefore must need a sweater of it's own. Voila! Her bear can now sweat with the rest of us as the muggy Minnesota summer heat finally moves in... (along with our savage mosquitos, seriously, we may as well live in swampy woodlands...)

It's hard to pose this guy... but we had fun trying!

You want to make one now, don't you?

Happy knitting-

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Summer 2008 Knitting Goals

I only managed to finish 1/3 of my list for spring, but I did also knit an extra adult sweater, several baby hats, and I managed to sew a lot more than in previous months... I can definitely feel a sense of accomplishment in getting that much done!

I'm going to try to limit my summer knitting goals list to 20 items, knowing well that finishing 10 things would be a more than adequate accomplishment. I also have sewing, quilting, and other general crafting goals, not to mention the major goal of getting out of the house and having loads of fun in the sun with my 6 little people.

You may notice the the first many goals are socks- I've been compiling a list of socks to be working on for SoS2008 (Summer of Socks 2008), for which I've been trying to accumulate yarn ahead of time so I'll be ready to rock... we'll see how many of those get done, but they will make easy portable knitting to have with on some park days and other such galavanting that's bound to happen soon.

Also, some goals are being carried over from spring- I still want to knit them, so here goes-

ali's summer knitting goals 2008

  1. Merino Lace Socks (FS) in Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Wool, colorway: Thoroughbred, in stash
  2. Lace-Cuff Anklets (FS) in yarn undecided... (I think I need to make the skirt in the book pic as well...)
  3. Retro Rib Socks (FS) in Trekking XXL, color 283, in stash
  4. Uptown Boot Socks (FS) in Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Wool, colorway: Coral Pink, in stash
  5. Wendy's Basic Toe-Up Socks (2 at a time) in some hand-dyed stuff my mom bought in Amish Country last summer, in stash
  6. Slipped-Stitch Rib Socks (SKS) in Trekking XXL, color 84, in stash
  7. Chevron Socks (SKS) in Trekking XXL, color 150, in stash
  8. Cable Rib Socks (FS) in Trekking XXL, color 145, in stash
  9. Fixation on Lace Socks (KCAS) in yarn undecided
  10. Chunky, Cozy Cotton Socks (KCAS) in yarn undecided
  11. Worsted Knee Socks (BSA) in Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes, colors undecided
  12. Sweater Socks (BSA) in Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes, colors undecided
  13. Baby Bobbi Bear (w/sweater!)
  14. Maternity tank in cotton (working on design)
  15. Kai Cable Sweater (Natural Knits for Babies and Moms) for nephew
  16. Kai Cable Sweater (Natural Knits for Babies and Moms) for our new baby boy
  17. Design sweater to replace old favorite from Anthropologie that I accidentally shrunk/felted so sad... (didn't get to this one this spring, but that was my favorite sweater ever, I need to make a new one)
  18. Cropped Cardigan (BSA) in Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight, color 506 (Natural Strky Brown)
  19. Girls' version cropped cardigans for my girls (didn't get to this one, either, but definitely still want to)
  20. Update more on Ravelry and Flickr...

I know for a fact that a number of other knits will sneak up on me, squeezing their way onto my need-to-knit-this-next list, but having some of these laid out before my eyes will help, I hope, to keep me reigned in, at least a bit, over the summer.

I'll leave you with a pic of the finished Baby Shrug that I neglected to blog about. Notice how it's not on my baby, but my rather large toddler instead, details in a furture post...

21. Green Gable

22. Tangled Yoke Cardigan

I know I said I'd try to keep my list at 20, but I forgot about that blasted queue on Ravelry- how could I forget that?! I'd better get busy.

Happy knitting-


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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

2008 Summer Knitting Goals Contest

It's that time of year again! Can you even believe how quickly spring has flown by? Summer's almost here... I know some of you have been experiencing warm, even hot temps for a while now- it got into the mid 50's here yesterday, sigh, only 2 days after being mid 80's and muggy on Sunday- what's up with that, you may ask? It's Minnesota...

Well, all temps aside, the calendar says the first day of summer is June 20th, so you've got until midnight 6/20/08 to set some summer knitting goals and enter my little contest. This year's prize will be a kit to make the Simple Raglan, using Blue Sky Alpacas' newest yarn- the Skinny Dyed Cotton (which knits up to a similar gauge as the Hand Spun Organic Cotton that the original was made up in).
Pattern, yarn, and a Pretty Cheap Project Bag- new fun stuff from Blue Sky Alpacas!! Yay! Who doesn't love new stuff?!

(wooden eggs and clothespins not included, but aren't those eggs cool?!)

Be one of the first to have one... a new 'orangey' Pretty Cheap Project Bag, color coordinated with 6 skeins of Skinny Dyed in Squash. If you play nice and use the yarn to knit this sweater*, your finished object should at least somewhat resemble this-

(not the best pics, sorry, in a hurry, running out the door...)

(sleeve detail)

The Easy Raglan I knit up as a sample (the only thing I really managed to accomplish knitwise during all of our health drama...) to show how similar in gauge the two yarns are- and let me tell you, I loved knitting with this yarn at this gauge. It's cotton, and working it on smaller needles causes a little hand aching, like any other cotton worked tight, or any other yarn, for that matter, when working really tight. I worked it on size 7 needles, and fell in love with the knitted fabric I was creating. I rather reluctantly handed this one over, while formulating plans in my head to aquire more of that yarn and knit one for myself this fall (you know, post partum, flatter tummy, I should be able to wear it by New Years...)

Here's how this works-
  1. Head to your blog and post your summer knitting goals list (you must have at least 1 goal!)
  2. Be sure to link to this contest in your post
  3. Stop back and leave the link to your goals list with Mr. Linky (by midnight, June 20th!) to be 'officially entered'
  4. Spend the summer, attempting to stay at least a little bit on track, tackling one goal at a time
  5. Have fun with it

Easy enough? Let the goalsetting begin!! (I'll try to post my goals tomorrow)

Happy knitting-


*Do know that even though I include a pattern (or two) in my 'prize packages', making them resemble a 'kit', you are always free to knit whatever you like with the yarn! Cotton makes good baby items...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Something About Frogs and Snails...

Got this pic this morning...

I guess a little more blue knitting is in store...

Happy knitting to all-


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