Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Girls Love Girly Mitts

Design work is still work, and being such, has moved to one of the many back burners I always keep lit, but turned down to simmer. Summers are busy by their very nature, throw in a couple asthma flare-ups requiring hospital stays and they turn into crazy week after weeks that roll into months of trying to get back into a routine, followed by a late summer and fall full of soccer, field trips, and working to get into a new routine, a homeschooling routine, and, well, I find myself having to dust off the pattern writing part of my brain.
I've been writing simple hat, mitten, and fingerless glove patterns whenever I can sneak a few moments and rally the brainpower to engage in the designing and pattern-writing process. Those two things do not line up together all the time, as evidenced by the sheer number of projects that may be destined to remain one-of-a-kinds, in every sense of those words. (The designing and knitting got done, the pattern writing, um, not so much...) The moments and the intentional designing have merged on occasion and I did actually manage to write out a few patterns. There are still better photos to be taken- what I wouldn't do for a nice fat production budget... but this branching out on one's own has to be done with what one has: a decent DSLR, a bit of photography knowledge, a bit of photoshop know-how, friends who know so much more, and models. I have cute models (at least I think so), as long as I'm designing for young people. When I finish the sweater that's mostly in my brain, I may have to turn to my non-union, modeling friend- it's all about connections, I tell ya...
My 1st (free!) pattern for this season is for the Girly Mitts you see here. My girls love when cables look like braids, and I love what my girls look like in braids, so what we have here is a win-win situational knit. Quick and easy to knit up in less than 1 skein of Spud & Chloe Sweater, these mitts are washable, which comes in handy, you know, if you aren't planning on felting yours and then using them on your porcelain doll collection.

I'm planning on making another pair ASAP, with one mod- making them into full finger coverage mittens, which I know most of you knitters could do on auto-knit while reading this blog, but for those that like a bit more direction, I'll add those specifics to the pdf as soon as I can get to it...

Then, there are 2 hat patterns and a mitten pattern just about ready to put in a shop. Yep, patterns for sale, pretty excited about that around here. Husband was asking if I'd made my 1st million yet so he can quit his day job. I told him it doesn't actually work that way, but that I'd see what I could do about that... you know, as soon as I can get to it...
Yeah, so while I work out how to become rich and famous, you could pass the time knitting a few pairs of Girly Girl Mitts for some girls in your life, and then if you want to become famous (I don't think I can help you in the rich department) send me a pic of your finished mitts and I'll add them to some snazzy photo mosaics with links back (if you've got a blog!) in an upcoming post. We'll humor each other by throwing that word famous around, k?
I can't wait to see some of your Girly Mitts! Bring on the yarn!

Happy knitting-

Labels: ,

Girly Mitts Coming Very Soon

Just a teaser-
I'm getting the pdf laid out now. Just a few minor details to tweak, and I hope to have it up and ready for downloading before I hit the sack tonight!

Happy knitting-


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reach for the Stars!!

Sonrise Scholars Reading Marathon
November 2009

Our marathon program benefits the reader (we have 3 solid readers and an emerging reader or two or three), the reader's family, and the Sonrise Scholars Co-operative that our family is so excited about being a part of this year. Students participate by reading as much as possible (yay!) and finding sponsors to support their efforts through pledges.

Benefit program as follows:
  • 60% of the pledges provide new Usborne Books to the participating student (Yay!)
  • 20% of the pledges provide tuition funds for the participating student's family (every bit helps!)
  • 20% of the pledges provide cash to the Sonrise Scholars Co-op (for expenses like the awards they give the children at field day, etc...)
  • Participants reading 1,000 minutes or more will receive special recognition and a medal (My oldest 3 are definitely shooting for at least 1,000 minutes, my Teenager actually thinks he'll top 2,000 and I believe him.)

They have two weeks. 1,000 minutes in 14 days means 71.43 minutes a day, which should be easy for my eager readers, especially if they keep up with the pace they started out with last night, which was their Day 1. November 30th is their last reading day, everything gets turned in Tuesday, December 1st.

***If I understood what I just wrote correctly, that means we are within 2 weeks of December. Take a moment to collect yourselves, then continue reading***

Would you consider sponsoring one (or more) of our readers? I'd love to drum up some online knitting world support for them! Let us know here in the comments, being sure to include your email address so I can contact you with a Paypal invoice. Any amount will help and encourage our readers, I'm sure!

Our oldest 3 are off to a good start, here are Day 1 totals (they only had a while in the evening to read after we got home from a busy day)-

  • The Teenager, Ian - 90 minutes
  • 10 yr old, Jaron - 60 minutes
  • 8 yr old, Liberty - 30 minutes

Our 6 yr old is finally getting over her reading hump, with some letter sound blending finally 'clicking' the past couple weeks. I'm so very excited about that and can't wait to see her reading take off as she discovers more words she can decode!

Day 2 totals are looking good for our oldest 3, that 1,000 minutes looks well within reach!

I'll try to post their daily totals and accumulative totals as we countdown our 14 days of Reading- keep checking back and cheering them on!

Thanks, in advance, for all of your encouragement and support!

Happy knitting-


Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, November 15, 2009

itty-bitty fun

Another busy week for us- 4-H on Tuesday, violin lessons on Wednesday, an evening at the orchestra (what a fun treat!) on Thursday, a homeschool field trip to our favorite historical farm on Friday, and in true no-rest-for-the-weary fashion, a Mommy afternoon at a yarn shop, meeting Susan B. Anderson, on Saturday. Whew! Kinda tired just typing that (could be from staying up a bit late last night, but we'll all pretend I didn't just admit that).
My Dear Husband was home all day on Saturday. Not only was he home, but he was perfectly willing to oversee the entire brood for some hours in the afternoon so I could have some of that elusive 'me time'. For the record, I would've dragged all of my children to the yarn shop if he wasn't going to be home, well, okay, my two oldest boys could have stayed home and twiddled their thumbs for a couple hours... I was truly thankful that he was home, not only so I could have some Mommy time, but so he could have some Daddy time (notice how that works out opposite- my Mommy time is getting out sans children, his Daddy time is being home avec children...), and because my youngest little guy is just getting over a bit of croup, and he's a wee bit clingy and cranky, and may not have been the sweetest little companion around- unlike my sister's wee one, who was the perfect sweet pea!

Shepherd's Choice is so much more than a yarn shop, and I count myself blessed to consider it's owner, Kathy, a friend.
She makes the most wonderful natural soaps and moisturizing lotions- I just cannot say enough good things about them. Seriously. I told several perfect strangers about how Kathy's lanolin rich moisturizer cured my daughters severe eczema and psoriasis- she had what appeared to be both at the time, it was awful, cracked, bleeding, weepy, scaley, itchy, burning, no fun at all for a 2 yr old! We had a doctor prescribe an ointment (after we had tried every 'good' and 'natural' lotion on the market, Eucerin, Neutogena, Aveeno, you name it, we tried it, all to no avail- and they would sting, poor baby), an ointment we never used. After reading the insert, and learning that this ointment had been shown to cause benign and malignant growths, I refused to even try. Were they serious?! They actually wanted me to rub this stuff on my 2 yr old's precious baby soft skin, okay, baby soft except for where the eczema and psoriasis was taking it's toll... Anyhoo, I stopped by the shop one day, and brought in my 2 yr old for Kathy to see. She gave me a tub of her unscented lanolin rich moisturizer to try, and folks, I'm not even kidding, in a week there was marked improvement, in 2 weeks, she was almost clear, by the 3rd week we were just using a touch here and there for some dryness that threatened to get sore but never got the chance. I was amazed, and thankful, and have bought more of that wonder stuff since.
If you have skin problems, please give it a try, and give it time to work. Kathy is a wonderfully prompt shipper. While you're at it, order a bar of her cinnamon with lanolin soap, because, I mean, cinnamon soap!! I could almost eat it. Who doesn't love the smell of cinnamon? Especially this time of year?! Makes wonderful gifts as well!! Knit a washcloth, give with some of this luscious soap, seriously, the recipient will thank you.
Back to the main point of this post- meeting Susan was like meeting up with an old friend. After reading her blog for some years, tweeting back and forth for some months, listening to her podcasts and hearing her interviewed on others, even her voice was familiar. Just in case you're wondering, yes, she really is every bit as sweet as she seems. It was so fun to finally meet her.

My sister came, with munchkin in tow, and then my Mom stopped by too, so we had to get a couple shots of our designing family with Susan. There is another sister, my Little sister, but she's too cool to knit, or way too busy with her amazing job and her adorable Little guy. She's an amazing person, but she's the odd one out when it comes to the knitting and designing (and the sewing!) in this family. She's young, there's still time...
There were a few other local blogging knitters to be spotted, and it was funny how we kinda went by our blog names- "Hey, there's Knits In Class", (hi Kate!), "Oh, hi! Nice to meet you, I'm Skeins Her Way", "There's Twist Your Stitches", "The Blonde Knitter", and one of "The Rainey Sisters"!! Fun times. Yeah, Susan may have been onto something when she named her blog after herself, you know, so people actually know her name...

The sun came out for some moments and I ran over to the window to soak up some rays, cause I'm desperate like that, and then it got warm in the shop. I peeled off my Drops Jacket, 'cause, have you worn Blue Sky Alpacas' Worsted? So warm and cozy. I pulled out my water bottle, which I promptly left on the table so if there's a stainless steel water bottle doing crazy things with the flash in any of your pictures, sorry about that! Winters in the Frozen Tundra (I know it's not frozen yet, but Minnesota is always the Frozen Tundra in my mind) are so dry, my water bottle becomes my best friend, specially when the room suddenly gets warm, and I'm not even in my menopause years...

After mulling around for most if the afternoon, and after stocking up on more yummy soaps, some for me, some for gifts, I headed out to a local cafe with The Blonde Knitter. Avant Garden is a very cozy spot in the old historic downtown Anoka, serving the most wonderful paninis- we split a Roma- tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and I don't know what else, but let's just say it's taking some significant self-control to not hop back in the van to grab another for lunch today. Oh, and in a rare non-latte drink order for me, I went with a hot caramel apple cider, and I have no regrets, yummo!

All in all, a fabulous Saturday, and would you believe, I didn't even knit a stitch?

Happy knitting to the rest of you (I'm sure I'll knit a stitch or two today)-

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Happy knitting-

Monday, November 02, 2009

A Little Taste of Fall

Yes! Soccer season is officially over, except for the awards ceremony, but the driving around, the daily interruption at the most inconvenient time of the afternoon, the waiting in the hot sun, or the cold wind, or in the van... yeah, that's all done. Yay! We made it!

The Teenager had his final tournament this past Friday and Saturday. They didn't do so hot, but they played their hearts out and had a lot of fun in the process. Now it's time for some longer school days here at Springvale Academy (I named our homeschool, we even have a fight song!) and I suppose we'll have to think up some indoor physical activities soon, as the inevitable frigid temps will be moving in to the Frozen Tundra* any time now. Since we haven't robbed from Peter to pay Paul for a Wii and a Wii Fit yet, though I really do think they need to be in our future, maybe we'll pull out some old Pilates or Tae-bo DVDs. We'll call that gym. It works. I remember playing table tennis and shuffle board in gym, maybe we can find a nice foosball table... Hmmm, we have friends with an air hockey table. I digress...
*Minnesota, or MinneSNOWta, or Land of 10,000 Lakes and many more mosquitoes, take your pick.

After our premature blast of arctic air, things have been warmer, though not actually warm. 50 degrees is, after all, warmer than 37 or whatever unbelievably unseasonal number called itself the high that weekend... We've been kind of stuck in a 50 and drizzly cycle, yuck, it's cold, wet (poor farmers haven't been able to get their crops out), and downright depressing, making days like yesterday seem like an island vacation.

The sun made an appearance, and we headed outside! I wouldn't mind a few more afternoons like that before we hunker down to await the great thaw...

Fall in the Frozen Tundra (even though it's not frozen yet) means time for hats and scarves and mittens, oh my! And warm cozy sweaters, can't forget the sweaters. I've waited several months to don a cozy sweater. I've even worn a couple prematurely, only to peel it off in haste as I started to overheat. I have the narrowest of temperature comfort zones, 68 and I'm cold, 72 and I start to break a sweat, and I'm not even kidding. Is there a climate where it's 70 degrees year round, with plenty of happy light (that would be sun)?

I've been wearing my Drops Jacket anytime a cool breeze even thinks about blowing by, and yet, I have not taken a single picture of it (on my person), my bad, I know. I've been wearing it so much that I had to go out and buy a sweater shaver, something that has always been on the 'you know, I could really use a...' list, so I can clean it up a little bit. I love, love, love, knitting with, and wearing, alpaca, and I think Blue Sky Alpacas' Worsted Hand Dyes is like knitting with butter (that's a good thing, I like butter) but it can pill a bit, especially when knit at the loose gauge used on this sweater, and when it gets a lot of wear, enough that I finally got me a sweater shaver.

My Vine Lace Top Down Cardigan is finished, except for blocking and buttons. Dunno when I'll find the time for hunting down decent buttons (this is why people have a button stash, isn't it?), but now that soccer season is done I will have some free afternoons...

Not too many this week, though, as there needs to be some serious cleaning done before allowing anyone to step foot in my house on Saturday, when we have our Annual Soup Party. I've never kept a Martha Stewart magazine cover home, and it won't be picture perfect on soup day either, but it sure better be a sight better than it is today, ehem. Enough said.

If you've never been to a soup party, you're missing out. If you've never hosted one, you should, hehe, you might even decide to make it an annual thing. Here's how it works, everyone brings soup to share, preferably in a crock pot, as there are only so many burners on the stove top, and maybe something else to share (crackers, cheese, veggies & dip, beverages, cookies, bars, beautiful cupcakes, anything goes, just bring food!) and spend the afternoon or evening (or both, we usually make ours a sort of open house and people come and go and the crowd fluctuates from noon to midnight) enjoying good company and loads of good food. It's a great time to either share your favorite soup recipe, or to experiment and try out something new, that is, if you're brave, and a good cook...

I still haven't decided which soup I'll be making this year, it's so much more fun to wait until the day before. I always did love a good challenge, especially if I could get extra credit for it. Extra credit rocks, or at least it rocked back when I could get it. These days I just challenge myself with my procrastinating so I have a good excuse to drink more coffee...

While I think about soups, I'll leave you with my other sister's recipe for her fabulously easy pumpkin bars. I'm pretty sure she got the recipe from my mom, who always seems to have a pan at the ready, those or rice crispy bars, it's for the children... (I know this, because they usually get sent home with us!)

Pumpkin Bars
2 coups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil (your choice of oils, use your favorite, I haven't tried the applesauce trick with these yet, though I may give that a try...)

1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (softened)
3/4 stick butter (softened)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, soda, and spices. Add eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Blend well (and stir in some nuts here, if desired, or raisins, or choclate chips...) Grease and lightly flour two 9 by 13-inch cake pans or one jelly roll pan. Spread dough in pan evenly. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean).
Frosting: Mix together all ingredients until smooth. Spread over cooled bars.

Oh, yum! What's not to like about cream cheese frosting?! My husband says "that stuff will kill ya", to which I just say "leaves more for me". You could always leave one pan unfrosted and just put more cream cheese frosting! on the good pan, ehem.

Here's hoping for a few more fine fall afternoons,
Happy knitting-


Related Posts with Thumbnails