Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bainbridge Scarf

The Bainbridge Scarf is now one of my favorite quick gift ideas. It can be worn as an accessory either indoors or out. I gave one to my son's girlfriend when they arrived for Thanksgiving. Isn't she adorable, with or without the scarf?
The yarn is Cascade Indulgence and it took less than one ball. This is a wonderful project for trying out those luxury fibers without spending too much. The pattern is free, too!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Pinwheel Blankie

Ah-h-h-h-, The Pinwheel Blankie was such a fun project that I feel like casting on for another one already. It was so much like knitting yoga (unlike the Lacy Ribbon Skirt) that I half expected to fall asleep and wake up with my hands still knitting rhythmically. Talk about the chi flowing! I made it in 8 days. The knitting just flew by as the segments became larger. Like Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi shawl, the design is very organic. A mathematician could probably tell us why the design is so pleasing to the eye. Perhaps the whorls follow the Golden Mean. From a knitter's perspective, it is easy, quick, fun, and satisfying. I will be sending this blanket off to Iowa soon. The baby is of unknown gender (although they know it is either a boy or a girl, thanks to the marvels of modern medicine) hence the buttercup color. This is my new favorite baby gift, after the pumpkin hats, of course.

I was very pleased with the seed stitch border I chose. I then cast off in i-cord.

To cast off in i-cord: Knit 2, slip one, knit one, psso. Slip the 3 remaining stitches back onto left needle. Repeat 500 times.

That's right. I had over 500 stitches on the needle by the time I reached the width I wanted, which is about 32" in diameter. A little less than 3 feet in diameter seemed to be a good size to me. Those young mamas have enough weight to carry with those mammoth arm-breaking baby carriers so I wanted it to be big enough but not too big.
I started a 4th skein of yarn just before I started the seed stitch border, thinking that would be a generous estimate. I was sweating it out at the end when I realized the i-cord was sucking up the yarn. There was just a little bit left in the skein. I believe the i-cord border is the icing on the cake, don't you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Contest Announcement and Weekend Highlight

The winner of my drawing for the Mitred Hanging Towel is jgerst on Ravelry! Congratulations! I hope you like chocolate, too! I will be contacting you through Ravelry for your address. The yellow button won by a landslide!
The weekend was great. On Friday I baked cookies for the Consecration Service for the new Sanctuary and addition to our church. I had actually made the dough on Thursday and I finished them up on Saturday morning. The cookie recipe was not one I chose myself, nor will I make it again. I was asked to recruit a team of 5 people to make 3 dozen cookies each. Other teams, about 8 of them, were making other recipes. The original recipe had not been tested and when one of my friends tried it out she said that (1) it was very labor intensive, and (2) the recipe only made 20 cookies. She found an alternative recipe that looked similar but did not entail cutting the rolled dough out by hand with a template. Instead the small balls of dough were rolled and pressed with a glass dipped in sugar. After baking they were made into sandwich cookies with a filling made of heavy cream and chocolate. The final step was dipping the ends in melted chocolate. I made over 6 doz of these little darlings and I sure hope people enjoyed them.

The consecration service on Sunday evening was amazing and I will never forget it. Everyone was waiting in the large foyer and the doors to the sanctuary were closed. We all began singing "Lord, prepare me" as the doors opened and everyone filed in. Our praise band, Acts 29, was playing and singing in front. Among us were children and older persons. Some folks we have known for over 25 years and others are new to us. The stained glass window behind the cross was so beautiful, too! You can see a photo of it here but it was more beautiful that night. Perhaps that was due to the faces of everyone there. During the service a dozen or so people spoke briefly. Each one blessed a particular part of the sanctuary. They all did a fantastic job. Afterwards we had a reception with the cookies, punch, and coffee. Our first Sunday in the new sanctuary is November 23.

I am finishing up a few knitting projects and will write about them soon.
I read a quote yesterday that I find helpful when a task seems overwhelming and I want to procrastinate...
We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.
--Calvin Coolidge

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back to Normalcy

Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers. It was a very rough several days. Our boys are going to miss their friend so much. I am very proud of my sons for the sacrifices they made to come to the funeral. They both had to take several vacation days from work, which are precious to both. It was definitely important for their healing process, to be with their peers and grieve together. They are going to try to spend time with the deceased boy's older brother when they come home. Those brothers were very close also and I think my sons empathize with him particularly.

Our youngest son decided to drive straight through to NM instead of staying the night Wed at his brother's place in KC. That worries me but I am trusting they are almost home by now--and safe.

I'm grateful that I work at home with my own business and can take time off when needed. Even though my sons are grown I wanted to be here with them. I had a productive morning here in the office so I'm taking a break with my blog.

On the knitting front, I'm zipping right through the Pinwheel Blanket. It will be done in less than a week. That is a quick baby gift! I have an idea for a small project to go with it. The baby is due around Dec 1.

Sneaky, sneaky me. While the kids were here I washed some clothing, including a pair of corduroy trousers for L, the future recipient of the Lacy Ribbon Skirt. When I took the trousers out of the dryer I tip-toed back to our bedroom where I had hidden the skirt. I laid the trousers on top of the skirt and it looks like a perfect fit! So I'm going to sew it up and start seriously looking for that special ribbon.
If you don't like fringe you can stop reading this right now. (I am not a big fan myself but many in my prayer shawl group are.) When I wrote about Nicky Epstein's Knitted Garter Fringe I forgot to mention something I did to refine it a bit. You have 16 Stitches on your needle. If you twist the 8th stitch every other row then you get a tidier result when you drop the stitches for the fringe. That 8th stitch will be the last stitch in the binding off process.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Knitting is a Comfort

Our two younger sons came home today for a sad occasion. A close friend of theirs died unexpectedly on Saturday, just a few weeks after his 26th birthday. We're all so much in shock that this young, wonderful life is gone from us. Our youngest son and his girlfriend (and two dogs) drove all the way from NM, spent the night at his brother's place in KC, and then drove the rest of the way today. It was about 22 hours of driving. After the funeral tomorrow, they will reverse the process. Both boys will be pallbearers at the funeral. I'm going to play the pipes at the cemetery. I've played many funerals and I've always managed to keep it together even when I know the person; but I haven't had to do it when my boys are broken-hearted. It is hard to believe that they were home several weeks ago to be groomsmen in a wedding and now they are both pallbearers in a funeral.

Over the weekend I finished the Lacy Ribbon skirt and blocked it. I basted it together and will just leave it that way until she tries it on. Now I need to find some quality ribbon that has a vintage look. If you know a source, please let me know. I took this photo after blocking it and pinning it out on the bed in the guest room.

I also whipped up some sweet booties in Queensland Bebe Cotsoy. It is so soft. Cute, cute, cute. The pattern is from an issue of Knit Simple that I checked out of the library. I just happened to have this yarn in my stash and it is very close in color to the sample booties in the pattern. Beware if you knit this pattern. Read my notes on Ravelry. I'll get buttons sewn on soon.

On Sunday I started knitting a Pinwheel Blanket in a very soft cotton the color of butter. It is coming along nicely. After knitting that skirt where I had to be continually vigilant with the double strand, this is a piece of cake. The boys are currently visiting with their friends. It is raining. I am going to knit.

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