Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day Pie

My husband enjoyed the cherry pie I made for Valentine's Day. He ate a piece each night with a big dollop of ice cream. The crust is homeade but I cheated with the filling and used a good quality canned. I've tried frozen cherries and can't seem to get the liquid right. I've also used canned cherries and that worked out fine but is expensive

Three of these cookie cutters belonged to me great-great-grandmother. The bird at the top was a $2 find in an antique shop.

I wanted to bake a pie for my Bob before leaving for California but there was just too much else to do. When I'm gone he turns to pie for solace. Basically I become a pie.
One of my piping buddies sent this to me. I can't wait to see what happens when knitters drape their stitches over the Skye Bridge!

A Fair Isle on the Horizon

This morning our prayer shawl ministry team, Knit One Pray Too, met at our local coffee shop, The Blend. I really enjoy getting together with these ladies. They have such a desire to serve. Each time we've had a request for a prayer shawl, someone has already made one or is willing to do so. Usually we meet once a month on the third Wed in the evening at Crossroads United Methodist Church but once in a while we switch to a day meeting. Today M and I both brought our relatively new copies of A Prayer Shawl Companion. The others were interested in looking at the patterns, prayers, and poems in the book.

I'm on a bit of a baby binge again. I finished another Pinwheel Blankie. Sarah was here one day and I demonstrated for her how to start that blanket. When I finished the Raspberry Wool Peddler's Shawl I didn't have a project to launch right into since the next project was requiring a lot of swatching and planning. I picked up the Pinwheel Blankie and it felt good in my hands. At the time I needed something soothing. With the first Pinwheel Blankie I made (yellow) I came so close to running out of yarn on the border that I overcompensated on this one. So the end result is just barely 36 inches across. That is big enough for a tiny baby, especially if it is used over a stroller or car seat. It might be a bit skimpy for actually wrapping around the baby.

Another fun project was Alice Starmore's Wee Baby Bonnet pictured on the front of Piecework Magazine Jan/Feb 2009. I used remnants of Shetland Wool from Meg Swansen/Schoolhouse Press. I would eventually like to make the cap in the more highly contrasting colors chosen by Alice Starmore but I used what I had on hand. The little ear flaps are so cute; I love the way they tuck under the edge. The cap is actually a swatch for a Fair Isle Vest, a kit I purchased years ago from Schoolhouse Press. During our move in May 2007 I lost or misplaced a few things. In fact, the only errant objects that I know of are two knitting videos and one of them came with this kit. Although the video is not absolutely necessary I think I would enjoy watching it as it was filmed on Washington Island, in Door County WI, which is one of our favorite places on the whole planet.

My, didn't the baby bonnet have a boatload of ends to weave in? I've started on the Fair Isle Vest but it is slow going. You would think the baby bonnet in the exact same wool (different colors), washed and blocked, would be an accurate enough gauge swatch, but so far the vest is looking looser. I am gamely plowing ahead and trusting my needles, wool, and hands. That could be a BIG mistake for when you make a gauge error on Fair Isle you will pay dearly in the end. This much I know.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just Some Good Books

For several years I have kept a log of books I read. Usually I am just a few books shy of 52. I don't count non-fiction books that are not read all the way through. Glancing at my list (and not pondering it too much) I recommend the following that I have read recently:

  • Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. Very well-written.
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
  • The Fledgling by Octavia Butler and also Kindred by Octavia Butler, read earlier this year. These were both totally out of my usual reading tastes. Of the two I think Kindred a bit better.
  • Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. (Takes some persistence as it is a lengthy epic.)

Today is my Anti-procrastination Day. If you read Fly Lady, you will recognize Anti-Procrastination Day and if you don't, the name is self-explanatory. That was an idea I sent to FlyLady and although she didn't give me credit, she did write to me to tell me she was going to implement it.

I also made a quick trip to my LYS, Ewe-nique Yarns in Morton IL, to pick up two skeins of Noro Kureyon and the latest Debbie Bliss Magazine. There isn't anything in the Debbie Bliss magazine that I think I'll make but it is inspirational nonetheless. On the other side of the coin, the spring Interweave Knits arrived earlier this week, and there are several projects that grabbed my immediate attention, including the cardigan on the front cover. The Petal Tank is fascinating also. I doubt it would look good on me (2" of negative ease) but my son's girlfriend would look amazing in it.

My husband's valentine today will be a homeade cherry pie. (He says mine is the best which is a very smart thing for a husband to say.) Pie is his favorite dessert and it needs to be warm and with ice cream, lots of it, on top. In fact, when I travel and he is home, he always eats pie. I guess I turn into pie, which isn't a bad thing. It could be worse!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Awaiting Spring

On my morning walk today I saw a sign of spring: geese flying northward. There weren't many geese; probably about 8 to 10, but there they were, honking and making their way to their summer breeding grounds. Other birds, the chickadees and titmice, are singing the songs that mark their breeding territories. Our days are warmer, even some in the high 60's, although we know that won't last. Our evenings are brighter. The sky is still light at 5:30 and beyond. Last night the moon was a huge orange ball, slightly flat on the top. The snow and ice are all melted. Yes, we are awaiting spring.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another Wool Peddler's Shawl

After knitting the Wool Peddler's Shawl in aqua I launched right into another Wool Peddler's Shawl in the bright raspberry color. I was operating under the incorrect assumption that I was working with the same yarn, but when it began to be clear that this shawl would take more than 6 skeins I made a trip to the shop in Morton. The Sublime in the DK weight and in the Aran weight were interspersed on the shelves and the labels are very similar. Even the owner was not aware that the yarn weights were different. Comparing the two shawls, the raspberry one did seem a bit heavier. I bought two more skeins of the Aran weight and still had to eliminate one of the lace repeats.

After blocking the shawl I left in folded within sight of my knitting chair. I didn't know who it was for but it didn't seem to be for me. Friday I received a call from a friend who lives a distance away. She wanted to tell me on the phone, not via email, that her breast cancer had returned and she will probably have a double mastectomy. When she told me that she had waited 10 days since her diagnosis to tell people, I realized that was almost the exact time I finished making the shawl. Coincidence? No, God-instance! This shawl will soon be on its way in the mail to a dear friend.

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