Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Two Year Blog-Anniversary Contest!!

It was two years ago yesterday that I started this blog. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago - time really flies when you're having fun! In honor of the occasion, I am hosting a CONTEST. For the next month through March 25th, anyone who posts a comment on my blog will receive a GREAT SURPRISE PACKAGE!! Here are a few hints...a yummy assortment of yarns along with accessories and other goodies. I promise it will be totally fun. The winner will be drawn randomly by DH. If you comment on more than 1 post you will get an additional entry but only 1 entry will be counted per each of my posts. Hopefully, that will incentivise me to post a lot in the next month. ;o)

Good Luck!

I wanted to post about an Easy-Peasy baby sweater that I made for my DD's new neice. I have been told that Joselynn (the baby) LOVES pink so I just had to make her a Hot Pink cardigan for Christmas. I used a pattern that I picked up in Boulder, CO at the Spindles, Shuttles, & Skeins store by a local designer. It is called EASY Cardigan for BABY #1 by Roxana Designs. I wasn't able to find the pattern available online but I am sure it is available through the store. I made it up in one of my favorite yarns, Cottontots which they also used in the store sample. I love the cute little cuffed sleeves. I changed it slightly by turning back the top edges at the neck and adding some decorative buttons. The bottom half is stockinette and top half is in garter so that keeps it from being too boring. I had made this once before in a varigated yarn as a baby shower gift for one of my mama's co-workers and it was darling in a varigated colorway. As you can see from the pictures of Joselynn, just the sheer adorableness of baby items (not to mention the baby herself) is its own reward for knitting or crocheting them up!

The SS&S store in Boulder was a fun store to visit last February. I think they had every knitting book I had ever heard of (and probably crochet as well). They had a large selection of koigu and sock yarn and a super selection of baby and children's yarn in all fibers and colorways. There was a heavy emphasis on wools and hats (go figure in a college town with skiing nearby!).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

We Interupt this Blog for the Following Politcal Announcement...

Don't panic, I am not going to talk about the candidates or campaign for any of the Presidental hopefuls. What I am going to do is get on my soapbox. We live in Texas and I had wanted to registar to vote in the primaries, especially since pre-Super Tuesday it looked like a wide-open race. While ordinarily this is a fairly straght-forward process, let me tell you what happens when you venture into what I like to call the "Bethel-Triangle"...

First off, I had put this off until the last minute because I still have my Oklahoma drivers license...I know, I know. But I have several GOOD reasons why I still have an Oklahoma license even though we have been in Texas for a while. Like, I just got my Oklahoma license right before we moved and dagnabbit, that would just be a waste of money to throw it away and get a new Texas one.

Also, I have this disturbing fear that (a) I might have to take a drivers test to get a Texas license (you know, the DRIVING kind, not the written). I have been told that's not true, but why take the chance, I say. or (b) If I move back to Oklahoma, I might have to take a drivers test to get another OKLAHOMA license (you know, the DRIVING kind, not the written). I think you see the pattern here. Let's just say, I had a bad experience (ok, ok) 2 bad experiences when I took the Driving test at 16 and would strenously prefer that I not put myself through that again.

Soooo, back to the registering. I looked it up online and of course Ft. Bend county was practically the only county in Texas where you can't get the form off the internet. However, the web said the library keeps forms available. So I make a trip to the Library and guess what...They just gave out the last form and its too late in the day (on the last day) to drive to the county seat. Great! So after picking out a few books (who can resist) I overhear that there may be some forms upstairs. Cool! I know the Knitting Books are upstairs too! So I go up and find a crochet book to take home AND score 2 forms for DH and myself.

Well, I fill out these beauties, photocopy a utility bill with our Texas address and notice that it asks for a Texas driver's license number. Drat! However, it says you can use the last 4 digits of your SSN. But then I notice that there is also a box that says if you don't have a Texas Driver's license OR a SSN, just check here and enclose a copy of a photo id (anything works) and send it in.

So, in essense, you can registar to vote without a driver's license or a SSN. Now I thought you HAD to have a SSN to ... let's say work, file your taxes, even your kids have to have one now by their 1st birthday!

Basically, you can be completely undocumented and registar to vote. Is it just me or is this a sneaky way to let illegal aliens vote??

But it gets worse for my "trying to be a voting citizen" - I fill it out, put in my Oklahoma Driver's license number and a copy of my license with a very, very scary picture of me and slap that baby in the mail by 5 pm to beat the deadline for the primary.

Then I get a letter saying I am denied and can't vote in the primaries but can re-registar and vote 30 days later if I put in my last 4 digits of my SSN and/or check the box that says I don't have either a Texas Driver's License OR a SSN. GOSH! So, that's what I get for not going to the DMV. GRRRRR.

But on to crafty matters, I had unofficially resolved to make 12 dishcloths this year - averaging 1 a month. I have already made 5 so I have a big jump on that pledge. These include a blue and yellow Darrell Waltrip cloth (he's a Nascar driver) and a round petal discloth that I mailed to my Aunt Bethel (yes, I was named after her..), a washcloth with the Marines symbol for a former neighbor of ours who is stationed in Japan, and a coffee cup patterned cloth. All great "short-attention-span" projects!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Kemah and the "See" Food Diet

My DD Cheyenne came to visit this weekend as a belated birthday trip. We had a great time. We shopped, went to the movies, and most important - tanked her up on seafood. The weather in Oklahoma has been really cold and dreary and while Houston didn't quite live up to it's reputation of warm, mild weather it was a welcome change for her. She is a full-time student and works about 30 hours a week as a teller so we tried to give her lots of R&R. Here she is in her new trendy scarf at Capt'n Tom's Boat getting.....MORE seafood!!!

On Sunday we went out to the Kemah Boardwalk which is on the east ocean-side of Houston. We ate at the Aquarium and just kicked back.

We also visited the Sting-ray exhibit and it was pretty cool (but scary!).

I found this hilarious sign about the seagulls being on a strict diet!

My dad used to say he was on the "see" food diet, he could eat anything he saw... I think I have been taking that one too much to heart lately.

Here is a picture of DH and DD on the Boardwalk with the bay in the background.

Cheyenne grudgingly modeled my latest FO. It is a Clapotis from www.Knitty.com which is a combination of a scarf and a shawl. I was starting it one day at my LYS Yarntopia and someone didn't understand my French pronouciation of Clapotis (Clap ah tee), no big surprise, my French is pitiful... and thought I said Cup O' Tea. I like that pronouciation much better so that is what mine is called!
I worked with a great Fleece Artist yarn called Silken which "surprise" is 100% silk. It is super smooth and has a great shine and will also be warm for my trip to IRELAND!!!!! My Mama and I are headed to the Motherland at the end of May for a 10-day tour. Since it only gets to the mid-60's there, I thought this would be a great scarf/shawl/hat-substitute. I only had 2 skeins in my stash that added up to 540 yards. It is a light DK weight so I sized down to size 6 needles. I left out 1 increase, but added 1 more repeat of the middle section, and left out 1 decrease. I possibly might have been able to get one more repeat of the middle section but better safe than sorry. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors. Perfect for any Irish girl!

Also here is a picture of the sweetest Valentine's Day gift from my DH. I told him not to get me anything but a card but look what was on desk in my home office when I got home from a consulting job! A Perfectly unique tropical plant that won't die in a week like cut flowers do AND a box of chocolates! It is a Bromeliad for those of you with a green thumb. We are going to have to research if we can plant it in one of our outdoor beds or just enjoy it in the pot during the winter and take it outdoors in the summer.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sweater Weather

As promised, here is a post about the sweaters I made as Christmas gifts this year. I did forget to include 2 other handmade Christmas gift I gave this year:

9. Knitted baby sweater in hot pink for DD's new niece, Joselyn.

10. Crocheted Chicken Potholder for DMIL. I finished it in the car on the way to Missouri for Christmas. We named her Henrietta!

But now on with the sweaters. I made my Mama a crocheted Short N Sweet Bolero from the Happy Hooker book in Berroco Touche which is mostly cotton in white. I added an extra repeat to the sleeves to make them just a bit longer so she can wear a regular t-shirt under it if she wants. I made this previously for myself in Classic Elite Premiere and I think I like working with the Premiere a bit better. It is softer and has a little more sheen.

The second sweater was also crocheted and was for my DMIL. It is called Spiderweb Cardigan from Interweave Crochet in the Spring 2007 issue. I selected a dusty rose and the color is lovely. This Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere splits ALOT but it might be better when knitting rather than crochet. Here are a couple of pictures of a friend of mine, Ann, who was gracious enought to model it for me.

My friend Gail is in the background of one of the pictures. I increased the sleeve opening to 3 repeats (36 stitches) on front and back and made the front opening in the center and added 2 rows of dc to each side seam area to make it a bit more roomy. I could have definitely added another repeat to lenghten the jacket. I shortened the sleeve to a long 3/4.

The third sweater was just not done by Christmas, it was for my DSIL. This is the Minimalist Cardigan from Interweave Knits.
I reversed the pattern stitch and made the body in stockinette and the shawl collar in seed stitch. This reduced the total amount of yarn used in case you ever need to judge yardage of stockinette vs. seed stitch. I used a lovely dutch blue yarn called Classic Elite Four Seasons which is 75% cotton and 25% wool. It gave super stitch definition for the seed stitch. I think this yarn will just get softer with each wash. I was really proud - I attempted a 3-needle bind-off for the collar in seed stitch and it turned out great. And that was after blocking it. Ta Da! I learned an important trick, don't end a skein on the collar side of the fronts, it's a pain to weave in the ends and hide them. Here is Jill modeling the sweater for me while shopping at Yarntopia. Thanks Jill!