Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Sweaters for Sisters

Sharing this again at Ginny's Yarn Along on 1/9/13, since this was her pattern. Great stuff! Check out what everyone else is knitting too. Ahhh, the holidays! I always look forward to those few special gifts that will be a total surprise, a treat, fit perfectly, and delight the new owners. Such was the case of the two Sunday Sweaters!
Niece #1 had not gotten a sweater since 2006, a year and a garment that she has little to no recollection of.
She was thrilled to open her gift bag and find this sweater, made with Plymouth Encore yarn in colorway "rosebud" in size 6-7. Pink is her favorite, and she requested the color last summer when I measured her. The sweater fit perfectly, which I had been worried about. Several pictures of her that I got this Fall made her seem like she had grown up a lot. She should be able to enjoy this sweater for the rest of the cold season.
Niece #2 was a newborn when she received her first matching sister sweater and booties in 2006, so she definitely did not remember her first knit gifts. She put her new sweater on in record time.
This second sweater is made with Plymouth Encore yarn in colorway "mauvetone," size 4. Elephant buttons are always a hit with the younger crowd and purple is this young lady's favorite color.
Niece #1 stated that she would rather wear her new sweater than the fashionable jacket she cast off. Her mom agreed that she didn't blame her and would do the same if she had a hand-knit sweater. Both girls kept their sweaters on for a good long time until the room was truly too hot for second layers.
Oh the fun of cozy matching woolies! One more sweater reveal. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Knitting Lessons

Before the knit reveal parade begins, I want to share a few shots of last night's knitting lesson. Niece #1 is now 8 years old and known as one of the "crafty cousins." We attempted some knitting over summer vacation last year, which was very uncoordinated, but fun.

First, we reviewed the basics with her hands on mine. We had a nice mantra of "in, around, through, off" going to remember how to make each stitch.

After a surprisingly short time, she was able to take over without my help.

Before the evening was over, we were both working independently on our own projects. Can't wait to see what she comes up with in a few years!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Thanksgiving Kinsale Sweater

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend! One of the many highlights for me was that my entire family, three generations worth, was able to get together and celebrate. I was knitting and finishing a little sweater at break-neck speed on the way to the celebration. Nephew #7 still needed a little something, since Nephew #8 had already gotten a special hand-knit.
I chose the pattern Kinsale in size 12 months and decided to use up sundry leftover yarns for this project. I should have knit the 18 month size, since this 9 month old child will probably only fit into this sweater for about a month. Good thing I gifted it for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas... Started: Monday, November 19, 2012; Finished: Friday, November 23, 2012.
My only complaint about the pattern is that the sleeves are really tight. The sweater length turned out perfect, but wearing a long-sleeve shirt underneath would not be comfortable. I would possibly even add additional stitches to the arm, or not decrease the next time I make this sweater.
There's nothing like a cute little nephew in a hand-knit sweater!
Choosing a pattern with a large opening for the head was a really good move. His brain must be growing a mile a minute along with his body! The pattern was really fun to knit, with the twisted stitch providing interest and the top-down construction reducing the finishing. I should have remembered that stripes make a lot of ends to weave in, so the finishing was not quite as quick as it could have been.
Till next time, best wishes for Holiday Knitting!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And there is knitting... Yarn Along

There is A LOT of knitting happening right now! But since the wrong set of eyes may fall upon these virtual pages, a mass reveal is scheduled post holiday gift-giving. This lovely little sweater is Kinsale by Terri Kruse and also destined as a gift. A gift that I intend to present tomorrow... Nothing like a little rush knitting around the holidays! I like this pattern a lot: the twisted stitch for interest, top-down construction for ease of finishing, and the extra large opening for the head. On several occasions a young recipient has not been able to get his or her head through a neck opening, creating a lot more work for me reopening shoulder seams and installing buttons. The stripes are not part of the pattern, but I am using up all sorts of remnants to try and reduce some stash.
In my reading, I am still working on The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It has been, ahem, a very busy month. If you would like to see what other people are working on this week, check out Ginny's page. And for my American friends: Happy Thanksgiving! Joyful preparing and safe travels to you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Barn Expansion

It's amazing how quickly one outgrows space when the population doubles. And how the population seems to need an exponential amount of space when it doubles.
So a mere two years into the alpaca operation, our contractor added a third space, removing part of the side wall of the barn for another opening into another paddock area.
It's always fun to come home to see the building progress, whether it is large or small.
One of the reasons we had to get more agri-lime (yesterday's post), was to raise the area on this side of the barn and create a new run for the alpacas.
Since our septic area extends fairly close to the barn, we decided to use the moveable fencing for this section. The risk of ruining the septic field by digging post holes for permanent fencing seemed too risky.
Bella and Cassidy now live in the new pen. The unhappiest (most vocal?) alpaca protesting this move was 'Greta. She loves her herdmates!
We are all set for Spring weaning and having male alpacas as part of the operation here at Shady Grove. It's nice to have an extra bedroom! Speaking of which, we have some of those extra bedrooms for human visitors if you are in the area. Stop by. We'll spoil you!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Following Directions is NOT Optional

The Directions were clear: 1.) Do not take the big, heavy truck. The driveway may not be able to handle it, and you may not be able to turn around. 2.) Do not drive onto the pasture. Back the truck in to the agri-lime pile spot before dumping.
Clearly, these directions were too difficult to follow...
On top of getting stuck in the pasture - it had rained 1.5 inches and the truck was at the bottom of the hill where the water collects... - the driver thought lightening the load by dumping half of the agri-lime would help him get out. Indeed, the truck could not move forward due to the presence of the septic field in front of the truck, and could not move backward due to the pile behind his tires.
To add insult to injury, the driver started shoveling the pile into a new pile on the pasture, instead of taking it 5 feet - FIVE FEET - further to where the pile was actually supposed to be located. Three seasons of pasture development, during which we had two droughts, down the toilet.
Three of us spent two hours clearing the back of the truck while waiting for another driver to arrive to tow the driver out.
We got another set of truck tracks in random spots around the yard, but the second truck was able to tow out truck in the pasture. Five hours after the agri-lime arrived, the drivers finally left.
All ends well, fortunately. Our contractor was extremely gracious and helpful in correcting the problem. His son is a budding landscape artist and did all the work to even out the ruts and plant new grass.
Just add water and wait a few seasons...
So please, ladies and gentlemen, follow those directions precisely. They are probably given for a very good reason.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ten - ELEVEN - Twelve

I am a big fan of numerology, hence the thrill of blogging on October 11, 2012, otherwise known as 10/11/12. Since it is the 11th, it is time to check in with our one-month-old cria Leven.
Getting curious about the camera...
Itchy leg...
Leven's best friend is Cassidy (front). They spend large portions of the day chasing each other around the pen and grooming each other.
Or playing hide and seek or neck wrestling.
Happy Counting - 10, 11, 12!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yarn Along - Sunday Sweater

It's Yarn Along Wednesday at Ginny's today, and I thought I would link up since I just started her pattern, the Sunday Sweater, and am already completely addicted! This one will be finished soon.
There are a multitude of plus points that this pattern offers. 1.) Buttonhole rows are clearly marked and the "how to" is written into the pattern. I am the worst at placing buttonholes onto a button band and deciding where the right place in the button band is. ALL designers should take note and incorporate this feature into patterns with buttons! 2.) The total number of stitches is listed at the end of each row with increases. No need to do fancy math if you lose your place and need to check the numbers. 3.) Most of the pattern is written for one size at a time. Less confusion equals more knitting enjoyment. 4.) Simplicity is a virtue I often forget about. This pattern embodies it perfectly, starting with the raglan sleeves, VERY basic lace pattern, and almost no finishing necessary at the end. Yet the result is stunning. Even a beginning knitter could enjoy and execute this piece.
In reading, I just started The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. The beginning already had an interesting twist. Looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Trachtenjacke: Must-Have for the Tourist's Nephew

Part 2 of Nephew #8's gift was at least one article of clothing that... ahem... I should have knit for him personally. This is a traditional jacket, or Trachtenjacke, often seen in southern Germany and throughout Austria.
Add to this charming and simple jacket a shirt stitched up with Edelweiss:
Cute combination!
Throw some Lederhosen into the mix:
Close-up of the Edelweiss in the cross strap:
Violá, a wonderful outfit for a 3-year-old!
I can't wait until Nephew #8 is 3!
In the mean time, hope to duplicate this knit jacket myself. Or I could go back to Innsbruck and purchase another. Innsbruck is a delightful city...

Monday, October 8, 2012


Yes, this is the famous pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman named the Baby Surprise Jacket, due to its ingenious construction. Wherein THIS amorphous fabric blob:
Becomes THIS tidy little sweater!
Of course you could have knocked me down with a feather when my Brother #1 called me to let me know that wife was going to have a baby in September. (Nephew #8 arrived in late-August, 2.5 hours before niece #4, who got the February Baby Sweater from the June post). At the time of Brother #1's phone call, I was knitting the Baby Surprise for Brother #2's latest addition. But upon visiting Brother #2 a few weeks after Brother #1's call, I assessed that the weather in that part of the country combined with the rapidly increasing size of the baby would render this particular knit useless to that nephew. (That would be Nephew #7, if you are keeping track... Are you confused yet??!)
A little advice from yet another relative inspired the Gryffindor patch to help "make more sense" of the loud color scheme. If you're going to put the Gryffindor lion on a jacket, you also need lion buttons.
And so we welcome another Gryffindor fan to the family. This child will be classmates with Albus Severus Potter. The first Potter book was published in 1997, at which point Harry was turning 11. Harry would turn of age in 2004, take a few years to wait for the dust of the Grand Finale to settle and become an Auror, marry Hermione and have his first son. Albus, who is the #2 son, was definitely born this year. I don't know about Albus, but I am pretty sure Nephew #8 will have a wand with a core of one white peacock tailfeather.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Winning No Sewing Awards

Well, there won't be many close-ups of my newly made iPad bag. I used this pattern, but made a few poor material choices. I had some black jeans material left from another project, which ended up making all the layers very thick. The color is also somewhat boring and lackluster. In addition, the cushioning and interfacing inner layers were also the thickest and most stiff available. My sewing machine was seriously groaning, not to mention that it was difficult achieve a straight seam on the finishing round. I ended up breaking three sewing machine needles.. ouch...
I added some pockets to store items that might scratch the screen. Represented are my school's colors: black and gold. Unfortunately you can't see the colors peek out because the bag is so stiff. An appliqué on the outside might make the whole thing more interesting.
All looted up. This project took me 8+ hours to finish... My initial hope was 3 hours. The time spent is worth the organization though, so no regrets.
Ready for business with my projector remote, voice amplifier, power cord, and iPad pen. I'll probably add some other classroom items for easy access.
On the whole, the bag is working out very well, and I feel a lot safer using the iPad now that I have a safe storage compartment at my hip. After all, the school district was nice enough to supply it, so I may as well take care of it-without dropping it or stepping on it any more... (oooops, don't tell!)
The goldenrods are so pretty right now, and I am amazed by the diverse bug life in the blooms. Hope you are enjoying the wonderful Fall weather. Till next time!