Saturday, February 28, 2015

Time Out ...

Forgive me for not writing for some time now, I put myself in Time Out a while ago. So much has seemed to have gone on that I just didn't get to the computer to let you all know about it. I definitely needed it. I think with everything that's happened I've been a little more contemplative than normal. Perhaps that's why it took me so long to get back to my laptop. I'll let you know now that I have a lot of pictures to share!

Mom has been knitting and finishing things at a pretty good pace. I feel so badly for her. She wants to get back to her normal schedule of things she does every week but her body isn't letting her do it. She needs a knee replacement in one knee which is bone on bone. The other "good" knee now has a torn meniscus which was just confirmed by MRI about a week ago. She walks very slowly and with a cane and it just drives her absolutely mad. She will have to have the torn meniscus repaired surgically before she can get the knee replacement done. That and she had MOHs surgery on her nose to remove basil cell cancer and she had to have a plastic surgeon do some post op work on it to ensure the best possible outcome. She is miserable. I just wish I could cradle her in my arms and rock her to sleep; mother her a bit after all she has done for me. I do what I can when I can but I cant help but to feel like somehow it isn't enough. Keep her in your thoughts, she would appreciate that and can certainly use all the good vibes coming her way. As I mentioned, Mom has been finishing things at kind of a rapid pace... here are a couple of the things she finished....



The pattern is Big Damn Heros which can, of course, be found on Ravelry. The yarn is Crave Yarn Summit in the colorway High Desert Plains. I think it turned out famously, minus the shot of Mom in the garage! She looks fabulous but I didn't think to take the pic inside! LOL! She also finished her Twisted which is really cool! She used 9 skeins of Berroco Lago.


Doesn't she look great! She had just had the surgery on her nose this particular afternoon and was still high from all the drugs she took and was given that we went ahead and went to Tuesday Night Knitting.  I love this and the look, so cool!


At the end of January I won this 'Yarn Lottery' on Facebook. There were about 42 of us in the lottery and by random drawing, I won! I couldn't believe it. I feel like I don't win anything. Not things like this. Well, since I was the winner, everyone else in the lottery group had to send yarn to me. It was really a cool experience. I received quite a lot of yarn. I specified no mohair (I am allergic) or acrylic but hey, you get what you get. I was grateful either way! I received lots of cotton that can be used and will be perfect for baby items. I received all kinds, it would be impossible for me to tell you everything I received. Here is a picture. Two bags full of different kinds of yarn....


I thought winning the Yarn Lottery was a nice way to start off my Birthday month! I love my birthday. I have always been a big believer that birthdays should be celebrated. By everyone. No matter how old you are. We are lucky enough to have them, we should celebrate them when we have them. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to even be here given my ATV accident of 2001 and the many, many surgeries and illnesses I have had since then. I am a lucky girl. And I LOVE to celebrate my birthday! I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family that shower me with love on my special day. Our Monday Night Group met and celebrated Mardi Gras a day early. There were gifts from them and even a King Cake!


If you've never had King Cake before its like a frosted, sweet coffee cake. There is always a plastic "baby" baked into it and whoever gets the baby in their piece has to provide the King Cake the next year! The first piece cut went to Melanie, I received the 3rd piece cut I think. Melanie is not a fan of all the colored sugar on top and my piece has considerably less than hers did so we switched. As I cut into my piece I realized I had the baby. There was a bit of controversy over who really got the baby since we switched pieces! Melanie said she would get the cake next year. Come next year we'll have to talk about it again and make sure we know who's getting the cake! Here's what the "baby" looks like that is baked into the cake....



The picture is big but this is a very little, tiny thing. Sidney made me some wonderful gifts. She is so talented at just about anything and everything other than knitting. She sewed and beaded for me for my birthday! She beaded a pin that looks exactly like Audrey Grace...even with the white spot on her nose! She also sewed for me Thread Catchers. These cute little things are a lovely and very attractive way to set aside your yarn trimmings so they aren't just lying around on the coffee table which is what mine would normally do. She made a 'full size' one and a smaller one that I can take with my travel knitting. they are so cute and ingenious!


Aren't they just wonderful!? Lisa got me a Shepherd window hanger which I just love. It even has the shepherds crook in it. I know exactly where I am going to put it! Lisa gets a lot of her gifts for people at the Renaissance Fairs she and Sidney attend. They know all the vendors everywhere because they've been going to Ren Fairs since forever. At any rate, this is where she got my gift and I just love it!


The next day, Tuesday, was my actual birthday date and Mardi Gras! It was also Tuesday Night Knitting! I wore the right colors and donned my Mardi Gras beads to knitting that night...


When we arrived at Village Wools, they girls had a cake waiting for me! Chocolate. My favorite! I think we may have started somewhat of a tradition by having Birthday Cake at the knitting shop to celebrate birthdays among our little group of knitters. It was wonderful indeed...


After having a wonderful time at Village Wools it was time to head on over to Tomato Cafe for dinner and some knitting. We had a wonderful dinner and knitting and conversation was wonderful! I had decided the night before, Monday at Stitch Group, that I was going to do a little drinking on my birthday. I love tequila and hadn't had any in a very long time. I consulted Sidney who is a tequila connoisseur. We headed to Total Wine so I could pick up a bottle of Silver Coin for tequila shooters Tuesday evening...



We got home from knitting Tuesday evening, Sidney followed us so that she could do a shot with me. The lime was cut evenly into 6 wedges, I did the other 4 shots and enjoyed my evening watching our Tuesday night shows. No major feelings and certainly no hangover. It was just a nice enjoyment of some good tequila. I intend to, as time passes, make the bottle disappear! Wednesday evening Mom, Dad, Aunt Betty and I all went to Pappadeaux's for dinner (one of my FAVORITE places to eat!) I had a couple margaritas and ordered what I always order there. Its the best dinner in the world I tell you. Sea Scallops with lemon caper sauce and a jumbo lump crab cake. I can taste it now! YUMM!!!! At the restaurant Betty gifted me a truly lovely skein of lace weight yarn. Cat Mountain Fibers lace weight with stellina in it. Its just beautiful!


Its just beautiful! It has me almost changing my mind about the yarn I want to use for 'Celestina,' a rectangular shawl that I have had planned for 2 years now, just all about the execution. I have 7 shawls that I'll be doing this year and 5 are collaborations with yarn companies. I may not get to Celestina until 2016. But when I do....it will be gorgeous. I can see it in my head and I get excited when I think about it. I just don't think I can get to it this year. If I have the time I will totally start it but its all about whether or not I'll have the time.

My parents birthday gift to me is something that I have wanted for so long I cant begin to tell you. I became a need not long after I moved in here to the house with them. The mattress that was on the best was....not the best. I was grateful to have one so I tried not to complain about it. It soon got to the point where I was waking up in pain everyday; my back, hips, shoulders. With all the other problems I have I really couldn't deal with these added ones. I requested a new bed for my birthday. So Friday after my birthday Dad and I went bed shopping. I new exactly what I wanted. I wanted a Tempur-pedic bed where the head and feet can be elevated. Side note: every time I get out of the hospital from whatever, I usually end up having to sleep in the recliner because I cannot sleep flat after surgery. I wanted to have the elevation feature in my bed so I can still sleep in my bed when I get out of the hospital rather than sleeping in the recline. We looked at several of the mattresses and I found the one I wanted. Now it was about the base. The Tempur-pedic base offered the elevation for head and feet and that was it. There was a Sealy Posturepedic base (Tempur-pedic owns Sealy and I did not know this) that was FAR more attractive and offered more bells and whistles and was $500.00 less than the Tempur-pedic one. It was a no brainer. So, we went with the Sealy base and the Tempur-pedic mattress. The Sealy base offers no only the elevation for head and feet but full body massage too. Also, at night, there is a button on the back of the remote that lights up the entire base underneath so you can see not to stub your toes in the middle of the night. I have a night light in my room so I probably wont use that feature but its a nice one to have! At any rate, it is so wonderful I cannot begin to tell you. I have spent a lot of time in there watching my own TV and knitting or whatever, just getting used to it...


A rare pose from Audrey Grace who, after some serious consideration, finally approves of the bed. However, she still gets a little nervous if she is on my bed when I elevate either the head or the feet. She's learning to be okay with it but its taking a while. The full body massage?! Forget it! Not if shes on the bed...LOL! Sometimes I'll sneak in there for a massage if I know she isn't in there. So far that happened like, twice. I will be forever grateful for this gift of a new bed. Thanks Mom and Dad! (I know Mom reads this!)

I acquired some new yarn since I've been away from here and in addition to my birthday yarn. Knit Picks was having a sale on some of the Bare Yarn and one was being discontinued I think because I can no longer find it on their site. I'm glad I got it! Its a fingering weight merino and alpaca and it feels like a dream. I always thought it would be nice to have a nice off white lace shawl. How elegant they are. Here is the yarn...


Look at that lovely halo! Its so soft and I cannot wait to work with it. I think next year I'll be back to doing some lace rectangular shawls again. I also picked up a couple skeins of Malabrigo in the colorway Zarzamora. I have it in lace weight but truly wanted it in fingering weight. When I won the Yarn Lottery a couple people called in gift certificates to Village Wools and they helped me to get two skeins of this...


I also picked up the most gorgeous DK weight yarn, Malabrigo Rios in the colorway Teal Feather. Its so pretty, I already know what I am going to do with it, I hope I get to this towards the end of the year since it will be a heavier weight shawl...


This picture doesn't do justice to the richness of the color of this yarn, believe me. I already know what I am going to do with this yarn, again, its just a matter of whether or not I can get to it this year or not. One of the shawls I will definitely be getting to this year is my collaboration with Skein Yarn out of Australia. Their yarn arrived a few weeks ago and to say I'm in love with it is an understatement. I wanted a tonal purple/amethyst color. That's exactly what they produced for me in a colorway called Moon Shadow. Its 80/20 merino & cashmere and just downright sexy...


I already know what I want to do with this one too....its in my head, I just need to reproduce it in yarn! LOL! I cannot wait to get my hands into this. I've worked with this yarn before and its nothing less than amazing. 20% cashmere goes a LONG way believe me. 

I have been working away on my current shawl project which is a collaboration with MJ Yarns of Lafayette, CO. I still cant get over how amazing this yarn is. Everywhere I go other knitters pet this yarn and cannot believe it is a simple MCN 80/10/10. I tell them it is anything but simple. It is amazing. I don't know where Jonathan of MJ Yarns gets his bases through or who mills his yarns but this has got to be one of the best 80/10/10 MCN's I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I would be interested in knowing what happens in the process at the mills that makes the difference in the MCN yarns. Some are nice, simply nice. Others are better. Then you have something like Jonathan's yarns which really set him apart from other companies, for sure. At any rate, I am almost ready to start the border. I will finish this repeat of the center spine and then move on to the border. I'm so super excited about this. I have set a deadline for myself of March 15th. I don't know if I'll make it but there's a good chance I will which makes me very excited!


My 40th birthday never affected me in terms of realizing my age. None of my birthdays have done that to me. Except this one; my 43rd. I cant explain it only to say that it has caused me to spend a lot of time thinking; being very contemplative. It's very hard to explain why. I'm not even sure why. 
All I know is that I'm glad I have my knitting to dive into and keep me company why my mind remains elsewhere doing who knows what. I have many friends to keep me sane and steady and unwavering love and support from my parents. And Audrey Grace too! She remains by my side every evening letting me know that despite the passing of another year for me, no matter deep in thought I may remain, some things never change. She is special indeed!


Forgive my minor sabatical if you will. I hope you are all doing well and knitting away. What are you all working on? I would love to hear from you and about what you're doing. Please feel free to leave me some comments! Take care and stay warm no matter where you're at. Albuquerque received 10 inches of snow last night so winter has finally hit here. Wherever you may be, stay warm, stay together, stay happy and as always.....Knit On!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Grass Harp

It took me a while to crank this one out but I finally got it out there to you all! This was the shawl I was in the middle of when the Holidays hit so it suffered the stall that came with having to knit 8 pairs of Vanilla Fingerless Mitts! This is also the first of hopefully seven shawls that will get done this year. Six for sure. I am already dreaming about that 7th one....its a DK shawl in Malabrigo Rios in their colorway Teal Feather. It will be very textural and I'm super excited about it! As I am all of them. They are each like my babies!

As soon as I saw the movie 'The Grass Harp' I knew I wanted to knit a shawl with the elements of leaves and grasses blowing in the wind.....so I did. If you have never seen the movie, I can recommend it. It was written by Truman Capote and was his favorite personal work. I loved the quote from the movie so much and felt that I could design a shawl around it....

 "You hear that? It's the Grass Harp. Yeah, the Grass! The Harp are voices telling stories; knows everybody's story. And when we're dead, it'll tell ours too. The Wind is Us! It gathers and remembers all our voices, then hears them talkin' through the leaves and fields..." - Dolly Talbo

I just loved that. So...I present to you, Grass Harp!


I am super pleased with this one, it blocked so well. The yarn I used was Dream In Color Everlasting Sock...16 ounces less than a full 2 skeins and each skein was 420 yards. I added some serious extra yardage for loose knitters in the pattern...900 yards. There is almost a full skein in the border alone. At any rate, I love this shawl. I really love this shawl and I hope you do too! Miss Audrey Grace loved it too! She even made the pattern this time it was such a good photo...


This shawl blocked really well. The yarn is 100% superwash Australian Merino Wool. It has great stitch definition and is the largest of the crescent shaped shawls I've done so far. Here are a couple blocking pics....


Thanks for all of your support folks, I appreciate it more than you know. I have the next shawl in the works already and I am hoping for a release date somewhere around the beginning of March, mid March...something like that. 

Have a wonderful evening and as always...Knit On!