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Friday, October 31, 2014

Grace and Bunnies

A couple of FB acquaintances are bunny people.  One raises Angora bunnies and has been posting many pictures of these fuzzy bunnies.  Some look like fluffy bedroom slippers and have so much fur it obscures their faces and tail.  So I got the bug to knit bunnies.


Pattern:  Heartstrings Fiber Arts Knitted Bunny from a square.
by Jackie E-s
Yarn:  re-purposed Baby Alpaca grand.  I also used some polyester medium eyelash yard as I acquired a whole bagful at the last trade show.  What was I thinking?  For the fluffy one I used the baby alpaca and the eyelash yarn held together. 
Needles:  size 8 for the larger bunny and size 5 for the smaller one.  I used the cabled braid from one of Walker's books.

I've also got a new friend, Grace.


She is a Golding all the way from Vermont.  1.4oz, Birdseye maple with walnut shaft.  She spins well.  


My Ewa Beach Cotton on the e-spinner is plugging along.  I had some tension issues but seem to have figured this out.  I just have to relax and let the wheel have it's way.  

BTW, I used the shoe bag pattern from the last post to use up some Amy Butler stash (Amy Butler, Coreopsis in Peach, August Fields Fabric) for my Mixer beaters and made a a matching cover for the mixer.  It's such a happy print.  

The Hawaii International Film Festival is on.  My first film will be a documentary about the animators at Studio Ghibli in Japan, including Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Totoro, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.  The others are samurai pictures or have Asano Tadanobu in them. 






Sunday, October 26, 2014

Travel Shoe Bags, and A Giro of Another Color



Loved this video and had almost all the ingredients!  Serger, grommets and a ton of fabric to destash.   The only thing missing were shoe laces and Payless had a 20% off entire store sale going on.  Lucky me.  Using shoelaces was brilliant as they are already finished. I used 36 inch ones for both sizes of the bag since I couldn't find any 27 inch ones. 


I tried to get fancy with some embroidery but I don't quite have the hang of it on my Janome.  The only mod I made was to round the open bottom corners using a CD as a template, to make it easier to serge around.  Also my "safety" 4 stitch serge did not look too good so I re-enforced the seam with a straight stitch on the sewing machine.  These are quite and easy and fun to personalize. 

I used a stopper knot to tie the shoelaces together.

Add.  I forgot to post about another FO
A Giro of Another Color.

My second one.
Pattern:  Giro, by InĂªs Sousa from Primavera Book
Yarn:  Koromo, by Noro
Needles:  Size 8
The pattern calls for fingering.  Koromo is aran weight and quite rustic I may add.  I used almost all of 3 balls.  I used a croched hook for the picot bind out.  The curved neck edge blocked to 62 inches.  I feels very warm, but it is pretty warm and sunny here today.   The Noro stripes behaved quite nicely.  The colorway was difficult to photograph.  The yellow and mauve actually pop out quite a bit more then in the picture. Love this pattern. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Soft Almond Cookies

Being lactose intolerant I once thought it would be wonderful to make may own almond milk and bought some almond flour.  I found it was not to my liking so the flour sat waiting for the right recipe.  I thought about macaroons, but they sound like way too much work.  After I bought the giant bag of lemons I found the right recipe for both.  Soft Almond Cookies.

Blogless Muffy Multitasker took her second cooking class in Italy and told be about amaretti.  Those are still a possibility as I have a little flour left.   It uses only egg whites, and the Soft Almond Cookies use the whole egg. 


I changed the shape since I put too much egg in and the dough was very moist and I wanted to use my cookie scoop.  They are very moist inside and very lemony.  I will make these again. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Might Oaks from little acorns Grow"

Apparently from from the middle of the 19th century. It appeared in A. B. Johnson's The Philosophical Emperor a Political Experiment, 1841  (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/247100.html)

There be hat knitting and red scarf knitting and I'm hoping a Patch or two will happen.  I have a pile of fabric calling me from the sewing room too.




Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Tis the Season of the Gnome

I love Alan Dart's pattern Yuletide Gnomes (Jultomtar & Teeny Tomte).

The Teeny one and the Small Jultomtar are my favorite.  I love the way the Noro Kureyon works up for the body.


This one is named Blue Leg, since the Noro color changes are always a surprise and one leg is very blue!  His hat came out very blue too, but has a light purple brim.   I experimented with some other eyelash yarn for beards but in the end the Sirdar Foxy won out.  It is a much thicker eyelash yarn and has some great shading for a beard.  Too bad it is discontinued.    I used Beaverslide for his boots and gloves.  I knit all the pieces in the round.  For this one I forgot to add the beads to weight his okoloe, but he sits okay.  I stuffed the gloves and boots with black roving and used fiberfill for the rest.  There is a pipe cleaner in his hat.

This year made me think about the differences between gnomes and elves.  From what I read, elves have pointed ears and gnomes do not.  Also elves live above ground and gnomes below.  One source said gnomes should always have red hats.  

In a fit of cast-on-itis, I started 3 blankets.   10 stitch blanket in Noro scraps, Round 10 stitch blanket in sock scraps, and  Grannies and Ripples by Stephanie Blaisure in Valley Yarns Goshen.  I ordered more Goshen From Webs and the next day it was the FB special!  Webs was nice enough to apply the code after the fact for me.  That's why I love WEBS! I encourage everyone to shop there.  Haha, like anyone really needs encouragement.   The round blanket may not happen as I'm discouraged by how slow it grows using sock yarn. 


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Denver 2014

I'm a little late getting to this post of the last leg of my summer trip.  The whole adventure was planned around a wedding of a friend's only daughter.  I met Helen years ago while living in Denver.  She had moved from Newark and came to check out a room for rent in the house I was living in.  She didn't take the room but we hit it off and became friends.  She is one of those friends...separated by time and space we can just continue on when we get together.  She was a beautiful mother of the bride!

The wedding was held at Spruce Mountain on a beautiful day!  What a party.  There was general carousing and having fun till the wee hours. The smart bride had arranged buses so no one had to hold back!  She has been to all 50 states and 40 countries in her young life, pretty much all in 10 years since high school.  She is off to Norway for a honeymoon.  Good luck to them!

 
The sky goddess was flying the friendly skies, so BIL picked me up and barbecued.  I got to meet the twins.  They just turned 3 but were on good behavior while they checked me out.  My nephew brought the famous Jerry Garcia.  He is a two people dog...nephew and sky goddess.

Here he is pouting because the Sky Goddess left him behind with me while she ran errands.  I could not entice him with toys or treats :(    He loves to walk and chase his little softies as long as the Sky Goddess is with him.  While walking him on the golf course we spotted a herd of 7 deer and a heart shaped mushroom.



In Denver the anemone were in full bloom, and there are aspens instead of birch trees.  When they have leaves there is no mistaking aspens for birch trees.  In the winter with no leaves, the birch have more horizontal lines in the bark and triangle shapes where old branches have fallen off.    Just in case you wondered, cuz I did. The Sky Goddess has a green thumb!  Her house plants are huge and her garden full of color. 

I hit one yarn store, Fancy Tiger Crafts.

They had a small wall of Koigu and some nice upscale yarns in addition to other crafts such as fabrics, felting and spinning.



My nephew is a chef at Fruition, a farm to table restaurant in downtown Denver. While everything was most yummy, the Potato-Wrapped Oysters Rockefeller Parmesan-Leek Emulsion, Bacon Lardons, Baby Spinach was very special.

Not your mother's oysters Rockefeller.

Denver has grown so much since I was there last.  The medical school has moved to Boulder and the old haunt is abandoned and waiting for demolition.  Weeds are everywhere.  Aurora where the sky goddess lives has many teen-aged trees, golf courses and huge stores such as Target and JoAnn's.  It is high dessert, for sure.  I had forgotten how impressive the Colorado Rockies are.  I was blessed with great weather.  Not too hot and not too cold, and just brief drama and passing thunderstorm.

The last day we hit the Parker Farmer's market and found some wonderful Palisade peaches and Rocky Ford melons, and even a touch of Wisonsin.


Since coming back I've tried spinning again (some wonderful fawn colored Bond from Stitches Midwest)  .  My neck definitely noticed, so I'm taking it slow.  My f/u visit with the doc was favorable.  I'm still going to PT.

 Outlander inspired me to knit a beret.  In fact two.  Both of them came out ginormous!  I'm not sure they can be recovered, but I have some really nice felt, lol. Don't let the picture fool you.  There is a two inch tuck in the back.  All the indigo in my failed dye job washed out as planned.  At least that part was a success.  Knitting them up, though, I had really blue hands and nails!  I did learn that a proper bonnet needs to be shaved and molded before being ready to wear and the decoration goes over the left eye.  Who knew there would be so many hits about this subject?



 I also practiced some intarsia/Fairisle hybrid on the R2D2 Hat.  Need more practice.  








Teeny Carrot Top Tomte was more successful. Yes gang, Christmas is just around the corner.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Summer Trip 2014 Wisconsin

I'm a lucky girl to have some great sisters.  Number 2 picked me up in Schaumberg and put me up for a whole week in Madison, Wisconsin.  I really enjoyed her forest, gathering pine cones, watching the birds at the feeders.  I even observed the turkey family that has moved into the neighborhood.


It is a beautiful neighborhood to walk around.  Another great place to walk is the Pheasant Branch Nature Reserve.  The paths are well maintained and the walk easy.

 

We visited the Olbrich Gardens.  Lots of flowers including giant hibiscus and Thai Garden.  I missed the butterfly release but saw some in the garden. 

My sister is a great cook.  A new recipe was chicken with a plum sauce Yummy!  The Illinois peaches were on and awesome.  She baked a cherry pie from cherries her friend grew.  My favorite.  Pie cherries are hard to come by in Hawaii.  In addition we filled up on the Asian foods, Korean at New Seoul Korean  ...soon to be more new as it is moving to a new location.  Also very yummy Laotion food at Lao Laan-Xang Restaurant, Pho at  Saigon-Noodles and Chinese (Wah Kee Wonton Noodle).  For their anniversary, we ate at Lombardino's.  Very nice and totally yummy!

Update:  How could I forget Sushi Muramoto and Gail Abrosios's chocolates.  I know I was not eating non stop!

We drove to Milwaukee one day, past Miller Stadium (Home of the Brewer's, dontcha know) and saw the Kandinsky exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.  It was very interesting.  I'm glad we got the audio program to go with it.  I had no idea he started off a lawyer and and impressionist before he got to where he got.  
(Screen cap of google image search "Kandinsky")

We also visited the new improved National Mustard Museum, the Wisconsin History Museum. Badger bookstore and got our shopping fun at JoAnns, Hancock Fabrics, Wisconsin Craft Supply, Farmers Market and several thrift stores.  Whew, now that I'm writing it down, we did a lot of things together.  Aren't sisters grand?

This 1886 book was only two dollars at the Friends of the Library.  I loved the cover and the pictures.  It looks like it was never read.  It was printed in a very tiny font so I can understand why.

My sister and her husband drove me back to O'hare for my last leg of the the trip.  I got one last Garrett's popcorn fix, Chicago Mix, before heading to Denver.