Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Here's to a new beginning! Happy Inauguration Day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

All Blocked!

My cousin's birthday gift is finished! I blocked it yesterday using TIG rods (used in welding) and quilter's T-pins. The top two photos are of it in the process of drying - they aren't very pretty, but it sure worked like a charm! I didn't want to have to buy blocking wires right now, so I researched blocking techniques on Ravelry and read about using the TIG rods. My dad has them, so it seemed like a no-brainer!

I think it turned out great, especially for my first time blocking something, albeit this was a very easy blocking project and a good one to start out with! My cousin's birthday is today, but we are getting together tomorrow to go see a movie ("Slumdog Millionaire") and I will give it to her then. I hope the weather cools down so that she can wear it soon!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Knitting Break

I'm taking a break from knitting "Poinsettia" for my mom to do a little crocheting on this afghan that I had started over a year ago with some leftover yarn I had from another afghan I had finished. It's hard to see, but I attempted to get a good closeup shot of the blackberry stitch that is done with the variegated yarn. It gives a nice detail to the otherwise basic ripple pattern. This pattern is called "Springtime" (#4 on the back cover) from an "American School of Needlework" booklet that was published in 1978 that I had picked-up years ago at one of the Super Yarn Marts in the Los Angeles area. I loved that store. It was really the only place that had a great selection of yarn and patterns at that time. Our choices were more limited then; there were not all the great independent yarn shops or the craft stores that we have now and there was no internet. Boy, have things changed!

It has been in the 80s for the last week here in Southern California. It feels like spring. I was out picking up leaves from all the wind we had last week and replaced a lavender plant that died. My lilacs even have a few blooms on them which is amazing, since it's so early and my roses are doing great. I had cut them down in November, which was a little early (I usually prune them down around New Year's) because the leaves were looking so bad, but now they are doing great, save for the damn aphids that seem to show up every year. Ugh. I just keep wiping them off with my fingers while holding the hose and spraying them off. I don't use any type of pesticides in my garden and I was able to keep them pretty much at bay last year by doing this. I then put down some shredded western cedar in the planters around all the roses and plants, which besides looking really nice, says it repels pests (I'm not sure which ones - certainly not aphids!), helps keep the soil moist and keeps the weeks from sprouting up. The garden is coming along. My next project is to get the backyard fixed-up. I have my work cut out for me! Tomorrow I will be blocking my cousin's scarf so that I can give it to her this week for her birthday/belated Christmas gift!

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm Still Here!

It seems like such a long time since I last posted. I woke up early New Year's Day with a horrible sore throat and it has progressed to one of the worst colds I've had in years. I have had laryngitis for almost one week now and a cough that is very annoying. I do feel a little bit better today though.

The top picture is of the Stealth Bomber (B2 Bomber) that made flyovers at the Rose Parade and at the Rose Bowl game on New Year's Day. It is so thrilling to see it so close. There were actually two of them, but I could only get a picture of the one. It flew really low over our house, but by the time I could get my camera ready, I had almost missed it and this was the best one I got. I got some really great pictures of it in years past, but I think those pictures are on my old computer and I need to sit down some day and go through all of them and put them onto CDs.

The knitting project I'm working on now is for my Mom. It is "Poinsettia" from the Winter 2008 knitty.com. I'm enjoying working on it and I'm over halfway done, so I'm hoping to finish it up this weekend. The yarn I'm using is Classic Elite's "Alpaca Sox" yarn which is 60% alpaca (I LOVE alpaca), 20% Merino wool, and 20% nylon - it is so soft and luxurious, and I love the slight variations in the colorway.

I finished my cousin's butterfly muffler/scarf and now just have to block it so I can give it to her for her birthday, which is fast approaching. I had hoped to give it to her for Christmas, but I wasn't able to get it finished, so now it will be her birthday gift!