Friday, December 29, 2017

A Helen Stewart Obsession

I have two Helen Stewart FOs to share and two others on the needles. Here I am modeling my Land of Sweets cowl. I can't tell you how much I love this project. It is as much fun to wear as it was to knit.
I had such a good time with Knitvent, that I decided I had to join in Helen's Christmas-Eve cast-on of her new Vintage Fairy Lights sock pattern:
This pair of socks is going to take me a while as there is a lot of purling. I know some people hate purling. I don't hate it, but it is slower going for me than than the knit stitch.

And another Helen Stewart FO: The Tchaikovsky Hat. 
This is a fast and fun knit, and I'm sure I'll make more of these. I knit this one in a green in a soft Sun Valley DK yarn.

While I was photographing the hat and sock, I remembered that I have another lovely Helen Stewart project languishing in the basket: the Spindrift Shawl. I dug it out so I could add a photo of it.
I am tempted to jump right back into it, but I don't want too much distraction from Rachel's sweater so I'm going to hold off.

At this point, I should add that this a real post and not an advertisement. Helen Stewart has no idea who I am and certainly has not paid me for all these endorsements!

I am nearing the end of my winter break and enjoying the lazy days so much. We are continuing to have super-cold temps here, so Rachel, Keith and I have been watching Netflix, doing a jigsaw puzzle, and reading. Pretty perfect break!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

In for the Long Haul

 I seem to be picking up long-term projects both in knitting and reading. Maybe it's the frigid temperatures that have settled over the Upper Midwest. We are looking at high's in the single digits this week.
Both the biography of Virginia Woolf by Hermoine Lee and the Modern Jewish History by Howard Sachar are incredibly well-written. I've been skipping around the biography and reading out of order. However, when it comes to history I'm a huge believer in chronological order. There are history books that go by topic, not timeline, and they drive me insane.
I try to knit a few rows each day on the ZickZack scarf, but I am more focused on the Windchill Cardigan, which I'm knitting for my daughter. I got quite a bit of the body knit yesterday while we watched the movie Woman in Gold. Cardigans don't look like much at this point!

And I'll leave you with a photo that shows how obsessed Kola is with food. We are worried we'll accidentally trap her in the refrigerator.

Joining up with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday.




Friday, December 22, 2017

FO Friday; Bits and Bobs

Most of you are either reading this between errands and cooking -- or reading it after Christmas. Either way, I hope you are enjoying your holiday. I just put a Brisket in the oven because we are doing family Hanukkah at my mom's apartment tomorrow. Next up, some baking.
I finally got a photo of the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl 2017. As you can tell, it is huge and I haven't quite figured out how to wear it. But I like it anyway. I'll figure out something.
I generally love my Knitting Guild, but once a year, the speaker is from Lion Brand Yarns, and it's not my favorite meeting. Instead of being informative, it's just a long commercial for their yarns.
They do give out a great giveaway package, but I'd rather be entertained or informed or both. I will say that I do like the Jeans yarn that they gave out this year, and I'm looking for a cowl pattern to use it for.
But Marsha and I had a good time wearing the matching ponchos we knit.

Nancy asked in a recently comment if I am going to use a library sale book to learn to do a portrait of my house in needlepoint. I'd like to! But it's actually super complicated to prepare the canvas. I might try just a plain old embroidery version first.



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday

 Another Knitvent project is gracing my needles. This is Helen Stewart's Tchaikovsky Hat in Sun Valley Fibers' DK. 
A touch of insomnia has given me plenty of time to read The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. It's a fictional tale of a non-Jewish architect who finds himself hiding Jews during the occupation of Paris. I don't read much Holocaust fiction. Some of it is too depressing; some is too poorly written to do justice to its subject. This is a pretty reasonable book and quite readable.
Speaking of books, I have to admit that I hit the library book sale this past weekend. I left with a modest stack of books for a tiny price. It's a good thing I have winter break to make a dent in this pile!

Don't forget to check out Unraveled Wednesday!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Sin, A Vow, and Other Stuff

 One party down and one to go for the weekend. The Special Ed Department at my school has an epic holiday party every year -- and last night it did not disappoint. We do a hilarious White Elephant Exchange. I schemed to get the item I wanted, but can't show it yet as it's a gift.

So, on to the sin:
I swear this is the last skein of yarn I'm buying until 2019. OK, I am making an exception for my guild's Knit-In and the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. But that's it! I've decided that 2018 needs to be the year of stash busting. It's not like I don't have plenty of yarn right here.
The little needle has been busy, too. Now there are two bird in my Happinest cross stitch. This will be a holiday gift in 2018! This shows an unusual level of organization for me.

And I've been photographing jewelry for my poor neglected Etsy store. There are some really cute knitting earrings, like these:
If you have a minute, check them out at www.etsy.com/shop/caffeinegirl1.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

It's Thursday Already?

How did that happen? This week is just flying by. Work has been busy, but mostly enjoyable. High school students are generally a lot of fun to work with.

I do try to get in a little knitting before and after work, and this has allowed me to finish one of my Knitvent projects and start another. Here is my completed Land of Sweets cowl, made from left-over sock yarn and a ball of KnitPicks Hawthorne:
 I have to admit that I am very pleased with it. I will try to get Keith to take picture of me wearing it this weekend.

I immediately cast on another Knitvent project, the Tchaikovsky Hat in a skein of Sun Valley Fibers DK that I've had for a couple years. 
It seems like it is going to go fast, and will go in the gift bin. I rarely wear green, even though I like it. I mean, who doesn't like green? 

At any rate, I am so glad that I joined Knitvent, and I won't be surprised if I end up knitting all six projects in the next year.

For now, I'm looking forward to the weekend, but also kind of dreading it. Two holiday parties! This requires more energy than I usually have during the school year. I'm determined to make them both. After that, things will calm down and I'm hoping for a restful break over the holidays.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tinkering Around the House

Winter cold has finally arrived here -- although no snow to speak of -- so it has been a good weekend to haul out my beloved ponchos and stay warm and cozy. 

I'm slowly cleaning up my craft room. This weekend, I decided to clear off my workspace -- a task in desperate need of completion -- so I finished a few jewelry projects and took apart others.
The necklace above is a beautiful design, but those bright blue beads do not match its elegance. The white beads are rather expensive, so I determined to rip it apart. That's the easy part. Sorting the beads, however, took much longer than I expected.

I finished the Shawheid hat by Kate Davies. In an earlier post, I said I was knitting it out of the discontinued Telemark yarn. I was wrong. It's knit out of the recommended Jamieson & Smith. My carried threads on the back were a bit tight, but a good soaking and blocking corrected for me.
I did get out of the house a few times. A friend and I went to see the movie Ladybird. It has lots of cute and authentic moments, but the mother character wasn't believable, which kind of undermines the whole story. Afterward, she fed me some delicious lentil soup at her house. And this morning I treated myself to a latte at a local coffeeshop.
Today will be busier. I have a number of errands that have to get done. It's just as well. I need to adjust to winter weather!

Hope your weekend is relaxing and refreshing.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mid-Week Musings

Another hectic week at school is under way. I am still experiencing quite a bit of pain where my tooth used to be, but the discharge papers say that's normal. I do think it makes me more tired.

I have been trying to knit a few rows every day or two on my ZickZack scarf. It is slow-going, but I'm not minding that.
There are always new color combinations, which keeps it interesting.
Reading has been going slowly. I like to read before I fall asleep and lately sleep has been rushing in. I'm just beginning Lyndall Gordon's biography of Virginia Woolf. 
I picked up The Illustrated Life, which shows sketchbooks from artists around the world, at used book sale sponsored by my local library. I started checking out these sales a year or so ago, and I have stumbled on amazing finds. This book was just $3, far less than the $19.99 it would have cost me new. And it's full of great art and interviews.

Joining with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Potato Chip Knitting and Reading

First, I want to thank all of you for kind words this past week for my cracked tooth. I swear those digital good wishes do translate into pain relief! It certainly does help to have so many friends out there pulling for me. (ETA: the verb "pulling" is definitely a pun)
I have had the perfect knitting and listening to get me through this. I am 80% of the way through my Land of Sweets Cowl, and I just can't stop. It's a proverbial "potato chip" knit -- just one more round! Even the lace sections are easy and relaxing.
Yesterday I got to the end of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng on Audible. It is a page-turning story that examines what it means to be a mother from many different perspectives. It also compares a an affluent family with a vagabond artist and her daughter, and raises complex questions about how important money is. It's really quite thought-provoking. I highly recommend this book -- and that's not something I say often. If you like audiobooks, this one is well-done.
I had to pick up the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook as soon as it hit the bookstore. If you haven't discovered Deb Perelman's web site and books, you are in for a treat. She makes amazing food that isn't too complicated in her tiny Manhattan kitchen -- and then shares the results with us. 

Now I'm off to sip my tea and catch up with you!