Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Finish Line

I totally nailed it! I finished the last of my CB squares last night, 5 days before the end of the Olympics!

Here are the final 20 squares. My only concern is that I miscounted (even though I've counted them many,many times) and I will have one or two less than the 80 squares I thought and will have to make more.

As a reward I cast on the Citron shawlette. Imagine me, knitting a project that, as Kay of Mason-Dixon knitting says, is "one of those viral knits that all the cool kids are knitting". Me, who just finished the squares for the "30 year old bedspread". Which I pointed out to DD#1 won't even fit my bed which is a queen size, the bedspread is a regular full size. I guess my bed put on weight over the last 30 years! Middle aged spread!!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Okay, it wasn't even the game for the gold, so why does the USA hockey victory over Canada seem like it was the BIG ONE? What an awesome game. I couldn't even knit while I was watching it!

I know the Canadians really want to win the gold and they still might. Any other time I would even be rooting for their win. After all Lindy Ruff (Buffalo Sabres coach) is an assistant coach with the Canadian team. But with Ryan Miller in goal (Buffalo Sabres goalie) and Patrick Kane (a Buffalo kid) playing, even Chris Drury an ex-Sabre, made it seem like a hometown team.

How important was this win to the US team? They were wearing replica Jerseys from the 1960 game which was the LAST time they beat the Canadian team in Olympic play! So I would say it was very big!
I'm busting my buttons with pride this morning. The Buffalo News has the report about the game on the front page, so at least in this town, it is big news!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

On the Homestretch

Fifteen blocks down, five more to go. I think I will get this done!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Something Pretty

When it's too cold and windy and grey outside, it's sometimes nice to remember there will be spring and warmth and flowers again. We took the kids to the Botanical Gardens to enjoy the warmth and color of all the flowers and it was possible to forget the cold weather for a while

Monday, February 15, 2010

Something Old, Something New

Over the weekend I took this

a really pretty but outdated sweater that I made back in the 1980's, and turned it into something else. I had this in a storage container in the basement since huge balloon sleeves went out of style. I loved the yarn and thought I could unravel it and knit it up into something new, but it had felted a bit and wouldn't have worked up.
So I competed the felting by washing it in hot water and throwing it in the dryer. Confession: I have never felted an object on purpose and had no idea what I was doing. I read a few articles after the fact and if I had read them beforehand I might never have tried this. Horror stories of broken washing machine pumps, not working in front loaders, etc.
My project came out perfectly on the first go-round with no problems. Beginners luck, I am sure. The fabric was evenly felted and quite firm. Just what I wanted.
I cut off the sleeves, sewed up the sides and the bottom, made mitered corners on the bottom so I'd get a rectangular shape. I lined it with some cute kitty fabric I had in my fabric stash (yes I have one of those, also), cut two straps from the sleeves which I lined with a matching green fabric to give them some stability, put in a couple of pockets that will hold my phone and a pocket with a zipper for knitting supplies. I also made a little zippered pouch for additional supplies. I like to have a few of these bags loaded with things like scissors, cable needle, tapestry needle, stitch holders, emery board, markers, etc. so I can just grab one and put it in whichever knitting bag I have my current project in.

I feel quite good about taking a sweater I had invested a lot of time and effort into making, and re-purposing it into an object that I will get a lot of use out of, rather than having it thrown out.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Painting Weekend

We've got a few days off this week. The kids are on break and we won't have them until Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so we decided to paint the mud room (the most used and abused room in the house). It hasn't been painted since we put on the addition, so it is way past due.

I am not going to join the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. Even though it is way laid back, I still just want to do my own thing. I have 6 blocks finished on my CB, 14 more to go. I would love to get into single digits by the end of the weekend. Although watching the Olympics may not be conducive to my knitting. I was enjoying the opening ceremonies so much, I actually goofed up one of the squares. I had to frog back about 12 rows. Frogging a pattern I have repeated over 60 times. You'd think I be knitting on autopilot by now.

Was it just me, or were the commercials during the opening better than the ones during the Super Bowl? Also, I have seen enough interviews with the same three people to last me the next 16 days, NBC. I am glad I am close enough to the Canadian border to get Canadian broadcast stations. They have better coverage and cover more than just their athletes.
Loved looking at all the knitwear during the parade of nations. Thought the USA had some of the best, though I would like to make a pair of Canadian mittens with the maple leaf on the palm.
The Diamond Yarn blog has a pattern for it that I may just have to make.

Today is a soup and bread day. Dilly bread and Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup. These are both savory recipes. I changed the Dilly Bread (that can be found by following the link) recipe slightly. I use Bison Cottage Cheese with Chives and don't add the minced onion. Really adds a great flavor throughout the bread. I also use half whole wheat flour for more heartiness. I got the soup recipe from my daughter. Yummy.

Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

2 tbls olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
4 cups of broth (I use vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian meal)
2 cans beans (cannellini or whatever)
3 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 heads of roasted garlic

Saute onions,salt, pepper and fennel until onion is translucent. Add broth, beans, sage and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf, add roasted garlic and puree. Return to pot and add lemon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What to do If It Snows

So, much of the east coast got a humdinger of a snow storm this weekend and even for Buffalo, this would have been a very big snow storm. We can deal with it. But having lived in Maryland for a couple of years and having a daughter in West Virginia, I know that it is not something they have to deal with or are at all prepared to deal with.

Here are a couple of granddaughters with a friend enjoying the snow in West Virginia. They loved it. A LOT of snow.

I was amused at a comment in the Washington Post by a resident of Alabama, who was pooh poohing the laments about dealing with the storm and admonished people to come and live where it doesn't snow, as he does. Serious weather events can occur wherever you live. Hurricanes in Florida, fires and mudslides in California, tornadoes, floods, ice storms, bad weather that can happen just about anywhere. The best thing you can do is to be prepared for the possibilities of no electricity and not being able to leave your house for a few days.

Here are a few of the things I have learned to do to be as prepared as I can be for a weather event. You may want to adapt these to the conditions you may face in your area.

Snow Equipment

In early fall we look over our collection of snow shovels, salt for ice removal, when we had a snow blower we would have that serviced. They get moved from the shed to the garage, handy by the door. Our furnace and fireplace get a once over in the fall, also. I got a kick out of the pictures of long lines of people lined up to buy snow shovels. Must admit that happens here, too. Winter, snow, need snow shovels!

No Electricity

We have had a couple of ice and wind storms that knocked out the electricity for a week or more. I have a shelf in my pantry I use exclusively for alternative sources of light. I check the flashlights and replace their batteries and bulbs in the fall. I replace any candles that have been used up and have a supply of matches handy. We found that the solar lights we have in the back yard (they are lantern types that hook on poles) worked as night lights and guides on the stairs. We took them out in the morning to get re-powered for the night.

Our clock radio has saved us many times. We have two that have battery back ups. Make sure the battery is fresh and have a couple of extra handy. It is amazing how starved for news you are when the lights go off and how important it is to have a source for emergency information. There are solar powered and hand cranked emergency radios that would probably be a good investment.

We have an assortment of games, books, decks of cards to keep everyone busy. This is a great time for family games like Monopoly and Risk, which can take days to finish. I had a friend who would buy all the makings of a sweater in the fall and have it designated her "blizzard sweater" for working on when we were snowed in.

We have a good reliable water supply. But when it seems that we might lose power, I fill up the bath with water (to flush and wash with), fill up my two biggest pots and put them on the stove. I have kept the house warm many times by simmering the pots of water and it is a source of water if the supply is contaminated as happened during the October Surprise snow storm of 2006 (a Friday the 13th). You should have a supply of chlorine bleach to purify your water, if you can't boil it. You only need a few drops to purify a large quantity of water.

Again, my pantry serves us well. I have cans of veggies, canned tomatoes, soups, tuna and sardines stocked along with lots of beans, dry and canned. Nothing like a hearty bowl of three bean chili to warm you and keep you going in cold weather. Make sure you have a manual can opener if you normally use an electric one. I have a medium sized chest freezer and keep it supplied with a couple of 5lb bags of flour and some frozen bread dough along with a box or two of my favorite emergency supply, Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Complete Pancake mix. My girls laugh at me over this. But it has saved me a number of times and provided them with a meal or two when there were no more eggs or milk.

Be Safe
I am very conscious of open flames and use candles sparingly. Be careful of heating sources. It is better to go to a shelter, and the fire department, town government and Red Cross usually have them available during crisis, than to heat the house with jury-rigged alternatives.
If you haven't lifted anything heavier than a fork in years, have someone else shovel. Check on your neighbors.

Have Fun
Enjoy the time you have together, playing games, eating fresh baked bread or cookies, making a snow fort.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Crazy Zipper

I finished my blue cardigan and sewed it together while catching up on the last season of Lost, before the new season began on last Tuesday. I crammed in almost the entire season over last weekend and now when I look at the cardigan, I associate it with that series. So it will be my "Lost" sweater, in my mind, anyway. It turned out so well and I was so happy with it, I wanted to get it done and on, asap. The last thing I had to do was put in the zipper. Not a particularly difficult task. If you have never done this, I'll discuss my process next Friday.
The problem came when I went to buy a separating zipper, 22" long. There is a lack of color choices at JoAnn's. The only colors I could find were navy blue, white, black and brown. None of which would look well with this light blue heathered yarn. I chose the white and figured if I sewed it just right, it would be hidden from view.
Well, I did a great job of covering the zipper, but as you wear it, the front can separate a tiny bit and the white was like a traffic light. Also, if I ever wanted to wear it with the zipper only partly closed, the white zipper would be the only thing that you would see. I could have dyed the zipper before I put it in, which was my original intent, but I was delusional and in a hurry to get this done and worn. What to do? An Internet search found a light blue 22" separating zipper, but you had to buy three and with shipping the cost would be $15.00 dollars. Nope!
Enter fabric paint! If it worked, I was done, if not I could remove the zipper, buy another and dye it and then sew it back in. Nothing to lose. I bought 2 shades of blue for a couple of dollars, mixed the two to match the sweater and painted the zipper in place.

It worked. Here's the sweater back with all the beautiful cables.

And here is the sweater front with not a hint of white showing. Ta da. Never underestimate the convoluted thought process of a desperate knitter.
I love, love, love this sweater. Why did it take me 12 years to get to it?

I have added a countdown in the top right hand corner of the blog to help motivate me in finishing off the cream bedspread. I intend to update it as I complete each square and my plan is to have it off my blog (and actually on my bed)by the end of February.

The Yarn Harlot is doing the Knitting Olympics again and I am going to participate using the Cream Bedspread as my project. If I get the squares finished before the closing ceremony, my project will also include sewing up the squares. (I am already sick of writing "Cream Bedspread" so will refer to it as CB from now on.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February Knitting

This Blue Cardigan is actually the finished January knitting. Being monogamous paid off, with me being able to stick to my knitting plan. I have a very loose list of projects for the next few months and we will see how well I stay on track.
This yarn was in my stash for at least 20 years (would you believe!). I still love it. The sweater, from a 1998 Family Circle Easy Knitting magazine is right back in style or never went out of style. Set in sleeves and beautiful cables with a zipper closure, nice and warm and just right for indoor wear this time of year. It will also be nice to wear as a jacket when it gets a little warmer.
So, you see this is part of the plan. I am knitting at least one project with my old yarn which I have in 3 bins in my closet, alternating with a project with new yarn. I was going to join in the Olympic Knitting , but then remembered my resolutions not to join in on anything this year.
Anyway, the Ravelry Olympics seem a bit complicated and I didn't want to take the time to figure them out. I decided to challenge myself during the Olympics and finish the 20 squares I have left of the cream bedspread. But then I finished the cardigan and thought instead of starting another sweater or shawl, why not make the bedspread my February knitting. So I am working on my bag of hat yarn (about 6 or 7 hats) and the bedspread. When I get tired of making those infernal squares, I will make a quick hat or a sock.
Then I will just have to sew all the 80 squares together. UGH!! That will leave an entire bin empty.