Friday, January 21, 2011

Aviator for Charlie

Becky wasn't the only one for which I came bearing Malabrigo gifts. Charlie received this Aviator hat made out of Malabrigo worsted using the Aviatrix hat pattern.

I am glad he got this hat when he did because at 8 months he is already filling out the whole dang thing! I thought I had made it kind of big and he might need to grow into it, but no no no. Charlie has a big noggin and is having no issue wearing this hat on its second button setting.

When I was there, Becky also took out a sweater another knitter in Charlie's life had made him a while back. Becky was thinking perhaps he might fit into it now. As it turns out, he is nearly maxing that one out, too!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Botticelli Herbivore for Becky

Becky and I had agreed to hold off on exchanging Christmas gifts until I was in SLC. I am glad we did because I got to give her the shawl I had knit for her and take a few shots of her modeling it.
This is the Herbivore pattern by Stephen West knit in Malabrigo Sock in the color called Botticelli Red. Ravelry project link. This yarn did one of those numbers where it jumped off the shelf and into my shopping basket even though it wasn't on my shopping list. I loved the color, the name of the color and generally love working with everything Malabrigo makes.

I enjoyed knitting this shawl so much that I started another one as my knitting project for the trip. It made for the perfect mix of mindless knitting without being coma inducing.

Stephen West's patterns seem to have a crisp elegance about them. I enjoyed the unique shape that resulted from the placement of the increase sections.

The twisted stitches in the ribbing look quite smart after blocking.

I used a different bindoff technique than the pattern specifies and I really wish I had taken notes. I have already forgotten which one I settled on. I tried a handful of options before I found the right one. I guess I will have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to binding off the second one. Besides the bindoff, the only other modification I made was to keep knitting until I ran out of yarn. The shawl seemed like it would have been too small if I had stopped at the stated measurements. I am glad I kept at it, because I think the finished sized worked great for Becky.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

SLC in January

Over MLK weekend, I flew southwesterly to visit Becky and her little Charlie in Salt Lake City. Becky and I met shortly after we had both moved to Boston and both bid adieu to Boston at the same time. While we were there, we shared a great many wonderful memories and many, many hours of knitting time.

She and her family now live in Salt Lake City where views like the one above are everywhere you turn.

It was fun to meet her little Charlie, to see her hometown and to partake of some winter fun. Although, I use the term "winter" generously as high temps were in the 40s and 50s in the valley while I was there. It was grey and rainy nearly the whole weekend, but we took advantage of a window of nice weather on Saturday to head into the mountains.

I have never been snowshoeing and wanted to give it a try. We chose a trail in the Wasatch National Forest. Our trailhead was off of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

The views were gorgeous and so very hard to capture in pictures. To give you some scale, here is a picture of some trees with little bitty Becky visible.

We ventured off the trail to play in the powder (versus the packed snow on the trail) and came upon this running water.

After we got tired and hot enough (we were so overbundled!), we headed back down to the car and drove up to the lodge at the Snowbird Ski Resort for lunch. As it turns out, not only do my ears hate altitude changes in airplanes, they hate the altitude changes in the mountains too. Basically the whole weekend (and even now) my ears didn't adjust to the altitude leaving my head feeling like its underwater. Because of this and the cloudy skies, we skipped the aerial tram ride with its 3000 ft ascent in 10 minutes. I think my head might have exploded if we had gone on it.

Besides our big outing to the mountain, we did littler jaunts out of the house scheduled around Charlie's routines. Props to all of the parents of young ones out there. This weekend has shown me once again that keeping a baby fed, clean, rested and happy is a pretty consuming task!

We got to partake of some delicious teas and lunch at the Beehive Tea Room after checking out the yarn offerings of Blazing Needles.

And enjoyed an afternoon tea at Caffe D'Bolla before heading for lunch at It's Tofu.

We walked around Temple Square and checked out the little museum that explained the history of the building of the Temple and showcased a scaled model with explanations of what happens inside the building.

A lot of the things we tried to do were thwarted by it being the off-season and a holiday weekend. We tried to go to the Salt Lake City Library to look at the building and climb up to the viewing tower. Despite having checked the website before we went, we still found it closed. I got to peak through a fence to get a little bit of the view. Monday was the best day I had for viewing the surrounding mountain ranges because the inversion that had been present over the weekend had lifted.

I may not have been able to see the library view on my last day in Salt Lake City, but the view when taking off from the airport was magnificent. I believe this shot features the Great Salt Lake. Salt Lake City is a pretty city, indeed and an amazing place to be if you like to be active outside.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fanny vs Jack: Battle of the Cat Bed Part 2

Fanny got a new cat bed/scratching pad. It wasn't in the house more than a day before Jack tried to commandeer it. She was chilling out on it when he came over and plopped down like he owns the place. So far she hasn't put up a stink about sharing, but she sure was giving him the stink eye.

After I took that first picture, I remembered that Jack has a history of trying to steal her bed. The second picture is from 3 years ago. Also, we live somewhere different now but Tchazo still does the heating vent thing I explained in that post. They are older dogs now, but they are up to the same tricks!

And, for the record, our dogs currently have 3 options for dog beds/pillows in this house. I think he just likes being a big Jack on a little bed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bring-Along Slipper Socks

I have a few more Christmas items to share, but I haven't given them to the recipient yet. So, for now, how about a little selfish knitting?

Minnesota is a cold, cold place in the winter. Much of the socializing that is done in the winter is done in people's homes. It is a common thing to bring your slippers with you when you go to a friend or relatives house. My old pair of slippers had gotten completely worn out and I found myself without a bring-along pair.

So, I knitted up the Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays, a pattern which I have been wanting to make for ages. I then found some lovely, lined suede soles and some leftover sock yarn. I went to work attaching the soles with a blanket stitch.

Attaching the soles was tricky! I tried to pin them into place, but it didn't work very well. I ended up getting the job done by trying them on, then taking them off, sewing a little bit and trying them on again. Sometimes I even sewed them while I was wearing them.

In the end, I am really happy with how they turned out. They are not perfectly placed in the soles, but they work just fine. And they fold up and fit into my bag quite nicely. They have already kept my feet warm and happy at a few houses and will be coming with me when I go to visit Becky in Utah this weekend.

Ravelry project link
Inspired by this project

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Red Monkey

Sylvia is a pretty physical child and has been referred to as a little monkey on multiple occasions. When I saw this pattern for a monkey bib, I knew I needed to make it for Jamie and Sylvia.

I figured that since I know they use a lot of knitted washcloths, I would convert the pattern to a washcloth instead. The result was just fine except for that the monkey is really hard to see. The image appears through a contrast of textures and it doesn't stand out well. The photo does a better job of capturing it than looking at it in person does. I hope that once it gets used, washed and dried a bunch of times, the cloth will shrink and the texture will stand out better.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sylvia's Surprise Jacket

Little Sylvia received a Baby Surprise Jacket in a toddler/2yr old size for her Christmas present. I even managed to work in some of the leftover yarns from Jamie's birthday present because I thought she would get a kick out of a little mom-daughter matchy-matchy action.

As is generally the consensus with this pattern, I enjoy knitting it because it is just so dang clever! Before I seamed it, I handed it to a few people and asked them to try to turn it into a sweater. They were stumped. How did EZ every come up with this?!

It is fun to see how the stripes end up falling and especially comparing the effect on the front and back of the sweater.

The colors didn't scream GIRLY, so I made sure to add some flower buttons.

Sylvia was not in the mood for a fashion show when she received her sweater, so I have to wait to find out if it fits her or not. She did enjoy the packing materials the sweater was wrapped with, though.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Puppet for Zoe

I didn't do a ton of Christmas knitting this year, but there were a few little ones that got knitted gifts. Including Zoe who got this puppet (Ravelry links to my project and to the pattern).

I didn't name him/her so that Zoe could have the honor. I am told this puppet's name is now "Poot."

The eyes are made of buttons from my tin of random vintage buttons. The mane become quite voluminous after I washed and blocked the puppet. I think the giant mane and the long tongue will look wonderfully dramatic during puppet communications.

Jil Eaton released this Zany Puppetina pattern and I can't find any explanation of what creature it is intended to be. Which, I think, is very fitting for imaginative young ones. It can be whatever Zoe wants it to be! And, from what I have observed, Zoe has an imagination large enough to handle the task.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

December Outings

My holiday break is officially over and I am back at work. I really enjoyed (and really needed!) that week off. I returned to work much more refreshed than when I left. I definitely made the most of my time off by getting caught up with a ton of things/projects I had been putting off around the house, watching movies, knitting, and hanging out with friends and family.

One morning last week, Jerri and I got to share pastries and tea together at one of the many amazing places in her neighborhood: Patisserie 46. After looking over their offerings and tasting a few of them, I think their great reputation is well earned. I was delighted to have the time to catch up with Jerri and am looking forward to having another date with her there in the future. Next time I will make sure I try one of their stunning desserts.

Since my mom was out of the country during my birthday week, she took me out for a belated birthday dinner last week. It seems we are turning French Meadow Cafe into my annual birthday dinner spot. We had a delicious meal that started with the appetizer flight (below) and ended with a pear ginger crisp (above). The waiter got a big laugh out of us when he confessed that our dessert would be a bit delayed. He had tried to put the birthday candle in the warm crisp and melted the candle right into the dessert! He was very creative with his second attempt to make good on my mom's request for dessert and a birthday candle. He turned a little espresso cup into a candle holder.

French Meadow's food is great and fairly priced, but for me it is really the appetizer flight that makes me want to keep going back. For $8 you get a plate that usually includes 2 cheeses, a fancy honey, something pickled or olives, some sort of spread/pate and then a little something extra. The offerings change regularly but are always balanced by sticking to those categories. The plate arrives with an assortment of bread and crackers. It looks like such a small amount of food, but is actually quite filling and totally hits the spot for me every time.

Of course, I didn't get everything on my to-do list done during the week off, but I finally feel like I am not running like crazy to keep up. Hopefully I can sustain this for a while now that I am back at work again!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Crafty for Another Year

I haven't been as thorough as I would like to be when it comes to capturing each of the Crafternoon gatherings, but I did want to be sure to post about our second annual Crafternoon New Year's Day Brunch.

As I mentioned last year, I like to start the year as I mean for it to go. Luckily for me, I have a group of friends who also value food, good company and crafting. The gathering this year included Libby (nearing her due date!), Cyrus, Meg (who must have jumped ship right before I took this photo, since her seat is empty), Kala, Jen, Jamie, Missy and Jill.

The potluck brunch goers outdid themselves with a delicious spread. Our feast included a sundried tomato and spinach strata, brussels sprouts and hazelnuts, green beans with almonds, hummus, homemade cookies, gourmet caramel corn, fruit, cheese, nuts and, of course, caramels (including caramel gift bags for people to take with them).

I am grateful for friends who are willing to venture out in the frigid Minnesota weather in order to welcome in the start of a new year together. Happy 2011!
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