Thursday, November 27, 2014

Smashing Pumpkins (squash, actually)

This fall, a 50 pound hubbard squash was bestowed upon our household. That is right, I said FIFTY POUNDS! We measured it by doing that trick where you stand on the scale and measure yourself, then stand on the scale again while holding the item you want to measure. You do a little subtraction and you find out that you have a FIFTY POUND squash. To get this measurement, Paul bravely ducked down under my shaking arms to read the scale while I tried not to drop the squash on his head. We learned that the squash is really heavy but also that my upper body could use some more strength.

My grandma and aunt grew this squash and credit its size to the chicken manure they used to fertilize their garden.  Maybe I will have super-sized vegetables in my future garden, too!  To give you some sense of scale: the photo above is of the squash next to an average buttercup squash.  

The squash was shared with us along with the advice that the best way of opening it up was to drop it on the sidewalk.  We considered taking a sledgehammer, sawzall or axe to it, but in the end, we took the sidewalk advice.  I usually prefer still images in this space, but in this case, I think a video is in order.

For those enjoying a holiday feast today, I hope you have an excellent slice of pumpkin pie to finish it off. Bonus points if your pumpkin pie is actually made with squash (I prefer those versions). I see a few pies in my near future, because 50 pounds is quite a lot of squash.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Too Tight Cloche

I know something new about myself now.  I hate tight hats.  I made this one and it is just a wee bit too snug and it drives me bonkers. Since it is totally finished, I can't bring myself to rip it out.  Plus, I have enough yarn that I could knit myself another one in a bigger size so there is really no need to frog it.  I have already knit this hat too small another time in a totally different yarn.  Maybe it is not meant to be?  Or, maybe I need to realize that the brim always appears bigger than it will actually be.

I like the asymmetrical design and the fun little detail at the front that features a button.  In this case, a selection from my tin of vintage buttons.

If you see me in person and think your head is the right size for this hat, hit me up.  I may offer it up for fittings in hopes of finding it a good home.

For those that like the knitterly details:
The yarn is Knit Picks Simply Cotton Organic Worsted.  The pattern is a free one by Mary Keenan called Double Double Cloche.  Here is my Ravelry project.  Thanks to Paul for taking most of these pictures.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Alfafa Hat for Stella

Sometimes living far away from friends is a real bummer.  Like when they get married and have a baby and you don't get to be there for either of those huge events!  What is a knitter to do but send some yarn-based love their direction.  Such is the way with my friend Beth and this hat for her and her husband's new baby Stella.  And by "new" I mean I was a little late getting this sent and I think Beth might have been back to work after her maternity leave before this hit their doorstep.  Oops!

Beth is a big museum-goer and art lover, so I figured the little (secret!) balcony of the Weisman Art Museum was a fun place to snap some pictures of the hat before sending it off. This little pixie hat was made using the Alfalfa Baby Hat pattern.

I am banking on the hopes that it looks a lot cuter on a baby's head than laying flat.  The forehead points and ear flaps are made by strategic increases and decreases and the ties are icords.

I am pretty psyched to have found a pairing of yarns in my stash to make this hat.  I ended up liking the look of the two strands held together better than I liked each of them individually. Yarn and project details available here on Ravelry.

As you can see, there wasn't any snow on the ground when I grabbed these shots, so I am hoping the hat made it to Stella before it got too cold in New Jersey.

12.17.14 - UPDATE!  That hat has made it to its new owner and she looks pretty darn cute in it.  Thanks to Beth for sending the picture!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wavy Bias Shawl

I usually pack at least 2 knitting projects when I travel, but this time I only took 1. I felt a little uneasy about embarking on a 2 week trip to Italy with just 1 itty bitty project and no yarn stops planned on the trip.  But, in the name of traveling lightly, I braved it.  (I did have the backup plan of buying a skein of sock yarn there and making another shawl if I was really in a no-knitting pickle.)

It turns out that 1 project was more than enough for this trip because I didn't even get close to finishing it! 

This shawl was meant to be a Christmas gift for Joanne, my mother in law, but I finished it just before her birthday.  So, of course, I couldn't wait and ended up giving it to her for her birthday.  It must have been meant to be because soon after her birthday the super cold, early winter hit us.  I hope it is keeping her warm!

The construction on the Wavy Bias pattern is, as you might imagine, knit on the bias!   Because it was knit in an asymmetrical way, the yarn pooled a little bit on the lace that finishes one edge of the shawl.  It wasn't so bad that I couldn't stand it, but I much prefer the color distribution on the longer edge. 

This project is a bit of a pay-if-forward project as the yarn I used was a gift to me a number of years back (Thanks, Jamie!).  In fact, this yarn, Celestial Dream Merino from Lucy Neatby, is from such deep stash that it is now discontinued! Joanne wears red frequently so I had a hunch she would like this yarn.  Speaking of the color, it is called Sugar Maple.  If you compare the photos in this post with the fall photos from my last post, you can certainly see that it is well named!

Link to my project on Ravelry here.

After I got back from my trip, I went through a bit of a knitting spree, so I have more finished projects to share throughout the next week or so.  These cold weather days and early sunsets work wonders when it comes to amping up the knitting mojo!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fall Beauty

A Winter Storm Warning is set to start overnight tonight and the likelihood of a significant amount of snowfall over the next 2 days is at 100%. Before we move on to the next season in our extremely seasonal, northern climate, I want to savor fall just a little bit longer for it was a magnificently beautiful one.  Sometimes fall is over in a blink of an eye in this city of mine, so I was a bit worried I would miss the change while I was off in Italy.  I am so grateful this year's autumn was a slow and showy one that waited to put on the most spectacular part of the show until I was home to see it.  Here are a few pictures from a weeknight walk I took during that brief period of daylight between work and sunset; a period of light that has already made itself scarce just a few short weeks later.   

squirrel looking at me looking at him

Paul and I spent half of our Saturday getting the garden, yard and chicken coop ready for the snowfall.  Everything is harvested, raked, stowed, cleaned and everything else one needs to do when the yard will essentially be put in a snow and ice filled freezer for the next handful of months.  There is a big bowl of chili ready for my lunch, a freshly started knitting project in my bag and a pair of snowboots by the door.  If the snow flies as the forecast says it will, I am ready for it!

(I very much owe you a chicken update and will get to that soon!)
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