Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my Gracie

I had fun making these playfood pieces for Gracie's Christmas gift.For the cupcake, I used this pattern and modifications for the picot edge, which I just thought looked prettier. Yarns I used were blue Valley Yarns Stockbridge, white and red Wool-Ease.

The strawberries are from this pattern. I used red Wool-Ease and green Cascade 220.

Both quick and easy patterns.

Unlike the dishes they're sitting on.

The china was given to us by my in-laws. It belonged to my FIL's grandmother, so it's fairly old. Made by Theodore Haviland, Limoges, France, it is a large dinner set, around 12 place settings, along with assorted serving dishes. There are some pieces missing from the place settings and I've wondered for a while now what it would cost to buy replacements.

So today, I started surfing the web for info on the manufacturer and their patterns. My initial findings are that this manufacturer made THOUSANDS of different patterns. Someone catalogued them and there are volumes and volumes!!!

Maybe we'll just pass the set onto our grandchildren one day, and let them do the research!

Friday, September 12, 2008

I won't change my name just yet, but.....

........ maybe one day I could be discocrochets! I finally got to take my crochet 101 class at Joann's a couple of weeks ago. OMG it was a lot of fun. Crochet, I must say, is confusing. So many stitches to learn. I prefer the old knitting. All you have to know are knit and purl. But it is nice to learn a new skill. The red piece below is my class practice. Single, then double, then treble crochet. Then that holey row at the top - I think that was half crochet. Or maybe not!!Right next to it is what is going to be my first crochet project. A dishcloth, of course. I cast on 40 stitches. Erm, I mean I chained 40 to begin. I have no idea how many are in the row right now. I started, again, with some single, then double, then treble crochet stitches. The treble really makes it go quick. Quicker than knitting. Don't know that this is going to overtake my knitting love any time soon, but I'm pleased to have at least learned a new 'skill'.
In the class were myself, my babysitter (Ms Valerie) and another young lady. The youngster took to the hook like you wouldn't believe. She said she wanted to learn more needle arts so we said she should definitely learn to knit. And what'd'ya know, she was in my knitting 101 class this week. Yay, big box stores. She took to the knitting just as easily as the crocheting. She's either a plant, checking we instructors out, or she's a freaking yarn genius.
And 'cause we haven't seen them in a wee while, here are the boys. I told them they should hug and tell each other they loved them. They ran into the kitchen, arms around each other and said, take a picture of us. How could I refuse :0)

Happy weekend :0)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

About a million years ago, when I was young, free and single, I used to travel regularly from my job in London, to New York City, on business. I loved the city so much that I would also go for holidays.

On my first trip there, I went to the observation deck at the World Trade Center. It was so freaking awesome. I have three views of the buildings in my mind. The first: I was so proud of myself, because I sat right by the window and looked straight down. Second: I also stood right next to one of the buildings at the bottom and looked straight up - unbelievable how tall those towers were. And third: the massive chandeliers in the lobbies. Beautiful.

I visited with a friend over New Year 97/98 and we had a blast. Our last night there was my birthday and we went out to celebrate. We met a group of guys (as you do) and girls who worked down-town as bond traders. They brought cupcakes into the bar we were in and sang Happy Birthday to me - that was my best birthday ever ('cause my birth date is just about as bad as Christmas Day) :0) So, I joked around with this one guy that he might work at the bond traders, but he was probably the janitor!!!

Long story short, we kept in touch and used to go out whenever I was in the City. He was just about the most fun person I've ever known.

So, that bond trader worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into the gym for a lunchtime training session on Sept 11th 2001 and every screen in the place was showing the World Trade Center ablaze.

Not long after that day, I met my husband. He also knew a Cantor employee. The brother of one of his best friends at college. He had two small sons who probably won't remember the precious few years he was in their lives. A year or so later I met their mom and dad. She still looked like a broken woman.

Today is a special day in our family.

God bless everyone who passed on that day, and their families and friends who still grieve them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Log Cabin - the Cheapass Version

Y'all know by now of my love for the Log Cabin Blankets. So what's a girl to do when she finds some yarn that'd make a super Log Cabin in shades of black and grey?
Why, wait for it to go on sale, of course :0)
I snagged 5 balls of this yarn on sale for a dollar a piece. I got two squares out of the first ball - less the final cast-off row that is. Time will tell how that works out.
Each square is only just smaller than the Noro squares I'm making.
I also snagged some other black/grey Debbie Mumm yarn that will be made into squares to flesh out the blanket. And I'll be on the lookout for some knock-down priced black or grey yarn for the border.
I have no idea who this will be for, but I'm sure I'll think of someone :0)
Happy Tuesday :0)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Just call me the bag lady :0)

Another Christmas gift to cross off the list.

The Fulled Lopi Tote. Known at Chez Disco as the Fulled WOTA Tote.
Colours used, all from stash I might add, Fern (main colour), Avocado, Asparagus & Evergreen (for stripes). Yarn was held doubled throughout.
Having learned my felting lesson with the Celtic Tote, I put this right in a hot wash, again with some towels (boy, we really go through those towels in this house!).

Before felting, the bag was 17" deep. After, it was 13" deep. Just right for 'toting' your stuff around. I see a teacher carrying this one.
I love this pattern - it's so simple. And once again, I love the felting. It's like a small miracle :0)

I have enough of this yarn leftover to make another felted bag. Or maybe even a couple of these.

Christmas Celtic Tote

Why 'Christmas' Celtic Tote? 'Cause I'm knitting gifts for Christmas this year. Really, I'm trying to knit something for everyone I usually buy for. Partly because we're trying to cut back our costs at Chez Disco. And partly because my stash runneth over.

I have 6 teacher gifts to make. A book club gift. My boys. Their 8 cousins. A mother and a MIL. Hubbs and her boys.

That's actually quite a lot of knitting. So I'd better get on that if everything's to be completed in time.

This is the first of the stash of gifts. I'll decide nearer the time who the recipient will be. Most likely a teacher. Or my mom.The main body of the bag is made with Brunswick Yarns' "Germantown Knitting Worsted". A yarn that a friend gave me a while ago - she had inherited it from an aunt with a stash the size of Brunswick!. I have a good 8 skeins of this stuff. You can tell it's old - there are lots of breaks in the yarn, especially where the ballband has rubbed against it.

Trying to be more positive about life, I saw this as more of an opportunity than a disaster. I learned to spit-splice. I had very recently seen an old episode of Knitty Gritty where Vicki Howell demonstrated how to do this. I had read about it previously, but never attempted. She made is look so easy. And it was. I must have spit in a good thirty or forty inches of yarn used in this bag. I guess I can really say I put a lot of myself into this project ;0) Lovely!

I was really looking forward to 'fulling' the bag. I believe that term means 'felt slightly'. So I put it on a gentle/warm cycle. Apparently, this wool washes well - it hadn't felted in the slightest. So I tried another cycle! The wool washed really well! Then I just decided to put it in with some towels I had to wash anyway, on a hot cycle. Of course, then I got to doing something more interesting, like vacuuming, or cleaning a toilet and completely forgot to check on the bag.

So here's the fully-felted end result. I have to say, although the stitches aren't discernable, I still love the effect. The stitching round the cables still makes them stand out.
And the finishing touch...... a wooden button.

I absolutely love everything about this bag. It is a great handbag size. The straps are cute (cabled). The celtic cables on the front are beautiful and not too difficult to knit (if you can follow a chart).
It's so long 'til Christmas that I may even have time to find the perfect fabric to line it with - but let's see if I have time to make the lining.
Felting ROCKS!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Mam!

Today is my Mam's umpty-third birthday. Happy Birthday to her.

I completed her gift a week or so ago and got it in the mail, so I hope she's received it in time. Anyway, here it is, the Provincial Waistcoat from Interweave Knits Winter 2006.

It is about 4 inches wide, but is VERY stretchy - it'll need to be - the family disco has some girth, let me tell you! It's meant to be fitted, so I hope it's gonna look good on her.

The yarn is Brooks Farm Mas Acero - it was lovely to work with, really soft, and the finished product is nice and squishy. My mam does like a little bit of sparkle, so these buttons were perfect, they have glitter around the edges. Not that you'll be able to tell from my photography!