Tuesday, January 16, 2018

NOT THE SOCK...

Well, what I have been knitting the past few days is not the sock.  There's a new project.  It's always so much fun to start a new project!

My friend Mary brought this shawl, which she had bought at a flea market, to me and asked me to extract a knitting pattern from it.  Fortunately, it's a very simple shawl:

It doesn't look like much, just spread out like this.  You get a better idea when you see how it's worn:
I took this picture with the help of the mirror on the closet door.  My left hand is held out just to show you how long the shawl is when worn.  It's very cosy.

It was easy to chart this simple shawl.  Here's the run down:  
SIMPLE SHAWL:
Cast On 70 sts. (or as many as needed to create a width of 20").
Knit 12 rows in garter stitch.
Section A:
Row 1: Knit 6 stitches, purl to the last 6, knit the last 6 sts.
Row 2: Knit all stitches.
Alternate these two rows for 18 rows.
Section B:
Knit four rows garter stitch.
Alternate Section A and Section B until you have 11 sections.
Repeat Section A one more time.
Knit 12 rows garter stitch.
NOTE: In the second section A, row 8, knit 8 stitches, cast off 5 stitches.  In row 9, when you come to the cast off stitches, cast on 5 stitches, finish the row as per usual.

Mary's shawl was knit in a fairly heavy cotton yarn, 14 stitches to 4 inches.

My first try with the lovely acrylic yarn that I bought at Walmart was short 2 inches in width, so I pulled it out and recast with 77 stitches.  That version had a big problem: there was a knot in the ball of yarn causing an abrupt colour change from grey to cream, totally unacceptable.  I pulled that one out and recast with 80 stitches with my second ball of yarn.  That's the version you see here:

This is the version that was begun Saturday morning.  We had company from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning, during which time there was some progress made.  Since it's such a simple pattern it's possible to knit while visiting or watching t.v.

This yarn is from Lion Brand and it's called "Scarfie".  I really like how soft and smooshy it is.  It will be comfy to throw around my shoulders when I'm sitting reading or just need a bit of warmth when watching t.v.  And a scarf is a nice change from one pair of socks after another.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

I FEEL A LITTLE LOST...

I feel a little lost without a sock project on the needles!  I finished the pair for Zack, and the pair for my sister.  There is a pair I could finish that were started back in March as a demonstration for the sock knitting class, showing how to combine two different balls of yarn to get a nice mix of colours, but ...  they're not for any specific person.  The two granddaughters tried them on last week, but they were too small.  I should just get them out and finish them.  Maybe they would fit my friend Marcy who will be here tomorrow to sew with me.

When I get back home-home (Alberta, as distinguished from just "home" which is here in AZ), I will start a pair for Lola, who received my gift certificate and certificate of promise for a pair of hand-knit socks as the Pieceful Stitchers Christmas party.  Together we'll pick out the yarn for that, unless she already has bought the yarn.

I did start a hat to go with the scarf, but that's not too inspiring.  There's just a lot of plain garter stitch that needs to be done on that.

O.K., so I will get off my "duff" and get pick up that pair from March.  Picture of the finished pair will follow.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

ABOUT THE LASAGNE

I had bought two big frozen lasagnes ahead of time, one with meat and cheeses and one "vegetable lasagne."  That looked interesting.  It was also very interesting what was left after the seven of us had our fill:

The one on the left is the vegetable lasagne--barely one square left over.  On the right: 3/4 of the meat/cheese lasagne.  We all agreed the vegetable lasagne is a winner!

It's Stouffer's Party Size frozen Vegetable Lasagne.  I bought it at the local Walmart.  Highly recommended!

VISITING

We've had the pleasure of a visit with our Dear Son #2, Geoffrey and his wife Cindy, daughters Katherine (18) and Kimberley (15)  along with Dear Son #1, Tim.  Tim arrived last Wednesday (he's been in and out with us since the end of November) and Geoff and family arrived on Thursday.  It was wonderful that the four of them were able to stay in my friend Mary's condo, just the second door down from us.  I had thought to rent room in a nearby hotel, but this was even more convenient! Great Big Thanks to Mary!


Most of the visiting was around the table (7 of us at mealtimes) or sprawled in the living room.  Kimberley is just about asleep on the couch, you can see only the top of her head.  But we also spent several hours at the pool, relaxing, reading and swimming.  We had a VERY GOOD time together!

Since I was still struggling with that virus (or whatever it is) I gave them grocery money and said I would provide dinner each evening, but for the rest they had to take care of themselves, which they are very well able to do.

For Thursday I had made a big pot of chilli, which is a traditional meal for arriving guests.  Easy to make ahead, and better tasting the longer it simmers.  Friday we went out to Golden Corral where everyone can choose whatever they want to eat.  The food is good there, but if you go there quite often, it gets a little boring, as the buffet is always the same, but does have good variety.

Saturday we had hamburgers scheduled, but they stopped at a Wendy's on their way home from a hike and had burgers, so I made (Sunday's) lasagne instead.  Sunday we had the burgers.  I had bought the special, big burgers from Sprout's--very good!  And then on Monday I went all out with a very nice meal--fresh small tomatoes, cut up cucumbers, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, oven-roasted brussels sprouts, pork medallions with stuffing, pie (pecan/cranberry) and ice cream for dessert.  It all turned out really well and was a wonderful New Year's dinner for us.

Yesterday they left around 10:15a.m. to return the rental car to the airport and catch their flight to Vancouver.  They called in the evening to let us know they were safe and snug at home again, with the wood burning in the fireplace.  It was especially nice that we had temperatures in the 70's while they were here, about 10ยบ above average for this time of year.  They're already planning to come back next year around the same time.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS

I wish for each of you a VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS!  Merry is wonderful but BLESSED means a lasting gift of grace, something to help you through this coming year.
We look back on this past year with its blessings and its problems and come to the conclusion that we are greatly blessed.

Jim celebrated his 80th birthday on the 16th of this month; I will follow with my 77th in March.  We have become very aware that our time here together is limited.  That does impact the way we treat each other; we have become much quicker to talk over whatever disagreements or irritations come up because we both have a deep love for one another and want to help the other live a good, fulfilling life for the rest of our days.

We are aware that this is not possible without the grace of God in our lives.  We are not in ourselves good and kind, but the transforming love of God in our lives and our gratitude and love back to him bring us to a state where his grace can operate in our relationship.  That's a wonderful state to be in at this time of life!  Or at any time of life.

That's our Christmas wish for each of you: that the gift of Christ's salvation may transform your life by grace.  So we wish you a BLESSED CHRISTMAS and then next week, a new year in which that grace can transform your life into one you can rightly call BLESSED.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

WELL, ACTUALLY

Actually, I didn't need to set that goal of 8" a day:
The scarf is finished!  That only means that I've been doing lots of knitting.  Got an extra 7" done yesterday evening while watching the PBS NewsHour.  This morning I was up at 4 a.m. and basically spent my whole morning knitting.  

The scarf finished at 45".  I'm in the process of unravelling the first and last three stitches of each row.  When you wrap this scarf around your neck or shoulders the loops all fluff out and it's super warm and comfy.  I call it "The Simplest Scarf" and this is why:
SUPER SIMPLE SCARF
Yarn: Patons Peak, 3.2 oz, or 90 grams
Cast on 18 stitches (I used a set of U.S. #10 straight needles)
Knit in garter stitch until the whole ball is used up. 
Knit the first 3 stitches of the last row.
Bind off stitches 4 through 15.
Slip the first 3 stitches and the last three stitches off the needle.
Unravel (or unknit, or however you want to call this) those first three and last three stitches, right down to the first row.  Weave in the cast on and the bind off tails.
ENJOY! 

As you saw, this is a very quick knit.  You could actually make one for a Christmas present at this late date, provided you can find the right yarn.  And actually, any nice slubby yarn works.  The first time I made this scarf I used yarn from Walmart that I had bought some years earlier just because it was nice to look at.  For those of you in Three Hills, IDA carries this yarn.  Just one ball does it!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

KIND OF BORING

This latest knitting project is kind of boring.  I knew it would be since I had made the same scarf earlier this year.  But the end result is worth the effort.  I've set myself a goal of 8" per day.  So far so good:

That's yesterday and this morning.  Now for something more interesting, I think maybe I'll just cast on the second "Route 66" sock.  Both need to be finished the last week of January.

Also in the planning: I'd like to make a hat to match the scarf and have an idea how to go about that.  We'll see how that turns out later.