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Location: lake placid, florida

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

how many days til christmas?

by this time last year, i was long finished with the christmas knitting. gah, what happened to 2005?

friend, avert your eyes again!

the deep aubergine glamour shot.

on the needles, a basketweave seaman's scarf. making up the pattern as i go along, if anyone is interested, i'll write it up after i'm finished. the yarn is lorna's laces worsted, very soft and yummy, the color in the photo is off, it's really a lovely subtle teal.

this will be a prezzie for the lady who carved my ivory acorns & oak leaves. she is always so nice to me and dd when we visit her shop :-)

the red splotches are fading. first time it happened, by coincidence i had a dr.'s appt. she thought it was contact dermatitis also, and didn't seem to concerned. i just think it looks weird!

Monday, November 28, 2005

aubergine bronte

friend, if you are reading, avert your eyes ;-)

this color, deep aubergine is really lovely, as the name implies, it's a dark eggplant, with tweedy flecks of color. pj, sorry for the confusion, this is the discontinued color, not bristle. the bronte scarf can be found in the rowan book, a yorkshire fable. although in the book photo, the scarf is all bunched around the model's neck, and you can't see the lace pattern at all.

something odd happens to my forearm when i knit for very long stretches at a time. it gets horrid red splotches on the upper forearm. at first i thought it was a contact dermatitis, but the yarn doesn't touch this part of my skin, so it must be something else. weird, huh? maybe it's my body saying, put down the needles lady.

at least i'm making a dent in the christmas knitting!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

beautiful bronte

ddil, if you are reading this, stop immediately!

bonte is blocked, hole is fixed, and man do i LOVE this scarf. so much so that i'm ready to start another for my good friend in maryland. friend, if you are reading, you'd better stop also. next one will be in deep aubergine, for some ungodly reason, rowan has discontinued this color. it's a lovely deep purple. the postman just brought it to me from two swans. have i mentioned how much i love this yorkshire tweed? only a million times?

i love this pattern so much that i just spent 3 hours regraphing the whole thing on larger graph paper, the tiny chart was making me googlie.

senator russel sweet potato casserole

i have no idea who senator russel was, or why this recipe is named after him, senator russel, if you are out there, your recipe is delish!
my old neighbor in delray beach, diane, gave me this recipe, i miss her constantly and think of her every holiday when i whip these potatoes up :-)
it is a sweet casserole, yum yum!

senator russel sweet potato casserole

3 ½ cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar (you can use less)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter softened

combine all ing. in a large casserole, (i spray it with pam).

topping- 1/2 cup br. sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

combine topping ing.- crumble over potato mixture. cover- bake at 275 degree oven 40 minutes. uncover- bake 10 minutes more

when i make this dish for a large crowd, i use 3 large cans of sweet potatoes, and double the rest of the potato filling ing., and i triple the topping ing., sprinkle about half of the topping mixture over the potatoes. bake 45 minutes at 325, uncover for 15 minutes more.
then i make a one crust apple pie, and crumble the extra topping over the apple filling. simply deliscious!!!
having leftover sweet potato casserole is wonderful, i eat it for breakfast :-)

Friday, November 25, 2005

thanks :-)

thanks for all the compliments and comments! seems like i have lots to be thankful for, most of all my family, how could i get any luckier, my son, ddil and dd, all playing in the yard. they were good and ran a 5K thanksgiving morning. i slaved away making pies and sweet potato casserole (seriously yummy). my honey came back from hunting pheasant in nebraska with a devastatingly attractive new beard, like getting a new man without having to cheat ;-0

on the knitting front, satan won, and bronte is now blocking.

but wait, what the frickin' hell is that? a hole! first i thought i had made a mistake and had an extra YO, but no, it's a big honking hole, made even bigger by me sticking my finger in it.

the next to last ball of yorkshire tweed 4 ply bristle had at least 8 breaks, almost as if it had been cut with a knife or scissors. thought i had fixed them all, but maybe one break eluded me.... ah well, when it's done blocking i'll deal with it.

love the bronte pattern, but does rowan make the chart so tiny, just for torture? i grabbed the graph paper and charted out the rows that had to be repeated over and over, and that saved my sanity ;-) am waiting for the ann budd handy book of patterns to arrive in the mail so i can start the mittens.

hope all my yank friends had as wonderful thanksgiving as i did. we had so much food left over that we're having dinner at our friends' house again tonight! had my son drag the old ski machine out of the garage into my bedroom, hopefully i'll get motivated. yeah right.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

temptation, courtesy of the u.s. mail

what to do, what to do? the fuscia yarn i was waiting for to finish donegal, and the rowan yorkshire tweed that i ordered from two swans both came in the mail late yesterday afternoon. i should be a good girl, and work on donegal, but oh, the luscious browns are calling to me.

the yorkshire tweed aran in bramble will become a pair of mittens, and the yorkshire tweed in bristle with become a bronte scarf. as requested by my ddil for christmas. it's beyond me why rowan doesn't have the same colors in the 3 weights of yorkshire tweed, but then again it's beyond me why they keep discontinuing everything i love. no wonder a girl has to have a huge stashola.

during the donegal standstill, i knit up a couple of bellini lace scarves from morehouse merino. bought them at ms$w. the purpley bronzey scarf is much more muted than in the photo. knit them both on walnut brittany needles, haven't knit on straights for ages, but these needles are a treat :-)

a few more photos of the basket without the yarn, it's a 14" oval, tiger wood base, oak staves, walnut ears. the mold is a lovely graceful shape.

my 50th birthday is coming up in 3 weeks. it's weird, my 40th felt great, for some reason, i feel like turning 50 is kind of like slamming the door on youth.

Friday, November 18, 2005

fair isle for dummies

reading janine's blog entry made me think back to my first fair isle project. even though i've been knitting since i was 6, i had never done a fair isle. cables, no problem, lace, a piece of cake! but fair isle intimidated me, until wendy started her fearless fair isle yahoo group, for which i will be eternally grateful :-) got my yarn from jamieson & smith (love getting that blue package in the mail), printed the pattern, knit the whole body of the sweater, but it wasn't perfect, blech, i think i was making the floats too long, being worried about having puckers.

so i started over, looked through the pattern books, found 3 flower patterns that each had the same number of stitches, and started a purse for my dd. it was the perfect project for a rank beginner like me, and at some time i had the eureka moment! and finally got the tension. really, as alice starmore says in her video, it's all practice, practice, practice.

finished off the purse with an i-cord bind off, making a little loop for a button closure, and being the packrat that i am, the perfect flower button was in the sewing box. lined it with fabric. i love it, and dd loves it :-)

holding a yarn in each hand did not work for me, neither did holding both yarns in my left hand. for me, picking up the yarn i need, then dropping it and picking up the next yarn works the best, and gives me the most consistent tension. it might not be the fastest, but it works!

donegal is at a standstill on the first arm, i ran out of a color. maybe it's a good thing the yarn didn't get here in yesterday's mail, as it forced me to fix the last 3 rows of black, a task that i was not looking forward to...

i'll leave you with fern photos, the sweater really turned out well, think i'll get much more use with a cardi rather than a pullover. the pattern is from alice starmore's stillwater, the yarn is her 3 ply hebredian in machair. did buy 3 of those norwegian clasps in maryland, just haven't had a chance to sew them on (or find which bag the are in).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

more norman

the funniest story norman kennedy told was from his time time as master weaver at williamsburg. one gal who was spinning away was answering tourist questions, a tourist was asking her about spinning for such a long span of time, and if there was any ill effects. "oh yes, she told him, there is the dreaded treadle toe". heehee, lisa s, i will have to remember that one next time i'm spinning up your 2 pounds of biffle.

and norman told us stories about when he was young, learning the old ways of spinning and dyeing. the first time he brought home a fleece, his dad told him he couldn't bring the wool into the house before it was washed, because of the diseases that could be in the wool. he told us of taking the fleece off of dead sheep. many stories of how his family made do with what they had. stories of being bombed by the germans. stories of when he first came to america as a folk singer. he also said that his grandma knit the old way with a knitting belt, but his mother knit without the belt. i loved all the dyeing with urine (piss) stories, gah, what does that say about me?

i asked norman if he would write a book, he said he had taught some wonderful students (i have a feeling melissa weaver dunning is a favorite of his) and now they are in turn teaching their students.
for me, the best part of the class was the stress-free atmosphere, maybe norman knew we were mostly there to meet him, soak up his knowledge, and listen to his tales. his lilting scots accent is marvelous!
he was very interested in my friend's and my nantucket basket purses, and knew quite a lot about the baskets. but he's never been to nantucket, i hope he gets to go someday, there are so many wonderful artists and craftsmen on the island. it is always astonishing to me how such a small island can support so many full time artists.
here is the link to the photo albums of norman's class and waterford. truly a magical time.
cassie, this photo is for you :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

now you see it...

now you don't!

when you last saw donegal, i wasn't sure if the wiskers (black) rows were doing it for me. they weren't. ordered some rowan shetland tweed in the celtic mix colorway, much closer sub for the original rainforest.

now how to get rid of the pesky wiskers without frogging? i did a sort of duplicate stitch, only instead of leaving in the offending yarn, it was removed. following the path of the black yarn 1/2 stitch at a time, after the blunt needle threaded with the new color went over 1/2 of the old stich, i carefully pulled the old color out. making sure to keep the floats on the back loose.

persnickety, yes, but faster than frogging and reknitting an entire pattern. still have the first black rows to remove, when i have a few hours to totally concentrate ;-)

won't have much knitting time this weekend, my baby boy and his darling wife are visiting. would you ever guess that he was a skinny scrawny little kid?

i promise to tell you more norman kennedy stories :-)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

virginia is for spinners

what a wonderful time! maryland and virginia are absolutely gorgeous! the leaves were spectacular, the weather was perfection! have i used up my exclamation allotment?
the view from my friend's front yard.

norman kennedy is a hoot ;-0 his class was tons of fun, my favorite part was when he told naughty stories about the williamsburg tourists (he was master weaver at williamsburg). i love this photo, it reminds me of beatrix potter's "a tailor of gloucester".

we learned spinning for an aran sweater, and knitting an aran swatch. overachiever that i am, i made a tiny purse.
truth be told, my yarn was so overspun, it would be cruel and unusual punishment to make anyone wear a garment knit from my yarn ;-)

norman spun many a yarn about the old ways, i especially like the dyeing with urine tips. if my backyard is a little stinky next summer, you'll know why...

waterford, the town in virginia where the class was held, is like a tiny brigadoon. you go down a country road, around a curve, and there it is, all lovely 18th century homes, beautifully restored. the waterford old school has been redone, and now hold classes and concerts. in early october waterford has a juried craft show that melissa (the class sponsor and friend of norman) told me is worth a trip.

this is the old school.

saturday. after class, we walked around town. ending up in a little general store. there along with an old red coke machine, were baskets of lovely woolen spun yarn in natural colors. then we spied the spinning wheel. spent the next hour talking to linda landreth, the shop owner. she has a flock of corriedale-lincoln cross sheep behind the shop. it was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
linda stopped by class the next day, here is a photo of my friend and linda.

whew, my 2 fingers are tired ;-0 will post more later, and put the rest of the photos in a yahoo album. the waterford houses are charming :-)
glad to be back home, vanessa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

the suspense is over...

it's donegal from alice starmore's the celtic collection.
have loved this sweater for years, but the original yarn is discontinued. thanks to a wonderful online (and in person) friend, hi joy! i have a color card with the original yarns. there are subs for most of the colors in the rowan yorkshire tweed 4 ply and shetland 4ply (was harris tweed) lines. in real life the colors blend more than in the photo. the only color that's not spot on is the sub for rain forest. the sub is wiskers, which is a black, and rain forest is a very dark olivy green. am living with it so far...
karen at two swans yarn and nathania at commuknity provided the yarns, wonderful customer service from both.
a new fair isle project is not condusive to sleep, how many "just one more rows" til i pass out from exhaustion?

off tomorrow to virginia to take a class with norman kennedy on spinning and aran knitting. i'm a teensy bit skeered of him ;-) janine told me to wear an elaborately knit sweater and he'll love me :-)

if you've left a comment, and i haven't replied, please forgive me, it's been a hectic week!