I May Be Knitting A Ranch House wins the blog prize for always making me laugh. Seriously, I get a kick out of this one. It's the one I click when I'm feeling silly. Even the "about" page is full of random humor.
Lots of great knitting here, too. One of my favorite things is that her finished socks rarely come without shoes! See here, here, here, and here.
There's other non-foot-related knitting fun, too. I want to make one of these, one of these, and a couple of these. Also, how great are these mittens?
Also, the musicmixes are not to be missed. Fun stuff.
Today we had a baby shower for one of my coworkers, and everyone was assigned to bring a dish for a potluck lunch. And, of course, rather than toting along macaroni salad or baked beans, I had to choose the complicated option. Because that's just what I do.
So cute, though, no!? I have had the Flour Pot Cookie Book for months, and I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to learn how to do fondant cookies! Is there anything more fun than decorating frilly little cookies? I don't think so.
You know, I knew that fondant cookies are so much more perfect-looking than your standard smear-on-the-buttercream-with-a-butterknife variety, but I was skeptical as to how they would taste. One of my favorite memories of visiting my Grandma as a little girl is that she would often make buttercream-sugar-cookies, and they were SO delicious! Fondant, on the other hand, reminds me of silly putty. But, you know, the fondant cookies weren't half bad. They're definitely not buttercream, but they win so many bonus points for the cuteness factor!
Surprisingly, they aren't that hard to decorate, either. All you do is paint your cookies with corn syrup, roll the fondant flat, cut it with a cookie cutter, and paste it to your cookie. Easy as pie. The trickiest part is the piping of the royal icing, but that comes pretty quickly with practice. The key is to relax and scribble. Lots and lots of scribble.
I didn't have enough high school math to even fulfill the graduation requirement. (I'm art-brained, and I will not be convinced that it eventually all circles around and is all related. It's definitely not.) I was waived through only by the good graces of a counselor who for some reason had the notion that I was halfway intelligent, regardless of my mathematic abilities, or lack thereof. According to my very remedial math skills, I have completed 19 Cents worth of the Dollar and a Half Cardigan (take it for what it's worth), and this is what it's looking like so far.
You know what I like about this pattern? It goes something like this...
Lace pattern...Wow neat! Lace pattern...Hey, this is kindof fun. Lace pattern...Meh, I'm getting sick of PSSO's and YO's. Lace pattern...Too slow, too slow, too much thinking!
Stockinette Stitch...Ah, that's better. Stockinette Stitch...Whee, look, I can knit with my eyes closed! Stockinette Stitch...Boring, boring, boring, boring. Stockinette Stitch...Maybe if I stab myself with a needle it will get more exciting.
Lace pattern...Wow neat!....
It's almost as good as that one time someone gave me a postcard with "Can you guess what is on the back of this card?" printed on both sides.
My one concern is that the stockinette sortof "bubbles" from the lace pattern. I've checked my gauge, and it seems to be holding steady for both patterns. Is anyone else knitting this? Is it doing the same thing? Is this something that will be fixed by blocking, or should I stop before it becomes another "Lucky?"
If there IS anyone else knitting this, how about a little knit-along. I've never hosted one before, but what the heck. If people join, it will be fun. If people don't join, well, it just will not be a knit-along. I posted it up here, just to see who might be interested: Dollar and a Half Knit-Along
Even though Matthew is technically out of the "baby" stage (which still makes me sad), I always love seeing what's new at coochicoos.com. Some people say they have to avoid the shopping blogs, but I think it's a lot of fun to see some of the things that are out there that you might not see in, well, WalMart, which is pretty much all we have here in Lexington! Coochicoos, for me, is just as much about the ideas as it is for the shopping. Some posts I've enjoyed:
This makes me feel even better about the fact that for Valentine's Day I organized Ryan's office and he vacuumed my car and fixed my stereo, and then we took Matthew out for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Ice Cream. We may be short on romance at our house, but there's a lot of love.
Thanks for all of your compliments on the stocking! I'm so happy to have it finished, but it's been fun working on it, and I'm glad all the hard work has paid off!
OK, now that it is time to start working on something else, I have the problem of two conflicting goals. One goal is to finish all of my unfinished projects and stop having so many things in process at the same time. My other goal was to knit one thing out of each issue of Interweave Knits this year, thus justifying keeping a subscription to a magazine which, up to this point, has been helping to hold down my coffee table.
Hmm, finish an old project, or start a new one? What to do?
What the heck...
Up next in the queue we have the Dollar and a Half Cardigan, designed by Véronik Avery, which seems to me basic enough that I might actually be able to finish it, and yet interesting enough that I won't be tempted to use it for kindling 30 rows in.
Here's the problem. Nowhere on the Internets could I find the JCA Soft Linen yarn called for by the pattern. Also, I am cheap, which is why I don't do sweaters. But Knit Picks Andean Silk seems to have similar yardage, and so maybe it will be similar gauge? Is that how this works? Help me? I hope so, because I've already ordered 14 skeins, which by my calculations should be hopefully arriving today.
One way or another, I do solemnly swear to knit a gauge swatch, and then to keep checking my gauge throughout the project so that this doesn't end up as another "Lucky," which, ahem, I am still avoiding. Still very, very bitter about the Lucky, yes I am.
In celebration of Project Spectrum 2.0, I decided to make a gray one. "Slate" technically, which looks something like this:
And which I invision will result in a cardigan something like this:
(Love Photoshop. Love it.)
For a fleeting moment, I considered making Ryan the Bauhaus Fair Isle, but then I remembered what a slow knitter I am and had a reality check. Rather than adding this one to the To-Knit list, we'll just be adding it to the "To Knit Someday When I Have Nothing To Do But Sit Around And Watch Soap Operas" List. Pretty though, yes?
Would make such a nice Valentine someday...
Valentine's Day is sortof stressing me out this year. We agreed to not buy each other gifts, and while I love the idea of this, I'm still trying to figure out something nice to do for Ryan that I wouldn't normally do anyway. I thought about making dessert, cleaning his office, planning a biking trip, but none of those things really seem right. Hmmm... I'm probably being too picky. I also have the preschool Valentine's Party to think about, and I'm hoping that I might have time to do cookies with Matthew again this year. Here are some ideas which I may steal:
OK, well maybe it isn't quite finished. It still needs to be turned into a stocking. But I have looked at this thing long enough that it's just going to have to wait! But the point is, the cross-stitching, which is the BIG part of the job, is totally finished.
One down, two to go. Assuming I have no more kids in the next 8 years, which, at the rate I've been going, will be how long it will take me to finish the other two. Oh, well, what can you do? Cross-stitch all day long, every day, maybe? Maybe not. To be fair, I didn't technically work on this all the time over the last four years. Not hardly.
I have to say, I am really quite proud of this project. Anyone who has ever done cross-stitching knows what an accomplishment it is to finish any project at all, let alone one of this size and detail.
Speaking of detail...
Ah, so pretty... I could just stare at it for hours at a time.
Since I skipped posting last week while I was in Idaho, I'll share two of my favorite blogs this week, Girl Who Knits and Knitting Lemonade. These two sisters, Erin and Kara, are the girls of gorgeous knits. Sadly, I never met either of them in person when I lived in Utah, but I love following their blogs just the same. I truly envy their good taste and their ability to constantly turn out beautiful sweaters.
Here are my three favorite knits from Erin's blog.
First things first. I have been known to say things like, "I know it's technically colder in Idaho, but it feels a lot colder in Virginia because of the humidity." And then I get squinty-eyes and wrinkled noses from you tough Idahoans who then say, "Yeah, well that's just the wimpy Easterner in you that's talking." I would like to just point out that right now it is ACTUALLY technically colder AND more humid in Virginia than it is in Idaho. Also, I would like to point out that I am the only one in the family who doesn't mind the winter AND keeps her house below 80 degrees. Dear little pots, the kettle is not so black.
In the wise and profound words of the household small person: "My butt is too cold to walk."
With that said, please forgive my lack of anything witty to say about my trip to Idaho and just be happy that I'm posting the pictures for everyone to see. I have barely come up for air since I got home and the odds of a cohesive thought coming out of my head are slim to none.
1. Grandma's 80th Birthday Party
Here are two women who look a lot younger than they actually are. I pray every day that I inherited something other than the family baboon gene. Maybe I, too, will have no wrinkles at 50 and cheekbones at 80.
Out of the 40 people who were invited, 43 showed up, which says something about both my mom's ability to throw a rockin' party and the astounding popularity of my Grandma. Everyone loves her, this is not news.
What is news is that we actually got Grandpa to smile for a picture. Now there is something to record for posterity. Before, and after...
Speaking of before and after, Mom apparently really outdid herself with this party. Here is the clan just moments after the crowd went home...
Good party, Mom. I'm sure everyone would agree.
2. Jen's Birthday
After the big party for Grandma, I'm afraid there was no birthday energy left for Jen. Maybe she got kindof jipped, but we celebrated all the same.
Leftover cheesecake and sandwich toothpicks for candles. Now there is a true Kendell-style party. Happy Birthday, little sis. When you turn 80, we'll bake you a real birthday cake. Maybe. If we have the energy left for it.
3. Grandpa continues to fuel the Tractor Obsession
Matthew, Gavin, and Grandpa spent two days hitting every farm store within a 50-mile radius looking for "Frank," the big red grain combine from "Cars". Rather than tell you the story of how they finally found it, here is a little song Matthew wrote, which he has been singing nonstop for days:
We're looking for a Frank. We need to find a Frank. Hey, what are you talkin' about? Dontcha know what I'm talkin' about? We got a Frank back here! We got a Frank back here! Hey, yeah, we got what you're looking for! We found a Frank! We found a Frank! That's what I'm talkin' about!
What can I say, he is just a budding little musical genious, isn't he?
4. Camping with Grandpa
We have always known that Dad's idea of camping is to stay in a 3-star instead of a 4-star. I think when Matthew told everyone about his camping trip with Grandpa, they were invisioning tents and sleeping bags. Nope. Kendells don't do tents.
Sheet thrown over the headboard + flashlights + Teddy Grahams and Marshmellows + storybooks + Warm Pajamas = Camping
In this case, the formula definitely works. I could hear both Dad and Matthew giggling long past midnight. I don't know which one is the bigger kid. Is is any wonder that they are best buddies?
5. Shanda had knee surgery
I have pictures of Shanda the invalid, who is recovering from having her knee rebuilt. However, as a favor, we will preserve the possibility of a future dating life and not feature them here. Hope you're doing well, Shanda!
6. I got to hang out with cute babies.
This is my nephew, the official cutest baby in the universe. Just check out those blues.
It makes me laugh how opposite Gavin and Matthew are. You would never know they are related. Besides the obvious fact that they both look exactly like their dads and nothing like each other, there is also the difference that while Matthew doesn't want a thing to do with me if anybody more interesting (a.k.a. Grandpa) is around, Gavin does not want to have anything to do with anybody but his mom. Ever.
I came armed with contraband chocolate ice cream, cookies, extra tractors, and books (his favorite) to convince him that I am still his favorite aunt, but I had no luck. Oh, well. Maybe next time.
7. Gratuitous photo of Logan
I throw this in, just because it was taken by Matthew, who is desperate to learn how to use my camera. Scary, but cute. Matthew using the camera, I mean.
And that's it for now! It was great to see everyone!