Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another sweater down.....

Despite the yarn unraveling its way down the driveway because I wasn't paying attention and dropped the ball attached to the sweater before climbing in my truck to go pick up the kids from the bus, I did manage to finish this sweater:

This was the sweater my Mom was making for all of us for Christmas (my sister, my brother's girlfriend, my Mom and myself). I however managed to get my yarn in a nice little bag sometime around the middle to end of November.

But, I can honestly say, knitting 4 of these would drive me batty. But since I have a hard time knitting even 2 of any one thing, that is understandable!

And while I probably made mine longer and looser than the other 3, I am not such a fan of fitted knits for the most part. Actually, this could stand to be shrunk a little bit, but I have never had any luck getting Berroco ultra alpacha to shrink....usually it grows!

However, this is going to be one of those go to sweaters this spring, if you know what I'm talking about. Throw on with a pair of jeans and a long sleeved tshirt, wear to work with get the general idea!

There was no actual pattern, which is why it's a little loose....the directions I got were cast on 76 stitches, place markers and do your raglan increases, separate for the arms once you've knit far enough down, and keep knitting til you reach your desired length.
Since I am a person who likes detailed directions, this was a trial for me. I did the raglan increases, knit until I had gone far enough down, cast on 8 underarm stitches, and knit until it hit my hips. Looking back, I should have cast on less stitches under the arms, adjusted my raglan seams so I had more sweater in the front and less in the back, and put in some waist and hip shaping.
But, better to be too big than too small, and I am happy with it and I am sure I will get lots of wear out of it.
Now off to a busy weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In a hurry...

When you are rushing to get down to the end of a 1/4 mile driveway in plenty of time to get the kids so they don't have to walk up said driveway after school.....

make sure the ball of yarn that is attached to a two more rows and it will be ready to bind of sweater is INSIDE your car as you race down the driveway......

or you will have this mess to untangle on your hands....

Just saying.....

I'm not sure untangling that mess is worth it, other than I do have 2 short sleeves to do yet. I did manage to untangle enough (after reeling it all in) to do the bind off on this sweater!!!

Thank goodness the driveway is still snow covered instead of wet, dirty, gravel covered right now!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Instant Gratification

2 pheasants that flew into the wild yonder while we were "training" Barlie a few weeks back. Nice to know they are still hanging around in the woods behind the house!

Thank you for the island love. I'm pleased to report that after 5 coats of mineral oil and letting it soak in - we are eating on it and loving it. And I'm itching to start on the rest of the cabinets and the floor but that is going to have to wait until funds are available - I'm NOT going into debt to redo this kitchen:) Although....Home Depot (where the cabinets came from) has all of their in stock cabinets on sale 20% off - and I was able to "return" my cabinets and "buy" them again - and I got the $120.00 store credit. With the other returns that I took back that we did not use in installing these cabinets, I have enough moolah to buy the pantry cabinet that will match. And I got Todd's blessings to go look and see if they have the pantry in the oak finish that will match the island cabinets.

I also brought out Kitchen Collection at the Lodi, Ohio outlet mall to keep all the drawers organized. We'll see if I remember where I put everything:)

After my attempts to organize my stash, what else could I do but start a new to me sweater out of some stash yarn? Admittedly, this yarn started out as a totally different lace sweater, and I even got halfway up the sleeve before loosing steam in a very real and very fast way. So while Todd was off lifting weights at a friends' house last Thursday night, I proceed to rrriiiiipppppppppp out the poor lonely sleeve and cast on for Sorele Lace Edge Pullover.

Instant gratification. After just 5 days the body of the sweater is done. All that is left is the sleeves and the neckband. This is my kind of project - knitting in the round with some lace and twisty columns to keep it interesting. In a couple hours last night, I am halfway up the first sleeve. I am really hoping this sweater is done by the end of this weekend!

These twisty colums run up and down both sides of the sweater front and back. Interesting way to add some waist shaping!

We've had lots of super frigid cold snowy days here. Not so hot when we need to be out in the barn, but perfect for sitting by the fire knitting like a fiend!

I think I can handle that:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Apparently boredom has led me to attempt to clean up my sewing/computer/catch all room...and since the thought of ironing and folding a few rubbermaid totes of fabric was more than I could handle....

I decided to sort my yarn stash. After gifting a huge gift bag to my Mom and Ashley (my brother's girlfriend), I of course spent an hour sorting through the remaining 2 rubbermaid containers.

The end results? Enough yarn to make ......14 sweaters with about 10 different single skiens of varying yarns. And another good sized rubbermaid tote to donate to Mom and Ashley.
But it's all photographed and in my stash on Ravelry (except for 3 sweaters worth of yarn that are in progress/wound/semi-started) so hopefully I can find sweaters to knit with all this yarn. I guess I have a tendency to buy yarn (mostly on sale) without a specific project in mind.....
Now if the rest of the house would just clean itself I would be all set.......

Monday, January 17, 2011

In love.....

We've been wanting to re-do our kitchen for quite some time now. Technically I have wanted to gut it and redo it since we moved in way back in July, 1998. It started with Jessie and I removing a hutch from our kitchen way back when.

I'm happy to say that this weekend, phase 1 (the kitchen island) was installed. In about 4 hours!

I ripped out the little wall that separated the kitchen from the family room. I will never understand why someone would want to close in their kitchen by putting in a 40" wide wall.

Give me space any day! (I also don't understand why anyone would put white linoleum down in a kitchen on a farm I'd rather have poop brown.....hides the dirt better)
My BIL came over yesterday and they started installing the base cabinets. They aren't anything fancy - American Classic cabinets from Home Depot - but considering the shape our kitchen cabinets are in - these are wonderful! We are doing this as we can afford to, paying cash as we go (or in the case of the base cabinets - gift cards from Home Depot gifted to me).
The countertop? I am seriously in love with it although it wasn't my first choice. I really wanted poured concrete.
Todd said not on his life was he doing concrete counterops. He must have thought they would be hard to do or something:)
I knew I didn't want laminate. And granite is WAY out of our price range. So are the solid wood countertops from Home Depot.
Until I found an Amish woodworker who built me a 42" by 8' butcherblock countertop. For just over $400:

I still need to oil the top side. So it will darken considerably once I do that. But it's heavy, solid and gorgeous! I love it so much we are doing the rest of the countertops exactly the same when we get to the rest of the kitchen! Yes, they are a bit of maintenance (you have to oil them every month to seal them) but.....
We chose oak, maple, cherry and walnut. Had we left out the walnut, it would have been $375.

There is still a lot of finish work to do (move the light switch for the light over the island - you can see it hanging in the first photo), stain the backside of the island (stock kitchen cabinets you need to put a nicer back on them - in this case oak plywood), oil the top of the cabinet and put the toe kick boards under the fronts of the cabinets. Oh and I have to find some bar stools that I like (preferrably with backs on them).

Next up? We are saving our pennies to have our Amish neighbor build us cabinets for the rest of the kitchen (which won't be all that much really - it's only about a 6 foot stretch which includes the sink and the dishwasher), which will also have the butcher block countertop, new laminate wood flooring, new pantry cabinet and a new window. The flooring will be the absolute last as we want the laminate to also go into the family room.

Although it may have to wait until this fall/next winter. I told Todd he could put his addition on the barn before we finish the kitchen.....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Crafty goodness

While I don't have a lot of 100% finishes, I'm very close on a few things.

First off.....I quilted....nothing big...but 2 table toppers and a runner:

The runner I have one little section of quilting to do and the binding, but I ran out of green thread so I had to go buy more.

The table topper - I actually made 2 of these. One went to my Mom for Christmas and I kept 1 for me.

I actually ordered the kits direct from Joel and Heather Peterson of Ankas Treasures - and talk about great service! I'm debating if I need to order 1 of her quilt kits in this fabric to make for next year - while I have LOTS of stash, I don't have this fabric in my stash and I love it for Christmas.

The Curacao Cowl for my Mom? Just about done....6 inches to go and the smocking..... the stars, gods and planets did not align while we were in Columbus for a steer show, but I only have a few more inches to go so hopefully this week it will be done.

My Christmas sweater from my Mom is coming. Slowly but surely. Not really a pattern to follow - sort of a combination of 2 patterns.

I'm trying to figure out now how long I want it and what sort of sleeves I want.

I'm thinking maybe hip length with a garter border the last 1 1/2".

And perhaps short sleeves? Elbow length sleeves?

So far I am loving the fit of this one. While it is rather plain and simple, I'm sure I will get lots of use out of it and it will go with everything.

I did finish all of the toast mitts I was making the kids' teachers for Christmas. If I never see a fingerless mitt til next fall I will be a happy camper. 5 pairs out of the same yarn was a little much - even for me.

Now that the steer shows are done until the middle of march, and we can take about 4-5 weeks off of the walk, rinse, dry routine, I have LOTS of crafting to catch myself up on!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hunting pheasants

Barlie has been playing and growing and we've been working with her and pheasants or chuckers. We had grand intentions of getting out there in the field with her on New Year's day, but it was raining. So Sunday we went out to the field. It started out with Todd, me, Barlie and a shotgun - he wanted to make sure she wasn't afraid of the noise the shotgun would make.

Not a chance - she knew what she was supposed to be doing. But....Todd felt that he needed to be with her while she pointed at the chuckers. And someone needed to shoot them out of the air once she flushed them so she could retreive them.

I offered to shoot the gun....but Todd said need to be able to HIT the flying bird and bring it down... and I am not a very good shot at moving targets:)

So we called on a good friend of ours, Andy, who in turn brought his 2 kids along for the fun.

Barlie spent lots of time running back and forth....

Until she would find the chucker and point at it:

One got away into what we call "the swamps." We let her run back and forth in there for a few minutes to see if she could find where it landed ......

There's a bird in here somewhere...

Andy stands ready with the shotgun

Of course, the little boys had to pull out their bb guns....

I spy a birdie.....

And if you are 7 and 6, and get bored, you can always make sure the chucker that was shot is really dead.....

And another birdie....

This is getting fun....

The grand total? Out of 5 birds, 2 were shot and Barlie "sort of" retrieved them.....she is not really good yet on coming when called but......Todd says his uncle's 2 german wirehairs aren't really good at that either, and they have a number of years on Barlie.....

If the weather cooperates we will be out there again with her one night this week after work and a few more birds.....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas a week or so late.....

We had a wonderful Christmas. This is what my living room looked like at 3:00 a.m. Christmas morning after I finished wrapping gifts and making fleece blankets for the kids:

Between you, me and the fence post, I hope I never see 3:00 a.m. on Christmas morning again!
We started with Christmas Eve. My parents, my grandmother and uncle, and some good friends and their 2 kids.
What a hoot! We typically try to buy 1 big gift for each kid, and then some smaller gifts. Jessie's was an ipod this year and Tyler's was a DS. My Mom got Jessie an Ipod home and Tyler some DS games. She played the blond very well (Jessie has a MP3 player that broke about a month ago, and Tyler has a game boy.....)
Jessie got a Penn State blanket from her "boyfriend" (not sure why they say they are boyfriend/girlfriend when they barely talk to one another if they r in the same room and they aren't allowed to go anywhere together...but oh well! They do text each other a lot...mainly yep, yah and what's up?)
And when the festivities go on a little too late, you can always lay down and take a nap!
Fortunately for me, the kids didn't get up really early - 8:30 a.m. So I did get a little bit of sleep after my late night of wrapping and making gifts!
Tyler is thrilled with his DS:

And Jessie was ecstatic that she got her Ipod!

When Jessie won her showmanship class at the fair, they gave her a nice metal sign to display for the week....which had to be returned. I offered at the end of the fair to buy it and replace it....but the fair board said no. So I searched and found a company that made this sign for her:

Which of course caused her a few tears as she thought about her steer, Punx.

Tyler got some tractors:

They each then got smaller things, like clothes, CD's, movies and books. It was a wonderfully relaxing day for us...but I am so glad the holidays are over!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Yes, I've been swamped beyond belief.....

I spent the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Christmas lying low and taking it easy from eye surgery....finally the steriods kicked in and my eye started healing REALLY quick....thank goodness the bandage contact lens came out the Thursday before Christmas......while I still don't have quite 20/20 vision, it's more like 20/25 or 20/30 and I can live with that very well....thankyouverymuch. My doctor is beliving that with time and healing, I will get to 20/20 or better vision.....

And yes, even knowing that I am highly allergic to the bandage contact lenses they use, I will have my other eye done again if it gets significantly worse.....the gift of 20/20 vision is awesome....

Once I was up and running again, I spent lots of time getting last minute Christmas gifts, putting up the Christmas tree, buying food and all the usual hoopla that accompanies Christmas. I was up until 3:00 a.m. Christmas morning making the last 2 christmas gifts for Jessie and Tyler (fleece blankets) and wrapping presents. Since I've had the fleece for a good month now, I'm not sure why I waited until christmas eve to fringe and knot all 4 sides of each blanket but there you go....

We also spent lots of time doing this:

And with the help of a new bullet heater, it makes this process so much nicer in 25 degree weather. Tank and Smokie tend to sweat a little towards the end but Jessie and I enjoy being comfortable enough to not have to wear a coat and gloves in the barn.....

We have a big show coming up this weekend, and the kids' final Christmas present arrived right before new years eve:

The new showbox will make life a little more organized for us, and Jessie spent a satisfying hour putting everything in it that we will need this weekend. Now if I could just get myself in gear and get all the food ready, we'd be set.

I do have some knitting and quilting (GASP! yes, I actually did some quilting while on vacation) projects, but managed to misplace my camera yesterday.....hopefully those pictures and Christmas pictures will get put up here shortly before we leave for Columbus on Friday!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!