Have Ewe Any Wool?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tea Time

Thursday, I spent a relaxing afternoon with my friend Kathleen spinning, eating, and drinking tea. I got quite a bit of spinning done, but I STILL haven't finished the first bobbin of the pink Merino! I spin rather thin, so it takes forever to fill the bobbin.

My friend Catherine had a wonderful clear glass teapot where the tea could steep in the entirety of the bowl. I loved the look of her tea pot and I really enjoyed the flavor where the tea leaves could "roam free". Last year, I had added it to my wish list - and my in-laws graciously got me one for Christmas. The one I got is the "Tea Posy" pot. You can drop a special flower blossom tea into the bowl, add hot water, and voila...as it steeps, a flower opens in the pot. I thought it would be fun to bring it to Kathleen's so we could watch the "magic" as the tea steeped. It's quite pretty - grassy bottom, red center, and a little burst of petaled flowers on the top. Unfortunately, my photos just don't seem to capture it's full beauty.

The tea package does suggest that once you've had your tea, you can refill the pot with cold water and "enjoy" the beauty of the bloomed tea for about a week. Perhaps I'll do that the next time - it might be easier to get a good picture of the "bloomed" tea.

I forgot to mention that I'd completed a feather and fan scarf on Christmas Day. It's made from Plymouth Kaos Mystify. It's quite pretty, but the yarn bleeds EVERYWHERE! My fingers turned purple where the yarn was tensioned around my fingers, and my knitting needles have a greyish-purple cast to them. Ugh. I hate when that happens!

In early November, I completed yet another Market Bag in Plymouth Fantasy Naturale cotton yarn. It was for my stocking swap partner. She loves pink, so I made this as her special Christmas gift. I think she's opened it by now (at least I hope she has!), so I'm finally able to post it here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Very Productive Week!

I managed to get quite a bit of knitting done this week! Whew!

I finished a secret project (pictures in a later post). It took MUCH longer than anticipated, but I'm quite pleased with the results.

I also finished first sock of the "Panda Silk" socks. It feels absolutely luscious! My feet are going to feel so pampered when they wear this sock! The drape is fabulous too making it the perfect yarn for shawls, stoles, and scarves. It would even make a fabulous shell! Perhaps I'll make another shell like the one I made this past summer. The only down side is that I don't really like how the colors pool and spread throughout the sock. I don't think the second sock will be an identical match, but I'm hoping it will be close enough!

On Wednesday, I went to Stitch 'n Bitch and was totally inspired by Leslie's incredible mitered square blanket. She's making a queen size blanket out of Noro - the colors and overall effect are fabulous! Isn't it gorgeous?

She patiently tutored me on the finer points of picking up the stitches and connecting the square as you knit rather than sewing them together. Wow! My friends, Amy and Elizabeth, have also made gorgeous blankets using this technique. I'm definitely going to start one now...especially since I know where I can get instant help if I get confused!

I had started a pair of fingerless gloves using some sock weight alpaca with a bit of glitter in it. I was using the Berroco pattern from the Sockcetera pattern booklet. Unfortunately, knitting on the size 2 DPNs produced a very baggy wrist edge...and the body of the fingerless glove will be even worse! So, it's back to the drawing board for me! I'm going to check out the patterns in the "Vogue Knitting Mittens and Gloves" book that I received from my in-laws....perhaps I can find the perfect pattern there!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas!


Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

Wahoo! We actually had a white Christmas! There was still a wee bit of snow from last week's little storm...and this morning, we had flurries! Just enough to dust the front steps, the driveways, and the cars. It warmed up a couple of degrees and it all melted, but at least I started the day with a fresh coating of snow! (If you click on the photos below, you can actually see flakes coming down!) DD even was having snow in Alabama!

Before we opened presents,we had a yummy Christmas brunch. There was smoked salmon and cream cheese on mini-bagels, pickled herring (a personal favorite of mine!), lefse (buttered and rolled with cinnamon sugar inside), all natural bacon (no headache causing nitrates or nitrites, and two kinds of stollen - one with a bit of marzipan down the middle and the other without. Needless to say, I was the only one that was thrilled about the herring!

I got some amazing gifts this year! Right after brunch, I cracked open one of the gifts from my step-daughter, a bottle of "Europa Raspberry ChocoVine" - a dutch chocolate red wine with raspberries! It was delicious - absolutely heavenly! It was like a "drinkable" dessert!

My friend Lisa gave me a fabulous gift basket - a handcrafted woven basket in magenta and purple. In the package nestled inside the basket was a pattern and some awesome purple yarn - 50% wool and 50% silk - it feels incredible! What a perfect combination - a project basket completed with an awesome project!

DH found the most incredible gift...a "Computer Engineer Barbie". How cool is that? I can't believe it! I never thought I'd see a Barbie with my degree! There are far fewer computer engineers than there are computer science majors. It's good to see that Mattel is finally making a "smart" Barbie!

One of my sisters found a great t-shirt for me. I'm just going to assume that I'm the "Good Sister" - bwaaaah haaaah haaaah!!!!!!!

Edited to add...

Oh....I almost forgot! I got some awesome earrings - they'll go perfect with the "Yaaaarn" skull and crossbones T-shirt DH got me a while back. I just love the "rose in the teeth" bit! How perfect!

We finished the evening with our relatively new tradition, "Christmas Tacos". They're festive, contain the Christmas colors (lots of reds and greens), and are definitely a crowd pleaser around here! DH is quite happy with his taco platter! (Trust me...he is happy...it's just real hard to get him to smile for the camera!)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve


It's Christmas Eve already! Well...what's not done yet will remain undone. I'm keeping it simple anyway, so that's perfect - simple foods, simple decorations. The focus will be on spending fun times with family and friends. (If you look closely, you can see our intrepid watchdog peering out at me from the windows to the right of the door.)

About 1 1/2 weeks ago, I was CERTAIN that my Christmas Cacti (I have two of them) would NOT bloom at Christmastime. However, I noticed that one of them started to get buds earlier this week. Low and behold, this morning, there was a bloom! How's that for timing!

This morning, we headed off to DH's uncle's for Christmas brunch. It was wonderful! The drive there was beautiful. The mountains and fields are somewhat brown this time of year, but I think they're still beautiful. (You can see the mountains better if you double click on the photo.).

These yummy cookies were decorated by DH's cousin under the close supervision of her 7 year old son. Don't they look festive?

When we arrived home, I found that I'd received a swap package - the "card and flat ornament" swap. Inside was an adorable hand-crafted quilted wall hanging. I just love it! It's perfect in my "keeping it simple" decor this year. This wall hanging, the wreath on my door, and my poinsettia are my main decorations this year.

Right now, we're anxiously awaiting my step-daughter's arrival - she's joining us for Christmas this year - wahoo! We can't wait! She gets to share our tradition of eating at a local Afghan restaurant and sipping on Kashmiri tea (a pink tea with almonds and cardomom) - it's fabulous! The tradition started several years ago when we found ourselves a bit hungry on Christmas Eve with only about 1 1/2 hrs. left until time to Christmas Eve services at church...and I really didn't feel like cooking. At the time, they were the only restaurant open on Christmas Eve...thus, the start of a new tradition!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stitch 'n Bitch

In further efforts to keep things calm during the holidays, I spent Wednesday evening at Cosi's with the Reston Stitch 'n Bitch group. I had a fabulous time...and there were several folks in attendance. It seems like we all needed a little "down time" from all the holiday prep!

I worked on my sock out of "Panda Silk" - it feels so incredibly soft. The yarn is 52% bamboo, 43% superwash Merino, and 5% silk. It feels WONDERFUL! My feet are going to feel very well loved and pampered once I've completed this pair of socks!

I haven't made any further progress on the Jawoll Magic or the Plymouth Zino socks. I'll eventually get to them. I'm still concentrating on my "secret" knit and am really beginning to wonder if I'll ever get it done...let alone in time for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday Night Spinning

Once again, there were 6 of us at the Centreville Library - a very friendly and warm group. Liz even made it! I hadn't seen her for quite a while...and Jo was there too - I hadn't seen her for several months either! Rounding out the group was Alice, Samantha, and Reggie. A delightful group of spinners/fiber artists!

This low-key fun evening was just what I needed to help tame the stress and reign in all the hustle and bustle associated with the upcoming holidays! Spinning is such a calming activity! It definitely is a form of therapy, but with a slight difference - you get a reward (yarn) rather than paying out tons of $$$ and having nothing physical to show for it! Of course, I do spend a bit on the raw materials...and the spinning wheels...and all the other goodies that are "needed" for spinning.

I spun quite a bit more of the purple Merino that I had purchased last year at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. And, this time, I remembered to take a photo of both the singles on the bobbin and the roving itself to show the variation in the colors - I just love it! The bobbin holds quite a bit, so it seems like I've been spinning forever. Hopefully, I'll finish off the bobbin and complete the second one over the next few weeks. I can't wait to get this yummy yarn plied! As I recall, it's a bit under a pound of roving, so I'm not sure what it will "grow up to be", but I'm sure it will be something to wear against the skin - it's so incredibly soft!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gorgeous Handcrafted German Decorations

My friend, Elvira, invited me over for a wonderful lunch today so I could see her Christmas decorations. She has a wonderful set of decorations from her grandmother. I believe that all of them were from East Germany - primarily post-World War II. They're absolutely gorgeous! I don't have all the details, but some of the decorations were made only in a specific town...and they're well know for the detail and craftsmanship. These photos don't quite capture the true beauty of these pieces, but I tried. (Be sure to double-click on the photos for a closer view!)

This tower is incredible and has so many parts of the Christmas story depicted on separate levels. My favorite is the sheep - I just love the little wooden sheep!

The late afternoon sun was streaming through the windows in the dining room. I love the effect the sunlight had on the display of these little figurines!

I love the simplicity of this piece. The level of detail is lovely - my favorite part of this one is the tree - I love how the boughs are curled! Simple elegance.

This particular piece exhibits the architectural influences from Russia. Fascinating!

This centerpiece graced the coffee table in the living room - definitely a festive Christmas piece!

The orchestral angels were gorgeous! I could almost hear their rendition of "Silent Night" ("Stille Nocht")!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mom's Bed Socks

Phew. Mom's bed socks are done and in the mail. I completed them in absolute record time. The first sock was completed Sunday. The second sock was completed early Tuesday morning and arrived at the post office by 9:10 am. According to the tracking information, it's already on its way and is scheduled for delivery on 12/23 - so she'll have them in time for Christmas! Wahoo!

Of course, since I was in such a hurry, I somehow managed NOT to take a photo of the completed pair...but at least I remembered to take one of the first sock! I used "Iceland" yarn from Crystal Palace in the Ultramarine color way - it's a very soft bulky yarn that my mom LOVES for her bed socks. It's not overly durable, so with all her walking around, I have to darn her socks for her about once a year, but hey, it's worth it to keep her feet happy and warm in her favorite wool! (NOTE: When I darn them with acrylic or acrylic blends, the bottom of the foot holds up much better...but I should figure out how to "add" the acrylic to the bottom as I knit, eh?)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Spinning and Egg Nog

Yesterday was spent spinning and getting into the Christmas spirit. Karen hosted a spinning get together at her home. The Christmas decorations were wonderful! The holiday plates and and goodies definitely put us all in the mood. She even had the fireplace going. How cool is that? Spinning in front of the fire on a blustery cold day!

I spun up quite a bit of the purple Merino that I'd purchase at the NY Sheep and Wool festival last year. It's LOVELY! There are many subtle color changes, so the resulting single has a rich variety of colors. (I'll have to remember to take a picture of the roving and the yarn on the bobbin...)

Celeste made some absolutely incredible eggnog. It's not at all like the commercial stuff! The texture was light and fluffy with just the right amount of spirits and topped with freshly grated nutmeg. Wow! I don't think I can ever drink store bought eggnog again! What a festive way to spend the day!

The blustery day yesterday was just he prelude for what was to come today - our first snow! It was about this time last year that we had our first big snowstorm of over 20 inches of snow, so we were all a bit worried! Thankfully, that was not the case with this storm. We only got about 2 inches, but it was just enough to cause the roads to become very icy and slick causing many cancellations.

Friday, December 10, 2010


On the knitting front, I've been "keeping it small" - LOL! I made these cute little mini-sweaters for a friend's tree. She likes "white and sparkly" ornaments. I made little hangers with pipe cleaners to ensure that even the hanger was "sparkly"!

White and sparkly...

...the little Snowflake

...and the Mini-cable

I've been doing some other knitting, but it has to remain secret. I just hope that I finish it in time for the holidays!

Monday, December 06, 2010


Last week, while at my sister's, I was bitten by the spinning bug...and as a result, I got a lot of spinning done. I've nearly finished with the raspberry cream roving that I bought from Roclans at last year's Shenandoah Fall Fiber Festival - I only have about 2 meters of roving left to spin!

My nieces were fascinated by the process. The youngest was convinced that it was so easy, so I let her have a try - she soon discovered that it wasn't quite as easy as it looked! She settled for continuing to work on her projects on two rigid heddle looms - after I "fixed" her mistakes for her and re-taught her the weaving process.

Once back home, I continued my spinning with group of fellow spinners at the library on Sunday. There were 6 of us in attendance - although one was there for knitting rather than spinning. There were several wheels represented and lots of luscious rovings. One was the new Aura...freshly assembled within the past week. It spun like a dream and is perfect for creating bulky yarns because it has a nice large orifice. (I didn't think to get a picture of the wheel...maybe next time.)

Alice had a lovely slanted Scandinavian wheel of some sort. It spins really nice - so easy even though it's a single treadle.

I love all the wood turnings on this wheel - they're gorgeous! They're very pointy too. I'm not sure what country the wheel is from, but it's really beautiful! (Alice, like me, loves to collect and use a variety of wheels.)

When I left the library, the sun was setting. The crisp winter air makes for some gorgeous colors against the dark wintry sky. I just love it!

Saturday, December 04, 2010



Saturday was the annual Jultrefest - our Sons of Norway Christmas party.

There was lots of food and desserts - mmmmm! One member even made some homemade Kringla...but I was too far back in the line, so I didn't get any. I'm sure it was delicious though!

We held a "mini-bazaar" at the festival as well...just in case anyone needed some last minute gifts! I managed to buy a couple of additional gifts - one from my mom and one for my cousins.

This year, the Jul Nissan was the unsuspecting tenant of our group's president. He had no idea what he was getting into! He seemed to enjoy it though. The kids ALWAYS enjoy getting their gifts and treats from the Nissan.

We ended with lots of songs and a performance by the Norwegian Dancers from Maryland. We ended with the audience taking part as well - learning several traditional Norwegian dances. Most of the dances were accompanied by live fiddle music - the fiddler was awesome! It was a lot of fun! (I even managed to get some knitting in while watching the dance performance, so I'm almost done with the cuff of the first "Panda Silk" sock!)