Friday, March 27, 2009

Cheverus School Colors Scarf

As I mention in my profile, I am the proud mother of 3 sons, (and perhaps a little ironically, sister to 3 brothers), can anyone blame me for favoring my little female Cocker Spaniel, Tammy?
The two older boys are 17 and 15, and attend Cheverus High School, a Jesuit prep school in Portland (Maine, not Oregon). The school colors are purple and gold, and I set out to knit Ian (the oldest) a scarf to show off his school spirit. Sounds simple, right? OK, I challenge you to find a yarn in both colors! I tried mixing and matching, but the gauge problems that presents is very frustrating. Finally I found Vanna's Choice! I am not a fiber snob, not really, but I guess I feel a little defensive about knitting in acrylic. I wish it were alpaca or wool or some exotic bamboo/silk blend. Having said that, I will say that I like knitting with Vanna's Choice, and I congratulate Vanna and Lion Brand on producing a very nice yarn to work with....and a wide variety of colors to choose from, especially convenient when one is trying to knit in school colors. I haven't yet looked to see if Vanna offers a suitable orange for Sean's Orange-and-Black Biddeford Tigers. Sean is in 6th grade and won't be starting at Cheverus for another 3 years.
It is knit in a "Mistake Stitch Rib"....can't remember where I came across that, but I'll post when I remember. I love the texture and elasticity.

So here is my tall and handsome Ian out in the snow with his Cheverus scarf and baseball cap! Perhaps yearning for Spring training to begin? It's a timely thought, as baseball practice begins next week, even though this pic was taken in Jan. And BTW, what is it with boys and baseball caps, anyway?
Now, what can I knit myself to wear as proud Mum in the baseball stands to show the school colors? Most of the season is cold enough here in Maine that I could get away with a stadium blanket. It certainly would be practical for use at the rink during hockey season!
Well, I've got enough projects OTN(on the needles) and OTH(on the hook) that it will have to wait a little bit.............

Monday, March 23, 2009

What I'm Knitting at Present

OTN (On the Needles)
Well, what you can see here is the Nordic Lights Sock, that was published in a book: Eclectic Socks by Janel Laidman. The pattern is available as a free download through Ravelry. I'm having a terrible time following the pattern, and today I unraveled again, and have changed the placement of the heel flap. So what you see in the picture above is further ahead than where I am now................
This picture shows you that I am still learning photographic technique with my digital camera. The stitches are just not quite in focus.......
The brown heathery yarn is my attempt to use up some unlabelled balls of leftovers in my stash. This is an acrylic sport weight that I used when I was in college (about 25 years ago) to make a sweater for my brother Michael. The pink, white and brown ombre is Bernat Cool Crochet cotton/nylon in the Neapolitan colorway. I picked up 4 skeins on clearance when it was discontinued---love the color combo. Love the look of the pattern. Wish I could say I love knitting the pattern.....
I've learned some new things though, like how to hold one color in my left hand for 2-color knitting, and how to knit in the continental or combined method, and I'll be visiting Grumperina's website again to review her technique on picking up heel flap stitches. If you are interested in really nailing down specific techniques for your knitting, Grumperina has really analyzed the finer points of certain aspects, and I have found her (and others) really helpful. She tends to have thought through things that have puzzled me, and I thought most knitters would not have the patience to review---too picky. I'll post again about these socks, when I've made some serious headway, or when I can brag that they are FOs. (Finished Objects.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mystery yarn, not to be confused with the kind of tale told around the campfire.

I can't identify this yarn, can you?

Added later: It's probably Bernat Softee Chunky (a "Big Ball" size skein) in a colorway called Wedgewood). Special thanks to the folks on the Ravelry forum for identification help!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I think I must be crazy..................

Or maybe I am just trying very hard to preserve some level of sanity... I have publicly taken on 2 crocheting commitments. One is my first swap, and involves a commitment to other people. (See the potholders in above left corner) The other is just a way to incentivize a commitment I ought to have made to myself a long time ago....
The irony is that both projects are crochet, when I think of myself as primarily a knitter. I plan to blog my progress as I go, so stay tuned, and I'll keep you posted....
In the meantime, if I've piqued your curiosity, click here for the potholder swap, and here for the Lion Brand Moderne Jacket Crochet-Along.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tartan color palette

As I think about my newly-determined DRCP(Dining Room Color Palette), I am reminded of the State of Maine Tartan. I was tempted to post an image, but I am still researching when I should link and when I can upload an image (copyright considerations).
I have a tiny scrap of this tartan in the form of a bookmark, fringed at the ends. I bought it when I parent-chaperoned my eldest son's classroom trip to the Maine State Museum in Augusta. Let's see...he was in 4th or 5th at least 7 years ago. They had them in the gift shop, and if I remember right, it came with a little card describing what each color represents. There is no taupe in it but the sky blue, evergreen and that important counterpoint, a trace of rich red. So, I'm considering ways in my mind to put a touch of the tartan here and there in my dining room. When I get a firm plan, I can estimate my yardage, and place an order. So far my only thoughts are: tie-backs on simple white or cream window curtains and ties on slipcovers for the d.r. chairs, (I hate my d.r. chairs, and now that I have a palette guiding me, the next step is designing slipcovers, choosing fabric, and oh yeah, actually constructing them--no small feat. I'll shoot to post finished-project photos before 2010.). Projects with slightly more prominence might be a tartan-edged table runner (or placemats?), coordinating napkin rings, or even a wide fabric-covered mat on a photo or print. Maybe I could tartan-mat and frame one of those linen state map dishtowels gift stores stock for tourists.... (Not this one, which has major retro-appeal, or this one, which is also adorable) Could it look classy? Or at worst kitschy? Or would it be heaven forbid, tacky-looking? I have one of those dishtowels, very faded. I think they are very pretty, what with the chickadee and white pine cone and tassel, and of course, the ubiquitous red lobster.

But, how do I know if I love it because it's actually attractive, or because my mother had one, and probably my grandmother too. So, it's probably a nostalgia thing............but really, is there anything wrong with that? (Well, yes, if it means I create exploding tire geranium beds on my front lawn tended by plywood bendovers.........)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Still at the front door

Seeing that it is St. Patrick's Day....I'll feature my favorite leprachaun himself, Sean Michael. (Truth be told, not a drop of Irish blood in him, but after all, who isn't Irish on March 17th?) And here he is, proudly wearin' the green.
Camo green that is.....these slippers are made from Paton's Classic Wool and washed with the sheets & towels for the hot water in the heavy duty cycle for the vigorous agitation, and then it was into the hot dryer for the full felting. If you want to try these, it's not a huge investment of time. I made them in 2 evening's knitting, with the felting completed on the third day. The pattern appears on (Easy House Slippers), and you can make up a few pairs to keep by the door or in a guest room - the fit isn't terribly important. I wish I had several pairs made as it is Mud Season in Maine.... Now if I could just train Tammy and Tucker (the Cocker Spaniels) to wipe their muddy paws and put on some house slippers when they come in.....

Monday, March 16, 2009

And Speaking of Dining................

Eating Pizza is a Spectator Sport....

especially if you are a Cocker Spaniel.

Dining Room Color Palette

I must be the most indecisive person for choosing wall paint. It has taken 12.5 yrs since we moved into this house, but we have finally covered the "Contractor White" paint on the d.r. walls. It has been slow going...

The downstairs of our house is basically 4 rooms and a 3/4 bath with laundry closet. Kitchen, dining room (which I think was intended to be a den), sitting room (which I think was supposed to be a dining area in a pseudo-open floor plan flowing from the kitchen), and a family room/living room/parlor. You'd think in 12.5 years, I could have developed a consistent naming scheme for our common living spaces. When we moved in all these walls were painted white... the kind that looks dingy even when they're clean, and then quickly become permanently not clean, not for lack of washing them, which tends to remove the paint if you are too vigorous..........

Eventually, I came home with a little wallpaper that had been marked down, and my long-suffering DH put it up on the little bit of wallspace that is officially kitchen. In a major fit of inspiration, I finally selected a murky and very sophisticated green (grayish) for the FR/LR/parlor, and DH and I got that done a couple of years ago (gorgeous, still love it), and that has been it for a while.

But now, things will be different around here because we are on a roll! The dining room has been painted taupe! Behr Paint Cheyenne Rock to be exact. Look it up, you'll love it. Here or here. (Did you see that? Another first for me: making a link from my text :-) ) [So now I've discovered these links look good, but don't work----I'm working on it....]

So let me tell you about my inspiration for this color.... I wanted the color of the trees on the horizon on a sunny winter day. The deciduous trees that is. I know on all the HGTV shows that there are some very sound color theory practices for filling in the rest of the palette, most of which revolve around the color wheel (get it?), but I just followed nature on this one......the other colors are winter white, unobtrusive evergreen, soothing sky blue, and very small flashes of a range of reds, from bittersweet berries (or holly) to a glimpse of cardinal on the wing. (Don't look away, watch for his lady, she won't be far behind). I can't wait to try and post some pics, but in the meantime refer back to the winter wreath, with the grapevine base (taupe), snowflakes (white), ribbon (sky), and bittersweet berry twigs. No evergreen exactly, but you'll see that the house exterior is painted kind of a spruce green. (That is a California Paints stain, BTW, selected by the previous owner, love it. Oft copied, but I've never seen it matched.)

Can't wait to upload actual dining room photos, need a weekend day off, so I can take pix when the sun is out. In the meantime, look at photos of sox I have made this winter, since it was taupe yarn (Vanna's Choice from Lion Brand) that made me realize I loved the color.

Okay this is funny. I just tried posting the yarn pic and it came out at the top of the blog. I'll leave it there since it introduces the color.............................

Saturday, March 14, 2009



OK, I've learned how to take a few pictures with my digital camera, transfer them to my laptop, and post them to the projects on now I'm going to try to use some of the pix for a few posts here. Yeaaaa!

This pic is the ravaged remains of the wreath that has hung out in the Maine winter since the beginning of February. It's an inexpensive grapevine, wrapped in shimmery light blue organdy wired ribbon. I added twigs with bittersweet berries, and wooden snowflakes from Michael's which I painted white and sprayed with opalescent glitter.For Valentine's Day, I added the red Valentine heart, and now for heaven's sake, it's time to do something else!

Wow! Now I can see that the pictures post in the opposit order that I thought they would, and they all line up on the left side, 'cause I don't know yet how to center them! Boy this process progresses in itty bitty baby steps...