Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Favorite London Place

I was lucky enough to enjoy a recent long weekend visit in London. The city is lovely, full of history. It's so clean, (which I found puzzling, since finding a garbage can was usually a challenge), and the people seemed so very polite and mannerly. I loved how you could go anywhere in a heartbeat with a few pounds and a hop on the tube. A truly refined Metropolis. This place worked.
We walked all over the city at night and tried out a couple excellent local pubs. Whoever said the English don't have delicious cuisine should try the carrot and thyme soup we enjoyed with crusty bread. It was pretty delicious in our estimation.

And my favorite London place to visit? Hands down : Loop Yarn Store!
Now this, my friends, is a yarn store. All the Woolmeise and Madeline Tosh you can carry resides in that colorful place, and luckily enough - they feature their local dye artists as well. The staff are friendly and just the perfect amount of helpful. There are unusual little yarny gifty things you haven't seen everywhere, along with plenty of recent books and places to sit and peruse them. Original artsy things are tucked into all the corners. I must admit to having the compulsion to zip a bit of that shop into my suitcase to take home with me.

Thanks Loop, for the lovely afternoon. You are just the artful sort of shop I would have imagined in fashionable and smart London.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Welcome, Max

I haven't met Max yet, but he's finally arrived, I understand, and will be needing some new things to wear. Teeny tiny soft little items to welcome him into this world and reassure him that the world is a benevolent place full of caring people. My contribution was made with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarn using the
Super-natural Stripes pattern by F.Pea

This one's a keeper. Max too, of course.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Festive Milan

Here's a little catch up effort on the traveling we did in November/ December. We were lucky to see so many beautiful and amazing things - I really think I should share.

In late November, we spent a few days in Milan, Italy. We stayed in the downtown business area and took the underground metro to Duomo square, which holds the beautiful and amazing old church that has been under construction for 600 years. When I climbed the stairs out of the underground, it was like ascending into Munchkin land! Truly amazing - like nothing I've ever seen before.

The Architecture!

The Statues!

The lights!

And last, but certainly not least, The Coffee! order cafe' americano in Milan unless you'd be content with espresso. The coffee is nice, especially when served with a pot of hot milk

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's Nice to be Appreciated!

Although it was a sad circumstance, the loss of my Father, that had me on an airplane home to the U.S. at the end of 2010 - being with family was wonderful and healing. Watching New Year's fireworks out the window of the room I shared with my Granddaughters was a wonderful memory. We "oooooohhed" and "awwwwwwwhed" - a most appreciative audience, as the neighbors unwittingly launched those colorful shooting stars right past our bedroom window.

The flight was, as always, far too long. I'm always amazed at all the passengers who are able to sleep. I usually cope with the situation by making great progress on a knitting project. International flights out of many areas of Europe don't allow knitting needles, though. Knowing this, I smuggled on a plastic crochet hook, storing it with the pens in my purse. This absolutely saved my sanity. Hence, the Sanity Saver cowl. It truly saved my skin. Without it - I surely would have been bouncing off the walls.
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My Granddaughter Jaydin was entranced with the project. She claimed it promptly and called it her "ascot" (Maybe it's from a recent reading of Little Women that she got that word?) She's my romantic Grandchild - a dreamer for certain.
I completed the Ninja Loop Socks and brought them to give to my son in law, but sadly, they were a bit small, as I'd feared. My oldest Granddaughter snapped them up, though - so they weren't lacking for love. I was disappointed with these, as one of the skeins turned out to have lighter/darker areas that formed a sort of striping of two shades in the finished sock.
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The 16 Cable Hat I'd recently completed for myself was much admired by and as a result, gifted to my daughter. It looks great on her.

The hat love grew and grew these first days of 2011. I made my Daughter in law a Pasha hat from Jane Richmond Designs and it proved so popular amongst all the cousins that I have orders for three more. This is my first project completed in the 12in2011 challenge. My oldest son and his best friend have both requested beanies. I'm thinking Koolhaas.

It's nice to be appreciated.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Secret Pal 16 Questionairre

Here's that Questionairre for my Secret Pal 16 Partner:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely not like?

I like wool, bamboo, silk, cashmere, cotton, linen, flax and blends thereof. My preference is for a smooth, plied yarn with twist. Singles and fluffy, hairy type yarns such as angora and mohair aren't my favorite.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have two hand sewn dpn roll cases that swap partners have made me. They're both FULL. I keep socks dpns in one and larger sized ones in another. I keep my knit picks nickel interchangables in the plastic zip case they came in. I love pretty organizers and can always use more!

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

My Grandmother taught me to knit as a young girl. I promptly made one of a set of slippers for my best friend. I never completed the second. (My initiation into the world of second sock syndrome) Since I found Ravelry a couple years ago, I've self taught myself the more advanced techniques I know now from online sources and discovered I'd been twisting all my stitches.:-O I'd consider myself an intermediate knitter.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

I have a wishlist on my Ravelry Profile

5. What’s your favorite scent?

I like natural type scents. Fruity, citrus, spices, coconut, lavendar and light florals

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I'm trying to avoid candy these days. I can never dodge cookies for long though - just love them! Also like granola type mixes, flavored nuts, dried fruits.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I don't spin. I do sew, draw and watercolor paint, keep an art journal, dye yarn. I'd love to try my hand at polymer clay sometime.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I love music! Hmmmm, I'll have to revisit types I like...

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?

Greens, Blues, Reds,Greys, Oranges, Browns, Natural tones. I really love most colors. I can appreciate a very neutral color palette all the way to super bright variagated or stripes. (Love playing with self striping yarns) The only colors I'm not crazy about are very light pastels, neons or black in combination with other colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I'm married and have 3 grown children along with 6 Grandchildren. No pets, unfortunately. I love them, I'm just allergic to pet dander. (Small amounts don't bother me - like if you have a pet and send me items from your home. Just can't live in the same house with it)

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I do! All of the above, though I haven't had a poncho in about 30 years. :-) I live in a warm weather area, but I travel to colder areas and certainly appreciate warm accessories even in my area in the winter. (I'm a weather wimp)

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Socks and other small accessories. (mitts, wraps, hats, cowls)

13. What are you knitting right now?

A cabled hat and a pair of socks

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

I love to receive handmade gifts!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I prefer circulars for worsted weight knitting, dpn's for sock knitting. I like the larger dpns in bamboo, but sock sizes (U.S. 3 and smaller) in hardwood or other harder material since I bend the heck out of those skinny bamboo dpns. I'd love to get some of the Knit Picks Harmony wood interchangeable tips sometime.

16. Do you own a yarn winder or swift?

Yes to both of those

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

one year old :-/

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe?

I observe Christmas - love all holidays, especially if I'm off of work!

19. Is there anything that you collect?

I have a particular fondness for unique hand painted or carved small boxes and bowls, and for pretty fabric project bags and totes, pretty buttons

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I don't have any magazine subscriptions. I'm sort of coveting the Brave New Knits book, the new Cookie A book and I sure wish I had a good stitch pattern book!

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I'm just enjoying making pretty things at this point. When I need a technique to make something I want to make, then I convince myself to try it

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I am a sock knitter. My feet are shoe size U.S. 8.5. They're about 9 inches long, 9.5 inches around the ball of my foot.

23. When is your birthday?

November 18th

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what’s your ID?

Yes! JuleeQue