Monday, December 31, 2007


The stocking is done!

Sunday I finished the foot and toe. Then began the task of weaving in the ends. I continued weaving in ends today, and then did the hanging loop. Having looked at the other stocking she provided me with, I decided to pick up 3 stitches and cast on another 3. I tried doing an I-Cord, but it did not look right. So I started over, picking up three stitches. Then I turned it around and picked up another three stitches, one in between each of the other stitches I had already picked up. This worked much better for making the I-Cord loop. Once I had a decent length, I grafted it back to the edge of the stocking, going through the front and back loops (1 and 6 together, 2 and 5 together, 3 and 4 together).

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Starting Over

Last Tuesday night (Christmas), I decided I was not happy with the stocking, so I completely frogged it and started over. I went down a needle size and decided to carry no more than two colors in a row, which meant I would have to do a lot of duplicate stitch.





Friday I did not accomplish much. I had a funeral to attend out of town, and while I took the stuff with me to work on before the funeral started, I left the chart at home, so I pretty much just did what duplicate stitch I could.


Saturday I finished the duplicate stitch. If I do another of these stockings again, I may try to carry three colors in a row just to avoid having to do as much duplicate stitch. I also managed to turn the heel.

Now I am shaping the toe and hoping to finish it this evening. I am not looking forward to weaving in all the ends, but I hope it will not take too long.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Another New Project

A while back I got in contact with a woman who wanted a stocking made for a new member of the family. It has been tradition to do a stocking for each family member, but she does not knit, and all she had was a chart for the cat.

With both of us being busy, and the weather not being terribly cooperative, I did manage to get the chart and a finished stocking this week. She had sent me pictures of another stocking, so I had already tried reconstructing the chart from that, but having the actual chart was better. However, I still did the chart on my computer.

For the actual stocking, I just took a basic stocking pattern I had and modified it so it would match the finished one she provided. The one she provided appears to have been worked back and forth so the person could do intarsia, but I am knitting in the round, carrying the other yarns around. I find this makes the stocking a little sturdier.

I started Thursday night and got this far:

Friday I made some progress:

Today so far:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Plaid Afghan

Since I finished the fifth strip of the cabled afghan, I decided to work on the plaid afghan some this evening. I only have one strip so far, and I decided it was not long enough, so I am adding another pattern repeat before finishing off the strip. I am using double yarn on size 15 needles, so it knits up pretty quickly.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cabled Afghan

I finished the Celtic Cable panel Friday, and yesterday I managed to sew three of the panels together.

I have not decided which panel I will do next, but I think it will either be the Ripple and Rock or Hollow Oak Cable.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ice Storm

Monday night I started watching the closings and cancellations for the next day. When I saw USD 501 (Topeka Public Schools) announced it was closing the next day, I knew it was not good. USD 501 typically does not close unless it is really bad out. I think they even announced before the other school districts in town (at least as far as I could tell), which really concerned me.

Tuesday I woke up early and started watching to see if the State of Kansas and the Shawnee County District Court would be open for business. The State announced shortly after 6:00 a.m., but nothing on the court for a while. I actually was starting to get dressed when they finally announced the court was closed as well. I put my sweats back on, went out and sprayed my car with ice and frost shield, then I came back inside and went back to bed.

I did not lose power, so I consider myself fortunate. My parents lost power Tuesday night, but they were lucky enough to get it back last night. Westar Energy is saying it could be 7 to 10 days before power is fully restored. Manhattan (about an hour west of here) was hit much harder, as was Brown County (north of here). One of my friends lives in Kansas City, and she said that her front yard looked like a tornado had hit.

I did go out and take pictures of the ice on the trees.

Today it warmed up enough for ice to start melting.

It is definitely one of life's ironies that something so beautiful can be so dangerous.

Arctic Landscape Bag

I recently started the Arctic Landscape Bag by Billie Marxmiller. After having to frog it four times, I have finally made a little progress:

I have started the textured part of the pattern, and I am not thrilled with how it is working out as it is throwing the slanting off. I am seriously considering doing the whole bag in stockinette at this point.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Felted Mittens

The mittens are done!

Now to let the paint dry :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Unfinished Object

I started the Lismore sweater by Alice Starmore in 1995 and worked on it for quite a while. I had heard of someone doing sleeves on smaller needles, and I tried that with this one--something I should not have done. If I ever get around finishing this, I will have to frog the sleeve and redo it. I am almost tempted to frog the entire thing and start over, but it is already steeked where I did the sleeve.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Felted Mittens

I have finished the second set of cuffs for the mittens, and I just need to sew them in. I try to get over to Lawrence, Kansas for Knit Lawrence at least once a month, and I am glad I went yesterday. I mentioned to the others that I wanted to do something to give the mittens a gripping surface, and asked if anyone knew of anything. One of my fellow knitters said puffy paint, so I will give it a try.

Last night at Frances O'Dooley's (yes, I knit at the pub) I showed off the mittens to some other people and mentioned using puffy paint to make a gripping surface. One of them suggested I have them stretched while I do that.

Dad's Birthday Cake

Now that Dad has seen his cake, here are some pictures:

Dad was very impressed. He also remarked that when he said it was his chessboard birthday, he did not think I would take it literally (there are 64 squares on a chessboard, and Dad is 64). However, I had no idea that he was calling it his chessboard birthday.

I first got the idea for this cake back in August when I took Course 2. We worked with color flow icing, and I thought that it would be neat to do chess pieces. After discussing it with one of my friends, she sent me a link to chocolate chess molds at Confectionery House. I looked around the site and found the molds I ended up using for these pieces.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cake Update

Well, the cake is not going as well as I had hoped. I thought I had gotten the chocolate tempered when I was melting it, but it bloomed and looked very unappetizing. I have one set made from white candy coating setting up, and I am about to go out and buy chocolate flavored candy coating. At least the candy coating sets up more quickly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Felted Mittens

Once I finished weaving the ends, I set about felting. Yesterday, I purchased a 5 gallon bucket, a plunger, and a package of tennis balls. I filled the bucket about halfway full of hot water, threw in the tennis balls, the mittens, and some Woolite, then used the plunger to agitate. It took about an hour, but I think they turned out really well.

Before felting:

After felting:

Now to get some Lionbrand Wool-ease to do the cuffs (so the cuffs do not felt when my brother washes the mittens).

Cake Update

I removed the first set of chocolate decorations from the molds this morning. I did two of each piece so I can stick them together with melted chocolate. A few of them broke, but I think they will be okay once I get them put together the way I want them. If not, I will go get another bag of the Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips and start over.

The second set of chocolate decorations is currently setting. This set is Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate swirled with Kroger white candy coating. They have a very interesting marbled look.

Why Hershey products? Nestle chocolate chips all seem to carry a warning about nuts/peanuts, and I am very allergic. Dad is also allergic, just not to the level I am.

My father is a chocoholic, so the cake will be dark chocolate fudge (Betty Crocker Moist Deluxe). I currently plan to ice it with chocolate buttercream icing and the other icing will be either dark chocolate buttercream or vanilla buttercream. Once it is iced, I will decorate it with the chocolates I am making.

I know the descriptions are very vague, but that is in case Dad happens across my blog. I will post pictures after he has seen the cake.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Switching Gears

Over the summer I started taking Wilton method cake decorating classes at Michael's. I took Course I in July, Course II and Course III in August, and the Fondant and Gum Paste class in September. Since then I have done birthday cakes for friends and coworkers. My coworkers were certainly more than happy to eat my class projects, as were my friends and family.

Some of my cakes:

The Happy Feet Cake

Chocolate cake with buttercream icing. Yes, the penguins are edible. I piped them out of frosting.

Course 2 Final Cake:

White cake, buttercream icing. The flowers on the left are made from royal icing. The two roses on the left are fondant ones I made in Course 3.

Course 3 Final Cake

White cake with butter cream frosting and fondant roses. My classmate in Course 3 suggested that I only do one layer when I did my Course 2 final cake, and my instructor suggested I save the other layer for the Course 3 final cake, so that is what I did. Fondant roses take a lot of work, I think they are easier than doing ones out of buttercream icing.

Gift cake:

After I did this cake, I realized I should have iced the cake with the blue and done the ribbon in white--then it would look like a Tiffany's gift box.

Tonight I started working on the cake I am taking to my parents' house for Thanksgiving on Friday (my parents have usually had it on Friday for years, although last year it was on Saturday, and the year before that it was on Sunday). I am decorating the cake with chocolates, and the first batch is setting up as I post this. I will do the next batch tomorrow, and then I will probably bake the cake on Thursday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Felted Mittens

The mittens are progressing quite nicely. I just need to do the thumbs and weave in the ends before felting.

I have not had very good luck using my washing machine to felt items, so I am thinking I will do what was suggested in the Fall 2007 issue of Knitty (Other Handy Uses for a Plunger) and use a bucket, plunger (a new one to use for felting only), and some tennis balls.

Projects on the Needles

I currently have three projects on the needles: a pair of felted mittens, a cabled afghan, and a plaid afghan.

Felted Mittens:

The Mittens are the Double Cufff Mittens from Knit One, Felt Too by Kathleen Taylor. My brother indicated he could use a pair of mittens, and since he works outside, I thought felted wool mittens would keep his hand drier and warmer.

Cabled Afghan:

This is the Cabled Throw from The Knitter's Bible by Claire Crompton. These are the four strips I have finished so far, and I am currently working on the strip with the Celtic Cable.

Plaid Afghan:

This is the afghan from the Lodge Pillow and Afghan pattern by Linda Cyr found in the Ultimate Book of Knit Afghans.