Archive for the 'savannah' Category

And the Winner Is …

Elizabeth McNearney!! Thank you all for visiting my blog and leaving your kind comments. After drawing her name this afternoon, I will be emailing Elizabeth free pdf’s of all my paid dog sweater patterns. Thank you again for participating, and stay tuned here for more patterns and knitting/crochet news.

Holy Cow!

My blog has just passed 200,000 hits!

Thank you all for following me. I have websites linking from all over the world, from Italy to France to Japan, some in languages I don’t even recognize. I hope you enjoy my knitting and crochet patterns and you’ll keep coming back for more. In honor of achieving this milestone, I’m hosting a giveaway here: Leave a comment or link to my blog by November 10, and I will hold a drawing the next day. The winner will receive a free download of ALL MY PAID DOG SWEATER PATTERNS. I’ll announce the winner here on November 11, so if you win please contact me and let me know where to email your patterns.

Good luck, and thank you for visiting!

Yes, We Can

And Yes, I’m Back

Last time we met, I was hunkering down for the Ravelympics.  Three solid weeks of knitting almost round-the-clock, followed by an end-of-summer family trip to St. Simons Island, then some serious computer difficulties, have kept me off my blog.  But I’m baaa-a-ack …

First, I won the GOLD MEDAL in the Blue Sky Alpacas Group‘s knit-a-thon ~ yes!!  I’ll be posted some of my FO’s in weeks to come.  My prize is on its way from Minnesota, and I’ll share it when it gets here.

My favorite project was an original design that I just this afternoon finished writing the pattern for.  With the computer down, I couldn’t do a thing with the pictures or pattern, but it’s up now, and it’s a benefit for the BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN.  The pattern is for sale at my Etsy store (see the link to your right), and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the campaign.  So, do your part and buy one ~ for yourself, a friend or anyone who knits and knows who needs to be the next occupant of the White House. 

BARK OBAMA Dog Sweater

Let your pawlitical animal show his colors now and beyond Election Day with this clever, patriotic sweater. Features fuzzy dogs, bones and shiny stars, and is all tied up with a pretty ribbon.  It’s sized to fit pups with 12-14, 15-17 or 18-20″ chest, and the length can be adjusted.  Knit in DK-weight yarn.  Intermediate to advanced knitting skills, along with a knowledge of intarsia, required.

No bones about it ~ your dog will love you, and so will Barack!

Posies Are Cozy

No, I’m not ripping off Alicia Paulson, just paying hommage, though if I had to copy anyone, it would be Miss P.  What I’m doing is unveiling a fresh little solution to summer’s too-strong air conditioning: the
Basket of Daisies dog sweater, worn here by the always-willing Willie.

   

I had fun doing this one, as I do love the buttons, bows and sweet, tiny things.  (I’ve tried to trace this dog sweater love to something, and I guess it goes back to childhood, and my status as a professional doll player.)  Willie loves it, too.  Last night he grabbed the sweater in his mouth and brought it to me, as if to say, “Mom!  I gotta wear this!”  Now, that’s the kind of fan club I like.

   
The Basket of Daisies is knit in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in three colors, along with a dab of my own stash, and decorated with an assortment of buttons and a tiny bow.  It’s an easy knit for an intermediate knitter and will fit any pup with a 10 to 18″ chest.  Willie says it’s just great for dozing on the back of the sofa, but he might just wear it to his birthday party, too.  For the FREE DOWNLOAD, visit my FREE PATTERNS page.

 

Party On!

BIRTHDAY BOY

Willie’s got a birthday next month ~ the big 0-5 ~ so we had to get busy knitting for the perfect party wear.  The result: my new Party Animal Dog Sweater Pattern, now available by following the previous link or clicking on the little thumbnail to your right under “My Patterns on Etsy”.

This little cutie is an EASY KNIT, a lightweight faux wrap that I made with two strands of fingering weight yarn held together and (I used Mondial Cotton Soft Speciale Baby Solid in Shade 916) and a novelty yarn for the trim (I used another Mondial yarn, Bolero, in Shade 964, a sweet rickracky, confetti-ish stuff).  It’s knit on size 5 and 8 needles and trimmed at the end with satin ribbons, like that kind you get by the roll at Jo Ann for 99 cents.  It’s sweet and soft, and Willie knows he’s the guest of honor when he wears it.

    

NOAH AND ME

We hate the hot weather, but we love the summer food.  What did you eat on the Fourth?  We had a little cookout planned (actually, for the Fifth, but who’s counting?), when Savannah’s skies let loose with a midafternoon monsoon.  The loudest thunder I’ve ever heard, and rain falling in sheets.  Some said there had been a tornado ~ maybe.  Our power went out, and we wondered how many others were in the same predicament.  (It gets awfully hot around here with no AC in July, let me tell you.)

After the storm, I ventured outside barefoot to find our neighborhood was under several feet of water!

  

That’s my corner on the top, and the second picture is of a car stuck in the water around the corner on Habersham Street, one of Savannah’s main thoroughfares.

We ended up having our little cookout anyway, as the grill was the only thing working normally, and the front porch was the only place to sit comfortably and feel a cool breeze.  The lights came on about an hour after we finished eating.  All I can say is, thank the Lord we didn’t have to sleep without AC or our fans.

YUM!

Which brings me to a favorite summer salad, for cookout or a quick lunch or anytime.  I cribbed it from Miss Angry Chicken, one of my favorite bloggers, a year or so ago. Chunks of watermelon, chopped fresh basil, lime juice, crumbled feta cheese. Yum!

Hooked on ‘Vintage Crochet’

Ever since reading an advance for it on Alicia Paulson’s blog, I could not wait for Vintage Crochet, by Susan Cropper, owner of London’s Loop yarn shop, to come out. Finally I have it in hand, and it has thus far  exceeded my expectations.

I adore crocheting ~ even more than knitting.  The gal who taught me to crochet loves to tell the story of how I came to her granny square class, struggling and struggling to get it, and leaving so frustrated and angry with myself for being all thumbs.  But I was determined, because the yarn shop, wild fibre, was right across the street from my house, and those beautiful yarns beckoned me.  So I bought a simple how-to book at Barnes and Noble and showed up at Tracy’s class the next week with a fully completed crocheted dog sweater for my Yorkie. 

Once I got started, I was hooked.  That little piece of metal (I do like the aluminum cheapies best) felt so at home in my hand that soon I was turning out ponchos (Martha Stewart’s, of course), afghans and anything else I could think of.  Despite my trouble with that first class, I come by the ability to crochet naturally ~ my grandmother Rose was buried, at 92, with her crochet hook and a piece of work in her hands ~ and I still like to break up the knitting with a crochet project every once in a while.

Problem is:  How hard is it to find a decent crochet pattern?  Besides blankets and the now-outdated ponchos, where are the patterns for crocheted garments you’d be caught dead wearing?  I’ve bought every issue of Interweave Crochet that’s been published, but never made a single project from the magazine; watched Hip To Crochet and Hooked on Crochet gather dust on my bookshelf. Couldn’t even wrap my head around anything in Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker.  Every pattern I see is so precious or dated or over-designed or crafty-in-a-bad-way (see Rowan 43 for the most hideous of all, Chevelle, a cropped granny squarish top in a nasty ’70s color combo).

But Vintage Crochet is thoroughly enthralling with its old fashioned yet perfectly current patterns for clothing, accessories and home furnishings.  The photography, by Kristin Perers, is delicious, and the book makes sure it shows you an item from several angles ~ up close and on a human or two.  Thank you!   There’s the ripple blanket shown on the cover ~ oh, and you Yanks, be sure to buy this version rather than the one with the gal in the sweater, as this is the U.S. edition, with American crochet terms.  Precious egg, tea and coffee press cozies.  A to-die-for lampshade.  A button-trimmed shelf runner that’s def on my to-do list. For the adventurous, a crocheted picnic canopy.  (Wouldn’t it be nice over a bed, too?)  And even a bobbled-and-hooded dog sweater.

It was hard to decide where to start, but I decided to make a small item first, just to get the new off the book and give me some instant gratification.  Here’s my Rickrack Kerchief, completed in about one day:

 

 

 

 

 

The project calls for three balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (one of my favorites), a bit of ribbon and a  C hook.  I used two balls of Baby Cash in off white and subbed some leftover Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight in moss green and some Rowan Wool Cotton in Citron.

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never worn a kerchief in my life, but I wore this one today, an atypically windy end-of-April day for Savannah.  Even the teenage daughter liked it!

I found no mistakes in the pattern, and it was easy to follow.  (There are, however, a few errors in this first edition, so check Loop’s website before embarking on a project.)  Making my little triangle was, dare I say, exciting, almost as exciting as trolling the Internets looking for bargain yarn for my next Vintage Crochet project.  The crochet, she does eat up the yarn, y’know.  I’ll probably go first with the Betty Shrug, to use up a bag of blush pink Blue Sky Alpaca Silk I’ve been hoarding for just the right project.  Can you visualize?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I think I’ll order a bag of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in Aquamarine or Rose for Alicia Paulson’s Millie Cardigan, the pretty sweater that got me interested in the book in the first place.  It’s a sweet, delicate bed jackety cardi trimmed with dainty strips of Liberty of London florals.  Go to Ravelry and check out what a few others have done with this lovely pattern.

I’m working out of several new books, and I’ll share my impressions with you over the next few postings.  Also finishing up another FREE DOG SWEATER PATTERN that I’ll post soon.

In Sickness and in Health

MY TURN

We had quite the surprising week. Not a good surprise, but an opportunity nonetheless for me to give back, and I always appreciate that.

Michael, my healthy, robust, always giving partner, contracted a couple of hernias this month. The day he remembers feeling “something” was a day he spent with the leaf blower outside trying to outmaneuver the mounds of spring goodies that have fallen from the giant live oak between our house and our neighbors’.  It’s a losing battle ~ you rake or blow away this stuff, and the porch and yard are filled with it the next day.  But he tried.  Then Michael took on the bathing of our squiggly, wiggly Yorkie, Willie, with his rapidly expanding girth ~ the dog now weighs 13.2 pounds! By the time that day was over, my husband was doubled over with pain and on his way to the doctor.

This past Monday morning Michael was scheduled for a couple of minor hernia repairs, laparoscopic, quick and easy.  Wrong!  One incision is the simple laparoscopic kind, an inch or so right at the belly button.  The other, however, is a good 4 or 5 inches long.  The result:  My poor sweetie has been bedridden all week, in terrible pain, unable to eat, entirely dependent on me, and in a hazy Percocet delirium.

So, I’ve had to go from being well cared for since my shoulder surgery to suddenly being the caregiver myself ~ and I am exhausted!  Needless to say, the 16-year-old has been little help.  I’ll be glad when my sweetie is up and about and back to normal.  It’s hard to see someone you love hurting and not be able to make it go away.

OUR GARDEN GROWS

Last year we planted dozens of exotic daylily bulbs, and I could kick myself for not writing down what everything was.  But the first of them started blooming this week in our front bed.  This magenta darling will bloom only once this year, but what a glorious sight when she does!

 

 

We’ve also got every kind of herb you’d want, plus cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, Meyer lemons, spinach, arugula and a new crop of heirloom tomatoes shipped from Laurel’s Heirloom Tomatoes.  For 18 years I lived downtown in the historic district, with only a courtyard and no earth of my own ~ and prior to that, five years in Manhattan preceded by five years in downtown Boston, so you can imagine how much I love being able to literally put down roots.

GOING GRAY

Coming from that New York state of mind, I’ve been all about the black for a long, long time.  My closet looked like a funeral director’s.  In the last year or two I ventured a little toward the browns, but they just weren’t me, and I kept drifting back to black. 

I’ve found a new niche in GRAY, ironically well-suited to my station in life as part of a retired, fixed-income couple.  (Too bad my taste doesn’t lend itself to that income.)  You may have noticed a trend in my recent knitted items, from the “Charlotte” wrap, knitted in charcoal Rowan Ribbon Twist, to “Grey Gardens,” my luscious Cascade Cloud 9 triangle wrap in dark gray, to even the ill-fated “Nightfall Cropped Top” from Twinkle’s Weekend Knits in dark gray and ivory Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.  The wardrobe is filling in with lovely gray items by Eileen Fisher and Garnet Hill.  And what about these cool shoes (the pewter ones, left) by Palladium?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’re comfy comfy comfy from Garnet Hill, and I adore wearing them with GH’s Knit Layered Skirt in dove gray, their Elbow-length Scoop-neck Tee in warm gray, and ~ soon ~ this amazing Martin Storey striped cardigan sweater I am almost finished with, from Rowan Classic’s “Colour of Summer” book, which has quite a few terrific patterns.

         

The sweater calls for Rowan Cashcotton DK, but I’m using Wool Cotton (probably my all-time favorite Rowan yarn) in two shades of green, elf and citron, along with Rowan Cashsoft DK in mist, which is ~ what else? ~ a lovely, soft gray.