Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tripley with Family

Time changes all things, but families are always there. this past weekend, I made a trip up to visit with my family at my mom's. There's nothing like going home to the place you were raised. You see all those little changes that occur over time: the new restaurant, the new traffic light. As soon as I pass the threshold, though, I'm still that little girl trying to find her place.  We all leave our careers and responsibilities at the door and revel in each other's company.

My family is scattered to the winds. With all of us married and/or with children, it becomes increasingly difficult to get together. We try though to have one weekend a year to come together and play. I literally mean play also! You see, after we put all the little ones to bed, we break out the Triply game board and a deck of cards. This tradition actually started years before we were born with my Poppy and TuTu (Grandpa and Grandma). As a child, I would watch my parents and grandparents play, but you know how poker players can be. If you can't stay caught up, you don't get to play. It wasn't until I was about 18, when I finally got to join in. It's like finally getting to the adult table from the childrens table!

 We play, laugh, and tease each other all night. I get all the dumb blonde jokes aimed at me since I'm the only blonde in the family, and a girl at that. My eldest brother glares at us from behind his cards with his Popeye face. Daddy, memorizes each play just in case someone gets off kilter. My middle brother revels in his wins and grumbles when he loses. It's one of those moments that stay with you for years.

Though my brothers like to think they are getting the upper hand with me, as they tease and point out my bad poker face. I tend to end up ahead every time. I just don't point it out to save their delicate egos. I mean, what brother likes to be beaten by his little sister!?
This time, I came away a dollar richer. Yep, only a dollar, but worth a billion to me for the rare nights of being family. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oklahoma Blizzard 2011 Knitting

It's actually been a pretty mild winter until this last week and a half. My little town has been frozen over several times with layers and layers of sleet, snow, and ice. Unlike previous years, we haven't lost electricity or trees due to the weight of the snow. I count us lucky.

So, in all the time we've been stuck at home, we all have been passing around colds. Stuffy noses, low grade temps, and general yuckiness. No fun. So, here we are, cold, locked inside, and not feeling well. What better time to attack those works in progress!

This corset top by Annie Modesitt has been on my mind for quite some time. Last year, for Tour de fleece, I actually hand spun the yarn to complete it. The yarn suggested is a pure Regal silk that comes at a hefty $24 a hank, far beyond my means. I had purchased some gorgeous and soft Bamboo/superwash Merino wool previously that I hadn't used. It was perfect for this: soft, shiny, and with good weight. I spun the yarn into a worsted weight single and put in in the yarn cabinet where it didn't see the light of day for six months.

Fast forward to January. . . 

After many months of sitting on it, I finally pulled out the pattern and wound the yarns into balls to attempt the pattern. I looked online in the threads on Ravelry for any hints and tips concerning the pattern. There were several such as it tends to be smaller than indicated and to make sure you gauge it.

I did however mess up in the initial lace pattern. Instead of doing a reverse stockinette, I accidentally did regular stockinette which made the edges curls away from my shoulders. I'm not one to rip out, especially that far into the project, so in the end, I just crocheted along the edge to stabilize it. You wouldn't know that is not the way it's suppose to look unless I told you. I was surprised by how quickly I knit it up with all the ribbing, lace, and cables. The finished top is stunning!

The next project that I hadn't worked on in a long time was my Peacock Feathers Shawl by Dorothy Siemen. I had originally spun the yarn for this beauty in 2009 out of a beautiful sapphire wool/mohair blend. I began knitting it in October 2009. I knit on it off and on for months before realizing that I didn't spin enough to finish it. Disheartened, I actually stuffed it in the back of the yarn cabinet. There it sat for months again. (See a pattern here?) Once again, after finishing the corset top, I found myself pulling out the shawl to try and finish. Since I couldn't complete the pattern in it's entirety, I finished as much as I could and substituted the original edge for a feather and fan pattern interlaced with bronze/copper beads to make the blue pop! I know it's hard to see in the photos, but all 1400 beads are there. Yes, I counted as I was stringing them on.

I really love this shawl and have worn it everyday since finishing it. It's not too hot, nor cold; big enough to wrap around myself entirely. It's the most stunning shawl I've knit to date. 

One of the last things I've been working on are a pair of mittens for my 6 year old son. We had gone outside when it wasn't so windy to attempt to build a snowman, failing miserable. I had on a pair of mittens that I had made recently. I noticed just how well they kept my hands warms and dry. My boys, however, had the cheap $1 acrylic gloves from Walmart. Safe to say, they didn't handle the snow as well with their little fingers getting soaked and turning blue. Right then, I told myself I was going to knit them all a pair.

Once we got back inside, I pulled out some of the first yarn I ever spun and started chugging away using a very basic pattern. He actually came over at one point sadly saying, "They're white." I laughed at his tone. I know he wouldn't want white gloves, but I had this planned out you see. I told him that yes they are white now, but when I'm done knitting them, we can dye them whatever color he wants. That immediately perked him up and he went skipping away, only to return every so often to see how far along I've gotten. He's too cute. I'm almost done, but I still have the thumb and decrease on the top of the mitten to go.

So, here we are again. Snowed in. Cold. Must finish this Classic pair of mittens, so I may start the next for my little girl. I have the perfect handspun for it. I just need to finished these.

Stay warm everyone!