Friday, November 30, 2012

Genealogy Scrapbook

At this point in time my mother wouldn't be happy that I spent money on her, but I do know that subconsciously she still expects something for Christmas.  What I chose to do will at least spread out into other holidays.  I decided it was time to start a genealogy scrapbook for her.  Mom doesn't really understand pedigree charts.  There is a lot more information than the charts give you, anyway.  The genealogy programs on television the last few years gave me the idea of doing a scrapbook for her, only not in black and white.  Friends also want me to write a book from my research and this will also help me develop it. 

It was a good day to buy what I needed.  Since medication affects my mother's cognition, I thought it would be a good idea to buy the light green book that reads "Family" all over it.  That would help her remember what it was.  A few weeks ago when I looked they were in all the stores.  For one reason or other I went to three craft stores tonight and there was only one single book left, and of course I bought it, with a coupon.

In the family name section, I'll put in "[Mother's Name]"s Ancestors."  It's a very unusual person who is only the product of one family.

Inside this is a family tree silhouette you're supposed to put names and photos on.  It doesn't work.  I guess no one in the company realized that you go from 2 ancestors on a side to 4 to 8.  The numbers of branches don't agree, so I'll just ignore it.  The page is also slightly creased.  It was the same case with the one before that I almost bought.  I hope it'll iron out.

No blah backgrounds for me.  Pads of paper were on sale, so I found what I thought would be a nice assortment.  I plan to make the backgrounds for each basic family a different color.  I chose Recollections' Fashionably Chic.  The patterns have a nice vintage feel and are moderate in design.

I've liked K & Company's SW Botanical and finally bought a pad.  It doesn't have any pink in it, so I might have to look for another by the company.

I don't remember seeing Spring Blossom, but isn't it pretty?  Mom and I both like daisies and bumble bees.

This one might work, too:

I'm entering scrapbooking without a lot of money to spend on it.  I will have to do more with less, but that's my style anyway in most things that I do. I want to use the more interesting designs to accent the plainer backgrounds.  I hope it will work.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bird Ornaments

A few years ago I ran around all over trying to find realistic looking birds to put on my Christmas tree.  I found them the very last place I looked, a store a couple blocks from me.  It's since closed.  I think my search was worth it because I liked my tree very much.

I  really didn't want to take the ornaments off and put them away.

However, there are some very cute bird ornaments I wouldn't mind knitting.  I really like these round little fellows from Chiwaluv Amigurumi Critters.  I think the only thing stopping me is I don't have DK or other lightweight yarn in the right colors.

There is also this little adorable bird from Knitting For Your Home.

Audrey's Knits on Ravelry gives you a lovely flying bird.

Another dove-like bird, one I like from Knit Cafe Toronto.

Yet another dove pattern.  I don't want to be accused of leaving one out!  This is Picasso's Peace Dove from Nicole A. Davis .

You'll have to think about what you want in your dove in order to choose a pattern.

With a little more effort you can make these felted birds, designed by Marie Mayhew and available at Marie Mayhew Designs

This little guy isn't very realistic--he doesn't even live on my continent--but he's definitely very cute and cheerful.  He'd be great to find waiting for you on a package.

He comes from Jacquie Turner.  Here's a whole flock:

Some enterprising knitters made some clever variations.  I had fun looking through them on Ravelry. 

Elfin Booties

A few years ago, probably after I lost my job and realized what a cold draft there was along the living room floor, I decided to knit some felted slippers to wear.  I finally got to it. When I first started to look for a pattern, I came across Elfin Booties by Knitwhits.  I thought they looked like fun.

I had some skeins of Bartlett yarn that were given to me in assorted heather colors.  They have a medium intensity and I thought the heather would help camouflage the dirt.  I knit a cardigan out of Bartlett yarn and I know how warm it is.  I was wearing the cardigan when the temperature was in the 40s and I was comfortable.  I thought the yarn was a good choice.  The original pattern calls for 8 different colors.  I'm knitting with 6 and get a repetition I'd rather not have.  I think you'd probably need 7 to avoid it.

The slippers are fun to knit.  As you can probably guess, each section is knit modular, decreasing from its fullest width.  For the most part you pick up and knit along the edges of two adjacent sections.  It took only about a week to complete one slipper and I'm more than halfway done on the other.  Be warned there are a lot of ends to weave in.

I plan to felt them in a bucket in my tub.  I bought a plunger just for this and will put it on the end of the handle of my old broom.  There's no way I'm paying over $6 to use the laundry mat washer to felt these.  (I have yet to make a friend who will let me use her washer.) At least I know from the Yarn Harlot's effort to felt her French Press slippers that it'll take about 20 minutes.

As I was leaving my mother's on Thanksgiving, she said she'd like a pair if I had enough yarn.  Well, the alpaca laceweight yarn that I wanted to knit her scarf out of came all apart when I just wound it in a ball.  I think it was that particular yarn.  I got out another laceweight and wound that one up successfully.  I even knitted a little with it.  Those stitches are awfully small, though, and I don't think I have the patience for it this year.  I think Mom just might get multicolored slippers for Christmas.

Not all people used 8 different colors to knit the Elfin Booties.  There were some awfully pretty variations shown on Ravelry.

If they aren't elven enough for you, you could always try Elf Shoes by Flint Knits:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sumac Shawl Progress Report

It's been almost a week and I have 6.5 repeats of the pattern row done on the Sumac Shawl. A couple times I had to tink it back because I put in an additional yo.  Once I dropped a yo and couldn't fix it without tinking it.  At least I know I can get yo happy and put in too many.  I don't think I'll have any trouble finishing this in time for Christmas.  I think I can definitely say working on increasingly more difficult shawls is a good way to learn how to knit lace shawls.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Missing Yarn and New Projects

Once again I can't find a skein of yarn.  It'll show up sometime soon.  I hope it will be in time to knit a small shawl for my mother for Christmas.  A friend of mine had just found her dog after it had been missing for almost two weeks.  Her search for Phoebe inspired this message and photo on Facebook:
Missing 1 skein of Cherry Tree Hill alpaca lace yarn in colorway Quartz (I think).  Last seen in the vicinity of my armchair last Friday night.  Yarn does not come when called.  It is wary of anyone with a stick in their hand.  May be hiding in stash. May be looking for another of its kind.

It's still missing.

Fortunately I had another project in mind for my mother.  I had bought some lovely Laines du Nord Dolly Baby in Spring 2009 half price.  It's a lovely lavender in "100% Wool Merino Extrafine Unshrinkable." 

My mother had chosen the Sumac Shawl pattern.  I hadn't yet knit any lace shawls and planned to knit a few shawls in progressively more difficult patterns for practice beforehand.  It seems to have worked.  I've done 4 repetitions of the pattern so far. 

When I was looking for the missing yarn, I was talking to my mother on the phone.  She said she hoped after I finished the pullover I was working on that I would knit something for her.  I didn't say anything.  I hope to keep it a surprise.  She doesn't use a computer, either.

I wanted the lace yarn so I could start the shawl for the knitting group Friday afternoon.  I didn't think I could work on my Sumac Shawl then.  I couldn't find anything else, though, so I took the shawl pattern.  For some reason I have to make 3 attempts at a new shawl before I can work the pattern right.  The same thing was true last Friday.   At least I left with a few rows finished that I was confident in.