OK, so I couldn’t resist!

Well, today has been a verrrry quiet day! It started with getting up late, some serious shoveling, and back to the computer looking at knitting, yarn, ideas for Christmas for hubby (as if I could ever fool him!) and just an overall lazy day.
But last night, I did get quite a bit of knitting done – or at least it felt like quite a bit for three hours’ worth. That little bit ‘o sleeve in the lower left of the picture is what I got done last night, which means I have some hope of finishing this thing before Christmas Eve – although my hope was to finish it by today! It’s the Portland pattern by Lisa Lloyd from the book, A Fine Fleece (Amazon.com link) reviewed here previously. I have made two changes to the pattern: First, I inserted a “St. John’s Cross” pattern between the upper shoulders on the back to personalize the sweater for its recipient; and second, I decided to make it a cardigan rather than a pullover, which will require a button band (or actually an i-cord band with i-cord loops instead of buttonholes, I think). I’m thinking the sweater will be used to keep the recipient warm in a rather cold office with precarious heat. When things warm up, it’s a lot easier to take a cardigan off than a pullover – at least it is for me, LOL:). The good news is, the recipient will never see this, but for those of you out there who know for whom this is, please don’t spill the beans! And that means you, Diane, LOL!:)
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to get a bunch of patterns from the Twist Collective and some scarf/shawl patterns that I’ve had my eye on for a long time by Sunday Holm and Anne Hanson, respectively. I am so determined to do these things, that I put them up as projects on Ravelry, even though I haven’t started them yet. Of course, before I do start them, I have to finish S’s neck warmer/cowl thingie, her Buttony, another sweater on the needles about 1/2 done for D, and a couple of sweaters for myself that are fairly close to finishing! So, it may be February or so before I start them. (NOTE, I said START:))
Not one to be without reading material for the weekend, I have been happily perusing
the Winter 2009 Interweave Knits, the Fall 2009 Verena, and Fall/Winter 2009 Debbie Bliss magazines. Yes, I know, I should be reading other things, too, and I am. But this is what I call fun reading:) Not mindless, but fun! I think the cover pattern – Nora’s Sweater by Pamela Powers intrigues me the most in the Interweave Knits, although there are quite a number of beautiful sweaters in there. Another one I really like is the Connie Chang Chinchio’s Alpaca Pleats Jacket. Alma’s scarf is also a beautiful piece by Mareike Sattler. Although Nora’s Sweater is complex with its pleating in the back and cabling at unusual angles, overall the sweater has very simple flowing lines. Similarly, the Pleats Jacket, a short-sleeved, waist length sweater, uses pleating and eyelet patterns along the front edges of this cardigan in a creative and elegant manner. Again, this sweater is a simple overall design, but the small details give it class – and excellent choice for a warmer weather work jacket. The scarf, too, is a very simple long and wide rectangle with patterning about 1/4 of the way in on each end. The secret to that pattern is the yarn.
As with Interweave, I found myself drawn to a pattern on the cover of the Fall 2009 Verena (I am a sucker for aran sweaters) and a simpler pattern in a t-shirt style. The Aran cardi – called Giselle attributed to the Verena Design Team, has the wide ribbed button bands in front that you see in a lot of patterns this year and very large, yet simple cable patterns in the front and on the sleeves. The short-sleeved Diamond Pullover, also by the Verena Design Team, is simple and I believe would be flattering as part of a casual outfit or worn with work clothes. The large rolled collar and the stitch pattern add some lovely elements to what would otherwise be a very plain Jane t-shirt.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this particular “t-shirt” is supposed to be knit up in cashmere! Verena, too, has quite a number of lovely patterns, for men, women and children.

Debbie Bliss never disappoints either! There are a number of lovely patterns in this issue, but I really like this vintage style, but color-modernized 1940s Style Sweater. It is so cute! Just look at that Peter Pan collar!
Well, dear 2.4 readers, I am going to have to go get dinner ready for the two or three who are home this evening and then finish writing those Christmas cards so I can mail them out tomorrow! Be back as soon as I can, and until then, God be with you ’til we meet again!
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Oh the weather outside is frightful

Which means I have no where to go, so let me blog, let me blog, let me blog! Finally, a free moment to slap something down on (virtual) paper! The past few weeks, dear 2.5 and greatly diminishing readers, has been a bit busy. As usual, one has to work for a living and I am grateful to have the job I do, although this week has been a particularly tough one for reasons I do not feel comfortable sharing in a public forum. Let’s just say we lost a battle in one situation and the entire war in another.
It’s also the end of the calendar year, and, like many, I like to catch up on things at work and get myself organized for next year. That, plus a lot of extra practicing Christmas music (my favorite thing to do) and knitting when I’m not nodding off (my next favorite thing to do) has made for a very busy and full schedule.
Since last we met, dear readers, I have had a number of interesting experiences. The first Saturday in December, a group of us in the choir went Christmas caroling at the two local nursing homes we usually visit. Only this time, we had a few very wet inches of snow on the ground. As a result, there were only about 15 of us, give or take, but we were a merry bunch. Susie, a resident of one of the nursing homes, followed us and sang along with us when we went our rounds of the hallways for the independently living folks. Susie was with us last year and I was happy to see her again this time:)! Susie is not much older than I am. She lost her husband about 32 years ago when still a young woman and has been lost without him it seems. I will keep her in my thoughts this Christmas. On my way home, I stopped for groceries and the snow had turned to a freezing cold rain! By the time I got home, I was ready to change into some warm socks and cruddy old comfortable clothes to warm up! John was off that night, so we got to spend some time together.
The days over the last month are blending together in my mind. If I didn’t keep a calendar, some days I wouldn’t know what day of the week it is! I’ve gotten a lot of client visits done, had a number of court hearings and have spent a great deal of time in extra choir rehearsals and bell choir rehearsals. By the time I get home, I’m wiped out and falling asleep. But in a good way! We have practiced between the two Sunday services, Thursday evenings at our usual time and lately on Monday evenings also! Tuesdays we have our regular bell choir practice and this past week, I was able to sneak in an hour or so of rehearsal on the tympani – yes, the tympani! A first for me (but I didn’t have the heart to tell Nancy, LOL!). Yes, I know how to play them pretty well, but never got the chance to in high school. Nancy needs our tympanist – Tom C. – to sing bass for two of our pieces, and our alto section is fairly well stocked, so I got elected to cover for him – and it has been a BLAST!!! Hopefully I won’t screw it up too badly, LOL!
Last weekend, was the second Sunday of the month, so the bells played at both services, in addition to practicing with the choir between the services. I was in Heaven:)! Nancy invited me to have dinner with her at PF Changs – as a Christmas gift! I ran home, prepped the beef stew for the family sunday dinner in the crock pot, with a note on the board since John was still sleeping and everyone else was either working or asleep or home at their own houses. – and then went over to St. John’s and to dinner.
That was so sweet of her! We had a great time, great conversation and great food. I really enjoyed myself – what a pleasant surprise!
By the time I got home, the family were all there, including the little ones – and I got their dinner ready for them! Of course I was stuffed, but I got to hold Johnny and give him his bottle while his folks had their dinner:) M and R were also there and I got to enjoy them as well.
As for Nancy’s Christmas gift, I am about 75 percent finished. Have a sleeve, sewing up and the button band and buttonhole band, and neckline/collar to finish. I may just make it, but it will be a close call! I hope she likes it. I’m not going to post any more pics of this until it’s done – more incentive!
I finally did get the pattern for Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Green Sweater, that Sunday Holm reconfigured (for want of a better term) and about which Jared Flood wrote in the Autumn 2009 issue of the Twist Collective. I don’t have the wherewithal to purchase the original yarn for this pattern, or the other offerings at Schoolhouse Press, as truly lovely as they are, but I did decide to use the above encore worsted weight in a bluish blue green color. I chose the worsted because I think I will need to make it a wee bit larger than the pattern calls for, so if the gauge is larger, it should work out for me. It will be a long time before I start this project – I am determined to finish some things first! And for no other reason than to inspire, I show you this olive green Ultra Alpaca Fine:) What it wants to be, I don’t know yet, but I suspect some sort of scarf, wrap or small shawl. We shall see:)
Well as you no doubt can see from the pictures at the top of this entry, it has been a very snowy time here in Merlin – and most of our part of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Two feet of snow has put a lot of things out of commission for a time. Hopefully by tomorrow the roads will be clear and we can get back to work Monday morning (of course I mean that! Sure….)
The main thing is to try to stay as safe as we can!
In the meantime, God be with you ’til we meet again!
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