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I live in Marblehead, MA and love to knit and spin!  I host the Knitting by the Sea podcast on YouTube.  I am Saratogaknitting on Ravelry and Instagram!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Getting Ready!

Are you all surviving these last days? I'm not doing too badly this year! The tree is decorated (notice we have ONLY green and blue lights - Mark insists . . . ;-) The presents are all wrapped (well, almost - only one or two more to go!) There is some mystery wrapping going on right now upstairs - I've been banished to the kitchen until further notice. The roast beef is ordered and just needs to be picked up tomorrow. The Italian cold cuts need to be picked up tomorrow for our Christmas Eve feast. And of course we have to bake cookies for Santa tomorrow! We may build a Gingerbread House tomorrow afternoon as well. My sister-in-law bought kits for the kids, but her crew is sick next door, so the Rowing Cat did not go over. We have the kit though, and might make it tomorrow if we have time! And NO MORE HOLIDAY KNITTING!!!!

Here are a few photos of Gore Mountain after the big storm we had last weekend. Pretty nice!
Mark will be instructing 4 days this coming week. He may even go up on Christmas afternoon just to escape the chaos that will be family kids Christmas present exchange on Tuesday afternoon . . .



I've been working on a pair of socks originally started by the Rowing Cat ages ago. The yarn is Austermann Step with the aloe vera. It's very nice to work with. Good bus knitting. I must admit to the mistakes I made with this sock though. I'm working the cuff with the pattern put up by Brenda Dayne of Cast-on. It's a wonderful pattern. Simple, simple, simple and I thought I'd just try it on these socks. But this is the second time doing the cuff. You see, the pattern on Brenda's website is written in four rows for straight needles. The second and fourth row are Purl rows. And she makes note that it can also be worked successfully in the round. Can you see where this is headed??? How many years have I been knitting??? And still I did the first row, then purled the second, did the third row and purled the fourth. And it just didn't look right, but I kept on going. For at least 2 inches. Then, as I was looking at it, and looking at it, and looking at it, the light finally went off (kind of like the Grinch ;-) and I realized that because I was working in the round I just had to KNIT the second and fourth rows, NOT PURL!!!! So I visited the frog pond! I still can't believe I did this! It was a humbling experience!

This is some beautiful Romney wool from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber club that I've been spinning. I really seem to enjoy spinning pure wool. And the colors are wonderful. I drafted the first half of the fiber so that I get good stripe definition. I'll just let the second half spin up as is and the result should be very soft and muted.


Today Mark and the Rowing Cat made Grandma's Secret Christmas Candy. I asked them if I could post pictures and the recipe here. You should have seen both of their faces - publish the SECRET RECIPE?????? So, I'm sorry, you can't have the recipe. Just suffice to say that it involves confectioner's sugar and peanut butter . . . .


And this is what I'm left with! Yes, I am the official cleaner . . .


Well, I've been cleared to enter the rest of the house again, so I think I'll go watch the Patriots and get ready for the heavy rain and high winds we're expecting this evening!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Knits

I went to the Post Office yesterday to mail some packages. I asked the clerk for a book of stamps and I said to give me whatever he had in his drawer. "Whatever?" he asked. "Whatever" I said. This is what he gave me - how great is that??? I almost burst out laughing in the middle of the Post Office! Mark and the Rowing Cat could not believe it when I showed them!


I think I'll go back and get more!

I did some last minute Christmas shopping yesterday and look what I found. After the stamps, finding this card was a bonus! It's gone off to a knitting/blogging friend! Once I was done shopping, I knew I was destined to get back home and knit, knit, knit.

I had a rough knitting afternoon/evening though. Remember that beautiful Malabrigo I was knitting with? I finished the scarf and decided to make a pair of fingerless mitts with the leftover. That went fine and the mitts are completed and put away for a special recipient. I had still more yarn left over and decided to make another pair of fingerless mitts for our office Secret Santa exchange on Thursday. I finished one and got through about half of the second and I RA OUT OF YARN!!! I was just tempting fate. Oh well. I put the incomplete mitt on some waste yarn and put them away to wait for the day that I can get another skein of that beautiful yarn . . . And then I pulled out some Cascade 220 from the stash and cast on again. So my goal is to finish the NEW set of mitts today during the Patriots game!

While I was gone, this came into the house! We always get our tree from Bob's Trees. It's about a half hour ride one way. I went on the trek two years ago and we got completely lost. Since then I have been banned from the trip. Can you feel how sad I feel about the ban???;-) So every year, Mark and the Rowing Cat get to go out in the cold and figure out how to get the tree onto the car, up on our back porch and into the house!

We're in the midst of another winter storm here in Saratoga. This is our porch this morning. I had cleared it of all of the snow from the last storm yesterday afternoon, so this all fell last night. We've spent the morning digging out the cars. I think we're due for some freezing rain and then more snow tonight. Will there be school tomorrow? That is the big question . . .
For this afternoon, it's cooking tomato sauce and stew for later in the week. There's a flank steak marinating in the refrigerator to be grilled later - yum! And, oh yes, we have to put the lights on the tree . . . !

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Working Away

I picked up this book recently and am enjoying it! It's a great book full of interesting patterns.

The format is the same as when it was originally published and the writing/descriptions are a little dated, but the patterns aren't! I'm keeping it by my bedside for reading before sleep. What could be better? The patterns range from easy to pretty complicated. But, I can feel my fingers itching to try some as I read.

I had a wonderful afternoon during our Thanksgiving jaunt to Marblehead! I was able to meet up with Jen and do some yarn shopping! The weather was freezing, but sunny, so after a quick bowl of chowder at Quincy Market we hoofed it over to Windsor Button for some shopping. We both picked up some Malabrigo! What a treat!

Jen gave me this great clutch - beautiful!

And this book of stitches - seems to be a theme this season! I love the color photos! I'll be using this to design my socks this winter!

Here's the Malabrigo knit up into a scarf for my father-in-law! This yarn is fantastic to knit with - I'm definitely getting some more.

And my latest spinning endeavor. Shetland wool in the "Celebration" colorway from the Spunky Club. I'm leaving it as singles. I'm thinking of making a felted clutch with it.

This is 4 ounces of Romney wool called "Goblin Eyes" from the Spunky Club. I'm very pleased with the result. The colors are so muted. The wool itself has a nice bloom on it after being washed.

Next time - the end of Sock Wars!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Where Have I Been???

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Life has been busy and the Rowing Cat has been using the computer non-stop for school projects . . . But things have been happening here. Here are pictures of my husband's latest project. It is a Schoenbrod scull and he is happily engaged in refurbishing it. He's varnished all of the wood and stretched out and attached the new hull fabric. It is looking great!


Yes, I have been spinning. This is an early photograph of a skein I just wound up today. It is 4 ounces of Romney wool from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber of the Month for October. It's called Goblin Eyes. It spun like a dream! Notice the strange way the yarn is running over the bobbin? Thanks to a generous spinner on Ravelry, I got hold of an article on using Louet wheels. The article suggested running the yarn across the bobbin one or several times. This technique makes it easier to spin a little finer because the fiber is taking a little more time to move from your hands to the bobbin. What a great tip! It was one of those little "why didn't I think of that moments".

This is the skein of tencel blend spun and plied. It was very easy to spin, but I started a scarf with the plied yarn and I wish now that I had left it in singles. It's pretty to look at though!

I have more to tell, but it will have to wait until later this week - tales of angora bunny fiber woe and a great meet-up in Boston with Jenn as well as some new book purchases!