Friday, April 13, 2012

Ahoy Matey!

Time for another vacation!

I told you before I was headed across the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise.  The time is here, we are leaving from Florida on Sunday.  It is a 14 day cruise, with 7 days at sea to cross the Atlantic.  Then we have stops at the Canary Islands, Portugal and several in Spain.

My bags are packed - I've removed several pieces of clothing, after thinking about what I really needed - and added another ball of yarn.   Really, what is more important - looking nice for people you will never see again (except TanMan and our friends) or having enough projects to knit??

I'm just finishing up Color Affection.  I think I might have it done in a few days and I don't want to stop working on it.  I've also got the Maltese shawl and my BeeKeepers Quilt hexipuffs.

The lady friend going along is also a knitter - I taught her to knit 5 years ago when the four of us rented a house together for a month in Florida.  Well, actually we rented it for 2 months, but TanMan discovered he had cancer, and we had to cut our time in Florida short for him to begin treatment (but I digress).

She has continued to knit and make some lovely items, but hasn't tackled a lace shawl yet.  Since we will have lots of time to work on the lace, I suggested she try Traveling Woman.  She will be using some lovely Studio June Sydney Sock yarn.   Naturally, I thought I should knit the same project, so I am using Miss Babs Yummy sock yarn in Deep Sea Jellyfish (love the name, don't you?).

I'm hoping there is cheap wifi on board, so I can share a few thoughts along the way.  If not, I will fill you in on the adventure once I return.

I'm leaving you with this flamingo on a pillow. Why?  When grandson Mason was ready to leave our condo to fly back to MI, he asked me if I saw what he left me on my pillow.   He said he moved the flamingo from the dresser and put it on my pillow, so I could sleep with it when he was gone.  How sweet is that?

So I'm leaving you all a flamingo on your pillow!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Easter Weekend!

I've been having a super busy week. Oldest Son and grandson Mason are here for spring break week. It has been a blast, but I think we are all exhausted. The boys leave tomorrow.

They had a ton of fun in the surf...

On our way to Orlando, we stopped at Plant City for the famous strawberry shortcake.  Take a look at the Strawberry King and Prince that I found!  (Oldest Son was talking on the phone to work - but I took the pic anyway).

We spent the night at a hotel in Orlando, then a full day at the Magic Kingdom.  Mason was so excited to stay in a hotel - it was the first time he had ever done that.

 Disney was tons of fun - but almost "too much" for 5 year old Mason. It was so crowded, it was sunny and hot - many rides had 60+ min waiting times. We managed to do some fun rides and avoid those crazy lines, but it was a long, long day.

Nice photo with Donald in Frontier Land.  Yeah - we took him on Splash Mountain - I think that was his favorite ride.

Here they are after a long day at Disney.  Three thumbs up and still smiling.

Not much crafting has been done. I knit a little bit on my Kauni design, it is about 70% done, and I was hoping to get it done before our cruise, but I'm starting to have my doubts.

I also need to decide what project to bring on the cruise. I think it might be time to bring the Crystel Seyfarth out of hibernation. But then there is Color Affliction, that is almost done. And I wish I could bring the needle point too. What is a girl to do? Especially when I am going to need my suitcase for clothes (gasp) and not yarn.

I guess that is all for now.

The Easter Bunny and I wish you a happy Easter weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A quiet day

I'm having a quiet day today. Probably one of my last for a few weeks.

Our friends who have been staying in the area leave tomorrow. We will have a last dinner together tonight, and I might not see them until TNNA in June. We have had so much fun talking knitting, needlepoint, families - just a great friendship.

She helped me get started on a needlepoint project - I've had it for several years.  It is a needlepoint pocket that you attach to this awesome tote bag, called Pischke Pockets.  You can't really tell how far I've gotten, but you can see the cute design.  It is called Florida Keys (perfect for me, right?)

Tomorrow we are going to our first Spring Training game, to see the Detroit Tigers play the team that trains in Sarasota...I'm drawing a blank. Oh well, TanMan and I will have fun going, I think. <<Just in from TanMan - the Tigers play the Baltimore Orioles.>>  You can tell how much of a baseball fan I am, can't you??

On Saturday, Oldest Son and grandson Mason will arrive. I can't wait. The big event for this spring break is a day at the Magic Kingdom - a first for Mason. They will be here for a week, then TanMan's sister and husband arrive for 3 days. I don't anticipate getting a lot of projects done for a while.

Today I made the March Block of the Month squares. I think I like the look of these blocks the best so far. Take a look.

Not sure when the April quilt blocks will get done....

 I'm going on vacation the last half of the month of April - taking a transAtlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Canary Islands, Portugal and Spain. Hope I can get reasonably priced wifi on the cruise, so I can blog about the trip. The best part is the 7 days at sea when we cross the Atlantic. Hope it's not too rough because I plan on knitting a lot.

Florida is an interesting place.  When you think of all the strange things that go on, don't they always seem to happen in Florida?  Casey Anthony? The shooting in Sanford?  A whole fantasy city designed around a mouse?  I think some folks here just don't think like the rest of the world.  I saw this sign outside the dollar store - is it just me - does this make any sense?

Okay, enough from me for now.

Hope you have time to pick up your knitting today.  Honestly, don't you think you should make time for knitting everyday?

PS. Does anyone know why random words in my blog post are in a different color and underlined?  I am not linking them to a url address, and I can't seem to make it stop!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

No Excuses

I won't bore you with the excuses (friends, dog, knitting, quilting, baking, beach walks, swimming), but let me be clear, I have been thinking about you, even though my thoughts didn't make it to a blog post!!

Quilt of the Month
I've got February done - but haven't started March yet.  I love this class - I think Craftsy is a great concept for people who want to take a class on their own terms.  The real bonus is that I can watch it on my IPad, and keep it handy near my cutting table and sewing machine.

Here are January and February squares...  they aren't connected, just laying on the floor.

A few months ago, I joined the Miss Bab's Yarn Club (some kind of "travel" concept).  I have loved Miss Bab's since I first saw her at Stitches Midwest.  Since then, I've purchased her sock yarn several times - and to make me love her even more, last summer she came to the Allegan FiberFest, which is a "must do" for MI  fiber lovers.

Today I got my first package in the mail.  I am in love - I want to cast on right now.

It came out of the box like this -Everything was wrapped up in Miss Bab's tissue paper, then tucked into a clear plastic bag, sealed with multiple colors of ribbon.

They get A+ on presentation.

Then you open it up for all kinds of wonder!

This installment is a visit to the Seychelles.  There is a booklet with photos of what to bring on the trip, places to visit and go for dinner.  Recipes for a drink and chicken curry dish are provided.

Then there is the pattern - Seychelles by Susanna IC  (which is STUNNING)

The yarn - Miss Babs "Yet" Lace, 65% wool, 35% silk, 500 yards in a lovely color (my photo doesn't do it justice).

Beads - Coordinated 6/0 beads for the shawl

Beading Crochet hook - HiyaHiya US 14

Decorative tin - with a  needle and "ticket inside

Treats - Life Saver and Jolly Ranchers

Last but not least, a shell.

I am in the middle of a new design, getting ready to start a needlework canvas and nearing the end of Color Affliction.  I've got March quilt of the month waiting, a sun dress for my grand daughter and Malthese shawl still to do.

But I MUST CAST ON this shawl, NOW.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Knit, Sew, Beach, Repeat

Been busy at the Mermaid Knitting studio - and I just haven't taken the time to check in with you.

TanMan had a birthday - it was a big event - went to dinner with friends and ate my homemade spice cake with caramel frosting.  Cake was a little dry, frosting pretty sweet, but TanMan was just right.  I think he enjoyed the attention - and doesn't seem to mind his new age.  I got him a t-shirt when I was at Downtown Disney (a sleeveless Harley shirt that shows off his great arms) and a gift card to his favorite clothing store.

We have two couples staying the month of March near us, so we have been super busy running around with them.  One of the ladies is my good friend Dawn, who owns a great knitting store in Milwaukee.  She also wholesales several lines of yarn in the US - so we talk knitting all of the time.  Right now I am trying out two different kinds of knitting needles that she sells in her shop - the wooden Dreamz interchangeable needles and Addi Turbo Lace Clicks.   I like the Addi lace Clicks the best, so I think I will have to get a set for myself.  Love those long pointy tips, and the click joins are nice too.

Dawn is buying one of my designs for her Kauni yarn line and will sell it as pattern in her collection.  I will share the photo once it gets taken - I'm happy she likes it.

I have been busy working on my Color Affliction.  It is almost done.  I ended up switching the third yarn to a light grey - it looks good, don't you think?

Finally got out my sewing machine. Devoted a day to Interior Design , where I sewed 5 decorator pillows for the living room.  I had bought fabric and trim when we were in Chicago seeing the grandkids, and I think they turned out nice.

Can you see my Lizard Ridge afghan in the back?  It is knit out of Noro Taiyo and I LOVE it.

I am behind on the Block of the Month class on Craftsy.  I got busy with February's block, only to discover that I was not using a 1/4" seam.  Block was too small and I had to redo.  I guess that is why I am taking the class, right?  Here it is almost done using the correct size seams.   Still have one more Feb block to make, then on to March.

I bought a new quilting foot for my machine today.  Found it at WalMart - who knew? Hope it helps me sew those all important scant 1/4" seams.

TanMan and I have also found the time to hit the beach - here we are in front of our condo at the water's edge.  Maybe I should knit and sew less and sit on the beach more??

The weather seems to be great all over the US - so I hope the sun is shining down on your knitting.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Knitting Update

I finished Sophie's baby blanket and I love the pattern! I am excited for grandson Mason to give it to his baby sister!

Pine Forest Baby Blanket
Berocco Comfort in pale pink - 3 skeins
It looks like a complicated knit pattern, but it worked up quick. I will use this as my "go to" baby gift in the future.

Zigzag skirt
No progress on this. Not quite sure how to proceed.

Beekeeper's Quilt
My vase runneth over. The new addition of Studio June Sydney Sock puffs are great! They blend well with the Koigu. This is my favorite project to work at the store or on the go.

Last, but not least (drum roll please) - Color Affection.
                       Or Color Affliction as I refer to it to my friends.

 I have been lusting for this pattern every since Plucky Knitter was selling kits with the pattern - I tried twice to purchase the kits, but her website kept crashing and I didn't get to purchase.

 But no worries, the pattern became available recently and I bought it. Did some stash diving and came up with Miss Bab's Yummy sock yarn.

Not sure if I'm going to use the multi as my third yarn, I might buy another color - I'll check it out when I go to the yarn shop on Thursday.

So far, this is what I've got. I didn't follow my own advice and read the comments on Ravelry BEFORE I started the pattern. I only looked at it once I decided the edges were too tight of the first color. I've fixed the problem from this point on - and after much angst last night- decided not to rip it out. Hoping the tightness works out in the blocking.

There were a bunch of comments and suggestions for this pattern on Ravelry. I'm using the following:
- I am inserting a YO between the first and second sts of the RS rows, and dropping them on the WS.
- I also plan to work just two sts past the w&t instead of three, when I get to the short rows.
I think this is going to work up fast, so stay tuned for more.

The weather has been great. It is breezy on the gulf, but nice and sunny. TanMan and I sat on the beach today and soaked up some rays. Then I jumped into the gulf for a quick dip - it was a little chilly- but not as cold as swimming in Lk Michigan!

Hope the sun shines on your knitting.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I didn't mean for so much time to pass, but we had company for a few days and I was playing hostess with the most-est with my sister and brother-in-law. They visited us 2 years ago at our old place, but this was their first time at our beach condo.

I hope they had a good time, I was happy to see my sister. They live in NJ, so we don't connect often, and she is my only sibling. Ever since my Mom passed away almost 6 years ago, and my sister relocated from the Chicago area to NJ, we just don't see each other as often as we should.

We are as different as night and day, but those family bonds are strong!

I didn't knit much while she was here, but it doesn't mean I wasn't thinking about it! And reading about it!! Have you seen the Spring/Summer 2012 Vogue Knitting? I think it is a great issue. Fell in love with these projects:

#2 Oversized top

#3 Cardi Wrap

#24 Hooded Cardigan

Then there is my on-going obsession with knit skirts.  In the past issue of Vogue, there is a great zigzag skirt. 

I have a bunch of Rowan Summer Tweed in different colors (i bought it for a Kaffe Fasset sweater several years ago!!) and I want to make this skirt. However, I want to knit it for the top down AND in the round, so it is practically re-writing the pattern. I have the waistband done, but I'm concerned about how to make my increases. Not sure if I should continue this or move on.

So what is a girl to knit??

I've clearly lost my knitting mojo and I need some inspiration.  Maybe it is time to start another project??

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yarn Porn

I am getting ready to return to Florida and have snapped a few pics of my yarn purchases before they get packed.

I went a bit crazy on buying yarn from my friend Jill June (who dyes yarn for her business Studio June) to stock my Mermaid Knitting store on Etsy. I'm hoping knitters will love this yarn for minis as much as I do. I like to include a hexipuff in my Etsy shop pictures, so I've been busy knitting hexis (I think I've completed 12 in the past week.).

Jill's Sydney Sock yarn works up into lovely hexi's, her colors have depth to them and the yarn makes a soft, yet substantial puff. They are knitting up in the same size as my Koigu puffs, so gauge is good too.

Take a look at these great colors.

I can't wait to get back to Florida to start winding mini skeins!

It has been a great 10 days, with lots of time spent with our 4 kids, 6 grandkids and our friends.  But I'll have to admit, I am ready to trade in my boots for flip-flops! 

Jax got a new hair cut and he is ready for the trip too.

Florida here we come...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Birthday !!

Today I am celebrating two of the best things in my life!

Happy Birthday to my Oldest Son!

Happy Birthday to my Youngest Son!

I am so proud of the men you have become.
Love, Mom

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Michigan Winters

I have been back in MI for four days and even though it isn't snowy here, I can tell it is winter because of three things:
1)  Chapped lips - never happens to me in Florida
2)  Dry skin - I have used lots of Jergens Ultra Healing lotion in the past few days
3) Where is the sun??  I had forgotten how gray the days can be

We came back home for ten days to get our "fix" of the grandkids, and to celebrate birthdays with my sons. We have made the rounds between Kalamazoo and the Chicago suburbs and have managed to see all 5 grandkids.  Nothing better.   There will be repeat visits with most of them too - once is not enough.  

Tomorrow I am knitting with my long-time knitting group.  Can't wait to see the girls!!  I will also be connecting with Jill June, the talented dyer behind Studio June yarns.  I will be turning her lovely yarn into mini-skeins and selling them at my Etsy store, Mermaid Knitting.  I hope to be flying back to Florida with a suitcase full of Studio June yarn-goodness.

Thursday I will be brushing off my pharmacy skills and working a day at the Pharmacy.  It is always good to see the other employees again - and the customers.

Friday is the birthday celebration, Young Son is turning 24 and Oldest Son will be 28.  They share the same birthday, in an unplanned freak of nature on my part.  They are at the age now when they think it is great to share the same special day.  Their idea was to visit the casino with TanMan and I, so that's the plan for the birthday.   Wish them luck in hitting the jackpot!!

No photos for this post.  It is getting late and I just wanted to let you know what is happening in my world. I will post again soon with some pics of my yarn buying for Mermaid Knitting!   

Knit Happy my friends!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This and That

Another week has flown by.  I was busy with our second guest of the season, so no posting this week!

My friend from MI came to Orlando for a business conference and she extended her stay to spend some quality girl time with me.  I joined her in Orlando for her last night there and hung out at the pool while she attended afternoon session.
After she finished for the day, we headed to Downtown Disney for some fun.  It was a great place to walk around, people watch and have some great food.

I almost got eaten by a dinosaur, but escaped!

We were amazed by the Lego creations...

Had dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Cafe (pumpkin ravioli with browned butter sauce - yum) and spent a few hours hanging in the Mouse's town.

The next day, after she finished the conference, we drove back to Englewood.  We stopped at a favorite place of ours along US 4.  Parksdale Farms, in Plant City, serves the best strawberry shortcake.

Okay, I had some ice cream with the shortcake too...

I got a little knitting done this week too, mostly on the baby blanket I started.

Pattern: Pine Forest Baby Blanket
Yarn:  Berroco Comfort
This is a nice pattern, just a two row repeat on the front side with all purl on the wrong side.  It looks more complicated than it is.  It will be very washable in the Comfort, so I think the baby mom will like it!

I have also continued to knit some Hexipuffs, only this time I am using the correct needle size.  I will be leading a Knit Along at A Good Yarn this Thursday at 11:00.  If you are in the area, stop on in and catch the Beekeeper fever!

We have one week left before we return to the cold of MI for a week.  My sons both have a birthday on Feb 24, so TanMan and I are flying home to celebrate with them and to check in with all of the grandkids.  We do miss them when we are gone.

Last, but not least, another dog picture.  Here is Jackson bothering our friends' dog, Beaker.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Knitting Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is here. Hope you have a fun project to work on during the game. I think I will be doing fair aisle knitting in the Malthese shawl.

This weekend has been a bit like camp. I saw on Purl Bee website the Valentine Friendship Bracelets and decided I needed to make these for my grand daughters.

My supplies were a blocking board and T-pins. I bought two skeins of Koigu KPPM just for this project - a cream and one with shades of pink.

It took me Friday night to learn how to make the knots. I guess I never learned to do this as a child, because it wasn't familiar to me at all. The first try was rough, but I managed to memorize the pattern.

The tragedy involved in this camp weekend was that the puppy got my first, not very pretty bracelet.  I let him chew on it for a few minutes, and when I went to take it away, I couldn't find it...  anywhere...really.  Hope it comes out in the poop without problems.

Saturday and today was production and here are the results, and honestly, I think I better stick with knitting!

TanMan has chicken wings in the oven and Pioneer Woman's broccoli cheese soup on the stove for our game time food.

Enjoy the game (and maybe a few commercials too?) - but most of all, pick up a fun project to knit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stung by the Bee Keeper

Happy February!  Are you wondering where January went, like I am?

I finished two "test panels" for my new design, Tamiami Wrap, in Kauni Effectgarn.  I dropped the panels in the mail today, so Dawn, who distributes the yarn in the US, can choose a solid color of Kauni to coordinate.  They are panels of mitered squares, that show off the color changes of the yarn.  More on the design in a future post!

So now there are two projects that I am actively working on:

Crystal Seyfarth Malthese shawl - lots of time spent on this, I love the multiple balls of yarn made into magic balls.  I am using the Knit Companion app on the IPad to work the charts.  This app is the absolute best!!

Then there is the Bee Keepers Quilt.  I got 19 new balls of yarn for my Etsy store, so my goal was to knit a hexipuff in each color, for the photos.  I really enjoyed working on all the new colors and the photos look great.    When I finished the photos, I dropped them in the large glass vase that I am keeping them in.  Then I got stung...well not actually stung...but I noticed the puffs that I just finished were a bit smaller than all the rest.   

So what was the deal???  Somewhere along the way, I must have started using the wrong needles? 
Quick check, yes, I should be using size 4's, and inside my hexipuff bag  I found size 2's.  Doh!

I'm bummed - and right now, I don't have the courage to see how many I knit using the wrong needles. Then I will have to decide if I can use them like they are...assuming I ever finish this project... 
Gauge can be an evil b__ch.

Tomorrow I am headed to A Good Yarn to teach another session on Ravelry.  Last week there were three students and I think they learned a lot.  I don't actually know if anyone has enrolled in tomorrow's class, I guess I will be surprised when I get there...  I see a yarn purchase in my future too - I want to knit a baby blanket, so I need a nice, soft, machine washable, non-itch yarn - hopefully a cotton blend.  

Hope your knitting projects are going well  - and no needle mix-ups happen to you!