The Teal Mission Gate

I drove my mother down to visit our cousins in the Texas hill country a few days ago. The highways were lined with bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush and Indian Blanket.  People were about everywhere plopping their friends and family down in fields of flowers for portraits.   The land was as so green that it reminded me of the first time I saw Ireland.

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My cousin is an artist and her home reflects her artistic flair.  Her home is not the only thing that reflects her ability to touch something and make it beautiful, her back yard is a haven.  There are things to look at tucked here and there throughout her yard but the one thing I really noticed on this visit is that TEAL seems to be her signature color.  She splashes TEAL everywhere.

Kim's Teal Chair

A TEAL chair is tucked in a corner by the fireplace.

Kim's Teal Garden Signs

TEAL garden signs painted and just about ready to go outside in the garden.

Kim's Teal Garden House

A few boards painted TEAL in the greenhouse.

Kim's TEAL Hens

A TEAL chicken tucked under some monkey grass.

Kim's Teal St. Francis

A TEAL St. Francis of Assisi tucked amongst clay pots from Mexico.

But my absolute favorite is a TEAL mission gate  surrounded by Austin stone that my cousin had made alongside her hubby.  What talent!

Kim's Teal Gate

They used wooden floor boards and salvaged the iron grate from another fence.  The bell once belonged to her husband’s grandmother.  The ability to create something like this amazes me.

Kim's Teal Gate

Kim's Teal Gate

Kim's Teal Gate

When I left to go home, as always, I felt inspired and creative. The first thing I did when I got back home was to pull out some yarn and start on a cowl using this lovely Malabrigo Arroyo that is pretty tealish.  

Allison's TEAL cowl

And, it was no wonder that today, when I went to my local quilt shop, The Needle Niche, to pick fabric for a quilt that a certain someone has been begging me to make that
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I just happened to be drawn to TEALs so I splashed neutrals throughout.

Allison's TEAL Party Mix

My creative juices are definitely flowing again and I’m ready to get going on a Lisa Hartman modern quilt.

Allison's TEAL Party Mix

What can I say? TEAL.

Trimming Fringe on UFO Thursday

When I posted about the Autumn Pueblo Stole last week someone asked it this was the same Pueblo stole I started last spring.  The one I started last spring was the High Country Pueblo Stole and, sadly, it was cast aside as I pursued other projects.  I am trying to overcome this very bad habit I have – the wanderlust eye – so today I have pulled out High Country and will knit it simultaneously with the Autumn stole. I am enthralled with both and am finding them both delightful to work on.

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There will be a twofold purpose in knitting both at the same time the first being obvious, I will have a finished stole the same time that I finish my cousin’s Pueblo.  We are both torn between the color ways and when both Pueblos are done I will be able to present her with a tangible choice.  Both are unique in their fetching colors and I would be hard pressed to choose between the two. I will let my cousin have the final say and regardless of the one she chooses know that the other will be fetching around my shoulders.

It may take a little bit longer to knit both stoles at the same time but this way I will be able to present them together and sometime this spring my cousin will both ‘feel’ and ‘see’ both when they are mailed down to the Texas hill country. Knitters are a tactile bunch of people and we often beam in delight when some scrumptious yarn is run through our fingers and deemed worthy to knit with.  The Sunday Knits yarn used in these stoles is that kind of yarn and is simply scrumptious.

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I will spend the morning trimming fringe and tying knots and then I will have to proceed into uncharted territory.  Up until now the pattern has been fairly clear because there have been charts and written directions but I am now at the point where I am instructed to continue on with the ribbing making the increases and decreases just as before.  Even working two stoles at a time has not been adequate time for me to get this pattern under my belt so now my brain is going to have to work a little harder!

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Which of these Pueblo stoles do you like best?  Is one more appealing to your color senses than the other?  What UFO project are you working on or having problems pulling out of time out?

Elf Knitting Revealed

Christmas is over and all elf knitting has been gifted and , I think, well received. It will be nice to pull out some projects I had set aside before the Christmas knitting and get back to them again. My mind has been a whirl of new ideas for the upcoming year. I will let them simmer in my brain over the next week and share them when the new year rings in.

My daughter looked beautiful in her Christmas hat today. She says I’m biased but I don’t agree with her. Some people are made to wear hats and some are not. She is one of the fortunate ones.

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The pattern was one of Jane Richmond’s designs called Pasha. I used Sublime Cashmere DK and it was a dream to knit with, very soft. The neutral color she chose will work with just about any outfit.
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Hubby got a new pair of socks for which he is always grateful. This man loves hand knit wool socks and what knitter can resist a request for socks instead of one for expensive gifts.

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Now I must confess that I sorely missed the mark on these socks. I planned to knit the Classic Socks from Two at a Time Socks but got hopelessly tangled in the tails from said socks as I tried to knit them the Magic Loop way on one very long circular needle. Hats off to any knitter who is able to do this. If I ever meet you I will take you to Starbucks and treat you to some delicious concoction of your choice and sing you highest of praise. Me on the other hand? I failed miserably and pitched one of the socks and knit them one at a time on that long looped circular needle which actually broke before I was finished.

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I also had a problem with the pattern. The smallest size would have been huge on my husband’s size twelve feet. I had to downsize the numbers by one repeat. I suppose I could have gone down to a size zero needle but really dislike using anything under 2.25mm.

My mother said she liked her beaded shawl. She likes sparkly things and I think it will sparkle along with her pretty blue eyes.

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Do you have special knitting plans as you wind down 2012? I do. I’m going to work diligently on the Colorado Sunrise Hat and finish it up. The colors in the sunrise are different in the wintertime so I’ve new colors to add. I’m going to watch some of my Craftsy classes to inspire me all over again. One class has a cardigan project and one a lace shawl, both need finishing. And there is a photography class to finish watching with a final project that will take a year to complete.

What do you have going on this last week of the year?

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Sitting Under an Aspen Tree Reading

I have a favorite place to sit and read in the Fall, it is under an aspen tree in a grove next to my house.  The leaves shimmer in the breeze and are golden in the sun against bright blue skies this time of year.  The temperature is perfect and I am still able to sit outside without a jacket.  I could easily nap under these trees but today I am enjoying words woven into a story that holds promise This afternoon, as I admired a fallen golden leaf on the ground, I discovered that I am not the first to enjoy this spot.  There was a rusted pencil sharpener lying amongst the golden leaves.

It is possible that this pencil sharpener is mine from a bygone day but it is more likely that it belonged to one of my girls.  They used to work on schoolwork under this tree when they were young, at least a decade ago.  It is easy to daydream on a day like today and let my thoughts drift back to pleasant memories of when we all lived together under one roof.

I just started Little Bee by Chris Cleave and can’t tell you much about it yet.  The publishers were very secretive about the plot saying they wanted the story to unfold in a magical way for you.  I’ll tell you more about it in a future Yarn Along.

I have finished a hat for my knitting buddy who is going through chemo therapy for breast cancer.  She shaved her head last weekend in preparation for the inevitable hair loss.  She said it is better to do this before you start seeing clumps of hair fall out.  Being a knitter, she is well stocked with warm hats but knew the bond of friendship we share would lead me to knit a special hat filled with well wishes.  She picked Shedir and I knit it with Rowan Calmer, a soft cotton yarn that will be easy on her head.  It is a pretty hat and I enjoyed knitting it although I will forewarn you that it is not one that you can just whip out in a hurry.

Joining Ginny and her reading buddies on a Yarn Along today and looking forward to seeing what books they are reading.

Yarn Along (When I Should Be Working on Christmas Presents)

Following Ginny this morning to find out what all the bookworms are reading and knitting …..

Why didn’t I hire that elf back in early November?  WHY didn’t I knit these Chrismas presents in July like I promised myself I would?  I know, I know…just about every knitter I know is saying the same thing right now.  Fortunately, my remaining three presents are being knit for three very understanding recipients who will be pleased to get these gifts whenever they are done.

I started Quinnipiac by Leila Raabe and ran out of yarn.  This gorgeous cowl will be for my daughter’s friend and is knit with the same  Malabrigo yarn that I knit her Koolhaus with last year.  I must confess, I bought this Quinnipiac pattern not only for her gift but because I want to knit one for me, too!  This is a pattern that BrooklynTweed featured in his BT 11 Fall Collection and I just so happen to have some Shelter yarn in my stash.

My book for today’s Yarn Along is called A Chance to Die and is the story of Amy Carmichael.  She went to India as a missionary and spent fifty-three years there without furlough.  While there, Amy founded the Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge for children in moral danger-children who were orphaned or unwanted and sold to the temple.  Her life of obedience and courage is one sure to inspire me so I’m looking forward to burying myself in this book soon, very soon.

Aestlite Shawl will be for my dearest friend in a lovely Malabrigo color called Impressionist Sky.  I can just picture some of those Impressionist paintings as I knit this for my sweet friend.  I’m on the part of the shawl that is perfect for knitting in the dark while my husband is asleep.  Just kidding!  But I am kind of wishing I had some of those Mrs. Weasley magical knitting skills right now!

My husband claimed the Polar Chullo hat when I showed him the yarn.  Although the hat is in subtle natural shades this style is going to be out of his manly comfort zone.  Ear flaps?  Do real men wear ear flaps?  You bet they do and I’m thinking my man is going to look pretty doggone cute in them.

How about you?  Are you busy, busy, busy knitting YOUR Christmas presents?  Read any good books lately?  Following Ginny…..

Yarn Along – November 8

Following Ginny this morning and her literary friends on a Yarn Along…..

Knitting today will be focused on fininshing an Heirloom Blanket.  This is the first hand-knit item I have made for the little pea-in-the-pod, a soon-to-be-born granddaughter.  This soft blanket will match some co-ordinated outfits to be given to my daughter when I travel to her baby shower next month.

I have knit many baby gifts in my time but this one was accompanied by a feeling of awe and wonder.  A miracle of life inside of my daughter.  My daughter!   As I knit this blanket I think about that little baby who will be wrapped in it and I reflect that her grandmother’s love will encircle her with this blanket.  I pray for her, this wonderful little being who will wrap her fingers around my daughter’s finger just as my daughter once wrapped hers around mine.  Such sweet memories I have and now my daughter will have her own sweet memories, too.

This pattern is named appropriately for it truly is an heirloom.  An heirloom of love passed from a mother (who will soon be a grandmother) to her daughter (who will soon be a mother) to her own sweet babe who will be loved by all.

The rather bizzare tale is continuing to unfold in The Shadow of the Wind.  Next week I hope to give you a review and present a nicely blocked Heirloom Blanket.

In Want of a Pompom

The Aspen leaves are at their peak, Homecoming has come and gone across the USA along with the many elaborate pompoms that accompany it and my Wood Hollow Hat is in want of a pompom of a different kind.

Typically used for a decorative trim at the top of a hat, the end of a cord or on a child’s garment, these small puffy balls are made out of yarn. I have never made one but my purple Wood Hollow Hat is finished and laying in wait of one. I have been told that you can make a pompom by cutting two pieces of cardboard in identical circles the diameter you want your pompom to be. I think I would rather make my pompom using a commercially produced pompom maker. I know I must have one somewhere around here!

The Wood Hollow mittens are also finished and waiting for the temperatures to drop. I enjoyed Kirsten Kapur’s Wood Hollow pattern set and especially enjoyed knitting with this soft yarn, Berroco Ultra Alpaca! I have two skeins left and have found the perfect infinity scarf pattern to match this set.

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The first Bambeanies hat, Quynn, is finished for my great-nephew. This was a FUN pattern using a very unique construction technique. I feel like I am on an adventure knitting these ‘bambeanies’ and am learning to think outside of the box. The Quynn in the book was knit with Noro which was gorgeous but since I’m on a quest to bust my stash this will have to do for now. Four more Bambeanies to go!

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