Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Son's visit is over and I can knit again

My dear Marine son has gone back to NC before deploying. As he was pulling out of the driveway I found shoes, shirt, and jeans that he had left behind and went running to see if he wanted them. He said he’d get them when he came back home again, which won’t be for over a year at this point. After he left I found more stuff. He was the kid who did homework and left it home. He is still leaving things home, guess the Marines haven’t figured out how to get him to check for non-essential things before he leaves a spot. I am sure his rifle will not get left behind though.
I took over the bedroom when he left, more or less, we shuffled things around, so I could have a sewing room, so he stayed in the living room during this visit. I had been spending time in there knitting and watching DVDs, which didn’t happen a lot while he was home. Last night I got to do that again and finished up another dishcloth. That gives me two new ones, enough for the time being. I wasn’t going to start anything new and decided to inventory my yarn stash. Well, while inventorying, I uncovered some pretty yarn I got way back when I first thought knitting could be fun, a blue jeans variegated Cozi yarn (by Caron) and some eyelash yarn that went with it, to be knit together into a scarf. So much for good intentions. I pulled out some size 11 circulars, cast on 20 stitches and started knitting. Not for long because I needed to get up in the morning. The last scarf I knit was also with an eyelash yarn, but the other yarn was a fingering weight. Cozi is bulky, and is knitting up much denser. I only have 150 yards, so this isn’t going to be that long…

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bags, shopping and hand

Sometime late last year a friend of mine was making shopping bags for Christmas gifts. These used a plastic shopping bag (we used Target) as the pattern. I got a pattern from her, but never actually saw one made and never made one either. However, the thought has stayed with me. I use re-usable bags myself, and would like to encourage others to use them as well. Making some for gifts sounds like an excellent idea, but didn't quite get around to it for this year. But, as I was going into our garage for something I happened across a bag of fabric that I was going to get rid of, and it had some large pieces. I thought I could repurpose the fabric into shopping bags and brought it inside. Of course, by now, I had lost the pattern, so I went searching online and found http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=177482.0 this wonderful example of making a shopping bag. I made three, one with a pocket to fold the bag into, and two without. One went to my DD, and I hope she uses it for shopping.
Now that that little project is done for the time being, I decided to try and finish the handbag I started early this year. I have been wanting a new bag, and even have been looking at them in stores, but couldn't find any I really liked. So instead of shopping, I should have been sewing! This is the Diva Essential Designer Bag, almost done. I modified one outer pocket and added a key holder (swivel ring) inside. You won't see the zipper ends soon, they will be covered and the covering will either velcro or snap together, still debating. I have some magnet snaps that I could use, or the instructions call for hook and loop tape. I have a lot of this fabric left, so might make a wallet to match, someday .
PS: Finished the bag with snaps, picture not available.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Knitting Frenzy

I must admit I never thought I would be knitting quite as much as I have been lately. For years I said I didn't like to knit, but then sometime in the last year or so, it has been growing on me. Having a comfortable chair where I can do handwork helps, enormously. The knit gifts are done, not many this year, but that is OK! My black fun fur scarf is done, and I love it. And I have been knitting madly away at a shawl. I started one (a green Homespun), which might get frogged, and then decided that I wasn't that crazy about the way it was turning out, and started another one out of a purple-y Homespun (Barrington). I am two plus skeins into knitting this one, and am ready for it to be done (it will be three skeins long), but it is cozy sitting with it over my lap, knitting and watching TV. Maybe I will get it done before Christmas, then the question is, who gets it? Me or someone dear to me. I have several Cobalt blue skeins to make one for me, maybe a little different, cause while fast, it is getting a bit boring (basic stockinette stitch with a three stitch/three row garter stitch border, done on #15 needles). Once this is done I want to try stockings! Then get back to another shawl, and who knows, maybe even a sweater!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trip to England

Life had an exciting twist happen over Thanksgiving, I went to England! DH had a business trip, so I tagged along and when we realized it was for the Monday after Thanksgiving, we extended it to leave the day before. It was a long flight, but I brought along the black fun fur scarf to knit, my i-Pod (with book on it), and then we upgraded to World Travelor plus to give us a bit more leg room, and a lot more quiet (so I did manage to nap on the way over). Good thing, otherwise it would have been a very long day. We got there around noon, got a mini-tour on the way to the hotel (B&B), then went on a tour bus until we got to Westminster Abbey. We gave that an extensive look through. I had no idea so many people were buried there! With huge monuments for a lot of them. The more recent kings and queens are at Windsor (which we saw on our last day), but the early Norman kings are at Westminster Abbey. After spending a few hours there, we headed back to our hotel, stopping at a likely looking pub for dinner. I had boar sausages, DH had venison.
On Friday we got Oyster cards at the tube station, made using the tube and buses very easy, just plonk the card on the reader. Then we headed to the Tower of London, saw the Crown jewels, the old crowns with no jewels, graffiti scratched into tower walls by prisoners, an armery, and more. Again, spent several hours, then grabbed a bite to eat and went to the British Museum. Used Rick Steves' guide to hit the highlights. I have been an Egyptian history buff since the seventh grade, so seeing the Egyptian artifacts that the British "stole" was exciting! The first thing you see when you go into the Egyptian hall is the Rosetta stone, awesome! And bigger than I realized. Not something you pick up and carry around. We got back to the room around 7 and realized we would not make the pub crawl that night (scheduled to start at 7), so we went to another place close by and had a nice dinner with the hard cider featured there. Potent.
Saturday we headed to Leicester (pronounced LES-ter) Square to get tickets to Spamalot. Long line, but we got them. TKTS booth has half and 25% off tickets to many of the current plays, Spamalot was 25% off, but still worth the wait in line. After that we did a bit of shopping on Oxford Street, going to Liberty first. Wow, lovely, and expensive, stuff. They had a fabric and yarn floor that I spent some time on. Did not buy anything, not for lack of trying. The yarn I wanted got sold out the day before L. That evening we went to Spamalot and had a great time, funny, at least if you are a Monty Python fan, which I am.
Sunday was check out day from our London B&B, but they kept our bags for us so we didn’t have to haul them all over. We went to the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill museum, across from the Parliament building, then to the National Gallery for the quick tour. Also had a bite to eat there. Then back to the B&B to collect our bags and head off to Waterloo station to take the train south to Havant (close to Portsmouth).
Monday was freezing, literally. DH was working, so I decided to just stay warm and rest. We went out that evening with the folks he had been visiting which was fun.
Tuesday was back on the train to get back to Heathrow, only this time we didn’t have to get off and take the bus detour, and it was during the day so we got to see the countryside. We checked into the hotel by Heathrow then took a taxi to Windsor Castle. Not enough time to do it justice, the guards were hurrying us along to get to the end before it closed. We did see a lot though, even if we didn’t listen to all of the commentary of the self-guided tour. We wandered around the town for a bit, then took a taxi back to the hotel. The next day was back home, another long flight, and during the day the whole way, so no sleeping. It did make getting back to our own bed a lovely thing.
Can’t wait to get back and see more of the country.