Rock Island Shawl

Pattern:  Rock Island Shawl by Jared Flood
Yarn:  KnitPick’s Shadow Kettle-Dyed in “Jay” colorway  (a birthday gift from the lovely Kirstin)
Needles:  US 6–29″ circular

This week in Utah we celebrated Pioneer Day, a state-wide holiday that commemorates the anniversary of Brigham Young and the first wagonload of Latter-day Saints entering the Salt Lake Valley after their long journey across the American Plains.  We didn’t have any school that day in observance of the holiday, and I figured that it was probably going to be my only chance at getting this shawl blocked.  After getting all the munchkins fed and dressed and starting up the ravenous washing machine, I soaked this puppy up and pinned the life out of it on my mattress.

This is a rather new pattern, only coming out this spring.  I saw it within the first few days of its release and I could not stop talking about it afterwards.  I had to have it.  However, I was heavily-entrenched in the creation of The Wedding Honeymoon Shawl, and could not squeeze this fabulous make into my queue.  Fortune smiled her loving gaze upon me and inspired the folks at Blazing Needles to offer a class on this very pattern, for which Kit and I signed up to attend.

I’m quite pleased with it!  Jared Flood loves knitters, the design of this is just lovely!  This was the first time I’ve ever attached an edging and it was super simple, given the YO edges on the entire length of the edging.  And it’s all done in garter stitch, no purling whatsoever!  AND it’s worked from the bottom up–that’s right, it gets smaller as you go!

The parts that were not my favorites:

  1. Edgings are nice and all, but this one took forever to make.  Since I had to have the edging done within two weeks before the start of my next class, it was very stressful for me to knit like a maniac for that entire two weeks.  Had I done this at my own pace, I don’t think the edging would have bothered me as much.  (But, hey, I finished the edging in two weeks!  Who can hold a grudge against that?)
  2. Garter stitch is easy, but also pretty boring.  There’s a lot of garter stitch at the end and it drove me a little bonkers, but it blocked out prettily and I’m over the negativity now.

This shawl was originally “ordered” in white.  It was supposed to be the replacement Wedding Shawl for Carly after she picked out a new wedding dress.  However, I couldn’t find any white lace-weight locally (and still haven’t found any since!) and so I went ahead and made this in its originally-intended color.

When and where am I going to wear this?  I dunno.  I’m sure I’ll think of something.  It would be criminal to just let this beauty sit around in my closet!


First Pair of Knitted Socks Ever.

Pattern#216 Beginner’s Lightweight Socks, by Diane Soucy
YarnMisti Alpaca’s Hand Paint Sock Yarn, Colorway #08 “Marino.”
Needles:  US 2 DPN

Oh, the high of finishing your first pair of hand-knit socks!

In Knitter World, socks seem to be one of those projects that you have to try.  A true knitter doesn’t NOT knit socks.  But all that jargon–gussets, heel flaps, insteps–has intimidated me for years and I have only looked on wistfully at other knitters’ beautifully-crafted foot encasements.

“Someday,” I would say, “after I’m finished with my current project, I’m going to give socks a go.”

But “Someday” kept getting pushed back in favor of projects that had to be finished immediately.

I bought the yarn for these socks in September of 2009, after lamenting about my sock fears to an understanding yarn shop owner.  She placed a beginner’s sock pattern in my hands and inflated my knitting confidences with assurances of socks “being super easy” and sent me on my merry way, only pausing to swipe the ol’ debit card to pay her for her enabling guidance.

The yarn is lovely.  It’s alpaca, merino and silk, with a little nylon thrown in for strength.  Wearing these socks is like walking on kitten tummies.  Oh, the deliciousness of the feel!

I should have knit these on US 1 sized needles.  They’re a touch baggy.  (That’s what you get for not doing a gauge swatch!)  But I love them anyway.  I’m now on the hunt for some sort of shoe that will frame my beautiful socks this autumn.  And I’m always on the hunt for some more gorgeous sock yarn!  (Curse you, Budget!)

A pair of handknit dress socks will soon be in-the-works for Michael.  Yay for socks!

Makin’ Jam!

I am having so much fun with Bluebird as she gets older and is able to assist me in more and more tasks.  Yesterday we tackled some jam-making, preparing a batch of spiced peach butter and a batch of cherry jam.  She loved helping me out and proved to be quite valuable in her assistance.  Many hands make light work, even when the second set of hands measure about half the size of your own hands!

She can peel peaches, stir jam, ladle jam into jars and pit cherries like a pro!

Her favorite parts of making jam were peeling the peaches and pitting the cherries.

In between performing her jam-making duties, she did schoolwork at the kitchen table.  Win-win all around!

Peeling peaches…all I had to slice them up because she was so quick!

She pitted four pounds of cherries all by herself!
She’s the most conscientious cherry pitter I’ve ever met,
checking each individual cherry for residual pits.

Ladling the peach butter into jars.
It was such a nice way to spend time together!

Fourth of July Jell-O!

Bluebird is working on the requirements for the Brownie Girl Scout “Wave the Flag” badge, and one of the things she could do was hold a celebration for a patriotic holiday.  Naturally, she chose to throw an Independence Day party.  She kept herself and her sisters busy for the two weeks leading up to the 4th making decorations (which they never hung up) and decided on a menu (Cookies and Lemonade Water).

I stepped in to help with the menu, and while we were browsing for dessert ideas, we came across a recipe for Layered Jell-O, which I’ve been searching for for years!  A link at the end of the Layered Jell-O post led us to the recipe for “Broken Glass Jell-O,” which Bluebird thought would be smashing (hee hee) in Fourth of July colors.

Bluebird attended her dessert-making responsibilities well: she cut up the colors, mixed them together and supervised my pouring of the white liquid into the dish.

The Jell-O went into the refrigerator to set, and the dessert was met with rave reviews at our little holiday dinner:

Good job Bluebird!  Thanks for making our Fourth of July dinner extra special!