Thursday, November 29, 2012

Halleluiah! Let the Christmas Season begin!

I just can't tell you how happy I am that the DAMN Sam sweater is done! I hope, hope, hope that it will fit my beloved Sam but I readily admit the sweater I started in April, yes April, has been the bain of my existence and may be to small or big, the arms to long, short, skinny, or the entire sweater may just fall apart! Seldom - if ever have I hated the knitting of an item so much!
Pattern: Mirror Stripes
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 Heather
Colorway: Mallard, Cordovian
Needle size: US 3, US 5

Last night I cast off, worked in the ends, will wash off all the months of cat hair, blocked it, and pop the Christmas gift in the mail this weekend.

PS: I've already started something else that I love - more to come later.....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The ballet kicks of the holiday season

Hosting The Nutcracker in Billings has been a 30 year tradition. For several years I have wanted to go with the granddaughters. Either Hubby and I are celebrating Thanksgiving in North Dakota or by the time we think of reserving tickets the theater has sold out. This year we thought the timing was right, the NorDakFam were coming to town, and the tickets were bought. But sadly the NorDak Family unexpectedly had to return home early. I called in the reserves, Jo and her Grandkiddo Mia. We attended the ballet last night. The San Diego Ballet Company danced with our local children. Humor was tucked into every scene for an observant viewer. And the Plum Fairy impressively seemed to fly through the air. It was outstanding!

I wore my new shawl and felt very festive.
Pattern: BLT Scarf/Shawl
Yarn: Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin
Colorway: Ruby
Needles: US 4
Beads: 44 grams

My good friend, Darlene,  bought this yarn last July while in Germany. She was lucky enough to visit this shop while the were having their once a year sale. I wanted to do something a little special with this yarn and so decided to knit beads into the shawl, something I had never done.

The pattern is well written and the bead work was easy. The clerk suggested I use large beads so that they would be easily seen. After blocking the top measured 60 inches. A fun knit.

Over The River And Through The Woods...

Thanksgiving break was extra long for me this year, I took Monday and Tuesday off to be with the NorDak Family. They arrived on Sunday and the first thing I did was give The Tiger his bigger and better New Blue. He loved it!
We played lots of Ticket To Ride...
 
and worked on a gingerbread man.
We tried new recipes and ate all the time!

Carmel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

  (from the Cooking Photographer)

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, nearly melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7.4 ounce) box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix *Not sugar free*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14 ounce) bag Kraft Caramels

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper. It has to be parchment this time.

2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and all 10 packets of apple cider mix until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, then mix in the baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

3. With a standard (size 50) cookie scoop, scoop the dough scrapping off the excess as you go up the bowl. Flatten the dough slightly in your hand and place a caramel in the center. Work the dough around the caramel sealing well. Place the cookies two inches apart on the sheets.

4. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. After baking, carefully slide the parchment with the cookies onto the counter. Let cool until they are no longer soft but still slightly warm. Twist gently to remove, and cool the rest of the way upside down on the parchment or on a cooling rack.

Makes 51

Because Hubby worked on Thanksgiving Day we decided to have our big dinner Wednesday. I must admit I felt just a little superior to all the women in the United States hard at work in their kitchens cooking over the stove on Thursday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Great start to a bad GRIZ vs Bobcat ending

After much dragging of feet on my part, Hubby and I drove the five hours up to Montana's BIG college football game - GRIZ vs. Bobcats. It has been one of the worst seasons on record for the Griz, but one of the best for the Bobcats.  I was sure that it would he a waste of time, money and a beautiful fall Saturday.

If nothing else the GRIZ know how to put on a fun pre-game show:
 A National Guard Fly-over
 My favorite pro football player....MARC MARIANI!
 A great first half...
 My first tailgate party hosted by Hank, and Kimmie...
After that it was all downhill.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crawling out of the knitting pit

I have been frustrated for several months over my knitting. I dislike having piles of unfinished items in front of me and that is exactly what has been happening lately. Rather than knitting an item, posting it as complete and moving on, I've been slogging on and on never seeming to get anything complete.

There is a Christmas sweater I'm not happy with. I still have to finish "the thing" by my self imposed due date of Thanksgiving.

I initially was trying to work on whatever item my knitting group was knitting but that got out of hand. They were knitting items I really had no use for. I realized this kind of knitting couldn't continue but not before starting a Piper's journey which now must be finished.

I joined my first online knit along and had a pair of sock to knit  but the yarn didn't arrive in time and so I ended knitting two pair.  Socks on a Plane and Katniss Socks are now complete.
Pattern: Katniss
Yarn: Yarn vs Zombies Damsel
Colorway: Cuffies
Needle Size: US 1

The Tiger lost his beloved "Bluie" while his mom was in DC and so I was commissioned to knit him yet another. It was found in a day or two but by that time I was a third of the way done.
Pattern: Pi Shawl (July) by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby Solids & Marls
Colorway: Baby Blue
Needle size: US 8

I am SO tired of this project that I needed a photo so I could stick a fork in it and call it done! It’s still blocking but will be dry when The Tiger comes. Hopefully he’ll think it’s a good replacement for “Blue II”.

I usually have some sort of charity knitting on the needles and so have a hat to complete.

I'm now trying to complete the Piper's Journey today and will move on to the dreaded Christmas sweater. It is a relief to be crawling out of this knitting pit and I'm looking forward to starting another project. I believe it will be selfish knitting in Wollmiese, hmmmmm...