Hallet’s Ledge

I am finally putting the last button on this cardigan.  I started it about 6 months ago.  Once I got going with it, the sweater went really fast.  I got slowed down waiting for JoAnns to get in enough buttons for me to finish it!  

Not that I was in a rush to finish it anything  –  I can’t wear it for a while anyways.  It looks relatively normal from the back –

It’s the front that has some issues

Okay, let me re-phrase that –

It’s my front that has issues – though it’s nothing that another 8 weeks or so won’t fix!  The front of the sweater itself is fine, but at 32 weeks, none of my regular clothes fit me.

It isn’t my first choice to show you these pictures of my bulging belly, but somehow showing this picture, just doesn’t cut it! 

The pattern is called Hallet’s Ledge, by Elinor Brown.  It’s a download from the Twist Collective  from Fall 2010, so I have been eying this pattern for a while.  It was a really easy pattern to memorize, yet interesting enough to keep me entertained.

The yarn is one of my favorites – Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold.  It has a subtle tweed that adds nice interest to the yarn, but it still shows the texture of the stitches.  It isn’t too itchy or bulky like some tweedy-wools are.  I have probably made 4 sweaters out of this yarn and they have all held up really well (and I am kinda picky about that)

You can find the Ravely link here.

I’ll be back soon with another blue knit – this one for the baby.

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Florida

We’ve already been home two weeks and the time has just flown by.  It was probably not a good idea to schedule a vacation right before my book deadline, but I guess I wasn’t thinking clearly about that.  Since I have been home, I have finished quilting and binding 7 quilts, finished writing the book, and have 9 out of 11 of the quilts photographed.  So, I am almost finished.  Yeah!!!  I do my own photography and I don’t have a studio with proper lighting, so I take all my shots outside.  Right now it’s too sunny to finish up those last two photographs, so while I am waiting for a few clouds to roll in, I had a chance to get my Florida pictures uploaded.

I will warn you ahead of time that there are quite a few photographs.  I find if I don’t do a journal like this of what we did everyday, I forget what we did when and the names of the places we visited.  It would help if we didn’t try to squeeze so many locations into one trip, but having to go sit on one beach for an entire week bores me to tears!

Day 1 – We flew into Miami.  We arrived at about 6 pm, so that gave us time to quick drive over to Miami Beach, then make our way down to South Beach.  By the time we arrived, the beach was cleared out.

The huge beaches were so beautiful and I love the sound of the crashing waves coming in.  I liked that much better than the thumping music coming out of all the clubs on Ocean Drive – which was packed with people.  We drove through the area, taking in Little Havana, the Art Deco buildings and all the fancy people.  We were going to eat supper here, but went for a walk on the beach instead.  All the fancy people and loud clubs just makes me crave my quiet life at home, so we decided to move on. 

Day 2 – We traveled down to Key Largo with the intention of doing some snorkeling at Pennekamp State Park.  Unfortunately, 5-6 foot seas canceled all snorkeling or glass bottom boat trips to the reef.  Instead we laid by the beach, read books and knit.

Later that day, we drove down past Key Largo to Islamorada.  We found a beach to do a little snorkeling just off shore.  We also enjoyed a beautiful sunset.  We didn’t see much snorkeling, but at least it was calm enough on the gulf side to get into the water.

Joel snapped a picture of the bump at this beach – Proof that our little boy got to visit the Keys!  (at 28 1/2 weeks)

Day 2 – We traveled further south.  We stopped at Sombrero Beach, a suggestion from one of my blog readers.  It was quiet, beautiful and off the beaten path.   We would never have found it without the good advice!

The further south we got, the more bridges we got to drive over, including the famous 7 Mile Bridge.

 Next, we came to Bahia Honda State Park.  Several of my blog readers suggested this park and it was probably my favorite spot in the Keys.  We did some hiking to take in the views ~

Unfortunately, the winds again canceled all snorkeling in the park, but we still did some swimming.  I never lasted that long with the swimming – I thought the extra baby weight would make me more buoyant, therefore swimming would be a good thing.  But, in reality, all the waves just bounced me all over and it was even more awkward than being on land.  We had a few good laughs over my struggles and Joel compared me to a turtle stuck on my back.  It was a pretty good comparison! 

(BTW – We stopped at the park again on our way back through and the winds were down enough for us to swim on the Atlantic side.  There were several places were we could walk way out into the water on sand bars.  It was really beautiful . . ).

That night, we made it to Key West.  We were advised to skip booking a night at a hotel and try a B & B instead.   At the last-minute, we found a spot at the Tropical Inn.

It was a cute little place, with a tropical garden and pool just outside those french doors.  It was nice and quiet, considering all the activity just outside on Duval Street. 

We did a few of the other things that everyone says you have to do in Key West –

We tried the Key Lime Pie.  Of course I had mine dipped in chocolate and we agreed it was much better than plain version.

We ventured down to Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration.

There were lots of street performers

And lots of people enjoying the sunset.

The next day we continued our check list of Key West places to visit –

The Southernmost Point (where the lady taking our picture made me turn sideways for the full effect)

We visited the Hemingway House.

I got to take pictures of the 6 toed cats.  Check out those paws!

This cat posed very nicely for me so I could get another shot of the paws.  (There are 40 cats still living at the house)

We also just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful, cottage style houses.  The Old Town neighborhood was pretty interesting.  You have quiet little houses like this just down the road from clubs where clothing is optional.  Guess which one I preferred?

My favorite was this butter-yellow house with the mint shutters. 

When we got tired of all the sight-seeing, we went to the beach at Zachary Taylor Park.  (There was a little snorkeling right off shore, but yet again the waves were pretty big and I got tired of playing turtle.)

 

We also stopped at Smathers Beach on our way out of town.  They Keys aren’t known for their beaches, but as you have seen, we found quite a few.  (It just isn’t like the other places we’ve been to in Caribbean – miles of sandy beaches, calm waters, and great snorkeling)

We drove the rest of the way up the Keys that night, and when we couldn’t find a hotel room anywhere, we drove all the way to Fort Meyers.  We arrived at Joel’s parent’s rental place at 1 a.m., so it was a long day!  We  played it pretty low-key the next few days –

We visited Sanibel Island  and Captiva Island.  This area was just beautiful, especially the houses. 

Joel caught a sting ray – which you can see he isn’t happy about.  Back in Minnesota, you have about 5 choices of what could be on the end of that line.  Not so in Florida!

And, our last beach of the trip – Fort Meyers Beach.

As you can see, it was a busy trip.  We fit quite a bit into our last hurrah before the baby comes!  It was good to get away one last time with just the two of us.  

Or should I say the two and 4/5ths of us  ;-)

Posted in Travel | Tagged | 17 Comments

Ripple Effect

We are back from our quick trip to Florida, thus the quiet blog for the last two weeks.  I still need to get to uploading those pictures, so in the meantime I will show you some projects that I worked on before I left. 

I have been in the process of taking down all my winter decorations and putting up some spring things.  I started with my mantel.

I have been adding in a lot more blue to my color scheme, in my effort to brighten up my main living space. 

I have been loving on this color for quite a while, but I have been searching for a few things to pull the blue into my color scheme.  So, I decided I needed to make a new runner for my coffee table.

The pattern is from my “On the Run” book that came out a few years ago.  It’s called The Ripple Effect.  It was inspired by all the ripple afghans my Great Grandma Anka used to make in the 70’s.  Anyone else remember that pattern?

Below is the original photo from the book

DSC_8317-adj

Neither runner worked very well in my living room, so I needed a third runner from this pattern.  Oh well, I love chevrons, so that’s okay.  (BTW – the fabric in the new runner is from my Artful Home collection.) 

See that pillow in the background?

It’s from Pier 1 and it’s just my colors.

 Another item that I found to pull in more blue is this rug from Company C.

Here is a better photo of it:

My last rug was over 10 years old and its black background was no longer black.  It was more “marbled”  –  which means it had been spilled on so many times and I could no longer get it clean.  It was definitely time for a new one!  Plus, it goes well with my Soulful Blossoms quilt and the other things in my kitchen.

Again, I had to add some more blue into this room as well.  Actually, this is my excuse to show you this sign again.  Many of you have asked where I found it.  I got it at Hobby Lobby several years ago.  I was there recently and they still had it, along with about 50 other really cute wall signs.  (I’m just warning you – it’s a dangerous store)

I have had fun “freshening” things up a bit. 

Next up, my dining room??

 

Posted in Decorating, Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Something Blue

It’s one of my favorite days of the year.  The ice is officially off the lake!

I left to teach a retreat last Friday afternoon, with the lakes fully iced over, and came home on Sunday to see the ice off the far side of the lake.  By this morning it had receded as far as the big island.  Now there is just a bit left by shore, which was when this picture was taken.  It’s isn’t very pretty, as now some rain is moving in, but it is one step closer to this:

Ah . . .  . summer!  The great thing is, the ice is off the lake about a month ahead of it’s usuall time, so we should be seeing summer early this summer.  In fact, the weather this winter has been crazy.   It was 76 degrees here yesterday!  (It is state basketball tournament time, so typically we have a big snowstorm right around this time)

Now, onto something blue – and I didn’t mean the lake – I finished my first baby sweater.

I chose a very simple sweater, as I didn’t want to put too much time into a newborn size sweater that may not get worn very much.  I had it finished in under a week, which is record time for me (considering I usually do adult size sweaters). 

I chose the pattern “Baby Sophisticate” by Linden Heflin.  I really like the simple details of the rolled collar and Raglan sleeves.   It has a bit of a little-old man look to me, but I have noticed that all the baby patterns that I have picked out have that look.  Kinda funny, considering I just publically teased Joel about dressing like an old man and now I am going to do the same to his son!

I made a little hat to match the sweater.  I love baby hats, so I may have to do a hat for each sweater I make.  (which may cause this baby to hate me, as kids don’t often like to wear hats).  The pattern is called “Leftover Sock Newborn Hat” and you can find the ravelry link here.  The little knot at th top is supposed look like a little umbilical cord.  I think it’s a cute little detail for a newborn hat.

The yarn is called Fantasy by Dark Horse Yarns. It’s super soft and cuddly – I wish you could feel it.  I bought it to match Joel’s eyes.  I’m hoping his genes are dominant in the eye department!

Posted in Family, Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Other Coat

I’m glad to hear that my last posts got a few laughs.  I ended up with only one person wanting to join my support group, though I think many of you understood what I was getting at.  I hope that you all know that I was only half serious about Joel’s coat and was just looking for a chance to tease him a bit.  He can really dish it out, so he has to take it once in a while too :-)  I think after seeing him sewing on his own buttons, some of the ladies thought he could do no wrong.  He kept up with the comments coming in and took great joy in pointing out how many of you liked his coat!

I have to admit this isn’t the first time I have been wrong about his coats.  A few years back, I bought him a coat off the clearance rack as a practical joke.  I am always teasing him about his old man tendencies and I thought this was the perfect old man coat (and yes, I realize that I am the kettle calling the pot black here.  I didn’t know anyone else in college that quilted!  And back then there was a huge stereotype that all quilters were of  . . .  um . . . advanced age.  Plus, there are all those homemade sweaters!).  Turns out that he loved the coat, and kept it.  Again, shows you how much I know about fashion. Now, everywhere he goes, he gets compliments on the coat.  To top that off, last week he had a big motorcycle dude, with a shaved head, goatee, and tattoos offer to buy the coat off his back!

Before I go, I have a favor to ask.  Joel and I are heading to Florida for a few days of vacation before the baby comes.  We are going to be spending 3 days driving the coastal highway from Miami down to the Florida Keys.  We are looking for any advice on fun things to do down there – from good places to stop for food, snorkeling, beaches, sunsets, catamaran rides, other activities or even places to stay.  Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!   I am just hoping I am not to pregnant to enjoy it!  I am just entering the third trimester and this is my view of the world. 

Joel assures me that I still have feet, but I guess I am just going to have to take his word for it.

Posted in Family, Travel | 23 Comments

Only in Minnesota

I am a bad wife.

Yes, that is Joel sewing his own buttons onto his favorite, really old, really ugly coat.  This coat has been safely hanging in the closet for the last several years.  It has been missing buttons and my refusal to help sew them on has kept it there until now.

Joel has decided to take matters into his own hands and sew the buttons on himself.  It took him 28 minutes to sew on two buttons.  I did end up helping a tiny bit.  I felt guilty enough to help him tie off the knots.

Now he is all happy again, back to wearing his favorite old coat.

My buckiness over this coat goes beyond my disdain for Joel’s wardrobe at times or fashion.  (I will be the first to admit that I am not fashionable at all)  The problem is it reminds me a little too much of this – Do you recognize it?

It’s Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau in Grumpier Old Men.  And yes, Walter is wearing pretty much the same coat.

And guess what – Joel has the hat to go with it.

(Actually, I should say DID have the hat to go with it.  The dog got a hold of it and chewed it up – and No, I did not pay the dog in doggie treats to do away with it (though I would have liked to). )

I watched this movie years ago – before I even met Joel – and found it to be a cute movie.  Now I realize that I am married to a future Walter Mathau – He already has the coat and hat.  Somehow, the movie doesn’t seem so cute now.

This is another typical outfit from the movie and Joel would love to wear this.

He is obsessed with ice fishing.  (These are fish houses, out on a lake.  I hate to point out the obvious to anyone else from Minnesota, but if you are from Florida, you may have just thought it was a typical neighborhood)

Like many other men from Minnesota, this is Joel’s favorite way to spend a weekend – out on the ice, wearing one of these fashion-forward outfits.

Look like fun to you?

Joel also wants Walter’s vehicle from the movie – this very classy Scout International.

1974 International Harvester Travelall

Wouldn’t I just love to go for a ride with him in this beauty – um No!  For those of you who have seen the movie, you may remember Jack’s character hiding a dead fish in the backseat.  Joel has been known to do the exact same thing to his friends.  Have you ever smelled a rotting fish?   Try getting that smell out of your car.

Before I know it, Joel will have turned into this – trying to stab his fishing buddy with a fish.

Please pray for me ladies.  This could be bad.  Can I also point out that Joel is only 37 and appears to have quite a head start on turning into a Grumpy Old Man. 

I believe that the coat is just the tip of the iceberg.

What am I going to do now?  Anyone else feeling my pain?  Also married to a typical, Minnesota ice fisherman? 

We could start a support group.  Anyone?

Posted in Family, Minnesota | Tagged , , | 56 Comments

Aran Wrap Cardigan

Yesterday we woke up to a snowstorm.  It’s really only our first or second storm this year, which is highly unusual for this part of the country.   I know I have complained about too much snow in the past (especially last year), but I have been waiting for this for months!  We have pretty much had a brown winter, so I am enjoying the winter wonderland.  All the schools are closed and I am content to hole up in the studio today.  I would also like to get out and snowshoe at least once before it melts away.

In other exciting news, the strike-offs for my Seaside Cottage line arrived.  This is the first time I have seen the prints on fabric, so it is always interesting to see how they look on fabric, compared to just seeing the digital files or the cads.  As you can see, I have been going through and making a list of the changes I would like worked on.  They always need a little tweaking, so this is just part of the process of getting the colors right.  Sometimes they need a lot of tweaking, so I am glad to see the list is short.

I also have a knitting project to share.   I think it has probably been 3 months since I have blogged about any knitting, so that is quite a dry spell for me.  I usually do my knitting at night, and early on in my pregnancy I was tired and headachy by about 8:30 and it really seemed to cut into my knitting time.   It’s pretty pathetic, I know.  I have never been the type to just sit around at night or just do nothing, but I have to admit that’s what I did many of the nights.

When I did start knitting again, I decided I needed a bit of a challenge.

One with just a few cables . . .

I decided on this cardigan – with both horizontal and vertical cables.

The yarn is Vintage, by Madelintosh.  The colorway is called Tart.  It’s a beautiful hand-dyed red, with some black dye added in for depth.

The pattern is the Aran Wrap Sweater from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008.  (Ravelry link here).   I loved all the cables across the back of the sweater, which is what first drew me to the design.

My only issue was the front of the sweater.  It is really cute styled with a belt, as shown in the pattern.

But, when I started looking at everyone’s projects on Ravelry, I could see just how much excess fabric is hiding under that belt.  I knew that would drive me crazy – as I would constantly be rearranging everything.

This issue kept me from starting the pattern, until I saw the September Sweater on Ravelry – I particularly liked this link on Ravelry.  The following pictures are from that link.   The back is quite similar to the Aran Wrap Cardigan.

But look at the front – cute and simple, without all the excess fabric.  I decided to try to combine the two patterns.  This turned out to be much more challenging than I thought.  After several false starts, I finally got the stitches cast on.  It was quite slow going, as I had to re figure everything as I went along.  It took forever and many times I put off working on it because it just hurt my brain! (remind me never to do this much changing to a pattern again!)

So, after something like 5 months, I finally have a finished sweater. 

It’s hard for me to tell if I like the sweater, because of the bump.  I can’t tell if it fits or not – and a large, cabled sweater and a baby bump don’t exactly flatter each other, if you know what I mean.

This side profile shows just how far that bump sticks out and the cables seem to make it look even bigger!

I’m guessing I will end up adding a button closure, but I will decide next fall when I can start wearing it.

This picture shows a close-up of the cables that wrap up and around the neck.  I have since taken the left side apart and redone it.  This is a 16 stitch cable, which means it isn’t symmetrical.  I was wondering about it as I was working it on, but once it was done I could see that it needed to be redone.  The cables now match so you don’t see that awkward line of purls along the left side as shown below.

I am SO glad to finally have it done, so I can start something smaller . . .  and blue.

(I’ve already started two baby sweaters and finished one hat.  They are so quick and addicting that I am really enjoying the smaller projects – and it won’t be three months until my next knitting post😉 ).

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 49 Comments