Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Mini-Mitten Garland

I don't know what it is about Christmas knitting projects.  When I see them on Ravelry I just want to do them all:  the little gnomes, reindeer, Nativity scenes, Santa's clothesline, tree lights, snowman and more.  Some are in my queue and I will make them at some point, I'm sure.  They're cute, colorful and most are small, easy-to-complete quickly, fun projects.

This year I succumbed to the Advent Mini-mitten Garland knitalong (Ravelry link) by Kat Lewinski.  I started well after the knitalong began and my mini-mittens won't be finished for this year.  Each Monday we were given a new mitten pattern and I'm only working on #6.  It's addictive and I'm enjoying it.

I'm using Shetland or Shetland-type wool from Jamieson & Smith, Jamieson's, The Scottish Collection (which I understand is Jamieson's), Rennie Handknits, Shetland Wirsit and Harrisville - and some small balls that have no label from stash.  Some of the yarn was purchased at Fancy Tiger in Denver and and some was purchased in Shetland last September.  I'm glad that I chose to use these wools as I'm quite pleased with the way they are working up.

There are 24 patterns in all, each mitten is about 4 inches long, and I still have a long way to go, but I'm in no hurry for this project to end. The plan is to display one mitten per day from December 1st to 24th.  Details on my mittens are here.  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Scotland - Days 1 & 2

It's going to take more than one blog post to talk about the trip to Scotland.  It was arranged by Jean at Celtic Journeys and she did an exceptional job of taking care of us.  Nothing was overlooked.  The leader on the trip was Amy Detjen (I had to type that in purple as it's her signature color!).

The flight to Edinburgh was an overnighter from Chicago on Sunday night.  We ended up delayed, and delayed again, so five of us arrived quite late on Day 1, Monday morning, but the driver and all our other travel mates waited for us.  From there we went right to Dundee, just over an hour away, and checked into our hotel.

The rest of the day was for relaxing, getting acquainted and exploring the city.  It wasn't difficult to get used to the time change.  The return a couple of weeks later was not as easy.  Dundee gave us our first excellent impressions of Scotland.

The view from our hotel (click on the picture to enlarge)
On Day 2, Tuesday, after a good night's sleep, we were off to Scone Palace near Perth.  The long hallways showed the history of the Palace with the pictures, old wallpaper, tapestries and furnishings.  In one of the rooms a video was shown and we learned about the visits of King Charles II, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Queen Victoria, Mary Queen of Scots and others.  The grounds surrounding the Palace are beautiful.

I would have guessed that Scone Palace had something to do with the scone biscuits, especially after stopping into the kitchen coffee shop.  The scones were the best I've ever had and now I'm on a search for a recipe for scones that are just as good.  We learned that there is no connection between the Palace and the scones. As a matter of fact, the two words are pronounced differently with the Scottish accent.

From Scone Palace we went to a distillery, stopping along the way to look at some hairy Scottish cows.

The Edradour Distillery is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, located in Pitlochry.  We passed by St. Andrews on the way.  Think "golf".

Even though I don't drink I like to see how things are made and this was interesting and educational.  You can take a little tour yourself via this YouTube video.  After the tour we went for whisky tasting and an audio-visual presentation.  Aghhh.... many loved the whisky.  I found it much too strong, but I'm not used to it.  No...the picture isn't blurry because I was drinking!  One of the others on the tour was happy to take my glass of whisky so it wasn't wasted.

The day ended with a return to Dundee where some of us went to a pub for dinner, then some knitting back at the hotel.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Out of Blogging Retirement

Hi everyone,

Well, here I am, out of blogging retirement.  I've missed my blog in the past 11 months and have decided that I wanted to come back to it.  I can't tell you how many times something has happened and I thought, I should blog about that.  I hope you will join me as I continue forward.  A lot has happened so I'll be posting about the past as well as the present and future, in no particular order.

I've had a couple of great knitting trips this year and will tell you more as time goes on:  a fun retreat sponsored by Jimmy Beans Wool at the Northstar Resort at Tahoe and a wonderful trip to Scotland which included the Shetland Islands.

Window shopping in Dundee, Scotland
I joined in a Knitalong called "Camp Loopy", sponsored by the Loopy Ewe.  What a challenge it was to create so much in such a short amount of time, but I did it!

I've met some amazing people along the way - and even some knitting celebrities.

I have exciting plans for the coming year, including teaching at the DFW Fiber Fest in April. I'm really looking forward to that!  I love teaching.

There's a planned return to Shetland, this time for Wool Week in 2016.  Interested?  We may have a couple of slots left to fill for the trip.

I've been knitting constantly.  That never changes.  Right now I'm working on a set of 24 miniature mittens for Advent.  It's a knitalong and I learned about it late, so these will likely be for Christmas 2016.  I've got other exciting projects to tell you about: a new Travel Afghan, sweaters, new designs, and more.

And, the very best news of all, I became a grandma for the third time on October 15th with the birth of Alyssa Jane Freeman.

My plan is to post about once a week, but you know how plans sometimes go.  It may be more often, or there may be a gap at times, but I hope that you'll check in when you can, maybe leave a comment.

I'm glad that you dropped in and I hope to "see" you again soon.  Joanne

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Time To Say Goodbye

After almost 15 years of blogging, it's time to say Goodbye.  For my knitting projects, they'll be on Ravelry and I'll continue to post there.  Thanks for dropping by and reading, from "Keep Talking" up to "Rhythm of the Needles".  Joanne

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas On The Bayou

From a concert in 2013.  I'm glad he performed it again this year.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

An Evening With Michael McDonald

The Michael McDonald concert at the Paramount Theater in Denver on Thursday was excellent and much more lively than I expected.

Somehow, I thought there would be mostly quiet Christmas songs with the bit of Doobie Brothers music thrown in.  Actually, that's exactly what it was, but more.  His choice of Christmas songs ranged from the traditional to rocking to get-up-and-dance Gospel music.

The Irish song "Wexford Carol" was hauntingly beautiful and my mind went back to my visit to County Wexford in Ireland.  I found this amateur video from a year ago on You Tube:  link.

He played the keyboards, as I expected, but there were songs where stood at the microphone and sang without playing an instrument.  He also played the guitar on other songs.  At one point he bent over and picked up an accordion saying "this is never good...especially when you're pants are falling down"!  I didn't expect to see an accordion but it was perfect for "Christmas on the Bayou".  I liked that song so well that I bought it.  He sang a romantic Christmas song for his wife who was in attendance - very nice.

I was glad to hear some favorite Doobie Brothers songs and the crowd was on their feet, singing along:  I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near), Minute By Minute, What A Fool Believes and, in the encore, Takin' It To The Streets.

All of his musicians were top notch.  For a few songs he had a choir singing behind him, a local group from the Denver area.  You can see a few of the members in the middle picture.  The female backup singer, Drea Rhenee was so good.  If I could sing, I'd like to be able to sing like her. On bass was Tommy Sims (left in the picture, above) who co-wrote the 1996 Eric Clapton hit Change The World.  The song won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal performance for Clapton.

It was a good way to spend an evening, especially so close to Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Michael McDonald

With his fabulous voice I can only imagine (until this evening) how good this concert is going to be.  I'm looking forward to the show.

                                                    Paramount Theater, Denver

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Avaholic Sweater

I'm a big fan of the Colorado Avalanche hockey team.  Years ago I had collected some team patches and that's when I decided to make a sweater in Av's colors and sew the patches onto it.

I made a neck opening and inserted a short zipper and then attached an inexpensive earring as a zipper pull. To tidy up the end of the zipper opening I sewed on a small logo patch. 

Some of the patches are from their 2001 Stanley Cup win, all-star game, NHL logo and one from their farm team (at the time), the Hershey Bears - and others. I have another one to add celebrating ten years in Colorado. I wish I could find one from the 1996 Stanley Cup win. 


I can't remember what yarn I used. I may still have my knitting notes somewhere.  I'll have to look for them. I think I used Jo Sharp yarns. The word "AVAHOLIC" was worked in fair isle, upside down and normal text. 


I probably made the sweater around 2005. Just a guess. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ready and Waiting

The Kaffe Fassett/Rowan knitalong is moving right along.  The time has gone by quickly for the first six clues .  Tomorrow clue #7 will be released and I'm all caught up and ready to cast on.

What you see are 42 squares for the afghan, all blocked and with ends sewn in, except for the beginning and ending lengths, which I plan to use to sew the squares together.  I also have the 12 blocks finished for the brown cushion.  The soda can is there for size comparison.

The stack is growing as fast as the piles of snow outside my window. 

And, speaking of snow, while I was waiting for the next clue I cast on for a little snowman.  I couldn't resist the cable design.  So cute.  Instead of using sportweight yarn in a natural color as in the pattern, I shopped my stash and I'm using Dale Baby Ull in white.  It'll be a smaller version of the original and that's what I'm going for.  Frost Flower is a free pattern from Cascade Yarns - link.

I've finished the bottom section and I'm about to start the middle.  So far the pattern has been excellently written.  The instructions are given round by round with final stitch counts included.  With the new afghan clue coming out tomorrow, I'm not sure if Frost Flower will be done in time for Christmas but that's okay.  It'll be done when it's done and there will likely still be snow on the ground here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tim's #WarmWishes

In Canada, Tim Horton's isn't just a coffee and donut shop, it's a way of life.  Say Tim's or Timmy's and everyone knows exactly what you're talking about.  I'm thrilled that there is one being built in my neighborhood.  It's always a busy place, but the service is fast.

This year they are making knitters happy with their new beverage cup.  Too bad there isn't a ceramic version.  I've only seen this paper cup.  Check it out:

Not only that, they have yarn-bombed their mobile coffee truck.  Here's the video:


Here's another video, shot on King Street West in downtown Toronto:


If the videos don't work on your device (they didn't work on my ipad but did work on my desktop), try this link.  You can see the yarn bombing on "B-roll Package" and on video on the street in Toronto if you choose "Other Video Resource" from the drop-down.

Here's the back story:

"Tim Hortons "yarn-bombs" its mobile coffee truck, the TimsRunner to celebrate the launch of Tim Hortons new #WarmWishes holiday cups and social media campaign encouraging Canadians to do good for others this holiday season.

The TimsRunner "sweater", created by Toronto-based, Lettuce Knit, required a team of 35 knitters, 450 skeins of yarn, and nearly 1,000 hours of knitting time. Once the yarn is removed from the TimsRunner it will be washed, felted and repurposed into over 30 blankets to be donated to Covenant House."

Click on the Lettuce Knit link (the November 20th post) to read about their participation in the project.

I probably sound like a commercial for Tim's. but that's fine with me.  They do a lot of good for communities.