Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! And it sure is a soggy one here, but as the saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers!" I'm hoping it will come true this year as it has been one gruesome winter in Northern Michigan. Ask anyone around this area and they will say it's been the worst winter they've ever seen, no lie. So I'm still waiting for warmer weather and hate seeing "much cooler than average" forecasts for this spring and summer. Oh well, I'll just have to knit some shawls to keep my shoulders warm.

Part of the vineyard with holes drilled.
Lately we've been counting down the inches of snow that's left and trying to get outside to accomplish some work. Brendan has already started drilling holes for the vineyard; I think he's about 40% complete on that task. Once the holes are drilled, we'll be heading to New York to pick up our grape vines. Hard to believe that these days are here! No more time for planning, just a lot of doing now. We started seeding our cold weather vegetables in the basement and now we have little broccoli, kale and cabbage plants.
Oh yeah, maybe I should share with you all our new plans! We are continuing with the vineyard, but putting the winery on hold for now. In the mean time we are starting a farm. We'll be focusing on heirloom vegetables and cut flowers for now, but also have chickens on order. Our name is Harvest Thyme Farm & Vineyards, so please check us out on Facebook or our website! We are all excited about it and can't wait to get the ball rolling.


That's all for now I think, I'll leave you with a picture of my current knitting project :-)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring Mittens

With spring on the horizon, I decided to try something new and join a knit-a-long (KAL). What is a KAL? Well on the fiber art community known as Ravelry, one can find patterns, follow designers and join groups and from here people come up with KALs for people to follow within a certain time frame on a specific pattern. I was intrigued by this KAL because it used self-striping yarn, which I've never knitted with before, and it was for some basic mittens that would be good to wear this spring. So I decided to join in on the Linden Mittens KAL by Jane Richmond to knit myself a pair of mittens (and be entered to win a skein of yarn). The KAL lasted two weeks, March 10th-24th, and I was able to complete my mittens on time, despite working eight 10-hour days in a row during the two weeks (yes, I said eight 10-hour days)! I'm pleased with the finished object as the color will go well with one of my jackets, plus they are shades of green and very spring-like, which I'm in dire need! This project may have even introduced me to a new addiction of self-striping yarn, so I'll have to try knitting some socks soon. Here are the photos of my progress over the two weeks, of which I really only knitted on them for four or five days.

I would also like to take some time in this post to say a goodbye to the family cat that we've had since I was in elementary school. She would have been 19 years old this year, but unfortunately my mom had to put her down on March 26th. Rest in peace Cricket aka "Big Kitty," you will be missed.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Winter Knitting Update (In March) last post was in November and now we're moving into April and the weather hasn't really changed. It is still dipping below zero some nights and not going above freezing during the day. And we still have three-foot snowbanks in our driveway, unfortunately. This winter has been one of the worst I've seen and it is draggingggggg. The calendar may say it is spring, but Michigan says otherwise. However, I have been able to complete a few knitting projects during this time, so I thought I'd finally share them.

Pattern: Shallows by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Socks in "Morning Mist"

Pattern: Zilver by Lisa Mutch
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in "Peacock"

Pattern: Cream and Sugar by Alana Dakos
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet in "Pinehurst"

Pattern: September Morn by Thea Coleman
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Tonal in "Pearlescent"

Pattern: Diamond Kerchief Cowl by Alexis Hoy
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Tonal in "Wine Tasting"

Pattern: Ledge Trail Vest by Elizabeth Smith
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in "Cadet"

So I've been a little busy during this long, cold winter. I'm just ready for spring-like weather to make an appearance in Northern Michigan. My knitting should be changing from dark, heavy wool to light, bright and airy once it gets warmer. I'm longing for more color! Also, with spring on its way that means it's seed planting time. We already have some kale, broccoli and cabbage sprouting under the lights in the basement. That gives us some hope that winter will soon end.

Friday, November 22, 2013

One new, one old

I feel like I've been going non-stop since I moved back to Michigan; mostly non-stop working, but I finally have a day off...five to be exact! So I have two finished projects to share with you all, my Sunset Suncrest Shawl and an oldie, my February Sweater. I finished the shawl a few weeks ago and it is the perfect color for fall. Plus, I finally got around to finding the perfect buttons for my sweater the other weekend and sewed those on this morning. Of course, I love them both!

Sunset Suncrest Shawl
Pattern: Suncrest by Tanis Lavallee
Yarn: Valley Yarns Charlemont in "Sunset"
Modifications: None
Difficulties: The picot edge bind-off was tedious!
New Techniques: "Feather and fan" pattern stitch, two-directional knitting, picot bind-off

February Sweater
Pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in "Lava Heather"
Modifications: Some added length on the body and sleeves
Difficulties: Connecting in the round for the sleeves without making holes
New Techniques: Top-down sweater knitting, no seams! Larger button holes

I have to admit that I've already started a new project...Shallows Cowl by Bonnie Sennott. I would love to have it finished this weekend, but we'll see. Not too sure how I will fill my time off this weekend, maybe some baking or more wine tasting? The snow is already falling here, so staying indoors just seems like a good idea. If you're looking for a good cookie recipe, I must share one for some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I've made two batches already and substituted dark chocolate chips can find it here on this blog. Enjoy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Hobbit Vest

Bennett in costume, running around!
Happy November! Can't believe it's here already! But now that Halloween is over with, I will share with you my special creation. I was able to knit up a vest for my best friend's toddler, Bennett, as part of his Halloween costume this year. Amy wanted to dress him as a hobbit and I was happy to jump on the opportunity. I must say it came together perfectly; he looked so cute! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see him in person, as they live in Georgia, but I loved seeing the pictures. Here are the details for my project, "Hobbit Vest":

Pattern Used: Pepo Pie by Joeli Caparco
Yarn Used: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in colorways Camel Heather and Truffle
Modifications: I used two different colors; one for the seed stitch border and one for the body. I also attached three buttons, instead of four.
Difficulties: Using the two colors was kind of a pain in the butt. Carrying the yarn up as I went made the skeins tangle together and then I had soooo many ends to weave in.
New Techniques: This was technically my first time using two colors at once. I have also never made a vest before and never constructed pockets before.

Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out and so is Amy :-) Now it's time to finish my Suncrest shawl....and bake some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Well it's about time I posted again, this time from a new home...I'm back in Northern Michigan and much happier. I guess you could say that Tennessee just wasn't for us, so Brendan and I are on to something new and something big; we are planning on starting a vineyard and winery. We already have land available to us behind my parents house, so next spring we will be planting about 3,600 vines or about five acres. It will be a huge project to take on, but we are excited and ready to get started. So far we've cleared most of the land and need to get the vines ordered; then we wait through the long winter until the fun begins.

For now I am back working at an old job, but hoping something will open up at a local non-profit. I've already inquired about volunteering with some and am taking on the role of trail steward and preserve steward for the Gauthier Preserve in Cheboygan for the Little Traverse Conservancy. I meet with the volunteer coordinator tomorrow and am excited to get started. Other than that, nothing else is new. I'm glad to be back in colder weather to keep on knitting more and more! I will have some finished projects to post soon, so keep an eye out for them.

As the leaves continue to fall more and more each day, I will be sad to see Fall leave the area. So here are some pictures I've captured of the season during my trip out to New York.

The view from Brendan's mom's house.

Hike at Grafton Lakes State Park, NY

Rock cairns in the water during our hike.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunny Mackinac Tank

I did it! I made my very first tank top, "Sunny Mackinac Tank," and even before the end of summer! For this project I followed the pattern Mackinac Tank by Danielle Chalson and used Knit Picks Comfy Sport yarn in colorway Creme Brulee. I decided to stray away from my normal color of purple and go with a light yellow. I'm glad I did because it makes the tank look so cheerful, plus this yarn is super soft. I find the name of the pattern to be quite fitting as my hometown is very close to Mackinac Island and Mackinaw City, many memories of summer. The tank itself was very easy to knit, simple knit and purl stitches, but I decided to knit the pattern in the round instead of knitting it in two pieces--seamless! I learned how to attach ruffles while knitting and also how to do the cable cast-on method during mid-row. It was a fun knit-working from the bottom up and watching it grow into something I can wear. And I must say, the finished product fits like a glove and I love it!

Now fall is nearly upon us, so it's time to get serious about yarn and a new adventure starting in my life. More to come soon!