26 February 2011

Na Na Na-na

Hey kids! It's been a while since I've posted. I think of you often, but I'm usually so busy knitting that I don't take the time to put my project down and head to this shiny screen of technology. Unfortunately, I was knitting so much I injured myself. Next time I'll know better and take a break. When I knit using bulky yarn I put too much stress on my right shoulder (broken when I was 9 years old) and then I get nerve issues that travel down to my hand. This was the cause:

I've been requested by Brown Sheep to design and knit some pieces for a trunk show that will begin at TNNA in June. Very exciting! This little number will be a throw/ afghan when it's all grown up.

I also have a hat/mitten/cowl trio:

And a lace stole:

I'm still waiting for yarn to arrive to start some socks and a sweater.

The weather here in Omaha has turned back to winter after some glorious days that were just teasing us. Once again, the ground"s white, the sky's white, and our fire is going. I took this photo a couple weeks ago and posted it on Facebook, but didn't want to put it in this blog since the weather had taken such a nice turn. The photo seemed so out of place with the warm sun - just as red and green look so awkward after Christmas. Now the landscape looks the same as when I caught this Bald Eagle sitting in a tree behind our house:

We don't have any large bodies of open water that eagles like right near us - the Missouri, Platte, and Elkhorn rivers are all 5-25 miles from us - but I sure am glad that this guy/girl decided to drop in for a few minutes! About 50 yards away was another large trees filled with 20+ nervous little birds who were all keeping a wary eye on the Big Guy!

Oh...Na Na Na-na. Last night Dave and I were hanging out listening to songs he's downloaded to his iPad. He found a bunch from the 60's and 70's that were taking us for a little stroll down Memory Lane. It was surprising to us that he had 4 songs with they heavy, thought-provoking lyrics containing an assortment of "Na-Na's". A good Na-Na speaks volumes! (The dogs headed to bed after we started singing along to the choruses.)

Steam - "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"
Journey - "Lovin', Touchin' Squeezin' "
Deep Purple - "Hush"
The Grass Roots - "Midnight Confessions"

Please post to me if you think of any other Na-Na songs. I'll compile the International Na-Na List!

I'm still working on the Stora Dimun Shawl, slowly, though I think it will be this weekend's pleasure knitting.

Enjoy the last days of February. It brings Spring even closer - though I always hear my Grandma Clark telling me not to wish away my days.


02 February 2011

Shawl, Cookies, and WIP Wednesday

For some time now I have been meaning to get a decent photo of this lovely shawl onto this blog.

This is the Winter Mystery Shawl 2010 from Goddess Knits, knit using Spinning Bunny's Blue Face Leicester Lace Weight Yarn. The mystery shawls from Goddess Knits are great fun. Once a week "clues" are released through Yahoo!Groups. The clues consist of charted rows to be knit before the next week's clue. The mystery is not knowing what the finished shawl will look like. It is a bit of a leap of faith, though I've never been disappointed. This pattern is obviously winter-themed, with beads (a little difficult to see here) knitted in using a crochet hook to load each bead.

The yarn was delightful to use. There was one massive skein of lace weight yarn, that when wound into a ball, didn't have a single break. That's happy dance wonderful! I chose color Merlot and enjoyed the soft and lofty feel. Being hand-dyed there was quite a bit of color bleeding onto my fingers. I had to be extra careful not to let the yarn slide across the off-white upholstery. When the shawl was complete I simply ran it through a couple rinses of vinegar and water to set the color. I'd gladly use this yarn again.

Today, being Groundhog Day, I had to break out my groundhog cookie cutter to celebrate. (I just googled "groundhog cookie cutter" and found many available.) I use a terrific sugar cookie recipe that tastes and looks like the best from a bakery. I had been given this recipe by a friend and felt that I shouldn't openly share it until I discovered last year that I had the same recipe written done on a 3x5 card from years ago.

Here's my favorite sugar cookie recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Cream the butter; add sugar and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and salt; mix well.
Roll the dough to 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick and use cookie cutters.
Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet, covered in parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops look dry. Do not bake until brown.

I spread a thin coat of melted chocolate (6 oz. chocolate chips with 1 tsp. solid shortening melted in a double boiler) on the back of the cookie - the groundhog's shadow! There isn't any vanilla ice cream in this house, or else I'd put a scoop in a bowl, stand a groundhog in the ice cream, and then drizzle some homemade hot fudge, as more of a shadow, behind him.

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, so winter will be over soon! I wanted to take a sunny picture of these little guys, but the 4 degree afternoon chased me indoors. We'll see how accurate the Punxsutawney rodent is!

"Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

And so now onto WIP Wednesday. I've been designing a few things for Brown Sheep Yarns. This is a sneak peek at the beginning of a stole. The yarn is wonderful to use. I just love lace.

Knit through everything!

Lynn Anne