Sunday, June 27


We had a nice, low key anniversary celebration yesterday. Originally we had planned on camping for the weekend at nearby Chain O' Lakes State Park. The weather has been terrible around here lately and the Fox River, which feeds the lake, is at flood stage. We were watching the hourly forecasts obsessively for the past few days and decided late Friday night that it probably not the best idea to go. There was an 80% chance of thunderstorms with some severe predicted for Saturday. (It is worth mentioning that the last time we camped at Chain O' Lakes we had to evacuate when a tornado tore through the south end of the park.)

I am fairly angry to report that the weather was beautiful Saturday with no rain to be seen. I am trying to convince myself that the severe storms still took place 30 minutes away from our blue sky.

Our little party turned out to be just as fun as camping and was very 'us'. We had hot dogs with corn on the cob for dinner, played a stack of board and card games, watched Star Trek, and had yummy desert and beverages.

brownie and beverage

A few of the games were Ticket to Ride:

Ticket to Ride
(Which I highly recommend.)

and Monopoly Deal, which is an addictive and quick Monopoly-based card game that has all the fun of the original Monopoly without the tediousness of a three hour game.

I made a special super sweet and unhealthy desert - S'mores Brownies in honor of the missed camping trip.

S'mores brownies

The recipe is from Picky Palate and definitely worth a try if you love gooey s'mores or ridiculously sweet deserts (there are four full size Hershey Bars in that 8x8" pan). I did have a little trouble telling if they were done with the melted marshmallows on top, and ended up over baking them slightly. But no worries as they are still delicious.

Friday, June 25


Five years ago today, Steve and I were married. I really don't feel like five years sounds long enough - in a good way. We have been together since November 2001; 8 years, 7.5 months.

I wanted to find a photo for every year we have been together, but some of them are in a box at the bottom of my craft closet. I will eventually pull them out and add them to my little slideshow, but right now it would create a big mess that I don't feel like dealing with!

5 Year Anniversary Collage

Top Row (from left): 2002 - Easter. 2003 - my graduation from The University of Iowa (Steve graduated the year before. It took me five years, but I have two degrees). 2005 - our wedding.

Middle Row: 2005 - honeymoon. 2005 - honeymoon. 2006 - downtown after we moved back to Chicagoland.

Bottom Row: 2008 - camping. 2007 - Hawkeye Football game at Soldier Field. 2010 - five years.

Here's to many, many more.

Finished: Halley's Comet Hat

I want to finish up a few of the projects I've had sitting around since last year, before I started manically knitting D'sCS (I'm so tired of talking about it - I'm sure you're tired of reading about it!).

This hat was only a few rows away from being finished when it was chucked into the black hole of my UFO basket.

Halley's Comet Hat

This is Marnie Mclean's Halley's Comet Hat with a major twist. Whenever it was that I started this hat, I didn't feel like working from the top down since fiddling with four stitches on three dpns isn't my idea of fun.

I started at the brim and working the two row lace repeat upside down. As in, I worked the chart so the pattern came out the same as it would have if I knit it top down. I had major issues when it came to the comet lace motif at the crown. I tried and tried to re-chart it to be knit from the bottom up, but it never came out right. Tell me, is this not possible or was I majorly missing something??

Eventually I gave up and continued the lace pattern up the crown, and decreased quickly in the last two rows. I love how it turned out and it fits well.

Halley's Comet Hat
(I really want to get one of those foam head things for photos.)

The other notable thing about this hat is that it is made from the last ball of Elsebeth Lavold Classic Al from my Something Red sweater. I used all but the last few inches of it up - very satisfying.

Finished: Bella's Mittens

Or as I've titled it on Ravelry, the "I've Never Seen This Movie" Mittens. (I am working on the assumption that the movie is "Twilight".) Do they have some significance? Who knows - I just loved the pattern.

Bella's Mittens

Not too much to say about these. I used two skeins of Berroco Peruvia Quick yarn that I purchased from WEBS at Stitches Midwest last year. I followed the pattern exactly and they fit perfectly.

Bella's Mittens

The only thing that was slightly fiddly was trying to cross the cables without a cable needle on wooden dpns with bulky yarn knit at a tight gauge. But it wasn't that bad and they were such a fast knit.

Thursday, June 24

Dad's Sweater, Revisited

When I finished Dad's sweater for the second time, I had to wait a week or so before we would be together for him to try it on. When he (bravely, in 85° and humid weather) tried it on it was obvious that the sleeves were now too short, and the neck was a little snug. Eep!! I panicked for a split second before I remembered that I hadn't blocked it yet.

Blocking wool really is an amazing thing to witness. You can almost transform things into brand new garments. Once blocked, it fit perfectly and was even softer than before. Here's a final model shot:

Dad's Christmas Sweater
(He loves it. This is his 'picture' smile.)

I wanted to make a special label so decades in the future it would be known that I made this for him. (Hmm.. that sounds a little conceited when I see it written out.) I came up with the idea to embroider a wide piece of grosgrain ribbon and sew it near the bottom side seam of the sweater.

sweater label
(The red blob is a heart.)

My embroidery skill were much more lacking than I imagined. I guess looking at patterns, reading booking, and listing designs you want to make don't really count as practice. But I still love it and I think it adds a little charm. Just hopefully not in a kindergarten sort of way.

Tuesday, June 1

Finished!!!!!: Dad's Christmas Sweater

Can you tell how excited I am to have this project done?! Six months after Christmas, what a terrible daughter I am. hehehe.

Dad's Christmas Sweater

Technically I knitted 1.75 sweaters to get this final product. The first time was actually finished before Christmas but since I wanted it to be a surprise I had a feeling I would have to rip back and do some adjusting for size. And I did. But by that time I was sooo tired of looking at it (and was also working on some paper projects) that I let it sit for months before I actually ripped the yoke out. And then it sat in a small heap in pieces because again I couldn't bear to look at it.

When I did finally pick it up again (out of guilt, mostly), I just had to shortened the sleeves by about an inch and re-knit the yoke on a size smaller needle. I think I knitted the yoke in three days the first time around - it took me weeks this time. I have no idea how I did it so quickly before. So that's 1.5 sweaters knit.

The other .25 is in the the four different collars I had to knit and rip out to end up with one that wasn't too loose and sloppy or too tight. Like me, my Dad can't stand anything tight or constricting on clothing. A good way to torture us would be to force us to wear turtlenecks (shutter).

Dad's Sweater

The yarn is Berroco Blackstone Tweed and it's my new favorite yarn. It has a nice rustic look to it but is so soft. I really want to make a sweater for myself for it, and hubby has requested one too. (?! requested a sweater? Could it be true?)

I am going to see him this weekend and will hopefully be able to get a model shot of him wearing it.

So... Yay! Finished!!

What's next? A few quick and easy instant gratification projects.