Saturday, May 28, 2011

Books Galore

Thank you for stopping by to see what I am up to. Tomorrow I should have some progress to show you on the granny stripe. I cannot believe I forgot to identify my yarn in my last posting after showing you all of my yarn photos. I am using Lion's Brand Vanna's Choice yarn for the granny stripe, and Vanna's Baby line for additional blues and greens. Several people have also asked about the program I use for my photos. I use Photoscape a great free program to add things like a frame or make the photo into a cube. This is also nice to make a photo collage.

One of the reasons I have not been crocheting as much, aside from working, is because I have been reading like a maniac. I think this is partly due to traveling and reading on the plane. Once I get on a roll, I like to keep it going. I've read some great books recently, and I have been telling everyone about them, so I must also share them with blogland.

A book you may have heard about from other readers is The Help by Kathryn Stockette. Kate over at The Garden Bell read it while she was on her Florida vacation and I made a mental note to read it once my summer session began.
This book was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Please read it. If you do read it, I would love to hear what you thought about it.

As soon as I finished reading The Help I googled it to find out some more background information about the story and why the author wrote the book. I also knew this book was so good that a movie was definitely going to be made, and I was correct. The movie is scheduled to come out this August (2011). In fact, I saw a preview for the movie the other night! I was a little surprised at the casting though. Hopefully the movie is as big of a hit as the book. I highly recommend this book, I could not put this book down. For two whole days I read this during every spare minute I could find.

Another book I just finished is The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil. I happened to come across this book at a local charity shop and grabbed it for only $1! The book was lovely.

If you like stories about life with a little bit of wool and yarn to go with it, you will likely enjoy this book. I even ran out to the local library to get the next book written by Gil McNeil, Needles and Pearls. I am a little over halfway through it and so far so good!
Well, if you like to read and you are looking for some summer reads or winter reads for those of you down under, I hope you enjoy yours books as much as I am.
xoxo Susan

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ready to Crochet

Good Morning Friends,

Thanks for stopping by. I am still here and doing well, I've just been tied up with work projects and wasn't able to get much crocheting done this week. I was supposed to make a business trip to the state of Arkansas earlier this week, but the terrible weather prevented me from going. My thoughts are with all of the people who have been affected by the tornadoes.

Earlier in the week I stocked up on the yarns I need to complete the English Meadow Granny Stripe blanket. As we celebrate Memorial Day here in the USA, I look forward to this long weekend to make some ground on the blanket.

I was also working on another cardigan, this one a bit more complex than the last one. So far the back of the cardigan is about 50% complete. Right now I am trying to get the arm shapes correct, which is turning out to be quite tricky. Hopefully this weekend includes some time for that too. The stitch of this sweater will make it warmer than my other cardigan (plus it is acrylic, not cotton), so I am not in a big hurry to finish it since the temps are reaching the mid 90's here in Southwest Florida.

Well I am off to get going on my granny stipe. I hope you have a fabulous weekend and get to do something fun!
xoxo Susan

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Sweater to Make

Good Morning!

So far my weekend has been filled with relaxation and I plan to continue to relax today. I do have a little bit of work to squeeze in before the day is through. Tomorrow will be back to work for another new week. I noticed in blogland the last few weeks seem to be filled with sweaters, wraps, and shawls, myself included with my cotton cardigan. While I was in Seattle, I visited an Anthropologie store and found this lovely crocheted sweater.

I immediately took out my camera to snap a photo so I could remember the details of the design. I hope to have a pattern created within two weeks and of course I will share it with all of you! I already have one friend who has requested one after seeing the photo. We'll see if she still wants one after seeing a photo of the one made by me (hehe). But, assuming the sweater turns out great, I am thinking this may be the perfect gift for my friends for this year.

I just surveyed my yarn stash and made a list of more blues and greens I need to continue with my granny stripe blanket. A quick trip to A.C. Moore and I will be all set. All of the Vanna's Choice and Vanna's Baby yarn is on sale 2 for $5 this week (regular $3.29). I will be stopping later today to replenish my stash.
I hope to take some progress photos of my other cardigan I am working on. So far it is looking quite nice, but far from finished. Check back for some photos soon!

Have a fabulous Sunday,
xoxo Susan

Friday, May 20, 2011

Back Again!

Hello Friends,

I am back from Seattle and quite exhausted. Direct flights from my nearest airport and Seattle were not an option so it took a full day of travel both ways. On the way there we had a short stop in Reno where I took some shots out the window of the plane.

Reno, Nevada

Outside of the Reno Nevada Airport area
My planed stopped in Reno but I did not have to switch planes, so the flight attendants let people who were staying on the plane for the next flight get off the plane to stretch our legs and get something to eat. When I got off the plane, I was surprised to see slot machines right inside the airport terminal! I guess I forgot gambling is legal all over the state of Nevada.

It looked so neat, I just had to take another photo
I arrived at the Seattle Airport late in the afternoon and didn't have time to check out the city of Seattle until later the next day. The purpose of my trip was for business, so I really only had about 3 hours to check things out around the city throughout the trip.

Look at all of the green!

My hotel, The Cedarbrook Lodge
 I stayed at the Cedarbrook Lodge, which used to be owned by a large banking corporation before they went under when the economy crashed. The banking corporation used it for company retreats, seminars, and conferences. When the company went bankrupt, another company took over the grounds and opened up the lodge for use as a hotel. It was very nice. There was a common space on my floor called the "living room" where complimentary bottles of spring water, string cheese, yogurt, chocolates, and ice cream were available. It was lovely!

I stopped to touch this grass each day. I miss soft grass. As you probably notice in my outside crochet photos, the grass here in FL is thick and hard

The weather was great, it was 70 degrees and sunny
Well that's all for today friends. I have to catch up on some sleep, do some crocheting and everyday life activities. Tomorrow I have some crochet goodness to share.
Have a fabulous start to your weekend!
xoxo Susan

Monday, May 16, 2011

Granny Striping

Good Morning,

Time passes by too fast. I feel like each time I look at my calendar another month has passed. I am gearing up to travel on business to Seattle, Washington. I am very excited to visit Seattle as I have never been there before. One thing I am not looking forward to is the long plane ride across the entire country.

This weekend I spent most of my time getting things in order prior to leaving for my trip. I was able to work a little bit on my new cardigan and the English Meadow granny stripe from a couple months ago. The sweater is making slow progress. I am using an F size hook and the next portion requires are smaller hook, so I need to get to the store before I can go much further. Somewhere over time and moving to Florida, I lost some of my hook sets. I am not sure if I have used a hook smaller than F before.

It looks like the sun was a little too bright for the photos!

I am not sure what I will bring to work on while traveling. This blanket is too large to transport with me. I try not to bring any extra items with me during travel to alleviate any stress on my back during transport. I may have to bring some yarn to start some more granny circles...
Well, it is a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the temperature is not too hot. Hopefully I can sneak some time outside in between a busy day of work.
I hope your Monday is joyful!
xoxo Susan

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Project


Thanks for visiting! I appreciate the nice comments on my white cotton cardigan. I might wear it to a party tomorrow evening.
Now, I am trying to decide what I want to do with this chair. I picked this up for $5.99 at the local charity shop and was very excited to paint it and crochet something for the seat cover. This is my first furniture piece. I was initially thinking I would paint the chair white, but I am open to any suggestions. At first, I thought hexagons for the seat cover, but again, I am open to other motifs. What do you think?

I do not have a specific place I am planning to put this chair, which is probably why I am having difficulty deciding what to do with it. Maybe some blue colors for the seat cushion. We are supposed to have a somewhat rainy weekend here which I am looking forward to. The rain will give me an excuse to be inside and crochet away and read books. 

I mentioned I started another sweater. The scarf-magic jacket (but without the scarf component) from the March 2011 Crochet Magazine (Crochet!) is the pattern I am following. I  am having major issues with the gauge and number of stitches suggested by the pattern. I already went down to the smallest hook possible for me to use with normal yarn and the chain size for a small comes out several inches longer than needed.

For now, I unraveled what I had and I am going to use the small shell stitch but wing it myself. I will write my steps down as I go to try to capture my pattern. We'll see how it turns out!
Have a fabulous Friday,
xoxo Susan

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blog Award

Hello Friends,

Thanks for stopping by to see what I am working on. First, I want to thank Jane from Hook and Yarn who passed on these blog awards to me:

Thank you Jane for visiting my blog and honoring my blog. I have been blogging for a little over 3 months and I have enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and sharing great projects and pieces of my life. Based on Jane's posting, I think I am supposed to share 7 interesting things about myself and then pass along the away to other blogs.
  1. My favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz
  2. I like to make my bed as soon as I wake up, even before I get into the shower
  3. I can play the flute and oboe, and played at Disney World in 1999
  4. After seeing the movie Sister Act as a young girl, I wanted to become a nun (this is true!)
  5. I love to read books, especially "Chick Lit" but I will read just about anything to learn more about any topic. 
  6. I am a sucker for movies with a love story with a happy ending
  7. My favorite book is the Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.
 Now, who to pass the awards on to. So many great blogs and postings...

Alice at Crochet with Raymond

Meredith at Mereknits 

Angie at Le Monde De Sucrette

Jacey at Coffee 'n' Crochet

Kate at The Garden Bell

Make sure you stop by and visit their blogs if you do not already frequent them. They are always up to great things and happy hooking :)
I have a new project starting to share with you tomorrow. A new type of project for me!
xoxo Susan

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cardigan Finished!!!

Good Morning Lovelies,

I finished the sweater! I am not sure about adding a button or not. In the project photos on Ravelry some people did a button and some people did not. I sort of like it without the button for now because I probably will keep it open when I wear it. Although we do not have rules about wearing sleeveless tops at my office, I usually like to have a little something to throw over and this sweater is going to be perfect. I may have to make similar versions in multiple colors! The pattern called for 600 yards of yarn I believe. It looks like I have just a little less than half of the yarn left, so I did pretty good.

I purchased the 100% Bernat Cotton at A. C. Moore on sale for $5.99 about 2 weeks ago. Now the only issue will be the stretching of the cotton. As we're learned throughout the years, a little Lycra or spandex is added into our sweaters and tops now to help keep the shape.

What do you think, button needed?

Front of the Sweater

Side view. I did not add anything to the arms after making the 10 in chain for the arm holes.

Back of the sweater.

Hanging on the hanger looking official!

I really liked making this and I already started to make another sweater using a different pattern but my gauge is way off, so it looks like I will be starting it over today. I do not want to make it too big and have no one be able to swear it. 
Today is Mother's Day here in the United States- so Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, my Nana, and all of the other wonderful mothers!
My mom on the left, and Nana on the right.
Have a great Sunday!
xoxo Susan

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cardigan Almost Done!!!

Good Morning Lovelies,

My cardigan is almost complete. I am so excited to finish it and wear my sweater!! This sweater hooks up so fast, I just love it. I am already thinking about different yarns to try making additional ones. I also and trying to wrap my head around altering the stitches. Maybe after a few more types of sweaters, I will have a good feel for the shaping required so I can customize them a little bit.

The Back

The Front - I am not sure why the photo was so blurry.

Almost complete!!!!
I used 100% cotton for this one, so I know the shape will not hold up as well as others, but I wanted something good for the hot summers here. I am going to keep the sleeves short because I want to be able to throw this on over a sleeveless dress. I may add a little bit to the sleeves but I am not sure. I may bring it in to the office to see what the ladies think before I add more.
Have a fabulous Saturday!!
xoxo Susan

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chevron Cardigan Update

Hello Friends,

Thanks for stopping by to see what I am up to. As promised I have some updates on my Chevron Cardigan sweater I am making. This is my very first piece of clothing I am crocheting (not counting the baby hats I made earlier this year - but those are easy) and I am excited to wear something I actually made. Hopefully it turns out nice enough for me to wear outside of my house.
The pattern is worked from the top down. I am following the pattern for size small.

I am getting close to doing the arm holes so I will let you know how that goes. I am really enjoying this pattern. If all goes well with this one, I am going to do another cardigan after this one, but I will use a different pattern (I can't have too many of the same pattern, at least not yet). I am using a G size hook, but I did follow the directions and did a gauge check. My gage is usually off from the hook size suggested, so after repeatedly not bothing to check my gauge for projects, I wanted this one to be done correctly. One of my favorite sayings is "If you do not have time to do it right the first time, then you better have time to do it over". So, I now check my gauge unless it is a blanket or something where size is not important.

I am still here in Washington, D.C., tomorrow I fly back to Florida. The temperature dropped 20 degrees from yesterday with some rain last night and this morning. So I am little chilly walking around outside today. We are close to having final approval on our grant reviews and should be able to celebrate our completion this evening. And it will be back to the sunshine and warmth in Florida for me.

Have a fabulous day,
xoxo Susan

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flowers Around D.C.

Hello Lovelies,

I hope you are having a great week. I had some time to walk around Washington, D.C. today and caught some photos of the beautiful flowers in bloom. At some point I would like to visit during the Cherry Blossom Festival because it looks like a gorgeous site to see. But, for now I will settle for the beauty all around the city as spring moves into  full effect.

There are also a lot of pansies around the flower beds and tree skirts. I will try to snap some photos of those tomorrow. I know this is a short post but I promise to make up for it in the weeks to come. Summer vacation officially started for me yesterday... well just summer vacation for one week from the university. Summer session starts on Monday and I am teaching a class during the 10 week session.

I also have an update on my cardigan but I need to get to sleep, so you will have to wait for tomorrow!!!
Have a lovely day  : )
xoxo Susan

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Getting ready to start the week!

Hello Lovelies,

This was an interesting day. I flew to Washington, D.C., our nationa's capital, to review grants for the U.S. Department of Education. My seat on the plane allowed me to see great views of the capital city as we descended into the city. Right before landing at Reagan National Airport we flew over Arlington National Cemetery. I visited the cemetery before and even planted a tree there in 1994, but seeing the cemetery from a live bird's eye-view was certainly humbling.

I had been reviewing grants all of last week preparing for the on-site reviews, so after I arrived this evening I was only able to check into my room and unpack a little bit before preparing for tomorrow.

However, later this evening the U.S. news reported that Osama Bin Laden is dead. What better place to be than the nation's capital for this news!! BUT, the President is currently an hour late to make this statement to the public. I hope your week starts off great.
More soon,
xoxo Susan