Monday, November 23, 2009

Our nation's capitol

My parents were down for a visit this weekend and I took them on a mini tour of Washington DC. We took the metro into town and got off at Union Station to begin our day.

union station

We walked down 1st street passing the Supreme Court building on our way to the Library of Congress.

Supreme court

I've worked with the Library of Congress for a few years now as a consultant - doing their HR software - and I've been to the main building several times, even though I usually worked in the James Madison building across the street. It was nice to be able to show my parents some of the places I've worked.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

The interior of the library is just gorgeous. There is color everywhere!

From the stained glass ceilings:

Library of Congress ceiling

To the murals on the walls and ceilings...

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

We were able to peek into the "reading room" but alas no pictures were allowed. Here's a picture from the LOC website:

The next stop was the US Capitol building.

US Capitol

We walked through a tunnel to get to the Capitol building directly under 1st street from the Library of Congress. I hadn't been to the Capitol since I was in the Girls Scouts many many moons ago. Since that time - a new underground visitors center has been built. When you start your tour - you are shown a movie about the history of the building and the people who created this masterpiece. After the movie - a tour guide takes you to the famous Capitol Rotunda.

US Capitol dome

The painting in the dome is The Apotheosis of Washington by Brumidi.

capitol dome2

Those of you who are Dan Brown fans may remember this as the location of the opening scene of The Lost Symbol where Langdon finds the severed hand on the floor pointing up at the painting. It was actually kind of funny how many people were pointing out that spot rather than looking at the art around them!

As we were leaving the capitol the sun was just starting to set behind the dome.

US Capitol Dome

The Capitol building was backlit with a beautiful warm light.

US Capitol at sunset

I took advantage of a recent HDR class and snapped some shots using "bracketing" and then processed the pics using Photomatix software.

As we turned to leave we saw that the lovely warm light looked amazing on the Library of Congress too!

Library of Congress

After a lovely dinner at McCormick and Schmicks we headed home exhausted after a busy day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We're off to see the wizard...

The wonderful Wizard of Oz!

Sunday was Jolene's birthday and as a special treat I took her and her girls to see the Wizard of Oz at the Lyric in Baltimore.

It was a great show and the girls loved every minute of it - as did I.

wizard of oz

It was fun to keep the treat a secret from the girls. They had no idea where we were going! I couldn't resist making these bags for them and even when they opened them they still couldn't guess...

I made each girl a tote bag with this awesome Wizard of Oz fabric from the Seminole Sampler.

wizard of oz bags

wizard of oz bags

And I made Jolene a little wallet from the Ruby slippers fabric.

Ruby slippers wallet

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mittens mittens mittens!

I am so in love with these mittens! I was inspired to knit a pair after seeing these gorgeous mitts that were knit with handspun. I thought to myself - I have tons of handspun and I never seem to know what to make with just a single skein. Here is my solution!

Handspun mittens

Pattern: Classic Mittens - a simple free vintage knitting pattern on Ravelry here and online here
Yarn: Handspun dyed by Hello Yarn in the Turkey Attack colorway.
Needles: Size 8 DPNs
Mods: I just used the pattern as a guide and adjusted the fit as needed. That's the beauty of mittens - you can try them on as you go!

Here's the yarn before knitting it up:

Hello Yarn's Turkey Attack

Love these colors - they will go with my entire wardrobe.

I actually knit these in about 5 hours total - I just couldn't put them down!

Handspun mittens

Handspun mittens

Handspun mittens

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A new hat!

Everyone needs a new hat when the weather turns cold. I bought a skein of Madeline Tosh worsted weight yarn at Webs and after living with it for a while I decided it wanted to be a hat! It's a lovely orangey red shade and the color looks awesome with this pattern.

Ballard Slouch

Pattern: Ballard Slouch hat by Felicia Lo
Yarn: Madeline Tosh worsted
Needles: Size 7 - 16 inch circ

I didn't do the extra repeat for "extra slouchiness" and I think if someone wanted a slouchy beret style hat they should do the extra repeat. I like how mine came out, but it's not as slouchy as I would have liked.

Ballard Slouch

Ballard Slouch

Ballard Slouch

Everytime I go outside to take pictures - my dogs try to get in on the action... so here they are! Hurley and Bailey!

Me and the boys!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Before and After





I was knitting the Mad Color Weave socks pattern in this lovely yarn by Three Irish Girls, and I didn't like how the pattern was coming out. It was partially because of how the yarn was blending and partially because I just didn't like knitting this pattern. I love the finished pattern and all the socks I've seen but for some reason this pattern and yarn were just not meant to be.

So..... Riiiiiiiiippppp!!

This lovely yarn will hopefully be making another appearance soon!!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Orange you glad I knit more socks?

I have yet another pair of socks to show you! These were finsihed in August but for some reason I never took a picture of them!

They are my Fireball socks knit with C*eye*ber Fiber yarn dyed by my friend Erin.

fireball socks

It's just a basic sock but I tried something new... an afterthought heel.

I didn't have any DPNs with me when I was knitting this - I was at the National Stitch and Pitch game - so instead I knit two rows on one side with scrap yarn, and kept on knitting! After finishing the toe, I went back and picked up the stitches on the scrap yarn and knit a second toe. I actually reall love how the heel came out and I may have to make more socks this way!

I have been experimenting with differnet sock heels lately. I forgot to mention that on the plain socks I knit from Rhinebeck I made a garter stitch heel:

Rhinebeck Socks

A couple people have asked if this is a short row heel. It's not - it's actually just a heel flap that I knit in garter stich and then turned and picked up as normal. I love how squishy and flexible it is.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Handspun sweater and 400 posts!

This is my 400th post! Who knew that I when I started this blog back in 2005 that I would still be blogging.... about knitting! I certainly didn't.

But here I am knitting and now spinning too! Thanks everyone for reading and sticking with me all these years.

Speaking of spinning - I started a handspun sweater on the road trip to Rhinebeck. I had lots of great knitting time in the car on the way. Thanks for driving Sarah! I got a TON done and used up all the yarn I had with me for this sweater.

Handspun sweater in progress

I'm losely basing the sweater on the #22 Garter Yoke Cardigan from Knit1. I say losely because I've changed the yoke to be more rounded instead of boat necked.

The top is knit with handspun dyed by the fabulous Dragonfly fibers.

Handspun sweater closeup

And the bottom is roving from Seredipity Farms.

Handspun sweater closeup

I actually got it at MD sheep and wool TWO years ago. I started spinning it two years ago when I was still a very novice spinner. Then I promptly put it aside and forgot about it for two years. I only had about 400 yards spun up and when I used up that yarn - I of course went to spin some more. I finished another 150 yards and starting knitting... BUT it wasn't the same gauge! Not even close.

My spinning has improved and I can't quite channel my inner "beginner spinner" to produce the thick and thin'ish yarn that I originally made. I'm on my third "sample" skein and I think I'm getting closer....

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mystery Socks Done!

A day late... but still rock'n...
I finished the toe on November 1st - so I missed Socktober by one day - but I still love my Mystery Socks:

Looks like Hurley likes them too :)

Mystery Socks

Pattern: Mystery Socks09 by Kristin Kapur of Through the Loops fame
Yarn: Socks that Rock in Beryl
Needles: Size 2 DPNs
Alterations: I only did 4 instead of 5 repeats on the leg.

I really enjoyed knitting these socks and looked forward to the new clue each week. I actually knit both socks at the same time so that I wouldn't be left with Second sock syndrome - for which I am very famous. I may have to do this for all my socks!

mystery socks

I knit quite a bit on these during the Rhinebeck roadtrips. The pattern was easy to memorize and they had just enough variety to keep up the interest. If you didn't knit these yet - I highly recommend them!