31 July 2012

Pleased as Punch - Prairie KAL by guest blogger Kelly

Oh where to start?  I fell in love with Juju's loops the second I laid eyes on it and bought it immediately.  I knit up the Cedar Shake Mitts, and a matching cowl early this summer.  I even found a sample of Brown Eyed Susan in a knitting shop and it was divine.  When I found out that the Girls in Sheep Clothing were doing a Loop KAL, I was all about it. 

But which yarn to choose...with so many options?  I have to admit that the yarn sort of chose me.  I am one lucky girl, because five minutes from where I work is an AMAZING resource called the Minnesota Fiber Guild.  There is a gift shop, an art gallery, a library, and it is the residence of the Weaving Guild.  Wow,  Anything you could ask for!  There is even a bargain bin full of delicious yarn, and there was some Jaggerspun Wool Silk that felt like it was waiting for me.  I dyed it a pink-coral color, and we have both been waiting patiently for today.  Without further ado, here it is!  I included the before, the after and the inspiration.

Happy knitting everyone!
Kelly Lightbeam

speak softly ~ a post by Melissa

I've been waiting til just the right moment to introduce you to a teeny new friend.

This is Emma.

She's terribly shy and until now wasn't sure how she felt to be in America.

She had an awfully long journey across the sea but finally arrived safely, although with much trepidation, a fortnight ago.

 We've been becoming acquainted, Miss Emma and I.

She's told me delightful stories about the village she came from in Brighton where she had many, many lovely friends.

Sadly, some left before her and then one day it was her turn to say goodbye to her wonderful caretaker, Melodie Stacey .

She's been horribly homesick ...

until yesterday.
 Yesterday, when she met a new little friend, Copter.

Copter is a dog that looks like a bunny with his ears, oh, so long.

Copter came to live at my house one day this year when he got into an Easter package that Kelli gave me and wound up far from home, also.

Silly, silly dog.

Emma and Copter have become fast friends and are so very glad to have each other's company.

Emma decided that this wasn't such a very bad place to be after all.

And then her day got even better ...

Last night as the sun was going down and the day was being put to rest, some wonderful news arrived.

Her long lost friends, Bea and Whinny (who Emma lovingly called 'Mork') have been located and wouldn't you know it ...

kindred spirits have given all three of these beautiful girls not only new homes, but a chance to be together again ...

all the way over on this side of the pond.

Emma could hardly sleep last night ~ she was so overwhelmed with a feeling of finally being home.

Dearest Little Bea and Mork ~ I think if you look closely you can see that Emma is looking down at you and smiling at your photo below! 

30 July 2012

Introducing Bea & Whinny ~ a post by Kelli

My newest friends from the United Kingdom I bought them from Melodie Stacey who creates Mia dolls for her Etsy shophttp://maidoll-melodie.blogspot.com/. These two sweeties are always there cheering me on, and are excited to follow us on our KAL. (I'm sure they knit at night while I'm sleeping~) Sorry Melodie I wrote this later then I should and called you Melanie

Here goes nothing ~ a post by guest blogger Kimberly

This is my hand dyed that i did myself. I'm sorry it is not a great picture the colors are a deep marine blue with bits and pieces of  blue violet and violet. and all the sparkling tidbits of sterling. So now there is not too much of  cliff hanger anymore. I just know that the finished product will be wonderful. I cannot wait to start this amazing trip will all the new people and the one person I already know. Thanks to Kelli for letting the lace bug bite and to everyone else on this open road of fun.

Open roads and warm fires


Prairie Rose ~ a post by guest blogger Morgen

Greetings all,  Morgen here just checking in. 
I have my yarn chosen (from stash, yea me!);  Fleece Artist Sea Wool in a raspberry color. It is actually a lighter color than the picture shows.  I think it is a true raspberry color. I have the pattern printed out, but I have not yet colored in the charts, so will do that tonight.  I have dug out size 4 needles, although I will probably play around and swatch some tonight to make sure that I like this yarn in lace on that size needle.  I tend to like my lace knit at a tighter gauge as well. 
I am also working on a sweater for the Knitting __lympics, so while I plan on working on Prairie every day I don't expect to pick up steam on her until after the 12th of August.
I hope all is well with all of you and I am very happy that the start of this KAL is finally here!!!  I can hardly wait to see what yarns and colors you all have chosen!
Thank you Blog Mistress Melissa for reminding me to check for errata.  I never would have remembered and I think you saved me heaps o' heartache!  ANOTHER good reason for knit-a-longs; other people watch out for your back!

four, three, two, one ~ a post by Melissa

Tomorrow is the big day!  Are you ready to cast on Kelli, Kelly, Kimberly, Morgen and Pamela?  Don't forget to get the little bits of errata before getting started ( here's the link again if you need it ).  And if there's someone reading this that wants to join, it's not too late!  It only takes a minute to add you to the group so just let me know!

I'm calling our 2012 New Year's Day Knit Along officially closed (thank goodness!).  I'm hoping NOT to be the straggler this time around but I make no promises.  Here are some final photos of my Bridgewater .  I wanted to get some shots at the beach but haven't had time yet, so these will have to do for now:

It was fun knitting this with everyone watching everyone knit this while mine sat in my knitting basket for 7 months.  I guess it's not really a 'knit along' if you don't knit along, right? 

I'm excited to get the new kal started, so I'll share my yarn choice:

I haven't been able to get a true picture of the color yet.  I'm going to do the lace weight version of Prairie and I'm using Madelinetosh Tosh Lace in 'Clover', which is a bright, happy shade of green.  I usually like to use a US4 or US5 needle with my lace but since this shawl has nupps I'm going to use a US3 since I like them nice and tight.  When you use a fine yarn on bigger needles they tend to look a little loosey, goosey (just my opinion!).

Can't wait to see photos of all your yarn choices and especially Kimberly's hand dyed yarn!  I'm excited to knit with you all and I should let you know Kelli is also, even though she hasn't chimed in for awhile.  She's having problems with her google log in that she's hoping to have fixed soon!

Prairie Party starts tomorrow!!  ~ Melissa

29 July 2012

southerncharm ~ a post by guestblogger Pamela

Hi everyone, I'm Pamela.  I'm known as "southerncharm" on Ravelry.  That's how I met Mel and found you.  I've not done a knit along or blogged before...so let the adventures begin :)

28 July 2012

dog days of summer ~ a post by Melissa

My goal for the rest of the weekend is to be as lazy as Dozer!  I'm parking myself in front of the tv and watching the Olympics:

It's been another full week ~ this bubbling pot...

became Hot Pepper Relish...

and this simmering pan...

became Tomato Jam.

Batches of raspberry jam were made from these...

and now I'm going to take a much needed break and enjoy the remaining berries and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc while my husband bbq's a sockeye fillet for dinner.  Ahhhhh.....

More tomorrow....  ~ Melissa

23 July 2012

New news in the air ~ a post by guest blogger Kimberly

Well my book has arrived and I love it more now than before. Saturday was a great day  I volunteered with the Ragnar Relay which I always have a blast doing you get to meet so many different people and meet a couple of ladies who knit that were runners. I got home and the book was there. And then on Sunday since it rained I decided to go to Crafter's Co-op in Oak Harbor and dye my yarn in there studio so no mess at my house. Now I have to wait for it to dry and then maybe you will have pictures. I hate waiting on drying times even if it is for the laundry. Hope the wait for the 31st goes quickly. Everyone have a great day


peaceful waters ~ a post by Melissa

My rav site is full of bugs that won't let me edit projects right now, so I'll just have to share my excitement on the blog (shucks!).  Bridgewater is blocked and drying ~ hopefully it doesn't take more than the day since I had to pin it to our bed.  I don't relish the thought of sleeping on the floor tonight...that would be a crummy way to spend our 18th anniversary (can I get a whoop, whoop!!).

Ready? .........

Isn't it gorgeous???  The center square looks like a calm tidal pool with not a ripple to be seen.  The yarn was amazing to work with (as usual) and blocked easily.

Preblocking the shawl measured 34" x 34" ~ I blocked it to 48" x 48" (I could have blocked it bigger but liked how it looked at this size) and I think it will probably relax down to almost the exact pattern finished dimensions.

I'm glad this one is finally done.  It's my first square shawl and there are a few things that I wish were a little nicer....that darn kitchener seam at the very end is not invisible when it's used to graft lace ends together and the seam bothers me.  All in all, though, I'm glad that I did it and am pleased with the result.  I have to admit ~ that 'holy crap, dude, have you gone mad?!?!' face that Wil gave to Jeff when he signed on for this kal kept randomly popping up in my head and Wil, yours was definitely the voice (face) of reason on this one!   ~ Melissa

22 July 2012

late to the dance ~ a post by Melissa

My Bridgewater is finally off the needles.  Tomorrow it's time to weave in ends and block her.
I feel like the last person to finish a marathon....I took so long that everyone has gone home and mine is the only car left in the parking lot.

Annoyed at my time but completely proud that I finished.  I'll feel better when I see how the lace blooms and opens up tomorrow.  Much, much better!  ~ Melissa

21 July 2012

the tank was on empty ~ a post by Melissa

Last night at 10:30 while I was online on consumer reports trying to figure out what we are going to get to replace our desktop computer with that got fried during a thunderstorm power surge last weekend, my husband remarked that I looked tired.  Boy, that was an understatement.  I felt like I was in a fog all day yesterday and by dusk I was trying to figure out why I felt like all my energy was zapped.  So, doing what I do best (and I know a certain Swanski that will appreciate this!), I sat down and made a list of everything I've done this week and all of a sudden I felt better because holy cow, I've been busy!  Aside from working all week and having quite a few sleep deprived nights calming a storm-frightened puppy, here's what I've been up to:

Batches of blueberry and strawberry jams were made with my farmer's market haul from last weekend,

and a triple batch of To Die For Blueberry Muffins were baked from the leftover berries for my husband to bring to work (I asked him to please not bring any leftovers home since I would eat them but not to worry, he phoned me and said they were devoured by 10am!).  I tweaked the pattern recipe just a little ~ I used regular size muffin tins (a triple batch made 24 filled-to-the-brim-with-batter muffins), baked at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, and substituted a sprinkle of Turbinado sugar before baking in place of the gut-busting streusel topping).

I started a book that I've always wanted to read, as it's been on my mind since following Loritimesfive 's May and June blog posts about her trip to Africa (a side note ~ it's a blog worthy of your time ~ she wrote a travel journal like no other you've seen and the pictures are breathtaking).  It's the first book that I'll actually finish since I started knitting, and I used to read a book a week before I became yarn obsessed!  I also took a peek at both my Elizabeth Zimmerman books for hints on pi shawl increases since I started this 2 days ago:

It's Dinner in the Eiffel Tower Shawl that I'm knitting along with Kelly Lightbeam while we're waiting to begin our July 31st knit along.  The pattern calls for dk weight yarn and I'm using lace weight so there are some modifications I'll have to make to get a shawl large enough to wear...which means adding at least one increase section and thanks to EZ, I at least know where that increase now needs to be, even if I don't know exactly which sections I want to repeat, and where, to maintain the integrity of the design.  This is fun!!!

I've also been getting our newest guest bloggers for the upcoming Girls in Sheep Clothing Anniversary Knit Along up and running as authors on the blog so they're able to officially join in the fun ~ I've already mentioned Kimberly and as of yesterday we've added blogger number SIX, Pamela!  I'm so excited that she's decided to play along since she's declared herself my official stalker on Ravelry and she's a wealth of knowledge and alot of fun!  This is getting really exciting and I'm looking forward to our cast on date of July 31st with more anticipation every day!  There's still time to join ~ the more the merrier ~ just let Kelli or I know if you're interested.  And it just got a WHOLE lot easier to get started since Kelly Lightbeam, with her past experience of guest blogging, was nice enough yesterday to post a very useful tutorial for logging on and getting started once you've received your official invite to join.

That's it for now.  I'm well rested ~ my husband made a thermos of French Press Italian roast coffee for me and let me sleep in this morning before heading out to look at new computers so the day is starting out so good!  He's making dinner tonight (bonus!) ~ homemade taco-truck-style carne asada tacos (and they are dang tasty!!) ~ so no cooking for me today!  Just a few chores and working the edging of my Bridgewater shawl closer and closer to the grafted seam.....I'm sooo close! 

Here's to a peaceful and relaxing weekend for everyone, especially our newest blog followers!  I love to see new little faces pop up over on the sidebar every once in awhile!  Blogging has been a fun adventure I think for both Kelli and I and we love that a few of you enjoy reading along!  Hope everyone does something fun today!   ~ Melissa

20 July 2012

It worked yahoo ~ a post by guest blogger Kimberly

I have no picture to post today. But I have decided to use Kraemer Sterling and hand dye it but have not decided on the color. I am just pleased as peach that I have figured out how to post on the blog. Makes me want sugar cookies and milk.


Posting as a Guest Blogger ~ a post by guest blogger Kelly!

As requested by Melissa, I am going to guide some of our newest guest bloggers through the process of posting onto the Girls in Sheep Clothing Blog.

First of all, you should receive an email from Melissa, inviting you to be a guest on this blog.  From what I remember, there is a link in that email that you must click on, and it will set you up as a guest blogger.

Second, you must sign into your own blog.

Once you are signed in, you will scroll down the main page, "The Dashboard", and you will see that there are two blogs to choose from.  Click on the orange tab next to the Girls in Sheep Clothing blog that reads "Create New Post".

Voila, you are here!  You must choose a title for you post, and begin your blog entry.  You can add photos and play around with how you want the page to look.  Remember to have fun!  When your post is complete, click on the orange "Publish" tab.  If you forget to add labels to the post, Kelli or Melissa can add them for you...which has happened to me on occasion!

A warm welcome to all of our new friends!
Kelly Lightbeam

17 July 2012

random ~ a post by Melissa

sunset last night from our deck ~ northern exposure

sunset ~ western exposure

sunrise this morning ~ yup ~ I didn't sleep much!
I was up before dawn this morning on webmd making sure I wasn't dying....did you know that if you eat alot of fresh farmers market beets for dinner, your pee will be bright red the next day (too much information???).  I was so glad to learn this was the case and I didn't need my husband to rush me to the ER.  Instead, I took advantage of the fact that the camera was sitting next to my computer and took a few pictures of ole Mr Sunshine raising his sleepy head after putting on quite a show last night.

And knowing you could care less about the color of my pee, the real reason I popped on tonight was to welcome a new blog guest for our upcoming knit-along.  Her name is Kimberly, and she brings our number to 5 (Kelli, myself, and guests Kelly, Morgen and Kimberly).  There's still plenty of time to jump in on the fun ~ we don't cast on until July 31st ~ so if you're interested, just contact Kelli or I and we'll add you as a contributor so you can post along with us while we work on Prairie and watch the Olympics and celebrate Girls in Sheep Clothing's 2 year blog anniversary.

I'm excited to have our past knitters join us again and also for someone new to join us.  We'll have so much fun as usual!

Off to work on Bridgewater.  I turned the last edging corner this weekend and only have about 40 edging chart repeats to go before I graft, bind off and block this puppy.  HOORAY!!  ~ Melissa

eta: I was just thinking I should mention ~ in the photos above our little 'postcard view' is of Puget Sound and Whidbey Island on the opposite side....and I think that may be where our newest guest blogger Kimberly lives.  I guess this post wasn't so random after all :)

16 July 2012

A Little Heat This Summer ~ a post by Kelli

Knit a Long anyone? I can't wait to start knitting this yarn, I've been saving for something special.The Prairie shawl should knit up nicely. The yarn is a Shalimar yarn called "Breathless" and that is about how this heavy fingering weight yarn makes me feel, the color is Bing~

Just couldn't do two batches of just raspberry, I created my version of Raspberry,Pepper,Lime Jam, I added a small amount of heat and tang(I can't taste the tang), I'm not the adventurous one when it comes to food, but I do like how my mildly warm/sweet jam turned out, maybe I could gift some to a lucky participant in our KAL? Happy summer, Kelli

14 July 2012

I love this time of year ~ a post by Melissa

Summer is definitely here ~ everything is blooming and green and fragrant everywhere you look and smell.  We've been plagued by east coast type weather the last 3 days ~ thunder and lightening almost 'round the clock (poor cowardly Dozer!) ~ but the rain at least held off long enough for me to make my first trek this season to the Edmonds' Farmers Market.

 I could hang there all day ~ free music, gorgeous produce and flowers as far as you can see, with the added bonus of mom tagging along today while I was on the hunt to find local strawberries and blueberries (mission accomplished) for canning jam this weekend.  I also came away with lots of veggies, a couple loaves of fresh baked bread, an apricot ginger scone that I'm saving for later and some chocolate macaroons for my husband.  But the find of the day were these new red potatoes from Gypsy Rows farm in Silvana, just north of where I live:

How could I pass these by when the farmers risked life and limb to put food on my table, their boots filling with mud, dodging lightening bolts as the rains came down.  They get an A++ for creativity, don't you think?  :)
~  Melissa

05 July 2012

guess who's turning 2 ? ~ a post by Melissa

It's us!  Girls in Sheep Clothing has a blog-anniversary coming up at the end of the month!  It will be 2 years July 31st that Kelli and I started this blog ~ there have been canning parties, county and state fairs, speaking engagements(!), retreats, train rides, family functions, loads of new friends, much laughter and lots and lots of knitting ~ my how time has flown by!  And to go along with our annual New Year's Day knitalong ~ and we've got a few of those under our belts ~ we've decided to add a mid-year kal to celebrate the anniversary of our blog adventure.  Who knows...this might just have to be a regular thing!

After a few hours going back and forth trying to decide what we should do, Kelli and I (with some additional help from past guest blogger ~ Kell-y with a 'y') settled on a triangular lace shawl from the book Juju's Loops by Juju Vail and Susan Cropper.

It's a fitting choice, with both the book and the summer Olympics this year originating in London, England.  The book is currently in 2nd edition print and should be hitting stores in the US 'anyday' (or so I've been told!).  So, if you're not lucky enough to own a copy or know someone that does who might be so nice as to lend it to you for this kal, check with your lys and see if they'll be stocking it.  Unfortunately, when we chose the pattern, we didn't realize that you couldn't purchase it online individually but for future knitalongs, we'll keep that in mind! 
The pattern we chose from the book is Prairie (this link will take you to the Ravelry project page so make sure you're logged in!).  There is just a bit of errata for this knit which can be found here on LoopKnitLounge , so make sure to make any corrections to your 1st edition copy before getting started.  If you're lucky enough to pick up the 2nd edition before the end of the month, I've read that they've tried to correct all the errors throughout the book and not just on this shawl.  My fingers are crossed for the new books at my lys before our cast on date of July 31st, otherwise, I'll be borrowing a copy until I get my own.
So, if you're interested in joining us, please let us know!  Contact either Kelli or I on Ravelry (each of our 'about me' page links are on the blog sidebar to the right) and let us know that you want to knit with us and we'll let you know what we need from you to add you to this blog as a guest poster.  Then you'll be able to blog along as we share yarn choices, answer questions, encourage each other and post photos.  We've made some good friends over the last few years with our knitalongs and we're looking forward to maybe making a few more!

Don't forget ~ cast on date and blog birthday celebration is July 31st!  We can knit an English inspired shawl while we enjoy the 2012 London Summer Olympics!  And until then...I'll be finishing up this puddle of wip ~

New Year's Day 2012 KAL ~ Bridgewater
I'm embarrassingly so close but yet so far...I'm going to kick myself square in the behind when I get it off the needles and blocked since I know I'll love it and wish I had finished it months ago!  Feel free to shame me....I know you want to!  ~  Melissa

04 July 2012