Thursday, April 20, 2017

It was Grand and other knitting news!

Hi, Knitters,
I am back from a spring break vacation with the family and I want to share a little bit about it. But first, I am so excited to say that we have a new kit available over on Barrett Wool Co. for my Three French Hens pattern. You can purchase the kit with or without the Taproot Magazine (this is the only place the pattern is available right now). I think you will love this pattern, the kit, the yarn and the magazine!

In six months from now the individual pattern for the hens will be available for purchase on Ravelry.

In other news, I did a write-up recipe for adding short row shaping to the backside of a sweater. Do you see that swoop at the back in the photo above? I did that by adding in a few short rows before I started the ribbing on the Branches & Buds sweater by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I love doing this so that the sweater doesn't ride up in the back. I provided a general how-to recipe that could be used for any sweater or cardigan, either top-down or bottom-up.

By the way, more sweater kits are in the works for the Branches & Buds sweater and should be available very soon.

Now for some fun vacation stuff!

So we took a week off and flew to Phoenix, Arizona, a place I had not visited before, and we had a fantastic time. My entire family came along with the exception of Peachy. College gets in the way of vacations sometimes. My sons and their significant others, TC and my husband, of course, were all there for the fun.

Anyway, we stayed in a rental home that was just beautiful. It was in a nice neighborhood and it was full of little luxuries. The house had an infinity pool and spa and a putting green in the backyard. There was lots of comfy shaded seating and umbrellas, and a huge grill and outdoor dining area which we loved and used a lot. We hiked, ran, biked, walked, ate really good food, relaxed, read lots of books, and just enjoyed each other. It was really nice.

On one of the days, we took off very early and drove to the Grand Canyon. We packed a picnic lunch and hiked all around the Canyon for several hours. The photo above shows one view. There is no possible way to capture the majesty and beauty of the Grand Canyon in a photo. It is a sight beyond your wildest dreams. I have flown over the Grand Canyon many times but to actually stand at the edge of it is humbling. I am glad I got to see it in person with my family.

On another afternoon we hiked Camelback Mountain. It has an "Extremely Difficult" rating and we were warned by a park ranger as we started up the mountain. This is an accurate rating for sure, the hike was no joke. The photo above shows one section of the hike and it was pretty much straight up with huge boulders to navigate the entire time. 

I have to say that even though my husband has climbed this mountain 5 times before he didn't really describe it as all that difficult for some reason. If I had known how challenging it was ahead of time I may not have done it. But I feel really good that I safely and slowly but surely made it to the top of the mountain and back down. It was a really hard hike for me, not so much physically, but more mentally. I loved it. The best part was choosing the path to take and maneuvering around, up and down those gigantic rocks. I was more concerned about the getting down part but I made it fine.

The kids at the Grand Canyon! 

We are so lucky to have the Baker in the family! That's my second son if you don't know. He is currently cooking at a fabulous local restaurant in Madison so he isn't baking as much right now professionally. His cooking skills are impressive, to say the least. At home he pretty much only shops at our local Madison farmers markets for his daily food. He was excited to visit the Phoenix open air farmers market on our last day. It was a good market. We ate an entire meal using only the market produce that night.

Above is the salad he whipped up for us. The salad in the photo consisted of Swiss chard, beets, grapefruit, fresh squeezed lemon juice (from lemons picked from the backyard tree), and salt. It was the best salad I've ever had. The rest of the meal consisted of grilled vegetables on skewers. I loved it all so much.  

On the trip I did a ton of stitching. I have so much embroidery that I want to do but I just don't make time for it in my busy knitting schedule. I took advantage on the trip. I started and finished two pieces.

The embroidery in the photo above is from my favorite, Rebecca Ringquist, and it is called the Red Line Sampler. I've talked about her pretty extensively in the past. Her company is called Dropcloth and she is fun and artistic with her work. I highly recommend her.

Click here for Rebecca's online classes on! These classes are so good. I've taken many of them.

The other stitching I finished is from Cozyblue and it is the little house on the right. Cozyblue or Liz makes adorable little stitching kits. These kits come with the needle, floss and printed fabric. I have a couple more of these to make in my stash. 

I've recently purchased a few interesting stitching items at French General, too. I'll share those soon but the bobbins holding my threads are from French General if you are interested. 

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you are all doing well.

I'll be back soon with more. 
xo ~ susan