2010: That's a Wrap!

Welcome to our world, Dixie girl!
It's that time again.  Time to say goodbye to the old year...hello to the new one.  As we prepare to welcome in 2011, we are also welcoming a new Drool Gang member into the (extended) family, so I thought I'd lead this post off with a photo (right) of Dixie.  She is such a cutie-pie and is joining Missy M and Ella Rae (who I'm not supposed to refer to as my grand-dog...:) in L'ville.  She's 2 1/2 years old, with red and white coloring (she looks a lot like Elmo, don't you think?).  And, she's got a big voice for such a little girl.  I haven't met her in person (canine?), but I have heard her bay over the phone.  Woo-woo!

So, it's New Year's Eve.  Most people celebrate by going out on the town, putting on party hats, and toasting with champagne at midnight.  Us?  Well, we are such party animals (NOT!) around here that our agenda for the day has been a bit different.

We have been enjoying the results of Mr. T's BirdCam that he got for Christmas.  We've taken lots of pictures (which I'll post at a later date)...or, I should say it's taken lots of pictures, and we are trying to refine the results.  Oh, the camera itself is working great, and we are loving the pix we've gotten so far.  We do seem to be getting more than our share of bird-butt shots however, either because of the shape, size, or location of our feeders.  Solution?  Get some new feeders...and put them in some new locations!

N/M/E is all smiles at Tractor Supply
in Oak Ridge, NC
 So, we spent the last day of this year in Oak Ridge, NC, at the Tractor Supply (our other home-away-from-home), loading up on new feeders, as well as gluten-free dog food and dog treats.  Hey, around here, it's all about the birds and the dogs!  That's a shot (left) of Nana/Momma/Edith in the back seat of Mr. T's Outlander as we were leaving the store.  He's on the other side of the vehicle, trying to tie-down the 4 new feeder poles on top of the car.  Tee hee.

After our little shopping spree, we headed across Highway 150 to J.P. Looney's for a celebratory lunch...and a little bowl-game-watching time on their big screens.  N/M/E was still bummed out because her Tennessee Vols had lost a tough one to the UNC 'Heels in double-overtime last night in the Music City Bowl in Nashville.  No comment about that.  Sure, we'll pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly at the stroke of 2011, but we'll also be happy to stay home for the evening and off the roads.  (I guess you might say we'll drink, but we won't drive...:)

Before we close the door completely on this busy year, I wanted to take a few moments to put some projects in the record book, marked as "finished."  So, here goes for the FO's:

Mr. T in his Christmas Cable Vest
 As I've posted before, I completed the Cable Vest for Mr. T in super soft Tahki Stacy Charles Savoy yarn (a 52/48 silk/wool blend) in a rich red (photo, right).  Got it all wrapped up and under the tree for Christmas.  He seemed geniunely surprised when he opened the package, saying "when did you do this?!"  Of course, the answer is, as always, "when you were out-of-town, dear."  One reason I have so many projects going at a time (I tell myself...:) is that I can work on one that is unrelated to the giftee when he/she happens to be in the same room with me; then, when said giftee is away or goes to her own room, I can pull out the project related to that person.

Case in point:  N/M/E's afghan.  She also seemed surprised when she opened the big Santa sack that was nearly full-to-overflowing with the Galaxy Ripple Afghan in Natural, 2 colors of Periwinkle Blue, and Velvet Night (which is a beautiful Royal Purple) Bernat Berella 4 yarn (photo, below/left).  "When did you do this?!"  I'd worked on this project whenever she was in her room and late at night after she'd gone to bed...and I had also taken it with me for the long flights to-and-from Hawaii.  She did walk in on me as I was crocheting the strips together, but I was able to cover up my work before she realized what I was doing.

N/M/E's Christmas Ripple Afghan
 I've posted about this pattern before, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself here.  I completed the "original" Ripple afghan for N/M/E over 31 years ago, using a kit with 4 shades of olive green I got I don't know where.  I took so long in finishing that first one (I was going through my counted cross-stitch period, when knitting took a back-seat...:) that she had changed colors in her living room (as well as changed locations of the living room from Covington to Barlett, TN...:).  I had to get creative and add two more strips along with crocheting a border in her new color (peach).  I had originally sewn the strips together as the pattern directed, but taught myself how to crochet the strips together after I'd repaired that first one so many times.  She still has it, by the way!

Since then, I have made I-can't-even-begin-to-count-how-many afghans using this wonderful pattern, which...wonder of all wonders, I still have the original directions.  You may have gotten one from me!  It is knit in strips (usually 8, two each in 4 colors) with a 6-row repeat, so it is easy to memorize, easy to take with you anywhere (I've knit the strips in my chair, in the car, at sporting events and symphony concerts, and on flights all over the US and Canada, as well as to-and-from France, the UK, and Brazil!), and easy to pick it up and know where you are in the pattern.  I don't think the pattern is copyrighted...if it ever was, it has probably expired by now.  I've searched online for it without success; if you search for Galaxy afghan, you get links to a crocheted pattern.  I thought I'd share this jewel with you, so check the bottom of this post for the particulars, if you are interested.

Missy M's Traveling Woman Shawl -
a 2010 Christmas gift
 I finished knitting Missy M's Traveling Woman Shawl on the last leg of those long return flights home in September.  I had wanted to honor the spirit of the pattern, so I used a bamboo-blend Seacoast handpainted yarn called "Rain" from New Hampshire via Louisville, and I did most of the work while I traveled...with the Traveling Shawl.  That photo is of the shawl (right), in progress, on the lanai of our room in Maui. 

After the knitting came the blocking.  Good grief!  What a chore, when you don't have a blocking board or wires.  So, guess what I asked Santa for this year?  You betcha!  And, because Missy M is really getting into lace knitting, Santa made sure that she too had a blocking board and more T-pins.

For my beautiful sisters-in-law, I did a "Just Enough Ruffles" scarf in Ultra Alpaca/Blueberry Mix (for SIL J) and a "Magical Moebius" cowl (with a pattern from Cat Bordhi), in a "Kentucky Blue" chunky hand-dyed Araucania wool yarn (for SIL LaD).  I loved doing both of them...and I forgot to snap a shot of either before wrapping them up.  Well, I do have a photo of the Ruffles scarf around SIL J's lovely neck, but she is wearing the Silly Santa Hat we gave Brother J in the same photo...and I've promised that I won't publish those pictures unless provoked.

I also forgot to get a photo of the Sophia "Wise Woman" Cowl (from a pattern in the One Skein Wonders book) that I knitted for N/M/E's BFF AW.  I had just enough yarn left to try out a mitten pattern called Smitten, that Missy M shared with me, for a gift-tag .  M found it on KnitPicks.com, where it was originally designed as an Advent-type garland.  She had knit several as ornaments for her tree, and they looked so cute.

Amazingly, I also had time during the Holidays to finish my own Picchu-Picchu sweater, knit in Berrocco's scrumptious Ultra Alpaca yarn!  I'll save the photo and description for another post, however.

That's the wrap-up of the FO's...and the wrap of 2010.  Hope you and all of your family and friends have a safe and happy New Year!  See you again in 2011!!


The Pattern for the Galaxy Ripple Afghan (for Bernat Berella 4 yarn) - approx. 48" x 60" finished

  • CO 16 stitches.  [Bernat Berella 4 is an acrylic yarn, developed especially for afghans.  You'll need 8 oz. each of 4 coordinating colors of worsted weight ("4") yarn; this used to be 2 skeins each color when Berella "4" weighed out at 4 oz.  Now, since it weighs out at 3.5 oz per skein, you need 3 skeins each of 4 colors, especially if you crochet the strips together and add a border to finish.  It knits out to a gauge of 16 stitches = 4.5 inches, using US 10.5 needles.  I knit fairly loosely, so I've found that I need US 10's to get that gauge.  However, I do use a larger needle when I cast on and when I bind off, so it won't be too tight.  Try a US 11 for this only.)
  • K 8 rows (4 ridges) in garter stitch.
  • Begin the 6-row Pattern Stitch (below) for 50 patterns.
  • K 8 rows (4 ridges) in garter stitch.
  • BO loosely (remember to use a larger needle to bind off).
  • Make 2 strips each in 4 colors.
  • Sew strips together as follows:  Color A, Color B, Color C, Color D (center of the afghan), Color D, Color C, Color B, and Color A.  (I have found that I prefer to crochet the strips together with a simple slip stitch; it makes the seam/join so much more sturdy.)
  • Steam-press lightly to relax the seams.
  • Either crochet a border around the whole afghan, or add a fringe (knotting ten 10-inch strands of yarn in every 4th st across the two short ends).
  • Enjoy!
Pattern Stitch for the Galaxy Ripple Afghan:

  1. K4, * wrap yarn around needle TWICE, K1, repeat from the * to last 4 sts, wrap yarn around needle ONCE, K last 4 sts = 33 stitches
  2. K4 *, drop 1 wrap st, P2, repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4 = 24 stitches
  3. K4, K2tog, K12, K2tog, K4 = 22 sts
  4. K4, K2tog, K10, K2tog, K4 = 20 sts
  5. K4, P2tog, P8, P2tog, K4 = 18 sts (this makes the "bump" or ripple row)
  6. K4, K2tog, K6, K2tog, K4 = 16 sts
Repeat these 6 rows for the pattern stitch.


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