Thursday, December 28, 2006

Difficult decision time

I'm working to come to a decision on whether to end my Mara_class group on Monday. The amount of participation has dropped way off and I think the group has run its course, DH thinks it's just because of the holiday activities keeping folks off their computers. But the slowdown started before Thanksgiving so I'm not sure. I sent a private email to some of the more experienced and active members asking for their input so we'll see what, if anything, I get back. Either way, I will make a decision on Monday as to going ahead with the next project, the Lovely Leftovers vest, or closing down the group. I posted several pics of charts last night on the group website, as I lost my graphing software when the old hard drive died. I printed out graph paper and made X's to show the patterns. But if the group has run its course, I'm not doing any more work on the next project. Better to spend my time knitting on my own projects than designing something new for people who aren't interested or participating.

I've always had trouble letting go of things when their time has come and I've been working hard on it for the last couple of years. So I'm very proud of myself for setting a deadline for making a decision on the group and taking the steps needed to get info to make a good decision.

On a more positive note, I finished the first of the red and white socks today and have started casting on for the second one while I'm sitting here on the computer. I also put some time in on Mara and am about halfway done with the first sleeve. I've changed from decreases every third row to every second row, now for 11 decreases. Then I'll measure and see how close to the cuff I am and go from there. The only problem is that I haven't cut the front opening yet so trying on the sleeve requires a bit of contortion with the sweater, but I can manage that. I promised myself I would do my best to get the first sleeve done while on vacation this week and I'm getting to that point. I finally got a rhythm down with the dps and the two strands of fingering weight yarn and I'm zooming along now. I noticed I was getting a bit sloppy with my gauge so I've tightened that up, as well. With the wooly board DH made for me, I can block to even gauge differences out.

I've decided that after finishing the socks, my next small project will be another hat out of the Sirdal leftovers, this time white with red patterns, as close to the one I already made as possible. Then I will call the leftovers used up enough, put them in the ziplock bag and put it in the cedar chest. I came to the decision a while back to put the little repair kits I make for my wool garments in the cedar chest where they are kept so I don't have to dig through the two boxes in the den closet when I need them. Makes much better sense to do it that way. And the leftover yarns are not in the boxes for me to see and fret over when I look in them. The white hat will go into the den boxes earmarked for a gift for next Christmas, a good start on my gifting list.

I'm playing around in my mind with different ideas for my next small project. Right now I'm leaning towards a pair of socks in some of the Cascade 220 to use up some more leftovers. And being worsted weight yarn they should knit up fairly quickly. I'm trying really hard not to decide before I get to it, so I don't get bored ahead of time. I'm also thinking about some Latvian mittens from the book I have, in fingering weight yarns. But I did start the Endpaper Mitts already so they need to get finished in the next week or so. Right now they are taking up room on the coffee table, much to my DH's frustration. Too bad that man doesn't have some hobbies that he can leave lying around the house, lol. And the mitts are only on part of my half of the table, so there!

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wednesday update

Last night I finished the Squirrel and Oak Leaf mittens and started the pair of Country Socks from Nancy Bush's 'Folk Socks' book. I'm working on using up the leftovers from my Sirdal sweater, except for the lengths I'll keep with the extra button for repairs. This is what I have done so far.

I still need to wash and block the mittens before they get put away. The hat fits great, the small part at the top stands up on top of my head and DH thinks it looks cute. The socks are being knit on size 1 needles, which is what the pattern calls for, and since it's a sport weight yarn they are really dense and warm socks.

This shows the palm side of the mittens with the thumbs, the pattern matches pretty well, if I do say so myself, lol. The pattern for the mittens is at heiloyarns.com and is free. There are others there, I think, and I might go look at them later. I still have a skein of the red and two of the white to use up, at least partially, before I put the leftovers away with the sweater.

When I dug through my plastic yarn boxes this weekend, I decided to use some of the leftover Cascade 220 from the sweaters I made this summer for socks and hats. I have several patterns that call for worsted weight yarns so it's a good match. And some of the hats can be Christmas gifts for next year, so I'll get a jump on my gift list early. I have this tendency to plan things out way ahead of time, then when I get to them, I'm already bored. So I'm trying really hard to resist the urge to write down every pattern and yarn combination early and make my choices as I get something close to finished. That way they stay new and fresh and interesting to work on.

I'm going to start posting some charts to Mara_class for folks to pick from for their Lovely Leftovers vest project, which starts on the 1st, later today. DH was going through the closet in the den where I keep my yarn last night and was talking about putting the Fair Isle yarns in a set of drawers he has in the bedroom, behind the door, which he would move into the den closet. I told him not to put those yarns away as I needed to start picking colors for my vest project this week. But putting the yarns in the drawers, after I pick the ones I want to use, is a good idea. I just need to get the two fleeces waiting in there out so there is room for the drawers. It's a stackable set of two-two drawer units and will fit well under the shelf in the closet. Apparently this room was used as a sewing room by the owners of the house before the ones we bought it from, as there was a built-in desk unit on two walls of the den, with drawers and a cutout for a sewing machine. We tore that out and DH put up pale wainscotting with top trim to cover where the plaster was damaged. Whoever put the desk units in used 8 penny nails and when DH pulled them out, the plaster came with them, I think due to rust on the nails. There is wainscotting in the dining room so putting it in the den not only saved us a lot of repair work, it blends with the other woodworking in the house.

Happy knitting!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sleepless in Salem

For some reason I woke up at 5 am today and couldn't get back to sleep. So I got up and let the dogs out, then started doing little things like taking butter out of the freezer to thaw so I can make dessert to take to my sister's today for dinner, reading email, taking pics, burning a CD of yesterday's festivities so my brother can get a copy to his friend before he heads back to CA, etc. One of the things was to take pics of the small projects I've started in the last 48 hours.


The first is a stocking cap I made using leftovers from Sirdal. I made up my own pattern but used the snowflake design from the sweater to tie them together a bit. I haven't washed and blocked it yet and may not, it fits snuggly so the heat from wearing it will do a bit of blocking as needed.

The next pic is the Squirrel and Oak Leaf mittens, also out of Sirdal leftovers. They are going quickly, especially now that I took my magnetic board away from the Dale book and put the pattern on it so I didn't have to keep counting rows while watching TV. The back is a plain diamond grid. I'm using size 4 needles for these so they fit my hands snuggly but don't bind. The pattern actually calls for size 2 but going by the Dale book, with this much colorwork size 4 is more appropriate and I like the way they're turning out. I'm using Bryspun dpns.

The magazine is the February issue of Knit-n-Style, which my brother and his family gave me a subscription to for Christmas. I haven't bought it before and it looks pretty interesting, especially since the cover talks about cables!


The last pic is the Endpaper Mitts, using J & S yarns I had in stash. Last Wednesday Terri stopped by to pick up her Wooly Board that she had loaned us for Kelly to make me one. While she was here and I was at work, Kelly mentioned that I had decided next year would be the year of small projects and she started laughing, telling him she would see how long that lasted. She knows me too well, I'm afraid, but I do have a bunch of small projects in mind and planned. One excuse I have is that since I've already started spinning the yarns for two sweaters, they are WIPs and won't count as starting a big project next year. Since I have, um, let's just say several large projects already started and have pretty much run out of large baskets to put new ones in, I really need to buckle down and finish those first. Then, maybe, I can consider something new and large in a project.

Saturday I spent time going through the two plastic boxes in the den closet that hold my stash (I know, some folks are laughing at how small it is, but that's okay for me) to see what I had that could be used for which projects. I found enough Brown Sheep Nature Spun in white to make a pair of kilt hose in Nancy Bush's 'Folk Socks' book so those skeins are sitting with the book on the desk now. I had hoped I had enough gray and white for a pair of Country Socks to replace the pair that got felted years ago but no such luck. So later I'll buy the gray yarn for those. I really want another pair as they fit very well and were so comfortable to wear.

I noticed how much Cascade 220 I have left over from sweaters so far and got to thinking that I have several sock patterns that call for worsted weight yarns, so the yarns and the patterns may get introduced next year. A lady who lives up the canyon visited the knitting guild I used to belong to when I was president and I bought several of her patterns.

I still need to use up 1 skein of red and 2 skeins of white of the Heilo yarns left from Sirdal, not counting what the mittens are using. So maybe a scarf is in the future there, since I have the hat done and the mittens in progress. That would give me a whole set in red and white. Hmm, or maybe socks instead. I think I like that idea better. I can use a sport weight sock pattern with Heilo and I think I have some in my file box in the garage.

You know, I just was sitting here thinking and remembered something about the yarn put-ups changing on Brown Sheep skeins years ago. I reread the instructions and the skeins are half the size they were when Nancy Bush wrote the book, so I need to make sure I go by yardage and not number of skeins. So I may not have enough for the kilt hose after all. But I could make the Country Socks out of the Heilo as I have enough yardage there.

Something else I would like to make next year are some tea cozies, to keep my tea pots warm. I saw a picture on the web of one with cables and now I'm thinking of designing one like that for me. Cascade 220 would work and I have lots of that leftover and will have more after St. Enda and St. Brigid are done.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Eve eve

Or what I'm doing until the big day. First off, if you love beautiful knitting, do a Google search on NATO Latvian Mittens and just drool over 4500 (!!!!) pair of the most impressive mittens I've seen. The whole story is there when you follow the links and you can download pictures of the mittens to make your own. Be aware - the download is almost 200 MBs, so if you're on dial-up get a fresh cup of tea first and have your knitting handy. I burned a copy of the file on a CD for my friend Terri for a little Christmas gift as, being out in the country, she is on dial-up. She'll get it next time we meet.

Since next year is the year of small projects (by the way, those large projects I listed the other day are all in various stages of having been started, so it's not like I'll be starting from scratch on them), I spent some time this morning putting together kits for some of the projects I want to make next year. First is a pair of mittens in the Squirrel and Oak pattern from www.heiloyarn.com. I'm using some of the left overs from Sirdal to make them so they coordinate. I started a stocking hat last night also using some of the leftovers and will use the smaller patterns from the sweater to go around the hat. I printed out the pattern and stuck it in a page protector, along with the needles needed. The two skeins of yarn are sitting on top and the whole thing will go into a large flat basket I have in the closet.

Next, I put together a kit for Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts, from her blog See Eunny Knit. I'm using some of the Fair Isle yarns I have left over or bought on Ebay and found a gold and a medium green that will look great together. The pattern calls for 180 yards of each of two colors and fortunately I have two skeins each so am set. The needles are in the sheet protector ready to go. One of the women who has already made these commented on her blog that it took about 4 nights of knitting to make the pair, so maybe I'll start them next week. If I get the hat and Squirrel and Oak mittens done first.

I wore Sirdal to work yesterday and it was so cool! I got lots of admiring comments from customers and co-workers, one of whom told me she would expect to pay at least $400.00 if she bought the sweater from a catalogue! I found the receipt for the yarn this morning when I was cleaning out the basket and it's dated 6-6-01, just five days after my first DH was killed. I know I mailed her a check so the timing is interesting. Anyway, it is done now and I love it and I think he would love it as well. My current DH is looking at the St. Enda I am modifying for him and I think he's hoping I get it done while it's still cold enough to wear outside, lol. Attached to the receipt is a Dale Garn patch that I will sew to the left sleeve sometime today and then it will be properly done.

I took Joan Schrouder's Ethnic Knitting class the first Saturday of the month and one of the things she teaches is different ways to make bobbles. While we were working on them, I got the idea to try AS' increase and decrease method for making one stitch into 5 and then down to one again. It produces a round bobble that kind of lies flat and I'm going to keep playing with the idea to see what works. Joan was interested and asked me to send her some pics and notes later.

After drooling over those beautiful Latvian Mittens, I'm going to have to make sure I keep enough FI yarns for my Lovely Leftovers vest I'll be working on with my Mara_class - otherwise I'll have to go buy more yarns to do it and I'm really trying to use up some of the yarns that have been around here for a while, lol.

I've got some Brown Sheep Naturespun yarns in the bin and I'm thinking about making some socks from Nancy Bush's 'Folk Socks' book again with them. I had a pair I really loved and made the mistake of leaving them lying around at my friend's house when I was living with her. Her daughter came to visit and put them in the dryer. Can we say well felted small socks????? For whatever reason, she turned the dryer to high heat as well. Fortunately the neighbor had small feet and she could get into the socks so she got them. You would think a woman in her 60's would know not to put wool in the dryer???? Anyway, it's over and my friend, who is 93 now, is in a nursing home and I need to go visit her this weekend. I had bronchitis for a couple of weeks and then the late work hours so haven't seen her for quite a while.

Okay, time to go eat some belated breakfast and visit with my DH, since it's now after 1pm our time. I've been busy in the den here since 8 this morning, moving yarns around, drooling over mittens, downloading patterns, setting up kits, drooling over mittens, working on the hat, reading email, drooling over mittens.....

Happy Saturday and Merry Christmas Eve eve!!!

PS I forgot to mention that I got the Christmas socks done last night so my outfit for tomorrow is ready.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sirdal is done and ready to wear!


I sewed the last buttons on Sirdal tonight and she is now ready for me to wear to work tomorrow, at least until I get too warm and have to take her off for a while. It really feels good to have her done finally, after all this time. I think my first DH would really like how she turned out. I bought the yarn when he was still alive and he was looking forward to watching me knit her. I think he was also hoping to get one in black and white, as black was his favorite color and the pattern book photos were in black and white yarns.

I have enough yarn left over to make myself a hat to match the sweater, using the smaller patterns around the hat. And maybe some mittens, as well. It would be nice to have a set to wear when it's cold outside and I already have enough yarn to do them. I saw a really cute mitten pattern on a blog the other day with squirrels and leaves on them and downloaded it. The knitter used Heilo, the same yarn I made Sirdal with, so there won't be any gauge finagling needing to be done.

I've decided that next year will be the year of small projects, except for finishing large projects that are already started, like St. Enda, St. Brigid, Inishmore, Mara, Marina, Forest vest, Elizabeth of York, and the two sweaters I am spinning yarns for. One is the cover sweater from 'Dazzling Knits' and the other is Grace's Cardigan from 'Knitting Ganseys'. I've give away seven or eight pairs of worn socks this year to a woman in my Wednesday evening knitting group. She wears a smaller size shoe than I do so she will wear the socks out differently and they will last longer. She has two small children she knits for and no time to knit for herself so handknit socks are a luxury she enjoys. The socks weren't at the point of needing mending yet, but I gave her the yarn I had saved from each one for mending so she's set. So we both win, my old socks go to someone who will enjoy wearing them and I have an excuse for knitting new socks for me, hehehe.

I'm also looking forward to making some mittens and gloves from the Fair Isle book my DH gave me last Christmas with the leftover yarns from the sweaters and vests I've done and am finishing in the coming year. Then there is the Latvian mittens book that is calling to me from the bookshelf, and the sock books, and some hat patterns, and the lavender yarn I bought on eBay that was discontinued but I got 10 skeins so I can make a couple of scarves out of it. And I want to make my little mini-Dachsy a coat and have a skein of red yarn set aside for that. Then there are some leftover Brown Sheep yarns from other garments I want to use up. So I have lots of things to work on before I will need to buy much more yarn. I will need to buy sock yarn and I am looking forward to that. Yumm!

Hmm, I might print out that mitten pattern and take it with me on Christmas Eve to my brother's house to work on there while visiting. If I can get most of the leftover yarn from Sirdal knit up, I can take that basket out of the den and make DH happy. Of course, I'm going to hide the basket from him. Otherwise, he'll start combing locks of grease fleece and putting them in the basket and I don't want the dirty lanolin on the basket to mess up yarn. Which reminds me, next week I need to order another drive belt for my spinning wheel so I can finish spinning his fleece for Grace's Cardigan. I have a spare band already but after moving several times in the last 6 years I can't lay my hands on it so will just get another one.

Hope everyone is enjoying the season and remembering the reason for it, happy holidays!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sirdal is drying as we chat

This morning I got up early to check on the news from Mt. Hood and discovered it was Kelly James' body, as I had suspected, which they found in the second snow cave. But they are still hopeful to find the other two men alive. Please send lots of prayers heavenward for the men and the searchers and the families involved.

I took a pic of Sirdal on the wooly board to share with you, as well as a pic of the first Christmas sock I finished last night.
First up is Sirdal in all her glory. DH made a really good suggestion last night, after I had gotten down on the floor to adjust the frame and lace the sweater onto it. Next time we'll lay the garment out on the table, put the frame over it and adjust the sides and arms before putting the sweater on it, that will be so much easier than having to reach inside and move screws around. I was going to use silk buttonhole twist for the buttonholes but something inside me is hesitating, so if you have used buttonhole stitch on wool sweaters and would like to share your experience, please let me know. Even if I don't get the buttonholes done in time, I can still sew the buttons on and wear her next Sunday to Christmas Eve at my brother's house and impress my family, lol.

Next is the first of my new Christmas socks I'm making out of Regia sock yarn in colorway 5471, a jacquard pattern. I had started these using the Making Waves pattern but the colors are so busy the stitch pattern got totally lost so I ripped them out and am making my standard K2 P2 ribbed socks so the colors take the spotlight alone.

When I get the second sock done I plan to spend some time on Mara. She has been very patiently waiting in her basket, trying to avoid the dogs' misbehaviors in the living room, although my DH suspects she had a recent near miss with the youngest boydog. I'm on the first sleeve and need to get used to doing FI knitting on dps. I've tried the two circs and the magic loop and they frustrate me too much besides flopping around and distracting me. So it's just a matter of getting my rhythm down with the dps and the color changes. At least the sleeves seem to go fast once I get into it. I'm looking forward to putting Mara on my new wooly board in the near future.

Happy knitting!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Countdown to Christmas!

The last minute details are now underway. Sirdal is soaking in the tub in her rinse water as I write this. Then I will spin the water out in the washer and put her on my new wooly board, my Christmas present from my DH. I will need to run yarn through the front bands to make them lie flat while she dries as well as through the cuffs. I decided I will do the buttonholes after I wash and block Sirdal, to allow the yarn to bloom and shift easily, as I plan to use silk buttonhole twist and it won't bloom like wool. I ran all the ends in this afternoon while waiting to hear more news on those three climbers lost on Mt. Hood. Just a while ago they broke in on NBC to say the rescuers had found one body, most likely that of the man who made the cell call last weekend, as the snow cave the body was in is in the area his signal came from. So sad for his family but at least they will have the closure of being able to bury his body. Searchers are still looking for the other two and prayers are desperately needed.

I started a pair of socks this past week in Regia using the Making Waves pattern, which is cable twists every 4th row on alternate sets of four stitches. But I ended up ripping them out and doing my basic ribbed sock pattern as the color changes in the yarn totally obscured the knitted stitch pattern. I restarted them Friday morning before I left for work and I need to do six more rounds before I start the toe decreases on the first sock. They are very bright colors, with lots of red and green and blue, and I plan to wear them with Sirdal on Christmas Eve to my brother's house for the family get together. I'll put up a pic when I get the first one done if I get a chance.

If the work volume follows the norm, it will start to drop off on Wednesday when folks realize they have waited too long to get their packages delivered except by Express Mail, which starts at $14.40. So the overtime should drop then, as well. Last year I put in for next week off work but I won't know about that until Tuesday, although I overheard another employee talking about being off until the new year. I need to find my copy of the leave slip I put in last December and give it to my union steward so she can see which of us put in first for the time off. It's not guaranteed to get the time off, but if she tries to give it to him and my slip is dated before his, she has to let me off. Our supervisor is not the brightest bulb sometimes and she tends to just do what she wants regardless of the contract and handbook requirements. Aha, I just found my copy of my leave slip, so we'll see what happens this week. Hope, hope, hope.......

Now to drain Sirdal, run her through the spin cycle in the washer to get the water out and put her on my new wooly board to dry. Happy day!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Amazing progress!

Isn't it amazing what a resting spell can do for your enthusiasm for a knitting project!?! This is Sirdal, which I had bought the yarns for before my first DH was killed, so about 6 years ago. Then I started it about two or three years ago, not sure if it was before or after I moved into our new house. Last week I picked it for the Winter WIP-It Work-Off challenge with my Mara group so I dug it out, took pics and discovered that rather than still being on the first sleeve as I had thought, I was in fact 1/3 of the way done with the second sleeve! You can't see it in this pic but it has buttoned cuffs, so you have to cut the yarns at the end of the sleeves, move 14 stitches from one needle to the other, and rejoin the yarns to do the cuffs. The way I did them was to knit the body first as usual, then knit the sleeves down from the armholes instead of separately and sewing them in.

Well, the sweater at this point is whizzing along and DH issued a private challenge the other day - could I get it done in time to wear on Christmas Eve this year? Hmm, I looked at what still needed to be done - finish the second cuff, pick up and knit both front bands, pick up and knit the neckband, buttonhole stitch the buttonholes, sew on buttons, run in ends, sew down facings, wash and block. Hmm, maybe it could be done after all. And it was knitting up fast. So, I accepted the challenge and am zipping along. Last night I finished knitting the right buttonhole band with facing attached, rather than knit one and cast off, then pick up and knit the facing. The hems and the cuffs are doubled so I'm just doing the front bands the same way. The neckband is also doubled, so all the edges will be the same way. Tonight I'll whip down the right band over the cut edge and maybe pick up the left front stitches. That band will go faster, hopefully, as there are no buttonholes to make.

So maybe by Thursday I might be on the neckband, which should go faster than the front bands as it's shorter. I did do something on this sweater I won't do again - not cast off the front stitches in the neck shaping area. I tried something I had read in a post about purling those stitches and cutting them away later so I tried it. The one good thing about doing it this way is that the design stitches are stable and not torqued out of shape. Yesterday I machine stitched down the front four times, two on each side at fine stitch length and twice around the neckline, reinforcing several times at the shoulder seams. I might wait to trim the neck shaping until the neckband is knit so the friction doesn't encourage the stitches to run in spite of the machine stitching. (I know, I'm being cowardly here but there is a lot of knitting in this sweater and I don't want to have to deal with runs in it!)

Yesterday morning I finished DH's black socks for his Christmas present and put them in the den closet until I can wrap them. I think he has all the paper in a box in the shop or maybe up in the attic. I'll ask him to get it for me today while I'm at work. That will give me two gifts to wrap and put under the tree for him - the green garter stitch vest and the black dress socks. Hopefully he'll have one more - a pair of slippers that I plan to order from LLBean this Friday when I get paid. They should be able to get them here in a week and I'll have them sent to my po box so he doesn't see them early. At least I'll have one gift he won't know about ahead of time, hehehehehe. Holidays are no big thing to him but they are to me.

Next year I think I will break down and knit some items for some of my family. I just don't like not having something I've made for the ones who appreciate it. And since I've decided next year is the year of small projects in between finishing the large ones already started, it will be easy to get stuff done for the family. I am seriously considering knitting ornaments for everyone, I was doing it every year for a while, well, not all of them were knitted, but they got new ornaments each year. I have enough FI yarns left over now that I could do little FI mittens for everyone and they would all be different. So that's an option.

Last year DH gave me the FI mittens and gloves book and I'm looking forward to making things from that. I took it down from the bookshelf last night and peeked in it before going to bed, yumm! And I really need to make myself some more socks, I've given about 7 or 8 pairs away this year that were wearing out. The woman I gave them to wears a smaller size than me and doesn't mind mending when needed (not that I would give something that needed mending right away but I did include the mending yarns I had kept, of course) so she is really enjoying the socks. She is a busy wife and mother of two small kids so doesn't have time to knit much for herself. Handknit socks are a luxury for her and she will take any of mine I want to give her.

Time for breakfast!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wednesday update - Winter WIP-It Work-Off!

I'm finally beginning to feel better, but it will be a while before my energy level is back up. I didn't make it to work on Monday, stopped by to talk with my supervisor, who wasn't in yet, and then came home and called my HMO. My doc is on vacation until after Christmas so I saw an internist who checked out my lungs and breathing really well and told me I had bronchitis, not what I was expecting to hear at all. I've had bronchitis a bunch of times before, after trying to continue working with a bad cold, and each time I've gotten a horrible, rip-your-lungs-out kind of cough with it. This time I have a mild cough and he said it's because when I got sick at Thanksgiving, I made a strong point of taking deep, lung inflating breaths so the congestion didn't build up as it normally would. He did change me from pennicillin to azithromycin tablets, which you take two the first day, then one a day the next four days, and it stays in your system working for up to two weeks. The stomach ache I had is gone and I'm getting better so I think it's helping.

And I'm finally able to concentrate on knitting charts again. Yesterday I got my Inishmore out and figured out where I was on the front and worked on it for a little over half an hour. Then I put it aside and got out Sirdal, which I haven't worked on for a very long time. When I got it out a while back to take pics for the Mara challenge, I thought I was still on the first sleeve. Boy, was I surprised when I discovered the first sleeve is done and I had started the second sleeve! So I worked on it for a while last night until it got too hot to hold on my lap while playing canasta on the computer with DH. The heat vent is right under my desk in the den. So I switched to his black socks and worked on the heel gusset for a while until we went to bed.

This morning I got up and made some tea and got back to work on Sirdal. This sleeve is going really quickly for me since it's two rounds red, then one round with a white stitch every 5th stitch and decreases every 4th round. I'm not counting the rounds or the decreases as I'm working the pattern backwards (as usual) by knitting the sleeve in the round down from the armhole. I did figure out that I'm making the size large, not XL or M by the number of stitches at the hem. I watched the Iraq committee report, then the news on that lost CA man in southern Oregon. Please, everyone, pray for his safe and swift recovery and for the hundreds of people who are helping with the search.

I'm going to try going back to work tomorrow and see how I do. I won't be running around doing lots of stuff and will have to pace myself really well to make it through both days until the weekend without overdoing it. I tend to jump in and just go as fast as I can when there is a line. I'm not going to be able to that and make it through both days this time. Ah, well, it's just two days and then two days of resting (and knitting!).

I had been feeling very guilty that I hadn't gotten any FI knitting done. But now that I'm finally feeling better, I can tell just how sick I was and I don't feel guilty any more. Better to have let the FI knitting sit and wait for me than to have tried to do it and ended up ripping it out. The cabling is easier to fix if I make a mistake, a larger gauge, and mistakes show up right away so I can fix them.

So, back to Sirdal and my hot tea. Happy Hump Day everyone!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday Morning review

Good morning, everyone! I have to go back to work tomorrow after having the last week off, but before you envy me, let me tell you what really went on. First, Thanksgiving morning I woke up with a sore tonsil, hmmm, not a good sign but we'll carry on. DH and I took the feast to my Mom's assisted living apartment and ate with her there, since we had decided we didn't want a repeat of last year's trip to the ER for her here the day afterward. Everything went great and I even got a nap on her bed afterwards while she and my DH watched TV.

Except that when I woke up from the nap I felt worse, my nose was running, and I knew I was coming down with something. Oh, joy, I had just spread germs all over my elderly Mom's bed! Luckily she has a very strong constitution and doesn't seem to have caught it. We went home and I started forcing hot liquids and resting. I had to work the next day and spent the whole day sneezing, blowing my nose, and going through about half a bottle of Purell to avoid spreading the germs. Fortunately my supervisor decided to postpone the stock count until the next week so I had a better chance of getting home on time, since I was starting vacation and obviously getting very sick.

I spent the next couple of days alternating between the couch and the bed, drinking water, hot tea, hot broth, and nibbling at food. It's hard to eat much when you're sneezing all the time, you know. Finally, Wednesday morning I am feeling better so decide to go to my snb group that night and have a good time, although only a few folks came. I did get to talk with a new knitter and give him some pointers that resolved some problems he's been having, so now he can zip along for a while. I came home and decided to eat the last piece of candy pie left from Thanksgiving while I watched Criminal Minds on TV. I think I must have bitten crooked on a piece of almond, because the next morning I was in serious pain and my lower right jaw was beginning to swell. Thinking it was something I could treat at home, I used sensitive toothpaste, dental floss, Sun Breeze oil, my DH's homemade immune formula, even some old prescription Tylenol 3 to try to cope with the pain, which just kept getting worse and worse. Finally I broke down and called my HMO, who told me to come in to Urgent Care to get a stronger pain med and an antibiotic. They also were supposed to put me on the work in list for the dental office the next day but after waiting an hour past the time I was supposed to have been called, I called them. My name had been skipped on the list but they still were able to get me in at noon. Turned out I had not one but two teeth that had abcessed so they cleaned out the roots and sealed the teeth so I could heal from the infection. Next year I will have to go back in for permanent treatment on them but it will be easier to get numb then with the infection gone. One thing I hadn't realized happens when your face swells with an abcess - that swelling turns into bruising and it looks like someone punched you. It started turning color yesterday afternoon while I was in Joan Schroeder's Ethnic Knitting Stitches class but fortunately the light was poor so not too many folks noticed. Of course, the jaw was still swollen hugely and that was noticeable and I couldn't speak clearly, so anyone who was around me knew something wasn't right. I had gotten a 6-pack of Ensure at the store Friday after the dental visit, which was a good thing because I still can't open my mouth really wide, a bummer because that sandwich for lunch at the class was really good. So I just drank a bottle of Ensure and took the second half home to DH, which he enjoyed last night.

I got on the scale Friday morning and discovered with being sick all week I've lost 6 pounds. Of course, weight lost while sick usually comes back on quickly but I hope not all of it, as it would be a nice jumpstart to getting those pounds off I've been working on for so long. At least it's not water weight, I've been really pushing the liquids to wash the infections out of my system so I hit the bathroom about every hour and a half. I also got orange juice with the Ensure, as I was concerned my potassium and magnesium levels might get out of whack with all that peeing. And I've had several cups of chicken broth every day, so the sodium should be fine.

My friend Terri suggested it might be time for hot packs on my face so when I got home last night I first put an ice pack on for 20 minutes, then got a washcloth wrung out in hot water and reheated it twice during CSI Miami. Sure made more color show up on my jaw, lol. But this morning more of the swelling is down so I'm going to alternate the hot and cold packs today until our friends get here. He is having major dental surgery tomorrow morning so they will spend tonight here, he will have the surgery in the morning, then they will come back here so he can rest for a few hours before heading back down south to home. By coming to Salem he is saving $1500.00 on the bill!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe costs could be that different between cities only 60 miles apart. His birthday is the 5th and mine was last month so we will be going out for dinner tonight to celebrate both of them at the same time. I've been looking forward to a juicy hot prime rib, just hope I can cut the pieces small enough so I can enjoy at least some of it. I always try to have a green salad when I eat out, but I'm not sure I can tackle that and the steak at the same meal yet, with the swelling and tenderness still there. So we'll see how it goes.

Class yesterday was great - Joan is a superb teacher and in spite of my DH thinking I already know everything about knitting I learned some new tricks, met some new folks, and had a great time, in spite of the pain. I'm definitely going to be taking more knitting classes, more for the socializing than anything else, as I do have a large knowledge base already. DH doesn't have any hobbies to speak of, doesn't like to read, and hasn't made many new friends around here yet, after living here for two years now. I'm not the kind of person to just sit home and watch TV all the time, I like to be out doing things, meeting new people, going new places, trying new restaurants, and expanding my world. So knitting classes give me a way to do that.













An update on Mrs. Boatwright's murder - they have put out sketches of two persons of interest, a man and a woman, and are actively looking for them in the area. So we have some hope that they might be able to solve the case in a few months with good luck and lots of prayers. Please keep praying for Mr. Boatwright, their three children and their families, and the law enforcement personnel who are working the case for strength, grace, and wisdom.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sad news in the neighborhood

I woke up this morning to snow on the ground so took my digital camera out in the back yard and took some pictures of the bushes and our dogs. While out there I heard what sounded like a police radio so, still in my robe, I went out the front door to get a pic of the house and see what was going on. I learned a 77 year old neighbor just three doors down from us had been killed during the night in what looks now to have been a home invasion burglary. There have been police from the Marion County Sheriff's Office, Woodburn Police detectives, and Oregon State Police here all day working the case. I found some stolen property dumped by our hedge and pointed it out to the detective I spoke with, along with footprints in the snow in our front lawn. The footprints had been followed by a neighbor walking his dog at 6am to the field behind the grade school at the end of the street, around the field, and to another street. I saw the story just now on the noon news and learned the victim's name, which I'm not going to publicize out of respect for her poor husband. But the family name is an old and respected one here in Salem. So it is not a good day. Please join me in praying for the victim, her husband and family, and that the police can catch the killer or killers quickly and put them behind bars for this horrible crime. My neighborhood is normally a very quiet, well kept middle class one, with the most excitement being teenage boys on motorized scooters zooming down the street after school. May God bless us every one.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What to do when you have the bug (flu? or not)

I'm down with some kind of bug that woke up with me on Thanksgiving morning, of all days. Luckily, or not, I have this week off on vacation at the last minute so I can just kick back, drink hot tea, drowse, and get over it. Except that because I've had bronchitis so many times, any respiratory bug always makes a beeline for my lungs, yuck!


But anyway, I did take some new pics yesterday of some of my projects to share with everyone if you're interested. First up is Sirdal, a Dale of Norway pattern I started a couple of years ago and have determined that it will be finished, God willing, during the WIP challenge I issued to my Mara_class group on yahoo during the next three months. To show you how long it's been since I worked on it, I thought I was still on the first sleeve with the cuff to do, as I picked up at the shoulder and worked down. When I took it out of the basket, I was a quarter of the way down on the second sleeve! Good news at least, now to do at least an hour a week on it for the next three months and hopefully get it done to wear while it's still cold outside.


Next is Inishmore, which I know I started in March of 2005 because I bought the hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester yarn at the Oregon City Grange Fiber Sale. It's from AS' 'Fisherman Knits' book, which has several more designs I want to make but they will come later. I have the body done up to the armholes and both sleeves done. Now I'm joining the sleeves to the body as I knit the back and front up separately. If I remember correctly without looking at my notes in the other room, I'm about a quarter of the way joining the sleeves up on the front, or maybe almost half. I remember thinking that I needed to count to see how many rows of front neck decreases there were in the pattern so I didn't work up past them.

Then I took a pic of my DH's St. Enda with the fronts and back done down to the armholes. Last night I picked up and started knitting the right sleeve and it's looking good so far. I like that there is only one cable pattern down the top of the sleeve, the rest is sand stitch, a two row pattern that is easy to do but looks very crisp. The sand stitch is pulling in a bit on the sides but I also started the decreases on the 10th row, as per the directions. Of course, the pattern calls for Aran weight yarn on size 7 needles and I'm using worsted weight on size 5 needle so I'm watching the measurements very carefully and trying it on DH a lot as I go. I'm also making notes as to changes I want to make for my St. Enda. I don't like my sweaters as tight as DH does so will be adding more side stitches to give me room to move and breathe.

I also took an update pic of my St. Brigid, which is up to the armholes now and waiting to be divided for front and back. Right now I'm pondering the fit and whether I want to knit a few more rounds and put in some gussets for ease, because of how snug it's coming out. I hate having my sweaters ride up when I put my arms up and gussets take care of that problem nicely. Hmm, I think I'll probably add the gussets, in the same pattern as the side panels so they don't stand out and put the increases in the center of the gussets to make them less noticeable. I'm thinking right now, without the sweater in front of me, that gussets half the depth of the cable chart would be about right and add enough length to the sweater to cover my back properly. So that would be about 11 rounds for the gussets.

And last but not least is a picture of what's left to spin on DH's fleece, along with my CVMx in it's bag. I'm spinning some of it up for a twined knitting class I'm taking with Joan Schroeder this Saturday at Yarn Garden in Portland. Because of the way twined knitting is done, regular commercial yarn untwists as you knit, so this yarn will be spun S and plied Z, the reverse of commercial yarns. I had broken the drive band on my wheel last weekend and couldn't find the spare I bought years ago (the original band is only 16 years old, for Pete's sake!) so this weekend DH dug out a spool of cotton string and I made a temporary driveband so I can get the class yarn made in time. I'm aiming for about 100 yards each of 3-ply Navaho plied yarn for the class as Joan said she allots 1-1/2 to 2 hours for that segment.

Well, I think I've spent enough time at the computer for one spell, my hot tea and the recliner are calling me for a drowse. Have a great week!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Progress!


Saturday I got my DH's Mom's socks done so now I can wrap them and his stepdad's and be ready to mail them off next month. Which reminded me, I need to cross them off my to-do list to encourage me to keep going on my WIPs (Works In Progress, for those who may not know the acronym).






Then Sunday I finished his green garter vest, washed and blocked it, and it's now drying on the dining table. There's about half a ball of the yarn left so I'll put it with the labels in a ziplock bag and store it in the cedar chest with the sweaters in case I need to do a repair. I had thought I might have enough left over for a hat but there isn't.






Saturday morning I spent some time working on my St. Brigid. I'm about halfway through the fifth pattern repeat and will measure the body length when I finish it. In the photo there are five pattern repeats before the sleeves but since I'm using a lighter weight yarn and smaller needles I may need another repeat to get the length I want.


Last night I spent time while we were watching some documentaries working on DH's St. Enda. I finished the right front down to the armholes and put the stitches on a piece of yarn. Then I picked up the back stitches, casting on for the center back area using a cable cast on to make it more stable. That's how AS does most of her Arans and they come out beautiful. I got about 15 rows done. Then I spent some time during the show on Rome spinning on DH's merino fleece. He finished brushing it all out and it covers over half of our dining table, which is set to seat eight at the moment, in baskets and on pieces of plastic.

My friend Terri and I are going to take a class from Joan Schrouder next month on two-end knitting and I plan to spin some special yarn for it. If you spin, you'll know what I'm talking about when I say it's spun S and plied Z. In other words, it's made the reverse of commercial yarn because when you do the two-end technique, it unplies commercial yarn. The class list calls for 50 g. of worsted weight yarn, which will be a bit of a challenge as I usually spin sport weight or lighter. DH told me last night he will start brushing out the locks from my Corriedale cross that I want to use. Now I just need to finish filling that second bobbin with his fleece so I can ply it and have room to make my yarn. I have the second bobbin about half full so far. With 8 ounce bobbins and spinning a fine two ply, it takes a while to fill a bobbin. Also, since the wool is in the grease and it's over a year old, it doesn't draft as easily some times. DH has gotten quite a lesson on how the quantity of lanolin varies over the different areas of a sheep.

Okay, now to upload some pics and then go have breakfast before work.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday evening summary

It's almost 5pm on Sunday evening and I'm thinking about what I got done this weekend. I've learned that taking stock on a regular basis is a good thing, other wise time slips by and you don't have any sense of what you've accomplished or what is still to come.

I finished the garter knitting on DH's vest along with the I-cord on the armholes. And run a few ends in. Now I'm taking a break before I do the front edge I-cord and finish running ends in. He tried it on after I got the second armhole done and it fits great. He's looking forward to wearing it for everyday use, like going out with the dogs when it's not raining or going across the street for the mail, etc. I was hoping to get it done today but I've had my fill of I-cord for today!

Yesterday I finished the 4th repeat on St. Brigid and confirmed from the picture that the pattern calls for 5 repeats before the sleeves. When I finish the 5th one I'll hold it up to myself to see how the length looks before I divide for the armholes. I really hate sweaters that ride up or are too short when you sit down and folks can see that your panties don't match your socks. My DH is compulsive about matching his underwear and has been trying to get me to do the same. Only problem is most of my underwear is from Victoria's Secret and they don't always make matching sets in the high cut leg style I prefer. And besides, he and I should be the only ones to see the underwear, barring some medical emergency, God forbid! With multi colored sock yarns there's no way to match underwear unless you knit it and that's going way beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned.

Yesterday I wore my Aran Pullover from 'Two Sticks and a String' which I made this summer. It fits great, except the sleeves are a tad bit long when my arms hang down, but fit fine when I bend my elbows. After wearing the sweater all day the sleeves hadn't grown and they just come to the middle of the back of my hand when it hangs down so I can live with that. Better than having the sleeves too short and always be pulling on them. With arms that are 2 inches longer than readywear, it's always a concern about sleeve length.

Tonight I'm supposed to go over to a beekeeper's house to pick up some honey. We've been trying to get together for over a month now and things keep happening. I need to go check my email to see if she sent me her address. She used to live in Eugene but moved here this spring with her family and the business. She also makes skin care products with the bees' wax and honey. I'm looking forward to trying some of them this winter.

DH is almost done with brushing out the locks from his Merino fleece so I may break down tonight and spin some for him as a break from the I-cord. There is a show about Rome on at 8pm that we want to watch and spinning is easy to do while watching tv, no pattern to check or stitches to count. He's worn out my bunny brush and I stopped by Petco on my way home Friday night hoping to pick up a new one for him. They don't carry the small ones and the smallest they have are $10.00. When I told him the price I pointed out that if we sent his fleece out for processing, either into batts or roving, it would cost from $7.00 to $10.00 per pound since it's a fine wool. And we would end up with a woolen yarn, not the semi worsted I get by brushing the locks out and spinning in the grease. His fleece weighs a little over 4 pounds so that would be about $40.00 and a brush per fleece is much cheaper. Also, it's better for him to get a new brush with each fleece as they are from different shepherds and flocks so the germ load is different. Even though the sheep were coated, the wool still collects dirt and sweat from the sheep. It builds up on the brush and lessens it's effectiveness after a while.

Last night I showed him the gansey cardigan pattern I'm thinking of for his fleece, if we end up with enough yarn. It's Grace's Cardigan, from 'Knitting Ganseys' by Beth Brown-Reinsel. I've wanted to make that pattern for several years and now she offers it in different sizes. In the book it only gives one size but that is his size so no problem. I need about 2450 yards to make the cardigan so we'll see what happens. The pattern calls for 5-ply gansey yarn and I'm making a two-ply fingeringweight yarn. But when you use handspun yarns they are denser than commercial yarns so you always go up a yarn weight to compensate. That's something you don't find in some books but I learned about it in the 'Spinoff Socks' book.

Have a good week all!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Detour from knitting







Just wanted to post some pics to show you
what I've been doing instead of knitting the last two weeks, lol. The first picture is four baskets of brushed locks on the dining table waiting for me to spin them. The next pic is a closeup so you can see the locks stacked inches deep. The third one is the coffee table where DH is set up to brush the locks while watching tv (old movies mostly). The fourth picture is my Louet spinning wheel showing the first 8 ounce bobbin almost full (that's a lot of yarn!). The last picture shows what's left of the fleece spread out on the guest bed so DH can pull the locks off and put them in a basket to work on. It weighed 2-1/2 pounds when he bought it at Black Sheep Gathering in 2005. It's a Merino coated fleece from a local shepherd and took 4th place in the competition, which is why we could afford it, lol. The championship fleeces went for almost $100.00 each and were well worth it.

Now 2-1/2 pounds may not sound like a lot of wool but when you're talking a superfine breed like Merino it's a lot of yardage when you spin it fine, as I like to do. I'm thinking about a gansey for DH at this point and specifically the Grace's Cardigan out of Beth Brown-Reinsell's 'Knitting Ganseys' book. I've wanted to make that one for several years now and this yarn would be great for it. Hmm, will need to steer DH in that direction. Fortunately I have several fleeces in similar colors, so if we need more yarn we can use one of them. Since the sheep wasn't coated until part way through the year, the tips are sun lightened so the yarn will be heathered. It's a beautiful moorit, a reddish brown color.

One thing folks may not be aware of is with handspun yarn, you use a size heavier design than the yarn looks like, as it's more dense than commercial yarns. So while I'm spinning almost a fingerweight, I'll use a sport or double knitting weight pattern when I knit it up.

But that won't be until sometime next spring. I have a whole bunch of projects in the pipeline that I have promised myself I will finish first. Now that cold weather is here (40 degrees and below in the mornings) it's time to wear my woolies! This weekend I'm working on finishing Christmas socks for DH's Mom. His stepdad's are done already. Then I plan to mail them the day after Thanksgiving (I'm sure I'll have to work that day anyway) and they can hold them until they open Christmas presents but I won't have to worry about mailing them during the heavy overtime in December.

Time for breakfast so we can meet some friends for coffee after church.


Detour from knitting







Just wanted to post some pics to show you
what I've been doing instead of knitting the last two weeks, lol. The first picture is four baskets of brushed locks on the dining table waiting for me to spin them. The next pic is a closeup so you can see the locks stacked inches deep. The third one is the coffee table where DH is set up to brush the locks while watching tv (old movies mostly). The fourth picture is my Louet spinning wheel showing the first 8 ounce bobbin almost full (that's a lot of yarn!). The last picture shows what's left of the fleece spread out on the guest bed so DH can pull the locks off and put them in a basket to work on. It weighed 2-1/2 pounds when he bought it at Black Sheep Gathering in 2005. It's a Merino coated fleece from a local shepherd and took 4th place in the competition, which is why we could afford it, lol. The championship fleeces went for almost $100.00 each and were well worth it.

Now 2-1/2 pounds may not sound like a lot of wool but when you're talking a superfine breed like Merino it's a lot of yardage when you spin it fine, as I like to do. I'm thinking about a gansey for DH at this point and specifically the Grace's Cardigan out of Beth Brown-Reinsell's 'Knitting Ganseys' book. I've wanted to make that one for several years now and this yarn would be great for it. Hmm, will need to steer DH in that direction. Fortunately I have several fleeces in similar colors, so if we need more yarn we can use one of them. Since the sheep wasn't coated until part way through the year, the tips are sun lightened so the yarn will be heathered. It's a beautiful moorit, a reddish brown color.

One thing folks may not be aware of is with handspun yarn, you use a size heavier design than the yarn looks like, as it's more dense than commercial yarns. So while I'm spinning almost a fingerweight, I'll use a sport or double knitting weight pattern when I knit it up.

But that won't be until sometime next spring. I have a whole bunch of projects in the pipeline that I have promised myself I will finish first. Now that cold weather is here (40 degrees and below in the mornings) it's time to wear my woolies! This weekend I'm working on finishing Christmas socks for DH's Mom. His stepdad's are done already. Then I plan to mail them the day after Thanksgiving (I'm sure I'll have to work that day anyway) and they can hold them until they open Christmas presents but I won't have to worry about mailing them during the heavy overtime in December.

Time for breakfast so we can meet some friends for coffee after church.


Detour from knitting







Just wanted to post some pics to show you
what I've been doing instead of knitting the last two weeks, lol. The first picture is four baskets of brushed locks on the dining table waiting for me to spin them. The next pic is a closeup so you can see the locks stacked inches deep. The third one is the coffee table where DH is set up to brush the locks while watching tv (old movies mostly). The fourth picture is my Louet spinning wheel showing the first 8 ounce bobbin almost full (that's a lot of yarn!). The last picture shows what's left of the fleece spread out on the guest bed so DH can pull the locks off and put them in a basket to work on. It weighed 2-1/2 pounds when he bought it at Black Sheep Gathering in 2005. It's a Merino coated fleece from a local shepherd and took 4th place in the competition, which is why we could afford it, lol. The championship fleeces went for almost $100.00 each and were well worth it.

Now 2-1/2 pounds may not sound like a lot of wool but when you're talking a superfine breed like Merino it's a lot of yardage when you spin it fine, as I like to do. I'm thinking about a gansey for DH at this point and specifically the Grace's Cardigan out of Beth Brown-Reinsell's 'Knitting Ganseys' book. I've wanted to make that one for several years now and this yarn would be great for it. Hmm, will need to steer DH in that direction. Fortunately I have several fleeces in similar colors, so if we need more yarn we can use one of them. Since the sheep wasn't coated until part way through the year, the tips are sun lightened so the yarn will be heathered. It's a beautiful moorit, a reddish brown color.

One thing folks may not be aware of is with handspun yarn, you use a size heavier design than the yarn looks like, as it's more dense than commercial yarns. So while I'm spinning almost a fingerweight, I'll use a sport or double knitting weight pattern when I knit it up.

But that won't be until sometime next spring. I have a whole bunch of projects in the pipeline that I have promised myself I will finish first. Now that cold weather is here (40 degrees and below in the mornings) it's time to wear my woolies! This weekend I'm working on finishing Christmas socks for DH's Mom. His stepdad's are done already. Then I plan to mail them the day after Thanksgiving (I'm sure I'll have to work that day anyway) and they can hold them until they open Christmas presents but I won't have to worry about mailing them during the heavy overtime in December.

Time for breakfast so we can meet some friends for coffee after church.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Vacation's almost over, poot!

I'm in blue kind of mind as I only have a few more days to go, poot! But it's been a good vacation, I've gotten lots of small projects done that have been hanging fire for a while and knitted and visited with friends I don't get to see very often.

This is the third time I've tried to write this post so I'm going to skip all the other stuff I've written about and lost and just post the pics I took this morning of my current projects.This is St. Brigid, by Alice Starmore, from her 'Aran Knitting' book. I'm making it in the round using Cascade 220 in Turquoise on size 5 needles as I don't want it as loose as it shows in the book. This is a really fun knit and it's going quickly, in between my other projects. I'm just starting the 4th repeat of the chart.
This is my DH's vest, the Seaweed for Sheryl vest from 'Sweaters from Camp.' I've just started the second column of color patterning, which is set up in a matrix as the designer did hers. I just have more colors than she used so my matrix is larger. I've found that after going through the 10 round chart one time, I need to take a break as the rows begin to look the same (they are, just offset a few rounds) and I lose my place too easily and get frustrated.
This is my Mara and I've started on the first sleeve. I'm doing mine the same way Veronique from France made her Dad's for last Christmas, except that I made my body a bit longer. I hate sitting down and having my lower back get cold! I might even get this done to wear at Christmas!
And last but not least is DH's Marina, now residing in her basket on the antique pie table in the dining room. I still haven't gotten up the nerve to knit on her. The man in Scotland whom I got her from has such even knitting I'm intimidated! I know, I know, washing and dressing will even out any tension problems but I'm still intimidated.

I haven't worked on Elizabeth of York for a while so there aren't any new pics of her. DH's garter vest is approaching the armholes and will probably get done in a few more weeks of playing canasta online in the evenings. I'm going to hold off on starting my vest from the leftovers from his FLAK until I get something else done. I really need to work on finishing two projects before I start something new, at least as long as it's not a last minute gift I need, lol.

Let's see, a roll call of projects in progress - Mara, Marina, Sirdal, Inishmore, Elizabeth of York, garter vest, socks for DH's Mom for Christmas, cotton sweater I volunteered to finish for DH's sister, Pacific Northwest shawl (needs edging finished), Seaweed for Sheryl vest, two quilts, 4 or 5 cross stitch projects, a needlepoint picture I need to get framed and then it's done, and I'm sure there are others lurking in the dark corners of my den closet and spare bedroom dresser. Oh, yes, I still haven't finished our wedding clothes, even though we've been married two years now. Never work overtime on graveyard the week of your wedding - you will not be able to get simple projects done and the guilt will keep you from promptly finishing them when you get back from the honeymoon! His shirt is about half done, I haven't done any sewing on my dress, although it is cut out. It's a beautiful blue silk brocade and it would be nice to get them done to wear to dinner this holiday season.

Then there are the projects I have the supplies for but haven't started yet - purple shawl or stole in Rowan 4-ply I won on eBay, kilt hose for DH, Lovely Leftovers vest I will be designing for my Mara group to start after the first of the year, sweater for my mini-Dachsy, socks for DH and I, three fleeces of mine to spin, one fleece for DH to comb so I can spin it, cover sweater from 'Dazzling Knits' which I am spinning the yarn for and have two skeins ready and finished the third hank yesterday but need to Navaho-ply it, wash and put it away. Among other projects lurking around here.

I think I'll make a list of projects and hang it on the wall where I can see it to remind me to finish up most of these this winter before starting new ones. I have so many knitting books that have beautiful projects in them that I want to make that it is so hard to resist. But I must, I must!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

New photos!

Second day of vacation and I'm getting some good progress done on my knitting projects. First off, the other night I finished the first full skein of Silver Spruce on my DH's Vest of Many Buttons so it's on the back burner now for a bit. I'm not following the exact pattern in that I'm not doing the cables on it and changing the armhole shaping to suit him. And he doesn't want any buttons on it, since it's not designed to close anyway.
















Next is Elizabeth of York, which I'm making for DH's daughter out of Blue Faced Leicester in sport weight yarn on size 2 needles. It's going surprisingly quickly so far, being mostly gansey style knitting in knits and purls. I've finished one time through the chart so am taking a break from it for a bit.




























Next is my St. Brigid, from the KAL, and I've finished the first skein of Turquoise on it, just a bit ago. I'm making it in the round up to the armholes and it's a pleasant knit. I'm on the second time through the chart and this time I did the second increase round correctly, in knits and not purls.
































And last but definitely not least is my Mara. I started the first sleeve yesterday while at my Mom's, after deciding how many stitches I needed in the sleeve and calculating how many rounds I will need (going with the same number that Veronique used in her Dad's). I used AS's method of picking up stitches in the inside leg of the edge stitch, but played it safe and didn't cut the steek until after all the stitches were picked up. Which meant I used my 16 inch circular for one side and a straight needle for the other. But it worked fine and I'm working away on it. After I get off here I'll sit down and do some more knitting on it. I'd like to have one sleeve finished this week while I'm on vacation if possible. Since it's starting with 170 stitches and decreasing down to 72 before the ribbing, it should be doable. The steek stitches are lying nicely flat on the inside so far so I may not do any finishing on them (I know, heresy not to cross stitch them down but that's me all over!).































The final pic is the socks I'm making for DH's Mom for Christmas out of Regia 4-ply, a yarn I really like for socks. It's machine washable, durable, comes in lots of fun colors and patterns, and I haven't noticed any color fading in any of mine or DH's.















So I'm doing pretty well so far on making progress on my projects, need to do some work on Inishmore later today to find the 16th row down from the shoulder strap section of the sleeves so I can do my front neck shaping in the right place. DH has been doing some work outside and I was knitting while watching Patton on tv, since I don't like most sports shows and that's all that's on right now. Tomorrow morning if it's not raining I'm going to do some trimming on the rhodies on the north side of the house as they are taller than the windows now and with winter coming I know better than to leave them that way. They won't get pruned until spring and they will bloom before the weather is nice enough to do it. DH wants to get the hedge trimmer out and use it on them (yukk!) but that chops the leaves up and makes brown edges on them. Because the leaves are large, I much prefer to hand trim them and it doesn't take more than a couple of days an hour or so each day to get it done. I don't think rhodies look good trimmed like boxes.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Eek! A steek!




I took some new pics this morning of the projects I am working on and one that is now finished, yea! I finally decided to use Fray Chek on the left back armhole on my Oregon vest as the stitches were already pulling out and then washed it. Now it's sitting on the dining table drying before being put in the cedar chest for cooler weather. The solid blue line on the inside edge is the edge of the crocheted steek, finishes the edge rather neatly, I think.
















I also finished my FLAK a while back and it's now sitting in the cedar chest along with DH's FLAK and my Aran Pullover - fun to watch the chest start to fill up with beautiful knitted garments for us to wear! I think, outside of socks, this is the most garments I've made for myself in one year for a very long time. I decided last Christmas that I wasn't going to make things for family members who don't appreciate them any more and just give them giftcards and it's been such a freeing decision! My brother and his youngest daughter appreciate and enjoy the things I make for them so they will still get handknit items, but his wife and oldest daughter will just get giftcards to Nordstroms.

The comment about the steek is about my Mara sweater. I crocheted the front and both armhole steeks yesterday while watching old movies on tv. I've posted one shot showing the whole sweater with the steeks in red. The second one shows the top of the sweater with all three steeks. The third one shows the inside where I tucked the yarn ends under strands to keep them untangled while I crocheted (but then I ran into another problem - I had only used 8 stitches for the front instead of 9 so had to decide which side would have three and which would have four. I went for the right to have three and will do Meg's way of picking up stitches for the bands instead of mine, since my way pulls more on the yarn ends.).












My sister has asked me for sweaters for her boys, the youngest goes to a private school and a blue sweater to match his eyes would make her and him very happy so I'll see what I can do about a quick knit one for him (but not using bulky yarn, that hurts my hand
s and is way too easy for a 7 year old to snag the life out of). I have green Blauband yarn for a pair of socks for DH, along with his Forest for Kelly vest that I haven't touched for months but need to do some work on pretty soon.

Since I finished my FLAK and my Oregon
vest, I cast on for some new projects (was only going to cast on for one but, what the hay! I cast on for three). First up is Elizabeth of York for my DH's daughter. It's in natural Blue Faced Leicester yarn I got from Woodland Woolworks last year thinking it would work for St. Brigid. It's a light sport weight and St. Brigid calls for Aran weight so that didn't work out but I got almost 3000 yards in two hanks. So plenty for Elizabeth and I took a pic of her this morning to load here.














The first pic is the bottom of the back right piece (yes, I broke down and am knitting this one as written, the shaping is more complicated than just tapering the sides as there is a back vent) and the one on the right shows the stitches up close. I'm knitting this on a size 2 needle and warned DH this would not be ready for her birthday or Christmas this year as I'm not going to put everything else on hold. He understands.

Next is the quickie vest I'm making for DH out of the leftovers from my FLAK, in Cascade 220 Silver Spruce. I'm using the Vest of Many Buttons pattern from 'Folk Vests' but not doing the cables. I'm making a size medium since there won't be the pull in that the cables would have provided. Size 7 needles and worsted weight yarn make for a quick, easy, soothing knit while playing games on the computer.














And last but certainly not least is my St. Brigid, out of Turquoise Cascade 220, on size 5 circular as that gives me the fabric that feels the best. Being wool, I can block it out a bit if I need to but I think it will be just fine. I'm making the larger size, since I'm not a beanpole, and the patterns are flowing nicely. In fact, I get grumpy if DH calls me for breakfast and I'm knitting away on it, lol.
I did just make one discovery on the directions. In the stitch key, she explains one symbol in terms of purl stitches, and I didn't stop to think that since I'm making it in the round, I should change those to knit stitches. Ah well, it will pass the galloping horse test and I'll know for the next repeat. Alice is so good at writing her directions as a total package, I didn't stop to think that because I am doing it in the round up to the armholes, I need to change any directions specific to the wrong side to right side stitches. And again, I was just flowing along with the rhythm of the knitting. Being only 4 rounds in, I don't think anyone will notice the difference, since it's making three stitches out of one anyway so they're all scrunched together at that point. But in case anyone else changes it to knit in the round, I thought I'd mention it as something to be aware of. I'm taking St. Brigid with me to Portland today to show my Mom. DH is staying home to sand the living room floor some more, a long job when he's using an electric handsander to work on some stains and uneven spots. It's the original wood floor from when the house was built in 1962 and we both love natural wood colors.

DH did give me a surprise yesterday - I have vacation coming up in another week and he said he needs to let the floor dry for 36 hours after he puts the final coat on it, so we're going camping for three days! At the beach! Yee haw! And yahooie! I've really been needing some time at the beach to recharge and what a gift to give me! Now to plan what knitting to take along.........