Thursday, March 30, 2006

The slings and arrows of fortune

I will probably get my new CPU fan and install it this Saturday. It went out last Friday night before I had a chance to post some pics, after Blogger finally got straightened out, poot! So there should be some neat new pics to share then.

In the meantime, I'm making good progress on my Mara, now that the Jade green yarn has arrived. Except that I knit the bottom two rounds with it and started the middle section with the Plum and didn't like how it was turning out. The Jade was about the same intensity as the blue and the Plum and the whole section was kind of ho-hum. I realized that AS had put the Emerald in to frame the pattern and to perk the section up. So I tinked what I had done and am back to using the Emerald again. Last night I started the last round at the top of the diamond pattern and hope to finish it tonight. I even stayed up an hour later than usual to work on it, but had no trouble getting up at 6 when my alarm went off to go walking in the mall.

I've been trying to make some improvements in my lifestyle and one of them is to get some moderate exercise. We live right by a grade school and I've fought with myself for the last three months or so to get out there and walk around the track when I come home from work. Before that I had a treadmill my sister had given me but I felt really unsteady on it and couldn't adjust my pace to the machine so I ended up giving it to a friend. As to the walking around the track, by the time I got home from work it was dark, cold, and mostly rainy, not good conditions to go for a walk when I'm tired anyway. I was beating myself up about it when I remembered last week that my late first husband and I used to get up and go walk in the mall in the mornings and it worked great. Of course, back then there was Just Harry's, a great restaurant for having breakfast after walking the mall and they're long gone now. But I'm finding it really comfortable to get up and go walking in the morning, then come home and have breakfast and get ready for work. It does cut into my online time in the mornings a bit but I can live with that. In fact, today I bumped up to three circuits of the mall, in about a half hour. I'm using the talk test, where I carry on a conversation with my DH, to check my pace. If I can talk fairly comfortably, then I'm walking at a good pace. He didn't do the third lap with me, as he had a stitch in his side and went to sit in the car.

Breakfast is ready so I'm outa here! Have a good day everyone!

Happy knitting!
Helen B

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tuesday evening ponderings

My DH and I took a drive up to Detroit Lake Saturday to look for fishing spots and took some pics of the snow and some waterfowl floating down the river.

I like the pics we got of the snow on the trees on the mountains.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday musings

A day late for St. Patty's but I was working on my knitting last night instead of writing this so no big deal. I'm still waiting for my yarn from Scotland, I went to check the date of the order email I had sent and discovered that during my recent problems with aol and their most recent download, the save mail setting had gotten turned off, so nothing was saved after the end of February, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Problem now fixed.

So I sent J & S another email about the order and will probably give them a call to confirm, when I check the price of the call on Sprint, my cell company. Since I have free domestic long distance and so does my DH on our cell phones, we don't have long distance on our landline, just local. Saves a bit of money not to duplicate services like that.

Thursday night I finished tinking the Emerald yarn out of my Mara so I'm ready when the new green yarn arrives. Some folks on the Mara list have commented that they are having problems with ordering from J & S right now, I'll have to see if I can find out what is going on and how long the problems might last. I've never had any problems but I know they are a small company on a very small island. I've been wondering if they are having some of their famous gales over there, with the nasty weather the east coast of the US has been having lately.

So in the meantime, I've been working on my Aran Pullover, on the first sleeve now but need to get some longer dpns, the ones I have that I got originally for Lopi sleeves are too short for this sweater. This Cascade 220 yarn is softer than Lopi so it slides off short needles a whole lot easier! The Aran Pullover will be a warmer weather sweater, as being on size 8's it's not as dense as the FLAK on size 5's. That's why I decided to make the pullover and not a cardigan, as I still am warmer than some folks, although that health problem is getting a lot better. Hooray for herbs! For those who are curious, I'm using Women's Phase II from Vitanica, which has a web site. Turns out the doctor who designed the product is the sister of a man I dated a few years ago - very, very bright and sweet guy and she has a worldwide reputation for excellence.

I'm working on the first sleeve for my FLAK, and made an interesting discovery - the filler stitch I'm using looks different when knit in the round than when knit flat. It pops more in the round. I'll take some pics when I'm having lunch with Terri today and try to show you what I mean. I haven't made a mistake in it, the diagonal lines are all straight, it's just that going into the stitches from the opposite direction makes them stand out more. What I'm using (haven't bothered to get a book out to find out the name yet) is; Row 2 K1 P1 around, Row 1 and 3 Knit around, Row 4 P1 K1. When I was working flat, the odd rows were purled on the back side. Makes me wonder if the flat knit stitches will pop more when I wash it or if the circular stitches will relax, inquiring minds want to know (but will wait until the sweater is finished to find out).

I also need to get some knitting in on my DH's Seaweed for Sheryl vest for the SFCKAL, I've been neglecting that a bit lately. A new member joined the Mara list who has already finished her garment for the SFCKAL and wants a new challenge! I love the tone on the Mara list, everyone is friendly and willing to help each other, like a neighborhood coffee klatch used to be, only global. There are members from Israel, England, France, the USA, Canada, and I'm not sure where else.

One of the members suggested that I explain how I set up my blog here on the list so others can do it to share their photos of their projects so I'll do that later today. I love checking out others' projects, it gives me ideas of things I'd like to make (Veronique's website is where I saw Mara made into a cardigan and I instantly fell in love with it - her knitting skill and prowess are phenomenal).

On the home front, I now have heat in my truck with a new heater core! Yea! After 5 years of freezing and sqeegeeing my windows constantly to see through I was finally able to get the heater fixed with part of our tax return. My DH has a new engine in his car (got a loan for that) as we talked it over and decided we preferred to replace the engine rather than buying a used car with unknown problems or a new one with high payments. We like the car, it has a good body, a big trunk, and it's comfortable for us to travel in. And it gets good gas mileage. I still need to do more work on my truck, it was my late Dad's and he let it sit for 6 years before giving it to me and my late first husband. I've been working on it a little at a time over the last couple of years, including getting the tranny rebuilt about two years ago. It's a '79 Ford F150 with a big canopy on it that I can go camping in. It has a lot of good features but the company that built it has gone out of business. Maybe one of these days I can take it off and rebuild it myself (made out of wood frame with metal siding and finished inside - a really sturdy canopy!

Happy knitting!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The fourth pic, showing Terri's Mara. This should be the same as the only one to show on my first post today.

Decisions #4

And now the third pic, I will be sooooo glad when I figure this out!

Decisions #3

This should be the second photo, hopefully.

Decisions #2

Okay, I still haven't figured out the photo upload problem, so will make a separate post for each picture. This will be the first picture I was talking about.

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Well, now for some bad news, kind of. Last night I was working on my Mara and decided I didn't like the Emerald green in the first pattern band, although I do like it in the ribbing. So I am going to take it out of the pattern band, get some Jade, J & S 47, and use that instead. The background color has light green in it and the Emerald just obliterates it. The Jade brings it out gently and is about the same value as the blue on the edge of the pattern band. My friend Terri thinks she has a skein of 47 I can use to keep knitting until I can order some more from J & S, which I will need to do as I'm running out of the Forest Green I'm using for the pattern color on my DH's SFCKAL vest. So I will end up tinking 2-1/2 rounds, not bad but I'm glad I made that decision right away instead of continuing on and ending up not liking the finished garment later.

I'm also making good progress on the SFCKAL vest for DH, I had blood drawn this morning and the folks waiting around me were all checking out what I was working on, with nice comments overheard.

This first pic is of my Mara, showing the Emerald and how it stands out too much for my taste. My ribbing is much tighter than Terri's, possibly because I'm holding both yarns in my left hand, or possibly I'm knitting tighter. Terri did say she is stretching her knitting out a lot as she works, so that could be part of the difference as well. I did measure my gauge last night and I'm getting 15 stitches to 2 inches, 16 rounds to 2 inches, so not bad. I don't know what Terri's gauge is, have to ask her next time we chat.

The next pic is of both our Maras held together, so you can see some of the different colors we chose and how they are working out. I have Claret for my red and Terri has Maroon, she used Forest Green in the middle of her ribbing and I used Emerald. The pattern in the magazine just says green and we laughed over how we each interpreted that word! You can also see we chose different blues for part of our ribbing, both are beautiful in their own way.

The third pic has Terri holding a white napkin under the edges for contrast so you can get a better feel for the difference in the colors. The sweater she is wearing is one she made herself and it is just gorgeous!

The final pic is a closeup of Terri's Mara, so you can see how the colors work and the great knitting she is doing. I'll catch up as soon as I get the Jade yarn!

Happy Knitting!

Helen B

PS I just checked and for some reason the only picture to load was the last one, so I made more posts with one pic each. If anyone can tell me how to fix that, I would really appreciate the help. If they straightened themselves out finally, good.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sunday afternoon I spent some time learning a new skill - crochet chain the front steek in my Oregon vest. I'm using 'Sweaters From Camp' by Meg Swansen to learn how to do it. The first time, I blithely just started single crocheting up the line. After about 4 inches I stopped and compared what I had with the photo in the book. Not a match. So I reread the instructions and saw the little word "chain" and ripped out what I had done. I started over, using the hint about starting the chain a few stitches from the actual steek to anchor it better, and now it looks just fine. I'm going to do the armholes next and cut them open and do the ribbing on them before I cut the front open. Meg says it's much easier to do it that way so the fronts aren't flapping around in the way. So here are a couple of pics to show you what I did.

By the way, Kate, Mara is in several places. I won the Feb/March 1992 issue of Workbasket magazine on Ebay that I am using for my garment. It also appears in 'The Scottish Collection' by AS in both a vest and cardigan version. I saw a pic on a blog of a cardigan and immediately changed my mind to make a cardigan instead of the vest. I have to make some changes to it, as my arms are about 2 inches longer than the "standard" woman's arm, but that's no problem. The charts for Mara are also in 'Fair Isle Knitting' by AS. On the cover she is working on it and in the Techniques section there is a graphic showing the chart morphing from an idea to a finished garment.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

I finished the ribbing on my Mara today and did the increases at the top of the ribbing after my DH, my Mom and I had lunch at Todai Japanese sushi buffet in Portland (wonderful place!). I took several pics as I did one of the increases, so the folks on the Mara_class group who aren't familiar with a M1 increase can see how it's done. I'm loving how the colors I picked are working together, bright and crisp without being garish. I am so looking forward to wearing this sweater when it's done.

Hope these pictures look okay. For some reason they won't post in the order I'm uploading them so I hope you can figure out the steps for yourself. There should be four pictures in the series.

Happy knitting!
Helen B

Taking a breather - whew!

This week has been a trial, the first part I was sick with some weird bug so I missed two days of work trying to get my energy back, then the rest of the week was heavy at work, and we were shorthanded. Now I get to recover with my knitting on the weekend!

I'm almost done with the ribbing on my Mara cardigan, hope to finish the last 3 rows today, do the increase round, then take pics of the increases and post them so the Mara_class can check them out. My DH has decided he wants a Mara also, I told him I would make him a vest in late summer, after I got the other garments done I've already started.

I'm about 3 inches into my SFCKAL Seaweed for Sheryl vest, being made for my DH in woodsy colors to give the feel of a forest instead of the ocean. He's spent 33 years in logging and lumber jobs. I didn't plan the color rotation on it, I was taping pieces of the different colors he picked to a piece of paper. When he saw the way they looked together he said he liked that color arrangement and to go with it. So that's what I'm doing. I still need to order more skeins of the main color as I know I won't have enough, but I'm using that same color in my Oregon vest so will have some left over there and it's also in Mara, but I'm not waiting for those leftovers. I'm debating about ordering the yarns for his Henry VIII at the same time, to save on postage. Hmm, decisions, decisions, decisions, such wonderful things to ponder when my customers start to bug me, lol.

And I'm down to the armholes on the back of my Aran Pullover, about halfway there on the front. I need to get another 16 inch size 5 needle for the sleeves for my FLAK sweater, the one I have is tied up on another sweater.

Didn't feel up to working on Oregon this week, too much stress tends to make me a little careless and after all that work I don't want to make mistakes at this stage. Cutting steeks wrong is not easy to fix! I might set it up on the dining table with my Ott light tonight and get some progress made on it.

The Mara group is now over 60 members and still growing, how wonderful! Several folks are new to FI knitting and getting their feet wet with Mara. I love the feeling of adventure they bring to the list. Veronique, the French knitter whose site changed my plans from a vest to a cardigan for Mara, has joined the group to share her experience and ideas. She made it for her father for Christmas and made the deadline by two days, lol.

My friend Terri just called and she's heading to her doctor as she's gotten a sinus infection and it's getting worse. So we'll try to get together tomorrow after church to compare our progress and see how our color choices are working out.

Happy knitting!