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


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!