Monday, December 17, 2007

Look out!

Today is the heaviest mailing day of the year so I anticipate lots of frenzied customers getting sticker shock because they have forgotten that not only the price of stamps went up on May 14th of this year, the price of all shipping on USPS went up. Oh, well, hope the bag of candy I bought this weekend holds out through the day!

I've gotten some knitting done in the last few weeks, haven't had time to post about it as I've been pretty busy but I'm hoping to get some pics taken tonight and posted. I finished the left sleeve of my St. Brigid Saturday night, which is major progress at this point, with the poor sweater having been started over a year ago. At least she's been patient while I rotate among my other projects, but she really would like to get finished so I can wear her while the weather is still cold.

I've been making little stocking ornaments using the Holiday Stamps charts created by Joey on Ravelry.com. If you'd like a set, email or leave a comment and I'll send them to you. He just asks that his name stay connected to the charts, which is reasonable considering the work he went to. The artist who designed the stamps made them on a punchcard knitting machine and then Photoshopped the images, so you can't just knit from the blowups of the stamps. Believe me, I tried and about drove myself crazy when I kept getting different counts depending on where I counted across the stamps.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season - remember to keep in mind the reason for the season and don't focus just on the gifts and decorations and parties. Spend some quiet time thinking about our Creator and the incredible Gift he sent us on this most magical of nights. Pass your peace on to your friends and neighbors who need it. I am sending a large box of knitting, cross stitch and quilting supplies to the folks in Vernonia, OR, whose town was almost destroyed by a huge flood two weeks ago. I'm addressing it to Dr. Phyllis Gilmore, the town's only doctor, in care of the Community Center, Vernonia, OR, 97064. She will give them to folks who can use them to help them recover from the trauma. I included several small cross stitch ornament kits I had bought several years ago, since fabric items are destroyed by the mud during a flood.

God bless and keep you all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Noticeable Progress at Last!



First up is E of York, the left front is almost half done now, and hopefully will get close to done this week so I can stay on track to get it done for Christmas. Now that I've spent some consistent time with the pattern, it's easier to work on and not have to rip so often.



This is the first of my Bayerische socks, it's finished and I've started a pair of oddball socks on both sets of size 1 needles. I need more socks and have enough left overs to make probably two pairs of socks. The oddballs will get worked on while I'm walking at the mall in the mornings so will probably take a couple of weeks to get each pair done, but that's okay.



I'm almost done with the first sleeve on St. Brigid. Here I've run out of yarn and had to wind another skein last night while watching tv. Later this week I'll finish the sleeve, just about 10 rounds to go to finish it. Again, I spent most of a day with it over the weekend so made good progress as I fell into the rhythm of the pattern. I'm still pondering how to end the sleeve. AS has the sleeve cast on and right into the pattern, which kind of jars me as I'm not used to a sleeve without a cuff of some kind. But the bottom doesn't have a cuff or hem and it looks alright so I'll probably just bite the bullet and cast off when I'm done.

I have one more pic to post but Blogger won't let me this morning. I'll try again tonight if I get a chance. Have a great week!

Happy knitting!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday sailing

I haven't taken new pics yet, but I finished the first of the Bayerische socks last night and ran in the yarn ends. Now both sets of size 1 needles are free to knit a pair of oddball socks. I'm wearing out my older socks and need to make some new ones. But first I'm going to use up some left over yarns in a pair of oddball socks. I use two sets of needles and work on both socks at the same time, so I don't run out of yarn on one sock and not have enough to use on the second one. It works really well and over the last couple of years I think I've made about 5 pairs this way.

I went to the monthly Knit In at my lys Have You Any Wool here in Salem and used an online coupon I had gotten to buy two skeins of sock yarn and one skein of green J & S fingering weight yarn. I'm going to have a year long project on my Mara_class group to make a Twelve Months of Christmas Fair Isle vest so needed the green. After the corrugated ribbing at the bottom of the vest I'm going to put in a row of Christmas trees, of course.

I've decided that 2008 will be my personal Year of Knitting From My Stash so I can finish up some projects and use up some of the yarn hiding in my closet in the den. I really don't have that much of a stash, it's mostly fingering weight yarns with 8 skeins of Cascade 220 left over from a sweater for DH (4) and one for me (4). I have already used up the Spruce Green left over from my FLAK for a vest for DH. I'm planning to use the Cascade 220 leftovers for a sweater for my sister next year, but will have to buy some more yarn as 8 skeins is not enough. She hasn't lost the baby weight from her last kid, who is now 9 years old. I will probably have some yarn left over from my St. Brigid, made in Cascade 220, and will also have some left over from my St. Enda, which isn't started yet. DH loves his and wears it when we go out to dinner when it's cold enough and I ask him to. He doesn't carry his cell phone in a holster and the Peterbilt coat I gave him has a chest pocket that zips vertically that works great for carrying his cell phone in a position where he can hear it ring. He has tinnitis from years of working in logging and lumber with a hearing loss.

So, something I've been putting off doing for a while I will now do and post for the world to see - a list of projects I have on the needles and want to finish.

St. Brigid - body done, first sleeve half done, will be worked on today and hopefully the sleeve will be finished.

Erin - on hold until DH's daughter's Elizabeth of York is finished and gifted, currently on the second repeat of the animal chart and approaching the armhole steek point.

Elizabeth of York - back done, left front about 1/3 done, hope to get to halfway point this weekend and finish the left front in another week or so, God willing.

Amphora - second repeat of main chart pattern started, will work some more on her this coming week, she is the current project of Mara_class group, being knitted out of AS' Hebridean 2-ply yarns and is a real pleasure to work on.

Fulmar - being knit FLAK style, back is done down to armholes and stitches on a piece of yarn, right front has two repeats of the chart finished, need to do one more repeat and a few more rows before stitches will be put on a piece of yarn and left front picked up, I am not rushing this project as it is gansey weight yarn on size 2 needles knit very tightly, but it is a real pleasure to work on so I have to focus on dividing my time between my other projects and Fulmar.

Holiday Knits Christmas Stocking - I'm making a small stocking from the charts for the Christmas tree from the USPS Holiday Knits stamps, I want to get this done in time to display it on Dec. 4th at the Knit In we're having at the Salem Main Post Office, I need to put more time in on this to get it done in time.

Kilt Hose - a pair based on the John Anderson Kilt Hose pattern from the web I'm making for a friend who served in the Marines, I will duplicate stitch USMC in yellow yarn down the sides of the hose when they are done, I need to buy more yarn to finish these, I'm about halfway down the leg on the first hose.

Bayerische socks - first sock finished last night, second one will not be cast on until I make a pair of oddball socks for myself, which won't be cast on for a week or so, but as I'm making these to enter in the State Fair next year, it's no problem.

St. Enda for me - I have the yarn, but have not started knitting mine yet, this won't be cast on until some of the other projects are off the needles, I made good notes about DH's sweater, so knitting mine should be fairly easy, this will give us matching sweaters in DH's favorite color - red.

Pacific Northwest Shawl - yes, I do lace, just not often, I had started this shawl before my first DH died and have not touched it since, which has now been 6-1/2 years so it's time to finish it, I'm on the edging with the body already done, this will probably be worked on when the weather heats up as it's knit with delicate lace weight Merino wool, one skein of about 1200 yards for the whole shawl, but it won't be knit on where the dogs can touch it, I don't want any knots in this shawl.

Twelve Months of Christmas Vest - this is a Knit A Long project for my Mara_class group, I'll be posting a pattern each month to make a vest with a Christmas theme to meet two goals I've set myself, first, to have a Christmas vest to wear during the season, and second, to use up some of my Fair Isle yarns I stashed when J & S discontinued most of the good colors.

Dazzling Knits cover sweater - I've been spinning the yarns for this sweater for the past three years using Dicentra roving (which is really luscious stuff to spin), I've got quite a bit spun so think it's time to start knitting this, I may need to buy another hank of top to spin to finish it but I've got enough done so I can start, again, this won't go on the needles until I finish some projects already started, oh, and instead of three large buttons I've got two wizard and two dragon buttons I'm going to use on this, I found them at a fabric store in Portland and put them in my stash until the right project came along.

Norah Gaughan's cable coat from Vogue Knitting - this looks like a perfect pattern to use up the yarn DH is spinning for me, I'll use the yarn from one fleece for the skirt of the coat and another fleece for the top part including the sleeves, one member on my Mara_class list is knitting this and has found several errata so far, which she has posted to the list so everyone can make note of them, it has some really beautiful cables in the pattern, go to the website and check it out, it's really cool.

AS' Quartz vest - this is one I'm pondering, it's looking like the next project for my Mara_class group will be AS' Oregon Autumn cardigan starting February 1st, I've made Oregon as a vest in the spring colorway and if I were to make the Autumn colorway I would want to use Hebridean 2-ply to get the depth of color, so if I can't get the right yarns in time, I'll make Quartz while the group works on Oregon, I need to get the rest of the yarns but I have some of the most important ones already stashed.

Other Fair Isle designs - I have some yarns stashed for three other FI patterns, not complete kits for any of them but I went through what I had on hand and put the yarns in bags for the projects, these projects are not high priority right now but given the colors being discontinued I wanted to make sure I had these colors when I am ready to knit them.

Unchosen shawl/scarf - I have 10 skeins of Rowan 4-ply in a soft lavender that I bought just as it was being discontinued last year (got all 10 skeins for $17.00 including shipping from England!), I have the Shawls and Scarves book and will look through it later in the year to pick a pattern to use with this yarn, I like Faroese shawls that stay on my shoulders without tying or pinning so am leaning towards a pattern like that.

Then I have some small amounts of spun yarns to use up, probably in hats or scarves that may end up as gifts for next Christmas but these are a ways down the road. I am spinning up (very slowly) a Shetland fleece I bought in March at an open barn in Buell, about 26 miles west of here on the way to the coast. I got to pick it out still on the sheep and be pleasantly surprised when it was sheared to discover it was different shades of grey and black. This is earmarked for the Vest of Many Cables, a sampler of different cables all over a v-neck cardigan vest that I have drooled over for several years. Again, this project may not get started until 2009, depending on how I progress on the above listed projects. I'm keeping the different colors separated as much as possible, planning to use the lightest at the top of the vest and going to black at the bottom. I have to spin all of the wool up and measure each color to see how many yards I end up with for each shade.

So this is pretty much my plans for next year, barring last minute gift needs and projects on my group. If I manage to get all of this done, I can look for new projects and yarns with a clear conscience. Oh, there are two clauses in my resolution against purchasing yarns - sock yarns don't count as I need new socks to replace the ones that are wearing out, and I am allowed to fall off the wagon twice in the first 9 months of the year (got to leave a loophole in case something fabulous comes up, lol!).

Happy knitting!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hooray for Holidays!



You just gotta love holidays, when you can spend more time knitting and snoozing. I enjoyed a short nap yesterday before our Salem Area Ravelers meetup and again this morning between projects. So now I have some good progress to report on several projects, really cool.

First up is Amphora, which I finished the first repeat of the main chart on and have now started on the second repeat of the chart. I'm really looking forward to wearing this later this winter or early spring. My Mara-class group has decided to start our next project on February 1st, so I have a little over two months to finish up some projects, get my yarns together, and get my knitting basket set up for whatever project is chosen. At the moment, AS' Oregon vest in the Autumn colorway in the Vogue Knitting Holiday issue is leading the poll, so we'll see what the finished vote comes to. I've already made one Oregon vest, in the original spring colorway, and have several other FI projects I'd like to make before I do another Oregon, which I would probably do with AS' Hebridean two-ply to get the depth of color. It will be a while before I can afford to buy the yarn needed, as it will run a little over $200.00. But I have four other FI projects in various stages of being stashed, and I'm thinking at this point that my next project will be AS' Quartz vest, as I don't have anything in those colors in my wardrobe.



Next is my St. Brigid, with the first sleeve about half done now. I've stopped doing decreases, as the sleeve was getting too small,. The original pattern calls for Aran weight yarn on size 7-8 needles and I'm using Cascade 220 on size 5 needles, so my gauge is much smaller. I'm hoping to have this finished by the end of the year, so I can wear it on my vacation the first week in January. But it will depend on how I do on DH's daughter's E of York vest.



Speaking of which, I've finished the back and started the left front, about three inches done so far and I'll work some more on it tonight. I decided I'm not going to over stress on getting this done in time for Christmas, since we're planning to head south after vacation so I would be able to give it to my step-daughter in person. I'm almost done with the first skein of yarn for this, Blue Faced Leicester, and will probably have to wind the second skein next weekend. Each skein is about 1200 yards and I'll wind it into a wheel (large ball, lol). I'm finally getting into the rhythm of the pattern, it's very hard to get the flow of a pattern when you have several different projects going at the same time, each with complicated patterns, and different modifications.



This is the right front of my Fulmar. I finished the back down to the armholes, put those stitches on a piece of yarn, and picked up and have started working the right front. I'm increasing every other row for about 12 increases, then will cast on about 18 more all at once to make a v-neck cardigan. I've got about 16 rows done so far of the first repeat. I need to look at the pattern to see what filler stitch AS chose for this pattern and decide how much I need to add for the sides under the arms, but it's not a fast decision, as I need to get both sleeves done first.

I haven't really gotten much knitting done on Bayerische socks or Erin, which hasn't been touched in a few weeks now. DH really wants EYork done for his daughter for Christmas, so it's on the front burner but I do rotate a bit to give my hands and brain a break.

Last Thursday I was reading the new Postal Bulletin at work and printing out info we need when I discovered that the USPS is celebrating their Holiday Knits stamps with nation wide Knit-in-public events! Yea!!! So I immediately sent my acting Postmaster, or Officer In Charge (OIC), an email asking to hold one at the Salem Main Post Office on December 4th, from 2-4 pm. She came to me Friday morning to personally give me her approval and to discuss details. I also got approval from her to wear my handknits for the rest of the holiday season, whoo hoo! Over my uniform, of course, but it's a drag sometimes to make beautiful garments and only have the weekends to wear them. Then she came with me to the local knitting guild meeting on Saturday to invite the guild to participate and asked me to teach her to knit socks. She knit many years ago but lately has been focusing on crocheting and quilting. And I'm contacting some local knitting teachers to invite them to come and demo and hand out their cards or flyers. The OIC will send out formal letters on letterhead but I'm giving them an early heads up to see who is interested and who will be able to come. So I'm pumped about this and will be working hard to make it a really big success. Imagine, getting to knit with friends on the clock at work and getting paid for it!

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Inching along



Elizabeth of York is almost to the shoulder and neck shaping, just about 3 more cms to get there. I was hoping to get the back done last week but didn't quite make it. Since Monday is a Federal holiday, I'm hoping to get a good start on one of the fronts, trying to stay on schedule to get this done to send it to DH's daughter for Christmas.




My Bayerische socks are creeping along, need to do a few more rounds to have the heel gusset decreases done, then cruise down the foot. I'm not going to make another pair of socks with all over Bavarian twisted stitches for a while, very tedious but very cool looking.



I need to do about 5 more rounds to finish the third repeat and then I can put the stitches on a piece of yarn. Then I can start the fronts and decide whether to make a v-neck or a round neck. I love the way Fulmar is turning out, so crisp and neat looking. It's going to be a lot of fun to wear when I get it done (some time next year but hopefully before summer hits!).




Amphora is cruising along, I need to do about 6 more rounds to finish the first repeat of the main chart. The armholes start about two thirds of the way through the third repeat. This Hebridean 2-ply is very nice to knit with, no splitting and no knots at this point. When I was winding the skeins into balls, only one skein had a knot in it so I cut it and wound two balls, so I have control over how the strands are joined. This is a very pleasant pattern to knit and would be good for someone new to Fair Isle knitting who isn't ready to deal with lots of colors.

This will be short as I need to get back to working on E of York. My friend Anne in Maine has finished her Erin so she will be working full speed ahead on her Fulmar and I don't want her to get too far ahead of me. That means I have to keep working fast on E of York so I can also work on Fulmar and keep up with her. At least she is also going to be working on her Shirt Tail Hemmed Fair Isle sweater at the same time, so she has to divide her knitting time as well.

Hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather, we've had lots of thick fog the last few days but they are forecasting rain by tomorrow night so the fog will be gone. Stay cozy and keep knitting.

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Almost Halloween Tuesday Update

I thought I'd use orange print today, since tomorrow is Halloween and it only comes once a year, which is too often according to my DH. He doesn't celebrate the holiday but he does like some of the jokes that get played around this time of year.



First picture is of my DH's spinning, which is incredibly good for someone who is just learning to spin. He's working on a black Corriedale fleece we got at Black Sheep Gathering this past summer which is a little over 4 pounds. The lock length is about three inches, which is shorter than he would prefer, and he's asked me the next time I get a fleece for him to spin to make sure the locks are longer, lol. He thinks his spinning is not very good, and my beginning spinning got used to make socks for my late first DH so I can't show him how well he is actually doing. But he's doing great and I try to tell him often.



This next pic is the back of Elizabeth of York, which I'm making for DH's daughter for Christmas. I'm on the armholes, with the decreasing finished and measured last night to see how long they will be. I need to knit about another 7 inches before I get to the neck and shoulder shaping, so that will be a few nights' work to get there. But after that I think there is only another two or three inches before casting off, so hopefully I'll have the back done this week and can start on the fronts.



I'm on the heel on my first Bayerische sock and had to actually stop myself knitting on it this weekend to work on my other projects. Once I got the heel turned I just wanted to keep going to get the sock finished. I did decide that once this pair is done I'll start work on a pair of Oddball socks, using up my leftover sock yarns, for myself. I still need more socks to replace the ones that have worn out and I like to use up the leftovers before they take over the yarn box in the closet. Notice how the colors look on the heel flap, where I'm not doing twisted stitches and cables, really shows off the yarn colors. I'm thinking about getting some more of this yarn and doing a plainer pair to show the colors off.



I'm on the third repeat of the charts for Fulmar, and think it will be down to the bottom of the armholes when I finish this repeat. Then I can put the stitches on a strand of yarn and make the fronts to match. I'm making a round neck cardigan this time, so will need to look over the charts that Anne sent me that she had drawn up so I get the fit right for me. This is a very enjoyable knit, complex enough to keep my attention but not excruciating so I can't watch tv or talk while working on it. And the Frangipani yarn knits great, once in a while I split a stitch if I'm not careful but I am using very sharp pointed needles so that tends to happen. But I can feel it happen so I fix it right away. This will probably be the last project I finish that is currently on my needles, as it is on size 2 needles. While my Fair Isles are also on size 2's, they tend to go faster because the chart repeats across the round. On Fulmar there are 4 diffferent charts used across the back. Of course, it won't be the last project I ever knit, God willing! as I'm not ready to stop knitting.



This is Amphora and I'm about 1/3 of the way through the main chart the first time. It's so exciting to see the pattern develop as I work on her, I keep showing DH after I finish each round, lol. Of course he doesn't see much progress one round at a time but he still looks to humor me.

I am so looking forward to getting E of York done so I can surge ahead on my other projects. I was talking with another clerk yesterday comparing our weight losses so far and she has lost 20 pounds this year, while I've lost 22. She has April as her goal end, as that will be 30 years in with USPS for her. She's losing 8 pounds a month so far, which is a pretty good pace that I don't think I could match right now. We decided that next April we'll go shopping at Victoria's Secret as our reward for losing the weight, since by then we'll both be needing new lingerie to replace what is (hopefully!) falling off at that point. Now I need to do some thinking and set myself a goal for that date. It will mean that I bump up my walking at the mall to four laps instead of the three I've been doing lately. I'm pretty satisfied overall with my eating style, once in a while I overeat, usually when we're at a restaurant, but I'm working on leaving part of the meal and taking it home to eat later for another meal. It's really hard sometimes, when the food is really good fresh cooked and you know it won't taste as good reheated. But I try not to beat myself up over it, that just depresses me and I'm not as careful with my portions for a while. I'm going to see if I can come up with some small modifications to my eating plan that will help shave a few calories off here and there without making me feel deprived, which would trigger problems.

One thing I've learned over the last 10 years or so is that I need to have chocolate in the house at all times, not just cheap stuff but some good stuff. Just knowing it's there is enough for me most of the time, kind of like a charm against bad things in life. I made a decision years ago to not eat junk chocolate, especially the Mexican chocolate which has a lot of parafin in it. I'm worth buying the good stuff for and I go to the trouble to do it now. For years I would sit down and eat a whole container of chocolate candy, one pound bag of M & Ms, a whole package of cookies, whatever, before I figured out that I wasn't getting enough of what I actually wanted. So now I have moved to eating mostly dark chocolate, especially Lindt, and I get satisfied with so much less it's incredible. I've also gotten away from eating to stuff down my feelings when I'm upset, which has been a huge improvement and something it took me years to learn and accept and be able to recognize happening. It's so hard in our society to be heavy growing up, people can be so very cruel and may not realize they are doing it. Also, we had a very tight budget when I was a kid and I hadn't realized that I felt deprived of treats a lot of the time then, so that had been triggering a lot of my binge eating of treats when I got out on my own at first. Now I have a DH who knows not to get into my stash of chocolate unless I offer it to him so I have the security of knowing it's there when I want it. Amazing how that has changed my eating habits so much, just that secure knowledge of having chocolate when I want it, and not feeling I have to eat it all before someone else eats it and it's gone. This is kind of painful to write about but I figure there might be someone else who reads this who is fighting the same fight and this could help them succeed at it.

Oh, and St. Brigid hasn't had enough progress to post a pic, while Erin is taking a vacation for a while until E of York is done.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday sunshine

Enjoying some nice sunshine today through the windows, as it is very cold outside. I think it hit freezing last night, since there is frost on the roof across the street as well as our lawns. So it's definitely sweater weather finally! Now to decide which one to wear to the meetup today of the Salem Area Ravelers group downtown, hmmmm.

I'm on the heel of my first Bayerische sock and have been working on it this morning instead of Erin, as I had on my to-do list for today. I really like this pattern and Eunny did an outstanding job of writing and editing the pattern, reminds me a lot of the quality of the Starmore patterns, very complex but very clearly written and proofed. It's amazing to see the colors on the heel, after the blurring of the colors in the pattern stitches. Several folks have commented that the socks look better in solid colors, instead of mixed colors and I'm tending to agree with them, but will not rip these out. I might have to get some more skeins of this yarn color and knit a plain pair of socks to highlight the colors better.

I've finished the armhole decreases on the back of Elizabeth of York and am now working up to the shoulder and neck shapings, should hit those this evening if I pick her up again. I was thinking of taking Amphora to the meetup today but now I'm leaning more towards Fulmar, which travels in a small basket. Amphora is in a large round basket with no handle, so more bulky and I'm thinking of the table size at the cafe.

Savanahchik has finished her St. Brigid and posted about it on Ravelry, she did a fantastic job on it. She modified it to have set in sleeves, with a hood with a cable running around the edge. You have got to check it out on her blog, she's going to give more details on how she modified the pattern to get the garment she wanted. Now I need to spend more time with mine, almost halfway done with the first sleeve so far.

My DH has taught himself to spin and now there's no stopping him, lol! He spun the half of a CVMx fleece I had bought a few years ago, had me ply it, then washed the skeins and measured them. They are resting in my craft closet while I work on other projects to get some finished. I'm thinking probably a vest for him, cardigan style v-neck is his favorite style. Now he's combing the locks of a black Corriedale fleece we got at Black Sheep Gathering this summer and then he's going to spin that up. But he's aiming for a finer yarn this time, more of a sport weight. I'm still planning to spin the white Corriedale fleece we also got this summer at BSG, will have to make sure he only combs the locks and doesn't try to spin it as well. I have one more fleece stored in a dresser in the garage, he's thinking of working on it after the black Corriedale, which I had started spinning in August so he wants to finish it first.

I'll take some pics tonight or tomorrow to show my progress on my projects so far, some have gotten a lot of progress made and some, like Erin, are stalled. But most are making weekly progress which is good. I have some items in mind for my late winter knitting, but will not start them until I have some of the current projects done. One will be the cover sweater from 'Dazzling Knits' if I have enough yarn spun for it. I'm thinking I will need two more hanks of roving to spin to make the sweater. But I should be able to start it and spin the rest of the yarn as I go along. Another project is St. Enda for me, DH is getting use out of his and it's time for me to make mine later this winter. I bought enough yarn at the time for one for each of us and made lots of notes as I modified the pattern for his so mine will come out the same. Then I still need more socks, and have been looking for patterns to make when I get yarn.


Another project I'm thinking about for late winter is the Pacific Northwest Shawl I started before my late first DH drowned. I haven't touched it since, just let it sit in its basket and rest. I'm on the border, with the body of the shawl done, so it shouldn't take long to finish. And then I'll have a fine laceweight shawl to wear for dressy events. I have a Faroese shawl that I like to wear a lot in the spring and summer, but it's knit of sport weight yarn. The PNW shawl is fine laceweight Merino yarn, from a 1500 yard skein, which has been a little intimidating to work with. I worry about breaking the strand and having to splice the yarn, but it will work out fine, I'm sure. Oh, and it's a beautiful forest green color.

And then it will be time to start using up some of the left overs from my other projects. I try to keep about 10 yards of each yarn for repairs, with the yarn labels and an extra button or two. I have quite a bit of Cascade 220 left over now and will start looking for patterns to use it in. If anyone has suggestions, I'd love to see them! If I need to buy a skein or two to make a color work project, I can do that. Let's see, I have Silver Spruce, Como Blue, probably some Turquoise after St. Brigid is done, Christmas Red after my St. Enda is done, and Cordovan. I know, not a wide range of colors to work with, but those are the colors my DH and I have chosen for sweaters so far. So any ideas will be very welcome. DH and I both favor classic styles, if that helps at all.

I also have 10 skeins of Rowan 4-ply in lavender, which I won on Ebay last year just after the yarn was discontinued. I got it at a fantastic price - $17.00 for 10 skeins including shipping from England, and tried to find more of the same dyelot but the prices skyrocketed right after I got mine. So I'm going to look through 'A Gathering Of Lace' which DH gave me two years ago for my birthday to find something to use it for.

And then my leftovers from sock knitting are getting to the point where I can make another pair of Oddball socks, which will help refill my sock drawer. I've been collecting patterns that call for multiple colors, hoping to find one I can use, with maybe only buying one skein of yarn to use for a main color.

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Happy knitting!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunshine today! and prayer request



Well, I had several update photos to post but at the moment Blogger is having a headache and this is the only one I can upload. I'll try to post the others tomorrow, after the techs have some time to work on the problem.

This is my Amphora, I've just started the first round of the main body chart and still love the way the yarn feels as I knit with it. I think about knitting on Amphora a lot, especially at work when I would rather be home working on her, lol.

I would like to ask for your prayers for a friend of mine who is enroute to be with her Mom who is in her 90's and possibly getting ready to say goodbye for the last time. I know my friend would appreciate any prayers or good thoughts you would care to send her way, along with her sister and brother and their families. It's very hard to say goodbye to your parents, I said goodbye to my Dad a little over two years ago and it's still hard sometimes. So say a quick prayer for my friend if you would, please.

I'm going to close now as Blogger is really having a bad headache and I want at least part of this post to show up.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Amphora Progress


Just a quick post to show my progress on Amphora. This is a very seductive knit, I don't want to stop working on her for food, sleep, or even going out to dinner, lol! I like the Hebridean 2-ply yarn, it is a bit stickier than Shetland so I have to work a bit harder to open the stitches to knit, but the look of the knitted fabric is great. I just hope it's not so warm that I can't wear it indoors!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yah Hoo! I made it on Ravelry.com!

I got my invite today for Ravelry.com and dashed over there to starting setting my notebook up. What fun and what an adventure this is, I could spend literally hours checking out stuff on the site. I encourage anyone who loves to knit or crochet to hop over there and get on the list to join. I signed up on August 18th and got my invite today, but they have added their big servers so the invites are moving faster now.

Since I really want to get some knitting done today along with other tasks, I'm being very disciplined and not wandering around Ravelry too much, just joined a couple of groups and added some friends. Later I might add my current projects, after I add more pictures to my new Flickr account.

And here are some current project pics, so you can see how much progress I'm making while on vacation. We had car trouble Monday so the trip money went to the repair shop to fix the oil leak. But like I told DH, at least we didn't break down on the side of the road, in the middle of the night in the pouring rain with no cell phone service! I much prefer to look at the good side of things and his Mom understands that we need the car running. Which reminds me, I need to call her and see if the sweater arrived that I made for her husband. He has a pacemaker and the drugs he's on make him cold all the time so she asked me to knit him a sweater.



So here is the finished sweater, or almost finished, since in this pic DH hasn't sewn on the buttons yet. I just called his Mom and their mail doesn't get there until around 3 in the afternoon and it's now just before 2, so I have a while longer to wait to find out how he likes it.



This is my Erin, which I haven't knit on much this week while on vacation. I need to spend some time with her before the week is over, as she is getting a little lonesome now. I'm about 20 rows down from the armhole and am planning to shape the armhole, as there are full repeats of the animals on the back side. I don't like drop shoulder sweaters and I already have long arms and wide shoulders and don't need to add any more bulk there.



These are my Monkey socks from Knitty.com, knit in Socks That Rock yarn lightweight in the Loch Ness colorway. Because of the lace pattern and the color, DH calls these my Croc Socks, lol. I'm going to wear them tomorrow night when we go out for dinner and enjoy them. I've been wearing out a lot of my socks and realized most of them are 7-9 years old, so I guess it's time for them to wear out. I give them to women friends who have smaller feet than I do, along with the repair yarns, so they can wear them out in different places and then be able to mend them as needed. This way they, who are mostly young Moms with small children, get the pleasure of wearing hand knit wool socks without the expense and time to make them themselves. I'm also still plugging away on my Bayerische socks, but not too worried about knitting a lot on them at a time as I've earmarked them for next year's State Fair entry.



This is the very beginning of my Amphora sweater, the hem which gets turned to the inside for a facing. Since I'm the listmom on Mara_class on yahoo, I get to start my project early so I can post pics to help the others. This is AS' Hebridean 2-ply yarn, in the Loch Side colorway and it is so nice to knit with. I noticed the gauge is actually just a hair smaller than the original Scottish Campion yarns so I might just stick with the size 2 needle instead of going up to the size 3 for the body so I stay on gauge. It's a kit and VY only puts in enough yarn to make the actual design, they don't just throw in full skeins so you have some leftover. I need to keep a close eye on my gauge so I don't run out of yarns for this sweater. And also, in this kit there is no duplicate stitching, yea! Jade decided that the Hebridean colors were rich enough that it wasn't needed and I heartily agree, it's one of the reasons I bought the kit with part of our tax refund this past spring. I'm going to get a few more rounds knit on her and then switch to Elizabeth of York for DH's daughter. I've got the right back bottom done up to the joining point so it's set aside while I knit the left back bottom. The vest is very long, with a center back vent, hence the back bottom left and right pieces.



And here is the left bottom back, about 1/3 of the way done so far. I'll work on it later today, after I put the hamburger and onions in the chili that's been cooking since yesterday, yumm. I bought some artisan bread with onions, garlic, and olives in it to have with the chili for dinner tonight. DH has gone fishing for a few hours and he might enjoy some hot chili when he gets home (hot in temp, not seasonings, or I wouldn't be able to eat it and I made a 6 quart crockpot full).



This is my next bobbin of Dicentra roving, spun and Navaho plied. I just need to skein it off, wash it, and put it with the other skeins waiting for the cover sweater from 'Dazzling Knits' in the spring.



And last but certainly not least is Fulmar, which I am knitting from the top down ala FLAK. Here you see the saddles joined with the beginning of the back. I now have about 8 rows done so far and it looks to be a fun, if long, knit. I'm using Frangipani five ply gansey wool yarn in the color Heather on size 2 needles, so you can tell I will be working on this for some time. There is a KAL for this on yahoo with a great group of folks working on it. I think about a third are doing it FLAK style and the rest are making it by the book.

While we may not have gotten to do any traveling on this vacation, I'm still enjoying the time off from work and getting some knitting done. It's nice to have the alarm clock go off, turn it off and roll back over to sleep as long as I want (usually only another 30 minutes or so) then get up and start my day leisurely. I'm enjoying meeting up with the mall walkers for a glass of iced tea after my morning walk, having lunch with friends, spending all this time on the net setting up my Ravelry, writing this long post, checking blogs, and just not having to watch the clock all the time. It's really depressing how much I'm ruled by the clock in my regular schedule. I have to get up at 6 to have time to walk for 30 minutes at the mall, come home and walk the dogs, make DH's coffee, set out the breakfast dishes, read my email, then eat breakfast, shower, dress, and out the door for work. At work, it's watch the clock to make sure the wait in line time is under 5 minutes, don't miss a break, don't go to lunch late because I'm waiting on customers or helping other clerks, get the office locked up at closing time, get the closing tasks done, and then home. Where DH has dinner waiting, which is nice, but it doesn't give me decompressing time before we eat, and usually we watch the news while we eat and then into the evening shows. I know it would be better if we turned off the tv and ate at the table but it's my only chance to keep up on what's going on in the world, since I don't have time to read the paper more than the front page at work. Then a little knitting while watching tv, into the den to check my email before playing canasta with DH on the computers. Bedtime is usually around 10, so I have a chance to get at least 7 hours of sleep before it starts all over again. I always feel like I'm on a treadmill and people won't let me get off it. So this week has been a great time to destress and I'm doing my best not to look at clocks any more than I have to.

I did get up a few minutes ago to make another cup of tea and I put the hamburger on to brown, with a cover over it and set the timer so I don't burn it. Now I can let the timer worry about the time while I enjoy myself here. Sometimes technology is a good thing. Another reason for covering the hamburger is so that when the meat is done I can dice and brown the onions in the meat grease, then pour the whole pan right into the crock pot for flavor.

I know I'm different from lots of folks, in that I love the rainy season here in Oregon a lot. I love to sit by a window on a rainy day, with a hot cup of tea, my knitting, good company or a good movie on tv and let the rain fall. Or be in the kitchen making stew, or potato cheese soup, or chili like today, although right now it's not raining, or making bread. Or fudge, I haven't made that in quite a while.

And I also like being at the coast on a rainy day, sitting by a window watching the storm with my tea and knitting or embroidery. I like the peace and quiet while nature storms outside.

Okay, on to more knitting and peeling and dicing onions for the chili. Hope everyone is doing well and knitting lots.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

New pics and good news! Prayer request - very important!



This is the first two of three ounces of silk/cashmere roving my friend Trish asked me to spin for her business, Tanglewood Fibers. Luscious, soft, sleek, easy to spin, would be a pleasure to knit with it. She dyes the fibers herself, this colorway is called Huntington Beach. I started the third ounce today and will finish it later tonight most likely. Then wind each ounce into a center pull ball with my nostepinde so she can ply it the way she wants. The bobbin on the left is one that my DH made for me. My wheel is a 1990 Louet S75 made of red oak, which Louet doesn't use anymore. And I don't like the looks of the ones currently available at the shops, so DH is making me some from various materials in the shop.



This is the start of the third ounce, on one of the new bobbins. I pull the roving into pieces, then split it into about 6 lengths so it spins easier and faster. Just like spinning butter, but much prettier colors.



This is my St. Brigid, since the FIL FLAK is now done I can get back to my own knitting again and I've been working on this first sleeve. I knit the saddle while joining it to the front and back of the sweater, then picked up around the armholes and am knitting down while decreasing as the pattern calls for. This will be one of two large projects I take with me on vacation and I look forward to getting a lot of work done on it.



This is my Monkey sock, from Knitty.com. It's knit on size 2 needles with 64 stitches and I'm using Socks That Rock lightweight in Loch Ness color. I've just started the heel flap, not quite following the instructions as given on the Knitty site. I prefer using the heel stitch to reinforce my heels as I am hard on my socks so I rewrite most patterns so the socks last longer. I don't see any sense in going to all the work of knitting beautiful socks, only to have the heels or toes wear out right away due to not reinforcing those spots.



The FIL FLAK is now on the wooly board drying, then DH will sew the buttons on. Got it done in plenty of time for our trip down south next weekend. So now I'm back to working on my own projects, except for the Elizabeth of York vest for DH's daughter for Christmas. I've finished the bottom right back, and cast on and have about 3 inches of the left bottom back done. Since there is a center vent, the back bottom is knit in two pieces, then joined at the top of the vent and the rest of the back knit up to the shoulders. It's knit gansey style, knits and purls making the patterns.

Tomorrow is the start of the Fulmar KAL on yahoo. I got my first cone of Frangipani yarn in Heather color on Wednesday and plan to start knitting the saddles tonight. I'm going to make it ala FLAK, as the original pattern is oversize and I want a sweater that fits me better. I'm also changing it to a cardigan as layering is more comfortable for me, since I tend to change locations several times a day on my days off. As I have to wear a uniform to work, weekends and vacations are my only chances to wear my sweaters so I want maximum flexibility with them. The only problem I might have is finding a size 2 circular needle to use, as I've got two of them tied up with Elizabeth of York at the moment. I can get by with using a 16 inch one for the saddles, but will need a 24 inch one for the back when I get to it. I also need to finalize how I'm going to handle the button band. I can't do it the same way I did St. Enda, because the cable crosses are too close to the center line on the center cable. I may end up leaving out the center cable and putting a small cable in its place on the fronts. I'm still thinking about it, since I have a while before I have to decide on it. I'll start with the saddles, then do the back down to the bottom of the armholes.

Then on October 15th my Mara_class group is starting Amphora by Alice Starmore. I have a few skeins wound into balls but still have some more to wind, which I need to start doing a few a week. I'm thinking that since there are only a few colors in Amphora it will go faster. I bought a kit from Virtual Yarns with part of our tax refund this past spring and have been looking forward to starting it all summer. So I will have lots of projects to work on this winter and by next spring, God willling, I will have several beautiful new sweaters to enjoy. St. Brigid, Erin, Amphora, Monkey socks, Bayerische socks (which I'm thinking at this point I'm going to save for the State Fair next year), Fulmar, and of course my St. Enda to match the one I made for DH last winter. So I think I'll be a little busy with my knitting this winter, lol. Oh, and I also need to make more socks to replace the ones that are wearing out, when I have the spare time.

I need to spend some time on Erin, now that I'm free to work on my own projects again. I'm almost up to the armholes and have decided I'm going to shape them the same way I shaped my Mara armholes, since that fits me really well. I'll lose part of the animal pattern on the fronts but that's alright.

Yesterday I spent several hours at Bauman Farms demoing spinning on my wheel, with the silk/cashmere roving. I went back today but it was too wet so they shut down the outside activities and the food court where we demoed. Next weekend we're heading out so it will be two weeks before I can demo at the farm again. I'm going to see if I can't round up some more spinners to go with me in two weeks.

This coming week I'll be at a different station for work, filling in for the lead clerk who has left town to get a car she won on Ebay. She'll be gone for three days so I'll be filling in for her for that time. Then I'll go back to my regular station but filling in for the lead clerk there. The next week will be interesting, as the regular lead clerk as well as I will be out of town, leaving a guy to do the job who doesn't like doing it at all. I'm just glad I'll be out of town for the fireworks.

I'd like to ask for your prayers for a friend of mine in Maine. Her Mom is very close to passing and she is with her in another state, along with her brother and sister. She is fortunate, as I am, that her brother and sister are with her during this time. Her Mom's two sisters are not as pleasant to deal with, unfortunately.

Happy knitting!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mid week meanderings

Finally got busy with the camera and took some update pics of my knitting projects so I can share them with you. First up is FIL's FLAK, which is on hold now until Friday, payday, when I will get two more skeins of yarn to finish it. I'm on the 9th and final repeat of the 12 row chart, just need to decrease, do the bottom ribbing, pick up and knit the front bands and the collar, run the ends in, wash, block, sew buttons on and it will be ready for gifting when we go visit DH's family in just two and a half weeks - yea! I can't wait for vacation to get here, I so need some time off work at this point.



Next is an update shot of my Bayerische socks, the pattern is by Eunny Jang and I'm using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in color 601 Rainbow for them. The pattern is all Bavarian twisted stitch and cables so it's slow going and I'm seriously thinking about saving these for entry into the State Fair next year instead of just wearing them right away. With the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this weekend, I'm planning to get some more sock yarn and have already printed out another pattern to knit, so I could put these away and still have new socks this fall. I really need them, as a lot of my socks are more than 5 years old and beginning to get thin. I've given some away to women with smaller feet so they get worn out more evenly but now I need to replace them.


And the next picture is Elizabeth of York by Jade Starmore from her 'A Collector's Item' book. It's a long shaped vest with a center back vent, which is why the bottom of the back is knit in two pieces and then joined. This is the left back bottom, the right back bottom is done and waiting to be joined to this one when it's finished. I'm using natural Blue Faced Leicester yarn I got at Woodland Woolworks a few years ago, intending to use it for St. Brigid, until I realized this yarn was a sport/dk weight and way too light for St. Brigid. DH made the mistake of nagging me as we went to sleep Saturday night about this vest so I spent most of Sunday in my recliner working on it and left him to make the meals. I usually cook on the weekends but I was pissed at being nagged so left him to do it by just sitting there knitting away all day. Well, except for a nap in the afternoon, which I really needed. I woke up to discover he had taken a nap as well, on the couch, so we were even, lol. But I will get to work on my Erin this week, I've worked enough on Elizabeth for a while now and it's my turn to work on my projects until I get the rest of the yarn for the FLAK on Friday.



This is from one of my lily bulbs that I bought this past spring and planted in pots on the back porch. While all the bulbs eventually sprouted stems, this is the only one that had flowers so far. Next year I will plant them in the ground, likely in the raised flowerbed, and see if I get more blooms from them. I bought two white bulbs and two lavender bulbs. Guess I can tell which is the stronger bulb, the original white one and not the hybrid lavender one.



As I mentioned above, this weekend is the OFFF at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby and I am so excited to get there. Parking is free, as is admission, and it's like a small country fair, except that there are no carnival rides or games. Lots of fibers, fiber animals, demos, classes, exhibits, vendors, friends, spinning circles, knitting circles, food - just a lot of fun to go to. The only problem is having self control and not over spending on yarn and fibers and tools, oh my!

The weather has turned cooler here in Salem and I will be getting my woolies out to wear soon. I've been wearing my uniform sweater at work quite a bit this week and last, partly because someone cranked the air conditioning up high last week and this week the weather is down in the 60's.

For vacation we're planning to spend the first part of the week with DH's family down south, come home for dr. appointments, then head to the coast if the weather is decent and camp for a few days. I really miss camping at the beach and a little sprinkle won't discourage me, although it might DH. But that's why we take tarps, an extension cord, a power strip, and a heater, lol. One of these days we'll get a small trailer, probably a Chalet that has hard sides that fold down and is made in Albany so we can camp year round. DH doesn't think he likes camping in the winter and he's not much of a reader but I love being at the coast when it's raining and I'm in a trailer. The Chalets have heaters, air conditioners, cook tops, refrigerators, sleep 4 adults, and can be easily pulled by a car. They go up or down in less than a minute so setting up or taking down in the rain isn't a big deal and you don't get water in the trailer. They are triangle shaped when up and look like a tent trailer when folded down. I had thought about a tent trailer after my first DH was killed so I could still go camping but they are not easy to set up or take down, the canvas mildews and rots in just a few years and the canvas sides don't hold heat in well. These Chalets are wonderful for year round camping. I love sitting in camp in a trailer with a hot cup of tea, my knitting or needlework in my hands, watching a storm roll over. The old trailer I had was a 1976 Travel Eze and we put some serious miles on that trailer, spent a lot of time at the coast with it. I remember one storm that knocked a motor home off its blocks just rocked us gently a time or two. My late first DH was a long haul trucker and he knew where to park and how to set up a trailer for stability and safety.

Well, so much for a trip down memory lane, time to go have breakfast and get started on this day. Hope everyone takes time to make good memories with their loved ones - you never know how long you'll have them with you.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Yea! Back to my knitting for a bit!

I almost finished the last skein of yarn for the FIL FLAK and can do some knitting of my own until next Friday payday when I'll get another skein and finish the sweater. I was looking forward to working on my Erin but last night DH nagged me about the Elizabeth of York vest I'm making for his daughter for this Christmas so I'll probably work on that for a while today, even though I was holding Erin out to myself as a reward. Sorry to kvetch but I really hate to be nagged, so he's going to have a p.o.'d wife for a while today and had better not nag me about anything else today, like making breakfast since it's the weekend and I usually cook then. So as soon as I get off the notebook computer and plug it in to recharge, I'll get the vest and sit and knit on it in my recliner with my furkids around me.

The reason I didn't knit all the yarn from the last skein is that I'll knit one row of the new yarn, then one of the old yarn, to blend the dyelots together so it doesn't show. I may go ahead and get two skeins, and use the leftover to make a stocking cap to match the sweater, since I don't like having a lot of leftover yarns laying around here. I try to find ways to use it up at the same time as the garment is made.

Well, I've been up for a couple of hours now and the notebook battery is down to about 34% so I'm going to get off here and get to knitting on the @#$%^&* vest. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Happy knitting!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Finally Friday

Ah, finally Friday! For some reason the weeks seem to get longer once I realize it's getting close to vacation time, lol. I have vacation in three weeks from tomorrow, but who's counting?

I'm on the eighth of nine repeats of the 12 row chart for FIL's FLAK, and about 1/4 of the way through the last skein of the yarn I have on hand. I know I'll need to buy another skein, but plan to use that for the ribbing and front bands, since it won't be the same dye lot. Besides knitting on the FLAK and going to Portland to see my family, we really don't have anything on the schedule for this weekend, which is kind of rare.

Next weekend is the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and I'm really excited about going. There are several new spinners who will be going this year and it will be a lot of fun to show them around and introduce them to the delights of a spinners' fair. Personally I have a short shopping list - some more Dicentra roving for the cover sweater of 'Dazzling Knits', some roving to have on hand for my drop spindles since I don't use raw fleece on any of them, and some sock yarn as my socks are beginning to show signs of wear (can't imagine why - most of them are only 6-8 years old!). Since I rotate wearing my socks and have quite a few pair, or at least used to, until I started giving away the ones that were wearing out to women who have smaller feet so other sections of the socks get worn, my socks tend to last longer than most folks'.

I got some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn on Ebay two weeks ago and am making Eunny Jang's Bayerische socks with it, slow going as it's all Bavarian twisted stitch but they will be wonderful socks when they're done. I downloaded another free sock pattern and will be looking for some bright yarn to use for it at OFFF. I can't really go hog wild this time, as with vacation coming up two weeks later I have to conserve funds, but a large part of the fun of OFFF is just walking around looking at things and talking with folks and seeing what they are working on. And as DH would only too happily remind me, I have four raw fleeces waiting to be spun up this coming winter. We'll see if he falls for a fleece himself, lol.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday update

Just a note to post some pictures and an update on my current knitting projects.



This is a picture of the lunar eclipse, as seen from our backyard at the beginning of the end of it. DH got up and tried to get pics of the beginning but they didn't turn out, poot.




This is a very friendly Shetland ewe we met at the Oregon State Fair, sure would have liked to take her fleece home with me!



This is the great wheel that was being demonstrated on at the State Fair, although I didn't try it. My apprentice spent about half an hour with the woman who was demoing on it and got pretty good with it.



This is my Bayerische socks, using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in color 601 Rainbow. Since all the knit stitches are twisted on the right side of the sock, it's slow going but very rewarding to see the pattern develop. I can't work on these for very long as the tight gauge hurts my thumbs. I bought the yarn on Ebay from a seller I've bought from before and always get great service.

I'm working away on the FIL FLAK, on the seventh repeat of nine of the 12 row chart before starting the bottom ribbing. I had a bit of a delay last night as I had to wind the last skein into a center pull ball before continuing. I'm sure I'm going to have to buy another skein to do the front button bands.

DH has been playing with making bobbins for my spinning wheel out of materials he has in the shop. The first time he used some copper tubing which had been bent and I was concerned that the ends of the tubing would scratch the flyer shaft. So he took that bobbin apart and made one with the cardboard tube from a roll of seal-a-meal bags. I asked him to varnish it as I was concerned that the lanolin from the grease fleece I like to spin would soak into the cardboard and make it soft and floppy and unusable. I finally got a chance to use it tonight and it worked really well. I spun on it for about an hour using some CVMx fleece I had gotten a year or so ago that he combed out for me. Would have been better if I hadn't been trying to watch an interesting tv show at the same time, lol.

Anyway, I'm going to go spend some time on Pogo trying to get a badge before the time runs out tonight.

Happy knitting!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ah, a holiday to catch up from my hectic days

Today is Labor Day here in the US of A and, being a good union member (American Postal Workers Union for 21 years as of yesterday!), I'm enjoying my day off. Not all Postal workers are off today, obviously, but since I'm a windowline clerk and the office is closed, I get to enjoy the day at home.

As is becoming more common for me, I woke up at 5:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, so got up to do a bit of housework, check my email, knit on FIL's FLAK, and admire the socks I started yesterday. They are Eunny Jang's Bayerische socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock color 601 Rainbow. I'll post some pics in a bit, but at the moment the lack of sleep is starting to catch up with me, since I went to bed at 1 am!




I'm also still working away on FIL's FLAK, over halfway through the 5th repeat of 9 repeats of a 12 row chart for the body. Then I'll do the bottom ribbing, pick up and knit the button bands, do the collar, run the ends in, wash, block, sew on buttons, and it will be done! Maybe another couple of weeks of work to go. But, God willing, he will have it before the cooler weather sets in so he can be comfortable. I'm a little nervous about how much yarn I still have for it, having about one and a half skeins left at this point. Since DH's Mom bought the yarn in Talent, the dyelots up here are different (already checked) so if I do have to get more yarn, I will use the new dyelot for the bands and the collar so any color difference won't be so noticeable.

Saturday we had some members of the local spinning group which usually meets at Mission Mill Museum here for a Spinner's Barbecue and it was great fun. After everyone left I set my wheel in front of the tv and finished spinning the purple Wensleydale roving I had gotten at Sheep to Shawl at the Mill in May. Since it's rested on the bobbin for a day now, I'll go ahead and Navaho ply it, after I skein off the Dicentra yarn that has been resting for, oh, about a month now. Since I had the pneumonia in July, that is. Friday of that miserable week I decided I needed to sit up for a while and do something fairly easy to get my strength back before I went back to work on Monday. So I sat and plied the skein of Dicentra which is ear marked for the cover sweater from 'Dazzling Knits,' a book on modular knitting that has some really wonderful patterns and ideas in it.

Sunday we went to the Oregon State Fair again with some friends from Eugene, her son-in-law and his four kids. So there were 9 of us in the group and I took my drop spindle with the burgundy Wensleydale roving to keep my sanity, not being used to being around that many kids for hours at a time with no escape in sight. Our friends had packed a picnic lunch so we sat on a barkdust berm on blankets and ate before the kids went on the rides. As far as I know, no one got sick, but our friends and DH and I went to look at commercial booths while the son-in-law took the kids on the rides. The mother stayed home because she thought she was getting sick.

I always have fun spinning on a spindle in public, the looks and the comments can be priceless. I did have one woman stop to talk who also s
pins and she complimented me on the quality of my spinning. The little kids are the most fun, because they aren't afraid to ask me what I'm doing and how it works. The grownups are too intimidated by having to act like grownups who've lost their curiosity, so sad.

After we got home last night and had our dinner, I spent some time working on the Bayerische socks. These are not a fast knit, as they are Bavarian twisted stitches with cables, but they are going to be wonderful to wear when they're done. They're not a pair to knit on walking the mall, as the bouncing makes it too difficult to get the needle in the stitches correctly, so I'll need to get some more sock yarn for a simpler pair for walking and knitting.


I got up last week for the tail end of the lunar eclipse and got a couple of nice pictures of it.



This is the one I like the best, of the beginning of the end of the eclipse. DH got up for the beginning but had trouble with the digital camera and none of his shots turned out, poot. I was hoping to see the turquoise color the newscasters had been talking about.

I've joined the Fulmar KAL on yahoo, not sure if I'll be able to get the yarn and start knitting on time with the group but I've wanted to make that sweater for a long time and at least I'll have the info from the posts to draw on. I need to finish the FIL FLAK first, and also St. Brigid, who is patiently waiting in her bag next to my desk for her turn on my lap. I'm on the first sleeve with her, the body is done, so I'm past the halfway point now. And I just love that blue color!

I also need to get back to my Erin cardigan, she's also on hold for the FLAK. And DH is beginning to have that I told you so attitude about my getting the vest done for his daughter for Christmas. We'll see what happens. I'm at the point in life where I'm trying to not put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself regarding projects. I get a whole lot of pressure at work and really don't need more at home. I would have been working on the vest this summer if it wasn't for the FLAK, but a personal request from his Mom takes precedence over other knitting, especially since it's for a medical reason. FIL has a pacemaker and the drugs he is on thin his blood so much that he is cold all the time, even living in southern Oregon about 7 miles from the California border where it's in the 90's most of the time in the summer.

I started a WIPs challenge on my Mara_class group, to help inspire folks to dig out, look at, and make decisions about WIPs they have hiding away (or even sitting in plain sight glaring at us!). Several folks have taken up the challenge so far and Tuesdays are the day to post updates. I made a folder so folks can post pics of their WIPs and progress made thereon. Guilt is a terrible thing to waste on a knitting project!

Now I need to go figure out the filing system better on this new computer, it looks like all the pics I download from the digital camera are going into the generic Public folder, instead of my personal Pictures folder. DH was very helpful when I mentioned the problem, he said just move them where I want them. Moving them isn't the point, it's having them go the right place in the beginning that's the issue. Computers are supposed to help us, not confuse us worse than we might already be, lol. Off to study the book I bought when we got the new computers to fine tune the file system a bit.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kick back Saturday

I'm having a relaxing Saturday for a change. Started by going to the Mall (to walk, supposedly, but I only walked from the car to the Starbucks to the table and back to the car), taking my drop spindle and some burgundy Wensleydale roving with me to spin while visiting with folks. One of the mall walkers had made a scrumptious apple cake and shared it with everyone. I really need to get her recipe.

Last night I finally broke down and wound not one, but two! skeins of VY Hebridean yarn for my Amphora sweater. My Mara_class group is going to start it the middle of October so I need to get the yarn wound into center pull balls ahead of time. I promised myself the reward of winding the balls, by hand as I don't have and wouldn't use a ball winder, for surviving Ebay Day at work. We had over 135 folks register on the sign in sheets during the day. Quite a feat considering how small the actual lobby is! The yarn feels really nice going through my fingers and I know I'm going to enjoy knitting with it a lot. The first skein did have a knot in it, which I untied and then started a second ball to finish the skein. I don't like leaving a knot in a ball of yarn, since I knit by feel so much and wouldn't notice a knot until I had knit it into the garment a ways.

Then I did some knitting on FIL's FLAK, until I put it down and promptly dozed off on the couch. I really ran my fanny off yesterday.

After getting back from the Mall, my friend Theresa came over to go with my DH and I to Home Depot. She is a new spinner and wants to make a Mother Marian's Marvelous Spinning Machine like I have. Her drop spindle has gotten too slow for her now so she is looking for ways to spin faster. We got the needed parts and DH started working on it right away in the shop. I suspect he'll have it done for her by next weekend, when we demo at the State Fair. So to make sure she's ready, I gave her a Corriedale fleece I had stashed in the garage. It's one I had gotten at Black Sheep Gathering in 2001, but the lanolin is still pliable. We brought it into the house and I showed her how to wash locks in the bathroom sink to check the fleece. She was amazed at the color change and how the lock bloomed when it was washed. She was asking how she should spin it - in the grease, washed and combed, washed and carded, sent out for processing? I told her to play around with it different ways and see which she liked best. It was like a kid on Christmas Day who had gotten the best possible toy, so much fun to see her face light up at the possibilities!

There is a new website under construction that I read about on Eunny Jang's new blog. It's called Ravelry and it's still under construction but it looks like it's going to be a terrific resource for finding yarn and pattern info, as well as popular alterations to patterns. I put my name on the waiting list and there are only about 17,000 folks ahead of me, lol.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday evening catch up

A small amount of progress to report - I finished DH's forest green socks this morning while having tea with friends at the mall and gave them to him when I got home. He promptly wore them to Portland today as they matched the shorts and shirt he already had picked out to wear.

I also spent almost an hour on the phone with AOL tech support getting my personal files transferred from the external hard drive with version 8.0 Plus to the new notebook on which I had downloaded the new 9.0 VR (Vista compatible) version. For some reason the complete organize file would not transfer at one time and I had to do it over and tweak some settings to get it to move correctly and completely. But my files are now on the notebook and I am a happy camper again. Never try to deprive a knitter of her files of emails, patterns, and pictures if you value your life and sanity!

I got quite a bit of knitting done on FIL's sweater today, started the cuff ribbing on the drive home and had planned to finish it tonight, before I spent so much time with tech support. I'll get up in the morning and finish the cuff off with my first cup of tea, then pick up and start knitting the rest of the body down to the bottom ribbing. I've learned to rubber band the sleeves together so I don't have them flopping about when I move the sweater around while I knit on the body. Makes it so much easier that way.

I'm thinking about playing a few computer games, then tucking into bed with the big Vista book and learning some more about the new operating system so I can use the notebook computer easier. So nice to have most of my projects done for the weekend already!

Happy knitting!

Come Saturday Morning, la la la!

Well, I am stuck in the learning curve for the new Vista operating system from Microsoft. Last night DH and I went to Best Buy and got an external hard drive case so we could take the hard drive out of the old desktop that is having motherboard problems and use it with the notebook. Sounds simple, right? Except that most of the programs on that hard drive are Windows XP compatible and there are not new drivers available yet for Vista, including one for my cell PDA to download stored data to my computer for backup. I went to the Sprint website and found nothing there, so sent them an email and will see what they have to say. Most likely that since my phone is almost three years old, they are no longer providing software upgrades for it, poot.

And I can't easily access my AOL files on the external drive, so later today I will have to call AOL tech support and have them walk me through moving the core files over to the notebook's hard drive. I know there's only one or two files to be moved, and I've done it before, but having an expert walk me through it is so much easier on my stress level. And, after all, I'm paying every month for the support with my subscription, so I'm entitled to some support now and then.

I'll have to manually move most of my other files over as well, but that will free up the hard drive for DH to play with. He's talking about getting a new motherboard for the old desktop and upgrading it himself. Hopefully he will load XP on it so we can still use the older programs we like that don't have new Vista versions out yet. I had him do most of the work installing the hard drive in the external case last night so he could see how it worked. I've taken a couple years of computer classes in the mid 90's and use computer networks all day at work, so I have a lot more experience and training than he does. He'd like to learn more about computers and I think that's a good thing so I encourage it when I can. The new motherboard will run anywhere from $80.00 to $150.00, a lot less than I thought it would, so when we get the half yearly insurance bills paid we can start looking for one.

Right now I need to get off here and go meet some friends at the Mall to walk. Then DH and I are heading to Portland to visit my Mom. She's got a urinary tract infection and fell in her apartment Thursday night or ran into the bathroom door, she doesn't remember how she got the bruise over her eye and on her knee. My sister and her two boys spent last night with her to take care of her. DH and I will stay with Mom for a few hours so sis can go to her house and check on it and get a break.

Prayers for my Mom would be greatly appreciated right now, she is 86 and slowly going downhill.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Happy Monday!

A small update so you know I'm still among the living, lol. I managed to get some knitting done on DH's stepdad's FLAK this weekend, about one third of the second sleeve is now done so I'm putting along on it. Sure is nice to be able to knit again, pneumonia takes all the energy out of you and all you can do is lie on the couch and stare at the idiot box, not even caring what's on while you doze. Which considering the content of some of the daytime tv shows, that might not be such a bad thing after all.

Anyway, Saturday was the monthly Spin In at Mission Mill Museum here in Salem and I took my wheel and the latest hank of Dicentra roving I've had for a while. I pull off about a three foot piece and strip it into smaller pieces, then pre-draft those so it spins like butter. When it's all spun up, I'll Navaho ply it to get a three ply yarn and preserve the color changes. I'm thinking about two more nights should get the rest of it spun, then I'll let it rest on the bobbin until the weekend. I like to do as much of the plying in one sitting as possible, because I don't like that loose loop hanging around possibly getting caught and broken or pulled out.

Israel, the 12 year old boy I taught to spin at Sheep to Shawl in May, came with his Mom and showed Bill, the senior male spinner in the group, what he was working on. Israel is so proud (and rightfully so) of the progress he is making in his spinning. So when some visitors to the Mill came in and went around the circle seeing what we were all working on, I made sure he was able to tell them himself and show them how he spins on his drop spindle. Right now he's using a CD spindle my friend April make for me several years ago that I passed on to him. It's got hooks on both ends of the dowel so he can use it as a bottom whorl or top whorl spindle. At this point he's doing bottom whorl. Next month I'm going to show him how to spin top whorl, so he can do both ways and decide for himself which he likes better. Also, being able to do both methods means if he gets a top whorl spindle, say as a gift, he can use it successfully right away. When Israel arrived, I was having lunch in the cafe with a friend and sent him upstairs to Bill on his own. I think it's very important for a young boy to have good male models to learn from, not just women, and Bill is so excited to see Israel's progress each month. They're becoming good friends and I'm really happy about that.

I'll be demoing at the Oregon State Fair on Sunday, the 26th of August, from 10am to 3:30 pm. Part of the time I'll be sitting in the Jackman Long building with my wheel and part of the time I'll be walking the grounds with my drop spindle, especially in the animal barns. That way folks can see how wool was spun into yarn in the past to make all the clothes for a family. Israel and his Mom volunteered to demo as well, so cool!

My Mara_class group has decided that our first winter project will be Amphora by Alice Starmore. I bought the kit this spring with part of our tax refund, my annual gift to myself. Others are looking in their stashes for the colors and some are ordering kits from Virtual Yarns. The start date is the 14th of October, so folks have time to set up their yarns and patterns, measure themselves and make any notes for adjustments like sleeve length or body length, and get excited to start.

Happy knitting!