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 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!