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!