Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Here's the yarn that inspired me

to use this graph

On the front of Mr. Bear's sweater:

Ta da!

I have no idea what the white spoingy yarn is. I got it in a swap a couple of years ago. The rest of the sweater is big box ack-ril-ack (Red Heart and Caron). The pattern is Wednesday, June 22, from the 2005 Knitting Pattern a Day calendar. I've made (literally) dozens atthis point. I upsided to size 8 needles and worsted weight yarn (from sport weight and 6's, I think).

It's been a long, rough, hot, tiring day. But Mr. Bear makes me smile.

How about you?


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Doctor in Trouble

At lunch I bit down on my nectarine, as is my custom (eat fruit with a knife and fork? I don't think so) and felt an uncomfortable sensation. Looked down at the bitten part and saw: Uh oh, a chunk of the verneer that used to jacket my front tooth!

Now, this tooth has been a problem since I first chipped it (at Dorney Park on the roller coaster, if anyone cares). The last time the filling broke off was about 10 years ago. The dentist repaired it, and life went on.

Today, the same dentist, with ten more years under his belt, took his best shot and did a mah-velous job.

Good as new.

No film.

I worked on the sweater that Mr. Bear will wear for competition. Sweet.

Film (definitely) tomorrow.


Monday, June 27, 2005

9 to 5

I just added to the list of jobs I'd never want:

Garbage collector/sanitation engineer*

Our garbage has gone toxic. Week-old meat scraps and cat litter, simmering in the summer sun (in a black garbage can). EEEE-yew! Hauling it out to the curb, wishing I had a gas mask. Or a hazmat suit!

To tease you a bit:

Mr. Bear before his wash and


I posed him in the same spot on the rug to give perspective to the felting. Again: 2 strands of Brown Sheep Naturespun "stone" on size 15 needles, using a pattern intended for 1 strand of dk weight on 3's. The only change I made in the pattern was to lengthen the body by about 4 rows.

I'll be dressing him in a sweater. No pants.

*Other jobs I'd never want: diaper service delivery driver (s/he has to pick them up, too), stable assistant, I have this thing about stink.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Things Are Tough All Over

I was just browsing my e-mail and thinking about all the things I would never buy from an on-line vendor. Things like Cialis, Viagra, Levitra (or any similar drugs, no matter how they are spelled).

I don't want a mortgage. I don't want to borrow any money, for that matter. I don't want software, or lottery winnings, and I absolutely have no intention of giving you my bank account number and P.I.N., not even so that you can transfer money to me!

I don't have an e-bay account. I've never used PayPal. I bank locally and never on-line. So all of you folks can stop telling me you're suspending my account if I don't write back immediately!

And for the record, I don't speak French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish!

I don't have the body part that you've promised to enhance, and I do not want to see pictures of you naked!



Thursday, June 23, 2005

Batteries Not Included

And some assembly required, too! All the parts of the felt bear are knitted. I mis-read the ear instructions, so I had to make them a second time. The proportions look a bit strange, but I have faith.


is the makings of a superior bear!

And this:

could be the makings of another! (But not until I make a dent in my fair entries.)

I figure that if I put my mind to it, I can finish my dark blue cardigan, make another pair of mittens, make a Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus (have an idea there that used Cottage Creations' "Bridget and Paddy" as the base. Santa in an Aran! What a concept!). I want to make another hat, maybe a doily, and I have a couple other small projects in mind.

Now, it is time for bed. I was up all last night, looking for Ralph and communing with John (if you get my drift). I need some sleep--badly!


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Switching Channels

And you, Dear Reader, are surprised by this. Go on, admit it! You knew I'd change my mind at least once!

Same book, different bear. That's 1/2 of the body already knitted. I'm still trying to figure out how this is going to work. My friend Kiti says that felting should take place before stuffing and I suspect that she's right. Polyfill gets wonky in the washer.

This first bear is an experiment anyway.

And all bears are loveable, even the not-so-pretty ones.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Next Ones

Now that the mittens (first pair for the fair) are nearly finished, I'm casting about for what to cast on next.

I think I need a little whimsey! I think I need to get out the toy books:

and see what I can find.

I'd love to felt a big bear down to a tiny bear. I wonder if this bear:

(bears from an OOP Hafield booklet)
would felt to a bear-looking toy without my having to adapt the pattern. Hmmm. Lots of Naturespun stone left from my purse and big, brown, and boring. I think I'll experiment! I think I'll double-strand on size 15's!

Film at 11 (or in a couple of days).


Monday, June 20, 2005

Two for Tonight

I finished (nearly) the girly girl mittens last night:

The color's much better in this shot. The funky lines are where the thumbs will go. Please tell me they match!

Long day, short post.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Cold Comfort Farm

I promised to make mittens. Seven pairs. One for each month until November. I hate making mittens. There are 2 of them. And they have to match. That's 14 mittens all together.

Here's the start of #3:

It still needs the thumb. I wanted "girlie" colors. These aren't showing up true, but they certainly qualify. The MC is Lilac, the CC is Bright Pink. The yarn is Red Heart Supersaver (77 cents for 3 ounces over at Smiley's --lotsa other good stuff there, too!) . Fabric is double-stranded. The pattern is one of the newer ones from Cottage Creations: Mighty Mitts and Flap Caps . I might make a flap cap to match.

I finished the 5th 9" square, too. Okay, I cheated a little.

The 2nd from the right was knitted a long time ago on the Bond in a fit of experimentation gone horribly wrong. I found it in the bin where I keep my "charity knitting" yarn. It's the right size, so it's going in the box. Gail, feel free to not use it! Four more (or five, if I start to feel guilty) and I'll mail them.

And now a word from our sponsor:

I love to read! Almost as much as I love to knit. Nay, more! So much so that I frequently surprise people when they discover that I can read and knit at the same time. I did not practice that talent while reading The Kite Runner . I wanted to savor every word of this wonderful novel. I finished it yesterday afternoon when I could have been napping. Wonderful does not adequately describe the narrative, the scenic descriptions, the dialogue. Read it! Enjoy the language, the emotion, the history.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Made For Each Other

The Northwoods booties are finished (except for finding appropriate beads to add to the ties). They will be companions to the Baby Bear Poncho.

It's going to be a very long day. I was gone all of yesterday (with all that means) and didn't sleep again last night. This is becoming so typical that you'd think I'd be used to it!

I came home yesterday and had to find Sparky (she was sleeping under our bed). When I got her out from under there, she was limping and listing to the side she was favoring. Poor baby has arthritis in her hips (not usual in a cat her age, but then, neither is her weight typical for her breed). This morning she seems a bit better. Maybe she "slept on it wrong." I'm hoping!


Monday, June 13, 2005

The Next Best Thing

Bad picture of the first half of a pair of booties to match Baby Bear Poncho:

for the fair. I'm using the Kroy sock yarn that Rabbitch sent me a while back.

And I am seriously in love with this , especially 104, 106, and 108. 118 and 125 are kind of nice, too. (Not that the other colors aren't lovely.)

Shawl?? or 3?

My pillow is calling, and even though it is barely 8:15, I am answering the call.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Raintree County

I slept late this morning. I got up at 6 to feed Their Feline Highnesses, then crawled back in and fell back asleep until after 9! Unheard of in the Sheepshots household.

Once I was up, I pulled on yesterday's clothes (too much info, huh?) and strapped on my pedometer so that I could walk a bit before shower and breakfast. According to the little numbers, I made it 385 steps. Too darned hot and muggy.

Great day to stay inside in the air conditioned bedroom or the cool dark basement and knit!

No such chance.

The Other Half had noticed this:

a tiny forest of maple trees growing in the rain gutters!

Since the dryness of our basement is a fragile state at best, and rain is in the forecast for Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, he thought that perhaps today would be a good day to clear the gutters. I reluctently concurred, since I'm usually the one who wakes to the sound of water splashing over the edge and onto the ground instead of down the downspout, hauls ass out of bed, and clears the blockage in her jammies (way too much info!).

Yeh, it was a relaxing afternoon. Fermented maple seeds smell a whole lot like pig poop. Thank the lawd for disposable gloves!


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Early Summer

Summer won't arrive officially for another 10 days. Tell that to the thermometer! It's been steamy and hot (in the 90's) for the past week or so. Wednesday, the power went out. (Think: no lights, no windows in the warehouse, no lights, no air conditioning in the office. Oh, we have windows, but they don't open. Think: time to go home!) Fortunately, power was restored about 90 minutes later, so there wasn't any permanent damage (think walk-in freezer full of food), but we are now back to working on contingency plans and thinking "generator." (Or not.)

This morning, I decided that I would take a walk around the neighborhood, now that the Great American Neighborhood Yard Sale is over for another year. I was out for nearly an hour and saw only one other person! And he was on a bike. What a contrast to last Saturday (see entry for 6/4)!

Some of what I saw pleased me. It's still the neat and tidy 'hood we moved into 16 years ago.

Some things were a bit puzzling. Lawn ornamentation. A small house with fenced back yard (pool? maybe) with children's toys scattered on the front lawn. Toys for very small children. WTF? Lovely lawn bench. At the outside edge of a shade tree canopy. Facing. The neighbors' driveway? When there's both shade and view about 5' away? WTF?

And at least one thing gave me enormous pleasure when put in context. Our neighbor with all-the-kids (something like 10 of them, ranging in age from about 5 years older than mine, so, mid-30's, to about 8 years younger than mine, or late teens) have seven cars that are not "adult-type vehicles" parked in their very large driveway (and 2 more in the garage). Hmm. Makes one kid still living at home seem not so bad after all!

I finished the fishy blankie last night. It looks pretty good, and photos will follow when I do my "fair edition." For now, though, here's what I am doing with the leftovers:

Here's my Recipe: Using whatever yarn you have on hand and appropriate needles (set of 5 dpn), figure out your gauge. (Use the numbers on the ball band and the suggested needles, and hope for the best, or make a swatch and measure.) Mine was 4 st/ inch using size 8's and worsted weight yarn.

Cast on 8 stitches onto one needle.

Slip 2 stitches to each of 3 more needles, join.

Knit 1 round.

Yeh, yeh, I know. This is a royal bitch to do. Just do it and stop whining! Or don't.

Next round and every other round: increase one stitch by knitting (or purling) front and back in the first and last stitch on each needle (8 stitches increased). Once you have about 8 stitches on each needle, you may want to mark the beginning of the round with a small safety pin, moving it closer to the open stitches as your square increases in size.

Continue working in rounds, in pattern of purling an occasional round, doing k2 together, yo rounds, until the square is as big as you want it. In my case, I wanted a 9" square, so I knew I needed to increase until I had 36 stitches on each needle (4 X 9, my gauge X finished size). I did the last 8 rounds in garter stitch (knit 1 round, purl 1 round) so that there would be a firm, non-curnilng edge. Bind off, somewhat loosely. You can make these things any size you want, including blanket size by continuing to increase, moving up to circular needles (you'll want to mark the spots where you increase) as necessary.

One of the co-moderators at Native American Support has issued a challenge to the members. She would like to be able to put together comfort blankies for kids served by the foster care system at Cheyenne River Reservation. To that end, we are creating these 9" squares, and Gail will be joining them. (Gail is drafting patterns for the squares and sharing them, too. Knit and crochet.)

Goal is 47 blankies in time for Christmas. Feel free to join in. Restrictions: 9" or thereabouts, square, machine washable and dryable yarn, worsted weight. That is all. Well, except that they are for children, so keep that in mind when selecting colors and/or patterns.



Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Something New

Finished the hat, wove in the ends and tucked it away for fair time. Working on miles of i-cord on the fish blankie.

Take a look at these great beads:

That's 3 sets of "Just Pretending" jewelry from the Dollar Tree (toy area, not crafts!)--almost 300 painted wood beads for $1! And I have three sets! I'm thinking: little kid's purse? The only big decision is the bright pink acrylic (right) or one of the Elann Peruvian wools (left and top), felted. All three of them are "girly-girl" colors. All three look terrific with the beads which are yellow, hot pink, purple, orange, turquoise, and green.

Some of the hot pink ones have daisies painted on. Wouldn't they be wonderful on the toes of a pair of felted booties?

Decisions, decisions. . .

I do love the Tree!


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On the Edge

Just time for a quick post.

Today is National Hunger Awareness Day. I'll be working until 9 tonight.

Started the applied i-cord edging last night, and after several false starts, I went down 1 needle size and increased along the widening edges, thus:

Don't expect another photo until I ready everything for the fair.

I reached the decrease section of the Turkish patterned hat:

Ditto on this one. I'm considering matching mittens. . .


Sunday, June 05, 2005

June Night

Some quick answers and my monthly 'fess up:

Charleen asked if this is the Allentown Fair. Nope, according to the organizers, it's the Great Allentown Fair. See:

I've found 18 or so categories that I could enter (assuming that I get my act together). I am not planning a blitz like last year! The wedding of the century (tm) falls right in the middle of my traditional prep time!

Becky in Iowa commented that she is chicken to enter the fair. Becky, you need to be sheepish (bad pun). Seriously, courage has nothing to do with it. It's just a lot of fun.

We go every year for a couple of hours to people watch and pat the cows. About 10 years ago, we wandered into the "ag hall" area and I was stunned by the small number of knitted entries (and those that were there seemed all to be kits). I signed up for the premium book and, as they say, the rest is history. I've entered at least 10 categories every year, and received ribbons for nearly every entry.

This fair charges a minimal entry fee ($10) which allows you to enter as many catagories as you want (different limits apply in some each of the divisions). For example, I can enter 10 knitted items in Domestic and Fine Arts which includes sewing and needlework, 10 in Art, Photography and Crafts (pictures, wreaths, Christmas decorations, pottery, woodwork, antiques,etc.) I could, for my same 10 bucks, enter my chickens, pigeons, and rabbits (assuming I had some), several cut flowers from my garden, a cake, some biscuits, several jars of jelly (see caveat re: animals) and a cow and a house plant or two.

In return, I get 5 entrance passes to the fair (worth $4 each) and a chance to win a lot of money (last year was my best ever. I got something like $22.50). Prizes are still what they were when the fair was started, back when the $9 first prize for a hand quilted bedcover would clothe the family of a frugal farm wife for a season and the $5 first prize for best rye would have paid for enough seed to plant the whole back 40. These days, it's about tradition and bragging rights. The grand champion cow or sow will go at auction for many more dollars than the value of her meat! Most of the needleworks prizes are $2 (for first) down to $1 (for 3rd-6th).

And on to "confession time":

Currently "in progress" (and on which I am making no progress whatsoever) are the socks from hell and the Aran vest from purgatory, on its way to hell or the frog pond.

Also hat for Ship Support in claret and navy Red Heart Shetland Chunky (acrylic/wool blend) incorporating the patterning from Vogue KOTG Turkish mittens (the cuff part) just above the ribbing:

Pair of slippers in the same claret yarn, size will determine the final recipient.

Fish blankie (no picture, it's in the washer) that just needs a final edging. The instructions call for a cr*cheted edge, I'm thinking applied i-cord.

Another fish blankie, this one in turquoise (ball band calls it "mint," but I don't!) and "marine blue" Red Heart Supersaver:

I should note that there are 90 ends to weave in on a "carriage robe" size one of these suckers!

The KAL cardigan (needs front bands, buttons, blocking and buttons--the three "b"s).

I'm certain that I am forgetting something. And I am certain that I will be starting several new projects before the month is half over.


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Safe at Home

This is the Weekend-of-the-Enormous-Yard-Sale in our neighborhood. The wife of one of the local pastors has organized this sucker for the last several years. We participated a couple of times, but no more. Between the advanced preparation, dullness of the day, being ripped off a couple of times (by the least likely suspects), the small amount of return on invested time, it just ain't worth it to me! If I've got "stuff" to get rid of, I give it to someone I know, take it to the Second Chance Shoppe, or toss it out. I don't even browse them any more. I have enough crap of my own, thankyewverymuch.

To put the photos (above) into perspective, this is a street that sees next-to-no traffic, even on the weekend. People don't park on the street. They use their driveways and/or garages. Let's just say that we are not amused and let it go at that. At 4 o'clock it will all be over for another year!

I've worked on the Knit Along sweater a bit (actually, I'm closing in on the finish, and ordered buttons last night). All that's left is the front bands, and I need the buttons here in my hot little hand so that I can make the buttonholes the proper size.

I really like the cabled ribbing:

Do I need to mention that this one is for me?

The premium book for the fair arrived yesterday. I need to decide what divisions I'll enter and get busy. The KAL sweater will be one entry. I have a baby sweater finished. That's 2. And the fish blankie makes 3. But I can enter up to 20 this year, it seems, in 2 different categories (crafts and needlework).

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Finishing School

I spent much of this evening working on my Knit Along sweater, you know, the one I started a couple of months ago.

It's nearly done. Justthe two front bands, some weaving in of ends, then the endless task of picking out the cat hair. White. On a navy sweater.



Film at 11.

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