Sunday, October 30, 2005

Three Came Home

I managed to spend considerable time in the car this weekend. Enough, in fact, to finish 3 more beanies for Ship Support.

They are nothing special so I won't drag out the camera.

I also bit the bullet and attached the button band on my Lopi and have nearly finished the buttonhole band. I could have this puppy done by the weekend! I'll block it, then, I'll take a picture!

Saturday was the wedding of The Kid's best friend. He was best man. At the point of highest tension, the vows having been said, all eyes on the Best Guy, as he fumbles for The Rings. The bride starts laughing. Not giggles, not muffled chuckles, but burst out full belly laughs. So does the groom and (I swear I am not making this up) the minister and the whole line of bridesmaids and groomsmen (and there were a lot of them!).

No, the rings were not lost. They were in one of those plastic bubbles that you get from a gum machine!

Then there was The Reception, complete with Fuzzy Navel fountain and chocolate fondue fountain and filling. (We are, after all, in PA Dutch Country.)

Film, definitely, at 11.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Wizard of Oz

Last night was Trick or Treat night in our little town. Yes, I know there's a weekend closer to the real day. This is small town Tradition! (cue Tevya)

Besides, the Halloween Parade is over the weekend. And a wedding. But I digress.

The favored costume this year seems to be Dorothy. I had 'em in all shapes and sizes. Some with dogs (stuffed) others without. We had Things 1 & 2, a couple of Star Wars characters, one or two LOTR folks and lots of pre-teen (and teen) floozies.

Only 2 of the littlest had forgotten their line, but I was patient and waited. Only about 3 forgot to say "Thank you. " I was gratified.

Traffic seemed lighter this year, but that could just be me.

We gave: Skittles and Starburst, Sweetarts, Blo-pops, Runts, and Nerds. There were Bottlecaps, too, but I ate them all myself. We have Blo-pops left, but not too many.

Sparky got into the spirit. She stood by the door, watching the parade go by, then scampered to safety about 3' away when kids came on the porch. There were no escape attempts this year.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Pickle

Talk about a UFO (UnFinished Object) of long standing!

Back in the Last Century (1995 or so, to be exact) a group of quilting friends on the old *P (Prodigy Internet) boards read an excerpt from
this book in one of the current "womyn's" magazines. Being the intrepid group they were (bein' on the Internet and all, way back then. . .) they picked up on the theme and decided to form their own club--long distance.

A leader was appointed. Money was collected to purchase the paisley fabrics that would form the base of what we were all sure would be drop-dead gorgeous friendship quilts.

I don't think I was alone in expecting that my Persian Pickle squares would eventually grow abundant enough to cover my king-size bed. So confident in fact, was I, that I bought the batting and very, very wide backing fabric, and several yards of white-on-white paisley cotton to use as sahing.

Every month, we made 5 (I think) squares and swapped with 4 other people, keeping one square for our own quilt.

One month (as you can see), the theme was stars. Still others, it was "hearts"(I believe that was February) or "baskets (must have been Easter).

Our fearless leader bought enough of her chosen fabric so that we each had a piece about 9" X 1/2 the width of the goods ("fat quarter"?) and mailed it to us along with the required theme. It was up to us to match fabrics from our stashes (or go get more--such torture), find a pattern for suitable block, and get it made up in quintuplicate in time for the deadline.

Some months it was easy, others were harder. We experimented with paper-piecing and crazy-quilting and applique and (I think) stretched our skills. (I know that I sure did! Those hearts were a bear!) We even had a new baby born during the time (just like in the story) and I organized a baby quilt on top of the blocks we were already creating.

Sadly, the group disintegrated (as many swap groups do) over time and I wound up with a total of 25 lovely 9.5" blocks, far less than I needed to make a quilt top, but enough to make a lovely crib quilt.

So, today, while I was having my self-imposed 3-day weekend, I stitched them all together, adding batting and backing and Voila! A baby quilt is born! As much as I love it and loved the folks that helped me make it, it will be wending its way to the reservation along with

the 2-tone baby sweater which I finished last night, buttons and all.

For a day that was supposed to be restful, this one was not. I have acquired some sort of crud that is laying me low, low, low.

I will not describe the state of my Puffs after I blow. Just too nasty. If Dayquil and Nyquil don't fix me up, I'll be checking in with my physician.

For now, I think I'll go make dinner, snuggle under a blanket on the sofa, and watch what's on TiVo. Will Susan get back together with her plumber? Will Meredith get back together with her doctor? Will Claire and the musician hook up? And what the heck will happen to Dr. Kovatch now that Sam doesn't want to have his baby?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Wet Parade

Busy morning and the parade (of errands) was wet in more ways than one as you shall soon see.

The Other Half's Jeep needed inspection and the Usual Place no longer accepts appointments. Both cats had appointments for shots and such with TED (The Evil Doctor who-sometimes-sticks-sticks-up-your-butt) at nine, so by prior arrangement, we planned to caravan to the inspection place (with both cats in my car), drop off the Jeep, swing by TED's, and come home to wait for the call to pick the Jeep back up. So far, so good.

But who could have expected that a glorious fall rain (what, again?) would lull the Other Half into the kind of deep sleep that made us nearly miss both errands?

Dropped the Jeep and got to TED with about 2 minutes to spare.

What's this? Sparky the Round has lost an entire pound! Good job, Sparky! That's 6 1/2% of her body weight. (Did I mention that the cat is quite round? You've seen the pictures!) Wish I could lose 6%!

But oh, no! Penny has also lost an entire pound too, which for her, is more like 17% of her body weight. (She's just a tiny thing, you see. Oh, yes, you saw!) This is a not-good-thing! I, being witty, suggested that calibrating the scale might be in order. Note: I did not offer to test out the scale's accuracy by climbing on.

So, after a bit of poking and prodding (TED is now involved), it is determined that Penny will not get a shot, but rather, several blood tests to determine what-is-going-on. Oh, my.

Sparky's turn. More poking, especially in the belly region where there-is-no-hair, but nothing else that would indicate anything other than behavioral over-grooming, which is both good news and bad. TED was encouraging, telling us that the Pill-that-keeps her-from-peeing-on-everything is working (yes, it is, and I'm hoping that typing this doesn't jinx it!) and that her bare belly doesn't look irrritated and it's definitely not infected and the hair on her back legs will grow back eventually, maybe. . . In other words, let's not rock the boat because we just replaced the rug and the Other Half's reading chair.

So, okay. I guess.

Bundled the girls back into the car for the trip home. We made the last turn before the one onto our very own street, what, a mile (less than 5 minutes) away. The Other Half (who is holding, I am driving) suddenly says, "What the. . ." because Sparky (who has been Very Good and Tolerant and did not even dribble a little on TED through all the poking, as she has been known to do) had peed a lot on his lap. How very embarrassing for her. (Fortunately, I keep a supply of Nature's Miracle on hand!) Accidents happen. And nobody reminded her to "go" before we left the house, now, did they?

If you enjoy reading about cats with the Upper Hand, Sparky directs your attention to her cyber-friend Tigger's most recent escapade.

And now for a little knitting content. I took a graphic from a baby sweater and added it to a hat.

It's just my basic "cast on 80, rib until your eyes cross, switch to stockinette" beanie pattern. I used a combination of acrylics (I think Red Heart TLC and Cervinia Sorrento).

It's for Ship Support.

And the second sock (first sock in the photo to prove I'm not cheating) is well underway. It also is slated to be mailed to Ship Support.

Baby sweater for the reservation, in some Pingouin Pingofrance II (acrylic and wool sport weight) that I scored in a swap a few years ago. You can see the whole score if you check the archives (3/16/05). I have about 3400 yards of the stuff in wonderful shades of blues and greens.
I immediately thought "baby clothes" and cast on this little sweater ( pattern here ) , knowing full well that I didn't have enough of either of the teals to make it all one color.

The jury's still out on the 2-tone effect.

And the rain continues.


Thursday, October 20, 2005


Cody who-has-no-blog (right, Cody) sent me two of the sweetest baby surprise sweaters, a pair of booties, and these completely adorable sockies (that's a U.S. quarter for size comparison) to send off to the reservation with my next load (working on a little sweater myself). They are made from self-patterning sock yarn which really looks different at this scale.

So cute. Thank you, Cody!

Ha! Made a few readers do a double take!

And just so that no one mistakes me for Martha, I'm putting up this picture. I changed the sheets on our bed last Sunday. I took this picture about 2 hours ago (yes, it is Thursday, why do you ask?)

It would seem that I am the only one that has noticed that there's a pile of dirty sheets on the floor.

I do, so need a weekend. Three day one (self-imposed) coming up in less than 24 hours! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

This has been going through what's left of my mind since last weekend. So JFGI and found the lyrics. Honestly, once you've heard it, it's 10 times worse than the Llama Song!

So Long & Thanks for All the Fish

So long and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you all but oh dear?

You may not share our intellect
Which might explain your disrespect
For all the natural wonders that
grow around you

So long, so long and thanks for all the fish
The world’s about to be destroyed
There’s no point getting all annoyed
Lie back and let the planet dissolve

Despite those nets of tuna fleets
We thought that most of you were sweet
Especially tiny tots and your pregnant women

So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long and thanks for all the fish


So long and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you all but oh dear?

(oh dear)

Despite those nets of tuna fleets
We thought that most of you were sweet
Especially tiny tots and your pregnant women

So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long and thanks for all the fish

Okay, now it's in your mind and will leave me the hell alone.

(By the bye, the movie was fun!)

The Next Best Thing

After I finished sock 1, I immediately cast on sock 2.

No, that's a bald-faced lie! I finished the yoke of my Lopi. (See picture) Blocking will do it a world of good, but first I must knit up the dreaded sewn on front bands. And the neck band. And graft the underarm. And sew on the buttons.

Then I can block it. And wear it. Before it turns too cold to use it as outerwear and the indoor temperatures become too stiffling to wear it as an inside sweater (which it was never intended to be).

And then I cast on the second sock. And knitted about an inch on the cuff.

I'll be in an all-morning seminar on "workplace safety." (No, I am not being punished!) I will tuck my sock in my felted Sophie and if there's a break, I'll knit a bit more. Or not.


Monday, October 17, 2005

All Mine to Give

A repeat of part of the last installment: Continue knitting in even rounds (no increase or decrease) until sock is nearly as long as you want it. (In my case, I continued until the length from the back of the heel to my needle was 9". The toe decreases will add a scant inch to the length, so don't scrimp!)

If you are careful, you can try the sock on at this point. Note: The length that it is on my personal foot is too short! It shouud hit the "knuckle " of your big toe without stretching.

Decrease for the toe: Decrease for toe: K across needle 1 to 3 stitches from the end, skp, k 1. K 1, k2 together, K across needle 2 to 3 stitches from the end, skp, k 1. K 1, k2 together,K across needle 3 to the end.

Repeat this round until 8 stitches remain. Cut yarn about 6" long. Thread yarn needle and draw through the remaining 8 stitches. Repeat; fasten off.

(If you are feeling ambitious, you can graft the toe instead.)

Make another.

Note: Do not fall victim to dreaded SSS (Second Sock Syndrome, a varient of SMS --Second Mitten Syndrome)!

There was not a lot of yarn left from my 50g ball (110 yards) of Cervinia Sorrento.



Sunday, October 16, 2005

All I Desire

Ann is in deperate need of surgery.
Ann needs to getahold of herself.
Ann needs the nutrition [of a cheeseburger].
ANN needs the current grade.
Ann needs to check for an important e–mail.
Ann needs more bite.
Ann needs to call her accountant because someone's been skimming her checks.
Ann needs to get into modeling.
Ann needs to start behaving like a proper young lady, learning toknit, cook, and manage a household.
Ann needs something shoulder-length with layers.

Clearly, Ann needs a name that isn't associated with "Coulter."



Saturday, October 15, 2005

Next to No Time

That last little bit didn't take long, did it?

Now we proceed to the gusset to decrease back to the same number of stitches we started with. You should have 56 stitches on your three needles and will be decreasing 2 stitches every other round until 36 stitches remain, thus:

Next round (decrease): K across needle 1 to 3 stitches from the end, skp, k 1. K across needle 2. K 1, k 2 together, k to end on needle 3.

Next round (work even): k around.

Tip: I find that it helps to put a small safety pin at the beginning of the round as a reminder to me that "hey, you're staring a new round!" Ring markers don't work on double points.

Repeat these two rounds until 9 stitches remain on needles 1 and 3 (36 stitches total--the same as you started with!) You will have worked 20 rounds. Stitches will look like: 9-18-9 with the 18 stitch section being the top of the foot. If you get to this point and you have 10 stitches on one of the needles, just decrease on that needle only on the next round. (It happens, all the time!)

Tip: If you have trouble remembering whether the current round is a "decrease" or an "even," keep a coin nearby. Turn it over at the end of each round: Heads, it's a decrease round; tails, work even.

Note: The skp and k2 tog are known as "paired decreases" since they sort of "mirror" each other. Skp leans to the left; k 2 tog leans to the right. We'll use the same decreases (where they'll be more obvious) at the toe. K2 tog at both points will accomplish the same thing, it just won't be as purty.

Homework for the weekend: Continue knitting in even rounds (no increase or decrease) until sock is nearly as long as you want it. (In my case, I continued until the length from the back of the heel to my needle was 9". The toe decreases will add a scant inch to the length, so don't scrimp!)

We'll pick up the lesson on Monday with the toe decreases and finishing.

Lopi update: I made a little progress yesterday on my Lopi cardigan. Okay, I confess to keeping you Gentle Knitters in the dark. I polished off both sleeves earlier this week and joined them to the body of the sweater yesterday. Knitting fat yarn on size 10s goes a lot faster than knitting worsted weight on size 5s! And while I generally prefer lighter weight knits, this sweater is planned as "outerwear."

You can see that I started the yoke patterning. I decided that I like the high contrast of the navy against the cream, so I'm saving the lighter blue to use as the "minor" contrast. This is exactly the way the designer planned it, but in reverse since I am using the light cream as my main color (model in Lopi #12 shows the sweater in black with cream and light gray as the CCs).

I would love to say that I will be knitting my weekend away, but it won't be happening. Today, we sadly remove the air conditioners from the bedroom windows and store them away for another winter. :sigh: And I really, really need to clean because I hear that the Health Department has received a complaint from one of the neighbors. (Neat freaks!)

I may even cook real meals! And do laundry.

And then, there's a football game when I can knit. . .



Thursday, October 13, 2005

About Face

And now, we turn the heel! Using "short rows", we're going to knit that little wedge that helps a sock form an "L" and makes it fit a foot!

For lots of people, this is the hardest part, not because it's actually hard but because if you attempt to "work it out in your mind," it makes absolutely no sense. So bear with me and follow blindly!

RS: Knit across 11 stitches (2 stitches past the center of the heel flap), skp (This means: "slip the first stitch as if to purl, knit one, pass the slipped stitch over the one you just knit"), k1. TURN. (This means, "turn your work around so that the wrong side is facing you." Yes, I know that there are stitches left unworked. There should be 4 of them. LEAVE THEM UNWORKED!

WS: Slip the first stitch, p 5, p 2 tog, p1. TURN. There should be 4 unworked stitches left on this side too.

Next Row (RS): Slip the first stitch. K across to the stitch before the little gap where you turned before( 6 stitches knit) , skp, k1. TURN. (2 stitches remain unworked)

WS: Slip the first stitch. Purl across to the stitch before that little gap (7 purl stitches), p 2 tog, p 1. TURN. (2 stitches remain unworked)

RS: Slip the first stitch. Knit across 8 stitches to the stitch before the gap, skp, k1. TURN (no stitches remain).

WS: Slip the first stitch, purl across 9 stitches, p 2 tog, p 1. (no stitches left here either!)

You should have 12 stitches and a nifty little half circle (your heel). You should be so proud!

Next, find your spare needle (the one you put aside). We are going to form the gusset (the triangles on each side of the heel).

Knit across the shaped heel. With the same needle, pick up 13 stitches along the side of the heel flap, one stitch in each slipped stitch, 12 for the flap, one for the heel turn (needle 1 now has 23 stitches). You have arrived at the needle that was holding your other 18 stitches (this is the "instep").

HINT: to pick up each stitch, insert the tip of your needle between the slipped stitch's "chain" and the firm knitting next to it. Loop your working yarn over the needle tip, pull the yarn loop through so that a stitch is formed on your needle. picture here

With another needle: pick up a stitch between the last one on needle 1 and the first one on the needle facing you (the "holding" needle), knit across, pick up one stitch after the last stitch you knit and before the stitches of the heel flap (needle 2 now has 20 stitches). If you twist these 2 “added stitches” they’ll be less floppy.

With your spare needle, pick up 13 stitches along the other side of the heel flap, k across the first 6 stitches on needle 1 (needle 3 now has 19 stitches).

The stitches on your needles should look like: 19-20-19

First round: Knit across to the end of needle 1, then k2 together, k16, k 2 together on needle 2 (the two extra stitches you picked up are now gone), then k across needle 3. (Note: the k 2 together of those extra picked up stitches on needle 2 will help prevent the hole that sometimes appears at that spot in hand knit socks.)

Put everything aside carefully.

Tomorrow is another day.



Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Day of Wrath

This post had another, kinder, gentler name. But &%$#@ Blogger ate it! And three copies of the draft.

So, shall we try again?

Yes, let's.

Okay, you'll putting aside one of your needles after the next row. Put it somewhere that you'll be able to find it later, NOT where someone will sit on it! Sitting on a short dpn is unpleasant at best. And you might break the needle, too!

Heel flap: You'll be working with the first 18 stitches (needle 1 and 1/2 of needle 2).

Row 1 (RS): With your "spare needle, insert the tip into the first stitch on the left needle as if you were going to purl the stitch, slip it onto the spare (right) needle without knitting it (that's a "slip 1" or "sl 1, "as if to purl"), knit the next stitch. Repeat these two stitches 9 times total (18 stitches worked) all onto the same needle you started with. You now have 18 stitches on one needle, 6 on the second, and 12 on the third. Slip the 6 stitches of needle 2 onto needle 3. You now have 2 empty needles, 18 worked stitches on one needle, and 18 unworked stitches on the other. (Look at the picture!) Set the extra needle aside. You need only 3 for the time being.

The unworked 18 stitches will be "held" on their needle until the heel is finished.

Turn your sock around so that you can knit back over the stitches you just formed.

Row 2 (did you think I forgot?): WS: slip 1, purl across, turn. Notice that on the wrong side (inside of your sock) you are slipping only the first stitch of the row. Repeat these 2 rows until you have worked 24 rows total.

If you lose track of your rows, count the elongated stitches (the ones you slipped), There will be 12 of them when you are done.

And here's what your heel flap looks like on the outside. Sort of like ribbing, but "cushy" and soft (to pad the heel of your sock).

Here's what it looks like on the inside. Those slipped stitches form an extra layer (sort of like the inside of stranded colorwork). They make the heel sturdier so that it won't wear out as fast.

Here's a tip: knitting socks at a tight gauge (going down a couple of needle sizes relative to the size recommended for the yarn weight) will also help them to wear better. That's why I am using 5's with yarn that calls for US 7s.

Tomorrow: The dreaded "heel turn." Faith and patience, Grasshopper!




I have been trying for over 24 hours to post "part 2" of the sock tutorial.

Please bear with me (and Blogger) until we (I) resolve this. I may have to reboot (d'oh), the only thing I haven't already done (double d'oh).

Your patience will be rewarded.

For what it's worth, I am at the elbow of the second sleeve on Lopi. It looks like there will be more than enough yarn to add 3" to the body (yeah!) before I attach the sleeves and start the yoke.

Basement update: Water issue is resolved. Bad smell issue lingers. We had to trash the (old, recycled from the living room) area rug. It smelled a whole lot like wet skunk. It's outside waiting for trash pick-up. This weekend, we will search the cheap stores for a replacement.

Stay tuned. There will be more.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Never Put It In Writing

The sun came up again today. The damage was negligible. My basement is drying out (sort of) and only a relatively small amount of rain is predicted. Life is good.

And now, as promised, the beginnings of a pair of toasty warm bed socks. There's a bit of assumption here, that you might possibly have tackled a sock in the past, and that you have at least a passing acquaintance with double pointed needles. If either or both of these assumptions is wrong, well, it wouldn't be the first time! If you've never socked and never double-pointed, well there's a first time for everything!

Grab your needles and let's get started!

Materials: 3.5-4 ounces of worsted weight yarn. Machine washable/dryable is preferred. Set of 4 double pointed needles in a size that gives you a nice, firm fabric. (I used size 5.) You'll need a tapestry needle when we finish the toe(s).

Cast on 36 stitches loosely onto one of the double pointed needles. I sometimes cast on firmly over 2 needles held together. This gives an even cast on edge without being tight.

Slide 12 stitches from the cast on needle onto each of 2 free needles. You will have 12 stitches (3 X 12 = 36) on each of 3 needles.

Form a triangle with the 3 needles. Make sure that all your stitches "face" the same way (see how the cast on "braid" is to the inside on all 3 needles??). Make sure you don't have a twist in your stitches. This is the part of most circular patterns where it says "join, being careful not to twist." That's what that direction means! "Join" by using your spare needle (the one with no stitches on it) as your "right needle" and insert it into the stitch at the end that does not have the working yarn attached. Make a stitch. Knit and purl (1 X 1 rib) across the first needle, then the second, then the third. Tighten up your stitches just a bit as you cross over between the needles. If there's a "ladder," don't worry. Washing will even your stitches up a lot.

I find that it's easier (less entanglement) for me to put the "new" working needle on top of the "old" working needle (the one I just knit the stitches from).

It helps to remember that you are never working with more than one pair of needles at a time. It just feels like juggling a porcupine.

Rib in k1, p1 ribbing for 24 rounds (about 4").

(You can rib for 2" and make little "golf footies" or 8" and make a regular sock.)

You can use 1X1, 2X2, 3X1, or 1X3 ribbing, just make sure that you are dividing evenly into the number of stitches you cast on.

Okay, that's it for today. Meet me back here tomorrow and we'll start the heel flap.



Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Sun Comes Up

We woke this morning to the sound of silence. The rains have stopped (at least for the momement). After breakfast we ventured out to see how bad the damage was. The morning paper said that there was as much as 10" of rain in some places and that streets near the food bank had been seriously flooded, stranded motorists (too dumb to not drive through standing water) were rescued, kids were plucked from raging streams, you know the drill.

So at about the time that the barricades had either been removed or made permanent, we drove through areas of excessively high High Water Marks and pulled into the food bank driveway. Water was still flowing across the entrance, but was no longer gushing at a speed guaranteed to sweep away small animals and cars. We drove in.

WTF? all of yesterday's hay bales were gone, swept away in the rising waters. There was a bright blue pallet wedged in the underbrush. Somebody's dinnerware (plates and saucers) was strewn across the parking lot. The van (moved to our ramp) was safely above the water line. Its usual parking spot was not. The high water mark is clearly as high as last fall's encounter with Ivan. I told you that Tammy was no lady!

I could hear the alarm through the locked door, so I grabbed my keys and went inside only to have another WTF moment. No power! (Alarm operates with a battery backup.) So I reset the alarm, called the alarm company, and later in the day, called the food bank to make sure that the power was back on (main phone line depends on electricity). Another bullet dodged!

So, in all this, where's the silver lining? We-llll, this is the weekend that the American Association of University Women (AAUW, of which I was once a member in another state, another life) is having its annual Book Sale! Of course, we stopped on the way home. I got:

Best $4.50 I've spent in a while. The Playtime sweaters booklet has a 50 cent price tag. It's (c) 1948. The Dale (left photo, pictured on the left) is from 1974 and has great illustrations for steeking (they call it "cutting the armholes"--how quaint). The other three (right photo) are only the tip of the iceberg. I got some old Fashion Knitting and some Patons Back to Basics. The shaping and sizing is very different than what we're used to seeing today, but the motifs and cables are classic. I will definitely get my money's worth. And the kid's booklet (center of right picture) is all garter stitch sweaters for 1-4 made from double stranded worsted weight yarn. Perfect for cozy sweaters for the reservation!

I left behind a pile of vinatge Anny Blatt. I may stop on Tuesday (bag sale day) and get them if they are still there.

And the other silver lining:

Since I didn't have to drive, I made some nice progress on the Lopi. That's sleeve #1, almost long enough to join. Work with me here, folks. If I make both sleeves, then set aside enough of the natural to work the front bands, I'll be able to use the rest of the natural to lengthen the sweater body so that it hits me below the hip, right? The model in the pattern photo clearly is less than 5' tall if the sweater fits her like a minidress. Which begs the question, is that Icelandic guy standing next to her a dwarf? Because he's not a whole lot taller than she. Nevermind.

Tomorrow, I'll post my progress on the Lopi and the first part of the bed socks as promised.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Another Day In Paradise

We were supposed to be partying! Emphasis on supposed. For reasons that will soon be painfully obvious, there are no pictures.

The rains that we've been waiting for, while the southern part of our country was being overwhelmed by "ladies" named Katrina and Rita, simply passed us by.

Then a new woman arrived in town. Her name was Tammy. And she was no lady!

Friday, the rain started, but it was almost a "gentle summer rain," predicted to turn heavy overnight, but to "taper off." Ha! Nine inches later. . .

At 9:30 this morning, the Fundraiser and I arrived at the food bank, expecting to meet the rest of the Party Committee so that we could put the finishing touches on the Party Place (the cleared out warehouse, set with tables all festively decorated) to find:

Rising Flood Waters, oh my!! (Actually, the first thing I encountered was a very nice police officer, erecting barricades on our access road (never a good sign). When I told him that I was "going to work," he encouraged me to get what I needed and take it home to work on there.

So, the Other Half and I drove down the drive and oh, my lord! the boat had better be leaving the dock soon, Mamma!

Heeding the words of emergency personnel everywhere, the Fundraiser and I left cars on higher ground and waded in so that we could fetch phone lists and such. We spoke with the Committee Chair and Other Committee Members and sadly went home to the task of calling 115 people to cancel.

That's the bad news. The good news is that they all still want to donate the $$ that they had sent (no one asked for a refund).

So, just when I think I'm home free, at home, to relax and take an unplanned evening to eat popcorn, watch the Penn State-Ohio State football game (did you see that game??Wow!) and knit, another monkey wrench.

Water. In the basement. On the floor! I used the shop vac, then turned to the carpet shampooer (in "extract" mode), all the towels, three buckets. It really seemed like I was getting somewhere, and then it got ugly.

That was when I discovered the two tiny holes in the mortar where floor and wall come together. And water pouring through to beat the band.

Short version: nothing worked, until the Other Half, in a brilliant brainstorm, tried a can of spray-in insulation. (Hey, it said "waterproof" on the label. We had nothing, I repeat, nothing to lose! Thinking that it wasn't working, we dammed up the area with all the towels we could find, and sat down to eat an overcooked, dried out dinner, figuring we had about 15 minutes before time to bail again. Ten minutes later (I am not a patient person), I checked. The rush of water had stopped! There wasn't even a trickle. The golf ball-size glop of foam had grown to softball size, and was doing its job. Can you say "happy dance?" Just in time for the start of the game.
Of course, the foam insulation can specified clean up instruction. Who in the hell keeps "mineral spirits" in the house in this era of acrylic paint. (That's paint thinner, folks, for oil-based paint.) When one's fingers are coated with sticky insulation that will be tacky enough to paint in 2 hours) as the Other Half's fingers were, well, any port in a storm.

Here's what doesn't work: gasoline, WD-40, nail polish remover, thick coating of dish detergent combined with a scrubby, ditto with a nail brush.

Here's what does: Mineral spirits. From K-Mart. By the gallon. Because that's the only size they have.

So, now we have a gallon minus about a tablespoon of mineral spirits in the basement. Just in case we ever insulate our fingertips again.

That was the bad news.

The good news is that we did get to watch The Game, and that Penn State is still undefeated :yes!: and that there was time for cat brushing and sitting with feet up and knitting. I am now 9 body cm. from joining sleeves (guess I'd better start them) and starting the yoke on my cardigan.

I'm pleased with the way this yarn works up. It's definitely "outerwear" with something substantial underneath. We're talkin' serious itch here!

Tomorrow: Was there serious flooding at the food bank? Will the party be rescheduled? What will happen to all that chili? Stay tuned.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Promises! Promises!

Ellen from the Ships Project mentioned in her update today that I will be doing a "bed sock" tutorial right here. And she is right! A couple of years ago, I adapted a fairly basic, generic sock pattern into the short-cuffed socks you see in the picture at left (the left pair in the front row).

If you are new to socks, this is a good pattern to start on. It used worsted weight (and for The Ships Project, an inexpensive, but soft, machine washable) yarn, relatively big needles (for socks), and there's not a lot of ribbing.

If you want to play along, you'll need a set of double pointed needles, size 4, 5, or 6. I use 5" Brittany birch needles, because I like the way they feel in my hand, and the length doesn't get in my way. Size 5 gets me a nice dense fabric. (For socks, you want to work at a more dense tension/gauge than you would for, say a sweater or hat.) I'll be using 4 needles, because that's how I learned. Some knitters prefer to use 5.

You'll also need about 3.5-4 ounces of worsted weight yarn. If you are making "community socks" (for someone you don't know), you may want to choose machine wash/dry yarn. Red Heart, Lion Brand, Caron, and many others make good choices. Superwash wool is nice, and it's warm even when damp or wet. Variegated and ombre yarns will knit up in interesting patterns.

If you are knitting "for the troops," consider something wild and multicolor or just plain bright, but not girly, or baby pastel. If this will be your first time knitting socks, avoid black. Like the plague!

Get your supplies together. Assuming that life gets back to normal for me, I'll be starting my next pair on Monday (October 10).

A New Kind of Love

A properly aged kit in a properly aged stash. Time to break it out.

The "kit" was a gift from the Older Kid and the now New Daughter-in-Law from a trip they took to Iceland not quite 2 years ago. It's lovely Alafoss Lopi (the real stuff) in natural (main color), navy and light denim. They brought back Lopi #12, too, the one with all the classic designs.

For over a year, I aged the kit to perfection. Then I began mulling over the designs. I knew that the kit wanted to be a cardigan. But which one? Number 8 is a clasic jacket style with the little pewter clasps instead of buttons, but it really calls for a more subtle colorway than the high contrast one I have.

So #2 it is. Withthe deep, spikey yoke pattern (see little picture above) with natural in place of black, and Navy where the pattern calls for white. Cozy sweater with dress or casual wear. A jacket for spring and summer days.

Finally knitting up this kit will make no dent in the stash countdown :( . The two (only) sweater kits that I own aren't listed on my spreadsheet. But the yarn in this kit (1635 yards) is just a little less than a mile.

Progress photos will follow.

And as for my personal life, I no longer have one.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Is there anything sadder than frogging a 3 year old WIP?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Magnificent Seven

Back in May, I challenged myself to make a pair of mittens a month (in between everything else) for the Cheyenne River (Lakota Sioux) Reservation, located in South Dakota. Winters are rough on the Northern Plains and hands (and heads) get cold. Since I'm not especially fond of making mittens, I felt that making a public pledge would insure that I got them done.

Well, I did it! And with nearly 2 month to spare!

One of the new patterns that I tried (and will be using again and again, I think) is
Mariella's Magnificent 3-hour Mittens (3M) . It's my name for them, and it really fits! The 3 hours (yes, I timed it) was for the knitting in a child size. Add about 30 minutes for sewing up the seams. Larger sizes will take more time and more yarn.

I used about 2 ounces of Bernat Aspen in Violet Meadows. Aspen is a wool/acrylic blend, worsted weight, nice to work with and (sadly) no longer available. I've used a lot of this in this colorway to make mittens and slippers. I have about enough left for ribbing on a small hat or pair of mittens.

This afternoon, I speak at the opening of a fundraising walk for our local emergency food pantry. The need for services has grown a lot in the past year or so, I hope they have a successful walk. Relief efforts for the big disasters (December's Tsunami in Asia, August and September hurricanes here in the U.S.) have really cause funding for agencies helping folks right in our hometowns to dip. Please don't forget your needy neighbors.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Rules of the Game

A rash of spam comments has forced me to add "comment verification" to my blog.

Sorry folks, for any inconvenience to my regular readers, but I don't think you come here to learn how to make $50,000 in 6 days or how to "enhance your male organ."

Humans leaving comments should not be impacted signifiantly.

Spammers, however, will be boiled and served for lunch.


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