Saturday, September 30, 2006

Selfish September Day 30--The Last, Final, Fine

Ah, the last day. I did a little knitting on the Ragg, then proceeded to scour the wind-off of the Highland Tweed yarn. Wow! What a bloom!

As the Other Half said, "Now it looks like yarn, not twine. "

It's hanging in the yard draining. I'll skein up the rest when my shoulder recovers! If anyone wonders, I'd like a Mama Bear swift. You know, for Christmas.

I wound off about 6 ounces of the Amber wool, too. Last night, in a fit of fear that at that price, it might not actually be wool, I bleach tested it. About twenty minutes later, all that remained was a slight slick from the spinning oils. So, yep, it's wool.

Those of you who read about it and hesitated. Forget about getting your own. It's all gone.

But there are still some very nice garage sale items. I'm looking at the cotton flake yarns ($3) and some of the other coned wools (more than $3, but still very reasonable).

Finished it last night.

And here's the money shot of the shawl. I do believe that the mohair I've had stashed forever will finally be making an appearance as a similar one for me.

This one, however, will be off to South Dakota in a couple of weeks, along with some slipper socks and hand cream.

(I was tempted to keep this one.)

Weather Prediction: Yesterday, in the park, someone happened upon a Wooly Bear. Bad news. This one had no brown stripe at all. We are now all plotting our February vacations. Somewhere warm.

And in other weather news: The squirrels' tails are really fluffy.

You heard it here first.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Selfish September Day 29

Today was the Agency picnic. Pot luck. I brought cup cakes. From a mix. Chocolate. Iced. From a tub. Vanilla and Chocolate. Decorated with fall sprinkles (tiny pumpkins and oak leaves).

All gone.

I ate two kinds of chicken. No, make that 3 (there was chicken in the fetuccini). And rice with pigeon peas. And baked beans. And this wonderful fudge cakey thing with nuts and caramel. I want the recipe!

And I discovered that several of my coworkers read this blog. Hi, co-workers!

Selfish Knitting Update: I have reached the pit point on the Ragg sweater body. I am grateful to have arrived here, because the 300 stitches of stockinette around and around and around and around were driving me totally batsh*t! (It wasn't a long trip.)

Unselfish Knitting Update: I started the edging on the Frenzy shawl a couple days ago. Got to the point today and ripped three or 4 times to the utter amazement of my coworkers who were watching. (Yes, I took my knitting to the picnic. I take my knitting everywhere!)

If you have decided to try this at home, here's a tip for the edging (note, once I had established the pattern at about row 6 or so, I removed the stitch markers) Okay, here's the tip:

Tip: Knit to the point, including the center stitch, then do the short rows. Then continue. Either the directions were unclear, or (more likely) I mis-read.

If you are off by even one stitch, it will look stupid! (That was rip 1 and 2.) If you have made the edging wider or narrower than 10 stitches called for in the pattern, be sure to adjust the short rows. (That was rip 3.) Pay attention to the edge stitch that you are "acquiring." (That would be rip 4.)

Learn from my mistakes!

Mitten Challenge, Not-Squishy: These lovely mittens arrived today from Donna.

The striped ones in the front are the IK pattern that everybody's talking about. Now that I've seen them "up close and personal," I'm ready to take the plunge!

Thank you, Donna. That's six more little guys with warm hands.

For those of you who are confused: Squishy= soft package, i.e. padded (or not) envelope. Not-squishy=box.

Donna's mittens were in a box. The mittens themselves are all soft (and squishy) including Donna's. Clear?

The last selfish day is tomorrow. We have to take the :ahem: fully paid for (finally) Jeep for inspection. Anyone want in on the pool on how much work it will need?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Selfish September Day 28

I don't know if I can last through 2 more days! (I am enjoying this so much I may declare October to be "only me" Nah!)

The Frenzy shawl is as big as I want it (60+" across) so I started the edging, which is nothing more than a knitted on garter stitch strip, but let me tell you! I am amazed at how nicely it finishes the edge!

I am thinking that this is a technique that I will use again and again.

I wound up switching to a 7" dpn (Brittany Birch) which made the constant Knit 6 knit 2 together, turn bearable. I left the main knitting on the circular needle.

The mailman (or the guy in the brown truck) brought a not-squishy today. It's the yarn for the project I alluded to yesterday. From Webs . From the garage sale section (the only place I could find a tweedy wool that liked. I bought 3 pounds and now am winding it into hanks because it's coned and needs a good scouring (according to Webs and all the reviews I've read).
It's wonderfully lanolin-y. (Is that a word? It is now!)

The color is called Arctic Fox. I might go back for a couple more colors.

After I see how this washes up and swatches.

That's a lot of yarn!

And so is this. It's wool. It's worsted weight. The color is called "Amber." and there's a good 4 pounds of it. For $6 (US) total.

I can see a lot of warm hats, scarves and mittens. I might dye a bit of it.

I might go back and get some more then drag out the knitting machine and make some shawls and blankets.

The 50 g ball of Woolbale is there for scale.

And now, Gentle Readers, I will launch. The National Weather Service is saying that there is a tornado watch. I think I'll go watch.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Selfish September Day 27

Fifteen inches and counting! And I don't know which is bigger: my desire to be finished, or my desire to be done!

And I'm not the only selfish one here (in case you were wondering). The Other Half walked in the door about a half-step behind me this afternoon. He was hoping to get home first because he had made a, um, little purchase. Please tell me why, in a house of 3 adults (and no children) we need five computers?

I pretty much don't care how cheap it was!

Yarn sites, here I come! (Again)

A sad final note: Today, I helped a friend bury his friend. He could have done it alone, but I didn't think he should have to. She'll be waiting by the Bridge. Farewell, little one.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Selfish September Day 26

Closing in on the finish line, huh?

With only 4 more days left until the end of the month, I thought I'd bring my Gentle Readers up to speed on my projects. Not a chance in a million that either of them will be finished, but I've made a nice dent.

I think I can finish the green tunic in time to wear it this winter. After all, wool is warm and so is the current weather here at Casa Sheepie.

Winter will be a much better season for this one.

No, I am not back-burnering it.

Just taking a break.

Just a little break.

What I'd like to do is get this one finished up.

It's the perfect weight for fall, and its predecessor (a lovely navy, burgundy, light blue marl) was discarded oh, last fall I think, when it became obvious that there were way too many snags for it to be wearable anywhere beyond the back yard.

I'd love to have the sleeves attached before the Yarn I Shouldn't Have Bought arrives (in like 2 days :eep:).

And so, I offer a glimpse (you knew I would) of the potential next project. Can you even tell what it might possibly be?

I lerves me the special effects I can get with my photoediting software!

Of course, this is not a best effort.

Pattern is in an old (very old) Mon Tricot (August September 1977 :eep:). But a classic style lives forever, doesn't it?

I suspect that the tiniest bit of modification (around the sleeves) might be in order.

Oops. Did I give it away?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Selfish September Day 25

Wow! I almost forgot to blog and post progress!

Could it be because there was very little? At least on the Ragg (stalled at 14 body inches and 10 first sleeve inches) or the tunic (stalled at 11 second sleeve inches) .

And, yes, I did some selfish knitting (oh, maybe a half inch on the Ragg) in the car, then spent the better part of the evening browsing websites here, here, and here, before settling on some stuff I found here for Christmas knitting.

Then I emptied all the stuff I picked for me (September being nearly over and my stash starting to rival that seen on any of those sites, bah, humbug! Yes, I even put back the Noro!) out of the cart and left only the little bit of stuff that I plan to cast on as soon as it arrives (and a couple cones of wool for Dulaan, not for me). Film at 11, of course, and then no progress shots until late December. You know how that works!

The Not So New Daughter In Law saw many sweaters she liked at the Classic on Saturday, so we went through pattern books and looked at yarns and she has an inkling, but the final product will be a surprise.

The Older Kid wants a replacement for a sweater he's had since freshman year of college. I've seen it. It's ready to retire! His will be next.

I did a little knitting, not a lot, really--fat yarn (Bernat Frenzy), big needles--truly, only a couple of nights' work) on a cozy shawl for the elders at Cheyenne River Reservation.

And no, I don't plan to make it big enough to warm them all. I'm hoping that just one will know and care that someone cares.

Same yarn as the big fuzzy baby blankie and the big fuzzy mitered square (and Sparky's blankie). I upsized to 15s and used a pattern I found here. I'm thinking that this could be the start of something!

Elder Blitz (any and everything, purchased or made, suitable for Older Folks) starts October 1 and runs for 6 weeks. I'll tuck the shawl in with a bunch of slipper socks I bought.

Gratification alert: On Saturday, while we were at the Classic, one of the vedors shouted, "Nice sweater! Where'd you get it?" at the Older Kid. He hooked a thumb backwards and said, "My mom made it!" Yeh, I guess he'll get a new one for Christmas, too.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Selfish September Day 24

We took a Selfish Family Day yesterday and though my sleeve traveled with us and I knat going and coming, there was too much to see and do to knit while watching.

We drove about 15 miles to Bethlehem to enjoy the 19th annual of this event. Our company was happy to join us!

Things have changed a lot over the years.

One example: The herding trials are now Duck Herding (no llamas). I'm thinking that ducks are a lot easier to transport and cause a lot less damage to the game field, maybe?

There's still a wide assortment of Celtic foods, but not at this stand!

(We had fish and chips at Thisle.)

I was pretty sure I Did Not Want To Know.

I don't believe that this is part of my personal Celtic Heritage, probably being from the band that painted themselves blue and went to battle blue and that's all. (Yes, exactly what you are picturing in your mind!)

Braveheart was close. But entirely too clothed.


Here's what we came for:

There were bands from all over the U.S. and some from Canada. There are even a couple of local bands that compete each year.

Clearly, Blogger is f*cking with my mind today.

Or I've had too much coffee.

The photos keep disappearing and reappearing.

Another fine pipe band.

And another.

Note the fine Celtic crowd in the background.

Not a politician in sight, either!

And here's the shot that most of us got.


He has his own zip code.

Someone finally asked him very nicely to get the hell Out Of The Way.

And he did.



Local high School band.

In kilts.

Have been since I was in high school.

And the Leaders of the Pack.

There's a competition for everything from haggis eating to piping to caber tossing.

There was no knitting competition.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Selfish September Day 23

The view from my chair:

We have "company" this weekend. This room was not built for a double (air) bed, a big computer desk and chair, 2 filing cabinets and 50+ miles of yarn!

Thankfully, the bed collapses to fil in its own duffle bag when not in use. (Did you know that if you fail to close the deflate valve, the bed will collapse? I didn't!)

Thankfully, too, the company is family (the Older Kid and the Not-So-New-Anymore Daughter in Law). They are easy company.

Selfish (which was "shellfish" first) knitting: Last night waiting for their arrival, I got to about the halfway point on the second sleeve of the tunic. I might be ready to cast on for the body by Tuesday or so. The Ragg progresses. Body approaching the armpit, first sleeve at 6" and counting.

Unselfish knitting: I need to work a bit on Ship Support slippers. Another local kid died in "the Sandbox" this week. That brings it right on home, doesn't it?

And Franklin (bless his heart) has caused me to cave to the Dulaan Project. Finally, a use for those small wooly bits and the last ball of Baby Cashmere!

And there's always the Reservation! Mitten Challenge ends in 7 days! (Then we start a challenge/blitz for the elders.

And Christmas! Did someone breathe the "C" word?

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Mailman Cometh, Update Day 22

I did a little digging earlier in the day (sort of edging off the bed where the bulbs will go) and cleared the futon to its weekend spot, and had a little lunch and made a grocery list.

Went out to check the mail (high point of a day off) and found a Not Squishy from Lisa in the mailbox.

Woo! Bigger mittens! (Little ones are great, but bigger kids get cold hands, too!)

Lisa claims that she "got creative" because she was running short of yarn.

I really like the 2-tone red and purple ones!

Tres creative, Lisa. Thank you!

Selfish September Day 22

Finally! a "me" day!

I'm taking the day off because 1) I have to "use or lose," 2) company's comin' and 3) I really need a day.

Day started with a panic trip to work (because I might just be the only one with a key to the building that might actually arrive to open the door) that had me turn back halfway there when I reached my Second In Command at the warehouse and actually inside.

I turned off on a side road and about 1/2 mile in, I smelled something just too awful to describe, looked to the left and saw the world headquarter of this local food producer which made me think. . . Okay, let's not go there! I know that meat production is a smelly business. I've visited dairy and pig farms. And I know that the people building the McMansions in these folks' backyards will be complaining bitterly as soon as they notice, but come on. Who was there first?

But I digress.

My next stop was Cheap Haircuts R Us where I saw not one stylist that I Do Not Trust, so I decided to wait my turn rather than pay the extra buck to Request a Stylist and lucked into Alicia.

Besides doing a good cut (evidence to the left) --and that's without the curling iron I will employ in the morning-- Alicia's a knitter.

So I just had to show her

these cute knitted bags in the September Allure
that I was browsing while I waited.

I had already made a sketch on the back of an envelope I found in my purse, but Alicia insisted on ripping out the page for me (Bless her!)

Can you see the prices? Lust from Burberry is $990 retail and Must is a bargain at $475 from

Um. A little rich for my blood! And they aren't even cashmere!

I came home and looked through the stash and found these possibilities (left to right) Brown Sheep Naturespun, good ol' Sugar 'n' Cream and Annabelle Fox DK Superwash.

Somewhere in this room there's a pair of tortoiseshell handles and I'm betting that Michael's or A.C. Moore or Joann's has some hardware similar to the stuff in the photo.

Nine Freakin' Hundred Ninety Dollars!!!


So. . .

There will be periodic updates as the day progresses, but for now, the toilets are clean. I'd like to garden a bit (those bulbs want to feel the earth move under their feet. . .you're welcome, Why should I be the only one humming Carole King today?) and I need to set the bed up (air bed, the tall one, store it in a duffle when no one's sleeping on it).

Selfish knitting on both of my sweaters has already been accomplished. The day is mine :cackle:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Selfish September Day 21

(This is starting to read like a 5th grader's diary.)
Last night, I committed to the tunic and finished something like 40 rows of the second sleeve (see picture to the left)

Since I have the pattern pretty well committed to memory, it seems to be going much faster.

Today will be marked by meeting after meeting after meeting. I will put in a 13 hour day today, but tomorrow is all mine (so that I can clean and shop for groceries and such). Not an entirely "me" day, but better than nothing.

Update: I arrived home at 7:30 in the pee emm to discover that I never launched this morning's post!

But there was something further to report! Nancy sent me a squishy containing:

Six pairs of Mariella's sideways mittens!

Love the colors!

We're getting down to the wire. If you need the address, email me ( ).

Pictures of the prizes in tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Selfish September Day 20

Just when I thought things couldn't possibly get worse, 2 of our volunteers (from a rehab) ran away. My excuse? It wasn't my turn to watch them.

Then I came home and found that the Younger Kid had kindly dug some holes and put the last of my mums into place.

What a sweetheart!

I will deal with this promise of spring soon. Yes, that's about a hundred daffodil bulbs all set to plant.

I have some crocus and Dutch iris to get in the ground as well. That's going to be one seriously cool bed in April!

Selfish knitting continues. Tonight, I might make some sleeve progress, and maybe even pick up the tunic for a little bit.

For now, it's time to hit the shower, then TV and knitting with a cat on my lap.

How very selfish!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Selfish September Day 19 Updated

Today was the day from hell. It started out bad(ly?) and went progressively downhill from there. It's unfortunate that punching people will get me arrested!

I managed to get to 12.5" on the body of the Ragg, what with some snatched minutes of knitting time and broke into the 4th body ball (plus the one I'm using to create a sleeve). Fifteen balls remain.

The new ball got away from me, though, and attacked the sweet and stubby-tailed Princess Sparky, tangling itself around three of her feet before she managed to escape.

It's a good thing we keep powerful drugs on hand for such occurances! And catnip. And tuna.

It could have gotten very ugly!

Selfish September Day 19

Last night, I crashed. Little knitting was accomplished. Instead, I started shoveling out the Other Half's office so that the futon in my office can be moved in there so that the air bed can be set up in here so that guests will have a place to lay their weary heads.

Okay, a couple rounds on the Ragg body and six rounds on the sleeve. Proof of that knitting to the left.

Even on ebony needles and with a fancy marker at the beginning of the round, this knitting approaches the Watching of Paint Drying.

But I will plug away. And I will finish.

Tunic is off to the side for mere moments. It will take a very cold day in Pennsylvania for me to be able to wear it (it's wool for lord's sake!), so I'm concentrating on this very plain sweater that I can (and will) wear in less than a month :eep:

Yes, the squirrels and blue jays are storing away food for the winter. It's on its way.

And there is nothing we can do to stop it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Selfish September Day 18

The little princess loves her new mat.

And when the princess is happy, all's right with the world. When she's not happy, we just up her meds.

Decision made on the Ragg sleeves. I'm going for the "normal" increase 2 stitches every 6 rows (at least that how it works at this gauge). I cast on the first sleeve and have a (very) few inches worked.

There is no film from yesterday's "special project," though I did make some progress. Perhaps I will get finished tonight and take a few shots. Not knitting, but certainly a project that I will enjoy, both in the creation and afterwards.

Another week begins. This one is only 4 days long. Company coming Friday. Cleaning to do.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Selfish September Day 17

I have put in my selfish stitches (and actually have plans that involve other than knitting for later today--imagine that--film, if the work gets done, at 11) .

Progress continues on the Ragg. It truly is mindless dipshit knitting. I'm back to the Ann Budd book, looking at the sleeve cast on. Not nearly ready, but I figured that I should be prepared. And I might decide to start the sleeves now, so that when I arrive at the magic moment when the body is Long Enough, I am ready to attach the sleeves and begin the downward (or upward) trek to the neckline.

Decision time: Do I want a "blousey" cuff (where the cuff itself is tight, but there are a bunch of increases immediately after the ribbing) or do I want the gradual increase that a "normal" adult sweater sleeve employs?

Stay tuned.

In which I explain why I switched to 14" straights:

Never, ever say "never!" It will always come back to bite you squarely on the butt! I rarely use 14" straights. There, is that better?

Commence Backstory:

A couple of days ago, I cast on the remaining Frenzy for a cat mat for our sweet and charming Sparky the Bob-tailed Wonder Cat (Formerly Kitten) , as she likes to be called.

Bernat Frenzy (bought remaindered at the Dollar Tree) is a 3-ply, somewhat fuzzy, semi-novelty yarn made of ack (of course), nylon, polyester (and why is that not "ack" you might wonder), alpaca, and mohair. Closeup to the left.

Did I mention that it's fuzzy? It splits a bit, too.

The size 13 circ that was available (others being otherwise occupied with other projects, or MIA) is a Bates Quicksilver (and I won't be buying more of those any time soon).

The joins are okay (just) when they are new, but the plastic needle and the nylon cord soon part company in small splintery chunks that catch on the fuzziness of the Frenzy.

And so, I switched to aluminum straights as soon as the fabric was decreased enough to fit on the 14" needle.

Made for some interesting maneuvering and poking of cats and such. She was not amused!

And why is a new Cat Mat even needed?

Here's the old one.

Some charming KMart ack (Green Oak?) that I paid (I think) about 50 cents a skein for (full price), so you know it was the Real Good Stuff, made many years ago.

Over time, kids and cats and Charlie, the beagle we had for many years BK (before kids) and DB (during babies) took their toll on Old Faithful.

It's stiff in spots. Limp in others. A victim of over-zealous dryering.

Tears and snags abound. "Ends" that were once woven in have popped out in more places than you can count.

Years of being used as a super-hero cape, a tent, a bedroll. You know.

Some are worse than others. Some have been repaired.

Imagine, if you can, my incredible mortification when the New Daughter-In-Law (before she was even a fiancee) unfolded the Cat Mat to wrap up in.

Say it with me: Ewwww

But she didn't know how incredibly nasty it can/could be. Until she opened it up. . .

And I'm certain that she's not the only guest who saw a cream colored afghan on the sofa in the TV room and thought "afghan" before it was unfolded.

Clearly, it was time for a replacement.

And so, last night, I wove in the last end, clipped off the last ort, and ta dah! Cat Mat. And it's small enough so that no one can possibly mistake it for something to wrap around cold feet.

I hope.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Selfish September Day 16

Some progress photos.

Ragg, top, tan, is at 10" (I need about 16) and into the 3rd ball (of 20 available). I see some charity knitting in the future of the leftovers, but I might double-strand it for speed and warmth. This sweater was planned to be lightweight.

For the record, that's the second sleeve on my tunic. The ribbing is done, as is the set-up row for the pattern. I hope to make some headway this weekend, but (are you ready?) the sun is out!

There might be a little gardening in my plans! I'd love to get the back bed (former pine trees) plotted out and the bulbs back in the ground. And maybe some mums. Or something.

There are a couple of WIPs in my WIP baskets.

Top to bottom: (black) Slippers for Ship Support

(red) Sparky's blanket/cat mat (her old one is beyond rescue). This one will be the Frenzy that she loves--about 24" square.

(multi) Mittens (pair #7) for the Mitten Challenge--2 weeks left! Details in the archives (See June 11). Make and mail 6 pairs so that I have them by October 1. They'll warm the hands of children in South Dakota. Can't manage 6? Do the best you can. Each pair is one more kid without cold hands!

Aren't these cute? They're felted! And crocheted. (Bah, humbug) I can; I just choose not to.

But somewhere, in one of those old books I bought at a sale, I just know I saw a pattern for something similar, but knit. Hmmm, book digging time!

It's not like I don't have the wool.

I wonder how they made the legs. Wired I-cord, maybe? Or just the magic of Photo Shop? (Note to self: read the description. The legs are "chenille stems," the eyes are glass beads, and the beaks are felt.)

Pattern is $3.95/ kit is $29.95 to make 6 birds, From Lion Brand. (Pattern is also FREE at the web site!)

Here's where I found that picture. In the mailbox at Casa Sheepie.

They are in there, along with many other felted items and even more ideas for mats, bags, tea cozies and other good stuff.

What is it about yarn catalogs? Even the fanciest ones don't get my heart jumping like an on-line store.

Is it me? Am I just strange?

My preferred shopping (for yarn, clothes, houseares) these days is: on-line, followed by in-person (wtf?). Catalogs leave me cold.

I will probably save this one (I do that with some catalogs, until the next one arrives) for ideas.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Selfish September Day 15


Pronunciation: 'sel-fish

Function: adjective1 : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

2 : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others

3 : being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function ; also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication (has nothing whatever to do with knitting!) - self·ish·ly adverb - self·ish·ness noun

Fifteen more days.

Don't like it? Can't bear to read it? Then please don't.

Not that I need to explain further, this being my blog and all, but I have set aside moments this month to knit for myself. Not to the exclusion of other knitting, but merely for the purpose of accomplishing a sweater or two that I can wear to warm my bod.

I have partners in crime. I am not alone.

We are strapping on our air masks before assisting the child in the seat next to us.

Selfish September Day 14

Yes, I know I called yesterday "Day 14," too. But I went back and corrected it. Today is the real and actual Day 14. So there!

First day of "fall" that's rainy and cool enough for an actual sweater (pullover, not cardigan) and what am I wearing?

Cotton. Purchased.

I was able to work a bit on the tunic last night and reached the underarm. The pattern has a slightly inset drop shoulder, so it's a bit tailored, but not overly so.

I'm hoping to wear this over black slacks or a slim (?) skirt. I do not want it sloppy big.

I really do have another sleeve and a back and front to go, don't I? How many more selfish days are there?

Here's a close-up of the cable panel. Filatura di Crosa calls it "Turban" (the thing that looks like a 6 stitch cable crossed every 6 rows) and Turban Rib (the ribbed horeshoe thing in the middle). WTF?

The color is that mottled. In fact, the color's showing up very true on my monitor.

Several selfish stitches are done for the morning. Knitting will accompany me to the state capital today (for a day-long meeting). There will be breaks.

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