Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Admit It!

You knew! Hell's bells, I knew! It was just a matter of time.

Day 4 of my 5-Day Weekend I spent cleaning the kitchen in 15-minute Flybaby bursts (and boy, oes it look great!), planting a half-bazillion bulbs (okay, about 300), balling up dyed wool, and casting on the other Aran.

The pattern's a Patons Classic. The yarn is Elann Peruvian Highland (oatmeal-it's lighter than it photographed).

At least I didn't cast on anything else! (Not that tomorrow isn't another day. . .)

Answers to recent comments:

Amy said: Does this mean you are suitably caffeinated once again?

Well, Amy, it's like this, getting off the caffeine was a struggle. I'm not sure I want to go back. And the symptoms may have been just a passing fancy, but they might come back. So, short answer: no. (But I did break down and have a tiny bit of chocolate.)

Nanna said:Do they allow marriage with animals in the US yet?? I'm just trying to find a way so that i can become an out-law & have knitted for me a very nice Aran jumper...

No, Nanna, sorry. Not yet. But give them time. I'd love to have you as an out-law instead of just an evil twin.

Monday, October 30, 2006

If I'm Starting Something New. . .

. . .it had better be the second Aran!

What is it about the fall and the wonders of a room full of yarn? I see so many things I want to cast on. And none of them look like the sweater I need to make. . . The one that will go with this one. That could actually be a late-November gift if I just get on the stick(s) so to speak.

In fact, many of them look more like this little Dulaan sweater that is giving me fits (not to say that the pattern is poorly/strangely written). I'm using up the last of my Pinguoin Pingofrance II (ack and wool blend) and a pattern from the Kids X 3 book from XRX (Knitters).

I fudged the colorway because this is what I happen to have at the moment.

I engaged in a bit of, ahem, Retail Therapy last week and now have additional wooly stuff. I have no need for more.

This is just fine.

I look down and see what appears to be "just enough" leftover Kool Wool for one last hat. I think that's what will become of these bits.

There's a bit of claret, some navy, some camel, and a little khaki.

Stripes, I think.

Rolled brim.

Basic pattern. Cast on 72, perhaps.

And last, but certainly not least, there's miles (literally) of kool-aid dyed wool that cries for attention. I've been balling it up in anticipation of casting on something from Zoe Mellor's Animal Knits. I'm thinking that the Fish Jacket would be sweet in shades of autumn.

Did I mention that the two Selfish September sweaters are currently in the time-out chair. Haven't touched either of them in over a week. No, make that 2.

We're gearing up for the "C" word here, and I don't mean chenille!

Fifty-seven days.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wooly, Warm, and Very Purple

Dulaan hat #3 is a Finished Object. I think it came out rather well. Started on 48 stitches, then decreased rapidly (before I could run out of yarn). The remaining foot or so was worked into i-cord that I tied in an overhand knot. The snippets you see in front are All That Was Left.

Thus endeth the vast majority of the handspun. There's a bit of dark gray left, but it's pretty fine. I might double it and use it as an accent.

I have other Dulaan knitting OTN. It should be ready to show off in the next couple of days. I'm knitting "in" with all the announced knit-ins, just from my house, not in person.

And in my usual arrogant, obnoxious, know-it-all way, I ignored the cabling advice on the Super Secret Sweater -SSS (tm)-- through the first repeat. Hey, I don't use a cable needle for 2 stitches.

Well, I broke down and tried it their way and by George, it works! And was even faster than struggling without the cable needles! Slip 2 stitches to CN, hold in front. Slip next 2 stitches to second CN, hold in back. Knit next 2 stitches (on left hand needle) . Purl 2 stitches from 2nd CN. Knit 2 stitches from 1st CN. Well, there you go! I've also discovered that the fat cable needle (the first one I owned) holds the stitches much more securely than the skinny one (that I have in quantity--like 5?).

Live and learn.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

This Simply Could NOT Wait

I had a small ball of un-dyed handspun (another gift. I don't spin--yet) that was crying to be a hat. But not cream color. Definitely not if it was intended for a child.

So I broke out the Wilton. Violet. Cast your eyes on the result. It really is shaded like the photo shows.

I counted the hats that I made and mailed (or boxed for mailing on 11/1) this month: 15. This is so chunky that I'll probably use 13s or 15s. Will cast on, then decide. There really isn't enough for swatching.

Medical results: None. Nada. Zippity doo dah. Twenty-four hours on a monitor with nothing to show. EKG normal. Chest xray, ditto. Stress? Anxiety?

I'm taking a very long weekend (5 days in a row) and plan to do a great whack of knitting and relaxing. I deserve it. There will be pictures!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mail Call

There was a not squishy today. From my friend in Port Roberts.

It was my Dulaan re-supply. I wish I had thought of this sooner!

Here's what I got: Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky-Cedar(front), Elann Pamir-Moroccan Blue, and Elann Peruvian Sierra Aran-Fiddlehead Green. So pretty. All in chunky weight that I will knit with slightly smaller needles for a more dense fabric.

I was very restrained, buying only one color of each and only in sufficient yardage to make a medium-sized child's vest (or a hat and mittens) in each.

I also got this:

Don't buy this one sight unseen, especially if you are a subscriber.

Many of the patterns are encore performances, some from the summer "gift" issues. I saw a lot I recognized.

There are some pretty special patterns from some of IK's books as well.

My disappointment faded when I realized that they are All In One Place. Hmm.

And now to reply to comments:

Anonymous wrote: The Dulaan hat is precious, is it a pattern in public domain, or can it be bought?

The Dulaan hat is a variation on a theme. I believe I cast on 60, but any multiple of 4 will work. When I was ready to begin the decreases, I switched from a 16" circular needle to 5 dpns. Place 1/4 of the stitches on each needle and decrease at each end of each needle (left leaning and right leaning, one stitch in from the end) every round until 8 stitches remain. Knit 2 together around. Finish with an inch or so of 4-stitch i-cord.

Nanna wrote: How many repeats have you done?? None, so far, so you are still at the learning stage. Recalculate the hrly rate, after the 2nd repeat & I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Nanna has you over his knee & spanking

Nanna is always right. It's speeded up considerably already and I'm still on the first repeat! That 8th row (the one where the little cables twist) is a royal b*tch, though. Reading one's knitting (with a glance at the chart occasionally to verify) certainly goes faster!

I had forgotten how enjoyable Aran knitting can be.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Trick or Treat!

Tricks: Yeh, I know. It's tradition, though. (See the entry from October 27, 2005.) I have no explanation. What is, is.

Here's what we gave out this year: Harry Potter "Acid Pops" (they were on sale) and Tootsie Roll Giant Bag (Tootsies, plus Dots, Junior Mints, Charleston Chews, and such).

Here's what we kept: Dots and Junior Mints.

I really did not want to participate this year. I was giving out the candy by the handful (much to the delight of the kids), and 75 minutes into the 2-hour session, I was quite nearly out of candy, so I shut it down.

Hands down best costume this year was the pair o' skunks. Just precious in fuzzy suits. They were big kids, not toddlers, too!

And Treats: There was a squishy in the mail from Jean today. Hats for whatever project they suit (I'm thinking the reservation. They seem to be kid-sized) and four balls of Socka, 2 blue in wool and 2 white in cotton.

Those will become something for a baby, I'm pretty sure. Or maybe a prize.

Socka was my very favorite sock yarn for a long time. Then I met Wildfoote and Kroy, and Sock It To Me! (just call me fickle).

Hogwarts is finished!

And it is so not a hat.


Though, I guess if one were having a totally bad hair day, it could be used to hide that fact.

But not a hat. No. Definitely not a hat!

Maybe if it was very, very cold. No. Not even then.

Not A Hat!

A small wooly vest-ible!

Originally intended for Dulaan*, this one will wing its way west on the weekend where it will join 899 similar garments to warm the bodies of 900 school children in Afghanistan.

Have I ever mentioned the soft spot in my heart for Afghanistan? Michener's Caravans and a foreign student at my high school back in the 60s got me hooked.

This is my first contribution to Afghans for Afghans. It won't be the last.

It's probably too late for my Gentle Readers to get involved in this round, but you can read more about A4A here.

*Fear not, I have replenished my stash for Dulaan.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Little Over an Hour

That's the time it took to knit the rows above the pretty blue crochet hook.

If I do this much every night, I'll reach the armhole decrease in 2 more weeks.

At this rate, I'll finish this sweater in time for the 2012 Presidential Election. Maybe.

And I need to make two. Oh boy!

I'm making progress on the Hogwarts thing and should finish it tomorrow. Film at 11.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Can You Guess?

It's Kool Wool. It's striped. It's for Dulaan.

Can you guess what it is?

I plan to finish it tomorrow night. Then I will show you.

Today was a total wash-out. Two people out with some stomach thing, one in late because of a meeting off-site. And I had to leave early because a check presentation that was supposed to be at the food bank was moved to the donor's office. Nice, but I was dressed for the warehouse (khakis, polo shirt, decent sweater--clean, no snags) and they were dressed for what they do--sell real estate.

It would have been fine except no one told me that the press would be there. And a TV camera. Oops.

Fortunately, tomorrow is another day. With a clean slate. And so many other ways to screw up!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Three's the Charm?

Casting on for the third time with the third different pattern. Let's hope this one sticks!

I found this pattern, after several nights of browsing through many years' of knitting magazines (and frankly, I found many, many Good Things among the stuff I rejected), This one is the same basic cables with different backgrounds, one a cardigan, the other a pullover.

If I use different yarns, and make one of each, is that too cutesy-poo?

And since I haven't snarked much lately, I direct your attention to this bit of editorial content:

"The borders continue this distinction. The staggered brick stitch pullover edging results in a slight suggestion of a scallop. Compare this to the cardigan's deeper curves resulting from alternating garter and 2X2 ribbing at the lower edge and sleeves."

Well, I'm sure the differences were obvious in the photos--or at least the one where the models are standing, not sitting with the edgings all but obscured by scarves, their posture, their arms, etc.

But then someone decided that the money shot would be a good place to put big white letters.


Pattern is from Knitter's Winter '96. Yarn is Highland Tweed color Arctic Fox from Webs.

And a word about the yarn: My first cast on threw me into a panic. The yarn, despite scouring was still stiff and twine-y. I was very worried about how the finished sweater would feel. So I swatched (yeh, yeh) and then I washed that sucker to within an inch of felting. This time I got all the spinning oils out (I think) and let it dry. The resulting fabric is so nice. So very, very nice. The thought of rehanking, then re-scouring, waiting for it to dry, then re-balling it. No. Too much.

Shall we press on?

And in other news: All the best to Shannon and Mike who were married yesterday. The wedding was lovely, and the party after afforded time to renew old acquaintances and strengthen on-going ones.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Good Stuff In the Mail!

After a mildly bad day (peppered with three meetings and a doctor's appointment--no news yet, but if that joker tells me one more time that I'm pregnant, I'll be talking to my lawyer!), I got home yesterday and found this wonderful surprise (only because I hoped it would arrive yesterday, but nevermind) on the front porch.

Who in Port Roberts,Washington would be sending me prezzies??

:insert hysterical cackle:

The contents were amusing.

The Highland Wool (oatmeal) that will become the Bigger Kid's Aran sweater. He specified "lighter" than the gray one he has worn to death for the last 10 years (the one his Czech professor drooled over because she was certain that American Women Didn't Knit) and "not Merino" (because of its Propensity for Pilling). That color looked different on the monitor.

The booklets were cheap, er, inexpensive (thank you Elann) Patons Classics Family Aran Knits, Patons Home Kidz Stuff, which I confess I bought for the dinosaur patterns in anticipation of (hypothetical) future grandchildren, the fair, and community giving. Who could be afraid of a knitted purple Tyranosaurus Rex? No, wait--ick--Barney! and Patons Men, which at $3.25 US was a real bargain--6 sweaters, a scarf, and a dickey.

Oh, and I got a freebie pattern for an "asymmetrical pullover." Interesting concept. Maybe on someone else.

But anyway. . .This was also in the mail. I renewed my subscription right about the time it ceased being Family Circle Easy Knitting (FCEK) and became Knit Simple. I figured that I would give the publisher a chance.

What is it with magazines? They start out in a blaze of glory. Anyone remember the early FCEK? The one with the really great instructions section? I took the sock plunge with an early FCEK and learned to knit textures from charts with another.

Nearly all of the current magazine crop (IK excepted) seems to (still) be catering to the lowest common denominator. I'm quite ready to let subscriptions lapse and take my chances at the checkout line and Borders!

This issue, though (called "Holiday") has some cute things that would be good for community knitting.

I really like the multicolor sweaters and the flap hat (thinking Dulaan). After all, I have all of that wool in all of those colors!

And though I have my Own Pattern well-committed to memory, there are some good ideas in this section, too.

Also included: a felted Christmas wreath (thinking ahead to next year's fair again), a lacy scarf, kids' vests and socks.

I'd probably pass on this issue at the newsstand, but since it's right here, I may use it for inspiration. Dare I say that the color selections are better than those in another magazine I recently reviewed?

And back to Christmas Knitting: I have about 73 patterns picked out for an Aran cardigan (Webs Highland Tweed is the yarn of choice).

This is for the Not-So-New Daughter In Law. The problem is I/she wants

1) cardigan with buttons (or zip, but I have the same aversion to zippers in knitwear as other folks )

2) set in or raglan sleeve

3) fairly complex cables

4) collar

I like 1 from a 70s Mon Tricot (concerned about sizing), 1 from an old Patons leaflet (no collar), 1 here (I'd leave off the pockets--there's no chart), 1 from Knit It! (no collar, but the cables are very nice-no chart) and 1 from Family Circle Easy Knitting (no collar, no chart, lotsa freakin' bobbles). I don't believe I am up for DesignYourOwn. If I'm going to use any of them, I'll need to chart first. Yeh, I know. So far, since I have to chart all but one, the one in the link is ahead.

Time will tell. Dammit, decide, Woman! and cast on! Christmas is coming. (I should listen to the voices. They make sense!)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Medical Advice

Warning! The author of this entry is not a doctor, nor does she play one on TV!

You might be a caffeine addict and not know it! If you, like me, are a closet caffeine addict (36 cans of caffinated diet soda a week, plus chocolate, plus the occasional cup of coffee, heed this advice!

Withdrawal from caffeine is ugly! I draw your attention here and say in small words (difficulty concentrating): I have it! One of the "doctor's orders" I got on Tuesday was to lay off the caffeine (soda, coffee, chocolate) and other stimulants (including street drugs--damn! I was just heading out for a fix!) until I all the evaluations were complete.

So, I found myself, several times yesterday, lingering with my hand on the "soda fridge" in the basement and not indulging. :sigh: Today, the smell of brewing coffee was enough to bring tears to my eyes.

I know where we keep the chocolate. And I want some! Now!

Seriously, though, the symptoms were/are severe. But they are fading. Two to nine days, huh? Shoot me now!

Thoughts on an ER visit:

1) I know we knitters always have an emergency (room) project on the needles and ready to grab at a moment's notice. Would you believe that I stood in my crafts "studio" trying to figure out what to grab and finally grabbed the book from my nightstand instead of knitting?

There's a simple explanation. Every single project I had going at that very moment was too fiddly, would require too much extra equipment (extra needles, pattern book, etc.) or simply required too many brain cells. I couldn't even look at my "community knitting" yarn basket and grab a ball and a circular needle and just Start Another Hat. I couldn't.

So I grabbed my book. It's a good thing, too, because there was Nothing To Read in the waiting room (except for the posters about HIV/AIDS and TB, and when you've seen one. . .I guess I could have attempted a self-taught lesson in Spanish. (The signage is all bilingual.)

2) Hospitals seem to color-code emergency ailments. My wristband was purple. Other folks had other colors. (The red one was an "allergy alert.")

3) The bigger the hospital, presumably the better the care (and often, the longer the wait). Yes, I was there for nearly 4 hours. But I was first seen within minutes of arrival.

4) The strangest people populate ERs. Like the really big guy with the 2 gallon Ziploc full of pill bottles. I don't know if he was selling them. He didn't offer me any. He seemed to be chatting up the little kids.

I finished my first Dulaan hat. This one is made of homespun (handspun?) wool that I have had a really long time. It was given to me by a friend who did re-enactments at a living history farm. At the time, she was learning to spin, but did not knit, so I was her grateful recipient.

I used some of it for a toy sheep, and the rest, I dyed with ammonia and pennies. That's the green part. The color is pretty true, a soft celery. The yarn in the purple stripe was also a gift. I used every inch I had.

This hat that will warm an Asian child is the gift of three different U.S. crafters.

The Dulaan hat is Number 11 for October. The other 10 are shown left.

Some will go to Vancouver (Rabbitch is collecting them there), some to Ship Support (they'll be mailed November 1), and some will go to Cheyenne River Reservation.

Will I stop when I reach a dozen? Not likely.

But I might take a break and move back to Selfish September knitting. I'd really like to wear those sweaters this winter.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why There Was No Knitting

I got to spend the better part of the evening in the Emergency Room. It was busy and crowded and there was a 5.5 hour wait.

I said "rapid pulse," and "irregular heart rate" and 4 hours later, I was back home, hooked up to one of these:

for the next 24 hours (until 9 tonight).

No shower. But I get to stay home (doctor's orders). But I have some "quiet" work I can do here.

So I will.

And knit.

And not clean the bathroom.

I'm plugging away on hats. Nine are finished and one more is nearly so. I'm ready to cast on a sweater for Dulaan. I'm ready to ball up some more of the Highland Tweed, and I have ordered Elann Highland Wool for the second Aran sweater.

Answers to recent comments: The Voodoo hat took about 2.5 balls. I probably could have gotten away with 2, but I think it would have been skimpy. I'm thinking that I should use some of it for cuffs. On mittens. Hat pattern's the same one I've been using. I cast on 56 and used size 13s.

Ammonia/penny yarn is shown August 18, 2006, post.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Finished Object-Mangy Hatly Thing

This one's done and promised to Rabbitch. You'll have to get yours somewhere else! It looks pretty skanky, I know, but it truly is so soft and warm. I used smaller needles on the top decreases (because I don't have/can't find my 13 dpns), and frankly, coming down to a size 9 doesn't seem to affect the gauge, and it's harder to knit. I have several more blue, one black and some beige balls of this stuff. I wonder how it will look as a teddy bear. . . or a scarf.

I have 2 more hats on the needles and I have big plans for some homespun wool I was given and some I stashed years ago and just dyed (with ammonia and pennies) this summer. I think the colors will look good together.

And in Ragg knitting news: there isn't any!

And in dyeing news: Nope, none of that either.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Little Black Magic

I just had to try the Patons VooDoo yarn. It's so funky on the ball that I figured, what the heck.

It's a cabled rope with chunks of fuzzy stuff every so often.

I had seen a bit of it knit up into hats (on-line--Google is my friend) so that's what I decided I'd make.

The ball band calls for size 13 US needles (9 mm for the metrics among us). I thought, "no freakin' way!" and cast on my "hat" on 11s.

This stuff is very strange and knits up even stranger! That's the wrong side over there on the left. Most of the fluff migrates to the inside (as you'd expect).

But not all of it does, so you get these hairy spots on the right side with sort of bald patches in between. Like mange, kind of.

So, the question of the week: Can the creature that bears the fiber we refer to as "ack" support the parasite commonly known as mange?

All conventional wisdom aside, the picture (left) would offer proof positive that the answer is undeniably, "yes."

Repeat after me: It will keep someone warm.

And I have spent the better part of the last several hours hanking and dyeing.

I used Wilton paste color and Kool-Aid. I was hoping for some "neutrals" this time around and so used purple (the Wilton, plus grape KA) over the amber which should have given me a sort of "mud" color. (Remember mixing water colors as a kid?)

Well, that didn't work out quite like I expected. I got a sort of chestnutty color with the Wilton and a warm taupe with the KA. Interesting and certainly useable, just unexpected.

Here, take a look:

The ones going horizontal at the top are three of the ones you've already seen.

Top to bottom: Cherry, lime, and the blue Wilton that gave me such fits rinsing out the excess.

Across the bottom, vertical and l-r (as best as I can remember- Must Write It Down Next Time) :

Black cherry berry blast, Wilton violet, black cherry, grape, Wilton royal blue, raspberry blue lemonade, orange (the same hank as before, overdyed a second time with the same color) and cherry.

Remember that all of these were overdyes. The base yarn is a warm gold without greenish tones. They are also still damp to wet, so I expect the colors to lighten a little.

I'm hoping to cast on something cute very soon. Most of these hanks are 300-400 yards. Probably enough for a baby sweater, or combining a couple of colors, a sweater for a small child.

I have some gray and some black Brown Sheep Naturespun that will set the colors off very well. And there's still about a pound of the amber still undyed.

Dulaan, here we come!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Frost Warning

Buffalo (far north of here) got snow. We got frost and freezing.

On September 27, I showed a Mexican Sunflower.

Today, I show you the same plant. Post frost.

Winter's coming.

On the needles--hats, left, are left to right, Patons Decor, variegated wool/ack, lightish worsted weight on size 6 (cast on 84) and Red Heart Shetland Chunky, same blend, but chunky weight, leftovers, on size 9 (cast on 72).

Both are big enough to fit me. Both will wind up being donated to worthy causes where they will keep someone a bit warmer this winter.

I'm cranking up the hat knitting by a lot! People lose a lot of body heat through their heads. Babies (newborns) need their heads covered year-round. Kids and adults need those hats now.

Can I see a show of hands of the folks who are knitting hats for various community efforts?

Dez Crawford (regular on KnitU) is looking for hats and other warm woolies for New Orleans. Caps for the Capital is collecting newborn hats. Ship Support seeks hats for our deployed troops. Rabbitch has her thing going for Vancouver. And I (as always) am collecting for several of these folks and also for Cheyenne River Reservation (recipient of the 2006 Mitten Challenge).

So, lift your paw, your needles, your hook in support.

I finished winding 1/3 of the Highland Tweed into a nice center pull ball. That's my fist at the bottom. That's a pound of really fine (as in "nice"), sturdy worsted weight wool in a color that resembles cooked pearl barley.

I have 2 more whacks as big as this to ball.

I hope to cast on within the next couple days.

I'm rethinking the pattern. Go on, admit you're surprised! Bite me.

Sheila asked about washing the spinning oil out of this wool. What I did: Hanked it (I used the back of my desk chair), figure-8 tied it in 4 spots, then (after thoroughly cleaning it) filled my kitchen sink with water as hot as I could stand and a healthy squirt of dish soap. (I used Ajax with degreaser, but pretty much any kind will work. Some folks swear by Dawn.) Then I soaked it, swishing and squeezing, drained, refilled with clear water, repeated until the water was no longer "milky." Then I used my salad spinner to get as much water as possible out, hung it to dry. (Note: a pound of wool really tests the limits of the salad spinner!)

Weekend Plans: I have to work. Well, some folks would consider it sort of work-play. We have our Empty Bowls Chili Dinner tonight in the warehouse. It's fun to see the transformation from industrial site to fine dining venue.

The food is good (3 kinds of chili). There's a silent auction. Music. Dancing. But it's still work.

Sunday, I plan to dye. Not die, sillies! Dye! With Kool-Aid.

Film at 11.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What's the Hurry?

The Highland Tweed yarn is all washed to remove spinning oils and finally dry (It takes a while to skein up 3000 yards of yarn, wash it, and get it dry!)

So tonight, I was ready to take the first hank (1000 yards) and started to prepare it for knitting.

First, I cut the ties that kept it from tangling. Then, I put the hank around this box to keep it from tangling (do I sense a theme?)

As every knitter knows (or soon discovers), you can't knit from the hank (unless you are one of those lucky knitters who owns a swift-hint, hint--but I digress).

In order to knit your newly scoured yarn, you must first form it into a ball (center-pull, please).

And since I don't own a nostepinne either (hint, hint--walnut, please), I use this thing which is part of a funnel-shaped ricer dealie that I used to use back in the Dark Ages to make purees for canning. (Applesauce, catsup, the whole deal. Earth Mother. Bite me!)

Works just fine for this task! (And it's not like it's getting any sort of workout with food prep any more!)

Here's how I plan to spend my Sunday! Some more of that amber wool is about to become more colorful.

I plan to use it to knit kid-sweaters for Dulaan, so I thought, oh, what the heck! The yarn was inexpensive enough that I could toss some cash on Kool-Aid to dye it!

Already have a couple of patterns in mind, too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What the?

Reading over several forums, lists and blogs over the last few days brought this question to mind:

Why are people afraid of their knitting?

Seriously. It's not carpentry or dressmaking where once you plunge in, if you screw up, you're toast.

With knitting, you screw up, you frog. Yarn's reusable (mostly). This was where I was going to insert a picture of a frogged ball of baby cashmere, but it (the ball, there's no photo yet) has disappeared. WTF?

So, imagine a wavy little 50 g ball of salmon yarn over there to the left.

I started Branching Out, but decided that it and I were not compatible, and besides, the color wasn't right. I was thinking that a nice celery or chocolate would be better with my winter (camel) coat. So this ball is destined to become baby socks. (That's assuming that I can find the yarn!) Little cable cuffed sockies. Tiny.

And the soak they'll get after I finish will take care of the waves in the yarn.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pictures I Promised

It took many tries to get these pictures uploaded.

I hope you all appreciate the effort.

Here are the 4 most recent hats. Left to right, they are done in (I believe) Woolease Thick and Quick (black) with a strand of fingering weight ack for "color" and bulk. Pattern from Odd Ball Knitting on size 15s; those with the white stripes are Red Heart Shetland Chunky on size 8s or 9s. The dark blob in the back is Wool Ease (possibly chunky or bulky or something thicker than worsted which we all know is actually DK).

And here's the latest on Selfish September's Ragg sweater. The sleeves and body are one and I've begun the mindless, endless yoke.

I have about anther 60 rounds before I start the neck ribbing. I'm giving this my attention for a couple hours each night.

Any chance I'll wear it soon? I think so.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Very Busy Day

Stealth blogging at its finest. (I'm typing this 3 hours before launch. What's that? You thought I was still awake at midnight most nights? Dream on! I'm up at 5.)

Prizes are packed and ready to ship. I need one more address, plus the addy of my anonymous commenter who claimed the Patons booklet. Then I'm off to the Post Office to do battle with the Postal Clerk Who Knows Everything (except that there's a"letter rate" to Canada that's lots cheaper than regular post). A pox on him and his house!

The whole week is shaping up to be busier than uual. Our only fundraising "event" of the year is scheduled for this Saturday (the 14th) and the development coordinator and I will be running in circles until then.

On a knitting note: I have completed 4 more hats (Blogger is being pissy. Pictures later, perhaps). They are "nothing special," but will keep someone warm. I will divide all of this month's car-knitted hats among the various groups I support: The Dulaan Project, Ship Support (which has the most stringent restrictions, with good reason), Cheyenne River Reservation, and Rabbitch's latest brainstorm.

I reached the "connection point" on the Ragg sweater and have joined sleeves to body. I am now concentrating on the yoke of the sweater and anticipate wearage within the next couple of weeks. Again, picture as soon as I can download and upload. It's going to fit. It's going to be lightweight and comfy--like a well-worn sweatshirt. I used Ann Budd's Book of Sweaters for the pattern.

I direct your attention to the sidebar and the yarn countdown which I just updated (yes, with a date of the 5th--bite me!). I find it ironic that my yarn consumption this month (and the fact that I mailed off some stuff to needy friends) now puts me at almost exactly where I was in February 2005. Have I turned a corner? Nah! I've added many pounds of Web's cones (remember?) and a bunch of stuff the needy friend sent back to me (a swap of sorts). I just can't tabulate them since there are no labels (therefore, no yardage) on them. What a shame.

I should probably include something like: Huge Laundry Basket of Community Yarn on the sidebar and get a scale weight on it. I'd do that if I were honest (with myself). Denial isn't just a river, you know.

Last chance: Anonymous commenter, please get your address to me (privately to amcmanus@ptd.net ) if you still want the Patons booklet. If I don't hear from you by midnight tonight (10/10), it will go to the next person on the list. I'm trying to find the floor in my crafts room, so fairness and patience is out the window on this one. Sorry 'bout that!

Hey, Anonymous!

Judi M., please contact me via email at amcmanus@ptd.net with your snail address.


Book Sale

The local branch of the Ammerican Association of University Women (AAUW) is holding its annual book sale. Proceeds are used to fund scholarships for girls and women.

They share the venue (a former junior high school that has become the alternative education site for the district) with the public library. Two huge book sales are held each year, and they are like night and day. The library sale is (seemingly) well organized. Bbooks are alphabetized by author into rough groups, making it possible to search for wishlisted authors.

This sale leaves a lot to be desired on the organization front. The non-fiction is grouped, but the fiction is just, well, there. Kind of a "good luck finding what you seek!"

I was able to find a couple of books for The Kid, and some stuff I thought looked interesting. My books are in the garage, airing out.

Loyal Readers will remember the tremendous score I, um, scored during the summer (many Mon Tricots from the 70s, a couple of hard cover knitting books). Not so much this time.

Case in point: the knitting books were non-existant. There were a few old McCall's, and a baggie of vintage (1949) Worbasket magazines, but nothing else. I will live in my fantasy world and pretend that there were lots, but that other knitters beat me to them.

Sadly, I think not.

I did find this (eyes left, please) which, despite the condition of the cover, is intact. Copyright 1968. There are some classic baby sweaters and a lot of fashionable (for 1968) stuff that no self-respecting 4-year old would be caught dead in. It was 50 cents, so no great loss if I never use it.

I found these little leaflets of doll clothes to "knit and crochet." They are mostly crochet.

They are also copied from typed pages (not typeset, in other words). The clothes are sized for very tiny to about 20" dolls.

These, I bought for their conversation piece value. I'm pretty sure I'll never use them, but for 10 cents each, I figured, what the heck.

They go beyond "vintage," and straight to "quaint."

This, however, might be quite useful. Just not to me. When I got home, I discovered that it duplicates one I bought last summer.

Anyone interested? It's very classic (1992 version) pullovers and cardigans, raglan, drop shoulder and set-in sleeve, sized toddler 2 (26" finished chest) through adult 59" finished chest in worsted weight.

First person to ask can have it. You can reimburse postage and the 50 cents I dropped by making a "check out line" cash donation of a buck or two to a food-related charity in your area.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Fix Is In!

Final totals on the Mitten Challenge: 6 in 2006 have been tabulated.

Folks who responded contributed an amazing 534 warm woolies to the Cheyenne River Reservation!

That includes 311 pairs of handmade mittens, 3 pairs of fingerless mitts/wristers, 82 pairs of purchased mittens, 5 pairs of purchased gloves, 1 pair of handmade gloves and 132 other warm woolies ranging from socks and baby booties to hats and sweaters.

Thank you to all who participated!

And now for what you've all been waiting for! The Other Half helped me to set up a Random Number generator that did the actual selection; I refuse to be held responsible.

Winners were: Debbie in the SF Bay area --2 balls of Cervinia Oslo, a wonderful homespun-y wool blend, Mona--5 balls of Lion Brand Kool Wool, Sue K--two balls of self-striping sock yarn, suitable for socks or mittens. These winners are also members of Native American Support group, so they mailed their mittens directly to Cheyenne River.

From among my loyal readers who are not (yet) members of NAS--Lisa I (hers are shown on the 9/22/06 entry)--the Beautiful Knitting Patterns book and Jennifer (see 10/1/06)--two balls of self-striping sock yarn.

Squishies will be in the mail this week.

Anyone who would still like to make mittens for the 600+ children that receive services at the Billy Mills Youth Center can mail them directly to the Reservation:

Cheyenne River Youth Project
P.O. Box 410
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

CRYP is a 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are tax-deductible.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Magazine Review

I finally had a momement to sit with my Fall Knitters. Dudes, this might get me drummed right out of town, but I like a lot of what's in it (oh, wait, those are ads--just kidding!) Is it faint praise to say that it's a lot better than recent issues?

Is it sweet lemons (as opposed to sour grapes) to say that my subscription endures forever, so I might as well make the best of it? You be the judge.

Seriously, I think the color choices suck eggs in most of the magazine, but here's my short list of likes, remembering that I finally have someone female to knit for (besides myself):

That said, some of the projects I might consider:

Gimme a T--the concept, NOT the colors!

Think Pink (that's it to the left) and V is For Violet (Kathy Zimmerman)-I think either of these would be lovely for the DIL, but first she's getting an Aran cardi.

Lotus Blossoms (but please, something with a LOT LESS contrast)

Headin' East (cover sweater)- I like the shape, and as others have pointed out, it fits the model! *I* would wear that!

Cabled Duffle Coat-except the color and the clasps (they look like they were badly photo-shopped on) .

Loves Me-without the star fish thing, though I'd use the star fish on a bag or a hat.

The kids' things are cute! I Like Doodles to use up odd balls! (I'm thinking Dulaan) . That's it over there on the left. Isn't that little kid cute?

The socks are okay, but the apricot (or whatever it is) color doesn't do it for me (too pale and insipid). I'd like them in sage or a better pink (did I say pink?)

And finally, the tote. Can I say that I've been trying to replicate the star quilt in knitting for a long time with minimal success? Someone finally did the math for me! Yay! And it (probably) won't show up as a tote in my wardrobe--I'm thnking afghan--in jewel colors, or neutrals.

I'll be waiting for the tar and feathers.

Oh, and the current score:

Trap 2, mouse 0. Yep, we caught another one last night. Lazy piece of . . .cat!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Trap 1, Mouse 0

Yesterday's score (when I left you) was Sparky 0, Mouse 1.

Then later in the evening, a full 5 minutes after I set the first of the baited traps in place, and only 6 minutes after I snapped that first trap on my left thumb (I'm fine, thank you) The Kid arrived upstairs mumbling something about "worthless piece of. . .cat" and holding the trap with the former mouse firmly inside.

And so, things have quieted down at Casa Sheepie.

Funeral details to be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations of yarn may be sent directly to me.

More later. Maybe even knitting.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Back to Normal

Whatever that is.

Last night, about 2, Sparky hopped on the bed and demanded attention. I did what any good cat owner does at 2 ain the ay-em. I ignored her!

It was a liitle harder to ignore the tiny squeek squeek right before the alarm went off at 5. Yeh, one of those.

The snap-traps were a gift from an admirer. They are already baited! With Peanut Butter. We'll set them tonight. In places where cats can't reach.

I finished this beanie last night for Ship Support. It's Red Heart Shetland Chunky (a wool/ack blend) on size 8s. Cast on 80, join, knit. Decrease weave. Done.

Easy peasy car knitting.

The next one is gray and white. Same yarn.

And there was a squishy in today's mail. These six pairs from Orghlaith. Aren't the colors pretty?

Thanks much! That's six more kids with warm hands.

My second box will be mailed Saturday.

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