Thursday, May 31, 2007
I planned to take today off mostly to re-group, clean the former room and start its transformation to guest room/Sanctum Sanctorum. I did not count on my weak left ankle! Second trip to my car trunk, I stepped off the curn "funny" and twisted an already weak joint (old Curves injury).
Yes, I finished (that's what moms do)! But today, I am doing not nearly as much as I planned.
The bathrooms are clean. That will have to be enough for the time being.
Scary part of mittn-in-the-round knitting: removing the waste yarn in preparation for the thumbs.
Note: if you are using wool (these are a "lopi-type" wool), the stitches hold their spots pretty well.
And here they are all finished, post-warm water wash and yank and stretch and poke.
The stitches have evened up nicely.
I really don't like this pair! I don't like the color or the pattern or the way the contrast isn't very contrast-y.
I wish I had used natural in place of the gold!
The thumbs came out pretty good, though.
And besides, I think I neglected to do the second ribbing on smaller needles!
Knitting Funk: I believe that I have hit the dreaded Knitting Funk wall. There are many things I'd like to knit, unfortunately, few of those are suitable for fair entries.
I just can't seem to wrap my mind around Christmas decor, though I have the yarn and several patterns in mind. Usually, I take a vacation week right before the fair and do marathon knitting. I don't know if I'll be able to do that this year. It's in the plans. I just don't know if it's in the cards.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Not Much Knitting
Yesterday, we spent the day packing up for a move. No, not the Other Half and me, silly, the Younger Son
He's bought a house, not terribly far from here, and today, he's moving in.
There are empty spots all over the house where "his stuff" used to be. Some of them will be re-filled (it's hard to sit in the living room without a sofa), others will remain empty.
His dad and I are proud of him and pleased that he is starting a new phase in his life. And truth be told, we are looking forward to an Empty Nest.
In the early morning quiet, I wandered around the yard and spotted a fierce lion skulking in the underbrush. Oh, my!
Sparky was less than thrilled to be hauled back inside.
For the record, Sparky and Penny are inside/outside cats, but they never leave our yard. (They know which side the bread is buttered.)
There is the usual May-June profusion of daisies.
These are barely cultivated (near-feral, self-sown) and so, will wilt and fade soon, to be replaced by bergamot (bee balm) and ornamental grasses.
The peonies are about to bloom in profusion. The difference between these bushes "before" and "now" is that we had some of the overhead trees trimmed and now there is suficient sunlight to allow them to do "their thing."
And do it, they do.
Lovely blooms, very fragrant.
We've had less success with roses. There were many (dead or near-dead) rose bushes here when we moved in. First order of business was to yank them out.
Over time, we came to realize that both of us love the fragrance and the beauty, so we replanted (in a different location). Those bushes failed to thrive, but we added a floribunda (a varient of so-called "wild roses") and it took off!
Not much knitting occured last night. In fact, I had The Perfect Yarn and Pattern right there on my lap and had second thoughts. So instead of casting on, I spent an hour or more looking through patterns I had bookmarked (with paper, in magazines, not on the computer) mulling over possibilities.
I may break with tradition and use a pattern in one of my two new books (see previous entry), rather than letting them age first.
Monday, May 28, 2007
End of the Weekend
The yellow Heart Blankie is finished! (Except for blocking
The vital stats: Pattern by Beverly Galeskas (Fiber Trends). My copy is included in Knit Baby Blankets! edited by Gwen Steege. It's also available as a FT leaflet.
Yarn is Plymouth Encore (acrylic/wool blend) worsted weight col. 1382. (I'd call it Marigold.) I used size 10 needles with the worsted weight and the "small" pattern to get a 34" X 48" (about) finished size and a nice drapey fabric. (The pattern calls for DK weight cotton and size 7s.)
Here's a close up of the hearts. The background is garter stitch. The hearts are stockinette set off with an eyelet outline.
Start to finish in 29 days with other projects also On The Needles at the same time.
I also managed to get most of my annuals in the ground, worked a little on a mittn, and actually knat upon the "knitted quilt."
I'm inspired! Are you?.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
In Which I Update on Several Subjects
In the face of the overwhelming need (for example, more than 650 children use the Youth Center in any given month--that's unduplicated count for one program and there are elders and moms and dads, and a Teen Center, too) 1000 isn't a lot, but it's 2000 more warm hands.
This is the third year (I think) that I invited our NAS group members to
join me in a personal challenge to provide gloves and mittens for the coming (and it will!) winter. Last year, I opened the challenge to my blog readers and this year, blog readers have taken it to other lists!
Mittnz: The plan is to "blitz" the reservation with mittnz. A blitz, in the
terminology of NAS, involves everyone mailing around the same time so that the mittens all arrive right about the same time. In this case, mailing in September so that the mittnz and hats and such all arrive before October 1 when winter begins to rear its head yet again. Can you imagine the look on the faces of staff and volunteers as they open box (or envelope) after box (or envelope) of lovely handmade (knit, crocheted, sewn from fleece) mittnz!
There will be prizes (random draw) for those folks who 1) create 7 pairs
(it's 2007) 2) mail them during September and 3) email me firstname.lastname@example.org) a photo of the completed pairs that I can put up here. I'll post photos as fast as I get them, so don't wait if your 7 pairs are finished.
In the grand scheme of things, what's one pair of mittnz? It's one more
person who can do what needs to be done in spite of the weather. And in the grand scheme, that's quite a lot!
Bargain Shopped Books: I had quite a good day at Ollie's (okay, I had to hit two stores to score this well) where I can sometimes find good remaindered book bargains. (Ollie's seems to be a regional thang, sort of a downscale Big Lots with all sorts of good stuff mixed in with the crap. I got a great t-shirt there last summer with a hummingbird on the front. (Fifty cents! and it hardly shrunk ;-) at all in the wash.) Many of my Vogue and Vogue on the Go books came from there, as did a couple stitch dictionaries. The Other Half finds lots of techie stuff.)
Not Your Mama's Knitting was $3.99 and has a
Project prices in NYMK are way over-stated unless you are buying all the yarn at full retail and not using any stash (who, me?). The Little Boy Blue sweater (the one with the buttons on the raglan) calls for 7 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash, for example. That's 1500+ yards of worsted weight for a 6 month's size ($50-70) that I am pretty sure I could put together for $0-10 depending on whether I had to buy the main color (1 full skein). Of course, if you insist on making this exactly as pictured. . . Stephanie encountered something similar with a baby sweater she blogged about yesterday (May 25).
The Leisure Arts book (Now You're Knitting) is a compilation of many of their leaflets and came with a nifty acrylic knit gauge glued in the back. (Of course I damaged the inside cover when I removed it!) The needle gauge part is "American" sizing, but it will tuck in my needle basket more safely than my brass sheep.
Leisure Arts has published a bunch of leaflets over the years and I own many of them. I was pleased, then, to see that only one pattern I already own (no, not that one) was included in the collection.
At $8.99 for the eqivalent of over 100 LA leaflets, this one was quite a bargain!
And in case you were wondering, that "Fuzzy Halter" is not something I am considering knitting. No way! It's my personal contribution to What the Hell Were They Thinking Wednesday except that it's Sunday. Days late, dollars short yet again! It's also one of only a very few "unreasonable" patterns in this book!
In Other Charity Knitting Knews: I mailed these off to Barbara yesterday. Her guild (in Victoria, BC) is collecting handmade face cloths to give to newly trained midwives in the Philippines.
If there are clothmakers among you, I can pass along more info. They are planning a big display mid-June, but the need is ongoing, I suspect.
And now I will turn my attention to Mittnz knitting, my garden, and TiVo! Happy Sunday.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
In My Spare Time
That leaves a bit of time for knitting and true to my word, I am working on the Mittnz Challenge.
Mittnz of all sizes are needed, from the tiny thumbless kind for little bitty babies, right on up through great big ones for great big teens and adults.
This pair is Lopi-like wool in what I would call about a 3rd grader size.
It's my second pair. Five more to go.
How Mittnz 2007 Werx: We're "blitzing the reservation" (Cheyenne River) with mittnz. Any size, any color, just like last year. Wool and other animal fibers are the fiber of choice, but blends and the dreaded ack are also acceptable. Seven pairs is the goal.
Because it's a blitz, I am aiming to mail (and have YOU mail) directly to the reservation in September (to arrive by October 1).
This is new. Last year's participants will remember that mittnz were mailed to me then forwarded to South Dakota. Postal rates being what they are, it seemed to make more sense to cut out the middle "man" (me).
Instead, if you'd like to be included in a random draw for fabulous prizes, send me a picture (I'll post it here) of your 7 pairs of mittnz. I'll trust that you mailed your mittnz to the reservation.
Are you in?
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Short and To the Point
I've knitted 18 more rows on the heart blankie, which puts me at 102 rows (35%) left to knit.
The new car knitting is slippers.
There has been no progress on the quilt-knit (I haven't touched it in days!), though I am at least fairly certain that the finished size will be about 40" X 40" or a hair larger.
In wildlife news: There is a baby bird! Indeed. Only one. And Sparky is fascinated. It is a r o b i n and she is a c a t. I hold out no hope that they will become lifelong friends, so their playdates are well supervised.
Monday, May 21, 2007
All It Needed
All I needed to finally declare this sweater an FO was the buttons.
I had them for weeks. So what was the holdup?
Needle and Thread and Inspiration, I guess.
So one more completed fair entry.
The details: Yarn is Kroy 3 Ply (the old stuff) in Honeysuckle Rose. (The color on my monitor is pretty accurate.) Pattern is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Sweater on Two Needles; Pratically Seamless from Knitter's Almanac--it's the February pattern.
This yarn is amazing! Of course, being wool/nylon sock yarn, it is machine washable and dryable. I did a warm water soak and spin and could easily have dressed the lace to make the sweater big enough for a small toddler. I think that I might pass that tip along to the future wearer's mom. I didn't want it that big, so I tossed it in the dryer and it went right back to infant-size.
I've had this yarn in the stash for a good, long time, so I am claiming it as Knit From Your Stash.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Houston, we have a Mittn! First Lopi Mittn is finished. Second one is (barely) cast on
That means that I have completed 21.428571% of my personal Mittnz Challenge. I'm on a roll!
The next pairs (after I finish this one) will be from Alafoss Lopi No. 12, first a child pair, then an adult pair. These will be for the fair, first, then for the Reservation.
If I'm going to torture myself making mittens, I'm going to make them warm.
And Speaking of Rolls: I completed another repeat on the Heart Blankie. That leaves 120 rows (41.66666666%) left to knit.
Movie Review: We rented Stranger than Fiction on Friday. If you've been avoiding it because it stars Will Ferrell, or because the trailer is so stupid, avoid it no more! (If you are like me and suspect that a movie trailer contains every single good line and funny joke, this one's the exception that proves the rule. Emma Thompson is terrific as the narator/author. Dustin Hoffman has a great role.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Knit As Quilt?
Labels: fair entry
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Quick Answers About Mittnz
Of course, all of that attention generated some Questions That Need Answering. I promise I'll post all of the Challenge Rules this weekend.
Sandy asked:Ann, do you knit with the 5" dpn's? Thinking the shorter ones might be just the ticket for "baby bootie/sock" knitting.
That's exactly right, Sandy. The 5" needles are great for socks, booties, and Mittnz. They don't get in the way. I have then in 1s through about 6s.
Dorothy asked: 7 or 8 pairs of mittens for children? Babies and children? Teens too or just little children? Do I ask enough questions? :)
Seven pairs (because it's 2007 this year). Babies, children, teens, adults. Anyone who is likely to have cold hands! Plain or fancy. Just the right number of questions. Thanks for asking.
Angie asked: Wait, 7 or 8 pairs is your personal challenge and you are extending the invitation to the rest of us, right? I will help with the mittens - Wool for warmth.
Seven pairs is my personal challenge because 1) hands are cold and 2) I need the practice. I've invited you all along for the ride. Wool (or any other animal hair) is best, blends are okay. Acrylic is acceptable, but not nearly as warm as the others.
Up top there is the cuff of the first mittn of my second pair. Lopi-type wool on size 9s. Pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd. Pick a garment, pick a gauge, pick a size, and Ann will give you what you need to make it just right.
Monday, May 14, 2007
I had a quiet night (as in "to myself"), and the light was still good, so I slipped the six edge stitches to a 5" dpn, dropped three stitches by 20 rows and went to town
I used a pair of 5" dpns to knit back up the dropped column.
The 5" length made it easy to move the working stitches from front to back of the knitting, the double points meant that I could slide the knitting back and forth and not have to turn my work.
Like knitting garter stitch in the round, I knit one row, purled one row, but always from the right side.
Here's the finished repair.
A nice warm soak and block will even out those eyelets when the blankie is finished.
And lookie at this.
We all get those "your account has been compromised" emails that direct us (supposedly) to a website where we can correct the problem.
Folks, it's called "phishing," and it looks as though someone has decided to blow the proverbial whistle. (Click on the photo if it's too small to read.)
Please note that I would never give private info to an unsolicited email. And neither should you!
We're still hunting wabbits, just from a safer distance tonight. It's an uncomfortable job, but someone has to do it.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
In Praise of Mothering Types
Uh, Oh ::Sob::
Labels: baby things
Saturday, May 12, 2007
How I Spent My Weekend
Friday, May 11, 2007
Drive By Blog
But I couldn't go another day without showing and telling the latest acquisition:
It's from Smiley's.
Sock yarn in natural and navy to combine with red and yellow from the stash for a lap robe, some ack in a reddish heather and white for Ship Support hats and Christmas stuff, some red Cotton Ease to go with the white ack, and some Mango cotton for (probably) a child's sweater.
And this little number is the Vine Lace Baby Hat from Knitting Daily. Side view and top view in the same sock yarn as the sweater.
Don't forget to put a can of peas (or something) out for your letter carrier.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Fred Astaire said, "The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style."
Happy birthday, Fred!
Monday, May 07, 2007
Springtime in the East
Qwiet, we're hunting wabbits!
On the other side of the bush: a fence.
On the other side of the fence: Wabbits (and woofies).
We stay on our side, they stay on their side.
I promise that these are the last tulip photos.
Spring is doing its usual thing: nice and springlike one day, hot as blazes the next.
I wish that they could stay around all summer!
Okay, this really is the last tulip shot of 2007.
We have yarn barf! It's a good thing, though. I've cracked into the second ball of Encore.
If my calculations are correct, I will need this one and 3 more, leaving 5 balls to make into Something Else.
(Thinking: one of the categories is Baby Blanket (check), sweater, and cap.)
Okay, I have completed 2 repeats in 3 days/nights.
Now, granted, they were weekend days (mostly) which means I could put more time in to them. I figure that row takes me about 7 minutes. (yes, I timed it.)
The whole blankie is 288 rows, so it will take a bit more than 33.5 hours to knit up. At an hour a day, I'd be looking at June 7 for completion. But wait.
There was this weekend's jump-start. I've finished 64 rows (7.4 hours by my calculations--are you still with me?) so I have about 26 hours left, and assuming that I can get in an equal amount of time on the upcoming weekends (I'm dreaming) that puts completion at around the 22nd of May or thereabouts.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
After showing the tulips (and they are in their glory today!) earlier, I thought I'd give my Gentle Readers a glimpse at the
Yes, I am a slob. Why?
I claim that old proverb about "clean desk, empty mind" and creative genius and such like.
But I really do need to clear off some of the stuff I'm not currently using.
On that desk, along with the yellow blankie and its pattern are a stack of patterns and magazines and catalogs (but it isn't a big stack) scissors, empty knitting needles, a hanger, and a bunch of other stuff including my kitchen timer. Ah ha! That's where it got to!
And speaking of the yellow blankie, it (actually its yarn) stayed on the timeout chair for less than 24 hours.
I picked it up and cast back on (this time on needles 2 sizes larger) and got past the point where I had frogged while watching movies (reviews below) this weekend.
I've completed one repeat (of 11) and feel "on track" for the fair. (Fifteen weekends away!)
And speaking of The Fair (we were, I know it), the EZ February sweater is complete except for the buttons (I had to order 2 more because 1) I made the sweater longer or 2) I put the button holes closer together than the pattern directs. You decide.) I'm planning booties to match and maybe a hat.
For those readers who know my dislike for wussy baby pink, I give you the actual real color of this wool. (It's showing up true to life on my monitor!) I told you it wasn't pink!
I'll post a final shot when the buttons are sewn on.
Knit From Your Stash Update: I think that the yarn diet may be officially over. I have ordered from my three favorite vendors very recently (actually only replenishing that which was knat, but still). (For those keeping track, they would be Smiley's, Webs, and Elann in no particular order. I buy what I want/need from whomever has it at the best price. )
Seeing that "Fifteen Weeks" until the fair in print (actually checking it off on my tiny calendar) is what prompted some of the buys. Having nothing (and I mean nothing) suitable for the Christmas knits got me on board for some plain white ack and some cherry red Cotton Ease. A lap robe pattern I want to knit got me to the sock yarn (navy and off white to combine with some yellow and red that I already have), some bright and cheerful washable stuff, that terry stuff that Elann had in full bags.
You know! I don't need to explain to any of you, do I?
I'm pleased with where I am (I updated the sidebar yesterday). I've gotten below 500 balls and 50 miles (my hoped-for benchmarks). I'll add in the newest acquisitions after the fair. WIPs do not count as stash. (My stash, my rules.)
Movie Reviews: Majesty abounds here at Casa Sheepie. We rented the two hot "royal" movies this weekend.
Helen Mirren rocks as The Queen! It is no wonder that this film won so many awards. No matter your feelings about the Princess of Wales, it's worth seeing. If you are a Diana-phile, you'll be outraged; if you are not, you'll understand, maybe. Mirren's acting is superb. If (and I have no doubt that it is so) there is a bit of fact in this telling of the story of Diana's death and burial, I can't help but wonder about many Americans' obsession with the whole British Royal system. Good freakin' grief!
And then, there was Forest Whitaker's perfomance in The Last King of Scotland! Oh, my, merciful, lord! Fantastic!
See them both!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
The State of Education
"The laughter was throughout the rehearsal as well as the production of "The Wiz". The cast and crew could regal you for hours of funny things that occurred during pre-production and the truly hilarious that occurred during production."
"(That is an extremely over simplified version of almost 60 or more hour's worth of work.)"
And that, dear friends, is the state of education where I live. I could not possibly make this up!
I am seriously considering mailing my copy to the superintendent and asking if he (or anyone)
(And before I get lots of comments about the state of my own editing, I would like to point out that 1) I am not paid to blog, and 2) I am not using tax dollars to reach my audience.
And in Knitting News:
This month, car knitting has been afghan squares for Ship Suport. I'm using red, white, and blue and going for a patriotic theme.
I'll work on these through May (you're looking at April's) before mailing them off to be joined to other folk's squares.
Squares are "of my own design," 7" square, and made from Red Heart Classic.
The Heart Blankie took a trip to the Frog Pond.
I love the pattern and the color, but this yarn (Encore worsted weight) at that gauge (5 stitches to the inch) just wasn't cutting it for me. I'll try again in bigger needles.
I plan to use the same pattern, though.
This yarn is Encore (acrylic/wool blend).
Friday, May 04, 2007
Note To Self
Let that be a life lesson.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
It Might As Well Be Spring (picture heavy, word light)
Penny is feeling well enough to take in the sun on the patio.
She's still a little wobbly and has a slight remaining limp, but other than that, she's her old pesky self.
Anybody see the House episode where the little dog (Hector) mimics House's limp? I think she saw it!
We need to get those weeds pulled!
Yellow tulips (soon to be followed by other colors) and grape hyacinth (that I don't remember planting here--spready little devils!)
I love this time of year. Flowers in profusion and I didn't have to do anything.
Yellow clumpy things --they have a name, I just can't remember what it is.
I suspect they will need to be dug and divided soon, but if I do that, it willl alert the squirrels that they are here.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
This time last year, I issued a challenge to my loyal readers and to the members of Native American Support to complete a number of pairs of mittens for the Cheyenne River (Lakota Sioux) Reservation in South Dakota, USA.
Situated in one of the poorest areas of the United States and also one of the coldest in the winter, Cheyenne River is home to many, many children.
This year's challenge is 7 (pairs) in 2007 with anticipated mailing October 1.
Last year, all non NAS members mailed their mittens to me for re-mailing. I think this year, I'll ask for a photo via email and have all of you who choose to participate mail direct to the reservation.
I really loved seeing all of the mittens "up close and personal," but I really think our charity dollars could be better spent than paying the postal service twice.
There will be prizes (TBA) by random draw for all folks who complete and mail 8 pairs by the October 1 deadline. (I know it's a long way off, but 8 pairs of mittens can take a good long time to complete if you are as opposed to Mitten Knittin' as I am. )
There will be a button soon.
And in Other Knitting News:
I have a couple of rows of the lacy hearts started. (Not rows of hearts, rows of the hearts--there's a difference.)
There is still no progress on the pink sweater.
Oh, well. It will get done when it gets done.