Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mittnz and More Mittnz

Edythe in Oregon made these. Aren't they great?
I am busily working on fair entries. The stuff I wet-blocked is almost dry, so I'll be sewing buttons on tomorrow, then I can take pictures of the Finished Objects and post them.

I still have miles to go with my fair entries and I am heading in to serious crunch time!

The 9 straight days of knitting agony pleasure that I have booked in August will be broken up midweek ::sigh:: while I make a presentation to the Holders of the Pursestrings Finance Committee of the Agency board.

We need a new truck! Trucks don't come cheap. And Things That Don't Come Cheap require board approval. So, I will be seeking same while Not Knitting. (They would never understand, though I know all of you would.)

And you know how I said I'd be reading until I got to the end of my book? That's where I'm headed now.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Meet the Grandpets

Newest additions to the family.

Belle on the left, Raven on the right.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Another Day in Paradise

The Other Half informed me that he was up half the night with a toothache.

Seeing as I was up half the night with Can't Sleep Syndrome, we must have been perfectly in sync, or we'd have passed each other enroute to the bathroom a couple of times. Clearly, one of us (or both) got significantly more sleep than s/he thinks.

At some point, the moaning and the digging through the linen closet for the Tylenol 3 that was left over from a previous toothache finally got to me and I said, "For the sake of all that's holy, call the dentist." Yes, it's Sunday. But they have a service, and someone's bound to be on call who can call in a Rx. And so, 30 minutes later. . .and they'll see him first thing tomorrow!

Amazing thing is, he thanked me. Sometimes pain dulls our sensibility to the point that we suffer rather than get help. That's why there are 2 of us. So that someone can remember to say, "Call the dentist!"

I've been at work on stuff for the fair. That's Anouk having a warm soapy soak.

She's adorable, you'll see.

Just needs 6 buttons. And with my history, it might take longer to sew them on than it did to knit her!

And here's Jimmy Beans, ready to jump in the bathwater.

He needs 8 buttons.

Don't hold your breath!

Here's another hint on the secret project.

And here are the two stars wet and pinned out.

Movie Reviews: We rented Shooter Friday night. It was good enough that the Other Half bought Blackwater on Saturday. What does that tell you?

Last night, we watched The Last Mimsey. Don't believe the package! It will never replace E.T. though it is charming and sweet.

If you don't see me for a couple of days, don't worry. I'm in good company.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Star of the Show

Take an Elizabeth Zimmermann star (from Knitter's Almanac) and an ad from an old Knitting Digest and a little imagination, and
I'll leave you to imagine!
Finished picture comng soon to a blog near you.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Not Exactly Organic

I started a couple of sweaters from here for the upcoming Blessed Event. One (top) is near completing, the other (bottom) is on its way to the Frog Pond.

Clearly, the one that is saved, is not organic. That's Encore (80% petroleum, which, if you believe the chemisty, is former dinosaurs, so maybe it is organic). Let's split a few hairs.

The other was/is a mixture of 3 kinds of cotton, and frankly, I just don't like the hand., though I love the colors. I may try again with smaller needles.

But not tonight.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How Much Yarn?

Tracy asked: How much of the Kroy 3 ply did you use? I have mainly boring, MIL/FIL sock colours left, but maybe I can mix it up with something funky.

Tracy, I had 3 balls (786 yards) of the Honeysuckle Rose color. I made the February Sweater, a pair of basic booties with the gull wing lace for the cuffs, and a tiny lacy hat (from Knitting Daily). I still have 1 full ball and about 1/2 of a second.

(Actually, I barely broke into the second ball s I was knitting the sweater.)


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Another Overachiever

Jean emailed me a picture of the Mittnz she's been knittin'. These are an especially nice bunch. Look how the self patterning yarns match up.

That's 14 more hands that will be oasty warm this winter.

Thanks so much, Jean, both for the knitting and for sharing the photo.

If you (all you Loyal Readers) are knitting Mittnz, please send a photo of your 7 completed pairs. Remember, we are not mailing for another 2 months. Haven't started? There's still time!


What To Do?

It has not been pretty here at Casa Sheepie. The mojo of the knit, she has disappeared again.

No, don't get me wrong. I am knitting. Squares of garter stitch. At least that's all I have to show for the constant manipulation of sticks and string.

Maybe I should do what Rabbitch suggested and take up another hobby. Been there, done that, have the plant holders to prove it!

Case in point. A cute sweater called Little Boy Blue from Not Your Mama's Knitting by Heather Dixon.

I bought Elann Sonata (100% cotton) with this project in mind.

I spent a day wrapping my mind around the placket and the pattern in general. Then I cast on.

Clearly, my palette sucks.

There was no clear yellow, so I subbed chamois. The chamois looks really good with the russet. The baby blue looks good with the chamois and the turquoise, but the turquoise and the chamois don't look good together. There's not enough yardage to eliminate any of the colors.


I have Other Cotton tm that I could add in, notably the Patons Cotton DK (balls across the top) which matches the grist of the Sonata pretty well.

Please note, however that both batches of yarn contain 1) chamois (or comparable), 2) red, 3) baby blue. And the shades are close enough that they will appear to be different dyelots, not different colors.

Clearly, in this instance, my color sense has failed me. Clearly, too, I continue to buy yarn in the same colors. (That Patons is at least 4 years old!) Every time!

I also have quantities of Other Cotton that knits up at a slightly different gauge.

That will be saved for Other Projects.

Right now, I am looking at these great patterns and thinking, "I could do that in some of this stuff and this in this other stuff.

Yep. mojo's comin' back!


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Coming In Just Under the Wire

I nearly forgot!

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me!


And Yet Another Pair

The wooly Mittnz That Fit Me are finished and in the washer for their first pass. I am hoping that they will felt down to kid size.

No, I didn't swatch and test felt. Why?

I've photographed the before shot on the patterned rug so that you/I/we can tell how much they felted. The yarn ball is what is left from the hank (one of 4). There's enough left for at least one more pair of mittnz and a couple hats (plus the other 3 hanks). Did I mention that the hanks were big?

There's about 1400 yards left all told.

And here they are post-felting.

They went from 12" in length to 8" and from about 4" wide to about 3".

The fabric is firm (and wet), and should be quite water repellant.

I ran them through a normal "hot" laundry load (towels) inside a pillow case.

And in Non-Knitting News: I think I can make it Official. The Other Half and I will become Grands in December (or thereabouts). The Older Son and the No-Longer-New Daughter In Law are expecting. A boy.

We/they/the immediate world could not be more pleased! This will be the first of a new generation on both sides of their family.

Let the mad spoiling begin!

And On a Related Topic: I have been knitting Baby Things (as all my Loyal Readers know) for the fair, and have actual knitted in pink (though not that insipid bubble gum, mind-altering pink, more along the lines of geraniums, peonies, rhododendrons, and azaleas), a lace sweater and booties to match. These were planned as a fair entry, but it was always in the back of my mind that this hypothetical New Love Of My Life might turn out to be a baby girl and so, I made a pink sweater and booties and a little lacy cap.

And then I started Anouk. And Anouk languished. All the parts were knitted yet, there they sat in their project basket, waiting for my renewed interest.

Last night, I bit the bullet and stitched on (carefully, carefully) the first Anouk pocket. And then I mourned momentarily for the Granddaughter That Isn't and rejoiced in the Grandson That Is.

Buttons, tabs, and the other pocket will wait for another burst of Enthusiasm For The Tedious. In the meantime, bring on the blue yarn!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More About Mittnz

It's time to be heading into high gear, all you Mittnz Challengers!

Someone (please forgive my faulty memory) suggested a particular Mittn pattern from the Vouge Knitting On the Go series, a felted version, if you will (p. 65, if you own the book).

Never to blindly follow a pattern (well, hardly ever. . . ), I modified that puppy. (Pretend to be shocked, please! )

Instead of 2 strands of light sport weight, I used one strand of worsted weight. Instead of size 11 dpns, I used 10.5s. I am hoping that, once felted, I will have Mittnz fit for a kid (as opposed to fitting an adult).

The yarn is some Plymouth stuff that's been marinating in the stash for a while. I am hoping to make a hat to match. We shall see.

No swatch. Pray it felts!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Mittnz

Maureen sent me this picture of her seven completed pairs.
Aren't they pretty? And warm?
Seven sets of hands will be warmer this winter thanks to you, Maureen.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Read a Banned Book

From Writer's Almanac:

"On this day in 1951, J.D. Salinger's (books by this author) The Catcher in the Rye was published. Salinger worked on it over a period of ten years, in between writing stories for magazines like the New Yorker. At one point, he had a 90—page version of the novel accepted for publication, but he thought it wasn't good enough and continued to revise and add bits and pieces.

::major snippage of plot and reviews::

"Thirty years after its publication, The Catcher in the Rye was both the most banned book in America and the second most frequently taught book in public schools. The book has sold over 60 million copies around the world. "

So, read a banned book today in commemoration.

**The Diary of Anne Frank is also banned, as is Huckleberry Finn. Go figure.

Read a banned book.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

What an Honor!

Mariella nominated li'l' ol' me as a

and so, in turn, I will nominate another 5:

Rabbitch because she totally rocks!

Nicole, who while she is a knitter, also makes the most right-on and rockin' political commentary you'll find outside the political blogs.

Dez who has survived lots and does lots of good things and continues to knit through the crises.

Vanessa who does some rockin' knittin' (check the April 18 post) along with spinnin' and crochetin' and basket weavin'.

Anami who has also weathered many rocky storms, but she never stopped casting on.

In Weekend Knitting Knews:

I got started on the Christmas stocking I will enter in the fair.

First I consulted with Nancy Bush.

Then I selected a pattern and dragged out the appropriate yarn for something that's to be used one day a year and (likely) stored under less than optimal conditions the other 364.

Yep. Good old Ack. Your friend and mine!

In this case, I used LionBrand Jamie Classic (the white stuff) and Red Heart Classic (do we have a theme going here?) in Cherry Red (the red stuff).

The pattern? Finnish Stockings. The gauge? 4.5 st/in. The leg part (what's finished so far) is about 6" wide and 15" long.

All of the yarn was purchased for this project. I don't have more than a half-mile of acrylic in the stash, and none of the colors were suitable.

In other Knitting Knews, I cast on and completed a pair of booties to match the already completed Gull Wing Sweater (EZ's Knitter's Almanac ) using the same Kroy 3-ply.

After I finished the cuff (7 stitch repeat) on 35 stitches, I consulted Zoë Mellor (50 Baby Bootees to Knit ) for guidance on the foot shaping.

I'm satisfied that Zoë's shaping is better than the one I've been using up until now (decreases at the heel and the toe, rather than just the heel). All they need is a bit of ribbon through the beading. And maybe I should dress the lace cuffs??

So, one more "compulsory" to complete and I can move ahead on the "free-style."

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

All Excitement, All the Time!

Eating Local, Part 2: I hit the grocery store after work yesterday.

This morning I stripped the bed and put on clean sheets. Then the Other Half and I went to the farmer's market for veggies and gorgonzola (and I corrupted the kid at the cheese stand by turning him on to Netives.com--his dad will thank me for that forever). (Cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, new potatoes and green beans, if anyone cares, plus strawberries.)

We had lunch (hummus on pita and a diet Pepsi) at Foods of the Mediterranean. My stomach will thank me for the next day or so. Mmmm, garlic.

I'm thinking that a nap would be really nice.

It's all excitement all the time at Casa Sheepie. Be still my heart!

Oh, and I got my hair cut this morning by a nice grandmother (I would not have guessed if she hadn't told me), newly arrived from NYC. Best darned cut I've ever gotten at Sign In and Wait! I suspect that she charged a lot more than $16 in a previous life.

This came in the mail:

You know the rush you get when you see the "Final Notice" card with your magazine? You know how you react! "Ohmymercifullord, I'll miss an issue!"
I think it's human nature to be this close to pulling off the reply and slipping it into the mailbox. I know that's where I was! Then I looked inside.

I know that I have commented in the past about how Knit Simple has fallen from (my) favor. Its predecessor, Family Circle Easy Knitting (plus crochet) was groundbreaking (in my opinion) in that it included a "knitting lesson" of sorts in each issue.

Each lesson built on previous ones and took the new (and not so new--that would be me) knitter step-by-step through previously uncharted (ouch) waters. (I say "ouch" because one of those lessons was Chart Reading and Knitting.)

The current incarnation has little new to offer. This issue delves into the wonders of hand-painted yarns (discussed in depth (to death?) in all the other knitting mags over the past 2 or three years since the emergence of hand-painted commercial yarns and the growing popularity of dye-it-yourself).

The difference here is in the color-boldness of the yarn choices. There's nothing retiring (or subtle) about the ones they chose to showcase. That's just unfortunate!

Only redeeming patterns in the issue are the incredibly sweet baby garments -- this onesie-mimic (left) and the baby shrug (right) plus a wrap (surplice) cardigan and a 3-piece set that features horizontal ribbing.

And the ads are good. Not enough to get me to renew, though.

I'll check it at the news stand and buy when it meets my needs.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Look What I Found

at the grocery store! I didn't look real hard while I was there, because I really, really needed to get the hell out of there, so I didn't open it until I got home.
There are a couple of new patterns and a couple of recycled ones and a lot about needle felting.
At $7.99, it was expensive for 13 projects.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Fair FO

I am happy to report the finishing of an object (eyes left). That makes 6 completed fair entries. What? you say? There were 6 a couple of weeks ago

Okay, so I found patterns I like better and finishing I did better, and well, just so much more enterable and winnable (are those words?).

So, this is Child cap. It's also knit from well aged stash.

So there!

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Trying to Eat Local

Nicole is in good company! She and Al Gore got me thinking about my personal Carbon Footprint.

Earlier this spring

I decided to do something about it!

My dirt is awful for growing stuff, even grass. We live in an area with highly acidic soil that is mostly shale and slate. Raised beds make it possible to grow some stuff, but we'd need to truck in loads of topsoil if we wanted to actually grow a real garden.

(I miss having a garden.)

I bought a tomato plant (first one in several years because I've had such rotten luck with them here). Nothing beats the taste of a ripe-from-the-vine tomato.

And look! I actually have a couple.

I also have chives (use them mostly in salads and on veggies).

That's Sparky's volunteer catnip patch in the background.

And sage is great with poultry.

There's a bit of lavender as well, that I grow for the lovely aroma (my favorite herbal).

So anyway, in an effort to eat more locally, I checked out Local Harvest in hopes of locating a CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture farm) near me. Unfortunately, one of those nearby is already fully-subscribed and the other hasn't updated information in a couple of years.

I was able to get a low-down on the pricing (relatively costly for the amount of produce I can eat alone--the Other Half is a confimed carnivore).

I did find a list of nearby growers' markets, though, and I will be checking those out as the season progresses.

Meanwhile, the Other Half and I thought we would give the Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers' Market a look-see.

Since I had been to the "real grocery store" the night before to shop for the week, I was really only eyeing the local produce, the local eggs, the local meat. I wound up buying only a cantaloupe (probably grown in California, it's still a little early in the season here), and lunch (steak sandwich for the Other Half, tuna on toast for me).

The tomatoes are from the grocery (and they were grown in Canada). Clearly, I have my work cut out for me!

So, here's the plan: Next Friday, I'll hit the supermarket for things like paper products and Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi, and Reese's Cups, and Saturday, we'll pack up the string bags and head to the farmer's market for eggs and cold cuts, and meat and fruit and veggies, taking care to buy the stuff that's grown right here in the Lehigh Valley. It's a habit that can only be good for us and for the planet!

Knitting Mojo: Oh, and whichever of you found my mojo, thank you for giving it a gentle nudge back in this direction!

I started this earflap cap from the Interweave Knits website last night. It's Patons Classic Wool that has been steeping for a few years in the stash on size 7s. The pattern called for a heavier yarn and size 9s.

Knit from the top down, I'll have a kid-size when I get finished, which is just fine.

Watch for a serious case of finish-itis this coming week. I have unseamed projects piling up.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

One Day Wondrz

Churned these out today in the car. (I was not driving!)

I believe they are pair #5, but I could be wrong. And yes, they need to be seamed. And no, I don't prefer 2 needle mittnz, but I wanted to make an effort to have this pair be identical, so I dragged out the needles and the Patons Classic Wool and cast on both mittnz at once. I'll be entering them in the fair, then sending them on to the reservation.

Here's where I got the pattern.

I think (based on the type of price sticker) that it came from Long-Ago-Patternworks (as opposed to new and improved Patternworks).

This booklet and the patterns (or at least the one I used--#5612) suck eggs or worse.

Case in point. #5612 calls for worsted weight yarn (so far, so good) and can be made in 3 sizes (8-10, 10-12, and 12-14 yaers). Again, so far, so good, except that to change sizes, you use bigger needles (7, 8, and 10! respectively).

Okay, I can see 7, and even (possibly) 8 with worsted weight, but 10!? Can you imagine how warn those mittnz would be? Here's the kicker: There's a pattern for women's mittens. In worsted weight. They call for size 4 and 5 for medium and large respectively.

For the love of Pasta, don't do it!

I don't think I'll be using this booklet very often.

Movie Review: The Good German is not Casablanca, though it tries really, really hard. There are redeeming features. Especially if you aren't a fan of the star. Disappointing.

Mild Rant Aimed At My Neighbors' Friends Who Brought The Kick-Ass Fireworks to Set Off In Our Cul-de-Sac: The 4th was Wednesday. It's illegal. You jerk!

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Yet Another Math Lesson

I've updated the sidebar Yarn Countdown to a disappointing 8 balls used since June 5.

The thing is, I have been knitting up a regular storm. This past month's car knitting has been facecloths for a "blitz" TBA soon at a blog many of you admire. Feel free to cast on.

I got a Jump Start, so to speak, since I am privy to the blogwriter's innermost early morning thoughts. (And let me tell you, sometimes, it's scary!) So, I know what's coming, and I'm prepared!

Sixteen completed facecloths!

(That's a lot of car-time!)

But the thing is, mostly I used two cones (one pink the other blue ) and an odd bit of natural that I found un-speadsheetable. (Is that a word? It is now!)

Why, you ask are these yarny bits not on the spreadsheet? This is one of those times that The Rules of Spreadsheeting TM come back to bite you in the butt! Broken balls=not on the spreadsheet. And yet, those 16 face cloths amount to about 1600 yards (nearly a mile) knit up.

And Balls Purchased For Specific Projects=not on the spreadsheet also. So the yarn I bought for Anouk (6 balls of Elann.com Sonata) didn't make it to the countdown (that's about 800 yards not counted), but also didn't inflate the total, so I guess it's a wash.

When I add the +/- 1000 yards from the spreadsheet to the 2400 yards I'm not counting there, I come up with (ta dah) 2 miles of knitting in June. Not so shabby, huh?

And Now For the Confession: I have bought a lot of yarn in the past couple months. Yeh, yeh, I know I showed it off. Do I feel guilty? No, not really. All (okay, most) of (okay, some) it is for planned projects. I have several cute baby things in mind, and, of course, more Mittnz.

But some days (yesterday, today so far) I look back over my shoulder at the stash and wonder what's going on. If anyone has seen my mojo, would you please send it back? I can't seem to settle on a project.

Anticipation: The Other Half pointed out last night that the fair is looming ever closer. I wonder if it's possible to finish even the basics in time and to hell with the fancy stuff.

Note: this need to enter 10+ is self-imposed. One need enter only 1 item in 1 category. I have 7 weeks left to complete everything I want to enter! Better get cracking.

Movie Review: We rented Freedom Writers last night. Based on a true story. Hillary Swank is excellent as a white bread teacher in an inner city school. The kids are really good as well. Sort of To Sir, With Love set in California. Patrick Dempsey (Dr. McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy) is in serious danger of becoming type-cast as a self-centered jerk! Yep, he plays one in this movie, too. Nope, I don't find him (or that type) appealing.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth!

One of our neighbors (he happens to be a Realtor, so I guess it's advertising) put flags our all through the 'hood at every driveway yesterday. He does this every year.

It sure was cheery to see them as I drove home.

I think I'll email him my thanks.

Betty made these bright and happy Mittnz. She plans to make mates to the two odd-men lower right.

Love the colors. Love the stripes! Let Betty inspire you like she has me!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Does This Mean

that the prisoners on/in/at Guantanamo will be released?

Just a yes or no answer, McStupid.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

July Is Here

Here's my Keep Me Honest post.

There aren't a lot of projects currently on my needles (just 4 when I got up this morning) to start July and this evening I finished one of the four.

In the photo, left to right: 1) Anouk (from Knitty.com) in Elann Sonata (100% Mercerized cotton), 2) a facecloth in Peaches and Cream, and 3) Veronik Avery's Bear Claw Blanket (my variation) in sock yarn (doubled) from IK Spring 2005. You're seeing: 1) a nearly FO (just 2 more tabs to knit, then the sewing together and the blocking, 2) more than 1/2 finished, 3) about 30% done--I've completed one block, nearly completed the second. Two more blocks, then all the bands to go.

And here's what I've been doing in the car this month.

Facecloths. In cotton. Lots of them.

These were all knit from my stash, and none of the cotton yarn is spreadsheeted, because the pink and blue are the remnants of huge cones. The natural one peeking out in the middle was less than one ball that was already started. So no total reduction, but lots of stash knat up.

I haven't reported and reviewed in a couple of weeks, so there are 4 movies to discuss.

Breach is one of those psycho thrillers that make you say: not believable. Then you remember. It really happened. Good one!

Miss Potter is charming and sweet and sad and happy and it was one I'm glad we rented.

Deja Vu--Denzel Washington. Need I say more? Another scary psychodrama. Another good movie. It will make you think. And at the end, you'll say, "Oh. Yeh."

Then the was The Painted Veil which, like many of the movies based on Somerset Maugham's books, is hard to follow and very intense. The scenery made it more than worthwhile.

So, 4 movies, and not a rotten apple in the basket!

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