Tuesday, February 27, 2007
My swift and ballwinder from Schoolhouse Press arrived yesterday (tools were exempt from the Yarn Diet!), though I didn't find them until this morning. (UPS gets to our neighborhood on the dark side of late afternoon.)
You don't know how tempted I was to call in "late," but the car was already warm and I was already dressed and so. . .
But you'd better believe that the very first thing I did when I got home this afternoon was open the package and set up the swift. And set up the ball winder. Then look around for a skein in need of balling.
Fortunately, I have a few. And 5 minutes later, et voila!
Neatly balled alpaca.
Ready to be knit into something nice.
And it will be.
After I ball up all the rest. No, wait. That's just a few. By the weekend, the aplaca will be becoming a set of mitts. For moi.
How did I live so long without them?
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Wake Up Call
Thinking fast, I pushed the offender off the bed, turned on the light to view the damage and seeing little, peeled the case off my pillow, and crawled back into bed.
Fast forward to 9. Daylight comes and the full scope of the disaster is clear. Not just my pillowcase (in a sodden heap over there ::points:: ) but also the corner of the top sheet and the entire vertical surface of the bottom sheet (Headline: "Projectile Puke Defies Gravity").
Say it with me: Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
I've had this cute little sweater on my mind.
It's top down, with a hood or with a collar. The pattern calls for ties, but I really don't like the way they look after a few washings, and since I was planning the sweater in white. . .Well, you know how that would look too fast for words.
It really is an easy knit and the yarn (Red Heart with Wool) was begging to be knit up for quite a while. So I went to the button stash and picked out these adorable lady bugs.
They were from Michael's (several years ago).
And cast on.
Since I was already up,what else could I do? I worked on the little sweater for the reservation
and between early morning, a few minutes in the car, afternoon, and early evening.
Dang it! It's done!
And don't the ladybugs just set the tone?
Recap: Pattern here free, even. Yarn--worsted weight (discontinued Red Heart with Wool). Needles--size 7. Buttons--Dress It Up #740.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
More F'd Os
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Sanctity of Marriage
Rudy and #3 exchanged vows a while back. Yes, Number 3.
Do either of these unions (one recognized across the U.S., the other, only in New Jersey) have any bearing on the state of my marriage? Discuss.
Truthfully, I have a hard time understanding how the state of any other couple's union has any effect at all on the sanctity of what the Other Half and I have built over the past 30-something (40, come September) years.
I find it hard to understand how a marriage between a man and woman who fight constantly and physically and mentally abuse one another (and their children) can somehow be more "sacred" than a marriage between same sex partners who are respectful of each other and others around them.
So hats off to New Jersey. And to Connecticut and Vermont. And especially to Massachusetts!
And congratulations to Beth and Joanne.
And speaking of congratulations, two of my co-workers are enciente. Two summer babies in the oven. How very nice.
And so, I am making tiny socks. And perhaps tiny sweaters with some very soft baby ack (white) that I have stashed.
But they'll still need socks.
That's a hat to match the sweater of many colors in the background. I'm thinking about a jester-style with 3 tails. Or maybe it's destined to be Plain Old Beanie.
I still have time to decide.
Labels: baby things
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
First for 2007
Because the fair will be here in no time (6 months ::eep::), I decided that today would be a good day to do a fair entry. (Okay, truth time--I started it yesterday.)
Can you tell? It's a dishcloth.
In some cottony stuff I got (from Leah?). I used size 4 needles and a pattern from Beautiful Knitting Patterns by Gisela Klöpper.
It's a cast on of 43(3 garter stitches each edge and 3 ridges top and bottom). The pattern itself is a 12 stitch + 1 repeat and 24 rows long.
Yesterday's hat pattern is from the same book. Jami asked about the pattern. Um, it's not birds (though I admit that was my thought, too when I saw it knitted up in that low-contrast color scheme). It's actually a vine and leaves. Trust me on this. When there's some contrast, it shows.
Back at work. We had a phone and a phone jack both die. Perhaps it was a murder suicide. Or a suicide pact. Matters not. It's fixed.
Truck that was originally due last Monday, finally arrived today to pick up an outbound load. After 3 false starts. We were happy to see him.
Labels: fair entry
Monday, February 19, 2007
A Three Day
Please note that Penny spent the day getting to know her Cozy Cushion (endorsed by Lucy).
I, on the other hand, spent the day cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen and windexing mirrors.
Two more flap caps for Dulaan. On the left, two strands of the DK stuff I sun dyed last summer. Marigold and Copper/Ammonia. The Copper really did a number on the texture of this wool. Fortunately, using it withthe Marigold helped. Size 8 needles on that one. On the right, Genuine Icelandic Lopi (from Iceland) on 10.5s.
Back to the grind tomorrow.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
FO! FO! Part 2
It's actually been quite loud and very busy, except that nearly everything that was planned (including work related stuff) fell through at the last minute!
Of course, Mother Nature had a lot to say about "the best laid plans" and snow/ice/freezing whatever caused the cancellation of work on Wednesday and a speaking gig (to a senior church group) that evening.
Then Mother Nature, plus the City (and missing plowing our short, dead-end street) got us a second day off, because the folks we pay to plow the lot couldn't get in there. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. When you have a full schedule, one unplanned day off might be a blessing. Two in a row make Day 3 (the Return) a nightmare.
Our driveway is nearly cleared off (thanks to Ice Melt and the sun), but the street remains a mess.
And it seems that Plow Driver Guy and I owe the Guy Across The Road an apology. It wasn't his car that blocked the snow plow. It was the asswidget 2 doors up from him! Hello! 5 feet closer to the intersection and our street would be clear! But the payback still was amusing and GATR's pick up was on the street and in the way!
I gave Tammy's pattern another try yesterday, this time with a bulky yarn (Gjestal Naturgarn No. 1) and size 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles. It's a good size for a bigger kid (maybe a 10-12 year old). With a bit of tweaking, I think I could upsize it to teen/adult.
Thanks, Kathy, for the jogless link. I have this one down (from Zimmermann/Swansen tutorials). I just couldn't get it to work in the switch from garter to stockinette on the first one.
A while back, Blogless Joy sent me a huge (8.75 oz.) ball of Plassard Fusion.
[Eyes left] This is what's left (2+ oz.)
I turned it into a sweater for a kid on Cheyenne River Reservation (part of our current "Sweater Challenge").
The Other Half commented last night that the sweater had "gone together pretty fast."
I didn't think so, having put it aside for several days, but a look back through blog archives shows that it was (probably) less than 4 weeks start to finish (and there were other projects going on at the same time)!
And here it is.
I absolutely love the way the stripes play out. I love that they are wider on the sleeves than on the body.
I gave some quite serious thought to splitting those long color runs so that sleeves and body would match each other, then decided against it. I'm glad I did!
The small print: Pattern (with modifications) is from Kids to Grown-Ups Seamless Sweaters by Mary Rich Goodwin. Plassard Fusion Yarn color 999. Size 4 and 6 needles.
Having this yarn stowed away so that I could pull it out just as I was starting to get a little Need For Brighter Colors To Knit With saved me from The Need to Go Buy/Order yarn somewhere, anywhere.
So thank you, Joy, you saved the KFYS.
It has been nearly 4 months since I ordered yarn. I am feeling so very noble!
Friday, February 16, 2007
The "Dulaan Steppe Sweater" in Lion Brand Boucle (a mostly Ack blend, so it will stay State-side).
This yarn is a real bear to knit. I positively hate knitting with all the little fuzzy loops. They split, they catch, they get fuzzed up and ucky looking (scientific term).
But the fabric of this little sweater is actually quite nice. It looks and feels a bit like polar fleece or some other "modern" fabric.
And the second FO, started just this morning. This is Tammy's "recipe" that she calls "In a Flap Cap." It's quick and cute. I'll be making lots of these, I think.
This one was made on size 7s with Brown Sheep NatureSpun (evergreen--light) and Patons Classic Wool (forest green--dark).
I need to work on the jogs.
And I will on the next one.
Update on the parking lot: It's plowed. Two different "big trucks" had a real time and a half getting in and out today.
Movie Review: Flags of Our Fathers is out on DVD. It is incredibly intense.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Yesterday, while the Other Half was using the Big Machine to clear our driveway, the Guy Across The Road moved his car to our side of the street, right in front of the mailbox (we have rural delivery) so that he could clean off his driveway, too.
That was all well and good, except that when the snow plow came through, rather than move his FREAKIN' car, he just watched while they plowed him in. Then he moved his car, leaving our mailbox completely blocked. Asswidget!
It's really hard to see in this photo, but the snow plow dude has a good memory :coff: and plowed his driveway shut on the late night pass. It looks deliberate.
How do I know this?
All of the other 4 driveways on our cul de sac were as open as they were when we cleared them earlier in the day. :snork:
There's no work today for me and my staff. We were not plowed last night. The city (trying hard to clear main roads) missed our dead end until about 7:30 this morning, so our plow service missed us.
I was there. I was stuck.
I came carefully down the access street, flipped on the old turn signal, made the turn and holy cr@p! (not a link) got stuck. At the top of the hill, not the bottom, at least!
Thanks to one of my "guys" and a good Samaritan, I got out without destroying tires or transmission.
We are closed.
I put the day to good use, with some work I needed to get done, then I seamed up this pair of snuggly slippers for Ship Support.
They are Lion Brand Boucle. Hard Candies colorway. Aunt Alm's pattern, cast on 60 stitches, cast off at 30. Size 10 needles.
Labels: ship support
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
We never close!
Our Executive Director is a stickler (as he should be) for good stewardship of the donors' money, and feels that if we can get there, we should be there.
So it was no surprise at all that at 5:30 this morning, the Weatherline said "Report to Work," albiet a little late (10, not 8 for those who come in at 8--I come in at 6:30).
At 9:30, the message changed and we are closed!
And it's still coming down! The snow blower was taken out for its maiden voyage.
The Monty-gauge is saying 6" in the back yard. The weather forecast is currently 5-10" followed by a switch to freezing rain.
We are not amused!
So we are keeping busy plowing out, knitting, and watching TiVo.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
|You Are 60% Normal|
Otherwise known as the normal amount of normal
You're like most people most of the time
But you've got those quirks that make you endearing
You're unique, yes... but not frighteningly so!
And in case you thought I wasn't knitting. . .
This is about $3 (so far) worth of the Lion Brand Boucle (Jelly Bean colorway) that I picked up at the Tree right before the Yarn Diet started.
I really like the way it patterned on the lower part of the body (where it's knit in the round). I wound up with two dyelots and though it's pretty obvious "up close and personal," the change to "back and forth" (from "in the round") disguises it pretty well.
Just the sleeves and the weaving to go.
We are (finally) experiencing winter here in NE PA. Unfortunately, I have 3 meetings tomorrow. Some or all of them may be re-scheduled.
Please, let there be a 2-hour delay tomorrow. Please, Please, Please, PLEASE!
Labels: Cheyenne River
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Actual Pictures of Knitting
Everyone wants to get into the act!
Little Dulaan Steppe Sweater that I "threw" together from the Gjestal Naturgarn dyed with The Cheap Stuff. Unfortunately, the Naturgarn isn't as lofty as the yarn that the pattern calls for, so I got a smaller size sweater. It's probablythe size for a skinny 2 year old rather than the 6-8 that the pattern suggests.
I've already started another with fatter yarn (Lion Boucle) and it's coming out closer to the correct size.
Because of the lower wool content, that one will make its way to the Reservation.
Here's how it looks without Go, Dog, Go peaking out the top.
I'm calling the color Pomegranate, because this mottled coral color is the true color of the seeds (and the skin, too, if the truth be known).
(I grew up filching the fruit off a neighbor's tree.)
And in other knitting, I completed this hat with some of the yarn that Tammy sent last month. It's Cleckheaton Country Heathers 8-Ply (superwash wool). The color's hard to describe. It's brown, or taupe, but not quite. There's definitely some blue in there.
Nice to knit. Warm. I've used this brand before, but not the heathers.
The pattern is a Broken Rib variation: Row 1-knit 2, purl 2. Row 2- knit (if knit in the round).
Winter weather (snow) is finally predicted for Tuesday into Wednesday and since I am supposed to speak at a church basement dinner I have mixed feelings. I'd love to spend Valentine's Day dinner with my Other Half, but I'd like to have it over with, too, as missed speakings never go away until they are completed.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
It Occurs To Me
Well, dudes, I have been busy.
I have prevented the premature deaths of several of the people with whom I work. Just call me The Guardian.*
It was all over a few paking spaces. Or perhaps I should say too few parking spaces. There are 13 of us (plus a van that belongs to the food bank) and 12 marked parking spaces. Shall I go on?
It's solved for the moment. We'll see how long the peace lasts.
More About School Meals: Did you know that the school meal program grew out of the U.S. military's need for draftees and recruits who were not malnourished?
The food that is served in the basic meal (the one that is offered non ala carte) must follow certain standards if the school district is to be reimbursed by the federal government. These include minimum serving sizes for protein, fruits and vegetables, grain, and dairy.
For breakfast, the requirements include 1/4 of the RDA for protein, calcium, irion, and Vitamins A & C. For lunch, the requirement is 1/3 of the daily RDA of the same nutrients. For both meals no more than 30% of total calories can come from fat, no more than 10% from saturated fat. These standards went into effect more than 10 years ago, and are very likely being revised to meet "MyPyramid" guidelines. You can read all the regs (if you are so inclined) by going to the USDA website. Search on something like "school meal regulations." Warning, it's dry, dull reading.
Schools that participate in "Healthy Choice" option for "extras" and vending machines (called "competitive foods") are entitled to additional reimbursements. This additional reimbursement is part of the PA "plan." What this means is that soda's out, juice and water are in. Veggies and fruit are replacing chips and fries. You can read more about the standards here .
If you think that the meals at your kids' schools are not up to snuff, please talk to the principal, the food service director, or the school board.
*Movie Review: The Guardian is fantastic! And this is coming from someone who pants
Coming Soon: Pictures of actual knitting.
Labels: food programs
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
DK: my school feeds breakfast to anyone who comes, and not just low-income kids. i don't take advantage of it because of a few factors: 1. there are 700 kids in my sons' school, and the lines can be insane. 2. it's not enough food for 2 teenage boys. 3. i can afford to feed my kids, i'd like to leave the money/food there for those who can't.
SS (me):That's called Universal Breakfast, and if the free/reduced (kids qualifying for subidized meals) population reaches a certain point, it isn't taking money or food away. The schools actually qualify for additional funding if the program is available.
"Affording" or not doesn't really enter in. The whole idea is to get kids to eat.
From the PA Hunger Action Center (an advocacy group): "Multiple research studies have shown that children have the best chance for academic success if they start their days with nutritious breakfasts. While breakfast is traditionally consumed before leaving home in the morning, other factors - such as parents' work schedules and children's lack of appetite early in the morning - often interfere. Educators have found that providing a school-based breakfast is a cost effective way to enhance the learning environment."
SS: The meals offered in schools that participate in USDA food programs must meet certain guidelines for providing a level of calories and nutrients that is adequate. It might not be "enough for teenage boys," but nutritionally, it is adequate.
DK: although, i do have to say i think they're trying to starve my boys. the school lunches are completely inadequate! and they charge an arm & a leg for extras!
SS: Well, see above, the meals contain the proper percentage of nutrients and calories or food service doesn't get reimbursed. And they aren't going to let that happen!
This is all leading up to our Governor's School Breakfast Initiative for PA:
". Schools in which low-income students comprise 20 percent or more of enrollment would be required to offer School Breakfast. This is consistent with what Ohio and New Jersey already require. In Maryland the minimum is 15 percent and in New York there is no minimum.
". Schools that implement a breakfast program would receive a 20 - 40 percent increase in state supplemental payments through the National School Lunch Program. This ensures that the school breakfast program does not increase local costs for taxpayers.
". Schools that adopt the PA Department of Education's Guidelines for Nutritional Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools would receive an additional increase in state supplemental payments through theNational School Lunch Program. This additional supplement will ensure that school food service departments can pay their costs, notwithstanding the loss of revenue some may experience after introducing healthier foods in vending machines and lunchtime a la carte offerings."
All Sheepie can say is: It's about time!
If you live in Pennsylvania, contact your members of the General Assembly (State Representative and Senator) and tell them that the kids are counting on them!
Labels: food programs
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
It'll fit a teen is a teen will be caught dead in it.
Yarn: 3 kinds of acrylic blends (probably Decor or Encore for the purples, an Elann "sample" for the greeny-yellow.
Cast on 84. The pattern is stranded, starting with k2 in purple, k10 in mauve. First decrease is worked when 2 mauve stitches remained.
When 5 stitches remained between decreases, I switched to the green/yellow.
Baby, It's Cold Outside
After a warm early winter, we are paying now, in spades! Temperature here in Eastern PA is hovering around 5, with wind chills in the negatives. It isn't expected to hit freezing before the weekend.
Rumor has it that the Groundhog predicted an early spring. Folks, I think we already had it!
As long as the power stays on, we are snuggly warm, though. But I worry about the folks who don't have a warm place to be. The guys living in Dumpster City, and Under the Bridge, and in Doorways.
School is delayed or closed in much of our region. Seems kind of a shame that the kids most likely to be cold in their homes, are also the ones who were counting on a hot meal (or even two) and might not get one.
And I won't even go into my rant about how we walked 4 miles to school in 2' of snow, uphill, both ways.
More later, maybe even pictures!
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Rabbitch and I were "talking" early this morning as we often do (she being a late-night person and me being an early-morning person, living on opposite coasts) and I commented on a discussion that's been going on on one of the lists I read. Hop on over to her blog. You'll see the gist of the conversation without me re-typing it.
I will readily admit, in the face of undeniable evidence, that some people's children (mine and Janice's included) did or do know how to behave in public. They can be taken into stores and restaurants and conduct themselves with some decorum. (And other patrons, and nuns even, will comment on how well-behaved they are. So there!)
My objection (aside from being censored and having my reply returned by a "listmom," who feared the erruption of a flame war, twice, once on this subject and then on a blatant copyright violation, but hey, if I want to post what I want without censorship, I'll blog, did I digress again?) was that the list only heard one side of the story.
Were Vermin Child's hands clean? I don't know about you, but I'd really rather not pay full price for yarn or an expensive knitting book that has the leavings of a popsicle or jelly donut. Just sayin'. And how was VC behaving?
Shop owners have the right to protect their inventory. And shoppers who don't like it can shop elsewhere.
I've seen too many out-of-control kids in stores lately. I was shopping at the bottom of the heap yesterday (the Dollar Tree, if anyone cares) and there were more than a couple small children running amok and one small screamer riding in a cart. Okay, it's not Macy's, but still. Even for a buck, I don't want stuff that's been kicked around the store. Or thrown, either. Nor do I want to leave with a pounding headache because of the noise level.
And I know it's not just kids doing it.
Janice sings the praises of a local (to her) fiber shop. It sounds like a lovely place and again, their shop, their rules. I had a similar shop (long gone) when my kids were little (long gone). There were things that the kids loved to look at and I would sometimes buy for them (plastic canvas in shapes and bright colored yarn to work the shapes into "stuff" like coasters). They were welcome, but they were also well behaved (and had clean hands).
I am the first to admit that not everyone is cut out for retail. Maybe that was the case in this instance. But without hearing the other side, we'll never know.
What better way to spend a cold afternoon than rescuing unfortunately dyed yarn?
Some time back, I bought a lot (like at least 5 sweaters' worth??) of Gjestal Naturgarn No. 1, a lovely Lopi-type bulky wool in many colors.
I made two sweaters from it so far and have a lot left and I'm thinking Dulaan!
One of the colors (what in the hell was I thinking?) was this one [eyes left] that they called "Almond."
Um, er, ick.
Nine skeins. Why?
Enter The Cheap Stuff.
It was on sale (still is) at the grocery store: 7/$1.
There's a reason!
For one thing, it clumps (good thing I have a wire wisk and know how to use it).
For another, it took 20 packs to dye 600 grams of yarn.
I'm thinking that Kool-Aid would have done the same job for the same price. And I would have had a better choice of colors. Live and learn.
Here it is, cooking up in a pan.
Dye's all exhausted and the color is wimpy.
I put it in for a second dyebath.
And here's the result.
Three skeins (the raspberry-pinky ones) were dyed with Wilton paste--purple. I will eventually get the hang of how much paste it takes. This was a better run than the last one (the one that ran and ran and ran).
The rest is dyed with Cheap Powdered Drink Mix (tm). I'll wait for a sale on The Good Stuff.
Labels: dye stuff
Saturday, February 03, 2007
What a Surprise
Little socks are such a quick knit and lots of fun and look complicated and hard but they really aren't. I have a great pattern (used to be free at Elann--don't bother looking, they took it down. A word to the wise. See a pattern for free at Elann? Print it out. They rotate in and out depending on yarn availability.)
A few weeks ago, I got this great wooly sock yarn from Blogless[?] Joy. The colors screamed baby socks so I cast on, knowing full well that I would probably lose some yardage to make them match.
And I was able to make the cuffs match just fine.
The striping's kind of random and that's fine by me.
They look good tucked (here) inside a pair of booties, or in a teensie pair of little white baby high tops like we all wore and like we all put on our kids even though all the literature says bare feet are best and tiny sneakers are just fine.
(I saved them, as did my mother before me. I am not even considering having them bronzed!)
So, you can just imagine my surprise when I found the starting point and cast on and got halfway down the leg of Sock 2 and discovered an gignormous amount of pink where I was expecting just a little (skinny pink stripe) so I cut it right on out of there.
Then, let's see. The green rose up in outrage and threw off the heel (I wasn't cutting again), and there was way more red than I expected and the purple stripe turned out to be one stitch wide.
The rest, you can see for yourself. Clearly, we have a pair of fraternal socks going on here.
And here are the little booties from the pose above. I added a sort of Black Watch-ish ribbon to finish them off.
Pattern is from Morehouse Farm Merino Knits.
Lots of good, basic patterns in this book. And lots of information on sheep (Merino sheep).
I got mine at Overstock.com.
And on a silly note: It finally snowed. All of, oh, an inch or so. Last night.
PennDOT was out in force before the first dusting had a chance to stick. And before there was even an inch on the ground here in town, the borough road crew was out in the honkin' big plow and salt truck scraping our cul-de-sac. Too funny!
Big boys haven't had much chance to play with their big boy toys, I guess.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Take a rose, a nominal rose,
in the mind's hand.
Do not lip it, or smell it,
but as the waves of a new thought rise
throw it, your rose,
and see it glide.
on the tide.
The Company of Children
Thursday, February 01, 2007
This little hat (for Dulaan) was a one-day wonder! It's Lopi (very bulky) knit up on 10.5s (6.5 mm for the non-USA-ans). Fifty-six stitch cast on.
The colors all bled out in the photo.
The yarn is leftovers from the cardigan I made for myself (see November 3, 2005 entry), a sort of soft denim, navy, and cream.
But mostly warm.
The rabbit is sporting booties made from cotton, mauve.
Did I mention that I do not like this pattern?
The rabbit, however, I like a lot.
Dollar Tree. One buck. Available in lots of different colors.
This one is lavender. He, too, bled out.
Here's the pattern I do like, all dressed up with flower buttons and bright yellow ribbon.
Both pairs of booties are part of "Heet the Feet" for the Cheyenne River Reservation. You think it's cold in your part of the world? Right now it's -2, heading for -9. That's cold!
I have another pair on the needles in a deeper purple. I'm using a the pattern from here and I'm thinking that it's about to become one of my favorites! (Picture tomorrow, perhaps.)
At some point over the weekend, I need to load Turbo Tax onto this machine and start working on the dreaded taxes. The Cellar Dweller is already complaining about how much he will still need to pay in. You know, it's the price you pay for all this great health care and security we have. No, wait. Nevermind.