Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Christmas loot

We had a wonderful holiday. We visited with family and good friends. We ate and drank (some, not a lot) and had a great time. Snow falling would have made it prettier, but not better.

I received a new soft buddy to sleep with. This is a tradition with my husband and I think he considers it a challenge to find the softest stuffed animal in the stores.  Meet Lars. He's going to have a matching hat knitted for him soon, I think.

 Steve and Cheryl know that I love turtles. This watering can will make me smile every time I use it.
 This beautiful pice of fused glass is a lovely necklace.
 This was my one knitting gift and a total surprise from younger son and his partner.
 I had asked for a wireless mouse because I have grown to detest the tangle of wires on my desk. Now I have one for home and one for work. I am very pleased.

 I received 2 pair of earrings and I love them both. Both are at least partly purple and that pleases me a lot, too.
 Batter bowl. I have been wanting one for several years and Chris found it for me in ceramic rather than the plastic that is common but not as sturdy or nice to look at. I made pancakes for the family on  Christmas morning. ; )
  Isn't this a pretty tree ornament? I love the colors and  shapes of a peacock feather and this adds the sequins and bird shape to make it work on the tree. I might have to look for teal lights and silver balls for next year .....
This is Bob's sweater. It is a texture pattern similar to one he had previously that he really liked. So far he likes it but it's hard for him to see, so he needs more patterning to be sure. It's actually further along than this now.

 My current spinning. It's a fiber that I over dyed this past summer. I plan to ply it with the Gulf Coast Native that I have been spinning on my wheel for a three ply for a special Ravelry project. )That's for another post.)
I also got a diz and fiber puller in purple heart wood but didn't get a good picture today. I'll try again in the sunshine.

I love the care and thought that went into choosing these gifts. People really got into finding things that people really wanted since money was so tight. No one wanted to "waste" money on something the recipient didn't really like. I like it this way.

I hope you all had a good Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's almost Christmas!

I've been here, doing fine, just busy. Most everyone is at this time of year. I've been doing a lot of catch up at work and have things pretty well under control. My goal is to have everything up to date and organized by the second week of January, and I am well on the way.

The house is messy but decorations are up and the gifts are wrapped. DH does the food thing for the holidays and he has that under control. Later today and tomorrow will be a massive cleaning and putting away effort but it will be done in plenty of time and I'll watch the Ravens beat the Browns while doing it. ; )

I started Bob's sweater. It's a texture pattern - 5 blocks each of seed stitch, stockinette, reverse, stockinette and stockinette again, offset by 10 stitches for the next blocks. I think he'll like it and it's not bad to knit. I am knitting in the round and using stitch markers to separate the pattern repeats to make it a more auto-pilot kind of knitting. Round and round I go .....

The baby sweater needs about 1.5 inches of sleeve and some buttons. I haven't knitted on it in weeks. Laziness.

I am waiting for crochet hooks in tiny sizes to arrive. I started the knit the jeweled cowl, chose my yarn and beads and the beads don't fit on the crochet hooks I have at home   : ( 
I placed and order for a 0.5 mm, 0.75 mm and 0.85 mm hooks. If those don't work I have to exchange the beads I have and that would not please me. Here's a picture of someone else's jeweled cowl. I love the beads but I also love the fact that the beads are only in a small section of the cowl. I think that makes it more versatile. 

I am still trying to finish the Honka scarf. Concentration is not my thing lately, especially late in the evening when I get to sit and knit. Hopefully over this holiday weekend I can get more of that knitting done. I am still plugging away on  the SKYP sock, too. I want to get past the heel (cuff down) and then plan to work harder on the Riff sock for Rob, too. I won't allow myself to knit on socks for me until these are finished. (gritting teeth) I have plans for my socks for this year, including a pair of Baltimore Ravens  socks.

Happy Holidays and peace to all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shaelyn Finished!

I bound off last night! I still have to weave in a few ends (not many) and block, but the kitting is complete and I love it. I am just not sure whether it will be mine or a gift to someone, but I love it anyway.

I cast on Rob's second Riff sock, blocked Brian's binary cable scarf, blocked the swatch for Bob's next sweater and knitted a bit on Brian's SKYP sock (the second). I didn't get any knitting done on the Honka scarf but I hope to do some of that this week.

I prepped and spun more of the pine green fiber that I started last week for the Ravelry challenge. I think that one more spinning session will give me enough of the main color. I can then spin some of the roving for the 3rd ply of my 3 ply piney yarn. I have fiber coming that will be blended for the sky colors in the painting, and I will use some of my brown BFL for the tree trunks.

The blue spruce tree in the back yard has been lit up for the first time for Christmas. We talk about it every year but it never gets done. This year we seem to be getting to things that we haven't in past years. Maybe it's the warmer weather making us less reluctant to be outdoors doing things that you can't wear gloves to do. ; )

Most of the Christmas gifts have been wrapped and are under the tree - that's a first, too.  I have a few things on order, and a few more things that I have that go into gift bags rather than boxes with wrapping paper. I have not yet written out cards, though. Bad girl.

I am trying to hit the right balance between being active and productive and also giving my back the care that it requires right now. I was in pain most of the weekend because I got impatient and moved some heavy things by myself. Grrr.... When will I learn?!   Thank goodness for ibuprofen!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Not much to report

Why am I writing a post if I have not much to say? Because I feel like I should so that the one or two people who actually read my blog know that I am alive.

Do you remember Shaelyn? I finally decided to buy another skein of yarn and make it bigger. As soon as I decided on that plan of action., I bought the yarn and resumed knitting. That was obviously a sign that I felt that I made a good choice. The shawl sat untouched at the foot of my bed for quite a while before that, and at any time I could have ripped back and bound off.  But I didn't do that. I apparently didn't realize that I had made a decision to buy more yarn. ; )   I knitted the last of the stockinette sections last night and will be starting the lace edging this weekend.

I did a bit of spinning sampling the other night for a Ravelry challenge that I am playing with. That was fun.  I am pleased to discover that the Gulf Coast fiber that I had dyed because it had a yellow stain on it actually came out looking good and I will be happy to make something with it. The color variations look good in the singles, at least, and I think it will be better as a plied yarn. It's a sort of deep pine green with some lighter and darker spots.

 This is a mystery wool that I over dyed because I didn't like the original colors. It will be plied with the above Gulf Coast fiber.
I hope to fit in some fiber playing time this weekend. I am actually hoping to do more spinning than knitting over the next few weeks. I have been bitten by the spinning bug again. I'll finish projects on the needles now but I am planning for more spinning for a few weeks.

Oh, I hope to post pictures of the finished Darkside cowl that I am knitting with my pansy purple polwarth handspun this weekend. It will be finished soon. It's soooo soft! I LOVE it.

That's it. Have a great weekend. Enjoy the holiday preparations.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Various and Sundry

Well. The outside of the house is decorated for the holiday.

Most of the holiday gift shopping is completed. (no wrapping yet).

I baked cookies for the first time in over a year. Yum.

I finished knitting the coordinating scarf to go with the Binary Cable hat for Brian.

I finished the skirt of the baby sweater and need to work on the sleeves.

I started to knit the Darkside Cowl with my pansy purple handspun (just because it was so pretty and soft that I couldn't resist).

I hurt my back on Friday and spent most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday in bed or on the couch resting it. (It is entirely possible to knit while flat on your back in bed, BTW)

We have a tree and a wreath, but neither one is up yet.

We have a brand new refrigerator and it is huge! I love the fact that I don't have to get on my knees to get a can of soda. (top fridge, bottom freezer).

I wore my fibonacci sideways knitted vest on Friday. It looked good.

It's Monday and I made it to work. I am not sure how long my back will let me stay, but I am here.

No posed photos of Rob in his sweater due to my back spasms.

Despite the fact that my fiber stash is starting to take up more space than my yarn stash, and I have 2 washed but not prepped fleeces at home, I am craving a fresh fleece. I just don't get it! So far I have managed to resist, but I'm not sure how long I can be strong ....

We are going to visit Mom in NY next weekend. ; )  Haven't seen her since September, so this is very good.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rob's Sweater

It's finished!!!!!  The yarn is Riverstone worsted by Louet. I used about 6.25 skeins, which is about 1275 yards and size 6 and 7 needles. I designed this sweater myself, with input from the recipient.  ; )
It took only a few months (rather than years) to finish! I hope to have a modeled photo soon. 

This is the plied Polwarth in purple pansy colors from Desigknit . That's right - I have a spinning FO, too, this weekend. ; ))  I loved spinning this fiber, both for the softness and loft it has and for the colors, which kept me endlessly entranced. I would love to spin the other pansy Polwarth fiber I have right away  ...... but I have to finish up another WIP first. The grafton batt is being spun into beautiful blue lace weight yarn and I am more than halfway there.

This will go into a bath today.  I had thought about a 3 ply but I wanted enough yardage to make mitts or a hat or something and a 3 ply would have made the yardage too short, I think. That's OK. I love it.

; ))

The Honka scarf (double knit, on the needles for 3 years) is moving along nicely considering that I have to knit on it only when I can concentrate. This is not one of those knit while chatting types of projects. I have to count every stitch and double check the pattern each time I knit a row. I love it, but it takes time and attention. I am using black cascade 220 and silk garden. You can see both right and wrong sides in the photo below.

This is the baby sweater I am knitting for Sharon. Her doctor had better be correct about the gender. It would be hard to put this on a boy.  I have another 2 inches to knit on the skirt and then the ruffle on the bottom. I haven't decided whether I will leave the sleeves short as in the pattern or make them long.

Brian's Binary Cable hat is finished, but I had a lot of yarn left. Since this is handspun, I didn't want to waste the remaining yarn. I decided to try a scarf. Brian had wanted a scarf to begin with but I was concerned about the itch factor (it really did feel itchy in a skein around the neck) so I convinced him to go with a hat. After knitting and washing, though, the yarn felt better so I decided to go for a coordinating (not matching) scarf.

 I used the same rib pattern as in the hat, and used similar cables, but not in the sequence specified in the hat pattern. I love the way the colors shift in the scarf.

You can see the cables more in real life, though they are not really very noticeable. It's the thought that counts. ; )

I had no intentions of starting a new project right now (finishing mode here) but I needed a boating project and at least this is a small one. It won't be unfinished for long. We went on the boat on Saturday and had a wonderful time. The weather was great for this time of year, we had no traffic and, thank goodness, no mechanical mishaps similar to this one. We drove down to Southern Maryland,  put the boat in the water and went striped bass (Rockfish in this area) hunting.  I knitted while Bob fished. I had better luck with my knitting than he did fishing, but we had a good day on the boat together.

Yesterday we got the front yard cleaned up again (it's amazing how many leaves there were on those trees!) and put the Christmas lights in the tree and on the bushes. The two wooden reindeer came out to play this year, too, with a spot light on each. It looks awesome at night!

Most of my holiday shopping is finished. I have a few more things to get, mostly things I can (and will) order on line.  Maybe we can get a tree today.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Vest is finished

The vest is finished. I am very please with both the look and the fit. Considering that this was a first - knitted sideways, designed by me garment, I am very pleased.  The yarn is Domy heather in three shades of gray in a fibonacci stripe sequence. Here it is, pinned out for blocking.

Closer up view of the top and neckline:

Closer up view of the bottom edge, which I made wider than the other edges despite the torture of what seemed like endless tiny rows of garter stitch. ; )

Here is Brian's Binary Cable hat. It's a bit big for me but his head is bigger so I think it will be fine for him. this is handspun yarn, 2 different colorways plied together with a third, solid black. I like it a lot. I am going to try to design a scarf to go with it.  

We are off now to go boating. I hope we have luck with the fishing and have a good weather day. Have a good day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to all

I do try to be thankful every day for the good things in my life, and I succeed most of the time. Thanksgiving day, tomorrow, was established especially to concentrate on those good things, though, and so I am going to be extra thankful tomorrow for:
1. My absolutely wonderful and loving husband. He has always taken care of and loved me and he continues to do so even though the taking care of part has become harder with his disappearing vision and hearing.
2. My sons.
3. My mother, who continues to be a great support system for me, listening when I need to vent, advising when I ask for it and just being there for me.
4. A job
5. A house to live in
6. Good friends
7. A country that, while it needs some (a lot) of change and compromise right now, is still a great place to live.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More FO's!!

Whew! My needles are over heating! LOL. I finished the vest. I hope to block it over the holiday weekend. Brian's Binary Cable hat is also finished and will get blocked soon. I was nervous about the fit of the hat - with just the cast on and first few rows of ribbing I thought it would be huge. Then, once I started to cable, I thought it might be too snug. I'm not sure yet about the snug because Brian was not available for a try on, but it's not huge and I think it will be OK. Now I need to choose a pattern for some fingerless mitts to go with the hat.

I bound off Rob's sleeves last night despite a frogging session due to a too wide sleeve. Just a collar to go!

The baby gift sweater has grown just a little. I really concentrated on the other projects this weekend, and on spinning my purple pansy polwarth. There's just a little bit more of that soft, fluffy fiber to be spun.

I plan to try to work on a finishing period for spinning projects, too. I feel scattered. The polwarth will be finished first, then the Grafton Batts I was working on before I started to polwarth. When I finish plying the grafton batt turned lace weight (I HATE to ply, so I am going to have to bribe myself) I will finish spinning the California Red that I had started over the summer. I want to try to clear off my bobbins and spindles by the new year and somehow get more organised with my spinning projects.  I want to plan more what I will spend my time on and what I will do with it when it's spun, even if that's to give it away or store for a future project.
Is this need to finish and organise a late mid life crisis? Am I turning over a new leaf? Or is this a temporary thing and I'll go back to my old ways in a month or so? I don't know but I am going with it for now because it makes me feel better about my life. Similar things are happening at home with the rest of my life, too, not just with knitting and spinning.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dreaming ....

The winter Twist Collective is up. I like so many of the projects in this issue! The one I like the best, though is Zosia . I like the fact that it looks comfy but fitted.  I love the cables and the simplicity of the ribbing that sets off the cables. I like the color, too, though that is very subjective. I think it will look great with the buttons at least partway open, which is how I would wear it very often, but having that high collar there to fend off nasty winds is a wonderful option.

My favorite non-sweater pattern is Caliope, the short version. I can see those socks knitted in several different color combinations. You could easily choose shades of the same color or contrasting colors (as shown). Neutrals (black and white, shades of grey, brown and tan) would also work well. There are more that I like a lot, but those two stand out for me.

My vest now has a front edging. I hope to pick up stitches for the bottom edging soon - maybe over the weekend. I knitted a bit on Brian's binary cable hat, too. It's just about time to start decreasing for the crown. Tonight at knit night I plan to knit on the baby sweater. It's a good knitting and chatting project. After knit night I will be watching the football game on TV and that knitting will be Rob's sweater sleeves. I include what to knit with/around just about everything I do. ; )

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Project Resurrection

I am on a roll finishing up WIPs. This is very unusual for me - I do seem to finish 2 or 3 things close together but they are usually current projects that just end close together. This time I am actually enjoying pulling out these long term proejcts and getting them off the needles. I pulled out the sideways vest in fibonacci stripes over the weekend and added the edging around the arms. Last night I picked up some of the many stitches that will be needed to do the front edging. It will probably take several days, but that's OK. After all this time (3 years, I think) just having it out in the light of day making any progress is great! I think this vest will be finished by the end of the month (along with Rob's sweater. I haven't forgotten that and the sleeves grow a bit every day)

I was planning to take out a lace shawl next and work on finishing it, but I think I'll hold off on that. I just don't feel like knitting lace right now. After the vest I will work on the double knit Honka scarf that's been on the needles for at least 2 years.

I started the baby gift sweater and I like it. The color is good and the construction is easy. The sleeve stitches are on holders and I am working on the "skirt" part of it. I think the ruffles will take a while but the rest will be fast.

Today I leave work early to go get my root canal tooth filled. Finally! I had to take antibiotics last week for some pain in the tooth but it seems fine now.  I plan to get in an exercise walk right after that, before dinner. After dinner I get to help DH put some cement patch/leveler on the downstairs bathroom floor so that the floor tile can be put down.

We shopped for a refrigerator over the weekend. (Still shopping, haven't bought yet) Does anyone have any input into brand for reliability?  We are looking at Maytag, GE and Frigidaire. After reading reviews on line last night we eliminated Samsung from the mix and I've heard not great things  about parts for LG, so we eliminated that brand, too.  I am looking forward to a nice new French door fridge that will hopefully last at least half as long as our current fridge, which has been working well for over 30 years!!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The five (or 6) year afghan is complete!

 Rob's afghan had had many starts and stops. Lack of interest, heat, being angry at him for something, etc. The last 3 years it was my boat knitting. The pattern was easily memorized and it utilized worsted weight yarn. On a boat underway, that's important. I made it in stripes, not squares to cut down on the seaming. (very good decision on my part)

Last night I finished the last seam and wove in the last of the ends. Today it gets a soak (being dragged around on the boat, to and from the boat made some parts of it a bit soiled) and will be stretched out to dry. Whew! I feel so good about this .....

ETA photo above.

 I settled on yarn and a pattern to knit for the baby gift I want to make. I love knitting with Mirasol Nuna, it's about the right weight and I found a color that I think the Mom will like. I plan to knit the Ruffles and Ridges baby sweater  in Nuna yarn in Aqua.  I'll search for buttons later. The color is actually a bit lighter than in this photo.
 Finished Marsan watchcap. I love the swirl decreases.

 This is the finished Canaletto Cowl. I love it.
 It's long enough to wear doubled around my neck or even doubled around the neck with a third loop over the head.

 This is my Polwarth spinning in progress. More spinning tonight, I hope.
 This is my Black Welsh Mountain sample skein. You can see the fuzziness, and it's prickly rather than soft fuzzy. It will become an outdoor garment.

I've knitted about 4 inches of sleeve on each side of Rob's sweater and I completed the cabled rows on Brian's Binary cable hat. Next up - either a lace shawl or the sideways vest that needs an edging will be resurrected. Woohoo! On a finishing roll!

I am off to start the weekly laundry battle, shower and shop for flooring for the downstairs bathroom. Have a good day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No pictures again

Sorry - I have knitting and spinning progress but no pictures to show you. It's always dark when I get home these days.

I finished the Marsan cap! Well, OK, I do still have to weave in a few ends. It was getting late and I needed to get to sleep, but the knitting is done and some of the ends are woven in. I am going to have a big wooly soak session over the weekend and try to get everything (Marsan cap, Canaletto cowl, BWM skein) blocked in the sunshine.

I spent about 20 minutes last night spinning my Polwarth. The colors fascinate me as they slip though my fingers. I love the deep, saturated purples, with a bit of blue thrown in. Sigh of pleasure ....  I am not sure what I will make with this yarn when it's spun but it will be something special.

I knitted further on the first sleeve of Rob's sweater and picked up the stitches for the other sleeve. I want to knit them pretty much together since I am not following a written pattern. Knitting them at the same time will increase the chances that they will be the same.

Tonight is knit night at my LYS so no seaming will happen. I'll probably knit on the sweater sleeves tonight and plan to sew that last seam on the afghan on Friday night. If that fails, I'll get it done Saturday. One way or another I will have another FO by the end of the weekend! I'd love to finish spinning the first braid of Polwarth over the weekend, too. I want to decide between 2 and 3 plies and get it plied. I am just a teeny bit anxious to knit with that yarn (to be).  ; )

I am at a place right now where many of my projects are close to completion. I have a severe case of finishitits. Two nights in a row I have stayed up late to finish projects. I love it when this happens. I plan to resurrect a few WIPs next, in addition to starting on Bob's sweater. (He has to choose between the two swatches I made for him to decide on a stitch pattern.) Other than that I hope to pull out one of my lace shawl WIPs next, and the double knit scarf I've been working on for a few years and get them both finished. I'll really feel good once I finish those. I have a sideways knit vest that is mostly complete, that needs an edge treatment of some sort added to it. That will also come back out to play. Bob's sweater and possibly a baby gift are the only new projects I plan to start on for a while. Hopefully that resolution will hold until after the holidays, at least. We all know how suddenly a case of castonitis can attack, but I feel good about finishing these things, so my motivation is high. I want to clear out WIPs just like I want to clear other clutter from my house and my life. I am also looking forward to choosing a shawl pattern and some other patterns to knit with my handspun. Plans, hopes, goals and it's not even the new year yet! LOL.

The fog was amazing this morning on my drive to Baltimore! Thick fog on the water (and near by) makes sense but this fog was really thick 10 miles from the water. It stayed dense enough to slow everybody down almost all the way in to Baltimore (about a 35 mile drive for me). There is an elevated section of the highway just before I exit, and when I drove along that section I felt like nothing existed off the highway - nothing could be seen from there. Very weird.

Have a great day, all. Spend at least part of it doing something you enjoy doing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Canaletto cowl is finished!

I bound off late (for me) last night. I still have (4) ends to weave in and it needs a soak to settle things, but the knitting is complete. Yippee!

I started the Binary Cable hat for younger son. I thought it appropriate because he took computer classes a while ago and I thought he would have a computer based career. Not. But I hope he likes the hat anyway. Now if only I understood the whole binary thing so that I "got" what I was knitting .....

The Marsan cap is at the point of decreasing but I haven't had the time to settle into that yet. Soon, I hope.

I finished spinning and plying the sample skein of Black Welsh Mountain. Tonight it gets a bath. I will even knit a small swatch with it. I am pretty sure that I will be able to wear an outside garment made with this yarn despite being a coarse fiber. The garment is still to be decided since I have no idea at all how much yarn I will be able to spin from this fleece. I plan to comb it - that makes it the most spinable, and I can do that in bits and pieces or a lot at a time. Either way, I am relieved to find that I can spin this fiber into something that will be useful. I would have hated to waste it or just make do with a rug. If I knit a rug I want it to be my choice, not because I can't think of anything else to do with the yarn. ; )

Monday, November 07, 2011

What a weekend!

This is Polwarth, from Erica at Desigknit. I started spinning this on Saturday (finally! I have been wanting to spin it for a while, but couldn't get to it). The main goal was to sample and decide what I wanted to do with it. This is a sample of the singles I tried, thinking that it would make a nice, fluffy soft singles for fulling and knitting a cowl, maybe.

It would be fluffy and make a nice cowl, I think, but I was afraid that the deep colors wouldn't show this way. I don't really have enough to spin, full and knit a sample and still have enough for a project (if the sample didn't work) so I went with the gut and tried thinner, planning to ply. This is a two ply sample, and I decided that I like that, and would try to add a bit more fiber and twist so I would end up with a nice worsted weight yarn.

Then I tried a 3 ply and I like that a lot, too. so, I am spinning (trying, at any rate) thicker than my default and planning on either a 2 or 3 ply.

I may decide to spin the other braid as a single (I think the colors are better for that) or I may decide to spin them the same and ply them together. I have time and I want to be happy with the look of this yarn, since I am so pleased with the hand.

I had a very productive day at home on Saturday: laundry, vacuuming, neatening up, spinning and knitting. I finally picked up the stitches for the first sleeve on Rob's sweater. Yippee!

Sunday was a boating day. I was not thrilled to be up at 6 AM on a day off, but the forecast was good .... and I am so glad I got up early. We had an awesome day on the water.  The sun was shining (after the first couple of hours) and the winds were calm. We found birds (they frequently show you where the fish are) and the fish were biting. The fact that they were all little babies and had to be thrown back didn't bother us at all. We only caught one bird. I am becoming an expert as disentangling them from the line without getting bit. (I think they should be more thankful, but they don't agree. LOL) I knitted on Rob's sleeve, swatched for Bob's sweater and worked on a hat (that I think is too big and has to be frogged. Again.)

We returned to the dock a bit before 5:30 PM, in plenty of time to get home to watch the Ravens game. I backed the trailer to the ramp without too much back and forth, and got out so Bob could get his waders on to retrieve the boat. When Bob got in the Expediton to back the trailer further into the water  it would. not. move. at. all.
The engine was running but no movement. No amount of troubleshooting regarding brakes, emergency brake, 4WD etc. was helping. I climbed under the vehicle and saw that something major and metal was rusted and twisted, obviously broken beyond a simple repair. It was connected to the rear axle which had moved to a position it was not supposed to be in. Gulp!

We contacted Boat US because we have a trailer tow package with them. Thank goodness! We had to wait for 3 hours but a tow truck came and put the Expediton on the flatbed. We then disconnected the trailer from our vehicle, put the trailer on the tow truck and backed it down to the water, because the boat was still in the water. We had prepped for travel while waiting, so we slipped the boat onto the trailer (thank goodness it went smoothly) and out it came. We went home in the tow truck, with the Expedition on the flatbed and the boat being trailered behind. The Expediton is sitting at Pep Boys waiting for parts (two control arms, a U joint and a yoke, for anyone who knows about such things) and repair. We hope they find nothing else broken when they go to repair the bleeping thing. Grrr.

We made it home just in time to watch the last 8 minutes or so of the Ravens' game. GO RAVENS!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Seaming, not knitting

I sewed a whole stripe of afghan to the rest of it last night. This (scroll down to the red, white and black on the floor)  is the afghan in question. That means I have one stripe to go and that makes me anxious to get it done. I'm like that when I near the finish of a project. Once I get close, all else falls by the wayside. It's almost like castonitis in it's urgency.  I might just have to go home tonight and finish that 4 year (or more) project up.

I did do a little bit of knitting last night. Once I finished sewing the one stripe I had started previously, I realized that I wouldn't have time to get far on the next one and so I knitted on the Canaletto cowl for about 20 minutes before sleep. I love that project and might just be planning another, maybe using some handspun.  I was stuck in some bad traffic this morning during my commute, so I knitted while stopped on the highway, too. It all adds up. ; )

The Spinners Study group on Ravelry is studying Polwarth this month. That means that I have an excuse  a reason to play with my new fiber (scroll down to the purple braids of fiber) from Erica at Desigknit . Check out her Etsy store - she sells beautiful handpainted yarns and fibers. I haven't decided what to do with my purple fiber yet - spin singles and full them, spin each colorway and ply together or spin each and chain ply. I will be sampling some, hopefully this weekend, trying to figure out what pleases me the most and what might be the most useful for knitting.  I haven't spun Polwarth yet and I'm anxious to see what it feels like.

I still haven't decided what to do about my Shaelyn shawl and the yarn amount. I think I'll try a bit of a steam blocking just to see how big it will be, then go from there. I'm tending towards ripping back to the last lace section rather than adding on.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Knitting progress October 2011

This is Rob's sweater so far. I finally got the shoulder and side seams sewn and am ready to pick up stitches for the sleeves, which I plan to knit down from the shoulder to the cuff. Rob decided on plain sleeves (no cable) so that simplifies things. I hope to get sleeves (one, at least) going this week.

Here's a closer view of the cables. The color of this yarn is champagne. It looks much nicer in real life than it does in this photo.

Sock progress: One SKYP sock complete (the second has been started) and one Riff complete. I wanted to add length past where my original yarn would take me because my son likes longer cuffs. I found the darker yarn at my LYS and it really works. I am happy and so is he.

This is the fiber I purchased at Fancy tiger in Denver, CO last week. These colors are actually pretty accurate. It's shades of purple and some grey and a bit of white as well, and it's a merino/silk blend. 5 oz should let me do something nice, I think.

This is the hat I started when I needed another boat knitting project last week. It's called the Marsan Watchcap. I hope to get to the swirly decreases soon - that's what really attracted me to the pattern.
I am using a grey and white alpaca yarn and it feels really soft and warm. DH tried it on last night and it's a bit snug on him, so it may be a donation hat. I didn't care. I wanted to use the yarn in a simple project and this worked for me.

This is the Canaletto cowl in Araucania Rinihue. I love this project.

Well, that's the knitting progress. I spent some time combing (with my new, handmade by my brother combs) some Black Welsh Mountain that I washed earlier this year. I want to spin, ply and wash a sample or two so I can figure out what to do with this fiber. It's rather coarse and hairy, even combed. We'll see.

I finished knitting Rob's afghan last night. I have a lot of seaming in store despite having done some as I went along. The end is in sight, though, and I am proud of my self for persisting on this project rather than giving up because it took "a while" (like several years!!) It will be seamed in the next month or so and I will give it to him at Christmas, most likely. I suppose this means that I should pick up the Great American Aran Afghan that I started many years ago and finish that ......

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Knitting projects progress

One thing that traveling by plane does for a knitter (assuming that TSA does not have a problem with knitting needles. The ones I encountered, did not, thank goodness) is provide lots of knitting time. Waiting at the airport for the plane, waiting on the plane, during the flight are all good knitting times. Waiting to exit the plane doesn't work well - everyone is too anxious to get off and moving and bumping and things like that for knitting to be a safe activity.

While I was away (Sunday afternoon to Wednesday morning at about 1:30) I knitted on my Canaletto Cowl during the meetings and in my hotel room at night. I am just a bit over half way across and very happy with how it looks. I hope to get pictures over the weekend. I have been working on Rob's Riff socks. I felt that the yarn was going to run out before the sock was as long as I wanted it for his legs, so I looked for and found a sock yarn in a color that blends beautifully with the original yarn. I used that for the ribbed cuff so that I could knit the patterned section as long as I wanted it in the original yarn. It's a go. :  )
The ribbing is complete except that I have to bind off. I didn't have a needle with me (TSA worries) so I just left the sewing of the cuff for home. I cast on and knitted a few inches of the second SKYP sock, too, and did some knitting on the hat I started last weekend as a boat knitting project. It's a simple K1tbl, P1 pattern in what feels like a very soft alpaca yarn. More info and pictures to come.

I hope to get pictures of the new fiber I purchased while in Colorado at the Fancy Tiger Yarn Store. It was 80 degrees that day! Two days later it snowed. More than 6 inches in Denver. I am glad that I got home before the storm hit.

My friend Cheryl has a birthday coming up. It's her 65th.  I am not sure how she feels about that, but we will head down to Silver Springs to help her celebrate on Saturday. Now to find a gift .....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I feel like the Yarn Harlot

Not that there are a lot of people reading my blog, but I am sitting at the airport (in Denver) waiting for my plane. ; )

I was in Denver for two days for a meeting/conference and am now heading home. I managed to fit in a yarn store stop whiloe I was there. I have 5 oz. of purple merino/silk fiber as a reminder of my trip back to the Mile High City (for the first time in about 28 years).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In person

She's just as funny. Adding the facial expressions, tone of voice and laughter, listening to the Yarn Harlot read excerpts from her newest book was a great way to spend an evening. I had a great time. As usual, I got tongue tied in front of someone famous and didn't say half the things I meant to say. (that NEVER happens when I am with "regular" people. Just ask. If you can get a word in.) I did manage to remember to give Stephanie the little sheep pin I had brought for her. I and my autographed book are going to settle into bed tonight for a little reading. ; )

I am near the end of the Imperial Ranch Columbia yarn. (Shaelyn Shawl) I am near enough to the end of the yarn that I am in trouble, since I didn't bind off at the end of the last lace section and now I think know that I won't have enough yarn to do another stockinette and lace repeat plus the bind off.  Decision time - do I buy another skein and finish it up after this last repeat (leaving me with lots of extra yarn) or do I rip back and bind off after the last lace repeat, wasting the yarn that's left. What do you advise?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Awesome stash enhancement

Written last Friday:

I don't have much new, but what there is is great! A friend went back home to England for a visit with family. She did some checking and discovered that she wouldn't be all that far from the Collinette factory store in Wales and would be willing to make some purchases for others while on her day trip. Yippee! I love the colors of Jitterbug sock yarn. They are so awesome - deep and dramatic. I made a list with lots of alternatives and, due to the price difference there, was able to get more of it than I can afford here. So, I have 4 new skeins of Jitterbug in some really great colors. I'll post photos soon.

I haven't made a lot of knitting progress this week and no spinning progress at all. Shaelyn is the only project that has gotten any attention. I hope to change that over the weekend, which begins this afternoon at about 4 PM. Can you tell that I am ready for the work week to end?  ; )

Goals for the weekend (since the weather does not look boating friendly):
Clean up the yard (the last of the garden stuff, rake leaves, put some outside furniture away)
Laundry (to be dried outside if the meteorologists aren't lying to us and we'll see sun again)
Dust and vacuum (it's getting bad)
Spin the rest (I hope) of the grafton batt
Spin more yak (drop spindle)
Seaming of Rob's afghan
Knitting on Rob's sweater. I am pretty sure I can finish the body and maybe even start one sleeve.

My tooth (root canal) has stopped hurting and I go to the dentist on Tuesday to get that finished up.

Bob has been busy downstairs. We had to replace the water heater, and as long as he was doing that, he decided to move it to a more convenient location. That involved taking down shelves, putting up sheetrock (he decided that he wanted real walls in the basement), taping, priming and painting, and then painting the floor under where the water heart will go. That corner is complete and he is now erecting the wall where the water heater was, and where the storage shelves will go. Soon that part of the basement will have to be emptied of everything not attached, swept and then painted. That has to be timed with laundry washing. Once that area is complete, we do the same thing on the other side of the room to complete the "makeover". All of this involves much grunting, some back pain and lots of organization and throwing things away, so it takes a while. It will be great .... if it ever gets done.

Edited on Wednesday morning:

I did get the laundry done and the garden cleaned out. That took most of Saturday. Sunday was a total loss as far as getting my list completed because I was woken up by a headache that made my head pound. I tried sinus meds, headache meds, resting in the sun, a hot, steamy shower - everything I could think of and ended up being in pain for most of the day. I was able to knit some and finished the body of Rob's sweater. I didn't attmept the seaming - that requires much concentration.

I also did some dyeing. There is no bending down or forceful work involved there (that kind of activity really increased the pounding in the head). I pulled out my Gulf Coast native fiber with the yolk stain, chose a blue (navy) and a green (resdada, I think) dye and dyed about half and half. I love the color combo. I haven't decided whether to spin each and then ply together or to just spin the colors together. It's finally dry and put away until I finish some of my other spinning projects in the works. I didn't do much spinning on the grafton batt but did get a bit done on Saturday night.

Those of you who know me know that I am a Ravens football fan and I usually yell, clap, stomp my feet and really get into the game. About a half hour into the game on Sunday I gave in and took good pain meds for the headache. I was finally pain free and able to enjoy the rest of the game. ; )

Since the weekend I have managed to finish the first sock of the SKYP socks. I hope to cast on the second sock later today. I also finished the Burberry cowl and grafted that together. The Shaelyn shawl is nearing completion (because I am nearing the end of the skein) and should be bound off over the weekend.

The root canal is finished. Now I have to go back to the regular dentist to have the tooth filled. WHY does it take 4 appointments with 2 dentists to get one problem fixed??? Don't they know or care that I have to work and these appointments force me to take time off? Grrrr

I have big plans for today, after work. I am going to B & N to the Yarn Harlot's book signing!!!! I'll be knitting on the second SKYP sock while I wait.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spinning weekend

The spinning retreat begins on Friday afternoon and ends on Sunday afternoon. It's not long enough. I had a great time.

I decided to stop at The Mannings on the way to Wilson College for the spinning weekend. I called ahead to verify that they had Lendrum bobbins in stock and when they said yes, I set up my route to take me past the store and then on to the college. I am proud of myself for thinking of a way to save the shipping on the bobbin purchase and still not make a special trip to the store (which is not in my neighborhood) to get the replacement bobbin. I usually don't plan that far ahead. I picked up some dyes and a bobbin for someone else who needed it and then got back on the road to the college.

Wilson College has a beautiful campus and at this time of year, with the trees turning red and brown and orange, it can be breathtaking.  The drive went well and the trees all around provided me with lots to look at. I arrived, unpacked spinning and knitting stuff in the gathering room and then carted my personal belongings to the room. It's a basic dorm room, bathroom down the hall, and basic dorm food. Facilities are not why we go there.

We gathered and spun and chatted, catching up on events and families and whatever else we wanted to talk about. I don't see most of these people during the year - just at the retreat - so there is a lot for me to catch up on. The theme this year was silk, and we received our bag of goodies on Friday night. It included some tussah silk, some silk hankies, some silk noil and a few cocoons. All of the fiber was natural in color. On Saturday some of us tried dyeing the silk with Koolaid. I brought my tussah and hankies home to try my new Mother MacKenzie dyes on them but tried the koolaid on the silk noil. The colors are fine but I didn't have enough room in the bowls to get good coverage with the dye powder, so I will have to go back and add more koolaide now that I am home. There is way too much white on that fiber still. I hope to be able to blend it with some wool and get an interesting effect.

Everyone brings a snack for the goodie table, and one of the attractions of the weekend is to sample some of everything. More and more people are bringing healthy foods rather than just cakes and cookies, so it's not as bad as it sounds. ; )  There were some very yummy goodies on that table .....

The weather was so nice that many of us took our spinning and/or knitting outdoors on Saturday. There is a nice patio there that we made use of for a couple of hours, soaking up the sunshine and vitamin D. It was actually heat that drove me back inside after a while!

Show and tell was fun - people bring and talk about different projects they worked on over the last year. I am awed by the talent and interest in learning new things that is apparent in that group of experienced fiber people. Each person walked around for a while, checking out other people's projects and asking questions or asking for instructions. Everyone was free with help and information.

Sunday is always bittersweet - one more morning to spin and chat, have brunch, but then it's time to pack up and go home. : (

The drive home was great, too. No traffic hangups and great scenery to entertain my eyes while I listened to my audio book. I am sorry - I took absolutely no pictures while I was there despite having brought my camera.

What did I accomplish while I was there? It was a spinning weekend, after all. I finished spinning my first Grafton Batt and started the second. I sampled some other fibers that were there for us to play with, but none of them really did anything for me. I spun some silk hankies (that I had brought from home), switching from spindle to wheel spinning,  and instructed others on how to draft silk hankies for spinning or knitting. I spun my silk (from home that I have been working on for a while) on the spindle outside on Saturday. I did some knitting on the new shawl and a bit on Rob's sweater, too. All in all, it was a great weekend. To top it off, Monday was a holiday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rob's cabled sweater

I am very excited - I completed the arm scye shaping last night! I knit even to the shoulder now. The cables look good and the shaping didn't interfere with the cables at all. Yippee! I'll bring the sweater with me on the spinning retreat this weekend and hopefully get the front and back completed and maybe even pick up stitches for the sleeves. I have to decide which cable to put on the sleeve, though. I think a new one, not one from the front, but I am not sure sure yet.

I started yet another new project.  The new shawl is Shaelyn (Rav link found here - better picture) . The match of yarn (Imperial Stock Ranch Tracie ) and the pattern please me a lot. The pattern is clear and easy, the yarn is an airy, woolly pleasure to knit. There will be warmth but little weight or bulk in this shawlette. The color is a soft, heathered blue.

This new project is the final new project for a while, though. No more casting on until I have a few FOs. I have apparently reached my internal limit on the number of WIPs I want to deal with. Before I start anything new, I want to finish knitting Rob's afghan, Rob's sweater and the first of two pairs of socks. I'd like to finish another project, too, but my goals have to be realistic and I'm not sure I can finish more than that without casting on something else. ; ) BTW, I specified the knitting of Rob's afghan, not the completion. There is still a good amount of seaming to be done there, despite having done quite a bit as I went along.

My cold is just about gone.  My mouth is aching a bit after my root canal procedure (done yesterday). Ibuprofen is taking care of the discomfort for the most part. I actually have energy again! I have plans. House cleaning (the big, seasonal kind), rearranging the furniture, yard clean up and, of course, fiber plans. I've even done a little Christmas shopping already!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Spinning and knitting progress

I am interspersing more Montauk photos as I go along with other news. Hope you don't mind.

I am feeling a bit better today. I got some spinning done tonight even after working my longest day this week. Early to bed again tonight, hoping to keep up the progress on shedding the cold.

This is my spinning status on the Grafton Batt. I have a bit more to spin from this first batt. It's lovely to spin.
I acquired more fiber recently. Bad girl. I couldn't resist, though. Erica at Designknit worked from a few photographs I sent her to come up with some pansy colorways. I just loved two of them, so .....

The colorways have been painted on Polwarth, which I have not spun yet. I just love these colors. I haven't decided yet how to spin them and whether to ply or make singles. I'll daydream and plan a bit more. It adds to the enjoyment, I think.

This is another bit of fiber waiting for me to get to it. This one is Falkland fiber.
Working on seaming my sweater, still. I have no idea why the picture loaded upside down.
One sleeve installed, the other one is halfway there.
I finally remembered to take a picture of Rob's afghan. There are two more stripes to be added to what is there now. I might do some seaming this weekend. I need to spread that chore out over time.

This is my first attempt as spinning yak. I spun it on my akha spindles, then plied it last night. Today I looked at it again and added more twist. It is still over spun, but better. I am spinning more of it and trying to add less twist to the singles. It is very soft even though it is over spun.