Sunday, January 30, 2011

Unflattering photo of one FO

I am wearing a black turtleneck top under the sweater in this photo - my usual winter clothing always includes layers. I think you can still see the neck line of the sweater. I think it will stay up on my shoulders when worn without the under layer. From the comments I've read about this sweater, that has been a recurring problem. I like the use of the black yarn and the seams being on the outside of the sweater.
My posture needs work : ( but you can see how the black at the top of the shoulders carried down the arm to make it look less like I ran out of yarn and added a contrasting color than if I had just used the black at the bottom edge. I had been concerned that I made a size too small when I first finished weaving in the ends. After blocking, though, I can see that I should not have been concerned. I need to have more faith in my swatching. ; )

I finished the Petiole Hat Sunday night just before bed. I like it a lot, though I am not sure that the shape of it flatters me. We'll see. Hopefully a photo or two to come, even if I have to use someone else's head. It was a fun, addicting pattern to knit and I really enjoyed the process.

My next FO will most likely be the Slinky Ribs sweater - I hope to pick up those edge stitches this week and get that finished up. I am on a finishing roll and I don't want it to stop. I keep working on my socks (2 pair in progress, at different stages), and hope to finish one pair this week or next. The heel of the second sock is complete and I need to knit 2 x 2 ribbing until I run out of yarn.

I hope to work on a lace shawl after Slinky Ribs - I have a few on the needles and would love to finish one, at least, before starting another project. The problem with that plan is that lace needs certain circumstances to be knit, at least in my life (to avoid excess frogging), so I might *have* to start something else to fit the "I need something simple to knit" bill. I suppose I could work on eldest son's afghan ..... That will be my project for Superbowl knitting for sure. I knitted on my Honka double knit scarf (scroll down to the fifth photo on the page) for a while last night, but that will take longer to finish than the sweater, so the sweater comes first.

We are expecting an ice event tonight/tomorrow, so I will again plan to work from home tomorrow. I don't do patient care any longer and see no point in risking my car/life on bad roads for the sake of computer and paper work that can be done at home.

Have a good day, where ever you are.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We had snow! And I have FOs

This was Wednesday evening, looking out our back door onto the deck. It was really snowing hard and fast! I loved it, and the fact that the snow fell mostly while I was awake so I could watch it fall. I love snow. ; )

It was, as predicted, a very wet snow with sleet and hail having come before, so we had icicles everywhere.

This is a view of the dogwood trees planted in the front of the yard, with the little red bows I tied to the branches for Christmas. Don't they look pretty against the snow?

The Red twig dogwood looks great in the winter, with bare branches, and snow makes it even more striking.

This was our neighbor's tree, leaning so far over into our yard that I feared for our boat, sitting under where it was leaning. It is a strong tree and held up, fortunately for us.

This is the view from the back door across the deck. That box in the corner is the water garden - it's about 18 inches high.

And this is the view the other way across the deck. You can see the paths I dug, rather than try to dig the whole thing clear.

This is the bench I have sitting in my front yard, near the dogwoods. I like to sit there in the spring and summer - it's the only place to sit to get the first and the last of the sun before and after winter. The bottom of it is about 22 inches off the ground. We couldn't decide how much snow we had - depending on where you measured, it varied from 6 inches to 2 feet.

Despite the fact that I did not go to work on Thursday, I got very little fibery stuff done. It took us until almost noon to dig out the cars and driveway, then we had lunch and attacked the sidewalks and mailbox area, etc. By the time I stopped at about 3:30, I could barely move, I was so sore. I did stretching, used the heating pad and got up periodically to lessen the stiffness, but I was sore. Dinner and rest and ibuprofen helped and by evening I was at least knitting a bit. I managed to finish the neck gaiter I made for DH and wove in half the ends.

On Friday I was scheduled off to get a Reclast infusion. That's the stuff you get to prevent/treat osteoporosis (which I have). I handled the infusion fine and in the afternoon and evening I finished all of the end weaving for DH cowl/neck gaiter and finished the sewing together of the Four Quarters Sweater! It's blocking on the floor as I write this. Yippee! A FO! Two FOs!

Last night I picked up the double knit scarf (Honka) that I've been working on for two years (or more). I wanted actual knitting (as compared to sewing or picking up stitches) and that worked well. I hope to get stitches picked up for the neck edging of Slinky Ribs today (hopefully another FO soon) and knit on the scarf. The scarf will take a while (because I am slow at double knitting in a color work pattern) but I am moving it up on my list of things to finish. I want that scarf.

I did some spinning today - Masham on the turkish spindle. Right now I plan on making a pair of mittens or fingerless mitts (depending on yardage) from this and will dye it once spun into yarn. I also washed some of my handspun that I hadn't gotten to before and it's hanging in the basement to dry. I LOVE the BFL! but the other yarn is looking good, also. I'll try to get some photos tomorrow.

I'm off to do exercises, spin more and get ready to meet youngest son and his partner for a birthday dinner.

Monday, January 24, 2011

6 Degrees F

It was cold outside this morning when I left for work. I am sure that those who live in the north think that 6 degrees at this time of year is a heat wave, but for here, that is darn cold. The funny thing is that I have felt more cold other days, when the temperature was higher. It took a while for my car to warm up, though. I usually have nice warm temps within a few minutes but today it took about 15 minutes to have heat pouring out of the vents.

Yesterday, in addition to doing my exercises, (32 sit ups, 32 of each of 3 different upper body exercises and 10 push ups) I went walking with DH. He's been walking for exercise since early January because he is less busy with yard work and other physical labor. Exercise helps to keep his blood sugar down (he is diabetic). He walks 1 - 2 miles (depending on his back and knee pain) most days, usually in the daytime hours. I walked with him yesterday, and hope to start walking a couple of times/week if my big toe joint doesn't complain too much. (I had surgery on it two years ago for bad arthritis and the surgery didn't help much).

I spun some Finn fiber, spindle spun some silk before the football games started and did a lot of knitting during the games. I was able to finish the knitting portion of the Four Quarters Sweater and connect fronts to backs at the sleeves! The next step is to sew fronts to fronts and backs to backs. The sleeves were joined using short rows and a 3 needle bind off rather than binding off and sewing together. The front and back seams will have to be sewn, and they are supposed to be sewn with the fabric edges to the outside for decorative purposes. That might wait until the weekend so that I can have daylight to work in.

I started (yes, I cast on another project) a neck gaiter for DH. (He prefers to call it a neck gaiter rather than cowl). His walks in this weather leave his neck and face cold. I will use some handspun in shades of blue to make a ribbed neck and lower face covering for him. I swatched last night to find the needle size that would give me a nice firm fabric that will stretch but not let in too much cold air, and then cast on. Once I get a couple of inches knitted, I'll put it on waste yarn and have him try it on to be sure that I have the size right.

The playoff games had mixed results for me. I was pleased to see the Green Bay Packers beat Chicago but disappointed to see Pittsburgh beat the NY Jets. I grew up on Long Island, NY, and my family still lives there. One of my brothers is a Jets fan, and we exchanged test messages during the game. They almost came back to win ......

I managed a few rows on the Petiole hat over the weekend, and a few rounds on socks, but most of my fiber efforts went into finishing the Four quarters sweater and spinning the Finn fiber. I didn't even spin any masham - I decided to spin more Finn so that I can make a 3 ply to see what this fiber will look like. I was very disappointed to find as many nepps in the fiber as I have to deal with. It makes for fuzzy, lumpy singles and I hope that when I ply it, I'll like it more. I have about half of what I plan to use spun, and will be working on spinning up the rest this week (and probably into the weekend) so that I can ply it next weekend.

We managed to get our considerable store of Christmas decorations, wrapping supplies, dishes, lines, etc. back into storage this weekend. That is a major accomplishment. There is alot of it and it gets stored under the stairs. It has to be moved around while on the knees, using a flashlight or headlamp and trying to avoid hitting heads on the underside of the steps. We are currently making plans to build a storage closet in the basement to avoid use of that under stairs storage.

We are also making tentative plans to re-do the bathroom in the (finished) basement. The shower door does not open fully because the toilet is too close to it. There is no linen closet in or near the bathroom for towels, and the cabinet under the sink was damaged by a slow leak that we were unaware of. We (read DH and eldest son) will move the toilet over, replace the bathroom sink and vanity, etc, and build a set of shelves or a closet for storage in there. Those two projects will keep DH busy for the rest of the winter. He likes to have projects to work on, more so now that he does not work outside the home. He's a useful guy. ;))

Have a good day.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Splendid Sunday. If you stay inside ....

This is my finished superwash BFL, color way Neptune from Kelpie fibers. I love it! It was a joy to spin, feels wonderful plied and my mind is playing with potential projects. I apparently spin "heavy" because I never get the same yardage from 4 oz. of fiber that many others get. I have only about 121 yds of a sport weight yarn.

This is my handspun wrap/lap robe. I like the way the colors blend together - I think it's pleasing to the eye. I am not certain of my color choices, usually, and I wasn't here, but so far I like the results. I have been knitting on other projects recently, so this hasn't grown much lately.

This is the Petiole hat with much better color representation (and further along than the last photo).

A close up of the pattern and colors.

Bob's sock - Mr. Pitt's sock pattern in Regia yarn, Brasil color.

This was originally supposed to be a pair of socks for me. It is Zauberball yarn, and I love the colors. I finished the first one and started on the second. At some point I tried the first one on and discovered that I had knit the foot a bit too long. I was going to finish the second one and then do surgery on the first to make it the correct foot length. I asked DH to try it on one night, though, and it fit him, so it will now be another pair of socks for him. I turned the heel last night, so I have lots of stockinette to knit, some ribbing for the cuff and it will be finished. I'll just have to buy another ball of Zauberball for myself. ; )

I plan to head off the the spinning wheel soon. I've done laundry and my exercises, neatened up a bit, trying to avoid the collections of clutter that we seem prone to, so now it's time for my reward. ; ) I'll work a little on the brown Finn fiber and then plan to switch to spinning some Masham on the wheel. I've spun some Masham on the spindle and would like to see which is easier and yields better results. I think I'll also soak some of my spun yarn - I have several skeins that haven't been washed after spinning. They will have to dry in the basement, though. It's below freezing outside and I don't think they will dry well that way. I hung washed place mats on the line to dry yesterday and they came in the house 6 hours later, frozen hard enough to stand on their own!

I plan to spin until football starts. My teams is out of the playoffs, but I still love football and I have my favorite teams. I have to cheer them on.

I'll leave you with a view of a beautiful flower. My uncle sends an amaryllis each year for the holidays. This year's flower was shy - this is the first blossom. Worth waiting for, though ....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow expected, but not as much as I would like and a rant

The prediction is down to 1-3 inches. Bummer. Oh, well. Winter is young, still.

I *really* struggled to do my exercises last night. I almost had myself convinced that skipping one night was fine (despite knowing that since tonight is knit nite and therefore I am unlikely to exercise) when I decided to compromise. I did the sit ups and push ups (increased by one - can you believe it?) and skipped the rest for a semi-night off.

I spun BFL last night for about 30 minutes - what a joy! I then settled into bed and knitted on the petiole hat for a while after battling with the Nook app on the I pad (I was unable to access for some unknown reason). I have completed one entire pattern repeat on the hat so far. Now I start at row 9 and repeat as needed until it's time to do decreases for the crown. Maybe I can get home in time to take a day time photo today to show off the wonderful colors and pattern.

DH and I watch Jeopardy each night during/after dinner. We enjoy challenging our brains to come up with as many answers as we can. We could never actually compete - between the two of us we don't usually get enough answers to beat any one of the players - but we have fun and it is educational. Last night we chuckled because one of the answers was one of our favorite authors - J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts. We have very much enjoyed the Eve and Roarke saga, laugh over the funny bits and wonder what it will really be like in 2060. I've gotten my mother listening to those stories, too. We've come up with plans for Eve to get her promotion and what the story lines and characters might be and do. It is very entertaining and we can use all of the laughs we can get.


DH, as I've mentioned before, is legally blind and partially (mostly) deaf. He had had a cochlear implant done, which helps, but just isn't the same as the real thing. He is currently on disability, though he would rather work, at least part time. He has signed up to be evaluated for some job training - he'd rather work part time than be home all the time. One of the most frustrating things we've run across so far is that while you can get training and assistance in many areas, you somehow have to get yourself there. This is training for the blind/vision impaired and there is no system in place to provide transportation!!!!! There is public transpo into Baltimore. There are only 3 buses each day, you have to stay all day and the bus stop is almost 3 miles from our house. There is some county transpo, but it stops at the county line - doesn't get you into Baltimore, where the job training is (and most of the specialists that would be caring for the vision impaired). Cab companies will not give a discount, even if you use them daily and will not let you schedule a ride - you have to call each day an hour before you need your ride and hope they have someone available. I just can't believe the stupidity of this!

Obama care - fix this! Here's a guy who wants to work, is willing to have job training and can't get there!!!! Grrrr.

Rant over for now.

Stay safe and dry and warm if you are one affected by snow and ice over the next few days. I am hoping to have a fibery day tomorrow - DH has an appointment with the audiologist to fix his hearing aid and adjust his cochlear implant and has no way to get there other than me taking the day off to drive him!!! Idiots in charge of disability in Maryland, do you hear that????

Well, I thought the rant was over.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rain today : (

I dislike rainy days, mostly because they are grey and dark. The rain itself doesn't bother me much, and it will wash away the last of the dirty snow in Baltimore. Snow I like; dirty snow is not pleasant. We still have a white carpet on the grass and other surfaces in Bel Air, but I suspect that most of that will be gone by the time I get home tonight.

I knit on the Petiole hat last night rather than lace. I didn't feel like knitting on a project where each row takes 20 minutes. I wanted fast, visible progress and I got it. I think this hat will be finished by the weekend. I hope to finish the last of the knitting of the Four Quarters sweater over the weekend, too, so I can get it sewn up next week. There are only 2 football games to watch this weekend, but hopefully that will provide enough knitting time for the remaining sweater knitting.

I added push ups to my exercise regimen on Monday. Last night (the second night of doing push ups) I thought my breastbone would pull apart while going to the floor for the first couple of pushes! I know that it wasn't really in danger, but that's what it felt like. Those muscles are really sore. I've increased my reps on all other exercises since I started, but I think it will be a while before I can increase the number of push ups I can do .....

My mother is doing pretty well at home. She is being evaluated right now for cataract surgery, though. Her vision has been getting worse pretty quickly and she is looking forward to getting that taken care of. I'll try to go up to NY when she has her surgery to provide a little TLC. We don't have a date yet. I had planned a visit in early February anyway, so maybe we can combine the two.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The Pretty Thing cowl is complete - including weaving in the ends. That's one of the fastest projects I've ever knitted, I think.

This photo is the most accurate color-wise. I was taking pictures indoors and that is the only one that is representative of the true color of this soft yarn. I have no idea where that olive green color came from.

The Petiole hat has been cast on and I knitted as far as row 10 or so (after twisted rib edging) on Monday. This, too, is an addictive pattern to knit. I can't wait to see what comes next, and I love the colors in the yarn.
Again, I could not get the colors accurate. I'll do better later in the week when I can get some daylight.
It is really shades of purple, greens and blues - deep colors and very pleasing.

We had about 2 inches of snow last night (maybe more, but it had already rained and iced over). It was soooo pretty when we drove out in it last night, and standing (snug and warm inside) watching it fall on the deck and yard. This morning it still looked pretty, but took quite a bit of chopping and scraping to remove it from cars for driving into work. I really didn't mind. giggle.

I am looking forward to some spinning tonight (I may be able to finish spinning the BFL), followed by knitting in bed, probably on the hat, but maybe a row or two of the lace shawl.

I've been pretty good about my exercises so far and didn't let the lapse last week of 3 days (when I didn't feel well) get to me. I picked right back up as soon as I felt better. I added push-ups last night and wow! can I feel that today. groan. It's been two weeks and I can tell the difference, though I am sure that measurements haven't changed. I just feel stronger. That's a good thing.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finn and Masham

This is my BFL superwash in the Neptune colorway. I love it. I love spinning it because it drafts beautifully and is not too slippery. The color changes entertain me and the yarn that results feels very soft. It won't be a durable yarn most likely but it will look and feel great. I am chain plying it.

Below, you will see the Masham fiber I've mentioned, that I am spinning for the Ravelry Spinners Study group. I read about coarseness and it not being an "against the skin" fiber, so I was prepared for scratchy. I have been pleasantly surprised. Unless this yarn changes a lot once plied, it will be a nice yarn. I may not wear a sweater from it but I am pretty sure that I'll make some mittens with it, knowing that my wrist skin is pretty itch sensitive. The luster is impressive and I find that I really enjoy spindle spinning long wools.

This dark brown fiber is Finn, which I am spinning for the Knitters Book of Wool Rav. group. It is very soft, as advertised, but so ..... wooly! I suppose it is the prep, but I am unable to spin my usual smooth singles. (That's not the same as consistently even. I've never claimed that ability. LOL) I will certainly not be able to knit lace with this rustic yarn. Possibly cables as a 3 ply, but nothing that requires clear stitches with open spaces. I hope you can see in the first photo the fuzziness of the singles. There are quite a few nepps and "fuzz balls" (don't you like my technical terms?)

It is very soft - I find that I want to pile it up and cuddle in to it. ;))

This is my silk and cashmere blend Pretty Thing cowl. Ohhhh, it's so nice, and addicting to knit. I am now much further along and may finish it today (it being a holiday).

I won a contest on the Violently Domestic blog My prize was a pattern for this hat and mitts along with the yarn to make it in the colorway Grape Jam. The yarn came in the mail just recently - shades of purples and greens - and as soon as I finish up the Pretty Thing Cowl I will cast on for this hat. Thanks, Hunter. I'll post photos and comments as I work.

I've also been plugging away at my Four Quarters sweater, though I was so anxious during the Ravens' game that I didn't get far. Turns out that my anxiety was well founded. They lost. Darn it. I do hope to finish that sweater in the next couple of weeks - that's a goal for me. The man socks grow a little bit each day, too.

Yesterday I spun my BFL and the Finn, did a little spindle spinning with silk and got my exercises done. (In between cleaning out pantry and cabinets in the kitchen and finishing up laundry). Today I have to iron clothes. Ugh. I'll do the ironing first, then reward myself with some spinning, then get the exercises done, then reward myself with some knitting. See how my life goes? LOL. Have a good day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

4 inches

It is better than the one or so I was fearing but not enough to make me really happy. I had hoped for 8 or so. We drove out in it a little bit last night as the snow was falling very thickly. It was magical! Big, thick, sticky flakes falling so fast, you couldn't really keep up with it. So nice ......
Even my drive in to work today (which I did after rush hour) was very pleasant. The trees were all still thick with snow and the browns and greys of winter were hidden for a while.

I plied my BFL singles last night and decided that a) I have spun enough that it would impact yardage if I "waste" what I've already spun and b) once plied, I like what I've done so far. I resumed spinning. I finished spinning the black Wensleydale last night but haven't plied that yet.

Has anyone ever unplied yarn they have already plied but didn't like? I plied some of the black Wensleydale with the Perfect Storm colorway and don't like it. I need suggestions as to whether it is possible to unply a skein (short one - not 200 yds or anything like that) and use the singles again. I predict a disaster, but am willing to give it a try if I hear that it's been done successfully before.

I knitted on DH's sock and looked out the window at the snow. A lot. Very often, actually. It was soooo pretty! We have a red twigged dogwood that looks so awesome in the winter, with really red branches and when the fresh snow is sitting on the branches, it's amazingly beautiful.

I don't feel well today and I'm not quite sure why. I think it will be a short work day and then home and take some extra vitamins and rest. After exercising and doing just a bit of spinning. Actually, I can do spindle spinning from my bed .... I have the I pad and my knitting to keep me sitting still and yet busy. Sounds like a plan to me.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Knitting update

We'll start off with my first FO in a while. These are the Vampire Boyfriend Socks from They were knit with Cascade Heritage sock yarn in color 5656. I enjoyed knitting with this yarn. These went in the mail today to Molly at Celtic Swans in exchange for a set of hand forged bronze DPNs. I can't wait to see what Molly thinks of her socks and to get my new needles!

They look a little big on my feet - that's OK. The recipient has larger feet than I do and these should be just right.

I've been working on a wrap/lap robe using my handspun. I like it so far.

Next up is the yarn I received as a Christmas gift from Nancy. Actually, she gave me a gift certificate to our LYS and this is what I chose. It is a silk/cashmere blend and I plan to knit the Yarn Harlot's Pretty Thing cowl with it.

I might have swatched a little bit last night .... Yes, I know, I have things on the needles that need to be finished. Actually, I want to finish them. I just can't resist new yarn and I have been looking forward to knitting this cowl for a while now. I was helpless to resist.

I've gotten back on track with the knitting of the Four Quarters Pullover. I didn't take a photo because it doesn't look any different yet. I was 10 stitches short of the number I needed for each sleeve. Not sure how that happened, but it's fixed now. I hope that this time I will not be derailed and will be able to finish knitting it this weekend. Then I can hope to sew it together the next week and wear it by February.

I have about 3.5 - 4 inches of a man-sock foot knit to date. ; )) I didn't have it to photograph over the weekend, but I am basically following the Mr. Pitt's socks pattern (sorry, I can't find a link that works) and using this Regia yarn in color # 5476. It is basically a K3, P1 rib and I've reversed the pattern to knit toe up, since I don't know how long I can make the socks.

I still have to pick up stitches for the neck edging of the Slinky Ribs top. Yes, I know, just suck it up and get it done. I've needed simple knitting, lately, though and that just doesn't cut it. Soon ....

I am having a resurgence of the urge to knit lace again. I think the lace cowl will get me back into the swing of things and then I will get after one of the lace shawls I have on the needles Laminaria or A Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging by Jane Sowerby.

I think I'll go do my exercises now and then reward myself with some spinning. Have a good evening and if you are north of us, make sure you have your back brace on when you start to shovel.

Monday, January 10, 2011



We'll start with spinning because that's been on my mind so much lately. This dark fiber is 8 oz. of a dark brown Finn from a lamb shearing. I played with it a little bit the other day and it wants to make a fuzzy yarn, so no lace or detailed pattern for this, I think. I still have some experimenting and playing to do, and it might work to make a nice 3 ply for a cabled pattern. We'll see. I'll try to take progress and experimenting photos as I go.

This next fiber is White Welsh fiber. I have not yet read up on this breed, and haven't even pulled any of it out to play with. It has a nice luster and believe it's a long wool, so maybe it will be used for outerwear. Maybe I'll just have fun spinning it and dyeing it, then look at it in my new yarn basket. ;)

Next we have Falkland fiber. Again, I haven't read up on this breed yet, but decided to give it a try.

This is spuerwash BFL in the Neptune colorway from Kelpie fibers. I love the hand, the ease with which it drafts, the colors, everything. I first sampled it as a worsted weight 3 ply and I should probably have stuck with that. Right now I am spinning lace or fingering weight.

While I like it, I wonder what I will make with it. I have a lot of lace weight yarn already. I am considering spinning the rest of it the way I sampled it. I don't think I've used up so much that I can't get useful yardage from it yet. Hmmm .... Maybe I'll see if she has or is willing to dye more.

This is the yarn I made with the singles I spun during the Tour de Fleece. I finally got it all plied, though it hasn't been washed yet. I think it will make a nice hat or pair of gloves for my younger son.

This yarn was finished earlier in the fall, also from singles spun during the TdF. This will go to elder son - he looks great in reds.

I am spindle spinning this silk (gifted to me by Nancy for my BD last year) . I have less than an ounce to go, and really need to ply now to free up my spindles. I hope I like it as much plied as I do as singles.

This the end of the black Wensleydale that I have been spindle spinning since the fall. I have just a little bit more to spin of this almost black fiber. I have another 4 oz of the original colorway to spin and I hope to get that spun up, then knit a shawl with the colored yarn as the main and the black as an edging.

Plied Wensleydale yarn - great sheen to it and much softer than I thought it would be.

This is the original colorway. Most of it is finished but I have to ply. Sigh. I hate to ply.

I hope to post a knitting update tomorrow. We are expecting some snow here tonight, and I was hoping to be snowed in tomorrow. I think not - they have amended the predictions and I think I am doomed to diasppontment. Again. It would have been nice to have a whole day at home to spin - I mean ply.

Have a good day.