Sunday, February 27, 2011

Signs of Spring

I went out in the yard and searched for spring. This is what I found so far:
Green growing out of last year's dead stalks.

The last little bit of snow left in our back yard.
Daffodils. I LOVE daffodils. ; ))
Spring is here, though I am sure that we will have at least one more cold snap. The Home and Garden show goes on the next two weekends here in Baltimore and that brings spring closer, too.

This is my much neglected Slinky Ribs sweater. The knitting is finally finished - I really procrastinated on picking up the stitches for the bands and it really went very well once I buckled down to work. All it needs now are 3 buttons. How long will it take me to get around to that, I wonder?

This is the hat that I knitted for the Warm Hats, not Hot Heads program. I am sending it to my Congressional Representative with a letter explaining the purpose of the program and asking him to either wear it or pass it on to someone in need. Woolese, a little less than one ball. 4 x 4 rib.

This is a sock I recently started to knit for a friend at work. She's been hinting for a while that she'd like someone (there are a few knitters in the same area) to knit something for her and I offered. I like her a lot and she helps me out even when she doesn't (really) have the time. She went to a yarn store and chose some sock yarn (after consulting the owner since she didn't know what to get). I showed her a few patterns and we narrowed it down to the Calendula Cabled socks, slightly altered because she wants the foot to be stockinette. See the Lantern Moon project bag in the photo on the right? That was my Christmas gift from her, also on the advice of the yarn store owner.

Silk spinning. I can't really say why this is taking so long to finish, except that when I am tired, I hesitate to play with this project. I have only 2 oz. and I want it to turn out right. The colors are gorgeous. The silk is relatively easy to spin other than joins - I seem to have problems getting smooth joins. I'll be ready to ply soon and then work on the next ounce of fiber.

This is my other spindle spinning project. I have completed spinning and plying the almost black Wensleydale and have gone back to spinning the Perfect Storm colorway. This will be a shawl or scarf or shawlette. Some day.

I received my replacement Finn fiber. I had sent a message to the vendor that I was unhappy with the nepps in the fiber and the resulting yarn. She responded by offering to replace it with some white Finn (the original fiber was a deep brown), processed by another mill. I thought about it for a while - I had spun up a good amount and I liked the brown color. The final product, though, was not something I was happy about, so I sent it back to her, spun and unspun. The replacement looks yummy - not quite as soft (at least unspun) as the original fiber but no nepps. I believe that I will be much happier spinning this Finn.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Petiole Hat finished

I realized suddenly that I had neglected to post photos of the Petiole Hat that I won the yarn and pattern for (random draw blog contest) . It was a very enjoyable and addicting knit. The pattern is well written and very clear.

I had just a little bit of the yarn left after knitting the hat and could probably have made the wrist warmers that coordinate but I would not have worn them, I am afraid so I didn't bother. Thank you again, Hunter for this prize.

The actual colors are just a bit deeper than I was able to capture in the photos - very nice yarn.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sorry ...

I keep meaning to write ........

The fulled singles are .... interesting. I don't know that I will repeat this project but I do know that it wasn't a complete failure. It dried, I wound it into balls and then re-skeined it, separating the strands from each other along the way. I am not sure what I will knit with it. Maybe nothing more than a swatch, since the colors are still not my colors. Funny how the fulling didn't change that. Ha!
ETA I gave it to someone who likes the colors and will appreciate it more. ; )

Eldest son's Greenery hat is coming along nicely. It's a little irritating to knit just because the handspun I am using is overtwisted, so the yarn wants to wind around itself until knitted. I like the pattern, though, and it shows up nicely despite the non-solid yarn I am using. I can see myself knitting this pattern again.

DH's sock is finished. I divided the ball into halves by weight (accurately, I hope). If we decide it needs to be longer, I'll search for a contrasting yarn to add length to the leg.

The Linen stitch scarf is creeping along. It's a good thing that a lot of us at the LYS are knitting it - we keep each other going, because this is a BORING project. It may be a lot narrower than originally intended. Or it might just drag out into the summer. There's really no rush in completing it since it is intended for a Christmas gift. I forgot to take a photo.

I haven't knitted any lace lately. I really have to get back to that. I have a few really pretty shawls on the needles.

Mom had cataract surgery on Wednesday. She had a rough day the day of surgery as far as pain, but it was better yesterday. I hope she's happy with the results. She is due to have the other eye done in a few weeks.

I haven't been spinning or exercising this past week at all. We went to NY to visit Mom last weekend and while we were there my back started acting up. I had nerve pain, not muscle spasms, and I was pretty miserable on Saturday. Thanks to lots of NSAIDs I am feeling better now and intend to gently start my exercises back up this weekend. Once I am moving normally again I'll cut back on the meds.

ETA My back was really hurting yesterday and it was muscle pain this time. DH used his strong hands and really mashed on the trigger points and spasms and it's better today. I did manage to do stretching and some of my exercises yesterday - that doesn't seem to make it worse. I'll do that again today to keep things mobile.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fulling singles

ETA photos of the fiber and work in progress.

The fiber - Spunky Eclectic Romney in the Eclipse colorway.

On the wheel.

On the Niddy noddy

I have never before considered knitting with singles. I heard that if you knit with singles, your project will skew to one side and I don't need any help causing problems with my knitting projects. ; ) In addition to that, the thought of spinning a single that had enough twist to stay together and still not feel like a piece of string was intimidating.

I was reading on a Ravelry group over the weekend about fulled singles - how to make them and why. I was intrigued. I had finished my Finn plying and was looking for something small to spin on the wheel to give me a break from the dark brown and found a bump of Romney (one of the breeds being studied this month) from Spunky Eclectic. I decided to spin it loosely and a bit thicker than my usual. It was already on the wheel, partially spun when I read the thread about the fulled singles. I decided to give it a try - the colorway is pretty but not my things, so no great loss if I totally mess it up.
Waiting to be fulled.

I felt like the spinning police were going to break down my door any second - scrubbing freshly spun wool - purposely agitating it, and then boiling it and dunking in cold water alternately! OMG!

It was still wet last night, so I can't tell you how the experiment turned out yet. It didn't look all that promising. I did take photos and I'll share those along with my conclusions and whether or not I'll repeat this experiment. BTW, it was hard work, so it will have to be good to be worthwhile.

My Finn skein is dry and now that I've gotten color out of my system for the time being, I'll go back to spinning the rest of it. The Finn is soft and fuzzy. I am not used to fuzzy yarns, so it will take some research and experimentation to decide what to knit with this yarn. Photos soon.

I have a marginally (if you measure with a micrometer) wider Linen stitch scarf, an almost turned heel on DH's sock (for the second time, after the ripping needed to shorten the foot) and I have ribbing and the beginnings of some cables on a handspun hat for eldest son. The pattern is the Greenery hat and it looks good so far. I was concerned since the yarn is not solid, but I'm happy, and more importantly, he is happy with it.

I bought yarn on Thursday at my LYS. I had NO intentions of making a purchase, didn't need anything, was happy with my current projects and yearning to have another FO. But the yarn, the yarn I had been fondling and yearning for over the last few weeks, was *on sale*. I had to buy it - it was Fate, right? The yarn is Llama Luxury and I went with the greys. I *had* to stop back on Saturday to pick up one more color, though, because the pattern that I settled on called for 3 colors, not 2. I will use the graph to make fingerless mitts (or mittens) and a cowl instead of the hat. I have not yet cast on. At least I managed that much restraint.

We might have lost our Mac desktop yesterday. Gulp. DH was working on a lighting project and found an outlet wired incorrectly. It caused a short which tripped the circuit breaker (as it should). Our computer was on at the time. It was plugged into a good quality surge protector but that apparently didn't help. Everything else plugged into that surge protector is working fine but the computer doesn't even power up. Nothing. Gulp. We have a LOT of stuff on there that is important. We are hoping that replacing the powering up part will fix the problem - that we don't have to replace the whole computer. We have a Mac. We like Mac. We can't afford another Mac. Keep your fingers crossed, please.

Oh, now that I typed that, I realized that I am not sure I can post any pictures for a while .....

Have a good day.


Well, I wrote the above on Monday and it's now Thursday. I haven't been down to the basement to check on my fulled singles, I haven't loaded my photos onto the computer but the computer, at least for the time being, is working! We are not certain what happened to stop it or start it again. It will be going to the doctor next week for a check up and DH has started backing everything up. I am hoping to talk him into an external spare hard drive .....

I've been knitting away on my hat for a Maryland Senator/Representative for the Warm hats, not hot heads thing (see previous post). I'm using Woolese for it's washability and some wool content in navy blue - it should be fine for anyone to wear. I'm knitting a 4 x 4 rib - again, not feminine or masculine so I don't have to worry who the recipient will be.

I am also knitting on eldest son's hat (knitted with my handspun). I love the look of the cabled pattern but I am sorely tempted to chart it to make the knitting easier - it's text only and I am so not accustomed to that for a cabled pattern. The linen stitch scarf and socks and also getting attention. The sideways vest that was an UFO is still in that state - I haven't yet studied it to see if I can bring it back to WIP status and finish it.

Mom's hat is going to get totally frogged. The hat is too big. I wrote to the designer to verify the number of stitches for a pattern repeat to eliminate and she very graciously wrote back that due to the nature of the hat shaping, just eliminating a pattern repeat would not work. It would be likely to make the whole thing out of proportion and just make it look weird. She offered the suggestion of a tie to cinch the band tighter but I think it's too much too big for that. I believe I'll try for different yarn - worsted instead of aran weight - and see if that does the trick. I love the hat and the pattern so I am determined to make this work. We are going to visit Mom this weekend and I hope to get her out to shop for new yarn. I am sure that I can find another use for the yarn I originally chose.

Lunch time is just about up so I have to get back to work. Have a good day.

Warm hats, not Hot Heads

This seems to be my day for passing things along to those few of you who visit my blog. Please go read this blog entry, then join in if you agree and are able. I am going to knit at least one hat for a Maryland Senator or Representative. It can't hurt. They (the politicinas) are all being asked to pass the hat on to someone who can use it.

A give away

See Barb's post to enter. Good luck to you. And me. giggle.

Photos and discussion about the weekend fiber endeavors later/tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Knitting Linen stitch is like watching grass grow ....

The scarf will look good when it's done and if you need a project that does not require much thinking, this one might be good. I have to watch every stitch to be sure the yarn moves front and back as necessary, but my fingers get the rhythm pretty quickly and I can converse, listen to TV or a book without problems while knitting it. It is taking forever to knit a measurable amount of scarf, though. I thought I had an inch at the end of the weekend. I still have an inch and I know I've been knitting .....

I am trying so hard to be good but my fingers are itching to knit a hat/scarf combo for each of my sons with my handspun ......

I think I should stop and pick up a lottery ticket on the way home from work. Work is really infringing on my fiber time and it's bothering me. ; ))

I had heard last year that MD Sheep and Wool Festival would be charging an entry or parking fee this year, but when I didn't find a mention of it on the website, I inquired. Nope, no fee, though there will be a donations box. I am still seriously thinking about not going this year. I want to go to Rhinebeck to the NY Sheep and Wool festival and I don't think I can afford both. If I can go to MD and not bring $$$$ or plastic, just spend the day with fiber enthusiasts, that might work. Or, since I am really anxious to pick up another spindle, I could bring just that much money ...... Well, there's time to decide about MD. I should start looking into accommodations in the Rhinebeck area, though.

I am very much enjoying the longer days. When I drive home from work I still see sun, even if it is just about sunset. I feel like this winter has not been as long and dreary as some, though I also realize that winter is not over. For whatever reason, the cold this year has not bothered me as much as the short days. Now that the days are noticeably longer, I am very much encouraged. It no longer feels silly to be going to the MD Home and Garden Show and buying plants in about a month. ; )

Have a good day, all.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Go, Pack, Go!

The Packers won the Superbowl!!!! They beat the Steelers!!!! It was a great game, too - very close and it came down to the last minute of play. What a game! I am so glad the Steelers lost. (evil grin) I work with a lot of Steelers fans and I can't wait to gloat. ; )

I had a wonderful weekend over all. Thursday night at the LYS knit nite, we had a good time and I was glad to get out of the house and away from a sick husband. Lots of people were talking about the PJ party KAL for the linen stitch scarf being held the next night. I wasn't going to go because I didn't want to leave DH alone 2 nights in a row, but when I got home and mentioned it to him, he encouraged me to go. I thought about it the next day and decided that since he would probably be going to bed about the time I would be leaving anyway, I would go. As it turned out, he was feeling much better and was still up when I got home, but was happy for me to have gone. It was great fun and I decided to knit the KAL scarf after all. I chose colors that my friend Cheryl might like. The scarf will be a gift for her, most likely.

Saturday was rainy and cold - pretty disgusting weather, actually. I didn't get a lot accomplished in the house (though I did spin some Finn) and then met my friend Charlotte and her daughter for dinner. Charlotte and I haven't seen each other in quite a while so we had a lot to talk about. We used to work together in the ICU ages ago. She still works in the ICU at a different hospital. It was a wonderful evening. DH had decided to treat himself to dinner at a nearby buffet place (obviously feeling much better) and we sat and chatted when I got home.

Sunday was a beautiful day - sunny and warmer than it's been in a while. I hung clothes on the line to dry (I had to plan carefully because there is still quite a bit of snow on the ground and I had to avoid dragging clothes in the snow), sat on the deck in the sun and knitted, and DH and I went for an exercise walk together. Then we watched the Superbowl together (eldest son joined us once he got home from work). When I drove DH to get his fountain drink after the game, we discovered that it had gotten colder than we thought - at one point I found myself unintentionally in the oncoming lane due to ice! I had only been going at about 25 MPH! Very scary. We got home safely, though. I ended up going to bed with a horrendous headache that did not respond to Imitrex (therefore was not a migraine, though it felt like it) and was awake with it off and on until about 2 AM. UGH. Not a good ending to a great weekend.

The Zauberball socks are complete (another FO!!!!) and have been handed to DH for wearing. I added an inch to the original length (since they were intended for me at the start) and I think they will fit well. I had to rip back the foot of the Regia Mr. Pitt's socks. I had misjudged and the foot was about a half inch too long. That ripping is complete, and I am back on track, building a gusset. The KAL scarf (Churchmouse Linen Stitch Scarf) is about 1 inch deep. It's 450 stitches, knitted the long way, so each row takes *a while*.

I finished spinning the third bobbin of Finn and plied up what I had on the bobbins. I have not yet taken it off the plying bobbin so I have no idea of yardage yet. I think I'll spin a different fiber for a while and then go back to the Finn just so I don't get bored. I spun more masham on the spindle and hope to ply what is on the two spindles one evening this week. I want to see how the plied yarn handles before I spin more.

I had intended to knit on eldest son's afghan during the game and I did complete one square and start another after weaving in the ends on DH's socks. No lace knitting during the game (I was too excited) or after (due to the headache).

This week I plan to knit some lace each night, ply the Masham, then spin more of that, decide on my next wheel spinning fiber, and see if I can find my place on the vest. I will continue to knit on DH's sock as my travel project.

I've been pretty good about my exercises so far this year. I think I've exercised 5 days out of every 7. I have added enough exercises and reps to divide my workout now. I will be alternating "floor exercise" (sit ups, push ups, planks, some leg strengthening) days with arm and weight bearing exercise days. When I can, I'll walk, too. I'm not loosing weight (that's because I can't stop junk food intake) but the muscles are stronger and getting more toned each week.

I understand that we are expecting some unknown amount of snow again this week. We'll see. Meanwhile, enjoy.

Friday, February 04, 2011

DH is sick

Nothing more need be said. You know how miserable my life has been the last few days just from those few words. Things are improving, though.

I decided to leave the neck edging the way it is on Slinky Ribs. I have to pick up 3 buttons and sew them on, then wear it. ; ) Photos this weekend, I hope.

Today I am wearing the Four Quarters sweater. That makes me happy. I am very close to bind off of the Zauberball socks for DH - I just need him to try them on to be sure the length is sufficient (I knitted them toe up). That also makes me happy.

I've been spinning Masham fiber on my spindle - it's very nice to spin. I haven't touched the wheel in almost a week but hope to do some of that (Finn) over the weekend.

I've been knitting on the lace shawl from Victorian Lace Today. I knitted 12 rows on Tuesday but only 6 more since then. Still, it's progress. I've also knitted a few rows each night on the double knit Honka scarf. I have not yet tackled the vest. It will take time and concentration to figure out where I am and what comes next. I have to either complete it or frog it this year. I am determined. I will try it on, see how it fits and decide. Just looking at it, I really like it and will continue to work on it. I just have to be sure that it's on track size and fit wise.

I've been watching HGTV in the evening lately - the House Hunter shows. I am especially interested in the International shows, where people look to buy in a country foreign to them for a vacation house or to live there. I was fascinated last night to see a young woman, a paramedic in Scotland, move to southern Italy and buy a house, knowing that she didn't have a job there! Obviously, if you are going to do something like that, the time to do it is when you have no family to worry about, but still! To have no job or job prospects and to buy a house in a foreign county is scary to me. Does that scare or inspire you?

My LYS is having a pajama party KAL tonight. The project is a linen stitch scarf made with 3 skeins of Claudia's handpainted sock yarn. It's a cute project and I love the colors available. I think I might go but not knit on that project. I don't need another scarf, even though that one is nice. Maybe I should choose colors that my friend Cheryl would like and make it for Christmas for her. Hmmm .... that's a thought.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Home Again

I am home from work again today. I am working from home, but not making the drive into Baltimore (35 mi. each way) on icy roads. My son literally slid down the driveway and had to walk in the snow on the front yard to get back up. The road is somewhat better, but it's not worth the risk to me when I can do work from home.

I have news on another almost FO. Last night I bucked up and picked up stitches to complete Slinky Ribs. I have completed it, actually, and wove in the ends, but I am not 100% happy. The pattern calls for stockinette edging, which was fine on the little button band. Around the neck, though, I might prefer ribbing. I plan to try it on and re-evaluate. The worst is over, though. I can leave the stitches that I picked up on the needle and just rip back to that first row, then rib the edging (3-4 rows) if desired. I think I'll try it on, block it, and then decide. Yippee! Almost there.

Next up - a lace shawl, the Honka scarf and maybe a 3/4 knitted vest ......