31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

I seem to recall that the blogosphere tradition on the first day of the new year (or was it to be the last day of the old year?) was to make a post that consists of the first sentences of the first post for each month of the previous year.

This is basically what I've been doing.

We've had a fairly mild winter compare to other years.

I was sitting and knitting one afternoon at my LYS (String of Purls).

I don't know whether you have this saying on your side of the pond, but over here it's kind of popular: "Put on your Big Girl Panties [knickers] and deal with it."

Done at last!

OK, I've signed up for Secret Pal 14 and that means I've got to post at least once per week here.

Find the Knitting Survey here.

I've broken my self-imposed rule of No New Projects and started in on scarves for my oldest brother's two sons.

This is a mitten I've started knitting from the handspun that my lovely, no-longer-secret pal Mia sent to me in the second package.

The photo is looking west from my back yard last night (Hallowe'en).

This article (link) is from the Omaha World-Herald about a day-care worker who knit 85 pairs of mittens for little kids.

29 December 2009

Knitting Diplomacy

I always have some knitting with me. Usually it's the "no-brainer" knitting project, something I can work out without having to look at it much, something easy to remember (no looking at the pattern). Usually it's a scarf. I've been turning out those 1x1 rib scarves fast and furiously of late just because they are the perfect no-brainer of a scarf to work.

So, Monday morning I went to a hospital for an outpatient procedure. As usual, I had my knitting along (a 1x1 rib scarf that's for a guy in my office, knit from Paton's SWS). The gals at the check-in desk were fascinated. I explained to them that it was a combination of 70% wool and 30% soy, plus it was self-striping. They wanted to adopt me.

This is great. People are fascinated with the knitting. Even if they have knit a washcloth and nearly brag that they couldn't do anything so complicated as a 1x1 rib scarf, they are fascinated by the work and how it all comes out. They become your friends because, after all, you just might decide to knit a scarf for them, right? Well, perhaps not, but these people do become quite friendly and want to talk to you a lot about what you're doing.

Therefore, I think all world leaders need to learn to knit. Yes, they'd still argue over little things like whether to use circular or straight needles, whether the intarsia knitter is more accomplished than the Fair Isle knitter, whether to pick or the throw the stitches -- but at least they'd actually accomplish something constructive in the midst of their constant bickering over nuclear weapons, shady election practices, global warming, and religious zealotry. (And that's just the USA!)

The trouble is that if I (or anyone else) were to send knitting needles to the president or anyone in the cabinet, I (or we) would likely be prosecuted for sending potentially deadly weapons.

Now, I know knitting is powerful, but that would be 'way overreacting! :)

25 December 2009

Prezzies!



I photographed this yesterday in the afternoon. I like the tree inside (left) mirrored by its cousin outside.

We slept until about 4:am when my DH awoke with a bit of stomach upset. I watched a bit of television, then went back to bed around 6:30 a.m. When I finally awoke about 5 hours later, we opened presents.

My DH got me

I'm going to go and play with my toys now! :)

Rather Snowed In


The view of our deck (just off the dining area). That peak of snow is about 5' tall.

The rest of the deck is buried about 3' deep in snow all over.

This is on the south side of the house. The front of the house, which faces north, has no snow drifts to speak of.

24 December 2009

Happy and Warm

Well, it's a cold and snowy day before Christmas. I've finally cleaned up the living room enough to get a photo of the Christmas tree. You need to click on the photo to see it larger. Most of the ornaments are hand made (the crocheted snowflakes were done by one of my maternal aunts) or else in a folk style.

My DH made bread pudding for breakfast. He topped it with chunks of pears sautéed in a cinnemon spiced maple sauce. There's enough for breakfast tomorrow morning as well.

I cleaned up the dining table so that we could have a nice little breakfast. Nice to have all of the Christmas cards and bills and notices cleaned up from the table so that it could be only for eating!

We opened one gift each this morning. I had him open the present containing the down-filled gloves and the Polartec® underwear. He'll need it in this weather. He gave me a pop-up book of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, thus combining two of my great pleasures in one -- a love of design and a love of pop-up books! :)

We are taking it easy today. The storm is moving in more slowly than expected, but it is moving in nonetheless. With the delay in arrival, it is certain we'll have snow the remainder of today and through tomorrow night, so there's no hope of going out. Still, we are happy and warm, and there's not much more you can ask for than that.

23 December 2009

"Cancel Christmas!"


Dear Mandella,

The weather forecasters have been predicting a very nasty winter storm for us since this past weekend. It's a slow-moving system that starts with rain and freezing rain (which we have today) that will turn to snow and dump anywhere from 7" to 15" on us over the next two days. All plans for Christmas Eve or Christmas day are changing as the dire predictions come true. Many churches canceled any services or events that were scheduled for tonight on account of the threat of ice (a very real possibility given that the temperature drops below freezing when the sun goes down); it's likely that service for the 24th and 25th will be canceled as well.

We are scheduled to work at least 4 hours tomorrow (President Obama gave all federal workers 4 hours off with pay on the 24th), but if the weather looks threatening I will take 4 hours of leave and not go in. I don't need to drive 15 miles to work, then have to turn around and come back when they decide it's bad enough that we should get to go home early.

So, this means more knitting time is available, at least in theory. I also need to get some laundry done and I'd like to tidy up the dining room so that my DH and I can have a nice place to eat a dinner (instead of in front of the television) or at least breakfast on Christmas day. Plus, my DH has asked me to help him with cooking tomorrow. That means I'll be on hand to find things for him (he puts them away after cleaning them, but he can never find them later), to do some clean up, to help with peeling vegetables or whatever. I really don't cook. I mean, I can follow a recipe, but I just don't have the instinct that so many do.

I've finished all of the Christmas knitting already, truth be told. I don't need to get anything else done for that. But I'm working on a couple of patterns that are being re-jigged for KnitPicks. One of the tops is about halfway done; the other is a major re-work because the gauge is different. Plus, the person who is getting it is going to require the garment with a 42" finished chest, which is bigger than the original test garment which had only a 36" chest. I'm trying to get these done before Jan 31st.

Somewhere in there I've promised myself that I will catalog all of my UFOs and list them on my Ravelry site so that I can keep track of what needs to be done. Have you noticed how often you can put aside a project with every intention of picking it up again in a few weeks, only to discover that it's been 3 years? No wonder we call our unfinished objects UFOs -- they go into some sort of eerie time warp once we have to stop working on them for a bit.

Oooh, did you see the great cartoon over at The Pantopticon? Knitters are pleading with the Pope for extra time to get things done before Christmas. Who knew such an appeal would bring us at least 2 extra days on account of a winter storm?


Hope you're safe and warm. I'll try to give you a call on Christmas day.


Love and hugs,


Judith

12 December 2009

More Gauge Lies




Click on the images to see them larger. This is why it's important to wash and dry your gauge swatch before determining gauge. The swatch was worked in pattern on US 4 needles; it was machine-washed (as per instructions) and laid flat to dry. Row gauge shrunk (from 9 rows per inch to about 8.5 rows per inch) and stitch gauge expanded from about 6.5 sts per inch to 6 sts per inch).

Winter Solstice Swap Package


Many thanks to jennspeng on Ravelry for this lovely Winter Solstice Swap package. (Click on it to see it larger.) It contained several items with the initial J on them (including a lovely little box and a set of notes), dog treats in a winter-themed tin along with a dog toy, a knitting journal with a cover by Franklin Habit of the Panopticon (see link at left to his blog), a book for knitting star ornaments, "Believe" in rhinestone stickers (I'm still deciding where I'll use this), a cool coffee mug (it says YO K1 on the handle and inside) and two skeins of corn yarn in a lovely violet color!

Thank you, thank you, Jenn! This was lovely!

11 December 2009

The Kosher Kowboys Ride Again

Happy Hannukkah, Buckeroos & Buckerettes!

10 December 2009

War on Knitting

If I read the little maps correctly, we had 12.4" of snow in my area after this recent storm blew through. For me it meant two days home from work, which I enjoyed. I rested my Knitter's/Tennis Elbow somewhat, but mainly I did the exercises the doctor gave me and I kept knitting. (The doctor knew that a prescription of "complete rest" just wouldn't work for me. This injury is common both to knitting and working at the computer.)

I've been reading about the development of the English language. Nothing seriously academic -- I have textbooks for that -- but a delightful little book called Righting the Mother Tongue by David Wolman. It is as much about intelligence as it is about ignorance, as much about politics as it is about grassroots organization.

But as I read it I think about all of the people who get all hung up about the King James Version of the Bible being the only "authoritative" translation. These people usually know so little about English to begin with, and even less about the pitfalls of translation, to say nothing of spelling. Apparently there was a sort of vanity about some of the early spelling practices, one being a desire to make words look slightly foreign so as to increase their perceived value. It would be as simple as adding a final "e" to "old" (thus making "olde"). It's the same sort of vanity about Bible translations, almost as if the KJV has greater perceived value because of the use of "thee" and "thou" and "hath" and "doth."

(To be sure, I have at times an affinity for that language. Psalm 90 in the KJV begins, "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place from one generation to another. Before the mountains were brought forth or ever thou hadst formed the earth, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." The very sound of the words adds power to the verses.)

Oddly enough, there is a sort of perceived value among knitters for certain things, but it's a bit less easy to pinpoint. Sometimes it is perceived that Continental style knitting (in which the working yarn is held in the left hand and "picked" with the right needle) has greater value -- not because it's a more efficient method of making a stitch but because it's somehow a designation of a better or at least more accomplished knitter. And then there is the cache of lace knitting, which seems to have it's own hierarchy of value. Granted, it's no mean feat to stitch a piece of cobweb lace, but it seems rather silly that the person who can do this is somehow a better knitter than one who can work Fair Isle and other stranded knitting projects.

If you enjoy the work, then knit as it pleases you and with whichever techniques you like. This isn't an Elizabethan Age; it's not worth it to make every personal choice in knitting a political issue the way religion was in the time of Shakespeare.

As we enter the annual "War on Christmas" (no thanks to Bill O'Reilly) and the annual period of stress-knitting-for-Christmas, I think it would be best if we gave it all a rest and just enjoyed our many blessings.

08 December 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Dear Mandella,

We're in the midst of a major winter storm. It looks like we have about 9 inches of snow on the ground at the moment, and more is pouring on.

I was home from work on Monday due to being ill (stomach virus), and then today I was sort of OK and sort of not, but I didn't go anywhere on account of the weather.

The good news is that I finished the last of my Christmas knitting (a scarf for a nephew). As I was going through and organizing my knitting nest I found four balls of a soy/wool blend that I'm knitting into a simple scarf just for the sake of having some no-brainer knitting at hand.

The bad news is that I seem to have developed "tennis elbow" or some such tendonitis from a combination of lots of knitting and lots of computer work (i.e., using the mouse). My doctor said to rest it for 2 - 3 weeks. Is he crazy or what? :)

Hope you're warm & happy.

Love,

Judith

06 December 2009

Grandma Knits Mittens

This article (link) is from the Omaha World-Herald about a day-care worker who knit 85 pairs of mittens for little kids. Inspiring! :)

29 November 2009

Socks Done

I completed the Nubby Socks for my husband. As he'd already read on the blog that these were for him, and because I've been nervous about getting the size just right, I gave them to him last night. OK, that and I'd screwed up how I did the stitching on the toe decreases. I was working the 1x1 rib through some of the toe decreases, then changing to straight stockinette stitch. So, the 2nd sock as this short little bit in stockinette stitch on the toe whereas the 1st sock has a larger bit. Oh, well.

I'd gotten a bag of 10 balls of the Patternworks Bretton in navy. It was a great deal. I'll get 3 - 4 pairs of socks from these (each ball is 50 grams and it takes a little more than 2.5 balls of this yarn to get a sock done). The Bretton is a superwash wool with nylon so it should be durable.

Of course, I've started 3 or 4 other projects while I was working on these socks. I have more ideas than I have hands or time. Anyway, I'm thinking of trying to get another pair done for him before Christmas, but I'm not sure that's realistic. I need to finish up the scarf for my other nephew; it's past the halfway point, but I need to kick some yarny butt to get it done.

26 November 2009

Thanksgiving Feast

OK, I'm stuffed. Officially.

Here's a recipe for Parmesan Crescent Rolls that my sister J brought over. Actually, she mixed the dough ahead and then baked them at my mom's. They come out very flat (not fluffy like dinner rolls) but they are heavenly!

She also made a very light and tasty whole wheat roll (I think that's the recipe, but if I'm wrong I'll adjust it with an amendment to this post).

My husband made two pork roasts. One was wrapped in bacon, the other was stuffed with apricots. But when he roasted the meat, he had it resting on a bed of small potatoes, baby carrots, chopped up parsnips, and apples that had been lightly tossed with canola oil. He got the idea from a recipe he found somewhere (it had you roasting a chicken on top of these veggies).

He also made sour cream pecan pie (a recipe from the Farmhouse Cookbook). My sister M made pumpkin pie.

*burp*

23 November 2009

Nubby Socks (for men)

These socks were made for my husband who likes to wear socks with his sandals, even in winter. Socks are knit from the top down and utilize a simple rib pattern over the top of the foot which allows for extra padding/comfort because that part of the foot is exposed while wearing sandals. The “Nubby Texture” pattern stitch is from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks.

Needle Size: US 4 / 3.5 mm (use dpns or circulars)

Yarn: 3 balls Patternworks Bretton (70% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 5% alpaca), 145 yd / 133 m per 1.75 oz / 50 gr ball.

Gauge: 26 sts & 32 rows Stockinette stitch = 4” / 10 cm

Sizes: CYCA Men’s Sock Sizes 10 / 11 / 12 / 14

Finished Measurements of Sample: 8” from top of sock to heel flap; 11” long; about 8” around (unstretched) –Men’s Sock Size 12.

Pattern Stitches:

NUBBY TEXTURE
Rnds 1 & 2 – K all sts
Rnd 3 – 1x1 rib

1X1 RIB
*K1, P1* repeat to the end

Start Knitting Here:

Cast On: 48 / 54 / 60 / 66 sts. Work 1x1 rib for 12 rounds.

Rnd 13: Begin Nubby Texture pattern stitch and work 15 / 16 / 18 / 19 times (45 / 48 / 54 / 57 rounds) – or as many as you prefer until sock is about 1” above where the heel flap is to begin.

Rnd 58 / 61 / 67 / 70: Work 2 rnds of K all sts (to balance the Nubby Texture pattern stitch).

Rnd 60 / 63 / 69 / 72: Work 8 rnds of 1x1 rib.

HEEL FLAP:
For sizes 10 and 12 only, move 1st stitch back to last needle (1st stitch of the round is now the last stitch of the round; 2nd stitch of the round is now the 1st stitch of the round). Work heel flap back and forth over first 23 / 27 / 29 / 33 sts as follows:

Row 1 (RS): *sl 1, K1* repeat to the last stitch, end K 1. (The slipped stitches are aligned with the purl stitches of the 1x1 rib just preceding). Turn work.

Row 2 (WS): sl 1, P to the end. Turn work. Work these two rows until there are 12 / 13 / 15 / 16 slipped stitches on each side of the heel flap. End after working a wrong side row.

TURN HEEL:

Set-up row 1 (RS): sl 1, K 14 / 16 / 17 / 19, ssk, K1. Turn work.

Set-up row 2 (WS): sl 1, P 6, P2tog, P1. Turn work. '

Now repeat the following two rows until all sts on each side have been worked, ending after a wrong side row:

Heel Turn Row 1 (RS): sl 1, K to 1 st before the gap, ssk (one st from ea side of the gap), K1. Turn work.

Heel Turn Row 2 (WS): sl 1, P to 1 st before the gap, P2tog (one st from ea side of the gap), P1. Turn work.

NOTE: On sizes 12 and 14 you will end the last two iterations of these rows as ssk and P2tog, respectively. That’s OK.

Sts rem after heel turn: 15 / 17 / 17 / 19

GUSSET & FOOT:

With right side (i.e., outside of the sock) facing, K all sts of heel flap, then pick up and knit 12 / 13/ 15 / 16 sts along the heel flap, then work 1x1 rib on the 25 / 27 / 31 / 37 sts of the instep/top of foot, then pickup and knit the same number of sts along the other side of the heel flap.

Arrange these 64 / 70 / 78 / 84 sts on needles as follows:

For dpns —
Needle 1 = 20 / 22 / 24 / 26 sts (sole)
Needle 2 = 25 / 27 / 31 / 33 sts (instep)
Needle 3 = 19 / 21 / 23 / 25 sts (sole)

For 2 circulars —
Needle 1 = 39 / 43 / 47 / 51 sts (sole)
Needle 2 = 25 / 27 / 31 / 33 sts (instep)

Working the sole/bottom-of-foot sts in stockinette stitch (K all sts) and the instep/top-of-foot in 1x1 rib, decrease 2 sts every other round as follows:

For dpns —

Rnd 1 (decrease round): K to 3 sts before the end of Ndl 1, K2 tog, K1; work 1x1 rib across all sts on Ndl 2; then K1, ssk, and K to the end of all sts on Ndl 3

Rnd 2 (regular round): K all sts on Ndl 1; work 1x1 rib across all sts on Ndl 2; K all sts on Ndl 3.

For 2 circulars —

Rnd 1 (decrease round, starting from the center of the sts on that needle): K to 3 sts before the end of Ndl 1, K2 tog, K1; work 1x1 rib across all sts on Ndl 2; then work the first half of the sts on Ndl 1 as K1, ssk, and K to the center.

Rnd 2 (regular round, starting from the center of the sts on that needle): K sts of Ndl 1; work 1x1 rib across all sts on Ndl 2; then K the first half of the sts on Ndl 1.

Work these 2 rounds until there are 25 / 27 / 31 / 33 sole sts (50 / 54 / 62 / 66 total sts).

NOTE: For sizes 10 and 12 you have 2 more sts total than you started with, but it’s OK because the ribbing on the instep/top-of-foot is pulling together any slack.

Then continue working the foot sts without decreases until it measures 7.5 / 8.5 / 9 / 9.5 inches from the beginning of the heel turn (or until it’s 2” – 2.5” less than the total length).

TOE DECREASES:

For dpns —

Rnd 1 (decrease round):
Needle 1: K to 3 sts before the end 1, K2 tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end 1, K2 tog, K1
Needle 3: K1, ssk, K to the end

Rnd 2 (regular round): K all sts.

For 2 circulars —

Rnd 1 (decrease round):
Needle 1: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end 1, K2 tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end 1, K2 tog, K1

Rnd 2 (regular round): K all sts.

Work these 2 rounds until there are 26 / 26 / 30 / 34 sts remaining, then work only the decrease rounds until there are about 14 sts remaining.

Graft (kitchener stitch) the opening; work in ends.

22 November 2009

My Life in Projects

Socks for Ed (a Christmas present)
These are knit on US 4 from Patternworks Bretton yarn. I used the nubby stitch pattern (K all sts for 2 rounds then 1x1 rib for 1 round) I found in Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks book, then changed to 1x1 rib about an inch from the heel flap. The rest of it is worked with stockinette stitch on the bottom of the foot and 1x1 rib on top. My husband likes to wear sandals, so putting the ribbing on the top of the foot will keep that part a little warmer in the winter. I've just started the toe decreases on the first sock.

A clever and fun foray into lacy knitting.


Kashmir Mittens for me!
Knit on US 4 needles from Prism Kashmir. I'll post the pattern later.


College Scarf for a nephew.
1x1 rib, knit with Berocco Comfort.



Feather & Fan Scarf
Knit with Jojoland Ballade (black) and a Prism kid mohair (Embers, I think the colorway is called) on US 10.5 needles. I thought I'd never get this one going. It took forever to figure out the best needle size, and there's no ripping back mohair because it catches on itself.




Top-Down Cardigan
This is from a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern and worked in Cascade Pastaza Paints on US 9 needles. I added in a bit of lace because I had to break up the monotony of the stockinette stitch. This was originally for my sister Mary, but it's too heavy for her considering where she lives. I might give it to my sister in Canada.






17 November 2009

Yarnia

funny pictures of cats with captions

I just knew it was a real place!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

01 November 2009

Deep, Dark Sky

Dear Mandella,

The photo is looking west from my back yard last night (Hallowe'en). I turned off the flash and propped the camera on the deck, but the image is still a touch blurred -- the hazard of not having a tripod -- but you can see how well a digital camera captures light and the depth of color in the sky, unlike a film camera that needs special filters and aperture adjustments.

I am glad that Hallowe'en is finally over. It's not my favorite of the popular holidays, not because I think it's "satanic" or "demonic" (despite the blatherings of Pope Benedict) but because I've just never been a fan of horror films and ghoulish costumes as some people are. I admit it: I like Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day -- those holidays that in general people like to celebrate with joy and love.

This past week I've been working on a pair of socks to give to my dear hubby for Christmas. I'm knitting them from Mountain Colors' Bearfoot sock yarn, which is a blend of 60% superwash wool, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon, and it's about sport weight. I purchased this skein a few years ago when we were in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The colorway is a deep, rich blue, but it's called "Purple Mountains." The pattern stitch is from one of the Barbara Walker collections. It's called "Seaweed" and it's a simple knit/purl combination. I'm working it up on US 2 (2.75 mm) and it's going quickly. Believe me, I had a hard time tearing myself away even to write this blog. I love it when something works!

Seaweed Stitch (multiple of 6 sts, worked in the round):
Rnds 1 & 2: *P4, K2*
Rnds 3 & 4: *P3, K3*
Rnds 5 & 6: *P2, K4*
Rnds 7 & 8: P1, (K4, P2) to last 5 sts, end K4, P1
Rnds 9 & 10: P1, (K3, P3) to last 5 sts, end K3, P2
Rnds 11 & 12: P1, (K2, P4) to last 5 sts, end K2, P3


When it's over the instep you have to add 1 purl stitch at the end to balance the pattern.

Here's the thing that's getting to me, though: I don't want to stop knitting it. I don't want to clean up my livingroom, I don't want to change the sheets on the bed, I don't want to do laundry, I don't want to go over to my mom's and sew, I don't want to go to work tomorrow, I don't want to do anything but knit and knit and knit. It's my refuge, an ordered and beautiful little world of one stitch after another, of silky yarn, of deep dark blue like the sky. That's where I want to live right now.

I'm having trouble getting the annual Christmas letter together. You've seen my previous ones, the successfully amusing missives about our otherwise mundane lives. I usually love writing these, but this year it's hard. What is there to say that hasn't been said? I'm working a lot, I'm knitting a lot, Ed still doesn't have a job, but we're happy and the pets are silly.

Perhaps it is the repetition of these details that I am trying to escape. Let's face it: the repetition of knitting patterns is boring on the surface, but it's a short enough repeat that we can see the pattern as a whole in our minds so the exercise of it is an exciting adventure as we watch it grow under our hands. Life, on the other hand, doesn't seem so exciting. The repeat of each week -- perhaps it's too long of a run? -- is wearing, and it's hard to see the whole in my mind.
Maybe what I need to do is to start knitting one of those huge lace shawls. It will be more like life as it really is: tediously long sections of pattern repeats that seem to go on forever.

Sorry. I don't mean to be depressing. Time to get off the cross (somebody else needs the wood, after all). My life is really blessed if I have the luxury of putting off housework in order to indulge in knitting a pair of socks which, after all, could be bought for maybe $3 per pair instead of what I paid for that skein of yarn.

Yep, I'm OK. I'm ready to head out into this day after all.

Hugs and good knitting to you!

Judith

28 October 2009

Gauge Lies



At left is a top-down pullover knit on US 17 needles. The pattern called for Brown Sheep "Burly Spun" yarn and a gauge of 8 sts to 4" in stockinette stitch on US 17 needles.

I held together three strands of worsted weight yarn and knit a swatch of stockingette stitch on US 17 needles. I got 7 sts to 4". I figured the looseness was due to knitting back and forth (instead of in the round), so I soldiered on.

When I checked gauge again (which was when I was nearing the point of holding off sts for the sleeves), I was astounded to discover I was getting 8.5 sts to 4". Thus, a pullover that was meant to be 46" around (finished measurement) turned out to be about 42" around. (It should have been about 40.8" around by stitch count, but that didn't happen, either.)

I am flummoxed. I am finishing the pullover -- it's using up odd balls of yarn in the stash and God knows it will fit someone -- but this is driving me a bit nuts.

I am, however, rather proud of the color transitions, all of which are accomplished with changing out the various strands of yarn held together.

21 October 2009

School Scarves

Finished measurement: about 5.25” wide x 72” long (but you can make it longer if you like)

Berroco® Comfort worsted weight (3.5 oz / 100 g; 210 yd / 193 m): 2 balls of main color (MC), 1 ball of contrast color (CC)

NOTE: There will be enough left over to make a hat, so if you plan to do two scarves I’d go with just 3 balls of the main color and perhaps only 1 ball of the contrast color. I made one scarf for a nephew at University of Iowa (gold and black) and a scarf for a nephew at Iowa State University (red and gold), so I bought 2 balls of gold, 2 balls of red, and one ball of black. There was only red and black yarn leftover.

US 7 needles (straight or circular, whichever you prefer)

Gauge is about 20 sts and 24 rows to 4” square in stockinette stitch. It’s not terribly important because when you knit in 1 x 1 rib it ends up looking like flat stockinette stitch except that it won’t curl. In 1 x 1 rib, I get 30 sts (counting each knit stitch as 2) and 24 rows to 4” square.

START KNITTING HERE:

Cast on 40 sts with CC. Work 36 rows of 1 x 1 rib (K1, P1).

Change to MC. Work 2 rows of 1x1 rib in MC and 2 rows of 1x1 rib in CC until you have 18 bands of each color (72 more rows).

Next, work 1 x 1 rib in the MC only. When the whole scarf (laid flat and no stretching) measures 36 inches long (or whatever is half of the length you plan to knit it), mark that row as the halfway point, then keep working 1 x 1 rib in the MC until you can fold the scarf at the halfway point and it meets the stripe section.

Repeat the stripe section: Change to CC. Work 2 rows of 1x1 rib in CC and 2 rows of 1x1 rib in MC until you have 18 bands of each color (72 more rows).

Finish with 36 rows of 1 x 1 rib in the CC.

(PS - Thank you to Mark N. at my office who kindly modeled this scarf for me. He has a nice neck for modeling scarves.)

Bind off (helps to do it in pattern) and work in the ends.

18 October 2009

Where I've Been

Here's a fun little ap:



visited 22 states (44%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Happy Dog

Chance, the irrepressibly content black Labrador,
at the dog park.

Aaah, Picture Uploads Successful.

The Leg Warmers

The Shawl

The convertible mittens



Start-itis or Addiction?

Blogger is having some problems, else I'd have uploaded some photos. Suffice it to say that I'm in the midst of a zillion projects once again, and none of them are the projects already on my overly long list of UFOs.

I finished a scarf for one of my nephews and have started in on a similar one for his brother, but no pictures for now since these are to be Christmas gifts.

In other news, I tried and tried and tried to knit a cardigan for my sister M but ended up pulling out all of my work several times because the yarn wasn't cooperating. It's a cotton/silk/acrylic blend. I've started up a simple shawl with it now and it's behaving quite nicely. It's a project started just to prove it can be done; now it will be set aside while I finish my Christmas list of projects.

Another started project is a blanket from worsted weight wool. I have some odd balls of yarn around. I tried several things with it -- mitered squares, pattern stitches -- and in the end it just wanted to be knit as single strands on US 7 needles. Egad, I hate when the yarn starts acting up! Yarn isn't supposed to be so bitchy and demanding!

One project in progress (finally!) is a pair of leg warmers for my friend Dr. T. I was going to knit kilt hose for her, then realized she'd never really wear them for competition. I was going to knit socks for her, but after she and I talked about it what she'd really like are leg warmers. Thus, they're in progress. I'm using the good old standby, the waffle stitch (texture, plus it's easy to keep track of the pattern) and I'm knitting it from leftover balls of KFI Cashmarino (about the same as Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in weight and composition). They're a lovely color of blue.

The Mrs. Gardiner gauntlet gloves have been frogged yet again. I'm just not satisfied with the pattern yet. All I know is that I want a claw cable going up the thumb. The hard part is figuring out what will go with that without numbing my brain.

Oh, and I've made excellent progress on the mittens with the yarn from my adorable and no-longer-Secret Pal, Mia. She sent some handspun that I've combined with a bit of Lamb's Pride worsted. They are becoming a pair of convertible mittens. The first is finished and the second is in progress (nearly done with the thumb gore increases).

And, after all of this, I had a lovely photo of my dog Chance.

But the Blogger software just isn't cooperating at the moment. Dang.

04 October 2009

I've Been Busy

Here's me working on it at my mom's house on the living room floor.
This took at lot of planning.

Detail of the phoenix center by maxecat.


Detail of the "stars" (sorry that it's a little bent here)



The Myth & Magic Quilt Top (about 76" square at this point)
Dragon by samtibbs. Unicorn by judyqeen. Phoenix by maxecat.
Spiderweb and potions by PotionMistress.
Potions by auntj.





01 October 2009

Secret Pal Revealed!

This is a mitten I've started knitting from the handspun that my lovely, no-longer-secret pal Mia sent to me in the second package. I started it off with some Lamb's Pride worsted, then went right to the lovely yarn she sent to me. These will be convertable mittens.


And here is the "reveal" package Mia sent: another cool bag (the cotton bag with the bird printed on it in pale green), two more handspun yarns, a lavender-scented candle, a little coin purse (which will likely hold my knitting markers -- you never know) filled with candies, and (I can hardly believe I'm writing this) a pair of socks! I am ever so magnificently spoiled by this last especially. No one has ever knit a pair of socks for me, so I felt absolutely overwhelmed. If ever Mia draws your name as a secret pal, prepare to be spoiled out of your mind!
Thank you, Mia! You are a lovely and kind knitting pal. I'll post pix of the mittens when they're done, and I might knit a hat with the other yarns. I don't know. Anything can happen, you know! :)

23 September 2009

Bite Me, Baby!

Ooooh, you've got to run over to The Bite Me Kitchen for some great recipes! I just printed off a great one for stuffed acorn squash (thank you, Auntie Meemo!).

19 September 2009

Another UFO Completed!

Socks:

  • Pair of socks (2 at the same time) from the toe up (about 3 inches in) on US 1.
  • Pair of red socks for my SIL Deb on US 2. ---DONE!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Pair of waffle socks on US 1 in sparkly Berroco sock yarn. First one is done; second one isn't started yet.
  • Pair of socks on US 1 worked in hand-dyed Louet Gems sport weight and a funky honeycomb sort of pattern. I'm losing interest already.
  • Pair of socks from the toe up (just one at a time) in Dream in Color with silver. -- FROGGED
  • Pair of socks for a college-bound nephew in Lisa Souza sport Merino superwash in the Mars Quake colorway. Worked in a simple 2 x 2 rib and 2 x 2 garter rib. Worked on US 2. -- DONE!!!!
  • Second Raindrop Sock needs to be worked from Purlie sock yarn in the Mardi Gras colorway (first sock was knit as a sample; it's about time I get the second one done).
  • Second Swag Sock needs to be worked from Purlie sock yarn (Appassionato colorway). Again, the first one was knit as a sample.
  • Second Swag Sock needs to be worked from a ball of Cash Vero DK. Still again, the first one was knit as a sample.
  • The second of a pair of socks from Cascade 220 Superwash on US 4 that utilizes a stranded rose pattern.

Scarves:

  • A lacy scarf on US 5. I'm about 5" into it.
  • A scarf from Misty Alpaca bulky. *DONE (back in July)*
  • Garter Linen scarf on US 9 in Manos del Uruguay silk blend. Nearing the halfway point. I think.
  • Lace scarf (Victorian Lace today Pattern) on US 6 with Jojoland Ballad. I've got about 2" knit.
  • Lace scarf (another Victorian Lace Today pattern) on US 7 with Mini Maiden in colorway Vintage. I have two repeats done of the first end border (see previous posts on this).
  • School Scarves -- Black and Gold 1 x 1 rib (my own pattern) -- about 1/2 done now.


Wraps/Shawls/Throws:

  • Diagonally crocheted wrap with leftovers from a Kaffe Fasset kit (long story) that's going to take forever. (Handed over to my mom for finishing. Um..... don't ask)
  • AB-Fab throw in colorway Misty Morning. Only through the one color repeat (56 rows), plus 8 more.

Pullovers/Cardigans:

  • Striped pullover that was to have been for my niece (she's grown out of it) on US 6. I have the back done and I'm slowly working up to the front. There are a zillion ends to work in.
  • A short cardigan in Cascade Venezia worsted on US 7 for my sister Mary. --- Frogged. It just wasn't working. Am now working the cardi in Cascade Pastaza.
  • Magnificent red pullover (mentioned earlier) from hand-dyed Louet Gems sport weight and fashioned with some Melissa Leapman cables. I'm about 6" into the back only which is pathetic because the back is the easiest.
  • Colorful cardigan for a grand-niece made on US 3 with King Tut cotton and worked in intarsia. I'm 1" - 2" away from dividing for the armholes and I'm not sure how I want to work it, so it's in stasis.


Other:

  • Washcloth on US 6. DONE (back in August).
  • Pair of gloves on US 3 from Cascade 220 superwash for my DH. In a bright royal blue. First one done, second one barely started (just past the cuff ribbing). The first glove is ... interesting. I think the fingers and thumb are far too big around.
  • A doily I'm crocheting from Austermann Step is about halfway done.

16 September 2009

Any Fool Can Do It

At last, we not only have a new Dan Brown over-the-top conspiracy novel, we have the Dan Brown Sequel Generator, courtesy of Slate.com. You just select a city for the setting and an organization which is hiding the conspiracy. The text generator will give you a synopsis.

Here's the start of my Dan Brown sequel synopsis (I chose Chicago and US Postal Service):

When celebrated Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to Wrigley
Field to analyze a mysterious ancient script—imprinted on a gold ring lying next
to the disemboweled corpse of the head docent—he discovers evidence of the
unthinkable: the resurgence of the ancient cult of the Destifori, a secret
branch of the United States Postal Service that has surfaced from the shadows to
carry out its legendary vendetta against its mortal enemy, the Vatican.

13 September 2009

Secret Pal 14 Package 2 -- It's Here!


I have such a lovely and wonderful Secret Pal! In addition to the cool little bag (complete with a nifty tape measure that has both standard and metric markings but also looks fashionable *and* has a little button to lock the tape) and the stickers and the handknit washcloth (love that color!) and the hand-dyed sock yarn ..... Yes, she sent me some hand-spun yarn! I feel so special! I've never had anyone give me their hand-spun. Spinning yarn is something I absolutely know nothing about and haven't tried (doubt I will, either), so I feel so honored that she included this. And look at those wonderful colors! Ooooooh, I love them! I love it all! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! A thousand more Thank Yous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cascade Pastaza Cardigan

This is Cascade Pastaza (lamb's wool and llama wool) being knit on US 9 into a cropped cardigan using the Knitting Pure and Simple top-down cardigan pattern. I'm working a lacy kind of figure in the sleeves (above) and I'll work some kind of pattern stitch when I join up under the arms. It will be a shorter cardigan than the pattern calls for, and I'll make 3/4 sleeves instead of full ones.

Alpaca Yarn


My sister M in Albuquerque sent three lovely skeins of alpaca yarn from a farm in New Mexico. I dyed them to a medium turquoise color.


Two-Rib Socks - FREE PATTERN


OK, following the "Basic Sock Recipe" these are a pair of socks for a guy. They were knit on US 2 with Lisa Souza Superwash Sport Merino in the Mars Quake Colorway. The gauge is about 6 sts per inch in Stockinette Stitch. It's an easy pattern:
CO 64. Work 2 x 2 rib (K2, P2) for 12 rounds, then K all sts for the first round of 2 x 2 garter rib (K one round, then 2x2 rib on the next round; keep alternating these two rounds). Work garter rib for 52 rounds, then work straight 2 x 2 rib for 8 more rounds.
Before working the heel flap, shift sts to the right by 1 stitch so that stitch #2 becomes the first stitch of the round. This will balance the rib over the top of the foot (so, over the top of the foot you will work the Offset 2x2 Rib as follows: K1, P2, *K2, P2* repeat to last stitch, end K1).
Work heel flap, then, as follows:
Row 1: sl 1, P2, *sl 2, P2* repeat to last stitch, end K1. Turn work.
Row 2 (WS): sl 1, P to the end. Turn work.
Repeat these two rows until there are 16 slipped stitches on each side of the heel flap.
Turn heel, then pick up 16 sts on each side of the heel flap while working Offset 2x2 Rib (as noted above) over the top of the foot and stockinette stitch on the underside of the foot, and while working gusset decreases on either side of the instep sts until you're back to a total of 64 sts.
Continue working foot with Offset 2 x 2 Rib on the top/instep and St st on the bottom until you come to about 2" shy of the foot length. Begin toe decreases (all in St st). Decrease 4 sts every other row until there are 32 sts remaining, then work decreases every row until it's down to a number you don't mind grafting.

Inter-Species Relations Continue Well



Nip, the grey kitty, has decided that he is comfortable around Chance, the black doggy.
Tuck, the orange striped kitty, still keeps a good distance away.

07 September 2009

UFO List Update

Socks:

  • Pair of socks (2 at the same time) from the toe up (about 3 inches in) on US 1.
  • Pair of red socks for my SIL Deb on US 2. The first sock is done; 2nd sock near the heel flap!
  • Pair of waffle socks on US 1 in sparkly Berroco sock yarn. First one is done; second one isn't started yet.
  • Pair of socks on US 1 worked in hand-dyed Louet Gems sport weight and a funky honeycomb sort of pattern. I'm losing interest already.
  • Pair of socks from the toe up (just one at a time) in Dream in Color with silver. -- FROGGED
  • Pair of socks for a college-bound nephew in Lisa Souza sport Merino superwash in the Mars Quake colorway. Worked in a simple 2 x 2 rib and 2 x 2 garter rib. Worked on US 2. -- DONE!!!!
  • Second Raindrop Sock needs to be worked from Purlie sock yarn in the Mardi Gras colorway (first sock was knit as a sample; it's about time I get the second one done).
  • Second Swag Sock needs to be worked from Purlie sock yarn (Appassionato colorway). Again, the first one was knit as a sample.
  • Second Swag Sock needs to be worked from a ball of Cash Vero DK. Still again, the first one was knit as a sample.
  • The second of a pair of socks from Cascade 220 Superwash on US 4 that utilizes a stranded rose pattern.

Scarves:

  • A lacy scarf on US 5. I'm about 5" into it.
  • A scarf from Misty Alpaca bulky. *DONE (back in July)*
  • Garter Linen scarf on US 9 in Manos del Uruguay silk blend. Nearing the halfway point. I think.
  • Lace scarf (Victorian Lace today Pattern) on US 6 with Jojoland Ballad. I've got about 2" knit.
  • Lace scarf (another Victorian Lace Today pattern) on US 7 with Mini Maiden in colorway Vintage. I have two repeats done of the first end border (see previous posts on this).
  • School Scarves -- Black and Gold 1 x 1 rib (my own pattern) -- about 1/3 done.


Wraps/Shawls/Throws:

  • Diagonally crocheted wrap with leftovers from a Kaffe Fasset kit (long story) that's going to take forever. (Handed over to my mom for finishing. Um..... don't ask)
  • AB-Fab throw in colorway Misty Morning. Only through the one color repeat (56 rows), plus 8 more.


Pullovers/Cardigans:

  • Striped pullover that was to have been for my niece (she's grown out of it) on US 6. I have the back done and I'm slowly working up to the front. There are a zillion ends to work in.
  • A short cardigan in Cascade Venezia worsted on US 7 for my sister Mary. --- Frogged. It just wasn't working. Am now working the cardi in Cascade Pastaza.
  • Magnificent red pullover (mentioned earlier) from hand-dyed Louet Gems sport weight and fashioned with some Melissa Leapman cables. I'm about 6" into the back only which is pathetic because the back is the easiest.
  • Colorful cardigan for a grand-niece made on US 3 with King Tut cotton and worked in intarsia. I'm 1" - 2" away from dividing for the armholes and I'm not sure how I want to work it, so it's in stasis.


Other:

  • Washcloth on US 6. DONE (back in August).
  • Pair of gloves on US 3 from Cascade 220 superwash for my DH. In a bright royal blue. First one done, second one barely started (just past the cuff ribbing). The first glove is ... interesting. I think the fingers and thumb are far too big around.
  • A doily I'm crocheting from Austermann Step is about halfway done.

05 September 2009

School Scarves & Other Ramblings

Dear Mandella:

I've broken my self-imposed rule of No New Projects and started in on scarves for my oldest brother's two sons. It's a simple 1 x 1 rib scarf knit from Berroco's Comfort yarn. One will be Gold & Black, the other will be Red & Gold. Lest you think these are Hufflepuff and Gryffindor, you're wrong: They're University of Iowa and Iowa State University (respectively). I've got a good start on the black and gold. I'll post the pattern eventually.

In the meantime, my husband is in a huge funk. I know I emailed you that he was going through a tough time with his clinicals this past week. He came home on Friday determined to see it through at least to another week, but now he's depressed and down on himself for everything all over again. I need a forklift to get him out of this hole.

He's taken Dogbert (aka Chance) to the dog park for a few hours. I've cleaned up the few dishes in the kitchen, gone to the grocery store, emptied the garbage, and hoovered the living room. And I've answered the phone a lot today. I don't know why, but every robo-caller in the country has found our number!

We're having a House marathon on one of the cable tv channels today. They're showing about 20 episodes on the trot; tomorrow it will be a different program. I've got in on because it is better company than my husband who has retreated to the bedroom in his depression.

*sigh* This is not an easy weekend.

Judith

30 August 2009

Revenge of the Kitteh

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Favorite Baby Knitting Pattern


Have you seen this little dress from Phyllis Campbell? It's called the Bella Basic Yoke Dress. Although the sample is knit from Berocco Pure Pima Cotton, I'm thinking of knitting it from some King Tut cotton in my stash. I have a deep magenta and a medium pink, so I was thinking of knitting in a hearts pattern at the bottom of it.


OK, like I don't already have a zillion projects going?


Anyway, the pattern is available at String of Purls and it's just $5.95 (USD) Phyllis is a local designer. I don't think her patterns are available yet on Ravelry.
Hmmm.... I wonder if I can get this done before my grand-niece Katie would grow out of it?????

28 August 2009

I don't want to do anything

Dear Mandella,

I'm just past the heel turn on the pair of socks for my university-bound nephew. I'm about an inch away from starting the heel flap on a pair of socks for some man -- probably one of my brothers -- on a new pattern I've started. I have an entire chest full of UFOs and another one full of yarn that I'm dying to get started on. But I don't want to do anything.

This is the first weekend in I-don't-remember-how-long that I do not have to strip wallpaper, prep walls, paint, or move furniture. I don't quite know how to handle myself.

Oh, don't worry: There's plenty of work yet to do. It's just not as urgent as that last bit.

My DH has started his classes for this last year of work. His new study is nearly complete (we're still waiting for the repairs on his dad's old desk to be completed before we can move it into that room) and he loves it. I love that he loves it.

The guest room (finally liberated from being the guest room/DH's study) is a shambles. DH has the get the rest of his stuff out of there but can't until his dad's old desk is moved into the new study. Then we can clean it up properly, move a few things around, and relax.

I get a four-day weekend on the first weekend in September. Labor Day is the first Monday of September, and I'll get the preceeding Friday off from my full-time job. So, that will be the time to tackle some of those other things.

This weekend is for rest. Sort of.

Hugs!

Judith

22 August 2009

Real Swingers


This is me (left) with my walking/workout pal Richard. We're on the swings at a park that was the site of a graduation party for our trainer, Teresa (now Dr. T). This was taken a week ago.
Today I'm packing up stuff and moving it either downstairs or out to the garage (where it will be transferred to a pickup truck and then taken to a storage unit). I've been at it for the past 3 hours. Oh, and the pictures are hung in Ed's new study. It's nice to have that room retasked for something useful.

17 August 2009

Secret Pal 14 Package -- It's Here!

(click to make larger)
It's is here! My first Secret Pal 14 package has arrived and it is so wonderful! There are two skeins of Shi Bui sock yarn in Mulberry color (I love the twist on this yarn), a chocolate bar (my SP was at Sock Summit and brought it back) as well as some cool stickers, a funky pen (I love pens!) and some very pretty note cards for writing. Oooooh, thank you! thank you! I love it so much! Oh, and it all came in this lovely silk bag that has a bit of embroidery on it. I love bags. This one will hold my lovely new sock yarn. Hmmmmm..... I think I have a lace pattern that I want to try out with it. Oh, so many wonderful new things and so little time!

Oh, I ache!

Dear Mandella,

On Friday night (four days ago) we went to the hardware store after I got home from work. We got the paint and few other odd little things. We filled in holes in the wall. Later that evening I sanded some of the patched stuff and then rolled on some primer to cover up some old crayon marks on the wall from the previous owner's children. (It's been 15 years since we moved in here, so that little tot who scribbled on the walls should be heading off to university this fall!)

On Saturday I wiped down the walls, vacuumed up the remaining bits of wallpaper on the floor, used masking tape to cover everything that shouldn't get paint on it. My DH didn't help much because he wasn't feeling well. I was dead tired.

On Sunday morning I laid out the drop cloths and laid on a coat of white paint. Then I showered and rested for about an hour before going over to my mum's. But, I was so tired that I couldn't do more than play cards. In fact, I broke down and cried because I was so tired and overwhelmed. My DH was still not feeling well. It was all falling to me to do once again. I came home and just vegged out for the evening. Well, after I sorted out the mess in the kitchen (just the preliminaries of getting things stacked and soaking -- my DH promised to clean it up).

This morning, my sister M called and suggested she come over to help. It was just the ticket. It got my DH out of bed and on to doing a thorough clean up in the kitchen. M and I sorted laundry, changed sheets on the beds, and then I put a 2nd coat of white paint on three of the walls while she folded up and put away clean clothes. We then tackled four laundry baskets full of odd things that were clean but not folded or put away. These were mainly kitchen towels and napkins, items that really needed ironing, and several things that needed mending. We also found a lot of bed linens in there; these are now folded and put away. Afterward we went to lunch and then I slept for four hours this afternoon. The backs of my legs are aching and my shoulders rather hate me at the moment.

My DH is supposed to paint one of the walls yellow this week. It might require a second coat. We'll see. The plan, however, is to be ready to move furniture by this coming Sunday, the day before my DH starts in with school again.

Oh, Chance is doing very well. He's back to his old self again. DH took him to the dog park for a while this morning, which was helpful for getting him out from under foot.

Hope you're well!

Judith

14 August 2009

Still Slogging Along

Dear Mandella,

We bought the paint tonight. The white paint. We bought 2 more samples of yellow hues to see which we like.

Also, Chance the dog has conjunctivitis. Do you know what a pain it is to put drops in a dog's eyes when that dog is 90 lbs and wriggly? I had to sort of sit on him, then have Ed pet him while I sneaked in a few drops from the back of his head.

Sounds like the contract modifications (the ones that would have given me a chance at moving up in the company and getting more pay) aren't going to come through. What a sucky end to all of this. I got to sit through a 1 hour department meeting today in which nothing applied to me. Oh, well, at least I still have a job. That's always good news.

Knitting has been a fickle friend this week. I was trying out a new pattern this week on some sock yarn and had to give it up last night when I'd screwed up the tiny cables for the third time and swore at the top of my lungs for the third time. Some cable patterns are just too tiny to do on US 1 needles. Well, too tiny for me to handle. Too many cross-2-over-1-to-the-left-K 2 tbl, P1-from-cable-needle. My eyes were going bloodshot even though I'd enlarged my pattern. So, I put it aside. I'll use it on something larger, like a scarf.

Thus, I started in on a different pattern and got through the ribbing plus 3 rows while in the aforementioned meeting. Then on to the stationery shop for three more hours of work, and finally came home to cleaning up the wallpaper scrapings (still on the floor) and patching holes before making the trip for paint. I think we'll be sanding and masking everything tomorrow morning, probably paint tomorrow night. The whole room needs to be painted in white, then we'll add whatever shade of yellow we decide on. Presuming we can decide on one.

I'm miserably sad that the rest of the house is such a pig sty. One of these days all of this will be done and we'll celebrate. One of these days.

Love & hugs to you!

Judith

09 August 2009

A Weird Few Weeks

Dear Mandella,

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster ride, and not exactly the fun kind. There were a few upsets at my job -- nothing earth-shattering (I'm mindful that I'm lucky to have one in this economy) but my DH and I have had to make a few more cut-backs, and I've not been terribly happy about that. There might be an opportunity on the horizon for me to improve my position, but it would be risky because the position might be funded for only 1 year if that and then there's no guarantee I'd be able to go back to my old job. *sigh* This has been tough.

In other news, I finally got all of the wallpaper scraped off in the small bedroom. I'd done quite a bit of it last weekend but had to take a break in order to preserve my arms and shoulders. I had about 3 - 4 hours left of work and I finished it last night. Here's my tips on wallpaper removal: Don't rent a steamer; use a regular iron and a wet cloth. With a steamer you have to constantly make sure that there is water in the reservoir and you have to unplug it and let it cool down before you move it. With a regular iron (not on the steam setting) and a wet cloth, the iron stays plugged in wherever you need it (I rested my on a wooden board which absorbed the heat) and you just take your cloth and a pail of water around the room. The cloth was soaked in water and the excess wrung out, then the cloth was applied to the wall with the hot iron: steam!!! Plus, when I'd steamed a section of the wall I there was still heat and steam in the cloth so I held it against small and/or sensitive places (such as the tiny space beside the window frame or near an electrical outlet) while I scraped the stuff I'd just steamed. The commercial solvents available are pretty much useless. Steam and a scraper are the most effective. Oh, and I used heavy-duty rubber gloves so that I didn't burn my hands.

In knitting news, I'm making steady progress with the color-on-color scarf. The garter intarsia sections are coming along much better than I had anticipated. I notice that the sections become larger and longer as I go along, so it's slower now. I've been making some lovely I-cord on one of the ends. I do love making the I-cord.

Also in knitting news, I've been working on a pair of socks for a university-bound nephew. I'm knitting them on US 2 or US 3 (I can't remember which, obviously, and they're not at hand to measure) with Lisa Souza's superwash sport merino in the Mars Quake colorway. On my computer screen that one looks like it's deep violet and gold and such. It's more like rust and brown and gold, so it's more ... manly, I guess. The trouble is that I had ordered this same colorway in the same weight of yarn at two different times, and each time when I wound the skein I ended up doing it in two balls. Thus, one sock was all finished and then about Thursday this week I discovered that the second sock (about 3" along) was from a different dye lot because over all it was darker. Well, I'm happy to be able to report that I found the second ball of yarn from the original colorway and I'm about 2" along. I've cast on 64 sts, but the larger needles (and slightly thicker yarn) mean that it will fit this boy's larger leg and foot. I'm using a garter rib along with a regular 2 x 2 rib. I'll post the pattern as soon as I can nail down the particulars of needle size and gauge.

I'm hoping my DH will arise soon from his bed. Today we'll purchase some Spackle to fill in the few holes in the wall as well as a few odd places where I managed to scrape off some paint as well as the wallpaper. We're going to hang the pictures in there first, then take a digital image of them so that we know the placements, and then fill all of the holes in preparation for painting next weekend. I think we'll also get some test samples of paint. This small bedroom will be my DH's study/den. We'll paint the walls white because he has a lot of Central & South American art to go in there that is very colorful, but my DH wants some bright yellow accents. I'll post photos when it's all done.

Hoping you're well. You haven't posted on your blog for a while, so I'm wondering what's going on.

Hugs!

Judith

05 August 2009

Knitting Survey

Find the Knitting Survey here. It's by an honest-to-goodness researcher.

29 July 2009

Color on Color Scarf, Sections 1 - 11

The Color on Color scarf from the Scarf Style book. I needed to block these sections because they were curling so much. The fair isle section at right has to be folded over and stitched on three sides. That's going to be a challenge.

This is the fair isle section. Am I theonly person who sees an idea for a quilt in this?

Stitch and Pitch at Rosenblatt Stadium

(Click to enlarge)
Robyn Hubbard and Anne Ginn of String of Purls
are at right. Robyn threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Robyn (left) and Ann at the String of Purls table
in the entrance to the ball park.


27 July 2009

Bulwer-Lytton Ficton Contest Favorites

I don’t know why I was thinking of these today, but these are some of my favorites and they’re usually good for a laugh:

The double agent looked up from his lunch of Mahi-Mahi and couscous and realized that he must escape from Walla Walla to Bora Bora to come face-to-face with his arch enemy by taking out his 30-30 and shooting off his nemesis' ear-to-ear grin so he could wave bye-bye to this duplicitous life, but the chances of him pulling this off were only so-so, much less than 50-50.
Charles Jaworski • North Pole, AK • (2005 entry)

She'd been strangled with a rosary-not a run-of-the-mill rosary like you might get at a Catholic bookstore where Hail Marys are two for a quarter and indulgences are included on the back flap of the May issue of "Nuns and Roses" magazine, but a fancy heirloom rosary with pearls, rubies, and a solid gold cross, a rosary with attitude, the kind of rosary that said, "Get your Jehovah's Witness butt off my front porch."
Mark Schweizer • Hopkinsville, KY  • (2007 Runner Up in Detective category)

A warning to the reader: Tom dies in the end of the story so don't get too attached to him.
Sam Gerring • Lexington, KY • (2005 entry)

Joanne watched her fellow passengers - a wizened man reading about alchemy; an oversized bearded man-child; a haunted, bespectacled young man with a scar; and a gaggle of private school children who chatted ceaselessly about Latin and flying around the hockey pitch and the two-faced teacher who they thought was a witch - there was a story here, she decided.
Tim Ellis • Haslemere, U.K. • (2008 Winner in Children’s Literature category)

Mike Hummer had been a private detective so long he could remember Preparation A, his hair reminded everyone of a rat who'd bitten into an electrical cord, but he could still run faster than greased owl snot when he was on a bad guy's trail, and they said his friskings were a lot like getting a vasectomy at Sears.
Robert B. Robeson • Lincoln, Nebraska • (2008 Winner in Detective category)