Saturday, July 28, 2007

Friday's post a bit late

I had a fun day at the fair yesterday. Walked quite a distance to get to the demo place carrying a lot of wool, some drop spindles, and a travel mug with a beverage (it was HOT!) DH carried the wheel and more wool. I noticed as I was spinning that I do a lot of twisting as I spin. That must have a LITTLE health benefit, with all of the arm movement that happens! LOL

The children were interested in treadling the wheel, not spinning itself. I brought my wheel that is almost indestructable just because of that. The other wheels LOOK like what people think a spinning wheel should look like, but they aren't going to hold up to children. Um, there is also the small detail that I don't know if I can fit them in our car! LOL This one sits on the back seat, and can be fastened in with a seat belt. I spun up a rather heavy thread for each child that wanted one (they got to choose the color from the different ones I had on hand) and I made it into a bracelet for them. Some of the 4-H kids were gratified that I had brought wool from their sheep (from a previous year.)

One teenaged girl made about 5 feet of yarn, and seemed to enjoy it. She took my card, she may call for lessons. A college aged student and 3 adults also took my card. We'll see.

We then went shopping, and walked all over the store. DH needed clothes for the trip, of course where he needed to go was the very back of the store, then we needed something on the FAR side of the store (and they didn't have it...) On to Barnes and Noble, one of my favorite stores. Upstairs, downstairs, left, right. More walking. New books...

I walked more Thursday than since I broke that bone in my foot! The foot was sore, but not horribly.

We went to dinner, and I really thought I'd gone WAY over in calories for the day. But when I input the information for dinner last night, combined with the rest of the day, I was just barely under my minimum! I suppose if I'd been able to eat the sauteed vegetables that came with my order I'd have gone over. But after sending the meal back once because they had put stuff on it that I'm allergic to, it wasn't worth fighting. I just didn't touch anything that had come in contact with the vegetables. sigh When you are allergic to most herbs, just sauteing without herbs in the same skillet that you normally use doesn't get eliminate the herbs! We'd planned to go swimming after dinner, but it was getting late since we had to get up at 4AM. I don't do that (get up that early) for just anyone! LOL

As I drove home after dropping DH off at the airport, I had the treat of watching the sun rise over corn and soy fields. There had been fog in some areas after the rain the night before, it was lifting as I got there and looked as if there was a fire -- all these dark clouds just about tree level. Even more fun, I got home BEFORE DH's flight had even taken off! It was close, they boarded as I got the last things in the house.

I shipped the essential item that he forgot, to be delivered Monday.

Hm...Knitting Woes

It has been a frustrating few days for my knitting.

The 3 generation afghan is struggling. I bought enough sock yarn at the Brown Sheep outlet (seconds) to make a small baby blanket. It needs to be crib sized.

I am knitting 5 panels 6 1/2 inches wide, alternating the 2 colors every 6 1/2 inches. I have 2 1/2 panels knit. I ordered more yarn from another a web source, as Brown Sheep doesn't do retail except at the outlet, and the color of the solid yarn is decidedly different. The first purple was a red purple, the new purple is a blue purple. I suppose that is why the first color was sold as a second! The variegated is different as well, but not enough to be of a concern. I called Brown Sheep to see if they had more of the red-purple so I could order it via the same web source I'd used before, but it has sold out.

Part of the problem is that this is going to be knit by 3 generations for our new grandchild to be. My mom (Great-grandma to be) knit a square and Serena (Aunt to be) took over on that panel and is knitting the rest. So that yarn (the original colors) is not here, but many miles away. I'm not going to ask them to frog what they've done and start over.

I can see three options, I'm hoping someone else can see more or suggest which of my options is best.

Option 1: Continue as I've begun, with the color difference and hope no one will notice. Chances of no one noticing pretty poor, I think, although DH didn't notice a difference in the colors. I ran out of yarn in the middle of a panel, so one end of that panel would be red purple and the other blue purple.

Option 2: Frog the left and right panels (as seen above) but keep the center panel, which matches DD's. Knit 3 others with a strand of the old color and a strand of the new one giving a slightly heathered look.

Option 3: Keep the center panel (above) to match DD's with the old yarn and then 3 with the new yarn. I'm still going to have to frog, as I don't think there is enough yarn to finish DD's panel. I'm wondering if the contrast will be too great.

Actually, looking at the picture, I think the color of the variegated IS off enough to be noticeable. whimper

As you can see, the i-cord edging on this is too loose. I tightened it and sent it off to Serena with the other little one I'd finished (earlier post.) Howard put them in his suitcase to give to her.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I really don't like to knit i-cord

I really do not like knitting i-cord. I think part of the reason is that I can't develop a rhythm. So it is a constant start/stop procedure, which isn't fun. I look at patterns where the designer did lots of it (Nicki Epstein comes to mind) and wonder if she actually did it via a machine, whether a spool knitter or a big one. Not a problem, it doesn't feel like cheating to me. I'd do it if I had a machine that could take the yarn size. I hate it enough that my good blogless friend Dianne offered to knit some up on her machine, so I could avoid doing it. The package arrived in the mail today. It makes the Tomten sweater so much better! It went from a very utilitarian toddler's jacket to CUTE! I'll post pictures tomorrow. It is so cute, in fact, that I'm considering knitting up pockets, edging them with the leftover i-cord and attaching them.

Either I send off the yarn that was in the surplice sweater to Dianne for her to make i-cord for a tie for that sweater, or I'm going to cast on the appropriate number of stitches for the length I need for it, knit 4 rows and bind off. I've not decided. Perhaps a small swatch would be in order. I just know that if I try to knit an i-cord belt/tie, it won't get done.

I'm not sure what has triggered asthma this time, but something has. Blech I've nebbed 3 times today.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Phooey, I didn't do a gauge swatch

I've not done a gauge swatch on this Brown Sheep Superwash Worsted yarn. I KNOW that will bite me, but I've not done it. Suddenly I realize that, based on other time I knit with Brown Sheep Superwash, this project could GROW! At which point, it may be ridiculous. So, I'm waffling. I think I'll start a swatch tomorrow on another skein of yarn and see what transpires. After all, I don't want to frog any more than I have to! sigh

Sunday, July 15, 2007

One Finished Sweater!

This is the baby sweater I just finished. Isn't the pattern darling! I got it from Jimmy Beans Wool. It is the Presto Chango Sweater.
I changed the pattern to a stockinette panel in front as opposed to the stitch pattern because it wouldn't show up against the variegated yarn. I made it out of Brown Sheep Wildfoote in the Violet Garden colorway. I don't see it on any website, so it may be either a new colorway or a trial run. I love the color and it won't show baby mess, and since it is a sock yarn it can go in the washer and dryer. Since there are buttons on both sides, it can be for either a boy or a girl. (edited 7/16 to change the photo) I just changed the photo, as I figured out what caused the sweater to look so wonky in the photo I put up yesterday (I shortened the left seam as I sewed it, and the top button on the left was mis-placed.) A valuable reminder that when I think something is wrong, I should keep at it until I figure it out. I still may sew the right seam again, but at this point it is ready to go in the washer for the final step.

I have 2 more sweaters to finish. they really don't have that much more to do, hopefully I can finish soon! Of course, I've started another sweater. I'm using the same pattern as above, just because I think it is so practical. I hate sewing on buttons, but the effect is neat.


My Mom had a button box when we were growing up. It was, I believe, a red checked gift box that had held jams from Knotts Berry Farms. It was always a treat to dig through the buttons, some were plain, some were shiny, some had little bits of glass. We didn't do it very often, but it is a fun memory.

Somewhere along the way I started saving buttons too. Not too far into our married life, from the looks of the button jars! I have 2 - 1 gallon jars to hold my buttons. It all started from sewing, then we bought 2 fruitcake tins of them at an auction, then Ivadell gave me a jar of them...

It is almost a constant, however, that if I need buttons for a specific project, I don't have what I need on hand. Now that the fabric store where I used to buy them is closed, the situation is even more dire. I spent some time yesterday going through buttons for the 3 baby sweaters I have nearly completed.

In the process, it was a trip down memory lane. I found the leftover buttons from dresses for Serena, buttons that I purchased when she was tiny figuring I'd have them on hand when I needed, buttons left over from projects I sewed for Howard, some of the buttons I recognized from the auction and Ivadell. I found buttons out of deer horn made several years before his death in 93 by my Uncle Myran. I went through the buttons and remembered. I remembered both kids going through the buttons. When I needed to keep them busy, I'd ask them to string like buttons on thread. I had fun with all the memories.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy 34th Anniversary Howard!

Today is our 34th Wedding Anniversary. In that time we've moved 12 times (a couple across town, but still a move), raised 2 children and lived in 7 states. It has been a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs. Cheers Howard! Here's to many more!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Baby Sweaters?

What idiot decided on pastels for babies? They spit, throw up and burp, and that is just on the TOP half. Guaranteed to mark whatever they are wearing, if the item is light colored. Wouldn't it make more sense to dress them in dark colors? Especially as, from what I've read, they don't perceive anything but highly contrasting colors at as this website says happens at first? So we dress them in colors that they can't see and that will stain almost as soon as they are put on. I don't understand. It wasn't that long ago that baby BOYS were dressed in pink because it was a derivative of red, a war-like color (who wanted girls to be anything but dainty and biddable?) A fascinating website about this subject, Historical Boys Clothing. Okay, I admit that I did web research as I wrote this! How else would I be able to back up what I say! grin I find it interesting that white was historically easier to keep clean. But then, we no longer boil clothes to wash them!

Knitting patterns are almost always shown in pastels because they are easier to photograph, especially to show stitch definition (I've learned the hard way -- experience.) Baby patterns also have the "cuteness" or "ahhh that's sweet" factor in perceived to be traditional colors. I can understand why baby knitting patterns are almost always shown in pastels, but there is a part of me that wishes that they were shown in deeper colors. After all, new knitters and knitting muggles are going to want to knit/receive it exactly as shown. Unless it is something for a very special occasion, I'd rather knit something for a baby in colors that don't show the stain very well. Mon Tricot patterns had some really great patterns in more baby friendly colors. I don't know if that was cultural, as the magazine came from France, and the patterns were translated into English for the U.S. version. Too bad the magazine folded.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Random Thoughts

If anyone knows where my keys are THIS time, would they please let me know? They seem to have taken a brief vacation. Again.

Why is it that it was my credit card that was used to rent the car for the vacation, but the company keeps calling Howard for follow-up on the trip? (CC authorization and customer approval)

Photos of the family vacation didn't turn out very well. Although I did find this one on my camera that is kind of fun of Serena (wearing Howard's hat) and Nathan.

I tried to take a shot of the current knitting, because I wanted to ask for button color suggestions. But the colors didn't turn out well at all. I'll try again in the sunlight. I may just have to go with silver buttons. Gold doesn't feel right for these colors.

Okay, I'm confused

When each of our children moved out for good, we sent along household goods to start their new life. You know, such important things as silverware, dishes and the like. Yesterday with the chocolate debacle, I looked carefully at the silverware drawer. My initial reaction was "what in the world?" Because we have almost a complete set for 8 of one pattern, but only one knife and one fork in that pattern. The other set is an almost complete set of 4. They are similar, but not alike. The question comes in, does one (or both) of my cherubs have the others in the first pattern and the rest in the second? What did Nathan and Kim do with the silverware he had after their wedding? How in the world can you lose 7 knives and 7 forks? It is almost enough to want to send the whole kit and caboodle to the rummage sale and indulge in new silverware! I'd really prefer a matching set!

I'm also contemplating new everyday dishes. We have 3 partial sets of Corelle dishes. Again, there is a touch of confusion here! LOL Neither situation is a big deal, but it is a puzzle.

I started a baby sweater today, for a friend of Serena's who is going to have her second child soon. One of the two toddler sweaters I knit earlier will go to the big brother. I'm waiting to see what kind of baby sweaters Kim likes before I start knitting for the grandtad. I'm knitting
Presto Chango from the Jimmy Beans Wool website. I'm using a variegated Wildfoote from Brown Sheep, so I won't be doing the pattern on the panel, but stockinette. The pattern would be lost in a dark variegated yarn, so what is the point! A baby sweater in worsted weight (2 strands together) won't take a long time, and will be both wool and machine washable! A plus for a baby in the Denver area!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cocoa (Mis)Adventure!

Serena gave me a tin of cocoa from Costa Rica -- the brand is Cafe Britt. This morining I decided to indulge myself with some. Opened the tin for the first time, and was confronted with a shiny foil pouch (I thought.) Tried to shake it out to find the opening, nothing. While it was upside down, my finger punctured the foil. Cocoa EXPLOSION! sigh Cocoa landed on the counter, in the silverware drawer, but little on the floor. Most of the flatware that had been in that drawer is now awaiting a run through the dishwasher. As are the trays that hold them. I was able to salvage most of the cocoa -- it seemed like more had landed everywhere than actually did. Luckily, a lot had landed in the mug that I had ready for my cocoa, so I was able to transfer it back into the tin. Such a lot of work for a mug of cocoa!

Finally my cocoa is ready, and I am sipping away at in, enjoying the rich flavor and warmth. I'll definitely order from them, but in the future I'll remember how to open the package! All I can do is laugh about it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I think it is good news...

Saw the podiatrist today. He told us that the optimal time to pin a fracture is within the first 14 days. Since we are long past that point, I have to wait until the foot heals on its own, no matter how long that takes, then he will assess the repair to see if it needs to be re-broken and pinned. For the foreseeable future, I'm in the boot.

The baby afghan is almost half-way knit. I have 2 strips completed and ran out of yarn on the third. Serena has almost enough to make a 4th strip. I've already called and ordered more yarn. Isn't it funny how purchasing what you believe will be more than enough sometimes bites you in the behind? I bought all of the original lovely yarn as seconds at an extremely good price. Now that I'm home, I have to buy it at full price to finish the blanket. Snivel.

I need another knitting project. I'll have to decide whether to start the shell again or knit something else. The socks are in time-out -- again. I really wish I could pick them up and finish them, but it isn't happening right now. I was going to start knitting baby hats for our friendly hospital, but I left that yarn at Serena's. They insist the yarn be fingering weight, which is harder and harder to find. We couldn't find it in the two stores in Ames we tried. I need to call around.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Well, Blast!

Today has been one of THOSE days. All in all -- an off day. My foot isn't healing, the socks keep slipping off the doublepoints and I had to frog the shell I was making for myself. sigh The shell was too large. I'd avoided it for some time because I didn't like the way I'd done the waist shaping. I decided to put the stitches on waste yarn and try it on to see how it looked on me. Not quite the affect I was trying for! So it is back to the component yarn.

I see a specialist about the foot tomorrow. The doctor says it hasn't made any improvement from 3 weeks ago. Are we having fun yet?

But, on a lighter note, the man who was at X-ray when I went in originally about my foot was there today. He remembered us because I had been spinning. He is the one who had a nice discussion with Howard (while I was being X-rayed) about my spinning and other fiber habits. Turns out he had broken a bone in his hand the day after I broke the bone in my foot. His break is healing nicely. I'm happy for him!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Thanks Howard, Happy Birthday Mom, Random thoughts

First of all, Happy Birthday Mom! We've almost lost you a couple of times, I'm delighted you are still around! Glad we were all able to get together, laugh and enjoy each others' company again!

A big THANK YOU to Howard. Since I witnessed the neighbor being beaten around Easter, I've had trouble sleeping at night. I think a part of me has tried to stay awake in case it happened again, so I could call the police. This has NOT made for a good night's sleep! I slept well while we were in Colorado. Yesterday Howard moved our beds into what used to be the guest room. I slept so much better last night!

The baby blanket is growing. I'm almost finished with the second strip. I also had to order more yarn. This is going to be larger than I'd originally planned, so I'm going to run out of yarn. Since I'm making it in blocks, the dye lot shouldn't make a difference. I'm playing with the solid color squares, using going through my stitch pattern books and choosing ones that can be made with 30 stitches. Much more fun than solid stockinette squares. And the patterned ones seem to knit up faster than plain ones. Seems funny that I have to buy more yarn after buying so much at Brown Sheep. But... Such a hardship! LOl

Monday, July 02, 2007


Thursday Howard and I took off west. We went through western Iowa, then it was across Nebraska. Now Nebraska always feels as if it is taking such a long time to cross. I believe it is 368 miles or so on I-80. Not sure of the exact amount. Then I read in their state tourist booklet that it took the pioneers a MONTH to walk across the state! Talk about taking a long time! That put things somewhat in perspective for me. It still feels amazing that it takes almost the entire day to cross the state at today's speeds!

We took a jog north, and stopped in Scottsbluff for the night. Arrived just in time for a thunderstorm -- which was very welcome in that drought-stricken area. The rain didn't last long, but was pleasant. We'd planned to swim, but there were many children in the pool, and I didn't want to risk getting my foot banged.

The next morning we headed for the Brown Sheep Yarn outlet. Whee! So very much fun! I was restrained, and still bought a lot of yarn. grin And a little bit of superwash roving, because I loved the colors. I'll show pictures, if people really want to see my haul, but otherwise won't.

Finally I can share my news! The Sunday before Mother's Day Nathan and Kim announced that they will have a child in December. BUT, they wanted to wait to tell my family (my parents and siblings) until this weekend. I didn't want to say anything that might reveal the information to them so have really restricted what I write, which has been difficult! Friday night they handed my parents, sister and brother cards inviting them to celebrate with them and a tiny bracelet that says "BABY".

Among the things I bought at Brown Sheep, I bought yarn to knit a baby blanket. My mom is going to do one square and my daughter will finish that strip. I'll do the rest of the blanket. I think it will be neat to do a 3 generation blanket. We'll be making it from a Brown Sheep Wildfoote, a superwash wool/nylon sock yarn so it can be thrown in the washer and dryer as needed. We'll knit with two strands so it will go faster.

I handed Kim a pile of knitting booklets and books that have baby sweaters, and asked her to write down the ones she likes the most. Hopefully that will enable me to knit things she likes!

I did buy the yarn for another Mermaid for me and some new hand-paint that I've not decided what it will become. Lots of sock yarn to make baby things. Perhaps a shell for me out of Cotton Fine, as the woman said that machine washing makes the wool pill out. I'd originally picked it for the baby, but can force myself to make it for me. grin

I've not knit since the first hour or so of the trip. Peak flow is in the "almost neb" stage, which is probably the reason why. I did, however, spin. The first picture is my little support spindle and the singles that came off of it. The little skein is the result of my Navajo plying -- a first for me. I'd tried before and it wasn't pretty!

Sitting on Serena's deck, writing on the computer is heaven! There are some deer who live just beyond the property line, this morning a doe rested under the deck for several hours while Howard was on the deck, then she slowly came out and started eating. It is hot, but the awning provides shade, there is a lovely breeze, and the heat releases that distinctive evergreen smell. This is the best picture I could get of her. The elk are in town, we can hear them calling in the evenings. Nathan finally got to see some, every other visit they have been absent.

Tora-chan is not amused that we are on the deck without her. She really believe that she should be here as well! Not going to happen, but she can dream. I think she and Titania really think they could catch the deer. Um, no dear.

I'll write more later, this post has gone on long enough!