Sunday, June 24, 2007

Shall I knit or...

sheesh! I can knit stockinette right now, but I will admit that cooking is almost beyond me. I tried to make black bean brownies today (really, they are quite good!) I measured out the Splenda, and forgot to add it to the batter! I actually got it in the oven and then saw it! There was the measuring cup with the Splenda! I pulled the brownies out of the oven, added the sweetening, and put it back in the oven. I really can't believe I did that! sigh

I need to measure the top I'm knitting, I think it is almost to the underarms. Hm, can I get this knit before we set out for Colorado? I think it will be a comfortable top for me during the summer.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rats and darn

Actually, today has been a great day. There wasn't even a pre-migraine today! That is absolutely fabulous! It has been a wonderful day in that respect.

But at the same time, it means that yesterday I realized that I have another food allergy/intolerence. This was NOT what I wanted. In the least. But, when I realized that I've been in a migraine or pre-migraine for several days, I had to try to isolate the problem. I finally did. It took a couple of false starts, but I did eventually get there. Darn it.

Part of me rants that there is ANOTHER thing I can no longer eat. But then, the idea of being without a migraine is inviting too.

Am I at the end of food reactions? I REALLY don't want to lose anything else!

On the positive side, because I wasn't having breathing/migraine problems, I am almost up to the underarms on the sweater I'm knitting for me!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just on to the needles!

There is such a thrill to start a new project. There are, of course steps in the process, but they all combine with the delight.

Yarn - check! I'm doing the bronze yarn I overdyed just the other day.
What does it want to become? A summer top for me.
Gauge Swatch - check!
Measure swatch - check!
Wash gauge swatch - check!
Measure swatch again - check!
Generate a pattern in SweaterWizard - check! I love this program, and Carole is so solidly behind her products!

Let the knitting begin! Suddenly the ball of yarn starts becoming! Fabric is forming under my fingers, and there is texture and fluidity where before there was string. It feels like magic!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ya never know...

Saturday was our knitting get-together. 3 others showed up, and we enjoyed a good chat. I had, unfortunately brought knitting that was beyond my prednisone level (I don't know quite how else to decribe it -- I couldn't DO it!) and hadn't brought anything else to do. The time before that I'd brought a spindle.

When we left, I felt as if I hadn't made a difference. That this time I'd just not gotten it right. Whatever "it" is. Yesterday I received an e-mail and a call from Mary, thanking me for the session. She commented that Deb and she had both gotten so much out of it. Which stunned me.

I guess I need to accept that it doesn't matter that I think I did badly, so long as I keep trying, and others benefit from my actions.

Today I needed to go to the hospital for a test. Just as I got there Respiratory Therapy was called with an emergency. I'd come prepared, though. I pulled out my handy dandy spindle and spun away. No stress or worry, just enjoy the lovely merino flowing through my hands. Delightful!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Secret Pal 10!

Wow! Today we got home after a cloudburst to see a package at the front door. I told Howard, "I'm not expecting any packages!" But, it was the final package from my Secret Pal #10.
I forgot that she had told me the package was on its way.

What a treat to finally "meet" her, by reading her blog! She has been a sweet and incredibly giving Secret Pal! She has knit for me, and gone out of her way to make me feel special!

In today's package of goodies there were:
  • a gorgeous bag that she had knit and felted (it is really telling me that it would be a great bag for my drop spindle projects-- just in time for travel next week!);
  • 2 skeins of a Classic Elite camel yarn that will be perfect for a scarf (she even sent a pattern suggestion);
  • 2 skeins of sock yarn (and we all know how much I love knitting socks!);
  • some absolutely scrumptious roving (a purplish, purple mix, pink and cream bumps);
  • a Mary Englebreit magnet to put on the refrigerator;
  • a Mary Englebreit sticky pad;
  • a photo album that will hold 50 pictures (I know exactly how I'm going to use this!);
  • some green tea mixes; and
  • a pink ribbon tea mixture canister!

Wow! I've been so blessed by this Secret Pal! THANK YOU!

Sheesh, subtitled, do you know how long this will take?

Some time ago Belinda sent me some wonderful Australian merino roving. In fact, she sent 128 grams (says so on the original package.) I have been spinning on this and spinning on this. For some unknown reason (probably due to the donor! Look at her PictureTrail album and marvel at her knitting and spinning!) I've been spinning this laceweight. That means it is taking me a LONG time to spin this up. For example, today I spun for close to 2 hours. With the earlier singles that had been spun on the spindle (Anne Grout acorn spindle) I have a total of 6 freaking grams! of singles spun! There is something very wrong with this picture! After all of my spinning, I still have 85 grams left to spin up. This feels almost like the Aegean Stables. I can spin the rest of my life and still have this gorgeous roving left to spin up! LOL That straw in the foreground is my 6 grams of fiber -- you can see how fine the single I'm spinning is. The middle section is fiber that has been separated but not attenuated. The back is the original fiber. Perhaps I should give up and spin it perhaps -- worsted weight?! Don't get me wrong, I love spinning this, it is just scrumptious to spin up! But it is NOT a quick and easy spin!
After spinning up a spindle-full, I decided to try to Navajo ply this bit. Um, not one of my more successful attempts. I'll try again on a different spindle/wheel, and see if I can get it to work better. I like the idea of Navajo plying, as it will keep the colors together better. But today's plying efforts were cack-handed. They wound up in the trash instead.

A short thought

This one struck close to home tonight, as I tried to Navajo ply some lace-weight yarn that I spun up. The results weren't pretty. It is the first time to try this technique. I'd like to do it, as I'm spinning up a variegated roving. (Thanks Belinda!) Okay, the first attempt didn't soar as I had hoped. Perhaps it is because I tried to ply in on the same spindle that I'd spun the singles. I don't know. Whatever, I'll keep trying. It isn't a failure until I give up, right?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Various thoughts on knitting

I've slowly come to accept that the meds I take affect my knitting life. It is a trade-off, do I want to knit really well, or do I want migraines. I chose the no-migraine route, thank you. Those many weeks of struggling with a migraine that wouldn't let up took a lot out of me.

That being said, this sweater I'm working on right now is kicking my butt! It shouldn't be so hard! The last debacle was the hood. Next came the amazing too short sleeve. I wound up frogging that one back, and knit it again. But for some reason, the second sleeve is not matching the first! This is not pleasant! Looking at the two sleeves together, I believe the first one is going to have to be frogged back all the way to discover what I did wrong the first time. sigh

Happy Father's Day to all the true fathers out there! The ones that love their children, and show them along the path to a healthy life, physically emotionally and spiritually!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oral History

Mom called tonight, Dad and she are being interviewed via telephone. I tend to forget that they have lived through so much, it is imperative that at much of the story is preserved as possible. It turns out that they are the only ones found to interview, so far, that represent a part of our historical background for our denomination. If they hadn't responded, that information would have been lost. As it is, the researcher, who had planned to spend about 20 minutes with them today spent quite a bit more time, and will be calling back. Mom has asked me to help find more information while we are there.

You see, 50 years ago our denomination was formed out of the merger of 2 other denominations. Dad was the minister of a church in St. Joseph, Missouri. There were 3 churches in town which were affected by the merger. In the negotiations for those 3 churches to merge into one, it was decided that they would start off with a new minister for the new church. The other two ministers left as they found calls elsewhere. Dad was the last, and found himself ministering to all 3 parishes. I found it exciting, as a child, because he had a police escort between churches on Sunday morning so he could make all 3 sermons on time! No, I don't know how he did it, I really should ask again. I remember hearing, and I hope someone corrects me if I'm wrong, that they all started at the same time, but shuffled the sermon times so that he could preach. Eventually they held a merging ceremony, and all 3 met as one body. Mom and Dad have pictures, I'm in one of them, as they had the children from all 3 churches leading them into worship. The local merger was covered by national news media. Mom has copies of all of that. Shortly after that we moved to Utah.

Mom also asked if I remembered going to church camp when Dad was the director. Yup! Oddly enough, I am aware of knowing someone with asthma for the first time. Dad directed the camp, and brought the whole family with him. (Years later we did the same with OUR family!) I think her name was Anna, but there memory isn't perfect. But she couldn't keep up with the activities the other campers were doing, so she played with Annette and me. I was so upset when she had to go home in the middle of camp because she was too sick to stay - perhaps had to be hospitalized that night, I don't remember. I wasn't very old, but it hurt that I hadn't had a chance to say goodbye when she left. As I have learned to live with asthma, I've thought about her, and wondered how she is doing.

And then Howard came home tonight from the state-wide meeting of the denomination talking about someone else who was at the Synod when the denomination was formed.

Isn't it amazing how events in life are timed so well? Perhaps if I hadn't listened to Mom tonight talking about the interviews I would not have been so aware and interested when Howard mentioned the gentleman he talked with tonight.

But I'm also reminded that if we don't listen, we lose a lot of history. Each person has a history, we have to be open to hear it!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good Gracious!

It has been one of those odd days. Almost everything I've done has lead inevitably to another, after another.

I decided today that enough was enough. Time to defrost the upright freezer. Luckily everything that was necessary fit into the ice chest. After a bit there was a loud sound in the kitchen. The ice had started to fall, and melt all over, ignoring the towels that were down. More towels. Cleanup. More towels. Did a load of towels in the wash.

Right now the little freezer is defrosting. Might as well get it over in one day, don't you think? The cooler will keep the stuff frozen, there isn't anything in it that will spoil if it warms up. I keep wool goods in there and some bulk foods. I heard a clunk a few minutes ago, some ice must have fallen. I'll check in a few minutes. If I'd thought, I would have saved the load of towels and done them AFTER the little freezer. sigh

Last night I finished a hood on a sweater, kitchenered it closed, and realized I had mis-read the directions. It was almost 2 inches too short. Rats! So, I unpicked the graft stitch by stitch and started to knit it up again. Today I redid the graft, and I think I may have the graft in garter stitch figured out. Instead of inserting the needle on the back row as if to purl and take off, I inserted it as if to knit and took the stitch off. I was going to show you, but the batteries on the camera died and are recharging as I type! Sheesh! It won't take too much longer, and I'll get a shot of it. Hm, I'm not quite sure how to take a picture of it that will be in focus and show you the seam "up close an personal", but you can see that it flows quite nicely, thank you very much!

Still on a knitting string, I don't think I'm going to be able to meet up with the Evergreen Yarn Floozies this visit! Rats! I enjoy meeting with them. I'll have to see if there is any other fiber goodness going on while we are there.

Some time ago Charlotte was reading my blog. She was a real sweetheart and sent me some sourdough starter. This stuff is great! This starter has been going for 30+ years! It sure makes lovely bread! Or rolls. I tend to make hard rolls right now, as I can portion control them from the start. Thank you again, Charlotte!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tuesday Thoughts

1. Text messages from our son, teasing us. Lots of love and joy in them.

2. Exercising. I can do modified push-ups now! Couldn’t before having to use the crutches. Amazing, a positive side effect from breaking my foot—getting fit in a different way! I’ll build on that!

3. Air conditioning. Thank God for that! It is hot and humid, and only going to get worse this week!

4. My dad’s 93rd birthday yesterday! Amazing, in a way, he had a major stroke when he was 50.

5. Gorgeous pictures our daughter took in Costa Rica!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Another Life Lesson

Do NOT take a shower immediately after having the dishwasher and the washing machine fill with hot water. For some reason, the supply isn't infinite. One would think I'd learned that by now. LOL

Spinning at the Fair

By the way, I did check with the Extension Office, and they are interested in me demo-ing spinning at the County Fair. I'm trying to decide if I should bring some cheap drop spindles (toy wheel spindles? CD spindles?) for people to experiment. I could send the spindles home with some of the 4-H fleeces that I had made into roving. The roving has vegetable matter in it, but it would at least give them the idea of what is to be done.

I figure I'll take at least the 2 smaller wheels -- I don't know if I can get the walking wheel (is that the name for it? can't remember tonight and am feeling lazy about looking it up!) in our car to take it! It needs repairs, so I don't think it would be worthwhile to take it anyway.

I will be doing the demonstration after the sheep show and before the bottle lamb judging, so the timing should be fairly good to catch the interest of people interested in sheep! Maybe next year it can expand -- we'll see.

Dye Days

Well, I redyed the yarn, and I like it a lot more. The color is somewhat dark for summer, but much more flattering for my skin. When I took it out of the pot, there was still quite a bit of dye left behind in the pot. What to do, I hated to waste it! I suddenly remembered the cashmere/silk turtleneck I'd purchased online, so I didn't see it before I bought it. The color was a dark brown, but a cool brown. I'd planned to overdye it, but was still trying to decide what warm color to use. Bingo! The sweater is now a beautiful warm brown, much nicer for my skin tones. I forgot to take a before picture of the sweater, so there wasn't any point in taking an after picture! I should take an after picture of the yarn for you, but I stepped on the broken side of the foot while I was dyeing and it has complained ever since. So, please accept that the skein of yarn is pretty close in color to the swatch I'd dyed earlier.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Miraculous Sight!

Tonight the lightening bugs were out. What a miraculous sight! There is something about it that brings back the sense of wonder I felt as a child, when we would catch them in our back yard, or the local park! The sense of delight as you chased them around the yard, trying to catch them! Now I don't try to catch them, but stand in just as much wonder and deep-felt joy as the flicker in and out of sight. There were a couple just outside where we met for knitting tonight, several on the way home, then Howard invited me to the back yard where we stood and watched with a shared delight.

Dye Job

Okay, I said I was going to write and ask for opinions. The cone on the right is the cotton/acrylic/wool yarn in the original color. The little sample on the left is what I originally knit up as a gauge swatch and then dyed in the same stock solution. The back is how the dyed skein turned out.

I used less dye for the skein, because I thought the sample turned out a bit dark. I forgot to stir the dye solution before I poured it in, I think the brown dye rose to the top and the yellow sank, don't you? My whole plan was to take the coned yarn to a warmer color. Do you think I succeeded? Or should I mix up the dye solution thoroughly and dye it again? Thoughts? This is supposed to be a summer top for me.

Another life lessons learned

When you wind up with a drug allergy, call your pharmacy and let them know ASAP so they can put it on your records. Mistake was made at the doc's today, and a med I'm allergic to was prescribed. Howard didn't know when he picked it up. So now we are out the money for an antibiotic I can't take. If the pharmacy has it in their program, they won't dispense even if the doctor's office makes a mistake.

I'm going to try to take a photo of my dyeing attempt. Tell me what you think.

I picked up Howard's cold, which has settled in my chest, triggering asthma. Surprise. More prednisone.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Happy 64th Anniversary!

Happy 64th Anniversary Mom and Dad!



Saw the doctor today about the foot. Much to all of our delight, the bone is still in place! I'm in the boot for at least another 5 weeks, then it is up to the x-ray and pain level to find out how much longer. As one of the nurses there in the office said, "Well, it is your own fashion statement." I did ask him what cardio exercise I could do. He stopped for a bit, looked at me and said, "moving your arms a lot."

I brought my Anne Grout laceweight Acorn Spindle with the gorgeous Australian merino roving in multi-colored browns from the lovely Belinda Daniels with me to the doctor's office. Put the little bowl in my lap and S T R E T C H E D my arm up as high as it could go before winding on each time. Received some bemused looks, but hey, I was productive! The X-ray tech looked at me and asked what I was doing. I explained. She said, "Hey you are actually SPINNING the yarn! That is why they call it that!" There was a gentleman waiting who commented that I was getting my aerobic exercise doing that. After I went back for the x-ray he started questioning Howard on exactly what I was doing and other fiber info. As we left to go into an exam room he thanked Howard for "an informative chat." smile I thought, while I was sitting waiting for the doctor that I really should call the Extension office and see if they would like a spinning demo at the fair this summer.

Monday, June 04, 2007


I don't know if it is the foot or asthma, but it is hard to post right now. I'm not getting any knitting done either, which leads me to believe I need to be checking my asthma a bit closer. I see the doctor tomorrow about the foot. I'm supposed to be using an Ace bandage to wrap it, but that hurts so much! grump! I would think that after 2 weeks (as of today!) it wouldn't. Poor Howard tries so hard to wrap it without causing pain. As he said tonight in frustration -- it doesn't do any good to wrap it, since it is so loose it won't hold it in place! I am not able, so far to wrap it myself -- I tend to get it too tight, which isn't pleasant.

The sweater that I frogged has gone all of 2 rows. I suspect I need to make it in something other than garter stitch because I just plain get BORED if I don't change colors or something to break up the monotony! Sad but true! I managed a couple of rows of the socks and stopped them too. sigh This is how projects become abandoned! I need something fun but fairly simple to knit. Ideas? NO endless knitting, as in a felted/fulled project. Something that will keep my interest without requiring a lot of thought.

I' ve been chatting about spinning with someone on and my interest is becoming piqued again. Maybe I'll take the acorn support spindle and the lovely merino from Australia with me when we go to the doc's tomorrow. That will be something fun and different for them to see! LOL Too bad the staff knows me so well there! What is nice, they like to check out what I'm doing! I've thought several times about spinning on one of the wheels since I managed this stupid idiocy of breaking the foot, but am worried that it will hurt too much! I should just DO IT (thanks to the sports commercial!) and see, instead of wondering!

Still not skeined off the yarn so I can over-dye it. Can you say "chicken!" Or is it "lazy!" I think the best idea would be to knit several samples then try different dye solutions to see which works the best. The idea of so much work just to get the right results stops me. Silly me! It isn't going to become a summer shell if I don't! Perhaps it would be a good idea to have more than a warm brown and a gold on hand when I start that off! I have a cool taupe yarn, do I need more colors to change it to the warm spectrum? Since the yarn is linen/cotton/wool, I know that acid dyeing will only over-dye the wool. I'm hoping that will be enough. What do you think? Yeah, I know, sample! I'd still like opinions!

On a completely unrelated front, we've started buying washing soda for laundry. Yesterday I spilled something on my linen shirt. I'm amazed at how well soaking it overnight in washing soda/water did to eradicate the stain! Not to mention my poor hand-knit dishcloths that were so badly stained. Actually, I forgot about them and it went more than 18 hours before I washed them. The stain on the shirt had disappeared, and the dishcloths were so much improved, I was amazed! The dishcloths were knit by a dear friend from New York who has since died of breast cancer. I think of Edie every time I use them. She was getting on in years when we met her, dishcloths and lap-robes were the only thing she knit by then, as she felt anything else was too hard. She sold most of her dishcloths as a supplement to their Social Security and retirement funds. We were honored to receive them as gifts. So, I'm delighted to be able to get the stains out. She would have been hurt if we didn't use them as she intended. But the sad truth is that they will stain as they are used. The color of Peaches and Creme fades. But they were knit with love, and I appreciate that so much!

Howard stayed home with a cold today. I have to be honest and say I'm really hopeful that I don't get it! The poor guy is miserable!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Frog pond

The stripes are gone on that sweater. If I were to show you a picture of where it is today, as opposed to where it was three days ago, you wouldn't be able to tell any difference. Even though I've done a few rows more. At least in knitting there are do-overs!

On the good news front, I received a new to me copy of the 1973 magazine that I grumbled about the other day. Found it on E-Bay, and it arrived yesterday. THIS time the instructions are there. I checked right away. One of these days I'll knit from it.

Serena arrived home safely from Costa Rica yesterday, I suspect she will be spending the weekend sleeping, doing laundry and persuading the cats to forgive her! LOL She plans on spending some time with her grandparents Sunday. That is a Sunday ritual, they meet at the bakery Sunday afternoon for a treat and lots of conversation. When we are there we like to participate too.