Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Wish...

you had been at our house for supper last night. I took an eggplant, green and yellow zucchinis, a box of crimini mushrooms, and a big, sweet onion, cut them up and marinated them. I also diced up some chuck steak and marinated it. Walmart had fresh asparagus on sale so we got some of that too. I fired up the grill, charcoal not gas, and grilled it all. We'll skip the eggplant the next time and subsitute a bell pepper, but it was delicious. Hard to weigh the meat per serving, I ended up just guessing, but oh so good.

I've been trying not to knit all the time, to concentrate on my writing more an
d not having a huge amount of success but I've got a new story to work on, the first read-through of my novel done and I started on the first rewrite. More will happen on that this weekend. I have done a little playing with yarn.

I'm slowly working down the foot of Neon Sock #2

and I dug out another pair of washcloths
to turn into a hotpad.

Oh! While I was downstairs to get the washcloths last night, I emptied the dehumidifier and there was a dead mouse or vole (I think it was a vole) either in there or in the deep sink and it got stuck in the drain and I had to fish it out. Uck uck uck. Creeped me right out. Dis. Gusting. And I had so much fun watching a live one forage for spilled birdseed only yesterday afternoon. See? Raul IV is in the yard, DIL. (Leaf in pic for perspective, also I didn't want to scare him off.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Didn't Want To Say It Too Loudly...*edited*

...but look. I keep waiting for it to get cold again and for snow or sleet or freezing rain to fall and plunge us back into the depths of winter, but it might not happen.

I finished the knitted hot pad I was working on the other day

and I couldn't stop thinking about crocheting more dishcloths together to make more hot pads so I took some to work to play with.

I'm working on sleeve #1 of the Khaki Cardi but it looks the same, so I won't be taking more pictures until progress is more apparent.

I picked up the gusset stitches on Neon Sock #2 and started decreas
ing so I can work down the foot and off the toe,

(I keep looking at that variegated section of the sock leg and remembering a variation I learned in this book, where you designate one color of short-repeat variegated yarn and you purl those stitches when they appear on your needle to be worked, now not when that color shows up in the working yarn, when loops of that color are on the needle to be worked next. I am very tempted to frog back to the edge of the orange and do that, but look how far I am. I'm on the gusset. Once I'm done with this sock, I'll find some other variegated yarn [I have tons of variegated yarn; it's my all-time fave] and cast on another sock, one with an afterthought heel which is a technique I haven't tried yet. So, no, won't be frogging all that work today. Whew. I'm glad I made that decision. I feel better now. It's like when the kids were small and wanted to buy something in every store. I taught them to say "someday can we buy this?" and then I could say, "yes, someday we can" and they were happy that someday we could, but not today, and sometimes it was today but I could endure that "someday" much more easily than "buy me this NOW.")

and I added some rounds to the Rolled Brim hat. I love the yarn; it is the height of delicious feeling yarn. I never understood the enthusiasm people have for yarn that's closer to the sheep, but now I do. This is the best yarn I've ever used. I wish I'd bought all the other skeins that day.

I have to tell you something. I spent at least an hour in each of two local yarn shops yesterday, and I didn't buy a thing. Not one skein of yarn, not one needle. I'm not saying I didn't look around, but I didn't feel like I had to buy something just because I was there. I'm not doing too badly not buying yarn this year. Maybe I'll be able to face my stash without blushing by the end of the year.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mom, could you please...?

One thing I absolutely love is when my adult children ask me to make something for them. I try very hard not to smother them, not insinuate myself into their lives, so it's especially gratifying when I can do something for them. If you haven't already guessed it, we're a family that loves to make things, and yesterday DS asked if I'd make something for them. DIL caters a luncheon for the local Y every once in a while and last week it was her turn. DS went along to help and he said there were no hot pads to protect the tables from hot serving dishes, so he asked if I would please make some that they could donate. Of course! I immediately went online and found a pattern for a nice thick hot pad, then went downstairs to rifle my cotton yarn to find the right one, and cast on right away.

It occurred to me that DS and DIL will be leaving Missoula in a couple of months so I don't have the luxury of unlimited time to complete these. I had a brainstorm. I double-checked my idea with DD this morning and got her input, and she agreed that this was a viable alternative. See, a few years ago I had the idea to try and corner the crocheted dishcloth market, made a blue million of them, and took them to a fall craft fair that Mom and a friend of hers were in. We sat all day
and barely sold anything; I think I sold maybe six of them, mostly to Mom's bridge friends, and I wasn't asking an arm and a leg. Oh well, I thought at the time, there's a good idea gone bad, so I've been gifting them to writing friends, visiting relatives, unsuspecting knitting pals, and anyone else who slows down near me for the last couple years. I'm down to about a dozen, so I thought why not put two together back to back and crochet around them to make a double-thickness. That's what I did this afternoon, and they turned out nicely.

Now all I need to do is finish the knitted one (about 3 more inches to go) and then I want to make one more square one using Tunisian crochet, and then I can send them off to Montana.

I'll say it again, I love it when my kids want me to make something for them. Makes me feel good.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Emma's Bear *edited*

I finished and stuffed the bear last night at FNKC. I bought the softest, cooshiest stuffing called Cluster Stuff at Hobby Lobby the other night and it's amazing. I packed a lot of it into the bear and it didn't compact or lose its resilience. The consensus of the knitting crowd last night was that I needed to knit the bear a scarf, and there was a scarf pattern conveniently included with the bear pattern. When I got home I pulled out some smaller needles and cast on, but got to the third row and realized that it wasn't making sense, so I decided to just cast on a bunch of stitches and knit every row (the long way) until it was the size I wanted. I like it. It looks exactly the way I wanted it to. So does the bear.

Anyone got any ideas for a name?

I'm thinking maybe Lucy, a girl bear for a girl baby.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I'm having a blast knitting this teddy bear. I got the single piece finished around noon, then I embroidered on the face, and clipped it together. Next I have to sew up the sides, sew across the head corners to make ears, and stuff it. So that it doesn't look like "Lineman Bear" you sew a running stitch around where the head grows off the top of the arms and cinch it in, then you finish stuffing it and sew up the crotch. It's kind of like yarn origami.

While we were
working the crossword puzzle this morning, Durwood said, "Duck!" I looked up, wondering if his mental train had finally derailed since there was nothing flying through the dining area, but he pointed out the patio doors and there were Mr. and Mrs. Mallard having breakfast. They were so cute; first she'd eat and he'd keep watch, then they'd switch. They stayed for about 10 minutes and then flew off. If it's anything like last year, they'll be back for a snack almost daily.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Startitis Season

It's spring. Or, at least, it's spring-ish. And I want to make things. No, that's not right, I want to make EVERYTHING. Right now. All at once.

Yesterday at work I decided that I wanted to make a toy, a teddy, for Baby Emma, Paul and Katie's newborn. Last Friday at FNKC Jill was knitting a 2-piece bear on big needles with 2 strands of worsted. Naturally I didn't know how to contact Jill to find out what pattern she was using so I sent out a call on Facebook, and searched on Knitting Pattern Central where I foun
d this. It's made in one piece, you just start at the front toes, knit one leg, cut the yarn and keep the stitches live, knit the other leg, then knit across both legs and up the body until you cast on for the arms over the next 2 rows, knit the arms, bind off the arms over 2 rows (that's where I am), then you knit the head-front and back, before knitting your way back down the back in reverse order. I didn't cast on until after 9 PM and I knit on it until 11; you can see how far I got so it goes fast. (Maybe I'd better take some fiberfill to work with me so I can stuff it, oh, and I have to dig out a little ball of black so I can embroider its features.) I'm anxious to see how it turns out, I think it'll be very cute and cuddly.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still No Sales Resistance

After walking a couple miles in the mall today, Dusty and I went to Loops and Links to check out the Wall O'Savings to see if there was anything we wanted to go back to buy tomorrow when there's 50% off. Neither of us found any sale yarn we wanted to buy, but I did find one little skein of Dream in Color Classy in the In Vino Veritas color. Mmm. I don't really like red wine, but I do like this. Gawdjus!

Then I had this coupon, see, for 40% off something at JoAnn, and I felt like I've let so many coupons expire in my quest to not buy much yarn-y stuff this year that I was really needing to just look around and maybe buy something because that's a big discount, 40%. I found a couple of books and this one looked like the better of the two. Hey, I got nearly ten bucks off! So worth it. There's some cool looking patterns in there, but the best thing is that there are a half dozen different basic sock patterns, different heels and toes, other construction methods. Excellent all-around info.

For the first time making socks, I had to tink the heel turning of Neon Sock #2 four times tonight. Four times! But I finally managed to get it done. It's not the tidiest job but it'll be stuck in my shoe anyway so no one will see it. And now I can pick up the gusset stitches and get on with the foot.

Yesterday I cast on a rolled brim hat in the super-delicious Shetland lamb and merino & the Merino and Alpaca yarns from the fiber sale last fall. I think it's going to be a great hat.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Bit of Sleeve and A Bit of Heel

Last night was Friday Night Knitting Circle so progress was made on both projects. I took both Khaki Cardi sleeves (well, their "live" proto-stitches) off the holders and put them onto circular needles so I could try it on and see how it was going. It's a bit shorter than I had thought and a bit roomier, but I can "adjust" that when I block it. Sleeve #1 is moving right along. I'm about 1-1/2" into it and really appreciating the all-knit aspect of knitting it in the round.

Of course, I can't have only one project OTN, so there's Neon Sock #2 which got to the heel flap last night and requires that every other row be purled. I can't get away from purling! I suppose that unless I do all tubular or garter stitch projects that I'll have to just get used to purling and figure out a way to do it that doesn't make my thumb hurt.

According to Never Not Knitting, the Yarn Harlot's Page-a-Day calendar, we're supposed to toss our stashes this weekend. Her idea is that you go through your stash and check it all for any pests, shake each skein, and see what you've got. It's not a bad idea. Maybe I'll hide downstairs tomorrow and see what I can find. Lord knows it's not weather to be outside.

I've been unable to get my mind off some of the yarn I bought at that fiber festival Lyn, Dusty, and I went
to in Valders last fall. Tossing the stash will allow me to justify going downstairs and digging it out. I'm thinking I'll knit a roll-brim hat and matching mittens out of it, using the creamy and oh-so-soft Psalm 23 handspun (it's Shetland lamb & merino) for the brim and cuffs and the marled gray ST Merino & Alpaca for the rest. Then I'll be ready when next winter, or more of this one, rolls around. Yeah, good idea.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Body & A Leg & A New Book

I stayed up later last night to finish binding off the body of the Khaki Cardi. Whew, that was a long knit, but then I do have quite a bit of acreage to cover (not as much as I did before, I know, but still a goodly amount). Today I'll start one of the sleeves, which will go much faster since they're knit in the round, no purling which slows me way down and makes my left thumb hurt. One of these days I need to visit a knitting teacher to see if I can figure out a different way to purl, maybe that'd be better.

On Sunday for zoo knitting I didn't want to haul my big bag o'sweater around so I cast on another Neon Sock. I had enough yarn to do a second o
ne switching the cuff and foot colors so they don't exactly match. Well, I can't have matching socks, now, can I?

And, DS, look what arrived yesterday. A new Ore
gon Files book! I confess I shoved Appetite for Life aside to dive right into the adventures of Juan Cabrillo and his merry band of mercenaries. Just what I needed to stave off the spring fever.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Zoo Knitting

Last Sunday it was gorgeous--50 degrees and sunny. That took care of my plans to go snowshoeing with a bunch of knitting friends, but we wanted to do something.

When I hadn't heard from anyone by 11:30 I called and suggested that we meet at the zoo, feed the animals, and then knit in the cafe. So that's what we did. No one else had ever fed the giraffes, I would pay out all my $1s for giraffe crackers but then all the kids would cry and I'd feel bad. But I do love it.

We strolled around the zoo and lots of the animals were out in the spring
sunshine. I finally got to see the red panda; it was out climbing around on the branches in its cage.

We fed the sheep, alpacas, and llamas, but they really didn't want to be petted, so no feeling some of our favorite fibers "on the hoof."

After our walk we found a table in the corner of the new cafe at the zoo, had a bite to eat, and then spent a happy hour knitting and chatting. We all resolved to plan more outings like that. It was a great way to spend the first really fabulous day of the year.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Step Away From the Crochet Hook

I'm fascinated by the Ugly Bunnies, and I need to stop. Yesterday I carried all the solid color wool back downstairs so that if I want to make a fourth bunny I have to go down there and dig some out again. This one went to live with Dusty. She quilts and makes gorgeous fabric purses and so I thought she'd need a pincushion. She didn't want to put pins in him but I suggested that she name him after someone she wouldn't mind sticking pins into, which might make it easier, kind of voodoo doll-ish. That got her thinking.

I'm an inch into the bottom black stripe on my Khaki cardi as of the end of F
riday Night Knitting Circle last night. In half an inch I'll shift from stockinette to an inch of seed stitch and that'll be it for the body. Next I pick up and knit 3 rows around the neck, then do the sleeves, and I'll be done! I can't wait to finally have it finished and blocked.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's A-Coming!

Spring! Look what I found nestled in a south-facing corner right by the front door. This is why I planted bulbs a few years back. This right here.

It's daffodils (blue-green) and hyacinths (yellow-green) poking their brave little green noses up into the late winter chill to see what's happening. Yay!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Grandma's Up To

For the third year in a row the orchid that Holly gave Mom for Mother's Day is going to bloom. I told her that she can't move because obviously the place she has it in is exactly right and makes it very happy.

She was playing bridge a while back in a chilly hotel dining room, one of the women had a little capelet to put around her shoulders. Mom thought it was a good idea, so I found a pattern for her on the Lion Brand website, she picked out some y
arn and needles, and she's been working away at it. I tried to put my order in for one and she just frowned at me.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Done *edited to add*

I thought it wasn't busy at work today but it must have been because I only had time to knit six rows and finish Izzy's mitts. I like the way the colors blended; I just hope Izzy likes them.

And I have just begun yet another Ugly Bunny. I can't leave them alone.

*Izzy's dad said she was thrilled with them, saying, "thankyouthankyouthankyou, they're just like Barbara's!" I'm so glad.