Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marl, Tree & Helix

Well it's the last day of January... and I'm not done with the Red Marl sweater which was one of my New Year's resolutions, to finish an OTN project each month. I have 6 more rows of Fair Isle (oh, I am soooo glad to be nearly done) and then the fronts around the neckline, and the sleeves of which I almost have the cuffs done. However, I am not disheartened. I have made good progress and practiced an increased (and almost unheard of) level of project monogamy. I will continue with this project until it is completed, and then I will move onto the next UFO in the queue. That is how this is going to go. I has spoken (as Mammy Yokum used to say, if you're old enough to have read L'il Abner in the funnies).

I am really enjoying watching the slow growth of my Maple Tree Scarf. It occurred to me if nex
t fall/winter are snowier than this winter has been so far the ends of my scarf with not look the same, not that I expect it to look the same or regular because the tree changes almost daily. The chunk of scarf with the white is from the time after it snowed when there was snow on the tree, but I looked at it and realized that it made it seem like it had snowed daily for days on end, so I decided to only carry the white when it's actively snowed on a day and that way the short white bits that arrive with the green variegated sock yarn that stands for the lichens and moss on the tree kind of speak to that little patch of snow caught in the crotch of the tree. In looking at the tree daily I have discovered a branch in the center of the tree that is black and patched with pinkish white. I assume it's dead and will come down in the next big storm but I love that I see it at all.

The Helix charity hat is an easy one to work on at Friday Night Knitting or when I knit
with a friend. You totally need to try knitting something using this one-row-stripe method. You knit along with one color and when you come to the next color you just drop one and pick up the other, no "pick up from below" or "twist together" to prevent a hole in your knitted fabric, just drop one and zoom off with the next one. It's fun and makes an interesting hat or sock or whatever your little heart desires.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Red Shoes!

My new red shoes came today! I put them on as soon as I had the box open and I may not take them off until I go to bed tonight. Of course I'll take them off to do yoga tonight at Harmony Cafe during knitting but you know what I mean. I think they go very well with my blue jeans and mismatched socks, don't you?

In another box from the UPS guy were 3 more skeins of green yarn, one of sock yarn in variegated black and white, and some Susan Bates Velocity circular needles. I really like the feel of the joins and the tips are the level of pointy I enjoy, and they're very reasonable when I buy them from Yarnsupply.com. Plus there's a code on the packing list giving you 10% off on your next order. What's not to like about that?

I'm going to be using some of the green yarns I've been buying to represe
nt various leaf colors through the year of knitting my Maple Tree Scarf. I realized that I have very little green yarn so I went a little crazy this last week when I was down in the dumps and bought/ordered way too much. That's okay. I've got a little "mad" money stashed in a safe place for just these needs.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Caved

I meant to knit the Maple Tree Scarf out of stash yarn but I didn't have any summer leaves greens so ordered a few clearance skeins online (they'll arrive tomorrow) and then I stopped at Patti's Yarn Shop the other day and found a few more skeins of medium greens for leaves. So sue me, I bought it. I bought it all. And more needles will arrive with the yarn from Yarnmarket.com. As will a pair of red shoes from Zappos. Red Dansko shoes. It's a red shoes time for me. A girl can never have too many pairs of red shoes, you know.

I was totally wrong when I said the other day that I had only ten or so rows left on the Re
d Marl sweater front. I wasn't able to knit much at work this week so only a few rows were added and I added a few rows tonight and NOW I have ten rows remaining. I'm hoping to finish them this weekend. I did take the time to cast on both of the sleeves and have knitted on them some.

At Terri's last Saturday morning and at Mary's Tuesday afternoon I
worked on the Helix Spiral Hat for the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild outreach project. Knitting these jogless stripes is endlessly entertaining. It's like a slow motion magic trick.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekly Progress Report

I've been doing pretty well this week. I'm within about a dozen rows of the end of the Fair Isle part of the front of the Red Marl sweater so I wound up four more skeins of red to cast on the sleeves. I am going to knit them both at the same time for expediency and to make them the same.

I ended up frogging the charity hat I'd finished and cast on the pattern I
got with the yarn at Knitting Guild. Still not feeling it. I may end up frogging this beginning and falling back on Crazy Aunt Purl's Brangelina Hat pattern. And what I did with my Bryspun US10 DPNs I do not know.

I started the spiral stripes of charity hat #2 yesterday at Terri's. It's hard to see the green and brown stripes but I can tell I'm going to like this hat.

Week three of the Maple Tree Scarf is done. I sure like how it looks.

It's dangerous for me to go to JoAnn's with a "20% off your total purchase" coupon. I found the book I was looking for, but also allowed quite a bit of fabric to leap into my cart. Good thing there's stash money. Well, good thing there was stash money.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Resolution Progress--See, DD, cool, huh?

After spending 6 crazy weeks going through Mom's stuff, making decisions about what to keep, what to sell, what to donate, and what to toss, I resolved not to leave such a huge job for my beloved children and their spouses. The job at Mom's was complete on December 2 so that gave me a month to mull over how to attack Durwood and my house full of stuff. I got an inkling of how to handle a big, intimidating job while working to insert all the family pictures onto shelves until TW, AJ, and I can get together to go through them. *light bulb moment* I did a little at a time. Didn't exhaust myself with trying to wrap my head around the whole job, I just looked at about 6 linear feet and dealt with that from rafters to floor. I took the last week of 2011 and the first week of 2012 and made a tidy in the sewing/yarn area so I could use the expanse of floor and the lovely cutting table I kept from Mom's as a sorting and staging area, making one pile of trash and another of donations, keeps, of course, go back onto the shelves or into bins. I've realized that Tuesday's the best day for it because it's trash night so I can haul up the bags of trash, not letting them pile up either, and then carrying up the boxes and bags of donations for Goodwill, packing them into the capacious back of Durwood's van which I then borrow on Friday to make the donation and collect the receipt.

I started under the stairs and am moving around one section at a time. First came the liquor cupboard because t
here were boxes and bins of bathroom and linen closet things that moved from Liberty St. here 9 years ago and were not touched since.

Then the scullery shelves got it. Pots and pans, small appliances, the bin of kitchen gadgets (Durwood's beloved gadgets) got gone through, sorted and rearranged. Look at that open space!

I turned the corn
er and arranged the pantry shelves and the canned goods shelves below them. Outdated things were tossed, jars washed, and readied for new canning adventures.

Last Tuesday I worked the paper plates, disposable food containers, and all the bags and wraps from Mom's onto the shelves across from the washer. Below those shelves were 3 bins of old dive gear, most of which got tossed but one bin went to the dive shop to see if any hoses, etc. could be salvaged. Now the sauerkraut-making heirlooms live down there, ready to spring into action next fall because we're out of homemade kraut. Out! And we can't have that, can we?

I have a staging area that holds empty bins and boxes and the overflow yarn & fabric bins; and the things, like the nativity set, that were stored way apart from the other holiday things are kind of piling up in another area. But I suspect that by the time I get there I'll have opened up space to start working things in and getting it off the floor.

I'm enjoying doing this just a bit every week, one day's endurable and not overwhelming. I'm looking forward to getting the basement done (so we can really use the woodworking tools and build stuff!) and moving upstairs. I can't wait to see what's hiding in the depths of the front closet. I haven't seen most of that stuff since we moved.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brace Yourself--Actual Knitting Content

Sorry I get so wrapped up in other things that I blog about stuff and forget the knittery things. It's a snowy day and the bank's running late with the refinancing papers so I lined up all my latest knitting and took pictures. This post will be all knitting, cross my heart.

I finished up my first 2012 charity knitting on Sunday. It's supposed to
be an adult size watch cap but it turned out to fit a small child. I've got half the skein left! So I'll be casting on another similar hat with a shorter cuff and knitting up the rest of the yarn.

At work yesterday I was a bad girl and didn't knit on the sweater front. Instead I cast on the rolled brim of the second charity hat because I want to get past the brim and into the helical stripe part. I am going to throw in the bright green with the donated powder blue and brown because it just needs the green. This is another kids' hat, but I need to find a plain old hat pattern that I can just knit up without all this fancy yarn craft and also make them bigger for kids that have aged beyond the "cutesy hat" stage.

It has been months and months since I took a picture of my latest car knitting warshrag. It goes into waiting rooms for a few rows or sits in the car door when I'm stuck at an open drawbridge and doesn't get into the limelight to get its picture taken. I'm likiing these cool colors.

I am thrilled with the way the Tree Scarf's coming along. It's very hard not to knit more than 2 rows a day but it's no good relying on the weather forecast to knit ahead because at least 60% of the time it's wrong and I do hate tinking back.

The coolest, most insane and exciting item that has to do with yarn is this!
My bff Scully unearthed this from her basement and gave it to me to play with. It's so old it has a VHS tape to watch to learn how to use it. Good thing I got a TV/VCR combo from Telaine last year, eh? I can't wait for the weekend to have days of time to see about setting it up. Good thing I have that cutting table I got from Mom downstairs too. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hen Fruit

I wanted to show you that Henny & Penny's eggs aren't just for show. Durwood fried up some Nueske's bacon, I made the toast, and he fried us each an egg. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. I am certain that the egg was so delicious because of the excellent care I took of them while their parents were away skiing in Whistler. Their outstanding flavor had nothing to do with the organic and enriched feed that their owner/parents feed them on a daily basis or the warm and spacious quarters they live in, I quite convinced of it. Don't confuse me with facts.

I finished the Brangelina Mitts last night before bed. They're called Brangelina because they match the Brangelina hat that is my favorite. Thanks for the pattern, Cra
zy Aunt Purl! Instead of a skein of Wool Ease Thick & Quick it calls for I held one strand of Patons Classic Wool in Mercury with one strand of Bernat Alpaca in Stone. Those yarn colors were made for each other.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Charity Begins At Knitting Guild

Thursday night in the midst of a (pain in the ass) snowstorm a few hardy souls made it to the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting. There was a tantalizing heap of bags on a back table that proved to be "kits" of yarn and a pattern to knit hats, scarves, and mittens for charity. The Guild has adopted a couple elementary schools in town to help provide warm accessories for kids who don't have them. Some of the bags contained the softest yarn and patterns to knit chemo caps. I took a skein of Wool Ease Thick 'n Quick in a two-color ply of forest green and burgundy. While I'm intrigued to make the pattern clipped to the bag, I suspect that I'd have been knitting a helmet because the yarn's a bit thicker than what's called for. Happily I had another free pattern (no copyright infringement to worry about) down in my files so I got out a couple circular needles and cast on.

The other package I chose had 2 partial skeins in it, one light blue and one brown, to make a striped hat. I took the pattern for that one; it turned out to be a cabled hat. I'm slower than molasses in January at making cables so I searched the free patterns on Ravelry for a striped hat pattern I liked. Naturally I chose the Helix (sic) Striped Hat that calls for 3 colors. I thought I'd take a stab at knitting it with only two colors but if it doesn't work I thought I'd toss in this crazy green I had downstairs. I may just use the green anyway since the three of them together please me no end. (we all know I am categorically unable to follow directions as written)

I've been chugging along on the Red Marl sweater at work. I'm less than 20 rows from finishing the Fair Isle and then it'll be straight red knitting which should go faster.

My plan is to finish the second Brangelina Mitt tonight so that I can cast on the first Red Marl sweater sleeve o
r maybe I'll see about casting on both and knitting them together so they're the same length. My Clearing friend, Fran, was doing that a couple years ago for that very reason and I thought it was brilliant.

It's quite difficult to limit myself to only knitting 2 rows on my Maple Tree Scarf every day, but forging ahead would defeat the whole purpose. Did I show you that I found a couple partial skeins of green sock yarn to carry along in honor of the lichens on the tree? I feel very smug about it. (Thanks, Z-Dawg.)

DS just called to say that they're in MPLS waiting for their flight home and would we please come over to let Porter out to potty tomorrow afternoon? Yay, I get to play wi
th Porter. She's a lot more fun(ner) to visit than Henny & Penny. Although I did get to goose both chickens in the tail when I went over to shut them in for the night. They were perched side by side on the doorstep of the roost and didn't move when I asked them to, so I tootsed them both in the keester, one at a time, took off the ramp and shut the door. Foolish birds.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Only One

It's my job to go let Henny & Penny out of their roost in the morning and shut them up at night while DS & DIL1 are off to Whistler, Vancouver, BC skiing for a few days. This morning was my first time. They were clucking and mumbling when I got there and Henny scooted right out of the roost when I opened the door, but I had to get the hoe handle to chase Penny out.

Then there was only one egg. DIL1 and DS both said that they each lay an egg a day. Someone's holding back. Maybe there'll be another when I go to shut them in to stay warm overnight.

This is Henny. She was frustrated that I wouldn't let her out of the fence when I left to go to work. Sorry, sweetie, I have to work and you have to peck.

Here's the poopy egg fresh from the egg box,

and the clean, speckledy egg.

Neither one of them pecked me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Full Moon

I went out to move my car into the driveway last night and see what I saw. There hovering above the bare branches of Lee and Susie's maple tree was the Wolf Moon. I love seeing the full moon up there pouring its cold blue light down on me and the rest of the quiet world. Do you ever stop to listen when you go outside at night? You can hear the murmur of traffic in the distance but you can also hear the rustle of leaves as they tumble by on the wind and the groan that branches make as they sway in the wind. I learned not to overfill the crockpot today. I put all the chili ingredients in there, set it on High, and it wasn't bubbling after 3 hours, and we could hardly smell it, so I ladled it out into a Dutch oven and put it into the oven to cook. NOW I can smell it. Good thing the ground turkey was browned so it hasn't been sitting in there all day raw. Eesh, that would be bad.

I tried to take the day off yesterday and ended up sorting my knitting needles and crochet hooks, but that isn't a big, sweaty job so I didn't count it as a chore. I did happen onto a scarf pattern that intrigued me so I unearthed some super bulky yarn and US19 needles and cast on. I got about 6" of it knitted before I realized that it was hurting my hands and I didn't like the way it was looking. I frogged it and put all the parts away.

I've been knnitting my 2 daily rows of garter stitch on my Maple Tree Scarf and here's how it's looking. I'm happy with the brown because it has a bit of green to it and there's a green furry lichen that grows on the bark of my tree. I was looking for some greenish sock yarn to add in on days that it's especially lichen-y but I didn't see any. Maybe I'll go look again. I was hoping that we'd get snow every once in a while so I could add in the white but I'll be patient and not cheat.

My Red Marl sweater front's coming along. I still can't knit with one color in each hand, when I try I end up with the right hand yarn stitches on the needle backwards. At least it's been quiet at work so I can knit Fair Isle there, even one row is good, right?

I'm way farther than this on the first Brangelina mitt. I finished the thumb gusset last night and am on my way up the finger part. This is an excellent pattern.

Today was the first day of my resolution to clear out a part of our crap once a week all year. I guess last weekend when I redid the craft area was really the beginning but that was a necessary redo to work in the stuff I brought home from Mom's so this weekend was the real start of the clearing out of stuff we don't need/use. I organized the liquor (I know we have a lot and I'm not sure why), sorted through 2 banana boxes and a tote of bathroom and toiletry things we moved from the old house and haven't touched since. I have a satisfying pile of trash and a small (but growing) pile of donations. Most exciting is the space that appeared on the shelves under the basement stairs. I didn't get quite as far as I'd hoped so I might put in an hour or so on Tuesday afternoon, but it's a good start.