Friday, October 12, 2007
I wish you could see the colors. "You Don't Say..." (top skein) is a lovely blend of soft purples toned down with denim blues. The hues are blended together and scattered throughout the skein to produce a cohesive sense of continuity. I'm not attracted to purples for my clothing but this is different. This is gorgeous sock yarn. "Balsam" is just as handsome, if not more so. Shades of pine greens with a few hints of teal all weaved together with beautiful browns is exactly what I needed. I've been searching for that perfect shade of green, something that wasn't bright like grass green, wasn't bluish like spruce, and not too light or too dark. A tall order, I know, but one I was willing to wait for.
I found A Piece of Vermont by accident. From the blog of NotPlainJane, a fellow knitter from Knitter's Review, I visit the blogs she visits. One of them is What Housework? (Jessie Raymond)who happens to have the cutest kitten, Milo, in residence. I'm a sucker for cats. From Ms. Raymond's site, I noticed she had an online store. And the rest is history.
I want to shout how much I love this yarn, yet the selfish part of me says "Keep quiet, more yarn for yourself" The selfless side won.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I started Zippy Zinnias back on July 2nd with a planned completion dates on July 31st. I was still deep in the gardening and something about digging, pulling weeds and planting doesn't agree with my right hand. I couldn't hold a needle for more than 5 minutes. Hand pain plus numerous twists and cable proved too much. When Loopy Ewe announced that the Q3 challenge would be to push yourself and knit socks that would kick out your bum, I knew that I had already picked the perfect pattern. Well, I got them done in time for the deadline of October 1st. WHEW!Pattern: Twisted Flowers by Cookie A.
Yarn: J. Knits Superwash Me in Indiana
Needles: Crystal Palace 0s
Cable Needle: A sanded-down toothpick.
Here's a bonus. These socks are part of the Loopy Ewe Seasonal Sock Club. The pattern, "Pheasant Run", is by Lisa Parker of Wildhorse Farms. The yarn is Claudia's Hand-Painted which is absolutely delicious. Gotta love that Louet base!!
Monday, September 10, 2007
If spring is the season of new, I guess fall would be the season of old. But I don't see it. Yes the leaves are turning, the grass stops growing, our plants suddenly wilt after a hard frost. But it's not from oldness. I see fall into winter as the season of renewal. It's time for people, plants, and animals to take a breather, slow down, relax a little, and gather strength for the next spring and summer.
Take time to read a book, visit a museum, take in a play or a musical, visit with family.
Of course, I associate fall with cleaning. Call it a habit from childhood days when my grandmother always did fall and spring cleaning. My fall cleaning consists of cleaning all windows, getting the garage ready for winter, carpet cleaning, kitchen cabinet scouring, and if really motivated, wall cleaning. I'm not one of those types that stays on top of these on a weekly, let alone, a monthly basis.
And fall has its good qualities. Large bonfires, friends sitting around a campfire, crispness of chilled autumn air, pulling out sweatshirts for warm snuggles, opening windows again for that fresh breeze blowing in a bedroom, cats sitting in open windows, bowls of chili and bean soup complete with cornbread and butter, working outside and enjoying it, and lots of knitting to catch up on.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
trip to Maine. I had loads of travel time and an easy stitch pattern so one sock was completed and another one got started before I returned home.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I said "I love you" to my Lucy Girl for the last time in October 2005. Two years have passed and I found myself sobbing as I reading the story of Roy. Time has eased the acute pain of losing my precious friend but that dull ache remains in heart.
I discovered what hurts me. As much as she loved me, I could not save her. I could not prevent her from feeling the pains of aging. I could not keep her from slipping out of this world. If I could have given her anything, it might have been immortality. However, to be in this life without the the only person she ever loved would have been cruel. Logically, I know Lucy has a wonderful, love-filled, full life. Illogically, I feel that I failed her. And yet, I know I didn't.
Like many other stories, Lucy loved me. From the time she was 6 weeks old, she was my unwavering companion. She lived with me while I had a roomate with her own cat. She kept me sane when I quit my job, moved to another city and became a full-time college student living alone. She, begrudgingly, accepted my husband and two stepkids. And yet, her devotion to me remained steadfast and true.
She made me laugh when she would drool, just a little, because she was so happy to see me. Even if I was only gone for a few hours. For 14 years, she would bring her little red playtoy (never replaced) to bed. She would start chirping somewhere in the dark and eventually she would make her way to the bed to lay beside my stomach. Only then, was I able to fall into a contented sleep.
She loved to lay in my lap. Or on my chest as we slept in the recliner. She never stopped kneading her special blanket. She would gently grab just a little in her mouth and knead herself into a deep kitty sleep. She would purr so happily when I buried my nose into her soft white chest fur. And I am so happy that for 14 years, I was able to experience that love from my green-eyed girl.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Last year, I didn't even touch needles from the start of May until the end of August. Between gardening, fishing, and having my stepkids spend part of summer with us, I just don't have the time or energy to devote to finishing up or starting new projects. I haven't even read a book in months. I will make an exception for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". I don't care what's on my agenda at the time...the book will come first. Sorry kids and hubby, you are on your own.
How's gardening cutting into my time? It doesn't help that we are about 3-4" below normal for rainfall. I think it's even bigger than than in my particular area. All newly-plants, shrubs, containers, and veggies are getting drinks from the hose. We don't have a sprinkler so I either stand there or take off the spray and let water run through the garden. I care less about the grass...it will grow back.
Kids cutting into your time? I don't think I even need to explain that one.
The problem is my darned Sock Calendar. I set it up with the best of intentions, one pair of socks a month. Since I can do a pair in about 2 weeks, a month seemed like a nice stretch of leisurely knitting. Everything was on schedule, even got a bonus pair in, until I fell down the stair. March led into April and I could hardly hold the needles for more than 5 minutes. I'm finally back on track although I have yet to start June socks and it's already to the mid-month. I know it's my calendar and I can stop at anytime, but, I need this. I'm great to start something, and can be quite a failure at finishing. I will do this because I want to, not because I need to.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Chester's momma showed up at our home on Thursday and was still there Saturday morning. I haven't figured out if she was dumped or wandered over to our home. She was a friendly girl (fairly clean and healthy too) and I could tell that she had been pregnant and was still nursing. We, momma kitty and me, walked around the yard and I never did see or hear any little ones.
Saturday morning during a light misting rain, I took the trash out and she came running toward me. But she wasn't alone. She had 6 kittens in tow. After they were all rounded up and in the garage, I heard a shrill mew coming from the outside. Sure enough, there was one more kitten in the front of the house. Poor little guy, everybody else had been in the back.
My little Archie died in March and DH, knowing how much I love my cats, said we could get another one for me to love and to provide Mr. Bailey with some company. I had to choose from 1 calico, 1 tortie, 2 black & white, 2 blacks and 1 orange & white. After visiting with each and every one, we choose Chester because he was only one that would purr when he interacted with us.
Chester is now inside, clean and fluffy. He's such a personable little guy. He's not afraid of people, plays with everything, loves to explore, and loves to be loved. This morning, DH and I got a very thorough face cleaning accompanied with a good bit of kneading.
As for the momma and kittens, I was able to get them into a no-kill shelter (whew!). I said a little prayer for them. I hate feeling guilty when she is not even my cat. I urge everyone, please, please, please spay and neuter your pets. If you think you can't afford the procedure, contact your local shelters. I bet they will be able to give you some names and/or places that offer discounts.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
About 4 weeks ago, I started noticing stiffness and pain in my left arm with some muscle pain in upper left back. I'm not the type to go to the doctor if I think the problem will work itself out. After getting up in pain and several sleepless nights, I bit the bullet. At first the doctor put me on prednisone for muscle inflammation. She didn't order any x-rays which didn't thrill me but, hey, if the prednisone worked, I'm OK. Well, it's not!!! I called and got back in the same day. This time she ordered x-rays which show slight compression of the lower cervical vertebrae and slight curvature of the upper thoracic vertebrae. Since I've never had any x-rays, we aren't sure if these problems have always been there or not. I've also been having tingling in my arm so now I have an MRI scheduled. And thank goodness, she prescribed some Darvoset!!! Finally, I have been able to get a little uninterrupted sleep.
To make a long story even longer, this has really cut into my knitting and garden plans. I have shrubs that need to get into the ground. I have a veggie bed that needs prepped. I have mulch that needs to get spread. The mind is willing but the body is not.
And my poor knitting! I'm trying to make DH some socks. Of course, I have to be dealing with this pain while trying to knit socks for size 12 feet! It seems that I can only get about an 1" done before my arm is protesting. At this rate, I will be knitting on these for the next few months. For pity's sake, I have a deadline to meet. These socks are supposed to be done by April 30th. It's possible. I'm keeping my toes crossed.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I'm the sort of person who doesn't mind untangling gnarly balls of yarn. In fact, the art of untangling comes in handy when you are sitting in a boat trying to use a fishing pole full of looped and knotted line. DH would rather cut the line and start over. Not me, I would rather take a few minutes of solving the puzzle than tie on a new fishing rig. So yes, when I have a hank of yarn that refuses to stay in its nice, concise circle, I will take the time to lovingly unwind the knotted mess and wind it into a nice ball of yarn. However, the practical side of me realizes how many precious minutes of knitting would not be lost if I had a swift and ball winder.
Friday, April 13, 2007
2nd time: Switched yarn to RYC Cashsoft 4-ply. Now this is a yarn I could love!! I decided these socks needed to be cuff-down knitted in Garter Rib from "Sensational Knitted Socks". At the same time, I thought I would try my hand at just-over-calf-socks. Long story made short - I didn't fool like messing with trying to determine the schematics of decreasing within ribbing.
3rd time: Went back to my usual toe-up started with the Easy Toe. OK, everything looking good until DH tries on toe. Wwwaaayy tttoooo bbbiigg! Yes, I swatched, got 8 stitches/inch, DH has 10" circumference, cast-on 80 stitches.
4th time and a charm: I frogged back the knitting to the stage where the toe was 72 stitches per inch and carried on. I hope to be done with sock 1 by Wednesday of next week and casting on for sock 2 on same day. I want these socks done by April 30th!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Knitting-wise, I've had a slow but steady month. I finished my March Socks and started on a bonus pair. More details will be forthcoming as the socks should be done by the end of the week.
Starting April 1 (joke's on me), I will starting socks for DH. Yes, knee-high, size 12 socks! I must have in out of mind when I agreed to his request...or in love. I'm going with Love. His socks will be in Cascade Fixation which appears to be a fine sock yarn once one get the hang of knitting with stretchy cotton yarn. His socks will be black with dark brown toes. Now I've never worked with Fixation so a swatch was a definite must. Now don't you think my obvious choice would have been the brown for testing? Yep, all in agreement. Did I? Heck no!! I grabbed the black first which makes for quite impossible stitch counting. Stupid, stupid. Reached for the brown and started out with size 3s. Didn't like that so I made third swatch (remember, black was first) in size 2s. Not only did I decide that the 2s made a better fabric at 6.5 stitches per inch, but I also got lots of practice knitting with the yarn. It does take some time to determine how much tension should be used. Too much and I was fighting tight stitches, too little and the fabric flopped plus it's hard to knit without exerting a little tension to make loops.
Monday, March 5, 2007
Today, my household includes two males, Bailey and Archie. First up is Bailey. He showed up at our house in late July 2005. When I picked up Bailey and brought him into the house, DH said he knew I was goner the minute I shut the door. Our super vet said he thought he was around 3 months of age so Bailey now has a birthday of April 1, of course, the joke's on us! Bailey is such a handsome cat. He's a big cat as 12 pounds but he's also very long and tall. Bailey is our "fun" cat. As a kitten, I couldn't keep him out of the cabinets, closets, clothes dryer, refrigerator, or even the dishwasher. He was into everything and was everywhere. At almost 2, he has calmed down a bit. One of his pet name is Stupid (from DH) because he makes us laugh. Quite the character!
The story of Bailey is quite endearing because he turn a self-proclaimed cat hater into a Bailey-lover. My DH has never been fond of cats, in fact, he downright could not stand them. Like all cat lovers, I knew the right cat could turn his heart. Bailey came into our lives just 2 months before I lost my beloved Lucy to kidney failure. I got her as a sweet kitten when she was 6 weeks and she was my bestest buddy for the next 14 years. When Lucy died, DH remarked that, perhaps, Bailey was fated to be here. I knew Bailey was supposed to be with us but not because Lucy was leaving me. Bailey was here for my husband. Bailey absolutely adores DH, and I can tell you, the feeling is mutual. DH gets what we call the "Bailey treatment" which involves loads of rubbing, purring, kneading and general all-around, "I can't stop loving you".
And there's little Archie who came into our lives almost one year after Bailey. Where as the story of Bailey and DH is happy, the story of DH and Archie is, well, a bit ironic. DH found Archie at the side of the road during a torrential storm. DH scooped him up, wrapped Archie up in his t-shirt and brought him home to me. We are pretty certain that Archie was born in a cornfield so he had very little to no contact with humans. Since he was quite young also, 3-4 months, he adapted to the home, us and Bailey. Whereas Bailey is quite the extrovert, Archie is an introvert. He trusts me. Poor DH, who prevented Archie from becoming a coyote snack, is not very trusted. I tell DH that it's because he's tall and sometimes loud. All of which can be very intimidating to a fearful little kitten.
Archie is and will forever be my cat. He purrs for me, waits in the bathroom for me to get done showering so he can get his daily morning rubbing, and he chirps for me. I know all you cat lovers know I'm talking about...those little trills that make my heart warm and put a smile on my face. In fact, Archie is quite the chirper. He chirps when he's trying to find Bailey, when he's playing, when I wake him up from a nap, when he curled up in bed and I reach to give him a little pet.
Archie is a small cat...barely over 6 pounds. He's almost a year and he doesn't seem be getting much bigger. The contrast between the guys is so huge. Bailey is like cuddling into a big, plump feather pillow, and Archie is my perpetual kitten, all soft, small, and so completely lovable.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I found out about the Yorkshire from Jimmy Beans Wool newsletter and at $2.99/ball, it looked to be quite a bargain. If I knew then what I now know, I would have purchased a whole lot more. I ended up with 2 balls each in Explode (dark charcoal gray), Knight (dark blue), and Whisker (black). The tweeds are different depending on the main yarn color. In Explode, the flecks are white, green/reds/yellows in Knight, and red in Whisker. The yarn is a fingering weight and subject to breaking if overly-stretched.
My first socks were a Yarn over Cable from Sensational Knitted Socks. That was a mistake on my part because, once washed, the fabric developed a haze of fibers thus obscuring the pattern. And it didn't help that Explode was dark. The balls are only 120 yards so the socks are a little shorter than I prefer. However, all these nigglings dissappeared once the sock were on my feet. The yarn was soft, and cushy, and dreamy. I would wear these socks 24-7. Alas, I don't think DH would appreciate me after a couple of days.
The yarn is such a joy that I started on the next pair, this time choosing Knight. I needed longer socks so these socks are knitted in stockinette with a cast-on of 54. The pattern is toe-up with a reverse-flap heel, and 2 inches of 1x1 ribbing. Ahhhh, much better....longer cuffs and a very, very nice snug fit around my foot. I cannot express to you just how perfect these socks are. Not so much in construction (a couple of teeny tiny errors). The fit....I did everything perfect...the toe, the length of the heel flap, the number cast on....everything. I feel like I created a masterpiece and given that I don't feel that way about all I touch, this is good for my sensitive soul.
PS, I found a seller that has so many colors to choose that I will knitting socks into 2009.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The wind was hellacious causing most roads to drift up to 6'. The drifts in our yard measure about 4'. We've had 2 days of snow emergencies so I had 2 days to knit. Finished my second sock for February and attempted Magic Loop for my sweater sleeve. The ML isn't working out well...need a longer needle. I will make a trip on Friday to the LYS to either get a 12" or 40" needle. Still haven't decided yet.
DH and I spent the morning digging out DH's truck at the end of the driveway which is about 350' long and on a slight incline. First we moved the snow in front of the truck. DH hopped in, revved her up, and plowed through the snow up the house. It was a bit comical watching him bounce around trying to miss the big hackberry trees. It's not a pretty path as it's going through the yard but at least we can get out now. Today, it's just beautiful outside. The sun is shining and the snow is glistening.
Monday, February 12, 2007
I'm knitting my first sweater, the Hourglass, from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts". I love the softly-shaped waist, flared sleeves and wide neckline. I selected K1C2 Angora Soft in a pale blue. I'm up to the sleeves which I will be knitting ala Magic Loop. I 've never tried this method but I have an extra size 7 needle which means I won't need to buy another needle. Which really means that I can buy some beautiful hand-painted sock yarn.
Friday, February 9, 2007
- January: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply in Explode, Yarn over Cable from "Sensational Knitted Socks" (done)
- February: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply in Knight, simple stockinette (done on 2/16/07)
- March: Patons Kroy in Newport Tan, BFF socks by Cookie A. (started on 2/21, done on 3/6/07)
- April: RYC Cashsoft 4-ply in Black and Bark, simple stockinette (started on 4/10, done on 5/13)
- May: All Things Heather in Skinny Dippin', Monkey socks by Cookie A. (yarn from Loopy Ewe Seasonal Sock club, started on 5/14, done on 6/2)
- June: Debbie Bliss Wool/Cotton in a dark brown and curry, Garter Rib from SKS (started on 6/16, done on 7/1)
- July: J. Knits Superwash Sock in Indiana, Twisted Flower by Cookie A. (started on 7/2, done on 9/30)
- August: Claudia's Handpainted, Pheasant Run socks by Lisa Parker of Wildhorse Farms (started on 8/7 and finished on 9/02)
- September: Loopy socks and Twisted Flowers completed (no additional socks)
- October: Shawl for mom in Jaeger Baby Merino 4-ply (started on 10/3, finished on 11/7)
- November: Mallory Felted Clogs, Kathryn's Felted Clogs, Fetching Fingerless Mitts, start socks for MIL
- December: Finish up socks for MIL
I would love for bloggers to read about my knitting and gardening endeavours. However, if I provide any tidbit of info that proves helpful to a fellow knitter or gardener, my purpose is fulfilled.