Monday, August 27, 2007

Minimalism

I think I am going to embrace minimalism. I have identified something like 5 pieces of furniture that I am pretty positive I could get to our shed all by myself. Brent doesn’t think I can be a minimalist. He says it isn’t me. I think he is wrong. I discovered Art Deco when I was about 22 and have been in love ever since. Of course, now it is all about proving him wrong. Sort of. We have a small house. It is 1187 square feet with an open, flowing floor plan. I designed our house myself. Our house looks really small on the outside, but it looks much bigger when you get inside. Anyway, things have been feeling cramped and cluttered lately. Some of the furniture interrupts the flow of things, so I am going to get rid of it. Over the past 4 years I have determined there are only so many ways to arrange the furniture, so some things are going to the shed.

On to that sweater. I am binding off the neck edge right now. While binding it off, I am attaching it to the bottom of the ribbing so that I don’t have to sew it down. The way hems are sometimes done. I made a little girl sweater that had picot hem that was done this way. In the first picture below, the stitch nearest the end of the needle is the one I am picking up and knitting together to tack the neck down.





In the picture above, you might be able to see all the orange in the background where I had to weave in all the yarn ends. It jumps out at me, but maybe other people won’t really notice too much.

We’ve had a bit too much excitement and too little sleep over the weekend. Our hunting dog is 14 years old and had some seizures Friday night. We took her to the vet and they gave us medication we are to give her if she starts having one. Brent has been carrying her back in the house every time she goes outside. We leap out of bed numerous times in the night to make sure she isn’t having a seizure. This evening, I managed to coerce her into the house without being carried. She has had Brent packing her around like this before. If he were the kind of guy who takes his dog and has them put down because they can’t get around anymore, she would have died ages ago. Candy is a mere shadow of the fine hunting dog we once knew. It is sad to see her starting to go downhill, but she is very old for her breed according to the vet. And a dog couldn’t have a better life than having been Brent’s dog. He always says she isn’t really a dog.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The End of Summer

In some ways, this is a sad time of year. All the poor kiddies going back to school. Summer coming to an end. Moms sending their little girls off to school for the very first time and wondering how they got to be that old. We are sending our oldest to preschool this year. I can’t believe that she is 4 and starting school. It’s only 2 hours twice a week, but it is the beginning of sending kids to school that will last for close to 20 years. If you don’t count college, of course.

My knitting has been crawling along slower than a snail. This morning I was starting to get with it when I had Brent try his sweater on. Somehow, all the other times I had him try it on, it didn’t look short. It is too short and somehow I have to remedy that. More annoying at the time was that the neck was out of whack. That was the reason I had him try it on, it just seemed like there were too many neck stitches. I ripped it back to the first shoulder strap and tripled them in length. I am back to the neck now and it fits well except for the length. I think I am going to have snip at the top of the ribbing , remove it, and then knit down about 2 or 3 inches and then do ribbing again. As it turned out, the first game is THIS Thursday, and I think I may be able to finish it by then. If not, he’ll just have to suffer…

After my last post, a commenter asked if I lived in Alaska. No, I don’t. I live in Idaho. My husband lived in Alaska for 11 years. Most of that time he lived in the Palmer and Wasilla area. He also lived in Juneau, Anchorage, Homer, and on Kodiak. He and a friend left Alaska for 6 months and went to Hawaii and worked. But then the salmon started to run and they had to get back. Brent only intended to go up for the summer the year he went up. It took him a while to get back…. If I think of it sometime, I will scan a picture of the little cabin he lived in. It was VERY tiny. I should do a post on some of his better stories.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tour de France FO

I think it was Saturday when I finished my Tour de France sweater. It might have been Sunday morning. I can’t really remember, but I know I wore it all day Sunday and I love it, love it, love it. I hope to get Brent to take pictures of it in action, but in the meantime, here is the finished garment:



I threw it in the wash with some fabric this morning and then threw it in the dryer. It’s cotton and not lace, so I see no need for blocking it.

In other great knitting news, I am approaching the finish with the BSU Sweater. I apparently am to have it done by Thursday in time for their first game. We’ll see. It has been flying since I finished the lettering and started the saddle shoulder shaping. If I were to ever attempt this thing again, I would duplicate stitch the lettering. The lettering was so badly puckered, I had to cut all the threads and weave them in. All of them. Every stinking one. There must be something wrong with me, like mentally, for thinking the lettering would turn out fine. I know better than to think long carries won’t pucker. Live and learn, I guess. Pictures when it is finished.

On to our grand August weather. Our weekend was great. It doesn’t seem like it was very hot on Saturday. Sunday and yesterday it RAINED. As in off and on all day. It didn’t even get up to 60 yesterday. Perfect weather according to Brent. He has always felt Alaska’s summers are ideal. Today has been nice as well, but it did get up to 80. Punishing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too Much Stress...

It is just being one of those weeks. Stressful and tiresome. Not much knitting going on. Not much sewing going on. Lots of stressing going on. One reason: a leaky washing machine. We haven’t had this machine long and our last machine leaked. This one isn’t brand new, it is new to us. I hate troublesome appliances.

I am almost done with my Tour de France sweater and when it is done, I won’t have an excuse for not working on the BSU sweater that HAS to be done by the end of the month. I am not enjoying the lettering all that much. It makes the sweater into back and forth knitting about 1/3 of the time.

For the past day or so, I have been distracting myself from the knitting and the stress with a magazine I picked up that has lots of inspiration in it. Sewing inspiration. I definitely need some inspiration this week!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Of Yarn, Knitting, and Cats

I’ve been busy the past few days and was surprised when I found a little box in my mail today. I couldn’t believe my package from The Loopy Ewe was already here! I have never gotten yarn wrapped in tissue before! It is Lane Borgosesia Cashwool in the colorway New Cognac. It is 100% merino.




It isn’t as fall toned as I thought it would be. Given the choice, I would take the bright orange shades you sometimes see on summertime clothes racks. I love the bright summery shades of orange. I love loud colors. You guys have never noticed that have you?



I have also been nearing the end of all this sleeve knitting. By the weekend, I should be having sleeve joining parties. The Tour de France sweater is ready to join the sleeves on and the BSU sweater is about 5 rows from being ready. Then I’ll be back to flying along on my circular needles.



Mostly, I’ve been thinking about things I’d like to knit. Making lists. Recently, I have found no less than 5 sock patterns on Knitty and Mag Knits that I would like to make. It must be the nip in the air in the mornings. I have finally conceded to myself that I just don’t like knitting socks from the toe up. I am making socks for the girls like that, and I haven’t even been working on my current sock.

That brings me to my sock washing experience yesterday. I washed my Mountain Colors Bearfoot socks for the first time. To quote Eloise - Oh my Lord. As soon as I dropped them in the water it looked like something bled to death in my sink. After 4 rinses I think it was, it didn’t look much better. That was when I gave up. Does all Bearfoot bleed like that? Or is it just the red stuff?

And now I am going to tell you a tale of shame, cats, and cans of fish. I feel ashamed because for close to a year, my cat has been suffering from a dietary deficiency. I thought maybe her hair was matting because of old age. Like maybe she couldn’t groom herself as well as she used to. Then about 2 weeks ago, I noticed my husband’s cat wasn’t looking as sleek as she should, either. She is mostly black, so it is easy to see on her. I decided they needed some canned food for a treat, so I got some cans of fish cat food. A couple days later, I noticed her hair was matting, too. I got online and looked it up. That is caused by a deficiency in Omega 3 fatty acids! I did feel good about choosing fish based food for them a few days before. They already look better. I feel really bad about not thinking something was wrong with my cat when it started with her. Last winter I was feeling really great about not feeding them canned food when the food was all contaminated. All’s well that ends well, I guess.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Orange Lace

I’m rather excited today about some yarn I ordered. The reason I was ordering yarn today was a gift certificate for The Loopy Ewe that I got from Shelby for a contest she ran for our group in Secret Pal 10. It was really hard deciding what yarn to get. All that luscious sock yarn can confuse a girl. So instead, I ordered some lace weight In a nice, fall sort of orange. There’s close to 1500 yards in the hank, so I ought to be able to make something fairly large. I’ve been wanting to knit a lace project for at least a year. There are loads of patterns out there, but very few of them actually use lace weight yarn. Being the sort of person I am, I wanted to use lace weight not worsted. I’ll just have to come up with a suitable pattern. I might be forced to buy some lace books. That would be a shame wouldn’t it? We all just hate getting a new knitting book…

The weather has suddenly turned decent around here. It will no doubt go away and get back to hot and horrible. The heat hasn’t done our garden any favors. We get a few tiny tomatoes, no peppers, no zuchini, no cucumbers, and well, you get the picture. Our beans are dead. I am not sure what the problem with them is. It seems like they should be getting enough water. The pumpkins seem like they are doing ok. I don’t think our garden has ever been this bad. There are always the fall crops to look forward to.

I have run into a bit of trouble with my Christmas list. I’ve run out of stuffing, so I haven’t been working on it the past few days. Poor excuse. I should be checking the rest of my list and seeing what I can do besides finish the bears. I find it is very important that I start my Christmas projects early. If I don’t, I won’t have time to get things done.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Christmas Challenge

I’ve done very good with working on my Christmas stuff already. I finished that sad little bunny from last year and have gotten a good start on one of the bears. I was going to wait to do a picture of the bunny until the bears were done, but then I remembered they have to have sweaters. So here is the bunny:



And now, we have the Christmas list. Subject to change, of course. I might have to add to it. Let’s hope I don’t take things off!

Red elephant
Pajama bottoms
Pants
Shirts
Socks
Hat and Scarf set
Gloves
Lap quilt
Bag
Sweater

I am setting myself a date to have all Christmas gift making done by December 1. I think I will call it my Christmas Challenge.

My shorts are done except for putting a snap on. I don’t have a snap for them, so that has to wait until I get one. The top I was working on was such a hassle with the sewing machine that I may have to finish it by hand. I’ll give it another chance with the sewing machine next week. The thread was slipping right through the fabric instead of catching and sewing it together. It made me say bad things. And we will leave it at that.

I’m still working on my current projects. I’ve been knitting away on 2 second sleeves. Then it’ll be back to the sweater bodies. Except with sleeves attached.

Just for a change, I am going to offer up a recipe. It’s my trail mix recipe. I get everything in the bulk department of the grocery store. It is much better and much cheaper than those puny packages you see in stores.

3 cups peanuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup m&m candies
A fistful of almonds

Mix it together and store in a zipper bag or air tight container. Naturally, if you don’t like certain ingredients, you will substitute your own favorites. I wouldn’t recommend chocolate chips because they will melt if they get hot in the car or in the sun on a hike.