Sunday, December 28, 2008

December 27

Did I really complain about the weather in my last post? It has done almost nothing but snow here since my last post. It snowed all day Sunday, most of the day on Wednesday, and all day today. We got 7 inches today and they say that around 11:30 or midnight tonight it will turn to rain. I don’t like to think what the roads and streets around here will be like. I have to take Brent to town Monday morning so he can go to work. His little truck won’t make it up our driveway. Don’t cheer too loudly about the work, they have 3 days and then back to no worky.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Finished Eye Mask

Well, it turns out that hats that allow ponytails are a little trickier than I thought. I tore out half of it last night because it didn’t cover her ears or forehead well enough. The eye mask did get finished, though:



It is now on its way to snowy Seattle. Irony of ironies: there is more snow in Seattle than there is at my house. My family up there live in west Seattle where there is currently 4” of snow on the ground. I don’t think we have 2” here. Usually, we are buried in snow and Seattle has cold rain. I realize one needs to be careful what they wish for, but I think we should have a lot more snow than we do.

I’m going to have to put down the ponytail hat for the Chanson En Crochet. I need to finish it for Christmas. Other things I need to finish or get made for Christmas: a batch of blue play dough, finish a dress and top for a small knitter, make some doll clothes, and figure out if I can make paper dolls or not. The images I saved for the paper dolls turned out to be really small and unusable. I need to return to the site and see if there is anything I can do about it. At the time I couldn’t print them off and they may print off larger from the website. We’ll see.

With the economy in the shambles it is, construction has slowed to nil and no one want to replace their furnace, so Brent is out of work. He was laid off the first week of the month. The only bright spot is that he doesn’t work in Idaho, so his unemployment check is pretty good. I never thought I would be so happy to be able to say we qualify for food stamps. It takes a load off the mind wondering if we will be able to eat for the next few months. Not to mention it is a lot more than I usually have in our budget for food. I really hope things don’t stay like this long, though.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Proof of Gardening

This is my proof that you can harvest from the garden in December in Idaho:



I am now wishing I had gone back and got the rest of carrots. We now have a light dusting of snow on the ground and it is very cold. It may not be very fun prying more of them out of the ground, but I need to before it freezes up too much. They don’t do so well if you leave them through the winter. And I don’t fancy digging them out in January…

This is the project I have devoted my Sunday knitting to:



It is going to be a stocking cap for Knitter #2. Not just any stocking cap, one she can put her pony tail through. I am hoping to have it finished tonight, but things aren’t looking that way right now.

Maybe there will be finished project pictures for tomorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not Knitting for the Holidays...

Long time, no blogging. I hate being time deprived. It seems to go with this time of year, though. Now, things seem to be improving. I’m caught up on my baking and we can see the kitchen counters. AND I decided not to burden myself with Christmas knitting this year. It is very freeing. I love to knit for my loved ones, but I don’t need the stress. The last few years December was just too stressful with pressure to finish things.

This year I am doing some sewing projects:



This is one that I can show here. All of my pictures go through the screensaver, so I have to be careful about loading pictures before Christmas or birthdays. This one is going to another house, and it was requested. You can’t see it in the picture, but I drew on some steaming coffee mugs to embroider on in white. When I finish it, I’ll post another picture. I love the book I got it from, Sew Pretty Homestyle. All the projects in it are pretty and prissy in pink, but as you see, you don’t gotta use pink.

I am crocheting a gift for me for Christmas. It is Chanson En Crochet from Wrapstyle. I picked the book up at the library a while back and had the kids pick out something for me to make myself for Christmas. They picked nearly every wrap in the book until I complained, and then they picked none. It was sort of a disaster, really. I picked it based on them liking it and the fact that I had yarn that would work for it. I do think I am going to really like it.

How are your holiday plans going?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday Knitting

I have to thank Quilting Mama and Rebecca for their comments on purging junk the other day. If I asked Brent to pick things out of the closet to get rid of, we would get rid of nothing. Unless he could pick from my stuff, of course. He always thinks he’s going to wear certain shirts someday. Someday. When he does get these shirts out to be worn, he changes his mind and wears one of his good ol’ standby favorites. I weeded out a bunch of those this summer when I was cleaning out our closet. Quilting Mama suggested putting things in a bag or box and putting them in a closet and if the kids never miss it, it can go. I think that is a great idea, and I am going to try that. There is nothing worse than getting caught bagging up their unused treasures. For the 45 seconds it takes them to get it back from you, it is the most important toy they have ever possessed.

Anyone else out there baking bread just to turn it into dressing? Yes, I am crazy. One of the reasons I used to rationalize this to myself is that I need to use up my old yeast before it quits working altogether. It doesn’t rise all that well and needs to go. I just hate to waste stuff. I may have to take back the crazy part, though. My mom’s dressing was wonderful and she always made all of our bread. We always have the usual suspects at Thanksgiving AND Christmas. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. I have been trying out different side dishes the past few years so we aren’t totally boring. This year, we are having a squash casserole. A neighbor gave us some big Kabochas. They are smooth and sweet. I love them.

We haven’t really ever had yams, so yesterday I bought some. I’ve been trying to work more new veggies into our diet, so tonight we are going to have roast yams, potatoes, carrots, and broccoli. The idea of roast broccoli fascinates me. I will post about how it all turns out.

Last week I was perusing the groups on Ravelry and found one where you pick a day of the week to work on ufo’s. I think that might work for me. Sundays are usually good days for me to sit around and knit. Before I even got to my knitting day, I finished something. Mittens for my pink lover:



She said “I thought you’d never finish these!” in the most excited and happy way. She really didn’t mean it to sound the way it sounds.

This is my scarf:



It has been really fun to knit, so far. I am almost halfway through it and still haven’t gotten bored with it. Usually, I get so bored with scarves that I can’t stand to work on them. I think that seeing how the colors look together is what keeps me interested.

I hope everyone reading in the US has a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Can I Knit, Please?

I have been so busy lately, and not knitting. It isn’t like I’ve done wonderful, dramatic things either. I get the feeling, the harder I try to keep our house clean, the messier it gets. Perhaps if we got the children their own house…

Last week, I came up with a new goal. All year, I’ve been trying to declutter our home. I’ve taken bags and bags of clothes to donate. This summer we decided for sure not to have any more kids, so that meant we could get rid of baby things. Anyone who has had kids knows how much space baby things take up. It is just unreal. Anyway, my goal is to donate a dozen kitchen sized trash bags full of stuff by the end of the year. We’ve already donated 8 bags this year. Bag 9 is filled and waiting to go the next time I visit our favorite charity/thrift store. I am pretty sure we can come up with the stuff to get rid of. To be brutally honest, I could probably get rid of another dozen bags of things, but I wouldn’t be popular with Brent or the girls. They would say ‘I was going to wear that’ or ‘I was going to play with that’ and wouldn’t be impressed with my ‘No you weren’t’ responses.

I am not impressed with our weather here. It has warmed up and the flies have reappeared. Last weekend I was buying fly tape and fly swatters to combat them. It is just icky to wake up to 20 or 30 flies in your kitchen I hate to say it, but I would really like to see some cold weather.

Speaking of cold, my friend, Kimi, has the coolest mittens. They are a mitten-glove combination that has a little flap on the thumb, too. They are also made in pretty colors that I am rather envious of her. They look handmade, but weren’t made by anyone she knows. I want some, so my next project to start should be some for me. But in the last week, I have started 2 new projects, so who knows when I will get to something like that.

My new projects are a striped Noro scarf and a headband to keep my ears warm when I go running. You will note that neither of these are the project I talked about starting a while back. I’ve grown fickle, I guess.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

What Have I Been Doing?

A couple weeks ago, we went apple picking and found this:



We also found apples and started making applesauce. I still have a lot of applesauce to make.

Last week, the rains came and one night this is what the mountains looked like:



I’m thinking about replacing my current banner with this one. Emphasis on the thinking, because who knows when I’ll actually have time to do it! I am so short on time these days, it is a darned good thing I am not knitting anything for Christmas.



The evening before we went apple picking, we carved pumpkins. It is always a big event at our house. Daddy takes charge of the carving, Mommy cleans the pumpkins out. This year I roasted the seeds. Then I forgot they were in the oven and roasted them at a very high temperature again several days later. Now they are composting. They were really tasty before I ruined them, though.

I expect to finish a mitten in the next few days, just to prove to everyone that I still knit. Really.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Rest in Peace, Alfie

I tried to write a post yesterday, but it just didn’t work out. We found our Lovebird dead in his cage yesterday morning. It was shocking and nearly devastating because he wasn’t very old. I drowned my sorrows by looking at pictures of birds online. We will get another bird, but not immediately.

Today is a rainy, semi gloomy kind of day. A great day for baking bagels. I made my first bagels about a week ago and I can never go back to store bought. It has been really difficult around here since the last one disappeared. Later, we are going to my mother in law’s house to watch my husband’s football team play. I should be able to get plenty of knitting in then.

Halloween was fun here. When I get some pictures of the cowgirl outfit, I will post them. There was so much candy, but we have managed to get rid of it fairly quickly. Last weekend, I just gave them their candy and let them go for it. The quicker its gone, the better. I encountered one of my cousins in the fabric store the other day, and she said she did the same thing. I did take the candy away when they started making candy mixes for their dolls. I hate walking through the house and having candy stuck to my feet…

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cowgirl Up!

I have recovered from my cold, thank goodness. This weekend I had some sewing to do. This year Knitter #2 is being a cowgirl and Knitter #3 is being Strawberry Shortcake. The sewing is much easier this year. However, I did have to buy 2 pairs of cowgirl boots. And I’ve been told that I can’t call them cowgirl boots, because they are cowboy boots. Whatever, girl. Get your cowgirl boots on so we can go already.

Here is what I worked on over the weekend:



There was even some knitting:



The first mitten is finally growing a twin. Warm hands all around, I say.

Since I told myself I could start that new project if I finished some stuff, I have sort of lost my obsessive interest in starting it. I think I am going to start it when I get all those things finished, anyway. I originally bought the yarn to make that outfit for the oldest child and now am planning on making for the youngest. It is starting to seem like I need to get on it and get it done before she grows too much. I doubt it would be cost effective to just have another baby. And there is always the off chance that my husband might make a boy and then where would we be? Much easier to just knit the cute little outfit…

Thursday, October 23, 2008

King Henry

I have had a rotten cold for a couple days now. And I have this rotten, not so great cold medicine I am taking until I can get something better tomorrow. But things are better with the cold medicine than without. Yesterday morning I woke up so out of it that I baked some chocolate chip pumpkin muffins without a bit of sugar in them. Yup. The really funny thing is they were actually really good! In the future, I may make them with less sugar than the recipe calls for.

How did I do with my knitting weekend? Pretty well, but I didn’t get to knit as much as I wanted to. Other things kept getting in the way. I did finish the sleeves:



And now I’ve moved onto knitting this:



I need to get off my duff and get the second pink mitten knitted for the poor little kid with cold hands around here. She also needs a hat and scarf. She seems to have forgotten that she started knitting a scarf last summer.

In my sidebar, I mention our birds, but I almost never show any pictures of them. This is what I was greeted with when I went to let them out today:



And here are the roosters with a couple hens:



Henry is the only rooster with a name. He is our biggest and oldest chicken. He’s the only one left from the first chickens we bought the year we got married. That was 2002. Henry is the only one who knows what that first winter was like when the chickens were roughing it. They had no protection from the wind, and were barely out of the weather. When they got their chicken coop, they knew they were in heaven. If the weather was bad, they’d come out on the ramp, look around, and go back in. Just because they could. We have 5 roosters because my husband won’t kill them when they are young enough to eat. My answer is to get 20 pullets in the spring. I once swore I would never buy big chickens again. However, they don’t sex bantams, I am sick of being overrun with roosters, and I want to sell eggs. Best of all, deciding what kind of chickens to buy is just as fun as picking out what to plant in your garden.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Next Knitting Project?

I find myself wanting to start a new project. That is kind of in opposition of my wanting to finish up all of my ongoing projects. Many of them are dark colored and are not fun to knit in the evening. I’ve been using my sweater sleeve as my sitting at the computer project. (We have dial-up, so everything is SLOW). Right now, I am promising myself a new project when I finish my sweater sleeve, get to the heel of my first Monkey sock, finish a second pink mitten AND finish the 2nd Critter. By the time I manage all those things, I will probably have lost all desire to start a new project. In case I haven’t, this is the project I am thinking about:



But in this color way:



Yesterday, I decided to over dye an experiment that turned out poorly:



I think the result is much better:



I over dyed with a bright yellow. I would probably not buy yarn in those colors, but at least I could bear to wear socks that look like that. It will be interesting to see what it looks like all knit up. Maybe it will surprise me and look fabulous.

I hope to spend my weekend knitting. Last night I decided I need to have a nice knitting weekend since I can’t fly across country and go to a certain fiber festival. Maybe I’ll finish something, you never know!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How It All Came Out

Yesterday when I looked at my yarn, I was really disappointed. The red looked very purple and it was plain ugly. Last night I left it hanging on the pantry door knob. This morning I found it much prettier, but still not what I am looking for.



My scarf looks beautiful:



And it was way easier than making a new Clapotis.

Does anyone reading dye yarn? I want to find a red dye that I like better than the Jacquard colors I’ve been using. If anyone has a suggestion for a bright red, leave a comment!

Last week when it was freaky cold around here, I found myself trolling ravelry for shawl patterns. I saw Revontuli and fell in love with the rainbow colors, thinking it was a round shawl. Somehow, I just knew it would be great for snuggling up with while watching tv. I was disappointed to find out it wasn’t, but decided I could use the pattern to make a round shawl with a little help from EZ. Just to prove to myself that I still have self-control, I haven’t started it yet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dyeing of Anticipation...

I hate waiting to see how my dyed yarn turns out. It makes me crazy with anticipation. I’m still trying to find a perfect combination to dye some yarn for Thermal. And I’m starting to get the feeling that I might not get just the color I am looking for. I also bit the bullet and got up the nerve to dye my Clapotis today. We’ll see how it comes out.

I’m now about halfway through the second sleeve of my Accordion sweater. I will be happy to be done with it and get on with the business of knitting the body. I need a wool sweater to keep me warm. One that isn’t huge, anyway. I have an Elsebeth Lavold coat that is ‘one size’ and made with Lopi. It is very warm, but not for indoor wear. Unless you have no heat, that is. I love it when it is below freezing. Of course, the Accordion sweater may end up too warm for indoor wear, too. I am making it with Valley Yarns Berkshire.

I have pretty much decided not to knit anything for the holidays this year. Too much stress to knit this or that and get it done. I may make doll clothes for the kids. Sewing can be so much easier than knitting something. Note that I say ‘can be’. I met my Waterloo a few years ago with a little dress. To this day it hasn’t been finished. I will be approaching the holidays this year knitting something fun without any pressure to get it finished.

Right now, I am trying to think how I can slip some chocolate cake past Knitter #2. I could use the good old ‘you didn’t eat yours last night’ ploy. Kids can be so pesky when you want to have illicit snacks…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Halloween Decorating Day

I love this season. Except when it is unseasonably cold like it has been the last few days. It has felt like November. Saturday we had a high of 43 with a howling cold wind. I had to save our bird feeders from the wind it was blowing so hard. And they were full! Well, they were full when the wind started blowing. My bird feeders are pretty heavy when they are full.

Today is Halloween decorating. A couple years ago I decided that the day after the youngest birthday would be Halloween Decorating Day. One of my aunts gave me a Haunted House last year. It is going to be so cool with the Spooky Tree I have. Halloween is probably my favorite decorating holiday.

And I can’t BELIEVE my baby is 3. How is this possible? Children grow up so fast. Too fast. Probably her favorite thing was the birthday cake. Of course, there were handmade presents. It is so nice to be able to say I am done with the Patchwork Tortoise:



There was also this cute little thing:



To me, it looks sort of like an Alien. It is a free crochet pattern that I found on Ravelry. If anyone is interested, they are called Too Cute Dolls. Knitter #3 calls it Critter.

Last week the big freeze came. The garden is gone, so I don’t have that to worry about anymore. The end of the gardening season is always sad, but welcome. This year was better than the last few years, maybe even the best ever. I want more out of my garden, though. We are going to put in some raised beds for next year and see if we can improve things. I think I will clean up the garden this fall instead of waiting for spring. I always enjoy the sort of grotesque look of the garden with snow on the sagging, dead plants. To me, it looks gothic, like something from Mary Shelley. In a way, I look forward to the dark, cold days of November and December when we get fogged in and my feet stay cold for days. When they actually get here though, I don’t like it so much. This all reminds me I need to mend my wool socks…

Thursday, October 02, 2008

October

Since it is the beginning of October now, maybe I should tell you how I did with my summer weight loss plan. Not so great, really. I wanted to lose 24 lbs over 3 months, which is really a stretch. However, I have lost 8 lbs so far. A real victory considering all the eating I did in July when my brother and niece came to visit. My workouts never survive big changes, so I planned ahead for school starting. I don’t have time for a workout every morning anymore, so I started running in the afternoon. My new plan is to see if I can lose the rest of the weight by New Year’s Day. I do feel good about the weight I’ve lost because I’m wearing jeans I haven’t worn since before Knitter #2 was born.

How about that spinning? Sunday morning, I got the bag of things out that came with the spindle and found a bunch BFL all ready for me to spin! And it was a lot easier to spin than my merino. Rebecca mentioned in the comments that it might be that the roving needed to be pulled apart a little and I think she might be right. The merino didn’t look anything like the BFL. I am so glad the spinning is going better now. Knitter #2 wants to learn how to spin now.

Over the weekend, I got to do a lot of knitting and managed to finish the first sleeve for my Accordion sweater. Finishing a sleeve is almost like finishing a project around here these days. It is crunch time for finishing any birthday projects, so I am now concentrating on finishing the Patchwork Tortoise. It would have been easier to follow the directions and knit the edge of the shell separately and sew it on, but I like to torture myself. Thankfully I am now binding off the shell. Next time, I will let you know if I have lived to regret stuffing the body before attaching all the other parts…

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Long Week

It has been a really long week for way too many reasons. And I get the feeling that I really haven’t done much with my time, either. That’s not really the case, it just feels that way.

The September/October issue of Piecework came the other day. I just subscribed recently, in case you think I got it terribly late. Anyway, on page 17, there is a tinted picture of some Norwegian immigrant women knitting, spinning, and carding in the 1890‘s. What really interested me was the red headed girl in the floor. She looks just like my youngest. Her hair lays the same and the nose even looks the same. It isn’t just the red hair. Amazing and weird all at once.

I haven’t gotten my spindle out yet. I did find a couple spindling groups on yahoo and joined to see what I could learn. Instead, I got out my watercolors and started painting again. I’m thinking about trying oil colors, but there is so much stuff you have to have to do oils. Watercolor cleanup is SO easy. The watercolor painting isn’t so easy. One mistake with the brush and you might be starting all over with new paper. Fixing an oops isn’t always easy. I’ve been painting some fun things for my kids’ bedroom.

Back to the spindle, I read one time that starting out with merino can be really hard. I looked up some spindle starter kits and most of them with BFL (blue faced Leicester) roving. I do have some BFL, but I was hoping to save it for when I know what I am doing and could actually make some gloves or socks with it. It is gorgeous dyed stuff that I bought when I first got my spindle. My problem is definitely drafting. The merino seems difficult to learn with. There were a bunch of fibers with the spindle, maybe I ought to look and see what they are.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

So Long, Summer

Yesterday, I made granola and granola bars. Here are the bars in progress:



They are wonderful, and so is the granola. The recipes came from the King Arthur Flour site. The dried fruit that I used came from my friend’s orchard. They make their own dried fruit, apple sauce, and, of course, sell fruit. Because of Kimi, I now believe there is nothing tastier than a dried pluot.

The closing days of summer here have been cold and wet. All it did all day yesterday was rain. By buckets. On the whole, this is good. It has been really dry, so the rain makes us feel better about all the dry grass surrounding us. It made our ducks very, very happy. They love rain.

The goats are now a for sure thing. We talked about it Wednesday and Brent was all for it. He wants to build some fence so we can have some steers, too. Fencing is pretty expensive, so it may not happen right away. The goats are definitely going to happen, though. They won’t require as much fence. We will have to build them a good little shed, though. And I think we should probably make it an enclosed shed for predator protection. We have cougars around here. Cougars are a danger to any size goat, not just little ones. I prefer the dog to be out when the kids are out playing in the yard. You just never know with big cats. And that bobcat visited our neighbors last year and got a couple goats about the same time it got into our birds. I think it was the bobcat and the neighbor thought it might have been, too. I am not sure how big the goats were because they have all sizes over there.

I’ve decided it is high time I really, actually learn how to use my spindle. I’ve had it for nearly 2 years. I think I am going to get some new fiber to play with. Before I knew what I was doing, I bought some merino to learn with. It isn’t the best fiber work with when you are beginning, so I’m going to get something a little easier to work with.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Happened Here?


What a mess!


Ok, something happened to my kitchen. It was attacked by 3 boxes of peaches, and then I had to feed the family. And so, for 2 days all I did was slave over the stove. The family didn’t exactly eat healthy, well planned meals.

Here is how it all started:


3 boxes kind of like this one



They were prepared for canning.



They were canned or turned into jam.



And peach butter.


And now, if I don’t see any more peaches for a while, I will be ok with it.

Now I will tell you how we came to be owned by a peacock we called Oly. About 3 years ago, we had chickens, ducks, geese, and guineas. Our yard was very loud and our youngest was about to be born. One morning Brent didn’t have to be in to work until late, and we just happened to be watching our birds from the kitchen. I saw this dark bird that looked way too big to be a guinea fly in front of the coop. Brent was sure it was just a guinea. I was afraid it was a hawk trying to eat one of our little bantam cochins, so I went out to see. It was kind of surprising to go out there and see a VERY skittish peacock in our pen. He flew away at the time, but after a few days, he just started hanging out. At first, I thought he might be a female, because he didn’t have long tail feathers. That’s why he was first named Olivia. As in Olivia de Haviland. Brent was really happy when we found out it was male and we started calling him Oly. Like the beer. Brent loves to name things after beer. Anyway, I think it was probably about this time of year when Oly came. He stayed all winter and when spring came, started displaying to the chickens and the duck. Strangely, he never bothered with the guineas, and the geese died around Thanksgiving (a story for another day). He finally settled on impressing the duck. She wasn’t impressed and even hid from him. One night this crazy stray dog showed up and that must have been the last straw for Oly. We didn’t see him again. Later on in the year, my husband worked up the road a little way and there was a lone peacock hanging around this house. He was sure it was Oly. We’ve always thought that he came from a place about 2 miles from here where there has been a flock of Peafowl for many years. The older peacocks probably ran him off. I am glad Rima left a comment about peacocks, so I could remember all that. I really miss that bird, he was so beautiful.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Palindrome

And here we have the finished product:



Note the difference in the 2 hanks of yarn I used. The one with less white in it was in the bottom of the dye pot. I just dropped them in and poked them down, no stirring. It was interesting to see how different they came out.

On to other things. I am going to see if I can convince my husband to get some goats. Milking goats. And if I can’t talk him into it, I might have to get mean and just bring home some adorable little baby goats in the spring. Who can say no to an adorable little baby animal? But I’m pretty sure I can talk him into it. A few weeks ago he remarked that we should get some milking goats. That is what made me start thinking about it. Then today on Ravelry I read in a forum that chickens are gateway livestock. The way cigarettes are a gateway drug. I found that to be really funny. As many years as we’ve had chickens, we should definitely be moving up the food chain to something without feathers… Feathered creatures we have owned or been adopted by: guineas, geese, ducks, chickens (of course) and we were adopted by a peacock for a while. Until he figured out none the other birds were impressed by his advances. Then he left us as quickly as he adopted us. I miss him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Some of My Projects

I can not express to you how happy I am to be done with my Palindrome Scarf. I don’t make many scarves because they go on and on. I get tired of them. Then I get sick and tired of them. But now I am done! I’d drink a beer if I had one.

I finished this swatch for my gansey:



Now I can begin the serious business of picking out the stitch patterns to use. I think I am going to go with 4 inches of ease. It is sport weight yarn, so I don’t think I want more ease than that.

And I have started a new project. I thought I wasn’t going to do that, but I couldn’t help myself. As punishment, I made myself finish Palindrome. Naturally, I am converting Accordion to a knit in the round sweater, so I am knitting the sleeve first. Accordion is basically 3 rectangles and there isn’t any underarm shaping. That is why I have to make the sleeve first, so I know when to split the front pieces from the back and knit things separately. I had to do the same thing with Boo last year. This is the beginning of my sleeve:



We will all note the lovely wild sunflowers in the background. I love them and allow them to grow freely anywhere but the yard. The girls have been picking them like crazy lately.

And this is where I am on my Monkey Socks:



I don’t work on it often enough to have the pattern memorized, but I am very familiar with it in spite of that. I see why people say it is easy to memorize. My plan is to finish this sock, then make the second sock of the Gentleman’s Half Hose. We all know how plans go, though!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Happy September

Today is way too fall-like. I need more warm weather to get goodies from my garden. We only just got these from our garden on Monday night:



Our first tomatoes! One slice per burger. Lovely, big, juicy tomatoes. How I love them. Happy days.

The knitting is mostly over for the Patchwork Tortoise. I have spent several evenings piecing together the strips I knit for the back:



It was a bit dicey figuring out how I was going to sew my strips together without getting 2 of the same color touching. I think it was a victory to only have 1 incidence of same color blocks touching. If I were to make this again in the future, I think I would use more colors for the tortoise’s back. I have enjoyed making it. It will be even more fun when Knitter #3 gets to play with it.

I’ve decided to type up my Survivor Man Hat and post it here as a free pattern. I’ve also been considering making another one in a softer yarn. The original is Lopi, which is very warm. It is also VERY rough to wear by your skin.

On another note, have any of you seen that pattern for a sweater in the Fall IK (p.30) that is made with lite Lopi? My heart goes out to the girl modeling that thing. I would never use a yarn like Lopi for that sort of garment. Lopi is great for outerwear. I have a knitted coat made with Lopi and I love it, but I wouldn’t wear it over a tank top. It makes me cringe to think of it.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Half Finished Objects

My Ravelympics experience was a bit of a downer. I didn’t finish anything, but it was fun trying to. I have finished a sock and that is a victory around here!



I am also officially half way through my Palindrome scarf:



Last night I finally finished off the first ball of yarn I dyed for it. The second ball doesn’t have as many white specks in it. In fact, it might not have any in it.

Lately, all I want to do is knit. Maybe it is the cooler weather. It’s been great for all my languishing knitting projects. I expect to finish the Patchwork Tortoise this week. It has come to a point where I can only work on it after the kids are in bed now. The oldest is sort of a big mouth and tells people if I am making them something. The tortoise is for our youngest whose birthday is in October.

Speaking of my oldest child, we had a very big day this last week. Last Monday morning, I put her on the school bus for the very first time. Something we will be repeating a lot for close to 20 years. My babies are not supposed to grow up! Well, not when they are being good and sweet, anyway.

One of my big projects recently has been cleaning up my sewing and crafting area. I am about half way through it now. It has been so disorganized and messy that it has been hard to even sew. The kids loved when I organized their room, and they find my new project irresistible. I can’t keep Knitter #3 out of my new storage unit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wardrobe Refashion

This morning I was checking out the blog of a commenter when I found the Wardrobe Refashion ‘08 blog. How cool. I am taking the pledge not to buy anything new for 6 months. You can shop thrift stores and make or refashion new things. I can shop until September 1, when the new round begins.



I, Kathy Walker, pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 6 months. I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings!

Signed, Kathy Walker.

This morning it was time to trudge up to the garden and visit the bean patch. I think little bunnies may be visiting it, too. However, I am still getting plenty of beans, so I won’t complain much. Last time I didn’t get quite as many as this morning:



This is where I am with my toy tortoise:



Right now I am knitting on its head. After the head there is the top shell pieces and the shell edging to knit. I am hoping that I will be able minimize the sewing and use the edging to ‘sew’ the top and bottom together. And, hopefully, I won’t be hating myself halfway through the process…

Monday, August 18, 2008

Knitting Wrenches

Sometimes things are going great and then the proverbial wrench shows up. I had this sort of plan as to how I was going to be knitting things up for the Ravelympics and then it happened. My ball of black yarn disappeared. The children seem to have no idea where it is. I have no idea where it is. At least I have the first one done. Naturally, this is why I was looking for the black yarn…

Here it is:



Isn’t it beautiful on our newly-attached-to-the-new-porch steps? Even better, it fits! And when I find the yarn, she can get a matching mitten. I will quit whining now.

I want to thank everyone for all of the nice comments on the Happy Hen sweater. It was only taken to with once. Perhaps it was too hot for napping in August…

How about the garden? It is growing and growing. This may be our best garden yet. I hope it will be, anyway. Every year I dream that we will finally be able to get a good portion of our food from our own garden. You know gratuitous garden shots will follow.

A pumpkin:



It looks pretty wilty. Hope it’s the heat and not squash bugs.

Baby Mortgage Lifters:



A Brandywine:



This one could be our first ripe large tomato.

Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes:



Yummy.

One last bit of knitting news. I have started the toe decreases on one of my sock projects!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Finished!

First thing, I want to thank everyone for their nice comments on my fair ribbons. Jane has way more confidence in my knitting than I do!

Last night, instead of doing more repeats on the Palindrome scarf, I finished up my neck warmer and the Happy Hen Sweater. As I type, the sweater is being worn to bed for a nap by Knitter #3. It is supposed to be 100 today. Good thing we have central air. Here is the Happy Hen:



And the unblocked neck warmer:



Knitter #2 has requested a neck warmer of her own. I am anxious to see what it looks like after I block it. I am thinking about steam blocking rather than washing it. I don’t think I have ever steam blocked anything before. Not that I can remember, anyway.

Last night, I went to the garden and made a small harvest of zucchinis and peppers. The peppers are strangely shaped for stuffing peppers. Maybe it’s because they are the first peppers of the season. I’m worried they might be hot peppers, but they are big for Jalapenos. I picked 3 zucchinis and they were each a different color. I am most enamored with the goofy green and yellow one.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New Porch, Old Sock

My projects are getting a bit out of control again. I have so many going, that I am ashamed. So I am not going to start anymore with the exception of my Ravelympics project. And I am going to quit thinking about what project to do first once I get all of these done. At least I am nearly done with 2 of them. I could actually finish them before the Ravelympics start.

This is what I worked on today while sitting at the computer getting really annoyed:



These are the socks for Brent that I started last winter. This December, I don’t think I will make any sock knitting resolutions. I may not even try to knit any during February. It seems to be a bad sock knitting month for me.

The picture was taken on our new front porch. It is still in progress, but Brent has gotten most of the decking on it now. We may have breakfast out there tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wow


I can’t believe all my entries placed! When we went to the fair last week, the only entry I saw was my shawl (third place). It was a bit of a surprise to go collect my things yesterday and find out I had 2 red second place ribbons as well. I thought my shawl would do better than the gloves (2nd place). And I really didn’t think my bread (2nd place) would place. It was in the ‘other’ category. It sounded like a pit of dispair when they told me they were putting it there. Perhaps to be chased into a corner and spanked by a bunch of zuchini breads. I am already plotting to take over the Sewing and Needlepoint division next year…

The heat of summer is apparently upon us. It is 100 out today, last week it was like 88 out. Oh so pleasant. Can’t win ‘em all. This summer has, for the most part, been much cooler than the past 7 or so. I want to know what is up with the freaky zuchini in my garden, though. I bought normal, green zuchini seed. I have freaky white ones on one plant, and another has fruits that are pale green and yellow. There is a plant with your normal run of the mill green ones. The rest haven’t produced anything yet, so I’m not sure what colors they might be. Over the years, I have had the oddest luck with zuchini. I am the only person I’ve ever heard of who can have 3 or 4 zuchini plants and get NOTHING.

Coming soon: Pictures of our new porch!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Going to the Fair...

Thanks for nice comments on the snake. I was sorry to hear someone was in trouble for viewing it. Sometimes you have to be sneaky about viewing blogs in front of your kids…

Wow, I can’t believe the TDF Kal is already over. I didn’t finish my third project. I didn’t finish my project last year, either. A trend! When the kal comes back next year (I hope!) I will no doubt not finish my project then. Consistency, if nothing else!

Anyway, here is what I have done on my Palindrome Scarf:



I think it is coming out beautifully. I have a feeling I am going to love this scarf. It may not be Clapotis, but it sure as heck is prettier. My Clapotis is NOT very pretty. Maybe I should dye it rather than making a new one. I’ve thought about making another one, but I can never decide what yarn to use. (I find it funny that I’ve never considered dyeing it)

Today I am baking bread in hopes of having a fine looking loaf to take to the county fair tomorrow. I am also going to take my Luna Moth shawl and possibly my Evangeline mitts. If I can find them. I think the judging is on Wednesday. As long as no one else enters any knitting, I can be assured of a win…