Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring is Definitely Coming

Things are looking good for my mittens. I have 3 fingers and the mitten cap left to go. After knitting one of the fingers I noticed something. I had picked up the first mitten to see if the fingers matched up and something looked different. At first, I couldn’t see what it was. Then I realized I had made the stripes on the second mitten narrower, so it has more stripes. The mistake started right at the beginning. I’m leaving it the way it is. There is no way I would tear out the whole thing just for that.

Good news with my Accordion sweater: I am an inch away from separating the fronts from the back. It will be a relief to be done with such a large project. Plus, I will get to wear it.

I saved my best news for last. I have sprouts! 6 tomatoes and 3 Brussels sprouts. I need to plant some more seeds, but Brent hasn’t found another fluorescent light fixture for me to use on the ones that have sprouted. I am sprouting them in a window, but I am using all the room there is for the plant trays I already have. We also want to start working in the garden on days when the weather is nice. Today wasn’t one of those days. It turned out sunny after starting overcast and rainy, but was very windy. This weather does mean spring is coming!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spinning On My Mind

This is what the girls and I did after dinner last night:

They were surprisingly willing to take turns. In the end this is the result we got:

I can’t get over how soft and squishy the balls are. I love them.

Today was such a nice day. It was nearly 60 again. Our snow is nearly gone because it hasn’t been below freezing for days. I hung laundry out today. Last week was the first wash day in ages when I was able to hang some of our wash out. Next thing, it will be summer and all the wash will be dry before noon.

This morning, I did my fiber shopping. They were suspiciously out of several fibers I had been eyeing. I like fibers with a bit of their own natural color. I ordered 4 different fibers, or maybe 3. I ordered 2 different kinds of BFL because it is totally addicting. I have some on my spindle right now. Several of the fibers I ordered because it said they were good for beginning spinners to use. I will probably need all the help the fiber can supply. I am hoping that spinning with a wheel will be easier for me than the hand spindle. I’ve heard of people finding the wheel easier. Hopefully, I will be one of them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Cute Little Turtle Strikes Again

Today I started working out again. Our driveway is once again decent to run on. Hopefully, I can keep with it and make it to my goal weight by the end of June. Right now, I weigh 138 and my goal weight is 120. My fitness goal for this year is to able to keep up a workout no matter my schedule changes. Before I had kids I was capable of being very flexible with my workouts. I could do them any time of day and not get out of my habit. After I had kids, it all changed. It has been very hard the past 5 years not keeping up with my workouts because I was used to being very fit.

Knitter #3 took her Patchwork Tortoise to preschool today for show and tell. Now I have to make one for her teacher. The high school helper said she wanted the pattern. That’s a girl. She wants to make one. I always endeavor to encourage crafting in other people. Patchwork Tortoise IS really cute.

Tonight after supper, we are going to try out my new toy. Pictures and evidence tomorrow. I ordered a ball winder when I ordered the spinning wheel. I can’t believe it got here already. The spinning wheel should be here sometime this week. I got a fiber credit with my order, so I should do something about spending it before the wheel gets here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reducing Clutter with Stashalong?

Today I was going through my Ravelry groups to weed out ones I don’t really ever visit. One of the groups I looked at was Stashalong. Stashalong used to be a blog, but now it is a Ravelry group. I decided that this year for Stashalong, I want to finish all my wips/ufos. I don’t remember having that choice before, but last year I was thinking I had been getting a bit out of control with my yarn. Right now, with Brent not working, knitting from stash is a really good idea. Plus, it helps declutter.

I have to get rid of some of my yarn so I can make space for my fiber stash. My fiber stash is probably going to grow because I ordered a Kromski Minstrel spinning wheel. Just in case people wonder how my husband can be out of work and I can be buying a $500 wheel, I got my share of one of my father’s annuities recently. (I very responsibly put most of it in the bank.) Back to the wheel, I have drooled and wanted this particular wheel for many years. I can’t tell you how many times I have dreamed and researched and always came back to this one. And a spinning wheel can’t be neglected, so I will have to have some stash for it. Maybe I could steal some of the neighbors sheep? They have so many, how could they miss 5 or 6? I have mentioned before that I live up the road from the largest sheep ranch in Idaho. Right now, about half of their ewes are lambing a mile from my house. It makes the drive to town very cute and adorable.

Today, we had the first rain of the year. The first non freezing rain, anyway. It was very nice. Maybe spring really IS coming!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

An Odd Day

Shopping sucks. Today, we tried to buy a video camera. Local Walmart has almost no video cameras other than the display cameras. We tried to go buy cheese at the cheese factory that used to buy my families milk. They no longer have a store. I never thought it could be so hard to part with a tax refund in my life. We did manage to buy some fish for our 55 gallon aquarium. Last fall, I decided it need to have more than 3 lonely little red eye tetras. Now they have around 30 friends. Not all purchased today.

My MIL’s dog has been staying with us for several weeks while they are off on a vacation in Mexico. Poor thing is going to have to go home next week. She is spoiled. Sometimes she doesn’t want to go home when they come to get her. I have to admit, I find it funny, but I also feel bad.

Something weird happened this afternoon after we’d been home a short time. There was this weird noise and we felt this vibration under our feet. Brent said it sounded to him like an earthquake. But there was nothing on the news about anything. We live in a place where there are almost never quakes, so I wouldn’t know if one happened or not. He lived in Alaska for 11 years and felt them often. It was odd is all I can say.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Hours Lost to Ravelry...

This morning, I wasted hours on Ravelry going through the toys in the pattern section. Easter and a birthday are coming up this spring, and I had to find some fun stuff. And I did. I think I might need some toys. I found some little Hello Kitties that were cute as heck. My best finds today were crocheted. I love crocheted toys.

My second mitten is coming along nicely. It will no doubt be finished faster than the first one. I am rather jazzed about the idea of finishing some stuff so I can start crocheting that butterfly afghan I was talking about a few days ago.

Today was another lovely day. It was nice enough that I was able to hang jeans out on the clothes line and they got dry. I love when I can dry my jeans outside. It is also nice to have the ducks and chickens running around the yard again. When the ground is covered in snow, they won’t even come out if I leave the gate open. They are smarter than we think!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Sale Find!

The weather today is so nice. It makes me wish I could go out in the garden, but the ground is just starting to thaw. It is over 50 outside. We are supposed to have nice weather like this for the next week. So lovely!

I found a fabulous pattern at a local discount store today. It is for a cabled cell phone carrier. I tore one off the pad to bring home and try out. I could use a few for all those times I don’t have pockets for my phone. Great for all the leftover bits of yarn I have laying around, too.

A while back, our library had a book sale. They had books of all kinds and I got some for the kids. And for me. I found a stack of sewing books and one knitting book. It happened to be Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti. Not her other book, that I hear people rave about ( Knitting in Plain English), but I expect it has a lot of good information in it. I have barely glanced through it so far, but I will be spending a lot of time with it soon, I think.

Hope you all are enjoying nice weather, too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No Sprouts Yet....

No plants sprouting yet. I picked up a few seeds today. I might have gotten more, but I couldn’t remember what I had already ordered, so I’ll have to make a seed shopping list. It would be much more fun if it were really spring and I could plant things in the real garden.

I am discovering that as I get older and accumulate more unfinished projects, I am becoming weak. Last night I cast on a BYOB. I have wanted to cast on ever since the pattern came out, so maybe I am not a total wuss. Last night I decided I had waited long enough for my own handmade grocery bags. In an hour or so, I finished the handgrips and got the bottom started. I’ve promised myself to only work on it in the evening when I can’t see the brown and purple I am using for the mittens. I need to finish something someday.

Accordion is coming along. It is very boring knitting. K4, P4, repeat forever. At least with Stockinette stitch you get to knit a row and then purl a row. I think I will really get a lot of wear out of my Accordion sweater, but I will not make the kids version for the girls like I thought I would.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mitten Pictures

I present my finished mitten:

Another shot:

My mitten/gloves are not going to match for a number of reasons. The mitten cap on the first one isn’t long enough or snug enough for my taste. I think the first one may get a draft under it. The color changes on the thumb makes gaps in the thumb that I don’t like. It also isn’t long enough. If I like the second glove/mitten (I hate the word ‘glitten’), I may go back and fix the first one.

Yesterday, I really thought I had hit the jackpot with the butterfly afghans. Until last night when I printed them off and started comparing. They were the same pattern with different shades of yarn. That was annoying. I could always go through the patterns I already have and see if I can find a little girly one. Or make a pretty ripple afghan in little girl colors. I found all my white yarn last night and definitely have enough to make the butterfly afghan for one of them. I might have to buy one skein of the darker pink stuff. I know I have some really old (from my childhood) pink acrylic around here somewhere. I almost never throw away yarn. If I can find a way, I will post a picture here of it here tomorrow.

I’ve been giving my green headband a lot of thought, and I have decided to tear it out. I may restart it sometime with a different yarn. I just don’t think the green will look all that great with the orange or blue that I have. There definitely isn’t enough green to finish the headband.

Gardening season started for real today. I planted tomatoes and brussels sprouts. The tomatoes are Brandywines, Glacier, and Black Prince. All procured last year from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Yesterday I ordered Mortgage Lifters and Amish Paste tomatoes along with some lettuces, other greens, parsnips, and carrots. The greens I ordered are Kale, Sorrel, Orach, and Watercress.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Knitting and Finding Projects

I got a bit of knitting done today. I finished my glove and am starting the second one. After finishing the first one, I decided to completely scrap the pattern I used. I am going to follow the Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns and place the mitten cap a little lower than I did on the first one. I immediately started the second glove, to keep a good momentum going. When I finish the second glove I am going to write down my pattern so I can make it again in the future.

Since I can’t really buy yarn for the projects I am seeing in the magazines right now, I have decided to seek out projects I can do with my stash. I have quite a bit of old white and off white acrylic yarn that wants to be used. I spent 2 days searching for free afghan patterns that would be suitable for little girls and have come up with 2 different butterfly afghans from the Coats and Clark website. I may have to buy a little yarn to do them, but they should cause a net loss in my stash. And one thing about acrylic is that it is really CHEAP. All I have to do now is collect all the yarn together and weigh it to make sure I have enough. And finish some other projects, of course.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is what I did for my adorable family today:

I also made our favorite oatmeal muffins for breakfast this morning. We have them almost every weekend. They are from an old cookbook of my Grandmother’s. Old cookbooks rock. A while back we were out of cupcake papers, so I made breakfast cookies with them. They were really cool. It was like having the top of a muffin. The bottoms were soft enough to be buttered, too. MMM….

A couple weeks ago, I finally decided what birds to get this spring. I ordered some Narragansett turkeys in addition to Delaware and Barred Rock chickens. There are to be 5 turkeys. Hopefully, there will be a couple good looking ones to keep and a couple to eat. Providing they survive to adulthood, that is. Domestic turkeys aren’t known for being rocket scientists. But they are kind of fun and cool. My mom raised turkeys several times when I was a kid. It’s a nostalgia thing.

I was going to plant some seeds today, but as of yet, I haven’t even gone through my seeds to see what I have. Or looked for my flats to plant them in. Maybe tomorrow.

My knitting suffered today because I have a sore wrist. It keeps me from knitting for long periods of time. I suspect I re-injured it moving Slinky the cat and her kennel around the house. It is an old farm work injury that resurfaces every so often when I don’t treat my hands and wrists appropriately. Slinky’s kennel used to belong to Candy, our late hunting dog. It is huge and takes 2 people to move if anything is in it. Anyway, not as much knitting as I hoped.

Friday, February 13, 2009

No More Snow, Please

We’ve gone back to having winter weather here. For the past few weeks, we’ve been having lovely weather that indicated spring was on its way. We’ve been getting snow for several days. Fortunately, it hasn’t piled up. I was really happy with my yard becoming more and more devoid of snow, though.

We’ve finally managed to get rid of all of my father’s animals, so I am hoping to have more time for myself. Knitting time, sewing time, relaxing time. I might get to use my new toys/tools with a little time on my hands. I got a serger a while back and I haven’t even had time to try it out. I have used my new sewing machine and LOVE it.

Here they are:

And I had to buy fabric to try out all the great stitching possibilities:

And now Brent is laid off again, so no more spending money. Now I have to sew from my stash. And knit from it. Naturally I found lots of things I liked in the Spring IK and the latest Knitscene. And that is something that NEVER happens. I usually look at the magazines 5 or 6 times and then things begin to look appealing to me. Figures…