Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ending the Year Right

It is that time of year again. The end. I love Christmas break and not having to go anywhere. This year I decided it was definitely time to clean out the craft area. It had sort of downgraded into a pit of awfulness. It was horrible. I couldn't sew or do any actual crafting there. There really aren't any good descriptive words I can think of. Worst of all, it is part of our living room, so it isn't like you can just hide the mess. Nope, its right there for EVERYONE to see. But now it is a lot better. I have cleared out junk (and there was A LOT of it), moved furniture, reorganized, and thought about giving up and crying once or twice. Or more. I am not done yet, but it is not the eyesore it was a week ago. I no longer have to make hair sticks in the kitchen. Yes!!!

I have realized that I have WAY more yarn than I thought I did. WAY more. We may be pretty darn broke right now, but there is no reason I can't keep knitting for the next couple years. None at all. And that in no way takes into account the yarn I dye and sell. I finally threw away some of the yarn that was really old and had been kicking around the family for about 60 years. More than my 41 years, anyway. And I bagged up some to donate. The rest gets to stay and be made into stuff.

For years my husband has been saying I have way too much yarn. It turns out he was right. So this year I am going to just knit things I have the yarn on hand for. I have a bunch of yarn that was bought for particular projects, so I will start with them. There is a long sleeved, hooded sweater with cables, a wrap thing, and a vest just for starters.

Today I am letting the kids get started on putting away the Christmas stuff. This year I let them set up the trains and the Christmas village all by themselves. They loved it and they even seem to be enjoying putting it all away. Generally, we wait and do everything on the first, but Brent has hinted that he won't be able to start his resolution if it is all still out. Apparently, if he can't get up and use the weight bench, it just can't happen. And if my husband is actually interested in doing something to better his health, I am ALL about making it work for him.

And now we get to my resolutions. I like to make them because I am always changing things up in my life and trying to make something better. Here they are:

  1. I am going to knit more with my own yarn.
  2. I am going to knit at least 6 big projects that I already have the yarn for
  3. Keep up with an exercise schedule
  4. Drink 4 jars of water every day

Some of those resolutions may need some explanation. Knitting “my own yarn” means my Moon Stone Farm Yarn that I sell on Etsy. Projects an Ravelry are yet another way to promote it. Keeping up with an exercise schedule means doing it regularly. I have been sporadic with it most of the fall and not really getting myself into a schedule. I use my exercise bike here and there, run for a week, etc. Exercising, but not on a schedule. I like a schedule. And I like to feel like I am getting stronger. The water. Ever since my kidney stone surgery, I am supposed to drink a ton of water every day. So I have these 4 canning jars I fill with water every day. They are 24 oz jars and one of them has a special drinking lid Brent made for me that is fitted with a stainless steel straw. I have a really hard time getting to that 4th jar every day. When I do, it makes feel great.

I hope every one out there has a fantastic new year!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cleaning

So long, not much to say. I've been knitting on a secret project for a while. It is going out in the mail next week, so knitting will maybe get more blogging excitement going around here. If I blogged about the secrety project, it might not be a secret to the recipient, after all.

I want to fix our house. It has too much stuff in it. There is too much disorganization. Too much 'why is this STILL sitting here?!' Ever since I got home from the hospital, I have been wanting to get things straightened out. I've always been worried I would die and leave my kids too much stuff to deal with. Only I almost died and left my husband with all that to deal with. A few weeks ago I started digging out our bedroom and have made a lot of headway. It is the one room I tend to ignore when we clean up. No one ever sees it, so I don't bother about it. The first day I went in telling myself to find 15 things to toss and 15 things to put away. It turned to be hard to find 15 to put away. It was mostly stuff to toss and things that needed washed. But I did it and more. Yay. I have been trying to keep up with doing a little every chance I get, but Thanksgiving got in the way this week. Maybe by Christmas it will be like a real room.

I have had to face the fact that we tend to be slobs. So I have worked at changing my habits and doing better. I actually love things organized. I would love to have more open space in our house and there is only one way to do that. Get rid of stuff.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Knitting Happened

No blogging, just knitting and working. But at least I have been knitting. I took some pictures a couple weeks ago of my current projects. Here are some of the things I have been working on:

Fall Mystery Shawl
This is really what I consider my first REAL lace project.  It is sometimes frustrating, but also very fun.  I've fallen behind, though.  I intend to finish before the end of the year.

socks!
The purple socks were a mystery sock for the Solid Socks group on Ravelry.  They are a fun knit, and have a beautiful heel when I finally get there.  I am theoretically knitting them 2 at a time from each end of the skein.  But mostly I've knit them one at a time.  The green socks are from Purl Soho.  They are called Pompom Peds, I believe.  I've already knit one pair.  They are pretty easy since they are shorties.

Christmas Sweater

One of my christmas sweaters.  They are part of my Christmas Challenge this year.  The challenge being to make some presents and instill a love and respect for handmade things in my kids.

My Chore Sweater

 This sweater is supposed to be my chore sweater this fall and winter.  When it is finished, anyway.  I can't wait because it has been a long time in the works.  I thought about using this yarn (lion brand fishermen's wool) for a sweater for a couple years.

I am getting REALLY sick and tired of the weather around here. It was a wet, cool September after a very HOT summer. We will not can any tomatoes this year. Or pickles. I feel a bit like our garden was a failure. But we had a garden and we are eating from it. I had wanted a much bigger garden, but I doubt we could have kept up with it when I was sick and for the month after when I was still feeling weak. We went from mostly 100's to mostly 60's and that is not good for ripening tomatoes. Our cucumbers just never did much and a neighbor told us theirs were the same. Most of ours didn't even germinate. Just a bad garden year for us, I guess. We did get a lot of zuchini, and my track record with them is not good. I can plant a row of them and get 3 plants that have 3 or 4 fruits on them. Fortunately, my husband likes to grow them and he has great luck with them. My big garden success has been herbs. I have dried lots of herbs this year.

Next year, I think we will have a crop of lambs to eat. I'm thinking I will breed all the ewes that aren't related to the ram so we can have some tasty meat in the freezer. And I'll hope they are all ram lambs. Ram lambs are rotten little pills and you can't wait to off them by the time fall comes. They are cute at first. And then they turn naughty. First it is a cute naughty, and then you start to hate the little b*st*rds. Ewe lambs, like all girls, are different than boys. It is all about the hormones I think. Ram lambs like to beat the crap out of anything and everything. But they sure do taste good!

As much as I have complained about the cool weather, it has be nice. I do worry that we'll have a long cold autumn followed a by a long cold winter, but it is nice to not be hot all the time. A couple years ago the snow settled in a month early and I knew I would never make it in the far north where winter lasts 6 months. I enjoy this part of year where the days get shorter and shorter. It is a time when I feel closest to my ancestors and to the earth.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back To School...Thank the Gods!

School is officially in full swing tomorrow. What a relief. Over the past week the kids have gotten really unpleasant. It will be nice to have them away from each other for most of the day. I look forward to getting some things done this week. Like maybe making a start on secretive christmas knitting.

I would really like to get some sewing done this week as well. I have some patchwork skirts started for the girls and would like to get some things for myself done. Momma needs a new skirt or dress, too! Today I bought some fabric with my birthday gift card. I did it with a promise (to myself) I would get my skirts sewn up first. I'd like to shrink my fabric stash, and those patchwork skirts are NOT making a dent in it. I don't have enough of any one fabric to make a dress for myself. Or a skirt, for that matter. One of my new plans is to make some patchwork quilts. Surely THAT will start to make a dent.

Tonight, we had a first in our house. Knitter #3 got her first hair trim! She was not really wanting one, but she was starting to get split ends. And at almost 8 years old, I thought it was time. She hadn't had a single trim in her ENTIRE life. Not even an escapade with scissors. It was a first trim by mom for Knitter #2. I use a method called Feye's Self Trim. That's really just the name of her page explaining how to do it. A lot of long hair people like myself use it to trim their own hair. Because we don't trust hair dressers to not cut too much of our hair off. Now I can't tell people she's never had a hair cut...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Next Up, Fall

It seems like I ought to check in here before I realize it is Christmas again. The summer has been long and hot, here. School starts next week and it seems like the summer just evaporated. I do have to say, with being sick and having surgery in May/June, I feel like I was cheated out of part of my summer.

I have been knitting, of course. I am up to the armpits on my chore sweater body and most of the way through one sleeve. And I have some socks going as well. I'm hoping to have some to wear this winter.

A while back, I got some apricots and made some jam:



I made it without pectin. It was a bit worrisome because I've had a lot of issues making strawberry jam without pectin. The first batch I made last year has to be heated to be removed from the jar. Then I mix in a lot of hot water until it reaches a spreadable consistency. We keep it in the refrigerator. I made a batch this spring that came out nice and spreadable, but it had an odd taste and I ended up throwing it all out. Last summer I made some raspberry jam without pectin and it came out pretty well. With the batch of apricot jam, I am now at a 50% success rate. I have strawberries frozen for jam. I think I may just use pectin for it, though. Strawberries are the common denominator in my failures.

I am trying to be excited for fall. As the days go by, I am getting more ready for it. When I go past the woodpile, I smell the beautiful aroma of firewood.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Roasting

Hot where you live? It has been blistering here. Monday was my birthday, and of course, the hottest day so far. It was 111! That is the hottest I have ever been outside of the summer I visited a friend in Las Vegas. Too freaking hot. We leave the house closed up all night and I can't listen to crickets as I drift off to sleep. I love having the windows open at night. I guess the extreme heat will go away and I will get to hear the outdoors at night again pretty soon.

I have been really ignoring my hair's needs lately. One day last week I had braided my hair and the ends felt so horribly dry. It took a few days, but I eventually remembered to oil them. I'm trying to get myself back on my hair care schedule. When I got sick in May, everything went out the window. I'm probably lucky I still have hair after that. I have also developed a new long hair hero. Queen Eleanor from Brave. Her hair is long, brown and has a silver streak right about where I am developing one that will probably be noticeable in a few years. Who says long hair heroes have to be REAL? The make believe ones have the most fantastic hair, anyway. I've been trying to be more creative with my styles lately. One day I did double dutch lace braids. One side looked fantastic. The other was pathetic. That was interesting. Doing the same Nautilus or Everyday Bun is getting old. The one updo that I can really make look great is a braided chinese bun. However, with tailbone length hair, I should be able to do some other really cool updo's and make them look great. I should work at it a bit this month.

Knitting? I have not finished my sweater. It is making good progress, though. I am going to have to cast it aside pretty soon and make some small things I want to take to the fair or I won't have many entries this year. That would be horrible. Every year I tell myself I will work at things through the year to take to fair. But I don't end up doing all the things I think I will. It turns out, I am just like everyone else in the world... Human, not superhuman.

Friday, June 28, 2013

And Life Moves On

Yesterday I was celebrating my new Fitbit charger. Today I found the old one wedged down in the chair I like to sit in. And I had stuck my hand down there hunting for the thing a couple weeks ago! Obviously, my tape measure means more to me, because I dug deep enough to find the charger. My tape measure was laying on the kitchen table right where I left it this morning. Blah.

This morning I dyed the yarn for my next sweater project. It is the most yarn I have ever dyed all at once. 5 skeins. And the bottom skein is darker than all the rest. I am not sure what to do about it. I could dye the others more. Or I could alternate rows with another skein, but I don't really want a striped sweater. I might just throw the others back in the pot. Three of them anyway. Another skein that was down low in the pot is a perfect combination of darker and lighter. I could keep it the way it is. I love experiments.

My birthday is coming up in a few days and tomorrow we are going shopping for my birthday gift. It will probably be a gift card for JoAnn's. That would be handy for the dresses I'd like to make after I get done with my skirt making projects. I am so picky about clothes I prefer to pick things myself or make my own. And I hate spending a lot of money, another reason to make my own. Although I am willing to spend more money on clothes off of etsy. Unique, interesting, and made to fit ME, not some industry standard size.

Thursday's Post

Knitting never goes a fast as you imagine it will. I think the past couple days I have only managed to gain an inch a day on my sweater. And I have some other projects all lined up to do, but I have to do the sweater first. I really hate that. But it works. For me, one project at a time is the only way I get things done. Of course, I do have a bunch of UFO's that need attention. Let's pretend they don't exist for a bit.

I am happy today because my new charger for my Fitbit came AND my new stainless steel straws. A year or two ago, I saw an awesome idea on Etsy. It was using canning jars as reusable cold drink containers. And after I discovered them, I found the straws. Around Father's Day I ordered a set of straws and got some canning jars just for making into drink cups. Hopefully, they will fit in the cup holder of my Jeep. Not that I couldn't use them for canning, of course. I actually ended buying the wrong jars. The ones I meant to get were actually smaller. I like the larger, 24 oz size I got since I am now supposed to drink 100 oz of water and/or juice a day. Here is my new toy in action:



I love reusable stuff. Disposable things are such a waste of world resources. It is why I shop at thrift stores and make my own stuff. I like to feel like I use fewer resources than most people. But maybe I really don't, it is hard to say.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I'm a Real Designer, Now

I have always wanted to design knit things. Even before I wanted to dye yarn and get those perfect, just right colors, I wanted to be a designer. Now I am. I got set up for selling patterns on Ravelry quite a while ago. At least 6 months ago. Today I uploaded my first pattern. There will be more to follow. I've been writing down all my patterns for ages so I could remake them, and now that is going to come in handy. There will be editing and pictures to add, but I enjoy this kind of work.

My progress on my chore sweater is not exactly what I would like it to be. But it grows an inch or so a day. I don't think I will have it finished before my birthday like I wanted. However, I DID find my missing dpn's, so I don't have to buy some just to make the sleeves. I can't tell you what a relief that is.

I should have every size up to US10/6mm because I bought them all years ago from a Canadian site called Yarnforward. There is even an ergonomic needle that got slammed in the door of our jeep once. Bamboo or wood needles would have been finished, but metal bends. Speaking of knitting needles, have you seen the square needles everyone online is selling? Honestly, I just don't think so. I am not making a square stitch, I am making a roundish one. I don't think anything could induce me to buy a bunch of square knitting needles. I suppose they are counting on people not wanting to be left out of a trend, and they probably will sell loads of them to people who think they need different, unique knitting needles. I'd rather dress different than everyone else, myself.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sweater Projects

Here are the projects I mentioned in my last post:


The doggy sweater is the one I mentioned 2 posts back where I had swatched with different sized needles. It is for cute, adorable Humphrey who belongs to my husbands sweet heart of an uncle. He is a long haired Chihuahua. I think that is what you call them when they have hair, anyway. Humphrey is so tiny I was worried about how he would keep warm in the winter. Uncle Jimmy is a senior and on a limited budget, so I knew he couldn't be out buying little coats for Humphrey. So I stepped in with my knitting needles and a pattern. I can't wait to post some pictures of him in his sweater.


This is my chore sweater. My goal is to have it done by my birthday next week. Laugh if you wish. I am very excited about this project and have been knitting on it like crazy, so it COULD happen. If I could just find the dpns I am going to need for the sleeves in a few days....

Yesterday on Ravelry, I was looking at a sweater pattern that I am planning on making for fall. I have been in love with it for a while, so I decided to look at the designers other designs. Which led to her blog. I am in love with her Dress + Cardigan project series. I'd decided a few days ago that I wanted to make a couple dresses this summer, so it seemed so serendipitous to find that. I actually have a couple dresses in various states of progress, so I will check my project box before I cut anything out.

One of my goals this year and this summer is to use up some of the yarn and fabric I have just laying around. My chore sweater is one of those projects. I am planning to make a bunch of patchwork skirts this summer to use use up some of the fabric I have in storage totes under my work table. I remember when I didn't really have a fabric or yarn stash. It seems like a happy time in retrospect. But if I didn't have those stashes, I might not being doing much making this summer. There is going to be a scary hospital bill eventually (no insurance). Making is the only way I am getting new dresses/skirts/tops for this fall. I have plenty of patterns I haven't tried, so why not? I don't always have the right yarn, though. This just means I need to be more creative! There are some old sweaters I never wear, and they could be re-knit into something I would actually wear.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

I Beat the Odds

I've been MIA around here for a while. Only partly because of the following story. A month ago (May 19), I almost died from septic shock. I got sepsis from a urinary tract infection and giant kidney stone. The kidney stone was completely blocking my kidney from emptying. My local hospital sent me on to a bigger hospital in Boise to have emergency surgery to get rid of the kidney stone. I was feeling very sick by the time they were prepping me for surgery. But I was so out of it, I couldn't even think to complain to a nurse about it. Or even Brent. When they got me into surgery, all kinds of things started going wrong. My blood pressure dropped, temperature spiked up to over 103, and my heart started racing. I can remember someone seemed to be yelling at me asking if I had a family history of heart problems. The next thing I knew, I was surrounded by a lot of people who were all talking and one of them was telling me I didn't have the surgery, I had septic shock and was in the ICU. And then I went back to sleep. I was in the ICU from sunday night to Tuesday evening and then was released from the hospital on that Thursday. It seemed like a horrific experience at the time. I had iv's sticking out of me all over the place and was on heavy duty pain killers for the stent they put in my kidney to keep it draining.

The worst thing of all was that we'd left the girls with grandma and I hadn't given them hugs and kisses when I left them. And I almost never saw them again! I will never, ever make that mistake again. Anyway, I had my surgery on the 6th of June and am finally started feeling like myself again. Septic shock takes a toll, though. I am not really myself yet, and that will take months. I get very tired every afternoon and have to have a nap or dinner may not get made.

One day I was doing some searching on the internet and found a site with survivor stories. I read quite a few and was humbled. Every single story I read was worse than mine. Some were marginally worse like just spending more time in ICU. Some stories were nightmares. There were people whose symptoms were ignored by doctors and nurses. People who were hospitalized for months. The urologist who did my surgery told us the morning I got out of the hospital that I nearly died. But I am thankful that I was in the hospital I was sent to. They recognized quickly what was happening which is very important for a good outcome with sepsis and septic shock. I am alive because I was there and not somewhere else. 25-50% of people who get it DIE. That is a really high mortality rate. I am a really lucky, fortunate person.

I've been knitting. I finished a dog sweater the other day and have started EZ's seamless raglan for a chore sweater. Pictures next post!

Monday, April 29, 2013

10 Already

It really, really disgusts me when I make a mistake like this. I've been knitting a gauge swatch so I can make this sweater for a little dog I know. I was knitting the gauge swatch on a couple of dpn's. Size 7's and size 5's. To be exact. Yeah. 7 AND 5. If you knit, you can see the problem. I kept thinking one row would feel tight and the next loose. I thought it was weird. Now I know why. And now I am reknitting the swatch with 2 size 7 dpn's. It should work out better this time.

A while back it rained. Actual, real rain. And then this showed up:

A Full Arch
A Pot of Gold

It was the brightest rainbow I've seen in a long time.  Part of the time you could see 2 full rainbows.  It was so beautiful!

This week is the culmination of 10 years' hard work around here. Knitter #2 is going to be 10 at the end of the week. I don't understand how my little baby got to be so big. And for someone who is turning 10, she is kind of tiny. When I wait for her afterschool, I always know when she comes out and heads down the hill. She is way smaller than any other kids. Just like I was. I have noticed lately that her pants are all getting too short. I think she is about to start the big sprout. When I was 10, I started to grow a lot. I was short when I was a little girl, but now I am average height. I expect the same will happen with my little knitter.

We all were sick over the weekend. Knitter #2 brought something home with her from school and shared it with everyone. So much for handwashing. Knitter #3 had to stay home from school today. We slept all morning while watching Scooby Doo. Scooby Doo NEVER gets old.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Knitting Thoughts

Knitting continental has gotten easier. In fact, now I would say it feels natural. I am working on the purple hat now. It will be done just in time for it to be way too hot for wearing hats. Some mornings now we still need them.

I'm trying to decide if I really want to finish the sweater vest I had been working on before I started the hats. I'm not sure right now if I really want to wear it. Lately, I've been wondering if I really want to be done with it and not deal with it anymore. I'm not sure how much I really want to wear it. It would be cozy and warm. We'll see. Now I'm thinking of doing a shawl. But I do have a lot of projects left on the needles, so maybe I should finish a couple up first.

I haven't been finding a lot of knitting time lately. I've had this horror of a cold hanging on for three weeks. First it took me down and kicked me a lot, and now I have this horrid cough that FINALLY seems to be leaving me. It has been ages since a cold made me so sick I had to just go to bed and sleep. A few weeks ago, I spent several mornings when I didn't have work in bed sleeping. I would get the kids off to school, maybe do my chores, and then come in and sleep for several more hours. And I am a morning person. I do most of my work in the mornings, so that was a trial. I am glad to finally start feeling like myself again.

Back in February, I started on a little adventure that I don't think I've posted about here yet. I decided to try going without gluten in my diet. Starting out, I really thought it would have no effect on me, and that I would probably find it a waste of time. Just a few days into it, I was totally sold on not eating gluten. I felt better. I didn't have gas every single day. In January, we had started doing this green smoothie every day thing. It definitely gave me more energy. Quitting gluten gave me a bit more. I flat out feel better on the days I have a green smoothie as part of my breakfast. Must be all those vitamins in the kale or spinach. I am really happiest over being gluten free, though. Sometimes I think I might want a cookie or something from the bakery, but when I'm there, I actually can't bring myself to buy one. I just really don't want to go back at all.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Go Away Winter!

I am getting tired of Winter. Really tired. It snowed on and off all day. I want spring! I have plants to put in the ground and more on the way. Hell, it's probably snowing right now as I type. But it is dark, so I really couldn't tell you for sure.

Knitting has been so so lately. I am starting decreases on the hat. I think I will be relieved when it is done so I can get back to knitting fast. My speed with continental is getting better, but it still isn't as natural as my own weird way of knitting. I like finishing projects rather than having them piling up around me. I feel like starting the hat was NOT the right thing to do at the time. I will knit on the vest for a while before doing the purple hat.

I thought I would share one of my new hobbies:


Freshly roasted, shiny coffee beans. This is a hobby that is actually less expensive than buying beans at the store. Win. I have a friend that tried to talking me into this a few years back. Probably more than a few, actually. I am enjoying it, for sure.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Knitting

I've been quiet lately because I have been learning a new way to knit. It has slowed me down A LOT. But I am starting to get a little faster, now. For nearly 20 years I have been knitting in a strange style that I am not sure I can really name. Maybe it is what is called Eastern Uncrossed. Or not. Now I am learning continental in an effort to knit more quickly and do away with 'throwing'. I've been learning it on this hat for Knitter #2:


When I learned how to knit way back when, I started out knitting English style just like my mom's old how to book taught me. And somewhere in the middle of my second sweater, I started putting the needle in to knit from the wrong direction. I knit twisted for several years without knowing what was wrong with my knitting. Then I realized what was wrong and fixed it. But not by going back to the how to book and seeing where I'd gone wrong. I just learned to untwist the stitches. What this led to was hard times with patterns. When a pattern says 'k2tog' I might have to ssk to get it to look right. Some things in lace patterns can't be made to look right. It's a pain. I am hoping that my knitting gets faster soon, though. It is taking forever to knit a HAT, for crying out loud. My old, hard way of knitting lets me produce a hat in about 3 days.

It is also that time of year when people who pretend to garden start thinking about what they are going to be planting. I am going to plant some of my friends in the cabbage family this afternoon in this planting tray:


I am excited for spring to come so I can grow things in my garden. I'm hoping my husband will stay on board with this. He seems to be on about saving money and growing our own things. We used to have a great garden and the past few years he has really been negative about stuff like this. Last year when the time came for him to help out with the rototiller, he flat out refused. I had plants waiting to go in the ground and I can't operate our rototiller. It is too big for me to really control. And I am a strong woman. I am not exactly sure what I am going to do if he gets in one of those moods again. Maybe cry. Sick the kids on him. Who knows.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Knit, Bake, Dye

My knitting has been suffering. I was not as far along with my Bonsai Vest as I thought I was. So I had to take a good look at the vest and figure out where I was and what I needed to be doing. If you have guessed that this gave my knitting mojo a huge blow, you guessed well. I finally sat down with it today and got going again. I haven't taken any pictures of it lately. Maybe tomorrow or Friday I will have something to show.

Today I made these beautiful loaves of bread today:


They were so pretty, I had to take before and after pictures. I love a pretty loaf of bread. It just amazes me what patting out some bread and rolling it up does for it. Amazing.

I also dyed some yarn today:



I will take a vest knitting break this weekend and make hats for the kids. I promised them new hats a month or so ago. They deserve warm, hand knit hats to wear. I think I am going to get out my Elsebeth Lavold book for some inspiration. I thought about designing something special for each one. Then I thought about plain rolled brim. Simplicity. Now I am thinking semi-designed simplicity. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hay for Antlers, Indeed

It appears I may have to eat my words of January 2:

There is this big, good looking buck who likes to bring some of his best lady friends and their children along for the haystack buffet. If I thought he might drop his antlers right next to the stack, I might feel a bit more forgiving. But I am pretty sure he won't. No free antler hair sticks for me, no free hay for him. 

I found this item this morning:




It's partner was buried in some hay. A matched set. NICE. Thanks Mr. Buck. Brent thinks these antlers may not belong to the buck we had been seeing there. He thinks that buck was bigger. Maybe. Or maybe his eyes had big buck fever and enlarged the antlers by 10 in his mind. I don't care, they are pretty nice looking antlers. And they're mine. I am convinced Cernunnos is involved in all this.

On to knitting. What should I cast on next? Something to think on. I have some socks for me on the needles, so it won't be socks. And I don't think it will be a sweater. Not until the vest is done, anyway. Maybe some kind of accessory. I need to go study my Ravelry Queue. There's tons of stuff there that I actually want to make.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dread Wraps and Head Scarves


Today we will have a hair post. I've just finished the 'bun hat'. It is so new, there are not even pictures.

I have some pictures of how I wore my hair last Thursday:


I am wearing a tichel braided in with my hair and a purple dread wrap on the front. I also have this wrap around thing I made with yarn and ribbon knotted together. It wouldn't hold anything in place, but it looks pretty.

Since it has been so cold and my hair hasn't exactly been looking its best with the new experimental conditioners, I've been wearing my head scarves. I really should have gotten pictures yesterday of my lime green pashmina and my red sparkly scarf. The head scarves definitely keep my head warmer. Tomorrow I am planning to wear my tie dye head scarf I made last spring with one of my rainbow dread wraps. Hopefully, it will look awesome.

I am getting really tired of the cold we've been having. Yesterday morning it was 3 degrees. This morning 1 degree. Tonight at supper it was already down to 7, so I expect negative numbers by morning. I have to pack hot water every morning to the sheep, goats, and birds. And if the chicken eggs are not very fresh, I have to toss them out because they are frozen and cracked like the one a few posts back.

I am actually starting to feel a bit bad for the deer eating my hay. I have seen the same fawn nibbling hay down where I feed the ram and the wethers. I hope it has a mama to see it through the winter. The Fish and Game officer brought the roll of deer fence by today. We will wrap the stack and he will come back for the rest of the roll. I suspect part of the stack will collapse because so much has been eaten out of the bottom.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Finished Object Pictures!

Finally pictures of the Lopi sweater:



And the grafted underarm:



One spot on the right arm needs a bit more stitching up to take care of the gap, but other than that, I pronounce it perfect. I need a full length shot of it for my Ravelry page.

And, several rows after finishing the gusset decreases, I joined the red yarn on my socks:


The socks are actually done, but need to be grafted at the toe. That means that I am now working on my next future finished object, my Bun Hat. It's a hat that can be worn with a bun. No pictures until it is ready. I am planning on writing up the pattern and putting it on Ravelry for all my long haired, bun wearing friends.

After finishing the hat, I am going to go to work on my Bonsai Vest. According to my own rules, I could cast on something new now. Like a shawl for the kal I joined on Ravelry. But I love getting all these projects done and out of the way, so I don't think I am going to start anything new yet.

Our deer vs the haystack issue has not gotten better. Everytime I think I've got the hay wrapped up tight, they find a way to get into it. Yesterday afternoon, Brent ran them off with the shotgun. I was ever so pleased to hear he'd already gone outside and chased them off earlier in the afternoon. It seems like a bit brazen for them to come in the middle of the day. The good news is that he had to go do something at the game warden's house today. The game warden said he'd bring us a roll of deer netting to use sometime this week.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

All Knitting

My first finished object of the year! My lopi sweater is done.I finished it on Monday and wore it that afternoon and yesterday all day. The neck opening is a bit tight, but is stretching out to fit my slightly large head. When I made Brent's lopi sweater, I remember having to do the neck several times because he has an enormous head. The Istex patterns ought to be notorious for small neck openings. I have a couple patterns planned for the girls and I intend to remember the small neck openings on their sweaters. Not that I forgot about it on the latest one, I just thought there were going to be more decreases. And I couldn't be bothered to rip back. I think the sweater is going to be just fine. The best thing of all is the underarm grafting turned out great. Pictures soon, I hope.

It has taken me a really long time to wrap my head around Kitchener Stitch. Partly because I don't knit continental. I don't really knit proper English, either. Just another reason for me to learn Continental. I can't follow instructions in any knitting pattern on how to do a decrease, increase, or a cable because of the weird way I knit. And I don't even know how I ended up knitting the way I do. Anyway, I always tried to just alter the directions instead of changing the way my stitches were seated on the needles. I finally got smart a sock or two back and I am now beginning to get the hang of it. About time seeing as I am coming up on my 20th anniversary of knitting at the end of May.

I can't believe I have been knitting for almost 20 years! I'll have to do something special this year. It might need to involve some sweater designs I have been working at on and off for ages. Maybe I'll have to get done 'designing' and just knit them for crying out loud. The yarn has been languishing here for ages.

My orange shorty socks are coming along quickly since I'm not knitting a sweater anymore. I expect I will join the red yarn sometime today. I'm hoping to get all the gusset decreases done before I run out of orange. Of course, it doesn't matter much. When the orange is gone, it's gone. When I finish them, I will be free to start another project if I want to. But I am not sure I will. I might try to finish off the Bonsai vest first. I've had it on the needles for close to 3 years, so it would be very nice to be done with it and wear it before another winter is over. I really think that once I have the vest done, I will start to feel I'm getting ufo/wip stuff under control. Some of the others aren't exactly small projects, but somehow skinny yarn never feels like a big out of control knitting project.

I love knitting fingering weight. It makes me feel like a real knitter. When knitting started becoming popular 10 years or so ago, there started to be a lot quick to knit bulky patterns on the market. And I started to equate things made with super bulky or bulky yarn as patterns for beginners. People who want to say they knitted something, not part of something. A sweater on size 3 needles is intimidating for most beginners. A hat with bulky yarn on size 13 needles comes together pretty quickly. And that isn't a bad thing, because confidence is everything when you are learning something new. Anyway, back to the fingering yarn. There is nothing I love more than doing a fair isle or scandinavian pattern with their color changes. Fun stuff.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Snow, Sweaters, and Gardening

It has warmed up a bit here. This morning it was 19 degrees instead of 3. And the sky is dumping snow on us like no tomorrow. Fortunately, I don't have to go anywhere today.

Over the weekend, I almost finished my sweater. I have about 2 rows left on the neck. In other words, I could be finished by noon if I don't get distracted by housework or the internet. When I got to the last color change for the neck, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with what the pattern suggested. In the end, I decided to go with the purple color and it looks fantastic. I am determined to get the underarms kitchenered together this afternoon and evening. Then I can wear my brand new warm sweater tomorrow.

The reason I didn't manage to finish the sweater yesterday was because I was tempted into looking at things on Etsy and Ravelry. What was I thinking?! There is so much cool stuff out there. If I want to get anything done, I should know better than to wander towards those places.

This morning I picked up a garden catalog that came in the mail the other day. I think I am going to keep it just for the good information it has in it. Besides the usual planting info, it has companion planting tips. And in the middle by the order form, it has all kinds of interesting information. There is a page of storage information; a chart with planting information such as depth, spacing, weight of seeds for a 100' row; a plants per acre chart; and best of all: a garden planning guide for how much to grow for a family of 6. For someone who wants to grow as much of their own food as they can, that little chart is wonderful. The company is called Irish Eyes Garden Seeds. I have not visited their website yet. They might have all that stuff there, too.

I have sworn myself to having a good garden this year. The past few years, the male person in the house has refused to till the garden for me. Last year in January he was all on about planting the garden. When the time came and I had plants in hand, he flat out refused to do anything to be helpful. Since then, a friend of mine offered to swap labor with me if he becomes difficult again. Probably better than threatening him with a sharpened carrot. I am hopeful that he will want to help out. The more we grow, the less we have to buy. And the kids are old enough to labor in the garden, too. I intend to let them pick a few things to grow and help take care of. I loved having my own row of radishes when I was a kid.

What is it about snow that makes you want to garden?

Friday, January 04, 2013

Brrrr!

It's COLD outside! 3 degrees the last time I checked. And I had to send the kids off to school in this kind of cold. Sometimes it amazes me how they don't think they need to have their bodies covered when it is cold. Every day in December when Knitter #2 got off the bus, she did not have a coat on. My kids are almost the last stop. It is well after 4 pm when they get home, so the temperature has been dropping for a while when they get here. This morning I had a battle with Knitter #3 about wearing a hat. She has a headband and earmuffs that she likes to wear. But I am a narrow minded anti-frostbite kinda mom, so I told her no earmuffs. I thought I was being really nice letting her have the headband with a hat. There were tears. And as far as I know, she has survived with non-frostbitten ears.

When it is cold like it is now, some things don't fare well outside. Like this egg:


I really don't care to collect eggs more than once a day. I prefer a one trip fits all approach. Feed, water, egg collecting, done. So today's egg may be adventurously consumed today. Or tossed. It is currently thawing in a little bowl in the fridge.

How about my knitting progress? I've gotten through 2 decrease rows on the yoke of my Lopi sweater. Those rows are flying by now. I might finish by Monday. My current plan is that I could then concentrate on finishing my second shorty sock. After that, I am free to cast on my next project, a shawl. But I do want to concentrate on finishing my bun hat, so I think that if I cast on for the shawl, it will be my secondary project while I work on the bun hat. Unless the shawl is just way more fun to work on, of course.

A while back, I got a bug to make a hat with bulky yarn. So I came up with this hat that I like to call my Brown Mushroom hat. It is HUGE. I may try a different version on slightly less bulky yarn or on smaller needles. With some alterations. I am currently thinking I will write up the pattern from my notes and post it over on the pattern page, though. Here it is:



The picture does not do justice for how big it is. You'd have to see it on a head, but I don't have pictures of that yet.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Antlers For Hay?

Happy New Year! Today is the last day of Christmas Break. Tomorrow the little knitters have to head back to school. The oldest is excited because she'll get to see all of her friends. The youngest is less excited because she finds staying home with mom to be the best. It is nice that someone likes me better than their friends.

Yesterday morning, Brent and I spent a good bit of time once again attempting to defeat the deer. They like our hay. A lot. There is this big, good looking buck who likes to bring some of his best lady friends and their children along for the haystack buffet. If I thought he might drop his antlers right next to the stack, I might feel a bit more forgiving. But I am pretty sure he won't. No free antler hair sticks for me, no free hay for him. When we quit using the feeder in the barn all the time, we quit stacking the hay in there. It is a pain hauling the hay in there. Our stack is considerably smaller now and easier to wrap the tarp around to keep the deer clan out. I don't feel a bit bad for them because we are not having a hard winter. Yet.

I am going to start the decreases on the sweater today. Very exciting. Maybe I will be wearing it by next week!

Before I go, I wanted to share this picture:




This is from about a month ago. It is a flipped bun with my Nightblooming draped hairsticks. I love the look of these in my hair! I've had them for nearly a year, but it has taken me a while to figure out just how to get them in my hair right since they are attached to each other.