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.