Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Peek....

...at the Secret of Chrysopolis shawl. With clue 2 finished, I am only 3 clues behind. Oh well, as the saying goes: a day late and a dollar short. We've had wonderful weather these past two days, sunny but windy. Both solar and wind energy would have worked beautifully. I feel for the folks out East who use heating oil. The price of a barrel of crude won't go down soon. We've been looking at alternatives to Propane, but haven't found anything. I love corn stoves; they burn clean and permeate the house with a freshly baked corn bread aroma. But corn (maize) has become quite expensive due to the increased production of Ethanol and a wood burning stove is out with Angie's asthma and my breathing problems. It's a pity; we have plenty of wood on the back nine. But that's the price for living in the country. On to more pleasant topics -- like a picture of the shawl. Yarn is Knit Picks Shadow lace yarn; color is grapevine and I think I'm using 3.5 mm Addis.

The shawl is unblocked in the photos. I think it will be stunning when it is finished and properly blocked. One of these days, I'll figure out how to get the colors on the photos come out the same.

Besides this shawl, I have still the second sock, the crazy shawl and the Dale of Norway sweater.

"Knit on!"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Honeycomb Scarf

Hurray, it's finished. I must have some attention deficit traits since I usually get tired of knitting something that has the same pattern throughout. About halfway through I want to cast off, but scarves are never long enough at that point. The scarf is approximately 12" (30 cm) wide and 75" (190 cm) long. It was actually to be 80" (2 meters) long. The yarn used was 100 grams of Knit Picks' Shadow lace yarn, color is Campfire, and it has 440 yds/50 grams. Of course, I had enough left to have finished the last 5 inches, but I gave myself permission to cast off. The color reminds me of the marvelous dark honey one could get in the Blackforest. Since bees feed on pine pollen, the honey was always a dark honey color with an almost greenish tint to it. Oh how I miss that honey. The taste is totally different from any other honey. The design is from the German Yahoo Group Weihnachtsgeheimnisse (Christmas Secrets) and the designer is Monika Eckert at http://www.klabauterwolle.de/.

Works still on the needles are: the Secret of Chrysopolis, heel and foot of the second sock which will be for Moi!, Crazy Scarf, and a Dale of Norway sweater which I think I started last year.

So let us "Knit on!"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Calling one and all...

...to identify these paw prints. I found them the other evening on my front screen door. They are about 55" off the ground. Is it a dog, cougar, small bear, or something else? Does anyone know? Please speak up before I get the window cleaner out and wipe them off.

On the knitting front, I've finished the Honeycomb Scarf; it is being blocked right now. Pictures of the scarf will appear tomorrow. I've also finished the bluish socks and have started the second sock from Angie's home spun, home dyed yarn. Then it's on to the German Mystery Shawl and the Dale of Norway sweater I started last year.

"Knit On!"

Monday, October 22, 2007

We are getting ready for the Fiber Expo in Ann Arbor, Michigan this coming weekend. Unfortunately it's the same weekend as the University of Michigan football game at home. Nary a room to be had in Ann Arbor or within 25 miles of it. So we are going to have to reserve a motel room a little bit further away. I've been busy sewing in ends and making one more pair of socks.

Our "local" LYS had a 50% off sale on their in-house hand-dyed sock yarn, so, of course, I had to get some. In order to keep prices reasonable one cannot knit a pair of socks with yarn that costs $20+ for 100 grams of sock yarn. That's why I am always looking for a bargain. I found the pattern on www.knitty.com ; it's called Ripple Socks. The yarn is a multi-colored yarn, dyed so that for a “normal” sized sock, the colors change after each round of knitting. I think the yarn and pattern complement each other quite nicely.

These socks are going to be for me and me alone. The yarn was hand-spun and hand-dyed by my daughter specifically for me. (In other words, she was tired of my asking “what are you going to do with that yarn” and “ooh, that’s nice.”) The yarn had been sitting on my coffee table (what no coffee on the coffee table?) just waiting for the right pattern. I am finally starting to understand her way of dyeing. Each skein she spins and dyes is actually a work of art. Others paint on canvas, sculpt, or build. Angela expresses her artistic talent in dyeing roving and spinning it. Putting an order in for such and such a dye job just doesn’t do it. She needs to create her own colors and combinations. If someone likes it, that person will buy the yarn. Well, I had bought two new sock books, More Sensational Knitted Socks and Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave. The pattern came out of the 25 Timeless Designs and is called "Undulating Rib." The fun thing in knitting this sock was that the stripes in the yarn almost fit perfectly with the pattern repeats. How lucky can you get?

I am almost finished with the second part of the Secret of Chrysopolis shawl and am still working on the honeycomb scarf. Now to make one more sock of each and I’ll be ready for the show this weekend; although I am not ready for a bunch of rabid University of Michigan football fans.
Knit on!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The first frost of the season!

We had our first frost of the season this morning and there are still so many outside projects left to do. From clean-up to getting the hen house ready for winter, to getting the snow blower ready, putting gardening tools and watering hoses away and putting up plastic on windows and caulking. I'm tired already and haven't done a thing yet. I continue to drag my tail, so to speak, trying to get over whatever it is that I had. So, in order not to get overwhelmed it's time to make lists and scratch off each chore as it is done. And I think I'll use this blog to keep me honest. So tomorrow a trip to the hardware store to buy plastic, a hammer and an extra 2x4 to put up another roost. And if I still have the energy, put a fresh light bulb in the chicken coop.

I've finally gotten onto some antibiotics for my chest and the doctor has also prescribed an inhaler for me. I refused to believe that I have COPD, but after thinking it over, I'm of that generation that had smokers around them from all directions. In fact when I first started working at the prison, we still had cigarette machines in the vending machine room. It wasn't till the last two to three years of working that smoking by staff was banned "within the walls." However, the inmates could still smoke in their cells and on the yard. In case you think it would have been good to take tobacco away from the prisoners as well, I ask you to keep staff in mind. Riots by prisoners are not appreciated and generate too much paperwork, besides being hazardous to one's health and well-being.

And that brings me to another memory of the years right after the War, the big one to end all wars. (I told you yesterday that my mind makes strange associations. Wouldn't Freud have had a field day?) Several years ago, I watched a movie in German about the years after the war and the moral corruption of the Wirtschaftswunder. (Germans and Ingmar Bergman had something in common: their bleak outlook on life.) The movie, however, started out with the last few days of the War and then switched to 1946. I was bothered by the opening without knowing exactly why. And then one day it came to me, all the men were bending over to pick up cigarette butts (before filters) and I had observed those actions as a child. Tobacco was hard to find and any bits of tobacco left in a discarded cigarette butt were, of course, recycled. In 1946, we searched for food the same way as men searched for tobacco: Nettles from the side of the road, beech nuts from the forests for oil, gleaning small potatoes from the fields of farmers after the harvest was over, and if you were lucky enough to know a farmer, showing up "accidentally" at butchering time. And picking up horse manure; no, not for eating, but letting it dry out and then using it for fuel in the stove. My adult children have absolutely no idea what it was like to be really poor, hungry and without adequate shelter. Although I am sure they felt quite deprived as youngsters. There really is no way of imparting these life experiences onto another person. Those years made me tough, ready to face challenges and also to marvel at the possessions and privileges I have today. For example:

We had a wonderful day. Friends of my daughter, my daughter and me went to visit the Marketplace at SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat) which was held at a Michigan Ski Resort north of us. It was a beautiful drive and we did see a little bit of color, although the autumn splendor won't be quite so "splendorous" this year due to the drought this summer and the wind blowing a little bit too hard the last few days. But we had wonderful company, good conversation and spent some money.

I limited myself to one pound of roving, merino/silk mix which will make a beautiful shawl and Angela bought a couple of drop spindles. Oh and I paid for a book, a Maggie Sefton knitting mystery, but walked away from the booth without the book. Of course, I didn't realize what I had done until we were sitting in a Big Boy's having a piece of pie. So on Monday, I'll have to call the vendor who of course is from far away, Colorado, ask them if they remember the ditsy lady that gave them a hundred dollar bill, accepted the change back, but didn't take the book with her. The moral of the story is, you don't have to be blond to have a bad hair moment.

Here,then, is a picture of the roving I bought for Angela to spin for me and a couple of more projects I have finished, albeit it small ones. The dishcloths are from the monthly KALs to which I belong, and I finally finished the second green sock. They turned out well, if I say so myself.

Green is for Hope Socks, Opal Yarn

The picture does not give justice to the true color of the roving. It is a merino/silk mix

Oak Leaf

I like the execution of this dishcloth better than some of the others. The pattern on this cloth is knit in garter stitch while the pattern in the dishcloth below is made with reverse stockinette stitch.

Fire Fighter's Hat and Axe.
I am still working on the honeycomb scarf, the crazy shawl and have started a new pair of socks (these are for me). I finally found the pattern which will bring out the beautiful patterning of Angie's hand spun yarn which she gave to me a few weeks ago. It was a conversation starter, even at Big Boy's. But tomorrow is another day for pics.

"Knit on!" and don't let those bed bugs bite you. I am going to bed. So, good night.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am back from the frog pond...

...and from being sick. You know you are sick when you can't knit tuppence worth (2 cents). They no longer mint farthings and tuppence in England, I think. A farthing was a quarter of a penny.

I have finished the Wabenschal (honeycomb shawl) designed by Birgit Freyer from http://www.die-wolllust.de/. It's a free design we received by belonging to the Yahoo group "Knitting Delight." This is not to be confused with the Honeycomb shawl designed by Monika Eckert of http://www.klabauterwolle.de/ who is hosting the Yahoo Group secret-of-chrysopolis for which she has designed a rectangular shawl and which I am currently knitting.

So here is a picture of the long-ago finished Honeycomb (Wabenschal) scarf. I finally blocked it. Blocking has become literally a pain-in-the-back. I thought I had found someone to block shawls for me, but I haven't heard yet from her. Therefore, I need to put my thinking cap on a design of a tear-down blocking station, large enough to block 7' in diameter shawls, in sections so it can be easily stored and high enough that my back has not to bend more than 1mm, zero tolerance would be even better.

I've also blocked the Icelandic Shawl from a 1999 Piecework issue which the http://www.knittingdaily.com/ site made so generously available after a number of us whined about not being able to get the pattern without paying an arm and a leg on E-Bay. The shawl is also known as the Thordis Shawl. The yarn came from http://www.sarahsyarns.com/ a yarn shop from Brooklyn, NY. and is JaggerSpun Maine Line 2/8 weight, which is about fingering weight. It's a wonderfully soft yarn and is spun in Southern Maine. I am not 100% sure, but I think the fleece are also from local sheep farms. If you ever need this type of yarn, Sarah is friendly, efficient, and her yarns are reasonably priced. She also sells coned yarns.

And here is Mrs. Bear all warmly tucked into the shawl

Unfortunately, the size of the shawl as presented in Piecework is for a slimmer person than I am, so it will need to find a different home. I might just have to make another shawl, using either a heavier yarn and larger needles, or increasing the number of stitches when casting on. This is entirely within my mathematical capabilities which aren't exactly outstanding.
The teachers lost my interest when at the tender age of 10, a=b was introduced. It wasn't the teacher's fault but was entirely due to the fact that I was two years younger than any of my other classmates. My excuse, therefore, is that I was not developmentally ready for Algebra. Of course, other science subjects, such as Biology or Chemistry didn't interest me either, other than poking a hole in the ox eye during Biology and thus, letting all the gelatinous material ooze out of the eyeball to the delight of my classmates. No one ever ratted on me either. We put all very innocent faces on, and the poor teacher was unable to figure out which one of us had done it. After all what do you do with a class of precocious, curious girls? On top of that the poor teacher was a refugee from East Germany and spoke "funny." Never mind that our dialect was strange to him as well. Poor fellow he did last through the rest of the school year, but then taught in one of the two all boys schools. Bright, precocious boys were probably a heck of a lot easier to teach than us.

But I've digressed once again. Amazing how my thoughts can wander from knitting an Icelandic shawl to math, to biology and poking an ox's eyeball. Luckily it wasn't on the ox any longer.

The green socks are finished. I have to wash them yet and block them. I've wound the skein of sock yarn my daughter gifted me into a ball and now have to decide what kind of pattern to use. I have one too many sock books from which to choose a pattern. I am half-way through the honey-comb shawl, and about 1/3 through the crazy shawl also designed by Birgit Freyer. And this Saturday, my daughter and I are going to S.O.A.R, (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat) just to see if we can spend money we don't have. It's being held in Michigan this year and is only about a two-hour drive from here. Besides the leaves should just be about the right color, now that Fall has arrived with a vengeance. Air conditioning to heating in one day. That's Michigan.

So, "Knit on!"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I know how to knit

I know how to knit..
I know how to knit!
Ich kann stricken!
Je sais tricoter!

Then why have I visited the froggy on the lily pond at least once a day this past week?

Could it by any stretch of the imagination have anything to do with the amount of Benadryl and cough syrup I have taken in the past few days? It could be just an incidental correlation, but then again my cold has made me just a wee bit squirrely.

One sock of the pair is finally done. Not that the mate wasn't done as well. But I didn't like the way the sides next to the pattern looked, so I changed it on the second sock. That, of course, meant that I had to redo the first sock. So I frogged it to the toe, messed up on the toe, frogged it back to the center pattern and re-knit the toe, sole, heel and foot up to the ribbing. Compared the two socks: the toe was shorter on this sock than on the just completed one. I had decreased to 12 stitches instead of 8 stitches which, of course, meant the toe was four rows shorter. Frogged again back to top of toe just before second half of toe was knit, messed up the frogging again and in disgust threw it. I will not touch it again for at least a week. Hopefully by then the curse has dissipated.
Of course that doesn't include the first time I knit the same sock according to instructions and found it definitely was two big for a 7-1/2 size foot and restarted it again. I'm too tired to count how many times I will have started that one sock once I complete the pair.

On top of that I also ripped back twice the German Mystery Shawl (Secret-of-Chrysopolis) I had started. The first mistake was in row 7. No big deal. But then row 39 came and in the middle repeat the gremlins moved in. I had the correct number of stitches per repeat in rows 37 and 38, but could not fit the exact same number of stitches into the repeat in row 39. I knit backwards, forwards, backwards, forwards, still couldn't make it work. And no it's not the pattern. Everyone else had no problem with it, so it has to be me. Then I dropped a stitch in the numerous backwards and forwards knittings. So I tore that out as well. Mind you, I cannot remember when I tore something back to the beginning and started over again including the cast on. I pride myself on being able to fix things. The old adage "Pride cometh before the fall" was applicable once again.
So now I am taking a nap.
Knit on!