Saturday, November 25, 2006

An Office!

My husband has an office.

Once upon a time, the basement had a dirt floor and a ceiling at 5' 6", and there was a desk in the corner of a not-so-large bedroom. Then the decision was made to turn the basement into an office. The first step was to put in an egress window .. which required digging a 4x7x6 foot hole outside the house, and cutting through a 22" thick fieldstone foundation. Long story, but nobody died.

Then came removing 624 or so cubic feet of clay from the basement, through aforementioned window, with buckets. Long story, one bicep got torn. Ouch.

Next, in went 3 tons of gravel, drain tile, and a sump pump.

After that, a concrete ledge was poured around the edge. I'm told it can be a bad thing to have your foundation sitting on clay, one foot or so above the actual floor. I got nominated to shovel concrete. My husband got to push a wheelbarrow half-full of concrete across a gravel floor and tip it into the forms, and I ran the shovel ... getting the concrete out of the wheelbarrow, rearranging it in the forms, and smoothing things out.

Then, came pouring the floor. Originally, it was going to be a two person operation. Sanity prevailed, however, and we instead opted to have the job done right. (This ensured that the floor resembled something flat, rather than moguls. It also permits me to have pictures. According to plan A, I would have been the guy in the picture.)

Twenty four hours after the first picture, the second picture was taken. I had no clue that you could set up an office on concrete a mere 24 hours after it arrived in a truck in the driveway. 21 hours after the concrete truck left. And closer to 20 hours after the final smoothings took place. But that's what happened.

In the meantime, I've been knitting socks.
KnitPicks Gloss, in Dusk, with lace panel.

And Claudia's Handpainted Yarns, John B., with all-around lace, slightly modified because I didn't have the pattern with me and turned it into a 10 stitch repeat instead of 12.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's wonderful to go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house today. And it's wonderful for my husband that he will be having a gluten-free Christmas. Wild rice stuffing, cornbread stuffing, pumpkin custard ... a plethora of delicious foods designed to tantalize the tastebuds. And as watching football gives my son an appetite, I'm sure serious inroads will be made in the dishes on the table, which means my mother should be able to fit the leftovers into her refrigerator afterwards. The rule is "Whatever doesn't fit goes home with the relatives."

The John B sock will be accompanying us to Thanksgiving, since some people are categorically unable to sit quietly without wiggling fingers. Why are you not surprised?

Things we're thankful for around here ...
* The basement is done.
* Friends and Family.
* Friends, Family Food, and Football.
* A harp
* Pointy sticks and yarn.
* Good books.
* The Good Book.
* God's love, and the rest of His marvelous qualities.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Of socks, and swatches, and super stuff

Here are pictures of my latest pair of socks. They're my first using a Feather and Fan pattern. It's like the Ridged Feather pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, but it does't have a purl row. Why have a purl row if the pattern looks just as good without one?

The yarn is KnitPicks dye-your-own, and it was dyed with Kool-aid as a family project. It was *supposed* to be green and blue, but the Master Dyer put green Kool-Aid in the blue pot, so .. it didn't quite come out that way. The colors in the single-sock picture are closest to life.

My next pair of socks is using KnitPicks Gloss, in Dusk. I *like* this yarn. It is soft. It is silky. My toes tingle with the anticipation of wearing them. (My toes are easily excited. Life is pretty boring from the inside of a sock.) I'm using the Field of Flowers pattern from Heirloom Lace on the front of the sock above the ankle.

I've also finished the large gansey swatch. I see now why the directions say to measure it every which way, and then seam it. I knit it in the round (like the gansey will be) which made some of the measurements tricky, but still ... I got 'em. And I used the information gathered to start Stealth Project #3. I also made my Very First PomPom ever, and attatched it to the hat.

Lastly, but most definitely not leastly, are some things that have crept into my knitting basket lately. Heirloom Knitting is the one which will last the longest, I'm sure. I spend my spare time reading it. It is WONDERFUL!!!! The lace pattern for my current pair of socks comes from there. The lace pattern for my next pair of socks will come from there. And I'm thinking of making an adaptation of the Unst Stole for a friend. It's a lovely book. I just wish I had an isolated mountain cabin, no chores, and enough food/water/yarn stockpiled for the winter so I could devote the proper amount of time to it.

Next to the book is a laceweight skin of Shaeffer Yarns, in the Anne colorway. My mom picked it out for a ficchu from Victorian Lace Knitting. I don't have the book yet, but that's a minor problem. I've never worked with handpainted yarns (excluding KnitPicks items) so making up the ficchu will be a treat. And my last treat of the day (courtesy of a gift card from the State Fair) was some handpainted sock yarn from Claudia, in the John B colorway. I was at a loss as to what to get with my gift card (the store didn't have any Jamieson and Smith cobweb yarn, alas) so I vacillated between mittens and socks, mittens and socks. Since the sock yarn went so nicely with the ficchu-to-be, I went with the socks.

Tomorrow my husband is taking me to a harp concert. I am looking forward to it (understatement). And in our non-yarn shopping yesterday, I found a collection of Medieval Epics which I snatched up. I've always wanted to read the Nibelungenlied, but never saw it anywhere. Now I have it, merrily perched on my desktop.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The First Real Snow of 2006-07

Today is one of those perfect winter days. Not as perfect as a day with a raging storm and nowhere to go (assuming a working power supply, enough hot cocoa for a small army, and a good supply of yarn), but perfect nonetheless. We've 4+ inches of snow on the ground, temperatures cold enough not to melt it, and no pressing business to take care of.

In short, a wonderful day for knitting. So what do I do? Edit an answer key.

But editing has its place, and working into the evening isn't one of them. I've finished a pair of kool-aid dyed green socks, and am working on a large swatch for a gansey. Another name for the swatch is 'hat' -- my thanks to Liz Lovick for the idea! Since hats are portable, I'm not starting another pair of socks quite yet. And I have nothing else on the needles. That will change before long, I'm sure.

My friend Lynn who made that sample Brioche sweater finished her first sock last weekend, and tomorrow I get to find out what she's been up to since then.