Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It was either the 5th or 6th day of Christmas, depending

You'd think that roughly 2000 years after Christmas, and many centuries into the tradition, there would be a consensus on when the 12th day of Christmas is. But no, there is not. Some consider the 12th day to be January 5th, and some consider the 12th day to be January 6th. Complicating matters is the fact that Twelfth Night is after sundown on January 5th (for everyone that celebrates it, as far as I know), but in the Hebrew tradition the post-sundown period goes with the daylight time of the following day. ("There was evening and there was morning, the first day." -- that comes from a pretty good authority!) So I'm celebrating the 5th day of Christmas today, and watching several of my Facebook friends celebrate the 6th day of Christmas.

Calendars are sneaky critters, and good for deceiving one's self about the weather. Consider: "It's fall, and we're having a blizzard. Oh well, snow from fall blizzards never lasts long." One month later, with the snow depth still over 6": "It's winter, and we're having a blizzard. But usually in January there's a thaw." (I'm not holding my breath. 2010 is certainly not starting off with a thaw, at a projected -12 and 5F.) Several months later: "It's spring, and we're having a blizzard. Spring blizzards can dump a lot of snow, but it doesn't last long." The only season I have NOT seen a blizzard in is summer. But next year, I wouldn't be surprised at all if one happened. I'm not talking Antartica in a northern hemisphere summer, either. I'm talking about a I-90-closing-blizzard in one of the months which are known in some locales for their hot weather.

I just hope we have enough of a summer that the farmers can plant, God can water and give growth, and then the farmers harvest the corn for our beloved corn stove.

But back to my normal subject: knitting. In a continuation of HatWeek, here's the next hat to jump off my needles. Will's Hat, modeled by Not Will. Twined,with black sportweight(cough) Telemark and blue worsted Wool of the Andes. I used my standard top-down pattern, but shifted the last row of triangles just because.

Today's burst of organization is directed to closets. Clothes closets. My husband's half of the clothes closet. It looks so purty now! I hope to keep it away after today's laundry gets finished, too.

And today's knitting? Nothing on the needles except a traveling sock. If some yarn doesn't arrive in the mail, I'll have to knit another hat. Or see how much of a disaster knitting new soles for felted slippers is. Will felting them without the rest of the slipper attached, then sewing them on, work? Or not?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Knit From Your Shelf ... How did it go?

I realize the updates on our informal group have been few and far between ... but the year is running out, and so is the time for updates.

I accomplished what I set out to do. The six delicious knitting books I received in December are not knit from (or at least 5 of them aren't), but they don't count. Nor does Haapsalu Sall, or the Dale of Norway Commemorative Collection 8501. All the other books on my shelf are now USED!

2010 is close upon us, but no theme for it has jumped out at me. There are just so many lovely things to make! I hope to knit the Queen Susan Shawl, but a whole year of one shawl doesn't sound right. I'm not sure if I will muster up the proper insanity to tackle it either. There's still the Unst Lace Stole, or even Miss Hamilton's Gift that could be done also. Or an Estonian Lace Shawl. Or several of them. So much to knit, so little time.

The week between Christmas and New Year's is definitely The Week of Hats, though. One watch cap, two twined caps, and two unnamed Fair Isle hats. (Any suggestions for names? The pattern is destined for release as a freebie at Ravelry, and it's a stash-shrinker). I think 2010 would be a good Year of the Hat, too. Has someone already started a group for that at Ravelry?

I love the week after Christmas. Not because of all the chocolate within arm's reach, nor because of the silence that reigns while new gifts are being constructed, devoured, or rearranged. It's a time to wrap up one year, and prepare to enter a new one. A new calendar page, new check book register, new all sorts of things! There'll probably be a new knitting project too.

Best wishes to all of you for a happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Christmas was different this year. I love the Christmas Eve service, and the Christmas Day service. Both those were no-gos this year, due to the abundance of SNOW! It's a terrible thing (not in the grand scheme of things) to be marooned 12 miles from your Christmas Eve destination, due to a blizzard whose idea of timing didn't match up with your travel schedule. So, Filius, Filia, and I packed up to go over the river and through the woods a mere 34 hours before scheduled.

The weather then cooperated, dumping all sorts of snow upon us, and even having just enough of a break for Vir to join us Christmas Eve. Hooray! Getting out of the driveway and into town for services wasn't really a good idea, though, so we curled up with White Christmas, Holiday Inn, tea, and hymnbooks. And knitting, of course. We had a lovely family Christmas, and headed home yesterday afternoon. Once Vir managed to get the van out of the driveway (not an easy feat, when the road has been plowed after 8" of fresh snow has fallen), we loaded up the van and had an easy drive home... where he valiantly battled the detrius left behind by the plow in OUR driveway. Three cheers for husbands who a) dig cars out of unplowed parking lots at work so they can get home, b) snowblow driveway so they can park, once they're home, c) battle the elements after dark to join the family for Christmas, d) shovel out the car so family can get home, and e) snowblow driveway so they can park. In a 24-hour period.

It's a lovely snowy world out there. Canis is having a few problems with the depth of the snow, since it's as deep as he is tall. When I first got home and opened the back door to let him out, we discovered instead of jumping down 10" to the ground, he needed to jump UP to the ground. And then sink. We normally have winds with the snow, which makes for nice drifts to walk AROUND, but this snowfall hasn't left any windblown patches for him to walk on. It'll melt ... one of these months. Vir is predicting a white Easter.

I'm predicting a long mud season.

Life is very quiet in our household right after Christmas, save for the occasional sports announcer. Some of us are exhausted from the physical labor involved in getting cars to and from the road, others are busy reading new books.... and some are building Great Things.

Monday, November 30, 2009


One finished bit of cuteness. I can definitely see myself making another. Sock yarn, garter stitch, my favorite size needles ... what's not to love? Garter stitch jackets do take relatively forever ... but it's a BABY size, so I got over it. (Cute model, too, but she needs to grow into the jacket a bit.)
I am now projectless. The yarn for Filius' gansey and the twined hat are in the mail. The test knit is awaiting further input. So it's off to Molly's Fault I go. While dreaming of The Queen Susan Shawl. And Molly said I couldn't blame her for that one. I really can't ... her e-mail just prompted me to check Fleegle's Blog a little earlier in the day than I otherwise would have.
And that really blows the idea of having an All Baltic Year right out of the water. For the Shetlands are, by no stretch of the tsunami, located in or adjacent to the Baltic Sea. If I sail on over to the North Sea, then there goes Haapsalu Sall right off the stern. For Estonia is not in the North Sea.
Maybe I should collect the labels from all the skeins I finish off and take a year-end picture of them? Or keep actual tabs on yardage knit? But that involves paperwork, and I'd rather knit that play with a calculator.
So. On to Molly's Fault. And if the test knit stalls for long enough, perhaps some spinning tomorrow. After delivering more Boy Scout Popcorn. It takes a while to deliver 68 orders.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Knit From Your Shelf - A Success!

I'd like to declare that the 2009 Knit From Your Shelf campaign was a success. A small one, 'tis true - not many knitters (in fact, only one that I know of) are brave strange enough to attempt to work from their current pattern stash in such a fashion. But in the face of overwhelming opposition, I aimed high and have finished using my last book. (I'm not counting the booklet I received last week, nor the Haapsalu Sall. Books in foreign languages and items received after October 1st don't count.)

To celebrate, I cast on for a pair of mittens, using patterns from a Lithuanian mitten book. The next day, I finished the pair.

And then I cast on for Lilleput. 250 grams of sock yarn worked in garter stitch will take a while, but it's so CUUUUUTE! Filius is desirous of having a new gansey that fits him (barring that, he'd accept the Sandwater Jumper. It fits him nicely.) And I've a test knit in the works, and a twined hat, and ...

Speaking of niceties, our corn stove is still delighting us daily. Here's a photo of our grain delivery. The auger (the long white thing, for those of you not savvy with mechanized agriculture) is swinging into position. Not to pour the corn into our house (though that would be a neat trick. Insulation AND fuel!) but rather heading another 120 degrees or so counterclockwise over the house (from which the photo is taken) and garage (lower right corner) to our storage bin. Our first fill-up (and we figure on only one or two a year) was quite the event. Neighbors came out to watch. It's more fun than watching paint dry.

But paint dries really fast when you put it in front of a corn stove. So do socks, mittens, and stoles. It's a blocking tool!

We're halfway through the second term of school. SOS Spanish I is a great improvement over SOS Secondary Spanish. One tenth the mistakes, ten times the teaching, and there are a few games to practice spelling and vocabulary. Although one could wish that capitalization and punctuation didn't count in the spelling. It's tricky to remember that 'hoy es' is supposed to be 'Hoy es..' Filius is greatly enjoying the SOS Civil War elective, and wants to get all their history courses. SOS makes for an interesting change from the AO Year 8 Lite reading list!

Youth Group is starting the Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Yay! I love it when my children are reading good books outside of school. And I just happen to have this as an audiobook.

I had several pictures of me in the sweater ... but something went terribly wrong between the model and the digitized version.
Happy Thanksgiving, all!

ps - I'm accepting ideas for next year's theme. What should 2010 be the year of?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can it be November?

It can't be November. For one thing, the house is too warm. We frugally keep our thermostat around 65 in the cooler months (and 50 in the warmer months) and it's closer to 70 in here. So it can't be November.

Unless, perhaps, we have a new heating system that isn't connected to a thermostat?

It's true! Finally, the corn is getting harvested (a month late, thanks to a wet and damp fall) and yesterday saw a truck pull into our driveway to deliver 100 bushes of corn. After 5 false starts and an hour or two of wondering if the pile of kernels being dropped in by the augur were going to extinguish the burning kernels (like happened the first 5 times), we got the corn happily burning yesterday evening and it's been burning ever since. Not all of the corn, of course ... just the kernels in the firepot. If you have 100 bushes of corn burning at once, it's called a problem, not a stove. Today wasn't that cold, but the stove has the ENTIRE house at a comfortable temperature on the lowest possible setting. Ah, it's just too much fun.

We're in our second term of school now and are hitting the doldrums. Tomorrow is a very partial day because of grocery shopping (a truck from Michigan is pulling up to our front door with almost 500 pounds of groceries on it at 10:30 AM) and volunteering with Operation Christmas Child at 11:00 in a town 25 miles from our front door. We shall SCAMPER! The next day is non-existent as far as school goes because of a doctor's appointment way up yonder. But it's been ages since we were at a used bookstore, so that almost counts as school -- does it not? Next week has Thanksgiving, so it's another partial week. Partial weeks give me a scattered feeling. However, we are making progress, reading a lot, writing a bit, and many opportunities are being laid out for growing in knowledge.

Knitting is booming. Really and truly booming. I'm not sure if I like it. No, pick your collective jaws up off the floor. I know I like knitting. I'm just not sure if I like it becoming a cottage industry in this household, at this time. Especially a cottage industry that takes up a score or two of hours a week, a few weeks a month.

So, what have I been up to in knitting? Sandwater is growing nicely - I have one partial sleeve and a bit of neck left to do. The gauge is decent enough that, when I tried it on with one sleeve and two steeks, I decided it's for me. I have a bag of yarn for a test knit tucked under my knitting chair. Several squares have been added to my sock yarn blanket. I've got a Watch Cap on the needles, using a chart from a Lithuanian mitten book that called my name Very Loudly from Vilnius. (Oh, and the Dale of Norway Commemorative Collection 8501 booklet has gone OOP. Somehow, I found two of them.) I just sent off a design and a design proposal, and Filius has a long list of items he would find very handy in his life. Lengthened sweaters, socks, dickeys, and mittenssockssweatershats for various friends of his.

Blogger is not being photo-friendly today. Otherwise, you'd have PICTURES!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sheer Sandwater Bliss

At long last -- well, all of two months' last, at least -- I have begun the final project from this year's Knit From Your Shelf Trek. The yarn has been sitting under my chair, waiting for my knitting queue to empty, and at long last...

It emptied.

Almost. I still have one buttonhole band to knit, but the buttons are getting shipped from CA today, so I obviously can't do anything with that.

And I don't want to work on a leftover blanket for two days straight.

And I just *had* to start a traveling project, but that doesn't count as a project to work on while I'm at home.

So yesterday, I cast on 312 stitches and began knitting. It'll be a rather large gauge swatch if I've miscalculated my needle size.

And this is our Fall Break week. A break week, a new sweater on the needles, and a corn stove. What more could one want? (Corn, actually. The fields are too wet unto the harvest. Dry out, ye!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Catching up on October

Much knitting has been going on (of course. What else do I do? And it's not summer any more.) Several things have been knit on the QT, but enough other things have been knit to make a decent post.

First, we have Ze Mittens. They go with the hat from my last post, and I can definitely see myself making more of these sets. A fun knit, easy pattern, warm results ... what more could one want?

Then we have the finished Lithuanian sweater. It looks best on the one person in the family who would never wear it. I love the yarn, and have a few skeins left over. Hmmm. Maybe I should make some mittens from it! (Although superwash wool isn't as warm as the unsuperwash varieties, perhaps global warming will make superwash mittens preferable? Maybe?)

There are also 5 pieces of a sweater sitting on the floor in front of our corn stove (running on wood pellets at the moment. Come on, weather, dry out so the farmers can get into the fields to harvest the corn so the elevator can sell us some!) They're dry now (the pieces, that is, not the corn) and I will be sewing them up and working a collar and button bands one of these October days. After I finish another QT project.

When I'm between projects or need something travelable, I pull out the modular sock thing. It's modular, made from sock yarn, and has (in less than two weeks of existence) been destined to be first a cushion cover (nope, too stretchy), then a blanket (nope, too ambitious and large), and for the past week has been a scarf. See, if I call it a scarf, I can make it 1x6 feet, and then slowly start expanding the 1 foot until it's a blanket! Right?

Lastly, there's Canis. Canis likes curling up and sleeping. He doesn't like it when anyone bumps him or moves him while he's engaged in this vital activity. So, one would think he would pick a quiet, out-of-the-way location.

Nope. He picks a lap. The lap formerly containing a book, which was being read aloud from.

Filia is hoping our next dog is a Shih Tzu. They're better lap dogs than crochety terriers.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Takin' Care of Business

School has started. Three weeks into our first term, all is going well. My hare and tortoise are unequally yoked, perhaps to the benefit of both. We're reading good books, have played happily with subtending arcs and circles, and are beginning to plumb the shallows of set theory. Parsing verbs is becoming par for the course.

Our new pastor is here, and is settling in. The Monday night discussion of the Inferno has begun. My summer Bible Study has finished. And yarn and directions for knitting projects seems to be falling into my lap all at once.

First, the Lithuanian Sweater. It's done now, except for a few ends to weave in, but here's the beginnings of it. Lovely Shibui Knits Worsted Yarn. I'm not sure who it's for, but Filia is angling to have her name put into consideration.

Today I cast on for two projects. One is The Project Which Must Not Be Named, but needs to be done in 3 weeks and may well take me at least two solid weeks of knitting. The other project is a cardigan, which will serve as a nice traveling project while TPWMNBN is under way.

Lurking under my knitting chair are two bags of yarn for the Sandwater Jumper.

Lurking in my knitting box is yarn for Rebecca's Mittens, to match Rebecca's Hat.

And lurking next to the corn stove is a boy hoping for a long cold snap. Except today, he's not lurking. He's installing a fence around the grain bin with Vir, in order to fulfill his pledge to aforementioned Vir, who drove Filius to grandma's to pick up a package which arrived there today. Lego Star Wars II. For Computer.

We normally have stuff sent to us, but Amazon said this item couldn't ship to a PO Box. So we deleted the PO Box. And Amazon said our address didn't check out in their postal records. Which is true, since the postal service doesn't deliver to our house. Enter Grandma's address! And some willing free help for Vir.

I wonder if anyone will want to use my computer this afternoon?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Socks, Triinu, and Salsa

STS. Yes, if that acronym sounds familiar, then the title of this post is a reminder. Where Are Those Photos?!?

But of course, I had to cover myself, and get the photos of MY newly blocked scarf up first. Triinu (the mini-Triinu, actually) is blocked. And I have photographic evidence to prove it!

So, that covers the Triinu part of things. The socks were a desperation project. One simply can't not have a traveling project, especially if one plans to sit in the car for 5 hours. So, I snagged what yarn I had enough of to make a pair of socks, packed it, almost forgot my needles (yikes!) and knit. Day 1 saw 2 pair of child's socks knit up in Esprit on size 6 needles, and I got through another 3.5+ socks in the rest of the time. And next week, I'll be getting more sock yarn! I love getting yarny boxes in the mail.

The last project in the Knit from your Shelf 2009 is going to be the Sandwater Jumper in blue, from The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. I'm hoping to order the yarn directly from Jamieson and Smith, except their website doesn't quite have a shopping cart yet. I'm hoping e-mail will work.

And as for the Salsa? If life gives you ripe tomatoes, you make salsa! That's on the docket for the rest of the morning. The hard part is peeling the critters. Then comes adding Mrs. Wages' mix, and it'll be practically done.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

It's hot outside

Summer has arrived.

I know it's a paltry summer, since it's just this one day, and the temperature is just tipping 90 degrees. Since when is 90 degrees hot, anyways? We have a tornado watch, which means it's more fun to watch the colors on the weather map change than it is to listen to the corn grow. The breeze (which detracts from the summer swelter) disrupts listening to the corn grow. And the corn is probably in shock (not in the shocks) that it's warm enough to grow, finally.

The start of the traditional US school year is approaching, so I buckled down and plotted out our calendar and books. Foreign language, math, science, and writing are easy choices. Lit and history have not made it onto the formal list of subjects, though. Since Filia is a 9th grader this year, I decided it was time to have something that would really LOOK Lit and History-ish. Enter Ambleside Online Lite Booklists! We read tons of books to begin with -- their list looks intriguing and I think I can stick with it.

I got some luscious yarn for a test knit yesterday, and blocked it this morning. That means I'm back to just one project on the needles, the Triinu scarf. With 9-st nupps (and I've snuck an 11-st nupp in there as well. Gotta love those Addi Lace needles!) I need to come up with a better project for traveling knitting. I don't need the pattern for Triinu, but I do need to look at it. Does the knitter exist who can knit lace without looking?

The little egg on the milkweed leaf that Filius was raising for his Insect merit badge turned black at one end, just like the websites said it would when the larva was ready to hatch. Except then the whole thing turned black, and it's fuzzy on the outside. I think we have mold on a dead egg. Time to go hunt for another egg!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Summer, Full Speed Ahead!

Summer is finally here. The books are edited, the bookkeeping is caught up, and my days stretch ahead of me like summer days. It will take me a day or two to get used to having an empty slate in the morning. Not that it's really empty ... its just that the Tyranny of the Urgent is gone and I can now turn to the Delights of the Organized Person. Or at least pretend that it's that way.

On the needles now is the Triinu Scarf from Nancy Bush's book. I'm using a laceweight yarn and decided to play with 9-st nupps. So far, so good! All my other knitting projects are done at the moment. No socks, no sweaters, no nothing. There are things on the horizon, but they're not here yet. And - with one book left to use in Knit From Your Shelf 2009, I'm starting to think about next year. I just got Haapsalu Sall (which doesn't count for this year, because I said so.) Maybe next year will have an Estonian theme! Or a Baltic theme. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania could keep me quite occupied.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stormy Weather

Dogs have unique personalities. Our current dog does not like unsettled weather. He makes his dislike known by either attaching himself to my ankle and laying down on my feet if I stop moving, or by crawing into the smallest hidey-hole he can find and settling in for the duration.

Even if the duration never exactly happens, and the storm watches are one country over and never turn into storm warnings.

We've tried to help him get comfy by putting a dog bed in the space under my desk so he can retreat there, but you know ... he's a small dog, and space enough for an adult's legs is a large space. So, he practices burrowing.

In the children's desks.

Lately, he's been trying out both desks each day to see which one he can make the most comfortable. It makes for a messy floor.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I wonder what I'll do today?

Look what arrived in the mail today!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Knit From Your Shelf ... A Call for Updates!

Because I have something to say about my KFYS progress, I would like everyone else to chime in and report too. (It's rather like telling your children to put socks on because you're cold. Or that you're thirsty, what would they like to drink?)

My KFYS isn't quite trotting along at the project-a-month I had envisioned, or even the 'always have a project from the shelf on the needles.' I'm having a hard time keeping projects on the needles, actually. But they're not particularly from my shelf. I say 'not particularly' because I decided to consider At Sea as being from Knitting Ganseys. It's not, really ... but the author/designer is the same, and a friend sent me the book because I was going to be knitting the gansey, so ... it'll do.

Today, I ordered yarn for the Lupine Cardigan from Meg Swansen's Knitting. I'm not sure when I will sneak in the actual knitting, because rumor has it that I'll be getting yarn for a sample sweater in two weeks or so (yay!) and two weeks later have more yarn for more sample kntting (more yay!) and there are some other things in the works ... but I don't have anything NOW and since this unenviable condition may well occur again in the future, I wanted to take what steps I could to remedy the situation. (I thought about begging for a friend's WIPs, but decided against it. And my mom is helping me out by requesting a cozy for her iced tea glass. But that won't take me through 2 weeks of swimming lessons.)

After the cardigan gets knit (7-10 days of serious knitting), I will have just one unused book on my shelf. Any project from there should take about 1 month to finish, and I'm sure I can sneak that in this fall.

Anyone else have an end in sight?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Lazy Days of Summer

The first blush of post-school busy-ness has faded away, and summer spreads before me like a blank canvas.

Great sentence? But not quite true. The insanity of article to knit and books to edit and databases to design has indeed faded away. The articles ARE knit (or aren't ready to be knit), I'm practically caught up on edits, and I have two nicely working databases. But somehow, the blank canvas part isn't true. Filia and Filius are signed up for swim lessons starting in a week or two, and once those are over Filius has scout camp, followed by VBS for both, followed by a week off and then another camp. But I won't complain. There is plenty of free space in our summer. A 50-minute swim lesson, even if it is two towns away, still doesn't take the entire day. I would like to know how it ended up that I have four doctor's appointments in a 3-week period while Filia has a 4 month period without any. (Orthodontist doesn't count. I don't think we've EVER gone 3 months before without a check-up with someone.)

And dh put the air conditioner in yesterday ... so today, the heat breaks. Just in time for cooler weather, which I appreciate. Summer is a very good thing for crops and long walks, but I miss warming up with hot cocoa and cozily warm blankets.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Strong on pictures, short on words

Let me present the finished At Sea gansey:

And then a closeup, followed by Podrick (in cozy and out), and the project on the needles.

And then I will get back to work!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Catching up on things

Summer is always an opportunity to dive into things wholeheartedly. I like submerging myself in things. I'd say 'immersing', but since I don't come up for air, submerging is probably more accurate.

I've finished the Irish Lace Scarf. Soaking it was an interesting tactile experience. So was knitting it, actually. It felt and looked like I was knitting dust bunnies. I leave it to your imagination how to describe the 'shawl coming out of warm water bath'.

The gansey is moving along nicely. I hit a small snag when I started the sleeve with a star pattern, then realized it should be a tree. Rather than frog 16 rows, I decided to do a bit of minor surgery. Another knitter in the family, who shall remain nameless, accidentally deleted the 'before' photo, but here's a picture of the corrections mid-stream. Star on the left needle, tree on the right needle! The swap took me just over a half-hour, and that sleeve is now done. I hope to start and finish the second sleeve this week.

But this morning, I finished some mittens for Terri Shea's upcoming book.....

And yesterday, I began using the new database I've constructed (using OO Base) for Classical Writing accounting/invoicing/royalties stuff. I had two hurdle to surmount. One involved my own stupidity (bad figures give bad data ... fortunately, the bad figure was only in a note to myself, not to a customer!), but the cause of the other problem is still beyond me. How can an automatically incremented record ID produce duplicate numbers?

Now, to go see if I can finish editing Chapter 3 of Herodotus. And then make sure the answer key has answers that pertain to the contents of the chapter. Fun!!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happily Surrounded by Yarn

Have you ever had one of those days where you finished a project and wondered what you were going to work on next?  I have, and I really like to know what I'll be doing next.

Lately, I don't even have to wonder.  On Monday, I worked on four projects.  Yesterday, I worked on three projects. Filia also worked on one of them for me, and got it into proper shape for next Tuesday's knitting class (allowing me to work on another project.  Maybe, just maybe, she'll grow up to be my Twin in the Closet?  Just think of everything I could get done with a Real Twin!  But no, then she wouldn't get her socks done.  And she did finish one yesterday -- and didn't have yarn for the second with her, which is why I threw my sock to her.) 

The At Sea gansey is coming along beautifully.  I've one 'tree' motif to knit, and then I can start in on the back.  After the back comes the neck, and then the sleeves, and then ... it'll be done.   The lace scarf is about half-done, and the traveling socks?  Well, those are traveling, and don't count.

When I'm not knitting, I'm wandering through Open Office Base tutorials, dreaming of a nice and tidy way to keep all the records I need for my Customer Service, Editor, and Accounting hats.  I have much to learn, but it's nice to take a summer and see what I can figure out. 

There's other things on my to-do list, but these are the ones that give me the most delight. (Bringing order to the chaos of an unformatted book comes close, though.) 

What are YOU doing this summer that delights you?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

And the winner is ...

Eileen! Congratulations, Eileen. I've contacted you via your blog, and will get the yarn off to you when I know what to put on the address label.

I've made progress on 3 of my 4 projects this week. One class sock is two tail weaves away from completion, the gansey is less than an inch from the top of the armhole gusset, and the scarf is one orthodontist appointment (braces removal) further along.
We're wrapping up our school year, and the summer is stretching ahead of us. It's not exactly vacant, though. There are SO many things to learn. I could learn SQL and database design (spending lots of time to make bookkeeping take a little less time), or I could potter about in the yard, or I could practice harp lots, or I could completely declutter the house, or ... so many possibilities. I also need to at least pretend to plan out the high school years for my kiddos. What Spanish curriculum do I want to use for Filia? What will I do for Latin 3 for Filius? And then there's history and literature ... eeek! The reading of it isn't a problem, but the discussing thereof is another matter entirely. Now that things are getting 'transcriptable', I find myself staring at the large gap between my own high school history class (sit through class, do homework involving copying down sentences from the book, take multiple choice open book tests) and the possibilities inherent in homeschooling. My tendency is to expect a doctoral dissertation from a 9th grader, I fear. Maybe Filius could read some of Suetonius in Latin and write an original paper on it...

Thank goodness Math is easy. Singapore NEM 3b and 4a, and we're set!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Happened?

I am a monogamous knitter. Those who know me know I have one, perhaps two, projects on the needles at a time. A project to work on at home, and if it's not portable, a project for traveling.

Tuesday night the realization struck me that I had not two, nor even three, but FOUR projects on the needles. How did that happen?

Let me explain. No, that would take too long. Let me sum up.

I love being helpful. And although in some areas of life I have no difficulty saying 'no', I'm a sucker for knitting things. And helpfulness collided with a design I am working on (despite the fact that I am *not* a designer), plus a traveling knitting project and a class sample ... well, there are four things on the needles. The 16x8" lace swatch on a spare set of needles doesn't count. My daughter is going to finish that (after she finishes her socks and sweater), or else it will get frogged. Except Frog Tree Alpaca doesn't frog well, so it may just quietly disappear. Or get bound off. What does one do with Unloved Swatches, anyways? Or even Loved Swatches?
You, spinning wheel, with the half-spun bobbin. Shush.

The Bohus mittens, at least, are finished. They were a slightly finicky knit (the palm sides are beige and unpatterned, and the mittens are worked in the round with no spare strands on the palm side), but knit up surprisingly quickly. The yarn came out of my stash and was acquired from four states - CA, OR, MN and MD - and three generations of my own family plus a friend. Does that make these interstate multigenerational mittens?

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Monday morning blog giveaway!

Aren't these pretty? And "these" happen to be Spud & Chloe, a lovely worsted yarn in superwash wool and cotton from Blue Sky Alpacas. (Don't ask me where the alpacas are in this. I think maybe they watch.) ((Spud and Chloe also comes in a fingering weight and a bulky weight. But these are worsted weight, aka 'Sweater'.)

If you'd like the yarn, leave a comment by Friday, May 22nd. I will use my handy-dandy, much-beloved HP11c to generate a random number, multiply it by the number of commenters, and that person will be the winner!

Monday, May 11, 2009


When I'm making a pointed attempt not to knit (an unusual event, but necessitated by being between projects and not having the yarn for the next project yet), SOMETHING has to be going on. Reading books is one way to pass the time, or cleaning, or decluttering, or organizing ...

but if one is just back from Shepherd's Harvest and has roving, the obvious thing to do is SPIN!

Yesterday, I spun. I think the yarn is heading for a lace shawl. A Knitted Veil is in the running, but I'm not sure if it will work with the variation in color, or if I'll have enough.

Today, I will knit. (Dances in glee) Three boxes came in the mail today -- one with books, one with cassette tapes about books, and one with yarn.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Back from Shepherd's Harvest

What is Shepherd's Harvest, you ask? It's a sheep and wool festival! And what do you get at sheep and wool festivals? Wool fumes!

But before I show you the wool fumes that came home with me, let me show you how far we live from Shepherd's Harvest. (I should have taken a 'before' picture ... it would have showed one ball of yarn and two needles.)

Yup. About that far - minus one meal eaten in the car, plus reading the mail we picked up on our way out of town. And some time just watching the road go by. (I probably spent some of that time knitting ... my hands may have forgotten to tell me they were occupying themselves)

I was a good girl this year. (I usually am. Some people tell me I'm disciplined and have self-restraint.) I didn't have anything particular in mind to buy -- unlike last year, where my quest was to find White Laceweight Yarn for the Sanquhar Gloves. The quest ended with an order to KnitPicks. Laceweight just isn't a good seller, apparently. I can't really complain, as a skein here and a skein there last me a good long whlie.

So this year, knowing that I have OODLES of knitting just waiting to descend on me, I didn't want to overload myself with projects. And yes, a yarn purchase means a yarn project. Stash is for leftovers. And since I have plenty of yarn to play with - I could probably knit mittens for 2-3 months out of my stash (with no guarantees as to authentic colors for ethnic patterns) - I knew I didn't need to buy yarn. Really. So that left me with buying roving. Like I bought last year. But of course, roving must be spun before it's knit, and that takes time, so I don't need a LOT of roving. Just enough for a project or two.

And I didn't get the merino/silk blend in a dark charcoal. Ahhhh... that was gorgeous.

No, I got another ball of roving that called my name. See this? It says Shetland on it. And I like Shetland. Shetland Lace, Shetland/Fair Isle patterns, Shetland sheepies, Shetland weather.... all good. I get a bit sea sick, so if I lived there I like to think I could knit all winter and listen to improving lectures. One has to dream, right?

So, this called me. To show you just how LOUDLY it called, here's a bit of the ball draped over my arm. Yes, I was wearing that. (And yes, that's the shawl I spun and knit last year).

Spinning doesn't count as knitting, so when my knitting projects begin to arrive, it won't count as a project on the needles. Isn't that clever of me? (Nods head) I thought so. I rather like it.

In the meantime, I have a dishcloth to finish, and the second of these. Green Meadow Mittens, from Poems in Color. (A Knit from Your Shelf project!). It's not near as fiddly as I thought it would be, but I would much rather knit a sweater than a cardigan or mitten. The palm side is plain, and the colors are Not Carried.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Only 24,682 stitches left! The shawl is moving along nicely, and I hope to get the edging started today. I can squeeze in two hours of knitting today so I can get to the edging, right?

Yes. Two hours of knitting on a quiet Saturday (the weather is cooperating ... outside work is not calling on this cold, threatening-to-drizzle day) is easily done.

The Latin curriculum we use is Henle. I've seen several, and tried a few of them out on my guinea pigs. I used Latina Christiana and Henle to teach myself Latin (not that I'm proficient, or fluent, you understand), and used the same with my children. We tried Oerberg's Lingua Latina, which is a wonderful book, but becomes a terrible teaching tool in my hands. I am not an inductive teacher, and I do not have inductive children. We all love Familia Romana, though, and highly recommend it for reading. Wheelock's was just too scattered for me after Henle's very sequential presentation of grammar. But it's a good book too. For next year, I should probably join the LatinStudy list and find something fun to translate with a group. I don't know that we'll go on to Henle 3. To do it well will, I think, require less grammar instruction and more discussion of speeches. Talk of discussion makes me run for my knitting and find a cozy corner to sit and listen.

Hmm. What shall I knit after the shawl, if my other knitting doesn't materialize?

Monday, April 20, 2009

April Update

April is here. My blog has not been here.

And I don't have any pictures to show you.

It's called a Shawl. A circular lace in tiny yarn, better known as the Shetland Tea Shawl. It's been on my list to make since I first laid eyes on A Gathering of Lace, and I decided I was going to make it. I should have it finished in a month or so, if other knitting doesn't pop up and bump the STS to the back burner. Other knitting is supposed to pop up .. so don't hold your breath for finished pictures. If my estimates are right, I have 75,600 stitches left.

School is starting to wind down. We've finished Diogenes: Maxim, are working on the review exercises in math, and are close to the end of Logic and Science. Latin ... well, there's always more Latin to learn. Results of the NLE Level 2 show that my Latin Scholars are Magna Cum Laude, which delights my teacher's heart.

Spring is actually springing. The grass is green, the trees are budding, and Filius got in a strawberry bed. He's looking forward to ripe strawberries later this season. I'm looking forward to them too. Fresh asparagus is on my list of delicacies as well, but not his. Yet. I'm not sure if I should tell him how good it is.

Earlier this month a semi pulled up in front of our house with an order of grains, cereals, dried fruit, and nuts. Mmmmm! I have discovered how to make almond milk -- an excellent substitute for milk in creamy soups. Filia loves the almond pulp left over, so there's no waste whatsoever. We all love dried Bing cherries, and fresh ground whole wheat beats store-bought flour any day. We're overflowing in so many good things!!!

And that's it for April.

Friday, March 27, 2009

March Update

Where did the month go? It hasn't disappeared into the black hole that is Facebook, nor did it vanish into Ravelry. I must have done something, then.

That's right! I knit. I knit (let me go check Ravelry) the Meadow Flowers Shawl. I knit my wee little Minimitts. I finished knitting the Maikell Stole. And I did some test knitting.

Aren't the minimitts cute? I thought about calling them Double Knit Miniature Christmas Tree Ornament Mittens, but no project should have a title longer than the item is big, so I shrunk the title.

This month has definitely not been a home month. I'm leading a Bible Study on Habakkuk, teaching some young girls to knit another day, and have just started teaching an adult Beginning Knitting class. My, was that fun! We've two weeks left in that, and I am excited to see what my students will be doing by then. As this is the first time I've ever taught a beginning class, I'm also putting together handouts and such-like.

Another first happened today. I put in an order with Country Life Natural Foods, and will be a truck stop on their route. Wow! Me -- a truck stop. I get a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about it. The order was definitely necessary ... I ground the last wheat berries today.

Taxes happened this month, too. That gobbled up a day (and wiped out a cartridge of ink ... I still need to print out some forms, and then copy them. Why does Minnesota need the entire Federal return?)

School is slithering along slowly. Filius took a Lego Design class over the school spring break, and enjoyed it. We're ready to begin the last writing project in Diogenes: Maxim, in the last chapter of NEM 3A, trotting along nicely in Henle (oh, the NLE happened in March as well), and it seems like Traditional Logic and Apologia will never end. Why is it that the subject I enjoy the most happen in the morning? Hmmm. I wonder.

One of the last things we do in the morning is read. The Story of the Greeks is what I've been reading lately. While I read, Filia works on her home exercise plan, and Filius groans about sit ups, push ups, and the like. He's actually made serious improvement in the sit up arena, but getting the proper form for a push up is proving tough. Stretching is also a, well, stretch for him. Sit on the floor with your feet straight out? Yee-Owch! It doesn't help that Filia is as flexible as a wet noodle. She can sit on the floor, legs straight in front of her, and her nose reaches mid-shin when she bends over.

After a sufficient amount of torture, Filius likes to curl up on the couch. Canis also likes to curl up on the couch. Especially on a blanket on the couch. Unfortunately, he also has a bit of an attitude when it comes to Filius (or Vir, for that matter.) He gets rather upset when his 'cushion' moves and will snap at any exposed flesh. Filius would rather vacate the premises than lose his nose (even if I promise to protect him), so he has been practicing the art of Escaping While Keeping the Blanket. I'm not sure how he does it, but it's worked the past three days.

One of these days, spring will spring, and we won't need blankets to stay warm. Until then ... we thank God for blankets, and hot cocoa, and tea

That's right! I got my first order from the Republic of Tea this month. Mmmm, I like their Republic Chai, and the cinnamony Rooibos tea. A pot a day keeps the allergies away!

Tax copies await. Whee.