This year, we thought Filia got a Papasan chair for Christmas. When we woke up on December 26th, we thought again.
I'm still waiting for a box of Christmas goodies I ordered in mid-December. Hopefully it will get here before the 12 days of Christmas are over - but if not, then we'll just celebrate when it gets here. As my family will tell you, I am dangerous enough already with my gift -- a Vita-Mix! Since getting home with it, I have made banana ice cream, peanut butter, rice bread, wheat bread, garbanzo bean pancakes ... and before the day is over will have made Bacon and Cheddar Soup, as well as a smoothie or two. The flour it makes is so much finer than what my grain mill produces - NOW I can see how I can make breads with no store-bought flour. Truly, I am going to be having too much fun.
The new year is rapidly approaching. My somewhat random approach to knitting this year (take pictures of the ball bands once a month) felt like a total flop. Apart from NOT taking pictures of the ball bands, there wasn't much of a sense of accomplishment. No decent goals to work towards. Floppy, floppy, floppy. My organizing, goal-achieving, pointy little heart did not feel any satisfaction from checking off items on the non-existent list. (What? You say I knit 10 miles of yarn anyways? That wasn't on the list.)
Obviously, I need a better list for 2011. And so I present .....
Test and Sample Knits
Knit from My Stash
Knit in Cycles
Divine providence has plopped some lovely test and sample knitting in my direction, and I am looking forwards to it with delight. As 'work', I can even knit on those sorts of things when there's other stuff to do! Getting the yarn and pattern for one of these knits is like Christmas all over again.
Knitting from my stash is going to be a goal, because I just have too much stash. I also want to weed out some stash (non-wool yarns, your heads are on the chopping block!) and in general, get my yarns down to a nice tidy inspiring bunch. I'm currently working on watch caps made from a sweater I recycled from my stash of FO's. When test knits are not calling, I hope to be whittling down the stash with hats and mittens and such-like. I'm going to aim for one project per month.
Knit in Cycles is something I thought of a few months ago, when I got not one but TWO knitting books on the same day. There are just too many fun things out there to knit - and since I don't know how many years God has given me, assigning a year to each flavor of knitting may not be a good idea. I'm also too much of a 'leaf' knitter. Flit here, flit there, flit all over the place scattering random finished objects behind me. So instead of having a whole YEAR of Brioche, or Norwegian, or Ganseys, or Lace (aaaaah), I think it would be interesting to do a QUARTER of whatever. It'll somewhat depend on what destashing projects I come up with, and how much other knitting falls my direction, but I think I'd like to give this a shot. Maybe I can even make it a challenge - send me a theme, and I'll come up with a destashing project to use it!
Then there's that Twisted-Stitch Knitting book I got for Christmas. I want to make a pair of ladies' stockings .... and that is DEFINITELY a project that will take some concentration, especially for starters. And calculations. Sure, the book has patterns with needle size, and yarn weight - but there is no gauge given! It'll be a matter of measure me, count stitches, figure out negative ease, take a stab at gauge, then take a stab at needles and yarns to get that gauge -- cast on, start knitting, and see how it goes! Unless I want to start off by knitting the samplers in the front of the book, using 00 needles with laceweight?
So - what are YOUR plans for the upcoming year? Any fun knits in the works?
As it's coming to the year's end, I decided to go through my tin of ball bands and see what I've been knitting with this year. Spreadsheets are so dandy for statistics - so I made some up.
Total Yardage Knit: 17656
Total Miles Knit: 10
Average Yardage Per Day: 48
Ball Bands Saved: 94
And what have I knit with this year? Drops Alpaca, Rauma Finullgarn, Knit One Crochet Too USDK, Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, Naturespun Sport, and Wildfoote, Kauni Effektgarn, Elann Highland Wool and Lino, DMC Cebelia, Cherry Tree Hill Sock, Rabbit Works Toe Jam, Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky and Sport, KnitPicks' Gloss, Wool of the Andes, Merino Style, Telemark, Essential, and Palette, Louet Gems, Bartlettyarns Fisherman 2-ply, Froelich Blauband, and Araucania Ranco.
And that list doesn't include things I didn't finish skeins of, like Sandnes Garn Tove, or Denis St. Nordique, or even my handspun (one shawl's worth).
I must be a knitter. (Don't tell me you are surprised.)
Lately, I have been knitting hats. Hats are great for small projects when one isn't sure when THE yarn will arrive to knit other fun things, like socks. I forsee many socks and mittens in the coming year. But the yarn for them isn't here yet, so I am biding my time by knitting hats.
This hat was actually planned. The yarn came from Yarn Harbor in Duluth, and the pattern from Knitting Brioche. It's reversible, and definitely would benefit from a lighter weight yarn. Still, it's cozy and was much-used this fall.
This hat came from the latest issue of Cast On. I didn't have the patriotic red white and blue of the original hat, so instead of USA mine says SDG - Soli Deo Gloria! Mom liked the hat so much she asked for one.
So I pulled out the bag of stash yarns I had with me (doesn't everyone travel around with 13 skeins of leftover sportweight, 'just in case'?) and she picked out these colors for her own hat. Corn stoves are great - this hat blocked and dried in just 3 hours.
I've been meaning to knit something from Dale of Norway's Commemorative Collection -- and here is the Lake Louise Hat, worked in leftover Blue Sky Alpaca Sport. A fun knit, and a perfect fit for a pink-loving girl.
Before I knit Louise, though, I was at a loss. What to knit, what to knit? Friends told me to cast on for the socks El Pronto - but it's hard to cast on without yarn. I pulled out Molly's Fault and worked on it and thought. (Molly's Fault has grown quite a bit - 25 more squares - due to my indecision) I browsed through things on Ravelry to see what my friends were finding interesting. Someone had favorited a hat by knittergized and it called my name. Loudly. With just a wee bit of number crunching, I discovered that my gauge from the Soli Deo Gloria hats would work nicely with 5 reps of the X pattern, and off I went. Then one of my friends asked for the pattern, so I jotted it down and knit another one to make sure the pattern was accurate, and sent it off to other knitters so they could check it as well. I called it the Estonian Sock Hat because it uses a motif from an Estonian Sock (and probably a Lithuanian, Latvian, and Komi motif as well). Then I knit Louise and decided I needed to make another Estonian Sock Hat which is going to be MINE!!!
I wonder how many of these I will knit before the winter is over?
Speaking of winter, here's a photo of our 'pass to the street' on the first day of winter. The snow fell on the last day of fall, but there was no sign of a pass at that time. I am so happy to have a teenaged boy in the house this year!
Here's the tally of ball bands. First comes the Lamb's Pride Worsted that went into a Christmas sweater and some tablecloth-destined Cebelia. Then there's the odd Knit Picks and Elann yarns which made twined mittens. And some odds and ends and sock yarn that went into places I'm not entirely sure about -socks, baby jackets, and sample mittens, I believe. The BartlettYarns made Filia's winter hat (although I don't have a picture of her wearing it yet). The hat she IS wearing came from some yarn I don't see here.
I have been really enjoying Nancy Marchant's Knitting Brioche, but did the nearly unthinkable yesterday. I sent a half-finished project, minus needles and plus a letter, back to the not-so-LYS. My reason? The Geveldak Scarf is a thing of beauty - but not when there are at least 6 knots in one skein of Kauni which play fast and loose with the color sequence. The gradual shifting from one color to the next is lovely - and totally lost when solid colors are knotted together. I have hopes that I'll get a knotless skein before mid-December, and then I can retackle a Christmas present! But if not -- I will have to figure out something else.
I've knit myself out from under the skeins and balls of yarn acquired in the past few months. There are two projects on the needles, and I am looking forward to a flurry of fun mittens and hats when those are done. We are getting into mitten and hat weather, you know!
I had good intentions of posting on a weekly basis.
Then life happened.
Life has included planned doctor appointments, chauffeuring a Boy Scout selling popcorn around (Thanks, dh! You grabbed the chauffeur cap tonight), school, and general household stuff.
Household stuff is usually knitting around here, but this year it happens to have PUMPKINS in it as well. And not just any pumpkins, but rouge Rouge Vif d'Etampes. Rogue pumpkins, because they are the Wrong Color. They're supposed to be a brilliant red, but they are instead a rather wimpy salmon color - greatly improved to orange by digital photography. This 22-lb pumpkin has been reduced to 12 pints of pumpkin puree, and the seeds from it are drying over the stove, perhaps to be roasted tomorrow.
Today's mail was delightful. Three letters came from our insurance company, telling us coverage was extended for another 6 months (whee), something had been denied due to bad paperwork (bad, bad, paperwork), and that they had paid for a few medical services. Nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing that needed my attention.
But then ... there was a BOX and a padded ENVELOPE! The box contained goodies from Elann for me and dd. I can now get my not-Niebling blocked! (Yup, I finished it. One month. And it's going to be purty.) The boxy you see is a very odd size, but it had to be in order to contain the blocking wires. And 21 skeins of yarn (for dd. She has big eyes when it comes to projects, and this one is going to be delicious when it's finished. But it's for her.) The envelope contained my new eyeglasses, which are very long overdue. For the past 2-3 years, my left lens has been clouded. Now I have a pair with unclouded lenses! I can hardly wait to sit and knit with clear vision.
Finished Object: Morning Glory Mittens (twined), by Beth Brown-Reinsel. A delightful knit, marred only by the knitter's failure to put the thumb for the medium mitten in the proper spot for the medium thumb. The failure was discovered while knitting the second mitten, and was rectified by practically knitting a 3rd mitten (since the mitten needed to be frogged to 2 rows past the cuff).
Current WIP: Delfts Blauw (in Cincinnati Bengals colors, which do happen to be rather popular this time of year, despite the team's abject performance on the football field which has led to a complete lack of any discussion of the team's post season prospects, and even their current prospects) by Nancy Marchant.
I'm not talking about a stash bandit here. This is one of the things that happened to us over the summer. Meet Bandit, a 'small dog', who entered our family in June. Our resident dog (Terry) was not pleased to be sharing his house with another dog, and for a few days I wasn't sure the first week would end with two live dogs and one sane me. Forty-eight hours of total and utter pandemonium, lunging, and non-stop barking (on the part of the resident dog) ended with a truce, and I'm thinking before we get too far into winter that Bandit is going to be the next best thing to an electric blanket, so far as Terry is concerned.
Another thing that happened to us this summer was a grandmother giving four cans of paint to her granddaughter as a birthday present. And when life gives you paint cans (in your choice of color!), you have your mom paint. And so I painted. And painted. And painted. The other two walls are solid - teal and tangerine. No one has called the room 'boring and dull' lately. It's even clean, thanks to a week of post-painting destashing.
And a Sad Event
I learned that my Niebling isn't a Niebling. It's a Duchrow. That means that after I finish it, I should probably go knit a real Niebling.
I am having way too much fun knitting my Niebling. It doesn't have a fancy name, like Lyra, or Federdolde. No, its name is Page 19. Someone ran out of inspiration, I guess. Or he was too busy designing to think of cute names.
Someone has alerted me that Franklin posted about the Five Stages of Niebling. Now, when I read about it, I thought - Ben Franklin commented on Niebling? I thought Niebling was more contemporary than that. Hmm.
Oh, THAT Franklin. And those five stages have nothing to do with me. True to form, I don't follow the form. My five stages read something more like Dreaming (about making one), Drooling (over my choices, when I get into the serious planning stage), Delight (in casting on, and once I get past the second row), Tedium (somewhere around 50 hours into the project), and then it's back to Delight (when I get close to finishing, finishing, and smiling upon it when it's blocked)
I'm still waiting for my FleegleNeedles. Rumor has it that our heavy rains (thanks, Earl) disrupted mail traffic a bit. So far, I'm doing fine with 360 stitches on dpns. Small yarn, six needles to work with, light needles, and tight tension have conspired together to produce no dropped stitches. But boy, will it be nice to have a circular!
A KnitPicks order went in today. I got only one skein of yarn (pats self on back), but two books. Filia will find one of them helpful for her knitting class next year. Yup, that's it. (That wasn't the whole order - Filia got yarn for an argyle sock, non-argyle mitten, and her swatches. And a friend got some goodies as well.)
If I'm going to be knitting with my new skein this year, I need to get back to Page 19.
It's been a while, one might say, since I wrote a blog entry. What happened?
I joined SparkPeople, and blogged there a bit more regularly than I did here.
I had the Hectic Summer to end all Hectic Summers, and didn't find myself sitting at the computer wondering what I could do, ever.
There wasn't that much knitting one going on.
There wasn't much schooling two going on either.
But now, my activity on SparkPeople has shifted into maintenance mode, my hectic summer has ended (hear that, summer? You are NOT allowed to be hectic any more. No carryover into fall, either. Period.), I am knitting, and I am schooling.
Life is pleasant. It's staying pleasant by regular and repeated pronouncement of the word 'no.' This is necessary because
The schooled two have activities on Monday night, in towns 10 miles apart. This requires two parents (since the towns are 12 and 20 miles from home, respectively)
I'm in a book discussion group on Tuesday night.
The schooled two and dh have activities on Wednesday night.
Thursday is knit night.
Our next free Saturday is the 23rd of October.
It's also pleasant because I have begun to knit a Niebling. There aren't any photos of it on the internet that I can find, but if you're on Ravelry you can look at my projects and see the one item someone else has made and photographed. I'm using size 30 crochet cotton (don't panic - it's on 2.25 mm needles) and estimate it will be just a yard in diameter, as opposed to the 5 ft suggested by the model which used size 10 crochet cotton (and 3.0 mm needles)
In order to knit this Niebling, I needed (yes, really and truly needed) a circular needle, and one with an excellent join. So I have ordered myself some FleegleNeedles - and decided I may as well get a short one and a long one. (22" and 32") If I love them as much as I think I will, it's highly likely that size 1 will become my size of choice for lacework.
Lunch break over ... back to school! Reading for the afternoon includes Book I of The Histories by Herodotus, 5 pages of Johnson's History of the American People, and 2 pages of Every Thought Captive. Plus Job 31-42.
It's the end of April, which means it's time to check in and see what I've been up to this month as evidenced by ball bands.
I cheated a little bit. I'm including some ball bands which were laying on the floor in the craft room (hmm, when did THIS get used?) and also some partial balls that still need their bands. But I'm excluding quite a few bands that are perched on partial skeins of KP MerinoStyle, so it all works out.
Discovery of the month: Louet Gems Merino bands are HUGE!
It's lovely to knit with, too. No split stitches, except for when I goof and need to tink down 10 rows or so to rearrange a zig zag. And that only happens when I go to knit night. I've thought about avoiding knit night until the gansey is done, but since I found my first error - 10 rows back - only 5 minutes after sitting down to knit, I don't know if that would help.
I'm practically finished with the front, and am well into the back. Well, sort of. It's knit in the round up to the armholes, and then the parts split. Since I've just 4" or so to go on the back, let's just say I'm almost done with the body and leave it at that.
And here are the contents of my yarn stand. Needles, quilt (in the process of having the binding blind-stitched on), handspun scarf (waiting for the gansey to be done), and extra gansey yarn.
In other news, spring continues to be beautiful, and all sorts of things are growing in the yard. The car isn't fixed yet, but after waiting two weeks for the parts to arrive, we called and found that they'd been in for a while but someone forgot to call us. Hmmm. And there are just three weeks left in our school year.
When children are small, often they find the packaging of a toy more appealing than the toy itself.
I thought those days were far behind me. (No, not ME finding the packaging more fun. My children.) Today's tea order's arrival shows that I have been operating under a severe delusion.
Consider: The Box
Consider: The Contents
Consider: The Result
Gratuitous Yarn Photo
And an update on my oven. Not only is 500 degrees on the dial equal to 420 degrees after 40 minutes, 350 is equal to 350 after one hour. And 450 is sometimes equal to 450, and other times it's equal to 375. Rather than get another stove for a wee bit more than it would take to make Lady Eleanor in the yarn used by the designer, I have reset my cooking mentality back to the days of the Wood Stove, and check the temperature every 5-10 minutes and adjust accordingly.
One of the major reasons why it takes forever for roast vegetables to roast is that my oven temperature, according to at least one oven thermometer, is often 80 degrees lower than the temperature setting. Can I blame all the cooking failures of the past 15 years on this? Maybe my no-burn granola will burn now.
The oven isn't ALWAYS 80 degrees off. Sometimes it's pretty close. So I have to check every 5 minutes or so to be safe. There's no rhyme or reason. 425 = 500, 350 = 450, and yesterday for a while, 450 = 450.
Updating our brand new GPS (aka speedometer) to the latest map has caused the GPS to become non-functional. Did I really want to spend 12 hours watching the computer download and install updates in order to find out that the installation would crash after 2+ hours, twice? No.
My shawl isn't as long as I want it to be. And I have a finite amount of yarn. But, if there are 150 grams of yarn in a 71 st wide shawl, 78 grams of yarn should be enough to do a narrow VanDyke edging, no? Better be.
And now, for the Big Joys
(Insert Happy Dance) I get to knit a gansey!
(Insert Smile of Delight) It's by one of my favoritest designers! You know, the kind of designer whose patterns you'd knit up without even checking to see if you liked them because that would be redundant? Yes, that one.
(Gleeful Grin) The yarn is en route. Louet Gems Merino Sport, which I've seen in Level II argyle socks, but have never worked with myself.
(Sticking nose comically in air) No one else can knit it. The pattern is not publically available. That must mean I'm special. (cough, choke, return nose to normal position)
I've spun up all the yarn from Shepherd's Harvest 2009 and am 37 repeats into 48+ repeats of the shawl I'm making with it.
I had fresh asparagus from my garden yesterday.
My swiss chard and parsely didn't get hit by the same hail that stopped us in our tracks while driving just 5 miles north of here. Nassssty hail. But the car is okay, and we were inside the car.
My husband is so good at helping car dealerships realize they shouldn't charge us for fixing something that broke on the car while they were fixing something else.
There are daffodils outside my window.
There's fresh granola in the oven. Better go eat it!
March was a much better month for having ball bands.
The month's knitting tally includes a pair of socks, a finished baby cardigan, two pair of Compass mittens, and felted slippers. Some spinning also happened - and in fact, I'm planning on my next serious knitting project being a shawl to use the yarn. Serious knitting projects, because one simply cannot go days without knitting while waiting for yarn to be spun (although, since I'm the spinner, the yarn gets spun faster if I'm not knitting) and dried. And my spinning wheel doesn't fit into the front seat of the car (no, I do *not* need a traveling spindle.) So I need a traveling, non-serious, knitting project.
I finished up socks Tuesday morning and haven't cast on for something yet. I think it's a record.
Molly's Fault doesn't count as a project. It's a lifestyle.
Every so often, I remember that projects with garter stitch seem to take longer than they should. So it has been with Minni. She's done now - or as done as she can get with the yarn I have on hand. Praise God for Ravelry Stashes! I've found someone with a skein of the color I'm out of (almost out - and 2 yards will not make a sleeve) and we're working out the details of a swap that will not only let me finish Minni, but also clear out one of my yarn boxes! How efficient can one get?
The socks are done, too. I'm positive my camera ate some pictures of them, but here's what one of them looks like. They're warm, and toasty, and TALL! Now I need something old-fashioned to hold them up better. But for sitting and knitting? They can't be beat.
Of course, now that the socks are done, the weather warms up. We lost almost 2' of snow in our front yard in just over a week. The flowers are up, the sidewalks are visible under all the snow that the plows pushed into the yard, and the yard needs a good vacuuming. Inspired by the warmth, I started some Swiss Chard, peppers, and parsley. The first is up, the latter sprouted in a paper towel and has been gently transferred into pots, and the middle isn't saying anything about its activities.
The massive time-gobbler of genealogy has been kept under strict control. But - because it's always fun to find new relatives - I'll still pass along a bit of family history here and there. Back a ways up my husband's tree, he has a Very Jewish Relative. (Just like I have Very Polish and Czech Relatives ... can't get more Polish than Tekla Gaciarzianka, can you?) Dan's Jewish Relative is named .... Judah Levi. You can't get much more ethnically distinctive than that. Judah came from ... England. And because he seems to have been escaping an unpleasant situation in the old country, the line dead ends there.
The shawl hasn't been frogged yet. It's nice to pop on in the evening when my shoulders get cold.
And a question: Why do all the pictures of roast veggies show them with nice dark marks from roasting, but mine - despite cooking them for twice the suggested time - don't? Yesterday's new recipe called for roasting potatoes until golden brown - 20-25 minutes. I upped the temperature 50 degrees and cooked them for closer to an hour, and they were still pasty white. It's a small annoyance in life, but if anyone has a solution, let me know!
This month I finished the twined hat - no ball bands to show you.
I'm working on, and hope to finish tomorrow, a hap shawl - no ball bands to show you. The yarn doesn't have ball bands, being coned and partial cones.
The second skein of sock yarn I began this month didn't come with a ball band. But I did start it!
Insert picture of nothing < >.
Yup, that's my February knitting.
I'd have done more (and still had nothing to show for it) if I hadn't been sucked into genealogy research. The initial burst of activity is gone, thankfully, but there are so many fascinating little ends to hunt down, and a Certain Friend (who doesn't read this blog) keeps feeding me wonderful genealogy sites. Thanks, Patti. Just when I exhaust what I think I can find, you point me somewhere else.
Which is why I now know that Rebecca Wood Butts Bigelow's (b. 1824, NY) granddaughter Lillian Eagles Lee (b. 1876, MO) moved to Texas in 1920. You'd think with names like Leroy, Robert, Eunice, and Velva (in descending birth order), I'd be able to find them. But no ... do you know how many people there are named Robert Lee in Texas? We think they moved back to Kansas, anyways.
And there's your Carolyn's Bunnytrail Genealogy snippet for the day. If you're related, let me know! I like knitting things together, and that applies to BIG family trees as well as yarn.
Last week, I decided to make this The Year of the Ball Band. I will save (note - not I *have* saved, but I *will* save) the ball bands or tags from each skein of yarn I use. At the end of each month, I can take a picture of the month's contribution and tot up how many yards have passed through my fingers.
Unfortunately, my big project uses coned yarn. So the totting up of yardage will be an estimate.
Also, I just decided to do this last week. Therefore, I am missing evidence of a decent amount of yarn usage - the green from the medieval mittens, anything from the Compass mittens or Brewster Stockings, and the Offering Mitts. (I cheated slightly by using the Merino Style label from the Shades hat (December) to stand in for the green, or the red or purple Merino Style that were wound into a plied ball several months ago, but which I am now using for a class hat. Any way you look at it, I'm 2 labels of MerinoStyle short.)
That should cover all my caveats. Am I missing any?
Ah, yes. The fact that I have a ball band pictured does not mean there are no leftovers. It just means the leftovers are with other yarn of the same ilk, where one ball band will do for all.
This month's total ball band yardage? 1,452 yards. Not counting the cone of 2300 yards of cashmere, which has so far become a 4x4 ft square.
For those of you following our corn stove odyssey, here is what you do NOT want to see inside the stove when you come downstairs at 5 AM and 52 degrees. We're not sure why it does this, sometimes, at the higher heat settings. It could be a warped firebox (and we confess to aiding in the warpage since the critter would NOT come out for cleaning), but that doesn't explain why it works most of the time. Its favorite time to not work is around 2 AM, but it will do it while being watched. All day yesterday? Fine and dandy. This morning? PLUG!
Ah well. It's warm out - 5 degrees with no wind - so I turned it into a stove-cleaning opportunity.
Some winters go by with no sign of hoarfrost. This winter has seen an abundance of it, and I'd like to think it's welcoming our pastor's wife, Bonnie, to Minnesota. Late last fall we saw a lovely picture entitled "Hoarfrosted Berries" and she commented that she hadn't heard of that variety of berry. I explained to her about hoarfrost so she wouldn't go looking for a hoarfrost plant in the catalogs, and hoped we would get some hoarfrost this year.
Hoarfrost has been abundant! And not only abundant, but the winds have been very light, allowing the trees and bushes (and anything else outside) to retain the extra beauty for several hours. A good wind will wipe hoarfrost right off the landscape in 5 minutes or so.
And my latest knitting toy has arrived. Vir thinks it adds a touch of class to our living room. I love how it lets the yarn fumes grace the room with inspiration.
No more knitting toys for a while. I've got a lot of 2/28NM yarn to work up into a shawl (basket 2), plus some Compass Mittens and toasty warm Brewster Stockings to do. Plus there's the Araucania Ranco in basket 1 to find a project for. Lilleput and Stole? Socks? Time will tell.
And, while two of the remaining projects in Piecework are lovely, I have no need for either of them at the moment - unlike the three pairs of Compass Mittens for which I ordered the yarn today. The remaining project from Piecework will have to wait until the yarn arrives as well. So - onwards I go to the Hap Shawl which has been calling my name for a few months!
It will not be featured as a finished project tomorrow. Guaranteed.