Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Set, anyone?

This deal happened at the beginning of the game, from a shuffled deck. The cards got rearranged -- the original deal wasn't QUITE this tidy, but still ...

Friday, October 14, 2011

International I Love Yarn Day

Today happens to be I Love Yarn Day. Why anyone needed to pick a particular day in which to love yarn is beyond me. I manage to find time on most (but not all) days to play with yarn.

But in honor of this particular day, and the new Fiber Artist Spotlight at my local yarn store (for which I am the second person so featured), here are some photos of my knitting currently at my LYS. (I love my new camera!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Unst in Progress

Once upon a time, there was some yarn. Specifically a fine 2-ply merino yarn from Colourmart, spun and wound off at the lovely size of 2300 yds/150g cone. (Cone on the left is new, the one on the right may or may not last the shawl.)
The knitter swatched, just like Goldilocks, to find Just the Right Size Needle. (MamaBear had the right size)
The the knitter knit, and knit, and knit, and knit, and knit ...
And someone asked for pictures. So she stopped knitting and found a decrepit camera, and a couch, and some pins.
And, although the knitter didn't measure how wide the shawl pinned out in her Very Impromptu Pinning Session, she can report that each red stripe and each navy stripe on the couch blanket is 4" wide. Finished size is supposed to be 24" wide. Hmm. Overachieve!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Blank Space

This morning, my students are studying quietly. The bread is rising, the washer and dryer are both running, supper is in the crockpot, and the mail is sorted on the kitchen desk. There's nothing on my to-do list that needs attention at the moment. (I just double-checked to make sure.) It's been much too long since I've carved out space to write on my blog, so here I am.

The past almost-three months have not gone by quietly and uneventfully. There's been Scout Camp, a TKGA conference, the State Fair, Joni and Friends Family Camp, and the start of the school year - both the homeschool one and the filia-taking-classes-at-a-local-college one. Knitting submissions have come, and knitting submissions have gone. Knitting projects have popped onto the needles, and they've popped off the needles. I've read the entire Barchester Chronicles and Palliser Chronicles by Trollope. (I'm a bit lost as to what to read next. I think 13 books by Trollope in a row is probably sufficient and I'd like something a bit more meaty to chew on auditorily.)

We're now into fall. The weather is rather warm for fall, which means it's not corn stove weather yet. This heating season isn't going to see us burning corn, since corn prices have more than doubled since last year. I will have to get used to saying (wood) 'pellet stove', I suppose. It's lovely weather for walking around town. This weekend, my husband and I took the road less traveled and walked away from town, then detoured on path through the fields rather than walk through the dust from a combine in a bean field. It was lovely to walk and see nothing but corn, beans, and the top of a farmhouse and some trees in the distance.

The project on the needles is Sharon Miller's Unst Lace Stole. I love shawls - knitting them, even more than wearing them. I expect to finish it in the next week or two. After tomorrow, there will be one long side left to edge, and then the magic of blocking will turn the gray lump into gorgeous lace. I'm pleased that it won't be too small. A too-small stole can be difficult to wear well. It will rest in my craft room until the fair next year, and then be on its way elsewhere. Sort of like the table centerpiece I knit last year in October, except I haven't sent that one on its way yet.

Facebook is being annoying. I miss being able to see only status updates. I really don't want to have to sort through all the things that people 'share' to find out who is up to what. I'm dipping my toes into the water of Google+, and have deleted Facebook from my browser bookmarks. Poof - several dozens of minutes of each day have been recovered! Just think how much more time there would be in a day if we didn't have bookmarks!

And now ... to get OFF the computer and into my knitting chair.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

A Hodgepodge

Summer has been, well, summery. We've been on one (of 3) trips away from home, have wrapped up the bulk of the school year (one child still has work to finish in one subject), and I'm happily plugging away at my summer goals.

One of those goals is to READ! What with working at the computer and knitting, reading hasn't been really happening. But then, I got a Kindle for Easter. (As well as the Chocolate Easter Bunny that I didn't eat between Easter 2010 and 2011. If my kids don't say something, I'll pass it back to mom for my 2012 Easter Basket. Shhhhh.) With my Kindle, I can listen to books AND knit. And read the books when I don't want to knit. It does happen. Especially when the book is interesting and it's taking too long for the computerized voice to get to the really, really interesting part.

So this summer (since Easter, actually), I've read - and remembered to write down -
  • Heir of Redclyffe (Thanks, Willa!)
  • Rilla of Ingleside
  • Common Sense
  • The Praying Life
  • The Next Story
  • Tortall Stories
  • The Man who Knew Too Much
  • Bloodhound
  • The Hero and the Crown
  • The Blue Sword
  • Walden
  • Bleak House
  • Ralph the Heir
I'm working on The Art of the Commonplace (Readaloud with the kids) and The Warden (by Anthony Trollope). Defintely too much fun. I've got Children of Hurin on the shelf too, and hope to read it before it has to go back to the library ... and then there will be The Wandering Arm, one of Abigail's college books. Reading is fun. But it can take away from knitting time.

As to knitting, I'm plugging away on the mittens. The picture from my last post is pretty representative of how things look, so no new photo. I am 6 diamonds into the mitten now, and start the top decreases at 8 diamonds. The end is in sight! I suppose the question is ... will I finish the mitten beFORE I finish listening to The Warden, or will I abandon the mitten briefly to read the book, or is the book shorter than the mitten?

One of my 'to-do' things this summer was to weed out unloved foods from the pantry and either use them or find a new home for them. One of the unloved things was Real Non-Instant Tapioca. I now have Tapioca Pudding in the frirdge. Mmmm. But why don't any of the recipes or instructions for folding in egg whites say to let the pudding cool first? The recipe on the bag even says "Beat Egg Whites until stiff. Fold into hot tapioca mixture." Snippets from Google Books suggest folding the hot tapioca mixture into the egg whites. Other advice is to let the pudding cool, then fold in the egg whites. Any opinions?

And one of my favorite recipes this summer so far (apart from homemade barbecue sauce and homemade baked beans with aforementioned barbecue sauce) is homemade pita bread. My last batch had perfect pockets on 6 of 8 pitas, and partial pockets on the rest. With baked beans and lettuce inside, a half pita makes a perfect lunch. Mmmm.

Not really planned or on my schedule, but happening anyways, is sitting in the passenger seat while my daughter practices driving. Not entirely in the passenger seat. I'm her brake pedal. Seems like most parents, when they drive with their children, have the liberty of letting their right foot weigh heavily upon an invisible brake. Not me! Due to Minnesota's shut-down, Filia's evaluation for hand controls is on hold, so we don't know what sort will work best for her. She's not about to trust her feet (which don't reach the pedals to begin with) to finding the right pedal and being able to exert the right amount of pressure ... so I get the job. And get to practice controlling that AAAAAAAH slam-on-the-brake instinct. Our van idles at a nice steady 5 mph -- perfect for cruising around a little-frequented cemetery and practicing turns. The ground isn't perfectly level, and thus a bit of brake pedal is needed from time to time.

And that is a hodgepodge of what's been going on around here!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Microgauge Mittens

It's all Beth Brown-Reinsel's fault. Or maybe it's Arenda Holladay's. Or perhaps Birgitta Dandanell's.

Or maybe it's just that I'm not normally a sane person. I have flashes of normalcy, perhaps - but I've never quite walked the beaten path. Years ago, when I read Twined Knitting, I marvelled at the gloves that were knit out of cotton at 22 stitches per inch, and thought "would that I could do that someday! But not gloves. Gloves aren't nice." And then Arenda designed a lovely sweater using fine yarn, and I thought again - ahhh, finer gauges. How lovely. I should make one. But I'd have to revise the pattern so I could steek it. And then Beth posted her lovely photo of a hat/mitten set made at 13 stitches per inch in the same yarn Arenda used ... and then Beth posted, a few months later, a picture of a Latvian mitten at 19 stitches per inch.

THAT was the straw that broke the camel's back. I can do mittens. I can do Latvian. And I can do skinny yarn. So I decided to knit a Latvian mitten using fingering-weight yarn and a pattern with lots of stitches on small needles (that would be a US size 1, for those of you who allergic to relative terms) and ended up with Cindy's Mittens. Mmmmm, pretty, aren't they?

But there was a problem. Those were only 54 stitches per 4", and they knit up awfully fast. So I decided I must need skinnier yarn, and thus the Great Yarn Hunt began. It ended up at (don't click on the link if you don't need more yarn) RedFish Dyeworks, with some 20/2 pure silk. I really wanted to use 30/2, but the knitting community rallied in defense of my sanity and I decided to play along - for this pair of mittens.

See? Pretty yarn. I must be in a red white and blue phase, since my vacation project is also red white and blue. And no, I am NOT so insane as to think of working on these while sitting in a car going down a road full of potholes. They do require some concentration.

After the yarn arrived, I had a crisis of intent. I knew what pattern I wanted for the top of the mitten -- it came from a stocking photo at Flickr. (If you don't want design inspiration and are avoiding stranded knitting at the moment, don't click on that link either.) But I also knew I didn't want to have ribbing at the cuff, or any of the other traditional Norwegian cuffs. So what should I do??? I thought, and thought, and whimpered quietly to my knitting friends online, knit up a sample in fingering weight, threw that idea totally out the window, and cast on 150 stitches, and started knitting while perusing Latvian Mittens. (Sorry, I'm linked out.)

And, after a while, this is what I had ...

Mmmm. I like it. A sweater at this gauge would be nice, too.

But I wouldn't.

Would I?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May Jottings

April has disappeared, and May has arrived - cool at first, and rather toasty in the sunshine today. I am glad it will cool off again tomorrow, and stay cooler for a while (cool now is 70 degrees, give or take 10. Obviously I'm in summer mode - an easy place to be when the window thermometer says 106 degrees.)

My fun project right now is dreaming of the mittens I will make at a Very Tiny Gauge. Here are two swatches ... More yarn for swatching is on the way. In the meantime, I've pulled Molly's Fault out of hibernation and am making decent progress on it. The plan is to make it into a scarf first, then a wrap, and then a bona fide blanket.
We have all sorts of plans around here. Filia was planning out her History Day presentation board, when Canis Magnus decided he would help.
And a week or so earlier, in that very spot, Canis Minimus decided he would help Filius with some science questions. Canis Minimus is very picky about where he reposes, and because of his arthritis and prior-to-us life, often responds to annoyances in his repose with snarls and a tooth. Filius doesn't like being a place of repose.
Short, sweet, and plenty of photos. Now it's back to organizing my desk!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Knitting in March ... and reading?

March has been a busy month. It really started in February, when I took on a test knit .. and then had a small problem with the test knit that involved reknitting a large chunk of it, and life just sort of rolled on from there.
While waiting for more yarn for the test knit, I whipped out some stash projects. (Stash courtesy of Molly). We have the Yummy Mittens, by Beth Brown-Reinsel.

Then we had the annual meeting of the county historical society, which begged for some easy knitting. And behold, a stash hat jumped onto the needles. I did good. The tassel contains ALL the CC that was left over. Then my son announced he needed some socks. In fingering weight yarn, please, so he could wear them with shoes. And I ended up making herringbone socks. I don't like herringbone. It's pesky. And the pattern had an error in one of the two pattern rows. And the pattern was for SEAMED socks. I fixed the error and ignored the seam.
Then the yarn for the test knit arrived, and I knit that up and finished it. And I cast on for a pair of mittens. Using fine yarn (of course) and my new set of Blackthorn dpns. Regrettably, the gauge I got was a shade too plump for the number of stitches I was dealing with, so I only knit the cuff with those needles - the switched to a US 1 for the stranded portion.
Isn't it pretty? The chart is #37 in Latvian Mittens - and, near as I can tell, there aren't any photos of it in the book. I'm working it up at around 12.5 sts/", and it fit my hand (m) nicely. Much better than any of the other mittens with a peasant thumbs that I've tried, actually. Mitten #1 is done, and I'm on row 1 of colorwork of #2. And there's a nice quiet weekend ahead. Unless one gets wrapped up in basketball.

Reading. It really cuts into knitting time. (So does blogging.) I couldn't find the rest of the Giants in the Earth trilogy, so I have ILL'd them. I discovered Kindle for PC, and was amazed to find that BOTH books recommended in the day's US History lecture from the Teaching Company (which I will get used to calling The Great Courses sometime in the next decade or two, perhaps) were available as free downloads. Then Filius decided he needed to check it out, and the next thing I knew, all sorts of Jules Verne books were dropping into my Kindle. And the entire works of Edgar Allen Poe. If you've got boys who liked Stowaway or Shackleton's Stowaway (two different books), consider hunting up Jules Verne's An Antarctic Adventure. I became acquainted with it through Librivox, and it's also a free download at Kindle.

And if you like Jane Austen, and are in the mood for a short story (a wee bit over an hour) do give Love and Friendship a try. It borders on slapstick comedy, and the reader does a lovely job.
Current Reading: The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr, and Caesar's Column, by someone whose name I forget. That's a problem with the Kindle for PC. You don't see the author's name lurking on the book spine to help fix it in your memory.
Happy Spring, all! Our garden is just a foot under the snow now, and I can see the tops of my oregano plant!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Finishing Things

After finishing the mini-sweater in my last post, I decided to tackle a pair of Bavarian Knee Stockings. Ahhhhh - they were fun. And they took a while. The pattern was a bit vague - no gauge or schematic, just 'fine wool, size 0 needles, to fit size 40 shoe (German)'. I dove in with my trusty 2.75mm, Spud&Chloe Sock, and decided to see what happened. The first thing I discovered is that for the ribbing, one is supposed to work stockinette. Ooops! I persevered, and with some help from a friend, had enough yarn to finish off two stockings that fit nicely (thanks to decreasing an extra pattern at the ankle)
Sometime this year, I knit up a sample mitten for a forthcoming project, but I wasn't happy with the gauge. Dale Heilo seems thinner than it used to be - but the stats don't support my fingers' report. They're a nice easy knit.
But I wanted to get a denser mitten, so I pulled some KnitPicks Telemark out of the stash and worked these guys up on Sunday. 70 minutes per mitten, not counting weaving in tails.
After the tails were woven in, there was still more time left in the day. I pulled out The Complete Photo Book of Knitting (nifty book, but pleasepleasePLEASE do not use it as a reference for picking up stitches from bound off or cast on edges, or mattress stitch.) and worked up a twined mitten. Found two errata! My day is made when I can fix a little bit of errata in this big wide world of ours.
Yesterday I made the mate, and then cast around for something to do. It needed to be small, since a large project is lurking in the wings and I don't like having too many projects on the needles. I settled upon the Wooly Bear Mittens from the latest issue of Knitting Traditions, and got started on those with some Bartlettyarns Sport - until I discovered that yarn and gauge did not go together. My new project ended up being a pair of socks for Filius.

For a few months, I've been listening to audiobooks while knitting. I didn't have anything on my iPod I hadn't listened to, though, and was in the middle of Giants in the Earth - so I got that out and read. It's a nice change to have a knitting project I can read during! Those Bavarian stockings are NOT something you can knit and read through.

Giants in the Earth is, so far, an enjoyable book. It's like Little House on the Prairie for adults. I think I may have to hunt up other books by the author.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Tonight will be a quiet evening. The to-do list has been dispatched, the lists for tomorrow and future days will be ignored, and my most pressing activities are washing my hair and knitting.

I love evenings like this. Time to sit back and recharge, to create something (in tonight's case, a second sleeve on the wee little sample sweater from my previous post), to think, to pray -- I will enjoy this evening.
But I discovered I hadn't updated my blog yet this year, and I do not want to neglect it like I did last year. So - an update!
The knitting, it goes well. Since my last blog post I have redone three thumbs on half-mitts, knit 7 stranded socks, and made a stash hat for January. Oh, and another pair of Compass Mittens. There are 9 Compass Mitten projects on Ravelry. Five of them are mine. Why does that sound wrong? I have also reviewed (think think think) 4 knitting submissions and at least 5 resubmissions. And I made some pretty diagrams out of tortuous sentences for an answer key.
The filii, they are well. And the vir, he is well. Los perros quoque son bien. And the polyglot, she is ready to head off and knit. After the hairs are washed.