Monday, July 28, 2014

Granny on Duty

This past week, I not only got my regular day with Lil Farm Gal, but the next day as well.
It seems the day care was going to be closed so Lil Farm Gal and I got to have two days together.  On Wednesday, (the same day the farm was getting fertilized) we went on a field trip across the neighboring county for a dairy farm tour.  They are locally well known as a independent farm that processes their own milk and cheese and ice cream. They even drove the right color tractor.  That is an important thing in the farming community.  The tour began with a video of the farm history and then a walking tour around the facilities.  No pictures, I'm afraid, but the moochies (cheese curds) and their chocolate milk sample were wonderful.  
After dessert, followed by lunch, we also took a side trip to pick up a prize I won during the baby food festival.  Then home and tv before attending to her afternoon chores.
The next day was fairly quiet, since we had spent the wad the day before.  She came along for an hour meeting I had to attend. and then a little shopping before heading home for quiet time again.
I am so glad I got an extra day this week.  My next regular time would have been during the fair, but she is going to her aunts for the week for a fair in Indiana.  Only one time more until school starts, unless we can get together the Friday of fair week.
After all this, and while the sleeves were getting finished, I did start to think about starting another project.   I dug out some yarn I had purchased a year ago,when we had hoped for a grandchild.  It turned out to be the wrong weight for the project I had planned, so I dove into the Ravelry pattern pool again.
I found a simple riff on a top-down raglan sweater out of fingering weight, called Sweet Baby Sweater.  It calls for two different yarns, a variegated yarn (left from a pair of socks?) perhaps for the yoke, and a solid for the sleeves and body.  I decided to go with the yarn I had and add a texture pattern to the plain stockinette.  I call it Sweet Pea Cardigan.
The yarn is less mint green and more pea green.  I have cast on and progressed an inch or two.  It should be a easy but interesting knit with the texture.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brown Gold?

One day last week Older Son called and asked if his dad wanted to have some manure spread on our hay fields, now that the hay is off.  After a few calls back and forth, at the end of the day there was a large hose being dragged across our field from the farm a half mile away.
It was quite the production.
I had never seen it being spread that way.  One end of the hose was hooked to a pump at the "pit."  The one on our field was attached to a tractor with a pump and sprayer.  And then, as seen here, it zig-zagged across our hayfields spreading brown goodness here and there.
All told, we got 4 coats on the fields.  The smell wasn't as bad as I was afraid it might have been.  After it dried, it was hardly noticeable.  We even slept with the windows open. 
On the knitting front, I have been working as well.  Not on the lace shawl though.  That requires too much time without interruption.  Instead, I have finished both sleeves for Lil' Laban's Wallaby.  
Now, its just plain knitting for a ways, to fuse the pocket into place and join the sleeves.  Good position for Knit Night knitting.  
Maybe it is time to start thinking about something new to cast on. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wallaby Time for "Laban"

With the completion of the two Baby Sophisticates and matching hat, it is time to turn to a Wallaby for Little Laban.  The yarn had already been selected and was ready to jump onto the needles.  (The link is to the Ravelry project page.)
Beautiful Encore in shades of blue and green.  It was soon zipping along.  Shortly after the ribbing was complete and the stockinette established, I pulled my usual trick and made the pocket flap.  I find it easier to pick up the pocket stitches before I go as far on the body as the pattern calls for.
 After finishing the pocket flap I also cast on for the first sleeve.  I like having them done and ready to add when I get to the yoke.  Lizzie once again graciously posed for scale.  Well, okay.  She had claimed to footstool for her nap and wasn't going to move.
The other reason for getting some of the fussy parts of the knitting done is to have at least one easy, non-fussy project for knit nite.
My Plain Old Boysenberry Pi is going surprisingly well.  I am 10 rows into the next pattern section.  It now starts to change from the previous pattern.  I think it will be easier than I thought.  Although I am looking to change out the section following this.  I am even considering making the eyelet rings like I did in my Leftover Pi that I made with my leftover sock yarn.  I may do some rounds of eyelets, and the some other lace pattern.  After all I will have up to 96 rows to play with over 576 stitches.
I think that leaves a bit of room for creativity.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Projects 14, 15 and 16 for 2014

I finished the hat for Little Whose It.  The sweaters and hat were set out to block yesterday under the watchful eye of Leo.
I think he wanted to make sure they didn't harm the wool blanket at the foot of the bed. The plaid wool blanket at the foot of the bed was in the cleaners nearly all last week.  Both Leo and Lizzie were traumatized by its absence.  Leo crawls underneath it to take his afternoon naps.  And Lizzie invariably curls up on it at night.  The animals obviously share my love for soft breathable wool.   The blanket itself is over 60 years old as it was one of my parents wedding presents.
The hat and sweater look great together and I think will be perfect for a December baby.  Here is a pre-blocking photo.
They do look lighter and more purple than in real life.  The actual sweaters are a deep wine and are perfect "old man" looking sweaters for the two babies.
I hope the mothers like them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

List: My Favorite Knitting Books

I have shared a lot here about how much I love (and need) knitting.  Some of the books that have helped me to grow in my knitting adventure are classics and others are newer.  I thought I would share some of them with whoever happens to actually read this drivel I write.

  • Knitting Rules, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  I mentioned this one yesterday in my post.  I like this because while it doesn't have actually patterns it has recipes for different items:  hats, scarves, shawls and a great sock recipe. She follows the idea that there are not knitting police, and you are master of what you knit.
  • Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann.  Actually anything by this great lady...Knitting Workshop, Knitting Around, and Knitter's Almanac.  But this book was the first that I read when I returned to knitting after many years.   EZ (as she is known by her fans) is another person who knit by formulas and not hard core patterns.  While her pithy directions may leave you wondering, they also give you lots of leeway for creativity.
  • Victorian Lace Today byJane Sowerby.  This has actual patterns, but mostly I use this book for inspiration.  I did some commissioned knitting out of this book though and loved it. The patterns are beautiful.  And all the lace is charted.  I can't knit lace without a chart. 
  • The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd.  I have made several sweaters using these books.  Again they are recipe or formula type books.   I also have her The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  Just have to make me a swatch and I can knit anything.
  • A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker.  What list is complete without these?  Not a regular knitting pattern but many many stitch patterns: lace, cables, knit/purl.  Any simple pattern can be stepped up with the addition of these stitch patterns.  Any new project from Ann Budds book also involves a stroll through these books.
  •  Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. Ironically two books came out at nearly the same time with this name.  This is the version with 54 methods, although I have both books.  I find the one with over 100 methods too overwhelming, and not that much difference between some of them.  This smaller book has come in very handy, when I was looking for provisional cast ons and stretchy ones.  There were several choice to go over and I could pick the one I liked best. 
While there are many other books that I have and love, these are some I wouldn't want to do without.  And I think any knitter could go far with just these.
What are some of your favorites?