Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

No red-neck Christmas tree in the back of a noisy truck this year. Instead Hubby and I attended a party last night for a friends "anniversary of their first date." A great time was had, and almost everyone made it. The only invitee not to attend was excused as being ill and on the other side of the state.

The only downside was a blowing snow, as we departed at the peak of wind and snowy blowy roads. But it was fun and the eats were great. While I was afraid Hubby wouldn't have anyone to talk to, we were surprised to find one of Janes friend's husband to be a fellow farmer who had actually graduated the same year as Hubby. They were busy gabbying all evening.

Happy New Years to All.

Monday, December 29, 2008

And Not So Finished Projects

I wanted to update some on my not-so-finished projects. I worked some on the burley vest, but it was too warm in the last couple days to do much. I have divided the fronts and back and cast off for the arms holes. It is folded over here, so is wider than it looks.
I also finished block 11 on the Wrap Me Up Shawl. Since there are 21 blocks, that puts me half way, although there are finishing borders and cords after the last block.
I especially like the ruffle.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finished Project

I did finish sewing up the Baby Surprise Jacket for Luke and even got a chance to deliver it on Saturday. It appears that he liked it.

It even fit, although the garter stitch has lots of give and it will maybe fit this fall yet.

The fog was like pea soup when I delivered it. The temps on upper 50's made a mess of my glorious snow banks and with the winds caused the fog to billow across the road.

Michigan cellars are not good for rapid thaws. Hubby had to dig out the sub-pump and pump out the basement. Michigan cellars of course just have dirt floors and water was running down under the steps. He was up half the night and pumped it 5 times. Since our pump does not have a shut off, he had to stay awake to pump.

And look at the hay fields. That tree out there is in the ditch between our 2 hay fields. Near the botttom, in the open water is a little whirlpool caused by the tube that runs under the road that was vainly trying its best to drain the fields. And at this point, on my way home from church, the water had gone down quite a bit.

Twas the Day before Christmas

Twas the Day before Christmas, and there in the house,
Farmmom was hiding, as presents she wrapped.
The snow was a-falling, like feathers it flew
And Hubby had dug out the truck that was trapped.

When out on the drive there arose such a clatter,
Farmmom ran to the window to see what was the matter.
Older Son coming to push back the snow,
Making a path in the field with his plow.

He pushed it all back though the flakes were a flurry
Then off he drove, as always, in a hurry.
But he may have exclaimed, as he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas, I'll be back before Christmas night. "

And that was that, no promises when, but he did make it back for a while the next afternoon.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A List: Wonderful Movies I've Discovered/Rediscovered in 2008

Or thereabout.

"Witness for the Prosecution" with Charles Laughton
"Little Women" with Katherine Hepburn--favorite version
"Little Women" with June Allyson
"The Women", original version with Rosalind Russell and Norma Shearer
"Paths of Glory" with Kirk Douglas--chilling and infuriating.
"The Shop Around the Corner" with Jimmy Stewart and Frank Morgan (the guy who was the Wizard of Oz)
and the remake named "In the Good Old Summertime" with Judy Garland and Van Johnson
"The Bishop's Wife"--ahhh, Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven, how did I miss it for this long?
"The Bells of St. Mary's"--apparently I had the plot of this and "Going My Way" confused in my mind. Loved seeing it.
"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!" Marilyn Monroe was hilarious!
"Christmas in Connecticut" with Barbara Stanwyck,
"Naked City"
"Destination Tokyo" with Cary Grant
and of course "Pride and Prejudice" with Olivier and Garson.

I also enjoyed the 1938 version of "A Christmas Carol", although my favorite remains the longer version with Alistair Sims, made in 1951.

It was a good year for movies. I look forward to 2009.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Blowing in the Wind

Snow I mean.

I was rather relieved on Friday when, as I was getting ready to schlep my spinning wheel and supplies out to the car, to get a phone call. David was telling me he would watch the store in the afternoon, so I didn't have to come to spinning and work. I was greatly relieved. While I love snow, I don't love driving in it. Mainly because driving is a necessary evil and I don't enjoy driving in any weather. Even the library, my other job was closed, although it was my day off from there anyway.
But I do enjoy snow. It did let up yesterday so I could finish my shopping and get my groceries and stocking stuffers. (Mind you, nothing is wrapped yet, although this should have been the day.)

Last night however, when I peeped out to see where Hubby was, I saw the most delightful sight. Even Hubby commented on it. Snow was beginning to lightly fall, like diamond dust showering down. You could see waves of it hitting the ground, and the glistening as it fell past the open door.

(No, this picture is not the surface of the moon, but the surface of one of the panes of the window on the back door. Single figure temps tend to make pretty pictures.)
Today--not alot of snow, but WINDY!!. The next county over--1 mile away--is now under a blizzard warning. We are still a mere winter storm warning. Good old lake effect snow. I was unable to venture out to church--4 foot drift in front of the garage still. I snuck out the back door with a camera and got a few of the pictures shown here. Other than that I only ventured out to do bunny chores and come back in. Poor Sadie. Snow has been blowing through the top of the door and drifting down on her. I tried not to touch her. Didn't want to disturb her insulation of fluff.
And so it blows.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Hours

Starting this week I will be getting more hours at the store. Jane will probably be getting more hours for her transcription that she does back up for at a local doctor’s office. This is in addition to the hours she puts in working third shift at another transcription place. So Sandy and I will each work an extra day and Dave apparently will work Saturdays to give her time to sleep. My library hours will be all day on Wednesday and Thursdays for the most part. Except for Christmas and New Years weeks, which (Yikes!) start next week!
So today, I am at the store typing this, although not sure when I can post. Jane thought I could jump on their wireless network here but they took their router home so I need a network cable. Or something. I will need to confer with my techy brother and or nephew. If I can’t post this tonight at home I will try to post from the library.
Speaking of which, did I mention the Baby Surprise Jacket for my great nephew is done, except for seaming. I want to leave it unsewn for a while to confound people with it. The shape looks nothing like a sweater as is. I also finished a hat—the Toasty Topper, which is a hat with built in scarf—in the same yarn. I had mere inches to spare but it is really cute.
I spent some more time on the Burleyspun vest and my rose green sweater while knitting at home yesterday. So those projects are not snoozing, just back burner. I did make my Gilbert a sweater vest to wear outside when it is so cold. I did a practice one first before I use the good yarn to make another. I think I can try it in a smaller gague. And maybe with a rolled collar instead of ribbed. Not sure on that yet.
Oh—and I got the Christmas tree up and trimmed. It is just a small one, but looks nice.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More and More Projects

As if the approaching Christmas season isn't enough, I managed to start 2 more projects since Thursday. I finished the Baby Surprise Jacket, except for the shoulder seams. I started and almost finished the Toasty Topper from Knitty magazine from about a year ago. It is a hat with a scarf growing out of the back of the hat. To help keep hat and scarf together. I haven't even got a picture yet but it is out of the last skein of yarn from the BSJ.
Then, with Gilbert the farm poodle ready to go for his hair cut today, I thought the chilly weather dictated a doggy sweater. I started that yesterday, but it is still only in the yoke area. Since I couldn't get it done for today, I decided to finish the topper first. I am using a rich teal color Nature Spun wool. I need to work on it while he is handy for frequent try-ons.
Lots of snow in the past week. Tonight and tomorrow are supposed to be warming and possibly slushy. The roads have that packed snow ruts that make roads treacherous without any ice on them. We aren't even pretending to plan a trip to Frankenmuth, since the last 2 Mondays were snowed out!
I have been spinning and plying this past week too. I finally have the lipstick red silk/cormo blend all spun and ready to ply. It spun quite fine and hope to have a lot of yardage out of it. It has such a shimmer and deep red color I can't wait to see the finished project.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Congratulations to Angora Girls

My Miss Sadie would like to send her best wishes to the Angora Girls.
After riotous overnight with Blueberry while their Humans were spending an evening away a couple weeks ago, both Crystal and Godiva have recently been spotted constructing nests and are reportedly becoming quite chubby recently.
Rumors abound.
Mr Human has refrained from comment as to how this happened, but press releases state he apparently did not replace the gates of the palatial bunny barn known as Mocha house, inviting the apparent conjugal visits.
The eagerly awaited event should come sometime in the next week or so.
My Sadie also states that since she is safely protected by her cage with no access to maurading male bunnies, she is not constructing any nests.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

If Its Winter, Its Time for Wool

Well, yet another trip to Frankenmuth foiled by the weather. But let it be firmly noted that I was not the first to bale this time. Ms Jane --who constantly makes fun of my cautious driving habits decided Saturday that it was to slippery to go. Ironically Sunday, while much snow lay on the ground was a decidedly lovely day. As you can see, the sun tried to peep through the clouds. I even saw a snowplow go by. On Sunday in Newaygo County!!!
As it turned out, the weather report was for a winter storm warning, starting late Monday, so it was probably good we stayed home. Today, all the county schools were closed and the drive to work was nasty. Luckily we stayed in the snow range and not in the rain/freezing rain area.
But since I was home yesterday, I spun and knit up a storm. Spinning pics, some blue/green/purple Finn wool from Spunky Eclectic called Arcadia, and some rich dark Icelandic over-dyed red. I have a pound of that, and that is about half of the first 8 oz that I have spun up so far. The color is brighter and richer than the picture shows. I am thinking maybe a hat and mittens for the red. Not sure yet about the soft Finn.

I haven't worked on the Wrap Me Up shawl, because I am almost finished with the Baby Surprise Jacket for Luke. I will be posting update pictures on Ravelry (where I am farmmom.) I am binding off with an I-cord. Then just sew shoulders and buttons and that project will be done.

And yet another project. I got some super bulky handpaint BurleySpun in shades of blue and am making a quick vest. It will be super warm when its done. Hopefully I will have enough yarn to finish. I will be checking for length on Gertrude to make sure I don't divide for the front and back too late.

Monday, December 1, 2008

No Road Trip

A bunch of my fiber friends and I had planned a fun filled trip to Frankenmuth today. It is the home of a wool mill, a year round Christmas store, and Bavarian chicken dinners and I don't know what all. I had never been there and they all figured I needed to day.


Life got in the way.

As you can see, we had a bit of snow. Since it started Sunday, there of course was no plowing or salting of roads until today. Maybe in the spring time.

I knit some more on the Baby Surprise Jacket I have started for Luke. Does it look like a sweater yet? I just hope I can figure out how to sew it together once I am done with it.

I also worked on the rose green cardigan. Several rows, but since it is just above the joined sleeves, each row takes about 5 years to finish. Well, maybe I do exaggerate a little. But it is slow going.

And, just to be totally wicked, I cast on yet another project. I purchased the pattern for the Wrap Me Up Shawl at the Charlevoix fiber festival. I have the yarn, but put other projects in front of it. I cast on last Friday and have about a third of the first block done. It is a sampler shawl, with many techniques and stitch patterns to keep you from being bored. I love working with the self striping yarns.

Of course Hubby found ways to keep me busy since I was home today. I had to help him load cattle, along with Younger Son, into the cattle trailer for a trip to the auction. Then later, after Hubby came home, we had to put the calf crate into the little truck to go back to buy another calf at the auction. Now that he is gone, I am blogging and spinning this evening. He has the fire all stoked up and I am toasty and warm, with a puppy on my toes.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Passing On the Knits

I will soon be passing along the sweater I made for great nephew Luke and my Favorite Lieutenant helmet liner. I wanted to be sure I put on pictures of both. I will try to get one of Brett with the liner, but for now:
I love the buttons I found at the yarn shop for the sweater. They are ceramic and the color matches perfectly. I even had a spare to tuck in with a little ball of yarn and the label showing the care directions.
As far as the helmet liner Brett will be on his own. I will just tell him hand wash, dry flat, squeeze, don't wring.
And hope for the best.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

What am I thankful for?
Snowy days. Friends. Nephews to knit for. Snuggly dogs. 2 Part-time jobs, in fields I love--history/genealogy and spinning/fiber, even if I do need more hours.
Paid for house and car.
Sons who are out of school and seem to be doing well. (Extra thanks for that!)
My church family, even if I have disputes with the upper levels of the denomination. My faith.
My spinning wheels, and my stash.
Turkeys. STUFFING with sage and onions.
Good books to read. Classic movies to cry along with--today it was Cheaper by the Dozen the 1950 version.
Barn kitties.
No football.
Did I mention I like snow?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Knitting Updates

I still haven't finished Luke's cardigan. All I have left to do now is weave in the ends and, of course, close the underarms. I plan to actually graft them, instead of doing a 3 needle bind off like I usually have done.

I WILL have it done by the end of the week when I will do a hand off to the Grammy and Grampy for the delivery. I also will be giving my nephew his helmet liner. In less than a month he will be heading for Afghanistan.

I had planned on starting my Wrap Me Up Shawl next. I already had all my yarn picked up and sorted out. I had bought some Plymouth Boku when Jane was clearing out some of her yarn lines. I have a bunch of colorway 60--a brown black blend and some tan colored Pastaza--a great wool/llama blend. I guess it is bumped back a little in the queue. Probably I decided I wanted to do something different, since Rachel already has one, and Jane and Sandy are both working on it at Knit Group.

I also planned on finishing my rose-green cardi first, before starting anything new. However in a moment of weakness, (new yarn fumes overcame me--I swear) I cast on for a new shawl. The pattern is in a book I have had for some time--Wrapped in Comfort and it is a feather and fan pattern called Bigfoot Shawl. I started it last Friday and am almost done with the first pattern and will be increasing stitches one more time and then starting the largest pattern chart. It is a feather and fan pattern which is one I love. The yarn is a lace weight shetland and a soft Rosy brown.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holiday Times

Time to start some Christmas shoppping. Plans are to visit the Outback Toys website to order some hoodies for both Older and Younger Son. They are totally into farm tees and sweatshirts. Of course shopping is curtailed this year, but no Christmas would be complete without some tractor related toy or article of clothing. Outback doesn't have may John Deere items, but since Older Son's boss mostly has Case IH, this website has just what I need.
I will probably be getting the turkey out to start thawing tomorrow. Younger Son informed me that he will be going to his buddy/boss/landlord's family's home for Thanksgiving. He told me earlier this year that since he is living with Henry he is considered part of his family. So he is going to their family dinner. Since he has to milk that day anyway, I can make a late dinner and possibly he can come later. Oldest Son says he will be combining that day. If he can't get anyone else to work that day (and why would they unless they never take time off--like him) he will have to fill all 5 semi's himself. Maybe I can get him to stop by with bribery--he likes stuffing more than I do.

Early Turkey Day

Yummy, we had Thanksgiving dinner after church to day, in the new Mission Center. Yummy, turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and salad, desserts. Tottally yummy.
And I forgot my camera.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meet Gertrude and Other Projects

I finished my dress form, Gertrude. Scary as she is, I think she will be quite useful. I got a big piece of cardboard from Jane and finished stuffing her. Now I can see fit sweaters just a bit easier.

So sad, my belly is bigger than the girls.

I spent some time knitting as well as spinning while watching the races this weekend. I spun up one bobbin of the red icelandic and started the last bobbin of my finn roving.

The sweater for Luke is almost done. Probably would have been if I hadn't been sorting patterns and looking for one of the Baby Surprise Jacket, as well as a lace stole for use with some shetland. I should be able to have at least this jacket done by Thanksgiving, once I buy buttons and weave in ends. (UGH). Then I can surprise them with the Baby Surprise Jacket. I may even e-mail them a picture in progress, to see if they can figure out what it is. But for now, here is a picture of the sweater still in progress.

Racy Weekend

Now flush your potty mind. You know what I mean.
A couple more great races to finish out the season. Poor Carl Edwards didn't get either championship. But there will be other years for him I am sure.
I was really hoping Clint and Jimmy would win their respective series. I was hoping so hard I was even rooting for Kyle to beat Carl in Saturdays race, if that would help. Kyle didn't win, but all three series finales were great.
I can hardly wait for February.
And next year, my man Mark Martin will be racing full time. Whoooo Hooo.

Well It's About Time

Nuff said.

Friday, November 14, 2008

He Did It!!

My man Johnny, local West Michigan boy, won the truck championship. I am so excited.

One series down and two more to go. Its gonna be a great weekend.

Knitting Pictures

As I try to type this and watch the NASCAR truck race (come on Johnny Benson!!) I want to show the progress on my various projects. And also try to make a minimum of spelling errors. I have made at least 5 corrections so far.

I finished the helmet liner for my favorite Lieutenant. Don't I make a fashion statement? But I do think it will be ok. It isn't very heavy but the wool is nice and warm. I hope he likes it.

Then I also started the cardigan I promised my great nephew. I am using Encore Colorspun in a color that the Patternworks cataloge called Carribean, even though the lable does not have a name on the color. I am using an Anne Norling pattern and instead of ribbing am using a seed stitch for bottom, cuffs, and button bands. I have one sleeve done and am up to the armpits on the body. I also did the button band in one piece with the body, so I hope that works ok.

Race update. Johnny only has a few laps but does not appear to have the tires to win. Nine laps but he didn't get new tires like Hornaday. He is leading points now, but Yikes, it could go either way now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hard at Work

I have been busy knitting in the last few days. 
I started and finished the helmet liner for my favorite Lieutenant nephew in regulation colors of black and green wool. It fits me and I think it will be ok.  I will have pictures soon.
I also started and am up the the armpits on a cardigan for my favorite great nephew.  Ok, there is only one great-nephew, but you know what I mean.  It is using Encore Colorspun and coming up with great stripes.  My cardigan is still on snooze for the time being but hope to back at it soon for a bit before I start a baby surprise jacket--also for the afore mentioned favorite great nephew.  I have been wanting to try it, but was afraid I wouldn't know how to seam it after I knit it.  But one of the gals at Knit Club is making one, so maybe she can help.
I have amost finished Gertrude, the duct-tape dress form.  Currently she is riding in the trunk of the car .  I need to add a bit more fiberfill and then cut some cardboard to fit the bottom and she will be done.  I am worried about the weight on the hanger, so I may need to try to wriggle in a new heaver one before I seal her up.  Again, pictures will be forthcoming. 
Oh, did I mention that we finally had some snow last weekend?  Not much, but at least it we had some accumulation.  At last.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

NASCAR Winds To a Close

Yup, as I type this, the engines are being fired for the next to last race of the season. The season was quite fun this year. There were races that I could boo, as Kyle crossed to the checkered flag. My man Mark Martin didn't win this year, but he has raced very well, and always placed well. And next year he is back one more time to run a full season. I didn't want Jimmy to get another championship, but better him than Kyle. (Can you tell I don't like Kyle Busch?) And now both the truck race and the Cup races are tight and promise a great weekend for the close of this racing season.
I'm gonna miss those guys for a few months.
But, well, there's always Turner Classic Movie channel. I'll have time to watch the holiday movies I guess.

Gift Knitting

Reality hit and I realized I only have a month to get Brett's helmet liner to him. He said he will be home for Thanksgiving and only for 2 days. So on Thursday evening I cast on for his helmet liner. I have some black/dark green twist wool, (Cascade 220) that was purchased for this purpose several years ago. I had to bump up one size of needles but it is on gauge and should be ok. When I take it over, I will have his dad (aka Favorite Brother) try it on. Here are some pictures of it so far.

The color is much darker than the second picture, probably closer to the first picture, except the black/green color doesn't really show up.

Then when I finishe this, I have to make a cardigan for my great nephew. I have imposed a deadline of Christmas for that, so my cardigan is taking a bit of a snooze right now.

I have also been spinning lately. I finished half of my September Spunky Club roving that is blue/green/purple. It filled one bobbin and I should have enought for another bobbin to ply together. I also bought a pound of dark read islandic roving the other day. It was a black/grey fleece that was overdyed red and has a very rich tone to it. I couldn't wait til the Spunky was done, so I started that last night. It looks like it will have a very fuzzy bloom and I am tentatively think of making a tam and possibly mittens for my black coat out of it. I didn't get a picture of the red, but here is a shot of my full bobbin of the other yarn.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

*Warning--Political Content* Read At Your Own Risk

I don't like to stir up controversy.  Hence the disclaimer.
As a result of the election, I have been in mourning for the past couple days.  It surprises me how distressed I have been at the outcome of this year's election.  Heaven knows that many of my previous votes have often been for the loosing candidate.
This time, I think instead of resignation, I have a deep sense of fear about the future.  Fear for my pocketbook. Fear for the economy, Fear of terrorist attacking our country.  Fear for the changes in attitudes and morals.
When Bill Clinton won a second term I was embarrassed.  What were all those people thinking? (And I credit/blame him for a cheapening of morals and honesty.) 
This time, I just don't know.  I do blame the press for being in the tank from day one for one candidate and just browbeating the other.  But most of the sleazy connections and background info was still available.  How can people trust him? 
It looks like a scary time in store for us.  
Only upside.  Younger Son went to the poll at the same time I did and cast his first ballot.  He was quite excited.  And quite bummed at 11:05 when he called to see if I had heard the outcome.  He has been interested in the process, which surprised me and I home he continues to take an active interest.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Impatient Puppy

Mommy, aren't you done with the 'puter YET?

Oops, I Forgot to Mention

On the way home from the Spin-In on Saturday, I also stopped by to say howdy to some of my family.

The cemetery on the way holds 2 sets of my great-great-grandparents, and one pair of great-great-great grandparents. I couldn't find my Gilbert family who have the flat stones, that are flush with the ground. They were my great grandparents and Great-great-grandparents that include my Civil War ancestor. I always have felt a special place for GGGrandpa Armenus Gilbert, as he is the first ancestor I found on my own and confirmed. I even named my dog afer him. I did find Great Granny's parents and Grandparents. A cousin recently replaced a couple of the stones, so I hadn't found their graves until this year.

Denial, Not Just a River Somewhere

That's right, I was in denial. Last Tuesday I calculated the math for the raglan decreases and for the neck decreases. I thought, "My, that would take an awful lot of rows, but the math looks good. So I merrily knit along for 1 1/2 inches (mind you, in DK weight yarn, enough to circle my volumptious bode at above the joined sleeves, so over 500 stitches). Finally I calculated again, and took out a measureing tape yesterday.

Hmmmm, 22 inches. Not good. EZ says it is always about 10 -11 inches for most people. I'm big, but not that big! Can you say Rip-It?

So I recalculated and ended up ripping back to just past the first decrease row. Those interchangable needles area great for this, especially since I have a extra long cable. I put on a tip 3 sizes smaller and then picked up the stitches as a lifeline. I ripped back to that with no problem. Now I am decreasing at twice the rate as before and it looks much better.

On another note, Sadie and I spent some quality time tonight. Lots of combing and she looks quite spiffy.

Saturday Fiber Fix

Some Friends up north were having a Fiber day, spinning and knitting. Jane ended up being unable to attend, having been struck with a virus or something that left her deathly ill. I
went and had a great time. There were two of the gals who just bought new wheels from the store who attended, and spun up a storm. We also played around in the bags of wool. One of them even came home with me.
I have been having fun playing with my new camera, so here are a couple more shots from the event.

Out of respect for Angie, I will not show her picture. But Sheila was working on a Wallaby out of left over home spun. Kathy was spining some beautiful yarn. Which bring me to my next two pictures. I am really pround of these. They were taken as Kathy spun at the same speed, but I used different settings on my camera. The motion picture is my favorite.

Isn't that flyer cool?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My New Wheel

I promise this is my last wheel. At least until I am rich and famous and I don't see that happening.

Jane finished staining and assembling my new Ashford Traditional. A beautiful cherry finish and I am going for a spin once I post.

A Typical Knit Nite

Jane was winding up a skein into a ball.

Sandy was knitting on her new Wrap Me Up Shawl that was formerly Janes project.

And Cindy and Linda? Take a look.
No, its not some new form of torture. We are making Gertrude, my dress form out of a tee shirt and duct tape. We still need to stuff the shirt and tape the back shut. (We had to cut me out of it.)
So sad, my boobs and belly are the same size.