Monday, November 30, 2009

Apples Galore

My Aunt Glenna--the crazy one, lives surrounded by fruit orchards. This year, because of a bumper crop the owners have run out of storage crates and even room in their cold storage buildings. As a result, the owners told my aunt and her family to help them selves to what is left.

She has been telling everyone at "Dinner with the Aunts" (a weekly lunch with my last 2 remaining aunts, a couple cousins and another friend of the family) to come down and get some apples. So a week ago, I and Gilbert the wonder dog trekked down to see her and pick apples.
I had planned on filling one of those $1 reusable bags you get at Wal-Mart with some yellow delicious for pies and applesauce. However, Aunt Glenna didn't know when to stop, and she didn't listen when I told her I had enough. I had an almost full bag, and she had a generously full bag. Sigh.
Then she asked if I wanted to visit my cousin Judy because she had red delicious and Ida reds across from her house and they weren't going to be picked either. So off we went and ended up with a bag of each of those. Probably 2 bushels of apples all together.
When I got home, Hubby thought it quite funny that I ended up with so many apples. I told him that Aunt Glenna didn't know when to quit, even when I told her too.
But, we have had 2 pies and 2 batches of applesauce so far. Yum.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Knitting Inventory

Well, I do have a good excuse for not posting much. Really. I do.
Reason # 1--The blue gray Old Jeans sweater. I have one back.
Two fronts.
And two sleeves. So I have started....
the button band. I just may have this done soon.
Reason # 2--EZ's Very Warm Hat. I finished this last Monday night. Its handspun red Icelandic and creamy white handspun alpaca.
And it is VERY WARM.
Reason # 3--I finally finished the 2nd gray chevron sock.
Reason # 4--I also have started the heel flap on both of the kool-aid dyed socks I am knitting from the sock blank I dyed. No recent pictures, but if I am on the heel-flap, that means I am half done. Whoo Hoo!
So see, I have been busy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hey--I'm an Award Winner

Some of my readers here may also occasionally peruse the blog I co-author with my supervisor at t the local history room, The Cemetery Divas. We have had a lot of fun with it even though it is less than 2 months since we started it. To our great surprise this past week, we were nominated by a reader for the Kreative Blogger award. If you haven't gone to my sister blog, check it out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Season Ends

It was a great race, but Mark still only finished 2nd for the season. The 5th time he was shy of being champion.
But I have best wishes for Jimmie and the fact that the top three were all teammates still was great. I only wish the top two places had been reversed.
But now, alas, no more races till February. I believe they said 84 days away.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Gauge Lady

How did I get to be the Knit Nite Gauge Lady?

Maybe because everytime someone starts a project and says something like "I hope this will fit," or "I hope this yarn will work ok instead," I say, "Did you knit a swatch? Are you matching the gauge?"

We know we take our knitting sanity in our hands when we try to knit a worsted pattern with chunky yarn, or when we use handspun and aren't quite sure of the weight, and yet we blindly cast on the stitches specified in the pattern with the suggested needle size and knit forth.

Maybe it is all the Elizabeth Zimmermann and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee that I have read, but I constantly find myself asking that same questions. And the funny thing is, by swatch standards, I knit very inadequate swatches. I may knit a couple inches on about 25 stitches, and if it is on my circs, I slide the stitches to the cable, put them on a flat surface and measure in several places. If I have match stitch gauge, I call it good. Or if I am off, I calculate the desired size I want and then recalculate the stitches I need to cast on for my project. Occasionally I will try a smaller or larger needle, but mostly if I like the way the swatch looks, I jumble figures.

Of course since I am rather ample in size, I usually need to up-size a pattern, so I have to recalculate anyway. What is a little more figuring?

But once I have established what gauge I will be using, I check it repeatedly while knitting. Have you seen the little brass gauges, shaped like a sheep? You can check your needle size on them, and they have a 2 inch L shaped window cut-out to use for counting your stitches. But what I find most useful is the fact that the feet are exactly 1 inch apart. I can take the little sheep, lay its feet on the project and count the stitches between the feet at a glance, and over several areas.

So easy. So I guess in a way, my project is also my constant ever-growing swatch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours

Anyone remember the old Morton Salt girl, walking in the rain under the umbrella, with the salt still freely pouring from the canister? 
Well, at times her slogan seems to fit our family. 
As you probably know, Hubby was let got from his job back in 2006, and was never able to find a job.  Since he is totally computer illiterate and since even general labor factory jobs require a computer test, he finally gave up and went on unemployment.
My full time job once gain moved out of state. That's the third time that happened to me, and Hubby had it several times as well--the state of Michigan jobs for sure. 
The best and only job I have been able to find is a 15 hour a week job, funded by a grant.  Not the most stable, as my 3 months off this summer proved.  I love the work, but not really enough hours or money to live on.
And now Younger Son who moved back home this summer, has lost his job.  Granted he only was working part time, but usually 7 days a week, on a 4 hour shift milking cows.  With the price of milk, they were laying off several of their milkers.  So now he has to job hunt again.  Hopefully, some area farmer may be needing someone, even if this isn't planting time, they are all working great guns to pick corn and soybeans.
Anyone know of a way to find (and keep) work in Michigan?
I'm sure glad the farm is paid for, if only they don't tax it away from us.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Knitting Knews

Knitting has been progressing during my week. I mentioned that I got a lot of knitting done last Saturday at the genealogy seminar. I had gotten to the purple on the ribbing when I had switched these to the double point needles from the 9 inch circular. (Side note--what kind of fiendish mind came up with 9 inch circs, with toothpicks for the needle part? Sadistic!)

Anway, I got lots of knitting done enroute, as Sandy usually prefers to drive, and I usually prefer to ride if given the option. And during the talk itself, I also knit lots. I always find I can concentrate on a speaker better with simple knitting going on. It also helps me keep my mouth shut. And i even managed to start the heel flap by the end of the day.
Earlier last week, I had also dug out my red Icelandic handspun, as well as some creamy alpaca handspun. I had been thinking about making Elizabeth Zimmermann's Very Warm Hat. I cast on and started, with the intention of taking this to the seminar, but decided the sock, being more compact, made better sense.
However, on Monday, not being quite so concerned with room, as we were taking a 12 passenger van, I opted for the hat, as well as my Pi Are Squared Shawl for travel knitting. I worked on both and was just starting the color work when we left. by Wednesday, I had started on the lining.

I am still undecided if I want color work on the lining. I had planned on it, but think that I would rather have less bulk there.

And there has been work on the sweater fronts as well. I have started the front decreases for the v-neck and have about 50 or so rows before I can start the sleeves.
Maybe I can be done by Christmas, depending on how distracted with the other projects.
I hope to go back to the February Pink Lady when this is done. Then I want to finish the Lady Eleanor entralac shawl. That has lanquished for a couple years I think and it is time to finish.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Road Trip--Frankenmuth

Since I am still playing catch-up on my week, I better mention the road trip the Spin Guild took Monday.
We had planned to take a trip to Frankenmuth nearly a year ago, especially when the group learned I had never been there. Frankenmuth is home to a Bavarian themed downtown, with the best home-style chicken dinners, fudge shops, a huge year round Christmas store and Zeilinger Wool Co. Several of our guild members have taken fleeces there to be processed into roving. I have both sent some and dropped off others at their booth at the Michigan Fiber Festival.

A couple of our members had to withdraw at the last minute, so we were a smaller crowd than we had planned originally. But a great time was had by all.
We at chicken dinner, and Dawn, who lived near by joined in for our day of fun. We wandered the downtown area, as well as Michigan's biggest bead company. I found baskets in one of the stores like the one I looked in vain for at the West Branch festival. One came home with me.

When we discovered we only had an hour left before the wool mill closed, we scurried over there and delivered our bundles. I had 2 bags of llama fleece, thanks to Meeko and Tillie, as well as a bag of alpaca fleece in a charcoal color. Kelly dropped of some fiber of her's that needed de-hairing. We went into the shop area and paid for processing and then, after deciding we were all pooped, decided to head for home, instead of going to the Christmas store. We were so busy and had such a good time, that I even forgot to bring my camera with me. Hence the pictureless post.

I guess, when my fleece is done in 3 months, we may just have to go back. And maybe hit the Christmas store then.

Genealogy Seminar

Last Saturday was the "Got Ancestors?!" event hosted by the Western Michigan Genealogical Society in Grand Rapids. Sandy and I both attended for the day, and had a great time. Learned lots, laughed lots, got some forms and a magnifying globe.
The speakers were George Morgan and Drew Smith, the Genealogy Guys who even taped their podcast as the last session. Seriously: educational and fun time.

And I also knit a lot on my travel sock. Went from about an inch of ribbing to the heel flap. Nothing like knitting for focusing on a speaker.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NASCAR Is a Chase Again

Remember the old Rowan and Martin Laugh-In show? Occasionally they would award someone the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate.
If they were still around, and racing fans, they would have presented it to Jimmie Johnson this past week. After the standings shakeup that was Talladega, along came Texas and suddenly there is a Chase again.
The Texas race virtually undone for my man Mark, what was done in Alabama. And although I do admire Jimmie and feel he is almost as honorable and nice as Mark....All I can say is;;
Wooooo Hoooo.
Go Mark!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day -- 2009

I want to once again on this Veterans Day, salute those who bravely fought four our freedom. My grandma was lucky that all three of her sons who enlisted in World War II, including my father (center) who was her baby boy, all survived. (Aren’t they a handsome trio?) This picture was taken in 1945 or 1945 on Memorial Day, showing Dad and his two older brothers.
For all those who came back and for those who did not, my prayers and thanks to you all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Knitting Trials

It was a good thing I did not have my camera at Knit Nite last night. It may not have survived. So obviously, there are no pictures of my tribulations.

I was working along on the two fronts of the Old Jeans Cardigan. I brought socks, as back up knitting--just in case cables and friends didn't mix. But, securely resting in the confidence of a cocky, oops, I mean knowledgeable "Knitter" I went on.

The first sign of trouble was when I discovered that I had carried the left front yarn over to knit the right front over and back. Drat. Tinked that back. Then as I started knitting on, I again reviewed the last cables that I had done just after arrival.

Wait a minute. Is that cable in front, when it should be cabled in back? A moment of silence. Then the bright idea arose. I have seen other blogs where the Knitter just drops the stitches involved in the cable and then knits them back up.

Sounds good, although scary in theory. Not so brilliant in practice. I dropped the 8 stitches down, first taking a spare needle and picking up the cable stitches with that to avoid dropping too far back.

I managed to knit half of the cable and decided it wasn't going to work after I used the wrong loop of yarn to knit the other half. I didn't want rip that far back, so.......I ended up tinking back about 4 rows. Luckily the left half stayed as is, and I was able to just tink back the one side--stitch by stitch until I was back to the cable. And, luckily, the cable stitches were still waiting on the spare needle.

I knit, cabled, and knit onward. After arriving home I even managed to advance both left and right sides to the next cable. I am now about half way to the arm decreases/neckline on the fronts.

Maybe I will rethink the idea of cabling the sleeves.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Racing Against Fate

While I haven't mentioned it lately, I have still been tuned in and on the edge of my seat every week, watching my NASCAR Sprint races. 
While "my man Mark" remains in second place, he is steadily losing ground to the annointed one--Jimmy Johnson.  Now I do like Jimmy, he is also a nice guy, just like Mark.  But he doesn't have the pizazz of some of the other drivers.
But what can a guy do when even the fates seem lined up for Jimmy?
After hanging out near the end of the race all day, through the mysteries of pit stops, running out of gas, and "moving up" all of a sudden, there was Jimmy nearing the front.  And when the wreck happened on the last lap?   It occured just BEHIND Jimmy, and right in FRONT of Mark.
I ask ya, what's a driver or fan to do?  

Persistance of Flowers

After the lousy weather we have had here recently--warmish, but very wet and VERY windy--it was rather inspiring to see these flowers still hanging on. They were on the east side of the church on Sunday, protected by the wall, and buried in leaves as you can see.
But aren't they lovely?
And so inspiring for a November morning.
And after all the recent wind..... is amazing to see them hanging on when the trees are so bare.
Ahh, can snow be far behind? I hope not.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Two at a Time Fronts

I am experimenting on my fronts for the Old Jeans sweater.
Having finished the back of the sweater, I started the fronts. Yes, I said fronts, plural.
The experiement is that I started both fronts on one circ at the same time. I have read other knitting blogs where they do that and I decided to give it a try.

The main reason for trying the two at a time technique was that I was doing cables up the front, next to the button bands. I wanted to make sure that I don't mis-count and that I mirror the cables. Well, I can still mis-count the rows between twists, at least I can make sure that both fronts are mis-counted the same amount. Hopefully that won't be a problem, since the little pink and blue markers are being moved as I work each cable and enable me to accurately count the rows from the last cable.

Now I just hope and pray I don't run out of yarn. I have more than enough from what the pattern calls for. BUT--I have looked at several other patterns for similar styles, and they call for much more. At least I don't need very long arms. And I could always sew the shoulders and work the button band before I knit the sleeves. I like 3/4 length sleeves. On me, they usually feel full length anyway.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

For All the Saints

All Saints Day at my church is a special occasion. Over the years we have submitted lists of those saints from our families who have passed away. We read the names of each families saints and light a candle for each family.
It is a very moving ceremony.

We recently had the dedication of our new stained glass window that is located between the nave and the narthex. It is behind the baptismal font. And although it has been dedicated already, next week, we will be "baptizing" it.

We will be having a baptism next Sunday. So exciting.