Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finished Mittens

The mittens I whipped up last weekend were lined and ready to wear by the cold snap that hit here Thursday evening.

They are so toasty warm. The cuff show the color of the Boku, and the right one shows the body with the light strand of mohair. The tan one is the lining of the second with just the thumb lining to finish. I have wore them all weekend--temps down to minus 4 made that seem a good idea. And I must say--I love them. I am glad I have more of the lining yarn to make more.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ravelympics 2010

Well, I did it.

I joined the Ravelympics 2010.

For the uninitiated, I'll explain.

I belong to what I guess can be described as a social network for knitters called Ravelry. During the Winter Olympics they have a contest where entrants pick a project that will be challenging and a stretch of skills to finish during the time frame of the Olympics.

This year this is a division for WIPs, or Work In Progress.

So, my February Pink Lady is coming back out of purgatory for entering in the competition. I have the sleeve not pictured here in progress, but only just barely. I had knit several inches and tinked 4 inches back, stitch by stitch. That was when I decided to put it in "time out."

So come the Winter Olympics--which I believe coincide with the start of the NASCAR season--I have a project ready and raring to go.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekend Smoke and Mirrors

Well.....smoke at least. Since there was snow in the meadow and a brush pile to be burnt, Hubby enlisted Younger Son and made smoke.

Hubby pushed the brush into the pile and Younger Son helped keep an eye on things. It flamed most of the day but the snow melted overnight (warm spell, not the fire)so the area this side of the smoke was all water by the next day.

No danger of that fire spreading.

Monday, January 25, 2010

At Long Last--Lady Eleanor

There are disadvantages to the warm weather.  Besides the fact that I like the cold I mean.  
After blocking and waiting for my Lady Eleanor shawl to fully dry, it was too warm to wear it to church yesterday. 
But today we had a return to cooler temps.  (Yea!) and Lady Eleanor made an appearance at Spin Guild.

It is so warm and cozy.  And soft.  The bath I gave it before blocking really softened the yarn.

I also had a new project started over the weekend. I needed an extra pair of mittens so I didn't have to keep switching my warm ones between coats.  So with left over Boku from a previous shawl and some beige mohair, I started a brown/black pair and will be lining them with alpaca sock yarn.

Both are wearable, but am only on the first lining.  Single digit temps by the end of the week.  I guess they better go to Knit Night with me tomorrow.

Counting Down to Green

By my estimate, there are about 19 days till the Daytona 500.   Even less for the NASCAR coverage to be on television.  I may even get to watch the "dualies" on the preceding Thursday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fiber Delivery

I was quite excited yesterday to come home and realize that there was a big box waiting for me in the living room. 

When some friends from Spin Guild and I went to Frankenmuth last November I had taken a charcoal alpaca fleece and 2 llama fleeces.  The llama was to be combined into a red/white/black swirl.

This is a kind of dark picture of the llama.
And here is the alpaca.

Warm and lovely smooshiness.   Ten pounds combined of fleece.  I think there may be a sweater buried in there somewhere.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

History and Movies

I have been thinking all week about how my genealogy has made me appreciate movies even more. 
Just what brought this on?  This past Saturday evening I watched "Battleground" with James Whitmore and Van Johnson among others.  It is about the Battle of the Bulge.  Even though my father was in World War II, by the time of this phase of the war, he had been long home, after being severely wounded in Sicily.  But, my maternal grandfather had a cousin who was raised by Great-grampa Roy.  He was like an uncle to my Mom and her siblings apparently.  
He died in this battle.
But after recently re-reading his obituary, and other news clippings from when his body was shipped back home, it made the movie much more dramatic to me.  I found it to be a powerful movie, with its portrayal of the suffering and lack of supplies.  I highly recommmend this picture.
Genealogy and history--a wonderful combination

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More Finished Items

This project I just finished was so old, its been bouncing around since 2006. I am hazarding a guess that this was started between October and December 2006. I make that guess because when I found my ziplock bag containing these mitts, there was also 2 cards with my Feb 07 appointments for blood test and doctor visit. Since back then I had insurance and was having my diabetes checks every 3 months, I figure I slipped them in the bag sometime late December 2006. The pattern is from an October page from the 2006 pattern a day calendar.
I dug them out of the stash and in just a couple days finished them off. The mitts are extra long, and I can even knit with them on. My wrist was feeling sore, I think from the cold, and after knitting while wearing the first one while working on the second, it felt fine.
They aren't the most fashionable, but are warm and still keep my fingers available. With my short stubby fingers, the ones with short fingers aren't for me. This fits just fine.
The Lady Eleanor is finally dry and off the blocking board. I love it but no full length picture yet. I'll probably take it to Spin Guild for show and tell and pictures then. Sunday is supposed to be rainy. I don't want it wet again after all the time it took to dry!
Last Sunday we had our church's Annual Meeting. We had a smallish turnout, but it went well and I managed not to get elected to anything. I kept my eyes on my knitting when not taking pictures and tried not to call attention to myself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Award Time

After my Cemetery Diva's blot got this award, I passed it on to one of Rachel's blogs. Now, she gave it back on this blog.

The award comes with some rules. We are to name 10 things that make us happy. And then pass on the award to 10 blogs that make us happy. I am sharing the 5 web sites I shared on the Diva's blog (I had 5, Sandy had 5.) I will come up with another 5 farther down. But first, here are the 10 things I said make me happy.
1 Snow. Always have loved it, growing up in rural Michigan. Was frequently thrown in snowbanks during my college years by the "unenlightened." Still love it as a semi-old, gray haired lady.
2 Knitting. I learned in my childhood and set it down. I have rediscovered knitting about 6 years ago and usually have some needles and yarn somewhere close by. (Right now I am wearing hand-knit socks and a shawlette and look rather knitterly.)
3 Spinning yarn. I have 3 wheels of my own and several drop spindles. I have made several items from my homespun, and have enough to start a sweater soon.
4 Finding out story's about my ancestors. My favorite was about my 5th great-grandmother, Mary Sitts who was kidnapped and raised by Indians during the Revolutionary War period. Great story.
5 My family. Granted, they can occasionally drive me crazy. (Ok, most of the time.) But Hubby and Older Son and Younger Son can also make me smile.
6 Extended family. Up until last week when I started another part time job, I had weekly lunches with my last two remaining aunts, a cousin and other friends. "Dinner with the Aunts" was always fun, and I also learned a lot about Dad's family during these meals.
7 Gilbert the wonder dog. This overweight red mini-poodle is exasperating as he begs (and gets) food from Hubby, but he is definitely a joy. Something that this confirmed cat lover never thought she would say. Of course he "protects" me from the cats now.
8 Blogging. I often tried to keep a journal and always fell away. Taking pen to paper got so tedious. But I love to blog, as my fingers can type almost as fast as I compose. Much faster than the might pen. In addition to this blog, I have The Cemetery Divas, as well as the Newaygo County Cemetery Ladies, both co-blogged with Sandy, my boss in the local history room.
9 Country living. I have almost always lived in rural areas, always in Michigan. When in college, I often yearned for "country air". I like the roominess. I like the stars you can see at night, and the plants and animals. Geese overhead, and crunching through new snow. Ahh. Can't beat it.
10 Church hymns. I love belting out an oldie but goodie. I may not be the best singer, but I find that the words of a beloved old hymn will often soothe the soul. Current standby is "How Firm a Foundation." Great words. Great message.

Now, for the blogs that make me happy. I follow quite a few, but here is a selection of blogs from different fields that always bring a smile to my heart. These first five were ones I nominated when The Cemetery Diva got the award.

Bill's Blog--Bill Steffen is a local icon and meteorologist. I remember when I was first out of college he started broadcasting on a local television channel. His blog is full of weather related trivia and a vast knowlege of the local area.
A Year of Slow Cooking--I have been following her after her vow to crockpot everyday for a year had ended. But she is always entertaining and I have learned so much. Also purchased 2 new crockpots in different sizes since discovering her.
Sault Boat Watcher. I discovered her through a comment on my blog. We both love NASCAR. The pictures she posts of boats passing by her summer home in northernmost Michigan are wonderful.
The Counting Sheep Farm is a blog written by a friend, fellow knitter, spinner and fiber fanatic. She home-schools, milk her one cow, and makes all sorts of crafty, farmy things.
The Genealogue proclaims itself the be the site with genealogy news you can't possibly use. Maybe so, but it is frequently funny. Often thought provoking.
My next five:
The Yarn Harlot. My first favorite. She loves all things fiber and is as fickle as I am, flitting freely from project to project. A fiber icon.
Cosmic Pluto Knits. Wonderful patterns. Plus she goes on great trips.
Pink Lemon Twist is another fun craft site. She knits some lovely sweaters. And she had photogenic animals.
Alpaca Life is the blog of Cara at Oakhaven Alpacas. She learned to spin at a local store I worked, and her blog about their farm is so informative. And she has great fiber.
And last but by no means least is Baxter Knits. I discovered this blog when looking for a fichu pattern. I discovered not only the perfect pattern, but also a wonderful blog.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Patience Pays, Sometimes

In our old farmhouse, things go wonky all the time. And it takes even more time to fix it seems.

Our kitchen sink has been developing a drip for probably at least 6 months, if not a year. At first it was slow, just enough to color the sink with a rust stain overnight. Then it got fast enough you could tell it was the hot water that was dripping.

Hubby kept saying it was an easy fix. Just needed to get the part.

And still we waited. In the last few weeks it could fill an 5 quart ice cream bucket in an hour. Hubby said since we don't pay to heat the water, (it heats with the hot water from the outside wood burner) he wasn't to worried. But yesterday, he finally fixed it. It took two trips to town and another to a closer hardware store, but it works.

I won't even get into the two light switches that haven't worked right for months. Both were hard to work, but the one finally wouldn't turn off a couple days ago. And tonight--both are working.


Oh yes, part for sink--$1.19. New light switches, 79 cents each. Finally purchased and installed? Priceless.

Off the Needles again

I havn't blocked the Lady Eleanor yet, but I hope to today. I am quite pleased with it and it is so soft. I may put my Wrap Me Up up for sale. I haven't decided. This is truly more my colors. Until I can get my official modeled picture, here is a close-up of it with the fringe I added.
I also, the same day I fringed and wove in ends of the shawl, grafted the toes of my languishing two at a time socks. They are knit from a kool-aid dyed sock blank that I dyed. My jury is still out as far as dying. I like the look, but not the process. The socks are not identicle, but very close. Close enough for me at least.
Here is a single sock on a blocking form. You can see the striping effect much better here. I probably will show them off at Knit Nite before I wear them.
Gilbert the wonder dog was unimpressed.

Oh well.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Finished Object. Almost.

So far, 2010 has been a good year. I even made a new tag--Finished Object. I may need to go back at least to the first of this year to update posts.

This time it is the newly re-awoken Lady Eleanor Shaw. I just took it off hibernation about two weeks ago and its off the needles. And ok, I really won't count it finished until it has ends woven in and the tassels on the end. It is about 6 to 10 inches longer than the last pictures I posted last week. The light but long tassels I plan will add a little weight to each end. I will update with a picture after the tassels are on and after blocking.
On another cheerful note....Don't those snowbirds wish they had saved the gas and stayed home? Well, maybe not completely, but I am sure they aren't happy with the weather down there is week. The above picture was taken in my favorite shot across the pasture to the trees. The snow on the ground looks really gray, but look at the frost on the leaves. And this picture below is of the willows along the ditch between the two hay fields. With a few poplars thrown in for good measure.

Both pictures taken yesterday about 9:30, as I went to church.

I just love winter.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Project Updates

Remember the entrelac Lady Eleanor Shawl I started eons ago? Well, maybe not quite that old, but it was old enough that it was started on my old Denise needles and not my favorite KnitPick wooden needles. Gertrude graciously offered to model it to refresh your memory.

Above just wrapped around her skinny neck and hanging. Below is a more wrapped and draped version. The yarn is Plymouth Boku. I love it, this batch is so soft. Sometimes the silk can be stiff/scratchy feeling.

This is the new shawl I started, the Reading Shawl. It is supposed to be stay put on your shoulders better. The strip is silky alpaca lace, double stranded, and the other is Lorna's Laces Sport superwash.
The new one is going well, and is a good traveling project. It will may replace the Lady Entrelac as my Knit Nite project.
But then again, maybe not.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Job Prospects

I recently had a job interview for a job with more hours. However, as is so often the case in Michigan, even if you put in an application, and happen to get to the interview stage, nothing further happens. After 2 weeks I had heard nothing.
But....during coffee time after church, a parishioner who need a new secretary, offered me the job. Mornings there and still time to work at the library. And better pay per hours than the one I interviewed for.
Sometimes, the bluebird of happiness smiles, instead of making droppings.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year in Knitting

I have been so busy knitting lately that I haven't had a chance to post.

I started Sandy a pair of stuffed mittens, similar to my red ones as a belated Christmas present. I used merino for hers, with black wool top and gray alpaca roving. They also have more stuffing than mine do. I finished them in just over a week. I know she can use them. The cold makes her hands turn numb and white.

Now that they are done, I didn't have to think long before starting another project. (Yeah, I know, there are many UFO's waiting to be finished, but I like change.)
I searched around for a shoulder shawl pattern. I found one in Ravelry called a Reading Shawl or the Stay Put Shawl. It calls for a little more yarn than these 2 skeins of Lorna's Lace sport weight. I ended up getting a couple skeins of silky alpaca lace weight to use double stranded for the lace border. I also decided to add a stripe near the top to tie it in with the lace. If I run short, then I can also make a few rows at the bottom with the silky lace as well before starting the lace border.
Now I have another problem. I found a group that has a goal of knitting 10 shawls in 2010. My problem is that I only make fairly large ones. I am trying to tell myself--no time.
But the projects start as of January first. I started the above shawl.......January 1. I still have time to decide.