Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014--Looking Back

I have been recording my life here since 2007.  And, as one of my readers has been reminding me every so often, I have been neglecting it dreadfully this year.  Looking at the archives on the right, I guess she is right.
I will try to do better this year.  It was the last few months that saved me from having the lowest year ever in 2014.
I blame my knitting for one thing.  It was a productive year.  I finished a total of 22 different projects, including 3 sweaters for myself!  And that is a lot of knitting!
My first finished project was this black cotton cardigan.  It ended up longer than I intended.  But considering that I winged it without a formal pattern, I was pleased with it.  I also forgot that cotton tends to grow when it is worn.
Also among my finished projects were 2 sweaters for Little Farmer, one for Lil' Farm Gal, plus a total of 8 other baby sweaters, a couple of baby blankets, shawls and hats, as well as a couple doll sweaters.  All in all, a varied year.
And of course I ended up with my new favorite sweater, the Blue Blood Red Cardigan.
This past year had its ups and downs too. 
I gained a wonderful daughter-in-law, 
as well as two of the greatest grandchildren ever.
But I lost my brother, even as I was gaining family members.  So 2014 had happy and sad moments.  But findng positives even in the losses, I think I am closer to my Sister-in-Law now.  I think we both had great fun on our road trip.
I started the year unemployed, and still am.  But I am looking forward to having time to watch Little Farmer, as well as Lil' Farm Gal twice a month when Cow Girl goes back to work.  I have time to spend on my knitting and crafts.  And with e-books, I can read and knit at the same time.  I hope to spend more time with some of my friends, including the one who is more newly unemployed. 
So here is to 2014, a great year over all.  
I am looking forward to 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Going With Green, With Backup

As I said in yesterday's post, I have resumed kitting the Green Flowy Cardigan.  So far it is just a few rows of seed stitch.  I think, once I finish the seed stitch band at the bottom, I will need to add a few extra stitches to accomodate the cables.  I won't need to make any other adjustments I don't think because the cable will continue up the front and over the hood.  Since the cable will pull in stitches, I think it would be wise to add an extra stitch or so to counteract that pulling in.   I have quite a few rows before I need to worry about that though.
No further pictures on that until I get to the cable and develop that a bit.   Any photos I take of that now will be just repeats of the back, just not as wide.  I haven't started the Oatmeal Vest yet, although the pattern is printed and ready to go.  Maybe it is because of the seed stitch borders.  I have so much seed stitch on the green sweater, that I want to wait until I at least get past the border on that before I start it on the vest.
I am still waiting on a picture of me wearing my Blue Blood Cardigan.  In the meantime, here is one on Gertrude.
I think I may need a new Gertrude.  I know I have gone down a couple pant sizes since making her.  She also has fallen down a couple times.  One of "the girls" is a bit dented.  Plus, I need to mark the waist and shoulders better.  I didn't think about doing that when I made her.  Now I have ideas for the improvements needed.  And you can see that she lists backwards.
Maybe it is time for a Gertrude workshop day again. 
I noticed that while I love the fit over all on this cardigan, there is a bit of a gap between the fronts.  As I generated the vest pattern, I realized that I had that built into the pattern.  The button band allowance takes off that much before the bands.  On the vest pattern, I made a zero gap, so the bands will overlap more.  Oh well, I probably won't button this anyway.

Monday, December 29, 2014


Well, I am in withdrawal from my Christmas movies.  Even the two Hallmark channels have ended them as of today.  I managed to see just about all my favorites at least once.  Several I saw several times.
As I was zoning out on Christmas movies, I managed to get a lot of knitting done.  I swatched some yarn that I inherited from a friend's stash after she passed away.
 It is an oatmeal colored bulky weight that I am going to make into a vest.  After the swatch was throughly washed and dried, I was able to measure and weigh it.  I should have plenty of yarn according to the Custom Fit pattern I just generated.  I figure, it will be a good backup project for when I need a break from green.
I also sewed all the pieces to the Blue Blood Red Cardi.  It is all finished but the buttons.  I hope to sew them on later today and then get a picture of me wearing it.
I also cast on for the front of the Green Flowy Cardigan.  More on that later.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Media Snob

I admit it. When it comes to my Christmas music I want the oldies but goodies. Give me Bing, Frank, and Nat singing anything. A bit of Elvis with "Blue Christmas" and Brenda Lee "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree." Nobody but Eartha Kitt can sing "Santa Baby" the "right" way. And while I do enjoy Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I really prefer the old tunes. Especially "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas". But it seems that our local Christmas radio station only plays the new ones. Darn.

When it comes to movies I am almost as bad. I want to see "White Christmas", "Holiday Inn", "Christmas Carol", "Christmas in Connecticut", "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's a Wonderful Life". A new classic for me is "The Polar Express". And so far I've seen them all. But I don't mind alternate versions of some. Why, I've seen several versions of A Christmas Carol: Reginald Owens version, one with Allistair Sims, a musical with Michael Caine, another with the Muppets. There is even one from the old Twilight Zone. And while I did watch The Santa Clause III, I did not see many of the newer movies. And I haven't once fallen into the black hole of the made-for-tv Hallmark Channel movies.

Give me the old and the classic ones. Movies and tunes. And more of the carols too.

I will admit it. I'm in a rut. And I don't want out.

I just had to share this picture from 2008 of Older Son and his tree lit up in the back of Old Black. (He also gave Old Black those exhaust stacks.)


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another End in Sight

I finished the back of the Green Flowy sweater today.

I now can wash it tomorrow early and set it aside to dry. And then I can double check the gauge once more before beginning the more difficult pieces...the fronts. And the sleeves will take some care too. I need to plot the positioning of the thumb slot. I need to have it on the side, not in the seam. So I will need a left and right sleeve. I wonder if I could manage to sew it in if I knit it in the round? Or maybe it would still be easier to knit flat. At least I have a while to consider that since I will do the fronts first.

And with the back of the green sweater done, I can start the sewing up of the Blue Blood Cardigan. Maybe I can still get the front bands and neck finished this year yet!

Hmmmm. Looks like I have a bit of sewing ahead of me.

And I don't think I mentioned it before, but I did start a new swatch. For an oatmeal colored bulky yarn vest. And I am considering a zipper. Maybe.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nearly There!

With Lil' Farm Gal's thrummed mittens finished, I have been speeding along on the Green Flowy Cardigan.

This picture was from a couple days ago when was it just a few rows from beginning the arm hole shaping. In the mean time I have finished the shaping and have about 40 more rows to shoulder shaping. Whoo hooo!

This afternoon I wasn't able to get any knitting done. Wrapping was the order of the day.

Leo thought he was helping me.


Well...... Not so much. Since this is my folding cutting board that I use as a flat firm surface for cutting and wrapping, I beg to differ. A cat under the cutting board makes it neither firm nor flat.

But in spite of his help, and a couple interruptions to help Hubby outside, I managed to get pretty much everything wrapped. I have an odd shaped gift for Hubby that may just be handed to him unwrapped. I haven't decided yet.

But in the meantime, I have a sweater back calling my name. I better go knit.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Knitting--Check!

I sat down this evening, after not even touching yarn yesterday (yes, shocking isn't it?) and knocked off the thrummed mittens.

Shown here with the usual small fat dog included for scale, they should keep Lil' Farm Gal's hands warm and toasty. You can see how fat and stuffed the mittens are. Remember they are filled with the wool thrums.

They won't be quite so plump once all that wooly goodness felts down. They are snug on me, but should fit her wonderfully.

Here is a better picture of them.

Now back to the Green Flowy Cardigan. Once the back is finished, I plan to seam my Blue Blood Red Cardi so I can add the front and neck bands. And then wear it!

And maybe swatch something new. A Custom Fit vest I think is next in queue. And maybe another sweater for my Little Farmer.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Good Knitting, Good Reads

I haven't been posting lately. That means I must be knitting up a storm.

Well, sort of. The Green Flowy Cardigan is creeping forward. Only creeping because I have been mostly working on the thrummed mittens. The second one is ready for the decreases on the main part. I will easily have that and the thumb done in the next day or so. I probably would have finished it already if I hadn't run out of thrums. I spent much of last night watching Destination Tokyo and rolling more thrums. Now I think I have way more than I need.

No new pictures though. Instead of taking many pictures I have been reading. Nook and Kindle apps make it easy to read and knit at the same time. They only need a swipe to turn the page and they stay open. I just finished the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and am waiting the next installment in Her Royal Spyness series. Both are set in the same time and place: England between the two world wars. It was fun reading both series at the same time, and contrasting them. While the Spyness series deals with a fictional granddaughter of Queen Victoria (and 34th in line to the throne,) and both are detective novels, they deal with the the real issues of the time. I am sad to have ended the one series. I enjoyed their separate takes on Prince (later King) Edward and Wallis Simpson in particular.

But, in lieu of knitting pictures, I am sure no one will be disappointed by a picture of my Little Farmer.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Decorating and Delivery

Granny seemed to approve of the Green and White Jacket that I remembered to deliver this morning.  I had it tucked into my new green basket that I purchased last week.  She had wanted to see the basket so that helped me remember.
The baskets that I featured on a recent blog post seem to be quite popular.  It sounds like we will be having a Ladies Night Out and have Teresa show her baskets and tell us about her experiences and work in South Sudan.  I am quite excited about it.
After the service at church today, we got around to decorating the church.  Actually this is a week early for the Episcopal church.  We usually wait until the last Sunday of Advent, and then after the service, before the Christmas Eve Service we green the church.
I really perfer it that way, as Altar Guild still has to change the candles, frontals, and all from Advent purple to Christmas white.  So we will be busy after church next week too.
It is getting closer and closer.
I will need to start wrapping presents soon.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Another One Finished

Another Project finished, that is. It the sweater for Baby Boy Bushouse. Hope the parents, and the rest of the family likes it.

I love the wee metal buttons. Lil' Farm Gal helped pick them out when we were shopping for mitten yarn.

With the seaming and buttons done, the Green and White Jacket is complete. Now it just needs for me to remember to deliver it to Grandma Bushouse tomorrow. That makes a grand total of 20 finished knitting projects this year. And with the Thrummed Mittens on target for Christmas, I hope to finish 21 before the year is over.

Then it is back to some of my current projects. I would like to finish the back of the Green Flowy Cardigan soon. Then I can wash it and do a final gauge check. Before embarking on the fronts, I would like to seam my Blue Blood Red Cardi. Then all it lacks is the front and neck bands and buttons before I can actually wear it. I have plans for a vest for me soon, out of some bulky cream colored wool I was gifted when out of a friends stash after she passed away.

And Little Farmer's Case IH Hoodie, and.....

Well more things that I have time for certainly.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

In Defense of Fingerless Mitts

I always thought the whole concept of fingerless gloves and mitts was rather strange. What good are they? Maybe your palms would be ok, but that would still leave your poor fingers hanging out in the cold.

I even tried making fingerless gloves once. My work desk at the job I had at the time shared an uninsulated wall with an unheated warehouse. And while I liked the fact that my cubby was cool temperature-wise, my right arm tended to be rather cold as it frequently brushed against the steel file cabinet that was positioned tight to that preciously mentioned wall. Being left-handed, I could deal with writing and such, but that cold right arm had to frequently make phone calls.

So I decided to take some of the precious handspun Romney lamb/mohair kid yarn I had left to make a fingerless glove. I only needed one after all. It went well, although with my short stubby fingers, the separate fingers weren't really practical. Short as I made the fingers, I still had to roll them down. But the wool was warm, even I'd the short fingers were a pain. Unfortunately I couldn't find the one glove for pictures.

Later I decided to try again with sock yarn and do without the fingers entirely. I made them nice and long, but the palm could have been longer. Too long to wear with a coat, they nonetheless were useful inside if I was sitting in a draft.

But like I said, not good with coats and too light for outside.

But I decided to give them one more try. Using some leftover Patons Merino I made a pair that had shorter cuffs and a bit longer palm.

And surprisingly, I love them!

Granted they look a bit scruffy here but that is because I use them constantly. I have actually only used my alpaca lined full mittens once or twice this year. I find that the palms on these keep my hands warm enough to keep the arthritis from hurting, but I have my fingers free for gripping the steering wheel, keys or whatever else I need to hold.

So it turns out they aren't as useless as I always thought. Maybe they wouldn't be as warm if they weren't real wool, but they are great. I see another pair in my future.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Baskets for South Sudan

Today was the monthly Spin Guild meeting.  Joining us today was a friend ours from Greenville.  Teresa Janzen and her husband are serve with Partners in Compassionate Care.  They have made many trips to South Sudan to help encourage and support the people there in areas of education and agriculture.  Dan spends much of his time there in the past year, although at times they have been threatened with the turmoil that disrupts the area.  And she even found out how to survive being attacked by killer bees.  (Cover your head with a light silky scarf.  They attack from the top and that will intercept most of the bees.)  In spite of all that, eventually, Teresa said, they plan to move to South Sudan to serve full time.
Which brings us to the delightful baskets she brought with her.
In looking for a fund raising opportunity to support their efforts in South Sudan, Teresa ordered some baskets that are hand made in Africa.  Not in South Sudan, because the people there are too busy dealing with the war that tears across their area.  But these are handcrafted baskets made in village co-ops in Ghana, West Africa.
No two are alike. and there are many styles, from the round market baskets, to hats and even fans.  There are small ones and large ones.  And they are very sturdy.  If they get misshapen from being crammed in a closet or such, they can be dampened and reshaped.
I have a few of the large round ones that I have purchased at fiber fairs.  Crafty people love them for their knitting or spinning supplies.
If any of my readers would like to know how to get some of these wonderful baskets, and support a great cause at the same time, please e-mail me, call me or contact me on Facebook.  I will be happy to put you in touch with them. Or help arrange a meeting.  If anyone wants to host a fund raising event I am sure they can work something out with you.
A few items may have fallen into my car.
But I wasn't the only one who had fun shopping.
And one more tempting shot of her inventory.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mittens and Backs

I spent some time with the thrums and nearly have the first mitten done.

It looked pretty crowded inside as I started the decreases. But once it was off the needles and tied off, it was fine. My hand is a bit longer than Lil' Farm Gal but I was able to wiggle my hand inside with no problems. It should be a good fit for her. The first few times it is worn, her fingers need to wiggle their way in. But after a few wearings, the wool will mat down and the mitten will be easier to pull on.

Once I get my thumb out and knit in a wooly thumb it will be ready for the mate.

Before I felt like tackling the thumb, I decided to return to the Green Flowy Cardigan for a while. I would show a picture, but when you are about a fifth of the way through 123 rows of stockinette, there isn't much progress to show. Just a line of markers keeping track of rows. Maybe next time I can show a picture.

As far as the mitten, a few more thrums may be needed so I may work on them tomorrow. Those are a good thing to make while watching movies. I wonder if I can find "White Christmas" on tv?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thrumming Along

I finally made it past the cuff on mitten number one and am thrumming right along.

This is after only two rows of thrums. The first is tucked down inside while the second row is hasn't had a subsequent row knit to help subdue the thrums. Eventually these and many more rows will be stuffed into the mitten, providing warmth and padding. They will felt down but still keep the mittens very warm.

Here, after the third row of thrums, you can see the pattern they make on the outside. Almost like color work knitting. But less hassle.

Now if I can just finish them by Christmas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Knitting and Other Important Things

Knit Nite tonight was very productive. I finally finished the seed stitch band on the Green Flowy Cardigan and managed quite a bit of the stockinette stretch. Of course, I still have 100 rows or so before arm hole shaping. But that was still quite a bit of progress.

I reswatched, and cast on the cuff for the first mitten.

I have a couple inches to go before beginning the main part of the mitten with the thrums. I will be sure to show pictures along the way once I get started.

I also worked some more on the Gray spiral Blankie. I had put off starting the next set of increase sections until changing to another, longer cable. It was made more tedious than need be by the fact that I first upsized to a 32 inch needle from 24 inch and then decided it would be better to upsize to a 40 inch cable needle. So instead of one step of changing needle tips, end caps and cables,I had to do the whole procedure twice. But it is accomplished and the new increase pattern isn't too complicated so that continued well. No pictures because even with a new longer needle, it still won't stretch out well to show the pattern.

And that other important thing? I paid a visit to my Little Farmer yesterday. Even if he didn't open his eyes he is still a good cuddle.

As well as awesomely cute.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Swatching Again

Swatching has begun on the Thrummed Mittens.  I may need to go up a needle size before starting actual knitting.  Which means more swatching.
The yarn Lil' Farm Gal picked out is a very soft superwash wool, Liberty Wool.  She liked the turquoise, but this is a very multi-colored yarn.  I think the thrums will be neutral enough. The wool I rolled them from is just to the left of the balls of yarn here.
Of course, I may find my knitting time getting interrupted.  I needed a cuddle break today.  I can see that being Grammy will cut into knitting time.
But well worth it, I think.