Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

6x6 Meme

Found this meme over on Smatterings and Knitorious. Saved it for a snowy, Sunday evening like today.

The rules:
--Go to your sixth picture folder and pick the sixth picture
--Pray you remember the details
--Tag five others

The name of my sixth folder is 2003_05_26, representing the date.

I had a new digital camera, my first, and was outdoors trying it out in amazement. Now it's difficult to remember the days before digital cameras enriched my life. One more thing to be thankful for.

The bright bluish purple wild violets were just ending their spring bloom.

If you need a quick and easy blog post, you're tagged. Let me know so I can visit and see what you found in your sixth folder.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Chat Back for November 29

Answering questions from comments and email.

First we'll chat about the weather. That's a Michigan thing to do - the year round number one small talk topic.

This picture was taken about 2 pm today. The temperature made it up to a high of 42 F/6 C. The top layer of ground is frozen so the snow lingers longer above freezing than it would have a few weeks ago when the ground was not as deeply frozen.

The sun and temperature both drop fast this time of year. Sunset this evening is 5:13. It looks like we're going to keep some white stuff around until tomorrow when the forecast is for Mother Nature to spend the next four days refreshing the snow covering.

Kathy asked . . .
When you tried frogging, did you first put the yarn in the freezer? That will help mohair not grab onto each other.
I'm a novice, uninformed mohair knitter and had no idea some time in the freezer would help.

I like the idea, though. Sounds like the perfect punishment for some of my uncooperative projects.

Robbyn asked . . .
Regarding the mohair, have you thought about a throw or a blanket?
I confess to being partial to store bought synthetic fleece throws and blankets. That likely disqualifies me for the Knitter's Hall of Fame.

In my defense, they're easy to launder and I don't have to worry about moths when I drizzle food into the nap.

I've started a stockinette plain sleeveless vest with the mohair. Looks like it will use most of both skeins so there wasn't enough for anything requiring more yardage.

Today's Speed Bump is really all about yarn and knitting, even if it's not obvious from the picture.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FLS Progress and Mohair Swatch

The February Lady Sweater for Sister Carrie is zipping right along.

As well as being easily memorized, the lace pattern is one of those where it's easy to see immediately if stitches aren't falling in the right place.

Carrie requested a version without buttons. It will be interesting to see what the front neck does without buttons to hold it up.

Pattern: February Lady Sweater.

Yarn: Elann Coto Canapone. Worsted weight. 52% cotton, 48% hemp.

Color: Murano Blue.

Needles: Options #7.

Gauge: 4.5 stitches/inch in garter stitch.

Still trying to imagine what this mohair would like to be, I knit a swatch to get a feel for how it knits up.

It knits up very fuzzy. Not a surprise. It wasn't an easy knit with all the fuzziness.

My original bind off was too tight. When I tried to frog it, I learned that whatever I do with this yarn I do not want to make anything that might require frogging. The stitches were not coming out easily and some refused to come out at all.

To sum up, it's a very fuzzy yarn that needs to be knit in stockinette or garter because the stitches aren't going to show through all the fuzz. On #10 needles I got 3 stitches/inch. Whatever it becomes is going to be colorful and warm. And it needs to be something simple.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

These writing prompts are available every Monday from Simple Woman's Daybook where we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

I doubt I'll do this every week, but it seems like just the right touch to start off the week of Thanksgiving.

FOR TODAY November 23, 2008...
Outside my window... A dreary, gray winter day with wet snow falling from the sky. I'm thankful for my warm house.

I am thinking... How quickly the summer and autumn flashed by, how quickly the years are flashing by, and how I'd like to do something worthwhile with the rest of my life.

I am thankful for... The new church I started attending a few months ago. It was an unexpected change and feels so right.

From the kitchen... Today I'll be making Green Dream. I've been making Green Dream for over thirty years. I guess it's a family tradition. It's the perfect holiday side dish for adding a slightly tangy accent with roast turkey. Wonderful to eat with cold turkey leftovers.

I am wearing... Gray sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt with an Arlo and Janis comic on the front. Arlo is saying, "The older I get the less I enjoy the coming of fall. It's something to do with the passing of time. Year round time passes at the same speed, but in the fall it sticks its arm out the window and flips you off."

I am creating... Something in my subconscious to make with the prize mohair while knitting away on the almost mindless February Lady Sweater.

I am going... to get up and take the dogs for a walk in a few minutes.

I am reading... Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.

I am hoping... The roads are not slippery for the next few days. There are places I need and/or want to go.

I am hearing... Terence Blanchard's Tale of God's Will. This is the best CD I've ever experienced in my whole life. I can't play it without wanting to start over from the beginning and play it again.

Although written as a "Requiem for Katrina", it's much more than that. It's the story of the human condition put to music. And the trumpet playing is awesome.

Around the house... We are staying cozy and warm while wintry things happen outdoors.

One of my favorite things... Is sitting here at my laptop communicating with family and friends with one little dog curling up on my right and another little dog curled up on my left.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Tomorrow I'm headed for Kalamazoo to help Mom figure out how to use her DVD player and then go out to lunch at the Main Street Grill. Wednesday evening is trumpet lesson in Kalamazoo, and Thursday, of course, is Thanksgiving. We're having the simplest of Thanksgivings this year, but I do have a small turkey to roast for just the two of us and many things to be thankful for.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Last week's view outside the window directly in front of the loveseat where I sit with my laptop.

It's snowing today and the view is much the same except the snow has been removed from the feeding board running along the porch railing. Instead of snow, it's loaded with sunflower seeds being enjoyed by several dozen birds, mostly cardinals.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mohair in the Mail

Author Barbara Bretton shares a blog Romancing the Yarn with other romance writers who do fibery things. Lately Barbara has been cleaning out her stash by having drawings to give it away.

A few days ago I won the "MOHAIR" drawing, and yesterday there was mohair in the mailbox. 440 yards of beautiful fuzzy mohair with a label gauge of 3.5 stitches/inch on #10 needles.

Given that I don't want to knit a hat and/or scarf with this, any suggestions? I'm thinking maybe a pullover vest.

Meanwhile, it's found a good home in my stash. Thanks Barbara! I'll take good care of it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chat Back for November 21

Answering questions from comments and email.

More Lake Effect Snow today.

Knowing it's all supposed melt by Sunday, I'm content to stay home today and enjoy watching the fluffy flakes come down.

JoLynn asked . . .
Right side /wrong side of caston is the smooth side or bumpy side?
Got me to wonder, what I had learned originally? and from what source?
What is your right side of the caston?

I think it's standard to consider the side that looks like a crocheted chain, probably what you're called the smooth side, to be the right side. That's what most pattern writers and I like to use for the right side.

But really, if someone likes the bumpy side as the right side there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it does look better especially when doing a garter stitch border.

Sherilan asked . . .
Could you mention again how you position the k7p1 to go down the foot evenly?

There are several ways to do it.

Lately I've been doing it the easy way and having the 32 stitch heel and the 32 stitch instep both be k3,p,p7,p,k7,p,k7,p,k4. It's next to impossible to notice the lopsided stitch on the finished sock.

During a more perfectionist time in my knitting life, I would use 31 stitches heel side, 33 stitches instep side and center the k7 panel down the heel side and instep side. When knitting the heel I would Make1 in the center to bring it up to 32 stitches. When decreasing the gussets I would bring the heel side back down to 31. Toe decreases then needed to start on the instep side in order to come out even at the end to Kitchener.

Jean asked . . .
Love the contrast between the cardinal and the snowflakes falling. Do you leave any food out for them in the winter?

Yes. And every other season as well. Long time readers here have seen dozens of bird pictures taken at the feeders.

We buy sunflower seeds by the 50 pound bag.

On the east side of the house where we sit at our computers there is
  • A ten foot plank full of black oil sunflower seeds specifically for the cardinals who don't like to perch on a feeder. All the other birds and squirrels eat from it as well. If there's anything left, the possums clean it off after dark.
  • A hanging tube feeder with black oil sunflower seeds.
  • A thistle seed feeder always loaded with finches, especially the Goldfinches.

On the west (kitchen) side of the house
  • A peanut feeder - the one in the picture. That's a Tufted Titmouse getting ready to fly off with a peanut in its mouth.
  • A double side suet feeder.
  • A hanging tube feeder with black oil sunflower seeds.

Debi asked . . .
I love the cotton/hemp version of the February Lady Sweater....is it knitting up as a true worsted weight?

The Elann site suggests 20 sts/inch on a #5!! Could that be a mistake?

The Summer Spice short sleeve gansey I knit with Coto Canapone was 22 st/4 inches on #4s. It was a nice firm fabric but not so tight that it hurt my hands to knit.

I almost always require a needle size one less than the pattern calls for to get gauge.

February Lady calls for worsted weight yarn and #8 needles for 18 st/4 inches in garter stitch. I swatched with #8s, #7s, and #6s. The 6s were too tight, the 8s were an unacceptable floppy loose fabric. The #7s were just right and gave me gauge right on.

If the Elann site says 20 sts/4 inches, that's reasonable. If it really says 20 sts/inch that's just silly.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Is Your Taste In Art?

Islamic art? Never heard of it until I took this quiz.

The quiz was fun to answer and the personality results, at least for me, are accurate. Because who wouldn't want to be vibrant and tasteful?

Click and the link at the bottom, enjoy the gorgeous art, and see how you rate.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Traditional, Vibrant, and Tasteful

28 Islamic, 14 Impressionist, 12 Ukiyo-e, -9 Cubist, -26 Abstract and -1 Renaissance!

Islamic art is developed from many sources: Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture; the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia was of paramount significance; Central Asian styles were brought in with various nomadic incursions; and Chinese influences . Islamic art uses many geometical floral or vegetable designs in a repetitive pattern known as arabesque. It is used to symbolize the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of Allah.

People that like Islamic art tend to be more traditional people that appreciate keeping patterns that they learned and experienced from their past. It is not to say that they are not innovative personalities, they just do not like to let go of their roots. They like to put new ideas into details and make certain that they will work before sharing them with others. Failure is not something they like to think about because they are more interested in being successful and appreciated for their intelligence. These people can also be or like elaborate things in their life as long as they are tasteful. They tend to prefer geometric patterns and vibrant colors.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test
at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snow Report and New Project

The view as we started our early morning dog walk today.

Here in Almena Township we ended up with about ten inches of fluffy white snow. The ground is still a bit unfrozen so as the day went on the snow settled down to about four inches.

The most frequently uttered words in SW Michigan in the last 48 hours: "I wasn't ready for that yet."

Though unwashed in the picture, the swatches for my next project are washed, dried, and measured.

This makes the third project I've knit with Elann Coto Canapone, 52% cotton, 48% hemp. It goes in the washer, dryer, and comes out the same size, same gauge, only softer. It's a wonderful yarn.

Little sister Carrie in North Carolina, recipient of the Manon Shawl in Coto Canapone, requested a February Lady Sweater in the same yarn, same color. I wasn't sure about knitting the pattern in something other than wool, but the swatching indicates all will be wonderful.

I plan on casting on this evening.

Pattern: February Lady Sweater.

Yarn: Elann Coto Canapone. Worsted weight. 52% cotton, 48% hemp.

Color: Murano Blue.

Needles: Options #7.

Gauge: 4.5 stitches/inch in garter stitch.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beginning of Winter

This was the scene early this morning as the dogs and I headed out for our first walk of the day.

I was cozy and warm in an insulated underwear shirt, jeans, heavy wool socks, my helmet hat, and a Land's End Squall Parka.

Heavy duty shoes were OK for the early morning walk, but the snow has picked up again. I'll locate my boots before the next dog walk.

The weather forecast says four more inches today. Due to the unpredictable Lake Effect Snow, snow depth forecasts are always iffy. National Weather Service has been known to create panic about storms that fizzle and miss calling major snow falls.

Much yard work was accomplished this year. The rest will have to wait.

I'd love to get in one more mowing. We say that every year while in denial that mowing season is definitely over.

The sky is dumping white stuff while I write this (10:30 am) so four more inches or even more looks very possible.

Hard to resist taking pictures of the red cardinals in the snow. In this picture, taken just a few minutes ago, the camera was set to show the snow fall, not so much the bird.

Winter has arrived in SW Michigan.

Lunchtime Weather Update: The National Weather Service has decided to up its forecast since the snow doesn't seem to be stopping. There's a "DISTURBANCE" moving into the area which could result in 12 inches of snow by morning. Hope this is one of the days they're wrong. I'm not mentally ready for 12 inches yet.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gail's Socks Maybe Done, Maybe Not

I can't remember where I got this yarn without a label. I do know it's Opal, but I don't know the color pattern name.

Doggy school teacher Gail frequently wears blue denim, so I picked it out of the stash for her Christmas socks. About half way through the first cuff I began to worry. Is this yarn ugly? Is Gail going to like these socks?

Now that they're done, the colors and dots have grown on me and there's a good chance Gail will like them. But I'm racking my brain to remember if I've ever seen her wear green. I think so, but I'm not sure. While I'm watching for something green to appear at doggy school, I started another pair (below) just in case.

Pattern: Basic sock on 64 stitches. k1p1 ribbing for 20 rows, then k7p1 ribbing down rest of cuff and instep.

Yarn: Opal, 75% Superwash wool, 25% Nylon.

Color: Unknown

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch.

These socks are perfect for Gail. I know she wears each color represented and there are no crazy dots to make her wonder what I was thinking.

I better get the needles clicking and get them done.

Pattern: Basic sock on 64 stitches. k1p1 ribbing for 20 rows, then k7p1 ribbing down rest of cuff and instep.

Yarn: Opal, 75% Superwash wool, 25% Nylon.

Color: Petticoat 1293

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

She Said Aran Modeled

I finished this sweater last April, just in time for it to be completely unwearable weather wise. I packed it away knowing I would enjoy seeing it again in the autumn.

The autumn that seemed so far away in June is now here, complete with cold weather inviting the woolies out of hibernation.

Other than the photo shot a few weeks ago, I still haen't worn it. It's truly a winter sweater, 100% wool, tightly knit, and heavy.

Pattern: She Said Aran by Barbara Venishnick in Knitters Winter 1999, #57.

Modifications: Sleeves were knit on picked up stitches with short rows across the sleeve cap. The pattern's turtleneck collar was shortened to something more like a crew neck.

Yarn: Cascade 220, 100% wool worsted weight

Color: 7808 Violet

Needles: Options #5

Gauge: 28 stitches/29.5 rows in 4 inches on lower sweater. 26 stitches/33 rows in 4 inches for upper sweater.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hats Are Always Handy

Last week we had unseasonably warm, sunny weather and not much knitting got done.

This week? Well, it's November and the weather is acting like November in SW Michigan. Cold, rainy, a little snow overnight. The ground is still too warm for the snow to linger, but it did nicely coat my cold car.

It's a little too warm yet to wear my Helmet hat, but this nice wool head covering is just perfect.

I only had one skein of yarn, 128 yards, originally purchased for the failed twining experiment. After the yarn was frogged and untangled, I decided to go for a simple and quick hat instead of storing it in my stash bins.

The hat isn't windproof like a twined hat would have been. Not a problem since I wear it under a nylon parka hood that keeps the wind out.

Pattern: Basic hat on 102 stitches. Ribbed cuff and then knit tall enough to use up all the skein.

Yarn: Crystal Palace Taos, 100% wool worsted weight

Color: Hopi

Needles: Options 6 and 7.

Gauge: 5 stitches/inch, 7 rows/inch.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Chat Back for November 8

Answering questions from comments and email.

First of all, I want to thank all of you who suggested AVG as a replacement virus protection. It was an easy install and it's now busy working away protecting my laptop with almost no fuss, bother, or system slowdown.

Sorry it took me so long to remember to mention this.

In response to the sweater I was wearing in Kimmy Turns 13:
Jean asked . . .
. . all I could think about is "I wonder if she knit the sweater she was wearing?"
Laurie asked . . .
Any more pics of the finished sweater??

It's been almost a year since I finished Autumn Song. Here are the links.

Autumn Song Finished
Autumn Song Modeled

Jean asked . . .
I have the (knitpicks) harmony circular knitting needles with the interchangeable cables and they keep coming undone while I am knitting with them - got any tips to eliminate this?

I have the metal Options, not the Harmony, but they're probably the same engineering.

When I put the little tightening pin through the hole and twist as snug as possible, I usually don't have a problem with the joins. When I'm lazy and think I can just twist and tighten without digging out the little pin, sometimes there's some loosening.

When one does come loose, I feel it right away because the little gap snags the yarn, so I've never had one come completely off. It's a bother and I wish I could say it never happens (that one starts to come undone), but I consider the sharp points worth the occasional tightening.

Lynn asked . . .
Have you ever knit a sweater for your dog? If he wasn't thrilled with his costume, does he prefer not to wear clothing? Or was it the fact it was a costume?

No, yes, and the headpiece annoyed him more than the body piece.

It's not practical to knit for my dogs. They don't enjoy "dressing". If and when dressing is required, it needs to be something that will stand up to country living.

Pappy has haircuts in the summer, but we let him grow out in the autumn for winter. An unclipped Pappy has thick fur all over, including his underside. Dressing for warmth is totally unnecessary and his straight, shiny hair quickly sheds snow, ice, and weed seeds.

Sunny has thin fur, a bare belly, and chest hair which functions as a snow/ice ball magnet.

She wears a fleece coat outside in the winter. She hates wearing it, but it's needed. Her coat is blue plaid, but in this picture it's coated with white snow.

I think a knit coat would be too fragile for her needs.

The dogs like to run in the fields and woods - through the briars and brambles and sticks and stalks.

Glory loves chasing rabbits, squirrels, whatever is around to chase. Sometimes that chasing involves jumping into the creek. Totally not appropriate for knitwear.

This is a close up of Glory's fur taken on a walk this morning. See what I mean?

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Messed Up Project

When I spotted Pat's beautiful twined hat, I wanted to make one just like it. So much that I bought the identical yarn (Crystal Palace Toas, 100% wool) and paid money for the pattern.

I consider myself above average at being able to follow written directions. I fully expected to be able to read this pattern and twine a hat, knitting from both ends of the skein.

The ribbing is a double knit. I managed to get that OK. Then came twining in the knit stitch. The very first thing the pattern says is, "Swedish knitters traditionally pick - but throw the 2-end knitting." That was my first clue I might have a little problem with twining. I knit continental (pick) and have no idea how to throw. Still, knitting is knitting.

Instructions included steps like, "Drop yarn used to the left of the needle", and warnings that the resulting stitches should look like herringbone on the wrong side and not like fair isle. I thought mine looked like fair isle (I've never knit fair isle) so I had a spasm and frogged the whole thing. Then I went back to admire Pat's beautiful twined hat. She has a picture of the inside of her hat and realized was twining correctly with no need to rip.

Now I have a mess with the two strands sticking together. They need to be rewound separately with lots of untwisting and untangling.

The urge to knit this hat is temporarily gone. I'm knitting simple, one stranded socks right now. I'll probably give the hat another try before the winter is over.