Sunday, November 30, 2003

Wow!! I can't believe it's been almost a week since I've written. We've been quite busy with the holidays. We ended up attending 2 dinners - at my brothers on Thanksgiving, and then the inlaws on Saturday. I've finally learned NOT to go back for seconds, no matter how good the food is.

I've been spending a little time online looking at different charities, and found lots of fantastic causes. Many are for preemies, but these were just a bit different, and should be given recognition:

Online Angels will send a Loveghan to someone who has suffered a tragedy, loss of loved one, severe illness, or someone who just need to be uplifted.

Angels for Hope sends an adorable angel, butterfly or smiley face to "those who are severely injured and/or chronically ill, as well as their caregivers, or just someone that needs hope - as a tangible reminder that you are not alone, that others care, and that we remember you in our thoughts and prayers".

Hugs and Hope is a "club" that sends cards, gifts, and love to children and families of children that are very ill.

I've done more on the Weekend Sweater this past week, and only have 2 more decreases to go on the yoke, then all that's left is the collar and grafting the underarms. I'm anxious to get it done!

DH needed a scarf for hunting tomorrow, so we went to Walmart looking for Lion Brand Chenille Sensations, but didn't find it, just the Thick 'N Quick. He doesn't like how thick that came out when I did DS and DD their scarves with it, so I had to look for something else just as soft. I found Red Heart Plush in a very pretty French Blue. It isn't as soft as chenille, but did well in a pinch. I started and finished the scarf today and did it crochet, even though I prefer clothing knitted. I really didn't have much choice with the time frame in which it was needed. I'm hoping for a good report on the scarf when he comes home tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I've been on a roll making preemie hats. I added 5 more to the collection. I'm up to 12 hats and 3 blankets now. I'll be sending these to Olivia's Angels .

I've slacked off on my charity crafting this past year. I'm going to make a contract with myself to do more next year. I think with the items for CIC and the monthly projects for AC4C, I should be able to keep more on track.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Not much new today. It's been dreary, very windy, and then rainy and cold, and the kids seem to reflect the weather's mood.

I needed some instant gratification tonight, so I did up a couple of preemie hats from an old Carewear pattern. I used to get their newsletter before getting on the web - years ago, and have been doing preemie items on and off since then. I see I need to download the most recent newsletter. They always have great patterns in them.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I took a short break to renew and take time to knit. I didn't get near as much knitting done as I'd like to have done, but I did get a much needed rest. The kids went to my brothers house and stayed overnight, DH was out hunting with DS and I had the day to myself yesterday. I think I could use a few more days of that!!

I finished the scarf I was crocheting. I honestly don't care for the crochet "feel". The scarf is not as soft as a knit one, but maybe after I wash it, it will feel better. Here's a pic of it's detail:

It was quick and easy, but just not the nice knitted feel that I love so much.

I also finished the second sock of the second pair I've done for CIC. It came out nicely, and I'm pleased with my matching the colorway on it. DH was amazed that they really look almost exactly alike. I'm pleased :-)

I've casted on another sock for CIC. This one is also in Regia 6 Crazy Colors. I love the colors on this one. I've only got the cuff done so far, but it will go quickly.

DH's sock got a few rows done on the cuff. I've changed my mind from 2" to 3" on it. Once I get off the cuff, it should go faster. I'm trying to decide what heel I like better. The CIC socks help there, because I'm trying different styles of heels on them to see what I like.

I downloaded the new issue of Stranded (see sidebar) and the Isis Waiting Socks are BEAUTIFUL!!! Can't wait to get a chance to do them. I'm also anxious to get the new Heels & Toes Gazette (also see sidebar) as Dawn posted a sneak preview and it looks wonderful!!!! They are both fantastic newsletters!! I don't know which one I enjoy more, as they are both so full of information. I love Stranded because it focuses on different countries, yarns, histories, and techniques. Heel & Toes Gazette focuses on different socks, yarn weights, techniques, and has reviews on yarns and other items. Both are full of valuable information and I all the issues from the beginning with both. I love seeing how they have evolved and gotten better (if that's possible).

DS wore his new hunter's orange hat yesterday. I forgot to ask him if it was itchy or not. He's really picky about that stuff and won't wear an itchy piece of clothing. Hope it was OK.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Today I have dusted off the crochet hooks to try the 1 Hour Baby Sweater to see if I'd like to use it for charity. It's finished, and I have to admit, it took me longer than an hour to do. It looks nice and looks like the picture, but I hate doing all the seams. Yes, I know, it's just the hard cold fact of making clothing :-)

On the yarn label, there was a cute scarf pattern, so I'm trying that out to see how it turns out. I love making things from free patterns. Do you think it's the tightwad in me surfacing?

Both items are made from acrylic yarn, as they will be going to charities here in the US. I'm finding that charities here don't want to deal with wool and other natural fibers. Such a shame, as they are sacrificing warmth with that attitude. No complaints on this end though, as I have an outlet for all the acrylic I've inherited and collected over the years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I didn't tell the story of DS's hat and how it came about. DH wanted a gaitor - so I made one to his specifications - it fit nicely and with the spiral rib that I put in the middle, would stay up well. He hated the Bartlettyarn it was made out of. Complained about it being itchy and said he wouldn't wear it. Even after I assured him the wool would get softer with washing. I could have but I didn't. It went from this:

to this:

It was a little large on DS, so I fulled it a little and will try it on him tomorrow. It should be dry by then.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

My first pair of CIC socks are finished and I'm on to the next. This pair is being done it Regia 6 Crazy Colors #5261.

I'm using Fiber Gypsy's Custom Fits Socks - Cuff to Toe to figure out how to do the small sizes. What a great book!! In the back it has a chart so that you can use those measurements in case you can't personally measure someone. It helped me out tremendously!

I just finished DS's hat using the hunter orange Bartlettyarn. It's washed and rolled in a towel right now, ready to be blocked as soon as I'm done here. Sadly, he won't be able to wear it hunting because it's not fluorescent orange and our laws state it must be. Ah well - he'll just have to wear it around during the winter. I should have made a pumpkin hat out of it instead. He'd have looked so cute in that!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Boy - was eBay a baaaad place for me to hang out at today!!! I found some great bargains and actually won some of them :-) I've been looking for the Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary for a while now, and every time I've seen it, it's been a bit more than I wanted to pay. Waiting has paid off! Another exciting win was the Knit Kit. I had purchased one like this years ago for my mother, and I wanted to get one for me, but haven't been able to find it. That is, until today!! I also won 3 books from the same seller: Designer Knitting by Nina Shuttlewood & Janet Biggs, Exclusively Yours by Frances Kennett, and Gift Knits by Chris Rankin. I have no idea what these books are like, but at $1 each, I figured I must be able to find at least one thing I can make out of each of them. And last but not least, I won a lot of 40+ patterns that included a couple of patterns from Michele Wyman. I don't know what all is coming, but my price for the whole lot, including shipping and the MO was less than the cost of one of her patterns!

I got confirmation back from Suzanne from the former Wanderings, and I got all the Polar Lopi I ordered from her. I'll be using some of that for the What's In My Pocket Vests we are doing as a KAL for CIC.

I enjoy making things for charities, but there are so many out there, one can wear thin. I've got 3 boxes of hats, mittens and toys,etc. for out local shelter. I'm the contact person for there, and I get donations from time to time for it. I just received a box of hats from a woman's church group. What a wonderful job they did!!! I'm hoping to get this all to the center soon.

I now have 3 pairs of socks going. DH's is going to take a while. The Kroy 3-ply I'm using is THIN and seems to take forever to see any progress. I worked on that tonight. Tomorrow, I'm planning on working on the Weekend Sweater since football is on. I won't have to worry about DH talking to me while I'm counting :-) Then back to the Lion Brand hooded sweater. I've gotten spoiled with knitting in the round, and now I don't want to work on it, as it's flat knitting. I just need to get over the hump and back to it, and I'll be ok. It won't take very long to get it all done, but I really hate sewing up seams. One of these days I'm going to take a class on finishing.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

DH made it home safely from Pittsburgh last night. It's a miracle, too, because the silly man rode on a tire that was coming apart. I sat in amazement as he told the story of how the belt broke, then how he lost a piece of the tire, and then decided that he'd try to get home on it, and just change to the emergency tire if he needed to. Good Heavens! It makes me shudder just thinking about it.

No knitting last night as we spent the time catching up after a week of quiet, blissful evenings knitting. LOL Today, I was going to get back to work on my normal projects, but decided that I needed to do something for CIC - a cute little sock from Countrywool that can be found in their charity section. It didn't take very long to get the first one done, just a couple of hours. I'm ready to do the heel on my second sock, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow. Short rows aren't my strong point yet, and it's getting late now.

I used Bartlettyarn's 2-ply in Spice Heather and
I'm working it at 5 sts to the inch. It's turning out to be a very dense and heavy sock. Certainly one that should keep a pair of little feet warm.

I visited the <strong>CIC website and read about their trip to the different orphanages, and was mortified at some of the things I read. Certainly a motivator for me to get moving on knitting a pair of socks or 2.

The kids are both down with colds, so we decided to stay home this weekend. DS and DH didn't go hunting, and we didn't get any wood, either. Just a quiet, relaxing day here. On that note, I'm going to climb into a nice warm waterbed (that tells my age, eh?) and read a chapter or 2 of Harry Potter.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Windy, cold and snowing, but we're still here and still warm :-) My heart goes out to everyone that lost power - too dang cold and breezy to be without heat!

It was a great mail day today!! My package from Bartlettyarns arrived. I'll have to find a good pattern for making a hat for DS now. The orange is really hunter orange, but I doubt if I'll have time to get it done by Saturday morning. I do have a long night tonight, and maybe even time tomorrow before hubby comes home.

Also in the mailbox was a package of yarn to put away for my CIC knitting next year. I would like to start now, but between working with our local charity (I'm the contact person) and all the Christmas knitting I need to finish yet, it appears I won't have much time for anything for CIC. I so look forward to making "little" items again. Funny how one misses it when the kids get bigger!

I did give DD her poncho - as she's been slighted some with all the guys are getting for their hunting expeditions. She was thrilled and has come up with all kinds of other things I should make for her. I found a cute crocheted hat pattern that was quick and easy, and seems to go pretty well with the style of the poncho.

I the poncho looks a little strange with her red shirt showing underneath. It must be a big hit with her, though, because she hasn't taken either off since early this afternoon when I gave them to her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The weather report sounds unsettling for the rest of tonight into tomorrow evening. High winds, heavy rain, thunderstorms, and then snow tomorrow. With this kind of forecast, we may be out of power tomorrow. I don't mind outages, except when temps drop below freezing - gets darn cold in here. No sense worrying about it until it happens. Will draw water tonight to make sure we have some in case it does.

Exciting things happened in my world of knitting today!!! I made a swatch from the Bartlettyarns, and wasn't keen on how it felt against the skin. Still a bit itchy and harsh - so off it went to be felted. A trip through hot in the washer didn't do a thing to it, so I did the rest by hand. I now have a sturdy piece of felt - just gorgeous!!! It was soo cool having it all happen in my hands - a knit rectangle just turned into a felted piece - like magic. I think I'm in love!!! Now, to just have time to do a felted bag.

I finished knitting the Poncho and it turned out nicely. I still need to weave in ends and make the tie and pompoms. That can wait until tomorrow night. I'm debating whether to give it to DD now or at Christmas. I'll have to check the stash of gifts and see... It was such a quick item to make, that I wouldn't mind doing another one for her. I've also considered a hat to match, since I have quite a bit of yarn left over.

I also put a little time in DH's socks. A few more rows were done to the ribbing. A HUGE contrast going from 3 strands of KW to fine sock yarn. Oh, but isn't that what I love most about knitting? The diversity of it all - nothing gets boring.

Well, enough writing for tonight - past my bedtime, and coming up on the pumpkin hour....

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

YIPEE!!! The EZ 3-Cornered Shawl is finished!

I have it on our sofa, and it measures over six feet long, so that will give you an idea of how big the shawl is. I haven't blocked it yet - it's just fresh off the needles. It's been damp and windy day today, and the house is chilly. I tried the shawl on just to see how it would feel - and I'm in love!!! I'm going to hate taking it off to wash and block.

The Unspun Icelandic is going to be a staple in my yarn stash. I'm quite impressed with it, to say the least.

Tonight, I'm planning on curling up in front of the TV to watch 24 and Judging Amy and work on some Christmas knitting. I still have DD's and DS's sweaters, plus DD's poncho to do, so I'll choose whatever moves me to knit tonight. Hmmm, and DH thought that I'd miss him while he's away taking a class.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Another 12 degree morning. Sure was hard climbing out of bed and starting the day. The house seemed so cold and quiet. I turned the heat up and climbed back between the covers with HP and read another chapter before the kids started to surface.

My package from Schoolhouse Press came today! OHHH! I love getting shipments from Meg!! The video for the Dubbelmossa is wonderful and now I wish I hadn't spent my money elsewhere, and saved it for these videos instead. They are an absolute must have!!! I also am thrilled with the Spun-Outs that I picked up this time. DS wants me to do the Balaclava Helmet that's in #8 and he loves the scarf "hat" on the video. I have to stop showing these guys stuff, because I'll never get any knitting done for myself! LOL

I started to swatch the yarns from Bartlettyarns and I'm ending up with a sore finger from it. It's rough but I've heard it washes up nicely. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have much problem working with it, because I have 9 skeins to use up. Two of them are the fluorescent orange color I need for the guys' hunting caps.

I'm making a decent sized swatch to wash for clothing, and will do another to see how it felts. I'm dying to make a felted bag for myself. My handles on my purse are giving way and I don't like the ones I'm finding at the store. So this time I'm making my own. Not sure if I want it out of the Bartlettyarn or Plymouth Galway.

I'm going to take this evening to watch Meg's video again and now that I have the rest of the Unspun Icelandic that I needed, I might just come close to finishing the 3-Cornered Shawl! DH and I were discussing that if it turns out well and large enough, we may consider giving one to his mom for Christmas. That won't bother me in the least, as I love working with both the yarn and love how it's turning out.

Off to finish dinner and then for a quiet night of knitting....

Sunday, November 09, 2003

We had 12 degrees at 7:30 this morning! All my plants that were trying to hang on, lost their battle and have decided it's time to rest. It sure has put me in the mood to want to knit more warm things. DD complains about her nose being cold, so I'm thinking about making her a nosewarmer.

No knitting on the Weekend Sweater tonight. DS was up later than normal reading the end to the latest Harry Potter book. (Finally it's all mine now!!!) So, not to be caught working on it, I decided to start the poncho that DD's been begging for. The project is so Q&E that I ended up twice!! Good thing I didn't work on that sweater tonight - can't imagine how I could have screwed that one up. Even with all the , I still completed about 10". I'm going to make it the long length, and if I like it, may do another in the cropped length.

I've been in the attic tonight and found more acrylic yarn there than I thought. Ohhhh! I think they are breeding up there. Wish my wool would do that :-) Since I do charity crochet and knitting, I am going to set goals to use it as much as possible next year. I enjoy doing the charity knitting as I get to use patterns and experiment with things I normally wouldn't. I get to make baby things and all those cute toddler items that I don't have a need for any more. With donations here in the States, they normally request synthetic yarns -vs- projects like CIC. With my stash almost totally acrylic, I'll continue mostly knitting for here, however, I do love the projects CIC does, so will have to knit a couple pairs of socks to send. As I do more with wool, and my stash changes over to the natural fibers, I'll be able to do more for them.

Well, I'm towing my sorry butt to bed and reading Harry Potter for a while until I can't keep my eyes open. That should be all of about 5 minutes :-)

Saturday, November 08, 2003

What a sight the lunar eclipse was! Too bad temps were so cold. Already 19 degrees here and I'm sure I'll go lower before morning. Brrr.... The kids braved the weather much better than we did. The total eclipse was amazing and here's a pic with it almost totally covered:

It's not as clear as we'd like to have had it, but I don't think it's too bad considering DH was holding the digital camera when he took it. Where's a tripod when you need one?!

I knitted quite a bit last night, and ended up going too long and was too tired to enter in progress. I got the Weekend Sweater to the point of attatching the sleeves and a couple of rounds around the yoke.

To me it looks way too small, but I've measured it and measured it, and it's on the money. I'm guessing that yoke really will make a difference.

I've finished my first wheel of Unspun Icelandic. That stuff is amazing to work with!!! Now I'm at a stall on the 3-Cornered Shawl until my package from Schoolhouse Press arrives. This is my progress before the wheel was finished - it's an amazingly simple but pretty shawl!

I'm not sure if I did the lace inserts correctly, though. EZ is wonderful with her directions, giving the knitter so much freedom, but now I need more direction, not exactly sure what I should be doing, and there isn't any. I've posted a question to the KAL that did this shawl, but there has been no response so far. They're off on a charity KAL, and I assume that since it's off-topic it's not to be addressed. Sigh.... That's ok though, as I'm learning this way :-)

Thursday, November 06, 2003

What a dark and dreary day!! No rain, but it was so cloudy that everyone drove by with their lights on. Honestly, it looked about like it was heading towards dusk all day long. The air has a real chill and the weather report says that tonight will be the coldest in 7 months. Winter is coming.....

Guess I won't be done any too soon on the 3-Cornered Shawl!! I'm a little unsure about the directions. EZ leaves so much room for interpretation and change, that I'm always a bit apprehensive that I'm doing something wrong. Much different than being the blind follower!! It was easier then... LOL

I really do like working on the shawl, and I've decided to just add a couple of strips of lace instead of adding it through the whole shawl. The lace is around the bottom edge for some decoration, and then I'll just do the rest as solid for warmth. Guess this shawl will be finished none too soon.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get my package from Schoolhouse Press. I'm dying to get my fat little fingers on that video. I'm planning on a week of working on the Dubbelmossa. Can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The beautiful weather was just too good to last. It's been pouring here all day, and has chilled down to the 50's with colder temps forecasted for tonight.

In the spirit of the colder weather, I decided to pull out my 3-Cornered Shawl (an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern) and a wheel of cream Un-spun Icelandic wool. I've been dying to try this pattern and yarn out, so I swatched and was amazed at how strong the wool is when it appears so delicate. This is a first for me using it, and also a first for doing the Cable Cast-on as well. What fun!!!!

Our group had a KAL for this shawl before I joined, so I'm trying out back projects using their tutorials. The group used Shetland Jumper Weight, but I wanted a nice warm shawl just like the one EZ did. I'm a cold person, and I need all the warmth I can get.

There was a wonderful discussion on the Knitlist recently about Schoolhouse Press videos, and that's all I needed to make a decision on purchasing them. I've been putting it off, not sure if they were worth the price or not. Well... after that discussion, there were no longer any doubts!!! I had order the Swedish Dubbelmossa kit a bit ago, then ended up having to wait for my needles to start. Well, I've been putting it off because I wanted to do the jogless technique that Meg has "unvented", but wasn't really clear on it. I decided today to buy the video that goes along with the kit. It covers a few things I've never seen before, so it will be a real treat to watch them being done.

I also ordered another wheel of Unspun, and the following Spun-Outs #8 Five Woolly Hats, #9 A Horde of Hats, and #13 Ponchos. I'm looking forward to getting this shipment and casting on my Dubbelmossa next week.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I can't believe we had another beautiful day. Some areas here have hit record high, but not broken them. With the wind picking up tonight, I'm sure we'll be seeing rain by morning.

I didn't do any knitting during the day today. Too many other things required attention. I did pull out the scarf I'm making for my daughter though, and finished that tonight.

I used one strand Patons Cha Cha and size 15 needles casting on 22 stitches. Was done in garter stitch until I ran out of yarn. I originally started this on 14 stitches, but was just a bit too narrow for my taste, so I ripped it out and increased the stitch count. It's a much nicer width now.

I think DD's going to like it - the colors certainly reflect her personality, and it's so soft. She's a nut for soft fuzzy things :-)

Monday, November 03, 2003

What a gorgeous day today! The sun was shining and temps reached 70! The kids enjoyed probably the last nice day of the year. They're calling for 40's by the end of the week. I think winter will soon be here to stay.

As promised (but a bit late), here's a pic of the Ladder of Life Socks:

A great package from Dawn Brocco came today. I so enjoy getting new yarns! I ordered a few skeins of Bartlettyarn in spice heather and white, Reynolds Candide in crimson and Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals in Cream Puff. I also purchased her Sweatshirt Jacket for Women pattern. I can't wait to have time to make it for myself. I think it will make a nice jacket for spring and fall. I've also considered making her other Sweatshirt Jacket which is a hooded version and is a heavier/warmer jacket. She has so many lovely patterns though, so it will be hard to choose what to do first. I have a feeling I'll be buying a lot from her in the future.

I did ask the Knitlist about the curling on my shawl, and the response has been that the crochet edging will take care of the curling. That's a relief!

I ended up ripping out Curt's sock - it just wasn't coming out the way I wanted, so I'm starting from the beginning again. I went down a needle size and won't continue the 2x2 ribbing all the way to the heel. Right now I don't have any plans for it, so will decide on what to do after I finish the ribbing - the whatever the mood strikes me to do then.

I'm a bit bummed that the group that I was doing the Weekend Sweater with seems to have moved on to a different direction, and I don't have anyone to finish a sweater with. I only know of one lady that has finished hers, and she was the leader of the group - so she was working ahead of us. I don't need anyone to do it with, but it was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

It appears we will be going to my brother's every Sunday for a while now. It's that time of the year when we cut wood and get ready for winter. Actually, this year we are a bit late, but the weather seems to be holding well.

I take it that we aren't the only ones late this year. The farmer that we get our pig from every year won't have them done until at least January. Usually we have it before Thanksgiving. It will work in nice if the guys get a deer, but will cause us to have to buy some meat at the market, if they don't.

Even though we were at the farm today, I still got some knitting in. I really wanted to work on the Weekend Sweater, but I'm at that point where I need to really concentrate as I'm adding the sleeves and then doing the short row shaping. If you haven't already guessed, I finished the second sleeve last night.

Anyhow, I settled for taking the Easy Knit Shawl instead. It's a simple enough pattern but I don't like how the point curls up. I don't know if the crocheted edging will fix that or not. Since I started at the point, I don't know how I'll be able to rectify it. Think I'll post to the Knitlist to see if others have had this problem.