Saturday, December 30, 2006

Latest FO's


These are the "business ends" of two baby slings that I just finished. I included both of them to show both sides of the fold. They are for "wearing" a baby. Information about how to make them can be found on-line at Slingrings.com. Videos on babywearing are available on the Mayawraps site. My DD found a sling to be a big help with the last baby although she didn't really discover them until the baby got too heavy to carry in the little carseat carrier. She liked the idea that she could keep the baby very close to her in stores so that people were not always grabbing at her and touching her during flu season. This time, she will probably be baby wearing around home from the very first. She already has her slings made from blue chambray. These ecru twill ones are for my DDIL.

A Knitter's Cat


It seems that every knitting or spinning blog I look at has at least one cat and an occasional dog. We are presently without pets except for The Christmas Cat. She is a relic of the very early 1960s, when styrofoam was a new and exciting artistic medium. If you are old enough, you probably remember Christmas trees made from styrofoam balls and toothpicks and sprayed with colored spray snow (aerosol cans were pretty cool back then, too). Those trees looked nice as a centerpiece on a table accompanied by the enormous brandy snifters filled with a liquid and mothballs which kept going up and down. This picture does not do real justice to the Cat. She is much more colorful in person--those eyes are iridescent! Furthermore, she is exceptionally well trained--she does not tangle my yarn, bat at my spindle, or get under the treadle of anything.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Projects-to-Be


I haven't knitted too much in the last week, but I have enhanced my stash.

On needles--a pair of socks for my dh from Regia. I also have two Miss Dashwoods to make for dgds-to-be. I'm waiting for the yarn now.

Some fiber treasures I've recently acquired:

Corriedale Pencil Roving from Crown Mountain Farms. This is lovely to spindle with, although my skills are still not very good. You can see my attempts on the Little Si spindle.

Ruby River Mountain Colors Bearfoot for another pair of "spirit socks" for me for school.

Two beautiful skeins of Superwash Merino/Tencel sock yarn from
Susan's Spinning Bunny. Both of these colorways are much richer than they appear on camera, and they have almost a silk-like sheen. The colorways are "Roses for You," based on the colors of antique Gallica roses and "Anshan's Biscotti." The roses will be for my dd--they are her favorite flower.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Another Mason Dixon Kimono


Just finished a kimono for a second expected dgd. The yarn is Bernat Satin, which is a dream to knit with. I wanted something that was easy to launder and that looked very feminine.

It's Happened!

You know that moment when you realize you just sounded exactly like your mother? Well, I just realized that my stack of Christmas presents looks exactly like what my grandmother used to do. I must admit, though, that that is not really a bad thing. My family is not going to get together for Christmas until the 27th this year, so this morning, while the rest of the world unwrapped presents, I was wrapping mine or getting them out from their hiding places.

All through my childhood, my grandmother, who was a widow, shopped for Christmas all year long. She did not drive her car out of town, so whenever she was out to a larger town with friends, she would buy things for Christmas. Her gifts were most often of a practical nature--a pretty pair of socks, a nice pair of underwear, a pretty hankie, etc. She would bring them home and immediately wrap them in Christmas paper and put them on the bed in the guest bedroom--kept closed to save on heating and cooling. I often spent the day at her house, and I would always sneak in to take a look and guess what was in the packages. As a result of Grandma's shopping style, we all grew used to BIG piles of packages under the tree. Today I looked at the gifts for my grandchildren which I have been hiding away in the linen closet for some time and saw not one big nice present, but lots and lots of little packages. I remember the anticipation and the fun I had as a child opening each gift from Grandma. I think for her the Christmas Spirit lasted all year.

I will add celebrating Christmas to the list of things I learned from this remarkable woman who taught me embroidery and how to make my own paper dolls and how to feed chickens and how to love a grandchild.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Hodgepodge of Projects

I have had the feeling that I've not been making any progress on anything, but I do have some FOs. Clockwise from top: My Cascade Little Si spindle with singles spun from some black and white striped roving from the Sheep Shed Studio; Next, one of a pair of clogs--the other is waiting for more yarn--made for my dh from Paton's Classic Merino by the Fiber Trends pattern. Next, a garter stitch scarf from mystery yarn. This is actually a friend's crochet project. The yarn would just not crochet, so I knitted it quickly so she could give it to her niece for Christmas--10 stitches by 7 feet on size 15s. The white plastic pipe is wrapped with singles of BFL from Spunky Hats; I finally finished the socks from Online Socks Highland Colors. I love the yarn, and the socks are comfy. I used the charts from Sensational Knitted Socks, and I think these are the best gussets I've done so far; Finally, there is the skein of my first handspun yarn. It is brown and white from some very scratchy wool. It has thick and thin spots and some downright lumps, but it is MINE!

On the needles--another pair of plain stockinette socks for my "mindless" knitting moments; my Lacevember project, still unfinished; the other gray clog; and a baby sweater for the other expected dgd out of Pistachio Cotton Ease. I am also spindling at least 30 minutes a day, with mixed results.

What else have I been doing? I teach in a fairly small high school in the rural Texas Panhandle. A large portion of our student body is first or second generation from Mexico; almost all of our student body qualifies for lunch assistance, and we are heavily Title I. This year we decided to have all our students read a novel, The Great Gatsby, at the same time. We read and discussed the novel in English classes, and some of the other departments did related research projects. The choir learned some jazz numbers, and the theatre classes learned the Charleston. Last Friday, we had a luncheon in the school cafeteria. The staff prepared a buffet of hors d'oeuvre-type foods and a fancy dessert. We bought plastic wine glasses and had iced tea and white grape juice fountains. The cafeteria was decorated in white and silver and pastel blue. For some of our students, a buffet was an entirely new experience. After the meal we all watched the Robert Redford movie in the school auditorium. We are very pleased with student response to the project.

Friday, December 08, 2006

My First Spinning


These are my first singles. This is my first singles. Which one is correct? Anyway this is my horribly uneven first attempt at spinning. Now I just need to ply it. I think I used about 2 oz. of roving that came in the spinning kit from Bellwether. The spinning was spread over 20-30 minute sessions on several evenings. I have two more bits of roving in the kit, and I just got a package from Sheep Shed Studio that I am saving for later. I guess that means I have a fiber stash now as well as a yarn stash. I also have a stash of some Tropical Punch Kool Aid to dye with.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Technological Progress

I have been diligently trying to learn to spin with a hand spindle, and I am amazingly making some progress. My dh is becoming interested in the process. Yesterday, he saw on the internet a photograph made in Afghanistan of some women who are participating in a cottage industry project. One was spinning on a spindle and the other one was "knitting or something." If he can find the link again, I will post it.

Thinking about technology old and new has inspired me to tell you about the experiences with bathroom updates in our teachers' restroom. Our women's bathroom consists of a long narrow room about 5 x 10, with the vanity/lavatory at the far end on the left and the door to a tiny separate room for the toilet on the right. We generally do not enter the outer room unless we are sure no one else is in there because it gets crowded at the far end. The way we know the room is empty is if the light and fan (on the same switch) are off. We have just had some updates. The first update was a paper towel dispenser that rolls out a paper towel when you wave at it. Cool! The latest improvement was a retrofit of the toilet with one of those automatic flushing photoelectric valves. The first day, the valve flushed 3 times per customer--about 20 seconds after someone sat down, at the proper time, and just about the time you got to the sink to wash your hands. That afternoon, I spoke with maintenance, and they adjusted the "sensitivity"--they seemed to find this amusing. Then the really weird things started happening! I have no problem--everything is working fine when I go in there. The teacher next door has to push the button to flush manually because it will not work for her. The teacher in the next room is still getting the "bidet effect." And, the next teacher down the hall is not only getting the occasional "bidet effect," but paper towels that dispense when she walks past the dispenser. We don't know whether complain to maintenance or hold an exorcism!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I did it!

I finally made something that actually looks like yarn on my new spindle. Admittedly, it is only a single, and there are only about 5 yards on it so far--that may be a generous estimate--but it is coming!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Baby Sweater


The 5 hour baby sweater and a little cap done in the preemie size from the pattern on http://www.bevscountrycottage.com. The yarn is Cotton Ease that I picked up from a discontinued bargain bin. I loved knitting with it! Supposedly, Lion Brand was going to release this yarn again in November, but I haven't seen any in the stores, and their web site did not show it a couple of days ago. One skein was enough for the sweater and cap with some left over. The color is Strawberry Cream.

I also received my spindle in the mail today. It came in a kit with some wool and an instruction book. The book, however, left me with some unanswered questions, so I'm going to check out some instructions on the net as well.