Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Book and a Prayer

I have decidedly NOT been doing academic reading since school was out. Candide is still lying there looking at me accusingly. I have three new methods books by Jim Burke also waiting. Plus, I need to do quick rereads of Pride and Prejudice, Ethan Frome, Ender's Game, and Killer Angels before school starts in August, so of course I'm reading mysteries and romances.

When I find a mystery writer I like, I tend to read everything written up to that point and then move on to someone else. A few years ago, one of those writers was Carolyn Hart. Her books featuring a sleuth named Annie Darling, who owns a mystery book store on a South Carolina island, led me off in fascinating directions toward other writers mentioned in the books. I picked up another Hart mystery a week or two ago for motel reading, Dead Days of Summer. It was, as usual, a good read. It also included a prayer that I had not heard before. I googled it, and it is evidently a poem by Walford Davies:

God be in my head
And in my understanding
God be in my eyes
And in my looking
God be in my mouth
And in my speaking
God be at my end
And at my departing

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Project Spectrum/Spirit Socks 2007

It just worked out that our school colors fit the Project Spectrum colors for June and July--red, black, and metallic. I left out the metallic, of course, because that sounds rather scratchy for socks, but here are my special hand-knit socks for Football Fridays. They are Mountain Colors Bearfoot that I had in my stash. I think the color is Ruby Ridge--I bought the yarn on ebay. This was my first skein of MC, and it is absolutely wonderful to knit with! I just want to sit around and squeeze my socks. The pattern is adapted from Knitty's Thermal sweater and posted on the Knitting Haven message board. I kept the foot plain because I find that to be more comfortable in the athletic shoes that I wear on Fridays. (Not that I do anything athletic myself, but they're more comfortable when standing at pep rallies.) They went fast because I knitted the legs on 2s.
However, when I soaked the socks to block them, the water was blood red. I rinsed them several times, and the water was still colored. I guess I will be sure to hand wash them so that they don't bleed on my other clothes. I sent an e-mail to Mountain Colors to ask if there is any way to set the color, but I have not heard back from them.

OTN--FLAK KAL sweater

Socks--Tidal Wave in Fleece Artist Forest

Baby Surprise Sweater--swatched

Friday, June 15, 2007

Can this be where Fisher-Price got the idea?

My infant granddaughters love their musical cradle swings by Fisher Price. One has the Rainforest model with wildlife and moving leaves; the other, a model with bluebirds and butterflies. They are wonderful childcare devices, and you don't have to wind them up.

Here is Mother Nature's model. We have had swallows nest on our porch light for a few years to raise their babies. We just rinse off the mess they make and tolerate their presence because we appreciate the fact that they reduce the mosquito population. While washing dishes, I like watching the tiny blue and reddish parents swoop around the front yard in pursuit of insects. However, we now have another addition to the neighborhood. This nest is not attached to anything stable, just to the windchime. Last week we had 60+ -mile-an-hour winds! There is always a breeze in the Panhandle, and these chimes get a pretty good workout, but this nest is in active use.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Dye Job!

My DGS dyed his sock yarn this afternoon. We used Wilton colors again--Teal and Kelly Green. He was enthusiastic about doing it himself!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dyeing Socks

My DGD, age 4, and I dyed sock yarn with Wilton's food coloring, following the directions in Spindle and Wheel. I put the dye in separate squeeze bottles so that she would have better control. These socks will be bright! We used Sky Blue and Teal with a little Kelly Green added to give the Teal more differentiation. Now I have to knit really fast!

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Productive Week

I finally found the mistake that I made last weekend on my FLAK sweater. Isn't it amazing how something just pops out at you when you haven't looked at it in awhile? I frogged back to before the mistake, picked up the stitches and began knitting again. Much to my surprise, that process actually worked!

Until a day or so ago, I did not know any local knitters. I drove down to our hardware store one afternoon to look for an open bottle of Gorilla Glue to stick my well-used KnitPicks classic circs back together. I was showing the needle to my husband when a customer there begin telling me that his wife was taking a knitting class, but she was just knitting knitting--she hadn't started a project yet. I did not know that she was sitting in the car. When he told her that I was in there with knitting needles, she came in and started asking questions about purling. I gave her a demo on a broken needle, a size 1 at that. She asked me about yarn suggestions for a baby blanket, and I made some. She also wanted to know if it would be ok just to use the knit stitch for a blanket. I said yes. She has a physical condition that limits her use of her left hand somewhat, so that will be easier for her to work with I think. She left happy, and I am excited to know another local knitter. She also gave me names of two more.

I needed a sweater-size knitting bag. Thanks to textbook adoption freebies, I have plenty of really big bags for afghans or blankets, and I love my sock bag, which is an old Walkman bag, but I didn't have anything middle sized. I decided on a quick whim to make my own. Here is my prototype. I used McCalls M5283 because I had never made a purse or bag before. (I made a hang-type suitcase once, but that was from a kit.) Using very inexpensive materials from JoAnns making do with the purse handles they had, the total bag cost came to about $30, but the pattern cost was a big part of that.

Here is a picture of the outside of the bag. As you can see, the fabric is vintage-looking and the handles are not. The gathered fabric also wants to ooze up the ends of the handles. I am already looking for a different handle design for the next bag. I will also use better upholstery fabric that does not need an iron-on interfacing.

I said starting out that I was not going to make any changes, but instead make the bag just the way the pattern said. Well, that resolution did not survive. Why did I think it would? Obviously, the pattern designer was only knowledgable about straight needles, and I almost never use a straight, so I adapted those skinny needle pockets for circulars. My zipper installation following their directions is unsatisfactory--I will do something differently next time. I added a loop for my keychain tape measure and a yarn guide. I will also put a nice ribbon binding over the edge of the handle turn back instead of just serging it. I will probably also use some ribbon with velcro to hold the extra balls of yarn in place at the end of the bag.

Now, for the TOTAL cost of the project. You will notice that there is no fastener. I have a really cool button and was going to attach a fabric loop closure. I was tired, having done the whole bag in one sitting, and I attempted to zigzag with my zipper foot still on the machine. The machine goes to the shop tomorrow. I also have a couple of tucks on the end where the topstitching caught the lining--I'll fix those when I get the machine back as well.

OTN--FLAK sweater
Mountain Colors Bearfoot socks--one finished, one to go

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Color Trend?

This last week has been a real joy. Monday was a holiday for both my DH and me, so we got to spend a quiet day together. Tuesday and Wednesday were "grandma time" with two of my DGDs--aged 4 years and 4 months. Of course, I enjoyed the visit with my DD and DSIL as well. And I get to do it again this week!

On Friday, my DGS went to the library with me to sign up for the summer reading program. We came away with a Thomas the Tank Engine movie, two Thomas books, and another book about Trains. Guess what his interest is? We also had a green helium balloon and some ice cream. Alas, his little sister--3 months--greets anyone with screams who is not momma right now. That will change, however, and we can at least enjoy looking at her from across the room.

I have also been organizing and throwing away clutter. One of my goals is to declutter my walk-in closet so that it will actually BE a walk-in closet. I have a chest in it with shoe shelves and three drawers. One drawer is going to be for my handknit socks. Here it is. I actually have 3 more pair that are not pictured, but as you can see, I still have a long way to go.

I have finished the Magic Stripes socks. They are plain vanilla, but I know that after a few machine washings they will be extra fluffy and warm for next winter although the texture of the yarn when it's being knitted is something like string--not at all a pleasant knit.

Here's the back-in-progress to the FLAK KAL sweater. I am generally pleased with the cable definition and with the way the pattern is coming out to gauge so far; however, I either goofed with my Katcha-Katcha or a grandchild helped it along. I am going to have to study to figure out exactly what row I'm on. It shouldn't be too hard, but I couldn't do it and watch Deja Vu last night.

And, finally, here's my first "real" spinning on my wheel. This is Crown Mountain Farms pencil corriedale in Tourmaline. I redrafted for a smaller yarn and Navajo plied. The first skein was horribly overspun. The second fluffed up a bit after washing. I am hoping to spin enough to do the Lauren sweater from Knitty, without the "bum flap," since my bum does not need enhancement.

I have started on some red socks for spirit socks for this year. They are from Mountain Colors Bearfoot, which is a real pleasure to knit after the Magic Stripes. I don't know exactly what prompted the purple color trend for a week or so there.

OTN--Bearfoot socks

FLAK KAL sweater