Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two WIPs

I finally revived my courage to try warping the Cricket loom again.  I have begun weaving.  There is definitely a learning period, particularly in dealing with aspects that are not covered in the videos.  I had lots of trouble getting the shuttle through at first before discovering that I just did not have enough tension on the warp.  I tightened and tightened, and now it is better and much, much easier.  I am also going to have to fiddle with ergonomics to find the most comfortable position in which to weave.

 

I also found that I just couldn’t wait to begin the sweater for the KAL.  I have decided on a size for the neck and yoke and bustline area, but there will need to be alterations to other parts which may take me some time to figure out.  Besides, I was spending some extensive time today with Midsomer Murders, and I needed knitting!  The pattern begins with the outside edge of the collar in the pattern stitch that is used for front panels and hem edging.  I finished three repeats:

Otherwise, it was a frustrating day.  A study group that I was looking forward to didn’t meet.  I tried to mail off a Woolee Winder bobbin to Hansencrafts for repair and discovered that the Post Office is now closed from 11:30-12:30, in addition to closing earlier in the afternoon than most places.  I finally connected with the dishwasher repairman, only to discover that he can’t come until after Labor Day. 

Tomorrow, I plan to use a free Amazon movie credit to watch the new Jane Eyre.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Late August

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peace! The yarn’s wound up!

Cascade 220 Heathers in Sapphire for a sweater KAL that I’m going to be participating in on Ravelry.  This much winding took a surprising amount of time, even with a ball winder and my Mama Bear Swift.  My DH loved watching me use that swift, since until recently that was his job!  I also managed to swatch and decide on a needle size.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fie!!!

After being extra-careful because I had read an earlier post by the Yarn Harlot on this very subject, I warped my Cricket backwards yesterday.  I was very slow because I was being so very careful.  I am going to try again this afternoon—chores to do this morning.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Marathon Knitting and Economic Reflections

The knitting and weaving-in and underarm sleeve seams are finished!  The sweater is not completely finished, however, because the buttons have not arrived.  I am also afraid that the sweater itself is going to be too big.  Fortunately, grandchildren tend to grow, and this is pretty much an all-season sweater for our climate, so it should fit sometime!

Please note that I am not intentionally plagiarizing the following idea—I’m just reflecting on something I heard last week on television.  In all the back-and-forth about President Obama’s delaying announcement of his jobs plan and his vacation plans, I heard one female commentator on one of the news channels talking about the “shampoo index.”  Basically, she described it as the fact that times are hard enough that even those people who are considered well off are no longer throwing away their “empty” bottles of shampoo.  Instead, they are letting them sit upside down overnight to get that last squeeze out.  Evidently, those were the only two points on her continuum.  Ha!  I am a member of the group that gets the last squeeze out and then fills the bottle with water to eke out at least two more shampoos for my short hair.  (Works with laundry detergent, too—for the laundry, not hair.)  Furthermore, I know people on line who make their own shampoo, although from reading the lists of ingredients, I am not sure that finances are the entire reason.  I suspect our view of economy reflects our backgrounds.  Right now, I am not actually washing and reusing every scrap of aluminum foil or reusing the plastic bread bag before getting out a bag I had to pay for, but I am thinking enough about it to be aware that I’m not doing it.  Mostly, I’m just trying to think of other points to add to the Shampoo Index.  Perhaps just lather and rinse and giving up the repeat?  (If you want to know what companies are in economic trouble, notice who drops NASCAR sponsorships.  Some of the big mortgage companies/banks dropped off right before the crash.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Cricket Nest and Miscellany

I am rather fond of reading blogs about lifestyles in other places, and some of them, such as Milkweed & Teasel, are a source of endless fascination, combining life in another country with outdoor and wildlife adventures.  Be warned:  this post has absolutely nothing to do with living creatures.

My Cricket in its nest:

(If you think this is a cheesy intro, I actually considered photographing it on the hearth, but I would have had to wash down the hearth first, and that seemed like too much trouble when I could be doing something fibery.)  DH helped me assemble the loom day before yesterday.  I was thankful for the Cricket group on Ravelry for some hints.  I am determined not to try it out yet because I’m trying to finish this sweater

first and because I still need to assemble some of the accessories, like brown paper for winding on the warp.  Brown paper is easy to come by, but I need to trim it to the right width.  I am excited about having this loom be a way to share some experiences with my granddaughters.  Note on the above sweater:  If you look closely, you will see one of the things that I love most about my Knit Picks Options set.  I have simply unscrewed tips and screwed on caps in two different places instead of having to run yarn for a stitch holder or having to find a ready-made one that fits.  The yoke is done; one sleeve is complete; the second sleeve is about 3/4 complete, and then there will be just the body to knit.  I ordered the buttons yesterday.  I want to finish this so that I can play with the Cricket and begin a KAL for a sweater for myself on September 10.

I also finished blocking my two scarves for the Special Olympics.  They are knitted from Red Heart Soft.  I will bag them as per instructions, write notes of encouragement to go with each scarf, and mail them to the Texas address.

The first one is done half and half, the second in quarters.  These arrangements give a certain versatility in tying and having both colors show.  The stitch pattern is the One-Row Handspun Scarf by the Yarn Harlot.  I also had enough yarn left to complete 3 small child-size hats for a local charity. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

At Last

The lacy yoke part to the Petal Jacket is finally finished.  I think it looks pretty nice.  Before I continue with the rest of the jacket, which is just plain stockinette, I am going to check out a couple of YouTube videos that have been recommended to me that demonstrate a good way to do M1L and M1R increases.  I’m not sure that is what I’ll use, but I need to look at them anyway for another project. 

Here’s a rather hurriedly taken photo of the progress so far:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just Sayin’. . . .

I know I’ve been complaining about the drought all summer, but it the last few days we’ve isolated, strong thundershowers.

A.  Twice now, I’ve had to drive in almost blinding conditions because the downpour falling from the sky was combining with the manure dust from the feedlot that was coming up from the ground to reduce visibility to the point where one is caught in the “do-I-keep-driving-when-I-can’t-see-or-slow-down-or-stop-and-get-rear-ended quandary.” 

B.  Having learned to drive in the days when the speed of the wipers was controlled by the speed of the car and living where at best wiper use is somewhat infrequent, I found that after not using them for almost a year, I couldn’t remember which way to rotate the little sleeve around my turn signal to make them go faster.  There has not been enough practice to imprint the process into my kinesthetic memory (or whatever it is called.)  And, yes, for you youngsters, wipers really did work that way.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Pictures at Last

Here are the pictures of my first finished yarn from my Hansencrafts Minispinner.  The fiber is from Sheep Shed Studio, some of the Brown Sheep Mill Ends that they have.  It is great practice fiber.  This was also my first try with my Ogle Lazy Kate, and I was very pleased with it.  I had no backspin issues at all, and it is very easy to set up and very portable.

My first spinning results were mixed.  I let these singles set for about a month before I plied.  The first bobbin had some areas that just did not have enough twist.  The second bobbin was much better.  At least, I improved with practice instead of getting worse.  I really need to work on spinning finer.  With the yarn that I had to discard from the first bobbin, I still ended up with about 350 yards of two-ply.  It is a worsted weight and very soft.  This is not my usual color, so I’m not sure what I will do with it.  I think that I may take a peek at some of Jared Flood’s designs for Shelter to see if he has something that will work for this.  I thought of overdyeing, but I would sort of like to keep this first project “original.” 

The completed skeins:

A closeup:

Thank you to everyone who commented or emailed me with suggestions for the Petal Sweater.  I am going to do the sleeves in the round and the body as well.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Dear Ann Landers or Dear Abby or Someone

Dear Adviceperson,

After something of a struggle, I have conquered the yoke of this sweater—well, almost conquered it.  I’m not quite to the end yet, but using markers between repeats is helping me keep track of the pattern quite satisfactorily.

Now I need advice.  Obviously, this top-down raglan sweater is knitted in one piece through the lace yoke.  However, in reading the pattern, it appears that the sleeves and body sections are knitted flat and seamed in one long seam on each side from cuff to the bottom of the sweater.  I want these to be as soft and comfy as possible for little girls.  Is there any reason I should not do an Elizabeth Zimmermann and knit the sleeves on circulars and the body back and forth on a long circular?  I know that SHE would probably have done it completely in the round and steeked, but I didn’t want to do that, and I’m not sure how well this yarn would have done.  I know that seams provide some support, but that is the only reason I can think of to make such long seams on this raglan.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Avoiding the Unthinkable

The horrible happened to me last week.  I made an emergency trip out of town that turned into a 4-day stressful situation, and I had NO KNITTING.  I really do depend on knitting as a repetitive calming activity to get through difficult times.  The other one is eating, and I don’t need to go there!  I thought of knitting as I hopped into the car, but I didn’t have anything simple on needles.  I knew this would not be a follow a complicated pattern situation.  I needed a plain sock.

Today, I decided to begin that sort of project so that I would have something ready for the next round of this situation.  A few months ago, I noticed on the blog Den of Chaos a vintage child’s sweater that she knitted for her daughter.  At the time, I hunted and found the Coats and Clarks leaflet on Ebay and squirreled it away.  I also knew that I had some Cotton Ease in my stash in the lovely Pistachio color that has been discontinued.  There is enough there for all three granddaughters, and I can differentiate each girl’s sweater by letting her choose her buttons.  Today I decided to whip out that yoke that was only 36 fairly easy rows and then I would have plain stockinette sleeves and body for emergency soothing knitting.  HA!  The lace rows are giving me fits, not because they are hard, but because there is no chart.  It took me forever to learn to knit comfortably from a chart, and now I’m lost without one.  This pattern is particularly frustrating because it is small print and in order to save space, the directions are written in a continuous paragraph rather than starting each row on a new line.  I must compliment this yarn—it stands up well to being frogged repeatedly. I have completed the neck ribbing and 9 rows of the yoke.  At last, though, I am able to read the knitting itself so that I can tell if something is not quite right.  I don’t even want to comment on the idea that this is considered a vintage pattern and it was published when I was a college freshman!

We still have had no rain; the daily temps are regularly in the very high 90s or low 100s; there are thunderhead clouds that develop occasionally just to taunt us, but they move on to the east.