Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The holidays are a time when one gets in touch with relatives, either through cards or phone calls or visits. This year for the Christmas holiday I'm visiting one of my brothers, his wife, his two daughters with their husbands, and three grand-nephews. My family and I live spread out over the west coast of the US. We all have diverse opinions, beliefs, and activities. There are ten years between me and the next sibling, so I've grown up feeling like an only child in a family of six. Some times I don't know how to respond in family situations, so I sit quietly and listen and watch. It's been in the last decade that I've been more open to them, coming out about my orientation, speaking up about my political views, and talking about my spiritual path. In some ways that has caused some turmoil, but my family's ancestral history is that of "don't ask don't tell." It's a way for the family to get along, but in my mind it's also keeps the family from speaking on important issues. If there is no conflict, there is no growth.

The home I will be visiting is a loving home. My brother Grant and I have had a special relationship for many years. He was 15 when I joined the family and his family and I have grown together. I'm really looking forward to seeing him and his wife Yvonne (who has been like a big sister to me) in their home in the snow (if there's any left!) tomorrow. It will be a joyous holiday.

The photo above was taken when I was 6. I'm standing between my parents and my siblings are from the eldest at the far right counterclockwise to the next youngest at the left. Twenty-six years span the ages. My father retired from work when I was a sophomore in high school. Next year I will be the same age as my mother when she had me. My parents are gone, but I have all my siblings. I count myself fortunate to have them for I know people who have no one of their family to turn to.

I hope you have someone in your life to love and to hold precious this holiday. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2005

If you're here to see what's going on, I can tell you that there really isn't much. A scarf in many different ivory & white yarns for New York City. A top-down saddle shoulder sweater in Interlacements Cheyenne that I started a couple of months ago. A Tasha Tudor shawl in cotton/acrylic blend. The ice from yesterday's storm is melting, the wind has died down, and all is peaceful here in the house of the Fiberqat.

To all of you who are visiting, may you have peace in your house too this holiday season.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

How to make a scarf from stash.

Step One: Gather stash in the color(s) you like.

Step Two: Cast on 400 stitches onto a really long size 15 needle.

Step 3: If the yarn is less than heavy worsted weight, use two strands. If the yarn is more than heavy worsted weight, use one strand. Knit, leaving a long tail at the beginning of the row and ending with a long tail to be later made up into fringe. Alternate smooth yarns with textured yarns, throw in a little glitz...

Continue until you have enough width to your satisfaction. As I will be going to New York City in February, mine will most likely be at least 8 inches wide. When it's done, I'll post it. Until then, rest from your holiday brouhaha if you can, drink a cup of warm cocoa and listen to Brenda's podcast.

It will be nasty weather tonight in the River City. A good time to knit and hope that the power doesn't go out.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Machine news. I knew it was cheap but my new toy couldn't handle the big stuff. I figured a scarf done up in bulky bright red chenille would be great, but after about ten turns, the machine made a noise and stopped working. Disassembly revealed nothing so there went that project idea.

Piffle poop.

The slippers may look lumpy, but my feet will be warm. Another project done, this time a pair of slipper socks for me done in Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed. I just love the FiberTrends House Socks pattern. This is pair number 3 done using that pattern, this time without the long cuff. The cold penetrates the house with the dry east wind blowing so warm toes are a must. I've been nursing a head cold these last few days, providing me an opportunity to get some knitting done.

Ted, a friend of mine, emailed me to see if I'd be interested in having some hand-dyed Kroy 4 ply yarn. I thought, 'What the heck; I'll figure out something to do with it', so said "Yes." It had been wound up on a die, so it came to me like a vorpal floppy pair of flowers made up of yarn tied in neat figure-8 knots. I didn't get pictures of the flowers but I did get one of the yarn after I succeeded in winding them into balls then rewinding them so that they'd retain their bounce. The two balls are different colorways so they won't match as socks, but I thought it would be good yarn for making striped doll bodies. I've had in the back of my mind the idea of making a SockGoddess and Anti-SockGoddess pair of figures. These can go on the SockGoddess. The idea started last year around this time--it's still on my to-do list. Let's see if I can make it happen this year.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Christmas gifties are finished except for the blocking. The last of the mittens was completed yesterday while waiting for the time to go perform the second of the Confluence holiday concerts. If you're in the area and missed the concerts, you have another chance to see us perform at the Mission Mill Museum which is a most deliciously fiberista way of enjoying both my obses-- I mean hobbies. The concert will be December 21st at 6:30.

Sam and Clark hosted Reid, my carpool buddy and choir friend, and I at their home over the weekend so we didn't have to make the trek from Portland to Corvallis then back on Friday night, then a return trip to Salem on Saturday. They are wonderful folks and Clark cooks up a mean breakfast! It wasn't super gourmet fare but pesto scrambled eggs were quite tasty! Combine that with a leisurely sleep-in and a couple of rounds of pinochle and you have a nice relaxing Saturday before performing again. Reid wasn't too thrilled with his hands but Sam thought I was a fabulous partner. You can thank Bo for that, Sam; he taught Reid and I strategy! Later we went in separate cars and I took the opportunity to go visit Have You Any Wool and Artistic Needles in Salem. I was able to pick up some blocking needles and this.

Tonight it's a concert with the Northwest Community Gospel Chorus performing with the Oregon Symphony. A friend of mine from work is performing with the chorus, so I'm looking forward to seeing her. It'll be loads of fun!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sorry the picture's blurry but it won't load up any clearer, no matter how I try. I was busy with making a scarf for my Secret Santa and had to show it on a tall person to make certain it fits the recipient. Perfect fit, don't you think? Heh heh heh!

I got to cranking on the knitting machine and got through a skein of Wool-Ease in no time. Cut it into sections, trim with white yarn, and you have a whole passel of Santa preemie caps just in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I never had a Barbie knitter when I was little, but I've had a yen for a similar knitter. So when I saw these at a local craft store, I knew I had found a new fiber toy. Not that I want to make foofy scarves. Rather I'd make caps for the patients at Providence St Vincent Medical Center's Neonatal and Perinatal ICU units with some of the donated yarn I've received. But if you want to make a foofy scarf, you can because it comes with two skeins of eyelash.
The swatch here is my first attempt. A little rough but with practice I'll be cranking out caps like a mad thing. One yarn I'll try is Cascade Fixation, which with its cotton content would be very gentle on preemie skin.
But if you think I'm just sitting here playing with toys, here's the last Christmas project coming along.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It was a grey damp day in the River City.......

A good day to knit!

It had been a couple of weeks since I last visited my favorite yarn shop so I had to bring the basket of Christmas projects to show and tell. While I was there I worked on the first of the last pair of mittens on my Christmas project list. These are for the third grandnephew, the elder brother of the twins I will be visiting. He's six, so the stripes will be very fun. While I was there I picked up different yarn for my brother's hat (the LAST project, HAH!!) because I didn't like how the Sisik was working out for the Aran hat. I have other Sisik skeins; they'll be put to use as it's nummy yarn.

While I was there, one of the teachers brought in a bag of yarn from Cottage Craft Ltd that her mother-in-law had purchased as a kit for a cardigan. The kit appeared to be from the late seventies but the color was a marvelous light teal. We hunted for Cottage Craft on the web and were happy to see they are still in business and creating great kits at very reasonable prices.

Another regular brought in a scarf she had done in Heirloom Picasso, a yarn dyed in the fashion of Noro Kureyon or SouthWest Trading Co's Karaoke . She found the pattern here; it only took one skein of the Picasso and came out just marvelously! A word to those who print it out: either switch your print setting to Landscape or do a "Select All" and paste it to a Word or similar formatted text document. Otherwise the picture gets clipped short.

75 days to go before I fly to NYC to sing at Carnegie Hall!!!!!! Am I excited? Ya betcha sweet bippie I am! I'm planning a gathering of fellow knitters at a location in NYC for February 19th, 2006, so keep your eyes on this space for more info.