Monday, March 26, 2007

Goodies from the Great White North

Here's the story behind the yarn.

He's such a sweetie. Now to figure out what I can knit up with it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The shawl pattern is up!

For those of you who were interested in making the shawl I did last October, you will find the pattern here on the Interlacements Yarns website. I don't see the yarn available on the site but if you contact Judy Ditmore, she will be very happy to take your order.

Knit From Your Stash

Bea's hats were gifts, so the yarn purchased for them was exempt from the Knit From Your Stash. But I have to admit I have fallen for some pretty nifty sales. For example:

This was 40% off. I got enough for a sweater.

This was in the Stash Room at Woodland Woolworks. The Stash Room carries yarns and colors that are discontinued or are too few for them to hold in the main warehouse. I got enough in the colors I wanted to do the Dale of Norway Torino sweater.

And Tricky Tricot advertised the fabulous sale of yarn going on at Knit Happens. I fell like a heroin addict and came away with this, Araucania Naturewool Worsted in Amber:

And this, Cascade 220 Como Blue:

All in quantities for a sweater. I got enough for two sweaters for less than the price of one. It was irresistable.

Currently on the needles

Now that the hats are done for Bea, I can focus on making the socks I promised my boss. He's a good guy--one of the best bosses I've had. I figured he deserved a pair of nice warm wool socks for wearing while he's out playing golf. But I'm finding as I work on them that I'm hoping to get them done quickly. I used to really like doing socks but now socks are losing their appeal. I think it's the small circumference that I don't like, requiring the use of fiddly methods. And it's not like I'm doing them in thin yarn; I'm doing them in Debbie Bliss Merino DK with reinforcing thread in the heels and toes. But after doing an inch on them I put them down and dug out from the UFO pile the helmet liner I had started for my nephew in the Army. I'm three rows on the face ribbing away from completing it now after starting it from four rows up from the face opening split. And the socks just sit. Maybe it's the prospect of all that ribbing on the small circumference. What do you think? I think it's my penance for buying all that yarn.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Caps for Bea

One of the gals who used to work in the office has come down with a virulent form of lung cancer, so I dug out the needles and whipped out a couple of hats for her when she loses her hair from her chemo. Of course Miss Margaret is happy to oblige as model for the Hallowig.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Aunties In Stitches

The role of aunt is one of those that varies from family to family. Some aunts are aloof; some are strait-laced; some are out of control; some are wild and fun. Some are a constant presence. Some are never heard from but for an occasional phone call and a Christmas card. Aunts don't have to be blood relatives. It's not unusual for a good family friend to be an aunt to a child.

At the office I have a group called Aunties In Stitches who knit and crochet caps for preemies at one of the local hospitals. We've also done burial gowns and clothing drives for the siblings of newborns. The philosophy behind the group is that every child should have an aunt, because an aunt can be a great source of comfort, share secrets, and provide guidance. This week a project came up that focuses on gathering baby basics for families in need. The Oregon Department of Human Services in conjunction with Soroptimist Clubs are hosting baby showers located in some Oregon cities where folks can drop off goods for babies. I'm organizing folks to knit or crochet up squares for making baby blankets. Folks can create solid fabric squares 9" square out of soft washable yarn, then I'll put them together to make blankets. Twelve squares make a nice sized car or stroller blanket. There are many washcloth patterns out there that would make fabulous squares. If you're interested in participating, please contact me at fiberqat AT gmail DOT com for details on where to drop off completed squares and answer questions.

Update: Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks has agreed to be a drop off point for finished squares. Choose bright or pastel colors for the squares. While you're at Abundant, treat yourself to a coffee or Italian soda or yarn. Thanks!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Happy spring!

The evil plum trees have put on their alluring frills. I have a love/hate relationship with them stemming from childhood. For those of you not familiar with these, they are ornamental plum trees that most of the year are covered with nice red leaves. In the spring they bloom with pretty pink flowers. But those blossoms are merely a ruse for they turn into nasty tasting plums that drop and sprout into trees. A number of them are in my lawn, rooted there so firmly it will take a rototiller to rip them out. I have found that if I don't fertilize the lawn and am careful with pruning I keep the plum production down to a dozen a year. If it weren't for the expense of going through a city permit system to cut them down then replace them with other trees, I would have taken them out years ago. But we have come to a truce. They don't bear plums; I let them live.

Why this animosity toward a tree? If you have lived with a tree that bore fruit, edible or non-edible, you would understand. But for those of you who have not I highly recommend that unless you train them on a trellis you not get one at all. Fruit trees attract bugs and birds and leave an awful mess that attract even more bugs like yellow jackets and hornets. Where I grew up, my grandmother gave my mom and dad an ornamental plum tree that under my mom's TLC became a giant 30 footer. All of us kids had the job of cleaning up the plums that fell during the summer off the patio and driveway so that they wouldn't sprout in the yard. By the time it was my turn, the production was increasing to the point of a deluge. It was one year that we had a bumper crop of plums (Mom had had the tree pruned the previous year) that I lodged a protest to management. I would clear off the patio and wash the juice down, then work on the driveway. By the time the driveway was done, the patio looked like it hadn't been touched. I was never so happy as the day I watched that tree be taken out of the back yard.

Some day I'll be rid of those damn trees.


The Sirdal is complete!

I'll have to rework the bottom hem because it keeps curling up. That's an easy fix compared to reknitting a section. A little judicious gathering while retacking the edge will undo that curl. Of course it's over 60 degrees F today. Barf.

Another one done for the Knitting from Stash pile!

Friday, March 09, 2007

First week back to work

I returned to work this week, working half days in the morning then returning home to take it easy. The first few days I napped, but yesterday and today I made myself stay up. My body's going to be whacked out enough what with daylight saving time starting this weekend to also have to stay awake in the afternoon. The site was tender Wednesday, but I think it was having to do more with a waistband that didn't give than my being bent over a desk. It was good getting back into the weekday routine and seeing familiar faces. I was missed there in the land of the accounts.

I'm not putting up a picture of the sweater today because it's so close to being finished it's pointless. I'm working on the neckband and just need to finish off the buttonholes, stitch on the sleeves, and affix the buttons on the cuffs before blocking the whole thing. So you'll have to just resign yourself to a pretty kitty picture of one of our neighborhood cats, Domino.

Domino resides outside because he developed the nasty habit of spraying. It's no trick of the light; he does have white fur lining his upper lip. He's a sweetie who endures the other cats picking on him.

The neighbors and I keep an eye on him so that he doesn't get neglected. Love me; feed me; pay my vet bills.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I ain't skeered of no steenkin' steeks

It's not frightening to put in a basting stitch to mark the cutting line and machine sew in holding stitches.

And it's not frightening to cut the stitches either. The machine stitching keeps them from coming undone and the direction of the steek is counter to the natural direction of the stitches' desire to zip down.

It makes what was once a tube a flat piece that can now be assembled into a cardigan.

There are tutorials on steeks on the Net, including this one from Lucy Neatby. Work a few in wools (other fibers aren't quite stickery enough to work well for steeks) to get familiar with the technique. You don't need a glass of wine. You don't need your hand held. All you need are two colors of wool, some scrap wool, a tapestry needle, a good sharp pair of scissors, and if the wool isn't Shetland or other fluffy wool, a sewing machine.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Gird your loins

The election is more than a year away and already I'm annoyed. This isn't a good sign. I'm a fiscal conservative social liberal, which means I want the government to have the programs we need to maintain a semblance of a good life for everyone but not waste money doing the job. I could swing either Democrat or Republican, so I'm one of those voters the presidential candidates need to convince of their worthiness.

So far, I'm not impressed.

The Democrat machine is spinning out Hillary Clinton as the candidate of choice. Next to her is Barack Obama, the young upstart who is winning voters with his ideas. Behind both of them is John Edwards, who ran as the vice presidential candidate with John Kerry. The media is making the Clinton/Obama competition the headline of the Democratic offering for the presidency. Today I heard about their attending the civil rights commemoration events in Selma, scheduling their speeches so that they conflict with each other, then walking together over the Edmund Pettus bridge with other officials. Obama had come at the invitation of Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) to Selma, then Clinton announced she was going, attending a ceremony that inducted her husband, Bill Clinton, into the Civil Rights Hall of Fame. This jockeying for media exposure didn't win my respect for either candidate. But then, neither candidate was really pulling my heartstrings. Obama doesn't have enough political experience to be president. Clinton has too much baggage. Edwards, who is speaking at the University of California , Berkeley, wisely stayed out of the fray.

On the Republican side, John McCain announced his jump into the fray, but I don't see him winning the nomination what with his stand on some issues that the Republicans traditionally support and remarks he has made. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani will most likely be duking it out.

I'll be watching these guys.

Coming to a porch near you

This morning I heard a thump and thought it was a cat jumping from the high perch in the other room. Then I saw one of the cats, who had been sunning herself on the back of the futon chair, down on the floor and looking furtively over her shoulder to the outside. Inspection of the front porch turned up another phone book, this time from Verizon. This makes three. Now, tell me in this age of Internet phone directories why I need three phone books? I understand there are folks who don't have computers or use their computers for looking up phone numbers, and it's good to have one phone book in case of emergency. But there is no need for three phone books from three different companies (in my case, Qwest, Verizon, and Yellow Book). The books appear to be cast upon us by squads of cheaply paid temps who go through the neighborhoods and drop off their bundles regardless of need, like advertisement slips. It seems like such a waste of paper. Though for a cheap amusement, get one wet and see it bloom like a flower as the pages crinkle.


The second sleeve on the Sirdal is coming along. I'm working on the upper motif now and should have the sweater completed in a week or two. I'm starting work tomorrow part time, taking on the bonfires that flared up in my absence then coming home to nap. We'll see how much of a button band and collar I knit up this week.

Friday, I took my sister Pam to Woodland Woolworks. It was a going to be a challenge to my sticking to the Knit From Your Stash and I failed. I had a list and got all the items in it: buttons for the Sirdal and yarn for knitting a Fair Isle practice hat that will go in the gift basket. Then I went in the Stash Room and found enough Dale Heilo in their darkest blue (it looks like black) to knit another Dale sweater. Opportunities like this don't come often so I seized it. Good thing my tax refund was already in my account.

Pam and I had a lovely day together. She's my eldest sister and surrogate mom. She knows that an outing with me is guaranteed to be interesting and tinged with the thrill of adventure. She took knitting back up a few years ago, so I knew a trip to Woodland Woolworks would be enjoyable. Since it's located in the heart of wine country, the trip itself is beautiful, even when it's pouring down rain. The trip gave us a chance to talk over things and have a few laughs. She's going through a stressful period right now so anything that can help her laugh is always welcome.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Are they made from real Girl Scouts?

I can never get Girl Scout cookies without thinking of Wednesday's response to the snotty girl in the first Addams Family movie. And look, they have sugar free Brownies this year. Must be staking out the parking lots of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.