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.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Oh the joy of finishing projects!
I've been quiet lately as I've been knitting like a mad thing, trying to get my sister's sweater completed before Christmas. I lost the measurement I had done for the buttonhole placement so the last button hole is a little high (the button band is knitted at the same time as the body). But she won't fuss over little matters like that. The yarn is flecked blue Lion Wool-Ease. I would have preferred finding another yarn but it was what I could afford and considering it didn't do too bad in being knitted up. I hope it doesn't pill too much.
Thanksgiving weekend was devoted to visiting relatives and working on Christmas projects. This is the collection so far of finished presents for the crowd in Spokane. I have a hat and another pair of mittens to make. That's two pairs of slipper socks, three pairs of mittens, one tam, one Klein bottle hat, one aran hat, and two scarves completed for Christmas. I guess I won't have to contact the Yarn Harlot for advice on Christmas UFO's.
So what am I thankful for now that we're in the thankfulness period? I'm thankful I have shelter, heat, and food for me and my three cats. I have clothes on my back. I have a working vehicle that can take me from point A to point B reliably. I have many friends and acquaintances who fill my life with light, joy, song, and laughter. I am thankful that I can live without fear. I am thankful that I can give of myself to others. And if you think I'm being mushy, I'm not. It's all true and from the heart.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

More project pictures. The Sisik is being made into a cabled hat and the teal Galway is being swatched into a block for a raffle afghan.
The sleeve is the second of the sleeves of my sister's sweater. I was halfway done with it last week but now I've finished it and joined the sleeves to the body and am working on the yoke. Woo hoo!! I do believe I will actually FINISH the sweater! It only took over a year....

Friday, November 11, 2005

The blog's been buggy this week so I have a backlog of pictures to load. I got a case for my iPod and it looked so much like a sowbug with its two zipper pulls that I couldn't resist a little fun.
The first pair of mittens are done, completed over Halloween weekend's choir retreat. These are done in Plymouth Jelly Beenz.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Firstly, I've got to get this off my chest or I will have a major cow. What is it in our lives gives us the right to drive like idiots on the road? Every week I drive 50 miles to choir rehearsal and every week Reid (my carpool buddy and choir friend) and I see people in all sorts of vehicles driving 20 to 30 miles over the speed limit. And I'm not talking one or two cars or trucks or SUVs. It's dozens! In rain, in bright sunlight, in wind, at night: it's every single time! I experience it in the city, in the country, on the streets, on the freeways. What is it that people think that they have to go so fast they threaten the lives around them? For the record, I too am guilty of driving over the limit, but if I drove the limit I'd be run over. And I don't care to be squashed in my Red Beetle baby. So if you're reading this and you're on the road later, pay attention to your speed and spread the word to your friends. SLOW DOWN! OK; I'm off my soap box. It's about knitting, right? Yeah.
Indulgence time. Lisa got in her shop Filatura De Crosa's Multicolor, which is a mohair/acrylic blend. The colors are exquisite! So much so I HAD to get at least one ball for me.
Since it's Christmas project time, I thought of my very good friend Mel and found the perfect yarn for her to make a lovely......oh but she may be reading this. Haha no peeking.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yep, I've been quiet. Not much to show as the hands are feeling the effects of too much knitting. But I did decide to use a different yarn for my twin grandnephews' mittens. I opted for red and blue for the colors so that they're fun and quick to knit. Their older brother will get stripes.
This weekend is choir retreat. Two 1/2 days of singing, laughter, and friendship in the NW woods. Of course it's raining; it wouldn't be Oregon fall without rain. But I will have my knitting with me.
Can you believe Halloween is only 4 days away? I knew it would be soon. The Christmas decorations are up in the stores.

Monday, October 24, 2005

We've had a real bonanza of spiders here around the outside of the house. Most have the markings like this lovely beauty. She's larger than the size of quarter, legs and all, and her sisters, who are just about the same size, reside in all sorts of places around the house, keeping the flying bug population down.
As for knitting, I'm on sleeve number two of the sweater. Less than one week before Halloween!!!

Monday, October 17, 2005

HEY WORLD!! MEET FESTUS! Or whatever you want to name the creature that is now part of the family. Some have said he's so cuuuuuuuute! Others have just looked at him and done the Mr Spock raise of the eyebrow ("Fascinating...."). This is my alien baby that I've promised all of you. Some time I'll get a picture of the beast that inspired his creation (that one resides at Mabel's Cafe & Knittery ). In the meantime, I'm waiting for his legs to dry. Some have said he needs an eye or two or three. I don't know. I like the mystery of no eyes (they're hidden in his pelt). BUT HE NEEDS A NAME. Suggestions anyone? Email me! In the meantime, I've been working on a UFO that lifted its head out of the stash consolidation. This is a cardigan sweater I had promised my sister Shirley last year and never finished for Christmas. I'm up to the armpits on the body and over halfway done on the sleeve (the picture's two days old; I've added more yardage since then).

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Klein bottle hat is done! The tube is smaller than the ones made at but it follows the same principle of being attached to the inner liner as a tube, essentially making the hat one-sided.

This past year I've discovered Alice Starmore's books. A friend of mine graciously offered for sale copies of books that I was interested in that were in the estate of a friend of his who had passed away instead of putting them on Ebay. He may not have received as much for them, but they will be put to very good use as I work at designing my own pieces.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

This is what happens when you extend extra credit to one of my cards.

This last week I've been working half days and toward the end of the week I've been pushing my body to stay awake during the afternoon to try to resync my sleeping patterns back to normal. Friday I went to Woodland Woolworks with the intention of getting yarn to match a discontinued hue of red I want for a project. I ended up coming home with Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments, Vogue Knitting on the Go Scarves 1, and enough Heilo for the main color of the Sirdal sweater in Dale's 125th Anniversary book. I did pick up some red but it's too bright for the scarf. So I have 4 balls of Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4 ply for the stash. I love the yarn, so I won't be taking it back.

Yesterday, I went to the shop for a makeup class for the one I had missed due to my surgery, but saw none of my students. It was a good day though. I've started the Klein bottle hat. I would show you the picture of it in progress, but the fellow who sells the hats doesn't have a pattern for sale and I don't want to infringe on the design copyright.

However, when I went home to rest, I got restless and decided to consolidate and rearrange my stash so that I know what I have on hand. I got to revisit old friends from past projects and rediscover the palette I have available. Of the flatter boxes, one box is full of sock yarn, three have big bundles of same lots, and three have afghan acrylics. The red box is just novelties for scarves or embellishments. I did find a few things I was looking for: my sister's cardigan I started last year; extra yarn I can use for the Klein bottle hat; yarn for my alien baby, and roving I can use for stuffing the alien baby.

Alien baby?

Think this: you're female; you're having abdominal pain in your belly you can't explain; you go under the knife at midnight on a Saturday night. What else can you expect? Baby pix soon; he's in the basement drying after a brief tumble in the washing machine. You can even name him!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Two more holiday projects done. The tam is for Andrea, the house socks for Tammy. Both are my nieces, daughters of my middle brother. The tam is from the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns using Encore Colorspun. The house socks are from the FiberTrends pattern of that name and are made of Cascade 22o. They're a little big so I'll full them a little before they are wrapped. I started back to work yesterday, working half days. My manager and my lead were very happy to have me back (my lead hugged the stuffin' outta me!). Saturday I spent time at the shop and Sunday I went to rehearsal. I was singing while lying on my back, but I was singing and with friends. I'm recovering very well, thanks to the assistance and love of my friends and family. It is comforting to know that I'm not alone when I need help.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Random thoughts about stuff just because I'm bored out of my gourd and if you've never crawled into my mind to see just how weird it can go then give your Z-ticket to the leather dyke over there, strap yourself in very securely and hang on to your skivvies.... Surgery recovery alone sucks. Recovering from surgery by yourself sucks. One part of you wants to go do this go do that I want to check this out I want to go to a movie I want to go talk with friends I wanna f&^*(ing WORK on MEDICARE CLAIMS (my real job, btw) but my belly says "Oh no you can't do that because I'm here and if you don't behave I'm gonna make you really miserable not just now but hours from now and tomorrow you're gonna pay for NOT LISTENING TO ME!" Crap. If the narcotics didn't put a cork in the works I'd be zonked out in bed letting music go in one ear and out the other but when the plumbing was held up earlier this week, jeezus effing it HURT. So I look about my house and here are all these patterns and yarn and nothing calls to me. Nothing. Oh a pattern calls here but I don't have the yarn for it to make it look good. Or some yarn I have says "Try this." So I do and it turns out looking like crap. I attempt Kitchener stitch just so that I can master the bastard and wind up with the first three stitches right and the rest purls. Well I was close. Set it down, watch some Perry Mason..... The mail chime on the computer rings. A brief respite from this place. I cling to it. It's a response to a discussion about moving to Fair Isle to take up residence in one of the houses there. Dirt cheap by our standards but you're in the North Atlantic with nothing to stop the wind. Knitters and master builders wanted. Maybe if I build a yurt or line the walls of the house with felted stash I will stay warm.... I look forward to a weekend where I can sit with knitters and chat about everything then rest for the rest of the day, then rise to sit with singers and listen to them make music. I would not do well on Fair Isle. I am in my Fair Isle house, surrounded with yarn, cut off from my friends and family and stash enhancement expeditions. I couldn't just hop onto the mailboat and traipse off to Edinburgh or wherever the nearest metropolis is from Fair Isle. They'd find me buried in my little house babbling about how I couldn't do Kitchener stitch and must get the mittens done for Christmas.... I can't even practice the music for the next concert. They took it all away before I could get my copy. Two catalogs arrived today. WEBS with its peek into the tantalizing treasure trove. Wool Connection with its kits that I don't want to purchase. I read a few blogs, read the NY Times, listen to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" while knitting on the mate to my grand-nephew's mitten. I'm being diligent in keeping my kitchen clean. I forgot how much pleasure there is in preparing food in a clean kitchen. How bad was it before? You don't want to know. The night is dark with heavy rainclouds. It was the first real rain of fall. The color changes will be beautiful. Hope there is enough sun to make good photos of WIPs. I'm glad it wasn't a hand or arm that needed surgery. I'd be even more nuts. At least I can work with both hands. I just can't sit up very long without my belly protesting. Go to the bathroom holding your belly in your hands so that it doesn't bounce and jiggle. Work those leg muscles squatting to pick up items from the floor, like dropped towels and dirty cat food dishes. I have crappy knees too but at least they weren't protesting when given their workout. I remember someone coming to the shop with three of her friends. They all drip money in a kept woman kind of way. I'm there knitting away on a project friendly as I can be as we talk about stash enhancement and how I'm a teacher there at the shop. One of the women asks me, "Do you work?" like this is an option not a necessity. I smile and say, "Yes," while the proletariat broad in me is screaming, "You damn right you rich broad, I work for a living! Not like you who probably doesn't know how to read a bank statement because hubby does it for you." But it's pointless to spout vitriol on women like them. It would be nice to have expendible income without having to put up with corporate crap to get it, but I've only been home for two weeks and I'm ready to spit. I gotta have routine, I gotta have contacts, I gotta have a LIFE. And dammit the life I have, even when the going gets rough, is pretty damn fun. I'm the cool Aunt of the family (was told that by my youngest niece and nephew). I'm out and about doing things that I love. I see my work making a difference in people's lives. And just to shake things up I do something crazy. OK. Ride is over. Please leave by the marked exits and have a great day!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

How to get your holiday knitting done. -- Go on vacation. Figure out projects. Find the patterns. Buy the yarn and needed tools. -- Have emergency surgery that requires that you remain in one place for a while but not so much that you can't knit comfortably. A bit drastic but one project's done! Here's my lawyer nephew's scarf. Working on a tam now for one of my nieces. Someone was working with the Encore Colorspun so I thought I'd use that for her tam. The colorway's the lavender, blues, and greens on white. Will get a picture later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Working on another Christmas gift. This is my nephew the lawyer's scarf made of Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed. It feels exquisite to work with. I'm doing it in Mistake Rib and it's coming out very nicely.

Well I had a surprise Saturday. I was preparing to go perform at the 5th anniversary concert for Confluence when I started feeling a sharp pain in my belly around my navel. First thing I thought it was the IBS that was kicking in and hoped that it would go away soon. When it didn't let up for over 2 hours, I ended up going to the ER and found out that evening that I had an umbilical hernia . So at midnight I went under the knife. I'm now home recuperating. Last week was vacation. I'm off for two more weeks. The boss wasn't too thrilled but these things happen.

So I'll have time to work out the Klein hat, finish the mate to the grandnephew mittens, and work on the fabbo slipper socks for my sister-in-law. All I need now are the movies I've ordered from the library.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Mittens! Scarves! Hats! Slippers! What's an auntie to do? Buy more yarn! This is the first of the mittens that I'm making for my grandnephews for Christmas (the thumb isn't finished). It's made of Rauma Babygarn. I can understand why the Scandinavians have such nummy woolens; they have nummy yarn to work with! Once I'm past the eternal rings of 1x1 rib on size 0 needles, I fly! They're good practice for me in doing colorwork too. I'm looking at my colorwork on this mitten and thinking, 'Gotta work on that tension, girl!' Another project is making a scarf for one of my nephews. Now this one is a lawyer-type, assistant prosecutor of the city he was in before going off to Kentucky to serve in the Judge Advocate-General's office as a National Reserve officer. Who knows what he's going to do once he gets home this year. Whatever he does he's gotta look sharp. His favorite color? Black. He's blonde so I'm thinking here's this fine looking prosecutor in a black wool coat so he needs a scarf that is also black but not as black as the coat that will look sharp on him. Here's the yarn I've found; my LYS carries it in a wonderful charcoal. Now to find a pattern..... I did find these great vintage patterns at the Victoria & Albert Museum website. The scarf pattern uses fingering weight. Nope. I'm hunting in the men's knitting sites too. They've got to have something. Otherwise I'm just gonna have to do one myself. Again. Not that I'm getting lazy in doing designing, but it would be nice to try someone else's work so that I get more experience in that area.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another FO! The colors are exquisite in the sun, like a waterfall of jewel dust. The dress for our 5th anniversary concert is dressy and festive, so I'll be wearing this over a simple black dress and tights. Nummy!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

If anyone tells you the age of generosity is gone and people no longer care for each other, tell them they are wrong. I belong to a group of gay knitters whose only contact for the most part is through cyberspace. I've met three of them in person; the rest are scattered all over the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. During the year, I've shared with them my goal of singing with my fellow singers "Sing For the Cure" at Carnegie Hall NY. I've had a number of setbacks monetarily but I've been of the mindset that I will be there to sing no matter what I have to do to get there. Yesterday, my wonderful friends on the list sent to me a check. They had pooled together funds and through Alicia, my knitsyb who herself lost her home and nearly all the contents to the fires in San Diego last year, they showed how much they support my quest. It was totally unexpected and incredibly generous. I'm still reeling from the shock of their gift. I will sing with my friends beside me in spirit. I know I am not alone.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Buster absorbing the serenity of the Clapotis while meditating on the rain.
If you've ever done socks out of the self striping yarn, you know how enticing it is to just keep going to see what the next stripe is going to look like. On that vein, I've found that the Clapotis shawl I've been working on has just sucked me in like a black hole. Since I'm working with recycled sari silk yarn, the colors are unpredictable, and getting to that row where you can just let one stitch come undone and ladder down is just so much fun!! So in the matter of a week I've gone from this: To this: When I'm not working on the Clapotis, I'm thinking of Christmas. This year I'm visiting family, including one of my nieces who's married to a physicist. For most folks the idea of trying to figure out what to give a physicist for Christmas is a daunting task. However, I come from a family of engineers and love watching physics at work, so I have an idea of how the guy's mind ticks. Usually they're pretty out there. If you're vanilla, they're raspberry banana. Or in extreme cases, pork chop. So I'm thinking of something that I could make that is out there without being ugly or have that particular look that poorly designed handcrafts have. So I'm looking at knitting a Klein bottle . Knitters already play with mathematical constructs with Moebius scarves. A Klein bottle runs along that vein. He lives in the Bay area so I don't know if a hat is in the works but he does glass art so I'm sure he's familiar with Klein bottles. I love this stuff!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Three projects down, two projects up. You'd think I'd learn but *ha ha* never! Not when I have yarn to play with! I rediscovered knitting in October 2002. In that time, I've acquired quite a bit of stash from various sources. It takes up 6 Rubbermaid big totes and 7 Rubbermaid mid-sized Keepers. I have yarn ranging from cheap acrylics to handspun fibers from various fiber shows that a friend visited when she was back east (including the Maryland Sheep & Fool--I mean Wool Fest). I have yarns I picked up on sale and yarns I gathered over time. I have all ranges of thicknesses: cobweb fine Baruffa to Colinette Point Five. And of course I buy yarn, do a project, and have leftovers. So what does a girl do with 3 skeins of Interlacements Cheyenne she picked up 2 years ago and has never gotten around to doing the sweater she had planned to do? She starts a sweater to try out a different method! This is a sweater I'm doing from the top down that was described to me by a customer at my LYS who had the diagrams in the back of her old Mon Tricot dictionary of stitches. From word I've received from my fellow knitters on the GLBT Knit List the method is described there and elsewhere, and I've found patterns using this method. It's a saddle-shoulder sweater that you start at the neck, work the saddle shoulders out to the width desired, then pick up the edges and work the front and back, which are joined in the round under the armscyes. Stitches are then picked up to work the sleeves. No seams! The stapler is to hold down the curling edge. I've finished the neck and shoulders and am working the back first. I put in short rows to help it fit the back of the neck. I also am working with the yarn doubled so that I don't have the color pooling that this yarn tends to do. When you get tired of row upon row of stockinette, what do you do to break up the monotony? The yarn wasn't suited for doing patterns on it (and I didn't want to do entrelac, lace or cables), so I started another project A few folks I know are doing the Knitty Clapotis scarf/shawl. So I jumped on the bandwagon. But the yarn it requires is a wool/silk blend and I told myself I couldn't buy more yarn =8( So I hunted in my stash and came up with some sari silk I had wanted to use to make a vest. This is what I've done since starting it this morning and working on it during breaks and lunch. I don't know how it will handle when I have to drop stitches, but I think I'll be able to work it. Remember I said this if I start cursing later on. I also heard about my friend Ray. He's safe at his daughter's in Houston. *deep sigh of relief* I'll sleep well tonight.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Tears of joy! I just learned that Ray Whiting is okay but still in New Orleans. Such relief to know that he is alive. Now to pray that his family can get to him and get him out of there. There has been such madness in how the relief effort has been handled--must go through channels, can't do this can't do that--that the anger is palpable. I can watch the news now but this all reminds me too much of 9/11. Yesterday I had hoped for some relief from the news coverage on Katrina but my favorite radio shows on Sunday were pre-empted for more hurricane coverage. NPR got a piece of my mind. It's been a hell of a week for me; I can't imagine what families are going through. Another project done. These are done in Rowan Biggy Print. The smaller (4-6 cupper) is going to the silent auction basket. The larger (8-10 cupper) is going to the office. TEA COSY FREE PATTERN To make in super bulky wool yarn: cast on 28 (36) on size 15 needles, join in the round. Knit garter stitch for 4 rows in the round. *To split for the handle and spout, knit 14 (18) stitches onto a straight needle, leaving the remaining stitches on holding needles. Knit stockinette for 3 (5) rows, then knit wrong side row. Knit stockinette for 6 (8) rows, then repeat from * for the other side. Join pieces back in the round onto 4 double-point needles and knit 2 rows to secure. Using the opening for the handle as the beginning of your round, work your decreases thus: ssk at the beginning and end of needle 1, k2tog at the beginning and end of needle 2, ssk at the beginning and end of needle 3, k2tog at the beginning and end of needle 4. Knit one round, then repeat the decreases row. For the larger teapot size work the knit one round, decrease one round again (3 decreases). Finish with a 3 needle bind-off and weave in ends.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

More information to follow on the raffle. Joy!!!

Friday, September 02, 2005

It's hard to believe but the borders are done for the Peace Blanket! The two sides are now attached to the center panel and the bottom and top pieces are cooling from their blocking before they're attached. It will be completed tomorrow; I guarantee it! In the meantime, I'll satisfy your cravings for imagery by showing you the GGH Soft Kid scarf I'm working on for the upcoming silent auction for the 5th anniversary Confluence concert. Did you know that a piece of thin polyester batt makes a great background for taking pictures of your knitting? Many prayers for those who are suffering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. No word yet from Ray. We had a prayer service at the office today. I'm pretty areligious but do believe in a higher power, so I was invoking that power today for Ray. He's a sweetheart of a guy. Thank God for knitting. Current viewing pleasure: a variety of videos from my collection to avoid the news Current reading pleasure: Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters Current projects: Peace Blanket finishing; GGH Soft Kid scarf. On the back burner: Crazy socks; sweater for sis Shirley Lurkers: Tea cosy for silent auction; mask/doll for Witt; slipper socks for sis-in-law Yvonne; fingerless gloves for Linda A.; enlarged Booga Bag or CityBag (my own pattern) for moi; shawl for moi

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I keep telling myself it's no use fretting, but I'm sensitive. When Hurricane Katrina made landfall, all I could think about was how a cyberacquaintance, Ray Whiting, was doing with his chihuahua Hazel in New Orleans. Today the news was New Orleans was being evacuated because the levees were breaking from the floodwaters. Of course there's no way to communicate with him either through cyberspace or otherwise. His daughter was to come either today or tomorrow to fetch him from there. How she will get through the mess is anyone's guess. My prayers go out to him and hope he is all right. In the meantime, I'm working on the Peace Blanket border. I'm now on border #4, ready to cast off the one end and start working in the other direction. Then the assembly at last!! This Sunday I started another project, opting to forego the Feather & Fan Scarf for the silent auction to a scarf in GGH Soft Kid. I got a scarf kit from Knit For Her Cure which had two balls of Soft Kid. Lisa at Unraveled had more Soft Kid on sale, so I picked out four other colors to complement the KFHC Soft Kid to make a striped scarf of my own design. Pictures later; it's late. The knitting is helping ease my anxiety. I'll be okay. Time heals. Now if it would only take away these friggin' hot flashes. . .

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Peace Blanket's top border panel is coming along well. The blue is the provisional cast on I'm using to change direction when the four repeats of the pattern are done. To make the pattern fit, I split the leaf pattern in half and utilized the upper half to make a center medallion.

Monday, August 22, 2005

This is the love of my life, my dream baby. He is the Bright Red Bug. Now I'd show you my real dream baby but it's better that you see the one I created on VW's website. I really do have a red New Beetle; those who know me know my Red.

Now what does this have to do with fiber? Well I found this and thought that if I'm ever laid up for one reason or another I have something to knit.

Mary loves her Hallowig but she's camera shy so you'll just have to look at Miss Margaret.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Hallowig is done! I tweaked the top decreases so that it would lie flat by doing one row of K2, K2tog, then followed with a row of K2tog all around. I then did the 3 needle bind off and it shaped it very nicely.

For those who don't know this lady, this is my mannequin Miss Margaret. She came to me as a trade for showing someone how to make plaster of paris moldings of faces and body parts (she was trying to restore and preserve a collection of mannequins). Miss Margaret models many of my knitting projects so you'll see her fairly often. The scarf is one I made of Elsebeth Lavold's Cable Cotton.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket? Certainly not to the vets! Sammy and Maisie had to though. Their teeth were in a state and needed a good cleaning. When the day was over Maisie had lost 4 teeth and Sammy 1. Hard lesson on taking care of my kids' teeth and I'm remorseful for having let them get to that point. They're both recovering well from the ordeal. Maisie never liked going to the vet; this pretty much confirms it in her mind that the vet is an evil S.O.B. and any trip in the car is a trip that's going to end with pointy things poking in various places, strangers touching her, and awful smells. She told me all about it the whole long way home. In the meantime I fit in my myriad projects wherever I can. I finished Side 2 of the Peace Blanket border and am now working on the top border, which I had to figure out. It has a provisional cast on as I'm working on it from the middle to the end. There isn't much at this time to show the detail, so you're just gonna have to wait. In the meantime, I'm working on a Hallowig in wool and mohair. This is for an old frield of mine from work who found out she has breast cancer and is having a lumpectomy. She has regaled us for years about her nutty relatives. But when she told us that her niece and sister were upset at her because she wasn't going to be losing her hair in the treatment (they wanted to buy her a wig), I had to send her the link to the Hallowig. She loved it so much she said she had to have one. "Purple," Mary said."Bright purple, and fuzzy. So I can wear it and drive them nuts. The wigs they wanted to buy me were hideous." So she's getting one in purrrrrple. I had some handdyed mohair I had purchased from a gal in Astoria Or leftover from the many projects that had the right bright purple in it as well as blue (very nummy stuff). I found the matching purple wool yarn Thursday during class. After doing my gauge swatch, I found that it was bulkier than I expected, so I cast on 62 stitches on #8 needles and will be casting on 20 for the bangs. Another project I'm working on is a scarf in GGH TajMahal (wool/silk/ cashmere). This is for a silent auction to be held September 24th at the Confluence Chorus 5th Anniversary concert. If you're in Salem Oregon that day, come hear us sing; we'll be at the Salem Unitarian Universalist Congregation 5090 Center St NE. The silent auction starts at 6:30 pm; the concert is at 7:30 pm. I've also been trying to get the time and place to do pictures of my favorite provisional cast-on, the crochet cast-on that you do directly onto the needle. When I was shown that cast-on, I was very pleased for it fit into my "less work for more results" philosophy. I saw it illustrated somewhere else but I can't for the life of me remember where. It was in a book I had obtained recently, so if you know of where this is illustrated, please share with the rest. It takes a step out of the usual crochet cast-on, which is crochet a chain then thread the needle through the chain. The cast-on I do has you holding the needle in your left hand as you crochet around it. It's particularly nice for projects that require a flexible cast-on and have a lot of stitches to cast on, like end to end scarves/stoles and shawls. Can you believe it's only a month until fall? My favorite season! Whee!!