Saturday, January 24, 2015

Finished Objects Day

Today felt like a day to get things done.

This morning I finished the thumb of the second Pink & Fuzzy Mitten and tonight I'll weave in the tails so the pair will be done done.  I still might send them for a little swim and a tumble in the dryer to see if I can't soften the dark magenta cuffs and thumbs a bit.  The hand parts don't need much softening, they've got that crazy eyelash yarn that makes them soft inside and out.  I'm not much of a pink person but, I have to say, these mittens make me smile.  They're just so silly looking.

I put out a call on the BLKG blog for mittens a couple weeks ago.  We haven't had a meeting yet but last night at Friday Night Knitting LB delivered these four pairs of perfectly awesome mittens she whipped up over the last week.  She's a mitten savant.  I can't wait to deliver them to the grade school on Monday, they'll be excited to get them.



I've been paging through a sewing for kids book I got on closeout from Interweave last year (it's where the teepee-to-be pattern is) and my attention got caught by the bib.  It doesn't have ties or snaps or Velcro, it has a crossover neckline like baby undershirts have had since time immemorial (or at least as long as I can remember) so I decided to whip one up.  I used some of the diaper cover fabric I had on hand and binding from Mom.  I even used a fancy little stitch to put on the neck edging but Durwood pointed out that the neck opening might be too small for SomeBaby.  Gosh, I hope not but I reread the pattern and it DID call for making it with knit fabric and this isn't knit so next time that sweet, not-so-little head is in the vicinity I'll try it on her.  I may end up making another one or two out of knit but I don't really care, I had so much fun making this one and it'll fit some baby even if it isn't our baby.  DD's idea of using half-price Xmas wrap for pattern paper worked like a charm.  I just used
tracing paper between the pattern outline and the white back of the paper to transfer the shape and then a Sharpie to transfer the markings, etc.


I washed and blocked my practice stitch swatches this morning and hope to enlist Durwood's hands to get the yarn I want to make the actual designs out of rolled into balls.  I have a swift that he made me but it's more fun for the two of us to sit at the kitchen table, him doing the complicated swooping so the yarn comes off nicely and me cranking the ball winder.

I want to crochet a duck too, and maybe a bathtub fish or two.  I should get off this thing and get moving.  See why I think I need to retire?  I have all this stuff I want to make, I even have the stuff to make it, it's the time I don't have.  I'm off.  Sayonara!
--Barbara

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Light is Coming Back!

I know it's a gradual change but yesterday when I left work I realized that it was still light out at 5 PM.  Light!  When I was getting into my car to drive home!  It didn't last long but still, it was real, actual light.


We had a little company last night so I didn't get to my third fishtail swatch, that would take too much concentration which would be rude.  Instead I cast on the cuff of the other Pink & Fuzzy Mitten.  I love knitting with big yarn and big needles--it goes fast. I keep having to work at work so my daily knitting output has dropped off considerably.  I intend to change that this weekend.

The squirrel population has been very active this morning since I filled all the feeders but everything screeched to a halt when this guy flew in for a look-see.  He left dissatisfied but sure put a stop to the morning romp for a few minutes.  Not many birds yet.

January 23--Ron Sanford & Mike Agliolo, A Grip on the Future.  His hand feels like wires in mine, all sharp angles and cold.  We have to hold hands, they say.  We're supposed to be a team, a couple, but how anyone would ever believe that a flesh-and-blood girl like me would attach herself to a plastic-coated cyborg is beyond me.  I can pretend for the camera.  I'm not a bad actress but when the lights go out I am not crawling into bed with a guy made out of stainless steel and neoprene.

Today's the first day of my weekend and I'm looking forward to knitting and sewing for a few days, not doing chores.  We'll see how that goes.  Can you believe that there's only a week of January left?  I see the dates count up and I am amazed.
--Barbara

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gray Skies & More Tails

It's been ultra dreary around here lately.  I wanted to take a picture of the sunrise.  What I got was barely lightening of the clouds but now less than an hour later there are little stripes of blue-sky hope up there.  See?  Maybe we'll get a ray of sunshine later?  That'd be awesome.

After supper with JM at Hagemeister Park downtown (I had a great time, J, we need to do that again one of these days) I trotted out bigger needles, figured out how many stitches to add for the edging I was thinking of using and made another swatch.  I had hoped to do it at work but Mrs. Boss had other ideas.  She expected me to work at work.  All day.  Imagine that.  (aren't there laws against that?  statutes maybe?  probably not.)  Anyway, I like this fabric even better than the last one.  Today's (or tonight's) swatch will be the last one, incorporating an edge decrease.  That promises to be a much bigger challenge which will involve copious and detailed note taking.  I think I'm up for the challenge.  (or I could be swatching for Design-a-Thon 2016, who can tell?)  It feels kind of odd to realize that I'm liking the swatching, enjoying working out this puzzle I've set for myself, enjoying working to fit a particular pattern into a particular geometric shape.  Yes, Aunt B, I am "hooked" by this pattern.  (an excellent pun for so early in the AM)

January 22--Zack Burris, Postcards.   Janine tugged the box out from between the rafters where the roof met the attic floor.  It took all her courage to stretch her hand out into that dark and dusty unknown.  She kept expecting to feel tiny paws running up her arm or tiny teeth clamped on her fingertips.  Through gritted teeth she said, "come on, come on" as the box slid over the thick layer of dust on the floor.  Once the box was out far enough for her to sit up and pull it into the light she saw that it wasn't cardboard at all.  It was a golden maple box with a tiny gold keyhole below the lid.  "You'd better not be locked after all the trouble I've gone to bringing you into the light."  The lid lifted easily.  She was glad.  She would have hated to ruin the beautiful box just to see what was inside.  The box was filled with letters and postcards, all of them addressed to Miss Alice Hamilton.  Granny Fawn's name had been Alice so this must have been her box and these must be her letters.  Janine's fingers trembled a bit as they lifted the first fragile envelope.  It was pale blue with a purple stamp on it.  She could barely read the address but by tilting it toward the window she saw that it had been sent right to this very house.

That's it for me today.  Time to shower and do all that "going to work" stuff.  *sigh*  It's winter.  I should get to stay home to play with yarn and fabric, maybe take a little couch nap, and get my paycheck in the mail.  That sounds just about right, don't you think?  Never happen.  I'm outta here.
--Barbara

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fishtails

I knitted another swatch last night after supper.  I was going to try some Flemish Block Lace but then I was looking in the index of a lace stitch dictionary and found three "fishy" ones--fish hook lace (meh), fishtail lace panel (getting warmer), and all-over fishtail lace (we have a winner!)--so I grabbed some US#10 needles and cast on a few stitches to try it out.  'Long about the third repeat I somehow lost a stitch and, since it was just a swatch, I made another stitch near an edge and kept going.  That's the reason the upper right part of the swatch looks kind of blank, but I've got more needles (of course I have more needles, sometimes I think I have ALL the needles, until I look for a pair and they're all out waiting around in UFOs [UnFinished Objects] so I have to go on a needle hunt *sigh*).  Today I'm going to take another run at it, this time adding the edge detail I'm thinking about using.  And just so you don't think I think I can remember all I'm doing and trying out, I'm making notes.  I made notes of my ideas and now I'm making notes of my practices. Next I have to figure out how many stitches to cast on for Design #1, wind the yarn into balls, and get going.  They need to be done in... April, yeah, that's right April, so I've got 2 months to knit them up, and we all know that I don't have a lot of stick-to-it-iveness when it comes to knitting projects so this is good training for sticking with one thing from start to finish.  Hmm, maybe I can cast on both projects and knit on them in turns to break up the monotony of project monogamy.  I'll think about it.

January 21--World Map.  From her seat in the plane Maryann watched the setting sun turn the ocean to gold.  She had tried for an aisle seat but this window seat was all that was left.  It was forward of the wing so she'd had a good view of the coastline and the clouds.  She even saw tiny little freighters plying the sea lanes from the southern ocean.  Her book was forgotten when they started flying over islands.  The water turned from deep navy blue to turquoise, light blue, and then white as the coral sand covered islands came into view.  She was mesmerized by the shapes the currents carved into the land.  Once darkness fell it was as if the world below the plane had disappeared.  She watched the horizon to see when the lights of populated islands appeared on the sea like diamonds on black velvet.  On one of the tiniest islands a huge fire lit the night like topaz and rubies.

This is what happens when friends go to Bonaire and I'm knitting fish shapes.  Feels like a yogurt, granola, and blackberries day to me.  Adios!
--Barbara

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Got A Little Snow

Really.  Just enough to barely cover the bare spots in back, nothing too much to shovel, although I will go out there (eventually) to scrape off the driveway.  Ours is pretty slanted so I can't really leave the snow on there.

Last night after supper I got out yarn and needles and cast on the first stitch swatch for my design.  I'm not sure I'm crazy about it so I finished the first 16 rows (one repeat) last night and this morning I upped my needle one size so the next 16 rows will be a bit looser.  I'll see how I like that; I may go up one more.  Turns out I'm a really tight garter stitch knitter (and a really loose purler) so a larger needle might be better.  Time will tell.  I'll see.  (add in anymore cliches you like here)

Today I'm tackling the laundry and changing sheets.  Can't just fritter away a day off, you know, although I wish I could just loll around accomplishing nothing and not feeling guilty about it.  Must be my raft of Germanic ancestors with their stiff spines and tsk-ing tongues.

January 20--David Arky, Clock.  Laura stumbled over something hard in the mess of papers on the floor of Aunt Hattie's house.  How had things gotten so bad so fast?  She used her foot to move papers around to see what she'd hit.  A wall clock like the ones in grade school started up at her.  She could see that the hands had broken off and fallen to lay between the seven and the eight.  Aunt Hattie's cat, Dexter came slinking up from the dark hallway, making her jump.  How the cat moved silently through the drifts of paper and plastic bags was a mystery.  Laura found herself wishing for a big wind to blow clean through the house or maybe a home-model flame thrower to get the job done fast.

Time to find some lunch.  I baked more bread on Sunday and I think I hear it calling my name.  It definitely wants a slice of Gouda cheese on top too.  Don't want to disappoint the homemade bread.

--Barbara

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pink & Fuzzy

I did go downstairs to dig out some fuzzy, novelty yarn to carry along with the pink "hand" yarn of the mitten I made yesterday.  I like the way it looks, don't you?  Some not-too-little girl will love them, I hope.  I want to make the other one so I can drop off the three pairs I'll have at the elementary school later this week.  It's too cold to be without mittens, even though the temps have been up near or above freezing the last few days and will be the same for a couple more.  Our paltry snow cover is melting around trees and places where it's thin.  It looks ragged and sloppy.  Ah, winter in Green Bay is so glamorous.  Not.

A different squirrel decided that peanuts make a good breakfast.  See how it's kind of sitting on the side of the wreath?  The regular peanut-eating squirrel sits boldly up on top of the crook with its back to us, this one's kind of sitting side-saddle.  You can see in the background how the snow's melted.

From the little of the game I saw yesterday it seemed to me that the Packers never really got it together.  I guess too many of them were playing hurt.  But we all know I'm not any kind of football fan so what do I know.  There's always next year, and think of all the other teams that didn't even make it that far.  See?  Totally not a fan.

January 19--Glen Wexler, Snarling Rottweiler.  Globe was growling low in his throat.  Rae felt his body tremble as he pressed his flank to her leg.  She reached down and hooked her fingers through his collar before deciding whether or not to go to the door.  It wasn't very late.  She looked at the clock, only 6:15, darkness was falling.  She had a wild thought, "who would ring the doorbell during Jeopardy!?"  Globe growled again, staring at the front door, and Rae took a step but the big dog didn't move.  Glass broke and a hand reached in to open the locks.  She slipped her fingers out of Globe's collar and whispered, "go."

It's a work day.  It's a payday.  This week I have my normal schedule then there're 2 weeks of working 4 days while Mrs. Boss is off in Fiji.  Keep thinking of the nice fat paychecks you'll get, Barbara, don't whine about working extra days.  Take lots of knitting.  I'm off.  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Next

I cast on the next mitten yesterday afternoon.  (of course, I did)  I'm using some bulky yarn that Lala found when she cleaned out a closet and one size smaller needles but the same Quick & Easy Mittens pattern I got at a one-day class where I learned to make mittens that looked like Muppets.  Hey, I've only got a few rounds made, I should go look for some novelty yarn for the hands of these mittens.  I'll do it.  Later after I get home from lunch with friends.



A couple weeks ago JM Facebooked me a link to Teespring which is a place to have shirts made of your own design but also a place for crowdsourcing special message t-shirts.  This was the one offered and they needed to have so many ordered in order to print them.  I ordered a hoodie and it came on Friday.  I'm wearing it today.  It's snuggly and warm and fuzzy inside and I might not take it off.  Ever.




 
AT emailed me a blog post about the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild Design-a-Thon the other day.  I figure it's what she would have said to us at the January meeting that was sadly cancelled by a snowstorm and slick roads.  I know that this bunch of hardy Wisconsin women wouldn't have been deterred by a mere snowstorm but bad roads took it over the top so the meeting was cancelled.  It was a good, safe decision but it pushed back the whole Design-a-Thon thing a month.  I was thrilled that AT sent such a thorough post and it made me get out my design notebook, the yarn I'm planning to use, and the stitch dictionary with the stitch I plan to use to create my masterpiece.  Thanks, AT, that was a much needed nudge.

January 18--Bill Westheimer, MI.1144.X  Layne lay in the grass and reached her hand up to the sky.  Puffy white clouds floated in the bright blue.  She enjoyed it until she realized that she could see the clouds through her hand.  She jerked her hand back and rolled onto her side to get her hand out of the sun.  She peeked at her hand held close to her belly and it looked all right.  She couldn't see the clover or her purple shorts through it.

I know you're wondering--the shrimp primavera Durwood made for supper was delicious.  I'm off to Sammy's for pizza with AT and VJ.  I swear I'll vacuum when I get home before I sit down and knit.  Cross my heart.  Talk to you tomorrow.
--Barbara