Let’s not talk about the weather, OK?

Here’s what I am working on today.  It is going to be hugely warm as I am using Lamb’s Pride Bulky.  Not what the pattern calls for, but what i had near at hand in a generous quantity.  I had to seriously adjust the number of stitches, making the rows are nice and short, and the end product will be warm as can be. We won’t talk about why that is a good thing.

I have never done double knitting before, but when I saw this cowl by Lisa Myers in Interweave Knits,  I decided to give it a try.

double knit cowl 2 25

And I have been playing with black and white the past few days, coming up with an idea for a hat based on what I see out my windows – trees and that which we will not talk about.  This just fell right into place with those thoughts and after I master this type of knitting, I plan to invent a hat and maybe cowl pattern.  I already have a name for it, but no pattern yet.  Creativity knows no order.

Maine woods in winter is what it will be called, and it will be beautiful and warm, unlike Maine woods in winter. (Winter is not weather, so it is OK to say that much. However, when you put winter and weather together, you come up with something I definitely do not want to talk about.)

the hat

There is a blog I follow, slipped stitches weblog, the author of which writes screamingly funny posts about her knitting adventures.  The fails often make the pages more than the conquests, but her writing is what makes it fun.  The other day I left her a comment that I was embarking on an adventure the likes of which she writes about.

The woman (let’s call her S) who runs the little shop that has so nicely carried my things the past few weeks asked me if I could knit a hat for her to give a friend, a woman I have never met.  She had bought one of my hats, and wondered if one could be had with a floppy brim. S knows that I am wiling to try most things, decided to order one for her friend.  Here’s what she told me.

There is a netflix show that has a woman wearing a hat with a floppy brim that she likes.  Her friend has brown hair and bright blue eyes, so either something gray or blue, no green, please.

I did what any sane woman would do and lost myself in Ravelry for hours, using the search “brimmed hats”

There are some.  🙂

I was really curious how one gets a knit brim to not be hanging all around one’s head so that one looks like a blind Gilligan.  It turns out it is milliner’s wire.

I decided I didn’t want to fiddle with that if I could avoid it, but I printed out a free pattern using the wire.  Then I found a free pattern with the brim tacked up rakishly and printed that as well.  I took them into see S, and she ADORED the one that I wanted to make anyway.   Check it out here.

Only:

She didn’t want the pleated accent on the side.  And she wants it pretty fast.

No problem – I don’t have to learn a new technique, right?  I’ll just make the hat.  Blue or gray.

So I merrily came home and went stash diving.  I have no blue or gray worsted weight yarn in a quantity sufficient to make the hat.  I have blue and gray sport weight and blue and gray bulky.

I have other hat patterns that call for bulky, so I know my gauge, and it should be easy to adapt the pattern.  I settled right in with my gray yarn (because I have lots of it), calculator, pencil and needles.  All evening I knit away, working hard to forget that I hate seed stitch exactly as much as I hate 1×1 ribbing (because isn’t it the same damned thing when you are knitting it?) and I made that hat.  I worked out the decreases on the new number of stitches and I finished it last night.

Epic fail.

The brim was too big and floppy, The hat itself fit fine except it was a couple of inches short. So the whole floppy thng perched on top of my head, looking hideous and not keeping anything much warm.

I ripped it out.  With Lamb’s Pride Bulky, you get to do that once before the yarn is fit only for cat toys.

This morning, I got right back at it.  New numbers.  New way to decrease. New hat. 25 rows at least before decreasing at crown.

It’s not done yet, but I can see that it is much better.  I’ll keep you posted and show a photo of the end product as soon as it is done. And maybe I will make it again in blue, maybe with the pretty pleats?

I know I am not as funny as Slipped Stitches,  but I learned you don’t need to be funny to make a mess with yarn.  🙂

What I did on my summer vacation in photos

Well, mostly photos.  I can never resist a few words.  🙂

A few touches for the screened porch – the lantern a tag sale item, the flower pot an IKEA special.

Before:

painting before

 

During:

 painting during 2

painting during 1

and after:

painting after 1

painting after 2

 

Then there was knitting:

5 hats

I made these 5 hats in a couple of days – 4 side button hats, one Alpine Topper.  The Alpine still needs to be blocked to stop that curling edge.

Those side button hats need buttons, right?  I have been scouring yard sales to find some that are big enough, unique and special at reasonable prices.  I found these this summer:

buttons 1

Then, one day I was in a local artisan collective shop, killing time, and I found these babies.  They are made by a young woman who owns a quarry nearby.  She makes these stone buttons from the local granite, and the beach stones and tumbled china ones as well. And the shell – I love that shell! They are VERY reasonably priced, considering just how unique they are, so I bought several, and  expect I will get more someday. Maybe today… buttons 5

buttons 2

buttons 3

buttons 4

Now, how to choose?

choosing 1

choosing 2

choosing 3 

This is just too much fun, but I hope they sell!  I don’t really need ALL of these hats.  🙂

 

 

Vacation update

You know, except for the part where I have to keep checking in with work and taking care of things, this has been a really good vacation.

A is away, which is a bummer on one hand, but on the other – I can make a big freaking mess and not have to clean it right up.  I can leave the dishes in the sink for a few days (excuse?  we ran out of dish soap.)

So what have I been doing?  Well, puttering mostly, with lots of down time.  I finished a little pebble landing area at the base of the screen porch step – a spin off from the pool project.  I am always tracking sand into the house, even with two mats between inside and out.  So I figured if there were some pebbles at the bottom of the step, that could really help.  And I have all these pebbles I am getting from sifting dirt in the pool area, so why not add one more thing to the project?

It turns out pretty well – there weren’t too many pebbles in the sand by the step, so I got an extra load of sand for the pool area, and I used lots of little rocks that I would have just piled in the woods.  It didn’t add too much to the pool project, just head in a different direction with the wheel barrow full of stone. I can see that I will some day want to do a whole path like this, but not yet.  

Pool progress doesn’t show in the short term – kind of like a stockinette blanket that way – work fr hours, no difference.  But then when you look at the whole project, suddenly, you can see progress.  I still have a long way to go, but I think I am almost through a slow bad section and I hope the work will speed up a bit.

this morning I finished emptying out the guest room and giving it a thorough cleaning – like window washing and curtain washing kind of cleaning.  It is amazing to me just how much stuff we had stashed away in there that has nothing to do with guests.  It was OK when people were just passing through for a night or two, but if someone not feeling well is coming for a few weeks or more, the room should be calm and welcoming, right?

So, by 10 am, I had already got it emptied and cleaned, and now comes the hard part.  What to put back, what to do with what doesn’t go back?  This is where it is good A isn’t home yet as the living room is now a mess.  That’s how I know we have too much stuff that doesn’t have a true “home” – when cleaning one room completely messes up another.  A is a good one for everything looking neat, but she is one who puts things away out of sight, instead of where they belong.  Especially if it is something that we don’t know where it belongs! I am much more likely to put up with clutter than to put something where it doesn’t belong, but when I clean, I rip things apart and really clean.   And some things that DO belong in there, in general, can’t go in there now.  Like, the vacuum cleaners (one regular, one for the pellet stove)  They live in that closet, because nothing hangs there.  But, we need to allow for the fact that L might want to unpack – so I cleaned off a little set of shelves in the craft room, and put them in the closet, and that leaves a nice amount of space for some hanging things, should she want it.  But who wants a dirty old vacuum cleaner or two in there with your clean clothes?  I know I wouldn’t.  So, I will have to find a temporary home for those two things. Somehow we muddle along OK, but I still say it is good she isn’t here right now.  🙂 

I have also been knitting a lot. How’s the Hitchhiker coming along, you ask?  and the newest socks?  Well, I can say i have stuck to the rules of the Sock KAL and have done at least a row each day, but that might be all.  And hte hitchhiker has been abandoned for a brief moment.  I broke all my rules, but for a good reason, really.  I have made 4 hats in two days, and cast on another.  I have had this yarn kicking around fr a while, intended for hats for the craft fair in November.  And it suddenly occurred to me that it is September.  When, exactly will I be making these hats?  So, I went through my whole stash, sorted it out into hat projects, filled a big bag and brought that down into the linen closet (again,, good A wasn’t home to see that) and dug out the box of Lamb’s Pride I bought just for this purpose, and set to work. I had hoped to finish up all the lamb’s pride before A got home, but that wont; happen.  Still, I should be bale to make two more hats today, and that will put a good dent in it.  I am mostly making two patterns with this batch of yarn – Kaleidoscope’s Super Bulky Button Hat and Halcyon Yarn’s Alpine Topper.  The Button hat calls for bulky yarn held double, so it knits up REALLY fast.  The Alpine Topper is slower to knit, as it has color work, but it uses bulky yarn held single – good for all the leftovers from the button hat.  I haven’t added these as Ravelry projects, but I will get photos when I am done.  I made several of the button hats with leftovers from the stripey yarn CAL I did last summer, and so have some of those to add to my craft fair pile as well.

With the stash yarn, I will play about a bit more as none if it is really bulky.  I expect I will make some cable hats, and swirly hats and probably some plain old roll brim caps. I notice that all my yarns are in the same colors – mostly blues and purples and sea-foam type colors.  The Lamb’s Pride I ordered is several shades of gray and some red.  So I think I need to get my sister to choose some colors for me to work with , to broaden my array of hats – I never ever choose earth tones, but I expect that some people who might want to buy a hat would want to buy those colors, right?

And wait until you see the buttons I have for the button hat – Oh, I found such great ones at a local store – a young couple who owns a quarry makes stone buttons!  Just slices of beautiful granite.  Photos of those to come eventually as well.  🙂

Well enough about what i have been doing, I have hats to knit and rooms to put back together – A is coming home tonight!

I’ll catch up with you later, and maybe have photos as well!

quickie post

whacky internet all weekend – I could get on Ravelry, but not WordPress, except to like. No posts, no comments.

Now it is Monday, a tax day, so I am at the library with the high-speed nets. Yahoo.

So. I finished the red sweater. Pictures will come when I block it. Still not sure I like it, I feel like the Michelin Man in it, but it is cheerful and warm!

I worked on the sock, but did not finish it – I made a necklace instead. 🙂 I’ll post photos of that, too.

Game night was fun, but I was there until after 11 – home by midnight, very late for old me. 🙂 So Saturday was a low energy day. A was still recovering from her cold and a long week at work, so we did not do much Saturday, beyond the chores that had to get done (dump, etc)

Sunday was only marginally more productive – if you call sitting on the couch knitting productive. 🙂 I did fill the bird feeders and do a few outside chores while the weather was nice and the quantity of ice somewhat reduced. 🙂

Then it was all sports all afternoon – women’s basketball until the big game. I chose the Seahawks in our home bet to make the game slightly more interesting – $20 for the yarn stash – go team!

A is off to “the County” (Aroostook) for the week, so there is no telling what creations I will make in the evenings. I SHOULD be making valentines, we will see if that happens. 🙂

Off the camera

Good morning! Back home again, living in comfort if not luxury. 🙂

I tackled the camera this morning and I managed to get photos out of its clutches – so here are some photos of things I have mentioned in recent posts – yarn from webs, yarn from Halcyon, progress on socks and red sweater. Enjoy!

yarn from Webs

yarn from halcyon

wip red sweater 2

socks with sarah #1

socks with sarah #1 in process

whoa! It’s Friday again.

I guess I am not all that great with doing my lists on time when I am on vacation. Sorry about that.

Today:
Make jelly with all the berries that had to thaw when there were no lights.
Make cookies to take to A’s family gathering this afternoon.
Go to A’s family gathering this afternoon.
Take photos of all the things I finished knitting this week. Well, the one thing, but this item should be motivation for me to finish the last couple of inches of leg warmer, right?
Knit on the big red sweater that I cast on yesterday. You might remember it, it is the one I made last winter, then frogged because I didn’t like where the bobbles were. Now I have altered the pattern, no bobbles. 🙂
Plan the next mobile project for when I finish the leg warmer. I know that first there will be a hat, but then what?
Laundry.
Always.
Where does it come from?

Off the camera – at last! – and what I have been up to so far this week

So, sometimes it takes me a week to get through the Friday list, what can I say?

One of the things I did this weekend was make the cranberry sauce for Thursday. These are the beautiful berries we got from Sugar Hill, a local grower. They were so beautiful that I thought they deserved to thaw in a crystal bowl. I used two pounds and got about 4.5 pints, two of which we need for Thanksgiving, and 2.5 we don’t. 🙂 We will use some Friday for our second Thanksgiving with A’s family, but that will be a small gathering, so I think we will have some for our own future use. Plus, I have 2 more pounds of berries in the freezer, so I can make more… unless I decide to make my favorite cranberry duff with some of them.

cranberries

cranberries1

cranberries label

cranberries done

While I was making the sauce, I managed to crush my pinkie in the hinge of a cabinet door. I still am not quite sure how I did it, but it hurt like a son of a gun. We got ice on it fast, and A even bought me a splint when she was out, so I taped it up over night, and it recovered fairly quickly.

I have been knitting up a storm lately – these mitts are with the leftover yarn from the Pi shawl that I waited so long to finish – which also shows how little yarn I was short. 😦

wristwarmers

These were pretty basic to make – I cast on 40 stitches. knitting back and forth, I used k2 p2 for all but the center panel which was a two stitch cable on either side of a four stitch horseshoe cable with a purl between the cable panels.

I used Quince and Co Finch (fingering weight, very stretchy)on size 7 needles. I knit both at once, so that they would be the same.

For each, cast on 42 stitches. Set up rows are as follows:
mitt 1: k2 p2 place marker k2 p1 k4 p1 k2 place marker p2 * k2 p2 repeat from * 6 times
mitt 2: p2 * k2 p2 repeat from * 6 times place marker k2 p1 k4 p1 k2 place marker p2 k2 p2

pattern, working back and forth:
outside of markers, follow k2 p2 ribbing as established. Inside of markers, work cable pattern:
row 1 and 3 – p2 k1 p4 k1 p2
row 2 – place first stitch on cable needle in front of work, knit next stitch, knit stitch off cable needle (first cable made over 2 stitches), p1, slip next knit stitch onto cable needle, hold behind work, knit next stitch, knit stitch from cable needle,place next stitch on cable needle in front of work, knit next stitch, knit stitch off cable needle (horseshoe cable made over 4 stitches), p1,slip next knit stitch onto cable needle, hold behind work, knit next stitch, knit stitch from cable needle (third cable made over two stitches,)
row 4 – place first stitch on cable needle in front of work, knit next stitch, knit stitch off cable needle (first cable made over 2 stitches), p1, k 4, p1,slip next knit stitch onto cable needle, hold behind work, knit next stitch, knit stitch from cable needle

repeat until as long as you would like (mine are about 6 inches), bind off in rib knit (don’t work cables in bind off row)

Fold, sew side seams, leaving at least a 2 inch gap for thumb opening.

If your hands are larger or smaller than mine, you can add or leave off sections of k2 p2 ribbing, but if adding or subtracting a lot, you might want to adjust where the center panel sets.

I also have been knitting hats, can you believe it?

1 hat

I love this side button hat, I think I have shared the pattern before – Kaleidoscope side button hat. I used the extra yarn from the CAL striped blanket, and made these beauties. Now, to figure out how to sell them. the ones with no buttons are waiting my creative genius. While I love the glass buttons on them, the buttons actually cost more than the yarn, so I can’t keep using them if I really want to sell them. My sister is going to think about making pottery buttons, and I am going to think about other options as well. Meanwhile, I have finally used up all the leftover yarn, so will stop making them for a while. Until I make my big red sweater and maybe have some more leftover bulky yarn…

warm hats

I also made a couple more hats for charity – one for work (the variegated) and one for the Nest Maine box (the bulky striped one) which I am working on filling. I use the flat rate shipping box, and want to pack it full, to maximize my shipping dollars. So, I will be making a few more before I ship it, but I want to ship it this week if possible, so I will keep on knitting hats.

label

more warm hats

I did block the Pi shawl, but haven’t gotten a photo of it yet – I will say that following E Zimmerman’s instructions to really stretch it make a huge difference, I would not be surprised if it grew half again in diameter. And became lovely and lacy in the process. So – 6 skeins of Quince and CO Finch on size 8 needles is perfect.

Other things on the camera – proof that the three cats are getting along better – all on the bed playing with A. (favorite game, fingers under sheet). While Allie requires the safety of the box to play with Tigger, she at least is willing to stay on the bed and play, which is very good for all of us.

3 cats

And the jade plant is blooming like never before – I would not say covered, exactly, but certainly there are many blossoms on it, very pretty! Too bad I have to keep it locked in the guest room away from the cats.

flower

flower2

Now, what else have I done this week?

Well, I cleaned the kitchen – the “wash the cabinets” kind of cleaning. It took two days, which is embarrassing, but I did take frequent breaks for knitting. 🙂

I did get upstairs to begin the Christmas card process, but I really am NOT feeling inspired this year, not sure why not. I have an idea for them, but it is complicated, and two years ago I did really complicated cards and I remember what a pain that was, so I want to simplify the idea. After all, I make at least 60, and usually closer to 100 cards… simple is good! Last night I was up there, cleaning up from Halloween cards, and when I came downstairs (in my stocking feet) I slipped on the stair and fell down a few steps. Made a loud crash, banged up my back and feet (against the wall at the bottom) so we got the ice out AGAIN and I relaxed and knit for the rest of the evening.

Not sure why I am being so clumsy lately, but I was sure to wear shoes when I went upstairs today.

And maybe tomorrow I will actually start making the cards…

A and I went to Ellsworth yesterday morning early to do a strange assortment of things, including dropping off donations at Good Will, and attempting to being some leftover supplies to Re-Store (not open Mondays) as well as a stop at the library to drop off and pickup books on cd. They have some nice long ones we haven’t heard before, they make the commute go faster. When we were all done, it was still breakfast time, so we went out for omelets before heading home. We were home by 10, with lots of time to do all those other chores.

Sunny Sunday

Ya know, this whole stay out of the sun thing is going to bring me down. It is a beautiful day for floating in the pool reading my book, and I can’t do it. I could cover my elf from head to toe and get in and scoop out the leaves, which is nice and relaxing, but I can’t really go swimming yet,until I get the stitches out, and I sure can’t float around in the sun anymore. At least until I hear that the big thing on my back is harmless. And I haven’t heard that yet, so I am a little cranky.

I called (twice) on Friday, and the office finally got back to me to say the results weren’t in. that sounds kind of fishy to me, and so I will follow up Monday morning. She said it would take a week, L, our ex-lab tech, said they would have results in a couple of days. So I am frustrated and growing more nervous.

Which means I should sit and do crafts. 🙂 I have been doing that today. I worked on making a couple of cards, and I hung up the collage I made when C was here, and I started my next craft project, which is a tray. It might get a tiled bottom, or it might just be a painting project, not sure yet. Depends if I can find the tile i want. In Martha Stewart Living quite a while ago, I saw a tray she made where she popped out some tiles and replaced them with sea glass. As I have BUCKET loads of the stuff, I have always wanted to do it. I was left alone at AC Moore on Friday (he he he ) and they had some small wooden trays, so I thought now is a good time to try it.

They had a whole lot of other stuff, too, so I got some Halloween ribbon (can you believe it is almost Halloween? It must, be the stores are full of goblins and candies. What happened to September?) and a cute rubber stamp of a row of houses, and a bunch of other things I “needed” which I am sure you will be seeing signs of eventually.

What I did not find, and maybe all of you savvy crafters can help me with is the yarn I can visualise but not find. It has to be washable, and it should feel nice, but other than that, I don’t care what it is made of. It should be Dk or worsted weight. Here’s the hard part. I want three colorways that look nice together – a burgundy, a navy, and a hunter green. Then, I want at least one variegated yarn that also goes with these colors. Ideally, I want three variegated yarns, one with greens, one with blues, one with burgundies. Then, I want a neutral that goes with all – either a gray or a cream, I think. Apparently, this is hard to find in Bangor, ME. I can find the solids, but the variegateds I find don’t match, and I haven’t yet found the two-colored variegated I want. All of this is to make A a CAL blanket. I don’t want to do it with less than 7 colors, and she is fussy and wants those particular colors. I might have to cave and not let her have all three, if I can’t find a variegated that will work with them all. I suspect I could find it all in dear old Lamb’s Pride, but keeping it clean and cat free is going to mean lots of washing, which would felt the Lamb’s Pride very quickly. So I will keep searching. If any of you have tips, please let me know!

So. I did manage the whole Friday list on Friday – and we had a really nice time visiting A’s Aunt N. she’s a hoot, and we heard some new stories about people in A’s family. Met two fo her great grandsons, who live in her basement apartment. They are cute little boys, and very fun. We are so glad that they live there, and so Aunt N is not alone, as she is getting a bit befuddled.

I have almost finished the bundle of things for Diane, the winner of my 100 followers giveaway. Some of it is taking longer than I thought,a ndshe probably thinks it was all a hoax, but it isn’t! Really! 🙂

I suppose I had better get upstairs and finish things up so I can mail them soon, huh? Take advantage of A going into the office for a few hours.

But first – I finished my book group book, the Burgess Boys. I really enjoyed it, even though some of it was hard to read, it definitely is making me think about what it would be like to be a refuge in a country where I did not speak the language nor understand the customs. She really captured what some parts of life in Maine are like, although I don’t live near Lewiston/Auburn where the large Somali refugee population is, so I don’t know if that is right, but it felt genuine. I’ll be interested to hear wha the other book group ladies think of it.

Now, I am going to do a bit of crocheting or something, then head upstairs.

Here are a few photos of things going on around here lately. Sorry they are blurry/crooked – blame the screen and old hands.

But you can see why I rarely need to prune anything in the yard!

collage

collage 1

The collage installed.

deer

fawn

deer in woods

Cute little creatures, as long as they stay out of the garden!

Cal week 12 – I’m Done!

a mere twelve weeks ago, this was my CAL blanket:

Foundation and row 1 - here we go!

And today, here it is! (Sorry about the sunbeam in the middle, didn’t realize it was there until just now.)

complete at last

I didn’t actually do the week 12 rows, just added a couple of HDC rows before starting my border. It obviously needs blocking, one border is a little wavy, a good block would fix that if I were so inclined.but as far as I am concerned, I think it is done! How I did the border – I didn’t have enough yarn on most of the colors to do a whole round, so I did a row of single crochet in the gray all around, spacing the stitches as best I could, then I started with the colors, and just used what I had – if I ran out in mid-row, I just changed colors. I did that and used up all the navy, the periwinkle, the variegated, and the turquoise. I then did a complete round of the teal that started it all.

I love this blanket, it is so warm and cozy – really it is big enough for a twin bed, certainly, it covers the whole couch, so a couple of people can sit and watch tv under it. I (almost) can’t wait for winter. 🙂

A is looking like she really wants one. Although I joke about making her one that is the same colors as the cats, it seems she has other ideas, and would like one that incorporates burgundy, green and navy, her favorite colors. So, I will see what I can find – I want more than 3-4 colors to work with, it was hard, even with 7, to mix it up enough to look random. It will also be washable, since I know cats will sit on her lap this winter. So I guess I have to go yarn shopping!

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