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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Library Woes

I don't want to call them and whine, until I can sound like I'm making constructive criticism, so I will whine here. Why is it, in a library system where there is not a single library that is more than an hour's drive from our branch and there are two deliveries daily of books that are on hold, that a book can be in transit for more than four days? I've been waiting to get some books that are on hold and they've shown up in transit since Friday afternoon. We have a great library (although their latest change to the online catalogue isn't great, I thanked them for the second iteration, and they got rid of it!), and the librarians are friendly and helpful, but this has always perplexed me.

First Secret Pal Gift!

I got the first of my secret pal surprises yesterday! It was a copy of the Summer 1998 IK I've been wanting for so long. I will be working on the octagon shawl (shawlette, really) very soon! Thank you secret pal!

I hope my pal gets her package soon, too.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Aran Braid, Balaclava & Little Boy Green

Now that I have emptied out the digital camera, I have photos of progress and finished items for you. Our first shot is of sock number one of my aran braid pair. You cannot see the braid on the leg as well in the photo, but you get an idea. I have ten repeats to go before shaping the toe.

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Also, this is the balaclava I knit for Fr. Jonathan with the Knitpicks Elegance. I have a tiny bit left, that I could use as an accent in a small garment. I changed the gauge from the pattern available on the web to accomodate a dk weight yarn, and put in short rows at the nose. Fr. Jonathan requested that modification, I suggested it to another woman who was working on these and she wrote out a modified version of the pattern including short rows.

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I have three and a half seams to go on Little Boy Green, I didn't get as much done on it this week as I had hoped, and I'm not thrilled with the side seams, but here it is.

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Elijah has been very excited to try it on as I sew, checking for fit. I have indoctrinated him into the idea that it is his until he grows out of it, then it will be Amira's. I hope that works, because his other two brothers won't let me hand down their first knit sweaters.

So, the fair. We took the shuttle bus to and from the fair, left the car at the park and ride and I knit about three more repeats on my sock. We spent four hours in about eight of the 15 animal barns and at the kiddie rides, but there weren't any Dexter cattle there this year, and we were too late for the poultry and rabbitry barn, which closed much earlier than everything else. Had we known that, we would have gone there first and worked our way back, but we didn't know. We have some lovely pictures of us in the giant pumpkin patch.

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And the boys in the helicopter ride:

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And us winding down at the grocery store afterward, where we received a compliment on our children (at nearly 10:00 pm!) by the kind and elderly immigrant gentlemen who were playing chess at the table next to us. Their praise meant more than most, to us as older folks seem to have higher standards for kids' behavior and especially immigrants to the US seem to as well.

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I cannot for the life of me remember who made this for Amira, it was sent in a baby shower in a box from some of my virtual friends last year, and I lost all the emails I sent to the people who made the items when the computer died. So, to whomever made this, Amira fits in it now and is getting great use out of it. She still has a few items from that box that will fit her soon, so the knit and crocheted things have lasted her quite some time.

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Just for fun, here is our truckload of potatoes that the boys harvested from our basement windows. We have those recesses next to them, as they are lower than the ground, and some enterprising boys tossed some potatoes in there at one point, and they produced a crop.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fair Day!

After school today, we are taking the kids to the fair. They will get to go on rides and we will look at the exhibits - knitting, spinning, crochet, embroidery, sewing, quilting, canning, painting, photography - and the animals. I'm coming with all sorts of questions for the poultry, waterfowl, rabbitry and dairy folks and I know Rich will have questions for the beekeepers.

I've made a little progress on Little Boy Green, I have half of one side seam, the other side seam and the sleeve seams to go before I can do the neck. I'm not really thrilled with the side seams, but that is because of the way the st count was done. The pattern is a st st cable with a single purl st between the cable repeats, but at the sides you end up with two purl sts side by side. I'm sure I'll be the only person to notice it, but it annoys me. Since I don't want to cut into the size any more, I won't sew the seams closer to make it one st, but I'm hoping it will be lost in the sides, and not show too much.

My boss at the shop has given me a sample scarf to work up, drop st and garter, knit with angora, ribbon and a kind of sparkly, crunchy novelty yarn. It looks quite nice actually, though not my style, and the kit is supposed to have enough for a matching cap.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Progress on Little Boy Green

Last night during Laudate, I sewed the first raglan seam on Little Boy Green. I may have a FO within two weeks that Elijah can still wear! I have tomorrow at the shop, Sunday night, Bible study, my weekly women's group, Laudate and another day of work next week to get the seams sewn (not to mention all that waiting time when I'm picking up the boys from school) and then I can start on the neck. I don't think I will make it a turtle neck length as it is in the pattern, maybe a mock turtle neck.

I am working on a secret project for my secret pal, I'm hoping she enjoys it. Obviously, I won't be posting much about it or photos until after she knows I am her secret pal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Secret Pal 6 Questionnaire

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1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high-end/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

I am somewhat of a yarn snob. I prefer natural fibers, but do not look down on inexpensive yarns. In fact, I am a great shopper and love a bargain.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I just learned to spin almost two years ago, but haven't progressed much.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

Smoke, dogs.

4. How long have you been knitting?

20 years.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, a link is in my sidebar. Here is a link to make it easier: Amazon Wishlist: Knitting.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

Citrus, pear, melon/cucumber. I also like light florals, like jasmine, freesia and lilac. I do not like most vanilla or cinnamon scents (prefer the real thing) and don't like lavender at all.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

I am mostly a salty and crunchy snacker, but I have a weakness for good chocolate, caramel and sweet and sour candies, and I love the Trader Joe's Sweet & Salty Trek Mix.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I have been learning to sew in exchange for teaching a girl at our church to play the violin. I love cooking, baking and preserving.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like Big Band, Salsa, Salsa, Salsa, 80s pop, classical, some R & B, some contemporary Christian and worship music, really anything except rap, country, banda or vulgar lyrics. My computer can play cds, but I don't know if that means it will play MP3s, our DVD player does, though.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?

Red. Deep, true red. Blues of various sort, think oceans, skies, flowers, anywhere from the green end to the violet end. Yellow from butter to lemon. Rose and raspberry pink, but not much else pink.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I am married and have four children; three boys ages 7, 5 and 3 and an 18 month old daughter. No pets.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

I'd love to have about 30 acres on which we could keep a good sized flock of laying chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys, an apiary, a huge kitchen garden, an orchard, angora rabbits, and Dexter cattle. We are currently working toward part of this. We have five acres to work with, are getting chickens next year and three or four orchard trees, and adding more trees and new animals each year and Rich is building me an outdoor kitchen and working on preparing the yard for a large kitchen and herb garden.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Natural fibers, soft yarn, especially polwarth and merino wool, alpaca, angora and silk. I tend to knit between sport and aran weight yarn, except for socks, shawls and small projects for which I will use fingering or lace weight yarn.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I guess I'll say acrylic, even though there are some that I like, like Microspun from Lion Brand, because I'm so picky about it. I'm not a huge fan of most of the novelty yarns, but a little glimmer or something like boucle or ribbon is fun. I do like loopy mohair, it and baby mohair are about the only mohair I like.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Cables, as always. Any texture knitting or lace

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Pullovers, shawls and baby sweaters.

17. What are you knitting right now?

Aran Braid socks for myself, a cabled and texture sweater for my middle son, a bolero for my daughter, and some finishing work on a sweater for my youngest son.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

I have found very few of which I have a good opinion.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

In general I prefer circulars. However, for small projects, I like 10" straights.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

In order of descending preference:

Aero Needles from long ago are my favorites
Nickel coated aluminum like Addis

Don't really like:

Aluminum (which is scratchy sounding and grates on my ears)

21. Are you a sock knitter?

I have knit socks and plan to knit more, but I am not a rabid sockster.

22. How did you learn to knit?

My mother taught me how to cast on and knit and purl while my teachers were on strike when I was in the 5th grade. She couldn't remember how to cast off or anything except basic knit/purl, so she brought me to a friend of hers who showed me how to cast off. The rest I learned from books and magazines.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

A baptismal gown that was meant for my second son, for a baptism that was 4 years ago. It's now planned for a grandchild.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

Wallace & Grommit, Chicken Run (really most of the Nick Park stuff), Veggie Tales anything. As for animals, sheep, of course, though chickens are pretty close.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

Favorite Christian holiday is Pascha/Easter, with Christmas a close second, favorite non-Christian holiday, probably a tie between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Yarn, books and vintage books and patterns.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Interweave Knits, and I would be incredibly grateful to receive the Summer 1998 issue.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Poetry in Stitches by Solveig Hisdal and Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??

The Diamond Patch Sweater from Just One More Row, the Rose Garland Shawl and anything fromHeirloom Knitting's Simply Stunning Collection.

30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like?

Well. I wear a 7 1/2 shoe in American sizes. My foot is almost nine inches long, and I like textured/cabled/lace socks more than bright, multi-colored socks, though I do like color (not just white/beige/black/navy).

Hope that helps! I'm off to check out my spoilee's list now.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Little Boy Green

At the sale and open house yesterday, one of the teachers lamented that she hadn't brought a project to work on with her. I immediately asked if she would be interested in weaving in ends on Little Boy Green, and she accepted! She finished all of one sleeve and all but five ends on the second. I may have this thing sewn up this year!

Last night I finished the balaclava for Fr. Jonathan. I haven't woven in the ends, because I am going to see if it fits him correctly after church today. If not, I can undo whatever needs correction, and if so, then the ends will be woven in and all will be well.

I bought a whole lot of yarn at the sale, six skeins of Calmer in Chiffon, six skeins of Tahki New Tweed in a periwinkle color, a skein of Noro Silk Garden in greens, purples and charcoal and three skeins of the discontinued Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in a sage green shade.

Aside from Edgar in the new Knitty (which I am considering), what can I make with one skein of Silk Garden? I'm trying to decide if I will knit gifts for the boys' teachers for Christmas this year, and have decided on two projects, but not the third.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Brother In Law

My BIL left tonight for Louisiana to help with the rescue and aid attempts. Please be in prayer for him and those he can help.

School Days, School Days, Good Old Golden Rules Days

Fortunately, our kids are in school where they can discuss the Golden Rule. As an aside, I found this funny: There was a call in show about morality, the fellow asked how people who weren't religious defined their source of morality and the code of morality by which they lived. One man called in and said that he didn't believe in any God or the Bible and just "did unto others as he would have done unto him." He said this without laughing and did not seem to find any irony in his statement.

Anyway, now that these last few weeks of getting kids ready for school-canning at all hours of the night-preparing for the new year's study for Laudate-cleaning the house-figuring out the budget-working at the yarn shop-interacting with friends here and far away-trying to get a few last trips and hurrahs in before summer's end-not knitting as much as I'd like are over, I am better able to knit and post and keep up. This first week of school, Dominic has half days, so I'm still not as able to get things done as I'd like, but next week both will be there all day. Having some more one on one time with both Elijah and Amira has been a nice thing even just yesterday and today.

So, here is the long awaited photo of the dyed camel. Evidently, everything I had ever learned about camel down and it not taking dye well was a lie. It sucked up my double concentration dye from the solution before I had even gotten all the fiber in the pot, and I didn't have any more black cherry kool aid to use. So, it is a bit variegated, which I didn't want, but the darker parts are the color I was going for. I haven't been able to find black cherry kool aid at our grocery store anymore, so am in search of it now. I plan to redye the yarn, and at least if it is variegated, it will be more subtle and darker.

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Also, here is a somewhat blurry shot of the Los Lobe Hose.

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And an even blurrier shot of the beaded earrings I needle tatted.

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This past weekend was quite a whirlwind. Rich and I took Friday off, got babysitters and flew to Richland to pick peaches and visit with the kids' godparents, who took us out to lunch at a great Mexican restaurant and showed us the addition to their home. We brought back 63 pounds of peaches, which we then made into peach chutney, peach pies (four), peach and raspberry clafouti, peach oatmeal, peach jelly, peach butter, and ate fresh. We still have peaches which are being sent with the kids to school in their lunches and we gave away about 15 pounds to friends. Saturday, I worked at the shop while Rich prepared peaches for canning, and played with the kids in our little pool. Sunday, after church, we visited with some friends who have a daughter who is a year younger than Amira, and then had our priest's family over for dinner at our house, they spent the night and we played games, watched movies, took walks around the perimeter road on the airport, and had a great time. It hurt the next day, though, when we all woke up exhausted. However, I was able to get a nap in on Monday afternoon while Rich went flying with a friend of ours.

One of our priests is a chaplain in the Army and he is being deployed sometime this coming winter, so I have been knitting him a balaclava in a sand color (the oatmeal shade of Knit Picks Elegance). He requested some short row shaping around his nose, so as not to smash it in. His wife will be here with their three children while he is away for at least a year. Fortunately, their kids are older, quite responsible and helpful around their home, they are a credit to their family and will aid their mother much I am sure.

I'm almost finished with Amira's bolero, almost finished with the first sock of the Aran Braid pair, stalled on both Elijah and Dominic's sweaters, but now with school pick ups, I'm getting a little more knitting time. I want to be finished with the balaclava as soon as possible, so I can have it ready whenever Fr. Jonathan is called away.

Tomorrow is the first night of our new Laudate series. We will be discussing the virtues and developing character, using the fruits of the Spirit as our framework, one per month, and ending with chastity as a corollary to all of them. We start on Love tomorrow, and what it means, and will continue with the implications and practical application to other character qualities and virtuous behavior and thought through this month. However, I may be missing our first night, as I might be needed to lead a knitting 911 class at the shop while the regular teacher is gone. I will find out if another teacher can do it or not today.

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