Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Electric Slide Socks in Progress and Fawns

These socks are an experiment to see if 64 stitches knit on my new Knitpicks Harmony 2.25 mm needles will fit my narrow feet.

In order to use a pattern in the past I've needed to reduce the stitch count to 56 to 60 stitches with 2.5 mm Addis or use 2.00 mm Addis. The stitch reduction doesn't work with most complex stitch patterns. The 2.00 Addis make a fabric that's too tight for my taste. I'm hoping these needles are the answer.

So far the cuff fits great.

Pattern: Electric Slide by Megan Humphrey

Note added October 2: So many requests for this pattern. It really is a nice one. I'm sorry to report it's not available for distribution right now. I'm test knitting and will be sure and blog about it when the pattern is available for everyone.

Yarn: Opal

Color: Neon 1931

Needles: Knitpicks Harmony 2.25 mm

These twins popped out of the woods to check out the bulldozer/trackhoe damage.

This is the first time I've seen them since they outgrew their spots.

Hopefully they're also being taught not to run out in front of cars and trucks.

Their Mom is back in the trees out of sight.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday's Feast for September 28

It's Friday, so let's have a Feast.

But first, let me ask you a question.

What does the Ravelry slogan "where my stitches at?™" come from? What does it mean? Is this cool talk I should understand?

Please please enlighten me. It's driving me to distraction every time I go the Ravelry website and see this wretched English.

Appetizer - How are you today?

Very well, thank you.

Soup - Name 3 television shows you watch on a regular basis.

None. We don't have cable and haven't invested in a dish. We listen to the radio, audio books, and do a lot of reading.

Salad - What’s the scariest weather situation you’ve experienced?

Driving in a blizzard and getting into a whiteout condition.

It was like someone threw a blanket over the car. I couldn't see one inch out of the window and had to stop. There was much worry about what idiots on the road weren't going to stop until they plowed into my car. (This is how multicar pileups happen during snowstorms.)

Staying in the car is risky. Leaving the car is suicidal. Aided by the total feelings of helplessness and disorientation, the only thing it makes any sense to do is throw up.

Main Course - If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be?

Switzerland, original home of my maternal grandparents and my mother's birthplace.

Dessert - What do you usually wear to sleep?

A long cotton tee in the warm weather and a warm flannel nightgown the other nine months of the year.

A good flannel nightgown is hard to find. Especially in a petite size so my hands aren't covered by the sleeves.

Just last night I decided my favorite flannel nightgown was worn threadbare and ordered another exactly like it from L.L.Bean.

How sweet that I was able to purcahse a duplicate five years after the original purchase.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Shawlette Finished

Pattern: Summer Shawlette, a short Faroese lacy shawl designed by Sandi Wiseheart.

Yarn: Knitpicks Andean Treasure. 100% baby alpaca in sport weight.

Color: Lilac Heather.

Needles: #9

Gauge: 4 stitches/inch

The Faroese shaped shawlette is knit top down like the shawls in Stahman Shawls and Scarves. It would be easy to make it a little longer if desired. I like the length it turned out.

I used three balls of Andean Treasure with only a few feet left over. My swatch was knit with a ball from a different dye lot, so not an inch of yarn was wasted. I highly recommend buying four balls unless you've got very good nerves and extremely good luck.

Even thought I used a #9 needle when the pattern called for a #10, the shawlette blocked out to 16 inches long in the back, a half inch longer than the pattern measurement.

I knit moderately loose and often go down a needle size from what is listed in a pattern.

No doubt about it, the back is the prettiest side of this shawl.

This is a great project for almost instant knitting gratification. Before you're tired of the project, it's done.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Alpaca, Gravel, and Rescue Dogs

A few questions from the comments that need answering:

(Or, I really need something to blog about and I'm sure glad someone asked something to get me going. Thanks.)

Wendy asked . . .
How bad does Treasure shred when you compare it to Knit Picks' Alpaca cloud?

I'm a moderately loose knitter and I've not had a problem with Andean Treasure shredding. It is a little fuzzy in a good way. The few times I needed to tink back, I was gentle with pulling the stitches apart.

The one scarf I knit using Alpaca Cloud didn't shred, either. Maybe because I used the yarn double.

Is shredding a common problem with alpaca?

Summer Shawlette knit with Lilac Heather Andean Treasure is done, washed, and blocked.

I won't consider it officially finished until the modeled pictures are taken, but here is a view of the very simple but pretty arrow lace panel down the back panel.

Peggy asked . . .
Will they at least put down some gravel so the road doesn't turn into solid ice during winter?

As part of the project, the roadbed has been built up with gravel. However, that doesn't mean it won't turn into ice.

Once the first snow has been packed into the gravel, it always does turn into ice and gets so packed down that it's one of the last things to thaw in the spring. Could be that will change now that the road isn't entirely shaded.

This is the view out my front window this afternoon.

The warm brown starting about a third of the way up from the picture bottom is the road. The very unnatural bluish-green color on the far side of the road is hydroseed. A county truck came by this afternoon with a guy standing up in the truck bed spraying the stuff. His precision and tidiness left a lot to be desired.

The dirt at the bottom of the picture is our yard. It's still very rough - you can see the bulldozer tracks. The county is supposedly going to rake it smooth and then hydroseed.

Sue J. asked . . .
Aren't rescue dogs just the greatest?!

One of my favorite subjects although I do worry about people taking rescue dogs who may not be prepared with the patience and/or knowledge to give them the special care they need.

A rescue dog almost always comes with "issues". Getting them past the issues and turning them into the great dogs they were meant to be is part of the reward. It doesn't happen overnight and often involves doggy medical expenses.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blahs, Blobs, and Saturday Sky

I confess to spending the past week in the blahs, which includes blogging blahs and explains my lack of posts.

At least it explains as much as possible, because I can't explain the blahs. It happens every fall yet it's always a surprise.

There has been knitting. But no blocking. Therefore, I now have two knitted blobs.

That's Mystery Stole 3 on the left.

On the right is Summer Shawlette, finished and waiting to be washed and blocked.

It's a symptom of my blahs that neither of them is ready to be admired and worn.

It was a beautiful early autumn day today.

Some of the birds have headed south, but the Cardinals stick around all year.

Because of the drought we had this summer, many of the plants the birds rely on for seeds didn't produce. The feeders will be full of hungry birds this winter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shawlette Started, Road Done

When my Knitpicks box arrived yesterday, I couldn't resist casting right on.

The yarn, Andean Treasure, is my favorite Knitpicks yarn. The baby alpaca is a delight to touch, soft to wear, and the heathery colors are all so pretty. It's like an angora yarn without the excessive fuzz.

Ever since I finished Grasshopper, I've been searching for another project that might work well in Andean Treasure. It doesn't have good stitch definition for the types of patterns that appeal to me and it's not hardy enough for socks, so it's taken a while to come up with something I like.

When I saw the Summer Shawlette for the tenth time, all of a sudden it clicked - I bet that would be wonderful in Andean Treasure.

I'm taking a break from all other projects (meaning Autumn Song) to enjoy knitting this shawlette until it's done. I don't think it's going to take very long.

Pattern: Summer Shawlette, a short Faroese lacy shawl designed by Sandi Wiseheart.

Yarn: Knitpicks Andean Treasure. 100% baby alpaca in sport weight.

Color: Lilac. It's soft and heathery.

Needles: #9

Gauge: 4 stitches/inch

Monday afternoon the road construction guys came down the road with an auger and put our mailboxes back in place. Done!

Over half of my many mature shade garden footage is now in the sun. I'm looking forward to planting some of my favorite sun loving plants, but mostly we're going to cover the former garden spots with grass.

Here's a peek down the finished road. It's wider and there are no longer trees in the right of way. Instead of hitting a tree when sliding off in the winter, one can now drop down ten feet into the creek. I'm not sure that's an improvement.

There is talk about not paving the road next year. One construction man told DH that with all the moisture in the ground, the pavement wouldn't hold up and he didn't think it would ever be paved.

Later, a different construction man said he thought it was 90% probable the road would be paved. Which, to me, means there are no definite plans/budget/money for the paving. Michigan is broke. It's likely the first guy will be proven right.

But it's certainly made for an interesting summer.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Autumn Song and Early Frost

Frost was waiting out in the field for today's early morning dog walk.

This has been a weird weather year - a late spring with hardly any rain, a summer long drought, a tree flattening wind storm, and now frost in September.

October is the month when we in SW Michigan expect our first frost. October! Hear that, Mr. Frost Fairy?

Now go away for a few more weeks. I still have hostas to transplant and I can't see where they are if they've been frosted to the ground.

Mystery Stole 3 is done but not blocked.

I'm down to one project, Autumn Song.

There are six oak leaves up the front and six oak leaves up the back. The back (shown) is on the fifth leaf. The front, identical to the back, is on the third leaf.

I'm setting the back aside until the front catches up. Then, before I can go on, I need to figure out how the front and back narrow to the neck.

Pattern: Herbstlied (Autumn Song) from New Style of Heirloom Knitting.

Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, 100% wool.

Color: Firecracker heather

Needles: Options #5.

Gauge: 5.5 stitches/inch, 8.4 rows/inch in pattern

Click on the label Herbstlied at the end of this post to see all posts on this blog mentioning Herbstlied.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Early Autumn Babble

It's early autumn in SW Michigan. There's a hint of color in the trees and there have been several days this week when it never reached 70 degrees.

Tomorrow night the predicted low is in the 30s. That's enough cold to make me think about turning on the furnace.

There hasn't been much knitting this week. I have 10 rows left on Mystery Stole 3. Hope to finish it this evening.

Bob's birthday socks are waiting on a Bretton yarn shipment from Patternworks. It was shipped two days ago so it could arrive any day now.

Autumn Song has been sitting around untouched but not forgotten. I'll be picking it up again very soon.

This week I surprised myself by having an irresistible urge to knit the Summer Shawlette, a short Faroese lacy shawl designed by Sandi Wiseheart.

Checking my stash, I found some heathery grape alpaca that was perfect, but I didn't have enough. So there's a Knitpicks package on the way.

Once the yarn arrives, this project is going to the front of the queue. At four stitches an inch, it shouldn't take long to finish.

Here's looking across the now treeless front third of our front yard. I think they're done in front of our house.

The Road Commission decided they could not move the road five feet up into our property because the creek is in the way. Duh? They didn't see the creek until they took down 30+ trees?

Anyway, that's good news for us. The road in front of our house is staying on the same road bed - unless they change their mind again. There's enough sunshine in the front yard so I can plant grass and there will be a lot less leaves to rake up this autumn.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dogs Speak Out on Road Construction

I'm Glory, the "big dog".

Unlike the little dogs, I've learned to deal with the road construction. In fact, some things about it are even fun.

My favorite part of road construction is the nightly drive down to the far end of the road to pick up the mail. I'm always the first one in the car and ready to drive if need be.

There's never been so many things to bark at. I especially like to bark when one of the men slams their truck door. All I have to do is one good bark and the silly little dogs are up and at attention barking right along with me. The three of us barking together are almost as loud as the construction equipment.

I'm Sunny, the princess.

Evidently the construction workers don't honor royalty. I want to take a nap, but I can't sleep with a bulldozer working in the front yard.

Isn't it time for those guys to go home?

I'm Pappy, the littlest dog.

I'm not a youngster anymore and I need my naps. It's impossible to sleep properly around here in the daytime. Every time I doze off, there's a big noise and/or Glory thinks it's time to bark at the construction guys.

I am so tired.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Naming William Wiggles

(Or How I Won This Yarn)

The red knitting I've been doing lately is not going to end until I knit something with this gorgeous yarn I received from Leah.

It arrived wrapped in the paw print tissue and with a little note saying, "Please excuse the Papillon hair." Of course! Papillon hair makes everything a little more precious - except something I plan on eating.

This is Araucania Ranco fingering weight yarn, 75% wool 25% polyamide, hand dyed in Chile.

The color is a beautiful, deep, warm rusty red. In the sunlight it looks like a carnelian stone. Leah must have been studying my color preferences to get it so perfect.

It's the color mate to the Firecracker Heather yarn I'm using for Autumn Song. Now I need to find the perfect sock pattern.

Ace the rescue Papillon Last May Leah fostered a one year old Papillon rescued from a puppy mill. He was temporarily named Ace.

I fell in cyber love and was tempted to drive to Nashville, Tennessee and adopt him. Fortunately, DH Bob and I have an agreement that three dogs is all we can handle. As long as one of us stays sane when the other is tempted, we're OK.

Bob stayed sane and I started praying for Ace to find a good home.

This story has a happy ending.

A while later Leah blogged about how quickly Ace was learning to be a happy, healthy dog. Leah's mother nick-named him "Mr. Wiggles".

In August Leah decided Ace/Mr. Wiggles was going to have his forever home right where he lived - at Leah's house. She had a contest to name him.

Leah announced the contest winner on August 28:
Contest Winner - The Winner for choosing Ace’s new name is…….DRUM ROLL…Marguerite. She suggested the name William and teasingly wrote that he could be called Willy Wiggles. I fought the need to name him this as I am not sure I want a “Willy.” It just seems so undignified. It is just a thing of Fate and cannot be avoided. My thoughts are I will call him Will and put the ‘eee’ sound on it when I need to. Wiggles. Darn it.

The honor of naming sweet William was prize enough, but I sure do love the yarn. I wish William and Leah many happy years together.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Red Scarf Finished and Prize Box Received

First I have to show you the cool stuff I won in the Red Scarf Project 2008 drawing.

If you don't know about the Red Scarf Project, or even better, if you want to donate, go here.

My prize box contained:

Homemade plum jam by Norma. As I started to write this, I realized that I could rave about it better if I tried some. So off to the kitchen I went, opened the jam, and spread it onto a warm piece of flaxseed bread. It was so good I offered a bite to DH Bob. He ended up eating half and now I have to share the rest of the jar.

Thank you Norma. It's a real treat and we're going to enjoy every last drop of it.

Real Vermonter Yarn. 440 yards of fingering weight, 70% mohair, 30% Romney/Corriedale, in a deep pink blend called Girls Night Out. Always a pleasure to get special yarn in the mail.

Autographed picture of Ryan Serhant.

Ryan will be debuting on As the World Turns in November. Then you will all know who he is and will be begging me for this picture.

Seriously, his resume is impressive for a young man and he is certainly easy to look at. I'm hanging onto this picture.

Pattern: 8 X 60 inch rectangular scarf using the stitch pattern from The Jeffrey Seamen's Scarf in Stahman Shawls and Scarves.

There's a closeup of the stitch pattern here.

Yarn: Knitpicks worsted weight Swish, 100% superwash wool.

Color: Red

Needles: #7 Addi Turbo

Gauge: ~5 stitches/inch

As mentioned here, I found this a difficult stitch pattern to knit without paying close attention.

Even so, it rates high in all the other things I like in a scarf stitch pattern:
  • It's interesting.
  • It looks great on both sides of the fabric.
  • It looks great right side up and upside down.
  • It's unisex - important for the Red Scarf Project.
  • It lays flat.

It was knit with good wishes and prayers for the student who will received it. I hope when they wear it they feel as special as they are.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lots of Little Updates . . .

. . . with knitting first. So, if you only stop by for knitting content you can be quickly on your way. Except you may want to check out the handsome dog toward the end.

On the Needles. Still working away on the Red Scarf.

17 out of 20 pattern repeats are done. I hope to finish it today and mail it next week. No more pictures until it's done.

Next up - finish Mystery Stole 3, get busy on Autumn Song, and knit a pair of worsted weight birthday socks for DH Bob.

Downed Oak Tree Followup. The tree was cut into liftable logs, loaded into a truck, and carried it away by someone who wanted the fire wood.

Sounds quick and easy, but it took him two days and many trips. We were blessed with the sound of the chain saw added to the sounds of the track hoe, bulldozer, road grader, and dump trucks. It has not been a quiet week.

We have a new Microwave, a new hair dryer, two new surge strips, and a new modem to replace the devices that got fried when the tree came down on the power lines.

The hair dryer was a bit of a surprise. I leave my hair dryer plugged in. Not a good thing when you have a huge power surge. When I went to turn it on Tuesday morning, nothing happened. I calmly pushed the RESET button and WHAM! Just about blew the plug out of the socket and tripped the circuit breaker.

I didn't give it a second try.

Road Construction. As mentioned above, it was another noisy week on our formerly quiet country road. In addition to the noise, this week was heavy into dust. Or, more accurately, there was heavy dust.

You can guess at what a constant parade of these trucks does to a house. A fastidious housekeeper would be in tears.

Kimmy Starts 7th Grade. As predicted - by me, not Kimmy - Granddaughter Kimmy had no problem finding her way around her new, much larger school. She likes some of her teachers, is adjusting to her new surroundings, and all is well.

Pappy's Hot Spots. They're healed. He still chews on himself occasionally. So far it hasn't been enough to start a new serious problem.

We've learned a bit about reducing doggy stress during difficult construction days.
  • Sit down so they can snuggle up. I've been reading more than usual while soothing the two little dogs.

  • After a loud day with no doggy naps possible, skip doggy school. They're too tired to enjoy it.

  • Schedule outdoor walks every few hours and make them mandatory. Freaked out and/or overtired little dogs will pee in the house.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Red Scarf on the Needles

This scarf is for the Red Scarf Project . The scarves collected in September and October will be sent in Valentine's Day care packages to encourage former foster care youth who are now attending college.

When I read about the project a few weeks ago, it sounded like the perfect match for the Swish superwash wool left over from the Red White Gansey. Since I have a self-imposed three project limit, I had to wait until the I Love Gansey socks were done before casting on.

If I had it to start over, I'd pick a different stitch pattern. I was counting on this to be an easy, quick knit, but this stitch pattern hasn't sunk into my brain to the point I can knit without looking at the chart yet. I'm not sure it's going to.

The pins are marking Row 1 of the pattern repeat. It will take 20 repeats to make a 60 inch scarf, the requested length. Since I'm a fourth done there isn't going to be any frogging to start something more compatible with my brain. I'll just keep knitting from the chart.

Pattern: 8 X 60 inch rectangular scarf using the stitch pattern from The Jeffrey Seamen's Scarf in Stahman Shawls and Scarves.

Yarn: Knitpicks worsted weight Swish, 100% superwash wool.

Color: Red

Needles: #7 Addi Turbo

Gauge: ~5 stitches/inch

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Love Gansey Socks Done

The sock on the right is turned on the sock blocker to show the hearts running down the back and onto the heel.

An identical but longer row of hearts runs down the instep all the way to the start of the toe shaping.

Pattern: I Love Gansey Sock designed by Janine LeCras for the Six Sock Knitalong

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: UNI-Solid red

Needles: Addi Turbo #1, but with all the two stitch cable crossings in this sock I wish I had some sharp pointed Options needles.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch in stockinette

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tree Down, Power Out

It was a beautiful summer night with twinkling stars and moonlight. Cool enough for good sleeping, warm enough to have all the windows open.

2:30 am this triple oak decided it was time to become a double oak. A section about two feet in diameter cracked off and landed on every freshly repaired power line it could manage, bringing some lines down and blowing the transformer.

Bob was awake when it happened. I wasn't. But, of course, Bob and the dogs didn't want me to sleep through all the fun so they woke me up immediately to help figure out what was going on.

It took Consumer's Energy about an hour to get here with a chain saw. The poor guy was out there at 3:30 in the morning sawing off oak limbs while every dog in the neighborhood was barking at him.

I went back to bed about 4:00 am, still with no power. The repair crew arrived at 6:00. Dogs went berserk. There was no sleeping through it. The power was back on about 7:30.

Here's the long view up the neighbor's front yard from the road after power was restored.

The oak is on the edge of our property. It fell right over the fence into the neighbor's yard. The brown leaves behind the fallen oak truck belong to the downed willow responsible for last week's four day power outage.

The microwave was fried. We drove to Kalamazoo and bought a new one this afternoon.

Bob's power strip was fried. He bought a new one and decided to take a much needed nap before checking out the damage to his desktop computer. He's still sleeping.

My laptop seems have made it though without a problem. I also need a nap.

Maybe tomorrow I can blog about knitting.

Mentioning tomorrow reminds me that the road crew will be back to work 7:00 am tomorrow morning. There's no hope I can sleep in. A Track hoe is parked right at our property line. Right behind it is a bulldozer. When the guys arrive and park their trucks in front of the house, the dogs will go nuts.

This picture is my front yard. Landscaping by the County Road Commission.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Nothing About Knitting

September 1 finds me behind in almost everything, large and small, and wondering where the summer went. There has been no knitting this week and blogging has been a bit sparse as well.

Some things are much more important than others, such as getting together with granddaughter Kimmy on the last week of her summer vacation.

She's a little apprehensive about starting middle school Tuesday - new school system, new friends. Those who know her know she won't have any trouble making new friends and finding her way around. I predict she'll be feeling confident by Friday.

Daughter-in-Law Anne sent me the sweetest email including a note from two year old Granddaughter Sydney: "nhgl". Sydney says that means "I lug you."

I'm working up my courage to book another flight to Idaho on Northwest Airlines, the airline most likely to cancel flights because they are incapable of scheduling their personnel. The last two trips taken I got home a day later than scheduled. Will they make it three in a row?

Dave, my very talented brother who makes trumpets in Oregon, has recently been in the news with the Elysian Trumpet, a gold and jeweled work of acoustical and artistic beauty dedicated to the memory of Irvin Mayfield, Sr. and all of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

If you have interests in metal working, design, or New Orleans Jazz, you'll want to look it over.

Yesterday I woke up to the sounds of DING DING DING and RUMBLE RUMBLE. It was time to replace the culvert on our East property line.

We had a great view of the process out the east window and spent most of the day watching while cuddling nervous dogs. It's not done yet. Thankfully the dogs have three days of quiet to catch up on their sleep before the racket starts up again on Tuesday.