Monday, May 29, 2006

I guess it's summer now

Well, the good intentions about walking have ground to an abrupt halt. As Bezzie mentioned in the comments, the upper Midwest is too gawd-awful hot and humid to do a thing besides hang out in air-conditioned comfort sipping iced tea. My family seems to have a collective case of the grumpies. Did you know that's contagious? I didn't know that Mr. SABLE has such a strong puritan streak in him when we moved in together in 1984. But he has a hard time doing nothing, especially when he perceives that there are things that ought to be done. And he's willing to sacrifice family harmony to inflict his agenda on the rest of us. So, he's out mowing away in the blistering heat and working up a sweat for which he will try to make me feel guilty.

To answer Marji's question, the path progress is slow.

Here's the progress photo. Mr. SABLE has been laying in the bags of gravel as they dig to help figure out how much it will take and to keep the holes from becoming mud pits in the torrential downpours we've been having. When he gets to where the path bends, he can empty all the bags and proceed with the sand layer. I think I'll enjoy helping with the brick layer. That's the fun part where it really starts to look like something. Plus, it's like doing the world's easiest jigsaw puzzle.

Here's a progress picture of the purple cardigan thing.

Of course, the two days of transitional weather that inspired it are long gone and will not be back until late September. But that's ok; I'll be ready! Whether or not I'll get this pattern ready for early June release remains to be seen. I want it up to coincide with something else that will be happening, to take advantage of any new traffic.

To all of you who comment: thanks! I don't always answer personally, in part because so many of you don't have your email tied to your Blogger accounts. But if you leave a link to your blog, I always love to go see what you've been up to.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Young Love

It was the Little Emperor's last day of preschool. Yesterday was "Meet at the Zoo" day (parents included) and today was "Picnic in the Park" day (parents included again). So, for me, the last day of preschool was actually Tuesday. We usually have fun when it's just the two of us. But when we add big brother into the mix, it gets a little difficult.

The picture is one of my little guy with the object of his affection. She sometimes reciprocates. He turned around and glared when he saw I was taking pictures. I felt like papparazzi.

I cast off the body part of the purple cardigan last night. Unfortunately, a long sedentary winter has led to more of a pear shape than ever. I think I should have put some increases in the area under the sleeves. It could use a bit of flare just to get over the spread. I really hoped to get it done fast and have a pattern ready by early June. If I have to reknit the bottom 10 inches, that won't happen. I think I'll finish up the sleeves, band, and collar and then try to block in a little extra girth.

And start walking again!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Crawling around in the yard again.

You might get the idea that I love gardening, but in fact I don't. I like the results, so I'm willing to do the work, but I don't actually enjoy the process very much. I don't like meeting up with new friends of the invertebrate variety, creatures with either too many legs or not enough. Even vertebrates aren't always my idea of buddies, though they come a lot closer.

The most often asked question I get on my blog is, "What camera do you use?" I have an Olympus Camedia C-5060 WideZoom, 5.1 megapixels.

Our yard is quite large by city-lot standards. We live at the end of a circle and our back property line is 3 backyards wide. I suspect that we will eventually have a lovely garden, but it isn't there yet. When we bought the house, the yard had been seriously neglected for about 20 years. It's been a slow and not very purposeful trek toward reclaiming and beautifying. We've come a long way, but there's a long way to go.

Obligatory knitting content: I hope to have the purple cardigan off the needles soon so I can get the pattern ready by early June. Unfortunately, my kids are rushing headlong into summer break, which might spell the end of my sanity until September. We'll see.

My Garter Belt pals and I hope to have our fitted shells for every body available for early July. Still lots of time to get some wear before the end of summer.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lots of Miscellany: Photo-heavy post

Does it count as stash enhancement if I have immediate plans for it? The Hempathy is going to become a summer shell, I think. I bought 10 of them, but thought you only need to see 4. I know it won't be the right gauge for the three-way project that the two Wendies and I have in mind, but it seemed so irresistable in the yarn store.

The Dale Baby Ull is for a sweater for a friend's grandbaby. I'll probably do the Beatrix pattern in the boy version: navy with orange, yellow, and purple diamonds.

Next we have The Little Emperor sitting on a pile of bags of gravel, next to a pallet of bricks. My guys have all been assigned to channel the male-digging urge to building a brick walk around from the front yard, past the screen porch, to the back patio. Then we can work on beautifying the beds on either side of the walk, which have been a random assemblage of haphazardly planted perennials, volunteers, and a lot of weeds.

Finally, a little Magna Doodle art, by yours truly. My husband took the picture before the kids saw it and destroyed it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Think I'm a Spinner

And a closer view

In the top photo, the skein on the right is the first one you saw last week. Here's two more, getting thinner and more consistent. I had a few mishaps plying but it's all part of the learning process.

And, today I learned a trick about getting successful results taking pictures of dark yarns. I found the +/- light control on my camera. Eureka! No more overexposed dark yarn. YAY.

The Little Emperor is beckoning.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Work in Progress

Front View

Back View

My new WIP. I'm excited about this one because I think it will solve a wardrobe deficiency of mine. It will give me a comfy cardigan to put over short sleeves on cool-but-not-cold days. Eventually there will be a pattern, too, sized from very small to very large.

When I looked at the photo of the back view, I realized i was this close to losing stitches! Whew. Read more about the design decisions and process for this project at The Garter Belt Design Blog.

Alishar Pullover

The Alishar Pullover is an easy-fitting color-patterned raglan. The sweater is worked in the round from the bottom up in three pieces, body and two sleeves, which are joined at the yoke and worked in one piece to the top. Motifs are drawn from traditional Turkish sock designs.

Uses light worsted weight/DK yarn at about 110 yards/50 grams.

Pattern is written in 5 sizes, from 38-54 inches in four inch increments.

Available for immediate download $5 US
Add to Cart View Cart

Thursday, May 11, 2006

First Yarn From New Wheel!

Here it is! The first real yarn I've made with the new wheel. This was from some Corriedale roving that I bought when I bought the wheel. I bought about 8 oz. of this, so there's a bunch more. I can tell that next skein will be quite different from this one, as my yarn is getting thinner and more consistent. It's very exciting to get results that are actually knittable and not an embarrassment.

It's hard to photograph these colors accurately. There's mostly black, some brown, and some streaks of light blue and cobalt blue. Maybe a little streak of grey here and there, too. My camera wants to overexpose the picture when I have just the yarn. I finally got this pic by setting the yarn on some white paper to bring up the value that the meter is seeing. Then, I cropped out the paper to get just my yarn at the correct exposure.

It's very dark and overcast here today. We're having the kind of weather I expect earlier in the spring: windy, rainy, brisk. Perfect weather for staying in and spinning or knitting.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dandelion Dye!

I picked a mass of dandelions in my yard today: about half-filled a 12 qt pot. Covered with water and brought to a simmer for a while, stirring occasionally. I parked that pan outside on the patio to cool a bit.

Then found some ancient (1940's?) yarn in the stash to dye. Two 1 oz balls of white "Jumper Floss", a shetlandy-kind of wool, and a 2 oz hank of of some pinkish baby wool. One thing I remember hearing years ago was that mothproofing can interfere with natural dyes. These didn't say "mothproof" on the label. Also, I got them at thrift shops for small change, which is good when one is experimenting!

In my other dyepot, I prepared the mordant: I used about a Tbsp each of kitchen alum and cream of tartar. Brought the hanks of yarn to a gentle simmer and went off and forgot them. Came back later to a rolling boil. Oh well. The yarn seemed fine.

I poured off the mordant and rinsed the yarn in hot water and put it back in the pot. I went out and got my dandelion solution. Strained out the dandelions and put the liquid in with the yarn. I slowly simmered the yarn in the dye bath, then allowed to cool in the water outdoors for a couple hours more. Interestingly, the dandelion dyebath smelled like artichokes. The white turned a nice yellow and the pink turned a darker yellow. I'm pretty pleased with the way these turned out. I wasn't sure I would get an intense enough color saturation, but I think I did. Now I'm eager to try other natural dyes that take with non-toxic mordants. Next week, it's dandelion roots, which I'm told make purple!

I Is For Intrepid or Immersed

The Little Emperor has his first outdoor swim of the year yesterday at Gov. Dodge State Park. The water was quite chilly and there was a stiff breeze. He got fully immersed (an other "I" word). Although there were a few other souls on the beach, no one else was actually getting in the water.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

First photo: the yarn I made on the drop spindle from the roving from Rainbow Fleece Farms. There's still a little more to spin. I think I'm getting very nice, even results on the drop spindle.

Second photo: a close up of the stitch I'm using for a new top-down project. This is the wool/silk blend I bought at Blackberry Ridge in the fall. I'm hoping for a cardigan I can wear over short sleeve or sleeveless tops and it will be nice in transitional weather without making me itch.

Photos 3 and 4 are my efforts at spinning some lovely corriedale I bought from Susan when I bought the wheel. Pictures of yarn on the bobbins never look all that sexy, but I'm pleased with my progress. Yes, there's room for improvement, but it's coming along.

My library system has many titles on spinning in their catalog. I ordered about 12 of them the other night and some are waiting at my branch for me to pick them up this evening. I can't wait.