Saturday, September 29, 2007

No More Early Mornings!

Monday is the last morning I'll have to get up at 6:15 this year! Not that I mind getting up early in the summer when the sun is peaking over the trees & the birds are waking up. When it's warm enough to sit outside on the patio with a cup of fresh tea in my PJs with the cat sunning herself in the chair, I'm quite happy to get up. But, when it's cold, damp, drizzly & still dark - I don't think so. Especially when it's winter in the morning, summer at lunchtime & late fall by 5:30, what do you wear???? I am quite frustrated by the weather these days & would rather sleep in till the sun comes out.

I've been knitting like mad on my Arvik sweater. As you can see, it's almost long enough. And the color is closer to the actual color in this photo although it's still too light!! The color is more like the sample square but the photo shows the color variation well. I think I'm going to work on the sleeves this weekend - I want three-quarter sleeves since I'm always pushing them up anyway. I'm knitting two singles about fingering weight on 5mm needles - I love my Denise needles by the way - in a plain stockinette which is quite light & very stretchy. I figure it'll probably grow a little when I wear it so I'm just going to make it fingertip length. I don't want to spend my time sitting on it & stretching it even more in the back!! And I'm really looking forward to wearing it on these chilly mornings. The yarn has knit up so well that I'm considering spinning up more in this weight for a Faroese shawl that I can just wrap around me & tie when I'm working. I just love this color & I love the yarn!! And Arvik is growing me another fleece as I type . . . . . . .

I nearly fatally cooked the van this week. I've been trained to always check the oil & fill up the water reservoir when I gas up. And never, never, never put water directly into the rad! Well, my water pump went. The boys had been telling me all week - when I had no heat - that I needed a thermostat & it would get fixed it on the weekend. Well, good thing the mornings have been cold this week because I had no water circulating in the end & the boys were wrong. So, on Friday, I had three guys looking for a cheap car for me because I was sure I'd reduced the van to a boat anchor!! I got lucky. Turns out that by pulling over, letting it cool down twice & then running home, I saved it. Whew, I thought my fibre stash money was going onto a new old car . . . .

I finished another pair of socks! I needed a gift under $10 & I hate to shop. The yarn cost me $2.25 a ball & I used almost 2 balls & my time watching tv in the evenings. I figure I could buy a lot of junk for $10 or make what I'm good at. So they're getting my usual SOCKS. And they better not complain!!! This sock is from the last balls of Mexiko from a bag I bought several years ago when the Chocolate Shop in Abbotsford closed out. I got a huge discount on the yarn & then they chopped off more for buying the whole bag!!! I still have a couple of balls in one of the blue colorways but they're for me, eventually. Almost everyone I know has this orange/red Mexiko by now & I'm sick of it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch - I have no wheels till tomorrow when the mechanic comes. My mother, from out of town, calls. She's in town for the weekend & wants to spend some time together. Haven't seen or heard from her in almost 7 years till a phone call last month. I have to work Saturday, wait for the mechanic & do laundry Sunday, work Monday & she's heading home on Tuesday morning . . . . . .

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Is that Sunshine??

Well, it's been a cold, clammy week in my neck of the woods! The thermostat in my new-to-me Van is malfunctioning - another thing to get fixed!! The mornings are definitely wintry - cool enough to kill off most of my petunias but warm enough by the afternoon to make the zucchini flower again. Definitely wool weather! And I can't believe September is almost over!

Still plugging away on my Arvik sweater - I've added another 3 inches to it in the last week as well as finishing another pair of baby socks for the basket. My Ginny's Sweater, in shades of purple - the picture lies!!! - is next on the pile to be finished! I've actually measured it up to see if I could knit like crazy this weekend & finish it!! I think I could just about do it. Every morning this week I needed a sweater to wear & ended up dragging out my old Fuchsia acrylic sweater. I look like a bag lady when I wear it because it's so stretched out & full of pulls!! What is it they say about the mechanic driving the worst car????

I've been accepted into Ravelry - I must've applied a long time ago & forgotten or someone signed me up. I accepted the invitation because I wanted to find out what all the Hoo Haw is about. Not entirely sure what it's really all about but I have to do more research. I also joined the Langley Spinner's & Weaver's Guild this week. I've been ambivalent about joining another Guild after my experience in the last but apparently this one is different according to several member friends!! Actually, I shouldn't complain - I'm already signed up for the first Spinning Retreat organized by the guild for March. And speaking of Retreats, the Desert Mesa retreat is less than a month away. A little birdie told me that Desert Mesa is going to expand into a Spring Retreat as well - good news!! The Fall Retreat was filled up so quickly that some of the regulars couldn't get in this year! I wasn't able to afford to go last year but really enjoyed the experience the year before. So glad I was able to go this time & travel with a couple of goofy friends as well. I'm sure we'll have a ball!! Now to figure out what to bring for the gift exchange . . . . .

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday in the Rain

Another week has come & gone & I'm not sure just what I've accomplished. The washing & dishes are done & I know I've worked all week including Saturday but Just What Have I Accomplished??? Nothing. I feel like I'm in a bubble & Life is passing me by. And I'm not even sure exactly how I feel about it. Or, Am I supposed to feel something ??? Oh well, to hell with Philosophy & on with Knitting!

I did finish my Sisu Fantasy socks. They've been washed & are now hanging up drying. I loved the colorway when I bought it but it felt a little thicker than the Regia, Opal & Confetti I've been using so I knit it up on my 2.5mm skewer needles instead of my 2.25mm ones. I may've made an error but we'll see when they dry. It's amazing what a difference a simple .25mm can make!!

And I've been knitting on my Arvik sweater. I have no idea how to make it grey instead of this awful brown in the photo!! I only know how to point & shoot - obviously it's the wrong light!! But, it's actually shades of grey. You can see the colors in the last post. If you remember, it's knit from the neck down in one piece using Medrith Glover's Legal Loopholes as my inspiration. I'm using two singles of handspun in a lace weight to equal a sport weight in volume but maybe a baby yarn in actual weight. It's light & airy & knit in plain stockinette - I may put a seed stitch border on the bottom & cuffs but I'll have to wait & see how it actually looks when it's long enough.

I finally got my box of books from Amazon!! I pre-ordered the new Twisted Sisters Sweater book in June & added three more books to my order before it actually arrived this week. I'm quite excited about the Twisted Sisters book even though I've only glanced through it - they've used a variety of small to large models with the actual sweaters on!!! I got Lacy Little Knits - I fell in love with the Diagonal Lace Cardigan at the left, The Opinionated Knitter - need I say more???? & the Big Girl Knits. I really wanted the shaping techniques of BGK & the simplicity of EZ so I could start to design knitwear for myself for a change. I have the Boobs & the Belly to adjust for unless I starve for a year!! And that ain't gonna happen.

I particularly liked the shaping & lace pattern in this sweater & thought I could knit it for myself quite easily. Hey, it even goes up to a 62" bust!! I don't like the top of the sleeve - I think it has too much fabric & bunches under the arms but I think it's easy to correct by just picking up fewer stitches before knitting the sleeves. There's actually a couple of other sweaters that really grab me in the book as well - one's also a V-neck designed for boobs & belly. I find some of the styles to be a little strange or way too young but I'm supporting the book because it goes in the right direction. It talks frankly about generous proportions, tells you how to measure correctly. tries very hard to offer some real options & designs for real large women.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday morning

This week has given me taste of fall. The mornings are chilly but it's summer again by lunch. You need two changes of clothes per day or a warm sweater & sandals in your bag at all times. I was contemplating that Icelandic shawl but I've decided to finish my Arvik sweater instead. It's the sort of light but warm item that I really need right now.

I'm using Medrith Glover's Legal Loopholes pattern as my inspiration - Legal Loopholes is a short sleeved, raglan pullover that has additional clever increases for the front & back sections that don't affect the sleeves. This adds width to the body without adding unwanted bulk to the arms & armholes.

I thought the Legal Loopholes idea should transfer into a cardigan easily. I just want it lighter, longer, a little wider in front - to cover excess boobage & with three quarter sleeves. And all in one piece of course - I hate sewing things together!!

So, today I decided the sweater has priority. I started the neck shaping back in July & knit the first few increases & one set of the Loopholes increases. Then I got caught up with the baby socks project & it sat until this morning. When I tried to figure out where I was, I realized I'd goofed & had to tink back about 8 rows to get started again . . . . . sigh. But, the knitting goes very quickly on 5mm Denise needles with two strands of lace weight handspun. I got back on track & am now just completing my second set of Loophole increases.

Most raglan sweaters shape the back of the neck for a few rows & then add some extra stitches for the fronts. This pattern just goes straight into the front shaping & I'm now seriously concerned about whether this will work for a cardigan. Mind you, I rarely button a cardigan & would probably always wear it open in the front. Maybe I'm worrying for nothing. Something to consider though - oh well, I'll continue to knit & try it on when I've got my shoulders covered. At the rate this is knitting up, I should be down to the armholes by the end of the weekend.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

What happened??

It was summer a couple of days ago & it suddenly turned damp & grey. I did plan on spinning outside this weekend & maybe even dyeing up a few skeins while I had warm sunshine to dry them. I suppose it isn't that bad out there but certainly not what I had expected. Usually September is a most golden & glorious month in Vancouver. Warm days and balmy nights that get just cool enough for a good sleep. I can tell the weather has changed by the grinding ache in my lower back & right hip. I hope this isn't a warning of uglier things to come . . . . I don't care if the weather is hot or cold but it has to be dry!! I may be moving in the future!

I was actually spinning up some of my Brown Sheep Mill Ends last night while watching Fred & Ginger dance away the evening. Everyone always raves about what a terrific dancer Fred Astair was but have you ever noticed poor Ginger?? She dances every step on 3 or 4 inch platform shoes!!! I noticed that last night when she danced sideways up some stairs!! What an athlete she was. I think I noticed because my hip was twinging big time . . . . . as I was saying, I was trying to spin some yummy white wool which was also giving me hell - it kept pulling apart on me as I was trying to spin it. Then the darned stuff would continue to pull apart as I tried to get it going again!!! Grrrr I spin singles yarn with little twist most of the time & have had few problems in the past although my Indian spinner is a little crochetey & does tug a bit more than the newer models. But, we've had 35 or so years to become used to one another & I've spun everything from silk & dog hair on the old thing without too many problems.
I'm figuring this roving must be a wool/mohair blend which needs more twist but it's hard to remember to spin fast enough! I get in the zone, look at Ginger & Fred dance, relax &
boom. It pulls apart again! Gawd, maybe this is the bobbin I glued back together with "Tough as Nails", forgetting that the damned stuff would ooze into the inner cavity & give me trouble??? Oh oh, maybe that's the problem . . . . it's tugging more than usual, I'm spinning thinner than usual & it needs more twist??? Maybe I'll just change the bobbin.

I've been working on my Sisu Fantasy socks on & off for the last couple of evenings too. After all those baby socks, they seem to go on forever . . . . . but I tried on one this morning & they're almost to the toe shaping! I love them. They feel very nice on & are a little thicker than the other yarns I've been using. Nice for fall. Should be great for winter! Won't have to wait too long to wear them if the weather keeps on like this!

My jungle is enjoying the cooler, damper weather though. The fuchsias are blooming their little hearts out, the nasturtiums & geraniums are in full bloom & the ferns are looking very full & happy. And my pole beans are loaded with beans! Guess what I'm having for dinner?? Here's just a corner of the 4 foot cedar planter I bought from a roadside craftsman this spring. I filled it with all the shade loving plants - well, I did tuck in a couple of geraniums for more color too!! And it's up against the back wall of my patio where it's shady most of the afternoon when the rest of my west-facing patio bakes in the sun. This corner stays moist & cool so my houseplants like all the spiders, christmas cactus & the jades, survive the summer quite nicely.