Saturday, December 4, 2010

"She's Back!!!!

I'm knitting another "Baby J" sweater, same as the last post, different yarn.  Boring at this point!!!  It was a skein that was laying around so I grabbed it and wouldn't you know that I have six more rows to knit on the sleeve and I ran out of yarn.  I can't find any more.  Come on!!!!  It's a baby sweater.  Six rows is probably less than a yard of yarn.  Maybe, I'll knit the cuffs a different color.  After all, babies don't know their colors yet at 9 months.

Not sure I like the "pooling" but it does grow on you after awhile.  I added a "faux" button band up the front.

It's been almost a month since I have posted.  I took a little trip.  Quite the ride. 

 I just couldn't wait.  I was up all night trying to decide what to do.  My destination was all but about 2 miles from home.    I'm so adventuresome.

Formerly a Catholic hospital, there are still religious statues on the grounds.  As I drove by St. Joseph, I thought it was a "good sign".

Hmmm....the name has been changed from "Immediate Health Care" to "Walk-In Care Center".  Duh!!!.....a clue.

It was 7:30 a.m.  I discovered they don't open till 9:00 a.m.  Surely, there must be a very dedicated person who came in early on a Saturday of a holiday weekend and would let me in, at least out of the cold. 

See that little white box.  The lady on the other end of the phone suggested an ambulance that would transport me to the nearest hospital.  I didn't argue.  I didn't care that my insurance would not cover it.   I told her I would wait in my car which was illegally parked in a handicap zone about 10 paces from the phone.

She sent out a security guard to stay with me till the ambulance arrived.  If this man was single and potential marriage material, I really blew that one as he had to watch me "barf" (and worse....listen) in my Trader Joe's brown bag I was saving as a souvenir (don't ask me why!!!).

I thought I had food poisoning.  Well, what do I know?  At my age, I suppose it could be anything.  I had a very bad case of Meunier's Disease.  It seems that everything I look up on the internet these days regarding a malady says the following:  "This illness is common in people over 60."  What's up with that?  I paid my dues in life.  I've had my bumps in the road.  It's time for things to be easy.

Honestly, I deserve to win the lottery (don't we all). I'm single and I enjoy my independence and freedom........A LOT!  But while ill I probably would have married the first man who showed an interest in that sort of commitment.  (Snowball's chance in hell of that happening.)  "Honey, can you heat up some soup?  Sweetheart, can you go to the pharmacy for me? Can you....?" (fill in the blanks).  Well, I must have been running  a temperature as high as a hot and sweltering summer day in the Arizona desert because after later thinking about it, I decided that I just needed someone to "take me out back and shoot me".   Just a little rash moment on my part.  I'm glad I had no takers. 

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baby "J" Multi-Directional Cardigan #420

Pattern:  Baby "J" Multi-Directional Cardigan #420
Needles:  Size 6
Yarn:  Plymouth Dream Baby DK

This little baby sweater, in a beautiful raspberry colorway, was on display at my LYS.  Looking at the pattern, I never would have purchased it because it just did not do this sweater justice.  Very poor photography. 

It is also known as the "Compass" sweater as you eventually knit in every direction.  The neck band is knitted first, then the fronts (south). The back is knitted north on the imaginary compass, the right front is knitted to the west and the left is knitted to the east.

I love garter stitch and this multi-directional knitting keeps the interest alive.


The Back!

The cuff!

I love the cuff as baby's mom won't have to struggle to get those little, delicious fingers through the sleeve.  It also allows for baby's growth!

The sweater is aqua with flecks of blue and yellow.  The vote by my co-workers was that it was "girly" so I purchased girly buttons.  I really wanted the sweater to be unisex and would have purchased different buttons.

I still need to knit the hat and booties but that is not on my schedule till after the 1st of the year.

The "Dark and Stormy" sweater is almost finished.  Fronts, back and sleeves look great with the front band and collar awaiting me.  It has become to heavy to lug to work to knit on my lunch hour or carry in the car.

I have exciting news to share with you as soon as I finalize things.  It's been one of my goals for some time and I am very pleased.  Just a little "teaser"!!!

This time change kills me.  My body does not like the adjustments that are needed.  I have been staying out as late as I can after work to enjoy the natural daylight.  Already, I miss knitting by the lake so it will be a long winter till I can do that again perhaps come May.

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Abandoned Child - Yes? - No?

I think this post warrants its own space and I'll write another today to show my knitting progress.

I've never been accused of "minding my own business".  Of course, I have at times as after all I did go through a divorce.  However, I will often "speak up" and then think that perhaps I may have put myself into a situation that could have gotten out of hand and my safety might be in jeopardy.

So, today I was out the door before daylight to take my car to the garage.  When done, I had a craving for a chocolate-glazed donut so I went through the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts.  All of a sudden, I saw a very young child, perhaps about 3 years old, getting out of a car to walk, perhaps run, across the very crowded parking lot.  There was no adult in site near this beat-up car.  I stopped my own vehicle and watched, perhaps scaring the child as he tugged at the door to close it again.

Now, I get infuriated when someone leaves their dog in a hot car and though it is now currently quite cold in Vermont, I still felt anger that a child had been left alone in an unlocked car, not that a locked car would have been that much better but certainly would have delayed a possible snatching.

I parked my car (again), walked into the overcrowded glassed-front donut shop and walking to the long line of folks I loudly asked,  "whose child is that?" as I pointed in the direction of the car in question.  Everyone said, "not my child".  I walked over to the seated area and asked again, "Whose child is that?"  Everyone again said the same thing.  I looked towards the rest room hoping someone would come walking out and want to claim this child.  No one!!!  So, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, I said, "Well, I guess I am just going to have to call the police!"...hoping someone would man-up, or woman-up.

I returned to my car, thinking perhaps this child had been abandoned, called the police and waited and watched and watched.  Finally, a non-chalant coffee-carrying man walked to the car at which time I informed him I had just called the police and told him why.  As I spoke I noticed that the look in the child's eyes was terrifying and in my most comforting voice I said, "It's ok, honey, it's okay."

"I was concerned about your child, very concerned about your beautiful child", I told the man.  His reply was "Oh, he knows to watch for cars!"  I wanted to remind him that this child would have had absolutely no defense against someone snatching him, etc.

He did agree to wait for the police to respond to my call.  When they arrived they obviously recognized his name because I heard the man say, "yes, the police were at my house the other night!".  (Wonder why??) 

If nothing else, the father will be fined for not having a car seat in the car for this child.  Now, really!!!!  someone who would leave such a young child unattended in a car could probably care less about having the required car seat in the vehicle. 

Obviously, this so-called father did not want to lose his place in line at the donut shop and is the reason he didn't speak up when I asked who the parent was.  Perhaps he thought I would just go away.  Not me!!!!

So, on that note....have you seen the TV program, "What Would You Do?"  It's a modern day version of "Candid Camera" that show people who step up to the plate to help a stranger (actors)in need.  Very heartwarming!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Sweater Curse

No, no.....this is not a handknit.  It's a sweater repair job I have inherited.

You've heard of the "sweater curse".  You've heard of the book ..."Never Knit Your Man A Sweater*".....*till you have the ring!  Read on!!!
My co-worker's son's girlfriend gifted him this sweater!  They broke up  (i.e. the sweater curse) and now the brother loves the sweater. 
 It's a Dale of Norway sweater.  They usually sell for around $300.
I believe it may be a "second" because the tag is snipped.  Still pricey, however.
Notice the row of knitting just below the "Dale" tag.  It's what needs repairing.
Here's the inside of the sweater....unraveling in all it's glory.  When I asked my co-worker if she was hand-washing or dry-cleaning this sweater as it would make a difference on what I used for yarn for the repair job, her response was, "Oh, use anything you want, any color you want!".  Well, that won't work with my signature on this repair job.  I have a reputation to uphold in the knitting world.  It will look nice.

Have you experienced the curse?

On another note....I saw snow on the mountaintop when I left work today.  I'm getting those scarves and mittens ready.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Journey Wheel or Bostworth Charka Wheel

I never heard of this spinning wheel till today.  But, friends, I do not know much about spinning. 

This is the Bosworth Charka Wheel by Jonathan Bloomenthal.  See links at end of post.  I'll tell you more about my friend later in the post and how this all came about.
My friend Leah is preparing to spin.

 In the above picture, Leah is turning the wheel and spinning.

 In this picture, she is packing up the wheel.  Notice how the fiber is tucked in.

Here is Leah with her wheel, all folded up.  This gives you an idea of how small it is.  Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures but I only had my cell phone with me.

Journey Wheel for more information on purchasing and pricing.

Bosworth Charka Demo ... click for a YouTube demo on how this wheel operates.  Pretty informative!

This is how the day developed.....I was at a store that sells quality yarn amongst a gazillion other very interesting things.  I ran into Leah and instantly we knew we knew each other but from where?  Our paths have crossed before at a knitting group and at the farmer's market and it was one of those things where while exchanging phone numbers we say..."Call me!" and life gets in the way and we never do.  So, today, we stopped and "smelled the roses" and went and had coffee together. 

Leah gave me a demo of her gorgeous wheel right there in the crowded parking lot on the hood of the car.  Fun, fun, fun!!!

I was so energized after spending time with Leah and exchanging craft ideas that I am ready to tackle the horrendous amount of housework waiting for me before I knit more on my "Dark and Stormy" sweater.  I had planned on showing you a progress photo today but more on that later.

I haven't posted much in the last couple of weeks.  I've been too busy having fun with my fiber friends.  Those ladies in my current knitting class are an absolute hoot!!!!  Class sold out and this Tuesday is the last class (boohoo!)

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Valery - A Hip Knit Hat

Pattern:  Valery
Yarn:  Alpaca
Needles:  Size 11

I am a little disappointed with this hat.  Perhaps it's my yarn selection.  Yarn is beautiful but too soft to hold the shape of this pattern.

It's a quick knit.  An evening relaxing and watching TV will get it done.  It's a quick and easy Christmas present!!!

The pattern is from the below-pictured book which has a lot of hats that I really like.  It was worth the purchase.
We had torrential rain this week as did most of the East Coast.  I had two events I really wanted to go to.  One was my class reunion in Maine.  The other was the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival and I opted for that one. 

Norma and I were scheduled to go today but decided that after last year's experience of ankle-deep mud, spinning tires trying to free itself from suctioning mud, we decided to wait till tomorrow and let the fields dry out a bit. 

With other events being canceled already for next weekend for fear of ruining parking fields, we decided not to go tomorrow.  It would have been a 4-hr round trip and fearing the worse, we decided to be sensible and stay home.

I taught my first Fair Isle class this past Tuesday.  The class achieved its maximum enrollment.  The ladies are delightful, absolutely delightful. 

After almost drowning in the frog pond with my top-down blue cabled sweater, I am back on track and will soon be below the armholes.  I missed a very important sentence in the pattern instructing me to read the chart starting with column 19-34 and then 1-19.  Whoever thought of reading a chart starting in the center of the graph?

It's a fun knit and difficult to put down.

So.........on that note........

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dark and Stormy - A Shawl Collar Sweater

Pattern:  Dark and Stormy
Yarn:  Berroco Ultra Alpaca (Periwinkle Blue) - 8 skeins
Needles:  Size 7 circular

The picture shows the center back of this shawl-collared sweater.  Knitted from the neck down, the pattern has several options for fittingPeeking under the sweater is a completed pair of socks that have not yet been worn....probably waiting for this sweater. 

I love blue lapis jewelry so I will have to look for a pendant to wear with this sweater.  After spending a fair amount of $$$ for the yarn, it deserves a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Next week is the "Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival".  I am going with Norma who is always such a hoot.  Last year we needed to rent Noah's Ark but Norma brought a leaky umbrella instead.  We were walking in ankle-deep mud, avoiding patches of poison ivy but we had a blast!  I can't wait to see other Vermont Bloggers such as Gayle and Amy.

So, if you are from Vermont and traveling south to attend, Norma and I hope to have knitters meet for dinner at Arvads in Waterbury for wonderful food, conversation and a "show and tell".

As you know, I teach knitting classes and had to swallow my pride and creep over to my LYS for help with the chart on this pattern.  I felt totally frustrated and when I showed it to the clerk, her comment was "Who The Hell Wrote This Pattern?"  Thea Colman designs beautiful sweaters but even I found this chart difficult to comprehend as it does not list all the stitches or pattern repeat like I've seen with other patterns.  Once I understood the designer's approach I found it quite easy.

Earlier this summer I purchased this plastic filled utensil bag at the Christmas Tree Shop.  I really got my money's worth because I am using the bag as a "yarn bra".   

When winding yarn into a "cake" so as to have a center-pull skein, if the fiber is slippery (i.e. silk content) or a very large cake, it eventually falls onto itself and you have a mess of tangles and knots.  The yarn bra prevents that as it contracts as the center of the cake becomes hollow.
You can also buy yarn bras at a number of web stores for very little $$$.

My next round of classes start this Tuesday and I'm very excited about this class.  When other classes at the Rec. Dept. are being canceled due to poor enrollment, I'm fortunate that my class is full with several repeat knitters.

When I hear someone say they are bored, I just cannot relate.  There are so many hobbies to enjoy, books to read, the awe of nature, etc.  Knitting is my relaxation.

I'm having dinner with friends this evening.  For the last 30 years from 15-30 of us have gotten together.  Years ago we met monthly and then would go dancing or to a movie.  As we have aged, we meet 3-4 times per year, have dinner, chat for awhile and then go home.  It's not always easy to find a nice restaurant that will cater to a large group so we are usually limited to a selection of perhaps five restaurants in a city known for its many, many fine restaurants.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cedar Leaf Shawlette

Pattern:  Cedar Leaf Shawlette
Yarn:  Madeline Tosh Hand Dyed Yarn - Pashmina merino/silk/cashmere

Click on the pattern link to see how beautiful this shawlette can be especially if you are young and beautiful.  My choice of yarn was expensive and disappointing.  However, I still love the shawlette. 

The photography and patterns at this site are superb, absolutely superb and "NeverNotKnitting" currently has a give-away of her 12 new patterns
I had my staff appreciation day.  Lots of pics so I will let the pics speak for themselves.  Lousy time of the day to hold a plate of food in one hand and try to keep the camera steady with the other hand.  Go to the end to see why everyone is "clapping".

One of the many signs informing us of the food selection at the table ahead of us.  Just couldn't get away from the "shadows".

Crowd just beginning to gather.  There was a 3-piece jazz band for entertainment.

The university president was there to greet each and everyone of us and express his appreciation for a job well done.

The best Waldorf salad I've ever eaten.

Great sandwiches!

Grilled hot dogs with a condiment bar nearby! (a little out of focus!)

Just some of the many hundreds of people in attendance.

The sky was so gorgeous!
And everyone is clapping because again this year, the university president announced that we were being given the week between Christmas and New Year's as paid vacation in addition to all our other wonderful benefits.  Because we also get two paid holidays off before Christmas and two days at New Year's, this equals to two full weeks off.

I'm pretty fortunate to have a job with all these perks!  I wish the same to all of you reading this that have jobs outside the home.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Susie's Reading Mitts - Finished

Pattern: "Susie's Reading Mitts" (click for free Pattern from designer)

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donnagal Luxury Tweed 85% Wool/15% Angora
Needles: Size 5 dps

I'm not sure how I feel about these mitts......

They are quite "earthy".......aren't they???

Originally, the first mitt had the pink candy ribbon.  I felt it was very juvenile-looking and decided to change it.
I was at Jo'Ann's buying the suede ribbon when an 8-year old girl started asking me about the mitt and told me how pretty she thought it was.  That confirmed my thoughts.  This little girl was so sweet that if they had been a smaller size, I would have given the mitts to her.  She told me she was taking ice skating lessons.

She was extremely patient while her grandma and I had this long conversation about crafts. 

I'm a little taken lately with trying out new cheeses in moderation.  Bonne Bouche won the 2010 best aged goat cheese in America award.  I'm proud that it is made here in Vermont.  The grey that you see is actually mold that happens in the aging process.

I was at the health food store and looking for a good cracker to go with the cheese.  The name on these caught my eye.  Seaweed!!!!  Right up my alley with my blog name and my roots that go back to the Coast of Maine.  

I was not disappointed!  Delicious!!!

Oops!  forgot that this is really a knitting blog.  I started a new hat today.  Pictures coming mid-week.  It's a quick knit using alpaca yarn and I am loving it.

BTW...the mitts means I have another UFO finished.  The cooler weather was the incentive I needed.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vermont Hat - A Fair Isle Adventure

Pattern: Vermont Hat In Fair Isle (free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220 (lavender and white)
Needles: Size 7 & 9 circular  size 9 dp's for crown

This pattern is as easy as easy can get when it comes to Fair Isle knitting.  See my previous post for links to videos on YouTube regarding the knitting method I used.

I was able to quickly knit these hats for several reasons.  I used "Knit Picks Harmony Interchangeable Needles"  which I love because it allows me to have the correct size needle on the right and a smaller needle on the left which makes for the stitches to glide along more quickly.  Of course, it's the right needle (in the pic it is the top one) that determines the gauge.  Obviously, this only works when knitting in the round.

The designer states that you are able to knit two hats from the two skeins if you reverse the main color.  I think it may be possible to even get three when using Cascade 220 but don't hold me to that one.  I don't want you to come looking for me unless you are bringing food.
I modified this pattern including an additional two rows to the ribbing and one more row to one of the stripes so that they would each be two rows.  I found the hat to be a little tight for my fat head (not to be confused with egotistical...thank you very much!) so I knitted this next one using 10 1/2 needles. 
Several people asked me about the red scarf that was featured in this post.  The pattern name is "Flared Ribbed Scarf".

My good friend, Deb, also knitted this hat.  Check out her hat and blog.

I will be teaching a class on this hat starting the end of the month.  The next class will be this one which I darn well better be prepared.  It will be a test of my knitting skills and I suspect this class will be filled quickly.

Friday was a pretty stressful day.  The fire alarm was activated and a message stated we were to evacuate the building.  There was an emergency and I was prepared....

I grabbed my handbag and car keys and what else!!!!...................
and left the rest behind.  
Evacuating for me means 4 flights of stairs with my bad leg.  Because we are in a medical research building, it is not unusual for something to happen in one of the labs that sets off the alarm and is quickly resolved. 

Yesterday was a different story.  We were suddenly told to walk across campus as a suspicious package had been found in the basement and the bomb squad was on its way. 
I was able to get to my car and drive home and watch the development in the news.  There was talk of possibly evacuating the adjoining hospital.  In all, over 1,000 employees were evacuated. 

The packaged was removed which means I am thankful I have a job on Monday.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Water Bottle Jacket Carrier

While my daughter and her family were visiting last July, I noticed they all had the following water bottle in various colors.  I was impressed that there were still ice cubes in the water 8+ hrs. later on what was a very, very hot day.

Needless to say, I wanted one in the hopes that it might help in my battle with kicking the "Diet Pepsi" addiction that I have.  To my credit, I drink much less of it than I did several years ago.

I was not able to find a Thermos water bottle in Vermont but they are available at Target.  They are more expensive but well worth it!!!

Yea, yea, I know, we don't have a Target.  Can you believe that?  We were the last state to get a WalMart.  Shopping is very subdued in this state.

This Thermos water bottle is unbreakable and because it is double insulated, it does not sweat.  It goes everywhere with me.  I even keep it by my bedside at night should I wake up feeling thirsty.

So, yesterday, while I was at the Vermont Agricultural Fair and others were buying lukewarm water bottles for $3, I had my icy cold water with me.  I didn't feel so bad when I had to pay $6 for a sausage sandwich and $3 for a real maple ice cream dish.

It is leak-proof while the lid is closed and the silver clip in the upright position assures that it will not accidentally open.

I'm intrigued by the fact that the lid stays in the open position while drinking and there is no chance that it will "boink" you in the nose and you will suddenly look like Jimmy Durante. 

I knitted the jacket "blindly" with only a few dimensions as I had not yet received my own bottle.  Though it was a quick knit, I'm sure a crocheted version would be even faster.  I attached a canvas strap as I wanted the sturdiness it would provide and the strap would not cut into my daughter's shoulder.  I secured it on the bottom as well as the top sides. 

The buckle is not shown but I am a little concerned about the quality.  The next one (my own) will have "D" rings (purchased at JoAnn's) instead.

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Vermont Hat

Yarn:  Cascade 220 (lavender and white)
Needles:  Size 7 & 9 circular & size 9 dp's for crown

Fair Isle knitting never has more than two different color yarns in the same row.  Fair Isle is usually knitted in the round.  It is just easier.  If knitting a cardigan, steeking is utilized. 

This site (<--click) has a wealth of information for a Fair Isle beginner.

I will be teaching a Fair Isle, sometimes known as "Stranded Color Work", at the end of September.  This pattern is perfect for a beginner.  It's an easy pattern to knit and there are no long floats in the back.  Floats should not be any longer than 5 stitches.

I held one color in my right hand and one color in my left hand.  Here is a good video to demonstrate this approach.....    "Stranded Color Work"                         
      Here's another great reference.... "How To Catch Back Yarn In Two Color Knitting"

Using the method above gives the inside a very "neat" look.

I'm off to finish knitting my hat.  I've had a busy day.....much more later.  I also need to catch up on my blog reading.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gingerbread House Socks

Yarn:  Knitpicks Imagination - Gingerbread House
Needles:  Size 2 40" circular (magic loop method used)
Pattern:  Yankee Socks

I needed a "mindless" project while spending hours this week at the car repair garage and this is what I worked on.  Just a simple K2, P2 rib leg....nothing to "write home to mother about".  I like using the magic loop method as I don't drop or lose needles when I am somewhere that I may have to suddenly pick up and move.

Those of you who know me well know that for a long time I tried doing one new things per month.  Milk goats, make cheese, kayak, etc. have been on the list.  August has been so terribly busy (and sometimes painful) that it dawned on me that I had not adhered to the "new thing".  You know, it keeps me young thinking to do that. 

All I could think of in a hurry which is not really "new" but I haven't done in years is to make homemade yogurt.  It is so very easy and tastes so much better.

I started with 2 cups of "VERMONT" goat's milk (is there any other kind?) and 2 cups of cow's milk.

Slowly heat the milk up to 180 degrees.

This new cooking thermometer is so much better than the one I had.  It can't accidently rest on the bottom of the pan and give a "false reading".

Cool the milk to 110 degrees and add 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt (or purchased culture) making sure you mix thorougly.

Pour into your favorite yogurt maker (can be a crock pot or a number of other things).

This yogurt maker really is not as large as it appears.  After four hours, the yogurt is ready. It's still doing it's thing so I can't show you the finished product in this post.

I like my bananas very firm and barely yellow.  However, I do like really ripe mashed bananas in my yogurt so they now don't go to waste. 

It's back to work tomorrow.  I was on a "working vacation" seeing to my car, hoping to have at least one good weather day (I had 2-3).  

More knitting things to come.  Almost done with the baby sweater and a couple of other UFO's. 

Happy Knitting!