Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Memory Full

A few days ago, I called a friend.  Her message machine picked up but when I waited to leave a message I heard this:  Memory full.
I bet I'll be able to use those two words someday:  Sorry, memory full!

Meanwhile, if you have the time, check out these photos.  I bet you can't look at just one!
Note: I didn't know that Great Blue Herons actually pierce their fish when they are... fishing. I guess I imagined them picking the fish out of the water like using chop sticks!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekend Activities

A long weekend:  Thanksgiving!  But I didn't let it get in the way of knitting...
The trip to the LYS on Friday increased my stash.  Surprised?
I had two patterns with me and then I bought yarn for a third pattern instead.  The pattern is from Elsebeth Lavold Book 14.  My she has a lot... It's for a pattern called Dylan and is a cardigan that is knitted from cuff to cuff (sideways).  When I first bought the pattern (a year or so ago--before Juju was born) I bought some cable cotton to go with it, and now as I take out the cable cotton every few months... not happy.  It's too thick for a little girl, but now I think I can make this pima work.

DK / 8 ply
100% Cotton

Aran / 10 ply
100% Cotton

Coming home I made the decision that I shouldn't wait to finish my cardi to send to Norway, and instead, I suddenly got the urge to knit mittens for little hands to go with the bonnet from last year.
There's a little girl on one of the mittens.  Somehow I think that might be handy in distinguishing between right and left. (?)  Basic mittens...

Here's the bonnet which is plenty big, along with Mommy's poncho and knitted hat.  (Gosh, I was busy last year too.)  Photo:  March 14, 2010.
Yarn: Jil Eaton Minnow Merino by Classic Elite Yarns Aran / 10 ply 100% Merino

WIP to FO!

Tea time popularity

I enjoy tea, now that the snow is blowing, and the doors and windows are closed.  Not because I enjoy tea, but I enjoy the ritual.  And it doesn't have to involve anyone else, nice when it does, but me.
And do you know what makes a great cup of tea experience?  A china cup.  And those I have.  I have inherited many, and they sit proudly in the china cabinet waiting for the day that I will choose that one.  Sometimes, once it gets selected, it stays the selectee for many weeks, but I'm going to try to consciously give them all a chance.  I have some of them packed away in the shed, I have so many.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee wrote about tea time on November 22 (my full-blood Scotch-Irish father's birthday, which certainly has something to do with my tea habits) and I was amazed that she had 655 comments on that particular blog.  655 !!! Who gets read 655 times on one post?
Time for tea:  Chai, soy, agave... What's your combination?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


How far would you go?  to your LYS, to fall off your Yarn Diet?  For lunch with friends?  
How about 65 miles?  Yes, it's about that to the nearest REAL local yarn shop.  I go to Yarn in Durango.  Closer are the chain craft stores, but for a real LYS it's a pilgrimage.  And a very pleasant one too.
There's the drive up:
What could be better than that?
What about the store?
Great variety

The table with items to be shelved

And Jonni, who was posing in her Dale of Norway
Then there's the trip back:
Yep!  That's the color of the sky...
The damage to my diet?  Eight skeins of lovely pima cotton pulled out of storage in the back room.  (Who knits with cotton in November?)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Critters, Let's Knit!

This isn't the kind of thing I would spend lots of time on, but I think some people are SO clever!
What am I talking about?  This:
It's a photo contest... and wait till you see the entries!  They just make me smile:-)

You can vote here, and look for the tab at the top for the Round 2 semifinalists.
The Semifinalists

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Bloggiversary

A glimpse from my first blog a year ago.
November 25, 2009  How funny little 5 month old babies can be!
And here's a few seconds of her at 16 months:

What a great way to blog... I have a whole year to refer back to!!
No worries, I've been so disappointed with comic strip "For Better or For Worse" since the story has started to repeat itself.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Meanwhile, as I fret about the temps...

I'm going to fret, about the temps... It's going to be cold here for the rest of the week,
then...  Hege happened!
I just read one of my favorite blogs called "Cloudberry", named after my favorite berry, and I dare not complain fret anymore.  In fact I'm going out for a walk this morning!
Hege lives at the top of the world, where it's dark most of the time during this part of the year, yet she and her family, certainly led by her, enjoy it all.  I love her photography, and her creativity.  See if you don't want to be a follower of her blog:
Click HERE.  If this link doesn't work, use the one to the right under "Heges..."

OK.  I have to show you what our predicted temps (in Fahrenheit and Celsius) are:

Keep in mind that there is no precipitation in the forecast, and that Sat and Sun are normal for this time of year.  Also, the coldest days (Thurs and Fri) are pure sun! Ten hours a day.  I love the SW.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

De Feet

I've been a crazy person trying to get some slippers knitted and felted in time to send across the Atlantic.

Crazy 1:  In the past, we have found that if you send off a package before T-day (this year November 25), it arrives in 10-14 days.  If you send it within a week after T-day, count on 2-3 weeks.  Later and it probably won't arrive by December 23rd which is the last delivery of mail in "kjære lille Norge".
Crazy 2:  I've never made slippers before this.
Crazy 3:  Knitter friend, K, has been cranking them out for her grandchildren for the past 2 months.  This somehow makes me crazy!!

Crazy 4:  I've only felted 2 items in my entire life (and they were bags) in my front loader. Need I spell it out?  Size doesn't matter with bags.
Crazy 5:  I don't read ALL the directions...
Crazy 6:  I'm using two patterns.  I was totally successful with the first pattern, so why tempt fate?
Crazy 7:  Norway makes beautiful felted slippers commercially.  Hard to beat! --Except for the price.  Here's my pair from 30 years ago.

 I haven't worn them for probably 20 of the 30, and they have air-conditioning at the heel of one.

DeFeet or being oblivious:
The first pair I made in the men's size.  I went to K's house for the top loader, and they felted down smaller than I wanted, but they look great.
Pattern 1 by Midnattsol

Made in garter stitch only, with NO shaping.  (Yes, NO shaping!!  I mean row after row of 22 stitches in pure knit.) I could make these blind-folded! You, too! And this is going to be my FAVORITE pattern.  The only challenge was sewing the strip together to get the shape of a slipper and, come-on, a challenge?

The second pair is the felted clog.  I did them at home and they turned out like this, and enormous.  (The size:  Men's Regular--not large.)
Pattern 2 by Bev Galeskas

Since I didn't want them any larger than they already were, I couldn't stretch out the bumps and curves.  And somewhere in the back of my mind, I read some directions that I didn't follow about what kind of stitch to use to sew the bottom center seam.

Hence, it really needs stretching and it's not going to get it.  Ooops....
The deadline is coming up fast.... and the slippers are drying slowly.

Pattern 1: Felted Slippers by Midnattsol from Midnattsol's Blog (The garter stitch variety... cute and pointy.)  Pattern 2:  Felted Clogs (AC-33) by Bev Galeskas Yarn:  Classic Wool by Patons Worsted / 10 ply 100% Wool

Monday, November 22, 2010


Really, this is often the extent of winter in NWNM.
Remember the picture last week of the leaves?
This morning we have this.

It won't last.  By noon it will be just wet leaves.  (Not sure what the sigh is about... maybe it's the winter, maybe it's that the snow will disappear, however, that's the reason I live here.... maybe it's the blankity blank slippers I'm working on.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

My window...

A week ago, I looked up from my knitting/computer and I saw-- SKY.  Yes, a nighttime of cold and wind had removed the leaves that normally shade the backyard.  I was again looking into the field behind the house. (A great view btw considering the options:  no view (an interior cabin), the neighbor's house, or a brick wall.)
Today, as I read my morning mail, movement caught my eye. I wish I had a webcam, but alas, those horses ran right by without pausing for a picture, and now they are cavorting (as horses do) down by the river.  I expect them to reappear, but unless they do in the next 15 minutes, you'll just have to use your imagination.
I know nothing of horses (the fodder for another blog-post) but I'll paint a picture for you:  A white one, a tan one, some brown and white, a dark one.  They didn't stay in view for long...
However, today it's Starling-Invasion-Day.  Clouds of blackbirds, the whoosh of wings, the chatter, all this I would like to capture but alas... here's the glimpse.
November 19, 2010

It goes on for days/weeks.  Looking around the valley, they will be in sight.  It's pretty spectacular.  That huge cottonwood to the left holds "quite a few"!
The woodpeckers are back.  They are most noisy noticeable in Spring and Fall. And the leaves... where I started: I can see through the trees because of this:

Back to knitting!
Back to holiday music rehearsals...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Do you see stars?  When was the last time?
I surprise myself every time I see stars.  I don't know very much about them... no individual names or distances or numbers of any kind.  I know some constellations and can make an intelligent guess at naming the brightest planets.  Sometimes that impresses people, and I'm beginning to accept that I must be alone in looking up.
This past week I've been walking my dog at bedtime, and looking up.  I live where I can walk out the door and on paved surfaces walk a 1/2 mile in the moonlight.  There are few street lights so the milky way is visible and Orion is lying in his bed on the western horizon.  I always check out the whole sky and identify as many constellations as I'm familiar with.  I look around, and never have I seen anyone else out looking up.  What a shame.  There's so much to see.
I'm always happy to get home so I can view the sky, since I've found that most other places in the world, stars aren't visible.  Cities, other lit areas, no... even if you're driving somewhere, do you get out and have a look? NO...
I was deeply disappointed that I couldn't view the night sky in the southern hemisphere. I really wanted to, and had several weeks of opportunities, but onboard a ship at night... It's a light factory!  I managed to see the moon setting one evening, otherwise there's too much light.  (Maybe the passengers on the doomed Carnival voyage got to see stars...) And my nights in downtown Sydney were either overcast or... light-infested as cities are.
I "heart" the SW skies...
One more funny story:  Years ago, hubby and I were returning from Albuquerque LATE one night. We took one of the most lonesome highways home, with no services for a hundred miles.  Out there somewhere, my hub had to make a pit-stop, so he pulled over, and I realized I better use the chance too, not wanting to stop again in another 1/2 hour.  So we both got out, and did our thing without any disturbing traffic for miles, each of us on our separate sides of the van.  I looked up... It was credibly beautiful.  I've never seen such a display;  like being in a planetarium only immense.  When we got back into the van, we both said, "Did you see that?!"  I don't use this word very often but that was truly "awesome".

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hot off the Press!

Twist arrived in my mailbox this morning.  
Here's something... strange.  Knitting replicas of buildings.  I might be tempted to try a collage of the different houses I've lived in.  Take a peek.  Of course, you can access the rest of the magazine, too.

Twist Collective

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Works in progress

Main focus is to get some things finished so they can be mailed.  They are intended as Christmas gifts. But I'll put the spoilers here and let you guess what they are!

The bottom picture is to be frogged for a larger size.  It's great to take pictures and ... MEASURE!!  Gauge is off.  The other two:  Gauge doesn't matter. (I like that kind of knitting!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

That stash!

I've tried to make sense of it, but until I do, action now!
My stash comes from an overwhelming urge to be a pack rat  thrifty. It's in my genes. Although my daughter would hate to admit it, she has things stored since her 10 years of parental independence, and "out of sight", her flat has been clutter-free.

My house has rooms and closets, a storage shed, a garage... and a lot of yarn. With the help of Ravelry, I have been diligent, some would say obsessive, about noting where I keep each acquisition, and with a click, I can peruse my stash in photos or sorted into many lists.  Thank you, RAVELRY!
Even with their help, I found that after my last purchase(s), it was getting out of hand.  I was looking for new places, and many of those places weren't exactly "out of sight".  
First I tried the closet:
#1 stacking cubes

 And more of the closet... and then added a bag in the closet
#2 Magazines and containers
#3 A big bag
Then drawers were enlisted, under the bed, and one in the file:
#4 In progress projects and yarn
#5 Top drawer of the music file

The obvious place would be to display them as art in my living room:
#6 Entertainment Center
 And what about those pretty baskets?
#7 Baskets (in living room)

#8 Baskets and pretzel jars on the quilt rack!
 Or MORE baskets, and plastic containers!!

And then, then,... where is this going to live?
#9 On the guest bed

 So I bought a few more places to organize the closet, labeled drawers, and was able to eliminate... not so much.  (#'s 3, 8 and 9 are gone, plus some items have shifted from the other hiding places.)

I call it a success!  (Ahem... unfortunately that closet was FULL before I started this... A trip to the shed is imminent.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How does this happen? Or...

...Is this stash going to be controlled, or will it control me?

I have to ask myself: Why do I have 144 items listed in my stash list?  And how can I even think of buying more?  
1.  Yarn shops are in business to sell.  They put out models of projects, and they display yarn.  Is that all it takes?
2.  I have a long history of touching yarn.  The sensitivity of my fingertips as I squeeze fiber... (This is getting sick!)
3.  I have the $$$ means.
4.  I have no one but myself to answer to.  No one to stop me.
5.  If there was a war, or I should become destitute, or depressed, or unable to leave the house... I'm set for life!
6.  Hey!  It's all good!!!!

I'm a lucky person.  For real temptation I have to drive at least an hour to my LYS!  And I travel a lot. LOL  (Yarn diet until 2011.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Men in Skirts - A Visit to Samoa

No real comments or history, just the facts.  Samoan men wear skirts.  I didn't know that until I got off the boat!  The port authority police were in full dress uniform, looking very handsome, and even the past-governor worn this dress suit for a formal portrait.  We visited his home maintained as a museum by his wife. All kinds of trinkets foreign dignitaries bestowed on him, were on display.
At the pier:
And our bus driver, a man of few words:
Ancestry says it all:
In a sudden downpour, the American Samoa Band put on a 2 hour concert on the pier in honor of our ship's visit, or maybe because we were departing!  It was the first place that had something formal for our sailing.  And they all wore... skirts!  That's the uniform!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cruise knitting (4) and final

Project 5: The Blue Top
This is the second (failed) attempt at a neck band.  It was too tight, now it's too loose. This may be frogged a bit to make the whole thing longer, and a rethink on the neck band.  AND I have to decide on sleeve length or should it be sleeveless?  Roses are to be embroidered on the front which is really what I'd like to do now... Alas...

Project 6:
The Skew socks... didn't touch them.
Project 6.5:
Socks: Pattern Glynis, frogged and started over as Eunice.  Both patterns from Sock Innovation by cookie a.  Yarn: Waikiwi Prints, 55% NZ Merino/20% Nylon/15% Alpaca/10% Possum. 50g/198 yds.
If I don't leave these in my bag to carry everywhere, I'll never get to them.  Suddenly, 'tis the season to finish up some other projects... And I think it's time for Sonia, the Cow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cruise knitting (3)

3.  Project Headband/Earwarmer:  I already blogged about this on October 30.  When the weather turned cold in Southern New Zealand, and there was no head protection in my baggage, I turned to my trusty friend, the Possum!
Then there was the...
4. Europa Shawl:  I don't know why I packed this. It consists of a horizontal two page un-traveler-friendly chart, with one redeeming feature that I wish upon all charts:  Numbers written in for those long plain knit/purl rows.  So you have xxxoxo 42 xoxxox.  I was very pleased to not have to count those 42 knit stitches on the chart. This does not mean that there weren't 42 little empty boxes in that row, in case you wanted to count them, but I liked the numbers! (Maybe it's me, but I had never seen that on a chart before.  Comments?)
Here, again, is the picture of knitting projects at the beginning of the cruise. At the very top is the cowl (project #2), clockwise: My Peruvian knitting project pouch, Skew sock (which I didn't touch, because I didn't want to think--I would have to think to get that one going again), Blue Top with fancy border (more later), and above that the Europa shawl (gray) at the "nupp" stage.
Have I complained told you about the "nupps"? (Rhymes with SOUP) P was right; she usually is... The more I did them the easier they got.  The caveat is that I adjusted my tension, and I turned stitches around, and I used my stiletto 000 needle to dip through the 7 wraps for each nupp.  I really don't care if they show or not.  I'm past the section of nupps and say "good riddance"!!
Here we are with ball of yarn in netting, pulling into beautiful American Samoa.  I really never did more than a partial row at a time, and every time I started, I had 5 minutes of "where am I in this pattern?" before I could do a stitch...  It was pretty frustrating, especially when I messed up, which seemed like ALL the time. Twisting stitches, and TBL's (through the back loop), and my nemesis, purl through back loop, made it easy to look elsewhere for something to do. (A swim? Play Trivia? A cookie? Listen to string quartet? A sock! A movie, a lecture, a playdate in the Fun Zone with a little girl...) There was a lot of competition for my knitting.
I managed to complete the nupp section and go on to another annoying bit that looked horrible, but when I got it home and stretched out, I think it's salvageable.  I put in a lifeline and will continue...at a later date.
Ahh. American Samoa (Pago Pago)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Finished Overalls

Overalls, in my mind, are denim.  How can this cute little thing in size 12-18 months be referred to as overalls?
I'm hoping the buttons aren't too far apart.  Only wearing will tell, so I'm including more buttons to go between with the hope that button holes will magically appear.  That can happen in knitting...
Modeling:  See Christmas, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Stash Items

Isn't this exciting???
The exciting part for me was to be introduced to possum fur being added to wool (merino). And even with the horrible reputation of possum, and the tiny hairs that sprout from the yarn, and the shedding (which I ignore and dang it, I refuse to even acknowledge), I love the feel.  You gotta try it.
Here's Touch, made in New Zealand:  Merino Wool 60%, Possum Fur 30%, Nylon 10%, approx 420 metres, 3.75 mm needles recommended.  Produced by Touch Yarns Ltd. I've already used it for my headband.  Kept my ears toasty! No other plans...

Two skeins of tan, and one black
 Waikiwi  Prints by Naturally Hand Knit Yarns (Auckland, New Zealand). 55% NZ Merino, 20% Nylon, 15% Alpaca, 10% Possum, 4 ply, and machine washable. 50 grams=approx. 181 meters, and recommended tension is 28 sts per 10 cm on 2.75-3.25 mm needles.
I've already started socks THREE times with this yarn.  I'm looking for the perfect pattern.  Not high on my priority list before Christmas, but my third attempt is the Eunice pattern by cookie a.
Sock yarn in Pattie's favorite colors
 This is a purchase from a "It's a yarn shop--gotta support you!"  And it's the colors that were bundled that snagged me.  I'm seeing a colorful cardigan.
Made in New Zealand by Ashford (with a website of great pictures that makes you want to drop everything and fly to NZ).  Each ball is 100 gm Pure New Zealand Wool, 200 meters, 8 ply, recommended 18-22 stitches on 7US-8US (4.5-5 mm).
 Lastly, yarn bought for a specific project!  Yes, it happens but mostly when my daughter is by my side, and insists on buying.  She knows she loves "Sublime" and that was just a bonus since the display model of a little girl's "tiered" cardi was the seller.  The pattern is Allegra by Sublime.
Made in Italy for an English company, this baby cashmere merino silk dk is 75% extra fine merino, 20% silk, 5% cashmere, 116 meters/50 grams and recommends 6US (4mm) needles for 22 sts/10cm.
I'm looking forward to knitting this cardi, however, the sizes are quite large, so I have a year or two. STASH!


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