Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tomato Optimism

This morning I had a craving:  Tomato plants.  I didn't crave the taste, just the plant.  I should have tomato plants growing within reach.  What's wrong with me?  It's July 30 and any tomato grower knows that by mid-May they should be out braving the elements. But alas, mid-May I was packing my suitcase.  It's only now, thirty days at home, and the prospect of 2 more months of summer that it occurred to me that there might be a homeless, orphaned tomato plant, so I went shopping.  Here they are: Annie 1 and Annie 2.  Annie 1 even has a tomato that could be picked for supper!  BONUS!!
This patch of dirt was recently rid of a huge overgrown pyracantha with numerous cottonwoods seeded into it.  Or maybe they arrived by traveling root--I don't know, but they were 8-10 feet high (3 meters, eh?).  Perfect mostly sunny spot, inside a protective patio wall - what's not to like?  GROW!!
btw: It's a jungle out there:  I was surrounded by wasps at the front of the house, and bitten by mosquitos at the back of the house.  What's to do in 88ºF/31ºC temps?  Sit inside, knit some little projects, and listen (keeping one eye on) to "Days"... (poor Elvis)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Knit Out!

I 'heart' loading up a basket of yarn and in progress pieces, and getting in the car to GO KNIT.  (I'm a geek in many ways...)
Last night there were four of us lazily knitting in the cool comfort of Bee's geothermal induction cooled home.
All of us haven't progressed very far from a month ago, except Kee who threw up her hands in disgust as she mis-counted for the fourteenth time.  She then picked up her ICE (in case of emergency) knitting and settled into the rhythm of a garter stitch scarf.
Dee and I haven't seen each other since May because of travel on both our parts, and I was surprised that she was wearing a wrist/hand support on her right hand.  "Must make knitting a bit difficult," I say, and she replies, "A bit, but I'm NOT going to stop knitting!"  We all agreed, and then she picked up her project:  A baby blanket in the round, and proceeded to grunt, moan and tear at THEE most difficult row:  The row AFTER cabling 21 stitches over 21 stitches.
I never thought about it... but I have now!  The pull of the many stitches so far away from each other, being forced into a new order is, well, like this:
Go ahead and click on the above picture, and you'll see that the stitches are crammed together and so tight on the needle as to make moving them along almost impossible.  Dee worked on it for awhile, and I thought, "That's not doing her wrist/hand any good, and I love a good challenge..." so I said, "Would you like me to work on it for awhile?"  To my surprise, she handed it over.  I thought I'd hear something about knit gauge and no two knitters...(blah, blah, blah)  No such thing.  And, wow, was that something! I was pushing and pulling so hard I thought something was either going to break or suddenly let loose and all come off the needle, leading to the end of our friendship and possibly "knit nite" altogether.  An hour later I had managed to knit the 4 repeats to the end of the row, and lose only one marker in the process.  Good luck with THAT!  No one else, including me, thinks they'll be knitting THAT one anytime soon!!
Meanwhile, I look over and see an example of pooch-knitting! Makes me smile...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Udder Realization

It came to me.  Not in a dream, but by holding little mysterious pieces of knitting, and wondering whether I should just throw them in the trash or...  I noticed an almost perfect vertical row of knit stitches down the middle.  There were 2 purls mixed in, as if by mistake, which they were.  (My mistake or the pattern's? It was very confusing.)

Said vertical row led me to think that maybe it was meant to be folded along that line, and when I did, it magically turned into the coveted teat that can be seen drooping in all the cow pictures.

It magically invigorated me, and I quickly knitted up 3 more, plus an "udder patch" (which would be the udder itself) and since I was on a roll, I continued with one ear.  Maybe the second ear will be tonight.

With 9 pieces done, and 11 to go, I think I'll take a break, and work on something else. How can there be so many pieces to a cow?  Legs (4), hooves (4), ear (1), horn (1), and tail (1).  Not that much...  Sure looks kinda cute already!   And she needs a new name.  Sonia isn't going to cut it since that is also the nickname of Juju's babysitter.
CONTEST!  Name the cow!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How to Assemble a Cow

Somebody, HELP!!
Some of you already guessed that from the previous blog about starting 5 projects, I would pick a favorite.  And I have.  Not REALLY a fave but one that seems more interesting at the moment, and it is:  THE COW.  I thought to myself:  Little pieces, no rush.  I'll knit a few and then a few more.... by November, it will be done.
I sat down, turned on some news, music and tv, and started to knit.  It went much faster than I thought, and I love the colors of the spots.  The red turned into a nice dark version of Ayrshire red.
 Those big pieces are the body.  Nowhere does it show what gets sewn to what, so I'm guessing here that the cow has a skinny neck.  And the head and muzzle turned out very cute.  But again, the instructions aren't very clear about the sewing, and attaching to the body.  I'm stalling.
  The little round (flat looking) patch is... an udder.  Someone doesn't know about cow anatomy, and I'm beginning to doubt myself (even though I grew up on a dairy farm and am more familiar with cow udders than most).  I believe it's supposed to be one of four teats. And a cow has only one udder. It sure doesn't look like it, nor resemble any of the pictures. Oh well. 

Maybe I'll get some help on this.  I looked for corrections, but didn't find any. So, this is a warning that if you're thinking of making this, be prepared to be on your own!  It is marked for "the more experienced knitter" as it should! 
A finished picture from the book:
 I'm hoping mine will look as sweet as this one!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Let's Start Something!

Yep, it's that time of year/month/day... I finished two projects recently and now I feel entitled to start more than 2 things.
Here's what's on needles (that I'm actively knitting on):

  • Socks (of course):  Lacey Socks from Vogue (first one)
  • Powell Pullover in Pink for my little one.
Quite plain with cable down the front.
  • Tiered Cardigan in Sublime yarn (a great feel after all of my cotton projects)
White sleeve and bottom tier in blue.  (See my Ravelry page for pattern)
  • Sonia the Cow (yarn bought a year ago)
One side of body started.  Orange muzzle, red spots and ears, orange variegated for udder, and white for horns.
  • Cupcake Mittens (re-started-I almost forgot about these)
There are other projects languishing...
Thanks, readers/friends, for letting me acknowledge my lack of dedicated knitting!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The final buttons are sewn... that ALWAYS takes an extra day, plus the blocking, and drying.  Lucky for me I have a dry climate!
Today's humidity was high, slowing the process but this evening I got to pose!
I adapted the button flap from the original.
Overall, it fits, and it feels yummy!

Pattern: Sunshine Cardigan by Mary Beth Temple from Creative Knitting, September 2009  Yarn:  Ultra Pima by Cascade Yarns DK / 8 ply 100% Cotton, 220 yards, used 3 skeins.
Does it bother anyone else?  This pattern is called "Sunshine Cardigan" due to the yellow yarn used in the pattern.  Those never seem to describe MY cardigan since I rarely use the same colorway as the pattern.  Just seems strange that so many patterns are named for the color and the pattern itself.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Remember back then?

I had a contest... back in March.  Details HERE.
And here's the short story version... Three contests in one, I invited everyone to guess how much knitting on the three projects I would get done while my daughter and granddaughter were visiting.  The results?  I finished the hat, the mittens and the scarf were partially/far from finished.
Today, I finished the scarf and ripped out the mittens.  (One of those mixed days...)
The scarf is super.

Pattern:  Hönkä by Eeva Saviranta from Ulla 1/07; Yarn:  Wool 8/2 Effektgarn by Kauni, Sport / 5 ply, 100% Wool, 656 yards

I can't get enough of those colors!
So off to Norway it goes.
The mittens... I knitted a bit on them last night, did a row of cupcakes and when I had to look for more bits of yarn, stolen from other projects I realized that the pile of yarn I "inherited" from Norway would be perfect for them.  I also have been having pangs of guilt about using yarn I specifically bought for a cardigan.
Today I felt justified frogging the whole thing, and will start with a thinner weight of yarn which will be pleasing to the touch and eye.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Knitting with Julia

Julia Roberts, that is!
If you haven't seen this, I think you should, and enjoy 50 men getting "zero" instructions and holding knitting and needles.
Link to YouTube

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Planning makes Perfect!

Just ask ANY knitter.  The best laid plans... (I don't know the rest of that idiom, but I know it isn't good!)
I feel your pain, Kee.  In April, we watched knitter friend, Kee, discuss and modify a sweater and pattern, to finally settle on the dream yarn of Ultra Pima Cotton.  And then we cooed and ooo'd over it as she knitted it up.
Lovely cables... and two weeks later the sleeves:
And then there was the awful silence.  Over night it grew.  Yep, it was too large, and it kept growing, in the washer and dryer, and finally, undaunted Kee took it to the "sewing machine".  Take THAT you unruly, dare to stretch all over the place...***.  And it was tamed at last.  Unfortunately, it's 104ºF here, so I haven't seen it modeled, nor a picture, but I believe it.
Meanwhile, Miss Me goes merrily over to her stash and pulls out... ultra Pima Cotton, the same stuff (however, I have fingertips that feel that lovely stuff, and my recollection of Kee's dastardly project are but distant memories) and Miss Me starts to knit.  Whoa, she says one day!  Is this growing before my eyes?  I check the gauge... seems OK, and I remind myself that I want it rather loose and airy.  Not really a sweater to keep me warm, but an accessory for a dress.
Then I, Miss Me, go to knit nite and Jee leans over and says, "Isn't that the same yarn that Kee used in her enormous sweater?"  I feign confidence, but tonight, when I got to the joining of the sleeves to the body, and the yoke, I broke down and admitted I might have a problem.
It's short.  I'm planning that it will "drape" and lengthen a bit, though it's supposed to be waist length.
Plan B:  That yoke has to be tighter, so I went from US 9 needles to US 7.  Wish me luck!
Holes?  That's plan C... not really--it is the pattern (k2tog YO).  The pattern:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Another (Knit) Nite!

I can tell it's Summer!
We looked for the turtle in the backyard, and returned to find the seats occupied:
Loo has started a sheep, but it suspiciously looks like a re-creation of her doggie!
Jee has two-at-a-time socks on her needles... really they can't be that shape...
I think the lacy holes are gorgeous, and the color is a bit darker than in the photo.  Another beautiful pair.
Kee is happy with her lovely Elsebeth Lavold pattern (Hillary, I think).  Made to order for a granddaughter. (Sshhhh... don't tell the others!)
Bee is showing off her finished baby sweater.  Baby is two years old now, and it STILL will fit!
What about those froggies?  KEE-yout!
Moving right along, Bee is posing for 'one only' shot of the scarf she's knitting.  Don't put it down, or you'll spend the rest of the evening figuring out where you're AT!
And Simmy, waiting anxiously for grandchild #1 to be born (imminently), is trying to distract herself with little pieces of a second sweater.  Lovely, soft and very boyish!
Waiting to hear from her daughter...
We also heard from two "former, but in our hearts" knitters.  Mee is in Dallas, and sent photos of three! count'em THREE pairs of socks.  Congratulations!!  They are fantastic!  Jee and I discussed your amazing productivity--we must have been holding you back!
And when I arrived home there was a message from the Doc in Madison.  Urban living sounds wonderful!  And we might be able to do some long-distance trouble-shooting.  Will need a picture of the problem project.
See you all in 2 weeks, and maybe some others will be back then.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

An evening of fun!

A few weeks ago, my daughter pulled out a huge bag of yarn.  She has shopped over the years, started and finished many things, and some just didn't work out.  I was offered the yarn: Help myself...
This is DROPS Symphony yarn-- a lot of it...  But thrifty me, I persevered!
This was my evening of "fun"!
It's lovely stuff, and I look forward to "someday" having a project that will use it.  There are two knitted pieces that I didn't unravel.  I worked only on the loose bits.  It's SO silky that it falls off the ball very easily.
Added to my stash - Handle with Care!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Double Trouble... Kauni

Gotta luv that yarn!
But here's a tip.  A tip that should be kept in mind for all long self-striping yarns:  Don't use it doubled from the inside AND outside at the same time.  That causes the color pattern be in the opposite order:  red - orange - yellow vs. yellow - orange - red.  Putting those two together (doubled) can you imagine what's going to happen?  Solution is easy:  Divide your ball and make sure both strands are changing color in the same pattern or direction:   Red to Orange, and Yellow to Green.
I didn't think that far ahead, and it has been worrying me for months--the months that I haven't been knitting on this project.  Looks tremendous, IMHO, but in the back of my mind I've been running through the colors and imagining what's next.

 And my fear is that I'll have the same color doubled up. Look at this:
I start with (think rainbow) strand 1:  Blue Purple Red Orange Yellow Green;  Strand 2:  Green Yellow Orange Red Purple.  They line up like this:
Blue-Green, Purple-Yellow, Red-Orange, Orange-Red....Yellow-Purple etc.  Since the color change is so subtle, I know I'll have red-red or orange-orange in between my color changes, and I can't stand that much red and orange in the middle of my scarf.
OK, let's hear it... just shorten one of the colors, you say.  And I tell you, that would be fine if I discovered the enormity of the problem before I got to Red-Orange above. Once I was knitting with Red-Orange I couldn't shorten the red because it would still run into the orange of the 2nd strand, and the same goes with shortening the orange to red.  But...
My motto:  Divide and Conquer!  Divide (cut that yarn), roll up yards of red and orange, cut again, and reattach the yarns "switched".  Now I expect the order to go retrograde.  Blue-Green, Purple-Yellow, Red-Orange, Purple-Yellow, Blue-Green.  The only thing I'm losing is the two sides will never have the same pattern.  Each side will be unique, and THAT I call "A Plan".
I removed 27 g from the 160g ball and all is right in the Kauni world.  Hope the news gets out and prevents at least one other person from gnashing their teeth.

Somewhere out there, someone SHOULD do the calculations for where you can start as I did and using the right combination not have the same colors meet.  Here's a quick attempt:  Red - Orange - Yellow - Green - Blue - Purple - Red  AND  Green - Yellow - Orange - (no same thing happens)... Blue - Green - Yellow - (no)...  I don't think it can be done.
Contest time!  I have a ball of Kauni to give away... Send me your combination of colors where the six colors follow each other in the opposite order, and they don't cause the two colors to repeat themselves (as mine did) or the same color to occur at the same time.  Good luck!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where I At?

Here I am!
After a #@$%^&*%$# trip back a week ago, I'm rested (mostly: it's strange how 100ºF temps exhaust the body), and I have no concerts or guests planned for the next month.  
Fact:  Within hours of my arrival home, we had guests for the 4th weekend, to play concerts and workshop.  My fingers still work, but barely.  Patriotic songs always include 'forte' and 'octaves', which can be exhausting for my well rested (one month off) fingers.  Particularly my knobby little finger got a little tired and sore by Sunday.
Knitting?  Of course...  temps don't bother me with my tiny projects. Give me a chair and a fan!
I have nine projects started, each begging for my time, and I'd love to give them my all...(see Ravelry link to the upper right) but instead I flit from one to the next thinking that each one should be the 1st priority.

  • A little Sage cardigan that I would wear with a summer dress.
  • My double knitted scarf with that cool pattern, promised for Fall
  • Cotton pullover, toddler size, that would be perfect anytime in Norway
  • Socks, just for the heck of it!  Portable is the key word.
Those are the projects that are out and about.  I'm fighting my urge to start something, or knit a row or two on the other 5 "in progress" projects.  Sorry, garden... too hot for you!
Guests, beware!  This is what is required for a stay at "Casa Hesse":

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bergen, Gotta Luv it!

Thirty days:  Rain for 25 of them.
The last insult to June:  It was POOOORing the morning I left.  Not the light mist or drizzle I had come to accept, and I considered throwing out my shoes in Frankfurt.  I might, yet.
Don't know why the right shoe got so wet, or maybe I should say "I don't know how the left shoe stayed so dry!  HA
The airport is super efficient.  In years past I've taken a few shots, and maybe even this one:

Nice touch... let the people read and look at the clock.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...