Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Musical Musings 2

Where am I?  Somewhere in the Caribbean, and far from ivories/ebonies and the world of church music, and unlimited internet.
Therefore, here's a late report about last week's musical offerings:
My background information here.

This Sunday was preceded by a 24 hour retreat for the women's ensemble.  It really paid off.  All 6 of them were really on, and confident with their singing.  Lots of compliments.  And the Brass Ensemble played lots of wonderful pieces all arranged by the trombone player.  

The Music:
#1  Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.  Three verses and refrains, accompanied by the brass.  A surprise V7 chord lead up a half step for the final verse.  I often do this because I can.  Instead of going into a completely new key, I take the music and imagine the two key signatures which would work.  Today's was Ab and A.  Holding the Ab in the melody, I step the bass line down (Ab Gb E) and the melody Ab becomes G# or the leading tone to the key of A.  The brass followed right along and came in on the final refrain.  They're GOOD!
#2  Now the Green Blade Riseth.  French Carol, and often heard at Christmas time. Nice and lively tune, even though it's minor.
#3  It is Well with My Soul.  I didn't have much to contribute to be creative with this one, except on the final refrain I held the long melody notes while the brass played the echoing chords by themselves.
Incidental Music
Pre-Service, Prelude, Offertory and Postlude were played by the brass.  They are 2 trumpets, trombone, euphonium and tuba, and they practice every week for at least an hour with a brass coach (my favorite hubs).  All of these pieces were new and arranged by Don Allen.  "The Blessed Son of God" by Vaughn Williams, "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" by great great uncle Jeremiah Ingalls, "Hodie" by Sweelinck and Fugue #13 by Shostokovich.  I particularly liked the Sweelinck who was a Dutch composer and organist at the turn of the 17th century. There were lots of meter changes which were done beautifully.  (Thanks, guys!)
The vocal music was provided by Women of Worship Ensemble.  They were, indeed, WOW'sers and sounded great.  They sang "Be Thou My Vision" in a Jay Althouse arrangement which was lovely and dynamic.  A nice variety of unison and harmony with great crashing chords in the accompaniment from high octaves to low.  It was a bit of a challenge for me.  One of those pieces that I can sight-read and then realize the end bit will take a bit of memorization.  The "girls" didn't like to hold their notes for 12 beats while I took my time, so an accelerando was added.  They also sang "Joy Comes with the Dawn" as a "response".  
Thanks, Team!

Friday, January 28, 2011

And the winner is....

It's a challenge...
1.  Portable
2. Interesting
3. Mindless
4. Useful

Socks?  Lately  I've been making such complicated socks that I'm never sure if they are going to be "keep your eyes on the chart" interesting or repetitive enough to be a challenge yet not boring.
Kristi - Keep your eyes on the chart
Sunshine - repetitive, not boring
After I'm more than halfway finished with the first sock, I make that determination.  Therefore, I rejected socks.  I didn't want to take one halfway finished... I might run out of knitting.
Shawl? I looked at other, longer, half completed projects and came so close that it actually touched my carry-on:
Europa Shawl - well traveled
It certainly is light-weight, and has traveled across the Pacific Ocean (twice). But I never feel relaxed while knitting this, especially on open water... plus there's the chart holder, and the charts (2 more needed) and chart C is a two page'r taped together... so I decided it's not mindless enough. (It appears that I'm approaching a section of no nonsense knitting, but I can't risk it.)
Instead, I cast on (to check gauge) a little something I had put on my Ravelry project page with "zzz" attached.  Yes, this will work.  And my bag holds all the accessories.  Yes, the clear jar (plastic) is going in my carry-on.
The winner: Girly
For a little girl. <3

Pattern: Girly by Mags Kandis from Mission Falls Wee Knits 3
Yarn: Cable Cotton by Elsebeth Lavold Aran / 10 ply 100% Cotton 93 yards
Link to my Ravelry Page

Thursday, January 27, 2011

O' Possum

I love that yarn, and the pattern... not shabby either!
I imagine wearing them out.  In fact I wore the first sock while knitting the mate.

Bought the yarn in Auckland, NZ, where possums are considered a pest.

Pattern: Eunice by Cookie A. from Sock Innovation Yarn: Waikiwi Prints by Naturally Fingering / 4 ply 55% Merino, 20% Nylon, 15% Alpaca, 10% Other (198 yards)


AGAIN, slippers.  Like other knitters who get requests and sort of end up in a rut, slippers seem to be the popular item around here.  One lucky friend has a family of a dozen or so who all got slippers for Christmas.  She's ready to go to the funny farm... Another Canadian from the northern climes has been on a hat binge. (Each one is a masterpiece!) Everyone wants to be HER friend!
I started knitting slippers in mid-November, and noticed hat my slippers were worn out.  How difficult is it to knit selfishly for oneself? Well, after 3 pairs, I started on these.  All mine!
The pattern:  Felted Slippers by Midnattsol from Midnattsol's Blog, women's (medium) size. Used US#10 needles, 19 stitches wide blocks.  Pre-felting size: 13 inches long; Aprés Felting: 9 inches.
The Yarn:  Classic Wool Merino and Classic Wool by Patons Worsted / 10 ply 100% Wool, Merino 223 yards.  The Classic Wool (red) felted more than the Merino (blue) not really distinguishable in size, but the Merino has a softer, more flexible texture.
Even without the finishing soles in place, I'm enjoying them. Truth be told, I can find only one of the soles...Bring on the cold!

PS.  I cheated... I tucked in the pointy toes with a few stitches before felting.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Follow-up Mission

I used 9 safety-pins to mark places needing repair.  The worst place is on the back, where there was a cluster of broken threads.  Surprisingly, the repairs went rather quickly, and although there was no matching yarn, it depends on the light.
Here's natural light from the window:
This was the worst patch, in the middle of the back.  A fine pullover if you can stand the heat while wearing a jacket!
The no flash picture indoors:
Most of the other places to repair were not so obvious:
Why is it so difficult (for me) to duplicate stitch on the reverse side of stockinette?  And after I sweat bullets over it, I wonder if it would have been easier by stitching from the inside?  Hmmm.  Anyone tried that?  I feel like I learned something about the structure of stitches in this project and maybe I'll say NO next time.  It wasn't that much fun, and of course, IF it was a garment I was creating, I would have ripped back to the offending area.
It's done for now, and I'm back to finishing up other small projects.  What should I take on my next cruise?

Monday, January 24, 2011

More Ivories than Yarn

Spent an overnight in a secluded B&B with 7 other women who enjoy music.
We were together from 5 PM to 12:30 PM the next day.  Two meals and a GOOD night's sleep left about 4 hours of uninterrupted rehearsal time.  Uninterrupted, did I say? Interrupted by bouts of rolling on the floor.
Phones ringing to announce the progress of a birth.  Very spotty cell service, and discussions of childhood speech impediments and the best "howling" we could do.
I arrived first to set up the keyboard to find the hubs forgot to put in the stand.  Telephone books!  What will happen to the future generations when those become obsolete?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mission Impossible

I love my neighbor.  He does so much for us, and I really "owe" him...  so when he brings a "great yard sale buy" like a wool pullover, with numerous moth holes, and asks me if I can fix it... ?? What do I say?  I'll give it a try.  I did request that he have it dry cleaned (how happy would I be to infest my stash...?) and find appropriate wool to do said repair.  I figured if it really was going to be meaningful to him, he needed to invest a little time and $$ too.  And he did!
So here's what I have to work with:

The "matching" yarn isn't a match at all, but considering we have no LYSes less than 60 miles away, I'm working with an off color, and acrylic yarn.  There are probably a dozen places to repair, mostly on the back, and I warned him about my sock darning skills.  He had a look at my first attempt and I have the nod to continue with the rest of it.  The caveat is that when he wears it, expect other places to pull apart, and I'll see what I can do.
Here's the first attempt.
I know:  If it was my purchase, I would throw it in the washer on hot, and make beautiful mittens.

Friday, January 21, 2011

One at a time...

That pretty much sums up knitting, doesn't it?
When you can't keep up, you... cheat!  This is going to sound like cheating, but really, I wouldn't call it that:
I planned a KAL with a friend to start in March. (I'm too busy to get to it before then, I said.)  We've wanted to do something with beads. Really couldn't make a decision about the project, so I wait until said KAL friend goes away for the weekend, to be distracted by Vogue Live (NYC) and then I pounce!  I stumble upon the pattern I want (even though she insists that it was her idea all along) and I go ahead and cast on, knit row one, and JUST to see if it's really what I want, I start row 2 to get the feel of beads.  And to evaluate the straw color with green beads. (I have a stashed dark blue/green, too.)
I'll be away from this project for about 3 weeks, so I'm giving KAL friend a chance to catch up.
Here it is:

Let me tell you, it's going to take quite awhile at one bead out of 644 beads, using size 11 hook.
Pattern: Oslo Walk Shawl by Susanna IC from Interweave Knits, Winter 2010
Yarn: Lace Solids by Misti Alpaca Lace / 2 ply 100% Alpaca 437 yards

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To Do Tuesday

What's on the needles?
Lives on the sofa in the living room and waits for TV time:
Lovely 10% possum fur
 Lives in a little bag that I carry out of the house for down time away from home:
Moebius Cowl

Slippers for me, and a right boring project.  Lives at my desk to knit while listening to NPR or "Days...":
MY slippers
The recently FO Baby Bonnet.  I plan to make one "preemie size" cap for the local hospital every month.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Musical Musings 1

New Year's Resolution!  A report on Mondays of musical happenings... to satisfy  the "Ivories".
Let it be known that I am a Methodist church organist, and therefore will have something to muse about if I play each week.
Yesterday I touched no Ivories... only Ebonies and some other... brown wood.  Maybe the trim on the "black" keys is ivory.  (Some Sundays I play piano, too.)
The music:
Hymns (Oldies but goodies)
#1 Great is Thy Faithfulness.  Three verses and refrains with varying stops (sounds). Followed by a reading and one last Refrain repeated. (We don't always do the extra refrain.  It has tripped me up in the past: Once I closed the hymnal at the end of the regular singing only to hastily search for it again half way through the reading! Read: Panic!!) My usual variation of the printed music is to use passing tones in the bass/pedals. 
#2 And Can It Be that I Should Gain.  Again, three verses.  The last 8 measures are written with 4 part harmony that isn't what I consider in organ style.  I feel like the men singing are exposed if I play as written with only treble melody with no accompaniment.  Therefore, I add extra octaves in the lower range and chords to fill in the sound.
#3  I Need Thee Every Hour  Three verses.  Straight out of the hymnal.  Minor variations of stops for the verses and refrain.
NOTE:  I do not choose hymns.  Only incidental music and who plays what. I have a colleague who plays piano or organ opposite me.
Incidental Music:
Prelude:  At the early service I played a Telemann Choral Prelude. One Manual only.  It consisted of two voices which imitate the chorale tune and a third voice above the others using the chorale tune melody in longer notes.
Prelude: At the later service I accompanied my husband (piccolo trumpet) playing "Adagio" by Marcello.  The piece is originally for oboe and orchestra.  A very beautiful ornamented melody, full of twists and turns, played at mm=36.  (That's very slow, folks.)  He played beautifully; his sound is wonderful, and accompanying him is effortless.  Maybe it's because we have played together for 43 years...
Postlude:  Two variations of How Firm a Foundation, first in Eb minor, and second in D major arranged by Lau.
A vocal solo was sung by a little slip of a girl in 5th grade, who sang up a storm (Amazing Grace/My chains are gone) to a recorded accompaniment.  She had people wiping tears from their eyes and her tuning is impressive with only a few months of vocal instruction.
For past blog posts on this subject, use the search feature to the right by typing in "pipe organs" or "performance".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

#2 Sock darning story

#2 for 2011 that is.  In fact, I haven't darned socks in ...a year or so.
My lovely Spring Twist socks going to wash (a month ago)

and there they were:  Not one sock, but BOTH.  One on the heel

and one on the ball of the foot!  Devastation!!
They have been hidden away in a drawer, waiting for this moment.  No matching yarn to be found, which is a sign that I wouldn't be able to handle matching yarn. It's difficult enough without "disguising" my stitches, however, I may rethink that as I see the finished product. I looked in my stash for this yarn (Sock by Shibui Knits Fingering / 4 ply 100% Merino, which doesn't seem to wear well as socks) and even though I have tons of scraps I had to make due with TOFUtsies
(by South West Trading Company Light Fingering / 3 ply 50% Wool, 25% Soy, 22% Cotton, 3% Other).
The process went mostly like this:
#1 - Today, no deadlines, I should have a look at those socks.  Hmm. Here they are.  What was the problem?  Oh, the heel with the funny every onther stitch worn through.

#2 - Pick up those dangling stitches, be done in no time! Only 4 are loose.

#3 - Start stitching below the culprits, but wait!  What's with this fancy slip stitch reinforcement technique that I use on almost every top down heel?  Duplicate stitching just took a nasty turn. Where are those missing stitches? And with much teeth-gnashing I ended up with quite a mess.

#4 - Say good-by to lovely even rows... Oh well, it's the heel, I'll never tell.  Then I had the brilliant idea of trying to disguise my messiness by false duplicate stitching over the duplicate stitches!  Brilliant I say, until I compare the finished result, which doesn't look much better. Repeat #4 to "never tell."
#5 - OK, finished!  Put them on to model... but what's this?  The second sock:  How did I miss the gaping hole?  Darn, again... This time with a closer look at both socks, in both problem areas. Yep, they both need re-constructive AND preventative care.
Beautiful heel but doomed

Added reinforcement

Hole is isolated
Weak spot on the other sock
Repaired pair
#6 - I learned, and everyone should learn from this lesson:  Keep track of your leftover sock yarns! It will look prettier! (My excuse: I used it for embroidery on another project...silly me.)
#7 - Wear'em with pride!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Carnation Tweeked

As I clicked "post" yesterday, I took a closer look at my carnation... and decided not good enough!
Here's the update:
 I intended to "fix" the color by using a non-solid and four-strands of sock yarn.
In addition, I followed the instructions (mostly - 3 1/2 inches became 1 1/2 inches) for the stem, increasing at the top. I wasn't convinced that was what was best the first time, but once I saw the FO, I could see that it truly resembled the stem of a carnation.  Brilliant, I say!! (Not me, Linda Cyr.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FO #2

Dance, anyone?  This pattern is called "Pas de Valse."
I was trying to knit two projects in parallel universes... with the same deadlines, so I kept going back and forth.  The other one was finished 2 days ago, and now this one (which needed 1/3 of a sleeve and ends woven in) was right on its tail...
My chocolate wonder:
In all of its darkness, it was a bit difficult to photograph.
The edge is crocheted to ruffle just a bit.
And look who it fits?

The only seam to be sewn (kitchener) is at the center back of the collar.

Pattern:  Pas de Valse by Marnie MacLean from twist collective Fall 2009  
Yarn:  Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold DK / 8 ply 45% Wool, 35% Silk, 20% Nylon 50g=192 yards (used 6.6 skeins)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Ravelry Link

For Ravelry members, information about my projects:  Ravelry

Drum roll, please...

First off the needles: 2011
The LONG awaited project:  LBD (or Little Black Blue Dress)  Even though I often call it a dress, it's really a pullover/tunic top.  It's just so long at this point, that it seems like I've been knitting a dress.
It's as pretty as I imagined! (IMHO) And not perfect.

I selected this pattern in July 2009 just loving those roses. I was disappointed to find that they are duplicate stitched however I have happily gotten over it.  Duplicate stitch is where it's AT!  They certainly wouldn't be as nice in intarsia. (At least not MY intarsia.) At the time my newborn granddaughter seemed far from wearing the smallest size for this pattern, 1-1/2 years, so I contented myself with other baby projects.  Then I started the lower edge.  It was quite the challenge... in Danish, with a most complicated combination of written and chart instructions, where neither were stand-alone instructions.  It turned out lovely both times.  I frogged the whole thing once and substituted colors and remeasured and gauged blah, blah, blah.  And now it's too big for my 1-1/2 year old so it will wait patiently for her to grow into it.
In my other posts I voiced concerns.
Concern #1:  I picked up a dropped stitch.  Would it even out in blocking?  The answer:
No.  It still looks like this after 2 blockings. So, it's an "original"!
Concern #2:  I used kinky yarn (from the frogged mis-start) and first time yarn.  They looked way different when knitted up.  Would it even out in blocking?  The answer:
Almost.  It's looking much better, and especially with big ol' roses to draw the eye away from the perfect "new yarn" stitching.
Concern #3:  Not previously voiced in a post, but at a meeting of knitters I asked what was I going to do with a garment that twisted.  And I'm still asking all of you, why has it twisted so badly, and how do I get it to straighten out?  Is it because of the circular one-piece body? Will it come out in blocking?  The answer:
(See above pictures.)
Not really.  It's an illusion.  I blocked it with wonderful straight rods down the sides, looked perfect while drying flat, but as soon as I start handling it, it wants to twist.  (What I mean by twist:  the rectangular | | body becomes a parallelogram \ \ .)
It is what it is, and I already have plans to add more trim so a 3 and 4 year old will be able to wear it... until she says, "Gram, would you make me a different tunic?"  And of course, the answer will be:  What color?

Pattern (in Danish): Siksak og Roser by Løve Garn from Løve Garn, Baby og småbørns-strik 2
Yarn: Bomuld 8/4 Merceriseret by Løve Garn Fingering / 4 ply 100% Cotton 180 yards

Sunday, January 9, 2011

ANOTHER Anniversary!

Today is our Anniversary.  Forty years ago, on a bright sunny Western New York afternoon, we gathered many brave friends and relatives to celebrate the beginning of our marriage.  Yes, it was lovely, many people said, although I'm sure the talk we didn't hear included, "Who's Kahlil Gibran?"  The program/bulletin was hand typed with a few Peace symbols drawn in for good measure.  Afterall, Mick was a West Point Hell Cat at the time!
As self-professed hippies we insisted on a responsive reading from The Prophet, and a modern version of The Lord's Prayer which is seldom used today. (Pushing the envelope, our Pastor was afraid to say no!)
Knitter and long time friend, P, has constantly reminded me of the pain and suffering I put her through that day. Has there ever been an acceptable bridesmaid dress?  And Mick admits that's the last time we danced! (Ahem...)

 We went... on our honeymoon:
A. Florida
B. Vermont
C. Niagara Falls
D. Norway
Mick says, "What's with the mustache?"

Our daughter sent us something to commemorate the day:

Another souvenir that I won't be able to part with!  I'm sure she intends these to be expendable but she'll find these in a closet some day!! :-)
Thanks, everyone, for your friendship through the years! We couldn't have done it without you!!


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