Saturday, November 18, 2017

Wool weather?

One sure way to bring on colder, winter weather... mention in a blog that it's too warm to wear wool!  So, here it goes... lately, I've been slowly knitting away on two UFO's in wool.  And I've been wondering when I would wear them... Every day we go from nighttime freezing temps to daytime 20ยบ+ C.  
Here's my proud moment of finishing Boardwalk Vest in a colorway that I created last summer.

I've admired Pattie's Boardwalk, and then I admired the same pattern a year ago when my path crossed another woman in the Shetland Islands.  Now here's mine!  
As with all hand-dyed yarns, there are subtle differences, if not blatant, in-your-face differences... two skeins used for the body, then the third one, which was the fraternal sister of the other two, was used just as I came to the interesting mitered front detail. It worked out... I can see that the colors got a bit more bold from whatever, but I accept that.
I love it, but I couldn't model it for long---too warm!

Pattern: Boardwalk by Heidi Kirrmaier from Wool People Vol. 3
Yarn: Bare Paragon by Knit Picks, Sport,
50% Merino, 25% Bombyx, 25% Alpaca
246 yards / 100 grams
Then there's this:  Maple No. 2,  for me.  
It may get finished today, if I would just put my feet up and sew in the sleeves...
At 5,400 ft altitude. we call it High Desert...
My daughter proudly wearing her "Maple No. 1", and then finding the model at a yarn shop at a "knitting festival", Bergen, Norway.  SHOCKING!!

Pattern: Maple by Marie Wallin from Rowan 50
Yarn:  Felted Tweed DK by RowanDK
50% Merino, 25% Rayon, 25% Alpaca
191 yards / 50 grams

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Finished and never ending

Here is a pullover I knitted a few years ago for my granddaughter who was 4 years old.  I admit that I loved that pattern more than she did, and she has plenty of sweaters to choose from, AND she doesn't seem to get bigger, just longer...  (It also has a history which I shared 4 years ago.  Click the link above.)
So, on my last visit, I saw this one languishing in a drawer and decided that she would NEVER wear it because it's too short for her, both in body length and sleeves. I'm so thrifty... can't part with anything, it seems, so I.... yep, bought more yarn!!  Isn't that the solution to many problems?  (Mr. T., just go buy some yarn...)
Of course, I didn't have the sweater with me, but thanks to Ravelry I knew the brand and weight, just not the exact colors.  I bought 3 colors to match, and none of them did... hence, the contrasting bands.
My aptitude for ripping out, and adding and kitchener'ing back together has soared to new heights and lengths!  Now it's ready for an 8 year old who may or may not reject a repurposed sweater into a tunic.  Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, back home, I haven't been attending Knit Nites like I used to.  Semi-retirement for a musician seems to backfire, BUT I finally convinced some of the group to double up and instead of meeting every two weeks, we've added a NOON date on the off weeks.  WORKS for ME!
Never ending... The Dr. Who scarf, which is really long.  How long?  Maybe Callie can tell us...because here it isn't finished, but now it is, and even has knotted fringe on both ends.  She says she quit when she ran out of purple... nice!
It's a beauty, and some lucky young man is going to love it!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New Organ, No Pipes

But what a difference!
On October 15, the folks in attendance at First Presbyterian Church on Dustin experienced a real treat when Julia Thom, Organist, pulled out all the stops for the Prelude at the morning service. The rafters shook and the congregation was emotional when the opening chords of J. S. Bach’s Little Prelude in G filled the sanctuary with sounds of trumpets, reeds, principals and mixtures.
Now the whole community is invited to hear this amazing instrument at a Celebration Concert on Friday evening, November 17 at 7 pm with guest organist Maxine Thévenot. Dr. Thévenot is Canon Precentor, Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, NM. Founding and Artistic director of New Mexico’s professional vocal ensemble- Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico, Dr. Thévenot is adjunct faculty at the University of New Mexico as director of Las Cantantes - women’s choir. A member of the duo, Air & Hammers, she concertizes with English baritone, Edmund Connolly. She is a published choral composer with Paraclete Press. A native of Canada, Dr. Thévenot received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Saskatchewan, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Manhattan School of Music.

Dr. Thévenot encourages community interaction and requested collaboration with our own Virginia Nichols-Hircock and her choirs to everyones delight, so that all of Farmington can enjoy a variety of music surrounded by the sounds of organ. The First Presbyterian Church’s Chapel Chimes and Chancel Choir will be joined by Piedra Vista Choirs and Caliente Community Chorus accompanied by Dr. Thévenot on organ in a roof raising experience of the age old hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy”.
Dr. Thévenot also has planned plenty of J. S. Bach favorites, several 20th century pieces, and an especially beautiful French piece called Pièce Heroique by César Franck. The audience will get a chance to stretch their legs and vocals cords with an “all sing” of another favorite hymn and the concert will close with “A Gaelic Blessing” by John Rutter for organ and choirs.

The new organ is a product of the Rodgers Organ Company of Oregon. First Presbyterian Church has retired a 40+ year old electronic organ which was failing with a built-from-scratch new Rodgers Infinity 361 digital organ with rich, multi-dimensional sound quality. It features 3 keyboard manuals with lighted drawknobs, and Rodgers’ unique high-resolution sampling process which employs up to 8 microphones to record the authentic sound from legendary pipe organs across the country as well as around the world. Among it’s many features is the Organ Type piston which instantly activates American Eclectic, English Cathedral, French Romantic or German Baroque stops.
The purchase of this instrument was made possible by the dream of former organist Sharon Brink who played for First Presbyterian from 1998-2014. She deferred her salary for that position into a new organ fund for many years. In 2014 she retired to Las Vegas, Nevada, and hopes to make a special appearance in Farmington at a later date to experience her dream.
If you have to miss this free concert on Friday, the people of First Presbyterian will always welcome visitors on Sunday mornings at 10:30 am where the sounds of RIO (their nickname for Rodgers Infinity Organ) are experienced weekly. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pipe Organ cleaning

How much dirt accumulates in 30 years?
My answer is generally so much that it can be ignored.  You know, usually up on top of surfaces that are difficult to reach.  And for short people, there are a lot of high surfaces that can be easily ignored.  
At church, we have an area that no one wants to access except for one person, twice a year. That's the organ tuner, and for about five years he has told me how much dirt is accumulating around and on the pipes.  

 Now it's cleaned, and what a job. Each of the approximately 3,000 pipes have been removed, cleaned, and replaced.  Even the hidden white wall at the top got a face lift.  It took almost 200 man hours of work, but I can breathe easier now!  Literally...
Pipes are removed from the top center and right side.

Pipes are up to 16 feet long, and kept in order of placement.
Many MANY are the size of a pencil.
For anyone who cares, the tiny pencil sized pipes are grouped into fours because all four sound at the same time, played by one key.  That gives the buzzy sound of acoustical overtones... like when a dish or bell vibrates because it receives vibrations from an alternate source.  The four are meant to sound like several things vibrating.

Here are a whole set of one sound,
one for each key on the keyboard
Pipes are removed from the dirty/dusty board.
And pipes are replaced in the same order as before,
after being vacuumed (both the boards and pipes).

In August, all of the pipes of this organ were removed, and cleaned. It took exactly one week, and though it won't make a difference in sound, it will prevent problems. It hasn't been done in 35 years, so the amount of dirt, dust and insects removed was amazing. It's a wonder we could breathe!

Monday, September 25, 2017

No more knitting

Finishing time:
I've been concentrating on this sweater in anticipation of delivery of it to my daughter, as a belated birthday gift.
It requires some assembly...
I'm making two sweaters.  Below is mine, which will take a rest while I am away.

I had yarn only for two sleeves and two bodies, so only one could be finished.

Here's the leftovers.  Modeling to follow.
...until I finish the finishing!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Knit nite

Two of the stars at knit nite...
A beauty purchased at seconds shop, $2.50. In excellent condition.

And a newly finished masterpiece.  We've been watching the progress since Knit Camp.

Great job, C!

Monday, August 14, 2017

A busy summer

Busy with the important job of knitting!  Even though the temps are high, I somehow manage to sit with wool in my lap... and this thing just knits itself.
Can you imagine these colors?  Not me!  I rely on Rowan, Rowan yarns, models knitted up, irresistible... 
I've resisted for many years, but not this time.  
My favorite shop is Norwegian Spirit, located in the train station of Bergen, Norway.  At first I thought it was a souvenir shop (think tourists) because they had a fair amount of Dale of Norway sweaters hanging on a rack out front, but they have a great inventory of Garnstudio yarns and Rowan, and many others.  But it's the Rowan models that take your breath away... and I finally went all in. 
In May, I bought the pattern and yarn for this cardigan.  (Not without the angst of seeing three other patterns that vied for my attention.)  
The colors are nothing I could have imagined, and fair isle... each section begs to be completed just to see what surprise it has to offer!
Upon completion of the body, I realized that it would fit me! YAY!  But I wanted to gift this to my daughter, so I began a second body in her size... Norwegian knitwear is needed year round.  Mine can wait until... winter.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Elephant 2.0

We all have knitted something for someone and wondered, considering the amount of time and love put into it:

  1. Will it get used?
  2. Will it be taken care of properly?
  3. Where will it be in a year or two?
  4. Does the recipient know anything about this item?
Well, I have to say that, knitted items given to my daughter and her family, can be answered with a resounding "YES" to all of the above.  (But, #3... doesn't get answered yes or no, you say?)

The answer to number 3... when you make something for a little girl, a growing up girl, that's a difficult one.  And I'm happy to say that most things get passed on to special friends, or end up back at my house.  
This is the story about pullover turned elephant, which I have to call 2.0.
My idea has been in the back of my mind, but it's fruition was greatly influenced by my visit to Shetland, and Burra Bears.  It gave me the confidence to attempt this:



Here she is: 3-½ years old, and sweater worn until she was seven! We had to pry it out of her hands...

I realize now the expertise needed to make a truly quality stuffed animal,  plus... OMG! How do you throw away the leftovers?  (Solution: I haven't.)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Basket interlude

Above, is an experiment... more or less successful.  I discovered how difficult it is to make a gradual slope, in the shape of a pie plate.  Hint: The fruit covers my sins.

That was my attempt to refresh my basket weaving skills, thinking I needed to rid myself of extra reed... To that end, I invited several knitters to give it a try, and here is the result:
My first attempt at a melon basket.
And first timers:

This summer, I've watched friends "down-size" and move to a condo ⅕ the size of their previous home, and friends move without downsizing, packing hundreds of boxes, and a friend empty a garage in anticipation for construction of a master bedroom suite (which means downsizing). Then I look at my own home and think I should be doing something...about stuff.

The first thing that came to mind was "stash". As in yarn, photos, fabric, clothing, dishes, .... and the list goes on. So, I decided to do something about my stash of reed for basket making. Seemed like a good start. As I pulled out my container I managed to pull out at least three other items that could be released to the clubs, cat scratching pole, exercise step...all unused for a decade or more. Win-win!

Results were exhausting and fun...and I still have reed.  And it ignited my desire to weave more baskets.  Weeks later, the reed is sitting in the kitchen, and I have a desire to make more.  But what about those knitted projects?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My favorite time of year

I admit it...never been to Alaska. Probably never will.  I think I have my fill of long summer days and below moderate temperatures with my attachment to Norway.  However, the PBS Wild Alaska Live series was fun to watch.  And yearly I tune in to this cam for entertainment:

I watch the bears and cheer them on.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another crossing

My trusty orange... How can you get lost so often?  

The scene in Bergen.  A drawbridge/footbridge, on a beautiful day.  Bergen's May weather was outstanding, and abnormally dry and warm.  Not at all like the rest of the summer... 
A slew of socks... I'm hooked on Zauberball/helical spirals.  Using up all the yarn and nothing matches...4 adult socks, 2 child's.
Adventures on an island.

And more adventures... The promising start...
And the grand finish!
Restructuring the bunad.

And summer weather with flowers, and colorful project bags.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Alpaca farm visit

Knit Camp visits Hemlock Hills Alpaca Farm

The stand-off.
Newly shorn.

Mary Ann shows us the product.  

Hard to resist...


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