The year 2012 was difficult, to say the least. While this year may be just as taxing, my attitude has adjusted to the tasks at hand. We are carrying on.
Today, things are going well. The sun is shining, and I spent some time napping on our deck listening to the wind in the trees. It was such a peaceful and pleasant day, a day that feeds the soul.
Of course, there was yarn involved in this day, too. I didn’t achieve much, but just moved in and out of my fiber world as the mood moved me. First, I looked at Berrocco’s pattern Dickens and thought about buying yarn for it. Lo and behold, I found just what I needed in my stash. Having a few things going that I’ve promised myself I would finish soon, I didn’t cast on — maybe I should have but it felt right that I didn’t.
After my sunny nap, I moved to the hand-painted scarf on my loom and finished a few more inches. I want to whip through it and see it in its final glory, but I am taking my time to make it as good as I can. It has been a trial, just like this past year. Warping took too much time and learning; the warp was disturbed and tangled; the first foot of warp was lost. It is going along well now, so I am doubly thankful that it survived.
Next, I moved into my stash again, searching for a yarn for my LYS’s next knit-along. I’m hoping to use half the yarn for the shawl from my stash — it seems a shame to buy more when I already have some to use. I found just the right skein for one part and will see if buying the second yarn will satisfy the requirements.
I also put together my weaving and spinning guild’s newsletter. The articles and notices went together like puzzle pieces, all fitting in nicely. I enjoy the newsletter job and it keeps me involved with the guild. Sometimes I can’t attend the meetings, but this job can still be done from home.
My fiber art endeavors are just as active as ever and I really do like to keep a record on my blog. I refer to it often. I have tried to post a few times, but it is strange to go so long and then start back up as if no time has passed and nothing has changed– but that’s what I’ll do whenever I can manage. My dear husband and I are carrying on well in spite of the shadow of his illness. There is still much hope, so we have learned to be calm and accepting as much as possible. And we carry on.
Today is the MoonFrog blog’s sixth year birthday. It’s not as active as it used to be, but what is as the years go by? I thought I’d drop by and share some recent favorites — or just whatever tickles my fancy.Check out Google’s cool tribute to Jim Hensen. Each muppet is interactive. Be sure you press the 2nd and 5th buttons lots of times. Very entertaining! (Keep in mind that I am very easily amused.)
** For those of you who missed it — here’s a video that shows the best parts. **
On the home front, I’m really enjoying my newest plants. I bought some Red Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia sanguinea) seeds on eBay and the babies are doing great. My son and I are growing these together since he wants some, too. He planted the seeds and asked me to wait until he comes over to transplant the sprouts to bigger containers. They will grow into a tree-like bush with long trumpet flowers in a lovely red-orange.
Two weeks ago, we had our local Natural Fiber Fair, which has moved closer to my house and is bigger, too. I worked the entrance on Sunday, but on Monday I took a painted warp dyeing workshop with Linda Hartshorn. I learned some new things and came home with this lovely scarf warp. I’m hoping it will motivate me to finally warp my big loom, which intimidates me a bit.
My knitting at the moment consists of chemo caps for a special round of collections at Caps for a Cure. We are returning to the first treatment center from when the group was started. In January 2006, I set up a yahoo group to start a knit-along with Mandy, a fellow blogger who was battling cancer, and we invited our friends to join us. (Here’s my first blog post about CFC.) Since then, the 400-plus members of Caps for a Cure have donated over 3,000 hats to centers across the country.
North Coast Cancer Care is the first — and last –center that helped Mandy in her fight. Tragically, her cancer returned and she passed on August 3rd of this year. We are making hats in her honor, a young woman who made an impact on those around her. If you want to donate caps for this special round, email me or go to Caps for a Cure for the address.
One more thing that I am excited about is Banned Books Week. There’s a special YouTube channel for the Virtual ReadOut that has people reading from banned books.
One of my favorites is a selection from A Prayer for Owen Meany, a book which has been marinating in my iPod for a while and will be my listen for the week. As a former English teacher, the ReadOut of this book amuses me with its warning of not using certain words in class.
There you have it! A tribute to my blog. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
“Ten on Tuesday” is a blog-along by Carole Knits that has been around for quite a while, and I’ve decided to join in the fun.
This week the topic is headlines from the year you were born. Boy! is this one going to take us back to the dark ages – but it was a golden year, including some arches that have proven to be tarnished gold.
My favorite event of 1955 (besides my birth, of course) was when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, becoming a major symbol of the Civil Rights movement.
The Salk polio vaccine was introduced, lessening the incidents of polio. We went from the injections to the sugar cubes in the 60s.
On the entertainment front, Disneyland ® (click for video) opened in Southern California. My first trip there was when I was five years old and in our photos I look totally frightened. At thirteen it was a much pleasanter experience –with me and my sister in our matching, homemade dresses. This really shaped our view of the world, yes?
Along the same lines, The Mickey Mouse Club and Captain Kangaroo joined the TV lineups. I loved the Captain, although I find that a bit creepy nowadays. Frank Zappa even wrote a song (instrumental only) called Mr. Green Genes and shares his feelings about this show when introducing it. And we all know about Knitty’s lovely pattern for Mr. Greenjeans, right? It’s on my long list of things to knit.
Scrabble™ was introduced, which is fortunate for me as I’m using the game on my iPod to ward off dementia. I play it while waiting and before I go to sleep. Oh, and the computer player cheats, just saying. *
A few unfortunate headlines also happened in 1955.
McDonald’s ninth restaurant was opened by the man who would take it viral. How about Mickey D’s oatmeal?
Microwave ovens were introduced, although not used by households until a smaller version was available in the mid-60s. I don’t know if this is unfortunate or not, the jury is still out.
Polyester cloth was introduced, which I believe is unfortunate, along with a lot of other plastics that have become all too common.
Albert Einstein died. The pathologist at the hospital removed and preserved his brain for study, with some interesting studies being done on it.
I also want to share a project that was finished a couple Tuesdays ago.
It’s the Storm Cloud Shawlette in Alchemy Haiku. I started this pattern a couple months ago (during World Wide Knit in Public Day) with a lovely Indigo Moon sock yarn that eventually became this scarf. The yarn was just too busy and I really had my heart set on a fuzzy lace mohair scarf like the blue one in the pattern pictures.
I was waiting until I found the right yarn, and then it hit me. The Haiku (which was a recently acquired yarn pet) would work well. And the scarf would put this lovely yarn in just the right place for petting and cuddling. So I cast on and didn’t look back. Actually, I didn’t look at much of anything while I knit this. The fuzzy lace-weight took all my concentration in order not to drop stitches (lots of yarn overs!) because this mohair doesn’t frog. I’m so happy with this little scarf that I’m going to make another one. Actually, maybe I’ll sign off right now and cast on!
* (You can play Scrabble on Pogo.com without an iPod.)
I’ve been on this once-a-month blogging kick for a while now. Sometimes I think about giving up, since I don’t blog as often as I like. Then I have times like recently, when I wonder . . . When did my amaryllis bloom? or What classes did I take at my first Stitches West? or How long have I been working on this darn sock-yarn sweater? And the answers are usually here on the blog. So I’ve decided (again) that I will keep it going — if nothing else, it is a record that I like to refer to once in a while.
Speaking of Stitches West, the collage has a few shots I took the last day Connie and I were there. This was our 4th Stitches in five years. I took it easy, wih only two half-day classes. The first one was A Well-Executed Sleeve with Sarah Peasley. She taught us how to make short-row shoulders and the set-in sleeves where you pick up stitches at the shoulder and knit down. I’d really like to put this method into use.
The second class was Double Knitting Tubes by Karen Frisa. She is a fun and awesome teacher! I learned how to knit tubes that would work as glove fingers — only they are knit flat! No more wrestling double points or circulars in tiny places. I also learned how to make a knit-in-place pocket. It was tons of fun to try and peek into the knitting as it was happening to see the little tube forming. This also gives me a really good idea of how to do regular double knitting, which I tried to do before, but failed.
The snapshots of the market show (from left to right) a demo of tunisian crochet, some cute creations at the Knitwhits booth, some yarn at the same booth, and a couple ladies from the Bay Area machine knitters guild. It was great to see the demo on the knitting machine, since it is the same one I have that has never been used.
Did I buy anything at the market? Well, of course, but not much this year. I came home with some Poems yarn, enough for a vest, and a book of rigid heddle loom ideas. And a vest pattern. That’s it. What I really concentrated on was gathering ideas. I have quite a few of those!
Now, these great ideas mean I want to cast on or warp my loom for many, many new projects. But I promised myself to finish an old project first, so new ones have been limited to small things. The old project has been hanging about since June of 2008! I was determined to get the Nordic Sock Sweater done before any other sweaters were started. I worked on it before Stitches. I worked on it during Stitches. (It was a bear to drag around in its all-in-one-piece working state.) And I worked on it after Stitches. I was afraid the seaming would last forever — but it really wasn’t bad at all. Then I wet-blocked it. Usually, I steam block, but I have . . . let’s say “grown” since I started this sweater and I wanted to block it rather aggressively. Well! The thing came out of its bath humongous! It was way too big for even my more fluffy size. I despaired. I comforted myself that at least I’d move on to another sweater now. I threw the beast into the the dryer. The yarn is superwash, so I held out hope that it would survive. Still big. I tossed it into the washer, then dryer. No improvement. I tried it again: wash, dry but warmer this time. And out it popped like nothing had happened, back in its original condition. Whew!
There’s one love that we all share: yarn. Blog about a particular yarn you have used in the past or own in your stash, or perhaps one that you covet from afar.
Yarn . . . such a plain, utilitarian word, and the thing itself is so varied and wonderous. It has provided me an adventure of discovery all its own through the years.
First came the yarns of the 60s. Yarns that served a purpose, that worked hard, were easy to care for and came in a rainbow of solid colors and a few ombres and variegations. I made lots of toys and household goodies with that yarn — so many that my mom and I started selling knit, crochet and sewn treasures at the holiday bazaars. I even crocheted a beautiful wool ski sweater for my brother, which he loved. And one of my favorites was a toilet roll cover — an old man in a derby hat taking a bath in a barrel.
Then I discovered fiber in the 70s — raw wool and alpaca — and started making my own yarn. That was short-lived, with 2 children I felt like spinning was too much of a luxury for my time, so my beloved spinning wheel went to a new home.
The next change came when my wrists gave out and I switched from crochet to knitting. This changed the way I look at yarn. Knitting gives a whole different look and feel to the finished projects, so I began to make new things. It even seemed to go in phases. There was the dishcloth phase — great for learning new techniques and stitches. And yarn gave way to tulle netting for the scrubbers my mom loves.
Next came the hat phase, which is really on-going as I make hats for chemo patients for my Caps for a Cure group. The Shedir hat took me to the heights of challenges with all its crossing cables. The yarn — Rowan’s Calmer — is still one of my favorites.
Then it was on to making anything that caught my fancy: socks, sweaters, simple shawls, mittens. And the yarn collection grew. Just when I thought my closet could hold no more, I returned to spinning, this time really learning (and continuing to learn!) the right way to spin, rather than just teaching myself like I did in the 70s.
Now fiber spills out of the closet along with the yarn. And sometimes the fiber becomes new yarn. Today I’m plying some orange Romney wool that is destined to be another hat for the hat-loving husband.(I still need practice with the plying.) The yarn on top of the wheel is the biggest usable batch of yarn I’ve spun so far, giving me almost 700 yards of DK weight Cotswold/Merino/Alpaca goodness. I’m still searching for just the right pattern for this lot.
I could go on and on about yarn, but it’s time to bring this to a close. I’ve really enjoyed this week of blogging and hope it gives me the kick in the pants I’ve needed to get back to a once weekly schedule. As the old saying goes, I still have yarns to spin.
Revisit a past F/O
Bring the fortune and life of a past finished project up to the present. Document the current state and use of an object you have knitted or crocheted, whether it is the hat your sister wears to school almost every day, or a pair of socks you wore until they were full of hole. Or maybe that jumper that your did just didn’t like that much…
One of my knitting projects has come back to haunt me. It’s actually rather funny, but makes me cringe just a little, too.
Two years ago my son loaned me a copy of the Firefly TV series and the Serenity movie.
I really enjoyed them and thought it would be fun and appropriate to knit a Jayne hat after seeing the movie, so I made my Shiny Hat. Actually, I made two. One for a young friend who is a fan of Firefly and was undergoing radiation treatment, so she needed a hat. The first one came out too big, so I made a smaller one for her.
As soon as the bigger hat came off the needles, the dear husband declared it was his. He loves orange and he loves his Shiny Hat. How could I say no to such an eager recipient of my knitting?
Now, I don’t mind that he wears it around the yard, like he did today, but when he takes it on the road — and he will wear that hat anywhere! — it can be a bit embarrassing. I mean, in the movie the hat is the symbol of all the funky, weird things that a mother makes and that a good son wears because he loves his mum. Our friends shake their heads when he shows up in this hat, but we all can’t help but chuckle. The hat really shows his inner child, well, his child is not so much inner as perpetual. And today he reminded me of his youthful spirit as he worked around the yard with that pom pom bouncing around on his head.
Day 3 of Knit and Crochet Blog Week and I’m hanging in there — and enjoying it! Here’s the topic of the day:
Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.
Knitting is no longer something we do alone at home. The internet, knitting conferences, local stitch-n-bitches, all bring knitting out where everyone can enjoy it. And the people to admire! Like Cat Bordhi’s curiousity, Jared Flood’s photography, Franklin Habit’s humor — the list is huge!
But I want to mention someone who has inspired me and who makes me think, “I want to be like her,” and it’s totally possible. She’s one of the first bloggers I met, not long after I started knitting seriously. Her tastes and interests are so similar to mine, and she pursues them vigorously.
My next post for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010 follows this topic:
Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!
There are so many wonderful patterns I’d love to do, but one rather small project that is on my “someday” list is special to me. It’s the Swedish Fish Socks pattern by Spilly Jane Knits. The reason these are special? Well, my heritage is mostly Swedish, along with the Welsh contribution on the other side. I share an affinity for that heritage with my Dad. One of my favorite memories was of him talking like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. He also ate lots of sweets — one favorite being Swedish fish, which was a good gift idea through the years. Unfortunately, I share his love of sweets, too, but have been working on minimizing my sweet consumption lately.
I plan to make these socks someday, but colorwork and socks! That’s a lot in a pattern for me. Even though I’ve made several pairs of socks, they still stress me out. I worry about the heel the whole time I make the cuff, then I worry about the length of the foot and making the toe. I’ve always said that worrying is my favorite hobby, and socks really bring it out for me. I just need to jump in and do it! Not right now — but maybe before the year is over. Maybe they could be my first knit of 2011?
This brings up my recent knitting project. Recent . . . as in, I’ve been working on my Nordic Sock Sweater since June of 2008. Maybe I can finish it by the time it is two years old. Right now, I’m held up in one of those “worries”. It looks to me that the overlap for the buttons is too wide when I match up the sleeve seams. I was really pushing this one, but am once again stalled on it. There’s about two inches of each side that overlap — I’m thinking that using larger buttons will make that okay. If not, I’m thinking of frogging it and weaving a blanket with the yarn.
I really like this sweater pattern (Drops Design 107-3) but I didn’t realize that garter stitch sucks up so much yarn. Combine that with a huge sweater using sock yarn, and it is a daunting task. I’m actually quite pleased at the progress I’ve made — if I can just get past my worries and finish it!
Photo of Swedish Fish Socks copyrighted by SpillyJane. Used by Permission
This week has been declared Knit and Crochet Blog week. And I have the crazy notion that I’d like to try this out. Maybe it will get me back on a weekly schedule of blogging. And here we go! The topic of the week is:
How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?
It’s hard to remember the 60s – because I was so young! — but sometime in that decade my mother taught me how to knit and crochet. I was probably around eight years old. I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember the tears and fits when she taught me to sew in a zipper, so I’m sure the lessons were short and painful. I really had a low tolerance for frustration, so I’m surprised I learned to knit and crochet at all.
I suppose that frustration level was what lead me to take up crochet as my preferred craft. It is just so much simpler! My mother made afghans and sweaters and dabbled in other crafts, so I had a great example for all kinds of craftiness.
My great grandmother made beautiful multicolored doilies, and when my sister and I admired them, she made each of us one. See how bright they were! (She also told Mom to leave me with her for a summer and she’d have me married off in no time! I was seventeen at the time and shocked at the notion.) I still have an old-fashioned fondness for doilies.
I crocheted when the mood hit, but don’t have any of my projects to show for it. When my grandmother died several years ago, I did find an old ripple afghan that I’d made from a kit in high school. I also took a “creative stitchery” class in high school, it was an easy “A” kind of class in my junior or senior year, when my boyfriend was more important than schoolwork. I learned to do broomstick crochet and hairpin lace in that class; we picked our own projects and pretty much taught ourselves. I made a baby blanket in each technique and gave them to my boyfriend’s cousin who had a baby two days before graduation. Ah, the memories!
To learn more about this event, visit Eskimimi Knits. Tag: knitcroblo1
On a side note: I really, really want to know what this bush is so I can plant some in my yard. Anyone? Big dog included for scale.
Well, there aren’t any alligators here, just lots of fibery goodness. Where did all this come from? And why won’t it fit into the closet anymore?! We’re in the middle of switching rooms around and I am having serious trouble stuffing my fleece and yarn into the available closet space. I’ve been giving myself quite a scolding about it, but I’m not really sure that I’m listening.
Ah well, it will be settled soon and then we are off for a few days to Earth Dance, a music and peace festival that we work at most years. It will be a welcome break from the chaos here at home. My plan is to walk and read and take pictures whenever I’m not working. Relaxing . . . .
In the meantime, I’ve been knitting little things. There’s a vest I want to start, but I think life is too cluttered right now, so it is waiting in the wings. I managed to finish a cat-ear hat for a woman starting chemo this week. And I’ve been working on leaves. The owner of our LYS is doing an art project for the window and has asked everyone to make leaves. I’ve done a few and that might be all I manage. Maybe I’ll remember to take a picture of the finished display?
Oh, and Hey, Teach! is an official part of my wardrobe now. I’ve been wearing it out quite a bit and enjoying it. It fits great and is a very satisfying finished project. I added a bit to the length , otherwise it is knit to pattern as best as I could manage. I love it!
Yarn: Queensland Kathmandu Aran in Beige, about 9 skeins
Needles: Size 8
And before I leave town > > > it’s time to announce the winners of the my blog anniversary contest.
I’ve been checking out some new blogs this week and noticed many that have been neglected for months. It got me thinking about whether to keep this blog going, just a routine checking in with where it fits in with my life. I decided that this blog still serves a definite purpose for me. Besides the great people I have met through it, I have a reminder of where I’ve been. Sometimes it’s rather sporadic, but at least there’s a bit of a trail to look back at as I wander. It seems like something I need, so it will continue for now.
Oh, what’s that? The contest winners? Yes, of course! As usual, the random number generator pulled out the winning numbers. Congratulations to the winners: Sarah, Karen, Carrie K, and Knitnana.
There’s more work for the winners, though. Each of you will need to pick your prize and email me with your choice. First claim gets it. The choices are: Two skeins of Peace Fleece in lavender and coral, a skein of STR club yarn in Dragon Dance, a skein of STR club yarn in Goody Goody, a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in Nightwatch, or two Ravelry mugs that change from “disagree” to “agree” when filled with your favorite hot drink.
Follow the links to see Rav pics, so you can actually see what these look like. If there’s nothing here to your liking, just say “surprise me” and I’ll do just that. I will be leaving town Thursday afternoon, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from me right away.
Thanks to all of you for reading my sporadic blog. Until next time . . . .