"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman

1/14/20

Ramblings

Just some newsy items for myself.

We have angered the knitting gods. During this past weekend, we got 28 inches of new snow. I woke up this morning to another 8 or so inches. I think mother nature is trying to make up for the no-snow December. I shoveled a lot of snow yesterday. So much that I can hardly lift my arms.

I went down the hill yesterday to wipe off the satellite dish so I could watch some television. I had to wade through the snow down to the gate, then shovel a space wide enough to open the gate. The snow is heavy. Finally got it done, opened the gate, waded down to the dish and it is not only covered in snow, but there's an inch of ice frozen to the dish underneath the snow. I could not get it to come off. So I waded back up to the house in defeat. By the time I got back I was so exhausted I sat down and watched Netflix instead. I had intended to go down after a nice rest with some hot water and a plastic spatula to clean things off, but I just could not face wading through that snow again. It's exhausting when you're a short person. I don't know if I'm gonna give it another try today or not. Especially since there's an added new bunch that makes it higher than my knees.

The overnight snow on Sunday caused a lot of power outages. Our power stayed on, but it went out at the well house. It took most of the day for sweet hubby to get the well going again after the power came back on. Turned out to be a blown fuse and a bad set of directions in the manual for how to get it going again. He figured it out, and I got my shower around 3pm. You don't really appreciate how important running water is until you don't have it. I was in the act of melting snow to get enough in a bucket to flush the toilet when it came back on. I was so happy to give that chore up.

I have been knitting, of course. I'm about a third through the Crazed Scandinavian cowl.



The yarn I'm using is supposed to be purple and blue variegated with long color repeats. It seems to be a lot more blue than purple. It will still go with my coat though. Just a tiny bit disappointed.

After New Years day I cast on the baby cardigan for Layette set #42. I'm trying a new pattern. It's color blocks.



I've got the blocking, shoulders joined, and the sewing done. Now it's time to knit on the button/neck band. I was going to use yellow for that, but I think maybe black would look better.

The yarn was given to my by a new friend. A group of new members has been coming to our Thursday Yarnies meeting. They are a fun bunch too. One of them brought a sweater to the meeting that she'd found at a thrift store. It's a Mary Maxim Intarsia sweater someone had made. It had the wearers initials on it. She thought they were duplicate stitched on and removed them. It turned out they were knitted in so she ended up making a big unsightly hole. She brought the sweater to show us and ask if there was any way to repair it. I repaired it for her during the meeting. In exchange, she bought me 3 skeins of yarn in my color choice. I consider it a fair trade.

I had a nice Christmas. We spend Christmas eve at home, just the three of us. I made a roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, and what not. We opened one present that night. The big box that came from Sarah and Frank. It had a house air purifier in it. It was an incredibly thoughtful gift. They thought it will help with my asthma, and it has.

On Christmas day we opened the rest of our presents. Sweet Hubby gave me a new coffee maker.



I had to laugh because we have a perfectly fine coffee maker but he hates it because of the pot, so he got a new one. The pot is pretty much the same as in the old coffee maker. The coffee maker itself is a new design that is much easier to clean. It comes apart and the upper half can go in the dishwasher.

My daughter Ruth gave me the complete dvd set of Downton Abby. I also got a new french beaded flowers book by Lauren Harpster,


a Star Trek calendar, and lots of chocolate. Mmmm, chocolate. Later in the afternoon we went to our friends house for dinner and cards. It was a very fun evening.

Frank loves the sweater I made for him. It fits perfectly too.



Sarah loves the socks I made her too.

This week I've gone back to working on the bicycle cross stitch project I started last year. Initially I was going to try and have it done in time for Christmas but soon realized that was totally unrealistic, so I'm aiming for daughter Sarah's birthday near the end of April. I'm wearing reading glasses to work on it. It's been hard to get used to them. I miss my near vision.

Well, I suppose I should get busy shoveling off the back steps so the dog can get in and out. I'm hoping this snow attack will end soon.

Live long and prosper. \\//

1/12/20

Margaret Tudor

Margaret Tudor was officially completed on the morning of December 31, 2019. I wore it to Rathdrum Knitting Group later that day.



Pattern: Margaret Tudor from Tudor Roses, First Edition by Alice Starmore.

Yarn: Palette from KnitPicks
Content: 100% Wool, Fingering weight
Color: Iris Heather

Needles: Circular size 2

Started: January 30, 2019
Knitting Finished: August 8, 2019
Completed: December 31, 2019

Comments: This was a very challenging and fun project. It has 16 different panels that are sewn together. I'm so happy with how it's turned out, thrilled that it actually fits me, and super proud of myself for doing it. I like the yarn okay, though I'd be happier if it was a superwash wool, but I could not find a color I liked. I chose the Palette because I like the Iris Heather. I bought 10 skeins of it, and have 3 and a half skeins left over. I overbought since I was altering it. I didn't quite know how much extra I'd need, and didn't want to run out before the sweater was finished.

Another thing I should mention is I could have had this finished sooner than I did. I actually finished the knitting and blocking in August. But I needed a break, and stuff entered my life that kept me pretty busy for awhile. The North Idaho State Fair, Christmas knitting, and whatnot. I decided to put aside for a couple months or so.



This pattern only goes up to size large and I wear 3XL. I had to figure out how to enlarge it so it would fit me. My arms are 2 inches shorter than the average too. Somehow, I managed to do the math correctly.

Chart A, Thistle pattern

If you want to knit 3XL: For the body I put the alterations in the 4 side panels. I cast on 107 sts. Knit 6 and 1/2 repeats of chart B. Knit chart A as written in pattern. I knit the center and Rose panels as written. I started the armholes 1 inch lower so it would be 10 inches.

Chart B, Diamonds and Bobbles

For the sleeves I put the alterations in the side panels. Add 6 stitches to the cast on (60), putting them in chart B, and knit the decreases as written in the pattern. You should have 6 extra stitches at the end of the sleeve. This will add the extra width needed for the lowered armhole. The center rose panel is knit as written. That's all there is to it.

Chart C, Rose panel.

I originally was going to use beads instead of buttons, but I changed my mind. Beads didn't strike me as being a good match with the color of the yarn I used. So I went with buttons. I blogged about them around the time I bought them, but I'll repeat some of it here.



This sweater has 56 pewter buttons on it. That is a lot of buttons. Pewter buttons are not cheap. My husband is not employed at the moment, and is in fact a student working on his Masters in Computer Science, so spending a couple hundred dollars or more on the buttons was not going to happen. I Googled and found something that worked out so well. A web site for a Chinese seller of buttons, among other things. It's called 8 Seasons. I spent $8.00 for these buttons. $2.30 of that was shipping. I had to wait a few weeks for the order to arrive, and I was a little concerned that I'd wasted my money, because usually prices that cheap mean quality worth nothing. However, when they arrived I was pleasantly surprised. The quality is excellent, and the buttons are wonderful. I am very happy with the purchase.

Sleeve and Shoulder

If I were to knit this again, there are a couple things I would do different. One, instead of all that seed stitch and double seed stitch, I would do purls so the cables and twisted stitches would stand out better. You can hardly see all the bobbles I made in the diamond pattern sections, though they are more visible in person than in the pictures.



Two, I would add about 4 inches to the length because it's a loose fitting tunic and I just think it would look better a little longer.

Having said that, here is a picture of me wearing Margaret. It was taken by my friend Barb with my phone.



I had a nice Christmas and New Years. I'll talk about them in my next post. Until then,

Live long and prosper. \\//













12/10/19

Barred Owl

We have a Barred Owl who has moved into the neighborhood. I was standing in the sun-room yesterday morning contemplating the beautiful sunrise and something huge flew by the windows, catching my attention. It landed on one of the garden fence posts. I went to see if it was one of our resident Bald Eagles, and was surprised to see an owl. Of course I ran and got the camera. My telephoto lens was all the way out for these pics.



Isn't he gorgeous?



He was sitting in the shade surveying the garden patch, when something caught his attention. He flew over to the corner garden post in the sunshine.



He spent a very long time (almost an hour) watching something there in the corner. I suspect a mouse.



He never did swoop down. Just sat there watching. His head swiveled around in a most amazing way.


I read a bit about him via Google. (Remember, Google is your friend.) It's a native species of eastern North America, but it's territory has spread across the country so they are now inhabiting the western side too. Locally, they're considered an invasive species. (Our local government sucks.) He's about 18 inches tall and his wing span is so impressive. I wish I could have caught it on camera. I probably took 200 shots but a nice wing span was not to be had.

I think I may have mentioned a few weeks ago a new chickadee species, Chestnut Backed, was observed at the bird buffet. It's still here and has a mate now. So I expect it's staying for the winter. I'm trying to get a picture of them, but chickadees are unable to stand still for more than a nano second and I have been unsuccessful so far. I've had lots of blurred shots of tree branches. No chickadees in them.

Had the right eye surgery. Not a pleasant experience. I felt this one and it hurt. Ouch ouch ouch! Starting with the marking. I bought the lens that corrects astigmatism-$1000 not covered by insurance, so it had to be installed just exactly. Doctor started by marking my eye with a big bright blue marker. Yeah. drawing on my eyeball! It was not painless. I didn't get as much numbing stuff as before. My asthma was acting up (can you say cough?) and they were concerned about it. I had to take a cough medicine. Anyway, I said ouch. She replied "I'm sorry. I'm almost done". I felt the first piercing cut too. I had pain for a couple days after the surgery. I guess it was worth it. My right eye sees very well.

In the meantime I've lost some of the clarity I had in the left eye. I'm having a hard time adjusting to not seeing close and needing reading glasses, but it's early yet. My vision will change a bit more over the next few weeks as my eyes heal and my brain adjusts, and I may end up needing glasses in the end. I have to say though, that the world is a much brighter place. I hadn't realized how much my vision had darkened over time. The nasty cataracts are gone! For that, I am thankful.

I have, over this year, mentioned a nagging cough that my asthma has become. I am so tired of changing medications trying to find something that will get it under control only to cough my lungs out every two to three days anyway. I finally got my doctor to refer me to a lung specialist. Unfortunately, I have to wait until January 15th to see him. It's a very busy clinic. That was the first appointment they had available. I'm cheering myself up with knitting.

I did stop working on Margaret until the eyes have healed some. So I started a new project that is much easier to see. The Crazed Scandinavian Cowl is turning out to be a pleasant project to fill my evenings with. It is an 80 inch long cowl with 20 fairisle charts in it. A total of 603 rows. A challenge that's fun. I have finished the first 2 charts and started the third (speckled diamonds). I'm at row 102.



I have also obtained new bobbins, loaded some up with yarn, and knit a few rows of argyle sock. I don't know why, but I chose black as the background color. As socks go, they will be very pretty (that's why, right there), but I can tell I'm going to regret that black before it's all over. And the tangled mess that sits on my lap! Keeping it all straight is proving to be difficult. Why do I do this to myself?

I suppose I should start the next layette set.

Weather update. The weekend was cold and rainy. Yesterday it cleared up and we have sunshine and temps in the 40's. Warm for this time of year, but still feels cold to me. There is no snow in the immediate future. I am enjoying the sunshine.

I'm looking forward to going to Rathdrum Knitting this afternoon. I feel a need for like minded company.

Live long and prosper. \\//

12/1/19

Eye Surgery Survived

I had my eye surgery a couple weeks ago. A cataract infested lens was removed from my left eye and replaced with a man made one that actually corrects my far vision. It was an interesting experience. I was awake for the whole thing, but gratefully drugged so I felt nothing. There was no pain through the whole process. When it was over I was very much surprised that I could see the clock across the room without my glasses. I am so glad I had the surgery.

My right eye will be done this coming Wednesday. In the meantime I've been in this situation where one eye can see great, and the other one can't hardly see at all. It makes it impossible for me to drive. I have almost no depth perception. I was reaching for a pencil in the cup full of pencils and pens and kept missing the one I wanted. So I'm looking forward to the surgery.

Yesterday we went to a funeral. My sister-in-law Diane's father passed away. I'm not wearing glasses anymore and many people were surprised. I guess I look so different without them that I'm not recognizable at first glance. Heh heh...

Despite the bad eyesight, I have been trying to knit and work on Margaret. I sewed on all the buttons.



I actually managed to join the shoulders as instructed (3-needle bind off), and I've knit the neckband.


I have half a sleeve cap sewn in on one side too. It has been very difficult. I could hardly see the stitches while sewing. My daughter Ruth checked it for me every so often to make sure I was doing it right. I plan to finish the other half after I'm done writing today.

I actually had some second thoughts the day after the surgery because I have destroyed the only vision I've ever had that worked correctly-near sight. I saw my doctor last Wednesday and asked her how to deal with it and she suggested I get a pair of magnifying reading glasses. I bought a pair later that day and they work great, so I think I'll be able to bead and cross stitch after this is all over. God I hope so.

I also started a new project called the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl. It's an amazing fairisle cowl pattern that I want to knit for myself. It's very long (80 inches +/- .There are 18 stitch pattern charts. It'll be gorgeous. I cast on and knit about 30 rows over the last few days, but last night I frogged it because it looked so awful. I'd made some mistakes that I decided I just couldn't live with. I called it the education practice swatch. I got it started again last night and have the first two rounds done.

I ordered bobbins so I can get started on the argyle socks for Frank. (I have bobbins, but can't find them.) They arrived yesterday. Yay! I'm not knitting that project until after the right eye surgery.

The weather has been cold and dry. It didn't even get above freezing the last two days. There are rumors of snow coming.

Live long and prosper. \\//

11/18/19

Welts and Cuffs

I spent the whole weekend working on Margaret Tudor. The bottom welts and cuffs are made by picking up stitches along the bottom edges. I had to calculate how many to pick up for the welts.



The number to pick up in the pattern is less than the number of stitches that were cast on. I figured out it was 25.7% less stitches. So I added up the total number I'd cast on for my increase in size and subtracted 25.7% from it. I was left with 227. That is a butt load of stitches to pick up, but we're working with fingering weight yarn, size 2 needles, and a wide frame body.

It's an interesting stitch pattern. Lots and lots of little bobbles. It's a good thing I don't mind knitting them.



I was pretty worried I'd done it wrong but when I finished that first welt, it laid perfectly. The pattern said it mustn't pull in or flay out. It lays straight down, just like it's supposed to. I'm happy with it.



I cast on the same number of stitches in the pattern for the large size cuffs when I did the sleeves, so I didn't have to do any math. Just follow the directions.

Next I'm going to sew the buttons on. I figure it's going to be easier to do it before I sew everything together.

My eye surgery is the day after tomorrow. Don't know when I'll be able to blog after that. Hopefully, in just a couple days.

Live long and prosper. \\//

11/13/19

Milo

Milo is finished.



Pattern: Milo by the Berroco Design Team

Yarn: Dark Horse Yarns Fantasy
Content: 50% Nylon/50% Acrylic, Aran weight
Color: 23 Forest

Yarn: Dark Horse Yarns Fantasy
Content: 50% Nylon/50% Acrylic, Aran weight
Color: 32 Wine

Yarn: Knitpicks Mighty Stitch
Content: 80% Acrylic/20% Wool, Worsted weight
Color: Alfalfa

YarnKnitpicks Mighty Stitch
Content: 80% Acrylic/20% Wool, Worsted weight
Color: Blue

Needles: Circular size 6 and 8

Started: September 7, 2019
Finished: November 11, 2019

Comments: This has been an interesting and fun knit. The stitch pattern is actually more challenging than it looks. One row stripes present some interesting challenges. I learned some new things while working on it. I like learning new things.



In addition to the stripes, there's texture too. It's a very nice design. I would not recommend this pattern for a beginner though. 



About the yarns I chose to make this with. Both of them feel wonderful and were nice to knit with. I chose the Dark Horse yarn because a friend offered them to me. I don't know how this is going to wear. I noticed it's pilling already. I will need to let Frank know how to deal with them. 



The Mighty Stitch is not pilling though. I love it. It's a very nice quality for the price.



The two major Christmas knitting jobs are done. I'm happy about that. I even finished them early. Now I will finish Margaret (I hope to get her done before my eye surgery) and start something new. I cast on yesterday for a pair of real Argyle socks. I've been wanting to learn how to make them for some time. 

Argyle is knit with Intarsia. I need 11 bobbins, which I've ordered cuz I can't find the bobbins I know I already own. They should be here soon. In the meantime, I'm well on my way to having the ribbing done on the first sock. I've also found some YouTube videos and web sites with tutorials and helpful information which I'll be sharing as I knit the socks.

Something wonderful has happened this week, besides finishing some knitting. A Ravelry member, who I don't know, happened to wander into my Ravelry notebook and saw all my charity knitting. She has offered to send me a box of yarn to help me. Isn't that wonderful? More layette sets and mittens are in my KnitWits future. There are some very kind people in the world.

Live long and prosper. \\//