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

9/20/19

Milo Progress

I finished the knitting on the back piece, and have started the front piece.



The shoulder shaping gave me some challenges. The pattern says to bind off the first 9 sts on the next 6 rows, then bind off 32 neck stitches. I decided to short row, leaving the sts open, instead so I can do the three needle bind off to join the shoulders instead of sewing. Well, a different color is being used on each row, so how do I carry the yarns across the stitches being bound off? I wove them, like I do when knitting across larger areas in fairisle. It worked great until I got to a row that had the purls on the front side. Can't weave in that situation without it showing on the right side. I was going to have to carry a yarn across 9 sts. That's a long float in worsted weight yarn. So I spent some time doing research to see if there's a solution to that problem. I googled, and looked in my books. Found nothing. Nothing! Then I realized it didn't matter because that particular row was the last shoulder shaping row anyway. Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.

Here's a close up of the stitch pattern. It's been an interesting one to do.



I turned the furnace on Wednesday. All 3 fur kids were laying on me trying to get warm. I had some chores that needed doing. I wanted to get off the love seat. It was pretty chilly in the house, so I relented. Otherwise I would probably have sat all day with the kids using me as their personal heater.

It's amazing how fast things change when we go from one season to the next. One day we're roasting, and the next it drops into the 50's and we're all digging out jackets, sweaters, and long sleeve shirts. There's no gentle tapering off around here. Just BAM!

Live long and prosper. \\//

9/15/19

Ha! and Sewing Things

It thought it could defeat me. I showed it! I fixed the sleeves on the robe yesterday. Now it fits perfectly. Just in time for summer to be over. No, there will be no pics.

Now, about sewing. I am very good at sewing my knitting together. I have had Fair judges come looking for me to meet me and find out how I seam things because the work was so beautiful. It's really a matter of practice.

In the early days of my knitting years, I didn't do top down seamless sweaters cuz I had no access to such a thing. (This is, truly, what is best about the internet. Having access to so much information) Most of my knitting years I was isolated and had only learned what I could find in books that I found at the library or magazines. Most patterns were knit flat, in pieces, and needed to be sewn together, just like regular sewing does.

Oddly, I do not mind sewing my knitted things together. I kind of take pride in it, seeking to make the best seams I can. I did not find out about seamless knitting until the early 2000's when I bought my shop. Wow, I learned so much those years, just from the inventory it came with.

When I was putting that baby cardigan together last week, I edjumucated myself some more. I did some research to find the best way to sew the sleeves. I have always back stitched seams that are not vertical or horizontal, but are diagonal. However, back stitch makes for a heavy seam allowance and can be quite sloppy. Especially in a little baby jacket made of worsted weight yarn. I decided I needed to see if there's a better way.

I ended up mattress stitching it, which is quite a challenge because there are increases to deal with, so the seam isn't invisible. But the seam allowance is much thinner, which is a big plus to me. It doesn't look too bad. Not any worse than back stitching. (Ignore the cat hair. It's that time of year again.)



I was hoping for something more elegant, but oh well. Anyway, as I was googling around, I found a seaming technique called the Bickford Method. I'd never heard of it before, but it is a life changing revelation to me.



It's not seamless looking, but you have no seam allowance, and it looks very nice. I shall be using it in the future, though it didn't work on the cardigan sleeves because of the stitch pattern, which has garter stitch rows in it.

Now, not to be outdone, google provided me with yet something else new and wonderful. I was looking for ways to sew in set in sleeves because, again, I have always back stitched them in. I found a video of a method that involves a sort of half mattress stitch, half grafting method. I tried and it works very well.



 It produced the best seaming of a set in sleeve I've ever done. I am so excited.

All in all, I call it a good week. I learned new ways to improve my knitting skills. I share this info with you so you can improve your knitting skills too.

I've said this before, and I'm saying it again. I've been knitting for more than 50 years, and I still learn new exciting things about it.

Live long and prosper. \\//

9/14/19

Ramblings

I have made good progress on Milo this week. I've knit up above the armhole decreases. This stripe pattern is interesting. The stripes are one row, then you change colors. They are arranged so that when you start the next color stripe, the color you need is there where it should be. Waiting at the end of the row.



I'm carrying the unused yarns up the side as I go, twisting some strands around the current color as needed. When  the decreases for the armhole started, I just wove the other colors along the back as I decreased so all the yarns are brought in to the new edge. It's turning out quite nice.

The baby cardigan is almost done. I need buttons.



We had a new member show up to Yarnies on Thursday. Her name is Thea and she is a fun lady. I am so glad to meet her. Our little group has shrunk down over the years to 3 regulars. I remember when we used to have over a dozen members back when we met at Coeur d'Alene Yarn and Fiber (which has been out of business for a few years now. The owner died of leukemia). I miss that group.

We meet at Calypso's Coffee in downtown Coeur d'Alene. The owner gave me permission to put a poster up in an effort to gain new members.

I am feeling much better. I have been coughing a lot less. Only after I have an asthma attack, which is happening 2-3 times a week.

I spent half the day yesterday altering the sleeves of a fleece robe I purchased several months ago. I want a short robe to wear in the summer time. I found one I liked on Amazon and ordered it. When it arrived I immediately tried it on. The sleeves were about a foot too long! I'm not exaggerating either. I don't know why, but the garment industry seems to have the idea that if a person wears a 3X, their arms must go all the way to the floor. Rather than sending it back, I decided to shorten the sleeves. I removed the fluffy white cuffs from the sleeves in preparation for shortening. But I was also totally disgusted with the whole situation, so I ended up tossing the robe and it's cuffs in a corner and have been ignoring it the whole summer.

Yesterday I decided to work on it. I spent half the day figuring out how to put the fluffy cuffs back on. I did a beautiful job of sewing. So proud of myself. Tried it on, only to find the sleeves still way too long. I forgot to cut some of the sleeve length off before putting the cuffs back on. Talk about a total fail. Now I'm REALLY disgusted with the whole situation. ARRGH! All that work. Ugh. Well, at least I know how to do it now. Call it a practice run? Sometimes you win the day. Other times you don't.

Live long and prosper. \\//

9/8/19

Today's WIPs

WIPs to share. I've been sewing Margaret together. It's delicate work. The sts are so small. I have the front done, and the back, which is below.



Next is the sleeves. I'm not in any hurry to get this done because we still have a couple months before the snow flies.

I've made good progress on the baby cardigan. The body is done, and now I'm working on the first sleeve.



The yarn I ordered for Milo finally arrived. It took a long time to get here. I am surprised because usually KnitPicks orders get here within 2 or 3 days. I cast on last night and got a good ways.



It's been hot and humid this past week. A little smoke in the air. Temps are to go down in the next week. This morning it's gray and cloudy. Might get some rain. Good day for knitting.

Live long and prosper. \\//

8/27/19

Ramblings

I have started Layette set #40. The cardigan is first. I decided I wanted to knit something different. I've done over 30 cardigans using the same pattern. It's time for a change, so I dug in Ravelry's pattern database and found something interesting. Here's the start.



I love love love this stitch pattern! It's a 2 color slip stitch pattern. It has some texture to it too because there's purl stitches in each little box. I am enjoying this project.

Yesterday I was working on my laptop when I heard a squirrel making the screechiest of very loud screeching. I went outside to check it out. I stepped out onto the deck, with Zoey right beside me. I looked up above the windows and there's this poor trapped little guy.



My cats had chased him up there. He was trapped. He was seriously pissed. They weren't going to let him down soon either. Cashmere settled down to guard the window. It stopped screeching after I brought my camera out and took it's picture.



Zoey was barking and hopping up and down on her back feet. Merino was pacing back and forth. The three of them trapped that squirrel for an hour and a half. Eventually Cashmere fell asleep, Merino got bored and wandered off. Zoey came into the house. After she came in, squirrel jumped down and ran for the bushes.



I bet he doesn't run up on the deck again.

Live long and prosper. \\//

8/26/19

Zoey Gets A New Sweater

Earlier this month when I knew I was close to finishing the knitting on Margaret I started a new sweater for Zoey. Zoey loves to wear sweaters. They come in real handy when we go camping for those early morning pee walks, and during the winter months.



Pattern: Basic Coat from A Dogs Life by Patons
Made For: Zoey

Size: Large

Yarn: Premier Yarns Everyday Worsted Multis, Prints
Content: 100% Acrylic
Color: Lagoon

Yarn: Impeccable Solids by Loops & Threads
Content: 100% Acrylic
Color: Aqua

Needles: Circular size 6 and 7

Started: August 7, 2019
Finished: August 23, 2019

Comment: I decided to knit this in the round so there wouldn't be a seam. It's just more comfortable to wear that way. That means I had to knit the parts between the legs separately and back and forth, then join in the round after the leg openings. Not a difficult thing to do.



I also did a 4 by 1 garter rib pattern instead of plain stockinette, which I think is what's on the cover of the book, though I didn't notice until after I'd finished the sweater.



Zoey was sitting in front of me on the recliner when I was finishing up her sweater.



It was like she was guarding me so no one could interrupt until I was done.



When I was done I said "All done Zoey." She promptly hopped down onto the floor and sat in sweater loading mode. I put it on her. It fits perfect. She was so excited she started racing around the house! I've never seen a dog that loved wearing sweaters like she does.

Some may think knitting sweaters for my dog is silly. She has thin hair with almost no undercoat. If you could see her underside, you would see she has spots that have absolutely no hair whatsoever. She's a warm weather dog. Besides, how could a person not knit sweaters for this face?



I mean, be reasonable!

Live long and prosper. \\//

8/24/19

Blocking Margaret

Thursday I got the dining room table cleaned off so I could put my blocking board on it. Our dining room table is my craft table now. I have a knitting room where my knitting machines, yarn, and other assorted items live but I like to watch tv while crafting, so I've taken to doing things on the dining room table. We hardly ever use it for eating anyway. I took photos as I blocked Margaret so you could see the difference.

Here's the pile of what turned out to be 18 pieces. The sweater has 16, but I have accidentally knit 2 center back panels, and there's the first rose panel I did that was too small.



I started with the lace rose panels. Unblocked they are tightly curled and the lace is messy.



I use blocking wires because it's so much easier to pin the pieces out with wires. I pinned the pieces out to the desired dimensions and steamed them, just like I do when blocking Acrylic. I steam block everything because that is what I was taught to do. It is how the garment industry blocks. It's so much quicker than getting everything sopping wet, laying it out, and waiting days for it to dry. The rose panels still curl some because they're mostly stockinette stitch, but you can see they are smoother and the lace is open and even.



Here is one of the side panels unblocked. It isn't smooth and even, the one side curls, and the scallops don't show.



Look at the difference after blocking! Smooth and even fabric and nice scallops on the side.



Isn't this stitch pattern gorgeous?



It took me 2 days to get it all blocked.  Here it is all done, except the two extra pieces. I thought about blocking the extra center panel, just in case, but I may need the yarn for the welt, cuffs, and neck band. Here's everything all nice and neat. Everything is so perfect.



All the pieces knit to the correct size. I've never had such perfect gauge before. It's a little discombobulating. The next step is sewing it together. I need to figure out how I'm going to do that.

I finished the baby blanket for the layette set that's at the fair, and I've finished the sweater for my dog, Zoey. I need to start something new. It feels weird not knitting. I enjoyed knitting Margaret so very much. The whole challenge was so much fun. I'm going to take on a couple more sweaters. I've decided to make my son-in-law a new pullover. I found a Berroco pattern named Milo that I think he'd love.



It has a simple textured stripe pattern that would be fun. It's done in knitting worsted so it will go much faster than Margaret for certain. I've decided the main color will be a dark forest green (Dark Horse Yarns Fantasy) and the other 3 colors will be royal blue (KnitPicks Mighty Stitch), deep wine (Dark Horse Yarns Fantasy), and a Fern green (KnitPicks Mighty Stitch). I have all the colors but the Fern in my stash so I only had to order the Fern. The yarns are acrylic/wool or nylon blend yarns so it'll be machine washable and easy to care for. They also feel so incredibly soft. Should feel like a soft hug when knit up. I wonder if I could get this done by Christmas.

There's another project that has been waiting for a few years now. My oldest daughter loves My Little Pony. I purchased a My Little Pony sweater pattern and a bunch of yarn ages ago to make for her.



It's a kids pattern, but I'm going to just knit a basic adult pullover and put the pony chart on it. This one will be a challenge because there's a considerable amount of plain stockinette stitch which is boring to me. I'd also be knitting Intarsia. It's been a long time since I've done any Intarsia knitting. Perhaps I will do the Yazi reward to get it done. I'd like to have it done in time for her birthday next April.

Anyway, as you can see, I've got projects on my mind to start. I also need to get another layette set going. I plan to start that tonight. I found the cutest Hedgehog fleece and a variegated yarn that will match it perfect.



I need a break from the orange and mint paisley.

Well, that's what's going on inside my brain.

Next week the husband goes back to school. He's got classes every day of the week. Daughter is starting her job too, so I'll get some home alone time. I get that rarely so I'm going to really enjoy it. I see lots of stitches in my future.

Live long and prosper. \\//

8/22/19

Fair Results 2019

Went to the North Idaho State Fair yesterday to check out the entries. I saw that people 60+ got $2 off the entry ticket price. So I mentioned I'm 60 and I got in free! It was seniors get in free day. My very first senior discount. I was both surprised and delighted.

My six entries did pretty well. The baby set won Blue.



And so did the fairisle mittens. YAY! This was a difficult project for me so I'm really proud of this one.



The Peytwist necklace won Blue



and the blue bracelet too.



The necklace, which I entered in General Crafts, won White/third place. The competition was stiff so I did pretty good all things considered.



The big surprise, though, was that my Mini Star Trek won a ribbon. I really didn't think it would. White/Third place!



Now, if you'll remember, I started Margaret Tudor after making an agreement with my friend Dorothy to do so at the beginning of the year. We both wanted to make sweaters out of Tudor Roses by Alice and Jade Starmore, so we made a deal to work on them together and encourage each other to get them done. Well, Dorothy got her sweater done in time for the fair and she won Best of Show! It deserved it too. She did an incredible job on this cardigan. The pattern is Kathryn of Aragon.



She's out of town this week, so won't even get to know she won until next week.

So, about my asthma/cough that I've been struggling with for months. I finally found out what was wrong. On Tuesday night of last week I didn't get much sleep at all because I coughed all night long. I also could feel bubbles in my lungs with every breath I took. That's not asthma, so I decided to go to the Immediate Care clinic instead of my regular doctor. It was time for a second opinion.

Well, am I glad I did that! I saw Dr. Bailey. He listened to my lungs and then ordered a chest x-ray. Well, what do ya know? I had pneumonia!!!! He prescribed an antibiotic med, which I took faithfully, and I started feeling better by the next morning. I'm feeling so much better now. The cough is almost gone, and no more bubbles in my chest. It feels so good to be able to breath properly again. I'm actually getting sleep at night too.

Sometimes we can get so focused on something that we don't think of other things. I think that's what happened with my regular doctor.

Did I mention my daughter Ruth finally found a job? She's been filling out applications ever since she graduated last December. It's very hard to get a job in computer programming. The application process is very difficult. I'm so glad she was able to break through it. She's starting as an intern for 90 days and if it works out they'll hire her full time. We are so happy! What a grueling and frustrating thing it's been for her. I'm so glad she stuck it out. I'm hoping the job will be one she'll enjoy. She'll be programming machinery for a local company that makes holsters for concealed guns. They do a lot of custom work.

It's been a bit smokey around here from wild fires burning in areas not too far from here. Not as bad as last year, or even last month though. It's been hot the last few days too. Last night the rain came and washed the air. It cooled things off too. It's a cloudy and cool day today.

I have finally cleared off the dining room table and set up my blocking board. Margaret Tudor is getting blocked!

Live long and prosper. \\//

8/13/19

What I've Been Working On

Well, contrary to my plans, I was not able to block Margaret yet. The weekend was rather busy. So I've been knitting and stitching instead. I went back to working on the felt applique stocking.



I'm getting close to it being done. I'm making the tiny little felt ornaments that will be attached to the tree. Putting on the gold beaded garland was fun. I need to dig in my fabric stash and find something to line the stocking with.

I cast on for another sweater for Zoey. She chose the colors. I'm knitting it in the round and putting a nice little garter rib stitch pattern in it to liven things up just a bit for me.



Somewhere in the house I have a kit for making dog collars. I wonder where it is? I could make collars to go with her sweaters. Hmmm...

The Honeycrisp apples are growing nicely. They're big enough I can see them from the kitchen window now.



Sweet Hubby is getting ready for school to start. He's been registering for classes, preparing a class to teach, and filling out piles of paperwork. He is going to teach his very first class this year, as a graduate student. It will be interesting to see how he does. I've never thought he would have the patience to be a good teacher. Especially after his stroke. I'm hoping I'm wrong and he does very well. I know he's excited about it and that is winning half the battle.

U of Idaho is paying him a small stipend, which will cover this years tuition. I am so happy because we don't have money coming in. We've been living on our savings ever since he got laid off 2 years ago. This will help immensely cuz the savings is dropping in amount fast.

It has become quite obvious to me that U of Idaho is grooming Sweet Hubby to become a professor in the computer science department. He's been told they'll hire him when he graduates, which, hopefully, will be next year. He's going to be working on his thesis this school year as well as taking classes and teaching a class. He will be busy.

It's a nice warm summer day. Not overly hot. I don't even have the air conditioner on. It was predicted a week ago that it would be horrible hot and smokey, but ha ha. We got storms over the weekend that dropped a lot of rain clearing the smoke out and cooling things off. The air is very clear today. We are having much cooler weather this summer than we usually have. I'm enjoying it. I hope it stays this way.

Until next time...

Live long and prosper.\\//

8/12/19

Fair Entries for 2019

I took all the stuff for fair entries in today. I had a total of 22. 6 of them are mine. Here's what I'm entering this year.

Mini Star Trek Cross Stitch. I was literally finishing the framing an hour before I left today. I'm very happy with how it's turned out.



Polka Dot baby set.



Fairisle Mittens



Necklace



A bracelet



I entered this necklace too. Apparently I forgot to blog about it. I made it for my daughter Ruth for Christmas. I remember life was crazy then, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised I forgot to blog it.

It's made with the new technique by Gerlinde Lenz called Peyote With a Twist - Not Crochet, or Peytwist for short. The pattern is Tiger by Mero Lugaa on Etsy.



That's the list. I will find out how I do in two weeks.

Live long and prosper. \\//

8/9/19

Didn't Think I'd Get This Far.

You see this pile?




It's all 16 pieces and panels for Margaret Tudor. I bound of the last stitch Tuesday night. It's taken 8 months to get to this point. Next is blocking, sewing, and end weaving. I hope to do some of that over the weekend.

In the meantime, since the knitting for Margaret is done for the time being, I started a sweater for Zoey. Gotta keep knitting.

I got all of this years fair entries for KnitWits registered. We have 21 entries. 6  of them are mine. I turn them in at the fairgrounds next Monday.

The smoke from the wildfires socked in yesterday. It was very unpleasant. My eyes itched like crazy  despite being indoors the whole day. I didn't feel well either. I coughed all day long. I have no energy at all. I really need to go see a doctor about it. Sigh. I hate going to the doctor. I'm thinking I will go to the Immediate Care clinic and get checked out by someone not my regular doctor. My doctor insists it's asthma, but it doesn't feel like asthma to me.

Live long and prosper. \\//

8/6/19

Chicka dee dee dee.

When we got home from our camping trip in June there was something new over the front door, specifically on top of the outdoor light fixture. A birds nest. We've never had a nest there before, and I was wondering what idiot bird would put a nest there? It's not really a good place for one.

For about a week or so I ignored it, though we did shut off the outside light so no one was in danger of electrocution. Every time we open the front door, a very fast little bird would fly away from the nest to the plum tree. It's so fast we haven't been able to tell what kind of bird it is.

A little over a week ago my curiosity got me so Ruth climbed up on a step stool and held up a mirror over the nest so we could see if anything was in it. There were three teeny tiny little eggs, all white with brown spots. I did some research using the nest construction and eggs as guides and came to the conclusion it's Chickadees, which are one of my favorites. There's quite a bit of moss in this nest and Chickadees are well known for using it to build with. I've been paying attention since then and there is definitely a pair of them hanging around the front of the house all of the time. If I'm in the front yard they sit in the plum tree and chirp angrily at me, so I'm fairly sure I'm correct.

Yesterday Ruth and I checked to see how the eggs are doing. Two of them have hatched.



Two adorable baby Chickadees have entered the world. Arrows point to the two little heads.



I got up on the step stool to take pics with the camera and this little one turned and looked at me. Poor little thing looked miserable. It was horribly hot out (95F). I hope mother is providing proper hydration.



It's kind of exciting to have babies here. I filled the buffet feeders so mom and dad will be well fed.

This morning the air was much clearer than yesterday, though still a bit smokey. It's 95F degrees out. I'm staying indoors, except when I went to the Rathdrum Library for knitting, and the grocery store following.

Speaking of grocery shopping, I've brought something in to my life to help the earth in my very tiny way. I am getting rather concerned about one use plastic and it's affect on our environment. I've been using canvas shopping bags for years, but still have been bringing my produce home in plastic bags. I finally got reusable produce bags from Amazon.



I've been using them and I like them a lot. They're washable, they're clear enough that food can be scanned without taking it out (The clerk tried it. It works!), and they each have a little tag that says how much they weigh so it can be subtracted from the weight of the produce inside. I was a little concerned how the sales clerks would react, but it turns out I'm not their first customer to have them. That made me happy.

The only problem I have had is what do I store the produce in after I get it home cuz it's not in plastic bags? Lettuce, broccoli, celery, etc doesn't do well just sitting in the veggie drawer in the fridge. I googled to find out what other people do about it. Today I ordered some containers specifically for this purpose, and I'm learning some produce can do just fine without a bag/container. I found this pdf about how to store produce without bags. I am learning so much.  It's a big change, but if we all did it, it would sure have a fantastic impact on the earth.

I am almost done with the last sleeve side panel. Only about 20 rows to do. WOO HOO!

Live long and prosper. \\//



8/5/19

Su's Project

I have been beading. In fact, I spent the whole of Saturday beading. I have a project I wanted to get done before the fair.

I have a friend named Su. Every once in awhile she will bring me some jewelry she owns and ask me to 'fix it'. The jewelry is not actually broken. She just doesn't like it for one reason or another. So I take it home and turn it into something she'll like. She insists on paying me for doing this for her. But I'd do it for free just cuz the challenge is fun.

About a month or so ago she handed me a pair of earrings, which I'm not going to talk about now cuz they aren't done, and two identical necklaces made with some kind of blue stone. They were very simple. Round beads with small silver seed beads between. She said she didn't like them. Could I make a bracelet out of them for her? I can do whatever I want. No hurry.

I've been letting this project ferment in my brain every since. Hmmm....what will I do? I decided this last week and got to work.

I made this first.



I just shortened one of the necklaces. Voila! Bracelet.



There were a lot of left over beads. So I dug in my stash for some 4mm Swarovski Crystals and glass pearls. I also used some pale blue transparent size 11 seed beads. I made the bracelet on the left.



It's a variation on the X's and O's pattern, also known as the Hugs and Kisses bracelet.



This used to be a free pattern on the internet but that web site is no longer available, so I've linked to a paid version of the pattern. It was published in Bead and Button Magazine some years ago. They have it on their site.



The clasp here is just a simple lobster claw.



Here's a close up. I've made this bracelet several times. Still, I only own two. It's one of those bracelets that a friend admires, so I take it off my wrist and hand it to them. I think to myself "I can make another." I need to make some more.



After finishing the bracelet I still had a whole lot of those blue beads left. I decided to make a matching necklace.



The pendant is just the X'x and O's pattern severely shortened.



Now Su has a set.



She doesn't get it, though, until after the fair.

It was hot today. In the 90's. Later in the afternoon the air got very smokey. Fire season has begun. Smoke is blowing in from areas north and west of us. The heat of today aggravated the nearby fires. This was the view of the sun from my driveway this afternoon.



I guess I'll be spending the rest of the summer indoors. This is when having asthma makes me anxious.

Live long and prosper. \\//