Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mystery knit (along)

Everyone loves a good mystery.

The Yahoo group Holiday Mystery Gifts is still open for members (both crochet and knit patterns given). It started last year with The Sailing Knitter Terry as one of the moderators and designers. I joined it at the very end after reading about the projects for months on Terry's blog. (Waving wildly --- Hi, Terry!!!)

This year there have been projects posted during the last two weeks of September. But this week began one of the Mystery knits! It's seven days with a clue each day.

Several people thought today's finished clue made the project appear to be a thong! Terry assures us that it isn't!

And, yes, it is lilac! It's (inherited) Brunswick Windrush in Lilac, knit on #5 circular since (1) All my 6's are engaged and (2) Loose knitter that I am, I need a smaller needle for gauge. No color suggested and no picture until the end makes Nancy a curious knitter.

Clue #3 appears shortly before midnight (which is just about when Amy's clue for the Pansy Triangle Shawl is also due to arrive in an inbox near me.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Harvest Jewels

It is just possible that Autumn weekends are the best.

This being the first full weekend of Autumn, we had such a good time. Yesterday, when at Amy's, we not only got to see her dogs and cats and chickens and sheep, but she was gracious in giving us some of her produce.

This is a special present for Russ, in particular, for he drives her precious cargo to school. Amy and her husband braided some of their garlic for 'special presents', and we are fortunate to have received one. We love garlic and I use it frequently in cooking. It's hanging by the sink for right now. I love garlic braids and chili ristras.

She also gave us some of her beautiful canned goods. Just look at this beautiful color! A jar of pepper relish, one of spicy pepper mustard and a jar of salsa. We will be enjoying these so very much.

Can you see and virtually taste these beautiful fresh peppers out of Amy's garden? Four of them, one of each color, are in the crockpot right now with potatoes, garlic, lemon pepper, chives, parsley, cream of mushroom soup, and round steak. Surprisingly enough, jalapenos, green chilis and other spicy peppers grow quite well here.

Thank you so very much, Amy and family.

For the past two years Russ has been saying we would take Tawny to the county park nearby along the 1.1 mile brick trail. We have not made it to walk the trail until this afternoon. Others were also walking, fishing and walking their dogs there. Northmoreland Park has a lake around which the trail meanders. Often there are many Canadian geese there, but there was only one flock of mallard ducks by the boathouse this afternoon.

The leaves are just starting to change color and some are dropping. We've had two week dry periods jolted by 1-3 inch rainfalls in 24 hours, then back to warm dry weather. (It's Autumn and this pattern is to change this week.) The path was damp from yesterday's 1.1" rainfall yet it was cool and pleasant walking the woods part of the trail with Tawny. Since this was Tawny's first walk in the park, we didn't want to get him too overly excited. By the time we got back to the truck, Tawny was more than ready for his bowl of water at home and his place under the glider.

Tawny had never walked a brick trail or any kind of a trail, before. He seldom even wanted to leave the groomed, wide pathway. That was good for manicuring his claws, but Russ kept wanting him to 'be a dog' sniffing all the new smells! Tawny was very good, even when we met up with a father pushing a stroller, and 3 other leashed dogs. He was pretty curious about what the couple leaving with their fishing poles and coolers might have for an enterprising, handsome young dog.

At last we have a guernsey vest update as of this morning. The arm holes are caught in a kangaroo pouch with new steeks. new pattern bands are knitted up to the first neck steek;but wait, I'm getting ahead of myself and will be enjoying these pattern bands for a couple more inches.
(Click on any photo for detail.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Home again

It has been said that I am of my calmest nature when with my most-loved farm animals.

Since I had to sell my sheep when we moved, I have missed them greatly. Although we knew of people having sheep up at Five Points (since sometimes the sheep are in pastures near the road), we discovered that Amy and her family raise sheep in the Dime area.

This is Amy with some of the soon-to-market ewes. They know who loves them.

Amy is a fellow fiber lover with looms and wheels, projects in process and planned.

It's not that the grrls love just their shepherd, they even love new-found friends...

(More tomorrow on our visit!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

In Between Seasons

isn't always the most positive attitude time. We've been very lucky to have gorgeous weather since tropical storm Lowell and hurricane Ike made their appearance here. But today? Well, today was cloudy and dreary but dry.

That must mean it's good for digital picture taking.

In between seasons though it is, the morning glories love a good, cloudy day.

The rhododendron is tasting fall on its leaves, even though we haven't been near frost.

This sumac over the fence is glorious in its autumnal radiance. I see fair isle possibilities here. I am also reminded of the wheels of Icelandic unspun on the table in Marshfield, particularly the one appropriately labeled 'sumac'.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Political Porcelain gods

As a good friend relayed to me this morning, it was entirely appropriate that I was cleaning the porcelain gods this morning considering the current political/financial debacle.

Makes one appreciate fibernation all the more.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Appreciation and an Update

Many, many thanks to all who wished me birthday greetings yesterday through the email, email lists, blog, Ravelry, mail. This was one of the most fun-filled birthdays in a long while.

Knitting on the seemingly endless stockinette of the guernsey vest has moved on to patterning. (Click to embiggen and then it's really visible what I'm talking about here! Plus, color's better!)

I'm showing the beginning of the fourth row of knit 1 purl 1, reverse next row after 2 sets of purl separated by a row of knit. After the eight rows, I'm planning a row of knit then 2 purl rows. After that will be the separation of the arm scythes.

Right above the Indian corn stitch rows there is a jumble of purl which reads "2008". Traditionally on a guernsey there is a date or initials or a name. And, yes, the two welt sections are different lengths on purpose for better fit.

It's always amazing to me how this colorway changes in different lighting. Inside under artificial fluorescent lighting, the vest looks mostly algae green. Outside in the sunlight it appears mostly grayish blue.

A fuzzy closeup of the new stitches shows better color changes in the yarn and stitches...at least it does on my monitor. This is skein #4.

Until Amy's Pansy Shawl KAL starts October 1, the plan is to work on this and the Round-the-Bend sweater jacket. These projects have all been fun and keep me motivated. The endless stockinette even kept me motivated to get it finished and onto the patterning!

Monday, September 22, 2008


It's Frodo and Bilbo Baggins birthdays! Frodo is born Sept.22, 2968 and Bilbo is born on 9/22/2890. Guess Sept. 22, 1951 is ancient history!

The Autumnal Equinox was at 11:44 AM.

Join the above with this:

Earlier today, in the dew-covered morning before the fog cloud deck cleared at 2 PM (!) I was reading on Ravelry where another 9/22 knitter, Geoduck, has a three year old daughter who woke up saying the fairies were having a party today, so she went outside searching for fairies. I understand the connection...perhaps I should reread "The Hobbit" today. The fairies will come. (Actually, they're always here.)

Didn't the clouds part magnificently? It may make it into the mid-70's after all. I couldn't have a better Birthday Sky! It's a great day for a fairy party.

Just to share some of the birthday wonders... a link bracelet from Yarn Vixen in Arizona arrived with paw print links and four special ones, "Nancy", "I love knitting" in symbols, a sheep and a Sapphire is on the jean jacket from DH. And the mistakenly sent bulk mail Wool Gathering arrived in the mail.
The bracelet will go wonderfully with....everything! The jean jacket has a long snap closured collar that will be great with scarves and the WG is the best one yet.
...and there's more....

Dinner is the I-refuse-to-grow-up variety. DiGiorno pizza, cake and ice cream. Yummmmmmm.

Email lists and Ravelry have been particularly entertaining today with the September 22 birthday group being raucously exuberant and the SHP-related groups just jumping for joy, and the personal emails of great positive excitement.

Knitting On 2, the guernsey is growing, but more on that tomorrow....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Swatchin' is finished for Pansy

as of late last night with a swish in Dawn dish detergent and being pinned out overnight.
The porch gate provided a light background for these two photos this afternoon. I still haven't planted my pansies since I'm trying to decide the best place for them as the sun is creating long shadows the next few months.

The Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingerling on a 6" Addi circular creates a fairly open swatch with my loose knitting. I really don't want a thick, Winter shawl since my handspun Pi shawl is just that. The swatch is 5.5 inches wide and 6.5" long without blocking it to within a centimeter of its life. It fit on the couch arm cover just perfectly to block and not be disturbed by any furry fiber guard creatures.

There are a couple 'errors' I left in the swatch so they would remind me where I had difficulty making my hands follow what my eyes were reading on the chart.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pansying Around + New Magazine

Yesterday afternoon I drove over to Kiski Park Nursery (literally) across the creek to see if they really had gotten their first pansies in, as they had promised on Tuesday. In my pocket was a snippet of my chosen Amy's Pansy Shawl yarn to match.

Sure enough, there were several trays of variously colored pansies. Even better, there was one that matched Pansy exactly! The cone of yarn here is Brown Sheep fingerling in "Bordeaux" on a #6 Addi lace needle. Yarn Elf of Willcox had sent the Bordeaux my direction a while back. (Click to embiggen, as per usual!)

An update on Yarn Elf is that his healing is coming along, he has successfully moved the store two storefronts to the south and the sign painting/organizing is coming along, albeit slower than he'd prefer. When the sign painting and organizing is compli, I've promised to share photos here!

Along with the guernsey KAL I'm working with through the Gansey List on Yahoo, the pansy shawl is a KAL that Amy Detjen is leading through the SHP site. The swatch chart and written directions have now been released for a start date of October 1.

Tuesday I'd also gone to the store to see if they had gotten in pansies. Nope, just display upon display of mums. The local Giant Eagle grocery store (a chain in the Ohio Valley)has been slack in getting the wonderful selection of knitting magazines they carried five years ago. This week, though, they have the premier issue of Fons & Porter's "Love of Knitting". Fons & Porter have been known in the quilting world through their books, magazine and PBS series "Love of Quilting".

I don't think there's a subscription in the offing for me with this new magazine. However, there are things about it I like. The models are real-life people of various ages -- yes, even gray-haired ones. There are large print and well photographed knitting techniques illustrated. The projects are for different ages and genders. Hmmm. Those are the critiques people have of other magazines who have not listened to the madding crowd. I may just watch how the issues develop to consider that subscription. Giant Eagle certainly cannot be counted upon to carry every issue.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bus Driver Breakfast

Almost every Wednesday morning since June, some of the bus drivers and friends have gathered for breakfast at 9:15 at various restaurants.

This week was the Bonfire, which is 1.5 miles up the road.

The Bonfire has always had this Western/rustic decor. I never had thought much about it until I moved back to the area and it gave me pangs of homesickness for the Southwest.

Just a few of the brekkers this morning at the table included Bill, Bob, Janie and Barb.

DH said the pictures weren't any good because he wasn't in them. Then said that he was already on the blog too much, so didn't need to be in this post!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What happens when...

(Warning: Picture heavy post! Click to embiggen, as always!)

...a big ol' squirrel decides nuts aren't enough for winter stash?

In this case, the squirrel keeps returning and smashes the fruit feeder plus chews through plastic mesh to retrieve all the sunflower seeds.

...after being in near drought we receive 3.2" of rain?

In Case #1 the neighborhood is dotted with mushroom/toadstool clumps.

In Case#2 the pond is filled to the brim.

In Case #3 the garden greens and jalapenos are thriving while another tomato cage and tpost break loose.

In case #4 there are unknown but lacy flowers on the hill.

In Case #5 the old tree that splits the hill property line down its middle but also marks the easement, shows its mossy pride, rain absorption and shelters small creatures.

In Case #6 small branches are still caught in a choke cherry tree, to be dislodged with the next storm.

In Case #7 the witch hazel tree has decided moisture was too late along with shorter daylight and it is time to begin color change.

Here's Case #8 which shows progress on the guernsey vest this week. One evening I did knit some on the RTB while feeling guilty about not knitting on Dobbin's Arm Rest Covers. The second cover was finished late last night. This rain has yielded more knitting time, which right now is a 'very good thing.'

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Prototype #2

Dobbin's Arm Rest Cover, Prototype #2 is 3/4 finished. After having such a success with #1 yesterday, I spent most my of knitting time last night working on #2, plus some time this morning before The Driver awoke. (Click to embiggen.)

It was such a good morning to sleep in, not just a Saturday, but raining all night. We're caught up in the lateral top of the front that was Hurricane Lowell in the Southwest, but tomorrow it will pull Hurricane Ike in with it. Chicago has gotten over 5 inches of rain and Interstate 90, the Eden, is closed at O'Hare. We've already received 3.15" by 12:30 PM.

Prototype #2 is also handspun from our sheep. It is, however, spun and plied differently from the two yarns used in Prototype #1, so it will be interesting to see how the two behave differently in use.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Prototype #1

is finished. It fits! And we're 'Knitting Onward' toward Prototype #2. With the right amount of 'luck', #2 will also fit and the Prototypes will be complete.

This image is the fitting, followed by a 'Yippee! It fits!' He wanted it on the right arm rest first since it is this arm rest that bothers him the most with its scratching and sticking.

Then I asked Russ to try it out to make sure that it does seem to be what he wanted. He said, "Yes! Where's the second one?" (Just never satisfied!!!)

Now he can tell anyone who might ask that the arm rest is a sheep-to-armrest, similar to a sheep-to-shawl.

Dobbin's Arm Rest Prototype #1
Jacob hand spun from our grrls (Sugar and Sweetheart) in AZ
circular needle by preference and crochet hook for finishing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Part of a Prototype

for #27's arm rest covers lies blocking.

#27 has plastic covers that are scratchy and will probably crack quickly in the cold. To help alleviate these problems, Russ has requested arm rest covers. In wool. Thick. I know of no patterns for such, so I'm attempting one in single ply handspun jacob. So far it is just a strip.

The vest has had a few more rows knit. From the left are the garter ridges, Indian corn stitches and in the stockinette under the left arm the date, 2008. Now it is to the point of the 'endless stockinette', as it has been dubbed, until the yoke patterning.

This first shot is in some of the golden rod along the state cyclone fence.Such a graceful 'weed' and so maligned, the golden rod is a harbinger of Fall here. One of the certification courses Russ took for ADOT defined a weed as 'a plant out of place'.

A closeup of the stitches was shot on the yews planted on the north side of the front porch. As such, the light is different but not nearly as striking as last Sunday's yarn picture.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

As "Hanna" rides into the Delmarva and her rain is almost to Altoona, we are in the midst of seeing Hanna's clouds building in the East and the backed-up front's clouds building in the West.

This morning was spent in normal stuff then a 'road trip' over the Four Way (SR 56) SSE three miles. DH needed to have his bus jacket changed from #66 to #27 at Tees and Tops.

That shop is in Vandergrift, and I've taken a shot of the banners currently flying on the light poles. Vandergrift was the first planned community. It was planned as the first mill was going to build there but there was no housing and they didn't want the then-typical mill town.

The past few years Vandergrift has been trying to come back from a real slump in the economy. One of the things they've done is to have regional artists create paintings on oversized palettes for street display.

Three of the palettes are shown here near Tees and Tops.

The Casino Theatre renovation has been a huge undertaking by the Vandergrift historical group. It is a lovely old theatre but was in such disrepair a few years ago that it was thought to be next in line for the demolition ball. Now there are concerts by musical groups of the 50's and 60's as well as community happenings.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Not Exactly Sundries

are being knit this month. September! Already? It's 'my' month as I am Virgo/Libra cusp, the last rose of Summer as I was told innumerable times.
Perhaps being born in a seasonal warm tone period is why I'm so partial to warm tones. And yet, and yet... this time I'm knitting with cool colors that will be so important come the dreary drab of Winter when all I wish to see is embodied in Spring.

(Click to embiggen!)

Round-the-Bend is the first project I wanted to create for my beating-the-Winter-doldrums. It's coming along from the shot on Sunday, although it wasn't worked on yesterday at all as it passed to the Great State of Guernsey. Progress on it is that this garter stitch ridge in celery continues until 11 inches from the desired 'hem'.

(Click to embiggen!)

This new project is a guernsey (gansey) vest for the KAL on the Gansey List. This KAL is being led by The Sailing Knitter, Terry, who has been at two of Meg's Knitting Camps I've attended. The main project is to follow Meg's Guernsey Pullover from the Wool Gathering or the corresponding DVD.

It has taken me two years to getting down to knit my guernsey vest. Right before Meg's DVD was issued, I'd started my gansey from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts in red Wendy Guernsey yarn, so utilized the DVD for technical information. Now I'm creating a vest using Meg's patterning and her suggestion in the WG to create a vest, similar to one she created for her daughter Liesl. (Some of the leftover guernsey yarn is being saved for Joyce Williams sock KAL on the SHP site which has been postponed until Spring.)

For this vest I'm using color #30 of the J&S 2 ply jumperweight. This photo is much closer in color to the real yarn.

Yesterday's knitting was on this gansey (either spelling accepted). I got through the garter stitch rides on the back welt, joined the front and back, increased, knit stockinette and have one row of the Indian corn stitch finished, then stockinette, and now starting to knit on the second Indian corn row.

Political conventions and the Olympics have afforded great knitting time this summer.

Here are my favorite flowers this late summer day. I do enjoy the morning glories, and they have figured prominently here. These, though, were part of a seed packet Russ found on his driver's seat one day last year as a 'thank you' for driving school bus from KAMIT, a local parent/community group mentioned previously. Here are my yellows and golds and mahoganies and browns in our 89 degree sunshine.

Back to stirring the pasta pot filled with garden tomatoes cooking down to sauce....