Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blue as, green as, gold as...

a steeking Guernsey! The camera can never decide what color this yarn is, regardless of light conditions.

The hearth, next to one of my spinning wheels is a comfy spot for Guernsey this afternoon. She's getting a little chilly now that her steeks are, well, they're being separated. Not the one you see on the right arm or the left arm. Those two are still intact. I thought perhaps a back shot of the patterning there would be a mite intriguing. (Click on any shot for a closer look.)

Turn around for another shot and...there's a front cut open! I know, when did Guernsey last appear here? It was before the 3-needle bind off shoulder seams and certainly before cutting the two front steeks, one up the middle and one for the neckline.

I hope you can see that in this third picture I am knitting up stitches on the front left. Not picking up, but knitting up at a two to three ratio so that there will be a nice garter bump as the base for the garter stitch button band.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pansy Sunday

After a truly miserable weather week here in Cooperdale, today awakens to a cold 25 degrees but totally cloud-free sky. Perhaps Mother Nature is also celebrating the Pansy Shawl's completion at 11:30 last night!

Miss Pansy is seen here dressing with her guardian knit cat, Nikki. She measures 70.5 inches tip-to-tip at this point. As he always does, Nikki followed me into the bedroom to dress the knitted shawl. Nikki has always jumped up on the bed when I'm blocking knits and lies there on the bed, not the knitting, and guards/admires the piece.
Pansy was soaked in the lavatory with hair shampoo. Despite her being 'Bordeaux', a Burgundy merino, she cracked (shed color) very little. One warm soak then two cooler rinses was all that was needed. For this I am pleased and grateful.
Spread out on the living room couch, Pansy was 52 inches from tip to tip. She hung satisfactorily last night during the triumphant immediate try-on so that it seemed Pansy would block out well.

Pansy's details:

Pattern: Amy Detjen, Schoolhouse Press KAL
Swatch: September 15, 2008
KAL of 3 parts, October 2008
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Merino fingerling from Yarn Elf
Needle: #6 Addi lace 24" circular

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just Because

it's snowing and just because wind chill has been 4-12 degrees... does not mean that our squirrel has hibernated. She/he is here every day for bird seed sustenance.

Today's snow has been training over us for over an hour and has laid down an inch of snow. DH said it was dry less than a quarter mile away while it has been piling up on all surfaces here.

Oh! Sun's coming out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bogged Down No More

We're taking off for a spin around the area... that's what this strange shot of Pansy is reminging me of, flight.

This is the Pansy shawl, the SHP KAL as of a few minutes ago. Since the weather isn't particularly accommodating outside, I had to come up with a picture which would indicate some progress since the last Pansy post. (No, not the last 'pansy post' of pansies in the snow this past Sunday, but the Pansy progress of last Tuesday!) Russ came up with the idea of showing her with the white fireplace behind, but attaching her took a bit of careful consideration.

When last we met Pansy, she was coming along OK, albeit slowly. I was bogged down with my big projects. For a while I was knitting on both Sock#2 and Pansy. Then sock was finished and I still felt bogged down in the three big projects resting on the couch -- the Round The Bend, the Guernsey vest and Pansy. So I worked through the Mystery #3 project of the last week.

I hadn't felt so much relief and knitterly anticipation in a long while as I did upon finishing the hoodie and immediately sat down with Pansy. It felt so-o-o good knitting her again and knit about 12 rows in a seemingly short period of knitting time! Then last night I sat with her and knit a whole lot more! Each row is getting shorter on this left wing, so progress is faster, that's true. Knitting cabin fever has broken!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's a...

"Hoodie With Neckwarmer" by Terry Morris, the Sailingknitter!

Who 'woulda' guessed?

First, is the back and side.

Next, the front and side, along with the buttons.

And, third, piece from the front sans personne!


Pattern "Hoodie With Neckwarmer" (revealed in Clue #7) from Holiday Mystery Gift Yahoo group, designed by Terry Liann Morris, The Sailingknitter.
Needle: #7 16" circular (Susan Bates)
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver variegated in "Berry" and stash orange, probably also Red Heart.
Buttons: From a London Fog raincoat on which they looked horrible, but pick up all the hues of this variegated yarn, depending on light!
Started: November 5th, 2008
Finished: November 18th, 2008

It's always amazing how Terry develops these mystery projects. The construction creates shapes that are totally fascinating to watch develop and so create total anticipation for the next clue! There was one that has been knit in a white Aran yarn and is very classy. This would also be good in handspun soft, chunky wool or an alpaca would be so luxurious!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Prezzie from Bobbi!

Look what came in today's mail!

It's a present from Bobbi for winning a contest on her blog.

Several weeks ago Bobbi showed a picture out an airplane window and asked her blog readers to guess where they were flying for a college weekend visit for her daughter.

I guessed Louisiana since they enjoy vacationing there, it's a whole lot warmer than the Midwest and it is closer than The Netherlands.

I was correct!

So, Bobbi sent me a couple Louisiana mementos -- a Fleur-de-lis pen and pad plus some Bananas Foster chips. Haven't had those since Ainslee brought some of them back from a visit to her New Orleans home!

Thank You, Bobbi!

What happened? Will It

really snow like they're now predicting?

Last night I watched all three late news' local forecasts. It had already been snowing for 24 hours. We already had about an inch, which was definitely more than the flurries predicted. At midnight I went outside to find the temperature had gone up two degrees and it was raining. There had been no indication of that happening on any of the radars or Weatherbug reports.

Rain has turned back to snow and continues. I retrieved two of the snow shovels from the garage and the Ice Melt from the cellar this morning before breakfast. Now we are under a Winter Weather Advisory to start at noon today and to go until 6 PM tomorrow.

Will our Mystery be finished by then?

This shot shows Clue #6 of 7 clues, taken this morning. (Click for detail!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

...they said it would

flurry, and they weren't kidding. The radar shows pink and white around and over top us. Guess that's not virga.

Miss Daisy from the other day and her Brown-eyed Susan friends are shivering.

The pansies really liked being open to the 70 degree sun the other day. Today they just aren't too sure about this snowy blanket.

Miss Nearly-wild rose only thought it was still blooming season.

Back to warmer pursuits, I am.

Stoke the Fire

cause Baby, it's c-c-cold outside!

Here by the fireplace, the Shetland sheepdog revels in household activity right next to a spinning wheel and a fireplace cricket.

The temperatures held steady and then climbed to 57 yesterday; then, they plummeted at dusk with the entry of stronger wind and rain turned sleety flakes. This morning brings 36 degrees, steady wind and occasional snow.

Being on this temperature roller coaster this week, from September highs on Friday to late December high today, the porcelain sheepdog settles in with Clue#5 of the Mystery.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kiski Valley Expressway

This just makes me furiously angry all over again.

Four for four

Four days in a row of blogging and on to Clue #4 of the mystery!

Unpredicted glorious blue skies for a few hours yesterday brought excellent photo opportunities! Predicted had been cloud cover but in the low 60's. What happened was that the two storm separated just a bit more than foreseen and we were in a wedge of clear skies. Watching the visible satellite, each storm continued moving from southwest to northeast but the more Easterly storm sped up just enough for human happiness to result.

The daisy has been happily waving in the Ides of November weather. Yes, I was hunkered down to snap the picture...I do wonder what anyone would have thought, had I been seen in that position! Leaves are fallen except for the old white lilac, honeysuckle and a few mock orange leaves of the hedge. Just look at that sky! And the high was 67. It was a glorious afternoon. 50 and rain this morning brings on the storm front of dropping temperatures and snow flurries tonight.

Clue #4 took a breather from the couch into the Anglo Autumn warmth. Without breaking the yarn, each side has stitches bound off for an extended period of stockinette. It gets 'curiouser and curiouser' how variegated yarn patterns throughout a piece depending on number of stitches, needle size, tension and length of color sections. Just looking at the shape so far, what do you suppose this could be? There were some intriguing guesses on the list, especially from knitters' husbands. (I will leave that thought to the imagination.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 3 of the Mystery

shows Barbar modeling today's third clue. Barbar was feeling particularly chilly as his Baby Bear Ribwarmer was in the wash.

This section is back to the variegated berry yarn, as will be the rest of the project. The orange section was the only patterned one, with the berry in 2x2 rib or stockinette.

Gotta hurry up on this since although it will be partly cloudy and in the mid-60's today, the temperatures are to basically drop with rain then snow early next week. The high on Sunday is scheduled at 41, which is colder than our lows have been the last couple days. Back to soup season in the next few days, it appears.

ETA: "Interweave Knits" preview is up.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Number 2 Times 2

equals either two or three this morning.

Sock #1 is now joined by its mate, a finally finished pair. (Is this one item or two?)

The yarn and Sock#1 are dusty as they were in hibernation since January.

Sock #1 was cast on October 12, 2007 and finished December 30, 2007. Its mate was started immediately on December 30, 2007 then put into hibernation as by then I was already looking for Spring!

The pair is Trekking XXL, color 183 from Yarn Elf. They were knit on 1 1/2's and 0 doublepoints and 0 12" circulars. Currently they are taking their first soak to join other handknits drying on the upstairs hall radiator.

Number 2 is clue number two of the Mystery knit. Here pictured on the rhododendron in its fall coloration, a stitch pattern commonly used in ganseys is in plain orange to show patterning. This could be very useful in certain applications of the solved mystery.

So, Sock #2 is finished to complete the singular unit pair and Clue #2 is shown. Does #2 X 2 equal two or three?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Everyone loves a mystery.

Here's a new mystery, Mystery #3 from the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group.

No, I didn't do number 2.

And, actually, I know what this one is since the daily postings were last week.

Does the Red Heart yarn in Berry look familiar, YE and YV? Several years ago Yarn Vixen was excited about this color of Red Heart yarn that came into the Yarn Elf Workshop, the land of Elven adventures. This skein of variegated 'berry' yarn showed up on my doorstop. The orange is some inherited Red Heart that exactly matches the orange in 'berry'. How did that happen? 16" #8 Susan Bates circular needle is being used for this project.

Stay tuned for Clue #2 soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Although no one in my family is a veteran, this is important to share today from the Arlington National Cemetary website.


In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:
Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.

As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.

It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

A Promise Is

is promise fulfilled.
Yesterday I promised knitting content today.
Looking back over blog posts yesterday, I realized that it has been two weeks since knitting was here. Seems unbelieveable since I knit nearly every night.
After Karen on Long Island had teased me about having only a few WIPs and I got out the brown second sock, I have been working on it. Just about another inch and a quarter of stockinette looms until the toe decreasing. I switched off the double points and onto two size 0 circs for this section to go faster. Two weeks ago there was just a cuff!

Pansy is coming along, also. She's spred out on the back of the couch to show that I really am on the left wing. The curve is able to be seen, too. I'd planned on taking her outside by the front sidewalk for a dual pansy shot, but it wouldn't show how she is developing. As lace, she won't really be in her glory until she is blocked.
Of course either of these shots can be clicked upon for closeup views.
Tomorrow's plan is a mystery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

...and the season is?

The knitting goes on and will be updated tomorrow!

There were no leaf-peeping or park walks this weekend. The leaves are 95% down and blowing around while the temperature plunged from 73 on Friday to 38 today.

The blurry birdie hopping around the backyard leaves is one of four juncos who migrated in over the weekend. I know it was just this weekend because they make themselves at home constantly at the bird feeders while they are our most frequent snowbirds.

What season is it?

The sign in the zygotcactus says it's a Christmas Cactus. Much more like Thanksgiving Cactus, it seems.

And, to answer a request from Yarn Elf, who had asked about the Norfolk Island pine tree that I featured here last Christmas, the Norfolk pine is enjoying itself and grew sufficiently to be transplanted this past year!

Starting the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas decorating will commence with this pine part of a vignette, as last year.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

When Autumn Leaves

are plowed under, the garden is in Winter mode.

Brian brought the Gravely over tonight to rototill the garden. Last weekend Russ had spread the compost pile. Today one of my projects was to rake the yard leaves for the compost pile and the garden. We are expecting the storm front in tomorrow night which will bring us rain and colder temperatures, so today was the last chance to get these jobs done. The leaves compost in the garden over the winter. The compost pile builds over the Winter to be ready for spreading in the Spring before the Spring plowing. Brian is always amazed at out garden spot. He says he hasn't seen ground anything like it around here. Black gold, he says; for, it not only is black soil but also fine, not full of the clay and shale underneath.

It was 71, clear sunny skies, no breeze today. What a marvelous November day! We are expecting highs in the 40's starting Saturday. Thank Goodness we are not expecting the blizzard out of this storm that is currently ravaging the Dakotas.

Here is a closeup of the Gravely in action. That old machine really beats up the operator, but old Graveleys are the most wonderful pieces of equipment. They are heavy (made from cast iron), steady, and true workhorses, even better than the Energizer bunny.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Autumn's Last Hurrah

is joining the chorus for the importance of voting today, here in the United States of America.
Our voting precinct votes at the community building. There was a goodly line inside the building. I kept saying (loudly enough for reactions) how pleased I was that there was a line. The poll workers were pleased the line moved efficiently as we had an extra machine and they were all working. I did tell how I'd hoped for a line outside so I could take a picture and blog it...they said to wait till 6 PM, then they expected a very long line. We don't have early voting here, so that was not an option.

After voting, Russ wanted me to see an area of still-beautiful leaves along a route he used to run to pick up Ellie for kindergarten. In just one 'holler' the trees were in their glory as you can see here.

These shots are toward Salina and all were within a quarter mile of one another.

Not only are there hurrahs that the political commercials will be morphing into Christmas advertisements, but we're expecting a rain/snow mix this weekend to replace "Indian Summer" 68-70 temperatures we are enjoying now.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Could we really

win a free computer?
We have a grandson attending Auburn University, one of Mr. K's favorite spots. Do you suppose there could be any coincidences upcoming?
See all about this wonderful gift he is giving away for his birthday here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tawny Says, "Now!"

When we first started taking Tawny to the park on Sunday afternoons, he was very shy about everything after the puttin'-on-th'-leash bit.

Things surely have changed.

Immediately when we got back from Russ getting his flu shot, I let Tawny in. The standard procedure is to go get a treat. We did that, but Tawny got on my right side instead of my left, stuck his long nose around the corner and rattled the leash. He has never done that before. Then Tawny was unhappy with Russ taking his nap, but was good until...Russ got up and asked if I was finished making his chocolate pudding yet so we could go to the park. Tawny's ears went up..."PARK!?" and he ran over to the cellarway door.

He was so excited to be going to his park! Up and down the two stairs from the pantry to the outside door! He could hardly stand the excitement as we went out to the truck. A prancey puppy he was indeed.

So many of the leaves have fallen. The morning's hazy sunshine dimmed to a solid cloud bank as we walked around the entire lake today. Look at these patches of lichens on this tree, always on the North side.

I had to take this cross the lake photo, which is the same spot as two weeks ago. This was actually close to where the blue heron was those two weeks. The heron wasn't on the lakeshore this afternoon.

Quite a few weeping willows have been planted along this part of the shore. Each week I've been talking about the bridge waayyyy in the distance on across the lake lengthwise shots. Here's the bridge close up.

Today the geese were on the end of the park lake where fishermen and children were casting their lines. And a new Sunday afternoon bird was present, a swan.

The swan glided the length of the lake and then through the gaggle of Canadian geese. The geese paid no attention. The the swan started back up the lake with some of the geese following.

This was the first time we walked the entire 1.1 mile trail. It was very pleasant in my sweatshirt with the temperature cooling a few degrees as the clouds thickened. Russ said it got a bit cool in his long sleeved cotton shirt!

Click on any picture to enlarge, as always.