Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This is a good time to be

"Hooked on Knitting"

---found on eBay at a very good price after Maria got one this Christmas. This one is retired, so not always available with the other "Snowbabies" displays.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Fourth Day

of Christmas is bringing the barometer dropping like a rock (after a high of 66 yesterday with totally warm, glorious sunshine) and temperatures paralleling the process. It rained early as our temperature was rising with daybreak and frontal passage from 48. At the same time, just up the turnpike in Cleveland it was 32.

One of the squirrels and the doves don't mind the weather. Yes, one of the squirrels. We have two grey ones, one is darker and fatter (well-fed on daily birdseed rations). S/he has brought a friend a couple days. Before Christmas, two days a little very red, very mean squirrel half the size of the Greys came to visit. It chattered and chased everything in sight that it could scare away with the exception of the grey squirrel. Oh, it tried very hard to chase away Mr/s Grey but without success. It was well-fed for two days, but hasn't reappeared since. It is intriguing to watch the squirrels interacting with everything else. They aren't afraid of any of the birds, or even me. But just let Tawny appear and ---WHOOSH--- off to the hedge and up and over tree limbs at full speed!

Can you just imagine this calm, gentle, fuzzy fellow being the bane of the squirrels' existence? He's just off for a good chase! This morning Tawny is still chewing at part of his Christmas present. The first time I tried him on these chews he had one eaten and swallowed in 5 hours. This one is getting more and more unappetizing-looking as he savors each and every chew time.

Under the big Christmas tree the presents are breathing in unwrapped oxygen. Santa was very good to me, including more Fisherman's Aran yarn and other yarn and blocking pins and Tpins and noisy hard candy for rattling from Yarn Elf and Yarn Vixen. I thank you very much. The present was crafted to help in the classwork I will be attempting come January 1st. Yarn Elf will be taking the same coursework, so we have a course KAL over the miles. DH bought me the course, books (all can be found at the SHP website) like "It Itches" cartoons by Franklin Habit, a Mathematical knitting book, Gladys Amedro's "Shetland Lace" and Barbara Walker's "Knitting Lace" and some wonderful turtlenecks in my colors and a pair of matching jeans and a dressy sweatsuit and a funky large pendant and earrings that will match with all the above and then some! Good stocking stuffers, too! Love my "Golden Voice".

This year I actually found all three of the wooden Scandinavian Christmas trees! Sometimes I put things away in safe places for protection from the elements, but they end up being protected from being found, as well. The one in front is the one my Great Aunt Syster in Sweden had sent one year at Christmas. My Dad made the other two but without the candle holders. One of them traveled all over the West with me. The other two stayed here.

And, lastly, the newest knitting project!

I had thought about going back to the Round-The-Bend jacket but since I have an issue with it that I haven't solved, I've left it in its tote. I thought about the Bohus, but once I get back to that colorwork, I won't want to stop. The only solution is to start a new sock! Since the brown pair I didn't have a sock on the needle for traveling or for 'down time'.

Enter a skein of STR "Bella Coola" that was just waiting for me on the desk in the back bedroom, totally apart from all other skeins. Waiting no more, it is being knit on size 0 circular and dpns and inspired by the socks bowerbird (see pics on her Ravelry projects page) is creating.

Oh, and tomorrow is OKC's "Knit Addict"'s birthday... Happy Birthday, Grrlfriend!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has put out "an unreasonable goal" of One Million Dollars donated to Doctors Without Borders by all of us Knitters Without Borders. That's just the impetus I needed to donate tonight, how about you?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We've been dreaming of a Green/Brown Christmas

and it looks like we are receiving our wish!

Merry Christmas!

My Christmas present to you is this . Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Alpaca Mittens Are Good.

Do you remember the alpaca stranded mittens from Halloween 2007? This morning is a layered alpaca morning. Wind chill is -21. Yes, Minus 21. The school district finally called with a two hour delay at 5:17 AM. Pittsburgh Public Schools had a two hour delay, then changed it to being closed. That doesn't happen very often.

Just one of the smaller divided light panels in a bedroom window this morning shows how cold it is. In the same bedroom, the east facing window is totally frosted over.

And, wanna read something amazing? It's to be 50 on Wednesday, Christmas Eve. (Shakes head and heads off toward the coffee pot.)

We are grateful for water and power and strong truck batteries.

Friday, December 19, 2008


It's not the best weather day for photos, as you can see from the current radar.

We are, however, getting rain. We are blessed. Originally the prediction was for hours of freezing rain and then snow. Watching the Weather Channel this morning, the overnight was not kind to many areas and the day today will not be kind to many others. All that snow and ice from the Pacific to the Atlantic! Just to get these pictures, the overhead lights were on full-force ay 9:45 AM!

The buttons were last night's guernsey work. I decided not to back them until I saw how they set on the button band. So, I put the first two top ones on and then tried the Guernsey vest on. They were fragile, but working! Yeah! So, continuing onward, the other 7 buttons were attached. In all reality, I may still attach the steek facings to the button band. I haven't made that decision yet. Doing that would give more stability. Since the vest has already been blocked with a washing, there shouldn't be shrinking. The other possibility is to steam all the facings, and I most probably will do that.

Ta Da! The modeling shots come next under artificial light and flash. Shots are by DH, pre-nap.

The Back

The Front

A Side

As we all know, I'm not thrilled with getting my picture taken. I did want to show that this does, indeed, fit. I am pretty proud that it does with all my calculations and changes to the original.

The Statistics:

Cast On: September 1, 2008 (119 stitches plus 7 for steek)
Finished: December 18, 2008 (There was a Pansy Shawl in a great part of this time!)

Source: "Wool Gathering #76" plus DVD

This has been a KAL with the Gansey Yahoo List, led by Terry Morris.

Yarn: J&S 2 ply jumperweight, color #30 Lovat (now discontinued)

Needle: #3 circular 24" and #2 circular 40"

Buttons: KnitPicks Harmony

Finished gauge: 8 sts/in.

The Gansey KAL, being based on the WG, was for the Guernsey Pullover. In the WG, Meg shows a picture of her daughter Liesl in a vest version. Although Meg used Quebecoise, she stated that she had used J&S 2 ply shetland for guernseys in the past. I just so happen to have one and a half dresser drawers of 2 ply Shetland. The vest has no instructions for the alteration from pullover to vest. Being a 'thinking knitter', I needed to work through all calculations for my gauge, patterning, armhole size and shape, neckline shaping, buttonband type and shaping, choice of and number of buttons and their placement.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Nikki Cat

Nikki the knitting guard cat was extremely happy yesterday to employ his talents with the guernsey vest.

He'd been sleeping in another room when I took the initial vest pictures for yesterday's post. But I just had to take another photo to share his talents with everyone!

Then last night I made his Christmas gift, all except for the filling since Nikki was on my lap at the time. This morning I filled the piece of saved-especially-for-catnip-mice pantyhose and finished this year's mouse.

Uh...he smelled the catnip and came downstairs to sit up in his begging position. I let him smell it, but the present went in Nikki's stocking on the fireplace.

And, not to be left out, Tawny was a very good boy this year. Here's his package including two different kinds of treats. He'll enjoy unwrapping it on Christmas morning!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She's all-most finished...

OK, so I decided that although I'd been working a little on the guernsey each night, I really was procrastinating.

(Click on the picture for better stitch definition. And, yes, she's yet another totally different color when wet.)

Hey, at 8 stitches to the inch, she took a lot longer than she would have at 5 stitches to the inch, which was using a DK or worsted weight wool. That's what happens when I changed the pattern to be a vest from a pullover in Jamieson and Smith 2 ply shetland instead of Quebecoise or Frangipani (guernsey wool).

I have coiless pins through the buttonholes, just to help align the dressing. There are no other pins in the vest for blocking. She's just laying on towels and smoothed and resmoothed into shape. I'll keep messing with her. I always do

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Wonderland

I finally succumbed. Russ really wanted me to see and photograph how beautiful it is out on his bus route after our storm. (Click to embiggen!)

Ash Road.

Ridge Road.

Ridge Road.

Chesnut Road.

Chesnut Road.

Airport Road.

It is beautiful.

The only road of these that is even half paved is Airport Road. None of these is more than a modern lane and a half wide. Originally these "turkey trails" were Indian trails and wagon trails. They were simply paved over with macadam. DH drives his 72 passenger bus on these roads several times daily. You know that the roads are in much better condition today than they were the last two days. And, yes, what is seen is ice ruts with bits of pavement or dirt showing through.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday's Freezings

Being grateful for electric service today and that the school buses had no problems on their own this morning other than other people's accidents, I submit the Winter Wonderland outside the back bedroom window this morning.

We've had ice covered electric and phone lines the last 19 hours. Yesterday's radar lied. It rained then 10 minutes of snow, then hours of rain, then finally an inch of snow settled on top the slush. Roads are pretty well taken care of this morning and DH said that the country roads were even plowed this morning and it was the in-town roads that were nasty. This time of year I dream of citrus groves with their fragrances wafting with the thermals.

What are fellas to do in weather like this? A nap sounds good.

Oh, the guernsey? We're now finishing the second arm opening.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Different Tuesday

Can't say I've ever seen rabbit prints defrosting in the fish pond before.

With the turkey carcass deboning itself in the stock/pasta pot, the whole house is becoming laced with holiday spirit. True to form, though, this will be the warmest day in a long while, with an expected high of 54, and what will dinner be? Turkey soup.

For a little knitting, the guernsey vest's front band has the button holes and is now being bound off in icord for stability.

Monday, December 08, 2008


From "Major Knitter's" blog was a link to "Canadian Living" magazine which had the pattern for these ornaments. They used the pattern with permission from Melanie Falick's Handknit Holidays. Should you get the chance to check out "Canadian Living", it's knit and craft friendly with beautiful photography.

I'm using some of the yarn stash to create these in the smaller size and with much smaller needles than the pattern calls for. They can be knit in any pattern or in a single color or all in stripes or anything one's knitterly heart desires!

I used size 1 double points and a small crochet hook for the ornnament hanger. Crochet hooks are always just 'hanging around' in the gansey pincushion on the oak commode to be used for various knitting projects. Although crocheting is not particularly one of my crafts these days, there are many crochet hooks in the 'tool drawer' from my grandmother's, mother's and my projects throughout the decades.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Winter Weather Advisory

Yet again, still, we find ourselves under a Winter Weather Advisory. This is after we received maybe two inches of snow in the last 24 hours but with the wind whipping it around, it's hard to tell how much has really fallen.

(This post is picture-heavy and all pictures are clickable to embiggen!)

We've been busy here at Chez Fibernating the last week since the last posting. This morning while Russ was pushing snow, I took some pictures to indicated a bit of the busy-ness. On the treadle sewing machine in the upstairs hallway is 'Friendsheep' I'd bought at Smuckers in Orrville, Ohio several years ago with a miniature spinning wheel given to me in Willcox by Marian Burleson when we were leaving town...she wanted me to remember her and knew I'd love this with my spinning demos from the Apple Festival.

A knickknack shelf hangs at the foot of the stairs and beside the front door. The top shelf has a basket and teddy Mom worked on plastic canvas during that phase of her crafting. Second shelf is a Westmoreland milk glass Santa on sleigh candy dish. An incense burner house (unused in current position)with some of Russ' mini-tractors come next. A blue-shaded Nativity graces the bottom shelf. This set I bought at the Willcox Commercial the first Christmas we lived in Willcox.

On top the TV center is a mini-village of a Santa bank that the First National Bank of Leechburg was giving out one year in the 1950's for opening a Christmas Club account. Russ' Milwaukee Road train ornaments from Hallmark a few years ago pretend to run the rails on the Amish Wedding Ring quilted runner from Smicksburg to serve the wooden village and tractor and a ceramic tree. The light-able ceramic tree is also from another phase of Mom's crafting.

Ah, the fireplace for Ol' St. Nick sports stockings for all four of us. The deer on the hearth and the wooden creche were fashioned by Butch different Christmases. The Marx train was my Mom's train she bought when she was 17. Then there are three of my Santas. The tallest was bought during one of my lunchtimes from ARN at Coast to Coast Hardware in Willcox years ago. Thin red Santa I bought on our honeymoon in Fredericksburg, TX. And the Jim Shore Santa with a sheep was a Christmas present a couple years ago, found at a Hallmark store in Natrona Heights. Oh, the mini-quilt! I designed, quilted and embroidered it about 1991 as a Christmas present for Mom when we lived on Ft. Grant Road.

You knew there had to be some knitting around somewhere! Here are some projects on the couch -- my guernsey vest which has been knit on only one night for a few minutes this week and yarn for some ornaments, one of which I finished last night.

A roper's rope basket on the antique chest Russ restored in Cochise is one that that Beth made for us from one of Thomas' ropes has a display of various ornaments and a poinsettia pick.

Finally here are shots of the two decorated trees downstairs. (A third one, my sheep tree, stays up all year long upstairs.)This smaller one I decorated in white, metallic and crystal this year. I had never done a 'color tree', so it was interesting to pull out ornaments that would work! This is such a dense little tree that there isn't much room for ornaments by the trunk and because it's so dense, ornaments tend to jumble up on it when they are all colors. It sits on my grandmother's cedar chest that Russ restored. Barbar enjoys the tree with one of my many stuffed sheep and two snowmen under the tree. Between the tree and the fireplace is one of two end tables my Dad crafted. On it is a bowl of potpourri, Swedish windchimes my Great Aunt Syster sent from Sweden one Christmas, a pair of tomten candlesticks also from Aunt Syster and a Halla horse bought at the Swedish Pantry this summer on the way to knitting camp. They all are placed on a runner Aunt Syster embroidered.

This is the big tree, 6.5 ft., that I put together and put lights on, then Russ and I lift it onto the antique table in front of the picture window. (How's that for a term from the '50's?)Yes, the elves have been busy wrapping and had to unload some of the packages from their workshop. The elves asked if they could store some of the packages here until Christmas. Of course I obliged. I have always been a good girl for the Jul Tomtens.

And, lastly, here is the Ole Hoss. He's using his snow scraper he designed and made several years ago. We're hoping that with the little sunshine this morning that the driveway will 'melt off' enough so that no ice melt crystals are needed.

P.S. It's Pearl Harbor Day today. May our Veterans and Active Duty soldiers be safe while guarding our freedom.