Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Progress and preparation:

Ok, so I'm making progress on some of the things I have on the needles, but not all. The green socks are languishing right now because I'm not at all sure the gauge is correct and I don't feel like ripping that yarn out again. (If you remember, I ripped it out as a shawl 2 or 3 times.) They are in time out in a bag that a lovely lady in Pennsylvania hand painted for me a few years ago. I will bring them out when I'm done being mad at them.
Meanwhile, the turquoise socks for Miss M are coming along nicely. I love the Flame Wave pattern from Favorite Socks. And knit just a little tighter than guage in the small size will give the perfect socks for the girl.

And the Norwegian Sweater I'm making for me is coming along nicely. I did a huge gauge swatch for it and measured twice and calculated several times and checked it against my favorite sweater. I think it might be a little too small, but I've decided to knit a couple more inches and then put it on yarn and try it on before I decide. Gonna be mad if I do all that work and find out it's too small, but I'll be madder if I decide it's too small now and then redo it and find out it's too big. I am liking the look of it so far. And the material feels ok too.

And in preparation for my next project . . . . .
I've pulled this yarn and book out of the corner. I think I want to make the bag bigger than it is supposed to be because the size quoted in the book will be less useful to me than something bigger. And besides that, I want sheep on both sides and don't I deserve that? I know that you haven't made yours yet, so I've pm'd someone on Ravelry to ask how much yarn they used and which colors I might need extra on. She already said in her notes that the dark green was tight, so I'm guessing more of that. Are you two ordering anything from Knit Picks anytime soon?

And more importantly, would you like to join this knit along since you have bags to make too?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair - SAFF

The Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) is a little more than 3 weeks away. I went last year with a friend but not for long. We drove up Saturday morning and drove all over the southeast on Sunday afternoon. This year I'm going with the same friend, but we're going to be there longer and we are going to take some classes. All the puppets and the bobcat and chipmunk in the last two pictures are needle felted from raw wool. My friend and I are taking a class to learn to make that chipmunk from the lady who made them. She does the most amazing things with the wool off her sheep.
We are also taking some other classes while there. We are both taking an indigo dyeing class together - guess I'll have to find another indigo plant cuz I killed mine years ago. And we are taking a heel workshop from Charlene Schurch of Sensational Knitted Socks and More Sensational Knitted Socks and Little Box of Socks fame. And even tho Mom and I took that spinning class at Spruell and learned to spin (when was that? about 18 years ago?) it's been years since I did anything with any of the wheels. So, I'm taking a beginning spinning class so I can get some practice and some tips.
You can see from the pics of the main floor that there are lots and lots of vendors there selling everything you could possibly want for any fiber arts. There is every possible type of yarn, a lot direct from the farmers. There is every possible type of equipment from swifts and ballwinders to looms and wheels and carders etc. There are fleeces (raw) and roving and angora and alpaca and any other type of fiber in any state you could want.
So if you guys want anything special, let me know!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Critters and my present to myself . . . .

This is the first half of Miss S's piggy collection. Some of them are very tiny and can be kinda hard to pick out. Several are flying pigs - including the pink pig bank with the cork nose in the back. That one was custom made by June at Rising Sun Earthworks (who also made our yarn bowls and our sheepy coffee mugs). She had a piggy bank for sale and I asked her if she could turn it into a flying pig, which she did.
These are the two cats that live in her bedroom. They are completely spoiled. This is the girl's new bed and new bedding - right now she has two beds in her room and I can assure you that neither one of them has been made since the last time I made them. The cats don't seem to mind tho.

This is Cat, who let me know in a not very subtle way that she was ready for her closeup, Mr. DeMill. She's small, but she can be very pushy and demanding.
And this is the reason that those two live like princesses in the girl's rooms. This is Billy the Bully. Yeah, sure, he looks cute and sweet and adorable in this picture, but that's only because he's asleep. He's big and smart and can be mean when he's bored and he's easily bored. He's also, by far, the most demanding cat I've ever met. He's big enough to stand on his back legs and tap me on the shoulder when I'm sitting in a chair and that's just what he does when I'm on the computer and he doesn't want me to be. He's a terror.
This is the toad lily that is actually blooming this year. I am completely shocked because it was so close to being dead without any water for two years. It has a lot of burned leaves and flowers, but it's blooming and doing it's best to survive.
And these are my present to myself! I still didn't get the size 6's I needed, but when I found these, I had to get what I could. They came from a shop that's discontinueing their knitting supplies in favor of their spinning business. They were selling them for $5 each, so I bought whatever they had in the 24" length. I emailed the guy at Skacel about my chipped size 6 and he won't do anything about it because I no longer have the packaging. He said I could take it back to my local knitting shop, but why would they want to take it back when I bought the stupid things from Knit Picks and not them. Well, I did buy some of my addi's from them, but most came from Knit Picks. Anyway, these were my present to myself and there are more coming.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What we did today . . .

Well, not so much what 'We' did today and more what they did today. The girls went to a school fair type thing and one of them worked the painting booth. Unfortunately, when she was given her instuctions, the powers that be weren't specific enough about where that paint should be going. So a very generous portion of that paint ended up on that girl's hand . . . . in many bright and wonderful colors! And then, to top it off, she got a ring. Now, don't tell anyone, but that ring came from a boy. Pretty, isn't it?

This is what the other girl came home looking like - something from a Doctor Seuss book. The first girl managed to get a generous amount of that paint on the second girl instead of her hand somehow! Looks good doesn't it?

And can you see the black rubber bands on the braces? They go so well with the rest of the orange, pink and black!!!

Blueberry Hamsters

These are the Divine Miss M's birthday present from last May. I promised to post pics before, but it's dreadfully difficult to take pics of these little guys. You can't use a flash cuz you'll scare them, literally to death. And they are so small that you have to get really close to them. You can see how small they are by how big my fingers are in the pic where I'm giving them each a sunflower seed. They've learned that when I open the top of their tank, they are each going to get a sunflower seed. One of them always eats it right away, one of them always stuffs it in her cheek and then asks for more and the third one alternates between the two. Their names are Blue, Berry and Hammie but I couldn't tell you which name belongs to which critter - the girls can tell them apart but I can't. They are as cute as they can be and I'm awfully glad the girl got them because I enjoy them.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Everyone is knitting socks . . . .

Sock knitting has become so popular these days! I must say that even I've knit quite a few pair lately. It never occured to me that it would get so popular that the girls would take it up, but there ya go!

Miss M started this about a year ago as a Christmas Stocking for her crazy cat, Billy. She's got my very nice (and expensive) Colonial rosewood circular needles tied up in it. She might finish it if I threaten to take them out.

This is a sock that Miss S started two days ago, just after I gave her the pink socks that I made for her. She showed them off in her theater class and apparently someone liked them so she decided to make a pair herself. She made a mistake while decreasing for the gusset and asked me to help her find and fix it. It was right at the first or second decrease row, but I fixed it for her. She's doing a nice job and working fairly quickly - at least on the first sock.

And this is a present that arrived in the mail earier in the week. I opened it and peeked, but I didn't dare read the whole thing. If I read it all now, what will I do next year?

Thank you Mom! I love Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and I wanted her never not knitting calendar! It was so nice of you to give it to me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Finished Socks

These are Miss S's new pink socks. They are short because that's how she likes them. I used the pink Elann Esprit that Mom sent me and had a little left over because they were so short. They were knit in the Bulky Boot sock pattern from Charlene Schurch's Little Box of Socks (at least I think that's the pattern I used). They were knit on big needles because of the pattern and the yarn, so they didn't take any time at all to knit. She nabbed them out of my hand before I'd even cut off the dangly ends and wore them to rehearsal. That's why the picture has some slight brown on the bottom of the foot. Oh well, at least she likes them.

I've cast on the turquoise Elann Esprit for Miss M but haven't gotten past the cast on yet. Hers are going to be knit with a pattern from Favorite Socks by Ann Budd - the Flame Wave pattern, which calls for this type of yarn. It's a pretty pattern that I wanted to knit and talked Miss M, into wanting . . .

I also cast on for the Norwegian Sweater. I did that huge guage swatch - used up all of two balls of yarn doing it. Finally decided on the size needle I needed and thought I was done with that. Measured a favorite sweater so I'd know how big it should be, and did the calculations necessary to start the sweater. Dropped one size needle and cast on the ribbing. I think the needle is still too small!!! The ribbing is kinda stiff and hard. And it's taking forever to knit because it doesn't want to slide around the needle like it should. Might have to rip it out and start over again for the 3 or 4th time.

On the upside, the yard is done and the painters are painting instead of washing or replacing wood. There is no gas to be had in Atlanta and my car is sitting on empty. If there isn't gas in the landrover, I'm in big trouble. The girls won't be going to school for a while . . . .

Gas update: After visiting 17 gas stations, I have a tank full of gas and it's the right grade. I hit about 15 this morning after dropping the girls off. Of those 15, 2 had gas and neither of those had anything but regular and my car wants premium. So I went to another ex-gas station and had my tire with a hole repaired and asked the guy who owns it (a mechanic) if it would kill my car to get regular gas. He said no, that one tank wouldn't kill it. Part of the problem with those two lone gas stations was that each of their parking lots was completely full and both were on busy highways so I was concerned about stopping outside the parking lot. I did pull into one gas station and get up to a pump but before I could stick my credit card into the machine the lady came out with bags to put over the nozzles cuz they were out of gas.

At this point, the car was riding on empty. I checked the Landrover and it had almost a quarter of a tank so I had the painter try to syphon it out but he couldn't. Hubby had a small container of gas in the garage for the lawnmower so I called to make sure it was ok for a car and it was. Put it in the car to give me enough to go looking for gas. Headed out and the second station I found had gas - not only that, they had premium. I was really lucky that they were on a one way street, so one side of the pumps on that street had nobody at them. I turned the car around and backed up to the pump and started pumping. The owner came out and said he had about enough gas to last another 15 minutes, so I got there just in time. I paid about 30 cents more a gallon than I should have paid, but I got gas and didn't have to wait in line on a dangerous highway for an hour. I'm a happy girl. Heck I even refilled Hubby's gas jug for the lawnmower (well, I put a little in there anyway.)

The joys of living in Georgia with Governor DumDum.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What I did today:

So, it wasn't bad enough that the house is being painted this week. I cannot park my car in the garage, or even in the driveway because they are in the way. Today, the plumbers came to fix the connection from the house to the city and that was so much fun.

First, they unloaded a backhoe and started digging. We knew they were going to have to go ten feet down so it had to be a big hole. They had to make the top big enough to be sure that the sides wouldn't cave in on anyone in the hole.

But the first guy that came and marked the location of the connection on the lawn was off by about 4 feet. That means that they started digging 4 feet too far into the lawn. So they got down the ten feet and found absolutely nothing.

So they dug and dug and then they dug some more. The dirt is clay and more like solid rock than like dirt. It was absolutely amazing to hear the teeth of the scoop cutting into the hard, rock-like clay. And it came out in big hunks that looked a lot like rocks, but were just big clumps. It was also amazing just how dry everything is here - dry as a desert from the surface to the bottom.
This is the guy who operated the backhoe - and did a really accurate job of it. He's standing in the hole, but not quite at the bottom of it. He's pretty tall and you can see that there is a good 5 or more feet over his head.

That's the culprit right there. It was about 12" from the driveway - the orginal green paint mark was about 5 feet further into the lawn. The big side of the connection is the city's line and the small piece joining it is the house line. There was a rubber ring between the two of them and the tree roots didn't even let it slow them down on their quest for water.
No, I did NOT get down in that hole. The very nice plumber man let me hand down my camera and took the pic for me. That pipe is about 8" in diameter and those roots are already broken off and pulled out some - some of them were over an inch in diameter.

This is the clod of roots (and let's not think about what else) that came out of the pipe. It's about 5' long with one end of it already partly burried. The part that was about a foot or so into the pipe is a solid mass of roots and that part was about 4' long. It's a wonder we didn't have much worse problems than we did.

The plumber tied a rope to the root end and then hooked it to the backhoe and pulled it out. About 6 inches of the roots broke off during the process, so it was longer than it looks here.

After they fixed the plumbing and redid the pipes, they put a vent in so the city can access their pipes if they need to and then reburried everything. Next time, we'll know exactly where the connection is, and will have easier access to it.

They put all the dirt back as well as they could and leveled it as well as they could. They packed it down as they filled it in, but it went from hard and compact to loose and dry and it takes up more space than it used to. It should settle but I wonder if we'll ever get grass back there since we cannot water it.

And a pretty flower to end the day . . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dumb Jokes

Ok - no sock pics yet, soon tho. And maybe some other pics as well. For now, just a few dumb jokes I found on german newsletters (Addi).

A little boy left the church and twirled his rosary around his finger like a propeller. The priest cam and sternly told him “You must be careful with your rosary! Always remember that there is a little baby Jesus in each of the beads.” As soon as the priest was out of sight, the little boy said, “Hold on boys, here we go again!”

Why do you call your girlfriend “easter egg”?
Because she is so round and brightly painted.

How do you make chocolate eggs?
By mixing cocoa in the chicken feed.

Mr. Smith has returned home from his vacation. He reports to his buddies: Suddenly, there I was, in the middle of the desert, surrounded by Moroccans. Moroccans in front of me, Moroccans behind me, Moroccans next to me.” “And what did you do?” “I bought the carpet.”

“What are you cutting out of the newspaper?” the waiter asked his regular customer.
“The article about the man who killed his wife because she was constantly searching the pockets of his suits.”
“And why do you need that article?”
“To stick it in my suit pocket.”

Oh, Grandma, the drum set was my favorite Christmas present.
Oh, Really? Said the happy grandmother.
Yes, Mom gives me $1 for every day that I don’t play with it.

Yesterday I was at the Christmas Market with my husband.
And, could you get rid of him?

Why are Christmas Trees such bad knitters?
Because they keep dropping their needles.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Finished the first pair of socks with the sock yarn Mom sent me. Pictures in about 2 hours . . . .

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some lovely Numma Numma Toasty - my contest winnings, in fact. Miss S likes the Lou's Brews (gray & brown) and wants it knit up in the Toasty Twist pattern that I wrote for the contest. Miss M likes the Needlenook Nosh and since she's only got one pair of hand knit socks. I don't like the pattern she picked out, but we can settle that later. I think I'm knitting the green up for me and that leaves the blue for Dad.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Looking for opinions, please!

I need opinions please! I've done this swatch/sample of two traditional Norwegian knitting patterns (both found in Annemore Sundbo's Everyday Knitting: Treasures from the Ragpile). I am not going to use the red/black alternating ribbing - just going with black, I think (maybe red?). Anyway, I need to decide which pattern I like better for the sweater and I'm having trouble making a decision. I really want to start this - I've been itching to start it since July - so I need to decide. I have the votes in from the immediate family, but it's still a tie.

Help me please!?!? I have a lovely quilted circular needle case I will mail to a randomly drawn comment number if I get more than 10 comments. Drawing will be held on Sunday, September 21st 2008 (if I get any comments).