Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snow in October: Urgggghhhhhh

I am definitely ready for Spring already. Although I do appreciate how beautiful the snow can be and that we need the moisture here in Colorado, what I am seeing this year is simply the back-breaking job of shoveling. We have never invested in a snow blower, and our neighbors have helped us out in the past, but Gary had always been able to tackle most of it, except for the largest storms. This year, with his COPD and the back surgery two weeks ago, it is out of the question, so the job is mine.... unless we can contract for the service for the rest of the winter. This storm was predicted, but who would have expected over 2 feet in October! This photo is from yesterday out my back door,

and this one is today. It is still snowing!!!!!! FYI, the fence is 5' and the compost bin in the corner is 36" high.
And this is looking out from my front door to the street after I have shoveled. Before I started today, the tree branches were so heavy, they were laying down on top of the snow, so I had to deal with that before I could take on the sidewalk to the street.

My arms and shoulders are so tired, that I don't know if I can even knit or spin tonight. Wine and a movie sounds good.

One more thing......I even had to climb on step stool outside to clean off the DISH receiver. Gary didn't have TV all day because the snow and ice blocked the signal.

Maybe if I close my eyes, I will wake up in June.........

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

GAAA- Square no. 4

Square #4 is by Julie H Levy and is still one of the squares labeled "easy". The intertwining cables are flowing nicely, and the diamonds and bobbled cables remind me of my Grandma's Aran sweaters. Unlike the previous squares, this is nearly 12"wide unblocked, so I have to be careful that it doesn't grow when I wash and block it. I am using size 7 needles on this one, as recommended, but I am starting to think that maybe I should have gone down a size in all the squares, because the yarn is on the lighter side of worsted, not a heavy dense worsted that I was hoping for. When looking it up on Ravelry, several mentioned that the Araucania Nature Wool is more like a heavy DK weight than aran worsted. All the cabling and texture will make this a warm afghan, even if not a heavy one.

And in case you were wondering if I am spinning too, here is the first bobbin of Alpaca, that I washed, picked by hand, carded and spun. There is still quite a bit of VM in it, and it feels a bit greasy, so I will give the finished yarn a good scouring when I set the twist.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It lives!

Well, now I have this:

It seems that when I was getting ready to throw out the whole plant after it OD'd on fertilizer, I just trimmed the top off, ran tepid water through the pot cleaning the soil as well as I could. I then put it in the front North window and forgot about it. The stem had remained green, so a small part of me had hope that something was still alive here. In the last couple of weeks a small shoot began low on the stem and now there are the signs of 3 branches forming, each with new leaves. YAY!!! I am such a dork about letting plants go..................

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Project- GAAA

The Great American Aran Afghan caught my eye several months ago as a challenging and interesting project. It is done in 12" squares by different designers in various patterns of cables, textures and motifs. Since this project required a major yarn purchase, I held off for some time. In Sept, while at Knit Night at A Knitted Peace, I wandered into the back room where the remnants of the yarn sale were stashed and there in a basket was a large quantity of Araucania Nature Wool in the color, Tree Bark. I fondled and counted the skeins, but since the budget is tight, I regained my senses and left them there without purchasing. Knit Night rolled around again in early October, and sure enough, there they were: 20 skeins of TreeBark. I guess it was meant to be and I purchased and then loaded them into my stash. What I really like about this yarn is the subtle variations of shadings.

Actually, I left them in the trunk of my car and brought them into the house one skein at a time!! ;-) One skein at a time and one square at a time, it would always look like a small project and purchase! Who am I kidding??? They are all inside now.

Lifted from my Ravelry notes, here is my progress to date:

10/13 - 10/20 -Square #3: Hannah Burns: I was slow getting started doing the mirror image patterns, but it helped to copy chart B and put the highlighter tape on each chart B. It also helped when I labeled my pattern: odd:right side: {———-

even: wrong side: ————} so that I always knew which chart B to use. The rest of the charts were easy to memorize. (#8 needle)

10/8 - 10/13- Square #2: Barbara Selesnick. (#8 needle) My chart reading skills are getting better. I needed to block this square a lot to get it to the 12”.

10/2. Casting on the first square: Ginette Belanger. (size #7 needle) I had to make lots of notes on my pattern to keep me in the right place and getting the pattern right, and still the bottom 2” was all messed up in the side bobbles/trinity stitch. I also had a mis-cross at about inch 3. If I am not entirely sick of this project when I finish, I may just re-do this square.


On another note: thanks for all the good wishes for Gary's surgery. He is moving about well now, even if putting on socks is still a challenge. As for Mom's move, it is going well too. I shudder to think what all was in the 4 large trash bags I helped her get to the curb yesterday. Let it go, let it go......

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sandwich Generation and I am the Cheese in the Middle!

What is it called when you have pressures and worries about your parents and your kids at the same time, as well as from the spouse??? I remember when it was called the Sandwich Generation and many of us have been there. Many more will visit this perspective as the years pass, but it is never easy. As we age in these modern times, we are living longer, are active longer and because we had our children later than in past generations, they are still not always settled down, when WE want to settle down and relax. I never would have envisioned that my husband AND my mother would have long discussions about their experiences with Social Security, health care, Medicare, aches and pains. Gary is having back surgery next week and it is yet to be seen how mobile he will be for the weeks following surgery. He thinks he will be bounding up the stairs when he comes home from the hospital. Here's hoping, but who am I to pop his bubble.

Mom is moving in three weeks into Senior Housing, independent living with services if she needs them and we are in the process of deciding what she wants to take and what to move to my basement to save for the kids. Several special treasures will be shipped to NYC to my brother and the rest will be donated or sold. We went through the house, opening closets and thumbing through papers: it was a special time of reminiscing. Luckily, this is not a forced move, but a decision made while there are still choices and we are all happy about that.

I am now the proud owner of every size of straight knitting needle pair from size one on up. Several months ago I posted about my Grandmother's knitting prowess, and her collection together with my Mom's is now in my craft room. I also now have steel crochet hooks in the smallest sizes imaginable.... multiples. Grandma must have suffered the same malady that plagues many modern crafters: losing and replacing needed tools, only to find them later. I think there are at least 6 size 9 steel crochet hooks! And most special of all, a 9" stack of vintage knitting books are mine. As I thumbed through them, I spotted 5 patterns that are still in my wardrobe today. Some were made for me, a baby sweater by my Mom for my daughter, several made and worn by my Grandma. Over the next several weeks, I will highlight these here in the blog! This pattern is published in the Bernat Handicrafter, but the cover is missing, so I don't know what year it is from.

All the books are in black and white from this era, and look at the size of her waist! This fashion forward tee shirt sweater is still worn by me under suits as a shell. This was made by Grandma for herself for the same purpose, probably in the late 50's or early 60's.
I am not sure what the yarn content is but the pattern calls for a nylon type yarn :Bernat Nylo Sports yarn.
Closeup of the pattern stitch.

Beautiful raglan, maintaining the pattern.

Stay tuned for more to come over the next weeks.

I can only deal with two generations at a time for now, so kids: stay safe, healthy and smart!

Plum Frost Fingering Yarn

Tuesdays are for spinning....or at least that is what the Yarn Harlot says. So here is a posting about spinning....which I finished over the weekend. The fiber is again from Julie Spins
(photo by Juliespins)
and it is 50/50 Superfine Merino and tencel. It spun fine and I two-plyed it
with the resulting yardage about 400+ yards from 5.3 oz. m It is all an inexact science to measure the yardage, and I think the next tool I will purchase is the McMorran Scale which is a simple tool with remarkable accuracy from all reports. I need to get more comfortable with using my wraps per inch gauge and figuring the yardage. This is especially important if I ever plan to knit with the yarn. Petting and caressing the yarn can only go so far........The spun yarn has such a nice glimmer and sheen!

I need to work on making sure I am plying enough, because there are areas of the final yarn that appear underplyed after setting the twist.

I don't know what I will do with all the shawls that my spinning is leaning towards. Of course, I can always knit two strands together for heavier garments.

2nd Pair Done

The second pair of handspun socks are done and I just...just...had enough yarn to finish. I think I have about 6 yards of yarn left! The only concession I made was to make the top 6" instead of my usual 7". They have nice heft to them, without being as heavy as the first pair.

The new pair is on the right.

They have a great sheen to them and are very soft. Now on to the next project.....