Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall things and other fibery goodness

I took a couple pictures of our pumpkins from our garden. They aren't big so won't be used for carving. I have thoughts of making pumpkin pie goodness from them, so pureeing will happen. The pumpkins:

The new maple tree is all glorious red too and probably getting ready to drop its leaves. The big maple with its burgundy leaves are starting to fall and the Asian pear has dropped half of its leaves already.

I took pictures of the niddy noddy in its current state and with Cobbler on board:

I need to still soak and whack Cobbler but I estimate that I have 243 yards of I think a fingering weight yarn. Cobbler is a Corriedale, dyed by Stitchjones.

I've been trading off an hour at a time with the three projects so have made progress on all of them that you can see in my progress bars on the side. Newest pics from this afternoon on the neckwarmer and scarf. Hat was taken this evening when I switched to white. Cool side note - Bobby Blue Falling Water Scarf was asked to be a photo sample in Ravelry for the project. It's always fun when you're asked to have your photos of your finished work asked to represent that pattern. ETA: then you go look and realize yours is pic #3 and that 278 other people have made this project, so wow!

The library has me swamped with books to read. Mostly I think they all fall under the 'fantasy' category but of course that would be a broad one. Devoured Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I thought she did an excellent job with his back story and giving an appropriate length for a being 11 thousand years old. Currently working my way through another series latest, Heart Fate by Robin D. Owens. Sometimes it seems like they just come in like a flood.

I need to get back to an author putting in a request to me. I really want to but I also would like to postpone, probably why I'm procrastinating replying to her. Bad Tami!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Flurry of WIPs, trips, etc.

Last week was all about the cold. My head was so muzzy that knitting was next to impossible. I tried multiple times to get the La-La-Love-You Cowl to work for me. It just wasn't happening.

I was able to ply the Cobbler singles. It's still sitting on the bobbin because I have only four coats of the finish on the oak niddy-noddy. Brandon says I need a few more coats for smoothness. I'm going to try to steel wool it and apply a coat before bed. He did say that it is usable though.....

Thursday my mother came down by train after visiting sister and family up in Snohomish. She met up with her DH who was attending a conference here in town over the weekend. William and I met up with her on Friday for lunch downtown at Rockbottom (wouldn't recommend them btw, wandered over to VooDoo Doughnuts so that she could buy the guys some. Then went up Alder to get to Knit/Purl and found a little Swiss chocolate store - Teuscher Chocolates of Portland. Mom bought us each a chocolate and picked up some for herself. I had the pistachio praline - yummy milk chocolate. Definitely going to have to go back for more!

While at Knit/Purl I found out that mom can't wear wool - of any kind. So the Purple Mistery Cowl that I had just finished, isn't going to her but I guess the sister up in Snohomish.....

We met back up with her and Aunt Mary on the MAX line and headed over to the Chinese Gardens. I had called Judy, Brandon's mom, and invited her to join us on Saturday and turned out it was in time to meet us there too. Here's a link to the Picasa album of our visit if you'd like to check it out.

After we got done at the Chinese Gardens we walked a few blocks over and had lunch at Kell's. Great Irish food and Brandon tried his first pint of Guinness. Refueled we then headed over to Saturday Market for some serious browsing. I think we found a picture to decorate around in the hall bathroom too, but we'll have to go back when that booth is open.

Sunday I tried out Tudora and had it work out for me - yea! Here's what it looks like so far:

Trying to get all those projects that I "thought" I could get done, I cast on today the Razor Shell Scarf. I'm going to use the Purple Mistery Malabrigo Lace leftover from the Cowl:

Since I still had leftover Olive worsted, I debated on casting on for a Calorimetry head cover but decided that I wanted to do the Celtic Cable Neckwarmer instead, this is one full chart repeat:

I had hoped to start William's "Where's Waldo" hat later in the week. Okay, I was going to wait until Friday to start it. Brandon and he insisted that I start it tonight. Since today is William's 19th birthday, I acquiesced and also cast that on tonight. There is a pattern available for it, but I didn't like the directions. So went back to a hat that I've done several of and know how to adapt to work for this design, the raglan hat. Here's what I have so far:

ETA: The cold is down to the sniffles, a few coughs and lots of sneezes still. William started his version of it late Saturday, thus postponing a visit from his other grandparents on Sunday. My dad has week lungs from when he was in a house fire as a child.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sneeze, sniffle, blow, groan.....

Thursday night's book signing went really well. We arrived early enough to score seats in the first row. Put us up close to Geno and R.A (Bob) and able to be first ones to get books signed. R.A. being from the Boston area one of the first things out of his mouth was 'Anyone have the score for the Red Sox's?' No one did, but I remembered that Brandon carries his work Blackberry, so after trying to get used to navigating on the New York Times page he started me out on, I figured out how to get to Google and go from there. Top of the 7th it was 5-0, not good for the Sox. By the time we got up there and he again asked the question, the sad news was that it was bottom or the 7th and 9-0.

R.A. and Geno both had a sense of humor and it was fun to hear the pride in a father's voice about his son coming into his world. Of course Geno has been 'working' for him for the last 10 years as a copy editor and Geno is supposed to know the books better than he does. R.A. also asked William some questions and took the time to personalize every one of his books with something, not just sign them. Very cool! Of course it was good that he was one of the first ones in line even though we had his 12 books spread out amongst the three of us.

I was starting to get a migraine while we were waiting, so took some Excedrin Migraine I had on hand. Only a couple of rows of knitting too. I thought about knitting during the talk but since some have implied its rude, I put it away.

My Friday and Saturday were spent taking Excedrin Migraine every few hours and Saturday I threw in three Vicodin spaced out. It was still not fun. Saturday night I started sneezing and sniffling. Yup, Sunday morning I woke up with a sore throat, stuffy head and thinking that life really isn't fair.

I hate the Hall's mentholated throat drops but broke down and have had been sucking on the few that we have. I will have to get out of my jammies today and get some supplies - more throat drops, a really good decongestant and other food type supplies. I hate being sick and also having cramps start - just shoot me now please.

Until I get the book signing photos off, here's one that I forgot to put up last week. A new member of the household. Currently going by the unoriginal name of 'Big Blue'.

Nessa finds him terribly fascinating and likes to sit on my lap at the desk and watch him - he teases her.

I need photos of the niddy-noddy Brandon made for me from oak. I'm on coat two of the finish and need to take some steel wool to it before more goes on. I also need to move the singles of Cobbler off of their bobbins so I can try to get them plied. This corriedale was much nicer to work with than the rough Habu stuff I got from Knit/Purl.

We had news that Kari is in labor as of yesterday afternoon. Today is Kari's birthday and may also have become Madeline's. So I'll be shipping off her booties this week:

ETA: Received confirmation that 'Madi' was born last night, so shares a birthday with my niece Bailey, at 11:41pm and weighed in at 8 and a half pounds was what I was given. We also received confirmation that 'Madi' is how they will be shortening her name after finding out that everyone had an idea of how to shorten it and none agreed. ;^)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Knit/Purl Thanksgiving Yarn Window

Go check the Alder Street window at Knit/Purl where they have a VERY realistic Thanksgiving laid out all done in felted yarn:

Isn't that incredible?!

Yarn Sampling - pic heavy!

Knit/Purl as previously mentioned had their Yarn Sampling class last night. Totally awesome experience!

We 'sampled' five different yarns - silk/wool, merino, wool/alpaca, silk/cashmere/wool, alpaca and were able to keep our little sample balls. They were attractively presented in little cupcake papers. I also tried out Addi lace needles (US3) - very nice! We were also given one extra, because two of them were Catherine Lowe yarns that are exclusive to Knit/Purl.

Naming convention used: Manufacturer, Line name, Colorway name
Catherine Lowe Couture Yarn-Merino3-Peacock
Catherine Lowe Couture Yarns-#5-Black Violet

Knit/Purl is very generous and also offered us an hors d'oeuvres platter with HUGE red seedless grapes, a wedge of brie with some I think rice wafer crackers. To wash that down we had our choice of apple cider, champagne or their new tea selections. I enjoyed the apple cider. There were also little packets of dark chocolate, I only nibbled mine.

We were also given little pattern swatch ideas. Our first one using the Tilli Tillman had been done as a child's sweater and was a fun twisted cable type look without actually cabling. We also received copies of the Bainbridge scarf pattern and Sarah Morris' baby hat pattern for the skein of Shibuiknits worsted we received.

The class was only $5 and then they returned that $5 in a gift card that you could save or use on anything in the store. I had noticed they had two skeins of Velvet Grapes Malabrigo Lace and so they came home with me.

Mason-Dixon Powell's Book Signing

I arrived in plenty of time to get a good seat in the second row on the right. This did mean that I was viewing Kay and Ann in profile for most of their presentation, but directly in front of their samples.

I did a little movie vignette of Ann during the presentation of how they started writing and developing their books, its 218MB so not huge, please save and view on your computer though.

As mentioned, I brought Cindy's book to be signed since she was working at the yarn store, All About Yarn. I was also texting MicheleLB so she could know where the signing was going since she was coming from a meeting.

Tonight we're going to another author book signing - R.A. Salvatore at Powell's Cedar Hills Crossing. William and Brandon have read his books and William wants to get his books signed.

First some Tami spun yarns

Starting out with some finished yarns. Embarrassment of Riches - 4 oz of 80% Merino/20% Silk, I think it ended up just under 300 yds:

Photos finally of the finished skeins of first, Embarrassment of Riches:

ETA: I forgot to say again that Embarrassment of Riches roving came to me as a prize for winning a spinning contest during Tour de Fleece 2008. So very cool!! Thanks Lisa at Three By Hand

Then I had spun the 1 oz singles of what we were calling Wensleydale from Bellwether Wools, so now they are a 2 oz 2-ply yarn, don't have exact yardage currently:

ETA: These are OFFF purchases....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Someone trip me so I can slow down!

Monday night was the Mason-Dixon book signing. I have some photos and a video that I did of the event. Got to sit and talk with Camille and a brief chat with Susan and Gail (Abstract Fibers ladies) and Rachel from the Wednesday night Haggen's group. Remembered to send a couple of text messages to MicheleLB who was coming from a meeting to get her book signed.

Had Cindy's book signed by Kay and Ann and also got their cool stamps in the correct order under their signatures. Passed off the book to Susan to return to Cindy tonight. I'm taking a 'Yarn Sampling' class at Knit/Purl (click on the Classes link and then open up the pdf to get exact details), so won't be going to Haggen's.

Tuesday I had fun being the Health Aide at one of the local high schools, today I was working with Special Ed kids at a different local high school. So long and short of it is that I have photos, still on the camera, and no time to get them off. I had just enough time to eat, quickly type this and then on to the library and then class.

Hopefully Thursday morning I'll have time to get photos off the camera and then posted here.

I'm off!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Knitting, spinning & birds

Wednesday afternoon I spent several hours getting the Embarrassment of Riches into a ball. Yes, I really want it in a skein but because when it was taken off the bobbin and I don't have that niddy-noddy, it went on the swift and Brandon isn't always good about making sure that the tension is consistent, so a few droopy bits. The droopy bits of course still had lots of spin in them and tried to corkscrew themselves up into knots. So back on the swift and then rolling into a ball so those corkscrews could be balanced out until I can make that niddy-noddy.

Harold's Martian Scarf is all done. It wasn't until I was photographing it that I saw the way the pattern interacted with each side. Brandon had thought it would be cool for the 'lace' to zig-zag up the scarf but after seeing this it wouldn't have worked as well. It's not overly long but drapes nicely if you want it on either side of your jacket but is long enough to wrap around the neck. Brandon still thinks its too short but he has a different style of wearing it and wants a longer one. Harold lives in the San Francisco Bay area and not going to get as cold of weather so doesn't really need it for that factor.

I was also trying to make a raglan sweater for a teddy bear out of the leftovers of Malabrigo worsted from the two pairs of fingerless mitts. Totally wasn't working. Part of it was the instructions that assumed that you'd done a sweater before. I did end up frogging it but here's what it ended up looking like:

So I went back on a pattern search and found the Teddy Bear Sweater Knit in the Round. I had to seam up the bottom of the sleeves, but not a problem after all that seaming on Lizard. It also had some stranding across the top and I'm happy to say that I totally have figured out how to carry two colors in both hands (one in each of course) and am happy with the way it looks on the inside. The stranding isn't that obvious though because of the difference between the Cascade 220 and the Malabrigo. The sweater fits the bear though! Different bear for this project, the pattern also had different size options and I went with the medium though technically he's a large. It's a nice form fitting fit. Now if I were fitting me, I'd go for a different look. I still had leftover yarn so I went searching for a bear hat. Little harder to find but thankfully Knitting Bee had their Naked Bear program a few months ago and I had their patterns for that and a hat pattern.

I had spun up the wensleydale (not really sure but that's what we're calling it) from Bellwether Wool earlier in the week and brought the singles to Haggen's to ply. It's still resting on the bobbin, and also waiting for that niddy-noddy, but here's what the singles looked like. I was able to get a nice thin spin on the wheel - yeah!

I've started a cowl that I think will go to my mom for Christmas (I don't think she reads my blog....) and have started spinning the Cobbler Corriedale from Stitchjones.

Birds...I've been successful over the last couple of days in keeping the blue heron from the yard and the pond. Thursday morning was very cold and so I poured some bird seed on the patio table. The birds in the area have an impressive communication system because shortly afterward I have stellar jays arguing over it along with the blue birds, a flicker (woodpecker) also showed up. The little ones had to wait for the big guys to finish and while they were waiting the wax wings were bathing in the pond and nibbling on the ornamental crab apples and dogwood berries. Lots of chickadees, sparrows and nuthatches also showed up for the free food. I'm surprised that they didn't clean up the pile. I think that Nessa going out to check on the fish slowed that down.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Norbert is a hurricane!

Brandon showed me this late last night and I would have posted then, but I was in the midst of a raglan sweater crisis. A Pacific storm turned into a hurricane Monday night and earned itself the name of Hurricane Norbert.

Now if we were living on the east coast I may have been more hurricane name conscious and wouldn't have been surprised at it being on the list. I didn't think that Norbert was that common of a name. We did get it from the first Harry Potter book since the movie came out at the same time as we adopted him as a little runt (literally what he was in the litter) puppy into our home.

Hopefully no tourists will be hurt on the baja and how cool is it that there's a hurricane on our coast? While living in Bandon years ago we often with coastal storms would get 75+ mph winds. They had pictures of the police cars with the paint sandblasted down to metal and then there were the 6 to 8 foot diameter trees that would be parked in the lighthouse parking lot at Bullard's Beach.

My sweater woes are over, for me poorly written instructions. Of course I wouldn't have had this problem if I read them a little more thoroughly before starting.....but I was casting on at 9pm and thought that I might have a sweater by 11pm according to the instructions. They just have the assumption that you've actually made a sweater before, and one of this type. So I've frogged what I had last night and am starting over because I did see a glaring error once I photographed it and then re-looked at the directions. I had stopped going to the stitch before the marker and had been going to the marker - thus loosing that distinctive 'raglan' look.

But that wasn't my major problem its the assumption of knowing which stitches are thought to be the sleeve stitches. I'm getting some help in the Techniques forum so trying to get back to that point.

No blue heron this morning thus far. I've encouraged Nessa to check up on the fish a few times this morning and I'm listening for bird sounds. It is also the first morning that the heater kicked on. ETA: I posted, then walked over to look out the sliding glass door and while it wasn't at the pond, it was I think on the fence. I just say it winging away out of the corner of my eye.

More later I'm sure....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Listening to nature

I've become inured to some of the sounds of our wildlife. The jays with their brash braying, often when they've become used to feasting at the feeder and its empty - fill the damn thing you lazy human! Sometimes they are complaining about the squirrel invading their hazelnut territory and there's some mutual chittering back at them.

The woodpeckers with their call to each other, we have a family of them living in the hazelnut orchard behind us. In the spring the young will try out the area just above the gutters on the roof to see if they can build their next home nearby. Tap, tap, tap.

I think the mourning doves have increased in population but since I can never get them to visit all at once I'm not sure. I like their cooing they do. Cooo, cooo, cooo.

We've had young hawks in the area trying to hunt the doves but they are rare and those noisy jays help dissuade them from lingering for long.

Since we've moved the computers away from the back of the house, mine does sit next to a window and I hear some of the birds with it open, I don't see the robins and the nuthatches or chickadees unless I stand at the kitchen window and look out. I had noticed that this morning that I was hearing a repetitive call from someone but it wasn't truly sinking into my early morning mind (I'm not a morning person people!). Brandon and William had already left and Nessa hadn't yet started her 'fish tv' and I was going to start counting the wraps on my swift for the Embarrassment of Riches yarn. I startled a Blue Heron out of the backyard, it was actually a mutual startling.

It of course had also started sprinkling and I'm still in night clothes but there I am pushing aside plants to try and find/count our fish. Luckily they were smart and keeping under cover of the plants or in the case of the smaller ones shoving themselves under the bio-filter. I think I'll finally get that brick house for them that I've been asking Brandon to put in since that's one of the suggestions I've found this morning.

I think we'll be making/purchasing a 'deer chaser' (Japanese version is Shishi-Odoshi) to our pond. We do have an extra pond pump so that won't be a problem. I get to do research locating one in the area.

Apparently heron's are pretty smart. You can't get a decoy and plop it next to your pond and be safe. If you try it you have to move it around. There's the 'scarecrow' method which really isn't a scarecrow but a motion detecting (yeah right with dogs this would be smart) system that then makes a loud noise and sprays water in a 90 degree arc. Mary, the nice lady we got our gold fish from had this netting system over her pond. Not terribly attractive in our opinion and truthfully I had wondered about it. The neighbors were asking about raccoons and we haven't seen those in the years since we've had the fence up and the dogs. Throw in a dog door that allows easy access to the backyard and the dogs hear anything out of the ordinary (yes, they failed this morning with the heron) and they're taking up the 'charge!' to go bark the snot out of anything stupid enough to cross the barrier. No, I can't help if there are suicidal squirrels or cats, though both species seem to have an impressive ability to go vertical when needed.

So the moral of this story is to listen when nature is trying to smack you upside of the head with a wake up call.

ETA: Brandon got home and put a brick they had found last night in the pond and we did a tail count and only found 5. One of the orange fish is gone. It was one of the one's with a white tail, darn it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Malabrigo Junkies and more spinning

I did start the Malabrigo Junkies Stockpile08 projects on October 1. I have two pairs of the men's 75 Yard Malabrigo Fingerless Mitts done and have started on the Men's Martian Scarf for Harold. I have leftovers from the mitts yarn, should have enough for the teddy bear sweater or find another project.

William and Brandon are modeling the pairs. William on top and Brandon on the bottom.
Here's the gloves:

I finished spindling Saturday the last of Embarrassment of Riches and then Sunday afternoon spent five hours plying with the Louet:

I still need to take it off the bobbin after its set then wash and possibly whack the yarn so official skein pictures still to come.

Speaking of official skein pics - here's Blueberry's:

Connected up with Tiggywinkleknits (Bobbie) Sunday morning and tried out her about to be sold Country Craftsman, I had a hard time getting into the treadling of that wheel. Glad it wasn't coming home with me. :-) Then I got to try out the Lendrum - that one could definitely come home with me. ;-) I did notice the difference with using oil on all the right parts too. Bobbie tried out the borrowed Louet and I did see that I can do fine singles on this wheel. I had planned to use the Louet for plying the drop spindle singles so it was great to see that it would actually work. Brandon got to see how the different wheels worked and chatted with Toolman. The buyers of the Craftsman arrived so we left so not to interfere with the selling. Brandon really liked the different mother-of-all's that the Lendrum has.

As mentioned I spent the rest of the afternoon plying before going back to work on Harold's Martian Scarf. I've gotten one full chart pattern done and after this will be back to work on the next repeat.

I may be tempted in spinning or casting on the cowl for Debbie, also a stockpile08 project.