Monday, February 28, 2011

February Sweater, Snow and Other Projects

I got it done! In February! My Raspberry February Sweater with Hoody:
 Snow on the ground and it was snowing while these pics were being done. (I hate having my picture taken, and I forgot make-up again.)
 The hood!
 Pretty Thing Cowl
 Trying to take a pic of myself and not look like I have triple chins or something. It's not for me, its going to be a gift.
Hats for Alyssa and Jenna. 12 month and 4+ sizes since they're planned for Christmas giving. The buttons came from their Great-Grandma Juanita's button stash I inherited.  The pattern is Poppy. Knit flat using short rows. Fast knits - I knit both of these on Sunday and just had to sew on the buttons this morning.

The weather people have fun trying to predict when snow will appear and often conditions change and the predicted snow never shows. Or just a trace, or a whole heck of a lot. Of course some of it depends where in the metro area you live in - close to the Coast range, downtown, or east towards the Gorge.  We got about two inches overnight, by 10am because of the sun a good portion melted. Then we got a tracing of snow before we dropped down to 21 degrees. And you just thought Oregon was all about the rain?

Leeloo was cute trying to catch snow flakes as they were falling. Norbert taught her that snow is fun to romp in:

Even today while it was pouring down rain and causing the creeks to go back to above flood stage, mixed in the rain was 'slush'. It was 36-38 degrees at our level but a couple hundred feet up, it was snowing and changing over to rain as it warmed up.

I think I'm ready for March projects. I had to change up my planned sock - Toirneach Kilt Hose for Brandon because I don't want to knit them on dpns and I don't have the US4s in circs yet. The second annual Portland Yarn Crawl is next weekend and I can hopefully get some from one of the stores on discount. So I can wait a week to get started, if I get the needles, or start another pair of socks. I have the yarn and pattern ready for the shawl. Figured out that I have enough leftover Love It! that I can make a shrug for Kaisha. I'd already planned one for Bailey, so you'll see it twice. ;-)  Doing these four groups certainly is keeping me busy, but I'm being very productive with the projects. Hopefully I can keep it up! LOL

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Signs of nature

Other friends in the area were showing pics or commenting on their signs that spring is tip toeing in. I was outside this last week a couple of times and took a couple of pictures that spring is finally peaking its head out on my side of town. (Yes, really there are different micro-climates in the area and drives the weather people insane.)
 The yellow lillies we got from Brandon's mom. They're from her mom's house.
My lavender and white crocuses.
I didn't take photos of the daffodils but they had a few that looked like the flowers were getting close to bursting forth. I should check those. I often miss them because they're around the corner of the house. One would also think this time of the year would be great for getting shrubs moved, but even without a few days without rain, the ground is muddy. Lots of clay in the area. My back patio is green and I have an amazing amount of moss in the grass. I actually don't mind the moss, but Brandon sometimes thinks he needs to get it out. The fruit trees also have buds ready. I hope they hold off long enough that there isn't danger of a freeze killing off fruit, think late April. (Yes, really.)

Last week I was also surprised to come home after dropping Brandon off at work to find this HUGE bird in the neighbor's birch tree. My neighbor Dwight identified it for me as a Red Tailed Hawk.  Here's the hawk:

This birch tree is in the neighbor's yard between the two houses. When the hawk was up there, I could look up at it from the side window.

So our lesson with the hawk is to listen when I open up the back sliding glass door to let the dogs out. If I don't hear any of the MANY birds in the backyard, I go out with Leeloo. If I hear birds, she should be fairly safe to go out. The funny thing is I was outside later in the afternoon when most likely a small falcon came swooping past with a small bird in its claws to land on the other side of the fence in the orchard. WTF?! I get two raptors in one day? I need to make one of the SCA meetings on Friday nights to find out if one of the people who make their own armor would be interested in making Leeloo something. ;-)

Leeloo turns a year old

Friday was Leeloo's first birthday on this planet. As a refresher, she was born in the Centralia Washington area, so she's a PNW girl too. She weighs in at eight pounds and stands about nine inches tall. I clip her eyebrow hair but have left the rest as it has grown out. Still some darker puppy type hair in there, but adult hair growing out. Her head hair is kind of a golden white and with it long and she shakes her head she reminds me of Animal in the Muppets.  I haven't been trimming her ear hair back since its been cold out, so both ears are leaning towards floppy, but if she feels there is a need the right stands up straight and if there's something 'scary' both are up.

Norbert for the last few months has been playing with Leeloo, not as often as she would like but he had to learn how to play with someone less than half his size. There's 'chase me' around the house, some tugging, steal the toy from each other - especially when it comes to chew sticks. She flirts shamelessly with him too. Leeloo doesn't quite understand how to play bitey-face but she tries. He tries by laying upside down and letting her try to bite at his face, but she still gets startled away. She has also taught him to be more interested in food, he tries to steal her food, she nibbles out of his bowl.

A year in pics:

 December - with Norbert

Leeloo has been to Leavenworth, Washington and as far as Brookings, Oregon. She's walked in a breast walk and been to war. 

On Friday she got to go shopping at PetsMart and found a new toy to play with and I picked up some training treats and chew sticks:
We then stopped at the local Dairy Queen so she could get a doggie cone. I bought a cherry-chocolate milkshake so she could have one:

Norbert offered to help her finish it.

We took a walk around Dawson Creek park then picked up Brandon. I then spent the rest of the evening with the dogs helping them play with toys. 
She can be difficult to photograph sometimes. Especially when she's doing flybys of Norbert. Can you tell he's studiously trying to ignore her?

Halfway through February

Thankfully the shawl that I wanted to do this month went smoothly. I had picked out the Dane Shawl to use with the Opal Alpaca Handspun in my stash. I'd gotten the Opal fiber at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival back in 2008 because Duffy had come out of the livestock barn and showed off some alpaca she had just bought. The nice people at Dove Creek Farms took my last $4 and gave me a almost five ounces of downy fluff from an alpaca named Opal. A pretty peachy-buff color that turned out to be surprisingly dirty after I washed it but was a joy to spin up. The pattern is nicely charted, but after doing the prescribed three repeats of the main chart, I thought I had enough yarn to try for a fourth and do the edging and bind off. I put in a lifeline to be sure. I had gotten about six rows into the second chart out of the two for the main and decided I might not have enough, so tinked back those six rows. Found out my handspun alpaca was kind of similar to mohair in that it didn't like being tinked. This did mean I had to be a little creative with the beginning and end of the chart, but I think it came out nicely as a shawlette. It may become a Christmas gift, but I haven't decided yet who it would go to live with.
All blocked
In comparison my sock knitting was a bit more challenging this month. I had planned to use my Abstract Fiber Mighty Sock in Constellation using the Viper Socks pattern. It has LOTS of cables and they were getting lost in the yarn colors. The yarn wasn't the same as how I remembered it in my head. So they were frogged. I hoped to still use this yarn so went searching for a pattern and tried out Aquaphobia, but it increased sts from the 64 that I really like for socks and it wasn't really doing anything for me. I'm sure it will work with a different yarn in the future. I decided that this yarn was telling me it really didn't want to be socks, so found Calais Shawl that I think should work for it.

I went back to my stash and my queue and ended up taking yarn planned for one project and a pattern planned for different yarn and brought them together with my Stompegarn Show-Off Socks. These turned into nice fast knits:
 In progress
 First one done!
They fit!

I had planned to do the second batt of Spinner's Hill wool-silk this month. 7.5 ounces of Corriedale-Finn-Rambouillet with silk. I divided it up into three batches and the closest I could get was - 67, 68 and 69 grams each. These spun up easier than the Black Cherry. I still had nepps to fight but easier to pull out. Two of the sections I was able to spin in one day each and one took two days, just because of when I started spinning. I tried plying it on the regular bobbin, but realized that it wasn't all going to fit, so used the niddy-noddy to get it off. Switched out to the bulky head and bobbin and then with Brandon holding onto the niddy-noddy, got what was already plied back on the bulky bobbin and then finished what was left on the three bobbins. Ended up with 364 yards of what looks like a nice round fingering-dk weight yarn. I'm calling it Spring Forest: