Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 271 - Something Purple Arrived in the Mail

It was a crazy wild evening and you can read about it here

I came home to a package in my mailbox and it contained a really yummy purple hank of fibery wonder from the really nice folks here.  I've met these folks at shows and they are just great people.  I can't say enough nice things about them or their yarn.  I've knit with their yarn in the past and it feels wonderful.

This is Lhasa Wilderness in the color Regal.  It's 75% yak and 25% bamboo, fingering weight.  And it's destined to become a hat.

I have a good friend who was diagnosed with cancer last week.  Her treatment is going to cost her hair and she's going to need soft and warm head gear especially going into a cold New England winter.  So this will become a chemo cap.  An exotic one, but I have great faith in her and/or her husband's ability to care for hand knits.

We have a running joke that I'm a natural fiber snob, and that I really do like to find yarns that feel really good in my hands.  I also like to play with the more unusual fibers when I get a chance.  I like to share the joy too.  So I will knit my prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery into this and send it forth. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 270 - A Surprise

Was waiting for me when I finally got into the house tonight.  A hard backed copy of Rowan 50, the subscriber only version of the magazine was sitting on the front mat.  The link is to the free digital version of the magazines minus the pattern instructions.

Progress continues on the hat.  All of the increases have been completed.  Now it's straight knitting until it gets large enough to start decreasing towards the band.

It didn't rain today, for the first time in days.  So I mowed three lawns tonight.  I finished up and headed into the house just as the first drops started to fall.  I have tomorrow afternoon off and it looks like I'll be shower shopping then holing up to avoid the rain for the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 269 - New Projects

I was working holed up in the studio tonight and I heard a sort of tentative but steady knock on a storm door.  I went to the front door, opened it to find no one, stepped outside and found no one and so went back to the studio.  Then I heard the same thing on the front door, and found this guy who is working with the gas company.

He wanted to see the meter location, figure out where he was going to put the new one and talk to me about how they were going to get it there. They had installed all the other lines and meter locations on the street and had actually started on other streets, and they really wanted to get mine done. He wanted to explain the project to me.  I pointed out that I had been to the meeting, and had Columbia's project manager's cell phone.  Did I know where the meter and lines were?  Sure he could look at the meter and gas lines in the basement.  I pointed out they were all black iron and in great shape. He really didn't want to run the length of the house to tie in.  I pointed out that there was really expensive landscaping out there and I didn't really want him in it. He thought he could run the new line along the steel support beam and duck under it when he got to the east end of the basement to tie in.  He was surprised by the old meter.  He'd never seen one like that.  I told him to look at the tag on the riser pipe, that  I was pretty sure that it was the original meter installed with the house.  The tag said 1945.

His game plan is to trench across the lawn and bore under the landscaping.  I pointed out that I had spent several weeks last September and October putting in that lawn, and I wasn't exactly thrilled with any one digging it up again.  He assured me that they were using brand X seed and they would fertilize and put down straw.  I commented that I had noticed they had planted grass seed in the dirt they had piled on my driveway when they fixed my neighbor's yard.  He did offer to dig up and move the plants in the area they would have to dig up and then replant them.  I told him I loan him the pots.  Then he thought it might be better if they did that work while I was home so I could tell them what they had to move.  I said Friday afternoon would work.  But he thought the weather was supposed to be bad.  Could I take an afternoon next week?  No, I don't work I don't get paid.  OK could they do it after work, did I come straight home?  I offered him Wednesday, Thursday or Friday evenings.  We'll see how this goes.  I know there are bulbs in the area right next to the house where they want to dig  Those can be lifted and replanted without any problems.  Lifting the blooming asters and anemones will pretty much toast them would be my bet.  But we'll see.

On my projects, the new beret pattern is coming along quickly.  Love the yarn.  I need to think a bit harder about the mittens.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 268 - Texture and Color

I like color. I like texture.  Fiber is optional.

I finished my second Scare the Muggles scarf tonight.  I worked on it during my lunch break and finished it this evening.  I immediately started a matching hat.  Hand painted Malibrigo Merino color and texture.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 267 - Colors

I love this time of year.  I like watching for the colors to start bleeding into the landscape.  The newly fallen leaves, the final fling of flowers and the unexpected spots of color.  And then there are the yarns...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 266 - Hats and a Visitor

Harry the Gargoyle models a variety of hats.  The top and bottom ones are newly made and still need washed and blocked.   And now that I look at them, half of them, 3, 5 and 6 are original patterns.  Number 3 is made with my own handspun.

And I found a visitor in the yard when Harry and I went outside for the photo shoot.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 265 - September 23 - Welcome to Fall

We've again skipped the bridge season and dropped straight into fall.  I went to work this morning in the rain, and came home to dark clouds with flashes of sunlight and MUCH cooler temperatures.  I wore my fleece in the house all evening and dug out an afghan because it was chilly.  And looking at the forecast it will probably get cooler in the house.

Yes I know, there is this thing in the basement called a furnace which would work a treat and make the house warm, but stubborn, frugal German kid, I'm holding off on turning on the heat until I can't stand it.  My goal is November 1.  Actually right now the house is 70 degrees and that's warmer than I keep it in the winter.  I'm just so used to upper 80s to mid 90s that the whole world seems a bit cool at the moment.

In keeping with the cooler weather, my hat is showing much progress.  According to the pattern, I've passed the halfway point.  At this rate it may be done before the weekend is over.  I've got a couple of other ideas that are marinating in the back of my mind.  I'm really trying to avoid a case of startitis, but the cooler weather begs for new woolens.

On another note, I literally found a note tucked in the side door. (For those who know my house, the door that NEVER gets used.)  It seems that the contractor who is destroying all the yards installing all of the service lines in the neighborhood would really like to get into my basement so they can figure out how to do the most damage they can to my landscaping route the service line and where to install the new meter. 

Best as I can figure from how they've done this to the other homes on the block, is that they are going to want to run it right here.

They've trenched every other house on block, and re-seeded them today.   I'm finding it sort of funny and yet know that it shows how ignorant they are, that they got dirt/debris all over my driveway from their installation in my neighbor's yard and instead of shoveling/cleaning it off, they threw down grass seed and straw on the driveway. 

When Columbia's project manager met with us a couple of months ago, he indicated that they would be using directional boring to install both the main and service lines to minimize damage to our property.  From the looks of it, this contractor has decided to ignore that part of the specifications.  I'm thinking that my best option will be to insist that the project manager be present for any meeting with this contractor.  I know of no other way of impressing on both that I'm dead serious about forcing them to limit the damage they will do to the plantings.  I worked too long and hard to design and install these gardens to let lazy contractors who don't give a damn destroy them in less than an hour.  If this were one of my projects they would be forced to bring in a landscape contractor to move the plants out of harms way and restore them once they were done.  Whether Columbia was that clever to require that in a blue collar neighborhood, is up for debate.  You can bet they require it in Upper Arlington and Bexley.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 264 - Stuff is Growing

The brioche stitch hat has moved from dpn to a 16" circular and seems to be quickly outgrowing that. And the mindless scarf was worked on while I walked around the park this evening. I would guess that it grew an inch or two in the almost two mile walk.

 The latest issue of Knitty is up.  Continuing my fascination with hats, I'm finding this one tempting.

What did you find tempting?  As always post your comments.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 263 September 21 - Long Day

Let's just say that the way it's going Friday is going to be really short.  However, I'm winning the competition that we have among ourselves at the desk each week, which is kind of surprising since the road to the store closed for reconstruction yesterday morning and sales dropped 40% for the day.  Ouch...

This time last year I used my down time to completely redo my front yard.  I brought in topsoil.  I regraded, and reseeded/overseeded the entire yard.  And to top it off I enlarged two tree rings into one large, freeform planting bed extending from the sidewalk to the front porch, wrapping across the front of the yard to the large oak closest to the street.  I moved several hostas and other perennials, edged it and mulched and really started building the foundation for a new planting area.  These pictures are from October after the grass had regrown and the beds had been mulched.  I've discovered that newly seeded lawns do much better if you keep people off of them as much as possible for many months.  The ropes stayed up until mid June this year.

In July every one in the neighborhood got a letter from Columbia Gas telling us that they were installing new gas mains, services lines and moving all of our meters to the exterior rather than leaving them in our basements.  What the letter didn't say was that the new mains and service lines were going to be in our front yards rather than the alleys and backyards where they are currently located.  I came home from work several weeks ago to find what looked like an open grave and two large piles of dirt on my new lawn.

I've been in this house for 20 years.  And in that time this farmer's daughter has done extensive landscaping to the entire property.  You can definitely time that someone in the design business lives here.  This week I've come home to see that they have started running the service lines and setting the meter locations.  My neighbor to the north has his new meter located right next to my driveway.  Right next to where I park my truck.  This ought make getting into my snowy driveway a real treat this winter.  But the truly best part of this is that every yard on the street so far has been trenched to install the service lines.  This is completely contrary to what the directional drilling approach that project manager told the neighborhood would happen at the public meeting.  Since the only possible path to the only possible area they can install a meter on my house is also the most heavily planted.  I expect that this is going to cause real problems.  Because if they think that I believe an excavation/mechanical contractor is going to give a rat's behind about protecting my rather expensive and labor intensive plantings, they are idiots.

I'm getting rather tired of hearing that "You don't understand construction," when I politely ask to speak to the project manager.  I've never quite figured out why anyone would assume that a soprano voice or boobs make construction incomprehensible.  Never mind that I've worked in the construction industry in some capacity or another for about 30 years now.  Tonight my yard is the only one on the block without a trench, and that's because they have no idea where they can run the line as I refuse to take unpaid time off from work to let them fool around.  This wasn't my bright idea and I'm not shorting my paycheck to accommodate them.

My fibery fun for the day was getting about 10 rows complete on the beret.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 262 - New Project

It was a rainy day until about an hour before I got off work.  The sun dried out the grass so I mowed the hay yard and pulled the new grass seedlings out of my planting bed.  Gotta love the utility contractor that thinks repairing the mess they made of your lawn includes reseeding your new planting beds with grass.  They are running new gas mains, service lines and meters to all the homes in the area.  They have very specific requirements as to where they will put the new meters and regulators.  I was surprised to find that my neighbor's will be right next to my driveway next to where I park my vehicle. And by next to I mean within about 18" of my truck.  Should make parking in the snow downright interesting this winter.

On the knitting front I started a new project after only one false start.  The pattern is Pecan Pie Beret from Knitty..  I don't do brioche very often, but I find this pattern intriguing.  I can't wait to start seeing the colorwork start to appear on my needles.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 261 - September 19 - Cold Wet Slow Day

It was a long rainy day here.  A cool soaking rain, that if I'd had the day off would have been perfect to curl up on the couch and knit.  But it was a work day.  And life doesn't follow the perfect script.  My new drop stitch shawl skipped a couple of short rows in the middle of the pattern so I carefully ripped back.  Only to have the yarn break as I moved the carriage to re-start knitting.  So the whole piece came off the bed.   Sigh...

Moved on to my HK mindless scarf.  Counted the stitches on the first needle, there were 16 instead of the 15 the pattern called for.  A closer look revealed that about 3 inches back I had accidentally added a stitch.  Rip.  Mindless knitting goes back fast but.    I've decided that this will be the first piece in a hat scarf and mitten/fingerless glove set.  Need to think a little harder about what they should look like.  I'm leaning towards a tam/beret/slouchy hat.  That way I can tuck my mane into it.

I did finish the knitting on Shaun at lunch today.  Now to assemble him.  I more than achieved my 11 and really other than the frustration of the shawl, there actually is visible progress.

On a more important note.  I have not heard from Bob.  I'm taking the 'no news is good news' approach.  I know that Heather is in all our thoughts and prayers.

How did your Monday go?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 260 September 18 Exploring the Loot

Actually I went back over to A Wool Gathering this afternoon.  My friend Diane from Creatively Dyed had been out of her booth sick yesterday and I went back in hopes that she would be back and have a couple of matching hanks in one of her lines so that I could get enough to make a sweater.  And I wanted the opportunity to just play with my camera to see what I could get.   And that's always harder to do when you have a couple of non-photo people with you.  So it was a successful afternoon on all counts.

The things that jumped in my bag and followed me home were:

Ok the spindle didn't follow me home, but the roving was a gift as was the book.
From Knitting Notions.  The Aubergine is for Robin's sweater.  The other colors are for Finnish/Estonian mittens. 
From the Yarn Shop, the wool bamboo blends are slated for brioche stitch tams and the Mountain Colors will probably become socks.
The blue hanks are designated for a couple of sweaters on the machine.  This is the same yarn base as the green shawl.  And the reddish ones are for another sweater to be designed.  These are all fingering weights, two different bases, from Creatively Dyed.
This wants to become the next version of Shaun the Sheep.  It's a Henry's Attic base that I picked up at Weavers Loft.

The ball of fluff is 8 oz of baby camel and silk top.  The sheen is amazing and it is sooo soft.  This is going to become lace weight and then a shawl.  The four hanks from Handmaiden are also designated for a shawl/scarf.  Another version of the MK Summit inspired pattern.
And this soap smells so good.  I try to find this booth at every show.  These soaps are so nice.  And I always feel like I'm pampering myself when these make it to the shower.

I did spend part of the morning casting on and this time writing down the pattern for the MK version of the Summit Shawl.  I had a LOT of requests for it yesterday. 

Day 259 September 17 A Wool Gathering

What a wonderful fiber overload.  It has been the perfect fall day, the morning dawned cool enough that I was hanging out the laundry wrapped in my wooly hap shawl for the first two loads.  I started the laundry last night and got up early this morning to finish so it would dry while my friends and I went over to Young's Jersey Dairy, for the annual festival, A Wool Gathering.  Of course being a fiber festival means that you of course want to wear your latest creations to show off and I had laid out my Summit shawl to wear.  I was surprised when my friend Ruth showed up wearing her scarf interpretation of the pattern .  It looked awesome.
Ruth's scarf and the Summit shawl

This would be the first of several surprises this shawl created.

The sun was out.  There was a light breeze. And the temps were low, it was perfect weather for light weight woolies. And there were plenty to see.

There were four main tents this year.  Three for vendors and a demonstration tent.  Plus the stand alone shelters put up by some of the vendors who couldn't get or didn't want space in the main tents.

Personally I think that's smart on their part because the tents that they use have red or yellow striped roofs.  The light inside to be able to judge colors leaves a lot to be desired.  But wooly joys abound.

Catherine and daughter at Knitting Notions

One of the great things about these festivals is the opportunity to visit vendors that you've been visiting for years.  I only see Catherine 2 or 3 times a year, but I'm always impressed that she knows me by name and remembers what I've been working on or how I was the last time I saw her.  Her booth is always a must visit at any festival, but this time I had a purpose.  My sister wants NZ Sweater of her own and the color she chose was Catherine's Aubergine.  Robin told me that she wanted a red, but I swear that she picked a red purple.  Catherine tells me that there is not one drop of blue in this color, so it really is a red.

Of course there is always plenty to see and much to fondle.  Barb really enjoyed the alpaca yarns.  There are a lot of alpacas in Ohio so finding the yarn isn't that difficult at any festival in the state.

And like any large gathering the opportunities for people watching are enormous.

As a spinner I'm always interested in the tools.  I bought a Navaho spindle at the show in May figuring that I could easily teach myself how to use it.  I evidently didn't find really helpful videos online so I took it with me today, determined to find a someone to show me.  I ran into Matt from Wooly Knob while I was wandering through the booths and mentioned my problem.  No problem he says, come by my booth later and I show you.  I might even have an extra one in the truck so you can sit and copy me.  After lunch and one more tent of vendors I got my lesson.  Yes it is simple.  Not really as fast as a wheel, but something that I could use if I wanted to make lopi type yarns. 

I covet the Schacht Sidekick, I have the Lendrum and I had an Ashford Traditional

The sign said this one was built circa 1920
Stopped a Julie's Knitknacks, the MK booth where Julie was demo'ing an LK 150.  I ended up being the walking demonstration of why a machine can be a good investment and how you can make way cooler things than just stockinette.  She had hoped that I would stay around to help her do a bigger presentation on DAK, but obligations in Columbus meant that we had to leave, so we got our ice cream and piled in the car to head home.  A great time was had by all and we all came away with goodies.