Small Musings

I’m so exhausted it’s hard to focus so this will be a short post.

Going to bed just after midnight made for a very short night. I know better than having any coffee in the evening, never mind that it smelled enticing during the music practice. It was only half a cup. A very strong cup of coffee. Whoops. Between that and music dancing through my head I was awake more than asleep for the mere five hours I laid in bed before finally just getting up to do some studying. Usually when that happens it’s extremely frustrating but last night, for the most part I enjoyed thinking of/listening to the songs and focused on what it means to be thankful and how to really apply that to the gnitty-gritty of everyday life. This morning’s sermon was on being thankful based on I Thess 1:2-10. Good stuff.

A hat is on the needles for my son. No pictures, yet, once I get into the cable section I’ll try to remember to take a picture. The Brother KH-970 Knitting Machine I’ve been considering is still under consideration. The woman wrote that it has lots of accessories, including a ribber, and over 600 preprogrammed patterns – all which she’d throw in for less than they’re worth but they’d take the total up beyond what I’d originally expected. She’d give me the tote of yarn spools. Which may, or may not be a good thing. I seem to have a knack for accumulating yarn that I don’t use – wrong size, color, material, etc.  I keep going back and forth on the pros and cons. The biggest drawback is it is electric which I’m not keen on since who know how long it will last before things start breaking down.

Two more pictures from the June drive to Central Idaho. These were taken from the Oregon side of the Columbia River as we traveled I-84.

A huge stone house perched way up on a hillside in Washington State overlooking vineyards and the river.

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The Columbia River, a west bound train, and giant turbines harvesting the wind into energy. 
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Today I’m thankful for church family / friends that help keep me grounded and challenged.

Knitting Consideration

I’m a slow knitter. Wanting to make more sweaters I’ve been wishing I was a lot faster, and had more time. This evening Ed came home from fixing and serving food — as he does every Wednesday at a church that provides the good, from scratch meal to any one who wants a hot meal for free, or a donation, no questions asked, just lots of compassion, companionship and love handed out with each China plateful. They routinely serve between 450 to over 500 every week.

Oops, got off track there… Ed came home and told me that one of the cooks has a friend who’s selling one of her knitting machines. Not just any machine but a Brother KH-970. Supposedly a very good, though from the pictures it looks like it’s somewhat older machine. The woman also has a top of the line machine. She makes and sell sweaters at a decent profit.

I’m seriously considering buying it; weighing the pros and cons.  Ed seems to be in favor. It’s not cheap and there’s the rub, especially with some medical bills coming our way. The only way I could justify buying it would be to devote the time to learn to properly use it to the point where I could get good enough to make and sell sweaters. I love the idea.  Is it feasible? I’d have to figure out better time management and self-discipline to be able to pull it off.

The timing is interesting. I’ve been thinking about what I could do to contribute financially. I do have another part time job, as of August, which I’m thrilled about and love (more about that in a future post). The income pays for our health insurance with a small portion set aside for that rainy day fund.

This is something to seriously consider and pray about!

These volunteer violas (my mom always called them Johnny Jump-Ups) are blooming in a ditch alongside Grandview Rd. In mid-November with the snow levels coming down to 3500 feet in the mountains and the cold sinking into the valleys.dsc04397
Thankful today for possibilities, and sweet reminders of Springtime with its abundance of new life.

A Blue Shirt

With all the living that happened during the long silence between postings from the beginning of May until in September followed by another 6 week gap there’s a wealth of fodder for these daily posts.
Early in May I started knitting a summer shirt that I hoped to have finished by the June shows.

It’s another Feather and Fan Ribbed Tee by Judy Croucher, this time knit with Hempathy yarn which is 40% hemp, 40% cotton, 20% modal. Some of you may remember that I’d knit this same pattern in 2015 (posted here).
I loved the sweater and the color but the width of the neck and the weight of the extra length sleeves made it continually slip over my narrow shoulders.
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This time around I modified the neck opening to make it narrower and only added a few extra rows on the sleeves instead of the seven additional rows I’d put on the rose shirt. Even so it still had the tendency to want to slip over my shoulders I’ve never been a fan of. Even as a small child I liked having my shoulders and upper arms covered, unless I was wearing a tank top or swimming suit. (Funny, the odd quirks a child will develop for no apparent reason!) Eventually the slippage was fixed by adding a couple rows of crocheted chain stitch across the back shoulder neck area holding the shoulders firmly in place. dsc03483This is one of those shirts that I can toss into the washing machine followed with a brief tumble in the dryer before air drying it.  I’m beginning to scheme about another shirt or sweater for myself. Wearing something constructed by hand very satisfying.

Tonight is the when the moon is closest to earth in decades. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s raining outside. No view of the super moon in our valley. The rain quietly drumming on the roof and window is a peaceful sound instead.

I hope you all have had a peaceful, quiet Sunday with no turmoil in your life.

Sweater Kerfuffle

A sweater project started in late July went to the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival with me with the intent of making serious headway on it during the three evenings in the hotel.

The the smooth yarn was a pleasure to work with and the pattern wasn’t hard, other than keeping track of the stitch pattern, especially when it came time to increase. Twice my stitch pattern erroneously jogged over one stitch creating noticeable disharmony which required painstaking tinkling and properly re-knitting. Eventually the two front panels simultaneously grew downward to where increases curved under the arm in anticipation of  being joined to the back. Picking up the provisional cast-out at the shoulder top and knitting down the back to the bottom of the arm hole went fairly quickly.

The front panels and back had been just been joined. I was glad to be at the point of simply knitting (continuing in the pattern stitch) back and forth until the final length was achieved. Sitting outside on a late August Sunday afternoon, having joined the three pieces the evening before, I was contentedly knitting away suddenly a jog in the knitted fabric jumped out at me in the bright sunlight. Oh no! I’d missed a “knit-through-the-back loop, purl, ktbl, p, error right in the middle of the front right panel that caused the pattern to jog over one stitch on an increase row before before the join under the arm. How in the world had I previously missed it?

Weary of fixing the error, once again, I contemplated ignoring the glaring change that flowed down the subsequent rows appalled by tinking back eight rows, including the join rows, when only that one front section had gotten off track. 

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After a bit of studying I decided that it’d work to drop down and fix each row, working one at a time from the point where the stitch pattern jogged until I reached the underarm row where my count at the join had gotten me back on track.

Two sessions later, the jog was gone, the rows were neatly stacked in order.

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By that time I was disillusioned with the entire piece. I was tired of the color (it’s for my daughter who loves this shade of green), nor the overall messy look of the knitting, even though I knew the stitches would even out with the finish washing. My enthusiasm for the project was gone. The partial garment was banished to its project bag until I was ready to face knitting it again.

Determined to finish the sweater before Christmas (Ha!) I took it to the CGFF. When I took it out and laid it out on the bed to show my roommate I was shocked to see the front wasn’t lining up evenly across the bottom edges. What in the world? They’d been knit at the same time on the same needles. How could they not be the same? Tugging and shaping did no good. Close analysis proved that the two front panels were knit at different gauge. Stunned and thoroughly bummed. Talking with one of the knitting experts/workshop teachers/pattern designer, Michele  of PDXKnitterati–who happened to be rooming just down the hall, she told me knitting two pieces of the same item at different gauge is not uncommon.  I’d long been aware of not being successful at knitting two socks, or wristlets, equally though with them the slight difference had never been a problem but I was aghast at the result of the small change of gauge between a right side piece and left side piece in the sweater. I’m still baffled by how that’s even possible even working directly across the needle from one piece to the next and then back again.

So bummed was I that the entire thing was frogged without even thinking of taking a picture for evidence.

Two weeks later and I still haven’t cast on a new project. I have been mindlessly spinning instead. Perhaps one of these days I’ll finally finish up the pound+ of fine laceweight alpaca that’s destined for weaving material.

What’s your “Oh No! story?

Writing Month

November. Attempting a post per day. Writing each day last November was a great discipline. My lack of posting this year is appalling. Dreaming of writing, words shift through my head during the day only to be stifled come evening.

This past weekend was spent at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival where I had a blast taking a fabulous workshop, and also became exhausted by some too-late nights. Yesterday, after being dismissed early from jury duty (hallelujah!) and feeling like I might be coming down with the cold Ed’s been fighting I took an afternoon nap, then slept 10 hours, straight through the night. All that sleep was needed for a good day of office work, some housecleaning and laundry, and a brisk morning walk.

Projects: The knitting was finished last week, the spinning… gracious! It was entered into the spinning log in 2012!  I love to spin but too often the yarn languishes until that certain project comes along that is just right for it.

40 gram cake of handspun Picperfic 60% Polwarth, 40%alpaca roving spun into 128 yards of 2-ply, waiting to be made into a sweet something for a granddaughter’s Christmas.

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Turned into this:  (The yarn cake above better reflects the true color of the yarn.)
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Pattern: Pretty Thing by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Her blog story of it.

Since the cowl is for a 10 year old #3 needles were used and one section of the middle pattern repeats omitted. This slightly shorter size looks terrific folded 1/3rd so the scallops are layered. I admit the temptation to keep it for myself.

Today I’m thankful for the sunny day, after a very wet October, right there at the top of October record rainfall. Some of the lighter laundry was even hung out to dry and soak in the sunshine. Bliss.

Two, or one, finished items

Reality hit at 4 this morning when a stuffy nose, an eye stuck shut and aching lungs woke me up. For an hour I lay in bed desperately wanting to go back to sleep before giving up to take some meds and drink hot tea.

I hated succumbing to the fact that this cold isn’t going away in a day or two and reluctantly cancelled teaching Sunday School tomorrow. Tonight my lungs are tight and burn when I cough. Perhaps another day of completely taking it easy and drinking more hot tea will do the trick. (Lemon with honey, licorice, Throat Coat, Breathe Easy, and an Earl Grey because I needed a change of pace!)

I managed about 2 hours of office work before calling it a day and caving in to wrap myself in a gifted shawl. The love I feel when I wear these beautiful precious handspun, hand knit shawls is palpable. Some day I should blog about them and show them off!

Being down has a bright side: finished socks!
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Can you believe that I spun this yarn early in 2013? Yep, this yarn came from the Ravelry Jenkins Woodworking Forum’s Swap Challenge2. Sharon, aka Homecraft, so aptly leads these fun challenges which not only builds spinning skills but also friendships. I’m embarrassed to admit that I rarely log in to Ravelry except to find a pattern. My lack of participation is due to my lousy time management. When I’m involved the hours can get sucked away too quickly. I admire, and am thankful!, for all of you who so faithfully participate in the forum.

Oh yes, the socks…
I swapped two ounces of Abstract Fibers, Constellation, with my upstream partner and received two ounces of Out of the Whorled, Just Figs. Each two ounce strip of roving was spun separately using an egret. While driving to Moscow, ID for the Palouse Fiber Festival in June of 2013 I managed to ply the entire four ounces into one huge turtle on the Egret just in time to display at the show. It was such a great display item that the turtle stayed with the Egret until this summer when I finally wound it off into a skein and gave it a bath.

For several months I’d handle the skein trying to determine what it wanted to be. Not a huge fan of the barber-pole look that was going on in much of the skein I finally landed on knitting socks. For myself.  But first I needed to finish Feather’s skirt and spin yarn for a swap with a friend who loves knitting with handspun but is not yet a spinner. (Yes! I’m working on rectifying that missing link in her life.)

When the first sock was finished I got out the ball winder and commenced winding from the inside of the remainder of the ball of yarn in search of that matching area with the beginning of the completed sock. I finally realized that such a thing wasn’t going to happen: the two rovings were dyed in different color lengths and there simply was no point that the repeating colors once again matched in the plyed yarn.

Today the second sock was completed. DSC01131

Time for a last hot cup of tea, a bath and a bit of reading a book in bed.