Sunday, December 10, 2006

Border Patrol

The border is done!! And the set-up row for the edging, too. Here's a fast, not-too-darn-good photo: The photo was hasty because I believe in the 5-second rule for flinging knitting on a floor that was not vacuumed immediately prior to the flinging. (I would rather knit than vacuum, dontcha know.) Come to think of it, I should probably exclude white UFOs from that rule...

I hope I won't offend the shawl's designer, Sharon Miller, but I'm choosing a different edge than the original called for in her pattern. Sharon calls for a simple mesh Van Dyke edging, but I fear that I will go insane at the monotonous repitition of Van Dyke for more than 20 feet of knitting...

So, not for design as much as for sanity, I've chosen the Rippled Diamond edging from Sharon's "Heirloom Knitting" book. It seems to me quite an appropriate edging for the Cameron, though it is deeper than the original pattern. Since I ordered extra cobweb yarn, I'm pretty sure I'll have enough. When I get some of it done, I'll show you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Wow! Clickety-Clack Ewe scored big. Look at the great bag scored from Jenny Setser from Winterhaven Fiber Farm!

This bag is big enough for a major knitting project. I love it. I spied it in the making during a recent trip to the farm and bought it without quite knowing how it would end up. When it arrived a day or two ago, I saw that it had exceeded my expectations. Note the salamander on the upper left. Isn't Jenny a talented felt artist?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

She's salivating, folks.

My 10% discount postcard from Sheep's Clothing Knitting Supply came in the mail yesterday. Because I am a knitting guild member, I get the 10% off all year round. So - even though I can't take specific advantage of the postcard's offer, it's incentive enough to get into the car and go!
I can't help it. It's a Pavlovian response. You know - the famous experiment wherein Pavlov induced a stimulus by ringing a bell each time he fed a dog. Pretty soon, the dog salivated simply when it heard the bell. My sister used rabbits for her copycat Pavlov's experiment in grade school. She got more rabbits. I'm not quite sure which stimulus applied in that case...

For me, I'm not sure whether that salivation is due to the words "Sheep's Clothing" or simply "sale".

Monday, November 20, 2006

On the Road Again...

We had such a good adventure one rainy day last week! A couple of knitting friends and I headed south of town to Jenny Setser's Winterhaven farm in Walkerton. I'm too lazy to type all of the things Jenny carries (I did try, but gave up), so check out her web site to Jenny's entire list.

There are lots of friendly cats and a couple of dogs, too. But it was too wet and nasty outside to visit the alpacas, sheep and other critters...

I came away from Jenny's with a very good haul of needle-felting supplies. I've been wanting to try it out for a while now. Beware! I'm just in the mood to be stab-stab-stabbing needles!! (Wheek-wheek-wheek Psycho sounds here...)

From Jenny's, we stopped at at a lovely bakery in North Liberty for some lunch. We stuffed ourselves with meatball sandwiches and such, and then stuffed what room was left in the trunk with bakery goods to bring home.

Revived, we headed to Knitting in the Round. There is a sale going on here - 30% this week, if you get a chance to go - although we didn't leave you much. Knitting in the Round is moving to Rolling Prairie in a few months, so the stock is priced to move. It was too nasty to get out of the car for the shot of the building - so here's what the place looks like through a windshield.

We couldn't resist stopping by to see Eleanor Heckaman at her shop on 31. She has gorgeous yarns and kits in right now. I can't help it - I don't ever leave there without buying something. No pics - sorry - too rapt in yarn.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Looking Pretty Good...

I'm really enjoying the knitting.

I'm about halfway through the border on the Cameron. Right now, there are 720 stitches per round, so it's a bit pokey. It looks really lumpy and ratty though, doesn't it? I'll be happy when it's time to block it. That ugly-ducking-to-swan, before-and-after, sow's-ear-to-silk-purse magic thrills me (hopefully) every time.

I still haven't figured out how many stitches there are in the completed shawl. I've used nearly seven of the eleven balls called for. I generally use the "How-Many-Stitches-ARE-There-In-This-Thing" information to spur myself on in the final stretch when the twenty-some-odd feet of edging seems impossibly long.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holiday Knitting

Clickety-Clack Ewe hesitates even to post this before Thanksgiving because the holiday retail frenzy for the season begins earlier every dang year,and there is no wish to convey that this is condoned in any way. Surely by the year 2020, if the merchants have anything to say about it, the "season" will begin by Epiphany (Jan 6)!

Clickety-Clack Ewe used to knit for the holidays, but not any more. The Christmas stockings are an exception, joyfully knit with each addition to the family.

Retailers begin their displays before Halloween, but I used to plan Christmas knitting in early the new year for a good head start. There would be an ambitious list of ambitious projects. The list grew each month, but items on the needles languished by Easter and were practically UFOs by the Fourth of July. Labor Day would jangle alarm bells, and the knitting would commence in frazzled earnest. Projects suffered as the Big Deadline loomed. Worry set in about having forgotten somebody, which turned to panic when the absent name turned up. (To be fair, the "forgotten somebody" was nearly always not forgotten at all, but somebody for whom I belatedly decided I should knit something.) I worried too, for instance, that my brother might be insulted if my sisters got cardigans and he wound up with only a scarf.

I'm a fairly speedy knitter, but I like going at my own natural pace. I do not like feeling as if my knitting were a race against the clock. I was doing less thinking of the recipient fondly during the process than these kinds of things:
  • Doing the mental math: how many seconds per stitch, how many stitches per row, how many rows, how many increases/decreases to factor in, how much time to seam and block to get the project done;
  • Planning meals with less prep work in order to knit more minutes, or ignoring housework;
  • How late to stay up through the wee hours and still get up to see DD off to school in the morning (and remember the event);
  • Thinking of Lucy and Ethyl in that famous speed-up scene at the conveyer belt at the candy factory....
Then - Light Finally Dawned on my Rocky Dome! I now knit for birthdays.
There are still deadlines, but they come at a more leisurely pace spaced throughout the year. It also feels more personal to me - and undoubtedly the recipient feels it, too. Furthermore, if I don't feel like knitting something for a birthday, nobody feels left out with a non-knitted present.

Yikes! Dear Big Sister's birthday is the day after Epiphany....

Monday, November 13, 2006

Meeting Tomorrow Night (REVISED!)

We're trying a new meeting spot for knitters and spinners in Michiana. It will be tomorrow night (Tuesday, November 14) at the Harris Library on Elm Road from 6:30 - 8:30. We'll have refreshments, too! Hope to see you there....
Map to Harris Library (51446 Elm Rd)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In the Middle (Cameron Shawl)

The center of the shawl is finished and flung on the rug for this quick photo. The stitches have been picked up on all four sides for the edging, which I'm going to knit in the round. Knitting in the round avoids grafting the corners, but it means I'll have to purl every other row instead of knitting it.

"Edging" seems a bit of a misnomer, don't you think? There will be 110 rows, which seems more like "middle" than "edge" to me. At a beginning number of 504 stitches per row and adding 4 more stitches each row over 110 rows - well, I just don't want to know or it will simply seem overwhelming. And then after the edging - THEN there's a border to knit.

Whew! What have I taken on here?!?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Joining lace yarn

My Cameron Shawl pattern advises that when it comes time to begin a new ball of yarn to leave long tails for weaving in later. The time has come, but I'm a bit leery of my weaving-in skills for such open work as lace. The Cameron uses about 11 balls of Jamieson's Ultra Cobweb (a single-ply yarn), and I concluded that hiding at least 22 ends would really be pushing my luck. Ever the coward, I decided on a different method. Well, two, actually.

The Shetland wool would take a simple spit-splice beautifully, but I am concerned about how that kind of join would hold up when it comes to blocking the shawl. I know for a fact that spit-splicing works just fine, but I don't want to test that theory to the max. The prospect that severe blocking will pop the joins and spill my hard-earned stitches all over the floor makes me weak in the knees. So for better or worse, I'm using a belt-and suspenders combination of Russian Join and Spit-Splice.

First, the end of the first ball is looped around the start of the new ball. A needle is threaded with one of the ends.

Next, the first end is woven back on itself, catching the yarn with itty bitty stitches. (If the join were not going to be felted together with the spit splice, I would make the weaving a bit longer.)

The end is pulled through and tightened, trapping the free end of the other ball.

The same technique is applied to the other end. Both ends are now interlinked, with the ends woven back on themselves.

The free ends are then carefully trimmed at a steep angle (not shown). With embroidery scissors, I fray them back so they can feather back into the strand.

Now for the fun "spit splice" part. I stick the woven section in my mouth and get it wet. (EWWW, you say? The shawl gets washed later!) Then I rub the section briskly between my palms for a minute or two until the join is nice and even. You can see the result here. The join is in the yarn right above the scissors, between the bird's tail and the beak. I bet a skein of sock yarn that you'll never find one of these joins in the finished shawl!

Back to knitting...

For my Lacevember Buds...Lacevember mememe

Are you a lace knitting fan? Join the Lacevember blog. These questions are in response to the contest meme there.

How long have you been knitting? Seven years.
How did you learn to knit? While on an extended stay away from home, I downloaded instructions from the internet and had needles and yarn overnighted to the hotel. I came home with a negotiated contract and two baby jackets for my sister's newborn twins.
Favorite thing about knitting? It used to be just for relaxation. Now its a full-blown addiction. I think they'd have to put me in a 30 day program to attempt to get me to stop (I'd sneak in sock needles by hiding them in the seams of my luggage and unravel my sweaters...)

How long have you been knitting lace? Serious lace - for about a year and a half. (But see bed jacket post below.)
Favorite thing about knitting lace:
At first, the math intrigued me. Now, it's like singing a song. A good lace pattern flows like music through my head, and my fingers dance. And the results-! A good sized shawl is an Accomplishment.

Favorite lace yarn? Zephyr, so far. There's lots more to try.

Variegated or solids for shawls? Solid. Or subtle.
Favorite lace color? All of 'em! Except I'm chicken to knit black.

Circs or straights? Circs all the way. Inox for lace.
Favorite lace knitting trick?
Unvented a way to handle that hippo-on-ice skates circular start: Cast on required stitches on just three bamboo needles three sizes smaller than your chosen needle size. Use a different number of stitches on each needle, so you can tell which comes next. (You can rearrange in a couple of rows.) Go up a needle size per round until you get to your regular needle size. This technique squelches the fumbling, and you don't twist the work. Plus it looks nicer.
Nope! They get in my way.
If so with what? I
used to use dental floss, but I didn't like the smell of minty lace !
Fancy blocking wires, or just sewing pins stuck in your carpet?
Fancy blocking wires, AND T-Pins, AND sewing pins stuck in the carpet (and in an occasional foot). I take "block severely" to heart.
Pattern, or can you follow directions?
I can actually follow directions. I haven't messed with altering existing lace patterns, but I've designed a few of my own, too.
Shawls or lacey items?
Both, but I enjoy shawls the most.
Triangle, rectangle, or circular shawls?
I haven't tried a circle yet, or I'd say I all of 'em.
Charts or printed instructions?
Favorite lace you've knit? Frost Flowers and Leaves.
Pacific Northwest was also fun.
Favorite lace you want to knit? Niebling's Lyra, if I could get my hands on it.

Favorite jelly belly flavor? The flavor you get when you cram a handful of them in your mouth at once. (weird that I like solid colors for lace knitting, huh?)
Tell me everything you know about Eric the Red..... Is that a new Lorna's Laces colorway?
Coke, classic or with lime? Plain ole, but rarely touch the stuff.
Holiday carols, sing along, or wish they would be banned from all public airwaves? Banned from all airways before Thanksgiving, then 24/7 on ONE station through Christmas, sung with nostalgia and fervor.
What is the definition of irony? This involves my Rowenta (named Wyvern), knitted bits, pins, and a blocking board.
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? Who licks?
Why is my cat always puking in front of my son's bedroom door? It's the gym socks. (Uh-oh! It's not the hand-knit ones, is it?)

What is your superhero power? I can untangle anything.
If the laundry is 9 foot by 11 foot (just dreaming, that's a big laundry room), and the walls are 8 feet tall, and you are going to tile the entire room in tiles that are 3 inches by 5 inches, what color should those tiles be? Light taupe! It makes the whites look whiter, which also means you don't feel obliged to clean the machines as often. (or ever...)

What's for dinner tonight? Dinner? D'ya mind I finish this row first?
What is clogging my children's bathtub drain? Well, you bought a five-pound raw fleece and you have three pounds to spin...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cameron Shawl Begun

The center panel for the Cameron shawl is coming right along. Here is the first repeat of 52 rows. There will be four and 2/3 repeats for the center square, comprised of a motif of Madiera and Diamonds.

This is the easy part - the 110 round border is going to take a bit more concentration. Can't wait!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Bed Jacket

Mambocat's blog entry about a sweater for her mother invoked a wistful trip down memory lane for Clickety-Clack Ewe.
When my mother became ill late in the fall of 1999, I felt compelled to knit her a bed jacket. It was knit entirely of an intense longing to provide some comfort for my mother and an effort to banish the helplessness I felt by not being able to provide her a cure for her cancer.
There was not a whit of skill involved - only determination, as I only had been knitting for about nine weeks. The pattern was a free internet download from Yarnforward, a frothy lace number I attempted from Lion Brand mohair. I had no idea what some of the instructions meant. I had to look up how to make a yarn-over. I did not have a reference that explained "k 2 tog tbl" for instance, so I made up a version of what I thought it might mean. I plunged ahead with my interpretation of the pattern, determined to finish it before my mother left the planet.

I quickly found out that I was sensitive to the mohair. The upside to the sneezy, eye-watering fiber was that it concealed the fact that there was no identifiable pattern in the lace. It took an entire box of Sudafed to knit the project.

When I presented this creation to my mother, I explained that there were more lacy holes than was intended in the pattern, but every hole was filled with love to surround her. She accepted it gracefully, not inspecting it for the mistakes I assured her were rampant. Like Mambocat's mom, my mother wore that bed jacket in my presence when she was able, and otherwise kept it at the foot of her bed. My mother showed her appreciation until she died a few weeks after she received it.

After her death, her best friend requested to keep the bed jacket. I gratefully sent it along to her, with the hope that the holes, filled with love, gave her peace as well.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Holes in One

Clickety-Clack Ewe finally decided on the new project. It will be the Cameron Lace Shawl from Heirloom Knitting.

The Jamieson Cobweb Ultra Shetland yarn isn't the thinnest in the CCE stash, but still, it seems as it it might break if breathed upon. We'll see what happens....

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Monday, October 30, 2006

Sheep's Clothing

As you can see from the passenger window, Saturday morning was a perfect day for a jaunt to Sheep's Clothing, a 75 minute drive to Valparaiso from my house. Elizabeth drove her MIL, Michelle, Vicki and I to that mecca I consider to be my LYS. I suppose it's a good thing that the shop is not closer - I would be spending all the grocery money.

Paula, the owner of Sheep's Clothing (left in photo), posed with two of her knowledgeable staffers, Sue and Tracey.

In case you haven't been, this shop has four rooms filled to the rafters with yarn. There is a large section with all the books - and I mean all the books (the photo shows just a few).

Another section has a huge array of patterns. A third room holds a big selection of needles and notions - and more yarn. A fourth room serves as a small classroom for maybe eight students - even more yarn is stored there, too. (A larger classroom is located in another part of the

Elizabeth and her MIL checked out the button selection in one picture. You can catch a glimpse of Elizabeth's spectacular cardi - she spun the yarn for it!

I was also happy to spot fellow guild member Bettye G. enhancing her stash. Since neither of us attend our guild's official meetings any longer (problem with location), it was especially delightful to see her again.

We spent several hours browsing there and at "La Beada Loca", a bead shop located across the small parking lot. If you make the trip, there are several interesting restaurants within walking distance.

Sheep's Clothing offers 10% off with your guild membership card. It is located at 257 Indiana Ave in Valparaiso. The hours (Central time) are:
M-F 10 - 5:30
Thu 10 - 9:00 (open late! Yaay!)
Sat 10 - 3
Closed Sunday.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Yep, finished object with porch, off topic (see post below):

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Doghouse

Okay, it's a cat house, but I was afraid to put it in the title slot for fear of the clientele it would draw! Anyhow, Clickety-Clack Ewe took a brief hiatus from knitting to put this together for two feral cats, Tux and Light Mama. The house came in three flat packages from RTA Woodworking in Ontario, Canada, where Pierre Desjardins and his family make such wonderful houses for outdoor pets. RTA's workmanship is truly impressive. Mr. Desjardins also made a great custom sign with the cats' names on it, which will be placed over the door when the last of the work is done.

The house is built on a raised insulated platform, and its walls and roof are also insulated. The door is cut to the side to allow for more warmth inside. Clickety-Clack Ewe also cut a grommeted hole in the back to allow for plugging in a vet pad. The pad, covered in sheepskin, heats to the temperature of a cat's body when the cat beds down.

The door is a stiff plexiglass swinging affair. Clickety-Clack Ewe intends to install a more lightweight temporary panel (a length of clear plastic bag) this afternoon. It will remain for a few weeks to get the cats to get used to going in and out. It seems that they don't know how to enter the house yet.

There is also a covered porch. The floor of the porch is visible in the photo, but the roof, support posts and flashing will not be attached until the house is in exactly the right spot. (We'll need to fiddle around with placement in a few days, when we also install a separate plywood platform to shelter the food and water supply.) BTW, there is knitting in this project: two knitted mice (Vicki Mikulak's pattern), filled with catnip to entice Tux and Light Mama inside.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Frost on Pumpkin

Yikes! It started to snow lightly this morning. I stuck my hand with camera outside the front door and quickly took this picture - too cold (36 degrees) to linger with the door open for a second shot. The fine snow isn't visible in the picture, it remains to be seen whether it sticks. At this rate, all the Trick-o-Treaters next week would be well advised to pick Yeti as their persona...

Anyhow, the snow in the air makes me want to spin some fiber.

I had a wonderful time at E's knitting/spinning party on Saturday. While I was there, Vicki gave me a thorough lesson on using a spindle, as I had groused that to her I hadn't been getting the hang of it. I had spun for years on a spindle as a kid, and I couldn't understand why I wasn't just resuming where I left off: muscle memory and all that. I was actually beginning to worry about a neurological lapse...

Well, it turns out that my big problem was that I was trying to spin upside down! NO! Not me upside down - the spindle. As a kid, I had used a bottom-whorl spindle, and the one I bought recently was a top-whorl spindle. Well dontcha know that things are spinning along fine now, and with a little practice drafting, I'll return to my childhood.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The 48 Things You Could Care Less About Meme

The Akamai Knitter egged me on....

1. FIRST NAME? Jessica (Jess, Jessi)

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? About two weeks ago, immediately after I turned down a dream job in Washington DC.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Not on the shopping list when I'm scribbling, but I like it well enough for letter-writing. I print like a draftsperson.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Does prosciutto count? Otherwise, hard salami. Yum!
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yep, I'm a straightforward, loyal and loving friend. I don't make friends very easily, though.
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? That would be my blog....
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? I do, but I squeaked by with 'em. As a kid, I always had tonsillitis.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? No way in hell! But If you asked me ten years ago, the answer would be different.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Cocoa Krispies or Sugar Smacks (but I eat oatmeal).
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, I skootch out of them by scraping the back of each heel with the other foot. But then I untie them to put them back on. Odd, huh?
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? You betcha. My sister calls me "Popeye."
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Chocolate! Chocolate! Ultimate fave was the unfairly discontinued Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Cherry Garcia. But I've been eating Edy's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough lately and liking it. I could write paragraphs on this subject.

14. SHOE SIZE? 8.5. Sometimes a 9. Hey! If I wear a 10, I won't have to bother with untying shoes at all!
15. RED OR PINK? Pink, but not that candy pink made from carmine or vermilion pigments - the more subtle pinky-brown made with burnt sienna.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My belly. There's too much of it. (See q 13.)
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss my mother the most. She died in 2000.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Brown Jeans, brown T, pinky-brown shirt, brown flats.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Chicken Korma.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? A cat is snoring in my lap, and my husband's phone is ringing.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? From the 96-crayon box, Pacific Blue.
23. FAVORITE SMELL? Pine or Eucalyptus after rain.
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My neighbor across the street, who called to thank me for the baby sweater DD delivered yesterday.
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? Found it first on Opal's site, and then Bonne Marie's. I'm not sure whose blog I stole it from (and I certainly can't remember where they got it), but I like both Bonne and Opal very much.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Scotch. Sometimes a Cosmopolitan.
28. FAVORITE SPORT? Baseball in the summer, hockey in the winter. TO WATCH. I hate playing team sports (see q 16...).

29. EYE COLOR? Hazel.
30. HAT SIZE? 22-3/8. I don't know why on earth I know this.
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Glasses. I have at least dozen pair of reading glasses, and can never find any of them.
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Boring but true: Dark chocolate.
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings! Scary movies are on my top ten list of things NOT fun to do, along with bowling.
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer, if I must choose one of those. Actually, spring is my favorite.
36. HUGS OR KISSES? Well, both.
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Opera cake.
38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Only a few people who read this page ever grace me with comments...
39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Everybody else.
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War by Michael Isikoff and David Corn; The World of Gerard Mercator by Andrew Taylor.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? A mouse. Oh! -Printed on the mouse pad? A jellyfish from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Nada - I took DD to DD's boyfriend's hockey game.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Bells - Church bells, cat-toy bells, sleigh bells, temple bells, open-the-general-store-door bells, Thai language because it sounds like bells, Tinkerbells.
45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Liechtenstein, I think.
46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Music, though I squander it. I am a very good advocate, too.
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? California

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I commandeered it from a friend's blog (see q 26).

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wee Aran FO

The wee Aran jacket for Baby L is finished. It's knitted, seamed, and the inevitable cat hair picked out with a tweezer for better aesthetics - and in case the kid is allergic. It was washed (now dry), and the buttons sewn on.

Clickety-Clack Ewe just needs to make a suitable gift tag. The new, expensive all-in-one printer, that memory hog with all the bells and whistles, doesn't like good card stock, and it's picky about regular paper, too. Arrrggggghhhh!

The pattern is from the Debbie Bliss book pictured. The pattern was not knit before having to revise it (full dilemma here).

Can you imagine the jacket even wider than it is? I reduced the circumference of the sweater by more than 2-1/2 inches. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure the kid is going to swim in it.

Ah well, so be it. Better too big than too small, don't you agree? It will probably fit him perfectly next August.... maybe his parents will consider an Alaska cruise or a trip to the Yukon next summer.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Road Trip

We took a family drive on Sunday. DD promised to be absolutely bored, but she wants to go again next week!

I took a few pictures to share. We found more exquisite color in the roadside stands than by the roadside this week, but there was still some respectable peeping.

Have you seen so many pumpkins? These were piled up past the window sills at a farm market.

We stopped in Holland to gawk at the windmill.

I even convinced DH to drive to the LYS in downtown Holland, but alas, it was closed.

What the heck does this have to do with knitting? Well, while we were on the highway, I knit, of course, but I thought you'd enjoy these shots more than the tangle in my lap.

We drove until sunset and then headed home, filled with the beauty of the day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Haven't ventured into the dyepot for my wool yet, but my friends Vicki and Bonne Marie are both inspiring me! Vicki posted some great tips on dyeing in the guild newsletter, and I got to have a first-hand look at some of her results. Beautiful! And you can see Bonne Marie's blog here.

I did dye DD's hair yesterday with KoolAid, a beautiful color combination of Black Cherry, Cherry and Tropical Fruit Punch. For 75 cents, it looks fab-u-lous, plus she smells like Carmen Miranda

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Knitting Class

I headed to Valparaiso last week to attend a knitting class at my favorite yarn shop, Sheep's Clothing. I consider Sheep's Clothing my LYS, even though it's 75 miles away from me. There are several shops here around town, but they quite limited.

I took pictures of Sheeps Clothing to share, but I neglected to change the camera batteries, so the shots were useless. The picture you see on the left is what I was actually seeing in the viewfinder - only I thought it was me, not the camera. Life was so much easier before I needed reading glasses! I don't generally take the time to haul them out to take digital pictures. I just frame and shoot because ostensibly the camera does the focusing. Oh well. Now I have a good excuse to go back to Sheep's Clothing and take my credit card.... er - that is, take more pictures.

The four hour class on Celtic Cables was taught by Fiona Ellis, and I was happy to meet her. I found Fiona to be charming and funny. The class description stated that we would learn to design Celtic cables. What we actually did was make a swatch. However, graph paper was included in each class folder. If we finished our swatch, we were encouraged to design our own Celtic cables in the time remaining. Several of us actually completed our swatches with a few minutes of class time left over, but most did not.

Fiona gave a Power Point presentation after class. I considered her tales about the inspiration for the projects in her book to be the best part of the afternoon. The book, "Inspired Cable Knits" was priced at $35.00. We can find knitting books priced at a discount elsewhere, but I usually buy at the knitting shop because it helps support the shop. I relish new books. However, this one was just too steep for me -even with an autograph.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Roads Not Traveled

I was formally offered a position in Washington DC late last week, and this morning I formally turned it down. It is a wonderful job. It would have been perfect for me, and I would have been able to make a significant contribution for the employer. But the constraints of family made it too difficult to make it happen. I'm sad about it.

The Aran sweater for Baby L is about 70% finished. Especially today, I will hold close the credo of Elizabeth Zimmerman, the matriarch of knitting: "Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

String 'em up

The Pacific Northwest shawl is next on the wash/block hit parade. This one (by Evelyn A Clark, with Omaghi Filati Merino Oro) was made in the early spring.

I wore Pacific Northwest a lot this summer, and it showed. It didn't seem to be very dirty, but it had a big distorted YO and two snags to fix - the result of wearing it to too many rough-and-tumble fiber festivals this season.

Pacfic Northwest was also blocked using the string method. A couple more of these blocking sessions, and I'm seriously going to consider making myself a big vertical dressing surface with gingham and insulation board. I have a commercial blocking board which works fine for sweaters and bittier things, but it's too small for these lacy babies. There's entirely too much crawling on the floor of the basement for my taste - and my knees - to get these shawls blocked in nice neat lines. I wind up getting knotted up before the job is perfect, and then I'm not as happy with the result.

Not bad though, eh?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blocking Party

I wrote earlier that (when I'm good, about every other year) I wash and block the spring/summer items in the fall and get the winter things ready to wear again. Many of the items haven't been pictured here yet, so as I get to those, I"ll share...

The first item to get a bath is the Flower Basket shawl (Fiber Trends, Evelyn A. Clark, Lorna's Laces). It was blocked after washing by running some crochet cotton through the points on the edges and along the back, then pulling the strings taut. More stretch was added for the points by pinning the string back.

I had help.

And I had even more help trying to get a shot of the dry shawl...

So I got a shot of it on a different chair (yep, another helper in the upper left corner).