Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall's coming!

Fall is coming on fast. You almost can't be in our yard without tripping on or getting clunked on the head by falling walnuts. I'm waiting for the tree foliage to change. The Cannon River Valley will be gorgeous.

Last bloom of the petunias - I won't cover them if it freezes again.

I keep plugging away at the seaman's scarf. I've got 37 grams more yarn, no clue on the yardage - I didn't make a note when I spun it. I guess I most likely will use all the yarn! It's been a very simple lace pattern to memorize. Just two rows of pattern, and all the even rows are just purling back. Good tv watching lace.

I'll be glad to be done with this scarf - I'm feeling like a colorwork sweater. (Goes with the fall weather, eh?!) I'm saving my spending money for my upcoming SOAR trip, though, so I'll have to settle for stash knitting until then...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Four months to the finish line

Well, I finished the knitting on this Baby Surprise Jacket in May. It was a very quick, enjoyable knit. It languished in the UFO pile for four months! Yesterday, sitting snuggled up on the couch with my cold, I finally sewed the seams and attached the buttons. I can't believe it took me this long!

This is my first Baby Surprise and I'm sure I'll make more. It's a good use of partial yarn balls. I really like the Cottage Creations Babies and Bears sweater, too.

Still cool weather today, and I'm home from work with my cold. You wouldn't want a nurse with laryngitis and a cough when you're having surgery, would you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lazy day off

Today's my day off. I love it here in the morning after everyone else has left for school and work. It's so quiet, all I can hear is the birds and the occasional vehicle going by the house. I'm sitting all cozied up on the couch, with a hot cup of coffee, still in my robe. I'm nursing a bit of a cold (maybe allergies?).
The view from the front window. It rained last night, it's still cloudy and grey.

Here's the socks I started on the way home from Decorah on Sunday. The last pair from the machine knitted, dyed yarn.

I only have one ball of this, so I'm doing both socks at once, toe up. I'll just knit til the yarn is gone. They'll be shorty socks, I'll bet!

I picked the seaman's scarf back up. It'd been languishing in the basket for more than a month.

You can see I knitted the neck section, then started on the other side of the scarf. Now I can do both sides at the same time and just quit when I'm out of yarn. (Or til I like the length - it sure looks like I have a lot of yarn to go!)

It looks like I'm going on color spurts! I've finished all my blue/green projects, and now I'm on to yellow/orange. I haven't been doing this intentionally. Anyone else find they go in streaks?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Four pounds of licorice and a new hat

This weekend was parents weekend at Luther College in Decorah IA.

We went down to see Ben. I ran up to St. Paul after work on Friday and picked up his girlfriend, Jamie, then ran home and finished loading up the camper. We were off!

Arrived in Decorah around 8:30 pm. The Pulpit Rock campground, right in Decorah, was FULL! We had stayed there last year and enjoyed our stay, so we planned to be there this year, too. Unfortunately, they don't take reservations, so we were out of luck.

They gave us a few options we could check out. Several of them involved parking lots with hookups (yuck!). One option was even parking overnite in the WalMart parking lot. The option we chose was 12 miles away in Bluffton, IA.

So, off we trucked in the dark. We got to tiny little Bluffton down a winding gravel road. (Yes, it turned out there was also a paved county road, but we didn't know that on Friday night!) We got a spot, settled in, and spent some time with Ben.

Saturday morning, the puppy woke me early and I took the dogs out for a long walk. (hey, I walked by Craft's Jacob sheep - 3 little pastures full of Jacob sheep, all very interested in who was walking along their road in the early morning - but I didn't have my camera!!! will I learn???) Paul woke up and met us with a cup of hot coffee, and we explored the campground a bit more. We discovered there was a loop of the campground that ran right along the river. So, we moved. We got a gorgeous site right on the river bank, well away from any other campers. Our own private paradise, and a coffee spot we didn't have to walk to!

Ben and Jamie came over around noon. We had a quick lunch, then crowded into his little jeep wrangler and headed back into Decorah to do two quick geocaches. Decorah has beautiful parks and lots of cool hiking and biking trails. Ben took us up to Dunning Springs, another beautiful place, but full of people on this warm fall afternoon on parent weekend. We went up to see his room, now that he's settled in, and found it to be quite presentable. He built his own lofted bed, and did a great job.

We returned to the campground and he opened some presents (his 20th birthday is this coming Friday) while we grilled dinner. When he opened this one he said "OOOOH, four pounds of licorice and a new hat!" Ben loooooves hats. After dinner we headed back to Decorah for a parents weekend concert. Ben sings in the Cathedral Choir. Then we went back to the campground for a campfire. Ben, Jamie, and the Girl of the House made us banana boats in the fire. YUM!

This morning we went for a long walk with the dogs, had our fabulous camp breakfast and got ready to leave. We picked up Jamie at Luther, and drove north. We didn't get a chance to see Ben today, he was working at the college buffet, serving. It was so good to spend some time with him this weekend.

After I returned Jamie to her home, Paul and I sat on the deck and had a bottle of wine. A dandy end to a lovely, yet busy, weekend.

(I finished the GotH's socks with all this driving to Iowa. Started another pair on the way home - more on those later this week.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Progress Bar HTML tutorial for dummies like me

I've had several people ask about the progress bars I use for "On the Needles".

It took me a bit of research to figure them out, and I'm really an amateur. I went to a blog with progress bars I liked, highlighted them, and right clicked - then clicked on view selection source. Then I just copied the text to my blog. In blogger, it goes under the configure html /javascript links.

OK, have a look at the bar below. Highlight the progress bar for Hand Dyed Socks. Right click. Click on view selection source. Highlight and right click on the code to copy it. Now you can paste this in your own blog.

  • Hand Dyed Socks


  • You can then change the name and put in the name of YOUR project - this is easy to see in the html, and so it's easy to change. Here the name of my project is Hand dyed socks.

    You can also see where the percentage is in the html - it's one of the last things before the end. In this example, it's 70%. You can change this to meet your needs.

    The place to put the colored graph in is a bit more tricky. In my code, the width of the graph is 180 px. This is indicated toward the end of the code. Farther up in the code is the place to indicate the size of the bar in the graph. Here it's 126px, because I'm 70% done, right? Remember to change this number, too.

    Now give it try with my current progress bars in the sidebar. Try copying one. It'll give you an idea of how to look at the source selection from other blogs.

    I can't seem to make the sample progress bar fill with color, and still make it usable for you to copy. Trust me, this is the proper html for side bars, just not for use in the blog text portion.

    You can do this for however many progress bars you would like. I know you can change the colors and sizes of the bars, but I haven't experimented with them. I'm OK with what I have for now - maybe I'll get snazzier in the future.

    Now experiment with those bars/graphs/whatever you want to call them! Hey, send me a link to your blog if you use any of my advice. That'd be so cool!

    I managed a bit more work on the bright socks for the 11 year old during my lunch break today. Don't 'cha love the comments you get when you knit in public? Today I got the "I couldn't wear wool socks - they're SO itchy" Well, I'm here to tell you, THESE ARE NOT ITCHY!!!!

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Definitely a sock for an 11 year old...

    Did you freeze last night? It went down to 28 degrees at our little country house. I managed to cover up my flowers, hopefully they will stay alive for the warm-up they promise us will come.

    I finished one sock for the Girl of the House. I used one half of the small ball of yellow/orange yarn, and then picked up with the blue/green/purple yarn. I knitted til I reached the end of the ball.

    Yes, it's definitely a sock only an eleven year old could love.

    I find the transition between the two colors too harsh, but she likes it quite a bit.

    I managed to ply up the camping spindled yarn. Approx. 175 yards of coppery goodness. I hope I'll finish up the last of the fiber this year on more camping trips. We have two, possibly three more trips planned this fall.

    In other news, it was my birthday this week.

    GotH baked me cookies - macadamia nut/chocolate chip. Much better than a cake, if you ask me! She's a great baker.

    I'm on call this weekend. So far I've been in to work for a postpartum tubal ligation, and to repair the finger that a young man caught in his garage door. (Must be quite the surprise when you know you squashed your finger, go to get it out of the door, and there is only bone sticking out of the squashed end...)

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    mix and match

    My carry around project is the second pair of these dyed socks. I thought I had enough left-over blue/green/purple/teal yarn to make a short pair of socks for the Girl of the House.

    I was rapidly approaching the turning of the heel when I realized I had enough for a nice foot, but no cuff.

    After discussing it with GotH, we decided to make a yellow/orange foot and attach the blue/green/purple/teal yarn for the cuff. Slightly strange perhaps, time shall reveal how strange. She prefers the blues to the yellow.

    So - you see the beginning of the yellow/orange foot.

    In other areas, it has cooled beautifully here. A bit early for such cool weather, but I like it. I ran 7.3 miles last evening in a much faster time than usual - gotta be because it's so cool and bright. I listened to the soundtrack from "Rent" and the time just flew by. I've got 40 miles under my belt for September - maybe THIS will be the month I make my goal of an average of 3.5 miles/day.

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Crocheted Potholder, etc

    jesslm asked where she could find the potholder (pics here) pattern. I got it out of an old Spin-Off magazine, but I'm pretty sure it's just a standard easy pattern, found in lots of places. I found the same thing, well described, at the Mielke's Farm site, right here - Diagonal Hotpad.

    They're easy to do, and if you don't make it too big, they make up pretty quick.

    Before the weekend, I managed to spin up a sample skein from the Shanghai Nights fiber I bought at Shepherd's Harvest in May. It's Coopworth and silk threads. I spun it long draw, and then double plied it. I really like the bits of the silk in the fiber. This is about a worsted weight. I think I'll spin up the rest at this weight. The long draw makes it a really light yarn. I'll have to carry the skein (or maybe I'll knit a little swatch - gasp!) and carry it around to check on the pilling potential.

    This past weekend we managed a quick camping trip to Frontenac State Park. I did a bit more spindling on the Canyon Shadows fiber. I used my nostepinne, and made another ball, so this week I'll probably try to ply the two balls together. The first ball was 26 grams, this weekends ball is 42 grams. I guess that means I've got about 44 grams left to spin? I did start another spindleful.

    This was our morning coffee spot. Overlooking the Mississippi River on a deck-like platform. You could see forever..

    We did a few geocaches, did some hiking, even rode our bicycles. It was lovely cool weather, mostly in the mid 70s during the day.

    The hike down to the river (the campground
    is up on the bluff) is a bit

    over 400 feet down. It's a great walk down, but they should give you a merit badge for walking back up!!

    Girl of the House had great fun digging in the sand.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2007

    A New School

    The Girl of the House returned to school this morning. Day one at the middle school - now she's a sixth grader!

    Requisite first day of school picture.

    I sewed the pocket on my Satchel. I've decided not to attach the strap. What we really wanted was more of a protective sleeve to slip inside another bag. We didn't really need the strap. (Guess that was a waste of really boring knitting!)

    It fits our MacBook perfectly, and we can get lots of cords in the pocket!

    I've had a couple of garage sale purchased sweaters that I felted down, just aging in my craft/sewing room. Yesterday, I finally followed through on what I had intended for them.

    They became throw pillows for the couch!

    They're soft, floofy, and I really like the way they look.

    Monday, September 3, 2007

    How 'bout these socks?

    Finished the socks Friday on the way to the State Fair. Paul drives, I knit.

    This was from the machine knit blanks I made at the Nancy Roberts class at SOAR two years ago. I dyed them with Wilton cake dye, raveled, reskeined and knit 'em up. 48 stitches, two up, 2 circs, plain foot, 2x2 ribbing on the leg. I can cuff 'em, or wear 'em all the way up. Started August 26, finished August 31.

    I like them alot, but I'm pretty sure they are handwash. I don't remember anyone saying it was superwash yarn.

    I have enough left to start shorter socks for the Girl of the House. These have all her most recent favorite colors.

    We've done four geocaches this weekend, been up to REI for their big sale, and best of all - had a fabulous dinner at the lake home of Paul's brother Harlan and wife Coleen, and our friends Jeff and Linda. We sat long, talked much, and laughed often (til 1am!)