Thursday, January 31, 2008

Auditory or visual?

I have always thought that I was an auditory person - hearing as my preferred sense.

Relaxing in the evenings, I sit and knit, listening to music or to what is on the television, looking up occasionally. However, perhaps I was mistaken.

Since we bought the new tv, I have been sitting, astounded, looking at the screen. OMG, I had no idea all the things I was missing! So, I've been knitting on socks. I can do that without watching the knitting.

Now that I've become accustomed to that great big screen, I can go back to a more challenging project. I picked Osterdalen out of the basket and resumed knitting.

Just a few more rows and the sleeve will be finished.

Ben had a look at it when he was home. He pronounced it exactly what he wanted.

We did a bit of consulting on size while he was home. I was knitting a medium, but he would prefer a closer fit.

So, he'll have medium sleeves and a small body. No problem - just cut the sleeve steeks to fit the slightly larger sleeves!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The kid is home

Ben returned home on Saturday for a short break after his J-term. He spent J-term student teaching social studies at Decorah high school. It confirmed his desire to teach.

George has become a parrot cat. She has spent alot of time attached to his shoulder while he's home.

He must return to school tomorrow. We will miss him..

Paul and I went out Sunday for a couple of geocaches in the Cannon River Wilderness Park. We had never hiked there before.

It was warm, in the 30's. Bright and sunny! A great day for the snowshoes.

I managed to spin and ply the yellow fiber from the recently dyed superwash wool. I navajo plyed to maintain the slight color changes. It turned out soft and fluffy.

I had today off. My mid-week days to myself are numbered - I've accepted the offer of a new position at the hospital. My new position will be "Clinical Applications Specialist" - a glorified way to say I'll be the computer specialist for all the medical users in the hospital.

This will be a challenging transition. Besides the obvious - it's a whole new and different sphere of nursing and will no longer be direct patient care - I haven't worked a 40 hours/week position since the mid 80s. (Oh man, that makes me sound really old.) And this job is Monday-Friday, 8 to 4:30 - another big transition! And I'll need clothes! I've been wearing hospital-provided scrubs for years and years.

Best of all - NO CALL! I love my OR position, but the call is so disruptive to any semblance of a normal lifestyle.

I won't be able to start the new position for awhile. My current department has been short a nurse for many months, and my manager can't let me go til they figure out how they can make the schedule work, missing two of seven nurses. I'm hoping to start in a month.

And I'm really looking forward to it

Saturday, January 26, 2008

finally, it's warmed up

After chores and errands today, Paul and I took the big dog out for a walk in the arb.

We saw four cross country skiers. It was sunny and mid 20s - darn near tropical compared to our recent subzero temps. We're scouting out places to put a new geo-cache.
Paul spent some time getting our new toy hooked up. This stand was a good place for our 1985 vintage tv, but it is glaringly not the right piece of furniture for the new one! We think it will eventually end up suspended upon the wall. I love having a handy-dandy guy to do all this stuff...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dye Day

It was a lovely, sunny, freezing cold day again today.

Paul dropped my truck off at the auto glass place. My windshield cracked sometime in the past month, so I get a new one - YAY! Rather than take his big ol' one-ton, crew cab, dually truck around town, I hung out at home for my day off.

I've been thinking about spinning up some superwash wool that's been marinating in my stash. It'd make a good baby sweater. It would make a better baby sweater if it were colorful! And so, inspiration was born...

I dug out all the dyeing stuff.

I got this cool multilevel roaster at a garage sale. It works well for steaming dye stuffs in the oven. It has several racks to elevate the wool over the water for steaming.

Soaked the wool, sprinkled it with GayWool dye in five colors, and into the oven it went.

Chip was uninterested.

While the wool was steaming, I managed a bit of knitting on Osterdalen. You can see the bottom of the men's feet on the sleeve. It's starting to look like a real sweater.

The wool was rinsed, and is drying on the bathtub rack.

Does anyone use their jacuzzi tub regularly after the first six months? Ours makes a great drying rack...

Monday, January 21, 2008

No School Today

Girl of the House had no school today (or tomorrow). Luckily, I was off, too. We just hung out together.

I spent most of the day on the computer, finishing up the 2007 finances and organizing paperwork for taxes. Man, I let the end of the year slide - lots of receipts to enter and statements to reconcile.

This evening, we played Rage. We learned to play Rage on our ski trip, so we came home and bought the game. It's great fun! We played last evening, too.

We don't watch much tv - we love to play games in the evenings. I can usually knit a row or two between hands.

You can see Osterdalen is slowly growing.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Osterdalen is cast on

I did get Osterdalen cast on last evening. I finished the cuff, and am onto the vast expanse of black stockinette sleeve.

I used a provisional cast on for the hem, then turned it up and knitted it together with the appropriate row. Aha! No sewing up the hem later! Yay!

Paul finished putting the dishwasher in. He had supervisory help. George felt it was necessary to warm his rear end for him as he worked.

Chip felt it was necessary to entertain the cat. Eventually, everyone was shooed away, and the work was completed.

We made it outside to try the snowshoes. It reached a high of -2, so we zipped out for a quick one. The dogs were happy to be outside for more than just a bathroom break.

Blurry picture, but I propped the camera on the fencepost. Bare hands were required to set the timer, and I didn't spend much time getting the focus just right.

At last, after three months - meet our new dishwasher.

Yes, we're easily entertained...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cold morning

-14 when we woke this morning!

A good day to stay in and do projects.

Paul's working on installing our new dishwasher. Yes, we are finally replacing the dishwasher that died in October. (Yay for handy husbands!)

Contrary to the belief held in our household that there is never first class mail on Saturday - only junk mail - my yarn came!

I can begin Ben's Osterdalen sweater!

And what a perfect day to start a new project. Don't you love being cozy in your warm house when it's subzero?

As long as I was ordering the Osterdalen pattern, I got a few more for the future. Love these Dale of Norway patterns!

We're going to get out and try the new snowshoes. Maybe a geocache, too. Then, I foresee a fire, t-bone steaks and wine for supper, and snuggling up under the new afghan.

The Girl of the House is gone for the weekend, after all...

Friday, January 18, 2008

I like to make birthday gifts for my co-workers.

In other years, I have given hand-knit washcloths, handspun woven bookmarks, small triangle bags made from left over surgical wrap. I started out making beaded wire-knit candleholders last year, but I really hated knitting them.

This year, I'm in love with these little box bags. Yesterday I made these four. When you're on a roll, they go fast. Three are for the January birthdays. The denim one (made from cut up bluejeans) was just a sample. Paul might take that one.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Disaster by dog teeth

Tucking the Girl of the House into bed, we discovered this chewed spot.

Aaaaaaargh - now I have to figure out how to repair this! I do still have some yarn leftovers from her Rambling Rows afghan.

We think this is puppy chewed. Truth be told, for a pup, we have had very few chewing disasters. One strap from a pair of GotH's dress shoes, and this. I guess we can tolerate it.

For someone who was reluctant to have one dog in the house, much less two, Paul is becoming a dog person. I know Chip is a Paul person...

The cardinals are sticking around. This morning I counted 10 at the feeders, among other birds. I had no idea we had that many cardinals around here!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

There will be NO more snow in Minnesota this winter,

and our household will take full credit.

We had so much fun with the borrowed snowshoes, we bought some for ourselves. Now, that about guarantees there will be no more snow this winter!

It's our 14th wedding anniversary today, and our snowshoes came just in time. Yes, 14 years; the traditional snowshoe anniversary.

January of 1994 was a record setting cold month. On January 15, the high temp was -9 degrees. The low was -34 degrees. (Paul's friends had always said it would be a cold day in hell when he finally married.)

We discussed many options for honeymooning. I had been going to Sanibel island for many winters. He had been mountain skiing for many winters. After an extensive discussion, we went to Jackson Hole, WY for our honeymoon.

I had only skied in Minnesota. Going to the top of that lift at Jackson, looking down the mountain, I thought I must surely have lost my mind!! "You've got to be kidding - I can't do anything THAT steep!" Paul pushed, prodded and coaxed, and I made it down that hill. Now the only year we haven't mountain skied was the year Girl of the House was born. (She's a December baby.)

So, we're winter people. I haven't been back to Florida since 1993. Paul has NEVER seen the ocean. He'll get there sometime, but I suspect it will be in Washington State, on a summer trip.

Snowshoes are a terrific gift. Just remember who you need to thank for the lack of further snow...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I spun up the last seven ounces of my Shanghai NIghts (80% coopworth/20% silk threads) today. I was able to ply the whole batch into 514 yards of long-draw fluffiness. It's hanging in the bathroom drying.

I ordered the yarn for Rogue and Osterdalen yesterday.

I'll probably work on both at the same time. I like to knit two sweaters at a time. When I finish one skein of yarn, I move to the other sweater. That way, I don't get bored with knitting a single sweater - there is always variety!

I should start a handspun project, too. Hmmmmm....

We did one geocache today. Now we're just being lazy in front of the fire. I LOVE our Sundays.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Scandinavian Baby Cardigan Is Done!

I've been a bit under the weather the past 24 hours, so I had some knitting time.

As I commented, I needed to FINISH this baby sweater. I buckled down, and the sweater is DONE!

This is a size two Scandinavian Cardigan, pattern by Cottage Creations. Knitted in Plymouth Encore (75% Acrylic/25% Wool) - a great yarn for children's items.

It was a fun sweater to knit. The pattern gives two options for knitting: in the round, or back and forth.

I chose to knit it in the round. Not my best choice, considering it's primarily acrylic, and I needed to steek it. The machine stitched steek appears to be holding well, but weaving in all the ends, using acrylic, was no fun.

I've hidden the steeks under a knitted on button band/facing combination. I like the way the knitted facing hides ALL the cut threads.

Acrylic steeks do NOT lay down politely like friendly wool steeks.

The smaller sizes of this pattern do not call for any short rows to lower the neckline in the front, and I think the neckline looks kinda wonky. I haven't got a babydoll of the right size to try this on, so I hope it will look better on an actual child!

Now I'm at a standstill. I've got Paul's socks to finish, but I have NO large project in the house to immediately cast on for!

Maybe I'll buy yarn for Rogue.

Or maybe I'll order the yarn for a sweater for Ben. He wears his Dale of Norway Nagano sweater quite a bit, and has shared with me that he would wear a mom-knitted Osterdalen sweater, too!

Guess that Norwegian college in Iowa is getting to him!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

knit on button band with facing for steek

I've committed myself to finishing this darn little baby sweater.

I had the right front button band knitted on, but I wanted something a bit tighter. So, I ripped it out. I'm letting that side rest, and beginning again on the left front.

You can see I picked up stitches along the steek. The right side I picked up 3 out of 5 stitches. This side I picked up 1 of 2, to make it a bit tighter.

The pattern had left 9 stitches at the base of the button band to pick up and complete the band. The pattern called for measuring the length of the steek, and knitting the button band to that length, then sewing it to the sweater.

I've been knitting the button band on as I go.

I knit the first 8 stitches in ribbing, then purl the last stitch together with one of my picked up stitches.

I added three stitches after this, for the facing. I need the facing to cover the steek. These three stitches are stockinette.

I'll tack the facing down later.

I turn, purl the first three stitches, then do ribbing for the remainder of the row.

I only attach the picked up stitches on the edge on a right side row.

I've knitted on edgings before, but never with the facing attached in this manner. I must have seen it somewhere, but can't remember any sources. How about you? Have you seen this before? Help me out - got the source?

I like it. It's working well, and it beats the heck out of sewing the whole button band on!

After Paul came home this evening, we had a visitor at the bird feeder. This little doe came right up to the house.

It's Paul's birthday. We had shrimp scampi for supper, and we'll have our traditional Ben & Jerry's ice cream for dessert later (after the Girl of the House goes to bed!)

Here's GotH with HER traditional birthday Ben & Jerry's, while we were at Snowbasin.

(Easier than a cake when you're away from home, which we usually are, skiing.)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Look what happens when you puppysit

When Harlan and Coleen came to pick up Khaki, look what they brought! Lovely flowers for the Girl of the House, the recent recipient of a nifty flower press. (A gift from H&C for her 12th birthday.)

Coleen also brought lots of pictures from our recent Snowbird trip.

I had requested pictures of the felted clogs I knitted them for Christmas. Luckily, our condo had a washing machine, so I was able to felt them to size while we were on our trip! I made Steelers clogs for Coleen, and Wild clogs for Harlan. (Does she take artistic pictures, or what!!)

The Cobblestone pullover got blocked this weekend.

Here, it's just hanging out doing the last bit of drying.

Baby scandinavian sweater received one button band. I'm contemplating tearing it out and making it a bit tighter/shorter. I did end up improvising the knitting of the band. I picked up along the edge and knitted the band to it. At the same time, I knit 3 stitches behind where I attached it, to cover the steek. It was a bit of futzing, but not too bad.

I'll take some photos of the left side as I knit it. I like it - it minimizes sewing, and that's ALWAYS good!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing,

wind braces up, and snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. John Ruskin (1819-1900)

No fresh resolutions from our household, just a peaceful welcoming in of the new year.

Ben returned to college, and the house is quiet, and a bit lonesome, again.

We had visitors this morning. Harlan and Coleen came by, with their big pup, Khaki.
They bought new snowshoes, and wanted to walk in the arb.

They were out for more than 2 miles! Guess those snowshoes work!

They had a party to attend in the afternoon/evening, so they left Khaki with us. They left their snowshoes, too. So, we tried them out. These are wonderful things, these snowshoes! I like them much better than cross country skis.

Our dogs went out with us. We walked about a mile, just out in the pasture.

The view of the yard from the back of the property. Winter always gives me a new perspective...

All of the boys were hungry for their supper, after all that exercise.

Khaki's settling in very nicely.

I keep putting off a few projects.

Now, I MUST do them.

I'll start back on my carry around socks.

Not sure I want to continue two socks on two needles. It's a bit more futzing around than I want right now. Moves it away from totally mindless knitting.

The scandinavian baby sweater needs its button band. I'm not sure why I dread it so.

But I've got sweater fever. I bought the Rogue pattern, and I'm dreaming of the perfect yarn.