LOOM FUN

It is so wonderful to have Megan and her family with us for ten-plus days.  We have already been gigantically busy and more to come.

Megan loved the samplers I wove at the Harrisville Weaving Center in June with teacher Tom Jipson.  I loved that class and recommend it to everyone.  Anyway, I had gotten some parts to update the loom as the folks there told me I should.  Aunt Freda had given me her beautiful Harrisville loom which she purchased in 1975.  The rawhide cables were a bit stretched, so I bought into the idea of replacing them and some other parts.

When Megan and I started putting the loom together with the new parts we could not do it!  I called and found that Terri was going to be there  until five and would help us.  We arrived at about 1:30 and worked like dogs for two hours putting on new parts.  We discovered that in the confusion of check-out day in June whoever had gotten the parts for us had given us parts for a 22-inch loom even though the receipt clearly stated that they were parts for a 36-inch loom, which is the size of mine.

We arrived home after six to hungry men, and burned out ourselves.  Lovely day together, though.

Today Megan put on the ribbons. All we have left to do is put together the tensioning device then we are ready to warp the loom.  Yay!!

KNITTING WITH ELSIE, AND THE ELEPHANT

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Yesterday was Knitting at Elsie’s Day, my regular Thursday afternoon adventure.  It is so lovely to go to her home, feel so welcomed and sit and knit and talk.

The whole day had been busy, starting with swimming at the Aqua Center then watching the grandkids for a bit while Mom went to a meeting to plan the Primary program.  Eldon was sick and napping on the couch when I arrived around 9:30–napping being totally unheard of for that boy.  He has not napped in years.  Anyway, sometime after his mom left he started reporting a bad belly.  Eventually he made a mad dash to the bathroom, but did not make it in time.  Poor little creature.  Caleb gave me some newsy bits on what it is like to have “throw up problems”!  So funny to hear that little three-year-old giving this news report.    Leah kept climbing the stairs so the third time I put her in her crib and she immediately went to sleep.  Maybe I should assume she WANTS a nap, and go up with her when she heads that way…

On the way to care for the little ones I had stopped at Joann to get some white crochet thread to begin an insertion for my temple dress which is about 4 inches to short.  I am making the insertion about 8 inches wide and will crochet until I cannot stand it anymore, at least four and a half yards, then will wash it in the washing machine to see if I can shrink it down a good deal.  As long as it is long enough to insert, I will make the width work.  At least I think so!

At Elsie’s, Sharon and Cameron came. Sharon was working on an adorable little gray and white tiger cat–sewing on the ears and working the seams up.  Cameron is working on his gorgeous brown sweater.  Elsie was sewing up a beautiful pair of wool socks and working on a carrot-colored sweater for Lise.  This is probably Elsie’s 7th sweater for Lise to sell at the farmer’s market.

While knitting and visiting, I told Elsie I was concerned about how to figure dimensions for a sweater when you change the yarn and needles, thus changing the gauge.  She found me a great article on how to figure percentages from a Knitting magazine some years old.  That makes me more confident that I can successfully complete Megan’s vest.

During the Elsie knitting, I worked more on the Elephant, finishing the first leg and beginning the second leg—the photo accompanying this entry.  So much fun.  The yarn is Regia Stretch cotton. I have a good mind to get another ball and actually make some socks out of it. It knits up very easily and is comfortable on my hands.

Sharon asked me if I was on Facebook.  When I said yes, she had Cameron go to Elsie’s computer so she could “friend” me.  When I arrived home I confirmed her friend request.  It is so nice to have so many “friends” on Facebook.  One can learn a lot of stuff that way…!

A REAL WOOL DAY

What a day!  Up early to do a few jobs around home then left early to get to the Dorr Mill Store in Guild, NH for a braided rug class with Sandy Luckury at 10 AM.  Despite the rain, wet roads, and a quick stop at the credit union, I made it to Guild with time for a brief  personal “rest stop” and glance around the store before class began.  Sandy L., class member Sandy, Camille, and I were the only braiders there today.

There is so much to learn about Barbara Fisher’s braided rug method.  In a previous class two weeks ago I had learned to braid and worked two 15-inch braids with sample wool to be used for “butting” practice eventually. At that time I purchased three yards of gorgeous wool–deep red, navy, and a gray herringbone–to go along with some wonderful gold that Aunt Freda had given me a few weeks ago. Sandy had instructed me to start the braid with the colors that I wanted for the center of the rug then contact her with the number of repeats per 12 inches.  Because this wool is blanket weight there were only 7 repeats and the braids were a full inch wide rather than the regular 9 repeats and three-quarter inch braids with the standard braiding wool.

The first thing Sandy L had me do was to prepare a color plan for the rug by snipping many very small pieces of the five fabrics and putting them together in sets of three which correspond with each round of the pattern.  Rather than do a hit-or-miss rug I am doing a patterned rug that will be approximately 2 feet by 3 feet.

I had planned to make stair treads for our beautiful new stairs but Bob rejected that idea.  Probably a great blessing as it would have cost a great deal of money and even more work to make treads for each stair in the addition.  Thank you, Bob!

Next on the list of things to learn was how to figure out the amount of wool yardage to purchase for any given rug using a template Sandy had created.  I believe I have plenty of fabric for this first rug.

By the time I had filled in that chart and used the calculator for the math, it was 11:30.  Since I planned to leave at noon, rather than stay until 1 PM, which Sandy would have allowed, Sandy L got me finishing the braid for the center round, going around both corners and then adding the extra preparing for the butting.

When the center round was ready, the clock had just about run out  of time but there was one more thing Sandy L needed me to do:  figure out the placement of each “strand” of color for each braid.  She had a handy chart to fill out, so now, at home, I can actually get all the braids prepared before I go back.  If I get that done, I can go on to the next part of the instruction.  Because Megan is coming to visit with her family for the next two Wednesdays and the following week Bob and I are at the Temple, it will not be until the last Wednesday in September that I can go again.  I sincerely hope I can get a lot of the braiding done by then, BUT….with so much cleaning needed to prepare for company (Megan’s family plus Kate Shaffer and the spinning workshop in October)  I do not know how far I will get.

A REAL WOOL DAY, PART TWO

Because Guild is part of Newport, NH, and because Newport, NH is the home of Hodge Podge, a fabulous yarn, fiber, and spinning store,  I thought I would make a quick stop at Hodge Podge for some yarn for my newest pattern acquisition:  Sock Yarn Balloon Tying Creations by CID HANSCOM DESIGNS.

There are about ten of the cutest designs imaginable for “balloon tied” animals.  I showed the patterns to Eldon the other day.  He was favorably impressed with all of them so I thought rather than immediately give the pattern to Cynthia, I would use it first.  I have chosen to make the elephant, the bird, and the duck.

The elephant pattern calls for 2 colors:  Trekking XXL #1005 and Trekking XXL #314.  Hodge Podge does not carry Trekking yarn so I found a lovely gray and black named Licorice by Patons Stretch Socks yarn.  For the blanket part I got Regia 4-Fach Haltbar in Farbe: 01800 and Partie 43448.

The duck will be the same Regia 4-Fach Haltbar in greens, oranges, and yellows as well as some Reynolds Soft Sea sock yarn in color 0853, an orange for the bill and feet.

Mrs. Bird is going to be several blues and purples from Chirapa hand dyed merino spun in Peru.  The shade is 703.  The same orange for the beak as the duck and some Chirapa hand-dyed merino in a browns/black/oranges for the nest.

MORE ON THE CHALLENGE RACE

Today was a great day.  Got up just exactly 7 AM and one minute later received a phone call from my dear friend P about the day we had planned to work on her genealogy and various computer issues.  Since I was a slugabed it took a while for me to get going, get dressed, get breakfast for Bob and me, and get my stuff into the car. (Since I was not sure what precisely we were going to do I wanted to bring along my race knitting in case there was some down time.  There did not turn out to be this time.)

As I was racing through the upstairs to get something in our former bedroom, now the guest bedroom, I stepped down the long step into  the sewing room and squished my foot into something and slid several inches.  Miraculously I did not totally lose my balance.  I discovered that Max had left us a very very unpleasant present on the rug….which I picked up, included my Crock which I had fortuitously been wearing, and took the whole mess out onto the porch…finished packing the car and took off.

Many hours later when I arrived home I found that Bob, the angel, had taken care of the mess, including scrubbing my Crock.  He had also mowed the lawn and worked in the garage and worked at pruning more trees.  I made him a supper of spring mix greens and other salad plus sort of fresh sweet corn on the cob from Wing’s Market.  For dessert I made Greek-style yogurt with freshly-made strawberry jam using Mary B’s method with Clear Jel.  Sadly, it was nowhere nearly as good as Mary’s….perhaps pureeing the strawberries while they were still frozen was the problem?  Also the berries, having been picked at their perfect ripeness were already nicely sweet so the sugar I added made them sickeningly sweet for me, but Bob more or less enjoyed the glop.

After taking care of supper I retired to the upper regions, specifically the nice big fat leather easy chair…which I noticed for the first time has a rather “used” smell.  Well, it IS a used chair but I never noticed before…sort of like it has been sitting in a garage for seventeen years.  Oh well.  At least it is more or less comfy and the children can sit on the big arms for reading.  Hopefully I will get the chance on Wednesday when they come here while their mom and dad are having dental appointments.

Picking up the race knitting I went to town as best I could, despite being very tired.  I managed to get to round 44 of the 70 rows of feather and fan work.  I just started ball number three. I am concerned that I will run out of yarn before I run out of chart and bind-off.  Hopefully that will not happen.  I don’t have any other yarn in that color and don’t know if there is more in Grantham.

EPILOGUE:  I finished the afghan around 11 PM Saturday night.  When I went online to send a little email to Kim about it, she had already announced the winner who walked into the store prior to 5 PM.  Sad face here, but so glad to have done this.  I learned a lot of stuff….about knitting, and about priorities.  Some of my priorities were on the money, others were not…

ESSENTIAL KNITS RACE CHALLENGE

Today finally arrived:  the day the Essential Knits (Grantham, NH) knitting race began.  The pattern was posted at 5 PM Eastern time to the emails of all the people who signed up.  I had been working on a couple of comfort dolls while Bob was doing other stuff (including hiking Holts’ Ledge  from the front to back and then back to the front again–7 miles!) and all of a sudden I remembered!  It was 6:15.  Due to computer/printer issues I had to use the upstairs computer to acquire and print the pattern.  Finally I started knitting around 6:30. It is 9:45 and I have finished the first page and got to the part where it references the “feather and fan” chart.  Uh-oh!  There is no chart.  I have just sent an email to Kim and hope to have the chart tomorrow.

Maybe I will take my computer with me, along with flash drive so I can help her by turning her file into a PDF file which she can then send out to all of us.  We shall see.  Tomorrow is campus ministers’ meeting and knitting with Elsie, plus I was planning to take the comforter to the laundromat to wash and dry in the big machines.  We shall see….

THE BEGINNING OF SPINNING (WOOL FIBER!)

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Many years ago Bob and I talked about raising sheep so we would have a mountain of lovely fiber to spin, something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl and read Rumpelstiltskin for the first time.  When I met Elsie McCarthy at Wing’s Market in East Thetford one day two years ago and she invited me to come knit with her on Thursdays, I had no idea the turn my fiber passage would take.

As we sat knitting with a group of very nice people we talked of many things.  When I said I was interested in spinning, she gave me a handmade drop spindle and showed me how to use it.  I was a terrible failure at using it.  I got out the drop spindle that Brother Bob Scotland had made for me many many years ago, along with a bag of fiber Sister Virginia Scotland had given me.  I was a terrible failure at that, too.  So, if the free stuff didn’t work, surely if I spent money, then I could do it.  Helloyarn.com seemed the perfect place, since I had visited a yarn shop in Massachusetts who recommended helloyarn…and I purchased a new drop spindle and a pound of merino fiber.  Still a failure.

Soon Elsie offered to loan me her Ashford Traveller spinning wheel, and her husband, Larry, put it immediately into the back seat of our Camry.  I was so thrilled with the wheel and the bags of fiber Elsie gave me to try my hand at spinning on a wheel.  It did not start off very well, but now, nearly a year later, I am beginning to spin more successfully…still not well, mind you, but better.

FROM A PREVIOUS BLOG

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Grace’s Aran Is Complete 10-17-2008

The first time through the “chest motif” did not work…it splayed out and was pretty ugly when attached to the braided cable, even though the motif by itself was beautiful. Another time I will knit the whole central strip with the diamond motif.

The sweater, as photographed, is lying on the hot tub in our unit in Playa del Carmen at the Royal Haciendas. Beautiful area. Lots of rain at this season but lovely rain.

Sweater done, now on to socks for Caleb, and a Danish working shawl.

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The Chest Motif on Grace’s Sweater 10-5-08

Yesterday during General Conference I finished knitting up the sweater, including the chest motif and the neckline ribbing.  Alissa was kind enough to try it on so I could see what we had.

What we had was a big problem!  Well, several problems, actually.

  The neckline was too high.  At least I would have found it choking, if I were to wear it.

The chest motif splayed out way beyond the central braided cable.  It needs to come out.  I am hoping Grace will see this photo, or these photos if I get another one posted, and see the same thing I am seeing.  I think it will look much better to have the braided cable run all the way to the top.  Another time I will make something with the diamond motif, but probably running all the day up the sweater.

The raglan seam was too long….a full inch longer than Meg Swansen told me should be the maximum raglan length….to that needs to drop down, too.

So, one always learns something when knitting.  Or doing anything, I guess.  Sad, though, as I had hoped to finish and mail the sweater this week and it looks like that might not happen…Sorry, Grace!

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Yarn Store Visit ends in…Nothing  9-30-08

Can you believe it?!  I cannot.  Let me tell you what happened.

Yesterday I drove to Manchester to pick up Liz who was dropping off her rental car at the airport.  She had mentioned yarn stores when we talked about me picking her up, so, as any normal internet junky/knitting addict will do, I went to the net to see if there was a nice yarn store near Manchester. I had not checked that out before, though I did discover a nice fabric store called Martin’s House of Fabric or some such thing in Bedford…a very easy place to find.  Easy off exit 4 of 293, turn left at the end of the ramp.  Drive several blocks…about as long as it takes to think you are not going to find it, then there it is on the right.  Upstairs are lots of bridal and quilt fabrics as well as lovely fleece bolts.  I purchased a length of nice harvest-motifed fleece to make pants.  Perhaps I should say: pajama bottoms.  Since we are planning of dropping (well, it is already done!) the thermostat to 40 degrees for this winter, and then rely heavily on the wood stove, I thought some fleece pants might be in order.

Back to the yarn shop.  So, I found a store in Derry called The Yarn and Fiber Company.  At least I think that was it.  When Liz and I left the airport, we took the Perimeter Road then turned east on Route 28, drove about 7-8 miles and found the yarn store in a little plaza on the left across the highway from Applebees.  There is a nice Brooklyn Bagel shop nearly next door to the yarn shop in case you work up a hunger for lunch…open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 2 PM.

The Yarn and Fiber Company is a beautiful store with tons of glorious natural fibers and high end yarns.  Opal, Regia, Noro, their own hand-dyed…we even met the dyer, and many many more.  Lots of books, spinning wheels, even a sit, knit, and chat area which a lady was using.  We should have stopped to chat with her but were on a bit of a time crunch so we stuck to what we were doing.

Liz purchased a skein of probably Opal Cotton for a pair of socks that she is starting next week.  I looked and looked for a book on Fair Isle knitting that had a tam template in it as I have on hand five skeins of Jamieson yarn to use for a couple of tams. I want to see if I like knitting with colors but don’t want to start right out with a heavy-duty project like a sweater to cover my own nakedness.  Too much of a good thing….So, a tam seems like a great idea.

Well, though two different people helped and helped and searched everywhere,  there was not a book like that in the store.  Liz found a beautifully crafted sweater/jacket using Noro Silk Mountain yarn.  The jacket had raglan shaping with a sort of shawl collar/front band what appeared to be a ribbing five ribs wide, perhaps K2, P2.  It was apparently a pattern from the Noro catalog #20.  I think there must have been a number of good patterns in that booklet because, while we found Noro books from #15 up to about 23, there was no #20 in stock.  Perhaps we will find it somewhere else.  Maybe in Essential Knits in Grantham.  I shall call Kim and see if she has it!

So,  after being in the store a good forty-five minutes,  we left with only Liz’s sock skein.  I don’t think I have ever walked into a yarn store and come out empty-handed before!  Bob would say it was a good day!

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The First Felting Project  9-19-08

Last summer, May through June 2007, I had the blessing to spend a month with my 89-year-old  mother-in-law as she was fighting lymphoma with chemotherapy.  It turned out that I needed to stay with Mother Crossett every night instead of going home after the first night.   Early on I went to the library in town and was generously offered a library card in this  town which was an hour away from my own home.

In the first book which I borrowed from the library was a pattern for “My Constant Companion”.  I have since forgotten the name of the book and the name of the author,  though I think the designer was named Sharon.  She was very nice when I emailed her my thanks.  The url below shows a nice sample of this pattern.

http://www.knitkit.com/

My bag was knit with double strands of worsted weight Bartlettyarns that I purchased from Hilda Yates one fall and using size 15 circular needles, magic loop.  If you think that red pocket looks wonkley, it is!  I did not read the pattern correctly for that pocket at first and started knitting it garter stitch instead of stocking stitch.  Too bad, it really did matter, but now I have a bag with some extra hidey-holes in it where I can tuck small stuff that I don’t want anyone rummaging through the bag to be able to find immediately.  It really works!

Anyway, I love this bag and receive many kind comments, despite its flaws.  As far as I am concerned, its only real flaw is that it is so big I can put enough goods and chattels in it that it is almost impossible to lug around!

STARTING AGAIN IN BLOGDOM

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Today I received an email from the organizer of the local annual knitting retreat which was last weekend and which I did not attend due to a charitable emergency.  The message from Judith announced to me the beginning of the Knitting Olympics, which starts tonight.  I decided to participate.  I will knit the  Bearfoot Vest out of Mountain Colors Bearfoot held together with some Cascade 220 which was mis-spun into more like a DK weight yarn.

We shall see how it turns out…seventeen days not being a very long time when we have our temple week coming up next week.

Inspiration from Daughter

Talking with one’s daughter is a total delight. For me, at least, and so often I learn a lot while conversing. Today she shared some knitting, some health, some blog topics with me. She is knitting a beautiful Fair Isle purse, which she will felt. She is using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride yarn and US size 10 needles. I think it is beautiful. It makes me want to do some color work soon. I must not. I must not. I MUST NOT…at least until I finish the vest, the socks, the leggings, the hat, the shawl, the afghan…you get the picture.