Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Blue sweater blues

Here's the lovely photo of Oldest Daughter's blue sweater. Oh the excitement.

Just for fun, I branched out into baby sweaters again. Why do I always say, "never again" when they are so pleasant to make? I think it's because the little needles drive me crazy more thoroughly.
I am still pondering what to knit for Knitting Olympics - I am probably going to do a shawl but I haven't narrowed it down. Hmm - perhaps something from "Folk Shawls?"
I am pleased to report that I have worked my way through washing and carding four more varieties of wool for my Shepherd's Harvest project. So far, a grand total of seven varieties. Alas, I still have to spin, dye and knit something with it all.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Stinkin Lincoln

The last couple of days, I have been spending my evening hours heating water on the stove, filling my buckets in the kitchen sink and washing wool. I don't have a laundry sink any more and my washing machine is front loading. Although this is a labor intensive system, it generally gets the job done. Until I hit the stinking Lincoln.

One of the bags of wool from my Shepherd's Harvest Fiber Contest (Recap here: spinners purchase a trash bag full of 10 different kinds of fiber - wash, spin and create an item to bring the 2006 Harvest made out of at least 8 out of 10 kinds of fiber for a chance at a $100 prize) was Lincoln and it stinks. Vegetable matter in the fleece was really what comes after eating vegetables. My husband raised sheep as a teenager and he and his brother had the motto, "We like fleeces without feces."

Well, so do I.

I washed and washed and washed and finally just figured that carding or combing would have to get the rest out. I get the feeling that I'll be dyeing this yarn some dark color. I picked the fleece over before washing but it's just been a wreck.

This is my comeuppance for not washing it earlier. Mea Culpa.

In the backgound, knitting the blue sweater. More knitting the blue sweater. Outside of that project, I may be crazy but I am also contemplating joining the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. I have some shawls that I have both the patterns and yarn for so my project will probably be something portable. I will be traveling to England during the Olympics so I have been wondering about what I can bring on the plane.

Oh, and the stinking Lincoln brings me back to my childhood. In the little town where I grew up, there were two elementary schools. One was Lincoln Elementary. So, those of us at the other school sang this oh-so-creative song about our competition - "Stinkin Lincoln, what are you drinkin'? Looks like water, tastes like wine - yuck, it's year old turpentine."

Like what 9-year-old knows what turpentine is, anyway?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What's a knitter to do - except wash wool and then spin

Although my recent venture into the insanity of triathelete training (It's all okay - but how do they find the time?), I have still been knitting . . . and knitting . . . and knitting on the blue sweater. I contemplated taking a picture of it but it really looks just the same as before. Only longer. I think the body from the underarm down is about eight inches right now but I'm working on 22 inches. Maybe when I get halfway, I'll show the sweater.

In the meantime, during a major housecleaning last Saturday (not because I wanted a cleaner house but because some furniture from my late mother-in-law's estate arrived), I ran across a challenge package of wool that I bought at last year's Shepherds' Harvest. It was composed of about 12 ziplock bags of wool from different breeds of wool. The challenge is to clean, spin and make something from 8 of the bags of wool. I wish I had washed sooner as some of the fleeces could really had used some cleaning! Since my kitchen is still under construction, I am washing wool in old spackling buckets in my kitchen sink. Production line it's not! Take a gander!

I'm thinking of making a patchwork quilt kind of afghan in honor of my late mother-in-law because she really loved quilting. I've never made an afghan before but I'm investigating patterns now. I'd appreciate suggestions but that would imply people are reading this!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Too cold to kint?

Earlier today, when attempting to write this blog, I realized that my household might have reached the tipping point on saving energy.

It was the middle of the day and I was just too cold to knit. I was fully dressed, wearing a turtleneck, jeans and a sweater so heavy I couldn't wear it under my winter coat. I was sitting on my bed, with a blanket trying to knit and it was still too cold!

Our worst heating bill was several years ago, in the pre-stormwindows and insulation phase of our old house, and last month was twice that bill.

When I am not too cold, I am still working on the blue sweater. I am almost to working on the sleeves. Something about this pattern is really clicking with me. Parts are boring but the yarn is pleasant to work with and that makes it better.

I have to say that Edward Gorey is one of my favorite authors and illustrators. When I saw this quiz I just had to check it out.

Don't Trip
You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little
anti-social, and may want to start gaining new
social skills by making prank phone calls.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

Who knew?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Determined New Year's Resolutions

After a very relaxed Christmas (no knitting books but everything else was lovely, thanks for asking!) and a great New Year's visit to St. Louis to visit family, it's back to the grindstone. At last, the blue sweater is progressing wonderfully. What a difference a pattern makes, eh? I'll post a picture of the progress.

I got a great holiday surprise from Puggy at Puggyknits - the chance to test one of her patterns for a bulky shrug. I bought some lovely chunky Misty Alpaca for a steal at my local yarn store and look forward to working the Puggyshruggy pattern.

Also, after my Oldest Daughter spent most of our holidays spinning industriously on her new hand spindle, I brought out my Lendrum spinning wheel again. It is very soothing to work through a bag of fiber on a snowy afternoon. I've been going over my Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook for dye ideas. Unfortunately, more spinning, less knitting.

My New Year's resolutions? Finish knitting what I've started or purchased for. I think that's probably on every good knitter's list but this year, darn it, I mean it.

Happy New Year!