Progress continues smoothly on the baby sweater. I coerced En Esch into modeling it last weekend.
Clearly, En was entirely bored with my knitting and picture-taking. I told him to shut up and model or I would cut off the cat food supply.
He reluctantly and sullenly complied.
It is, of course, much further along now. I am done with the body and nearly done with the sleeves. Still need to find the perfect button. And perhaps a better model.
* * * * *
Smokey's knee replacement surgery that was scheduled for last Monday was rescheduled for March 3 because he had a URI that was not fully cleared up. I emailed the boys to let them know the status, which prompted the following email exchange.
Elder Son, the almost-doctor: Good. You don't want infected hardware. (He went on about how Smokey has several of the risk factors for post-surgical infection.)
Younger Son: I can provide my fridge for secure storage, if need be.
Elder Son: I also volunteer [Younger Son's] fridge.
It was surprisingly well-attended. All the tables were filled. I cannot tell you how many events of one kind or another that I have attended here in Polk Count where, counting me, there were fewer people than you have fingers.
My team was poised and alert and ready with answers.
Example of a question in the presidential trivia category: Which president was featured on the $500 bill from 1928 to 1934? (Click and drag to see the answer.)McKinley. Smokey knew that one.
Musical trivia: What two-person French musical group had a hit in 2013 with Random Access Memories? Daft Punk. Younger Son knew that one.
Science and nature trivia: What bird is this? (audio of a bird song) Cardinal. I knew that one.
Sports trivia: What year was the first SuperBowl and who was the quarterback of the winning team? 1966 and Bart Starr. Smokey knew the quarterback but was off by one year.
Events in 2013: Name the musician who died in 2013 and opened Woodstock with a two-hour set. Richie Havens. Smokey had to think about it for awhile, but he knew that one, too.
It was a lot of fun. We were ahead most of the night but ended up in second place.
They are the perfect thing to keep a shawl or scarf in place. The magnets are strong enough, according to the description, to hold through five layers of thin cotton. I think that may be an understatement; I have found them to hold perfectly through two layers of fingering weight wool garter stitch plus a cotton t-shirt.
Here is today's demonstration:
The second magnebutton is inside the black t-shirt. No need for a safety pin or a bulky knot, the scarf stayed exactly where I wanted it all day.
$18/set of two. This is an unsolicited testimonial; I have no connection to the site or the product except being a satisfied customer.
The women athletes and by NBC's coverage of them. How many times was one of them described as strong, competitive, athletic, daring, brave, determined -- and all in a tone of admiration rather than disapproval? Now let's move that admiration into the rest of women's lives. [/rant]
The contrast between the attitudes of the women figure skaters and the women snowboarders. The figure skaters were unbearably tense before their routines and visibly relieved afterwards. The snowboarders were all smiles, boucing around, hugging each other no matter whether they wone or which team each hugger was on -- they were having FUN! We decided figure skaters tend to be prima donnas.
The USA woman skeleton competitor, Noelle Pikus-Pace, clearly not aware of what she was doing, who clawed her way into the stands to embrace her family when she realized she had won a medal. And when she was interviewed the word "I" never crossed her lips; it was all "We did it!" And it truly was a family effort. Not mentioned in those links: her husband built her sled.
Jason Brown, the pony-tailed figure skater from Highland Park, Ill., who always (this photo notwithstanding) looked so happy when he was skating. And why not? He was a joy to watch.
More on Jason Brown: when he did that jump/spin toward the end of his routine WITH ONE ARM OVER HIS HEAD! That has to make it so much harder, plus doing it late in the routine when he was probably getting tad tired. Spectacular.
The skating -- can you tell I love the figure skating? -- seemed so much more beautiful in this Olympics. There appeared to be more emphasis on skating rather than jumping. Reading this confirms my impression.
When the Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu did this move:
The music Hanyu skated to. For a moment I thought it was Pink Floyd. I am a Pink Floyd lover and a blues lover, and that soundtrack delighted me.
Have the Winter Olympics always lasted for three weeks? Well, I know they started out much shorter, but I do not remember them going on as long as the Summer Olympics. Probably just my memory failing me (again)...
Watching the skiing and snowboarding aerials reminded me of Stein Ericson, the person who invented aerials. In high school my boyfriend, an accomplished downhill and giant slalom skier (but not so good in the slalom) told me about the Stein flip. I think his pipe dream was to be able to do it. He went to college in Boulder and we lost touch. Don't know if he ever did.
A couple minor last thoughts:
Why are the announcers for bobsled, luge, and skeleton Australian? I am not criticizing their commentary; I'm sure they are doing a fine job. It's just that Australia has neither mountains nor snow, which seem to me to be requirements to become expert in those sports.
Irony: BMW, a German company, is bragging that it designed the US two-man bobsled for the Olympics. I wonder what the German team thinks of that? (Probably depends on who gets the medals.)
One of Smokey's former co-workers and former tenant of ours had a baby in November, and Smokey suggested that I knit something for the new arrival. I was deep into other projects right then, but I dug in the stash and came up with an idea. That idea is #3, below.
Smokey, however, thought I should give the new mom some yarn and color choices. More stash digging yielded four possibles.
Yarn is 500+ yards of some heavy fingering weight merino that I won a million years ago in Cara's give-away to raise money for Heifer International.
Yarn is all Lang Jawolle sock yarn, except for the green ball at back. I had a brainstorm to hold two strands together and blend the colors to create a rainbow.
Clearly, this is not a baby sweater, but I thought I could use the same idea, stripes of various shades and tints of red separated by narrow bands of black.
The new mom chose the sweater hiding behind door photo #2, saying she loved the mental image of Baby Abigail in those colors.
I will use Bev Galeska's Baby Brights pattern, which I have modified and used for two previous babysweaters. It is knit from the top down, all in one piece, with no finishing except to weave in the ends and sew on a button or three.
This is what it looks like when you recruit people to get on a bus at 6 am to ride through the cold (it was -19˚F when we left Eau Claire) to the state capitol to lobby their their legislators in support of libraries. Some talk, some read, some are glued to their iPhones or iPads, and some sleep.
Oh, and one of them knits. (More on that later. Non-political types may want to skip down past the YouTube to the knitting.)
Tuesday was the annual Library Legislative Day in Wisconsin, and, as a trustee of the regional library system, I participated. (Sadly, given that my state senator and assemblyman are both firmly in the pocket of Governor Walker -- who is firmly in the pocket of ALEC, the Koch brothers, and anyone else who will donate significant money to his campaign(s) -- I am not sure how much good it did. But it needed to be done and I did my part.)
The red sweater OTN. It will be OTN for awhile, and you are probably going to get tired of reading about it. Because it is a merino cotton blend, I plan to wear it year-round, except perhaps for January and July.
Honeycrisp apples. These were developed at the University of Minnesota back in the 1990s. If you haven't had one, you are missing a real treat. They do not store as well as many apples and so are available only between September and mid-winter. Look for them! This image on the skin is not standard equipment :-(
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis). This photo, while having excellent color reproduction on my monitor, does not quite convey the super-saturated red that is a cardinal flower. Its red is one to get lost in.
Cardinals. I haven't seen any here since we had to take down the bird feeder pole to install the new drain field. I really need to get a new pole and have Smokey/Younger Son put it up. Our old one had four arms extending from the central pole with a hanging hook at the end of each. Four different bird feeders! One arm got bent by a bear -- bears are death on bird feeders -- but the rest may be intact. We had a thistle feeder for the goldfinches and chickadees, a suet cake for the woodpeckers, a hummingbird feeder for the hummers and the orioles, and a (mostly) squirrel-proof sunflower seed feeder for everybody (except the squirrels). It was constant entertainment outside the dining room window.
A ripe tomato, still warm from the sun. It is difficult to grow really good tomatoes this far north, so we tend to rely on the local farmers' markets for them. People who grow food as a job and in a sund-drenched field grow better tomatoes than we who live in the woods. Last summer we did have a great cherry tomato plant on the deck; must do that again this year.
My iPad (cover). I am quite fond of the decorative stickers, too :-)
TheNantucket Baggthat I use as a purse. It holds the normal purse stuff plus has ample room for my knitting, notebook or folders for whatever meeting I am headed to, my iPad, and a pair of shoes if I need them. Also, the red carabiner visible at the top; it is hooked onto an inner strap and is where I attach my keys.
The wallet that can also double as a purse when I don't want to carry the 110-pound Bagg into the grocery store. My work-around for years has been to use a wallet with a shoulder strap; I just grab it and leave the Bagg in the car. Do you know how hard it is to find a wallet with a shoulder strap? Last night I came upon this, which would solve the problem permanently. Haven't decided yet whether to get one for future use.
My emergency knitting kit. I got mine back in 2008 as a prize in a blog contest. The only one I could find now was at this site which is currently down for repairs and maintenence. I also found this one, which is cute, I guess, but appears to be made of corrogated cardboard. What I am saying is, Neener, neener, I have one and you don't!
The haze of red in the spring when the swamp maples are in bloom. It wil come, it will come, this winter cannot last forever...
Edited to add: while previewing this post, I realized that I am also quite fond of the red color scheme of the blog. Never seen another blog that uses it. Apparently it is not a universal favorite :-)
Once upon a time I took up needlepoint. But after making several Christmas ornaments and two framed nutcrackers, I decided I didn't like needlepoint because it was... frivolous. Nothing I made had any particular use; I felt like a pampered rich bitch from the seventeenth century who probably deserved to have her head lopped off and all her possessions distributed to the starving serfs who slaved to make her useless existance happen.
Knitting is not like that. Knitting is useful. Knitting is functional. Sure, we can make frivolous things sometimes, but by and large, even those frivolous things are at least nominally useful.
My recent knitting has been useful.
I finished two pairs of fingerless gloves. The Kat's™ hands are safe from frostbite. Midwestern hospitals have been reporting an epidemic of frostbite this winter. Apparently, many people have forgotten how to dress for the weather.
Not me. I dislike being cold. My winter outerwear is either a down jacket or a down coat. Toasty warm but boring because both are dark brown. Boorrrr-ing.
Solution: jazz them up with bright hat(s), scarf(ves), gloves, mittens.
There was the turquoise hat and scarf I made last spring. Hat keeps me warm, scarf did, too, until I lost misplaced it.
A casual stop at the outlet mall scored me two pairs of leather gloves.
But leather gloves, while perfect for gripping the steering wheel, are not terribly warm. Fingerless gloves to the rescue!
I pair the blue set with the down coat, which is what I wear when it is particularly cold. Because they are stranded knitting and worsted weight yarn on US#5 needles, they are warm.
The fingertip cuffs can be extended when it is really, really cold.
Pattern:Striped Mittens from Favorite Mittens by Robin Hansen. Yarn: Cascade 220 in the creatively named 4006, about half a skein. The blue and green tweedy bits are two strands of sock yarn held together, Online Highland colors (also creatively named) 838 and 840. Needle: Signature US#5/3.75mm circ.
The red set is paired with the down jacket when the temp is above 20˚F.
Then there was my cowl. I liked it so much I decided to make a cowl for a friend whose birthday is this month. (She doesn't read the blog, so it is safe to show it here.) I have been thinking about knitting her something for her birthday for at least two years. I had only a week until her birthday, however; clearly, her gift could not be the Clapotis I had been thinking about nor a fingering weight cowl like mine. But I had some lovely soft DK weight that would be perfect.
Behold, the City Creek Cowl!
She can wear it like this to keep her nose warm...
...or like this and pretend she is Elizabeth I...
...or like this, demure like a Jane Austen heroine.
Pattern:City Creek Cowl by Susan Lawrence. Yarn:Knit Picks Gloss DK (70/30 merino/silk; 50gr/123yd) in cream, about 1-1/4 balls. I have a couple skeins of fingering weight Gloss, and they feel like any other sock yarn. The DK, however, is delightfully soft and fluffy. Needles: Knit Picks Options US#10. Mods: The chart is 45 rows, then the pattern says to repeat rows 16-45 once. I omitted that repeat because I could not imagine attempting to wear a cowl that was as tall as it would have been.
Because this is DK weight yarn knit on 6.0mm needles, it has a nice soft drape. The pattern recommended blocking it on a large can to ensure that it is stretched enough to drape properly. I omitted that step, but I will tell her about it so she can do it if she wants it larger. (I have the perfect can -- maybe I should give her that, too.)
That's the FOs. Here is what I started after I rose from my sickbed last week.
I will be spending at least ten hours in a car and a bus this week, plus needing to idle away a fair bit of time in the middle (more on that another day), which means lots of knitting time. Thinking that juggling two balls of yarn might be problematic -- I'm knitting both sleeves at once because if I don't they will not match, no way, ever -- I decided to cast on for the back.
My goal is to march right through this sweater. I have made myself three sweaters since I got back to serious knitting in ~2005 and every darned one of them took me at least two years. Not this time (she said firmly).
There were, of course, some notable knits in the Olympic opening ceremonies. Really, what good is a winter olympics without knitwear? I combed a multitude of blog posts and *news* articles critiqueing the fashion statements made by the various nations' designers, which revealed to me that opinions are likeassh- navels; everybody has one.
This week's challenge is to start ten sentences with "I am..." Here goes!
I am... sick but getting better. Had a dry cough for over a week, but it really hit me Sunday. Two days in bed and I am feeling better. I have never had a URI like this -- usually they start with a tickle in the nose/throat, not a cough. Robitussin (generic version) was a great help.
I am... sad that I live in the fourth most expensive health insurance market in the country. Particularly when we are so close to Minnesota, where the state insurance market is so much cheaper. Thank you, Governor Walker... NOT.
I am... happy that we got plowed out on Saturday, thanks to a recommendation from my friend Carleen. The guy returned our call on Friday and came on Saturday morning. First he had to clear the snow from the end of the driveway to where my Volvo was stuck, a distance of perhaps 50 feet. That took him nearly an hour. Great guy, put us on his plowing route for the rest of the winter.
I am... a teensy bit tired of winter. 'Nuff said.
I am... determined to get through the huge pile of books on my TBR pile. I read three in four days last week, then knocked off two or three more by starting them and deciding I was not interested. Have read ten books so far this year.
I am... being extremely careful when I use my chef's knife now, after my little escapade on Friday night. That new chef's knife I got from Younger Son is really, really sharp.
I am... just finished with a cowl for a friend's birthday next weekend. Pictures and details to follow.
I am... about to cast on for a baby sweater for a friend's newborn. Ditto.
I am... planning my next project -- a sweater for myself, I think -- after that. Haven't decided which yarn to use, let alone a pattern. Choices, choices!
I am... gonna go cuddle up with a cat and a book and a glass of wine now. TTFN!
I was dicing some ham for inclusion in Friday night's dinner when I I made a doofus move and sliced the tip of my finger. Not sliced off, mind you, but close.
Want to see? This is a tissue wrapped around the finger and held in place with scotch tape.
Here is the other side of the bandaged finger. (Not for the overly squeamish.)
And here, using a handy chip clip as a tourniquet. (Ditto.)
When I showed it to Smokey, he asked if I thought it needed stitches. "Yes," I replied, "but how exactly is that gonna happen? We are snowed in, remember?"
No stitches, then, just a good tight bandage.
Here is the actual cut the next day.
It is healing nicely, minimal discomfort, just the occasional reminder that there is a right way and a wrong way to hold a chef's knife and that I need to do it the right way every time, not just almost every time.