Friday, December 29, 2006

Classical & Jazz Music Podcasts


I have come across a couple of wonderful classical music podcasts. My favorite is The Concert. These performances are outstanding classical music podcasts from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. They are from thirty minutes to an hour long, and well worth a listen or two.

WGBH in Boston also has some classical podcasts that are very fine full performances at this site: Classical Performances.

There are a few good jazz podcasts out there, too. Here's a piano podcast called Jazz Piano Small Pieces that I really like and here's the web site: Voiceblog. I can't read most stuff on this site, but the music is really lovely.

Also, Jazz and Conversation is a very nice blog, with podcasts offered, but it's finding the rss feed is not as easy on this site, so here it is: Jazz and Conversation podcast.

Okay, so I have bored most of you out there with this, and certainly all of you who don't give a hoot about podcasts or musical genre of this type. But if you like this type of music, check it out.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The 70's Sweater, Really!

Here it is...after years in the closet. I can still wear it, but it's a bit more snug than it used to be, and that's one reason it has been hibernating. Another is that it's so warm that even thirty years ago I found it too warm to wear indoors. The sweater made its debut at my oldest son's high school football game. The hood was warm and nicely attractive, too.

I knit sweaters for my sons, but the only other sweater that remains from ages ago is a little fisherman knit that was made for my nephew when he was a small child. I was happy to learn that sweater now belongs to my nephew's son, who was born in October of this year. It's a little big for him yet, but maybe in a year or so he will be wearing it. Here he is wearing the blue blanket I made for him:

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The 70's Sweater


The Best of Times---The Worst of Times

If anyone reading this is old enough to remember 1977 (it was the best of times; it was the worst of times), they might have been enamored of this knitting pattern featured on the cover of Family Circle magazine. It was a classic, and I had to have it. I made it, with my limited knitting skills. As luck would have it, it turned out rather nicely. I added a loop and a wooden button to keep me a bit warmer, but kept to the pattern in all other ways.

And I was lucky enough to find the original magazine intact in an antiques shop in Wisconsin. You just gotta dig for some things!

I still have the sweater (Mom says you should never toss a sweater) and if I can get a good photo of it, I'll post it later.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Google Knits!

Wow! Knitters have arrived! Google's Holiday logo features knitting kangaroos. If there were any doubts that knitting is in, dash those right now. See here for the daily progression.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas!


Merry Christmas!

Last night I read again the Christmas story. My heart is grateful.

We are spending a quiet Christmas Eve at home, and Jack's son will be here on Christmas day. Later in the week we will have Christmas with my son and his family.

And, of course, my knitting will be close at hand.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Circles Around the Holidays



When preparing a special meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas, I always find myself figuratively if not literally going in circles when it's time to mash the potatoes and carve the burnt offering. The same circles happen as the holidays approach.

I am now going in circles with my knitting. Who starts something new and interesting just before Christmas when they need to be finishing up that scarf so it can be wrapped? To be a bit gentle with myself, I actually started these several weeks ago but frogged them because the corners looked too sloppy. Would that show after felting? And for that matter, whose hand will they fit anyway? When I get to the felting, will I be going in circles then, too? Aaargh!

The yarn is Cascade 220 - The Heathers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Purple Coneflower

This drawing was also done on my Pocket PC. It has a cartoon presence about it. It's my favorite flower, and I really should do a serious version of such a lovely thing.

Because of my hard drive problems, you will periodically see some more of my drawings on this blog. Maybe that way I won't lose them.

Funny, I just heard someone on TV say that he had gotten rid of all his music compact discs and put all of it on his computer. I sure hope he has at least one backup, and the discs in storage somewhere.

I need to check into the best solution for backing up and storing data. Can anyone give me any pointers on this?

Hard Drive Woes



My desktop computer's hard drive gave out on Saturday, and I had to install a new one. Luckily, many of my files were partitioned and they were saved. Especially my iTunes files...yikes!

What can you expect when you work a 5-year-old computer this hard? It's been a good old work horse, and I didn't want to see it go yet (and don't want to deal with the new Vista until they work the kinks out...remember Windows ME?). It took Microsoft so long to get it this close to production and I am hesitant to get a computer with Windows XP and then have to upgrade to Vista. I've read a few things about it, but haven't worked with it. Has anyone out there done so?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Correcting my Error

I posted "Yarn as Art" giving credit to Brenda Dayne for hanging her knitted art on the wall. It was Nancy Woodhouse's brilliant idea, and with her permission, Brenda had posted it on her blog. Maybe I need hearing aids, because when I went back and read the blog, I realized my perception was wrong.

Anyway, here's a good chance to check out Nancy's blog. All Things Knitterly.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Testing Mobile Post


I'm now testing a post from my pocket pc as this is a new feature in Blogger. It allowed me to upload this drawing I did on my little pda.

Two Pair in Progress

These have been going on for awhile now. I like the yarn, and knitting with it has been interesting. Also shown is the wooly nylon destined for the heels and toes. A yarn shop person told me that adding reinforcement to yarn that already has some synthetic could actually be more of a problem because they could wear against each other. The yarn has micro nylon in it already, so maybe it isn't necessary. Any comments?

I simply adore the way the gray striped socks are turning out, except for obsessing over fixing the "jog." After having read quite a few different ways to do it and trying a couple of them, I felt they weren't any more satisfactory than just letting it jog. Maybe it was the nature of the stripes, the thinness of them, that didn't lend themselves to being "unjogged." Does anyone out there have any good experience with this?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Controlling Stripes

There are lots of self-striping yarns available, and many of them are quite beautiful. But if you like to control your stripes, use more than one color yarn. It's been a few years since I have worked with more than one color yarn, and then it was a tentative, learning, and brief encounter resulting in only a couple finished items.

But the book Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush, and in particular the Hiiumaa pattern, has enticed me to try again. They were inspired by a mismatched pair of socks that she found on the Estonian island of Hiiumaa. Mismatched! Of course, that is a possibility with the pair that I am knitting, too. Hopefully, they will only be slightly mismatched at the finish...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wearing Oatmeal

Well, not actually oatmeal. Here's me wearing the sweater made from Morehouse lace weight merino wool in the oatmeal color. It's light as a feather to wear, but is still warm. Sorry about the flash and the mirror image. Note a cartoon character in the background (and possibly foreground).

Now I'm off to lunch with a dear first cousin...see ya!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Urban Edge



Intermittent knitting has been going on with this scarf for some time now. The pattern is Urban Edge Scarf from Needlework Unlimited. The yarn is Anne Superwash Merino, and it is really lovely. But there's still a lot of yarn to go before all of it is used up. Will measure a man's cloth scarf to see about the length and maybe stop at that length.

What is the best length for a man's scarf?

Red Socks - Finished!

In a Knitting Coma

If you have ever been in a knitting coma, you know all about this. I'm knitting the toe of the sock late at night and watching the news (10:00 news is late for me) and not paying attention to when to start decreasing every time, rather than every other time. So the sock ended up looking like something Santa's Elves would wear. They are a little pointy, but they won't get redone.

On to another project!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Daydream Believer



The daydream believer and the homecoming queen

Jack got this tiara for me years ago at an antiques shop when we were vacationing in South Carolina. The combs are missing on the tiara, but it is still pretty. I wonder who wore it and cast it aside. Did she toss it with regret? Or did she move so quickly and confidently into her future that there was little room for thoughts of the past?

Will anyone notice this addition to the tree? Stay tuned to find out.

Yarn as Art


I have been a podcast junkie almost since its inception, and yesterday I listened to Brenda Dayne's podcast, Cast-On. She has hung all her knitted scarves and one of her shawls on the bedroom wall. Yarn as art is beautiful.

Realizing that I had already exhibited my yarn as art in my office, I captured a photo of it--only it's in its neutral state, rather than the desired F.O. Like the way it looks? You'll probably notice that part of the scarf I started yesterday is back in its neutral state. We all know how that happened.
Next on my office decorating agenda is getting some white cubes for yarn display. But where do I find those?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Playing With Yarn...

Last year I made a scarf from a dk weight and Rowan's Kidsilk Haze. It had an ethereal look and my mother admired it so much, I gave it to her. It was lightweight, but very warm and the thought of it keeping her small frame warm as she went about her errands in our Minnesota winters made me happy.

Of course, I didn't make a pattern of it because it was a simple seed stitch. And just a plain scarf. Now I want to make another but using a worsted weight with the Kidsilk Haze, and I am fiddling and fiddling with needle size and number of stitches to get the look and feel I want. I can only imagine what designers go through getting a pattern ready for publication!



Speaking of scarves, I made these two last year using a garter stitch, the blue one went to my sister and the burgundy one is mine. I get a lot of compliments on this scarf and many of them are from college age gals. I suspect they like the U of M colors in it. My scarf was knitted quite long, and it has stretched even longer! I guess this is something to be expected of the garter stitch. But it makes me think twice about doing Sally Melville's Einstein Jacket. Would it end up dragging on the ground? How do I prevent that? Or is it even possible?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh! Christmas Tree!

Well, my light-stringing skills will not land me a job at the local discount store, that's for sure. But I still like the tree top ornament I purchased used for fifty cents (in it's original box, too), even though my camera didn't include the whole of its majesty.

And notice the bubble-like glass balls. They photographed rather strangely. I always wanted some of those, and this was the year. The snowflake is an old plastic ornament from the 1950's or 60's. I found a few of them in a Des Moines antiques shop--some turquoise and some clear.

Last year I splurged on the blue l.e.d. dome lights. They are really bright. When I turn off all the house lights and the white lights on the tree, it resembles Darth Vader. This was purely unintentional.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bring on the Eggnog!

After Thanksgiving our neighborhood started to look bright and festive, with lots of lights. I must be the last on the block to get my few decorations up, and mine look so understated compared to all the others. I couldn't find the timer for the spotlight on the front door so I had to go and get another one.

A second wreath on the service door will be lighted from the portico light after I figured out that the light bulb was burned out and the timer was not working because of it.

Tomorrow we trim the tree. Bring on the eggnog!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Camouflage Sock/Slipper














My brother-in-law loved his new socks, and he was happy that they were not wool. Apparently he has had some unpleasant effects from the wool socks he had been wearing, and these felt warm and comfortable. I am so pleased.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ready, Set...



The table is set and family will be here. Although some of our loved ones are missing, we still have much to be thankful for. I am thankful for a loving family, the very best friends, a fine shelter, plenty of food, a manageable (so far) yarn stash, and life in this great country.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For Exquisite Knitting Patterns and Tips

See Eunny Knit! is by far the best knitting blog I have encountered. Her genius is immediately apparent as she shares her knitting tips and patterns with her readers. If you haven't read this one, you're missing something out of the ordinary...and that's an understatement. How she has time to do all the things she does and blog about them will amaze you.

It sounds like she has a book in the making (no surprise), and knitters will snap it up as fast as it becomes available.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Air Knitting

Seriously, sometimes I wonder if I knit in my sleep. You know, like air guitar--call it air knitting.

Knitting with this yarn is like knitting air. I chose to use bamboo needles because the yarn is so light that any other needle might have slipped right out of the stitches.

Yes, they are socks. Have you guessed I'm Stuck on Socks?

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Sweet Baby Blues - Finished!


Yarn: Opal sock yarn
Pattern: My own
Needles: Susan Bates #1 dpn's
Comments: These socks just reminded me of a baby's blue booties; hence the name. All they need is a ribbon, but I will not add that. Love the yarn and the color.

In keeping with my preference for pattern that doesn't cover the whole sock, I added a bit of pattern on the top of the foot. Good thing it will be hidden with my shoes. Don't my feet look like hand grenades? Yikes!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Verdict on the Judge's Socks

I may have changed my mind about the Dutch heel on the Judge's Socks. He likes the socks, says they feel very comfortable and particularly remarked about the roominess of the heel.

Well, I can give a pattern another chance.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Not Just Socks...

This scarf has been my "riding in the car knitting" recently. It's Morehouse Farm's Knit/Purl scarf in their 2-Ply Oatmeal color.

Early this year I finished their lace weight cardigan, which is light and beautiful. When I finished it, I emailed the photo to Margrit at Morehouse Farms and she graciously responded. She said I did a beautiful job and that she knew how many stitches went into this project!

If you haven't tried Morehouse yarn, I do recommend it. It's so soft (Merino wool) and the colors, especially the natural, are scrumptious.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Red Socks

I really like this yarn (and I love the color; Blue Blood Red), but am finding that my stitches are somewhat uneven with these socks. The ribbing is a 3/1, which is probably my favorite ribbing because it lies fairly flat while still retaining the stretchiness needed.

Maybe it's because I am a "thrower" or an English knitter. I purchased a book called YNotKnit and would like to learn the Continental method. Would this make my knitting more uniform? Faster? More pleasurable? Will I slow down long enough to even try it? Will it be like starting over?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

From the Living Room




Before the snow flies, I planned to get some spruce tops and arrange them for the holidays. This was the perfect day to do it. But I must confess these were pre-arranged at Bachman's and they looked so pretty I could not resist.

Think of a whole winter without seeing any flowers from your window. That puts this purchase in perspective, doesn't it? Flowers for your soul.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Camouflage Sock/Slipper

My brother-in-law saw me knitting and asked if I could knit him a camouflage sweater. At that time, I didn't know of any camouflage yarn and didn't want to tackle a multicolored sweater to be used for hunting.

So when I ran across this very inexpensive yarn (not for the yarn snobs, which I am afraid I have become), I grabbed it and decided to whip up a pair of socks for him. I know, I know. They won't feel good, will get all fuzzy and pilled, etc., etc. But the first sock worked up in a couple hours, which was totally fun. I might even make a pair for myself. Whoopee ding!

Is there a wool yarn in camouflage out there?

I hope Dan isn't reading this blog.

The Judge's Socks - Finished!

Yarn: Online Supersocke 100 - Sierra color
Pattern: Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock with Dutch Heel from the book, Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Needles: Knitpicks #1 dpn's
Comments: Don't plan on using this pattern again. I think the gusset is too small and the heel is funky. So was the yarn; notice the variation in the striping. But the yarn softened up after washing and feels much nicer than it did going on the needles.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In Progress--Judge's Socks

Yes, I still use double points and I still do two socks at a time. When you are process oriented versus project oriented, you do what you have to do to assure a finished project. Never mind about the sweaters that lie unfinished in various places! Also, doing two at a time helps me get the striping as close as possible right away.

The heel of this sock is funky. It's called a Dutch heel and I'm not sure I like the looks of it. It sort of pulls in under the foot, which probably will block out neatly (I hope).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another Pencil Drawing...Done on a Pocket PC

Just adding a quick drawing I did when first using my Pocket PC and a program called Pocket Artist. It would be nice if the software was available for my tablet, because it is a good lightweight art program for those of us who don't use it on a daily basis.

I use my Pocket PC daily, and have used one for about six years. Even though it's old by computer years, it synchronizes with my Outlook calendar and can be synchronized with two computers, such as work and home, to keep your calendar, email, and contacts wherever you need them. It is wi-fi ready, which is very handy for getting email or looking up something on the web. I wouldn't want to be without it!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Name These Socks...


Wow, this yarn is quite lovely. It's almost a Robin's egg blue, but I don't want to name them that. The ribbing, as you can see in the closeup, is a broken rib stitch about 1-3/4" in length.

Have any ideas for a name for these socks?

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Judge's Socks

Here come the Judge's Socks. These will take awhile to finish because they will be long of foot (size 13) and long of leg. And they are a dark color, which makes it exceedingly hard to work on at night.

But these will go with his green tweed sport jacket that makes him look so like a professor.

The sock pattern is from Nancy Bush's book, Knitting Vintage Socks and calls for a deep ribbing (about 4 inches) at the cuff and a Dutch heel, which is one I haven't done before.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Twinkle Toes - Finished!


The amazing, sparkling Twinkle Toes socks are finished. I like gray socks and I especially like the little sparkles that are in this yarn.


Yarn
: Fortissima Colori Disco Socka Color.
Pattern: My own remix.
Needles: Knit Picks #1 double points.


The yarn was rather wirey feeling to knit with (hard on my hands) so I hope that washing the socks will soften them a bit.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Green Striped Socks - Finished!


Yarn: Meilenweit colortweed
Pattern: My own remix
Needles: Susan Bates #1 double points

The stripes do actually line up pretty closely (I rationalize that my toes are not completely even in this picture). Taking photos of your own feet is a real feat! Soon I will have a drawer full of socks and will have to knit on to some other addictive project.









Now I am starting on my tenth pair of socks since June of this year.

It's hard to tell from the photo on the right, but there are little sparklies in the yarn. The Twinkle Toes Socks.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pencil Drawing



In addition to journalling my knitting projects, I started this blog to keep track of my other endeavors. So from time to time I may add some of my art work as well.

This is a drawing done from a photograph I saw way back in the '70s. I haven't done much art work since then, but am thinking of taking an art class to improve my skills in this area...if I can tear myself away from my all-consuming knitting for awhile!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monkey Socks - Finished!

I really like my Monkey Socks! They feel wonderful, and I like the surprise of the red top and toe. Also, it would have been a more balanced looking sock if the heed were red, but I didn't want red showing at the heel when I wear them.

Is sock-making an obsession? An addiction? Necessary? Who knows? Who cares? I'm learning much!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

About Self-Imposed Rules...

Having broken my own rule about not starting another pair of socks until the first pair is finished, I decided it is good to have a couple pair going at the same time. This way I won't get bored with the process. And I won't keep breaking rules! Anyhow, this yarn totally captivated me with its colors.

I have very little green in my wardrobe, but this yarn is blessed with a redeeming amount of blue. When these socks are finished, I'll take their photo outside for greater color clarity.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Yellow Basket Socks - Finished!

The yarn used, Regia Cotton, was not as resilient as other yarns I have used. But the color was so appealing that I knit it anyhow.

A trip to a small town yarn shop with a friend yielded more sock yarn, and we were delighted to find that the owner had just opened a new shipment of the stuff! A sock knitter's dream.

On to the Monkey Socks...


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Speaking of Monkey Socks...

They're Out There!

You can't imagine how much information about Monkey Socks that is available for your perusal:
These are just a few web pages devoted to the funny little creatures. Notice that each monkey has his/her own personality. I like that.

Since my socks are merely an adaptation (and even the sock monkeys have been adapted--as well as adopted) and apparently the original socks had only a bit of red at the heel, along with some white at the toe and top of the sock, I still think I will continue with my plan for red rib and red toe. Stubborn as I am in my aesthetic senses. But the sock is not yet finished..tune in tomorrow.

SPCO Concert

Last night a friend and I took in a concert by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Layton James, who is an amazingly talented man, writes about it here. If you haven't seen SPCO live, I highly recommend it.

Monkey Socks

Remember Monkey Socks?

Are those old-fashioned work socks (that crafters used to make monkey dolls) still available? Some years ago, these hand fashioned monkeys were showing up in antiques shops. Remembering the monkey dolls which I really loved, my version of monkey socks was born.

Having planned these a couple socks ago, I ignored my rule for not starting more than one pair of socks and cast on for the monkey socks at the same time as the yellow socks.

They look so "north woods." The red yarn is such a lovely color that I purchased more for a pair of solid red socks.

These will probably end up having just the ribbing and the toe in red, leaving the heel in the tweed. One of my friends thinks I should make the heel in red also. What do you think?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Tisket, a Tasket...

Bright Yellow Basket Socks

The photo does not capture the bright crayon yellow that is this yarn. Since it is wool and cotton, I am sure that it will fade, probably to this very color. My other Regia socks faded in the wash. But that's okay. I like faded colors in clothing.

The stitch looks like a basket, but is just a rib stitch, alternating every four rows, with an eight row rolled top.