New Year Resolutions

November 5, 2010

I’m making New Year resolutions now.  There are things I want to get done before the year is over, and there are things I want to do in the future, which require me to make changes now so that I will be in a better position to do them.  I have decided to target three areas:

Knitting:

I really want to complete the masters program offered by TKGA. In fact, I’d like to submit the first of three levels before 2011. I’ll post pictures of my progress here, and since the program involves researching various knitting techniques, I’ll post links to good explanations or videos I find along the way.

Another knitting goal, but not one that I have to complete by end of year, is to focus on finishing sock designs that I have already begun. I really need to finish Stray Cat socks using Stalwart Sock Yarn. Here’s a sneek peak:

StrayCat

I also need to knit me a pair of Chocolate Turtle Socks, finishing up writing the pattern as I go. The prototype was a pair of socks I knitted for my son using a skein of Wollmeise a generous friend mailed it to me as a surprise, and as soon as son saw it, he commented that he should probably ask if I could knit him some good socks one day……(what’s a good mum to do?) 

TurtleSockI

Lastly, I need to rewrite WRBTR Socks – I knitted these using a stitch that I’m sure is not new, but nonetheless, I made it up on the fly. Here’s the story behind them: at Sock Summit, my hostess handed me a travelling scarf she was working on so that I would have something to knit in the world record challenge – everyone was required to use straight needles, and I didn’t have any with me. When I asked Sarah what stitch I should use, she told me “just anything you feel like knitting”……moments later Pearl McPhee is telling us that we must continue to knit without stopping to fix mistakes! So I decided I could manage a variation on a rib stitch for this travelling scarf – hence the name World Record Breaking Travelling Rib Socks. I worked this pair in sport weight yarn, and I love wearing them with boots:

WRBTR Socks

I’ll come back later with my other two resolutions…..

Modern Lace Shawl: Pamuya

November 1, 2010

I’ve been busy getting a Fall garden going lately – the weather is just delicious right now, and almost every evening ends like this:

Sunrise 10/31/2010

Once indoors, I squeezed in a few rows here and there on Pamuya designed by Alexandra Weidmayer, which I thoroughly enjoyed knitting.

Pamuya II

There are enough plain(ish) rows for mindless knitting while reading or travelling. I really like how it looks relatively modern, yet is light and lacey.  You can check out more of Alexandra’s designs here: dragansvarg

Pamuya VII

The yarn is Schaeffer Trenna, which is 50/50 merino & silk – feels so good, I can’t quite make up my mind as to whether this is a keeper or a gift for someone special….

Beaded Hot August Nights & Other Projects

October 7, 2010

Care to join me for a cup of tea? I couldn’t resist donning these gloves for my afternoon ritual. Turns out that adding beads isn’t too difficult, and so so pretty!

BlueTeaParty

Next time I knit up this design, I think I’m going to make them elbow length. I made this pair for Fingerless Gloves Fanatics Summer Swap on Ravelry. I’m thrilled that they look to be a good fit for the recipient.

I participated in another swap: OT FGF Insanity Housewares Medium Flat Rate Box Swap – that’s a long name for a swap! I tried knitting dishcloths and a market bag – I have a new respect for these items and will have to make some more for me:

Housewares Swap

Here’s a really versatile yarn, raffia!

Raffia Market Bag

Made a pretty market bag, and see what I did with the leftovers:

VeggiePatchFall2010

Its pretty late in the year, but I don’t think you can ever count on the weather in Oklahoma, so I may as well throw caution to the wind, and a few seeds on the yard. I’m sticking with a small patch as an experiment – most of these seeds are for late Fall/early Winter crops, some I may try to cover and hope that they don’t die come the first frost.

Hot August Nights Rewind

August 30, 2010

I’m reknitting Hot August Nights to send in a swap I signed up for in Ravelry.  I’ve been wanting to redo these with beads for some time.  I came up with this design to see just how lacey I could go and still create a wearable glove.  The lace pattern itself doesn’t have any stitches more complicated than the occasional sk2p, however, knitting a small circle in laceweight on the wrong circs, well, that’s a challenge I should have avoided.  Of course when I wanted to start this project, I couldn’t find the right size Addi circular needles, not even a KnitPicks, and because I had to start NOW, I blew the dust off a Clover bamboo circular figuring that it would do well enough.  (So wrong!)

Do not, do not, waste your time wrestling with an inflexible cord and stubby-ended needles on a fiddly project.  I frogged the gloves twice and set them aside while I went on a couple of business trips.  During my travels, I spent some well won $$ that my ever-loving partner gave me on a set of Hiya Hiya interchangeable needles.  Of course as soon as I got home, I cast on for Hot August Nights again with my fine new needles:

HiyaHiyaII

 

Once I got over how pretty the yarn is (bought in Shanghai, I can only tell you its 80% merino and was very inexpensive), I had to take pics and come here to share my appreciation of these needles. 

I bought the small needle sizes in the 5″ needle point length. For about $75 I got seven pairs of needles, a selection of cords, and a very pretty case that holds all these with room for more and an extra zippered pocket.  If you find yourself always using the same length cords, you can build a collection of fixed needles for less money.  However, I like having the case to organize everything, and really like being able to keep spare stitches (ie: for thumbs) on a spare cord.  I thoroughly dislike trying to transfer stitches from waste yarn and so interchangeables are the way to go for me.

These needles are made of stainless steel – the colour is light so dark yarns are a little easier to see, and the material is very lightweight.  The joins are smooth; my stitches only gripped and stuck a little on the first dozen or so rows, so I think that there may be something on the surface for shipping that soon went away.  Points are pointy!  Long tapered points that picked up my skinny yarn with ease.  Best part is this – no need to find a tool to tighten the needles onto the cords.  (This is important or me because I lose little things).  I thought that the joints would loosen up over time, but they do not.  I’m sure this is because the cords swivel in the joint, so the needle does not get twisted over and over as you knit.  This also causes the pliable cords to behave nicely when using magic loop.   The only thing I’m missing, is caps to put on the cords to prevent stitches falling off if I’m holding them for later.  Nonetheless, I’m a fan – I will be checking out Hiya Hiya products next time I’m shopping for knitting tools. 

I’ll come back and show off my pretty FGs once I get one finished and blocked…..

Democracy Worked For Me!

August 12, 2010

I swear I intended for my next post to be all about at least one of the knitwear designs I’ve been working on….but while I’ve been waiting for a finished project (or at least a good swatch), daylight, and my camera battery to charge, I recieved a notice of an application to rezone the land next to mine from agricultural, to light industrial.

Nine years ago, I designed our home, and we built it on five acres of land that was formerly pasture.  This is our dream home, we have peace and space as we are surrounded by agricultural land – the nearest neighbour is also on five acres.  There’s a five acre-wide strip of vacant land zoned agricultural between us and several light industrial lots that are lined up on the next main road.  This strip of land is higher than ours, so it acts as an excellent buffer for noise and hides the ugly stuff completely:

Sunset10262009

OK, its not the best picture, but this is the sunset I look forward to seeing out of my kitchen window most evenings. You see those bushes and trees? That’s our property line, and this is the line that someone wanted to extend their ugly metal workshops to. I should add, that recently, their neighbouring property was bought by a trucking company that extended their parking up to my neighbour’s fence line – we soon learned how far noise and light pollution travel out here.

I went online to see what I could do in response to this zone application notice, and was dismayed to find a report written by city planning, recommending approval of the application – no one asked me! Then I noticed that the trucking company never got their land rezoned….they’re not compliant!

Today, I nervously waited for several hours for my turn to speak. I was concerned about that report – it really stung that someone would recommend rezoning without checking with any of the local residents. Eventually, I stood before our City Planning Commission, and pleaded my case. I described the impact of the trucking company on my enjoyment of my yard, and my fear of being flooded if they paved the land that is higher than mine. When the board picked up on the fact that they were out of compliance with their zoning, I explained that I’d just used their website to research my own notice, figured that half of the trucking company’s operations were being conducted on agricultural land, and used their online tool to file a zone violation complaint. (I do believe a couple of committee members chuckled at that).

The application was DENIED and to top it off, the chairman of the commission ordered that someone “go out and check on those trucks because they are out of compliance!”

Tonight, I celebrate with a decent glass of wine and, what I hope will be one of my few remaining chances to drink in the sun setting over a bunch of parked trucks.

Living Pantry

July 31, 2010

Growing food is turning out to be very satisfying to me.  Its one of the few activities that my man and I both enjoy and can share (for two people that have been crazy in love for 22 years, we are remarkably incompatible).  I decided that watering by hand would allow me time to see what is ripe n ready for harvest (as in I held the hose rather than hooking up a sprinkler; I’m not lugging a watering can across acres of yard!)   I also got to see how picturesque produce can be up close:

Our first pear…..Pear

Toms We have lots of tomatoes (OK, potential tomatoes)

Summer squash flowers are beautifulSquash

Okra Okra plants would fit in any flower bed

Spider

Eeewie!  I’m ‘fraidy-cat when it comes to nature’s little helpers! 

This one is way too big for my liking, but son thinks she’s handsome.

Red Earth

July 27, 2010

I went to Red Earth in June; since I had family visiting, I nearly overlooked posting some pictures here. Red Earth is an enormous Native American event, held in Oklahoma City each June. There is a judged art exhibition with quite a lot of affordable pieces (mostly pottery, leather, beadwork, paintings & prints). I had to stop by to see Harvey Pratt and his lovely wife Gina – maybe one day I’ll be able to seriously consider investing in some of his work (of course I always fall for the big ticket items). This year, I settled for some beads that should wind up in a knitting project (some day…..).

The event kicks off with a parade, and I found myself watching from a spot near to a wall with a huge mural which turned out to be a very fortunate backdrop. Son commented that this is postcard-worthy (although my equipment and experience do not allow me to claim such praise):

RedEarth

My position and the strong sun limited me to mostly views of participants’ backs – but these are very decorative backs!

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The dance competitions are a must-see. There’s such a riot of colour and movement, its hard to know where to look. I played with these photos a little, I chose just a couple that capture the movement as I saw it:

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(I kept “taking pictures” long after my camera battery had run out.)

Nettie’s Neckwarmer

July 26, 2010

Remember that BabySis knitted some lovely neckwarmers while visiting with me recently? I promised her I’d design some more. The stitch I came up with is reversible – here it is in Berroco Vintage which I have to say doesn’t look too great right now:

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Likely it will look fine after washing – the yarn does feel pretty good for having 50% acrylic, but its probably more suited for a man’s sweater that would be worn over a shirt than for wrapping around a sensitive neck. Even though I’m super-busy at work, it shouldn’t take me long to finish up and rinse this baby…..

Inspiration in Galveston Island

July 19, 2010

I can’t imagine how I managed to wind up in a land-locked state.  I like it here well enough, but every once in a while, I have to head for the coast.  I do not need white sand, surfers, or yachts, just waves, rocks and maybe a little sand, and of course sunrises…..I got my coffee and wandered out to the balcony just in time to catch this one:

GalvestonBeach

So what do you do at the beach? I’m just content to get sand between my toes and let the waves wash my cares away….

GalvestonBeachFeet

GalvestonBeachFeetII 

GalvestonBeachFeetIII

BabySis & I chose to visit a submarine – the USS Cavalla (OK, we probably wouldn’t have chosen to go there if it weren’t for having Son & Brother-in-Law with us). Its really cool, see, the first sign you see let’s you know how original everything is:

GalvestonWarning

Even the bathrooms and kitchens were fascinating to me – anyone living in a New York apartment should visit this submarine; its a study in efficiency. So tiny, it wasn’t easy to take good pics. I couldn’t resist a couple that I find inspiring, I’m fascinated with knobs, levers, and the like, surely I can find inspiration from this:

GalvestonKeys

Lookie! They even have cables down here!!  (You know that’s going in my ideas box)

GalvestonPipes

Speaking of cables, I must go knit a few more rows on Nettie’s Neck Warmer done in reversible cables – I’ll be back with photo’s.

Irresistable….

July 11, 2010

We’re pretty new to gardening, and this year I didn’t expect much as we were late starting any seeds, and we’ve had searing heat too early, followed by hail then torrential rains. I was thrilled yesterday when my man asked me to get a large bowl and follow him (being gently led by the hand was a treat in itself). Proudly, he pointed to the best Summer Squash we’ve produced to date, aaaaand he pointed out that it may be worth picking some peaches too! I set my harvest on the kitchen counter just as the sun was going down; I couldn’t resist taking this picture:

Beautifyl Produce

The peaches are pretty small – but they are pretty! I’ve taken about a quarter of them, mostly from the lowest branches as there’s critters in my yard making off with some already. Hopefully, we’ll get the chance to sample some really ripe ones in the next week or so.