Spring Pollen and Winter Scarves

Spring is upon us.  Pollen is floating in the air and on the water.

I’m knitting a winter scarf.  Doesn’t make much sense but neither do I most times.

I’m a big Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Serenity, Castle) fan.  First season of Castle he wore this great scarf.

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I couldn’t forget it. I knew I had to knit one similar.  Enter the Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed).

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Blatantly stolen from Jared Floods Ravelry page

 

 

 

Jared clearly states this is NOT his design, just his version of this simple scarf that has been done time and time again. I was drawn to the subtle color changes.

 

 

 

 

I’m using Noro Silk Garden in two different colorways; an orangey-red and a blue-grey.

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I had picked up the blue-grey before my LYS closed and had been stalking Ravelry stashes for a contrasting but complimentary color to stripe with it.

 

 

 

 

The pattern is a very simple 1×1 rib, over an odd number os stitches (39), changing colors every two rows, carrying the yarn up the side.  I really like how the 1×1 rib looks like stockinette but because I’m slipping the first stitch on each row purl-wise (per Jared’s suggestion) the edges are not curling like they would in stockinette.

My scarf

My scarf

 

It’s about half complete.  It is a very easy (if a bit boring) knit that I can take to Knit Night or waiting rooms and not think too much.  The two balls of yarn can be a bit troublesome at times but I am really very pleased with the progress.

The scarf hasn’t told me who it belongs to yet but I have someone in mind.  Time will tell if the scarf agrees :D

Mittens? Um, how about a scarf instead?

Since I was seriously re-inventing the wheel mitten with that project and I frogged it a gazillion four times, I decided to give it a rest and work on something I know will work :)  The Hitchhiker shawl/scarf/neck-thingy.

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I modified this pattern too.  (I just can’t leave well enough alone can I?)  The pattern is simple Garter stitch but I added an eyelet row.  I think it adds just a little variety without being distracting.  You start knitting with just four stitches and increase your way up until you have the desired size or you run out of yarn (and hope you have enough to bind-off.)

I used a wonderful hand-dyed, fingering-weight yarn from Fiber Optic Yarns that I bought at Maryland Sheep & Wool last year.  They package their gradient yarns in what they call a Paintbox.

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There are 15 mini-skeins (30 yards each) in a Fiber Optic Paintbox, 450 yards total. This one is Onyx-Crimson.  80% Superwash Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere.

The color change is so subtle !

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My sister Salley made me a Hitchhiker scarf several years ago and I still love and wear it!  Soon I’ll have one in every color :D

Mittens, Mittens OK, just one Mitten

There is a lady in our knitting group who is …different.  She will come in with 4 different projects in various stages, at a stand still as to how to proceed because she (a) changed the pattern, (b) isn’t using the yarn called for in the pattern (eyelash vs silk), (c) is using a larger size needle than called for by pattern or (d) all of the above.  Lets just call her Beverly.   I tell you all this because I’ve pulled a Beverly.

See I want to make Flip-Top Mittens to use while Skeet Shooting.  I want them made top-down, in the round because I don’t like seams in my mittens.  I like mittens because they keep my hands/fingers warmer.  I found this perfectly simple mitten pattern but it’s not flip-top.  How difficult could it be to (a) alter the pattern?  Hmmm, I want to use this yarn (b) not the Super Bulky the pattern calls for.  And I want it a tighter knit so I’ll use (c) a smaller needle that called for in either the pattern and yarn band.  (d) Yea.  Totally pulling a Beverly here :)

Well after many rips (and rip, rip, rip) and starts I finally got my act together.

  • 20160202_132926-1I’m following the pattern to a certain extent.  Knit the thumbs first, set aside.  Started the main body of mitten using Judy’s Magic Cast-On.  (LOVE this seamless toe-up type of cast-on!)  Knit until I reached the palm of my hand and used this After Thought Heel method (red waste yarn) for the opening for the Flip-Top.  I made the Basic 2×2 ribbing for the cuff extra long so when I mount my shotgun and my sleeve draws back my arm isn’t exposed to the elements.I used Very Pink’s Stretchy Bind-Off.      And VOILA!

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They’re a little snug but I learned a lot and now I think I’m ready to knit a ‘real’ pair, two-at-a-time.  :D

 

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New Projects

Trying to keep the blog up.  I think if I gave up Facebook it would be easier.  With all the sharing on FB, Ravelry, Instagram, Twitter and the Blog I can barely remember what I said where.

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We had a brief snow but pretty snow.  Just an inch or two.  I love it when we get pretty snow.  It doesn’t usually last very long, 24-48 hours.  We did get six inches a few years back that lasted a bit longer.

So!  Actually SEW!  I have been wanting to re-do the window seat cushions for about a year now.  I bought some material but my complete lack of math skills left me short on material.  A lot short.  So I finally got around to buying more and…Voila!

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I never do easy stuff.  Just like when I learned to knit I started with a sweater. Nobody told me it would be difficult, I mean how difficult are knits and purls??

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So whats so difficult about matching up stripes, putting in piping and zippers?

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Not a thing.  Especially if no one says “Oh, thats hard! You should start with something easier.”  Pffssst!

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This time my non-exsistant math skills worked in my favor.  I had enough material and piping left over to make a pillow for my patio chair.

I’ve been knitting as well.  I made two Pony-tail hats.

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Yes, it gets cold enough here to wear them.  They are especially nice on windy days.  Keeps my ears warm and my hair out of my face :)

So there you have it.  You are all caught up.  Don’t get over excited. :D

A New Year

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You’ll have to forgive me.  I just love this photo.  It makes me happy and peaceful.

Mild Christmas

The week or so leading up to Christmas was sunny and warm.  So much so that I had the windows   and doors open while I   listened to classic Christmas songs and decorated the tree.

Christmas was spent quietly here at home with my ELPH and Fur Kids.

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New Years Eve was spent at a good friends just down the street with most of the      neighborhood in attendance.  Lots of food, football,  drinks and fireworks.

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My sister ‘Sally’ and her family came to stay with us for the week between Christmas & the New Year.  I love having them   here. We managed to    get a couple really nice days without rain.  We all saw the new Star Wars movie.

Sis, Niece & a Friend of mine all went  to Uptown Art in Clemson and painted.  This is the fourth painting class I’ve done.

barn in snowI am by no means extraordinarily talented.  I couldn’t paint an original painting to save my life but I can copy the crap out of someone else work, LOL!  I really enjoy these classes.

In Knitting News;  I actually completed more, albeit small projects than I originally thought.  How do I spend so much time knitting and have so little to show for it?

2015 ProjectsAll but the headband were gifts and don’t I just look thrilled with my headband?

Our LYSO (local yarn store owner) has retired after 30 years.  They tried selling the business and building with no serious takers.  They liquidated their inventory and closed the shop.  Which means my knitting group had to find a new place to meet each week.  Luckily one of the ladies lives in a neighborhood with a Clubhouse Meeting Room.  It’s usually used for HOA meetings or neighborhood parties.  It’s turning out to be perfect.  We are all very grateful to still be able to gather for our S&B :)

It’s been a rainy Fall & Winter so far and the Hiking Group has been washed out more times than not.  For personal reasons I haven’t hiked with them yet this season.  I hope to get a few in though.  Since Christmas the weather has turned cold (as it should this time of year).  Turns out I’m a fair weather shooter.  If it’s cold, and windy I stay home from the Skeet Field and if I can get away with it, in my pajamas all day :D

2016

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I took this photo through my dirty picture window in 2011.  It’s one of my favorites.  We’ve had no snow this year (yet).

I’ve accomplished very little in 2015 but hope to change that one day at a time in 2016.  I make no Resolutions, haven’t in years and years.  I find day to day changes/improvements less guilt inducing when I take a day off.   So here I am, trying to revive my blog (again), lose some weight (still) and be a happy, motivated influence in the world.

I only documented three knitting projects this past year.  And very small ones at that.

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That is pretty pathetic.

So without further ado, I’m going to go knit.

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Blog Interrupted……

My Ever Loving Patient Husband (ELPH) has a new Girlfriend.

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She’s German,

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fast,
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petite

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and blonde.

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He has frequently been slipping out at night to go driving with her.
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2015 Porsche Cayman at the East Fork Overlook, Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway

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You could even say she is mail order – made to order.  ELPH ordered her in October  and first started seeing her in February.  Several times a week about 9pm he would announce “I’m going for a drive.”  He LOVES this car!  And it is his car.  He has always wanted a Porsche and now he has her.

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I’ve driven it and  it’s amazing!  But I also  really enjoy riding in it. We took a trip up to French Lick, Indiana in June for the yearly Porsche (its pronounced Porsch-a,  just so you know) Convention.  There were over a thousand Porsche there from all over the United States.  60 years of  models.

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..I was a little concerned about the car being comfortable on long drives and how much  luggage it would hold.  She surprised my on both counts.

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..We took two leisurely days to  reach Indiana stopping in the very quaint college town of  Berea, KY.   We stayed and ate dinner at the Boone Tavern hotel.  We browsed several  artsy shops and ELPH even found a yarn store for me!!   He and the shop owner talked  cars while I meandered the tiny shop for nearly an hour :)  Yes, I bought yarn and a  pattern.  No I didn’t need it.  Oh!  Did I say that out loud??

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We have since started taking mid-week drives up into the mountains of North Carolina  and along the Blur Ridge Parkway.  ELPH rally enjoys the handling of the car and a  couple times a month he will suggest we go out to breakfast….in Highlands, NC! You’ll be  hearing and seeing lots more about The Girlfriend!  We now take day trips up into the North Carolina mountains just to have breakfast, LOL!

For those of you still with me here, Thank you!  I’ll try not to bore you with lots of car photos.  I’ll try to post more yarn fiber-y content.  And I’ll try to post more often.

Catch Up

Frozen

Well, I’m not getting any better at this am I?  Southern Snowman

Let’s see.   The weather this winter has been uncooperative to make hiking every week a possibility.  It was wicked cold most of January and I opted out.  I find no pleasure hiking in the cold, wind & wet.  I hope to rejoin my group of hardy hikers very soon.

I started cooking.  Yes, this is exciting news.  I do not enjoy cooking.  Especially if all my hard (or easy for that mater) work goes under appreciated.  My dear ELPH is a wonderful man and I love him to the ends of the Earth but we all have our little idiosyncrasies.  ELPH is an Engineer by trade.  It’s in his genetic makeup.  He is always solving problems, looking for ways to make processes more efficient.  In the past one of these problems and processes has been my cooking.  I’m not a bad cook, just not a very imaginative one.  Basic meat & potatoes home style cooking.  But deep inside I’m also a very sensitive person so any type of comment, suggestion, or un-asked for advice is viewed in my eyes as criticism.  So small comments like ‘what? no gravy?’ (and many others I will not go into because this is starting to become a long rant/rag on my amazing ELPH) really put me off cooking….anything.  SO.  I bought a new crockpot and started simple; Chili, Lemon Garlic Chicken.    Lemon Garlic ChickenI love the crockpot because it it only one dish to clean and I can start it and forget it.  Definitely my kind of cooking!  After a couple successful crockpot meals I moved on to actual stovetop/oven cooking.  Eggplant Rollatini, Italian Meatloaf, Baked Parmesan Chicken (Pinterest has some wonderful recipes).  The most amazing thing?  ELPH has liked everything I’ve made.  Really LIKED it!  Like gave my meals ‘a 9 out of 10’.  He said “I don’t know what would make it a 10 but I’m reserving 10”  I can live with that!  And because he has not offered any ‘help’ or ‘advice’ I find that I can enjoy cooking.

Cabled Headband

I knitted slippers for my twin nieces for Christmas.  The girls went off to their freshman year in college last fall and requested slippers for Dorm wear.  I made myself a quick cabled headband.  (And now that isn’t grey hair.  It’s strands of Glitter thankyouverymuch!)  I’d never done cables before and it was way easier than I imagined.   Recently I’ve started a baby blanket for a friends daughter who is having twins (so I’ll have to get on this and make the other one before end of March!).  It’s a simple pattern and doesn’t take much yarn.  It will be a great size for when they are newborn and can graduate to carseat/stroller blanket later.

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Oh and my new favorite cocktail!  It’s called a Werther’s and it tatses just like the candy. Mmmmm.

I’ll see if I can find more interesting stuff to blog about real soon.

SAFF 2014

I haven’t posted here since July?  Really?   Time really gets away from you after you retire.  How I got all this cool stuff done and work full time I’ll never know.

I have been attending two fiber festivals a year the last couple years.  The Maryland Sheep & Wool in Friendship, MD and the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair up in Fletcher, NC.  I just love roaming around looking at all the pretties and the animals.  The drive up to Asheville was beautiful.  The leaves are just starting to change and are going to peak and be gone before you can blink.

This year eight of us carpooled together and arrived at the festival by 9:30.  The weather was sunny and cool.  Perfect in my opinion.  SAFF is a large festival with well over 100 vendors held every year at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher, NC.  It’s only an hour and 30 minutes away and I’ve been attending for the last four years.  Don’t ya just love the smell of wool in the morning?  :)

This was taken at SAFF 2010

This was taken at SAFF 2010

We headed over to our friend Cindy Hart’s Hartworks Stoneware booth to check out what she had first.  Cindy and her husband have a little ‘Gentleman’s Farm’ in West Union, SC and have been throwing pottery for years.  I just love their beautiful Pine Pottery and now Cindy has started making Sheep related items; knitting needle holders, yarn bowls, buttons, pins and mugs!

Next we headed over to Miss Babs for her hand dyed sock yarn.  She does a special, one-time only dye for the festival.  The line just to get into her booth was CRAZY! Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some Miss Babs yarn but I’m not pushing and shoving and beating people back with a stick like it was some kind of blue light special on Black Friday just to get a skein of specially dyed sock yarn.  Especially if I can get her yarn sitting on my sofa and delivered by the hunky Man in Brown :)  Turns out her Special Sock Yarn sold out in 20 minutes!  In other words it was all gone before we even pulled in the parking lot.

We decided to wander our own separate ways and meet up back at the cars for a little Show & Tell and a tailgate lunch in a couple hours.  In addition to all the lushous, prepaired fibers there are all the lovely fiber animals; Llamas, Alpaca, all kinds of Sheep, Goats & Rabbits

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The Cria (baby alpaca) is only 5 days old!

This year it seemed like the fair was bigger.  It took me two hours just to circle just the vendors on the top level of the arena.  Not even half the vendors!!  Oh but look at all the pretties!

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White Cashmere Roving from Creekwater Farm in Pembrook, VA.  Maroon Merino from Delly’s Delights Farm, lovely lovely blue Silk/Camel roving from Dragonfly Fibers,  2 shawl pins by Michelle’s Assortment and 2 skeins of hand dyed merino/silk and a pattern from Alisha Goes Around.   All of this will have to wait until after the Christmas knitting is complete and the fiber still on the wheel from July is cleared off the wheel.  All in all I spent more money than I planned, too much money, it was a great day!

Tour de Fleece

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 11.18.34 PMThe annual Tour de Fleece spin-along during the Tour de France. They spin, we spin. A real spinning-themed spin-along. The concept is simple:

Challenge Yourself.  Spin.    Have fun.

This year, the Tour de Fleece starts on Saturday July 5 and runs until Sunday July 27th, 2014.

In the past I have had high ideas of how much I can spin during these 22 days.  I’ve probably over estimated again this year but this is the plan:

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Clockwise starting at 11 o’clock…

Spinning Straw into Silk ‘Steel Blue’ Silk
Corgi Hill Farm ‘Love Potion’ 85-15 Polwarth/Silk
Flying Goat Farm Merino (Verigated Blue)
Fiber Optic Onyx-Crimson Gradient 80-20 Merino/Silk
Widdershin Woolworks 50-50 Yak/Merino (Brown Braid)


First up, from Widdershin Woolworks Yak/Merino

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First thing people ask me about spinning is “Why? Can’t you buy yarn at the store?”  Yes. Yes you can but this is SO FUN!!  Plus I get to use my handspun to knit with.  Double Goodness!

Second thing they ask is “How much yarn do you get from X ounces of fiber?”   It depends on how thin you spin it.  This 4oz braid yielded 260 yards of yarn.

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This is called a single.  Meaning I did not ply it with another strand.  Most commercial yarns are multi-ply.  260 yards is enough to knit a hat or mittens or fingerless gloves, cowl or scarf :)


I’ve just gotten the blue variegated Flying Goat Farm Roving off the wheel now.

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I split the fiber in half and spun the two halves separately and ply them together.  It makes a thicker, more bulky yarn.

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It’s a bit thick & thin but still a very serviceable yarn :)