Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Little Old Red Shawl

That's a song we sometimes sang at that one-room school I went to in Minnesota until I was 10 1/2. Today I finished knitting a little red shawl. It's a simple triangle, started at one top corner with two stitches. I mixed two yarns - a baby-weight scarlet acrylic and an 'interrupted eyelash' in reds. I had four balls of the eyelash, one of which I had used a small amount of in a random shawl. So I figured if I started with that ball, used it and a full ball to make my increases, I'd have plenty in the other two full balls to decrease back to two stitches. It worked out well. It feels flimsy, but I love it. Whoever receives it will be able to tie the ends easily to keep it on. It is about six feet across the top and 29 inches from top to point at center back, and weighs 9 ounces.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Advantages of neuropathy?

I think I mentioned one a few months ago - not feeling holes in my socks. I believe it was Stephanie who said then that I was trying awfully hard to find something positive.

As a fellow knitter, she may not think this new one is so bad. Large knitting needles - 11, 13, 15 - aren't so bad! I've always hated them; found them too big to work with, although I have large hands (I've always had a hard time finding leather gloves to fit.) However, I've used large needles recently quite satisfactorily. I think the neuropathy has something to do with that.

Weather Report:

The ground is white and the white stuff is expected to continue falling all night. I talked to Alyssa a few minutes ago and we both agreed that we're not going anywhere.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Circle of Friends

No, not Maeve Binchy's book.

Rather a paper Lexi brought home that she had done in Guidance. It is a sheet of construction paper with Circle of Friends written on it and a circle of eight people - feet together, hands held, made like you would a snowflake. One person has me on it, and Lexi wrote names of friends on the other seven. Names certainly have changed since I was growing up.

Mother took this picture of the entire student body of Island School that we went to in Minnesota before we left the area to go to Colorado and wound up in Kentucky (That's another story and I still haven't been to CO). I'm in the middle, wearing glasses. The other girls have names like Mavis & Marlys (twins, therefore the ampersand), Marlys Ann, Pearl, Eileen.

From fifth and sixth grades in Lancaster, I remember Sally, Patricia and Mary Jane.

And in jr high and high school in Stanford there were Janie, Edna Jean, Helen, Delores (my 'twin' - a few hours older than me), Shirley, Nancy Sue, Wanda, Phyllis, Pauletta, Linda, Patty, Barbara, Bonnie Sue, Ginny Jo, Kitty.

But Alexis's friends are named Jaden (there's another Jaden in the class, but he's a boy) , Guana, Cierriah, Milyeah (I probably misspelled that). I don't remember the other three. Many of her friends are Hispanic, so I expect their names to be different.

This reminds me of a friend whose last name is Wind. At a conference several years ago, a woman ask if her husband is black. "No, why do you ask?" "Well that's obviously a made-up name." Duh!!! All names were made up by someone, somewhere, sometime, weren't they? When I hear or see an unfamiliar one, I assume it has come from some other culture.

I expect Alexis is the only name of the eight current grade-schoolers mentioned above that would have been in the name-your-baby book I had back in my child-bearing years.

Speaking of things from back in 'olden times': Lexi was surprised to hear that we had drinking straws. I told her that we always had them because they were therapy for my brother after his surgery to close the hole he was born with in the back of his mouth. He had to learn to suck. I also told her they were made of paper, not plastic. Even though it was a special kind of paper, it got pretty soft if left in liquid too long.

Monday, January 25, 2010

First snow

Today I saw snow for the first time this winter. I don't think any of it hit the ground. That suits me fine!

I drove to Murray for the Lake Area Fiber Artists meeting. There were three women there when I arrived, but one of them had to leave for an appointment shortly after that. So for a couple of hours there were just Mary, Eileen and me. We had a nice time talking while we spun and knit. And ate lunch. Mary brought veggies and dip, as well as peach cobbler and ice cream, all of which went well with my bagel and cream cheese. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Talking - I did a lot of it today

I also was late for my oncology appointment. It was 11:30, but they want you there 15 or 20 minutes early to draw blood. I got there about 11:25 although I left home about 9:30. I went first to Hobby Lobby to see if they had the new Piecework magazine. They didn't, nor did they have any yarn on sale that I couldn't live without, so I didn't get to use the 40% off coupon I had. Then I went to Books-a-Million - dangerous! When I went in, I knew that I shouldn't stay longer than half an hour. However, I don't wear a watch. I was there at least 45 minutes. But I didn't spend too much money, only too much time. All I bought was the Piecework for $7.41,

Then I had to stop at the drug store for my one nausea pill to take before they start my treatment. Since I had called yesterday and told them that I wanted to pick it up today, they had it ready. Several of the ones who work the counter know me, since I'm there so often - I don't even have to tell them my name.

When I went into the treatment room for the blood draw, I didn't see my friend from church, Sara, because she was at the far end of the room. When I went back after seeing the doctor, I headed down that way as I usually do. There was an empty chair beside her, so I sat there. I told I her it was good to see her, and I think we both said at the same time, "but not here." I had wondered why her name was on the prayer list at church. She has chronic leukemia of some kind. I didn't have a chance to talk to her when we were both at church a week and a half ago, but she did tell me then that the rector had given her one of the shawls I had knitted. She told me today that was when she was in the hospital for about two weeks with pneumonia. She also had her first two leukemia treatments during that time. It was really good to talk with her today.

After my treatment, I got a sandwich from the dollar menu at Burger King (I'm cheap), and then went to the coffee shop to meet the other fiber people. It had to be 1:30 by then, and I stayed until about 5 o'clock. I didn't get much knitting done because of all the talking, but that's what usually happens.

By then it was almost dark, and was completely dark when I came out of Kroger. I got home about 6:30.

Tomorrow I have to go into Mayfield to meet Lexi's school bus and take her to gymnastics. I was suppose to do that yesterday, as well. I went to Mayfield early and had lunch at the Senior Center. Alyssa called me while I was there and said that Trevor would be home to meet the bus - he missed work because of a doctor's visit. I did go by their house to drop off some knitting-related things for Alyssa, but didn't stay.

The time I spent at the Senior Center was enjoyable. I don't go there often since I retired from there four years ago. There are a bunch of 'new' people, both among the seniors and on the staff. But there are also a bunch who were regulars then and still are, so I can always find people to talk to. Two nurses came while I was there to check blood pressure and blood sugar. My pressure was good, but the sugar was 129 - higher than I like it. I mentioned that to Dr Winkler today and said I thought it may have been because of the Decadron (steroid) I had taken that morning. He agreed that was probable. When they have checked it in his office, it has been below 100.


Friday, January 15, 2010

More Knitting

Jan asked for more information about the laprobe in the last post. Like most of the scarves, shawls, baby blankets, etc that I have made in the last several years, it was what I call 'designed on the needles.' Does that make me a designer? I love my stitch dictionaries! However, I often use the simplest of stitches - garter stitch, seed stitch and simple slip-stitch patterns. This one is just knit one, slip one on the right side row and purl on the back in one color, then with the second color slip one, knit one on the right side and purl on the back. Repeat those four rows for as long as you want, or until you run out of yarn like I did. Then with a close-but-not-quite gold I started at one corner and made the edging. I almost ran out of yarn at the end of the third side, so just did a single crochet edging along the last end. Lexi and I had a little symantics problem while discussing it, but I think we agreed that that end can be the top, at someone's waist when sitting in a wheelchair, with the rest of it covering their legs.

Back to the stitch pattern. After working it for a while, I thought it might be in one of the stitch dictionaries with a name. I found it in the Mon Tricot one from 1972. They call it 'eye of partridge bicoloured.' I used the eye of partridge stitch in one color many years ago in a jacket I made for myself.  It doesn't look a lot different from plain stockinette, but the slipped stitches on the back make it denser and therefore warmer. 

It must be twenty-five years ago that the jacket (carcoat) I had beem wearing for a few years was showing the signs of that wear, so I started looking for a new one. At that time, everything was down-filled. Now, I've always been overweight, so I didn't need to add to my girth. I finally decided to make my own using some ragg wool yarn I had. I took careful measurements of the jacket I was replacing, because I liked the way it fit, knit a swatch to determine how many stitches I needed, and made my own pattern. I used two strands of the yarn, and knit the body pieces first. Halfway up the first sleeve, I realized that I didn't have enough yarn to finish the jacket that way. Since I had bought the yarn at a closeout sale, there was no way I could get more of it, but I had the same yarn in gray. So I ripped back the sleeve and reworked it with one strand of tan and one of gray. In all these years, I don't think anyone has mentioned the difference between the body and the sleeves. I'm sure they've noticed it, but must think it's OK - or maybe they're just too polite to say they don't.

Here's another shawl I've made recently using that most basic stitch - garter. It is a small triangle - about four feet tip-to-tip and two feet top to point. I alternated two rows (one ridge) of burgundy and old rose, starting with three stitches and increasing one stitch on the first row of each color. The size of this was determined by the amount of old rose I had. It's rather small, but then so are some people.

Another project used the 'bicolour half-linen stitch,' the back of which (on left in picture) is also called 'the footstools' in that Mon Tricot book. I like stitches that look good on both sides for things that are likely to be seen from both sides. This stitch is very much like the eye of partridge, but for the slipped stitches, the yarn is brought to the front. 

For this project, I took all my little balls of pinks (an that one burgundy) and rolled them into one ball doing 'Russian joins' to connect them. Then I used them with white and used the white for the border. I like the way it turned out, but haven't decided yet whether to call it a baby blanket and give it to the Pregnancy Resource Center, or a laprobe and give it to the shawl ministry at church.

Monday, January 11, 2010

We're Havin' a Heat Wave . . .

At 10:45 am, it's already up to freezing, and predicted to get several degrees warmer! I think it's been about a week since it has been this 'warm.' I've stayed in the house most of the time, knitting and weaving.

This is the laprobe I've knit from three skeins of the yarn I brought home from church last Sunday. It is a slip stitch pattern that somewhat resembles houndstooth. The edging is a simple garter stitch started with seven stitches, increasing one stitch every other  row up to twelve stitches and then decreasing one stitch every other row back to seven. It is attached to the main work as it is worked. 

I've started a watchcap for the Seaman's Church Institute with another one of the skeins and will probably make watchcaps with the remaining four or five skeins, as well.

I've also been doing some weaving, in order to use up the rest of the warp I put on for the Walk through Bethlehem. Since it is a narrow warp, I'm making mug rugs. The warp is variegated blue/tan/white. This mug rug has a yellow weft. In the upper left corner, you can see the shuttle of blue that I plan to use next for another half-dozen mug rugs. My spacers are from an old venetian blind that was being discarded about ten years ago. I have cut the slats to lengths I use to separate the layers of warp when I wind it onto the loom. I didn't use them at the Walk, because they would certainly not be period correct. This loom isn't either, but some things have to be overlooked (like the glasses so many of us were wearing).

When I take the work off the loom, I'll set up my sewing machine and work a row of zig-zag stitches along each edge of the mug rugs. I'll then cut them apart in the middle of the spacer section, which will give them a short fringe. I'm not sure what I'll do with them. Perhaps the agency that helps kids who have aged out of foster care would like them. Or I could put them in the gift shop of the Art Guild for sale. Or maybe some for sale and some donated. Such problems I have!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My loom came home yesterday.

What kind of mental picture does that give you? Can you imagine the loom walking down KY80 for 17 miles? 

I think I'll make a bunch of mugrugs with the rest of that warp, and then start weaving rugs for the kids who've aged out of foster care.

This morning I took a bunch of shawls and short capes to church with me and left them in the rector's office. Two people told me of other parishioners who were please to have a shawl or cape I made. That's always nice to hear; we all like to have our work appreciated, don't we?

After service, I went upstairs and took about two pounds of the yarn that has been donated for charity knitting. I took mostly browns, and thought I'd make some watchcaps and scarves for the Seaman's Church Institute. However, on the way home, I changed my mind. I have started a laprobe with medium brown and dark gold.