Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weather Report

Don't you just love it when you're listening to a radio station 40 miles away and they're saying rain with a chance of snow mixed in, but you look outside and see this.

This isn't supposed to happen yet; it's still November. And the Walk through Bethlehem starts tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time with Rose

Sara called yesterday to ask if Rose could spend the night with me, so she and Reggie could go out with friends.It was almost bedtime when they brought her, so Sara had her put on her PJ's and brush her teeth, while she helped me set up the cot. It may have been her bedtime, but we stayed up for a while longer. She wanted to show me that she can string popcorn, so we popped some (she punched the buttons on the microwave). She threaded the needle and I tied a knot in one end of the string. Here she is hard at work.

But before she did that, she put her dolls to bed on the living room floor.

This morning we went out to the shed and brought in two trees.

The one on the left was made for me a few years ago by Lexi and her Nana (her dad's mother). I tried to catch it with all the lights on, but they cycle too fast. The one on the left, I made many, many years ago from a broom handle, wire coat hangers and garland. I got down one small box of ornaments from the utility closet and we decorated the tree. The first thing that went on was the string of popcorn. The paper on top has a star drawn on it.

After Sara called yesterday, I decided to start a project in crochet. Rose always wants me to teach her to knit, but I don't have the patience to do that. I thought maybe it would be easier for me to teach her to crochet, if she wanted to try that. She didn't say anything about wanting to. What I started was a narrow strip, mostly white, with stripes of a red/white/green with silver - very Christmasy. I was planning to make several strips and sew them together to make a laprobe. However, Rose had other ideas. Here she is wearing her new scarf.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Stockings Were Hung . . .

A few weeks ago, Alyssa asked me to knit a Christmas stocking for Devin (her boyfriend's son) similar to hers and Lexi's. Alyssa's has an angel and Lexi's has Winnie the Pooh. Devin loves Legos, so Alyssa took a picture of one on his Lego men and emailed it to me. The 'peace, hope, love, joy' is from Alyssa's stocking as designed by Carmen 26 years ago. The Lego blocks I put on the toe don't show up very well. I hope Devin likes it.

I've also been making scarves (only 2) for Seaman's Church Institute.
This one has a 'message' worked in the rib patterns. One end says SCI and the other says TUG. Can you read Morse Code? (....  -.-.  ..  and -  ..-  --.) Someone on one of the Yahoo groups gave us a link to a 40-minute lecture linking knitting, Morse Code and binary notation. It intrigued me, so I printed out a copy of Morse code to see what I could do with it. This is my first such project, but I have others in mind. Am I nuts?
No code here, just an easy stitch pattern that looks nice on both sides.

Even though I had my car back in operation, I have not done much 'running.' After that quick run to Fancy Farm on Thursday, I stayed home until Tuesday. Then I went in to Mayfield to the Art Guild and WalMart. Wednesday I went to Paducah to the coffee shop; there were only two other knitters there. On Thursday, I had Thanksgiving dinner at Sara's boyfriend's grandmother's house with some of that family. I had met some of them before, as long ago as 10 1/2 years.

Black Friday, I stayed home - I don't do crowds if I can help it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

On the Road Again

Here are my mechanics, hard at work Wednesday putting in the new radiator. Sara came back yesterday to make sure nothing had leaked overnight, and to top off all fluids. Then we drove into Fancy Farm (7 miles) to the post office and the Dollar General store. The car is running well. She checked fluids after we got back, too, before leaving to pick Rose up from school and get on with her other responsibilities. I need to call the auto selvage place (sounds better than junk yard, doesn't it?) to see if they have a hood for my car. I couldn't possibly be lucky enough to find one the right color, could I?

Now that I have my own transportation again, I have no place that I need/want to go until next week. I may go into Mayfield just for the heck of it.

These are the watchcaps I've made for the Seaman's Church Institute in the last week, between loom-warping sessions. I may try to get a scarf or two done before I take them to SCI. I had planned to do more hats, but by the time I got 2/3 of the way done with the fourth one, I decided that was enough of working with a 16 inch circular needle for a while. I know I could knit them flat, but I don't like having a seam in a hat.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finishing the warping process

But first: Last night as I was sitting at the computer, I realized that the wind was pretty fierce. It was blowing the porch swing against one of the chairs out there. So I took about two yards of clothesline and lashed the swing to the porch post.
 While taking this picture this morning, I also took one of the maple tree next door. This was a spectacular tree until the Ice storm 2 1/2 years ago. You can see a couple of large limbs still hanging. Angela had some men trimming it a few weeks ago. They wanted to take the whole thing down (I think they should), but she still wants to save it.
Anyway, back to the warping. I started threading the heddles yesterday after I posted. First I took the reed out of the beater.

Then I used my sleying hook (sley rhymes with they)
 to reach through the harnesses/shafts, grab a thread (in the correct order) and pull it through a heddle (a thin wire-like thing with an eye in the middle). My loom has four harnesses, but I am only using two of them for this project.
I took eight threads at a time out of the raddle, threaded them through the heddles and tied them together in a slip knot to make sure they didn't slide back through.

This procedure means I was sitting, leaning over the front beam, reaching and pulling. I got about 2/3 of the threading done, and took a break from it until this morning. After having oatmeal and coffee, I finished the threading, and removed the raddle from the top of the loom. Then I put the reed back in the beater and started sleying it; that is pulling one thread through each space in the reed.
Again, I pulled through eight threads and tied a slip knot to keep them from sliding back. After this was complete (I took a couple of breaks to stand up and move around.), I tied the warp onto the cloth-beam apron.
See all those nice little knots? The red stuff is to space the threads out evenly. After this I wound two bobbins with the same thread I used for the warp, put them in my double shuttle, and wove about three inches. When I take the rugs off the loom, I will make a hem out of this three inches.

So now I'm ready to weave some rugs, but I will do that at the Walk through Bethlehem five nights next month. I'll be weaving outside with freezing fingers, by the light of an oil torch, so I know the weaving will not be very good. I'll donate the rugs to the animal shelter - the dogs and cats don't care what they look like.

I loosened the wing nuts on each side of the loom, pulled out the pins, and folded the thing up to be ready when someone from the church comes to transport it.

Did you notice the long shoelaces in several of the pictures? They come in very handy. Here are a couple of ways I use them.
 Holding the beater between the castle (that middle section of the loom that holds the harnesses/shafts) and the front beam while I sley the reed.
Holding the lease sticks between the castle and the back beam while I wind the warp on and do the threading. I also use them to lash the raddle to the top of the castle while I need it to help spread the threads out to the desired width.

Another item that makes things easier is my secretary's chair. I have it all the way down while I thread the heddles, and all the way up while I sley the reed. Having the different heights makes those operations much easier on the body.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weaving and Knitting

Well, not weaving exactly, but preparing to. I'm going to weave some rugs. I don't know yet if it will be at the Walk through Bethlehem or at home.
First I wound off 200 threads, 8 yards long, making a cross between the second and third pegs on the top of the board. (You can see a very small bit of my yarn stash in the storage boxes behind the warping board.)

I wound off the warp threads 22 at a time and placed each group with the lease sticks on either side of the cross. What looks like a real tangle of thread really isn't.
When I moved the warp to the loom, I used my raddle to place the threads evenly across the width I want the rugs to be. There are eight threads in each one-inch space.

Then I had to tie the warp onto the warp-beam apron. After this, I wound the warp onto the warp beam. I used slats from an old venetian blind occasionally to separate the layers. Tomorrow I plan to thread the heddles and the reed and tie onto the cloth-beam apron. Then I'll be ready to weave.

I took several knitting breaks during this warping procedure. I didn't feel like working on any of the projects I already had going, so I grabbed some burgundy yarn left over from my grand-niece Kaillee's afghan (yes, Pauline, I finally remembered what I made for her), a size 9, 16-inch long circular needle and cast on 80 stitches to do a knit 2, purl 2 ribbed watchcap for the Seaman's Church Institute. I started that first round just fine, but about halfway through it, I realized that I had switched to the knit 1, purl 1 of the seed stitch I've done so much of recently. I had to tink (that's knit spelled backwards for you non-knitters) to the spot where I went wrong. I did it again in the next round, but caught myself after only a few stitches. It took a few rounds to get my hands reprogrammed.

I have about eight inches done so far. In a few more rounds, I'll start decreasing for the top. I'll need to use double-pointed needles after the first or second decrease round. I think I'll go work on that for another hour or so tonight - I may even finish it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Car update

When I unlocked the back door (the one we, and everyone else, use) this morning about 8 o'clock, there was a large package lying on the porch. From the size of it, I figured it must be the radiator for my car, although when I moved it, it isn't nearly as heavy as I thought it would be. UPS must have delivered it yesterday after the last time I was near that door before it got dark - I'm sure they didn't come before 8 am. I called Sara and told her that it has arrived. She said she'll let me know when they can come to install it. I don't know what Reggie's work schedule is.

Much as I like being alone in my house, two weeks is a bit much. I know Sara would have provided transportation, but there was no place I had to go. I was too lazy yesterday to walk to the fire house (about a quarter mile away) to vote. I was glad to hear this morning that Bashear will remain governor; I really had no feelings one way or the other about any of the other races.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I've been in scarf mode for the past week.After finishing the one in the previous post, I did three for the 2012 Special Olympics. For this project, we are required to use certain colors of Red Heart brand yarns, because they are one of the major sponsors of the events. The colors for 2012 are red and navy.
 I did three very different scarves.
 This is a slip stitch pattern, On the back it just looks striped.
This one I worked side-to-side rather than end-to-end. I worked it in seed stitch, alternating colors every two rows. I started and ended the red stripes at one end of the scarf and the navy stripes at the other end. I left the ends of yarn hanging to be fringe, so one end has red fringe and the other has navy.

The third scarf had the message I'M SPECIAL worked into it in reverse stockinette. I wasn't able to get pictures to show it.

After I finished those scarves, I made one for the Red Scarf Project, which puts the scarves in 'care packages' to foster kids in college or trade school at Valentines Day.

 I used the 'I'm special' message on this one, as well. It's very hard to photograph, but you can see the I'M pretty well in this shot.

I also finally finished a watchcap for the Seaman's Church Institute that I started back in February. Pooh Bear agreed to model it for me, even though he said it clashes with his red shirt.

Here are two other pictures I took today, both in my back yard.

A beautiful rose.
Nandino berries.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finished Projects

No, not the car - it's still in sickbay.

I'm talking about knitting projects finished within the past week.
First a short cape hat will probably go to a nursing home. I started it on October 2nd and finished it on October 28. It is some yarn that was donated to Grace Church for the knitting ministry. I haven't selected buttons for it yet - it needs two fairly large ones.
Next is a random shawl in mostly reds, with some purple. I plan to send it to a friend who lost her son not long ago. It contains about twenty different yarns; I love doing shawls and acarves this way. I started this September 29 (a month before I heard of my friend's loss) and finished it yesterday, November 1. I still need to trim the fringes.
This is a scarf fro my friend's husband. I started it October 30 and completed it November 1.

And the one that has been in the works the longest: a baby sweater in sock yarn on size 2 needles. I love this pattern! it is called Baby Surprise Jacket. It is all one piece and looks very strange until you sew the shoulder seams. I modified it this time by adding a hood. The hood looks bigger than the jacket, doesn't it? But then babies' heads are proportionately large, aren't they? I started this August 30 and just finished it today.

Tomorrow, I need to wash then all. I'll gather the fringes on the shawl together and tie them before putting it in the washer so they don't get tangled. And Of course, I'll use the 'hand washables' cycle.