Wednesday, February 29, 2012

THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD for some A-Z Blogs


It seems that I have received an award for the blog or at least a nomination. I'd like to thank pbquib from Pirate Knitting for the nomination.

Here are my instructions upon getting this award:
• In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
• In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
• In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
• In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
• In the same post, include this set of rules.
• Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

7 Random things about me:

1. I'm an over-60 retired musician.
2. I love to learn new things.
3. I have very bravely placed all in the A-Z Challenge starting April 2012.
4. My favorite things are knitting, quilting, writing, and playing Hammered Dulcimer.
5. I am a certified Master of Hand Knitting by The Knitting Guild Association.
6. I am the proud new owner of an Erlbacher Gearhart Sock Knitting Machine,
7. I have five wonderful grandchildren and two wonderful children, now adults.

And now for the 15 people. I have found these worthy blogs from the large list of people signed up for the 2012 A-Z Challenge coming up this April. Please give them a look and consider signing your blog up for this fun challenge.

1. Empty Nest
2. Writing in the Crosshairs
3. Whatever Floats Your Canoe
4. Mama Diaries
5. mainewords
6. TheWriteGame
7. A Coffee Driven and Adventure Bound Life
8. Inky the Hamster Mom
9. I Refuse to Go Quietly
10. Blog Wobble
11. Haiku Corner
12. Pirate Knitting
13. Pull Up a Toadstool
14. The Gilded Quill
15. Unloading My Brain to Fill It Again


TO POST ON YOUR BLOG: Save the award picture. Go to dashboard. click on your blog, go to layout. add gadget. scroll down until you find one that says "picture", Then just upload the picture, write a title and caption (maybe thanking who gave you the award) Voila!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Learning Curves!

I have been working on the new Erl every day, with some modicum of success. Yesterday I had the guts to switch out the 60 cylinder for the 72 cylinder and made a cast on bonnet for it. I definitely prefer the texture that I produce on the 72 over the 60. It took me a while to realize that the internal circumference of the two cylinders is exactly  the same, which means that in a tube you are either making 60 stitches or 72 stitches. 72 stitches is denser than 60. On the down side, I am still dropping stitches when hanging a picot hem. Not sure what the cure for that is, but will keep trying.

Saturday we drove down to Milwaukee to the Apple store. Our iMac has been freezing up or just shutting down whenever it feels like it, and since this is not a normal problem for Macs, a visit with an Apple Genius seemed to be in order. Because the computer is 7 years old I expected to learn that it should be replaced, but that was not the case. The recommendation? Erase the disc and reinstall everything! I can do that, but it is going to take time. I started backing up files last night. If I just reinstall from the Time Machine I might wind up reinstalling the problem, so I am backing files on CDs and cleaning out a lot of files that are no longer necessary. Sort of like Spring Cleaning!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It Came! It Came!

Having waited for almost two months for it to arrive, my new Erlbacher Gearhart circular sock knitting machine arrived and I am finally up and running. There is a sun room off our main living space, and I set the machine up there. The addition of a rug (to protect the floor) that we had in storage, and a few accessories left over from my musician days (music stand for the instruction manual and flute stands to hold the cones of yarn on the floor) I am good to go. After several miss starts, I have completed the first lesson in the manual, which was to make I-cord.

The videos (yes, there are instructional videos on You Tube) show casting on with netting, which I tried several times. The netting always shredded. My solution today was to double the netting for added strength. It worked.

The I-cords hanging over the table were completed this morning. When I finish this post, I will move on to Lesson 2, which is about knitting a cast on sack.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

There was a box of Mocha Meltaways from Serogys and a super card waiting for me with my coffee this morning. Absolutely the best! My Valentine knows the way to my heart - chocolate and coffee. He is dieting big time, has lost 23 lbs since Jan. 1, so I gave him some "smell good" and a card, foregoing the Chocolate Turtles that he really loves.

How did I spend the morning? I'd love to say knitting, but I didn't do that. I was a good girl and cleaned the 2nd floor of the house - office, two bathrooms, etc. This afternoon is for practicing and showering, and getting ready for quilt guild tonight. I know - you think I just knit, but I was a quilter long before becoming a knitter.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day. I will probably take my knitting to the quilt guild meeting tonight.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Linen Stitch Scarf Update

It was a quiet weekend in Lake Wobegone... wait - that's somebody else's line. It was definitely a quiet weekend in Green Bay however, and I got a lot of knitting done. I feel this incredible urge to finish projects before the end of the month, when my knitting will come to a complete halt for about 3 months. It is impossible to finish everything that is in the works, but the Linen Stitch Scarf just needs another inch of knitting - approximately 6-8 rows over 255 stitches. I will probably finish it in a day or two.

In preparation for my Knitting 102 class tonight at Monterey Yarn I cleaned out my teaching bag this morning. It holds a ring binder with syllabi and examples, some needles and yarn, and a smaller bag of knitting accessories: stitch markers, scissors, tapestry needles, bread bag closures, a crochet hook, etc. The teaching bag itself is the felted product of about 4 pairs of clogs I knit as Christmas presents several years ago. The clogs were made out of Lambs Wool single ply yarn, and each pair of clogs produced leftover yarn. To use it up I made a large knitted bag, striped because I was using up leftovers, and felted it. Then I purchased an oblong plastic container about the same size as the bag and stuffed it inside the felted bag as it was drying. Voila! a teaching bag sturdy enough to support the weight of a ring binder and everything else.

On top of all of this knitting activity, my musical background has reared it's ugly head. I was asked to accompany for a short recital at the end of the month: 1 piece I have played many times - the other piece is totally new to me. Therefore, there has been lots of piano practicing going on around here. The piano tuner is coming in about 45 minutes, and we have our first rehearsal this afternoon. Well - that said - I should go back to the piano. Musicians are all perfectionists, you know.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I've been home for almost a week now, but certainly haven't spent the week the way I thought I would.  After unpacking and laundry catch up stuff I got a call from Patricia George, who asked if I would accompany her for a short recital at the end of the month. We are performing the Bach C-Major Sonata, and a Sonata by Damase. The Bach I knew, but the Damase is entirely new. So, what have I been doing? Practicing, practicing, practicing . . . so much so that my wrists have started to hurt. Had to back off today. The piano technician is coming on Monday to tune the piano, and Pat will arrive a few hours later for our first rehearsal.

Got an email from the Erlbacher Gearhart people, who tell me they will probably ship my new Circular Sock Knitting Machine sometime this next week. Needless to say, I am excited beyond words. I know there's a learning curve, so I am anxious to get started. If I have it figured out before the surgery on my left-hand, I will be able to continue to knit, single-handed.

What's on my needles? I am working on the following:

  • Stitch Sampler Shawl
  • Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf
  • a filmy lace shawl
  • Hannah Falkenberg sweater
  • watch cap for guild charitable giving
I know I won't finish any of this before the surgery, but

Monday, February 6, 2012

Back to Teaching

I teach the beginning knitting classes at Monterey Yarn in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and tonight there were 5 students in a beginning class. It is always so much fun to work with folks who want to learn. The age span was unusually large this evening; we started with a 5th grader and worked our way up the age scale from there to 60 something. By the end of the evening they could all do a long-tail cast on, knit back and forth, i.e. garter stitch, and bind off. Next week - purling. That will be the proof of the pudding.

I am anxiously awaiting my new Erlbacher Gearhart sock knitting machine. Everyday I tool past the front door and peek outside at my front porch, hoping that the UPS delivery person has left a box there. Nothing today, but maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Linen Stitch

I love to shop at new yarn stores when I am away from home. It's fun to explore merchandise that my local yarn shop doesn't carry and to discover what is hot in other parts of the country. Tuesday I strolled through The Village Yarn Shop in Zionsville, Indiana abd bought some gorgeous Cascade 220 Paint in a shade of blue/lavendar/green variegated. When I went to check out I saw a charming scarf made entirely out of Linen Stitch. Had to have it and bought that too.

The pattern is a Churchmouse Classic that is published on Bainbridge Island in Washington state. It is worked on US 6s with Koigu KPPPM and knit lengthwise. In other words you cast on well over 400 stitches. The shop had made up kits with 3 different yarns (2 solids & 1 variegated),  I swooped it all up and took it home to jump right in.

I don't know if you are this way, but I seem to need to work a new pattern for awhile before I really understand it. After knitting through the 1st six rows, I discovered that the pattern was off, and I had to rip it back almost to the d it be. This wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. It's mostly K1, sl 1 throughout so hard could it be.
"
The answer to that is "As hard as you make it." I am mostly a Continental knitter, which means that I have a greater tendency of dropping stitches than a knitter who works  in the English style. Therefore, when ever the pattern gets off, I have to frog back until I find the dropped stitch.
With two colors of yarn that is somewhat easier, because every other stitch is a different color. When the blue-pink-blue-pink-blue-pink yarn alternations change, it's time to check back and make sure that everything is ok. Also, you might notice in the picture below that the stitches on the needle tend to sit in pairs. The first of the pair is always and worked stitch and the 2nd is always a slipped stitch.

The final scarf will look something like this. It's been fun to work, but it wasn't as easy and fast as I thought it would be.

Happy Knitting Everyone!
                                                                                                                          

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sugar, Susan G. Komen Foundation, & Stitches, Oh My!

What are we to do? The news is so divisive that I hardly know where to begin. Let's start with sugar. People have been cooking with sugar for centuries. It is what makes bread rise - the interaction between the yeast and sugar that is - it is a staple of every baking recipe, it sweetens my coffee in the morning (or a sugar substitute does), and now the government is being encouraged to do something about the sugar in our diet. Never mind that people have been using it since ancient times; our government now knows best. Soon it will be right up there with alcohol and cigarettes. I guess you can see where I come down on this argument.

The next conundrum is the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision to pull their support of Planned Parenthood. This is interesting because the reaction to their decision is so unpredictable. The NY Times reports that affiliates within the Komen Foundation are very upset about this and NY Mayor Bloomberg is urging Komen to change its mind. A Methodist Minister on Facebook was also arguing for the Planned Parenthood group, which surprised me. Yes - breast cancer has little to do with abortion and family planning, so my question is, "Why was Komen giving money ro Planned Parent anyway?" THIS JUST IN: Susan G. Komen has reversed its original decision. Go figure. Guess they couldn't take the heat.

Stitches are much less controversial - another reason to knit.  I fly home in another 2 days, so I was thinking about what to knit on the plane. It matters because of the way I have to pack, so I decided to start the Stitch Sampler Shawl pattern that I bought at the Village Yarn Shop here in Zionsville. I only have to fit the pattern and 1 ball of yarn into my purse. It should be a pretty quick knit, as it is worked on US10s. Can't wait to get started.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spring in Indiana

The last few days have seen highs in the 50s - unbelievable for the end of January and start of February, at least in NE Wisconsin where I live, but central Indiana has been very temperate. In fact, the daffodils and some of the perennials are peaking up in my son's front garden. Poor little things. They will probably receive a rude awakening one of these days soon.






I've gotten a lot of knitting done while here. There isn't much else to do during the day. I finished a pair of socks that I started this summer - 2nd sock itis - but the 2nd sock is now complete. Actually, it doesn't quite match the first, and the lesson to be learned from this is that you shouldn't wait so long between socks. They have a lace pattern from the toe to the top. The socks were knit from the toe up and thus a decision had to be made as to where to start the gusset and heel flap, all the while maintaining the lace pattern on the instep stitches. With 6 months in between socks, I could not remember how I worked the first sock, and the lace pattern was complicated enough that I couldn't quite figure out where the gusset began on the first sock, let alone replicate it on the 2nd sock. Oh well! Only I will know, because I am the one who will wear them.

The last few da...

The last few days have seen highs in the 50s - unbelievable for the end of January and start of February, at least in NE Wisconsin where I live, but central Indiana has been very temperate. In fact, the daffodils and some of the perennials are peaking up in my son's front garden. Poor little things. They will probably receive a rude awakening one of these days soon.  

I've gotten a lot of knitting done while here. There isn't much else to do during the day. I finished a pair of socks that I started this summer - 2nd sock itis - but the 2nd sock is now complete. Actually, it doesn't quite match the first, and the lesson to be learned from this is that you shouldn't wait so long between socks. They have a lace pattern from the toe to the top. The socks were knit from the toe up and thus a decision had to be made as to where to start the gusset and heel flap, all the while maintaining the lace pattern on the instep stitches. With 6 months in between socks, I could not remember how I worked the first sock, and the lace pattern was complicated enough that I couldn't quite figure out where the gusset began on the first sock, let alone replicate it on the 2nd sock. Oh well! Only I will know, because I am the one who will wear them.

Spring in Indiana

The last few days have seen highs in the 50s - unbelievable for the end of January and start of February, at least in NE Wisconsin where I live, but central Indiana has been very temperate. In fact, the daffodils and some of the perennials are peaking up in my son's front garden. Poor little things. They will probably receive a rude awakening one of these days soon.


I've gotten a lot of knitting done while here. There isn't much else to do during the day. I finished a pair of socks that I started this summer - 2nd sock itis - but the 2nd sock is now complete. Actually, it doesn't quite match the first, and the lesson to be learned from this is that you shouldn't wait so long between socks. They have a lace pattern from the toe to the top. The socks were knit from the toe up and thus a decision had to be made as to where to start the gusset and heel flap, all the while maintaining the lace pattern on the instep stitches. With 6 months in between socks, I could not remember how I worked the first sock, and the lace pattern was complicated enough that I couldn't quite figure out where the gusset began on the first sock, let alone replicate it on the 2nd sock. Oh well! Only I will know, because I am the one who will wear them.