Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I told my husband he’d better come home with some of this:

if he wanted to continue living in my house. I fully expect a 6-pack in the fridge when I come home tonight. It’s the least he can do for me.

So, I’ve been procrastinating (what’s new?). I don’t know if it’s that I’m waiting for Spring or waiting for my sister-in-law to leave, or what exactly I’m waiting for…but I’m waiting. I did manage to finish Kit’s blanket. I washed it and layed it out on the table and Sassy’s been dancing around it ever since. “You know, Kit’s cold. When does she get her blanket?” It was dry last night and I grabbed the camera to take a picture and the batteries are dead. Sassy had Kit sitting up and draped the blanket artfully and everything. It’s off to Target today to pick up batteries.

I finally started on the gloves I bought yarn for when Jillian and I tripped to Grand Rapids last Spring. Discovered I have to knit them on US 1s and that I don’t have any short 1s. I guess a trip to the yarn shop is in order.

Spring break is coming up for my kids in about 3 weeks. I convinced Hub that this is the perfect time to attack our basement. He bought a power washer last fall (to clean his boat) and I talked him into power washing the walls and painting with that water-repelling paint. Our basement gets so wet in the Spring, so I’m hopeful that this will take care of some of the problem. Hub thinks this is a good time to replace the teeny-tiny windows that are down there to let more light in – a good plan! We also need to muck out the junk. I don’t know why, but the garage and basement seem to collect stuff. We’re all semi-packrats…well, you can imagine how much there is in the basement. My plan is to get a dumpster and throw tons of it out; anything that’s still useful will go into a garage sale pile; anything that anyone wants to keep needs to be justified (me included). I even recruited my parents to help. My dad is great as long as he has a project – he’ll stick around for the whole week if I can keep him busy!

I was just over on Pioneer Melissa’s blog and apparently she’s doing it too! I guess I’m in good company. Anyone want to join an “Organize Along”? After the basement, I need to tackle the living room. It’s had 3 different big paint swatches up for the last 5 months. It’s time to fish or cut bait.

Diagonal Scarf

Here it is in all its diagonal glory:

It was so cold on Friday, that I sent Sassy back into the house to get it for me to wear. I’m happy to report that it’s warm and soft – a lovely scarf.

We had the most gorgeous day here yesterday. My niece and nephew were with us the whole day and the kids played outside. It was amazing! They had so much room and so many different things to do that no one had a fit and they all got along. The age range is from 12 down to 6 – unbelievable that they were good all day.

I took Sassy and my niece to the Spinner’s Flock meeting and my niece said “I want you to make me a sweater.” When I asked her what color, she pointed to the multi-colored blue roving I had just bought and said, “Outta that nice blue stuff right there.” I was spinning it up yesterday (who can resist the call of the new) and she came in every couple of minutes to check on my progress. “I can’t wait until I can wear my new sweater!” What a kid.

Okay, I suck

…but I have a really good excuse. My crazy sister-in-law is living with us. She’s sleeping in my studio (which is unheated and is located in the back of our pole barn – where we park our cars), so I don’t have a lot of time or space to play with my yarns. I drive her to work and back home everyday. Who knew it was so stressful to sit with an adult for 25 minutes one-way and not speak one word!! I like the quiet as much as anyone, but geez, say something. Oh well, Hub promises that it will only be a short while – it’s already been a month and I honestly don’t know how much more I can take.

Enough. Here’s something to celebrate:

Another eBay haul. I lovelovelove the color of this yarn. I just want to touch it, it’s my next swatch project.

I finished my diagonal scarf and took a picture of it, but haven’t had time to upload. I was flipping through the Knitblog webring and found someone (I think it was Matt from Threadbear) talking about how the end triangle didn’t match. It’s not knit in the alternating direction – so I messed around with it and came up with a solution. Did this bother anyone else or are Matt and I the only anal retentive ones? I’ll post a picture soon.

Time to go home – another 25 minutes of silence. Oh joy…

Great weekend

I gotta tell you, if you ever get a chance to take a class with Beth Brown-Reinsel DO IT!!! She’s an amazing teacher. So often, I’ve taken classes with teachers who are great on technique, but short on patience. Beth was gentle and patient with every student in the class. She made sure even the beginning knitters accomplished something toward the goal of knitting a sampler sweater. The class was called Traditional Construction Techniques for Ganseys and this is what we made:

This is the front of the little sweater I made. I had originally thought that Sassy’s American Girl doll would benefit, but the neck is too small to fit over her head. (There was an alternate neck that Beth gave us, but even with that one, I don’t think it would have fit.) Anyway, that’s why there’s a “K” in the lower corner. She gave us 3 different cables to work and what you see in the front of the sweater is Barbara Walker’s Baby Cable – I liked the way that one looked the best. it seems rounder and more “cabley” (if that makes any sense). You can also see the underarm gussets pretty well in this picture. Traditional Ganseys are tight fitting sweaters – they were made for fishermen who didn’t want a whole lot of excess material to get caught in their tools of the trade. Since a tight sweater can restrict arm movement the smart knitters of the area came up with gussets. You get full range of motion, without hiking the sweater up and being uncomfortable. How cool is that?

This is the back of the sweater and it shows the other 2 cables Beth showed us how to do. The true cable is on the right and the mock cable is on the left. The beautiful thing about all these cables is that you can do each one without ever using a cable needle! I’m forever losing those things, so this makes my cable knitting easier. The sleeves are picked up and knit from the shoulder down (after you knit a small saddle – from the neck out!).

We also learned a cool provisional cast on (for the neck) and the Channel Island cast on – you may be able to see the decorative bumps on either of the pictures near the welt on the bottom. It’s a very simple cast on and looks beautiful once you start knitting.

So, now, I’m trying to figure out where I can fit a self-designed traditional Gansey sweater into my already full knitting schedule. I guess it’s a good thing to have too much knitting to do.

Is it Spring yet??

I have Spring fever really bad! These teases of warm weather make me crazy. I want it to stay over 50 degrees F for a couple of days in a row. At least the snow is melting. The dirt roads back into my house are making my car a mess, but I’d much rather have mud than snow. 17 more days!!

And because it’s getting warm, here’s what I’m working on:

It’s a diagonal scarf from my Mountain Colors leftovers. I had the pattern, I had the leftovers, but I wanted a skein that would pull the leftovers together. So, I bought a skein a couple of months ago and then lost it in my house. At least that’s what I thought. I was out re-organizing my studio over the weekend and came across the skein – put away in the color box. It came into the house with me and I wound it up right away (before I could lose it again). I like the way it’s turning out. The fabric is substantial without being boardy and the Mountain Colors is so luscious!

I don’t seem to be able to commit to long term projects these days. I like these little short things that don’t take much time. When will my 3 current sweaters (Applegate Shirt, self-designed cardigan, and Emerald Isle Pullover) be finished? Maybe soon, I’m getting the itch to finish things up and get going on another big project. If I sat down and actually worked on them all, I bet I could get them done over the course of a weekend.

Not this weekend, though. I’m taking a gansey class with Beth Brown-Reinsel on Saturday and Sunday. I’ve wanted to take this class forever, but whenever she and I were in the same place, I was doing other things. I’m really looking forward to it.

One more thing…does anyone who reads this live in Australia? I’d like to have a copy of an old show that ran here in the US back in the 80s. My sister and I used to watch Prisoner – Cell Block H on late night TV. I just found out that it came from Australia and would like to get some episodes to give her for ChrisTmas. Anyone down-under willing to trade? Is there something that you’ve been pining for here in the US that you can’t get there? Drop me a comment and maybe we can work something out.