Monday, January 15, 2007

Plowing, Publicity & Peeking Out

We're still under the snow and ice over here--with temps in the teens at night and no more than 30's in the daytime, it simply cannot melt. Right now, we're also covered with a layer of fog up here on this big old hill overlooking the bay. We finally got Fred's car home from the bottom of the hill yesterday afternoon, where he had to abandon it last Wednesday night, and he went to work this morning. Thank goodness, no school today, but I have to venture out just after noon for my mammogram. Wish me luck!

The plowing and the plaits go together, because that's what Sara looks like at this point...
21" of lovely purple Celtic plait that looks a lot like a freshly plowed purple field!

Oh, the loveliness of Cascade Pastaza...yum. I am enjoying every stitch of this.

As for publicity, the company that puts out Creative Knitting did a press release for me and sent it to the Tacoma News Tribune because of the upcoming March issue with one of my designs included. Well, I did a phone interview last Tuesday with a very nice reporter who subsequently wrote a "Spotlight" piece on me for the Sunday paper! Isn't that great? He even got almost everything right--only a couple of small time glitches that no one except my mama will care about.
Also, over the past week, I got a scarf accepted for publication in the November Creative Knitting. I love working with those folks--they give you plenty of time and treat you very nicely.
Okay, back to Sara, and until next time...'s lookin' at ya!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Frosting & WIP's

What? Whipped frosting? No thanks, I had enough sweets over the holidays. I'll never get enough of this, though. Snow blew in at about 4:30 this morning--very sideways, as you can see. There's not much, and the sun is shining, so it'll probably all melt today. We might get more this afternoon, and then we don't seem to be getting any rain for awhile. That'll be really nice--we've had more than our share lately.

As for WIP's, the works in progress at the moment are...

Mom, make sure you're sitting down!
Your sweater coat!
I'm about 5 inches up the body of it. See, during a visit from Mom in September 2003 she and I went to Lamb's Ear and she picked out this lovely Plymouth Encore Colorspun in color 7122 and asked me to make her a coat. Well, I got too busy and packed the 16 skeins away. Since this is sweater year, and it's about darn time, whatever other sweater I am working on this year, the Mimi sweater will be right alongside. Maybe I'll get it done for her by next fall! Also, I can show you the progress, because this is not one I'll be writing up. I'm just gonna have fun with it. As you can see, I settled on a seed stitch border with an overall kind of seed stitch and large cable mix. I'll show a better picture of the stitch pattern when I get more done.

The little peek of solid purple is the Figheadh sweater I am working on. I started the plans for this sweater last year when my aunt Sara turned 80. Big milestone, so I'm doing this design in her honor. It's going to be an Aran jacket with a combination of three braid cables. I am making this sample in Cascade Pastaza, color 017. Fun! Here's a better picture of both.

Sorry, the Colorspun label whited itself out, but you see the yarn in the pre-knit stage. I don't usually like knitting with mostly acrylic yarn (75% acrylic, 25% wool), but this is fun--as long as I keep it on these size 9 Susan Bates aluminum needles. This yarn did not like my bamboo needles.

As for the Pastaza--pure heaven. Bulky llama and wool on size 10.5's because of the heavy cabling.

I was going to work on Isobel next, a cardigan with one overall cable stitch in Eco Wool, but Sara just nudged herself up to first place. Even though I love Eco, I need a little break from it. Both the pullover hoodies last year were in that yarn.

Also, today is grandson Preston's fifth birthday, and I sent him some little books, the red Raibeart, and the little cotton number I alluded to in this post. I used Lion Brand Lion Cotton to make a blue and green body, one yellow sleeve , and one red sleeve. I put a little Argylish pattern on the chest in duplicate stitch to tie all the colors together. It's one I started a couple of years ago and finally finished, probably just in time for him to wear it for a couple of months until hot weather hits in Alabama. I didn't get a good picture of it all alone before I had to ship it off! Hopefully, Jessica will get a picture of both sweaters on Preston. I'm crossing my fingers that they fit, even though I just got an update on his measurements over the holidays. It's hard to knit ahead of his growing body!

See ya next time for more progress pics! Here's to winter's beauty--in snow and in yarn!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Had Enough?

No, of course, you haven't. Here's some more gorgeous yarn--sock yarn, to be exact. This is the rest of the group I got from yarn4socks (link in last post--NAYY--I just love them).
These two lovelies are getting ready to be sent off as gifts to a couple of people to whom I am wildly grateful. You can tell I love these people or I would never part with some Mountain Colors Bearfoot Pheasant and some Lorna's Laces Tuscany. Yum.
These three ladies, however, are staying right here with me. This will be my first experience with JKnits, Fleece Artist, and Shaeffer Anne.

Yes, I know the Anne is a crazy one, but it was on sale, and after all the raving about this one, I had to try.

I mean, this Anne is a loony--red, orange, and brown. I can't wait to see what the sock looks like that's born from her!

But, alas, I cannot even cake these up until I finish the other 5 pairs on the needles. Obviously, I won't be participating in the "knit from your stash" event. However, I am intrigued by Amie's 2007th Heaven--knit 7 sweaters for yourself in 2007. That ties right in with my vow to put more women's sweaters on the Figheadh site (I only have 2). 2006 was a big year for men's sweaters. Now it's time for the ladies. You see the list of ladies' names in my progress tracker? That's the queue for this year. Here we go!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Back to the Yarn

The air has been a little heavy lately here at figknits.

I know! Let's look at some yarn!
Most of this is from my visit to Lamb's Ear to see Roxy and pick up some swatching fiber. From the left, you see some ArtYarns Supermerino in color 105, some Manos (merino/corriedale blend) in color 113, a bit of Koigu, some Colinette Jitterbug 100% merino in Toscana 55, two "eye-talyun" merinos--Ornaghi Filati Merino Kind ("Superfine") and Berroco Pure Merino ("Extra Fine"), and some Louet Gems Superfine Merino fingering weight in lilac. Man, I really zeroed in on the merino, huh? And all these superhero yarns! Believe me, they are super.

It's like a world tour of yarn here. Via fiber, I've been to Japan, South Africa, Italy, Uruguay, Wales, and back to good old White Plains, NY. Can you name which yarn is from where? I already gave you a couple of hints!

I got the Art Yarns from Yarn 4 Socks, along with some others that really are sock yarns. The Supermerino here is worsted, and I am working up a mitten design with it. Lovely, people, lovely. Want a closeup?
There he is with the Manos doing backup. So soft and fun to work with. The colors are gorgeous, as well.

and here's a shot of the fabric:

Okay, that's enough for you--you're gonna get a fiber overload.

More next time!

P.S. All this loveliness brought to you by the fact that I finally upgraded to the new blogger. Now it is very generous with its image uploading...obviously. Yippee!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tragedy close to home

On their first day back at school after the holidays yesterday at 7:25, an 18-year-old high school student shot another 17-year old student in a hall at Foss High School. I was just there a month ago substituting for an art teacher. If the police have the correct information, they found the shooter just walking around in a nearby neighborhood a couple of hours later. Why?

Yesterday at about 9:15, I was returning from my morning walk and there was a helicopter hovering overhead in the area of the school, but I thought it must have been a traffic thing on Hwy 16, which gets way too much. Later, around noon, I made a quick trip in to Fred Meyer to pick up a few things. I did notice that it was strangely devoid of the usual Foss students grabbing snacks on their lunch break, and one of the top managers was helping return carts to the covered storage area. I thought, "Why is she doing that? Hmmm." Turns out they were recovering from what must have been chaos in their parking lot earlier, when students and parents were wandering around trying to find one another after lockdown was lifted.

Then when I got home I had a text message from my mom in NC that simply said, "Are you ok?" I called her back and that's when I found out about the shooting. I assumed it must have been one of the rougher schools, and was quite surprised when I found out it was Foss. I have always felt safe there--as safe as you can feel around sometimes angry teens--because the school has a healthy staff of very responsive security. As one of the officials said, though, if someone really wants to commit a crime, there is little anyone can do to prevent it.

Am I afraid to go back there, or any high school, for that matter? Not afraid--just cautious. High schools are, after all, just a microcosm of society. Are we afraid to go about our business in the world because people have been killed out there? No. It seems that this was not a random shooting, but one kid, who for some reason or another, thought it was his only option to kill one other kid. He didn't try very hard to get away, and he did not resist arrest. He was on suicide watch last night. I feel sorrow for him and the family of the one who died. His young life just closed up around him.

...more knitting next time.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hello 101 and Hello 2007!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your day is shaping up nicely, and that you're kicking off the new year in just your favorite way. We have the blackeyed peas cooking in the crock pot, and the turnip greens and ham waiting to be cooked. (I'm still deciding on the cornbread factor.) I feel lucky already--we are always lucky when we can find turnip greens out here. Last year we had to do collard greens, which I like just fine, but turnip greens will always be my first choice--we have always made sure on New Year's Day to eat turnip greens for financial gains, and blackeyed peas for luck in the coming year.

I wanted to get this post in yesterday--it's time for the knitting year in review! As I did in 2004 and 2005, I gathered together all my knitting. This year looks a little slim for a few reasons, but they all involve more of my knitting actually leaving the premises. Here's what I have left...

Pardon the flash, but it was cloudy. Here you see 4 men's sweaters, 1 woman's sweater (my fun cardigan project with Noro Kureyon), 3 little guy sweaters, a couple of pairs of gloves, mitts, 3 pairs of socks, 3 hats, 2 headbands, and 5 scarves. I sent away 10 pieces for various publications, 5 pieces as gifts, and 3 pieces as shop models.
(The sweater in the lower left corner is one for Preston, the older grandson--I should show you and tell you more about that one in another post.)

What I actually knit in 2006:
  • 6 men's sweaters
  • 1 woman's cardigan (mine)
  • 6 scarves
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • 5 small sweaters
  • 2 baby onesies
  • 4 hats
  • 3 pairs of gloves/mitts
  • a man's vest
  • 2 felted/fulled bags
  • a baby blanket
  • a tea cosy

From looking at this list, I can see that I need to do more women's sweaters and felted/fulled items in 2007. Of course, there will be socks, and I have 5 pairs in various stages of completion at the moment. That's what I'm doing today, even though I'm a little drowsy from uncharacteristically staying up until 2:00 A. M. last night. Fred and I enjoyed a fire and neighborhood fireworks (we are 2 blocks from a park, and a few blocks from the UPS campus--always ripe for fireworks) out the big picture windows while having a good discussion about future plans. Here's to future plans!

Some of mine are to regain balance in my life with work, play, and everything in between; to keep the freelance design going while building Figheadh; and to become the healthiest 50-year-old I can be! I've got about 6 months to the big 5-0, and want to reach it 20 pounds lighter and in good shape. I let my physical self slide too much with all the work last year. Thus, the commitment to balance. I really want to try not to neglect my health--I want to be a kicking old lady!

Getting this a little topsy-turvy, in 2006 we got Fred into a better job, he embarked on another new venture (more later about that), I got 7 designs accepted for other publications, we got 12 new Figheadh Yarnworks designs published, actually did some advertising, gained a grandson, and got Natalie graduated from UGA. However, we only went on one hike (on my birthday--a tradition) and no camping trips! That must be remedied in the coming year. I wanna get into the woods!

I'm gonna go check out everyone's blogs and read your wrap-up on the past year. Forward motion, people! Let's have a great year!