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Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Works

I already showed you the winding of this yarn on my swift. Now I am working on creating the scarf. You can see my needles which are from Signature Needles and they are absolutely the best. Very pricey. They can be upwards to $45 a set but you get to design them yourself and once you start working with them, you just don't want to use anything else. I Use the stiletto point when working with the fine yarns because I don't have to struggle with splitting the yarn or the pick-up.

As you can see, I use a lot of stitch markers. The ones with the beads separate the different patterns and the black rings separate the repeats within a pattern. This scarf I am designing myself. I have searched a lot of patterns for this particular scarf for my sister Linda and in the end, decided to create one myself. After all, I have been knitting for over 50 years. I guess I qualify to become a designer. The shop where I bought the yarn is interested in seeing the end of the piece and wants to sell the pattern. And, Signature Needle Arts is also interested in this project. I am also working on a shawl using their needles for my sister Suzanne and they want to see that one too, although I did not design that pattern. For that one, they want a commentary.

As difficult as this is to see, this is an idea of what the pattern looks like for this scarf. It will be a sixteen row repeat. Each row is written in colors as each row involves four different pattern stitches and I find it much easier to keep it all straight when I am looking at colors between my markers. I may print up the patterns this way too. I might charge a couple of dollars more for the pattern because of the colors, but I think the knitters who buy them will agree that they can follow it better this way. If I can, then they can.

This is a silk yarn I have which will be for an upcoming project, unsure of what its destiny will be. A very gentle green. eh!

I fell in love with this pumpkin orange yarn and am designing a sock. The yarn is a wool and silk from Peru. I love how the yarns today are completely washable. Sock yarns have come such a long way. Although I still hand wash my socks, it is good to know that people who are not prone to such care can just throw them in the machine.

I am calling this pattern "Landscape". I see mountains in this. Even though I did knit up a slight cuff, the mountains are so strong that the cuff is wavy. I love that about this pattern. I don't do the "knit two, purl two" cuff as you always see in the traditional sock. I don't like those. I find them quite binding. I want a sock to just sit above my ankle. I want it to just breathe on my leg. Once the sock is finished and blocked, you will see it better.

It is a very easy twelve row repeat pattern and is transportable for when I go places where I can't concentrate heavily. I am going for more infusions the next couple of weeks and socks are perfect for that situation. Often, patients near me want to talk about what I am doing and it is difficult to talk and knit at the same time unless I am knitting up something simple like socks. This pair will be done in no time. Hummm, who will get them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Swift

I was trying to take a picture of my swift as it was spinning around. How beautiful it is going 'round and 'round as my thumb and index finger hold the ball and my right hand coils the yarn coming off the swift carefully onto the ball. You don't want the ball to be too tight as it stretches the yarn and ruins whatever it is that you are knitting up. What I ended up getting was this haunting image of the swift in motion and my mind mesmerized into meditation in winding two balls, each having 437 yards of quite thin yarn on them.

At the same time, I was watching all the special features and lectures put forth by Thich Nhat Hanh at the end of a movie I had been watching on the life of the Buddha. So, I was way out there to begin with. The city could have been hit with a tornado and I would not have noticed.

This is lace yarn. I am designing a thin scarf for my little sister Linda. It will be 72" long and I am not yet sure how wide. I am designing it myself. It is my first piece that is this ambitious that I am designing myself. I should use bigger yarn and do a sample first and then write up the pattern and make the shawl. But not me. I am digging right into the shawl. It is so dumb. It is doing well though. It is going to be a twelve row repeat and I am on row 10. I ended up going out and buying some correction fluid. I have the instructions written in colors for each section. There are four sections in each row. Outer edges, sides, inner sides and then the center.

As soon as I get a foot or so done, I will put it up on this site. I bought the yarn at a new little yarn shop in Goffstown. They opened their shop in the fall. It is called "The Spotted Sheep". Tiny but it has a little of everything. We talked a bit about what I am doing and the owner asked if I might bring it by when I am done. So I thought perhaps I might take pictures and print up the pattern and maybe sell it in her store. A few dollars for her and a few dollars for me. It is just paper.

I might at some point even learn how to spin. They teach spinning there. I would love to get a great wheel and learn. Years ago I attempted it and it was wonderful. Oh, I just can't tell you what it felt like to spin my own yarn. But, a Great Wheel is big and you need a little space for it. Ah, but to be able to spin your own yarn - how extraordinary would that be?!!!

When I unpacked a huge bucket of yarn that I had in storage here I found a whole pound of roving the most beautiful shade of a dark teal, very dark, begging to be spun. I thought of finding someone to spin it for me, but what if I learned to do it myself? I at one time, had a couple of drop spindles. Where are those? I must have more of those things in storage.

The NH Sheep and Wool Festival is taking place in May. I will have to see if George wants to go. We went every year when it was held in New Boston. Now it is being held in Deerfield. That is where you can get all the raw wools, the hand dyed rovings and yarn. From the men and women who create these fibers for a living. It is fascinating. This year, I will bring my camera. I will show the enthusiasm to you all.

I have to go to bed now. George and I are button gallivanting in the morning. More on that tomorrow.

Knitting Away

Is there no limit to how many socks one can knit? I think not! I can knit them in my sleep. They are so basic. Normally, I don't like to work with variegated yarns because I much prefer working up fancy stitches and the patterns are not very obvious when there are so many colors like this pair. I made this pair for my mother and was going to give them to her for Mother's Day. But I ended up giving them to her last week while the weather was still cold. Of course she loved them as a good mother does. The pinks and purples and golds. All colors she wears in sweaters. I will have to come up with something else for Mother's day. I don't know what. Maybe a nice little cotton blouse. She loves clothes and when you compliment her on something she is wearing, her response is always "Oh my, I have had this thing for years. I have so many clothes. I should bring things to the Salvation Army. I just have too much. " So maybe something new would be nice. Something short sleeved and light.

Then Alice mentioned that she would love a pair of socks as her feet get cold a lot so I whipped these up real quickly. I didn't do anything fancy. I let the striping speak. I was surprised to be able to match each one almost perfectly. That is not always easy when using the self-striping yarn. I was proud of this pair. I think she will love them. They are on a plane over the United States somewhere. I am hoping she gets them on Monday.

I am watching programs on Ireland, being St. Patrick's Day. I love traditional Irish music. I love the accent and the old folk lore. I love the landscapes. Public Television has a lot of programming today. It is all so haunting and touching. I have an Irish Aunt who was Miss Dublin in 1958. I think that was the year. I should write to her and see how she is. I think of family all the time. And today, in particular, I think of my Aunt Moira. I used to love listening to her talk. I think it rains a lot in Ireland. I would like that. And some great wools used to come from Ireland. And Waterford is there. Imagine! It could be a peaceful place to write too.

Just dreaming~~~~~

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Zoey's Dress

There is nothing more fun than making dresses for little girls. This one is for George's granddaughter Zoey. It is a McCall's pattern MP210. She turned 3 last week. This is what I made for her. It can be worn over a T-shirt now or just as it is in the summer.

It has loops in the back to adjust the straps and the bodice is all gathered with elastic thread and has two ties sewn into the side seams. And can you see the ruffles near the hem? Isn't it to die for?

George and I bought two patterns and I am going to make her another dress. But this is her birthday dress. I may even make another version of this in different fabrics. It is so cute!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


OK. Here we are, finally making it public that I do not eat salads. I know. How have I kept this a secret all of my life? Has no one ever noticed? How many thousands of meals have I eaten with friends and family? Has no one never noticed when coming to my home to eat one of my wonderfully prepared repasts, that I never offer salads?

Lettuce: green, crunchy, tasteless, messy (have you ever watched people trying to get it in their mouths gracefully without dripping the dressing all over their chins?) Does lettuce have any value to it at all?

Tomatoes: what is up with all that mucousey stuff with seeds that turn everything soggy. And if the tomatoes are not stored properly, they have no taste at all. I think most people put tomatoes in their salads because of the color.

Peppers: I like peppers. I like orange and yellow peppers. I don't know if I would eat them every day. But I like them.

Onions: I like onions but they are cut wrong for salads. They are usually too long and thick. They are over powering when they are part of any food. I think onions should be sliced very thin and delicate. There should always be just a hint of onion. I watch people stuff the things in their mouths and it is not always pretty.

Carrots: I saw a salad when I was out with my mother today that had carrots in it. They were grated instead of sliced. I thought that was good. It was a nice color. I might do that.

What is this about? I ate a salad this week. I don't eat salad. I went to lunch with my Mother last Sunday. She ordered a salad. What was the surprise? She always has soup. I was so surprised by this that I looked at the salad options on the menu and I don't know what came over me, but I ordered a salad too. I ordered the 'Asian Sesame Chicken Salad'. After I ordered it, I thought to myself, "what am I doing? I don't eat salad. God almighty. I'm going crazy. The beginning of senility.

It was very big. Very big. I ate a third of it and found that I didn't get the dry heaves. I rather liked it. It was simple. I even took the rest of it home and had it the next day. Something is wrong. I actually liked it. I then decided to start eating salad. I know. Contrary to a lifetime of never touching the green stuff. Never too late to change, eh!

So I went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients as described on the menu. I didn't make up my own salad. I liked the one I had at the restaurant. So it was a good place to start. Here it is.

I began with cooking chicken breasts. Hannafords puts out these seasoning packets that I absolutely love. I chose one and added a little olive oil and dredged the breasts in it then baked them in the oven for half an hour. You can over cook chicken. Half an hour is all it needed.

This rub turns any meat or fish quite tasty without being over-powered. I think they have maybe eight different flavors. "Taste of Inspiration" is actually a product of Hannaford's. It is one of their "fancy" name brands. It is not mentioned on the packaging. I found out by looking it up on the internet. I look for the brand when I am shopping. I am never disappointed when I get something that is "Taste of Inspiration".

How to cut the lettuce. I am not sure. I see people trying to stuff lettuce that is cut too big into their mouths and it is not always a pretty sight. Then they wonder how come they get their shirts and blouses stained with oil. So I cut my lettuce into one inch pieces. It ended up being too small. I found the salad very difficult to eat with the lettuce cut this small. I kept saying to myself "How do people eat this stuff? It's awful!! It is impossible to eat." I then decided that I need to work on what size to cut lettuce so it can be eaten without a bib.

The salad from the restaurant had cilantro which I barely chopped. Cilantro is a wonderful taste and when eaten raw, should never be chopped unless it is going into a sauce or a garnish. Here it is a sensitive taste in the scheme of the dish. I also added a little dried cranberries. I love a bit of fruit in things. And the brown things are Chinese wonton noodles that have been baked. A really good texture.

Then I sliced a bit of chicken really thin. You can see how the rub just coats the outside of the meat and adds just that tiny taste to it. The dressing is a Low Fat Asian sesame Ginger dressing put out by Newman's Own. Very good. I tossed the salad in it before adding the chicken. I only used a tiny bit of dressing. I didn't want the salad to taste just the dressing, nor drip the dressing.

It worked out quite well. There was no cheese, no other vegetables. It was simple.

Mom and I went out to a different restaurant today and I ordered another salad with salmon today but it was more difficult to eat. Too many tomatoes, onions, and way too much cheese. The dressing was wonderful. It was a Zinfandel vinaigrette and was low fat but you wouldn't know it. I decided today that I would not make a salad with tomatoes. I don't like tomatoes in a salad. And if I were to put onions in one, I would definitely slice them very thin. I would like corn in a salad though. I love corn. They say that frozen corn is good in a salad because it is frozen as soon as it is cut off the cob. I am not sure about cheese in a salad. It makes the dish rather heavy. I am going to forgo cheese for now.

Does a salad need lettuce? Really?